Sunday, May 31, 2009

That's a Big Negative on the Dog Issue

Ella has been crying on and off all morning long. Want to see why?

Meet Rosey. The friendly neighborhood pest. She and her friends have wreaked havoc on my beautiful African Daisies.

Ella and her cousin Gabby adopted Rosey as a pet along with four other armyworms. They were named Pearl, Whurl, Curl and Swirl. This morning Ella found Whurl in a catatonic state and buried him whilst crying over the death of her precious pesty pet.I read up on armyworms and believe that he was about to pupate and be come a moth. Shhh, don't tell Ella she just killed her worm...caterpillar.

Anyway, I have broken the news to her that armyworms are pests and I will not allow them to kill my beautiful and very expensive garden that Mom and I worked so hard to put in. They must be exterminated. She is crying again and making headstones and writing letters to her caterpillar pests pets.

Yeah, I don't think I could handle a dog. She cried less when the fish died.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

In Which I Do Something Pointless

I've seen this name game everywhere on Facebook and blogs. It looks fun, and I'm home with a fussy, fevery baby and a free hand, so here goes. I saw it most recently on Jenni's blog, by the way. Go check hers out - it's pretty funny.

  • Rock Star Name: (1st Pet’s name & current car) ~ Peaches Odyssey
  • Fly Guy/Girl Name: (1st initial + first 3 letters of your last name) ~ J-Tha (okay, that makes no sense at all!)
  • Detective Name: (Fave color & fave animal) ~ Red Giraffe
  • Soap Opera Name: (Middle name & city/town born in) ~ Marie Woodstock
  • Star Wars Name: (First 3 letters of last name + first 2 of first name) ~ Thajo
  • Superhero: (”The” & second fave color & fave drink) ~ The Blue Water
  • Nascar Name: (1st names of grandfathers’) ~ Ralph Tully (that's a doozie!)
  • Stripper Name: (Fave scent/perfume/cologne & fave candy) ~ True Love Chocolate
  • Witness Protection Name: (Mom & Dad’s middle name) ~ Marie Stephen
  • Weather Anchor Name: (5th grade teacher’s last name & a city which starts with the same letter) ~ Dagley Dallas
  • Spy/Bond Name: (fave season/holiday & fave flower) ~ Spring Daisy
  • Cartoon Name: (fave fruit & article of present clothing + “ie” or “y”) ~ Nectarine Shirty
  • Hippy Name: (What you ate for breakfast & fave tree) ~ Strawberry Pine

I think I'll just stick with the name my parent's gave me. I think it's pretty great!

Friday, May 29, 2009


Aaron has started something new. Instead of saying something outright, he says it in a roundabout way that shows his logic and proves why what he has to say is important. For example, the other day in the car, he asked Jerry,

"Dad, are you going to drive carefully?"

Jerry responded, "Yes, I am going to drive carefully."

"Good," Aaron said, "because Grandma doesn't have her seatbelt on."

Now why didn't he just say, "Grandma doesn't have her seatbelt on!"?

Then yesterday he aske me,

"Mom, when you have a baby, do you forget things?"

"Well, yeah, you do get more forgetful when you have a baby." I

He responded, "Well, did you know you forgot...."

I'd finish the sentence, but I forget what it was that he told me I forgot!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Gabby liked playing in the sprinklers
Rachel just can't take a bad photo

Gabriel hasn't changed much

I had to be sneaky to get Aiden's photo

Lily liked sharing her cookies with GG

Ella looks so funny reading the funnies

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Interesting Phenomenon

Gabriel is coming to stay at my house this weekend. As you may or may not know, my brother and I are not the best of friends. We're more like acquaintances. I think you could possibly say that I very well may know some bloggers - that I've never met before - as well as I know my brother. Sure, I know his history...I even share some of his history, but I don't know him. Which is a sad state of affairs if you ask me.

You know I get sweaty palms and all nervous whenever my parents hand me the phone to talk to him. I think it has to do with the fact that I disapprove of what he is doing in his life yet seriously abhor, like have a phobia of confrontation. I don't want to get into a fight, so I just don't talk to him at all. Which is another sad state of affairs.

Especially considering that at one point in our lives, Gabriel was my advocate, he took many a name calling (or worse) on my behalf. I can't figure out what happened (actually it's very complex), but he feels I became the good girl, the "favored" child and we've not gotten along ever since.

I can't help it if I learned from his mistakes. Sigh.

