Friday, February 25, 2011

We're Kidding...

Dear Sisters,
I thought I would share part of my day with you.  It was a great day and was even productive to some extent; that's not always the case in my life.  My days seem to be full of interruptions and today was not an exception, except for the fact that the interruption came after things on the "to do" list were completed!  After dropping off a child at piano, I got a phone call.  The voice on the other line said, "we're having babies!"  I immediately recognized the voice of my third child and knew immediately he was referring to the goats.

I had not expected to be kidding today, in fact after feeding the goats this morning I thought Belle did look like she was getting closer, but reasoned that I always thought that for at least two weeks before the big day.  So I figured she had about two weeks left, and I was dead wrong!  We weren't sure when she was bread because it was an accidental breeding.  The buck wasn't supposed to be able to breed until he was 6 months old...well, he was only 3 1/2 months, obviously more mature than some of his age.

I quickly changed plans and returned home, by the time I got there, we had two doe kids and some very excited children.  One kid is black and the other brown.  They are absolutely darling.  Any ideas on names? We've used a Disney princess theme in the past, but are running out of them.
                     I hope you had a good day as well. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Help! I've Been Taken Hostage by a 2-Year-Old Terrorist

For the past several months, our family has been tormented by a miniature menace. He is a mastermind of terror, employing a myriad of methods to bully us and rob us of any sense of tranquility. As a public service, I will list some of the tactics of this sort of domestic guerilla warfare so that you may possibly thwart any tiny terrorists in your neighborhoods.

1)Sleep Deprivation. Our captor regularly wakes up during the night screaming for no reason. I have found the only way to combat this especially cruel tactic is to employ a little terror of my own by threatening to take the thug's blanket or "Deedee" away from him if he doesn't stop screaming. Turnabout is fair play, especially in war. The mastermind will also come into the room where I am nursing the babies and refuse to go back to bed until he is carried there. I am becoming much more adept at multi-tasking, but I have not yet learned how to nurse two babies while carrying a terrorist to bed. Maybe in time. On easier nights he just lays there quietly watching me. On less enjoyable nights he sits there and screams, forcing his victim to decide between a screaming 2-year-old or 2 screaming babies. To establish a feeling of total isolation for his victim, he gives the father a narcotic earlier in the evening ensuring the father's complete obliviousness.

2)Incomprehensible Demands. When employing this method, the terrorist will make it perfectly clear that he has demands but will make it perfectly impossible to decipher what those demands are. He will scream and yell total gibberish, such as nnnngah! nnnngah! until you give in to total despair, or, by nothing short of divine inspiration, you realize this means "warmed up" and that he wants his milk warmed up in the microwave. In the process of warming up his milk you will have to decode each demand as he insists on opening the microwave door, pushing the button to start the microwave (although he will insist the cancel button be used), opening the door, shutting the door, and then screwing the lid back on. You better pray no milk gets spilled in this process, because if it does, your captor may begin screaming and crying as though you've cut his arm off. You will want to cut your own ears off by the time he stops.

3)Constant Inconstancy. This method is often used in tandem with the one previously discussed. As you are trying to decipher the terrorists demands, you will guess what you think he is saying. For example, you may say, "Do you want me to put the candy cane blanket on you?" He will scream, "No!" So you will ask if he wants his SpiderMan doll, a drink, a kiss, a song, to sleep in the crib, to sleep in his bed, the night light on, the night light off, a piggy back ride, a story, the stuffed dog, the stuffed frog, the stuffed bear, the stuffed snake, and many many many more things. Finally just when you are about to collapse, you will ask again if he wants the candy cane blanket, and he will say yes.

3)False Security. Perhaps the most insidious of his ploys is the terrorist's ability to make you adore him more than you could possibly have imagined before you had children. You will love his hugs and kisses, the way he laughs and sings and dances and tells you that he loves you. And just when you are basking in the glow of your love for him, he will smack you right in the face with a toy sword.

He is a genius.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines...a family event in our home!

Happy Valentine's Day.  I thought I'd share one of my favorite family traditions.  Years ago, when we only had one child, I was planning a candlelight dinner on Valentine's Day.  I got our 2 1/2 year old to bed early and started making a romantic dinner.  My husband was gone, so it was would be a fun surprise when he arrived home.  On a student budget, I had planned and saved so we could have steak and shrimp.  The meal would be finished off with my husband's favorite dessert, hot fudge pudding cake!  Dinner was about ready when Tom got home. Little footsteps could then be heard coming into the kitchen.  My sweet little boy had awakened and wanted to see his daddy.  We pulled up his high chair and he was so excited to join us for our romantic candlelight Valentine dinner.  He then kept asking when we could have shrimp again.  Needless to say, Valentines is not a romantic dinner at our home, it is now a family event.  It has been about 15 years and every February 14, we have a steak and shrimp family dinner. I try to make it special by using our good china and goblets as well as decorating the table.   Every one of our children look forward to our FAMILY Valentine's dinner.   What is one of your favorite Valentine's traditions?  I'd love new ideas.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Best Pizza EVER!

To the fun women in my life,

In little ol' Sheboygan, Wisconsin, mere blocks from Lake Michigan, there sits a lovely pizza place called Il Ritrovo. They serve authentic Italian pizza that is TO DIE FOR. And we are going there when everyone comes to visit this fall. But I digress...

Rit and I went there last year sometime and had an amazing pizza full of flavor and topped with delicious fresh ingredients. This is my attempt to re-create that pizza. Although it isn't quite the same, this recipe has become one of our favorite stand-by dinners.

Your favorite thin-crust pizza dough (I typically use the basic boule recipe from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day," which I always have made up in the fridge; however, I have also been known to use a pre-made thin-crust dough from the store.)

One ball of fresh mozzarella cheese (or make your's not hard...) NOT SHREDDED...Get the good stuff, Mom!

Yummy medium or two small

fresh greens...arugula is best, but a mix of baby spinach and arugula is good too...NOT LETTUCE

Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

Italian Seasoning or basil, oregano, thyme, etc.

Garlic powder

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Preheat your oven according to the directions for your dough. Roll out your crust, nice and thin. Using a pastry or basting brush (I love my silicone one!), lightly brush your entire crust with olive oil. Then sprinkle it with garlic powder and your seasonings (Italian or a mixture of basil, oregano and thyme). Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake according to the directions for your dough (It's usually somewhere between 8 and 15 minutes). You want the crust to be golden brown with done.

While the crust is baking, wash your greens and chop them into bite-size pieces. Lightly toss with a little balsamic vinaigrette. Go very easy on the dressing. You want just a hint of flavor. Chop your tomatoes and mozzarella cheese into medium-size chunks. Salt and pepper your tomatoes to taste.

As soon as your crust comes out of the oven, top with the mozzarella chunks, followed by the greens and topped with the tomatoes to hold it all in place. PILE ON THE TOPPINGS...that's the best way to eat it. You shouldn't even be able to see your crust. And yep, no sauce.

That's it! Slice and enjoy. It really is a relatively healthy take on a greasy favorite. Even the boys love it. I'm sorry I don't have a photo to share. I thought about it a couple of nights ago when we had this for dinner, but alas, the pizza was gone before I could get my camera. I'll add photos the next time we have it...which I'm sure won't be too long. Enjoy!

p.s. Photos of the sunroom coming later this week after I FINALLY get the corner shelves painted and put back. :)