Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

When I think of fall I think of things that are full of spices. This cake fits the bill and did I mention that it has chocolate in it?!

I needed to make something to take to a pitch in. Chuck really likes a spice type cake and I like chocolate. My thought was to combine our two likes. I used my family recipe for applesauce cake and added the cocoa powder and chocolate chips.


This applesauce cake recipe is from my grandmother. It is a very moist cake and I have many memories of this cake... Aunt Dianne making it while we visited my family in Virgina... Mom using this recipe and adding fruit to make it festive for Christmas.

1 cup butter or shortening
2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs baking soda
2 1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbs corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter, gradually add sugar. Add eggs (unbeaten) one at a time. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to butter mixture. Add applesauce, corn syrup and vanilla. Pour into greased bundt pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chip on top of cake. Bake for 1 1/2 hour.

Once cool sift powdered sugar on top. Enjoy!



Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday to all of you! I didn't intend to take a blogging break last week. Life was just busy. Since we had a funeral to attend mid-week and Chuck had a scheduled day off on Friday he decided to take the week off. An unexpected, but pleasant surprise!We spent most of our time at home. Oh, how sweet that was! It was my last week to watch my niece and nephew so we were busy with the kids. Lots of fun outside playtime.I have many things on my to do list this week. Here is a peek at what I will be doing today:Although my week is already packed full of things to do I am looking forward to it. I am hopeful that I will gets many projects well on their way. I will be sharing bits and pieces of my day as the week goes by. Have a great day!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Playtime

Not far from us there is a church with a wonderful children's play area. The church is gracious enough their play area to the public. We finally made a visit this weekend.

The nice thing about this is that besides the normal swing and slides there are toys in the sandbox and cars to ride in. The play area is even fenced in!



Grandma and Grandpa (Chuck's mom and step-dad) live nearby and were happy to stop by and play!



This was the hit of our time there.


Someone had brought their bunny to play. Megan had never seen a real bunny and was very happy to love on this bunny.

A great way to spend the afternoon!

Updates

I will start with the positive stuff. Remember this post about bedtime? Things have really improved. We are turning on a nightlight when we enter her room and leaving it on until we go in to check on her. We are also allowing her to pick two books from her bookshelf. We then sit her in bed instead of laying her down. We then tell her to read to her friends.

She happily goes to bed for the evening and nap time. We don't hear a peek out of her once we put her in bed. Thanks to everyone who left comments with suggestions and encouragement!

Now that not so great, but expected news. Grandma Gerry passed away Saturday afternoon. We expected it and received a call Saturday afternoon that she was going to be removed from the ventilator.

This week will be busy. It is the last week to keep my niece and nephew. The showing is Tuesday night and the funeral is on Wednesday. So, it I am scarce this week you'll know why. Have a great week!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Grandma Gerry

We found out earlier in the week that Chuck's step-grandmother has been hospitalized and is in ICU. She was hospitalized due to pneumonia. She is not doing well at all. In the past two days her breathing has become very labored. The doctors are saying that the ventilator is basically breathing for her. She is on a very strong antibiotic and if she is not showing improvement with her breathing by Tuesday she will be removed from the ventilator.

If that wasn't bad enough we were also informed that the she has cancer of the liver. She had been treated for cancer of the pancreas last year. The conclusion is that if she doesn't pass away from complications of the pneumonia then we will lose her to the cancer. The cancer doctor said that chemo will not help her this time and that given her weakened state that the cancer will spread quickly.

Our one consolation in all this is that Gerry has strong faith and we know that when her time comes she will be going home to her Heavenly Father. Please pray that Gerry does not suffer and that the aching hearts of those who love her will be healed quickly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This & That

The picture has nothing to do with this post except I like it. It is a window box on the side of my garage.

Speaking of my garage... today the door company is coming to install our new door! Yeah! I am so ready to get rid of the plywood. It is so attractive. I never really thought about how great it is to push that button and have access to the house and garage.

I received a call today from my cousin's wife. She had received some clothes from my recent garage sale for her granddaughter. She was going on and on about how they were the best clothes she has ever gotten from a garage sale and ended up asking if I had any clothes left. Why yes. I was able to sell everything of Megan's that was left over from the sale. She is ending up with something like 7 paperboxes of clothes. I am so happy! (And so is Chuck since we won't have to store it until next year!)

I recently found out that I will no longer be caring for my niece and nephew. I currently have them four days a week. I have mixed emotions about them no longer coming. I am sad that Megan will lose her playmate and the extra money has been really nice. Since they arrive at 6:30 in the morning it has made for some long days. I have also had a few difficult moments because they parent very different then we do. I will miss them, but it is always better when mom can stay home. Since I was pre-paid through the end of the month she decided to work until then.

