Friday, May 27, 2011

Homemade sandwich rolls

Being short on bread products forces one to get creative. I had made a loaf of whole wheat bread last night but wanted to try my hand at making sandwich rolls/hamburger buns for lunch today. I recently bought The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook but was disappointed to find that nearly all the recipes called for extra gluten or other ingredients I don't keep on hand. So I went scouring the internet and found a recipe I could adapt to my liking.

- 1 cup warm water
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup and 2 Tbsp oil (I used a combination of canola and olive because that's what I had)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups white bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat bread flour
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp water

- Add all but the last two (egg and water) ingredients to the bread pan in the order listed (don't forget to put your kneading paddle in first!).
- Select "dough" setting on machine and start.
- When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and place on a lightly floured surface.
- Divide dough into thirds, and then each piece half, and then each of those pieces in half again (giving you 12 pieces of dough).
- Press ball flat between hands and place on greased or parchment covered cookie sheet, pressing to about a 3 inch circle. (Use two cookie sheets.)
- Let rise in a warm place 30 minutes or so until double in volume.
- Combine beaten egg with water and brush over rolls.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes or until lightly brown.

Delicious homemade sandwich rolls!
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Additional tips:
- The recipe originally called for all white flour but I substituted a cup of whole wheat to make it slightly healthier. I'm sure if you used all white they would come out even fluffier.
- I always have bad luck getting my dough to rise just left on the kitchen counter. So I usually preheat my oven to the lowest setting, let it cool down until it's just slightly warm (probably between 100-110 degrees), and then let the rolls rise in there. Otherwise my rise time is always several hours long.
- Freeze whatever rolls you don't use in the first two days...homemade bread goes bad so much faster than store-bought!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kids and such...

It seems like every time I try to catch an afternoon nap, Ronnie decides to cut his short. Yesterday I didn't even try for a nap; Ronnie slept two hours. Today he slept 30 minutes. And now I have a monster headache and a grumpy baby. Ugh.

I did figure out a possible reason behind his grumpiness, extra nursing sessions, and nighttime fits: my cycle started today after being absent for nearly three years. That was a bit of a surprise. They say that affects your milk supply, right? Maybe Ronnie's not getting the quantity or quality that he wants.

Despite the Sunday blues, I did have a pretty productive day yesterday. Got a few loads of laundry done, swept and mopped the floors, and did some yard work. Unfortunately the floors don't really look any better because I had to rush when the kids popped awake from their naps. And when we were outside they decided to start dumping buckets of sand onto the grass when I wasn't looking, so we had to cut our outside time short.

Speaking of the kids, I've decided to tackle the fighting problem by immediately taking away whatever they are fighting over. It'll create more tears to deal with but I'm hoping it'll discourage the fighting better than my spanking/scolding has been.

My neighbor just offered to watch the kids while I rest. Hmm...while that's tempting, I think I might just do some de-cluttering and cleaning instead. Being kid-free while doing chores will probably help the headache just as much as resting, I think. On the agenda: finishing the laundry, sweeping and mopping the kitchen, cleaning off the computer desk, and dusting. I'll try to vacuum the bedrooms too since the kids will be gone but I just did that last week so they're not too dirty.

My husband surprised me by mentioning that he has tomorrow off. He had told me that last week and I completely forgot. But then he offered to work an extra shift Thursday to cover for an officer's funeral. So it'll be a normal two-day weekend after all. Still, I'm excited that it starts tomorrow instead of Wednesday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Sundays are rather depressing for me. The church we're attending has been without a pastor for over six months now and has been steadily declining in health for over two years. We had all but decided to leave at the end of my husband's deacon term when the pastor left suddenly a month later. Since he was the largest part of our decision to leave, we decided to stick it out a bit longer and see if the church could recover. Half a year later and still no closer to finding a new leader for our church. I think we've decided to give the church a full year and then start looking elsewhere. I'm dreading that step though because my husband is rather picky about churches and a few of the things on his list make it very difficult to find a new church. All that to say, I miss being convicted, encouraged, uplifted, and inspired on Sundays. I miss learning something new every week and having that close fellowship of other believers.

Aside from church itself, the pre and post-church experiences are stressful in and of themselves: rushing around to get ready and then rushing home so that Avery can leave for work. And then while most others I know are enjoying relaxing afternoons with their families, I'm fighting the kids to go down for their naps and then collapsing on the couch in exhaustion while the piles of unfolded laundry stare at me. Yuck.

