Monday, December 7, 2009

I just like to smile, smiling's my favorite

A week or so ago Mike offer to buy me a new lap top for my birthday.  I thanked him for that sweet thought and told him I didn't need one and went on to defend my trusty, second hand, ebay laptop.  Next morning, NO BACK LIGHT.  So, new lap top on the way and with having to use the desk top, well, I almost forgot about the blog.  I've read, gotten more accomplished, etc. without checking all my favorite blogs. 

So, what have we been up to since the post Thanksgiving post?

A lot of this...

And here is the smiling,  happiest girl in town!  She is so excited to get her first point shoes.  Who new they cost so much and came in so many brands and sizes.  They have been on her feet ever since we brought them home.... the sister is very jealous.  We teased her because her 'step-sister' foot wouldn't fit in it no matter how she tried.  That only made her mad....

looks like the Elvis would like to try them on too

My counselor at school read this book and told me about it.  It is a sweet, very fast read.  We decided we needed a "Christmas Jar" at school.  We have a sweet little one who is very sick in the hospital and we are going to leave it on the family's door step Christmas eve.

I have to finish the multiple choir dresses tonight - it's the project that won't end!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Glad it's done...

No, not Thanksgiving.  It wasn't too bad with just our family. It was a very relaxing day!  And for that matter this whole little break has been very relaxing. 
The big girl left Friday to go out of town with a friend's family so it has been quieter than usual.
The little one and I have done quite a bit of Christmas shopping and we got all of the Christmas decorations up.

Last year, we went to Dallas for Christmas so I didn't put up much, just one little tree...  This year I am having a Christmas party for our dept. so I needed to decorate.
I realized after getting it all done that it looks like a Christmas store in here!  In our old house, we had a big  formal area.  Here, all of our living spaces are right together....
Here are a few of my favorites...

snowman tree in my bedroom

Notice the very nice natavity?  Resting on a scrap of burlap... looks a bit like hay don't you think?
Mike gave the pieces of the natavity but I haven't broken down and bought the creche... it costs much  more than the actual stable that Jesus was birthed in...
Notice the dog in the back ground wearing her Christmas PJ's?  Well, it took two very brave girls to get them on her and she may have to wear them forever since she turns very mean when you try to remove them..

Dining room, still need to clean off the table from the remains of the decorations...

Do you see these sweet little kissing children?  We tried to get a sweet kissing picture every year.  The last few years it hasn't been as easy.  How come they don't stay that little???
So, we're at the end of the weekend.  It has been great except for today,
at the last possible minute, I am finishing sewing the Choir Dresses I was signed up for... I usually don't wait till the last min. on things, but this job is different.  I have to make 7 (or 14 if no other mom wants to help) and they are easy, easy to sew, but they are a red crushed velvet and they shed and make me sneeze!  One more to go, unless she didn't find anyone to do the others and tells me at the very last minute.  We'll see...
How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here we are in a whole different town from any family. 

Family that I am thankful for. 

I have been very unsettled about this whole holiday season.  

I have been very mad that because of Mike's work we can't go to family for the holidays.

I have been sad that no one was coming here for Thanksgiving and if they come at Christmas it will be after. 

My kids have been very unsettled by this.  We aren't used to being without family on the holidays.

But, here we are, getting used to it. 

I guess it won't be too bad, but there are few things that just won't be the same.  Things we won't do without others here. 

But being thankful isn't one of the things I will skip.  I know I am blessed and I am very thankful.

 1Thessalonians 5:18

in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Almost Every Thursday

Almost every Thursday my girls talk me into eating at Pei Wei. They have a weird dance schedule that night and it's easiest to eat out.  This week we went to a Kanakuk movie night on Tuesday and needed dinner on the way and guess what they wanted...
We all had forturns that related to needing more food...
a crab wonton a day keeps the dr away....
blah, blah, blah and start with a spring roll...

Every time we eat there we discuss how we wish Jennifer was with us since she loves it too, so Katie opened a forturn cookie for her...

