Thursday, December 27, 2012

When You've got a good thing going, don't go changing it...

Tried a new chocolate chip cookie recipe... I have been using the same one for the last 10 years. I got it from a friend in High School.
I lost it while we were moving.

Oh, no big deal right? It's just a cookie recipe.. sugar, butter, salt, eggs, flour vanilla... little baking soda... they're all the same.

Apparently not.

I thought if I cooked the second batch longer maybe they would flatten out. They did... and my house stunk like burned cookie for DAYS!

Now if you will excuse me I am going to go put a plea out on Facebook and hope my friend takes pity (and still has his recipe).

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gluten Free (for people who aren't): Creamed Potatoes with Peas and Ham

Today is my husband's birthday so in his honor I am writing a post about the thing I make he hates most* :) Not actually on purpose, it's just the way it worked out. To follow that up, you should know, he despises peas... so obviously this would not be his favorite thing I make since that is like 1/3 of what this is...

I love this dish. It is a childhood favorite. When I make it I feel close to my mother. It is the first from scratch thing (after bread) she taught me to make. However, her's was more soupy and not GF. I believe I have improved it. It is quick, hearty, cheap and when you taste it you won't be thinking, "Great... gluten free..."  You will be thinking, "Delicious!" Unless your name is Cori Alcorn, in which case you will muscle through by thinking, "I love my wife, I love my wife, I love my wife..."

You will need:

A big pot.

2 Medium Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes per adult (1/child)
Chunk them (between quarters and sixths depending on size)
Steam  or boil them, which ever you prefer. If you boil, remember to drain them. Note: I do not peel my potatoes, but you can if you'd like.

While they are steaming cube some ham, I'd say 1/4 - 1/3 cup per person. Set aside.

Add 1/2 cup milk per potato.(Do not, I repeat DO NOT use skim... it will be nasty nasty nasty. Whole is best. 2% works also well. I don't buy 1% so I don't know...)  
Add a 1/2 cup of cream optional (just one).
Mash liquid and potatoes up in your big pot on medium to medium low heat (it will scald easily if you go higher than that). Once your potatoes and milk have reaches the texture you desire, add 1/2 tsp pepper, your ham and frozen peas (I'd do about 1/4 cup per person...)
When your peas have warmed through turn off the heat and let it rest.

You may notice that we have not added any salt. That is because ham is very very salty. I like to let this sit with a lid for 20 -30 minutes on the stove before I add any salt because the flavor will change as the potatoes and ham soak together. It has been my experience that even for a very large pot you will only need to add a few shakes of salt. If you make this a day ahead and stick it in the fridge over night, you probably won't need to add any.

Once it's rested taste it, season to taste. If you'd like you may add 1/2 tsp of onion powder.

Serve warm. Enjoy.

Vegetarian version: Skip the ham, salt the soup. Delicious.

*For the record, I did not make this for his birthday dinner. I am making chef salad with boiled eggs and cold ham, just as he requested... which coincidentally is also Gluten Free.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Reliving the past

18 children and 8 adults in an elementary school were murdered in a small town in Connecticut this morning.
Havah is in her classroom right now. I know some parents feel afraid for their children. I don't feel worried for her safety, but I do feel worried for their hearts and minds being exposed so the knowledge of such evil existing.

I remember Columbine, 9/11, the (ongoing) wars in Afganistan and Iraq, Virginia Tech, and many other, smaller, but not less offensive violet attacks...

Today though, I choose to read only. To read and protect them from the videos streaming the violence and agony that are being exploited for profit today.

I choose to read the information, pray and continue, with gratitude for the safety of my family, with our day.
I choose not to relive the times of fear, but to relive times of innocence and joy.

This is the rocking chair my Grandpa Eliason build and my Gramee Eliason painted.  I love watching my kids recreating happy memories from my own childhood. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

EW! Yuck! Adventures of a little brother: Poop

Yesterday was fun. We had pizza and ate cake and candy and I got a hat  and a pen and a book from Nana and Papa and I had a turn too hitting a blue thing with a stick and then balloons came out of it and candy and glow stuff. Wow! 
Then mom said I had to get my diaper changed. 
That is not fun. 
Except when mom looks for my button and asks me if these are my knees.
That is funny and tickles. 
And when I play Boo with my legs and mom says, "Don't do that! You'll PEE on ME!!" 
That is VERY funny.
When Mom was changing my diaper I needed to make more poopoo. Mom told me, "Quick! Run to the potty!" So I did, and Mom put me on the potty and then know what? 

I POOPOOED! and it went in the POTTY! 

