Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas has crept over....

This weekend we bought our Christmas tree, I had planned on getting it from Costco, as the prices were stellar so that excited me.... However they were al wrapped up, and the workers didn't want us to unwrap them, so basically they wanted people to buy them without seeing what your getting... Not happening.... So we went back to the tree lot we have been going to since we spent our first Christmas in our house. If the tree falls this year (it fell last year), then I am done with real trees. I love the way they look, smell etc, but I can't have a tree fall again or I will need to be medicated. Last year our Angel tree topper bit the dust from the fall, so I stuck a punch of picks up there and I really do like the look...We didn't lose to many ornaments from the fall thank goodness...Our ornaments are just a collection of ones that my parents collected for me when I was little, and that I later got into collecting myself after my dad bought me a tree for my room when I was 13. My husband also had a collection that his grandparents bought for him every year. I look forward to seeing all of the ornaments each year.
As you can also see, I learned how to make collages with pictures, so beware in advance I will probably use this method for a while.... It's a time saver... I made them with Picasa 3.


Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving was a busy day around our household. I ran a 5k with a friend that morning, then I ate at my parents house, and then later the inlaws. The girls enjoyed seeing the family and spending the day with all of their cousins. I can't believe that Christmas is right around the corner!


Sunday, November 28, 2010

The obsession continues...

I have been having way to much enjoyment looking over another Junior League Cookbook. I took a break from making sweets, to try another goodie. This book is called Southern Sideboards. It's a JL book from Jackson, Mississippi. My mom gave this book to my Grandma Christmas of 1982, and when my Grandparents moved to a Senior Community, the book was given back to my mom. I am not sure what items my Grandma cooked from here, but Grandma Campbell was an excellent cook, and I can tell this book was used quite a bit....

I decieded to make Hot and Spicy Meat balls from it today.

Here's what you need to do:

Sauce: 3/4 cup of ketchup, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 2 teaspoons worcestire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspooon salt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 3 drops of tabasco sauce, few grains of cayenne pepper. (I just shook a little in)

Meatballs: 1 lb of ground beef, 3/4 cup of bread crumbs, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of Accent (I don't know what it is, so I am just going to use more salt), 1 1/2 tablespoon minced onion, 1/2 teaspoon of horseradish (didn't have this so I used garlic), 3 drops of Tabasco Sauce, 2 eggs beaten

Mix sauce ingrediants in a bowl and set aside. Mix meatball ingrediants and form balls. Brown your meatballs in a stove top, then put in stove pan and pour sauce on top and bake in oven until done. (20 minutes or so) Stir them around some. Honestly, this last part I made up, as the book calls for you to cook them in a chaffing dish, and I didn't even know what that was... However, they were delish. They were a little spicy, but nothing crazy. My little ones ate them without batting an eyelash.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Shopping and Baking Adventures....

It's been a shopping/baking day.... I got up at o'dark thirty and picked up my niece and went out shopping for Black Friday... we went to two Targets, the mall, and a few random stores. I picked up a few things for the kiddos, and another present for someone else. It wasn't too bad, and the deals really do make it worth it. I don't have much shopping left to do for Christmas which is nice. Of course, the people I have left are always the hardest ones... I had a friend go to Walmart today, and she posted on facebook that a mini riot broke out and she almost got hit on the head with a raw egg.... I go to Walmart maybe 5 times a year, but I always make sure I never go on Black Friday....

I have been busy baking today since I got home. Nothing crazy, I just made a batch of the standard chocolate chip cookies. Those are another item that I like to make fresh, not from store bought cookie dough. Chocolate chip cookies were pretty much the first thing I ever learned to cook/bake waaaayyy back when. I mean if you buy it from the store how are you going to lick the beaters??? I also made a batch of Molasses Ginger Cookies. These are something I have never made before. I asked my mom the other day for some of her cookie reciepes. She still does quite a bit of baking during the holidays, but when I was a child my mom would have just about every cookie you could imagine. I remember the night before Christmas the dining room would just be covered in pretty platters with cookies all over them. I would go around the table picking out cookies for "Santa" and fix a Pepsi for him too, my parents would tell me that Santa plenty of milk elsewhere, and that he need the Pepsi to give him some energy....Maybe I will try that trick with my kids....

