27 September 2007

13 great fall looks, tastes and crafts

1. follow the dots pumpkins
2. template
little accents
pumpkin pedestals
5. etched pumpkins... you need a pumpkin patch for this one... 3 weeks before picking, clean with a solution of water + 10% bleach. etch a design, your surname, or something like "welcome" into the outer skin (only 1/32 of an inch in). continue to clean with a solution of water + 10% bleach every 2-3 days.
outdoor lighting with apples
7. pumpkin pudding (allrecipes.com):

29 oz. can of pumpkin
2/3 c white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t pumpkin pie spcie
1/2 package spice cake mix
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1/2 c chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 baking dish.
Blend together sugar, eggs, evaporated milk,pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, clove and pie spice. Pour into baking dish.
Spread dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon, margarine, chopped nuts.
Bake for 60 min. or until knife comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream if desired.
8. rich sweet potato souffle with praline topping (my aunt's recipe):
4 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and halved
1/2 c white suagr
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 large egg white
1 (5 fluid oz.) can evaporated milk
praline topping:
1 c flour
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 stick margine, melted
1/2 t ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 qt. casserole dish.
Comgine praline ingredients in small bowl, stirrign to form a streusel. Set aside.
Place potatoes in a dtch oven, add water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer 30 min. or until tender. Peel.
Mash in large bowl.
Stir in 1 c streusel, white sugar, vanilla, egg white and milk.
Sponn into casserole dish and top with remaining streusel.
Bake for 45 min.
9. oatmeal cookies (my mom's recipe):
1 c soft shortening
1 c white sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c sifted flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
3 c rolled oats
1 c peanut butter (optional)
2 c chopped chocolate bar (optional)
Preheat over to 375. Grease cookie sheet.
Place shortening, sugars, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla in mixing bowl; beat thoroughly.
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add to shortening mixture. Mix thoroughly.
Stir in oats and choclate pieces.
Drop by the spoonful onto cookie sheet.
Bake 12-15 min.
batty finger puppets
acorn pumpkins
Boo typography (how easy would this be to do yourself?)
cookie cutter pumpkins

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

24 September 2007

Woman to Woman: Facing your parenting fears

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It's interesting how intimidating parenthood can be. I mean, how much trouble can these little people really cause?

I remember being afraid to leave the hospital with my first child. Breastfeeding alone had me completely flustered, and I'd grip my husband's hand every time this teeny little mouth would latch on to me. And then again when my mother left, after taking care of me, the baby, my husband and my apartment for 10 days, I was afraid. How on earth was I going to do this?

As the years have passed and more children have joined our family, I wish I could say that all the fear has left me. It hasn't. Just tonight as I laid the last child down to sleep, I thought "Phew, I made it through another day." Today, I forgot to send my son's homework back to school with him. Also, an apple for his class project. I prayed all day long that my 14 month old would take a decent nap (she's teething) because I didn't feel confident that I could get through the second half of the day without some kind of a breather. I find my daughter's math homework (she's in 3rd grade) perplexing, I hope I'll remember to wash the jam off their faces before they leave the house, and if I've not run so late that they didn't get a sack lunch - I am relieved.

They say dogs can smell fear. Well, I think children can, too.

From the time they are 20 inches long they can tell what you're thinking and feeling. I think I've gotten the baby thing down. (That's why I keep having them. :) I feel very, VERY competent calming a fussy baby. I vividly remember watching my mother-in-law with one of my colicky infants. She took him into her arms with such surety. And rather than get flustered by his cries, nervously rambling or throwing gas drops at him (not that I ever did that, lol) she just gently swayed him and softly sang him a song. At first I thought "Come on, he can't even hear you!" But it totally worked. He could sense that she not only knew what she was doing, but she KNEW she knew what she was doing. And that was a lesson to me. (Do not let the 20 inch little people intimidate you! Lol.)

Now, the 32 inch and up little people still get the best of me sometimes. Especially out in public. But I am getting better at that, too. However, anywhere we go there is a potential risk that I will lose control of them. They're that unpredictable. (Aren't they all? And have you noticed how the world transforms into this mecca of testing grounds once you've got a kid? I never got nervous eating out before I had a 2 year old that could not master a chair with no restraining devices.)

