Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holiday fun

The holidays...I love them! It's one of my favorite times of the year. I love the way it feels outside (well, I would prefer it a little cooler), times with family, Christmas music, decorations and lights around town and in our neighborhood, baking...ok, I could go on and on.

It's special, it's fun, it's great. Last week our holidays were slightly different than they've been in the past. As I wrote in my last post, I cooked my first turkey and we ate it with some family on Wednesday night. That was fun. Then we went out to eat for Thanksgiving for both meals. The food was good, but just not the same as my uncle's homemade mac and cheese, or my Granny's homemade dressing (that is AMAZING!), or that cranberry sauce that comes in the can (my personal favorite). We didn't get to see some of our family members that we usually see. My dad is still recovering from back surgery, so we had to take it easy. He wasn't able to stay for a long time at the restaurant. But some things were the same. When we got back to my parent's house, we played outside and took pictures together. Joe shot hoops, I ran around with Sophie and Isaac as they played with outdoor toys. More pictures.

I love posing with my girl : ).

Isaac was enjoying hitting the football with the baseball bat. He LOVES the outdoors, so he was happy as could be!

So that was our Thanksgiving. The day after, I did some Black Friday shopping. Yes, I got up at 6am. The lines weren't bad at all. I did go the night before to Toys R Us at 10pm...waited an hour and said forget it! And then, for supper...Mom found some of Granny's dressing in the freezer and we had that with my turkey and the canned cranberry sauce. My Thanksgiving was complete! : )

Today (Saturday) was filled with football, sleeping in, and putting up the Christmas decorations! I enjoyed it so much because this was the first year that Sophie was old enough to help me. What a great memory! So I had to grab the camera. I wish I could've captured her voice as she kept saying, "Mom, this is so fun!" or "Mom, it looks so cute!". I was in bliss. This is what I've always dreamed of...sharing memories with my children as we bond as a family. We worked on the house and the tree while Isaac was asleep. When he woke up.....

he had a big grin on his face when he saw the tree!! He lifted those little arms, touched it gently, and said, "tree!" Of course, I'm loving this. I was a little worried that he would try to destroy the tree and pull everything off. We're a few hours into it and so far, so good. Hopefully we'll hold out through the holidays with no major incidents!

And here are my most precious treasures. I love my little ones. I am thankful and blessed for these guys. They may sometimes make me shake my head and sigh in frustration, but I can't imagine life without them! God has been so good to us! Blessings to you this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My first solo turkey!

There she is! My first solo turkey. I have cooked a turkey once with my friend Catherine in Thailand, but I've never actually cooked one on my own! I knew this year that we would be going out for Thanksgiving because of my Dad's back surgery...Mom has had a lot on her plate already and we all knew that having a big gathering at her house this year would be too much. Going out was something we've done before, so we had no problem with the plan to do that. But...I saw these turkeys on sale at Kroger. I just couldn't resist. I got a small one (well, it's a little over 9 lbs) and only paid around $8 for it! Monday I started thawing it, and last night I looked online for some advice. I saw that one lady recommended lifting the skin on the turkey breast and putting butter and spices inside. So, I did that. I had some minced onion, some butter, and a little sage on the inside. On the outside I sprinkled garlic salt, regular salt, and some pepper and then brushed some olive oil on it. The lady suggested sealing the turkey by putting it in the oven at 475 degrees for 20 min. I did that with foil on the top. Then I knocked the temp down to 250 degrees. I cooked it on that temp for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours with foil on. Then I knocked the temp up to 300 degrees for the last 30 min and took off the foil. This is my result! It was a nice, juicy, and tasty! With the turkey all cooked, we decided to make it a spontaneous pre-Thanksgiving family meal! I added some shoepeg corn, carrots/peas, stovetop stuffing, and croissants. Joe made a fruit smoothies for dessert. We had Joe's brother and sister over to eat with us. What a fun night! Tomorrow is officially Thanksgiving, but for me, I feel like it started today!
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Crafting night

After a trip to Hobby Lobby yesterday, I was inspired. I had seen a cute blog entry (from "a bit behind") about making a cute wreath. I glanced at how it was done and decided that I wanted to do this myself. To my blessing, Hobby Lobby was having a great sale on all the things I wanted to get to do a little crafting! Yay! So I bought some felt squares (they were 4/$1) and some grapevine wreaths, which were 50% off! I had a glue gun already, so that was all I needed for this cute little thing. So I started by cutting the felt into thin strips.

