Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Are You Chicken?

I've got a couple more pictures from my travels today. This was a side road we took when heading to a store. I sure do love my GPS. It allows me to take backroads I never knew existed and still let me know where I am. (And it tells me where restaurants are so I don't have to eat at 50 interstate McDonald's on a trip.)

I also wanted to share the recipe we had for supper last night. It's a chicken casserole that I thought I'd given you before, but I didn't see it when I went through the search menu. Oh well. Even if I gave it to you before, I've done some tweaking on it, so it won't be quite the same. For the noodles, I use a fine, small noodle, almost like a vermicelli. It makes all the difference in the world. You could also use angel hair, just break it up into small pieces.

Chicken Noodle Casserole

1 can cream of celery soup
1 6 oz. pkg noodles, cooked (remember, small ones)
1 can evaporated milk
3 c. chopped, cooked chicken
1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 c. chopped onion (or generous sprinkling of onion powder)
1/2 c. bread crumbs, divided (I use italian seasoned)
1 tsp. season salt

Mix soup and evaporated milk (you may need to add some regular milk) to equal 4 cups. Add all but 1/4 c. crumbs. Pour into 13x9 pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 c. crumbs. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Serves 6-8.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Back to Barefoot

You can tell you're back in south Georgia when it's the end of November and your kids are outside in t-shirts and barefoot. In my defense, I did send them out with shoes on, they always seem to shed them along the way. (A terrible habit they learned from their mother.)

What a wonderful time we had, it just always goes so fast! And we came home to the treat of freshly painted bedrooms, an early Christmas present from my mom. I'd started stripping wallpaper in the bedrooms but hadn't been able to get it finished, or painted. How nice not to have that horribe task ahead. "Santa" was very good to me this year.

Now for pictures. I didn't take a lot this year. It was very overcast the whole week and we didn't get to many site-seeing sorts of places. But here's a few I thought I'd share from our trip to a park...

Friday, November 26, 2010

There's A Stink Bug in My Pants...and I Don't Mean that Metaphorically

Yep. Apparently there was an epidemic of stink bugs earlier this year. I missed the big rush of the little stinkers. But we keep finding them here and there. Yesterday I went to put on my jeans and guess what was wiggling in my pant leg? That was a quick little dance. Thankfully there's no video. Heading home soon and I'll post some pictures on Monday. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Never Crack a Bull Whip in Your Sunday Pants

We were getting ready for church. And because we only get to visit Grammy and Grampa's church a couple of times each year, I tried to make sure they looked extra nice. I stood there and ironed forever. They had such nice creases. They looked like little choir boys.

Well, we had just a few minutes before time to leave and Ry asked if he could go on outside. That seemed reasonable. Seemed.

I poked my head out to tell he and Jack it was time to head to church and got quite the shock. There he stood in his nicely crease tan colored dress pants that were now covered in black stripes.

"How in the world did you get all those marks on your pants!?!!!"

"I was practicing my bull whip."

"What would possess you to bring a bull whip on vacation? And use it before church?"

The boy answer for all trouble..."I don't know."

Needless to say, we went to church with boys in jeans. Anyone know how to get bull whip stains out of church pants?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Packin and Hackin

It's not easy to get ready for a trip and stay out of the smoke at the same time. I'm looking forward to visiting everyone, and my asthma is looking forward to a break from this forest fire. Unfortunately, it's burning right in the path I'm heading in. Off to search for alternate routes....I'll take some pictures to show and maybe bring home some new recipes to share. I'll check in when I can. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back to Thanks

It's been a while since I posted a Thankful Thursday post, so I thought I'd better get back at it. I've been busy this morning around the house and then have to head off for errands and a program at school. It's nice to take time and realize all that we have, large or small, our lives are filled with many blessings.

Right this moment, I am thankful for
1.) a cool autumn breeze blowing in the window
2.) and the yummy smell coming from my oven.
3.) I'm glad for the little beeping noise coming from my washing machine to remind me it's time to add bleach. (It's nice when appliances help you think.)
4.) I'm thankful for a sweet mom who has wonderful ideas for Christmas
5.) and for upcoming visits with family and friends.

