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Showing posts from December, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

This morning I was awakened with tornado sirens. Yes, tornado sirens on December 31st in Arkansas with temps around 60F. Crazy stuff.

But how appropriate for this year that we're wrapping up. It has been such a roller coaster ride for me. At times I've felt like we're in the funnel cloud whirling around without any control at all.

And it's made me angry. A lot. It's left me asking "why?" many times.

I still don't have answers.

But this morning I woke up thinking of all of the blessings we have that can sometimes be overlooked while swirling around in the tornadoes of life.

The blessing of my family
I am so very blessed with a wonderful husband, a faithful husband, a loving husband~he's an incredible man, especially to put up with me! I hear that I can be challenging:) And my children are quite simply two gifts from God. I won't go into our infertility story here but suffice it to say that my sweet girl and boy are little miracles that I…

Pure Comfort: Beef and Noodles with Popovers

Tonight we tried a new recipe from blog friend Kayren via blog friend Betsy. It was so yummy and a huge hit with us all! It wasn't anything new for Vince or me, we've eaten similar dishes, but I'd never made it for us and I don't think the kiddos had eaten this particular dish. It was perfect for a winter night! Plus the popovers we had to go with it were the perfect touch, they soaked up all that delicious broth so well....mmmmm

Beef and Noodles
3 lbs beef stew meet, cut in 1" cubes
1 onion, chopped (or use some onion powder)
4 T butter
10 cups of water
8 tsp Beef Soup Base
24 oz wide egg noodles
***** Brown stew meat and onions in butter in a large stock pot. Cover with 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 2 1/2 hours.
Take out the meat and set aside. Add soup base and noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. Return meat to the pot with the noodles and check seasonings. Add salt and pepper if needed. Serve once the meat is rehea…

Taking a Moment

I should really be hitting the housecleaning hard again today, packing away the Christmas things, finishing my grocery list and putting on clothes that I can actually go to the store in~and I will...in a little while.

Right now though I am taking a few minutes out for me. To rejuvenate my soul a little.

I'm snuggled up with a blanket and a cup of coffee to browse through my newest Victoria and Martha Stewart Living magazines. They are refreshing to me and it's so peaceful to just sit back and peruse the beautiful articles.

It's a rare moment.

So while the kiddos are busy building with their new Legos (and even my hubby is building one of Mr. B's new ones, too) I'm taking just a few moments all to myself.

Bliss.

One Thousand Gifts: Christmas

0391. sharing Christmas devotions together around our Jesse tree



0392. making Christmas cookies with my sweet kiddos


0393. going to bed with that satisfied feeling


0394. caroling by moonlight with friends


0395. watching just how creative my kiddos can be with their Legos


0396. getting to see the lunar eclipse on the Winter Solstice


0397. my sweet mother who does so much for our family at Christmas


0398. tucking all of the gifts around the tree on Christmas Eve


0399. Christmas morning breakfast at home


0400. my totally awesome hubby who was full of surprises this Christmas


0401. the wildly excited anticipation in my children's eyes right be for opening their gifts


0402. buckeyes!



0403. my kiddos spending time with their only living great-grandparents


0404. having that quiet time early in the morning to reflect and think


0405. laughing together with my family


0406. eating those Christmas cookies


0407. stockings on Christmas morning with sleepy-eyed…

Menu Plan Monday: Dec 27th

Is it really Monday? My days are all mixed up right now what with having Christmas on Saturday and traveling on Sunday. These things always confuse my internal calendar.

And now it's time to take inventory of my kitchen. Have you seen that place? Yikes! It's been busy in there lately and it shows.

I'm ready to have some simple, cozy meals at home this week. It's going to be a week full of packing away our Christmas things, cleaning house, getting ready to start back to school next week and preparing for next week's science fair.

So here goes...

Monday: Breakfast-for-dinner: biscuits, sausage and eggs
Tuesday:Ham and Potato Bake
Wednesday: Beef and Noodles
Thursday: Potato Soup
Friday:{New Year's Eve~I'm hoping for a date night!}
Saturday:{New Year's Day} Black-Eyed Peas, Green Salad or sauteed spinach and Cornbread

In the South Black-Eyed Peas are a must on New Year's Day along with some kind of greens. I'm curious...do you have a t…

Still Celebrating!

We are still enjoying Christmas with our families today. I hope that you are able to do the same!

I'll be back with a *real* post soon.

Our Christmas Menus

Christmas Eve Dinner
***
Chicken Enchilada Soup
Tamales
Chips with
Guacamole
Pico de gallo
and
Homemade taco sauce
with
Oodles of Christmas goodies

*****

Christmas Morning
***
Shirred Eggs
Candied Bacon
Crescent Rolls
with
Homemade apple butter
and
Strawberry Jam
with
Starbucks Christmas Blend Coffee
and
Orange Juice

*****

Christmas Day Dinner
***
Baked ham with pineapple dijon sauce
Sour cream potato casserole
Baked beans
Green bean bundles
Corn Mazatlan
Special peas
Macaroni and cheese
Rolls
with
More desserts than I can mention
*****


What We've Been up to Lately

It's been tons of Christmas fun around here lately! Each day seems to have one more memorable activity for the kiddos~or all of us!

