Friday, November 30, 2012

The Kitchen Window

One of my favorite things about our house is the view from the kitchen window.  I don't mind washing dishes at all when it means I can stare at our beautiful world while my hands are busy in the soapy water.
This was, in fact, on my list of "things I'm grateful for" as we went around the Thanksgiving dinner table and shared our thoughts with each other.
However, I think I'd trade my beautiful view of plants and birds for the view that greeted me from Megan's kitchen window as I washed Thanksgiving dinner dishes any day.  People are so much more important than things!
A giant leaf pile, even if it is brown and gray, is a lot more fun than plain boring green grass!!

Thanksgiving Visiting

Thanksgiving Dinner with our kids was a nice by-product, but the real reason for our trip was to meet this precious little boy who joined our family mid-October:
We were also thrilled to spend time with the other grandchildren.  Look at how they're growing!  Do you think maybe they're related? 

Before she left Hawaii, Evelyn apparently had a vocabulary of several words.  After a few days in Utah, it had regressed to one - "Baby!"

The proud parents!
With his eyes open.
We're so blessed!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

For Thanksgiving this year we hopped on a plane to go visit our kids in Utah.  Since the most logical itinerary involved flying on Thanksgiving morning, that meant we didn't have to lift a finger for our dinner.  The kids all pitched in and did a marvelous job on their own.  Many hands make light work!!
Isn't it nice that a traditional Thanksgiving meal has so many options available to babies and toddlers?  The rolls and yams were a great hit with everyone.

Because high chairs sit off to the side, we were all able to gather around one table.  Even baby Sam was awake to join us for part of the meal.  (He'll have to wait until next year for his rolls and yams.)
The food was delicious, but I think my favorite part was seeing a place set for Elder Steven.  He couldn't be with us physically, but he was definitely in everyone's thoughts.
We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Be sure to stay tuned, because the turkey and stuffing and pies were just the beginning of a marvelous weekend.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Pinterest Flops and Successes

I figure that it's not very smart to spend any time on Pinterest and not try some of the things I pin, so I tried a couple of things this week.  Maybe I should stick to the pinning and not the doing!  Anyway, I did learn a few things, and that's always good.

First, I love S'mores, so thought it would be nice to have some without the mess of the campfire.  Here's the recipe I tried - Baked S'Mores.
Baked S'mores in your oven!!!
Everything turned out well, and they tasted fine.
I missed having my kids home to help me eat them, though! Most of them are in the freezer, and maybe I'll remember to tell you if they freeze well or not.  While not bad, I think I'll stick with having S'mores on campouts, unless I try something like Gracious Rain did some day.

I wanted something to give to my seminary students for Thanksgiving and so the first thing to try was a "Tootsie Pop Turkey" (because the Primary gave us their leftover Tootsie Pops.  My attempt didn't look anything like this, and I didn't even take a picture before returning the felt and suckers to their regular spots.  The rubber band was too obvious and it didn't fan like I felt it should have.
Turkey-Pop Favors  Suckers dressed up as turkeys? Who knew a Thanksgiving treat could be so much fun!    Make It: Using a plate or bowl, trace an 8-inch circle onto brown felt and cut it out. Fold the circle in half twice to find the center and snip a hole for the stick to go through. Stretch the felt around the sucker, securing it with a rubber band. Fluff and fan out the excess felt, then add crafts foam face pieces and googly eyes to complete the ...
I've done cookie turkeys before, but thought maybe I should try something that was at least kind of appropriate for consuming at 6 in the morning.  What's more breakfast-y than cold cereal?  So I attempted to make some Turkey Pop Treats.
Rice Krispie turkey pops...these are super cute!!
First, although it was difficult to mold the rice krispy mixture into a ball, I managed.  However, it was impossible for me to figure out how to get the candy corn to stand upright.  When I tried pushing it into the ball, the whole thing would fall apart.  And then the rice krispy balls wouldn't stay at the top of the stick, but would slide on down to the opposite end.  So, I went with Plan B and just dipped the balls in chocolate and sprinkles.  I'm sure they'll be quite edible.

Never fear, though, I had one more possibility to try - Donut Hole Acorns from Best Bites.
Chocolate Covered Doughnut Acorn
You'd think this would be simple, but the grocery store bakery didn't have what I wanted.  Their only donut holes were raspberry-filled.  I did find a box of plain glazed donut holes over in the "preserved" donuts section, but I don't particularly like how they taste.  I couldn't decide between the two, so ended up buying both.
Top right - Entemann's and Bottom right - Publix

Now I know that if I ever do it again, I'll go with the smaller, non-jelly-filled ones, even if they're not quite as delicious.  The small ones look more like acorns, and presentation tops taste, at least for today.

So, I hope this was as educational for you as it was for me.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving
with or without Pinterest's help!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

South Florida Little Philmont

Last weekend we had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the South Florida Little Philmont.  Scouting brings back many fond memories.  It helped turn these cute little boys -
into productive teenagers, 
who then became awesome young men who honor their priesthood.
And that was the purpose of the weekend - reminding ward and stake leaders that our goal is not necessarily to churn out Eagle Scouts, but to help build worthy Melchizedek Priesthood holders who will serve missions, marry in the temple, and lead the church.
We were able to meet at the beautiful BSA Camp Elmore, and realized that Wayne didn't recognize it as the location of their 2001 Fathers & Sons Campout because Hurricane Wilma blew down all of the pine trees a few years ago.
We learned a lot from President Beck and his wife, and from Elder Anthony Burns, and from the other speakers and presenters as well.  And we also had the opportunity to do some teaching and encouraging ourselves.
Finally, on the way home we got to drive by our new temple.  It's nice to know that progress is being made on all fronts of building the kingdom of God on the earth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Using the Halloween Pumpkins

As mentioned in a blog post a few years ago, one of our family traditions is to carve Jack-o-Lanterns for family night the Monday before Halloween.
That was on the plan to do this year, and I even bought a couple of pumpkins.  Isn't it sad that last Monday I didn't feel like dealing with the mess and so talked Wayne out of the activity?  But all is not lost.  A few days later (I learned my lesson!) I cut up the pumpkins, baked and pure├ęd the pulp, and even roasted the seeds.  
Now we have some pumpkin to use.  Here are some of the recipes that are on the list - some "tried and true" and others brand new.

Pumpkin Cornbread - We tried this last week.  It was fine as far as cornbread goes, but we don't particularly care for cornbread in general, so I won't be making it again.

Curried Pumpkin Soup - Served with the cornbread.  Definitely going to have again, and maybe I'll take a picture next time.

Bowties with Creamy Pumpkin and Parmesan - On the menu for later this week.

Pumpkin Whip - We've had this before - simple and delicious!
Pumpkin Tidbit Cake - A variation of our favorite "Wacky Cake"
I still have plenty of pumpkin in the freezer. We're definitely going to make Frosty Pumpkin Pie in the next month or two, and maybe even Traditional Pumpkin Pie, along with some Pumpkin Nut Bread, but do you have any favorite recipes using pumpkin to share?