Friday, April 30, 2010

I Wonder?

Although often told as a young child not to look directly at the sun, my inner rebel won out and I must admit I have and more than once. Anyone who has done this knows the power and magnitude. I am in awe of it. Many years later I find myself telling my kids this same thing..."Don't look directly at the sun." And still like a moth to light I am drawn to it. And so the confession continues that I have looked at it through the shelter of hands and squinty holes, with hosts of different sunglasses on, and through my eyelids - this being my absolute favorite way to do it. And as I lay in the sun filled grass with the camera by my side, it didn't surprise me to know that I just had to find out what the sun looked like through the filter of the lense.
Have you ever wondered about something and fulfilled the urge to find the answers?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roll Recipes Published

Grand Champion:

2 C. mashed potatoes (can use instant - or pearls)
2 C. milk
1/2 C. melted butter
1/2 C. sugar (1 C. if you are making the cinnamon rolls)
2 t. salt
1/2 C. warm water
2 T. yeast
1 t. vanilla
8 1/2 C. or so flour (option whole wheat flour)
2 eggs

In a saucepan mix first two ingreds. Heat to 110F to activate yeast. Put this in the mixer and add butter, sugar, salt, water, yeast, and vanilla. Let sit for 10-30 minutes untill foamy. Add eggs and 4 C. flout. Beat until smooth and continue adding flour until dough pulls away from the bowl. Knead for about 10 minutes. Remove dough and place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise to double. Let rise 2-5 times. The more times the better the texture. Form into your favorite rolls. Place on greased cookies sheet, cover, let rise until double, and bake at 400F for 10-12 minutes.

Cinnamon Roll Filling/Glaze:
3/4 C. brown sugar
3/4 C. white sugar
1/2 C. flour
2 T. cinnamon

3 C. powdered sugar
1/4 C. melted butter
4-6 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla

Honorable Mention:
5 C. flour
1/2 C. sugar
2 t. salt
1/2 C. oil
1 C. warm water
3 eggs

1 heaping T. of yeast and 1/4 C. warm water

Dissolve yeast in water in mixer, add remaining six ingredients, knead for 5 minutes. Rise to double, punch down, roll, cut out with circle cutter. Dip in melted butter and bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

And Rhodes Bake N Serve bread products impressed me once again not with their food this time but with the world's best customer service. I decided I would let Rhodes know about how much I love their rolls and how I mentioned them on my blog and they decided they would like to sponser the prize for the winner. They mailed out a hotpad, a free product coupon, some $1 and $.50 off coupons, and the best - a Rhodes Roll cookbook. I'm not going to lie. I totally wanted to keep this. And in addition they sent me some coupons for promoting their product. I love this company. Seriously if you haven't tried their bread - go do it now. It'll make you a believer.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bedroom Transformation

(before)
Although not done, I am impatient to show my labor. For part of Bella's birthday presents we got her new bedding and painted her room. We are still working on the decorations and accessories.
(after)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fields of Gold

Who says Dandelions are weeds? They look beautiful to me.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear Trike,

Dear Trike,
How could you betray me? I have loved riding you. I have loved the feel of the wind blowing through my golden locks as I speed down the bike path. I have loved riding you to the duck ponds. I have loved calling you my favorite toy and taking you everywhere. But no more. Because today while I rode you, racing down an incline and around a steep turn, you tossed me from your tender orange Diego seat. You mocked my scrapped knees and skinned hands, and jeered as I wept in pain and hurt. I shall love you no longer.
Sadly,
Issac

Friday, April 23, 2010

I love...

I love...
Baron's Ridge Book Club Nights
b/c of rolling and Coyote Wear.
It's like leisure wear, but skinned animals.

I love...
boys who unload the dishwasher,
a clean house,
and new blue paint for my office.

I love...
playing outside all day,
having four different sets of neighbors over,
and getting tanned arms and pink cheeks.

I love...
going to the duck ponds,
watching my kids play,
and seeing baby ducks waddle after their moms.

I love...
watching Eclipse trailors with neighbors,
knowing that my other neighbors are
already facebooking about it.

