Dec 27, 2009

One More Christmas Project.....

As I look back at 2009, I think of how incredibly blessed our family was. With those blessings, however, come sadness with losing both of my Grandmothers within a few months of each other. I was very close with both of them, and feel so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of them both. This Christmas Mom was able to convince Grandpa to come up and spend it with all of us. We had them over Christmas Eve for dinner. I made our traditional chili, and also made two of Grandma's cookie recipes, Molasses Crinkles and Date Filled Cookies. When my Grandmother's passed, I requested that anything the siblings didn't want, to be given to me. And in honor of having Grandpa at our home for Christmas, decided to see what I could make for the table. This is what I came up with:)

I used two of her old pie plates, and glued them onto a wooden candle stick I had spray painted black. The ribbon was actually part of a box of chocolates I was given, so I hot glued it around the rims.
While going through my recipes, I found one recipe card that was a "recipe for life" card, so I attached it to some scrapbook paper I had, and added some red balls and some glittery sprigs I had on hand

I'm still not sold on this Gorilla Glue stuff, I used the regular glue, and didn't realize it expands, oops!

Here is a closeup of what the pie plates look like, aren't they amazing??!! I set on the table as part of my tablescape, and added the cookies to the top plate. When Grandpa saw it and read the card, he cried:) Very special moment for all of us.
Linking up to:

Dec 22, 2009

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

I have been so busy, that I haven't had a chance to write a post, so I want to say MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!! It has truly been an amazing year, and I look forward to what the New Year brings. I have also been blessed with meeting some truly amazing women on here. I have learned soooo many things from you ladies, and I can't wait to keep learning! Thank you!

Things are finally winding down here, yay! My gifts that I made are done, all are wrapped, house is clean and laundry is done. Now, remember this is all just for today, lol. Tomorrow will be more cleaning, laundry and wrapping, I'm sure:) We are supposed to get quite the snow storm here Christmas Eve and Day, up to 14 inches! What a wonderful Christmas present!!!

Have a very blessed Christmas, and I pray that God blesses you as much as you have blessed me!

Dec 14, 2009

Baking Day!

Saturday we decided to do some of our Christmas baking. I mixed up some cookie dough in the morning, and the afternoon we got busy! I am pretty sure I had more dough on the floor than in cookie form, but hey, isn't that what it's all about??!! Of course it is, it's not about making a huuuuge mess of the kitchen, and spending hours cleaning it up.

It's all about the smiles you get as you make the mess:) And by the way, we used the cookie cutters that I got in my giveaway box from the all-wonderful Rachelle!!! We had so much fun using all the cookie cutters:) The first batch we rolled too thin, which made them crispy. The second batch I made today with the daycare kids (can you say CRAZY?? Honestly, WHO would choose to bake cookies with 9 children?? Hmmm???) was much better, I didn't roll it out so thin, therefore a much softer cookie. Yumm!
Soft Sugar Cookies
3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C butter
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Cream together the softened butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, then vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, gradually add to the butter mixture. Shape into a large ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness, cut out with cookie cutters, bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes.
Today I also managed to make some toffee, and peppermint biscotti! I will be posting both recipes this week. I cannot wait for tomorrow morning to enjoy the biscotti with my steamy mug of coffee:)
Linking up to:

Menu Plan Monday

We had a fantastic weekend of nothing planned! I needed desperately to get my office/craft room organized, so I got that accomplished which felt wonderful! We made some Christmas cookies with the girls, went out to eat, and drove around looking at Christmas lights. So fun! Sunday we went to church, and came home and watched the mighty Vikings play (they won!). For supper we went over to my sister/brother in law's and ate some fabulous chicken and spinach lasagna (must get the recipe!). I needed a weekend like that, as this week will be nuts, I am gone for meetings Monday and Wednesday, hubby is gone Tuesday, the girls have their activities night on Thursday, and Friday we head up to my Dad's (Yesssss! As Rachel said...).

