Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

The Robertson Family 2013

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Christmas Card 1

My sister-in-law Brittany took these photos of us on the beach of the Pacific Ocean.  
You did a fabulous job Brittany!  Thanks!
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Lee and Ruth

Check out our upcoming family happenings at

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Southern Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving we headed south to Mississippi.  My parents recently returned home from their mission and several of us siblings were going to surprise them with a visit at Thanksgiving.  One of my sisters recently had her first baby (YAY!!), but had to have it early so my parents went to help her.  Some of us still got together anyway.  Three sisters and one brother...not bad.  4/10ths of the kids together! And what is funny is that there were 30 of us.  Eight adults and twenty-two kids.  We wouldn't have it any other way!

Lee got off work at 5:00 Wednesday night and we left about 6:00pm.  I LOVE leaving on time for trips.  (I should be better about day to day things!) If we leave about 5 minutes late, I'm okay.  Over 5 minutes I get irritated. Which of course is my own fault.  We were a whole HOUR late this time around.  Oh well. I am sure it didn't help that I took the kids shopping in Harrisonburg that afternoon so they could buy presents.  We also went to the library and a couple other places.  It actually was probably better that we left later.  We drove all night to Lena's and arrived a little before 7:30am on Thanksgiving Day.  No point in arriving before 7am right?! 

Some of the cute nieces!
Nov 28 2013 Thanksgiving at the Ereksons

One of my FAVORITE things to do is look at the ads on Thanksgiving. Yes, I had already looked at a lot of them online, but it's so fun holding and looking at the actual ad.
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Right before the big feast Deb gave the kids gum balls, which I think was a great idea.  They had something to chew while they waited the last few minutes before lunch.  Ethan and Cal had some other ideas with their gum...
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Big bubble Rebecca! Oh and see that oh so delicious pan of twice-baked potatoes?  I think that is one of my favorite things to eat at Thanksgiving.  And super delicious for breakfast the next morning!  YUM! Thanks Deb!
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My adorable Alyssa.
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Right before eating time!
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Lee with Lena's darling baby Lillie.  She is SO CUTE!  I loved holding her and giving her LOTS of kisses. She has such great smiles and is so pretty.  I am sort of (not really) getting a taste of what it will be like to have grandkids someday.  I get to hold them, snuggle with them, kiss them, and give them back to their parents. 
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I love the plates Deb brought for the feast.  They were super cute.
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Every year popcorn kernels are placed on the plates and we go around and tell what we are thankful for. 
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Yo Darrell.
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After Thanksgiving Dinner was the "race".  Every year we have a running race.  Whoever wins gets a whole pie to themselves.  We went to the Military Park that is near Lena's house.  It was a great place for the kids to around.  We all went on at least a two mile walk/run!
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Lena has a dog, and Deb brought their dog.  Shanna, Haley and Elden loved taking them outside and going on walks with them.  Glad they can help out with pets sometimes.  Most of you may know that I am not a pet person. I did have a hamster growing up, and we had a family dog for several years. I think being in homes on my mission where the animal "smell" and hair were overwhelming turned me off to owing a pet. Lee is in agreement with me so it's all good. Give me a cute little dog that doesn't bark, doesn't eat, doesn't go to the bathroom, and doesn't need to see a vet and I will take it!  (Lee said we do have those...stuffed animals, ha ha.)
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Shanna with Sally, Haley with Boomer.
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Thomas--the boy in the red shirt--won the race. He picked out a pumpkin pie and ATE THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SITTING!!!
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Elden is perfecting quite the poses!
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At the military park is a type of herb garden.  Some cotton plants are growing there too.
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Deb brought these cute flower clips for the girls to wear.  They loved them.
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I didn't go shopping that night, but I wanted to!  Lee and I were going to go with Paul after the kids were asleep. About 9pm, I was so wiped out that we decided to go to sleep.  It was probably from driving all night. Deb, Stacie, Paul and I went shopping the next morning.  We stopped at two stores.  I was looking at buying a pea coat, but they didn't have petite sizes.  Even though they were a "good" deal, the coats were still expensive.  I did buy some drinking glasses, ha ha.  I have never bought them before! I did some online shopping too.  I got some fabric for Christmas pj pants and some new dishes--plates/bowls.  I am excited to have some "grown-up" dishes in my house! I am not sure if she still does it, but a year or so ago my friend Sarah had all her Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving. I love that idea and did have a lot of it done before that, but not all.  Now I think all of it's done...there are just a lot of projects to finish before Christmas!  And Lee is going to build Shanna and Haley a play table and chairs.  He used Mike and Lena's kreg jig at Thanksgiving to get him started on the table.  When Lee is done building them I will paint them.  We better get crackin.

