Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Typical Morning

So we were playing upstairs today and I decided to try to get some of it on video. (Don't tell Val I used her camera.)

This first video is Lincoln singing his ABCs.

The second video is Lincoln going through some of his names for people with a surprise at the end. Not the funniest video ever, but at least Cooper has something we can submit to AFV.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lincoln's Dance

So Lincoln has created his own dance.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cooking - Squash Braid

Here is a recipe I tried this morning. I let the bread machine do all the mixing, kneading, etc.

I also found out that I didn't use butternut squash. The neighbors have been bringing us squash and I have been looking for ways to use it.

The bread turned out good. The boys loved it (see below). It made 2 loaves and by the end of lunch we had a 1/4 of one loaf left. It will be gone by the time they go to bed.

I may start making homemade bread more often.


(NOTE: It was very good with honey cinnamon butter. Just whip some butter - or butter equivalent - with honey and cinnamon.)

1 butternut squash- peeled, seeded and cubed
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

In a large saucepan, cover peeled and chopped squash with water. Bring water to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool and mash. Reserve 1 cup for use in this recipe and freeze remainder for later use.

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with milk, butter, 1 cup mashed squash, 1 egg, brown sugar, salt and 2 cups flour; stir well to combine. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 6 equal pieces and roll each into a rope about 18 inches long. Take 3 ropes, pinch ends together and then braid ropes together. Pinch ends to seal. Do the same with the other 3 ropes of dough. Place braids on lightly greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a small bowl, beat together 1 egg and 1 tablespoons water; brush loaves with egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and let cool on a wire rack.

Friday, July 18, 2008

zoo memories.....priceless

Zoo parking (usually $10)
admission to dinosaur exhibit (usually $3 each)
ride on dinosaur simulator (for Cooper)....$4
admission to the Children's Zoo (usually $4 each)
paying for shoplifted penguin...$8


Not that I'm not a bargain hunter anyway (it is in the genes), but a long summer with two house payments encourages looking for children's entertainment alternatives at low cost.

So yesterday I loaded up the kids and headed to the STL zoo. The admission to the zoo is free. They have some areas which require special admission, but in the first hour, between 8am and 9am they are free. So we loaded up the car and a little after 7am headed to the zoo.

The first 2 hours we spent going through the dino exhibit and children's zoo which usually cost money. Cooper's splurge was a ride on the simulator at the dino exhibit. We then went back to the car (great parking space another plus) and got our cooler and wagon. We had drinks, snacks and lunch that we brought.

While touring the zoo we visited the penguin house which deposits you in one of many gift shops. After weaving the wagon through the store to get to the exit we left. Outside I noticed Lincoln holding a stuffed penguin. As you can see below, he really loved it, so that was his splurge for the day.

We left around 1pm by which time the zoo was getting hot and crowded.

All in all I think a pretty successful low budget outing.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cooking - Beef Tips (updated)

If you are like me you are always on the lookout for recipes that are good, easy and nutritious.

Well 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

So here is my first recipe. It is easy and good. Nutritious, well serve some veggies with it. ( I recommend corn)

1-1/2 pds stew meat
one package onion soup mix
one can cream of (whatever you like) soup + one can of water

update- i forgot, i like to brown the meat in a little olive oil. i'm not sure it's necessary

combine everything in the crock pot and let it cook all day

serve over rice

this dish keeps well

Wish I Would Have Written That Wednesday

Alright, time for my very irregular series WIWHWTW.

Cindy has a post about Christian buzz words. It does seem odd that a movement (that seems to me) to be based on reaching out to people outside of religion creates its own language.

I found out that Brant has another blog I have to follow along with Letters From Kamp Krusty. He is talking about prayer. It reflects some of my struggles with prayer, what it is and isn't.

Grace has a post about String Theory. I remember seeing a show about that a year or so ago and being totally fascinated, even though I didn't totally understand it.

Chad reacts negatively to housing comments

We've had a lot of lookers, but no buyers yet.

While I wish we did, that doesn't upset me.

But some of the comments, well give me a break.