What about you, what are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Something's Missing...and We're Not Missing It

We were sitting there on Saturday afternoon, had just started watching the Georgia game. For those not from the south, that's college football. If you are from the south, I could've said watching Georgia and you would've known what I meant. We've got to clarify for those on the other side of the world. Okay, we were sitting and watching the football game when the screen went to half size, gave a few little wiggles, and promptly shut down. Our television died.

Now that my not seem like such a big deal at first. We've got a television in the bedrooms, maybe one in the kitchen or other rooms, right? Wrong. We are a strange household. We have this crazy notion that we only have one tv. If you're going to watch it, you watch with everyone. With five people in the house, that means taking turns. It limits your time and keeps you accountable for the things you watch. The same is true for our computer. I do have a laptop (unavailable to little people), and Jack has an older computer in his room that just plays games, but the only computer with internet access for the whole family is--yep, you guessed it--right out in the open.

Jack had a friend spend the night a while back and the boy was in culture shock. He couldn't believe we only had one television or that the Wii didn't work in the bedrooms. The lack of these things never bother our kids. They've each come at one time in their life and asked for a tv for their room for Christmas. I just tell them that isn't something we'll do, because then they'll spend all their time in the bedroom and none with us, and we would miss them. Do you know what they say? "Yeah, I guess that's right." And they haven't asked again. And they don't fight over the television or the computer. The person with homework trumps the person playing a game. It goes in order of who asked first, and their time is limited, so you know you'll get your turn.

Back to the dead television. With only the one for the whole family, I thought the loss of it would be a major deal. No, no one has really minded. I think we've each flopped on the couch out of habit at least once, and then remembering, gone on our way. No complaining, no whining, no "I'm bored." It's quieter, it's easier to get everyone to the supper table, there's more playing together, and in general, more fun. I've told them I don't know when, or if, I'll replace it. And that seems to be okay with everyone.

What about you? How many televisions? Would you go without? What would you miss most?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Addiction

It's all Sheila's fault. She gave me the recipe, even sent me the cherries to make it with. Now I've forgotten all about my love of banana pudding ice cream in favor of her cookies. Why couldn't I find a rice cake or raw vegetable to be zealous about!?!

I've inlcuded it for you, along with the recipe for Fritomale Casserole. I was going to have it last week but something happened and I couldn't. I was going to have it today and, yet again, fate has intervened. My son will not be happy--he loves Fritomale Casserole. You, however, can enjoy it for supper. It's one of those recipes that ladies like but men seem to adore. It'd be a good one to serve if you're having people over to watch football.

Michigan Dried Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Sheila wrote on the recipe that she found it at cooks.com. If you can't get hold of some dried cherries, you could use raisins. The recipe says it yields 5 1/2 to 6 dozen cookies. Maybe in oompa loompa land. I got 3 dozen and wouldn't have wanted them any smaller.

1 1/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. uncooked oatmeal
1 c. dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal and cherries. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-11 minutes. Cool on pan 1 minute. Remove to wire cooling rack.

Fritomale Casserole
I got this recipe many years ago from Mrs. Laura Eager. What a wonderful woman she was. She and her husband George have touched many lives all over the world through their Mailbox Club ministry.

2 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 (4 oz.) can sliced, pitted olives (need the juice too)
2 (8 oz.) bag Fritos corn chips
2 (16 oz.)cans chili with beans
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. grated cheddar cheese

Crush Fritos in the bag. Use one bag to cover the bottom of a 13x9 dish.(Now I do things a little differently than Mrs. Laura, I don't put the Fritos on the bottom, they get soggy quickly. I just make an extra thick layer on the top, you get the same taste without the sog.) Brown ground beef with onion, garlic, chili powder, and Worcestershire sauce. Drain; pour into dish. Make a layer over the beef using the two cans of chili. Add both cans of soup, undiluted. Pour half of the olive juice over the casserole, discarding the remaining juice. Sprinkle olives on top. Cover with cheese. Top with remaining Fritos. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happiness in a Lunchbox

What's the cure for the back to school blues on Monday? A pick-me-up in the middle of the day. It comes in the form of a sandwich. A sandwich that tastes like eating a Reese's Cup. Who wouldn't love that? Two pieces of bread, some peanut butter and a little Nutella add up to equal a whole lot of happiness. Try it for yourself. Throw in some chips and a banana and you've got a lunchbox that'll make you smile, even on a Monday. One of my cream cheese brownies for dessert doesn't hurt either.

