Sunday, January 31, 2010

Spiritual Sunday

A longer than expected Spiritual Sunday...

I recently listened to a podcast of This American Life entitled The Devil on My Shoulder. Initially they refer to The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis who describes the subtleties of temptations as compared to the cartoon version of the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other battling it out. These fictional explanations of behavior serve to illustrate the difficulty we have in attempting to explain why we do things (good or bad) not to mention trying to decipher the actions of others.

The podcast goes on to talk about two approaches to influencing kids to do good and avoid bad and prompts reflection on the question of why we do what we do. The first is a dramatic production called Hell House, initially done by Trinity Church in Texas and now spread across the States. It occurs around Halloween and basically depicts people doing bad things and then going to hell. It is expected that the fright of these scenarios will prompt the audience to stay away from certain evils and follow a righteous life. I might disagree with their specific methods but the idea of using fear to influence behavior exists in the scriptures.

The prophets often speak of the negative consequences (in this life and the next) of doing wrong. For example, the prophet Enos wrote, "And there was nothing save it was exceeding harshness, preaching and prophesying of wars, and contentions, and destructions, and continually reminding them of death, and the duration of eternity, and the judgments and the power of God, and all these things—stirring them up continually to keep them in the fear of the Lord. I say there was nothing short of these things, and exceedingly great plainness of speech, would keep them from going down speedily to destruction. And after this manner do I write concerning them" (Enos 1:23). Even in the Psalms, which are usually upbeat we read, "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup" (Ps 11:6).

The next part of the podcast was about rumspringa which refers to a period of adolescence for the Amish when they are encouraged to go out to experience any sort of worldly evil from electricity (which I don't really think is evil) to drugs and immorality (both of which I agree aren't good). After this period of rumspringa the individual then decides whether or not to return to the clean Amish way of life or leave it forever. I believe it is roughly 90% of these young people that decide the outside world isn't for them and return to living the simple Amish life with their families. Although we are taught that inevitably we will all sin (and we should of course learn from our past misdeeds and strive to not repeat them), I'm not familiar with any scriptural teachings that encourage us to seek it out so we can really know what we'll plan on staying away from for the rest of our lives.

These are just two examples of how religious leaders and parents are trying to influence young people to live a certain way. Will a teenager be motivated by such fear? Will an adult remember the negative experiences with drugs and immorality he had as a teenager and stay on the straight and narrow?

We're constantly facing situations where we're trying to influence other people to act a certain way. I can think of dozens of examples from today alone of attempting to influence other people's behavior. Some aren't terribly important like trying to get my kids to go to bed. Others are of greater importance - like having a conversation about how to influence someone to return to faith and religious worship.

Dallin H. Oaks once spoke of our motivations? (BYU Annual University Conference on 23 August 1998 - Why Do We Serve?). He was speaking of why we serve in the church but many of his comments could be applied to the general question - why do we do good things? He describes six different types of motivations from "the lesser to the greater." It would be easy to see how these different motivations could be used to provide an angle for attempting to influence someone else.

1. For Riches or Honor - in parenting we would probably call this bribery
2. To Obtain Good Companionship - we often meet good people when we do good things
3. Fear of Punishment - man made punishments, the natural consequences of our actions and eternal judgments
4. Duty or Loyalty - I think this explains a lot of people's behavior
5. Hope of an Eternal Reward - really the flip side of number 3 and the extension of number 2
6. The Highest Motive - Dallin Oaks explains this highest motive by stating, "If our gospel service [again, I would say this applies to any good act we do] is to be most efficacious, it must be accomplished for the love of God and the love of his children."