The first time I took all 4 kids out by myself (and the Sasha was barely 2 months old) I was sweating BULLETS I tell you. Oh my gosh the sweet feeling of relief that washed over me as I exited the check-out line with 4 smiling faces was like none other. And a few women that I passed on my way out of the store said ego boosting things, like "You're amazing." and "You're so brave!" And I thought "Here, here! I am not afraid!"

Of course there are also the fears I have yet to encounter, but know I will have to face. Bigger fears like sending my children off to junior high where the other kids will be pressuring them to grow up too fast, shut themselves off from me, and make poor decisions. Fears like letting them drive, and date and move away for college. And I know they will be watching me as they go through these things, to see how confident I am in them, and therefore myself as a parent.

What are your apprehensions? Getting through church without a meltdown perhaps? Or discussing serious issues with your teenagers? Life can be pretty tricky when you're raising a family. So please share your thoughts - funny stories, clever anecdotes, and pearls of wisdom are all welcome. If you'll link up below and leave a comment, my co-host Morning Glory and I will stop by and read what you have to say!

baby bling

My friend and I co-hosted a bow and bracelet making class at my home last week. Look how fun these are!

20 September 2007

Facing your parenting fears

Woman to Woman will continue on September 25 with a Tips and Tricks edition. The topic is "Facing your parenting fears". We all have them, apprehensions that is. It may be the idea of going out to a restaurant as a family, or getting through church, or just a simple trip to the grocery store that gives you the sweats. Everything is tricky when you have children in tow. So please share your thoughts with us - funny stories, clever anecdotes, even your pearls of wisdom - on Tuesday, September 25th. My co-host Morning Glory and I will be anxious to hear what you all have to say!!!

Remember to submit your ideas for future topics. We'll need them come the New Year!

17 September 2007

Getting to know me...

*Edited and entered into Scribbit's September write-away contest.

I am learning a lot about myself in the process of purging my house. It's not an overdue Spring cleaning that drives me, but a necessary attempt to get organized as we put our house on the market. Who'd have thought that such a process could lead to so much self discovery?

I am crafty. Now there's a word I hate. I'm not sure why. I guess in my mind, "crafty" spawns images of bows and painted t-shirts. Holiday themed outfits. Gawdy decor. But "crafty" is taking on a new persona. Today's "crafty" women are artists in their own rite. They are creative and they are entrepreneurs and I am definitely one of them. There's no more denying it; I've got 2 or 3 crates full of craftiness to prove it: paint and brushes, canvases, ribbon, material scraps, stamps, cardstock, scrapbooking paper and mod podge to boot.

I've always thought of myself as a reasonable woman, not too "high demand" if you know what I mean. Manicures are not for me. But 51 pairs of shoes tells me I've just found an alternative source of self indulgence. It's all beginning to come together now - the little vein popping out of my husband's forehead, the mysteriously low discretionary funds. Can I plead the 5th on this one? Luckily the home we will be building promises a master closet that will house 4 times this many shoes. Being the visual man that my husband is, space will engulf my shoe collection and he might actually think I have parted with a few pairs.

I am totally unprepared for Christmas this year. It's shameful, really. I usually have a good stash hidden behind my clothes by now! I looked back there today and literally gasped. The cupboard is bare, my friends. Christmas is but 3 months, 7 days, 7 hours and 28 minutes away! I hate fighting the crowds during November and December. And I much prefer to sit back and enjoy the season than run around like a chicken with it's head cut off. So I should have begun preparing weeks ago. That way by December I am stresslessly baking and listening to Bing Crosby.

While I may have no presents to wrap, I do in fact have plenty of wrapping paper, ribbon, cards and embellishments. Each Christmas morning I am equipped with 2 things - a bag for recyclable ribbons and a box for recyclable cards, wrapping and tissue paper. Is it bad that my kids know how to unwrap a present without ripping it? I mean, I am teaching them frugality. That's a valuable trait. Please tell me this won't leave them feeling repressed.