I have a busy day planned for today. Baking some banana and zucchini bread. Some for my father-in-law and some for the freezer. There is tons of branches and pine cones that have to be picked up before the grass can be cut. Thanks Ike! Luckily Chuck took the day off so he will be here to take care of the garage door business and to help we out with the kids.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mail Call

I was delighted when the mailman came walking up the drive with a package. I wasn't expecting anything, but I love surprises. The package contained a casserole dish from Chuck's Aunt Wanda. I have an apple themed kitchen so this dish is perfect!


Doesn't it just scream out for an apple crisp or a warm your tummy chicken casserole? Thanks Wanda, you made my day!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sit n Spin

Saturday we spent the day out and about running errands. On our way home we spotted a neighborhood garage sale and stopped to check it out. Our only purchase was a Sit n Spin.

It took Megan a few minutes to to get the hang of it. Once she figured it out, there was no stopping her.


She had a blast! She played on it for a good half hour and entertained us with her giggles and exclaims of I'm spinning. Worth every penny we spent!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Festival

One of our fall traditions is to attend a small town festival. This is something that I have been attending since I was a child. Rain is in the forecast for the entire weekend so we were trying to beat the rain by attending last night.

There were sprinkles on the drive there and then a steady rain when we first arrived. Luckily it didn't last long.


One thing I love about this festival is that it is local. You can get a hot dog and ribeye sandwich from the local Little League. Pulled Pork sandwiches from the local fire department and grilled corn on the cob from the town's United Methodist Church.

Most places were you spend the money it is going right back into the community. We ran into people we know and someone from a booth even called Chuck by name to say Hi! This is exactly the way I picture it in Mitford!


Megan played a couple of games and then we headed home. There will be a parade on Saturday, but due to the rain I don't think it will take place. My hope is that while growing up Megan will develop as many fond memories of this festival as I have.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chocolate Cobbler


Chocolate Cobbler

1 cup self rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 T plus 1/4 cup coca powder, divided
1/2 cup milk
3 T vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups hot water

Combine flour, sugar and 2 T cocoa. Stir in milk and oil until smooth. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking pan.

Combine the brown sugar and remaining cocoa; sprinkle over batter. Pour hot water over top (do not stir).

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until cake springs back with lightly touched. Serve warm.

This reminded me of one of the Betty Crocker Warm Delights. Yummy and a unique take on cobbler. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pleasant Afternoons & Cool Nights

That is exactly what we have are experiencing now. Last night the predicted low was 50 degrees. Great sleeping weather! I love sleeping with the windows open and nothing is better then waking up in the early morning hours and feeling the night chill in the air. It makes me snuggle further under the covers and I feel all cozy. I love that feeling!

Another thing this weather does to me is make me want to clean. Not just dust and vacuum, but to clean things out. I have a list a mile long of areas to declutter. Having the windows open and a cool breeze blowing through the house really motivates me.

I like to give the house a good cleaning and to thin things out before winter. Our home is not large and if there is too much stuff I start to really feel the walls closing in during the winter.

I plan to start tackling my list today. I will let you know how it is going. Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Bedtime Woes

We are entering a new phase in our home, and I don't like it! Megan has always been a good sleeper. She still is, but putting her to bed is becoming an issue.

Megan goes to bed about eight. We have a routine of brushing her teeth, she helps Daddy shut her blinds, pray and then into bed. She is having moments of not wanting to get into bed. The moments are becoming more frequent.

Over the weekend we had an issue with nap. She refused to go down. We tried to put her in her crib and she was crying and saying no and just carrying on. We were trying all the tricks and nothing was working. I ended up caving and put her on the couch for nap. She went right to sleep.

The last two nights we have had the same drama. This time we did not remove her from the crib. We did the let her cry it out thing. It was breaking my heart! I was ready to go get her but Chuck keep telling me that if we did then she would continue to throw a fit knowing we would come and get her. I know that he is correct, but still this Mama did not like it.

We are wondering if she needs to be moved out of the crib. We can remove the front and it becomes a toddler bed. She is now 26 months and I know in my head that it is probably time. Telling my heart it is time is another thing. Megan will be my only child and having her leave the crib means I have to let my baby go! I know that sounds crazy.

Do you think that moving her out of the crib will help? Any suggestions? Oh, and please be kind.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Grapes

This is the third year for our grape vine. I started to see these:


and became very excited! Last year we only had a few bunches and this year as I watched them develop I was so hopeful. As I was harvesting the grapes I wasn't sure there would be enough for much jelly.

Imagine my surprise when they were cooked down and there was not only enough for one batch, but two!


