Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring photos

First some knitting project:

A rainbow beanie for Ben from yarn that I spun.

A giant simple cardigan using pencil roving.

A lightweight sweater for Jack I made on the machine.  It would be done if I hadn't run out of yarn.  Might not finish it by Easter now.

Here are some old photos I found on my phone from the last month.

Kipper, of course.

Going down the slide by himself.

Here's my take on Miranda's Company Cake that we shared with the missionaries.  Jack chanted cakecakecakecakecake all night.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Here's my Hunger Games braid. :-) We saw the movie yesterday. Very faithful to the book although they had to skim too much! Ben and I think they nailed the Capital culture best of all.
I got to come home early today since I'm on call. I hope there's not too much going on this weekend. I like to sleep and knit an awful lot.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unexpected detour

A day of homemaking

Lemon cookies verdict:  Just as soft on days 2 and 3.  I think I have a winner here!

How I love quiet days where the seasons are changing.  It's been a rough week of call for me.  I worked 10 hours Monday (4 of which with a demented patient who repeated called me stupid, disrespectful, incompetent, etc etc).  Then I was called out from 8 pm to 2 am.  Yesterday they made my shift a day call, but called me in at 7 am.  I was home by 4 pm and didn't have to go back after that, luckily.  This weekend I'm on call again, Saturday 6 am to Monday 6 am.  Fingers crossed that it doesn't get too crazy.

But all that's behind me now because I'm home with my family and my craft room and my kitchen!  I have lemon cookies on the counter and lilies and pussy willows from my mom.  There's a yeasty smell in the air from a batch of Charlotte's Famous French Bread rising in my oven.  Friends are coming over tonight to watch Sherlock and enjoy a potluck dinner.  I have 7 skeins of home-spun yarn setting their twists on racks in the sunshine.  I'm blocking a rainbow beanie hat that I made this week for Ben using yarn I spun.  I knit a swatch of yarn to gauge a spring-time,  light weight sweater for Jack.  Jack is napping, perfectly on schedule.  He still takes 2 naps a day, usually 1-2 hours each!  It gives us lots of quiet, adult time to work on projects.  We have plans to see Hunger Games as a date tomorrow afternoon while Jack plays at his friend's house.  Today I need to take him to the library, and maybe to Sunflower for their blackberry sale. 

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Big Soft Lemon Cookies

You know my Big Soft Ginger cookies?  The ones I'm famous for?  The ones I make several times a year?  I came up with a new version.  Introducing Big Soft Lemon cookies!

I have never altered a recipe this radically.  It was scary, but a total success!  I love lemon and with today being the first day of Spring, ginger and molasses have no place in this kitchen. 

I basically followed the tried and true recipe with a couple substitutions:
--Lemon zest and lemon oil in place of all the spices
--A combination of corn syrup and honey in place of the molasses

You could do all corn syrup or honey (or even maple syrup) according to the internet.  I left out lemon juice, which is often a part of lemon recipes.  I was afraid the acidity would alter the cookie's texture.  I hate how most lemon cookies are either crunchy or cake-like.  These are true cookies.  Like Ben said, we'll see how they hold up tomorrow.  That's the key strength to the original BSG.  If they are good (and not all eaten!) maybe I can take a better picture of them in natural daylight and submit it to allrecipes.

Big Soft Lemon Cookies

Ingredients (with my typical alterations for high altitude)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Scant 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp lemon oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup/honey combination
  • ¼ cup turbinado or demera sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest, egg, and lemon oil.  Add in the water and corn syrup/honey. Gradually stir the flour, salt, and baking powder. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the turbinado/demera sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 11 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soup Slurping

Back at home, we had a quiet Sunday.  Church meetings in the morning, then Jack took a long nap while we knit or did homework.  I'm re-watching Firefly on Blu-Ray. 

We had sandwiches and soup for dinner because it's so easy.  Jack is a BIG fan of tomato soup.

The Photo Dump

I put my photos from Beauty and the Beast on a flickr set after trimming and cropping them. Below are some of my very favorites. (PS Ben's camera rocks! These were all taken from the last row with no flash. Color me impressed.)

Jack was a trooper.  The show went until 9 pm, we didn't leave until 9:30.  He stayed in his grandparents' arms happily, and I'm told was quite enthralled by the show.  I saw him tell them whenever a character was wearing a hat.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's not finished . . . . It's finished.

(It's a Spaced reference)

Beauty and the Beast is officially over!  My parents came to town just to see the show and I'm so proud they saw it.  I'm also tremendously proud of these kids.  I heard over and over that this was the best show the school had done, and I can at least agree that it's the best of our three.

I took over 350 photos.  I edited and cropped many tonight, but alas it is quite late.  Here's a favorite from the Gaston number (I love our Beast/Prince joining in, incognito in his beard, on the left):

The obligatory directors getting accolades on stage (but we're always touched that they do this):
 The whole cast after the audience petered out:

And the reason I do these shows:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Opening night

With another blurry mobile photo from the back row!

