Saturday, January 30, 2010


This is a picture that Noah drew in his class, he had to write about it on the back. Despite his utter hatred of writing, it made me smile...

  • Over Thanksgiving break, at my cousun's house, I did some weird things. But in this pic, I'm riding a horse named Ruby. She has red in the brownish coat. She is also nice. The thing in the bottom left corner is a dog named Lloyd a.k.a. Bunny Butt, but that is a diferent story.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Final Product

The house smelled delightful while these were cooking. It was hard to let them cool at all before diving right in. Even my little misshapen end pieces turned out just fine.

Oliver wouldn't talk to me the entire time he was eating his warm cinnamon roll. He would utter an "umm" or an "uh-huh" but that was it. Fully focused on the business at hand.

I froze up 6 trays of rolls. I figured if I ended up giving any away or taking them someplace with me that I wouldn't want to give them away bare naked or have to worry about making glaze. So I made up the full batch of glaze then filled 6 baggies that will go into the freezer also. Put the tray of rolls and a baggie of glaze on your counter before going to bed and they should both be thawed and ready to go in the morning.

Apparently my boys liked them. Good thing I cooked up two trays, Joel would have grounded them for sure!

Cinnamon Rolls

I finally made Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls today and I'm glad I did! I've had most of the ingredients since before the holidays, just never got around to making them. Of course, most of the ingredients I keep on hand at all times so really, it was just the trays that I had on hand since before the holidays. They look delicious, I actually haven't baked them yet but they look and smell heavenly even at this point. I knew the recipe was a big one and even read the part about it making 45-50 rolls but I totally blocked out just how many that was until I saw them all sitting on my table. I got 48 really nice looking ones from the middle cuts and another pan of 7 or 8 end pieces that will still be delicious but don't look as pretty. Almost 5 dozen rolls! Luckily it says to wrap pans tightly with foil and put in freezer before they rise for future use. I'm stocked up for at least a few days...

I was taking pictures of them all in the pans and Oliver slowly peeked up over the edge. I laughed and luckily got the picture! He wanted to know if they were done yet.
I wanted to know if he was going to help clean up the mess.
After all, he did help assemble them.

Actually, it wasn't too bad...that cookbook there on the left, one of my favorite Christmas presents ever! Even if you don't like to cook, the book is beautiful.

Heading for the deep freeze. I will let you know how they turn out after a freeze, thaw, rise and bake session. I'm sure they'll be fantastic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My sister, a.k.a. Aunt Nana said I should try making bagels and to use this recipe from the Half Assed Kitchen blog. And because I've "always" listened to my sister that is just what I did. I suddenly hear uncontrollable laughter coming from the north, hmmm. Anyway, who knew that making homemade bagels could actually be this easy? Check it out and give them a try, you won't be disappointed. Oh, and I made mine with whole wheat flour using 1 1/2 cups of water and they taste great, slightly crunchy outside and chewy inside just like, well, a bagel.

Mix ingredients and knead for 10 minutes.
Split into 8 equal pieces and let sit for 20 minutes.
Mine are more along the lines of equal-ish pieces, Joel wasn't home to divide and measure each chunk for me...I'm fine with equal-ish.

Take each piece and roll it into a 6 to 8 inch rope, wrap around your hand and press to seal the ends together. Let sit for another 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure mine were in the 8-inch, maybe even a little longer range. I plan to shorten this up a bit next time.

While the bagels were resting, I turned the oven on, got my pot of water boiling and picked out some toppings to put on my bagels. Because I had 8 I decided to go with 3 toppings: kosher salt, cinnamon & sugar and toasted sesame seeds. Two of each topping plus two left plain.

Drop each bagel into the boiling water and boil for 2 minutes each side. Reading the comments on Half Assed's blog a couple of others suggested that 2 minutes was too long. Too long in the water can cause gooey to set in and we don't want gooey. I opted for somewhere in between. About 3 minutes total or 90 seconds each side. Shana, the sister I always listen to (there's that laughter again!) said she did hers for 2 minutes each side and they turned out great. I guess you'll have to try and see what works best for you. After you boil them, remove them to a greased (I just used parchment paper) baking sheet.
What an odd picture...but you don't have much time to play with the camera when it's time to boil.

