Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bumbo Seat Recall

Bumbo has issued a voluntary recall on some of their seats due to the fact that an infant can fall out.

To correct this problem, they are sending repair kits which include a safety belt for the Bumbo and a warning sticker to place on the outside of the seat.

My husband jokes that the sticker is to provide reading material for the baby. :-)

Since I have a new baby starting soon, I went ahead and requested my repair kit. It arrived a couple of days later and I installed the new safety belt last night.

Ready for baby!

Just a FYI to any of you who have Bumbo seats--you may want to check and see if yours was included in the recall!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie

This Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie was my "fancy new recipe" contribution to our Thanksgiving dinner. When I saw the recipe in the November issue of Southern Living, I knew I wanted to make it!

This recipe called for a long list of yummy and not-so-healthy ingredients. Which is why we served it for Thanksgiving dinner. Because a) Thanksgiving is a holiday so therefore, we can eat whatever we want, right? and b) We had plenty of people to share it with so we didn't eat it all ourselves!

Anyways, this pie was to. die. for.

 What could be better than chocolate chips? Chocolate chips with cream, cream cheese and sugar, of course!

And since the chocolate layer isn't rich enough, why don't we add caramels, butter, cream, sugar and nuts?

Yes, why don't we?

Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Pie, ready to serve!

**Click the link above for the recipe!
**I substituted walnuts for the pecans. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving "Shepherd's" Pie In The Crockpot

Another delicious way to use Thanksgiving leftovers!

I layered a variety of Thanksgiving favorites in the crockpot for our weekly church fellowship potluck today. The result was very good!

Ingredients(varying amounts of each; this is a "use what you have" dish!):

  • Stuffing
  • Chopped turkey
  • Gravy
  • Green bean casserole**--other vegetables can also be used.
  • Mashed potatoes
My gravy was extra thick on Thursday and it always gels up when cold anyways, so I put it in a saucepan and added a little milk.  Then I whisked it while it heated on low until it was nice and smooth. Still a good gravy consistency but not nearly so thick--it stretched a little further this way!

Cold mashed potatoes are usually pretty clumpy too, so I added some milk to those as well and stirred.

To make your Thanksgiving "Shepherd's" Pie, layer in a  greased crockpot:

  1. Stuffing.
  2. Chopped turkey.
  3. About half of gravy.
  4. Green bean casserole** or other veggies. 
  5. Mashed potatoes.
  6. Gravy. 
That's it! Cook on low for about 4 hours.

The layers and flavors all kind of mix together into something very yummy and comforting!  I wasn't sure how it would end up in the crockpot but was very pleased with the result.

**I had mixed feelings about putting Green Bean Casserole in this. But it tasted great--I think the extra flavors from the sauce really helped the whole dish.

Keep in mind that your crockpot should be at least half full to cook properly. I used a 5 quart and added an extra thick layer of mashed potatoes to fill it up more!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Buy Handmade!

In honor of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, get 20% off anything in my shop when you use the coupon code CYBERMONDAY12 at checkout!

Coupon code good through  Monday 11/26/12.

Thanks for looking!

Turkey Dinner Soup

I bookmarked this recipe a while back to make with Thanksgiving leftovers! It's from the cookbook Is It Soup Yet?

If using leftovers, this soup comes together in about 15 minutes. I made it for lunch today and we both really liked it!

Turkey Dinner Soup
Serves 4

2 cups turkey or chicken broth
2 cups leftover cooked vegetables: such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, peas, corn, green beans
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon celery salt (I left this out since I didn't have any.)
1 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons flour
4 Tablespoons cooked whole cranberries (optional)

Pour broth into a medium-sized saucepan. Add vegetables, dill weed, celery salt, and salt. Cook vegetables for 10 minutes on medium-high heat until heated up. Add turkey and potatoes. Pour 1/2 cup milk into soup and heat through. Whisk 2 T. flour and 2 T. milk together. Add to soup, stirring well. Serve immediately. Top with a spoonful of cooked cranberries if desired!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner

We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for twelve at our house this year!

Preparations are well underway.

Several side dishes are in the freezer, the turkey has been roasted and sliced and pie crusts have been made.

Mom shared with me how a turkey can be baked ahead of time and reheated on Thanksgiving Day. Wrap the sliced meat in foil. Freeze or refrigerate. Place foil packs in crockpot and heat before serving. I've tried this before and the meat was very tender and fresh!

Doing the turkey in advance is nice because then you don't have the big turkey to take care of at the same time as everything else!

