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Showing posts from October, 2008

*Trick or Treat*

Mr. B, a.k.a Larry Boy The Princess, a.k.a. a princess (there's a reason we call her The Princess!)

A Pumpkin Carving Party *UPDATED*

Happy Halloween, Y'all!! (invitation artwork by The Princess) We hosted our first *pumpkin carving party* way back in 1999. (I was inspired by the coolest article in Martha Stewart Living that year). Since then we've hosted several more--tonight will be the fourth. They are so much fun! It's always a B.Y.O.P. (bring-your-own-pumpkin) affair and we always have chili (white and traditional). And we always have a winner who gets to wear The Pumpkin Hat. Tonight we have even more prizes! Those runners-up won't feel left out anymore. Here's a little stroll down pumpkin-carving-memory-lane: 1999 2003 2007 And now for tonight's party: 2008 (there were a few missing for the "group" shot, I think) And here are our "family pumpkins": Vince's: Lora's: The Princess's (She wanted more of the traditional look, but she drew out exactly what she wanted. The eyelashes were especially important to her). Mr. B's (Daddy did his *Larry-Boy* st

White Chili

I'm making this right now! It's so delicious! Hope you enjoy! White Chili 1 lb. Great Northern Beans, pre-soaked 1 medium onion, choppped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 (4 oz.) cans green chilies 2 tsp. ground cumin 1 tsp. oregano 1 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp. salt 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can chicken broth 1 cup water ********* Put pre-soaked beans in a medium pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and allow to simmer 30 minutes. Discard water. Cut chicken into 1" pieces and brown, if desired, or simply put directly into crockpot. Put all other ingredients into crockpot. Stir to mix thoroughly. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours or high 5-6 hours. Serve with sour cream and shredded cheese. So yummy!! I'm also joining in BooMama's Souptacular Crockpotalooza today. Head over there for a gazillion more soup/crockpot recipes!!

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!!!

Rolled Sugar Cookies (Southern Living) 1 cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt ***** Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Shape dough into a ball; cover and chill 1 1/2 hours. Divide dough into thirds. Work with one portion of dough at a time, storing remaining dough in refrigerator. Roll each portion to 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters and place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375F for 6-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool slightly on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate as desired. Yields 3 1/2 dozen.

Total Forgiveness: A Book Review

I finally finished reading this book last week and have not had time to review it until now. I've been a little slow this time around with my reading list for Callapidder Days' Fall reading challenge. That's what happens when I start off with non-fiction. Total Forgiveness by R.T. Kendall is an amazing book. We'd actually bought a copy a few years ago when we'd heard him speak at a conference, but had never read it. Then this year came and we have had challenge after challenge that have required much forgiveness on our behalf. Without going into unneccesary details, it has been a year of extreme dissappointment in certain people--many of whom we looked up to and respected. We have both struggled with much anger and frustration and hurt. And working through that is definitely a process, much like grieving is a process. This book has really helped catapult me along in that process . It took me quite a while to get through the book because I really wanted to take it

Menu Plan Monday

Well, it's that time of the week again, isn't it? This week my mom and sister are coming for a few days' visit. Yea!! They should be here any minute. It'll be fun to have them here. We have some fun stuff planned, too! As for dinner plans..... Monday: We're going out! Woo Hoo! Tuesday: We're going out again! Oh yeah! Wednesday: make-your-own-pizza night Thursday: Our *Pumpkin-Carving Party*-- I'll be making White Chili Friday: not sure yet. We are getting together with friends to take the kiddos trick-or-treating and we obviously have not discussed dinner. I'll get right on that.... Head over to I'm an Organizing Junkie for more great menu plans and inspiration.

Thoughts and Plans for the Holidays

And all the loveliest things there be Come simply, or so it seems to me Edna St. Vincent Millay This past week or so I have started thinking a lot about the upcoming holidays. I LOVE the holidays!! It's my favorite time of the year and I tend to go a little crazy about it. I drag out all of my Christmas themed books (of which there are many!) and my old December issues of Victoria magazine and peruse through them. I'm tempted to buy every new holiday issue of all my favorite magazines (this year I'm getting old Christmas issues at the library for .25). I start making menus and gathering recipes, old and new, that I want to make for the season. I begin a list of crafts/gifts I'd like to make. I start dreaming of all the *picture perfect* family gatherings that we'll have (you know I need a reality check on that one-ha!). In other words, I get a little carried away! This year I've almost been a little bit afraid to think too much about the holidays, since we have

Creamy Cheddar Soup

We had a great time tonight with our small group. Vince spoke from the book of Ephesians. He talked pretty much to the husbands tonight concerning *the role of a husband*. He did a great job and we had some good discussion. Although next time he says he's going to address *the role of a wife*-ha! I thought I'd share the soup recipe that I made tonight. It was yummy! Creamy Cheddar Soup 2/3 cup shredded carrots 2/3 cups thinly sliced celery 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup flour 4 cups milk 1 tsp. salt dash of white pepper 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup cubed cooked ham ************* Saute carrot, celery and onion in butter in a stockpot until tender. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Add salt and pepper; stir well. Add cheese and ham, stirring until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 6 cups.

