Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Keeping the tradition alive

October 26th, 2009

Suckers for Story Time

I've started taking Bree to the preschool story time at the library every Wednesday, and she loves it. Today they had a Halloween party where everyone brought treats to share. Bree and I decided to make chocolate suckers with one of those Wilton candy mold kits. Bree really got into squeezing different colors of candy into the molds. And even though she was excited to share with her story time friends, she was very clear that one of the witch suckers was for her.

"Homemade" Honey Buns

I'm a big fan of donuts. I'm also a big fan of cinnamon rolls. When I saw a certain episode of "Unwrapped" (those evil food shows!) that unveiled the technique for making those honey buns that come prepackaged, I had a brilliant idea: just make up some cinnamon rolls, then instead of baking them, deep fry them! Genius! So okay, I took a major shortcut, and used Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough to test my idea. But I'm telling you, you have to try this if you want the best of both the donut and cinnamon roll worlds. Just heat the oil to 350-375 (if you don't have a thermometer, you'll have to do a test roll). Flatten the rolls so they'll cook all the way through. Getting the oil the right temp is the trickiest part: too hot and the outside is finished before the inside. Not hot enough and the roll will absorb too much oil. It's best to use a deep fat fryer. Oh, and be sure to mix up some extra frosting so you can coat the rolls on all sides. Sooooo yummy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chad's Kitchen Skills

When we were first married, Chad's skills in the kitchen matched, and often exceeded, my own. I wasn't good for much more than heating up a store-bought frozen meal, or perhaps boiling pasta when we were in the mood for something "home-made." We lived on frozen chimichangas, hot pockets, and corn dogs. Then we got the George Foreman indoor grill, and we added hamburgers and hot dogs to our repertoire. Well, I've always loved baking, and as limited as my skills were, I could usually outbake Chad. But not when it came to Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies. The trick to this recipe has eluded me, but not Chad. He has mastered the art of chocolate chip cookie baking, and he will often whip up a batch when we're in the mood for something sweet, when we want to take treats to friends, or when I need cheering up. He pretends to be embarrassed that word of his skills are getting around; he says the other husbands will hate him for raising their wives' expectations. I say, they could take a little lesson from Chad here!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I miss my friends from growing up in Auburn, WA. Now we all live in different places, and are at different stages in our lives. But I'm so glad we keep in touch with each other--thank goodness for the Internet and blogging! I loved visiting with Mackenzie this summer. She gets more beautiful every time I see her, and I admire her zeal for life and her success in her career and schooling. It was fun to introduce her to Bree, and also weird. It's so wrong that the last time we saw each other, Bree was a tiny thing in my belly. Our visit was short, but it was awesome to be near my beloved friend again. It better not be three years until our next meeting! 8/15/2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Vacation (for real)

First stop, Willcox! I wanted to see what Rex Allen Days was all about (he was a singer/rodeo cowboy who became famous, and the town has dedicated a weekend to him every year to celebrate all things cowboy). So we started out at the little carnival, and had a ridiculously overpriced lunch. But, on the up side, Bree got to ride her first ever "boat merry-go-round," and had her first taste of cotton candy. Both were a big hit. But, we were too tired and cranky to see any more Rex Allen sights, so we got on the road again to make it to our Tombstone campground (a stop for ice cream lifted our spirits too!). October 3rd, 2009.

We spent day two of our trip at Tombstone. I loved the old cowboy town feel, and all the cute buildings. We did some window shopping, watched a silly gun show, toured the oldest original building (The Birdcage Theater), and ate a delicious lunch. The kids loved the petting zoo, especially Mason. And we had a gigantic banana split at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. We visited the Boothill Graveyard at sunset, which was pretty neat; it was especially fun trying to keep Mason from climbing on the rock-covered graves. October 4th, 2009.

Our third day we toured the Kartchner Caverns, which was the hilight of the trip. We toured the beautiful visitors center, and learned about cave formations and the story of the men who discovered the caverns. The caves are so well preserved, thanks to those men and the Kartchner family, and the formations are amazing. The kids were even in awe, and could sense the quiet reverence in the caverns. They are an ancient testiment to the miracle of God's creative powers. October 5th, 2009.

We loved sharing this vacation with the Lea family, and hope this is the beginning of a tradition of Lea/Wallace family vacations. And the trailer was a big success! We had reasonably comfy beds to sleep in, electricity and running water (cold running water, but still). We ate delicious food, and spent hours chatting and playing games. Thank goodness the trailer has the space it does, because when Mason and Bree got rowdy, it was nice to have a back room to shut them in! Little Zackary was a good sport despite the poking, prodding and squealing from my kids! They just couldn't resist such an adorable baby. I'm thankful for the memories we made together. Next time, Grand Canyon?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Our Vacation

I've been busy with other stuff this week, and I haven't had a chance to post on our awesome vacation last weekend with the Leas. So, I'm just doing something lame in the meantime, and I'm posting links to Jaime's summaries of Willcox, Tombstone, and Kartchner Caverns (she's a great blogger, and there are some cute photos). I know she has more photos of our family on her camera, and I'll have to check mine too, so hopefully I'll have another post in the near future!

Since we've been back we've enjoyed Story Time at the library for Bree, Cookie Day at my house (no one came, which was a weird bummer, but I'm sure they all had great excuses!:), sewing Bree a play dress as practice for making her Halloween costume, buying seeds for my winter vegetable garden (to be planted tomorrow), fall cleaning, and a great Mary Kay party last night (it's been like a year since my last one!). It's been fun keeping busy, and I'm working on getting together some friends and a preschool curriculum for Bree, so we'll see how that pans out.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's ready!

Tomorrow we're picking up our friends from the airport, and Saturday morning we're heading out with our remodeled trailer in tow! Please note the beautifully reupholstered seats, new flooring, and new blinds. Miraculously, everything is working, and it's ready to go for our maiden campout! (Okay, so the old ugly wallpaper still adorns the kitchen and bathroom, but I'll save that project for another time.) I am so excited to see our friends, to visit some great Arizona sites, and to experience something new with the kids, who are super excited too. Now let's just pray that we don't break down in our new used Suburban, that the A/C in the trailer doesn't break, that it doesn't rain all weekend, etc. etc. But, come what may, it'll be a blast just spending time with Rob, Jaime, and baby Zackary.

Fantastic Fondant!

Tuesday night I help put on a baby shower for a woman in our ward who is having twins after a long trial with infertility. I wanted to make a special cake to go with our theme "Two Peas in a Pod." I love the look of cakes decorated with fondant, but I don't usually like the taste. So, with the help of You Tube, and some tips I got from web recipes, I made an adorable cake with fondant decorations. It did take a while, but was so worth the effort. And best of all, it actually tasted delicious. I'm not one to make cakes from scratch, so I just bumped up the cake mix with pudding mix and an extra egg. And you can't go wrong with buttercream frosting! The shower was a big success with a great turnout. Congrats Michelle!

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