Saturday, March 3, 2012

Homemade Wheat & Rye Beer Bread

 I am a fan of bread. I won't lie , I would LOVE to go primal but things like this just keep me from giving it a go!!   I made this earlier today and so far it has been a hit. The picky 5 yr old ate it , the 1 yr old ate it and the dog - well she eats anything!     

What you will need:
2 cups rye flour
  • 1 1/2 cups room temperature beer ( this would be 12 oz - and I used Yuengling Black & Tan)

  • 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons shortening

  • 1 egg

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour.

  • Directions
    1. Combine rye flour, beer, and yeast in a large bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Set out overnight. Do not refrigerate.       
    This is what it looked like this morning after sitting overnight. 

       2.The next day, add sugar, salt, shortening, and egg; beat with mixer until smooth. Add enough wheat flour to make a soft dough. ( I used all 3 cups - there was just a very very small amount left in the bowl)  AND this is what it looked like when it was ready for the next step. 

       3.Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, approximately 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, and turn to oil the surface of the dough. Let rise in warm place about 1 hour, or until doubled.                This is the bread kneaded
    And after rising for an hour

           4.Punch down dough, and divide in half. Shape into round or oblong loaves, and place on greased baking sheets sprinkled with flour. Let rise for 30 minutes.        

    I forgot to get a picture after they were done rising - HOWEVER  this is the finished product. I am sure I could have gotten them slightly prettier , but they taste great!! 

    If you decide to make some , let me know how it turned out and what you think!!!!

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Happy February!!! Now get cracking on that to do list.

    It is now February , and while this time a couple years ago there was snow on the ground and we were getting ready for snowmageddon. This year we have had a few dustings and thats it. Other than of course the one "decent" snow we had in October.  I think Old Man Winter decided to move out west this year . I'm not sure if I am happy about this or not but at this point it either needs to snow already OR warm up!

     Valentines day is fast approaching and of course my 5 yr old loves to remind me of this daily since he wants me to plan special snacks for his class and help him with some "super special valentimes" (as he calls them). SO if one of te few of you reading this has some ideas for some cute ones to make let me know or I can just go searching Pinterest. ( I love that site!!)  Needless to say we will be adding more to moms growing to - do list with this "holiday" coming up.  Call me crazy , call me bitter but I'm not looking forward to it AT ALL this year. Maybe its because my awesome husband is out of the country right now who knows. BUT I am going to make it fun for the kids!!

    Speaking of to do lists- I'm working on my big household to do list slowly yet surely. We finally got rid of the horrid blue couches( anyone who knows them knows what I mean by horrid) , I got the living room , downstairs hall way , stairway , upstairs hall way - oh hell , I got everything but the kitchen and bathroom painted ( it desprately needed it - the living room was supposed to be a tan color that came out peach *panic* and everything else was flat white - that obviously was NOT working).  I have 46 sq feet of the kitchen floor redone .  46sq ft you ask? Well you see I jumped the gun, and bought a box of flooring at the same time I bought the paint instead of waiting like I was supposed to do. HOWEVER that *should* be getting fixed late this week hopefully.

    Once that gets done I will just have alot of organizing to do ( small space with no storage = nightmare and hubby isnt huge in ikea storage so I get to be VERY creative )  THEN I get to take my project madness outside. I really would like something in the flower bed this year out front instead of weeds and cat poop from the neighbor's cats. ( anyone have a good idea to keep cats out? ) I'm sure someone may argue that it is fertilizer but being as cats are carnivores -  not so much from what I've read and well its gross. I'm pretty sure they wouldnt appreciate me letting my 90lb German Shepherd use the bathroom right next to their front door.  

    SO  While I have no coherant thoughts this evening - I will leave on this note : Long-ish post made short :     It needs to snow or warm up ( I would love a foot of snow starting next tuesday , last for a while then warm up into a nice gorgeous spring!) - I need ideas for cute valentines my 5 yr old can help me make ( I already have some ideas for a surprise my 8 yr old will be making) AND  I need ideas to keep cats out of my flower bed so I dont have to worry about cat poop in my flowers I'm going to try to plant!!!!!  

    Wednesday, December 7, 2011

    Happy Holidays!

     First off I would like to say Happy Holidays to anyone who may or may not be reading this!!!! So far it honestly does NOT feel like December in Virginia. Its currently in the mid 50's and raining. We had snow so far once this year and that was before Halloween go figure!!    Go figure my first post in forever will be a Debbie Downer one -   We found a tumor on our dog last week , and she had it removed yesterday. We are currently waiting for the rest of the labs to come back and sadly things are not looking good for her but we will take things as they come and enjoy her smashing around the house in her "cone of shame" for now!  So please pet owners - take care of your fur critters , groom them regularly and if things come up call your vet! This came on very fast it was not there last tuesday when she was groomed and was the size of a ping pong ball by Thursday - we are hoping that its something simple and that we will be able to amputate her tail and be done. just imagine a German Shepherd with no tail ( its amusing).