I love ...
bus stop chit chat,
blueberry, banana, and plain pancakes for dinner,
and summer haircuts.

I love...
LIFE!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catching On

my husband is a hunter. one peek into our house and many can see the fruits of his labors or hunts as the case may be. but what is not nearly as evident is that he loves fishing even more. all of our kids learned how to fish at about three. well trout season recently opened up down here and this past weekend opened up in the north by the cabin. and so around my house, you will see this-my kids practicing their casting into the neighbors backyard while standing on our retaining wall. and Kody begging for someone to lend him a pole to practice on. i wonder what Santa is going to bring this boy for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's In Your Dryer

lately i've seen some buttons, coins, and a whole lot of these...

Monday, April 19, 2010

GeeGee's

This weekend Bella went to a classmate's birthday party. It was at a place called Gee Gee's Cuts in nearby Lititz, PA. It was owned by an affectionate and cute older couple. They are Gee Gee and Pappy to their grandkids and likewise at the end of the party to those girls who attended also. It was hands down the coolest party I have been to. I think that I may have had as much fun as the girls themselves. It was a hair salon that did parties both oriented to little girls and older girls. The little girl parties have tea parties and they are visited by Princess Lindsay. The older girls have Glamour Parties. This is what Bella did.
First they arrived and sat down to a pizza party with chips and drinks, all included in the party price, in a room located behind the main salon area. It was fully decorated with balloons and girly items. And in the room behind that one is where the real fun began. After they eat, the girls go and pick a fancy dress to wear off of the racks. All of the options are gorgeous a lot picked up from Kahn Lucas, a great outlet store that specializes in fancy dresses located in Lancaster. Each girl tried on a couple dresses and picked a dress that they liked most to wear. In the bathroom where all the changing occurs are chalkboard walls and as the girls continue to go in and out to change they write messages on the walls to one another. After they are coiffed in a beautiful dress they take turns having their nails painted and their hair done including sparkle spray and being interviewed by Pappy. And in the same room is a karaoke system for the girls to use while waiting. Music ranging from 80's Classics to Hannah Montana albums and Kidz Bop fill the folders in which to pick from. Additionally there are video cameras aimed at them so they can watch themselves as they sing in live time. A video of all this as well as the whole party is made for the birthday girl to take home as a souvenir.
After each of the girls are fully bedazzled they do a fashion show with commentary from Pappy and information gleaned from the girls' interviews. The parents of all the attendants are invited back for the fashion show and this of course is also taped. At the end of the runway each of the girls strike a pose and a photograph is taken as well to hand out to all the girls as a party favor. This is on top of the little cosmetic bag filled with lip gloss, hairbands, and other glamour items. They all then circle around the birthday girl as she opens presents, they eat cake, and continue to rock out fully glitzed out until it is time to go. It was a brilliant party and I loved watching the girls giggle away, strut about, and act like their idea of adults with the fancy clothes. I can't wait to return to this place either for Bella's birthday party next year or for a neighborhood mother/daughter night. The only thing that would make this place better would be a stage, which they intend to build sometime this year. And after a karaoke number I did, one of the women there said I should sing on American Idol. How could I not come back with feedback like that.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday...

well I don't care. Okay I do and I was torn by the decision. Friday was my mom's birthday. I had planned to go over with the family after Travis got home, order her favorite pizza from a local joint we've been eating at for 30 years -Jim and Nina's Pizza- eat her favorite cake that I had made, yellow with white icing and coconut, give her a gift, and hang out letting my kids smother her with her absolute favorite things - their love and affection.

