Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm getting old...

I'm a bit behind posting things...
Jay had a strangely adventurous idea- to hike Timpanogos at night, while our kids were sleeping, and arrive at the top for the sunrise.  This would be the best time to be away from Hazel for so long, since she still nurses.  We are so lucky to have a girl in the neighborhood who was willing to sleep over at our house!!

It was so cute how Jay planned out how much water and how many calories we would need for the hike, and had packed up a backpack with both of our stuff. :)

Although we had both hiked timp once before (separately), unfortunately, neither one of us had hiked it when we were really paying attention to where the trail was.  It turns out, the Stewart Falls trailhead stems from the same parking lot, and in the dark, we set off, at about 11:45pm, there first.  

We got to the end, thinking we couldn't find the rest of the trail.  Then I spotted where we came from and said, "Oh here it is!"  (turns out, hiking in the dark can be confusing, despite our awesome/dorky headlamps)
So we headed back and then realized that we were retracing our steps.  Luckily, we had cell service, and Jay did a little research and found out that, yes, there was another trailhead and we had taken the wrong one. :(

We got back to the parking lot about 2 hours later.  We decided, we could still make it, and made our way up the right trail this time.  However, hence the title of this post, after about 5 minutes of steep incline, I started getting the same feeling a got a lot during this past pregnancy- a strange pain in my right leg/groin area, every time I had to lift my leg.  It wasn't too bad at first, and we had come all this way, so I didn't want to say anything about it.  However, after about 2 hours of hiking, it became unbearable and I knew that even if I could make it to the top, there's no way I'd be able to make it back.

Jay was a good sport and made no issue about turning around.  (and I'm so glad we did!  My leg really hurt the rest of that day!  Happily, it was completely fine when I woke up the next day)

Turns out that hiking down in the dark is much trickier than hiking up!
Even though we didn't make it all the way up, it was still fun to sneak off in the night and be "wild" and adventurous :)  I thought we had better document the night with us in our glory.  (and me sans makeup...)

If you ever want to do it yourself, just be sure you don't take the trail clearly marked "Stewart Falls" (not as clear in the dark...) and dress warmly.  It was much colder than I had expected.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Kid Conversation

I hesitate to post this one, because I don't want people wondering where Peach got her example from... (I assure you, I wonder the same thing!)  BUT, I find it interesting to note where her little 3-year-old mind thinks authority comes from.

Peach is playing with her baby in the other room.  I am eavesdropping while doing the dishes:
Peach: [to her baby] (as if she's warned of this many times) okay... I'm going to have to throw you then!
Me: Peach!  We don't throw babies!
Peach: But mom!  She's not cooperating! (she throws the baby)
Me: (hoping this may extend to Peach's treatment of Hazel) Honey, you have to be more patient with babies.  Babies are just learning!  They need to be taught.  Throwing them isn't going to teach cooperation.
Peach: Mom!  (pointing at a blank spot on the wall) The sign says to throw babies.

There you have it: if it's written down on a sign, it must be true.

Friday, August 23, 2013

SunOven Chronicles: Beef Stroganoff

The Low-Down:
I used this recipe my mom used to make all the time growing up.
I browned the meat in the pot, then added everything else except the flour/broth mixture, and put it in an unpreheated Sun Oven facing south.  I can no longer remember the exact amount of time- I would guess from about 11am to 4pm.
When I took it out, I thickened it on the stove again.
It wasn't quite as good as normal, but it was still very good.  It's not a great Sun Oven recipe, though, because you still have to boil water to cook the noodles.  (at least I did, maybe you don't actually have to? I just doubt cooking noodles in the Sun Oven would go over very well...)  For some reason, I prefer to cook all or nothing in the Sun Oven.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Proud Tent Owners!

So our ward has an annual "Fathers and Sons" camping trip every August, and this was the first year that Jay was in town for it, and we felt The Frog was old enough to have fun at it... which means we had to finally buckle down and get a tent.

As soon as it arrived (from amazon.com, where else?) The Frog was relentless about me setting it up and let's face it, I get a real sense of pride about setting up a tent "all by myself".  Sometimes I think it would be exciting to be dropped in the middle of nowhere with a rock and told to survive.  (as long as there were no gigantic spiders and poisonous snakes....)

