Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #10 - Clean up, errands and prayers

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week's tackle is sans pictures, I have a birthday party coming up for my son on January 11, so I am deep cleaning, scrubbing floors, dusting, etc and I am really not up for taking before and after pics with everything that I need to do with having to put away Christmas gifts on top of this.

We are also running to the credit union this morning to get a deposit in before the end of the year to save us all a $5 service charge.

The most important tackle today is prayers for Baby Stellan, he is in the hospital fighting for his life with RSV. You can get details and updates on My Charming Kids please keep Stellan and the whole family in your prayers, God is great.

Check out what other people are tackling and tell us what you are tackling over at 5 Minutes for Moms.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's Christmas!!!

Well, Christmas Eve anyway, I'm home by myself, I have to finish a blanket and straighten up while my darling husband has my son at work with him. They will be home around 1, the office closes at noon, then 1/2 hour train ride and 1/2 hour from the station, keep in mind it would only take him 1/2 hour to drive to work, but parking costs in Center City Philadelphia are exorbitant.

Anyway, Christmas is my favorite holiday, not for the gift giving, though the look on my son's face when he sees the presents under the tree makes my heart swell. I love Christmas because it signifies the birth of Jesus, the most amazing gift any child of God could be given and because it's about family. This year we will be dining at my sister's new place in Ocean City, NJ. It's a little small and we won't all be able to sit at the dining room table together, but that doesn't matter, we will all be there, all 10 of us.

When we were younger, we alternated Christmas dinners, we would host one year and my Mom's brother and his family would host the next. Christmas in my family has always been about family, we would get together, the kids would show each other their gifts and we'd play, we'd eat and then sit around and talk (when we were younger, we'd run off and play).

I think that lately we've gotten away from the holidays being about family and it's become more about the gifts, my older sister (I'm the middle of 3 girls) suggested that we stop giving gifts to each other for everything and just get together instead. We're going to discuss that tomorrow and see where it takes us.

I think we should all stop this holiday season and remember what it is we are celebrating, the birth of the Christ child. And to enjoy the blessing of our families whether they be small or large, related by blood or choice, your family is something that can't be replaced. Enjoy the time.

OK, so this started out as just a note about it becoming Christmas, but since I've had an emotional couple of years losing people in my family to old age and cancer, I've become a little more focused on the importance of family. So sorry for the tangent but these are my stream of conscious thoughts.

Have a very Merry Christmas!!!

Tackle it Tuesday #9 - A day late

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, I was supposed to obviously do this yesterday, but as it's Christmas time I ran out of time yesterday, so I'm posting this first thing, of course it helps that my husband took our son to work today.

So anyway, my tackle it was some homemade Christmas presents, I knitted scarves for my son's teacher and aide (of course the pictures are still on my camera and my husband took the laptop with him to work so I'll have to add them later) and I made this fleece tie blanket for my son.

Here's a close up of the material.

The material isn't what I would have chosen normally, but he wanted red, it's his favorite color and everything has to be red.

I also am making a red plaid blanket with a red facing for my husband but it isn't quite done.

Check out what other Moms did yesterday at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #8 - Christmas Candy

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Apparently I make good candy, I only really make it at Christmas because it's very time consuming, but I make a lot, and it's all chocolate, well milk chocolate and white chocolate (which really isn't chocolate). I am not bragging about my chocolate, I think it's ok, it's not really difficult to melt chocolate and dip or mix things in it and put it on a piece of wax paper, but my husband's work family started asking in the spring if I was making my candy this Christmas.

Since my schedule has been behind these past few weeks because of pesky little things like asthma attacks and ensuing ER and doctor visits, I just got to making the chocolates this week. I made 3 kinds of chocolate covered oreos (plain, mint & peanut butter), buckeyes, milk chocolate pretzel joys, milk chocolate coconut haystacks, milk chocolate covered marshmallows, white chocolate pretzel joys, white chocolate coconut haystacks, white chocolate covered marshmallows and white chocolate peppermint bark. I forgot to take pictures as I was making them, so I'll have to post that later, so if you want to see pictures, you'll have to come back.

Go check out what other blogger have tackled at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My little Wise Man

So, my son's Christmas program was Friday night, he was one of the three Wise Men, or as he's been telling me for about 2 weeks, he was a rich man who is a king. He was disappointed that the gifts weren't real gifts just wrapped cardboard boxes but, he did well anyway.

And, considering he supposedly has a behavior problem at school, he was the only wise man not fooling around on stage. The play part went well, the angel and Mary almost dropped baby Jesus, but caught him by his foot. They all did well, all the children had to do was go up on stage and stand, they had the Burl Ives recording running in the background.

