Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 2010

Here's my month of January at a glance:

see it bigger

Hopefully I'll have the same for next month!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

simple comforts

There is something really satisfying about coming home, after working all day. Setting out chips and salsa for Daddy and yogurt cups for the kids who ate a couple hours ago, making up a quick risotto with kielbasa sausage and eating a real warm meal at the end of the day. I've got my cup of decaf coffee now and I feel really satisfied. I think I like this kind of tired. Not the worn-to-the-edge-of-my-sanity tired or emotionally drained like most days, just the I've-been-on-my-feet-all-day kind of tired. I love being a stay-at-home mom, but I love my job too, even if it is only two days a month! You know what else I love? Coming home to find that Daniel washed all the dishes. That is totally fabulous.

Friday, January 29, 2010

life and other misc.

The kids are in bed now, well, all except for Josiah, who is running laps around the kitchen throwing a tennis ball for the dog. I'm hoping it will wear him out and encourage him to sleep in. Past 5:30am would be dandy.
Yesterday was a day with a few firsts which I was too tired to remember, (and too buzzed about the success of my potato soup), but still they are note worthy. One was that Josiah peed in the potty for the first time! That is a pretty major accomplishment. I thought, however that it was interesting that I neither posted about it on Facebook or came to the conclusion that he is ready to potty train in earnest. Yep. He's the fourth alright.
Another first was that Katie-Abigail tried to sound out her first word. I haven't thought she was really ready for that yet and haven't pushed her so it was totally cool to see her try. Today she also recognized almost all of the letters in the STOP sign. Maybe she'll be ready for Kindergarten after all.
Today I also tried to make doughnuts for the first time. I made creme filled and they weren't horrible! I completely freaked out when the oil started making boiling sounds but I didn't completely burn any. And for a first try I think I'll call it a success. (see a photo here)
Well, I didn't get to bed last night until after 12am since I was changing the layout of the blog and Josiah got me up before 5:00am so I am done for today.
I'll leave you with a photo montage of the kids I made today - they certainly do not lack in the expressiveness department! :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Here are some more photos of roses.

Today Daniel passed a test he had to take in order to do pest control in South Carolina. (He will be doing business in South Carolina if/when we move to Augusta) I am SO proud of him! To celebrate I made a home made, from scratch, potato soup with garlic bread and brownies. I used the awesome, amazing recipe for brownies that I posted earlier only reduced the amount of semi-sweet chocolate to about 6oz (instead of 10) and they turned out even better! I also served them warm and that worked out just fine too. My glaze totally flopped. I tried to use whole milk instead of whipping cream and it totally didn't work. Plus the fancy chocolate chips I had bought were totally gross, so I just stuffed the flopped chocolate mess in the fridge to whip up with butter and confectioners sugar another day and served them au naturale.
For my potato soup I diced potato and cooked them with a little bit of red pepper in butter for maybe five minutes to soften them up. I added a can of white beans and some chicken broth and a dash of rosemary and let it simmer. Then I buzzed it in the blender until it was mostly smooth. In another pan I added more diced potato and more red pepper and more butter and some sausage and very finely chopped chicken. I cooked that until the chicken turned white, added it to the buzzed potato soup brought it to a boil and then turned the heat off to let it sit until I was ready to serve it. I think that the recipe I made was overly complicated, but it turned out SO yummy. (Adding white beans to the base of your soup is a great idea, it makes the soup more creamy and more filling.)

red peppers for the soup

As I was preparing the soup I was thinking about what I'd read in Julie & Julia about potatoes:
There's something about peeling a potato. Not to say that it's fun exactly. But there's something about scraping off the skin, and rinsing off
the dirt, and chopping it into cubes before immersing the cubes in cold water
because they'll turn pink if you let them sit out in the air. Something about
knowing exactly what you're doing, and why. Potatoes have been potatoes for a
long, long time, and people have treated them in just this way, toward the end
of making just such a soup. There is clarity in the act of peeling a potato, a
winnowing down to one sure, true way.

