Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sibling Bonds

     It was sometime after 2:30 in the morning and I was awake.  Nothing really unusual about that, I am often awake by 2 or so and have a difficult time returning to that blissful land of slumber.  Putting aside my issues with insomnia, or taking advantage of them, I was using my phone to go over my lesson for Relief Society later today.  The house was pretty quiet, the gentle yet cold rain outside on this early February morning intensifying my appreciation for the cosy -and heated- bed I was laying in.  Then, I heard Kaylyn, 5, waking up crying 'no no' and other things.  Putting aside what I was reading I jumped up and hurried to her room.  I knelt by her bed, where she was sitting in tears.  I asked her what was wrong.  She could barely speak through her sobs.  I finally came to understand that she had had a bad dream.  She said she and 'Wubba'( short for Wubba Bear, a family name for Weston-one which I'm sure most teenage boys would have demanded their family stop using-but not Weston.  That kid has the greatest heart!  But I digress...)....  Anyway starting over, she said that she and Wubba had been together doing something and then he left her and went into the night sky.  She didn't want him to go but he had to and, in those few moments she was telling me the story, she was quite inconsolable.  So much so, it took me awhile to decipher what she was saying.  I finally took her into the boys' room and awakened Weston so he could tell her he was right here and did not 'leave her by going into the night sky'.  She went straight to him, climbed on his lap and hugged him.  He held her close for a few minutes then I took her back to bed-even then she was still a bit reluctant to leave him.  After a few minutes of snuggling, Mr. Sandman did his magic and she was sleeping again. 
     I'm not sure why I am writing about this.  It's quiet here and I have the time right now.  But so many wonderful things happen in our lives and I let them pass without making any record, and then I write about my 5 year old waking from a bad dream.  It may be incidental, but this short experience just added to my gratefulness that our children have bonds and love for their siblings.  This is true in so many families but there are also families where the sibling bonds are not strong.  I hope and pray our children will always have these strong bonds with each other. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

The job title 'Domestic Goddess', while funny, is completely misleading.   As I waved the 'crew' off to their respective schools and work this morning-I was petting the dog.   I looked down at her and once again(as I have for the past few weeks) took note of the fact that the poor creature was in desperate need of a hair trim/grooming.  So, putting housework aside, I grabbed the appropriate equipment and set to work. 
 So Rosie is trimmed and brushed-and then bathed thanks to Weston.  But as I sat there grooming her, I thought about what I did with my day yesterday.  We ran out of jam in our food storage so I pulled frozen peaches I prepared last year from the freezer-invited a friend over and by the afternoon had 25 pints of peach jam.  I was also successful in sharing a love for homemade peach jam with a great friend.  Of course, it was introduced to her on homemade bread from one of the 6 loaves I made at 5 yesterday morning. 

No photos for the bread-if you've read past blogs it would be redundant. ;)  In the past few months we have gotten some things accomplished.  On top of helping out with the HS play, we have pulled out carpet, painted some walls and trim, and begun reflooring the living room.  I think we finally have the girls room set up so they can easily keep it clean.  It's been so nice walking in there the past few weeks to see what a great job they are doing keeping things tidy.  I may have my great organizational skills back by the time Kaylyn leaves home.... I was totally organized before we had child number 4.....  :)  Off to pick up prescriptions and other errands....
.................I do so like looking at the pretty jars of jam!.............. :)  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

I often get requests for my bread recipe. I was just getting ready to share it again and realized that I make it differently than the recipe I have written down. (I honestly have not looked at the recipe for years and just walk in the kitchen and make bread when we need it.)

