Thursday, July 7, 2016

Mister Vinster Gush

It is time for a Vince update.

My cute little guy just rocks my world! He is 4 months old now, and blows me away. His favorite thing is to make his bouncer really bounce. I put him in it, and he kicks those chubby legs of his until his chair is bouncing so hard, I worry he will be flung out of it. When the bouncing slows down, he begins to kick furiously again, as if to take off into the stratosphere. And if I glance his way, he smirks and begins to kick all the more.

This kid has got legs! With those legs, he travels the world, or the carpet, or his crib. He will probably be a sleepwalker. When he wakes up in the morning, his head is squished against the bars of his crib, even when we place him at the bottom of his bed. Or, I find him sideways, head against the bars and feet against the bars, and miserable.

Mister Vinster gives the greatest hugs! I hold him, and often I find his arm tightening around my neck, while he gives me a slobbery kiss on the other side.

I don't know how on earth I got so lucky as to be able to call him mine, but I am SO happy that he belongs to me.

Best baby EVER!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Aviary Adventures

I just love this picture of Keith. So serene and contemplative. This is the essence of my boy.
It seems after I have a baby, I always have to go to the dentist. Those adorable little parasites leach my body of calcium and my teeth suffer, despite the brushing and flossing.

Last week one of my teeth began to hurt when I put pressure on it. Then on Friday, another tooth began to hurt when it was touched with heat, or cold, and I couldn't put pressure on it. And so, with dread, I scheduled an appointment for my dentist. I didn't want to deal with another cavity, and especially didn't want to deal with the bill.

Today was my appointment. I gathered the children, and we headed down, the nearly hour long drive, until we reached the dentist. I love my dentist. We chit chatted for a bit first, and then he inspected my teeth while the office ladies oohed and aahed over Mister Vinster. The good news is I don't have any cavities like I suspected! Apparently, having a sinus infection can cause pain in the back top teeth. Weird, right? And then, despite my best efforts, I have been grinding my teeth again, or so it seems. My extremely painful tooth has an exposed root. Happily, he slapped some fluoride on it, and the pain receded. He then sent me home with some fluoride toothpaste to apply directly to the tooth, Since I didn't bring it with me, he asked me to text him some pictures of my retainer, both in my mouth and out of it.


That was absolutely the strangest text I have ever sent to anyone!

Afterwards, though, was the highlight of our day. I had promised the children that we would go to the Tracy Aviary, and so we did!



The best part, though, was that our friend Kylie works there and was able to give the kids a mini tour before she had to rush off.


They love seeing Kylie! And they love playing at the bird park. Also, the baby toucan is huge, and was so fun to watch and hear!


We didn't stay very long. I was willing to stay longer, but the kids led me out after seeing only half of the park.

I love taking them on outings because it typically wears them out. They went right to bed, and now, Jeffrey and I are on a hot date, watching Lord of the Rings in our pajamas. We have finally made it out of the Shire, and it only took us 2 weeks to do so. It is so fun to hear him heckle it, though. We love to heckle movies.

Another successful day has come to a close.

What a wonderful life I live!

Aviary Adventures

I just love this picture of Keith. So serene and contemplative. This is the essence of my boy.
It seems after I have a baby, I always have to go to the dentist. Those adorable little parasites leach my body of calcium and my teeth suffer, despite the brushing and flossing.

Last week one of my teeth began to hurt when I put pressure on it. Then on Friday, another tooth began to hurt when it was touched with heat, or cold, and I couldn't put pressure on it. And so, with dread, I scheduled an appointment for my dentist. I didn't want to deal with another cavity, and especially didn't want to deal with the bill.

