Thursday, November 22

Giving Thanks!

Thanksgiving 2007

Our day was a quiet one. Just the 5 of us ...and the Macy*s Parade, football games, a few board games and plenty of food!

I took very few pictures, opting to be part of the day instead of observing it. This one, however, is my favorite. I love that his eyes are closed while he really savors that turkey leg. That boy really knows how to enjoy his food!

I also love this Thanksgiving Journal and have decided to start one of our own. A few of of the things for which we are giving thanks this year:

~ crayons and paper
~ the sun and the stars
~ school
~ Leif Ericson discovering America
~ a neighborhood with lots of other kids
~ health insurance
~ that our family is so happy in our new home

And, of course, all of you who stop by to see what I have to say. Thank you.

(a couple of family pictures here and here)

Tuesday, November 20

Brotherly Love


They sat and read to each other for a good part of the evening. Chaz helped Topher sound out words and they both were giggling non-stop at the silliness of some of the pictures. No fighting... no pushing... no yelling. I love these quiet moments.

(and yes, Chaz is still wearing a Halloween shirt, but it's a favorite of his so I let it go)

Monday, November 19

Making Applesauce

Making Applesauce

The house smells wonderful - just like Fall!

We've several large batches of applesauce and I had to quickly get it in to the freezer before it all disappeared. I have 8 cups in the freezer, 4 in the fridge and 4 already gone. We used to buy apples by the bushel from the orchard for next to nothing. They were seconds so they weren't too pretty but for something like applesauce, they were perfect. I haven't found an orchard here so I buy they apples at the market when they are on sale.

I don't peel my apples when making applesauce. Instead I push them through my food mill after cooking and strain the peel that way. I also make my applesauce in the crockpot so I can leave it unattended. My crockpot holds about 6 lbs of apples (I use tart apples) so I core them, slice them, and drop them in with about 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon and turn it on low. Cook it all long enough to get nice and soft then put it through the medium screen on a food mill. (If you don't have a food mill, just peel the apples before cooking)

The boys love cranking the apples through this apple peeler/corer thing. The apples come out spiral sliced but still together - an apple slinky!

So very good!

Sunday, November 18

Sunday Fun


We are off to enjoy this very mild weather (80° here today)

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, November 17

New Glasses

New Glasses

We picked up Topher's new glasses last night. He didn't want new glasses and insisted he could see just fine with the old prescription but his prescription did in fact change and his old frames needed to be replaced so new glasses it was. As soon as he tried on them on, he excitedly told us that he COULD see better and his loooong eyelashes were no longer smooshed up against his lenses! (he once asked me if I could give his eyelashes a hair cut because they were too long!)

New glasses + better vision = a very happy boy!

Friday, November 16

Still Life


Just a little of the veg brought home from the produce market today. I'm thinking of painting it.
Edited: (ha ha! That is, using it as the subject for a painting!)

Thursday, November 15



We have been trying some new recipes around here. We've also found a few new-to-us foods. Most recently - millet .

Since we really enjoyed a couple of the recipes, I'd thought I'd let you know about them. They are definitely going in to my recipe box.

Mark Bittman's Autumn Millet Bake (found via 101 Cookbooks

Shauna's Millet Fritters (I used sweet potato instead of squash)

(They both made excellent leftovers for breakfast, too!)


Wednesday, November 14

It's the Little Things

Ironing board cover

Sometimes the simple things make me so happy. Today -- a new ironing board cover.

Tuesday, November 13

Self Portrait Challenge - What I Wear #2

SPC - Red Shoes
SPC - Red
SPC - Red Shoes

I wear RED!

I love the color red and I wear it often.  My toes are always painted and it's always red.  (I can't remember painting them any other color.)  The next best thing to red toes ... red shoes!  I have to remind myself at times that a girl does need other colors but I always go back to the RED.  I can't help it.  I'm drawn to them.

See more self portraits here

Monday, November 12

Sunday, November 11

Library Day


The boys have been itching and twitching to go to the town library and today was the perfect day. Actually this weekend was a library weekend. Chaz, Topher and I went yesterday while Chris and Edmund were camping and then we were back again today. There are always plenty of new books to discover!

