Monday, March 31, 2008

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled "New House Obsessed" Posts

Easter has come and gone. The cookies are nearly all eaten, though there are still plenty of jelly beans. Time to get back to "The House".

I just checked back, and the last photo of our house was only of the frame for the slab to be poured. So much has changed! We took the drive to Azle on Saturday, and as we came around the corner Sophia exclaimed, "That's our house!?". The last time we were there they had just started framing it out, it's now completely framed, Tyvec wrapped, roofed and partly shingled, and the wires were being run for everything electrical. What a difference a week makes. So just for photographic prosperity, we have . . .

Slab Pre-Pour.

Wet Slab.

Beginning of the framing.

More framing.

The trees in front are going to be removed. There is a Cedar and an Oak, but they're just too close to the house to leave. We weren't sure about how close they'd look until now, and the builders didn't want to remove them if we wanted them, and I like the idea of keeping as many trees as possible, but they really are too close so they'll have to go.

Saturday, the house looked like . . .

The Front of the House

Side View (you can see the garage behind the tractor)

Rear View

And a view of our backyard from upstairs . . .

After all that running around the construction site, and a chinese dinner in which they covered themselves in sweet-and-sour sauce those babies really needed a bath.Plus this post needed some cuteness.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter

No post on actual Easter day. There was just too much going on. We were planning on attending the 8:30 mass but Vince's alarm was silenced (probably by Francesca who loves playing with his cell phone). So we made it out the door for 10:30 mass, got there in plenty of time, half an hour early, only to find out there was only standing room left in the hallway. Where did all these people come from? Good grief. So first I was majorly annoyed, but then got over it. So we stood out in the hallway by the bathrooms, trying to hear mass. Vince held Francesca the entire time, I got to put Annamaria down on occasion, but we both made it through and felt better for sticking it out and staying. Once we got home the kids got to tear into their baskets, while I put together the cookie tray for the brunch at our friends house. Then quickly out the door again. We didn't get back home until after 5pm. The kids had a great time, a huge Easter egg hunt, and we got to visit with other adults. It never feels quite right without family, but it was a nice day. I had to buy a ham too since they were on sale, so I'll be making our own little post-Easter feast next weekend. Oh, and that same gloppy green bean casserole from last year was brought to the brunch again. I knew I should have volunteered to bring the green bean casserole.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Cookies 2008: Day Five

Whew! The cookies are finished, the salmon torte is assembled, so all I have left is to put together the Easter Baskets. I'm pooped and my back hurts.

We did our usual Holy Saturday thing and dyed our Easter eggs. Last year Francesca was still to young to get it, but this year she was going to pop a vein or something. She got so excited, so happy when we handed her an egg. She would force the egg into the cup of dye like it had to be shoved or something. Then she got really upset that she couldn't scoop the egg immediately back up. So we would quickly have to hand her another egg to keep her satisfied. She laughed, she cried. It was a roller coaster of a ride. Oh, and she thought the dye was some kind of drink or something. We tried warning her not to drink it, but she kept having a fit about it. So we finally let her go at it thinking the vinegar would turn her off, but no. She liked it anyway. Weird child. All the kids had a really good time, and the evening ended on a positive note.

My last two cookies are . . .


Like brownies but without all the chocolate. I know. Why would you bother without all the chocolate. But they do have semi-sweet and white chocolate chips, so there is actually chocolate. They're very good. A nice change of pace from the routine brownie. Oh yes, and they have pecans in them too. Shut up!

Decorated Butter Cookies

I finally found a recipe for a nice rich butter cookie, the only problem is that one recipe doesn't make that large of a batch for a bunch of cut-outs. But since I have nine other types of cookies sitting around the house, I think that's o-kay. I stuck to bunnies, carrots and sheep this year. Trying to keep with the whole Easter theme. And the kids had fun decorating theirs too. Only Francesca couldn't be bothered with the decorating part and just went straight to the eating portion of the program. Who could blame her?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Easter Cookies 2008: Day Four

I'm super tired today. Can you say procrastinate? Because today we had to go buy an Easter dress for Annamaria, one for Sophia, a new Easter shirt for Harrison, and shoes for everyone. Thankfully we're putting Francesca in Annamaria's dress from last year. Seems like we're cheating, but I don't think she'll mind.

Thankfully I got my cookies done before we left the house for our Easter-shop-a-thon. So today we have . . .

