Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cupcakes Galore

Okay, well two anyway. I was feeling a bit adventurous this week.

My first cupcake, was the Chocolate Almond Poblano cupcakes from beauty and bread. They looked very good, and were fairly easy to make once you figured out where the ingredients were. This is an entirely vegan cupcake. The flavor was good, but I wasn't quite expecting the heat that it brought. Still, it was fun roasting the peppers, and I think that they will taste good in chili next time I make it.

For my next, less tongue burning creation, I went for the Raspberry Almond Ricotta Cupcakes with Citrus Meringue Frosting by Chockylit. These turned out very good. I wasn't able to make the Burnt Buttered Almonds, for some reason I couldn't get the sugar and butter to caramelize for anything. Even after several attempts. Oh well. Plus, being short of a blow torch, I had to improvise, which was a lot of fun. I have a gas stove, so I was able to use the flame from the burner and a really long set of tongs to create the desired caramelization on the meringue frosting. I am tempted to rename these Flaming Cupcakes. It was a lot of fun, but I wouldn't recommend it in general. It's probably a totally unsafe way to do it, and I will be getting a real blow torch soon. But, it was still fun.

I had a ton of leftover meringue frosting, so I decided to make little meringue kisses to go with.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Just a little fun on JibJab

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Wonder If They Would Do The Same...

...for a divorcee who remarried. Somehow, I doubt it.

The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, "you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ" … "In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to 'tell it to the church.'"

Technically, it is also a sin to divorce and remarry. But hey, who am I to judge? All I have to say, is if they're going to call her out on this sin, I certainly hope they're willing to call out others on their sins too. Or what about gossip, which seems to be a favorite pasttime of many church women?

If we're going to start judging people on their behaviors, then let's judge everyone. If not, have some mercy. There was a reason that Jesus said "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her".

Anyway, that's my random rant for the day. Church hypocrisy ticks me off more than a lot of things, so I thought I'd share.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Did Not Know This, And I Wish I Still Didn't

However, it is a tad interesting. And good old Wiki never fails to inform.

Ceramic figurines called 'caganers' of US President-elect Barack Obama are seen at the Santa Llucia Fair, on December 2, in Barcelona. Statuettes of well-known people defecating are a strong Christmas tradition in Catalonia, dating back to the 18th century.

(AFP/File/Lluis Gene)

Hat tip: Boots & Sabers

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Little Village And A Baby Blanket

Well, I finished the corset, and managed to somewhat deal with the sizing issues. I took in the sides a little, creating a bit of a flat felled seam. It works, for now. The pictures aren't much different, so I won't bother you with those. I do, however, have pictures of my next projects that I finished up.

Here is a baby blanket I made for a friend of mine. The embroidery was so cute and easy, and it just cried out, "Stitch Me!". Audibly. I swear.

I just did a simple two layers of flannel, one side brown and the other side pink (she had a girl). Then I did the embroidery on a scrap of muslin, and appliqued it to the blanket. It was much easier than trying to embroider onto such a dark piece of flannel, plus it gives a nice contrast.

A closeup of the birds

Now for my next little project, some Little Houses. These are so darn cute, and such a quick way to use up scraps. I made several, using a scrap piece of linen, some felt, and some calico fabrics. These are little ornaments, that can easily be made by just about anyone. You don't even necessarily have to have a sewing machine, they'd be easy enough by hand. I did some embroidery on mine to make them extra cute. I plan on making several more with a plain muslin for the house, so that the kids can draw on them as a great little crafty, handmade Christmas present for certain family members (shhh.... you don't know who you are!). The kids will love the project, and I will love the quiet. I almost forgot to add, but the instructions for these great little ornaments can be found here. I can make one of these babies up in about 20 minutes or so (if I'm not being climbed like a mountain goat), and they are so fun to embellish!

So here are the little houses. I'll start with my favorites, and go from there.









Thursday, December 4, 2008

Almost Done...