Anyways, I am after her cookie receipes to recreate some memories, and to also test out things for the cookie exchange I am going to. She told me that she actually got a lot of them from her Junior League cookbooks. She's let me borrow some of the ones I don't have. The molasses one I made today is repeated in the most recent one, called "My Mamma Made That." Very appropriate....

If you would like to give them a whirl here it is:

4 cups all purpse four, 4 teaspoons baking soda, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 3 sticks of butter (yikes!), 1/2 cup molasses, 2 cups sugar, 2 eggs, sugar for rolling.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves together. Beat the butter, molasses, sugar, and eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the four mixtute gradually, beating constantly. Chill the dough for several hours.

Preheat the oven to 350. Shape the dough into small balls and roll in sugar. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 min untill firm and brown. Remove to wire rack to cool. This makes 3-4 dozen.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving yummyness...

I have been busy this afternoon making two pumpkin rolls. I made my first on Halloween, and It was pretty good. I made these the same way, and it's a receipe from the same cookbook I posted about below, called Very Virginia.

Spiced Pumpkin Roll

Cake: 3 large eggs beaten, 1 cup of sugar, 2/3 cup cooked pumpkin, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup self rising flour, 2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, Confectioners sugar

Filling: 1 package cream cheese, 1 cup of confectioners sugar, 4 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, and pumpkin. Set aside. In your mixing bowl combine the salt and next 4 ingredients. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixure and mix well. Pour the batter into a well greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan and bake for for 15 minutes. Take out and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Coat a towel with the powdered sugar, and then invert the cake into the towl. Sprinkle a little more powder sugar on top, and then starting on the narron side roll the cake/towel up jelly roll fashion and secure with a string, or be crazy like me and use a hair ribbon to tie this up. Set in your fridge for three hours. While your waiting on that, make the filling. Combine the filling ingredients until smooth and then let then chill as well. When the chilling time is up unroll your cake, and then gently smooth the filling on the cake. Rerolland place seam side down on a serving platter.

Ok, so I am not a baker but I can handle this.... kinda time consuming but it's worth it....


Sunday, November 21, 2010

My love for TJmaxx just grows and grows...

My mom and I ventured off to TJMAXX in Virginia Beach this morning, and threw down in there. This TJMaxx is about an hour away from where we live, BUT it is always worth the trip. I love Tjmaxx, but this one is a Tjmaxx/Homegoods, and it's about the size of probably three Tjmaxx's put together. All of the sections are huge, and they always have such awesome brand names. On this shopping trip I hit the jackpot for my youngest. We have been clueless what to get her for her big gift...I had wanted to get another battery powered car since the jeep that they have only hold 2 kiddos, so one of them is always sitting around looking sad. But I wasn't keen on spending a lot either. I had given up hope and was just going to can the idea. But crazy enough they had one in there... it's a pink Hummer lol, and it was super cheap....I checked to see how much it retails for elsewhere, and let's just say the price at Tj's was much less then half of the retail... They only had one, so I scooped it up immediatly. Merry Christmas Emily!

Another great deal I found were the above pictured Christmas plates. These two were priced at $3.99. I plan on making some cookies to put on the plate and then wrapping them up in cellophane with a bow, and they will either be teacher gifts or a hostess gift of some sort. Easy peasy. I bought a large Santa plate for myself to use to put food on at the house for a dollar more. These plates reminded me a lot of the kind I see at craft shows during the holidays that usually cost a lot more.

They aisles of the cuttest ornaments, wreaths, and other Christmas decorations... I easily could have gone crazy, but with my big ole' pink Hummer teetering over my shopping cart I had an easy reminder that I was going to purchase enough...

So Tjmaxx helped me make a huge dent in my Christmas shopping today, and I look forward to another trip back there soon!


Snappy Mustard Dip

Tonight we are going to dinner at a friends house, and I didn't have much notice to make something, but I didn't want to show up empy handed. So I tried out a receipe from one my league's cook books- "Very Virginia" called Snappy Mustard dip.

This is very easy, and is pretty good to munch on with some pretzels.