I'll make two points about appealing to the highest motive in others. First, from Abraham Lincoln, "If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend." In other words, you must make your own motivations clear (i.e. becoming a sincere friend) before influencing another individual's motivations. Second, Boyd K. Packer has said, "true doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior". For anyone to act on a love of God they must first know Him.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In the Craftroom: Mini Album: Eli

I made this for a call for the Canadian Scrapbooker. This and a page too. the page got picked up so I won't show you that yet but here is my cute little mini album that I made from scratch. oh how I love doing that!! It makes me feel all industrious! :)

The pictures were all taken by my good friend Heather as a present to me when Eli was born. I was so grateful that she did that. Cause you just aren't feeling up to posing a baby when you just popped one out. AND I am in them. My first time being in newborn pictures with one of my newborns :)
I paired my great photos from Heather with the nursery rhyme you've all heard before. I made all the tags with the rhyme in photo shop and printed them out and glued them on. (a little hybrid-ness to my album) :)
I used very little embellishments because I wanted a soft serene feel and I felt like the patterned paper added enough to it.
Some of these papers I have had FOREVER!
And I added theg sewing to help hold the pages together really good AND as an aesthetic element. :)
A few pages have some printed transparencies that have been around my scrap room forever too! I loved them too much to use ;)
To make the album I cut 6x6 squares of chipboard for the front and the back. And then covered them in paper and joined them together with a small 3x6 piece of chipboard in between. Added the grommets and strung ribbon thru them and thru each page. I'm sure that is TOTALLY clear without any pictures of my process eh?? :)
DSC_0160 (there's the ribbon tied at least :) )

On the cover a small acrylic frame (another thing I've been saving for who knows what!) glued down with Crystal Effects so it'd be clear still, an antique key I bought at a show and some cute ribbon.

I have lots of these pictures in his regular album too. With lots of journaling. Which is why I felt like I could make this with little to none of my own thoughts. Just the little note on the last page. And that's my little album.

Have you ever made a mini album? Any thing holding you back?? Need help with it? IF you have, wanna share it on your blog or some where else?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In the Craftroom: Drowning in Papers

I don't know about you but there are papers around here. Piles of papers. From school, bills, church papers, renewal slips, artwork by the kids, handouts, and a whole lot of other ones.

I didn't know what to do with them, but after I couldn't find the paper I was supposed to fill out to register Lucy in preschool for next year (i am registering her in both preschool and kindergarden since we haven't made up our mind which she is doing yet).

This wall has been bothering me for a while...

SO I combined them and these...

And got this.
One clipboard for each of us (Eli doesn't really have papers yet...)

Soon all the Christmas cards on the dry erase board will be put into the scrapbook album - but I haven't gotten there yet....So just image that empty (hahahahaha)

And I've always wanted a poster of the Keep Calm one. So I made one myself and printed it off at costco to fit the 12x12 frame I already had. So if you'd like one you could let me know and I'd email it to you. Cause that will make you comment and cause I like you. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In the Craft Room: Valentine's Day Sensory Bowl

I wanted to do something with my two youngest that they would enjoy. Eli doesn't really play with much at all. Then I saw an idea on a blog. Adapted it a bit to what I had and what I could find at the dollar store and viola!!
A Valentine's Day Sensory Bowl. Well I put it in two different bowls so they each can have their own and play beside each other.
In the bowl is dried beans, foam hearts, V-Day confetti, heart bracelets and lots of measuring cups and funnels to play with. Everything except the beans came from the dollar store. Those are from the grocery story and also very cheap!

I am going to put it into a clear container. But I don't have one yet. So the bowl just sits on the top of my fridge for now.

Lucy loves it and Eli comes and goes from it. (but that's the way he rolls!) Alden even wanted to play with it a bit when he was home from school!
And YES they totally get beans and other stuff all over the floor while they play. And you know what? I just sweep it up when they are done and put in back in the bowl :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

In the kitchen: Soup Nazi?

I love soup!! But my kids do not. Eli is the only one who has ever even tried one. (He LOVES chicken noodle soup. Not the homemade kind - he won't try that... but the Lipton Noodle soup.)

Since I figure there are more important battles in the parenting home front to fight than soup, I never make it for my kids. So when I have ladies lunches or if Regan happens to be home at lunch I'll often make soup.

A favorite recipe of mine for Minestrone
(from Super Food for Kids)

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 strips of bacon, chopped
1 clove or garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup canned tomatoes
2 small zucchini , finely sliced
1 quart chicken stock
2 carrots finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 small turnip, finely diced
2 potatoes, diced
1 stick celery, sliced
14 oz canned cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp finely chopped freshly parsley
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil in pan. Add bacon and fry until it just begins to become translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Add the garlic and the onion to the pan and fry gently until soft. Return the bacon to pan with the tomatoes.

