30 May 2011

Summer

Raspberries!

Well it looks like it may be summer!
We eat outside and play outside and draw with chalk and poke around in the garden, unless it is tornadoing, which is only about a third of the time. The other two-thirds, we BASK. BAAAAASSSSSK!

Veggies Planted

I scaled way back on my grandiose garden plans, since we decided to join a CSA this year, after thinking about it for years. I was a little afraid we'd end up buried in vegetables. So we just planted tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, and carrots. There's also the strawberry bed and some sunflowers in with the carrots.

We had to laugh when we went to the Farmer's Market this weekend--do you want rhubarb and green onions, or green onions and rhubarb? There were like twenty tables with rhubarb. I bet I can guess what's going to be in our first CSA box! Guess I'll be making a lot of rhubarb custard cake. Worse things could happen.

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market

We had a wonderful Saturday in St. Paul. It was our first trip to the Farmer's Market of the season and was a beautiful day. I got some annuals and Brent and Bella bought some turkey jerky. We ate lunch at Golden's Deli, with live music and fish and chips, or tartar sauce and chips if you're Mimi, who is confident with her figure.

Beach Girl

See? Cute as a button.

This is on Memorial Day at my aunt and uncle's cabin. The cousins played in the lake all day. They were quite comical on this boat--switching seat arrangements, falling overboard, tying it to the dock, casting off from the dock, falling overboard.

Boating

Some of us took the jolly roger out for a booze cruise.

Pontoon Ride

The combination of Emily's giant life vest and her stubby arms made it so she spent the whole boat ride putting tremendous effort into eating a box of raisins. Hey whatever keeps you busy, little one!

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day!

21 May 2011

Pretzels

Pretzels

Big salty pretzels. YUM! I grew up calling these "Fat Pretzels." (Or maybe "Phat Pretzels." I am unsure of how cool I was.) My friend Laura's mom would buy them in a box and we'd chow them down after school. But a fresh-baked pretzel? Now you're talkin'!

We made these for a neighborhood happy hour. The girls, of course, helped. Bella is actually very good at making pretzels, and decided she is going to open "Baker's Pretzels" and there will be a Mommy's Special when I am working, which apparently is just a pretzel made by moi, so that is going to take a little marketing I think. Emily tried hard with her dough, copying Bella's movements and trying to roll snakes and reminding herself, "Emily not eat dough!" and then declared to me that her dough was "not working." Why did you give me bad dough? Mine clearly doesn't do what Bella's does. It is broken.

Making Pretzels

Here is the recipe I use.

Baker's Phat Pretzels: Mommy's Special
Makes about 18 pretzels

Pretzels
2 1/4 cups warm water
1 3/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons brown sugar
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
6 1/2 cups regular flour (give or take a little)

Dipping Solution
2 cups very warm water
2 heaping tablespoons baking soda

Topping
pretzel salt (I buy it at King Arthur)
melted butter for brushing, a couple tablespoons

1. Mix the pretzels ingredients, saving out about a cup of flour, in a Kitchenaid mixer using a dough hook and speed 2, for a couple minutes. Add in the cup of flour as needed to make a very soft (and sticky) dough. Knead for a total of about 6 minutes in the mixer. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes (whatever works for your schedule).
2. Punch the dough down and flip it out onto a floured counter. Cover it with the damp towel again and let it rest for a few minutes. Then start making pretzels! Cut a strip off the dough, roll it into a long thin snake (we do ours about 30" long!) and twist it into a pretzel shape--make a big U, cross the ends, cross the ends again, and fold it down.
3. Combine the dipping solution water and baking soda in a medium size bowl. Dip the shaped dough quick into the solution, lay it on a towel to get rid of any drips, put it on a parchment baking sheet, and, while it is still wet, sprinkle it with the pretzel salt.
4. Let rise for 10 minutes or so on the baking sheet, then bake at 450 degrees for about 8 or 9 minutes. While they are still hot from coming out of the oven, brush them lightly with the melted butter.

