New Year’s Eve!

Our gold and silver New Year’s Eve breakfast found it’s way back to our table this year for the 3rd year in a row… (I’d say it’s a tradition now!)  Again, it was followed by games, puzzles, and puzzle presents to open from Grandma.  After a full day of celebration, we all happily went to bed long before midnight.  (That’s my kind of New Year’s Eve!)

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Exploring.

Today our cat was brave.  He decided he would explore the chicken yard.  I decided to be brave, too.  I pulled out my camera and switched it to manual mode and put on my new lens.  I certainly have a lot to learn, but it was fun playing around with the ISO and aperture.

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This last one is, of course, totally blurry… oops… but as soon as I took it, the chickens went berserk seeing the cat, and the cat took off afraid of the chickens.  Didn’t they know I needed to adjust my settings?

Randomness

The house is now void of Christmas… For the first time I can remember, I didn’t feel in a rush to be rid of all things Christmas this year.  However, I know the longer I wait the harder it will be; (not to mention the cleaning lady comes this week!)  And so, Christmas is packed away for another year.

This afternoon my boy was out back, when he came running inside yelling, “I heard the garbage truck!  Can I go see him?”  I said, “Sure,” and opened the front door.  He went and sat on the hay bail and waited… and waited… and waited.  45 minutes, I kid you not!  That boy has some patience!

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When I watched these four cuties playing happily together, I commented, “Awww…how sweet,” to which Malachi exclaimed, “Go get your camera and take a picture of us!”

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Movies in bed with Papa… one reason I was able to get Christmas taken down so fast!

v1Happy Monday!

Christmas Day 2014

How is Christmas over, already?  I’m going to blink, and it will be Christmas 2015!  We had a very merry day, with the exception of missing Grandma who got the flu and had to stay in bed most of the day.  (Poor Grandma!)

First thing in the morning, the stockings were sorted.  The kids were so thrilled with their Santa gifts, we could have stopped right there!  They wasted no time playing with their new gifts while waiting for Papa to come home to enjoy breakfast with us…

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This year I did 1/3 of our breakfast casserole in bacon instead of sausage so the kids would actually enjoy it.  And, they did!

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Present sorting… such cute little elves!

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Presents, presents, presents… Allison made us each poems, which are quite the treasure. Natalie made me a coaster from perler beads.

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Snacks, games, baking, cooking, waiting for cousins to arrive…

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Dinner:  prime rib, lamb chops, lefse, brussel sprout salad, this cranberry bread, and this broccoli

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Happy birthday, Jesus!

In Honor of Grandma

My precious Norwegian Grandma went to be with the Lord in October after 99 1/2 years of life.  The one tradition we had at Christmas time with Grandma was eating lefse; a Norwegian potato pancake.  My entire extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins along with my own family absolutely LOVED lefse.  But, I was keeping a little secret; I did not actually like lefse.   For some reason, I thought I needed to pretend to like it, and so I did.  It’s not that I couldn’t stand it — it was ok.  But, I didn’t love it, and one piece was more than enough for me.

All that to say, it’s been years since we’ve had lefse as a family.  This year, in honor of Grandma, I thought it would be fun to give it a try.  I didn’t tell my parents in case I didn’t get a chance to get it done.  In hindsight, I probably should have since I was stuck making it with no potato ricer, no lefse stick, and no griddle.  (At least they know what to get me for Christmas next year; hint, hint!)

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Turns out, a grater works pretty well in place of a ricer.  My crepe pan made a nice griddle.  And, my long thin Pampered Chef spatula was an excellent lefse stick.

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And so I rolled… and cooked… and rolled… and cooked.  Wow.  Now I know why Grandma made a day of it!

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I was so nervous; what if all that work went to waste and they turned out terrible?  Well, it looked like Grandma’s lefse… it smelled like Grandma’s lefse… and it did indeed taste like Grandma’s lefse!  And, guess what…

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I still don’t love lefse!  But, it was so fun to carry on that tradition, and I’ve discovered a little jelly along with the butter makes a big difference for me.  It was especially fun to let my kids have a taste of their Norwegian side.  After all, they’ve had quite the introduction to Chinese cuisine.  The verdict?  Three kids seem to have gotten the “lefse gene,” while one clearly states she doesn’t like it.  (My Sierra is a bit more blunt than me!)

