Empty Rooms

Last week I bit the bullet and paid someone a gazillion dollars to clean the carpets in my house.  I bought this a couple years ago, and it works great for inbetween jobs but I needed a truck engine-massive sucking machine-clean.

The night before the carpet cleaner came, I moved all the furniture out of the rooms so they could do a thorough job.  (See, I am crazy?)

The boys LOVED this...they immediately set up an indoor soccer field in the living room.

Isaac said to me, "When I have a house I am going to have NO furniture in ANY rooms, except for one couch to sleep on."


Bread Machine Bagels

I have been making batches of these like a crazy woman.  They are easy and so so so good.  And the best thing is that they don't cost $14 a dozen.  I bet they come in under $1.

This recipe is from AllRecipes and I use my Zojirushi Breadmaker...I love that thing.  The recipe makes about 8 bagels.  Last week I doubled it, and the bread maker handled it fine.

1 cup warm water
3 cups of bread flour
2 TBS white sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 TBS sugar
1 TSP cornmeal
1 egg white
Toppings if wish:  shredded asiago cheese, poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, rock salt, cinnamon sugar...

1.  I add the first 5 ingredients in the order listed.  Set on Dough Cycle.  When complete, place dough on a lightly floured surface. Shape into 8-10 balls, flatten them, and then poke hole in the middle.  (Make it big, because dough will rise.)

2. Cover bagels with a clean dish towel, and let rise.  Mine take about 30-60 minutes to get rise.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.  Dissolve 3 TBS of sugar in boiling water.

3. Sprinkle an ungreased cookie sheet with cornmeal.  Heat oven to 375.
Transfer bagels to boiling water.  (My pot holds about 4 at a time.)  Boil for 1 minute, turning halfway through.  Remove bagels and place on dish towel to drain.

4. Arrange boiled bagels on baking sheet. Glaze top with egg white.

My kids  love asiago cheese bagels, so I will grate some of that and sprinkle on top.
They also love "everything" bagels:  I mix up some poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, and a teeny bit of coarse salt. I will dip the top of the bagel in the egg white, and then dip it in the "everything mixture".  We haven't tried cinnamon sugar yet, but I bet that would be good.

5. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

PS.  There is a little Print Friendly button down below.


My Oldest

Isaac is 17 today.  I won't start with all the boo-hooing because I know you've heard from me before (like a gazillion times), how fast time flies.

Things I love about my oldest:
1. He has never been one to test limits, to talk back, to push.  He goes with the flow, and treats us kindly, and is always helpful.

2. He was born with a sweet, happy, smiley, personality.  I couldn't go any place when he was a baby without hearing, "He's so happy! Look at that smile! Look at those bright eyes!"  He just attracted attention with his cute chubby face.

3. He has always made friends easily and is a good judge of character.  I love the kids he brings home.  He has this inner sensible barometer of character judgment, and that is a GOOD thing to have for the rest of life.

4. He eats everything I make and always likes it.  Alleluia!

5. He is always appreciative,  quick to say thank you, and a good sport.  He shares his room with a 3 year old for goodness sakes alive!  He also plays with that 3 year old...basketball, soccer, anything.  Patrick asks every day, "Where's Isaac?"  He is going to be darn excited when it's summer vacation, I'll tell you that much.

This year is a big year for Isaac.  Lots of big decisions, lots of school work, lots of planning for the future.  I am so excited for him, and he has taught me that I can trust that he knows what is best for himself.  I have it good, that's for sure.  As the oldest, he has set an incredible example for his younger siblings and I couldn't be more grateful every day that I get to be his mother.

Happy 17th Birthday Isaac!


A Week's Plan with Summer In Mind

A beautiful weekend!  Who would have though it was possible!

Summer is in the air, and I love it.  I'm so excited for:
1. No school.
2. Open windows.
3. Beach vacations.
4. Warm air.
5. Sunshine.

On Sunday, I had a rather large burst of energy.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and even though the day contained a baseball, lacrosse and soccer game, I decided that Sunday was the first day of the "get ready for summer" week.  

On my list for this week:
1. Finalize vacation plans.
2. Weed out closets. (Yes, I did this over Lent, but now that it is officially summer, I really really weed out...winter clothes go to a separate section of the closet, and I have noticed that the boys all need fresh t-shirts. I filled 2 bags with Goodwill items. I am also planning on getting to that awful garage and attic that I procrastinated in spring.)
3. Come up with a loose summer schedule, some rules and some chores. 
4. Buy a big fat watermelon.
5. And some new flip-flops.
6. And our pool passes.


Ordinary Days

Patrick's new obsession: baseball.  He would let me pitch to him for hours and hours.  He carries a bat and ball and mitt with him everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.

I have been eating really healthy lately.  I started feeling really run down and nutrient-depleted at the end of March, like my body was just crying out for vitamins, and instead of complaining about it like I was doing,  "I feel olllddd"-I just decided to do something about it.  About 90% of my diet is now fruits and vegetables.  I feel so much better.

I love this house in my little town.  I love the ivy, I love the porches (an even bigger one in back) but most especially I love the third floor...see those little windows up there?  If you had a third floor (and maybe you do?) what would you make of it?  I could dream about that for hours.



After a busy week or month, I know I have to take the time to regroup.  I think with babies and most especially toddlers, this is so important.  Too much going...not just them, but me too, takes a toll on their behavior and their happiness.  May is a busy month for us this year.  Lots of sports games, and never a weekend day that is empty.  During the weekday evenings this month, I have had to run errands more than usual for some of the special end of the year events, and I volunteered for a few things also, which meant lots of phone call/emails.

I think little guys can take some of the coming and going, but I also think that there comes a time when I have to step back and recharge, and give them breaks from all the hustle and bustle, and from the lack of one-on-one time.  Some kids can last longer than others-well, maybe that's not true.  I think all little ones will act out in their own.

 I know that Patrick, at 3, likes to move very very slowly, and in a way that is a blessing to me.  On the way to the car, no matter what a rush I am in, he stomps in every puddle on the way to the car, insists on doing his buckle, all the while holding the baseball mitt he just must bring with him everywhere he goes. We know that everything seems to be so fast and busy, busy, busy for us in this day and age, but imagine it from a child's point of view?