Anyway, he's coming to visit this weekend. I didn't really think all that much about it until today. My brother is coming over to MY HOUSE. He's never, ever done that before. True, this is the first official house we've ever had but he's never been to any of our previous apartments. We've always met up at his house (once) or my parents house (twice? I don't see him very often).

I got all paranoid. I made a HUGE list, two pages long, of things I want to clean, organize, straighten or otherwise make presentable.

How weird is that?

My brother with my niece, Gabby in September of 2006. This is the most recent photo I have of him although I did see him for Christmas in 2007. I can't find those pictures though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How I Am Planning My School

The first year I was forced to make school plans I was terrified and I put it off and put it off until the very last second. I got it done just days before Lily was born. Okay, my mom got it done with me kicking and screaming, being dragged along behind just days before Lily was born. I was very intimidated.

Last year was better.

This year I’m downright excited. I’m not even done with school this year and I’m planning next year already. I’m excited about the curriculum we’re using. I am excited to learn Latin with Ella, I’m excited to learn piano with Ella, I’m excited to watch Rachel learn to read, and I’m excited to introduce Sarah to more complex math. Everything is exciting.

My advice to new homeschoolers: get curriculum you’re excited about. You’re enthusiasm will be contagious.

Okay, I’ll stop acting like I know everything (because I don’t) and move on to the facts. It seems like I’ve got a heavy schedule for Ella, but it’s not really that bad. The only things she will be doing daily are reading, grammar, math and Latin. The rest of the subjects will be just one or two times a week. I’ve found with history that I can accomplish it all in one day and then the rest of the week I can formulate a plan for a project that goes along with the history lesson. I’d like to try to get everything done in just four days so that Friday we can do “field trips.” This might be pushing it but I’m going to at least try.

My initial plans look like this. VERY subject to major tweaking.

Monday – spelling, reading, penmanship, grammar, Latin, math, writing, music
Tuesday - spelling, reading, grammar, Latin, math, science, history
Wednesday - spelling, reading, penmanship, grammar, Latin, math, writing, art
Thursday - reading, grammar, Latin, math, science, history
Friday – field trip or make up work

Spelling workout – 15 minutes, daily
Reading/making notebook page – 30 minutes, daily
Grammar – 20 to 30 minutes, daily
Writing – 20 to 30 minutes, 2x weekly (Ella only)
Math – 40 to 60 minutes, daily
History – 3 hours a week
Science – 60 to 90 minutes, 2x weekly
Latin – memorize vocab, study language daily (Ella only unless Sarah/Rachel want to)
Art – 1 hour, weekly
Music – 1 hour, weekly
Penmanship – 10 minutes, 2x weekly

I like the spelling book because I can easily divide it into three days. Each lesson has four pages. The first page is just reading a little blurb about something informative (frogs or kites for instance) and they highlight words that contain the spelling rule for the week. The back side of that page introduces the spelling words, rules and has an exercise in sorting the words according to the spelling rule/s in the lesson. I have them do that the first day. The next two pages are just more exercises in understanding the rule. I have them do one on each of the next two days. The last page also includes editing marks like the capitalization mark, etc., and a short essay for them to write using the spelling words.

Next year Ella will begin doing things more independently. Like history. So far I’ve been reading the history lesson to her and then asking her the questions orally. Next year she is going to read the history lesson herself and I will mix oral with written questions. They will do history at the same time only I’ll be reading the history orally to Sarah. I hope that this will cut down on the chaos. Sometimes this year it’s been nuts in the school room because I’ll be reading history or trying to do math with Ella while my mom is doing OPG with Sarah or her very own, innovative Kindergarten Potpourri. The curricula were so very different that we were very often competing for the kids’ attention. Since they will be doing history, art, music, grammar, science, math, penmanship and spelling at the same time I am hoping that there won’t be as much competition for air space, if you know what I mean. Hopefully all the training that’s gone into Ella will pay off next year in an independent learner.

I also plan to institute “quiet time.” For one hour starting this summer I am going to put all the kids down in a bed and they can either sleep or read. For Ella and Sarah this will be the “reading” portion of school. When they are done reading a book they will be drawing a picture and giving a synopsis of the book.

My school ROCKS y’all.

We’ll see how this turns out. The best laid school plans are often crushed by laziness and TOO MUCH BLOG READING.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Already Planning Next Year's School

Homeschool plans.

