Friday, November 30, 2007

It's the ballet!

On the very same day after our service project, I took Sophie on a mommy-daughter date to see The Nutcracker ballet. We did not go to the professional version downtown as the tickets were outrageous - instead we went to the Lakeville City Ballet version just south-west of us. I must say they did a pretty good job! They had some great dancers and Sophie absolutely loved it! She decided that she wants to be one of the angels and Clara sometime. She also liked the "flexible" ones the best. It is quite a production - huge cast and really great costumes!

Here is our little group. Don't look too closely at this photo - I was not feeling very well and I was literally wearing lounge around pants and a sweater to the ballet.

Along a similar vein, this is a fashion no-no for most people. Only when you are 5 and in your first ballet class can you get away with a glaring four inches of patterned undies showing and have it be called "cute".

So very, very behind . . .

The day after Thanksgiving our Relief Society had a service project at a local womens shelter. We made brunch for all of the residents. Here are the muffins I made - coconut banana. I do not normally approve of coconut in my food (it's a texture thing), but these were deeeeeelish! I think it helped that they have a completely irresponsible amount of butter in them. The recipe said it made 8 muffins, I made 12 with each batch.

I took Sophie with me to let her experience a service project as well. She was very excited and had a great time! Here she is helping to clean the kitchen before brunch.
Here is our group of fabulous ladies! Many other sisters dropped off food - we had a ton! Unfortunately, many of the residents had gone to family homes for the holidays, so we had very few people to serve. We left them some of the leftover, boxed up a bunch more and dropped them off at another shelter and even had enough for quiche and muffins for the missionaries!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We have become avid bird-watchers at our house ever since Bryan decided to start reading bird guides for fun. We have put up a couple of feeders on the back deck and the kids get a kick out of all of the little guests who stop by. Right now our favorite is the baby squirrel who is a rather hyperactive. He is always chasing the big squirrel (we call him fatty), all over the deck. Baby squirrel (needs a name), is also quite agile and had taken to climbing up our screen door which can be quite disconcerting if you do not notice him there until you turn around and are face to face with little hyper squirrel!

Bryan knows the names of all of these birds, but he is at work, so I am posting them without names for now. Most of these photos are taken form inside the house through our glass sliding door which is always covered with fingerprints and at this time of year, snot.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wacky Max

Ready for another edition of Max's spelling list? Here it is - I swear to you, I am not making this up.

1. vortex generator
2. forefinger
3. firework
4. forefoot
5. firecracker
6. nasturtium
7. quixotic
8. morning
9. house
10. knew
11. school
12. telemetry antenna

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

Oh my, my are there ever some cute things on the web these days! If you are still looking for that perfect gift let me show you some adorable ideas on line! This should not be viewed in any way as a wish list. I have a very blatant wish list over at! These are just things I've run across on the web that I have wanted to show to someone and say "look at this - so cute!"

If there is a card maker in your life, check out these photo carousels from Pottery Barn. If one actually had room, wouldn't these be gorgeous in an office or craft space?

I'm not sure how practical this is, but I think it is charming! The bird cage desk organizer.

Look at this darling princess and the pea doll! So sweet! If I were at all talented in the sewing department, I would try and make one of these.

Last one for today. I found this company mentioned on another blog. They make these amazing hand-made wooden toys from “preservative-free” rubber woods. They are painted with non-toxic paints and in these days of Chinese-made lead filled toys, they seem even more wonderful.

Look at this adorable circus! So cute!
LOVE this little set! Another thing I love about these toys - no batteries, no packaging waste, no plastic to fill the oceans, no harsh noises and flashing lights. They require an imagination.

I love that Calvin in is a stage right now where he spends most of his time playing with his wooden trains and making up stories for them and making the "toot toot" train noises. I just love that. I just wish the trains were not painted with lead paint.Aren't these just the most beautiful toys?

Gratitude Crafts

Here are some photos of the kids and their Thanksgiving artwork. Sophie made this little number at school. I am taking photos of the kids artwork so I can throw them away without the guilt.

Here is another one from kindergarten. It says "I am thankful for . . . family, ballet class, setting the table, Red Pine Elementary, Junie B. Jones books, my princess handbook, hopscotch, everything!"

Here are Calvin and Sophie helping with our Thanksgiving meal by licking all of the bowls.

The kids sat down with dad to make little Thanksgiving pumpkins for our friends who came for dessert.

Calvin poured the candy into the pumpkins. He may have licked a few.

Max and Sophie made the tags and wrote the names on them.

Here are the finished products.

Here is Calvin's little preschool pumpkin.

We all made turkeys for the Thanksgiving table. We wrote things that we are grateful for on the feathers. Here is Max being attacked by his crazy turkey!

Yep, he's a riot.

Here is Sophie's turkey hat. I love the eyes the very best of all.

Look at that cute kid!

Inside it says "Dear Mom and Dad, I love you with all my heart! I wish Jillian was in my class with all my might! Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Sophie"

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks

Max thinks he is a riot here - I told him to say "Happy Thanksgiving" before telling us what he is thankful for. Ahhhh, 7-year old humor. It's a riot. Sophie's video cannot be posted because it is too big even to load on You Tube. She had much to be thankful for. I'll try and get her to record it again this time speaking faster.

Friday, November 23, 2007

We're all Fat and Happy

Another successful Thanksgiving has come and gone. We cooked and we cooked and then we ate and . . . well, we are still eating. Sophie kept calling dinner "the feast" and I guess it was.

