Monday, November 28, 2011's a Monday...

We have reached the end of the turkey.  Today I had about a cup and a half or so of dark meat left, so I made a homemade Turkey Pot Pie.  Looks pretty good.

Of course, about halfway through the baking time, I realized that I had forgotten to add the turkey.  Grrrrrrr.

Oh, well.  I heated it up separately, and we added it to the individual servings.

I'll put the recipe up over at What's Cooking' Four Miles North of Nowhere .

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A sweet surprise...

Two of my friends got together and sent me an Edible Arrangement as a belated birthday present.  These are SO good.  You can't really see them very well in the photo, but there are chocolate covered orange sections interspersed throughout the arrangement.  The flowers are pineapple slices with a cantaloupe ball for the cute.

They can forget my birthday every year!  :)

Good thing we've already made a dent in the Thanksgiving leftovers...and a good thing we have adjustable shelving in the refrigerator!  :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2011 Turkey Challenge results...

Our Thanksgiving feast was a great success.  It was nice to have everyone in the house at the same time.  I found myself thinking of past Thanksgivings prepared by my mother and Carey's mother...mostly when my feet and/or back started hurting...and I decided that I never appreciated their work enough in the past.

The turkeys were both delicious.  I will definitely be brining again in the future.  It was very moist and tender.

Beau's deep-fried turkey was delicious.  I have to admit that his won in the flavor category.  But it seemed to give him a little trouble in the carving process.

Oh, dear.  Someone seems to be getting frustrated.

Mine carved beautifully.

That's Beau's mess...fried turkey on the left.  Mine is the platter on the right.

So as I see it the points tally this way:

Ease of preparation: brining
Flavor: frying
Moistness: brining
Tenderness: brining
Presentation: brining

Hmmm...I seem to be declaring myself the winner.  (Beau has declared himself the winner too, so it's okay.)  :)
ps:  please forgive the cheesy posed photos

Monday, November 21, 2011

Making this Monday...

I saw a folded star posted on Pinterest the other day, and I loved the classical simplicity of it.  And it was made using a cereal box!  So today I made a few in preparation of Christmas decorating.  I haven't quite decided how I'm going to finish them (paint?  cover with fabric?) or even how/where I will be using them.   But I LOVE them.  And they're so easy!

Here's a different angle...had to put a white sheet of cardboard behind it for better visibility...that regular cardboard color is really close to my wall color.  :)

The original Pinterest link I saw didn't have a pattern, so I googled 'star pattern' and picked a shape I liked of the images that came up in the search results.  I enlarged it on my printer/copier to the size I wanted.  It's actually a little larger than would fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper, so I printed it on two sheets of cardstock, cut them out, and laid one over the other and taped it in place to get a complete star.

Trace the pattern on a piece of cardboard and cut out.  (I drew in the score/fold lines in the photo of my pattern above to make my directions a little easier to understand...hopefully...but you don't need to mark them on stars you're making at all.)  Score from each outer point to the inside angle opposite it.  Then fold on the scored lines...'mountain' folds on the points (solid lines on the pattern above), and 'valley' folds on the inside angles (dotted lines on the pattern above).

It didn't quite fit on the front or back side of a cereal box, so I opened the box up and let the points hang over the creases of the box a little.  It didn't affect the stability of the star at all.  And if I cover it in burlap like this gorgeous star also found on Pinterest, no one will ever even know.  :)

If you go visit Pinterest, is addictive.  Creativity overload! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bring it...brine it...whatever...

that's a nineteen pound turkey in a five-gallon bucket in my kitchen sink

The feast preparation has begun.  We will be having our holiday dinner tomorrow, a few days before most households.

I wanted to make sure that we had lots of turkey leftovers to go around...we want to keep some, I want to send some home with Kasey, and Carey will be taking some to work.  So I bought two frozen turkeys.  I didn't have room in my refrigerator to thaw both of them, so I asked Kasey if they could put one in their fridge.  Beau asked if he could fry that one...woohoo, less work for me.

But he declares that his will taste better.  I didn't want it to be a competition, but if he wants to make it one, then I'm going to bring an extra effort to the match.  So this year I'm brining the bird.  Hope it turns out as well as people say.  I'm using Alton Browne's recipe.

I took a nap today, so I could stay up late getting everything ready.  I'd better get back to the next thing on the list...vegetables...then pies...then...

This time tomorrow night we'll be going back to the kitchen for another piece of pie!
ps:  My endeavor to mail 52 letters in 52 weeks continues. 
accountability stats:  26 weeks / 50 letters

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.  I'm not sure I'm up for it right now, but I'm giving it a go. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Talk about coming in under the wire...

So on my way home from work tonight, I called Kasey to let her know that I had finished the girls' tooth fairy pillows.  Beau answered the phone, and before I could tell him why I called, he informed me that Caitlyn had lost her first tooth.  I told him I would deliver the pillows before bedtime.  That's the tooth that she's holding in the baggie...she wanted to make sure it was visible in the photo.  :)

Saturday's snail mail on Tuesday...

