Friday, September 25, 2009

15 days

15 days until we move! This is the longest we have ever stayed in one place and I'm ready for a change. We've been busy here, but nothing fun to post about.
Christine still loves school, although she is very sad that we forgot her show and tell yesterday. Only two kids out of her group remembered though, so she wasn't the only one.
Emma is working on how people are related. For some reason, she's chosen my friend's family as her example. Betsy, she is fascinated with you guys! She talks about them all the time. She has figured out that Betsy's boys are brothers and who their mom is. She can usually remember that Dan is their dad, but tries to fit Betsy's brother Ben in as one of the kids. She has also been asking about husbands and wives. She asked who my husband was her response was, "Daddy? Our daddy? My daddy is your husband?" She seemed a little surprised with this information. She's so silly.
For the first time in his short six months, Jacob has become a challenge. For the last three or four nights (sleep deprivation causes me to lose count), he has woken up screaming and continues for about an hour. Sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes more than once a night. He seems to be in pain, but we can't figure it out. When these jags are over, he is right back to his pleasant baby self. Hopefully this will end soon.
That's all for us. We're pretty boring.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Six Months

It has gone so fast! I can't believe he's six months old already. He had his check-up today and weighs 17 lbs 10 oz and is 26 1/2 in long. He is in the 50% for weight and length of course his head is in the 95%. I don't think I've ever had a kid measure below 90% for their heads. It's all those Croft brains in there. He is such a sweet baby. He is very easy going, a good sleeper and a good traveler. I couldn't have asked for a better baby. We have been blessed again.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Emma's First Day of School

Emma started preschool this week. We had the first turn, which made her a little upset that she wasn't going away to school. Here are her first day of school pictures.

She wasn't in the mood for a real smile. This was one of the best she gave.

Showing off her Tinkerbell backpack.

Silly smile.

She was very good in preschool. I was a little nervous about her sassy side coming out, but she listened really well and even called me teacher a few times. Ten kids (eight for school plus the little girl I watch and Jacob) is a tight squeeze for our tiny apartment. By my next turn we'll be in our new place and have a little more room. I had a lot of fun doing this. I wondered how it would all work out, but we were so busy that I had more things to do than time to do them. I'm excited for my next turn in November.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

They love her

I was scheduled to be induced with Emma. I remember the night before I was scheduled to go in I was putting Christine to bed and thinking that the next time I would do it, there would be a new baby at home. I wondered how she would handle this little thing taking up her time, space, and parents. I worried that I wouldn't be able to give her the time she needed from me. I was almost a little sad to be having a baby because I knew it would totally change her world. I needn't have worried. She is the best big sister. I'm so proud of how she treats her little brother. I wish she wouldn't fight with Emma so much, but it's usually started by Emma. She likes to push Christine's buttons - and is very good at it. They love her and here is some proof.

This is the after-school ritual. Jacob lays on the floor and Christine hovers over top of him. He grabs her arms and squeals at her. She laughs, he laughs, and then Emma tries to get in on the action.

He adores Christine...the feeling is mutual.

Giving horsey rides to a very grateful little sister.

A little alone time. She likes to go to Jacob's room and read in the rocking chair by herself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Late Labor Day

I finally uploaded photos from the camera, which means I have about three weeks worth of blogs to write. Here's the last camping trip of the season for us. We went with my family to Porcupine in the Big Horn Mountains.

My dad brought up a wedge and mallet to split wood. This was one of the things that occupied the girls' time. They took turns and ended up splitting this log (with help from Brandon at the end).

This was another time occupier. My brother bought this dog for his wife. She's the cutest little thing. I could handle a little dog like this. Christine was in heaven playing with her. She wants a pet very badly. Emma is deathly afraid of dogs, but eventually warmed up to Clarabelle. She mostly followed her around with her arms outstretched like she wanted to pick her up, but could never get the courage to follow through.

Christine has always talked fondly of fishing with Michael when she was two. I'm very surprised that she remembered it. Michael fished one other time with the girls this year, but without any luck. This time, Christine turned out to be a great little angler. Emma was pretty bored with it and finally told Michael that Christine could take her turns for her. Christine thought the worms were gross and wouldn't touch them; she had no problems holding the fish though. Here is Christine with one of her fish. It started wriggling just as I was taking the picture. She caught nine.

Here are her nine and Brandon's two. She was very proud of herself.

After we left our clearing from our fishing trip, we saw this moose walking around where we had been moments before. Thankfully we were already across the road and close to the car.

This was Emma's favorite activity. I think my sister-in-law went home with two dozen wildflowers.

I'm a little glad to be done with camping this year (I loathe the mountain of laundry that follows us home). I know the girls love it and next year will be interesting with Jacob.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Just for you Sarah Jensen

Sarah, you asked for this a while ago, I'm finally delivering. This is so yummy!

Blueberry French Toast Bake

1 loaf French Bread, cubed (if you have an egg bread like challa, even better)
1 pound Cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup Blueberries
12 Eggs
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
2 cups Milk

1. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. A lighter color works best for this recipe. Cut the bread into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Cut the cream cheese into 1-inch cubes. Layer the bread cubes and cream cheese cubes in two layers in the bottom of the dish, with the bread on the bottom. Pour the blueberries over top.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, add the maple syrup and milk. Pour over the bread mixture and cover loosely with foil. Place dish in refrigerator with weights.

3. Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 to 4 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Reposition foil so that dish is tightly covered. Bake for 30 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for an additional 30 minutes, check at this time, it may take up to 40 minutes without the foil.