Ella – 3rd grade

Ella will be studying:
History – Story of the World, Part III (received)
Grammar – First Language Lessons, Part 3 (received)
Writing - Writing With Ease (shipped)
Spelling – Spelling Workout “D” (check)
Art – Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes and we will continue with the art appreciation lessons from ...what's their faces. I'll find 'em. Hold a sec. (ordered)
Bible – may do family bible study with the catechism
Piano – piano lessons, music appreciation in the form of Great Composers coloring book. We'll do one a week and listen to that particular composer via Pandora radio. (shipped)
Latin – Latina Christiana (shipped)
Cursive – Handwriting Without Tears (shipped)
Science – Using a text as a guide and looking for a creation science curriculum (suggestions?), also Adventures With Atoms and Molecules by Robert Mebane (shipped)
Math – Right Start Mathematics, level D (shipped)

Sarah – 1st grade

Sarah will be studying:
History – Story of the World, Part I (check)
Reading – Finish OPG if she’s not done this summer (check)
Grammar – First Language Lessons, Part 1 (check)
Spelling – Spelling Workout “A” (ordered)
Art – Drawing With Children by Mona Brookes (she'll do music appreciation with Ella)
Bible – may do family bible study with the catechism
Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears (shipped)
Science – A Beka science and health (check)
Math – Right Start Mathematics, level B (check)

Rachel – Pre-K

I don’t really like to do all that much until they’re in kindergarten but Rachel will be doing:

Reading – Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, as much as she is able or wants to. (check)
Handwriting – Handwriting Without Tears (shipped)
Art – whatever we feel like doing

Rachel really likes being involved in school. I didn’t do but 27 lessons of OPG with Sarah when she was 4 because that’s all she wanted to do. I have a feeling Rachel may want to do more as she loves being in the school with us and getting that attention. I only ordered the handwriting book for her because it’ll give her something that is “real school” to do during school. She really likes that stuff.

Total cost = $383.15

It sort of seems like a lot, but this is a complete curriculum for three grades and the vast majority of it I will use for four more kids.

Movie and Book Review

I finished The Autobiography of Jane Pittman. I can't believe such a short book took me so long to read. After a while it got to be more like assigned reading; it was difficult to pick it up. The premise of the book is that a writer knew a 110-year old woman who had lived through 7 years of slavery and then through the reconstruction, Jim Crow and was getting involved the civil rights movement. Had she been a real person, I would love to have known her and her story.

My biggest...actually, only problem with the book, what made it so difficult to read was that it's written as if Miss Jane wrote it and her speech is very colloquial. She's got paragraph after paragraph with no pronouns or other identifying nouns. I spent half the time trying to figure out who was talking, who they were talking about and then even if they were talking about a person or a town. It wasn't that I didn't understand the meaning of words, but the broken up English was hard to follow. Also, the lack of a timeline. I never knew when it was that events were taking place.

All in all, it was a pretty good book with a disappointing ending. What a schizophrenic review.

A few weeks ago Mom was rifling through some old papers and came up with this little tiny blue one with the names of a few movies on it. She said someone had recommended that she watch them. On the list was a movie called The Second Chance and another called Gospel.

The review at Plugged In says that Second Chance is about racism, but I disagree. I think the movie is about getting out of your comfy chair and helping people. Tossing money at problems is rarely the correct fix. I really liked this movie and even Del liked it and that's saying something!!

Gospel was depressing. Although this is supposed to be a story about a prodigal son who comes home and turns his life over to Jesus, I just don't see that. I see a story about a man who changes singing venues. I'd like to know how realistic this movie is. Del did not watch it with us but has said he would to give us his own review. I have a lot more to say about this movie but this is not the venue for me to voice it so I'll stop's worth it to watch.

Then Del had the audacity to send me to Blockbuster. I just don't do well with picking out movies. I won't pick up anything that has "some sensuality" in it...period. And I'm not really into mindless action flicks. I usually just resort to my tried and true favorites when I want to watch a movie.

So anyway, I go to Blockbuster all by myself. I didn't even have Anna. Amazing. My eye and interest is caught by A Raisin in the Sun and Not Easily Broken. I don't know why, but that's what I came home with. Oh and Way of War, but we'll just pretend I didn't get that one. Sshhhhh. Del actually laughed at me when I walked in the door with these movies. LOL. I'm terrible at picking out movies. I think I did pretty well though.

The more I thought about Not Easily Broken the more I thought I had heard about this movie before. Then I saw "A TDJakes Film" at the bottom remembered that Terry had mentioned a TD Jakes movie before and when I checked out the post, this was the movie. It was fascinating to see what Terry was talking about in her review. I liked the movie, but once again, time and forum leave me with "let's talk about it later." It's telling that the married couple in this film are Dave Johnson and Clarice Clark.

