Friday, December 18, 2015

Dreaming of a white Christmas...

Christmas is ever-changing at our house, each year is a different theme...
I don't go crazy with decorations. With young children, it's just not practical, but it's always enough to get us excited for Christmas & the traditions we've started with our little family...
This year the theme is more rustic, out-doorsy.
I even managed to persuade husband to drill tiny holes in some of his smaller deer antlers, to use as tree ornaments :)

It's become a tradition to get a few new ornaments each year, for the tree. Sometimes the children choose them, other times I need a few more to go with the theme for that year....

The Wreath was a DIY that I've been wanting to make for a few years now & finally got it done this year. Here is the tutorial I used to make it

When you're 4 & watching Tom & Jerry & you just don't want to move  for mom to take a photo...
...Rudolf got bedazzled as well :)

I usually trim some pine for decorating as well, but it wasn't important enough to me this morning, to bundle up & gather pine for the blog :)

This year we'll be having Husband's extended family here for Christmas, by then I'll have the pine trimmed & adorned & I'll blog about some of the traditions we've started with our little family...until then...Merry Christmas! from our Family to yours!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

In my Kitchen today: Banana Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

My blogging is sporadic at best, but sometimes the mood just isn't there.
I spent the day in my kitchen again today, & when I come across a delicious recipe, I always like to share. Today I tried a Banana Chocolate chip cupcake recipe & it was phenomenal!
I'm pretty sure you can't eat just one .
I tweaked the original recipe to my liking  & doubled it cause our kiddos have healthy appetites & one batch would last about 2 days!
I rarely have over-ripe bananas to use for baking, cause the children gobble them up so quick, but last night we were blessed with about 10 bunches of over-ripe bananas! I used some for baking today & peeled the rest & stored them in freezer bags in the freezer for later.

Banana Chocolate Chip cupcakes

  • 4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup sour milk
  • 4 over-ripe bananas or 2 cup mashed
  • 4 cup unbleached all purpose white flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pkg dark chocolate, mini chocolate chips
Cream coconut sugar, butter & bananas. Add eggs & sour milk(set aside).

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder & chocolate chips.
Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture.
Fill cupcake papers 2/3-3/4 full.
Bake at 350' till done.
Yields: 45 cupcakes

* For the sour milk, add 1 TBS vinegar to the milk & give it a stir. In about a minute, you have sour milk.
* The original recipe called for maple icing, but these cupcakes are super sweet & no additional icing is needed.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

In my Kitchen today: Custard Pie

The Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip cookies I made, the end of last week have been inhaled by my crew already & it's time to get back to my kitchen & whip up something else.
Custard Pie is one of our favorites. It's usually just a Christmas treat, but I had all the ingredients so we're going to make it a, "It's a dreary day & we want something special to have with our coffee, treat"
There are a few steps to the recipe, but I had it in the oven within a half hour.

Custard Pie
  • 4 cup whole milk, divided
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs, separated
-Preheat oven to 455'
-Heat 2 1/2 cup milk in a small sauce pan till scalding. Mix sugars & flour together; add the sweetened condensed milk, 1 1/2 cup whole milk, vanilla & egg yolks. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form & gently fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.
-For the crust, I use Pillsbury, refrigerated pie crusts.
-Place your crusts into 2 pie pans & divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans. Place in the oven at 455' for 10 minutes(till tops are golden brown), then reduce heat to 350' for 30 minutes longer.
-The center of the pies will still be slightly jiggly after 30 minutes, but they'll set up perfectly when cooled.

I brought this pie to my Family Christmas party about 2 years ago & the oldest sibling declared it "The best custard pie hes ever eaten"


Saturday, October 10, 2015

In my Kitchen today: Pumpkin-Chocolate chip cookies

I found a recipe on Pinterest last night for Pumpkin-Chocolate chip cookies & decided to try them today.
The recipe claimed they were similar to "soft batch" cookies. They were nothing like soft batch cookies.
I tweaked them till they were perfectly soft & melted in my mouth. They aren't dense like a soft batch cookie, but they do melt in your mouth with pumpkin-y goodness.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies
-1 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
-1 cup cane sugar
-1 cup dark brown sugar
-3/4 cup pumpkin puree
-3 eggs
-2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1 tsp. baking soda
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we prefer the mini)
Mix well in order given & place on cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350' till just golden around the edges.

I used all organic ingredients, but it's not necessary if that isn't what you're accustomed to using.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Homeschool Field Trip

This past weekend we took the kiddos on their 1st field trip of the year.
At the beginning of the calendar year, we purchased a membership for our family at the Akron Zoo. The cost of the membership was 10.00 more than what we'd spend to go one time. The benefit? Being able to go as often as we like till March 2016 at no cost! No parking fees & discounts in the gift shops! 
...A picnic was packed, of deli sandwiches & homemade goodies, & we were off to the Akron Zoo.
In reality, it's more like a very large petting zoo.(without the petting)
There are no giraffes or elephants, & very limited in the monkey/gorilla department...It took us about 
2 1/2 hours to see it all, & we took our time.
Despite all of that, we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 1/2 hours & the tail-gate picnic that followed :)

Even daddy took the slide a few times :)

"don't worry little  bro, I gotcha"

All my "birdies" in a nest. The eldest is NOT amused.

