Friday, March 27, 2015

Foodie Friday~ Trois Jours? I fold.

We have some friends. Yes, I know, hard to believe, but we DO!

We have some friends whom I'll call the Harrises and Mr. Layton. We have built our friendship around meals. Dinner at our house. Dinner at theirs. Come over for some treats. Let's deep-fry hamburgers... you know, the way everyone makes friends.

So, one day, Matt suggested we try making cronuts, which my clan had never heard of. I needed help. I couldn't use my logical powers to figure out what worlds collided to make cronuts. Did you just figure it out? You're so smart! Yay! Croissant donuts. A dude named Dominique invented them.

One thing I did know, because I asked my mom once when I was a kid, is how to make flaky dough. Not a simple undertaking. And Dominique makes it even worse. If you, or anyone you know has ever attempted his recipe, please share. We want to know if it was worth it!

When our date with cronut destiny was set, I was at my house looking it up, and the Harrises were at their house looking it up. I told Jake there was no way I was going to make puff pastry. The Harrises texted and said we should change plans because it takes three days. Jake said, "Let's just buy those tubes from the grocery store."

So, we did. I looked up "simple cronuts." We weren't the only ones trying to hack the real deal.

It was fun getting the band back together again.

Not just because their four little boys are so loveable and heart-wrenchingly cute.

The big boys were fighting. Around a fryer.

We did a glaze and also cinnamon-sugar.

This one is our favorite Harris. I'm just kidding. But, he has magical powers that cause you to want to be his everything.

Here's the consensus on hacked cronuts. The cinnamon-sugar donut holes were really good; extremely light and puffy. The donuts didn't puff up as much, but they tasted good. We tried two layers of dough, but three was definitely better. Matt was combining glaze coating with cinnamon-sugar which was new to me. We did, eventually, invite the boys, and they devoured cronut after cronut. The best part, though, was spending time with friends.

MaKe a cROnuT, maKe A fRIeNd.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rylee Returns to Cheyenne

Remember Rylee's horse, January? She has been in Cheyenne since before we moved to Guam. Her foal is due to be born around April 1st.

 I was going to take Rylee out there next weekend, but then Miss Virginia asked if Rylee could come out ASAP. They have four mares all due in the next month. 

They have to check on the mares regularly for signs that "this is about to happen" even through the night. So, everyone is stretched to their limits with chores and lack of sleep. 

Rylee was bouncy crazy happy for two reasons. One, she got to drive all the way to Cheyenne which added six hours to her driving log. Second, was that she would be reunited with her harsey. 

The drive went well, and January walks like she's pregnant. 

This horse walked away from Rylee. It was not January. 

Guess where we found her?

Eating, of course. 

She had her head buried in the hay. 

January was as shaggy as a mammoth. When Rylee ran her hand across her belly, tufts of hair would float off into the wind. 

We stayed the night at cousin Ashby's. She whipped up (literally one-handed cuz she was on the phone) the best lasagna I've had for a long time. It was great fun sitting around the table visiting. 

The night before, Miss Virginia and Uncle Rod had been up with a mare who gave birth to a bouncing baby girl. 

This foal was very strong right from the start. 

Everywhere her mama went, she followed. 

 I'm glad I didn't have to give birth to anything with such long knobby legs. 

I said my goodbyes to Rylee and headed home for Nicole's birthday party; another turn-around trip across Wyoming. It was quite cold!

Found this kitty enjoying the rising sun. 

Got home just in time. Kiki and Avery made the cake. They had a joint part cuz they were born mere days apart. 
Swim party!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Music Monday~ Not the Star Wars LP

Today, I am instituting Music Monday. Because, it's my blog. I can  institute anything I want.

And because, well, you can't tell by looking at me, but I love music.

I LOVE music. If it were possible to literally love music enough to marry it, that would be me.

I'm a terrible dancer and I'm not musically talented. That is why you can't tell how much in love with music I am, but the passion is there. It is nearly physically impossible for me to keep from tapping my foot or bobbing my head when there is music playing. In fact, I often absentmindedly "dance" my fingers to whatever is playing inside my head. Jake calls it a tic. You know in the movie Signs, when the older brother is explaining why his sister never finishes a glass of water, "It's like a tic people have, except it's not a tic." That's me. I have a musical tic.

When I was in high school, my mom would pull up in front of my high school in her splotchy gold, two door, jalopy 1974 Mazda hatchback. Blaring Country & Western. You know the ones. Willie Nelson. Johnny Cash. I loved that music then, and STILL love that music. But, I was so embarrassed. Not because of the car, but because my mom was blaring her Country & Western, singing along out loud in front of my high school.

