Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fieldtrip to the Battleship USS Alabama

This month's Co-op fieldtrip was an adventure to Mobile to see the USS Alabama battleship and the USS Drum submarine. Since Hubby is a US Navy sailor, our family knows a thing or two about ships, but they were all young (or not born) the last time we toured a naval ship.

The USS Alabama is a decommissioned WWII battleship that was purchased with donations collected by Alabama school children in 1964 after they learned that the ship was to be scrapped. On January 9, 1965, the USS Alabama was opened to the public, and was later joined by the USS Drum on July 4, 1969.

The kids had a wonderful time. Some of the younger children were a bit hesitant to go down the first few ladder wells, but by the end of the tour, most of them were handling them like pros. My younger two, on the other hand, did not care for the ladder well at all, so I had to carry Jensen down all of the ladder wells, while Jolie walked down directly behind me so I could catch her if she fell.

It was fun to see how sailors lived during WWII. Many things were different about their "ship life," but there were many more that were very similar to way sailors live on ships today.

Here are a few photos from our adventure. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

King Arthur's Sour Cream Muffins

One of my favorite holiday gifts of 2009 was the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook that Hubby got me. We've sampled quite a few of the recipes, and have loved every one. Our favorite recipe thus far has been the Sour Cream Muffins.

Sour Cream Muffins

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen berries or diced stone fruits
Coarse sugar for sprinkling

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the bowl to ensure the butter is fully incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and sour cream and mix just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients on low speed and mix just until the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the fruit. Refrigerate the batter at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with papers. Scoop the batter by the 1/4-cupful into the prepared muffin pan. Bake the muffins until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 22 to 26 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

We have tried both chopped, frozen red raspberries and chopped, frozen strawberries as add-ins on different occasions. The photos above are the strawberry version. I also have substituted low fat yogurt for the sour cream on both occasions. I don't always have sour cream on hand, but usually do have plain yogurt and have found that the plain yogurt still gives a recipe a similar bite as the sour cream, but without all of the fat and calories.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Room For Everyone

This is the scene at our house most nights.

I'm not sure why we even have another bedroom for the kids. My vote is to buy a king size bed for the kids and the puppy, and turn the other bedroom into an office/guest room. Not really, but the thought does cross my mind from time to time.
Aren't they cute?

Monday, February 8, 2010

New Year, New Blog Layout

Out with the old, and in with the new.

I thought it was about time to give this old blog a bit of a face lift...and hopefully with the face lift will come some more frequent blogs.

I did some searching on how to create my own blog background and found that digital scrapbooking materials do the job well. I found several sites, but liked the materials offered at ShabbyPrincess the best. ShabbyPrincess has some great scrapbooking collections that they offer as free downloads for personal use (even for use on personal, NON-commercial, blogs - check out their Terms). PowerPoint 2007 worked wonders for creating my background and made saving it as a .jpeg a breeze (just be cautious because not all of the older versions of PowerPoint have that nifty ability). I uploaded the background .jpeg and header .jpeg to PhotoBucket (but, again, I'm sure another site, such as Picasa, would have worked as well). A little fiddling with Blogger and I was done.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

If you get a chance, jump on over and check out Jolie's new blog background. She, too, is hoping to get some new blogs posted in the near future. She has already begun writing a new story to post.