Sunday, April 29, 2012

Warm and Gooey

I told the kids if they'd help me clean up the house after dinner the other night that I'd make caramel popcorn. That put them right to work! Too bad I can't motivate them to work that hard for dinner. Hmm. I might have to think about that. If I starve them for a few days. . . .

Kidding. I'm kidding. It's a joke. I wouldn't actually starve them.

My trusty assistant. Stirring the caramel.

The finished product. Yum. It's best when it's warm and gooey. I ate entirely too much.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Popcorn
(I don't make up the names, I just share the recipes!)

1 c brown sugar
2 T corn syrup (dark or light)
1 stick butter or margarine (I use butter. Butter is good!)
1/3-1/2 c popcorn, popped
pinch of soda
1 t vanilla (opt)
1 t salt (opt)

Boil sugar, syrup, and butter or margarine for one minute at a hard boil. Add pinch of soda, vanilla and salt after you remove caramel mixture from heat. Toss with popcorn.

It's good with a handful of chocolate chips thrown in too. Just in case you didn't know-- everything is better with chocolate chips thrown in. Okay, maybe not broccoli, but everything else.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


For some reason, I was really drawn to this driftwood log. I jokingly told my husband we should take it home and put it in our yard. He's such a nut, I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to do it!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sand in my Teeth

Wow! Thanks to Blogger, I now have ruined my record of hardly ever missing a daily post. I've been away from my computer since Thursday, but I had posts scheduled for every day and it looks like they didn't get published. Sorry about that, loyal followers. (There are one or two. I think.)

We made our first trip to the beach this year on a glorious 80 degree day this week. They didn't get it the water. It was fast and cold, but it's fun to play in the sand. Even when you're almost a teenager!

They pretended to make food. They recently have gotten us hooked on a few cooking shows on the Food Network. They presented Morgan, Glenn and I (the judges) with their dishes and we scored them. It was delicious. If you like sand.
These were Peanut Butter cookies with herbs. Good. A little gritty for my tastes.
No more pictures please.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


One beautiful spring evening recently, the kids were playing baseball together in the driveway. Somehow (it's a mystery), they talked me into participating for a few minutes. I'm the ultimate party-pooper, lazy mom, but I had a weak moment. My only condition was that I be given full photographic rights. No running away screaming or scowling at the camera allowed!

I tried to be catcher for Morgan. Notice I have a couple helpers. Apparently, the dogs were confused. "You must be crouching down to pet us. Why else would you hunker down like that?"

Morgan and I were on the same team. I don't remember the score, but I don't remember doing any running, so I think we may have lost. Just a hunch.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bike Ride

We brought the kids bikes along to use after Nicole's volleyball tournament. Lewiston has great walking/biking paths along the river. Lewiston has warmer weather for bike riding. Lewiston has non-gravel riding surfaces. Lewiston has fewer hills. I like Lewiston for bike riding, but my bike had a flat tire, so I hoofed it.

Morgan is getting closer to riding on his own. Glenn always gets a good workout when he runs alongside him!
Along the path are these workout stations. The girls and I all took a turn at this one!
Did I mention that Morgan is using Glenn's old "BMX" bike? I get the distinct impression that this was once his pride and joy. He couldn't resist taking a turn on it. He's a tad big for it now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Volleyball Finale

Day two of Nicole's volleyball tournament in Lewiston took place on a beautiful sunny day a couple weeks ago.

They played at the new activity center at the college in Lewiston (LCSC).

It's hard to get decent zoom photos with my point and shoot, so I didn't take very many. You can "almost" see Nicole in this picture! She's on her knees at the middle of the court, in front of/to the right of #21. Yup, that's her. Good girl, go for the ball.

You may remember that at the last tournament they blew all the other teams out of the water. Well, there were two levels of teams and they were in the lower level that go around. This time they were put in the upper level and didn't fare quite so well! They played about ten matches and won one! It was all good though. They learned at the first tournament how to be a good winner and at the second tournament how to be a good loser!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Texas Roadhouse

Again, with my scheduled post not publishing....... You'd think I would learn! I'll do better tomorrow.

