Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Three

These are three kitchen gadgets I use nearly everyday.  If they get misplaced I am lost without them.
Image result for spiral whisk
I use this exact whisk from Pampered Chef to make gravy, roux, tapioca pudding, glazes, and frostings.  It mixes up hot chocolate pretty well too. The handle rests on the edge of the pan so it doesn't fall in.

Image result for garlic press
Around here we use a lot of garlic.  This press is strong and durable outlasting any of the others I have used.  Also from Pampered Chef.
Image result for pie crust mixer
I like to make pie crusts from scratch.  My heavy duty pastry blender works well.  I had one with wires for cutting, but they bent.  My Mom noticed so she got me one with blades that I absolutely love!

What are your top three kitchen gadgets that you can't do without?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Martin Creek Lake State Park

Thanksgiving week came and went so fast that before we knew it Sunday was here.   The kids were well enough that we all made it to church on time.  Barely.

With the kids heading back to school tomorrow, we wanted to do something fun with them.  John got out the fishing poles and we all went to the lake.
The drive was gorgeous.
We walked across this bridge to get to the island's hiking trails.
Nolan was very adventurous.
Paul was excited to fish.
Andrew would have happily fished all day.
The family walk around the island was lovely.  The weather was perfect, the trail was not too hard, and none of the kids got lost.

Oliver was a fearless explorer-- I haven't decided if that is good or bad yet-- LOL.
The playground at Martin Creek was thoroughly enjoyed.  The natural ground... the metal and wood play structure... and all the trees with their leaves rustling in the breeze was a breath of fresh air.  Literally.  We are used to playgrounds made with plastic, the ground coated in rubber, and tarps shielding us from the beating sun.  All with a grimy feel and smell.  This play area was quite the opposite and my kids could have spent hours there if we let them.

While we were walking over to the playground Nolan told me he had to use the bathroom.  I told him that I knew where the bathroom was and I would take him right over.  Somehow he interpreted that as: stop right on the trail, whip out your penis above your pant waistline, and go pee right there.  I was mortified for a brief second knowing that there were two campers hanging out above us in their tree tent watching our family... amused I'm sure.
Oh well, chalk this up as something we will forever remember.

Love you Martin Creek Lake!  We'll be back!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in Pictures

We didn't get a super early start this morning.  It was nice waking up naturally rather than to the beeping of an alarm.  Breakfast was low key-- hot chocolate and Eggo waffles.
We got new bar stools last week so all the younger kids could sit at the bar.
It makes breakfast time so nice and convenient!
Sveta and Jonathan enjoyed the lazy morning.
Dennis offered to help William with the dishes.  William first showed Dennis how he does it.
The weather could not be more perfect in East Texas right now.  Not humid.  Not too hot.  Not too cold.  Just right.  It is hard to keep the kids from always wanting to be outside.  Oliver sneaks out to check on the cats whenever he can.

Sveta was very excited this morning.  She especially loves holidays.  She is thrilled to have Julia coming home next week because we will be having a second Thanksgiving feast with her on December 1st. 
Told you.  Here is Oliver looking over the side of the deck for one of the cats.
Our Thanksgiving meal prep was a joint effort.  John carved up the bird.  I cooked it in one of those roasting bags hoping it would be extra juicy.  I don't think it was, but John (like the awesome husband he is) convinced everyone that it was perfectly cooked.  Smothered in gravy and cranberry sauce, it was not too bad.
Gotta love Oliver's face.  Even when he pouts he is still adorable!
I wasn't really in the pie making mood so we had Graham treats and Rice Krispy treats.   No one noticed there wasn't pumpkin pie.  We are saving that for next weekend!
Annalyn had to work this evening so she was extra happy to hear that we would be eating 
long before she left.
Natalie is such a sweetheart.  She reciprocates affection all the time now.  She is still a little under the weather, bless her heart.
I can't believe how much taller Paul is than me now.  It's like he grew a couple feet over night.
Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, garlic green beans, roasted brussels, and homemade bread.   I ruined the brussel sprouts by over-salting them which was very disappointing because they are my favorite.   John was wondering if rinsing them with water would have helped.  I ended up tossing them.  

We went around the room and rattled off all the things we are thankful for.  It was really nice hearing all the things my kids appreciate.   So often I am guilty of dwelling on things that I cannot change anyway instead of rejoicing in all the good around me.  The good Lord has blessed us.

After dinner and some slack-lining, we ended up watching movies.   It was a wonderful way to chill with our kids.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Natalie and Oliver

 Oliver loves to entertain Natalie.
Natalie just plays along.
 It is sweet how Oliver always watches out for his sister.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Hot Chocolate Weather

"Mom, can we have hot cocoa?"
"Didn't you know, dipping pretzels is the newest thing?"