Pie crusts have been made. I planned to buy pie crusts this year but at the last minute decided to just make my own since I had all the ingredients. I'm no expert when it comes to pie crusts( lots of patches to cover tears!) and while my homemade ones won't win any beauty contests, they taste ok!

Thanksgiving Menu

My sister and family are coming for Thanksgiving plus some local friends. My sister and I are doing the bulk of the cooking but the other guests are bringing some things too. I've marked my contributions with an *. I think we'll have plenty of food!

Mashed Potatoes*
Green Bean Casserole*
Butternut Squash Casserole*--changed this recipe a bit and used squash instead of pumpkin.
Brown Rice Stuffing*
Stuffing*--we love Stovetop!
Artichoke Casserole
Cranberry Sauce
Deviled Eggs
Another side dish or two from guests

Pumpkin Pie*
Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie*
Another dessert or two from guests

Cranberry Juice mixed with Ginger Ale*
Sweet Tea

What's on your Thanksgiving menu?

Monday, November 19, 2012


This head of broccoli was picked from my fall garden today.

I planted 6 broccoli plants and now all 6 have broccoli heads growing. Most are still very small--this big guy was the first!

We watched him grow for quite a while and finally decided he was big enough to cut.

I'm super excited about my success with broccoli. I've been a rather negligent gardener this season... Broccoli will certainly be on my list to grow again in late winter/early spring. 

I planted broccoli and cabbage plants for my inaugural fall garden and so far, so good. I planted green bean seeds too, but none of them came up.

It would be fun to serve broccoli from our garden at our Thanksgiving dinner!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Snippets Of Life

  • I sent in our registration for an event the other day. This morning, the event coordinator sent a nice email thanking us for registering and asking what the extra enclosed $12 cash was for. Well, we have absolutely no idea where it came from or why I had enclosed it! So we figured the best route was to just give that as a donation!
  • Toddler Girl mentioned her "Urkle Mark" (Uncle) the other day.
  • One of Baby Boy's favorite "chores" is helping to feed Rock. When we mention feeding the dog, he runs to the laundry room door and waits to go in and get the food for him. I measure it out and he proudly carries it to the dog bowl. The food occasionally does get dumped elsewhere but B.B. still mostly thinks picking up things is fun so it works. 
  • Overheard in the grocery store parking lot. Mother to son in the most gentle of tones: "No. It was like you were an animal in there!" 
  • Andy on men and women: "Men wear dress shirts. Women wear shirt dresses!" 
  • Toddler Girl ate a huge lunch one day. I asked her," Did you eat a big lunch?" Smiling proudly, she responded," I ate a big lunch! It was fun!" 
  • It had been one of "those mornings".  It had stopped raining but the ground was still too wet to play in the backyard. So I decided we would go for a walk. And I did mean walk! No stroller for little people to ride in, we were going to all get some exercise (read: wear little folks out so they'd take a good nap)! I told Toddler Girl we were going to get some exercise. About halfway through  the walk she said, "This is exercise!"  
  • Baby Boy (soon to be known as Toddler Boy) is quite attached to his Pooh bear. The other day, he and Pooh came over to be cuddled. As I picked them up, I said, "I love a boy and his Pooh!" Then I thought about what I'd said... We won't say that anymore. LOL!!!
  • Toddler Girl is very into everyone else's business and likes to make sure all of our ducks are in a row, so to speak. Andy said jokingly one day, "T.G., we need to talk about ducks!" To which she replied quickly, "Talk about Baby Boy's ducks!" Case in point. Hahaha 
  • And one more about Toddler Girl--she is in such a  cute stage right now:  She loves to sing and make up songs as she goes. We were out for a stroller ride and T.G. was singing and humming very happily. Then she sang, "We take shoes off in the bouncy house!"
What's going on in your life? 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Cooking

Our neighbors gave us 2 big pumpkins a few weeks ago. I used them as outdoor decor for a while and then brought them in to cook before they started to rot.

Pumpkins can be hard to cut when raw, so I followed these instructions on how to cook whole pumpkins in the oven.

Super easy!

I got 12 cups pumpkin puree from the 2 pumpkins. I froze some in 2 cup portions(equivalent to a can of pumpkin) for many baking recipes and some in 3 cup portions which is perfect for pumpkin soup.

Some yummy pumpkin recipes we like:

Pumpkin bread
Pumpkin spice oatmeal (although since going mostly grain-free, I gag at the thought of eating a bowl of oatmeal!)
Pumpkin soup (I add chicken)
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin pancakes
Cooked pumpkin with butter and salt & pepper

I'd also like to try this crustless pumpkin pie, although making a regular pumpkin pie recipe without the crust works just fine too!