I am almost done with my new short corset. However, it happens to be a little too big. I really need to work on those sizing issues....

But anyway, they turned out so pretty. I almost hate to sell them, but if I want to make another pair, I will likely have to. Plus, I hate to have them sitting around not being used.

Anyway, here are some pictures. They turned out so pretty.....

I used this embroidery pattern, which was so pretty. I had a hard time keeping it to only three colors, but it's so pretty and simple, that now I can't touch it. I usually have a hard time sticking to simple designs, because I always want to add more, but I also love the look of the simple designs, because they are so pretty.

So if anyone is interested in buying this, you can email me for the details.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I am 30 today. For a long time, I never thought it would bother me. It's just numbers. Aging is a part of life. We can't change it, and we can't stop it. Those little numbers that we fill in on forms will keep getting bigger whether we like it or not.

But today, I am 30. Where did all that time go? It seems like only yesterday I was getting married, and a few days before that I was still in grade school, and I hardly remember much in between any of it. I am feeling a bit old today, but then, 6 kids will do that to a gal. Maybe not getting a full night's sleep in so many years will take it's toll. Makes me glad I'm not 40 though, because I know I couldn't do it then, if I can barely keep up now some days.

In this year before I turned 30, many things have happened. I had a beautiful baby boy, and survived it. I visited my family in Kansas for a month. I got to sit in my cousin's Lotus (and I still rub it in for my husband). I got to see a childhood friend that I hadn't had contact with in 10 years, and got to meet her beautiful little boy. I have made contact with other friends I hadn't seen in years through Facebook. My children have all aged another year, and are healthy and happy. I realized my husband still loves me despite my many shortcomings, and will continue to love me through many more.

While for the most part I'm not too bugged about turning 30, there's still that tiny nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me I'm getting older.

Monday, December 1, 2008

They're Just Mad 'Cuz They Didn't Get Any

Really, a felony? A group of consenting adults gets together to raffle off some consenting prostitutes, make some money, and it's a felony? What isn't a felony anymore?

I'm not saying that prostitution is a good idea, and the idea of raffling them off is not any better, but what happened to this being a free country? Since when can we not make decisions for ourselves? Personally, I think they were mad that they didn't get a cut. That seems to be the case in most of these situations, where money is involved anyway. But that's just my opinion....

Movie Review: Serenity

My husband and I watched Serenity for the first time a few days ago. It was very, very well done in my opinion. The simplicity of the storyline, coupled with decent acting, and not overdone action scenes, lent to a very well rounded movie. It was one of the better ones I'd seen in a long time. I won't give any spoilers here, but I strongly suggest you watch it. It's worth it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

And We Call Ourselves Civilized

Warning: Holiday rant follows

Shopping. Not really one of my favorite things to do. I especially hate Black Friday shopping, or pretty much any shopping between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Everyone is at the store, making it difficult to get around (because they want to leave their cart in the middle of the aisle, making it impossible for anyone to pass, and then shoot you evil stares when you try to politely say excuse me, I'd like to pass). Everyone is crabby and short with each other, and very, very few people are really into the spirit of Christmas. Heck, who cares what this season is about, I'm just here to spend gobs of money on things that no one really needs just so I can feel important.

Three people are dead after yesterday's shopping, and many more I'm sure are injured. I find it absolutely barbaric that we as human beings, in a supposedly Christianized society will trample a man to death, and then continue shopping because our own lusts for "stuff" is more important that the life of one man. And, what idiot brings a gun to go shopping, even if it is Black Friday? Seriously. Barbaric. How can anyone look at us as a nation and think that we are civilized when we act like hungry lions on the Serengeti at feeding time. We are so concerned with getting the best "deal", that we will kill our fellow man to get it. It is amazing to me.

