Sunday, September 30, 2012

Make Your Own Bagels

A couple people have asked about my bagel recipe. Here it is! I don't remember where I got it. I think it was just a random website I found during a google search rather than Cooking Light or Cook's Illustrated, my usual go-to places. 

Pretty easy. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to rise!


4 cups bread flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs vegetable oil
2 tsp yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water

Topping (for Pizza Bagel)

Pasta sauce
Mini pepperonis
Mozarella or monterrey jack cheese
or anything else your heart desires!

1. Dissolve yeast in water about 5 minutes/until bubbly or frothy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix to form a ball of dough. It's suppose to feel stiff.

2. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until smooth. Separate into 8 balls and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. Roll balls into a long snake. This only works for me if I rub the dough between both hands rather than a hand and a floured surface. Wrap the snake-like dough around your hand bringing and pressing the ends together. While the dough is still wrapped around your hands and with the end peices in your palm, roll the peices together (the same as you would roll the dough to make the snake-shape). If this makes absolutely no sense, then try this quick video.

4. Let the dough rest for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 and set a large pot of water to boil.

5. Boil each bagel (I did two at a time) in the boiling water, one minute on each side.

6. Place the bagels on a greased baking sheet and top with your toppings of choice.

7. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.

Then...YUM! Carb alert!

Who's Gonna Stay?

I've had Sarah Groves' Cd Invisible Empires on repeat in the van as of late.
My girls listen intently to all the music I play.
Occasionally, I put on children's music for them but unless its Seeds, I get annoyed by it rather quickly.
So they've simply gotten used to listening to Mama's music.
They even enjoy it.
It's normal for requests like, "Can you turn it up, please?" to make their way up from the back of the van.
As well as requests that it be turned down for a moment so that they can ask a question about what a certain line means.
This has led to some very interesting conversations during our travels together!

Anyhow, I love when they start singing a song on their own.
I always find it interesting to hear which one remains in their minds as they sing it out while playing or coloring.
Piper was singing this one today.
She kept repeating the line "Who's gonna stay and think about it?".

Here's Sarah Groves explaining what the song is about:

It got me thinking.
I hope that I raise my girls to stay and think about it.
To be biblical and intelligent.
To take the time to consider the repercussions and consequences of things happening in our world.
To discuss and observe and form an opinion.
To be unafraid to tackle the challenges their generation will face from a Christian perspective.
I hope I raise women who are relevant and aware within their culture and who are faithful to our God.

Cristen's Fall Photos

Cristen: our adopted daughter. our babysitter. our friend.
Cristen’s mom recently asked that I take pictures of her for their Christmas cards.  This afternoon the weather was perfect so while Tyler and Cristen’s father were grilling us dinner we took the opportunity to get some pictures taken.  Cristen is a natural and seriously we were out for about 20 minutes and got ALL these photos.  Cristen was a bit disappointed that it didn't take longer so I told her that we will take more in the near future.
I just love this girl and love that her parents encourage us to have a role in her life.  Just recently, I got to do her make-up and hair for her first dance!

So far we are having a great weekend.  Lauraand I had a great four mile run this morning.  My sweet friend Lorena, that had moved away, stopped by and we had a great visit.  Then tonight we had a nice birthday dinner with the neighbors.  Hopefully tomorrow goes by a bit slower…I have a lot of things to get caught up on before Monday. 


One Good Day

Oh man do I miss sleeping in....Ryan woke up at 6 a.m. today.  I fed him and hoped he would do his usual thing by going right back to sleep. He fought sleep for about 30 mins and right when he was about to finally drift off, Jacob's bedroom door opened and he rushed down the hall, grinning widely and stomping his feet loudly.

Sigh. I was up for the long haul.

So what to do next? I decided to make bagels. And just because I'm an insane person, I decided to make them from scratch. I had made bagels once before and they hadn't turned out so well. Ever since then I've been determined to make them again. I pulled out my recipe book, glanced down the ingredient list, and quickly realized I didn't have bread flour, the staple ingredient.

That should have been a sign to abandon my little morning project. But I had already made up my mind and, dang it, I really wanted some pizza bagels! So I packed up both kids (husband was sleeping and Jacob refused to be left behind) and off we went, to the grocery store, at 6:45 a.m. Never underestimate a mom's desire to carbo-load at the butt crack of dawn.

