Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tales From The Potty

Here's Mr. Griffin with his latest obsession ~ my matryoshka dolls. I have a little collection of them that sit on the sill in my kitchen, and Griffin wants to play with them all the time. But, I digress...

For the past week, Griff and I have been in the trenches of potty training. Deeeeep in the trenches. It has been going well. It has also not been going well. I've had a couple of moments this week where I wanted to just throw my hands up in the air, stick the boy back in a diaper, and go curl up in a ball on my bedroom floor. Alas, we have come too far to turn back now, so onward we will march! We seem to be on an upswing again, so I'll just leave it at that and hope for the best. The best news is, we are 100% diaper-free now, so I'm thrilled about that.

Yesterday, I was preparing lunch for the boys, and they were busy playing. At one point I could hear Griffin singing, "I'm the Potty Man! I'm the Potty Man!" I chuckled to myself, and continued with lunch prep. His little voice was getting closer, and when I turned around, this is what I saw:
Yes...that's his potty chair, on his head. Ick. He wasn't too pleased when I removed it, I can tell you. This photo also gives you a good look at his front teeth - - they've come back down a bit, but are still pretty much up in the gum line. There's been a little discoloration in one of the teeth, but we're still not sure what will become of them. That Griffin, he's a rascal.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Something to Try: Aebleskiver!

Have you ever seen a pan quite like this one? It is an aebleskiver pan, and I had been coveting one in the King Arthur Flour catalogue for months, but then was lucky enough to be given one for my birthday this year (thanks, Kevin and Rachel!). I finally got around to trying it over the weekend, and one use was all I needed, to declare that that aebleskiver will become a regular in our house. I also received this book along with my pan, so I settled on the "quick aebleskiver" recipe and got to work. The only ingredients were Bisquick, milk, and eggs, so it was as simple as could be. After the batter was prepared, I heated the pan, and then added some cooking oil to each well. When that was good and hot, I added a couple of tablespoons of batter to each well.

Once they had been cooking for about 3 minutes, I carefully turned each aebleskiver over, using two bamboo skewers, and they looked like this:

As it turns out, I'd turned them a little too early because they weren't as brown as I had wanted. No problem, I just flipped them again. The end result?
Little morsels of deliciousness that the boys (big and little) went crazy for. We gave them a generous sprinkle of confectioner's sugar and they were good to go. I did try a batch just using cooking spray to coat the pan, and I can tell you that they weren't nearly as good as the ones that were cooked in oil (go figure!). I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the book. Camden wants to put some chocolate chips in the centers of the next batch, which sounds like a mighty fine idea to me.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Flax Prairie Bread

What? You haven't visited your local thrift store yet, and bought yourself a bread machine? I promise you, with little effort and about $6.00, you can find yourself a nearly new bread machine, and you won't regret the purchase. After about 7 years of regular use, my trusty bread machine finally keeled over, so off to the thrift store I went. As luck would have it, I found the exact same model that I'd had, only an updated version of it, and I seriously don't think it had ever been used. That's the thing about bread machines - - either they get used on a regular basis, or they are purchased and they collect dust (thus, the abundance of them at thrift stores!). Anyway, my bread machine gets regular workouts every week. In fact, if you were to stop by around 3:30 today, you'd find it happily humming away on my counter, making our pizza dough for our dinner tonight. I don't bake bread in my bread machine though - - I don't like the weird shape of the loaf, nor do I like the big hole that the mixing paddle leaves in the bottom of it. I use the dough cycle, and then bake the bread in my oven. I make our sandwich bread, pizza dough, dinner rolls, and any other recipe that strikes my fancy. Love it. So, now lets move on to my new favorite bread recipe.

Flax Prairie Bread

1 1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. canola oil
2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup ground flax seed*
2 tsp. yeast

Place ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. If you are baking the bread in the machine, select the whole wheat/rapid cycle. If you are baking it in the oven, select the dough cycle. When the cycle has ended, remove dough from bread machine, roll out into a rectangle with rolling pin, then roll this back up into a loaf. Place in a bread pan and let rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. For a soft crust, brush top of bread with melted butter, right after removing from the oven. This recipe makes a delicious, soft, large loaf of bread, and it disappears quickly in this house!

*I buy my flax seed in bulk because it is much cheaper that way. Then, I bought a coffee mill at the thrift store, and I use it only for grinding flax seed. To get the best nutritional value from flax seed, it is best to buy the whole seeds, and grind them yourself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Lovely Week

We've been busy enjoying the beautiful Idaho spring weather - - it has been in the mid-80's this week, but will cool down a bit for the next couple of days. It actually looks like rain this morning, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, either. On Monday, the boys enjoyed a picnic in the park with their cousin, followed by some playground time.

