Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pictures of the new 'do!

As I mentioned before, Baby Doll has a new hairstyle. This time it is not because she decided to cut her own hair. No, mom and dad managed to mess it up all on our own. Thank goodness for Tammy, the best hairstylist a girl could ask for. So, for your viewing pleasure, here she is with before and after pictures.

This and That.

*sigh* It is the last day of 2009. What a year, but I suppose any of us could say that about any year. I am busy right now trying to think up a new blog background for January. The good news is I found my cell phone, but it hasn't seen the camera cord. And boy oh boy do I need that camera cord! Baby Doll has a brand new hairstyle! We have been cutting her hair for years without any mistakes. So this morning...there was a mistake and an emergency visit to the hair salon. :o) So now my youngest chickadee is sporting a wild, crazy, spunky and very short hairstyle. Hopefully I will be updating you all again later. If I don't make it back, I hope everyone has a wonderfully safe and happy New Year's celebration!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grayson!

Today I was going to welcome you all back with fun photos of our Christmas. I even have some video! But the camera cord ran away. I think it is having a secret affair with my missing cell phone. So in lieu of our family photos, I will get a jump start on a very special event that will be happening tomorrow. Our nephew is turning 10! Dude, like have a totally awesome birthday!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Today will be my last post until after Christmas. I wanted to leave you all with one more of my favorite Christmas songs. :)

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday siggies

I love Christmas. It is my favorite time of the year. I have had to restrain myself from making thousands of holiday siggies for myself. Some of my siggies are so much fun, whether I made them or they were made for me that I wanted to share them with all of you. First up is my pride and joy. This is my favorite Christmas siggy mostly because the animation was very difficult to do. Trying to make the same siggy snow and flame was a pain! But I think it turned out nicely and it remains my favorite. : )

Next one up is a great new one that was made for me recently. Graphics can be a blast, especially when you can get Anne to make one for you. Anne is the Community Leader over on Signature Making for Beginners, a great place to get hooked on a very addictive hobby!

For some reason I also love animation in a holiday siggy. It is a great time for falling snow or rotating pictures. Out of my vast collection of Christmas siggies (only a few made the cut for this post) there are just a few without animation.

The pointsetta siggy features one of our favorite picks from our most recent family photo shoot. The next blog post will be featuring all of our favorite shots. There wasn't much added to this siggy, the picture itself was perfection.

Finally we have another one of my siggies that makes me smile every time I see it. This cute girl, a Kate Hanover masterpiece, reminds me of me. If I could find that dress I would SO wear it! A lot...any time of the year. Aren't you glad I don't have a dress like that? Hahaha. So this lady is me in cartoon form. :o)

Which siggy is your favorite?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It is just a road map.........

I like to bake and cook but I rarely follow a recipe. I think one time I heard Paula Deen say that "a recipe is like a road map". You can take the interstate (and follow the recipe exactly), but if you take a few detours the trip may just be a lot more interesting and that makes the recipe fit your family.

So when I cook I make some detours here and there. Some of the detours are simple - for instance I do not like bell peppers, so I either leave them out or I substitute hot peppers. Sometimes I come up with something that my family thinks is a real winner. Only once or twice have a made something so inedible that they would not eat it and even them it was not wasted as we fed it to the pigs or the chickens.

A recent winner with my family and friends is Sweet Potato Cookies. They started out as an oatmeal spice cookie recipe from a friend but some additions and deletions they have been reinvented to be Sweet Potato Cookies.

Sweet Potato Cookies

¾ Cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup finely shredded sweet potato, uncooked
4 Tablespoons orange juice concentrate
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups oatmeal
1 cup flaked coconut (I make it a generous cup!)
1 cup chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl cream butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, sweet potato and orange juice concentrate. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Slowly add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Mix in the coconut and pecans until just combined.

Drop by the spoonful 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until firm. Cool on racks.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do. If you make some detours of your own I would love to hear about them.

Carol - Wyomingmom

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sugar cookies!

