Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hate to brag but...

How can I not share this recipe that has brought new light into my life? This recipe is fabulous--so fast, easy and non-fussy. My sister-in-law who sent the recipe to me said it would change my life...and it has! Just start it in the morning when the kids leave for school and then finish it up when they get home -- super easy.

Artisan Crusty Bread

3 c. warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt or 1 T iodized
6 c. flour or 5 1/2 cup whole wheat
(optional: add garlic, rosemary, basil, etc...)

Mix yeast, salt and water (and any of the optional items) in large bowl. (Like popcorn size bowl.) Stir in flour, mixing until no dry patches remain. Dough will be very loose and sticky. Cover and let rise 2-5 hours (I think the longer the better).

Dust a pan or cookie sheet with cornmeal, maybe 1/3 cup. Sprinkle dough with flour and pull off grapefruit size pieces of dough. Turn into a ball using additional flour on your hands as needed to shape 4-5loaves. (Remember this dough is ultra sticky so I justify the oddly shaped loaves as being rustic and artisan.) Let rest on pan for 40 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 degrees and place an empty pan such as an old muffin tin or bread pan on the bottom rack while heating. Dust loaves with flour and slash tops with a knife three times or if you are up to it in beautiful ornate patterns. Pour one cup of water in empty pan in oven and place loaves in oven. Quickly close oven door to prevent escaping steam. Bake for 30 minutes. (I know, seems like a long time at that high of heat but don't scrimp on time or you'll loose all the yummy crusty goodness! And don't peek by opening the oven door either. Tempting, but you'll loose the steam. Must. Keep. Steam.)

You can also keep the dough covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let rest on cornmeal for an extra hour before baking.

Gotta brag about my husband...

who put in a new radiator today all by himself AND it seems to be working AND he didn't have to buy any new tools to do it AND it only took half of the day AND it had been since high school (folks, that's like over 20 years ago) since he had last put in a radiator.

What a lucky gal I am! (Check out the duck tape on his work shoes--think he deserves new ones for Christmas?)

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Parents of Skaters

Just before school started we were getting the kids new shoes. Tyler and Alex both REALLY wanted Vans. We decided to split the cost with the boys and so we soon found ourselves at a local skate shop checking out shoes. Birch leaned over to me and whispered, "I never thought I would be a dad of skaters." I grew up with three brothers that really loved to skateboard so I guess it never really has bothered me. I think if the boys were wearing pants hanging from their bums, chains, and swearing like a sailor I would have a problem with it -- but that isn't the case. The spend lots of hours in our driveway building rams and coming up with new skate moves. All the boys LOVE playing with their Tech Decks in the basement and have quite the skate park set up for their finger boards.

All of our kids love to go to one of the local skate parks; the kids bring bikes, scooters, and skateboards. We are constantly being begged to go on any day off of school and so as I mentioned earlier Tyler really wanted to go for his birthday. It was a beautiful day!
Nate is good...but this stunt just about made me want to tie a bungee cord to him. He didn't end up going down but it did make a cool picture. Alysee on the scooter. Nate Tyler is just like his daddy and sticks out his tongue when concentrating. Super cool artsy shot of all the kids, minus Chloe. Tough Nate Chloe and Mommy Tyler Alex stuck to scootering this time--check out that air. Alex and Tyler There is this great playground next to the park that the kids all had fun playing on - Alysee, Coop, and Chloe are such cute little monkeys.
Coop Alysee has such an infectious smile. All the Ditto kids just hangin' around -- we had a great time together!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Beavs and a Birthday

Tyler turned the big ELEVEN this past weekend. We went totally crazy and turned an ice cream sandwich on its side and put in two candles representing "11." Tyler chose great meals for his special day -- breakfast was omelets and smoothies, lunch was Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas (thank you Pizza Hut for the free pizzas for reading at school), dinner was homemade stromboli.
Tyler's birthday was extra fun because everyone had a day off of school and even dad had the day off of work. Tyler requested that we go to the skate park for the afternoon. We had our lunch there and all the kids had fun playing.
Tyler got new trucks for his skateboard so he was really excited to try them out. He thought they were awesome!
Saturday was Tyler's actual birthday and it started out with a BANG! Birch and Tyler left the house at 5 am and headed to Corvallis, OR for the OSU vs. BYU football game.
Before the game there were all sorts of fun activities put on by the athletic department. Tyler was amazing with all the shots he made.
Tyler said this was the first time he had been alone with a parent since his trip to SLC when he turned eight. He LOVED every minute with his daddy.

