Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who is supposed to be watching this kid?

No. I didn't take the picture. No. I didn't teach him to climb into the crib.

Kick-a-thon day...

How did he get to be such a big kid? Rhys is quickly approaching his teen years and I'll still picture a three year old who called fire trucks "wire nucks".
(By the way, I'm an awful mama. I went shopping during the kick-a-thon and missed the actual kicking. Poor kid. He raised money for a good cause and had a great time despite his mother's absence...)

Problem solved.

The problem: melted snow + dirt driveway

The solution: 80,000 lbs of gravel

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Why Brennen is banned from gum these days...

I should have taken a picture of the lime green (Extra Spearmint) gum before I added peanut butter to comb it out. The bottom picture is of pouty George. He was rather unimpressed with the process. Too bad he (or the mama) didn't learn from the last time.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday night...

We had friends over on Saturday night. My bigger kids hid in my room and played on Club Penguin. Cael played with Bret and the adults played cards. Carol left her camera here, so I stole a few pictures to post...

Bret's 18 months now. Doesn't he look old?

Especially compared to Cael?

Cael's being naughty and throwing magnets. It entertained the little ones for quite a while. In fact, they seemed to be playing together whilst pelting various targets. Cute.

Amy's poker face...

Gordon making a big play...

Me avoiding the dreaded camera...

Friday, October 17, 2008


Daddy trains them young...

Jason likes his head scratched. Since his otherwise awesome wife won't do that, he has to teach the kiddos and he's gotta start 'em young! Doesn't seem to bother them, does it?


A few weeks ago, an impromptu game of basketball ensued after some errand. I just had the two little boys and it was so nice. We played outside until dark. Brennen as the star player and Cael as the ball boy.

Learning his numbers...

Just not sure who taught him his numbers! Good job, George!

Entertaining himself...

Cael is certainly capable of entertaining himself. There's always a drawer to be emptied, a pantry shelf to be cleared, school supplies to be spread about, and lots of things fit nicely in the kitchen garbage can.
On the other hand, seems he is also capable of entertaining himself in a much more "mom-approved" way...
He's all by himself in his room, playing with his 'Little People' toys. I'd guess he spent 30 minutes in there... I love it!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another loaf of perfection...

Can't you just smell that freshly baked bread?

Practicing Gymnastics

Kjersten's preferred pose these days. You wouldn't believe how long she can stay up like that. When she's done, she rolls down and proceeds to roll to her next destination. Bit annoying, but I'm impressed nonetheless.


Posing for a picture.

You likely can't tell, but Cael is leaning over with his head resting on the floor. At the same time, his arms are midair. The whole "Look Ma! No hands!" thing... Pretty good balance for a 16 month old, eh?

No wall space? No problem.

Love all my windows. Not conducive to hanging school-type things. So, with sticky-tack and some suction cups, we make wall space where there once was none. (All temporary, of course... as we do use our back door regularly!)

Child with camera...

Lovely snot, George... Poor kid. Can you see the stye in his right eye? This kid just always has issues...

He's blonde (for now...)

In the photos I post, Cael always looks like he has darker, even reddish, hair. He doesn't. Well... there's a hint of red that all the kids had and outgrew. Bummer! In any case, he was sitting on my lap the other day while we were playing Coffee Shop. (Don't click. Don't do it... It's annoyingly addictive... However, it is good educational fun. Who knew that those odd little people really really like creamy coffee... Ewwww...)

*** We now return to your regularly scheduled post ***

So, Cael really has blonde hair. He's getting a lot of it too! Yes, they all started as blonde. Yes, they all turned into dark brown haired kids... But I love the blonde and wanted to have a picture of this soon to be distant memory. By the way, his first haircut is a long, long way off...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Cael's new toys...

After Cael fell in love with these fabulous balls at the wading pool, Nicole (her blog) ordered a few for him. He loves obviously loves them! Thanks again Nicole!

My favorite meal...

Along with my awesome bread last night, I made a pot roast and veggies. The potatoes are fresh from Idaho and are so much better than grocery store version. It was the perfect meal for a cold, snowy, Sunday evening.

The best part, however, is the leftovers. I like to use the roast and cooked potatoes to make what my mom called "hash." Just cut up leftover roast and cooked potatoes. Drop a blob of butter in the pan, throw in the goods, and heat until everything gets slightly crispy.

My very favorite meal using leftovers! (note: I did not say it was healthy.)

I'm finally ready...

for September!!!! Argh!

I don't know where it went. Last thing I remember, it was warm. It was summer. We hadn't started school. Life was lazy and fun.

I vaguely remember planning for fall. I recall planning our coming school year. I seem to have memories of buying some books & curriculum.

What I simply cannot figure out is WHERE DID SEPTEMBER GO? It's gone. Just gone.

Now, here I am, a week into October. Up to Cael's eyebrows in snow. Lots of schoolwork done, but not all that I had planned. A month into gymnastics, guitar, and knitting club. No consistent wake time. No kids bathed, dressed, fed and ready for school at 8 a.m. No salt dough maps of Ancient Egypt. Oh well...

Here's what we did accomplish in the month I can't remember:
  • Rhys finished 21 lessons in math (ouch!).
  • Kjersten's halfway through her spelling book and making great progress.
  • Brennen's loving his "wood letters" from HWT.
  • Everyone knows the grammar jingles. ("This little noun, floating around...")
  • Swimming creatures are much more interesting than botany (to us, anyhow!)

