Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2nd Grade Art

My oldest painted this when he was in 2ND grade he is now in 10Th. Each Thanksgiving since this has been proudly displayed on the fridge. You ask why this is so precious to me? Well he was never the type of kid to enjoy group art activities. If they were coloring in class, he would do what he called scribble scrabble and be done with it. He thought he was to cool for baby art like coloring and finger painting. If they had to write a story and draw pictures to go along with it. It would go like this.... "Army guys killed the vampires and they all had guns, war war war, bombs and fighting". The pictures he would draw would be of scary monsters, vampires and explosions. I was usually mortified when he brought home his homework. I was a no toy guns, be nice, love each other, vegetarian mother so when he turned into Mr. fight war kid I was shocked. He drew an entire war scene, with tanks, on the dining room wall (twice) when he was 4 . He would eat toast into the shape of a gun. I was worried about him. I started talking to the other moms at playgroup and it turned out that many of them were dealing with the same thing. I just kept him from going too far into the dark side and always refused to let him have toy guns and he has turned out to be a good kid.
Anyway, all I am saying is "I love this" and I am going to have it framed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Too Good For The Apple Butter (updated)

I have always wanted to make apple butter but it scared the heck out of me. After seeing it on another blog I realized the crockpot was the trick. Yay! A customer came by the office and gave us these apples. They are really wonderful. I talked to the customer and and she told me that they are not from Arlington but are actually from West Virginia. My mistake...
I got started peeling and chopping while listening to a radio program. I peeled the first apple and the smell was so wonderful I could not help taking a bite. It was at that moment that I realize it would be a terrible waste to use these super tasty apples for apple butter. So these babies went in a bowl on the table and try to refrain from chomping them all in one day.
Ok... let' start all over with these .69 cent a pound apples from the grocery store. They are not organic, I know that is not good. I really figured it would be a total flop the first try so I went with the cheap ones.
Peel, peel, peel, chop chop, chopity,chop, chop chop, measure and then measure again...Time for the crock pot. Six hours on low with the the lid on. G' night apples, night crock pot. I wake up to the best smell ever. At 5am I jumped up and ran to the crock pot just like a kid on Christmas morning. I was too groggy to take any pictures but the apples had turned a light brown and were very soft.
Next was the crock pot's field trip to the office to finish cooking.
After Four hours of cooking with the lid off and stirring often. I pushed the apples through a strainer to remove seeds or skin that might have been left behind. Added the cinnamon, cloves and Maple syrup and back it went in the crock pot for 2 more hours.
I then scooped the apple butter into 8 ounce jars that had been boiling in a pan for about 5 minutes. Placed the lids and rings on the jars and inverted them onto a clean towel to seal everything. This is not an official method of canning so the jars had to go in the fridge after they had cooled completely.
I got the main recipe from the The Farmers Wife and I did a little changing to suit my taste buds.
16 cups peeled and cubed apples
1/2 cup B grade maple syrup (you can get this at the health food store)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon

Of course I took the nice customers that gave us the tasty apples a jar of the apple butter.

Happy Birthday Puppy

It is the dogs 1st birthday! She is having squirrel shaped dog treats. Let me tell you they were a big hit, she jumped up and took it out of my hand, guess they are tasty or something.

Peanut Butter Puppy Treats
2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350'F.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder and cheese. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake until golden brown 15-20 min. Cool on a rack, then store in an airtight container.

I got the basic recipe from but I totally changed it.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bad Day Survival Kit Swap

I join the Bad Day Survival Kit Swap and my swap buddy was Leah
I got A nice big mug and matching coaster for coffee, organic chocolate, 2 great magazines, fluffy socks, pretty pack of tissues, pineapple lip balm, a pretty little ornament for the tree and the sweetest note. Thanks so much to Leah and Crystal! How nice was this. Join a swap, it is fun!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Very First I Cannot Give it Away!

New Update:
Poor napkin holder you are too kitschy for your own good. Don't worry I will keep you and love you for all the days. Now dry your eyes with one of your cutely folded napkins and cheer up.

