Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheap Thrills

Are these not the cutest Halloween plates EVER?!

I found them at the Dollar Tree.

That's right my friends. I spent a whopping 3 smackeroos for these babies. And my kids LOVE. THEM.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Autumn Leaves

A few years ago I got a great cookbook called "Classroom Treats". There are tons of fun, kid friendly things to make in it and this cookie recipe is one of our fall staples.

Autumn Leaves
1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 tbsps unsweetened cocoa powder
yellow, orange & red food coloring
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla in large bowin with elecric mixer at medium speed until light & fluffy. Add flour, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves; beat at low speed until well blended.

Divide dough into 5 equal sections. Stir cocoa into one section until well blended (if dough is too dry and will not stick together, add 1 tsp water and beat until dough forms a ball). Stir yellow food coloring into another section. Repeat with two more section, using red food coloring for one, and orange for the other. Leave the last section plain.

Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Working with half of each dough color, press colors togther lightly. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Cut dough with leaf-shaped cookie cutters. Place cutouts 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remainging dough sections and scraps.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks and cool completely.

Place chocolate chips in a ziploc bag and seal. Microwave at high for 1 minute; knead bag lighly. Microwave at high for additional 30 second intervals until completly melted, kneading after each interval. Cut off a tiny coner of the bag and pipe chocolate onto cookies to make the veins for each leaf.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New Items and a Fundraiser

I have been working on some new items for my Etsy shop. Covered wipes cases! Here are some of my favorites:

I can do any fabric you can think of, and I can even make matching burpies. How cute would that be for a baby shower?

I'm also doing a fundraiser in my Etsy shop as well. I have a very good friend who was like my older sister when I was growing up. She graduated from LWC a few years ahead of me, but helped my mom work aftercare when she was a senior. She went away to college and then came back to teach at LWC Elementary for a few years. Back then she was Miss Erickson. She is such a great person and I have always looked up to her. She and her hubby have been unable to have children of their own, so they have decided to adopt. They have been matched with a birth mother who is due in early November. Julie and Todd will soon be the proud parents of a precious little princess, who they have named Ella Claire. They are doing some fundraising to help with adoption costs, but I wanted to help out too.

From now until October 31st, I will be donating a portion from every purchase made in my Etsy shop to help the Springer's bring Ella home. So if you've been eyeing something in my shop for awhile, now is the time to buy. Not only will you be getting something special and handmade, you will also be helping Julie & Todd realize their dream of becoming parents. Please help bring sweet Ella Claire to these two loving and deserving people!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fall Favorites

Fall is one of my favorite times of the year, second only to Christmas. I love the way the leaves change colors, the smell of the crisp autumn air, kids in adorable costumes going from door to door for an amount of candy that will give their dentists nightmares. I love the scents of pumpkin, apples and cinnamon, and cider. And I LOVE to decorate my house for fall. LOVE. IT. But my most favorite part of all is these babies.

Mmmmmmm. I bought my first bag of the season this morning, and I can already feel the cavitites forming in my teeth just by looking at them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yes, you have to.

Noah had a study guide to fill out for Social Studies and was working on it tonight. He kept asking me for the answers. I told him to look in his book, because everything in the guide came directly from the book. His eyes got as big as dinner plates and he raised his eyebrows as he shrieked, "You mean I actually have to READ the whole chapter? Are you serious?"

Yes, son. You actually have to read.

Autumn is here!

Today is the first dall of fall! I celebrated a day early by making pumpkin bread and buying some (more) pumpkin scented candles. Now if only the weather would get the memo and cool down some...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Creamy Chicken Alfredo

I tried this one out on my family and my parents yesterday and it was well recieved! It's pretty easy to make and the creamy sauce is deeee-lish!

Creamy Chicken Alfredo
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil (diveded into 2tbsp and 1tbsp)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp minced onion
1 and 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375*. Place flour in a shallow dish or pie plate. Sprinkle chicken with salt, coat with flour. Heat 2 tbsp oil in large skillet over med-high heat until hot. Add chicken; cook, turning once, until golden (2-4 min per side). Remove chicken from skillet and place in a 9x13 baking dish.

Heat remaning oil in same skillet over med heat until hot. Add garlic & onion, cook until garlic is fragrant and onion is tender (approx 1-2 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high and add whippnig cream, Parmesan and pepper. Cook until sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened (about 2-3 minutes). Spoon sauce over chicken in dish.

Bake chicken until an instant-read thermometer reads 180*...8-12 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lead by example.

