Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't forget to have fun...

It's so easy to get caught up in what "should", "could" and "needs to be done that life's simple pleasures and enjoyments quickly get replaced with rules, regulations and schedules. I recently reached a breaking point of which i had been before but with hopes i would not have to return. Well i found myself there again. This happens about every 3 months for me. I'll be sailing along, smooth, tucking daily aggravations, annoyances and heavy loads and tucking them behind where i can't see when... "BAHM"! I have reached a place where i just can't take it anymore! I felt guilty about needing a break and confused on weather i am aloud to have one or not? We are taught in Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Based on that i thought we are supposed to never leave our kids alone. Well the Lord has come to teach me, through my husbands wisdom, that I was a bit silly in my thinking.
Being a military spouse we don't have the luxury of leaving our children with our parents or siblings when we want to run to the post office or downtown for that great sale. Nope, they are at our side or on our hips at places where normally kids aren't seen. (Like on my lap at my dentist appt.) Most of us have come accustomed to a life of being with our kids 24/7. Of course, for me and most, this is a great joy which i would never give up as long as my husband allowed. But when do we get a time for ourselves to unwind, to be refreshed and renewed to continue our sacrifice with a joyful smile and happy heart? Breaks are much needed and well deserved in the military community.
What i couldn't get out of my head was the statement in Titus, for mothers to be the keepers of the home. Does that mean we can't leave the home? Of course not! But we are admonished to be careful in doing so especially when our children are involved. We are to be "Chaste" which is to be extremely cautious and observed with the actions we choose to make. Can you make an honest decision in knowing your child will be unharmed and undefiled where you lave them? That is a decision God has left in our hands, as mothers, and protectors over our little ones. The choice is yours.

My husband has since allowed me to have a few hours a week to myself that will hopefully leave me ready and willing to be a better wife and mother than the week before.

While going through this rough patch, Teri from, enlightened with the fact that not everything has to be perfect at home all the time. We burn ourselves trying to give our kids a happy home by keeping them clean, the house cleaned and meals on the table we forget that kids just want to be silly and have fun. As long as we are misers about how the house and kids look (i am guilty to) we really aren't going to give them as joyful as a childhood and home life as we may expect. So i tried to put all those worries behind me and just learn to loosen up and have FuN!!!

So this is how our FuN day went yesterday! We started our walk at about 8am down towards the marina (about 2 blocks from our house). Abigail calls it "beacon beacon roach". Although we live on Beacon Beach Rd she hasn't figured out the difference between the road our house is on and were we often spend family time at the water, the Marina. So cute!! We walked all the way to the water on a winding boardwalk through a somewhat wooded wildlife area. On our way back we saw 2 turtles that we helped cross the road. I asked Abigail all about them and she didn't disappoint me with stories of where they were headed and what they were doing! Then we were off to the dock to feed the fish where we were pleasantly surprised with a dolphin sighting! The end of our 3 mile walk was at the park around the corner from our house. When we got home i made, one of her favs, scrambled eggs with cheese. Then we all got into the bath John, Abigail and I and swam...well the tub for a while. When Dan got home we headed out to root for him at his softball game where Abigail quickly became the official cheerleader. I never realized having a good time with my kids and watching them really enjoy themselves could feel like such a great accomplishment. I look forward to more joyful days with the loves of my life!

While we are having all this fun enjoying our families we can't forgot to let our taste buds have some fun as well. This recipe for cinnamon buns is absolutely out of this world. Want to give your family a fun surprise to start the day? Make them these! You won't regret it. The best part about making this recipe is that the dough can be mixed and the rolls filled, shaped, and frozen long before use. The night before I need to bake them, I take them out of the freezer to thaw and use. When I awake in the morning, I just bake. So easy to make and so rewarding.

Ultimate Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional)*
3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Cinnamon Filling
1/2 cup butter, softened1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
In a bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon well; stir in chopped nuts (optional). NOTE: I like to sift the brown sugar and cinnamon together to remove any lumps.

Butter Frosting
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon lemon extract or oil (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon extract or oil until well mixed and creamy. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use and then bring to room temperature before spreading.

1.Bread Machine: Add all the ingredients, except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting, in the bread pan of bread machine. Process according to manufacturer's instructions for a dough setting. When the bread machine has completed the dough cycle, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface. (I use a nonstick cooking spray). Form dough into an oval, cover with a plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
NOTE: Check the dough (don't be afraid to open the lid). It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can't judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.

Stand up Mixer: In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5 quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Food Processor Method: Put dry mixture in processing bowl with steel blade. While motor is running, add liquid ingredients, butter, and egg. Process until mixed. Continue processing, adding remaining flour until dough forms a soft ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

2.Butter a 9x13x2-inch baking pan; set aside.

3.After dough has rested, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15x24-inch rectangle

4.Brush the softened butter from the Cinnamon Filling (see below) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough.

5.Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake.

6.With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a sharp knife (I like to use a serrated knife and saw very gently) or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.

Refrigerating or Freezing Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls:

At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I've actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for 1 month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.

If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I've done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking.

Bake Immediately After Making:
Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. for regular oven or 325 degrees F. for a convection oven.
Bake in a convection oven approximately 15 to 20 minutes until they are a light golden brown.
Baked in a regular oven approximately 20 to 25 minutes in regular oven until they are light, golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Butter Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Serve warm.

Yields 15 cinnamon rolls.

Storage of cinnamon rolls:
After baking them and letting them cool, cover completely with plastic wrap and store on your counter, not the refrigerator.
You could also freeze them for longer storage. Just be sure and wrap securely with more than one layer. Like a layer of plastic wrap and then put them in a resealable plastic bag.


Teri's Treasures said...

Sarah! I can not tell you how delish those look! I saw the picture and gasped out loud! They look amazing and maybe I will make them when my MIL is around for a special breakfast! Wow... this is the best food post EVER! shhhh dont tell anyone else! :)

Anonymous said...

The rolls do look great! We will definitely try them! I also appreciate hearing that others have similar struggles at times and how they are dealt with. It's nice to know that we don't have to be alone but can be inspred and uplifted by each other. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

MonsterBug Blankets said...

mmmmmm--they look so yummy! And thank you for your words of wisdom. I've been realizing this wk that I need to have fun with the kids, too! :)

MonsterBug Blankets

Landra Lynn said...

Sarah... this looks so good! I'm saving this!