A Sort of Rambling Kind of Post

I can't believe it's Thursday already. This week seems to have gone by very quickly! We've had lots of little things going on. There's all the usual stuff: homeschool , laundry, cleaning, cooking...We had friends over for dinner on Tuesday night. Good friends + tacos = great fun!!... My hubby got our leaky bathtub faucet all repaired. He is so smart! He watched several videos online about how to do it and then he DID it. The funny (or not-so-funny) part was this: we have a gift card to Home Depot and planned to use it so the repair wouldn't cost anything. But wouldn't you know, Home Depot didn't have any of the parts that we needed. He had to go to Lowe's. How ironic is that? Anyway, I was pretty proud of him for doing it all himself and very efficiently, too. No more leaky bathtub faucet! Yea! I made Amish Friendship Bread for the first time this week. I've had two friends give me starter lately. Although I must admit I killed the first batch--I for

A Postcard Swap

This summer I ran across this button on my friend Betsy's blog which led to the discovery of Steviewren and her lovely blog, a little birdie told me so . She was hosting her first postcard swap and since I {heart} postcards I signed up immediately. I decided to stamp my cards (with rubber stamps). I used to stamp a lot before the kiddos came along and I am gradually starting to stamp again. I feel pretty rusty, but I had a great time getting those creative juices flowing again! Sorry I forgot to take any pics of the cards I made, I'll try to remember next time... Eventually there were 10 of us who participated in the swap and since the first of October I have been enjoying these little treasures arriving in my mailbox. It has been so much fun! There have been all different kinds of postcards and they're from all different places. I just had to share all of this wonderful creativity with you: a lovely picture of New York from Pat at Milli Fiori Favoriti : a night scene of


... my husband Vince , the new blogger on the block. He has finally caught the blogging bug, after teasing me all year long for being so *consumed* with my blog ("wait, kids, don't eat the food till Mom takes a picture of it!"). So I hope you'll go over and give him a *holla*. Obviously his isn't a "mommy/cooking/girly" blog, it's very "manly":) Seriously, he has been sharing some very soul-searching thoughts and I hope that they speak to you as well. I think they will.

Menu Plan Monday

Ahh's nice to sit down after getting the kiddos tucked into bed. It's been a good day: waking up to beautiful weather...worshipping at the Lord's house...having a home cooked meal for lunch (thanks to the crockpot )...getting all of my grocery shopping done alone ...relaxing at home with the fam ...having Vince make his * special sandwiches * for dinner...and making a fresh batch of Chex Party Mix with my new favorite seasoned salt (this stuff is amazing ). Now I'm ready to menu plan. Here we go! Monday: pinto beans and cornbread (I've had this on my menu the last two times and have yet to make it--hopefully the 3rd try is a charm) Tuesday: beef tacos, Spanish rice, refried beans and, of course, guacamole and pico de gallo Wednesday: beef stir fry, rice and egg rolls Thursday: small group night *soup/salad/baked potato* night--I'll probably be the potato baker Friday: fish stick po'boys and slaw (we love this!) Saturday: make-your-own

Weekend Fun

It's been a fairly quiet weekend around here. We haven't done anything extraordinary, but we have had quality family time and that always is a memory maker. Last night on a whim the hubby and I decided it would be fun to build a fire in our fire pit and make s'mores after dinner. We hadn't done that in the longest time and they tasted so yummy! The weather was perfect for a fire, just a little bit nippy. I just love sitting outside in cool weather bundled up by a fire! Even though it was a pretty smokey fire, I still enjoyed the warmth roasting my knees and hands in the cool autumn night. Perfection! Today has been another gorgeous Fall day! You know, the ones that are 65-70F! It's perfect when you can be outside in the sun with long sleeves on and not get hot. We thought it would be a good day for a picnic and a hike. So we grabbed some sandwiches and headed to our local TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) trails. In our area the TVA has built a dam on the Tennessee

Family Pizza Night

Well, I think we've hit on a great family tradition! Tonight I decided to make our favorite homemade pizza . But instead of making one big one, I divided up the dough into four parts. First, I let the kiddos make theirs. I set out the pizza stone and gave them each their pieces of dough and let them pat them out (with a little help). Then I laid out the pizza sauce, pepperonies and cheese and let them top their pizzas. They had so much fun and I don't think they've ever eaten their pizza any better! Vince and I each made our own, too, and it definitely hit the spot! We all ate on the tv trays and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I love that one!! We never eat dinner in front of the tv--we're very big on family dinners at the table. However, tonight seemed like a good time to make an exception and I'm glad we did.