Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Eve and Christmas

I LOVE Pinterest!  I think that may be an understatement.  I really do!  I love the idea that people can share recipes with me without having a recipe exchange, not that I don't like that too, I just love that it can be done 24/7.  And the craft ideas that I get from there!?  What!?  I love it!  And then there are the movies people love, oh and the pictures people post of beautiful places and beautiful things.  Okay so I'm a little bit of a pinterest junky I guess lately.  I just need to sit down and do some of the things I've pinned and quit pinning them.  Well, I'll keep pinning things anyway, but I'd like to do and pin and repeat.

Okay now that I've admitted to my pinterest addiction I will post some pictures of our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  It was so much fun.  Micah's grandparents are here and enjoying our crazy family during this time.  I'm so grateful for family.  Sad that we're not closer to family!  Maybe someday...

Okay so here are the pictures.

This is Christmas Eve.  We are "decoration Christmas trees" with sugar cones, frosting, and some sprinkles and such.

Samara decorating hers.

I caught Nattie off guard so she wasn't posing, one of her favorite things to do.

The girls.  Although Micah and I joined in the fun and made some too.  I took a bite of mine and Micah's was for decartion only but the girls gobbled theirs all up.  SUGAR HIGH!!!

Nattie's finished masterpiece

Dig right in!!!

Alyssa's Finished, ready to eat.

And Samara.

Here's my hubby's finished 

We went to church on Christmas Eve.  Thank you Grandma Sue for the beautiful Christmas dresses!!!

We sang happy birthday to Jesus!

Christmas Eve was a success.  Wonderful worship service at church.  Lots of fun games and things to do.   They said it was the best Christmas Eve ever.  They always say stuff like that though so I don't know if it really was or not.  Well, I'll take it for what was said and not over analyze.  BEST CHRISTMAS EVE EVER!!!

Here are the Christmas pictures.

I crocheted a headband for each of the girls.  I think they turned out really well.  I also made a ton of the scarves you see on Samara.  I made there's a little smaller, out of the extra yarn I had.  It's a weird type of yarn but wasn't difficult to figure out how to use. 

Alyssa digging into her stocking.

My friend made this one for Nattie.  She wanted to use it as a necklace instead of a scarf.

Grandpa digging in to his stocking.

Meemo's stocking and some liqueur.

The headphones you get with Rosetta Stone aren't very good, or we are just hard on headphones, so we got a new pair of headphones (wireless, so the chair doesn't roll over the cord). 

The girls made a lot of handprint gifts this year.  This is one they made for Old Grandpa, as they call him.

Thank you pinterest!  This idea was on pinterest.  It is a Friendship bracelet kit.  I didn't do the whole kit because I have 3 girls that use the floss for them.  But I love the idea of these boards so you don't have to use tape or a safety pin to hold it steady while you do the bracelet.

Meemo wearing the ear warmers I made for her.  I think they turned out really cool too.

Add caption

Micah's grandma Nita made us this quilt.  It is so comfortable.  I LOVE IT!! 

Time to make some grubI felt like I was cooking or cleaning all day in the kitchen.  Although the food was so worth it!

Carving the turkey.  YUMMY!  I'm wearing the jewelry Mama Jay got me for Christmas.  I really love it too! She did such a good job picking it out.

The only thing that would've made this day better was to be with the rest of our friends and family all day.  I love getting together with all the family and friends and having a GREAT BIG get together.  At least we had some family here.  It makes me happy that we could spend Christmas with them.  They are pretty awesome!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Crochet Puff Stitch Hats

I am getting more and more crafty lately.  I love to craft.  I think I'm just finally getting more adventurous with it.  I had some help from a friend in MD trying to navigate the world of crochet, and I finally got it.  Well, part of it, because there is so much more to learn.  I wanted to share with you some of the hats I made.

Here is the youtube video of the pattern I used:

Here's an adult version of the same hat.  So the same thing just bigger.
Happy Crocheting!

Today is the Day!

Right after I wrote the last post I knew I would have to sit down and write another one on what I've been up to lately.  I have been... Wait for it... Doing inventor on food.  And the crowd goes wild!!!  Not really.  I have been researching a little bit about how to save money on shopping for food, and how to use what you buy instead of throwing it in the trash.

As I'm typing this my youngest daughter (of 5; 3 here, 2 in Haiti) came up to me and looked like this:
That is a plastic bag full of used Kleenex that she used during her rest time.  All three of the girls are feeling the awesomeness of the changing weather.
Well, I have been doing a lot of planning lately and am going to start a system that I think might work.  It's planned out but I can change it as I need or want to.

I will share what I'm doing with my inventory hopefully in the next couple of days but right now I want to share what I am making for dinner and the stuff I'm baking with bread.  (What!?  Did someone say bread!?)  I LOVE bread so here it goes.

I decided to make 2 batches of bread dough today.  Yep, 2 batches.  Why did I not just double the recipe, you ask?  Because, that's why.  There wasn't really a reason.  I just did it that way.  It would've been much easier if I would've just doubled it but I wanted to do things the hard way.

I don't come up with many things on my own.  I look at blogs, pinterest, facebook even sometimes, I google it, but rarely are things my own in inventions.  I got the recipe I'm about to share from  and I use it all the time.  I like this recipe because it doesn't call for extra wheat gluten.  A lot of the other recipes I have found have that added extra ingredient.  But this one does not call for it.  So here's the recipe.

