I miss writing!
I have to remind myself that at the very least, I want this to be a repository for the boys to have in the future. That’s my primary motivation. I also have to give myself grace for not finding the time to write more consistently.
Here are a few quick snippets of what’s been going on. I plan on writing more in detail about things soon. Really, I mean it!
- Welcome Oakley!!! This little cutie has turned our lives upside down – in a good way! He came home to us in August. In the same way living with Graham has opened up the special needs world to me, Oakley has opened up the dog world to me. I’ve had 3 dogs before, but I was always out of the home working and raising human babies so I didn’t take the time to do all of the things that dog mommies do. I can’t look at him and not smile.
- Alex got his driver’s license. And voted in his first election. And is in his senior year and doing all of the things seniors do to get ready to go to college. Big, big year for him. I tell moms who have younger kids to enjoy every morning they get to snuggle up and wake up their children in their rooms. It really does go by fast. Apparently, I blinked.
- Joshie is preparing to go to high school next year. This year he grew taller than me, so I am now officially the shortest person in the house. He no longer plays cello since the strings teacher at school left and hasn’t been replaced but has been keeping up with running both track and cross country. He refuses to place any of his school books in his locker and therefore carries around a backpack that feels like it’s weighted down by bricks. Why, oh why?
- Graham’s home program that’s been focused on teaching him that aggression towards others or himself is not an option has been winding down. Our funds for financing it are just about wiped out. We are currently in the process of transitioning to phase 2. Details to come soon. I wish we could keep the current staff that we have – they’ve made so much headway with him! People like to get paid though, ha.
- Hubby is enjoying his new career as a chaplain. I think he misses many aspects of being a pastor. The nice thing is that one of his priorities is meeting and spending quality 1:1 time with hurting people. Even though he is there to support and encourage patients and families, many times it is them that is encouraging to him. I’m really proud of him.
- Next week is Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday of all (tied with Easter). We are so very excited to have our friends – the Vickerys – travel out to stay with us for a few days. Seems that each visit from out of town friends or family spurs home projects. This time, hubby and the boys re-did the backyard lawn (aka dirt and sharp pokeys — we’ve been in a drought!) which is growing in nicely. We also decided to start on my list of external-front-of-house projects. Pictures and progress soon!
- I have been obsessed with making yeast dough and baking all sorts of different breads, crackers, desserts, etc. It’s so much fun for me. Pictures and recipes soon! I’m navigating my way through the days trying to figure out what my new daily routine is. Between changes in Graham’s home program, new puppy needs, and a new larger washer/dryer set (I’ll explain later!), I have not yet found my groove. Lists. Must make my lists.
- It’s been cold here. And by cold I mean that my home thermostat registered at 61 degrees this morning and my car reported it being 39 degrees outside. (I’m a California native girl – don’t laugh) I’M FREEZING. I think my lips are turning blue. I opened up my dryer after it was done and ooohhhh, I tried to crawl in with all the warm towels. I’m not kidding. But every year, I play a game with myself to see how long I can hold out before turning on the heat. As I went to wake up my little Joshie this morning, I asked him if he was cold and would he like the heater turned on. His eyes lit up and smiled as he said yes, so I said I would. See how that works? I’m totally okay with justifying it for the comfort of my boys.
Till next time!
There are only a handful of reasons why I would wake up at 4am:
- Heading out to the airport to catch a flight
- Caring for a sick child
- Procrastination on a work assignment that forces me to be up early to finish up (anyone?)
- A baking project
Hubby volunteered to bring snacks to a morning meeting at work this past Monday. Always wanting to impress people with homemade baked goodies, he decided on making our cinnamon rolls. We make these over different holidays to pass along to friends and neighbors and as a treat for our house guests to wake up to.
Speaking of waking up to something — phase 1 of our dough was mixed the night before so that we could wake up to risen dough and finish up the rest of this labor of love.
If you ever want to be jolted into your day, try taking several tastes of sugary cinnamon roll filling and maple icing with your coffee before the sun comes up!
Someone’s gotta do it.
To view the post for our cinnamon rolls with step-by-step pictures, CLICK HERE.
Below is just the recipe, for those who want to skip the step-by-step pictures!
***(Re-post from original post from 11/29/2014 — this post includes the printable recipe below)***
It was Thanksgiving morning, and hubby and I got off to a slooow start.
We celebrated a full-fledged Thanksgiving-with-all-the-trimmings- dinner a few days earlier (on Sunday) with the boys and guests. By mid-week, we hadn’t even though about what we were going to have for Thursday. We had a turkey on Sunday, turkey leftovers during the week, and were looking forward to another turkey at my mother’s house on Friday. Thursday needed to be different.