The second half of his program was a little rough for him, he didn't want to go back on stage, he was tired. The show was from 7-8 and he's usually in bed by 7:30 so, this is what he looked like for most of the program, though not with his arm in the air - that was for the song they were doing.

Then we went down for cookies and juice and he didn't like the juice because they mixed Hawaiian Punch with 7Up, why they put soda in a drink for preschoolers, I really don't know, my son doesn't like soda, he says it burns his mouth. So, we went home for snack and juice and he didn't wind up in bed until 9.
He had his last hockey game on Saturday and got his first trophy, his team won every game they played this season. I didn't make the game since I woke up yesterday sick and of course my husband didn't take any pictures of him with his trophy so I'll take some and post them on another post soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #7 - Teacher gifts

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week, I made some teacher gifts. This is what I am giving all of Len's teachers, we have 2 MOPPETS volunteers, 4 teachers in his classroom. His 2 primary teachers are also getting scarves, but I'm still knitting them.

These are Sand Art Brownies (on the left), the recipe and instructions are on OrganizedHome.com and Hot Chocolate Mix from Controlling My Chaos. I will warn you these are messy to make, but if you want to make a lot of these easy to make, inexpensive gifts, invest in a tart tamper and a wide mouth funnel, you can also buy a regular funnel and cut off the "chute" and that will make you a wide mouth funnel, but it's not as stable as one made to be wide mouth.

This is what I tackled, check out what other blogger tackled this week at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #6 - Christmas Decorating

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week we tackled getting ready for Christmas. We put up our tree as you can see here.

We also put up a pine garland on our banister. We put up our candy canes outside along our sidewalk, but that's as far as outside went because we then got rain and you can't really decorate outside in the rain.

So, what did you tackle this week? Head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and check out what other bloggers have tackled this week.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

I've been looking at these posts for a while and finally, finally I have a WFM to post. It's really simple.

Freezing Cookie Dough. I make a ton of cookies every year, I give a lot of them away, my husband takes some in to work as well, and to make things easier, I start making cookie dough around Halloween so that I have at least half of all the cookie dough made by Thanksgiving. Then, I just spend the weekend baking cookies, it makes it so much easier than making the dough and baking, I can bake double the amount of cookies in a day if I don't have to make the dough to.

This is what works for me, check out what works for others over here.

Tackle It Tuesday #5

Tackle It Tuesday Meme


That's my tackle. I love sewing and I usually make hats for my son. I didn't make any last year because the previous year's fit him but this year he needed new. I let him pick out the style and the color (red) but since he has a blue jacket, I gave him 2 choices for the contrasting color, both blues and he picked both so he got 2 hats, but he only let me take one picture. The other hat looks just like this one only it's red and solid navy blue.

I'm making gloves too, but they aren't done yet. At the rate I'm going that may be my Tackle for next week.

So, now it's you turn, head on over to 5 Minutes for Mom and add your tackle.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Teacher gifts

Can I just tell you how difficult it is to decide what to give teachers who you barely know for Christmas? Well, it's even worse when one of said teachers recently basically told you that your child is the demon seed when he's on medication but it's not the medicine's fault regardless of what all those doctors, researchers and other scientists say. Well, since money is a huge issue this year, I am making scarves for my son's preschool teachers and for all of his teachers (2 preschool and 2 MOPPETS) I am making Sand-Art Brownies in a Jar and Hot Chocolate in a Jar. I started the first scarf yesterday and I now want to go buy myself some yarn and make one myself. This is what it looks like in progress:

I'll post pics when we're done - my son is helping me to make the gifts in a jar.

Check out my Tackle tomorrow when I show you the hats I made.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Well, things are getting rough here. Since my son went back to school on Monday while on medication, he went from improving his behavior greatly to we need to talk after Thanksgiving and figure out what to do to improve his behavior. His teacher actually told me on Wednesday "I understand he's on the medication (that makes him hyper), but the medicine can't be blamed for everything." I asked if he was really improving before being put on the medicine, and she said yes, well then maybe the medicine that makes him hyper and inhibits impulse control can be blamed for him getting up, running, doing whatever crosses his mind. The worst part is, he's made some good friends there and the school can kick him out if they feel he's too much of a disruption to the class. Anyway, my husband is taking the meeting with the teacher because I will just get upset and he's pissed to say the least.

