19 November 2008

Our "swingset"

Mom and Dad gave the girls baby/toddler swings for Christmas last year and we hadn't ever found a way to hang them up. We don't have a swingset and don't want to get one because we never know when we might move (ha, ha). We've got tons of trees, but no branches right for the job.
Anyway, while they were visiting Elizabeth pulled the swings out of the garage and the girls did their best to enjoy them on the ground.

James even managed to be a human swingset for Elizabeth for a little while before his arms gave out.

Grandpa suggested running a pipe across the roof of our house to the roof of the neighbors' house, but Granny came up with a better idea, using PVC pipe and the old clothesline pole. All it took was a trip to Home Depot and a little work by James with the drill and the girls now have an awesome swingset!

Elizabeth might like it just a tiny bit. Seriously, it's just the thing for our sensory seeking little girl. Monday morning Granny pushed her in it for quite a while and she came in and fell asleep on her own, which very rarely happens. This kind of activity is very organizing for Elizabeth.
Amelia, on the other hand, hates it. She loves to watch her sister, but otherwise she'd rather just walk over and talk to the neighbors' dog.

18 November 2008

Another food post

So much to catch up on now that Mom is back in Blythe. Going to start with an easy one. More food! We made dutch oven pizza (16 inch, of course) for dinner Sunday night. Just a basic pepperoni pizza in the dutch oven for everyone to share and then DIY pizzas in the regular oven to take home (the Sister Missionaries were over again).
Anyway, the first batch of pizza dough wasn't turning out too great, so I made an extra, and we ended up with Pizza Hut in our kitchen before the night was over.

I finally found/devised a pizza crust recipe that's a keeper.

Forgiving Pizza Dough

3 tsp yeast

2 tsp sugar

2 cups warm water

Mix together and let sit until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Add in the following:

4 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp salt

2 shakes garlic powder

2 shakes italian seasoning

3 cups flour

Knead in another 1/2 to 1 cup flour as needed to make a nice dough. Let dough rest for about 5-10 minutes, then roll out your crusts. If you're making a bunch of DIY pizzas it works great to roll them out ahead and stack with wax paper in between.

Other recipes I've used were too yeasty and the crusts turned out too fluffy. This dough was perfect. Even the last batch didn't rise too much. That's why I called it "forgiving." Your timing doesn't have to be perfect.

05 November 2008

What do you cook in a 16 inch dutch oven?

How about 5 Cornish Hens?

We wanted to get a dutch oven for our anniversary this summer. Started looking on Amazon and found one that was 62% off. The information was a bit fuzzy on the size, but it seemed to be a deep dish 14 inch , based on the quarts. Maybe a big larger than we needed. Still, who could resist 62% off!

Turned out to be a standard 16 inch. It is HUGE! So we hadn't used it yet. James decided he wanted dutch oven cooking for his birthday dinner. He found a dutch oven recipe for Cornish Hens, calling for 5 birds. Perfect! You don't cook that in your normal 12 inch dutch oven! And we were having the Sister Missionaries over for dinner, so one for each adult and one for the girls to share. Actually, I ended up sharing one with the girls and the missionaries took home the rest of theirs in doggie bags, along with the leftover one.

I think we might do this again when Mom and Dad are here. It's such a fun meal with great presentation appeal. Also thinking a 16 inch dutch oven would be great for pizza.

Oh, and we have a nice brick fireplace type thing on our back porch. It's a homemade contraption and quite cool. But even that wasn't large enough for this monster dutch oven! Fortunately it has a metal top, so I used it as a charcoal table and that worked out just great. I put some more coals inside the brick fireplace and threw on some foil-wrapped potatoes, which I replaced with the dessert (lazy cobbler...chocolate cake mix, 2 cans cherry pie filling, 2 sticks butter, butterscotch chips) half-way through cooking the chicken.

01 November 2008

More Halloween

I was the flower that the ladybug landed on, which turned out to be quite accurate as Amelia was fussy and clingy all night.


Elizabeth couldn't have cared less where Mommy and Daddy were all evening as she was in her element, playing with the big kids and just generally running around in the crowd. We probably should have kept a better eye on her, but James was busy running things and Amelia was glued to me, so we were just grateful Elizabeth was happy.

Even after everyone else was done with the "cookie walk" Elizabeth tried to keep going. I caught her drawing a "winning number."

During the "Trunk or Treat" portion Amelia started perking up a bit and actually let me put her down.

Photobucket Yes, I DO need two suckers!

She liked the laughing skull.

On Halloween night she practiced walking with both pumpkins AND wearing Mommy's shoes.

Elizabeth wouldn't pause long enough to take a picture once after leaving the house and it was too dark to take it from a distance. But I did get this darling picture when they came back. Even just our little neighborhood of employee housing was too much for Amelia. She insisted on carrying that huge rubber duckie the entire time. Elizabeth was invited into one of the first houses, so after that she walked right in every time someone opened the door. Cute girls, if I do say so myself. So excited for Granny and Grandpa's visit next week!


Elizabeth in her element

Happy Birthday, Bryce!

I just CANNOT believe that my BABY brother is 19! Love you, Hotdog!