"The real winners in life are people who look at every situation with an expectation that they can make it work or make it better." - Barbara Pletcher

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Homemade Donuts and a 7 Giveaway

Sweet, sweet weekends.  We checked off so many things on our house to-do list (paint, light fixtures, paint, outlets, paint and switches...I'll be putting in for my electrician's license after that project!), and still had time for some fun stuff.  The kids saw a donut maker at Target last week, and the big news was, "did you know there's a machine that can make SIX donuts in under FIVE MINUTES!"  OH, my!  Ryleigh wanted to try making our own donuts, so we found this recipe, and started on Friday.

Side note-I've become obsessed with bread.  I started feeling uneasy about the store-bought "wheat" bread I'd been buying, after already being disgusted for a while by the hotdog/hamburger bun options.  I can't stomach paying $4.76 per loaf for the stuff I don't think will kill us (as fast).  The ingredients lists on the packaging is daunting, and I was totally paralyzed in the bread aisle week after week, trying to figure out the best way.  I went on a bread making spree a few years ago, and we were doing all kinds of grainy, wheaty, decent homemade bread.  I even scored a bread maker (thanks, Lynne!!) and that thing changed my life.  Then, I started doing daycare, and honestly just couldn't keep up.  We. Go. Through. So. Much. Bread.  I still used my bread maker to mix all my doughs for cinnamon rolls, pizza, breadsticks, etc.  But, I was buying like somewhere in the neighborhood of oh, FIVE loaves of "wheat" sandwich bread per week.  It started to gross me out.  So, ANYWAY...I came up with a system for making nearly all the bread we need for the week on Sundays.  Then, it's fresh, on hand, and consists of 5 or 6 ingredients as opposed to 28. I started out with white, figuring it was probably better for us than Sara Lee's "wheat".  I think I'll slowly transition them to homemade wheat, which is definitely a different texture than they've become accustomed to. 

I'm still buying bagels and english muffins, so don't go thinking I've completely lost it.  It's not that much work if you've got your week's menu all planned out and can do it ahead.  It's cheaper, tastier, healthier, and the scent that fills your home is nothing to complain about.. 

My word, where in the world was I?

Our handy assistant, Rugger.  He is so awesome about fetching stuff from the basement food shelves, or the garage freezer, or taking garbage out, switching over laundry, you name it.  Plus, he's funny.  I miss him when he's gone.  He had a sleepover this weekend, and I had a conscious moment of realization that I really like him.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, isn't that what they say?

I feel the slightest bit guilty about not letting them actually knead the dough.  The tiniest ittiest little bit.  I can only handle so much, you know what I'm saying?  Plus, the dough always comes out perfect when I use the bread maker.

So, this recipe calls for the dough to sit in the refrigerator overnight.  Then you roll it out the next day, cut out your donuts, and let them raise again.  Do you let them raise?  Or let them rise?  Either way, it's not a super quick process we're dealing with here.

I think I've only ever fried something once before in my life-and it was chicken wings.  I've never done dough...so I really didn't know what to expect.  I only had olive oil on hand, so that's what we used.  I also don't own a thermometer that reads high enough for oil (375* for this recipe).  So, I just guessed.  Evidently, my guestimations were just fine, because these babies were incredible.

Incredible probably doesn't even do them justice.  They were so good.  Breathtaking?  Yes. 

We inhaled them.  They were warm and light, with the slightest crispiness to the outside. 

The glaze was perfection.  Not sickly sweet, not too thick, just enough to make the whole thing melt in your mouth. 

I am not kidding you, we couldn't stop.  The entire batch was consumed between 10am and Noon.  No lie, and that was a lot of donut.  I didn't even care, I just kept interrupted them with, "YES!" when a kid yelled, "can we have another..."   No reason to save them, those delicious carbs were meant to be eaten fresh. 

We're still talking about them. 

