Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not As Hard as You Think...

Photo credit:  not a hipster

Flour tortillas scare me.  Its not the carbs, or the white flour, or the fat, or even sodium.  No, no, what scares me about flour tortillas is actually trying to make them from scratch.  Which is a shame, for sure, because it really could not be simpler: flour, fat, water, salt, and maybe some baking powder.  That's it.

Some people will tell you that it doesn't matter if you know the ratio of ingredients, its having heart that makes a good tortilla.  Well, that's rubbish.  I just made them tonight, and I'm pretty much as Caucasian as they come (I'm from the corn fields of Kansas!) and nobody showed me how to put my heart into it, but they still came out just fine.  After years of crippling fear, I finally decided to at least give it a shot.  Maybe it was the 50 pound bag of flour sitting on my kitchen flour, or maybe it was the fact that we're all out of tortillas and we've been eating beans by the bowlful for the past two weeks, or maybe it was due to my husband talking about trying it.  Maybe it was a full moon, or something, but whatever it was, I'm glad it happened, because I can finally check "making your own flour tortillas" off my list of fears and move on with my life.  And I'm pretty sure you should, too.  I cannot stress how easy this was.  If you are a fan of tortillas and enjoy doing this sort of thing, please try it!  But watch out, because you might just want to start calling yourself abuelita or something, because you'll be whipping out flour tortillas at every meal just like David's Grandma Lucy was fabled to have done.  So many stories of how she could make tortillas like nobody's business.  I really wish I could have met her...

I opted for a recipe that uses vegetable oil in place of lard and it worked fabulously.  I found it on The Pioneer Woman's new recipe website, Tasty Kitchen.  So, here are three new things for you to do:

1) Visit
2) Visit
3) Try this recipe for flour tortillas

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking the Time-Out

My two year old daughter, Caiden, has been needing a lot of alone time lately.  Its a hard task, being so tiny, learning to speak English, having to depend on others, being the smallest, being so darn cute, wanting your own way, but not being able to get it.  So my baby tends to get really frustrated.  I understand, I do.  I really care that she is frustrated and we're teaching her how to communicate that.  But you know, Caiden, screaming and throwing yourself around is really not the answer.  So Caiden has been spending quite a bit of time on her bed, by herself.  And you know what?  I think she really likes it.

Sometimes when she starts to lose control of her emotions, I ask her, "Caiden, do you need a time out?  Do you need to go sit in your crib?"  Sometimes she ignores me and I have to pick her up and go put her in her bed and tell her to sit and calm down and to pray.  Other times she just says, "yes", and she goes and puts herself in time out.  Its quite extraordinary.

Usually, I go into her room to talk to her after its been a few minutes, but sometimes I just call her from the other room and sometimes she doesn't come out for a good long time.  She just sits quietly in her bed, having some peaceful time to herself.  When she's ready to come out she'll call for me, "Maaaaaaa-maaaaa, I praaaaa-aaaayed."  I'm beginning to think she really likes it in there.

It has been a really wonderful thing.  Its good for her to have some time to be calm, and when she's done, she's totally happy.  She's learning how to deal with hard and frustrating situations, we're able to maintain some relative peace and structure in the house, I can remain in control without losing my temper, she's receptive to be chastened, and everybody wins!  Its wonderful when you can find something, as a parent, that works for your family.  Hopefully it will last!

I feel like I always leave my posts with some application, so here's the application for today:  Take some time out for yourself.  Maybe you need a little time out to be by yourself and pray, or maybe your kids do.  Go ahead and try it; its kid tested and mother approved!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Colors of my Heart

We had an important mission.  It was very important indeed. You, see, we've been stuck here at home for so long, that Mama Bear needed some air.  And not just any kind of air, but fresh air--fresh air and purpose.  So we decided to get the camera and find some leaves.  The benefits would be two-fold.  First of all, we would be leaving the house (hooray!).  And second, we would be making something, doing something.  But actually, the benefits wound up to be many-folded (is that a word?).

We had fun! We got to walk around a bunch and climb on things.  We were able to have fun with Daddy...

We found some really cool leaves and some beautiful colors.

We went exploring.  We saw new things.

We tried new things.  We laughed a lot.

We got some cool pictures.

We found some stuff to take home and create art with.  We investigated our leaves to see what kind of tree they were from.  Mommy and Daddy got a refresher on chlorophyll and photosynthesis.  Did you know that the leaves already have the red, orange, yellow, or brown colors in them, but the green dominates the color you actually see?  It isn't until that process stops that the green is gone and the other colors are seen...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dos Manos

We've had some festivities around here...  But you knew that.  Caiden turned 2! And she had the most awesomely put together party we've done yet.  It was a dress up party, since she loves to dress up.  However she didn't want to dress up on her birthday.  But, its her party and she can cry if she wants to, right?  The party was a hit... Maybe next year we'll get the whole entertainment part down.  This year was mostly about set up.  We forgot to plan some other activites--besides looking at each others costumes, that is.

I'm not sure if you can tell, but I was Olive Oyl and David was Popeye.  Elliott was Peter Pan and Caiden was nothing, although she occasionally picked up other people's costume accouterments throughout the day and put them on...

I found the idea for a rice crispy treats cake from a special addition magazine at Barnes and Noble.  It was in the children's magazine section.  Mostly about parties I think.  I can't remember what it was called, but it was a good idea!

I made some fabric flags out of scraps from old pajamas and bridesmaids dresses and such.  I got the idea here, but I didn't get as fancy as all that.  I just cut out some triangles and then sewed them onto a long length of fabric to string them together.  And those paper swirly things were constructed out of old magazines...  pretty neat.  See the tutorial here at Zakka Life. (I cheated this time and used a stapler.)

Muchas Gracias to David and Robert for snapping photos of the affair...