Sunday, March 31, 2013

Egg Dying

We dyed eggs with some friends! Andrew actually really got into it, much more than Adam!



Stickers!

Checking himself out

Andrew just loves to check himself out! 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter Bunny Visit

Adam's class with the Easter Bunny today.  He came home with a cool new sand bucket!

Spring...I guess

First signs of spring....on that note, it is snowing now and feels like December here...which makes odd sense since most of December felt like March....

My first sweater

I have sleeves!  I'm proud of myself!


New Hat

I decided I needed a hat!

My first cabling project

My first cabling project. I'm so happy that I started a second one.  This is actually a present for someone else, so I'm now making one for me.

Andrew

Andrew's circle!

Some recent videos of Andrew:

Some Recent Adam Pictures

Adam's work on cutting...first and second attempts at a shamrock! You can see how he improves!

Adam's ship on a path upstairs....

Adam's ship (well, Daddy's, but Adam loves them)

 Hanging out at the playground with his buddy, Niles

Cherry Bread

I tried this awhile ago, but finally found a recipe I liked.  I was going for the cherry bread that Bob Evans makes and this is pretty good.  Ray really likes it!

Cherry Bread
Modified from Taste of Home
 
1 jar (10 or 16 oz) maraschino cherries (they used 10 oz, but I like it better at 16 oz, since I don't use the almonds)
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp cherry extract (I used this in place of vanilla they had here to boost cherry flavor and so I didn't have to use the gross cherry juice)
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional...I didn't use)
 
Drain cherries (they reserve juices and use it plus water to make 1/2 cup....I thought this was gross, so I just used 1/2 cup water, which tasted the same) and chop up (this is time consuming, but necessary since you do need them smaller).  Blot dry and keep to the side for later.
 
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.   Beat in cherry extract.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture alternatively with water.  Fold in cherries (and almonds if you want to use them). 
 
Pour into loaf pans.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes (I did mini loaves and they were about 35-40 minutes) or until toothpick passes.  Cool in pan for a few minutes before moving to wire racks. 

Chocolate Chip Bread

This was so good!  I was really happy with it!  And it seems like it will be very versatile, I plan to try it with butterscotch chips for my mom, for sure!

Chocolate Chip Bread
Modified from Diana's Desserts
 
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
2/3 cup oil
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts (optional...I didn't use these, no surprise)
 
Preheat to 350 and grease pans. 
 
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 
 
Combine eggs, milk and oil in medium oil.  Add to flour mixture and mix until moistened.  Stir in chips and nuts (if using these).
 
Bake for 55-60 minutes (this is for two 9 by 5 pans, I also did some mini loaves and that was about 35-40 minutes) or until passes toothpick test.  Cool in pans for a few minutes then remove from pans to cool on wire racks. 

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes

I made these recently - a nice fun breakfast recipe!

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes
Modified from Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
 
1 small apple (you can use a tbsp of lemon juice to keep from browning if you need)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal (run through a food processor)
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 buttermilk or regular milk (remember you can make buttermilk with lemon juice and regular milk)
2 tsp oil
1 large egg
1 tsp oil
2 tsp butter
 
Peel and core and apple, cut in thin slices.  Sprinkle with lemon juice if you are worried about browning. 
 
Mix flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl.  Add vanilla, buttermilk, oil and egg.  Mix until well blended.  You can do this in a food processor if you like. 
 
Heat butter and oil in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Place 1/4 cup of batter into pan and place slices of apples on top.  When you see bubbles, flip like regular pancakes.  Mine looked very runny, but it worked fine. 
 
Serve with butter and syrup. 
 
Makes 6 quarter cup pancakes. 

Running Update

I just finished Week 6 of C25K - I did 2.25 miles the last two days!  Yah!  I actually got a bit off track because I got sick and so Week 6 took me two weeks, but I'm happy. Now it is 2.5 miles next week...wish me luck!

Our New Holy Father

Since the announcement of the new Pope, Pope Francis, I have been eagerly learning about him.  I was thrilled that the cardinals choose an American Pope and one who seemed to have many of the same qualities of John Paul II.  Reading about his work in his home country, I can see a lot of wonderful things that lead me to think he will be a huge blessing to the entire Church.  With his choices, he is quickly showing his humility and his willingness to make some changes.  For instance, asking the crowd to bless him rather than the reverse.  Given he was just chosen to lead a flock of billions, I can see wanting a blessing!  I also saw in today's news that he plans to hold Holy Thursday services in a local youth jail. This is something he did in his home country and he is obviously reaching out the entire community and the youth.  I am very much looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things this new Pope will bring!