I hear of parents who want to spend $300 to $400 per child, just for Christmas presents. What on earth does a child need that much stuff for? My husband and I don't spend that much on presents for our 6 kids in a whole year, let alone for one day. I hear of parents talking about taking out loans, just so they can spend as much as they want on their children. And then later, wonder why their children are so selfish and self-centered. I've had discussions with people about why my children have to get exactly the same number of toys that all add up to exactly the same amount of money, because "they're counting, really, they're paying attention and they're all going to get jealous of each other". Really? I didn't have any problems with it until it was made a problem by certain family members. When it was made an issue, it became an issue.

For the most part, my kids do pretty well at Christmas. We've tried not to make a big deal out of the presents we give (extended family does what they will and there's not much we can do about it), but we've tried hard to make sure that they understand the meaning of Christmas. From our family, we don't do much in the way of presents, leaning more towards family gifts, which seems to work well for us. I do like to do the stockings, but we don't put a ton in them.

I guess my point is, we as a nation tend to focus far too much on material aquisition (especially of cheap crap that breaks easily), and we don't focus much on each other, or our relationships. We are so much more interested in getting what we want, that killing a person in a stampede is deemed less important than shopping for the ultimate gift. We are so much more interested in getting our kid the latest toy so we can be perceived as the "cool" parents, that we will bring guns to a toy store to get what we want.

And we call ourselves civilized.

I am working on something, an idea for Christmas. I will get it up in the next week, so stay tuned.


Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake. This has been one of my favorites for forever. My grandma made it when I was a kid, and while I'm reluctant to say it's my most favorite, it definitely ranks up there. It's such an easy recipe too, and then there's all that ganache, I think I need a piece for breakfast.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake

1 pkg. (18.25 oz.) devil’s food cake mix (with or without pudding)
1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350* F. Lightly spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside. Place the cake mix, cherry pie filling, eggs and almond extract in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula. Place in the oven. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack while you prepare the glaze. For the glaze, place the sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chocolate chips. When the chips have melted and the glaze is smooth, pour it over the warm cake sot that it covers the entire surface. The glaze will be thin, but will firm up. Cool the cake for 20 minutes more before cutting.

**Store this cake, covered in aluminum foil, at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze the cake, wrapped in foil, for up to 6 mos. Thaw the cake overnight on the counter before serving.

Then of course, there's pumpkin pie. Now, for some reason, mine didn't turn out too pretty. But here's an idea....

Let's Talk Turkey

I am going to tell you today how to make my absolutely awesome Garlic Rosemary Turkey Breast. I based this off a recipe for a whole turkey, but no one in our family likes dark meat so we switched over to turkey breast. I am never going back. It is so easy to do just a breast, and you have tons of juicy white meat.

Garlic Rosemary Turkey Breast

  • One 8-10 lb. deboned turkey breast with skin (you can order this through a butcher, usually about a week ahead of time)
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely minced
  • 3-4 leaves fresh sage, finely minced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Prepare your turkey breast, skin side up, in a large baking pan. Cut 6-8 small slits in the skin, and insert the garlic. Push them in a little so they are covered by the skin. Squeeze one half to one whole lemon over the turkey breast, covering the skin with the juice. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with the fresh sage and rosemary.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes per pound. I am aiming for about 3 1/2 hours or so. I will start checking the internal temperature after about 2 1/2 hours.

Let it cool for about 20 minutes before carving.

You can also try to find half of a turkey breast, for a smaller amount of meat. I like the whole breast because it leaves me lots of leftover turkey for sandwhiches and recipes, like chicken pot pie and soup using the turkey as a substitute.

Here's how the garlic works:

Here's the turkey before cooking:

And here's the turkey after cooking:


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Today is a busy day, but I will try to get a few pictures in here and there.

Today our menu is:

  • Garlic Rosemary Turkey Breast (no one will let me make anything else, it's that good.
  • Golden Au Gratin Potatoes (it might not be mashed potatoes, but again, they won't let me take it off the menu!)
  • Creamed Sweet Corn (I don't know if it's exactly creamed, but it's really good)
  • Cottage Cheese (storebought, I'm not that good)
  • Some sort of rolls or biscuits. I don't know yet.
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake
That should about cover it. There will probably be a few things tossed in at the last minute, but I chose to keep things very simple this year. We are celebrating by ourselves, and the opportunity to scale back a lot was rather welcome. I thought about having the kids make some sugar cookies this afternoon too, to keep them out of my hair, but we'll see.

