Saturday, October 31, 2009

We have weird children

Our youngest eating (of all things) tomatoes. many one year olds do you know that will put a grape tomato in his/her mouth and chow down?! Well, if you didn't know any before, you do now.

What are some things your child will eat that most kids wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole? Tell me in your comment below.

Until next time...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Friday - Chocolate Puddles and Nutella

Today I repeated a recipe I've posted before. Chocolate Puddles.

Also, if you visit the Nutella website, you can enter a sweepstakes to win a case of Nutella! Is that yummy sounding, or what?!

Limited time today, so that's it. Oh, and go visit Lisa.

Until next time...

Good help is so hard to find...

...unless it comes in the form of a big sister. :)

A.L. wanted to feed her little brother some refried beans. He was an eager recipient.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Apples, apples everywhere

A friend stopped by and left us with a few apples. :)
Not one...

...but TWO boxes of apples.

Two boxes, people!! What are we going to do with that many apples?!

Actually, it's really not that much of a problem in our house. They'll get eaten pretty quickly. I might make an apple pie or two. Or we'll make small individual pies. We might try to make homemade apple sauce. We'll probably cut them up and mix with some other fruits for a fruit salad.

As I was writing this post I thought I'd give you a few facts about apples. First I looked up some health benefits. There might be more, but this is what I found first. Then after this is a link for 20 facts about apples. Pretty interesting reading, folks. Enjoy. :)

10 Health benefits of Apples

Bone Protection
French researchers found that a flavanoid called phloridzin that is found only in apples may protect post-menopausal women from osteoporosis and may also increase bone density. Boron, another ingredient in apples, also strengthens bones.

Asthma Help
One recent study shows that children with asthma who drank apple juice on a daily basis suffered from less wheezing than children who drank apple juice only once per month. Another study showed that children born to women who eat a lot of apples during pregnancy have lower rates of asthma than children whose mothers ate few apples.

Alzheimer's Prevention
A study on mice at Cornell University found that the quercetin in apples may protect brain cells from the kind of free radical damage that may lead to Alzheimer's disease.

Lower Cholesterol
The pectin in apples lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol. People who eat two apples per day may lower their cholesterol by as much as 16 percent.

Lung Cancer Prevention
According to a study of 10,000 people, those who ate the most apples had a 50 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the high levels of the flavonoids quercetin and naringin in apples.

Breast Cancer Prevention
A Cornell University study found that rats who ate one apple per day reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. Rats fed three apples per day reduced their risk by 39 percent and those fed six apples per day reduced their risk by 44 percent.

Colon Cancer Prevention
One study found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 43 percent lower risk of colon cancer. Other research shows that the pectin in apples reduces the risk of colon cancer and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract.

Liver Cancer Prevention
Research found that rats fed an extract from apple skins had a 57 percent lower risk of liver cancer.

Diabetes Management
The pectin in apples supplies galacturonic acid to the body which lowers the body's need for insulin and may help in the management of diabetes.

Weight Loss
A Brazilian study found that women who ate three apples or pears per day lost more weight while dieting than women who did not eat fruit while dieting.

For 20 facts about apples go here.

Just remember: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." There is some truth to that quote, wouldn't you say?

My favorite apple is a tart, juicy Granny Smith. What's your favorite?

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Win a case of Nutella!

Yesterday I mentioned liking Nutella on my peanut butter sandwiches. I was trying to find a picture of it on the internet and found the website. They have a sweepstakes you can enter to win a cake of Nutella! So I thought I'd share it with you. You can enter once a month from now until August of next year. If you don't win, keep trying!

Go here: Nutella Sweepstakes

And enter to win. Good luck!

Until next time...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some things change, some don't

I've been following the McCombs Plan and today started the 9th week. That means I can add back in popcorn, nuts, legumes, dried fruit, and fruit juice. As I was getting a handful of mixed nuts I thought of something. There are things that I'll eat now, that I wouldn't have touched as a child. Here are a few: mayonnaise, cashews, cole-slaw, ranch dressing, cranberries.

Some things I absolutely wouldn't eat, but now, I can eat them if they are cooked in other things, like mushrooms and olives. (I still can't just eat them alone).

Of course, there are some things that are the same. I didn't like them as a child and I don't like them now. Jelly on my peanut butter sandwich (I love Nutella though), and raisins. My kids however could live on PB&J sandwiches and raisins. Go figure.

How about you? Are there some things you like or at least can eat now, that you couldn't stand as a child? Are there things you used to love as a child, but now can't stomach?

Until next time...

