Monday, March 31, 2008

Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia

1 3/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
4 1/2 cups bread flour, plus additional for kneading
1 pkg active dry yeast (1/4 oz)
2 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbl coarsely chopped fresh rosemary (I just used dried)
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt (I used kosher salt)

1. Put the water in a medium bowl; whisk in 2 tbl of the four, then sprinkle the yeast over the surface. Set aside until foamy, about 10 min.

2 Whisk the remaining flour and the fine salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour int he yeast mixture and 1/4 cup of the oil. Gradually stir the liquid into the flour with a wooden spoon to make a shaggy, loose dough. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (add just enough flour so the dough is workable but still moist.) Form the dough into a ball.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl; turn the dough around the bowl to coat. Cover the bowl with a slightly moist kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 45 min. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface, punch it down, and knead briefly before reshaping into a ball. Return to the bowl and set aside to rise for another 45 min-1 hour.

4. Pour remaining 1/4 cup olive oil into a 11x7-inch jelly-roll pan. Turn the dough onto pan and flatten by hand. Set aside for 10 minutes until dough spreads easily on the pan. Turn dough over so both sides are well coated with oil. Stretch and press dough from center to the edges of the pan. Make indentations in dough with your fingertips and sprinkle with rosemary. Cover with a towel and let rise until puffy, about 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 425. Sprinkle the dough with the sea salt (I also put sliced green olives on half). Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Slip the focaccia from the pan and cool on a rack.

This sounds way more complicated than it really is! I thought I'd just try it once and never again, but we liked it so much I think I'll do it quite often with different toppings. It's a good thing to do if you'll be staying around the house for most of the day. I cut it into stips like Biaggi's does. I also want to try it with panninis next time!


Henry is taking a killer nap right now. I've got the noise maker cranked high because of the heavy duty construction at Dahl's and it's put him in a coma. All last week he just took a 1 1/2 hour nap everyday, which doesn't seem like enough for a little almost-15-month old. I thought I was holding him off too long for his nap and now am trying to put him down a little sooner. Today it's really working, but I'm sure tomorrow it won't. Each day is so different.

Violence: still getting my thoughts together. I'm thinking a lot about the war, death penalty, etc. You know, really fun stuff to think about! I grew up in such a strong Republican home that I just didn't question any of it so it's kind of fun to now. Right now it's easier for me to justify against those things than to justify for them. These thoughts stem from a conversation we had with some family about the shooting that took place in that church in CO where a gunman came in and opened fire. What a horrible story! We were talking about what we would have done or should have done. If that happened in our church and I happened to have my gun in my purse that day (no, don't really have one), would I have shot the gunman? Well, my first response was, of course, I have a family! Think of all the hundreds of people you would save. If I had really good aim I thought I'd go for the knee cap, but this probably wouldn't work and the bullet would end up killing the gunman. So, I've just saved hundreds of people from dying, but I've just killed someone. Is this ever okay? I can't even for a second in my head come to the conclusion that this is how Jesus would have responded. He knew he was going to die and he did nothing about it. He showed complete grace, mercy, and humility. So I don't know. What do you think?

I'm going to get something done before the little man wakes up. He was in such a great mood this morning that I'm anxious to see him again. He was working on a tooth last week so we had some not so fun times. We were both ready for a fun day!

Friday, March 28, 2008

What a Girl Wants....

Is to go to every single garage sale every weekend and spend every extra penny I can find!

I went to 2 this morning because I was in the mood to look, but not buy so much. I took some change out of our pottery vase that holds the attic door shut. This is ridiculous logic, but I feel like if it's change I'm not spending money. We never cash it in. It just sits there for years and years. Right? So I found about $5 in dimes and nickels and I spent it. So stupid. I got some cute shirts for Henry, but did he really need them? We were going to set a dollar limit per month for this whole garage sale obsession. Last night RJ said $10. What? I instantly disagreed and thought to myself that I'll talk to him about it later. Like usual, I'm going against him and scheming to get things my way. He is so content with everything. I'm not content until it's MY way. We had a speaker at our state retreat this past fall who spoke about submitting to our husband's. I have a horrible memory and I didn't write it down (please add comments if you remember, Willow girls!). The gist of it was, that women always do this. We are always talking our husband's into things.

Can we go out to eat tonight?
But I promise I'll make every other meal this weekend and we won't spend another penny.
How about if we use this coupon and then I make a dessert for later.