Now what's for supper this week?

Monday--Spaghetti and homemade french bread (I've given the bread recipe before, you can use the search box at the bottom of the page to find it)
Tuesday--Fritomale Casserole, corn, grapes
Wednesday--Crockpot Chicken, biscuits
Thursday--Homemade Pizza (yep, I'm early this week. That's because...)
Friday--Sample Night at Sam's (This weekend is Sam's Club's special holiday sample party and since my husband absolutely loves free samples, we'll be there to try out all the new things they have in for the holidays.)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pink Peepers

Okay, the hunter returns. Maybe I should say the nature watcher returns, since there were no deer to be seen. I've got my camera back and have my pictures to share. Here's the post:

She spied them from across the room and it was love at first sight.

Practical mommy reminds her that she probably won't need glasses.

The most heartbroken cry you've ever heard ensued. (Not the whiny, 'can't get my way' kind--Mama don't play that. We're talking gut wrenching, world is shattered, lost love cry.)

We go in to see the doctor. Practical mommy quietly warns him to be careful, she's after a pair of glasses. Guess what, the stinker really needed them this time! Poor little far sighted sweetie.

Thus, we now have pink peepers.

They even have "diamonds" on the side. She loves anything that sparkles. They showed her at least 10 different pairs of glasses, including other pink ones, but she politely refused them each time. Her mind was set.

Be sure to visit all the Pink Saturday sites and especially our great hostess Beverly.

Please Stand By...

I've had something really cute planned for today. But I slept a little later this morning, and woke to find my husband had taken my camera (again) as he went hunting. That'll teach me not to fix my post on Friday and just save it. Poor fella, he had no idea--but he sure did mess me up. I'll have my post--Pink Peepers--up as soon as he gets home. Sorry for the inconvenience!!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

How to Be a Top Model

I have to make a confession. I love to watch the show "America's Next Top Model". I've watched it for years. It's not because I have any aspirations for modeling. I'm short, weigh more than I care to admit, and am deathly afraid of bathing suit season.

The appeal of the show to me isn't the behind-the-scenes drama of the competitors, "the fabulous list of prizes that the winner will receive", or the glamorous life modeling promises. No, my fascination is with the picture at the end.

I love the part where they see their best shot from the week's photo shoot. I pull the chair close to the television, or pause it (I LOVE my DVR) for a good look. I am always amazed at what a little lighting and some good makeup can do. A lot of the girls aren't even that striking without all the extras, some are even a little awkward. But, through the lens of the camera, they become something extraordinary.

How does this relate to us on the other side of the TV set? Is this to be our aspiration? Good grief no! I don't think there are enough lights and lenses in the world to transform this jiggle. That's not what I'm worried about anyway. But there are a lot of parallels from this show that apply to our lives as Christian women. We know we are not to be conformed to the world's image. Thank goodness. Like it or not, though, we are in a modeling competition--and Philippians 3:14 tells us to fight for the prize.

I am a model--and so are you. We walk around every day showing off our Christianity for the world to see. Whether we choose to wear it well is up to us, but we model it just the same. And rest assured, the world is judging.

They get a picture of the Christian life from us. Our children, our neighbors, the people we pass throughout the course of our day, are watching our walk. Are our steps strong and confident or do we stumble on the runway of life? Do we hold up under the blaring lights or trials and testing, where flaws can easily be seen? They are checking our presentation, watching to see if the pretty portrait we paint of the life in Christ we talk about is more than just a bunch of makeup slapped on something ordinary to dress it up.