A Raisin in the Sun. Go get it, watch it. I *really* liked this movie. I didn't feel it was a "black movie." It was simply a story about a family and they happened to be black. Except for Sean "P Diddy" Combs I though everyone's performance was stellar. Go get it, watch it. I'd like to hear what you like about it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

This Roller Coaster Ride

It has been a while since I gave an adoption update here. That is mostly because there is really nothing to report. People ask me all the time if I have heard anything on the adoption, and somehow they never seem to understand when I tell that that we won't hear anything until we get our match and that won't be for another couple of years. No matter how many times I explain that this daughter of ours, who has already been named and has already moved into our hearts, hasn't even been conceived yet, people still think we already have pictures of her and are going to get her really, really soon.

When Jerry and I first announced that we were adopting a baby girl from China, people who have walked before us told us that is was going to be a roller coaster ride with big, big ups, and big, big downs. "But," they assured us, "it is worth it in the end." The roller coaster analogy is so true. I cannot even begin to explain the highs we experienced as our dossier came together in ways that only God could have orchestrated. The dance I did when we received our immigration approval should be outlawed! The flood of emotion that I felt when our agency informed us that we officially had a log in date is indescribable. There truly aren't adequate words.

Right now, for me, is one of the low times. We are in that part of the process known only as "The Wait." I feel silly even admitting this, but each time I think about how much longer we have to wait to bring Hannah home I feel a sense of sadness at just how long the wait really is. I feel silly because we knew when we signed on that the wait would be long. We were told it would be 28 months, and that likely the wait would lengthen during the process. Our log in date was in October, so we are technically only 7 months into the wait. I know that there are people who are in month 34 of waiting for their baby girl from China, and they are still waiting, because right now the wait is about 38 months. And unlike me, many of those people don't have any children at home right now to help ease the ache of empty arms longing to be filled. Their arms are empty and their house is way too quiet. My arms are full and my house is never quiet, yet there is still this ache.

Somehow, as soon as we received word that our dossier was logged in, Hannah became a member of our family. I'm sure it happened more gradually than that, but our hearts already have a spot for her. I catch myself talking about all four of my children, and people must think I am totally crazy because they can clearly see that there are only three! But in my heart, she is already mine. This creates this hole that I cannot quite fill with the children I already have in my home. This hole is full of longing. I long to take that sweet baby in my arms and begin to show her what a "forever family" really is. I long to kiss the top of her head while she sleeps and hear her sigh contentedly once she realizes that we are not leaving her. I long to comb her straight, black hair and gaze into her brown eyes and marvel at their color. I long to drink in her scent and learn who she really is. I long to show her just how very much I love her.

I know the days will melt into weeks, which will somehow form into months and years and I'm sure that one day, when we get our match I will think about how the time flew, but for now it crawls. So I pray. I pray for the woman half a world away who will someday conceive the baby who will be my daughter. I pray that someday she would know the unmeasurable love that God has for her. I pray for God to keep her healthy. I pray that she will leave our baby in a safe place when she decides she cannot keep her and that this baby will be found quickly. I pray that she will be taken to a good orphanage, and that God would begin drawing her unto him from those very first tender days. Then I pray that God will make me patient through the wait, and make me into the mom each one of my children needs. And I thank him, because no matter how hard the wait is, I know that I would wait as long as I had to for each one of my precious boys, and it won't be any different with her.


Inspired by Dr. Two Brains (from Word Girl on PBS - if you haven't seen this yet, you have to watch - even if you don't have kids the right age to watch with you! Don't worry, I won't tell!) and Dr. Octopus (from Spiderman, which the kids have never seen, but manage to still know about from a coloring book they got), my kids have just given me a new moniker:

Dr. Mommy. Waahaahahahahaha!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Don't Be Hatin'

I am not sorry to say that I do believe I have a monopoly on cute little girls. I mean look at this. How do you get a little baby girl any cuter than that.

Don't worry, I'll share. If you want a cute little girl you can come rub my elbow or something. Maybe it'll rub off. Or maybe you should rub foreheads with Anna. She'll share, too.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As I get older more mature wiser older, I am starting to realize that sometimes it is okay to have dinner for breakfast.
Yes I do realize that that is half a hot dog bun I'm using for a hamburger bun. Leave me alone.

Rachel and the Faerie Queens

Sorry Johanna, I didn't mean to totally wipe out your post.