Pour in the hot stock, stir and then add the carrots, turnip, potatoes, celery and zucchini. Bring to a boil, cover the pan lower the heat and simmer very gently for about 40 minutes or until the veggies are soft.

Add the drained beans and frozen peas and heat through. Add the parsley and seasoning to taste. Serve soup in warmed bowls with the Parmesan served separately, to be added according to taste.

I love this soup.
I got the recipe originally from my good friend and past neighbor Kathleen.
I especially love it served with this.
Sister Glenn's Cornbread!!
2 cups flour
5 tsp baking powder
2/3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cup cold milk
2 eggs

Beat sugar, honey, milk and eggs in a bowl. Combine all dry ingredients and add to wet. Mix well. Pour into a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spiritual Sundays

Today's spiritual Sunday is written by Regan.

Most, if not all, parents are faced with questions of faith from their children. Some kids may ask to know if God exists or ask questions about Him. Other kids may want to know why people believe differently or may want to understand others religions. As with parenting in general, there’s a large range of ways to approach these questions. Some parents feel that they should not influence their children’s beliefs, as it is something their kids will decide upon as they mature. These parents purposely avoid questions of faith. Other parents are motivated by kids to seek out answers to questions of faith that they don’t feel comfortable answer themselves. This guy is a good example . The great novelist Charles Dickens took a different approach. Being an author he wrote a book about Jesus. This was initially just for his children and he read it to them each Christmas, which has since been published for a broader audience. He began this book by writing, “My Dear Children, I am very anxious that you should know something about the History of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about Him. No one ever lived who was so good, so kind, so gentle.”

Much more recently, Jeffrey R. Holland , in his characteristically compelling manner encouraged parents to actively seek to influence their children in matters of faith.
“We all learn ‘line upon line, precept upon precept,’ (2 Ne 28:30) with the goal being authentic religious faith informing genuine Christlike living. In this there is no place for coercion or manipulation, no place for intimidation or hypocrisy. But no child in this Church should be left with uncertainty about his or her parents’ devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Restoration of His Church, and the reality of living prophets and apostles who, now as in earlier days, lead that Church according to ‘the will of the Lord, . . . the mind of the Lord, . . . the word of the Lord, . . . and the power of God unto salvation.’ (D&C 68:4) -- General Conference April 2003

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Hello Hello

Did you know that yesterday I had 102 visits to my blog.
And in fact 3 comments..... interesting... ISN'T it???

You whooooo........

You out there.
Are you liking the new lots of posting?
Do you like the food posts?
And the pictures?
And the craftiness?

Looking for more funny kid quotes?
More real life it was a hard day kind a stuff???
Looking for a giveaway or free valentine's day downloads???

If you happen to be in that 102 I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Photo Talk: Holy Studio Batman!

Whenever I have a studio shoot at my house, I take pictures of my kids before. As soon as I set up the backdrop they are all over it. It's a little habit we've worked out. I check the light. And their personalities come out.

A classic I took when we were in Calgary that I still love.
(it's framed in my living room)
And from just before Christmas.
And from today's.
(he does NOT like the hat he got for Christmas....)

I love having this little habit with my kids! :)
They know and have posed most of these their selves :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lovely links

Some sites I have been a LOVING lately....

IF you do photography and have ever used a texture before.... check out the great Shadow House Creations where Jerry puts up a new texture almost every day. Love Love Love them!!

GREAT food site called Wicked Good Dinner where I won a big prize. It's coming in the mail (had some border issues) shortly and I am SO excited!! She has another give away right now!! Great recipes on there!

One of my very favorite new blogs. Knock Off Wood where she shows you plans to build awesome things for your home. I am GOING to learn to make some of these things. I Mean it!!

A sweet online sewing club/ blog called Presser Foot that posts a pattern for something CUTE each month and then you can follow along and make one too. I plan on making the bag from this month. Just haven't gotten around to it yet!!

Any sites or blogs you love lately?