Money is the other issue. I've been home since we had our son back in 2004. We figured I'd go back to work when he started school. But with the wonderful economy we've had and since gas prices and food prices have been astronomical, our need for more income is a little ahead of the schedule. Now, we haven't touched our savings yet, but that's about to happen and, well my husband is now looking for a second job. I am willing to get an overnight job, I need to be home during the day or pay for daycare which is kind of pointless, but he wants to do this himself for many reasons. I hate this economy. What happened to the days where you could be a SAHM and not worry, companies actually supported their workers and people actually got paid enough to live on?

So, I have my son home because, after 11-1/2 hours of sleep, he still has dark circles under his eyes and is yawning constantly (and he would just get in trouble at school and I'd have to punish him for his behavior when I put him in a bad situation) and I have great guilt for the fact that my husband is going to be taking on a second job.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #4

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Today, I have 2 tackles because, well, you'll see.

Since my son is on treatments for an asthma attack, my primary tackle is, of course, his meds. They have him on Xopenex (albuterol) 3-4 times per day and Pulmicort (corticosteroid) 2 times per day through nebulizer, oral steroids 1 time per day ending today and Singulair 1 time per day. So I have my little list of when to give him what and am following that so I don't forget anything.

My real tackle is making cookie dough. I usually start making cookie dough in October but I'm a little behind, as in I only have one kind made so far. Today, my MIL came over and we made oatmeal cookie dough, oatmeal raisin dough and made her oatmeal raisin cookies because she doesn't see why you should make the dough and bake the cookies later. For those of you who agree with her, I do it because it makes my baking easier. I don't bake my cookies until after Thanksgiving and if you look here you can see how much I make each year. Having dough already made and frozen means it's just like buying those buckets of dough only better because they are still homemade.

I'll put up pictures later when I have them on the computer.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

How I spent my Friday

On Thursday I wrote how I thought I was over-protective of my son because of his asthma, well, now I feel like I wasn't protective enough. He was up most of the night Thursday and I gave him a nebulizer treatment at 1 am, then he finally went to bed and woke up around 5:45, so he got another treatment at 6 and when he wasn't getting any better I called his pediatrician who had to get back to be because they weren't open yet. I got a call from a very wonderful Nurse Practitioner (she knows my older sister too which always helps) who advised I should give him another treatment and then take him to the ER and we would be there for at least a couple of hours probably most of the day. So I give him a treatment, get ready, call my MIL to meet me so I have someone to help me out since my DH was at work by then. Called my DH to let him know what was going on, called my parents in FL and then left when my MIL came.

Our local ER put in a pediatric ER not too long after I had my son, so about 4 years ago, it is wonderful. The best ER experience I have ever had. It was my son's first time being in a hospital since he was born. I went in, gave the desk our info. The triage doctor came out to listen to his lungs because she had one person before us but wanted to make sure he was getting some air. We waited for maybe 10 minutes and were taken in to Triage where the got the history of this event as well as some health history, checked his lungs and oxygen level (92 - should be between 90-100, closer to 100 for a healthy 4 yo). Set my son and MIL up in the hallway for another treatment (3rd in 3-1/2 hours) while I finished registering my son. When I got done, they were done the treatment and we waited about 45 minutes to an hour to go back to a room in the ER, they need to let the neb treatment work and all things considered, being in the hall was probably a better option than being in the room with a 4 yr old who is bouncing off the walls from albuterol. They listened to his lungs, checked his oxygen levels (93-94) and got a full history. Then they gave him albuterol and Ativan (4th treatment in 4-1/2 hours) which was the worst experience of my life. I had to hold my son down while he was screaming because the medicine either tasted awful or hurt his mouth, I'm not sure which, but it helped his lungs. Once he was done his treatment, they let us be for about an hour or so and came in to check his lungs and oxygen level (95) and my DH called to let me know that he was coming home from work and would be over as soon as he could, he works in Philadelphia and takes public transportation which, on a good day, means he has a 1 hour commute.

Around 12:30 they came in and gave him another albuterol treatment which he finally fell asleep after. Then my DH came right after the treatment. They came in around 1:30 and listened to his lungs and said they'd be back around 2 to check his oxygen levels. They came in and woke him up, his oxygen levels asleep were 91, awake and sitting but not moving around were 92-93, so they gave him a chance to get up and move around for a bit and came back in at 2:30 and his oxygen levels were up to 95-96. So we got discharged, my son and DH headed out to the playroom in the lobby while my MIL and I cleaned up, then she left and I handled the discharge.

He's on ridiculous amounts of medicine for the next couple of days, but he's home and breathing much better. We went to his pediatrician yesterday and they modified the treatment so that we'll be backing off of the Xopenex tomorrow to 3 times per day instead of 5-6, and we go back the day before Thanksgiving to see how he's doing. We also now have to go to an allergist to work on controlling this so we don't wind up with more frequent attacks.

