Friday, July 31, 2009

Le Pain Francais

So, HUGE SURPRISE, I have another recipe for you today.  

This is my sister-in-law's favorite bread.  She almost gets giddy when I am serving it.  So, naturally I try to make it lots and lots for her.  Not because I love her, although I really do, but because she is 5 ft 6 and about 101 pounds.  It's sick really.  I think it took her all of 38 minutes to lose her baby weight.  So, she may think I am all loving and stuff, but in reality I am just trying to stuff her full of carbs in an effort to bust the buttons on those skinny jeans.

She doesn't read the blog, so please, no one fill her in:).

On to the bread.  Just a reminder, American flour isweird different than Canadian, so this may not be as amazing in the home of the brave as it is here.

1 1/4 cups water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour
2 tsp yeast

Measure ingredients in order into bread machine.  Put on dough setting.  When cycle is complete, form into two baguettes or one larger loaf of french bread and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Let dough rise till doubled about 30 minutes.  Cut several diagonal slashes into the bread and bake at 375 for 3--40 minutes.

Than feed it to unsuspecting skinny people.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Case You were Wondering

I'm sure by now, some of you are wondering why I've gotten all food-bloggy on you. Since I never post recipes and such. Well, the truth is, I am on vacation. Not at the moment of typing this, but as you are now reading it, I am currently on a beach. Before you get too jealous, this is not a sipping mai-tai beach vacation, it is more a "honey, please do not put sand down mommy's bathing suit" kind of vacation. Both are good.

I am not exactly sure when I got the brilliant idea of writing two weeks worth of posts ahead of time while gearing up for a road trip but it is currently 2:45 in the morning, I couldn't sleep, so naturally the first thing of I thought of was writing more posts.

Which is all fine and dandy, but in the next two days I plan to:
*spend time with my son I haven't seen all week
*keep my kids from killing each other
*Completely pack for a two week roadtrip in a very small car. We are trying to save on gas so we are leaving the comfy mini-van in the garage and instead bonding in a Civic. While I am supportive of this initiative, in NO WAY was it my original idea.
*Go to church
*Clean my house top to bottom. I come from a long line of mustcleanyourhomebeforegoingonatrip freaks and it seems that the gene has not skipped a generation.
* explain for the 752 time why Spud cannot live with my sister full-time.
* Grocery shop
* and all the other day to day stuff.
So really , I don't sleep to do any of that.

So, to sum up,
lots of recipes because I am away and have no time to actually think posts through before I leave. The end.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Muffin Mania

A few weeks ago I posted that I made some rockin' rhubarb muffins. Melissa commented and said that she wanted the recipe. So, what Melissa wants, she gets. Mainly because I have no desire to have this happen to me.

This is originally from, submitted by Corrie Davidson. I have altered them a bit.

2 C flour
1 C sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk ( I use skim)
1/3 cup canola oil ( You can also use applesauce, just cut down on the sugar or they are a bit too sweet)
1 cup chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl, beat egg, oil and milk together. Stir wet into dry (do NOT overmix) and then fold in rhubarb.

Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full. (I have stopped using paper liners as my favorite baker* told me they tend to suck the moisture out of muffins.)

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

I always double this recipe as Spud eats more than a grown man and this is a relatively cheap way of trying to fill up my human garbarator.


*I'm fortunate enough to have grown up with a dad who is a professional baker. Most of my sauces can be attributed to his suggestions and help when Ive called with yet another cooking question.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

And then I Licked the Pan

Way Cooler has this friend. They've been friends for nearly six years. He is an intelligent, well-read entrepreneur who runs an extremely successful business. Way Cooler is also rather intelligent, a classic thinker with lots of education behind them. But put the two of them together in the same room and it is junior high all over again.

Dumb jokes, silly pranks and EVERYTHING. It's actually rather fascinating to watch in an anthropological sort of way. Fortunately his wife and I are also good friends so we just usually ignore the two of them and solve the problems of the world on our own.

It's amazing how much better things would work if people would just do things our way.

However, this week, G. visited without his wife. It's a good thing I used to teach junior high, so I just whipped out my teacher's bag of tricks (namely a VAT of sarcasm) and kept things under control.

I totally wished that C could have come, but she did the next best thing, she sent a pan of her granola bars. Now to say that these things are healthy is sort of stretching things, but what they lack in the health department, they make up for in the realm of divinely yummy.

It even made up for living in a locker room.

So, I have to share.

