Thursday, April 24, 2014

the cave

Now that Spring has definitely made an appearance here, we've been going out and exploring more and more.  I take the middle of nowhere Missouri for granted a lot, because frankly, it's easy to do it.  There just isn't much around here, until the weather cooperates, that is!  And then there are a lot of fun outdoor places to have adventures.  (But seriously, is a Target too much to ask?)  Last Friday, Brian took us onto base where there is a really beautiful caved perched high on a cliff.  The littles really really loved it.  And I loved it too, but I have a touch of claustrophobia, so I sat out the smaller enclosures of the cave.  The cave had openings all around where we could see the river running below, and pastoral scenes of cattle and horses roaming across the river.  Just a warning, there be cracks ahead.  And I'm not talking about the ones in stone...
 There was a large tree growing out of one of the openings. It was peaceful and serene, and we stayed for hours exploring.
 Since it was on the base, we weren't too surprised to find group of soldiers in one opening of the cave. But what we weren't expecting was to hear a really motivating and engrossing speech given to the NCO's in training.  It almost made me want to become an non-commissioned officer, too!
We have a number of other places on our list to explore before things go from warm and sunny to unbearably hot and humid!  Where are you planning on exploring this Spring?

Monday, April 21, 2014

easter sunday

So the title here is a little misleading because I actually took these pictures of the kiddos dressed up on Saturday evening.  Our church here has Saturday evening mass at 5pm.  So I thought it would be great to go to the vigil so we could be lazy and relax Easter morning.  Just an fyi, Easter vigil is pretty much the loooooongest mass of the year, so we had steeled ourselves to having restless littles.  Brian asked me about 20 times what time mass was, and I (maybe a little too smartly) answered him that it was the same as always, of course!  Saturday mass is at 5pm, end of story.  Except when we arrived at church, the parking lot was empty, and the church marquee read loud and clear that Easter vigil was NOT in fact at 5, but at 7:30.  Oy.  We turned right back around, and decided that early morning mass would be better than keeping sleepy cranky littles awake past bedtime for the longest mass of the year.  

It worked out for the best because these cuties woke up at the crack of dawn.  Earlier than the crack, actually.  So we all watched an Easter sunrise, slugged back a cup of coffee, and got to mass.  The littles were ohhhed and ahhhed over for their darling outfits sent by my parents.  I'm pretty biased, but there's nothing much sweeter than my kiddos in their Easter best.
 But Fletcher does not enjoy a tucked in shirt, and in this picture above he is untucking.  We went to our friend's home to do an egg hunt and dinner, and my kiddos were in heaven with a grand total of 15 other kids to play with.  Fletcher jumped the egg hunt gun, and got lots of dirty looks from little girls in pretty dresses, and Brian wore bunny ears.  So, perfect Easter, all in all.
And here is Easter from 3 years ago.  If someone could explain to me where the time goes, I'd appreciate it!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

birthday man

It was Brian's birthday the other day, and he spent it like any other adult does.  He went to work.  But, Fletcher decided we should surprise Papa by showing up at his work with balloons.  He's pretty much the most thoughtful boy ever.  So we did just that, and even took him out for a very fancy lunch at Jimmy John's.  Nothing but the best for Papa!  When I asked what kind of cake he wanted, he told me a Batman cake (he was joking).  Rowan insisted that a princess cake would make Papa happiest, but Fletcher thought a Dr Who cake would be the best.  What can I say?  I'm a people pleaser.
We all love you, Brian!  Hope your birthday was even a fraction of how special you are to us.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

last snow (?)

It's that time of year when it is 80 degrees one day, and then the very next it freezes and snows.  I know it can be maddening for some (especially for those where the snow sticks!) but I just thought it was so pretty to see the snow against all the blossoms here!  I know, I'm crazy.  I think seeing that the rest of the week's forecast calls for 60s helps. Rowan and I ran out with my camera to catch the what just may be the last snow of Spring.  Rowan excitedly exclaimed, "I'm going to make snow angels!!"  But although she checked often throughout the day, the snow never did stick.  She was a little bummed.  Until I pointed out all the violets she could pick and bring inside.  Nothing cheers my girl up like a freshly picked bouquet!
Soccer practice was cancelled, pajamas were left on, the wood stove was reawakened, and hot cocoa made a reappearance.  But today it is sunny, and Spring seems promising.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

caramelized brussels sprouts + gruyere pie

Yesterday I was rummaging through our refrigerator and freezer to find a good, but quick dinner.  In other words, I was looking for a one dish wonder.  As I pulled out brussels sprouts, gruyere, and a forgotten pie crust from the freezer, I knew I might have something special on my hands, so I grabbed my camera and got to work!  Of course the proof would be in the (repeated) tastings.  I have made (and photographed) plenty of dinner makings that just didn't make the blog cut, but this is definitely not one of them!  Success!  And delicious success.  I had two more pieces of the pie for breakfast.  I am a firm believer that pie can be breakfast; sweet or savory.  If you don't agree, you just don't know better.

1 pound brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 T butter
1 T balsamic
1 T honey
1 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded gruyere (or swiss)

1 pie crust, homemade OR store-bought

Preheat the oven to 425.  Thinly slice the brussels sprouts.
 Melt butter in large skillet, add onions and cook until just translucent.  Add the brussels sprouts, and cook on medium, stirring often to prevent burning.  Add the honey, balsamic, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the brussels are lightly browned, soft and fragrant.  The mix of honey, balsamic and cayenne makes for an irresistible combination of sweet, savory and spicy.  So, so good.
Set pan aside, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.  Mix 1/2 cup of shredded cheese with the beaten egg.
Once the brussels are slightly cooled, stir into the cheese and egg mixture, and then pour into the prepared pie shell.
Top with the remaining shredded cheese, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  And then- ta da!  Isn't she pretty and browned and cheesy?  Yes, please.
Dig in!  I'm thinking about making this for Easter brunch.  Because pie for breakfast is a good thing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

trestle gawking

So in my last post, I said I'd share our "pretty view" pictures tomorrow.  I meant to say in 5 tomorrows. Yes.  That is what I meant.  On the last day of Spring Break, it was warm and sunny, so we all decided some exploring was in order.  There are a lot of rolling hills and beautiful valleys here in mid-Missouri. And not much else!  Brian found this old trestle bridge right off of Route 66, not too far from us to go check out.  It was built in the 40's to bring supplies to Ft. Leonard Wood. We drove to the overlook, and then got out to gawk at the valley below.  So beautiful!
 We found a cocoon that was jumping around, and it was fun to hold and feel the life fluttering inside to get out.
 Rowan was a little scared about walking the wall that overlooked the bridge.  I don't blame her, it made my stomach drop a little.  It wasn't a straight drop down, there was a sloping hill, so we weren't endangering our lives here.
 Fletcher, on the other hand, was a little daredevil, leaning far over and laughing when I gasped.  He's trying to shorten my life, I just know it.
 We drove around a little more and found this old wooden train bridge.  It was impressively large and intricate.  And I would not want to be any where near it when a train passed over.
It's always good for the soul to go explore a little.  And it's a treat to find special places tucked away just down the road from us.  Now that winter has surrendered, let the outdoor adventures begin!