Friday, April 29, 2016


I haven't forgotten about you, my friends!  It just seems like every time I think I should write a blog post, there are other, more pressing things to take care of, like...well, I'm not sure exactly.  I've got 28 minutes before I need to be out the door for my next adventure (because a walk with a friend followed by a trip to a warehouse store definitely qualifies as an adventure), and I intend to fill them with writing random thoughts and sharing random unedited photos in this blog post to you.  Because I love you.

You're right.  That makes no sense.  But!  It doesn't have to :)

My turkeys!  Love them!

My youngest son, Bubby, has worn his shoes on the wrong feet so often (including to the dentist the other day, where the hygienist noticed and commented on his foot-shoe placement), that now, they feel wrong when they're right.  I'm sure there's a philosophical extrapolation we can make in this instance, but now I'm down to 22 minutes, so let's move on.

Bubby is in 2nd grade.  And AKD wanted me to show you these pictures.

Bubby finally consented to me reading the Chronicles of Narnia to him.  We have all seven books in one volume, so it's a really big book.

What I didn't exactly expect, was for him to be so wrapped up in the story that he would insist on reading it himself when I wasn't available to do so.

Yup.  He read all that.  I'm contemplating reading The Hobbit next, but since we don't own a copy, I'm trying to decide if I think we can read it in the amount of time the library is willing to let us borrow it.

I guess I should mention that these pics are not in chronological order.  You're ok with that, right?

AKD is in the STEM+ Academy at school.  No, I'm not sure what the + is.  Here he is posing with his group for their interdisciplinary collaborative project for fall semester.

I love how they're all wearing tennies with their fancy clothes.

Bubby went to work with his Daddy one day in March.  And when I say he went to work, I mean, he really went to work.

There were some organized activities for the kiddos, but there were also times when the kids were just with their parents.  Bubby and some of the kiddos decided to build a factory.  Here he is on the phone with the design group.  And in the conference room with the core team.

The boys and I went on a hike during spring break.

Doesn't necessarily look very springy, does it?

Two minutes left!  I'd say this was a successful photo dump.  I still have all these random thoughts to share, but those will have to wait until next time.  Til then--love y'all!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 25

Guess what, y'all!  Only six more weeks of school left.  I know this because I printed out the last school menu the other day, and thought to myself, what?  Last school menu for the year?  I know.  Crazy, right?

I say this to prepare you for the fact that I'm a slacker during my kids' summer "break".  I might publish some menus, but it certainly will not be every week, and maybe not at all.  It'll be ok, though.  I've got you covered--there are more than two years' worth of menus in the archives.

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:



Monday, April 18, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 18

My friend gave me her bread machine, and I got a chance to test it out last week.  Truthfully, I was a bit disappointed by the loaf it baked.  It was super fun to listen and watch as the machine did its thing, but the loaf sunk in the middle and the crust was pretty thick.  Then, of course, there's the whole hole in the bottom where the blade was issue.  I also used the dough cycle to mix, knead, and rise my pizza dough the other day, and that bread machine did a phenomenal job.  That dough was so smooth, and elastic, and window pane-y.  I am so pleased, and excited by the bread-making possibilities.  Now I just need to figure out how I can do two loaves at once.  This week I'm planning on having it knead some whole wheat dough for me to make into cinnamon swirl bread.  Nummy!

Today is day 10 of my latest friendship bread cycle, and I'm sending my yeasty friends off to the freezer for another extended stay.  Before I do, as a last hurrah before hibernation, I'll be making Pistachio Pineapple Coconut Friendship Bread Cake  and Chocolate Chocolate Coconut Friendship Bread Muffins.  Not because I'm particularly fond of coconut, but because these recipes both sound special and delicious--I'm hoping the chocolate coconut will taste a little something like Mounds.  I'm planning on pawning off most of them to unsuspecting teachers and Hubby-coworkers.

Here's what else is on the menu this week:


  • Kielbasa cauliflower stir fry, applesauce, carrots
  • Tacos, tortillas, taco toppings
  • Chicken pot pie, mixed veggies, salad
  • Rice burgler, broccoli/cauliflower/carrots, salad
  • Pizza or zucchini crust pizza, salad, fresh fruit
  • Hot beef sandwiches, buns, cooked carrots, salad
  • Grilled pork chops, baked potatoes, grilled green veggie, applesauce

kielbasa cauliflower stir fry 1
Kielbasa and cauliflower stir fry
from Center Cut Cook

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Crazy Dreams

I have been having some wild dreams lately.  Every night.  It's actually kind of fun, because I never know who's going to show up or what's going to happen in my dreams.  I'm not used to dreaming every night, or at least not remembering that I dreamed every night.

It was fun, that is, until the night I had a dream that reminded me of being 7 or 8 or even 13 years old, lying in my bed in the dark, afraid.  I remember trying to be as still as possible, with my blanket pulled up over my mouth and nose, not even breathing for fear that if I moved or made a sound, some unidentified threat would find me.

I woke from that dream, and I was right back there.  Lying in the dark, paralyzed by fear, except not, because I knew it wasn't real.  And after that dream, I can so understand why my boy wants reassurance in the middle of the night when he's scared.  He, at least, is brave enough to get out of bed and find comfort.

