If I don't post for the next two weeks, I have some good reasons. Michael and I have been planning a reunion for my dad's family. This is something I probably won't volunteer for ever again. Ever. Anyway, we're almost done. We leave Thursday for Mickelson Field Station and will go to Lovell Sunday. We'll go to my mom's to do some laundry, then head back up for more camping with Michael's family. His older brother Coby is in town visiting before he and his family move to Spain for three years. So, we'll camp with about 30 members of Michael's family until Tuesday. We'll come back to Lovell for more laundry, then Michael will come home and I will stay in Lovell. Michael will come back to Lovell on Friday for my brother Jeremy's wedding. On Saturday he and my brother Kevin and Jeremy's son Brandon will leave on their annual backpacking trip. I will still be in Lovell. They will come back to Lovell on Tuesday, more laundry and finally home sweet home! Hopefully during this time I'll be able to paint two of my mom's rooms and see some old friends. Kevin's family will also be there, so the girls will all be able to play together. Yay for cousins!
Michael and my 10 year class reunion was this weekend. I'll just say that the actual reunion was...interesting. I'm sure most of my classmates don't remember it. It was nice to see most of the people though. So here is our breakdown of costs for the reunion.
Expense: 1 day off for Michelle and 1 vacation day for Michael Expense: $50 for reunion Expense: about $15 for gas there and back Expense: whatever the hospital in Lovell charges for this...
My parents house is long and Emma loves to run as fast as she can from one end to the other. We were getting ready to go see the fireworks at Horseshoe Bend Saturday night when she ran into the living room...straight into a card table. In her defense, the card table is not usually there, it was after sunset, and there weren't any lights on in the living room.
There are four stitches there, it's not so much a cut, as her skin just split from how hard she hit the table. Thanks to Kent and Keesha for taking Christine to the fireworks! We sent her with them because we didn't think that we would make it out there. It's amazing how different the wait time (and other things) is between St. V's and this itty, bitty, little ER. We were there for less than an hour. We did end up making it to the lake, but Emma could not stay awake. I felt so bad for her because she was so excited to see the fireworks.
She was such a trooper during all of this, Christine too. Emma gets hurt. A lot. This is not our first ER trip. Whenever something big is going on with Emma or Jacob, Christine goes into super sister mode. This is the fastest we ever see her move. She obeys instantly and does whatever she can to make things smoother. I really am amazed at how she handles these situations. Emma does her part well too. She very rarely cries when she gets hurt. After we got her on the bed to be sewn up, she shed one tear as they were giving her the numbing shots and said, "It weally huts." She hasn't cried over it since, and she's only had one dose of Tylenol. I think we'll skip our 20 year reunion.
Ok, I tried Smilebox for recipe templates, which I loved. I even posted the recipe on here, until I found out that you can't print it. Actually you can, but I'm too cheap to pay for the service, so I'll just post it on here where you can copy and paste it and print it for free. It won't look nearly as cute as that template, oh well. I got this recipe from my sister-in-law Shannon.
Brer Rabbit Cookies 2 c melted shortening 1 1/2 tsp cloves 1/4 c canola oil 1 tsp ginger 3 c sugar, plus extra 2 tsp cinnamon 3/4 c dark molasses 1 tsp salt 3 eggs 5 c flour 6 tsp baking soda 1 c whole wheat flour
Mix shortening, oil, sugar, and molasses until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated. Add soda, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, salt, and flours, mixing until just combined. Chill dough for an hour or two. Roll into small balls and roll in sugar. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. For a crispy cookie, bake 10-12 minutes.
Notes: This recipe makes a lot of cookies (the cookies fill more than 2 gallon sized zipper bags). The dough freezes well if you would like to only bake half of the batch. Although the title of the recipe is Brer Rabbit Cookies, I prefer Grandma's Molasses to Brer Rabbit.
The Gazette has a kids' Christmas party every year, and this year Christine got a kit to make fairy sugar cookies. It's June, and we finally got around to making them. There were tulip and fairy cookie cutters, although unless you knew it was a fairy, it just looked like a deformed butterfly. The kids had fun with it though. There was frosting, and edible paints, and fairy dust (think glitter). Here are the girls with the cookies that they decorated. There was a lot of abstract art at our house that night.
