Friday, October 30, 2009

Adventures In Breadmaking

So, I have started on the journey of making my own bread / bread products through the encouragement of a friend. I am impressed at the way freshly milled wheat products keeps certain members of the household "regular". I was impressed with what this book and this book had to say about the value of whole grains in our diet. Two very differing viewpoints, but they each reinforce what I was learning about.

Being the bargain shopper that I am I found a grain mill (used) on ebay (since these can easily run 200-300 dollars for starters) and I placed a bulk co op order from Breadbeckers (along with their cookbook).

The order came delivered to my house on Wed night (thanks to some helpful friends)and the kids and I milled our first batch of flour out on the back porch. (My mill is a little messy and spews small amounts of a fine floury-dust) It was really fun. The kids were impressed.

My first recipe with this flour was a batch of biscuits. My friend supplied the recipe. I have never eaten her freshly baked biscuits plain, but I don't know if mine turned out right or not. I suppose it would have helped if I had a biscuit cutter. But it was fun.

This is the recipe I used, supplied by Abbie over at Just A Bunch of Characters

*adapted from Bread of Life Volume 1...will feed a six member family with a few left over*

6 cups flour (I use fresh milled whole wheat but I believe any would work fine)
2 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c (or less) butter
4 tbsp mayo (I use plain yogurt)
2 c buttermilk (or you can use plain milk or make your own buttermilk..see below)

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter and mayonnaise until it looks like coarse cornmeal. Add milk. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead approximately 15 times. Pat to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut into biscuits. Bake 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

To make buttermilk: 1 cup whole milk to one tablespoon lemon juice

*I use the 1/2 cup butter...this is down from the full cup of butter original to the recipe. I've found that using yogurt in place of mayo or shortening is not only healthier but it also makes the biscuits way moist and extra yummy.

I will continue to post as I learn what to do and what not to do in the bread baking world. I must say, I had a biscuit and some eggs for breakfast and I feel stuffed!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

He does slow down



When he gets a fever


When he eats apples (they take a long time)


And when construction guys are in our backyard

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From a Small Boy's Perspective



Jack is our budding amateur photographer. He loves taking pictures with the digital camera. It is fun to see what pops up on the computer when I download the shots. These have not been altered (although some should be!)



Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bible Time

One of my favorite times of our homeschooling day is our opening time where we do our Bible devotional. We are currently working through Leading Little Ones to God (I highly endorse this devotional, it explains things in terms that they totally get, it also reviews the concepts and then continues to build on those concepts)

We will read a Bible passage, review our AWANA verses, and usually pop in our CD of children's hymns as we progress onto our seatwork. Usually while I am reading the lesson the kids will pull out their dry erase boards and draw. Here is Jack's picture of "Jesus" that he doodled the other day. It's just too awesome, I had to share.

Get Ready to Say AWWWW!

Jack loves his little Megan

Where DOES he get his energy???



Mystery Solved . . . Case Closed

Pat and Nat

Jack is reading his 1st "real book". It is a story you may be familiar with, it is Pat the Rat and his long time friend Nat the Cat. They are both fat and they like to sit on mats and wear hats . . .you get the drift. For you Sonlight users, it is the 1 Readers, You Can Read It Book 1. video

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's Auntie Beth!

>

Auntie Beth came to visit this weekend. The kids always have so much fun when she is around.



We took lots of pictures, including this one of Megan:



Jack was showing off his big brother skills, Megan had a little bit of a frightened look about her . . .



James is learning some big brother skills as well. . .



Jack and Laura put on a Weatherman show for Auntie Beth . . . not sure why he was reporting the weather in a construction hat . . .




And we transformed Laura's Princess bike into a bike for Jack with a couple cans of spray paint

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: Copper Bookmark


This is a review that I a conducting for Mama Buzz. The bookmark was provided by Five Star Publications for this review.

FiveStarPublications.com gives this statement about these bookmarks:

High-end, custom-designed Five Star Copper Bookmarks are made exclusively with quality copper and Swarovski crystals and pearls, making them ideal for avid readers and gift giving. They come in three 3-1/2-inches-tall designs: a serene angel made with a divine crystal and opulent pearl; a paw print, which sports a teal or amethyst crystal; and a crystal-packing star. Retail: $11.95. www.FiveStarPublications.com.

I was excited to have the opportunity to evaluate these bookmarks. As you can see from the photo they are charming. They are just as cute in person. I was sent the star bookmark. I requested that one in particular based on the versatility I felt it would have. The star bookmark is fabulous as it is gender neutral, making it a great gift for men, women, boys or girls.