We bought new pepper plants after whatever-it-was ate the others (we think it might be raccoons now). We put them in the ground and immediately they were chowed down. But we managed to rescue this one with one leaf and now it's growing more leaves.

And this one ha already got a pepper growing on it. Wahoo!

Do I talk about Rachel a lot? It seems like I talk about her more than the rest of the girls. She's at that age though.

Monday I took her out on an errand to JoAnn's and to make it extra special the plan was to get her a freezy drinkie thingie. Whatever they are called.

I decided to pamper her real good and carried her around, whispered jokes in her ear and tickled her knees. I said, "Rachel you are so heavy. You're getting so big, why do you want to grow up like that?" And Rachel says back to me, "Because I want to wipe my own butt."

She's got lofty goals.

We have been studying the Renaissance in history. This week we read about Good Queen Bess. That's Queen Elizabeth I. Edmund Spencer wrote and epic poem about her called "The Faerie Queene." So as a project for a house full of giggling little girls, we made fairy wands. Lily is now pointing with her wand and saying things like, "I'm hungry" and "Go get it". I might have to take her little wand away. She's getting a wee bit too big for her britches.

Dulce de Leche

Last year I made a Dulce de Leche Cheesecake for myself for my birthday. I was almost nearly sugar free at that point and used this recipe. It was really, really good. Apparently, even my now six year old son found it to be incredibly good, because this year for his birthday he requested Dulce de Leche Cheesecake for his cake at his birthday party! (Yeah, because all six year olds request cheesecake over regular cake with frosting, right?) Anyway, I love cheesecake, so I was only more than happy to oblige. This year, I am not so much sugar free. :) So I decided to use Alton Brown's cheesecake recipe and add dulce de leche swirls in myself by mixing about a cup of dulce de leche with about 1/2 cup of batter and swirling it in before baking. However, this year I was unable to find prepared dulce de leche in the store like I did last year. But I'm pretty handy in the kitchen, so undaunted I set out to make my own. I searched for recipes and found that making dulce de leche is a lengthy process! This is the standard recipe. I didn't really want to spend three hours monitoring the stove, nor did I want to shell out big bucks for a vanilla bean. Those things are pricey! Then I remembered that after I bragged about my cheesecake last year, Joanna made one too, only she made her dulce de leche by boiling a can of sweetened condensed milk. I looked up recipes for this "cheaters" version of dulce de leche and found some that said to just pull the label off a can, stick it in a pot of water, and boil away for about 1-2 hours. Others said to poke a couple holes in the top of the can first so that the can won't explode during the boiling process. I thought this would make a fun experiment! Since I needed to make two cheesecakes, I needed two cans of the sweet stuff. I thought I'd boil one with the holes and one without and see what difference, if any there was!

You need some fancy equipment for this one folks!

By this point in the process, I was beginning to doubt the wisdom of this experiment. The can with holes was oozing under the water and I was concerned for the outcome of the final product. And let's face it - a sealed can in boiling water is a bit scary. I kept seeing visions of said can shooting out of the water as it exploded all over the kitchen, marring the face of my beautiful baby in the process. As the visions became more and more vivid for me, I began to break out into a bit of a nervous sweat. I also started reading more and more recipes online during this time and saw the almost all of them had warnings saying things like, "Never boil the can without holes!" and "Caution! Boiling the can without holes can lead to explosions." Needless to say, I totally chickened out and turned off the heat before it ever got really hot!

That's when I found this site that had all sorts of different methods for making a can of dulce de leche out of a can of sweetened condensed milk! I was happy, because none of them called for putting a can in boiling water as is! I decided to try two different methods: using a double boiler to cook the milk and filling a pot with water up to 1/2 inch from the top of the can (with holes poked in the top) and boiling the milk in the can.

Doesn't it look so much safer? :) I liked doing it this way because I could see the process happening with the double boiler! It took about 1 hour 45 minutes on the double boiler, and about 2 1/2 hours in the can.

In the end, the two methods produced similar results. You can see below that the color of the dulce de leche was about the same. The bowl on the left was still hot, which is why it looks thinner than the other. There were a few differences: The double boiler method produced a smoother texture. If you were going to eat it straight or as a topping for something, this is the better method. The can had parts that were a bit grainy because the milk that was over the water line never fully cooks and just mixes in with the rest, while the milk at the bottom of the can closest to the heat gets more done. If you are baking it into something (like my cheesecake), this is just fine. The flavor of the one in the can was a bit stronger. I liked the overall flavor better from boiling the can, but I imagine that if I had cooked the one in the double boiler longer, I could have achieved the same depth of flavor this way, too.

