Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fun Treat

The girls and I got started on our Thanksgiving cooking early.  Our extended family gets together every year for a long Thanksgiving weekend and we snack a lot during that time.  I remembered this fun recipe and knew it would be something the girls could both help make and everyone would enjoy eating.  It's really easy and a fun one for kids make.
All you need are 3 ingredients:
  • Round Pretzels (you won't use the whole bag)
  • 2 bags of Rolos candy
  • 1 bag of plain M&M's

First cover a cookie sheet with as many pretzels as you can fit.
 Next, unwrap the Rolos and place one in the center of the pretzel unside down.
 Magnolia and Boothe played the game of unwrap one, eat one, unwrap one, eat one...Noooo....they each snuck one Rolo and nicely placed the rest in the pretzels with a promise to each receive one of the finished products.
 Once there is a Rolo in each pretzel, stick the cookie sheet in the over at 325 for 3 minutes or until the Rolos are starting to melt and very soft.
 Take the tray out and place one M&M in the center of each one and press down so the Rolo smooshes out and fills in the middle of the round pretzel.  Having been in the oven for only a few minutes, the cookie sheet wasn't too hot so I wasn't worried about Magnolia touching it.  I just told her it was hot and to be careful, but knew she would't get burnt if she bumped it.
 Place the whole cookie sheet in the fridge so the treats can firm up.  Once they are solid enough use a spatula to remove from the cookie sheet or it stuck on, twist each one off and place in a container.  Give each of the helpers one of their own, eat 2 yourself and save the rest for later.
 Be prepared for protests when more than 1 is desired.
I love when the kids can help out in the kitchen and this recipe results in virtually no mess or cleanup.  And it's easy and fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Bread Machine Dinner Rolls

Almost a year ago, I got a bread machine for a Christmas gift and have been trying out different recipes since.  I try and make as many 100% whole wheat breads as I can and have found some amazingly soft recipes.  Here is my go-to for dinner rolls.
Yield: 12 rolls


1 1/4 Cups water
2 Tablespoons oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

Place the ingredients into the bread baking pan as recommended by your bread machine's manual. Use the DOUGH cycle setting.
Once the dough cycle is complete, remove the dough and place into greased muffin tins, brush lightly with melted butter.
Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place for about 15-20 minutes.
Bake the rolls at 375°F for 15-20 minutes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What a Ham!

I made some matching hand-stamped shirts for the girls and had Magnolia model one so that I could take some pictures.  I just wanted some shots of the shirt to share, but had to share more than just the shirt since she was being so cute.  I made some stamped onesies for a friend's baby and wanted to do some for the girls also since it just adds a little bit to a plain shirt, is easy and cheap.  After some washings, the paint has begun to fade so next time I will look for some stronger paint or maybe a fabric pen and trace the edges of the stamp once I have put it on the shirt.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Well Stocked Kitchen

Doing laundry tonight in the basement, I was admiring my shelves of canned goods.  It's exciting to me to be able to feed my family with so much home grown, local organic foods that have been prepared and canned or frozen by us.  In our home we try and reduce our waste so an added bonus about home canning is the reusing of the jars instead of the throwing out of the store bought cans.  Also our glass jars definitely aren't coated with BPA like almost ALL of the cans from the store.

So here is the inventory of our preserved foods.  I wish I had a count of each item, but I have forgotten how many we put up when we did.  I hope my efforts will last for the year but I know some things will run out and need to be replaced with food from my grocery store.

  • 1/4 side of beef from a 4H cow (we do this every year and it always lasts just about a year)
  • several whole chickens & various cut up ones including a bag of chicken necks, gross 
  • 30 quart-sized bags of sweet corn
  • 7 quart-sized bags of blackberries
  • 17 quart-sized bags of blueberries
  • pint-sized bags of strawberries cut up with sugar added
  • 25 pounds of asparagus in gallon-sized bags
  • 15 pint jars of peaches
  • 8 pint jars of pears
  • 36 pint jars of applesauce
  • both quart and pint jars of green beans (lots and lots)
  • 10 pint jars of dill pickles
  • 7 pint jars of pickle relish
  • 22 pint jars of salsa
  • 9 quart jars of whole tomatoes (wish I had 5 times this amount)
  • 5 pint jars of butternut squash
  • 7 quart jars of chicken soup
  • Carrots
  • Onions (quickly running out)
I just wonder how much money all of this is saving us.  I know it's healthier and more environmentally friendly, but those aren't measurable.  If I get bored one day (unlikely) and have some time on my hands (never happens) I will try and figure the dollar figure of savings out.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

Where have I been!?!?  Several evening activities have taken up my time lately and the blog has fallen to the wayside as a result.  One of those evenings out was to hear the author of Same Kind of Different As Me, Ron Hall.  It was wonderful!

I had read the book awhile back and really enjoyed the story Ron and Denver shared of their unlikely friendship.  Then one evening while visiting with Dan's parents at their home, I saw the book laying on the counter and asked who was reading the book.  Mary said that the author was coming to speak at the Faithful Lives annual fundraiser dinner in November.  I told her I had read the book and loved it and she invited Dan and I to go with them.