Griffin helped me make some Flax Prairie Bread (recipe coming soon). He's fascinated with my bread machine. Yes, he's standing on the counter.

Thank you for all of your kind and supportive words about Riley. I'm happy to report that he is doing very well. He's mastered the 3-legged hop, and has pretty much gotten back to his normal activities. He did manage to get downstairs somehow last night, so Steve had to go rescue him and carry him back up. Hopefully he won't sneak down there again, anytime soon.

As you can see, Roy is still Riley's faithful companion. They are actually a little weird, but that's okay.

The local orchards are in full bloom, and are beautiful. Before too long, we'll be enjoying cherries, and I can't wait!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nana!

Camden and Nana at the playground, circa 2006

We hope you have a fabulous birthday! We miss you and love you, and wish we could be with you today!
Heather, Steve, Camden, Griffin, Riley, & Roy

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Old Sucks

(My apologies to my mother for using the word "suck", but really, there's no other way to describe it). Riley's had a rough week. On Tuesday morning, he severely tore a ligament in one of his hind legs, and due to his age, this basically means he won't ever use this leg again. His challenge is that he has some pretty significant arthritis in his front right shoulder and elbow, so supporting his 62-pound body isn't an easy feat. In the past 6 months or so, Riley has begun to show his age (he'll be twelve in August), but seeing him so helpless this week just wasn't something I was prepared for. Yesterday was a good day - - he perked up quite a bit, and seemed to get the hang of hopping on three legs. I had a long talk with Riley's vet, and he reassured me that as long as Riley can still attend to all of his "doggy business" (he can) and be comfortable, that it was neither cruel nor selfish to want to keep him around (my biggest concern). Riley and I have been through a lot together over the years - - he is a gentle and loving soul, and in my opinion, the best dog ever. I am not ready for him to leave just yet, but I trust that he will let me know when he is done.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Busy Weekend

This past Friday, Camden's kindergarten class went on a field trip to a local dairy farm. Griffin and I were lucky enough to be invited along, and we had a great time!

The farmer and his wife showed all of the children a bit about their farm, introduced them to some of the cows, and let them do a little exploring. Then, they were all treated to some Darigold milk, and some cookies to go with it. I overheard Camden more than once, telling anyone who would listen, "MY Nana grew up on a dairy farm!"

Although Griffin was mainly interested in the school buses, he did get in on the calf-petting action.
Griffin continues to insist that he no longer needs to nap, yet, I keep finding him conked out in random places in the house. The boy doesn't like to be told how to run his day, you see.

On Saturday, we took the boys to the massive Easter egg hunt at our city park. Griffin
had no interest in the whole spectacle, and even Camden (in the orange jacket) got a little overwhelmed by the crowd.
He was very happy to pose with the Easter Bunny though (hmmm...where's Griffin?), and had lots of fun playing with his cousin on the playground after.

Yesterday, the four of us went to the top of Old Freezeout Hill at sunrise, and then enjoyed a beautifully scenic drive. Next, we were off to Rod and Candy's house for Easter brunch (that's Camden and Banzer above, searching for eggs).
Presently, we are all recovering from massive sugar hangovers, but we all had a great weekend. The weather continues to be beautiful, so we are taking full advantage of it!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Sure Signs of Spring

Flowers in bloom
Little boys in rain boots

Jelly beans in abundance

Raised beds being built

Decorating Easter eggs (which Griffin promptly began peeling)

The Cozy Coupe emerges from winter storage

Lots of digging

Rainy day snuggles

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Little Birthday Celebration

Yesterday was Steve's 41st birthday, so the little guys and I spent the day planning a little party for him. Camden told me that he was certain that Daddy would want a cake that looked like a volcano (because Camden is in love with volcanoes this week). Here is what I came up with:

A little simplistic, but Camden was thrilled with it, which was what I was shooting for. Once the cake was done, the boys and I hot-footed it to Eagle, where we picked up a platter-full of sushi at Mai Thai. Steve and I love sushi, but usually only get out about once per year for it (sad, I know).
Rex, Kasey, and Banzer came down to join in the festivities, and we had a great time. I'm glad I remembered to get some sake yesterday, because sushi just isn't sushi, unless you have some sake to go with it.

The sushi platter, after Steve and I ransacked it. I was madly in love with the tempura roll. Yum!

After the partying wound down for the evening, we filled the tub with little boys, and called it a night.
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