Monthly Archives: December 2010

Candy Cane Cookies–Saturday Snapshots

These candy cane cookies have always been my favorite cookie.  I love them.  They are very mild tasting.  I just love them. 

They are orignally from my mom’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  That book has been so used and loved that pages are falling out, are taped together and all over.  Maybe your family would like them too.

I always double the recipe!  Here is the size batch I make:

1 cup margarine, softened
1 cup shortening
2 cups confectioners sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups flour
2 teaspoon salt
red food coloring

granulated sugar
crushed candy canes

Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Mix together butter, shortening, confectioners sugar, vanilla and almond extract.  Blend in dry ingredients.  Divide dough in half.  Color one have red, using enough for desired shade of red.

Shape 1 teaspoon dough from each color into separate ropes, twist together into candy cane shape.  Complete cookies one at a time, place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 9 minutes or until set and lightly brown, very lightly brown.  sprinkle with sugar and candy cane mixture

Should make 8 dozen cookies, but never does 🙂

And now head over to An Ordinary Mom to see what other pictures have been taken this week!

Made Our Own Hot Cocoa Mix–Try Something New Thursday

***Happy Heavenly Birthday to my Daddy. He would have been 59 today. This is his 6th Birthday in Heaven, first one since his Daddy joined him there. Hug your dad today if you are blessed to still have him here.***

A few weeks ago one of my FAVE bloggers tweeted she was making her own hot cocoa mix, and later that lovely lady shared her recipe!!!  So today, I decided to make some for Try Something New Thursday.

Head on over to An Ordinary Mom for her info and recipe.  And here are the girls and I making it this morning (It took maybe 10 minutes, maybe!)

We used milk instead of the powdered milk because my dry milk was expired, by A LOT!

An Ordinary Mom’s Homemade Cocoa Mix

1 c cocoa (2 c)
3 c powdered sugar (6 c)
2 ½ c powdered milk (5 c)–or leave out the powdered milk and use milk instead of water to make your cup of yummy.
1 tsp salt (2 tsp)
2 tsp cornstarch (4 tsp)
Small pinch of cayenne pepper (slightly bigger small pinch)

Info for doubling is in ( ).

The original recipe is Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa Mix.  It must be hot cocoa season, ‘cuz The Food Network just featured this recipe earlier this week (but they don’t have cute assistants like I do!).

Have you tried anything new lately? Would you like to join me in sharing your ideas? Come link up with me to share the fun.

Ring Advent Calendar–WFMW

We are starting to get the question, “when is it going to be Christmas?  When is it going to be Christmas?”  So I hunted up an advent calendar someone had given us.  It’s cute, but it is all about the Santa and fantasy aspects of Christmas.  Not really my goal for an advent calendar.

So what to do?

I remembered reading over at MckMama’s blog where she made a pair chain for her kids when counting down to her youngest’ birth.  And that sounded like a good idea. I decided to do something like that for my girls.  Yesterday I sat down and for the first time in decades. I made a paper link chain.  Then I got to thinking about the Bible reading I have been doing.  A few of us on twitter have started reading a Proverb a day along with reading Luke at our own pace (you can follow along #SONlight). 

A thought came.  To marry the two.

I decided to write verses on the chain links.  Here are the verses I chose:

Luke 1:28-30
Matthew 1:20
Luke 1:31
Matthew 2:5
Luke 2:6-7
Matthew 2:10-11
Luke 2:28-29
Matthew 2:15
Luke 2:49
Luke 2:11-12
Matthew 2:1
John 3:16

Each night we are taking one link off and reading the reference.  There are a lot more you could use, but those were some verses I selected.  Maybe this will get us started on a family devotion of some sort.

Here is our little chain

Now I am going to head over to We Are That Family and see what works for other people.

Body After Baby Week 3

My dear little girl is 18 weeks old.  She is so sweet and alert.  Tonight she is refusing to go to sleep, instead she is laying on the floor and kicking my feet.  She seems very proud of herself.  Little does she know, but she is exercising.  To her it is just fun and learning.

