Happy Solstice everyone!

Christmas Crafts and Cookies


I love this time of year. But there sure is a lot of sugar. Everything seems to have either a ton of sugar or a ton of salt in it this time of year... but of course, we all need to indulge a bit to celebrate the season.

Here is the salty and the sweet in one.


Chocolate dipped pretzel sticks.

They are about 9 inches long, which made the kids giggle with glee when they pulled these beauties from the bag and were choosing sprinkles to put on them. We had a lot of fum making them and many other sugary items today (including tons of christmas cookies with friends).

Treats for the season, along with some beautiful

and completely willing helpers, will make for a sweet year.

The Mother's Christmas Decor

The apple tree next door has NO leaves on it to speak of... but it still has tons of apples. Beautiful, red and orange apples. And just to add a touch of the festive... Mother Nature decided she would bring snow to top off these beauties.
Here is my garden, covered in snow. I mainly took these for Little's book, but I thought I would share. It is asleep. But still beautiful, in its own barren way.

Simple Pleasures on a Snowy Sunday morning


The kids are shut in today. It is just plain old too cold to be out there. They went out for about 10 minutes a peice, and came back in with frozen fingers and toes. So I decided that we were going to sit, watch a movie, and have some simple old fashioned treats.


Kettle Corn
Ingredients:
1/4 cup corn oil
1/4 cup popcorn
1/4 cup sugar
salt
Directions:
Use a decent size pot (with a lid) and pour in enough oil to have about an 1/8" covering the bottom. Don't use too much oil. Too much oil will sog the popped popcorn and you'll probably get sick to your stomach when you eat it. Dump in enough popcorn to make a single layer in the pot. Put the pot on medium high heat. When you see the corn start to get excited but before it starts to pop, quickly pour in the sugar as evenly as you can across the top. Cover and shake back and forth to pop (like Jiffy Pop). When you pull it off you need to slightly salt it. You can't pop every single kernel because you would scorch the popcorn. Also pouring in the sugar too soon tends to make the popcorn scorch more easily. If you pour it in too late, the sugar stays granular and grainy. Also get the popped popcorn out of the pot as quickly as possible to prevent scorching.

With a side of hot Spiced Apple Cider. Apple juice from a near by cider mill farm that we go visit often, and the spices were added and brought to a boil.

Easy, inexpensive, and very effective. I have very happy kids this morning.

Our First Snow

I was hoping it would snow before Little was born
so I could add in the first snow into his book.

I woke up this morning to a blanket of white. And not a quiet gentle one like in stories either. lol... snow is dropping in big wet splotches all over the place, the snow has now turned to rain and it is very noisily melting down the drain pipes all over the house... but it is beautiful.

Just beautiful!

These footprints are my sons. He has very large feet. He wears a size 8 in men's and he is 10. He is not big in any other aspect except his inseam. He isn't even especially tall. I keep wondering if Little has huge feet because with how strong his kicks have always been I know that he does have long legs like his brother.

The snow called to me, I had to go outside today. But I quickly realised that no matter how hot you get 8 mos pregnant in June, it just doesn't keep you warm in November.

Thanksgiving dinner

I did Thanksgiving at my house this year. I know it seems odd, me being 8 mos pregnant, but I can't host Christmas (I will be 2 wks from having a baby) and I probobly will not host next year either due to 11 mo old baby, so I took on Thanksgiving. It was great!

My brother showed up and was a big help with the cooking. I pretty much had him doing the things that I didn't have arms for, for the better part of an hour and 1/2. My dad as always, only left me half the dishes, and my dads girlfriend brought the turkey (both of which made a HUGE difference!). It was a very nice and pulled together meal. We only had to reheat one thing, and it was easy. Still tasted great.
Some highlights...

The table:

My china, set out beautifully layered with the salad plates on top. The pink and dark magenta roses my husband bought for me, and I thought they matched perfect, so I didn't do the center peice with the drilled white pumpkins that I was going to, but I think it looks nice, albeit very simple.

The Salad:
We can get SPINICH again! Yay! After two months of spinich not being on the market in WA due to the health risk, we are able to have spinich in our salad. This salad is a spinich and romane salad with walnuts, cranberries, feta cheese, and a homemade Apple Cider Vinagrette.

Apple Cider Vinagrette Recipe:

2 c of apple cider (the good stuff... no Tree Top.)

1/2 c apple cider vinagar

1/4 tea salt

1/2 t. honey

Put the apple cider in a small sauce pan and boil on Med heat to reduce until it is less than 1 cup of liquid. Add in honey while it is still hot, and then allow to cool to eat least room temp. Add the vinagar and salt. Mix well and serve.

The Dessert:

This beautiful Rasberry/Cranberry tart was so easy it was almost scary.