Then I rolled each strip up and hot glued it on the end. I had pics of the process, but my little camera didn't focus on it too well, so it was blurry. Maybe one day I'll get a cool camera. But anyway, here are the rolled up "rosettes" from one square of felt. It took 4 squares to do the amount of rosettes I wanted. This pic shows a square at the top.

And here is my finished product! I thought it turned out cute! Sophie said they kind of look like marshmallows : ). They kind of do, but when you look at it up close, I think they look like rosettes. If you used a different type of fabric, like fleece, you might get less of the marshmallow look. I was on a budget, so felt worked for me!

My other project was some cute hair clips. Rosettes are in, apparently, and I LOVE them...on anything! Shirts, hair clips, wreaths, you name it. I think they're so feminine. I never was a great hairbow maker, either, but these, I can do!

I put ribbon on them, too. The bottom one has Hello Kitty ribbon. I thought my niece might like it. The brownish clip below has a cute striped ribbon on it.

Crafting therapy in a few hours. My kind of night! God bless!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Misty Eyes

Every so often I'll read something that makes my eyes a little misty. Ok, sometimes it even causes and all-out tear fest. But today was a misty day. I just got The Jesus Storybook Bible for the kids off of Amazon. I thought it would also be a great book to do for our Bible time we have during homeschool. I had heard lots of great things about it and knew some people who had one, so I was interested in getting one, too. Little did I know how wonderful this book was until I really started reading it. We've only read three days worth of stuff, but when I read today about Adam and Eve and their sin against God, I saw it in a new light. This book points every story back to Jesus and connects it to him. Let me just quote some of what we read today:

"But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey--out of the garden, out of their home. Well, in another story, it would all be over and that would have been....The End. But not in this Story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan--a magnificent dream. One day, he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes. You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children--with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always and long for him--lost children yearning for their home. Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: 'It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!' And he would. One day, God himself would come." Sally Lloyd-Jones

Misty eyes...again. He came back for us! And He will come again! Thank you, God!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A little bit of Disney magic : )

Disney movies have always been enjoyable to me as a kid. I watched pretty much all of them growing up, but we have been more selective with Sophie as she is very young and we don't want anything to be scary for her. Seriously, the sea witch on Little Mermaid, the witchy women on Sleeping Beauty and Snow white, and sometimes even the Beast on Beauty and the Beast can be scary for a three year old. So we've mainly stuck to Cinderella and Peter Pan. We currently can't find the Peter Pan dvd, but Cinderella is still going strong. So when Mom asked if she could take Sophie and I to see Disney on Ice...I was so excited. Sophie didn't really understand what it was, so she didn't seem very interested. The look on her face when we walked into the Coliseum was priceless! Her little mouth opened and she couldn't take her eyes off of the ice. The whole time she sat in my lap in a Disney trance! : ) I totally enjoyed it myself, too! I felt like I was a little kid, watching the best parts of the classic Disney movies. The feature story was Cinderella, too! Perfect for Sophie. She was so excited to see the best parts of the movie she loves, along with songs from the movie we have sung as a family.
Our seats were also great! We were in some seats on the floor and not far from the ice, so we were able to see the skater's faces clearly. I love to be able to see the faces of those who are performing rather than a moving blur. I would definitely recommend splurging on a little more for a seat so that you can see. It makes a big difference. For the kids that were sitting right there on the front row next to the ice, some of them got to "try on" the glass slipper. I thought that was very cute. I must give a BIG thanks to Mom (and Dad) for providing us with this special experience! It's so much fun to see Sophie reach an age that she's able to enjoy things like this. The next fun thing I hope to take her to is our annual Christmas tradition (for me, Mom, my sister, and now my sister's little girl)--the Nutcracker Ballet!
Here she is...Cinderella with all the other princesses in the big finale. What a great show!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A homemade cookbook idea...

No, the kids aren't resting yet...I can hear Isaac in his room chattering. No, all the groceries aren't put away yet from our mega shopping trip to Kroger this morning. The cold things are, though...they're the most important right?! But I thought it was the perfect time to blog : ).

