Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Drive

One of the beautiful things about our new home is the view. Out of our bedroom window we can see the outline of Skyline drive. So a few weeks ago when it looked like the leaves were at their peak we decided to take a drive. We arrived at the gate shortly after it opened and were very thankful we had.

Heading up the drive we saw so much beauty and variety. The early morning sun created shafts of light that changed in just a matter of moments. The fog on the mountains would move and shift with the swaying of the winds.
We stopped often to take pictures and enjoy the beauty. We stopped on the side of the road to capture the scenery many times. We were not the only ones who did this. It is interesting to see the different types of people—some that drive through as if they are on the autobahn and others (like us) that take their time to enjoy the trip.

When we reached the top of the drive, the fog and the rain made the view impossible to see. But even in this there was great beauty. And when we descended we were treated to yet another beautiful view as the fog and light rain had reached to the lower levels of the drive.
It is a testament to the leaders of our country that they realized the need to preserve the beauty of our nation for future generations.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blue Plate Special

I have really enjoyed our new home and the way it makes me feel. I have really gotten into the “farmhouse” mode with lots of home baked breads. I have put my bread machine to good use and have it sitting out on my kitchen counter, instead of in a hard-to-reach cabinet.

Our sliders and fries
Last week I borrowed The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook from the library and have tried some of the recipes (all of them have been wonderful!). One of the breads was hamburger/hot dog buns, since the hamburger buns at the store were a little stale I thought I would give it a try. Now there’s no turning back since the whole family loved them. They also give us the freedom of making just the right size buns for whatever meal we’re having.

Last night I made “sliders” and made buns for the burgers. Following Rich’s surgery several years ago he hasn’t been able to eat anything deep-fried. One of the items he most missed was french fries. So I began making my own fries, coating them in olive oil with some salt and baking them. This has allowed him to enjoy the same sides as the rest of the family. It is also healthier for the whole family.

Hamburger Buns and Hot Dog Rolls
(2 pound loaf)
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 3 tablespoons instant potato flakes
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon gluten
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon SAF yeast or 2-1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for glaze
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, for sprinkling
Place ingredients (except 1 egg yolk and sesame seeds) in the pan according to the order in the manufacturer’s instructions. Program for the Dough cycle; press Start.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. When the machine beeps at the end of the cycle press Stop and unplug the machine. Immediately turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a dough knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. For the hamburger buns form each portion into tight rounds. For long buns, flatten each portion into oval about 6 inches long and rolling up tightly form a long end to form a cylinder. Place the rolls on the lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Press with your palm to flatten each roll. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Brush the rolls with the egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15 to 22 minutes, depending on the size of the roll, until lightly browned. Remove the rolls from the sheet with a spatula and let cook completely on a rack. Slice in half horizontally to serve.

Friday, November 6, 2009

He Said What?

Our family is one of the dying breeds of families that eat each breakfast and dinner together at the diningroom table. Many families will do family devotions at this time, but we save ours for bedtime. David’s mind tends to be too active at dinnertime for concentrating on God’s Word. So at dinner we use the time to have family discussions and this has lead to some funny moments recently.

Following a bite, David recently began to sputter and cough. Once he was able to talk again he told us the food went down his “sarcophagus” the wrong way. Maybe this is a result of our bedtime devotions of Romans 3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; With their tongues they have used deceit: The poison of asps is under their lips, but it brought gales of laughs to the table that night.

Just this weekend David went to play with a friend and at dinner that night Rich asked a very manly question, “what does his father do?” Of course, Rich’s question was meant to find out what job the other father had. But, David—in true kid fashion—responded with, “He smokes.” You guessed it, another round of laughter.

I treasure these moments since I know that they will not last forever. I also feel sorry for families that are not able or willing to come together for these moments.

I thought I would share David’s school picture with all of you. The tie was his idea. But, in true David fashion, he was all excited to have picture day, but when it was time to take the pictures he decided he wasn’t going to have his taken. Luckily, I was there and told him he had no choice, he was going to get his taken.

As a photographer I am very concerned about the copyrights of photographs. Many of my own photographs and Rich’s have been used without permission or credit for the purpose the image was intended for. So, let me state: I do have copyright permission from Lifetouch Studios to reproduce this school image and use the image on my blog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Five Little Pumpkins

David’s class did a wonderful job on their play “Five Little Pumpkins.” David hid safely out of sight so that he could be like a professional narrator. He spoke loudly and slowly—the loudly wasn’t a concern but speaking slowly was. Not only did the preschool children like the play, but the students who care for them seemed to really like the play also. The cookies and s’more treats were a big hit, so much so that I returned home with an empty plate.

Skyline High School pumpkin
We stayed so that we could have lunch with David and he really enjoyed us being there. I must say that school lunches have changed so much since we were in school. You had those large plastic trays and you might have had a choice between two different entrees, but that was about it. David’s school has a Café and their options are amazing. You can choose between fresh made pizza, burgers, custom made subs, chicken sandwiches and much more. No longer are students required to choose between milk and chocolate milk—how about a smoothie? The prices are very reasonable and the food was very tasty.

David, preparing to give his lines
David’s teacher did a great job. The class had run a fund raiser in which the class of 12 students made over 500 cupcakes and put on a play, all in the same week. The class has a life skills class, so the cupcakes were a part of the cooking and kitchen cleaning section.

Ms. Jones, David’s teacher is wonderful! So many teachers have looked for ways to get David out of their classroom when they encounter his issues, but Ms. Jones has spent her energy on ways to help David succeed in her class. She has the same mindset that we have, David has to learn these skills in order to succeed in life and passing him around and to the next level will not serve him well in life.