These are the faces of two cookie loving girls. Christine always loves to show how dirty her hands and face get, even though they aren't that dirty.
We got hail on Saturday night, and Michael took this picture with a quarter to compare. The funny thing was that the hail was mostly confined to our neighborhood.
Christine started her swimming lessons today. She is very excited, although I'm still not sure she likes being in the pool by herself. Her favorite part today was the chug a choo-choo they made with the noodles, and she got to be the caboose (she told her dad this morning that it was bobbing).
Last but not least, Michael and Wynn wanted carrot cake for Father's day. Carrot cake is one of my least favorite desserts, but when I saw this recipe, I knew it was what I wanted. Unlike other carrot cakes, the frosting on this is not rot your teeth sweet and the nuts aren't overwhelming. I got this recipe from Relish Magazine.
White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing 1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature 2 cups white chocolate chips, melted 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 2 tsp lemon zest chopped peacans, toasted
Preheat oven to 350. Spray bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and then line with parchment paper, spraying bottom again.
Combine eggs and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat 2 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Add 1 cup sugar and continue mixing 2 minutes. Add remaining sugar and mix 4 minutes.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; add to egg mixture, beating on low speed until blended (about 1 minute). Add carrots, nuts and pineapple; mix until well combined.
Divide batter evenly among pans.
Bake 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.
Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Run knife around edge of cakes and remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To prepare icing, place cream cheese in mixing bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add melted chocolate a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed. Add butter a little at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl; add lemon zest and beat until combined. Remove cakes from refrigerator. Ice the top of one layer. Place second layer on top; ice top. Place third layer on top; ice top and sides of cake. Press chopped nuts into sides of cake. Serves 20
Notes - The recipe said you could use 2 9-inch pans instead of the 8-inchers, increasing the time to 75 minutes. I did this and found the baking time to be too long. I took the cakes out with 12 minutes remaining and they were done. Next time I'll stick with the 60 min and add if necessary. Since I did two cakes instead of three, I split the cakes in half to make four layers. The ratio of cake to icing would have been too much for me (I don't like thick icing - this way it was more spreadout). I also didn't press the nuts into the sides of the cake. I don't like a lot of nuts either. The original called for walnuts, but I swapped those for pecans. Toasting adds a lot of flavor, so don't skip this step (I just heat a skillet and toast them on the stove top). I've had two pieces of this cake now and I like it better after it's been in the refrigerator. The first time had soft icing, and the second time the chocolate and butter and gotten firm again. Enjoy!
Emma had her first swimming lessons this week. She loves to swim and this just helped her figure it out a little better. Michael took time off of work to take her to her lessons and swam with her. She asked to call him almost every day to see where he was at when it getting close to her lesson time. She had so much fun, and I'll admit I'm sad her week is over. This was pretty good leverage to get her to be more obedient! I know that sounds awful, but with her I'll use just about anything. Christine's lessons start next week, and this will be her first year without a parent in the pool with her. She is very excited. Hopefully we'll get into our pool sometime soon, the weather has not been cooperating lately - maybe this weekend.
4 tbs butter 4 eggs 3 tbs honey 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 cup pecans, toasted pinch of allspice 2/3 cups orange juice 6 slices thick bread
Preheat oven to 400. Whisk juice, eggs, cinnamon, salt, and allspice together in a shallow bowl. Place butter and honey in a 13x9-inch glass baking pan. Heat in the oven until the butter is melted and the honey is bubbling. Do not allow the mixture to take on any color. Remove the pan from the oven, stir to mix the honey and butter. Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a skillet until fragrant. Sprinkle the pecans over the honey and butter mixture.
