Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday (or any day) Clean-Up

Posted by Kimberly:

I don't know about you, but I tend to feel overwhelmed after the holidays. We come home after each Christmas with our families, and we have all of this new stuff that we have to find a place for. (We have a hard enough time finding a place for all the stuff that we already have!) So, it usually ends up sitting out for several days until I get motivated to find a home for everything.

Well, yesterday was the day I got motivated! I was determined not only to get the house picked up but to also get all of the Christmas decorations and tree down. (It helped knowing that my cousin and his family are coming over for New Year's Eve.) I had read in a magazine a week or two ago about a way to get your kids involved in cleaning up the house. Now, we believe in "child labor" at our house and expect our kids to make their beds, keep their stuff picked up, help dust and vacuum, etc. However, it is often difficult to get them to do it with "enthusiasm" and a good attitude. So, yesterday, I decided to give the idea a try with a few modifications.

Here's what I did....

I typed and printed a list of chores on the computer, such as "vacuum Blake's room", "straighten the girls' closet", "pick up and straighten the front living room", "unload the dryer and fold the towels", etc. I then cut them apart, folded them up, and placed them in a bucket. Next, I assembled the troops and explained the following rules:

1. They had to draw one chore at a time.
2. They were not allowed to put it back if they didn't like it. (The only exception to this rule was if Townley, who is 6, drew a vacuuming chore.)
3. The two older ones (age 10 and 8) had to help Townley read her tasks.
4. The task had to be completed thoroughly and efficiently. (They could not drag their feet in an attempt to have to do less work.)
5. If they drew "pick up the front living room", for example, and somebody else's stuff was in there, they had to put that person's stuff up too. If they didn't know where it went, then they had to go ask them. They were responsible for picking up everybody's stuff, not just their own.
6. When the task was completed, they had to put their initial or name on it and stick it in a pile.
7. They continued to draw new tasks until the bucket was empty.
8. After all tasks had been completed, I would take all of their pieces of paper and check to see that they had done each of their jobs to the best of their ability.
9. Whoever did all of their jobs thoroughly and efficiently would be rewarded with 30 minutes of computer time or time on my phone to play games. (This was a huge motivator to them because we do not have any gaming devices, and we limit their computer time. Each person will have to figure out what motivates their own kids.) We also went for a special snack in the afternoon.

Let me just say that this will be our new way of getting things done around here. The kids worked so hard and even thought it was fun! (We played their new Taylor Swift CD the whole time. Music always seems to make cleaning more "fun".) In fact, last night when I was tucking Blake in bed, he said, "Mom, that was kind of fun today." And, this morning, Townley commented, "Mommy, I think we should do what we did yesterday." Two of the best things about this, besides that my house was finally straight, was that 1.) I didn't have to stand over them the whole time telling them what to do next and 2.) They had to do things for each other. (Poor Emily got the worst job of all.... She had to straighten Blake's closet!)

Hopefully, this idea, or your own modified version of it, will help you get things under control at your own house with your kids' help.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The "3 Cherry Cokes" are taking a much-needed break, but will be back soon.

Thank you for all of your comments during the past year. We are glad so many of you enjoy our recipes. We look forward to sharing more with you in the future.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas!
Donna, Lori, and Kimberly

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Carrot Bread

Posted by Donna:

I posted the recipe for a carrot cake a few weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I decided to make carrot bread. My favorite blog, other than Lori's, of course, is

The lady that posts this is so good at decorating--- very simply and inexpensively. She uses a lot of vintage decorations as well. My whole house is full of "give me's." If I took everything out of my house that had been given to me, I wouldn't have very much left. I call my house "eclectic"--my fancy word for all my mismatches and old furniture. Be sure and check out her blog. You'll get great ideas from her. A few weeks ago, she posted her recipe for Carrot Bread. It sounded and looked so good---I just had to try it. This is her recipe, minus a couple of spices. I will tell you that it gets better the longer it sits in the refrigerator.

Carrot Bread

1 tsp. butter, melted

1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. allspice

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 cups grated carrots (It takes a 1 lb. bag to get this amount.)

