Friday, November 21, 2008

Funny Fridays - Conversations With Avery

I've had many funny conversations with Avery lately. He seems to be going through an identity crisis...

Today at the grocery store, he started thinking out loud. "I wish I was Diego," he said. But apparently, he just wants to be Diego so Abby can be Alisha.

A few days ago he started asking me about growing up:

Avery: "Mommy, when I grow up, will I be big?"

: "Yup."

: "Mommy, when I'm a growed-up, can I drive a car?"

: "You sure can."

: "Can I drive your van?"

: "Well, I hope to have a new vehicle by then..."

: "Mommy, when I grow up, can I have mine own car?"

: "Probably. What kind of car would you like when you grow up?"

: "I'm going to have a green and yellow car. A hot car." (He means he wants flames
painted on the side)

: "Sounds interesting. What kind of job are you going to have when you grow up?"

: "I'm going to fix things. Like my hot car."

At least he has goals.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Countdown - 8 Days to Go

I used to be a vegetable purest. I did not like my vegetables in a casserole, in buttery sauce, or mixed together. For Thanksgiving, I thought green beans were enough. I did not see the sense in adding cream of mushroom soup and those hard fake onion thingies.

But, one day I decided to take a vegetable side dish to a church potluck. For some reason, plain veggies just didn't seem good enough anymore. I looked around and finally found a veggie casserole dish that sounded good, and I made it. Let me tell you, corn is one versatile vegetable. Apparently, it's good plain, buttered, on a cob, and delicious in a casserole.


Yum-Yummy Corn Casserole


  • 1 can of corn, do not drain
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Beat eggs in medium bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Pour into sprayed or buttered casserole dish (9x9 or 2 quart).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Wasn't that easy? If you're making this for a crowd, you'll want to double it at least. Use 5 eggs for doubling.

Guess what? Corn is also good as a bread. Here's my favorite cornbread recipe, even though it's not exactly your typical Thanksgiving item. I like my cornbread sweet, so here you go:

Golden Sweet Cornbread
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan (but I like to use a mini muffin pan).
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (9-11 minutes for mini muffins), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


You might not be able to tell in the picture, but this is the walnut tree in our backyard. More specifically, it is the walnut tree in our backyard that also serves as a raccoon condo and a squirrel refrigerator. Do you see that big hole in the tree? Do you see how it's filled with nuts?

The squirrels and trees aren't the only thing nutty around here. There's also the issue of Ethan. Not only is he really developing his cute little personality and occasionally breaking into a dance at Abby's class party (as seen here:)

He is now at the phase where he can arch his back and turn completely limp at the same time. This happens whenever I try to make him go somewhere he does not want to go. Into the carseat, away from a water fountain, out of the cabinets - anything is fair game for limp-boy.

So what new tricks are your kids up to?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Countdown - 10 Days to Go

Do you have an abundance of those little wooden spoons that come in the tuna salad kits, too? Try this craft to use them up and create a cute napkin ring for each guest at your Thanksgiving table. You can also have your kids write each guest’s name on the turkeys. I recommend one letter on each turkey feather, if you have guests with short names.



Flat wooden craft spoons

Tempera or acrylic paints

Paper towel tube


Orange pipe cleaners

Black marker

Tacky glue

Red felt

Time needed: Under 1 Hour
1. Five craft spoons are required for each ring. Using tempera paint, color one of them yellow for the turkey's head, the others, a variety of colors (they'll be used for tail feathers).

2. For the turkey's body, cut a 2-inch section from a cardboard paper towel tube and paint it brown.

3. From orange pipe cleaners, shape a pair of short legs with three-toed turkey feet. Fit the legs through small holes in the cardboard tube, bending the tips inside the tube to secure them.

4. Use a marker to draw eyes on the face and use tacky glue to attach a red felt wattle.

5. Finally, glue the head to the front of the body and the tail feathers to the back.

Family Fun

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Countdown - 14 Days to Go

What do you think of first when you think of Thanksgiving? Yeah, me too - food! I especially tend to think about desserts. I love pumpkin flavored desserts, and here's a recipe I got today from my Pampered Chef lady with pumpkin and gingerbread in it. What could be more appropriate for Thanksgiving, besides adding turkey? (just kidding!)


Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle Recipe

2 (14-ounce) packages gingerbread mix

1 (5.1-ounce) box cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix

1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinnamon

1 (12-ounce) container frozen whipped topping

1/2 cup gingersnaps, optional

Bake the gingerbread according to the package directions; cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. Stir the pumpkin pie filling, sugar, and cardamom into the pudding. Crumble 1 batch of gingerbread into the bottom of a large, pretty bowl. Pour 1/2 of the pudding mixture over the gingerbread, then add a layer of whipped topping. Repeat with the remaining gingerbread, pudding, and whipped topping. Sprinkle the top with crushed gingersnaps, if desired. Refrigerate overnight. Trifle can be layered in a punch bowl.


