Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seriously delicious treat

Spring is really exploding in the Valley. Our hosta are peeking up out of the ground and the dogwood trees are gorgeous. We have zucchini and squash blossoms poking out of the soil in our garden and will plant our tomato and pepper plants tonight (I hope). Have I mentioned that I can't wait to make a fresh tomato pie or a tomato mozzarella salad?

Ok, I don't have a picture to go with this, but here's a really good recipe you can make in almost no time that is so good. This is supposed to be a bar recipe, like lemon bars, that you can eat almost like cookies, but it has never held its shape for me. I just cut and eat it like cake or cobbler. Our kids love this recipe and it makes our kitchen smell really good. This is almost as good as apple pie (not quite, but almost)!

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars (or cake)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup butter or margarine
apple-cinnamon filling (recipe below)

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and baking soda in mixing bowl. Cut in butter or margarine, with a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 of this mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture into bottom of ungreased 9x9x2-inch baking pan. Spread with apple-cinnamon filling and then sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until top is golden. Cool on wire rack and then cut into bars. Make about 25 bars.

Apple-Cinnamon filling: Peel, core, and chop 2 medium apples. In medium saucepan combine apples, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and dash ground cloves. Bring to boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 8 - 10 minutes or until apples are tender.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I am a recipe wh*re

Hello, my name is Tracie and I am a recipe whore! I LOVE finding new recipes online and trying them at home. I am constantly printing recipes and filing them in an enormous 3 ring binder. I try to plan menus every week so I've been pulling out a few new ones to try. I'm limited by a very picky child (Liam) and by a daughter who at least tries whatever I cook, but will complain if she thinks it is the least bit spicy. I am blessed, however, that she does eat tofu and some other "weird" foods that are not normal kid fare. So while the kids are napping and resting, I've been reading my daily blog dose and searching for some new things to try. It's funny that when we got married, my mom was thrilled that I married a man who loved to cook and now I do most of the cooking. I used to hate it, but now I really do love it (all of it, not just baking!)

Mark got some diction software for his mac recently that will type whatever he says. It weirds me out because I'll be running around the house and will hear this deliberate tone of voice and very clearly enunciated words coming from the dining room as he talks to his computer. The first time he used it I thought he was just talking to himself, which in a way he is, but at least it is helping him get things done. I cannot, however, imagine a world without keyboards where everyone sat around with headphones and microphones talking to their computers. It would drive me nuts!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Fun with Nonna

I haven't posted since Monday because mom came to visit for a few days. We took the kids to the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester on Wednesday and then to Wildwood Park in Bridgewater on Thursday. They had such a good time with their Nonna. She took them to dinner on Thursday night so Mark and I could go out to eat sans kids! We went to Blue Nile, a fantastic local Ethiopian restaurant. The food was excellent and we left absolutely stuffed. It's always fun to take the kids to do something they enjoy and they really enjoy playing at the different children's museums we have explored.

Peyton asked to drive by our old house today so we did and the current owners were out in the yard pulling weeds and planting a garden. We talked to them over the fence for a bit and then we were asked if we wanted to go inside. It was so bittersweet and cool to see the old house. They have painted almost every room and have added some very cool touches. They took the room that was Mark's workshop and finished it and it's now an exercise room. They also created a scrapbook closet in the office and a pantry in the hall closet where we had coats and linens for the guest bathroom. They said they felt like they had moved into a new house because of all the things we had done to it. I'm so glad they love that house because we put so much time and work into it and loved it so much. I asked Peyton later if she had remembered the house at all and she said no, but it was fun to have her see the house where she spent almost two years and where we lived for 4 1/2 years.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What is it with all this poo?

I changed 5 poopy diapers today...5! I swear Liam is the poopingest child I have ever met. There are days when I dream of a diaper-free house, when both kiddos can use the potty. Of course, that means I have to go through the dreaded potty training again, but let me gloss over that for now and just dream of a house where no one is wearing diapers....ahhh! And what is it about not wearing a diaper that makes Liam instantly pee? I swear he pees as soon as he gets out of the tub. And he doesn't always pee on the bathroom floor, no that would be way too easy for us, he usually pees in Peyton's room on her carpet! The other night he went straight into her room and peed on her purple lap tray. Not a drop hit the floor, so it was easy to clean, but Peyton was completely grossed out. Tonight he peed all over the stool in their bathroom. He gets this gleam in his eye when he does it too, like hey look at what I just did. Boys! I guess this is why older boys like to pee off of porches and write their names in the snow.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Cute punks

Just a few pictures from this weekend. We had really warm weather on Friday and Saturday and played outside almost all day. I have got to remember to put sunscreen on the kiddos because Peyton had pink arms yesterday. I love these pictures. I really love the close up of Peyton. I took it because she has freckles on her nose...just like her mama (although it's hard to see them on the computer)! And don't you just love the cankles on Liam? Those pants are shorts. I love how long they are and how cute his little chunky legs look.

spring time blossoms

I did some planting this weekend and discovered new blooms on my pansies! The top picture shows the coral bells we planted on the side of the house. I'm hoping they get big and help fill in a gap in the landscaping. I'm going to try to root some forsythia and plant it. My neighbor said I could cut some off her bushes, so I need to do that soon. Spring makes me want to plant and get my hands dirty in the yard. Mark started tilling the garden area yesterday. He's added some landscape timbers to give the garden some separation and soon we'll be planting it! He planted different vegetable seeds in peat pots last night and also planted some lettuce in a planter that we'll keep on our deck. We can't plant any type of lettuce greens in the yard because the rabbits will eat them. They don't seem to care about tomatoes or cucumbers! Woo Hoo for spring!

