Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I don't care what political way you lean, but something has to be done to change our healthcare system.  Let me tell you my story of my day today and maybe you will agree. 

Sloan had to have a relatively minor surgery today.  First, the hospital didn't even schedule the time of the actual surgery until two days before.  Then, I had to call in and get the time.  Then, the day before, the anesthesiologist's office called to go over pre-op stuff with me.  She asked what our reporting time was for the surgery.  I told her 8:30 am.  She said, "ooh, I think they moved it earlier, so you might need to call back later this afternoon between 4:30 and 6 pm."  Okaaaaayyyy, so what then, I asked, do they expect me to do with all the plans I had made with childcare for Jackson while we were in a town 30 minutes away for surgery for Sloan????  Reschedule and scramble with people?  I was about to lose it, but decided to fight that battle when I actually called the scheduling people.  Long story short, they moved our time to 9 am.  Not too bad, so no fight needed.

Today was the surgery day, so we drop Jackson off at his wonderful teacher's house so she could take him to school with her.  We get to the hospital and get to the desk promptly at 9 am.  We are always on time.  We check in and in about 5 minutes, we are taken upstairs to the pre-op room and asked to change Sloan out of his clothes into a little hospital gown (which was SO cute, by the way, pic below).  Then, we wait.  and wait.  and wait.  After about 45 minutes, (now 9:45) a nurse comes in and says, "oh, the surgery before is going longer, so we probably wont get to you until 10:45".  WHAT??!  My child has not eaten or had anything to drink since the night before because of anesthesia, etc.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???  But what were we going to do?  Complain to the hospital?  Threaten to take him to the hospital down the street/next town over?  That wouldn't do any good b/c our insurance only covers for certain providers.  It is maddening!!! 

Ultimately, the surgery started at 12:00.  THREE HOURS later than they told us it would.  I tell you what:  if we had been 3 hours late to the appointment, they would have scratched us from the books and told us to come back and start all over again and maybe even have had the gall to charge us for the time spent preparing for surgery!!  Who's going to pay us for our wasted time???  My husband could have gone and done a couple hours work if he had known when we would actually be starting!  ARGH!

All in all, the surgery went well and he is a healthy little boy.  I am just even MORE thankful that we have very healthy children who do not require constant interaction with the healthcare system beyond regular checkups.  Sheesh.

Now, how cute is this little guy??  cutest patient there today, by far!

They used this fun wagon to take him back to the O.R.  We also used it to make a few laps around the 2nd floor of the hospital while we waited for hours on end.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

When I was little, my favorite holiday was Christmas, for obvious reasons.  Now that I am grown, I think my favorite holiday is Easter.  As a Christian, Easter is what it's about.  There would be no basis for our faith if Easter did not exist.  Christ died.  Christ rose again.  In Him we have eternal life.  THIS is the miracle that we must place our entire faith in if we believe in Jesus.  I love Easter!  I pray that the meaning of Easter is celebrated in your soul this way too!

Mr. Stinkface says Happy Easter.  Don't eat rotten eggs.

The Boys.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Puerto Rico in pictures

As you can see below, Puerto Rico is a beautiful place!
The View from our hotel room-right on the beach!

Our room

From inside the old Fort looking out at Old San Juan

View from the fort.  Part of Old San Juan. 

The fort

Old San Juan

Sunset from our balcony

Walking the beach our last day there. 

We found so much sea life when the tide was out.  This and some more conch, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and some other creatures we would have known the names to if we had been marine biologists...

My husband was the sea explorer.  I stayed safely on the beach.  I'm not a fan of sea creatures.

our resort

More resort

Resort again

Every morning at 10 am  they feed the iguanas.  THey come out like cats at that time and wait to be fed.  Again, my explorer husband.

apparently they don't like mushrooms.

They like lettuce!

a pretty, huge, birdcage at the resort that had a parrot inside.  I'm not a bird fan either, but I like fake birds and bird cages. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No place like home

My hubby and I got back from a vacation in Puerto Rico yesterday, and I am SOOO glad to be home!  I've always loved traveling and going places, but lately, I am just content to be home.  Maybe this is because I have children and they didn't go with me?  Or maybe because now that I travel as a responsible adult, I find it a pain in the butt to be gone from my routine for days on end.  I like my routine.  I like my everyday, even though I complain about it sometimes.  It was easier to be away from "home" for days or weeks on end before I had kids and before I had a husband.  I remember going to China and Korea and then Europe a couple years after for weeks at a time, and not having this same sense of relief at the end of the trip that I was "home again".  Nowadays, there really is no place like home.  Maybe that's why I obsess over decorating, furniture arrangments, floorplans, etc.  I really want my home to be comfortable and perfect for me and my family.  And, I think it pretty much is.  I am more than content.  I am happiest in my home.