I like free stuff. My computer can tell...poor computer. I have been spending a lot of time downloading some really great scrap kits from the Sugar Cookies Blog Train. I decided I had to share my goodies with any of you that might like to follow along. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dayspring Holiday Giveaway

SimpleMom is sharing a Dayspring holiday giveaway! Check out the contest here to win three lovely, frosted luminaries of the Nativity.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Art of Aprons.

I am a domestic engineer ...or a housewife ...or a stay at home mom ...or a homemaker ...or a housekeeper ...or a cook, or .... You get the picture. :)

"Wearing an apron is just good sense...An apron is domestic armor, shielding our clothing against the splatter and tatter of keeping house. Wear an apron and your guard is up." ~EllynAnne Geisel from APRONISMS * Pocket Wisdom for Every Day.

I had a basic red apron stashed in the far back of my kitchen drawer. After much frustration over the fact that every single one of my shirts have holes right around navel level, I finally fished it out from it's exile. I looked at it suspiciously and slowly slipped it on. Wow! I loved the way it felt, and the way it looked. The best part about it was that it worked. I mean, it kept splatters off my clothes, kept tears from my shirts, and kept my dishtowel nice and handy. How incredibly practical is an apron?! I felt like I had spent years avoiding a stereotype and so avoiding an apron. I now wear my apron off and on throughout the day and always feel my best when I have it on. It is not only my "armor" but an inspiration as well. I feel beautiful and feminine when wearing it. I feel prepared and energetic. I will never be without this friend of mine again!

My apron is a simple red full length apron. I admit to a new obsession. While I love my apron, especially because it is my favorite color, it is plain. That sure serves a purpose...but who wouldn't want a lovely apron like the one pictured above? So now I find myself often sifting through the never ending treasure chest of Etsy. Those ladies are fabulous! Not only do I want to spend any life savings on gorgeous apron after gorgeous apron, I want to break out my sewing machine and start making my own. Nothing has made me look twice at my stowed away sewing machine for quite awhile, so that is saying something. If you know of an apron that you don't think I can resist, please post a comment and tell me about it!

One last tidbit. Aprons are not just for beautiful women. They are for delightful little girls too! The next apron pictured may or may not be wrapped and under our tree waiting for a certain 7 year old..

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Swimming cameras and bloating.

As I heard the plunk, I stood there like a deer in headlights. No...that didn't just camera did not just leap off the counter, earning a 10 with a dive into the soapy water filled sink. I fished it out by it's strap, staring at it stupidly as the water poured out of it. The camera would be fine, right? No biggie, right? Right, right?!!! very wrong. No more fun and random pictures from me. I will be beside myself without a camera. Until the next one joins our family.

I have come to a realization. If I am bloated about 95% of the month...I don't think it's bloating. Especially when I started noticing this trend soon after all of the Halloween candy was eaten. There was that moment when I was like, "Man, I am always bloated, what's with this?" Time to play some more active Wii tennis is start working out again. I hate bloating. But it is much more tolerable when it only happens 5% of the time. :)

Friday, December 4, 2009

An irritating Life's Truth.

When I have the time to look for all of the information I wanted to share with you all about making a Jesse Tree, I decide to load up a new Christmas music sampler first. When one has the time and ability to do a project, one is bound to get into an argument with the computer and need a cooling off period. :)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bits of Health

It seems that the stomach flu was not finished with us yet. I am finally dragging myself out of bed today. I thought I would share a few things with you in hopes that it will help any of you from going through this nasty bug.

Olive Leaf. Have you heard of this? This really does work! I use the suspension liquid as it can be mixed in juice for the little ones. If you are fighting something, think you might be exposed to something, or are already feeling lousy, then try this out. I pick mine up at my local Sprouts.

Ginger. This is great for a sick stomach. I have sipped plenty of mugs of ginger tea in my time. Tea can be soothing, but if you prefer, you can always get tablets.

These are the two supplements that pop into my mind right now. Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment!

Monday, November 30, 2009


Hellllooooo!! Long time, no blog! We recently got back from a wonderful trip to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday. If you can say you had a great time, despite the pukes traveling through the family, then you had a great time!

We had to cancel some of our plans because of illness, but before the puking began, we got to have some outdoors fun. We went from Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay to spend a beautiful afternoon at the beach!