In between my second and third child I learned something was fun.  I learned I love jogging.  That I was not too old to take up something completely new to me.  I started slowly jogging for 10 minutes with my wii fit.  Then 20 minutes, and finally 30 minutes.  After three months, spring started to come to our frozen Mitten and I was able to take the show on the road, literally.  I was pleased with how quickly I was able to adapt to running outside and start increasing my distance.

About 3 1/2 months after running my first step outside, I undertook my first 5K.  And I ran it.  All of it.  Not fast, but one step after another.  I ran.  And fell in love. 

After Patrice was born, I began yearning to run again.  I was afraid the months away would put me very far from running up to 6 miles like I was doing when we found out our third child was coming. 

I’ve been pleasantly surprised over the last few weeks to find the running again improved nicely.  And this last Saturday I put myself to the test, I headed out for a 5K race.  And I did it.  I ran every step.  Every single step.  I was the last woman to finish in my age class, but I did it.  And I improved my time from the previous race by 2+ minutes.  Personally, I couldn’t ask for more.

And now, might I suggest you running over to Mama Notes to see what others have been doing to improve their body after baby?  Enjoy!

Celebrating Winter–Multitude Monday

Winter has arrived in our Mitten.  It came in with attitude, dumping several inches and then once the snow stopped, the temperatures plummeted.  It is now a white craziness that is too cold to play in.  But it is beautiful.  I even went out and did some of the shoveling yesterday. It was cool.  Yup, pun intended.

So today I thought it would be appropriate to continue counting that which I am thankful for in this winter wonderland.

18.  The beautiful snow.

19.  Four Wheel Drive on vehicles.

20.  Changing Seasons.

21.  Warm clothes people have given me for the girls.

22.  A warm house to keep us safe when the weather turns nasty.

23.  Traveling mercies when we have to be out in the incliment weather.

What are you thankful for?  Head on over to A Holy Experience to see why others are expressing thanks.

Birthdays and Sweet Sillies

The first birthday is fun for the parents.  A sense of accomplishment you have survived as parents.  The second birthday it is cute to watch your little one interact with the people who come, but they still don’t get the point.  But by the time that third one rolls around, they are ready to PAR-TAY!  And Sue was ready this year.  And she hit the jackpot.

We celebrated with family on Thanksgiving, remember the awesome dinosaur cake?  Then we took her out for her actual day and finally this week we had some friends come over.  And she was blessed with fun play time and wonderful gifts.

She was pooped after all that partying.

And not to leave out my other cuties, I took some snapshots of them this week too.

Christmas on the brain part 2–5 ? Friday

1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

We open them Christmas Day.  I remember my oldest daughter’s second Christmas we actually opened gifts over about 5 days.  I didn’t want her to get too overwhelmed and not enjoy what people had chosen for her, so we would open a few, then a few the next day, so on and so forth.  This year will be a little like that.  My mom will be coming down a week or so after Christmas, so we’ll have that time with the grandparents then.  I like it that way.  I know as a kid I liked celebrating on different days.

2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?

Hands down, candy cane cookies.  Kind of a plain tasting cookie, but oh I love them.  The hints of almond are fantabulous!

3. What’s the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received?

Oh there were the things people gave me that didn’t fit, and at the time that seemed like such a tragedy, but honestly, I don’t remember any of them.  I just remember being very loved by my family and friends who took the time to choose gifts or give me money or certificates.  The gifts might not have been perfect, but they were given out of love.

4. Christmas song that you love?

Hmmmm, have to do some research to come up with the name, but I know it is by Trans Siberian Orchestra.  And includes Pachel Bell’s Canon.

5. How many trees do you put up?

One.  Though we did two one year…my sweet hubby decorated a tree in diet coke cans and pictures one year.  I LOVE<3 Love <3 diet coke.  It was super fun to have that one.  This year honestly, it doesn’t feel like Christmas is just around the corner.  Who knows when we will do a tree.

Caitlyn’s first Christmas

Caitlyn’s second and Sue’s first Christmas

Sue’s first Christmas was a snooze fest.

