Sunday, November 23, 2014

My favorite time of year!!!

I truly enjoy being in the kitchen.. And this time of year is the most acceptable time to throw yourself into the pantry and get baking!!!
I like to start my Thanksgiving goodies days before that Thursday hits. As much as I like to cook, I like to spend time with my family. So.. In order for my whole day to be not wasted.. I start my Holiday mess on Sunday!!
Today was Cranberry day!!!
I love cranberry. We grew up having both jellied and whole berry on the Thanksgiving table. No one but dad ate the whole berry.. It just didn't appeal.
I wish I had known back then that it was so easy to make your own.. And way tastier!!!
I make mine with orange every year. This year I decided to kick it up with a jalapeƱo. Just one.. I AM a Yankee you know!
I started by sectioning out my oranges.
If you've never done this, it's so easy.
You just cut the top and bottom off an orange.
Then you cut the peel off. I like a serrated knife for this.
 Once the peel is off, you safely cut right between the sections.
 Once this is done.. You toss the remaining gunk in your garbage bowl!
Then it's on to the pepper!

Make sure you're being careful with the seeds.. Then add that to your oranges.

Next is the water. I used two 12 ounce bags of frozen cranberries, so I put two cups of water and two cups of sugar in a stock pot. I poured about a tablespoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt.. Mixed it up and waited for a boil.

Once boiled, I tossed in my berries, orange and pepper... Brought back to a boil for about ten minutes.. Check out that mammoth of a berry!!!

Once these were looking perfect, you just turn off the heat and let them sit until they are cool.

Then you find a pretty bowl (or three!)

I am the only person at home who eats this, so I made enough to share! I'll be dropping this off today to a dear family I love :)
Like the bowls? Talk about cheap!! The orange flower bowls were .25 at Walmart.. And that lovely glass dish? DOLLAR TREE. Not even joking.

There you have it!!
My favorite Cranberry side!! This will sit nicely for days (Up to two weeks, actually) in my fridge..

Friday, November 21, 2014

Keep your creepy Elf.

That's right. No Elf on any shelf of this house.
Because. Mom said so.
The end all of answers.
For real though..
You invite a creepy little boy doll into your house. The parents have to make him do stupid things for weeks.. And hide the fact that they are the ones behind the mischief, mind you.
Just so your bratty kid behaves for a month?
How about we teach our children the real meaning of Christmas? That no scary man dressed in blood red, squeezes down our chimneys and eats our cookies. Leaving behind the exact thing we wanted.. Or worse, leaving behind the second thing we wanted? Forgetting the one thing that we HAD TO HAVE.. Because, frankly it cost too damn much and Santa just doesn't have it to spend this year.
So instead of teachable parent moments you go get this creepy little guy, who looks like he stepped out of a 60's horror movie.. And you hide him and tell your kids he's watching them. And if they do anything remotely kid-like... He's going to report to the man in red.
Then what mom?
Just.. No Christmas this year?
What parent out there had a bad day with a kid.. And told them the elf-boy was watching.. And the kid threw the smack down for like ten minutes.. So the parent said "You know what? The elf is going to tell Santa tonight. Christmas is off." Then the parent actually canceled Christmas.
Please. If you know of someone who has actually followed through with this.. I beg of you to tell me.
Because, no.
No parent has actually stood by and shut down Christmas because a DOLL watched your kid be bad.
And let's look at it from your child's point of view..
I'm not even going to get into the lie that is Santa.. Let's just assume that you've scarred your child for life with this crazy scheme that helps no one..
So. This elf shows up one day in December. You know it's December because Mom has had the tree up for three weeks, and you're stuck wearing red and green to school every day.
Now here's this elf.
This creepy little doll is going to be hiding out watching your every move until Christmas day.
Watching you.
And you never know where he's going to turn up.
Can he get into the bathroom??
Can he watch you poop???
Oh heavens.. Please don't tell me he's in the closet.
Great. Now your kid doesn't sleep until January AFTER he has seen you pack up the ugly doll and put it in the attic..
So.. Now you're not allowed to mess up.
Have a bad day?
Don't pout...
The elf is watching..
Oh, don't worry.. he can see your mom have a melt down and scream at everyone in the house.. But your mom is too old to get shiny presents from Santa.. So he can't tell on her.
Nope. Just you.
I'm sorry.. Do the makers of this garbage even have kids? Because, even the best behaved toddler in the world tends to have a meld down of sorts when he's sleepy..
Your stupid "Cute" Christmas tradition has taken over my Facebook newsfeed.
I just don't care that you stayed up all night to conger up some "funny" adult themed party scene with hot tubs and Barbies.. I'm sick of seeing this stupid little guy, lying to kids.