I'll pick up with our most recent fun and take you back through our past week (and a half or so).

Yesterday we went with my parents and sister to see the latest Narnia film. We are HUGE Narnia lovers and have loved the way these latest films have turned out~even if they're not exactly like the books. Of course, the books will always be my favorite!

On Christmas Sunday our church had a wonderful family service! The kiddos did a fun rendition of the Reliant K version of *The 12 Days of Christmas*. SO cute! Mr. B was in the *5 golden rings* part and The Princess was in the *8 maids a milking* group:) We also had some *friends* who came to tell all of the children a great Christmas story. It was a very fun, interactive service for the whole family.

Last weekend we took the kiddos ice skating. We have to drive about 1.5 hours to do thi…

Praline Bars

This is one of our family's favorite little treats! They are made from simple ingredients, most of which you usually already have in your kitchen. You can vary the topping to your personal likes. And it's easy to whip up in case you need a quick dessert or snack for something.

Praline Bars
Almost 2 pkgs. of graham crackers (unbroken)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup topping of your choice:
pecans, Heath bars, Butterfingers, etc., all crushed
*****
Line a jellyroll pan with the graham crackers. You may have to break up your last one to fit at the end of the pan. Combine the butter and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for about 3 minutes, until thick. Pour over the crackers, spreading to cover all the crackers. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crackers and begin to spread them as they melt. They will combine with the butter mixture as you spread them around. Make sure …

A Christmas *Card* for You

From our family to yours:

May you have a wonderful Christmas
and a very happy New Year!

Ohio Buckeyes

We made these this past weekend. I grew up in Ohio and Christmas was not complete without these! They are heavenly! This recipe makes a bunch, perfect for sharing.

Ohio Buckeyes
4 cups smooth peanut butter
1 cup butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla
1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup paraffin, shaved
*****
In a large mixer bowl, beat peanut butter, butter, sugar and vanilla together. Cover and chill until firm or overnight. Roll into small buckeye-sized balls, about 1" in diameter, and place on shallow, wax-paper-lined pans (cookie sheets work well). Chill until firm. In the top of a double-boiler, melt the chocolate chips and paraffin. With a candy-dipper or a toothpick*, dip balls into the chocolate, leaving just a small spot of peanut butter showing (so that they look like buckeye nuts). Place on wax paper to cool. It's a good idea to chill them again before peeling them off the wax paper to put in containers. Keep refrigerated …

Menu Plan Monday: Dec 20th

It's here! Christmas week!

I've got very simple meals planned for us on the non-big-holiday-dinner days. That way I can have more time to finish wrapping gifts, make gingerbread houses, bake Christmas cookies...you know.

Ironically, I did choose a couple of new recipes* to try for those simple dinners~trying to work with what's in the pantry and freezer.

I'm looking forward to the big holiday dinners! This year my family is having something different on Christmas Eve: tamales! We all love them and there are some great authentic places to get them here~I've heard making them is quite the labor of love and I'm just not ready to go there yet. I'll be making Chicken Enchilada Soup to go with them and Vince is going to whip up his awesome guacamole and pico de gallo. Yum!

My mom, sister and I have a yummy Christmas dinner planned, too, but that's a post of it's own.

We've got a couple of day trips this week for family dinners, so no cooking on those…

I Want to Like Brussels Sprouts, Really I Do...

I mean, they're so cute and all. But I just don't know if I can do it.

For Thanksgiving I got brave and decided to try that fabulous Bobby Flay recipe that he made for the Throwdown with the Pioneer Woman (pictured above). It had about a zillion ingredients and I had to make two parts of the recipe ahead of time, but it came together rather well. It was a very pretty dish! Mainly because of those pomegranate seeds~like little red jewels! But I have to say, I did not like the taste of the dish. Loved the seeds~the Brussels sprouts not so much. Others at the meal did enjoy it, so it wasn't a total loss. And I knew there was the chance I wouldn't like it, but I wanted to try something new.

Well, since I bought twice as many Brussels sprouts as I needed for Thanksgiving I had to come up with a different recipe to try~because I couldn't be wasteful and just throw them out. So Vince found this recipe on Good Eats with Alton Brown that actually sounded good (it in…

Nothin' Says Lovin' Like an Easy Bake Oven!

This past week my sweet Princess needed some good baking therapy after losing her little pet mouse. So I got out her Easy Bake Oven and away we went!

She was so excited to whip up those mixes! She made us all dessert for after our dinner that evening. So sweet!

She chose to make brownies for her dad and me, a chocolate cake for her brother and a yellow cake for herself.

We had a great time together in the kitchen~it was some quality *girl* time! She couldn't wait until dinnertime came so she could present her desserts.

And I must say, they tasted way better than the mixes I used as a child:) And the frosting was much prettier!

My Easy Bake Oven looked like this:
And, oh, how I loved that thing!

Did you have one as a child? Did you just love it, too?