Friday, April 11, 2008

So gorgeous outside

I cannot get over our spring weather. It has been in the 70's the past two days. I got ambitious yesterday and cut the grass (until the self-propelled action stopped working suddenly) as a surprise for Mark. Then I had to call and try to get his help to fix it. He ended up finishing the last third of the backyard, but hey, I tried! I sprayed roundup on a bunch of weeds and did some mental planning of where I want to plant new things. We spread a little more mulch last night and talked together about making some changes to the landscaping in the front yard. I miss our old house's landscaping. We had a blank canvas and did so much work before we moved. I went to bed last night thinking about how much the trees had grown there and wondering how it all looked. Well today I drove by our old house and was mighty disappointed. There are dandelions all over the yard and the bushes all need pruning BIG TIME! It made me feel really sad that they weren't taking as good care of it as we did. I know that we're pretty picky about our yard and want it to look nice, so maybe they just haven't had the time to get around to it yet. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Took the kiddos to the park today, but not Grandad's castle park, to Peyton's dismay. She started crying as soon as we got to Hillandale and we almost went home. We played hard on the playgrounds and then took a fairly long walk. I ended up carrying Liam because his little legs were tired, but Peyton walked the whole way. She picked up a few "hiking sticks" and even brought them home. Liam crashed on the way home and I had to wake him for lunch. He was not happy about having to be inside and kept begging to go back outside. I'm sure we'll be heading out to the yard as soon as he wakes from his nap.

Happy spring to all. I hope you are getting a chance to enjoy the nice weather!

Monday, April 7, 2008

The sickness saga continues

Well I finally went to the doctor today and he gave me antibiotics for a sinus infection. My cold turned into a sinus infection with fantastic pink eye on the side! So hopefully after a day or two on the medicine I'll feel better. It is so hard to be upbeat and deal with the kids when I'm feeling so crummy. All I want to do is curl up and sleep. And to make matters worse, Liam has been crying and whining ALL day, and I mean all day non-stop. He doesn't want to eat anything we serve him and he just cries and screams. He had a slight fever this morning and I think the molar that is coming in is just killing his mouth, but the whining is about to drive me nuts! He didn't sleep well and screamed, "Mama" around 4am. I bolted out of bed, but that's all he said, so I went back to sleep. So I'm praying tonight will be better for him and for me. I can't take another night of no sleep. I need to shower my house with bleach to kill all the germs. We are all so sick of being sick!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bread Maker Experimentation

I LOVE having a bread maker. We had one when we were first married and used it at least once a week until it died. We went without for a long time and then got one as a gift last Christmas and we've used it about twice a week for the past year. I was always content to let the machine do all the work for me, kneading, rising, and baking, but this week I made two recipes that required taking the dough out, shaping it, letting it rise, and then baking it. I made the cinnamon rolls earlier in the week and then last night I made a pesto bread. This was a delicious recipe and our whole house smelled great. Basically once the dough was ready I rolled it out, spread it with pesto, let it rise, and then baked it. YUMMY! Maybe one of these days I'll actually do the whole thing from scratch without using the machine at all. My grandma was here on Easter Sunday and she was fascinated by the bread maker. Her mother used to make all kinds of bread from scratch. In fact, when my dad and his siblings asked her how she got such big muscles, she would say from bread. They thought she meant eating it, but it was the kneading that gave her such biceps! I just love that I can make fresh bread so easily. In fact, the bread maker is going now making a french bread for tomorrow night's french toast breakfast for dinner, and then later today I'm making pizza dough for Pizza Thursday!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Still sick, but here's the cure

We are still feeling sick in the Meadows' house. Mark went to the doctor yesterday and since it's a viral thing, there's not a lot they can do for him. He is taking Sudafed, cough syrup, and using nasal spray, and that will at least give him a decent night's sleep. Mine has migrated from my head into my chest and I'm now coughing (thanks Mark for this fantastic virus...j/k!) Hopefully we're on the mend and will feel better soon. It stinks to feel sick when it's so nice outside. We've been holed up in the house taking over-the-counter drugs and staying away from people. Peyton had pink eye on Friday, but since we caught it early, it was looking better by Saturday morning. She's on her last day of eye drops today. The Claritin is working for Liam and he is finally starting to look and feel better. I swear when it rains it pours. We were all so healthy during the winter and then we got nailed! Hopefully this is it for a very long time.

Yesterday I was feeling so miserable, but I wanted to eat something sweet, so I found a recipe for very easy cinnamon rolls. I made the dough in the breadmaker and then rolled it out, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and then let it rise. Then I cooked them and drizzled with glaze. SO YUMMY! They were a big hit with Mark and Peyton too. Liam wasn't interested for some reason, but hey more for us! I'll definitely be making these again!