Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We had such a lovely Thanksgiving this year. So much fun and SO much to be thankful for. 
My parents came down Thursday morning and we ate "the meal" after the kids got up from naps.
I have visions of Harper helping me cook when she is older and it makes me smile...

And here's the turkey! It was delicious thanks to Tyler Florence's Ultimate Turkey. I mean, how can you go wrong with shoving butter and fresh sage under the skin? 
You can't. 
Ultimate is the perfect word for it.

And no Thanksgiving meal is complete without name tags.

The whole set up. Yes, we put up our tree before Thanksgiving. I know. I know! Some people have some rules about that, but I do not. I looooove decorating for Christmas early and it has never made me forget about Thanksgiving. It just makes it prettier! :)

And that's all my Thanksgiving pictures. RJ and I did go midnight shopping. It was fun being out on a date with him, but not sure we'll do it again. Unless it's to stay at Wal-Mart when the clock strikes midnight to see everyone grab for the merchandise they have been waiting for for hours. We did get the one thing we went for though, so it was fun. And crazy! And cold.
My sister and her family came down on Friday and stayed at a hotel so the kids got to swim and stay up late and have fun. 

So, back to the Christmas tree. I saw a little picture of this cute garland on this blog and loved it. I just took a bunch of pages from an old book, cut, and hot glued them together. It really didn't take too long and I love how it turned out!

I also made an advent calendar this weekend. I first got the idea from this blog, and then can't remember where, but saw the idea to use a mini muffin tin. Since I've used my mini muffin tin about 2 times in the past 5 years, I figured I could sacrifice it. 
I gathered old Christmas ornaments, fabric, and ribbon and of course, the hot glue gun.

I cut some squares out of cardstock and a thin cardboard and glued them together so they were a little more sturdy.

Then cut out circles of paper to fit inside the tins.
(the small side of a cup from children's pain reliever medicine is the perfect size.)
I started with 25, but now realize I should have had 24 be the first number. 
Oh well!

On the back of the squares I glued magnets. Unfortunately I started by putting pieces of a thin magnet all the way around. When I went to put it all together I realized they weren't strong enough, so I used the heavy duty circle ones. If I had started with this, I probably would have saved myself an hour...

Then I started gluing on the ornaments. I have a special place in my heart for tacky Christmas decor.

And almost done.

(this ornament is my favorite)

And then I glued little garland all the way around, and it was done! It took a little longer than I thought it would, but it was fun.

Hope you all have a lovely week!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

RJ had to work all day Sunday after church. Henry wouldn't nap and in the process woke up Harper. (Isn't it funny how at the time it's seem like the biggest deal and then when you mention it, you realize how not big of a deal that is?) But as I was saying, it was a long day and it made me crabby. I thought a fun project would put me out of my sour mood and Henry was super excited about it. We made a stuffed-paper-bag-turkey. The kids had a ton of fun stuffing the bag with newspaper.

Then I had them color on sheets of paper.

And this lasted for about 2 minutes. Harper had no interest and Henry, who usually loves doing projects was done after about 4 pieces of paper.

So I ended up finishing this little kid project by myself. Not the joyous experience I was going for, but I have to remind myself that they're only 1 and 3. She's a funny looking bird, eh?

My bad mood didn't go away the entire day...and Monday morning was right around the corner. I prayed for patience before I got out of bed and decided to make some pancakes. They put us all in a good mood because they were so yummy! I enjoyed mine with peanut butter and honey.

Whole Wheat Pancakes (from
1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup wheat germ (I used wheat bran)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbl brown sugar (I'm sure this could easily be left out...but sounded good)
1 tsp salt
5 1/3 tbl unsalted butter (I cut way back on this)
2 1/2 cups buttermilk (I added about 1 tbl vinegar to skim milk for this)
2 eggs
  1. In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, white flour, wheat germ or oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife, and add the butter to the flour-mixture. Mix until the mixture has a sand-like consistency.(I just melted my butter and added it.)
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, and add the buttermilk and eggs. Stir until the liquids are fully incorporated.
  4. Fry up on your pan and enjoy! (with peanut butter and honey, of course!)

I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I could not be more excited for Thanksgiving.
 (We're hosting my mom and dad this year...can't wait to wake up in my own house and start baking/cooking!)

