Friday, November 4, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

 I made this recipe on Halloween to give to our neighbors. It's an oldie, but goodie that I grew up eating. Actually a cake recipe, we use it for muffins so they're extra moist. I sprinkle a touch of sugar on top before baking to crisp up the muffin top. They're great plain or warm with a dab of cream cheese.

Sift together:
2 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt

4 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. oil

Then stir in:
1 c. pumpkin
1 c. raisins (optional)

Pour batter into muffin cups 2/3 full.

Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each muffin before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Bit O' Color

We had an impromptu chili party the other night with both sets of grandparents. While fixing all the trimmings, I happened to glance at the uninteresting dinner table.

I like a beautiful tablescape as much as the next person, but time was of the essence.

I hunted down my Whole Cloves and grabbed the bag of clementines I'd just purchased at Meijer and . . .

. . . voila!

Teeny tiny pumpkins. They're not much, but a touch of color was all that was missing to welcome our dinner guests with flair.

And everyone ate their very own little splash of color.

Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31st

Our little trick or treaters took the street by storm this year.

They had a ball and claimed they took in millions of pieces of candy.

I just think they're cute.

And will commence skimming candy from their stashes once they're at school tomorrow.

 Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

My New Love

Saturday marked our 1-year anniversary of life at Creekside. We are so thankful for our home and love that it's useful for guests. Until last week the two most important features of the house were:
1. a master bath (hallelujah!)
2. a playroom.

Until last week, that is. I now have a new favorite feature.

Drumroll, please.

My pantry.

She's beautiful and my love for her has overtaken the affection I have for all other inanimate objects combined.

Check her out.

She's tall. I actually need a stepladder to reach her heights.

And thin. One entire wall is 7" deep shelves that are perfect for food pantry items. The kiddos can even reach their own cereal in the morning. Love that! I even stocked up on sale cereal just because I had the space to store it all.

And organized. All the shelves are adjustable. (you may notice the Nutella perched next to the Jiff - 1st time buyer and already crave the chocolate nuttiness)

And bejeweled. These little sliding drawer beauties have resided with us in all 3 houses and will now hold potatoes and onions.

And accessorized. Bright Marble and Granite gave us a great deal on a remnant slab of granite for the counter.

I love her. She's my new BFF. And if you ever need to borrow a cup of sugar I know exactly where it is.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Sounds of Music

We always thought musicals were a thing of fiction.

Then we had Schnickle.

Her life is a musical that's sung with abandon,

 filling her world with life-inspired narrating lyrics

that soar to the heavens

and dip to the sea

in her ever-changing

aria of life.

It makes us smile!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Applesauce Cinnamon Salad

This salad is actually a Jell-O salad, but the name is long enough already. My mother has been making it for years and we all love it. It's an often-requested recipe and super easy. And since I made it for a church potluck yesterday I decided to snap a few photos and share.

Without further ado . . . Applesauce Cinnamon Salad!

5 c. Applesauce (1 large jar)
1/4 c. Red Hot Candies
2 (6 oz.) pkg. Red Jell-O (I usually use 1 strawberry and 1 raspberry)
1/4 tsp. Knox Gelatin
2 c. Boiling Water

Boil the water. (I usually boil extra water and dissolve the Red Hots in a stainless steel bowl over the extra water.) Add the Red Hots to the water and stir to dissolve. Then add Jell-O and Knox gelatin and stir to dissolve.

At this point I usually pour the dissolved liquid through a sieve to ensure no Red Hot remnants make it into the final product.

Pour in the applesauce and stir to incorporate.

Place in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to set. Enjoy!

And because I know one of my 4 readers over at Becka's blog loves birds I thought I'd share what was on the patio this morning. Congrats, Mrs. L. on the news of your own "Grandmother Nest" expanding by a little chickie.

Friday, October 21, 2011

On Being a Boy

Boys will be boys. It sounds trite, but it's true.

Little boys do things like pick up large birch branches

and drag them through the sand

to float them in a canal

in order to play for a bit

and be able to chase them down

and do it all over again. The gloriously simple world of boyhood.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

August 2010 (our first day alone with James)

August 2011 (and a month after adoption finalization)

What a difference a year makes!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Plate of Goodness

I didn't entitle this post lightly. Our family heartily echoes my love for this dish, although they don't typically consume the leftovers for breakfast as I do.

