Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Scone-Off

Here’s another text convo between Angie and I:

Me: Have you made [PW’s] maple pecan scones?

Angie: No… remember… I only eat your scones. Smile

M: Ah, yes.

M: So I need a scones bake-off. My recipe versus hers. Both maple pecan. We’re gonna need some friends to help us.

A: Oh, you know it! I’m in!

And with that, the scone-off was set.

I invited scone connoisseur friends only, meaning only friends who have complimented me on my scones. (Want to be in the club? Say things like, “I only eat your scones.” or, “I don’t make my own scones, I just wait for yours.” or some variation of flattering comments after eating my scones and you’ll be considered.) My mom was my first fan and was the first to coin the phrase “I only eat your scones.” She’s a lifetime member.

In one corner was The Pioneer Woman’s Maple Pecan Scones. I have her cookbook and followed the recipe straight from it. It call for 2 sticks of butter and yes,  I added all of it! She finishes hers off with the maple pecan frosting. See that puddle of frosting? Don’t even think of leaving it off!


In the other corner was my standard scone recipe. Wait a second, that sounds so anti-dramatic… hmmm.

In the other corner, coming in at a whopping third less butter, is IOWA WOMAN’S SCooOOONES, Scones, scones, scones!!!!

That’s better.

I made my standard recipe, adding a 1/3 c. chopped pecans and substituting 1 tsp. maple extract for the vanilla. I topped them off with turbinado sugar (raw sugar). I have to do that because if I don’t my sister gets grumpy!

My Scones

And the winner is…


Sort of.

Here was the general consensus. PW’s scones are butter-laden! If you are a serious butter lover, meaning the other ingredients and their overall balance is secondary to literally tasting butter, then this recipe is your baby. We thought it made it too heavy. However, if a frosting has the power to induce swooning, then this is a Caution: Swooning Up Ahead zone!! Also, her recipe makes GIANT scones. We decided to cut them in half to taste test them as there was still another one to try.

And that would be mine! A smaller recipe to begin with and with much less butter, it was just a lighter, scone with just the right amount of crisp exterior and soft interior. My only little thing, personally, was that I couldn’t really taste the maple flavoring. As I was just inventing the recipe on the fly, I think this could be fixed. But maybe it was also because I was still recovering from my maple frosting faint.

The only bummer I have is that I didn’t take a picture of my friends!! We were kind of all over, some talking, some taking care of little ones, and coming and leaving at different times. I’m sorry friends. You mean more to me than scones. No really, you do. Please come over again.

I’ll make scones. Winking smile

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Paint Chip Text

This is the text I sent my friend, Angie, one day…

I just hit the paint chip jackpot!!

Bill is cleaning out his office and was THROWING AWAY these!!

I saw them and picked them out of his garbage. He asked in the most quizzical way “What do you want those for?”

I looked at him astonishingly and answered “Haven’t you been following my Pinterest boards?!!”

Then I cradled them in my arms all the way to my craft area.

He followed me out, knowing his wife had reached an all time height of bizarreness and again wanted to know what I was going to do with them.

I said, “Stuff.” then took a picture to send to you.

I think he walked away shaking his head but I don’t know as I had stopped paying attention to him, enamored with my lovely paint chip stash.


Friday, February 24, 2012

To Hold You Over

I'm still in the research phase of a homemade granola bar recipe that the whole fam can agree on. But while I was scouring the web for granola bar recipes, I ran into this post about making homemade Larabars. I've seen them next to the Clif bars (another brand of granola/energy eats) but never purchased one or tasted one. The recipe looked great and reviews of the homemade recipe and the original Larabars get rave reviews, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Oh, yum!

Making your own is not only super easy, but way, way WAY cheaper. With just a few varieties of nuts and dried fruits, you can make a million different versions. (Ok, a million may be exaggerating a bit.) She even gives a lot of varieties to get you started!

I started with the Very Cherry version and used pecans. The second time around I made the cherry ones again and also an apricot/almond version, doubling each recipe. A single recipe, she says, makes 2 bars. I decided to roll them into balls and made 4 balls, wrapping them in plastic wrap and storing them in the fridge.

Enlightened Cooking: Homemade Lara-Type Bars (energy bars part 3)

Go ahead and give 'em a try. Then come back here and tell me what variety you came up with.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Fast

What has drawn my family to today? Where we said yes to Lent, to making less of us so we can make more of you. This is not our tradition, we didn’t grow up doing this.

Was it the ugly of hurt bearing its image last week for me to see my reflection?

