Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday was my 38th birthday and like all previous ones, it was glorious. Birthday's are a very exciting time in our family, and to date, I have never dreaded an upcoming birthday (like many of the females I work with). They didn't have my son, Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-Law and two nieces to celebrate with!

My sister made dinner for all of us and as tradition stands, the birthday person gets to pick their entire menu. I choose meatloaf, mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and cherry cobbler. Between my sister and Mom, they made a fabulous dinner, that we all devoured. My sister decorated the table beautifully with the help of my younger niece.

After dinner it was time for the best part, presents! I received too many things to list, but one of my favorites was the Cuttlebug, a present from my Mom and Dad. I have been wanting one of these for awhile and was excited beyond belief. My sister found a cute print designed from someone selling her artistic talent on Etsy. It was perfect too, a little girl surrounded by Autumn, just like me. She also got me a subscription to the new Food Network Magazine, Yum-O!!! My Mom took my son shopping and whoever lands this boy as a husband one day, will be spoiled with gifts. He is an awesome shopper. He bought me a beautiful glass mercury jar, many things for my kitchen and lots of scrapbook items. Everything near and dear to my heart.



After dinner some gathered around the kitchen table to visit and others ventured to the garage for our annual pumpkin carving time. My son decided against the pumpkin templates we had and went straight for free-handing it. I was surprised, he did rather well. Tonight, our masterpieces will come to life at dusk, just in time for all the little trick-or-treaters.


This year's Halloween holiday is a bitter sweet one. My son is 9 years old and decided he didn't want to go trick-or-treating. With my birthday being on the 30th of October, Halloween is probably my most favorite holiday. It was sad to see this time come to an end, but made me realize this is yet another step in my son growing up and my need to slowly let him go. I am constantly reminded God only gave him to me temporarily and my job is to raise him and let him go. So instead we will stay home for the first time in 9 years and hand out candy. I'm making dinner for my son and parents and I might see what type of cartoon Halloween movie is available to rent. We can start a new tradition, and I know it can be just as special.


I hope all of you have a Happy Halloween, regardless of how big or small your kids are.

Boo-to-You!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Spooks Come Out at Night


This morning I woke up, shuffled out to the kitchen, still groggy from a nights sleep. Barely awake I walk over to the coffee pot so I can get some energy going, but as I peer out the kitchen window, I notice toilet paper on my patio. Still half asleep I think to myself, how did that get there, did it blow over from a neighbor? I try to focus more and I rubber-neck-it outside my kitchen window and notice MORE toilet paper. Now the blood starts flowing and I go to the back of the house and rip open the blind to find THIS.....toilet paper blowing in the wind from my back tree. THOSE LITTLE @&%&%$!@*!!!!




I walk quickly to the front of the house, tear open my bay window blinds and find this.....






Then as a peace offering, they left this................


I on the other hand, left millions and millions of these...............


If anything, the culprits may have twisted their ankles while tossing the toilet paper through my trees by stepping on my lovely walnuts.

So all day I have been wondering, who did this??? Some crazy friends of mine, high school kids from our church, someone I don't know??? Then, my sister calls me tonight to see what my son thought of the tee-pee, and she spilled it....SHE was the one that tossed toilet paper around my yard. And to make it worse, she taught my two nieces how to do it!!! They and my brother-in-law were in on the mission. And even better, they did it at 8:30pm while I was baking my focaccia!! They walked by my windows and saw me baking in the kitchen!! Hmm!! I'm taking back the focaccia I gave them. In return, they can have that toilet paper cardboard roll you see in the above picture....and a nut. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Homemade Bread....Oh So Yummy!


It was official, this weekend was going to be a cooking kind of weekend. I recently purchased a new cookbook, present to me, and it put me in the mood to get busy and try new things. The cookbook is Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. I fell in love with the book. I'm not a huge fan of Martha, some of her things are too hard to make for the average person, but this cookbook has it all. Different recipes, but still yummy, and inspires you to venture into uncharted waters and bake something new instead of the same old thing.

I am in the process of baking two things from her Handbook. The first is Focaccia, and let me tell you, my house smells so yummy I could eat the throw rug in front of my stove. Even if it doesn't taste good, it was worth the effort because of the aroma it filled my home with. The dough was rather odd, but I suppose it's only because I'm used to making rolls. This dough was very sticky and bubbly. But according to Martha, it's supposed to be that way. The best part, you coat the bottom of the pan in olive oil before placing the dough on the pan. Then after spreading the dough out and pocking the famous little dimples on top, you drizzle yet MORE olive oil. Then you sprinkle with salt and bake. Oh dear. I opted to sprinkle half with salt and half with Italian seasoning. That way my Mom, who is on a low salt diet, can taste this yummy stuff as well.