So I got three more novels in the mail from Bethany house to read and review the other day. I'll tell more about that later, but one thing I loved about the first book I read is that it had recipes in the back! Throughout the story, the main character talks about these delicious sounding lemon cookies that she enjoyed as a child and later makes as an adult. They really do sound mouth-watering! I was so excited when I got to the end of the book and turned the next page and saw...the recipe! Yay! Now I can make those delicious lemon cookies!

The recipe in the book thing got me know those cookbooks that you can slide recipe cards of your own into slots for basically the whole cookbook? I have two of those, and I love being able to put in a new recipe. Well, I thought it would be fun to have one of those just for recipes that you find in books. I've read several books that have recipes in them. Usually I jot them down on scrap paper and forget about them. But for a book buff like myself, I think this would be a fun idea. You could include the name of the book on the recipe so you won't forget where the recipe came from. You could do something like this for a book club, a gift to someone who loves fun books (and include the book in the gift), or just for your own personal cookbook collection.

I have a ton of those recipe cards. I think I may just start a section in my homemade cookbook just for "book" recipes. By the way, the name of this recent book is Hattaras Girl. If you get a chance to read it, I would recommend it. I'll be reviewing it soon, so I'll give a more detailed description of the book then!

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Two new recipes

I wanted to pass on two new recipes that I have gotten from my Mom and another friend. I've actually made the chicken casserole, and it's yum-o! And easy! So if you're like me, and need a good, easy something for supper, this is great.

Easy Chicken Casserole
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I used Healthy Request)
1 can cream of chicken soup (again, HR)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
shredded cheese (I used some mozzarella and low fat cheddar)
12 oz sour cream (I only had 8 oz of reduced fat and it was good)
1 roll of Ritz crackers (I used reduced fat)
1/2 stick butter, if desired

Preheat oven to 350. Boil your chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces (I just used kitchen scissors and cut up my chicken as I put it in the pot). While your chicken is cooking, mix soups and sour cream together. After chicken is done, strain it, and put it in the bottom of a casserole dish. Then put the soup layer on next. The next layer is cheese. You can put your choice of amount or type of cheese. The last layer is Ritz crackers. Because I used reduced fat, they can be a little dry. I melted the 1/2 stick of butter and mixed it in with my crushed crackers and sprinkled them on top. If you don't add the butter, you will need to put foil on top of the casserole when you put it in the oven. If you do, then I don't think the foil will be necessary. Put the dish in the oven for about 30 min. After it's nice and bubbly, take it out and serve! It's great! : )

The next recipe I haven't actually tried yet...but Mom tells me it's delicious and has that Thai flair. I'm a big fan of Thai food! So if you like something different, easy, and good...this may be for you!

Coconut Lime Chicken Soup
Rotisserie Deli Chicken
1 15 oz can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups water
1/4 cup lime juice (2 limes)
3 med. carrots (1 1/2 cups chopped)--Mom said she bought the kind that was already chopped/sliced
1 TBS soy sauce
2 tsp. Thai seasoning blend (Mom used Thai stir fry seasoning and said it worked)
1/2 tsp salt
cilatro/lime wedges--optional

Take your chicken off the bone and put that along with your other ingredients into a soup pot. Boil and when your carrots are tender, it's ready! You can boil the carrots first if you don't want it to take as long. Enjoy! Let me know if you try it! : )


Monday, November 1, 2010

More homeschool adventures

Here are Bethany and Sophie cleaning out our little pumpkin. It was so funny because Sophie didn't want anything to do with sticking her hand in there and scooping out the seeds. She said, "It's yucky!" Bethany loved it! She looked at me and said, "This is fun!" I thought it was fun, too! Ever since my kindergarted teacher did this with our class, I've looked forward to the day I can do it with my own kids!
Here's the finished product! Doesn't he look happy!? I thought it turned out great! I love our little pumpkin! We cooked the seeds on the stove, too. I looked online to see the best way to do it. I must confess, I couldn't bring myself to taste them. My friend tried them and was like, "um...they're ok." I just couldn't do it! : ).

Here is my beauty right next to the Indian Mound in Macon, GA. Our homeschool group took a field trip there. We learned about pottery and different tools that the indians used throughout history. It was interesting. After we went through the museum, we watched a short film about pottery making. Then were were able to go outside to the picnic tables, get a pretty good sized piece of clay, and make our own piece of pottery!

Here we are, forming our masterpieces! : )

My girl and I inside the indian mound. We had a great time together!