To make you will need
1/4 dry mustard, 2 tbl spoons of white vinegar, 1 tbl spoon of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 egg yolk, and 1 brick of cream cheese.

combine the mustard, vinegar, and water in a saucepan, then add the sugar and egg yolk and stire over medium heat for about 5 minutes so it thickens. Let this cool, when cooled combine the mustard mixture, and your cream cheese and beat this until smooth. Chill until you serve, with pretzels.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flourless Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies

I have been invited to a cookie swap in December, and I am trying to figure out what I am going to make. The only cookies we make in our household are the standard chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes we go crazy and make oreo truffles (super easy). Dave loves making those, so he usually knocks me down so he can man the Kitchen Aid mixer. Obviously, I don't want to show up with just chocolate chip cookies, and I don't know if Oreo Truffles are ok to bring, so I am going to dabble with a few contenders to bring to the swap...

I was reading the latest Southern Living magazine, and they had several reciepes for cookies that they say are ideal for swaps. Right up my alley! As I have not made it to the grocery store yet, we are out of flour, so the only one I could try were the flourless ones....

If you want to give it a whirl here's what you need. (this makes about 2 dozen)

1 cup creamy peanut butter

3/4 cup of sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of chocolate chips

parchement paper

Preheat your oven to 350. Stir together the first five ingrediants until well blended. Then stir in the chocolate chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I didn't have this, had to borrow some from my mom). Drop one tablespoonfuls of the dough on your baking sheet , and then bake about 12-14 minutes. When you take them out let them cook for 5 min on the baking sheet, and then transfer to your wire rack to cool all the way.

The verdict: There good. I'm not exactly a huge peanut butter cookie person. Also because there's no flour they are a little bit crumbly, so I don't know if I want to make huge batches to take to the party, and then I have a break down because I have issues with crumbling. I also kinda prefer my cookies to have vanilla flavoring in them. I will have to see what the husband thinks so as he is a peanut butter crazy man. I will say Laura threw hers in the trash can.


Yesterday my oldest had a Thanksgiving Feast at her school, and I got to go and help. Of course this meant Laura got to wear her new Thanksgiving dress that we got from Love it when they offer smocked dresses because they are always at great prices! Anyways, all the girls played around for me outside and I took pictures. Emily even gave me a smile, that's a victory!

So back to the Thanksgiving Feast. They had all of the four year old classes doing it today,roughly 50 kids. Earlier that day the kids had made some of the food (Laura's class made a fruit salad) The parents met in the church kitchen to prep the rest of it, (aka heat up chicken nuggests, and put all the fixings on the plates) I got to be a butter person and walk around to eat kid and butter their corn muffin if they wanted some. I had fun and learned that a guy I used to play ball back with in my highschool, has a son in Laura's class. Small world! The kiddos were so cute when they walked in. They all dressed up like Pilgrams or Indians. I was just impressed that Laura get her paper hat on the entire time, and didn't rip that sucker off.

Rachel has her feast next week! Can't wait to see if she's going to be a Pilgram or a Indian!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Our Christmas Card order with Shutterfly!

Starlight Trees Christmas Card
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Santa Visit

My husband thanks his lucky stars that we live within driving distance of a Bass Pro Shop. It's a neat place, and the kids love going to see the displays, and huge fish tank. Bass Pro Shop started having Santa come for about 3 years now, and the last 3 years we have gone. It's actually really nice. If you go on a weekend or closer to Christmas you will have a wait. We ventured up there Monday night to stay a quick hello to Santa, and were able to just walk on up and take our time with Santa. He's a pretty swell looking Santa Claus, AND they take free pictures. There's also a few crafts you can do, or you could play free games.

Our Santa visit was pretty nice. Emily, our youngest hid behind me the whole time, but Laura and Rachel enjoyed seeing him (Rachel forgot to tell him a few things, so she has asked to go back). I took a few pictures of the girls while were were there, and outside with my own camera. They looked so cute in their Christmas dresses! These are the dresses I purchased off Etsy a while back. I will probably use these pictures for our Christmas card this year that I am making with Shutterfly.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas Cards...