I am oblivious to the basic nutrients needed to sustain a family in a crisis. I have plenty of chocolate in my food storage: chocolate pudding, hot chocolate, brownie mix and chocolate chips. (So hey - if I'm menstruating, at least I'LL survive.) But where are the legumes? Where is the rice? Protein, schmotein, surely we need antioxidants more! And the fixin's for a party. That'll be my solution to the mayhem or emergency that requires the use of my food storage to begin with.

You see how much progress I am making here? I guess a closet can tell a lot about a person. Mine was much messier than I realized. I keep a fairly tidy house though, so what else does that say? Ah forget it, I've learned enough about myself for one day.

16 September 2007

Just rolling with the punches...

You can expect my next few months of blogging to be all about endurance. And sometimes just plain survival.

I've had a headache since Tuesday... some days it feels like a kink in my neck, other days it is a dull throb. Regardless, ibuprofren and heat have been my friend. To say I have a lot going on right now is putting it mildly. So stress and tension are likely contributors. So is over-exertion. After my workout on Tuesday morning, I nearly passed out while driving home, and then had to leave my two youngest in the car while I got the blood flowing back to my head. Dh had to come home from work so I could rest... I remained weak and shaky for the rest of the day. My guess is that with a 700 calorie burn workout, you need more than cereal and eggs to fuel you for 2 hours. During Thursday's workout, I sipped on a vitamin drink and it helped immensely. Hypoglycemia anyone?

My immediate family (parent/siblings) is struggling. A lot. I won't go into a lot of detail about it, because it is just so complicated - not to mention personal, but I would really appreciate extra prayers for comfort.

I cleared out a whole closet this weekend. Whoop-de-doo. Considering how I was feeling, it's pretty good progress. Considering what we were hoping to accomplish (all closets and the garage), it ain't so great.

I hope to be able to pick your brains for fun wall colors and interior design ideas soon... my creative blog will be merging with this one, so be prepared to think artistically (I know, it's not so nice for me to switch gears on you all like this!).

13 September 2007

13 things on my "to do" list

get off my rear
purge closets
thin out furniture
organize a garage sale
fine comb the house for fix-its and repairs
deep clean
refine landscaping
get creative with house selling strategies (should I bake cookies or light candles for the open house?)
keep the house clean 24/7 (in other words, attain the impossible?)
truly envision what I want the interior of our new home to look like
keep end goal in mind
stay sane

Now if I could find 13 volunteers to help me?

10 September 2007

Woman to Woman

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Today for Woman to Woman we're taking a few moments out of our busy days to reflect on our blessings and the things which we are grateful for. I think that for many people, 9/11 was an eye opener. It's helped us to realize that there are a great many things that we take for granted. Please join us today for some introspection and share with us 11 things that you are thankful for. It feels so good to give reverence to such a pivotal day in our history by recognizing the good things of the world.

1. my family - I couldn't bear to lose them. I'm not sure where that kind of strength comes from, the kind that keeps you going despite losing your soulmate, or a child, in a tragic situation. That's got to be one of the most defining moments in your life.

2. freedom - I am free to live the life that I want to, to believe what I feel is right, to govern myself and my children as I see fit, and to voice my opinions and concerns.

3. faith - Faith is the most powerful thing which you cannot see or touch. It is the only tool with which you can endure.

4. security - I feel safe. In this unpredictable world it is nice to feel comfort and stability.

5. health - I'm glad that I am able to care for my family without any ailments. I'm glad I have a strong and capable body.

6. laughter - Nothing cures better than a good, long laugh. It's healing powers and the relief it brings are unparalleled.

7. motherhood - I am certain that I would not become the woman I want to be any other way.

8. womanhood - There is so much joy and possibility in being a woman.

9. love - How can one go through life without loving or feeling loved?

10. music - I feel so lucky to have more than one means to express and share myself.

11. time - Thank goodness we have a lifetime to fulfill our earthly missions. I know it often feels like there is such little time, but not if you make the most of it.

If you've decided to join us today, please stop by my co-host
Morning Glory's blog as well. Leave us a link and a comment so we can each visit you in return!