Here is what's on our menu for the week:

Monday- Breakfast- Cereal, toast and fruit
Lunch- Crockpot Mac-n-cheese I have never made this one before, but it looks yummy!
Supper- Venison sausage, potatoes, steamed veggies

Tuesday- Breakfast- Pumpkin/ginger pancakes (I add just a bit of freshly grated ginger to the batter)
Lunch- Homemade chicken fingers (will post about these), baked potato wedges, veggies
Supper- Beef Stroganoff (recipe to come), homemade bread

Wednesday- Breakfast- Baked oatmeal, fruit
Lunch- Calico beans ( in the crockpot), grilled cheese, veggies
Supper- Creamy Chicken and Pasta

Thursday- Breakfast- Pumpkin muffins, fruit
Lunch- Homemade pizza, green beans
Supper- Leftovers

Friday- Breakfast- Homemade granola, fruit
Lunch- Eggs, toast, hashbrowns, fruit
Supper- We are gone!

I am also hoping in the midst of this week's madness, to make some Christmas candies, and a couple other cookies, we shall see....

Posting to Menu Plan Monday at Organizing Junkie!

Dec 10, 2009

Home For the Holidays

Welcome to our little slice of heaven! Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year, and I love nothing more than making my home cozy and warm while it's windy and cold outside! Speaking of outside, the ridiculous wind decided to make a mess of my things on the front porch, so once those are back to where they are supposed to be, I'll post a pic or two:) Walking in the front door is a Christmas tree that stays up year round. We love to decorate it for all the holidays, and the kids have a blast with it! For Christmas it is our "homemade" tree, all homemade ornaments. The only thing missing is the popcorn strings, guess we'll have to do that this weekend...
Walking into the living room, you'll see the focal point of the room, the fireplace. I sewed (and glued some) everyone's names and the decorations on the store bought stockings. The garland I found on clearance and added some clearanced glitter pomegranates.

On the coffee table is just a bough of frosted greenery and berry picks (pay no attention the the thousand or so fingerprints....), very simple

On one of the end tables is a wooden tray ($6 find) with an old looking clock and and a new greenery piece I just got. It's called yucca grass, and it came in the urn it's in. I added some of the glittery pomegranates and red balls as an accent.
Here is our Christmas tree (lots of light!), that we fondly call our "Griswold Family Christmas Tree". We had to buy a new tree last year (lets just say water in the basement and boxes don't get along well) and hubby found a deal at Sam's Club. It is beautiful, but that sucker has about a bazillion lights on it, you can see the electrical box spinning. The ornaments are all ones we've accumulated over the years. I also add red and gold balls, bows and beads.

From there you walk into the dining room, where my latest beauty sits:) Loved decorating that one up for the holidays!

This is on top of our cabinets, just more greenery and berry picks.

This is also in the dining room, a scrapbook page I did, and our advent calender tree. The lantern is my Grandpa's lantern that he used ti milk cows with when he was a boy. Very cool.

And that completes part of the tour! I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of our Home for the Holidays! Linking up to Rhoda's Home For the Holidays party, and Cheri's at It's So Very Cheri
and The Inspired Room's house tour!

Dec 9, 2009

Advent Calender

I decided to make an advent calender this year, after seeing Hattie's idea over at Little Red Roost. I wanted something for the kids to look forward to, and to be reading scripture everyday during advent. First, I used the link that Hattie gave to print out the scriptures for the tags. Then I used my handy-dandy (and ohhhhh so fun!) Cricut machine to cut out the tags.

I had some pretty Christmas scapbooking paper that I used to cover up the verse, and numbered the tags on the back, so we knew which day was which:)
I had an old red bucket that I had bought at an antique store, and went outside and picked some branches for the tree part. I keep the tags in a lovely little green oblong dish (another thrift store find!), and the girls take turns picking the tag to read. I also wrote out 24 fun things to do, and they each get to pick one/day. Some of them were just, spending time with Mom/Dad, coloring a Nativity picture, have a pedicure night with Mom, and other fun things.

Now, my great idea was that the girls would really start to understand Christmas more. Yes, they know it's Jesus' birth, and that Mary and Joseph were his parents, they know the whole story. But I wanted this to be more of a learning experience. However, as funny as kids are, what do you think they look more forward to, reading the scripture, or getting to pick the "fun thing" to do for the day. *sigh*. So, next year it will be more simple things, like, send a letter to a relative, do something random for someone else. Those kinds of things.
Hope you enjoy our Advent Calender!!