Our judges are critical. They expect losers. And left to ourselves, we would be. We were plain and awkward too--downright ugly in our sin. But, we have been remade. We have a new kind of make-up, not a makeup to prettify the outside but what makes up our insides. All that we do and say is filtered through the lens of a loving God. And that, my sweet friends, creates a beauty that shines through. The world does take notice of it.

They are waiting on the edge of their chairs to see how our picture turns out. Some are sitting there wishing they could look like you. Don't be the girl sent home this week because you didn't show them a good picture of Christ. Model well. And don't forget, there are lots of fabulous prizes at the end.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

At the Grocery Store

Here's a question I've gotten several times, so we'll just talk it over together today and see if you've got some thoughts on it too--"How do you grocery shop?"

I'm not a rigid 'This is the formula and it must always be obeyed' kind of girl, but I do have a vague plan that guides me. Let's face it, a great deal of life is spent preparing food, shopping for food, sitting in the restaurant eating the food, or just thinking about the food. (I'm getting a little hungry.) Anything that takes a chunk of our time deserves a little planning on our part. It's no scientifically proven method, but it's what works for me.

  • Know what you're eating the day, or even week, before. That's where the menu planning comes in. Some people will tell you to plan around grocery store sales and make your menus for the week according to what they're offering. That is probably best if you don't have much freezer space. She who purchased the great white whale of freezers has plenty of room. I look in my freezer and plan menus around what needs using.

  • Know what you're paying. What's a good price for the things you like? When something is on sale, I'll stock up. When I'm looking at a sale paper, I'm checking prices on staples I keep on hand (like Birds Eye Steam Fresh veggies, when they hit $1 each I buy a lot...they're the closest tasting to fresh I've found) or things that are our personal favorites (like cereal...I'm not paying over $2.50 for a box of any cereal, so I watch carefully and stock up on sales since everyone has a different one they like...I'm a Blueberry Mini Wheat girl).

  • On-line ease. Grocery stores almost always have a website that gives their weekly ad. You can compare stores from home, most even have a list feature that lets you click on the things you want and print out a grocery list. You can see what you're getting and often how much the items cost. Drug stores also offer groceries and can sometimes be the cheapest ticket in town on things like milk. A great place to check out for every conceivable weekly flyer is http://www.sundaysavers.com/ There are some great websites that help you save tons on groceries. I will admit, I often forget to use them, but those who are faithful at doing so say they make a tremendous difference. One that is particularly helpful for my area is http://southernsavers.com/ I know there are probably many more out there and is probably one for your part of the world as well.

  • Buy it big. I don't like to make zillions of trips to the store, the fewer the better. The things I use most, like flour and sugar, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, I like to buy in bulk. In our area we have Sam's, some of you have Costco. I have found them to be a great resource for some things. You just have to know what you would normally pay, like we've said before, and if it's the same or less, it's worth your time and gas not to keep making trips. We built a wall of shelves in our laundry room to house these sorts of things. I buy flour in 25 lb bags and giant bags of rice. To keep them fresh I purchased those big containers you can get at home improvement stores that contractors use for paint. It holds them both perfectly. One day I'll get around to painting them or covering them so they're not bright orange, but for now I'll take practicality over prettiness. I've also found these places to be best for prices on milk and spices. Amish groceries are wonderful resources for bulk items if you have access to them. They carry just about everything in bulk. I get to one about twice a year and stock up on big bags of pudding mix, shaped pasta, and chocolate chips.

  • Buy it fresh. Eat it or 'put it up'. If possible, fresh is best. And the best in fresh is straight from the farmer. I really don't buy much produce from the grocery store. The best resources are farmers markets, flea markets (that's right), and the farmers themselves. Look in your phone book under farming or produce and give them a call. Many will sell to the public after they've shipped orders or offer culls (those not "pretty" enough for the store). Remember the 50 lbs of carrots I got last summer? There are all kinds of great places waiting to be discovered right around you.