Anyway, sorry for the pity party, I know I just need to look for fulfillment in my personal relationship with God instead of relying on a Sunday morning "high." I've just had a hard time going without that after growing up with it for nearly twenty years.

I'm tired. Ronnie is still giving me a hard time at night and I can't figure out why. He screams at the top of his lungs every time it's time for bed but yet won't let me nurse or rock him to sleep unless I let him scream first. I know he's tired but he just gets so hysterical. And last night after he woke up to nurse around midnight, he threw a major fit after I unlatched him before he wanted to let go (I let him nurse for 20 minutes when he's normally done after 5) and wouldn't calm down until I nursed him again. You'd think he was 3 months old instead of nearly one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Morning grouchies

It's 10-o-clock and the bad part of our morning is finally coming to a close. Before I was a mom, I loved mornings. The start of a new day, the peaceful morning air...........yeah, that calm doesn't exist anymore. In fact, it's anything but calm. Avery and I wake up groggy thanks to Ronnie's nighttime antics, Kirk (the 2-year-old) wakes up crying for his daddy, and Shiphrah wakes up whining about wanting a movie/vitamin/breakfast/whatever. I usually end up yelling at the kids in frustration and at my husband for not helping deal with the situation. Ugh, mornings are downright miserable.

I wish there was a way to change that, but I can't think of anything other than getting up before the kids. Kind of hard to do when one of them sleeps with you.

Despite the morning grouchies, I can usually redeem the day by the time the evening rolls around. Yesterday the kids and I hung out in the backyard: playing in their new sandbox and splashing in the baby pool. I also got the rest of the laundry put away and some other chores done after they went to bed.

But then 10-o-clock rolled around and Ronnie decided he didn't want to sleep anymore. I already let him nurse non-stop from about 2am on, so I was determined to get him to go back asleep another way. Yeah......that didn't work out so great. I'm hoping he's just teething and not creating a really bad habit.......

Today is the start of hubby's weekend. He let me sleep in for an extra hour this morning so hopefully I can keep my energy level up the rest of the day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

God is gracious

It's been so long since I've really blogged, I wonder if anyone is still reading over here. Give me a hollar if you are, so I know whether to just start posting notes on Facebook.

God is gracious and merciful. Every day he shows me more grace than I could ever deserve. That said, life is good and difficult and challenging and frustrating. And that's just in a 30-minute period.

Ronnie, who is 10 months old now, is still waking at least twice every night. Or I should say, on a good night he only wakes twice. Most nights it's at least three or four times. I'm exhausted and when morning comes I nearly always turn on a movie for the munchkins and go back to sleep for another hour or so. This is a bad habit I desperately want to break. Let's face it, it's just not good parenting to let a 10-month-old, 2-year-old, and 3-year-old have free reign of the house for that long. Just this morning my husband realized he had left his boot knife in easy reach for the kids to find. They didn't, thankfully, but it still scared me to think about what could have happened.

We started a vegetable garden for the first time this year. While I'm really excited about it, I'm realizing that tending to the garden and watering our newly established backyard is taking an extra hour every day that I didn't really have to give. Not sure what to do about that, except stay up an hour later at night, which directly affects the exhaustion issue. Speaking of gardens, how worried should I be about birds (cardinals, bluebirds, etc.) hanging out in there? I know they'll eat the caterpillars, but will they also eat my young plants and eventually my tomatoes? Right now they just seem to be playing in the water when I have the drip hose running, but that could change.

We seem to be in a cycle of sickness right now. Two weeks ago Ronnie got some kind of virus where he ran a high fever for six days. Friday the older two started running fevers. Thankfully they never seems as miserable as the baby but it's still hard to know they're feeling poorly.

I'm feeling discouraged and overwhelmed by everything I need to do but haven't gotten to. If I kept a running list it would be pages long. I get things done here and there but it seems like once I get a handle on one area (like the laundry), other things pile up. And when I get to those things, suddenly the laundry has gotten unruly again.

And Ronnie is already awake. The kid will not take decent naps anymore and he's nursing every hour and a half. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, it's only adding to the regular exhaustion.

But God is merciful. My children are nourished, clothed, and happy. My husband is the best partner I could have ever asked for. The house isn't falling apart and the dishes aren't piled higher than the top of the sink. We enjoyed a good rain last week, the first for us in 2011. God is holding my family in His arms and I am so undeserving.