What we did know, was that we wanted to sleep in and make homemade cinnamon rolls to go with our morning coffee.
By the time we rolled out of bed, we decided that we would try Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) cinnamon rolls recipe. It has been probably 30 years since I have made homemade cinnamon rolls (you know, when I was five years old. ahem) and since that recipe no longer exists, we thought we would use this one as the base and tweak just a couple of minor things. Like, making the dough the night before.
Did I mention we were off to a slow start? The cinnamon rolls weren’t ready until late afternoon – but they were SO worth it!
Here’s how it’s done!
First – dissolve sugar, milk, and canola oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Take the saucepan off the heat and allow the temperature to drop to 110 – 115 degrees. If using active dry yeast, sprinkle and dissolve over warm liquid now and let sit for 15 minutes or so.
(I use INSTANT yeast which I whisk into the 8 cups of flour instead in the next step below)
Put 8 cups of the flour (if using instant yeast, whisk into the flour now), make a well and pour the warm liquid into the center and mix all with the end of a wooden spoon. The dough will be sticky! Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough sit for 1 hour.
Whisk together the last cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine with the rest of the dough. Cover with kitchen towel and let the dough rise for at least 1 hour or until doubled. (We leave ours out on the counter overnight to rise)
The filling – Combine both the sugars and pour into a mixing bowl with 3 sticks of softened butter.
Cream the butter
then pour in the cinnamon sugar mixture and mix together
until it looks like a paste:
Time to assemble!
Go get your covered dough.
It should look like this:
Cut the dough in half and place it on your floured surface.
Flatten it out a little before you start to roll it.
Roll it out into a large, thin rectangle. (24 x 18 rectangle)
Start spreading the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the dough
until you get an even layer that looks like this:
Starting from the furthest edge from you, roll the dough tightly down towards you.
That’s right, keep going!
This is what it will look like once it’s all rolled up. Yes, it looks small, but it’s going to have another chance to rise again.
At this point, some people use a knife to cut into individual pieces. I say DON’T DO IT! Personally, I feel that using a knife smushes your dough, and that’s not a happy thing. If you have some thread laying around (we did not, but we had dental floss! No comments about that please, sometimes you just gotta improvise), bring it just under the rolled dough like so
and bring the 2 ends up, criss-cross them all the way through
and now you have a perfectly cut piece! Continue cutting about 1 1/4″ pieces and place in greased baking pans or trays.
Now throw that kitchen towel over them again and let them rise for 1 hour.
then pop them into a 375 degree oven for about 23-25 minutes or until the dough gets golden brown.
Your kitchen should smell yummy at this point!
Don’t eat them yet! You’re almost done – just need the icing!
The icing – Place the powdered sugar, melted butter, brewed coffee, maple extract, salt, and 1/2 c. to 1 c. milk in a mixing bowl. Whisk and continue to add milk until your desired consistency. Drizzle over the cinnamon rolls.
You gotta trust me on the coffee and maple extract – I was really hesitant to use these and wanted to wimp out and use vanilla. But we went with it and it turned out SUPER good!
Mix all together until it’s silky smooth
then drizzle that goodness onto your hot rolls
and if you become impatient like me, forget the spoon and just start to pour in on!
These were so good! The bread was moist and sweet and the filling had just the right amount of sweetness to it – not too much so the icing was a good compliment to it.
We liked the adjustments we made to the ingredients and cooking method versus the original recipe, but since the foundation of it is from Ree Drummond, we thought we’d name them after her.
We hope you enjoy these “ree”-ally good cinnamon rolls and share with your friends and family!
I just made the biggest decision of my kid’s life.
I (without him) picked out which of his 12 senior portrait pictures would appear in his school yearbook.
You know, the one picture that will follow him for the rest of his earthly days?
Yes, that one.
This is what happens when my 17 year old says he “needs” something for his computer from Best Buy and hands me $50 to buy it for him.
There are 6 males in this house today…yet I am the only one watching the Super Bowl
They’ll all wander in as they get hungry, I suppose!
(The Blue Angels get me every time – love those jets!)
Excuse me while I savor the fact that Graham is out of the house for the next hour and 20 minutes.
We are together 24/7. Believe me, if he could speak, he’d probably tell you he’s pretty darn sick of looking at my tired-looking mug and welcomes this as much as I do.
I believe the last time he was gone for any good length of time (that is, out with people who are not me nor hubby) was about 1 year ago. His current staff is comfortable and feel safe with him enough now to begin to take him out on outings.
My brain is trying to adjust to not being interrupted every 13.28394 seconds.
My ears are literally in shock of the quietness.
No tv sound from his room.
No vocalizations, squealing.