Have a great day everyone, and I'll be hopefully posting pictures tonight or tomorrow!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How Is This His Job??


President-elect Barack Obama said his plans to rebuild infrastructure, modernize schools and develop alternate energy are long-term investments in the economy, not quick fixes.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Looking At What I Read....

I thought it would be fun to look at all the sites that I tend to frequent, and check out their reading levels. Now, I really don't know how accurate this test is, and I can't seem to find any extra information on the way this one looks at the reading level. But, it's fun, and right now I'm feeling smart.

Real Effect High School
Real Debate Wisconsin High School
Fuzz Martin Junior High School
Boots and Sabers High School
The World According To Nick Junior High School
Silent E Speaks Junior High School
Rocks In My Dryer Elementary School
Orthogonal Thought High School
Cooking For Engineers Genius (Sometimes shows up as College Post Grad)
Papa Z's Views and Comments Junior High School
Rachel Lucas Elementary School
Vox Day High School

Now, some of these I'm not terribly surprised about, there's nothing massively outstanding about most of them, at least in the realm of higher thinking. A few that I am surprised about, Vox for one, seems to have an extremely intelligent group of followers, and I like his writing style. Rachel Lucas I also expected to be a little higher, what with her chemistry and all. Cooking For Engineers, now that one really threw me. I am on that site all the time, and while I understand a lot about cooking, I never felt that there was anything too far above my level of expertise in that area. I thought it was all pretty simple. Makes me wonder about what I read now.....

Wow, I Didn't Realize....

blog readability test

Movie Reviews

I really have to wonder how this thing works. What does it check to determine the readability? It's neat though. I didn't expect to get such a high readability level.

Especially after seeing Elliot's post over at From Where I Sit. Check him out. He's got some good stuff over there. At least, he does when I remember to check :)

After a bit of snooping, I decided to enter a few other blogs I do frequent, just to see what they were. I was expecting most of them to be doing better than I was, especially Fred. But, apparently not. That's just a little weird....

Friday, November 14, 2008

These Look So Cute!

I want to make some of these now. Such easy little tiny stars, and little strips of paper. These look like a good use for shredded paper :)

More instructions here:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stash Contest

I just found a cute little site today that is giving away a stitcher's dream stash. Some beautiful threads, and a stitching book. I love embroidery, and this just looks like it would be such a fun little package to get. Go check it out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Best Lasagna Ever?

I am a person who can cook just about anything. Chicken Kiev, cutsie cupcakes, homemade marshmallows, just about anything you could want, I can bake it. Except lasagna. Lasagna is the bain of my culinary existence. How could something as easy as noodles, cheese and sauce be so difficult to make properly? Apparently for me, very difficult.

Until now. I believe that I have actually found the best lasagna ever, and it's even actually called The Best Lasagna Ever. Go figure. I looked at the recipe, and thought hey, even I might be able to make this. And oh look, my husband might even eat it! He's a little picky. But that's alright. Anyway, I decided that this recipe looked easy enough even for my lasagna challenged skills, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Before I go any further, for the longest time I thought that my husband's mother's lasagna was the best ever. Lots of sauce, cheese, noodles, and tons of layers. It was really, really good, and after a while, I even gave up trying to make it because even when she helped me, my pan would turn out terrible, and hers would turn out great. It was creepy, because we'd make it exactly the same way. So I decided that I must be lasagna challenged, and turned my attention to things like pate-a-choux, because it was easier. However, I digress.

After making this recipe, so kindly put onto the internet by my new favorite person Pioneer Woman, I thought I was doomed to avoid lasagna forever. Until now. This is truly, The Best Lasagna Ever, and even my husband, who is picky and loves his mother's lasagna, agreed. I was in shock. I made lasagna, and everyone loved it? What has the world come to?

