Saturday, December 27, 2008
What a lovely Christmas we had! My parents-in-law and brother-in-law were here from Dec. 23 until this morning. We had a wonderful time with them!
I must talk about my stocking swap! Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman hosted this really fun swap where you prepare a stocking for a person only known online and another different person prepares one for you.
Unknown to me Becky at Scripture Mom was my secret Santa. She sent me such wonderful gifts! Which my husband kindly loaded in my stocking.... My two favorites are the butterfly bookplates and the magnetic measuring spoons- although I ate that whole Toblerone bar on Christmas day. The gifts also included an Eiffel tower key chain, spatula, lovely soap, candy cane, and bath beads!!! What fun! Thank you SO much Becky!
Soon I will post again with more Christmas details!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 oz bag of chocolate mint chips (Andes Crème de Menthe)
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in large bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat well.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in 10 oz bag of mint chips. Drop by rounded half-teaspoons onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.
Check out Our Creative Life for more cookies in the cookie exchange!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
In this advent season I can't help but think about what Mary must have been going through during her pregnancy, when she was waiting for the birth of Jesus.
Thank you Mary- for being open to the will of God in a way few of us are.
I pray that I can follow Mary's example.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
But, I couldn't wait until Christmas to give it to him! He needs it for all the baking we are doing!
The apron is actually made for doing arts and crafts and it is a really small size (the other kids aprons I have seen are really too long for DV.)
It is perfect, DV wears it every time we are going to cook or bake anything, just like his mommy.
Children's aprons work for me! Check out the other great tips on Shannon's site!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
After DV woke up (and after IV got home from work) we decided to decorate the house. You can see we really worked as a team- I used the icing and DV controlled the candy.
I think we really got great results this year- and DV's hand eye coordination has improved so much from last Christmas when we also did this! He was able to place the candies exactly where he wanted them on the lines of icing I piped.
This activity is SO much fun and I would recommend it for anyone, especially the kit we got this year which had pre-mixed icing (although if I had made it I think we could have used a little more.)
This is my Works for me Wednesday post, although I am too late to make it on Shannon's list you can check out more great ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Here you can see him with two trains- his wooden train on the right and the new Christmas train on the left. The Christmas train was supposed to go in the Christmas tree- but after about 20 minutes of trying IV and I decided not in our tree...
So instead of our lovely tree skirt we now have a train. I already miss the tree skirt- it has a nativity on it and I LOVE nativities (now I only have 7 out decorating!)
Thank you Pop-pop for the Christmas train! It makes some great noises that DV loves too.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
When DV woke up from his nap he decided he "needed" to get to the mall to see Santa and to ride the really cool carousel we have (I am a sucker for carousels!)
Since I was feeling spontaneous and IV was not, I decided to take DV to the mall- even though it is Sunday and everything should have been very crowded. We lucked out! There were only 4 people ahead of us in line to see Santa.
We parked, saw Santa, rode the carousel and got home in 45 minutes. That was a perfect mall trip!
It would have been even better if I could have gotten in some shopping.... but I have given up doing that kind of thing with DV.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
DV had refused to get his picture taken with Santa since he was a baby- but amazingly he decided that the colonial Santa was cool! In fact, the Santa was so cool he got down on the ground to get his picture taken with DV and it didn't cost us a thing. DV says he wants to invite Santa to our house.
We have told him Santa is coming- and DV says the only thing he wants is a train table!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
1. Granma Jennie's Favorites, 2. (0395) Giza Plateau Egypt, 3. grimsby docks at night, 4. Pretty Monarch Butterfly 003, 5. brosnan, 6. You travel far to discover home., 7. Another another Rome..., 8. eye candy!, 9. Tender Love and Care, 10. It's breathtaking!, 11. Amazing Thailand, 12. Jen's Cheesecake
The idea for this fun post (my 100th!) came from Tara at The Well-Rounded Woman. It's a fun quiz that you use to create a mosaic that represents you.
