Monday, April 30, 2012

Yummy Go-To French Bread

This recipe is a favorite around here- we all love this amazing homemade french bread!
I wanna say my Mom got this recipe from Jodie Pearson, a childhood friend of mine's Mom- I love having people to associate with recipes. Makes me recall memories relative to them each time you make it :)

Anyhow, when I cook Italian or some sort of soup, I very often add either this yummy bread or these breadsticks to it. This dough is simple and the salted crust makes the finished product delish!


In a small bowl, mix:
     1/2 cup warm water
     1 Tbsp. sugar
     2 Tbsp. yeast
Set aside.

In a large bowl (I use my bread mixer), mix:
     2 cups hot water
     2 Tbsp. sugar
     1 Tbsp. salt
     2 Tbsp. oil
     3 cups flour

Add yeast mixture that was set aside and Mix.

Add 3 cups flour and mix until smooth.

Let dough sit for 10 minutes, then punch it down. Punch down every ten minutes for 5 times.
NOTE: I think only a few times I've made this have I punched down all 5 rounds, simply because I don't give myself enough time in advance of a meal generally! Three times will be sufficient if you need :)

Mold into 2 loaves and place side-by-side on a cookie sheet. Slice slightly through the top. Brush with one egg white, then sprinkle kosher salt. Let raise 10 minutes (I've also skipped this and been fine).

Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!

I love that this recipe makes two loaves at the same time. The second loaf makes for the BEST french toast ever the next morning!


Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Days

Ya know, days are good when I am.
When I am at my best, so is everything and everyone else around me it seems.
Not that any of it requires or revolves around me, just that... well, I guess, ya it does.
MY world revolves how I choose to make it, or even just perceive it.

I mention this at all because as I look at these pictures and go to write how I feel about them, I realize that I contradict myself and my recent "realism" post somewhat. I want to bottle these moments with the boys- these beautiful, beautiful faces, their sheer joy and awesome curiosity. How could I ever have felt frustrated over them again? And, no, I don't need an answer to that, because I'll get it soon enough, but still... gosh, I love them and love our life!

This is a temple sculpture Cooper created himself! These used to be all the rage around our house about a year ago, but they are fewer and farther between now. He announced he had it complete and then said, "oh, wait!" He quickly crumpled the very tip to create a Moroni... :)

Love this pic... he is Mine :) 

Do you ever do that? Look at your kids and flip back to before they ever were, to how you imagined then that they would be? I do. Like a mini sense of accomplishment just seeing their smiles- they are real, in the flesh, not just twinkles in my eye. Maybe it's a realization that I'm getting old... but it's truly awesome!

I tell him pretty much every day that he simply can't be this big... he insists he can and he wins :)

You're smiling seeing this one, huh? Yeah, me too :)
We recently did another round of ding dong ditching to deliver some cinnamon rolls. Ry loves to carry things for me and I let him take this box from the house to the car. Once I got outside behind him- frosting on the chin! I went back in for the camera... obviously. :)  (And by the way, I tried this frosting recipe for these and might never do cream cheese frosting any other way again- it was yum yum yum!)

The boys got to have a weekend long playdate with our friends' two little girls recently too. As you might have guessed, I couldn't keep myself from doing their hair... :)

Great Spring Days... :)

Oh, and in-between it all, I've been cranking out wreaths... I never would have dreamed when Monica and I whipped up some Patriotic Frosting on a whim two years ago that I'd be buying felt by the yards for them one day! It's a short wave no doubt, but it's been pretty fun! 


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Homemade Window Finger Paint

Quite awhile ago I bought the boys a set of Crayola Window Crayons. They were fun and effective, but I felt like I never really got rid of the mess of them, either! They just seemed to leave more of a residue, specifically on the rims of the window, than I would've liked. Recently I thought the boys might enjoy painting on our sliding door for something out of the ordinary to do, so I went in search of some window paint I could whip up on my own!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Optical Illusion

Recently I read a post describing blogging as an "optical illusion,"
mentioning that when you see a beautiful cake on a blog,
you aren't seeing the messy kitchen that made it.
Or when you see a nice sewing project,
you aren't seeing the seams that had to be ripped in the process.
It got me thinking and I've thought of it quite a lot since.

I know that this blog is the best showing of myself and of our life. I don't like being vulnerable, even to the absolute reality that I am human oftentimes. I do believe that we all know our own shortcomings all too well, so I might as well not share mine and be a drag in the process. But, on the other hand, most of the time life is unflattering, for me and for anyone else too.

I've written this post progressively over the last couple of weeks, in times of frustration and optimism. It's more a conversation with myself than anything, I guess. It proves that I am an over-thinker, far more worldly than I should be. I've cried and smiled both as I've typed. I've gone into depth and just skimmed the surface. For better or worse, this is a touch of our less attractive reality. If you choose to read, hopefully you won't be left lacking in the end. The point, for me, was to remind myself that blessings outweigh trials and frustrations. I guess if nothing else, should you need to feel better about yourself in comparison today, here it is!