While the butter and honey are melting, dip one or two slices of bread at a time in the egg mixture, turning until thoroughly saturated but not falling apart. Arrange the soaked bread over the nuts in the baking pan. Bake until the top is golden brown and the bottom is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Notes - This is from the Joy of Cooking. The original calls for apple cider, but we rarely have cider and always have orange juice. I think it's better with the juice and it is more tender. Be sure to let it soak for a bit, you don't want it to fall apart, but it needs to be pretty saturated. Be careful not to overcook this, the top doesn't brown as much as I expected it too. When it goes longer than 20 min, the syrup and pecans start to burn and the bread gets tough. This goes together really fast and is so yummy. Those who have a sweeter tooth will want a little extra syrup, but it's good without any extra. Enjoy!
I have my neighbor's 8 year old granddaughter this week. We were watching a dvd of old Tom and Jerry cartoons yesterday afternoon. On one of the cartoons, Tom learns to play the piano so Jerry will do the waltz. It starts with one note on a page, he turns the page and there are two notes, then three, and so on. After about ten pages, he throws the book away and plays like a concert pianist. Later in the afternoon, we were playing and singing on our piano. My neighbor's granddaughter said, "Can you teach me how to play the piano?" I told her it takes years and a lot of practice. Her response was, "But Tom learned in like 30 seconds!" It made me laugh to think that she really believed what she saw on tv. It made me think of pro wrestling. Growing up, we had one of the old tvs that had the push buttons for the channels. My brothers and I would fight over what to watch (they usually won unless I pulled out the tears with a yell to mom). They loved pro wrestling and I remember overhearing my mom talk about it being fake. They would not believe me. It was quite a while before they saw the light. I wonder what they think of their beloved soap operas now.
I have to congratulate myself for a minute. I made it through Costco and out of the lot with four kids (5, 3, 1 & 3 mos) in 15 minutes! Granted my list was only 6 items long, but nonetheless, it was a wonderful feat. Costco doesn't open until 10 and Emma's swim lesson started at 11, so I didn't have any time to spare. I was so proud of the girls, they were so good.
Okay, enough about me. The girls got home Saturday. They had such a good time. On Thursday they got to go to a double-header of Brandon's and didn't get to bed until 10. They got to play in the dirt which they love. On Friday they went to see my grandma and visit my grandpa in the hospital. Side note - my grandpa has been in the hospital here since the end of May and is finally back in Lovell gaining strength to go home. Hopefully he'll be out soon. Anyway, I'm not sure what else they did on Friday, their details are sparse. On Saturday they came back to Billings and met us downtown at the Strawberry Festival. Christine cried for about half of the ride home because she wanted to stay with grandma.
To end our great Saturday our friends Dan and Betsy were in town and we were able to meet them for dinner. We love being able to see them. The girls get so excited to see their boys, but then when we're together they hardly talk to them. Silly girls! Anyway that's our weekend update. On the whole it was a great weekend.
I haven't posted recent pictures of Jacob, so here goes. He is three months old (as of yesterday). On the bathroom scale he weighs 14 lbs!! Most of his 3-6 month outfits fit perfectly, with some being a little snug. He can even wear some 6 month outfits. He was so scrawny when he was born, now he is just our chunky love. He loves to smile and you can sometimes get a giggle out of him. He loves to look in the mirror and talk to himself. He is content to play by himself, but likes others to be in the room with him. He is his own best friend.
Emma is in the "why" phase. I keep telling myself that she is just trying to learn about the world around her, other times I'm pretty sure she is trying to make me crazy! My mom and Brandon came to get the girls this morning. It took some convincing that we should wait inside instead of on the front steps. They were so excited to go. They even got to go to Costco to pick out fruit to take to Grandma's. By the way, Costco is their ultimate destination. There are snacks around nearly every corner. Anyway, Brandon called me about an hour later to ask how to get Emma to stop asking why (ask her why not?). It's someone else's turn to have all the answers!
I'm sure they are having a great time. Having them gone makes me wonder what I did with my time when I had two nappers. The little girl I watch and Jacob took their big naps during the same time. I remember when Christine and Emma used to do that. What I don't remember is what I did. Looking back, I remember having moments of frustration, which now are laughable times (sometime I'll post about the pound of brown sugar rubbed into the couch). At times I was overwhelmed with two little ones, now having two little ones here seems like a vacation. It's funny how a different perspective makes things seem. I remember wishing that they were a little older, "then it will be easier" was my naive thought. I wouldn't say it's harder or easier, just different (still hard though). The biggest difference of today though was the silence. Sweet silence, it is it's own music.