Steaming hot, just out of their bath with their toppings on. Now it's time to bake!

Baked at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before digging in...easier said than done.
These are delicious!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bunk Bed Update

The head and foot boards are put together and Joel is applying one of the coats of polyurethane to them. I think he went with a total of three coats. Not sure you could actually put enough coats of anything on them to protect them completely from our crazy, active boys.

Here they are all stained and poly'd up. Moved them inside to make more room in the garage for Joel to work. Plus it lessens the chance of the boys running into them while in and out of the garage themselves. Aren't they pretty?
The rails that the support for the mattress will sit on.

Joel staining rails.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Work In Progress

Quick note before my post today:

My posting has been sparse this first month of 2010, I need new batteries for my camera and keep forgetting to grab some when I'm at the store. I've been hoping to find some rechargeable batteries on sale but haven't found any yet. Not to mention that the last couple sets of rechargeable batteries that I have purchased really didn't seem to last that long. Longer than the regular, yes but not as long as I would have hoped. Any rechargeable battery users out there that can recommend their favorites? My blog has also been targeted by spammers - yeah me!! I had to turn on comment moderation and now have to approve each comment before it shows on the blog so if you are used to seeing your comment immediately, don't worry about it not showing right away, it will the next time I check emails.

Onto the post...

We are really focusing on getting the house organized, which means Joel has been busy planning and designing new furniture and organization items. We decided that to get more storage and organization into the room that the boys share that it would be best for them to have bunk beds. Joel searched for quite a while for a set of plans that he liked but never seemed to find just the right one. He finally just sat down and designed his own. The bunk beds are farther along then the pictures below show but as I mentioned above, my camera batteries are dead. Joel has a few more pictures on his phone but he is at class right now. Anyway, they are looking great and I can't wait to see them put together and in the boys' room. Next on the agenda will be almost an entire wall of shelves and cubbies to hold all of their toys (in buckets), some books and videos. Hopefully I will have found/purchased batteries by then! I will update with more pictures as they progress...

The head and foot boards that will slide into the posts.

Joel staining the posts that the above head and foot boards will slide into.
The bed rails will also be attached to these.

We went with the pecan color so it matches the closet organizer.

Just another view of the posts.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Need a Chuckle?

There is this blog that I visit occasionally called, Awkward Family Photos, that can make me laugh until my sides hurt. It's one of those blogs that can be a bit hit and miss at times but if you stick with it you can find yourself wiping tears from your eyes, trying to catch your breath and wondering what on earth these people were thinking?!? It also inspires those trips down memory lane and possible embarrassment when you realize that you just might have something worth submitting! The most recent post got me giggling, then I saw this and started to laugh, after seeing this one Ollie asked why I was laughing, but this post is the one that sent me over the edge this morning...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Yes, I know your birthday was yesterday but much like my children, I get easily distracted. Here is wishing you a very Happy Birthday Grandma Heidi! We all hope that you had a great day. Noah made you a sunflower, complete with sun because they like the sun and a field with some colorful wildflowers.

First Attempt at Donuts

I've been wanting to try homemade donuts for quite some time now and kept putting it off. I mean come on, we've got a great donut shop just up the road now so when I wanted a donut it was easy to get. Why dirty up my kitchen when they had already done the work for me? Still I wanted to make my own, use more organic and less processed ingredients. My goal was/is to make a great tasting product that I feel a little less guilty about my kids eating. So last night I put the dough together and put it in the fridge and this morning I finally took the plunge and made donuts.

I used whole wheat pastry flour, the flour that I use goes through a process that basically shatters the flour into an ultra-fine texture. The bran, germ and natural oils are still a part of the flour. Baking with this flour has been tricky at times, definitely different then regular processed flour. My family has been very patient with my learning curve but we are getting there. The donuts turned out pretty good this morning but I did made a few notes to tweak it a bit next time.
Headed into a warm oven for a quick rise.

