Monday, January 21, 2013

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Feliz Navidad!

Christmas Eve
Christmas Day

We spent Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa at the Farm House making cookies and clearing fence line! We left at about 4 to get ready for our annual Christmas Eve Dodd Gathering.
Overall, Christmas was a rather dreary day. It rained all day and the temperature dropped steadily. By 5 o'clock, it had turned into snow. Our first ever White Christmas! Which we didn't really get to see because it was dark! Cate picked out this necklace and earring set and according to Ben, she picked out several more pieces of jewelery for me as well. Cate got her first bike from Grandma and Grandpa. She got on it and rode circles all day long. It was a different Christmas being cooped up in the house all day, but we had a fire going, lots of Christmas treats, and some new games to pass the time.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

December 21, 2012: Dallas Zoo & Gilmer's State Championship Game

On Saturday December 21st we headed to Dallas for the Gilmer game which began at 4. We hit the zoo before the game. None of us had been to the Dallas Zoo and it was quite nice. My favorite was watching the gorillas--it's really like watching a human in a costume! They have such human-like mannerisms, I can kind of see why people get into the evolution thing. There was a lot of climbing and posing with statues as you can see. I have to say my favorite picture of the day is the one of Caleb on that chimpanzee statue. Connor though he'd be funny and spank Caleb right as I took the picture--his expression cracked me up for a while!

The football game was a bust. We got spanked, but it was a fun experience, especially for the kids. After the game we went to Babe's Chicken and waited for an hour with 7 kids! It was definitely worth it though!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

End of November & Most of December

Clockwise-ish fashion starting in top left: Ben and I were able to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Bossier City with the youth group from church. Our bishop graciously let us drive his Corvette over! The concert was quite rocker-psychedelic--very loud and tons of flashing lights.; Cate being silly.; Santa Land with Joe's family; class Christmas parties-We did pancakes for Connor's and Caleb is playing the quiet game in this pic at the end of his party.; Connor participated in his First Grade play. He was a Jingle Bear and they did a pretty cool rap-ish song. He also said a line! I was so scared for him because as soon as we started getting ready to go up to the school he started crying and didn't stop. I dropped him in the cafeteria and he was still in tears. Sometime between then and coming onto stage he toughened up.; We kept Penne for two weeks while Chris and Taylor were in Hawaii/Vegas for Christmas.; Playing games with Cate.; I had more zinnias pop up from stray seeds and this one was holding on. Soon after I took this, we had our first freeze and it is no longer.

Friday, January 11, 2013

This week I will be playing catch up...

November 13-19, 2012

Top pictures: Before and after pressure washing. You can see the cedar shakes were getting very weathered looking.

Bottom: Before and after staining. I began staining at the top of the gable.; The lift that was my perch for a week; The boys catching a ride.

Left side: Before staining and repainting the trim.

Right side: After.

I really love the look of cedar but don't love the look as it get ages. It was a lot of work getting it back to original and then staining, but I think the look is worth it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No longer one of a kind...

In this post I documented our tree falling and clean-up effort. Two months later, we have come to a conclusion to this Dodd-family-calamity saga.


I do miss our wood roof because it was rather unique here in Gilmer, but the new one sure looks good. This face lift has given us the 'redo bug' and I've pressure washed a good deal of the remaining cedar left on the house. We have one whole exterior wall of cedar shakes and more cedar in various places. We hope to stain this and repaint the trim for a total exterior house-lift!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

They Counted Down the Days...

I guess Cate was just soooo excited to dress up as Cinderella, she could hardly contain herself. Each day she woke up and went to the calendar to commence her countdown. I hope she had as much fun as she anticipated! This was Caleb and Connor's first year to wear makeup and I thought they'd chicken out--but they handled it like proper Mummies and Vampires. We collected more candy than ever this year and I have no idea how to discreetly get rid of it short of tossing it in the trash every now and then--which will likely start today...shhhh!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I remember my grandpa at this age...

Dad turned sixty last week. For some reason he seems much younger than sixty to me. I collected letters from his friends and family and he really seemed to enjoy that. Cate wrote one letter on her own. It says "I love Grandpa. I spy". She says Grandpa as Granpol for some reason. Not sure what the I spy part is about--I wrote spy for her but that's what she wanted to say!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Customary Yamboree Post...

We had a different set of visitors this year--Taylor, Claire, and Oliver! They came out Thursday morning and hit the square with us for the rides. Friday we headed to the Yamboree grounds to see the animals and other exhibits.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Catch up...

Pictures from the last few weeks: Clockwise from top left: 1. Cate is a reader! 2. I have an influx of lizards lately-I read up on these and discovered they are anoles. 3. The hogs have returned to my parents' farm house. Ugh. 4. We get lots of wildlife here and this was a first for me--a flying squirrel. He was on the side of the house and when he moved you could see the 'wings' stretched beneath his arms. I tried to grab him with gloves to move him to a tree but he would have none of it. He jumped to the ground and crawled up a different section of the house. The next morning he was gone. 5. A friend gave us a blow up yard decoration that looks like a Buckeye player. The kids love pretending he is actually playing with them. 6. The kids made cookies one day. I handed them the recipe and got out the ingredients. They did a good job.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Two Things...

