Thursday, January 22, 2009


Here we have, for your viewing pleasure....

Clapping! (or the sign for "more" - depending on if she is hungry or not)

Crawling? Well, not really.

But she is moving! I think this is what's called scooting, and she can do it at various speeds depending on how much she wants something.

I have no idea why it's tilted, so tilt your head to your left.

On to brighter things...

Lauren is actually now wearing outfits that I remember Ashlyn wearing (except Ashlyn walked in them and Lauren scoots in them.)

Nathan is showing you the wall where we will soon have coat/backpack hooks! Yay! We have some in the kids' room but it is much easier with school in session to have something right by the door. And, they seem to fill the pegs in their bedroom very quickly with many, many hang-able things. The things on the wall are Post-It flags to mark the studs so we know where we're headed!

The hook dealy isn't put together yet, I just painted and sealed it last night, but it's being assembled (hopefully) today! The hooks were just $2.50 in the Dollar Spot at Target - the board is just a 1"x4" from Home Depot cut to 24". Rick was going to run it through the router but I think plain looks lovely so that is what we're doing. Oh, and after finally finding out how boards can look so beautiful and rough around the edge - please add belt sander to my covet list.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And speaking of soup...

...that's what I'm making tonight. I'm also making bread bowls (why didn't it occur to me that you could make your own before I saw it on a blog?). I'm jumping the gun a little here but assuming that it will be so yummy that I'll need to share recipes with you.

The bread bowls are from mykitchencafe and the soup is from Lynette in my ward. Some of you know Lynette and if you do I'm sure you just ran off to find a pen and a recipe card. With only the information that it came from Lynette you know it will be splendiferous! And if you don't know her, I promise you'll love everything that she makes!

Now, I will probably crack open a can of chili or veggie soup for the unadventurous in our family (read "the boys") because the last time I made this only Ashlyn and I enjoyed it. Well, I'm not even sure if enjoyed was the right word - "were enraptured by" perhaps. Some moms only make things that their families like but that is not me. What kid would choose to try spinach or salmon unless it was pushed on them a few times? I figure I'm cooking so I'm going to make the things that I like. The same applies to the rest of the family though. I mean if I know that they like something I will make it for them even if I'm not the biggest fan. Things in that category would include boxed mac and cheese, and biscuits and gravy. Anyway.... here's the yummy stuff:

Mushroom Soup
2 lbs. sliced mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dill weed
3 tsp butter (I think this means 3 Tb - since a Tb is 3 tsp why wouldn't it just say 1 TB?)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup cream, warmed
salt & pepper to taste

Saute 1 lb mushrooms and chopped onion in butter. Add flour, and chicken broth - stirring constantly. Add dill, bouillon cubes and salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Blend in blender until thick liquid. Return to heat, add warmed cream, and remaining 1 lb mushrooms that have been sauteed or steamed. Serve with a sprinkle of jack and Parmesan cheese and dill weed.

Hope the bowls turn out!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why oh why...

...have I never blogged about my Minestrone Soup? I now cannot find the recipe ANYWHERE!!! Did I ever give it to you? Oh, I'm craving it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome Welcome!