Caramel Frosted Brown Sugar Drops

These sound like a tooth ache waiting to happen, but they're so good. Really not too sweet at all. The cookies are soft and cake-like. They seem like old-fashioned comfort food. And anything frosted in caramel has my vote. The recipe called for pecans, but had a note that they were just as good without the pecans. Even better without the pecans in my opinion, not that I've tried them with though. My only complaint is that I ran out of frosting before all my cookies were topped, so I have some leftover naked cookies. Sophia tried a naked one and said that they were good too. I think I'll wait until we run out of the frosted ones before I try a naked one though.

Lime Glazed Coconut Snowballs
These are simple butter cookies all dressed up, and Sophia was very helpful in making these. She helped me roll the dough into little balls for baking. Then I put her in charge of decorating, and she dipped each baked cookie into the lime glaze, made sure it had just enough glaze before dipping into the coconut. And I have to say, I think she did professional work.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter Cookies 2008: Day Three

Cookies and Crying.

Francesca had her 18 month "well baby" appointment today, which included one shot in her chubby chubby thigh. And she's so cripplingly shy, that just the nurse or doctor walking into the exam room caused her to bury her head into by chest. But other than that, she's happy and healthy. She's hit all her milestones; walks at different speeds, drinks from a cup, uses a fork/spoon, starting to talk, etc, etc. Her stats kind of surprised me though, her height and weight came in at 34th percentile. She's my chunk of ham, so I'm really surprised that she's actually that small. Vince says the world is just filled with enormous fat babies. Oh, and her head circumference came in at 17%. Now if you saw her you'd probably think what a nice fat round head she has. But nope. 17%. She actually has a tiny pea head, but just carries if off amazingly well.

As far as cookies go, today we have . . .

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies
Now I know that I've made it perfectly clear how I feel about nuts in my baked goods, but these are different. First of all, the name of the cookies makes it perfectly clear that there are nuts in these. No surprises. No one offering me a cookie or brownie, in which I get all excited, take a bite and crunch down on a walnut/pecan much to my horror. I hate that, that surprise nut in all my soft chocolaty goodness. So no surprises, I know what to expect and can prepare for it. Second of all, it's chocolate and hazelnuts. Are there any other two flavors that go together so perfectly? I'm having a hard time thinking of any. Anyway, half of the nuts are hand chopped, and the other half are ground with the flour. So these truly are Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies. Not Chocolate Chip Cookies with Hazelnuts. It's perfectly appropriate that the Hazelnut comes first in the name of these cookies. And while they're not all soft and gooey, like I usually prefer my chocolate chip cookies, they have a wonderful flavor and I would definitely make them again.

Praline Meringue Puffs

I know, I know. More nuts. And worse, pecans. But, these only have two tablespoons of flour in the entire recipe, and no butter. So, very little flour and no butter, can these even be considered cookies? I think not. Well maybe, but more like candy to me. Anyway, whipped egg whites and brown sugar. So what if there are nuts in there, they're still good. And everyone loves them. And they disappear fast. And they're easy to make. What else? I don't know, but I'm o-kay that these have nuts in them, so I'll make another exception to my "no nut" rule.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Cookies 2008: Day Two

Another day, two more cookies . . .
Benne Seed Wafers

Benne Seeds = Sesame Seeds. These didn't turn out quite right, I made them last year and made a note to up the amount of flour so they're thicker than they're supposed to be. The recipe calls for 3/4 cup flour. That leaves the cookie batter almost soup like. No way to shape these into balls. So I increased the about of flour, but too much. They're supposed to be thin and crisp. So these turned out thicker, but they still taste great.

Iced Lemon Shortbread Fingers

Alright, so they're short chubby fingers, but really, who cares? These are awesome. I made these last year too. So good. The shortbread is soft and crumbly, with a nice lemon tartness. I don't think they are destined for the Easter cookie tray though. They're just not going to make it to Sunday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter Cookies 2008: Day One

Here we go again . . .

Old-Fashioned Peanut Brittle

I was going to take a picture once the slab was broken up, but Vince ate it all. Just kidding, he munched on quite a bit, but only while taking it upon himself to bag it up for me. Very helpful. It was super humid yesterday, and the brittle was starting to get tacky, so he was trying to save it. And he did. He's good like that.