After morning shopping we went out to eat, just the adults.  It's nice having enough babysitting-age nieces and nephews that we could have a fun date together!  Little Lillie was the lucky one to join us. We ate at Rowdy's--a local restaurant that serves Southern food.  It was yummy.
Nov 29 2013 Thanksgiving at Ereksons date at Rowdys

After a piano recital that afternoon we headed downtown to Catfish Park.  I guess this is the catfish.  Funny enough I've been to this park a couple of times but never noticed the catfish until looking at these pictures today!
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We then stopped at a local Coca-Cola museum for some yummy ice cream.  The first bottle of Coca-Cola was bottled in Vicksburg.
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A few of us also checked out a local art shop which was fun.  For other events for the weekend we did some shopping with the nieces which was fun, went to church with the Ereksons and just hung out. Saturday we visited my friend Marisol and her family.  I've been to Lena's so many times that I've actually made friends there in Mississippi!  It was great visiting with Marisol, seeing her home and eating her yummy cinnamon rolls.  Thanks Marisol!  I should have taken a picture..... We arrived home 4:30 Monday morning and were off and running at about 7:30.  Thanks Mike and Lena for hosting us.  It was great trip!

We decorated before Thanksgiving so that when we got home, everything would be decorated.  I'm realizing that I want to change out some of my decorations so that they go better with my house.  But we've been spending money on doing different things to the house that I'm going to wait another year to figure out some super cute decorations.  Well, I'll save more house stuff for another post.....we have a few projects in the works with a deadline to be done before the 20th!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lion House Lite Dinner Rolls

November of 2006 we traveled to Texas for Thanksgiving with Lee's brother Paul and his wife Cindy (Lee's parents were there too along with Aaron.) While there Cindy made these FABULOUS rolls..see Clark's plate? I wish I would have helped her make them.  I got the recipe from her and failed a few times making them.  I finally got it down and now I make them quite often.  They are so good. 
Thanksgiving Day 2006 - Copy

