Monday, December 31, 2007

Merry Christmas Morning

I want to send you pictures of our blessed Christmas Day!

It looks like Toys R Us threw up all over the living room. We are being overtaken by sharks, Buzz Lightyear, Cars, chocolates, pirates, pajamas, pillows, craft supplies, games, socks, Bioncile, Kid'nex, Magnetix, blankets, a big o'le mixer, an XBOX and outrageous fun.

Thanks, Santa and ALL your little helpers. (The little specks in the napkin are pieces of green glitter... Santa's pixie dust!)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Just a few days before Christmas Rudolph was spotted traipsing through the preschool with his red-nosed teacher extraordinaire...

The Saga of the XBox...

My Dad bought the boys an XBox for Christmas. Ooh-la-la you should have heard the excitement! Till it wouldn't work. Ptttttttttt. Nothing more disappointing than Christmas morning disappointment, eh?

The Day after Christmas Chris took the XBox back to the store and came home with a frown and a promise that they would call when they had another one in stock. Hmmmmm. Could be a week. Mmmmmmm. Grumble. Grumble.

Around dinner time they called. Yes! Chris packed all three boys into the car and went to the game store since I was out walking with my walking buddy. (He wanted it so badly he went by himself WITH the three children...) They bring the second XBox home, hook it up and moan. It doesn't work either! Can you believe it!?

I call my friend Susan and she and her family come over to share their working XBox and any assistance. Yup, our second XBox doesn't work, but they lend us their XBox for the night (yippee) and hubby is back out to the store.

He comes back with a third XBox (they had another one in stock) and wonder of wonders it works. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you there was a roach in the box, but he took care of that...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A bit of Chrismas...

I saw this over at Kerri's blog,, and thought I'd give it a whirl!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Mostly wrapping paper under the tree. I think there is something so satisfying about RIPPING off the wrapping paper to reveal a surprise. Gift bags are so handy, however, so I do use them occasionally.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. Our first Christmas my dh and I spent the whole Christmas decoration budget on a fabulous tree from Canadian Tire. It is full and huge and that first year it sported only 17 ornaments.

3. When do you put up the tree? Growing up we only decorated for Christmas after my mother's birthday, December 12th. Now we put it up early in the month before the schedule gets too busy that we can't enjoy the "atmosphere".

4. When do you take the tree down? January 6th is Epiphany and the tree HAS to be up until then.

5. Do you like eggnog? Absolutely! I also like to make eggnogg milkshakes.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I remember the Christmas my brother and I got bikes. In our family we opened gifts right after Santa left (or my parents finished wrapping...) so in the middle of the night my brother and I were riding our new bikes around the neighborhood.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Several. My favorite one is the Willow Creek one given to me by my sil.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My dh.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My boys? But, then again, they can be tough to buy for, as well.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't really have a worst Christmas gift ever, but I did win the award for worst Easter basket ever. In college, my mom mailed my Easter basket to me... complete with dyed Easter egg!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail... and they turned out so cute this year!

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? I'm not trying to sound hard and heartless, but I really don't care for any Christmas movies other than funny ones like Christmas with the Cranks or Christmas Vacation. I'm already overworked and stressed and it doesn't take more than a few minutes of an emotionally abused reindeer or a crippled donkey at the manger to turn me to a puddle of tears.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? When I find "it".

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so...You didn't like what I sent?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored, dh's choice.

17. Favorite Christmas song? You mean you are going to make me choose? Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant is beautiful.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? We used to travel. One year we would go to dh's parents'
and then the next year we would make it to my parents'. Now that dh is a pastor we really can't leave until after Christmas, if we travel...

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? *scratching brain* Does it count that I can say all the Commandments?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? A star. Kinda looks like white stained glass.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. My dh thought that opening gifts on Christmas Eve in the middle of the night was bizarre. (He's just jealous that I got my presents before him...)

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The gazillion people shopping while I'm shopping.

23. What I love most about Christmas? Decorations and cookies!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deck the Halls...

Okay, boys. You have to help me! We've invited all the people from BooMama’s site to see our Christmas decorations. Let's get busy; they'll be here any minute!