Monday, October 26, 2009

celebration continued

So here are a few more pictures about the birthday girl's celebration.

The cake.

Enjoying the cake.

The mad rush for the cake.


Until next time...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chocolate Friday - Basic Brownie Mix

We all want warm chocolate over the cooler months coming up. And what better way to get our warm chocolate fix with a plate of gooey, luscious brownies? Yum.

Here's an inexpensive way to whip up a batch whenever the mood strikes. No need to go buy a box of brownie mix at the store. Make your own at home. (Unless you regularly stock up anyway).

Basic Brownie Mix
(Makes 6-8 batches of brownies)

6 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons salt
8 cups sugar
8-ounce can unsweetened cocoa powder

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well, and then transfer to a large container with a lid. Label and date the contents. Store in a cool, dry place. Use within three months.

To make a single batch of brownies:
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup margarine, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/4 cups Basic Brownie Mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Combine wet ingredients and mix well. Add brownie mix and stir well. Optional: stir in nuts. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.


Now head over to Lisa's for more chocolate!

Until next time...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 of 52 photos of me

Forever In Blue Jeans

Well, it's that time again. Time for a picture of me. Doing my part in participating in Carin's challenge. Last week I chickened out because of...well, different reasons. This week I jumped in a picture with my birthday girl yesterday. Here goes...

Our early morning faces. We all got up quietly that morning and let the birthday girl sleep. Then my husband fixed the banana bread/cake and we woke her up singing "Happy Birthday".

One thing we let our children do on their birthdays, or actually before, is pick what they want to eat that day. She picked Pizza Hot Pockets, Tornados, mozzarella cheese sticks, and some kind of chicken Chinese food. We had the Hot Pockets and banana bread/cake for breakfast, the Tornados and cheese sticks for lunch and the chicken for supper. Oh, and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches were dessert for lunch and supper's dessert was Klondike bars. Yum! What? Oh, yeah. None for me. Oh well. There's always next year.

Psst...and for a surprise for her, we're having cake and more stuff Sunday at a friend's house. She knows we're doing something, she just doesn't know what. So, probably next week I'll have some more about her birthday.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to you

Ten years ago a special young lady was born into our family. She was literally an answer to prayer. After our first miscarriage in Nov. of 1998 we started to pray for God to give us another baby. The Lord knew what He was doing when He blessed us with our second daughter.

For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: -1 Samuel 1:27

Although usually the first-born is a natural leader, in our case, our 2nd born is. She has a strong personality that has all of her brothers and sisters following her; even the eldest at times.

She also displays character qualities such as initiative, diligence, boldness, decisiveness, determination, enthusiasm, forgiveness, generosity, hospitality, persuasiveness, and resourcefulness. Of course, she is a work in progress, but aren't we all?

That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: - Psalm 144:12

God has given her quite an intelligence. She is a voracious reader. When I don't see her immediately. I can usually find her tucked away somewhere with a book. She does her schoolwork easily and once I've explained something to her (usually just once), she is able to go with it. Reading comprehension is a piece of cake to her.

A few more facts about her:
She's left-handed.
She has blue eyes and blond hair.
She looks like me (except for the eyes; mine are green) In fact, my mom had baby pictures of us both on her wall and you couldn't tell who was who! :)
She prefers cantaloupe over watermelon.
She's a good cook (she makes great banana bread).
She writes good stories.
She likes ducks, swans, and geese.
Her favorite color is yellow.
Her favorite drink is Dr Pepper! (see? just like me!)
She wants to run an orphanage in Africa when she grows up.

Overall, she is a delightful daughter. We feel very blessed to have her in our family.

Until next time...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fall Fruits Festival - Chocolate

Well, now, it's Friday and time for a little chocolate! Oh and it's the last day of Fall Fruits Festival over at Lisa's (Stop and Smell the Chocolates). So, chocolate technically isn't a fruit, but for the sake of her Festival, and the fact that it's Friday, and hey, for the sake of Chocolate, - Chocolate is a Fall Fruit. There, 'nough said. :)

Here's a little simple recipe for the kiddos.

Pilgrim Hat Cookies


  • 1 cup vanilla frosting
  • 7 drops yellow food coloring
  • 32 miniature peanut butter cups
  • 1 package (11-1/2 ounces) fudge-striped cookies
  • 32 pieces orange mini Chiclets gum


  • In a small shallow bowl, combine frosting and food coloring. Remove paper liners from peanut butter cups.
  • Holding the bottom of a peanut butter cup, dip top of cup in yellow frosting. Position over center hole of a cookie, forming the hatband and crown. Add a buckle of Chiclets gum. Repeat with remaining cups and cookies. Yield: 32 cookies.

