Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kitchen Fail: Whole Wheat Dumplings

I have a great family who will eat almost anything.  Over the 11 years HandyMan and I have been married there haven't been too many complaints at the dinner table.  Last night, however, will be noted!

I had turkey and turkey stock in the freezer and it was a rainy, slushy day so I decided soup was in order.  Wanting to do something different I decided turkey dumpling soup would be a nice deviation from the normal pasta or rice soups.  The soup base was great.  I should have just left it there.

But the cook in me had the kitchen to myself and wanted to play.  So it was on to the dumplings. I've made dumplings successfully before.  I've substituted half whole wheat flour in tons of recipes that turned out great.  So, I thought I'd try making whole wheat dumplings.  I made them, and as HandyMan tactfully put it: "You can not make those again." 

They were not good.  They were heavy and rubbery.  Not tender and light.  I have more soup base that went to the freezer.  I'll go back to my Alton Brown dumpling recipe when it's time for Turkey Soup Round 2.

So, friends, that is my kitchen fail for this week.  What have you messed up in the kitchen lately?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Life Skills

Some life skills should be learned early and while the are still fun.  Proper equipment is always necessary and encouraging coaches help to bring about the most success.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mama's Blissful Day

Yesterday was just chaotic around here.  By the time my head hit the pillow I was absolutely beat, and feeling behind going into today.

Then today crept in quietly.  Children woke up calm and relatively happy.  GGirl happily took on projects I sent her way.  MMan took a good morning nap and woke up ready to go explore the living room again.  The day was good.

Then came afternoon nap time.  MMan was conked out and I put GGirl in her new nap place and went to do some work. Usually at this point the struggle begins as she fights sleep, no matter how tired she is.  She squirms, makes excuses to get up, yada, yada, yada. 

Not today. This, my friends is a red- letter, grace filled, stars aligned, blessed day.  And this is the picture proof.  If I could add sound effects you would hear the snoring of a trucker-in-training!

And then!  Just when it couldn't get any better, both kids went right to bed tonight and I was caught up on work and got to catch a couple shows that I've not had time to watch in weeks.  A blissful day for Mama!

Arts & Crafts

Today GGirl found a small photo album and she wanted to make something to put in it.  So I pulled out the construction paper and dusted off a pile of cutting implements from my scrap-booking days.  Add glue and some imagination and a four-year-old can be kept busy for a very ling time.  I think she was occupied for almost 2 hours after I spent 15 minutes getting her going.

I started her off with shapes cut out to glue on a paper to make a flower, grass and sun, and beach and water.  Her imagination took her from there.  Moons, stars and mountains were among her creations.  She was quite proud of her work.  Good stuff!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bright Spots

Taking a moment to remember the graces of the week.

My GGirl tries my patience, and challenges me at every turn.  But giggling bedtimes and watching her wow to doctor at her 4-year-old physical this week encourage me that the challenging moments are just that: moments.  When it comes to the important things, we're doing alright.

MMan has had a rough start to the week as he's working on some new teeth but rounded out the week with some solid naps and night time sleep.  I love the way he smiles and grabs my face in greeting when we've been apart.  Also the way he belly laughs at the most random things: this week it was his sister racing cars on the guitar case.  He just laughs and laughs until I wonder if he's going to take a breath or not.  It's awesome!

HandyMan has been my glue this week.  He took MMan on a particularly trying night and was up with him every couple of hours, letting me sleep.  Soundly.  For a long time.  It was glorious!

I got an evening out with the girls and some alone shopping time as well as some out-of-the-house work time - all welcome bits of respite from the daily "mom" stuff and Friday gave me some time to try out some new recipes in the kitchen, namely Cream Puffs - so easy and SO good!

February is almost over, which means we're that much closer to spring which is my favorite time of the year. And this scene, will be changing a lot over the next few weeks:

Baking Fun: Cream Puffs

  1. So often certain foods will conjure memories.  As I was making these I remembered my mom making cream puffs for my Grandpa George: he was diabetic and depending on how you fill the pastry shells, they are very diabetic friendly.  Which led to other memories of Grandpa George and sweet treats: like the time mom brought out sherbet alongside the icecream. Grandpa's eyes lit up like a little kid.  Fun stuff!  
We were having friends over for dinner on Friday night and I wanted to do something different for dessert.  I had seen cream puffs in bakeries and they were very yummy but I hadn't made them.  So, since the kids were up early (ugh) and happily playing (thank God!) I decided to play in the kitchen.  

As usual, I didn't go by a single recipe, I combined bits and pieces of three and these turned out very yummy!  