Today was my appointment. I gathered the children, and we headed down, the nearly hour long drive, until we reached the dentist. I love my dentist. We chit chatted for a bit first, and then he inspected my teeth while the office ladies oohed and aahed over Mister Vinster. The good news is I don't have any cavities like I suspected! Apparently, having a sinus infection can cause pain in the back top teeth. Weird, right? And then, despite my best efforts, I have been grinding my teeth again, or so it seems. My extremely painful tooth has an exposed root. Happily, he slapped some fluoride on it, and the pain receded. He then sent me home with some fluoride toothpaste to apply directly to the tooth, Since I didn't bring it with me, he asked me to text him some pictures of my retainer, both in my mouth and out of it.


That was absolutely the strangest text I have ever sent to anyone!

Afterwards, though, was the highlight of our day. I had promised the children that we would go to the Tracy Aviary, and so we did!



The best part, though, was that our friend Kylie works there and was able to give the kids a mini tour before she had to rush off.


They love seeing Kylie! And they love playing at the bird park. Also, the baby toucan is huge, and was so fun to watch and hear!


We didn't stay very long. I was willing to stay longer, but the kids led me out after seeing only half of the park.

I love taking them on outings because it typically wears them out. They went right to bed, and now, Jeffrey and I are on a hot date, watching Lord of the Rings in our pajamas. We have finally made it out of the Shire, and it only took us 2 weeks to do so. It is so fun to hear him heckle it, though. We love to heckle movies.

Another successful day has come to a close.

What a wonderful life I live!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Because a Regular Day is Far From Boring


Sometimes when I look back on my days, I feel a little guilty. I feel like I don't do enough to play with my kids, or help them use their minds enough. Of course, we have a rule that they have to do chores and reading before they can get on the computer, and the rule that Keith has to read for equal time he is on the computer. Still, though, he is a sneaky boy and manages to con out more time on the computer, like a vegetable.

Today, I decided to take a few pictures, just to see if their days really are so terribly vegetable like.

This morning they were instructed to put sheets back on Faye's bed. A day or two ago they thought it would be funny to strip her bed, so I gave them strict instruction to get the sheets back on and the bed made. Without pulling the mattress down onto the floor, because that is how they usually try to do it.

Of course, they had to do it their way. They pulled that mattress off the top bunk, put the sheet on it, and then, together, they hoisted it back on to the bed. I was impressed since the last few times they whined about not being able to do it, and so the mattress sat on the floor until Jeffrey got home. Because it is important for them to think that Daddy is the strongest in the land, and it is difficult to maneuver a mattress while balancing a baby on the hip. Especially when the baby is too small to balance on the hip.


Once the mattress was back up on the bed, they both threw their hands in the air, in a victory dance, and shouted "We beat Mom!" I had to laugh.

Later, I decided to tackle the jungle mess of my room. Kids bring so much stuff into my room and it gets so messy so quickly, it is sad.


And I decided to take down the bassinet since it has just sat there for a few months, collecting stuff, so I couldn't put a baby in it even if I had wanted to. While I was cleaning my room, the kids decided to build a fort in the living room.


They pulled out flashlights and books, and bunkered down for a little while. Until Beth decided that she must have complete control over the flashlights and was kicked out of the club.

When Jeffrey got home and I was still working on the bedroom, he was darling and decided to take the children on a walk to the park. Including Vince. He is a trooper. I saw this cartoon while he was gone, and we both had a good laugh over it. But he was wonderful, and took the kids without any coercion at all. And he survived!
google image
And I was able to finish my room, which makes me immensely happy. And then, Keith decided he wanted to watch Pride and Prejudice with me. The good version! It is what I had playing in the background while I cleaned. So the boy and I curled up on my bed in my now wonderfully clean room, and watched. I love that he wanted to spend time with me, and that it is doing something that will benefit him when he is dating. Having an intimate knowledge of Pride and Prejudice is a good thing for any man, in my opinion.

It is nice to know that my little darlings do do things other than vegetate in front of a screen. I only have to pay attention and keep track.

Monday, July 4, 2016

My poor floor!