Now hop on over to Mama M to see her answers, and those of others, on these fun Christmas thoughts.

Another Cooking Project as We Try Something New

I have a College friend I reconnected with on Facebook.  She often posts about various cooking projects.  They all sound fantabulous!  Then I found she has a blog, Spare Time Baker where she shares some of her wonderful recipes.  Well when she posted Cookie Dough Truffles that she had found on another site, I had to try them with the girls.  So today, we did.

Plastic bags double as pastry gloves…

We’ll see if we actually get them covered in chocolate.  Trust me, they are yummy just as they are!

Hers are much prettier, but the girls had fun “helping” me “shape” the truffles.

Exercising with 3 Kids–WFMW

Today’s Works For Me Wednesday is actually going to build on my Body After Baby.  Way to marry two blog hops, huh? 

How do I exercise with three kids?  Well before Patrice was born, I had a membership to an actual gym, but with her coming and back to nursing full-time, I knew I would not want to take the time, in addition to work,  being away from the kidlets.  So we undertook a big project…we cleaned our basement and claimed it for exercise space.  Hubby and I had his and her exercise equipment before we got married.  I had a recumbant bike and he an eliptical machine, and our anniversary present to each other this year was a treadmill.  And one Christmas I got the girls a mini trampoline.  So we have all the equipment, we just have to get on it. 

The bike, treadmill, eliptical and trampoline, known as a jump jump around here, are set up in front of the TV.  That way we can watch something as we exercise.  The  girls think it is an extra special treat to go to “Our Gym.”  And when they get bored I can turn on a cartoon for them.  We also have some of their bigger doll toys down there, so they can play with the high chair, swing and dolly strollers while mommy and daddy exercise.  And for Patrice, that is where we have the little “exersaucer” set up for her enjoyment.

I am finding running on the treadmill to be more challenging than outside, but I LOVE running outside.  That is a little trickier to do with the girls.  Caitlyn loves to run with mommy and she is quick.  On days that I have a little bit of time, I start with her and she does the first block with me.  We do a mix of run and walk.  She is always so proud to jog with mommy.  I so want to cultivate that in the girls.  With the cold, it takes lots of bundling to get Patrice ready to go.  Last week it was about 35 degrees when she went with me.  I had her in a warm sleeper, hat and mittens, then a snow sack over her sleeper and a wearable blanket over that.  I am going to make a blanket I can tie on to the stroller as well.

Sometimes it takes me three separate tries to get my exercise in, but every little bit helps and that is what Works for Me Wednesday.  There are more ideas over at We Are That Family.  Check it out!

Body After Baby–week 2

Here we are at week 2 of Body After Baby. I am very excited to have a blog hop to help focus me on those baby pounds.

So how did I do?  Well I worked out every day but Saturday.  I did a mix of treadmill running and intervals, some recumbant bike riding and my Biggest Loser 10 minute work out video.

I am thrilled with how much I worked out.  This is the most since the summer after I graduated from high school.  It paid off then, hopefully it will now.

My hubby even worked out with me yesterday.  I want us to work together to teach our girls the fun and value of exercise.  I want them to grow up with it just part of their normal every day activities.  I actually found a kids Wii Fit game from Nickelodeon for their Christmas gift.  I am so excited!

Caitlyn worked out with me Monday afternoon.  I did 10 minutes on the treadmill, before getting interrupted, then did a 10 minute Biggest Loser cardio workout.  That is stinkin’ hard!  Wowzers.  Friday after I did the work out, I then tried to run outside.  I made it about 1/4 of my normal run.  My legs were just killing me!

Sue wanted to head back down to the work out area Monday night.  It has been named “Our Gym” by her.  I like that.  For some reason I think referring to it as “Our Gym” will make me get down there more. 

So what are you doing in “Your Gym”?  What exercise equipment do you have?  Do you use it?  Have you successfully gotten fit?  Are you satisfied with where you are now?  I would love to hear about it.

Now head on over to Mama Notes to see how others did with the challenge.