Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Baking with The Bosch

Remember I said that Elliott got me a Bosch Mixer for my birthday? I love it, and was determined to not let it be another item of mine that I neglected simply because it was "there" and would be "there" whenever I want to use it (so why rush)? Such is the case with my guitars, and my keyboard (one day a piano will replace it!), and--well I can't think of much else right now so I don't feel as bad as I thought I would! Success. I also knew that with baby 2 coming (let's get some names brainstorming here, ok?) that my time would be severely limited and I would be in constant "damage control" mode for a few weeks/months until I developed a steady routine. I have 3 months off of school and decided that instead of traditional "nesting," which I failed at with the last pregnancy, I would just focus more on the few crucial things I knew would be hardest to develop a habit of doing once the baby comes. SO, I have been working out several times a week. I have been allowing myself a little more down time. And perhaps most astonishingly, (for me at least) I have been making food. Preparing menus, searching recipes, and planning weekly grocery shopping trips to Target and Trader Joe's have made life a little more refreshing and quite honestly, fulfilling. I think the words I used with Brianne were, "I'm practically a real grown up now." Though I do make quite a few dinner meals from scratch, I'm much more enthralled by sweets and breads. I have yet to view baking as "addicting" or "therapeutic," but more so as rewarding and a labor of love. And I'd hardly consider myself a baker per se. I need to bake a little more consistently to say, "Oh, what do I do? I bake among other things (then list those other things)."  Over the past week or so I have made: 

 Famously quick, quick french bread. 
 Cocoa Crinkle Cookies
The holy grail of breads (and four hours + two shopping trips later I GET it) the softest, butteriest crescent rolls ever

Not to mention an oatmeal, coconut, chocolate bar recipe that tasted so good as dough but baked into a bland granola bar. Sad. 

Nonetheless, it is the holiday season, so what better time to get that bake on, right? I mean, the crescent rolls are for Thanksgiving tomorrow and I made the french bread just because, but also just because if the infamously temperamental crescent rolls didn't turn out, I'd have a backup. Looking at my hodge-podge of food pictures, I thought, "Why am I rambling on and on about food besides the fact that I'm pregnant?" Then I remembered (since I'm also very forgetful whilst pregnant) that, the first bread picture is literally just that--the first bread that I have made. Ever. I really don't count the dinner rolls I randomly made one careless Sunday afternoon several years ago WITHOUT a mixer. This is all because they had too much flour and became hard as rocks as soon as they cooled. Most ended up in the garbage. But last week, I baked bread, like a real grownup. And it felt great. Probably not unlike a sewer who makes their first whatever or a knitter who knits their first whatever. Baking bread not only made me truly reach the next level of love for my Bosch, but it spurred me on to develop another productive and "healthy" (subjective) activity in my life. On Black Friday (well, beginning tomorrow night since it's a two-day process), I will attempt another famous Brennan recipe--Sweet Sweet Cinnamon Rolls (do you like that the names I'm giving these baked goods are entirely made up or heinously embellished)? Bake on pregnant ones. Not to mention bake for pregnant ones. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ham and Rolls.

 Do you like that cool cheese stick I drew? It's his favorite food. 

