February, 2012

Big News!

So, I’ve been rolling this post around in my head for a while now. At first I couldn’t say anything and then I didn’t know what to say.

Some big changes are coming to the Terrell household in the (hopefully) near future, as if having a third child wasn’t enough! After much prayer and discussion Joel and I have decided to move to Wichita, KS to be closer to Joel’s family and long term he can start a business with his brother. I know, right, this is HUGE! It has taken our entire marriage for God to work on my heart in order for me to be ready for this change. Growing up I never thought I would live long distance from my family (I know Wichita isn’t that far from Omaha, but let me tell you with little kids it is a trip). Over the last two and a half years we have worked hard to create relationships in our church community and its scary and overwhelming to think about starting all over.

None the less we are excited about what God has in store for us. We’re excited about our children growing up with their cousins, a few of which are about the age to babysit (but that’s just a bonus)! We are excited to be there for birthday celebrations, and school events that we always miss because they aren’t on a holiday weekend that we are in town. We are excited about the thought of having our own business and everything that goes along with it, good and bad.

There is a lot that has to happen though. First Joel has to find a job (we won’t move until he does). Our desire is to be moved and settled in before the baby comes, but that is fast becoming unattainable so we may have to stick it out until after the baby is born. We also need to find a place to rent there. We want to rent for a few years and save a sizable down payment for a house. The upside is that most of our belongings are already packed and stored since we’ve been living out here with my parents for the last two years. Another thing that doesn’t need to happen before we leave but in the near future is selling our rental house in Omaha. We do need to get it on the market as soon as possible though.

So as you can see we have a lot we are thinking about and processing through. We are taking it day by day and trying to trust God along the way.

We would greatly appreciate your prayers through this change in our lives.

Recipe: Butter Milk Pancakes

I’ll admit that I used to be one of those girls that bought pancake mix. I didn’t grow up making things from scratch. I assumed anything made from a recipe was labor intensive. Obviously I have learned the error of my thinking. True there are some things that take more work then to buy premade, but pancakes are for sure not one of them. I have been whipping out the Better Homes and Garden Cookbook on Saturdays when we do pancakes for breakfast, but as I was thinking about what I was going to write for this post I realized that I could easily mix up the dry ingredients for the number of batches I use and put them in zip bags with the required wet ingredients written on the bag. FYI, I usually do a triple batch. This feeds 4 adults and 2 girls plus leaves enough leftovers for the girls and I to have a second breakfast later in the week. You can either store them in the frig if you are going to use them quickly or throw them in the freezer for a little later.

I will let you know that the recipe doesn’t call for vanilla, but I like to pour a little in and it makes a huge difference. I don’t measure it out, I just eyeball it. Also I don’t’ usually use butter milk. I just follow the instructions to use regular milk.

Butter Milk Pancakes

1 Cup All purpose Flour

1Tablespoon Sugar

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1Teaspoon Baking Soda

¼ Teaspoon Salt

1 Beaten Egg

1 Cup Butter Milk or Sour Milk (or reg. Milk)

2 Tablespoons Oil

Combine dry ingredients. Make well in center of mix, set aside. Combine egg, milk and oil. Add wet mix to dry mix. Stir until moist (batter will lumpy). For standard size pancakes use ¼ cup of batter into a 3 inch circle; makes 8. For dollar size pancakes use a1tablespoon of batter into a 1inch circle.

Substitute regular milk by omitting Baking soda and increasing baking powder to 2 teaspoons.

I am linking this to: Beauty and Bedlam and Homstead Barn Hop!

Monday Mommy Confession #31

Let’s just keep it real here people. Some things I do for health, frugal, or environmental reasons. In fact most of what I do would fall under one or more of those categories. But there is another not so admiral category that the rest falls into. It’s the “I’m just too darn lazy” category.

One of the things that falls into said category is feeding my girls potentially messy foods. I waited quite a while to feed the girls yogurt, and I spoon fed them a looong time in order to control the damage. Eventually they won and I have invested in some sturdy washcloths that can handle the job. I have been able to completely avoid peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (the thought of it in their hair is horrifying) due to the fact that Emma is allergic to peanut butter. And until last week my girls had never had cereal with milk in it. I could just see the milk dumped everywhere, and besides, they were perfectly content eating dry cereal so why rock the boat and waste money on extra milk that would probably be spilt any way.

Alas, after seeing me eat a bowls of cereal for the past several weeks and begging for bites of mine I finally caved. And you know what, it was the perfect time! They both can handle spoons responsibly and can even drink the milk out of the bowl when they are done. Mess avoided.

How about you, what’s in your “I’m just too darn lazy” category? Let’s all come clean together!

My First Attempt at Homemade Bread

Well I did it. Baking bread was my January Kitchen goal, and I didn’t actually get to it until the 3rd of February, but I did it. I was prompted to do so since I forgot to pick up bread when the girls and I were out yesterday afternoon and I wasn’t going to be able to go back out before the snow hit. So I thought it was the perfect motivation to just bite the bullet and do it.

For all of you that think that I am a wiz in the kitchen, I want you to know that most of what I am great at now was through trial and error, and my first round of bread was no different. My second round was as well for that matter.

