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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Starting Seeds

Last year my indoor seed starting was an epic fail. I figured I could just pop some seeds into those little dirt plug starters, put them by the window and water occasionally.


By the time it was warm enough to plant them outside, the ones that had actually germinated and grown were about one inch tall. I think every one of them died in the garden of one cause or another. We had to buy all of our starts, or just put the seeds directly into the garden putting them very behind in an already ridiculously short growing season.

So I committed to do better this year. Start the seeds earlier, give them adequate light, heat, water, and wind (via fan). And hopefully I'll have better luck this year than last.

I'm a little proud of my growing station project. I accomplished it all in a week, holding a fussy baby, and multi-tasking all the other things I do every day. Last weekend I purchased all the necessities:

rubbermaid tote, long and narrow
plastic flower pots with removable bottoms
biodegradable flower pots (the kind you leave the plant in when transplanting)
two overhead shop lights, 48" long
warm and cool light bulbs for the shop lights. (for full spectrum light)
Heat lamp and bulb
Miracle Grow potting soil with fertilizer
straws for labeling
rope and chain assembly for lights
automatic timer for lights
eye hook screws for attaching lighting to the ceiling
power strip and extension cord to plug everything in (already had this)
I think that's all.

Surprisingly, it didn't cost that much. The lights were the most expensive, about $15 each. Far less than it costs to buy all my starts. We have a huge garden if you remember. 40 feet by 60 feet.

This morning I finally got around to putting the light assembly together. I got this idea from a you tube video click HERE if you want to watch. It was so easy too.

Here's my potting soil mixed with water. I just loaded up all the pots slightly heaping with soil.

Ellorie helped plant all the seeds. She did a great job. We planted several varieties of tomatoes, butternut squash, acorn squash, crookneck squash, a few kinds of pumpkins, jalapenos, peppers, cabbage, eggplant, cucumbers, and cantaloupe. We'll probably plant some more a bit later.

Here is my "growing station". Complete with full spectrum lights, heating light, timer, and once the plants are grown up a bit I'll add a fan for wind resistance. Heaven knows any plant that is going in our garden will need wind resistance.

The scrawny looking plant you can see there is some basil I planted a while ago. I'm hoping I can save it. It needs serious help as you can see. The tub is so the plants can be watered from the bottom.

You can see the different colors of lights here for the full spectrum. and the heat light there in the corner. The fluorescents don't put off much heat, and my basement is a bit chilly, so this will warm it up a bit.

I'm getting excited for spring. Now no more snow, please!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

2nd Grade Program

Mason's big second grade program was tonight. He was SO excited and worked so hard. It was very entertaining to watch, but a little late at night for the kids.

Why do they do things so late at night anyway? Are my kids the only ones that go to bed early? (Ellorie is going to have an awful day tomorrow.) Parts of the program Mason looked like he was going to fall asleep. He did an awesome job though. He's the one on the front row there in the green shirt with the bow tie. He picked his clothes out himself. Such a handsome guy.

I didn't do so great with the videography. We were back a ways and it was hard to see, but I took a few videos. Here is my favorite. He learned all the sign language for the big finale:

I'm so proud of him. I totally loved it!

Where's Ellorie?


"Ellorie, WHERE ARE YOU?"

"The bus is coming right now!"

"MOM! I'm right HERE!"

Oh. My mistake. Guess I need to fold the laundry.

Would this be considered "airing my dirty laundry" in public? Actually I guess it's clean laundry, so it must be alright.

We're have laundry dilemmas around here. Yesterday I washed and dried a huge load of school clothes with several crayons. My fault. I didn't check the pockets. Since when does Mason carry around crayons in his pockets anyway? Last week it was marker all over Ellorie's new shirt. Chapstick is also a repeat offender. And chocolate. I can never get out chocolate.

Any advice for getting crayon out of ALL of Mason's school pants and most of his nice shirts? A few other things were destroyed as well, but the new pants are the ones I'm sad about. Several of them have only been worn once or twice. Oh well. Live and learn.

I'm buying some goo gone today. If I can find it.

I've been out for quite some time, and the stuff has saved my bacon more than once. It takes crayon off of walls, melted candles out of tile floor grout, motor oil out of dress pants, gum off of couches and hair, stickers off of wooden furniture, and much more. I know all of these from personal experience. And we're fresh out of the stuff. I'm hoping it also takes crayon out of clothes.

On the bright side of things, the laundry was mostly dark in color, and Mason has no qualms at all wearing semi-stained/dirty clothes.

On a completely different note I LOVE that it has been so warm and beautiful and springish. Maybe with the coming of spring I will have other, more exciting things to blog about besides my boring laundry dilemmas. Maybe.

