Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First FFA meeting

Brandy attended her first FFA meeting on Monday night - she was so excited!  She was so fun to watch after she got dressed and walked around the house in her panty hose clad feet.  She hadn't ever worn panty hose before and she loved how they felt; I was cracking up as she was describing how they made her legs feel.  You can see in the picture how grown up she looks.  I may not have raised Brandy since she was a baby but it is still incredibly fun to celebrate these milestones with her as enjoys being a young adult. 

HB was excited for Brandy's first FFA meeting too - I love his super cheesy smile!  I think Brandy was most excited to wear Kelly's FFA jacket from his high school years.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fall is in the air...kind of

Nightime lows in Buckeye have been in the 70's folks and there's only one thing that can mean.  Fall is definitely in the air!  I say that with a smile on my face because I know that is far from true Fall weather but for those of us living in the Phoenix metro area nightime lows less than 85 degrees are a blessing.  I am eager to pull out my pumpkins, scarecrows and candy corn to begin decorating but am trying to hold off until October.  Oh wait, did I say candy corn?  I meant to say I can't wait to begin snacking on that.

In an effort to keep family and friends updated as well as utilize my blog as a sort of "family history" over time, I will be trying to post Wright Family Updates once in awhile. I hope you enjoy the pictures included with this edition. I started placing a blanket by our sliding glass door and placing HB on it as I worked on my laptop once in awhile. He absolutely loves looking outside especially when a member of our animal menagerie saunters by. I know the quality of this picture isn't that great but I love that you can see the outline of my sweet son's body and one of our roosters outside. Brandy is also becoming better and better at helping with HB especially when dinner time rolls around and he just wants to be held but momma's hands are full. In the second picture, Brandy was "studying" her flashcards for an English quiz although I'm not sure how effective her studying was while she held that smiling little boy.

Brandy is still really enjoying high school which is nice because the novelty of this new season of her life has not worn off. She has good teachers but really enjoys her Ag class and her English teacher. For those of you with an FFA background you'll appreciate this next update - she has been furiously studying the FFA creed so she can recite it from memory. In her class competition last week she was one of two to earn a spot at the chapter wide contest in October. It is fun to watch her get involved since both Kelly and I were FFA members in high school. The high school's homecoming is two weeks away - apparently there is a young man that wants to ask her but she has told us she would rather "just go with her girlfriends." Cute:)

HB is now four and a half months and still growing like a weed. He goes down for naps with minimal fussing and now I am working on scheduling naptimes so I can have a bit more consistency to my day. We are still working on introducing baby food although we are sticking to rice cereal until he learns to swallow better. He had some quality time with Aunt Anna yesterday so I could get a pedicure before having lunch with her. They must have had a great time because he took an extra long nap this morning!

Kelly and I have recovered from our lamb sale last month and are working on selling our final lambs through private treaty sales. Kelly is still busy as ever picking up loads of spent grain on his four days off from three different breweries in the Valley; the six heifers we have in Buckeye LOVE this and so do our sheep. We are sub-30 days and counting for the close of our escrow period for the property we made an offer on in Cottonwood. We are hopeful it will close and are looking forward to getting the permit process going so we can beging building a house. We have been working with a general contractor in Buckeye (I taught three of his children in the Ag program) to finalize our floor plan. For any of you cooks and food-lovers out there, feel free to leave my some ideas for your dream kitchen as a comment on this post. I am trying to compile all ideas and utilize the space in our floor plan for my dream kitchen - so fun!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lemon Buttermilk Sheetcake

The lemon concentrate I froze from last year has been long gone since July, but I am eagerly awaiting this year's lemon crop in our front yard.  In anticipation of all things lemon, enjoy this recipe for Lemon Buttermilk Sheetcake.  I have made this cake several times - it's a nice balance between tart and sweet.

Taken from the Cook’s Country Cookbook

Cake Ingredients
2.5 cups cake flour (if you don’t have cake flour, see note below)
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
¾ c buttermilk, room temp
¼ c fresh lemon juice and 3 T grated fresh lemon zest (~ 3 lemons)
1 t vanilla
1 ¾ c sugar
12 T butter, softened
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg yolk, room temp

3 c confectioner’s sugar
3 T fresh lemon juice
2 T buttermilk

Cake flour substitute
For every cup of cake flour needed, substitute 7/8 c all purpose flour and 2 T of corn starch. For this recipe use 2 cups plus 3 T of all purpose flour and 5 T of corn starch.

• Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9x13 pan. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in one bowl. Combine the buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla in another bowl or measuring cup.

