Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'm not afraid to make this claim because they were. Seriously. I used the roll recipe I posted here a few posts back and just added the cinnamon, sugar and butter before rolling up in a log and cutting with a piece of floss (thread is actually better). That's the best way to cut cinnamon rolls: slide the thread under the log and then cut by crisscrossing the thread and pulling tight. Does that make sense? Anyway, it works great. If anyone doesn't get what I'm saying and cares to, let me know.

These were so so so good. And even if they weren't the best cinnamon rolls in the world, they were the best I've ever made, and I've made a few.

I had a hard time getting a good photo of these rolls. The first photo is when they were still fresh from the oven Friday night and the second is from the next morning, reheated, but still super tasty.

I put a bunch of unbaked cinnamon rolls in the freezer to eat later. This works for regular rolls, too. Just let them thaw and rise for about 4-5 hours.

Mom, we'll have some when you come visit on Tuesday. Mmmmmmmmm...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Diploma Wall

Curtis sometimes gets a little carried away. Exhibit A: our diploma wall. Until recently, it was a fairly compact display of diplomas and certificates from the two of us and our grandparents. In the past few months, we have acquired more family history in the form of...a bunch more diplomas and certificates (thanks Lorna and Dad (Norman)). So, of course, he puts 'em all up.

Wow, huh?

I think it looks cool. And more than looking cool, Curtis (and I) really hope that this exposure to marriage certificates, diplomas, insurance agency credentials, church ordinations, Red Cross first aid certification and the like (it's an odd assortment!) will help our kids grow up with a sense of their rich family heritage.

This is a great room to sit in and just look around. There's a whole lot of family stuff in here that Curtis has spent a lot of time displaying, and even better, he spends a lot of time explaining it to the kids. These kids will know where they come from. I think it's great.


There are too many kids in this tub
There are too many elbows to scrub
I just washed a behind that I'm sure wasn't mine
There are too many kids in this tub.
-Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On the town

Curtis needed to get a haircut today so we got the kids in their coats and he took them downtown for a little outing.

Quite the posse, huh?
First they went to the bank, where they know they'll get stickers from the tellers.

Then they went to the barbershop. The barber always has lollipops for them - so exciting!

Here's the man who's brave enough to venture out with all three of them. He's kind of a superstar.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


You know, I had two other good candidates for the Mess Of The Week shot, but then I came around the corner and saw this

and knew I had a winner.

Ode to Marden's

Oh Marden's! How I do I love thee?
Let me count the bolts of $2.99 fabric...
For those of you who do not live in Maine, Marden's is truly a bargain shopper's dream. They buy closeouts and discontinued items, etc., and sell them for super cheap. The Rumford store has a GREAT fabric selection - I can't believe it's just minutes from my house! (Especially because we live in the middle of nowhere with no good shopping nearby.)

My soon-to-be-sister-in-law Jenni and I went there yesterday to buy some fabric to make some pennant banners sort of like this

for her wedding to my brother Evan. Their wedding theme is a bright and fun summer picnic, which I think is so great and really fits them.

This is what Jenni ended up choosing for the banners. I think they're awesome.

There were so many great choices of fabric, and I don't think they sell a single fabric for more than $6 a yard, with nearly all of them in the $2.99-$3.99/yard range. It's so great!

Yesterday was also my birthday (35 - wow) so I had some birthday cash from my in-laws to spend specifically on fabric (thanks Jim and Lorna). Now that's what I call good birthday fun - fabric shopping with someone else who actually likes fabric with nothing in particular to buy except what catches my eye.

This buttermilk cake with chocolate sour cream frosting (made by Jenni, who is a professional baker at in Portland) was actually my second birthday cake.

We already enjoyed a super tasty one made by my sister-in-law Tami over the weekend, as part of a family dinner/joint birthday dinner for my niece Kaylee and I. Thanks, ladies!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cousins in the snow

We've been having a fun weekend here at Mom and Dad's (also known as Nain and Taid to the grandkids, Nain and Taid being the Welsh words for grandmother and grandfather) house. Nain was making homemade doughnuts when we arrived on Saturday morning, so after ingesting a large quantity of those, the kids (Kathryn, Vivian, Dexter and cousins Iris, Isaac and Xander) were all stuffed into their outdoor winter gear and sent outside.

