Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Keep calm and put family first...



I read a thought provoking article the other day called "Trophy Wife" which talked about a husband who spent all his time on his cars and at car shows.  He would spend every spare minute he had taking care of them and showing them at the shows where he in fact accumulated a HUGE amount of trophies for his work.  The more trophies he got, the more time he spent on his cars trying to win more.  However, when his wife eventually decided to leave him, in a moment of sheer "clarity", as the author puts it, he looked at those trophies and realized they were worthless pieces of junk that had taken his time and attention away from his wife and family.  He put them all in boxes and threw them in the dumpster, vowing to never put anything ahead of God or his family again.  (See the original article on davewillis.org and follow them on Facebook for awesome marriage tips.) 

I love these kinds of articles and whether or not they are written for men or women, you can always find a way to apply it to yourself.  I know plenty of men and women both who put other things and, maybe even more typically, other people above their family and spouse.  I have been guilty of it myself many times during my life and find myself constantly having to put myself back on track.  The difference this one little focus makes in family and especially marriage relationships is unequivocal. 

What I have found through my own experiences and trials in this area is that it really comes down to this... Whatever (or whoever) you invest the majority of your time in is the part of your life that will flourish.  Pick wisely.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Copy Cat Waffle Love Liege Waffle Recipe

Several people have asked for the recipe I have been using for the Liege Waffles, so here it is! We have made them quite a lot and have tried different recipes and techniques but below is the way we find the easiest with the best result that we just use all the time now. 



Copy Cat Waffle Love Liege Waffle

3/4 Cup Whole Milk
2 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup butter, softened (I use Imperial margarine no problem.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 large eggs, lightly whisked
3 tablespoons honey
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups bread flour
1 8oz pkg Lars Belgian pearl sugar (NOT Swedish, the boxes look the same.)

Heat the milk until warm enough for yeast to proof (It's 1 min on high in my microwave). Add the water and the sugar then gently stir in the yeast.  Set that aside and allow the yeast to get nice and foamy (about 5 minutes).  In a large mixing bowl, (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment), beat together the butter and sugars. Add the egg, honey and vanilla. Add the yeast mixture. Switch to the dough hook and add 2 cups of flour. Mix until the flour is thoroughly incorporated, then mix in the remaining 2 cups of flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 4-24 hours. (It will more than double in size. They say the longer you leave it the better the flavor, but honestly we haven't been able to tell a difference between 4 hours and 9 hours. However, 9 is what I do if I want to make the dough before bed and leave it covered in the microwave till morning.)  Punch down the dough then knead in the pearl sugar. Separate into 12 balls and let rest for 30 minutes.


 (During this time, slice up your fruit and get your toppings and cream ready.)  


Place on a hot, greased waffle iron. (We have a Belgian waffle iron and set it on the lowest heat setting.) Cook until golden brown, (keep an eye on it as the sugar will burn if left too long or if you use too high of heat), and serve with Biscoff or Nutella, fresh berries and/or bananas and heavy whipped cream. (Or whatever you like really.)


To make the cream: Pour a pint of heavy whipping cream in your mixer. Add 1/2 cup sugar, (you can adjust this to taste, but we don't like too much sweetness in the cream as you get lots in the waffle itself as well as the other toppings), and a teaspoon of vanilla. Beat until nice and thick. (The longer you beat it, the thicker it gets.) Enjoy!!

(This recipe was adapted from the recipe posted on Oh Sweet Basil.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Zuppa Toscana Copy-Cat Recipe



Alright, I have had several requests for this recipe, so I'm putting it on my blog where I can point people to it quickly and easily.  This tastes JUST LIKE the Zuppa Toscana at Olive Garden.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb Italian sausage (mild)
1 large yellow onion, diced finely
1 Tbsp minced garlic
4 medium russet baking potatoes,sliced thinly. (I sliced lengthwise in half then thinly sliced each half.)
1 (3oz) pkg Oscar Meyer real bacon pieces (not bacon bits)
3 cans (14.5oz each) chicken broth
6 cups water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups kale, chopped and rinsed well
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown the Italian sausage in your soup stock pot. Remove sausage and put to the side, but leave the little bit of fat in the pan. Sauté chopped onion, garlic and sliced potatoes on med-high heat in the sausage fat till the potatoes start to cook through and onions are soft and translucent. Add bacon pieces, chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and let cook 20 mins or so till potatoes are almost cooked through. Add the Italian sausage back in and cook another 5-10 mins. Add the cream and kale. Turn heat to med-low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until kale is at desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. (i used a good amount of freshly cracked pepper.). Serve with hot crusty bread.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

And Then There Was A Band...

So if you didn't know, my son plays drums. And guess what? He is damn good at it!  (And maybe I could be a little biased, but I also consider myself to be a little musically inclined, so I think I can make a decent judgment here.)  Drums have always mystified me.  How on earth you can play one rhythm with your hands and a completely different one with your feet intrigues me.  I can't do it... I've tried.  But Mikey, he can seriously play those drums.  I love to hear him play.

A couple of months ago he told me he was joining a band.  "Yeah, ok", was my reaction.  But as the band members showed up weekly to practice and more and more equipment was being dragged down to the basement, I started to come to grips with the fact that he might actually be serious. 

He is.  The band, (called Grizzly), is made up of young men in their early twenties and Mike is the youngest member at only 16.  They have written their own music, started recording, and have a couple of local shows lined up as opening acts for bigger bands that Mike likes.  Chances are, this isn't your kind of music.  It's pretty hardcore and there is a lot of screaming, but I LOVE to hear the guitars and drums and I can appreciate the actual music (not loving the screaming, but maybe it will grow on me.)