Ron Hall gave a wonderful talk about faith and love and kindness.  If you have the chance to hear him, I would definitely recommend it.  Or just read his book and be inspired! Check out their website to learn more about their story.

image from

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Swinging in the Leaves

The ground was covered with leaves and Dan raked while Magnolia swung and sang her little heart out.  And then yesterday, November 5th, the ground was covered with snow.  Snow!  The light dusting that went on all day was pretty until it began to stick.  We had a movie night at our church last night and when we came out at about 8:30, everything was white.  It's much too early for me to already have snow on the ground.  I'll be ready for snow and lots of it once Thanksgiving is over.  Until then I only want to see pretty fall leaves on the ground.  Looks like our fall has come to an early end this year.  So long swings, until next year.  We'll see you in the spring!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recipe - Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

To continue the fall recipe theme, here are some cookies that I make every fall, usually more than once.  I got the recipe from a friend whose husband was in school with Dan at ND.  They are light and fluffy and cakey, yum...

Beat together until fluffy:
  • 1 Cup cooking oil
  • 1 2/3 Cups sugar
  • 1 (16oz) can of pumpkin
Stir together and add to pumpkin mixture above:
  • 2 Cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. soda
Bake dollops of dough for 12-15 minutes at 350 degress on an ungreased cookie sheet.

When cool, frost with a mixture of:
  • 1 (3oz) package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 Cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Cups (or more if needed) powdered sugar

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday

On Saturday we traveled down to Bloomington, IN for the wedding of a friend of ours from college.  It's nice to visit the town where we went to IU once in awhile and it's so beautiful there.  The girls made friends with other kids there and ran around the whole time having a blast.  Then of course there was the dancing before dinner was even over.  We drove there and back the same night and for some reason it was much harder driving at midnight than it was when we used to to it all the time in college!

On Sunday we prepared for our annual neighborhood Halloween party that we host after trick-or-treating, got the girls dressed up and visited with the grandparents who came over to see the girls in their costumes.  The girls were candy crazy after bringing home their bags of candy and even enjoyed suckers in the bath.  Good thing this only goes on once a year!
On Monday we spent the morning with the McClements kids while their mama went back to work part time and needed a sitter for her first day back.  They came over at 8am and we all spent a good amount of time in our jammies eating our breakfast.  Magnolia loves the new Cat in the Hat show on PBS and Boothe loves the theme song and chants "go, go, go, go" whenever it comes on.  So we turned it on at 8:30 for the kids to watch for a bit and just mentioning that I was turning on a show resulted in these 3 immediately plopping down.  I had to get a picture, it was too funny.  And Boothe of course refusing to do what everyone does stood off to the side to watch!
 Tuesday night brought Boothe's first haircut! Like her older sister, Boothe's hair was having too much fun in the back and growing into a well groomed mullet.  I wish I hadn't waited as long to trim Magnolia's off at 21 months so last night we decided to bring Boothe's hair into the 21st century.  She was excited about it and said cut while grabbing her hair and pointing at the scissors. At that point there was no turning back.  She didn't get that she had to sit with her back to me and kept turning around to face me.  I made two quick chops with a pair of hair scissors and that was that.  I think it looks really cute and not like it's been cut which I was hoping for!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween 2010

We followed the Yellow Brick Road this year and dressed the girls up as the Lion and Dorothy.  Magnolia chose to be Dorothy and we went from there.  Boothe's costume was easy to find.  It is warm and fuzzy and cuddly and like my mom said, "you just want to pet her while you are holding her."  I added in a hair bow to turn this cowardly lion into a girl lion.  I couldn't find a Dorothy costume that didn't look cheap and cheesy to me so I took it upon myself to make most of it.  We had the white tights and white shirt.  She just needed a gingham jumper, shoes and brown pig tails.  Target had the Ruby slippers for $12.  I got a yard of fabric at JoAnn's for about $3.  That was all the supplies I needed.  I made the jumper just by loosely measuring Magnolia and eyeballing it.  It didn't turn out perfectly.  I didn't expect it to, but I couldn't be happier with how it looked.  High school sewing class skills were at work.  Then came time to work on the pig tail wig.  I worked and worked and worked at it and it just wasn't happening.  The pattern called for lengths of yard to be attached to a pair of pantyhose, but the amount of yarn I had to use to cover the hose made the pigtails way too think that it was overwhelming.  It wasn't comfortable for Magnolia and I didn't like it so a couple days before Halloween I scratched that idea and did my own thing.

This would work for any type of costume wig that you need to make/wear.  It's much more whimsical that your typical wig, but isn't that was dressing up for Halloween is?  I took a simple head band and wound the yarn color tightly around it from end to end, tying a knot at each end.  Then I took a few of the cut lengths of yarn and sewed them together in the middle with a darning needle and sewing the cluster to the headband.  Then I braided, tied each with a piece of ribbon and used some yarn to loosely attach the braids to the bottom of the headband.  Here is the original pattern that I attempted to make the wig if you want to make one or try my headband wig.  The pattern will explain how to assemble the lengths of yarn. 

We took a lot of video during trick or treating and neglected to take many pictures.  But Traditions Photography had a fundraiser and I had the girl's pictures taken in their costumes so if you want to check out these really beautiful photos click here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More waiting for Daddy

Halloween post to come this week!  Happy November!!