Wow - somebody SLOW ME DOWN! Life has been on superspeed lately. Summer band is over, swimming lessons are done, family visits are through (after today - sad!), and Jeff will be home Tuesday night after a week as the camp doc for a cancer camp, and although I still have 3 soccer games every Tuesday and Thursday (and 2 piano lessons on Wednesdays, and the girls' Summer Club on Wednesdays, and Scouts 2x/ week, and the boys' lawn-mowing jobs) I expect life to settle down a little now. I hope. I'm plum tuckered out. But we've had fun. I don't have time to really write, so this is mostly a picture entry. Hope you've all had a good 4th Holiday time.
Thanks to my dad and to Pam W., for the 4th of July Parade pics! We had a great time. Samuel wasn't on the fire truck with us because he was marching with the band (see last parade picture - he's in there, somewhere... with an alto clarinet). Still, we all got to be in the parade and practice our waving-while-smiling technique (Charlotte couldn't seem to do both at once, but she's barely 3, so it's okay.) Thanks to Terry & Betty for inviting us - Terry has a soft spot for Eleanor, who hugs him every time she sees him.
Snickerdoodles: Pretty much the best snickerdoodle recipe EVER. They're very sweet, though, so I usually make half with the cinnamon sugar coating, and half without.
1 cup Butter Flavor Crisco (Crisco is usually much better than generic brand...)
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tbls. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
3 cups flour
4 Tbls. granulated sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugars. Add egg, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Mix on high until smooth and well incorporated. Add flour and mix well. Preheat oven to 300 F. LET DOUGH REST IN FRIDGE FOR 30-60 MINUTES.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon for topping.
With your hands, roll dough into balls about the size of a golf ball. Roll the balls in the cinnamon/sugar mixtrue (coat them really well) and press into ungreased cookie sheet (3 across, 4 down).
Bake 10 - 11 minutes and NO LONGER. They will seem undercooked, but will be soft and chewy once they've cooled. Don't overcook, unless you want snickerdoodle crackers.
Indoor S'Mores: These treats remind me of being little - my mom made these when we were growing up. Don't use Guittard chocolate chips, though - they don't melt the right way. The measurements in italics are for a larger 10x15 pyrex pan.
3/4 Cup light corn syrup (1 1/8 Cup)
3 Tbls. margarine or butter (4 1/2 Tbls.)
1 package (11 1/2 oz) milk chocolate chips (semi-sweet isn't the best for this recipe) (3 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla (1 1/2 tsp.)
9 cups Golden Grahams cereal (13 1/2 cups)
3 Cups miniature marshmallows (4 1/2 cups)
Butter rectangular pand, 9x13x2 inches. Heat corn syrup, margarine and chocolate chips to boiling in 3 qt. saucepan, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour over cereal in large mixing bowl; toss quickly until completely coated with chocolate. Fold in marshmallows, 1 cups at a time. Press mixture evenly in pane with buttered back of spoon (or I use a wet (CLEAN) hand). Let stand until firm, at least 1 hour. Cut into about 1 1/2 inch squares. Store loosely covered at room temperature.
Sunny Vegetable Salad: I LOVE this salad. Use the 10 calorie mayo instead, and you've got a good, healthy lunch. And dinner. And (why not!?) breakfast! :)
5 Cups broccoli florets
5 Cups cauliflower florets
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 Cups (or less, to taste) chopped onion (can use green onion if you prefer)
1/2 Cup raisins
1 Cup Mayonaise
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Tbls. Cider Vinegar
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 Cups sunflower kernels
In a large salad bowl, toss broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, onion, and raisins. In a small bowl, combine mayo, sugar, and vinegar. Pour over salad, toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Mix again to bring up any dressing that settled on the bottom. Sprinkle with bacon and sunflower kernels before serving.
At the Hancock Family Reunion, we had some traditional games, including the sack race. See if you can spot little Charlotte just right of the center (only her head is sticking out - the sack swallowed her!), and Eleanor, just left of the boy in the red shirt. Jeff is standing behind, supervising.
We've spent most of our time at the Hancock family cabin on the Henry's Fork of the Snake River. We had our 2nd annual "Dash & Splash" - a family-friendly run from the cabin around to the bridge (5K), then hop into the river for a float on tubes back down to the cabin. The kids are all encouraged to do the best they can, with a couple of support vehicles following along to pick up the kids when they need a break and drop them off when they're ready to run again. It's very satisfying for the kids to do it, and absolutely no pressure. It's the best race - and free! Samuel and I ran side-by-side, Jeff ran with Oliver (who did the whole thing this year for the first time!), and the girls both made it the first 1/4 mile. A few of the brave (including my boys and Jeff) jumped from the bridge into the river - they were hot enough to enjoy it. The river was really cold, though, so we were happy for hot showers after we finished floating back down to the cabin.
I can't repeat it often enough: Eleanor LOVES bugs. Here she is with a dragonfly, one of the many bugs she captured, observed, and let loose while we were at the cabin this week. I can't tell if Charlotte is more fascinated with the bugs or with Eleanor's interest in bugs (and lack of any fear).
We lifted the ban (temporarily) on video games, and the boys loved it. Here's Samuel, learning to drive. Okay, so he's beyond learning - he's really good.
And Oliver is racing the tractor. Just kidding. He had a good time learning to drive, also - not a video game, but the real deal. Mini "50" dirt bikes are cute. Oops, I mean cool.
On the 5th of July we took a jaunt over the mountains to spend the day in Grand Teton National Park with Hancock family and our good friends, the Whitesides. We rambled over to Phelp's Lake, stopped in the visitor's center (and the Rockefeller Center), and enjoyed getting wet at Jenny Lake. It was really really really beautiful. Jeff and I lived at the Park when he worked as a Park Ranger Naturalist, and it still feels like coming home to me. It was especially fun to share the day with such good friends and family.