Birch and Tyler had AWESOME seats (Thanks to Birch's friend who gave him the tickets). They were in section 13, row 6 -- right across from the 50 yard line.
Even though the Beavs lost in the end it was still a super fun game.

Birch and Tyler got home late Saturday night (they did the whole trip in one day--yikes). Tyler got a new ipod for his birthday since he recently lost his (or got it stolen). Funny thing is--yesterday Alysee found his old ipod. Tyler is a great kid. He is in fifth grade at the middle school this year and had made the transition quite smoothly. His favorite subjects are art, band, humanities, and math (sounds like all his classes). Tyler is a caring person with a happy, carefree personality. We LOVE our Tyler!!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

36 years of waiting

I've waited 36 years to do what our family did yesterday. We watched General Conference from our very own home, laying on my very own couch (I'm the OSU blanket blob that Chloe is laying on top of), while eating monkey bread and snuggling with my hunny.

While hovering around our computer Saturday I vowed to try and find some way to watch conference from home in a comfy manner. I found out about Roku -- a small three inch box that runs about $79 and streams live video into your home. BYUtv is one of the free channels that we now get with this sweet little device. Amazing!!!

My favorite talk was by Ian Arden who spoke directly to ME about how I am using my time. I've been feeling overwhelmed lately with all the projects, children, serving the community and church, etc... It's time for me to scale down and remember that there is a time and season for all things.

In case you missed it:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

AGW - a weekend for ME

The Ditto Girls are a little behind in the get-a-way action that their husbands have enjoyed for the past eleven years. AGW (All-Girls-Weekend) celebrated it's third anniversary this year. Deena was the host and treated us royally with wonderful activities planned and lots of tasty food. Deena just moved into their newly built home in April and had everything set up so nice for each of us--she was the perfect hostess.

I started the trip with another expedition to Spokane Discount and WINCO. I scored big at both stops. I enjoyed leisurely wandering around both stores without a time frame or a child begging for a treat. I found some great treasures at Spokane Discount -- a Nativity set, a huge car cover thing that I am putting over our large octagon picnic table, several clothing items, athletic shoes for me (the kids kept asking me the other day if I was wearing Birch's running shoes--my new ones are white and hot pink), serpa boots for the girls, and a few food items.

As I share some of the pictures we took you have to keep in mind that we are making fun (with a good dose of love) of our husband's ABH pictures.

What a great group of Sista's! Next year I'm hoping that we are a complete group of sistas' with Tavia and my new sister-in-law joining in on the fun.
Oh yeah!

Friday went spent the day being pampered, shopping, and cooking.

Welcome to The Highlands Day Spa

There is this great spa in Post Falls, ID that we have gone to in the past. In the basement of this beautiful facility they have a massage school. We got a killer deal ($20/hour massage)! How does an hour fly by so fast when you are in bliss?

Friday night we went to this sweet woman's Italian villa and she did a four hour Italian cooking class for us. You wouldn't even believe the amount of food that we ate that night. We even made homemade tortellinis.

The calazones were amazing!

Jammsfrozenyogurt051 300x170 Jamms Frozen Yogurt Sign

Saturday morning I slept in and then stayed in bed until I finished my book. Then we got ready for the day and headed to Coeur d'alene. We stopped at this delicious frozen yogurt shop.Saturday evening we made some super cute crafts. I wasn't going to join in on the fun but in the end I couldn't resist.
They are kind of addicting to make.
We worked on these cute family pillow covers.
Saturday night we went to the Relief Society broadcast. Then we went to the Coeur d'Alene resort for dessert. Debbie and I enjoyed a plate of fries instead.
What a fun night! I kept thinking how fun it would be to bring Birch here for the night.
Love these ladies!!! What a wonderful tradition and I'm so thankful that everyone made the effort to get together. Can't wait until next year!