So, October is upon us and I realize that it doesn't really matter how ready we are... It will come and go just like September. I think we'll just enjoy!

Even I have to admit...

Sure is pretty out there...

Chewy Gooey Oatmeal Bars

My friend, Cynde, brought these to a play date at the park. They were so yummy, we stopped and bought caramels on the way home so I could make them that very day! Today's batch is for Jason. I keep making them and giving them away. Poor hubby! These are HIS!

Chewy Gooey Oatmeal Bars
(my title but the recipe is courtesy of Cynde/ Martha Stewart)


Vegetable-oil cooking spray
48 soft caramel-candy cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13- inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with a 9-by-21-inch sheet of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each short side. Put caramels and cream in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and the salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a fork or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal; press half of mixture onto bottom of lined pan. Bake until just set and starting to color around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.

Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips; drizzle with caramel mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before cutting into squares. Makes 1 dozen. (We cut them into 40+ as they're really rich!)

*** Note: These really do taste better the next day. Make them at night. Let them cool while you sleep. What a perfect breakfast- oatmeal bars and a glass of milk. Mmmmmmm ***

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Live on bread & water? Ummm... Okay!!!

Well, with the kids off sledding and the hubby out plowing... I set to using some of that dough I made last night. It looks far too soupy to be bread dough. There's no kneading. No proofing the yeast. Nothing particular at all about making and baking this bread. As the recipe instructs, I pulled off a 1lb. chunk and let it rise for 40 minutes. I made the necessary slices on top (steam vents, I assume) and baked for 1/2 hour.

Here it is in all its glory- just plopped on the stone in a hot oven. Note the mass of cornmeal. A necessary step to get the very sticky dough off the peel (or rimless cookie sheet, in my case). Thanks for the tips, Jamie!

And, here is my result. It was fabulous. Very very very good. So good, in fact, I am currently baking the rest of that batch of dough at my family's insistence. Of course, I already mixed up another batch of dough and it's rising in its container on the counter. (You really wouldn't believe how easy this was or how yummy that bread was... You simply must try it!)

Okay... a little sheepishly here, I'm going to show you what the second batch looks like. My enthusiasm led to haste and I forgot those pretty little cuts on top. Seems that those vents are mighty important to the aesthetics of the loaf. Not to the taste or texture, just the looks. So, it looks like a mutant loaf, but Jamie assures me that it will taste wonderful anyhow... Guess she's forgotten a time or two. Now... don't laugh!

Oh... I so should be out there!!!!

More snow than any October day should allow... It snowed and snowed and my family loves it! Here's Cael looking longingly out the window at Grandpa Paul plowing our driveway. Cael was 100% sure he belonged on that four-wheeler. Next year, baby, next year!

We did make it to church. Interestingly, our drive there took us past many downed trees and oddly dark homes. Hmmmm... Yup. No power. We enjoyed a modified church service and as we were heading out, the power returned. Too late, but glad to know our neighbors were no longer doing without.

I had Jason run me to Target & Office Depot. Essentials, you know?! I needed milk, a boom box, colored paper, and (duh!) Diet Coke! Now, we can enjoy cereal, listen to our grammar jingles in the kitchen, work on our TOG lap books, and the mama won't suffer from withdrawals. Life is snowy, but good!

Update: We'll be taking the truck to church...

Far too much snow for my van... Jason and Rhys went down to get the paper. Seems they got a bit distracted by the snow and played a bit. Jason managed to get his truck stuck (a little, he says...) but swears that won't happen when he has his wife & children with him.

Why, yes... it's STILL snowing!!!

My husband is giddy (and out shoveling). My kiddos can't wait to go out and play (AFTER church). I'm looking for a home in Western Washington... :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

King Ranch Casserole

I should have snapped a picture BEFORE we dug into dinner tonight. Regardless, the photo doesn't do it justice. I am not a casserole fan. You know, with all that food touching... So, this was not a natural fit in my monthly menus. However, being the amazing wife that I am, I'm always on the lookout for recipes that I think Jason would really really like, in spite of my personal preferences.

This was one. And, it was a hit! Everyone agreed it was very good- even George. That's quite an accomplishment around here!

King Ranch Casserole (from Cook's Country Magazine)
  • 12 (6 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium onions , chopped fine
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans Ro-Tel tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 4 cups shredded Colby & Monterey Jack cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 1/4 cups Fritos corn chips, crushed
  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay tortillas on 2 baking sheets, coat lightly with cooking spray, and bake until slightly crisp (12 minutes). Cool slightly & break into bite sized pieces. Move top oven rack to middle position.
  2. Heat butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook onions, chiles, and cumin until lightly brown (8 minutes). Add tomatoes and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated (10 minutes). Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add cream & broth can cook until thickened (2-3 minutes). Stir in chicken and cook until no longer pink (4 minutes). Off heat, add cilantro and cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Scatter half of tortilla pieces in 13 x 9 baking dish set on rimmed baking sheet. Spoon 1/2 filling over tortillas. Scatter remaining tortillas over filling and top with remaining filling.
  4. Bake until filling is bubbling (15 minutes). Sprinkle Fritos evenly over top and bake until Fritos are lightly browned (10 minutes). Cool casserole 10 minutes. Serve.