One delicious...
These are Browned Butter Banana Waffles I found here. Mine looked nothing like her picture obviously. I don't have a clue why mine turned out soooo brown but they were soooo good, so it's ok. I have one kid who doesn't care for bananas (or anything else for that matter) so I only used 2 versus the three called for in the recipe. I like that this uses wheat flour, but the waffles still tasted good--not all wheaty. I also do what I want with spices--I used more cinnamon and nutmeg and threw in ginger and allspice too I think. Also, I added milk chocolate chips to each waffle--gotta counter that wheat four!! This recipe made 7 and 1/2 waffles for me. Here is the recipe if you don't want to click on the link. It is a bit lengthy but worth it.

Browned Butter Waffles
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used salted)
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 medium very ripe bananas

Directions: 1. Preheat a waffle iron. Into a large bowl, sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

2. To brown the butter, heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

 3. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, brown butter, and vanilla. Pour into dry ingredients; stir until just combined.

 4. In a separate small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork; stir into batter. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gently fold into the batter.

5. Ladle the recommended amount of waffle batter onto the hot waffle iron according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Close lid; cook waffle is golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree F oven until ready to serve. Serving options-fresh banana slices, honey, maple syrup, butter, or peanut butter Note-these waffles freeze well.

To freeze, place completely cooled waffles in a freezer bag and freeze. To reheat, pop the waffles in the toaster.

I take no credit for the deliciousness of these--that goes to TwoPeasandTheirPod.

This is the other of my two things:

I've been wanting to make a new bag for some time now, and finally did it!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To remember...

Today is a day that causes people to remember. We all know where we were when we heard about the catastrophe just as an older generation remembers where they were when they heard of JFK's assassination.

But, I have trouble remembering what I did yesterday let alone 11 years ago on a certain date. So, inspired by a pin on Pinterest, I made a journal I am determined to keep.

I took a decorative cardboard box with metal corners, sanded the rust from the corners and polyurethaned them, painted the box white, then laid doilies over the box and spray painted it. I cut scrapbook paper to 5" X 8" and stamped the date on each paper.
I record my happenings for the day, then move to the next card with the next date for the next day. Next year, I will stamp 2013 on all the cards and record a few sentences for each day. Eventually I will be able to pick a date at random and read what I did on that day for the past several years. At least that's the idea...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Earthquake, thunder, or huge planes overhead?

None of the above!! Last Wednesday I sat in my kitchen with two of my SILs--Kim & Rebecca. As we were talking, out of the blue we heard a loud booming. Becca thought it was an earthquake and rushed out the back door. Kim thought the kids had busted something upstairs and went to the stairs. I thought it could be thunder but it was just too close and inconsistent sounding. My next thought was huge bomber planes flying over Gilmer like in the movies--yeah right, an earthquake is more likely. I bolted to the front door and flung it open only to walk into this practically on my front porch:
As the three of us entered the front yard to inspect the damage our mouths just dropped. We were in total and utter shock. We made sure the kids weren't crushed underneath--they were in the playroom--and just walked around the tree over and over. Phone calls were made, neighbors walked over, people slowed as they passed on the road. A spectacle it was. We still don't know how old the tree was because as you can see from the pictures, the tree is still as tall as the house. Guesses range from 60 to 100 years. Apparently, the top of the tree split into two main branches which, in the joint, had begun to rot and hollow. The two halves just fell away landing on opposite sides. Unfortunately, one side fell on the house. There are holes in the roof, but only in the garage. Because Isaac was sending rain our way, we scrambled to get the roof cleared and holes covered. We have a friend who came over and with Becca and Ben, patched the roof well enough to hold us over until it can be repaired. We also had people come out Saturday for a miraculous clean up effort. At one point we had about thirty people, not including kids, that helped chain saw, split wood, haul branches off in trailers, and rake leaves. It. Was. Amazing. My heart was full of gratitude. We began at seven in the morning and everyone but family was gone by eleven thirty.
There are a few positives to the tree falling: 1. We have a ton of firewood for next year, 2. I can now grow flowers on my front porch-sunlight! 3. My fall raking will be dramatically reduced. Even with these things, I am still quite upset about losing the tree. It was a majestic oak and really added to the front yard. Oh well--no use crying over a fallen tree!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back in the habit...


When we left Hutto in September of 2008 I wasn't sure we'd see the Dayton family again. Natalie and I were pretty close and it seemed like I was always hanging out at her house. When she asked if they could 'layover' at our house on their way back to Hutto from a vacation, Ben and I were so excited! Our kids didn't remember each other but that didn't stop them from playing hard!
It was soooo fun to visit and catch up. We can't let another four years go by next time!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

After all these Dodds, we needed some Leppert time!

The kids and I spent a few days with Chris and his kids in McKinney. We ate at Torchy's Taco, played Kinect, fed Oliver stuff he didn't like, built Star Wars Starships and castles, and had cupcakes. We had a great time!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012