Instead of buying in to the garbage that fills our TV's and shop windows this year.. Buy into Luke 2:1-20. Go on and read that for your Christmas story.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

My open letter to Brittany Maynard

Dear Brittany,
You don't know me. I don't know you. God knows us both.
Yup. This is one of THOSE letters.
I plead to you.. Please do not end the life that God granted you.
Please don't willingly take a medication that is going to let the last breath slip from your lungs.
I understand that you made a ton of final decisions, and plans.. And maybe even this whole thing has gotten too big. If you backed out now, no one will be upset at you.
No one will call you a quitter or a failure.
My God is a God of miracles. He's a God of life. He's raised men from the dead and made the blind to see.
Even if he doesn't choose to cure you.. Maybe He is making an example of you.. To show others how to act in your situation?
Maybe, like Job, you aren't even the center of your disease? Job had no idea what he did wrong, because he didn't do anything. God was simply conversing with Satan.
How can you be sure that next spring there won't be a cure? Or maybe you'll wake up healed? Or just maybe, a young person got some bad news last week, and now they feel like.. Hey. She can kill herself to get out, why can't I?

I beg you.

God is bigger than all of this.

I'm aware that Brittany will never read this.
I can pray.
And I will.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teal Pumpkin Treats! Don't know what Teal Pumpkin is?... Come on in!

Ok my friends.
It's getting to be the 31st pretty quickly.
Most of you are dreading the slew of children that will bombard your doorstep between now and then.
Some neighborhoods have Halloween on the 31st.. Some the week before... Who knows.
Some won't have it at all!
This year we live in a neighborhood. Like... A legit, kids on bikes, teenagers speeding through the streets at night, strange dogs come and help you light pumpkins... A neighborhood.
So.. I'm assuming all these kids will end up on my doorstep the 31st.
As a mother with extreme food allergies, it got me thinking..
So many kids are allergic to simple candies that we just hand out all willy nilly like.
Then I ran across an article for The Teal Pumpkin. (There's been a ton of them.. I won't quote them all here.)
Basically, you paint a pumpkin teal and display it in your yard.
This lets parents and children know that you have non-edible treats for those who would rather not run the risk of candy!!
How awesome is this?!!
I went on a mission to create a fun treat that was non edible!
Here's what I came up with:

Walmart has all the Halloween goodies out right now.
I grabbed just a few and went to work.
I picked up a bag of gift baggies
Bat Rings
Noise makers and Vampire teeth
I also threw in those Glow Sticks from this review
I tore open all the goodies and put them on the table in an assembly line..
Grabbing one item from each pile, I placed them in the bag. (Being super careful not to break the glow stick!!.. I made it to the LAST bag.. and broke it!!!)

I made 15 bags. I think this will be enough.
For my actual food goodies..
I bought a 5$ box of microwave popcorn, and some lollipops.
(I'm not about to spend a million dollars on chocolate that I won't get to eat!!!)

So there you have it!!
Spread the word about The Teal Pumpkin!!
It's on my local neighborhood Facebook Page.. Add it to yours!!

I'll be spray painting my pumpkin later in the week...

I realized after I made these that I probably need a few toddler sized goodies.. I haven't found any yet, but I still have a couple of weeks!! Keep those little little guys in mind too!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014

That one memory...

You know the one.
It makes you stop everything.
Breathing, even.

As I rocked my son this evening, he squirmed and cried and fussed.
Then I heard nothing.
The sounds of my ten month old were gone.
The television was silent.
The A/C could no longer be heard off in the distance.

All of a sudden I was ten years old.
It was very early. Before dawn.
My father and I were arriving at a cut site.

I was about to spend the work day with my dad.
At the time, he cut trees.
I can remember vividly, the smell of fresh wood.
The massive tires of the Skidder.
The constant smell of oil and exhaust.
The red flannel shirts and the bright orange ball caps.
The wool gloves that got wet in the first five minutes, then never dried.