I also hope that our emeritus Pope, Benedict, will get what he needs in retirement.  I was glad to see Pope Francis planned on visiting him in his retirement. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chocolate Irish Soda Bread

I wanted something sweet and since it was St. Patrick's Day, this is what I tried. Yummy!

Chocolate Irish Soda Bread
Modified from Baking Bits
 
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (I used a mixture of 2% and whole because I was almost out and I just added a little (a "little" - almost out there as well!) lemon juice....so honestly, I think you would be okay with plain milk here)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I used more like  cup and I used regular sized, but I do think mini would be nice, but regular was what was in the house!)
 
Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
 
In a large bowl, mix try ingredients (so flour through sugar on list).  Add buttermilk and vanilla and stir until dough comes together.  Add chocolate chips and stir until well mixed.  Dough should be slightly sticky, but if too sticky or too dry add more milk/flour to fix.  I was fine, as is.
 
Shape dough into a round loaf and put on parchment paper.  Cut an X into the dough (mine didn't turn out so well....). 
 
Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (this was enough time for me).  Cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Jumping Jacks with Daddy

Andrew loves doing jumping jacks with Daddy!

Some articles to share

Some articles to share!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Auntie Sue made this for Billy's rehearsal dinner and it is a nice, flavorful dip.  I am thinking to make it for an upcoming game night.

Chicken Enchilada Dip
Modified from Auntie Sue
8 oz mayonnaise
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1 cooked chicken breast (sazon sin achote seasoning)
3 medium green peppers, cut up

Mix all above.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (until bubbly). Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Exercise Update

I made it through Week 5 of C25K, so that means I actually ran a complete 2 miles today. Very slowly, but I did it!  Let's see how Week 6 goes!  Aiming for 3 miles in 30 minutes (totally not high here!). 

Bananafly

Adam found a recipe for bananaflies in his magazine, Turtle.  So he had to make it.  I made him take a bite....which I realized would be an issue (he tried to convince me he made it for Andrew...), then Andrew (who loves bananas) wouldn't eat it beacuse it wasn't in the peel!  So I ended up eating it. Good thin I also like bananas.

Aviator Hat

Here is the final, girly version...actually seems small enough!  This is the 6 month size, on 6's and I finally got gaut=ge!

Carrot Cake Cookies

I made these for my father after he mentioned he liked carrot cake. He says that these are good, but they don't taste like carrot cake!  So, well, I guess it is a win!

Carrot Cake Cookies
Modified from Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
20 oz can of crushed pineapple (well drained....like seriously, get as much as you can out...don't be weirded out....they won't taste it)
1 cup raisins (golden is recommendation, I think I used regular as that's what I had)
1 cup chopped walnuts (you could also do all raisins or all nuts....I was making this for my father so I used nuts, if I was making it for ourselves, I'd skip them)
3 1/2 cups flour
3 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup coconut (chopped more than bag...I didn't use and threw in some extra carrots...I'm just going to leave it out completely next time, no extra carrots)

Beat butter, sugar and eggs into thoroughly incorporated. You want smooth and fluffy. You actually measure your appleasauce then pat it a little with a paper towel as you want to cut down on extra liquid. Add to bowl and mix. Mix in vanilla. Blend in baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Make sure dough is smooth after mixing.

Blend in flour in increments (they did the next step before this, by I wanted to do this in the mixer and the other by hand, so I flipped them).

Mix in pineapple, raisins and walnuts (I did this all by hand). Mix in carrots (and coconut if you use it).

Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Preheat to 350 when ready to bake. Drop the dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet (if yours stick, use parchment paper, I was fine). Bake for about 12 minutes.

They gave a recipe for cream cheese frosting that I didn't use (I don't frost cookies).

Makes 10 dozen cookies (size dependent, of course....)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Pink Lemonade Cookies

I made these last week, after devouring the new Joanne Fluke mystery (which I adore).  They are pretty good, but honestly making my orange sugar cookies as lemon is better, in my opinion.
Tickled Pink Lemonade Cookies
Modified from Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke


1/2 cup softened butter (salted)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup frozen pink lemonade (regular also works) concentrate, thawed
3 drops liquid red food coloring
1 3/4 cups flour
Beat softened butter and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Mix in baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well combined.

Mix in beaten egg and lemonade concentrate. Add red food coloring. Add flour in parts, beating after each addition.
If too sticky, you can refrigerate, I didn't need to. Drop onto a cookie sheet by teaspoonful.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (it took me about 15 minutes). Let cookies cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes before you put on racks to cool.
Makes 3 (or so) cookies.
The book has a recipe for frosting, but I didn't make it as I don't frost cookies.