Her forturn was what I pray for her every single day

so, Jennifer, you probably should do something with the lucky numbers too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cinnamon Rolls

Next weekend at Mike's family get together, it is a Thanksgiving brunch.  I have been looking for a reason to try Pioneer Woman's recipe for cinnamon rolls...

The sisters taking turns and working well together went out the window on this project.  Kellie wanted to do it all without Katie even in the was a load of fun... But the good news, even the bickering of the sisters couldn't mess up the wonderfulness of these...

It looks like someone wiped their hands while helping me...


Ummmm, butter....

It makes a ton

They were everything I thought they would be.
I sent a pan to our sweet neighbors to see what they thought... he just texted me letting me know that if I forgot to take the rest of them with us to let him know, he would come get them and something about he may have eaten the whole pan I sent over.

The final product...They taste as good as they look!
This is the pan the neighbor may or maynot have eaten all of...

Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Pioneer Woman


1 quart Whole Milk
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Sugar

2 packages Active Dry Yeast
8 cups (Plus 1 Cup Extra, Separated) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon (heaping) Baking Powder
1 teaspoon (scant) Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon (heaping) Salt

2 cups (to 4 Cups) Melted Butter (I used two cups)
2 cups Sugar (I used a comb. of brown sugar and white sugar)
Generous Sprinkling Of Cinnamon


1 bag Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Maple Flavoring
½ cups Milk
¼ cups Melted Butter
¼ cups Brewed Coffee
⅛ teaspoons Salt
(I omitted the coffee and butter and still turned out great.)
Preparation Instructions

Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. “Scald” the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in both packages of Active Dry Yeast. Let this sit for a minute. Then add 8 cups of all-purpose flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

After rising for at least an hour, add 1 more cup of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down).

When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. Take half the dough and form a rough rectangle. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle 1 ½ to 2 cups melted butter over the dough. Now sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the butter followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon.

Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

Spread 1 tablespoon of melted butter in a seven inch round foil cake or pie pan. Then begin cutting the rolls approximately ¾ to 1 inch thick and laying them in the buttered pans.

Repeat this process with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes.

For the frosting, mix together all ingredients listed and stir well until smooth. It should be thick but pourable. Taste and adjust as needed. Generously drizzle over the warm rolls. Go crazy and don’t skimp on the frosting.

I have two big pans in the freezer to bake the morning of the brunch, a pan to bake to take to work in the morning, and 3 small pans in the freezer...
Here is what I learned... these take a while with all the differnt steps.  They are worth it.  Maple extract stains.  My granit is great for rolling things out on but is too good at hiding spots, you can't tell if you have it all cleaned up...Did I mention these are worth the trouble!

The magic of the Apple Corer Peeler Slicer

I decied we needed to make apple butter this weekend.  I need a hostess gift to take to Mike's aunt's house next weekend...  I've embroidered a crazy turkey on a tea towel and wanted a jar of apple butter to tie it around.

Not to long ago I bought an apple peeler corer thing and pulled it out today for the first time.

My kids couldn't believe the magic of it.  It brought them together. It caused them to take turns.  They thought it was so much fun!

Doesn't she look like she's waiting patiently?

 Katie said "who ever thougth of this was really smart... I'll bet you'll see these on t.v. soon" guess she thought it was a brand new thing that no one else has ever seen! 

They peeled about 8 lb of apples and didn't fight at all. It was amazing.  Then they helped clean up...  I would have invested in the apple peeler much sooner if I had known!

Apple Butter

Apples - enough to fill your slow cooker
1/2 cup vineger
3 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Peel, core and slice enough apples to fill a 4-quart slow cooker or crock pot so full that the lid will not go down over it.

Add vinegar; cook on low for 18 hours.
Add white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
Mix all together and cook 4 more hours. If mash or blend to get consistancy you prefer
Seal in jars.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I've been told we'll all survive this

Teenage years, that's what I've heard.  More than one person has told me we will all make it out alive. 
I've actually seen it happen.  Look at my neice Jennifer.  I remeber her being a bit of a moody teen and she turned out great....but when you're in the battle it doesn't feel like it will end well.
It's new territory and I'm really not enjoying it yet.  As a matter of fact, I'm pretty much hating it! 

