Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Did you know?



Did you know that these scented markers are not washable?


That they will stay on your child’s skin for 24-36 hours?



(leaving him looking a bit like a certain dictator…)


Well, I do.




Did you also know that, if you bite the tip off said marker and/or just suck real hard, when you spit on the paper your spit is colored like the marker?


Spit painting if you will? (And Isaac WILL.)


(Joseph and I were begrudgingly impressed)


Well, I do.




Monday, August 29, 2011

Well that wasn’t so bad!


We are still here!

Irene was a pretty good storm, but as a hurricane goes?  Meh.  Not so bad.

I am mostly just thankful, though.

Thankful that we didn’t have to be evacuated!  (Although staying in a shelter with the boys would have made one heck of a blog post!)

Thankful that we NEVER lost power!!!!

Thankful that I have some delicious beef jerky and cracker snacks for the next several months!

(I am keeping the water though- No more day-before-Target-panics for me!)

Here is a video of our little corner of Hurricane Irene, taken at about 7 am yesterday morning.


FYI at this point, the hurricane looked about like this:



(I went online and copied/pasted this picture right after I took the video)

So (brushes off hands) that’s over with! (the hurricane rolls were DE-LISH by the way!)

Time to move on important things… like flying to London on FRIDAY!!!!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Into the Storm…



It has started to rain here and the evacuations keep on comin’. 

Luckily, we live in an area that is fairly high above sea level, so we are relatively safe, unlike several areas in Brooklyn, Hoboken, outer Manhattan, and the like.

Ironically, those places are considered more hip and desirable than where we live (well, they just are, actually), but WHO’S LAUGHING NOW?! 

. Ahem.

So I have been spending most of the morning getting geared up.

And by geared up I mean that I have made blueberry muffins, bread, and I have BBQ chicken simmering on the stove for dinner. 

I’m telling you- all this storm talk is enough to make a housewife like me run around baking all day, throwing everything into a crazy carb-loaded stockpile.

I should throw on an apron and say, “Well, family, Ma is preparin’ for a HURRICANE!”

What was that Brian?  I have been saying that all day? And I am wearing an apron?

Well, a natural disaster is no reason to lose ones sparkle.

It is also not a time for diets.

Which is why I have these babies about ready to go into the oven.


Why cinnamon rolls at a time like this,  Caitlin?  You may ask.

Well, are they cinnamon rolls, or are they little swirly hurricanes?…


Huh? huh?  Do you see them? Huh?

I may not be taking this seriously enough.

It’s my first hurricane you know!  (Squeal of fear and excitement!).


See you on the other side…

Friday, August 26, 2011

You know you live too far from family when…


this is how your son has to watch movies with his Grammy.


(he loves this movie but hates the noise the robot makes- hence the covered ears)


Hi Mo!

I(personally)RENE towards excitability


(With a few random pictures to lighten the dooms-day mood a bit)

So have you guys heard about this hurricane thing heading our way?  Yep- a SEVERE threat of Hurricane Irene and there is my little house right in the bright red danger zone area.

Well I didn’t actually hear about it until last night.


There I was, checking a celebrity gossip site before bed (don’t judge), when lo and behold, there was an article about how Sarah Jessica Parker is preparing for the hurricane.

I just about choked on my toothbrush, I tell ya, because any celebrity gossip fan worth their salt knows that SJP lives in New York City!!  Hold up!

So, I quickly got onto a weather site and there it was- lock down the hatches people, here comes the big one!  NJ is in a state of disaster ahead of time!  NY too!  Residents should be in the FINAL PREPARATIONS for the hurricane!!!!


You could pretty much say that celebrity gossip saved my life.

It has also saved my children’s lives on a few occasions (“Mama needs a quick time out to escape reality!”) but that is perhaps for a different post.


Anyhow, I woke Brian up to tell him about the hurricane (he loves it when I do that) and then I proceeded to lie next to him in bed for the next hour making mental lists of non-perishable food items that I needed at Target.

I determined to be there when it opened.

Isaac, in his crib, smiled and determined to thwart my little plan.


This morning, while I was on the phone whipping my friend up into a hurricane-induced-frenzy (Hi Suzy!) (EXTEME threat people!)  Isie-poo (I call him that sometimes) threw my glass coffee canister onto our kitchen floor and shattered it.

