Saturday, December 28, 2013

Happy Christmas



Christmas Eve Carolling is really my favorite Christmas tradition.
This year we had old friends and new friends join us and it is always uplifting.
In the audience this year was a sweet old man who couldn't communicate very well.  He kept asking "Who is the first?"  We couldn't understand him so we sang The First Noel, thinking maybe that's what he wanted.  He kept saying it, "Who's the first?"  I went to talk to him afterwards and I could not understand a word he said but he was so smiley and nice.  I just hoped he figured out the answer.

We spent a lot of time with family and ate a lot of spaghetti.


My other favorite Christmas memories this year was Bonni playing recorder with Lucy.  Bonni is an incredible musician, and wanted to get Lucy a recorder for Christmas and teach her to play.  She taught her Hot Cross Buns in just a matter of minutes.  I loved watching them play and the joy that Lucy has gotten out of it for the last few weeks.  I know the recorder isn't the most melodious instrument to learn on, but I do love that she's learning.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy Anniversary, Dear.

I am really happy I married this man.
10 years ago!
The time has flown by and we've learned a lot about ourselves, each other and how to be parents.

This was taken on our second date, sledding, January 2003.

December 27th, 2013


The restaurant we dined at to celebrate our anniversary was just down the street from the Detroit temple, where we were married, so we stopped and snapped a picture.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Party in Lucy's Class

Lucy's teachers did an awesome job putting together their Holiday celebration.  They had each first grade classroom set up for activities.  It's fun for me to get to see the different teachers' style and getting to know them better.  I really like Lucy's teacher a lot and am glad for these opportunities to see her interacting with the kids.  It was a crazy day but lots of fun.
 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Caramel Crunchies



Winter storm warning.  That means we stay in and cook.



These are seriously delicious cookies.
In the words of Noah: Dewishous!

They are no-bake.

Ingredients:
1 Bag Kraft Caramels (unwrapped)
4 T butter
2 C mini-marshmallows
4 C Crispy Rice Cereal

1.) In a large, microwave-safe bowl, melt the caramels, on high, in 30 second bursts.  
Takes about 2 minutes.
2. Add the butter, stir, melt, stir, melt.
3.  Add the marshmallows, stir, melt, stir, melt. (gently)
4. Add the cereal.  Stir.

Lather up your hands in non-stick cooking spray.

Form into cookie shapes and lay on silpat or parchment paper.

Eat when cool.

Easy Peasy!



Saturday, November 02, 2013

Happy Birthday?


Poor Tony had to spend his birthday in the hospital this year.  He's fine, just a minor infection.  Anti-biotics wiped it out.  But, it was his birthday!  Thankfully Mom and Dad came and took care of the kiddos, while we sat there and watched cable.  His birthday cake was one of his favorites, a Rice Krispie Treat.  I think a birthday do-over is in order.

Happy 34th!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Birthday Lucy!


Sweetie Lu is 6!

My rock star turned six this year.

First Grade


I think Lucy had a great day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reptile Zoo!

I would like to wax poetic about how I like to give my kids experiences for the birthdays instead of gifts, but I have nothing eloquent to say about it.  There is a lot of storage space in my home being taken up by toys when they would really much rather play with a laundry basket and a cardboard box.  Lucy loves animals.  Her laundry basket is usually home to an orphaned puppy, kitten or cheetah.  So when I saw a Groupon for the Great Lakes Reptile Zoo I thought it she would love it.  Turns out I was right.  Grammi and Grandpa came and we all really enjoyed it.  It didn't take all day, we were there about 2 hours and part of that time was painting pumpkins for their Boo at the Zoo.  I highly recommend it for a family outing or a field trip.
 




Noah kept saying, "Get in the water! Take a bath!"

This one was my favorite...it looks like it's smiling.






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Costume Reveal


These guys had fun at our ward Halloween party and I had fun dressing them up.
Lucy wanted to be Joan Jett but I discovered wigs are expensive so we went with a generic rockstar.  She loved it.  I love that she loved it.  For her costume I bought an adult size vinyl jacket at Salvation Army and then took it apart and altered it for her.  It was a lot of work since I've never done those kinds of alterations but I love the way it turned out.  It was all worth it when she put it all on, she was so excited and kept saying, "I love my costume."  