Anyway, so here it is, in the family room:
And it was actually a pretty awesome source of entertainment!  The kids took stacks of books (and requested our 2 sleeping bags) and actually did something sedentary, of their own volition, for quite awhile!

Until Hazel woke up... they quickly discovered how hilarious it was to lock her out and knock her down through the walls.... :(  (and that's when it came down...)

So now you know, we don't always get along... ;)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Kid Conversation

Peach can often be seen carrying around an armful of stuffed animals (whom she loves to tell me the names of and whose names change every time she tells me...  Some favorites are: Popcorn, Twinkle Little Star, ABCs, Pink Pink, Blue Blue, Missy (after the baby in Amelia Bedelia and the Baby) and names of people she knows.  She can also be seen sleeping with tons of stuffed animals on her bed.

Overheard when Peach returned to her sleepover with The Frog last Friday.

Peach: Frog, did any of my babies cry while I was gone?
The Frog: Nope, not even one.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sun Oven Chronicles- Chicken Tikka Masala

Despite the semi-soggy broccoli that happened with the beef and broccoli in the sun oven, I decided to try it again, but this time cooking it resting on top of the rice.  I used the clear lid and I think it was not a good idea because look what happened to the broccoli after 1 hour in the sun:
Compare it to regular steamed broccoli (I couldn't bring myself to make the family eat the bleached out stuff)
left: bleached out, "sunned" broccoli, right: regular, microwave-steamed broccoli
And I just put the chicken with the sauce in the other pot and let it cook for an hour.  It wasn't as good as grilling the chicken and thickening the sauce in the pan, as the recipe says, but it was ok.  Just didn't have as much flavor, or something.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There Are Too Many Kids in this Tub!

Hazel is finally old enough to withstand her siblings in the bathtub.  I wanted to get a shot of her, but her siblings kept thinking it was funny to stick their bums right next to her face so they'd be in the picture too.  I did manage to get a couple of shots, sans bums. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Kid Conversation

Out of the blue The Frog announces:

The Frog: Mom, there are 3 kinds of accidents.
Me: Oh really?
The Frog: Yep.  There are poop accidents.  There are pee accidents.  And there are accidents, like punching, when you hurt someone.

and now you know.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Sun Oven Chronicles- Pot Roast

I decided to try my hand at slow-cooking in the sun oven.  Most of my attempts thus far have been only shorter baking and rice.  What better test than the classic pot-roast?

The top pot:
I salt and peppered the roast, inserted some whole cloves of garlic, and browned each side for 10 seconds in olive oil before putting it in the pan.  It's zucchini season around here (i.e. people feel free to leave zucchini on your doorstep, whether you like it or not...) and so I thought I'd throw in some zucchini, and I was a bit too ambitious at Costco last week, and bought a thing of mushrooms, which ended up being twice as many as I really needed, so I threw some of those in too.  Hopefully those won't be confounding variables to my trial.  I added no liquid to the roast.  (The SunOven site says things are more moist in the sun oven and often times you should add less liquid.  I thought the zucchini would probably produce quite a bit)

In the bottom pot, I put some potatoes and carrots.  I salted and peppered them and as an afterthought, misted them with olive oil. I figure it can't hurt...

I used the black lid (not the clear one).

Here's the before pic:

Preheated the oven facing the sun.
put them in a 250 oven at 9:30am.
Turned the oven more south and less angled, but so there was still a bit of sun shining in.

When I checked on it a couple of hours later, it was still at 250.

I pulled it out about 4:30pm.  The sun was no longer shining in, but the oven was at 150 and when I tested the temp of the roast, it was about 170 (well done...)

Here's what they looked like!
the carrots and potatoes looked exactly the same and the pic is slightly blurry,
 so I decided not to show them
I took the roast, zucchini and mushrooms out and made a gravy.  I couldn't believe how much liquid was in there, especially since it started out completely dry!

