Monday, December 18, 2017

Lunch Adventures

(Posted a week late because - life.)

Today's lunch was an adventure.
The day started hard for me. I had no energy, I stayed up late working on an alteration and then once I went to bed it was up a couple times to comfort the girls, a couple times for pregnancy discomfort.. just very little sleep. When the girls woke up I was dragging, we had power bars for breakfast because we're out of cereal and I just wasn't fixing breakfast.
Finally when lunch time rolled around I was feeling a little more alive and as Jerusha brought me a red potato asking if we could play baseball with it I decided, "no, but let's cook it for lunch, okay?" And that became the plan;  we'd make breakfast for lunch.

We diced up a couple red potatoes and put them in the skillet with butter, olive oil, and some seasonings. I pulled the eggs out of the refrigerator. So I had the start to a decent breakfast for lunch but it needed the “fluff”. I needed to whip up a batch of pancakes.. or biscuits.. or something.. something like doughnuts. (Doughnuts? Donuts? I never know..)

I’d been wanting to try doughnuts out for awhile so I pulled up Pinterest on my phone looking for a ‘quick cake donut recipe’ and thumbed through the donut section of my go-to recipe book. I quickly discovered donuts aren’t a ‘quick’ recipe but since I’m not one to let following exact instructions stand in my way I settled on a recipe and went for it, skipping the ‘refrigeraterate for one hour’ part.

They really turned out okay. No thanks to Éowyn who kept pulling a chair up and hanging on me as I tried to quickly cut and fry three at a time. My oil kept getting too hot because I was using such a tiny pan and being inconsistent with my timing. I was frustrated with Wyn and kept putting her down telling her to “just leave me alone for a few minutes”. Jerusha, ever the wonderful sensitive sister stood up on the chair and yelled at me “hey, don’t be angry at my Wyn sister” then she leaned her head on to my arm and began petting me “You is awesome at this Mommy, You is just awesome at making  food. Wyn is okay, okay?”
The failings of my donuts were (1) the oil temperature fluctuating too much and (2) the dough not being chilled so being difficult to work with and being dense from lack of proper rising. A couple soaked up a little too much grease but over all I was happy with them.
On another day, with proper planning ahead, I’d like to do it again.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Infamous Scarf

You may recall my mention of this scarf back in 2015 when I was resolving to complete unfinished projects...

When Wesley and I were engaged in the fall of 2013 we picked out this yarn together and I started knitting away.
It's been so long that I honestly don't even remember the details that led to that happening but I think it was something down the lines of:
Wesley: Scarves are never long enough to wrap around my neck and tuck into my coat right.
Me: Really? Pick some yarn out and I can knit you one!
.....who knew I meant I could with four years time? :P

So, I've finally completed it and in time for the cold season four years later. Obviously I never worked very faithfully on it or it wouldn't have taken so long. I am by no means a fast knitter but this fall when I got it back out to work on and did so in every minute of spare and idle handed time I made good progress and more than doubled what had taken me three years thus far. My problem was always paying enough attention to knitting in order to keep up with the pattern so this year with being home alone so many evenings, the girls tucked sleeping into bed, I would work for a couple hours or just half an hour a night and it went pretty quickly.

I am so very excited to have finished this and I'm pretty sure Wesley is more excited to finally have it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


As part of the Smith Family Thanksgiving Gift Exchange we joined together to fill goodie bags for the kiddo's who aren't old enough to participate in buying gifts..

I decided to make playdough and followed my sister's  recipe. I actually chose to double it the color individual chunks as to her way of making smaller batches and coloring each individually.

Ingredients: Oil, Flour, Salt, Water, Cream of Tartar, dye and glitter

"cooked" and ready to color

It was about 11PM and I'd already put her in bed but she sweetly peaked in the kitchen and said "You waking me up mommy" so I let her stay up and help. It ended up being a lot of fun and she got quite the kick out of telling everyone she made her cousin's playdough :)

A lump of dough with food coloring and glitter

Jerusha enthusiastically kneading

This became my favorite color; teal dye with green and blue glitter

I used those handy little dressing containers in order to give each child a couple of colors. I wasn't sure they'd seal well enough but I am happy to report they did! and it's really been the perfect amount of play dough for my girls. Just enough to keep track of but not too disappointing if it starts to dry out when it gets lost under the couch..