Night two of our mini-vacation involved dinner with my college roommate and her family. Normally we make these people go to Olive Garden with us every time we come to town, because that's where we go. Lucky for them, we had gone to Olive Garden the night before so we decided to try something new (gasp!). We gave Texas Roadhouse a try, and we were not disappointed.

The first order of business was trying their "famous" margaritas. They were delicious. Yummy, too. I enjoyed them.

Our dinnermates insisted on ordering Fried Pickles as an appetizer. I hate dill pickles, but I agreed to try one when Glenn pointed out it would make good blogging material.

I don't like fried dill pickles any better than not-fried dill pickles. The dill pickle eaters at the table said they were curiously yummy, however.

Texas Roadhouse is known for entertaining their customers with periodic line dances. Glenn told our server that our girls know a couple line dances and she talked Nicole into trying one with them. It looked tricky, but Nicole was a good sport.

She eventually opted to just watch them dance. Glenn threatened to swing dance with me, but thankfully it didn't happen.

I should've taken a picture of the baby back ribs that Nicole and I shared, but I was too excited about diving right in. Ellea had very cute sliders (mini burgers), but again, no photo. Keep in mind, I was well into my second margarita at this point. That explains a lot.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Participating Baskin Robbins

My apologies for lack of a post yesterday. This one was scheduled, but it didn't get published for some reason!

One of the activities on our mini-vacation was stopping at Baskin Robbins to use the gift cards the kids' Auntie Barbara sent them with her Valentine's day cards. They were excited to have enough money on their gift cards to not only buy a scoop of ice cream, but to also a topping for their ice cream!

They all picked gummy worms/bears as their topping which isn't appropriate for Nicole's braces, so I hope her orthodontist doesn't read my blog. I'm fairly confident he doesn't.

Ellea was the first one to pull out her gift card to pay for her purchase. The worker took one look at the card and said, "Where did you get that?" I found that to be an odd question, but I answered her anyway. Told her it was purchased in California. Sadly, according to this nice young lady, none of the Baskin Robbins in the Northwest accept these cards because they don't have the specialized equipment to read them. Bummer.

To be fair, it does say right on the card "Good at Participating Baskin Robbins." Who knew none of the Baskin Robbins within a few hundred miles participate?!

So, thanks, Auntie B for the sweet gift, but they're now sitting in my purse. Guess we'll have to come visit you in California and go to Baskin Robbins!!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Olive Garden

We took a mini-vacation when I had some training in Coeur d'Alene during the kids' spring break.  Coeur a'Alene is home to the Olive Garden restaurant nearest our home.  We never miss an opportunity to dine at Olive Garden.

I drank my favorite part of the meal.  I wish I could remember what was in this, but all I recollect was how fruity and sweet and wonderful this drink was.  I salivate just thinking about it.

Nicole and I have started splitting meals in restaurants.  She's so easy-going she'll eat about anything.  This is my all-time favorite dish at Olive Garden--Chicken Scampi.

Sorry the pictures are so funky.  I was too lazy to go get my camera out of the van, so swiped Glenn's phone instead. 

Ellea had the "Tour of Italy" because she loves Fettucine and Lasagne.  Well, she loves my lasagne, which I told her would be different than this.  

She still likes mine better. 

As she should.


Glenn and I held babies together while their parents ate Easter dinner. It didn't last long because Ellea wolfed down her food and promptly tried to steal my baby. I stood my ground, but Glenn cannot tell his children no, so she stole his baby instead!

I'm holding Ellie, the 3 week old neice by marriage (kinda), and Glenn's got Will, his almost-three-month-old Great Nephew.
We look good with babies, don't ya think? I could handle another baby.

Sleepless nights.



Sleepless nights.

I'm almost 39 years old.

Sleepless nights.

Maybe I'll just stick to fighting my daughter to hold other people's babies.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easter Eggs

Traditionally, we always have a big Easter egg hunt at Dori's on Easter Sunday. This year was no different.

