Archive for February, 2015

Welcome Winter

Spring snowstorms are my very favorite.  They are heavy, wet and give us necessary moisture for summer all without bitter near zero (if not below) temperatures and bitter winds.  This winter has felt like not winter at all, almost no snow and a few rain storms in there (yes, rain) but not nearly the moisture we need stored in the mountains.  This is the second weekend we’ve had soft, heavy snow storms that make the roads a slick mess but coat the rest of the world in a beautiful white coat.  It’s not very cold and it looks like a winter play land in my backyard.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Fortunately for my play land, these storms are also huge light boxes capable of being as effective as a green screen.

Ms Pria, playing in the snow

I have a bunch today and outside is pulling at me, so I took a break with my camera while letting Pria out and came up with these.  I’m back inside now, making sweet pork, cilantro lime rice, and black beans for Michael’s birthday dinner.  I have a post for him mulling around in my head but need less distraction around me to write it — watch for it later.

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I’m sitting here on the couch wishing I had a laptop, waiting for my cast iron saucepan I scored at DI or a yard sale a while back to finishing seasoning and remembered I promised I’d blog about my bread. If you want the recipe scroll now, if you enjoy my rambling keep reading.

Forever ago my Internet friends were all making no knead bread. I had zero free time and didn’t realize that was all I needed {kneaded?} I ignore the thread and pushed the thoughts of homemade bread out of my mind. Occasionally I’d make some in the bread maker or pick up some Rhodes dough so it smelled like I’d made bread. Very occasionally, almost beyond rarely. 
Then came my great master plan of having a few friends up to the cabin for dinner, which has to include Dutch oven potatoes {right?} so as I’m wondering if I can live up to Russell’s potatoes and start browsing Pinterest for recipes I discover a pin for Dutch Oven crusty bread and then realize its no knead bread and my research shows most no knead breads are almost exactly the same. Flour, water, salt, yeast and sitting overnight in something covered then baked in a covered Dutch oven that has been preheated in a 450* oven for 30 minutes then 10 to 15 minutes without the lid. You can embellish, bedazzle, and sparkle it up but the result is a crusty bread that is perfectly soft and chewy on the inside. Mmmm.  Heaven.

So I mix all the goods up and put them in Mom’s old Corning ware bowl with some plastic wrap and let it sit overnight and through a good chunk of today. After I dumped it out I realized I should be documenting this, good bad or ugly so I take a picture of my dough ball resting while the Dutch oven is heating up.

And there it sat for 30 minutes until it was  gently placed into the HOT Dutch oven. 

Now, this is where life and a low volume timer come into play. I missed the timer going off and when I realized my bread looked like this with a hollow thump sound so I pulled it out then. I don’t know how much better it would have been but I’ve been craving soft cheese, fondue, and potato soup to go with this. 
Doesn’t it look heavenly?  It tasted great too.

Super Easy Crazy Yummy Crusty Bread

3 Cups bread flour {or whatever flour was in my flour jar}
1 1/2 Cups water {not hot, you don’t want to kill the yeast}
1 teaspoon yeast {different recipes talked about different kinds of yeast in different amounts etc. I have a Tupperware jar marked “yeast” in my freezer and that’s what I used}
1 teaspoon salt
Mix dry ingredients together then add water and stir until combined well. Place in at least a 4 quart bowl with lid or cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature somewhere between 12-24 hours. 
When ready to bake heat oven to 450 and preheat Dutch oven and lid for 30 minutes. While Dutch oven is heating scrape dough onto well floured surface and form into a ball.  You don’t need to work the dough, just form it into a nice ball. Let rest while Dutch oven finishes heating. Gently place dough ball into Dutch oven {really you should be careful that sucker is HOT}

Bake with lid in place 45 minutes. Remove from Dutch oven and allow to cool before cutting. 

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With the exception of school, I’ve written for me and not anyone else.  It helps me process my thoughts and feelings and come out with an improved perspective or action plan.  I’ve never had to worry about my ‘audience’ because I don’t really have one.  I’ve never cared about “how to get people to read your blog” type information since this blog is entirely self centered around what I need.  I simply publish it because I want to (see, self centered again)  I’ve never worried when I’ve had writers block because I don’t have deadlines or publishers and my family being able to eat isn’t dependent on my words being marketable.  If I have writer’s block I just don’t write, I will go for a walk or sit in the sunshine.  The past few weeks has been the opposite of writer’s block — it’s like I’m in a storm of words, thoughts and things I want to share with you.