These kids are killing me with their adorableness.

I got off work an hour early and went straight to the school. It took 1 hr 20 min, but I'm really glad I was able to see tonight instead of tomorrow. Ill go saturday too. There's a buzz about opening and closing night. The kids are improving their performance each night. The audience was wonderfully receptive with hearty laughs in (mostly) right places. (why do they when dead gaston is carried away? They do every time and we don't know why.)

I'm having to fight hard not to tweak and fix and write notes for the cast. I want to redo the whole first half of Be Our Guest. Why does my brain wait until show time to create fantastic solutions for the sloppy parts?

It was funny I came straight to the show in my scrubs. I attended to a re-fractured toe and a minor head injury. There was a sprained ankle earlier this week. I worry something truly bad will happen. I hope amanda has a school first aid kit somewhere. Makes me want an old-fashioned doctor's bag to keep in my car.

I'm looking forward to my day off tomorrow. I didn't see Jack at all today :-( When this is done I have a list of fun things for us: picnic at the park, swim at the rec center, create a recipe for soft lemon cookies, blow bubbles on the porch, generally give Ben more personal time. . .

Good night!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Today I went up to Bailey to watch the first official performance of Beauty and the Beast.  They did an in-school show for the middle schoolers.  It's amazing the leap in performance these kids take from dress rehearsal to actual show.  Something about doing it for an audience brings them to life.

The assistant director made this trailer for the show.  It's footage from the Friday all day rehearsal, before sets and costumes were finished.  But I hope you'll enjoy seeing a little of it.  Maybe I'll have actual performance footage I can share later.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stupid daylight savings

Stayed up too late finishing this because it felt too early to go to bed.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Final Rehearsals

I spent all of today and half of yesterday up in Bailey for final rehearsals with the high schoolers. I have some crappy iphone photos to show for it. Hopefully I can post some nicer ones after the production next week. The kids are . . . getting there. This is always a difficult time when they are juggling costumes and sets. I wish they had more basic drama skills, like keeping your face to the audience and vocal projection. Maybe if Amanda has another 5 years with them.

My lunch and notes.  (Later I added carrot sticks, so you know, I stayed healthy).

Gaston Song

Human Again

The Mob Song

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

For the Grands

My parents are on a grand European adventure and Ben's parents moved to Maine this year.  This post is a festival of grandchild love.  I fully expect them to be the only ones who watch all of the videos.

After work on Monday I put Fruit Ninja on my Fire.  Jack seems to be confused about Kinect control versus other devices.  Or he just prefers to flap maniacally.

Amanda brought us chocolate cake with Sherlock on Saturday.  We had leftovers the next night and Jack eagerly showed off his new word: cakecakecakecakecake....Here he is after getting what he wanted.

Lately he has been reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  He has been asking for cookies - by word!, for the last couple days.  Ben promised him some and tonight we delivered.  Clearly I did not think through Jack's task level thoroughly enough.  I don't know why I picture him like a skilled four year old sometimes.  But he had a lot of fun and cookies were made.

While they baked he actually brought the book over to me (I was acting as oven sentry so he doesn't burn himself).  Isn't it funny how easily kids learn words for dessert?

Enjoying his results immensely.

Good old spinach pie

A great repository for leftover bits from other recipes.  I make it a little different each time.  Makes great lunch leftovers.  I'm always blown away that Jack will eat it.  I do a little dance every time he eats green things!

Spinach Pie (Adapted from a recipe from Betty Mason)
I make this all in my food processor.  This is more of a narrative than a standard recipe. 

With the grater blade on, shred 1 cup cheddar cheese in the food processor.  Switch to the regular blade to blend with one cup flour and 1/2 cup butter (I was out today and used shortening).  Add seasoning - salt, Old Bay, dry mustard, whatever you have.  Drizzle in water while pulsing until the dough clumps together.  Press it into a pie pan and set aside.

With the same dirty food processor bowl and blade, chop up 1/2 of an onion.  Add 10 ounces chopped spinach that you already thawed from frozen and squeezed out the excess water.  Add any other vegetables you want - today it was the remains of a jar of roasted red peppers.  Pulse a few times.  Add one cup milk and three eggs, pulse that a few times.  Add your choice of seasoning and any other chopped bits you like, usually meat or cheese.  I love feta and ham.  Today it was leftover lil' smokies from Edward's Meats and some cubes of aged British sharp cheddar.  Just be careful not to over blend at this point because you don't want to pulverize these last tasty add-ons. 

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, even out the liquidy and solid bits (it tends to clump in the middle with milk around the edges).  Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  It will puff and get firm.  I like to aim for the point right before browning.  Let it cool quite a bit before serving.