Friday, November 30, 2007

Bucket Head

This is Megan's new thing.

She puts this bucket on her head then runs around with the giggles. Just a typical evening at our home. Who needs television when you have a 16 month old for entertainment!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kid Crafting Fun: Christmas Trees

A couple of afternoons a week I watch a 16 month old little boy and a 4 year old little girl. Most days I am busy with the two little ones and the 4 year old doesn't always get to do something special. With Christmas around the corner I thought it would be fun to something special for her.

I am going to have a craft afternoon one day a week until Christmas. To make it even more fun for her I decided to invite over my 4 and 5 year old nieces. They were very excited.

We made Christmas trees by gluing a green triangle and a brown rectangle onto a piece of red card stock. To decorate the tree I had cut tissue paper into squares and balled it up. The girls then glued the tissue paper onto their trees. To top it off I used some star garland and cut the stars apart.

Here is a trick from my old days of teaching preschool: pour glue into a cup, then let the kids use a paint brush to apply the glue. They love this because they feel like they are painting and you no longer have half of the bottle squeezed out on the paper!

There you have it, a simple easy craft that the girls loved!

Meeting Santa

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fun with Candy Canes

Here are the directions:

Place candy canes on a foil lined cookie sheet. Be sure top and bottom of candy cane are touching. Bake at 240 for 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool for about 2 minutes and remove to cooling rack. (if you allow to cool too long on cookie sheet it will be difficult to remove) You can then clear coat them to prevent them from becoming sticky.

My first thought was to use these as these as tie ons for gifts. After making them and realizing how cute they are I am now thinking about attaching a picture to a piece of thin cardboard and gluing it onto the back. I think these would make cute picture ornaments for grandparents! Any other ideas?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mail Call!

I usually mail out my Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving. This year I missed my Friday deadline, but I had them ready to deliver to the post office on Saturday. I love getting Christmas cards. For me it is one of the best things about Christmas!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

My day started later than anticipated due to a restless little one last night. We hurried off to the grocery this morning and are now in full swing with baking.

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I will be back on Monday. Don't forget to count your blessing, I know I have lots to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cinnamon Pancake Mix & Morning Sunshine Syrup Mix

3 cups flour
4 T sugar
2 T baking powder
4 1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/4 t salt

To make pancakes:

Mix together 3/4 cup milk, 1 egg and 2 T oil. Then add 1 1/2 cups of pancake mix. Makes 10 5 inch pankcakes.

These are my all time favorite pancakes. I love the flavor the cinnamon provides.

Morning Sunshine Syrup

1/4 c brown sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t nutmeg

Add mix to saucepan; stir in 1/3/4 cups apple cider. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and is bubbly. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sisters' Swap: Cozy

I received my swap package on Friday. Let me just say that I was so excited. I pulled my shoe box out of the box and saw that it was a black shoe box size photo box wrapped in a red ribbon with snowflakes on it. Very cute and I have so many uses for the box!

Thanks to a box loaded with newspaper Megan was having a blast and I had some time to go through my box.

Look at all those goodies. I received a feathered bird, delicious smelling candles, a snowman dishtowel, socks, the cutest tea. One says Christmas Eve tea and the other Christmas Day tea! Very clever! A grow your own Christmas tea kit. Three Christmas ornaments, a cute little guy sitting on a bell, a bell that says "Jingle with Joy for Jesus" and little snowman that was made by Amy's mom. Very creative! Some orange simmer, filled with dried oranges, cinnamon sticks and such. I could not wait to try this out. It smells wonderful! And to finish it off there a large bell shaped cookie cutter that I will be trying it out very soon! Amy thank you very much for your thoughtful package!

This what I included in my package to Amy.

Two of my favorite magazines, Country Sampler and Country Home. Some handmade thank you cards. Two cinnamon apple candles, which are my favorite! Cinnamon Pancake Mix and Morning Sunshine Syrup mix. (I will post the mix recipes later.) A book, The Twelve Blessings of Christmas. A fall dishtowel with a pumpkin on it and a pumpkin scented sachet. Since Amy and I both like snowmen I made sure to include a snowman figure.