Anyway, I'm pretty proud of him for all his hard work... This boy makes me smile :)



Friday, March 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Miss Dee!!!

Awe I cant believe my baby girl has turned 19.  Will someone please tell me where all this time has gone???  WARNING!  Those little kids you cuddle and love will be grown up and independent before you know it, so enjoy EVERY MINUTE of them.  It honestly seems like just yesterday that she was going to kindergarten for her first day.  :(

To celebrate, Dee wanted to go to the Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake City.  (If you have never been, you must go.)  The funniest part of the night was her dad and I making a bet that he couldn't eat ten creme brulee's.  Much to my chagrin he did it, and one of the waiters delivered an eleventh, which he also ate...  This was after eating two plates of gourmet food and a few other desserts.  I felt so sick watching him that I could only eat one myself... and I LOVE their creme brulee!  I still owe him a ten minute massage from losing that bet.

Dee is not only my daughter, but my best friend.  We enjoy many of the same things as each other and always have a laughing good time together.  I have loved every minute of seeing her grow in to the most beautiful young lady on the inside AND the outside.  Happy Birthday My Dee!!! :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Prom...

You know you are getting old when your youngest goes to Prom.  It was so different doing this formal dance thing with a boy than it was with a girl.  I would even say easier!  More expensive? Yes!  But definitely easier.  It was fun going to the Tuxedo Rental place with him and helping him pick out his Tux.  Much easier than hours and hours of dress shopping;)  I was actually pleasantly surprised on how good he cleaned up.  He is a very handsome boy if I do say so myself.


 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another Driver At Our House...

THIS GUY finally decided he wanted to get his license.  I haven't pushed him cause I don't mind them waiting as LONG as possible :) Heaven help me with two teenager drivers in the house now!  What does this mean for me?  More sleepless, late nights waiting for them to get home safely and more waiting with baited breath to hear calm, safe voices every time they call when they are out.  I wonder, do you ever stop worrying about your children?  Even when they are grown with families of their own?  I would guess not.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Technology... A love/hate relationship...



Sometimes I wonder... what on earth did we do before cell phones??? I didn't have a cell phone as a kid.  There was no such thing.  I remember when the cordless phones came out and I was just happy not to be attached to a wall when I talked on the phone to my friends for hours at a time.  If we wanted to communicate with someone we had to actually call them or meet them to speak face to face. 

Heck, we didn't have the Internet either!  My kids laugh when I tell them that for school projects we actually had to go to a library and do research and use encyclopedias.  We actually owned recipe books and made trips to the music store to buy tapes or cd's if we wanted to listen to music. We hand wrote letters and put a stamp on them instead of sending emails or texting.

Boy how time has changed things in this world.  Technology has made so many things easier but I think in some ways it has also inadvertently stripped the world of the ability to really communicate and function face to face with each other.

I recently read an article about a mother who bought her child an iPhone for Christmas, but with that iPhone came a contract!  As I read the contract I found some pretty cool ideas to implement in my/our families life to help combat some of the issues we face as a family due to the fact that we are simply often over-attached to our cell phones.  I have made some positive changes in my life that have brought me a lot closer to my kids, so I thought I would share this article with my family and friends... just in case it can help you too!  Is technology a bad thing?  Of course not!  But personally I have found that I need to set limits and make sure that I'm not more in to my phone than I am my family :)  Take a read and see what you think.  While I don't necessarily think every rule here works for my family, there really are some fantastic points:


"Dear Gregory
 
Merry Christmas! You are now the proud owner of an iPhone. Hot Damn! You are a good and responsible 13-year-old boy and you deserve this gift. But with the acceptance of this present comes rules and regulations. Please read through the following contract. I hope that you understand it is my job to raise you into a well rounded, healthy young man that can function in the world and coexist with technology, not be ruled by it. Failure to comply with the following list will result in termination of your iPhone ownership.
 
I love you madly and look forward to sharing several million text messages with you in the days to come.
1. It is my phone. I bought it. I pay for it. I am loaning it to you. Aren't I the greatest?2. I will always know the password.
3. If it rings, answer it. It is a phone. Say hello, use your manners. Do not ever ignore a phone call if the screen reads "Mom" or "Dad." Not ever.
4. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at 7:30 p.m. every school night and every weekend night at 9:00 p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 a.m. If you would not make a call to someone's land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text. Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
5. It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It's a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.
6. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
7. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the hell out of the crossfire.
8. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
9. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.
10. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person -- preferably me or your father.
11. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
12. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else's private parts. Don't laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear -- including a bad reputation.
13. Don't take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
14. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO (fear of missing out).
15. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Expand your horizons.
16. Play a game with words or puzzles or brain teasers every now and then.
17. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without googling.
18. You will mess up. I will take away your phone. We will sit down and talk about it. We will start over again. You and I, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together. 
It is my hope that you can agree to these terms. Most of the lessons listed here do not just apply to the iPhone, but to life. You are growing up in a fast and ever changing world. It is exciting and enticing. Keep it simple every chance you get. Trust your powerful mind and giant heart above any machine. I love you. I hope you enjoy your awesome new iPhone.
 
xoxoxo,
Mom"




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My life in quotes...


That one is just a disclaimer... ;)


 
 
 


 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 



 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 

 

Friday, January 4, 2013

To Blog Or Not To Blog... That Is The Question...

Ok I have been having an intense battle inside my head for the past couple of months. Do I try to blog again or do I just give up? I love blogging because to me it is a record for my kids... A place I can record funny stories and post pics... But it became a chore because I was just trying too hard. So I'm back but I'm keeping it simple... Posting what I want to post when I want to post... for me, my family and my friends.

So I start by wishing all my family and friends a Happy New Year. Lets hope this year is a good one for all of us :)