Thirty years later, I am the mom who pulls up blaring music and singing out loud. I am the mom with a car full of children of all ages and we are exhaling our souls in the lyrics.There are a number of songs for which my five children and I pine together, but I have noticed that they don't love the old stuff that I listen to. That's an understatement. They say very unkind things about songs from past generations.

At twelve, I made tapes that played the Beatles, Dolly Parton, and Duran Duran. I would play my dad's Star Wars album, then play my Cyndi Lauper album. Hmmm... my married daughter does like the Beatles, and has the occasional classic rock song on her mixed cds. One of my favorite parts of our relationship is that she gives me music. Digitial music of genres familiar and new. Piano sheet music of things that play in the background of movies that no one ever really listens to as they're watching.

If I had a voice as smooth as butter, or as unique as Cash, or as dynamic as Celine I would sing everywhere. If I were a famous singer, I would give free concerts as I shopped for groceries. As it is, I'm only occasionally brave enough to embarrass people with my slight  range of smooth-as-grits voice.

So, today, I share with you a song that comes on the radio almost every single time I get in the car. Do I ever tire of it? NOOOOOOOO.

This song is SO romantic it makes me want to dance. Right from the moment the song begins, it feels like someone opened a beautifully wrapped box and poured romantic out onto the table, and then a breeze comes along and wisps of romantic swirl up and through the room. Some songs have romantic music with unromantic lyrics. This song does not fail me with its words.

Desafortunamente (unfortunately), I cannot in good conscience, share the music video that Ed Sheeran made because the girl who dances with him is barely covered, but the choreography is captivating, and I love the idea of him being the one around which she dances in a romantically dressed ballroom. So, the lyric video it is. Thanks, whoever made it.

Oh dear. Rylee just pointed out that today is not Monday. *sigh*

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Uneatable Slice

This past weekend, the girls went down to Utah to spend time with our oldest kid, Shanelle. Ha. Kid.

I had noticed that people were posting things about pi. Then, Shanelle posted 'Happy Pi-e Day' along with this picture. So, I wrote that they have come up with a day for everything.

Then, Shanelle schooled me. I thought they had dedicated a day for pi, the little math symbol. The name of our friend who was lost at sea with a tiger. The number that never seems to end.

But, no. It was nothing so sentimental. Poor little pi.

It was simply March 14th.



The girls had a great time. Shopping. Eating. Watching movies.

My number one daughter.
And Shanelle got to see our new house.

LEt's giVe pi a Day!

The Temple We Will Go

It has been almost six weeks since my return to Star Valley from Guam. We camped (luxuriously) at Ron and JoAnn's for a couple of weeks and then bought a place of our own. We got Rylee back into Seminary class. Jake has been blessed with some remodeling jobs. The kids are so happy to be back where they can walk safely in to town by themselves and continue the friendships they were missing so much.

Finally, Jake and I are able to start reintegrating our own former routines. Like our weekly temple trip. Now that Rylee can legally drive, she did not waver in her decision to go do baptisms for the dead. We all enjoyed our time in the temple, grabbed a quick bite of lunch, then put Rylee behind the wheel.

Rylee's first drive in a city. Well, it's not like a New York City.

Back seat drivers.
Back seat singers.
Such a pretty girl.
Passing through the farmlands of south eastern Idaho.
Palisades Lake. Rylee's first drive through a mountain pass.
We mAde iT hOme sAFeLy.

The Easiest Rite

It's that time again. A rite of passage for a 15 year old. A time of terror for her mother.

Rylee has been SOOOOOOOO excited to get her driver's permit. She has been studying the driver's manual, taking practice tests online, and trying to find a parent to take her to the DMV.

Here in Smallville, the DMV is only open certain days of the week, and for us, is two towns away. Jake drew the short straw, so they drove up and came back way too quickly. "So, how'd that go?" I asked. Jake responded that they needed Rylee's SSN card, which was a bad thing because that had disappeared I-don't-know-how-long ago. You want to know how to make a teenaged girl angry?

So, I had to gather proof of Rylee's existence and proof of my existence to send to vital records. Exactly two weeks later, Rylee's vital record was in my hands. This time it was I who gathered her paperwork and my paperwork, and drove up to visit the friendly DMV ladies. I figured, since I had my proof in hand I might as well get my own WY license, too. Rylee was extremely jittery with nerves about the test.