Ellea was my partner is egg hunting. She had no interest in relinquishing baby Ellie, so she enlisted me to carry the basket and pick up the eggs. I'm sure if she was told to put the baby down or not hunt, she would've chosen the baby. That girl knows she only get so much baby-time, so she has to capitalize on it!

Little Andie was racing around with her grandma (aka, Lala) excitedly finding eggs. Not sure why she's showing this one to me. Maybe it's because her mama has a blog too so she's accustomed to constant photography, and she's trying to help me out. But I don't think her mom is quite the freak that I am about endless photos!

But I'm okay with being a photo-taking/blogging freak right now. I've accepted it. I don't know if my kids ever will, but I have.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Easter Volleyball

Nancy's daughter suggested Nicole bring along her volleyball to Easter so they could practice some moves.

Only once did a bystander get hit by the ball. In all fairness, he was warned of the dangers of errant volleyballs just before he was conked on the side of the head!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter Babies

Ellea was in heaven on Easter Sunday as there were not one but two babies present for her to fawn over.

This one, Ellie, spent most of the afternoon in Ellea's arms. (She is the niece of Dori's son and his wife.) I got to hold her a couple of times, but it took some finagling on my part. She's only three weeks old and was delightfully relaxed as she slept the day away in our arms. Her parents were concerned that she would cry all the way home and be up all night.

I hope we didn't spoil her to be held all the next day! Between the two of us, no one else hardly stood a chance to get any baby-time in! Sorry about that, folks!
Ellea has received some offers to move in and nanny for many of her cousins. It's too bad none of them live in Keuterville, because she'd love nothing more.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saddle Place

There's a restaurant in nearby Lewiston that has a few tables with kids' saddles as chairs. It's called "Sharp's Burger Ranch," but we don't call it that. We call it the "Saddle Place" because when the the kids were little, they'd always remember which restaurant we were talking about when we said that!

They're not so little anymore, but they still get excited when we say we're going to the Saddle Place. Even us adults like to sit in the saddles sometimes!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter Tea

Glenn's sister, Nancy, hosted one of her famous Tea Parties for me and the kids on Easter Saturday.It was her daughter, Shari's, first ever tea party, but she fit right in like she was a tea party pro.

This time the menu was pure sugar. And chocolate. And, did I mention we don't actually consume any tea? Only Root Beer and lemonade, thank you very much.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chocolate and Cream Cheese

The night before Easter, I decided to make lasagna for dinner, but I also needed to make the dessert for Easter. I asked Ellea if she would make it for me, and she graciously agreed. Grandma was her helper, but she did most of it herself.

I was thinking we should make "Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Cake," and she readily agreed because it's one of her favorites. It's kind of like a cream cheese brownie, and what's not to love about that? Especially if you like chocolate. And cream cheese. And chocolate with cream cheese!

Doesn't it look delicious? I was so looking forward to eating this masterpiece since I had (sort of) given up chocolate for Lent.

Chocolate Marble Gooey Butter Cake
1 pkg plain chocolate cake mix (the original recipe calls for yellow cake, and I'm sure that would be fine, but I've never tried it, because the more the merrier when it comes to chocolate!)
8 Tbs (1 stick) butter, melted--margarine may work, but butter's always better!
1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place cake mix, butter and egg in large bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 2 minutes. The batter will be very stiff. With your fingertips, pat the batter evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 13-by-9 inch baking pan.

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter, melted--yup, that's right, two sticks of butter! I didn't say it was health food!
3 3/4 c powdered sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3. In same bowl used to make crust, blend cream cheese on low speed until fluffy (30 seconds). Add eggs, vanilla and melted butter and beat on medium speed for one minute. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until sugar is well-incorporated, 1 minute more.

4. Melt chocolate chips over double-boiler (or in microwave). Measure out 1 cup of cream cheese filling and fold it into the melted chocolate until well combined.

5. Pour remaining filling onto crust and spread with spatula so the filling covers entire crust. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate batter over the top of the filling, then swirl them with a dinner knife so the batter has a marbled effect. Be careful not to cut through to the crust.

6. Bake until cake is well browned, but the center still jiggles when you shake the pan, about 45-47 minutes. Cool 30 minutes or more.

