Thursday, February 25, 2010

Conquering Kitchen Fears: Volume I

Guess what this is a picture of? My very first (and definitely not my last) batch of homemade whole wheat pita bread. I have wanted to try making some for a very long time and was always intimidated by it. Well that ended today! Start to finish, including rising and baking, it only took me an hour to turn out a dozen delicious pieces of pita bread. And then they turned into this for dinner...
Pitas topped with fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, havarti with dill and some fresh pepper and sea salt...fantastic!

This recipe was so simple and easy; I can't recommend it enough! My notes are in italics.

Zohar's Pita Bread from Meet Me in the Kitchen
1 packet yeast (or 2 1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp salt

1. Mix first 3 ingredients, then add the next 3 ingredients.
2. Knead for 10 minutes, and let rise for 30 minutes. (I did this all in my Kitchenaid making it even easier!)
3. Take a ball of dough just smaller than your palm and roll it very thin (1/4 inch) with a little flour on the surface and a rolling pin as needed.
4. Place 2 rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet and broil about 5 inches from the top element until they puff up and start to turn light brown in spots. This goes very fast (less then a minute for me) so you have to watch closely and do not get distracted. Turn them over and brown on the other side. This will only take half as long as the first side.
5. Repeat with remaining dough.

What are you afraid to try making on your own? What will be next on my list?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Griddle art

A perfect project for us this dreary Monday morning...griddle art! We pulled our griddle out of the pantry and put it on the warm setting. I covered it with a large piece of foil and Haven drew away. We used old, broken crayons to draw because they melt as you draw with them. To make prints of the drawings, we placed a piece of paper over the foil and smoothed over it using an oven mitt. It worked beautifully and Haven was thrilled with the results. Wipe off the foil with a damp cloth and keep drawing. We loved this fun project from The Preschooler's Busy Book by Trish Kuffner which is one of my favorite activity resources. Who knew griddles weren't just for pancakes?!

Drawing a house and being very careful to not touch the warm surface

Haven's print of Mati, complete with "his curls".

Can't you see the resemblance??!! This is his mean face!

**Of course, use great caution working around the hot surface, but we had no problems at all.**

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

40 Days of Water

I just sucked down the dredges of an Iced Capp. It's the last I'll have for a few weeks. Starting tomorrow, Cale and I are participating in 40 Days of Water, a challenge from blood:water mission. The challenge is simply this: drink water as your only beverage for the next 40 days and save the money that you would have spent and donate it to be used to build wells in Africa where clean water is a luxury.

It just so happens that this coincides with the Lenten season and as we thought about it just seemed like something we were supposed to do. We both drink a lot of water anyways, but drinking water as our only beverage for 45 days (to be exact) stresses me out a little bit. In fact, I'm a little ashamed to admit how worried I am about this. No milk with my breakfast, no afternoon glass of iced tea, no Ice Capp on Tuesday mornings when Haven's at school...just water. I feel like this shouldn't be that hard, but I know it's going to be.

So if you see my with any thing but a nice tall glass of water in my hands between now and Easter Sunday you've got permission to call me out! Want to join us?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ski babes

We spent the weekend on a bit of a winter getaway. Like last year, we went to visit my mom and Cale and Haven hit the slopes at a ski resort near where I grew up in Western New York. We spent Thursday at the resort along with 85 kids from the school where my mom's a teacher and the areas Special Olympic skiers . It was a happening place! It didn't take long for her to catch on again and she wasn't quite so hard on Cale's back as she was last year!

Bundled up and ready to go!
My entertainment while the other two were skiing! He's good (and cute!) company!
A cold nose means some hot chocolate is needed.
I just adore the tiny skis!
Getting the hang of it again...
Well, kind of!

Cale and I spent Friday night up there, too and he snow boarded while I sat and read in the lodge. I also did quite a bit of people watching which is always a hit. Not an orthodox date night, but we did enjoy a great dinner together and both enjoyed a break from the norm.

