"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ellorie's Mashed Potato Bread with Garden Sprouts



I guess I was feeling a little creative this morning. We've been loving the sprouts. I had more of the "garden mix" sprouts than I could eat on my salads, so I decided to put some in my bread. I worked out better than I expected it to. The sprouts I used had radish seeds, sesame seeds, and I'm not sure what else. They are really small though, and a little spicy. When they are cooked in the bread they are more mellow and nutty. The kids even loved it. This loaf is almost gone. I think it will be fantastic for sandwiches. Such an easy recipe too:


1 1/2 cups hot water
4 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

2 Tb softened butter
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cups sprouted seeds (with tails about twice as long as the seed, mine were 2 days old)
1/2 cups mashed potato flakes

This recipe makes one 2 pound loaf. It's really light and fluffy.
(Click HERE for bread making instructions)
bake @350 for 30 min.

Lunch with Daddy

Yesterday we "kidnapped" Brandon for lunch.  Ellorie and Averie hadn't seen him nearly all week, now that tax season is in full swing.  We've missed him!  Averie is such a Daddy's girl.  She talks about him all the time while he is at work.  She was elated to see him for lunch.  She even ate anything he would feed her.  (Brandon doesn't look too thrilled in this photo, but give the guy a break, he's worked over 65 hours this WEEK! )  The girls were very good at the restaurant, and enjoyed coloring while they waited for the food.  We'll have to do this more often.  Tax season has just begun, after all...

Another Tag: The letter C

I think January must be the month of tags, probably for lack of anything more exciting to post.  In my case anyway.  This looks like a fun one.  Brandon's cousin, Brittany tagged me, and challenged me to list my ten favorite things beginning with the letter "C".  She picked the letter.  Hmm...  Well, here's what I came up with (in no particular order...)


1.  Creativity.  Creating.  Craftiness.  All of the above.  
2.  Children.  Specifically my own.  
3.  Cards, of the homemade variety.  Card making too, though I haven't done that for a while.  Oh yeah, and my "Cricut" to help out with the cards.  Love that too.
4.  Choir, though I haven't been in a proper one since high school.  I like ward choir at church when we actually have one.  I'm not the best singer, but I can read music and I make a decent alto.  
5.  uh.... I'm stumped here... this could take all day.  Why "C"?  How about... cabbage.  No, really, I like cabbage.  Cabbage in salads, coleslaw, springrolls with cabbage, cabbage salsa is yummy too.  Probably one of the more versatile vegetables.
6.  Church.  Well, I don't always love GOING to church with my three irreverent children, but once I'm there.  I love THE church in general.  I love the scriptures and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I can't imagine my life without it.  
7.  Christmas.  Yeah.  Christmas is a good holiday.
8.  I'm really on a roll now...uh...Catan.  Yup.  Settlers of Catan is my favorite bored game.  Wanna come play it with me?  
9.  Pina-Colada.  Okay, that one's a stretch.  But I really love a good virgin Pina-Colada  oh, oh I almost forgot about Cherry Limeade from Sonic.  Haven't had one in ages.  I love those though.  I'm trying not to drink soda anymore though.  Still, Cherry Limeade does start with "C".
10.  Cozy.  I love to be cozy.  Snuggled up in my super-soft bed with a good 12 inches of covers and pillows.  Love that.  Especially when it's cold.  Maybe that's why I like winter so much.  

Whew.  That was tricky.  I know I'm going to think of a dozen better ones later on...

Tag:  Hmm.  Tricky.  I think I will tag Jessica T. to use the letter "T", and Karen H. to try her hand with the letter "H".   Have fun...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sproutin'


I always need a little boost about this time every winter.  It's just STINKIN' cold out there.  -18 the other night.  I'm really looking forward to planting a garden this spring.  I haven't had a proper garden for two years because the last two summers we were moving.  I'm so relieved to finally be permanent.  We have a HUGE area marked out for the garden.  I'm not good at guessing dimensions, maybe 1000 sf?  Huge.


One of my big goals for the year is self-reliance.  I'm going to be a canning queen, you just wait...  But in the mean time, I have a frigid acre full of ice-packed snow.  Literally full.  My fantastic Mom, who came to visit this weekend, brought the rest of the "Christmas Booty", including a sprouter!  I've wanted one for quite a while.  I totally love it.  So does Ellorie.  