Colored Playdough

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • Food coloring
  • Saucepan
  • 1 cup flour
  1. Combine water, oil, salt, cream of tartar, and food coloring in a saucepan and heat until hot.
  2. Remove from heat and add flour.
  3. Stir, then knead until smooth. The cream of tartar makes this dough last 6 months or longer, so resist the temptation to omit this ingredient if you don't have it on hand.
  4. Store this dough in an airtight container or a Ziploc freezer bag.

Thanksgiving 2017: Days of Thankfulness

I was a little nervous this years Thanksgiving was going to be a disaster as a few of my siblings had flu like symptoms just days before hand. I was so worried about avoiding sickness that I went as far as to avoid my family for an entire five days, and I brought ingredients to my house in order to stay ahead of the game and get Mexican Wedding Cookies done.

I spent Thanksgiving in all of my favorite ways. Starting the week before by making 281 Coconut Bonbon's with siblings. Sickness then occurred and I made 182 Mexican Wedding Cookies from the comfort of my healthy home. Tuesday it was back to my parents as sickness seemed to have subsided and with a little help from a couple siblings I made 257 Buckeyes.

Wednesday it was back for Pie Day. This years selection was 2 Pumpkin, 2 Caramel Pecan, 1 Apple, 1 Apple Cranberry, 2 French Silk, 1 Mincemeat, and 1 Lemon Meringue. I left before the French Silk were made but Thursday I was happy to see Shelby had pulled through and completed them.

Thursday morning after having our own little family breakfast we headed to my family's where we first passed out our Thankful Gifts to the family before we all worked on setting up tables, putting out table settings, and finishing the food. I added my own-made-by-myself-not-a-traditional-dish Creamy Corn to the spread which was exciting to me. This years spread was a Turkey my Dad smoked, a roasted turkey by mommy, a ham, Stuffing, Oyster Dressing, Home-made Noodles, Greenbean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Creamed Corn, Grandma Nancy's Orange Sauerkraut, Layer Salad, Cranberry Relish, Cranberry Jello Salad, Stuffed Celery, and Mommy's Rolls. I think that's it..

The rest of the expected family arrived and we commenced feasting.

We played games, ate lots of pie and treats, and ended the evening with leftover sandwiches on the few leftover rolls. The guys all played basketball and probably some football, I stayed inside and pigged out.

Friday morning the girls, Wesley and I were up reasonably early and headed back to my family's where we had our traditional pie for breakfast along with some beautifully fried over easy eggs and sausage links, courtesy of my mom who believes in protein for breakfast ;)

We hung out Friday playing games, the guys target shooting, and feasting again on leftovers. We also had a very brief visit from my sister Avery and her little family, so, for a couple minutes this Thanksgiving season ALL 14 of my siblings (counting myself) were together! <3

Saturday morning we headed over to the Smith's as they were celebrating Thanksgiving then. We participated in the family gift exchange, I'm excited about the gift I received and will likely devote a blog post to it before long, and followed that with more feasting. We had another fairly traditional dinner and spent teh rest of our day hanging out and playing games.

That sums up how Thanksgiving 2017 went for us. Perfectly. We have so many things to be Thankful to God for and focusing on it for a few days a year will always make up my favorite days of the year.

Thanksgiving 2017 - Making it Our Own

If you know me in real life or have followed my blog for a year, you'll know that Thanksgiving is my most favorite Holiday, and quite possibly day, of the year. This year was no exception.

