I found a great bread recipe that makes a light, fluffy bread with a nice crusty outside. Got the recipe here, but cooked it in the dutch oven 25 mins with the lid on, then 13 mins with it off. It can also be made with a simple cookies sheet and a bowl to go over it. They key is to keep in some steam; that's how the crust forms. It's really fool-proof, no kneading and very forgiving.
I used this one night to eat with soup (and the leftovers made AMAZING PBJs the next afternoon) and another night to make open faced pulled pork sandwiches. They were amazing. Cooked a Boston butt in the crockpot overnight, shredded it, then put it back in with some white vinegar, apple juice, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, parsley- trying to combine a couple of recipes for east NC BBQ sauce. I made this pudding to go along. Unfortunately, I didn't cook the pudding long enough, so it never set thick. Most recipes said it took 15 mins, I cooked it 20, so it must have needed more! It was still super delicious as watery pudding. And a graham cracker crust instead of nilla wafers was great because it kept its crunch. And it's just so darn pretty with that meringue!
In other news, I've become more interested in preparedness in the last couple of weeks. I've been storing tons more food- which hasn't been too tough, since there have been a lot of good couponing deals lately. I just started rinsing our empty milk and juice containers and using them to hold water. Storage space- or rather, lack thereof- is my biggest problem. Soon enough, we'll be one of those oddball families with bits of food storage tucked away in all kinds of weird places- under the beds, behind the couch, covered in a doily to form an end table. This weekend, we checked off a big item on our preparedness list and got a gun. It's a shotgun that we got from Marty, who took us out and taught us (mostly me) how it works. I had never shot a gun before, so it was a little scary. But I feel a lot safer knowing that we are so much more capable of preparing ourselves. Until a few weeks ago, I was never really interested in owning a gun, but as I started thinking of the real possibility of major disasters and other emergencies, I realized that in such scenarios society will break down pretty quickly and if you are prepared when others aren't, you become a target. So I am now a gun owner. Weird.
At the shooting range, Micah had pretty good aim. As for me.... I was glad to hit the paper a few times :) The kickback wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but my dread made me tense up and psyche myself out. So, I was very rigid and not that good.
After shooting, we hung out at Micah's parents' and watched Batman Begins, since we watched the Dark Knight Rises together last week and I was really confused, being fuzzy remembering a lot of the details of the first movie. Amazingly, Natalie stayed awake the whole movie, until 10:00, and slept the whole night until 7am! Woohooo! Though she has made up for it by waking up every few hours both nights since. Errr. That little punk.
Natalie is getting very toddler-like. She gets into everything she can- the dishwasher, anything sitting on the edge of the table or counter, the garbage, the dirty clothes. And she has totally figured out the tantrum thing. When we stop her from doing something that she wants, she dissolves into total crying hysteria. Sometimes, we can't keep from bursting out laughing because it's just so overly dramatic. In church, if we try to hold her on our laps, she shrieks and writhes until she gets down. When you pick her up to take her away from something, she goes limp and tries to slide our of your hands. Taking anything away from her warrants screaming tears. And boy, oh boy, can she turn on those tears! And she's more determined than ever before. I'm trying to teach her that she doesn't need to be held all the time. One morning, she followed me around for an hour screaming and hanging on my legs, before she gave up and found something else to do. She wants to try climbing onto everything and has fallen a couple of times. A few mornings ago, she called 911 on Micah's cell phone and if she can get Micah's laptop open, she likes to open it flat and sit on it. As I type, she is whacking the long, skinny vacuum attachment against the wall.
In other news, we have a new foster. His name is Maddox and he is an 11 year old shih tzu mix. As a senior dog, he may not be adopted for a long time. But shih tzus are in high demand, so we'll see. He's very chill and relaxed and just generally easy. He was just surrendered by his family (they were losing their house and couldn't keep him) 2 weeks ago, so he is houstrained and has good manners- WAY easier than our last foster.
Side note- Natalie has recently decided that books are awesome for looking at and she doesn't try to chew apart the spines quite as much. Yay! Now back to Maddox:
Natalie thinks he's awesome and is always loving on him. I am constantly telling her "soft" because she pats him a little too hard, and I'm pretty sure she tries to say "soft" now when she is petting him and I am watching her. He doesn't seem to mind it though. He's so easy-going. He just lets Natalie do whatever, without growling or running away. She loves to give him hugs. It's so sweet.