Here is the recipe. You really must try it. I will warn you, this is not an inexpensive dish. After a bit I will work on ways to make it more cheaply, perhaps getting the cheese from the deli, getting the sausage on sale, that sort of thing. But man, it's worth it. Our family of eating age adults and kids, 8 in total (we had a guest too), made it through about 1/3 of the lasagna. It was very filling and rich and good. The littles don't eat a lot, and they're even pickier than my husband some days. So we have plenty of leftovers for a while. I will have to see how this reheats, but I'm sure it won't be an issue.

I did make a change though, since I have picky eaters. I pureed the whole tomatoes along with the tomato paste until I had a nice smooth sauce. None of my boys really like the chunks of tomatoes, so I did have to make that change. It still turned out amazing though, and now, I can cook lasagna knowing that it will actually taste good. I would probably cook it a little longer than I did too, and let it sit longer to cool so that it's not so melty when I go to serve it.

Thank you Pioneer Woman, this is definitely The Best Lasagna Ever!

Before baking: Look at all the pretty layers!

After baking: Mmmm... all melted and good.

Dinner time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Apple Pie

I didn't take pictures this time, but I thought I'd share the recipe, since the pie turned out so good. Maybe I'll get a pic of one of the leftover little bits of the pie later one. We'll see.

Anway, this is about the easiest recipe you could get. But, I changed it a bit, and it turned out better than I expected.

Apple Pie

3 lbs. Golden Delicious apples (about 6-8 medium, I usually shoot for 8)
3 Tbs. Butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Vietnamese Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pie crust
Cinnamon sugar

In a large skillet with high sides, melt the butter over high heat until sizzling and fragrant. Add the apples and toss with the butter to coat. Turn the heat down to medium and cover, cooking 5-7 minutes or until softened but still slightly crunchy on the inside. Add the sugar, spice, cinnamon and salt, and cook over high heat until the juices are thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. (**I personally have never really been able to get it thick at this step, so here are my instructions) Remove the apples with a slotted spoon, and cool on a cookie sheet. Continue boiling the syrup for another minute or so, until it starts to thicken, and turn off the heat.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. and place your baking rack in the bottom third of the oven.

Prepare your pie crust. If you are using the refrigerated kind, lay it out on a piece of waxed paper, and roll it out so that it is a little more rounded, and a lot thinner. This will allow for a crisper crust that won't get as soggy. Place it in the bottom of your pie plate and fit it in there good. Leave the edges overhanging for now. Place your cooled pie filling into the bottom crust. Roll out the top crust the same as you did for your bottom crust, making it nice and thin (though not too thin to handle. If you wish to use a mini cookie cutter to cut out pretty little shapes, now is the time to do it. Transfer to the top of the pie, and crimp or flute or do as you wish. You might want to brush the bottom crust with a little cold water, but that's not ever something I seem to be able to remember. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar. If you didn't use the cookie cutter to make cutouts, make some steam vents now.

Now, you are ready to bake. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is richly browned and the filling is bubbly. As insurance, you may want to put a tinfoil lined baking sheet on the rack under the pie in case anything drips. When you are done baking, allow the pie to cool for 3 to 4 hours, or as long as you can stand waiting. Serve it with vanilla ice cream.
One thing I noticed this time, is that the brown sugar seems to help the juices thicken easier. You may not even need to boil the juices separately, but I did it automatically this time, and it still turned out really good. I also don't actually measure my spices, so measurements are approximate. You can adjust according to your family's tastes.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Seriously? C'mon People

What does a person's medical records have to do with them being or not being Vice President? Seriously. This is just getting to be beyond ridiculous. I would not be releasing my medical records. What would people do with that kind of personal information? What if I asked the doctor about a spot on my arm that turned out to be nothing, but could be construed as something bigger than what it is? What if I had a miscarriage, and it's now released into the public media that I had lost a baby? Would mass speculation ensue about what could I have done differently? Would they tear me apart for losing a baby and still working, or having other kids, or any number of things that could be said? I'm sorry, but if you are basically bullied into releasing your personal medical records, then we've come to a pretty sorry state of affairs. Personal records should stay just that. Personal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hmm... Duh?