Honey Whole Wheat Bread             by:  Heavenly Homemakers    Makes:  2 loaves         Time:  3 hours

6 cups whole wheat flour, divided (If you are grinding your own wheat then about 4 cups wheat berries equals 6 cups.   I usually grind more than that though and store it in the refrigerator so that I can make other things when I need it quickly or when the girls are sleeping, the grinder is pretty loud!)
1 ¾ cups warm water, divided                       1 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey                                                 3 Tbsp melted butter
1 pkg (1 Tbsp) yeast
1. Mix 3 cups of whole wheat flour with 1 ½ cups of warm water in a large glass bowl (I use my Bosch bowl). Allow this to sit for about 30 minutes. This will break down the gluten and help the bread to rise better. (To be honest, most of the time I don't do this. I should! But I don't. I do let it sit for a little while but not the full 30 minutes. Someone try it and comment on my blog and tell me what the difference is.)

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl mix together ¼ cup water, yeast and honey. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is activated and mixture becomes bubbly.

3. Add salt, melted butter and yeast mixture to the flour and water mixture. Gradually add the remaining three cups of flour and stir well.

4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.

5. Cover the bowl with a cloth and allow the dough to rise for one hour, or until it has doubled in size.

6. Pull the dough out of the bowl onto the counter. Knead for just a minute or two until the air bubbles are gone.

7. Cut the dough in half with a large sharp knife

8. Shape each section of dough into a loaf and place them each in a buttered bread pan.

9. Cover and allow 45-1 hour to rise again.

10. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the bread sounds hollow when you thump the top of it.

11. Allow the bread to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove it to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Here are my loaves of bread almost ready to go in the oven.

I also made these.  I told you before that I made two batches.  With some of the dough I took pieces and rolled cheddar cheese and 2 lil smokies (the generic kind) in them.  I put them in a muffin tin, only because all my other pans were being used.  It seemed to work out well.  These will be excellent for lunch tomorrowI haven't tried them yet so I don't know if they turned out awesome, good, or just okay.  I may post about that sometime too. 

I wanted to remind myself I did them in a muffin tin, that's why this picture is here.

And out of this double batch--or 2 batches--I made rolls for dinner tonight as well.  WE LOVE ROLLS!  Well, we love bread!  Did I already say that?
    Along with this today I also made a roasted chicken.  So excited for that!  I don't know who I need to give credit to for this recipe, it was one of those cards in the mail, but I LOVE it!

Herb-Roasted Chicken                Time:  1 hour 40 minutes      

2 Tbsp butter                                             2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dried sage                                        6 oz new potatoes, parboiled
1 clove garlic, crushed                              3 bell peppers, deseeded and cut into quarters
1/8 tsp black pepper                                 2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
1 whole chicken (3 lb 5 oz)                       1 red onion, sliced
1 tsp dried rosemary                                1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled                                         flat-leaf parsley springs, to garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375F. In a small bowl, combine butter, sage, garlic, and pepper. Carefully loosen the skin from the chicken breast, being careful not to tear it.

2. Spread half of the herb mixture under the skin; rub the rest on top. Sprinkle with rosemary. Place onion in chicken cavity and tie legs together with kitchen string.

3. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and pour broth into pan. Cover pan with foil and roast for 1 hour.

4. Uncover chicken and roast until juices run clear when meat is pierced, about 40 minutes longer. Transfer to a serving dish. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

5. Meanwhile, place the parboiled new potatoes, peppers, zucchini and onion slices on a separate baking tray. Drizzle with the oil and then roast for 35-40 minutes until cooked and crisp around the edges. Arrange around the chicken, along with the parsley, to serve.

         I wouldn't have ever thought to put seasoning UNDER the skin.  We don't eat the skin at our     house.  None of us like the texture of the skin, so it makes sense to do it this way.

          Here is a picture of the chicken and vegetables.  I parboiled my potatoes a little too much.  But       they are sure to be good anyways.
The chicken, half carved.

The gravy.  Just the broth I ued for roasting the chicken and 2 Tbsp flour.

The potatoes, purple onions, and red bell pepper.  Next time I will use more peppers but this time, this is what we had.

So most people would say that this is what goes in the trash.  I used to say the same thing until recently.  I now know, after blog hopping, how to make and can or freeze chicken broth.  I LOVE cans!  I would either freeze this in a can or can it in a can.  Maybe someday I will post something about that. 
  Today has been a productive day.  I hope and pray that I will have more days like this.  Now if I can just get a handle on how to do this every day!...  someday...  as for right now, I am going to continue to try.

    Today is the day He has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Can't Speak

Wow!  I am sitting here TIRED!  I haven't been feeling well the past week.  It started out as allergies but they creep up on me so fast.  I am feeling better today, still no voice but I FEEL okay.  Which is great because I hate to FEEL bad.  I decided since I can't talk very well that I could try to type.  So far my finger functionality is 100% so typing it is!  (I apologize in advance for jumping around, I've got a lot on my mind today.)

I am at a loss of words a lot of the time.  (Pun intended since I can't talk well right now.)  In the midst of the moodiness and downright BLEH feeling lately, God is right beside me holding me!  All the way to the depths He's holding me.  All the way to the heights, He's holding me.  He's got me.  It doesn't matter how I feel about Him, life, my circumstances; He always feels the same with me.  I know this because I live it out daily.  I make mistakes OVER and OVER and OVER again.  But He is there to catch me, actually I believe He's holding me as I fall.  My choices and feelings don't hold Him back from loving me. 

Okay... I've got that out... I feel better.  Man, I knew this sit down and take a few minutes to write would help me out. So awesome!  Thanks for letting me "speak".