Saturday, October 31, 2009

I didn't think I'd be taken literally...

when I said I'd like to hide in Grandpa and Grandma's suitcase for their trip to Ethiopia!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Our Training Is Paying Dividends

This morning, for the first time since Hannah has had a clear opinion on the subject, both my girls were able to share something they BOTH wanted very sweetly and with NO intervention from me. Hooray! I'm so proud of them!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do I Live In The Country?

Waiting for Karl to bring the horses 'round for a wagon ride, I glance out the window.
"Look girls", I call, "what do you see?"
The answer:

1 Bear
2 Deer
3 Wild Tom Turkeys

Karl says we're just teaching them to count wild-style!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Life in the Frozen North

After a half an hour of preparation in the entrance a couple of weeks ago, the girls and I headed out the door for a walk. Then I realized: there have only been three months, three months, this year in which I have not had to go through this ritual. Which ritual, you ask? Why, the Land of the Frozen North Ritual of course! That of dressing everyone in snowsuits, hats, gloves, scarfs, boot, etc. before ever stepping out the door. It is, I have discovered a complicated art with little ones. Do you dress yourself first, making it more difficult to dress everyone else and risking becoming well overheated in the precess? Or, do you dress the children first, risking everything you put on them coming off by the time you have yourself ready? Then, there's the inevitable, "I have to go potty!" right when everyone's finally ready to head out. I do love the days of summer when walking out the door means just that, you simply GO, but this year, even then there were days of needing a jacket. I guess that's what I get for choosing to move North to be with my man. Every so often he talks of moving farther North to a colder climate and asks if I would be willing to go with him. I remind him I already have.

She No Longer Eats the Crayons

A sure sign my little one is growing up, she now concentrates intensely on her artistry instead of exploring the culinary delights of the medium.

Heidi helps me make pumpkin bread

Friday, October 23, 2009

Going To Work With Daddy

Seems to be the only way the girls get to see him these days. On Sunday we went with him to the ice rink since he wouldn't have to work as late as usual (read 3 am). While we spent some time watching him drive the Zamboni and other fun things, as well as watching a bit of the hockey game going on, it was a beautiful day outside and the playground across the street was beckoning. So, while Daddy did other not-so-fun-to-watch details of his work, the girls and I played.

Does anyone else have the problem of taking a couple hundred pictures and then having to narrow it down to just a few for the blog? Sometimes it seems I should just share them all, my girls are so cute, but then I remember you all aren't their mom (I get that privilege), and they only have two grandmas, so I really should try to stick to the best few. It's hard!

We slid,
and climbed,

played follow the leader (being soldiers here),

built rock piles,

hoarded rocks because there obviously weren't enough to go around,

had great fun being a big girl and sitting on what big sister wanted to step on,

and showed little sister all the letters on the climbing wall.

And just to show it wasn't all play and no work, here's Heidi wringing out the mop in the arena - her favorite activity of the day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Egg Roll Recipe

For Marcia. These are really pretty simple to make, but I apologize if you're the exacting recipe type. I rarely ever measure so I'll have to give approximates. They freeze very well so I make lots, freeze them individually on a tray, put them in a big bag, and pull them out to defrost and fry whenever I'm in the mood or need a quick meal.

Thinly slice 5-6 chicken breasts (easiest if they are still slightly frozen).
Marinate in about:
1/4 cup soy sauce,
1/8 cup sesame oil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 TBSP chopped fresh ginger, or 1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 TBSP brown sugar

While marinating (I usually let it sit for 20 min. - 2 hours), shred 1 medium head of cabbage and about three carrots.

Heat a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Brown chicken. When cooked through, add cabbage and carrots and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Cool.

Depending on the size of my cabbage, chicken breasts, how much I snack while cooking, etc., I usually need about two packages of egg roll wrappers. This is the part Heidi likes. Wet 2 edges of the wrapper with a finger dipped in water. Place a spoonful of mix in center of wrap. Fold non-wet corner of wrap over mix, fold in outside corners, then roll to wet corner. You can freeze at this point, or go straight to frying.

Fry in about 1 inch of oil until golden brown, a few minutes on each side.
Leftover wrappers are yummy fried as well!

I got my sweet and sour sauce recipe from my dear friend Momma Bug.
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 TBSP ketchup
Bring to a boil while stirring
Add while stirring, 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tsp cold water. Cook and stir until thick.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Table for Two

Having run across a very perplexing question multiple times lately (most recently on Momma Bug's blog), I finally determined to ask Karl, seeing as he would be the one the answer for me would most effect. Is it more romantic to sit beside your beloved on a date, or across from them? He sat down and typed out his answer before letting me see. Here it is:

I was pondering the complexities of vehicle decisions when my dear wife appears in the doorway to the room with an equally perplexing problem. Which is more romantic..(romantic!?...uh oh!) but then she continued "to sit across from each other or to sit side by side at the table"(Is this a reminder that we need to go on more frequent dates?) My answer is in the same fashion that I answer her when she asks an opinion regarding a sewing project: I rationalize, ponder, and then make whatever it is 100 times more difficult than it should have been. We have been limited to two compromising choices at restaurants when it comes to romantic seating and hence I will promote a third. Why must we suffer the distance with a table severing our closeness in order to gaze into our loves eyes? Why must the candle light dilate our pupils so that our Love's beauty is harder to be perceived in the dimness of the establishment? Why also must we be limited in our view as we sit close together holding hands facing straight ahead looking at our plates(though it does prevent stray projectiles from flying from our mouths toward our love of our life). I believe that the proper way of sitting at the table would be to sit at a right angle to your spouse(you know, a square table). This solves many disturbing problems. You can gaze into your Love's eyes, hold hands, enjoy her beauty in the candle light as it reveals her face in the dimness of the room, and raid her food...;). Next time you go to the restaurant don't settle for a mediocre experience and insist on the ultimate romantic seating position; right angles for Mr/Mrs. Right!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Guess Who Took A Bath Last Night

Heidi helped me clean house last night and as a surprise reward, I took out the paints when we were done. What began as carefully executed artistry...
soon became crazier...
and crazier...
and... well, you get the idea.