***The original recipe called for 1/4 tsp. cloves and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg. I don't like strong spices; so, I omitted these.

Mix all together and pour into one greased/floured loaf pan or two small greased/floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Let the bread cool about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.

After the bread has cooled completely, frost with a cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature

3 T. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

Beat with a mixer on high until smooth.

Add 1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

After icing the loaves, sprinkle with crushed pecans. Store in the refrigerator.

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S'more Kits

Posted by Lori:

Each year at Christmas, many of my husband's co-workers exchange gifts.  The gifts are small, and because he works at a children's home (Tipton Home), when we make our gifts, we try to think of something the children would like.  Usually it's safe to go with something edible when talking about kids, don't you think?  We've made cookies, pumpkin bread, and muffins, but this year I wasn't sure I was going to have the time to make anything homemade. 

Most children like s'mores, so here's what we decided to do:  S'more Kits.
Each kit contained one sheet of graham cracker, broken in half, one large marshmallow, and one snack-sized Hershey.
Each kit was placed in a decorative cellophane bag.
The kits were divided into families or individuals and will be handed out some time today.  I think they'll know what to do with them, but it would be nice to make a little tag for each kit with instructions.  These can be assembled and popped into the microwave for a few seconds or made traditionally by roasting the marshmallow over a fire or over the stove top.
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Homemade Mini Canvas Magnets

Posted by Lori:

I probably should have waited to post this until AFTER I've given them as my homemade gifts for my husband's side of the family.  That would have been the best thing, but I was so excited to share them with you, I just decided to go ahead and do it!

I'm excited about them because I think that many of you will come up with all kinds of ways to use this same idea.  Maybe you have already done something like this yourself.  It would make a neat gift for anyone and can be personalized in any way.

This idea came to me while in Hobby Lobby.  I walked up and down aisles, looking for neat things that would be good for homemade gifts.  My sister had suggested decoupaging on ceramic tiles for coasters. I liked that idea, but wasn't sure I wanted it to be coasters. That's when I spotted these mini canvases.  They come in a packed of two and are about a 2.5 inch square.  The day I got them they were 30% off, which was even better.

Paint canvases in desired color using a small foam brush.  Allow to dry.
Paint Modge Podge all over canvas.
While still wet, place paper square on top. (I cut some straight edge and tore some to be ragged.  Paper should be slightly smaller than canvas.) Press paper down and smooth out any bubbles.  Allow to dry a few minutes, then gently smooth again.
After the first Modge Podge coat dries a little and the bumps are mostly smooth, paint on more Modge Podge on top of the decorative paper. 
Print out phrases, scriptures, names, initials, etc. onto vellum in desired font and print color.  Some of my vellum was thicker than others.  I also varied the colors of the vellum some.  Make sure to make this part a little big smaller than the printed paper size.
Press vellum piece on slightly wet Modge Podge or if too dry, Modge Podge the back of the vellum very lightly (or a glue stick will work - used lightly).  Stick verse on desired area. Allow to dry a few minutes.
Use desired accessories to decorate your canvas.  I chose silk flowers that are made for scrap booking and also used metal brads in decorative shapes, textures, and colors.  Decide where you want to place the flowers. Some canvases I made with the verse....some without.
 Poke a small hole through the canvas (I used an ice pick.) from front to back.  Insert brad into flowers as desired and attach to canvas, spreading apart ends of brads as able.  If the hole is really close to an edge or corner, just spread the ends to one open side.
Apply magnet or two to the back of the canvases.  I used stick on magnets and decided to use two per canvas, even though this picture doesn't show it.
 And, there you canvas magnets!  Perfect for handmade gifts at Christmas and any other time of the year.  And, the best part is that they are very inexpensive to make.  All of the items can be purchased at 30 - 50 % off at Hobby Lobby.
 What handmade Christmas gifts are you making this year?

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Posted by Lori:

Christmas time is a time for baking homemade goodies to share with friends and enjoy during gatherings with family and friends.  Below is a listing of all of our cookie recipes we've posted since June 2009.  Maybe this will help you as you plan your menus in the next few weeks.