Here is one of our beautiful nieces, Tessa. Isn't she a cutie? I tried to take her home with me, but Aunty and The Hubby were not having any of that. :) You can find Tessa in the dictionary, under adorable.

Even though we were in the midst of icky tummies, we managed a very tasty holiday meal. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied yams, wild rice, fruit salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, and I think there was even more that I am forgetting. Oh, and "kid's wine" (aka sparkling cider) too!

The adults got to head out for a date while the kids hung out at home with a couple of babysitters. Yep, it takes a couple of sitters for our combined kids. We saw.....New Moon! Yeah, I am one of those people. In my defense, so is The Hubby. We also enjoyed some great sushi that day. It has been over a year since I got me some raw fish and it was great. And yet another highlight of the trip? We stopped by a vintage clothing store! That is soooo my thing. Check out my new hat.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful holiday week. I look forward to posting more often now that I am back home.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lisa Leanard giveaway from SimpleMom!

SimpleMom is hosting a $50 holiday giveaway from Lisa Leonard! Check this fabulous opportunity out HERE.

Pumpkin Roll

I love living in Germany.  I really do.  We've been able to see so many neat places and share in so many cultural traditions since we arrived.  It's been an amazing experience.

There's always That Thing, though.  You know?  That one Thing that you wish was just the way it was when you grew up.

I can deal with the rain.  I don't mind that the kids only go to school until 1:00.  It doesn't bother me that I spend half my time driving going 5 mph behind a bicycle.  But I really wish my oven was bigger than two cubic feet inside!

I told you all that I've been all about pumpkin recently.  So naturally, I peeled the label off the Libby's 100% pure pumpkin to see if there were any yummy recipes on the inside.  Lo and behold, I found the recipe for a pumpkin roll!  Oh my word!  Pumpkin AND dessert!  Two of my most favorite things in the world!!!  I dutifully went out and bought a jelly roll pan, so excited to get to make my first roll cake.  I carefully collected all of the ingredients at the commissary and assembled them on my counter.  I was ready.  This was going to be good.

Step 1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  OK, so I have to translate the temperature into Celsius.  I'm used to that.  No problem.  Check.

Step 2.  Grease 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper.  Grease and flour paper.  YAY!  My new jelly roll pan!  ...  But wait. ... Why are the edges of my jelly roll pan sticking out over the edges of the stovetop?  Huh.  If the jelly roll pan won't fit on the stovetop...  DARN IT!  I tried to fit that pan in front ways, back ways, tilted, and upside down.  (OK, so I really didn't try to fit it in upside down, but I tried everything I could think of.)  There was no fitting that thing in that oven.  

Step 2a.  Find a new way to bake the roll cake so I can still make the dessert.  Two casserole dishes?  OK.  Might work.  Let's give it a shot!

And so this is how I came to know that not only can you bake this cake in a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan, you can also bake it in a larger-than-13x9 inch casserole dish plus a smaller-than-13x9 casserole dish.  Sorry I can't be more specific, but that's about as clear as I can make the sizes of the dishes I used. :)

Here is a link to the recipe and directions.  This cake was SO worth the effort.  It got rave reviews at the church meeting where I took it to share.  I hope you can enjoy this recipe!

Libby's Pumpkin Roll -

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Free Digiscrap site.

Here is a quick post for the day. As I was looking through digiscrap freebie sites, I thought I would share with all of you! I am getting ready to design our December blog background. I very rarely purchase a kit and so I have found some useful places to get some great freebies. And today, for your viewing pleasure I present DigiScrapDepot.

I would also like to ask a quick question. What is your favorite part of holiday decorations? Snow? Santas? Nativity? Christmas trees? Please let me know through the comments. :o)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Please welcome our Guest Mom, Kara!

Thanks for letting me be part of your blog, Mandy! I have really enjoyed getting to know you through the Unassisted Childbirth board on iVillage. You have done such a wonderful job leading that group, and I'm excited to see what a fantastic blog you have put together!