I could not be more thankful for the Lord's new mercies every morning.
(I failed. Again. Yesterday. And the day before. But am so thankful for this day. And praying for lots of patience...because I sure seemed to have lost in lately.)

I made super yummy whole wheat pancakes for breakfast.
(I hardly ever make a fancy breakfast. It was fun!)

Harper has been cracking me up today.
(I don't know what happened, but she's suddenly a toddler. A busy, goofy, toddler.)

I just spent about 9 hours hand stitching a scarf for a Christmas gift. I'll show pictures later.
(I've committed myself to making 2 more. I will then commit myself to never make them again.)

Tonight is our last Acts 2:42 church group until January. I love our group! It's such a great community to dissect Sunday's sermon and to grow together.
(But I am a teeny bit excited to have an extra night to our week. Remember, I have about 18 hours to put into 2 more scarves.)

I surprised RJ with a family date last week on his birthday to Vesuvius Wood-Fired pizza in Ames. It was so good.
(like really, SO good.)

I can't believe this...but RJ came up with the idea for us to do some midnight Black Friday shopping/watching all the other crazy people shop. I can't believe it.
(and I'm really excited!)

I've got lots I should be doing. Painting, cleaning, crafting......

Monday, November 15, 2010

A cake

Well, it's that time of year again where I get to attempt at making a yummy birthday for my amazing hubby. His 31st birthday is tomorrow so we're celebrating tonight with our church community group.
I made them last night, but something went very wrong. I have no idea why, but my first batch ended up in the garbage:

My last batch finally turned out, but I tell ya, I may never bake a cake from scratch a.g.a.i.n.
I gave RJ a couple of different cake options and he chose a chocolate and caramel cake. 
I used the same cake recipe I used last year. It's so good and far from dry. In fact, it's so moist it makes it kind of tricky to frost. For the caramel portion, I used a caramel buttercream frosting.

Then I looked at my kitchen:

I mean, really. Baking a cake is easy. Making this big of a mess takes some real talent, right?

I meant to do this on both layers of frosting, but forgot so just did it to the top and added Heath bits and a drizzle of caramel.

 I've done a lot of 2 layer cakes, but this is my first 3 layer one. I'm hoping it isn't currently collapsing in the fridge...

So there's this trick to icing a cake where you do a "crumb coat" and then do another coat on top of that that will end up lovely and smooth.
I can not figure that stupid step out. 
One of these years I'll do it!
And for now my crumbly frosting will have to do.
(I used chocolate buttercream for the outside)

One trick I love is taking Whoppers and putting it all around the bottom. It hides a lot of my mess. 

Now we'll have to see how it tastes....

RJ, I love baking you cakes, but not near as much as I love you.
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and Happy Monday!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I've been to Trader Joe's twice now and it's so so busy still....I can't wait until the crowds die down a bit. With holiday baking just around the corner, I bought new baking soda and baking powder. Aren't the containers cute? Doesn't it just put you in a baking mood? And those kleenex boxes are adorable.
Trader Joe's, I'm sold!

Today is a stay-in-our-pajamas kind of day. Henry is bouncing off the walls. Literally. Harper is back to normal. Her mysterious illness was (thankfully) short lived. 

Kind of a boring post on a boring day.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


2 posts in one day! Aren't you lucky?
This morning things started off really well, and then pretty quickly Harper started acting funny. She never threw up, but was super duper cuddly and feverish. I held her the majority of the was sad, but sweet at the same time. I put her down for a little morning nap to see if it would help and while she was asleep Henry and I worked on a Halloween ginger bread house. 
The hording side of me wishes I would have bought 10 of these kits. It's the best $1 I've ever spent!

My partner:

He told me the other night that I can kiss daddy all day and all night (sweet), but that I can't kiss him any more. He said it "ruins the day" when I kiss him.
Well, buddy, I beg to differ:

He worked really hard.

With lots of candy to decorate with.

And frosting to squeeze out.

And maaaaaybe some frosting to lick off of our fingers.
Yeah, I'll admit it. I did it too. And it was good!

Henry went a little "goth" with the black frosting.

It was a lot of fun! 
About half way through the project I went to get Harper and this is what she looked like:

Poor babe! She had this look on her face all day, but perked up quite a bit after her nap and will hopefully wake up feeling better tomorrow. 

Hope you all have a great night!


Our little Party of the Century was a great time! Our friends came dressed up in different decades and we had lots of fun trivia. 
RJ and I chose the early 60's. He was my working man and I was his house wife.

