Sunday, March 21, 2010

I hate buying...


There. I said it. I do not like to purchase store sandwich bread. I don't really know why. I mean, there are tons of great brands out there. My children love "brown" bread. In fact, the browner and seedier, the better for them. I can practically purchase any kind for whatever diet or life style I desire. No HFCS, no gluten, lots of nuts, whole-grain, whole-wheat, or even "white" whole-wheat! Our new favorite is Dave's Killer Bread from Costco. Try it.

I have decided that it is not really the money that I spend on bread that makes it such a pain to purchase. Chances are that when I go grocery shopping, at lease one brand of bread that we like will be on sale. Most of the time it is 2 loaves for $5. Sometimes I can even get 2 loaves for $4! That is a steal.

Perhaps it is because I love baking. I really do. Lately I have been experimenting with sourdough and I am in love. I have made sourdough pizza dough that is to die for. For about a month now our neighbors and us do "Pizza Friday" together and I am the permanent dough maker. I love it. The other weekend I made sourdough pancakes. I think Levi ate 12-15 just by himself. I have a batch "sponging"right now for either french bread or sticky buns (I can't decide).

But the problem is, whenever I make sandwich bread, it never turns out as good and soft as the store brands. I have pretty much given up with sandwich bread. There are plenty of other things that I have perfected in my kitchen, granola being the one I make at least once a week!

So here is the challenge that I am giving myself: To make/create/steal the perfect sandwich bread recipe. I encourage any words of wisdom from the fellow bakers who read this blog (Christine, that is you!) Once I get something that my kids love, that bakes relatively quick, I will share the recipe.

Other happenings...

My Claire. Ah, she has been such a tom-boy for so long that I had grand hopes of this becoming her true personality. However, lately, she has exhibited some very "feminine" thoughts.

First of all, she about had a breakdown on Thursday when she found out that Diego (Go, Diego, Go from Nickelodeon) was in fact not a girl, but a boy. I found her and Owen (next door neighbor) arguing and I asked what was up. Claire said "Mom, does Diego have chocolate eyes like me and is Diego a girl like me?" I said, no, that he did have chocolate (brown) eyes like she did, but that Diego was a boy. She lost it. Wow.

Claire has been potty trained for a while now. When we started, the only underwear in her size was very princess-y. I was able to find some girl underwear from the movie Madagascar, but otherwise not much. I think it is obvious to everyone that I detest the whole princess thing, so instead, she wore Levi's old undies. Turned out great, since what she liked to play was cars and trains and dinosaurs. That is all the undies that Levi had! Lightning McQueen, Thomas and lots of dinosaurs. Well, tonight after bath when Josh was getting her dressed, he pulled out a pair of dinosaur undies for her. She looked at him and said "Papa, those are boys underwear. I need ones with sparkles."

UGH. What is a mother to do? Just wait it out I guess.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

By Popular Demand...

Our new house!!!
It is officially ours today! I did not have any pictures of the outside, so I scanned this from the listing page.

Living room, kitchen, dining room and formal living room:

Levi's room:

Claire's room:
Master bedroom and bath:


February Update

On to the next month. Technically, I guess we did not decide to buy our house until February the 1st. I don't have a ton of pictures, but here is the living room. We are super excited to move to Portland!

I had to drive down and back in one day to be there for the home inspection. I am really glad that I did too, even though the drive was rough. I left Spokane at 5am, and got to the house at 11am. The inspection lasted for about two hours and after that I grabbed a bite to eat and started back to Spokane. I ended up pulling over for an hour nap, but made it back to Spokane by 9pm. I also rented a car (2010 Nissan Altima with 1000 miles on it!!) so that made the drive totally bearable.
The preschool kids had a tour of the local NBC studios. They had a blast and this is my favorite shot.
The kids and I had dentist appointments. Our dentist in Spokane is great! Her husband is a radiologist and they are originally from Portland. Levi and Claire loved the rolled-up sunglasses that she uses. They probably wore them for a week straight!
Josh's mom came for a visit and took the kids to Old Navy and bought them each an outfit. Levi is so tall, he needs size six pants. He picked out this outfit.
Claire picked out this dress. It has sparkles.
Our Seattle friends, Will & Luke and their parents, came out for a visit too. We went to the best playground (in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and they played tons. We also went to Cabela's (huge outdoor/hunting store) and it was actually a really neat place!

January Update

Crazy how it is the middle of March and I am just getting around to posting pictures and blog about January. Just a tad behind schedule! So here is a quick rundown.

Levi joined the YMCA Y-winners soccer league starting in January. Our neighbors six year-old was also on Levi's team. They met for six Saturdays for an hour. The first 30 minutes was practice, the second 30 minutes was a game with another team. After I reviewed my pictures, I realized we had a lot of video, but not a lot of pictures. I would have posted a video, but really, it was just four proud parents obsessively shouting random directions to the two boys.

Also in January, Josh and I took Levi and Claire on their first long distance bike ride. This is a trail that is next to our house called the Ben Burr trail. It is about two miles and both kids did great. At the end of the trail there are some large boulders so the kids got to practice their rock climbing skills.

My mom also came for a visit in January. She timed it so that she was here on a weekend that Josh did not have to work so that we could go house hunting in Portland. That hunt was successful!

Here is Bowl & Pitcher in the winter. Still beautiful.

My mom also continued her tradition of building gingerbread houses with her grandchildren. She brought the kits down with her from Alaska and I think the kids asked her about 100 times a day when they could build them. This was their treat the weekend that Josh and I were gone.

Once Claire found out that my mom had compost worms, there was an instant bond. Claire even cried when my mom left, because she could not go with her to visit the worms.
Levi and Claire finished up swimming lessons also in January. We have not done another round since then, but we most likely will soon. They had a blast and Claire loves water almost as much as she loves bugs.
The local kids museum has a Lego night once a month. January's theme was Star Wars so we signed Levi up for that while Claire played. She loves the children's museum!
Here is Claire in her first running race. She totally won.
Josh found these magnet earrings at a store and thought Claire would love them. She did, of course.
Just a random shot. This happened sometime in January...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Literary Post

It is no big surprise that I am a reader. In fact, lately I have read so many good books, I thought I would declare their greatness to the world. Okay, maybe not "the world" but at least my loyal readers.

1. A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
"With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India."

2. Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
"The daughter of a tyrannical father, Una leaves the violent Kentucky frontier for the peace of a New England lighthouse island, where she simultaneously falls in love with two men. Disguised as a boy, she earns a berth on a whaling ship where she encounters the power of nature, death, and madness, and gets her first glimpse of Captain Ahab."

3. Snow Flower & the Secret Fan by Lisa See
"In 19th Century China, in a remote Hunan country, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, or "old same," in an emotional match that will last a lifetime."

4. In the Woods by Tana French
"... three children leave their small Dublin neighborhood to play in the surrounding woods. Hours later, their mothers' calls go unanswered. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children, gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours."

5. The Billionaire's Vinegar by Benjamin Wallace
"... tells the true story of a 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux - supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson - that sold for $156,000 at auction and of the eccentrics whose lives intersected with it."

6. The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
"Towner Whitney, the self-confessed unreliable narrator of The Lace Reader, hails from a family of Salem women who can read the future in the patterns in lace, and who have guarded a history of secrets going back generations..."

7. East to the Dawn The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler
"Amelia Earhart (1897 - 1937) captured the hearts of America after becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928. Nine years later, her disappearance on an around-the-world flight brought her extraordinary life to an abrupt and mysterious end."