1) My Mom's house is perfect. Really, it is. It belongs in a magazine. Really, it does. And she's always been like that, even when we were little. She did the dishes before she went to bed. She spent time making the yard immaculate and growing a nice garden. She painted, crafted, sewed perfectly- she still does. When she puts her hand or mind to something, it happens with awe. Our house always smelled good, with nice music playing. She did all that house type stuff with panache on top of helping my Dad with our farm, working harvest, checking lines, fetching parts, etc. She was, is, Mom/Wife Extraordinaire. Really, she is, even if she is shaking her head as she reads this. And, you got it, I certainly am not. I do dishes, scrub toilets and mop the floors when I have to. I have laundry on the couch, needing either folded or put away, most days of the week. I feed my boys pancakes for dinner sometimes. I'll often kick a toy at my feet out of the way rather than reaching to pick it up and put it away. While I'd love love love to have a garden, it has yet to be a reality each summer. I could go on and on, but you get it- I'm not exactly phenomenal at my job. Case in point, my sewing table, above, and my craft table (or storage area, rather) here:

It could be said, too, though, (herein lies the therapy of writing this post at all, I hope) that I'm not entirely horrible at this job either. I truly do believe that laundry on the couch is not the worst thing ever. I might do easy pancakes for dinner, but more importantly, I make sure my family isn't hungry. The next night (or at least some night that week) is meat and potatoes. My sewing is far less than perfect and patterns make me want to scream, but, nonetheless, I can sew! Stephen handles the large bulk of business type stuff for our family, but when he calls and needs an invoice emailed or a phone number relayed or an errand ran, I make it happen. Our house is far more than a mere path through the clutter. It's generally nice. Lived in, but nice. There are days of total wreckage, but they aren't the norm. No magazine photographers will be arriving anytime soon, really EVER, but I'd prefer it that way hands down. I do wish I was a better testament to my own Mom's awesomeness, because she taught me incredibly well. Now isn't the season of my life for pretty pillows and polished floors, but this facet of life will get better with time and experience. It will.

2) We live in a manufactured house, fake walls and all. I hate the wallpaper and the fact that I can't escape it for the most part. We have no backyard and no privacy fence, with a yard that borders one of the main roads to and from town. Nothing like being on display when I'm out playing with the boys, which is something I love doing! Anyone interested in our bubble snakes, and water gun targets, and sheet forts built off the porch, will get their fill this summer... and I'll be a little a lot more uneasy all the while. I would love to paint the outside of this place and get rid of the fading that seems to be going on in random places. To me, our house announces to the ward that, indeed, we are the poorest family in the congregation. Not long ago a woman I was on the phone with referred to our neighborhood as "the trailers." I suffered through the rest of the call, got off the phone and cried.

And on the other hand, I was happy with the inside of our house from when I first walked through it, wallpaper and all. I felt so good when we moved in! I love the new carpet, the white two-inch blinds, the big island at the center of the kitchen, the rock work surrounding the mantle, the master bath corner shower with two shower heads and no door. This might be a manufactured house, but I have to confess that I really do like it. When I'm in my kitchen, with the boys laughing as they run in a circle around it, or when I'm sitting on our bed watching the boys bath in our garden tub as though it were a swimming pool, or if I ever figure out how to ignore the traffic as we play in the yard (really they aren't even seeing us), those moments are free of negative. I like it here, I really do. I'm grateful for a new start in a familiar place, all else aside. I realize there is absolutely no viable reason for complaint at all. Our house is warm, solid, comfy and most importantly, where the people I love the most are with me, fake walls and no privacy and all. And we might be the poorest people around, but my husband works hard and long for us and makes it so that I can be home with the boys- I am proud of HIM. 

 See why I just don't do this really? I'm sick of myself already! Last one...

3) Ya know, when I pondered raising boys when they were babies, I always came around to thoughts of my only brother. He was- is- impressive. I don't remember him being loud or obnoxious. I don't remember him being sassy or full of attitude. I don't remember him making choices that he knew he shouldn't be. I never remember my parents having to repeat anything over and over and over again. But, guess what? My boys are or do. I'm quite certain these days that most of what I say doesn't even register with them. Asking or speaking kindly without being reminded? Right. Choosing the right for the sake of the fact that it IS right? Yeah. Spouting off why he is right and I am wrong, or making sure I understand I'm flat stupid? Got it. How about throwing himself down on the ground whenever there is any kind of ripple in what he had in mind? We've got that covered. Not a day goes by that I don't  feel like I'm failing as a Mom. We won't even get in to what a wicked step mother I am, either... And I really don't know how to fix it. In theory, in some ways, I guess I do, but in reality, not so much.

