Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Day #2

Wow!! We have a lot of snow! It's snowed over 24" and we're still counting. It should be all wrapped up by tomorrow morning supposedly! It is a beautiful winter wonderland around here. It's been nice and cozy in the house, but we are ready to get out a little and go trunk-or-treating tomorrow at church!



Grady preferred the warmth of the stroller and a blanket to sitting in the snow! He giggled while watching Berkley fetch the ball in the snow! Berkley loved it! He needed to get out and loves rolling around in the white powder!



Mmmm...toffee

Baking on a cold winter day...seems like a natural thing to do. I'm not the world's best baker. I love cooking to be sure, but I'm not as talented (hmph - patient!) in the baking department. I found this recipe online for easy toffee. The ingredients seemed curious, but I tried it and it's yummy and super easy to make!! Here's the recipe and a few photos.





* recipe courtesy of Little Bit Funky Blog

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SNOW!!

So, we woke up to about 3 inches of snow this morning! And it's just kept snowing and snowing all day, now we have 8-10 inches and counting! Schools are closed and Bible Study canceled, so we've been having a cozy day inside with the fire...except for a little venture out in the snow. Grady HATED it! It was like a bad scene from 'The Christmas Story.' Here are a few photos, he's less than thrilled. Bryan went to work today, so pray for safe travels home for him...we'll have a warm meal waiting!





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Kick


We have been on a huge pumpkin kick this month...I can't say this is unusual for us this time of year for us. It's probably the biggest way we celebrate and enjoy the fall season. I LOVE pumpkin! Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Bagels w/ pumpkin cream cheese are all usuals for us. I even made pumpkin cupcakes for Grady's birthday party. This year I found a new recipe for Pumpkin Bread and also made pumpkin pudding and pumpkin ravioli. Here are some of my favorite recipes:

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Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree or 2 C. fresh pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 C. crushed pecans (sprinkle on top of each loaf before baking - optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
modified from allrecipes.com
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Pan Fried Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Cream Sauce

For the Filling:
15oz can 100% pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon ground sage
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Ravioli & Sauce:
1 package wonton skins
Egg wash (1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoon water)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon, ground sage
1/2 cup cream or half and half
Olive oil
Pumpkin seed kernels or pine nuts (optional)

For Ravioli: Empty pumpkin into a mixing bowl. Add egg yolk, cheese, sage, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Arrange one wanton skin on work surface. Add 1 teaspoon filling, mounding it in center of square and brush border with egg wash. Top with another wanton skin, pressing dough around filling to remove any air bubbles and transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with dampened paper towels while preparing remaining raviolis. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place 4-5 raviolis in hot oil and cook the ravioli until they are just tender and lightly browned.

For Sauce:
In a saucepan set over moderate heat melt the butter, add the sage and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the cream and simmer until lightly thickened.

Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Add sauce and toss to combine. Garnish with pumkin seed kernels or pine nuts.

recipe courtesy of: Blog Hungry

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My friend Michelle gave me a great tip. If you buy one of those small pie pumpkins from the grocery store wrap it in foil and put it in the oven whole at 350 degrees for 1.5-2 hours. The flesh pulls away from the skin and it's super easy to scoop out and cut the pumpkin at that point. I usually battle with a kitchen knife to cut my pumpkin or squash in half, but not anymore!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Grady's Giggles

Living Simply

I've been toying with the idea of writing more on this blog. I tend to post lots of pictures since we don't have family where we live and it's our way of showing what we've been up to and Grady's growth and activities. However, I enjoy reading lots of blogs and learning tips from other moms and women. The pictures won't disappear, but I am going to try interjecting other things from our daily lives and things that make my life easier.

A few weeks ago we had a women's night at church about living simply. Lots of tips were given on things that make life easier at home, for moms, etc. Here are a few of the things I do on a regular basis that help me:

- monthly meal planning

I sit down once a month, make all my grocery lists for each week and write my meals out on the calendar for each day. This helps me plan, but also stay within budget each week. It also ends the question of what's for dinner each and the last minute scramble of getting dinner on the table. My friend Amy K. gave me this idea. I used to do weekly planning, but I felt like I was always planning! Another thing I do with this is make meal lists of what we like to have based on the season (salads/grilled stuff in summer, slow cooker meals and stews in winter), plus a list of all the sides we rotate through.