I got my way. Again. Is that what submission is supposed to look like? I realize eating out is a minor issue, but what about having more babies, redoing the bathroom, etc etc. For me, I do this with every issue. It's horrible. So I'm writing this to help keep myself accountable. If I can't even submit to my husband, how in the world can I submit to my Lord? I'm going to try to practice it in the smallest ways. And seriously, how much is my attitude about this NOT showing respect for my husband. By doing this, he's just going to give up trying to be the leader of our family because he knows I'll just try to talk him out of everything anyways (not that he would do this, but I wouldn't blame him if he did!). That is the last thing I want. And that is certainly not how God intends a marriage to work. God placed RJ as the leader of our house hold. I need to respect this!

Next topic: Violence. Is it ever the answer? Is it ever okay? :)

Alright, I'm going to put all this energy into doing the dishes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rainy Days and Thursdays Always Get Me Down....

Okay, so Thursdays should be Mondays, but Karen Carpenter really knows what she's talking about. I actually like rainy days from time to time, but I'd rather it be nice out today.

We survived our Wednesday! We went to the playland AND the park. Henry loves slides. I was happy to see how cautious he would be by going down backwards on his hands and knees. Yesterday he accidently went down head first on his belly and he's now a wild man doing it every time, squealing the whole way. He doesn't even wait for me to get to the bottom to catch him. I'm sure he'll become more aware of this stuff as he gets older and shy away from things. I'm just suprised to see his personality sometimes. He is far different from me! I tried to hold him on my lap to go down the spiral slide and I got stuck. I couldn't get situated right to sit down while holding on to him. I think it's because I'm so unflexible, but probably because I'm getting a little chubby. I heard today that carrying extra weight around your midsection could possibly lead to dimensia later in life. Does that include left over baby belly??

So all day yesterday I felt pretty, ridiculously sorry for myself. I was in such a boring mood knowing I wouldn't see RJ until 9. I finally got over myself and realized that my man has to leave the house by 7 and not get home for 14 hours. His Wednesdays are just as no fun as mine! So I decided to make him a treat. He really likes blondies and my Sneaky Mommy friend had a recipe on her blog. I tried it. He smelled it as he walked in. I got a wink and a smile. It was well worth it. They were delicious! Here's the recipe. Thanks, Londa!!

Blonde Brownies
2/3 c. butter (softened)
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. chocolate chips (I like the mini-chips!)

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Spread into a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday already?

It's amazing how quickly time goes. One thing that's nice about blogging is that I keep track of what day it is. The date? That's a different story.

We took advantage of the somewhat nice weather yesterday and grilled for supper. I marinated chicken in a mix of orange juice, raspberry vinegarette, and an Asian seasame dressing. It didn't get enough time in the marinade, but it was yummy. I cut up some yellow potatoes and tossed them in some olive oil and a bunch of seasonings and roasted them in the oven. The meal screams summertime to me. I love making up different marinades and I really love using yellow or red potatoes because you don't have to peel them. Easy!

Here's a picture of our cute deck. It's a feature of our house that I really enjoy. It's kind of small, but just right for our little family.

I'm in a boring mood today so nothing fun to write about. Hope you are all having exciting days!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Fever

Like I've mentioned before, I love this time of year. I don't remember usually being so excited for spring. I like it, but I like fall and winter better...though my feelings toward winter are different after this year! I'm in the spring cleaning mode. Not as severe as some, but it sounds like a good idea to clean my windows and those sorts of things. With our company over the weekend we cleaned the house. We moved furniture and the whole sha-bang. RJ is great at encouraging me to keep it this way and helped me do the dishes after our company last night. He's definitely not the type to make the woman do all the work, thankgoodness! I'm also in the process of going through my closet, which is always a big challenge because I have clothes in there that I haven't worn in years and are 5 sizes too small yet hold on to them. Why? I've given 2 bags of clothes away to friends recently and have one more bag to go (get ready Alisa!!). It feels good to get rid of stuff we don't need. Especially stuff I didn't need in the first place.

Garage sale season is quickly approaching and I get so excited for it, but I know RJ gets a bit nervous for it. I get a little crazy and buy too much of that $.25 junk. We're going to set a dollar limit per month this season and it's already helped my mindset. Alisa wrote a great blog on finances and it got me all excited thinking of ways we could cut back. Depending on my mood, some days it's fun to think of it as a game. How cheap can we live? Now THAT should be a reality show. I know a lot of us would do awesome! But some days it's depressing and I think of all my wants. I hate that money has to be in the equation. We don't want it to control us, yet it's our means of buying goods so it's a constant on our minds because I could just walk to Dahl's to get groceries or save $20 and go to Wal-Mart, but then I'd have to drive my car and spend money on gas, and on, and on.

