Monday, September 29, 2008

Our new craft adventure

Sewing is starting to become an interest of mine. As with any thing I believe it takes practice. For me, I find it to be a challenge that I want to over come. My mom and I started to make Puzzle quilts. However, they are still not finished due to the move etc. Mom went out to Utah to visit our family friends the Yardley's. Sister Yardley is an accomplished seamstress and has given my mom some great ideas that we are now attempting. This is my mom's new creation. She made one for me and one for Katie. They are called "Jelly Roll bags." Now I am sure this is nothing new to some of you, but we are totally digging them. So far two of my friends want me to make them one. Stay tuned for my creations....


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Apple Picking Time!

The other evening my sister and I took the kids to the apple orchard. Honestly, none of us have ever officially picked apples. I have been peach picking, strawberry picking, and cherry picking. We were there for about an hour and picked a half bushel of Jonathan apples. The kids had a great time, but for our crew an hour was definitely enough time.

Now my question is...
What do I do with all these apples?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Happy Fall! It is now official! I counted down to 11:45 a.m to welcome the season. A little obsessive you say? Maybe, but it is worth it. I noticed a few dead leaves here and there today too. Okay, maybe it due to the lack of rain in July and August, but it looks promising! I finished some of my decorating, but I still have more things to get. Another thing that I love is the fact I can sleep well now. Despite having air conditioning, I sleep horribly during the summer. But when the weather cools down, I become like a Momma Bear and hunker down to sleep the whole fall and winter away. But unlike a real Momma bear, my cubs did not leave and are more than willing to wake me up.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Halloweenie Time!

Fall is the best season! If you have not gathered, I love it. But what excites me most about the season fall, is that my favorite holiday is fast approaching! Yes, Halloween. People may laugh or give me odd, side glances, or even do the "she is crazy" thing by their heads, but I love it, love it, love it! This year I cannot wait to decorate for fall and Halloween. I have a ton of stuff, however I had to pick up some new goodies this year. (Brian enjoys the use of the word "had", he says I did not have to have anything.) I also decided to make a few things to. However my biggest obsession is vintage Halloween stuff. I tried to download a cool template for our blog, but had no luck. I have bought some replica vintage Halloween things, but I ever scour the shelves of flea markets and antique places. Wish me luck for that awesome find!

New goodies! Mr. Owl, black leaves, vintage cool!

We as a family also starting talking about costumes. Here is where it gets tricky. I am a big advocate for making costumes. I am not the best seamstress in the world however I have a willing heart. Today I asked the kids what they wanted to be for Halloween. This is what they said:

Liam's Top "consistent" choices

1. A Weimaraner, like our dog Lily Boo
2. A DumpThhhrulchk (For those of you who have not yet mastered "Liamese" that is Dump Truck.)
3. An Owl


1. A princess
2. A princess, again
3. And a I don't know! Hmmm...


Here is the heartbreaking moment, and I quote "I think I just want to hand candy out." AHHH! No dressing up, just help hand out the candy. Who is this boy, and where is my son? I told him I brought him up better than that. Total sacrilege!

Yesterday I was having a conversation with my friend and fellow Halloween lover, Sonia. We sat and debated on how early is early to decorate for the scary night? Well, I guess I got my answer from Avin, not soon enough! I WILL bring back that ole' Halloween spirit in his heart if it is the last thing I do! Hee hee ha Haa! (My witchy cackle)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Maple Pecan Pork Chops with Garlic "Smashed" Potatoes

Fall is in the air! Last night's dinner was my first official fall dinner. I found this recipe in the Schwan's delivery book and could not wait to try it. It was incredible! Yummy goodness that believe it or not my whole family did NOT turn up their noses too. I am in love with this recipe, even though as most of you not hip on meat other than chicken and turkey. (Hey Lindsey, I even wore the apron you made for me!)

This recipe is worth sharing! Let me know how you liked it!

Maple Pecan Pork Chops

4 Boneless Pork Loin Chops

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Cup of chopped onion
1/4 cup of Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped Pecans
1 teaspoon sage


1. Heat oil in pan. Place Pork Loin chops in pan, cook 6 to 8 minutes each side. Add the onion. Cook for another 4 to 6 minutes or until onions are transparent. In a medium bowl, combine Maple syrup, sage, soy sauce, and then add chopped pecans. Pour this mixture into the pan over the pork chops and onions. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for another 6 to 8 minutes. Serve pork chops, dripping the rest of the mixture in the pan over the chops.