But seriously, have you ever seen such beautiful toes?!!!
It was messy, but we had fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Looking At Me Looking At You

Heidi an Hannah watch Zack and Tim... while Zack and Tim watch Heidi and Hannah.
Autumn and Winter are having a bit of a duel here. Yesterday it would snow heavily until all was white, then the sun would come out, melt the snow and Autumn's colors would shine, then it would snow again, over and over again all day. Today, we woke up to snow and now have sunshine! I'm sure Winter will win soon enough, but for now it's nice to have some of both!

Heidi Makes Egg Rolls

Getting it right is, oh, so important!

Remind you of anyone Mom?

Heidi has been carting all her "babies" up and down the stairs multiple times a day lately. She lines them all up in a row, just so, "so they can watch the parade". What parade there is headed through my living room on a daily basis, I'm not entirely sure, but she loves to watch and to catch candy for her babies. "Don't worry, Momma", she informs me, "the candy is just pretend because they are pretend". Twice daily, at rest time and bed time, the babies are brought back to the bedroom where they are placed into about six cardboard boxes which are their beds, and once again, the order is very precise. Everyone has to sleep in the correct bed.
From what I recall, I had my own stuffed animal friends at that age and made sure they were a part of our family's every day life too.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Canning Day

Snow Flies.
Pots simmer.
Autumn's colors
Red, gold,
Bottled up,
Saved for months
When all is White

The fruits of today's labor: tomato sauce and applesauce

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall has arrived

...and with it, the promise of Winter's debut. Though it's a bit chilly out, I'm trying to give my girls as much fresh air and sunshine as possible in these last days before we're cabin-bound. Here's a few of the things we did today:

Took a long walk and found dandelions to blow,
climbed trees,

looked beautiful climbing trees in a "wedding dress",
and ran some more,
found fallen leaves,

and contemplated God's handiwork,

went rock climbing,
and played follow the leader on Daddy's horse equipment.

I'm so thankful for such a beautiful spot in which to raise my girls. How blessed they are to be able to explore God's wonderful creation right outside their own front door.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Play Dough

Growing up I never liked the play dough you could buy in stores. Oh no, I was spoiled by Mom's homemade stuff and that was all that would do. Making it is half the fun. It's something I'm passing on to Heidi, and she made her first batch tonight.

Mix together:
1cup flour
1TBSP alum -or - 2tsp. cream of tarter
1/2 cup salt
1TBSP oil
1 cup water

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture clumps together and reaches the consistency of mashed potatoes. (It took about 6 minutes on my stove). Remove from heat.

If desired, add 2tsp. vanilla to make it smell yummy, and food coloring. Mix with hands, this is the fun part! Ours is orange of course!

We made a double batch to have enough for friends.
Store in an air tight container it lasts for quite awhile, we had the last batch for over a year.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Ice Skating... Already!

I am incredibly proud of my husband. Proud of him, and honored to be loved by him. A year ago in August he lost his job due to the poor economy. Since then he has done whatever he needed to do to provide for our family. I have learned so much about him during this time. I have been amazed at his work ethic as he took on a job he didn't particularly enjoy and yet worked at it with all he had, even when sick or discouraged. In fact, the only complaint they had about him there was that he was too open with his faith! I am amazed by him again as he has now taken on the job of rink manager for an arena in a nearby town. He knows nothing, really, of what that job entails, yet he has thrown himself into it and is quickly learning as he goes.
I, too, had no idea what would be involved. He told me that he would have to make ice at the end of September. No big deal. Just flood the rink and let it freeze. Right? Wrong! Apparently it's much more complicated than that. Who knew?! He started two weeks ago, and during that time has really only been home to eat and sleep. We've been joking that he might actually get the sleep he needs if we just set up a bed at the arena and he didn't have to commute. I really don't understand the whole process, but this is what I do comprehend of it. First, the floor temperature, room temperature, and humidity all have to be just right. Then he can begin by sprinkling - yes sprinkling - the first quarter inch, letting it freeze between each sprinkle. Next water is slowly flooded on, layer by painstaking layer, with plenty of freezing time in between. Then comes painting the lines, and ... more layers!
He's nearing the end of the levels, now he gets to put them on with the Zamboni! Last night we went with him, strapped on some skates, and got some ice time in before the next layer went on. It's really not such a bad deal to have a whole ice rink to ourselves!
Here we are enjoying the fruits of my man's hard labor:

Well done Karl!

What's THAT???

When asked what we should prepare for lunch yesterday, Heidi replied, "I would like a tuna-butter sandwich please".

Gingerbread Girls

"Gingerbread Fred" has been a frequent read at Grandma's house lately. As a result, there's been a lot of requests to make gingerbread men at our house. Yesterday it finally happened, but about halfway through the process, Heidi declared she only wanted to make a couple of gingerbread men, the rest would be gingerbread girls. So, gingerbread girls it was!

Heidi was very careful about making sure everything got in the bowl "properly"

Rolling out the dough was tough work - but fun!

Watching her decorate was the most fun part for me
So many buttons!

Hannah liked the buttons too, but for a different reason!

I'm still not sure how Hannah talked me into a WHOLE cookie.
Thankfully she lost interest halfway through the head.

"I holding it up so you can take a picture"

There, that's better. A delicious completion to our project.