It was a lovely weekend all around and we got to visit with several family members, do some shopping and eat some good food (like this dessert- yum!). And now we're once again snowed in with no plans and a lot of laundry to do!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

a thousand moments

for my true love...

your love is freely given, so pure and easy i sometimes can't look it in the eye for fear of being swallowed whole. no games, no expectations, just strong and steady and always available.

our love has been thrown into the fire, tested, but came out intact. there are scars from the burns we suffered, but they fade with each passing year.

you've been made to choose and what a privilege that you keep choosing me. i don't deserve it. your love always feels so big and selfless; it is bright and clear. my attempts at returning always seemed tinged with selfishness, motives, diluted. you deserve better then that, but i know you dismiss these thoughts as ridiculous.

you are still delusional about the greatness of me. and i love you for it. it makes me want to be great, to be who you see when you look at me.

your love is safe and solid and home. it's the sharing of a thousand moments of inconsequence, except to you and me. it's in the knowing of our oneness and the mystery that ensues.

it's you and it's me. and it's us.

and it is very, very good.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Birthday recap

We've all been sick in varying stages since the birthday festivities last week. So I'm a bit delayed in posting this, but better late then never. Haven actually slept in on her birthday which was a welcome relief after days of 5:30 wake ups! Cale and I told her she could have anything she wanted for breakfast- no limits. Ice cream was even offered. Guess what she picked? Pretzels and a piece of cheese! We enjoyed a lazy morning at home with Cale and opened her presents. The big hit this year was a kids digital camera! Then went to the bookstore to pick out some new books with a gift card she received. She was delighted as books are one of her very favorite things.
"I always wanted one of these!"

We didn't have a party for her this year, but did do a few things to make the day special. When I asked her what she wanted to do she said,"Go to Chick-fil-a for lunch and eat cake with my friends." Easy enough. We met up with a few people for lunch on Wednesday and enjoyed eating together and letting the kids play. We meet with our home group on Wednesday nights so that proved to be a perfect opportunity to let Haven eat cake with friends.

Big smiles before we sang to her at home group

All her friends "helping" with the cake

Some friends at lunch

As I tucked her into bed that night I asked her what her favorite part of the day was and her reply was, "Everything!" I guess we'll call that a success!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fabulous four

Today we celebrate you and the day that you were born! It has been an amazing four years of my life and I'm so proud that I am your mommy. If I had to pick one word that most reminds me of you it would be delightful. You bring light and laughter and optimism with you wherever you go and I pray that would always be so.

In the last year I have been amazed at the way you so easily transitioned from being an only child to a big sister. Papa and I are so proud of you and the way you love on your brother. You are the biggest helper and are always looking for a way to get involved. You're intuitive and can see where someone might need help or overlooked something. Mati doesn't always appreciate this, but I can assure you it's a great asset. You have a nurturing heart and I love to watch you play with your baby dolls and "be the mommy", doing so many of the things I have done for you.

I love the way you want to understand what's going on and why, and even though it wears me out sometimes, I am thankful that God gave you such an inquisitive mind. I love that you love to learn and read and are always up for a project. You have an imagination that never quits and love nothing more then making up some crazy, silly story. I've loved watching you really begin to understand more about God this year and a desire to want to please Him. I'm so proud of the way you are working to hide His word in your heart both at home and through Awana.

Haven, you are just a delight! I never know what's going to come out of your mouth and that's only half the fun! I can only imagine how fabulous of a four year old you're going to be. I pray that this new year of your life finds you growing in your love for God and your compassion for other people. You're my best girl.

I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A weekend of fun

A full weekend for us, and a good one at that...

-Dinner with friends: good food and good company
-A fun chick flick: The Proposal
-Brunch with more friends Saturday morning: more good food and good conversation
-Birthday party for Haven: errands run alone plus an Iced Capp
-Pizza, popcorn and a movie: sleepover with Haven for her birthday
-Church and classes: 1 Peter 4:2
-Yet another movie, this time at the theater with my girl: more popcorn and an okay movie
-Craft time: tackled this project, yelled at Cale in the process and it just turned out alright
-Awana for Haven: date for me and Cale (well, Mati was there, too!)

...and now I'm ready for a new week!