Again, we did not force him to ride the train...he claimed,"next time you can save your money, cause i won't be riding this thing"

My favorite!

Ahh...the boy can smile after all...

He was delighted that the turtle ate from his hand!

2 1/2 hours was enough for this little man. He had all the animals he could handle for one day :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Country Living Fair day

The Country Living Fair has become somewhat of a tradition for me every year. I rarely go with the same women each year, but it always turns out to be an amazing day.
This year my sister & I took mom for the very 1st time. She's been wanting to go for years now & something has always come up that it didn't work out for her to go. We had her keep the date open, ordered her ticket, & told her what time to be ready(it was a surprise)...:)

I woke up early, & headed out for mom's house, & was greeted with this lovely sunrise...praying that  God would hold off the rain in the forecast, & thanking Him for the beautiful start to our day...

We ended up driving way out of the way, but still managed to get there within an our of the Fair opening.

This is the only photo I took while there, there were entirely too many things to capture ones attention, to even remember to take photos...The place was crazy full of people & you could hardly do each booth justice...we ended up walking out of there having only bought an architectural piece for my sister & I bought two, 4.00 prints for my living room...

We left the fair, on a mission to find Jeni's, the best icecream on the planet :)
They are often small, hole-in-the-wall kind of places, & almost always located on a street corner.
They serve artisan flavors that do happy little dances with your taste buds!

We saw a sign for this place as we were leaving the fair, but didn't take the time to look for it. After icecream, we decided to back track & find it. We were SO glad we did!
It's a huge warehouse FILLED with anything you could possibly need to renovate a fixer-upper & restore it to it's original beauty.

Here is just a fraction of what you'll see there...

We topped off our evening with a little bit of thrift store shopping a little closer to home...
It was such a good day away, especially for this mama...we missed having our 3rd partner in crime" with us, but we are already talking about next year, & she just doesn't have a choice but to go :)

Monday, September 14, 2015

The days I'll remember...

These are the days I will look back on with fondness & say "remember when"
It's only 11:00 am... Forts have been made & played in.
 The choice of cereal today was Honeycomb. I know this because, as I walk through my house, I feel the crunch of the Honeycomb beneath my feet.
The little boys have tired of fort-making, & are snuggled in to watch Despicable Me.
The school kids have about half an hour left to finish their schooling for the day. 
Gracie is humming quietly as she works on her schoolwork. The same song I've had in my heart & on my lips this morning...& my canners are filled with quart jars full of Taco soup.

I won't remember this day because the house was a disaster zone, or that the morning was full of things to do... I'll remember the sound of happy children...the scent of comfort food simmering on the stove top... The crispness of the air as Autumn settles in....Thank you, Jesus for days like this. where my spirit is renewed & my heart is filled with hope.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Birthday Party for Mama

A Birthday Party for Mom...

My sister has the most beautiful, rustic farmhouse table. Perfect for large groups to gather around & it was decked out beautifully for Mom's 63rd Birthday Party.

The Menu
  • Grilled, Italian Chicken
  • Italian sausage sandwiches, topped with peppers & onions
  • Buttery, Baked Rosemary Potatoes
  • Salad
  • Birthday cake, topped with a cream cheese filling & fresh peaches in a glaze
The food was delicious!

Back porch sittin'

The "tree-house" is always a big hit...Funny story; The 4 yr old came home after the party, exclaiming about all the fun that was had playing in the tree-house, then says,"And Mama, it's a tree-house, but it doesn't have a TREE!"

Watching the kickball game...

All the grandchildren, playing against the adults that wanted to play...

It was a beautiful 90' evening...filled with lots of catching up on each others lives.

Mama, may you be blessed richly, with many more Birthdays-I love you!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Today we took school to the park. 
Yesterday was a super long day, with extra science projects & it felt like we were stuck inside all day.
Today we did our morning work, then headed to the park for a break & finished the school day there.

Crazy hair-Don't care.

Yes, he's about to take a flop :(...He feels the need to try everything his older siblings do.

Going into our 2nd week of school, I feel as if everything is flowing a little more smoothly. We've figured out a schedule that works for us & so far it's been pretty great. 

I could tell the 1st day, that it wasn't going to work, to try & do all subjects, every day....So instead, we work on 2 subjects every day, for longer periods of time.
For example: Mondays is Math & English.
We start the school day at 8:30 with a prayer & our verse for the week(they are required to memorize a new Bible verse each week).
Then we get right into Math & they work on Math till 10:00.
From 10:00-10:15 they take a short break & grab a snack.
From 10:15-11:30 they work on English.
At 11:30 we break for lunch, then it's free time till the little boys go down for their naps at 2:00.
At this time the kiddos get out their Bibles & journals for "quiet time" while I grade their schoolwork for the day...they correct their work if there are any mistakes & then we are done for the day!

And that is how we spend our days lately...:)