Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"That woman could burn WATER!"

This was the "you're an awful cook" label we would always give to my sister as we were growing up.  She literally would forget about water on the stove for so long that it would burn...  I always thought myself above this kind of cooking faux pas.  That was until yesterday, when I finally made the dive...

Burning water is one thing.  Burning NOTHING is quite another!  Last night, as I was cooking dinner for my family, I absentmindedly put my vegetable steamer in the pot, put the vegetables in, put the lid on, and turned the burner on high.  My pot was on the stove for a while and I kept wondering why I wasn't seeing any steam.  So I moved the pot to the hottest burner, because every stove has one, you know.  And then--and I'm not really sure how--it finally occurred to me that I never put water in the bottom of the pot!  

So, dear sister, you are finally vindicated.  I did not do such a silly thing as burn water.  No longer can burning water be held as the ultimate cooking sin.  Oh no, for I have burnt...nothing. Yes, and not only did I burn 'nothing'.  I burnt nothing so bad that the bottom of my pot burnt right off of the rest of the pan.  That's right folks, I heard a pop and that sucker completely detached!

Oh well, there's nothing to do now except buy that new set of cookware that I have been pondering all these months...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Does this mean I'm a bad mother?

Elliott got so excited when he found the bell-shaped cutter and he
exclaimed, "Look! This is Taco Bell!" Not exactly my first thought
when I see a bell, but apparently it is his...

Rub it for luck!

What can be better than rubbing a little furry head full of tiny,
fuzzy new hair? (One of my favorite past-times...)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Obsessed with Ganache

So, as the titled clearly states, I have been obsessed with ganache, lately.  I had never made it until the other evening.  It is so simple and delicious!  Hhmmm... I love life's little discoveries.  Its funny how we put ourselves in these little boxes so often:  you go to the store, you buy the same cheese, the same bread, the same vegetables, the same fruit...but every once in a while, you make a new discovery!  And your new discovery becomes part of your little collection of things you do.  I guess that is just part of growing up.  I guess I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the past, lately.  Its only then that I realize how far I've come...

Anyway, back to ganache.  Glorious.  Okay, so ganache is basically chocolate pieces melted by heated cream.  It can be made for various purposes and with varying measurements.  (more chocolate than cream, equal amounts, more cream than chocolate)  Oh the possiblities!  Tonight we enjoyed this little tart you see in the photos.  It consisted of an espresso crust, coated with a layer of hardened chocolate, filled with chocolaty ganache and topped with caramelized chocolaty sugar.  We also had ganache last night.  A little bit less rich and used for dipping strawberries...  I was inspired and got most of my ideas or recipes for these from Chocolate and Zucchini and La Tartine Gourmande.

Go ahead.  I dare you.  Give ganache a try...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mr. Fix-It

Elliott...  You crack me up.  Today, I was pretty preoccupied.  I wasn't helping you get your cars un-wedged from the truck carrier.  So, being the smart and resourceful little boy that you are, you went into the kitchen (apparently you did, but I wasn't really paying attention) and came back--calm as calm can be--with a butter knife and unstuck them yourself.  

"Mom, I did.  I did it, Mom."

And even though I wasn't helping you or paying attention to you, my sweet little 3 year old who is growing up way to fast, you still wanted to share your triumph with me.  I love how you want me to be the witness to your life.  I love that I get to be that for you, at least for a while, until you "get big, like Daddy" and move away and start your own life.  How is that even possible that that could happen, little Elliott.  You are my baby.  You are my life.

What could be more important, right now, than paying attention to you?

Monday, April 21, 2008

1st joint ride

Look-out Letters

Today is consisting of pajamas, fingerpaints, and letters. Elliott
loves getting mail, but he also likes to send it. If your name starts
with grampa, look out... A piece of art might be coming your way...

Oh, and hidden behind the letters is my free trial subscription to Kind of nice to rent movies for free.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Soccer Anyone?

Well, maybe not soccer exactly, but David did make me a new header for my blog...  Thanks, Dave.  He's the best!  Cool right?  Oh, and fans of Nina A., check out her sweet new blog.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Escalante Update

Dear Reader,

So much has been going on with us these past couple of weeks, so I thought I would get right down to it and let you know how and what we are doing.

First, Caiden Keats (6 month wonder) has starting crawling.  Following along in her brother's footsteps, it you will, this darling monster has officially been let loose on the world.  Oh how I was hoping for a calm mellow child who would frolic about my skirt, but alas, I was blessed with what can only be classified as tornado number 4 (Her father, uncle, and brother being 1, 2, and 3 respectively).  

Gray Gatlin has a wager going that she will be walking by 8 
months and I'm not so sure I would wager against him.  Caiden can sit up, crawl, and pull herself up on her feet by holding on to things, not to mention that she can also get up on her feet from the floor itself although she can't straighten up from that position, yet.

