The Staff of Life….Family

My sister, a stay-at-home mom of 5, homeschooler, great wife, and all around good-gal, has had to go to work this summer. As happens with most of us at some time in our journey, they have hit a rough patch and she has stepped up to the plate to help. So, in addition to her many duties, she has begun a training program for a job that she will be able to do from home. She is now in the home stretch, and as her big sister, I am awfully proud!

While the job will be ‘do-able’ from home, the training requires ten weeks of intensive work and attendance on-site. She chose the night time learning sessions in order to be with the kids during the day. Her training schedule and her husband’s night time shift overlap on Monday nights…that’s the background for this story that I’m about to tell.

The kids have stayed with me on a couple of Monday nights and we have a blast. The older kids – 17 & 19 stay at home, but the “littles” (as we call them) ages 12, 10, and 8 have come to visit with me and my husband. We love having them around. Well behaved, bright and hilariously funny, these little guys have been such fun.

This Monday, I picked up the kiddies at my sister’s training site and we made a bee-line for the local YMCA, where we joined my son, daughter-in-law and precious grandson Coby at the little water park there on site. ┬áThe big kids (formerly known as the “littles” – but, now we have two-year old Coby, who has become “the little” I guess) had a blast playing on the water elements and sliding down the water slide about a million times. I had great fun, watching them play and bringing my lifeguard/swim instructor tricks out to teach baby Coby to kick his feet and blow bubbles in the pool. (Though I am his grandmother, may I just say how brilliant this child is? I’m sure that there is no prejudice involved!).

We then retired down the street to the MELLOW MUSHROOM – a fabulous, crazy little restaurant over by Texas Christian University. I think the owners must be throw-backs to the hippies of the 60’s. But (or should I say, “and”) the pizza is great.

I had picked up Legos and crafty supplies for the kids to work on that night. Since moving to downtown Fort Worth, Mack and I have not had a tv (now, keep in mind that we have 4 at the beach…so this is not a matter of not having access). We made a conscious decision to live without tv – at least for the summer months- here in the city. Lots to do and see, and we don’t need to be vegging in front of the tv. But, it does require a little planning when we have the kids over. MUCH more fun!!!

I mentioned to the 10-year old, Jessie, that I wanted to make bread. “I’ve wanted to make bread my whole life!” she exclaimed. She is totally the cutest kid – very serious, very focused, very….well, just very (example: last time she stayed, she pulled out her Bible and Bible wordsearch book and said, “I like to do this every morning.” What a great kid!).

So, Jessie and I tried a new recipe for wheat bread that I found on the internet. I’ll share it in a minute. We ended up making two pretty big loaves instead of the three that are called for by the recipe – since I only had two loaf pans. It was super simple and the bread is divine!

After we baked the bread, we wrapped it up in a cute package for Jessie to give to her mom, then we sliced a few slices and wrapped them up for my mom. Jessie loves to give presents, and this was a particularly fun one to make and give.

Jessie took the recipe home with her and she plans to make the bread weekly for her family. My mother LOVES the bread, and though she doesn’t eat much these days, she devoured the slices we took to her, and she has requested the recipe as well.

Mack is having a pb&j on homemade wheat for lunch and I think I’ll join him. This little bread-making project turned out to be more that just baking bread. Family, fun, connections….the staff of life!

Easy Wheat Bread

3 cups warm water

2 pkg. active dry yeast

1/3 cup honey

5 cups bread flour

3 Tablespoons butter

1/3 cup honey

1 Tablespoon salt

3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

2 Tablespoons butter

In large bowl, mix water, yeast, and 1/3 cup honey. Add 5 cups bread flour and stir to combine. Let set for about 30 minutes, until big and bubbly. Mix in 3 T. melted butter, 1/3 cup honey and salt. Stir in 2 cups wheat flour until not real sticky. It could take 2-4 more cups of flour as you knead. Place in buttered bowl and cover. Let rise in warm spot until doubled in size.

Punch down and divide into 3 loaf pans (I used 2 large loaf pans and it worked perfectly!) Let rise until dough has risen one inch over the top of the pan.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Do NOT over bake (I baked 30 minutes and it was perfect).

Brush lightly with butter (and I added more honey to the butter) so that the top will not get hard.








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