This time we came home with:

- 2nd Chance by James Patterson
- The New Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
- The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy by Bette Hagman
- Kid Style Nature Crafts by Gwen Diehm and Terry Krautwurst
- Texas Toys and Games by The Texas Folklore Society
- Tall in the Saddle by Anne Carter and David McPhail
- Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner
- Mayflower 1620 by the Plimoth Plantation
- Daily Life in the Pilgrim Colony 1636 by Paul Erikson
- We Gather Together: Celebrating the Harvest Season by Wendy Pfeffer

As well as several books on Greek Heroes and Mythology, a few on Squanto and a Calvin and Hobbes that have all been spirited off to various bedrooms for an afternoon of reading (before I had the chance to make note of the titles).

I love going to the library with the boys. They find a topic they are interested in and gather as many books as they can. Sometimes we study the same subject for several weeks before moving on to something new and equally exciting.

Saturday, November 10

Friday, November 9

Weekend Plans

Trail Run

Chris and Edmund are off tomorrow for another night of camping with the Boy Scouts. Chaz, Topher and I have big plans for a very lazy weekend!

Thursday, November 8

What's for Dinner...


I'm back in the full swing of things once again! Meals are planned ahead, groceries are bought once a week (no more daily trips to the store) and dinner is on the table with out any last minute scurrying. For those of you following along at home, here's what for dinner this week.

Beer Roasted Pork Shoulder with Pan Drippings Gravy
Crispy New Potatoes
Sauteed Red Cabbage

Parchment Baked Pesto Salmon and Vegetables

Mushroom and Garlic Frittata

Chunky Green Chili
Creamy Polenta

Curried Vegetable Soup with Turkey Meatballs

Cumin Spiced Chicken and Pears
Steamed Green Beans


Wednesday, November 7

101 Things: 3 month check in

Granny Squares

We are 3 months in to this project so it's time for a little update. There are so many that are "in process" but these are the ones that I can confidently mark as done or on the way.

1. Find a Pediatric Ophthalmologist for Topher - done! and new glasses have been ordered
3. Join a book club - done!  joined 2, actually
9. Read 5 books on my bookshelf that I have not yet read - in process! 1 book read 
11. Correspond (phone, email, post) with Alison at least every other week - in process!
21. Put $2 a week (143 weeks) in my jar - in process! $24 so far
22. Sell something that I have made - done! Emily Tarantino Creates
23. Print business cards - done!
24. Design labels - done!
25. Purchase bakery boxes - on hold (rethinking my need of these)
26. Look in to a Flickr Pro account - done! and registered
42. Use the “green bags” for grocery shopping - in process! so far so good
54. Go to the rodeo - done! 
71. Find a new Weight Watcher’s meeting - done!
86. Find a local farmers market - done! looking for a CSA now
95. Learn to crochet - in process! making granny squares for this

Anyone else have a list??

Tuesday, November 6

Self Portrait Challenge - What I Wear #1


One of my favorite things to wear is a simple cotton shirt. I always roll the sleeves three times, making them about 3/4's length and perfect for staying out of the way while I go about my day. Sometimes I wear them alone. Sometimes I wear them with a little cami underneath. Sometimes they are solid. Sometimes a print. Sometimes even a stretch cotton. One thing is the same though, they always make me feel comfortable.

This one is probably my favorite. It's soft and broken in. It always comes out of the laundry ready for another wearing - no ironing needed! This is my "go-to" shirt, for sure.

I just realized that I've had this one for almost 20 years! It's still in perfect condition, too. (I still have the wide-wale corduroy skirt that I bought to go with the shirt. It's also in great condition. I just need to whittle my waist a bit so I can actually breathe while wearing it!)

See more of the Self Portrait Challenge here.

Monday, November 5

Kids in the Kitchen: Chaz Cooks

My boys love to help in the kitchen. They get excited about making their own sloppy PB&J's, they love the independence of pouring their milk and cereal, but most of all, they love to help make dinner.

This Saturday was Chaz's day in the kitchen. He was in charge of dinner from start to finish. He sat with his cookbooks and poured over them searching for just the right recipes. He picked out his meal and did a great job creating a nice balance and made sure all his dishes went well together.

Of the three, he is the one that enjoys being in the kitchen the most. He watches the cooking shows and takes notes. He saves his money for cookbooks. He's thinking of become a chef.