I felt that a little, as I was peeling the potatoes for my soup. I sort of felt connected to all the other potato peelers around the world and through time. Like I was doing something that women have done down through the ages and will probably continue to do for ages to come. It's kind of cool.
It also reminded me of something that Julie mentions a lot in her book - that simple is not the same thing as easy. To stand at your kitchen sink and peel a little pile of potatoes, dice them and half a dozen other ingredients, that's simple. But not easy. There are definitely easier things to do, like use a mix, but there is something about the simplicity of cooking from raw, fresh ingredients that doesn't hold a candle to the dump & heat meals that I usually make.

I hope you like the new blog design. I discovered through my sister in-law's blog the most amazing {free!} blog design site. There are SO many beautiful designs to choose from! I even finally let go of the black & white theme! :)

photo taken by Emma in the garage

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sleep deprived... again

Yesterday I found this neat blog written by a mom with a young baby who goes to a moms group I jut joined. In one of her posts she was writing about sleep deprivation. At the moment I felt well rested, generally, and as I was putting dishes away (at like ten o'clock at night) I was thinking of all of these ways to help and tidbits of wisdom from having been sleep deprived on and off for the last eight years. But this morning I can't remember any of it.

Last night Katie-Abigail had a difficult night and was in and out of our bed plus Josiah was in and out of our bed, plus I had a hard time falling to sleep right away in between getting out of bed. I could feel it in every part of my body when I had to drag myself out of bed, I was constantly falling asleep on the couch as the big girls were getting ready for school. My hat's off to you working moms. I don't know how anyone can hold down a job feeling sleep deprived. I just don't know how you manage. It's amazing just how much we can adapt to difficult situations, but right this moment, I am so glad to still be in my jammies, with a cup of coffee and a nap on the horizon. When I'm sleep deprived every relational crack feels like a canyon and regular, ordinary life suddenly feels ginormous and overwhelming. Sometimes the smallest of things will cause me to feel like my life is over.

I was thinking yesterday too about what Jesus said about the person who tries to save their life will loose it and the person who looses their life will save it. And I was thinking that being a mother sometimes feels like loosing your life. You "loose" almost all your time, a lot of your looks, a huge amount of physical and emotional energy. But I wouldn't trade all that for those moments of snuggles and the "I love you Mommy" moments, or my baby's first giggles. I love that I get to know these amazing little kids, that I get to see the smiles and the silly faces and listen to he silly little stories and pretend that the monsters are coming, bounce on the bed and dance in the living room. Yeah, it feels like giving up my life, but it's also like being given a new one in return.
I finished "Julie & Julia". I have that sad feeling I always get when I finish a book. I felt the same way when I finished "Eat Pray Love" like now what am I going to do? Some of the best parts of this week were spent curled up on the couch reading. I really enjoyed it. I feel inspired to try a little bit more in my cooking, at least every now and then. I feel inspired to blog. I feel inspired to not be afraid to tackle the big things in life... right after I take a nap.
The rose is from my anniversary bouquet. There's lots more on my Flickr site