This too, happened while I was feeding the baby.
Oh my poor neglected blog. Life happens and I get far too tired to update. I remember once upon a time when Keith was little and Faye was a baby I scoffed at the people who neglected their blogs, naively thinking I would never not post. Blogging was such a huge part of my life back then. And then Beth was born and it was a little harder. And then we moved and it was a bit more difficult. And then I got pregnant with Vince, and I no longer had energy at night when the day was done, and I had time to write, because I wanted nothing more in the world than my pillow, and sleep. And now, I feel so much better, but I am just busy, and I have to prioritize and let things that aren't AS important fall by the wayside. Like my sweet little blog here.

And now, instead of scoffing, I long for those days when I had time to read other people's blogs, and I had time to sit down and type my heart and soul into the computer, cherishing and remembering each and every little thing that happened that day.

Oh nostalgia!

And yet, here I am again, attempting to slow life down and capture just a snapshot of what my days are like.

Since being released from primary, I get to plan all of the activities for Relief Society. And it is a wonderful and fun calling. I love it. I love that I get to release some creativity in this calling. Not that I have a ton, but I get by, and the little that I can do, even designing the fliers, makes me happy. I have been crazy busy the past few weeks, though, trying to plan our upcoming Super Saturday crafts. I am very excited about it, and hope that the women in my ward will like what we have been preparing for them! This Sunday we will be putting up a table to display everything along with sign up sheets, and I am so busy trying to get everything prepared and ready for the display table. Because of that, I have done nothing but craft all week, and my house has greatly suffered for it.

*** All that was written Friday night. Fast forward to tonight, Monday night. ***

It is true, I did practically nothing last week but craft. I am excited for these crafts, and if all else fails, I at least have some new cute craft things to display around my house. I still have a few last minute touches to put on things, and I am going to be doing a give away for one of them, so stay tuned for that. I am happy that I am going to finally get around to cleaning my house. There have been so many things preventing that, such as sickness, and deadlines, keeping me from doing the regular mom things, so this week will be nice to get caught on up things.

So yesterday was an adventure. Saturday night I was up way too late, trying to get things finished for the display table on Sunday. Sunday morning I woke up with a migraine. One of the worst I have had in a long time! I couldn't get up because I was in too much pain. I was supposed to help out in a primary class, so I forced myself to get up and get ready for church. Vince and I went to talk about the care needed to have and take care of a healthy baby in the 4 year old class. They were adorable. After that I set up things on the display table, and sat down, leaning my head against the cool brick, wishing I were home and in bed because my head was in too much pain. When church finally let out and I went home, I was extremely nauseated and sweating from the pain of it. I handed Vince off to Jeffrey, got a drink of my Pink Drink (a new supplement I have been taking which eases inflammation and regulates blood sugar) and went to my bed to lay down. It was brutal! I lay there, wishing and praying for relief. I couldn't sleep because the children were making normal children noises. Soon, however, within an hour of me drinking my drink, the pain was completely gone! I am so happy and want to sing from the roof-tops about it! My mother commented that the only reason I want to talk about my Pink Drink is because I am a distributor, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I am a distributor because of the miracles it produces. Because it takes away my migraines!  Anyway, my pain finally went away, and Vince woke up, so I took him back into my room to feed him. While feeding him, there was a knock at the door. It was insistent since no one was answering. I couldn't get up and the kids were downstairs playing. Eventually Keith heard the door and answered it. It was my mother in law. Luckily I was nearly finished feeding Vince and was able to go out and greet her.

And what did mine eyes behold?!

In my brief hour long retreat for relief, and the added 20 minutes of feeding the baby, the girls had gotten into my acrylic paint, and painted the table, the chairs, the floor, and the wall. Beth, who is very nearly completely potty trained and decided she couldn't be bothered and just pooped all over the floor. So, there were 2 big puddles of poop, one of pee, and paint smeared all over the kitchen. I discovered this, all while my mother in law sat on the living room couch, where she had a perfect view of the atrocities that had happened.Not to mention, it was fairly hard to miss considering the smell. Gah! Thank heavens I had gotten rid of my migraine, because I was in a fantastic mood! I was so happy and in awe that my drink could so completely help my pain go away, that the mess didn't even faze me. Luckily, I don't mind those bodily messes, so set right to work cleaning it up while she held Vince and then kids went to get their dad.