The next item I'm baking are some cookies for my son. They are similar to an Oreo, chocolate wafer cookie with cream filling, but just the homemade version. It's so sad to go grocery shopping these days with the price of food. My son loves Oreo's, yes I know they are bad for you, but he's a kid. When I saw a package was almost $5.00, I said NO WAY, I will bake cookies instead. So, that is what started me down this cooking kind of weekend. I haven't finished the cookies yet, it got too late on me so I will need to finish them tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Tomorrow, homemade spaghetti sauce that I plan on freezing to make individual servings. It too is a very tasty recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. If you have never made homemade spaghetti sauce, I highly recommend you try it. You will be amazed at the difference in taste between something like this and what you buy in a jar. Nothing like a little spaghetti, focaccia, and a salad for dinner, the best kind of comfort food to warm you on a chilly fall evening. I'll think of you while I'm eating dinner.






Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Sweet Little Kitty

My sister is the sewing queen of the family. I...play with paper....she playes with fabric. She made me this ADORABLE kitty cat for an early birthday present. Isn't she CUTE!! She has a very pointy tail, that stands high and tall. I love her so very much, oh yes, I love the kitty too.




Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Fall Harvest Party

Five little pumpkins sitting on the gate.
The first one said, "Oh my it's getting late!"
The second one said, "There are witches in the air!"
The third one said, "But we don't care!"
The fourth one said, "I'm ready for some fun!"
The fifth one said, "Let's run, and run, and run!"
Then........"Oooh" went the wind
And OUT went the light,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight!

Last night was our Fall Harvest party and I believe everyone had a good time. We had around 25 people with about 12 of them being kids. We had yummy food, games, warm fire, warm cider, spooky haunted shed and just lots of laughter.

Our day started Saturday with getting things ready which included cooking the food. My brother-in-law helped me by grilling a beef brisket. I also tried a new recipe for an apple, onion, cheese tart. The combination may sound a bit odd, but it was actually quite yummy. A very rustic dish that tasted like fall.

Since we have a small home, much of the party was held outside. Unfortunately it was in the mid 30's once the sun went down, but the kids were running around screaming so much, it didn't bother them. When the adults got cold, they came inside for warm cider and a chair around the kitchen table.
Once the sun went down, my son was ready to open up the "Haunted House". It wasn't very scary, but we did have Joe Corely....the dead guy.....inside. Just so you don't worry, I made him up and all of his body parts. We had his "parts" in bowls for everyone to touch (eyes, ears, brains, hands and the worms that ate him). And then his smiling skeleton was hanging on the wall and the entire creepiness was surrounded in spider webs. I realized that even though you are touching slimy grapes and smushed tomatoes, when it is dark and spooky music is playing, anything can be scary. And every now and then, someone would bang on the shed and send those visitors inside, screaming as they ran outside. We had to laugh, and take lots of pictures.

We also played a racing game with powdered donuts with all of the kids. We strung donuts on dental floss, lined them up on their knees and told them...hands behind your back! At the sound of GO they had to eat the donut off the floss and the first one to succeed, was the winner. It was so fun to watch as the kids would practically gag with a mouth full of powdered goodness.

There were so many funny moments, too many to list. Instead I will just share the highlights in our photos. It's time now to make a scrapbook of the memories so we have it for years to come. I love opening up my home to family and friends. My son loves it too. I inherited this love from my Mom and her wonderful ability to entertain and even my 9 year old son is grasping it. God has blessed us with lots of wonderful people to call friends. What a better to show your love for them than to throw a party. And for good measures, throw in a dead guy and touch his brains!




We had treat cones for all of the kids. They had glow in the dark bracelets, pumpkin gum balls, Halloween pencils, pop rocks and gift certificates to McD's. A big hit!

All of the kido's sitting outside eating the food, or at least I think they ate.

My sissy and her best friend.

My sister and girlfriend inside the "Haunted Shed" touching Joe Corely's body parts. The yucky worms that ATE him! (cooked spagetti with oil)

My son, niece and two other friends.

Joe Corely in the no flesh, but bones!

If you look close, you can see my Mom standing in the window. She was safe inside away from the walnut tree, in fear of stepping on a big nut (or getting clunked in the head with a nut). She was watching the screaming Haunted Shed.

The donut game. Can you see the falling powdered sugar from my son's face??