    Meanwhile in good news : the littles are doing great. The Mancub has started kindergarten this year and absoloutely LOVES it!  The Drama is doing great and the ninja baby turns one in just over a week - where oh where does time fly?   Once things mellow out I'm hoping to get more crafting done and finish up the massive to do list for the holiday season!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    I'm Alive!!

    So in true horrible blogger fashion I disappeared for a while! Life happened and things got crazy there for quite a while , however things are on the upswing again!   So I plaon on doing the quick updates on whats been going on AND then I'll update on a normal basis finally!!

    Lillian had her ABR , the results at first were exactly as we had expected - nothing , there was just no response. The audioloist pulled the tubes out and behold on BOTH tubes on the ends there was soemthing clogging each one (insert shocked face here) she said it could have been any number of things but that we should prbably do it again because obviously nothing was getting down in there. She did it again and *drumroll please*    Lillian heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   there were a few pitches that were not within normal limits but they may or may not come to her in time we will have to have her tested again. The first 2 days afterward were acctually rather miserable anything above a high whisper had the poor girl crying hysterically , I called the audiologist and our dr and both said more than likely it was a bit of sensory overload but that it would get better and my goodness it has.  We also found out she has abnormal curvatures in both ears so she more than likely will never be able to pass the OAE testing but we are ok with that. No matter what the results would have been we would have been ok with them.I'm also not going to lie - we are THRILLED she can hear.   

    On to my other princess - Miss Haley!!  Miss Haley has just finished her school year , and had a good last week of school. I can not believe how time flies! It seems like yesterday she was Lillians age , and now I'm just wondering where my baby went! She manages to amaze me daily , in so many ways. I am very very blessed that her stepmother and I have a wonderful relationship and I get pictures almost daily and updates when she is not here. She will be up here for the summer this weekend and I can not WAIT!!! She is pretty excited to be going into 3rd grade in the fall , and already told me this summer she wants lots of bike riding , book reading and animals. The girl LOVES animals , and honestly is smarter than i am when it comes to most of them. Nothing like seeign a commercial and having your 8 yr old pipe up with " hey that cant happen those animals dont live there they live ( insert place here) "  She is wonderful! and SO grown up now!!!

    The Mancub Lucas - oh my my what a handful he is!!! He turned 5 in April and apparently that makes him a grown up! He "graduated" from preschool back in May , it was an adorable event all the way around. There is always the one kid who runs up the aisle straight to the teacher for a hug because they dont like the crowd , then there is the one kid who walks down struttin- I'll let you guess which one he was LOL . He has also gotten into the transformers and building phase - I am pretty sure that at any given point in time we can find a lego or transformer creation somewhere in the house. He has also entered the whiniest phase of his life so far, I am really hoping he outgrows this by the time school starts, otherwise I'm sure I will be at the school a few times a week to pick him up early and I would really rather not!!! However he has also gotten into a very helpful phase , be it feeding teh dog or playing with the baby long enough for me to get dishes done or even better - finish a though! I love it. and I love my little man!  and here is Mr Cool  himself getting ready to head off to his graduation!

    The dog is still the dog , barks at random stuff , is always laying just where we want to walk and snoring. Micaiah however is now officially licensed as an EMT in the state of Va - I couldnt be prouder of him!! He also has a newjob that has him commuting like crazy, job isnt bad at all just the drive. I could really do without the up by 3:30 and out the door by 4:30 to be at work! We have talked about moving closer down to work at some point , we will be waiting to see what happens since the cost of housing gets so much higher down there but I have a feeling it will even out since the drive wont be nearly as far or as long!!

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    WHAT kind of diapers ARE those???

    What kind of diapers ARE those? This question was asked of us Friday evening by a friend of my sister in law. We had gone down to my father in law's house about an hour-ish away for an early birthday cook out for him and my sister in law ( they share a birthday) , and a friend of hers was there. Time came to change the baby and she had no clue what we were putting on our poor kid! So I told her " oh they are cloth diapers" she looked puzzled and replied with " but there are no pins and it looks like she wont leak through them?!"   Thats right cloth diapers are no longer what our parents and grandparents used. Actually they are rather easy to use , less expensive than disposable( in the long run) , better for baby and better for the planet ( if you are into that kind of thing) oh and they can also be really stinkin cute! ( see photo below!)