• In a large bowl, beat the sugar and lemon zest on medium speed about 1 minute. Transfer ¼ cup of sugar mixture to a small bowl and reserve for later. Add the butter to the remaining sugar mixture and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at atime, and the yolk until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Mix in 1/3 of flour mixture followed by ½ of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth, about 30 seconds.

• Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until the cake is a golden brown, about 28-34 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

• For the glaze – meanwhile, whisk the glaze ingredients together until smooth. Spread over warm cake and sprinkle with reserved sugar mixture. Cool completely and serve!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

HB 2 - Momma 0

Introducing baby food to HB has been interesting.  We've included small amounts of rice cereal in his formula since he was about three months old but it wasn't until recently that we've actually tried feeding him anything with a spoon.  I started last week by [trying] to feed him pears.  He seemed to spit everything back out with most of it ending up on his bib.  Two days later I attempted to feed him peas with the same results.  After having most of the baby food I tried to feed HB end up on his bib I decided that maybe he wasn't quite ready for this new chapter so I took a break.  For a week. Starting yesterday I started feeding him rice cereal with some formula mixed in - he liked it!  [I shouldn't be surprised since he has been drinking this same concoction for about a month now.]  I was so proud of our Lil Man that I attempted peas for the second time tonight; that's where HB scored his first point of the evening.  After getting one spoonful past his sweet little lips he lowered his head, shuddered and spit the peas out.  I tried giving him the rice cereal concoction but he just wouldn't have it after I played that little trick with the peas.  Following "dinner" I changed Lil Man's diaper; this is where HB scored his second point.  He peed on me before I could get a dry diaper in place.  [I've gotten really good at quick diaper changes but he was a quick lil guy this evening!] 

Lil Man hates peas but loves OU!
[Momma disclaimer: we don't really keep score around here.  But night's like tonight crack me up.]

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peach Praline Pie

Each fall a friend of mine takes orders to bring back boxes of peaches from Utah.  These peaches are the plumpest, juiciest and sweetest peaches that I have ever eaten.  In anticipation of ordering a box this year, I am posting a delightful variation for peach pie.  My mom served this at lunch last week while we were passing through town before Labor Day.

Peach Praline Pie
Taste of Home cookbook, Elizabeth Hunter

4 cups sliced, peeled, ripe peaches (about 3 pounds)
½ cup sugar
2 T quick-cooking tapioca
1 t lemon juice
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup butter
1 unbaked, deep dish pie shell (9 inches)

In a large bowl combine peaches, sugar, tapioca, and lemon juice; let stand 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, brown sugar and pecans in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Place pie shell in pie pan and cover with peach mixture. Sprinkle praline crumble mixture over the top, allowing peaches to show if desired. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer or until peaches are tender and topping is golden brown.

[The original recipe asked you to place a portion of the praline mixture directly on top of the pie crust, below the beautiful peaches.  We found this a sad waste of the praline because it became soggy.  Per my mom's recommendation I posted the recipe placing all praline on top!]

Monday, September 3, 2012

HB - the past four months

I don't want to take my blog count over the top or anything, but geez, I've only posted once in 2012.  That's definitely not hard to top!  I've been telling myself that I blogged four months ago but I guess I am mixing that date up with the birth date of my child.  It's hard to decide where to begin after an almost eight month hiatus from my blog but I thought I would begin with the bright spot of my year - my firstborn child, HB.  I want to keep it short and sweet tonight but I promise to connect the dots of the past eight months later. 

No matter how much friends and family share about having children I have learned that nothing can fully prepare you for how truly wonderful and delightful motherhood is.  Or how challenging some of its early moments can also be.  Becoming a mom has simply been more - more thrilling, more joyful, more fun, more blessed than I could have ever imagined.  It's hard to think my life before this point - my son has brought so much joy and wonder to my life and I am so grateful for the reminder that he is of God's awesome creating hand in our lives.  I am reminded of God's great power and intricate creativity on a daily basis as I observe my son developing and growing.

With all that said, enjoy the amateur cell phone pictures of the month-by-month growth of my sweet son.  (I am working on the whole "taking pictures from consistent distances and angles.")  Clockwise, from top left, one month, two months, three months and four months.  He has gone from posing as a sack of potatoes at  one month to actually sitting up pretty well on his own at four.  Hubby is the "spotter" ready at a moment's notice to reach out with cat-like reflexes and prevent Lil Man from face planting it into the arm rest of his great-great-great grandfather's rocking chair.