It's been awhile since I've posted a Jonah-ism, but today he spouted out something that I couldn't help but share.

We were walking in the parking lot after it had rained, and I told the boys not to step in the puddles. No sooner had I gotten the words out of my mouth and Jonah was stomping in one. I leaned down and said to him "Do. Not. Step. In. The. Puddles."

Without missing a beat he said "Momma, I was showing Noah what not to do."

I Am the Lighthouse

My parents are in town for a few days on their way home from a trip to the Outer Banks, NC. My mom loves lighthouses and they visited a bunch of them along the coast last weekend. She mentioned that there was one here in Charleston that she'd like to see so we piled in the car and headed out to Folly Beach to see the Morris Island Lighthouse.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Chicken Broccoli Parmesan Bake

This is another goodie that I got off the back of a pasta package. I tweaked just a bit and added some seasoning and more cheese, (and doubled the noodles for a larger family). Here's the recipe as it was written down (without my additions).

Chicken Broccoli Parmesan Bake (serves 3-4)
8 oz egg noodles
1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh garlic OR 2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 lb small broccli florets
4 and 1/2 cups chicken gravy
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb cooked chicken (shredded or diced)
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, cover & set aside.
Preheat oven to 350*
Heat oil in a large skillet on med-high heat. Add garlic, onion & broccoli; saute' until tender. Add chicken gravy and milk, and bring to a slow simmer. Stir in cheese, chicken, and cooked noodles.
Pour mixture into a non-stick casserole dish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Calgon, take me away.

Are your big brothers annoying you? Are you sick of sharing your toys? Or are you just having "one of those days"? Here's one way to get away from it all.
video

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

That is one big plane.

There are so many ups & downs being a military wife. Today I got to enjoy one of the 'ups' because I toured a C-17!I chose a horrible day to wear a skirt!
The hubby & the base ADC in the cockpit (Hubby's the one on the right).
View from the front of the cargo bay out the back when the tail was open. I love this picture.
View with the tail closed.
All the seats along one side.
Even cargo planes have a "Fasten Seatbelt/No Smoking" sign!
The tail alone is 58 feet tall. This plane is 183 feet long from nose to tail, and the wingspan is around 180 feet. It's HUGE! I was very impressed. Maybe I'll get to ride in one someday!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Herb Penne with Chicken & Tomatoes

This is a recipe that I got off the back of a pasta box, and I tweaked it a little bit. It was really tasty and so simple!

Herb Penne with Chicken & Tomatoes
1lb box Penne Rigate
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
2 cans diced tomatoes
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
12 oz cooked chicken breast strips (I used two 6 oz pkgs of Tyson pre-cooked chicken strips)
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
salt, pepper, and oregano to taste

Cook & drain penne according to package directions.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over med-high heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes & basil, cook 2 more minutes. Add chicken, simmer for 5 minutes.
Toss with pasta. Season to taste with salt, pepper and oregano. Top with Mozzerella and serve immediately.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Goodbye Summer.

We spent the last two days hanging out with friends at their beach house on Folly Beach. We swam in the ocean, played in the sand, barbecued, and watched a beautiful sunset.

The perfect ending to a wonderful summer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Touchdown

While at the park yesterday, hubby & the boys were playing football and showing off their touchdown dances. Sophia wanted in on the fun, too.
video

Apparently 2 year olds take the word "touchdown" very literally.

(Forgive the crappy video quality...I took this on my cell phone)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hooray for September!

The last two days have been so wonderful here! As soon as we turned the calendar over to September, the weather has been cooler and it definitely feels like fall...and I LOVE it! I have shut off my air conditioner for the time being, and actually have my windows open! Now, don't get me wrong, I love summer and all it brings: barbecues, the beach, and vacations, but man I love the change of the seasons. Maybe it's becuase I grew up in Florida where there is only two seasons: hot and hotter. But here in Charleston the seasons actually shift and it's so great for me. And now that I've spent the last two days in jeans instead of shorts, I'm so ready to get out my fall decorations and start thinking about Halloween.

Of course I'm sure that the temps will fluctuate through out the month, but I'm really loving this right now and I'll take it while it's here!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Reading: Final Update

Yesterday was the last day to count pages for Noah's Summer Reading program at school. We added up all the pages he read since June, and here's the grand total!

Drumroll please.......
3930 pages!!!!

I'm so proud of my boy! He is bringing his totals to the school library today and we'll find out in a couple weeks if he's the top reader again this year.