That being said, Puerto Rico was beautiful and I will post pics in a later post.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


It only took me a whole day to realize how ironic it was to post about my sugarless endeavor right after my carrot cake recipe.   But, in my defense (if there really is one), it is a whole wheat carrot cake.  Right?? 

Day 2 of sugar fast and still going strong.  I even took my boys to Baskin Robbins for icecream this afternoon and had not a lick!  That's not saying I didn't scan their menu and look for something, anything that didn't have sugar in it.  Bottled water was the only thing they had without sugar, I decided after a long debate about whether "no sugar added ice cream" counted.  Sigh, it counts as a sweet so it was off limits.  Woohoo!  Willpower of iron here!  For now! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sugar-holics anonymous

As I announced on my FB page, I am giving up sweets for the foreseeable future.  As I struggle to lose the very last bit of pregnancy weight, I realized that eating sweets and other junk just was not helping and I value my health and weight more than the tantalizing deliciousness of treats.  It's gonna be hard, folks.  I have a sweet tooth and and even bigger chocolate tooth.  I just read an article that explained when your body digests sugar, it's focused on the sugar for energy and doesn't use your fat stores, so your fat stores just sit there unused.  I'm doing all this exercising for nothing then!  I don't want sugar to get all the benefit of my workout!!

So why go cold turkey??  Because while I am moderate in most things I do, I'm not one of those people who can do sweets in moderation.  Buy a bag of M&Ms at the store:  I have to eat the whole bag in 2 days.  I don't even know if chocolate is still good beyond a week because I don't think it has ever stayed in my house that long.  So, I have to be strict and not allow ANY sweets and sugared things into my diet or else I cave.  When I fall off the "no sweet" wagon, I wait until there's a cliff nearby to make the fall hard. I'm just sayin..

So, today was my first no sweet day.  It was an ok day.  The hard part will come in a few weeks when it's 3:00 in the afternoon and my kids are whiny and driving me crazy and I'm exhausted.  THAT's when temptation will sneak in.  I will be vigilant.  I will fight on.  Sugar, you will not win this battle!

After an indefinite amount of time has past, I can see allowing myself to gorge on Saturdays.  I used to do this in college and a couple years afterwards, but got away from it. It's time to clean it up!  Woohoo!  (here's to an enthusiastic post...bear with me in the coming weeks when I lament this decision...)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Whole wheat carrot cake-YUM

I make this cake atleast once a month because it is my husband's favorite.  It calls for half of the flour to be whole wheat, so it really is a whole wheat cake.  It also cuts calories by using applesauce.  I do not add nuts or raisins--not a fan of either in my cake.  I actually did a FB status update about it and have had requests for the recipe, so by popular demand, here it is:

-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
-1/2 cup canola oil
-1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-1 cup unbleached white flour
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-4 large eggs
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-3 cups grated carrots
-cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Spray two round cake pans with nonstick spray (or 9x13)
  • Using an electric mixer, gently cream butter with canola oil.  Add the applesauce and the sugar, beating until well combined.
  • In a medium bowl combine both flours with the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract.  Add the carrots and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about two minutes.  (Fold in 1 cup nuts or raisins if desired.)
  • Pour batter into pans, bake for about 35-40 minutes or until done when tested with a toothpick.
  • Remove from oven and let cool before icing.
Cream cheese frosting:
-2 8-ounce packes cream cheese, softened
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/4 cup milk
-1 TB vanilla extract

Blend softened cream cheese with remaining ingredients.  Makes 2 cups frosting.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A public service announcement

Since becoming a mother, I've had many discussions about the Terrible Twos.  Now that my oldest is 4, I feel like I have something to contribute to this discussion.  This topic is front and center in my mind today after talking with a lady at the mall who was amazed that her 3 year old twin grandsons behaved so badly that she actually had to spank them.

This PSA is for those of you with children under the age of 3.  This is to dispel the myth of the "terrible twos" that everyone likes to warn you about.  Are you ready for the truth???  The Terrible Twos Do Not Exist.  Atleast in my experience and in many of my other mommy-friends experience.   I feel the need to inform other mothers that age 2 is when your child's personality is really starting to shine brightly.  Age 3 is when they want to use that personality to take over the world...

