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Monday, February 28, 2011

Country Bread

Ok this is a recipe from Southern Living-Best Recipes 2010.  And let me say, it made awesome bread!

2 envelopes yeast
2 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 T. salt
1 T. lemon juice
6 to 6 1/2 c. bread flour
1 T. vegetable oil
1 1/2 T. butter, melted

Combine yeast, warm water and 2 t. sugar in bowl of heavy duty mixer.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Stir in eggs, next 3 ingredients, 3 c. flour and remaining sugar.  Beat dough at medium speed using paddle attachment, until smooth.  Gradually add remaining 3 to 3 1/2 c. flour until a soft dough forms.
Turn dough onto a well floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes), sprinkling with flour as needed. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning to grease top of bread.  Cover and let rise about an hour, until doubled in size.
Punch dough down, turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough in half.
Roll each half into an 18X9 rectangle.  Starting at the short end, roll the dough pressing the edges to seal.  Tuck ends under dough and place seam side down in a lightly greased loaf pan.  Brush tops with oil.  Cover and let rise another hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven 375 degrees.  Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from pans to wire rack and brush with melted butter.  Let cool completely, about an hour.

I would've had both loaves in the photo, but the girls and I have already polished off the first loaf!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just Go With It

Bill had been saying we needed a night away, so I booked us a room at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa.  I convinced my parents to watch the kids and we were good to go.  I'd booked the room through a site called Jetsetters.  It's all high end travel at discounted prices.  The catch is that your room is not able to be cancelled or changed and is prepaid.  You know where this is going...yep Bill found out the SEC auditors would be coming on the day we were supposed to go.  Well since it had just been my parents 40th anniversary and we were wanting to send them somewhere anyway we gave them our room and Bill went to work today, yep Sunday.  So the kids and I went to see Just Go With It.
It was pretty funny.  It's hard to find movies anymore that all 3 kids are willing to watch.  Stephen was pressing for Hall Pass, but I draw the line for now with R rated movies.  It wasn't exactly how I thought I'd be spending the day, but I enjoyed the day with the kids and then watched the Academy Awards with the girls.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Waiting for Superman

Just finished watching this amazing show.  It's from the same people that did An Inconvenient Truth and came across the same way.  It's about the state of education in our country, and what a mess it is now and has been for decades.  Unfortunately it's unlikely to change anytime soon.  The sad thing is that we had our kids in private school for many years before transferring them into the public school system so we've seen the differences.  There are some that are good and some that are bad.  Overall I think the schools in this area are doing an okay job with the parameters they have to do it in.  But does that mean I think they're great?  No, but then again I don't think the private school was great either and we were paying a lot of money for pretty good.  I like the ideas of some of the individuals in this film and will do everything I can to support them.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sitting on the patio

It's 8:50 and we're sitting out on the patio with the heaters and fireplace all running. Stephen stayed inside because he'd been snowboarding all day and is exhausted. But the rest of us came out here to read and okay play a bit too. I started out reading on my iPhone, because surprisingly it's really easy to read on. Trouble is if I get bored, which obviously has happened well here we are. Electronics sure have changed things. Bill is on his Blackberry (tinkering), Ali is reading Pretty Little Liars on my iPad, Nikki is picking out clothes that she dreams of buying on and you know about me. But electronics aside, I love sitting in one central location with MOST of the family.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Balcony Girls

If you click on the link for Reluctant Entertainer(under my favorite bloggers), you will see that she has a series called Balcony Girls.  I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I decided to start a group for Ali and her friends.  Five girls will meet here twice a month to work on building each other up instead of tearing each other down.  This first week was really just to give the girls a feel for what it is we are going to do.  We talked about what it means to be a caring friend, and how it feels for your friends to build you up.  I am really going to enjoy getting to know these girls better.  They are a great group of girls, and hopefully will learn the value of friends early.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Shunning

I'm reading a book called The Shunning right now.  It's a book I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own, but a friend put it out there for her book club and I decided to give it a read.  It's about the Amish community, and so far I'm really enjoying it.  I've always been fascinated by the Amish, in fact I always tell my kids I'm going to become a Pilgrim.  It's our little joke, my way of telling them that I need to slow down.  I love the way they live their lives.  It's simple, yet the sense of community is so strong.  The women work together, they socialize and they value hard work.  As I've been adding more and more to my schedule, this book has been a good reminder of the things that are important.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Final Fondant Class

Nikki had her last cake decorating class last night.  She'd been home sick from school on Monday and only went part day on Tuesday.  But she was feeling well enough to come home and bake her cake to take to her last class.  It had to be baked and frosted so that during class they could complete the decorations.  She is glad to have a break coming up.  The past 8 weeks she's had something nearly every day of the week.  So now she's going to take a break and maybe get some time to practice what she's learned.  I have to say I'm so proud of  her for taking this class filled with adults.  Some of whom have all day to practice their flowers!

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Is Your Definition of Friendship?

What Is Your Definition of Friendship?

I came across this through a link to one of my favorite bloggers and wanted to share it.

"Fried" Chicken

This recipe was passed along to me by my dear friend Lisa.  My family loved it, and it's really tough to please everyone in this clan. 

Next time I make it, I'll take a photo of the finished product to add :) 
Okay made it again tonight with a side of carrot orzo (I'll post that recipe too).  Here are tonight's photos of the chicken.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When opportunity knocks

I have to give a big shout out to my wonderful hubby that works so hard to provide for us.  His hard work gave me the opportunity to be generous today in a small way.  I was getting my lunch in downtown Claremont and the girl behind me had ordered a $2 meal with an ice water.  She'd asked how much a cookie was and was told it was a little over $1.  She said never mind and was given the total for her lunch.  She was clearly a college student and was scraping together change to come up with her $2 for her lunch.  I handed her a dollar (since this was all the cash I had!) and told her she should get the cookie.  Her face lit up and she thanked me.  I just hope when my kids are college bound someone will take pity on them!