Here is a picture of my first attempt:

The first time I combined recipes/methods. What happened was I wanted to use my mom’s kitchenaid with its dough hook. The recipe I was using gave directions to do it by hand so I looked online to find directions to convert a recipe to a kitchenaid.

The second problem was that I didn’t read the original directions very well (big mistake that I totally know better than to do). The recipe called for the milk, butter and whatever else to be warmed on the stove top. The kitchenaid directions I was following said to add all the wet ingredients directly into the bowl. So basically the yeast was never activated.

Flop, major flop.

The second attempt I went online and found a full recipe that used a kitchenaid. You can find the recipe here. I liked this one much better even though it didn’t turn out quite right either, but I’ll get to that in a minute. It called for very warm water instead of milk and it called for olive oil instead of butter. It also had honey in it unlike the previous recipe.

At this point Emma woke up from her nap and wanted to help and I was in a time crunch to try and get this done before dinner so we could have it with our soup. I started in again with the help of my pint sized assistant and everything went as smoothly as it can with a three year old. I set it next to the stove covered with a towel so that the warmth from the cooking soup would help it rise.

I checked back an hour later and lo and behold it hadn’t raised an inch. Really, REALLY! At this point I knew it wasn’t going to be done by dinner. I didn’t even know if it would rise at all. But hubby was home and he really wanted biscuit with the soup so I set out to get them started even though I was tired and despondent.

I went about getting things out and was about to start everything when I read “cut in butter”. Oh ya, that’s right, the butter is supposed to be cold and I just melted it in the microwave. And look the only butter I have left in the frig is the pound I just took out of the deep freezer.

Yes, I went in to the living room, sank into the chair, declared there would be no biscuits tonight and began sobbing.

We ate dinner without bread or biscuits.

After dinner I decided to make a last ditch effort to resurrect the bread. I stuck it in the oven with a bowl full of very warm water below it and left it for an hour. Much to my great delight it had started to rise when I returned to check it! I let it go a little longer and then worked it down a little and put it into the pans to rise again. At this point it was 10:45 so Joel headed to bed and I stayed up to let it rise and bake it. Well after 45min it still hadn’t risen so I said forget it, left them in the oven with fresh water and headed to bed.

This morning they had risen, not as much as I would have liked, but it didn’t help that my girls ran around and the bread fell a little. We baked them up and they tasted delicious!

Here are the results:

I realized through the process of the second batch of bread that I didn’t have “quick rising” or “bread” yeast like I thought I did which was why it took so long for it to rise. However we (the bread makers in the house aka my grandma, my dad and myself) think that it was either old or a bad batch of yeast because it didn’t rise nearly as much as it should have.

Was it worth it?

Yes. I will be doing it again and in the near future will be trying whole wheat bread, but I didn’t have any on hand and I’ve been trying to use up some of the abundance of all purpose flour I got on sale during the holidays. I haven’t figured out the price comparison but I like being able to make bread whenever we need it. I also like knowing exactly what is in it. As far as how easy it was, well, I was a little rushed so I am looking forward to trying it again earlier in the day without time constraints and with the right yeast.

Over all it was a positive outcome and wasn’t nearly as scary as I had imagined in my head for all these years.

Thanks for sticking with me. I know this was a long post, but I wanted to encourage you that everybody has disasters in the kitchen and you are not alone!

I am linking this to:

Blog Findings 2-1-12

I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out some new blogs I’ve discovered over at New Life on a Homestead’s Monday barn hop and sites I’ve found through those sites. There is so much information I’m just trying to soak it in as quickly as possible.

So I thought I’d take a minute and share with you what I’m busy reading!

Budgeting with the Bushmans

I am love, love, loving this blog. Actually I’ve read every single post already and I just found it yesterday (to be fare she just started it in Sept ’11)! They sold their large home in the city, paid off all their debt and purchased a house in a town of 100, with half the square footage for $13,000 cash! They are living frugally and are able to live off of one par time job. Ok I know its extreme for most but I do love extreme, at least reading about it anyway!

Penniless Parenting

This gal has also downsized her home recently. She shares lots of money saving tips as well as green living and gluten/dairy free recipes (for those who are looking for inspiration in those food areas).

The Zero Waste Home

These guys are trying to live with little to no waste. They don’t even own a trash can anymore. I have just read the tip of the iceberg on this one, but so far she has a lot of reader testimonials of their different paths and stages to zero waste homes.

If you have adverse thoughts or reactions to the idea of “green” think of it this way, just two generations ago the idea of “green” living wasn’t a catchy thing, it was a way of life. There was no thought of using something once and then throwing it away. Nothing was bought on a whim or without saving and researching the best deal and quality item. Really it’s about making sure that everything that comes into your house works as hard as it possibly can for you and is worth the space it will take up, the maintenance it will require to keep it working well, and the hard earned money you spent on it in the first place.

Graceful Little Honey Bee shared a video about a 16 year old boy who is building a “tiny house” so that he won’t have to worry about a mortgage after he graduates from college. I love the forethought and responsibility this young man is taking of his future!

Have you found anything interesting that you want to share with us? Obviously you can see a theme for me this week but next week it could be cooking or crafting or gardening. Anything is welcome so share away!