Today was lovely, though. We got up, the kids and I packed a lunch and then met 2 of my out of town siblings and their families up in the mountains for a beautiful picnic and stroll. It was adorable how Beth kept calling them "her mountains." I think that comes from a combination of listening to me gush over my love of "my mountains" and watching the show Heidi where she constantly calls them her mountains as well.


After that we were going to go to Heber City to see the trains and get some ice cream from the Dairy Keen, but the van was acting a little iffy and I had the most terrifying drive down the mountain I have ever experienced. At one point the engine turned off, which meant the steering wheel no longer wanted to turn, and the breaks weren't working very well, either. I told the kids to start praying their guts out, and they and I did, and I was able to pull off to the shoulder of the road, and restart the van, having no further incidence the rest of the ride home. But it was brilliant, because it really wore out the kids. They were so tired when we got home!

I will admit, we weren't the most fun parents tonight, though. We began bedtime around 7:30, and Faye was not going to be deceived. She knew that tonight was the 4th of July, and that means fireworks! She did her best to stay up to watch the neighbors light fireworks, but Jeffrey and I are both tired, so we went to bed. Meaning Jeffrey went down to tuck Keith in bed and fell asleep down with him. I was in my room, nearly asleep, when I heard squeals of laughter and "my turn, my turn!" being shouted. And then suddenly a wail of pain from Beth. They thought it would be a good idea to dump my whole bottle of dish soap on the wood floor, and skate in it across the floor. The wail came from Beth, who inevitably lost her balance and fell in a puddle of dish soap. On my wood floor! Which made me want to send them to bed before fireworks so much more! Not because I wanted to be mean, but because I was tired and wanted to put myself to bed.


And so, I put these memories down, so I don't forget them, to the wonderful popping sound of celebrations, and the blazing sky of independence. It has been a wonderful day, full of ups and downs and everything, Complete with our annual dinner of bacon wrapped anything. Tonight it was hot dogs and corn dogs with the Nerds. Delicious!

!!! Happy Independence Day !!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Today Finally Caught Up With Tomorrow


This morning I had some errands to run, so I asked my mom if the kids could play with her, as that would be a lot more enjoyable for them than running around with me. She had me meet her at a splash pad, and Keith and Faye had the time of their lives!


They were so water logged and sunburned by the time I finished my errands, they looked wretched. Especially since I didn't know they were going to a splash pad, and so they were wearing their street clothes.


Faye lucked out, though. She had chosen to wear a dress with a tank top and shorts underneath it, so to play in the water, she simply removed the dress and ran around to her heart's content, while Keith trudged along with his heavy wet clothes hanging off his body.

And then we went to a different park. I had a meeting, and we had decided it would be easiest to just meet there and let the kids talk while we had out meeting. So again, they were out in the sun. By the time we got home, we were all exhausted and ready to collapse. Specifically Vince. He did not like having to run all those errands with me instead of cozy up in his little bed, all day.

We were so sun soaked and energy sapped, we all heaved an enormous sigh of gratitude when we walked into our tepid house. Vince fell asleep nearly instantly. Beth and I laid down in my bed, me trying to get her to sleep, and her, fighting it. I turned on the show I had been watching while cleaning, which is The Secret Garden, figuring it would bore her to sleep. Keith and Faye came in and joined us in watching the show. Beth quickly fell asleep, and the rest of us just sprawled, soaking up the cool air around us, grateful to be out of the heat.

Dinner time came, and no one wanted to cook. We were too hot, and the thought of going into that cramped dungeon of a kitchen didn't exactly put a spring in my step. So it became a YOYO night. You're On Your Own.