Have you ever done that? It is so cool! 
It goes splash and then everyone says YEAH! GOOD JOB! YOU DID IT!
And we do a lot of Fives! Elbows! Noggin's! Kisses! DUDE! 
I like that.
I want to do it all the time, but mom says only sometimes we need to put poopoos in the potty because my buns are to small to sit on the potty by myself. 
Oh well. 
Someday I want to do it all the time and wear panties like Fav J and Lul, but mom says no, I wear underwear because I'm a boy. 
That's okay, they can be blue. I like blue.

My house is a mess.

And on some kind of mental level it is AWESOME because this is the first time in the last two months that my house, (in Spokane or Kuna) has been messy just because we live here. It's not messy because there are boxes (those are hiding in the office and don't count) it's just messy because we live here. It's messy because we did peanut butter play dough and Gideon thinks all the candy canes on the tree are his, and we had a birthday party and it's laundry day...

I love that kind of mess.

I will pick up before Cori gets home because he does not love that kind of mess, it makes him feel crazy. But for right now this second, I am leaving it alone and making chili instead, because it's snowing outside and I have a big loaf of sourdough sitting in my "pantry" (tiny cupboard) that is just screaming for some sweet chili to go with it.

Happy Wednesday to you!!

By the way, if you are doing at 12 days of Christmas thing tomorrow is the first night- so don't forget. I only write that because I always do, and this year I remembered. (or tonight if you don't want to deliver on Christmas Eve)

Monday, December 10, 2012


Tomorrow my first baby is 6 (I typed 5 and 4 before I got it right... tells you how prepared I am for this). She lost her first top tooth yesterday.
She goes to school full days 5 days a week.
She rides a two wheeler... (she's done that for a while now.)
She can read and write.
She is funny.
She is nervous and shy sometimes.
She is a fast runner.
She is an artist.

Tonight while Gideon slept on my lap by the Christmas tree, we talked about the confused feelings mom's have. I told her how excited I am she is going to be six tomorrow, but how sometimes I wish she was 3 or 2 or 1 or brand new... (I never wish she was 4... ever ever...) I told her how I want to have a great time with her while she is six, but how sometimes I imagine what she will be like when she is 8 or 15 or 20 or a mom... and how we will be great friends when she is a grown up and how excited I am for that time. Such funny mixed up feelings. 

Havah, someday when you are older and you read this, know how grateful Dad and I are that you are ours. Know how awesome you are. Know how everyday you have been ours we have marveled at your mind and your spirit and your body as you grow and grow. Know how we love you. Know how you've changed us and streched us (me quite litterally, haha). You came to us so good. Know that you are a daughter of God who makes our love look entirely inconsequential, and that He sent you to parents that want nothing more that you fill your heart and your head with the joy of doing good, serving others and doing what is right no matter what. 

We love you Havah J. So dearly there are not words. Happy Birthday.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

So, life in Spokane.

It is late. We had a great night visiting with family... hopefully Havah won't be totally beat in the morning.

Here are a few things that are going on here in Spokane:

We got a washer and dryer in our 'Laundry room'... I am sorry I EVER complained about the size of my laundry room in Kuna... Do you see the dryer door? Do you see the wall? Do you see the sink... I repent I repent I repent... How ungrateful I was... And how grateful after two weeks going to the laundry mat that I have these in my home, however squishy it is...

We got our CHRISTMAS TREE!!! He is a little guy, different than the trees we've had the last few years, but he fits our cozy room perfectly. And since I don't live close to friends with huge ladders (or at least I haven't met new ones yet) the fact he is just a couple inches taller than me is perfect. I am grateful for a home that smells like the forest.

We went to church this morning and it was clear... left to an inch of snow. How fun! First snow of the season! It is so cold here... wow! Lilly and I had a good time 'shoveling'  the snow (read scraping the walks).

 Here is a big one! Havah lost her first TOP tooth... Now she has an awesome lisp. She is so excited! 
Gid has also started calling her, 'Fav J', totally adorable (I call her Havah J a lot).

Lilly, Gid and I have been having a blast at home during the day while Havah and Cori are gone.

Sept for all the times the last two weeks we've been in the car at nap time... we did better on week two, but I think there is still some room for improvement. We need our down time.

We found a couch for $20 on craigslist. It's nothing special, but it works well in our little front room. 

This awesome little park is right behind Havah's school. We went there twice, but it's really cold now... we need to do better at getting out there even though everyone is freezing.

End of the Second First Day of school. She loves her teacher and is making friends. All day every day school is pretty exhausting though, by Fridays she is pooped! We are going to work on a better after school routine this week to see if we can help her unwind and recoup. 

I am excited to live in this place. I am really enjoying living in the city, something I never though I would enjoy, but I love being close to everything. We have found a lot of fun spots to eat and met new people and there are so many cool parks here. I am excited to see what else this place holds for us.