And here is a photo I put on my 365 blog a few days ago of two people I love

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Spiritual Sundays

A story I've loved since I first read it. About forgiveness and repentance. From Gordon B. Hinckley:

"A time back, I clipped a column from the Deseret Morning News, written by Jay Evensen. With his permission, I quote from a part of it. Wrote he:

“How would you feel toward a teenager who decided to toss a 20-pound frozen turkey from a speeding car headlong into the windshield of the car you were driving? How would you feel after enduring six hours of surgery using metal plates and other hardware to piece your face together, and after learning you still face years of therapy before returning to normal—and that you ought to feel lucky you didn’t die or suffer permanent brain damage?

“And how would you feel after learning that your assailant and his buddies had the turkey in the first place because they had stolen a credit card and gone on a senseless shopping spree, just for kicks? …

“This is the kind of hideous crime that propels politicians to office on promises of getting tough on crime. It’s the kind of thing that prompts legislators to climb all over each other in a struggle to be the first to introduce a bill that would add enhanced penalties for the use of frozen fowl in the commission of a crime.

“The New York Times quoted the district attorney as saying this is the sort of crime for which victims feel no punishment is harsh enough. ‘Death doesn’t even satisfy them,’ he said.

“Which is what makes what really happened so unusual. The victim, Victoria Ruvolo, a 44-year-old former manager of a collections agency, was more interested in salvaging the life of her 19-year-old assailant, Ryan Cushing, than in exacting any sort of revenge. She pestered prosecutors for information about him, his life, how he was raised, etc. Then she insisted on offering him a plea deal. Cushing could serve six months in the county jail and be on probation for 5 years if he pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.

“Had he been convicted of first-degree assault—the charge most fitting for the crime—he could have served 25 years in prison, finally thrown back into society as a middle-aged man with no skills or prospects.

“But this is only half the story. The rest of it, what happened the day this all played out in court, is the truly remarkable part.

“According to an account in the New York Post, Cushing carefully and tentatively made his way to where Ruvolo sat in the courtroom and tearfully whispered an apology. ‘I’m so sorry for what I did to you.’

“Ruvolo then stood, and the victim and her assailant embraced, weeping. She stroked his head and patted his back as he sobbed, and witnesses, including a Times reporter, heard her say, ‘It’s OK. I just want you to make your life the best it can be.’ According to accounts, hardened prosecutors, and even reporters, were choking back tears” (“Forgiveness Has Power to Change Future,” Deseret Morning News, Aug. 21, 2005, p. AA3).

What a great story that is, greater because it actually happened, and that it happened in tough old New York. Who can feel anything but admiration for this woman who forgave the young man who might have taken her life?

The great Atonement was the supreme act of forgiveness. The magnitude of that Atonement is beyond our ability to completely understand. I know only that it happened, and that it was for me and for you. The suffering was so great, the agony so intense, that none of us can comprehend it when the Savior offered Himself as a ransom for the sins of all mankind.

It is through Him that we gain forgiveness. It is through Him that there comes the certain promise that all mankind will be granted the blessings of salvation, with resurrection from the dead. It is through Him and His great overarching sacrifice that we are offered the opportunity through obedience of exaltation and eternal life." Gordon B. Hinckley, “Forgiveness,” Liahona, Nov 2005, 81–84

Friday, January 15, 2010

Family Games and fun

I don't know about you, but I find this time of year hard. Christmas is over and there are still lots of months of winter left. And this year we are getting some really nice weather lately (except the CRAZY wind that has been here!!). But soon it will snow again. It's ONLY January. This time of year I get a little stir crazy from being inside. And my kids to do. Eli was crying today to go outside but it was CRAZY windy!!

And we don't watch a lot of TV around here. In fact Alden only sees about 1.5 hours per week. Lucy isn't much more. Maybe 3 hours. There are lots of other things to do. My kids (Except Eli) play a lot independently. Eli is starting to do it in 10 minute segments (which means there is hope for him hahahaha) And I am always trying to remind myself to DO more with them. I don't enjoy playing. Like driving cars.... playing barbies.... um no thanks. (I do love to build a good train track!)

But there are some things I do love to do with my kids.
Games, Crafts, baking, dancing and singing.