Jacob is finally moving into his crib. He has been in a bassinet in our room and is now moving into his own room. The more kids we have, the longer the baby stays in our room. Christine was out by one month, Emma by two, and Jacob will be three months tomorrow. If we have any more, the next one will be a teenager before they're out of our room!
On a side note, our countdown has begun. My mom offered to take the girls to Wyoming for a little time with Grandma. My dad will be in meetings for the rest of the week, so she'll be by herself with our little terrorists for three days! She's coming tomorrow to get them and bringing them back on Saturday (unless she surrenders sooner). They have plans to plant flowers and weed the garden. Christine is very excited about gardening. I hope my parents have a garden after Emma "helps." Yea for mom, best of luck; we love you!!
Seven years ago today, I married my best friend. I have to apologize to my sister-in-law Shannon. She took beautiful pictures for us. Unfortunately we don't have a CD of these pictures and the scanner wasn't friendly to her wonderful work. Anyway, here are some pictures from our wonderful day. I still love to see the Rimrocks, when I stand on my street I still can. We were just coming out of the temple in this shot. I love going back and sitting in the celestial room when it rains. It was raining on our wedding day, and we waited in the celestial room for everyone to go into the sealing room. We could smell the rain while we waited.
I don't think there are many pictures of my brothers and me as adults, so this one is special to me. This was one of the few family pictures we have with Shannon. Brandon is taller than most of us now.
Our good friends Chad, Tyler, and Rachael came from South Dakota for our reception. Happy 7th to Rachael and Tyler in August! Brandon, Ashton, and my dad at the reception. It wasn't until I looked at these pictures that I realized I really like my dad's hair much better since he cut it short.
For those that know Kevin and Mike, this picture defines most of their relationship. Mike is here with all his boys.
This picture was the first time I realized how much I look like my mom. Dad and me freezing outside the temple.
Mike and his mom. Mike, Cindy, Jay, and Pat. Pat looks like such a little kid in this picture. I'll have to find a more recent one of him to show how much he's changed.
Michael, I still adore you. You are better than what I dreamed my husband would be. I love you more now than ever. I can't wait to keep celebrating our years together. I love you!!
You could in Wyoming too. Make soup in June, that is. It has been downright cold this week. This is what's for dinner tonight.
1 lb Italian Sausage 3/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper 1 Large White Onion, diced 1/2 lb Bacon Pieces 1 Large Clove Garlic, minced 10 cups Water 5 Cubes of Chicken Bouillon 1 cup Heavy Cream 1 lb Russet Potatoes, sliced thin (about 3 large potatoes) 1/4 of a Bunch of Kale
1. In a large pot, cook bacon until nearly crisp, add sausage and red pepper. Reserve 1 tbs of fat and drain excess, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients. 2. In the same pan with reserved fat, saute onion and garlic until the onions are soft. 3. Mix together the bouillon and water then add to the onion mix. Cook until boiling. 4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour. 5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated. 6. Stir in sausage and bacon. 7. Add kale just before serving.
This soup is so yummy. It serves 6-8. I took it to a church potluck and it went fast. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp red pepper. I like spicy, but that was even a little too much for me. Next we tried 1/2 tsp and it wasn't enough, so 3/4 is just right for us. We also sprinkled a little Parmesan on ours, which added a nice nutty flavor. We also like to have a fresh loaf from Great Harvest. Hmmm, I have a card for a free loaf. I guess I know where I'm going this afternoon.
At least when it's the color of my girls' eyes. Christine woke up this morning and couldn't open her eyes because of all the dried goop. Emma's is only in one eye, for now anyway. When they have something contagious it's so hard for them to stay away from Jacob. Hopefully he won't end up with it. The "hanitizer" (an Emmaism) is on the counter, and the drops have been started. Let the battle of the germs begin.