Here is the recipe I used:

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 pounds/2 1/4 kilograms red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into uniform size
  •  cup/158 milliliters neutral oil, such as canola
  • 1 (5-ounce) can/148 milliliters evaporated milk
  • ½ cup/100 grams sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 ½ to 3 cups/312 to 375 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed

PREPARATION

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook potatoes until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Rice potatoes into a large bowl, continuing until you have 8 cups. Add oil, evaporated milk, sugar and salt, and mix well. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.
  3. When ready to make lefse, add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix well. Divide dough into two logs if you have a lefse grill, and four if you do not. Dough should be sticky and hold together, but not so sticky it’s impossible to work with; if necessary, add remaining 1/2 cup flour. Cut each log into 9 or 10 pieces, shape into small balls and place on plates in refrigerator.
  4. If you have a lefse grill, heat it to 400 degrees. If you don’t have a lefse grill, set a wide, low-lipped nonstick pan over medium-high heat.
  5. Generously dust work space with flour and flour a rolling pin. Roll one dough ball in flour, then use the heel of your hand to press it into a thick disk. If you have a lefse grill, gently roll dough into a large, thin circle (if you are using a regular pan, roll into a thin circle just smaller than the size of your pan), lifting and flipping frequently so it doesn’t stick; use more flour as needed. Brush excess flour from dough. Use a lefse stick to carefully transfer to grill (use a thin spatula if cooking in a pan). Cook for 1 minute, or until lefse is steaming and small bubbles appear on uncooked side. Using lefse stick or spatula, flip lefse and cook for 45 seconds or so. Place lefse on a clean dish towel and cover with another. Repeat, stacking lefse atop one another between the dish towels.

 

Christmas Eve Means…

Christmas Eve means…

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… playing checkers with Grandpa…

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… cookies for the neighbors…

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…opening one present after church…

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…Swedish meatballs, green beans, and cranberry bread for dinner…

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… cozy Christmas jammies, and reading Christmas stories to Grandpa…

…and that’s what Christmas Eve looks like for the Yeh’s!

Snowflake Ornaments

Snowflake “ordaments,” as my kids say… I made 26 for a party of 16 kids.  Plenty of extra, right?  Maybe next time I’ll use salt dough rather than corn starch baking soda dough… or maybe I won’t make them so thick?  The good news is, though we had to scrap them from the party, we still had a fun family time decorating them.

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Break.

In all the hustle and bustle to get ready for Natalie’s birthday and Grandma coming and Christmas, I completely overlooked the fact that after Natalie’s party, Christmas break officially started.  I woke up Saturday morning with such peace… breathe… coffee… sigh… Sure, I still have a few things to do to get ready for Christmas.  But, with no school to plan and Grandma here to play games with the kids, life is so much more relaxed!

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Thanks for all you do, Grandma!

Natalie’s Frozen Art Birthday

I love that for many of my daughter’s birthdays, being so near to Christmas, she has chosen “wintery” themes.  This year?  Frozen Art.  In the past, choosing the theme was about the extent of the input I allowed the kids to make.  I mentioned in previous posts how this year has been different in that I allowed Natalie to help with decorations and planning… Well, this year she was also allowed to pick her party date and guests completely on her own.  She decided she wanted her party on her actual birthday, (which was also a school day).  And so, today we celebrated Natalie’s birthday with a Frozen Art party!

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See those hanging snow flakes?  They are handmade and were supposed to be one of our crafts today, but I had to scrap the idea after breaking several yesterday… sigh…

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I love the outfits the girls chose.  “Cuties… I think I’ll keep them!”  (Somebody please get Frozen quotes and songs out of my head!)

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I stole all of my menu ideas from Pinterest.  You can check out my Pinterest board here.  The cake was my only (somewhat) original idea, and was a lot of fun.  My only regret was making our ice crystals too green.

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Frozen coloring pages, “How to draw Olaf,” and coffee filter snowflakes.

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Watching the snowflakes “fall.”

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“Do you want to build a snowman?”

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“Don’t eat Olaf.”  This game was such a hit… way more than I expected!

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Happy 8th birthday, sweet Natalie!  We love you!

Makes Me Smile…

Right now it’s crunch time.  Grandma arrives today.  Birthday and party tomorrow.  Christmas in a week.  All good stuff.  Here’s a glimpse of life around here:

My 2 oldest have continued to help me with party planning.  I am loving having them “in” on the planning… this may be a new “thing,” (though I am still keeping a few secrets for the big day.)

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I keep finding this one playing with the nativity set.  LOVE IT!

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We pulled down the snow gear… fun times.

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My lunch… leftover grilled pork, homemade guacamole, lettuce, and homemade naan.  I think I could eat like this every day!  (But, of course, I won’t.  Sadly.)

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I bribed the kids into doing laundry by offering a fire and hot chocolate.  Definitely a good move.

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Daniel played with the shutter speed of the camera and we created a ghost.  So cool.

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I made Daniel pull out his trumpet for the kids.  Less than 60 seconds later I regretted it.  That thing is loud!  But, the kids loved it, and he truly is amazing.

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Dance party in the hall.  (Check out Sierra’s “serious” dance face.  Too funny.)

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If I could freeze time… Oh, if I could freeze time.  Right now.  At these exact ages.  Right now.  It is busy, it is tiring, but it is oh so sweet and fun.  They are all still “little” and have so much fun together.  I love watching them and hearing their interactions.  Yes, right now.  Oh, if I could freeze time…