I had turned down other plans, a dance party with friends that I was stoked to go to, and some other random events, but Travis called Thursday and dropped a bomb. I got Phillies tickets from work, and not just any tickets Diamond Club Tickets, section A, a few rows back right behind home base and starting down the third base line with Roy "Doc" Halladay, Phillies newest acquisition and Mormon extraordinaire pitching.
Travis's called my mom to see if she wanted to go to the game for her birthday, I mean we did have four tickets after all. She declined but urged us to go. She knows Travis, she knows me. And this is the greatest testament to her as a mother. Even though it's her birthday she still wanted me to go because she knew it would make me and Travis happy. She claimed Sunday night was her birthday and we could celebrate then. So with a little sadness, but a whole lot of excitement, we snagged a babysitter, called our friends the Castellanos' - huge Phillies fans - and headed to the park.
Did the rain dampen our mood? Heck no. See our Red. Rock on Phillies. And here is a video of our favorite drunken rebel rousers. After considerable offensive and vulgar trash talking as well as spilling beer on other fans sitting close by a worker had to come tell them to calm down and that is when their liquor was cut off too. But they were very entertaining too. Phillies enthusiasts for sure.
video

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bring Me Flowers

Many men have wooed me with flowers. None so proficiently as Travis, which may be part of the reason I married him. And while we were apart during our engagement for four months, he would send me flowers with regularity counting down the days till we were together again.Now I am wooed, but by a boys even more frequently and I gladly give them my love. Every walk we go on, my boys rush along grabbing flowers; dandelions, tulips, pansies, whatever the parks, fields, and yes sadly sometimes my neighbors yards behold, I recieve. Aren't they sweet? I love those chubby hands.And then my best bud and neighbor brings me flowers from her own garden and I feel the love of friends and of God in the beauty of nature.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life Consultant and Wardrobe Coach

When I was living in Utah I had a friend who despite being gorgeous, put together, mom of five, business owner, and very well read had some trouble organizing small areas of her life - her office, walk in closet, and storage area in the basement. We had some kids the same age and play dates would often times end up in one of these rooms where I would start nitpicking and putting her things into a categorical order. I'm a neat freak. I love systems. My walk in closet has different colored hangers for different categories: skirts - pink, nice shirts - green, jeans - black, you get the drift. When totally organized hangers are two finger widths apart. Anyone could put my clothes away and instantly see the pattern - unless you are my husband, but I digress. I'm very anal about some things although I am not so crazy as the chick on Glee.

My friend would feel bad that I had spent so much time doing this, but I loved it and she was always happy with my new tips and the finished product that she would keep it going. In her gratitude she would offer me money, but I would decline. Instead she would get me some of my favorite things that I am to cheap to consistently buy myself: Victoria's Secrets Strawberry Champagne Shampoo, their Fabric Softener too, and other guilty pleasures. She would take me out to Red Robin and almost always pay. Blast her - she knew all my weaknesses.

After a bit, I started this with some other friends too. I was too proud to accept money and despite many people telling me I should do this as a business I declined. In good moral conscience I didn't think it acceptable to help my friends organize and categorize for money - it's immoral. Isn't this what friends do - help friends with the minutia of life. This was my gift and I liked doing it. They used their money to buy storage systems that I knew would work for them, they threw out things I told them to, and generally listened to my advice and this also made me happy as I am generally bossy and like to be listened to. My last reason for not wanting to start this business was that if I did this for a living I would then be expected to appear to have my life together at all times, my home clean and organized, my storage systems as well as life systems running smoothly at all times. This for me was a pressure I could live without. And so I happily continued doing it for friends for free or favors.

Well last night I was at a function. Our guest speaker was a Life Consultant or something equally ambiguous. Seriously life consultant...She spoke to our guests of honor, a bunch of graduating seniors, and gave them tips to prepare for "the real world" - a phrase that also would take another post to elaborate on. As she gave tips upon dressing, professionalism, and etiquette I was in awe. Here was a person who so obviously was not listening to her own advice. And often times I thought her advice to be pure mishmash. One such piece was that there is no room for stilettos in a professional world. Always wear a chunk heel. Now Fashionista I may not be, although I'm no slouch when I put in the effort. But shoes are my world and I wanted to shout from the rooftop. Instead I sat back and listened to a girl wearing an orange button down, too tight on the arms shirt, with a black vest that puckered at the buttons from strain, and a huge - seriously the size of her face- red flower accessory pinned right above one of her already ample bosoms talk about things such as nowadays not being too matchy matchy, always having one over the top accessory - but not too many, and the vast importance of properly fitting clothes. It was more than I could handle. I thought I would implode.