I am Kara, wife to Tom and mom to Connor Thomas (8), Kadyn May (5), and Avery Claire (3). I live in Germany and work part time for our church. Tom and I have been married ten years and have lived
in nine different houses over three continents since we said, "I do." My life is one big adventure!

One of my favorite parts of the fall season is the wonderful comforting foods that go along with autumn! This year I have been all about pumpkin. You can tell from the color alone that pumpkin is packed with nutrients. One cup of raw pumpkin contains only thirty calories and just a tenth of a gram of fat yet it boasts levels of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, K, iron, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and Vitamins C, B6, B12, A, and E! I have been adding pumpkin to everything lately - oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt, pancakes, waffles, cake, soup...the list goes on. I thought I'd share my pumpkin pancake recipe, which has been a huge hit here.

Pumpkin Pancakes
1 1/4 c buttermilk (I use low-fat.)
1 egg
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t baking powder
2 T oil (I use canola.)
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
2 T honey
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c ground flax seed
1 1/4 c whole wheat flour

We love these pancakes with whole wheat flour but I'm sure they would work with all-purpose flour as well. The flax seed is optional, but gives the pancakes a good nutty flavor and adds some Omega 3s to the mix. You can add in nuts as well - pecans are fantastic! - but my kids don't care for nuts in their pancakes.

Every Monday is Pancake Day for us and this recipe has been gobbled up for the last two weeks. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pregnant in America

It is time for me to get up on my soapbox and tell you all about a cause that I am passionate about. Childbirth. I am not going to sit here at my computer and tell you exactly how you should give birth. Who am I to decide that for you? That is your decision. I do urge you to be informed. Below is a preview for a documentary called Pregnant in America. I watched it last night. I was burning with anger over what our nation, insurance companies, and medical practices are doing to us. This information is not new to me. I wanted to share it with all of you, in case it is new to you. This is very worth watching! You can buy the video or rent it through a video store.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another birthday celebration.

Happy 40th Birthday, Sesame Street! YOU.ARE.AWESOME!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Pumpkin carving

Halloween is over until next year. The kids are already dreaming about what the next costume will be. For us, pumpkin fun isn't over yet, though! We still have November to have fun. Good thing too, because I am just now sharing our pumpkin carving pictures. The Hubby is the master artist in the family. He carved out four sides to the same pumpkin.

I am about to share our super secret carving technique. First, the kids draw their faces on the pumpkins with washable crayola markers.

Then their dad takes a look at their creation and erases it. The kids' drawings are usually not to the right size for the pumpkin. Then The Hubby gets to work. And that's it!
First up we had Z-man with his cyclops. Second we have Little Mama with her pretty face. Baby Doll follows with her dimples. Finally, Duder with Spiderman's spider.

What did you carve your pumpkin like?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembering all of our servicemen and women this day. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bountiful Baskets

Do you buy organic? Where do you get your veggies and fruits from? Have you ever bought fresh from a local farmer? There is a wonderful, local program here called Bountiful Baskets. It has now expanded from Arizona to Utah, Idaho and Washington as well. This group is volunteer based. You sign up, find a local pick up site, make a contribution ($$) and go every other week to pick up a laundry basket full of locally grown, very fresh produce! Financially it is a great deal, and your taste buds will thank you too! Thanks to Bountiful Baskets I have tasted the very best tasting strawberries ever. I have never had them that fresh before.

In addition to a basket full of produce, there are extras available for a little more cost. Do you see all of the lovely food in the basket above? That was my conventional basket this last weekend. I got tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, avocados, spaghetti squash, onions, corn on the cob, cucumbers, bananas, cantaloupe, apples, kiwi and oranges. I paid $10 extra and got 5 loaves of the yummiest bread I have ever tasted. I picked the honey oat variety, and there was also a cranberry bread and a sourdough bread to choose from. Finally, I opted to get the Italian pack too. I got more spinach, fresh basil, mushrooms, squash, onions, Italian parsley and garlic.

I have to tell you, if this is offered in your area, I would recommend trying it out! You get a great deal on produce, it is very tasty and you are helping out local farmers!

Monday, November 9, 2009

What to do when one is late...