Noah's was a bit easier, I got him the pants and jacket, also at Sal Army, cut the hood off the jacket and added some interfacing to the collar so it would stand up.  I added the checkered flag duct take.  Not pictured is his race car trick or treat bag. 

During the fishing game Noah exclaimed, "I like a fish, I catch one!"  I thought to myself...well you were born into the right family.

We are excited to go trick or treating this week and happy we have Friday off.

Happy Halloween! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Time







October Recipes

I love German food.
I tried a few new recipes this October and they are worth sharing.

The first is Oktoberfest Stew.  I loved this one and will be making it again this winter.  It has a distinctly sour/savory flavor that I love.  I had to buy beer for this one, and since I am not a beer drinker, I felt really silly.  I perused the choices at the grocery store but I realized I would have a lot of left over beer, so I decided to go to my nearby liquor store.  The clerk was really helpful and I promised to bring him the recipe since he is a stew-lover. 


The next is for Pretzel Dogs.


These were really good too, and very filling.  I used hot dog sized smoked sausage for these, like big smok-y-links, which I think made them a lot more appealing.  I will make these again but use Mel's Pretzel Bite recipe for the pretzel part but still do the boiling part.  This dough was a little more dense than I would have liked.  It was fun to share this one with Lucy, she liked helping wrap the dogs.


In other news...I have finally perfected my pizza crust recipe...I mean, really perfected.  It's awesome.

This recipe makes enough to completely cover my standard size pizza stone which easily feeds my family of four, usually with a few extra pieces.  

2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
1 C warmish hot water
1 t vital wheat gluten
2 1.4 T Yeast
1 t sugar
1 T olive oil
1 t salt

This is how I make dough and it works beautiful 99.9% of the time.

In a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, add the yeast, sugar, gluten and water.
*the water should be very warm to the touch, almost hot.
Mix at high speed for 30 seconds.  Let stand 5 minutes or so.
Switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the ingredients. 
Let the machine knead the dough for a few minutes until it's pulled away from the sides of the bowl and bounces back nicely when depressed with your finger.

Let it rest while you prepare your pizza toppings.

Roll it out to the size of your stone, I usually have to roll it off the edge and then let it shrink back a bit.

*Another tip is that I do not heat my stone in the oven and I cook my pizza at 550 degrees for about ten minutes.  Because I cook it so hot, if my stone is that hot when I put the dough on it, it starts to cook and then is much more difficult to roll.  Also, add some corn meal to the stone, covering the middle two-thirds of the stone and then roll from the center.  That will keep the pizza from sticking to the stone and keep more of the meal of the stone than your floor.


Enjoy!


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Soccer


Look at these cuties!
After the game yesterday Lucy proclaimed,
"I love soccer! It's my favorite sport!"

I'm so glad she stuck with it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Reality

Follow me on my little adventure.
While talking about this to Tony I'm pretty sure he thought I was high.  Although I have never been high before so how would he know?

Reality.
The other day I pulled up next to another car at a red light. The driver looked right at me with kind of a stare. So I smiled.  I'm nice.  I smile.  In my mind I was thinking about how she looked like a stereotype.  She had over-processed, platinum blonde hair, bright, Barbie-pink lipstick caked on her lips and she had a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.  Both our windows were down and I heard her comment to the other person in her car that I had smiled at her.  She wasn't happy about my smile.  I tried to think back in my mind, did I do something to irritate her?  Did I cut her off in traffic?  I didn't think so.  Why was she automatically biased against me?  There could have been a hundred reasons.  There were events in her life that had lead her to this point where she resented my smile.  It made my want to read the book of her life.  I bet it's interesting.  And that's the thing.  My sister wrote a post about our third grade teacher.  She was super mean.  Teacher's of little third graders with no mothers should automatically act like Miss Honey, am I right?  She wasn't.  Something must have made her that way.  Did she have mean parents?  I want to read the book of her life.  Everyone has a book.  All these stories of moments that have shaped and defined their lives.  I really try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  If you're riding my tail on the road, I assume you're late for work and just in a big hurry and I'm keeping you from speeding and getting stopped and making you even later for work.  See...I'm nice.  But really, I try to really hard to be nice to everyone I meet.  It takes a lot for my feathers to get ruffled with a stranger.  I try to keep an open mind about people despite my snap judgements and stereotyping.  Everyone is fighting a battle, right?  I want to be fighting with them.