The doctors and nurses in the ER were wonderful, I've never had that good of an experience with any hospital before. I would highly recommend that if you live in the area and need to go to the ER, go to Kennedy in Washington Township, NJ.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confessions of an over-protective mother

Well, I don't really talk about it too much, but my son has asthma, not bad, and the doctors just started actually calling it asthma, they were always calling it Reactive Airway Disease (RAD), but he had his first attack at 9 months old and pretty regularly since, usually in the fall. Why, you may ask, am I not discussing it, well, he's been having coughing fits all day and is breathing heavy, not an attack, but I have to keep an eye on him now. Every time he has a cold, I have to watch him for the next couple of weeks because that's usually when he has the attack, about 2 weeks after his cold he starts coughing and we are at the doctor's office getting treatments and more medication. We are now at the point that, 4 years after the first attack, I pretty much call the doctor, tell them he's having an attack, give him a nebulizer treatment and keep the doctor's informed if there's a problem. I'm getting pretty good at early detection, but I am so afraid the time will come where we'll have to go to the hospital.

I had a friend growing up who had asthma, well, she still does, and we still talk, so I guess I should say I have a friend that has had asthma since we met the day I got put up to first grade from kindergarten. I have many childhood memories of visiting her in the hospital, I never realized how life-threatening her disease is and I never realized what her parents must have gone through.

Now, for the confession part, whenever my son gets sick, I hover. I got a stethoscope because of the recommendation of a friend who's daughter has the same type of asthma my son has, it helps to tell if his wheezing is in his throat from mucus or if it's in his chest. When I worry, I will listen to his chest, sometimes every couple of hours. I also have a really difficult time with him now participating in sports, soccer and floor hockey. I watch for anything when he's running around, any coughing and I panic because he has flare ups during exercise too. I know I'm paranoid and he's only twice ever been close to possibly having to go to the hospital, but whenever he's sick, I feel helpless. I feel like I'm just waiting and watching to see if his asthma acts up or if it's just a cold or allergies or a cough. Whenever he has a bad cough, well I'm sure you can figure that one out. I called the doctors so frequently at one point, I felt like a nudge. Finally I just asked what I should look for, but of course, my son doesn't usually wheeze, he coughs, his lips don't usually turn blue, but he does get pale, so basically I have to listen and wait. When he coughs each time he breaths, well then I know there's a problem, of course by that time he's usually really bad, hence my paranoia.

I'm fortunate to have a wonderful husband who grew up with athletic asthma and therefore doesn't allow me to get too overprotective, and calms me down when I do over-react to any issues.

Thanks for "listening"

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tackle it Tuesday #3

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

I'm really starting to love these Tackle it Tuesdays, it motivates me to at least finish one job a week. This week I tackled this:

My Halloween decorations, though I discovered I missed a couple of things in this picture. I was supposed to do this last week but, well, we all know how life goes. So I did it today so I can clean up to get ready to decorate for Christmas. We don't decorate for Thanksgiving since we go to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. And so, here is everything packed away.

So, this is what I did. What did you tackle today? Tell us about it and check out other tackles over at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

Ok, so I know we just celebrated Halloween and seeing as the mall was decorated for Christmas already when we went trick-or-treating and Santa is coming this Saturday to the mall, everyone is pushing the holiday, but there are a few things I like to do early. I'm not big on early shopping, well truth be told, my hubby does almost all of the Christmas shopping. The only thing I buy is the clothes.

But, since I make a ton of cookies and other goodies (read candy), I usually start making my cookie dough around now and freeze the dough, then around Thanksgiving I start baking and it's so much easier.

To give you an idea of what I make, here's the list:

  1. Oatmeal Cookies
  2. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
  3. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  4. Snickerdoodles
  5. Raisin Molasses Gems
  6. Butter Cookies
  7. Scottish Shortbread
  8. Pizzelles (if I have the time)
  9. Milk Chocolate-Pretzel clusters
  10. White Chocolate-Pretzel clusters
  11. Chocolate-Coconut Haystacks
  12. White Chocolate-Coconut Haystacks
  13. Buckeyes
  14. White Chocolate covered marshmallows
  15. Milk Chocolate covered Marshmallows
  16. Milk Chocolate covered plain oreos
  17. Milk Chocolate covered peanut butter oreos
  18. Milk Chocolate covered chocolate oreos
  19. White chocolate popcorn clusters
  20. Milk Chocolate popcorn clusters

So, as you can see I need to start early. I really enjoy doing this and I give away this stuff every year to my hairdresser and I send in a tray or 2 to my hubby's work. I really need a good macaroon recipe, I like the ones that are like cookies and have never found a good recipe. I do make sugar cookies but I buy the dough, again I've never found a recipe I really liked. So, I will post some cookie recipes over the next few weeks.