6 Cups Hot Water(from tap)
2/3 C Oil (I use Canola)
2/3 C Honey
6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Yeast
6 Cups White Flour
1 Tbsp Salt

I combine 6 Cups hot water, the oil, honey, and whole wheat flour. Then I add the yeast and combine thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes(it should bubble) to make sure the yeast is happy. I then add the salt and the white flour. Here is where you may want to add more flour if the dough looks like it needs it. Don't be afraid of a wet dough though. I combine mine in a mixer, but if you are doing it by hand you will have to knead the dough and then let it sit for half an hour. I 'knead' mine in my mixer and let it sit for 15 minutes, 'knead' it again and let it sit for another 15 minutes. If I let it sit the whole 30 minutes in my mixer it rises so much it can be a mess.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface, knead into a ball and divide into 6 loaves. Knead each loaf 40 times or so and place each ball in bread pans sprayed with Pam. Let rise 30 minutes covered with a clean dish towel, or saran wrap. I like to use a dish towel, it doesn't stick to the sides of the pans and hold the down down from rising. Also a little more eco friendly. I like to make sure the 'dome' of the bread has risen just above the sides of the pan before I bake them so if it hasn't risen that much let it rise another 10 minutes or so. Usually 30 minutes is plenty of time. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 27 minutes, the tops of the loaves should be a lovely golden color. Pull out of oven and gently turn loaves out onto cooling racks. Slice and enjoy!

Some dos and don'ts: Don't add the salt too early, it inhibits the yeast from growing. Bread is very forgiving, so don't be afraid of substitutions. You can replace the honey with brown sugar, or even white, but I would use brown. You can add a couple of eggs (at the time you add the salt) to up the protein. I have even used butter flavor Crisco for my oil. With any of these substitutions the bread has turned out great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

German Pancake Tacos

I know, I know....the name doesn't sound like it makes sense. But, after I made this for dinner tonight, it was such a hit that I am writing it in my blog so I can remember it! Our friend, Tamera Hope, turned us onto German Pancakes a couple years ago. Our whole family loves them and there is an easy excellent recipe here.
For the 'tacos' we sprayed a 13x9 inch glass pan with pam and poured 2 tbs melted butter right in the middle of the pan. If you don't spray with pam first the pan is a major pain to clean! But it is super easy to clean up if you spray the pan before you put in the butter! I know from experience!
With our handy hand held mixer we whipped together 1 cup each of milk and flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 6 eggs. We poured the mixture in the prepared pan and baked it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
I pulled it out of the oven and cut it into 8 pieces. Placed each piece on a bed of spring mix lettuce on each person's plate. Added some taco meat that was leftover from the night before. A small sliver of cheese, a spoon of salsa and of sour cream, and a bit of avocado for each plate. If I would have thought about it I could have added black beans, and we also like onion at our house. If I didn't have taco meat I might use a bit of canned chicken on each.
Anyway, that was it. My husband said he thinks he is asking for this for his birthday dinner.
Oh, and to be honest. I really didn't make the pancake part. Jen(9) prepared the pan and Morgan(11) made and cooked the pancakes. I just pulled out the pancake when it was done and assembled everyone's plate.
The taco meat I prepared for a party yesterday. I browned 5 pounds of ground beef. I drained off excess fat, added a few cups(maybe 3) cups water and about a cup or so of dehydrated refried beans. I could have used a can of refried beans instead, but I am always happy to use things from my food storage! I added taco seasoning to taste(sams club monster size container), and about a cup of red salsa. cooked it till the water was absorbed by the beans or cooked off. People at the party seemed to like the meat on their 'super nachos'. The added ingredients seemed to keep it from all 'gelling' together so we could scoop it out of the crock pot easily throughout the day.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Juvenile Delinquents