I used color time as an opportunity to go over colors (HELLO) and a few letters. One of Beckett's favorite shows is Blue's Clues--especially since it comes on around the time his absolute favorite show, Go Diego Go! comes on. Conveniently, Blue's Clues helped him really learn and sound out "BOO!" (blue); not unlike the way Go Diego taught him how to say "NO" (he doesn't recognize the difference between "No, a kayak doesn't help you climb the mountain," and simply, "NO. NO. NO."). Over it. Rosie Perez could learn to say "No" in a less obnoxious way though. Oh well, again, over it. Can't really get upset. I say "No," more times a day than "Click La Camara."  BACK to "Boo..." When Beckett was scribbling with the blue crayon he didn't seem to be too aware of the color he was using (understandable from a first-timer) until I drew a little blue paw print and the "BOOS BOOS BOOS!" began nonstop. It was good to have that coloring moment before the tantrums began all throughout the afternoon and evening. Beckett is a baby of balance, fortunately. Well, I can't even say that. He is a baby of positive and almost undeserving imbalance. Though he has a rough and spastic 12 hours, it comes on day 7 of Rotavirus (courtesy of Nursery during sick season). Again, it happens. Over it, baby stays home from Church for a few weeks months? Lesson learned. It was only fitting that I asked Elliott to add Beckett and me to his gym membership for a month on day 1 of Rotavirus (thinking nothing of his runs). I've been once. Without Beckett. On a Saturday (the intent being that if I took Beckett with me during the week I could fully relax and indulge on the weekends). It happens and it is fine. I am avoiding the real test of possibly joining the many women who pull their A's out of bed at 5:30am because that's what it takes. It probably wouldn't be such a bad thing anyways. Especially since I JUST went to Bed Bath and Beyond today to purchase some brand new jelly roll pans for my cinnamon rolls this week... Not to mention cooling racks as well for the cookies and crescent rolls I will also be making. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Descended, A Dusty Gravel Ridge...

There is something to be said about staying in a Ghost Town, which is precisely the state assumed by the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek before and after ski season. Venturing around the "Village," are many shops and restaurants preparing for their annual re-opening upon the return of the snow season at the end of November. We encountered a similar experience when we visited on our Honeymoon in May 2008. At one point, the hotel valet said to us, "You have the place all to yourselves, everyone left after the weekend."  As intrigued as we now are as to the stark contrast of being there during peak season, we felt a little spoiled being able to go anywhere (that was open) without a wait as well as wandering around the resort with seeing only a few other guests.  

There is also something to be said when it comes to going on the same getaway vacation after having children and feeling as if your body has aged 10 years instead of 3.5. The afternoon we arrived at Beaver Creek, I crawled into bed at 3pm and didn't get back out until 7 the next morning. I asked Elliott to order Domino's instead of taking me out. The previous two nights before leaving, I spent awake (packing and prepping) past midnight with only a few short hours of sleep in between. During the trip, I was popping fiber gummies and heading to the gym (see the second to last picture of my view from the elliptical) instead of gorging and loafing. Believe me, the after effects of such indulging (whether or not I'm on vacation) are intensified when pregnant. On our second to last day, I woke up with a migraine, nausea (sparing the details) and body aches and wound up soaking in a warm bath... at 5am. Thus, we actually didn't end up going to our "happy place"--Glenwood Springs! Slightly heartbreaking (I wanted to see Doc Holliday's grave), but on the other hand--we relaxed. In bed. Curtains open revealing the constant snowfall. All day. Now, I am certainly the last one to complain about my "hard vacation" because it was nothing short of liberating and relaxing. Just--insightful. Slightly awakening. And most of all, amusing to note the differences between 18 and no kids, and 22 with one and another on the way. It was great, and it taught me a thing or two about the vacation side of vacation--not the "doing" side of vacation. I miss it already. On a different note the hotel's premier restaurant (as in, we opted to just get dessert instead of a full meal there premier) hosts Thanksgiving dinner. I think one of these years, we will take our boys, ski a little (maybe not so much me), and vacation the holiday away. 

On a related note to that note, the dessert we got was unbelievable. It was a goat cheese brownie (have I mentioned how goat cheese is my favorite cheese? Really, it is.) drizzled in salted caramel, served a la mode. Heaven. Actually, most everywhere we ate in Colorado was heaven. What we missed out on doing activity-wise, we certainly compensated in the food area (I mean, Cap'n Crunch French Toast)?! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hallow-haunts the Sequel Pt. 2

 He looked like a baby off to a Rave. Elliott took the light bulb concept and ran with it. Beckett and Lily stuck together while the older kids went ahead. They are certainly the sweetest pair and knocked on doors (repeatedly until they opened) together. 

I absolutely loved the Lines Family's 50s costumes--I don't think I said it enough that night. Family themes are absolutely the way to go and I don't know if Elliott and I will ever be able to stop coordinating our outfits with our children... Until they reach that "certain" age maybe. But maybe by then they will realize how fun it is to match, right?! Well, at least between now and then, we will most definitely be squeezing in this costume after new baby boy joins the action: