Friday, April 5, 2013
Oh! Happy Day!
Spring Break is over and we are back to the grind. One of these years, I hope to give my kids a real Spring Break and actually go somewhere really fun…oh well….
We had a decent week. The kids finally started the Apologia Zoology 3 and the new Old Testament Bible study I’ve been working on for them.
I’ll share more about our new curriculum in a separate post, but so far, we are all really enjoying it!
I think it’s funny how he writes like this….time for another vision check?!
The three older kids have had some pretty serious Lego building going on.
Isaac has been working on this house all week, and has even added a second story deck and a garage to it since I took the picture.
Nate and Isaac revealed their plans of someday opening up a Lego store that’s connected to a book store. I think that suits both of them perfectly!
Olivia had a great week!
She’s been trying out all of her new spring dresses, even on the days she should have been wearing something much warmer…
I set out our Primary Science Set for her, and that entertained her for almost an hour. She had to keep batting away her siblings who each begged for their own turn. I forgot how much fun pouring, dumping, squeezing, and splashing water is when your three….or six….or eight….
Saul treated me to a trip to the salon. Which was waaay over due. I had them cut just around 10 inches off the length. Can you believe it? I’d have easily gone shorter, except my romantic husband requested that I keep it below my shoulders.
This week was sadly lacking in the kitchen area…
I confessed to Saul that I would really rather prefer to serve cereal for breakfast for a while to ease up on the never-ending supply of dirty dishes that greet me at the end of each day. Truthfully, I was feeling tremendously lazy, and a lot of it was due to some severe pain issues that I’ve been dealing with.
We made a trip to SAMS club and stocked up on cereal and Go-gurts, my go-to for easy breakfasts.
While we were there, we filled our cart, like we usually do, with lots more than we planned to get. Am I the only one suckered into all the “end-of-the-isle-taste-a-sample” impulse buy’s???
The kids and I made a batch of Oatmeal Cookies and shared some with a new friend I made through my last Bible study. She is 80 and absolutely lovely. The kids warmed right up to her and introduced themselves to her very politely. It didn’t take Olivia too long before she was calling her “BaBa” which is her word for “Grandma”. Too sweet!
Friday was my Girls’ Night Out. This week Joanna had us do a collaborative art project that was so much fun! I really love these ladies!
Saul is working again this weekend, though his job is pretty slow right now. My only plans are to relax and stay off my feet to try and get my pain back to a much lower baseline. My Dad and Gina are coming down to visit on Sunday too, and visits with them are always lots of fun .
Thursday, April 4, 2013
I happen to think I’m a pretty good cook.
If that’s not to forward of me to say.
I make a pretty mean Smashed Potato, and I am well known for my gourmet salads. My chicken is usually juicy, and my roasts are tender and flavorful. I can stir-fry, sauté, flambé, char, blacken, grill, roast, bake, and fry. I can chop, dice, and mince up Mirepoix for my homemade soups, stews, and sauces. I’ve learned through trial and error, which spices are best suited for international dishes, which herbs best complement different kinds of meat, and which vinaigrettes can be used as a marinade.
I blame the after school hours of being a latch-key kid, who was left to watch a full hour of Cooking with Julia on PBS each day. She filled my mind with all the tasty ways one could conjure up a culinary delight in as little as thirty minutes.
Through the years, I’ve been through many different seasons of cooking. As a young teenager, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen, making all kinds of messes for my mom to clean up. I would regularly honor my family with a special napkin fold or a garnish on each plate, often a unique arrangement of edibles to fancy things up. We went from using convenience foods and TV dinners, to making things from scratch.
As a newly married wife, I labored over the stove in a similarly driven fashion, working hard to make each meal special for Saul. One year, for my new years resolution, I learned how to make 12 new Mexican style dishes. I’m not afraid to admit, that it was my own futile attempt to win over my husbands love affair with his own mother’s cooking. There’s just something about mom’s cooking for that man…
Having children has posed some unique challenges to my time in the kitchen. The food that I’d been accustomed to cooking and eating, was no longer a tasty choice for my particular and picky kids. As a very young toddler, Nate was often noted to say, “This food is too tasty for me!” just before excusing himself to go elsewhere in the house. And I’ve never been one to make special meals for my children. No different meals from what Saul and I are eating. Our motto is:
You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.
While I would love to be able to offer them more culinary choices, and thus hear a lot less complaining, we are limited by budget, time, and energy levels each day.
Around here, the kitchen is always popping with new recipes and old ones too. I work very hard to keep things interesting and fresh, and challenge myself regularly to introduce new things to my family.
Just in the last year have I begun to learn how to make homemade bread. And I’ve been baking biscuits for so long, that I no longer use a recipe for them, favoring instead to just pour the flour about this much, and add about that much shortening, and stir in milk until it’s sticky…
Baking hasn’t really been a strength of mine, but I’m coming around. My cakes don’t fall nearly as often as they used to. My cookies are more often soft and chewy now, instead of the hard and crumbly ones I used to make. I still have a lot to learn in the dessert area, and rely heavily on good old fashioned recipes to get by.
While my kids do grumble and complain a fair amount about what I make, they all have their favorites. And whenever something new is tried, and they like it, a chorus of will you add this to our family cookbook please, is sure to follow suite. Isaac is by far the easiest one to please, and likes most anything I fix. Nate is much more picky though, and requests that sauces be left off, and seasonings be put to the side. No dressings or gravies for him because he prefers his food to be plain and simple. He does love the bread that I make, and breakfasts are usually his favorite because they nearly always have eggs.
Elaina loves anything sweet.
Every new dessert she tries is toted to being her favorite in the whole wide world. Elaina’s world wide web of desserts is growing bigger by the week, but she is just like me and will go into a temporary depression if she goes too long without chocolate. Olivia is still too little to say much, though she echo’s the praises that her older siblings shout out. She could probably live off of pancakes and bread if I would allow it.
I like to take pictures of what we are eating, because food is an important part of our family time together. We are very deliberate around here about sitting down for our meals together. The kids and I eat all three meals together, and most days, Saul eats both breakfast and dinner with us. It’s part of why I’ve resisted joining all of the evening commitments that families are often lured into. I’m not ready to give up our precious family time to make way for clubs, sports, and other extracurriculars just yet.
One of these days, I want to make a cookbook for each of the kids. It’ll be a sort of scrapbook-memoir-how-to cookbook if that makes any sense. That’s another reason why I take a lot of pictures of the food I make, so that I can include them in my l’il project down the road. Something to keep when they’ve grown and moved out of the house. For those times they are homesick and want Mom’s recipe for Biscuits and Gravy, or Triple Chocolate Cake for a dinner party they are hosting. Something to share with their spouse’s and children.
Maybe I’ll have to get started on that sooner than I thought….
It may take me a while!