Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Dang Good Batch of Bread

I mentioned how I've been baking all my family's bread lately. I don't know how I do it. I can't get the laundry done and my kids won't go to bed and I haven't left the house all week, but we usually have bread. Priorities, I guess.

Anyway, with our family in the state it's in, some batches have been better than others. My last batch, two days ago, was barely edible. The kids lost the kitchen timer, so when the Badger put it in the oven during my nap he just looked at the clock. He's usually pretty good about keeping track of things like that, but he was on call and he got called in on a flight about 10 minutes into the baking. I was dead asleep and he had to leave in an instant. He wasn't able to call me and wake me up to get the bread out of the oven until it had been in half an hour too long. It was pretty dry and tough. Roo ate it as bread and milk, but when I tried to slice it for toast it fell apart.

The kitchen timer turned up that evening buried in our couch's bowels. I guess our new couch is not only fragrant but likes to snack. (I'm not sure if it's allergic to pillows because I haven't tried putting any on it. The ones I have don't match. And the fragrance is a lot better lately, in case you were wondering.)

Oh dear, I'm off on another tangent about my couch. What was I saying? Oh yeah, bread.

This is what I pulled out of the oven today. Absolutely perfect texture, color, flavor, shape, etc. Golly, it was divine. We inhaled an entire loaf at dinner time.

It may seem a small thing, but the satisfaction of seeing a batch of bread like this went a long way toward making up for all the crayoned-on walls and urine soaked sheets and diaper blowouts and "he hit me!"s that filled up a good portion of the rest of the day.

We all need things like this in our life-- things that make us feel like we can do something right on days when it seems like life is more than we can handle. What did it for you the last time you had a hard day?

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Friday, March 28, 2008

The Namesake

Today I discovered that the Badger's Aunt V has put a bunch of the old family photos on Picasa Web Albums, including this beautiful photo of the Badger's great-grandmother. This is the beautiful and talented woman that we named our baby after. This is her high school graduation photo, taken in the late 1890's in Utah.

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Watch Me Grow

This is my sister Emily's favorite baby outfit. She saw it in a store when she was pregnant with her daughter and the pictures and words on it Spoke to Her Maternal Insticts and made her do that cooing thing that only we women understand. You know, that noise we all make at baby showers when they pass around all the adorable little clothes because they make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Well, Emily makes that noise again every time I call her and tell her that my baby is wearing the "Watch Me Grow" outfit. So I always do call her because I know it gives her that warm fuzzy feeling and we all need more of that in our lives. And then she always says "take a picture!" and I often do. Today I did.

There are pictures of gardening tools and flower pots and baby animals and it says "come out and play" and "little friend" and "watch me grow." It definitely does the warm fuzzy thing for me too, especially when my Little Rabbit is wearing it.

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The Crackeroon Immortalized

When my grandmother died in 1992, one of the random things I inherited was a stuffed raccoon containing a music box that plays "It's a Small World." When Bean was about three, he latched onto it for a time and simply would not go to sleep at night unless you wound up his "Crackeroon." After awhile the music box wore out and would only play the song really slow, so I packed up the Crackeroon in a garage storage box. I wasn't ready to just throw it away, because it belonged to my grandma. It stayed in the garage the entire year we lived on the coast and Bean never even asked about it. Then, it got unearthed again during our move. (It's fascinating what turns up when you move, isn't it?) I looked at it, with its tail missing and threadbare fur and broken music box, and I almost chucked it, but I was out of room in my miniscule garbage can.

Well, then, the kids got their paws on it and Bean had this huge surge of tender feelings for his beloved Crackeroon. He decided one day that he needed to give it to Roo, even though he said something like it was going to break his heart to do it. So he put it in her crib and started winding it up for her at every opportunity. Never mind that Roo couldn't care less, I was pleased at Bean's selflessness.

Then the baby was born and Bean just knew that the Crackeroon would bring her all the joy there is to be had in life. He started bringing it in to my room and winding it up and laying it lovingly next to her, convinced it would soothe her to sleep or make her stop crying. Very sweet gestures, but unfortunately I was usually trying to go to sleep with the baby and the Crackeroon does NOT soothe me to sleep. In fact, it drives me insane. The song plays erratically and sometimes stops for hours only to suddenly play a few notes randomly when you've forgotten that the Crackeroon is even there.