First, answer these twelve questions:
1. What is your first name? (Jennie)
2. What is your favorite food? (Pizza)
3. What high school did you attend? (Satellite High School)
4. What is your favorite color? (Purple)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (Pierce Brosnan)
6. Favorite drink? (Water)
7. Dream vacation? (Rome)
8. Favorite dessert? (Chocolate)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (Mom)
10. What do you love most in life? (Family)
11. One word to describe you (Happy)
12. Your Flickr name (Jen8rc)
Then build a mosaic! You use the mosaic maker at Big Huge Labs and get the photos by searching for your answers in flickr and selecting a photo for each question from the first page of hits.
Fun! Fun! And, something silly for my 100th post. Maybe I'll be serious on 101.
Thanks Tara for the instructions and you and I match on some of our answers!
You can find the guide here or you can just click on that nifty button on my right sidebar. That's right, over there. ->
I have almost finished all my Christmas shopping- actually I just have to finish a project for my mom's gift and buy another small gift for IV. But, I know someone out there could use hints for what to buy me (that's right, IV I'm talking to you.)
Here's a start to your Christmas shopping and the great advantage is not having to leave the house! Your gifts will come to you!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
So in addition to hand washing dishes (really it's not that bad for a family of three, except when we decide to make something elaborate like oysters) we have been shopping.
I want a GOOD dishwasher. The one we had (sadly passed away) was so great about getting the dishes clean. I read some online articles and decided the most important components for me are a food grinder, automatic water temperature control, and adjustable tines on the bottom. Not to mention, the more spray heads the better!
So we went shopping at three stores- Sears, Lowes, and Home Depot. I found a few dishwashers which were almost perfect at Lowes and Sears but we found our new dishwasher at Home Depot.
Home Depot has 10% off Maytag appliances right now, which is one of the reasons we selected a Maytag. But the main reason is it met all the requirements- and has three spray heads! It's also $100 less than its Sears competitor and seems more reliable from its reviews. If you're curious it's the Maytag Model MDBH955AWW.
Now we just have to be patient and wait for delivery. It will arrive on Wednesday- and we are planning to install it ourselves. (I'll let you know how that goes.)
I can't wait for my new dishwasher!!!!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Yesterday evening we decided it was the perfect time to work on our pumpkins. Two days before Halloween- they won't have time to rot before the trick-or-treaters come.
DV was a great help getting the strings and seeds out of the pumpkin and I decided that with two pumpkins worth of seeds I should try something I hadn't done in years. Cook the seeds!
I must say, previously I haven't had much success with making edible pumpkin seeds, so I decided to go with a recipe that was definitely different. You boil the seeds first. It worked! The seeds are crunchy and delicious!!!
Here's the recipe:
First boil the pumpkin seeds- for every half cup of seeds add 2 cups of cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt for every cup of water (I used a little less than this.) Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Prepare your baking pan. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the seeds and place them in one layer in the pan (I had to use 2 pans). Bake the seeds for 20 minutes or until the seeds are browned to your liking. I stirred the seeds half way through. Let the seeds cool completely in the pans before enjoying!!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So I have been searching for a good recipe for cookies which just uses only a little sugar. I have found it in "Italian Frosted Cookies" (you have to leave the frosting off for the low sugar effect.) The recipe comes from DV's Kindermusic book with a few modifications:
Italian Frosted Cookies
¾ cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. orange juice (or apple juice)
3 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (325 convection)
Cream the butter and sugar; add eggs, vanilla, and juice. Combine flour and
baking powder in separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture. Knead
dough for about 5 minutes. Use tablespoons of dough, roll into lengths
press ends together to form small rings. Let stand on ungreased
cookie sheet for
15 minutes at room temperature. Bake for 15 minutes or
until lightly golden.
Makes 4 dozen.
Note: The original recipe
called for a confectioner’s sugar and water glaze which the hot cookies would be
dipped in and then sprinkles added but these cookies are good plain.
This recipe works for me! The cookies taste a little like sweet croissants. Enjoy! For other Works for Me Wednesday ideas check out Rocks in My Dryer.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
It works for me. To see more works for me Wednesday posts go to Rocks In My Dryer.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup cold water or brewed coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a 9" cake pan or line a cupcake pan with 12 papers.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add the vegetable oil, water (or coffee), and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add the vinegar to the batter and stir until just mixed (you will see pale streaks in the batter where the vinegar and baking soda are reacting.) Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
There is also a delicious and easy glaze that goes with the cake.