My perspective: I let the extra tired camper sleep in a little bit this morning, but as a result we were running late to school. The first warning bell had rung and the kids needed to hustle to get to class this morning.

Little Mama's perspective: She was tired and slow, and why rush even if she is running late to school? This would be the perfect time for her to very slowwwwwwly make sure she hops over ever single crack in the sidewalk on the way through the school gates.

And another truth for today...

I am just too damn old to be sleeping on the ground! Mommy must have a blow up mattress or mommy cannot walk the next day. : )

Friday, November 6, 2009

Happy Birthday, Shanna!

I want to wish my sister-in-law, Shanna, a very happy birthday today!

Thinking Christmas.

SHHhhhh! I'm going to spill the beans on some Christmas presents. My kids are getting magazine subscriptions for Christmas this year. Have you ever heard of Cricket, ladybug or Ask? Check these out. They were highly recommended to me and I must say that I have been very impressed. So if you are thinking about what to get the kids, I am passing on the recommendation for these.

So speaking of anyone stressed over the holidays yet? I start my seasonal shopping and preparing in June. And so what if my kids don't want to listen to Christmas songs in the summer? Since I am a HUGE fan of Christmas, I am always ready for it. This year I have been following simple mom's 12 weeks to a peaceful Christmas to work on preparation. I will be sharing some ideas from simple mom and others on enjoying holiday cheer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Ready for a giggle?

I am sorry that it has been a bit since my last post. It has been a rough couple of days. Between life, parenthood and facing the dentist, I thought I could use a laugh today. So today's post is a joke that my mother-in-law told us.

One day, after nearly an eternity in the Garden of Eden, Adam dials up God and says; "Lord, I have a problem"

"What's the problem, Adam?" God replies.

"Lord, I know you created me and have provided for me and surrounded me with this beautiful garden and all of these wonderful animals, but I'm just not happy."

"Why is that, Adam?", comes the reply from the heavens.

"Lord, I know that you created this place for me, with all this lovely food and all of the beautiful animals, but I'm lonely." "The sheep and I do not speak the same language."

"Well Adam, in that case I have the perfect solution. I shall create a WOMAN for you"

"Forgive me, Lord, but what is a WOMAN?"

"This WOMAN will be the most intelligent, sensitive, caring and beautiful creature I have ever created. She will be so intelligent that she can figure out what you want before you want it. She will be so sensitive and caring that she will know your every mood and how to make you happy. Her beauty will rival that of the heavens and earth. She will unquestioningly care for your every need and desire. She will be the perfect companion for you." Replies the heavenly voice.

"Sounds great to me." says Adam.

"She will be great, as is with all things I create, well except for the Platypus, but Adam.........."

"Yes Lord."

"This is going to cost you."

"How much will this WOMAN cost me Lord?" Adam replies.

"She'll cost you your right arm,..... your right leg,..... an eye and an ear."

Adam ponders this for some time. Then with a look of deep though and concern still etched on his face Adam says, "Ehhhh, what can I get for a rib?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone out there is having a really great weekend. We got a head start on celebrating yesterday by attending one fantastic party! Costumes, pizza, friends, a scavenger hunt and launching apples out of a three person water balloon slingshot - who could ask for a better night?!

The Jawa (aka Z-man), Princess Jasmine (aka Little Mama), Supergirl (aka Baby Doll) and Spiderman (aka Duder) finally had the moment that they have been waiting a year for. ..dressing in their costumes! And I had the moment that I have been waiting a year for...
dressing in my costume! I love dressing up for Halloween. I think I have tons more fun with it now than I ever did as a kid. What do you think? Do I make a good Pink? I learned a few important things last night. First, I love my hair spiked in a mohawk. Second, I love the very bright pink lipstick I am wearing. Third, I love the nose ring! Seriously, don't be surprised if you see me sporting one or all of these in the future. I have found myself! I might do without the pink hair dye in the mohawk and the shoes that are responsible for me not being able to walk today.
I know, I really should have warned you with some sort of intro. Are you ok? Do you need a moment to calm down? I swear, this is the Hubby's best Halloween costume since he borrowed Ciena's bra in high school and went as a hooker! The only thing that would have made it better would have been the vinyl bodysuit. We just couldn't find it on such short notice. And for anyone interested in knowing, yes the Hubby was really going to dress as the Little Mermaid. The $120 price tag that went along with it wasn't worth the laughs for us. Maybe next year. Keep your fingers crossed. : )
To recap, my kids are adorable. We all had lots of fun and are looking forward to more. My only regret from the evening was not having a video camera on me to catch Duder booking it across the field in his little Spiderman costume, trying to catch one of the launched apples. The Hubby is just about finished carving the four faced jack-o-lantern, so I had better go help him out with the last few parts so I can claim I did it. : )