The Crackeroon has been violently ejected by the Badger from our bedroom several times in the middle of the night when it decided to leak a few notes and wake us all up. The Badger, being very sensitive to noise, is very much in favor of the Crackeroon taking a one-way trip to the landfill, and I would agree except that I respect Bean's feelings of attachment to it.

However, the day of the landfill trip may be coming soon. Bean took a picture of his Crackeroon yesterday and said "I'm taking this picture so I can always remember my Crackeroon even after it's gone." And his interest in it has waned the last couple of weeks. I could probably get away with sneaking it into the big black can when he's not looking.

What do you think? Would it be callous and cruel of me to throw away the Crackeroon? Or is it time for all of us to move on?

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008


The baby and I had a visit with the midwife today. My little Rabbit now weighs 9 lbs 9 oz-- excellent growth for her and yet she still weighs less than Roo did when she was born. It's kind of weird to look at my little Rabbit right now and think that I delivered a baby larger than her. Gosh, maybe I really am Supermom.

I made JaneAnne's chowder recipe for dinner tonight. It was totally awesome and I devoured two large bowls. For some odd reason, though, my boys did not like it, especially Bean. I don't know why, since they've eaten other chowders I've made without any complaints. Plus, one of our favorite songs around here goes like this (sung to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It"): If you think that yams are yummy, yell out "yes" "YES!"...

Maybe the problem with the chowder had to do with Bean cutting his six-year molars. I did not even know that kids cut a new set of molars at age six until he complained that his mouth hurt and I looked in and said, "wow, that's either a massive abscess or you've got another tooth coming in!" I'm hoping this explains why he has been so touchy lately.

I have a new friend who I have so much in common with it's eerie. We met in the mother's lounge at church and it came out that we have the same number of kids nearly the same ages and genders, the same midwife delivered our babies, and we both homeschool. She invited us to Easter dinner at her house and we had a great time. The only bummer is that she lives 20 miles away.

My new friend asked me to bring dessert when I came to dinner, so I made Pioneer Woman's carrot cake recipe. I think I like my friend Eve's "World's Best Carrot Cake" better (it has pineapple and coconut and raisins) but this had better frosting. She had you add chopped pecans to the cream cheese frosting and let me tell you, I did not think cream cheese frosting could possibly taste any better until I encountered it with such lovely little bits of crunch and a slight nutty flavor. My, oh, my, oh, my!

Which brings me to my last tidbit. We're joining the YMCA. I'm going to need it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Fish Tells About Easter

Fish wants to tell you a little bit about his Easter. This is his first time dictating.

Bean and Fish's Easter. (He is going to tell you what he had in his basket.) Chocolate Easter Bunny. Car. Grass. Play-doh. Jelly Beans. Bubbles. Pencils. A pencil holder. Fruit Snacks.

Fish and Bean's egg hunting. That's all.

The Blessing Dress

We have the most beautiful blessing dress for a baby girl. Someone handmade it for my sister Emily's daughter and she generously passed it on to me for Roo to wear. Yesterday it was Roo's baby sister's turn. I wonder who will wear it next?

It has a nice long skirt, with a band of satin on the bottom hem, just like my wedding dress.

The detail work on this dress is exquisite. The smocking is perfectly, gorgeously done, with a border of tiny hand-embroidered pale pink flowers. And I love the little ribbon ties on the sleeves.

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The Baby Blessing

We had our baby blessed in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. It was really neat to be able to do it on Easter Sunday. Here is a picture of our family in the church foyer after the meeting.

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Easter Morning

Roo was pretty cute running around in her pink sleepers clutching her stuffed bunny from her Easter basket.

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The Easter Bunny (a.k.a. Cynthia) spoiled my kids rotten this year. It was wonderful!

Look at Roo's darling chick basket!

Bean was pretty pleased with the contents of his basket.

We had a wonderful Easter Saturday!
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A Fish in a Tree

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Bean on the Hunt

"Hey, I can't quite reach that egg!"

"But with a little help from Mom..."

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Our Egg Hunt

Here are the kids lined up with their cousins, ready to begin the egg hunt:

Roo found an egg!

Seth helped her put it in the carton.

I even found an egg! McKenzie did the hiding and he put lots of them in really tricky places, so I got to hunt too because the kids couldn't find them all.