Crust:

1/2 stick of butter (room temp)

3 Tbs brown sugar

1 egg yolk

3/4 c flour

pinch salt

Place butter in a mixing bowl and add brown sugar until turns to course crumbles. Add egg yolk. Slowly add in a bit of flour at a time until resembles a paste. Place in the bottom of a spring form pan or 9 inch pie plate and cook at 350* for 15 minutes or until sides begin to brown.

Filling:

1 bag cranberries

1/2 c water

1/2 c rasberries

1 1/2 c sugar

1 cinnamon stick

~1/4 c water

~2 Tbs corn startch

~Lemon Zest (opt)

Place water, sugar, cinnamon stick, and cranberries in a pan (lemon too if you want it). Bring to a boil until berries pop. Strain berries out of the syrup and place in a seperate bowl. Add rasberries and boil until reduced and partially thickened (about 15 minutes on Med). Remove cinnamon stick and put cranberries back in. Add to pie plate, and cook at 350* until the top berries start to turn a dark brown red. (About 20 minutes)

~If wanting a sideless tart (like mine) and not a pie, mix a 1/4 cup cold water with 2 Tbs of corn starch and add to the mix while still boiling, and bake for same amount of time in a spring form pan. Remove the pan after letting the tart sit for at least 10 minutes.

Other things on the menu:

Sweet Potatoes with Carmalized Shallots

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans (whole) with Carmalized Shallots and Pine Nuts

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots, Parsnips, and Pearl Onions

Pumpkin Pie with real whipped cream

Butternut Squash pate' with Maple Syrup

And of course, TURKEY!

Red Chicken Curry

INGREDIENTS:Peanut or grape seed oil
salt
1 lb chicken
4 lg Russet potatoes or 10 small red and white potatoes
2 Tbs fresh grated ginger
2 tea fish sauce
2 tea lime juice
1 can coconut milk
1 tea red curry paste
1 can bamboo shoots
1/2 lg onion
1 Tbs grated sugar cane (brown sugar works too)
chopped Thai or Sweet Basil to add flavor and for garnish
HOW TO:
Cut potatoes into equal peices and boil until soft.
Chop chicken breasts into equal chunks.
Bring oil to med high heat in a high sided frying pan or large pot.
Add the chicken with a little salt and adgitate until brown on all sides.
Add fish sauce, lime juice, curry paste, and ginger (this step smells terrible,
but it makes the flavors really wonderful in the end so it is worth it).
After a minute add the coconut milk, 1/2 a can of water, bamboo shoots, onion (cut into slivers) and cooked potatoes.
Bring to a boil and add sugar cane/brown sugar.
Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Just before serving toss with 1/2 the chopped basil.
Serve with the rest of the basil as garnish.
(I mean really... can you have enough fresh basil?)
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Fairy Bower


What do Domestic Goddess children do on the weekends? They create things of course!

Here is my sons fairy bower.



He used nothing but a pair of garden clippers and a pearing knife. (Goddess Kids pick up all sorts of tricks)

Inside this rainy get away, there is a pile of firewood, and a small acorn banquet.

I was very impressed to say the least.

I guess the Goddess legacey lives on in my spawn.

Crepes


I love these pancakes and so do my kids. We usually fill them with peaches and/or applesauce from our pantry and eat them with whipping cream.
Here is my super simple crepe recipe.
3 eggs
1/2 c milk
3 Tbs melted butter
1/2 tea salt
1/2 c spelt flour
1/2 c unbleached flour
Add wet ingredients into the blender. Blend until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients.
Heat a pan to med heat. No higher. Put a little butter in the bottom of the pan and pour the crepe batter into the center of the pan. Pick the pan up and adgitate it from left to right until the batter covers the entire pan bottom. When the center appears dry and the corners start to lift, flip the crepe and brown on the other side.
If the batter is thick, add 2 Tbs milk to the mix until it seems right.
Repeat until batter is gone.
(I will get a better picture later, my batteries died)

Pioneer Dress

My daughter and I are throwing a Pioneer Tea Party tomorrow. So of course, she needed new pioneer wear. I made this this morning while she was at Kindergarten and she couldn't be happier.
Peasent style peticoat made with curtian lace (as you go down the fabric it gets heavier with embroidery).


Pentafore made from Navy Muslin and a sweet baby blue calico with pink and blue flowers for the straps and accents.
All went with a pair of boots we found for $3.50 at Old Navy on clearance yesterday ("Just like Mary Ingalls'!").
Now to take a nap. ;)

Gentle Psychosis

There are so many moments in pregnancy where you wish pregnancy on every one you meet.

Dh says "Honey, should you be eating so much of that?" Oh yes... *POOF* I wish you 3 mos pregnant.

Ask the kid at the check out to take the groceries out to the car for you, and he looks at you like you are nuts because it is pouring down rain? Oh yeah... buddy, *POOF* I wish you 7 mos pregnant.

Have your dad say "Your gettin' an ass on you girl." Oh yesssssss daddy. *POOF* I wish you 9 mos pregnant.

Have a good day!

Frost...


It creates magical worlds out of ordinary and often dying places.