What do you do ahead for the holidays?

New President

Well, I'm sure lots of people are blogging about their joy or sorrow about our new President. I am only going to say, I am thankful that we have a new President. I am thankful that whether or not my chosen candidate actually won, I got to state my opinion at the polls and in 4 years if I don't like what Barack Obama has done, I can vote for someone else then. In the meantime, I will be praying that God will lead our new President to do what is right and good for our country as a whole and to go to God first, not man.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tackle It Tuesday #2

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Well, I have no pictures for my second Tackle it Tuesday. Today, I made a list of everything I need to do before Christmas. We usually host Christmas here for my family, though I haven't checked with my family yet, I'll go under that assumption so that my house gets cleaned. So, today, I tackled my list. I wrote down everything I need to do to get the house ready and tonight, my husband will make it longer because I always forget something.

I also tackled voting for our next president, and regardless of who I voted for, I will take my father's stance... I voted for the guy who wins!

So tell us what you tackled today and link it up over at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Conversations about God

I grew up in a home where we went to church when we were young, but around when I was 9 or 10 we stopped going, we got a female minister and, well, my parents didn't really feel comfortable with her. I, personally, continued doing "church things" like AWANA and other youth group activities with friends and whenever I stayed at my cousins, I went to church. I accepted Christ as my savior at 14, but I don't think I really understood what that meant. At 20 I was baptized, along with my then fiance (not my husband), at a baptist church, I was dedicated when I was born at my Mom's church. Again, I understood who God and Jesus were and I truly did still believe that Christ is my saviour and only through Him can I go to Heaven. Well, anyway, since my Christian life has been sporadic at best, I wasn't really sure how to explain God and Jesus to my son. I've read him Bible stories since he was little. We recently started looking for a church, we attended one for a little while last year but it has yet to become a habit.

Now, my son is going to a wonderful Christian preschool and on our way home from school today, well yesterday (October 31), we had a conversation that kind of went like this:

Son: God made the Earth.
Mom: Yes, He did. He also made the sun and the moon.
Son: He didn't make the snow though.
Mom: Yes, God made the snow and the rain.
Son: He made the sun too. And he made the cats. Did he make the fishes too?
Mom: Yes, God made the fishes too. He also made you and me and Daddy and all of us. God loves us too.
Son: Toys, did God make toys Mom?
Mom: God didn't make toys, but God made the person who made the toys.
Son: OK, God made the man who made the toys, so if it weren't for God there wouldn't be toys? Yeah God! Because of God we have toys.

So, you see, he learned that all things are possible through God, but the only thing that really mattered was where the toys came from.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Fun

Halloween is my husband's favorite holiday. We had a lot of fun this year. Both of my men were pirates. This is the little guy in his pirate costume, which I made, at the mall yesterday trick or treating. We went when it started at 4 with friends and I'm so glad we went early. We did the entire top floor and 1/2 of the bottom floor and left, it was really crowded by the time we left at 5:00. We did have fun and the boys all had a great time running in to get their treats. My son is 2 years older than my friend's oldest son so he was a little more into this.
Today, his school had a Halloween performance and parade. This is my son and his friends from school. They were all so cute singing their songs and they had a party after the parents left.
Here are my men getting ready to go out trick-or-treating. It was so much fun this year because our son finally realizes what Halloween is and what happens, he started talking about trick-or-treating last week when we went to the Aquarium for trick-or-treating and hasn't stopped. He will probably wake up tomorrow asking when he can go again (he doesn't understand that holidays only come once per year yet).

Aren't these guys handsome?

I hope you all had a great Halloween.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Prayers needed

I follow My Charming Kids, MckMama is going in to deliver Stellan tomorrow morning at 9:30 CST (10:30 EST). For those who don't follow the blog, Stellan has an enlarged heart, which may cause complications for him once he's born. MckMama is therefor asking for prayers. Please keep Stellan, MckMama and the whole family in your prayers.

Thank you.

Tackle It Tuesday #1

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Over on 5 Minutes for Mom she holds a Tackle It Tuesday challenge. well this was my Tackle It for today, I really did do it today too. See that nice bag in the front, the Tastefully Simple one, well I'm having a party tomorrow to support my friend who recently started selling the wonderful stuff, so I kind of needed to clean off my table to make the dips and, well to put the food somewhere.

