Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Overnight Rolls

There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh bread on a cold, winter evening! I like to welcome my husband home with that aroma as often as I can, but as a busy mama with little ones often hanging onto my legs, it is can be a challenge to find the time to make from scratch dough in the middle of a hectic day. How excited I was to discover the concept of overnight rolls which, after some tweaking, turned out to be a keeper of a recipe.
So quick and easy to throw all of the ingredients into my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer (after the children have gone to bed), then pop the dough into the refrigerator. It's a great feeling to start the day with the knowledge that there is already prepared dough waiting for me whenever there is a calm moment.
I've made these several times so far and each time they were yummy. They look so pretty when brushed with melted butter right out of the oven, too. I made my rolls on the smaller side, but you could also make them larger to use for hamburger buns or other sandiwches.
Overnight Rolls:
2 Tablespoons warm water
1 packet of yeast
2 cups warm milk
2 eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup butter, melted

In mixer bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add warm milk, eggs, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add 3 cups of the flour. Mix well. Add melted butter. When thoroughly combined, add remaining 3 cups of the flour. Place dough in a clean, well greased bowl, then turn once so top is also greased. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator and let chill overnight. The next day, punch down and knead. Divide into about 24 pieces, form each into a ball and place on greased baking sheets. Put in warm place and let rise one hour. Preheat oven to 350. Bake each batch for 15-20 minutes until barely golden brown. Brush tops of rolls with melted butter and serve. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Apple Crumb Pie

This is one of the desserts that I served at our Thankgiving celebration recently, though you certainly do not have to wait until a holiday to bake one--it is a year round recipe in our house. It is a delicious combination of both sweet and tart. The flavors play off of each other well, especially when topped with real whipped cream and a dash of extra cinnamon. The crumbly topping is a nice twist on your typical apple pie.

Apple Crumb Pie
9 inch pastry shell, unbaked, chilled
1 cup sifted flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 cups peeld, sliced apples (Granny Smith give best results)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat ovent to 375. Mix flour, brown sugar, and salt in bowl. Add softened butter and mix with a fork until crumbly. Set aside. Combine apples with sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix  to coat slices.  Put into chilled pastry shell. Top apples with reserved crumb mixture. Bake in preheated oven until apples are tender and topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes. If pie begins browning too quickly, you can put a piece of aluminum foil loosely ontop during last 10-15 minutes of baking time. Serve slightly warm.

Friday, November 26, 2010

"White Friday"

Although the day following Thanksgiving is traditionally called "Black Friday", to me, this year, I like to think of it as "White Friday". Here I sit at the computer, snugly wrapped in a blanket, chai tea brewing, watching the view of the rising sun out of my window. How pure and white the fresh blanket of snow looks! The children are still asleep, it's so peaceful. I woke early this morning, and by 6:00 AM, I had my Christmas shopping mostly finished. And I never left the house. How is this possible??

Online shopping! I am not one of those people that brave the cold and mobs of deal-crazy shoppers stampeding the aisles to snatch up the door busters. I don't need the experience of actually being in a store. I don't thrive on shopping merely for the sake of shopping.

I do, however, like a good bargain! I have discovered that many of the Friday deals are available on the store's website. What could be better than shopping in your pajamas from the comfort of your own home?? I find that doing this helps me to make more deliberate choices and keep better track of how much I am actually spending. I have a detailed list of who I still need to purchase a gift for, so it has me on track,organized rather than feeling rushed and overwhelmed with a frenzy of people around me. Many stores even offer free shipping, or have promo codes/coupons that take a certain amount off of your grand total. It's so exciting waiting for those boxes to start arriving, too!

Another option is free site-to-store shipping. Your package is mailed directly to the store, they notify you when it arrives, and you simply walk in and pick it up at the customer service counter.

So, this year, I should have all shopping completed by December 1st--what a great feeling! Now I just need to make sure I have enough wrapping paper! :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful hands tree

We had a blast making this yesterday:

It was easy, fun, and inexpensive to put together and gave us  a chance to talk about what we are thankful for, even if it was something that seemed small or insignificant. It was interesting to hear their variety of answers! (It's funny how "McDonald's" was in their top five! ) When the hand tracings were cut out and I was ready to write an item on each, I could barely keep up with Isaac and Emma's steady stream of praises. I think we may need to make a second tree just to hold the rest! 