And on the other hand, there are many times in any day, somehow or another, that they do express love and gratitude. They might pitch a fit in the process, but they don't (most often) deliberately disobey. If they are calm enough, they do listen and hear me, even if they make sure I get it that they don't agree oftentimes. I think I just can't seem to get it that they are 4 and 2- they are little, toddlers even. This is a difficult stage in general, no matter how prodigy a kid might be. They might not care one bit about a lot of the projects and ideas I try to excite them with, but they also should have no shortage of fun memories in the name of the ones that they do go for. They'll remember that their Mom was good at losing it, but I think they'll also realize one day that I was kind and loving and deeply aware of them. I might be stupid to them, but I'm not convinced that I'm stupid across the board.  It will get better. Better with time and experience, hopefully before it's too late and they're gone or beyond reaching. They might be sassy and dis-respectful at times, but they are smart and bright and beautiful too. I can say far more good about who they are than I can bad. I am proud of them no matter what.

Phew! If you made it through that,
you know more about how my brain over-thinks than you surely wanted to!
Thanks for letting me cry and smile both.
There is no reason for complaint and even realism proves blessings!
No optical illusion here...
but a good record and reminder I hope!
I think I might have to do this more often... :)


Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Time...

...for diggin' worms!
They're pretty small still, but these two little dudes couldn't be happier
about the nice weather and wet dirt around here :)

Yes, yes, it takes a costume to successfully dig worms :)
I love that Ry loves costumes- he usually asks for a cape, but this day he wanted to be a skeleton.

I told Coop the dirt they were digging was the area our garden will be.
He pointed to these lovely weeds and said, "Mom, we already have a garden!" :)
I like this spot because it's on the side of the house I can kinda
pretend we don't live on a super busy road :}

Boys (and Springtime) Rule(s) :)


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ruffle Hem Skirt

About a year or so ago, I came across  this adorable skirt tutorial at a blog called Cluck Cluck Sew. The style just struck me and I've really wanted to make this skirt! I always like the idea of wearing skirts more, for everyday even. I actually tried making this last summer, but was unknowingly using the wrong kind of knit and having gathering issues to boot, so it was a bust and I moved on to something equally worthless, albeit more successful :) Anyhow, my Mom passed down this dressy, stretchy fabric that I really liked and thought would make a nice skirt for Spring, so I gave it another try. I know the fabric I used still isn't actually jersey knit, but, hey, it worked!

It was as simple as two pieces sewn together, a casing created on top, a strip ruffled and then added along the raw edge bottom. I'm no model by a long shot, but I was happy with how it turned out and wanted to share. :) I actually wore my tall boots with it the first time since it was cold that day, but I'm anxious to be able to wear sandals with it now. I think my black sandals are actually out in the garage (ya, still there from when we moved last fall :/), so I threw these oldies but goodies on for a pic...

... and realized while I was wearing them that they are the very shoes
I was wearing in high school
when I got in a car crash and broke my ankle.
(Which is also the reason my ankles aren't exactly pretty!)

Anyhow... this made a really fun and easy skirt- I'd like to try it in actual jersey knit for one that I could wear more casually too! For the tutorial again, click Here :)


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Goodness

Even though our Easter Sunday was all too uneventful, the day before we had a great day together with my family at my sister's new house in Pocatello! With all four kids, spouses and kids together, it was a nice time to try and get a new family pic for my Mom and Dad's entryway... however, clearly these pics are proof that I should no longer be the family photographer! Nice try, but they just didn't turn out great. Photographers that can get kids to cooperate, while thinking about the light and the wind and the angle of every last body and, and and... I admire you!

After the photo attempt at a nearby park, we had a yummy lunch (is there such a thing as a bad potluck?!) and then chilled out for a bit before going roller skating! It was a nice addition to the day, though Cooper didn't enjoy it as much this time around for some reason. Taron did quite well, but Keaton didn't seem to be enjoying it too much- next time I daresay the extra $2 for in-line skates might be worth it! I gained a new most-embarrassing-moment out of the excursion by beautifully biffing it onto my tailbone! Yes, yes, I am one of those super coordinated types :P

My younger brothers and sisters, however... they make everything look easy! 

Then we went back and had a backyard egg hunt! The kids all got enough loot to last until Halloween :) My parents started a cool new tradition where they filled and hid eggs for their adult children! The eggs had little items like super glue, nail clippers, Lindt truffles, and dollar bills in them! Lundyn added a few trick ones that were full of funny things like cauliflower and pasta too! It was really a fun time :)

Grandpa and Grandma put a few dollar bills in the kids' eggs too and they were the highlight of the boys' treasures for sure! Cooper could have found that egg alone and been happy :)

Then later that night back at home, I got to have my fun filling the boys' Easter buckets! They got new sandals, a book, a fun little kite thing, silly putty, bubbles, a new shirt for Church, and I always add a Gospel picture. They were happy as happy with everything, simple and necessary as it was :) We have been loving the bubbles for sure! Cooper loved finding his hidden in the pantry...

One of my facebook friends' status on Sunday was that part of their family was sick also for Easter, so they would be doing faux Easter pics all gussied up next Sunday and I thought that sounded like a swell idea! So, next Sunday we'll pose instead! Our family pic from Easter last year is actually one of my favorites of us all :)

Thanks to my family for making our Easter memorable! We love you all!


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