And immediately after I finished cleaning that up, he ran back into the kitchen, grabbed the canister lid that I had (why? why?) left still sitting on the counter, and threw IT onto our kitchen floor.

When I finished cleaning THAT up and was texting my friend (hi again suzy!) and Brian what had just happened (misery loves company!) the poor motherless-lamb squirted himself in the face with Windex!

I was securing the Windex in a more child-proofed location and he spilt my cup of (cool) coffee on himself!

I stripped him naked and was mopping up the coffee mess when he…can you guess, readers?

Did you guess that he peed all over our shoe basket in the entryway?  Because you would be RIGHT!

I can’t make this up.


I will say that I kept my cool amazing well, I was able to laugh, I lost 3 pounds in stress-sweat, and I managed to not shriek at them “I AM TRYING TO GET US PREPARED FOR A HURRICANE PEOPLE!!!!!”

So score one for Caitlin.


We pulled into Target 30 minutes after it opened and it was a Mad House.

A sign on the door said that they were already out of flashlights and D batteries.

Which made me immediately realize that we needed 100 D batteries and 5 flashlights!  AHHHH!  Run around in circles!

(Told you I am excitable)

I walked briskly to the water aisle and put two 24 packs of water bottles in my cart.

About 5 minutes later they announced that they were out of water.  AHHHH!!! I need more water!!!

I got plenty (did I? DID I??) of crackers, cereal bars, and the like, and 2 extra candle lighters plus about 5 of those religious candles with pictures of the saints and stuff on them?  Are you with me?  Because they were cheap and TARGET RAN OUT OF ALL OF THEIR CANDLES.

Clearly the world is coming to an end!


I finally left because I ran out of room in my cart, and because my children were both crying despite my distracted attempts to throw M&Ms into their mouths. 

And I spent the whole way home thinking-  shoooooot!  I should have gotten 4 more candle lighters!  Or at least 2!  And I should have cleared the shelves of the religious candles!  Why didn’t I?  Do we have enough food?  Have I failed my family?



So, make that 15 pounds of stress sweat.

What a day to forget to wear deodorant. (TMI?)

This weather panic is contagious I tell you!

And I have now given you my germs.




PS  I am also hoping that those people who asked me if the store was out of water while eyeing my two packages of water bottles were NOT angels testing me for my generosity.  Because I did not share.


PPS  I came home to find that we actually have D batteries.  Whoopsy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

While I was taking pictures of bread for my bread post


A naked Isaac climbed up on the table to sniff Mommy’s flowers (that Daddy brought!)

And yes, he did pee on them.

And yes, I did capture it on camera.

As you can see (this is right after he peed and I shrieked!) he felt kind of bad about it




(Have I mentioned that he is loud?)



The Bread Post



Sheesh!  This post is a doozy, and pretty much gives up all of my secrets so that no one will be impressed with my bread ever again.

And if you are thinking to your self- that there is no way in a-loaf-of-bread-is-only-a-couple-bucks-at-the-store that you are ever going to make your own bread… then feel free to skip this post.

However, homemade bread also = homemade cinnamon rolls and homemade dinner rolls and homemade garlic breadsticks…

Hmmm… I wonder why I can’t lose weight?  It must be my thyroid!


Part 1: Tips and Tricks

I learned how to make bread from two wonderful women who happen to be LDS housewives!

I would have to say that in general as a religious group, LDS (Mormon) women are the best bread makers around!

Well, maybe the Amish beat them?  Any of my Mormon readers care to weigh in?

Anyhow, some of the tricks they shared have been super helpful to me and really make the difference between my success and failure in the bread department!


A Bread Making Device:  I have actually made bread by hand quite a few times, and I still do sometimes if I have a small batch of dough, but if you are going to do it with any kind of regularity, you are going to need a machine!

People are divided as to their favorites.  I am a Bosch girl myself- not as pretty, but actually more powerful than a Kitchenaid.

However some people swear by their Kitchenaid and maaaaan are they sexy sitting on your counter top! 

(Caitlin needs to get out more.)


Gluten Flour:  Makes your bread more elastic and less crumbly, plus seems to give it a better rise.  A lot of discount stores (Winco if you are in the north western part of the US) has this in their bulk food bins.  Otherwise, you can find it in your baking aisle.

Add a Tb for every cup or so of flour.   This reduces the flour you use by about 1/4 c.