Those are a few of the tips that I can think of. What about you, do you have any great grocery shopping ideas?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bloomin' the Best We Can

I found this pretty surprise as I was going into the workshop (a.k.a. home of all that won't fit in the house) and it was tucked behind another plant, trying its hardest to peek around and get noticed. It was twice as big as any of the other rose blooms, seeming to say, "Winter's right around the corner and I'm giving it all I've got while I can." It's such a pretty red and has a yellow center. Giving it your all can lead to some amazing results.

That leads me into what I wanted to mention to you today. I came across something in a book that I was rereading yesterday morning while I ate breakfast. I hadn't noticed it the first time. (Rereading can also offer pretty, maybe I should say pleasant, surprises.) The issue was women and prayer. Here's the quote from Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy--"...why do we need to lift up our voice in prayer? Because it's not good for women to be silent. We need to get real life off our chests. Get whatever's bedeviling us out into the open, so that we can get on with it. We can't do that when we're stuck, and women do get stuck, in a kind of self-destructive holding pattern, when they're silent...women pray because we need to talk to Someone who's really listening."

It was so true and said in a way that made so much sense. We all know having a prayer life is important, but it always seems to be the greatest struggle. Why is that? Because, it has the potential to be our greatest strength! As women, we are constantly talking things through in our heads. This is what I want to say to...I should have said...I wish I could tell this person...I need to talk to him about... What a valuable resource we are missing out on!

All those things do not have to just rattle around in your brain (with most never seeing the light of day). To get what we so need, to do what we were created to do, we simply need to turn those thoughts into prayers. "Lord, this is what I want to say to (insert person), help me to choose my words correctly and give me the opportunity to speak. I pray that as I do, I would have the opportunity to demonstrate your love in my speech, my tone, and my actions." It can be as simple as "Lord, this is what was said to me. It makes me madder than I don't know what, and you're gonna have to help me sort this out."

We were designed to be talkers. We're just not talking to the right person! Your friends are willing to listen, your kids are forced to, and (bless his poor heart) your husband's trying, but they're the wrong ones. At least until we've gone to the right one first. If we would just do that, we would be amazed at the difference in our lives. I imagine 90% of the things we're just busting at the seams to tell someone would be let go of without uttering a word to anyone but Him. Think of the needless conflict we'd be spared. Prayer is meant to give God our heart, to lay it all out in honest conversation with Him and allow Him to heal us, to help us, to instruct us, so we can get on with the task of living...So maybe we should be like my sweet little rose, let's know our time is limited and put all our effort into having our full impact.

For today's post, I'm linking up with Rednesday. Be sure to visit all the other people too, and especially our sweet host at http://suelovescherries.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bring on the Fall Y'all...and some muffins...and a little something new

Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this today. I had to charge my camera battery and then got caught up trying to fix a facebook account for the blog. I managed to get both done. Be sure to add Simple Southern Suburbia to your friends on facebook. Slowly but surely I'm creeping into the technological age.

It's 80 here today. Not exactly what some of you would consider fall weather, but we'll take what we can get. It's so nice to have the windows thrown open. It's not really hot, not really cold, and that's just perfect for me. In the deep south we don't have a lot of changing of the foliage and such. We make our fall known with decorations, the food we eat (but no, I'm not a turnip green kind of girl, even if I am from down here). One way I mark fall is with the smells in my house (no, not the boy kind--although they'd probably be happy to oblige). Some of my favorites are Bath & Body Works' Gourmet Spice Hand Soap and especially their Leaves variety of scented oil. It'll make your house smell so nice. (It's also one of the only ones that doesn't bother my asthma.) Febreeze also makes a nice Cinnamon Sugar & Home scent, for when you do have smells of the boy kind.

One of the other things I've been up to today is making us some muffins. I figured I'd take some pictures along the way to give you a better idea. They're probably my favorite muffins of all time. You can't beat the topping. It'd be great on other muffins as well. Enjoy!

