Olympic Popcorn

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IMG_4725My favorite treat, popcorn. I love it for many reasons. First, as the baby chicks say “Cheap, cheap, cheap!” No I am not a microwave popcorn lover. Because of a food allergy (soy) I cannot have microwave popcorn. My choice of method is a Whirly Pop. You can find one here. Just a a bit of oil and 1/4 cup popcorn and some whirling and you have a magical bowl of popcorn. Second, it’s Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey to make. Finally, a great healthy snack. Well, healthy if you don’t add butter and salt. I don’t add either.

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Tonight while thinking of what special treat I should make my family to watch the olympics I took inventory of my storage. Ice cream, no too cold. Cookies or brownies no I don’t want to cook. Yes, to popcorn, but how could I olympic it up. In comes almond bark and sprinkles. Big hit with the kids and easy for me.

Shhh! I know this isn’t a healthy choice anymore but it is yummy.

What is your favorite quick treat to make for your family?

American Masters | Banjo Style

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OK. I am a PBS junkie. I have become more of a junkie since you can watch PBS online.  The other day I came across this video about Pete Seeger on American Masters. If you are like me you would ask “WHO?” Well, maybe I am the only one who didn’t know about him. Pete Seeger was an American Master of folk music where his music enriched those around him. He taught peace, love, tolerance, and so much in his music and in the way he lived his life. Needless to say I fell in love with his music because it taught of things that are so hard to find in our world today. This documentary is well worth your time to watch.

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Soon after watching this show I received the assignment to make a poster for Bill Evans a world famous banjo player. I am so excited to go and to share this music with my kids.  I also am very happy with how the poster turn out. This is a must go to event. The family will love it and it is Free. Hope to see you there.

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To Love and To Be Loved

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Looking over my life I think of the times I was and am the happiest. I have always been happy but there are times that stand out over others. Those moments are times that I share my love and felt loved. The first time I held hands with my sweetheart, the birth of my children, and everyday I see my sweetheart watching our kids and seeing his heart beam with love toward them. These are true moments of happiness.

Love.wallValentine wall art for the home. Remember that happiness is because of love. You can purchase this at my Etsy shop.

 

YoungHouseLove Dilemma, Jamie

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I love the YoungHouseLove blog. I read it every morning before I get ready for the day. It motives me to get something done. Although that doesn’t happen all the time. Today the post was about one of their readers, Jamie, with a design dilemma. Their readers were asked for suggestions for Jamie on how to fix her dilemma of a blank wall. Hey, I am one of the million readers so why not give my suggestion. Here it goes.

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My turn to try at a design suggestion. The blank wall screamed to me that it needs a texture or pattern, even add repetition to break it up so it doesn’t look like a monster of a wall. So what is the answer, are you ready? You better hold on because it is a good one and you will just kick yourself for not thinking of it yourself, Board & Batten. You can find a tutorial here. Okay pat yourself on the back it you did think of it. In addition to the board & batten add a small ledge so photos can be placed to add repetition with variation (different photos, same size and frame). Jamie even has a photo that is on the self behind the self to bring in the photos on the board & batten self. Now that is variation.

Here is the big AFTER reveal.
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Great suggestion, right. This is where you nod your head in agreement. Sherry from YoungHouseLove also suggested to paint the air vent and doorbell cover the same color of the wall, that is why she is the bomb.

Oh, do you love the photo of my little one. She is my little cutie on the new wall. Good luck Jamie and thanks Sherry for the fun challenge this morning.

Fall Weekend and Forever Family

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A beautiful fall afternoon. Yummy ice cream and a double chocolate cookie sitting on the porch of the Big Red Barn. Whenever ice cream is involved the family activity is a success. IMG_4413As you can see the Big Red Barn was a popular place to visit. They have hay rides, ice cream, fudge, donuts, and cookies to name a few. Oh and you can’t forget the apples and pumpkins. IMG_4418

IMG_4429Sorry, no cookies or ice cream for you. But a small crumb of an apple cider donut was enjoyed. Look at those eyes, wow I wonder what she is thinking.IMG_4434On our way home we could see the construction of the Payson LDS temple. A beautiful sight in a small farming town.IMG_4442I love to see the temple in my daily activities. It reminds me why I take the time and effort to build a family. You know they are forever. Learn more about Forever Families here.

Raspberry Streusel Muffins

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This is a family favorite. I first found this recipe when I was newly married. Trying to impress my husband that I was a great cook and boy this recipe did it. You would think that raspberry muffins would be a summer treat but with the cinnamon it really has a fall food flare.

Raspberry Streusel Muffins
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup Fresh or frozen raspberries

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in egg. In a small bowl, mix sour cream, milk and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture alternate with sour cream mixture. Gentle fold in raspberries. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

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Streusel:
1/4 cup Flour
1/4 cup Quick-cooking Oats
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Salt
3 Tbsp Butter, cold
Confectioners’ sugar

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Combine flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake 400° for 18-22 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Variation: Can use blueberries.

