Sunday, September 11, 2011

A New Era

Ryan starts Kindergarten tomorrow. Gone are the mornings of sleeping in, watching cartoons, and eating cereal. Now we have to tackle breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, and getting out the door and to school all before nine in the morning. For me this will be nothing short of a miracle. Having totally grown accustomed to my work schedule, it's not uncommon for me to go to bed at two am, get up with Ryan five hours later, pour the cereal, and go back to bed for a little bit. How I am supposed to actually get up and function, I have no idea. And drive too. Since we are in the "walking zone" there is no bus to pick him up in the morning.
Given that I can accomplish the huge feat of actually getting him to school....what then? Three hours every day of peace and silence. Three hours of opportunity. For the first time in five years there will be a consistent, daily block of time that is all mine. Completely empty time. To be filled however I want, with whatever I want. A new era. How strange. I think Kindergarten will be as much of an adjustment for me as it will be for Ryan.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Easy Artisan Bread

I saw a post for this bread on one of my favorite blogs, Frugal Living NW. It looked so easy I had to try it. Here's how it went.
Easy Artisan Bread
yields 3 loaves

3 cups luke warm water
1.5 Tbsp active dry yeast
1.5 Tbsp coarse salt or Kosher salt, or 1 Tbsp regular salt
6.5 cups all purpose flour (I used half white flour, half wheat flour)

1. Dump all 4 ingredients into a large container. The instructions suggested a large ice cream container since it has a lid and you'll need to punch holes in the lid later. I just so happened to have a spare one of these hanging out in the cupboard, so voila! Using a wooden spoon mix it all together really well until the flour is all mixed in.

2. Put the lid on (with holes punched in for gas expansion) and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 hours. Pretty easy so far, right?

This is what it will look like at the end of the 2 hours. It will have expanded to fill the container and will look nice and bubbly.

3. Shape the dough into three loaves. Make sure your hands are well floured or else you will become one with the dough. Each loaf should be about the size of a grapefruit and nice and smooth.

At this point you can wrap the other two loaves and stick them in the fridge for 1 to 3 days or freeze them for later. I didn't have foil to wrap them so I wrapped them in parchment paper.

4. Using a serrated knife, slash the top a few times. Place the loaf on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and let it "rest" for 40 minutes. For an added artisan look you can roll the bottom of the loaf in cornmeal.

Place a shallow pan (like a cake) pan in the oven and fill it with water to create steam. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes until the outside is golden brown and it sounds hollow when you tap on it.

And there you have it. Homemade bread in four steps. If you want to see the post I read to get the instructions go here.

If you want more bread recipes like this one, check out the book at

In the meantime, enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Which one you wanna pick?

So for a while now we've been working on choices. I give Ryan two choices, both of which I can live with, and he picks the one he wants. This way, he does something I want him to do while at the same time giving him the sense that he has some control over the circumstance. For example, "Okay Ryan, you can brush your teeth and then pick your jammies, or you can pick your jammies and then brush your teeth. Which one do you want to pick?" This way he has a choice but in the end is still brushing and picking jammies.
I have also started on the idea of "chores." Before I go to work I tell Jason and Ryan that they have "chores" for the night. It goes something like this. "Okay guys I'm leaving now. Here are your chores for tonight. First, finish dinner. Second, put your dishes in the sink. Third, put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket." Then I'm off to work. Getting chores done before Mommy gets home seems to be good motivation for them to do stuff.
This afternoon Ryan presented me with a strange mix of these two concepts. Here it was.
"Okay Mommy. You have five chores. Number one, you work and I go to Dylan's and play. Number two, I go to Dylan's to do chores. Number three, I go to Dylan's and do some work. Number four, I go to Dylan's and do some more work. Number five, I go to Dylan's and do some more work again. Okay. Which one you wanna pick?