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grocery shopping. How do those homeschooling mothers of seven plus kids that I used to know ever get it done? I imgine they got to WalMart at midnight. I don't know. This was definitely not one of my {frugalicious} weeks, that's for sure.
It started off really well. Katie-Abigail looked like a fashion plate for Gap which was quite unintentional but nonetheless extrememly gratifying. Josiah was wearing his oh so cute Old Navy jacket that his Aunt Heather gave him at Christmas, so he was looking terribly cute too, which somewhat bolsters my confidence. Especially since I had to go to Target.
I like going to Target, it is warm and clean and there are a lot of cute and trendy people there with like one kid. They sip their Starbucks and look so put together and sometimes I just feel out of place. Plus they have the cutest plastic dinnerware!
Anyway, my morning started out at Publix, where I baught some Starbucks coffee for like $4.99 a bag (score!) I also bought some of the Tostitos bean dip that I just love (especially on a scrambled egg burrito, which is kind of weird, I know) Publix is doing this huge Tostitos promotion which put my little fifty-five cents off coupon to shame. They also had a big display with coupons like "$1 off one chip & one dip" and "buy two dips get one free", the same for chips. Here is what I think you should do. Take those coupons and use them at Kroger where they are doing $5 off 10 items and Tostitos are part of the promotions. That is one kick-ass {frugalicious} move. One, which I didn't make. Because I didn't plan much at all. They also have a coupon in the mailer for $3 off a box of diapers, in case you didn't know. I checked at a couple of other stores and if you're wondering if there is a better price somewhere else, there isn't. I didn't buy diapers there, thinking that they would be cheaper at Kroger, they usually are, except that Kroger doesn't accept competitors coupons. So I was pretty much screwed on that deal, but it's only three bucks. Not the end of the world.
Okay, so we finish at Publix and head to Target where I buy some spices for a soup I'm going to try to make later this week. I hardly ever buy spices. Daniel doesn't care for highly seasoned food. Plus I don't use a recipe very often when I cook so I usually mess things up with spices if I use something other than a mix. So I don't mess with them. I also bought a scarf. My first ever. For five dollars. (yay!) It's jersey knit and SO cozy, and purple. I saw the display this weekend but couldn't decide which one to buy - black? gray? not white because I look just awful in white. But still - too many choices. But when I got dressed today in my favorite purple tank top layered under a cozy gray knit shirt, I knew just which one to buy. It was the last one in the display. Maybe I'll photograph it tomorrow. I haven't bought a scarf all this time that they have been in fashion because I don't really know how to wear a scarf. My mom wore beautiful silk scarves to church in the nineties. She had pins for them and knew how to tie them in like twenty different ways. Sometimes she'd let me wear her bright st. Patrick's day green neckerchief, in which I probably looked terrible, but no more than usual. I was such a terrible dresser as a teen. Old fashioned but not vintage chic. Like fourteen year old in an old fashioned suit awful. So anyway. I bought the scarf and I love it.
I also bought Katie-Abigail a puzzle, because she is fantastic at putting together puzzles. I also got her little matchbox car. I got Josiah a little ball (which was a bad idea - because how can a boy just hold a ball nicely in his hands? no! a ball is to be thrown! yeah, a very bad idea). For a moment I felt a little pang of guilt. I'm really not the "If you'll just be good I'll buy you a toy" kind of mom. I'm more of an "if you don't stop that this instant I won't go by the cookie counter and get the free cookie and you'll get a ten minute time-out when you get home" kind of mom. It was kind of sweet though. Katie-Abigail, eating her free cookie and holding her race car. Which she'll loose before the end of the day. But she's already done her puzzle three times, she's just that good.
I also discovered yesterday that she is good at playing the piano. Everyone said she would be when she was born with those long fingers, but people said that about Beth and she really isn't. But yesterday I plugged in my keyboard that I keep set up in the garage for when a rare desire to go play hits me, and she sounded really really good. She was playing scales one finger at a time, just because they sounded good to her. Piano lessons - here we come!

So from Target we end our outing at Kroger. The kids get another cookie because I'm hoping that a slight sugar high will ward off the impending need to nap. Needless to say, it didn't work. Josiah can do a lot of awesome things, but apparently sitting in a gocery cart when he's tired isn't one of them. There was the tantrum in the pasta isle, the melt-down in the meat department, the five minutes we spent in the diaper isle holding him as he thrashed around screaming at me and trying to hit my face. In a moment of sheer desperation I remembered seeing something on Super Nanny and thought I'd give it a shot, seeing as nothing else was working. I stood him up in front of me, looked him strait in the eye and said calmly but firmly "I've had enough of your crying. That's enough." And he stopped! It was amazing. Of course he started back up again not five minutes later but at least we got out of the dipaer isle.
I have to say, the lady who took the grocery cart out to my van probably saved me from my own major breakdown. I mean, I'm sure you see crying kids at the grocery store all the time, but when was the last time you saw a crying mom? that was about to be me. But the smell of frozen meat balls and garlic bread cheered me up considerably. Needless to say, though I didn't feel up to major room organization and pretty much just snuggled with my kids all day, well that and blogged.
I have come to this realization. I really like food. I'm not really a foody because I'm too cheap, or um, frugal and Josiah insists on helping me prepare almost every meal, which is sweet, but makes even pancakes from a mix feel complicated. When I was a kid the one thing my parents didn't fight about was food. My mom made stroganoff and lasagnia and enchiladas and my dad made pncakes and created funky concoctions which we gave funny names like Mexican Roadkill Stirfry, when he overcooked the chicken and we all agreed it tasted like sun-baked iguana. He also made roast duck for one Thanksgiving. It was just like Turkey, only smaller. We made pancakes together every Saturday morning - the whole family in the kitchen together. Making pudding sauce, or maple syrup (we made our own using 2 cups brown sugar, one cup water and 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring boiled in the microwave - now I think it's gross.) or pear puree. It was pretty awesome, actually. Now some of m favorite evenings are spent with a glass of Little Penguin Pinot Noir and a cookbook. I don't actually cook the things I read about, but it's more just the idea of cooking that is comforting and inspiring.
I've nearly finished Julie & Julia and I take back what I wrote earlier. I love it. I love how honest she is about herself and her fits of hysteria, and hr awesomly helpful, yet grumbling sarcastic husband. I really like the idea of doing these grand, complicated dishes and creating amazing food. I don't think I will ever try cooking French food, but I admire the gumption it takes to cook really complicated food. Food is so essential to our existence, which is why it's so dishartening(not to mention constipating) to eat crap night after night. Reading this book as also, obviously, made me feel more wordy.