Granola Bars

1.5 C crushed Raisin Bran
2 C Rice Krispies
2 C oatmeal
1 C chocolate chips
1 C raisins or dried cranberries
40 large marshmallows
1/2 C margarine

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Melt Margarine and marshmallows together in microwave. Pour over dry ingredients, mix well. Press into greased 9x13 pan. Cool, cut and hide them from your kids.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Today is our 13th Anniversary.  So, to celebrate I thought I'd share 13 little known facts about my wedding.

I'd include a picture but I do not have a scanner so, believe me when I tell you, I was a smokin' hot bride.  I had never looked that good before and never will again. It required the services of a professional make-up artist and about 60 bobby-pins, but it was worth it.

1.  I got the idea for all our bouquets from Martha Stewart's big blue book of weddings.  While I find the woman unbelievably pretentious now I was rather smitten with her then.  A family friend made the bouquets, mainly from flowers from her garden as well as my parent's.  They were amazing.

2.  I wore white leather Keds sneakers.  My dress hid them, but there was no way I was going to suffer in bad shoes all day long.  So, I stole an idea from Father of the Bride and wore runners.  Best.Decision.Ever.

3.  Way Cooler is 5'5".  His best man was 6'4".  Our photographer nearly had a heart attack.  We took a lot of pictures on a hillside with us at the top and the rest of the party a little below us.

4.  My grandpa married us.

5.  Because I had read waaay too many Brock and Bodie Thoene novels I incorporated the breaking of the glass ceremony into our wedding.  I was quite thrilled with it.  Way Cooler was a little less enthusiastic, especially after nearly breaking his foot on the tumbler I had chosen during the rehearsal.  One of my aunts was then dispatched to Wal-mart to get a wine glass.  It worked much better.

6.  Our wedding pictures were taken at one of the oldest public gardens in our city.  It is right next to a cemetery.  My F-I-L was fond of telling people that our pictures were taken in a cemetery.   He had a rather weird sense of humour.

7.  My make-up lady was a wizard.  The week before the wedding I had an unfortunate mishap involving a self-propelled lawn mower and a very large evergreen.  My arms were a mess of scratches.  They looked like the legs of a three year old boy.  I was wearing a short-sleeved dress.  It didn't look promising but she managed to cover it all up and it looked incredibly natural.

8.  The morning after our wedding I wrote out our vows and put it in my Bible.  Still there.

9.  My sister and brother were both in the wedding party.  At one point my sister was starting to get a bit teary so my brother gave her the finger when no one was looking.  This became a family tradition during weddings.  I promise, we only do obscene gestures during weddings.  And the occasional funeral.  Other than that, we are a very respectable obscenity-free family.

10. I had wanted my bridesmaids bouquets to be all sweet-peas tied together with ribbon. They are my favorite flower. My dad and our friend planted sweet-peas for that very purpose.  We had an unusually rainy spring and there were no sweet-peas to be found.  Anywhere.  My bridesmaids carried Sweet William instead with one lone sweet-pea in each bouquet.  It was pretty much the only year ever that the sweet peas were that late in blooming.

11.   I usually have very short hair.  The day I told my hairdresser I was getting married she told me that I only had ten months to grow it out, but I had better grow it out if I wanted her to do my hair for my wedding.  She scared me a little bit at the best of times so I obeyed.  Never mess with a woman with a curling iron.

12.  I had registered for forest green, navy and cream bath towels.  I got 12 sets of towels, mostly pink with a few emerald green thrown in for good measure.   

13.  It was truly one of the best days of my life.  There were no mishaps at all, it was just fun from start to finish.  

Happy Anniversary Sweetie!

Friday, July 17, 2009

And Then I Fetched a Large Stick

Overheard last week while running errands.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Dear Spud,

Tomorrow you are five. Wow. It seems like five minutes ago a nine pound chunk of deliciousness was placed in my arms, and now look at you. Tall, brown and sturdy.

Four was quite the year wasn't it? New house, new city, new therapists, starting school, soccer and swimming. It was too much at once and you let us know in a spectacular fashion. SPECTACULAR. It took us a while, but we got the message. We took away pre-school and applied some loving discipline and the last eight months have been golden.  You are a delight, my boy.

Someone asked me recently what your strengths were. I smiled. There are so many. You are so imaginative. All you need for a good time is anything you can turn into a rocket. Then you are off on an "adventure". You don't know this, but sometimes I stand outside your room and just listen to you telling yourself stories. It gives this story-telling momma such joy to hear you.

You are a walking symphony. Wherever you are, there is music. Everything you do is accompanied by your own personal soundtrack. You can make up a song about anything and then you sing it with gusto. GREAT gusto.