We were all starving and I forgot to take a picture of the final plate.  Everything was good though- I would say as good as normal, though the potatoes and carrots didn't have that nice roast flavor since they had to be cooked in a separate pot.  If you don't like zucchini, you probably won't like this- it was very soft (as zucchini gets...) but I liked the flavor of it.  My husband wouldn't try it because he said it looked like a pickle and he doesn't like pickles.  (He doesn't really like zucchini either though...)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Saturday Sampler Quilt

In May I showed off all my completed Alphabet blocks from the Saturday Sampler class at American Quilting, in Orem.  I put the quilt together before our trip to visit Jay's family, so I could use my mother-in-law's awesome machine quilting setup.  It was amazing! I quilted the whole thing in only a few hours!!  I'm really pleased by how it turned out.

There was a finishing kit you could buy at the quilt shop, but I wanted to use different colors so it would blend a bit better in the "theater room" (as we call our TV room, since we don't actually have TV hookups.)

Here's a link to what their completed quilt looks like.  And here is mine!!
I machine embroidered the name of all the blocks on the back, so I would remember.  I didn't do any letters on the front, out of laziness, but I think it's kind of fun to figure it out based on the names (and they are in alphabetical order, so it's pretty easy to figure it out.)

up close to admire the swirly quilting
Here's the room I wanted the quilt to kind of blend in.  As you can see, my gray, yellow and purple does much better than their turquoise, red, and gray.  I was really nervous, because I'm not that great at picking out colors, but I think it turned out really well!!
Yay for completing quilt number 9!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Kid Conversation

Jay and I had just got "Jack the Giant Slayer" at RedBox and The Frog was asking us about it- really to determine if it was a kid show or not.  We told him it was like the Jack and the Beanstalk story.

The Frog: That means it is a kid movie, right?
Me: Well, this isn't a kid movie because it might be too scary for kids.
The Frog: So you mean the giant might have spikes or something?
Me: [Jay and I looking at each other with hidden giggles] kind of...
The Frog: Well, I'm not really afraid of spikes.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Toddler Transformation

I feel like Hazel is rushing to get big and I'm tired of it ;)  She has started crawling on her knees more last week (but usually flops back onto her belly for her more experience, faster, army-crawl) and for the first time, I had to search the house to find her.  Somehow she had crawled from the play room through the entire kitchen unnoticed, all the way to the craft room/laundry room.

We've had to start closing the bathroom door because the toilet brush escapades have begun...
Hazel has started climbing up to stand on things and, can you see her two upper teeth!!  My baby is turning into a toddler!  Make it stop!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Battle Creek Falls

One of my neighbors recommended hiking Battle Creek Falls in American Fork- it's pretty short (about a mile round-trip) and fairly shaded, so we decided to go hike it on a whim two Saturdays ago when Hazel woke up from her afternoon nap really early.

The Frog was really excited about the "cave" he found.

Peach kept touching her face.  after touching the ground.
 There were a couple of places on the trail where there was a sort of "off trail" nearby that was clearly somewhere people often ventured, but wasn't as cleared as the regular trail.  Our kids preferred the adventure of climbing over fallen limbs and trying to stay as close to the creek as they could.

 Hazel was just happy to be here, as usual :)
The trail doesn't force you to cross the creek, but the "off trail" does.  Of course, The Frog was pleased by this. :)
 We saw a lot of dogs on the hike, and Peach tried to pet them all.  She was pretty sure that, "Mommy, that doggy likes me!"

And here it is!  The end gets a bit steep, so make sure you're wearing shoes with good tread.  (i.e. not my converses...)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sun Oven Chronicles- Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My mother-in-law makes a delicious pineapple upside-down cake and I thought it might be a great treat for the Sun Oven.  (I made it way back for Father's Day since it's one of Jay's favorites.  Now you know how behind I am with my posting....)
You can see the Recipe there.

Worked great!  I think regularly the bottom should be thicker and gooier, but still tasted good.  Probably if I made sure to melt the butter w/ the sugar much longer over the stove, I could overcome that.

I was worried it was over-done because the top was so browned, but tasted just great!  I baked it an hour.  (used the 8x8 amounts in the recipe)