Cottaged Potatoes. Even the name sounds cozy. I especially like it with chicken or pork, but will eat it alone with a spoon and a movie if given the chance.

Cottaged Potatoes
10 medium-sized potatoes, cooked in jackets
1/2 lb. Velveeta, diced
1 onion, diced
salt to taste
1 T. minced parsley (or dry parsley flakes)
1/2 c. melted butter, plus more for browning breadcrumbs

some milk to moisten
1/4 - 1/2 c. buttered bread crumbs, browned

While boiling the potatoes, brown breadcrumbs with butter in a saute pan. Set browned breadcrumbs aside while assembling the dish.

Melt the margarine in the 9"x13" pan in which you will bake the potatoes. Then add the other ingredients in layers:

1. 1/3 of the diced potatoes
2. a little salt
3. 1/3 of the onion
3. a little parsley
4. 1/3 of the Velveeta

Repeat twice. Add just enough milk that you can see it peeking through the potatoes, then sprinkle with bread crumbs just before baking. (Note: you want to moisten the potatoes with milk without drowning them. Add the milk slowly and once you see it, STOP!)

Bake at 350 degrees  for 45 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. To eat as leftovers, add a dash of milk before reheating.

Friday, October 14, 2011

1st Day of School

I love Meg Ryan's line in "You've Got Mail" when she talks about how fall makes her dream of boquets of sharpened pencils.

Ahhh . . . school days. I love the excitement and activity school days bring. I love it all - until the homework and studying suddenly strikes. But before that, the idea of school is filled with wonder and potential.

I love all the new outfits and backpacks and lunchboxes displayed on the first day of school. I love the extra boxes of Kleenex tucked under scrawny arms and watching all the emotions of brand new experiences wash across little faces. I love the transformation of aging that shows up on the first day of school; the scared little faces of the Kindergarteners clinging to mom's offered hand and the stoic calm of independence and indifference held firmly on the sixth graders' countenances.

It's a study in humanity and I'm in the middle of it, snapping closeups and successfully embarrassing my offspring. It's part of the Mom Code, you know.

Schnickle and Fritz are still young enough to want mom there to wave her goodbyes. Moose wasn't all that interested and wandered over to the soccer field at the first chance he got.

But the first day of school is always bittersweet, cause you're so proud of their growth and so struck by the lightning speed of time. Schnickle is wearing the same size shoes that I wear. Fritz's hand feels like a grown boy when clutched in mine. And before I know it Moose will be joining the backpack-wearing crew headed to higher learning. May I treasure these days. Even the homework.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

a birthday party

In case you couldn't do the math on your own, I'm WAY behind in blogging. Someone is probably making a motion right now to banish me from the blogosphere. It's bad. 80 days bad.

So I'm going to throw in a few memories from the months of August and September just for fun (and because those pictures are already downloaded to my computer).

August is Schnickle's birthday month. Schnickle loves birthdays. Schnickle loves to talk about birthdays and ask for birthday presents 50 weeks before her next birthday. Schnickle invites strangers and neighbors and classmates and family members to future birthday parties that may or may not take place.

So this year, Schnickle had a birthday party. We held it exactly 3 days after arriving home from a week-long vacation. Note to self: refrain from doing that ever again.

We had 18 little girls running around our place for 4 hours. (I never realized before how long 4 hours can feel).

Aren't little girls just the cutest? I love how they know everything and never stop talking - even if they're all talking at once.

We played Candy Basketball
We ate Walking Tacos (tacos in a Fritos bag)
We crafted personalized cupcakes

We ate colorful cupcakes
We opened presents
We had Freezepops
We waterballooned
We swam (I say "we" loosely here)
We swung

And had an all-around good time. Schnickle was in her glory and I think all the girls had fun (please don't tell me if they didn't). We sent them on their way with a framed photo of the bunch and a bag of goodies. Then we crashed, did laundry from vacation and began planning for the first day of school, which was only a week away.

And now the countdown to her 10th birthday has begun.