I mixed the two together and used them both to make two absolutely delicious cheesecakes. I wanted to take a picture of a piece of the cheesecake all dressed up and perfect, but it was always just too hard to wait to get that first bite!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Huevos Rancheros

Mmmmmm.....Who says you can't get a large portion of vegetables at breakfast?

Monday, May 11, 2009

You Might Be A Redneck...

We are not your typical Texans. I grew up here, but was raised by non-Texans, who did their absolute best to keep us from sounding and acting like hicks. Jerry was raised in Ohio, with no exposure to "the South" whatsoever. We don't really talk with Southern accents (although I can turn it on at any time, and speak with with a twang involuntarily if I am around friends who have a strong accent), and we don't say "y'all." We don't have broken down cars in the yard, and we never eat with our fingers! However, sometimes the redneck around us seeps on in.
Our dryer has been having trouble getting clothes dry in a timely fashion lately. The sensor had quit working and each load was taking 90+ minutes to dry. So we called the repair man out to the house. After carefully looking at our machine, he told us that there were about $350 worth of repairs he could do, but he didn't think any of them would actually make the clothes dry any faster. His diagnosis: vacuum everything out really well. Now we thought we had tried this before calling him, but he showed us all sorts of places we could vacuum that we didn't know about! We had vacuumed down the lint trap, but lo and behold, there is another pocket that traps lint (not by design) that can only be reached through the lint trap. So we set out to vacuum (and by we, I totally mean Jerry by himself).

The only problem came when we realized we didn't have a vacuum tool that was both long enough and skinny enough to fit down into the vent! So out came the redneck solution: paper towel tube and tape! And whamo-presto!

Now the lint is gone, and the dryer dries my loads in about 60 minutes. Still not stellar, but the fix was free (well, except for that $60 charge for the man to tell us where to vacuum) rather than $350! Who said redneck was always a bad thing?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lily Got a Hair Cut

We usually wait until they are two years old, but the back of her head looked like a rat's nest and it didn't really help to comb it. My precious grandma has given all four of the older kids their first hair cuts. I love that.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Remember that cream cheese?

I thought I'd let you in on what I did with all that wonderful homemade cream cheese! I decided to experiment with it by making a recipe where cream cheese takes center stage and can really shine. I thought the recipe was good, but my kids really didn't like it, so next time I'll make some changes, which I'll outline at the end of the post.

Start with 1/2 cup butter (softened), 1 cup homemade cream cheese, and 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (the recipe just calls for whole wheat, spelt, or kamut, but I had this pastry flour and decided to use it), 1/2 cup Rapadura (pictured below), 1 tbsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tsp. salt.
Mix these ingredients together to form a ball. At this point, the recipe says to allow this mixture to rest in a warm place for 12-24 hours. This resting allows the phytates in the wheat to break down, which is helpful for those who have a hard time digesting grains. It also allows the flavor of the cream cheese to "ripen." If a more sour pastry appeals to you (think sourdough bread), let it rest. I let it rest for 24 hours.

The next day, assemble the remaining ingredients:

You'll need: 1/4 cup melted butter, 2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts). Also pictured here are the ingredients used yesterday but not pictured above: 1/2 cup Rapadura (sucanat), 1 tbsp. vanilla extract, and 1 tsp. salt.

Roll the dough into a rectangle to a 1/4 inch thickness. Brush this will the melted butter, and then sprinkle with cinnamon and nuts. Roll up 1 1/2 turns and cut lengthwise. Roll another 1 1/2 turns and cut lengthwise, and then do it one more time. You should now have three long rolls.

Cut these long rolls into 1 to 1 1/2 inch lengths and bake on a buttered cookie sheet at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.
These are good, but if you are expecting a sweet pastry, you are in for a disappointment. Because they are sweetened with Rapadura and not sugar, they are not as sweet. I made a simple icing with butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk to top these, and they still aren't super sweet. I think if I were to make them again, I would only rest them for 4-6 hours so my kids would enjoy them more. I would also probably use sugar instead of Rapadura. Then I think everyone would like them. These keep in the refrigerator or freezer well.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Challah Braiding


Usually I just braid two braids and put one on top of the other, but I used this video instruction to braid a 6 stranded challah loaf. Woohoo!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


We are a corn-on-the-cob lovin' family.
Except for Anna; she likes sleep.