My hair was greasy, my yoga pants had the just-been-slept-in smell, and my sweatshirt had a huge spit-up stain in the shoulder area. I should have changed decided my chances were very slim of running into Jon Hamm at Safeway and convincing him to run away with me after throwing provocative glanes (ducklips anyone?) his way. Especially if I was pushing a cart containing one poop-grunting infant and one shoe-less child (I didn even realize he wasn't wearing shoes until we got there!). "People of Safeway at 6:45 a.m." is giving "People of Walmart" a run for it's money.

When we got home, Ry was crabby and ready for a nap. But I had come so far in my goal of making bagels to let something silly like naptime get in the way. With Ryan on my hip, I one-handedly mixed the dough, shaped the bagels, set them out to rise, boiled them, topped them with pizza ingredients, and plopped them in the oven.

They were well worth every freaking effort! Hmmmmm, carbs. Since I know so many people on the Paleo diet right now, I decided to enjoy a bagel for each of those people. That's just the supportive kind of person that I am. Yes, I know I'm kind. You are very welcome.

I didn't have an agenda for the rest of the day at all. I spend the day totally present with my kids. Jacob helped us re-arrange and organize his room. We set up his big boy bunk beds and somehow managed to fit bunkbeds, crib, dresser, bookcase and toy chest into his tiny room. Things ended up fitting with just centimeters of extra space. Phew! Jacob is now ready to share his room with Ryan. I am so excited for them to go this one step further in becoming best-bud brothers.

Jacob had a freaking ton of toys that he never played with. He refused to let me take them to Goodwill so I told him we were going to put the extra toys in a bag and take them to Grandma's house. Poor kid, he had no idea he was an accomplice in a bold act of toy-knapping. When he fell asleep in the car, I rushed to Goodwill and dropped those toys off faster than a hot-potato. Mommy win!

Before we went home, we took a spontaneous trip to a nearby creektrail. Jacob, Ryan, and I took in the scenes and explored some nature. We played "Pooh-sticks" over a bridge, helded caterpillers in our hands, made up some songs, and enjoyed some spray-paint graffiti ("Mommy what do those words say?" "Oh, they'I love rainbows'!"). I need to remember to do stuff like that more often. Nothing beats good, old-fashioned outdoor fun. Especially when it is free and doesn't involve puke-covered arcade games (looking at you Chuck E. Cheese!).

Today was one of my favorite days in a long time. This is true even though I fell asleep 20 minutes into the movie Inception during date-night-in with the husband. (Don't worry, I've seen it's very good.)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Buh-Bye Baby Weight

Another reason why my job is is a baby-weight killer!

My commute keeps me on my toes, literally. It's 2+ hours of car, ferry, bus, and walk travel (one way). This week, I started skipping the bus on my way home and instead have been walking to the ferry after work. This means, depending on the day (if it's not my turn to drop the kids off, I walk almost a mile from my house to the ferry), I can get up to 2-4 miles of walking in each day.

And just like that, I solved my lack-of-energy-to-go-to-the-gym-at-8pm problem!

I've struggled so hard with these last 5 pounds of babyweight. After Jacob was born, all the weight melted off within a month with NO extra effort. This time around, I shed a bunch of weight in the first month after Ryan's birth, but then my progress stagnated. I started running and then threw out my back. I started running again which only made me super hungry. I cut way back on my chocolate intake (notice I said "cut-back" instead of "cut-out" - I'm not INSANE). I continued drinking a gallon of water each day. Nothing worked.

Four months of no progress made me really depressed. I was in a pit of despair. I tried to just accept my new body and move on. I tried SO hard. But just those 5 extra pounds made me feel so horrible. It make me neurotic. It became a mind game. Those 5 stubborn pounds (located all in one place) were taunting me. No matter how hard I worked, they clung to me (damn parasites). This was war. I HAD to defeat them! I just HAD to.

It didn't help that my favorite clothes no longer fit right (I paid good money for those!). I mean how many more times can I really get away with wearing stretchy-waited yoga pants and oversided sweathshirts to run errands? I think I more than exceeded my new-mommy quota. In fact, I'm pretty sure I owe libations to the fashion gods for my fashions sins these past 5 months.

But things are FINALLY turning around! After just 1.5 weeks at my new job, I've already lost half of my remaining baby weight. Not only does the commute add 2-4 miles of walking to my daily routine, but being super busy with exciting lawyer tasks keeps me from snacking on junk. I'm far too busy drafting motions to think about buying candy bars.

I've already lost nearly half of my remaining baby weight! Only 2.5 pounds to go!