Fall leaves turn into peices of art.

Salad Burrnette turns into a backdrop for a fairy land.

And Sage magically reappears dressed in white and ready for a party.

The garden is dead. But the seeds are ripe.
The frost has come 5 nights in a row. We suspect we will have snow before Thanksgiving. But the sun is out.

It is a good, cold and beautiful day.

Caldo Verde


Translated loosly means: Winter green and sausage stew

4 Tbs olive oil
2 medium leeks, white and green parts only (chopped)
5 large baking potatoes (chopped into cubes or thinly sliced)
3 lg cloves garlic (minced)
4 cups chicken broth
6 oz hard sausage (cut into uniform peices)
1 lb Kale or other winter green (stemmed and sliced VERY thin)
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute' leeks in oil until tender in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add potatoes and saute' until they begin to brown. Add garlic and agitate for a few minutes.

Add chicken broth and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer on med until potatoes are soft. Mash slightly for a creamier texture.

Saute' sausage until brown in another pan. Add the greens saute' until tender (adding salt helps tenderise tough winter greens such as kale, but saute' too much and they loose their color). Add to soup.

Add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serves 6

It was very good. Perfect compliment to my Onion Upside-Down Cornbread or a Puglese loaf (traditional italian bread loaf) cut in half and topped with Provalone cheese. This soup can have many variations once you make it once you will see what I mean. Adding a tiny bit of Sage would have brought depth to the flavor but it was good just how it was.

October Melons


Just in time, I picked these sweet melons from the garden. We had them in a melon salad for dessert one night.

Two days later, it hard frosted, finishing off the season and the rest of the garden plants.
I am so glad I got these beauties out in time.

Little's Corner

I have been working on this all week. I have been collecting leaf prints from my friends on Sewing Mamas, and then did the quilt out of them. There is a lot of love in that sweet little quilt. Then I got some scrumy soft corderoy (my favorite fabric) and the idea for this set was born. All leaves, mushrooms, and snails it seems to fit a little boy... although not necessarily a baby. But I really like it.
Here is a close up of the quilt. Each print found it's place nicely. It is backed with a tiny leaf calico that I just LOVE. It is brighter than the sheet fabric but similar style and just as soft.
Here is the whole set. This was my first bumper and fitted sheet ever. The bumper has coordinating ties. One set matches the sheet, and the other matches the spark boarder on the quilt tieing the set together. The mushroom appliques at the top of the bumper are both coordinating fabrics with the bottoms done in some super soft wide whale cord.
And here is the finishing touch. A friend and I looked and looked for a snail that wasn't pink a couple weeks ago. I finally found one while picking up the curtians at Ikea. When you pull on the head and strech him out he plays Lullabye and Goodnight. I love it... it fits perfectly and is so cute!
Just 10 more weeks. Then I will have pictures of this set with a baby in it. :)

Simple Cheap Decorations

I love Halloween... but not the scary side... the mystical, dark, turning in side of Halloween. I never liked the blood and gore decorations, so I set out to make some decorations that were my idea of what the All Hallows Eve story was all about.
I got the inspiration for the door from World of Warcraft, actually. A pattern similar to this was in one of the elven houses on a tapastry. Just goes to show that inspiration comes from anywhere.
Then I remembered this from an OLD Martha Stewart like two years ago or something (I just LOVE her Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas issues. I actually buy them at full price even now ) and thought I would try it. Cost: $2.99 for the bag of spiders, and $2.69 for the sticky tac. And I just LOVE it.


After School Banana Bread

This week is Parent Teacher confrence week. Alex comes home at 11:45am and Cyan is home all week from Kindergarten. So I have gotten used to having snacks right around the same time as lunch all set for them. Today I found three overripe bananas sitting in my fruit basket... they were starting to attract fruit flies. Fruit flies are not welcome... Something had to be done.

Hot out of the oven right as Alex stepped off the bus.

God, I'm good. ;)

Split Pea Soup

3 cups dry split peas
6 1/2 cups water
8 cloves garlic (minced)
1 lg onion (diced)

In a large pot, saute' the garlic and onion with a little bit of oil until they are clear. Add the split peas and 6 1/2 cups of water. Let boil for 45 minutes stiring occasionally. (I use a pressure cooker, so I just heat to high for 6 minutes and they are all done.) When the peas are cooked through, add the seasonings to taste. I like about 1 tea fresh ground black pepper and 1 tea Lawrey's season salt. The kids love this meal because it is the only time I make fresh crispy bacon. We crumble that into our soup before eating it.
Last night, Alex had 3 bowls of the stuff.

Beautiful Children

These are some of my favorite simi-recent pictures of my kids. When I look at pictures like this I can't wait to meet Little. I wonder what he is going to look like, and how he is going to fit in our family. I almost hope he gets Don's eyes... just because I love them, but seeing my two blue-eyed beauties like this... well, we will just have to wait and see. Brown or blue? Who knows. Only a little while now.
© Collecting the Moments

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