Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Boy and Girl

Recently, Jason turned 14 and Grace turned 17. This made a lot of thoughts run through my mind, such as, "Oh my gosh, I must be so old now, but how can this be?"
It is so fun to watch both of them live their lives and grow up. We just love the people they are, and the people they are becoming. It's also quite entertaining to see how different they are. The above photo is but one example. It was taken along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road on the way home from an overnight camping trip to Big Sur, which was how Grace wanted to celebrate her birthday (we took the family, four of Grace's friends, and Max the Dog, who was in heaven the entire time). Jason celebrated a couple of weeks ago by having some friends over and "microwaving stuff you're not supposed to microwave" (not in mine, in one we got at a thrift store for $5).
The boy in the photo hasn't showered in a couple of days, even though he played a baseball game. It's okay, though, because he is wearing a beanie. He also didn't bring his toothbrush on the camping trip "because it's only one night". He only takes serious photos for school and for sports, because if you do those wrong, you have to do re-takes, and one time is usually considered torture enough. Besides, why be normal if your sister is right there beside you smiling nicely? He might be happy because the previous night, the girls paid him 2 dollars to run around the campground waving a pink flag. So he has been loaded up with girl-attention and some money at this point.
The girl looks like an ad for camping. She has a knack for wearing cute outfits at the appropriate times. She plans out everything, down to the small details, and it works just about every time. Her camping dinner included tri tip, grilled veggies, grilled pineapple, a salad, grilled garlic bread, and smores for dessert - probably the best camping meal we've ever had. Even the weather cooperated. And there are 139 pictures in an album on Facebook to document the occasion. Really cute photos - even this one, which is possibly my favorite, because it is a classic example of what I love about my boy and my girl.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Good Bread!

My 'Farmgirl' group was over a couple of weeks ago to learn about grains and bread-making. Everyone used my grain mill to grind some whole wheat flour (this must be done outside, or by my gracious and valiant husband, since it gives me instant allergies....plus it makes a lot of dust!), and we made homemade tortillas and a couple of loaves of my becoming-famous brown bread. I actually got this recipe from my friend Katie back in my homeschooling days, and I love it because it involves no yeast (therefore no waiting around for it to rise), and it is delicious. Oh, and when you are not sure if you will have 15 people or 20 people over for dinner, let's say, because, for example, you work with college students and no one ever rsvp's, easy loaves like these are a good filler! I made it last year for our annual St Patrick's Day dinner, and this year, one of our staff guys (who did rsvp, so bonus points for him!), sent me a text message that read, "No pressure, but are you making that brown bread again this year?" When I answered yes, he sent me another text that said, "YES!!!!" That pretty much made my day!
Here is the recipe in case you want to try. It is very easy, which is good, because I am, of course, very lazy.


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 - 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
2 cups buttermilk
optional ingredients: 1 cup raisins and/or 1 cup chopped walnuts

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and mix the liquids in another bowl.
Stir liquids into the dry, until just-mixed. Add any optional ingredients.
Pour batter into a greased, floured loaf pan and bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from pan, and cool well before slicing.
Pappas family addition: When serving, spread with a really good amount of butter.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Small Quick Updates...

1. Jason turned 14 on Sunday, and to celebrate, he and 5 friends microwaved "things you're not supposed to microwave", including a light bulb, cd, and a whole egg (we bought a $5 thrift store microwave for the occasion, and did it all outside. The light bulb was colorful and amazing, kind of like a Pink Floyd concert, or so I'm told)
2. Grace got her SAT results back and CRANKED, just like we figured! What a smarty-pants. Now she's running for Senior Class President. I stand in amazement of her almost every day....
3. We got three small chicks, to replace the 5 older hens that retired to a large acreage in Los Osos, down by the beach. The new ones are Barred Rocks, which means they will be the black and white kind pictured above when they grow up. For the moment they are spending the cold nights in a box in our living room, under our desk light, pecking the cardboard and waking me up several times each night.
4. Jamey spoke at a men's retreat up in the redwoods, north of San Fran, and took Jason and his friend Deven. They had a spectacular time and found yet another fantastic bbq restaurant.
5. Baseball season started!!! To celebrate, I signed up for MLB Audio on my computer so I can listen to games while I am working. Also, Jason's Babe Ruth League games have started and he is on the Angels this year. So far the team is 3-0 and he is batting .500. Show off.
6. Today I filled up the truck with gas and the final amount was $85.69. It's so awful I took a photo (on my cell phone, which I haven't yet learned to transfer to this blog). I may have gotten a little teary.
7. My Farm Girls group met at my house and we ground wheat into flour and made bread from scratch. I learned that kneading the dough takes approximately 10-15 minutes by hand, and about 60 seconds in a cuisinart. Guess which one I will be using from now on?
8. Jamey and I helped to process applications for staff, stint (one-year overseas missions), and internships, for students who are hoping to work for Campus Crusade in our region next year. We had about 165 students apply!! That's a huge increase from last year.
9. Because of all of the winter rain, the oaks and pines around us are so loaded with pollen that they are yellow. Pollen coats our cars, porch, and front walk with yellow dust. SO, I am currently running on the treadmill inside the gym, where my nose is assaulted not by pollen, but by "After Shave Man", the guy who wears way too much cologne.
10. We got a new, cool gopher trap and caught our first gopher! And so it begins.....