I want everyone to do the same for me.  I wish that other people could see me as I really am.  Love me for my good qualities and try to overlook my faults.  I guess what it all boils down to is the Golden Rule.  Let's be kinder today to the person who may or may not have cut you off in traffic.

"As I have loved you, love one another."
That should be our reality.



Saturday, September 14, 2013

Soccer!

Lucy is on the Orange team.
She really wanted to do soccer.  I swear.
We are three weeks into it and I will say she has improved.
It's really fun to watch and I love that we have a lot of friends on the team so I get some social mom time.


Go Orange!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the First day of First Grade...


Lucy started first grade this month.
First grade!
She's excited for field trips. :)
I wish I had something more exciting or interesting to say about it but I don't.  She's faking most mornings.  I like her teacher.  She seems really nice and put together, I just hope Lucy bonds with her.  When I come help at lunch on Fridays, she cries when I leave.  I had another mom tell me (essentially) that because Lucy is so young she'll probably always struggle in school.  Rough. 
I wish this year were a little easier, but I'm optimistic that it'll get better.
There is a field trip coming up.





Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Overthinking

I over think things. Often.  I think it's common among women. Or at least I would like to hope so. I made a play date for Lucy, with one of her friends from school.  Because they live a couple towns over, I invited the mom and other kids too.  She had Monday and Tuesday free this week and I hemmed and hawed over which day to choose.  Monday seemed too close to the weekend, I usually need a little recovery.  So I thought I had said Tuesday.  I bet you can guess what's going to happen.  Monday morning I got up and was a bit lazy.  I watched TV with the kids, played video games, did the dishes and then started organizing the toys downstairs so that when our friends came it would look a bit better.  I took out my sourdough starter and fed it so I could make some yummy bread for our sandwiches on Tuesday.  At about 10:45 I looked at the clock and thought, "okay, this is about how much time I'll have from when I wake up until our friends come."  Tomorrow.  I went back downstairs and organized.  I was barking orders at the kids about what to find and which bin to put it in.

Then I heard a knock at the door.  Cold sweat.  For real?  It's today?  How could I have said Monday?  I swear I said Tuesday.  She must have gotten the day wrong.  Silly lady.  I welcomed them in.  They had driven all the way here, I could not turn them away.  There I stood, in my sweats, unshowered, and slapped a smile on my face.  I didn't have anything in the house I had said I would make for lunch, so I made macaroni and cheese.  Wow.  I didn't have time to think about anything or worry or get anxious or upset about the house not being perfect.  I still had dishes on the counter.  Luckily Lucy was dressed and I had made my bed.  It could have been worse, but I realized that not having time to worry about obsess over every little thing made it a little more enjoyable.  It helped me to be in the moment and enjoy getting to know a new friend.  I think I need to do less thinking and more doing.

I checked my email later.  I said Monday.  What was I thinking?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The last week...in iPhone photos


We met Daddy at work for lunch at Potbelly.  Yum. 
Get the Italian with everything, peppers on the side.  
Firetruck visit at the Park
Rhubarb Popsicle.  My favorite.
Eye injury, scary, embarrassing, everything turned out fine.
Music in the Park with the littles.
Awesome quilt one of my friends made for another friend's baby gift.  
I can't wait to try this pattern.
Pizza dough.
Because sometimes you have to say yes to playing in the kiddie pool with their clothes on.
Editing Lucy's photo shoot.

One more week of summer.  I am dreading school.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Moldy Goodies Everywhere

What a wonderful fair.
I had some animals pose for me. 
Noah went on his first carnival ride.
Lucy competed in the sack race.
We all enjoyed the Demo Derby.
I love the fair.