We soaked all the seed mixes and put them in the little sprouting trays.  This morning I gave them their morning "bath" and to my amazement, they are already sprouted!  Aren't seeds just little miracles?  It never ceases to amaze me.  Ellorie loves the peas/garbanzo bean/lentil mix.  She ate about half of them already.  I'm putting some alfalfa sprouts in today, so in a few days I'll have some for my salads...  So much fun.  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snowman!


It snowed and snowed and SNOWED today.  Mason and Ellorie had a blast playing with the neighbors in the snow.   I couldn't believe how long the kids lasted outside!  It was very wet snow, and pretty warm outside.  Perfect for snowforts and snowmen!


Brandon had to work today, but got home a little early.  He took all three of the kids outside while he shoveled the driveway, and then built a great snowman.  

Averie was in snowman heaven.  She kept singing "Once their was a snowman" the entire time.  I had to bring her in after a while because she looked FREEZING.  She threw an absolute tantrum and kept saying, "noman! noman!"  Poor thing.  


Now who doesn't love winter?

National Pie Week

Did you know it was National Pie week?  Yeah, I didn't either.  But it is!  My wonderful mom came to visit us yesterday.  And she brought supplies to make pies with the kids.  How cool is that?!?  Mason and Ellorie were ecstatic.  

Grandma Gina let them do everything themselves.  What a patient lady.  They cut the Crisco into the flour, added all the ingredients, rolled out the crusts, poked the little holes, finished the edges.    
They were SO VERY PROUD of their very own little pies.
It was pretty late last night when they finished, so they ate them after breakfast.  



Thanks Grandma Gina!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tag: Some Things...

Something I want to see:  Italy (all of it!), Greece, Crete, the Mediterranean in general.  How about a two month paint-a-thon?


Something that inspires me:  Beautiful things, nature, eclectic objects, reverent places, inspired people, courage in unexpected situations, museums and galleries, dedicated teachers, and life-long learners.  (that's WAY more than one thing...)


Something that makes me angry:  This! 


Something that hurts a little:  uh... paper cuts?  I don't know.  Physical pain is all relative after natural child birth. (HAHA)  How about "rejection".  That hurts a little.


Something I've gotten used to:  Cold Idaho Winters


Something I collect:  Cookie Cutters.  Art Supplies.  Food Storage.


Something I always carry with me:  Debit card.  Cell Phone.  A spare diaper or two.  


Something I want to be:  A better person, A better Mom and Wife, An artist.  An equestrian, A gardener, A beekeeper (seriously! Someday.)


Something I dread:  The dentist.  (Not GOING to the dentist per se, just paying for the dentist...)


Something that I have learned:  If I don't MAKE time for the things I want to do, there will never BE time for them.  


Something I read:  The Book of Mormon, Lots of children's books to the kids (currently Harry Potter), Novels (but only in obsessive bursts), non-fiction from the library that tickles my fancy (this time I checked out books on beekeeping and raising chickens.  Weird, I know.), lots and lots of blogs...


Something I  want to understand:  HTML code


Someone I'm going to tag:  Anyone caught reading this (Yes, that means YOU!)


[directions:  copy and paste this into your text window, then erase my answers and add your own.]

It's a Zoo in Here..

This is a very silly movie.  We were just playing around with "imovie".  My favorite part is when Mason runs to get Averie out of the bathroom, mid-video.  Mason chose all the sound effects by the way.  It's a cool program.  I need to learn how to use it better I guess...

video 

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Little Bit O' Sunshine...

Posted by Picasa
It looked so nice outside on Saturday.  It seemed warm enough.  The kids really wanted to ride their bikes.  (Ellorie and Averie's are new and untried...)  

I figured it was still pretty cold so we bundled them up, and got out the bikes.  The fun lasted a good 15 minutes.  It was SO freezing.  In the 20's.  I had to drag Averie in kicking and screaming.  She was screaming and screaming and screaming.  (Doesn't she realize that she's turning into a popsicle!?!?!?!)  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Girl's Night Out - "UNO" Bowling

We had our monthly "girls night out" at the little bowling alley in town.  You know, the retro kind with the old time pin setters, and no auto scoring machines.  We had SAWEEEET bowling names:  Rhonda, Shaquita, Billy Jean, Betty, Barbie, and Jo-wesha.  I was Betty.  Our teams were "The Strikers" and "Spare Me".  We played the first game "normal".  (You know, to warm up.)  I'm a terrible bowler, but I actually won the first game!  woohoo!  The other team still beat us though.