I hung this tree at eye level in a high traffic area of the house so that we will be seeing it many, many  times throughout the day. It's a good reminder for all of us (including the adults!) of just how blessed we truly are.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Someday my children will be too big for my lap

Someday they won't be following me around asking "why" about everything

Someday they (probably) won't be begging to lick the spoon

Someday (hopefully!) they won't need to be reminded to brush their teeth or change their underwear

Someday they won't want to play Candy Land over and over

Someday they won't be fighting over who sits where in the car, whose turn it is to choose the movie, or who really was the one who unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper all over the floor.

Someday they will think it was silly that they ever believed there was a real Tooth Fairy

Someday they won't need me to chase the monsters out of their closets or comfort them during a thunder storm

These are the random thoughts that were going through my mind last night as we went about our evening routine and got the children tucked in. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of every day it's easy for to take for granted what I have NOW, right in front of me. The days run together and often it seems like this busy stage with dependant little ones will last forever. But, it won't.

I will never stop being a mother, but as the children grow and eventually reach adult hood, their needs will change and although I can still be close with them and have a positive, vital impact on their life, they won't need me physically like they do now. I want to fully embrace my role right here in this moment!

Someday I will have a cleaner house, be able to sit down for all my meals, have more quiet time to myself. I will be able to read an entire chapter in a book or have a phone conversation without interruption. And I will relish it after the more demanding years I am living now.

However, I am sure that often, I will start to reminisce. I will reflect and miss the childish chatter, the peanut butter handprints on the wall, the toys underfoot. I will remember that the sleepless nights really don't last forever. (I may even miss folding all those cute little clothes!) It is my greatest hope that I can later look back on this fleeting season of young motherhod with great fondness, with few regrets......

.....But, you know, life may just not be that quiet or calm in the distant future when my babies are grown up, either. I forgot about grandchildren!  :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Eighteen months

October 31st, 2008 is a day forever imprinted in my memory...on that frosty Halloween morning we found out that our third child was indeed on the way. I was elated...and a tad bit nervous. How would I ever spread myself between THREE children? Especially when they would all be age four and under?

A few weeks later, it was time for the initial ultrasound. As I got that first look at the squirming teeny, tiny little life growing inside of me, it was amazing.  It was miraculous, really. My feelings of inadaquecy gradually gave way to feelings of excitement about the new adventure our family was about to embark on. No matter that this third pregnancy proved to be my most difficult, no matter how overwhelmed and exhausted I felt 24/7, it was all worth it! 

Autumn gave way to winter, and then finally it was late spring. Before I knew it, it was time to get down to business and give birth. The date with the bold red circle around it was here! We had elected not to find out the gender, so that added a huge element of suspense (though we both suspected it was a boy). We couldn't wait to discover if it was a he or a she!

 I can still vividly remember the surge of joy upon hearing that first cry, and then my husband loudly announcing, "IT'S ANOTHER  BOY!!"  and high-fiving one of the attending nurses. Ethan was laid in my arms. He stopped wailing and opened his big blue eyes.

Time seemed to stand still. He was beautiful. He was ours. It was love at first sight.

The transition from two children to three went smoother than I expected. Sure, there were stressful times, some chaos....mountains of laundry that took awhile to get to (okay, I still never feel caught up!). We ate alot of frozen pizzas and macaroni and cheese at first. My husband and I had to come together even more as a unit and work as a team. Our older children had to learn that sometimes they had to wait...and that they had to be gentle with a fragile infant. I personally had to learn that it was necessary to accept help when needed and that it was okay to prioritize and let unessential things slide for the moment.

As the days went by, one of the most special things was seeing the bond that developed between all three children. The sibling rivalry that I had feared didn't happen! Instead Ethan's older brother and sister fully welcomed him! Now that Ethan is getting older, it's sweet to see them learning to play together. I hope that they remain this close forever.

