The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation
2Samuel 22:47

30 January 2012

When they rise up and . . .

Make breakfast all by themselves.

Training, encouragement and enthusiasm - a recipe for success.
{Oh, and the willingness on Mom's part to put up with a bit of messiness while they are in the process of learning.}
A beautiful morning to wake to this!

Camo apron and 'chef' hat courtesy of Gramma Carol.  Being able to dress the part plays a huge role in success, too!

23 January 2012

Anti-Archaeology and other cuteness

We spent some time recently at a Children's Museum.  It had been a long time since we've visited one of these types of places and I had forgotten how much fun they can be! 

Over at the dig site, Langston was apparently clueless as to what was going on.  As soon as he uncovered the trilobite, he started screaming.
And I mean LOUD screaming, not just your average little boy screaming.

Which makes me think he probably doesn't have a future in archaeology.

Maybe he'll just be the guy who hides fossils for the digger types.

The boys were thinking of hopping the train back to Seattle to see kin-folk.
And snow.
We miss our snow.
The museum even had things for older sons, such as giant Keva planks.  How fun is this?

'Twas a great weekend get away and I am already trying to plan our next visit to a Children's Museum!  We'll  probably steer clear of the fossil exhibit, though.

16 January 2012

Entering a New Decade

We are so in love with this man!

The boys and I worked on a 'Forty things we love and appreciate about you' journal
Lovely gift from his boys {the real deal is in the mail}
A little birthday torte action - we went easy on the candles!
Happy Birthday, Love!

10 January 2012

Taco Tuesday Tutorial

Taco Tuesday - a tradition near and dear in the hearts of everyone residing under our roof.
It is such a big part of our family that I thought I'd share ...

1. Mid-morning: Add 10 c. filtered water to your crockpot and turn it on HIGH.

2. Forget about your crockpot and supper because you are explaining right, acute and obtuse angles with one of your sons while simultaneously explaining to another son why he can't use the comics for his current events report this week.

3. Soon after lunch remember that your beloved varmints will be hungry again in just a few short hours and get the package of dried black beans out of the pantry.  Say a sincere prayer of thanksgiving to our Lord that you still have a bag of black beans in the pantry and you don't have to make a run to the store after all.

4.  Pour a 2# bag of dried black beans on the counter, sorting out the bad beans and debris from the beans.  You have to watch it because quite often there will be little stones in with the beans.  Make a pile of bad beans and debris and put the good beans in a colander.

See the little stone in this pile of rejects?

5. Once all the good beans are in your colander rinse well under cold water.  Add beans to the hot water in your crock pot and leave it be for about 4-hours, on HIGH.

6.  After about 4-hours your beans will look like this.  At this point, I begin cooking 2#s of hamburger in a skillet.  Meanwhile, I like to drain 2-3 cups of liquid from the cooked beans, leaving some in there so the seasonings have something to soak into.

7.  Add your seasonings!  Whatever you normally use for your taco night will do.  Sometimes I have enough bulk ingredients on hand that I don't have to pull out the premixed taco seasoning.  Tonight I didn't so I added about a Tablespoon of *RealSalt* {please, for the sake of your health - make the switch.  You can find this at Target!}, about 1/2 cup of the Taco Seasoning, 1 Tablespoon of Cumin and 6 cloves of garlic.

For your health, garlic.  Beautiful, beautiful garlic . . .

8.  So, you've added the seasonings to your crock pot, the ground beef is browning gloriously and it is now time to start mixing the dough for your tortillas.  Here is a recipe which makes enough dough for 16 tortillas.  This is enough for the average sized family but I have found that for our crew I need to double it.  But, for tonight we'll keep it small and simple.
To your mixer bowl, add:
4 cups freshly milled hard white wheat
1 1/2 cups filtered water, slightly warmed
1 tsp. Real Salt
1/4 cup Olive Oil.
Mix barely, like 30-seconds'ish.  The trick to beautiful, stretchy tortillas is having a very wet dough.  Add a bit more water if you need to.  Once you have mixed, cover your bowl and let the dough rest for 30-minutes.

9.  By now your hamburger should be done and it is time to throw it in the crockpot.  Once added, mix everything together really well, replace the cover, turn the crockpot down to LOW and you can start grating your cheese or setting the table or reading your mail since we need to wait for the dough to rest.