Cane Syrup Oatmeal Cookies

Cane Syrup is kind of like molasses, but not quite as strong tasting. These were Vince's request. I bought a jar of Lyle's Golden Syrup after reading a recipe for Chocolate Biscuit Cake on someone else's blog and had to try the recipe. All of the ingredients were only available at World Market around here except for the butter, and the Biscuit Cake was only "eh", but Vince fell in love with the Golden Syrup. So when I read about Cane Syrup, he found some at the grocery store and bought it. So I had to make these for him. The recipe calls for raisins, which I left in (sorry Jessica), and pecans, which I left out. Because please. Pecans in oatmeal cookies? I don't think so. They're good, and really moist, but Vince never gave me his official opinion on these, so the jury is still out.

More to come tomorrow. Because cookies aren't just for Christmas.

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day?

I'm off my game. I didn't realize today was St. Patrick's Day until I checked my organizer this morning. I checked the food ads to see who was running a special on corned beef, and the only thing I could find was cabbage on sale, 3 lbs. for a dollar. Huh? So we hit a couple of grocery stores this morning, I needed things for Easter cookies anyway, but no sign of corned beef. Unless I wanted it precooked from the deli department. More people than usual were wearing green. Not any of us of course. And there were plenty of green decorated Lofthouse cookies, but that's it. Weird. So I picked up a brisket, not corned, and we're having St. Pat's dinner Texas style. Bar-be-cued brisket, beans and coleslaw. I'm not Irish, so I'll just go with it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Daylight Savings Dumbass

Imagine my surprise as I'm standing in my fuzzy blue robe on Sunday morning, thinking I had a half hour to get ready for mass after getting the kids ready, when Sophia announced that, "today is Daylight Savings Time". Huh? Mass was starting right that moment. No half hour to get ready. No half hour to get the kids loaded into the car and to get there. Gah, I hate Daylight Savings Time! Not so much the time change in the Fall, because I could always use and extra hour of sleep, and at worst I'm an hour early for something, but the time change in the Spring just bites. But Vince has reminded me that the time change in the Fall is actually the end of Daylight Savings Time, so actually the only thing I like about it is it's ending.

So besides feeling jet lagged without the actually benefit of traveling anywhere, my jaw is out of alignment. I'm not sure when this happened. I woke up feeling fine, i.e. jet lagged, but at some point today my jaw must have slipped out of it's proper alignment because my teeth aren't meeting correctly and my left jaw socket is sore. I'm not sure what to do for it other than give it time. I'm just hoping it doesn't require too much time to correct itself.

The babies refused to nap today, and instead decided to have a poop-a-thon. After an hour and fifteen minutes of thumping, chattering and just plain not going to sleep, Annamaria started yelling that she's pooped. So double poopy diaper duty for me. The joy. The past couple of days I've tried to introduce the idea of potty training. The kicker is that Francesca, the 18 month old, is more than willing to cooperate and actually pooped on the potty for me. While Annamaria, the 34 month old, sits on the potty and yells that she wants her Minnie diaper. Or "biper" as she calls it.

And I'm out of dinner ideas. So tonight, I think we're having breakfast for dinner. Which no one will complain about I'm sure. I've been wanted to try to make a homemade crumb coffee cake, and I have a recipe for one, but the topping calls for 1 cup of nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds). But I don't want nuts in my coffeecake. Can I just leave them out? One cup seems like a lot to just leave out without putting something else in it's place. What's up with the nuts in everything? Not that I have anything against nuts, I'm not allergic or anything, but I just don't like nuts in my soft baked goods. Ruins the whole thing. No nuts in my brownies. No nuts in my cookies. I know. I'm weird.

And the perfect ending to my perfect crabby rant, I have an Ob/Gyn appointment tomorrow. And we all know how much we love those. There is a reason I haven't been since Francesca was born.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Finally, the first signs of winter around here. We were told when we moved out here that it snows every other year, and since we had a good winter last year I thought our chances of seeing the white stuff was nil. But mother nature didn't let me down. She took her sweet ass time about it, but snow at last.

I love snow. One of the things I miss about living in Virginia is snow. Well snow, and blue crab, and Chesapeake Bay Seasoning flavored potato chips, and blue crab.
Anyway, the kids were really excited, but it didn't start snowing until it was already dark out, so I promised they could go outside and play in it in the morning. Sophia asked me if when she woke up she could get dressed and go outside to the snow. I told her sure, just not to wake me up. And suprisingly, I was already up before she was. But by 7am she was out, freezing her buns off. I made her come in to get her school work done, but as soon as it was, her and Harrison were back outside. Of course most of the snow had melted already, just some left on the window sills.

So they made the world's smallest snowman. I don't know why the picture of Harrison is blurry, Sophia took the pictures, I was inside prepping dinner.