Here is a peek to the rest of the photos....
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(Seriously how cute are the boys?!)
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Lee's nephew Aaron is 6'8".  I know you wouldn't believe it by looking at us, but here are a pair of his shoes from back then.... And my feet aren't super small: 7 1/2.
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Here is a run down of how to make these fabulous rolls. If you're not familiar with working with yeast, it's easy--well, I think so.  I get my water from the tap hot enough that I can still touch it but has a little sting to it.  I don't it so hot that I can't even put my fingers in it.  I add it to the yeast and wait till the yeast gets foamy. 
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Then I add in the other ingredients...powdered milk, eggs, salt, sugar, margarine (yes, I use margarine in this recipe!) and part of the flour.
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Mix it up.
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I have a Bosch, so at this point I take out my wire whisks and put in my dough hook, and add the remaining flour till the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl.  I tried to get a picture of it while the Bosch was running. You can kind of tell if you look at the left side of the picture that the dough isn't really on the sides of the bowl...more so in the middle.
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Another shot at trying to show the dough pulling away.  You'll see it. Let it mix for 8 minutes.
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Then I take out the dough hook.
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Pop the lid back on and put it in a warm oven.  Warning: put your Bosch or bowl or whichever in your oven at your own risk.  This is how I like to do it. In my new oven it automatically starts heating up to 350. So I just turn my oven on and let it heat for 3 minutes.  Then I turn off my oven. I let it start heating up when I am mixing up my ingredients.  By the time I've mixed up the dough and let it knead for 8 minutes, the oven seems perfect.  My new oven takes FOREVER to heat up so 3 minutes works.  I like the oven to just feel warm.  Of course you wouldn't want to put a bowl or your Bosch on oven racks too hot that it would melt the container.
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I let the dough rise till it reaches the top of the lid.  It varies on how long it takes to rise but about 45 minutes. If you let it rise too long dough will seep out the sides.  Not that I know or anything...
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Take the lid off and scrap down the sides.  Then I like to throw on a coat of flour.
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I grab a piece of dough about the size of an apricot and manipulate it into a ball.  I have to keep putting flour into my mixer so the dough won't stick to my hands.
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This recipe makes 35 rolls.  Sometimes I have to make the balls smaller, sometimes bigger. Sometimes I only get about 31 rolls or so
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While I am making the rolls I again heat up my oven till it's just warm.  I let the rolls rise until they look like the size of an actual baked roll.  Then I bake them for 12 minutes at 350.  While the oven is heating up to 350, you can gently set the rolls on the counter to wait for the oven.
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Hmmm....YUM!  A great treat to go along with a bowl of hot soup.
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Lion House Lite Dinner Rolls
(with great tips from my sister-in-law Cindy)

Lion House Lite Dinner Rolls
1 pkg. (1 scant tablespoon) active dry yeast
2 C. warm water (110-115º F)
1/3 c. sugar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ c. lite margarine (I use regular)
2/3 c. instant nonfat dry milk
5-6 c. flour
2 egg whites (I use 2 whole eggs)
1 tablespoon olive oil

  • In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine yeast and water (I add ½ t. sugar to help the yeast rise quicker). Let stand 5 minutes.

  • Add sugar, salt, margarine, dry milk, 2 c. flour, and egg whites. Beat together until very smooth.

  • Add 2 more cups flour, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Add about 1 more cup flour, ½ c. at a time (in your mixer if it will take it, or by hand), until it is well mixed in. (In my Bosch I test it by how soon the dough pulls away from the bowl. The dough should be a little sticky but not stick to the sides.)

  • Turn dough onto a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes. (that’s 7-8 minutes in the Bosch). Gather dough into a ball. Scrape bowl clean and spray it with nonstick cooking spray. Return dough to bowl. (you do not need to remove it from the bowl if using a Bosch mixer)

  • Let dough rise in a warm (not too hot) place away from drafts until about triple in bulk. (In a cool oven with a pan of hot water on a rack under it is a good place).

  • Use the last of the flour as needed on the board for rolling and shaping the dough (Don’t use it all unless you need it.)

  • Turn dough out onto floured board and let rest for 10 minutes so it will be easier to manage as you roll it. Roll it or cut into desired shapes (I just make a ball the size of an apricot).

  • Place on baking sheets sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. (I have 7 rows of 5 –or 35 rolls per sheet)

  • Brush surface of rolls with olive oil (I don’t do this step). Let rise in warm place until double in size (about 1 ½ hours). Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes, or until browned to your satisfaction.
I bake them at 350º for 13 minutes in Texas.  I think I burned them the first time I used their

  • Makes about 3 dozen rolls. (I use a large heavy duty cookie sheet.)

From Cindy Robertson: This is my favorite roll recipe. If you want to use it for cinnamon rolls just roll the dough into a large rectangle shape. Spread an even coating of melted butter on top and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. You can add raisins too. Roll up along the long side into a large tube. Cut the rolls using a heavy piece of thread (I use upholstery thread), and place slightly apart on cookie sheet so they have some room to rise. Bake at 350º for 14 minutes. Frost with simple butter cream frosting while still warm. Yummy.