I added a few teaspoons of cocoa to the very last of the glaze, and dipped three chocolate donuts.  I actually didn't even get to try one of those, because they disappeared immediately.  I heard they were good ;)

I had hoped to have a follow-up "my feelings one month after I read 7" blog written by now, but it just hasn't happened.  Wheels are turning, winds are shifting, change is coming at the Sallinger house.  Our week has been busier than I anticipated with two showings already so far and gorgeous weather that begs us to be outside.  I have no idea if I'll be able to blog again before the end of the week, so I'm using this post to host my "7" giveaway.  All you have to do is leave a comment!  I'll choose the winner by letting a small child pick a name out of a hat on Thursday, February 2 at 5pm (central).

If you don't win the book, you can always make some donuts to ease the pain.  Oh, sweet carbs.  


Friday, January 27, 2012

It's Friday, Friday!

I finally googled this video and watched it for the first time.  Have you seen it?  Officially, 3 minutes and 48 seconds I'll never get back!  One of Ryleigh's friends taught it to her, and we sing it every week, all the time never having heard the actual song.  I can't believe that video has gotten over 20 million views.  What the heck, people watching it more than once?  

Moving on!

Pajama day.

The kids were shocked to discover I owned actual PJ's.  {Tell me I'm not the only one who sleeps in old t-shirts.}

Window paint is such a fun thing, but it's so hard to clean up! 

We've had a very laid back week, with lots of runny noses, coughing, and staying home.  Pajama day totally fit into the week perfectly.  I think we need one more day of doing nothing, and a weekend, and hopefully by Monday we'll be ready to get out again. 

You might take note of the gold walls.  This wall is now grey.  I'm wishy washy on the color, afraid we should have gone a little warmer.  I'm sure after a few days of looking at it I'll just get used to it and forget all about my reservations.  {That's what happened with the gold.}

I put classical music on the kids' mp3 players, and encouraged forced them to listen while they did their free-writing this afternoon.  Heaven.  No chatter, no questions, no messing around dangit!  It was glorious. Ryleigh came up with some A+ poetry using this method, even :)

Now, I'll admit it doesn't take much to thrill me.  When I can haul these guys to work with me and know they'll entertain themselves in the gym attached to my office for 90 minutes straight, I'm thrilled.  It was after normal business hours, so their shrieking didn't bother anyone. 

Too bad I wasn't wearing my Heelys; after the rope rides, they were whipping each other around on their skates and I kind of wished I could have gotten in on that action.  I had my fingers hovered over 9-1-1 just waiting for a crash followed by screaming. 

I had requested a hard copy of "7" to give away, and forgot all about it until it showed up in my mailbox yesterday.  Score.  Such a fun surprise amongst all the junk mail and bills.  I'll have a giveaway next week!  

Happy Friday, as it is indeed Friday.  You might need to remind yourself that, "yesterday was Thurrrrsday...tomorrow is...Saturday".  Oh. My. Word.  No offense, Rebecca Black.  I'm sure you're a super nice girl and your mother loves you to pieces.  {And, congrats on the youtube success, by the way.}


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Timeless Tuesday

Some activities around here never get old.

Sugar cereal is such a treat over here!  It was on sale this week and we haven't strung necklaces for a while.  Big hit today :)  My nutritionist, Denise (free with my gym membership) will be happy to know I stepped away from the refined sugar.  After getting my measurements and body fat calculated this morning at 6am, I feel like it'll be easy for me to stay motivated in the healthy eating department today.  Lord have mercy, I love cereal so much.

We've had these blocks for over seven years, and they've never been pulled out of the toy rotation, but they still get played with every single day.  Best toys ever!

Love those chickens!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Giving it up.

I know it's crazy, but I'm having a hard time giving up our baby toys.  Our babies are not babies any longer.  Our littlest boys love trucks, Legos and Star Wars.  In an effort to avoid being sent to Hoarders Anonymous, we dug through the storage area under the stairs yesterday.  There are several full garbage bags not shown here...yes, I may have issues. 

It's 100% ridiculous to hang on to these things when we don't use them, and will never need them again.  There are certainly needy children in our city who would love and play with these toys, and that can't happen if they're in totes in my basement.  I saved one small tub of my favorites for daycare babies to use, and that's it.  There are still boxes and boxes full of toddler toys in our shed, which we'll have to deal with after we move.  This fact is keeping me sane.  I know they're out there and if for some reason I were to need a slew of little kid stuff tomorrow...