Vanilla Pudding (I made it with Almond Extract and then whipped it into 1 cup of whipping cream, whipped stiff)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Little Card Shark

Today, while MMan was taking a marathon nap, HandyMan and I played cards with GGirl.  For her birthday she received a boxed set of children's classic card games.  She's starting to get the hang of them.  I think she's on her way to a competitive streak, but when it comes to cards, it's in her genes.

I come from a few generations of card players.  Stories are told and I have fond memories of playing cards with my grandparents on both sides of the family: Uno, Hand & Foot, and Skip Bo were all family favorites. Gatherings with my parents often include a round of cards.  And now GGirl is joining the card-playing ranks of the family.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Pajama Party

On Wednesday I was out of the house for the afternoon.  When I arrived home GGirl excitedly filled me in on the activity of the day: "We're having a pajama party!"  She had everyone sporting hats because you have to have hats for a party- obviously!  HandyMan even did her fingernail polish for her.  MMan got in on the mani/pedi action too, but mostly because HandyMan is sporting the evidence of The Claws across his nose.

HandyMan is such an amazing daddy.  I love that we can work our schedules so that when I have to be out of the house for work, most of the time, he gets to use it for time with the kids. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Wishing On Willows

If you enjoy a good "chick flick" type read that is loaded with emotion, laced with conflict and topped off with drama, this Wishing on Willows is for you.

Robin Price is clinging to her past in the form of a struggling cafe when Ian McKay shows up in Peaks, representing change.  Both Robin and Ian, as well as the supporting characters, are pulled into a heated journey as they take their stands and make their decision.  Robin's cafe was built on memories of her late husband and Ian needs the business deal to keep his family's company in the black.  As their paths continue to cross, shadows of similarity of their situations begin to overshadow their differences.  There's no easy solution with the town picking sides in the development battle, and deadlines looming.

Katie Ganshert does a great job of putting you in the middle of the characters emotions to the point where you feel their discomfort, frustration,  or joy.  Wishing on Willows was a fun read - if you need a chick flick to take on vacation with you (or to use as an accomplice to avoid cleaning, children, or work) this book would be a good pick.

Disclaimers: I received a complementary advanced reading copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review as part of the Blogging for Books program. The opinions and thoughts of this are my own and are not influenced in any way. This post contains affiliate links. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

4 Years Old

GGirl had her 4-year-old physical today and did amazing!  When Dr. P gave GGirl  the stethoscope and asked her what she heard,  GGirl replied "a baby"- to which I had to explain that she had gone to a few of my prenatal visits for MMan and got to hear the baby's heartbeat. She rocked the eye-chart and didn't even flinch when she got a shot.  She measured up at 42 inches tall and 41 pounds. 

I finished the day out with a clean car, alone shopping, and a girls' night out with some friends.  Not a bad Monday at all!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Girlie Giggles

A few days ago while on an outting with HandyMan, GGirl was given a book titled "We Are In A Book".  She excitedly showed it to me, HandyMan commented that it was good and it got lost in the chaos of that day.
Fast forward to last night's bedtime.  HandyMan had gone in for work, MMan was already in bed and I told GGirl to go pick out three books and come snuggle for stories.
"We Are In A Book" was one of her choices.  I read with amusement and then bananas brought out the girlie giggles in both if us.  (You will have to read the book- no spoilers here!)
I realized in that moment that I need to seek out levity in the chore filled, discipline laced, sleep deprived days.  I need to giggle more with my GGirl.

A Kitchen Fairy

I've often dreamed of having a kitchen fairy to do some of the cooking and cleaning.  Last night, HandyMan and this little Kitchen-Fairy-in-Training cooked up the main part of dinner.  She did a great job and with a little more training, will be a great Kitchen Fairy.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Homemade donuts.  Special notes.  Tissue paper flowers.  All intentional expressions of love to mark the day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tents & Crafts

Today GGirl got to have storytime with her BFF, in a tent, with a flashlight - I don't think it gets any better than that if you're 4. AND I got some alone craft time.  A wonderful Wednesday all around!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Few Images of a Tuesday

Today was not a normal Tuesday.  Because of water issues at the school, our SitSter was at loose ends. So GGirl got some extra fun play time including tower construction and snow sculptures.  Very creative stuff!

