Thursday, October 29, 2009

Colors of the Season

For the past couple of weeks I have been snapping photos of the changing colors, it has been a nice slow progression.

The leaves have been lingering on the trees, only in the last several days has there been some serious falling foliage.

To the right of this post I have added a slideshow of my favorite pictures. I hope you enjoy the show as well as the colors in your hometowns.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Craft Night - Christmas Ornament

Mom and I wanted to share our crafting knowledge, so we held our first Craft Night. Our guests feasted upon a buffet of meatballs, cheese tortellini, mini cheese pizzas, veggies, and our famous Tuna Snack Spread and then they quickly went to work.

Each crafter created a custom mix of seed beads from our bead stockpile, Mom offered color suggestions to assist the crafters. Using a scooping motion the crafters strung beads onto a fine beading needle and thread. Beautiful, long beaded strands were swiftly created.

The next step required spreading a thick craft glue on a styrofoam ball and slowly wrapping the beads around and around.

This can be a little tricky to keep the rows in place without sliding or lumping up, but our crafters persevered!

These gorgeous ornaments were created in only about two hours. They are all unique and will be stunning additions to our crafters' Christmas trees.

Our crafters also enjoyed a homemade dessert of Devil's Food Cupcakes w/Chocolate Ganache frosting--I shall quote my mom, "Scrumptious!"

Recipe Link: Cupcakes & Frosting

We all had so much fun eating, talking, laughing and of course crafting. As a thank you to our guests, Mom created individual Halloween bowls filled with candy and a light-up pen.

We can't wait for the next Craft Night, thank you everyone!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

The sun is shining, the sky is beautifully blue, and our Maple tree is proudly showing off its colors! Today is such a gorgeous day after a long string of cold, rainy ones. We couldn't have asked for a better Autumn day.
Enjoy my friends, enjoy!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm still baking!

Today's delicious homemade treat is Pumkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

I had some pumpkin puree left over from my bread baking day and I thought I would try these muffins. I have to say, "yummy"! The recipe yields a spicy, tender muffin combined with a hint of sweetness from the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The muffins remind me a bit of a cookie that my sister-in-law Becca makes, but being muffins they are lighter. The muffins go together very quickly, so if you've got the inclination this recipe is definitely worth making.
Muffin Recipe link Note: the on-line recipe ingredients don't include the chocolate chips, I added 2/3 Cup mini semi-sweet chips.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tried, True and New

Today turned into a baking day. I started with plans only to make one quick bread and went on to make two more, much to the delight of my family.

Pictured on the cutting board, the Tried loaf  is Banana Bread. I have made many banana breads over the years using several recipes. I recently tried my grandmother's recipe, the first time I made it the center was a little soft but otherwise quite tasty. Adding several minutes to the baking time worked out well, delivering a crunchy crust and a tender interior that was not overly moist.

On the pedestal is the True loaf, my mother's favorite recipe for Pumpkin Bread. My family has been using this recipe for twenty plus years and it never fails to produce delicately spiced bread that is delicious with or without butter. This is a good bread to make several days in advance of a party; just wrap in foil and keep in the refrigerator, allow it to warm to room temperature before serving.

Last but not least is the New loaf of Cherry and Golden Raisin Bread. I found this recipe on-line at Better Homes and Gardens.  The bread is lightly flavored with lemon rind, accented with dried cherries, golden raisins and drizzled with a lemon glaze. A yummy bread you should definitely try and one I will keep in my recipe book. Cherry and Golden Raisin Bread Recipe

Sunday, October 11, 2009


My siblings and I were encouraged to be creative, such as drawing, coloring books, board games, and lots of playing outside. We would play what we called "pretend" and we would play house, school, doctor, etc. with us acting out the roles and using ordinary household items to accessorize our pretend worlds. Our china cabinet would become the kitchen; we would raid my mother's Tupperware and wooden spoons, prepare pretend meals and then serve them to our children/siblings. I took things further by occasionally writing small plays and creating costumes for my younger siblings, then we would perform for our parents--our acting troupe was always well received. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

In 1976, I was captivated by the Summer Olympic Games. It was amazing--all the different sports I had never seen and all the different countries I had never heard of before! I loved watching the games and cheering on the athletes, so much so that I decided we should have our own Olympics. My brothers, sisters, and some of our neighborhood friends competed in events that I created to mimic the real ones. One of the events was an obstacle course that included jumping over a stone bench! I wanted our Olympics be as real as possible, so of course I made medals. Lacking precious metals but not creativity, the medals were made out of cardboard, crayons, and crepe paper.

I think, in the hopes of keeping her sanity intact, my mother often encouraged us to play outside. When the TV volume and kids talking (screaming) would reach a certain level we could count on Mom calling out, "Go outside and play!". So we would troupe outside and play. Play included jump rope games, Tag, Red Rover, hopscotch, Dodge ball, Red Light-Green Light, baseball, football, badmiton, volleyball, Cops and Robbers with twigs for guns, Lawn Jarts-the ones with sharp metal ends-we never got hurt!, Slip and Slide, making snowmen, snowball fights, snow mazes, riding bikes and skateboards, Monkey in the Middle, and a summertime favorite Ghosts in the Graveyard. We didn't get to play Ghosts often because of our bedtime during the school year was 8:00 pm, but during the summer we could stay outside a little later and when it became dark enough, it was time for Ghosts in the Graveyard!

Childhood playtime, such great fun and memories!