Here was the menu:
Martha's Turkey with lots of butter and fresh herbs
White Wine, Butter, Turkey Drippings Gravy
Mashed Potatoes with all sorts of yummy fattening things in it
Mom's orange, brown sugar sweet potatoes
Koo's sausage stuffing
Martha's Sweet Potato Rolls
Beet, Goat Cheese Salad
Tacky Jello Mold with suspended fruits and colored marshmallows
Tara's Green Bean Casserole
Cranberry Sauce

And for Dessert:
Coconut Creme Pie
3 Pumpkin Pies
Current-Eggnog Tart
Chocolate Mousse Pie
Chocolate-Pecan Pie
White Chocolate Cheesecake
Banana Creme Pie

We had Koo and her friend Tara over for dinner and then our friend's The Quicks came over for dessert and games. It was absolutely beautiful outside all day long - very fluffy white snow falling down and making it seem even more cozy indoors. The only thing missing was the rest of our families! Wish you were here!

Our starter - beet, goat cheese and pistachio salad - YUM!

The kids thought the jello mold was the most amazing creation ever made. All they ate before dinner was some oreos and clementines and then when we finally ate at about 3:30, they wanted jello and rolls! OK, Calvin ate a lot of turkey and Sophie loved the stuffing and Max loved to make a volcano with his potatoes but overall, the jello was the big winner.

Mmmm, why yes, that is a pool of butter on top of the potatoes.

The turkey was perfect - crispy on the outside and so moist on the inside!

I made a double batch of rolls to have plenty on hand for turkey sandwiches!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sweet-Potato Rolls Recipe

I cannot find Martha's recipe on line so I will post it here for those who requested it. I will put up photos tomorrow after they are made! I have been busy today making pies. I actually had to make ANOTHER trip to Sam's Club for heavy whipping cream this afternoon! So far we have three pumpkin, one coconut cream and one cranberry-eggnog tart made with a chocolate mousse pie and a lemon-meringue tart yet to go tonight. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!!

1/4 cup warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups cooked sweet potatoes (I use the light brown skinned ones)
1 t, fresh lemon juice
1 large egg slightly beaten
7 cups sifted all-purpose flour
softened butter for the bowl, melted butter for brushing

place warm water in small bowl, sprinkle with yeast and let sit until foamy - about seven minutes. In small saucepan heat milk over med. heat until it begins to steam and bubble around the sides. Remove from heat and add butter - stir until melted. Stir in sugar, salt and cardamom. Let cool slightly. Combine sweet potatoes and lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth. Beat in egg, milk and yeast mixture until smooth. Switch to dough hook and add flour, one cup at at time beating until a stiff dough forms. Continue kneading on med. until smooth - about 8 minutes. The dough wills till be slightly sticky. Transfer dough to large buttered bowl, cover with towel and let rise until doubled - about one hour. Preheat over to 400. Punch down dough, turn it out and knead until smooth. Cut into 20 equal pieces and form into balls. Place on silpat lined baking sheets let rise covered until doubled in bulk. Using kitchen sheers, cut an x onto the top of each roll. Brush with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden rotating pan halfway through.

Here are some pumpkin pies to get you in the Thanksgiving mood. Why yes, that is snow in the photo. I had to take them outside to get a decent photo. So you caught me; I have still not read the instruction manual to my camera. Maybe next week?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crafty Girl - Pilgrim Edition

So we crafted again yesterday. I appear to be running for the mom-of-the-year award around here. Wait, did Max just bring home ANOTHER 2nd grade behavior pink slip yesterday? There goes my chances. Back to the hats. More on Max later.

Inspired by Family Fun Magazine, the kids and I made Pilgrim Hats yesterday. I was feeling crafty.

This is what you'll need. OK, so they are not very "homemadey", but the kids loved them!

First step. Place the cookies face down on a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

Step 2 - empty the chocolate chips into a glass bowl. Melt them in the microwave.

Step 3 - Stir the chips until smooth.

Step 4 - Poke a marshmallow with a toothpick and dip it into the chocolate to cover. This is Sophie working hard. (true confession - spell check just corrected me on spelling marshmellow. See, it's doing it again - I thought it was an "e"!! But, I digress . . . .)

Calvin could not stop licking his finger and his toothpick.

Natalie could not keep her tongue in her mouth.

Step 5 - When they have all been dipped and placed on the cookies (use another toothpick to help push them off), pop them in the freezer to cool. Or, if you live in Minnesota, pop them out on the deck for a few minutes!
While they cool, let the kids lick the bowl. Mmmmmm, yummy.

Oh dear, messy. Luckily, this was Natalie, so I just rolled up her sleeves and pretended it never happened. Hee, hee. Sorry, Susan.

Step 6 - draw on a buckle with your yellow icing in the tube. Note to self - next time buy the tips that fit onto the tube of yellow icing!

Then if you are an overachiever, make a darling little pilgrim tag and wrap each hat individually for friends. We made exactly one of these. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cutie Cupcakes

Look at these adorable cupcakes some woman makes! One serious downfall of the internet is the sheer wealth of "I'd like to do that" ideas one can find. I need another 12 hours in each day!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thrifty Girl

Sophie wore her new coat for the first time on Saturday. I picked it up this summer at a garage sale for $5.00. I let her know she is never allowed to eat in it because Mommy cannot afford the dry cleaning.