Did you hear about how Hilary "misspoke" about her trip to Bosnia? Politicians scare me. I don't care how "right-winged" or "christian" they claim to be. It just makes the whole system look ugly. What's scary is that the media will catch these lies every now and then, but what about the millions they miss? And besides, don't you think you'd remember correctly if you were being shot at as opposed to having a nice landing and having a little girl read a poem to you? I'm sure tomorrow they'll be on to something else, but this one was pretty funny!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Weekend

What a great weekend with family and then today celebrating our Risen Saviour. I was in the nursery this morning so didn't get to hear the message, but plan on listening to it online. I hear it was great. My special art project during the service went well and was more emotional than I had anticipated. I'm thankful that God used it in such a powerful way.
This is Henry's Easter outfit. I got it for $1.97 at JC Penney's and I got one for next year too. What a deal! It's such a strange tradition, but fun too. I always like seeing all the little kids on Easter Sunday to see their cute outfits. It's crazy to think that a year ago at Easter, Henry was just a few months old. It feels like yesterday and years ago at the same time.

Another great week ahead. The Charlton household is so full of joy right now. Of course we have our "moments" of naughtiness and crying (by Henry and me), and times I just might pull my hair out, but right now I'm so thankful for all our good and bad moments. Spring is such a refreshing time of year. It's good for the soul. It's so awesome to see the life come back to nature and to see the sun again after a long yet beautiful winter.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My dear friend, Alisa, has tagged me....I think...I'm new to this business. Did y'all know that Alisa was my roommate in college, introduced me to her cousin, and then was in our wedding? She's got an amazing blog and am amazing ability to write. I hope someday she writes a book and I'm sure you all agree.

Hold on tight kids. You're about to learn some cri-zay stuff.

6 Non-Important Things/Habits/Quirks About Myself:

1. I love the smell of plastic. We got a new shower curtain liner and I took an extra long shower this morning just to sniff it all in.

2. I was in drill team in high school. I wore head to toe spandex in front of hundreds of people. That is now my worst nightmare.

3. I have a slight obsession with numbers. I often times recite multiplication tables in my head when I'm trying to go to sleep or other random times. I especially enjoy the doing this with the number 12. I also like to make patterns with my feet when I walk and when I worked at Sticks and would wash my hands I would always pull 4 paper towels and count in my head every time. I've never told anyone this buy my husband. Please tell me you all do it too.

4. I get very anxious in big groups of people.

5. I hate grapefruit.

6. Although I haven't taken the time to do this much since Henry, but I used to pre-measure all my ingredients for cooking like they do on the tv and host my own cooking shows.

So, now that you all know how weird I am, let's hear a little something from Jenn!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Home Alone!

Henry is at a friend's house for the next 2 hours. This feels funny and very exciting all at once. What am I going to do??? Well, don't be too jealous because I have 1344 sq ft of house to clean. And I mean seriously clean.

Hope you're all having a fun Friday!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Haircut

I know a lot of little boys with adorable long, curly hair, and I love that! But Henry's was long and stuck out all crazy-like so we decided the time has come. I will miss mo-hawking it, but I should be able to again in a couple of weeks. It grows fast!
So, don't you think he looks more like RJ? Imagine if his hair were dark brown. Can you see it? Or is it just me?


Today is one of those days where I'm in a mood that's not so pleasant. The kind of mood where I could very easily say a lot of mean things and have to try hard not to. Like if I get someone calling me today for the umpteenth time about donating money to some cause I might get rude. I shouldn't be that tired. I only have 1 kid. This should be easy. Right? I'm such a wimp. I'm hoping this mood is a sign of something to come. Something that would show me my body is getting back on track. I hope so. Otherwise I might need to tape my mouth shut. Wow, that's a really dramatic paragraph!

Henry ate his weight in gold fish yesterday because we were out and about like crazy and it kept him happy. I rarely buy those things because he LOVES them and then that's all he wants to eat. I've also learned that I love them too. I brought back my dress and successfully found a new pair of dress pants. This is a good thing because I only have one other pair of nice pants and I wear them nearly every Sunday. I had this urge to get a couple of pairs. Thankfully I resisted. Sometimes those old shopping habits try to resurface. Well, they always try to resurface I just am a little better at resisting.