Was it the locking clench of perfectionism over grace gripping a young one’s soul so that tears squeeze out hard and hot last night? I cried out, “Where is freedom? Where is grace? Why does this pull so strong at so young an age?”

Was it the unspoken thoughts of defeat of women hard after God but faced with humanness yesterday?

Was it a confession of a dear one that found me privileged to listen to and carefully guide? She wants you so bad and the world cannot handle that and it’s a hard dying to self she must wrestle with.

Was it seeing more than I’ve ever seen and still forgetting? You remind because you love and you never get tired of me coming back.

Was it my prayer for intimacy that really is my one little word? My fullness, my freedom, it comes from you, it leads to you but it is for our intimacy.

I say I don’t know and I say yes.

The unknown reasons can remain so, let me not ever try to box in what the whole earth cannot contain.

The known reasons, they are enough.

I, alone, am not enough. My flesh- fallen and failed.

But you, You are.

For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no on can boast. Ephesians 2:8,9

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

So we will fast in our family’s way for you.

We fully expect you to reveal yourself.

As the youngest one’s lips prayed over me tonight, give us strength to do what we need to do.

Ann Voskamp explains beautifully the time of fasting during Lent. If you have time, read her entry here. My hope is that you will spend some time praying for Jesus’ calling. What He asks, be strong and courageous to do.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Show Choir Hair

Show choir hair- curly, done up, extra bounce for extra energy on stage. This is achieved by curling it in some manner. For the first two performances, I went the curling iron route. I learned that while this is great, for long- term hold, meaning all day hold, and for bounce, you really need to use curlers.

I talked to my mom, as all daughters do, to get advice. She later texted me from Wal-Mart telling me what they had for rollers and off I went to buy the time-honored foam rollers.

Thursday, after school, armed with a spray bottle, I sat Audrey at my feet and prepared to spritz and roll. But not before I called a friend to get last minute rolling advice. Her words? There may not be enough time for the hair to dry in the rollers. No problem, I said. I’ll just hit it with the hair dryer. (Thus commencing the whole hair dryer fiasco.) And how do I do it again? Little to big? Big to little? She told me start with the big on bottom and work to little on top. So Audrey and I talked, turning her head and body this way and that, dampened and rolled and… proceeded to do it opposite of what Renee told me. Heh! We were just trying this whole thing out, no biggie. It turned out just fine. Some hair was still a little damp and I just touched it up with the curling iron. The kids had a nice performance that night. (Renee said she used heat rollers in her daughter’s hair because of the shorter time frame. I was going to borrow Beth’s but forgot to get them because I was smitten with Valor.)

Rolled Hair

Friday night, armed with the now familiar hair implements, I rolled Audrey’s hair for two hours! I would grab a nice little section of hair, combing it smooth, dampen it thoroughly, roll it carefully, making sure I used the big one on bottom and working to the small ones on top. It was a thing of beauty. Well, sort of. Off to bed she went.

Saturday morning. Glorious Saturday morning. We sleep in. I stumble around the house for a while, slip in a run then Audrey and I assemble all the stuff needed for our now pre-performance ritual. She texts her friends or takes wonky pictures of us, I apply make-up. She tells me for the one hundredth time not to curl her bangs. I tell her if I hear that one more time…, etc. All the while, I comfort myself with the thought that there are at least thirty moms in the Ballard area doing the exact same thing at the same time.

We are a little behind on the time schedule, but no problem. I start unrolling the big ones from the bottom. Big, beautiful, boingy curls (raise your hand if you remember Ramona Quimby’s envy of the girl with the boingy curls.). Yes! Moving on up, more curls. Nice. These are definitely staying in. This is definitely the way to go. About the 3rd size up, the curls are becoming a little obnoxious. As in, they are frizzier than I would like and I’m not advanced enough in my foam roller skills to know exactly how to handle the frizz, but they were sort of that way Thursday night and it worked out just fine. Finally, I un-roll the smallest ones on the top of her head. My eyes widened. I un-roll another one and my eyes noticeably bulged. Another one- oh! Another one- OH MY WORD! I flew through the rest of the rollers because… because OH MY WORD!! My daughter’s beautiful hair looked like a stressed out poodle had just electrocuted itself!!!