I am not sure if it was more fun sending or receiving! A huge thank you to Monica and Carrie for all the hard work they put into this swap!

Stop by to visit Carrie to see more wonderful swap packages.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Prayers Needed

When I checked my e-mail before turning in last night there was one with a plea for prayer. Currently there is a family in China adopting their first child and tragedy has struck. The family received their daughter, Hannah and finalized their adoption with China. Before they were able to secure the visa to bring their daughter to the US the father died. He had some complications due to diabetes and passed away in a local hospital. If losing your husband isn't bad enough this lady might loose her daughter!

Our government is declining this lady a visa to bring her daughter home. They state that since the family structure has changed she would have to re-file paperwork and they can not guarantee the outcome! Their return flight was scheduled for Saturday and the mother is currently stuck in China. There have been thousands of calls logged into her home state of Michigan pleading for help. They are asking that no more calls be placed to the government of Michigan. Her senators office is working on this. The only thing left to do is pray that little girl gets to return home with her Mommy!

Since I received this e-mail last night I have not been able to get this family off of my mind. I don't know them personally, but my heart breaks for them. Please pray for them!

You can find out more here.


Several people are posting that Hannah has been issued a travel visa. They should be leaving China with the rest of their travel group on Saturday!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter; melted and cooled
2 eggs; beaten
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz chocolate chips (6 oz of mini chips is all I had on hand)

Mix flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. In separate bowl beat eggs and add rest of your wet ingredients. Make a well in your dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Mix until just combined. Add chips. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This and That

I have lots of things swimming around in my head. My list of things to accomplish keeps getting longer and honestly I have been less then motivated to get things done. Do you ever have times like that?

Here are some of the things on my list:

*Clean the living room and hallway carpet.
*Call my mother-in-law to see what I need to bring for Thanksgiving dinner.
*Work on Christmas craft projects.
*Clean out the craft/coat closet so I can find things for craft projects.
*Make my Christmas baking list and make list of ingredients needed.
*Decide where to safely put Christmas tree. (I am not worried about Megan, but I watch a 15 mo old boy a few afternoons a week, he is a handful!)
*Wrap Christmas gifts.
*Print out Christmas card address lablels.
*Pick out picture to go in Christmas cards.

After I wrote it out it does not seem so overwhelming. Let's just see if I can actually make myself do these things!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What's in Your Fridge?

Megan loves it when I open the refrigerator. She always toddles right over to have a look inside. The other day when I turned to set something on the counter she must have decided she needed a break. You never know what you might find in the fridge!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Celebrating: Veteran's Day

Yesterday Chuck was off work to celebrate Veteran's Day. It is always nice to have him home for an extended weekend. I had several things planned to celebrate the day. Things did not work out the way I planned. For no reason except life. Oh well, there is always next year.

We did celebrate some. I made a card for Chuck thanking him for his service to our country and then cut brownies into the shape of stars.

My family has a tradition of serving our country. My dad during Vietnam, Chuck during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, my brother-in-law served in Bosnia, I have another brother-in-law currently in Afghanistan, not to mention several cousins on active duty. A big thank you to our past, present and future men and women who serve our great country!

Brown Paper Dispenser

Remember this post about the brown paper Chuck brought home from work? Last night he called me into the garage and surprised me with this:

A dispenser for the very large roll of brown papers! What a thoughtful thing for him to do. This will make it so much easier to use this!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Great Find

Has anyone checked out Crystal's new blog, If not, you should. She posted about a new program that Kroger and their affiliates have. You are able to download coupons onto your Kroger card. When you check out you scan your card to use your uploaded coupons and you can also use paper coupons (which they double up to $0.50)!