MMan seems to morphing from Grumpy Teething Boy back to the happy little guy that is so much more fun.  He woke up from his nap this morning all smiles.  I turned to get clothes from his dresser, listening to happy jabbers.  I turned back around to find him STANDING in his crib looking oh-so-proud of himself.  I guess he should be impressed: he's not even 8 months old yet!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Chuckles

I find that often the moments of laughter in a day can be few and far between ir get lost amidst broken toys, spilled dog food or boo-boos.  Here are a couple things that brought a chuckle to my day.

HandyMan:  Time to get out of the bath. 
GGirl:  Just one more hour. (Says she with no concept of time.)

"I wear goggles [at breakfast] to keep the oatmeal from splashing in my face." 

A description of one of my favorite retailers that came in an email: IKEA is what would happen if Target married Crate and Barrel, moved to Sweden and took steroids for 10 years.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Sunshine

For work, time to visit with friends, warm house, sleeping children, and some cocoa with my marshmallows, I am thankful!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Family Time

Time together with extended family is so important to us, happens too infrequently and passes way too fast.  It is such fun watching GGirl develop relationships with her aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents and to see all of these folks planting the seeds of relationships unto MMan's life. 

This weekend while hanging out, GGirl picked up some tips frim her older cousin, however her style still remains her own.  Both kiddos were able to soak up sime Granddad time and asleep before we got on the highway to come home.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snow Day

We had planned a trip to be with family that happened to coincide with one of the larger snow storms of the season.  Once everyone arrived safely and the snow had been flying for a while, it was time to go play.  So the uncles and the kids went out to play. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013


MMan has begun flirting with real naps: the ones that last two or three hours and give me a real break.  He's taken two such naps this week and I even got to sneak in a nap today thanks to a friend who took GGirl for the afternoon.  Absolutely heavenly!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Hair Raising Day

In addition to some fun with balloons and static electricity, MMan decided to throw me for a loop by pulling himself to standing all by himself.  Little MMan, you are only seven and a half months old.  Will you please slow down just a little?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Kitchen Therapy

I love to cook, to bake, to try new recipes.  I have a friend who was fearful of yeast dough recipes so I gave her a certificate for "classes" for Christmas.  Since then she's been over a couple times for some basics.

Yesterday I was in the mood to play in the kitchen and challenge myself with something I hadn't made before.  I found a Danish Pastery recipe.  That was perfect since I had volunteered to bring something to a brunch this morning and it was a more advanced yeast dough. 

I called up my friend to see if she wanted to come over and play too.  So for a couple hours on a Sunday evening we visited and mixed.  Chatted about life and watched bread rise.  Talked about kids and rolled dough. Watched HandyMan finish up projects and shared memories.  We all gathered around the table for a shared dinner combined on the spur of the moment from both our kitchens.

We had a great time and we made some really good Danishes. (And I'm sure they would have been absolutely phenomenal had I remembered the almond extract-oops!)

Everyone has their space they find therapeutic:  the mall, the hair salon, the spa.  For me, a kitchen with friends will do it just about every time.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

[Mostly] Media Free Sunday

Taking a moment to remember the graces of the day and week.

...insert DSL outage and relatively media free day here...

It was really refreshing!  HandyMan was home for the afternoon and evening.  He and GGirl worked on a painting project and he put the finishing touches on another project he's been working on.  I pulled up a new recipe on my kindle to try out and got some great play time in the kitchen with a friend. MMan is quickly getting the hang of crawling and learned how to get himself to standing while leaning on the guitar case.  He's just barely 7 months old.  Boy am I in trouble!

Another project I got to work on was updating our photo wall in the living room.  For a long time I've wanted to add more photos and this week I finally got frames and today I printed pictures.  I was reminded again of amazing family and friends, grand travels,  family time and fun memories.  So blessed!

All In A Saturday's Work

One of my tasks for one of my jobs is to write up the famous Sonlight Camp Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  After writing it out about 10 times this morning I had to make cookies.  And they were yummy!

Just recently GGirl has begun mothering her buddies.  Today we found clothes for four of her current favorites.  I set her up with a diaper bag.  She found bibs, "food" spoons and diapers and was off adventuring around the house much of the afternoon.  They stopped for picnics, diaper changes and naps.  Quite the busy little one.

And MMan is just about to go nuts trying to master crawling.  He's good on the carpet but as soon as he hits the wood floors it's like Bambi on ice.  He us quite the determined one!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Livin' it up

Groceries.  Errands.  Leftovers. Work. Tax paperwork. 

Exciting day around here.  Let me tell ya!  I think the highlight of the day was going out for lunch at our favorite Mexican joint.

On a side note, I have to confess I'm slightly envious of all the FaceBook posts I saw this evening from Durango, Colorado's Snowdown party.  Wishing I was there.