What's your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Saving The Change

One tidbit I took away from reading Money Saving Mom's book earlier this year was her suggestion of saving $1.25 each week.

She explained that while $1.25 only adds up to $5.00 a month and saving $5.00 a month equals only $60.00 a year, it's getting into the habit of saving money. Typically, once you  start seeing a little money start to add up, you will look for other ways to increase your saving.

We are already in the habit of saving pretty consistently but I decided to take her challenge! Even an extra $60 a year sounded good to me! And I knew that we would be needing to purchase some furniture before too long and some extra cash to set aside for that would be super nice.

 I began by adding $1.25 to the fund each week by using some change left in our grocery envelope.  At the end of each month, I went through all of our cash envelopes and saved the change. I also began to save half of my "play money" ($10) each month and added that to my little stash  as well.

As our pile of change began to grow, we dubbed it "The Couch Fund" as a couch was one of the first items we needed to purchase.

We started our little fund in March and by July we were able to purchase some furniture off Craigslist-- a couch ($85), patio table ($60) and 4 patio chairs ($15).

I will note that we had also stashed the earnings from a spring yard sale (approx. $150) and also $100 we made by selling an extra lawn mower that was left for us by the previous owner of our house. These two "deposits" helped to beef up our little fund a lot!

We're still squirreling extra change away regularly hoping to purchase a new-to-us dining room table and chairs soon.  We continue to watch Craigslist and thrift stores/yard sales and while we wait to find just what we're looking for, we continue to add to our savings!

Once we purchase a table, a vacuum cleaner (new or factory-refurbished) is next on the list!

I like that we haven't had to add another category to our budget to save for these things but have been able to squeeze some extra change out of the existing budget instead. 

Yes, this takes more time than putting a purchase on the credit card! But it is so rewarding to see your savings grow and then to be able to pay with cash.

We started filling this jug with our extra pennies back in 2007. We wonder how long it will take to fill!

**This post is part of Frugal Friday over at Life As Mom.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Stick Wreath

One thing we have in abundance at our house is sticks! The little ones love to pick them up and play with them.

So when I saw this cute stick wreath featured on Crafting a Green World, I knew this would be a good fall project for my little brood.

All of us were able to participate in gathering a basket full of sticks and then the next morning, Toddler Girl and I assembled the wreath.

For the cardboard circle, I traced a dinner plate onto cardboard (used one of our recently emptied moving boxes!) and then used a bowl to trace the inner circle.

In the tutorial, she wrapped her cardboard circle with twine but I didn't have any so I used strips of burlap instead. A nice rustic and natural look!

I squeezed tacky glue for each stick and T.G. stuck them on the wreath! Tacky glue takes a long time to dry; I set the wreath out of reach for the rest of the day.

Yes, hot glue would be faster but then T.G. wouldn't have been able to help which was really the point of this project! And I have a love/hate relationship with hot glue--it doesn't always work as well as I think it should!

A brown gingham ribbon was used for hanging and our stick wreath is now hanging by the door where the littles hang their coats and bags.

We love our simple fall wreath!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Snippets Of Life

  • Toddler Girl saw me getting Baby Boy's pacifier (which attaches to him with a clip). She said, " Oh, _______(Baby Boy's) leash!"  LOL!!!
  • We have a little weather station in the house which tells the temperature and shows a little man dressed in weather appropriate attire. On this morning, Andy announced that we should be wearing wet suits, trench coats and hats. Hahaha 

  • In the "things you never thought you would say" file-- Me: "Let's not wipe our noses with the lion's tail!" 
  • A black sock accidentally got in with the load of whites to which I added bleach. It's kind of a blackish brown now...
  • A wooden skewer works to unlock inside doors....
  • Toddler Girl has been talking about "horsey-ducks".  
  • Toddler Girl said she wanted Andy the other day.  He picked her up and she wiggled out of his arms and pointed to me saying, "No, that one!" She can say my name but prefers instead to refer to me as "Mommy" or her latest, "You!"
  • I asked Andy the other day if the pants I was wearing made me look "extra plump". He assured me that no, they didn't. What was he supposed to say!?! We've been laughing about it ever since. Extra Plump. It could be a new size--XP. LOL!!!
  • Baby Boy is usually circling as I get Toddler Girl settled in for her nap. She sprawls out on her mat and says, "Kiss!". He comes over and kisses her. She did this yesterday then called to him again- "Hug!" He came and kissed her again. She has it made, doesn't she? 
  • This post is brought to you by Prednisone, which I've been on for a week now, due to an allergic reaction. It's amazing how energetic I feel when taking this stuff! I also eat a lot...