And in the winter you need lots of these to choose from. I found this great list from a fun blog called I Never Grew up. I'll just put my favorites since it's a long list! But go read the whole thing here

What activities do you do with your kids when you are stuck in the house during cold weather? (You know, so you don’t LOSE YOUR MIND)…

Buy games and tuck them away just for the cold months

Collect new cookie recipes. Let them choose one each to use on cold “Cookie Days”

Lego competitions.

Make collages.

Have tea parties (lots of warm drinks with honey).

Bake yummy foods that keep the house warm and good smelling.

Play with yarn and lots of material.

Family drawing time.

Hold dance parties in your living room.

Have surprise birthday parties when it’s no one’s birthday.

Clear all the furniture out of a big room and lay out your picnic blanket. Sit on the blanket while you pop popcorn in the middle–with the lid off! It doesn’t
get much more fun than a dining room full of popcorn on a rainy day.

Scavenger hunts and treasure hunts

Have a day where you learn about another country and plan a small celebration.

Memory games

Let the kids decorate the floor with masking tape (you can usually find a roll for $1 -2). After they’re done make letters, numbers, and shapes. Play games like “who can find the circle” and have them run to stand on it.
Make homemade play dough. Each kid can have their own color and use cookie cutters to play with it.

Finger paint with pudding.

Have your kids look at old photos of themselves.

Another treasure hunt idea: Start by drawing a map of your house. Plant clues. Dressing up is optional- though definitely encouraged. Have the prize be anything from snacks to letting them wear your real jewelry for a day!

Watch a movie or two with fun snacks!

Playdate exchanges with other parents taking turns is fun. The children have lunch and play while the parents talk and have lunch

Plan a whole indoor camping experience for the kids. Make forts, do indoor friendly smores [using spreadable marshmallow cream and a microwave] and project movies on the wall. It’s almost like you are camping in the summer!

Have a carnival. Drugstores sell a huge roll of tickets (like 1000 tickets for $4.00). The kids set up their own booth. Have hula-hooping, snacks, dropping a ball into a vase, hop scotch on the rug outlined in masking tape, a coloring booth, etc. Have new activities each time and let your kids run it.

Great ideas eh??
What do you do to battle the winter blues and not go crazy indoor with your kids??

To answer your question: I found the felt on the bolt at Marshall's (on the north side)

And Haiti has been on my mind. CRAZY! Those poor people!!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In the Craftroom: Valentine's day is a coming......

And I made this craft. I wanted to make it a bit fuller but I ran out of felt. I found out where I can buy it in Lethbridge on the bolt. HELLO. awesome! Anywho, saw the idea on the Idea Room who found it on the Design Sponge here.

I'm feeling the V-Day craftiness. I'm on the look out for other cute things to decorate my house with!! I'll show you what I find! :)

Did you make any crafts lately??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Christmas Food

Over the Christmas holidays I made a bit of stuff to eat! :)
To add the the list from here

50. Chocolate Shortbread fingers
51. Cranberry - Pistachio Biscotti (which I will share the recipe for at the bottom cause it was SO STINKING good!!)
52. Maple Walnut Cupcakes
53. Maple Buttercream
54. Carrot Ginger Cupcakes
55. Orange cream cheese Frosting
56. New York Style Cheesecake
57.Petits Fours
58. Puff Pastry
59. Chocolate Napoleon
60. Chocolate Pastry Cream
61. Lemon-Blueberry Napoleons
62. Lemon Custard

Cranberry - Pistachio Biscotti
from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup boiling water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Place cranberries in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand until plump, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Mix in drained cranberries and pistachios.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide in half. Shape each piece into a 16 by 2 inch log. Transfer to prepared baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. With your palm, slightly flatten logs. Brush beaten egg over logs and sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake, rotating halfway, until logs are slightly firm to the touch. About 25 minutes. Transfer logs on parchment paper to a wire rack to cool slightly. About 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 300F.

Place logs on a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut lots crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a wire rack on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Arrange slices, cut sides down on the rack. Bake until firm to the touch.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On the Bookshelf: Books Read in 2009

A few friends have been listing all the books they read in the last year on their blogs. I have been using goodreads to keep track. I *think* this is them all.