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 c. butter, melted

1/3 c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a mixer, combine bananas, egg, and butter; mix well. Add in dry ingredients. Fill greased muffin pan. Combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes. Remove to cooling rack. Yields 1 dozen.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

When I opened up my home page for the internet this morning, I clicked on one of those little "news" blurbs. It was about a political commentator for one of the cable networks who'd been suspended. Now I'm not really interested in having a political blog or engaging in a debate, no, my thoughts are more about the comments that were left regarding the story. There were 247 comments when I looked and scanning down some of them I did not see one that was really anything other than calling names from one side to the other or a profusion of asterisks and pound signs.

Here's my beef...whatever happened to stating an opinion or belief in an intelligent, thought-provoking way? Why can people no longer seem to have differing opinions without treating the opposing side like they are morons? Why do they not realize that when all they can do is scream or use profanity that they simply make their argument appear juvenile and weak?

I think it's mostly television. First, because all that we're offered on television is a bunch of people screaming profanity at each other and drowning in self-esteem. This seems to be how it is, reality shows or political commentators or dramas. I think we've lost "news", real journalism. I would love for someone to offer a source that provided straight facts and assumed we had enough intelligence to decipher information for ourselves and form our own opinion based on facts. Right or left, conservative or liberal, I'm tired of everyone else's opinion. I would love to be able to have my own without being piled into some group and labeled. The other factor that leads to this problem is--us. We don't really want to think for ourselves. We don't want to read more than a blurb or pay attention longer than a sound bite. And we become immune to the attitudes and language that would have left us incredulous a few years earlier.

What's the answer? I don't know. Do I think someone will step up and offer us an alternative? No, not really. Do I think the world's going to change and start acting nice and talkin' sweetly? I'm not counting on it. But I can make choices--to pay attention to what I'm allowing on my television (Is it worthy of my time? Am I really comfortable with the things they are saying or how they are saying them?) and make more of an effort with forming my own opinions and gathering my own information. Enough of my belly-achin'. That just rubbed me the wrong way at 5 o'clock in the morning.

Let's think on something a little more positive--supper. I did manage to make a menu list for this week. I bet you all thought I'd forgotten about those. Here's what we're having at our house this week.

Monday--Roast with Potatoes and Carrots, Biscuits
Tuesday--Potato Soup and BLT Sandwiches
Wednesday--Chicken Casserole, Green Beans, Oatmeal Rolls
Thursday--Fritomale Casserole, Fruit Cups
Friday--French Dip Sandwiches (with the leftover roast), Oven Fries, Carrot Sticks
Saturday--Homemade Pizza

Friday, November 5, 2010

Garbage Dump Trophies

This incident happened when my oldest son was much smaller. I wrote it down then so I'd always remember and, for some reason, thought it was the right thing to share with you today on Food for Thought Friday.

Garbage Dump Trophies

My son brought home a treasure from the dump yesterday. Don't worry, that's not where we do all our shopping. Although, if you knew my love of a good bargain, it's understandable. No, he went with my mom to see about some free compost they offer there that she'd heard about in her gardening class.

On the road that leads to the dump, they were behind a truck loaded down with things someone no longer wanted. My little boy spied something on the back of that truck that he thought looked wonderful. It was a box full of trophies.

He was sure it was a mistake. No one would ever get rid of something so beautiful. They followed the truck all the way to the dump. Then, in a move that only a grandmother would make--and no mother would appreciate--my mom stopped and asked the man for the box of trophies.

They called on their way home so excited. He was supposed to spend the night with her, but he wanted to come on home so he could show his treasure to his brother. He showed up with a box full of shiny gold trophies.

Some little boy had been very athletic--there were ones for football, soccer, baseball, and basketball. I can only imagine the number of trips to the ball field,or times his mother had to fix snacks for the team (she has my sympathy and respect). All his agility had now earned my son a box of beauty that, by the way, smelled horribly of mothballs.

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he started taking them all out and making a display in our garage. There were so many of them! I was wondering what his dad would say when he got home, and where he would park.