Christmas is right around the corner...I have not done nearly enough shopping yet, and the house is far from being decorated, BUT I have our Christmas card just about picked out! One of my favorite things about Christmas is getting Christmas cards in the mail. My favorite one's are always the one's with photo's. I know some people find it hard to make time to make one, but Shutterfly makes it soooo easy for you! Just take a peek of all the options you can pick from: HERE The designs are to die for! You can have folded cards, flat cards, all kinds of different sizes, your options are just a click away!

I have used Shutterfly in the past to make baby annoucements for my second born. I gave birth to my 2nd child when my first born was just 12 months old, and let me tell you I really appreciated how quick and easy it was to design an impressive card while caring for two babies.

Right now I am debating between one of Shutterfly's options of a collage card such as this one:

If I can find a good one of all of us I'd love to use this style:

While I am at it, I plan to also order make a photo calender of the girls for my husband's grandmother. Check out all their options HERE

Another option for an awesome grandparent gift would be to make a photo mug from Shutterfly's website.

One thing is for sure, since Shutterfly is being so awesome and giving bloggers 50 free cards for blogging about them, I will have more money in my Christmas budget this year to get those special gifts! If your a blogger too, there is still time to get this wonderful deal, just go to this website


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Carmel Popcorn

My oh so talented sister in law, (check out her blog here )made some yummy Carmel popcorn a few weeks ago, and shared it at a family gathering. It was sooo yummy, and she shared the secret, that she found it on a blog. This morning I was wanting to make something new, so I gave it a whirl, and put my own touch on it as I didn't have the exact needed ingredients. You can find the original recipe here

To make it the way I did follow this:
You will need:
1 c of brown sugar
1 stick of butter
12 cups of popped popcorn
3/4 tablespoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

I popped my own popcorn as we own own a handy dandy popper. Seriously, go by one. They cost about $20 and they will last you forever.... Popping your own popcorn is much tasties then microwaving, and MUCH cheaper.... To get the needed popcorn amount I used 1/2 of unpopped kernals.

Here is my popcorn waiting to start poppping!

Once popped, I poured it all in a large bowl

Then in a microwave safe glass bowl I combined the brown sugar, butter sliced up, cinnamon, and honey.

Put it in your microwave for 2 minutes, and stop it about every 15 to stir up. Your stuff will melt together and form the carmel. Then when it is all gooey, stir in your vanilla and baking soda which will cause it to foam up some. I don't have pictures because I didn't want to burn myself or drop my phone in the gooeyness. So sorry. Then pour over the gooey mixture in your bowl of popcorn and stir it. Work fast but carefully to try to get it as coated possible.

Then take a baking sheet lined in foil, and scoop on your popcorn. I may have made a bit too much popcorn or just not have a large enough baking sheet. Whatevers... Stick it in your preheated oven on 250.

Make sure your little ones keep an eye on it...

This process lets it get a bit harder. The original receiepe calls for you to stir it around some, but obviously if I were to have done that, it all would have gone in the bottom of my oven and stunk up the house. So I just let it sit in there for 20 minutes.

Put out some foil on your counter

Then take out the popcorn from oven and spoon it on the foil. I heated up some chocolate melts and then drizzled some over the popcorn.

Let it sit for a while for the chocolate to harden up. My kids went nuts over this. Seriously, after they ate a ton, and I shared a small bag with my parents this is all we have left.


I am saving those for my husband and his friend who have been gone all day fishing in a tournament. Hopefully I can keep the kids away from it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I think Santa would just put coal in mine anyways....

Oh how I wish my family needed new Christmas Stockings.... These from Ballard's just rock my world. They are currently on sale for $25 and that comes with personalization. I simply love the cheetah detail on the cuff! Ballard's has really cute Christmas decorations this year. Go check them out!


Nearing the end of the week.....

Wooo weeeee, another busy week has come, and it's not quite over! I had my last fall ball softball game of the season, and probably my last one maybe forever. Our team pretty much came in last place, as after having a awesome season last year they put us up two divisions, so we were playing co-ed teams that travel, and compete seriously. Yeah, we won one game this season.... I enjoy playing, but with the kids getting older and having their own activities, and with joining the junior league, I just feel guilty doing it as it takes me away from home even more. My oldest daughter will be old enough to start playing tee ball this coming spring, and I would like to be able to go to her games, and possibly help out with coaching. They are also still loving gymnastics, and Emily will be starting in January with it, so time is just going to be valuable.

