Halloween 2015

Sometimes when I’m driving, I forget which pedals belong to which function in the car.  I’ll be driving and have to slow down because I’m coming to a light and I completely blank on which is the clutch and which is the brake.  So far I’ve been correct and haven’t got in any accidents, but it’s kind of weird, right?  There is this moment of panic where I think, “Crap!  I don’t know how to drive a stick!  Why didn’t I buy an automatic?!”  Believe me, that’s a question I have long asked myself.  My next vehicle will be an automatic.  I think it’s important I know how to drive stick, and I want Ezra and Leo to know how to drive manual (though who knows, maybe by the time they are of driving age the cars will be fully automated…but then again, I would never buy a fully automated car, too much could go wrong), for now I would like an automatic.

Ezra is turning into quite the jokester lately.  At least, he’s trying.  He’ll say, “We’re going to see cousins, get it?!  GET IT?!” or “There’s a car over there, get it?!”  Hasn’t quite mastered the punch line.  Or formed a fully-fleshed joke.

Jesse made some elk jerky last week and it was AMAZING!

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He used Cabela’s pepper jerky kit and it was a great flavor of spicy and salty.  We went back to get more kits a few days ago and couldn’t find any that were just the pepper flavor, but there was a variety pack that had pepper, original, and teriyaki. Last night I cut down a huge roast to brine overnight and Jesse is smoking it today in our smoker.  I carved the slices differently than Jesse did the first time; these pieces are flatter/wider.  Who knows how it will turn out, it’s all a testing process right now.  I decided to use the Original flavor which I think will be very similar to the Pepper, minus the spice.

I also brined some chicken thighs overnight and Jesse will be smoking those tonight for dinner.  Mmm mmm!

I’ve been trying to bake more lately.  I’ve been watching The Great Britain Baking Show and I’m like, I can do that!  Or at least it’s been motivating me to try my hand at things.  I first attempted cinnamon rolls.

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While Ezra gave them his seal of approval, I was not sold.  They were very dense and hard.  I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t let the dough hook run long enough, or I didn’t let it rise enough the first time, or what the deal was.  I’m still trying to find a line between not enough kneading and too much kneading.

Then I heard about monkey bread and decided to try that the next day.  Some people stuff the dough balls with cream cheese (or cream cheese and a couple chocolate chips) but I just went straight dough.  They were great!  I let the machine knead it for longer, I did a little hand kneading as well, and I let the dough proof for longer.  I had to use two loaf pans because I don’t have a bundt pan, but I don’t think that was a detractor.  Next time I will make a syrup out of the butter/brown sugar mix that gets poured over the top because it was very grainy the way I did it, but other than that I don’t think I would change a thing.

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I taught mom how to do a Skype video chat.  She was pretty excited about it, got to see Ezra and the baby, it was almost like being here!  We are excited for her to visit around the middle of the month.

My company does a Halloween day every year, so Velvet brought Ezra and her girls and came to visit.  I had to work that day but was able to spend an hour roaming the floor with them.

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The next day was Halloween.  Ezra got to do some trick-or-treating with the Whitaker side of the family and then after I got off work I picked him up and took him over to Velvet’s where we did trick-or-treating with her girls.

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I think Ezra was pretty happy with his candy haul this year.

Now that Halloween is over, I’m going to see if I can get some straw bales at a cheap price.  Theoretically because a lot of folks by straw bales for decorating and then no longer need them, we should be able to get them at a fraction of the cost.  That’s the theory, anyway.  And I am pricing out the cost to get someone to grade/level our backyard.  Once it has been graded, we plan to put an EXTREMELY thick layer of straw in the backyard and let it compost over the winter.  In the spring we’ll rake it off of where we want to lay grass, and then maybe do some straw bale gardening on the garden side of the yard.  But first things first, we need to get the yard graded.