photo is of AMAZING brownies blogged about here

my happy voice

Whenever my kid's attitudes start spiraling out of control I ask them to "use your happy voice" or put on their nice face. Thus the title for today's post. The photos above the post are of my youngest daughter Katie-Abigail who is SO expressive. I could probably cover an entire wall with photos I've taken of all her funny faces. But she has the best smile. Okay - all my kids have amazing smiles. They get it from me ;-)
I feel like I ought to make up for the inordinate amount of whining I have done on this blog recently, plus the sun has been out for two whole days and I am feeling in a better mood. I could never live in a place like New Hampshire or Washington where it's cloudy and rainy for whole months at a time. Much less Alaska.
So anyway - yesterday's attempt to clean out the garage was a success! Oh yeah, victory is sweet. I lined up all of our extra washers and driers along the wall with our actual working washer and drier (which is, yes, in the basement/garage) which worked great to put misc. junk and make it look neat. I also arranged the said misc. junk so that the kids could ride their little bikes/scooters etc. around in a circle which has worked out to be pretty awesome. So much so that when Emma got home from school yesterday she rode around in a circle for like an hour. Also I packed up a couple of boxes of books. Daniel and I are avid readers and we have tons of books, so that is aways the first task I start on when we have an impending move. Today my task is going to be cleaning out the kids rooms and packing up 90% of the toys that they don't use very often - mostly just so that the house will stay all that much cleaner.
Now, about Julie & Julia I've really enjoyed it. I'm not sure which it is that I love more, the book, or just having something to read. I'm already 3/4 of the way through with it! I don't think it would be a book to pack on vacation or anything like that, more like a book to read a little bit at a time. It feels a little monotonous at times. She drones on about the absolutely insane things she is cooking and I'm wondering why would you do that to yourself? and then there's a lot about the sex lives of her friends - the friend she has a long distance IM relationship with a married man, the friend who has a long distance relationship with someone in another country for whom she leaves her husband... it's kind of aside the point of the book and I really don't think it does anything but paint the backdrop for the really great - though normal with all the ups and downs of life - relationship she has with her husband. The movie though is fantastic. I loved it. And I'm really enjoying the book. Marianne - if you think you'd enjoy reading it let me know and I'll mail it to you when I'm done. That goes for you too Heather.
Okay, this wasn't exactly the cheery, gratitude-filled post I had intended to write. But it's time to go to the grocery store before we get too close to naptime.
So here are a few more photos of the flowers Daniel gave me for our anniversary! I've got TONS more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

at least it's sunny!