You must eat or freeze these right away, the next day they get hard and you can try to microwave them a little to soften them up but really I just recommend scarfing them all down right away. The girls each ate four.

It looks like a rainy weekend. I'll just have to remember this

Flowering Trees

and this

Flowering Trees

from last week to stay cheery. Maybe at least the garden center won't be too crowded!

18 May 2011

Some projects

Check out the Fairy House Bella and I made! We are so proud.

Fairy House

It has a kitchen, a bedroom, a ceiling fan, lots of flowers, a grand staircase, a swing, a bench for relaxing, a table, a fishing pole, and several other very clever features.

It's almost as cute as this house, which I walk by everyday on my way to work.

Pink House

Completely pink, down to the shingles. I love it.

Speaking of pink, I made my mom this scarf for her birthday.

Liberty of London Scarf

It is Liberty of London cotton lawn. The pattern is from the awesome Purl Bee. All of their projects are so amazing, even if they often forget to take cost into account, being as they own a fabric and yarn store, and about 50% of the time throw up a temptingly awesome project with $400 in supplies required. Luckily, this was not (quite) one of those projects!

I'm going to go ahead and assume mom likes her scarf even though she took it off right after this picture.

Speaking of gifts of lukewarm reception, here is a village frock I made for Mimi!

Village Frock

I had to bribe her with an Oreo just to take this picture. I don't blame her, it did turn out a little wonky. Mainly just short--but I think I can fix that. Or possibly I've lost interest. We'll see!

I will leave you with Mimi singing "You Can Fly" from Peter Pan. She loves Peter Pan so much that sometimes we call her Mr. Smeemi. Teehee.

08 May 2011

A pretty good BAAAAH-rthday

When I thought up that pun, about it being my baaaaaah-rthday, I tried it out on Brent. Who, although he tried very hard not to, laughed.

It's funny because of the sheep.

Baaaah

And because I like to baaaah. And butt my head against things.

Shearing

And I like wool.

Fleece

Which is why for my birthday, after a very sweet breakfast in bed, we headed over to the Shepherds Harvest festival.

Dyed Curls

The kids were entertained by several aspects, including cheeseburgers in the 4-H building and watching the folk musicians, one of whom had some kind of seed pod rubber banded to his shoe so he could tap/rattle. Fascinating! When we stopped to pet a baby sheep (on a leash), they both went into hysterics. Mimi screaming "SCARY SHEEP!!" and Bella clawing her way up to Brent's shoulders. Maybe we need to expose them to more animals?

I bought some beautiful hand-dyed 100% alpaca in the color "Spumoni." I can't wait to find the perfect project for it.

Then we came home and baked the traditional Peanut Patch Cake.

Birthday Cake

And ate it.

Birthday Cake

(I'm not sure what Emily is doing in this picture. She appears to be gagging herself with a spoon.)

Then I ripped three dead bushes out of the garden and enjoyed the perfect weather.

We usually go out to dinner at Muffeletta, my favorite restaurant, for my birthday. But we just went out last Saturday and I was feeling cheap and lazy. So we had leftovers, stuck the kids in bed, and watched TV while drinking prosecco and eating cheese. Which turned out to be a perfect evening!

Sunday we had Mother's Day brunch with my mother-in-law. We had ham, spinach and potato egg bake, fresh bread, berries, and mimosas.

Mother's Day Brunch

Joanne

That picture is from Easter, but she looks more or less the same today. :)

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms and your moms!

04 May 2011

Cultured

What a cultured weekend we had, dahling! We got a sitter, put on some nice clothes, and went to our friend Alison's art show. Ooh la la!

Here is her display. Very arty.

St Paul Art Crawl

And here's us. Very cute!

St Paul Art Crawl

My dress is so tight I can't really eat or breathe. But it looks good! And guess who else looks good?

Brent

Then the next day was Bella's annual dance recital. I told you we were cultured!

Dance show

And a video, of course!



Have a great weekend!

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