EXAMPLE: I have a bread recipe that calls for 6 cups flour- so I use 6 Tb Gluten flour and then only add closer to 5 1/2 or 5 3/4 c. flour.


DO NOT ADD TOO MUCH FLOUR:  Don’t even add as much as the recipe calls for unless you have to! 

Too much flour = a small hard loaf. 

Add a few cups of flour and fire up your mixer.  Then keep adding more a little at a time until the bread dough cleans the bottom and sides of the mixer.  Then STOP!  You want it to still feel sticky when you touch it!


Let it sit:  Once you have added all your ingredients, let the goop sit for a while before you start kneading it / turn on your mixer.  It will shorten the mixing time.


PAM:  If you knead by hand- even if it is just in the last stages when you are forming loaves- use PAM instead of flour.  Spray Pam (or other non stick spray of course) on the counter, on your hands and get to work! 

Kneading it with flour you run the risk of adding too much!  And see above about that.


Powdered Milk:  For some reason that I am too lazy to explore, powdered milk tends to give bread a better, lighter rise than regular milk.  Plus, if you are LDS (or TRex Mom?), it is a great way to make use of that food storage powdered milk!


Rise in warm place!:  I actually find the oven to be my best place.  I set it to warm while I mix up the dough, then turn it off and put the loaf pans in, covered with a towel.  A much faster rise than just on the counter top!  Some people swear by using the microwave instead!



Paint the loaves!:  Once the bread comes out of the oven, paint it with either milk or butter (ooh!) so that as it cools the crust stays soft.  I usually use milk just to be healthy, but sometimes (and always with rolls!) I use butter and it is just delish!

If you are making french bread, paint it with water BEFORE you bake it!  It gives it a nice crusty…crust.


Let ‘em cool:  If you can wait, you should let the loaves fully cool before you slice them. 

If you slice them when they are too warm, then the loaf will collapse a bit and have a mushy center later.

This definitely does not apply if you are going to – say- eat an entire loaf of cheddar onion bread with your dinner.  In that case- dig in while it is piping hot!


.(Finger paint bottles in the background.  Such is my life!)


Part 2: Just Give Us the Recipe Already!

Obviously there are about a million bread recipes out there- and everyone has their favorite.  Actually, please email me your favorite/ leave them in the comments if you have time!

I make many different kinds of bread, but this is my go-to bread recipe that I make the most.

In fact, I don’t even have to look at the recipe to write it down!  Awww!  Good housewife!  Good!

It makes 2 loaves and they last us a week.  I use them for sandwiches, toast, everything!

Harvest House Bread

2 c. whole wheat flour (sometimes I add more)

2-4 c. white flour (see above about the flour addition)

1 c. oats (I use old fashioned Quaker)

6 Tb Gluten Flour

1/4 c. powdered milk

1/3 c. oil

1/3 c. brown sugar

2 1/4 tsp salt

3 c. WARM water

1 1/2 Tb. yeast


Add the ingredients as directed by your mixer.  I add the yeast and water first, and let it sit as I get out everything else.  Then I add the liquid ingredients with the flour last of all.

Let sit for a couple minutes, then mix ‘er up, adding only as much flour as needed to clean the bowl.

If you don’t have a mixer, let it rise after kneading.  Sometimes I still let it “rest” for a couple of minutes.

If you do, then dump out onto the counter, form into two loaves, (make a jelly roll and then tuck in the ends-makes a nice smooth top!), and let rise in a warm place until double.

Bake at 350 until it looks done – I actually never set the timer!


I am certainly no expert- this is just what has worked for me.

Anyone else have any other tricks to add?  Please share!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Goop = Cornstarch + Water


Alternatively titled: “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”


If it were up to me, my house would always be sparkling clean.


My kitchen would be spotless and smell faintly of bleach and lemons.


If it were up to me, I would take a nap daily and read for hours.



I would never need to know the easiest way to clean “goop” from every crevice of my kitchen




(note: allow to dry, scrape and sweep up as much as you can, mop/wipe with a damp rag the rest.  And REPEAT)


I would never know this kind of a mess.


I’m so thankful it is not up to me.


Because I would also not know this kind of laughter.


This no-holds-barred boyishness that they show me every day.


This joy of discovery.



This goofiness.



These two messy, adorable, wonderful boys that God has blessed me with.


In the end, the laughter outweighs the tears.


The kisses outweigh the scoldings.


And the joy outweighs the messes!




(even the big ones)