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup hot water, milk or half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
I make the glaze in the microwave, so first I heat the milk (or water or half-and half) for about 1.5 minutes until it's almost boiling. Then I melt the chocolate in the microwave (it takes about 1.5 minutes.) Then whisk the chocolate and milk together and add vanilla. Pour the glaze over the cake and refrigerate!!!
I make the cake a lot for DV and IV to enjoy and use buttercream icing, but if I am going to bring something to a group of women this cake with the glaze is perfect. Total chocolate heaven!!!
PS- This cake is also a pretty cool example of a common acid and base reaction (the vinegar and baking soda) that is used to leaven the cake. So I also like it as a chemist!
Monday, September 1, 2008
Luckily, we didn't have to evacuate because we are on the edge of the storm bands- only feeling the tropical storm force winds and rain.
Obviously, we haven't lost power yet!
The main difficulty had been entertaining DV during the rain and wind- he has been acting like a hurricane in the living room. There are toys where I never thought toys could be.
Today I just feel thankful. Thank God the storm spared us and we are praying for those it didn't.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour and baking soda. Put butter and sugars in the mixer and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add vanilla and eggs, mix. Mix in flour mixture, and then stir in chocolate chips by hand.
Drop teaspoons of dough onto baking sheets line with parchment. Bake cookies for 8 minutes, or until edges are golden and centers are soft. Cool cookies on wire racks. Store cookies in airtight container between layers of parchment.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Here's a picture of him enjoying it, even before I added the race car decals. He started out sleeping in it with his crib mattress and when we decided he had gotten too tall for the crib mattress we switched to a twin.
But where does he sleep now? He takes his blanket and bear and sleeps on the floor- right by the door. Every night.
So the cute, "kids dream," bed is empty and we can't even move him into it after he's asleep- because opening the door wakes him up!
I hope he'll go back to sleeping in the bed someday- the hardwood can't be that comfortable!
Friday, August 15, 2008
But ARGHHHHH! On August 19 I will be back to the grind- teaching Chemistry I labs. I adjunct part-time and stay home with DV the rest of the time.
I'm just not sure I'm ready to go back. I want more time off!
Truthfully? I am a little nervous. I always get this way before I start a new activity. Even one I have done before....
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I am here to tell you marshmallows cannot be added to just any recipe.
I had some marshmallows. I had some brownie mix. And, I needed a dish to take to my potluck.
Can you see where this is headed? I decided I couldn't just make the mix brownies- I had to try for something exciting. So I added a bag of mini marshmallows to the mix before baking it.
I should have figured there is a reason marshmallows are never added to something before baking.
Here is what happened: browned and caramelized marshmallows on top of undercooked brownies. Totally inedible! I had to buy something for the potluck.
Here's my recommendation- DO NOT BAKE MARSHMALLOWS!!!!!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
2. Unconditional love
3. Enjoy the moment
4. Read, read, read
5. Always smell the flowers
6. Run don't walk
7. Chocolate is the perfect food
8. Prunes are the other perfect food
9. Daddy is a hero
10. Watch the garbage trucks (and other gross things)
Every day DV teaches me something absolutely vital. I don't know who I would be without him in my life. Thanks DV!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Don't you just love the one of DV leaning back in the chair? Well, I love them all!
And, we even got a pretty good deal on a ton of pictures- and if we could have limited ourselves to one pose we could have spent only $9.95.
They even include a free CD so you can e-mail your pictures, get reprints, and post them on your blog.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I decided to trot out my recipe for easy lasagna. I think it is much better than the frozen kind you can buy- and for the 3 of us it actually makes 3 meals. (It makes 12 adult size servings and IV likes to eat 2!) The extra meals freeze and re-heat in the microwave really well so this is a real time saver- plus it's not much more work than spaghetti
- 16-20 oz ground turkey
- 1 large jar pasta sauce
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 9 lasagna noodles
- parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Cook the lasagna noodles as the package directs. While they are cooking cook the ground turkey and drain the fat. Then add enough pasta sauce to make a slightly soupy mixture and simmer while the noodles are cooking.