I did make some really yummy bread yesterday. Click HERE if you want to read about that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Home for a New Obsession

I've been posting a lot of recipes lately. Anyone that knows me well knows that I tend to obsess over one thing for a while until I get bored and move on to the next thing. I just can't help it. Cooking seems to be my most recent creative outlet as my other artistic endeavors have taken a temporary back seat to my family responsibilities. And I'm okay with that.

I felt that my recipes were starting to take over this blog.

And I found that I was not posting recipes that I wanted to post because I was afraid of overwhelming it with cooking stuff.

That and I wanted all my recipe adventures in one place, so...

If you look to the right on your screen you will see a link to my new cooking blog. I've re-posted some of my favorites from here, but I'll continue to post any new recipes I like over there. Come visit if you would like! I always love feedback.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jazz Game Utah Trip

Brandon took Mason and Ellorie to the Jazz game this weekend for the annual Junior Jazz night. They drove down with a friend of Brandon's and then met Melissa, Jason and family there. I am really glad he got to spend some time with the kids. They had a blast.

I probably could have gone, but I opted for the "quiet" Saturday at home with the babies.
I guess Averie isn't really a baby anymore. Nor is she quiet. But you know what I mean.

Rylan and Averie are both feeling much better after being really sick with RSV (I'm assuming). I had a really relaxing nice day. Did a little shopping, got caught up on a few things (i.e. laundry), got all the stuff to sprout my garden seeds, picked up the produce co-op, put the kids to bed early, watched a movie by myself, good stuff. I love alone time occasionally.

I tried to get Brandon to blog his travels, but he is a man of few words. So here is what I summarized from the trip. At least he took some good pictures.

They stopped at Clark's Planetarium:

Mason and Ellorie are trying to lift a heavy iron meteorite.

Temple Square and the Conference Center:

They also went to a sporting goods place to get soccer shoes for Ellorie, visited some friends, and went to lunch.

And speaking of lunch...

what I am about to show you I do not condone in any way...

But Brandon insisted that is was the "highlight" of the trip {Insert gagging noises here}

They apparently went to Inn & Out Burger for lunch.

I am not a fan of fast food to say the least, but this is downright disgusting.

Okay, I warned you:

It's called a 3 by 4 "animal style" burger with fries.

Gross. I can't believe he ate that.

He claims it was good.

I'm going to leave it at that.

Anyway, here is a shot from the game. As you can see the seats are kinda up in the nosebleed section, but the kids love having a better view of the "giant tv", and being able to play with their cousins. The game is purely background noise.

They got home at 1:30 in the morning, but I think it was worth it. They all had a super time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I'm not sure why we really celebrate the day, but we seem to like green and it's a lot of fun for the kids, so why not?

The kids ingested enough green food coloring today to get them through the next year. I'm sure of it. Actually the green smoothie didn't have any food coloring, but you know what I mean. I probably went a bit over the top with the green food today. Sometimes it's difficult to restrain myself. As the Pioneer Woman often says, "I'm pursuing it in therapy." Not a bad idea.

It was GORGEOUS today! Unbelievably warm for our neck of the woods. Ellorie wore shorts most of the day.
I think it got up to the high 50's, which in Idaho is nearly mid-summer temperatures.
I think.

I wanted to snap some pictures of the kids outside, though the landscape is still quite drab. Ellorie and Rocket were having such a great time wrestling that it proved to be quite impossible. But it was entertaining. I'm pretty sure Rocket thinks Ellorie is another dog. They are hilarious to watch. I'll have to make a video of them playing sometime. I swear that child is fearless.
My favorite shot:
Yeah, "smile for the camera" is Ellorie for "wrestle with the dog". Very nice. I love how Mason is directing everyone and Averie is picking grass. Rylan was screaming as I was holding him because he didn't like the sun in his eyes. Ah. These are the moments.

So we moved indoors for a shot with fewer distractions. Uh huh.

You can tell Ellorie is still on the hyper side from wrestling with the dog. In fact, she is portraying a dog on the bottom picture there.

You can also tell Averie has been very sick all week. I'm pretty sure she had RSV and has had a nasty disposition to go with it. Poor babe. She's finally feeling much better.

Rylan and Mason pretty much just want to get this picture thing over with. Duh, Mom. This is BORING! Haven't you taken enough already? Just ONE more...

Good enough.

Happy St. Patty's!

Spinach Parmesan Bread with Cracked Pepper

I am no longer scared of bread! This is a breakthrough for me. I have finally made bread enough that I feel comfortable experimenting with it. (Not that it always turns out well, but that is entirely beside the point.) And it only took me about a year and a half...