Speaking of the junior league, I have really enjoyed it. I have met a lot of awesome ladies, and the good that they do for the community is just unbelievable. As a new member, our class has to do new member project, and we just picked our project, and it has me just so excited! I am a bit overwhelmed with it, as we were given our placements for the rest of the year in the new member class, and I asked to be the corresponding secretary, and I actually got it. I thought it would be fun, and honestly I will just admit I thought it would be easy. It's going to be a lot more involved then I thought, as I have a lot to keep up with the many different committees on our project, and do the agendas for our meetings, and meeting minutes, but I am excited to have an important role. I will share more about our project as it develops more....

I made a good dent in my christmas shopping for the kiddos. I really wanted to get the new Fisher Price IXL for my older girls as their big gift from Santa, but was sad about the price, as well, we need two. I was counting on it to be a black friday special, but luckily, it went on sale at Target this week, AND one target's website they had printable coupons for it too, so I used the coupon with the sale and so I saved $40 total. I had to go to two different Target's to get pink IXL's, but hey they are bought, and I got a good deal.... You better believe it though I am hanging on to my receipt in the event I can get a better deal closer to Christmas....

Speaking of Christmas shopping, I just discovered the wish list function. You can download the universal tool bar button, and from any website if you see an item you like you can just click to add it to your amazon wish list. This is pretty nice and a easy way to create a wish list so people know what you are after for christmas! Truth be told my list has crazy expensive items that I will probably never get in a million years, but it's all in good fun haha. You can add comments by your items like the size and color you are after etc.

I have been trying new recipes, been on a pumpkin kick lately...I made a yummy pumpkin log from one of the junior leagues cookbooks, and last night we did breakfast for dinner and I made pumpkin pancakes. My kids are obsessed with pancakes, so they really enjoyed this tasty treat. I got the recipe from

They are so yummy. We will def be having this again.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mesh Wreath How to....

After seeing some pretty mesh wreaths I became focused on making one myself... I saw some pretty ones on Etsy for $100. I figured it couldn't be THAT hard, or cost that much... This am I went to Sam's Club and bought two things of mesh. Each cost under $7, and I probably used 1/4 of each spool. I bought some picks and decorations at Michael's, and spent $14 BUT I didn't use three of the more expensive decorations on the wreath (I will figure out something to do with them later). Here's the mesh I used:Photobucket

And here are the supplies (excuse the poor quality of my cell phone pictures.)


For my wreath base I just used my old fake wreath that has lights on it that don't work. I figured the lights would be covered up so it wouldn't matter. The fake branches on it really helped with holding the mesh. They also held my picks in too. I didn't end up using any hot glue.

I stuck in an end of the mesh in the wreath, and then about 12 inches down I gathered it, and then used some of the braches on the wreath to tie it, and just continued gathering all around the outside, and then I went back and did the other color on the inside. I got the gathering how to from a youtube video found here:

She used a different wreath form and floral pins, but the gathering is the same....

After doing the mesh I just jabbed in some decorative picks, and then hung it on the door.... I love it!



Friday, November 5, 2010

I always have so much fun putting up my halloween decorations....putting them away though is not much fun. While my older two were at school this morning I got busy putting things away. Truth be told I have to purchase another tote to store some of the things I made this year into storage in the attic. I have left up some items that can pass for Thanksgiving decor (pumpkins). I also printed some freebies that were made by a blogger. Go HERE I printed the subway word art one, and the Keep Calm and Gobble On one....

More then likely I will start dragging out Christmas decorations while I am home during Thanksgiving. Give or take a few days... I still can not believe Christmas is almost upon us! Speaking of Christmas my girls thought it was Christmas yesterday as I picked up something off freecycle yesterday that I knew would make them happy.... Not long ago we were at my sisters house and they discovered my nieces Bratz dolls. And it was love at first sight. So when someone offered up a crazy amount of the dolls, accessories, clothing, for free, I had to grab them up for the girls. Yes those things are ugly, but my girls have not stopped smiling since I brought them home.

This weekend I have plans to take my wee ones to a fall festival held at our local pool, do oodles and and oodles of laundry, attempt to make a mesh wreath if I can find massive rolls of mesh., and catch up on an extra hour of sleep.