We tend to put things down where is convenient and they tend to stay there for a while, but today our table went from this ...

To this...

I even put out a couple of Halloween decorations. My son made the ghost last year.
So, now it's your turn, do your own tackle it and post it here.


I love canning, I make jam as frequently as I can, my second favorite thing to can is Applesauce.

This is what you need:
Sugar (optional)
Cinnamon or other spices (if desired)

These are the apples I used, they are Stayman, a type of Winesap. I've used Red Delicious, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, you can really use any apple, if you use tart apples you will want to add some sugar. I used these because that's what they had at the local farmer's market and they were in the discount section because of some bruising (doesn't matter when you are making applesauce). You will need about 3 pounds of apples per quart of applesauce. I wound up making 2 batches totalling 7 pints (3.5 quarts) out of about 9 pounds of apples.
You need to clean, quarter and core your apples, you can peel them if you want, especially if you don't have a good sieve or food mill.

Put apple quarters and just enough water to make sure the apples don't stick (with 5 pounds of apples, I used about 1 cup of water). Cook apples until they are soft (you need to be able to mash them or run them through a sieve).Once they are soft, you run the apples through a food mill, sieve or mash them. You can put them in a food processor and pulse them to sauce but it will break down the pulp more.This is the pulp after being run through the food mill. Once you have apple pulp, return to sauce pot, bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. This is where you would add sugar, I usually taste the apples and if they taste a little tart, I add some sugar. I added 1/2 cup of sugar for 3-4 pints.Once the applesauce has boiled for 5 minutes, put in clean, heated canning jars, release air bubbles, put on lids and rings, and process in hot water canner (pot with boiling water) for 20 minutes. When you are done, you have yummy applesauce. As the jars cool they will ping, that is the wonderful sound of the jars sealing. Verdict: Yummy! I know it looks like I only made 3 1/2 pints, but I filled a bowl for my son before I canned the sauce and I made a second batch today in the crockpot. I got that recipe from The Crockpot Lady's blog.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Celebration for ME!!

Well, today I turn 40, well I turned 40 around 8:30 this morning, I'm not sure of the exact time, my Mom can't remember. Can you tell I'm the middle child?

Well I got a wonderful gift from my husband and son:

A Canon Rebel XSi camera, I love it. When I used film, I had a Canon Elan EOS-IIe, but when we switched to digital we went with a Canon Elph Powershot point and shoot, I so missed my SLR capabilities. I've taken 20 pictures already of my son just playing. I haven't even read the manual to see how to use everything yet either.

I had wanted a party for my birthday, but this is so much better!! I can't wait to see the pictures I'll be able to scrap when I print these out.

Anyway, I'm hoping to make some applesauce tomorrow, so I'll post about that on Monday, but I won't be around for the weekend, I'll be too busy taking pictures.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Recipe, A Contest and An Award

A Recipe...

So, I planned to make this 2 weeks ago for a party this past Saturday, then everyone posted a recipe for this, but I'm posting anyway because, well I made it and I haven't made anything fun in a while!

Pumpkin Dip

Here are your ingredients:

The first thing you do is put 8 oz. softened cream cheese and 2 cups of powdered sugar (also called 10x or icing sugar) into a food processor (this can also be made in a bowl with a hand or stand mixer just make sure the cream cheese is really soft). Mix until combined and it looks like yummy cream cheese icing:

Add 15 oz. pumpkin (about 1/2 of a large can of pumpkin)

Add 1 Tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice, 1 Tbsp Cinnamon (or 1tsp ginger) and 1 tsp orange extract.

This is what it looks like all done.

This can be served with spiced wafers (my fave), apple slices (make sure to toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning), graham cracker sticks, pretty much anything.

Verdict: 2 cups of this went at the party and we had a ton of food. I put it out with spiced wafers. It has a slightly orange flavor to it which if you don't like that you could probably leave out the extract, but I like it so I'm not sure how it would taste without it.

A Contest...

Not mine, not yet anyway, on Sisterly Savings there is a contest going on to win one of these:

I love aprons, and these are all really adorable, so go over and join in on the contest.

An Award:

Meghan over at Meghan's Mindless Muttering awarded me this award:

I'm not really sure I'm creative but here it is. In order to accept this, I must post 6 things I value, 6 things I do not value and then pass it on to 6 bloggers.

So here it goes...