You are tremendously kind. Your love for others and care of others has really surfaced this year. It is a tremendous asset that you will take with you into kindergarden. You give love so freely. This is something we encourage, but not something we could have ever taught you. Our prayer is that in time as you grow to know him that you will tap into the Father's love and spread that care to a world that needs it.

Spud, I know that learning doesn't come natural to you. All the things you have learned to do are a result of great effort on your part. Keep it up. While it may seem tough now, I am actually thankful that at an early age you have had to learn to work hard. This is something you will have to do later, so while it doesn't always seem fair that we are constantly asking you to do "tricky" things, please know that we are not just teaching you to ride a bike, we are teaching you perseverance and determination. Both of which are traits you will need now and thirty years from now.

We are so proud of you. You have come so far this year and we couldn't be more delighted with the boy you are. When I look at you I often feel I am looking in a mirror. Not only in appearance, but we both love to dream, are easily frustrated and eager to please others.  

From the moment I laid eyes on you I loved you. Now, five years later, I cannot even remember what life was like before you joined us and made us a family.

Happy birthday buddy,

Much love,


Monday, July 13, 2009

A Sunday Drive

This past week or so I have been rather peevish.  Everything and everyone has been getting on my Very.Last.Nerve.  This peevishness has morphed me into the Proverbs 21 woman.  So, today Way Cooler was off in an attic to work and I went for a drive through a warm prairie afternoon.

I rounded a bend and glanced down a valley, than I looked again.  The green was deep, pure and stretched beyond my view.  It was rich with life and much longer than the laundry list of petty complaints I had been  mentally reviewing.  

Further still a field of canola blazed against the blue, blue sky.  The sea of yellow waved in victory over the drought that had threatened it a month earlier.  

If the canola could grow without water, could I not grow even amidst the mundane that seemed to suck out the joy, leaving me parched?  He who sustains the grain, sustains me.

Beyond all this, the Rockies stood.

Massive.  Unyielding.  And ready to praise their Creator.

The One to whom I was whining.

The One who created all.  Including His ungrateful child.

The list disappeared.  The joy overflowed.

I will praise Him.



Friday, July 10, 2009

7 Quick Takes

Once again, I am playing along with Jennifer at Conversion Diary for 7 quick takes.  This is truly the perfect format for summer when I really would rather be outside in my grass than staring at a computer proofreading.

Which leads me to take number one.

1.  I am a rather careful proofreader of this blog.  Judging from my last few posts one would never know it.  It is like some of my former students have taken control of my body.  The stuff I am missing is unreal.  Random capitalization.  Misplaced homophones.  Mangled punctuation.  I have no idea how I am missing that stuff, but to all my grammatically correct readers, please accept my deepest, deepest apologies.

2.  It's Stampede this week.  Which means I torture dress my kids up to look like mini cowboys and we scour various websites for all the free pancake breakfasts and lunches we can get our hands on.  You could not pay me enough to go to the actual Stampede grounds but we do enjoy the less crowded and free stuff that happens all around town.   Yee Haw.

3.  Now that I have a yard and a garden, I am contemplating composting.  But I have some questions.  I would like to get a compost bin but Way Cooler thinks that we will have tons of bugs if we do compost.  Way Cooler also thinks that donating blood is hazardous to one's health and that half of our suburban neighbourhood has been on America's Most Wanted, so I wouldn't mind getting a second opinion.  So, all my gardening friends, what composting method do you use?  How do you keep the bugs down?

4.  Next week is going to be rather quiet around here.  Spud is going away for a whole week.  My sister's church is having a VBS and she's invited him to come up and stay with them so he can go to it with his cousins.  He cannot wait.  His brother is viewing this as one of the largest tragedies to ever befall him.  Sprout is going to be lost without someone to play with.  So, the blogging may be sparse again next week as I fill in as a replacement playmate.

5. One of the Stampede lunches we attended last week was geared towards the younger set. They had a bounce house, lots of neat crafts, freezies, and the like.  It was fantastic.  There was even live music played by the church's band.  This is where things  went a little South.  Just a note, nice musicians, if your lunch is geared towards families, then you might want to skip the songs that have mommy explaining exactly why Earl Had to Die.

6.  I LOVE summer.  Love it.  However, I understand that there are some weirdos of you who do not.  Beck explains her position in a post that still has me laughing a couple of weeks later.  