    How did we first find out about cloth diapers? I'll tell you, Lucas was normally a very happy baby , however when he hit about 6 months old he started getting these really weird diaper rashes- we took him to the dr they said oh its just a little diaper rash keep the desitin and frequent changes up it should clear up , then it was yeast , then it was something else , we had countless dr appts and countless otc and rx diaper creams we went through until Lucas was about 15 months old. At that time we had switched doctors ( thankfully - we now have a WONDERFUL dr) and the first time we went in for an appointment about this never ending horrific rash our poor baby had he took one look and said " well its not really a rash as much as it is an allergic reaction and looks like chemical burns"  WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Dr did some labs that day in the office and recommended we switch to cloth diapers , at first I was confused about pins and plastic pants ( and scared I did have a rather active toddler!) and he explained that they had changed and ended up giving us our first 3 "pocket" diapers- I was in love found some online and got to ordering. Meanwhile within a week that rash had cleared up and NEVER came back- turns out our son was allergic to some of the ingredients used to make disposable diapers. So we made the switch to cloth.

    Now some people may be freaked out at the idea of poop going in the washer - however it really doesn't I'm sure at one point or another any parent has dealt with a "diaper blow out" poop on the clothes yes its gross but hey poop happens! Well the thing with cloth is the poop gets dumped into the toilet- or rinsed before it goes to the wash. NOTHING different from disposables. Yes with disposable diapers you ARE in fact supposed to flush the "solid waste" in the toilet!  ( It says so on most packages!) So really its nothing worse than what goes in your washer anyway , and if you follow proper washing instructions the heat from the water and heat in the dryer sanitizes the diapers.

    So when we found out we were expecting again ( surprise!!!) we made the choice early on - we were using cloth diapers no questions about it. Cost difference is amazing , and its healthier the reasons go on and on. Now I will say - cloth diapering is NOT for everyone , its a choice that one makes for themselves. Same thing can be said for breastfeeding , different parenting styles etc.

     Now types of cloth diapers out there - There are prefolds and flats ( similar to what most people think of when they hear cloth diaper) that can be pinned or "snappied" , used with various types of covers or that just lay in a cover.  There are also contours  again used with covers , fitteds that are used with covers, there are also pocket diapers - that come with a pocket in them that you stuff an insert in that basically have a built in cover ( love these!), there are also All In One ( or AIO) diapers that you just put on and go no stuffing , pinning or covers, and All In Two diapers , that are pretty much the same as AIO's but have an extra snap in or velcro in piece. Then you can get into sizes they make from preemie well into toddler or "trainers" (think pull ups) or you can get OS or one size diapers that generally fit from birth until potty training. The options are honestly endless - but that's an entirely different post.

    Back to the main reason we chose cloth - our sons reactions to chemicals in the disposable diapers here are just a few with some brief descriptions.

    • VOCs - One oft-cited study, conducted by Anderson Laboratories in 1999 and published in the Archives of Environmental Health, found that conventional disposable diapers do release chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene and dipentene. All of these VOCs have been shown to have toxic health effects with long-term or high level exposure.
    The researchers also discovered that mice exposed to the chemicals emitted by disposable diapers were more likely to experience irritated airways than mice exposed to emissions from cloth diapers. The authors suggested that disposable diapers may cause "asthma-like" reactions and urged more study into a possible link between diaper emissions and asthma.

        *SAP - The main absorbent filler in disposable diapers, sodium polyacrylate (SAP), could cause respiratory, as well as skin, irritations in occupational settings where exposures are at much higher levels than occurs with diaper use.
    Dioxins - Most diapers, whether or not disposable, are bleached white with chlorine. As a result, there have been claims that diapers may contain trace amounts of dioxin, a highly carcinogenic byproduct of chlorine bleaching.
    Others? Without an ingredients list, products can vary. But, according to an article in the CBC News, “Diapers can also contain polyurethane, adhesives, inks used to create the cartoon images found on many disposable diapers, and lotions used to coat the diaper liner. These lotions often include petrolatum, essentially the same substance as Vaseline, which has the potential to be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil, according to the U.S. Environmental Working Group, an organization that devotes itself to educating consumers about health hazards posed by a variety of products. Other common diaper substances include lotions containing almond oil or Jojoba, which can also lead to skin reactions in allergic children. Many disposables also add fragrance to their diapers to mask fecal odors or chemical odors, which in many cases contain phthalates, the class of chemicals known to disrupt the endocrine system. That's the strong smell that diapers often give off when newly opened.”