My kitchen has been a thorn in my side since we moved here. I love that I have my own kitchen, and I get to do what I want in it and with it, but frankly, it is too small, and too dark. For the life of me, I can't figure out why the previous owners would want to paint all of the cupboards black and the walls a deep red. In a large kitchen with lots of natural light, that might look good. But in my minuscule kitchen, it makes the whole thing feel cramped and unwelcoming. Considering I typically spend at least half of my day in there, if not more, you can see why it might drive someone mad.

Because of this, I have had big plans for my kitchen. I got some paint, and I was all ready to go, and then I got pregnant and sick. So, instead of actually working on my kitchen, I made plans and dreams. Some of the things I want to do will probably never happen, and that is okay. I can keep those dreams in my Tomorrow land, and when Today catches up with Tomorrow, maybe I will finally be able to make those changes. Such as knocking out the false ceiling and replacing the lighting. Or adding a bay window to the window above the sink, since it is so small and not much light gets through right now.

One of my Tomorrow dreams was to fix the counter. The previous owners had painted the under the counter cupboards black. I detest it. I have wanted to get some bead board to put under there, just to add a bit of dimension, or interest, and then paint it. And then, Today caught up with Tomorrow, and Adrienne found some bead board on KSL Classifieds for free. I just had to go and pick it up! I could not believe my luck. I texted the lady, fully expecting it to be gone, but it was all there, and I was able to go and pick it up, and now I have my bead board and I just need to get it measured, cut, and attached. Which shouldn't be too hard to do, right?

While I was picking up the board, I decided to go visit the dairy. I don't go often, because it is so far away, but I figured, since I was already up in that area, I might as well stop by and see if I could get some cream to make butter to go along with my bread. When I arrived a sign was posted saying they no longer did that, and if we really wanted some milk, we could go to their store in town. What an unfortunate thing to do for this little community. But no matter, because I got to go on a lovely drive out into the country, and the sunset was spectacular!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Beware of the dough it creeps and leaps...


I love fresh baked bread. I love the comforting and copacetic feeling that comes when the house is full of the aroma of bread in the oven. I think if love had a smell, it would smell a bit like the woods in the Autumn, the salty goodness of the sea, the freedom of the mountains and a whole lot of fresh baked bread.

I haven't made any since I got pregnant with Vince, and that is a real shame, because we have really been suffering with the meager specimen offered in stores. But Jeffrey must have carbs, so bravely he soldiered on, full of the insubstantial store bought bread, telling me he didn't care so much, as long as he had bread. But I know the truth. MY bread is infinitely better, and does a much better job of keeping him filled, and his taste buds happy. And when Jeffrey is happy, it makes me happy.

Because of my apparent bread snobbery {homemade is best}, I was invited to teach bread making to the women in my ward next Tuesday, so I decided I should probably pull out the Bosch and get back into the swing of things. I have only ever made freshly ground whole wheat bread, and decided this time around, I would put a spin on things and see how my recipe holds up with white flour. Because I just know someone is going to ask if my recipe works with white. I just know they are. This is for you, white bread lovers.

Thus far I am not impressed. 

Granted, it may be a bit of my own doing. I should have known better.

I went into this, thinking in the back of my mind that I would probably need some dough enhancer. But my dough enhancer is rather old. I haven't used it since I discovered this bread recipe. So I resolved to attempt the recipe, as it is written, without any aids to the dough. If it turns out terribly, Jeffrey and the kids will happily eat it, and I can begin again, as soon as it is gone. And at the rate they eat bread, it will only take a few days.

I mixed everything up as I was supposed to. I added enough flour so that it was pulling away from the sides cleanly, and let it knead for about ten minutes. Like I always do. I took the Bosch mixer off the machine, and dumped the dough onto my freshly oiled counter...

...and it oozed out, like some sort of primordial goo.