Their statement of high quality is spot on! I would be proud to give this as a gift, or to have it mark the place in a book on my nightstand. It is a smaller size bookmark, 3 1/2 inches like it states, and I found it to be a perfect fit for small thinline Bibles, but sturdy enough for larger books as well. It has a delightful southwestern style which I liked.

I feel the star and the angel bookmarks would be an excellent gift for teachers or neighbors at Christmas time. They can be ordered directly from the website and at the time of this posting they are offering a special price.

I would like to thank Five Star Publications for the opportunity to review their product!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kinda Freaky Friends

Back when we lived in VA Laura had a friend who had a couple of these tall Barbie dolls. She has wanted one for a long time, but I hadn't found them in any stores since. One night while searching on Craigslist I found a couple for sale. And now they live with us. Laura dresses them up in some of the clothes that don't fit her anymore.



Yes, one is missing a leg, we have the leg, it just falls off a lot. Fortunately Laura has a solution for that . . .



Or they can sit down.



One of them (I think it was the one with two legs) joined us for breakfast one morning.



And I think it kinda confused James . . .




Sometimes at night they sleep on her bedroom floor.



And sometimes they dress up in her old YMCA cheerleading outfit.



And since we are talking about freaky pictures, this one reminds me of that squirrel picture taken not too long ago . . .

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lazy Pumpkin Patch Blogging

We were all set to go to the pumpkin patch last week. Then James got sick with a sore throat. But since my friend is so cool, and because she has a huge honkin' van, she took my kids with her.

Laura and Jack at the Pumpkin Patch


Thanks!

Meet Twinkley





So we went to our church's fall festival . . .and we got a new member to our household. Who knew Jack was so skilled at throwing ping pong balls into little water filled bowls.



After over 24 hours at home, and the fish displying a reluctance to go quietly into the night, I broke down and purchased a home for him at Wal-Mart.



Jack wants to keep him in his room. Mommy said no!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A New Addition

We have a new addition to our family . . .

It's not a baby, it's not a doggie, but it will have pictures soon.

If you were at the fall festival (or any festival) you may be able to guess what we have now.

Hellllloooooo

Hi!

Well, yes, it has been more than a week since my last post . . .but it has been an interesting week. Things that happened this week:

1. James was stricken with strep throat. James does not react well to strep throat. So James went to the doctor and got Penicillin.

2. James is allergic to Penicillin. Or at least that is what I think caused the rash on his body. So James is not on Penicillin anymore.

3. The Wal Mart "greeter" that I am used to seeing on my Monday morning shopping trips looks a lot different on Friday night at midnight. The kind gray-haired lady with a smile on her face transforms into a 6'3" bald headed "bouncer". He stands not to greet you, but to stare at you as you approach the store.

5. I got to deliver a baby at work. Everything went really well, and that made it a fun shift for me. I don't know how many babies I have delivered without doctors there at this point, but it is probably double digits at this point.

6. Laura has such a kind heart. When we went to Target to spend her birthday money she found a horse for her dolls that she loved. Then she let her brother pick out a toy with her left over money. Isn't that sweet?

7. Laura is wearing size 3 sneakers. Size three sneakers make her look so old to me. A lot of my friends had a hard time when their kids went to Pre K, or to Kindergarten, or their first sleep over. Not me, she did not seem old to me until she came home yesterday wearing those size 3 sneakers.

Well, that is a quick run down. We had a really rainy week and I hope next week will be better weather wise.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Faves TV

Missy at It's Almost Naptime is interested (or pretends to be interested) in our favorite things, so she captains Friday Faves . . .




This week . . .TV SHOWS

Now I have always been a TV fan. My childhood memories contain fond ones of Saturday Morning cartoons with my siblings, huddled around what was probably a 13 inch black and white TV. We watched such classics as "Tom Swift" and "George of the Jungle". I think "Speedracer" was one of them. As I grew up, the family would enjoy the once a year specials . . .Charlie Brown as he celebrated all the holidays, Wizard of Oz, and The Sound of Music. We got to stay up late, and enjoy popcorn from my Dad's air corn popper. It had this neat little compartment in the side that melted butter, and it would run long enough to fill eight bowls of popcorn over and over again.

My TV watching was limited, we did not have cable, and we did not watch anything that our parents had not pre-authorized. I felt like the only pre-teen girl in the world who was forbidden to watch "Facts of Life", but looking back, I wouldn't have let me watch it either. We did however, have the green light to watch the "Cosby Show" and "Family Ties". Thursday nights were great family time as we huddled around the slightly bigger color TV to enjoy the family favorites.

But, this is not what Missy wants to know about. And you probably didn't either.

Some of my current faves are:

The Office It has a type of humor that is usually up my alley.