Making SMORES by the fire. PaPa (my Dad) was in charge of the goods. That way no child ended up with too much of a sugar buzz.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Harvest Party

It's been a busy week around our home. We are getting ready for a party this weekend where many of our friends are invited. My son is probably excited more than I, but that is because he has his own little party going on too. All of my friends have kids his age, so we have 8 other kids coming in addition to the parents. I can guarantee, we will be doing our thing, while they are doing their thing.

My son wanted a "Spooky" theme, I wanted a fall harvest theme. We compromised. He gets to turn the shed into a haunted house with the spooky decorations, I get the rest. It has been fun however coming up with things to put in the soon-to-be haunted house. I will share pictures with you later once it is ready to greet all of the guests (or should I say victims!!). NO, just kidding, it won't be too scary, just dark, cob-webs, black lights and whatever else we can DIG up. Hee-Hee.

I am grilling a beef brisket that is Paula Deen's recipe. Here it is if you ever want to cook one. It is actually very easy and if you have any leftovers, they freeze well. But I warn you, there is a very good chance you will not have any leftovers. All of the guests are bringing a dish to share, so I know we will have lots of yummy dishes.

We will also be bobbing for apples, have treat bags for the kids, roasting marshmallows and just sitting around enjoying the fellowship while the kids scream and run around. We have a cold front moving in tonight which is bringing cooler weather. The high on Saturday is only going to be 61 while the night time temperature is 38. Burrrrrr! Good thing we will have a fire.

I'll be sure to post lots of pictures of our Fall Harvest Party after this weekend. This is my favorite time of the year. I love being with my family, friends and all the beauty that comes with the change of seasons. Now if we could just figure out a way to go from Fall to Spring....... Speaking of beauty (or maybe cuteness is a better word) I found this picture on the internet and fell in love with it. Wish I had a pet Hedgehog!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Me, My Dad, An Apple and a Pear


This afternoon my Dad and I picked apple and pears and they were quite bountiful. I have never seen a pear tree and I must say, these pears were gigantic! As my Dad said "These things are as big as softballs", and he was right. The pears were not quite ripe, but my wise father told me to wrap them in newspaper and store them in my shed and in a week, they will be ripe enough to eat. We found a few that were ripe enough to eat, so we shared one of the yummy, sweet pieces of fruit. My Mom loves pears and so does my son so I know she will enjoy the harvest.


After the pear tree we headed to the yellow apple tree and picked a few of those to add to our pile. Once we made it to the Red Delicious apple tree all of our buckets were full so Dad could not carry it up the ladder with him. Instead I stood at the bottom while he tossed them down to me. Our bucket was flowing over with the red and yellow fruit so we knew we had to call it quits and leave the rest for others to enjoy.


I love spending time with my Dad (and you too Mom). My son jumps at every chance he gets to spend with PaPa and I know why. He is so much fun to be with and a wealth of knowledge. Dad didn't go to college, but he has far more knowledge and experience than any University can give you. I'm proud to have him as my Dad (and you too Mom)! :) I love them more than anything I have. Thank you God for giving me the best parents known.



Now, I think I need to bake something with this yummy fruit my Daddy and I gathered.

Black Walnuts Can Be Scary



I've lived in my new home for a year and a half. This is the second Fall season we have experienced in our new place. Our back yard is the home of a huge black walnut tree that decided to bear nuts this year since it didn't last year. Things were going OK with this tree until this weekend, and that was when I decided the sky HAD to be falling.

The nuts are ripe and when that happens, they start to fall from the tree. I must say, I learned quickly that the back yard could be a war zone so you do not enter it unless you wear a hard hat. Those darn nuts are large, heavy and fall from the tree going 90 miles an hour! Well, maybe not that fast, but those suckers could hurt you. So, although I was smart enough to realize this, the home isn't safe from these bombs.

This morning while drinking my coffee I kept hearing this noise hitting the house that sounded like someone was taking a bat and whacking the side of the house. Finally I figured out, those darn nuts are falling from the tree. Not only do they hit the roof and rattle it, they bounce off and hit the fence, patio furniture, air conditioner, shed and anything else in the way. So you hear lots of rattling. The poor cats run around starring up at the ceiling wondering what is coming in to get them. I feel the same way.


So, instead of letting them take me, I decided to take them. I ventured into the war zone tonight to gather those that had fallen. My Mom and Dad told me how to harvest them so I decided to give it a try. I love walnuts so I thought I might as well try it since I have my own tree. Well, two 5 gallon buckets later, I decided this was a crazy idea, no one needs that many nuts. I think I'm mad at them for being so big and scary so I want to crack them open and eat them! Or bake them in some bread. Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel like taking on the big, bad nuts. :)

Fetch....with a cat??