Blueberry Syrup
1 cup Sugar
2 tbs Cornstarch
1 cup Cold Water
1 tbs Unsalted Butter
1 cup Blueberries

Stir sugar, cornstarch and water over high heat in a saucepan. Add butter and blueberries and cook until the blueberries pop. Serve warm over French Toast Bake.

Cream cheese is normally sold in 8 oz blocks, so make sure that you get two. It will look like a lot of cream cheese when it is all in the pan. I’m too cheap to use maple syrup in this; regular pancake syrup works fine. To weight the dish, you can use another 9x13-inch dish placed on top, adding cans or whatever you can find to fit inside, just make sure it's even. If you don’t use another dish, just make sure that it is equally weighted. Be careful though, this easily overflows. Don’t skip this step, otherwise you will have some parts that don’t get any egg mix and will burn. Other parts will be too saturated with egg mix to cook thoroughly. With the syrup, be sure that the cornstarch and water are thoroughly mixed before heating, lumpy syrup is just as gross as lumpy gravy. This dish will serve 8-12.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Christine's life, etc.

Christine has a much more exciting life than the rest of us, so I'll tell you a little about her new school adventures. Any of you that know Christine, know that she is smart, but very slow and deliberate with tasks she is given. Nearly all of her pictures that come home are unfinished, but each color is chosen with care and each stroke has a purpose. She is very serious about what she does. She has never finished a meal at school. We finally convinced her to take tastes of everything so she wasn't just living on chocolate milk and bread. She loves her teacher and class and says she makes a new friend almost every day. So far her most favorite friend is Ali. Her favorite part of school is recess, but she loves show and tell days and library days. She is very excited for Friday because they are having a bear fair. She is supposed to take her "best behaved bear" to school that day. The bear will sit with her and they have all sorts of activities planned that are bear related.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed with her school experience so far. They are learning to count to ten, learning their colors, and how to write their names. She and most of her friends can read, count past 100, do simple math, etc. The things they are learning now are things that she knew before going to preschool. However, there are kids in her class that don't know these things. I wish they could be challenging her right now though. She loves it and is having fun, so I can't complain too much.

On to Emma. She is starting preschool next week. I use the word preschool loosely. She has a lot of kids her age in our ward, so all of the moms got together and decided to do our own school. Emma is two years away from kindergarten, and we didn't want to send her to two years of preschool, so we are doing this. We call it a joy school, but we aren't doing any of the joy school curriculum. Each of the moms will take a turn teaching two days a week. It works out that I will teach four weeks out of the year. I'm asking you to pray for me because the first turn is mine. I will have eight three year olds for two hours at my house next Tuesday and Thursday. She is very excited.

Now to Jacob. Not a lot new for him. He rolls around the house and sounds a lot like a girl when he screams (happy screams). He is starting to eat more solid foods, but still doesn't care for rice cereal. Even when I put other food with it, he doesn't eat as enthusiastically as when the rice is missing. He is still growing so fast and will be six months old tomorrow.

As for the rest of our clan, our most exciting news is that we finally have a moving date. We will be moving around the corner on October 10. Unfortunately, we (mainly Michael) are already tired of moving. For the past two months he has moved someone once a week on average. One week, he helped move two families. Hopefully after we move, Michael will get a break. That seems to be all for the updates on our family. I would resolve to be a better blogger, but we're just not that interesting.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waffles and Frittata

This is one of my favorite breakfasts. The waffles are so light and have just the right egg flavor. The frittata never lasts long if I take it for potluck breakfasts.

3 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat your waffle iron.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, milk, oil, and vanilla with an electric mixer until thoroughly mixed.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Beat until just smooth.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer on high until stiff peaks form.
With a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the mixture. Do not over mix. Pour batter onto hot, waffle iron. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Be sure to stir the batter between waffles. It will separate easily. If you make more than one batch, only make two batches at a time. When there is more than two batches, it is hard to mix the egg whites throughout. If you have to grease your waffle iron, try not to use nonstick spray. It burns too easily and creates a sticky film that is hard to get off. If your iron sticks, put some oil on a paper towel and rub it on the iron. To reheat, just toast in the toaster. These will only keep for a day or two. They do freeze well.

12 large eggs
3 tbs half-and-half
salt and ground black pepper
8 oz bacon (about 8 slices), cut crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces
1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 oz cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes (about 3/4 cup)
3 scallions, sliced thin on the bias (about 1/3 cup)

1. Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position, about 5 inches from the heating element; heat the broiler. Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a medium bowl until well combined. Set the eggs aside.
2. Fry the bacon in a 12-in oven safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, pour off all but 1 tbs of bacon fat. Add the potatoes to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 15 to 20 min. Stir the cheddar, scallions, and bacon into the eggs; add the egg mixture to the skillet and cook, using a rubber spatula to stir and scrape the bottom of the skillet, until large curds form and the spatula begins to leave a wake but the eggs are still very wet, about 2 min. Shake the skillet to distribute the eggs evenly; cook without stirring for 30 seconds to let the bottom set.
3. Slide the skillet under the broiler and broil until the frittata has risen and the surface is puffed and spotty brown, 3 to 4 min. When cut into with a paring knife, the eggs should be slightly wet and runny. Remove the skillet from the oven and let stand 5 minutes to finish cooking; using the spatula, loosen the frittata from the skillet and slide onto a platter or cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve.

You have to have the skillet for this, it won't work any other way. I use thick cut pepper bacon (Daileys sp? is the best). If you don't have half-and-half, I've used milk and cream without too much of a variation. I usually don't have scallions on hand and make it with shallots, the scallions are better though.