Dec 2, 2009

My Favorite Thing

Since we built our home 4 years ago, I have been looking for something to put on my large red wall in our dining room. We have vaulted ceilings, which means I have a lot of space to fill up! I refuse to go spend a thousand dollars on a hutch/buffet, so I've been looking at antique/thrift stores for quite some time. I know you've heard me talking about Anne's Sale it's a thrift store in town, and she opens one weekend a month. The girls and I like to go on Sunday's after church, as it's always "make a deal" Sunday:) So, lo and behold we go in last Sunday and as I walked in and saw this beauty, the heavens opened up and I heard the angels singing! Ok, not really, but pretty darn close! This is EXACTLY what I've been looking for, depth wise it isn't too deep, so it doesn't take up the whole dining room, and yet it's tall enough to really fill up that wall. Hubby was less than thrilled when I called to tell him about it, but once we got it home, he could see why I was so excited! It is painted black, so hubby distressed the edges, which now matches everything else in the house!!

I love the "Highboy" look of the bottom, gives it some character, I think.
I had bought these pictures awhile ago and had them hanging on this wall, looks great on top!

And here she is!!!!!!!! Isn't it GORGEOUS!!!!!!

I can't tell you how happy I am to have found this, and for the price I paid, it was a steal!!! So, Merry Christmas, Happy Valentines Day, and Happy Birthday to me!!

Dec 1, 2009

Crockpot Creamy Chicken with Noodles

I have been in a comfort food mode lately (great, and I have a trip coming up in March...) and yesterday was the WORST!! I made buttermilk biscuits for lunch (with broccoli chicken and rice), and for supper I wanted something easy (ie: crockpot!). Sooooo, I came up with this easy and delicious chicken dish for the crockpot. The girls even loved it, and paired with homemade Honey Wheat Bread, it was a heavenly supper:)

Creamy Chicken with Noodles

Chicken breasts (I used three, for our family)
Chopped fresh mushrooms
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup (I had some left over from Thanksgiving, I don't normally use canned soups:)

Cook these on low 5-7 hours. Take chicken out and shred, make a cream sauce (melt 3 Tbl butter, add more chopped mushrooms, and minced garlic. Add 3 Tbl flour, and enough milk to make it thickened). Add chicken and sauce back into the crockpot, until heated through. Serve on a bed of spaghetti noodles or egg noodles and freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Linking to:
Tasty Tuesday
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Crockpot Wednesdays

Nov 29, 2009

Barn Window

This is probably one of my favorite projects I've made so far. Brad's Dad and brothers tore down the old 120 year old barn last summer. Beofre they brought it down, Brad and I went to see what could be salvaged. I took the hayloft door, which is the header of my blog and a barn window. Of course my inlaws thought I was nuts to take it, as it was soooo beat up and dirty. I didn't quite know what I was going to do with it, but it sat lovingly in my garage until last week.
I had an At Home America party, and was able to get a lot of things for free, and half price. One of the things I got for free was this fantastic cross. I saw it and knew exactly where I was going to put it! So, out came the window, as it needed a lot of work. I had to keep the fiberglass on, as I tried to take it off, and some of the wood started breaking, oops! Being that burlap is all the rage these days in blogland, I thought I would head to my favorite place ever, Crafts Direct to see what I could find. I was able to score some burlap for .50!! I hot glued the burlap onto the fiberglass, nailed the cross in, and hung it up!
I thought about painting the window, but I really wanted to keep the original look. My inlaws came over today for the football game, and they couldn't believe that I wanted the window!! I hung it up over the stairs going down to the third level. Looks perfect!

I made a fantastic purchase this weekend at a thrift store, and can't wait to show it to you, hopefully on Tuesday I can get the post up!!
Posting to:

Nov 25, 2009

Pumpkin Pie

I love Thanksgiving, love the smells, the sights, the sounds. I thoroughly enjoy every part of it. This year it's just our family and my Mom and her husband, nice and quiet. However, my husband so rudely informed me not to make a boat load of food. Seriously??!! It's THANKSGIVING! It's all about having a ton of food and getting so stuffed it's hard to breathe:) So far I plan on making the turkey, potatoes and stuffing (thanks Donna!). Buuuuut, I found a really yummy recipe for a sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce, so I might attempt those too. Will anyone eat the casserole, probably not, but it's one of those things that needs to be on the table, right??!! This was my project for today (besides cleaning the house, finishing laundry and taking care of 7 children:): Pumpkin Pie!!! I stick with my good ole Martha Stewart recipe. It's so yummy and super easy!