No bedroom door flying open to race to the restroom.
No feet stomping on the floor as he sits and watches cartoon characters race to the finish line.
And the girl was happy.
There’s something magical about putting your feet up and unwinding next to a warm fire.
I don’t recall a time that my parents let me help build a fire. In fact, I only have one memory of them using our fireplace when I was about 5 or 6 years old. My family didn’t camp and I wasn’t allowed to go on camping trips (or any overnight trip) so no camp fire experience either.
After I started my own family, I ended up being married to someone who didn’t know how to build fires either, so I made the fireplaces we had decorative using candles on a candelabra. Except there were a few times, after becoming a single mom that the boys and I got duraflame logs and we thought we were cool being able to light those up. (Those are fun memories.)
Then hubby enters into our life. He splits ‘real’ wood and keeps stacks of it and kindling out back. It never occurred to me that people store and split wood themselves since duraflame logs are always readily available at the grocery store and so conveniently packaged — you don’t even need to unwrap it before you put a flame to it :) Hubby’s way? Mind blowing.
I have told him countless times that he makes THE most beauuuutiful fires. He really does! I love them and I love how often we are able to have them.
Last week, as hubby and I stayed home while I was recovering from surgery, he asked if I wanted a fire. This time, I asked him if I could build it for us. I have watched him build approximately 2,837 fires and I thought that maybe I paid attention enough to be able to do it. Being the gentleman that he is, he didn’t burst out laughing or roll his eyes, he just carried in all of the material I would need and left me to it.
He’d casually glance over now and then to see how I was doing, but I told him not to give me any hints. He slipped only one time, when he saw what I was doing with the kindling and he blurted out “oh Lord”.
So I quickly fixed that and I decided that this would be my design:
It ended up being a roaring and pretty fire and it was fun to be able to do, especially since hubby gave it his approval. In fact, he complimented it so much that I’m afraid I might never build another one again, out of fear that no other fire I could build would please him as much as this one.
But it’s nice to know, that if I wanted to have a fire and he wasn’t around, that I could maybe pull it off.
Pray for us?
He watched as patiently as any teenager could as I slapped these student driver magnets on the front hood, door sides and back of the car. As I explained, people are much more patient and gracious when they know the person behind the wheel is learning.
Safety first :)
Even though I’m a firm believer that televisions do not belong in the bedroom, I have been semi-pleading with hubby to please let us have one. He is reluctant. Trouble in paradise? No way! However, I believe I have some very solid and compelling reasons to justify my plea.
- Each night on the living room couch as I’m cuddled up in hubby’s arms or watching tv or reading while he rubs my feet, I inevitably fall dead asleep. Guaranteed. To get me up and off of that couch to get ready for bed and move to our bedroom takes an Act of God. And by then, poor hubby has already brushed his teeth and has run all around the house to close everything down for the night while trying to gently prod me back to life. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we started that last show in our room?
- On weekends when hubby has to be away and my boys are with their dad, I long for a little peace and quiet. Heavy emphasis on the quiet. There is constant loud squealing and crazy vocalization living with a non-verbal special needs adult. There are also several interruptions of his needs throughout the day. How sublime it would be to be able to sneak off to our quiet bedroom to watch mindless tv for just a little while? Oh, to dream.
- Lastly, and speaking as a patient who was just released from the hospital late last night, groggy-nauseous-unable to walk up & down these stairs easily-with no one else home to take care of my every need…a tv remote in my hand would mean that I was only a few clicks away from marathons of The Gilmore Girls. Or Breaking Bad. Or The Pioneer Woman. Yet, here I am without one.
Maybe if my handsome and loving hubby were to read this, he might change his mind?
Who made up the rule about not eating after midnight the night before surgery?
Clearly there must be a little grace time for me since it’s only early morning right now and my procedure isn’t scheduled to begin until post-lunch time?
It’s going to be a loooong day.
Went to the doctor’s office today.
The good news is that they didn’t make me stand on a weight scale. Now that’s a happy thing especially since their scales always seem to need recalibrating.
**Raise your hand if you’ve noticed that too**
The bad news is that they’re requiring and have scheduled me for surgery tomorrow. A real one. In a real operating room.
Suddenly, my angst about Alex’s first driving lesson today ceases to exist.
Prayers are much appreciated.
Conversation after Joshie gets a new book that I need to review and edit before he reads it.
Joshie: “Mommy, pretend all of the bad words in it are a ‘5’. How many bad words can there be before you start whiting them out?”
Me: “It kind of depends because some bad words are much worse than others.”
Joshie (looking optimistic): “Okay, then pretend all of them are the very worst word because I don’t even know what that worst one means, so it should be okay.”