I’m taking on a self assigned task of writing about Hard Things.  I started with Freshman English guidelines.  Why am I doing this? Who is my audience? What is my purpose? How do I want to get there.  I’ve never objected to writing papers for a grade but the writing I do for me is this blog and my journal and much less organized than Hard Things (not my end title, just my current reference) In writing I’m feeling emotions from the last two years resurfacing with great force, without the numbing effect of shock.  It leaves me wanting to blog about things, but oh so many things all at the same time.  How amazing my life is, the power of having good friends, the strengthening ability of the sunshine on my face, praying that this non-winter we are having has a minimal impact this summer and that my flowers coming up don’t die, how my back is doing, plans for the yard and oh so much more.  My brain seems like Kaede after a busy day at school and 10,000 thoughts coming out all at once.  Maybe I need an assignment so I can focus my thoughts a little?  It could be that I’ve been neglecting my blog and I’m trying to catch up like a short visit with a friend you haven’t seen in years.

I looked back over my last few posts and realized how far apart they are and that there really isn’t any update after the wedding I will share a few pictures with you.  These are from Mom’s camera and I’m leaving out the shots of her skirt, thumb and the ceiling at the church.  The day was absolutely perfect and I wouldn’t change anything about it if I could.  Life as a new family afterwards has been even better and I acknowledge the impact my friends have had in my life and that I would never have been in the place I needed to be to have the blessings in my life I enjoy every day if it wasn’t for their kindness and strength on the very worst of days.  As I think back to my wedding day and on my joy and the peace in my life I always take a moment to thank my Heavenly Father for my friends and family.  They’ve been miracle workers in my life and answers to many prayers.

Going from getting married to blending families, budgets, homework, Christmas concerts all in a whisper of time is different than I ever imagined.  It makes sense, all the time that newlywed couples get together and alone is different for us.  Most nights we have kids, homework, broken arms, etc and it would be so easy to neglect one another.  So easy it seems natural.  I am very fortunate that we have made a promise to each other to make time for us, not just date nights (although I love them) but using each moment we have.  I love you Neil.

Pictures from Mom, SOOC.

Summer (pre-wedding) trip to the cabin.  This is what happens when the ropes to the swing need to be replaced.

Swinging, Tarzan style

Yes, it’s very fuzzy.  I don’t care.

Michael’s turn.

Neil.  I love him.

Aren’t they the greatest?

Less fuzzy, still swinging.

Wedding wonderfulness 🙂

Gary and Holden (Tasha in the background, probably making sure Uncle Gary doesn’t teach him any undesirable tricks) 


Ryker and Aunalee

half of Grandma (I wonder who is holding the camera?) Grandpa and two of his boys and Terry

I wish I knew what he was thinking

Terry and Holden

Kaede, Ryker, and Charlet

Me and Dad.  A few seconds before this I realized I left bouquet elsewhere

floor perspective of the ceremony

Neil, Ryker’s arm, and Michael

My boys

more ceremony

First Kiss

I love him

I have no idea what I’m doing, obviously not paying attention to the camera…


Kaylee’s beautiful lettering.  I’m jealous of her talent.

Food! Family! Friends!

Ryker and Charlet playing “A Thousand Years”

Four generations

Feeding Grant, because feeding babies is awesome!

Jaron, Mina, and Grant

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The Good Life

I’m laying here, exhausted but unable to sleep. So, so many things running through my head and a heart full of gratitude. I wish I could capture how I feel right now and save it for dark days. 

Life is far, far from perfect but I wouldn’t change a thing (ok, I would love my kitchen sink back!). Housework, bills, projects, and meetings all are ahead of me and they aren’t anymore fun than they have ever been, however my life feels so absolutely full and blessed. A few weekends ago I left my house full of family still sleeping to go to work, very disappointed in the fun I’d be missing. In one sigh I was able to be grateful for the family that I pined to be with and for the job that has sustained me for so long. I clocked in a bit misty eyed and with a better attitude. It was still a hard day to be inside working instead of outside with my family but underneath the hard I recognized the blessing. 
So, life is good. Very, very good. I’m still around, just busy. 

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