Sunday, November 23, 2008

Panettone - Attempt #1

I made my first attempt at Panettone today. I made the dough last night, which took all of 10 minutes. I let it rise and put it in the fridge overnight, and baked the first loaf this morning. It turned out pretty good. The loaf was pretty and baking it made the house smell like a doughnut shop, yum!

Embry loved it... she would barely wait until I took this picture before she took a huge bite out of the piece that I cut for the photo.

How did I like it? That's a little more complicated. For anyone who doesn't know, before I moved to MO, I worked at a Williams-Sonoma store for 5 years. My absolute favorite thing in the whole store was the huge 2 pound panettone, $32! each. I would buy at least 3 per holiday season (with my discount of course). I looked forward to it all year round. So, my standards were very high, yet I knew the one I made would never come close. So, even though it was not the same, I was not disappointed. It was very good. And I will continue to make it, and try to tweak the recipe to make it better. Thanks Ginny! for such a great book!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weekly Update

Around the House: The house is still filled with sick people, so there's not much going on. I am taking the kids for try #2 at getting some Christmas pictures taken. We tried to get them taken last week at JCPenneys, but after waiting 40 minutes past our appointment time, the "photographer" (and I use that term loosely, better is "the lady with the camera") rushed us in and out in less than 5 minutes and didn't get a single good picture of either kid. So, I didn't order any prints and I didn't reschedule. I'm taking them to Sears this time, and I made sure that there weren't 10 other appointments for the same time. So, hopefully we won't be so tired and rushed this time. I can get great pictures of them separately. The challenge is to get them to sit still together.

In the Kitchen: Sick or not, I am making pannetoni dough this weekend. I'm using the recipe out of my new bread book and I plan to take a couple of loaves up to my Mom's house for Thanksgiving. Hopefully I won't forget to take a picture before it all gets eaten.

New with Embry: Embry was invited to her first birthday party last Saturday for a boy in her class. The party was at a gym and was lots of fun. The parents rented out a huge area in the gym and there were organized games for the kids like parachute and scooter races. Then they all went swimming, and had pizza and cake. Embry was one of the youngest ones there and it took her a little while to get into the games, but then she had a blast. She actually ate her pizza, and a slice of green "Hulk" cake. It was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

New with Matthew: Still not walking on his own yet. Still standing on his own for ridiculous lengths of time. How long is an episode of "Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!"? I'm not sure what technique he's going for, but his balance is great.

I am Grateful For: Thursdays. Thursdays are my day when I don't have any errands to run, any phone calls to make, any laundry to do, or any large cleaning projects. It's as close to a day off as I get. So, I spent naptime today going through the mountain of catalogs that have accumulated over the last week. I love catalogs, but I do get A LOT of them in the 2 weeks before and after Thanksgiving.

The Weather Outside: When Embry and I stepped outside after the birthday party it was snowing. Nothing accumulated, but it was still exciting for both of us. More scattered flurries are expected tonight.

I am Obsessing About: Finishing my Christmas shopping. I only have 2 people left and they are the same 2 people I always put off until last. I know I still have plenty of time, but I like to spend the last few weeks before Christmas cooking, not shopping.

Here's some cute pictures of the kids wrestling in the front room.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Three More Videos

Here's 3 more vids we shot just a couple of days ago. The first one is Matthew "walking" holding onto me and the others are Embry performing for the camera again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lost Videos

I got out the video camera last night and found a few random clips of the kids playing that I shot a month or so ago. Nothing significant, but I know Grandparents would like me to post them anyway. These first few are of Matthew playing with his new favorite toy, a $1 plastic ball from the grocery store. Embry is doing some of her favorite things, pretending to be Matthew, and watching herself in the camera as I am filming. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Update

Around the house: Our house is the sick house this week. Matthew has a miserable cold, and he has graciously shared it with me just as I am finishing my third round of antibiotics for Strep that seems to never quite go away. Embry has not caught his cold yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time. So, you may ask why am I posting to my blog during Matthew's nap when I could be sleeping? Well, after trying for two weeks to get an appointment with a electrician to inspect our basement, they are finally coming today. Of course, it may be anytime between 8am and 1pm. So, I am staying awake in case he decides to show up this morning. But I am betting that he will show between 11am and noon when I am picking up Embry from school. Ok, enough complaining.

In the kitchen: Too tired to cook. We've been eating leftovers, frozen pizza and eggs for dinner.

New with Embry: Embry has been more and more forthcoming about what she does at school. Yesterday, one of the student's parent is a glassblower and he did demonstrations for all of the classes. I asked Embry about it and she said, "A guy came to school. He got some glass very hot and it turned into liquid. Then he made it into shapes." She's even been telling me what they ate for a snack everyday.

New with Matthew: Matthew has reached an emotional milestone. It used to be that he was easily distracted when Embry would take something away from him. But a couple of weeks ago, she did just that. Matthew whined at first, but when she didn't give it back he reached over, grabbed a handful of hair and pulled hard. It didn't have exactly the desired effect, (Embry yelled and ran over to me for sympathy) but it was definitely a breakthrough for him to stand up for himself like that. Embry still takes things away from him occasionally, but now he definitely makes his feelings about it known.

I am grateful for: So many things lately...3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, a husband who will stay up in the middle of the night to comfort a congested baby, a patient and understanding big sister, Steak-n-Shake, Dancing with the Stars.

The weather outside: Last Friday I opened the front door and decided it was winter. The sky was grey, the trees are bare, it was cold and it smelled like snow. We haven't got any snow yet, but I am looking forward to it...(no I'm not crazy, I've just been living in Alabama for the last 6 years and have been deprived of winter.)

I'm obsessing about: De-cluttering the house. The Holidays bring lots of stuff into the house, so every year I try to get rid of or store anything that's sitting around that we are not using everyday. Room by room I make space for all of the new stuff that will be coming in.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat

For the first time in many years I did not carve my own pumpkin. I had every intention of doing one. We even cut the tops off and emptied all the seeds and stuff out of our two pumpkins.

But my third bout of Strep in 2 months sort of took up all of our free time at the end of last week. I did, however, get to carve Embry's pumpkin to her exact specifications - round eyes, upside-down triangle nose, smiling mouth with two teeth.

And she picked out the face for Matthew's pumpkin.

Then on Friday we put Embry into her dragon costume and headed off to a nice neighborhood near Embry's school. We put Matthew in the stroller and all four of us went Trick-or-Treating. Embry was much more enthusiastic this year. I barely had to remind her to ring the doorbell, say "trick-or-treat," or "thank you." And I really didn't have to remind her to take a piece of candy. Most people insisted on 2 or 3 pieces and some houses gave out small bags full of candy, so even though we turned back early (Matthew got cranky) she had a pretty big haul. Still, I felt bad that we were only out for about 30 minutes, so J put Matthew to bed and I walked Embry down our street for a little more fun. By the time we got home there weren't very many kids out anymore, so we only got 2 trick-or-treaters at our house. I guess I'll bag up the candy I bought and save it for next year. All in all it was a pretty good night.