We have been sleeping in tents in the yard for a week now. Putting up different tents to make sure they are in working order and ready for any of our camping excursions this summer. I don't have the heart to erect tents in beautiful weather, have my children(especially the younger ones) ask earnestly if we can 'camp out' and tell them no.I haven't been sleeping well in the tent. Whether it's the train, cars coming and going, neighbors out and talking late, or just my dog barking like Cujo, there have been many things interfering with my ability to sleep. (My dog has been put in the laundry room more than once this week at night because of her barking. I think she must be in some different protective mode because we are outside or something....Silly dog!)
So the night before last I was up from midnight to about 7 after having been abruptly awakened by my dog's aggressive barking at some real or imagined threat. Was pretty tired all day yesterday and got to sleep about midnight last night-after securing the dog in the laundry room first.
I'm going to preface this next bit by saying that, Some might call me a control freak but I make it a habit to know where my children are and what they are up to. That's our job. Also, we live in a very small town and keep to ourselves pretty much.
At about 4 am I awakened with a start to a bright light that was shining through the window in my tent and a mans voice saying 'excuse me'. It was the sheriff, wondering if I had any children and if they were out here camping with us. He went on to explain that there were three teenage boys who had been 'messing around town all night'. Did I know where my boys were. I of course did. The 14 yo was in the tent and the 15 yo had gone inside because allergies had been causing him to cough. By this time I was standing outside the tent talking to him. He made some comment about how when he was young and camping with his parents he would have snuck out to go 'mess around' after his parents fell asleep. I could tell at this point that he might have the impression that I am a parent whose children could be troublemakers but have me completely 'snowed'. "Would you mind just checking to see if he is in the tent?" No I don't mind...leaning over near the door of Weston's tent calling his name and fumbling for the zipper in the dark. Weston answered and I'm still not finding the zipper... Then something like "would it be alright if I just look at him (to see what he was wearing)?" Still I didn't mind, but was starting to be a little offended. I mean I know this policeman doesn't really know me from Adam, but we were doing a family activity and that is what raised his suspicions? He didn't even know I had teenage boys until I told him. Anyway, I got the zipper open and there West was with the squinty, mushed up, bewildered face of someone whose been asleep for awhile, wearing his Blue Ridge football jersey and burgandy checked pajama bottoms. I then asked the officer if he wanted me to go get the 15 yo from inside the house. He told me it wasn't necessary. I think, more than anything it was the clothes Weston had on that finally convinced him he was looking in the wrong place. I don't know what the 3 boys were doing that had the sheriff looking for them , but I suspect it was more offensive than just 'messing around'.
If I had more time I'd have Weston don one of our convict costumes and post a photo of him....

It took me an hour to fall asleep again...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Afternoon at the Tandy's

Jacob fell down the stairs and had to be taken to the ER with a concusion. Morgan, Kay, and I got to spend the afternoon with Catherine, Cora, and Aaron. We didn't see much of Aaron, he spent some time with a friend. But Catherine and Morgan listened to music and did blindfold makeovers.
Cora and Kay played nicely all day, and the all seemed to have a good time, even with concerns about Jacob.

Kaylyn tried to wear Mr. Potato Heads glasses and we couldn't pass up some photos of that!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baking in a Cardboard Box.

When I was young, I remember my mom doing all kinds of cool things. Things that other moms just didn't do. She even showered in the rain once (with her clothes on). From her I learned the great lesson, to not be afraid to try anything. This year I am going to go to girls camp, for the first time in ages. Well at least 16 years. I always loved girls camp and have the excitement of a child looking forward to it. I was thinking this week of the things my mother did with us for girls camp. Bringing back memories of her as a leader wearing a double brimmed baseball cap with the lettering "I'm their leader, which way did they go?" on it. Much to my complete embarrassment then and a sweet and joyful memory now. My mother was something of an army Sargent, but a sargent with the biggest heart and open love for others. She was strict and loud and bossy, and patient, and gentle spoken, and open minded. She was often the person you needed her to be at the time, even when you didn't know that's what you needed.
Anyway, I decided to bring back one of those memories and share it with my girls. Morgan and I built a fire, and took a cardboard box, aluminum foil, and duct tape and made a reflector oven. Morgan threw together a muffin mix and we baked muffins in a cardboard box. Even my 15 year old was impressed, and, as you can see by the blueberry mush on Kaylyn's forehead that she enjoyed them too!
At one point we did turn the pan 180 degrees.
A muffin broken open to show it is baked through.