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Bagpipe Player

My cousin Glenda's next-door neighbor plays the bagpipes. He's twelve, and he's good. He gave us a concert on Saturday when we went over there to hunt eggs. It was really fun to hunt eggs to the accompaniment of bagpipes.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Early Spring Sunset

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Good Daddy

Holding the baby and playing checkers with Bean...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First Graduation

The baby has made her first move up in the world: she is out of "Newborn" diapers and into Size 1. Sigh. She really isn't a newborn anymore. It's funny how wistful that makes me when she gets cuter and more fun every day.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Five of My Favorites

Some of my friends posted on their blogs lately about their favorite kitchen tools. That got me thinking about my kitchen tools. I love my kitchen tools. I have probably spent more of my discretionary money on them than on anything else since I've been married, including clothes and CDs and movies. Fashion and entertainment don't really have much pull on me, but food! That's a different story. I like food. Therefore, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I want my time there to be as pleasant and as efficient as possible.

Here are my five most well-used kitchen tools:

My KitchenAid mixer. Used nearly every day, mostly for kneading bread. I've given up buying store bread entirely because Bean eats half a loaf in one sitting and that scares me. When I make my own bread, he only eats a slice or two because it really fills hims up.

I love stoneware. I have lots. The bread pans probably get used the most. I bought them because I hated greasing the loaf pans when I make bread. I'm so glad I did. Between these and the KitchenAid the amount of bread baking I do isn't nearly so much of a burden on my time.

I hate slicing cheese with a knife. I can never get it even, and it's always too thick or too thin. To me this is a basic kitchen essential and I'm surprised how many people don't have one and end up experiencing unnecessary pain and frustration cutting their cheese. Maybe cheese isn't as important to them as it is to me. That's probably it. Cheese is pretty important to me.

Garlic is also important to me. FRESH garlic and lots of it. Like, if the recipe calls for a clove, put in six. (I noticed this morning that Roo still has garlic breath from dinner last night.) Garlic is awesome. It is a natural antibiotic/antiviral/antifungal that actually tastes good. You can't get cooler than that. And there is no easier way to let garlic into your life than with a good garlic press. Mine's from Pampered Chef.

I have a lot of stuff from Pampered Chef. Their small Mix 'N Scraper also made my top five. I use this for everything. Anytime I am cooking on the stove I reach for this because it's heat-resistant and scrapes the pan way better than a spoon, making cleanup much easier later. Then of course anytime I need to scrape out a bowl I use it too. I like it because it's just a little bit spoon-shaped, which means you can scoop and serve with it too (mashed potatoes come to mind). One of my priorities in the kitchen is keeping cleanup to a minimum, so any time I can use one tool that does the job of several I'm all over it.

What are your favorite kitchen tools?


I was really resisting giving the baby a pacifier. I used them with Bean and Roo and decided that they were more trouble than they were worth and to be avoided if possible. One of many reasons is that Roo was only broken of her binky habit a few short months ago and I didn't want her getting back into it.

Well, I finally broke down and decided that life around here would be more pleasant if my little Rabbit had a plastic plug stuck in her mouth, since her sucking needs seem to surge right when I am trying to make lunch or dinner for three other hungry children. Also, she always screams in the car and that's very stressful. So we went binky shopping, and I decided to buy her a Soothie. Several of her cousins have liked them, but, more importantly, they look very unlike the Nuks that Roo used.

My Rabbit refuses to have anything to do with her Soothies. Her sister, however....

Never mind that it doesn't look a thing like a Nuk, she proclaimed it "Meekee!" and claimed it as her own.

My dear cousin Cynthia, hearing of our plight, bought my Rabbit some Mams. We've had some success with them, but overall the binky project isn't a thrilling triumph.

It doesn't help that whenever we reach for the "mute button" it isn't there, and from some far distant corner of the house a delighted toddler is joyfully proclaiming "Meekee!" as she hides said object in her secret toddler hiding place, along with the clip that keeps her in her high chair and the key to our piano.

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The Versatile Napper

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My sister in Alaska sent Baby a package, which included this very clever baby wrap called a SwaddleMe.

I have discovered that my little Rabbit likes to be swaddled.

Ah, don't you just want to pick her up and snuggle her?

Here is a full body view of the Swaddle Me. It is very cleverly designed and easy to use. Thank you, Connie!

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