So now we're all cozy and private.  :)  And it looks like the invite process is working!  For 14 of you anyway.  :)  Oh well, I am blessed to have 14 people who care what we are up to.
Not much is new - I still need to get to it and post pictures of the lovely laundry room for you.  I just go down there and well, there's laundry drying on the rack, more folded on the counter, bunches thrown in the sorting bins (I know, so weird, there's laundry in my laundry room!) and I think I need to tidy it up before I take the pictures.  :)  Silly Erika.  
I swear, this house is such a slow-moving project.  I would love a few thousand dollars to just fall from the sky and then I wouldn't feel a bit bad about paying someone to finish this puppy off!  Then I could go to Costco and blow lots of money on the beautiful chaise sectional that I covet so...
And for you, dear family, who are anxiously awaiting your holiday "Thank You" cards - I just need to find my stamps!  Besides it being nigh to impossible to coordinate my kids' schedules enough to go to the store it really bothers me to go and buy something that I KNOW I already have.  Ugh.
Let's see...  Rick took a vacation day (well, part of one - the rest of the hours he made up on a Saturday) to go and work a shift canning tomato soup at the church cannery.  How nice, huh?  I can't imagine how they expect working dads to do that, but "if not me, then who" I suppose.  And it allowed us to go and see how the process works.  Yes, that's "us".  We all ended up making the 45 minute drive (one-way).  (For those who don't know the cannery is out by the airport.)  I had planned on buying some wheat and powdered milk, so I thought Rick would be able to go and can it after his shift.  Well, he could, and he did.  But he didn't know they only took checks or cash.  He still doesn't own an ATM card so I drove out there with my 2 youngest to deliver the check book.  Fun fun.  No naps for anyone that day.  But now we have wheat, milk, powdered juice mix and Potato Pearls.  I keep hearing how fabulous those things are so I had to try some.  Hope they're good!  
While there I ran into a lady from Highlands Ranch who said she makes chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal, whole wheat flour and white flour.  I found some recipes online but I really want to know hers!  She made it sound so good!  2 cups oats is all I remember - I think 1 cup wheat flour.  So someone out in HR find her for me.  It should be easy.  Cute, teenage boys, blonde, drove an Audi, nicely dressed...   Can't be that many right?  (My WA friends - tongue in cheek.  This describes a large portion of the lovely Highlands Ranch.)
Oh, and I am now on the hunt for a pressure cooker!  Did you know you can can beans!?  I'm so excited.  We go through tons and I hate the planning involved with dry beans.  You stick dry beans in the jar with water and seasonings and can it!  I'm giddy!  All right.  Off to bed.  Enjoy your day!  And thanks for signing up!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My new fave site
This gal feeds her family of 6 for $60 a week.  She posts her menu plans/recipes for breakfast and dinner each week along with her grocery receipts.  I love her!  
She actually lives in Longview, WA just by my uncle.  She shares really great ideas and she was the inspiration for my buying a whole chicken this week (cooking in the crock pot, picking off the meat and using the bones to make more broth - yeah I'm all domesticated now), along with these great rolls you see in the picture.
You can find the roll recipe here.  So nice to not have to worry about the dough - just use the dough cycle on your bread maker!  If you don't have one you can always pick one up at your Goodwill for $5.  Lots of people have good intentions and then never use them.  
FYI:  My dough cycle takes an hour and a half, then the dough needs to be shaped into rolls (I found you do this by stretching the middle smooth and tucking the ends underneath - so it looks like a wad of bubble gum with which you blew a bubble and then took it out of your mouth to show your friend that you're totally cool and yours is TOO bigger) and then let the rolls sit in a greased pan for 15 min.  They take 13 min. to cook.  Very doable if you start these 2 hours before dinner.
I have made these twice and the first time I let them sit for quite a while longer thinking that they needed to rise as large as I wanted my rolls to be before baking.  Not so!  Tonight I didn't have time for more than a 20 min. resting period and they still turned out big and fluffy - they were much smaller when I put them in the oven.  I also brushed with melted butter when I took them out this time as the tops were harder than I liked last time.
If you're curious about the soup - chop up a bunch of celery (I think I used 6 ribs this time) and throw it in your pot, chop up carrots and add until the ratio of green to orange looks good.  Then add some foul - turkey, chicken - again until it looks good.  I added onion as well.  Then add a bunch of water/stock.  I use a half and half ratio.  I add all water and then just add the appropriate amount of bouillion.  Again, add the liquid until it looks good.  If you are adding noodles add a little extra liquid.  I think I added 6-8 cups or so here.  Three generous cups dry eggs noodles then were dumped in.  Season as you like.  Salt and pepper is fine - I also dumped in Herbs de Provence and onion salt, poultry seasoning, parsley and celery salt.  Boil 20 min - or til your carrots are tender.  Done!

Historical Museum

Ma and Pa rustling up some supper. Ash made "healthy snacks" for the kids on the plates on the counter. Nathan cooked up some fish on the stove.

Blacksmith's shop

Running around on their horses outside the 1880s blacksmith shop. Ashlyn's was named "Jackson" and Nathan's varied between "John" and "Max".

Nathan asked "How do you turn this thing on?" so I told him he needed to hitch up his horse. Ashlyn obliged.

So embarrassing! Just as the farm worker walked past he heard this.
Mom: "What animal is that?"
Nathan/Ashlyn: "I don't know."
Nathan: "A no-lump camel?"
Seriously - my kids do know what a cow is. I think they like making me look like a bad mom in front of strangers. : )
(Worker walks off grinning to himself.)
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