10.  About 20-minutes into dough resting, get your tortilla press out and start preheating.  If you don't have a tortilla press, you can still make the tortillas!  You will just need to preheat a skillet instead.  You can use a rolling pin to make your tortillas nice and flat.  In any case, divide your dough into 16 equal pieces.  It helps to have some butter standing by as the press can start to stick once the dough starts to dry out.  No one I know ever complains about extra butter around here so it just seems more like a bonus.

11.  Pat each ball into a small disc, then quickly

12.  Place on preheated tortilla press, and 

13. Quickly and firmly press down about 4-5 seconds or just until you start to hear the first squeals of steam.  Any longer and you run the risk of 'blowing' your tortilla.

14. Beauty, eh?  {That's for you, Amy D!  See, I do have a bit of Canadian in me!}

15.  The rest is pretty self-explanatory, transfer to serving bowls, ring the dinner bell, etc.,
Taco Tuesday is a good thing.  Maybe it will make its way into the heart of your homes as well!  Let me know if it does.

05 January 2012

We've Moved

I'm not exactly sure where we've moved to.
I don't remember -thankfully- packing boxes or cleaning or signing paperwork.
But we are obviously not in Kansas any longer.
Or Nebraska.
Or Christmas - which is why I need to hurry up and take my decorations down.

Yes, it's Janaury 5th and it's in the 70s here.

As we speak, or type and read, my children are in shortsleeves riding their bikes with the neighbors.  The grass in our yard is beginning to green and I have flowers coming up in our garden beds.
If anyone has any idea where we've moved to, please let me know.  I'd like to have our mail forwarded . . .

03 January 2012

He's Four {with strange brothers}

Langston is SO excited to be four.
"This is how you do it [on being four] - you fold your thumb in and the rest of the fingers stay up."

There you have it, the complete story on being four.
 A little excited about present time . . .
A final decision on a cake {the decision was a year in the making}: A Space Shuttle
Strange Party Goer #1
Even Stranger Party Goer #2

01 January 2012

Christmas Snapshots

I whittled the photo selection down to about four million snapshots so it shouldn't take you too long to make it through our day!

Stocking loot before the invasion
Starting line for stocking invasion
What is it?  A wonderful thing about having older sons is that now they can stay up really late on Christmas Eve assembling fun gifts for little brothers!
Little brothers absolutely tickled with their new castle from older brothers
Langston drew Braden's name and helped him to open his gift
Braden was generous enough to let Langston try on his size 13 hiking boots.
Langston was so excited about getting Legos of his own that he could hardly get the package open.  Thanks, Auntie Laura!
Beach bum Ry-man trying out a new towel from his doggie pal Patches
Sniffle, sniffle. How can any Mom keep a dry eye when handed something like this?
And then opening the sweet package and finding a wooden cross, handmade, sanded, assembled and stained by my five-year old {with some help from older brothers and Daddy}
Reporting for Christmas duty, Ma'am.
The sons of the house thought Dad needed a Whirly Pop for our Sunday evening traditional popcorn meal.  Well done, boys!

Tarver's first real watch - I think he likes it!
John Deere boots make a boy very, very happy!
The castle experiences its first siege and attack.  Ryland really, really wanted spurs and suction cup bow and arrows.  You came through, Auntie Laura!  You have some very happy {and grateful} nephews.
Star Wars underoos for the heroes in our home.
Hey, after spending many a winter locked inside with four very energetic boys, I earned these pink ear muffs!  They come in mighty handy for the grain mill and my husband thinks I'm ready to go target shooting with him now.  I wonder if I can bring my pink Daisy BB gun?
Gramma Carol - you have no idea what you've done to this house.  All I can really say is the youngsters are hoping you will bail them out soon.
He really wanted a paper boy hat.
Surprisingly, this cheap stocking stuffer held the five males in our home captive for many hours on Christmas day.  Who would have guessed?
My favorite picture.  Absolutely favorite.  Ever.  For so many reasons.
You are my man!  And yes, the shirt was a gift.
Once the little guys were bailed out, they joined the military.
A fresh bottle of WD 40 put to use right away.

Our future aviator has a new favorite!
Thanks to all of you for your generous gifts.  I'm sorry I couldn't include all the pictures of excitement of what was given, but as you can see it would have taken forever.  Just know we are very grateful and the thank yous are in the mail!