This year for the first time I focused a lot of effort and thought on making Thanksgiving important to our own family. I love celebrating Thanksgiving with my family and all the traditions that have accumulated that make it such a special day, I also love that my girls are getting to share in those things; this year, however, I realized I want to nurture the same love and reverence for Thanksgiving in our children that I have, and for that to happen I have to put more focus on why Thanksgiving is important to us and not just why it's important in general. There needs to be some focus on just their immediate family; first and foremost thanking God for blessings to our own little family, and meditating on why I am thankful for Wesley and the girls, therefore setting an example of how they can think of things about each other, their daddy, and I, to be thankful for.

Things we did to make Thanksgiving important to our own little family:

Wesley's gifts to me <3
(1)Thankfulness gifts. Wesley and I have actually done this for every year we've been a couple and I've done it for my parents and siblings for years before that.
This year was especially fun because we got to include the girls with them knowing what gifts are. Last year we got Jerusha a lego train set which excited her but this year for the week prior to Thanksgiving she knew the little wrapped boxes on the piano were for her and Wyn, it was fun to see her excited by it. We chose to get the girls little Elsa and Anna figurines and the movie Frozen. For months now Jerusha has knelt in the checkout line of Walmart as we're being rung out and perfectly obediently has talked to the little dolls, never once asking for one or throwing a fit when it was time to leave them, so, we felt like it was the perfect, special little gift. She was so thrilled Wednesday night as we sat around our dinning room table opening our gifts. Her giggling in pure joy as she unwrapped it and realized what it was, she was excited for Eowyn as well and kept explaining that Elsa and Anna are sisters "just like we are, my Wyn sister!" Sometimes I hear her pretending Wyn is Anna and talking in character as she has seen the movie so many times she has it memorized.

(2)For the first time this year I made our own "We Give Thanks" chart. Something I've done for my family for years and participated in now that I'm married but this year Wesley and I wrote on our own and I'm excited to keep it for years to come and get it out every Thanksgiving season to reflect on the little blessings of our past years.
"We Give Thanks - 2017"

(3)And our last little new possible tradition we did this year was to have a special breakfast together before heading to my family's. I fixed a Jalapeno Popper Quiche and Cranberry Apple Scones. The quiche was delicious as ever but the scones weren't all that special, if we continue this breakfast thing as a tradition I will put more effort into it in the years to come and make something more rare - a tea ring or perhaps a Poticia Roll...
Breakfast as a family :)

After our breakfast we gathered up our belongings and  headed to my family's where the rest of our traditional Thanksgiving continued.

Something else I always do to make Thanksgiving all that more exciting to me is picking out new or at least nice outfits to wear. I put the girls both in special dresses and dressed up myself, doing my make-up and wearing something more than just a regular going-to-dinner-at-my-family's outfit.
Wesley's gifts to me were a travel journal,
an awesome photo album meant just for my fujimax
pictures, and this snazzy travel themed locket. 

Boots and socks were my gift to Wesley. The cool socks are
not pictured because he took them to work ;)

Next post... More about Thanksgiving: How the rest of our Thanksgiving day(s) went :)

Friday, November 10, 2017

{Foodie Post No.13} Pumpkin Chip Muffins

(Post written on Tuesday)

These are some of my favorite Muffins. Well, assuming it's not possible for all types to be my favorite. I love muffins; blueberry, cranberry orange, apple spice, there isn't a single variety I can think of that I wouldn't gobble down one or two of at the moment.
But these, these will always be a go-to favorite of mine.  The combination of pumpkin and chocolate is off putting or odd seeming to some but let me assure you, they are a match made in heaven. They perfectly compliment the other and are absolutely the best fresh from the oven when the chocolate is still warm and the pumpkin muffin incredibly moist.
I made these for breakfast this morning. 
Éowyn drug me from bed at 7:30 demanding "befst" and it took me 15 minutes to mix these up and get them into the oven. 
To be honest these are not the prime example of these muffins and I feel a little bad posting them but who knows when I'll next make them but this is the season for pumpkin and I know you need this recipe now. So, they're getting blogged today.