They had tons of fun making snowforts and sliding down the piles of snow created by the snowplow plowing out the driveway. They were joined by a neighbor kid, Dasha, so the crew numbered seven. Cousin Kaylee was at the mall with her friends, because that's what this 12-year-old girl wanted to do on her birthday. Can't say I blame her.
After the kids got too cold and exhausted, the good times were moved inside. After a rejuvinating snack of orange slices and Aunt Sherry's warm homemade bread (such lucky kids!), they went to the back end of the house to create some more chaos out of Legos, crayons, wooden blocks and a tea set (among other toys). Like I say, lucky kids.
This is what the wet snow stuff looked like drying by the fire:

And here's where they ended up on Sunday evening, after another tiring afternoon of playing in the snow:

Kathryn and Viv love to watch their cousins play on their Nintendo DS.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dental work and dinner

I had some unpleasant dental work done Wednesday morning – two and a half hours in the chair and a seriously aching jaw for the rest of the day. Yuck. They’re all very nice at my dentist’s office, so that helps, but still. Not much fun. All I wanted to do when I got home was lay on the couch and make more yo-yos like this:

I’m a little obsessed with yo-yos lately, which are little fabric circles that are gathered and stitched. People make lots of things out of them, from pillow tops and garlands to entire quilts. You can see a yo-yo tablecloth in Meg Ryan's house in "Sleepless in Seattle." It's yellow and super cool. I love the whole look of her house in that movie! Seriously, what a great set designer they must have had. But I digress.

These particular ones will be made into a Valentine’s Day garland to hang on our mantle. I’ll show you when it’s done.

But…lying on the couch is not really an option with the four kiddos running around. So instead I took two Aleve and worked out of my grumpiness by making soup and rolls. This roll recipe is my new favorite – it’s so good! It’s from a cookbook that my sister-in-law Stephanie put together for her ward out in Utah (thanks for buying me the cookbook, Lorna!). Here’s the recipe in case you want to make these tasty (but not so low-cal) treats:

Crescent Rolls

2 cups warm water

2/3 instant dry milk (can use 2/3 cup warm milk instead of water and dry milk)

½ cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon yeast

½ cup sugar

½ cup instant dry potatoes (not pearls)

1 ½ tsp salt

2 eggs

4-5 cups flour

extra melted butter for brushing on (optional)

Mix in order given. Knead about 8 minutes.

Let rise one time, about an hour, punch down. Divide into two pieces.

Roll or pat each piece into a 16-inch circle. Brush with extra melted butter if desired. Cut each circle into 12 wedges using pizza cutter.

Roll up starting at the wide end. Place on greased baking sheet with point underneath.

Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil. Let rise 30-40 minutes or until about double. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Make sure you actually let these rolls rise enough both times. It really makes a difference in their degree of deliciousness (they tend to be a bit gummy if under-risen).

The soup was just your basic chicken soup with pasta and veggies.

I put alphabet pasta in also, for the kids. Kathryn has just decided that the letter A is her favorite letter (???) and so she was intent on finding an A. She had a hard time finding one and at one point got really frustrated and declared "This is the worst day EVER!" Gee, kid, I want your bad days.

And, finally, a last shot. Just because she’s so darn cute!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Smoothies and Mess of the Week

I made smoothies this morning for breakfast, which the kids love. Chuck a bunch of frozen berries and bananas into the blender along with yogurt and milk and voila! Happy Breakfast. They also had oatcakes, which are like oat crackers, really. Tasty and easy to make.

Kathryn and Vivian love to drink theirs with a straw ("T-Rex style" Kathryn kept saying this morning. I think it has more to do with how she was holding her hands than with the straw...? Like tiny little dinosaur hands?)

Dex has yet to master the straw, so he gets his in a bowl with a spoon.

This was the before shot:

This was the after shot:

I was thinking of using this as the mess of the week shot, but really. That's kind of a pretend mess, plus the smoothie is sort of a pretty color. So, in the interest if blog-integrity, here's the MOTW shot:

Also, in the interest of full-disclosure, this counter got a LOT messier after I took the photo with the addition of a box of Cheerios, a sodden bib, more dirty dishes, a set of confiscated blocks (because Dex WOULD NOT STOP THROWING THE STUPID BLOCKS) and a half full baby bottle. I thought about taking another photo, but at that point I had already offloaded this one and who the heck wants to go through the hassle of taking another photo, offloading it, blah blah blah, just to show you all how ridiculous my counter got? Yeah, you wouldn't do it either.

