Monday, November 28, 2011

I am . . .

As I was browsing around various blogs this morning, I read this post by Nicole at Miss Mommy and was intrigued by the idea of creating an "I Am . . ." poem. I've seen similar posts over the past week or so, but this one was very simple.  Here's my attempt:


I am _____ right now:

I am - becoming a crafter.  (See what Pinterest does?)
I wonder - what else my children need to know?
I see - the "naked" tree in my front yard.  (Princess giggles hysterically every time she talks about trees being naked.)
I want - my children to be happy.
I pretend - that I'm on top of everything.  Mostly I'm making it up as I go along.
I worry - that something will happen to me or hubby, leaving the other one to raise the kids.
I cry - when I lose my temper and yell at one of the kids.
I hope - my children will stay young and not get caught up in all the negative aspects of the world.
I dream - of lounging on a warm, sunny beach with hubby. :)
I feel - inadequate, most of the time.
Linking up:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cooking lesson: Candy Cane Cookies

I shared this recipe as a guest post at Bella Before and After a few days ago.  Let me know if you try them!

Today I'm sharing one of my family's favorite Christmas recipes.  This is a recipe I grew up making every year and now I make these cookies with my children.

Candy Cane Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food color

crushed peppermint candy
1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar
 Cream together the butter and shortening.  Add powdered sugar.  Mix in egg and flavorings.  Beat well.
Blend in flour and salt.
Divide dough in half.
Blend food color into one half.
To make cookies, take one tsp of each color dough.
Roll each into a 4-inch rope by rolling carefully back and forth on lightly floured surface..
Place ropes side by side and press together lightly.  Twist.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and curve top to form the candy cane shape.
Recruit some helpers to make the assembly go quicker since each cookie has to be formed separately.
Bake about 8 minutes at 375 until very light brown and set.
Crush peppermint candy.  Mix with granulated sugar.
Remove hot cookies from sheet and gently roll or sprinkle with sugar mixture.  Place on waxed paper to cool.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies if you can keep the dough-eating monsters away. :)
These can be time consuming to make, but the kids have fun making them and they always get "oohs and aahs" when served.

Linking up:

One Artsy Mama

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sock Monkey hat

I happened across a cute pattern the other day for a sock monkey hat and knew I had to make one.
Now I think I've been roped into making 7 more for a family photo. At least they work up quickly.

I used this tutorial and made it my own.  I used a larger hook (K) since I tend to have a pretty tight crochet stitch.   I wanted to get the mottled monkey look, so I used a strand of brown and a strand of white yarn together.  I also used double strands for the top portion by pulling from both ends of the skein on the red and off-white.  My next task is to try adding ear flaps.  I'll add a tutorial if I can figure that out.

Linking up:

Happy Go Lucky

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guest posting

I'm guest posting at Bella Before and After today.  Head on over and take a look at a fun Christmas recipe for Candy Cane Cookies.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cooking lesson: Sweet Cornbread

When the weather turns cool, I start baking.  There's nothing on a cold, dreary day like a nice pot of homemade chili and cornbread.  I have no idea where this recipe originally came from.  My mom has made it for years and I think she got it from one of my aunts.  I hope you'll like it as much as we do. :)

Sweet Cornbread
(Pretend this photo has flour and sugar.  My buckets are not photo worthy.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
Mix eggs and sugar.
(Yes, there are 4 eggs, I double the recipe for enough leftovers to eat some for breakfast the next day.)
 Add other ingredients.
 Mix together.
 Batter should be mostly smooth and about cake batter consistency.
 Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.
 Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cut into squares. 
Best when served with honey butter, or if you really want, it is good just plain, too.
Store extra covered and eat it for breakfast the next morning.  I suppose you could try freezing extra pieces, but I've never tried that, so I'm not sure how well it would work.

Linking up here: 

Happy Go Lucky

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ornament Swaps

I love ornament swaps.  Of course, that could be because a) I love getting fun stuff in the mail.  Seriously, if you want to make my day, send me something.  It's like Christmas or my birthday every time I find something besides bills in the mailbox.  Or, b) because I love everything to do with Christmas.  My mom was always very firm that we couldn't decorate for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  I get that Thanksgiving is an important holiday and I am thankful, I really am, I just love Christmas decor!  I figure if I wait until after Thanksgiving dinner I'm fine and still maximize my time with Christmas stuff.

Anyway, I have a group of online friends that I have been emailing for almost 11 years.  They've seen me through good times and bad, and are some of my best friends even though I've never met any of them in real life.  We've been swapping ornaments for something like 8 or 9 of those 11 years.  It's so fun each year to pull out the ornaments and remember who sent each one and the reasons they chose that particular ornament, in some cases.

This year I decided to branch out a little and join in a couple of other ornament swaps.  I'm excited to try the handmade swap with And Nothing Else Matters and Miss Mommy.  I actually have a great idea that I'm planning to try that I saw in January or so and have been waiting all year for the excuse to actually start crafting.  We'll see how it turns out.

I'm also participating in a swap through Eisy Morgan.  This one is your choice of handmade or purchased.

Come join in the fun!

Friday, November 4, 2011

How did I get talked into this?

Hubby and I have volunteered to be on the Cub Scout Roundtable staff for our district.  About three weeks ago, he came home from the planning meeting (I was playing taxi driver that night) with the news that the ladies were going to do a lip-sync to Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T to introduce the monthly theme for December.

My mind made an immediate flashback to my first year of college.
{I was in a small group assigned to give a presentation to the rest of the newspaper staff on the difference between blonde and blond.  We decided that we should lip sync to R-E-S-P-E-C-T and the group members that weren't already blonde would temporarily dye their hair.  (I was thinking I was awfully glad I'm a natural blonde and didn't need to worry about changing my hair color.)  But, the local grocery store didn't carry temporary hair dye.  Oh, and did I mention that we only had two hours for the planning and practice?  That's college procrastination at its finest!  With about an hour to go, we decided to see if the theater's costume shop had any blonde wigs we could rent.  We walked over there and found out that since it was for a class project, we could get wigs for free.  So, we all got blonde wigs (mine was a super-blonde Dolly Parton-style) and then decided to get sparkly dresses as well.  Decked out in our blonde wigs and sparkly dresses, we went to class and gave an enthusiastic performance.  I'm not so sure we got the blonde/blond point across, but oh well.  The newspaper advisor told me that I shouldn't ever go more blonde than I already was since I got really washed out.}

So, here I was living that experience all over again only without the blonde wig.

Or so I thought.
I guess I'm just destined to be a blonde!

Anyway, two of the other staffers and I did a fun rendition and made complete fools of ourselves for the enjoyment of all the other attendees.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm NOT ready for this

Yesterday we had the first snow of the season.  I came to the realization I do every year with the first snowfall -- I'm NOT ready for winter!!!  I'm not a cold-weather person.  Give me warm and sunny, but not too hot and sunny.  However, I do love watching the snow fall.  Seeing the younger kids' reactions was priceless.

I suppose we're fortunate that we don't live in the Northeast where they got pummeled with snow.  Yesterday's snow was really wet and heavy.  It was really weighing down the branches on my beautiful oak tree out front.

Here's some comparisons, yesterday:
Today in roughly the same spot:
More of the oak tree yesterday:
A similar view today:
In the back yard, this is "the climbing tree":
And a close up, those branches are touching the ground.
Today (don't mind the window reflections, today is much sunnier than yesterday):
What a difference a day makes!  We're even supposed to warm up into the 50s and maybe 60s for the weekend!