Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!

Been a day...emotional, sick kiddo, busy night...eager to hit the hay!



You'd think with 5 kids that illnesses would blaze through our house like wild fire, but this one? It's taking it's own sweet time, Belle and Pal last week, then nothing until this morning when Dubya woke up with a fever.

Poor kid...his eyes are the true test of what he's feeling. You can read EVERYTHING about him just by the way his eyes are and today? Droopy. Sick eyes. Fevers up to 102.4. Hopefully this is short lived.

Okay, let's get to the questions so I can get to bed!

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses just wanna be left alone. 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, February 1st: (Special thanks to Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie, Michelle (@MichelleMossey) from Michelle MosseyLindsay (@ninjalindsay) from Mac or Cheesy, Lindsey (@BloggerLinds) from A Dollop of my Life, and Sandy (@PardonMyDust) from Pardon My Dust for these 5QF question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. What is your favorite book to read with your kids?

2. After having kids, what body part has changed the most?

3. Would you ever go back to college? What would you study?

4. How do you close a phone call? Bye, bye bye or other?

5. What is the one food that will always be your "cheat food" on a diet?

-------------------------------------

See you in the morning!


2 Years.

It's been 2 years. 2 years since I received the most horrific phone call, telling me that there had been an accident.

That Verd was gone.



I remember the shock. The disbelief. The praying that it was all a bad mistake while simultaneously reminding myself that no one would make a mistake like this.

Two years.

The tears are less and less frequent, but when they come, they catch me so off guard that they steal my breath away. It might be a song on the radio, a word on a billboard, or a stranger walking on the street that so resembles Verd that I have to do a double take.

When they say time heals, I now know that it is true. The raw, gaping wounds have healed over, but the scar on our hearts remains. The thing about scars is they never go away, this scar will forever be on our hearts, a reminder of the amazing man we lost that tragic night two years ago.

His legacy lives on. His mark, left on our community forever. Just the other night we were at a hockey game, talking about names and Verd's wife said, "With Verd's name, you never knew another Verd, so when you mentioned him, you never had to use his last name, it was always just, 'Verd'." 

Always just 'Verd'...not only because it is a unique name, but also, because that's the kind of guy he was. Present in his kids' lives, in the community, the schools, the church...always just 'Verd' because everyone knew Verd, and not only because of his name. 

He was, truly, an amazing man.

An amazing man that is missed deeply, loved greatly, and will never, ever be forgotten.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In the Kitchen with Gram...Boccone Dolce!

Okay, so, when Gram suggested today's recipe, I'll admit that I was a little skeptical. I'm sure you all know my, um, aversion to chocolate and strawberries, but because I'm a good sport I figured I'd sacrifice and take one for the team.



And man, oh man am I glad I did!

This dessert? Out of this world. Fancy looking, relatively easy, and delicious. So delicious, in fact, that I received a text from my baby brother (he scored some left over dessert) that read, and I quote, "That was the most flipping delicious dessert ever!"...exclamation points and all.

We're not sure where this recipe originated, it was clipped out of a news paper, with no name to be found, but whomever created it should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Before we get started, let me give you two tips: 1. Don't make this on a humid day, Gram says, actually, never make meringue on a humid day, and 2. Do as the recipe says and let it sit for 2 hours. We did not, and it showed in the sloppy mess we ended up photographing. But, after a couple hours of sitting, it was super easy to slice...my kids scored the leftovers that got sent to our house.

First up, make the meringue...egg whites:



Salt and cream of tartar:



Whip until stiff:



Continue to beat and gradually add in sugar until glossy and stiff peaks form.




Mark out 3 eight inch circles on parchment paper and spread the meringue evenly (and as level as possible) on the circles.



Sprinkle with nuts:



Then bake according to directions below!

Whilst the meringue is baking, mix up the fillings which are a chocolate layer (chocolate chips and water), melted until smooth and spreadable:



A whipped cream layer:



And sliced strawberries:



When the meringue is cooked and cooled, begin to assemble ("Assemble de minions!!"-Name that Movie.)

Meringue on the bottom:



Thin chocolate layer:



Whipped cream layer...you might need to get in there with your fingers to help spread!



And strawberries:



Repeat layers x3:



 "Frost" the whole "cake" with the whipped cream:


 And garnish with strawberries:


And voila! You've got the most decadent dessert you'll ever eat. I'll admit, I picked through the strawberries and ate the dessert without them (I just. can't. do. chocolate and strawberries. And I clearly know I'm in the minority on this one.)


 Yum.