I'm starting to believe my cat was a dog in his previous life. Or maybe it's just that my son wants a dog so bad, but we can't have one, so God sent us this cat instead. Our male cat Tiger plays fetch. His favorite toy is this gold shiny ball that he will chase hours on end. It is a trick my son taught him and even though Tiger will chase about anything, he loves this ball.

One night I put my son to bed, crawled into bed to read and the next thing I knew, Tiger jumped on my bed carrying his gold love toy. He looked at me, dropped it by my hand, sat down and starred at me as if he was saying "Throw it, I dare you". So, I did! He shot off that bed faster than any dog could run and picked up the ball in his mouth and brought it back to me. We played this game for probably 5 minutes until my arm got tired.

I wish you all could see my cat-dog. He may not have a rubber ball, instead he has a cool gold fluffy ball. Kind of like him I guess. I'm so glad I have him to make me laugh, even if it is the craziest thing to see.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Sleepy Time


It's a lazy kind of Friday night. I've been doing a bit of crafting and enjoying the start of a 3 day weekend. PRAISE the Lord!! I'm playing in my craft room with a yummy candle burning and our local Christian Radio station playing in the back ground. My two cats were up moving around earlier, but it is now past their bedtimes. They are probably both thinking "Why are you not in bed yet...you are always in bed by now. You are really messing up our sleep schedule." Because you know, they have probably only slept 12 hours already today!

Calleigh always sleeps behind my computer monitor and positions herself on top of my wireless Internet box. I think it might be warm. Tiger, well he is too LARGE to fit behind the monitor, so he takes up half my desk. Both look content that mama is home and able to love on them.

Tomorrow entails cleaning the house (yuck), baking muffins for Sunday morning, and scrapbooking with a girlfriend. Sounds like a glorious day, don't you think? Well, minus the cleaning.








Happy Columbus Day!!






Monday, October 6, 2008

Family

Today is my sister and brother-in-law's 18th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Sissy and Brother! We celebrated their day with a dinner at my parents home. Mom baked a yummy ham with all of the fixin's. We sat around the dinner table once dinner was done to reminisce about the last 18 years, shared the good times and the bad, and had lots of laughs. I love being with my family, every single one of them. My two nieces had stories to tell about their day at school, my Dad told a story about a lady he ran off the road (on accident....of course) and my son told everyone about the digital camera he brought home from school.



His class is creating a photo story to describe "A Day In The Life Of Me". Each child gets to bring home a camera and take 10 pictures of themselves and their daily life. My son wanted to get a picture of his whole family since we were all together. It took probably 10 minutes to gather the whole group. As soon as you would have three, one would leave to go find the other. Then another would mosey into the living room after everyone kept yelling at the top of their lungs. FINALLY, everyone arrived, but then we couldn't figure out how to work the camera. I kept pushing the wrong buttons which would take pictures of the group, minus me. My brother-in-law (the technical savvy one of the family) decided he better take a look. He finally got it and before we knew it, the camera's timer was going off and it flashed the second he got back into the group.


We were all laughing so hard, it didn't turn out the best, but you know it is a picture that best suits us. A bunch of goof-balls that love being around one another and enjoying all of the little bits of time we get with one another. I would share the picture with you, but I look the worse out of them all.


I hope you get to spend fun times with your family too.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Great Pumpkin Patch

"On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises from his pumpkin patch and flies through the air to deliver toys to all the children."
Linus
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"
Today we visited the pumpkin patch to begin our journey into fall. We only purchased a few pumpkins, those for decorating instead of carving. I had to resit the temptation to grab the large, plump round ones made especially for carving, in fear they would rot before Halloween. Instead, my son and niece picked out cute little tiny ones, perfect for decorating their rooms. I choose the fairytale pumpkin, my favorite! It is Cinderella's pumpkin that was turned into her chariot. This is the pumpkin that puts the pretty in Halloween!





They had the pretties Mum's too, so bright and full of fall colors.



The kids not only enjoyed picking out some pumpkins, they loved playing in the hay maze.

I liked this big guy....is he an owl???


After we left the pumpkin patch we headed for Amish country. There are some of the neatest groceries with home baked goodies and other treats you must try. On our way to one of them, we passed these fellas. They were standing next to the fence as if they were waiting for someone to come by and visit with them. Or, they were watching the horse and buggy rush hour go by. Either way, we all had a good chuckle.



Our day to the Pumpkin Patch was a lot of fun with new memories had. I know we will go back. That big chubby pumpkin is still calling my name. :)