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
2. One True Thing: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
3. Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
4. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
5. Unfeeling: A Novel by Ian Holding
6. Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman
7. Night by Elie Wiesel
8. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
9. They Came From Below by Blake Nelson
10. The Girls by Lori Lansens
11. The Birth House by Ami McKay
12. Covenant Hearts by Bruce C. Hafen
13. Shelter Me by Juliette Fay
14. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
15. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
16. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
17. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
18. Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton
19. The Tsarina's Daughter by Carolly Erickson
20. Love and Logic Magic: When Kids Leave You Speechless by Jim Fay
21. Helicopters, Drill Sergeants and Consultants by Jim Fay
22. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
23. Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
24. Felt Jewelry by Teresa Searle
26. Well Preserved by Mary Anne Dragan
27. Well Preserved: Small Batch Preserving by Mary Anne Dragan
28. Return to Sullivan's Island by Dorothea Benton Frank
29. Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello
30. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë by Syrie James
31. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
32. Wave of Terror by Theodore Odrache
33. The Curse of the Good Girl: by Rachel Simmons
34. God Wants a Powerful People by Sheri L. Dew
35. The Weight of a Mustard Seed: An Iraqi General's Moral Journey by Wendell Steavenson
36. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

And I am in the middle of these three.
Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs
No One Can Take Your Place by Sheri L. Dew

My favorites??
1. Hungry Monkey by Matthew Amster-Burton - a funny and inspiring read about a food critic/chef stay at home dad and how he introduces his daughter to food. I wish I would have read it before I had Alden. There is a lot of stuff I would have done differently with feeding my kids! And a lot of great recipes to boot! My kind of book!

2. Stuffed: An Insider's Look at Who's (Really) Making America Fat by Hank Cardello - completely interesting and amazing. Stuff I had no idea about and it has made me more aware of where extra fat and unhealthy stuff comes into our home and mouths!

3. Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman This lady is a kooky-kook! Which makes her fun to read about.

4. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka - a great historical fiction!! Love Love loved it! Sad but so good.

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer - best light read I've read all year. Easy and quick to read but still so good!

6. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah - You should read this. I have it. I'll lend it to you! Amazing book. Can't believe the life this boy had!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

In the kitchen: How to Make Homemade Perogi

So it was Ukrainian Christmas this past week. And in my family we celebrate it on the Friday or Saturday closest to it. Regan and I have held them almost every year since we got married (minus the first two).

SO in honor of it, I thought I'd teach ya'll how to make homemade Perogis the way my momma and grandma make them. Something i love love love!! So here we go, a little Pioneer Woman style (only not as good pictures or commentary) :)

So make your filling first.
Peel and boil potatoes.
Drain and reserve the potato water, set aside.
Mash the potatoes.
Add cottage cheese, melted butter, salt and pepper and mix well.
This is what it looks like. (all the amounts are at the bottom!)

To make dough:
Four eggs in a medium bowl
and beat then like crazy
add 1 1/2 cup potato water
Mix to combine (crazy like if you're feeling it)
Add 6 cups of flour, salt and baking powder.
Knead into a dough. Pour 1 cup of flour onto a clean counter. Turn the dough out onto the floured counter and knead. Should be stiff dough, not sticky, if sticky add flour until stiff.
Allow dough to rest for 10 minutes.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch or a little less.
Cut out circles with a wide mouth mason jar lid (or I used a cup that is about that size).
Stretch the dough out with your thumbs a bit, pulling from the middle out.
Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center, being careful not to touch the edges with the filling.
Moisten the edge of the dough slightly with warm water.
Stretch the dough over the filling (don't touch the edge with the filling or the perogi will come apart during boiling)
and pinch all the way around the edges of the half circle.
Place on wax paper, parchment paper or a floured cookie sheet.
Freeze to keep or drop into salted boiling water for 7 minutes.
Drain them well and immediately fry in hot pan with sauteing onions, bacon and butter until golden brown. (the butter and fat keeps them from sticking to each other.)


Stasiuk Family Perogis
2 Tbsp melted margarine or butter
3/4 lb of dry cottage cheese or cheddar cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
5 medium potatoes, boiled and mashed

1 1/2 cup potato water
4 well beaten eggs
6-8 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 Large onion chopped finely
3 Tbsp butter
1/2 lb chopped bacon
Sour Cream