Katie was 13 in April...somewhere over the summer some switch in her flipped.  Just like WHAM different kid, at least part of the time.
One minute she is fighting with her sister over who gets to sit by me and the next min. she is so bristly I don't want her to sit by me!  Moody is an understatement most of the time. 

I am learning how to deal with these drastic mood changes and smart responces she is throwing at me.  Jennifer made a good point last night. She commented that she has us, who are both a little sarsastic and can be big ole smarty pants to learn from and she may not know when the smarty pants answer is over the line...That's one theory...

I've learned loosing my temper with her gets me no where.  I'm very much a talk about it and settle things type of person.  I've figured out that she is like her dad, she has to stomp off, mull things over and then talk about it or apologize on her time...(that really bugs me but that's ok)  I'm having to learn to wait.

I'm learning that we have very differnt personalities. 

I'm learning that even though she is moody and bristly she is still just a little girl under it all.  I love when I'm reminded that she is really a great kid.

I know that she loves God. 

I know that she is prayed for.

I know that she cares about others.

I know that we all went through it.  I remember how hard it was!

I don't know how my mother didn't kill me.

I don't know what I'm going to do in a couple of years - if they fight now, imagine what it could be like when they are both moody teenager!

I do know I'll love them, moody and all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's going around...

No, not the's the illness and possible death resulting from math.  It is one of the rarely talked about things going around this time of year... Our house is under constant stress from Algebra.  Fifth grade math hasn't been an issue lately but 8th grade ALGEBA, it's killing us....
And now, it's effecting other family members, Jennifer is suffering from it to.  It's an epidemic I tell you!

Mike is out of town and I can't tell you how relieved I was when Katie asked for homework help tonight, that it wasn't math related! That surely would have been the end of me.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The other one decided to give it a try

Katie decided she didn't like Kellie cooking with me all time and wanted to make something herself.  The funniest part is this made Kellie furious when she wasn't allowed to help.
Katie wanted to make soft pretzels.  Pretty easy to make, even though there were a few steps.

Soft Pretzels

1 cup water, plus

2 tablespoons water (at 70 to 80 degrees)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
1 egg
kosher salt

Add yeast to 2 tbsp warm water and let sit till foamy.  Place flour, sugar, 1 cup water and yeast in water in mixing bowl and mix.  Kneed for 5-10 min by hand or with dough hook of mixer. 
Place dough on lightly floured surface and seperate into 8 portions for large pretzels or more for smaller pretzels.  Shape into ropes and shape like pretzel. 
In a large sauce pan bring water and baking soda to a boil.  Drop pretzels two at a time into boiling water for  10 -15 sec. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased baking sheet.  Beat egg and brush top of pretzels with egg.  sprinkle with salt.  Bake 8 - 10 min till golden brown.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What do you mean that was thrity years ago?

Today, I looked at while at work.  The headline was about the Iran Hostage Crisis being 30 years ago.  I added the link for you people that are still young and don't know about it...
It can't be that many years.  It wasn't that long ago.  That would make me....yep, I guess thats right, it was 3o years ago.  Darn it.
Thirty years ago, minus a few weeks I was still living in Iran with my parents.  My dads job was classified so I don't know exactly know what he did, if he told us he would have had to kill us.
He did work on a Iranian military base which turned out to not be a safe place.  Our landlord was an Iranian general, which also turned our home into an unsafe place to be...The American school was closed because of all the danger.  The city was under martial law so you could only go out at certain hours.  They turned off the elec in the city at night.  I really don't know why the electricty was turned off.  But I do know that my mother and I were not cut out for the days before electricity... you know, there is just so much you can do in a foreign land with no electricty.  You can olny play monopoly so many times, and we were told to limit the candle light, etc or people would shoot into your home...  Thank God it wasn't summer, I would have asked someone to shoot me!
Being a young teen didn't really see how bad this situation was.  My mother did.  She wanted to leave.  The airport was closed and only a very few flights were allowed in or out.  We got a call late one night that there was a flight out if we could be ready by morning... The trip to the airport is something I'll never forget.  It certainly made me aware of the danger we were in.  There were tanks and soldiers everywhere, cars and buildings smoldering from being burned.  It was terrible.  My mother and I left with only a few dollars of american money and took off on a flight that did not have a destination as no other countries were letting flights from Iran land...We eventually got home, my dad came about a week before the hostages were taken. 
I didn't set out to tell the whole story but there it is.  And it was thrity years ago.  Which makes me old.
The End.