So, Ethan will be turning eighteen months old next week.  The past year and a half  has been full to the brim, never a dull moment in our house. Ethan is the true definition of an "Energizer Baby" (a phrase coined by one of my best friends). He keeps going and going and going, until he at last collapses and falls asleep briefly so he can recharge his "batteries"! He has been our earliest at reaching his milestones and I am often racing to stay one step ahead of him. I cannot believe how the time has flown by. How does a baby go that quickly from helpless newborn to a running, climbing toddler who has a knack for getting into mischief?!?

This little guy  has been such a blessing. We all just love him to pieces! A part of me wants to hold on to these days as long as I can, to make the clock go a bit slower. Every day he changes and grows and tries something new. All I can do is live in the moment and treasure each second! I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a mommy to my little ones.

 Eighteen months. Wow. Before I know it, it will be eighteen years!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Look what landed at our house today!!

A whole flock of brightly colored "rainbow turkeys" (so named by the kids) have descended upon us--just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving next week!

The two older kids had such a fun morning assembling them.They insisted on using all sorts of colors for the "feathers", even shades that were a bit unconventional in comparision to what you normally would have on a turkey. :) I was happy to see their abundance of creativity and their willingness to go "outside the box" and make something just the way they wanted to!

The lot of turkeys are now jauntily roosting above the closet in the playroom. What a fun, festive sight upon looking in the door!

There was a huge mess of paper scraps and glue (and some cookie crumbs got mixed in there, too) that was left to clean up afterwards....BUT, so very worth it. This is the stuff that memories are made of, after all!

It is true. A child's smile can say a thousand words.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When my only daughter arrived, I was so excited! Visions of hair bows and cute accesories danced in my head.Well, the bows had to be postponed for awhile in favor of little stretchy headbands.  Wouldn't you know it that out of my three children, she had hardly any hair as a baby (as compared to her brothers!) and it wasn't until around her first birthday that I could just barely coax some unruly wisps into a hair clip. Fast forward to present day now that she is almost four, and she has a lovely long mane of golden hair that is alot of fun to style. Needless to say, between her Grandma, two aunts, and myself, she has accumulated quite the assortment of hair goods. The problem was: how to store them so they were not a jumbled mess in a drawer, or else lying around loose where her little brother could potentially swallow them.

Imagine my delight when I discovered this cute idea in the latest issue of Family Fun magazine, aptly named the Rapunzel Hair Clip Organizer.

You can find the material list and instructions on their web site. The only thing I did differently was to use a slightly larger wooden hoop as the base and added more yarn strands to make the braid thicker. When you are done braiding, simply attach your accesories! Of course, my daughter's had to be topped with a sparkly tiara.

Now my daughter can see everything at a glance...and the added bonus is that it looks adorable hanging on her bedroom wall. Practical and pretty at the same time!

A New Frontier....

So, here I am officially writing the first post on my new blog! I am actually surprising myself by launching into the blogging world. After several years of  some people near and dear suggesting that I write a blog, I finally feel that the timing is right and am taking the big plunge into the unknown. It will be a learning process for me, that's for sure!

It is my hope that in addition to having this space for an online journal of life's happenings, milestones, and everyday little anecdotes, that it may be an encouragement to those who choose to read it...if nothing else to hear about my hits and misses and know they aren't alone in the struggle to be fill the different roles of wife, mother, daughter, sister, or friend.

A bit about my family....we are followers of Jesus Christ. We strive to live our life in a way that would be pleasing to Him. My husband and I were brought together when I was just 17 years old and we got married soon after. We have been blessed with three children who continually keep life exciting and full of adventures. We began homeschooling this year and love it!

When I have any spare time, I could be found curled up with a book and a cup of tea or writing a letter. I like all things crafty, and love to beautify my surroundings through home improvement projects and decorating. I am constantly looking for ways to stretch the budget with creative frugality.

Some might assume that my life would be "mundane" or "boring", but that is not the case at all. I am constantly learning and growing, trying to live in the moment and absorb all I can from whatever comes along. There is never a dull moment around here! I am looking forward to having an outlet to share some of the thougths and ideas that are constantly running through my brain on any given day!

There will be certain boundaries that I won't cross in my writings, in respect to my family's privacy, but rest assured, that what I DO choose to share will be honestly true and heartfelt. Well, here goes nothing! :)