I had three quarters of a can of pumpkin in the fridge but this calls for a whole can. I often cut the recipe in half but the last thing I wanted was a quarter can of pumpkin left. I was debating between putting less in a full batch or putting too much in a half batch but I hate altering recipe's that are already the. best. I only throw things around in the kitchen with recipe's that are just 'okay'. So there I was debating what to do when I reached in the fridge to get the can and noticed a plate of left over sweet potato casserole, probably exactly a 1/4 of a 15 ounce can's worth. Problem solved; full batch coming up, also first error to the recipe, sweet potato casserole in place of a small amount of pumpkin. Next I had gotten to adding the dry ingredients when I realized I only had a cup and a half of flour while the recipe calls for 3. Thankfully I had whole wheat flour to finish it off with but, error number two, all purpose flour and whole wheat are not equal.

I'd also like to note that you'll see my muffins are in paper liners. I do not prefer to use paper liners for my muffins but I had two hungry girls asking when they'd have breakfast and putting paper into the muffin tin was slightly faster than greasing each by hand with a paper towel and crisco; I've avoided buying non-stick spray for all of my married life and I'm still not ready to give in. As long as Crisco and paper towels/coffee filters are cheaper that'll probably be my method, of course until convenience wins out ;) Also, I'm not convinced my baked goods need aerosol added, that stuff is only allowed in my redi-whip because goodness knows cool whip is an unacceptable substitute and you don't always have time to whip up Heavy Whipping Cream only to watch it deflate as it waits to be used.  
Note: I have to say that as we've been eating these muffins for the last few days the ones lined with paper actually stayed moist longer, which, I guess makes sense now that I'm thinking about it. 

So there you have it, the reasons I feel like this isn't up to blogging par but the truth is this muffin recipe is so good that in spite of these issues, these muffins were still amazing. 
Also, my pictures didn't turn out all that great; we were in a hurry to eat them and couldn't waste time "staging", sorry, but not really. They were delicious and worth skipping perfect pictures for. Please, do yourself a favor and make these, you will understand.
I'm also editing this to say the chocolate chips in this recipe magically multiply. Every time I make these I am amazed how each bite of every single muffin is filled with chocolate chips. It's not logical but make them and see if I'm not right, every muffin will have a handful of chocolate...


First batch cooling

The girls enjoyed their muffins with cups of milk while I had mine with coffee ;)

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

4 Eggs
2 cups Sugar
1 16oz (You'll likely only find 15 nowadays and it'll work) can of Pumpkin Puree
1 cup Oil
3 cups Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 cups Chocolate Chips

Mix wet ingredients. 
Add dry and mix until smooth.
Fill lined or greased muffin tins 2/3 to 3/4 full. 
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes

Yield: 24-30

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sneaking Sprinkles

Yesterday while I was busily working away in a different room I realized the girls were being suspiciously content out of sight...
I found them sitting on the kitchen counter eating sprinkles straight from the bottle.
I'm not always what I'd consider a 'good mom', I'm probably a 'lazy mom' if I'm honest. If I can make my children happy with little effort; I do, if I can make few rules and get around constant spankings for disobeying them; I do. So when I found them sneaking sprinkles I calmed my inner monster-mommy and instead of wailing "What on earth do you think you're doing?! You aren't allowed to eat the sprinkles." I said "Girls, you can't just eat the sprinkles, we have to make cookies with them, do you want to make cookies?" and instead of putting the sprinkles in the cabinet, spanking, and spanking them throughout the days to come until they gave up on getting the sprinkles (or more likely I gave up on saving them and they were eaten), I grabbed a stick of butter, a recipe, and set the girls up next to the kitchen-aid to help me make cookies, and use those sprinkles we did.
No more mommy-daughter battles over sprinkles I've had since two Christmas's past.
A batch of sugar cookies for all to enjoy.
Everyone wins.

So maybe I am a bad mom for catering to my children's sweet tooth, maybe I should have punished and battled it out but hey, I have a sweet tooth, too and I'd rather eat cookies together than pull my hair out saving a $2 two year old bottle of sprinkles.

When I said use the sprinkles up, I meat it ;)

This is the recipe I sort of followed. I only wanted a small batch so I made 1/3 of this, with a few extra tweaks because 4 eggs don't split into thirds very well ;)