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.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Vegetarian Salisbury Steak

Well, in case you haven't noticed that none of my food includes meat, I'm a vegetarian, just me, not my hubby, not my son, so I do cook meat, but not a lot. This is one thing that when I was not a vegetarian I loved when my Mom would make it, well she actually brought it home from the luncheonette that we owned.

Here are your ingredients:

4 veggie burgers, I like the Boca vegan but any kind will do.
1 onion sliced
1 small can mushrooms, drained (I really like mushrooms so I use the big can)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master (whatever you use to add color to your gravy)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Saute the sliced onion and mushrooms in some vegetable oil, until onion is translucent.
Add veggie burgers and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.

This is the gravy, you add the Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet and cornstarch to the vegetable broth and whisk until smooth. Pour sauce over burgers, turn heat to medium. Gravy will thicken in a few minutes and the dish is done.

This is it all done, it is yummy!! Even good as leftovers. I served roasted potatoes (I had a little bit of a timing issue and they weren't done when the Salisbury Steak was done) and corn with this.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Genetics and my cousin's decision

Well, my cousin who found the lump went to her surgeon on Tuesday and was told that she needed to get an MRI done. The doctor doesn't seem to think that it's cancer, which is good, but given that her mother had the BRCA gene mutation, my cousin will be tested and is probably going to get a preventative double mastectomy with reconstruction done. Additionally since the BRCA gene mutation also increases your chances of getting ovarian cancer, and she's done having kids, they recommend she get a hysterectomy, at 37!! She's going to complete all her testing and make all her decisions shortly b/c she wants it done so that she's all healed by the beginning of next summer.

My cousin who is in the hospital has had no change, though she's been intubated for almost 2 weeks, and there is a 2 week limit on that being done with a tube down her throat b/c of potential vocal cord damage. So, if she's not off the ventilator (and it doesn't look good), she will be getting a tracheostomy put in so that she will be able to talk when she recovers (I believe that God's will is being done here).

Thank you anyone and everyone who has happened upon this blog and is praying for these two beautiful and strong women.