Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween Spirit

A few pictures from my 8 yr old who definitely has the Halloween spirit. She LOVES to draw and oh baby does she love Halloween.

"Leave" it simple!

I love to decorate for the fall holidays. My big thing this year is to do it on the cheap so I chose things that do double or triple duty by covering autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. My way of doing this is by using fall things such as pine cones, leaves, acorns, squash, gourds, and pumpkins. All of that passes nicely for Thanksgiving well after Halloween is over. Makes sense to me! I do have a few things that I put on our porch for Halloween that are definitely only for Halloween because it's fun for the kids but inside I stay simple, just add and subtract a few things from the porch and our fireplace mantle. The above are just a few ideas that I put up around my home. Now I'm done until after Thanksgiving and don't mind these decorations at all for a few months.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I had a few ladies over today for lunch with my neighbor as a guest of honor. She is really going through some tough stuff. She has moved and it is just hitting me how different things are going to be without that little family down the street. She and her family are still in town but not as conveniently close as 3 doors down.

I was really struggling as to what I could do to help her. She has never asked for any help and does things quick and secretly so no one will figure it out and come to help. It just hit me that I needed to just get a group of her friends together and shower her with love. I hope she felt our love and concern today. I was left with a big rock in my stomach because of how worried I am for her. Once in a while we all have to endure a really tough farewell.

I made a good comfort food though! If you need comforting, try it. It reminds me a bit of the soups at Olive Garden but more home style.

Tortellini Soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
add 1 medium onion, diced.
1 Roll of mild sausage, such as Jimmy Dean. Then cook sausage and onion in same pan, breaking apart sausage into small bits then add:
6 cups of chicken broth
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (15 oz) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each: dried basil, oregano, and black pepper
Bring to a boil, stirring often.
1 package of refrigerated or frozen cheese tortellini (approx 19 oz)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups fresh baby spinach cut into small strips
Boil about 5 minutes uncovered before serving.

(I like to sprinkle cheese on the top of individual bowls also). Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fabulous Four

Sadie turned 4 years old yesterday! It's amazing how fast those years have gone by! We had such a great day. She had a speech test in the morning then I took her for lunch and ate outside by a fountain at a place she likes.

We came home and decorated and wrapped presents and then 4 of us took her to the Corn Maze and petting farm. We had lots of fun running through the corn and trying to lose Christian but that big brother always found us. We came home and ate dinner and then had cake and ice cream. WARNING: Never buy a cake with navy blue frosting (we all had blue teeth after which was pretty funny. Really funny to see 90 yr olds smiling with blue stains. Not so fun for any of us to get rid of).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Spooky Root Beer

If you want to try this I would advise you that it makes a lot of Rootbeer. It's a lot different than the rootbeer you buy on the shelf, not as carbonated, but we had such a fun time making it!

Added this whole bottle of extract (that we just bought at the grocery store) with 5 gallons of water and 5 lbs of sugar. We used our tall drink thermos container with the spout at the bottom. Then we added 6 lbs of dry ice, which you need to make sure to not touch or have the kids touch with their bare hands or it will hurt really bad (just a reminder). Also, when the dry ice is added it starts to bubble like crazy so do NOT cover until all the bubbling stops.
Bottoms up!!!
Oh, and if you want to try something different, we also did this with vanilla extract (same amounts of sugar and dry ice) instead of rootbeer and made some killer cream soda!


Six months ago my son undertook some community service to achieve his Boy Scout Eagle award. It definitely wasn't an easy task. It takes a minimum of 70 hrs of service and a bunch of paperwork. I think my son put in 115 hours on this project, almost enough for 2 awards. We received an invitation in the mail to a celebration of the completion of the Heritage Center. He painted the inside of the center which took a full week. It took a couple groups of people to complete the outside. All of those who worked on the undertaking were honored at a picnic the other day and my sons name is on a plaque inside the building. After doing this project with the forest service he seems really interested in working for them someday but must be 18 first I guess. Here are some pictures from the event.

In front of the Heritage Center.... brrrr.

These fine people work for the Forest Service.

The head of the area Forest Service presenting Christian with a book of the area.

This Forest Service guy (Jake) that helped Christian set things up with the Heritage Center. Please note the fine paint job in the background. He did all the rooms, cupboards, and ceilings.

The plaque with his name on it (that they mispelled as Christen instead of Christian).
Oh well, we know what they meant.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Frozen HOT Chocolate

What a delicious contradiction!
It's an icy, cold fall treat. I watched a review of a restaurant in NYC that specializes in this (the name of the place is Serendipity), so I had to try it for myself and now we are hooked. I'll post the recipe but just for your information, you can go to Dairy Queen and get these too. They are not on the menu but they make them and DANG they are good. HOT hot chocolate always upsets my stomach so I like it in the frozen form ALOT. Yummm....

There are a lot of recipes for this on the internet, but my version is simpler.
Try this...

Add to a blender-
2 scoops of powdered hot chocolate mix
1 cup of crushed ice
1 cup of milk
1 spoonful of hot fudge topping (from the jar)
1 cup of vanilla bean ice cream OR 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
(if its too strong add more ice, ice cream, milk til it's to your liking)

Blend it up and top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate if desired. Easy!