22 August 2010

Making Ciabatta

Jason and I are very much into watching America's Test Kitchen and reading Cook's Illustrated. They have great recipes and take the time to get the right flavor, etc. with what they make. We were looking through some of their "best" issues last night and I came across a recipe for Ciabatta. Jason remarked that he had watched that episode and said that would be a good recipe to try. I looked at the ingredient list and checked the cabinets and said,"want me to make this tomorrow?" Of course he said yes!

I looked at the directions and noticed that the first part, making a "sponge," needed to rise for 8-24 hours. So I started making that last night:

This morning, after DJP and I woke up (guess who woke who up first?!), I continued with the recipe. I was excited that not only could I use my mixer, but that I could use the dough hook (a first)! After the mixer kneaded the dough and I got it into a bowl, I let the dough rise. And rise. And rise again. Then the dough needed to be shaped into loaves and left to rest and rise once more.
Finally, the loaves went into the oven to bake. Once they were nice and golden brown, they had to cool for about an hour (someone whose name shall not be mentioned was antsy about the length of time he had to wait...) The time passed and the bread was sliced and was decided by Jason to be excellent: (which means that I can make that particular recipe again...and again...and again...)

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa P

Once we arrived at Grandma and Grandpa P's house, DJP decided that he wanted to watch some TV. So he lounged on the comfy couch and took it all in. That was a good idea on his part since he didn't realize what a whirlwind time it would be visiting with Grandma and Grandpa!

First, we had dinner with the local aunts and uncles (there are no pictures because none of us thought to take any...next time!) which resulted in a later than normal bedtime. DJP took it all in stride that night...

Then we went to visit two family friends-one in a nursing home and the other at home recovering from hip surgery. Elyce, pictured here with Grandpa and DJP, wanted to know when he was going to come and stay with her and paint the town. DJP just took it all in-smiling and giggling! While we were there, he did sit all on his own-granted he was doing the tripod thing-leaning over with his hands between his feet. He's not really done that again-keeps tipping over!

Of course with all the excitement nap time was a bit disrupted and short but fun comes first, right?! In all the excitement DJP got dinner on his outfit, so Grandpa decided to change him into this:
which if you've been paying careful attention to photos is the same tie-dyed t-shirts the boys in SC had on (because SGW is the one who made them)! Of course, I had to send this picture (by text of course) to my SIL to share with the boys.

Then Jason and I got a date night in-we went to see The Girl Who Played With Fire at the Tampa Theatre. I love going there-the Wurlitzer organ still comes up onto the stage from below and the ladies' room is the ladies' "parlor." The ceiling even has little lights in it to make it look like there are stars. We also had dinner at one of my favorite places, Too Jays, a deli-like sit-down restaurant. It was yummy (as usual)!

We also got to see a Rays game-they were playing the Orioles as luck would have it! This was the first time we left DJP with someone other than ourselves or grandparents. He was in capable hands with Kim, a former student/protegee of Grandma P's. There were no problems and we had...ugh...I mean, I had a great time...everyone else suffered through it since the Orioles won and the Rays lost. (Go O's! Does Buck Showalter have fairydust in his pockets that he sprinkles over the players or what?!?!?)

The last part of our visit with Grandma and Grandpa P was to head north to Crystal River to visit with Great Grandma and the aunts and uncles that live there. Great Grandma had a wonderful time with DJP:

as did Aunt Janet and Uncle Dan. We also got to visit with Aunt Kay and Uncle Greg since Aunt Kay finished her special project for DJP-a quilt. In the family, Aunt Kay is THE quilt maker and makes them for the little ones. DJP is on his baseball themed quilt-even with O's and Ray's embroidered players!

It was great to see everyone and after all the fun and excitement and a great breakfast (Thanks, Great Grandma!) we headed home to MD.

21 August 2010

Visiting Nina and Papa

After saying one last goodbye to the cousins, we got DJP back into the car and headed to Florida. On our way, we stopped at Zaxby's, a fast-food chicken restaurant that would give Chik-fil-a a run for its money. As was typical of this trip, DJP got lots of attention from everyone. It amazes me how total strangers will strike up conversations when there's a baby around-especially the bright eyed and curious DJP!

We finally arrived at Nina and Papa's house, where some rooms were empty because they had packed most of the house and moved it to SC for the new house and were getting ready to settle on the FL house a few days after we would leave. It was bittersweet for Jason since he has a lot of memories there from college and lots of his favorite places are nearby.

We had dinner at Gigi's, Jason's favorite pizza place. They have the best thin crust pizza and little pepperoni. YUM!

We watched the Rays play on TV since they wouldn't be at the Trop until later in our trip.

We visited Jason's alma mater, Eckerd College, which also happens to be where his mom and his dad went to college. It's a bit ironic that I also wanted to go there (and recently found out that another college friend of mine had looked there as well!) and could have met Jason 10 years earlier!

We also had a chance to visit with some extended family. It was fun to watch M & M interact with DJP.

As well as DJP taking to Aunt Moon so well. We thought we'd have to bring her home with us-she didn't want to let him go!