For the Garlic Smashed Potatoes:

Red Skin Potatoes, cubed into quarters
3 to 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/4 cup of Milk
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Parsley to taste


Place medium to large pot to boil. Clean and cube the potatoes, I left the skins on, we love it that way, plus it leaves more nutritional value. Boil until soft. Obviously you need to start boiling your potatoes before your cooking your chops. Add the cloves of garlic to the water and potatoes. We love garlic, so you can add as much as you like. Once your potatoes are soft, drain them. Try to keep as much of the garlic in with the potatoes. Add the salt, pepper, parsley, butter, milk. Use a wooden spoon and smash and stir the potato mixture. It should look lumpy, not whipped.

I served these with green beans and topped off the decadence with big, chocolaty Brownies for dessert.

Tonight's dinner:

Hungrian Goulash

Corn Bread Muffins

Baked apple Crisp

The smell of apples is penetrating the room as I speak! Can you smell it too?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pudding Is NOT Just For Dessert!

Pudding is an easy, cheap, fun dessert. You can do so much with it! But Bill Cosby never told us Jello puddin' could be used as an art form now did he?

When I was teaching Preschool, I had a ton of idea books, numerous copies of projects that met every need for children. One of the "art" projects was painting with pudding. I had filed that idea in the back of my mind until I watched an episode of Jon and Kate plus Eight. They had their children paint with pudding! Ah Ha! I thought to myself here is a great project to do with the kids since I have their toys were packed away. Since I had packed away most of the pots, I bought some Jello pudding cups,(yes I spent the money on the expensive stuff, not the store's off brand, but we were going to do this right!) Anyway, Lavinia and Liam had a blast.

Here are the instructions:

-Buy pudding in your child's favorite flavor. (I guarantee you will be dipping your finger in too!)

-Thick paper like construction paper.

-A place that can be easily cleaned. (Outdoors is great or the kitchen table)

-Have your bath items ready. Clear a straight pathway to the bathroom. Little hands love to touch other places on their way to the bath, even if you tell them, "Do not touch anything with your pudding hands!" They will do it just to see the cause and effect of how pudding looks on your couch, wall, piano etc.

*A tip: if you are outdoors, hose them down out there. If not, do not fill up the bathtub, first rinse down the children first to get the excess of them.

-Lay down your paper. Give each child a tablespoon of pudding on the paper. I added two tablespoons, one chocolate, one vanilla. Make sure your children's hands are washed, and let them use their hands to create.

-When done, lay the creations somewhere they can dry. Try not to let them lay flat, the moisture will cause the paper to stick to a table. You can hang them, or drape them over something. If you do lay them flat, put newspaper or more paper under them.

**Warning*** This activity is not for the faint of heart! If you hate messes, or are remotely Obsessive Compulsive, then this activity is not for you! : )

This is inevitable, fingers just cannot get the creamy goodness into the mouth fast enough!

Overcoming the plague of Boxes!

For those who are wondering, we are all moved in. Well,with the exception of my 150 pound concrete Fairy. Brian has been dreading moving her from our old garden.
The move went well, despite the extreme heat, lack of the bigger U-Haul truck, and some of our "crew" with physical limitations. But, we did it!
We pretty much have everything in order and unpacked. However, there is still some boxes here and there. Each day is a good day if I can unpack and pitch a box. Despite my effort to purge before we moved, I still look at things and think, "Why did I save this again?" I wonder why do we have so much stuff? If you think about it, our ancestors only had what they could carry on them. Look at the pioneers, they did not need a Uhaul with multiple trips back and forth. I told Brian I think it would be cool if we could just fill the bed of a pick up truck with our things and go. O.k. I am back to reality, life is good. We love our little cottage house and love being able to walk to my Mom and Keith's house. My sister lives a few blocks away and church is literally 5 minutes away. We have also realized how quiet it is here. The first few nights I could not sleep. There was no ghetto sounds, train whistles, or gunshots in the distance. Now we all sleep sound. Lavinia does not even get up at 1 a.m. any more. Life is good.

C'mon over, pull up a chair.

C'mon over, pull up a chair.
I found these kids chairs at a flea market and got them both for $15. I love this color!

The Apron Swap

The Apron Swap
I did it! And I even made one for myself!