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Life's Truth entry thanks to Avery.

Nothing, and I mean nothing will start your day out well better than blasting the theme from Superman through the house. That was Baby Doll's request. I challenge you to do it and try to keep a straight face! I kept my smile all morning, even after sitting down on a peed on toilet seat. Now, that means Superman is inspiring. I think Baby Doll was getting her Halloween persona (Supergirl) ready for this weekend.

Trying Carol's Pumpkin Pie Smoothies

Little Mama and I got down to some business yesterday afternoon and tried out Carol's yummy sounding Pumpkin Pie smoothies. Any excuse to be in the kitchen is good for her. She isn't wearing it here, but she usually begs me to wear my apron while cooking. Little does she know that she has her own custom made apron wrapped up at the top of my closet, waiting for Christmas!

And here we have our tasty ingre- dients, all ready to be blended. Plain yogurt (we will try vanilla next time), cinnamon, canned pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg and something else which I can't remember without looking back at the blog. It even looks good there, doesn't it? Look at all that brown just can't go wrong with brown sugar! Now to mush it all up.

Ready for the sampling. Baby Doll, what do you think? She loved it and sucked down half her cup so fast I'm surprised she didn't suffer from a severe case of brain freeze. Then she sat for a moment, let out a great belch and announced that she was full. She decided she didn't like it (I think because she drank it too fast and got a very full tummy) but yet still requested it again for breakfast this morning.

Z-man, what do you think of it? Woah! That good?! Great big thumbs up from my pickiest eater. This stuff has gotta be good! Thanks again, Carol, for sharing with us! If any of you try this, please do leave a comment to tell us what you think!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Introducing our first Guest Mom!

Mandy asked me to be a guest here to celebrate her blog launch. Let me start by saying I am honored that she thinks I have anything important to say. It is also funny that she thought I would know how to post to the blog. You see, when she told me that she was starting a blog and asked me to take a look I did. Then I had to ask how to follow her. So when I got logged in to follow her, I discovered that some time back I had started an account for a blog, but I never published anything because I just could not figure it out. Maybe if Mandy helps me out one day I will have my own blog and she can be my guest.

I am a home schooling mom of 3 great boys. My oldest boy, JJ, is 11 and involved in 4-H and several sporting activities as well. McP is a wild 4 year old that wants to do everything his older brother does. Most of the time that is a good thing. Then there is my surprise little 6 month old Hamster who can't wait to mix it up with his older brothers. We have a small acreage property with a few animals and we enjoy gardening. In addition to my love of gardening, the boys also enjoy cooking with me and we like to experiment in the kitchen a bit.

I lived for 36 years in Florida and we moved to rural Wyoming 3 years ago. It is a slightly shorter growing season in Wyoming and gardening here has been a challenge, but I think we are making headway. For the last 3 years JJ has tried growing pumpkins. He wants to grow all kinds of pumpkins and winter squash but especially the elusive Dill's Atlantic Giant pumpkin. So this year we planted seeds and as a back up we also planted a few started plants from the local garden center. Plus over the winter of 2008-2009 the dogs scattered some seeds of a pumpkin that my husband had just chucked out the back door when it started going bad. So this year we had lots of pumpkin plants and a bumper crop of pumpkins - including a 55+ pound Giant Pumpkin. Certainly not a record breaker, but the biggest we have ever grown and good enough for JJ to win the biggest pumpkin at the farmers market! Just to brag McP entered a winged gourd that he grew and he won for best squash (non-pumpkin).