My mother-in-law taught me recently that trifles are a wonderful thing to let kids make. The dessert already looks sloppy anyway, so your kids can just have fun. Crumbling up the cake is especially entertaining to my kids.

Remember to check out my other blog - I've posted tips for Thanksgiving menu planning over there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Thanksgiving Countdown - 15 Days to Go ** Updated**

Today I'm starting a new series, "Thanksgiving Countdown"! I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized that Thanksgiving is in two weeks. I did not know this. So, even though my Thanksgiving plans are not yet finalized, I'm sure some of you are further along than me. You might even be having family over for Thanksgiving. To your house. Yeah, you might want to get it ready.

So for the next 15 days on this blog I will be giving you Thanksgiving projects to consider. Crafts, recipes, decorations, and the like. If you need ideas, stop by my blog and see what I have to offer. I might even try a few of these myself.

On my other blog, Worth More Than Rubies (yes, I have another blog, and yes I just launched it today), I will be giving you tips to get your home company-ready. You know, cleaning and stuff?

To get us started, I thought it might be nice to create some kind of thing that helps kids and adults understand what this Thanksgiving holiday is all about, and help everyone be a little more thankful by the time November 27 rolls around.

I found this cute and easy Thankful Tree craft from Family Fun, and I hope to make this today with my kids.

Thankful Tree


Small tree branch
Pebbles, rocks, or marbles
Card stock or colored paper
Hole punch
Twine or string
Clear holiday lights (optional)

Time needed: Under 1 Hour

1. To make the tree, insert a branch in a flowerpot filled with pebbles, rocks, or marbles. Cut leaf shapes from card stock or colored paper, use a hole punch to make a hole in each, and attach a loop of twine or string.

Step 2 - Thankful Tree
At your gathering, have guests jot down a note of thanks on a leaf and hang it from the tree. I plan to also have each member of our family write down one thing they're thankful for each day leading up to Thanksgiving, and hang it on the tree.

Have fun! And please stop by my other blog. I'm having a grand-opening launch this week, and there will be a giveaway!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Embarrassingly Easy Recipe

I had a bunch of apples that the kids had picked at the apple orchard, so I was trying to think of a quick and easy way to use them as a side dish for dinner. I had about 15 minutes before dinner was ready, and I started to search online. Here's what I ended up making, and it is absolutely delicious! I modified a recipe that I found on the American Heart Association's website, so it must be somewhat healthy, right?

Microwave Baked Apple Slices
serves 4, as a side dish


Vegetable oil spray
2 unpeeled apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch wedges (I've used Granny Smith and Macintosh)*
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon light tub margarine
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Instructions

Lightly spray a 9-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Arrange the apples in the dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Microwave for 2 1/2 minutes, or until stabbed easily with a fork. Remove from the microwave.

Add the remaining ingredients, and simply stir until the margarine melts.

*The photo above shows peeled apples, but they are good either way.

Delicious, I tell you! Make sure you pour some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish onto the apples before you serve them. These would also go great with some vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce for dinner. You could also add raisins to the recipe.

Oh Yeah... Halloween

I guess I overlooked showing off my kid's cute "Little Red Riding Hood" themed costumes. I've always wanted to costume them all around a theme, and this year Daniel let me :o)

Behold, my costumed cuties, and our version of Little Red Riding Hood:

Little Red Riding Hood was walking through the subdivision, collecting candy for her grandmother (yeah right).

Along came a big bad wolf, who decided to eat Little Red Riding Hood because she was full of candy.

Suddenly, a very lazy woodcutter came along to save Little Red Riding Hood.

He shouted, "Leave her alone!"

The wolf said, "Whatever!" and left. He realized that candy tastes better when it is not already inside a little girl, anyway.

The day was saved. Now let's eat some candy!

Monday, November 10, 2008


It looks like I took an unplanned week's vacation from blogging. But really, last week was busy. Very, very busy. We had sicknesses to deal with, voting, parent-teacher conferences, friends over, dinners at Grandma's, days off, papers to write, and Christmas shopping to do. So, I apologize for the unexpected silence (cause I rarely am, if you ask Daniel).

However, now that Abby, Ethan, and I have just cleaned up the house a little, I'm back. Why is it so cute to see your kids help you clean? Is it because they rarely do that? Is it because it actually forces you to clean other areas of your house just to give them something to do? I don't know for sure, but I really enjoyed cleaning the kitchen and putting away the groceries with the kids today (Avery was napping).

Now Ethan is happily sitting in a basket of laundry, playing with a cartridge, and the laundry is getting done! If only we could all have our kids with us at work. It might take a lot longer, but at least we would have more fun.

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