Silhouettes of the Kids

I've decided I really don't like blank walls.  It's hard to know what and where to put things.  I think that sometimes my fear of doing it right makes me nervous to do it at all.  Don't worry, I will be, but I am anxious about it looking good all together.  It's hard to put a house together piece by piece and hope it looks good.  Is there a key of where to start?  Do you do couches and a rug first, curtains, maybe some wall decor, paint?  Seriously, decorating is a little trickier than it looks and hard to start from a completely blank slate.

Often decorating schemes start from a favorite rug or painting that you pull colors from.  We don't even have that, so it makes it a little harder.  However, it is a fun learning process and it will happen over time.

So for a start, here's my kids silhouettes!  I love love how they turned out.  Each of them totally describes their personality right now.  I found the tutorial from my friend Rachel's blog What I Made Today, now you can make them too.  Everyone is doing it.  :)

Boy K needed a haircut and decided he wanted a mohawk.  Against my better judgement, we gave it to him and if spiked, it doesn't look half bad.  But I am glad he doesn't like it that much and wants to cut it off.  This is his rocker pose.  Seriously, this says so much about him: does he make silly faces constantly at the camera, yes; rolling eyes at the camera, yes; doing his own dressing, even if it's wearing 2 pairs of athletic shorts over each other (it's cool - and yes, I let him wear them to preschool), yes.

On the other hand, Girl A is very photogenic and loves to have her picture taken.  She'll pose nicely for me and do princess smiles.  She's a happy girl and this is a perfect capture of her laughing when I took her picture. 

You might question me saying this is a personality shot, but I think it's perfect.  Here's our Little Boy S.  He's cute, he doesn't know how to smile yet, and he had blue eyes.  He's bald, squirmy, and has stinky diapers.  He's a baby and this is the perfect pose for him.  

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Mom's Crescent Rolls

I love these rolls!  They just might be my favorite recipe.  A while ago I made some fluffier crescent rolls that were recommended from a friend (you can find that recipe here) and they were great.  If you're going for a really bready fluffy roll, that's the one.

This recipe has a hint of sweetness, the roll actually unrolls from itself, is buttery, and they also freeze well.  This is always the roll my Mom made at holidays and while she was helping after the baby was born, I asked her to make these for us.  The kids love helping with this one as well!
Crescent Rolls
Makes about 60 rolls (or more if you roll your rounds thiner and slice more)

1 cup warm water
4 pkgs yeast 
3 cups lukewarm milk
1 cup sugar
4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 cup shortening, softened
14 cups flour, divided (might be less)
1/2 cup softened butter (might be a bit more)

Measure warm water into a mixing bowl and add yeast, stirring to dissolve.  Let it sit for only about 5 minutes and mix in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 7 cups flour.  Mix more flour in a cup or 2 at a time.  You want the dough to be as soft as possible, almost sticky, just so you're able to handle it.

Add enough remaining flour to handle easily.  Turn onto lightly floured board and kneed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Round up in a greased bowl, greased side up.  Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch down, let rise again until almost double, about 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 4 balls.  Roll out on lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness in a large circle.  Spread softened butter on top.  Using a pizza cutter, cut the circle in halves, fourths, etc, etc, etc, about 12-16 per circle, depending on your desired roll size.

Beginning at the large end of your slices (the rounded edge), roll up.  Place them on a greased pan, with the point of the roll tucked under the bottom of each roll (or it will come unrolled during cooking).  Let rise 15-20 minutes.  Bake at 400 for 10-13 minutes until lightly brown on top.  You can also spread butter on the tops after cooking to make the tops even softer.  Sink your teeth into goodness!

5 Minute Chili

We need fast meals sometimes.  Now that I'm often cradling Baby S in one arm, cooking is a little bit different paced.  This is a fast go-to recipe.  (and yes, I shop at Winco)
5 Minute Chili

1 can tomato sauce
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can chili
1 can petite tomatoes
1 can pinto beans
1 can green chilies

Open all cans, rinse beans, mix all together in pan until heated.  Eat.
Optional (but delicious): Serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, diced sweet peppers, diced tomatoes, tortilla chips

*I don't always have each of these cans around, maybe use chick peas instead of pinto beans or 2 cans of tomatoes if you don't have sauce.  It's one of those flexible recipes that are a great one to raid to cupboards for and keep on hand.

Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

We love nutella around here.  I've even found my husband dipping a snickers bar in it.  So his idea was that I should make some nutella cookies.  I know there's recipes that actually have nutella as an ingredient, like this one from Simply Recipes, but I wanted to just use the basic ingredients of hazelnuts and chocolate.  I might have thrown some white chocolate chips in there as well.  

Here's my tips:
1. I roasted the hazelnuts. After roasting the brown skin comes off with a little bit of rubbing.  
2. I added at least a extra cup of flour and they are still a pretty flat cookie.  I think I will add more next time.
3. I used Ghiradelli chocolate and white chocolate chips - so good!
4. I didn't have any toffee bars and they were still scrumptious.  
5. Give them away, otherwise you'll find yourself eating ALL of them.  They were awesome cookies!

Now go make some.  And be warned, the cookie dough is really yummy.

He arrived!

We couldn't be happier around here!  A cute little baby boy has joined our party and we are all excited he's here.  My older kids, Boy K and Girl A are so happy to hold Baby S all the time and point out his tiny body parts.  He is a happy baby who cries little, sleeps well, and is happy to be lovingly poked.  Girl A is enamored by his "tiny cheeks" and Boy K loves his sleep smiles.

The delivery went well.  I was middle of the road about getting an epidural and going natural.  I had an epidural with both the others, but had weird reactions to it with more numbness than normal.  It made me nervous to do it again.  SO...drum roll...I did it natural.

It is its own experience and very painful and super intense, but rewarding and cool at the same time.  I wasn't trying to earn stripe or any mom badges, I think I was more curious to how it all felt.  I'm glad I did it, but I can't answer for sure right now that I'd do it again.  Yes, I might have done some screaming, I've heard of people being totally quiet and in "the zone" for that.  I don't know how they do that. Anyway, he's healthy, I'm healthy, and I'm kicking it into gear around here.  This is gonna be fun!

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