Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

I've never made pancakes "from scratch" before, but I've seen this recipe popping up all over the place lately and decided to give it a try. I had everything on hand except for the buttermilk and fresh blueberries, so I picked those up for a total of $3, and we were ready to try something different.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
from Martha Stewart Living, June 2009

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. sugar, plus 2 t. for blueberries
1 1/4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. milk
3 T. butter, melted and cooled
1 egg lightly beaten
2 c. blueberries
Extra butter for coating griddle
Maple syrup

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.Whisk together buttermilk, milk, melted butter, and egg in medium bowl.Add milk mixture to dry ingredients and whisk together just until combined. (Lumps are ok!)Toss blueberries in a bowl with 2 t. sugar.Heat a griddle over medium heat. Melt butter over surface of griddle. (Repeat as necessary throughout the process.) Drop batter on griddle using a 1/4 c. measure each time. Add sugared blueberries to each pancake. Cook for about 3–4 minutes then carefully flip and cook for another 2–3 minutes.

So golden, with a little bit of a crisp to the outside....ohhhhh, you have to try these! Perfectly paired with a nice glass of OJ!
I don't know if I can go back to the "just add water" stuff.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Moving On

We have been in the process the last few months of deciding WHERE and WHEN to relocate our family.

Most of you know that Chris has been spending a lot of time this year on the East Coast, with the Financial World as it is. It has been an amazing opportunity for him to work on Wall Street. He has done well, and has accepted a promotion this past Spring. With that, a relocation option became available.

After looking at our options, we've decided the best place for our family to land is....
Charlotte, North Carolina!! A mere 2,044 miles away...
Home to the Nascar School of Driving, White Water Training Center, and Caroworks (a REAL roller coaster park, yay!) AND...wait for it.....THE BILLY GRAHAM LIBRARY!!!
This is the view of the skyline from a downtown park.

...and a nighttime view.

We're excited for the new adventures we'll have as a family as we explore our new little corner of the world. We hope to make lots of good friends, and plenty of happy memories.

The timing is still up in the air, but Chris will be there next week to check out some areas that we are interested in. And we cleaned and polished and decluttered all weekend to be ready for a Real Estate Agent to come evaluate our property this morning. It makes it all feel...very real.

Lots of work left to do, and lots of decisions to be made, but the wheels are in motion.

We'll keep you posted.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Camping Tips #23 & 24

This year marked our 4th annual trip to Aspen Campground, 30 minutes up the canyon from Francis, UT. It is not the main drag into the Uintas, and seems to be fairly uncrowded (just the way we like it).

We do 2 seperate camping trips as a rule each summer, and after so many consecutive trips, I'm finally getting wise to the ways of The Camper. (Yeah, so maybe I'm a slow learner, but I'm ready to share!!)

First off, camping is not camping without the Foil Dinner! They just taste SO insanely GOOD when you're lubed up with 10 lbs of sunblock and bug spray! An added bonus, you prep them before you leave in your CLEAN kitchen, and not on the picnic table that has bird crap, mouse droppings and who knows what else on it!

Here's where my superior camping knowledge comes in!

Spray the foil with PAM, and the food doesn't stick!! Also, wrap in at least a triple layer of foil, that way even if your spatula tears a hole in the outer layer, you're still good.

Here is a pic of one of the kids' dinners before I slopped the gravy on top. I put mushrooms and onions on the adult versions... BEST.FOIL.DINNERS.
You love my multi-colored carrots, don't try to deny it.
Next up. The S'More. Now, I've had a few opportunities this summer to have S'More....but I've found myself wondering WHY they got this name. Sure, it's fun to roast a marshmallow and all, but I found the lack of meltiness to the chocolate left something to be desired. One was always more than enough - I found myself not as excited about it....but I still packed the supplies because I knew the kids were counting on them.
Well, my GENIUS husband must have been thinking the same thing, because he came up with this the last night we were there:
Do you see that little piece of chocolate? He shoved it into the middle of the marshmallow! You have to keep an eye on it and make sure you flip it as it melts, along with the marshmallow. It was PERFECT. They finally lived up to their name. Makes me look forward to camping in August even more. S'More please!

This stream runs right behind our campground, you just follow the trail about 100 yards back. White noise, scenery & entertainment! Does it get any better??