Unfortunately, I may have just sabotaged all this progress. This morning, I made (from scratch- with real yeast and sh*t!), pizza bagels! Cause really, what else am I supposed to do when my kids wake me up at 6 a.m. But, you can't just make pizza bagels and not taste one. Or two. Or three.  They had to pass my quality control of course. And to QC test a product, you need a decent-sized sample.

Good thing there's plenty more walking in my future.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday Favorite Things {1}

{it's a moment to step back, reflect, and be grateful for the good in the everyday}

Listening to my oldest girl's thoughts while mixing clay for a science project.
I love quiet afternoons, working on things together as the sun shines in on us.
Hearts connect while another gal snaps away.

I returned from the bathroom to find an older sister helping the younger.
Taitum was soaking up the attention and Pipe was so patient and kind.
These moments are priceless.
I hold them close.

Pointing at our 'bug hotel' which got left out of the picture but I think its so cute how my girls are forever asking for their picture to be taken with me lately.
It feels weighty but grand to be someone's hero.

Bridging the generational gap.
Piper asked questions like "Where were you born?" and wanted to know about her great grandmother's mom.

While I was sweeping after supper one night, Tait kept coming out asking me to help her write hers and Piper's names on paper.
I was a little annoyed at being interrupted multiple times but after they went to bed I came across this.
She was making personalized menus.
This was important to her.
I was reminded that my kids and what is important to them needs to be more important to me than housework.
My children teach me motherhood's finest lessons.

Piper working on her printing workbook.
She has been so careful and attentive to follow the instructions that I give her.
I love watching her work so diligently.

Checking for bugs in our 'bug hotel'.
This causes such excitement.
Digging in dirt, constructing things from random materials, discovering insect visitors.
Childhood was made for such things.

friday favorite things | finding joy

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple (Picking) Variety

Some are apple pickers...

 Some are apple eaters...

And some are apple tree nappers!

But they're ALL the apple of my eye!

Prayer For A Child {BFIAR}

This is a little girl's prayer written as a poem.
With its vintage picture and rhyming couplets, this book is absolutely charming!
Both my girls adored it but especially Piper.
There were certain lines I'd read and she would stop me and say, "Oh, Mama! Can you write that down for me, please?!"
I ended up typing up the whole poem for her and highlighting her favorite parts.
She drew a picture on it, we laminated it and it is now hanging beside her bed.
I thought this was just so sweet and I love how she connects with the books we read!

Her favorite parts?

"Through the darkness, through the night
Let no danger come to fright
My sleep till morning once again 
Beckons at the window pane"


"Bless the hands that never tire 
In their loving care of me"


"Bless my Father and my Mother 
And keep us close to one another"

The girls also traced their hands, cut them out and I wrote on each of the fingers the names of people they are praying for.
Then they glued it all together and added some glitter (just because!).

One line of the book says:

"Bless other children, far and near
And keep them safe and free from fear"

To go along with this, we took some time to learn all about our sponsor child, Joel.
We found the country he lives in, Burkina Faso, on the map and made the country's flag.
We talked about his family and what he does each day.
We chatted about his birthday while making birthday cake crafts to pin up by his birth date and a picture of him on his last birthday.
The girls also drew pictures for him that we will send with our next letter!
(That's what they are holding up.) 

Using the Compassion International homeschool lesson plans, we talked about how kids in places like Burkina Faso like to play sports and games, just like us.
But because they have very little money, they don't have easy access to sports equipment.
Instead, they are very creative and make things using items they have on hand.
The girls gave this a try by making a ball out of grocery bags and twine!
We then found a box that was headed for the garbage to use as our goal.
And then began our first ever game of bag ball!

Both girls had a blast with this!
There was lots of hooping and hollering for each goal they made and because the ball was made of bags, nothing was broken (and no one was hurt!) during this rambunctious little game!

Because the poem refers to things that the little girl is thankful for, I figured it was a good time to start our thankful wall.
Every year I mean to do this but by the time I remember, Thanksgiving is upon us!
This year, we've got a good start!
Each morning the girls tell me something they are thankful for.
I write it down, they decorate their card and we add it to the wall!
So simple but we have all enjoyed this daily activity!

The girls learned the song "Jesus Loves the Little Children" this week, too.
This song has now been echoing through our home for the last week and half!
I tried to capture it on video for you because their little voices singing in unison are oh-so-cute but alas, my camera hates me.
If I'm able to get it in the days to come, I'll share it in another post!

That's all for this book!
We are now on to rowing How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World - our very first FIAR row!

