*oatmeal bread

I have made bread twice now in our new house. The kitchen is so nice and big and well-lit that it is really so much fun to be in there cooking and baking. I am so happy with it!! Anyway, I made my mom's oatmeal bread today and it turned out really well.  This is the bread that I grew up eating - my mom made about nine loaves of it weekly! I think she did it on a specific day, like the Ingall's "Bake on Mondays." I even wrote about it here.  I would love to get into that rhythm myself ... we'll see.  

Here is the recipe. It's kind of loose, my mom just knows what to add when and how to adjust here and there. I'm not that good, but here's what I did to make two smallish loaves. This is what fits into my dinky kitchen aid without spilling over.

2.25 tsp yeast
2 cups boiling water
1.5 cups rolled oats
~4 cups flour (this time I used 3 white, 1 white whole wheat)
scant 1/2 tsp sugar
1 T salt
2 T oil or softened butter (I used butter)
1/4 cup molasses or honey (I used honey this time)

-Pour the boiling water over the oats and let it sit until cool [if it's too hot in later steps you kill the yeast!]
-I poured off about half a cup of the oatmeal water into a glass measuring cup, let it cool to tepid and then added the yeast and sugar, let the yeast 'proof' or bubble.
-Add oatmeal and salt and yeast mixture to mixer.  Using the dough hook, start on low to combine then and add half the flour.
-Add the honey/molasses and the oil/butter while continuing to mix.
-Add the rest of the flour, scraping the sides between each cup.  Continue to stir on setting 2-3 for a minute or so. If the dough looks really sticky add a little more flour, maybe 1/2 cup. It's supposed to clean the sides of the bowl on its own.
-After the mixer kneads for about 3 minutes [I think my mom said it's possible to over mix in the kitchen aid], take out of the bowl and knead a few times on a floured board or countertop.
-Butter or oil the mixer or another bowl and put the dough back in and cover with a plate until it doubles in size.  Punch it down and then divide into two little loaves. Put them in greased loaf pans and let rise again [I think I hurried the two risings and my bread was a little too dense]
-Bake at 375 for 40-50 min [that's what her recipe says, but it seems to be a little too hot..] until the bread sounds hollow when you tap it. Turn out onto baking racks to cool.



*el backyard

I forgot how to say yard in Spanish.... maybe they say el parque? Anyway I love ours!!! The girls don't play back there often unless we have friends over.  To be honest, I can kind of understand why - I think if I was little I would be imagining a tiger crouching in the grass :)

Edie is more likely to be out there on her own - she loves the little house [left by previous owners!] and is just loving having a yard to make mud creations in.


*seis años

::: first day of first grade :::

It's so crazy to look back on photos and videos and realize how much Vera's grown and changed.  I feel like I used to document little snapshots of her more often, and would like to get back into it.  Sooo... at 6 years, Vera:

- is still in the beginning stages of reading. She gets frustrated very quickly with it and doesn't seem to have her usual determination when it comes to working hard to learn.  I try to show her how far she's already come and how easy those little 3 letter words are now, but I think she is just impatient with it. She still very much enjoys being read to and looking through her books, so that's good.  Favorite books at the moment are Too Many Pumpkins, The Donut Chef, The Velveteen Rabbit, One Morning in Maine ...  I'll think of more.

- is still very creative and loves to think up little projects and crafts on her own. I can't find it at the moment, but she made Edie an adorable little book called "Animals are cyoot", and drew a different animal on each page with "Bunnys are cyoot", etc. She loves making cards for her friends and family and has a little 'signature' thing she does on the back of each one with their name framed in a little heart curlicue. I love to think what her creativity and talent will look like when she's older. On the other hand, she seems to hold herself back a lot because she wants a drawing to be "perfect" and gets easily upset if she thinks it isn't, then she will just refuse to continue :/

- in other things, she shows a lot of determination to perfect a skill. For a while she wanted to go to the playground every day to practice monkey bars, and she still wants Ben to sit and score her cartwheels for her.

- is still very much a rule follower.  She even told me on a ride at Disneyland that I was supposed to keep my hands in the boat :)  She also really fights riding her scooter or bike to school with me because last year they were told not to [a whole 'nother story.. did I write about that ever?]