I just spend the last half hour making muffins, which turned out to be a total, and complete waste of energy because a) I was making them with the "I hep you!" two year old and b) I forgot to put any baking powder in them, or any leavening of any kind. They were the weirdest little suckers. But with some butter and sugar my kiddies ate them anyway.
The thing about lazy weekends, where you spend all day in your jammies, watching movies, is that when Monday morning rolls around your kids really do not want to go to school. They were complaining about sore throats and headaches. I gave them a Tylenol and cough drop and said "You're going to school." I gave them the cough drops because in my heart I kinda' wanted to let them stay home, but it would have, in all likelihood, gone very badly. Because, after all, the right thing to do is the right thing to do. So my kids tramped out to the bus and will, in all likelihood, have a really great day.
unlike me.
If you've been following my blogs for very long you will know by now that I go in a cyclical pattern with my housekeeping: Everything is in utter chaos and I feel utterly overwhelmed. I get completely exasperated with my situation and have a whirlwind day of cleaning things up and am gloriously self-satisfied. For about a week. Or a day. Or whatever. Then something happens, like I get sick, or I just don't do the dishes over the weekend, or something like that, and then the downward spiral begins. The kitchen is a disaster, the kids rooms - well, they are just always a mess no matter what I do - the laundry is done on an as-needed basis and left in a heap on our "extra" couch. I get overwhelmed and depressed and we descend back into utter chaos.
We are right on the brink of glorious victory. I hope.
Which leads me to another topic. In all probability, we will be moving. Approximately 178 miles away to the metro Augusta area, which is right on the border of Georgia and South Carolina. My husband has been made a great offer to open a new branch there for the pest control company he works for. We haven't told the kids yet because not all of the plans have been finalized and we are still not certain of the start-date. They're going to hate the idea of it. t is a great opportunity. I just keep on telling myself that over and over and hoping for the best. I'm not someone who likes change. When we bought this house three years ago we contemplated the prospect of never moving again. ever. But then the economy crashed and these days you take work where you can get it, even if that means moving. So now I've got a family of six to move.
It's crazy how much crap we have managed to accumulate in the last three years. Our garage looks like some freaking corner of a thrift store. We've got an extra dining room table, that is slightly moldy and has permanent marker stains which I thought I was going to get around to re-finishing. Also a few odd chairs, one of which is completely broken. We've got a loveseat, that our flea-infested dog used for a couple of months before she ran away last year. We've got a really cute dresser, a really not-cute pair of mattresses that got damp when our basement flooded and are probably some kind of health hazard by now. We also have an extra washing machine that leaks and bumps something fearful, and two - count 'em two - extra dryers. One of which needs a new belt, or something. All of this junk must be somehow or other gotten rid of, hopefully sold so I can re-start my furniture fund for when my kids have outgrown the draw-on-things-with-a-permanent-maker phase.
Well, I guess I had better get to it.
p.s. thanks for the comment. that really made my day

Sunday, January 24, 2010

sweet misery

the weather is gloomy, nasty and downright miserable. I stayed up until after eleven watching (500) days of summer. Its called that because the guy in the movie is in love with a girl named Summer. Daniel "watched" most of the movie with his eyes closed. He doesn't like movies that jump around in the story with flashbacks etc. I liked it. It was perfectly modern vintage. It was about relationships. Tortured, wonderful relationships.
Daniel made me a tequila with sprite and orange juice. I am such a lightweight and Daniel makes such wonderful drinks, that plus I ate a huge bowl of brown cow ice cream while watching the movie at ten at night so I slept like a LOG and discovered the wonderful thing that is called sleeping in on a Sunday morning. Usually I haul the four kids to the sweet, tiny little church that meets at a High School that I go to. I'm sort of an outsider there, I'm not the only one there who comes to church without her husband, but I don't know. I guess I'm still not used to it. It's always stressful. Josiah and/or Katie-Abigail usually end up crying and throwing themselves on the floor and I do the walk of shame to the van as quickly and as quietly as possible. This morning I just gave up, rolled over, and slept in. It was wonderful. Daniel got up with Josiah at about 6:30, started a movie for the kids, gave them their cereal. And I feel so restored and de-frazzled. Which is wonderful.
I've started reading Julie & Julia and loving it. It's not like the move, I mean it's got the same basic facts of the movie but there are so many more details and the tone is more, I don't know, vulgar. She uses words like fuck and goddamit and she writes about when she was eleven and discovered her dad's copy of the joy of sex. and she has a python! I'm very temped to just fall into the book and do nothing but read.
Here are a few photos I've processed and posted on my flickr site. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

yay for new books!

