Friday, May 24, 2013
Now that school is out for the summer, we are that much closer to sending this girl to kindergarten. She is going to love it. I know she will come home the first day with about 13 new best friends and lots of sparkle in her eyes. I am going to do my best to soak her up this summer.
Hooray for the weekend! And a holiday weekend, at that. We have big plans. Like cooping up our three garden-eating free-ranging chickens. And maybe bar-b-queing some hamburgers. We are very exciting people.
What about you?
posted by stephanie at 5:51 AM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
We did it! We made it to the last day of school! Phew. I am so looking forward to this summer. We have some fun trips planned, but mostly I am just relieved to have Mabel and Oliver home all day. Life is so much easier when they are around. But first, I think a celebratory dinner is in order. Or at least maybe a cake?
posted by stephanie at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
So I did what I always do in these situations: I baked a batch of cookies and organized my closet. Does that work for you, too? Clearing out the clutter clears my mind. By the time Elliot was up from his nap, and Stella was done watching a movie, and Mabel and Oliver were home from school, I was ready to be myself again.
Goodness. Here's to a better today.
posted by stephanie at 6:03 AM
Monday, May 20, 2013
On Saturday night, Mike and I went out for sushi with some friends. I love going out for sushi. It is delicious, and I love how I leave the restaurant feeling full, but not stuffed.
But then I went home and made this cake and ate a huge slice straight from the oven with vanilla ice cream. My good feeling was quickly ruined and I went to bed swearing off cake forever (again). When will I learn? Sheesh. But you know what? It was worth it. It seems like I am always on the hunt for a good chocolate cake recipe and this one is definitely a keeper.
It was moist and fudgey (I had no idea cake could even be fudgey), and soft and chocolatey. It is perfect served just by itself, no frosting or ice cream required. I love a good loaf cake, and this one is even better the next day! It would be the perfect gift for a friend or neighbor (if you don't eat it all first).
p.s. I used regular unsweetened cocoa (not dutch-processed) and 1/2 tsp baking soda, per the instructions. I baked mini loaves and they totally sunk in the middle (which I think indicates too much leavener?), but I didn't even care! They were so, so good.
posted by stephanie at 6:48 AM
Friday, May 17, 2013
Oliver wrapped up his baseball season last night with some awesome plays at third base. Good thing, because it's starting to get a little toasty, even in the shade. I teared up just a bit when his coach gave him his award. Oliver is such a great kid, and a good baseball player, too.
Some exciting Mabel news: for the fourth year in a row, she has won the Star Chart Trophy at piano! Stars are earned for having a consistent piano lesson performance: completing theory homework, being on time, practicing and passing off songs, and for having a good attitude during lessons. I have to say, I am not surprised one bit. Our Mabel is a wonderful girl.
And now I will end the brag fest and wish you a very happy weekend!
(Thanks for indulging me.)
posted by stephanie at 8:05 AM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
posted by stephanie at 10:49 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
Yesterday was a good day. I sure love being a mother to these kids. They were sweet and thoughtful all day long. I don't think they've ever been so tidy, either. My favorite moment of the day came during Sacrament Meeting, when the primary kids sang a special Mother's Day song. Elliot went up to the stand, too, even though he's not in primary yet. He was front and center and he smiled and waved enthusiastically to me the whole time. It was pretty great. Mike was generous in his help and I felt very loved and appreciated.
I used to think that what I wanted for Mother's Day was a day off, but I realized that never made me happy. So yesterday, I went about my day as usual, and I was overcome by the joy I felt in caring for my family. It was a happy day, and I am so grateful for my role as a mother.
posted by stephanie at 8:15 AM
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Some days motherhood feels like picking up a million dirty socks and putting them in the hamper, or not budging an inch from the kitchen sink all day long. Sometimes it feels like reading the same 14 books on the couch every afternoon. A lot of motherhood is repetitive and thankless. And yet, I believe it is divine. There are moments, if I seek for them, that can make the drudgery of my days disappear. A snuggle with Elliot can erase my memory of his most recent tantrum. A little visit with Stella can make her endless questions seems less constant. Working along side Mabel and Oliver can help me forgive their unmade beds or scattered legos.
I think I've shared this quote before, but it is beautiful, and so I am sharing it again.
"When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congress? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time. The women of God know this." Neal A. Maxwell
The work of a mother is important. Every bit of it. Today, and everyday, I am thankful for my opportunity to do it.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Hooray for Mother's Day weekend! I kicked it off by buying myself a box of chocolate yesterday morning, and then eating it for breakfast. Although, the chocolate had far less to do with Mother's Day than it did with the state of my hormones, I have to admit. At any rate, it was just what I wanted/needed.