For the longest time I did not own a cast iron skillet and now that I have one am wondering how I ever lived without it. One of my must-have items in the kitchen now. As soon as I put the donuts into the hot oil, I knew that this would not be the only time that I would be getting up and making donuts for the family.

Off to the side of the frying donuts I was making a glaze to dip the donuts into. I need to work on my glaze a bit and maybe make it ahead of time on my next attempt at donuts. I didn't pay attention to it, let it boil over, stirred too much air into it in a panic, relied on my candy thermometer instead of the softball method only to find out my thermometer isn't working right, cooked it a bit too long...good news is, however, that I learned a lot in the process! All that being said, it was still delicious!

Out of the hot oil and onto my cooling rack, see the cute little donut hole! I ate a few of those as soon as I could, those crunchy little bits of fried dough didn't need a glaze!
The chop sticks were perfect for turning the donuts over in the hot oil.

Getting ready to be dipped into the glaze...this is when I started to think about all of the other things I could put on this donut, maple glaze, chocolate glaze, right out of the hot oil into a dish of cinnamon and sugar, powdered sugar...let me know what your choice would be in the comments please.

Oh yeah, fresh donuts and a hot cup of coffee.
Well worth the effort!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Smooth Talker

There was a break in the heavy rains on Tuesday and Oliver had been asking if we could go get a donut so I bundled him up and we headed out the door. A latte for me and a glazed raised for him were waiting for us down the street, I walked and he rode his bike. Along the way we battled our way up the dangerous mountain (rise in the sidewalk); called out for help to cross the big hole in the ground then built a bridge when no one answered (intersection/big street crossing); we interpreted for then rescued the sad, sad, sad dog from the mean people (dog barking on other side of fence and left on other side of the fence); we tiptoed past the spies that were trying to find us (people working out on treadmills looking out the window towards the sidewalk); made it to base safely (Tully's coffee). Oliver is quite the social bug so sitting in the coffee shop drinking juice is fantastic for this little man. To the barista, "Hi! What's yours name? I'm Oliver. What are you doing here? Do you work here? Hm. That's cool." And just in case you are ever behind the counter at a coffee shop and I walk in with Oliver, I ALWAYS tip better when baristas chat it up a bit with my boy. To the lady and son that walk in the door, which by the way, we are sitting right next to so that no one can escape us, "Hey, you have a son just like my mom has a son! I'm her son, Oliver. What's yours son's name?" Turning to the boy, "Hi Josh, you have a green shirt on. Yellow is my favorite color but your shirt is cool. Are you going to have apple juice like me?" As Josh and his mom are deciding on what to have Oliver continues his push for the apple juice, "my juice is really yummy, pick the juice Josh it's deweecious!" Then the door opens up again, "Hey, you have a computer! Did you carry it on your bike or did you drive a car? I rode my bike here. See it? Do you like it? Yellow is my favorite color but I still LOVE my red bike. Do you have a bike? Is it red? This is my mom, Tiffany, she is having coffee and I'm having juice. Are you going to have juice or coffee?" I finally convince him to leave the folks alone for a bit and talk to me. He's a bit bored with me because he talks to me all the time but he eventually turns his focus to me and his juice. Sitting there, quietly, for maybe 30 seconds he gets this devilish grin on his face, tilts his head slightly and says in the deepest voice that a 4 year old can, "Hey Tiffany." "Yes, Oliver?" I reply. "So, Tiffany, want to go out on a date with me?" Trying to stifle the laughing, "Sure cutie, where are we going to go or what are we going to do?" Continuing in his deep voice, "Let's go to a dance okay?" I nod my head yes because if I talk I know I'm going to start laughing! Where on earth did he learn to ask a girl out and why the deep voice are the questions running through my head. "You, me and daddy..." he pauses just for a second, long enough for me to think that daddy is lucky enough to be going with us on our date but then he says, "well daddy can just find his own chick to dance with!" That was it, I couldn't hold it in anymore and started laughing. I gave the boy a great big hug and told him that I was very much looking forward to our date. Then we went over to Dots Donuts and got him a glazed raised.

Saturday, January 02, 2010