But something occurred to me. We're all like Jack. We catch sight of someone elses treasure. We can't believe how good it looks. We try to figure out how we can get some for ourselves. If we get it, we may even think it's great--for a while. But eventually, we realize it was just baggage they were hauling and then we're stuck with the junk too. Whether it's nicer houses, newer cars, or celebrity bodies, we're apt to be chasing down a box full of trophies.

So we played with the trophies. We threw away the smelly box and made room for Daddy's truck. We'll hold onto this treasure for a bit. There's a great object lesson spread out at my feet. And it'll remind me not to keep looking at other people's "boxes". But I don't think I'll send him to the dump with Granny any time soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kids Craft Ideas for Next Year

Hi there! We are battling the ick at our house. Not the fish kind of ick, just the congestion kind with a serving of stomach virus. Fun times at our house. Now you know why I didn't get to blogging yesterday. The moments I did feel like dragging to the computer, my brain couldn't think of a thing to say! I've got to take one of the kids to the doctor, but I thought I'd stop long enough to show you a few cute things that Meredith brought home from school. They're simple craft ideas to do with your kids. You might want to save them for next fall or adapt them for other uses (like, it'd be easy to turn the cat into a bunny by changing the color of the plates and elongating the ears or using the spider when telling Little Miss Muffett). Have a great (germ-free) day.

Isn't this a cute cat? Just two paper plates hot-glued together with features added.

Handprint bat. You could easily change it around a little and make handprint birds.

A little spider that swings on his web.

And the artist, giving us a pose.

They dressed up last Saturday and visited neighbors. We don't allow anything scary. Meredith wanted to be a princess. She had on another, very elaborate dress that was so pretty, but declared it too itchy and put on this play outfit. The boys are harder to figure out each year as they get older--Ry was a hunter (see the bag I made for his candy) and Jack was a fisherman who collected his candy in a tacklebox.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Squirrel Power

Meredith's class had cupcakes and she brought home these two little squirrel ring toppers that were on them. She gave one to me and I put it on. She reached over with the one she had on, clinked them together, and shouted "Squirrel Power." Is this anything like having my Wonder Twins power activated? I already kind of had the shape of a squirrel, I didn't need more of that. Maybe I'm now able to scurry about or climb trees with ease...or maybe I can dodge traffic in a single bound. Whatever my new powers, I suddenly have the hankering to bury all my pecans in the yard.

I didn't get around to the cookies last night, but I did make the muffins. And they were yummy. I'm calling them Home Ec Muffins--not because I took home ec and got the recipe there, but because the original recipe came from a home ec teacher and is one she uses with her class. I tinkered and modified to work with what I had. The crumbs I used were vanilla wafers because that's what I had a little of in the pantry. I bet it'd taste great with gingersnap crumbs too. If you'd like to try it her way, use graham cracker crumbs instead, use half the amount of nuts and add a 1/2 cup of raisins, and change the nutmeg to allspice.

Home Ec Muffins
These muffins tasted great and were very moist. You could serve them for breakfast or as a substitute for a roll at supper.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. vanilla wafer crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 c. chopped pecans

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg; beat well. Stir in applesauce and vanilla. Combine flour, crumbs, cinnamon, baking soda, and nutmeg; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in pecans. Fill greased or lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool for five minutes before removing. Makes 12 muffins. Serve warm.

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Monday, November 1, 2010

A Little Quick Comfort

It's turned into another busy day and I'm behind on my posting. I'll have to get back with you on the menus for the week, but here's a plan for supper tonight--Quick Comforting Chicken, Biscuits, Fried Apples. Also, I'm planning to make some muffins and some cookies today, they're both new recipes. I'll let you know tomorrow how they turn out.

Quick Comforting Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in strips
1 onion, sliced
1 1/2 c. cooked carrots
1/4 c. butter
1 (15 oz.)can of whole potatoes
1 c. whipping cream
1 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a large skillet, cook chicken, onion, and carrots in butter until chicken is browned. Add potatoes. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the cream, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Serves 4.