Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Naming this baby

The most common question that I get asked these days (after "is it a boy or girl?" to which I have no answer) is "Do you have a name picked out yet?" The answer, my friends, is no. We have read lots of lists of baby names, looked through old yearbooks, and even reworked the spellings of our own names (not really...although baby Nitsirk or baby Ttam do have a certain ring to them).

So, last night we asked Mason what we should name the baby. A couple of months ago his answer was 'Daddy'. When we asked him how we would tell the difference between the two 'Daddies' he said, "Silly mommy, our daddy will be big and the baby daddy will be small!" Quite the logic for a four year old. Apparently, he has changed his mind and would now like the baby to be named, 'Ninja Turtle'. And from this point forward, baby Lyman #3 shall now be referred to as 'Ninja Turtle'. And hopefully by the time little Ninja makes an appearance, we will have chosen something slightly more appropriate. All reasonable suggestions will be considered. (That means 'Simon' is a NO GO!)

Warning: There is no turning back!

I will warn you now. There is no turning back once you have tried these. The last tray is still in the oven and I have eaten at least 5 of these little numbers. This is, by far, the best peanut butter cookie recipe that I have tried. If you are not blessed with the gift of self control, stay far, far away from this recipe. Or, just bring the extras to me!

Peanut Butter Cookies
(recipe found via smitten kitchen)

The brilliance of these cookies is that they have include two different formats for peanuts–three if you use chunky peanut butter. They’re crisp on the outside, and almost cakey on the inside. Bake a batch and then hide the results in the furthest and most forgettable reaches of your kitchen. You’ll thank me later.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth)
¾ cup sugar plus ¼ cup, for sprinkling
½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup peanut butter chips
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crissscross pattern (I used the side of a knife to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. (Mine took exactly 11 minutes) Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Special thanks to Cydney for hosting a sewing night at her house tonight so that I had an excuse to make (and not consume every one of) these cookies!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Christmas 2007

After almost no deliberation, we decided that we would be staying in New Jersey for Christmas this year. Although it was hard to be away from family, we couldn't ask for better friends to have spent the holidays with.

On Christmas Eve, we went to the Peck's house to enjoy some of the best clam chowder this side of the Mississippi. At least that is what everyone who tasted it said! I am sure that it was delish, as everything that Candace makes usually is. Dinner was followed by some songs done on the chimes by the kids and a few Christmas stories. We were all home in time to get tucked into our beds to await a visit from Santa Claus.

We must have been good this year because Santa (and our families) brought us lots of goodies to open on Christmas morning. It was a blast to watch the boys open their gifts and be so genuinely happy about each and every one! Just as we were finishing up there was a knock at the door. And there was our mailman, here to deliver one more package! We felt bad that the poor guy was working on Christmas but opened our package to find thoughtful and generous gifts from Sam & Anya and their family.

There was just enough time to get showered and ready before we met up with the Player's and the Sherwood's and headed off to Washington's Crossing, PA to watch the re-inactment of General Washington leading the troops across the Delaware River. The night they crossed it was freezing and there were huge chunks of ice in the water. Many of the soldiers were wounded and all were tired. When you read about Washington crossing the Delaware it is widely believed that this was the turning point in the war. We were amazed to see how big the boats and oars were, and just how many men, horses and equipment that they rowed across the river on that cold Christmas night.This is 'General Washington' leading the troops to the boat house before the crossing.

Unfortunately, due to strong currents and wind, they didn't make it across this year. In the photo above you can see everyone waiting on the New Jersey side of the river, and the boat floating well past its mark. I am just glad it happened in 2007 and not in 1776!

Snowball Fight

Just after Thanksgiving (don't judge me, I have a lot going on right now :) we went to the New York Botanical Garden with some friends. They have an incredible train show during the holidays in which they have made replicas of some on New Yorks most famous structures out of all natural materials. Throughout the room there are trains going through along the exhibit and over the replicas of NY's bridges. It is truly amazing that they build all of these thing from plants, twigs etc., and everything is held together with tree sap and the like.

We just happened to go on one of the first snowy days of the season and thus did not have to fight the crowds. It was perfect. The kids had a great time and we ended the day with a snowball fight, just outside of the parking lot. A snowball fight is a lot more inviting when I know the car is being warmed up for me just a few feet away!

A good time had by all!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Here we go. I will take the next day or two to try to catch up of the 'neglected as of late' blog. Fortunately, we have been so busy doing fun things I haven't had much time to write about any of it!