Hey, Mitch's mom saved stuff from when her kids were little for her grandbabies to play with...and she will forever be known as the grandma with all the cool toys.  There are worse things to go down as.  I'm saving our Fisher Price Little People forever, I don't care if TLC comes in here and mocks me.

Happy Monday!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Phone Photo Friday

My phone camera is back in action, which means it's been busy over here :)

We got seemingly miraculous Rockstar parking at the Children's museum yesterday, making this trip perfect from the start.  I told the kids I had prayed for a good spot right before we turned the corner, and Ryleigh said she thought maybe there was a "reason" for it.  "Yes, like maybe you could be witnesses for Jesus by being on your best behaviors."  Ha!!  Is that wrong?  They did have good behaviors, I'll just say that! :)

A staff member took Ryleigh's picture with her creation here, so if you go in the next few weeks be on the lookout for it on the wall!

The library has become a great place for us to go during daytime showings now that it's too cold to head to the park.  We're feeling extra thankful to be checking out free books these days, after escaping a fine of $99.40 last week.  Ninety-Nine!  Turns out, "return library books" somehow fell off my pre-vacation to-do list.  Last week it hit me out of nowhere that our books were probably overdue.  60+ books X 6 days X $.25/book = devastation!  We had actually checked the books out on a youth account, but the system had mistakenly calculated the charges as if it were an adult's.  This brought things down into the $40 range...but, still.  There's a 1-time "fresh start" option on youth accounts, which wipes the fees to $0, and we took advantage of it.  Ha!  Oh, heavens!

So, there's your Lincoln Libraries tip of the day from the Sallingers.  Borrow your kids' books on a youth account, and then if something crazy happens, utilize the "fresh start" wisely (because you can only do it once)!  

P.S.  We have never lost a book.  This is one advantage to having a small house that's picked up all the time for showings.  Yes, our house is still for sale, in case you were wondering! 

We can't be getting banned from the library, we love it too much.  It's kind of fun to go on non-storytime days, because it's so quiet.  We almost didn't know what to do with ourselves, having the time and space to sit, browse and play games.  

This camo suit of Truman's deserves a post of it's own.  Look at his eyes, he's glaring under there!  He's not mad, just super serious about getting that deer. 

Ryleigh's latest evening activity: book/poem competitions.  A person (anyone, but likely only members of our family) could write a poem or short story, and turn it into her.  At the end of the evening, she will give out awards.  Best Poem.  Funniest Story.  Most Original.

Very hilarious.  I'm not sure what the cash register is for...maybe there was a fee at one point to participate?  I know I didn't pay anything, maybe I got a "deal".

It's been almost a month (since before Christmas) that we've had an evening to do nothing.  By nothing I mean, everyone's home at the same time, play legos, take baths, read books, go to bed at 8pm.  A normal night, if you will.  Hallelujah! 

Homeschool kids' P.E. class...

We've had such a mild winter, these kids have been outside every single day with very few exceptions.  It's finally cold enough this week I told them they had to stay inside, and after a few days, they asked to do Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred video.  And I laughed so hard, I nearly woke the nappers.  The went the entire half hour!  Ryleigh even used the 3lb. hand weights for parts of it.  They're begging to do it again.  

Hey, it works for me.  The DVD player is in my room, which is where I fold laundry.  Two birds, folks!  They get some exercise, I get my laundry folded and off my bed, and everyone's ready for sleep by 8pm.  Including me.  Yes!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let's Go Fly a Kite.

Three cheers for a fun weekend.

I do feel grateful for a job that allows me to be home with my own kids all week, but I do love a good weekend. 

Grandma Rowe hit one out of the park with these homemade kites.  Seriously, she can do anything. 

Rugger is such a good big brother, no joke.  I hope he's always sweet and generous with his time to the little guys, because they think he is so cool. 

The kids freaked when these geese flew over.  It really did look like there might be a goose/kite collision, but it didn't happen.  Kind of like when you're at an air show and really fear the Blue Angels are going to slice off the top of your head, but they never actually do.  Similar situation.

Such a fun afternoon with my favorites.

Pretty ridiculous that we were sans coats and flying kites on Sunday, and woke up to snow on Tuesday.  Oh, Nebraska.