Old High School is Gone!

I came back from AK and there was only one wall left - now nothing!

Ricotta Cookies

My father got this from Kathy Ferguson and wanted me to make them for him!  I agree, odd, for my father to bring an odd recipe!  But these are really good!

Ricotta Cookies

3 eggs
15 oz container ricotta cheese
4 cups flour
1 tsp soda
2 cups sugar
1/2 lb margarine (I can't remember if I used butter or margarine)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Cream margarine and sugar for 5 minutes. Add eggs and cheese and mix. Mix dry ingredients, add and mix only until moistened. Drop by teaspoonful onto cookie sheets.

Bake at 350 about 15 minutes, until set, not brown.

I got like 4-5 dozen cookies, I think. I'll have to count next time.

Giving Alex a check up!

Easter Eggs

I put up my Easter decorations and got the plastic eggs out.  The boys are in love! 


Andrew decided to fill one with Cheerios!

Adam wanted to color eggs....I said it was too long time to Easter, so we made paper eggs. I asked Adam what color eggs he wanted....he said, "Mommy, eggs are white!"

Making his eggs!

I also put up some St. Patrick's Day decorations!

Avitator Cap

So I wanted to make a little aviator cap for a friend's one year old.  My first two attempts fit my boys....I'm on the third, which will hopefully actually fit a one year old. 
First two hats, before adding the white parts

First hat, which I did in bulky weight (I had it already), on 5's (pattern was for 8's), and endedup fitting Andrew.
Andrew in it

Second one, I bought regular worsted weight yarn...and did it on 8's....and it is still too big.

Adam in it!

Notice the bedspread!

I think this has done its duty!  Grandma sent it to me when we moved into this house and when I was looking through photo albums at her house, look what I saw!


March Card Class!

Isn't this the cutest?



This was the same technique we used at Christmas to make ornaments

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Old Pictures

Some old pictures I scanned - I was comparing with the kids!


That's my Uncle Howard (he was Great's brother)

Birdhouse Cake

My final birdhouse cake at the rehearsal dinner

Adam and Gavin

To prove my point earlier about Adam and his son, Gavin.  This is Billy and Adam....can you tell Adam and Gavin apart if you didn't know which was which?  By the way, anyone else know where this is? 

Unimpressed....

So Ravenna....just to be odd, I guess....has all the kindergarteners in one building.  So Adam will go to one school (West Park) next year and then a DIFFERENT school (Carlin) for 1st grade (which is within walking distance of our house, West Park is not...grrr....).  Which I find silly to start with, but I was being open minded that maybe this would be a good transition for him as ALL DAY seems so long for my little five year old to be gone!  I know, though, that they have a ton of mandated stuff they have to teach this first year by the district (they test a ridiculous amount of times a year because of this.....).  So anyway, I'm trying to be open....then at orientation I learn about their bussing system.  So to make this stupid arrangement work, they will bus our FIVE YEAR OLDS to the elementary school they SHOULD be going to THEN they will CHANGE busses to go home!  Yeah, right!  I'd already figured I'd take him to school.....and I think I will be picking him up at Carlin now (as Andrew and I can walk down there) versus having him get on a second bus (which would be silly given how close we are anyway).  They actually have tags for the kids that they wear for a month so they make it to the right busses!  I feel sorry for the parents who NEED the busses!  I mean really...just go back to the NORMAL situation and all this goes away!  I am NOT happy! 

The principal (who led orientation) seems nice enough and most of the stuff seems standard fare, but I just find this entire procedure stupid.  I thought it was strange to start with, but if they have to do all this to make the bussing work, this obviously isn't a good decision!  And I guess they are closing another elementary school in Ravenna, so that means when he does start 1st grade, his classes will be larger.  Oh, fun.....but hopefully we won't be here much longer than that!

I have a pile of paperwork to do by registration, which is week after next.  Oh, so much fun.....and I see why so many parents are home schooling....at this point, I don't see that as an option for us (I'm don't have any issues with those who do, I just don't think it would work for Adam, who already is fine with knowledge, but definitely needs to work on social skills...which he won't necessarily get as well or as fast if I keep him home). 

On other fronts, we've gotten "good" news from Adam for two days in a row from preschool!  He told us he got to put his name on the good deed change on Monday and got a certificate about making good choices all day yesterday!  I'll post the certificate later - I scanned it, but haven't gotten any further.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Broken Boot

I broke my ski boot in Alaska - this was the solution for awhile (then I borrowed a pair from Nicole) because you can't find cross country ski boots in the Valley!  They are clearanced out in February - ridiculous!

What I came back to...

Yick...