Monday, January 27, 2014


This week you:
  • went to The Salt Lick with Grammie, Papaw, Mom and Dad.
  • had Teddy Bear Day at school.  You brought Louie Bear, a One Direction Beanie Baby.
  • played in the snow for the first time.  You were more excited about the tiny amount of snow on the ground than you were Christmas day.
  • made a snowman named Olaf

Monday, January 20, 2014


This week you:
  • Went to a birthday party at an indoor bounce house/trampoline park and you managed to learn how to do a front flip.  You were such a natural at it!
  • Dressed up like Santa and waved to passersby, exclaiming "Ho! Ho! Ho!"  You also put people on the naughty list if they didn't wave back and sang Joy to the World to a jogger. 
  • Tried a sip of black coffee (not a fan at all)
  • Sheepishly admitted that you may need a haircut
  • Enjoyed a visit with Grammie & Papaw

Friday, January 17, 2014

olive oil herb bread

I love when neighbors share gifts from their gardens.  A simple afternoon stroll can grant you with a glorious and unexpected bounty.  During early summer, when my husband and I would walk through our neighborhood in Idaho, we'd find boxes of stone fruit along the curbside with the word "Free" scribbled on the box flaps.  We'd load up a haul and enjoy our neighborhood summer fruit during the rest of the week.

In our current neighborhood, I've been gifted plums and pears, tomatoes and herbs.  Neighbors here aren't as old school as my Idaho neighbors.  You won't find as many boxes along the roadside, but an alert on Facebook inviting neighbors to pick up garden produce from their front porch isn't uncommon.  Only once have I encountered a box sitting curbside here in this neighborhood; it was filled to the brim with rosemary.  I picked up a few bundles, plucked some thyme from my garden and returned to my kitchen to make olive oil herb bread.

Olive oil herb bread has an earthiness that I find pairs well with pastas, hearty soups, stews, and rich winter sauces.  It can be enjoyed with a simple swiping of butter or grilled and topped with a tomatoey bolognese sauce.  And because this recipe makes two loaves, my family enjoyed one and my neighbor with the abundance of rosemary received the second loaf.

Olive Oil Herb Bread
yield:  two loaves

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar, plus a pinch for yeast activation
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (AP), plus more for dusting
1 cup whole wheat flour
  1. Combine yeast, the warm water and a pinch of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture.  Allow it to stand for 5 minutes until it is nice and foamy.
  2. Add olive oil, 3/4 cup water, sugar, rosemary, thyme, whole wheat flour, AP flour, and salt to the bowl.  Attach the dough hook to the machine and mix on low until the dough comes together, about one minute.  Increase the speed to medium high and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a bowl and form the dough into a ball.  Place ball of dough top side down into the oiled bowl to moisten the top of the dough.  Flip over to bottom side down.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap, let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until it doubles in bulk.  About one hour.
  4. Punch down dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide it into two equal portions.
  5. Shape one portion of the dough by flattening it into a 7 inch long rectangle (long ways going left to right).  Roll the side nearest you up toward the farthest end.  Place dough, seam side down, and roll it to elongate to 11 inches and seal the seam to make a free form loaf.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Repeat with other portion of dough.
  6. Loosely cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free area for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  7. Dust loaves with flour and bake until golden, around 30 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack before slicing.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cedar Fever

Ahhh, mountain cedar.  They are scattered amidst the limestone and granite hills here in the hill country.  They come in blurred green droves as I fly by them on the country roads. They are everywhere.  The feathery green leaves have now bronzed with pollen, resting in the hefts of the branches and dispersing throughout the winter air.  And because of this, they, the cedar, are slowly killing me.

After five years of living here in the serene, cedar dotted limestone and granite hills, I am finally affected by the ever awful, always dreaded, never welcomed "Cedar Fever."  This year is apparently one of the worst years within the past decade for high cedar pollen count.  And it is awful.

Do you really get a fever?  No.  There is no fever at all-if so, then you may really be sick.

Do you sneeze?  Why yes, a lot.  Uncontrollably.

Do you itch? Itch to the point of burning.  My whole face itches, my throat itches, my eyes itch, my tear ducts itch.  My skin is so tender and at night as the meds ware off, I feel myself swelling.  My husband says I look like Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) suffering from an egg allergy in That 70's Show.  Do you remember?  Let me refresh your memory.  Yep, that looks like me.

Kelso's allergic reaction to eggs from That 70's Show
It hit me unexpectedly at the park on Saturday.  I called my husband to see if he'd bring me a box of tissues as I had began sneezing uncontrollably and my nose had mistaken itself as a faucet.  He came promptly, but unfortunately too late.  I had to resort to using a fallen leaf I had found on the ground for tissue.  It was a dyer situation. 

So now you know how I've been and what I've been doing.  The word is that we have three or four more weeks of this.  Until then, I'll be here...itching, swelling and well armed with a box of Kleenex.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


This week you:
  • went to the park in the woods and found a newly added playhouse.  It was so blustery and cold, which made for a short trip.
  • had a leaf fight with Dad
  • first day back to school after winter break
  • spent an evening with your Nanie & Papa (according to Papa you did at least 200 forward rolls on the trampoline-easily)
  • made your first purchase with your own money-a Frozen book and figurine set

Friday, January 10, 2014

fog and rain

It is raining this morning.  I knew it would come.  Not because I read the forecast days prior or because I listened to the local meteorologist.  No, it was because of the fog.  It seems, after years of observing, that the rain follows on the heels of fog.  Like a game of cat and mouse, a continuous race that seems forever in favor of the fog.

I find the fog magical, as if the earth has been cloaked under an enchanted veil.  It seems to silence all around, colors disappear and the world beholds wonder and mystery.  With every curve or hill I pushed through another passerby would seem to magically appear through the misty curtain.  I wondered if they observed my reveal the same as I had theirs.

Upon my return home, the fog lifted and the sun warmed the damp ground.  Night fell and the rain, grasping onto the heels of the fog, returned as expected.

Sunday, January 5, 2014


 I am starting a new little blog project this year.  Inspired by the 52 Project or A Portrait a Week from Bluebird Baby, I decided to try and chronicle E's year this 2014.  I hope you enjoy it.  Here is week one of the year 2014.

This week you:
  • were sick and hung out upstairs with Mom watching movies and eating chicken soup.
  • played with 9 of your 12 cousins from your dad's side of the family, five of which just moved back from Hawaii.
  • were the Karaoke King at your Nanie's house on New Year's Eve.
  • had a huge cousin slumber party on New Year's Day.
  • went to the movies with Mom & Dad.
  • had neighborhood friends over to play and you had a great time.