Doesn't that look like a fun thing to make with the kids this year? I plan to have my kids help make these and take them to our local library reading hour this year. Last year we did some spider cookies and the kids (and librarians) loved them.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed Lisa's Fall Fruits Festival this year as much as I did. I think this should be an annual event, don't you? What do ya say, Lisa?

Until next time...

Friday Funnies - Squirrel of Death

I can't remember where I got this; probably one of those email things. But I kept it 'cause it is soooo funny. In fact, I highly recommend not eating or drinking while reading this. Oh, and empty your bladder...just in case.

A STORY - The squirrel of death

I never dreamed that slowly cruising on my motorcycle through a residential neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous! Little did I suspect.
I was on Brice Street - a very nice neighborhood with perfect lawns and slow traffic. As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me.

It was a squirrel, and it must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid it -- it was that close. I hate to run over animals, and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the impact. Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels, I discovered, can take care of themselves! Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on his hind legs and facing my oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his beady little eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second, he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for, "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" The leap was nothing short of spectacular...He shot straight up, flew over my windshield, and impacted me squarely in the chest. Instantly, he set upon me. If I did not know better, I would have sworn he brought 20 of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was dressed only in a light T-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans, this was a bit of cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some damage! Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, and leather gloves, puttering at maybe 25 mph down a quiet residential street, and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing...I grabbed for him with my left hand. After a few misses, I finally managed to snag his tail. With all my strength, I flung the evil rodent off to the left of the bike, almost running into the right curb as I recoiled from the throw. That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have headed home. No one would have been the wiser. But this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an ordinary angry squirrel. This was an EVIL MUTANT ATTACK SQUIRREL OF DEATH! Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands and, with the force of the throw, swung around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact, he landed squarely on my BACK and resumed his rather antisocial and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take my left glove with him! The situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him. I was startled, to say the least. The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put a healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. TORQUE. This is what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it. The engine roared and the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in …well…I just plain screamed. Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel-torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove, and roaring at maybe 50 mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street on one wheel, with a demonic squirrel of death on his back. The man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder. With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want to crash into somebody's tree, house, or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured out how to release the throttle. My brain was just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back brake, but it had little effect against the massive power of the big cruiser. About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe he was an evil mutant NAZI attack squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got INSIDE my full-face helmet with me. As the faceplate closed part way, he began hissing in my face. I am quite sure my screaming changed intensity. It had little effect on the squirrel, however. The RPMs on the Dragon maxed out (since I was not bothering with shifting at the moment), so her front end started to drop. Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very raggedly torn T-shirt, wearing only one leather glove, roaring at probably 80 mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrel's tail sticking out of the mostly closed full-face helmet. By now, the screams are probably getting a little hoarse. Finally I got the upper hand ...I managed to grab his tail again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I could. This time it worked...sort-of. Spectacularly to speak. Picture a new scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled off on a quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to do some paperwork. Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a torn T-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing only one leather glove, moving at probably 80 mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder, roars by, and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your police car. I heard screams. They weren't mine...I managed to get the big motorcycle under control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign of a busy cross street. I would have returned to 'fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would have. Really...Except for two things. First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. When I looked back, the doors on both sides of the patrol car were flung wide open. The cop from the passenger side was on his back, doing a crab walk into somebody's front yard, quickly moving away from the car. The cop who had been in the driver's seat was standing in the street, aiming a riot shotgun at his own police car. So, the cops were not interested in me. They often insist on "letting the professionals handle it" anyway. That was one thing. The other? Well, I could clearly see shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery from the back seat. But I could also swear I saw the squirrel in the back window, shaking his little fist at me. That is one dangerous squirrel. And now he has a patrol car. A somewhat shredded patrol car...but it was all his. I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made a gentle right turn off of Brice Street, and sedately left the neighborhood. I decided it was best to just buy myself a new pair of gloves...and a whole lot of Band-Aids.

(author unknown)

Done? Does your stomach hurt from laughing so hard? Mine did. Your welcome. :)

And guess what? You're not done. Nope. Head on over to Kim's for more laughter inducing posts.
She's got a really funny picture up over there. :)

Until next time...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

29 of 52 photos of me

Forever In Blue Jeans

Hey, you know what? I'm cheating this week. This is one week I DON'T want a picture taken of me. And believe me, you DON'T want to see one. I'm pale, losing weight (well, that's actually a good thing), and a huge fever blister just popped up on my bottom lip. Blah! Nope, not gonna happen. And I just KNOW that you gals will totally understand. :)

Now this is a blast from the past.