A, bring me your favorite musical toy. Did Dad replace those batteries yet?
D, are all the creches ready? Did you put the wooden one on the coffee table? Can you bring all the guys for the Fisher Price set and put them under the tree? Let's put that Willow Creek one up on the entertainment center, okay?
S, will you put all the books back in the Christmas book bin?

Hey, Look! I found Jess Jingle, our little elf. I'm going to hide him for the next person to find and rehide.
D, where should we put that Rudolph?
Does anyone know where the Christmas tree skirt is for under the tree?

D, it is your job to update the Santa counter.

A, don't eat all the treats!! Oh, you are boxing them up for gifts? Alright. Can you put a few on a plate while I brew some gingerbread tea? Let's put out a few Rolo cookies and a couple of those chewy oatmeal cranberry toffee cookies. I'll have to get the recipes. Everyone keeps asking for the recipe for those!
S, You've got to help me put this new jingle bell wreath on the door.

Okay, okay! Look cute, guys. You were hard workers and I think I hear our guests coming up the walk!

Merry Christmas everyone! May God pour out His blessings onto you today and always!

Chewy Oatmeal Cranberry Toffee Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

dash salt

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1 cup toffee baking bits

Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, baking soda and salt. With a wooden spoon, stir in the oats, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, and toffee baking bits.

Using a cookie scoop, place dough balls on a parchmant lined-pan. (They spread, so don't place the cookies too close together.) Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool for about 5 minutes on the pan and then move to cooling racks.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Conversation with Santa...

On Saturday, in a moment of sheer madness, I loaded up the three boys and headed off to WalMart. We wandered the store eating candy, cookies and visiting with Santa. (And they took your pic with him for a donation! Don't even get me started about paying for a photo with the Big Guy...) On one of our last laps around the store D found a fancy schmancy Star Wars toothbrush that plays the Star Wars theme song. What a cool toothbrush! BUT! The toothbrush was 7 dollars and 58 cents.
I told D that for that price the toothbrush would be a "gift" and he could add it to his birthday list or he'd have to ask Santa for it. "Alright," he said, warding off a tantrum, "I'll ask Santa."

Well, several hours later just D and I were at the mall. Now, I love the mall Santa. We've seen him several times this year and for the Jolly Man he runs a bit to the dry, sarcastic side- a feature I love in my Santa. :)

We march past the signs advertising their photo packages that start at 15 Big Ones. D proceeds to the sit-on-my-knee-stage of the whole Santa Shtick. He mentions the toothbrush (after all, this was just an amendment to The List, so why bother with behaviour small talk) and Santa looks at me. The following conversation ensues:

Santa: A Star Wars toothbrush. That sounds interesting.

Me: Santa, it is a very cool toothbrush, but it is $7.58.

Santa: Well, dental hygiene is very important.

Me: Yes, it is, Santa, but $7.58?

Santa: The Mrs. Clause and I have had extensive dental work done and good dental hygiene is important.

Me: Dental hygiene is important. Last year you left the boys $4 toothbrushes in their stockings and I thought those were rather generous.

Santa: (pauses and nods) Can I give him a sucker?

Me: Why, yes you can because we are going to go home and brush our teeth with our $1 toothbrushes!!
The pic is really bad, isn't it? You can't see D's face and this isn't the cool mall Santa... just adds a bit of Christmas to the post. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WFMW: "Fix It Quick"

Are you having one of those days when you can't get the dinner on the table fast enough? Just looking for something to mix up the family menus? Still looking for ways to use up all that leftover turkey? How 'bout homemade turkey pot pie? And I promise it is quick and easy.

1 refrigerator pie crust (2 circles)

1 bag of frozen mixed veggies

2 T flour

leftover turkey or 1 can of chicken (But then you will have to call this a "chicken" pot pie)

1 can of turkey or chicken pot pie soup (made by Progresso or Campbell's)
Preheat oven to 425. Place the veggies in a colander and run hot water over them to thaw them. Place one circle of pie crust into a pie plate. Mix turkey, flour and pot pie soup. Add thawed veggies. Pour pot pie filling into the pie crust. Top with the second circle of crust and do all that fancy stuff to it, including cutting some slits to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (Watch those edges! You might have to wrap the pie edges in foil.) Serve with a salad or some fruit.