Pumpkin Pie- Martha Stewart

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Crust- This crust I have always used, it came from an old cookbook.

1 1/5 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 shortening (I like to use lard)
1/2 tsp. salt
3-4 Tbl water

Mix flour, salt, cut in shortening until crumbly. Mix in water a Tbl at a time until right consistency.


1 Can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 C brown sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk

Roll out crust, place in pie plate, whisk pie ingredients together, place in pie plate over crust. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees, bake 50-60 minutes. Mine seems to take a little over an hour to make. Now, my crust is not the one she shows, so remember that in the directions:)

I pray that each of you has a wonderful, safe and blessed Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for, and I am also thankful to share my life with all my wonderful bloggy friends:)

Much love,

Nov 23, 2009

Oh My

Have you ever gotten so excited about something that you actually start jumping up and down, and then realize that you're sitting on the couch, so you're actually bouncing up and down???!!! Well, I did just that because...........I WON MY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, dear sweet Rachelle over at Fingerprints On The Fridge had an awesome Christmas giveaway, and I WON!!!!!!! THANK YOU Rachelle, I cannot wait!! So, head on over to her blog, she has some fantastic ideas and you will love her sense of humor too:)

P.S. Hubby is sitting here staring at me like I'm a crazy woman....

Nov 20, 2009

Bar Stool Revamp!

I love to entertain, truly, truly looooooove to entertain. However, I feel myself go red in the face whenever someone pulls out a bar stool to sit on. They are u.g.l.y. Nasty stains from kids spilling and playdough encrusted. Yuck. So when I had Girls Gourmet Club last Saturday, I ran (okay drove) over to Crafts Direct to try and find some fabric that I could re-cover them with. Quickly. If you know me, then you know that I don't wait for things. If I want something, I buy it. Okay, within reason.

I happened to find a fabric for $4/yard. Good enough for me! I brought it home and had hubby help me re-cover these bad boys. I love the fabric, and it looks great, but now with it being so light I keep them covered with towels during the week because I KNOW they will have milk spilled on them, or frozen blueberries (did I mention that these are like a raging addiction for Alayna??!!) dropped on them. *sigh* My goal would be to sew (haha!! You see, I don't sew...) something that I could slip over the chair, and remove to wash. But I would have to actually learn how to use my sewing machine (yes you heard me correctly, I HAVE a machine, just don't know how to use it. Sad, I know). Maybe this should be my New Years resolution. Anyhow, this is how they turned out, LOVE the fabric, and I'll just get used to seeing towels on them, unless people come over:)

Nov 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Stuffing

Little muffin is over her fever, it was only a one day ordeal, but we had a lot of fun hanging out, and crafting! I made an advent calender with Hattie's idea over at The Little Red Roost out of scrpabook paper and my Cricut machine. I can't wait to show you how it turned out! Then we made some Christmas decorations for the girls' dollhouse, stockings, trees, etc. Lots of fun:)

Now I am in the meal planning mode for Thanksgiving. So far it is just us and my Mom and Step Dad. I really want to make my own stuffing this year, and I have made one before, it's my mother-in-law's but I'm just not sold on it. Sooooooo, anyone have some scrumptious stuffing recipes to share??? Pretty please??!!!

Nov 16, 2009

Sick Monday:(

I have an easy day as my little muffin Alayna is sick with a fever:( Poor baby. She got up this morning and was on fire, 102 temp here we come. She's been mostly napping and watching cartoons. So we have had a lot of snuggle time which I love:)

The last week had been crazy busy, and a wee bit stressful, so Mama has not done a lot of cooking, hence no recipes last week. However, I did want to share with you some pics and recipes from our "Girls Gourmet Club" that was held here on Saturday night. There are four couples that we do a lot with, and we decided a few years back to start a "Gourmet Club". Each couple takes a turn hosting and creating a meal plan. The host couple gives out the recipe, and they are in charge of the main course. It has been such a blast trying new recipes and just being together. So, Saturday night was our turn, but with the guys hunting, we decided to have the girls only, and ohhhhh what fun we had! I went with a chocolate theme (as I am truly a choco-holic!). My menu was:

Chorizo-Chocolate Tapas
Pepper-Crusted Tenderloin Steaks with Shallots, Port and Chocolate (you have to scroll down)
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Steamed Vegetables
Tiramisu Dessert