Henry is taking a nap and I need to get a project done for a lady by tomorrow. Once I get a couple of more projects done I'm going to do some projects for myself that I am really excited about. I'm repainting our dining room and redoing the wall decor for under $10. I got a gallon of paint at a garage sale for $2.50 and a big black frame for an art project at Hobby Lobby for $4. I'm also going to wall paper one wall with some ready-to-paint stuff. It looks like an old fashioned tin ceiling and I'll just paint it the same color as the walls. I bought it about 3 years ago with the idea to put it on our entertainment center but never did. So I don't remember how much that cost, but it's long been paid for so I'm not counting that. We are also considering sanding and refinishing our table and chairs...possibly with a black stain. Anyone tried that? Is it a horrible experience? I'm sure it will be a longer process but I think it would hold up better than just painting it, and a new table and chairs is no where in our future.

Okay, my mood already feels better. Wow, blogging really can be a good thing!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


No, I won't complain today about it being another Wednesday and how much I hate Wednesdays, because it's sunny out and Henry's taking a nap so that's always good.

My mom called me this morning and said she was on her way here with my sister and my nephew Sam on their way to an appt in Iowa City. So we met for lunch for about 1/2 hour and it was really nice. I hadn't seen them in a while and they all commented on how much bigger Henry seems. That feels good after a year of him being the skinniest kid in town. Sam's a funny little boy.
Supper was yummy, but we're struggling through a phase of Henry having horrible table manners. The whole time we're eating he is loudly whining or making other unusual noises, but not fun ones. We try to just ignore it and continue to talk over the madness. I hope it works soon or we'll have to figure out something else. Is this normal? He had a super early bedtime last night because the night before he was up a lot for some unknown reason and then took a horrible nap the next day. Each day is so different, isn't it?!
Dahl's is going to town on construction already. I can feel a little rumble as I sit here. I'm glad Henry uses a noise maker or naps would not happen for the next 6 months. This is going to be annoying.
Why did I buy an Easter dress (for only $5!!) when I knew I was going to be painting during the church service? What was I thinking? I practiced this morning and realized I'll have to use a step ladder. Dress is going back to Kohl's. Hopefully I can find an equally cheap pair of dress pants.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chicken Pot Pie

Here's a good, easy, recipe that is cooking in my oven as we speak. It's great for company and for new moms since there are no strong tastes. It's a little plain-jane, but delicious!

6 to 8 chicken breasts cooked and cubed (I used 3 big ones)
1 (10-12 oz) pkg frozen pea, carrot mix (I like corn and green beans in it too)
1 can cr of celery
1 can cr of chicken
1 cup chicken broth (this time I added about 1/3 cup since it usually is a bit runny)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp maggi liquid seasoning ( I had a hard time finding this and this is the only recipe I've ever used it for. I'm sure you could do without. I'm thinking it's a bit like liquid smoke?)
dash of hot pepper sauce (optional of course!)
2 unbaked 9 inch pastry shells. (by all the refrigerated biscuits. the box comes with 2 shells rolled up)
1 egg, beaten
2 tbls water

Combine chicken, veggies, and everything else. Spread in 1 pastry shell in a pie pan and cover with the 2nd pie shell. Crimp the edges to seal. Brush with egg mixture. Cut slits to vent steam.
Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Set the table during nap time and you're all set!:) My new favorite thing to do. Especially since it only takes a minute.

I love refrigerated pie crusts. It ends up looking so nice and fancy! Of course it doesn't beat homemade dough, but I save that for the holidays. I got generic brand this time and the dough seemed dry. Hopefully it still tastes good.

Have a great supper everyone!

Peter Marie

After saving old blog posts that I wanted to keep, I'm starting a fresh one, and it feels good. I don't mind people finding my blog through others blogs, but I just didn't like that is was all out there. I tried changing everything possible and ended up just deleting it. I know, I'm paranoid.

So, why Peter Marie, you ask? Well, it was a nickname of mine. My dad called me Peter because he used to sing the Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater song to me and my mom called me Marie because of an aunt Marie she had (no, it's not my middle name). They would then sometimes combine the two and call me Peter Marie. I like it. I've also decided that it will be the name of my children's art store someday.

Well, I'm off. Serious blogging will begin again later!


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