I do not have any pictures to show you as I forbade Audrey from taking any. I laughed a little nervous laugh. I stood there, Home Alone like, poking at the frizzed out mass, wondering what in the world to do. At this point, Audrey reminded me that we didn’t have that much time and she still needed make-up! There was no time for a re-do. So with every curling iron under our roof heating up, I informed Audrey that she would be applying her own make-up, to which she protested and to which I firmly announced that there was no other option and I would instruct her step by step through it. I picked up the largest barrel iron, grabbed a section of hair and with a prayer heavenward and a sizzle of possible follicle damage tried out what I hoped would save my daughter from utter embarrassment.

It worked!! IT WORKED!!!!

I whipped through the upper half of Audrey’s hair like I was on Extreme Home Make-Over, re-curling the undulating sea of brown froth into smooth(-er) waves and then hairsprayed the whole thing. (But who am I kidding? Those curls were going no where, for a long time. But it just feels not finished unless it’s sprayed. Call me Annelle from Steep Magnolias.) I touched up her make-up just a bit. She flew downstairs to gather the rest of her things, I slapped together a pb sandwich for her, hollered to the boys that I’d be right back and jump into the van, pulling violently (but carefully) out of the driveway. Two van lengths down the block, I just let out a good ol’ scream and Audrey and I laughed and Oh my worded all the way to the school. Bill was coming home from the shop, when he saw us rounding the corner. Later, after I unleashed the fury of the story to him, he said we looked happy in the car. I said we were grinning silly, on the brink of show choir hair insanity!!

Her hair, by the time I saw her on stage looked great! It definitely had the most bounce it’s ever had. The show choir sang the best they have done to that point. They came in second and I’m sure it was close between them and first place.

Wide Open Hair

We’ve now learned that Audrey never, ever wants a perm. Her hair takes styling so well that a perm will never be needed. That once you have a styling tool, you should always keep that styling tool unless it is broken and doesn’t work or you lose your hair, etc. That hair and make-up should be given plenty of time for styling. And that my daughter and I can enjoy this as a memory for a long time!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Worlds Colliding

I swear to you, this really is my life. I’m not making it up. I’m not staging it. Which makes it absolutely crazy and SO MUCH FUN!

The other night, Bill and Ben were putting Ben’s new number stickers on his bike which meant this…

Not Cleaning the Tub

That’s right. Ben is cleaning his rear fender in the tub. Oh, he scrubbed away and had a marvelous time. I hope he feels just as marvy once I have him clean the actual tub.

I was busy putting curlers in Audrey’s hair for show choir and went to get my hair dryer only to find it had been relocated to the mud room and re-purposed to help heat the stickers to the number plates. *I had to ask to use MY hair dryer!*

Set on High

Finally, just because race season has ended and it’s take apart your bike and have it strewn all over the garage and freezer and bathroom season, doesn’t mean that we aren’t trying to squeeze in every other way of dirt bikes. In other parts of the world, it is perfect riding weather and extreme races are held.

One such race is the Red Bull Romaniacs. Here’s a link to the full video that shows a re-cap of the 2010 race. I was watching it with Ben and Luke the other day and what should my ear hear but classical music! So I screamed out: Bach’s Toccata in D Minor, Debussy’s Clair De Lune. I’m figuring why fight it? I’ll just teach Ben where he’s at! (Jacqui- I could see this as a video Joe could take over for cross curriculum study. Smile)

The entire video is over an hour long. (The first minute and a half has that beeping sound used for emergencies so skip that.) You obviously don’t have to watch it. I’ve linked it to two different sections, though I think there are at least 3, maybe 4, classical pieces or folk tunes in the entire video. (Music teachers, I’m thinking you would definitely get Ben’s and other kids’ attention in class if you popped this up.)

Tomorrow we’ll talk show choir and curlers.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My 5 Minute Mile

So, today I ran.  I can’t say if this was my hardest run to date. I’ve done six 1 minute hill climbs with 2 minute rest in between each climb. I’m about to run two 6 minute sets at a faster than normal pace with just a few minutes rest in between. But today my plan said to run ten 30-second hard sprints with 90 seconds rest in between in each set. You monitor yourself only by how you are able to run the entire 30 seconds at the same pace and maintain your form and nothing else. As it turns out that I was running about a tenth of a mile each time. So let’s do the math, people.

I ran a 5 minute mile!!!

I would have celebrated except that I was trying to catch my breath.

When I got home, I had to sit down. Ya know what I mean? And then stretch. And then re-fuel. ‘Cause if I don’t, I will crash. Bad. So I threw together a smoothie and sucked it down fast.

After I recovered, I realized that my counter was a disaster. As in, it, does anyone clean up their mess besides me? Oh wait, this mess is all mine.

