Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ten Years and Counting

The nice thing about getting married at Christmas is that we always have a babysitter on our anniversary. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

So how did we celebrate 10 years of marriage?

10 year anniversary10 year anniversary

With hot chocolate and books, of course! What a perfect man I married...

The rest of our big anniversary date was spent holed up for two and a half days in a hotel in Smyrna...sleeping off a cold we caught from our kids. But on the bright side, if I had to be sick, at least it was when I got to lay in bed for 48 hours without kids demanding my attention - even if it didn't make my 10-year anniversary super romantic.

There's always next year!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pink Is Not A Girl Color


A year ago around Rylan's 3rd birthday, we headed to Target to buy some boots. At that time, Rylan only ever wore boots (being fond of the easy on and off quality), and since he'd outgrown his last pair, my sister gave him some birthday money with the instructions to spend it on boots.

At Target, my car-obsessed, sword-loving, all-boy child stood between the display of red Spiderman boots and pink Disney Princess boots...and went for the pink. As Rylan, with the beautiful naivete of a three-year-old, hugged the pink boots to his chest, his brothers began to snicker, and I turned on them with a warning look: "If Rylan wants the princess boots, he can get the princess boots, and you are not going to say a word."

A few Sundays later, Rylan somehow convinced Michael to let him wear the princess boots to church. That day, at least ten people came up to me and said, "What's up with Rylan's boots?" I recounted the story with a shrug and a laugh, ignoring the silent judging looks on their faces that said, "I would never..."

But the reaction at church among friends was nothing compared to the looks we got from strangers. Every time Rylan wore those boots out in public, someone would comment on my "daughter." The kid would be wearing a navy blue coat, navy blue hat, and navy blue mittens, but because he had pink boots on his feet...must be a girl.

Eventually, Rylan picked up on the social stigma against boys and pink. I don't know if people made comments to his face or if he simply noticed on his own, but one day he came to me and announced that he wanted to give his princess boots away. To his friend, a girl, whose favorite color is pink.

Today at lunch, Rylan said to me, "Dora wears pink. That must mean she likes pink."

I said, "That's probably true. Do you like pink?"

He answered emphatically, "No." And then his face grew thoughtful for a second, and he added a little hesitantly, "I mean, I like pink, but I don't wear it. It's okay for boys to like pink because it's a pretty color, but it's not okay to wear it. That's what my teacher told me."

I responded with a heavy sigh, sad that other people and their pointless prejudices talked my little boy out of something he enjoyed.

When I bought those pink boots, I wasn't trying to make a statement about stereotypes or to teach my children some sort of feminist lesson. I was simply trying to let Rylan be Rylan - to let him like what he wants to like regardless of what other people say he should like. That's a quality I hope my kids have throughout their lives, a confidence I want to develop in them.

But the experience has made me think a lot about boys and girls and colors and stereotypes and nature versus nurture. I've told my boys thousands of times, "There are no such things as girl colors. There are no such things as girl shows. There are no such things as girl toys." I've protected my boys from many of those stereotypes as long as I could, but the truth is that despite my feminist mantras, there are lines that I would not let my boys cross.

I believe that boys and girls, men and women, are different. Physically different, obviously, but different in other ways as well. But how much of those differences are nature and how much are nurture, I do not know. And which ones we should hold on to and which ones we should fight to get rid of, I do not know either. But this I do believe:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is It Too Late for Christmas Photos?

Every year without fail, I hear people talking about slowing down the holiday season, cutting back on activities, or letting go of traditions. That is not the type of Christmas I want. December is the busiest time of year for the Peters Family Band, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The parties, the presents, the music, the lights, the time with family, the constant mindfulness of the Savior and his birth...Thanks to Christmas, I barely notice the cold, grey, wintry days of December until the longest night of the year has already passed.

(If only there were a second Christmas to get me through February....)

Christmas 2011

ward Christmas party ward Christmas party

I don't want to be awake yet...but I'll pretend like I'm happy to be here.

ward Christmas party ward Christmas party

Rylan the Shepherd. Cole the very happy Wiseman.

ward Christmas party

Letters to Santa

Christmas Christmas

Santa Presents


And more presents...

Christmas 2011Christmas 2011Christmas 2011Christmas 2011

Seeing the lights at Opryland Hotel

Christmas Christmas

A lesson on baptism in honor of our little eight-year-old

playing a game

Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Everything I Know About Making Yogurt

(Because Lindsey asked...)


An Introduction
I've been making my own yogurt for about five years now. I make a quart or two pretty much every week, and I estimate that we've saved at least $500. Depending on what kind of milk/yogurt you buy, your savings may vary.

I only do DIY cooking things that don't require a lot of effort. I've tried making my own tortillas and pasta, but I'm lazy and ten billion times prefer the convenience of pasta from a box and tortillas from a bag. Making yogurt is like making bread or using dried beans - they require
time but not a lot of hands on effort.

I have
this yogurt maker. I bought it five years ago for something like $30 bucks, and as I said, it has saved us a ton of money. A yogurt maker is not necessary for making yogurt, but I like having one.