Things escalated quickly. I grabbed some flour, dumped it on the dough and attempted to knead it by hand. Except it sucked my hands into its belly, obviously intending to keep me there 'till the end of time, and only let go with a lot of pulling and loud squelching sounds was I able to eventually free myself. Of course, I began to sing while adding more flour. And more, and more, eventually losing count of how much I had added.

Beware of the blob, it creeps
And leaps and glides and slides
Across the floor
Right through the door
And all around the wall
A splotch, a blotch
Be careful of the blob.

When my hands were finally free, they were so covered in dough, that any attempt I made to release them only caused more dough to attach itself to my sticky claws. 

Rinse and repeat.


This went on for a good half hour.

Eventually, I got the dough off my fists, was able to knead the Blob into submission and a satiny sumptuous lump was ready to be divided, put into pans, rise, and then bake.

While waiting for the dough to rise and bake, the best thing to do is blog, obviously.

Honestly, I had my reservations. But a lovelier loaf of bread you never did see. It is quite a shame that it is so late and dark right now. I wish I could get a decent photo of it to show, because I am quite pleased with the turnout. And my house smells heavenly! I am considerably tempted to put the kettle on, cut myself a slice, and have a bedtime snack of tea and bread nearly too gorgeous to eat. With a book, of course. Quite frankly, the dough tastes as yummy as it looks and smells. Color me impressed! This recipe really is the most versatile, fool-proof bread recipe I have ever made!


For anyone interested, this is my recipe, or rather my sister's recipe that I have adapted. And for the record, next time I make it with white flour, I will add the dough enhancer.

Whole Wheat Bread
5 1/2 c lukewarm water
2 Tbsp yeast
2/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
2 Tbsp salt
10 c whole wheat flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine water, yeast, oil, honey and salt. In that order. The oil will help the honey leave the measuring cup. The honey will help the yeast rise, and salt kills yeast, so it is important to have the honey in before adding the salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes so yeast can proof. Add 5 cups flour, and using the spring loaded position on your mixer, pulse the flour into the wet mixture. Once it is mixed in, keep adding flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You want it to be a little sticky, as that will provide softer bread, but you don't want it to be so sticky it doesn't knead properly. Let knead for 10 minutes.
While dough is kneading, prepare the pans. Using Crisco, butter, or oil (not spray oil), thoroughly grease bread pans. Set aside. Oil counter, hands, and rolling pin. Remove dough from pan into a large lump. Cut into 5 equal sections, and one by one, give a quick rectangular flatten with the rolling pin, and then roll the bread, pinching and tucking the ends beneath. Place bread in greased pan. Repeat 4 more times. For a softer crust, brush tops of dough with oil. Cover with warm damp cloths, away from drafts and let rise 1/3, or 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 425. When dough has risen, remove cloth and place in oven for 8 minutes. Then, without opening the door, lower temperature to 350 for 28-32 minutes. When bread is finished, remove and immediately apply a thin butter to tops of bread. This will help it maintain a beautiful glossy sheen. Let sit 5 minutes, then remove and let cool on cooling racks. Once bread has cooled, cover and store.

*Using oil instead of flour to prevent sticking is better for the bread. In the mixer it arrived at the perfect density. Adding flour toughens the bread. Using oil helps to soften the crust, and keep the bread soft and fluffy.
**Rising times may vary depending on the temperature, humidity in the air, etc.
***Place large roasting pan on bottom rack of oven, half full of water. The water will keep the oven moist while the bread is baking, thus keeping it from drying out.
****Because this bread has no preservatives, it should be eaten quickly. We have never had it go bad, but that is because it disappears so quickly at my house. The bread freezes very well, though.

And there you have it! My favorite bread recipe with all of the little tricks and tips I have learned along the way. The great thing about this particular recipe is that it works everywhere. My sister has made it at an elevation of 8,000' as well as 82'. She said it turns out great every time, regardless of the elevation, which is wonderful news when it comes to bread baking!