I had fun making little decorations through out the house. Our house is turning 100. I wanted her to look pretty for her age!

We did some rearranging to accommodate our guests.  We might leave things this way for a bit just for fun. I also redid my mirror frame combo for the 3rd time. I think this time it's a keeper.

I decoupaged some old bottles and let the candles melt all over them. I think one of the best parts about a party with no kids = CANDLES.

I also took some thanksgiving figurines I got from a friend and painted them in a solid color. I love how they turned out! It's such a fun way to take a tacky decoration and "modern" it up.

It was lots of fun! 

This week has been fairly calm, which is nice. We played outside for a bit yesterday and rode our bikes for probably the last time of the year. It was so nice out! We played with lots of dry pasta and were "cookers" and today we might break out the Halloween ginger bread houses we got for $1 at Target's 90% off clearance. I'm just going to turn the other way and let Harper get messy with it. She loves doing crafts but has her momma's lack of cleanliness. Henry, on the other hand, is very cautious and clean with his crafts. I'm also ecstatic to report that the two of them are starting to play nicely, together! My days aren't quite as filled with them screaming at each other and fighting....and I am so thankful for that.

Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I love collage art and collages on walls.
I've had this collage wall for a long time and I've always loved it.
Buuuut, I was ready for a change.

I wanted it to have a lighter feel and for everything to be a little more snug.
If you are fortunate enough to have plaster walls, you know that where you want to hang a picture and where you can actually get a nail into the wall are two completely different things. So completely different in fact, that when it comes to hanging things on the wall, 99% of the time it ends in me screaming. Thankfully this time, I only have about 7 nail holes that I'll need to fill in because the nail wouldn't work. Seriously, what is up with plaster walls?!

so I painted a few frames, went around the house and in my craft stash in the basement and found some "new" things, and even took a wreath from my Christmas stash. 
20 glue sticks later, this is what I came up with:

It helps to arrange on the floor and then once you get it on the wall, you can add more or less to balance things out:

I'm really enjoying the fresh, new look! 
And I spent:
(well, obviously at some point I spent money on the pieces, but not now. And I'm pretty sure 90% of it was $1 or less....except for the awesome painting from a friend)

I've also wanted to do some silhouettes for a long time now and finally did it.
I was able to get some good photos of my children's profile (tricky!), then using editing software I blackened out the background, then took some tracing paper and carefully put it up to the computer screen and traced it with a marker.
I'm really into proper protocol, can't you tell?
Well that, and we don't currently have a printer.
Then I cut the silhouettes out and traced that onto this cool board I got at a garage sale once and painted it in.

And that is all. I've been doing lots of fun little projects around the house....maybe I'll share some more later. For now, I've got a ton to do.

Happy Thursday!!

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Weekend

It felt like such a long weekend for once. Don't you love it when that happens?!
I started off the weekend by baking my man his favorite caramel rolls (his grandma's recipe)
They are so good and actually really fun to make. Each time I try them, it gets a little easier and turn out better. Henry  loves helping me in the kitchen so I let him do all the measuring. 
Here they are all rolled out and ready to get baked. Look at all that cinnamony-swirled-goodness!

And here's the outcome:

I actually like mine best warm with peanut butter on top. It's soooo good. Really, peanut butter makes everything better. Ever had peanut butter on your pancakes? Do it. NOW.
These rolls are so special. They are guaranteed to be at every family function made lovingly by his grandma. They are the best!

Then Saturday night we geared up the kids for trick or treating. We were going to hang out and hand out candy for a bit, but weren't getting any traffic, so we headed out ourselves. Turns out our street is a bunch of party poopers. There was only one house handing out candy!
Then we walked up a couple of blocks and the place was lit up and there were people everywhere. It was so fun! And what a gorgeous night to be outside, huh?

Sunday morning RJ ran a 5k so the kids and I, and their buddies Dane and Caedman cheered them on.
 I told Henry this was the last day he'd be able to wear his costume  out and about so he totally took me up on the offer.

Here's Henry telling his daddy that he did a great job!

And no race is complete without celebrating at Jethro's afterwards. It was gooo-oood.

This week we'll be getting ready for our Party of the Century we're throwing this weekend. It's in honor of our house being (almost) the big 1-0-0.  It's going to be stellar. I can't wait!!

Happy Monday!


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