Today is Saturday. And Daniel had to work. All day. Joy. It's crazy how watching a movie in the morning really doesn't put much of a dent in the day. Plus my kids were fighting like crazy. It was like cats and dogs. Seriously. Oh and did I mention that it's cold and foggy? Yeah, it's one of those days. So when I came to my wits end we hauled out to Target. It was bright and warm and we hung out in the book section for awhile, which was nice. I actually bought a book. I don't buy brand new books very often, maybe once a year. I bought "Julie & Julia" by Julie Powell and I am SOOOOO looking forward to snuggling down in a corner of the sofa with my cup of coffee and this nice, friendly book. Reading a book is so much different that watching a movie. Movies of books are nice. It's two hours of your life and then your done. With books you get so much more ivolved. I like that about books. If you do recall I LOVED the movie. I am perfectly prepared to fall head over heels with the book. This is the dedication:

For Julia , without whom I could not hve done this,
and for Eric, without who I could not do at all

Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever? Okay maybe not the sweetest thing ever but it's sweet. really sweet. So anyhow. I'm going to go now and read my book. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 22, 2010

a little bit of late night randomness

It's 11:30 pm here in Atlanta. I've been up since 5am and Josiah just got up for his late night visit so I thought I'd sit here and ramble a bit and hopefully Josiah will go back to sleep and I can get a few hours sleep... hopefully. I am so insanely sleep deprived - burning the candle at both ends and such.
Daniel and I had a reasonably good anniversary, I felt quite poorly which totally sucked. I pretty much just ate dinner then went to bed, oh and maybe watched an episode of 24. Daniel bought me this AMAZING bouquet of flowers which I have taken hundreds of photos of. I've got a bunch on my flickr site but there are lots more to come!!
Tonight I went out after the kids were in bed to do an emergency pre-weekend grocery shop. I bopped into Blockbuster on my way to rent a couple movies. At the counter the guy with the long stringy hair apparently recognized me and asked if since I've been coming in so often why not get a rewards card? I loathe movie rental stores, especially if I have my kids with me, but RedBox was out of Night at the Museum 2. I've been going lately about every week this month because their family/kids movies are only .99 and you can keep them for like a week, I rented a WordWorld DVD that Josiah has watched every day. I ended up paying like $15 for three movies NAtTheM2, & Shorts for the kids and (500) Days of Summer for me - I love Zooey Dechanel's retro/vintage look - and thinking that I just might not want to ever go on there again. ha.
When I got home Daniel was watching the Invention of Lying for a movie with a title like that it's not at all as bad as you'd think. It's a bit anti-religious, but pretty funny. Everyone is just so brutally honest and a the same time so trusting. Plus I liked the ending.
Today I was working on our family photo that we took on Christmas day - I was copying eyes from one shot onto the one I'm going to end up using. It took a while to figure out which shots were the most compatible, then, when I was nearly finished, the dog pushed her ball onto the power strip/surge protector causing my computer to shut off - and I had forgotten to save! I managed to re-do it in less time, but that was a low point in my day for sure.
Well the little man is asleep. Look for LOTS of flower pictures soon!

p.s. watched "Shorts" this morning - it was super dumb. Not at all like what I thought it would be, the kids didn't even really like it. It wasn't bad. It just wasn't very good either.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

AMAZING brownies!

I usually make brownies from a mix, its just so easy and the reslults are usually pretty good, but for our anniversary I wanted to try something from my new cookbook. They were really worth the little bit of extra effort and weren't difficult to make. They are so very rich and moist and super-chocolaty. Here is the recipe:

10 ounces semisweet chocolate (Baker's chocolate is really good for this, or a high quality chocolate chip)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100% Cacao)
8 Tablespoons butter (one whole stick)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut milk (I used whipping cream instead)
6 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped
1 cup coconut chips (optional)

Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350(f) Line a 9x13 with lightly buttered parchment or wax paper. Make sure your paper is big enough so that the ends come up the sides so you can use it to pull the brownies out later. Press the paper into the corners of the pan and don't worry if it's not perfectly smooth.

