Monday, January 29, 2018

Punch Line

Our children love watching Alton Brown's Good Eats. Me, too. More than a year ago, one of my sons memorized Brown's recipe for punch. Never mind that it was alcoholic,  and he can't drink it. He memorized the poem-recipe, and his heart was set on making it.

I finally gave in on Twelfth Night earlier this month, but we made a non-alcoholic version, too, for the kids. This was another occasion to break out the snack trays and other "fancy" dishes like our punch bowl.

Grown-up punch

Broken hand ice in kids' punch

Unbroken hand ice in kids' punch

And, yes, that is hand-shaped iced in the punch bowl. That was another of my concessions to my punch-desiring son. 

For the record, Alton Brown's punch recipe was good. This is the rhyme-recipe: "One part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts weak." Instead of the recipes found on Food Network, we substituted what we had on hand. No pun intended.

The kids' recipe used lemons, mango juice, sugar, and sparkling water. And don't forget the nutmeg!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Building Project Update-- Big News!

We had a few hiccups in the final lap of our building project. The Inspector said we needed a larger window in the bedroom for egress, so a special one had to be ordered. It came in during the cold, cold weather of last week, but this week was quite mild and perfect for tearing out the "old" window.

Making the opening just right

Newer and larger roll-out window (bad picture--sorry)

The window stuff happened on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday our favorite electrician helped us by moving our Dish cable through brick walls and crawlspace and into an outlet so I can now turn on cartoons to babysit to entertain the little ones while I prepare dinner on "difficult" days. 

Thursday we were on pins and needles waiting for The Inspector. When he came, it was quick and painless, and we were left with a new signature on the bright yellow sticker inside the gray electrical panel.


I did a little happy dance.

We have much work ahead of us still. We need to finish finding places for the things that we've moved about and move the two oldest boys into the new bedroom. Then we plan on moving everything out of the old boys' bedroom to paint the walls and clean the carpet. After that, we'll be moving things back into there for the other two boys (one of them is still sleeping in our room). 

The only other thing left (that I can think of) is the concrete pad for the patio out the back door, and that will have to wait for spring!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Very Hungry Birthday Party

Back before Christmas, my kindergartner had a birthday. We've been using Five in a Row for school, and I decided to "row" The Very Hungry Caterpillar (my way). She was excited to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party. When I saw this idea on Pinterest, I was excited, too, because it looked so easy.

Very hungry cupcakes

Very hungry egg carton craft (from the day before)

For party food, we skipped many of the sweet things the caterpillar ate through because that would be just way too much sugar. So we didn't have pie, lollipops, or ice cream. We may have missed a few other things, too, just because I didn't have them.

We did have:

Apples, sausages, and salami
Swiss cheese plus some other cheeses

Strawberries, oranges, pickles, and butterfly crackers

I enjoyed this party because it was so easy to prepare AND it correlated to what we were studying in school. Thank you, Eric Carle!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Last Christmas-y Post

Sorry, folks, I don't have any pipers piping to show you for the 11th day of Christmas, but I do have a few highlights of our Christmas this year.

We didn't have a place to put a Christmas tree before Christmas, and the flooring wasn't finished until the Friday before Christmas. We didn't return home until late that night. On Saturday, my husband headed out to do some needed shopping. He looked several places for a small Christmas tree and finally found one just right for us this year. He left it in the Suburban until the children were in bed, and I decorated it that night so the children could be surprised in the morning. 

I picked out one ornament belonging to each person in the family plus a couple of extras. I made a construction paper star for on top, and found a scrap of ribbon in my sewing stash that one son said, "really made the whole tree perfect." It wasn't our usual big get-up, but not one single person complained.

I splurged on a coffee treat for my husband. Coffee By Gillespie makes a 1517 Reformation Roast plus a few other theology-themed blends that I couldn't pass up for the pastor in our house. He's tried the Reformation Roast, and while we normally prefer a different roast, this blend is quite the palate-pleaser and smooth. We can't wait to try the others in the sampler.

On Christmas Day we did have enough of the house put together to enjoy a nice dinner, but we had no special dessert. That problem was remedied by a kind church lady who gave us a box full of tasty and prettily decorated mini-bundt cakes. Everybody had the chance to pick lemon or chocolate AND taste part of the other flavor. 

This dessert was the perfect opportunity to use my new (old) snack plates and cups that I bought at an antique place. I had been looking for a few more sets because my husband found several (but not enough for our entire family) at a yard sale this summer. I was thrilled when we found them on our pre-Christmas date (provided by the kind baby-sitting of a church member for several years running). If you're interested in the pieces, I found a blog post by a collector that shows a vintage photo of ladies using these.

We put a Hershey's kiss in the ashtray part of the plate, and eggnog was a perfect beverage for our cake treats. I can see me using these trays so many times for special tea parties or snacks with the kids. 

And that's our Christmas round-up. Enjoy the last two days of the Christmas season.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Christmas Cookies at Grammy's

For the past couple of years, since I found the Frugal Girl's blog, we've anticipated her Christmas cookie guessing contest. I love looking at those cookies!

Well, this year while the new flooring was being installed in our house the week before Christmas, the children and I spent the week at my parents' house. One day they had tons of fun decorating sugar cookies with Grammy.

These lack the cool eyes that Frugal Girl's family uses, but I still think they are cute. Plus, Grammy had quite the variety of sprinkles to use.

My favorite that I decorated-- pastel sugars on a white tree

Some huge gingerbread cookies, and an upside-down white-tail deer (shot!)

That gingerbread boy is Dr. Who.

That one is Batman.

The black frosting was used unconventionally, but it was the only chocolate one.

Detailed Santa with tiny balls spelling out "Ho Ho" and "Toy"

The pictures I didn't post were mostly of children licking their fingers. Somehow we managed not to die from sugar over-consumption, and we had something to take to my family's Christmas party.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year-- Old Pictures

We've been unsettled this Christmas because of new wood floors being installed the week before Christmas. That's my excuse for not getting Christmas cards out, not doing any blog posts, not eating healthy, etc.

But it's time to catch up. It may take a few posts which may be completely out of order. I might as well get started.

1. My Birthday. I had a birthday back more than a month ago, and I loved it. My son made me a cake in my cast iron pan and frosted it with salted caramel frosting that he also made.

I also received one of those "big kid" coloring books; I'd been wanting one for a good while.

My husband loves buying gifts for me from NOVICA. This birthday I got a beautiful hand-carved owl pendant from Bali. I love it.

2. Building Project. I found a stray picture from before the beautiful wood floor was installed. In this picture you can see the planning stage when Tim (one of the installers) was measuring and laying out the tile around the door before beginning the wood. I can't wait for you to see this floor!

3.  Deer Season.  Lots of hunting was enjoyed by several members of our household. Here are some pictures my husband took from his deer stand.

This is my husband's view from his deer stand. You can't quite see the turkey in the distance, but those trees on the horizon mark the border between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

My husband saw this cheeky fellow in the tree next to him. I'm not interested in hunting, but someday I think I want to go with him just to take pictures of the beauty.

Happy New Year!