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

Oatmeal Chocolate Florentine Cookies
Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cute as a Button Cookies
Magical Peanut Butter Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Valentine Cookies (change to Christmas cookies using a different shaped cookie cutter.)
Pumpkin Cookies
Crispy No-Bake Cookies
Pecan Fingers
Peanut Butter Criss Crosses
Banana Oatmeal Cookies
Cake Mix Cookies
Peppermint Thumbprints
Chocolate Chip Doozies
Cream Wafer Sandwiches (These are my favorite, in case you want to send me some :)
Butterscotch Thins
Choco-Caramel Delights
7 Layer Magic Cookie Bars

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.
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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Popsicle Stick Reindeer Ornament

Posted by Lori:

This cute little reindeer ornament is simple to make and will be perfect for our elementary school Christmas party this Friday.  You can't tell it but the popsicle sticks have been painted a light brown color (thanks to my husband for painting over 500 of them for me!!).  You can use them plain or painted dark brown, as well.
This craft is very inexpensive, so is perfect for large groups.  It has cost less than $20.00 for all of the supplies for 150 kits.  Not bad at all!

Popsicle Stick Reindeer Ornament

3 popsicle sticks (plain or painted)
1 small red pom pom ball
2 googly eyes
Glue (I used glue dots)
Holly decoration (if desired
1 brown pipe cleaner, cut in half
1 piece of ribbon

Glue two popsicle sticks to form a "V" shape.  Glue third popsicle stick to the top of the "V" shape, coming down 1/4 to 1/2 inch.  Glue red pom pom ball on bottom of "V".  Glue eyes on each side of the "V", about half-way down the stick.  Glue holly in the center of the top popsicle stick. Wrap each half of the pipe cleaner around top ends of "V" shape and curl to make antlers.  Finish by gluing a ribbon loop or hanger onto the ornament so that it can be easily hung.
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mini Corn Dogs

Posted by Lori:

I remember making these Mini Corn Dogs sooooo many times before we had children, but now that we've been parents for 16 years and have four kiddos, I've not made them once.  I think it's because they get an occasional corn dog or hot dog at ballgames, fairs, and things like that, so I don't want our "home-cooked" meals to be that same kind of cuisine.  Although, when I think about it, a lot of the quick foods I serve from time to time are about the same equivalent in nutrition to these little snacks.  Not necessarily the best in nutrition, but certainly pleasing to the tastes of children.....and most likely many adults, too!

Mini Corn Dogs

2/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons oil
8 to 10 wieners
Oil for deep frying

Cut wieners into thirds.  Combine cornmeal, flour, and salt in medium bowl.  Mix well.  Stir in milk, egg, and 2 teaspoons oil.  With toothpicks, dip wieners into batter.  Deep fry in 375 degree oil until brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Keep warm in 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bread Pudding

Posted by Lori, via my brother-in-law, Ken.....who also happens to be a GREAT COOK!!!

Ken made this last week and said it was, in his words, "incredible".  I can't wait to try it myself!  I don't recall that I've ever made bread pudding.

Bread Pudding
Servings: 8

3 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
7 large eggs
5 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 cups bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

Note: Bread can be any non-savory firm textured bread. Avoid soft supermarket bread as it makes pudding mushy and avoid rustic crusty loaves with open crumb as it doesn't absorb and yields too firm a pudding. Ken used a stale apple fritter bread that had been frozen.  Whole wheat cinnamon raisin works well, but a brioche or challah (Note from Lori:  I don't even know what those two are!!) work the best.

Prep Time: 20 mins       Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13x9 baking dish. Whisk milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Meanwhile scrape vanilla bean into milk mixture and throw in pods. Heat to steaming, but not boiling. Discard vanilla pods. Whisk eggs and yolks in a large bowl, gradually add 2 cups of hot milk mixture, then pour egg mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk. Strain and whisk in cream. Spread bread cubes in prepared dish. Slowly pour custard over bread being sure to saturate all of the bread. Bake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour or until a small knife inserted in the center of the pudding comes out clean. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream or caramel sauce.