08 September 2007

Chug, chug, chug

My life is mostly about endurance right now. We've got some big changes ahead of us.

First of all, we are building a new house. The process of preparing your house to sell and moving is not much fun! It is forcing me to really get organized, something I really detest. I am a particular person, yes. I like to have order. But I am not anal. So when our realtor walked through our house and pointed out all the little details that needed attention, I got a little irked. I mean, I've lived with imperfect floorbaords for 7 years. Why do they need to be perfect now? :) But I understand what will ensure the best offer for our house, and that's important to me. So I will do it. But I won't be smiling! Lol!

Second of all, I've taken my health and fitness level more seriously over the last 2-3 weeks. I've stepped up my game by hiring a personal trainer. I work out with her for an hour twice a week, and on my own the other 3 days. I am running, I am lifting weights, and I am seeing just how amazing the human body can be! But I'm not enjoying the process much. It is hard, hard work to get fit. I am just beginning to really accept that. It does help that I feel FANTASTIC.

I am bringing my family on board with me slowly but surely. I have a son with ADHD and it is very important to me that I help him from every possible angle. Since his diet could be a huge contributing factor to this disorder, I am giving it a little extra attention. But we're all going to support him in this effort by working together, and that means eating the same nutritious foods. Again, a difficult change, but one that will have a positive outcome.

In these and other big things I've faced in my life, I've often told myself initially, "I can't do it, it's too much." I am one of those people that tries to be very realistic about what I can do. I don't want to take on too much and have other things fail. Self talk is so important, though. Mindset is so important. It truly affects the outcome. So I will not give power to these difficult things. I CAN do it. I CAN endure. And it will be worth it in the end.

My life is kind of a stopwatch right now. I sprint through what I can, in order of importance. So my blogging may not be real consistent over the next few months. If anyone understands the ups and downs, it's you women! I know you "get it".

I'll be around as much as possible. Especially for Woman to Woman. Stick around, would ya

06 September 2007

Next Woman to Woman

We're coming up to the next Woman to Woman writing day, which will be Tuesday, September 11. Our theme has been changed to Gratitude. MG and I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to share specific things we are grateful for, so on Tuesday your writing assignment will be to list eleven items of gratitude, along with an explanation. (The significance being that it's Sept. 11.) I know we all have much in our lives for which to be grateful, so it should be a fairly easy topic for everyone.

On October 9, Woman to Woman will be hosting a book review. So please report on and recommend a book that you have read within the past 3 months. You may choose any book that falls into the categories of either Fiction or Mystery.

The final item regarding W to W is that we are coming to the last few weeks of topics. Our current schedule ends on December 11. We would like to offer our readers the opportunity for input on future topics, because we'd like to continue the W to W series as long as there's interest. If you have a topic you'd like to suggest, please email it to us for consideration. Our intent is to address subjects that are pertinent in women's lives whether you are a newlywed, middle aged or senior adult. We believe we all have something to share and learn together.Please keep in mind that we do not address religious differences or political issues. Those can be very divisive and our goal is to unite. We each have our email address in our blog profiles, so you shouldn't have difficulty contacting us.

Have a fabulous day!

05 September 2007

Name Meme

Last week or so Morning Glory tagged me to do this cool name meme. You're supposed to "write" out the names of several bloggers (including the one that tagged you) in a unique way. Those bloggers are then tagged to do the same. As Morning Glory stated in her post, it is very time consuming. So, I stopped at 2. Lol! But, if these creative gals have the drive (and I tagged them because they are such talented, gifted women), I encourage them to do more than 2.

Here is Morning Glory's, abbreviated. ;)

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My dear friend at
Fresh Preserves, who I know could have a real blast with this!

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And this talented artist from
The Art of Life.

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Have fun, ladies!

03 September 2007

I'm losing you...

(Disable my music player for video below)

The 2 little girls in this household are growing up way too quickly. Here we have Sasha, running away from me (just as I'd feared).

And here we have Adriana. In 3rd grade. Just got her ears pierced. Loves her mp3 player and reads Harry Potter. I can't take it! I want to freeze time...

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