Getting into the habit

I'm trying to get into the habit of regular posting, even if there's nothing too interesting to report. So, if you're looking for some good food for thought, I recommend you stop reading this particular post now, because this is more of an exercise in habit-forming than anything else.
I'm realizing I need to be thinking more like a blogger if I'm actually going to do this thing. I've missed several "blog-worthy" events (well, blog-worthy in our know). Curtis and I had our ninth anniversary (hooray!) last week and I forgot to take a photo of the breakfast in bed that Curtis made (breakfast in bed is sort of his thing for special occasions) and didn't think to take the camera when we went out to dinner that night. It's too bad, really. Curtis really does it up with breakfast in bed - he cut up a fresh pineapple and arranged it very artfully with the cut-off top perched on the bowl of fruit. He also had a bowl of my favorite cereal (Quaker Oatmeal Squares - I could live on those with milk and raisins) with fresh fruit arranged symmetrically on top, orange juice and a stack of toast. The large amount of toast was wise, as we always end up with all of our children in bed with us in the morning, and if I wanted to have any of my cereal we had to have something else to feed the kids, and they love toast. The kids think breakfast in bed is super-fun. Curtis and I decided that breakfast in bed used to be super fun for us. Now, with all those wiggly bodies in bed, spilled oj and a nice layer of toast crumbs on the sheets...yeah, breakfast in bed might have to be put aside for a few years. We'll see. I do love the specialness of it all, though, and think it's very sweet of Curtis to do it.

We did get a very cute card from our dear "big" girls. Nain (my mother) was here for a visit and helped them make the card that afternoon. I love it.

Dexter had a doctor appointment this morning that Curtis was able to take him to. Curtis said Dex was a real trooper, even with the shot. I gave Curtis a little packet of fruit snacks (Dexter's FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE WORLD THEY ARE THE MOST DELICIOUS TREAT EVER) to give him after the shot. Dex has a thing where he likes to hang on to his last fruit snack for as long as possible, and when they got back home he was still clutching that last precious jewel of a fruit snack. It had made it through the trip to the grocery store and the post-doctor appointment McDonald's visit. I'm not sure if he actually ever ate it. I'll probably find it smooshed into the carpet tomorrow morning or something. Oh well.

I had meant to give Curtis this camera for the doctor appointment but, again, I forgot. Like I said, this blog is not going to be fascinating for the world at large, but I like the idea of documenting our day-to-day lives. Another friend who has small children and a blog uses her blog as a sort of family journal and then has all the posts (including photos) made into a yearly book through some website. I love that idea.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still getting the hang of this...

This whole posting on a regular basis is proving to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. I just need to get into the habit, I guess. I'll add this to the list of things I need to be more on top of (hah!).
So, a few photos to post here. First, the kids playing with Play-Doh they got for Christmas (just the Play-Doh - all the fun plastic toys were a gift from Henrik and Lara a few years back - the kids love them).

Kathryn wanted me to take pictures of her creations so Grandma Rice could see what she made. Unfortunately, I only photographed the process, not the final product (I'm not sure why...I guess I got distracted). The little bits of Play-Doh are petals for flowers.

Dexter is getting old enough now that he can get in on the Play-Doh fun. He's still a bit of a Godzilla-esque grabber/destroyer, but for the most part he can be kept in line. More or less.
Betty, on the other hand, views Play-Doh solely as a fun chewy snack, so all Play-Doh play sessions will now be conducted when Betty is napping. Sorry, kiddo.

Moving on...

laundry. !!!!

I'm in desperate need of some motivation to get the family laundry situation under control. This poor little fellow will remain naked if I don't. Curtis asked me why I was taking pictures of the mess - most blogs (at least the cool crafty blogs I check out) only show pictures of the pretty stuff in their lives. Who knows? Maybe that's all they have - no messes. Unfortunately, we have a lot of messes here. I'm thinking of posting a weekly mess shot - Mess Of The Week - MOTW. Keep myself humble. Because I am planning on unabashedly showing pictures of pretty baked goods and cool sewing projects. And I still plan on moving the ugly stuff out of the background before I take pictures of the kids (the dirty dishes on the table, the broken crayons and ripped coloring books on the floor - you know, real life).

Keeping with the laundry theme - does anyone else find themselves doing entire loads of pink? I guess that's what happens when you have three girls.

Last photos I have been meaning to post.

Here's a blueberry-raspberry pie-tart thingy.

I think there's a real name for it but I can't think of what it is. A rustic-something-or-other. Martha makes them, I've seen her do it. It's a legit baked good, really. But, truth be told, it's what I made because I wanted to bring something to a friend and I was too tired (lazy?) to make a real pie with two crusts and a fluted edge and the whole bit. At any rate, my friend (who was in a nursing home recovering from a broken hip - he went home this week) seemed happy to get it, whatever it was. I made one for us, too, and it was tasty.

Look at that crust...mmmm. It was good, I'm not afraid to say it. Pat myself on the back.

And...just because he's so darn cute.