News number 2.  Although not nearly exciting, Elliott has gotten another haircut, which is quite an accomplishment for me.  I'm not the best at keeping up with those things.  In fact, his last fabulous haircut had grown out into almost a fashionable (if that is possible) mullet.  Kind of cute, but it was time.  Nobody cuts hair like Candance and unfortunately it couldn't wait until our next trip down to Orange County in May.  Here are the results...  It will work...

What was all of my other news?  Oh, yes.  Auntie Allison paid us a very pleasant visit this past week.  It was so awesome to have her around.  We had a lot of fun doing nothing, watching movies, making not so great cookies, oh! and she curled my hair with a flat iron, which is my new favorite thing to do.  You have to love Allison because she has the best laug
h in world and is always eager to do it.  Sweet, beautiful, godly, and an amazing set of pipes, what more could you want?  (Sorry, fellas.  She's already taken.)

In other news...  Elliott has some new photos up in his online photo journal for you to check out.  He's getting quite good and really improving...  Don't you agree?  Check out his gallery and let me know in the comments.

Church update:  The church is finally moving to its new location on Fifth St., which is so amazing and an answer to prayer.  For those of you praying for us while we're here ministering in Santa Rosa, we have been meeting at a elementary school that we rent for Sundays and then for our midweek Bible Study on Wednesdays, we meet at a church member's house.  The school location is kind of out of the way and its hard to explain how to get there.  But now, the Lord has provided this amazing, store-front location that is right in the middle of the city.   We get the whole place and its not just on Sundays...  Its our very own church building.  Praise the Lord.  This Sunday will be our first at the new building.  This week a lot of work is trying to be done to get ready for the move.
Well, that's all I can think of so...
Ta Ta For Now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Certified Ragamuffin

This picture is just a small taste of what I and my troupe looked like as I dragged them in for a last minute-hurry to get there before they go to lunch-doctor's check.  Caiden has not been feeling well, and although her well-baby check up is tomorrow, I was just convinced that she had an ear infection.  So, I called and they said, "Hurry.  And I mean, hurry.  It's 11:30 and you need to get here before 11:45."  if I wanted to get her checked out.  So...  In went Caiden into her carseat (up-chucked on pajamas and all), on went Elliott's boots (still in his pajamas), on went my sweater (still in MY pajamas, bra-less and all), out we all went to the car, raced 2 blocks down the street (I am fortunate enough to live close to just about everything), and found a parking spot around the corner from the office.  Out I jumped, out came Elliott.  

"Go stand on the sidewalk!"

Out came Caiden. 

Carrying Caiden in my arm and diaper bag and purse over the other arm.  I hurry down the sidewalk and around the corner, spurring Elliott on with shouts of, "Run, run!  Hurry!  Keep going! Come on..."  In we all go into the building...

Down, down, down went my self image as I came, harried, into public with sleep swept hair, un-showered person, un-brushed teeth, pajamas, and dirty, pajama-ed kids. 

But we made it!  Oh yes, we made it all right.  And you know what the verdict was?  

Fine.  She's fine.  SHE IS FINE.   gggrrr...

dirty, sweaty, embarrassed, and 15 dollars later, the three of us tromp back out the office, down the street, and around the corner, pile BACK into the car, back down the street, and back home.

And guess what...  Tomorrow we will be back.  Back to the doctor's office for Caiden's REAL checkup...  Which we will still have to pay for.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Being a mom means...

                                                      photo by Robert Escalante
Some people say that being a mother is one of life's highest callings.  That may be true, but I would just like to share with you some of the things that being a mother means to me--for this week, at least.

1.  You get to have spit-up and snot smudges on your t-shirts (especially black ones) and then forget about it and go out in public looking unkempt and dirty.

2.  You walk around all day with silly songs stuck in your head such as "Jimmy Crack Corn," "Down by the Bay," and various other songs including, but not limited to, songs from silly kids shows such as "The Backyardigans."

3.  You hear that ever-so-precious term of endearment, "mom", over and over and OVER again more times than you care to recall, taking a once cute and endearing term, to a whole new level that drives you to near insanity, because it is used in more of a whiny drawl and drawn out version that slightly resembles an ambulance or other sort of emergency vehicle.

4.  You get to experience that touching, mother-baby bonding sensation of being a human vending machine that is open for business at all hours of the night and day.

5.  You have an extremely likely chance of having indigestion at every meal--especially dinner.  Where your "little dinosaur" won't eat any food, keeps getting up and down from the table, reaches over the table, whines, knocks stuff over, and is generally rowdy.  Not to mention the screaming baby you are holding on your knee in one arm, while trying to eat a taco that all of the fillings keep falling out of with the other hand.

6.  Finally, at the end of the day, when you are finally in bed with some time of your own to spend with your spouse, the little boogers wake up and come climbing into your bed and you get a vague recollection of that song that goes, "There were ten in the bed and the little one said, 'Roll over. Roll over.'  And you're pretty sure, they must have written that song about you.

7.  You find an insatiable need to crawl to the feet of the Lord and beg for wisdom, guidance, strength, peace, and joy.  And you find all of those things and more, when you do come.  

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one's youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.
They shall not be ashamed,
But should speak with their enemies in the gate."
Psalm 127