Monday, November 2, 2009

At least one of them wants to cook

Today was Monday.  Really Monday.  It was a very long Monday too.
I think the time change set me up for a bad Monday.  I just couldn't go to sleep.  Benadry didn't help.  I thougth about EVERYTHING.  If I know you, I thought about you last night.  I wondered what you were up to, how you were, why you aren't here visiting me...I planned a Christmas party in my head, worried about many things and then prayed for everyone I know.  So, I guess it wasn't totally a bad thing.
So, this afternoon when I picked up two hungry girls, we discussed what we would have for dinner, I was thrilled when Kellie asked "can I cook dinner all by myself?"  and I answered, of course you can my favorite child!

I had been planning on making Pioneer Woman's Chicken Parmigiana so decided it would be a good thing for Kellie to try.
 It turned out soooo good!
You'll want to have someone make this for you very soon while you sit on the bar stool sipping a nice beverage and giving instructions. It was easy and other than cutting up the chicken she did  it all!

When I got out the wine and had told her to add it.  She looked a little upset.   I had to explain that if we cooked the wine she could eat the sauce.

Oh, how I loved someone cooking for me and it was great!  Turned out she didn't get very excited when it was time to clean up...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Family love, it's the best!

My Mississippi, favorite cousin and her husband came out for a long weekend.  We just don't get to see each other enough!  We had more fun doing nothing really. 
We did a little shopping and such but just visiting was the best part of the whole weekend. 

There was much good food, football, Wii playing, and laughter.  The guys fished.  The two fish they caught however, didn't really feed us all though! 

I have never known anyone better with kids than my cousin Buddy... just watching him with the girls is a treat!

OH, and how did it get to be the end of Oct.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hey guys, I drive a SUV, does that mean I'm in the mob?

So this week has been loooong, full of cranky parents who really didn't want to pick up their sick children, some cranky teachers and various other odd things. 
I had the big girl start a conversation with me that I just wasn't prepared for... I tried not to look shocked, I even had to turn my head and giggle uncomfortably at one point because of the subject matter coming from my little girls mouth.  I was very glad she thought all the things she had heard about were gross, but HOW did she get big enough to know about these things?????  Ah, the joys of middle school.  I wasn't prepared but I got throuh it.  We may have to homeschool now though...
The weekend is here, and my only goal for the weekend is to clean the SUV.  Maybe a little laundry.  Big plans I tell you...that's just the way I like it. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Everything goes by so fast, we should try to take mental pictures of the high points

You know there is nothing I like better than a good dreary day!  Today was just that.  Football has been on the t.v. all day and I only got out of my p.j.'s long enough to run to the store.
Here's some of what happened at our house today...

Kite flying...I think Kellie's kite may have been in another county at one point! 

Cake balls.  I have I told you of my love of cake balls?  Well, today I decided I needed to make a batch of carrot cake cake balls that may or may not resemble pumpkins.

They are not Bakerella worthy, but they taste good.  I put them in egg cartons to send to a couple of friends.

Katie has been asking for a cute Texas Tech dress that we are seeing a lot recently.  After looking at it in the stores, I decided that I could make it and it wouldn't cost $65 like buying it.  So, today we took one of my camp tee shirts that is too big now and tried it out. Worked great. Took an hour, very easy and looks just like the one in the stores...