In the end I remembered why I didn't ever want to take my hobby, talent, and love to a professional level. Because I knew that people would look at me with the same expectation of perfection in daily living about something I professed to tell other people to do for money with skepticism about my true skills. In the end I felt reaffirmed that these things are a friend's job. It is a friend's job to tell you when you don't match, when you are too over the top, to tell you that no matter what you may think a eight inched diameter red flower is never appropriate to wear anywhere on your body, ever-not even for a Flamenco Dancer. It just isn't. And that although you don't need to be matchy matchy, you probably shouldn't put orange and red together, especially in the coral and blood shades. You need a friend to say I categorize my recipes in a book or a box, alphabetically or categorically. A friend to say I find that putting your most often used kitchen items in easiest reached cupboards, and less used items on the higher and lowest shelves. If we aren't doing this as friends now days, what are friends talking about and doing? Is there really a demand for a Life Consultant a Wardrobe Coach?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mormon Helping Hands

After sleeping in on Saturday morning, a pulled tooth, and a waffle breakfast - Travis and I loaded up the kids to take them to Landis Valley Museum. Not to walk around the museum as we have done before but to help clean it up. Mormon Helping Hands gathers members from the local congregations to help in their local community. We, in our area, restored the grounds of a local colonial inspired museum. We hoed in their garden, we mulched the flowerbeds, and we cleaned the dead pine needles and weeds from under the trees on the property. Many other things were accomplished.
I'm always amazed at what a great church we belong to. That we do so much for our local community as well as internationally. Travis and I were thrilled to take the kids and teach them how to be a part of that. Plus it's always an extra bonus to make work seem like fun and to teach them that value.

Friday, April 9, 2010

T&A

Sorry if you know what this means. When I was younger I was exposed to my first type of cheap broadway theater via television broadcast. My still somewhat pure ears were in shock at the original notes of this song sung by a sultry blond, scantily clad. After the initial shock it had a catchy tune. And still to this day I can remember vividly although I wish I didn't. And sadly I have a son who constantly reminds me of this moment as he is obsessed with one and constantly sporting the other.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Note to Self:

When you stay up until 3am finishing a book,
you may on occasion become agitated and angry when your husband wakes you up at 5am before he leaves for work to pray.
Additionally you may subconsciously, because although you are talking - you have been known to do this quite adeptly in your sleep, insult him, prayer itself, religious observance and spirituality in general.
Afterward you do this, your normally calm husband may become angry, frustrated, and a bit worried. At which point you will hear about it when he calls later in the day to check in.
I'm just saying.
Go to bed, Mary. The book will be there tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fun

1 trampoline
85 degrees of pure heat
1 sprinkler
10 kids and
2 1/2 hours of unrestrained fun

Monday, April 5, 2010

Photo Diary of My Easter Vacation

Cousin Sleepover
Temple Swap
General Conference
Easter Bunny Visit
Family Easter Dinner
Impromptu Dr. Appt
Unrealized One Shot Defficiency for School
Hershey's Chocolate World
The Cow Ride
Wendy's Lunch
Pure Bliss

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And the Winner is...

After announcing a roll recipe competition on my blog, recipes poured in as comments and via my email address. They were all very yummy. Six weeks and many rolls later...I admit a lot of rolls were handed out to neighbors, sick friends, women having babies, my choir, and the likes because although a bread addict I may be I didn't want to also be 600 lbs and vying for world record holder in the weight category.
After much speculation I have narrowed it down to two recipes that I have baked more than once each determining them to each be equally good. They are Lori's and Anya's recipe. Although Lori's recipe contains a small option which lends the roll recipe into the start of cinnamon rolls. The cinnamon rolls are the best, over the top, and several friends have already asked me for this recipe already.

Because of this fact, Lori has been declared the winner. Lori, expect something in the mail in the near future - hopefully...the forth coming Easter and General Conference may disrupt my well laid plans. And with both of your permission, I would like to share the recipes on my blog. Please let me know if that would be okay.
Anyone interested in a new Easter Dinner Roll?