The first morning we woke up and headed out to ride the horsies! This year is the 1st that I've either not been pregnant or Sydney was too small to take along. We finally had a FAMILY RIDE! It was so fun!
Despite some gas being passed, (someone gave those horses Beefaroni, I swear it) we enjoyed the scenery and trotted along for about an hour. Savannah was thrilled to be on her own horse, Gunnar rode with Dad, and Sydney rode with Mom.
We're buds. This was on our hike at Nobletts, we discovered this trail last year, and it's one of our favorites of all time. We just make sure to have our bug spray with us, lotsa bugs up here!! Gunnar was ahead of the pack this whole hike! We were so impressed by his stamina, he's really built up his hiking muscles this year.
He's looking more and more like his Daddy with every day that passes.
Dad handles all the breakfast duties at camp. He's the pancake specialist in the family.

Farmers freerange their cattle up near the campgrounds. It was cute to see all the little calves roaming around behind their mothers. This guy, however, not so cute, and not so little. I was afraid to roll down the window and take the picture. He was foaming at the mouth and making menacing growl-like noises, SKEERY! (I wonder what the MF stands for!? Most fierce?)
This was the best trip to date for our little family. We normally only stay 2 nights, but we did 3 this time, and it was great! The kids are getting bigger and more independant, and it's not SO MUCH WORK to do it anymore. Here's hoping for better and better camping trips as we grow up. It's such a good memory-maker to get out of the house and our normal routines.
Don't YOU want to go camping now??

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lucky 13

13 years ago, today, I married my best friend.

Since then, we've had a lot of good times, stressful times, and embarked on a lot of adventures.

When we were newlyweds, we loved to get in the car and "go places". Sometimes we were headed out on a hike, sometimes just a Sunday drive.

We've seen beautiful places together, we've experienced miracles.

We've built a home together, a family, a life.

We're each other's soft place to fall.

He's still my best friend.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

Savi's Twitter Board, the pulse of the house.
We decided that since we were going to be attending a "big show" this year at Thanksgiving Point, we'd do a pre-show last night with the fireworks we had left over from last years ginormous Costco pack.
The kids were, obviously, stoked.
Daddy's little Firecracker!
Could he BE any more excited?
The grand finale! Two fountains at once.
By the finale, Syd had gotten a little tired of the big noises. She was jumping up and down at the beginning though.

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Time Flies

OK, that title is a total understatement.

I think I knew going into this month that it was going to be a bit crazy. That was what I KNEW about. Not to mention the things that hit you while you're buzzing along at a break-neck pace.

There are so many awesome, UNawesome, and fun things I could've been posting about. But I was living them and there wasn't much downtime to ponder, and write. I've missed that outlet. And I'm sad that I didn't get it down while it was fresh, and all those reactions are surging.

However, here is the list of things that were notable in the last few weeks:
(I am hoping that things will be considerably more calm in the next couple weeks and I can go back and tell the full story..this is my journal, after all, and I'd love to be able to look back and remember the details)

*The last day of school, on the way to see UP, we are rear-ended in front of the trax train light. Nobody hurt, but gosh, that process is not fun, and we're still not repaired because we havn't been home long enough to do anything about it...other than contact insurance and have an estimate written.

*While preparing for our week-long trip to California, the 2 year old decides she wants to start using the potty, PERFECT timing!

*We took a glorious trip full of cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents, and fun, see group pic in previous post!

*We rushed back for Savi's dance recital (and mandatory dress rehearsal), where she was a Sassy Crow in the Wizard of Oz.

*We learned my MasterCard number had fallen into the hands of a thief who was racking up charges online, mostly at iTunes. Cancelled card, paperwork ensues.

*I prepare to feed 40 at Girl's Camp, arrange childcare for the 3 days Dad has to work and launch myself into a fun-filled camping trip that is as much fun as it is work, at least! Battle wounds included.

*The morning I am packing up the car for said camp, I find a Car Starter (in a box, totally sealed) on my passenger seat. My glove box is tossed all over the car. I assume Chris left it there and was looking for something. Left it in the garage. As I returned at the end of the week, Chris asks me where it came from. Turns out, someone must have broken into the car, been scared off by something/someone before they had a chance to steal anything, and left someone else's stolen property on the seat of my car. Chris said there were signs later that week that an intruder had been in the backyard looking for a way in. How often does someone break into a car and LEAVE SOMETHING BEHIND?? Weird.

*I return from Girl's Camp, have 1 day to recover and then dive into menu planning and laundry for our annual Camping Trip as a Family! 6 out of 8 nights on the ground for me. But, it was our BEST EVER camping trip as a family. We're reaching the point where our kids are independent and fun...and not so much work to maintain outdoors.

*We've now returned from our trip, and the last month is full of wonderful memories of friends and extended family.

I am so grateful for wonderful friends, especially the ones that cared for our kids while I was gone, who I called the weekend before....each of them was happy to help, not one person I called turned me away! They are all fabulous, my kids had the best time! Dare I say, they hardly missed me at all. I hope I get to repay the favor one day. (Hugs!)