- is usually a very good big sister. They don't get along as dreamily as they did before Edie hit ~1.5, but they play often and laugh a lot together. Frankly, Edie is still quite the stinker and I am proud of Vera for the amount of patience she shows!! She doesn't seem to mind her tagging along with friends, although sometimes I know she and the friend will play spy and pretend to 'lose' Edie, who thankfully is oblivious.

- is very very loving and tells me and Ben often that she loves us so much. I have so many little notes and cards from her, I don't know what to do with them all!


Her party was really fun ... and really big. I didn't know how to cut it down to a few friends, so I invited everyone!! and their siblings and moms too!  It was quite stressful having just moved in, but I'm glad we did it.  One thing I wish I'd taken a picture of was the little sea scape snow globes we made - they turned out really cute! Rosie made similar ones with the girls in CA and so we made them too [Vera wanted a mermaid theme].

Here they are searching for little paper fish that they turned in for skittles.  I hid an Ariel and a King Triton for a bigger prize. My mom had reminded me how much we loved treasure hunts when we were little!!

mermaid piñata

My great-granny Mae's cupcakes were well-liked:

Some of her creations.. a little laptop she made for Edie - which Edie thoroughly loved!

drawn in church - with no prompting :)

I love this Toca Boca  game - she designed this little dress using a picture I took at Red Butte gardens, I thought it was really cute!


*dulce Vera

This was several weeks ago, but something I wanted to remember. I had taken both girls along to watch my new little charge, and Edie for some unexplainable reason had 3 massive fits throughout the day. Incoherent, delirious - NOTHIng I could do but wait [if you think you have advice for me, it probably would not have worked, but thanks ;)]. Vera was such a trooper and so helpful. She even went in to order the ice cream for herself and Stella while I waited outside with screaming Edie. Another fit occurred as we walked to the train station and then waited for about 45 minutes for her to calm down - Vera just played at the playground and was so patient. Later, at home, she disappeared for a while and then brought me this sweet, creative card because she knew I'd had a hard day. She is really such a caring, thoughtful and creative little girl and things like this just make my heart swell

On another note, Edie is doing really well and we haven't seen one of these tantrums since that awful day. I think it all had to do with our long vacation and the inconsistency and accumulated lack of sleep. Thankfully we are getting into a nice routine with good food and good rest. She is even currently in the easiest nap stage of her entire life!! Such a treat and a blessing for me :)


*nueva casa

You probably know we were finally able to buy a house and move out of the dorm?  We've been here about two weeks now and are finally starting to have some normalcy... not a lot as there is still a lot of boxes and couches in odd spots and walls to be painted etc., but a little. This morning was one of the first that I didn't have to rush off somewhere or get something done quick before some deadline [birthday party, visiting family, school starting...] and so I cleaned and organized and emptied a couple boxes while Edie watched cartoons and then played. So lovely.

Tonight Ben was at a lecture at Harvard [not a common occurrence, but pretty cool, right??] and so we girls made dinner here and just had a *regular* school night. I loved it.

Edie was so cute helping me with dinner, singing little helping songs and sneaking pinches of salt and soy sauce. This is her silly face for the picture:

Dinner at our new [craigslist] table!  In our newly-painted dining room which I love. I still can't believe I get to live in such a pretty house.

First "dance show" in our new house.  Ah girls - what will life be like if we have a boy??

Anyway, I just wanted to post some daily life...  
In the busyness of the last few weeks it is something I crave!


*never posted: Vera cumple 5!

Vera's birthday party last year was at an incredibly busy time - just as we returned from Tahoe, listed our house and were preparing to move to Nevada. I can't believe this was a year ago!! We sure missed all her birthday party regulars this year :(

*Vera cumple 6!

We celebrated Vera's 6th birthday in California!  This has been saved on my computer for a couple weeks now... it's been busy to say the least.

She was kind of a grump in the morning - disillusioned because her birthday felt like a "normal day" - thankfully she mustered up some excitement and gratitude and the day improved :)

homemade corndogs and mac and cheese - enjoyed by kids and adults alike :)

these brothers... read their cupcake flags.

I am caving in more and more to the princessy wishes of this girl.

Grandpop and Lola took all of us to Disneyland the next day for her birthday and we had a fantastic time. It wasn't too hot and for some reason the lines weren't really that bad.  It is such a happy place :)

I love Edie's expressions :)

Can't believe I was already showing.

Just after Pirates of the Caribbean - they were pretty spooked during the ride but love to remember it :)