And finially, there was some pumpkin carving....
A big pot of soup got both college student niece's to stop by to eat...It was a wonderful day. I'm tired now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall and the Flu

Because I can't get enough of flu like symptoms at work with the tons of kids I've seen lately, Katie had to bring it home.  Oh, it started out like just a cough but quickly turned into the flu like symptoms I had seen so much of...
5 days later I think she is finally almost over it. 
This could mean two things. 
1.  we are done with the flu or
2. Someone else will have it about the time I get her back to school.  I'm praying we are through! I am really praying Mike doesn't get it because he just quit talking about the dreaded flu of 1995. 

Yesterday Katie still felt terrible.  She stayed home with her dad but called me twice crying because she didn't feel good.  Today I stayed home with her and she hasn't cried once.  I'm so glad she's better.

I was thinking I could have gone to work since she was a little better today.  But looking back, I would have missed a wonderful day at home with just Katie.  We snuggled on the couch and watched the American Girl movie, I finished up some crafty projects, baked Pumpkin dump cake, made glazed pecans , and have home made pizza dough rising to use for dinner tonight. 

It was a perfect fall day at home!  (Except for the flu of course...)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I think they will have these in Heaven

My sister and brother-in-law were coming in for the weekend and I needed to fix a few snacks.  We had a few dips and a very good meal but my favorite was the cookies.  It is a cookie recipe I had seen in Real Simple magazine and also on a blog I read, Elizabeth's Edible (her cookie pictures are much better than mine).

Peanut Butter-Cup Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 12-ounce package small peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped

 Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Coarsely chop peanut butter cups.
With mixer beat butter and sugars.  Add egg and vanilla and beat to combine.  Gradually add flour mixture and mix till incorporated.  Drop tablespoon sized portions, two inches apart on cookie sheets.  Bake 10-12 min. till just lightly brown around the edges.  Cool on wire racks.  Makes 48 cookies

I loved that this makes a nice small batch and I wasn't tired of baking before they were all done! 

I love love love the mini Reeces. You know, they do have the perfect chocolate to peanut butter, I figured cookies with them broken up in them had to be good and they are! I want to make them and try other chopped candy like Heath bars. Yum. You need to make these!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

The last two weeks have felt like they have been a month long. Getting back into the real pattern of school, dance, work, etc. I'm already tired of driving to dance every night. Twice. So, I'm a little glad Katie didn't feel good and wanted to stay home tonight. Not glad she didn't feel good. Glad I don't have to go anywhere.

Speaking of not feeling good. I have seen way to many sick kids the last few days. I am praying our house can stay flu free!

Katie came home early with a cough and allergy issues. She told me she was in the nurses office with 4 other people who had fever and flu like symptoms. NOOOOOOOOOOO!

I'm really praying now! And Jennifer, you better quit talking about it our you'll have it too!

But for tonight we're all well, staying in, ordering pizza, and going to bed early.... I love it!

Edited to add, the pizza isn't even here yet and now Katie has fever, chills and body aches! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A quiet Sunday

Today I spent a little time getting a few fall things out. I lit all the fall smelling candles, baked more zucchini bread, and spent some time enjoying just being at home. The laundry is almost done, a rare thing around here...I even cooked's been a very productive day

I worked on the Halloween wreath...

I saw this idea on a blog recently (I wish I could remember were to give credit) and decided I needed to borrow the idea since I already had the glass things on my mantle....

I found just the little skeleton I needed for this at Target. I had decided I wanted to do lights but needed something else. I was planning on going to Hobby Lobby tomorrow to look for a boa or something to add to it and today when I ran in Walgreen's they had this great black, feather boa on clearance for $1.75...bargin!

I couldn't get a good picture of the mantle as a whole... just know it's cute...

I love fall decor!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Squeezing in all the summer we can...

The weather has been wonderful and we knew that pretty quickly it would be too cool to get in the lake, so today we took the girls for a last taste of summer.

The weather was perfect. 78 degrees. not windy. perfect.

Since the weather was cooler we decided to take Elvis. He likes the boat but can't tolerate hot weather.
He had a great day. When Mike and girls were in the water he wanted to jump in with them. We were afraid of trying to get him back in the boat if he ever jumped!
The day was perfect. Today we were boat people.