Really, though, something called a 3 year old monster takes hold of your child at age 3 and turns that sweet, loving, obedient, babbling baby into a loving, loud, disobedient-to-the-point-of-exhaustion toddler.  When Jackson was three (a long, long year ago), I had no less love for him, but there were many moments when I thought I might pull my hair out and that something must be wrong with my child.  Maybe he ate lead paint?  Maybe there was something in the well water in our house in Michigan?  Maybe his brain was injured in one of his many falls off of the playground/bed/table/couch/stairs?  Nope, he was just 3.  I thought that he was forever going to have behavior issues.  Would I have to drag him literally kicking and screaming out of IKEA (or any random store) everytime we went there--and everytime, the people in the parking lot would think that I was abducting him against his will???

Then, he turned 4.  And just like that, the 3 year old monster inside him left.  And now I have a loving, still loud, but mostly obedient and kind-hearted four year old boy.

(Disclaimer:  you may be one of the few "freaks" whose child will not ever hit this phase.  Consider yourself incredibly blessed!)

3 Year old Jackson (yes, those are the roots still attached to the flower he picked out of the yard for mommy)

4 Year old Jackson.  My sweet, firstborn son.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fancy French cupcakes

I had big afternoon plans of going to the library with Jackson when Sloan got up for a nap, but Sloan slept late and Jackson didn't, so we had to stay home.  So, we made cupcakes!  I had the cake mix, but didn't have any icing other than white or vanilla, which I do not like on my chocolate cupcakes.  I've made icing before, but I knew I did not have enough powdered sugar to make any today. Soooooo, I decided that I would try to make ganache. 
Now, usually, French foods terrify me because they always sound so complex, but I actually found a simple recipe that only used two ingredients:  heavy cream and bittersweet chocolate chips.  Good thing I had those in my pantry and refrigerator!!  It's hard to mess up something with only two ingredients, so I figured I'd give it a try.  It was SO easy!
I'd say they turned out really well, and I think this is my new favorite cupcake/cake topping!

Here's the recipe and pictures:

1/2 cup heavy cream (or just plain whipping cream worked)
8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

-cook cream and chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth and warm, stirring occassionally
-dip tops of cupcakes into ganache
-voila! (sorry, couldn't help but add a little more French)
heating the cream and chocolate in a double boiler

beautiful, shiny cupcakes

I can almost see my reflection in them!
 Don't worry, I won't keep them all in my house because I definitely do not need the calories.  We are going to take some to Jackson's teachers tomorrow and let them have all the calories.  (after we have a few, of course).

Stinnett Mill update part 2

So, things are moving along quite nicely at the mill.  Here's an update in pictures! 

The staircase has been removed from the middle of the kitchen and in its place is a ginormous island that will house a cooktop and hood above.  The cabinet will get hardware.  THe backsplash is a grey glass subway tile with a copper mosaic accent.  All the woodwork throughout has been painted white to brighten up the space!

Accent tiles on the floor along the back of the kitchen island.

the new staircase along the wall in what will be the dining/living area. 

The downstairs bath.  They kept the clawfoot tub, since it is the only tub in the house, but added a new vanity with a hammered metal sink.  I love hammered metal!!

View from dining/staircase into living room.  part of the wall that divided the living and dining was removed to brighten up the space and make it more open.

this was the loft area upstairs where the old staircase was.  It has been covered over with new pine planks and this room will one day become an extension of the master bedroom.

A picture of the original grain elevator--it still works!!  This will make moving furniture in a breeze!

This was a huge bedroom, that has been split into two smaller bedrooms.

Another view of the stairs.  They are not complete yet

The concrete floors were stained red, and now they have been stained a dark espresso color, and etched with a wood plank pattern.  They look amazing!

I can't wait until they move in and I can take pictures of the place furnished!  It really is a great piece of property that is unique in every way!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What's going on??

So lots of people, it seems, have been asking me what's been going on lately.  In my head, my answer is, lots of stuff, but not much.  We are busy with the everyday things and sometimes it's not that exciting or news worthy.  So, here are the non-major developments in the Blackwell world, in order from most un-exciting, to not that exciting to you, but maybe to me...

I rearranged my living room for some excitement.  But only because I really want two new couches, but my husband said I was crazy because we just bought this sectional a couple of years ago, so this is the next best thing, right?  Just move the furniture so it feels new?? Right?? Anyone??  He just does not understand that design and style keep moving forward, so shouldn't our furniture????  haha.

On a serious note, it does make the room seem larger because the couch is not in the very middle of the room.  Not sure if I like it, but will keep it for the time being

The other day, Jackson had to sit in the time out corner, and because Sloan does all things Jackson, he had to take his own turn in the timeout corner.  Hmmmm... maybe this will mean he will happily obey when he actually has to go to timeout????  (one can hope)

This one truly is exciting:  Jackson sharing his frozen yogurt with Sloan.  I always make a huge deal out of sharing because I know it is not really in our nature to share, so I do all I can to encourage it!