And if all else fails, call the Chef to come over. Chef Boyardee. ;)

Leave a comment and wander over to Shannon's for more Works for Me Wednesday quick recipes.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Need a Laugh?

Why wouldn't the lobster share his cake?
He was shellfish!

Saturday, December 1, 2007


A few family photos taken while the relatives were here...

My older brother, my younger brother, me (the pretty one!), and my dad.

All 6 of my dad's grandkids at the zoo.

Thanks to the sitters who stayed with the kids so all 7 of the adults could go out for dinner. :)

My neices and I went to the store by ourselves. I got to go down the PINK aisle!!

More pictures to come...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So, What Will Go with the Turkey?

My family (3 children and 7 adults) is coming for Thanksgiving dinner! And while I am excited (very excited), I really haven't started planning the menu. I know we will have turkey, but what else? Laura's ( Looking Towards Heaven ) request for Thanksgiving Day menus has been just the inspiration I needed to decide what we will be eating along with that tasty bird. So, here goes...

Pumpkin Dip (ginger snaps, apple slices, and cinnamon graham sticks for dipping) and cheese and crackers for starters.

"Casa Salad" (If you live in Fort Wayne, Indiana this is as close to the house salad at the Casa restaurants as I've tasted since eating there.)

Mushroom and Sausage Stuffing (Jim is going to make this. He makes it just like Mom did, only better. :) Don't feel obligated to tell her I said that.)

Mashed Potatoes (My plan is to sweet talk Jim into making these, too. I just like his mashed potatoes. You would, too.)

Corn or a Baked Corn Casserole (Sometimes I think we try to make so many fancy dishes at a special dinner that we overlook the simplicity of uncomplicated open-the-bag-and-heat veggies.)

Some Other Vegetable (I might make creamed peas)

Raw Carrots and Dip

Praline Sweet Potatoes

Buns (store bought)

Jellied Cranberry Sauce (Straight from the can, without any bits of real fruit in there)

Turkey and Gravy

Dessert is always the hardest for me to plan because I find it very hard to make a choice! So many good things that I can bake. How to choose; how to choose?! I think I am going to make an apple pie and a gingerbread trifle. I'll also have an assortment of Christmas cookies available. (Mom's thumbprint cookies, Mom's Buttercake, chocolate Rolo cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, and I'm going to try making the Almond Joy Balls from the Paula Deen show.)

Wine, Kiddie Cocktails (see previous post), and soft drinks

Casa Salad
Assemble a salad using the following ingredients. Use amounts that please you.
lettuce (1/2 iceberg and 1/2 romaine),
chopped red, sweet peppers
chopped green onions
Italian shredded cheese mix

Place the following ingredients in a blender:
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 t oregano
3/4 t pepper
1/2 t salt
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar (This really depends on your taste... start with less and add to your liking.)
3/4 t garlic salt

Blend the ingredients while pouring in 1 cup of oil (I use canola). Drizzle over your salad, toss and enjoy with a piece of crusty bread!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW: Thanksgiving "Kiddie Cocktail"

Last Thanksgiving we were blessed that my brother's family came to visit. His three daughters joined my three sons around the Kids' Table. We tried to make it an afternoon of fun. Kid-friendly crafts, homemade decorations, party plates, and fun food filled the Kids' Table with smiles. One of the exciting things at the Kids' Table was the "Kiddie Cocktails."

To make a "Kiddie Cocktail" I used clear glasses, colored ice cubes and Sprite. (I pre-made the colored ice cubes using water and red, yellow and blue food coloring.) To assemble the cocktail, each child placed two different colored ice cubes in the clear glass. I then muttered a string of magic words while slowly pouring Sprite over the ice. You should've heard the oohs and aahs as the colors mixed! Who would've guessed that a yellow ice cube and a red ice cube would make an orange "Kiddie Cocktail"?!

A preschool science/art lesson and a cool party beverage... that Works for Me! Head on over to Shannon's for more WFMW.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Boxer, A Villan, and A Dalmation...

These pics were taken at our town's Boo Bash. Just a nice festival that involves trick-or-treating along the downtown shops and then playing carnival games. A fun time, especially when your van hauls a boxing champion, a famous villan,
and a cute pooch.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Pumpkin Palooza

You know you are just dying to say, "Pumpkin Palooza..."