Original Post:
This little cutie is a napkin holder. It holds ten 5 inch paper napkins. The napkins are super easy to fold so you can reuse it as many times as you like. It will be perfect for baby or wedding showers. I want to share it with someone. Just make a comment and I will draw names out of a hat on friday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fashion and Function

I have a tiny kitchen with only two drawers, and they are small. One for the silverware and the other for measuring cups and bulky utensils. Something had to go on the wall and this seemed to be a good solution. I use all these items often and now they are right at hand. I did replace anything that was not silver or black, otherwise it would have bugged me all the time. I actually use the hand beater. Really, get one, you will use it.So you are now saying, what is the point of this post? Well the point is... think about the things you choose to have in your home. Before I leave the store, flea market or yard sale I ask myself, "Will I use it or will it sit and collect dust?". Also use your everyday things as art. I generally do not buy expensive items because I realize that in my house it is going to get used, abused, painted or slip covered if it sits around long enough. I am not the type to save things for special occasions. Use the good towels and the fancy soaps while you can because the soap will go bad and the towels will soon be out of style. If you have pretty china, use it at least once a week, even it is to have soup when the kids are down for a nap. Wear your grandma's aprons and use her hand beater.It is the not only the memories you remember but it is also the memories you make that count. Oh and make it pretty.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Birthday SG!!

We had a birthday brunch for my good friend SG today. She and I are both from Texas so it was only right that we have a traditional country breakfast. Well... except the cupcakes, they are not traditional breakfast food, but I really had fun making them. and they did taste like coffee. If you are wondering? I am the head in the right top corner, with my eyes closed.... I borrowed the idea from Cherries Jubilee The cupcakes were a dark chocolate with a coffee butter cream icing and the smaller cake on the right was dark chocolate with peanut butter icing. I found the sugar pearls over at fancy flours.
I found this Texas serving dish a few months ago at a thrift store and had to bring it out today, it is a bit silly but I love it. I just notices that there is no gravy over in El Paso, poor El Paso.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rainy Day Pie

It is raining today, gloomy and sad. The puppy is whining because she wants to go out and all we have been cranky here in the office so I made a pie to turn things around. Who can be sad with a sunny walnut maple banana cream pie? Not a soul... Ok, I know banana cream in November is weird but we will all get our fill of pecan and pumpkin in a few weeks. I figured I would make it and let my critics (shifty eyes) eat cake.

The recipe is the based off basic Banana cream pie from my trusty (yet abused) Betty Crocker book.

Walnut Maple Banana Cream Pie

¼-cup cornstarch
¾-cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
4 slightly beaten egg yolks
1 T butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 baked and cooled 9 in. pastry shell
¾-cup walnuts
4 medium bananas
2 T reduced maple syrup

Separate room temperature eggs in a small bowl, Beat egg yolks lightly.
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in the milk. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes more.
Gradually stir in 1 cup of the hot filling into the yolks. Return all to saucepan; bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.
Stir in butter and vanilla.
Layer bottom of pastry shell with three tablespoons chopped walnuts. Pour half the hot filling into the baked pastry shell. Top first layer of filling with sliced banana. Gently add remaining filling over banana layer. Let pie cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
Pour maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil. Boil until is the consistency of corn syrup. (I cannot tell you how long it takes because I have never timed it.)
Top cooled pie with remaining sliced bananas and lightly chopped walnuts. Drizzle maple syrup over top to your liking.Cover and chill to store. Makes 8 servings

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Entryway

I finally got the iron hands up. And knowing me I had to change everything. I had the paint and the pictures so it turned out to be a cheap project. I love it.


Monday, November 10, 2008

One More Picture from The Weekend

I showed my coworker the pictures and she really like this one. She said it was Artsy-Fartsy. I thought I would post it this morning. I waited in the same spot for about 10 minutes for this little boat to go by. I started to get impatient and leave and now I am glad I waited.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What a Lovely Weekend

Yesterday we went hiking on the Gold Mile Loop Trail on the Maryland side of Greats Falls park. It rained in the morning so not only were there fewer people on the trail but there was the earthy smell of the fallen leaves in the air. Fantastic!
Today was a great day for an early walk too. I got up threw on some clothes and took off to walk along the Mount Vernon Trail and listened to the "Prairie Home Companion". I walked fast enough to get my heart rate up but allowed myself to stop and snap some pictures. I am sure I looked crazy walking down the trail with a camera in my hand and on occasion laughing out loud to the radio program that only I could hear.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flat Out of Ideas

I need a little assistance from you. It is time to change this room. Due to a nasty, many many holes in the wall plumbing problem the walls had to be painted. There was no way to match this color. So now all the walls are flat white. Have you ever seen coral bedding in a white room, bleck. double double bleck. So what do you think? I want to hear your suggestions.
The floors are medium-dark hardwood.
The walls are staying white for now.

I think this is my favorite paint color of all time. It is Smokey Slate from Behr

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Last Christmas

Before I get started on Thanksgiving I want to post my pictures from last Christmas. Give a little room between this Christmas and last. Make sure you look at the last picture, it is fantastic.

Er hey guys.... anyone have a fire extinguisher? The trees look like they are in flames, but they are not. I am going to get some less bright bulbs this year.