Since it happens to be St. Patrick's Day, I decided to try experimenting with some green bread made with spinach. I used my parmesan-peppercorn bread recipe with several changes. Here is the recipe:

3 cups hot water
4 teaspoons yeast
2 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
4 cups all purpose flour
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 Tablespoon dough enhancer
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
2/3 cups finely minced spinach
(I chopped this in the food processor. 2/3 cup is the measurement after chopped. It took about 3-4 cups of spinach leaves)
2/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh ground peppercorns

and because it wasn't quite green enough for St. Patty's:
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring

First, proof yeast in the hot water with the sugar. Let rest about 5 minutes.

Dump flour and then all other ingredients in the mixer bowl and mix with the paddle mixer until well incorporated. Switch to bread hook and pour in yeast mixture. (I put the coloring in with the water right before dumping it in) Mix on speed 2, stopping occasionally to stir down the dough. Mix until you have a nice solid dough ball.

If you are using a bread machine, dump all ingredients in, then the yeast mixture and let it do its thing on the dough setting. I've recently switched to making bread with my stand mixer because I have more control over the dough consistency.

Let it rise covered with a cloth for one hour. Divide dough in half and knead it by hand for a minute or two, then shape it into the pan. Make sure to grease the pans really well because the cheese tends to stick a little.

Cover and let rise for another hour, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

This makes two 2-pound loaves. (quite large) If your mixer or machine can't handle this much flour at once, just half the recipe.

It has a really rich spinach flavor with a delicate taste of parmesan. It would make a fantastic sandwich and would be really delicious with a tuscan tomato soup.

Mmmm. Wish I had some fresh pesto to go on it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner Dish - a little early

We had our St. Patrick's dinner a day early. We had a big ol' cabbage in the fridge that was dying to be eaten.

I found this recipe online and decided to give it a go. It was simple, easy to make, and delicious. Two of the three kids gobbled it up. (My meat-eater just picked out the ham, but two out of three isn't bad around here.) I think I would have served it as a side dish rather than the main attraction, but it was a delicious recipe and I will definitely make it again.

Scalloped Cabbage with Ham and Cheese

  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked ham, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • First: Steam cabbage and onion in a small amount of water until it turns just barely green.
  • Then layer in the ham:

  • Next: in a skillet, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour until smooth. Add milk, stirring until smooth. Add salt, cheese and stir until melted. Pour over the cabbage mixture. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees.

We ate it with my Rosemary Garlic baguettes. Mmmm.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Space Derby 2010

Mason was pretty proud of his finished rocket.

And tonight was the much-anticipated Space Derby! (insert space-themed music here)

Mason led the flag ceremony. Then we had a cute space-themed pack meeting before the races.

The dads did the winding. First 50 turns, then 75, then 100.

Hanging the rockets.

Then... blast off!

Mason's was pretty fast. I think the second or third fastest. He won all of his heats, which made him very happy. It was a good thing it wasn't competitive. I think all the boys had a good time.

A Small Addition

My grocery list was sitting on the counter before the kids left for school this morning.

dog food
dishwasher soap

and then in cute scrawly kid writing:

it says:
bottle caps (candy)
7-up (pomagranet)

Thanks for the clarifications there, Mason. I'll get right on that...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Potty Training an Extremely Independent two and a half-year old: Take 27 (more or less)

Day One- the stats:

times gone number one: 18
times gone number two: 4
accidents: 0
uncontrollable screaming fits of rage (Averie): 1
uncontrollable screaming fits of rage(Mom): 0
M&M's dispensed: 54
rolls of toilet paper used: .75
near misses: 2
articles of dirty laundry: 1
small messes: 1
large messes: 0
high fives: 22

Not bad! There might be hope for us yet...
*UPDATE* we are "officially" potty trained!!!!! No accidents all week, day or night. HOORAY!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Blessing Day

Today was little Rylan Vaughn's blessing day.

We were so blessed to have many loved ones attend.

We just don't get so see parents and grandparents enough!

Rylan had
8 grandparents/great-grandparents
3 aunts
1 uncle
4 cousins
in our home today!

Brandon gave Rylan a name and a beautiful blessing at the church.

We spent the afternoon enjoying visiting with family.

And playing with cousins, and cuddling babies.

I wish they could all have stayed longer.

Rylan is so lucky to be born into a family filled with so much love.

And so many good examples to look up to.

We are so grateful to have him in our lives.

I didn't get a single picture of Melissa, Jason and family. We love you too! Thanks for supporting us. And thank you to all of you who were unable to attend, but with us in spirit. It's hard to live so far away from loved ones. We love and miss each of you.