Interestingly, since I began having these crazy dreams every night, Bubby hasn't woken me up once.  I wonder if his dreams have transferred to me.  And, just in case you were still wondering, yes, I dream in color.  I remember that green ooze vividly.

Savage Chickens - Bears

Monday, April 11, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 11

It's my middlest child's birthday today.  He's a teenager.

According to my other, slightly older, teenager, that means we're going to need a lot more food now.  Good thing I have a plan.  Including MC's birthday dinner tonight: hot dogs.  And chips.  Can't forget the chips.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

chocolate ice cream:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Vat o'

Who buys baking powder 3.75 pounds at a time?  This girl.  I don't know why--we certainly don't need this much baking powder all at once--but it makes me peculiarly happy to know that we have this big ol' vat o' baking powder at our disposal.

And it's no mess!  Bonus!

I bought the vat o' baking powder in anticipation of baking lots of friendship bread.  Yes, it was totally excessive considering each batch requires a piddling 1 1/2 teaspoons of the stuff, and I'm planning nine, maybe twelve at most, batches this go-around.  Know how many 1 1/2 teaspoons are in my vat o' baking powder?  Two hundred thirty-six.  And a quarter.  Yeah.

I made these cinnamon twists on Thursday.  No baking powder required.  Aren't they just so stinkin' cute?!  They smelled heavenly.  I'm serious.  I'm pretty sure heaven smells like freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

I loved working with this dough--it was super easy to put together and super easy to work with--and I loved that the twists rose overnight, so I was able to easily get a warm, tasty treat on the table for my boys on a weekday morning.  I will definitely be making these again.

Know what I'm really enjoying about this round of friendship bread making?  It's knowing that my friends have some of my starter, and they're on the same schedule as me.  We're feeding our starter on the same day, baking on the same day, chatting about recipes and variations.  I think of my girlfriends every time I stir my yeasties, which is a couple of times a day since they've been so active.  The yeast, not the girlfriends.  It's given me such a feeling of community.  And that feeling of community has inspired me to share my baked treats with unsuspecting innocents, too.  I dropped off cinnamon twists for two different families on Thursday, and I made Hubby take 3 dozen friendship bread snickerdoodles to work with him Friday.  So. much. fun.

In conclusion, I have a vat o' baking powder, and I like baking with friendship bread starter.  Let me know if you would like some of either.

P.S.  I'm pretty sure I could make a rather impressive mess with that baking powder if I really put my mind to it.  Possibly even without trying very hard, or at all.  I'm skilled like that.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Menu plan for the week of April 3

Happy Monday, y'all!

I've been thinking a lot about making bread lately.  Our family eats a lot of bread, and it's inexpensive to buy, but it's also inexpensive and easy to make.  And my homemade bread doesn't have preservatives or high fructose corn syrup in it.  I would like to start making all the bread for our family, but there's one thing holding me back.  The need to knead.

I have been making yeast breads for a long time, which means I've been kneading for a long time, but recently, like in the last half year or so, I've been wondering if maybe I'm doing it wrong.  Because you know how recipes say to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic?  Yeah.  That never happens to my dough.  Ever.

I even watched how-to knead videos.  And I feel like what I'm doing should work, but I've never ever gotten a bread dough to pass the windowpane test, until the other day when I made friendship bread cinnamon twists.  The recipe said to use a stand mixer to knead the dough, but since I don't have one, I used my hand mixer.  And it worked!  That dough was so smooth and so elastic and so windowpane-y.  But I'm afraid of burning out the motor on my hand mixer if I attempt to knead a larger or heartier batch with it.

I started wondering if I should try to find a bread machine to do my kneading for me, but at the same time, I'm afraid that if I had a bread machine, I would never want to bother hauling it out to use it.  So I put it out there on Facebook.  I asked my friends if they had a bread machine, and if so how often they use it.  What I suspected was correct: lots of people have them, but few of those people ever use their bread machines.

In any case, I'm getting a chance to find out: one of my friends had actually just cleaned out her pantry the week before, and during the pantry clean-out decided to get rid of the bread machine that she had used once in 15 years.  It was sitting in her mudroom waiting for her to take to Goodwill, and she said I could have it.  I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, here's what's on the menu this week:



Friday, April 1, 2016

The Gap

A friend of mine was looking for soccer cleats.  Size 5 1/2 soccer cleats.  I thought we might have some we could spare, so I took a look in our soccer box.

Yes.  We have a soccer box.  Doesn't everyone?  The soccer box is filled with cleats, shin guards, and socks from past soccer seasons, waiting expectantly for the youngest Bluefield to grow into them.

I was right.  Sort of.  In the box, I found two pairs of size 5 cleats and two pairs of size 6 cleats, and I passed one of each on to my friend.  Know what I didn't find?  I didn't find any soccer cleats in Bubby's current size.

I don't know where these gaps come from.  You see, we have three boys.  That means that we have two boys who are older than our youngest boy. One would think that after clothing and sports-equipping those two older boys for a cumulative twenty-eight years, we would have all of the clothing we need, in all of the sizes we need, for our youngest.

MC played soccer when he was Bubby's age.  Why don't we have Bubby-size cleats?
But we don't.  And I have no idea why we have gaps.  I don't know why I am all of a sudden having to buy soccer cleats and shorts and t-shirts and who knows what else for that kid.

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