The Counter

So you can see the remnants of the smoothie, consumed from a Flinstones glass. (Because they ran barefoot, too, so it makes me feel faster. You might say we’re kindred spirits.Rolling on the floor laughing) A dingy spot from making three batches of cinnamon scones for the women in my Bible study this morning.  (We’re studying the first part of Girls Eat Pop Corn- that’s Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians- and I had to bring something in keeping with the theme.) And finally, my salty protein fast fix- peanut butter on Saltines. (Because if I don’t eat some protein and balance out my salt, I will eat everything in sight for the rest of the night.)

I’d also like to say that this running program I’m doing is awesome but I am t-i-r-e-d by the end of the night. I’ve climbed into bed as early as 9:30 before. I fell asleep in a recliner the other night while Audrey was working on something. I just reach a point and then zzzzzzzz

(I’m fast asleep, kind of like my running. Winking smile)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

We Had A Party

That’s right. We Super Bowled it! Let’s start from the very beginning… (and seriously, if you can’t name that musical, I just can’t help you.)

For me, it started with the food. I had several recipes ready to go, thanks to Pioneer Woman, The Big Red Kitchen, Pinterest and my daughter.  And so with Audrey’s help, she and I pulled off a great spread. Jalapeno Poppers, Artichoke Dip, Pretzel Bites, Philly Steak Sandwiches, chips and dips, a few veggies for good measure, and Oreo Poke Cake. Yeah- it was good!!

Super Spread

We ended up inviting a couple of friends each for both Audrey and Ben. It just happened. It could have been really insane of us but as it turned out, it was great. Our pre-game was giving our Super Bowl picks.

Super Scores

Then the National Anthem. Oh, Kelly Clarkson, thank you for your lovely National Anthem. The drummers, the children’s choir, being modestly dressed, getting all the lyrics right. Very, very nice. I cheered at the end and I was in our basement!!

Let’s get ready for some football!!! Load up the plate, it’s kickoff!

Super Plate

So let me tell, you. The attention span of our crowd lasted until their plate was empty and then it was make-up, wrestling, balloon bopping. Oh, yeah, they sort of paid attention during the game, boys more so than girls. Then they’d holler to the girls when it was the commercials, who’d then popped their heads out to catch it.

Super BoysSuper Girls

When halftime rolled around, we shut off the tv. That’s right. We shut it clean off. Have you ever seen a Super Bowl halftime performance that was good, let alone appropriate for viewing? Us, neither. So before our basement exploded, we made the boys run laps outside around the house. That’s right. Outside. Laps.

Super Pillow

Super BradySuper LukeSuper Nolan

Somehow the girls got out of laps but we diverted some energy by watching Elmo singing “I’m Elmo and I Know It”. It’s Elmo’s take on a halftime performer’s song. Smile We also were commercial editors. That’s right. We changed the channel several times. Yup.

Super Elmo

At the end of the game, we had one obvious winner. Our prize, well, nothing. I’m not sure she really cared. She was wearing a Bears jersey.

The Winner

Also at the end of the game, my kitchen was a WRECK!! Yikes! I didn’t capture a picture, but just imagine it, ok? (Homemade pretzels are awesome, but messy, ok?) But we had a party and it was SUPER!! Winking smile


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Winners

The Iowa Enduro Riders Association’s (IERA22) yearly awards banquet was this past Saturday. Bill, Ben and I headed to Des Moines to join up with friends and have some fun. Oh, and collect some awards! Smile

These boys are the 50cc class overall winners. Ben placed 2nd for the year. He got a plaque, a hat, some riding socks (big cheer from me as you know my deal with socks), and a bunch of gift certificates to various places for motorcycle gear.

50cc Winners

These guys are the Vet C class overall winners. Bill was 2nd for the year, also. He got a plaque and some bigger value certificates. No socks. Sad smile He also won a door prize which was for free number plates and he ended up giving those to Ben because he’s a nice dad.

Vet C Winners

Next year both boys will have to ride in a different class. Ben will ride the 65 class because he’s too old for the 50’s. He already has his 65 bike and loves it. Bill will have to move up to a “faster” class, the “B” class. Because they group it also according to age, he’ll be a senior rider.  And truthfully, we are all looking forward to another year of racing. Even me, except for the sock thing. But I’m going to remedy that situation with some of gift certificates Bill got. Winking smile

No matter what place, these two are my winners!!

Winner Boys

Wednesday, February 1, 2012