Archive for April, 2009

A Parents-only Adventure

Posted on April 11, 2009. Filed under: Daily life | Tags: , |

That’s right, for the first time since our son was born more than 5 years ago, hubby and I are about to go on vacation without him.  He will, of course, be having a wonderful time as well, since he is staying with family (1 week with each set of grandparents in Alabama) and will probably be spoiled rotten when I get him back.  In the meantime hubby and I will be enjoying a short cruise to the Bahamas and then a few days at a resort in Florida.  After that we will have a few peaceful days at home before the munchkin returns.  It’s kind of hard because I only left him in Alabama yesterday, and I already miss him!  On the other hand, I did get to sleep in this morning.  😉

For my son the vacation adventure won’t end when he comes home, though.  He gets to be home with us for a day or two, then he’s going to stay with the Florida grandparents for a long weekend while I help househunt for some of the Alabama grandparents!  (Yes, he has a lot of grandparents.  It can get confusing sometimes, but there’s lots of love.)

I’m sure we will have pictures of all the vacation adventures up over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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Adventures with Dinosaurs

Posted on April 8, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids | Tags: , , , |

We’re visiting family in Alabama right now, and we just happened to be here during the time that a new live show called Walking with Dinosaurs was playing.  We were able to see the last show a couple of days ago.  It was amazing.  They had life-size realistic moving models of dinosaurs that put on a show describing life in the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods.  We saw at least 10 of the dinosaurs, maybe more.  And they were so life-like!  The smaller dinos were moved by an actual person inside the suit.  If you looked closely you could see the person’s legs.  The bigger dinos were set on specially made small hydraulic cars driven by a person entirely hidden from view.  In addition to the person moving the dino, there were 2 other people operating the robotics systems that made the dino move it’s head, tail, and any upper limbs, and make sounds.  They even blinked their eyes!  Needless to say, it was a dream come true for a 5 year old.  He had a great time!  I highly recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity to go, with or without kids.  Here are some pics from the show:

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My only complaint – I wish we could have gone down to the arena floor and looked at them up close.  I think the munchkin would have gotten a kick out of seeing how they work.  We watched a PBS special that explained it the night before the show, so he would know they weren’t real and there was nothing to be scared of (a life size angry mama T-rex can be pretty scary…and loud).  But it would have been even better to see it for himself.  Ah well, you can’t have everything I guess.

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Adventures in Bread Making

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , |

As part of both my experiment in housewifery and lowering our food budget, I have started making all of our breads myself.  I have a great no-knead recipe for French bread cooked in the Dutch oven (strange, I know, but it works), and since my mom gave me her old bread machine I’ve been taking the easy way and making dough in it – which has really expanded my repertoire!  (I don’t like the big cube of bread that comes out of the bread machine, it’s terrible for sandwiches!  Plus it has a better flavor if you take it out at the end of the dough cycle and give it extra time for the second rise.)  I have a solid recipe for whitewheat sandwich bread.  I’ve been working on my own Hawaiian sweet bread recipe, but I can’t seem to get it quite right.  I’ve tried adding a little extra honey to sweeten it – I use honey instead of sugar -and sweet potato flakes instead of regular potato flakes, and cutting the lemon extract in half, but to no avail.  It still doesn’t taste like the King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls from the store!  (Here’s a link to the recipe.)  And now I’ve made it so many times in a row hubby asked me to please make something else.  Poor guy.

The recipe I switched to is for a wonderful garlic-herb loaf.  I made it as a regular loaf the first time, but after tasting it hubby and I decided it would make a most excellent focaccia.  So I’ve baked two loaves now rolled out flat on a sheet pan, and they are perfect in terms of texture, taste, moisture, everything except the top!  Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice crusty top, great for a rustic bread.  But I like my focaccia with a soft top.  I’ve tried cooking it on higher heat for a shorter time, and brushing it lightly with olive oil, but it still comes out with a crusty top.

So for all you bakers out there, any suggestions would be welcome!  How do I make my sweet bread taste like the one from the store?  How do I make my focaccia have that soft, yummy top?  Neither loaf is bad the way it is, but neither one is quite what it’s supposed to be.

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Adventures in Treeclimbing

Posted on April 1, 2009. Filed under: Daily life |

That’s right, a certain little munchkin has discovered the excitement of climbing trees.  He was out helping his father with yard work on Monday, which included trimming and extremely overgrown bush-tree-thing in front of the house.  Once it had been trimmed back, a lot of the thicker branches were exposed, so naturally a curious boy would want to climb them.  I was out running errands, so his father decided to encourage him to climb the tree by showing him where to put his feet and how to find a V to sit in.  The little guy actually go about 6 feet off the ground (about as high as possible in the bush-tree-thing).  He was so proud, he had hubby call me on speakerphone so he could tell me he was in the tree.  It was very cute!

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