Then Uno Bowling was ON!  Here's the rules:

Draw an UNO card before each roll.  You must bowl according to the card you draw.

RED= Bowl with your RIGHT hand, and after you release the ball, do a "twirl".
YELLOW= Bowl with your RIGHT hand, and after you release the ball do a "curtsy"
GREEN= Bowl with your LEFT hand, and after you release the ball "shuffle" back to your seat.
BLUE= Bowl with your LEFT hand, and after you release the ball take a "bow".

However, if you draw one of these cards, you must follow both the directions above and the additional difficulty:

SKIP= approach "skipping"
REVERSE= bowl backwards
WILD= bowl "granny style" 
DRAW 2= approach "bunny hopping"

The most difficult BY FAR was the left handed with the bunny hopping.  Too much to process.  There were lotsa lotsa gutterballs...  We laughed and laughed.  It was a great time.


"The Strikers!!!"

"Spare Me!!!"
The "Twirl":
video
  Me, retrieving the balls that the machine failed to return:
I kept trying to get a good shot of Sharon's spectacular bowling form, but failed.  She was the real pro of the bunch.

And Sharon bowling backwards.  Well, nice try... (we had a lot of nice tries tonight)
video
It was tons of fun, followed by cheesecake.  And I have plenty left if anyone is hankerin' for some cheesecake...  

A Few More...



Maybe this happens all the time out here, but it is my first winter, and I'm so awe-struck by the fantastic ice crystals clinging to everything.  The fog and the hazy sunbeams.  (I'm a danger to myself and those around me when driving.  I have to pull over and snap a picture every 100 yards.)  Anyway... here are a few more that I snapped today before the fog settled in.    

Frosty Winter





We had some unusual weather last night.  There was this frosty fog that sort of stuck to everything, so all the trees and weeds were coated in frost, and then the sun poked through the clouds before it set, and the moon was visible off and on through the clouds as well.  It was dark in the distance and made for some really unusual lighting.  I missed much of it because I was driving around the neighborhood looking for interesting shots.  My camera isn't really suited for this stuff without a tripod, but I came up with a few.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Geek

5 Ways to know you are (were) a theatre nerd/drama geek:

1.  You know ALL the words to three or more broadway plays and have been known to sing long stretches at the top of your lungs when alone in the car. (guilty)

2.  You have read (and possibly enjoyed) most of the better known Shakespearian plays.  You may have several of the monologues memorized.  (guilty)

3.  Your hero was your ultra-cool heavily-bearded drama teacher, and you hung out in his classroom with all the thespians before and after school because it was "the place to be".  (Ugh.  I plead the 5th.)

4.  Most of the boys you had crushes on as an adolescent wore tights on a regular basis.  (guilty)

5.  You have tried out for a musical, most likely singing "On my own" from Les Miserables, and were definitely NOT qualified to fill the part.  (so guilty, and so embarrassed)

I found this little gem by mistake today, and was laughing so hard there were tears streaming down my face.  Most of my current acquaintances (and probably most of my family members) don't know this about me, but in junior high-specifically 8th grade, I was a big-time theatre nerd.  It was a short-lived stage after I came to the harsh realization that It was NOT my calling in life.  (Thank heavens!) I just wanted to rub shoulders with all my truly talented classmates.  I was "that girl", you know, that one girl that auditioned for every single musical with a very sub-par rendition of something or other from Les Miserables, and the one that had major crushes on all the pimpley adolescent leading "men".  (snicker, snicker)  I usually landed roles like "chorus girl"  "stage hand" or "set painter".  Good times.  Anyway, I saw this clip and the memories came flooding back.  Just don't ask me for a performance. 
 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Painting and Singing and Playing...

The girls both wanted to paint this morning, so we got everything out.  Ellorie was playing with sparkly glue paint, and Averie was doing some paint with water pages.  I even snuck in a little painting time of my own...  I took several videos of Averie singing songs as well.  She totally cracks me up.  Here is one of her singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.":

video
Ellorie didn't want to be upstaged and gave us a lovely rendition of "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree": video

There were so many more, but several of the videos were too lengthy for blogging.  

Then this afternoon I did some laundry and washed both of the girls' "bubbies"  (blankets).  This was a rather trying ordeal for Averie.  She cried and cried for her "Bubby" while it was washing and drying.  When it finally emerged, warm and dryer fresh, she was ecstatic.  She carried it around like Linus for the rest of the day.  