Delightful Learning

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Not Just Easier, But Better

When I returned to work after my 4 month maternity leave. Things were....difficult. Mornings sucked as I had to pry myself away from my children. I wasn't used to giving up my baby on a daily basis. Up to that point, he was almost always with me. He was my little buddy.

Once I got to work, my thoughts were consumed by them. Everything reminded me of them and the fact that I was not with them. It was hard to focus. I couldn't have pictures of Ryan in my office because they would bring me tears. I cried often. Random things would trigger my tears. I would sit in my office, let the tears fall down my face, and try so hard to will them to stop before anyone saw me.

Things were hard for at least a month. Then one day, they were better.  The teary-eyed moments stopped. I would finish a whole day of work and suddenly realize that I hadn't thought about the kids that day.

It amazed me how quickly I got into the routine of dropping off the kids and going to work. This is especially amazing to me because for several weeks it seemed as if things would be hard forever. That crying at the office would be my life for the foreseeable future. That would suck, right?

I'm not saying it's easy to leave the kids in the morning. When I wake up, I only get about 20 minutes of awake time with the kids before I pile them in the car. That time is mostly spent getting dressed while listening to them talk and giggle with each other from across the room. Those first 20 minutes with the kids are so precious. I always hate to interrupt that time.

Somedays when I drop the kids off at my mom's house in the mornings, it would be very easy to let pity take over and to wallow in the fact that I don't get to be with my boys all day. It would be easy to let the pang of separation flourish. But on those days where it still feels hard to leave them and go to work, I make a conscious decision to not wallow. And usually, by the time I get to the office, I'm too excited to tackle the challenges waiting for me on my desk to focus on feeling sad.

This is why, for me, it has become so important to have a challenging job in which I get to use my lawyer skills and education. When I leave my kids each morning, it helps to know that I'm using my time away from them wisely. That I'm doing something worthwhile. That I'm learning, and growing, and using my (horribly expensive) education.

But you know what else? Even though I'm not with them all day, I'm teaching my boys something very important. I'm teaching them that women can play many roles. Women can be loving mommies AND they can be bread winners. They can be lawyers. They can be professionals. They can be valued for their skills and intellect. They can be independent. They can be confident without all the negative connotations that usually follow. They can be nurturing at home and successful at work. Women can have babies. They can go to court. Sometimes one shortly after the other. 

I hope when my boys grow up, they are unable to fathom that women, at one point in time, were limited by glass ceilings. I hope, when they go to their own jobs, that it never even crosses their mind to treat women differently than the way THEY wish to be treated in the workplace.  I hope the only world they know is one where women hold positions of power and are respected for their capabilities. When they date and get married, I hope they operate under the assumption that their girlfriends and wives can do great things, both in and out of the home. And, I hope their default setting is to support their significant others in any path that they choose. I hope, they are imparted with the knowledge that women can be strong and smart and successful in anything they do.

I hope that by going to work every day, I teach them a little bit of all that. And just maybe, I'm also making things a little easier for the future women in their lives too.

Monday, September 24, 2012

God And Sex And The Inquisitive Child

I had just picked the kids up at my mom's house and we were all piled into the car heading home. Sometimes Jacob falls asleep during our drive. This makes for a peaceful car ride and a happy, exhausted mom. But sometimes, like tonight, we just end up playing 143 questions instead.

(Oh and P.S., Jacob gets most of his religious education from my mom)

"Mommy, do only bad guys die to their bones?"


"Do only bad guys, not good guys, die to their bones?"

"You mean become a skeleton? Everyone will die and turn into a skeleton someday."

"But good guys will go up to heaven and bad guys will go down to the devil?"

"Yes. Our souls will, but our bodies will go into the ground and become a skeleton."

"Why doesn't the devil just leave if he doesn't like it down there?"

"Um.....because.....maybe you should ask Grandma that one."

"Why do bad guys have to go down to the devil?"

"Well, God likes it when people are nice to each other. He likes it when we help each other and not just help ourselves. He likes it when you share, love people, and listen to your mommy and daddy.

"Ok. I will listen to you when I turn 8."

"No Jacob, you need to listen all the time."

"When you were a baby was I in your tummy?"

"Uh......No, you were in my tummy when I was a grown up."

"When you were a baby, where was I?"

"You didn't exist yet."

"So where was I?"

" were with God."

"Ok. I was with God then I got in your tummy? How did I get in your tummy?"

"Um, God put you there." NOOOOO!!!

"Oh. But how?"

"Um....(getting a little uncomfortable here)....He's just special. He can do anything."

"Ok. But how?"