DJP had a few firsts while we were at Nina and Papa's house too. He had his first meal in a high chair. He didn't seem to mind it at all, which was nice and easier for us to clean up!
And DJP had his first bathroom sink bath:
We also visited Selmon's (Leroy Selmon's restaurant, former TB Buccaneer) and the P. Buckley Moss art gallery, where Nina purchased a print, College Baseball Dreams, for DJP to celebrate his birth. Jason actually got to meet P. Buckley Moss, since we had to take a detour back to the gallery the next day. She will sign the glass of the frame for DJP.

We had a great visit with Nina and Papa and can't wait to see them when they come here at Christmas time.

Next stop: Grandma & Grandpa P's

20 August 2010

Our Visit to SC

Our first stop was to visit DJP's cousins in Clinton, SC. (Yes, this tiny town has it's own website!) We arrived later in the day then we had originally expected since we bypassed Interstate 95 (to avoid the DC/Northern VA traffic) to take a more scenic route and we had to stop more to let DJP out of his car seat, etc.

Once we arrived at Megan and Stan's (Jason's sister and BIL) house, the boys were excited to see us and LKW was just taking it all in. We also were able to have dinner with Jason and Megan's cousin, Joel and his wife, Mariah who happen to be in Spartanburg, SC for Mariah's job. It was nice to see everyone and spend time catching up and just relaxing.

Jason's mom and step dad are moving to Clinton and have already purchased a home, moved some things from FL and have the house set up to live in so we stayed there instead of a hotel. The house is a few blocks away from Megan and close to the elementary school where the boys and eventually LKW will go to school.

We also got to visit the center of town which includes a McDonald's, train tracks (that divide the town) and some other businesses. We ate lunch at Steamers, a restaurant that is mainly open for lunch but has branched out to be open for dinner one or two nights a week. We also passed by Presbyterian College and Thornwell Home for Children.

It's definitely a small town where everyone knows your business (someone walking their dog one night stopped to chat with my SIL and asked how she was feeling after her mouth surgey) and there aren't the creature comforts like Target, Walmart and malls close by.

Next post: Arriving at Nina & Papa's

18 August 2010

5 Months Old

From this:

To this:
DJP is 5 months old today! I cannot believe it's been that long and how much he has changed.

He is still teething with possible signs of teeth starting. Stuck my finger in his mouth to apply some orajel and there were bumps instead of smoothness on his gums. An the amount of drool has increased yet again, if that's even possible. (Still looking for a viable use for all this drool...)

DJP has rolled over from his back to his tummy however neither Jason nor I have seen this actually happen (he's done this at some point during the night/morning before we've gotten him and also on Grandpa P's bed but we think he cheated...)

He loves butternut squash-finishes the entire jar in one sitting! Definitely did not like peas (me either kiddo!) and is okay with green beans. Jason and I were wondering if DJP remembers the taste of butternut squash from last Christmas when Grandma P made butternut squash soup and mommy tried some?!?! Next up is either carrots or sweet potatoes.

DJP continues to smile easily (even when extremely tired like he was today since he'd only taken a total of an hour's nap all day), still not always sleeping through the night (dr. says 8 hours at a time...Jason and I laugh...it's about 5 if we're lucky! Kiddo wakes up with a hefty diaper and starving!) and is loving his exersaucer. He definitely likes the part where he throws toys on the floor and mommy picks them up (ha ha...that doesn't last long!)

17 August 2010

We're back!

We have returned home from our looooooooooooooooong vacation (2 weeks) to SC and FL. I think DJP's way of expressing the last hour was perfect-he cried/screamed and was just inconsolable. I told him, "Kiddo, Mommy feels the same way but she's not crying!" That's what happens when we've been stuck in the car for 10 hours...

We're happy to be home and able to sleep in our own beds since we had the opportunity to use 5 (yes, five) different beds on this trip. Last night, Jason said, "Just sit here a minute and enjoy the fact that this is our bed." I just laid down and sighed. Yes, it is our bed and went to sleep.

04 August 2010


When Jason lived in Raleigh, one of the places he would stop at on his trip home from Elon was Cook-Out which has burgers, hotdogs, fries, onion rings, hush puppies, and milkshakes. We were looking for somewhere to stop for awhile to get DJP out of his carseat when Jason saw a sign for Cook-out. Off the interstate we went. We found Cook-Out but there was a surprise. All the Cook-Outs that we had seen were only drive thrus-this one was a sit-down place. So we went in, had some burgers, fries and hush puppies along with some Cajun seasoning. Yum!

03 August 2010

What we saw on our trip south

Unfortunately there is no photographic evidence of what we saw due to the fact that pictures taken at high speeds in a car with an iPhone would just be a blur.

First, traffic came to a standstill on 81 due to 'blasting.' The construction crews were out in force and needed to use some old fashioned methods to clear dirt and rock. We did not see nor feel anything except dirt and trees being moved. This was okay by us since DJP was sleeping.

Once traffic got rolling again and a half hour later we pass the Extreme Makeover Home Edition tour bus. A bit ironic since they were filming a few weeks ago in Baltimore while working on a girls' home (one of my cousins went to help out).

Another vehicular sighting was a semi-truck decorated as a Tootsie Roll! I haven't seen that in a long time. Makes me want to go buy a Tootsie Roll...don't think my teeth can handle that now with all the dental work.
All in all, the ride so far has been uneventful.