I found her a little while later, giving Bubby, Elmo, and Doggie rides on her new bike.  Such a sweetie.  

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Eloquent Infant


I realize that Averie is no longer a baby.  But I have a hard time viewing her as a big girl just yet.  I mean, we're still measuring her age in months.  19 months old now.  I just can't believe the things she says lately!  Mason and Ellorie both spoke pretty well at this age, but I don't remember sentences this early!  


This morning Averie was cracking me, up over and over.  She was riding her little bike around the kitchen saying, "watch this, watch this", and then trying "tricks" to get our attention.  I kept saying, did you hear that?  Did she really just say that?  Yup, she did.  Then for a Saturday mid-morning snack the kids each had a little bowl of cereal.  I gave Averie's to her "dry" so she wouldn't spill it all over.  She looked at me and said, "I want milk, I want milk!", as plain as day.  I mean, how can you not laugh at that?  

Also, every time she tries food, she has to comment on the temperature.  "Hot" or "cold".  She's usually right.  She asks me for precisely what she wants all day long.  "Markers, crayons, color!", "Play-Doh, pink", "crackers, candy", "bottle, milk", "drink of juice", "tub, bath, Ellorie!".  And if she knows she isn't supposed to have what she's asking for, "candy, no no, candy!", "markers, no no, markers, color!"  She loves this new power she has with all these words.  My favorite thing she says is, "Shhhh.  Ellorie is sleeping in bed."  I just can't get over how funny it is when that many words come out of her tiny mouth.  

Averie also loves to sing.  Just ask her to sing you a song.  She sings "Once There was a Snowman", "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star", "Row, Row, Row your Boat", and "Old McDonald had a Farm".  Usually intermixing all of the above.  She especially loves to sing in the car.  

On a completely unrelated note, my kids are already technologically surpassing me.  Mason came to me this morning and showed me how to use "voice command" on my cell phone.  He programmed it to automatically dial his friend's phone number when he says their name into my phone.  I didn't even know my phone did such a thing.  I'm stymied... 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper



Yup, that's pastel.  Three nearly-finished paintings worth to be precise.  Well, that's an exaggeration, they aren't completely totaled.  I fixed one of them already.  Here is more on the story...  Such a little cutie!  It's hard to stay mad.  

Parmesan Peppercorn Bread

One of my recent "goals" is to make all of our family's bread. I've been doing it for about three months now. (I just learned how to make bread this year, which was a bit embarrassing, so I have to make up for lost time you know...) Sometimes my family gets a little bit sick of whole wheat bread. And sometimes even oatmeal bread. So I like to change it up once in a while and throw something more exciting in the mix. (And I have to be honest, I like a change every once in a while myself...)


Last night I tried this gem, and it was a hit. Averie doesn't like it, but Brandon and the big kids LOVE it. We're pretty big parmesan/pepper fans around here. Here's the recipe for a 2 lb. loaf:

mix together: 1 1/2 cups hot water, 4 ts sugar, and 2 ts yeast, stir until dissolved and set aside.

4 cups flour (I used white this time)
4 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground peppercorns

Mix together, add the yeast mixture, and knead.

(Now I'm a big fat cheater and used my bread machine to mix the dough, but you can mix it by hand if you are so inclined. Just knead it really, really well, and let it raise for an hour.)

Whether I use the machine or the old fashioned way, after the bread rises the first time, I punch it down and knead it again for a minute or two. I spray my bread pan, shape my loaf, set it in the pan, cover it with a clean cloth, and let it raise on the stove for another hour. Preheating the oven a little early helps it raise faster. Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This bread is fantastic with soup. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Ellorie!

Tonight for her birthday dinner Ellorie requested "dumplings".  Yeah, I know.  (okay, her first request was "bacon" but that's not exactly dinner...)  I have never ever made, or possibly even eaten dumplings before.  I'm pretty sure she got it from "Kung Fu Panda".  I thought there was no way on earth the kids would eat them, but they loved them and gobbled them right up.  The chopsticks helped.  They were actually really good.  Thanks Betty Crocker.


Here's a shot of the cake.  I improvised, but it worked out okay.  She loved it.
And of course she loved her bike.  Though it probably was a bit of overkill after the HUGE day she had today.  It was very full and busy, and I am so exhausted, but it was so very worth it.