Oh, I have been so distracted lately.  I actually thought it had been longer since I had mailed a letter out, but turns out it was only two weeks.

I have been enjoying lots of craftiness, some of which is still in progress.  I have worked a little more than scheduled.  I have been trying to clean things up around here and get things ready for our Thanksgiving, which we will be celebrating a little early this weekend.  Even now that we all live in the same town, work schedules still make it hard to get everybody together in the same room at the same time.  We only have about a one-hour window of time if we all want to sit down at the table together.

I've even been able to mark a few things off of the Christmas shopping list.  Can you believe how rapidly the holidays are approaching?!

accountability stats:  25 weeks / 48 letters

Monday, November 14, 2011

Making this Monday...

Recently Caitlyn mentioned that a tooth had been hurting after her mouth had gotten bumped.  Truth be told, she has mentioned her teeth several times lately.  I think that her friends at school have started losing teeth, and she is anticipating her own first lost tooth.

Just a few days later, I came across Lisa Seibert's tooth fairy pillow in her Etsy shop that was so different from any I had seen before.  I loved its simplicity and muted colors.  I loved that it could be personalized and that dates could be written on its chart to track the progress of lost baby teeth.

I happened to have fabric that was perfect for this project.  I went online and found a baby-teeth chart and edited it to add the name at the top and 'I lost another tooth' in the middle.  I printed it out right on the fabric (LOVE being able to run fabric through the printer!) and assembled the small pillow (about 6 inches square).  I added a few white buttons to my version and rows of little running stitches on the pocket on the back side where the tooth, and then the tooth fairy's reward is kept safe.  I finished it up today by stuffing and stitching it closed.

I made two of course...couldn't make one for Caitlyn without making another for Chloe.  So we are ready for the next big step.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Ever been to Chili's and had a dessert called Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie?  It is a hot, gooey, buttery chocolate chip cookie served in a small cast iron skillet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  It is absolutely decadent. I have limited myself to sharing one with someone just once every couple of years or so.

That is until the other day.  I came across a recipe from Sophistimom that set alarms off in my head, but I couldn't resist trying it.  Her photos are so much better and more tempting than mine, but I wanted to show you how mine turned out.  It has very few ingredients, and they are mixed and baked in just one pan...a cast iron skillet.  Easy peasy.  And the yumminess factor...

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What I'm reading Wednesday...

My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Braids and such...

The girls got to come spend the night on Saturday, with the proviso that I have them ready for church early Sunday morning as their mother had to teach Sunday School.  

They were complimentary of my cooking at dinner and were rewarded with ice cream.  They had their usual bubble bath and manicures.  We read only a few pages of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle before they fell fast asleep.

As usual, sometime in the wee hours, Caitlyn came and crawled into bed beside me, and we whispered and giggled until she fell back to sleep...or until I did...I'm not sure.  Chloe woke us up about 7:30, and we had cinammon toast and hot chocolate.

Then I asked them if I could braid their hair.  They were willing, even though their mother has told them nasty stories of her hair being yanked out (!) when she was a child and I was braiding it.  (She never came out.) 

Once they were ready, and standing by the door watching for their mother, I grabbed the camera to take a photo of their hair.  Since I was focused pretty much on the top of their heads, it was a few moments before I noticed that their arms had gone around each other in a natural embrace as they waited.  I was so happy that I had the camera at the ready to catch the sweetness of the moment.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Time flies...

I can't believe it, but Thanksgiving is just two and a half weeks away!  Of course, Carey's work schedule usually lends to us celebrating holidays on alternate days than anyone else.  This year we will be gathering on the Sunday before.  When I realized how short time was growing, I made up the menu (not hard, it's usually the same) and the shopping list.

I am THRILLED to say that except for some fresh produce, all of my grocery shopping is done.  No crowds.  No panic.  No stress.  And this shopping trip actually put the pantry in good standing for the Christmas feast as well.

After all these years, Carey is still a little resentful about so many holidays being worked away from the family.  In my view, any day can be a holiday when it is spent gathering and celebrating, so alternating from the norm doesn't bother me in the least.

Besides...when everyone else is rushing and slaving and cleaning, I am enjoying the Law & Order marathons and eating leftovers.  :) 

ps:  Seeing all those plastic bags in the photo brought me up short.  I hereby pledge to do better about remembering to take my reusable cloth bags with me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tricks and treats...

Yesterday evening I went by Kasey's before everybody set out to Trick-or-Treat, and got photos of all the little ghouls in their costumes.  Love the way the sun participated by lighting Chloe's angel costume and lending some angelic radiance. Caitlyn was an enchanting enchantress.

And amazing...I got all five kiddos in the same photo!  Too bad the boys all have their faces covered...a sinister troupe.

And there's Mama in the background.  She looks pretty relaxed for someone who just costumed five active goblins, and was expecting a houseful of friends with all of their little ghoulies and gremlins in tow for dinner and and an evening of neighborhood merrymaking.
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