Cake can be stored at room temperature for 4 days, or in the fridge for 1 week. I like it refrigerated, but any temperature is just plain yummy!

From The Cake Doctor by Anne Byrn

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter Clothes

One of our activities in Coeur d'Alene last week was to go shopping for Easter clothes.  It was fun (but exhausting) to locate clothes that fit the girls taste and my budget.  Morgan and Glenn were extremely patient with us.  We were in Maurices for over an hour, not once, but twice!  But we found some super-cute stuff.

Ellea was rarely without a baby at Easter since there were two of them present at the family event.  This girl was in heaven!

 My almost-teenager.  She's getting very tall!  Most people who see her (and the other kids, for that matter), can't get over how tall she's gotten.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Fun

Grandma came over and hung out with us the day before Easter.  We had a lasagna dinner, an Easter egg hunt, and decorated eggs.  It was fun.
The "crew" decorating eggs.

The beautiful results!

Glenn has raised Ellea with a strong affinity for all things related to the University of Idaho and The Vandals.  She emblazons all non-living objects with the Vandal logo!  She even named her cat Vandal!

Of course, little brothers are known for their copying abilities, and Morgan is not one to disappoint!  Ellea was a good sport.  She's used to these things, and it's one more item in the world that apreciates the Vandals!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Family Pic

Our yearly family picture in our Easter duds!!

We had Easter at Glenn's sister's house as usual.  It's always so much more spring-like in Lewiston than in Keuterville.  Something about the snow and the mud and the still-dormant plants around here just do not scream hope and renewal!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Golden Nuggets

Our 4-H group had a baked food sale last week. The girls made homemade rolls. I love my KitchenAid. It's a good thing.

I was very impressed with their finished product. I wasn't sure I wanted to take them to be sold to strangers. Would they appreciate the effort and love that went into these little golden gems and eat them with love? I doubted it.

I let them go. I'm a little sad about that.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Keuterville Livestock 4-H Club. There are over 50 members.

Ellea is in the second row from the bottom, right smack dab in the middle with a pink shirt. Nicole is one row up and one to the left from Ellea. Morgan is second from the left in the bottom row.

This is the same 4-h club that their daddy belonged to. Glenn still would belong if they allowed adults to show pigs!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Books and Sunshine

After our picnic, the kids ran around in the grass and rode their mini four-wheeler while I read a book. Heaven. Reading a book outside in the sunshine in spring. Sigh.

They tried to run away every time they saw the camera come out!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Picnic Time

The kids and I went for our first picnic of the season this week. We're on spring break this week, which has been delightful.

We took a blanket and sat and soaked up some rays while we ate. There's nothing better than eating outside after months (and months and months...) of cold, wet weather!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Supplier Appreciation Dinner: Fun Times

Glenn's Supplier Appreciation Dinner went very well, as always.

We decided to change the centerpiece plan at the last minute, so 45 minutes before the start of the social hour, I was throwing fir boughs and Costco roses into glass bowls. I was pretty pleased with the outcome.

The girls got to come and act as servers for the dinner. We got lots of compliments about how well they did. They got to hang around for a little while for the live band.

I was sad that this picture turned out blurry, but it's a great shot of Nicole and Glenn doing the "Death Drop."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Supplier Appreciation Dinner: Set Up

Glenn has been hosting the yearly Supplier Appreciation Dinner on behalf of the mill he works at for about 8 years now. It's for all the private land owners who send logs to the mill. He does a bang-up job organizing the catering (sit-down prime rib dinner, yumm-o!), getting the band, ordering the linens, etc, etc. I typically help him a little with planning the decorations, but even that is mostly his baby. Everyone always assumes that he has nothing to do with it, and it must be his wife, but he really should get most of the credit!

The kids are always a big help with setting up. Morgan and his buddy, helped Glenn set up 240 chairs. Ellea set out napkins.

"Girl on skates."

Nicole missed out on the fun this year because she was practicing for her Volleyball tournamnet.

Me? I folded all 240 napkins. With love.