7.  Last week I had to have a ultrasound on my thyroid.  It's nothing.  Really.  I am only telling you because it perfectly illustrates what makes me smile about the Canadian Healthcare system.  Which I am a HUGE advocate of, however, it is definitely government run.  I had to wait three months and drive for 40 minutes to have a five minute procedure done.  A rather surly Russian named Nina massaged my thyroid with that wand with a vigor that had me wondering if she was personally trying to smooth out all the lumps.  Their department also does mammography.  It made me very very thankful that I still have a few years before I get mine done.  I cannot imagine Nina's bedside manner at one of those things.

Want more takes?  Head over to Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I have a little secret. Pretty much all of my rocking parenting ideas I've gotten from other people. Be it from chatting with friends, gleaning ideas from other bloggers or shamelessly copying my sister who makes this whole parenting gig look effortless.

In the classroom, I was a creative genius. Parenting? I bat zero. But I am OK with that, because I have so many nice people to copy from. One of the more brilliant ideas I took from my sister and many others was quiet playtime. Every afternoon from 1-3 my children go into their rooms shut the doors and either nap or play on their own. This took some training for them to get used to, but it really is the only reason they are still living an my house is in any semblance of order. That is my two hours to clean, make dinner, do any phone calls, plan out future therapy and learning and occasionally blog.

Now bear in mind that I have active pre-schoolers. We use the term quiet really, really losely. Theyre quieter than a jackhammer, but not by much. One day Sprout spent the entire time jumping off his bed. He wasn't jumping off of me, so I let it slide. As long as they do not destroy anything and they clean up at the end, they pretty much have license to do what they want. EVERYONE wins.

Sometimes however, my quiet playtime gets eaten up with other things. Last week I was busy doing something for Way Cooler or running errands every single afternoon. I couldn't figure out why my house was falling to pieces and I was ready to sell my kids to the Hutterites. I just did not feel on top of my game. It wasn't till one night late that week that I realized just how much I was missing my quiet playtime.

I arrived home from yet another errand to kiss Way Cooler good-bye as he headed out for the night shift. I then laid out for the boys my plans for the rest of the day and we started in on it. The plan was to go for a walk, have an extended story time, a bit of free play, clean the playroom, do some laundry, have baths, and go to bed.

Did you notice anything missing? I didn't. Not until nearly six as I was bathing them did I realize that it might be a good idea to FEED MY CHILDREN. Oops.

Do not despair, nice people from Social Services, I did pull something together. Better than alphagetti even. The mother guilt was very strong, so I made my kids fruit and yogurt parfaits. They think this is a SUPER treat and I hit all 4 food groups in a bowl.


What's in a parfait? Several layers of yogurt, granola, and whatever fruit you happen to have around. Put it in a glass dish so they can see the pretty layers and you are an instant rock star. At least in my house.

No, this is not an original idea either, but what do you expect from the lady who forgets to feed her kids?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not Yet Read

Veronica at Toddleddredge posted a hugeible* list of books that she has not yet read but would like to get at it. I honestly don't know what is holding her back, it's not like her hubby is a shift worker or she is a nursing mom with four kids age five and under. Oh wait a second, this is true. The fact that she has the energy to even write posts still astounds me.  Never mind having a list of 57 books she's planning to read.

My list of books that I keep meaning to get at but have not yet will be a bit less ambitious. BUT if I put it out there maybe I will actually get at it. Who knows.

Please note. When you read this list and notice ALL the classics on it, you may say to yourself, hey wasn't she an English Major? What exactly did she read at University? For the record, I have a BEd with an English concentration and for some reason (that I still haven't figured out) decided to only take modern literature courses with the exception of a year long Shakespearean course. So, instead of reading great literature, I read Lolita. And Beautiful Losers. And a bunch of other stuff that is passed off as literature. I was so burnt by the horrific-ness of it all that I only read fluffy books for nearly ten years, other than the stuff I had to teach.

1. The Screwtape Letters -C.S. Lewis

2. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

3. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

4. I know this much is True -Wally Lamb

5. Faust - But I don't know which version is best.

6. Around the World in 80 Days - Jules Verne

7. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

8. How Then Shall We Live?- Francis Schaffer

9. Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

10. Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

11. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe

12. The Hounds of Baskerville - Sir Arther Conan Doyle

13. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

14. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

15. I'd also like to read a book on Hermeneutics. Whenever I ask the cute PhD for recommendations I usually get something meant for a serious preacher. I'd just like something to enhance my own study of Scripture without getting a pink book with a title like "Hermeneutics for The Little Lady."

So, that's a few of my never-yet-read-but-keep-meaning-to. Is there anything on here you have read over and over again? Anything you pitched out the window?

*Hugeible is our favorite made-up word here at the house of Geek.