The 10 Secrets of the Effortlessly Thin

I don't know why people feel the need to keep repeating this over and over again. This has all been true for years, and it's really quite simple. I figured all this out on my own without even trying. I knew that when I skipped meals, I ate worse. When I was constantly snacking on little meals here and there, I stayed on the thinner side. I even took smaller plates at meal times, so that I wouldn't take as much food. At the very least I wouldn't waste it all. I even occasionally induldge in the sympathy eating that is supposedly so horrible, but I still try to work it in between meals, and put a limit on it somewhere. Like instead of taking the whole bag of Cheetos with me, I pour some into a bowl. Yeah, it creates another dish, but it also tells me how much I'm eating.

Is this really all that hard? Is it really difficult to just spread out and reduce the amount of food that is consumed every day? I don't even know that I'd consider myself to be the healthiest eater. I don't eat tons of fruits (it's hard finding decent fruit at the grocery store on any given day, though I'll buy it if I run across it), we eat lots of veggies, but we also eat some prepackaged types of foods. I try to go from scratch, but we do lots of cheeses and milk based things. Yet, our family is still pretty thin for the most part. I just struggle to understand the mindset of people who think starving themselves is a really good idea.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fish Bowl Cupcakes

I finally got hold of a copy of Hello, Cupcake! at my local library, and it is too adorable! My 4th born son's birthday is today, so I decided that this would be a perfect opportunity to make one of the themes from the book. I decided on the Fish Bowl Cupcakes, and they turned out pretty cute. I went a bit too dark on the frosting though. Apparently sky blue coloring paste goes a looooong way. Aside from that, and the lack of a few key ingredients, I managed to make a pretty cute version.

I will definitely be buying this book soon. It is actually pretty inexpensive for the amount of ideas that are in there. I was quite surprised.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Apple Grilled Cheese

I found this recipe in a vegetarian kids cookbook, Better Than Peanut Butter and Jelly, which had some very interesting recipes. The one I ended up making was the Grilled Cheese With Apple Slices. Sort of. I actually only glanced at the recipe, and returned the book without writing it down. So my version, which may or may not be vegetarian, is such.

2 slices white bread
cheddar cheese
2 apple slices, from a cored, peeled and crosswise sliced apple (so you get round slices), granny smith

Spread a thin layer of margarine on the outsides of the bread. Arrange the two apple slices so that you have maximum coverage of the bread, top with cheddar cheese, the other slice of bread, and grill over medium heat until golden brown.

My next attempt, if this turns out well, will be to make a grownup version. Adding ham, using homemade Hi-Rise cornbread (excellent sandwich bread), and using miracle whip instead of margarine. Possibly adding a piece of mozzarella cheese, too. Mmm... I'm drooling just thinking of it.

Update: The sandwiches turned out well. I think a golden delicious instead of granny smith might be a little better though. The granny smiths were almost too tart/sour. Otherwise, not half bad.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Whatever Happened To Sending Your Kids Outside?

A "new study" suggests that kids and adults need much more Vitamin D, and have doubled the "suggested requirements" for the vitamin. It can be found in milk and some fish, among other things. While it's briefly mentioned in the article that the best source is sunlight unhampered by sunscreen, it's practically tossed out as dangerous because of the risks of sun exposure. I'm sorry, but people have gotten along just fine going into the sun here and there, without serious detriment. Most of the people who have issues are the ones that stay in the sun to get a tan, or are working outside constantly. When you're exposed to it for very long periods of time as with anything else, you're likely to have issues. But sending your kids outside for 15 minutes here and there on days where it's not 98 degrees outside, generally isn't going to be a major issue. This isn't rocket science. Get outside a little bit here and there. It's not going to kill you!