Gram's Boccone Dolce


Meringue layer:
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 c sugar
3/4 c chopped hazelnuts or slivered almonds

Filling:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 T water
4 cups heavy cream
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 250. Meringue: Beat egg whites, salt and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually beat in sugar and continue to beat until meringue is stiff and glossy. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and on the paper trace 3 eight in circles. Spread meringue evenly over circles, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle each meringue circle with nuts, approx 1/4 cup on each circle. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until merigue is pale gold (ours didn't get gold at all) but still pliable. Remove from oven and carefully slide to cake rack to cool completely.
Melt chocolate chips and water in your preferred chocolate chip melting method; microwave, stove top, double boiler, etc, stirring until smooth. Whip the cream until stiff, gradually add the sugar to the cream, beat until very stiff.
Place a meringue layer on a serving plate, spread with a thin coat of melted chocolate, then a layer (about 3/4 inch thick) of whipped cream, top with sliced strawberries. Repeat layers three times, on last layer, frost entire cake with whipped cream, decorate with strawberries and extra whipped cream as desired. Refrigerate for 2 hours (very important to ensure that cake will cut well and not leave you with a gloppy mess!), and serve! Serves 8-10 very, very happy people. :)

Enjoy!



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Drummer in the Band.

So yeah. Drummers. What is it about them? I mean, Lars Ulrich TOTALLY made Metallica. Then, the drummer from Bon Jovi, Guns 'N Roses, and then, HELLO, Nick Jonas. Yeah, the drummers totally make the band.

And there's something so...so...intriguing about drummers and the way they can make their arms and legs all do different things all at once. It's so freaky. Especially to my blonde mind that can't pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.

Anyway. Drummers.

Saturday night, our church had a praise and worship mass, replete with a band. With a drummer. A 16 year old, adorable drummer. At one point, I glanced over at my sweet 11 year old daughter and noticed her captivated by the band and for a second, for just one fleeting, warp speed second, I saw my life flash before my eyes.

That drummer? (I honestly don't know if she was looking at him, or just taking in all of the talent up on that makeshift stage...) That drummer is about the same age difference from Belle as the Mr. is to me. *faint*

It was like all of a sudden, in blurred, psychedelic colors, my mind brought me forward 20 years to the drummer and Belle and marriage and grandkids and OH MY. I may have had a mini, second long panic attack, because just as quickly as those blues and greens and reds flashed through my mind, I was back in church, more closely scrutinizing just who Belle was looking at and *how* she was looking.

I'm happy to report, I didn't see anything but innocence...no googly eyes, no blushing, no dreamy look on her face, so I'm thinking, or at least choosing to believe, that she was just captivated by the talent in front of us.

I caught myself staring a little too...I mean, HOW do they thump that bass and rap on the snare and tap the cymbal ALL AT THE SAME TIME?! I can't wrap my mind around it.

Drummers. They're just kinda special.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Question Friday! 1/25/13

Never thought I'd be a dance mom and yet, here I am, staring down the throat of weekend performances. Great. Thankfully, our dance is very low-key, about as "un-cut throat" as it comes.


And, I kind of enjoy it...except for the whole not getting to sleep in on the weekend part. Boo. Can't dance start after noon? Then I could have my cake and eat it too. Wait, who said anything about cake? Mmmmmm, cake. Yum.

Hoping my sweet girl feels better today, she seemed to be wilting as the night went on last night...and Baby Girl was oddly clingy, cuddly so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she's not getting sick...on the flip side of that, Dubya is keeping his fingers crossed that he DOES get sick. I think he needs some mom time. :)

Okay, let's get to the party! I decided to mix it up this week and I asked Belle the questions. She is very unlike her mother, short and to the point, not at all long winded or wordy. ;)

Here we go:




Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses are busy taking care of sick kiddos. 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, January 18th: (Special thanks to Lindsay (@ninjalindsay) from Mac or Cheesy, Melissa (@lilmrsmarried) from Little Mrs. Married, Brooke (@HallBro) fromBrooke and Michael, Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie and Maranda (@MarandaLamping) from Maranda Lamping for these 5QF question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)

1. Do you embrace or dread snow/cold weather days?

2. Which game show or reality show could you totally win?

3. What is your preferred climate?

4. What do you buy every time you walk into the grocery store, no matter what?

5. If you see a spider/bug in the house, are you brave enough to kill it, or do you call for your hubby?



------------------------------------------------

Have a fabulous weekend!



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Night 5QF Sneak Peek!

Started my day off at work today, then had to come home to a sick kiddo. Belle's feelin' pretty punk, sore throat, headache, sneezy, stuffy, tummy ache. Poor girl.