Note: you can add raisins, currents, dried cranberries, sour cherries or any other dried fruit you like. (Ken did not because the bread he used had fruit in it. Note from Lori:  I won't use raisins, because it's a sin! (Just my devotional post about raisins and the Nazarite vow here.)


1 stick of butter
1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of water
1/8 teaspoon rum extract

Combine all ingredients In a sauce pan and heat until sugar dissolves and almost boils. Drizzle over each serving.

And finally, Ken says, "YUM!"  That's it, folks!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Decorated Clothespin Magnets

Posted by Donna:

Back in the summer, one of my magazines showed a fun way to decorate clothespins and use them for refrigerator magnets. I put a lot of "bling" on these just for fun.


Assorted material

All-purpose Elmer's glue

Modge podge

Triple Thick by Deco Art (Hobby Lobby)

Peel and stick stones


First, cut the material to fit both sides of the clothespins. Glue the material on both sides with Elmer's glue. After the material has dried, put a layer of Modge Podge on top. Once that has dried, put on several layers of the Triple Thick---let each coat dry before covering with the next one. The Triple Thick needs to set for 24 hours before adding the stones. Add a magnet on the back of each one. (The pictures really don't show the stones very well; so, you have to use your imagination as to what they look like.)

This would be a great craft for kids to do--especially with the use of all the "bling." These also make really cute and inexpensive gifts or stocking stuffers.
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Snowball Ornaments

Posted by Lori:

This is another craft "recipe" for you.  It seems that during this time of year, we try more new crafts than new recipes, but it's fun to try new things, whatever it may be.

These snowball ornaments were my homemade gift for my husband's side of the family last year. 

Snowball Ornaments

Glass or plastic ornaments (clear or frosted)
Snow Tex Paint
Assorted ribbons

Paint ornaments with a thick coat of Snow Tex Paint.  Make it thicker in some areas, thinner in others.  Sprinkle with irredescant glitter while wet, if desired.  Hang ornament on a hook and allow it to dry.  Cut pieces of assorted ribbons, tying them through the top of the ornament.  Make one ribbon the loop for hanging the ornament.
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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Pillowcases

Posted by Donna:

In the last two months, I've made 21 pillowcases. Fourteen of these have been for Christmas. I decided to make one for each of our grandchildren to use as stocking stuffers. I also made some for a few of our church members that are in one of our Assisted Living Centers.

They're quick to make and lots of fun to coordinate the material for each one. I used different patterns for each grandchild. I'm only showing four of them.

A few weeks ago, my aunt had me make pillowcases for her four grandchildren. She wanted the patterns to be about what each child really liked; so, they were patterns of sports, race cars, dogs, and butterflies with pink polka dots. Finding all of these different prints took some doing; but, after searching and searching all the bolts of material, I finally found some really cute prints.

Pillowcases are a very inexpensive gift for anyone. Several months back, I made an OU case for my uncle and a rooster case for a very good friend who collects roosters. They loved them.

I also made several for graduation gifts---which by the way, I'm doing again for all the graduation gifts this year.
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Little Smokies Wraps

Posted by Lori:

This is one of our favorite recipes.  As I was looking through our appetizer recipes on here, I couldn't believe I hadn't ever posted this two-ingredient, easy treat!  Because I usually am making a LOT of whatever snack I'm making, I'm not sure what the right proportions should be so I'm guessing a little.

Little Smokies Wraps
1 package Little Smokies (we like all beef)
2 tubes of crescent rolls

Preheat oven to crescent roll package directions.  Place paper towel into medium bowl and pour Little Smokies into bowl.  The paper towel will help drain the juices.  Unroll crescent rolls, but instead of tearing apart each perforation to make individual rolls as indication on the package, press two triangle rolls together making a rectangle shaped piece of dough.  Cut rectangle into thirds length-wise as well as cross-wise.  You will have 9 pieces of dough per rectangle.  Form dough around the middle section of each of the Little Smokies, keeping ends open.  Bake until golden brown (I think about 15 minutes).
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

German Chocolate Skyscraper Cheesecake

Posted by Lori:

Although German chocolate cake isn't one of my favorites, I thought this would be fun to try for Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, even though the cake looks good, I realized after eating it that something wasn't quite right with the German chocolate cakes.  It took me a while to figure it out, but finally, on Saturday, I realized that I had left out the baking soda, baking powder, and small amount of salt.  My dad still liked the cake and the Junior's cheesecake itself was still delicious.  It actually is probably a good thing something was wrong with it, or else I would have eaten a lot more of it! 
Cheesecake Layer
3  (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (use only full fat), at room temperature
1 1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Early in the day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Wrap the outside of the springform tightly with foil, covering the bottom and all the way up the sides.