No, we didn't take a trip to the pumpkin patch, I'm just totally infatuated with all things pumpkin. Pumpkin-flavored, that is.
I do love that pumpkin ice cream from Edy's. I stirred in a handful of chopped pecans and it was absolutely wonderful.
Little Debbie is charming me with those little pumpkin snack cakes. They even have that cute little Jack-o-lantern face.
Ottis The Muffin-maker-man is my muffin hero with huge, extremely high calorie pumpkin walnut muffins.
Seeing as I'm so wild for pumpkin you might be surprised that I can't bring myself to try the pumpkin milkshakes at McDonald's. I'm not sure why. Just can't.

Here's a recipe for pumpkin cobbler that I found on a blog. I made it this morning for a church potluck and I had people begging for the recipe. I'd love to give credit for this pumpkin goodness, but I can't figure out from which cool blog I lifted this recipe. If this is your recipe please let me know, if you can tear yourself away from the cobbler pan, that is.

Pumpkin Cobbler

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9x13 pan.

3 eggs, beaten
15 oz can pumpkin
12 oz can evaporated milk
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1 T vanilla
1 boxed yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup pecans, chopped

Mix the eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk, salt, sugar, spices and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Pour the dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture. Drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix. Bake for 25 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the cobbler and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

(I adjusted the recipe just a bit... I added a bit of ground cloves to the pumpkin mixture and I found that it had to bake about another 10 minutes, so watch this while it bakes!)

And if you've managed to keep the drool off of your computer, here is another of my favorite pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Fluff

1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 small box of instant vanilla pudding (powder)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 container whipped topping ("lite" works)

Mix all this stuff in a bowl and use graham cracker sticks, ginger snaps and green apple slices for "dippers."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

WFMW: Hot Soup?

Now that the weather is getting cooler (in some parts of the country, anyway) I've started to serve bowls of soup for lunch and light dinners. My boys love a quick bowl of soup. In fact, they think it is a great treat to be able to pick the flavor of soup we select from the Campbell's soup rack at the grocery store. Shrek... Cars... Goldfish... Dora...

Of course, the hard part of serving soup to the under-7 crowd is the whole its-too-hot thing. Blowing on the soup really doesn't alter the temperature much and for some reason my four year old hates an ice cube floating in his soup almost as much as he dislikes a blistered lip.
One day, as I was reaching into the freezer for an ice cube to melt in his soup before he noticed, I had a moment of sheer mommy brilliance. Frozen veggies! Instead of grabbing an ice cube I grabbed a small handful of peas and carrots. I didn't add enough peas an carrots to turn the soup into vegetable soup, of course, but just enough to cool it down a bit. And what mommy doesn't like the I'm-sneaking-in-a-few-more-veggies moment?
For more great (and maybe even tasty) Works for Me Wednesday tips visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

WFMW: A Question of Prayer and Devotion...

This Wednesday I am so excited because I am actually making a WFMW post!!
This week WFMW is enjoying a bit of a twist. Instead of giving a tip that Works for Me, I am to ask for tips. I've battered my brain and now I know what you all should tell me...

How do you organize your prayer time? Now that I'm working everyday and still doing all the stuff moms do, I'm struggling to keep prayer and devotion time a priority. What works for you? Do you have any special tips for remembering what and whom to pray for? Any little "cheat sheets"? Are you keeping your devotional in the bathroom, too? ;)

Go ahead, hit me with your best prayer/devotion tip. Then go visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer to see if you can offer some other great suggestions!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Laura, The recipe is below! Susan, the next time I bake a batch I'll call ya! ;)

I got this recipe from the Holiday Grand Plan Listserve. It is from "Gramma Connie". Apparently it was posted a few years back and posted again recently.
Give it a try!