Anyway, being home by noon gave me the opportunity to make a yummy supper for my girl (beef stroganoff) and now daddy gets to take the little boys to watch Pal play hockey.

Let's get to the questions!

Welcome to Five Question Friday!! You've come to the right place if you want a fun, easy post or if you've suddenly discovered your muses are busy taking care of sick kiddos. 

Rules for 5QF: Copy and paste the following questions to your blog post, answer them, then watch for the linky post to appear Friday morning and LINK UP!

Oh, and remember (pay close attention...this is the important one)...HAVE FUN!


Questions for Friday, January 25th: (Special thanks to Lindsay (@ninjalindsay) from Mac or Cheesy, Melissa (@lilmrsmarried) from Little Mrs. Married, Brooke (@HallBro) from Brooke and Michael, Pam (@trooppetrie) from Troop Petrie and Maranda (@MarandaLamping) from Maranda Lamping for these 5QF question suggestions! I would love to link you in a future 5QF, so come on over to my community or watch for my Thursday afternoon shout out for questions on Twitter and offer up your best question suggestions! Remember to @5crookedhalos me and use hashtag #5QF if you go the Twitter route!)


1. Do you embrace or dread snow/cold weather days?


2. Which game show or reality show could you totally win?

3. What is your preferred climate?

4. What do you buy every time you walk into the grocery store, no matter what?

5. If you see a spider/bug in the house, are you brave enough to kill it, or do you call for your hubby?

--------------------------------------

See you in the morning!





So, you wanna see the bathroom remodel?

Well, okay then!

The week before Christmas, the hubster and I were fervently finishing up last minute details on the bathroom. Here's something you prolly don't know about me...when I'm on a roll with something, I don't wanna stop. Like, ever.

So, many nights, around 1:30 am, my husband would look at me with glossed over eyes and plead, "Can I please go to bed now?" and I, like a wound up puppy dog, would run circles around him, "But can't we finish the toilet? Can't we put up the lights? Can we install the doors? What about the mirror? Please???? Just the mirror????" and he'd yawn, rub his eyes and crawl into bed, while I stood there admiring the progress and just wanting to finish it all in one night.

Anyway, got it done, we did! And I am absolutely, positively, in love with it. So far, the only thing "different" I would do, is to add some more outlets. Outlets in a bathroom? I know, but there've been a few times when I've been all "I really wish there was an outlet there so I could (insert totally unnecessary task here)."

Now, let me show you around:




Some of my favorites in still photo form:

This light fixture...totally up my alley, a little industrial, not at all frou and frou and not a "boob light". What's a "boob light" you say? Well, you know those flush to the ceiling dome light fixtures with a "knob" in the center that looks like nipple if you look at it from below? Yeah, I've always thought they look like boobs and from here on out, I'll never be able to own one. Here is a visual of a boob light. You're welcome.


Hard to get a good photo of the fixture, though...too hard to see with it on, not enough light with it off...

Next up, our "mosaic"...I love this trim. The color, the little bit of "pizazz" that it adds. Nice, warm neutral tones but spices it up enough that it's not ho-hum.



The floor pattern...sorry, my 50mm lens wouldn't let me get a bigger part of the floor to show you! I'll try to swap this photo out for a better one later today. Anyway, we did a "hopscotch" pattern on the floor and I am over the moon happy with how it turned out. Breaks it up enough to make it look just a little different without being "busy"...and this is a small bathroom.



Another horrible photo, but our new vanity. Again, neutral, warm but has just a hint of sparkle to it to jazz it up!



I'll try and do some before and after pics soon...it is really quite the transformation when you see it side by side! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In the Kitchen with Gram...Applesauce Donuts!

Last week Gram asked me if I remembered my Great-grandma's Applesauce Donuts...I didn't, but I sure loved Grandma Frieda and was happy to try something that was "hers".

I'm not a huge donut fan, they make my mouth feel all goofy and slimey, but I've gotta say, these were pretty darned good! And that weird mouth thing? Didn't have it! Probably 'cuz they weren't all full of preservatives and stuff.



Anyway, they're easy...they only thing "putzy" about them is the frying, but that goes pretty quickly too!

Okay, here we go.

Dry ingredients: (Did y'all know that 1/2 clove of nutmeg is approximately 1 tsp? Now you do.)



Wet ingredients...Gram encourages the use of a higher fat milk, or add a bit of sour cream...



And the pièce de résistance, applesauce!



Mix it all up, it'll look like a wet, lumpy dough.

While you're doing all this mixing and adding and measuring, get your oil heating up on med-high. Gram likes to use peanut oil for her frying, but I'm sure vegetable oil would work just fine, for those with nut allergies!