Put one package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, and the cornstarch in the bowl of a stand mixer (I just used a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer) and beat on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping after each. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the cream just until completely blended.
Gently spoon the batter into the prepared springform and place in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1″ up the sides of the springform. (Click here to see illustration.) Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/4 hours until the edges are light golden brown and the top is slightly golden tan, looking set and no longer wet. Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and cool in the pan for 2 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (still in the pan) until completely cold, about 4 hours. Place in the freezer, still in the pan, for at least half an hour before assembly, or overnight if you are preparing in advance.

Cake Layers
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounce bar German’s sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs, separated (you will use whites later)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
(NOTE: I made my own with ¾ cup less 1 tablespoon whole milk PLUS 1 tablespoon vinegar. Allow to sit 5 – 10 minutes.)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Once the cheesecake is out of the oven (make sure to remove the water bath), start the cake layers. Generously butter the sides and bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of both pans with parchment paper, but don’t let the paper come up the sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt together in a small bowl. Melt the chocolate in the water in the microwave or in a small saucepan over very low heat, Set aside to cool. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until light yellow and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Blend in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and blending well after each addition.

Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together in a clean bowl on high heat until stiff peaks form. Stir about 1/3 of the whites into the chocolate batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites. Don’t worry if you still see a few specks of white, since they’ll disappear during cooking. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a moist crumb, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the rack and gently peel off the paper liners. Let the cakes cool completely, about 2 hours, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble the cake.

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
(NOTE: I used about 2 ¼ cups of chopped pecans and didn't use the almonds and hazelnuts)
4 cups angel flake coconut, plus 1/4 C for sprinkling
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Once the cakes are out of the oven spread out all the nuts on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees until golden, about 5 minutes, tossing once or twice. Set aside to cool. Toast 1/4 cup coconut the same way until golden brown and set aside for garnish.

When you are nearly ready to assemble the cake, mix the sugar and flour together in a large saucepan. Add the cream, milk, butter and vanilla, and stir until well combined. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and turns golden brown, about 12 minutes (mine took longer). Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted nuts and untoasted coconut. Refrigerate until the frosting is thick enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

Assembling the Cake
Remove the cheesecake from the freezer and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes (if frozen overnight). Place one cake layer, top side down, on a cake plate. Spread with a generous amount of frosting. Release and remove the frozen cheesecake from the ring of the springform, then release and remove from the bottom of the pan Remove springform ring. Warm the bottom of the pan on a low burner for 30 seconds, just long enough to melt the butter that was used to grease the pan. Now, slide a metal spatula between the bottom of the pan and the cheesecake (releasing the vacuum), then lift and slide the cake onto bottom German chocolate cake layer. Spread with some more frosting. Top with the remaining cake layer, top side up, and frost the top of the cake and the sides of the top cake layer only. Sprinkle the top evenly with toasted coconut. (Note:  I added some pecan halves in a flower design as a decoration, as well.)

Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve (if the cheesecake was frozen overnight, it will take about 2 hours to thaw enough to easily slice). Use a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one, to cut it into slices.

Source: Junior’s Cheesecakes Cookbook, by Alan Rosen and Beth Allen, pg. 160-161.

This post is linked to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gumdrop Trees

Posted by Donna:

While our grandchildren were here from Lubbock this weekend, I decided to let them each make a gumdrop tree. These are simple and fun to make---adults enjoy making them as well. They make great gifts for any age.

