Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Laura Ingalls

Yesterday, we began the final book in The Little House on the Prairie series.  It has been so much fun, reading one of my old favorites to my children...seeing them love it like I do.  I'm a tiny bit sad that we've almost come to the end...but of course, that means we can start over again!

It has been fun to see the kids, all three of them, relate things they discover in today's world back to the simpler times of Laura Ingalls.  They have wished we rode in covered wagons.  They have been amazed at the time involved in making real butter (using the mason jar and marbles method) and remarked how much time Ma must have spent making butter. :)

And then about six weeks or so ago, Hadleigh ran home from the fields behind our house, thrilled with a discovery she had made on "her journey."  (I love how they refer to their play outside as journeys and adventures!)

She told me, "I found Laura's wheel.  I'll show you tomorrow."  I didn't really know what she meant...but the next night, Brent and I laughed as we watched her pick up and begin to roll this across the field towards our house:

Of course.  A pair of wagon wheels.  (Likely abandoned by some electrical company preparing the fields for upcoming development.)  But what a treasure to this imaginative seven-year old.

(Can you believe she lifted it upright and rolled it home??? We used to joke about her needing a hamster wheel to exert all her energy!)

All that's missing above are braids and a calico dress!  But she definitely shares the same love of adventure!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thinkin' about the Fourth...

via Pinterest.

Isn't this a perfect way to welcome Independence Day?

We haven't finalized our plans for the long weekend yet...but I'm definitely excited about some activities, food, and friends, no matter what the plan!

Isn't this a festive tablescape? Hot dogs definitely feel more special here!

How gorgeous is this cake?

And these fruit-filled waffle cones?

I'm not the biggest fan of watermelon, but this tempts me...

This is a fabulous idea to keep the kiddos happy...

And this just looks like old-fashioned fun!

What plans do you have in the works for the Fourth of July?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Missing this...

We spent some much-loved time on the East Coast at the end of May-beginning of June.  Asheville, NC followed by Savannah, GA (just the two of us) and then Kiawah Island, SC.  It was wonderful.  Lots of time with ALL of our family.  Mountain time. River time. Beach time.  Family time.  Anniversary time.

I'm having a hard time returning to routine.  And it's been two weeks now. Two busy weeks.  But I still don't feel like we're back to normal.  

I miss it.

I miss staring at the edge of the ocean.  Hearing the call of the sea.

I miss feeling the breeze in my face while boating.  Calling to the dolphins.

I miss the sand between my toes.  Searching for sea shells.

 I miss splashing in the water.  Well, at least watching my kiddos splash in the water.

I miss the peaceful stillness of the sunset.

I miss how life just slows to an easy pace.

How easy it is to see that the little moments are the big moments.

Life at the edge of the ocean is kind of like life on the mountaintop.

Instructive. Inspiring. Awe-filled. 

And so, I'm home...
pondering how to bring what's learned and loved from two of my favorite places back 
home to the wide, open plains of Oklahoma.

Which, of course, have a lesson to teach too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

So excited to share...

On Monday, my little brother Matt asked Amanda to marry him!

We are thrilled...Amanda, we love you and are so excited that you and Rylie will be part of our family!

(I love this picture of the two of them, taken two years ago at Katy & Alex's rehearsal dinner...almost exactly two years to the day Matt proposed!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Two Years

Happy Anniversary, Katy and Alex!

It's funny how children make you realize how much time has are a few more favorites of mine from your special day...

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Still on the fence?

About this cookbook???  

If this post wasn't enough to convince you that you need it, maybe today will do the trick.

Grilled Chicken with Strawberry Feta Salsa
p. 135

Herbed Salmon with "Crowded House" Cucumber Salad
p. 126

Kentucky Derby Pie
p. 214

Herb and Goat Cheese Scrambled Eggs (over Ezekiel bread)
p. 223

Those are only the ones I took pictures of.

The Grilled Beef Filets with Blue Cheese Crust.  
The Shrimp Creole Risotto.  



Friday, June 03, 2011

Everyday Lunches

This is what lunch has looked like around here lately:

"Snack Lunches" as we like to call it for the kids. (Or PBJ's most other days.) And for the record, only Madeleine liked the dried fig.  They all devoured the dry mango though. And no wonder, it takes like candy.  (I'm trying to expand their dried fruit beyond raisins and cranberries.)

And a salad for me.  I could eat a whole avocado.  But I just eat half.  I love avocados.  Mmmm.

In the winter, I switch it up with grilled cheese, soups, or pastas occasionally.  

But I'd love to have some new ideas for summertime lunches...for the kiddos and for me.

So please, share some of your favorite ideas.  Link me up to an online recipe or site (or your blog) that you find helpful for new lunch ideas.

Please and thank you. 


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Who knew?

Brent is the Crème Brûlée maker of our family.  He does an amazing job...usually has one of the kiddos helping him...and he generally leaves the brûlée-ing to me.  What can I say? I love my cooking torch.

He never fails to ponder how something so icky as egg yolks could make such a delicious consistency when mixed with cream and sugar.  Who knew?  But I'm so glad that someone figured it out.  It's one of my most favorite desserts.

And the way Madeleine pronounces Crème Brûlé almost sounds like she's saying my name...or at least the version of my name as a few teachers of mine from middle school pronounced it. :)  (Kimbur- LAY...sigh.)  I digress...

Don't be intimidated...try it!  (And I highly recommend having a fine mesh-sieve to achieve a velvety texture.)  I bought my torch from Target (so it's not a super high-end expensive purchase)...and you can buy butane at most grocery stores or Wal-Mart.

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
boiling water for water bath

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Place egg yolks in a bowl and pour sugar over. Beat until smooth.
2. Heat heavy cream until almost simmering.
3.  Add heavy cream to yolk mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time while constantly stirring vigorously. (This is when having a helper comes in handy.)
4.  Once one-fourth of the heavy cream has been introduced, pour the rest in and mix until smooth.  Pour over a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve to strain any clumps.  Blend in vanilla extract.
5.  Pour into ramekins.  Place ramekins in a casserole dish or baking pan (with high sides).  Pour boiling water into pan, until water reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
6.  Place pan in oven and cook at 250 degrees for 1 hour.  They are done when the outsides are set but the center is slightly jiggly. (Larger ramekins may need additional time.)
7. Cool until room temperature.
8. Wrap each cooled ramekin with plastic wrap, securing with a rubber band and allow to chill in refrigerator for 8 hours.
9.  Spoon sugar on top of custard in ramekin. Tilt the ramekin until the sugar completely covers the surface.  Ignite cooking torch and wave flame back and forth, about 3-4 inches from the sugar until golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly until sugar cools and forms a hard crust.

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