We also do theme nights frequently. Brinner nights (breakfast for dinner), Italian nights, Mexican nights and Pizza nights. (Oh, I also found this website for coupons to load directly to your grocery card).

- chore/housecleaning chart

I keep a list of all the chores that need done in our house based on daily/weekly/monthly/every 3 months/every 6 months/yearly basis. I tape it to the inside of my cupboard door and record the last date completed next to each chore. It helps me keep track of what needs done and what to do when I find time to spare.

I also try to split my chores and errands over a few days and schedule a few days to just relax so I can read that book I checked out from the library, work on some crafts while Grady is napping or spend time with a girlfriend.

- goodwill bag

I keep a box in the basement that I throw old clothes or unwanted items to donate in. A few times a year we go through our closets and get rid of things we aren't wearing or don't need anymore.

We are also constantly sorting Grady's clothes, things he's outgrown and things of his we are keeping we store in rubbermaid bins labeled by size.

- rising early

I find the best way for me to keep my days focused and simple is to get up early. I usually get up at 6am or so... and do my quiet time (this does not come easy for me, I wouldn't say I'm a morning person but it's worth it). I spend time working on whatever bible study I'm currently in...right now it's Beth Moore's Esther then I spend time journaling and praying for my different 'spheres of influence.' This is a fairly new process for me and I got the idea for it here. Because my day is full of playing with Grady and juggling lots of things, it's refreshing for me to have quiet (I never appreciated silence until Grady was born) and be up before the rest of the house. I find that when I have time to pray, dedicate my day to God, have a cup of chai and possibly get a load of laundry started before I hear that initial cry from Grady (I'm awake, feed me now!!!) I'm a much more patient mom and wife and much more equipped for the day!

- learning from others

I read a lot! I love reading other people's blogs and especially love books. In particular if you're a stay at home mom I recommend these three books: Feminine Appeal and Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney and Living Simply by Joanne Heim. Some blogs I love are Mustard Seeds, The Simple Wife, Marla Taviano, and The Long Thread.

Hopefully this kind of thing is interesting for you to read too and gives you a glimpse into not just what we look like in pictures but what our day to day stuff is like too!

How do you simplify? Any tips, tricks, tools to share? Leave a comment I'd love to hear from you!

Fall Days at the Park

Grady has really enjoyed taking Berkley to the park this fall. He loves to crawl around in the grass, attempt escape and eat leaves.

I love this picture, the clouds spinning in the sky and Grady looks so contemplative.


Grandma Close Visits


A few weeks ago, I had my wisdom teeth extracted. Overall the process was pretty painless (thankfully) and I recovered pretty quick. My mom came down to help out and take care of Grady! Grady had fun hanging out with Grandma and showing her all his new toys.













Grandma and Grandpa Close got Grady this red flyer wagon for his birthday. He loves storing his toys in there and using it to reach the basketball hoop! I think he will love taking rides to the park in it next summer.









Grady's favorite thing these days is his basketball hoop. He is getting really good at playing catch and throwing the ball. He's definitely a boy!

Thanks for taking care of us Mom!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grady's Birthday Party!


Our little dragon!

Grady had his 1 year birthday party this weekend! We had a Halloween Party for the little ones! We even got in the spirit and dressed up as Fred and Wilma Flinstone, you could say Grady was our Dino :) It was so fun to see the little ones in their costumes! We had a great time and hope everyone else did too!

The Seidler boys

Kim, AJ, and Tony

The Flinstones: Bryan, Grady and Megan

Kim and Grady

Alison, Cohen and Paul

Chris, Kyrie and Mckenna

Ken, MaKenna and Michelle

The yummy pumpkin cupcakes!

Yesmina, Grady and Michael

The little critters playing

Wilma and Fred :)

Decorating Pumpkins: Jasen, Abby and Blake

Grady's Pumpkin

My cousin Matthew and Grady

Grady attacking his cupcake!!! MMMmmmm good!

My cousins, Yezi, Mike and Bryan and me.

Grady got lots of Broncos gear! Yeah - now we can outbalance the cowboys gear dad keeps around ;)

Blake, Grady's best buddy.

Cutie!


Hanging out with Dad after the party!
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