My husband and I are fans of reality TV . . .Mostly Amazing RaceWe rarely miss one of those. We were die hard Survivor fans, but usually now we don't get too interested in it until the end of the season.

And, I should admit our biggest personality flaw. Worse than The Office, worse than reality TV, is our love for Chuck We wondered the other night when the new fall season was going to start. I jumped up off the couch and googled it. I think we shed a few tears as we discoverd the new season would not start until March 2010. Sigh . . .

And I had to come back to add "Say Yes to the Dress" on TLC Friday nights. I don't know why, but I do love this show. Perhaps its the people who think it is perfectly acceptable to blow what would be a nice down payment for a house on a dress.

And my other TLC fave, the Duggars on 18 (soon to be 19) Kids and Counting.

There are probably more, TV was a great friend of mine during the many sleepless nights of newborn-at-home time. With Laura I would hear her cry, look at the clock, and know what show I would get to watch as I fed her. Good think I am a fan of most cheesy, second rate sit coms of the 90's!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

OK, I admit it, Sometimes I love my dog!

We are not always the best of friends. Sometimes I consider him my arch enemy.

He often pushes me over the limit (barking at neighbors when the baby is drifting off to sleep, splashing water on the laundry room floor when he drinks, snoring at night, many other doggie offenses)

But sometimes, he sure comes in handy. Like when a bowl of leftovers falls out of the fridge and splatters all over the kitchen floor.

Enjoy dog.

Pictures By Jack

Thanks to the wonderful world of digital photography, I can let my older children take control of the camera and shoot away. Here are some pictures Jack has taken over the past couple of days.



Questions

1. Has anyone seen the red dustpan?
2. Where should I start Laura and Jack in the new math curriculum we got?
3. Will this new Math curriculum confuse them, bore them, make them frustrated?
4. Where is the second Wii Remote?
5. Will Megan be over her stomach bug anytime soon?
6. How many hours of sleep will I get tonight?
7. Is my usual sitter available to watch Lou (the beagle dog) if we travel for Christmas?
8. How much do I love my husband that I am letting him play Madden football on the Wii while the Office Wedding is taking place? (Yes, the DVR is running)


Just a few of the questions (plus many, many others *trust me*) that are going through my head tonight.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

6 months

I don't want to compare my kids, just look at them all at the same age (give or take a few weeks)

Here is Laura (with some crazy young parents that I barely recognize) at 6 months.














And here is Jack, chillin' at a friend's birthday party at 6 months.














And James, drooling at 6 months (I wonder how much drool he has manufactured in the last 10 + months)




















And Megan, looking pretty at 6 months.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Homeschool James

I knew there was a reason we usually do most of our school while James is napping, and why we usually have baby gates up in the entrance to the homeschool room . . .

Laura Ballet



Laura has started to take ballet. She loves it. I am happy she has this opportunity. The classes are fun and friendly. She gets to take something each class for show and tell. Here she has her Cinderella doll, a great Goodwill find. It even sings.

As We Sew, So Shall We Reap

So my friend and I have started renewing our interests in sewing. I feel like I should force my kids into cute matching outfits for as long as I can. I am quite certain when they are 18, 17, 12 and 11 they won't think its cool for Mom to sew them coordinating church clothes.

My friend made her boys some shirts from designs on the material, they were adorable. I recycled the Easter shirts for my boys.

For the picture, the three on the far right are mine, plus the other baby being held. The others belong to someone else, although a couple try to follow me out of the YMCA on occasion.



The older girls were much more into the photo shoot than the youngers . . . but we tried to get all four girls in their outfits in one picture . . .



and we tried . . .


So we finally just put the baby girls where they both can sit down (Megan is a little more sitting challenged at this age than CR)



and got the mandatory two babies crying pose that we know was the best we could do.

I know one day the kids will look back with fond memories, secretly wishing they could wear coordinating clothes forever . . .

Rub A Dub Dub . . . James in the Tub

video

It was bath time.
The three older kids were all in the bathroom.
I needed to get James some PJ's and a clean diaper.
I guess he just couldn't wait.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Megan at 6 months

I forgot to post Megan's six month stats.

When Megan had her appt at 6 months, she weighed 15lbs 3oz and was 25.9 inches long. Come on, just give her the extra 1/1oth of an inch already! She was very close to Ceili Rain's stats (Even though hers were taken just a few days ago, and in the middle of her 6th month) I think it is cool how close they are.

CR is sitting up a lot better than Megan, and she eats solid foods better than Megan, but I am sure Megan will come along soon. Megan has been found on all fours in her crib, looking like she wants to crawl.

Compare to Ceili Rain