I like to keep my holiday expectations low, but there are a few things that I am looking forward to this weekend, like:
A date night with Mike. Hopefully we can get some yummy food somewhere and successfully purchase tile for our little hall bathroom. A Mother's Day corsage. (Mike, are you reading this?!) Not having to do any dishes on Sunday night. And lots and lots of hugs from the children who made me a mother.
That should do it, I think. What are you hoping for this weekend?
posted by stephanie at 6:01 AM
Thursday, May 09, 2013
The Glass Castle. This is the unbelievable account of the author's childhood. It was fascinating and sort of sad, but an easy and quick read. That Jeannette Walls was able to move on from the difficulties of her upbringing is remarkable to me. If you liked Half Broke Horses, then you'll like this one, too. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
The Lost Wife. Oh, this one was good! Heavy, but good. It takes place during World War II, and follows a man as he starts a new life in the United States, and a woman, who is sent to a concentration camp. It is completely engrossing and hopeful, despite some rather dismal and tragic circumstances. 4 out of 5 stars.
The Stone Carvers. This is an interesting story, following two siblings from a small town in Canada during the first World War. Klara, is a wood carver and a tailor. Tilman, a runaway, a hobo, and a soldier. There is love and loss and love again. 3 out of 5 stars.
Call the Midwife. If you like to read birth stories, then you will like this book. It is a work of fiction, but is based on real experiences of midwives in England in the 1950s. It was fascinating, and made me very grateful for the ease and comfort of my own life. I think it's been made into a miniseries? 4 out of 5 stars.
The American Heiress. I wanted to like this one more than I did. It follows American Cora Cash, and her life as the new wife of an English Duke at the turn of the twentieth century. Good but not great. 3 out of 5 stars.
All Other Nights. Jacob is a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War. He is sent to the South on some daring missions, and ends up finding love. It is sweet, funny, romantic, sometimes tragic, full of suspense and intrigue. I enjoyed every page. 4 out of 5 stars.
The Winter Sea. It's difficult to find a really clean romantic novel, but this one fits the bill. It follows Carrie, an author, as she writes her latest novel on the coast of Scotland, which happens to be the story of one of her ancestors. Not surprisingly, both heroines find love. I loved this one. 4 out of 5 stars.
What have you read and loved lately?
posted by stephanie at 5:30 AM
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
If we're being honest, this recipe is more like a corn cake than a corn bread. But that's what makes it so delicious. I made a batch this morning to serve with chili tonight for dinner, but I have a feeling that the majority of it will be eaten as an after-school snack. I don't remember where I found it - it's the sort of recipe that you scribble down on a scrap of paper and then make so often that you have it memorized.
In a large bowl, whisk together:
2 cups baking mix (like Bisquick)
6 tablespoons corn meal
1/2 cup sugar
then set aside.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
Stir into the dry ingredients just until combined. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
Serve warm with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey.
posted by stephanie at 2:58 PM
Monday, May 06, 2013
Birthdays at our house are pretty low key. For Elliot's third birthday, we had Mike's parents over for hamburgers and root beer (some of Elliot's favorite things). We ate outside and enjoyed the cool evening breeze. Everyone played with Elliot's new soccer ball and goal. There was an epic sword battle and of course, a quick game of baseball. All he wanted was a white and black soccer ball and a soccer ball cake. You'd think we had given him the moon.
posted by stephanie at 6:58 AM
Sunday, May 05, 2013
This boy has my heart. And that heart is breaking just a little tiny bit today because he turned three. Three! I never understood why some mothers would have a hard time with their children growing up. Isn't that the point, I would think? But oh! Now I understand. It must be because he is my last, that I am holding on so tightly to his smallness.
When we have family prayer at the end of the day, everyone fights over who gets to hug him good night first. When we sit down for dinner, everyone races to get the chair next to his. His happiness is like the brightest, sunniest day.
Oh Elliot, we love you so!
posted by stephanie at 2:09 PM
Friday, May 03, 2013
It's not always sunshine and smiles around here. I promise. Sometimes we are very grumpy people.
Hopefully those frowns won't stick around. The men are off on their annual Fathers and Sons campout with our ward tonight. This will be Elliot's first time going, and I am pretty sure he's going to love it. I will love sleeping through the night in my cozy bed without a little person waking me up. Wish Mike luck, though, will you? I'm sort of worried for him.
On Saturday we are having some new friends over for dinner, and I am excited! And only a little bit nervous. We never ever have people over. Mike and I are really lame at being social, so this will be good for us. Also, I'm teaching Relief Society on Sunday, and I am hoping that hosting a little dinner party the night before will divert some of the butterflies that are already buzzing around in my stomach.
And then. . . our baby will turn three. Just like that. Say it isn't so. I'll be sure to share some photos from his big day next week. Because I know you will be dying to see them. Ha!
Have a good weekend.
p.s. Happy birthday to my big brother, Matthew, who is off surfing in Nicaragua!
posted by stephanie at 6:16 AM