I will be honest here that my experience cooking with pumpkin has been limited to opening a can of Libby's real pumpkin and baking a pie. I was not even sure how one prepared fresh pumpkin. Thanks to the internet I found that cooking a pumpkin was really quite simple. My preferred method is baking, but it can also be boiled or even microwaved. SO are you ready to cook a pumpkin or several?

The trickiest part of preparing pumpkin (or any winter squash) is cutting it! You can use a sharp knife or run out to the garage and get your husbands electric saw (I will wait for you!). Just wash off the blade when you are done, we won't tell him you used it. Now that the pumpkin is cut in half, scoop out the seeds and set them aside. You can eat the seeds raw or roast them. Or if you do not want to eat them at least put the out for the birds.

Find one or more shallow dishes in which to bake your pumpkins. Place the pumpkins cut side down and add about 1 inch of water to the dish. I like to cook several at one time. Set your even at about 350 and go put your feet up for a bit - I like to check in on my pumpkins about every 20 minutes and add additional water as necessary. How long it takes to cook in part depends on how large and how many pumpkins you are cooking. When the shell feels soft it is done. Take it out and let it cool. Once cool you can scoop out the yummy pulp, puree in the food processor and use it for soup, baked goods and even a healthy smoothie. I am finding that freezing in 1 or 2 cup increments works great for later use.

So how about that healthy, but yummy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Your kids will think it is dessert, but you will fool them!

2 cups cooked fresh pureed pumpkin
2 cups yogurt (Plain or vanilla)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1/3 cup brown sugar (or to taste - probably would use less if you use vanilla`yogurt) or honey
A few ice cubes

Blend in blender and enjoy.

Now you tell me that you did not grow pumpkins this year and you did not pick one up at the farmers market. Well that is okay too, just grab a can of pumpkin off the pantry shelf. You smoothie will still be nutritious, but it may be a little thicker than above. Just add some extra ice or a splash of milk. I hope you enjoy and if you have any interesting ways you use pumpkin I would love to hear them as I have many more pumpkins to cook yet. I need to get some cut now though before my husband gets home and discovers that I am using his saw.

Til next time -----

WYOMOM (aka Carol)

Monday, October 26, 2009

School Carnival

Fun, Fun, Fun...
The kids have been crying and begging for weeks to go to the school carnival. There might be some great parents out there that positively jump up and down with eager anticipation of such an event. We aren't among you. I went a little more willingly then the Hubby, whom we practically had to drag out the door kicking and screaming. Naah, he was a great sport too. There is just something about a crowded and loud area that is not that exciting for us...oh yeah, because it is just like home! : ) Duder hung out on daddy's shoulders all night long and had a good time. We tried to volunteer the Hubby for the dunk tank, but it wasn't open when we got there. Raise your hand if you would have liked to have seen that? One, two...hold on, is there anyone out there that didn't raise their hand? Haha

Baby Doll quite enjoyed herself. The highlight of everyone's evening was the cotton candy. And I ask you, why not overload on florescent blue sugar right before bed? Looks a bit like she just ate the Blob from Monsters vs. Aliens to me.

Finally, Z-man and Little Mama got out a little aggression with each other. Here is my tip for the day. If you have two ornery siblings that won't give each other any peace, put them in a big bouncy arena with giant boxing gloves. I guarantee they will come out smiling and wondering if they can beat the crud out of each other again!

Another great giveaway!

Keeper of the Home is having a great giveaway to celebrate their 2 year bloggiversary! Check it out here, to enter to receive one of her two great books. I for one really want to get her Healthy Homemaking book.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

First giveaway contest!

It is not really my giveaway, but I'm about to show you where you can enter to win not only your own copy of Family Feasts for $75 a week, but two extras too. I love Mary's blog, Owlhaven. I also am a huge fan of her book, A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising A Large Family. If you are interested in winning the Family Feasts book (and who wouldn't be?!), check out the contest here.