Materials needed:

White styrofoam shaped cones
bags of multi-colored gumdrops

First, break the toothpicks in half. Insert the broken ends of the toothpicks into the gumdrops and insert the sharp ends of the toothpicks into the cone. Start at the very top of the cone and work your way down and around. It's best not to have any of the white cone showing. When working with kids, though, it's best to let them do it they way they choose.

It was fun watching the kids make theirs. Blake, the oldest, had his finished pretty quickly. He really didn't plan out any system of doing it---but it turned out really cute. Emily, the middle one, wanted each row to be a different color. She also wanted the white to show between the rows. Townley, the five year old, worked very hard on hers. She was very particular and made sure none of the white cone was showing on hers. I love watching how children put their own personal touches on things.

A few years ago, I started making these. Some I gave as gifts. I also gave a couple of them as prizes when some of the ladies from church were here at my house for a cookie swap. Gumdrop trees used to be an old-time favorite decoration. They're very nostalgic. I love them!!!!!
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

How to Cook a Turkey (a 1st grader's recipe)


Posted by Lori:

Just in case you don't know how to cook a turkey, this is a recipe according to our youngest son, Tyler.  He wrote this last year, when he was in the 1st grade.  His teacher put together a Thanksgiving cookbook with all of the student's recipe for cooking a turkey.  They were hilarious!

by Tyler

10 pounds of dressing
9 cups of juice
One 20 pound turkey
9 eggs
20 cups of milk


Go shoot a turkey. Then take the skin off. Then you can use the feathers to decorate something. Wash the turkey off in the sink with some water. Put the clean turkey in a big, big pan. Put all of the dressing on top of the turkey. Bake the 9 eggs and then put them in the turkey. Then pour water on the eggs and that will make mush to go in the turkey. Take a little spoon and get some dressing out, then pour the milk where the dressing was. Then put the dressing back where it goes. If you want to put the feathers on when you're not eating it you can, then when you are gonna eat it take them off. Put the pan in the oven. Don't cover it cause the feathers might get hot. Cook the turkey and feathers for about 30 minutes. Then taste it and look at it to see if it's done. When your mom yells "It's ready!!!" then it is prolly done. Then take the turkey out of the oven and put it in the middle of the table. Take the bones out. Throw the bones to the dog. Have your dad cut it up and put it on your plate. Eat the turkey after you say a prayer. After you eat, take all your Thanksgiving stuff down and get ready for Christmas.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pumpkin Parfaits

Posted by Lori:

Today was my son, Tyler's 2nd grade class "Thanksgiving Feast".  His teacher had asked me to help provide desserts for the meal for his class and the other 2nd grade class.  I knew that another mother was making cupcakes, so decided to do something different than cake.  I didn't have time to decorate sugar cookies, which would have been my first choice.

I began thinking about pumpkin-type desserts....not really sure if many of the students would like it.  Finally I noticed some Pumpkin Spice Jello-brand pudding in the pantry.  I remember buying it last month thinking I would try to use it for a new recipe.  I came up with these Pumpkin Parfaits.  Tyler said most all of the students (and he, himself) really liked them.  In fact, there were a few left over, so my three older children ate them for after-school snacks.  They all liked them.  Four out of four - that's rare!!

Pumpkin Parfaits

2 - 3 ounce packages Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding
2 cups milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 large container whipped topping
1 pound bag of gingerbread cookies (I used gingersnaps)

In large mixing bowl, mix together both boxes of pudding mix and the 2 cups of milk.  Whisk until well dissolved.  Add sweetened condensed milk.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Add 1 cup whipped topping and gently fold in to pudding mixture. 

Remove 12 unbroken, gingerbread cookies and set aside.  Crush remaining cookies. (You will not need all of them, so reserve more whole ones, if desired.)  In desired dishes, layer cookie crumbs, pudding mixture, and whipped topping. Repeat layers, ending with a whole cookie for garnish.  Whipped topping in a can could be used to decorate the top, as well.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. This dessert could also be made into one large dessert. 

I didn't see this in my pantry until later, but I had some Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream Topping (Smucker's).  That would be great to drizzle over the top, or maybe even caramel.  And, one more thing:  have you seen the new Kraft gingerbread man shaped (and flavored) marshmallows????  They are sooooo cute!  If it had been Christmas time, each child would have gotten one of those on the top, as well!