Now, before you go all gangbusters and plop a batch of donuts into the oil, make sure to test the oil first. The donut should drop, quickly float to the surface, and brown whilst bathing in a bubbling bath of oil.



Working quickly, and using your favorite Pampered Chef scooper (the smallest guy), drop globs of dough until your pot is full, but not at all crowded. Remove them to a paper towel to try once they've flipped (they do this cute little flip when they've cooked on one side) and are golden brown.



Then, toss them in either powdered sugar or a cinnamon/sugar mixture...make sure they've completely cooled before doing they powered sugar, or they get a little goopy!


Mmmmmm...homemade donuts! Enjoy!


Gram's Applesauce Donuts
Printable Recipe

5 c flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 1/2 baking powder
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs beaten
2 T oil
1 c applesauce
1 c sour milk

Coat with:
Powdered Sugar
Cinnamon/Sugar mixture

Heat oil on med-high in deep pot. Mix dry ingredients together, add wet ingredients and mix gently to combine. Drop into hot oil (test one donut first, to make sure it quickly floats up and browns) and cook until golden brown. Remove from hot oil to paper towel, drain well and cool. When completely cooled, toss in coating of your choice! Enjoy!




Live and Learn


One of the things I love about having a blog, is the lessons I learn. The knowledge I gain from insightful readers, like you.

I tend to get very passionate about things, emotional even, and when my emotions are raw, I tend to word vomit. Just purge whatever thoughts are in my mind before I process them thoroughly and in the end? Well, I can come off sounding like a b-word.

In my "Take Back our Kids" post, I realized, almost immediately after hitting "Publish", that perhaps I should've sat on that one a bit, but I truly believe that once something is "put out there" that you don't take it back. "Taking it back" (i.e. "unpublishing" it) seems cowardly to me, and for the most part, I stand by what I said...with some exceptions.

1. I recognize, now, that some people work full time out of necessity, and my generalizations were hurtful to some that would prefer to stay home more with their kids but are either single parents or have found themselves in upside down mortgages after the housing slump and have to work full time just to make ends meet.

2. That stay at home parents don't "own the market" on loving our kids.

3. That I can come off as "holier than thou" and that makes me want to vomit. I'm sorry. I never intended to imply that I was somehow better than anyone else. (Whether it is not sending my kids to full time school/daycare or having med-free births or breastfeeding...never want to think that I'm better than anyone else, because I'm not.)

What I do still believe, what I was trying to say (and failed to say well) is that once we choose to become parents, it ceases to be about "us" anymore. Our "me" time needs to stop being the priority and our kids need to start being the priority. 

I still don't think full time kindergarten is necessary. Many adults I know are completely wiped out after a 5 day work week, why would we want to put our 5 year olds through that? I hate that the push is for this and I'm being "forced" to comply.

More than anything, even financial success, I want my kids to learn that they are loved, unconditionally, and to develop healthy, interpersonal relationships. I see the foundation of those relationships beginning in the home, with mom and dad and God at the center. Do I care if they are blue collar workers? Not as long as they're happy and loved.

I do realize I am blessed, I am lucky that I get to be at home (most of the time) with my kids...my part time nursing gig serves me well, and I DO see that I am very blessed to have the luxury of raising my kids, instead of handing them over to someone else to raise.

Next item up for debate: The Apology.

Wow. You guys are right. Is there anything worse than an insincere apology?

But, as a parent, how do you make sure that your child learns the value of an apology? Something that is VERY hard to learn, without being prompted or, even, forced a bit?

Sure, I can say "You know what we want you to do and I trust that you'll make the right decision." which, when I was a kid, would've left me skipping away feeling like I got off scott free! "Woo hoo! It's up to me! I don't have to apologize!", but will that teach them how incredibly important an apology is when you are wrong?

Some of you say just having feelings acknowledged is enough for some kids and yet others say, why make her apologize for a true statement? (For the record, there is more to the story, I just didn't want to lay it all out for the world to see, you know?) Perhaps the other kid is gullible, why apologize for that? True enough. But then where do you draw the line? The things that were said about this little girl were true...but they were hurtful. Does that make them okay to say?

I don't think so. I just don't think you should say anything about someone that could hurt them. Have I? Yes, I have. Should I? Heck no. Will I still? I'm sure I will. I'm human. I'm not perfect. Or holier-than-thou.

I love having my mind opened. I love it when you guys make me think. And mostly, I love that you've all been so respectful (mostly...the "holier-than-thou" comment sucker punched me a bit) in your words. 

Thank you.


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