Chop the unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate into small bits. Cut the butter into pats. Put the butter and the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave until the butter melts and the chocolate is shiny. Stir vigorously until all the chocolate is melted and and the mixture is smooth.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl mix sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add your chocolate mixture to your large bowl of sugar and egg mixture and mix until well blended. Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and stir again until just blended.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out coated with fudgy crumbs, about 35 minutes. Let cool.

For the glaze: Finely chop your semisweet chocolate. Put it in a medium bowl. Bring coconut milk or whipping cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Immediately pour it over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes, then stir until smooth. Spread the warm glaze evenly over the brownies, then if you're using coconut sprinkle the coconut over the top. Loosely cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours or until the glaze sets. Lift the paper to remove the brownies from the pan. Use a warm knife to cut the brownies into about 24 squares.

I don't really understand why this recipe requires refrigeration. I think next time I make this I'll serve them warm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"de-lurk" for Haiti

Not long ago I ran across this charming blog called 4 little men and girly twins it's a beautiful blog from someone even more artistic and more overwhelmed than me! So I bopped into her blog today and her post was delurk for Haiti. For every comment she is donating $.10 hop over there, bookmark her site and leave a comment!!

my kids and their silly sayings

Today Katie-Abigail said she wanted to have "a big family - four kids" because four is her favorite number. She stated it without hesitation or a shadow of doubt.
Emma said she wanted to have one kid and that she wanted her husband to stay at home while she worked. I asked her what job she would have and she said "a veterinarian" (Beth's favorite job) "or an art teacher, or a music teacher."
A couple days ago Emma surprised me by saying, totally out of the blue, that when she grew up she wanted to go to the mall every day. I calmly said "really?" but inside I was like "what?!!!!!" because I was SO not that kind of teenager, and neither was my husband, or really anyone that we know, so it's really funny to hear her say that kind of stuff.
Josiah is really getting to be quite the talker. One of his favorite things to say is "Cause why?" and another "I come with you", oh and "I watch a woo-wee" which means "movie" which meant that he probably wants to watch Toy Story. I have watched that one movie a hundred million freaking times. So much that I'm a tiny bit excited about the new Toy Story movie that's coming out, which my husband says is lame, but oh well. I laugh at Disney Channel TV and that's lame too. But that's just who I am ... for now.
E & J

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This morning I was kicking up leaves looking around my yard for something to photograph other than those pretty brown dead flowers and the trees. That was when I noticed some little evergreens and they made me think about endurance. It takes endurance to get through tough spots in your life, and perseverance. Just like those evergreens, holding out through winter.
green - when everything else is brown
ready to fly
delicate, ordinary
This one reminds me of the song "Bad Days Better" Here's a link to the site, it's song #10 on the list, if you've got time, check out "Holiday" too, it's another of my favorites!

On a side note - here is my breakfast this morning. Scrambled eggs, buttered toast and a clementine. I'm just gaga for clementines! They are so easy to peel and are practically seedless. I vastly prefer them to the tangerines I bought a couple weeks ago. You can plan on seeing many more photos of clementines to come!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

here comes the sun

It never ceases to amaze me how something as simple as a sunny day can make all the difference in the world! Today has been a beautiful sunny and and I've had that song "here comes the sun" in my head, so I was twiddling around on YouTube trying to find my favorite version (which is the one they play on Parent Trap) I found this one featuring Colbie Caillat who is one of my favorite artists. So here are today's photos!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

in the bleak midwinter

Relics of Summer's Beauty


click here to see another version and here is a third

Here are today's images. I took them this morning. I was feeling very dull and spiritually barren so I was attracted to towards the things that reflected that gloomy mood.

I really enjoyed editing them. They both have the same basic editing technique. I created two semi-transparent layers of dark to medium-dark brown, one is about 75% transparent, the other is about 20% transparent and then modified with a gradient transparency action to create a vignette effect. In the top image I played around with the color of the layer to make the white pop. In the lower image I tweaked the contrast to intensify the silhouette effect.

Some more nature photos from this week:

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