6 things I value

  1. Family (if you can't tell from my recent posts family means a lot to me)
  2. Love (real and honest, you can't get better than that)
  3. Faith
  4. Friends (the family you choose)
  5. A warm, welcoming kitchen (our family always gathers there)
  6. A good book

6 things I don't value

  1. Pettiness
  2. Holding grudges (life's too short)
  3. Rudeness (I especially don't understand why people can't turn their cellphones down or off during church or a funeral)
  4. Reality Shows (I don't mean the informative ones, I mean things like Survivor and Big Brother, they intentionally start fights with people, it doesn't put humanity in a good light)
  5. Atheists who thing God should be taken out of everything (Our country was built on Christian values people, and it was set up so that people can practice their religion their way, and if President Eisenhower felt that the words "under God" should be added to our pledge of allegiance, then that's good enough for me)
  6. Religious intolerance (see above).

6 Awards

  1. Debby from The Jimenez Family
  2. Amelia at Out of my kitchen
  3. Mckmama at My Charming Kids
  4. Karen at Mommy, I'm Home
  5. Kristen at We are THAT Family
  6. Miss Mommy at The Thrifty Mommy

Here are the 'official' rules: *Mention the blog that gave you the award and comment on their blog to let them know that you have posted their award. You also have to list 6 things you value and 6 things you don't value. Lastly, you have to pass the award onto 6 other friends! *

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me! Monday

MckMama is hosting this over on her site. I've been reading them for a couple of weeks now and figured I'd add my "Not Me's"
I did not spend Friday frantic because I had a viewing and was too upset to know what to do with myself.
I did not put off giving my son a breathing treatment Saturday night because I didn't want to wake him and I did not bring him to my hubby's and my bed so I wouldn't have to sleep in his hard bed.
I did not send my son to preschool this morning with a runny nose and cough because I needed some time to run errands.
I did not have potato chips for dinner yesterday because I didn't want to make anything for me and I did not feel sorry for myself for losing my cousin this week.
I did not let my husband feed my son grilled cheese for dinner in front of the TV on the couch.
Well, I'll take notes this week and see if I can do better next week.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Strength in Adversity

Last night and this morning I saw 8 amazingly strong people. 7 Strong women who are facing a very different life starting tomorrow and one amazing young man who will be graduating high school as a different person than when he started his Senior year in September.

In the past 8 months, they have lost their father to colon cancer and their mother to breast cancer. They didn't go run and hide, they have held each other up and with the knowledge that our very large family will do anything they can to support them they are facing these new challenges head on. My cousins are amazing people. During their life they had two amazing parents who would do anything for them but didn't let that spoil their children.

With 8 children you can imagine how tight things must have been, but you'd never know any of their struggles. They always made each and every child feel special. They also made everyone else in the family feel special. Their door was always open to anyone. Their mother frequently was on middle of the night phone calls from pregnant and nursing women to help them, but she never let that take away from her kids, she'd sacrifice first. I don't think anyone could have a better testament to the wonderful life they live than these strong and amazing people that are left behind.

I will miss my cousin Carol dearly, and her children will miss their Mom, but they have already shown strength that many couldn't, they have faced loss that none should have to and not only survived but they are prospering. They are more than willing to pick up where their parents left off and have everyone over again this holiday season.

Please, keep them all in your prayers: Kristin (husband-Pete), Amanda, Lauren (husband-Steve), Jessica, Lindsey, Devon, Meredith & Scott.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Life, or why I'm not posting about cooking.

Well, life, when a death happens life gets well, a bit more difficult to live. You need to make plans for viewings, funerals, flowers, oh, and as a SAHM, what to wear. And while you are doing this, the rest of life happens. School, birthdays (I'll be 40 in 10 days!!), soccer, parties for out of town relatives. So, with everything going on this week, including having to go to a funeral on Saturday and then the party for said out of town Aunt who will be in town for just that day, I promise my 4 year old and husband have been eating, but not anything blog-worthy (I think you all know how to throw some pasta into a pot of boiling water and open up a jar of pasta sauce (or gravy as it's called around here).

I will get back to more interesting cooking next week. In the meantime I need to get to work on the prayer shawl I am knitting for my cousin who will be getting a preventative double mastectomy in a couple of weeks.

For the couple of people who are gracious enough to check out my blog occasionally I promise I will write something interesting soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

You Gotta Love Observant 4 year olds

So, we had plans to go to Dorney Park for Halloweekends yesterday, and since we did tell our son, and if I had stayed home I would have just moped around, we still went. We had a pretty good time, though the little guy was tired and I was very melancholy, I'd like to say sad or upset, but I was really just blah.