Getting my license was a cinch. With my super-vision I was able to read every single letter in the slide show binoculars which I really hoped they sanitized every now and then. After my photo, Miss DMV said it would be twenty dollars. I asked if I could pay for both of us on one check. She hesitated and said, "Well, if you're sure she'll pass."

"Oh, she'll pass." said my ever confident mommy voice.  I then sat and tried to find a magazine that wouldn't make me feel bad about myself while Rylee went to the touch-screen booth to test. She failed. So, the lady reset the machine and Rylee, covered in a dark cloud of doubt, went back to try again. She failed again.

Rylee was red-faced. Frustrated. Deflated. Embarrassed. The lady said we could come back the next day. She also said that a lot of kids fail and that some of those questions are designed to trick you. I ripped up my check and wrote a $20 one for my license. I followed Rylee out to the car. I tried to console her. She tried to hide her face from me.

On the drive home, I gave her space for a few minutes. My human nature began to try and cajole me into believing that Miss DMV purposely picked the hardest test they had because of my overconfidence. I wondered if maybe she somehow knew we were homeschoolers and wanted to tear us down. I told myself I was being ridiculous and not to turn this into anything about me. This was Rylee's dilemma.

When her breathing calmed, I told Rylee that this was not a reflection on her. She did everything she could to prepare. I asked her to remember the questions she missed. When we got home, Rylee went to her room to hide her tears and heartache from the world. I grabbed the driver's manual.

I searched for the info in the questions she didn't know. None of it was about driving. There are two different colored sections in the book. The front is pink. The back is not. The back is all the rules about driving. The front is about fines, suspensions, drunk driving, and even what has to be done to get your license back if you've been charged of delinquency on child-support payments. I realized that none of us in this household ever considered that she would be tested on the pink section.

I then brought up the website of practice tests. I noticed there was one selection that had fifty questions instead of the 25 that she had been taking. I took that test myself right then and found that that was the test with questions on the pink section. There was one question for which I searched and searched and could not find a direct answer.

When Rylee came out in public again, I chatted with her about what I had realized. I pointed out the logic that this was just like any other challenge she's ever faced. Like when she decided that her horse had to learn a certain skill, she figured out a way to teach it to her. I said that all she needed to do was learn what she hadn't learned. She nodded. I then explained to her what the pink section was and she was consoled by the fact that none of us thought she would be tested on that.

I then told her about the 50 question test that she never took. I showed her how the language in the questions is usually turned around or uses words that are more formal than conversational English. I suggested that she go through and underline anything that seemed hard to remember; DWUI- suspension durations for 1st, 2nd, 3rd offenses, etc.

As soon as Rylee finished eating, she grabbed the computer to take the test. She actually did better than I did. She studied the book and tested again--- 92%

The next morning I learned that Rylee had started a fast the night before and wanted Jake and I to pray with her before going to the DMV again. After I gave Rylee my own little pep-talk about taking time to read the questions aloud if need be, imagining herself actually in the situation a question is describing, and that even if she takes the test twelve times before she passes, that makes her an expert, not a failure, our whole family knelt on the living room floor and thanked Heavenly Father for our many blessings and prayed for Rylee's special fast.

As we drove up there, I was glad that Rylee did not seem disheartened. There were different ladies at the DMV which was nice because she didn't have to feel embarrassed. (I don't know if she even cared, but I was glad just in case.) Rylee was sent to screen #3 this time and I played 2048 while I waited.

She finished much quicker this time and when she approached me I looked up and her face was beaming. She lifted her shoulders and said, "I passed."

Miss DMV-the-2nd had Rylee sign her name and pose for a picture. For the next 15 minutes I was very grateful for this year's mild winter while Rylee drove us home; her first time on a highway.

I reflected as she drove. My daughter had prepared the best she knew how. She failed. She cried. My instinct was to fight for her; to prove that somehow it wasn't her fault; that she was sabotaged. Her instinct was to run; avoid the possibility of further humiliation.

We both had to tell our human natures to move over and make room for our spiritual natures.

My daughter came out of this wiser, stronger, and a little more sure of her own ability to overcome.

Part of the challenge of parenting is to NOT step in and make things easy for our children. We want to protect them. We want them to avoid hardships, especially the ones which we have personally experienced. We most definitely want to keep them from heartache.

But, that's how we change. That's how we figure out that we can either become better for our experiences or become bitter and blame others.

And trust me, as rites of passages go, getting a driver's permit is the easiest one.

 nIce jOB ryLEe!