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Recipes

Posted by Lori:

Thanksgiving is a special time for my husband's side of the family. There are lots of traditions surrounding the holiday.

The tradition begins with singing night at the church building on Wednesday evening....Thanksgiving Eve.  My husband's family (some from here, some from out of town) come, along with many others that live here and also many visitors that are in town for the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's a great evening with our family, and other friends' families, all gathering together to begin the Thanksgiving holiday by giving thanks and singing songs of praise.

Following the singing, my husband's family (his three brothers, two sisters, their spouses, children, and in-laws....and now even one little great-grand child) gathers at my in-law's house for food and games.  There will be 35 family members together this year (with one not able to be here), but also three a full house, for sure!  It calls for lots and lots of food!

Listed below are a few of the recipes my kids and I will be making for Thanksgiving Eve. (Click underlined links for recipes.) Each of my children have their "certain things" they like to make for this evening every year.  We spend Tuesday night and all day Wednesday preparing the food. When I think back to when I used to do it all myself, I can't believe I ever got it all done!  They are such great helpers!  It's a fun time with all of us in the kitchen.  Usually while we are preparing the food, my husband is spending the day working on the outside Christmas lights.  I think he likes it better that way :).

A few of our "Thanksgiving Eve Recipes":

Cheese Ball
Tortilla Wrap-Ups
Hawaiian Roll Sandwiches
Mini Calzones
Potato Skins
Puppy Chow

Of course, on Thanksgiving Day, we have all of the traditional Thanksgiving food, but we also have other fun family traditions.  Thanksgiving morning we have a "Turkey Trot", which is a one mile run and a 5K run.  After the run we eat homemade cinnamon rolls, which were originally made by my husband's grandmother (who is now deceased), and then by his dad.  But now, due to his dad's failing health, the cinnamon roll making has been passed down to two of my husband's brothers.  A passed-down tradition....still just as yummy!

On Thanksgiving afternoon, we have, yet, another tradition.  Each year my husband and sons plant pumpkins, so for the past 10 years, we've had a "Pumpkin Bash".  We all gather and smash the pumpkins!  There is a "pitcher" and the pumpkins are hit with a baseball bat!  It's so much fun and a highlight for many....especially all of the neices and nephews.  New family members are initiated into the family by hitting the most squishy pumpkin that can be found.  Isn't that nice????!! :)

Here's a link about our Thanksgiving 2009.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christmas Stockings

Posted by Donna:

About five years ago, Kimberly and Lori surprised me with these 13 stockings. They bought red and green plaid placemats from the Dollar Tree and made them. I wish the pictures showed the details more clearly. The names and pictures on the front were done in red embroidery. Green rickrack framed each picture, as well as a green button in each corner. Green rickrack and red pompoms were sewn around the white sleeve of each stocking. Each stocking had a different Christmas picture on it. I love my stockings, especially since my daughters made them for me.

As Lori mentioned in her earlier post, we thought it would be fun to share some craft ideas or projects that we've done. I love getting new ideas---I think all of us ladies do.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Florentine Cookies

Posted by Lori:

Looking through a Christmas cookie cookbook, I came across this recipe.  They are delicious and very pretty, too. I think these are a perfect Christmas cookie for giving and sharing!

Oatmeal Chocolate Florentine Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine (I used real butter.)
2 cups quick oats, uncooked
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12 ounce package) milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients, excepts for chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Drop by measuring teaspoonfuls (Mine are a little bigger.) about 3 inches apart, onto foil-lined cookie sheets. Important step that I didn't notice at first: Spread thin with rubber spatula.

Bake 5 - 7 minutes until golden brown around edges.  (Mine took longer, as most things do in my old oven!)  Cool on cookie sheets.  Peel foil away from cookies.  (I had to put new foil every time, except for the very last batch that cooked a little longer.)

Melt milk chocolate chips over hot water (My stove top has a "melt" setting and it worked great!).  Stir chips until smooth.  Spread chocolate on flat side of half of the cookies.  Top with remaining cookies to form sandwiches. 

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