They are listed below with my comments in green.

"The main floor layout was to choppy foe them"

Sorry it is too 'choppy foe them', we call them rooms.

"Dumpster in front, poor curb appeal."

Crap, I told my wife we should have planted flowers rather than putting out a dumpster. Forget about the whole "hail storm" thing and the new roof and siding and garage doors.

"difficult to determine function on rooms"

Well, the rooms with the toilets and bathtubs, we used those for going to the bathroom and washing ourselves. We found that the room with the refrigerator and stove worked pretty well for cooking meals and such. The room with the washer and dryer we used for cleaning our clothes and stuff like that. The other rooms, really you can do whatever you want in those.

Thanks for letting me vent.


Well, Cooper really wants a Wiii now.

I just want to play a little Monkey Kick Off

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Are you ready for some football?

I don't usually write about sports, but for years people have been lamenting about Brett Favre's retirement. Always in vain.

This year looked to be different.

This year he made the announcement early.

He seemed confident in his decision.

The packers moved on.

But once again Mr. Favre seems to be reconsidering his retirement decision.

But this year IS different.

This year it looks like he will not be welcome back as the starter for Green Bay.

I think this could be the most entertaining possibility of Favre coming back to play for another team.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Go Cubs Go

On Friday Cooper went to his first MLB game. He saw the Chicago Cubs beat the Giants in Wrigley Field on a Aramis Ramirez 3 run homer in the 8th

We were in the upper deck on the left base line where the home run went out of the park.

He went with his Grandpa and friends that live behind his grandparents, Anna and Matthew.

He now goes around singing, "Go Cubs Go"

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Neighbors

I met our immediate neighbors the day we closed on the house. Val was off getting her drug test and physical while I hung around the house.

They are both retired for the school district Cooper will be attending. She was a third grade teacher at the school cooper will be attending and he was a superintendent. They have already given us some helpful advice and Val used their names when signing Cooper up for school.

Also, they have a big blackberry bush that they don't eat blackberries so when my parents were here we harvested a bunch of those. They also have apple, pear and pecan trees that they don't pick, so we may be the gleaners of their yard. They have given us some zucchini and squash from their garden as well as zucchini bread.

The day we moved in at least 4 families came over to say hello, including the people who live kind of behind us. They have 3 kids. Two boys on either side of Cooper and a girl I think is 5. Cooper and their boys have become quick friends. He spends a lot of time riding bikes and playing with them.

Berry, berry fun

We've been enjoying lots of delicious, home-grown berries this summer in Missouri. The first tasty treat is mulberries in lemon yogurt. I didn't even know you could eat mulberries, but you can, and they are yummy! The people who used to own our house, who will soon become our neighbors when they build on the lot behind us, brought their kids over one day to pick mulberries off a nearby tree.

The other treat is blackberries. Our next door neighbor, "the other Mr. Larry," has blackberry vines but doesn't eat them, and invited us to partake. For only a small amount of menial farm labor, we got gobs of big, juicy ripe blackberries. Cooper being picky, he refused to eat them fresh--but then he asked to have them in a smoothie! Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Welch for picking the blackberries and to Granny P. for her "Anything Smoothie" recipe. He slurped it down and then wanted to show off his smoothie mustache. Lincoln had to get in on the act, too.

More Summer Fun With Val and the Boys

We enjoyed the summer sunshine at the Early American Museum in Mahomet, Illinois.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Val's back and blogging!

Hi everyone. Just got finished with my first day of seeing patients in Missouri--it went great. I wanted to show off some pics of what me and the boys were up to this month during the moving process.

In early June, we went to the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul, IL. It has enormous hangars with historic old planes.

Here's Cooper: "Mom, you're embarrassing me!"

Here's Lincoln's sign for "airplane."

Cooper looking devilishly handsome:

Gotta go--the boys are yelling--all three of them...

Monday, July 7, 2008

First Day

So today is Val's first day of work.

So it is my first day alone, all day with both kids.

I hope tonight after the kids go to bed to write about our move from getting our stuff to today.