I can't wait until we are finished with the store bought jelly and are able to pop open a jar. I am imagining this sweet treat on toast and warm from the oven biscuits. Yum!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Peace and Quiet


Peace and quiet is exactly what I had last night. Oh was it nice! We had plans to go to Chuck's dad and step-mom's. I was tired and had a headache, so I stayed home.

I was in my pj's as soon as they walked out the door (about 5:30). I surfed the net a little bit, looked at the grocery ads and was just still. Surprising what you can hear when the tv is off and there is no one else in the house. The tick tock of the clock, the ice maker filling up with water and sweet, sweet silence.

I headed to bed at 7:30 with a book in hand and enjoyed my peace and quiet. How refreshing it is for the soul! Hope you are able to steal a little peace and quiet for yourself.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mishap

Yesterday afternoon there was a minor mishap at my house.

Shannon was here picking up her kids. We had chatted and they were getting ready to leave when Megan and her son had a tiff over a book. I was telling Megan to give the book back when we heard a crash and glass breaking.

We both froze and looked at each other. I said I think it came from the garage. Boy was I scared! We have had a few incidents of trouble in the neighborhood and my first thought was someone was breaking in.

Shannon's husband is a police officer and she was had his number ready to call and I had my phone and had 911 punched. I still can't believe I was this brave... I had all the kids stand by Shannon and opened the door to the garage!

I never expected to see this!


It was a hot day and Shannon had left her van running. I guess she didn't put it in park and somehow after a few minutes of sitting it rolled into our garage door!



She is completely embarrassed and can't believe that she did not put the van in park. Neither, Chuck or I are mad about this. It was an accident. We made sure to tell her that several times.

The good news is that we are both insured with the same company. That should make it much simpler. At least I hope.

Chuck removed the door last night and boarded it up. So even though we don't have a door we are nice and secure.

As much of a pain as it will be to get estimates and such I am grateful.

Grateful that she had parked so she was in the center of the garage door. Can you imagine the damage if she had hit the house. I am grateful that Megan and Connor were arguing over the book. Had they been attempting to get into the van or someone walked in front of it as it began to roll... so many things to give thanks for.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Home

As my blog says "no matter where the journey of life takes me, my heart is always home." Lately I feel like I have been home less and less, but my heart has been yearning to be here. I haven't been spending time at the lake, beach or anything exciting like that. I have just been busy and been away from my haven much to often.

As I was putting up the September calendar I was happy to see that we have nothing planned for any weekend in September. Yes! We were both happy to see that. There are things we want to do, such a trip to the Apple orchard, but it is nice to know that we are able to do it at our leisure.

Hubby even offered to take me to a local teacher supply store last night. I declined and decided to send Chuck and Megan out to drop off the recycling and water my mother-in-law's flowers.

All I can say is... it is good to be home!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Time to Gush...

About my husband, but lets start at the beginning of my weekend.

There was a garage sale planned at parents house on Saturday. Friday morning at almost 8 I received a call from my mom. A neighbor had also decided this would be a good weekend for a garage sale and had started theirs on Friday. So off I go to set up for the garage sale.

We did just okay. My parents ended up running a couple of errands during the sale and said that there wasn't much traffic out. Don't know if it is because it was a holiday weekend or just a sign of our slow economy.

We ended up eating out a couple of times this weekend. That is so bad! It is a killer on the budget, but it is so nice to do at times.

I do my major grocery shopping once a month. My mom doesn't drive so we end up doing our shopping together. I got up early to head out. I was just about ready to sneak out when I hear Megan saying "Mama? Mama?" I thought for sure she would want to go, but she stayed home with Daddy. Shopping without Megan was such a treat!

Okay, here is where the gushing starts. On my way to the store I received a call asking if I had toilet cleaner on the list. Why yes I did. He was asking because he was cleaning the bathroom!

When I was checking out I received a call from Chuck saying he was on his way to sister's house to help my brother-in-law with something. One of my first thoughts was to wonder what Megan's hair looked like.

Once I got home I opened the garage door and the washer was going. Oh.my.goodness. he was doing laundry. Oh ladies it gets better. I walked into the kitchen and I could tell that he had cooked. No cold cereal was served to my baby girl. No sir, he made eggs, sausage and toast.

The icing on the cake was when I arrived at my sister's house and not only had Chuck dressed Megan in a cute dress and combed her hair, he had pulled it up into a pony tail along with a bow!

Here is the funny/cute thing. He is not a hair kind of dad. He has tried, but just doesn't have the patients. He was afraid that it might come out before I saw it, so he took a picture as they were leaving. hehe


What can I say except... I love that man!

Okay enough gushing. I am exhausted from our busy weekend. I plan to do laundry and get my home back in order. I hope you all had a great weekend and an even better week!