Dorney started a new Halloween tradition, they close the park for anyone under 13 at 6 to open up The Haunt with all kinds of people in creepy costumes jumping out at you. Well, we were leaving, my wonderfully thoughtful husband was getting a refill in our overpriced mug (though so worth it with the $2 refills) and the characters were starting to come out. This is the conversation I had with my son:

Him: "Mommy, are these the scary bad guys coming out?"
Me: "Yes, are they scaring you? Do you want me to hold you?"
Him: "Hold me." I pick him up.
Me: "Is that better?"
Him: "Yes...Hey, wait a minute those bad guys aren't real, they're fake!"
Me: "What makes you say they're fake?"
Him: "I saw the back of that guy's head had a hole in it. I bet they're just masks."

Can't put one past him.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Update and a plea

My cousin who has been in the hospital fighting for her life lost her battle this morning. Cancer won.

Please be diligent in doing your monthly self-breast exam and your yearly PAP and mammogram (once you hit 40 or 35 with a family history).

Cancer doesn't care what you have going on in your life, it doesn't care if you are trying to get over losing your Mom or spouse or if you are just busy getting your kids set for college. It doesn't care what race, religion, or sex you are (men can get breast cancer too). Please remember with early detection my cousin would still be here today. Listen to your body and if you notice anything different don't let any doctor tell you to wait and see, get it checked, get a second opinion. You are your number one advocate.

Thank you all for your prayers!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

I love my life and I hate my life

I love my life, I'm a SAHM to a very curious and very active 4 year old, he keeps me on my toes both physically and mentally b/c he's smart as a whip (I never understood that saying). I have a wonderful husband who doesn't want me to go back to work, at least until our son is in school all day, and does so much for me. I have a wonderfully close and insane family, we are truly out there some times but we are really close, and I don't just mean me and my sisters and our parents, we have 15 cousins on my Dad's side and we do keep in touch, my Mom's side would seem smaller because in addition to me and my sisters, we have 2 cousins, but we also are close with my Mom's cousins and their children, I think we're talking close to 20 on that side, but I'm not sure, it could be more if I actually counted and yes we are crazy. I don't mean really insane, just we like having fun, we talk a lot, not as much as we should though, and well, we're related so that just means a lot of inside jokes and the same stories over and over again.

I hate my life: I have a cousin who is battling for her life right now in the hospital, she lost her husband to colon cancer after a very short battle (he was diagnosed just before Thanksgiving 2007) on February 11, 2008 (I remember the date b/c it was my father's birthday), her Mom died the end of last April at the age of 90. She has 8 kids, 7 girls and 1 boy and she's touched many lives in this area. I hate that she's suffering, I hate what her kids are going through, I hate that though she's 62 and a maternity nurse/lactation consultant she's never, NEVER had a mammogram. She found the lump close to a year before she did anything about it.

And most of all I hate myself for being angry with her for not taking care of herself. I feel so selfish thinking of this, I don't want anything to happen to her, I don't want to have to miss her too, I hate cancer and I hate the fear that surrounds it so that people avoid the very tests that could save their lives.

I love my life, my other cousin who found a lump in her breast was told today that it is NOT cancer!!!

All that being said, I'm calling Monday to schedule my Mammogram. I'll be 40 in a couple of weeks and I had a baseline at 36 which had me running around to doctors for close to a year b/c I have dense breasts, but, well I would rather get my breasts squished between 2 pieces of plexiglass than not know. Knowledge is power. If there is anything there I can handle it because I know what I'm facing. Playing ostrich doesn't stop anything and usually only makes things worse.

Monday, October 6, 2008

What to do with decomposing fruit?!?

Well, OK, so we watch too much Sid the Science Kid on PBS, but that's what we had, these lovely bananas, so what do you do with them, well make banana bread of course.

OK, so I forgot to take a picture of all the ingredients, so here's the list:

1-1/4 c sugar

1/2 c stick margarine or butter, softened

2 eggs

1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 bananas)

1/2 cup milk (the recipe calls for buttermilk but I just use vanilla soy)

1 tsp vanilla

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I use 1-1/4 cups each of unbleached and whole wheat)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

First thing you do is mix together the butter and sugar.

Mash all those over-ripe bananas.
Mix in eggs, bananas buttermilk and vanilla, beat until smooth.

Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened.
Grease bottom only of 2 loaf pans, pour in batter.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour for 8" loaf pan (1hr 15 min for 9" loaf pan)
Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes, loosen edges and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Then serve. Though my banana bread is usually cut before it cools completely because I have a very impatient 4 year old who adores my banana bread. So much so that he ate 2/3 of a loaf yesterday and came home today and took it upon himself to open the remainder of the loaf and eat it while it was on his thumb. So, the whole loaf eaten by the 4 year old. I'm assuming it was yummy, it usually is, but I can't tell you from experience this time. This is a very moist bread.