Here is what I was purchased last night:

Cascade on sale for $3.00 - $1.00 eSaver coupon + $1.00 paper coupon = $1.00

Oral B Advantage Toothbrush $2.00 - $1.00 eSaver coupon + $1.00 paper coupon = FREE

I also had a coupon to receive a $20.00 gift certificate for any new or transferred prescription (up to three). We had two prescriptions filled, so I now have $40.00 in gift cards to spend.

I have a Kroger almost directly behind my street so I am excited about this program. Thanks for the heads up Crystal!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hard Boiled Eggs

Okay, I admit it I have a problem making hard boiled eggs. Well, maybe I should say did have. My issue has been two fold, either the yolk wasn't completely done when I cut into the egg or it was so done that it was starting to turn gray. According to Martha this is how to make the perfect hard boiled egg.

Place eggs in pan. Cover with 1 in of water and cover pan. Bring slowly to a boil over medium heat. Turn off burner and let eggs sit for 12 minutes. Remove to ice water.

That is it! For so many years I have messed this up and look how easy they are to make. I guess maybe I should have looked up the directions before now. Oh well, live and learn. Now I am off to make egg salad. Yum!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wish List

While cleaning out the garage this weekend we ran across an old Christmas list I had given Chuck. This is what was on my list: kick plate for front door, flannel pj's, wishing well flower box, barn birdhouse, window flower boxes, something Americana for over our bed, and last but not least on the list was baby.

I did not receive all of these things for Christmas that year, but I did receive them all over time. The only thing on the list that had not been marked off was baby. After appearing on my wish list for many, many years we were able to mark this off!

I guess what I am trying to say is if you really want something never stop dreaming, wishing and praying for it. You never know your wish just might come true!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Carmel Apples

I recently made carmel apples. I stumbled across a wonderful product. No more peeling the wrappers off tons of carmels! The package covers five apples. There is no way we could eat all five apples, so I shared some with our neighbor.

I slid each apple into a lollipop bag (left over from this project)and added a tag with twine. "A is for Apple", "Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!" and "Apple of my Eye" is what was written on the tags.

Our dear neighbors are pretty much home bound for health reasons. Not only were they appreciative of the treat, but they especially liked the visit. A great reminder that sometimes it is the gesture that matters most!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Busy Weekend

My weekend was busy, but productive. There was a lot on the To Do list and we accomplished much of it.

*Christmas cards signed. Check
*Christmas pictures scheduled. Check. For next Monday.
*Return a pair of pants. Check.
*Buy a shirt for pictures. Check.
*Patio furniture and outside toys put away. Check
*Help neighbor put their things away for winter. Check
*Put away Megan's summer/too small clothes. Check.
*Clean out garage. Partial Check, very close to done.
*Finish a project for my swap box. Check.
*Breakfast with father-in-law. Check.
*Help my sister hang wallpaper border. Check.

The only thing that was not completed was to tidy up all of the flower beds. It was too cool to have Megan outside for long. It may not get done since they are predicting a few snowflakes this week! I just love beginning the week feeling on top of things!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Grocery Day

I usually do major grocery shopping once a month. I do pop in occasionally for milk, sale items and sometimes this and that during the month. I admit that I shop at the big box store. You know the one that begins with W. It beats all of the other stores in my area for price. My local store is great about going through and marking down items that are on sale at other stores and they even price match. I do get frustrated sometimes while shopping there and if it weren't for having a tight shopping budget I would go elsewhere.

On this shopping trip I was looking for oranges. My little one is a huge fruit fan, especially oranges. I picked up the best looking oranges and the tag said "Fresh from South Africa." Hum, how fresh can they be if they are from South Africa? I opted for oranges that didn't look quite so pretty, but at least they were grown here in the states. I know I shouldn't be shocked that they are bringing in "fresh" fruit and veggies from overseas, but what happened to supporting your local farm or at least farms here in the States. Ok, that is the end of my rant!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Our Ladybug

We had great weather for Halloween. Megan went to visit a couple of our neighbors then we headed off the Grammi and Grandpa's. There we meet up with my sister and her kids. On our way home we stopped by the see Grandma for a few minutes.

Look at all this good stuff! I wonder if this taste good?