Monday, December 8, 2014

Hannah's Getting Old.

So. . .  my little Miss has crossed over.

She's 3 and acting as though she's 30.

Heaven help us all.

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. . . .

We had a very low-key birthday party where Hannah tried to reorganize the decorations and open all of the Christmas presents. You know, normal stuff.

I made her a little cape and crown {I used this tutorial HERE  for the cape and just ironed lightweight fusible adhesive to the back of some felt and used a free template to cut out the shape {Google it!}. I added some buttons and an "H" to the front, sewed a piece of thin elastic on the back for the closure and called it good.}

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Little Man couldn't stay away -- someone had to be the supervise all those presents!

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Hannah's grandma {"Mow-Mow" a.k.a. my mom} got her a huge bucket of blocks, and Hannah wasted no time building a tower. . .

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We stuffed our faces with some cake and ice cream while Grandpa Terry modeled Hannah's new headgear . . .

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All in all, she made out like a bandit and we had a blast. Thanks to her wonderful grandparents for making the trip over :)

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P.S. The highlight of the night was probably captured when Hannah opened the cars and laid eyes on her tractor. The girl is obsessed.

And just because I'm a sentimental sap like that, I made her a little tribute video. I love you, little Hannah Mae-Who {and yeah, I totally spelled "banana" wrong. . . I guess that's what happens when you have no brain left}.

. . .

Happy Monday, everyone! Thanks for stickin' around and putting up with my sporadic posting.  :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Practice Makes Permanent

Once upon a time {long, long ago}, I would practice my violin at least 4-6 hours a day.

That was back when I was in college, of course. . .  when that was all I did other than watch "Smallville" and eat carbs in copious amounts.

Naturally, my priorities shifted as I became a wife and mother and practicing has taken a back seat. You could even say it gathers dust on the back seat of a 15 passenger van, it's so far "back". In the rare moments that I dare to unzip my case, one or more children commence having a melt down for no apparent reason.

I therefore try to make the most out of my limited practicing sessions by recording them. Heaven knows you notice different things watching and listening to yourself play instead of just listening in the moment.

Anywho, today produced a particularly entertaining clip.

. . .

DISCLAIMERS (and there are many):

Firstly, this is a Christmas piece. If your brain will turn into goo if you listen to any sort of Christmas music before Thanksgiving, don't sue me for not warning you.

Secondly, this video was taken with my front facing camera, so the quality is "if-y" at best. And sorry the sound recording isn't much better.

Thirdly, the angle of said cellular device is most definitely the least flattering I could possibly muster. I honestly didn't plan on sharing it with the world until it became pretty darn funny.

Fourthly, I am hereby blaming any and all sour notes {and there are a few, I promise} on my little helper. I was having a hard time not laughing my bum right off.

. . .

. . .

Hope you enjoyed it!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rosebud's Bread, Ya'll!

Is it possible to have bad bread from a cute little granny named Rosebud?


Don't think so.

. . .

The other day, I tried this recipe from "The Curvy Carrot" {found HERE} and it actually worked. Not only that, but it worked really, really well. Ordinarily, my bread doesn't look too great. . . nor does it taste too great. But this time, it was different.

If you find yourself in a similar bread-baking-boat {or even if you're an amazing bread-baker-person}, you should try this recipe. You shan't be disappointed.

After all, it comes from Rosebud. :)

. . . .

Before I get started, let me just say that you can click on over to "The Curvy Carrot" and read her recipe HERE and be totally fine. However, I did a couple things differently. . . because. . . well. That's just how I roll. And yes, I added a little pizzazz to the instructions. Rosebud's recipe didn't read like a crazy lady wrote it. So, in other words. . . if you want an easy recipe to follow, click through to the original. :)

Rosebud's Butter-Topped White Bread
{adapted slightly by myself from this recipe HERE

4 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast {2 packets}
3/4 c. warm water
1/4 c. sugar
1 scant tablespoon salt
3 T. butter {I used salted butter, hence my "scantiness" above}, room temp, cut into small-ish pieces
2 2/3 c. additional warm water
9 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
Additional butter for brushing the tops of baked loaves, optional

In the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attached{I know. It feels a little weird and counter intuitive.}, combine the yeast and 3/4 cup warm water. Allow time to dissolve and get fluffy; about five minutes. Then add in your sugar, salt, butter, and additional 2 and 2/3 cups warm water and mix well on your slowest speed.

While still on your slow speed, gradually add in 5 cups of flour. Mix it 'til it's smooth, and then sloooowly add in the remaining flour {if you're bad at math like me, that's 4 1/2 cups}. A WORD OF CAUTION HERE, folks. This dough means business. If you don't have a manly {i.e. "Professional"} stand mixer, you'll probably blow up your motor. Split up your dough into two separate batches if need be. . . or knead half by hand while your mixer works on the other half.

Once it's mixed fairly well, but not kneaded, take off your paddle and pop on your dough hook {things just got serious!}. Allow that ol' hook to do its duty for 10 minutes.

{This is where I would always go wrong in the past. I thought kneading for 10 minutes was just silly and would only go for maybe 3 minutes. Don't do it, guys. Knead it for 10 minutes. Honestly. Set a timer and don't chicken out.}

While your dough is kneading, lightly grease a large bowl with cooking spray. Shortly before your dough is done being kneaded, preheat your oven to 350 degrees for about 45 seconds. Then turn off the oven. Please don't forget to turn it off! This trick provides a nice, warm, draft-free place for your dough to rise. Plop the dough into the bowl and spritz the top with more cooking spray. Cover and place in the warm oven to rise for 1 hour.

After an hour, spray two glass 9" loaf pans with cooking spray. Lightly dust your {clean!} counter top with some flour to make working with the dough easier. Divide your dough into two equal blobs. Take blob #1 and roll it out into roughly a 12x12 square. Starting from the bottom, roll it up nice and tight and then pinch off both ends. Fold the ends underneath and place in your greased pan. Repeat with blob #2.

Do the same preheating trick with your oven, cover your loaves, and let your 'em rise for 25-28 minutes. Take the loaves out and make sure you have a rack on the very bottom slot in your oven with ample head room for your loaves. Preheat your oven to 420 degrees {NOTE: My oven cooks hot, so if yours doesn't, preheat to 425 instead}. Once preheated, place both loaves on the lowest rack and bake for 15 minutes.

Then, if you have a overeager oven like somebody I know, lower the temperature to 410 degrees. Otherwise, keep it the same. Cover your beautiful loaves with tin foil to keep the tops from over-browning and bake for an additional 10-11 minutes {or 15 minutes if you're all "normal"}.

Transfer those cuties to a wire rack and lightly brush the tops with some melted butter. Allow to cool before slicing if you think that's humanly possible. . . which it isn't.

. . .

Like most homemade bread, it tastes best fresh. This bread is so very scrumptious because its outer crust is the prefect amount of crunchy while its inside is soft and fluffy. Mmm-mmm good! I dare you not to eat an entire loaf in one night.

{insert evil laugh here}


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