Now, unfortunately the dinner was a bit of a disappointment. The Tapas were AMAZING!!! Truly, that was the best part of the meal. The steak was good, but the sauce got too thick, and just didn't turn out like I had hoped. The Butternut Ravioli didn't turn out either, so she ended up making a soup which was awesome! The dessert, not sure what happened there, as she ended up making more of a cheese ball thing, lol! The best part was just being with great friends and enjoying some delicious wine. Nothin better than a girls night!! I did want to share the tablescape that I did. Nothing fancy, but I made everyone their own chocolate body scrub, and put it into these beautiful cruets that I found at a garage sale this summer. I made nametags with my Cricut machine to add to the cruets. Beautiful!

On my antique dresser, I scrapbooked a page with the menu on it, and then had the wine and wine glasses on my tray. Nice little beverage area!

Entertaining is truly one of my FAVORITE things to do, to me there is nothing better than good friends and good conversation in my home!

Nov 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

Today is the first day of It's So Very Cheri's Thanksgiving Traditions party, and also a Thanksgiving party at the Bungalow and I wanted to make sure and post about some of my memories from Thanksgivings past:)
I absolutely LOVE this time of year, with fall weather hitting, Thanksgiving on it's way, and Christmas not too far behind. I know many people don't like this time of year because of all the craziness that the Holidays brings, but I savor every minute of it! Growing up, I remember "cooking" my Thanksgiving meal as my Mom was cooking hers. I had this little plastic turkey (that was actually my Mom's from when she was a little girl) that I would "cook", and I remember thoroughly enjoying putting my time in:) My turkey was probably a little tough tasting, but hey, I was only 5:)
When I was 8, we moved from Mn. to Ky. as my parents took on a missionary position there. We had never lived away from our extended family, but this would prove to be an amazing adventure! I remember how Mom would make each holiday sooooo special. Thanksgiving she would set up the card table in the living room, put out her best tablecloth and accessories and we would eat out meal there. We would always have the "normal" meal, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn and pie. But the best part was the jello. Mom made orange jello with cut up carrots and celery, and then she would place it on lettuce leaves (and you thought you had no entertaining talent, Mom!) to look fancy. I thought this was the bomb! Sooooo fancy! And if the thought of vegetables in your jello makes you want to gag, you HAVE to try it, it is really exceptional:) (In fact, that is what Mom will bring to our home for Thanksgiving)
And of course, what did we do the day after Thanksgiving?? No, no, shopping was NOT in the itinerary....
Putting up the Christmas tree!!!! That was almost as exciting as opening gifts Christmas morning. My Dad truly enjoyed getting tangled in Christmas lights and being poked by the tree branches (artificial, baby!). We would crank up the holiday music and decorate until we couldn't decorate anymore.
I have followed many of these same traditions, except my family won't eat the jello:( Suckers. The day after Thanksgiving, we turn on the fireplace, make some hot apple cider, and go to town. I LOVE every second of this, and I love how much my girls get into it. Yes, the Holidays can be very stressful, but if we remember the REAL reason why we are celebrating it, it truly is a magical time of year.

Nov 12, 2009

Holiday Planner

I know I had mentioned a few weeks back about how I do my planning for the Holidays, (blame it on Mommy brain forgetting:) and I am now finally getting around to posting about it! I made this two years ago as a desparate need to organize my gift giving/cooking/cards. I found a bunch of these three ring binders at a garage sale awhile back not knowing what I would do with them. All I did was scrapbook a Christmas page with pics of the girls and our family and inserted it to the front. Inside I added some Christmas planning pages that I found online to help me stay organized. I love that they have pages meant for homemade gifts to keep you on track, holiday meal planning pages, and regular gifts and card keeping lists. This helps me out SO much so I don't have 50 lists laying around:)

Nov 9, 2009

Two-Timing Frame

My camera has been acting wonky lately, so I haven't been able to post any pics. I *think* I've gotten the kinks worked out, and I wanted to show you my revamp for a Halloween picture I bought at Crafts Direct for $5. I love the Trick or Treat side, and wanted to keep the pic on my porch, but with it not being Halloween anymore I decided to flip the pic over and make the other side into a Thanksgiving picture. I used some scrapbook paper, and my Cricut machine to create the letters. I love how it turned out, and love that I can now use it for two holidays!!!
Linking up to: