Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

I lost my voice over the weekend.  And I've discovered that it's really hard to parent 3 kids when you can't raise your voice a little bit.  Or a lot.  I whispered to Erik that maybe it's a good lesson for me - this whole not-raising-my-voice thing.  I have to walk to each child and make eye contact with them in order to get their attention...  no more yelling from room to room.  When things get real crazy you'll see me waving my arms or clapping, but for the most part I've just been ignoring rhetorical questions and fights that seem less-than-serious because the effort of talking is just too much.  Erik actually commented last night that he even felt the urge to be more quiet with the kids because I was so quiet...  Hmmm.

So, after a morning of running errands yesterday and having to explain in hushed tones to cashiers and other strangers that I couldn't talk, it was time for a home day.  So Silas and I tried a new cookie recipe that I pinned to my Pinterest board a little while ago.  Chocolate chip cookies are not loved by all in this house (Micah has decided he doesn't like chocolate anymore - this makes baking for everyone a challenge...), so I've been looking for some recipes that the whole family will enjoy.  Silas and I are the only ones who've taste-tested so far, but I have a feeling these cookies will be a winner.

I found the recipe on this blog, but I'll include it again here just to save you some time :)

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened (I used margarine)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar (I used less)

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients (excluding the powdered sugar) then add to the butter mixture, stirring slowly until just combined.  Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate.  Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and then roll in powdered sugar.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 9-11 minutes at 350 degrees. 

I was recently chatting with some girls about how to achieve perfect cookies and we agreed that one key step is to NOT over-bake them.  This recipe suggested taking the cookies out once they had a "matte" finish (no longer melty or shiny).

These were the cookies right after I took them out of the oven.  Let them sit on the baking sheet for a few more minutes and then transfer them to a cooling rack.

And they tasted amazing!  The powdered sugar gave them just the teensiest bit of sweet crispy-ness on the outside and the lemon flavour was not too overpowering, but just the right amount.

This one is definitely a keeper for the recipe box.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kids and Cows

We haven't made much noticeable headway on the bathroom, so I'll refrain from posting disappointingly un-progressive pictures of it.  Instead, here are a few from last week when Dad Toews cut some hay for our hungry cows and the kids helped deliver the fresh treat.  With the lack of rain the grass had been getting pretty sparse in the pasture, so the cows quickly got over any people-related shyness and came running.

Cocoa nibbling on Keziah's knees.

Willy the calf.

Up on the haywagon.

This kid is pretty fearless.

Micah getting mauled by cattle...

I think that was the last warm, dry evening of our amazing fall.  A day or two later the rains started in earnest.  So, today I celebrated "real" fall by trying a recipe for squash soup (turned out delicious, by the way) and some pumpkin pie for dessert (thanks to my Mom for leaving me a stash of pie dough in my freezer).  It definitely smells like October in the kitchen today :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Waste Management

A couple of weeks ago we made some significant progress on our house expansion project.  It may not be the most exciting or visually appealing part of the transformation, but it was an absolutely necessary first step.  

Say hello to our new septic system...

The day the big new tanks went in was pretty exciting.  My parents were still here and so we all watched as they were lowered into the ground.

Our old tank was in need of being replaced, and also in need of being moved so that we could build onto the house.  So getting this new system is in place was essential to get the ball rolling.

And while we're on the topic of potty talk, this is how our bathroom is looking these days...

It may not look like much, but there's already been a lot of progress in this room including a brand new bathtub.  We weren't expecting to start this renovation so soon, so my mind has been spinning with all the big decisions that need to be made before we can finish.  Good thing I work well under pressure... Maybe Erik should just spring every home renovation project on me at the 11th hour!

Then again... maybe not.

Fortunately I've decided on the main things - thanks to the inspiration of my Pinterest board.  So, for those who care, here's a little idea of what (I hope) is to come:

I've chosen a hexagon floor tile like this one and I also hope Erik can replicate this wainscoting...

White subway tile for around the bathtub (and more hex tile but with darker grout)...

Vanity inspiration (but with more drawers)...
(Also, we'll be putting in this double sink that I bought at IKEA over the weekend.)

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Light fixture (I found one that's exactly the same at Home Depot.ca)...

So now that my homework is done, Erik's work is just beginning.  There's a lot that needs to be done before our bathroom looks anything like these ones...  Right now we are minus a shower and a toilet and the renovation of this one small room has overtaken our entire house...  But I'm just trusting that in the end it will all be worth it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Summer's End

I think it's safe to say that summer is officially over.  Today we finally broke down and turned the heat on in our house after I shivered - despite being bundled up - for a good part of the day.  But I don't mind.  I welcome the cozy foggy fall mornings, the changing leaves, the excuse to pull out the sweaters and scarves that have been hanging patiently in my closet....   
It helps that we got more than our fair share of summer.  The entire month of September felt like an extension of August with it's dry and warm (sometimes hot) weather for days on end.  

And my parents came just in time to enjoy those very last days of Fraser Valley summer.  We spent one Sunday afternoon with them at White Rock exploring the tide pools and walking the pier.

Super-Micah takes a flying leap...

While Silas and Keziah approach much more cautiously.

Seaweed is fascinating...

...for young and old alike.

And there's nothing like wet, squishy sand between your toes...

...and fingers too.

We stopped to watch a passing train, while Silas exclaimed over and over, "This twain is gonna take foh-wever!!!"

My handsome and serious 7-year-old.

(and his walking stick)

Silas hanging out on the pier.

It was a very relaxing afternoon of wading and walking and gelati eating... ending off with a pre-dinner snack of fish and chips from Moby Dick.  So bad but sooo good.

On another afternoon, we did a more "fall-ish" activity and headed to Willow View Farms to pick some apples.  Of course we first had to pose by the pumpkins and pet the goats.

(Sporting his "Manitoba" shirt from Superstore in honour of Grandpa & Granny's visit.)

Then we headed out to the orchard.



It was another hot September afternoon.

 And what did we do with all of those apples?

Baked apple pie of course.

Pies don't normally get baked around this house.  It's a phenomenon that only happens when my mom comes to visit.  This time she stocked up my freezer with extra pie dough and some frozen apple pies.

We used the rest of the apples to make applesauce.  We did one batch of strawberry-applesauce using some berries I had in my freezer from earlier this summer.  So easy and so delicious.  I think I'll be heading out to do some more apple picking this fall.  I'm envisioning some peach applesauce to join the rest in my freezer...

Thanks Mom and Dad for a great visit - for being willing to get cozy in this small house for 10 days, hang out with 3 crazy kids and fill my freezer with lots of goodies for the months to come :)