Saturday, March 29, 2008

Eat your heart out, NY

One of the things we miss the most about NY is the bagels. Unless you've ever had a NY bagel, you have no idea what I'm talking about. But if you have had one, you probably understand. It is to the point that whenever we get together with NY friends, we ask them to bring bagels. (Thanks E & S!)

Emboldened by my pretzel success yesterday, I decided to give making bagels a try. The recipe that I chose to us was for cinnamon raisin bagels . The process of bagel making is incredibly similar. Make dough, shape, rest, boil, and bake. The bagels were easier to shape, and this time Marc got to try his hand at it.

They weren't exactly NY bagels, but they were really good. And it has been decided that the perfect bagel is a worthy quest.

The Bagel Crew

After resting, before boiling

After boiling

Bagels ready to eat

An Artist

This morning A. was sitting on our bed with a notepad and pencil drawing different configurations of our family. As she was showing me she said,'Mom, you know I AM a real artist." "Yes, Anna, you sure are," I say, pleased with her confidence and creativity. "Mom, you're a real artist, too. Right?" Why is it so hard to say yes with pleasure to that question? An artist, a writer, a musician. My kids and husband would tell you that I'm all of these things. Yet, the only thing I can do is muster up some embarassment and grin while I hope that I fade in with the background. The boundary between humility and self-hatred is deceptive. This is something I think about a lot. Does a Father or Mother give gifts and hope to embarass the children? NO. We are delighted when our kids bring a picture or sculpture or song or math problem or lego creation to us. We love it when we see them use those gifts to bless others, too. "Yes, Anna, momma is a real artist too."

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

Friday, March 28, 2008


Today, I did something I've wanted to do for years. We made homemade pretzels. I have a recipe for the dough in my breadmaker cookbook that we followed.

First we made the dough and let the breadmaker do all the kneading. The dough we made rose for about an hour and half in the warm breadmaker.

Next we put flour all over the counter. We cut the dough into twelve pieces. We rolled our pieces into long snakes and then shaped them into pretzel shapes. We covered the pretzels with plastic wrap and let them 'rest' for thirty minutes.

Next step was boiling the pretzels. I used a large roasting pan set over two burners. (Next time I will use just a large kettle on one burner.) With two inches boiling, we put the pretzels in. 1 and half minutes on each side. The got SO much bigger!

We drained the water off the pretzels, then dipped them in a water/baking soda bath. Then they were ready to be baked.

Apparently, we didn't take an after baking picture. They were some of the ugliest pretzels I've ever seen, but if you asked our tummies what they thought they would smile.

I had let the boil then bake process intimidate me for years, and I can truly say it was no big deal. Pretzel making was a project the whole family could enjoy making.... and eating.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Opinion Polls....

Last night I got a 100% approval rating from the voters (the kids).

We had an early dinner, went to an indoor heated pool as a family and swam for a little over an hour, came home, warmed our pajamas in the dryer before putting them on, and then ate warm oatmeal bread straight from the bread-maker. We said our thank-you Jesus' around the table and went to bed all warm and cozy.

I was thinking as I went to bed (to watch Murder, She Wrote - season 2 - thankyou Netflix Instant) how giddy it made me feel to get such a good rating from the voters. It almost made me forget the 10% approval rating I'd gotten earlier in the day, or the 30% from the day before.

What a temptation to parent (or lead) according to the opinion polls!

A couple weeks ago in women's kinship we watched a video (forgive me, I can't remember who was speaking off the top of my head), and one of the things that has stuck with me from it was the phrase 'who is in your grandstand?' - meaning are we doing our life for God, or for all the other people we put in the place of needing/wanting their approval.... parents, spouses, children.

So, while I thank God for giving me a moment where I got to enjoy such a high rating from the voters, my prayer is that I would be even more satisfied in Living to Him - the One in my Grandstand.