I always use whole milk because I find that it makes thicker, better tasting yogurt. If you're concerned about fat content, you can add some powdered milk to skim milk to thicken it up.

The Process

1:: The cost of homemade yogurt is roughly 1/4 the cost of a gallon of milk, so if you buy a $3 gallon of whole milk, a quart of yogurt would be $0.75.

2:: You need a starter. The easiest way to get a start is by buying a container of unflavored yogurt from the grocery store with the words "live active cultures" on the package. Once you start making your own yogurt, your starter will come from the previous batch of yogurt.

3:: Heat a quart of milk to 185 degrees to kill any unwanted bacteria. I do this in the microwave, but beware - if you don't keep an eye on it, the milk might overflow, and that's a super annoying mess to clean up.

4:: Cool the milk down to between 115 and 120 degrees. I do this by putting the quart of milk in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

5:: Stir in the starter - 2 Tbsp to 1/4 cup unflavored yogurt.

6:: Keep your yogurt at a temperature of 115 to 120 degrees anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, depending on how tangy you like it. You can incubate it in a yogurt maker (the foolproof method I prefer), in an oven with the pilot light on, in a thermos, or in a crockpot. Any method will work as long as the temperature stays constant.

7:: Save 2 Tbsp. of yogurt to use for your next starter. I find that it's best to make yogurt weekly or my starter loses its strength, but otherwise, you can use your own yogurt starter almost indefinitely.

What to Do with All That Yogurt

:: Mix it with fruit.

:: Mix it with jam.

:: Make smoothies.

:: Plop it on your granola.

:: Substitute for buttermilk.

:: Substitute for cream in ice cream recipes to make frozen yogurt.

:: Substitute for sour cream.

:: Make yogurt cheese and use as a substitute for cream cheese.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Music Lessons: Manchester Orchestra

If I were to draw a venn diagram of mine and Michael's musical tastes, the intersecting section would be relatively sparse. But when it comes to Manchester Orchestra, we both agree: this band rocks.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Christmas 2011

I can't seem to get caught up on this blogging business.
I spent all of last week trying to get back into the groove after Christmas vacation, and I'm still struggling a bit. Yesterday, I went almost the whole day before it occurred to me, "Oh, man, Monday is bread-baking day." Which meant I was baking bread at 9:00 at night. Not to mention that I've had a pot of beans soaking for 24 hours - every time I remember that I need to drain and cook them, I have a moment of temporary amnesia and forget all about them five minutes later.

But on a positive note, I decided spontaneously to apply for an awesome job and spent "rest time" during the past two days updating my resume and composing a cover letter. So if nothing else comes of it, at least I now have an updated resume.

Also, I signed up to run the Krispy Kreme Challenge in February with one of my sisters because I'm stupid. I started "running" about six months ago and have been doing about 2.25 miles two or three mornings a week. I have not yet run a whole 5K, and every time Michael asks me how my morning run went, my answer is, "I hate running." I'm sure that adding a dozen donuts to an activity that already makes me feel like throwing up is the best idea I've ever had. Right?

Speaking of busy, did y'all know Christmas was two weeks ago? Yeah, our tree is still up. And every evening, I still plug in the lights on the front porch. It's winter. I deserve a little sparkle in my life.

However. I think Mother Nature decided to take a little vacation this year and has forgotten that it's supposed to be winter. I have mixed feelings about this. Me and winter don't get along too well, so bright, sunny, 68 degree weather in January pleases my SAD side. I'm just not looking forward to the 80 degrees in February.

On the other hand, I harvested some more spinach from my garden just yesterday, so that kind of rocks.

And...that right there is what you call stream of consciousness.

You're welcome.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Rylan Says...

A long time ago, you and Daddy got married and bought a house, and then Cole popped out of your tummy. But your tummy was still fat because me and Eli were still in there.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Deep Thoughts

Inspired by this:


We did this:






Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hello, Friends...It's Been Awhile

Christmas card 2012

The boys designed our Christmas cards for the third year in a row, and I was pretty impressed with the results. They may not be your normal Christmas cards, but I say normal is overrated and hopefully we brightened a few grandparents' days.

And here's 2011 in review:

Michael Ryan

Erin Nicole

Nicolus Talmage

  • Started second grade.
  • Won the first grade spelling bee and competed in the school wide bee.
  • Spent a week alone with Grammy and Gramps. My family came a week later.
  • Beat everyone at Pokemon.
  • Turned eight and started Cub Scouts. Will be baptized...eventually. (This is a long story. We don't want to talk about it.)
Elijah Hawking
  • Started first grade.
  • Had a picture that I drew put on display at the state fair. It was a self-portrait.
  • Learned to ride a bike without training wheels on my first try.
  • Went camping twice. I fell into the water in the river.
  • Went to Raleigh's annual BugFest. I went in the caterpillar bouncy house and ate cricket cookies. I didn't like them.

Rylan Jack

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...