May 29, 2018

It's Elementary, Watts


"Love is at the root of everything. 
All learning. All parenting. All relationships. 
Love, or the lack of it." 
-Fred Rogers


Kindergarten was just five years ago, but in many ways, it seems like it was a different lifetime. We've faced so many challenges along the way. I'm so glad I didn't know what was ahead when we put our tiny five-year-old on the giant school bus that morning in August of 2013.

Fast forward to last week's fourth grade graduation. Adam's wonderful fourth grade teacher got choked up as she read the names of her students. I wish every student could experience the love and concern she shows her students and their families. While I couldn't be as involved at school as I would like to be, the times I observed her interacting with students were nothing short of magical. She made each child feel important and special and created an environment where the students were excited to learn. We went up to the school to vote after classes were over on the last day, and Adam gave her a big hug. He's not a big hugger, and so this was a huge deal.


His teacher this year was just one of the fantastic staff and faculty who have loved us so well over these past five years. We truly had a team at Granbery that has walked beside us and loved us through many challenges and triumphs.





March 26, 2018

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder



How to Make Rolls

I’ve been making the same Betty Crocker roll recipe with my bread machine for several years now. Rolls are one of the few things our kid will eat consistently. I’ve refined the process so that it takes as little of my limited energy as possible. They really are easy! If they weren't, I wouldn't make them! 😊 

I’ve shared the recipe with lots of people, but I thought I would document exactly how I make them for anyone who is interested.

The Ingredients (in the order they go into the bread machine pan):
           
1 cup water – Using hot tap water will give the best results. 

            

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened – I put two tablespoons of margarine in a coffee cup and microwave for five seconds to soften. Then, I cut it into fourths inside the cup and put in in the pan with the water.

            





1 egg – Add the egg to the water and margarine already in the pan.


3 ¼ cups flour – Use bread flour for best results.
            






¼ cup sugar – If you leave out the sugar, the rolls won’t brown.


           

1 teaspoon salt – After adding the salt, use the end of the measuring spoon to make a little pocket for the yeast. This is more important when using a delay cycle, but I still do it with this recipe. It keeps the yeast from getting into contact with the water too soon.
            

3 teaspoons yeast – I get the best results from Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Instant Yeast. 

Put the pan in the bread machine and start the dough cycle, which is an hour and thirty minutes on my machine (enough time for a quick nap 😃💤 ).



The Magic



When the dough cycle ends, put the dough on a lightly floured surface to rest for ten minutes. (I set a timer.) While the dough is resting, turn the oven on to “warm.”



After the ten minutes is up, turn the oven off. Divide the dough up into 28-30 rolls. I use a pastry blade. I grab the dough and tuck the ends under with one hand.




Put the rolls on a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper.


Put a clean dish towel over the rolls and put them in the oven (which is still off). Set a timer for 30 minutes and let those little yeasties burp some more.


 After the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful rolls that are ready to bake. Take off the towel, turn the oven on 375, and set a timer for 13 minutes. The oven will be preheated about halfway through, which is okay.


When the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful, golden brown rolls!

After you take them out of the oven, pull them off them pan with the parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack.

Freeze any rolls you aren’t planning to serve in the next day or so.


December 31, 2017

Book review

River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with HopeRiver of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope by Naomi Judd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The social stigma of panic disorder may be even worse than the social stigma of depression, and Naomi Judd was brave to tell about her experience with both in this book. Her upbringing and background would make a great country song, except it would be too sad to be believable. So many people admire her, and I'm glad that she has been open about her struggles both past and present. No one, not even a celebrity, has a life free of hardship and struggle.

However, unlike most people, Naomi has the time and resources to get the very best mental health treatment available. Sadly, even under the best care, people die from depression every day, but I think if more people had access to mental health care, many lives could be saved.


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December 22, 2017

Christmas Cards



I decided at the last minute (for me) to send out some cards. I wanted to make sure the far-flung relatives who aren't on social media knew they were in our thoughts, and I wanted them to enjoy some fun pictures of Adam. I had this dream of having a professional picture taken that would be like so many of the cards we receive, but between school, work, chronic illness, and all three of us having pneumonia, it didn't happen. Anyway, I had the cards printed, Patrick picked them up from Costco, and both of my guys stuffed the envelopes. (We're all about teamwork here.)

I'm always a little conflicted about sending out Christmas cards because I don't want to give the impression that everything is awesome for us and that we somehow have it together. I feel like our cards should have a disclaimer that says, "These happy pictures don't necessarily represent the reality of daily life." The fact is no one's Christmas cards, Instagram, or Facebook posts represent real life. We all struggle. We're all just doing the best we can. I'm saying this to remind myself and sharing because maybe someone else is opening a stack of beautiful cards and feeling like he or she doesn't measure up. You aren't alone. Hang in there.

December 9, 2017

2017 Watts Family Year Ender

Dear friends and family,

We hope you have had a great 2017 and are looking forward to the new year. We’ve had lots of ups and downs this year in the Watts family.

Patrick and Adam have made several trips to see family this year, including a Spring Break trip to Texas and three trips to Ohio to see Patrick’s grandparents, who just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Their Memorial Day trip included stops at Dinosaur World in Kentucky and Kings Island near Cincinnati.

In June, they went to CentriKid camp in Campbellsville, KY. This was a new experience for both of them, and they had a blast!

We had the amazing experience of being in the “line of totality” of the solar eclipse on August 21. Patrick’s cousin, Ray, is an astronomy professor and came to observe the eclipse in our driveway. It was a fantastic learning experience for all three of us and especially for Adam, who wants to be an astronomer when he grows up.

In October, Adam came down with what we thought was a bad cold, but he was soon diagnosed with pneumonia. After a week of treatment at home, our pediatrician sent us to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital at Williamson Medical Center for an in-patient stay to get IV antibiotics. Adam responded more quickly than expected to treatment there, and we were sent home at the end of our second day. This happened during Adam’s fall break, and so he had quite the story to tell when he went back to school. Unfortunately, Patrick then came down with it... followed shortly thereafter by Lydia as well, but we both managed to avoid the hospital. We are grateful to live in Nashville with great medical care. All of October and most of November were consumed with illness, and so we got a little behind on Christmas preparations and cards.

Also in November, Patrick’s office moved to LifeWay’s new building in the Capitol View development in Nashville’s “North Gulch”. Nashville is growing by leaps and bounds, and the area around the new building is surrounded by new businesses and residential buildings. The new, high-tech building is a big change from the aging buildings on the old campus, but many of the architectural elements were incorporated into LifeWay’s new home. Patrick continues to work on web-based projects including a training site for church planters with the North American Mission Board.

Adam is a fourth grader this year, which in our school district, is the last year of elementary school. We have been looking at our options for middle school next year and are prayerfully considering what will be the best fit for him and our family.





We enjoy everyone’s Christmas cards and greetings. Even if we aren’t able to see you in person, our family and friends are always close to our hearts. We would love to hear from you. We pray you will have a happy and healthy new year.

-Patrick, Lydia, and Adam Watts



January 10, 2017

Book review: The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family

The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football FamilyThe Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family by Lars Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you are a fan of SEC football, you will like this book, but it's about much more than football. The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family is also about family and fatherhood. I enjoyed reading about Archie's humble beginnings in tiny Drew, Mississippi, and how he overcame challenges that could have derailed his career in sports before it ever got off the ground.

All the details of the Mannings' football achievements are there, and it's obvious Lars Anderson researched them thoroughly. I caught a few mistakes about details, but they probably wouldn't be obvious to someone who wasn't at Tennessee at the same time as Peyton.


View all my reviews