Cute Little Cloth Diapers

I made these last week, in an effort to start potty training. I had heard these were good for helping the little ones feel when they're wet, teaching them that they need to use the potty sooner. So far, not too bad.

Here are some pictures of what I've made: (for some reason blogger keeps turning the second pic on it's side, but you get the idea).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Gourmet S'Mores, Take 1

First, you need to find a good recipe for some really tasty homemade graham crackers. There are several variations of this, some of which involve graham flour. This is the version I have chosen, since I love a good textured cracker.

My recipe of choice comes via a Google search, and this website. I chose this particular recipe because it allowed me to use my mixer, instead of my itty bitty food processor. I really need a bigger one. Eventually. For now, this is the recipe I'll be using. This will be next.

Anyway, on to the recipe. To make these graham crackers, you will need:


Homemade Graham Crackers

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat graham flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the cold butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the honey, water and vanilla. Mix until the dough comes together in a ball.

Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough 1/2-inch thick. Chill for 1 hour, until firm. Lightly flour the dough and roll 1/8-inch thick. With a sharp knife or cookie cutter (a pizza cutter also works great), cut into 2-inch squares. Arrange the crackers on parchment lined cookie sheets. With a fork, prick several holes in each cracker. You can sprinkle with some sugar crystals if you like.

Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes, until lightly browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan.

RECIPE NOTE: These turned out fairly well, but the dough was stickier than I would have liked. They were pretty soft while they were still warm, but got nice and crispy as they cooled. They had a good flavor and texture, and tasted good with the chocolate and marshmallows. Great on their own, too.

Now, for the marshmallows. This is the first time I have ever made anything even remotely close to this. I am using the recipe from Chef Thomas Keller, via Cooking For Engineers, also the product of a Google search. I love that site. It's just a really fun place for recipe breakdowns. I also have placed The French Laundry Cookbook on hold at my library, and I can't wait until it comes in. It looks like it's full of all sorts of goodies.


So here is the recipe for these very tasty looking marshmallows. I will post the link again to Cooking For Engineers, as he has the best breakdown of how to make a great marshmallow.

RECIPE NOTE: These turned out really great. The instructions from Cooking For Engineers were perfect, and helped me in a few tricky parts. I've never made anything like these before, and they turned out perfectly. They taste great and are fun to make. The kids enjoyed helping, although I think they liked licking the bowl much better. I did have trouble getting these out, and ended up with a few crusty spots from the buttered side of the pan, so I think next time I will use a greased piece of plastic wrap to line the pan instead.

Last, but not least, the Chocolate Bark. I didn't need any help on this one thankfully, and it came together very nicely. Simply melt several squares of chocolate over very low heat until melted. Then spread on a piece of waxed paper on a baking sheet. Melt a little bit of white chocolate, and drizzle it over the chocolate. Swirl it around until it looks pretty. Your chocolate should be roughly 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, depending on how chocolatey you like your S'mores. I think I am closer to the 1/8-inch thickness for this attempt.


As a whole, the flavor is really good. I might try a thicker bit of chocolate next time, since with both pieces of graham cracker, the chocolate didn't come through quite enough. But, for a homemade treat, it turned out great. I will definitely bring a pan of marshmallows to the next bonfire I attend and try them out roasted. I am drooling in anticipation!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Eek! I Want One!

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Joys Of Finding New Music To Listen To : Or : Where Did I Put My Horned Bagpies?

Looking around for some odd music the other day, my husband and I came across this little gem of a band. The music is actually pretty good, until the guy starts singing. I love the bagpipes though. The little horns and everything, it adds a nice touch ;)

In their own description,

Eluveitie clearly belongs to the fast growing Pagan Metal-scene, anyhow brings some "fresh air" into it. Eluveitie's sound is traditional, authentic celtic Folk Music combined in a unique way with modern styled Melodic Death Metal, strongly influenced by the classic “Göthenburg Sound”.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Funny Parody on Palin and Biden

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wow, This Just Takes A Special Kind Of Stupid

Man burns himself trying to steal gasoline.