Cinnabon Rolls for Bread Machine
From: Connie
Yield: 12 large rolls

Dough:1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup water
1/2 of a 3.4 ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1cup milk1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups bread flour
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting and start machine. Keep a close eye on the process, helping to incorporate all ingredients, if necessary.
Once the cycle is complete, remove dough and on a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to approximately a 17 X 10-inch rectangle.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened

Combine the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon, mixing well. Spread softened butter over rolled out dough. Roll, as for jelly roll, pinching edges closed when completely rolled.Slice rolled dough into 1-inch slices. Place into three 9-inch greased baking pans or a baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled.
Bake at 350 * F (175 C) for 15 or 20 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Do not over bake.

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tracy, These buns are for you!

Drooling yet? Several weeks ago I emailed an old friend, Tracy (and I'm not saying she's old) to wish her a happy birthday. I promised her a phone call and so far I've still not made good on that offer. Life just keeps bumping my to do list...
Well, a few weeks ago I cleaned out my cupboards and came across a few packets of yeast. I used one packet to make pizza dough. I don't quite have the hang of how thin to roll pizza dough, but my family is willing to work with my not-so-perfect pizzas.
After the kids went to bed I used the other packet of yeast to make cinnamon rolls. Into the wee hours of the night my bread maker made this fabulous dough. Then I rolled out and filled the dough and set them aside to "double in size" I baked these incredible rolls and while they were still warm, topped them with a cream cheese icing.
Boy, were they good. Good really is an understatement. They were delectable.
Now, you're wondering what Tracy and cinnamon rolls have to do with each other. So, I'll tell you. When Tracy and I were kids, like so many little girls, we would spend the night at each other's house. We actually lived a distance away (but went to the same school... go figure) so we would stay the whole weekend. (We had fun from the bus ride over on Friday night through church In Town on Sunday morning.) We always had a blast (and I loved her family) doing all sorts of stuff. When I was at her house (in the middle of an orange grove) our traditional Friday night supper was hamburgers (1.5 for me) and Saturday morning we would eat warm cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk for breakfast. Just the kind of fortifying food we would need to play Barbies All Day!
So, Tracy, I will eventually get to calling you, but until I do, These Buns are For You!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mommy's Little Helper

Have you heard that Rolling Stones' song about Mother's Little Helper? You're not sure how she does it and then you find out she's doing it all with the assistance of illegal street drugs.

Well, things are busy here and I'll let you in on my Secret Little Helper. Clifford. Yup, the Big Red Dog. Totally.

I go to bed way too late and get up way too early. Clifford gets me through.

I pick up the children from school and then we come home and I say, "Hey, Let's watch a little Clifford." READ: Hey, kids, let's all sit on the couch while the tv goes on with that PBS show about the enormous dog and I will take a nap.

Friday, September 7, 2007


My first week of teaching was wonderful! I have a terrific class, but boy, am I whipped! I took a huge nap when I came home because I was sooo warn out.

I've been so busy that I've hardly had a chance to update my blog, but I've been wanting to post about this "funny" that happened on Wednesday.

S and I had gone to McDonald's with some other teachers from my school. We all enjoyed lunch together and the kids loved playing while the grown-ups chatted.

As S and I were leaving to pick up my other boys from their school I said to s, "No, you know A and D are going to be unhappy that they missed McDonald's. We'd better destroy the evidence."
S replied, "Yeah... and we'd better get rid of this cup!"

Sunday, September 2, 2007

More photos for the Snappin' Summertime Challenge

ScrappyDea announced that she is extending the Snappin' Summertime Challenge for one more day. Yippee! Here are a few more photos! This has been so much fun. I can't wait to see the Autumn Challenge! And whew, what will I be able to do with three months to gather 65 photos? :)
Find more fun at her website,

1. airplane

3. ant
5. baby
20. family pet
29. hotdog
32. ladybug
35. messy hair

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Snappin' Summertime Challenge

Earlier today I wandered over to and discovered that ScrappyDea is hosting a challenge. For every photo posted for the 65 summer words, she will give an entry for some scrapbooking goodies. Hmmm. A pictorial of my summer and a chance to win a prize. Here are my pics after my computer ate them... twice.
Thanks for the fun, ScrappyDea.

4. aunt

6. bare feet

7. bathing suit
9. beach towel

10. blue
14. clouds

19. devil

22. fire

25. grandparent
26. grass

30. house33. laughing

34. marshmallows

37. orange
38. party

40. pool

41. race
44. red

45. refreshing drink

48. sand
49. shorts