"God has a big button on his desk. When he pushes the button, a baby starts to grow in a mommy's tummy."

"Oh yeah. I know that."

Phew, I temporarily dodged that one.

Ordinary Life

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we recieve a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer







Today's graces:

1. This get up. 2. One sister waiting for another. (The baby doll on the shoulder is the icing on the cake!) 3. Smiling sicky. 4. How she always checks for Mama. 5. Painting with nature. Those intent, concentrated faces are why I do what I do every day. 6. Her silliness makes my heart sing.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Up High

We had a busy weekend of chores and fun the past couple days. Why is it I can spend every second of the weekend doing house stuff and yet all I've managed to do is just barely stay above water on the chores? Lately the chores come at me much more quickly than I can handle them. Maybe it has something to do with an extra person in the house?

But this weekend wasn't ALL chores....On Saturday we went to the state fair. Jacob had four hours of fully concentrated fun and we enjoyed re-living our childhoods through him.

Before we left for the fair, Jacob called out to me from across the house: "Mommy, where are you?"

"I'm trying to find something to wear." I called back to him.

"It's ok Mommy. Just wear what you are wearing. It only makes you look a little bit fat." He said sweetly, thinking he was paying a really nice compliment.

Gee, thanks kid!

I managed to STILL take him to the fair even after that comment. But man, I'm not sure if fairs are worth the trouble. I absolutely hate crowds. I easily get claustrophobic (at my old work, some guys were painting the exterior of the building and covered my office windows with protective tarp, that alone was enough for my phobia to creep in). I hate feeling like I can't quickly escape or get out of wherever I am at any given moment. When you're surrounded by a tons of fair-goers it takes 10 minutes just to walk 10 feet to the line for the bathroom! Speaking of lines. I hate lines! I'm the least patient person on the planet! It doesn't help that I don't even really LIKE fair rides. What's the point in waiting in line to do something I don't even like?

But....(highlight of MY day at the fair) at least I got some (kinda) nice family pictures to frame for my office:

I even took my baby on the ferris wheel! Ryan was totally unphased by it as he gazed down at the tiny specks of people below. My stomach was in my throat nearly the entire time and I kept firmly reminding Jacob NOT to rock the seats. Plus, I hate when they stop the ferris wheel when I'm at the top. All I can do when that happens is bite my nails and repeat fervently to myself, "What was I thinking?!" Obviously, I'm NOT an adrenaline junky.

Oh and Jacob had so much fun that he begged me to let him go again, by HIMSELF! I nearly freaked out as I let him load into a ferris wheel seat all alone and watched as the uncertain structure carried him up in the air and far away from me.

Thank goodness I've never read any caselaw about carnival ride accidents because my imaginaton was already doing a good job of helping me imagine the worst!  Oh, but I DID trip on an unsecure electrical cord while holding Ryan.  Luckily I did not fall to the ground but I quickly ran through the premises liability issues and determined that if I had fallen, I'd have had a pretty good liability case :)

Happy 12 Months

Dear Kallahan,
You are one year old!  The past year getting to know you has been so much fun.  You are so darling and spunky.  You are defiantly your own person and show your personality more each day.  You are more of a “bruiser” than your brother ever was.  You hardly cry when you get hurt.  You also seem much more aggressive.  When you want something…you let us know.  Just today, Granny was trying to take a small piece of licorice out of your mouth because she was afraid you would choke.  But man, Kal you bit her twice and just hollered because you wanted that candy!  I think we have a fun journey ahead with you but I’m looking forward to every second of it.
In the past few days you really have taken to walking.  You still haven’t stayed up past about 6 steps but when you want to go somewhere you are trying to walk first.  I am still having a hard time wrapping my mind around it - my baby is almost a full-time walker!  Brother was almost 16 months old before he walked…why so soon little buddy?  I know, you are just trying to keep up with that brother. :)
You are still eating well and sleeping through the night.  Mommy rocks you to sleep and since everything else is going too fast, I just might be rocking you til your 18.  This week you officially switched over to whole milk.  You don’t seem to even notice the difference nor have you had any negative reactions.  All that worrying was for nothing.  You love your pacifier and your favorite toy is any kind of truck.  You love to push them on the floor…all boy.  This week we have sang “Happy Birthday” to you quite often.  You just light up and grin from ear to ear.
Well Sweetbaby, you’re a year old now. We love you so much; you and your brother are our life. We are so thankful for every moment with our little cowboys!  It’s been an unforgettable year and thank you for filling our lives with joy. Happy birthday baby boy!