Tuesday, July 27, 2010

In the dark

In the dark

After an amazing show of electric skies we spent the evening in the dark.  I can't say it was a total loss. I really like reading by lantern light and candle light.  I hung on to this favorite pitcher in spite of the fact that it was broken and I couldn't use it for any beverages.  I think it works well as a candle holder.

In the dark

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cinnamon-Blueberry Whole Wheat Pancakes

The last bite

That's what's was for breakfast around here today.  I generally don't make pancakes because a.) I don't need that much carbs, butter, and syrup to start my day and b.) by the time I'm done making them, everyone else is finished and I have to eat mine all by myself.  I've tried keeping them warm in the oven, but it's not the same.  In spite of all this, sometimes the urge hits me.  I usually do a basic whole wheat pancake (don't tell the Geek it's healthy for him!) and add stuff (blueberries, bananas, chocolate chips etc.  Today's version was awesome!  Here it is.

Basic Whole Wheat Pancakes (and I'll put the added ingredients at the end)

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sugar (I often use a little less than this)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/3 cup veg. oil
(For Cinnamon-Blueberry ones add):
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries.  You can either mix them in to the whole batch or put 5-6 in each freshly poured pancake.  For these pancakes to come out right your batter needs to be pretty thick.  If the pancakes are not rising high, add a little more flour to your batter to thicken it up.  Runny batter = thinner pancakes

Sift dry ingredients and then mix wet ingredients together separately.  Add the dry to the wet, beat to a smooth batter.  Pour small circles on a hot UNGREASED griddle (or frying pan).  When they are ready to be flipped, they won't stick to the pan.  Serve with powdered sugar and butter, or my favorite, blueberry syrup.  Yum!

SOOO good!

These were a great way to start a hum-drum Wednesday morning and as you can see, they were much enjoyed!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Adventures in Tennessee - Cummins Falls

I'm a huge fan of hiking and swimming and in general spending the summer months getting dirty and then rinsing off in a nice pool, either man made or natural.  After some coercion, I convinced the Geek, who is not very outdoorsy, but loves and humors his wife, to take a family outing to a nearby swimming hole.  We got our info at swimmingholes.info (or .org), and packed up for an adventure.  Matt was skeptical of our ability to do any serious climbing around waterfalls to find secret swimming holes with a 20 month old, but we went anyway.  Because I'm stubborn and hey, the worst that could happen is that we get there, take one look and decide to swim in the upper part of the river rather than climbing down a cliff with the baby girl strapped to my back.  Which is what happened. 

Swimmingholes.org provided directions and this description:
"Take the trail down to the overlook then switchback to the river. Wade cross the river (it's only ankle deep) and look for a trail that begins as a steep scramble up to the ridge top. Follow the ridge top trail for a few minutes until you see a rope and use the rope to (safely) get down to the river. Walk back up river to the hole. It sounds like a lot of work but it only takes about 15 minutes and its worth every minute!"

These falls are about an hour and half from Nashville, but most of it is on I-40 and an easy drive.  When we got there there were lots of trails, no switchbacks that we could find, until later.  We never did find the overlook on the road side of the gorge unless they meant the place where the waterfall begins to fall.  We scrambled to the ridge top with Cora in arms, got lost, wandered around in the wrong direction since we had no idea which way the falls were.  (They were downriver)  There were markers, but they led to something else and we eventually found a hunting or logging road that was on top of the ridge (it was not the trail).  Finally after much sweating, some mild swearing and sending Matt ahead to scout where the various rabbit trails went, we found the trail. Then we took a lunch break.
I wish I had taken a picture of the rope that you are supposed to use to "safely get down to the river".  Umm.  We took one look and said nope.  It was nearly straight down for at least 75 feet with a rope tied to some roots at the top.  True there were lots of rocks to climb down, but with me pregnant (and easily exhausted because of that) and a one and a half year old to get down the rocks (even in a baby backpack), it was just not worth the risk.  (And I'm usually a risk taker!) We played in the upper part of the river which was rocky and very chilly where there was a rope swing and lots of minnows to chase
My final review - great for a day trip with older kids who are experienced at climbing and hiking.  Go early before the beer cooler crowd shows up.  We left about 1:30 and they were headed in.  All in all, it was beautiful.  We will go back either when I'm not preggo and Cora is bigger and can climb on her own, or when I'm not preggo and we have pawned our children off on relatives or friends for the day.

4/13/13 *Edited to add*  Last year Cummins Falls became a TN State Park!  I have not gone back with my family to check out the new park and if they have added a safer way to get down to the swimming hole, but you can find more details at http://www.tn.gov/environment/parks/CumminsFalls/
Enjoy the outside!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Sparkly Stars

This 4th of July, we decided to not take Cora to see any fireworks displays for several, supposedly good reasons. (she's to young, it's too loud, it starts at 9pm blah blah blah)  So she went to bed as usual around 7pm, and woke up, as usual, around 11:30pm, thirsty, or cold, or wanting Mama. (The result of traveling.  It happens every time) After a drink and a snuggle I was attempting to get her back to sleep, but outside our window, our neighbors were having a little fireworks display of their own.

Cora sat straight up and started talking about stars.  In my groggy haze with no glasses on, I looked at the window, confused.  Surely she can't see stars.  We live in the city.  But she insisted. 'Spark-ly stars!'  I realized what she was seeing and put on my glasses.  She was transfixed.  She was riveted.  She was amazed.  She talked and talked about it, using sentences I didn't know she was capable in an effort to communicate her wonder.  Matt came and joined us and we watched her watch the fireworks, enjoying her joy.  The next morning as she hopped in bed with us, she talked about it again, for 10 minutes straight until we went downstairs for breakfast.

How easily I forget to marvel at the beauty around me.  Fireworks are old news.  I've got them figured out.  I have a pretty good idea of how they work and while they are enjoyable, they don't mesmerize me.  Much like so many other things around me that I think I have figured out.  I'm so grateful for new little blue eyes to see through and remember the pure joy of life, the wonder, the beauty, the gift of it all.  And that fireworks are really sparkly stars, falling in the night sky.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The real reason I feel like puking all of the time

I can't keep it a secret any longer.  If you see me and I can't remember your name or that we were supposed to get together, or if I mention I feel like puking all day except this golden little window around lunch time, or I am in bed by 9pm, you will know why.  Yes, # 2 (#3 technically, but we hope this one will actually come out to see us).

At this point I am about 10 weeks along.  We have been keeping it quiet since I was a little fearful from the loss of our last baby.   Family knows and is rather excited, as are we.  I am patiently waiting for about week 12-13 when the fog will lift and I'll be able to remember things for longer than 5 minutes.  I know it's coming. Until then, forgive me for blundering through life.  A baby is eating my brain.
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