When the noodles are done cooking drain them and run cold water over them. Pour some pasta sauce (without meat) on the bottom of your lasagna pan. Place 3 noodles over sauce. Add half the meat sauce and spread. Then spread half of the ricotta cheese over the meat and sprinkle on half the mozzarella. Add 3 more lasagna noodles and make the second layer of meat and cheese as the first. Cover with 3 more lasagna noodles. Pour more pasta sauce (without meat) over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
At this point cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and you can refrigerate it to bake later or bake it now! Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I am on the hunt for a simple (read as no candy thermometer) recipe for fudge. I am working on my project now so that by Christmas time I will be ready! Homemade fudge for DV's teachers with the lovely Christmas ornaments I ordered on discount from Lenox.
The first recipe I tried is called "Simple Chocolate Fudge" and I read it in Everyday Food. Of course I modified it a little bit..
- 4 tbs. butter
- 3 cups mini marshmallows
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups chocolate chips
The original recipe (and thus the photo) also includes 1 cup walnuts, and calls for heavy cream instead of evaporated milk.
The fudge tastes lovely but did not set-up as well as I would have liked. I had to put it in the freezer to get it to set- and then when moved to the refrigerator the fudge is a little soft. Probably too soft for gift giving but fine for eating. So I am still on the quest.
If anyone has a suggestion please share!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
"If one day you feel like crying...
I don't promise you that...
I will make you laugh
But I can cry with you.
If one day you want to run away-
Don't be afraid to call me.
I don't promise to ask you to stop,
But I can run with you.
If one day you don't want to listen to
Call me and...
I promise to be very quiet.
If one day you call and there is no answer...
Come fast to see me...
Perhaps I need you..."
I want to be the kind of friend who is always there. I am blessed to have several friends who are always available for me. Thank God for friends!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
So, I tried an experiment- 3 prunes!- and now we have him doing his business quite regularly every evening when given the "prunies" in the morning. This definitely works for me.
For more works-for-me Wednesday links check out Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer.
Monday, July 21, 2008
I was wandering around the blogosphere today and I found this wonderful 3 minute retreat. It is a daily, scripture guided, computer retreat- and it's just what I've been looking for to supplement my prayer life. I already have a daily reflection I read with scripture and prayer but I've been searching for something to add.
Today's scripture was from 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not you own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body."
I really needed to be reminded today that the spirit and body are united. Our moral choices need to be reflected in the actions of our bodies and the desires of our spirits. Our bodies are not ours- they belong to God. We must live in a way that reflects the dignity of our bodies and our souls. The last question today's retreat asks is, "How can I help others to see themselves in God's eyes?"
Sometimes I forget to see other people with God's eyes- see what is good about them. I don't know why but I really feel like this retreat was speaking to me. I am going to work on seeing the good in other people as Jesus does.
So, I actually came away with 2 resolutions from this one 3 minute reflection. 1) Remember that my body and all bodies belong to God and take care of them in an appropriate way 2) Remember that Jesus saw good where others did not and be like Him.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
One of the problems frequently encountered by me while baking was a cake layer torn in half- because it stuck to the pan!
Now, it's a real pain to have to re-make a cake and hope that it doesn't happen for a second time.
My solution is waxed paper. And, this works every time!!!
1. Trace the bottom of your cake pan(s) on waxed paper
2. Cut out the pattern
3. Grease the pan
4. Place the waxed paper in the bottom over the grease
5. Grease the waxed paper
6. Sprinkle the whole inside of the pan with flour (which sticks to the grease)
Now, add your cake batter and bake as normal. When you remove your cake from the pan it won't stick- only the waxed paper will. Pull off the waxed paper and then lay it back on top until the cake cools (this keeps the layer from drying out too much.) I've never had a cake split since adopting this trick.
Works for me Wednesday is hosted by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer .
Monday, July 14, 2008
I thank God every day for the presence of our son DV in our lives. He was born when I was only 27 weeks pregnant. I developed HELLP syndrome and ended up in the hospital. Eventually, they needed to perform an emergency C-section which had perfect timing because a placental abruption was also discovered.
DV was 2 lbs 4.5 oz when he was born and stayed in the NICU for 9 weeks. Today even the doctors say you can't tell he was a premature baby. We had so many people and prayer chains praying for us both before and after his birth- he is a miracle baby.
I thank God every day for the miracles in my life, the small everyday ones, and especially my miracle baby!
Look at him now!