I mean, really, how dumb can you get? I think this one deserves an honorary Darwin Award mention, at the very least.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

My Oh My, Easy As Apple Pie

Mmm... this turned out so good that I just had to share a picture.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A little sewing on the side

I have been making some of the cutest little skirts. They are so easy to make, and when you start embellishing them, they get even cuter. Here's the first one I made for my daughter. She absolutely loves it.


Here is my embellished and slightly smaller version. I had a lot of fun with this one, and it turned out so cute.


I'm hoping to sell the second one soon. You can see it in my Etsy shop, too.

Wow, It's Been Awhile

I really need to get back into this blogging thing again. It's been such a busy summer. We had a nice long visit to my mom's in Kansas, which was very nice. I haven't gotten to spend that much time with her since I moved out a long time ago, and while distance has been our friend, it was nice to hang out for a little bit.

When we started out, we just barely made it through all the flooding through Iowa. The water was mere feet from the road in a few places, and they closed I80 the morning after we went through. With all the kids, plus my mom, grandma, and two vehicles, it took us two days to get there, and two days to get back. Not too bad over all. The kids weren't too thrilled about the long car ride by the end of it, but they did surprisingly well.




I managed to get a little sewing in while I was there, and made this little dress for my daughter. You can't see the details very clearly, but I tried to do something like this on the front panel, and it turned out cute. The tucks were a little too close together, but it still looks nice.


I also finished my husband's blanket (finally!). It only took over a year to do it, though a lot of that was because I just didn't want to go near it for a little while. (Long story). The picture is a bit washed out, but you get the idea. It's a really nice throw size.

Puss In Corner

We started our home schooling this last week, and the kids are excited about getting back to it. At least they were the first few days, now they're getting a little more whiney, but we'll have to work on that.

We've done fairly well this summer in the injury department too. Considering all the boys, we actually didn't do too bad. 2 staples for Ethan after he cut his head, antibiotics for Sam after a nasty bug bite that swelled his whole leg up, and split lips for Aaron and Sam, neither of which required stitches thankfully. Eric managed to sprain his ankle, too, so I guess he was feeling left out :) All in all though, not too bad for a summer with 5 boys.

Well, that's all for now. I have a few goodies I'm going to post later, but that will have to wait :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why We Home School 8

8. Because even with the answers ahead of time, half the kids still failed.

7. Do you really want to have teachers that care more about their own agenda than your children, being the ones to educate them?

6. Why subject your children to religious indoctrination?

5. Would you want your child indoctrinated without your knowledge?

4. Who wouldn't want their child courted by a college because they were homeschooled?

3. Our children are less likely to have this happen.

2. Our children won't have to witness terrible crimes like this.

1. Our children are less likely to be sexually assaulted.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Henna Again

I got to do a decent amount of henna while visiting my family in Kansas, which was loads of fun. I never did convince anyone else to get a full henna done, but I did my own hand a few times. Most of the people I was around hadn't dealt with henna before, but it was fun anyway.

Here is one of my leg and foot. I did the foot off a design I had seen, and the leg was freehand. I wasn't as happy with how the tiny leaves turned out, they ended up looking more like thorns than anything else.


This one I was just goofing around with. The cute little froggie was from a slightly different design, and the wrist band was from something else as well, and the flowers and fingers were freehand. I'd have done more but my mix was really thick and sort of tiring after a while. I really need to work on that....


This one is still one of my favorite designs, and the second time I've done it. I like how this one turned out a little better. More even, and the floral area looked better.



I also did these two for my cousin, which I thought turned out cute.



I'll be getting more of the Kansas pictures up soon, I hope. I still have a lot of unpacking to do and kids to settle down again... It's crazy around here some days :D