Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Musings of an Exhausted Mother: On my Way

Kids just don't get it. Honestly, what is so hard to understand about the fact that mom is a much better mother if she gets some sleep. Sleeping through the night = happiness all around. Waking up every couple of hours = unhappiness all around.

You would think that this formula for happiness would be self evident, but apparently it is not to most children under the age of three.

In any case, this is just temporary. I've made so secret of the fact that basically I'm on my way to Australia.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Boris Chronicles: Bread, Bread Everywhere

Sorry if you are completely bored by the constant stream of bread reports, but I remain unapologetic. I love making bread and have learned so much about myself as I have discovered this.

Back to Boris. Last week I taught a group from church about sourdough. Now, I don't consider myself an expert in sourdough, but I am in the process of gaining a lot of experience with it.

In any case, I spent three days preparing and baking bread. I must say I am very pleased with how Boris performed. Not only did each of the breads I made with him have a nice tangy flavor, but the breads themselves turned out nice. Oven spring is something I usually have issues with, but not this time!


Clockwise from top left: Sandwich Rye, Pain au Levain, Pain au Levain, Sandwich rye bursting at the seams, and 100% Whole Wheat Pain au Levain.

There is so much bread in my freezer, I'm not quite sure how to get rid of it all. But seeing all that lovely bread just made me feel so good. Vive le pain!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hungry Little Monster

Mathias has been eyeing our plates. Well, more than eyeing. He'll grab them, grab our arms as we try to ferry food to our mouths, and do what ever it takes to get some food for himself.

Once, he was successful (Thanks to Hubby). (He is eating some boiled potato.)

And then there is this. **WARNING** The following video contains gratuitous face sucking.

Ah, my little boy is so cute!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

They're getting smarter

I just got a call from a charity telemarketer (somehow they manage to get past the National Do Not Call list) that I found very interesting. There was a young man talking about veterans and how we should support them. In the background I could hear the characteristic hum of many voices supposedly making the same type of call. I would have been completely taken in, except I heard the magic words "the purpose of this recorded message...". I should have just hung up then, but it still sounded like a real person and I just couldn't do it.

A friend of mine used to work at a customer support call center and she told me that all she did was listen to what the response was from the caller and then select the recorded message that corresponded. All well in good for customer support (well, not really), but to use that technology to irritate poor stay-at-home moms by trying to extract money from our already tight budgets? What is the world coming to?

At least I felt better hanging up after I said "NO!". Really, people...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend

Today I lost a good friend, a friend that was with me throughout college, that strengthened me in times of sorrow, that helped me deal with the stresses of life and school, that taught me to dance in the face of challenge. Goodbye, dear Panasonic SA-AK75.


Oh, Panasonic, you were more than just a stereo to me. You were my graduation present to me (I'm so happy!). I paid for you with my own hard earned money.

I carried you lovingly to my first year of college where you happily adorned my dorm room, bringing joy into the stressful atmosphere of college life. Through you, and Bridget, I was introduced to Paper Moon and Beautiful South. With you, we jammed to Mr Wendel, Bare Naked Ladies, The Police, and many others. You woke us up with the "wake-up music", though I forget what cd we used for that purpose.

After that first year, the only time I was apart from you was during my 18 month mission for the LDS church in France. While I knew you were in the careful care of my sister, I was so happy to be reunited with you. You observed my relationship with Hubby grow and eventually moved in with us when we got married.

From there you moved to Seattle with us and help alleviate the days, weeks, and months of unemployed boredom. You played my favorite tunes as well as audio recordings of books. You graced our living space with elegance and music. You even put up with little fingers pushing your buttons, especially when those little fingers inadvertently fixed small wiring issues.

Panasonic, eventually your age began to show. Your buttons became rheumatic, your system erratic. Still, I loved you. You patiently put up with Signing Time, Veggietales, and Sesame Street music. You did everything we asked you to do without complaint. But the time came for us to part.

Today you were picked up by your new family. To be honest, I tried to sell you, but your worth is beyond price and you were given away to a family that needs you much more than mine needs you. (Thanks Craig's List.) We will miss you so much. No, an ipod and laptop will never replace your magnificent speakers. We will think of you often, especially anytime I hear "Sweet dreams 'til sunbeams find you...". Thank you for all you have done for me and my family.
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Families: Isn't it about...

So, I found a ad the LDS church has put out, thanks to Delirious, that had me in tears. No, not because it is mushy or over-the-top heartwarming, but because I was laughing so hard. That, and it does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But then it wouldn't be an ad for the church if it wasn't.