This was a great memory.
I can recall drinking coffee and eating snacks by myself.
Just sitting alone in the woods. Waiting for dad to come back.
He was off cutting a tree.
When it was cut, he would come get the Skidder and we would ride into the woods to chain it up and drag it out.

There you have it.
A memory I've never shared with anyone.
A memory I'd like to hold on to just a little while longer...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Humble Pumpkin DIY #3

This post contains an affiliate Amazon link.

Another Pumpkin post!!!!
(It's the last.. I think ;)  )
If you've followed our Humble Pumpkin's journey so far, you would know that we Carved an F.. and made sweet seeds :)
Today it's BABY FOOD!!!!
Because my son WILL love pumpkin as much as me... WILL.
lol Just kidding. Sort of.

Most of you know this little man is my whole world :)
I try to make his baby food whenever I can. Sometimes it works out and he loves it.. Sometimes, not so much.
This time?
Kid's been eating pumpkin/apple/banana/sweet potato all morning.
Here's how it started.
Remember those leftover cut-outs from our F?
I peeled them and chopped them up. These little leftovers made a TON of puree. Probably about four cups worth!!
(This can be plopped into freezer bags in 1-cup portions to be used as your pumpkin pie mix!!) Stop buying that canned stuff!!!
I put enough water in the pot to cover them up and tossed about 2 tbs pumpkin pie spice in there.
I boiled them down until soft.
Then Mr. Grumpy Gills decided it was bed time.
So I put these in a baggie and tossed them in the fridge overnight.
Got up (late mind you... yay for sleeping "in"!!!) and decided to cut up  sweet potato...

Then two apples..
Threw those babies into a pot and covered with water and another 2 tbp pumpkin pie spice.

Once boiled down and soft, I let them cool slightly and drained them.. (I kept the liquid, but didn't end up needing it.)
I tossed them in the food processor.

Gave it a whirl then added two bananas.
If you don't have a baby food bag device.. Go get one Here. They are worth it!!!
This little bit of pumpkin scrap made so much food!!

Nine squeeze pouches!! I couldn't believe it!
I kept one out and added the rest to my dwindling freezer stash.. (Those are blueberry/apple :) )

It's always a treat to get to make Kenny homemade food. I know exactly what's in it and where it came from.
He ate so much of this today.. I'm just sure we're going to have a belly ache later!!!

Please skip the pie spice if you have not given your little one cinnamon.

That's my pumpkin weekend!
I hope you learned something :)
Be on the look out for more Holiday DIY's!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pinterest Win!!! Halloween Bark!!

I tend to have good luck when it comes to my Pinterest trials.. This is no different!!
I decided to make some Halloween Bark for an upcoming party I'm attending.
It was too easy.
I gathered
Half a package of Halloween Oreo's
One bag Candy Corn
One bag Pretzels (did NOT need such a large bag... I used maybe two cups..)
One bag of white Wilton's Candy Melts
One bag orange Wilton's Candy Melts
(not pictured: coconut oil)
(You can get the melts here)
I lined a cookie sheet with a baking mat (find it here)
I started a double boiler.
And got my Melts A Meltin..

Cut up my Oreo's.. In to quarters.. After a bit I started just chopping them pretty chunky.

I threw them all willy-nilly like onto the mat..
Then I did the same with the pretzels and tossed some candy corn on top.

While that chilled..
I added about a tablespoon of coconut oil to my chocolate.

I realized this STILL wasn't going to be pourable..
So I emptied my pretty mess into a bowl.. and poured my chocolate on top.

While I mixed, I tossed my orange melts into the same bowl.. the colors would mix, but that's just fine.

Added a tad oil as well.
Then I moved on to the mixture.
I combined fully and pressed it back onto the sheet..

Topped it with some leftover Oreo's and Candy Corn.. Then poured the orange on top.

I spread it with a spoon and topped with Candy Corn for good measure.
I placed it in my laundry room to dry for several hours.
This is what you get folks!!

Next time I will add even more pretzels. There's just something about that salty mixed with the chocolate.. You can't beat it!!

Go on and tackle this!! So easy ;)