Chaz Cooks: lists

Our Menu
Garlic and Herb Angel Hair
Sesame Broccoli
Pumpkin Squares

Chaz Cooks: shopping

Next was making his grocery list. He wrote everything down that he was going to need and then he and I looked through the panty and crossed off those things we already had. He and I took the rest of the list to the market. He was so proud of himself! He had his own cart and his own grocery bag. Very grown up and very independent. He carefully looked over the items he was selecting and made sure he picked exactly the one he wanted. It was not a quick trip to the store but it was a very good one.

Chaz Cooks: eggs

Chaz was so happy to do somethings that he hadn't before. He cracked the eggs all on his own and didn't get any bit of shell in the mix.

Chaz Cooks: saute

He sauteed the garlic all on his own. Neither he nor the garlic were burned.

Chaz Cooks: the meal

The meal was wonderful! Made even more special because of all that went in to it. Chaz was pleased with himself. I'm so proud of him!

It was a simple meal but it was a feast!

Sunday, November 4

Fall Swap - Received

Fall Swap - Received

My Fall Swap package arrived this weekend. There were 80+ people signed up for this swap and partners were assigned randomly. I just happened to get matched up with someone who lives in the next town over from me! I wish I had paid closer attention in statistics class so I could figure the odds on that one! (we didn't already know each other so it didn't matter)

Robin sent a very lovely book, The Seasonal Home by Kristin Perers. This went right on the coffee table - I'll be flipping through it a lot, I'm sure! She also sent an acorn ornament (I love acorns!), a little lavender sachet, pressed leaves and flowers, a real acorn (it went right to the nature bowl!) and beads, ribbons and pom-poms along with instructions to make a funky necklace. Thank you Robin!

My package will go out tomorrow so I'll post a picture at the end of the week.

Saturday, November 3

Baseball Wrap Up Part 2

Edmund and Chris with Trophy

Edmund has his end-of-season baseball party last night. This one was held at a small casual family style restaurant. Once again, the boys had a good time.

In addition to handing out the trophies to the team, the team gave trophies to the coaches (which included Chris). The coaches "trophy" was a ball signed by the entire team on a stand that looked like a bronzed baseball glove. It was a really nice gesture and Chris was caught completely by surprise.

Chaz and Team

Chaz's team didn't have an official end-of-season party. The coach was going out of town so he handed out the trophies last week after a late game. That was fine with us. While we are a family that really loves our baseball, this season was a tough one and we were all happy to see it come to an end. We were on the verge of some major sports burn-out.

Friday, November 2

Baseball Wrap Up

Topher's Trophy

Baseball season has officially ended and last night Topher's team celebrated with a little party at Peter Piper Pizza. This place is any kid's dream come true - pizza, games, prizes... being loud indoors. All this plus cake and trophies, too.

The boys had loads of fun. Chris and I enjoyed ourselves. Topher was WIRED! All in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend a Thursday evening.

Thursday, November 1

Trick or Treat

The boys were so excited about Halloween yesterday. Especially Topher-- "Oooo i'm so excited! I can't even WAIT!" I think he loves that he gets to walk around the neighborhood talking to people.

I had spent my weekend alone sewing costumes. Only two though. Topher insisted that he had to have a store bought costume this year. Topher ended up with a 'Dragon Ninja" costume which was a very happy compromise. He had asked to be Spiderman but I have a no mask rule. He was thrilled and spent much of the afternoon perfecting his Ninja moves.


Chaz always comes up with some sort of a clever, sometimes off the wall, costume idea. Last year he was a tornado. This year he was a Mad Scientist complete with "electrified hair" and blue prints for his secret invention rolled up in his pocket. I sacrificed a pair of sunglasses to help complete the look. I made his lab coat using a bathrobe pattern and substituting snaps for the ties and adding some extra pockets.


Edmund wanted something scary. We decided on a bit of a cross between the Grim Reaper and his idea of a Dementor from Harry Potter. I made the cape long so it dragged on the ground which was a bit of a bother in all the excitement (his friend kept stepping on it) but made for a great effect. It really billowed out behind him at times giving the illusion that he was almost floating just above the ground. The cape will get a lot of use, I'm sure. The boys have decided it would be perfect for Darth Sidious.


We went around the neighborhood with one of neighbors which was nice. It gave us a chance to chat and get to know each other a little more while walking with the boys. It was especially nice not to have to bundle up under or over our costumes! (I wore a t-shirt!). We filled our bags, came home, sorted candy, took baths and the two youngest of us were in bed all by 8:30. Perfect!

The boys

I hope your night was just as perfect.