I'm not sure what I think about the "violence" in the ad, but I think they did a great job with it anyway.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No Cow Chow

Let's start this out by saying that I am not a vegetarian. I have nothing against vegetarians, I just like to eat meat. ("Mmmmm...this dead cow tastes good": A direct quote from an Elementary school assembly.)

However, I am trying to include more vegetarian meals in our diet to cut down on our consumption of meat. So far, I have found a few recipes that delight our tastebuds, satiate our stomachs, and are full of healthy vegies. But I need more!!! And to prime the pump, here are some of my favorites:

Vegetable Quesadillas
Roasted Vegetable Curry
Navajo Stew

So, do any of you have any great vegetarian recipes? If so, please provide a link in your comment (if it is online). Thanks!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm geeking out about it!

In the tradition of my sister, what movie is the title paraphrased from?

So, if it had not already been established, it is now completely proven: I am a geek. I've always know that, but there have been times when I tried to deny it.

And what brings this up now? Well, this week I had two wonderful things delivered to my door: a laptop and a wireless router. Oh, I am giddy! I love tech toys!

Why did I want them in the first place? As Mathias has gotten older, I've noticed that I have been unable to do many of the things that I normally did on the computer, mostly because he still sleeps in our room and things that I would normally do during his naps are now no longer possible. Work went undone, blogs were not commented on, emails went unanswered. But no longer. Friends and family, ye be warned! (So, what movie is the last part of the sentence from?)

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Boris Chronicles: Rye Not?

***Please excuse the terrible pun in the title. I blame genetics (Thanks, Dad).***

It's been a while since I gave an update on Boris. So far, he has been doing quite well. While he took a little time to really get going, but he has made some lovely bread so far. In particular, he made some fabulous Pain au Levain, a french style sourdough that I tried for the bread testing.

One of the main reasons I wanted to start a wild yeast starter was for rye bread. According to Peter Reinhart, rye needs high acidity to keep its enzymes from compromising the texture of the bread, and a wild yeast starter should do the trick. I don't know if Boris is sour enough, but I tried rye bread this past weekend and the bread turned out just fine. Here is the proof (another bad bread pun) from start to finish:

Ready to mix.

Before proofing (raising).


After proofing.


In the oven, a little crowded on my pizza stone.


Cooling, a little dark because I left the temp too high for too long.

Ready to eat, full of whole wheaty/rye-y goodness.

The bread turned out a little thin, but looking at the picture in the book reassured me that the bread was just as it should be. Thank you, Boris!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Thank you, Mrs Gaskell

It all began in September when my Mother-in-law came up here to watch Anna while Hubby and I went to the hospital. Since my Father-in-law finds great joy and purchasing anything in the form of a DVD, she came loaded with videos to watch during the down time, ie when Anna was asleep. Among those videos was Cranford. Now, I must admit, I was rather hesitant to watch it, as my MIL happens to be very fond of Hallmark movies, which I am not. However, I did end up watching it after she had left and just loved it.

Fastforward to Presidents' Day weekend when we finally got to celebrate Christmas with Oma and Opa. Sitting on top of the entertainment center, where most of the new DVD acquisitions end up, were two more movies that caught my eye: Wives and Daughters and North and South, two more adaptations of books by Elizabeth Gaskell. I quickly grabbed them to take home, which I have discovered to be a very good choice.

While I still think I like Cranford best, with Wives and Daughters a close second, both of the movies were very good. If you don't mind a spoiler, Wives and Daughters has one of the best proposal scenes I've seen in a long while. I would watch from the beginning of the clip as it provides some explination for why they do what they do, but the proposal starts at 4:30.

When I was still in school, I remember watching just a portion of Wives and Daughters on TV while at my cousins' home and wanting to see the rest. How exciting it was to actually find it again and be justified in my desire to see it!

North and South was also very good, but much more political and dreary, definitly a drama. The music was a bit heavy and there were far too many close-ups of people's faces and clips of people just walking. That and Mr. Thornton is just a little too, umm, serious and gruff for my liking. He doesn't smile until the very end of the film. In fact, there isn't much smiling at all, now that I think about it.

Now, I won't compare Elizabeth Gaskell to Jane Austen. I like them both very much, but their styles are very different, at least when their books are made into films. Also, Mrs Gaskell tends to kill of her characters, which can be a little disturbing but in line with what actually happened during that time period. I do plan on getting the books behind these films to see why the movies are so good.