Spiderwebs work

I am not an organized person. I constantly make myself to do lists and put them throughout the house. You know, the usual kind of lists:

1. Clean bathroom
2. Do dishes
3. Do laundry

and so on. I don't stick with it. They are useless lists in my world. Thanks to a suggestion from Simple Mom , I started a new form of organizing my to do list. I have had a couple of people ask me about this, as it has meant great success for me. It is what I refer to as a spiderweb list. I break up my chores into different reasons for what I am doing it for. I have four main elements in my day. Business, Self, Housework and Kids. Then I add my chores to each section, keeping in mind the different aspects to my jobs. For instance, instead of writing down Laundry, I separate that into three chores; Wash laundry, fold laundry and put away laundry. This works wonders. I am famous for either leaving washed laundry in the dryer and wrinkled or folding all of the laundry only to leave it for too long and a two year old tears down my neat piles like Godzilla destroying New York. I also cross off jobs as I do them, to show myself that despite what it feels like, I am making it through my day. Lastly, if I do something throughout the day that I didn't have written down, I go to my list and write it down and cross it off. At the end of the day, when I see what I have done, it really does help.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Little girls see nothing unusual about asking their daddy to dress up as the Little Mermaid for Halloween?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

No sense crying over spilled juice.

I am hoping to take more every day pictures. I was thinking about things I wanted to share, pictures I wanted to take and such for today. But I didn't take any pictures (well one, but we'll get back to that). I don't think any of you would want me to. I was in the kitchen, busily mopping up the full glass of cranberry juice that Duder spilled on my tile floor. When out comes the man himself. He had taken his diaper off in the other room, stepped in...something...and walked through that room, the hallway and my kitchen to come get me. So no, it wasn't really a picture sharing moment. Here is one. Take a look at that boy's face. Do you see the evil genius glint to his eyes? Look closer. Oh yeah, it's there...

A feminine heart.

I came across this in reading last night.

"Sometime between the dreams of your youth and yesterday, something precious has been lost. And that treasure is your heart, your priceless feminine heart. God has set within you a femininity that is powerful and tender, fierce and alluring. No doubt it has been misunderstood. Surely it has been assaulted. But it is there, your true heart, and it is worth recovering. You are captivating."

Captivating, Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul written by John & Stasi Eldredge

Some things I know for certain...

*A four year old's voice (whether being used in a tantrum, a serenade or a question fest) has the power to drown out absolutely everything else.

*I am a hippie at heart.

*"I wuv you," whispered by a two year old can heal almost all hurts, at least temporarily.

*When the cat tries to nudge the toilet seat up with her head right after something very unpleasant was flushed down, it is time to check her water dish.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

About why we are here.

Welcome to our family's blog! I appreciate you stopping by. Now, a little bit about why I have started this.

Reason #1

I am happy to share my family's updates and adventures. This is a great way to spread the word of the newest crazy fiasco the kids have gotten into.

Reason #2

There are certain causes that are near and dear to me that I would like to share information on. In other words, every once in awhile I will pull out my soapbox, hop on and start sharing what I have learned about this or that.

Reason #3

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a writer. Well, a writer and I wanted to own a horse farm with my friend, April. Of those two, writing was more my talent. I still have my very first book, written in 3rd grade and 25 chapters long. I have come to realize that reading blogs is very entertaining. Reading a new post for 5 minutes can be like watching a comedy show and very uplifting. So, I hope to help your day out with a giggle or two.

Reason #4

I want to stay positive. I am very blessed with a wonderful husband and four incredible children. That being said, I am half crazy most of the time from temper tantrums and spilled milk and all of the stress that comes with family life. I could easily dwell in how crappy my life is. But let's face it. My life is far from crappy. So you are going to help me remember that. My goal is to not be negative in this blog. I will not be complaining, just sharing and laughing about stuff that happens. The only exception to this will be my cause comments. If something is a cause, it is because something negative is happening and needs to be changed.

Reason #5

Can you believe how many very cool projects there are in this world? Crafts, gardening and lifestyles to name a few. I want to share this treasure chest of cool stuff that I have found and dream about doing.

And there you have it. Our family's blog is now out in the blogosphere. My name is Mandy. My hubby is Cory and our kids are Zackery, Ainsley, Avery and Zander. We also have a cat whom we call Missy.