I am the one right in the middle, with the long, curly hair. This was, I think, the last Christmas I was single or the next to last. Right before I went to Japan in the Air Force. I think. Anyway...

I'm the oldest grandchild and this was a picture of all the grandchildren at that time. There have been more since then, and the addition of great-grandchildren. The little girl in my lap? She's graduating high school this year. I can't believe it! I helped give her her first bath! Where does time go? Six more of these cousins have children of their own. Wow!

So, there you have it. My picture for the week. Please forgive me if it isn't me as a mom. It's still a picture of me. :)

And now, go over to Carin's and see more mom's who have accepted the challenge and made it in front of the camera.

Until next time...

Fall Fruits Festival - Cranberries

Thursday = Cranberries. At least this week it does. Lisa (at Stop and Smell the Chocolates) is having a Fall Fruits Festival over at her place this week. Go check it out and you'll come away with a ton of yummy-licious recipes. (Yes, that's a word).

Cranberry Pecan Sandies


  • 1 package (15.6 ounces) cranberry-orange quick bread mix
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 30 to 36 pecan halves
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 to 4 teaspoons orange juice


  • In a large bowl, combine the bread mix, butter, egg and orange juice. Stir in chopped pecans. Roll into 1-in. balls. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a glass coated with cooking spray. Press a pecan half into center of each cookie.
  • Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing to wire racks. In a small bowl, whisk glaze ingredients. Drizzle over cookies. Yield: 2-1/2 to 3 dozen.

I love cranberries. I had a hard time choosing a recipe to put on here. But I stuck with a simple one.

This year, I'm going to try a new turkey recipe that calls for putting a whole cranberry sauce mixture on the turkey and then serving the extra sauce with it. What? Ok, ok you talked me into it. So, I won't stick with just desserts like I said I would. Here's the turkey recipe. Keep in mind, I haven't tried this one yet, but I plan to for Thanksgiving. Or Christmas. Or any day in between. It sounds delicious.

Cranberry-Orange Roasted Turkey


  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 turkey (14 pounds)
  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 4 sprigs fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, parsley and sage
  • 2 medium onions, cut into wedges


  • Combine the garlic powder, salt and pepper. With fingers, carefully loosen skin from the turkey breast; spread half of garlic powder mixture under the skin. Sprinkle skin with remaining mixture.
  • Juice the orange, reserving the rind. In a large bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, teriyaki sauce, honey, marmalade, soy sauce and orange juice. Cover and refrigerate 3-1/2 cups mixture for sauce. Rub remaining mixture under the skin. Secure skin to underside of breast with toothpicks. Place herb sprigs and reserved orange rind in turkey cavity.
  • Arrange onions in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Place turkey over onions. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180°. (Cover loosely with foil if turkey browns too quickly.) Cover and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
  • Discard herb sprigs and orange before slicing. Place reserved sauce in a large saucepan; heat through. Serve with turkey. Yield: 28 servings (3-1/2 cups sauce).

(No, that's not me with the turkey; I found the picture online).

Well, enjoy.

Until next time...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fall Fruits Festival - Apples

This is Wednesday, day 3 of Lisa's Fall Fruits Festival. And today's fruit is apples.

I just love cheesecake. Don't you? I think I'm going to be doing all desserts this week. I just can't get away from this recipe.

Apple-of-Your-Eye Cheesecake


  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 16 squares)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups chopped peeled apples
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons caramel ice cream topping, divided
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans


  • In a bowl, combine the crackers, sugar, pecans and cinnamon; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom of a lightly greased 9-in. springform pan. Place pan a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Place pan on a wire rack (leave oven on).
  • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in vanilla. Pour over crust. Toss apples with lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon; spoon over filling. Return pan to baking sheet.
  • Bake at for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons caramel topping. Cool for 1 hour. Chill overnight.
  • Remove sides of pan. Just before serving, garnish with whipped cream. Drizzle with remaining caramel; sprinkle with pecans. Store in refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings.

So, if you love cheesecake as much as I do, I hope you enjoyed this. Now, time to check out Lisa's place if you haven't already. BTW, she's having neat giveaways with this Festival, too.

Oh, and here's a neat coincidence in our life. Does the name John Chapman ring a bell? No? How about Johnny Appleseed? Yes? Well, my husband is currently reading a book about Johnny Appleseed to the children. Neat, huh?

Until next time...