Poor Grape Pickers

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Frost laid on the roof tops and lawns this past weekend. The true sign that winter is coming. But to me the first frost is the the timer going off from mother nature telling me that it is time to pick my concord grapes. Yippee! My first year of picking and harvesting my grapes. It has taken 3 years and I was able to pick a large bowl of beautiful plump grapes. Yet this bowl was not enough to juice for grape juice. I am blessed to have a dear friend that knew my lack of grapes. She knew where to get more and arranged for me to pick the grapes in her family members rented home.

Saturday I had one hour opened so I enlisted my girls and we went a pickin’. We picked and picked and picked. One hour we had three boxes of grapes and two girls that filled like poor grape pickers.

My grapes are concord grapes my friends grapes were a different variety. You can see the difference in this photo. Both are sweet and work great for juicing.

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I used a fruit steamer and steamed them for 60 minutes for juice. The lighter grapes bring a pink juice and is a little sweeter. Once I had the juice I filled my bottles and processed in my water bath canner for 10 minutes.

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Note that my sister who also has grapes suggested that I do not add the stems of the grapes to the steamer. Although the instruction to the steamer says that you can. She claims that adding the steams gives the juice a bitter taste. So I rounded up my kids and her kids and had them pick the grapes off the stems. Even my little one had a fun time with all the grape pickers. Well she had fun tickling all the toes of the pickers.IMG_4340I was able to get 14 quarts of grape juice from my fun day of picking grapes. Thanks to all those that made it happen.

 

What’s Up Applesauce?

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A beautiful fall day, with the threat of snow calls for some more fall canning. What says Fall more then apples. The calling of making applesauce came my way today.

I popped my cut and washed apples with a little water in a large pot and cooked them for 15 minutes, until they were spongy. Then I used my cool new kitchen toy, food strainer attachment to my KitchenAid. Okay, stop rolling your eyes it really is exciting because it makes apple sauce “Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy”.

The food strainer attachment is the same idea as the Virginia Strainer (brilliant for canning apple sauce). It is all little smaller so I had to cut my apples. But like the Virginia Strainer I didn’t have to peel or core the apples. Both the attachment and the Virginia Strainer separate the seeds, core and skin from the yummy goodness of the applesauce. Now the big difference is that the Virginia Strainer is hand cranked and the food stainer KitchenAid attachment cranks itself. Yeah, no more sore arms.

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So in short push the cooked apples in and out comes the applesauce. The skin, seeds and core come out like little apple poops. As shown in the picture. But there is still good applesauce in them so run them in the strainer one more time.

Once you have your applesauce pour into canning jars and follow regular water bath canning process. I like pint jars and process my jars for 20 minutes.

You can use any apple you wish. Remember that if your apple is tart you will have tart applesauce and a sweet apple will bring sweet sauce. My mom has a golden delicious apple tree so that is what I have used in the past. You know free is best. But this year her apples were not available so I choose a golden delicious and fuji apple blend. I picked them up at the farmer’s market. So yummy and sweet.

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With that said I want to share with you my favorite variation of applesauce. I had a few blueberries in the the freezer and I throw them in the food strainer. Purple applesauce. This is a great way to clean out the freezer of berries. The blueberry applesauce goes great on pancakes, waffles, and an after school snack. We also have a family favorite recipe that we love at fall time, Applesauce Pie. So good! The blueberry is a nice twist to a favorite family dessert.

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What do you do with your applesauce? Do you have any tricks or tips to making it? So tell me what’s up with your applesauce?

With the threat of snow comes frost and the time to harvest the grapes. Here is a little peak on what I did this weekend.

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Let’s Talk Halloween

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These poor Dollar Store pumpkins have seen better days. I am hoping to update them so that they have more bling and bring a little more life into my halloween decor.

The Halloween Rule: We do not talk about what we are going to dress up as for Halloween until Oct 1.

It is here and the kids are just a talkin’ and plan’. Here is a review of what we have dressed up as in the past. Each costume has a great story and the memories are great. Candy aside I think the kids love this holiday so much because there are so many fun memories.

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Look at the shiner on the cowboy, he received it with taking a hit with a tree branch his sister thought would be a good bat. And yes the hat is too small but we couldn’t talk him out of it even though we had a really nice one to replace it. When my kids have their mind made up there is no changing it.

My Glenda witch from the Wizard of Oz was a last minute costume change, I pulled together a brides made dress and a curtain (inspired by Gone with the Wind) and made a beautiful gold gown to match the Dorothy. Dorothy has her little dog Copper as a stand in for Toto. Copper is a well loved dog that she has had since she was three. Given to her by a dear friend that lives very far away now. Thanks Rachel.

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Cat and the Hat with Thing 1 and Thing 2. I have been trying to get my kids to be this for Halloween for ages and this last year they gave in because they didn’t have a better idea. They were a hit and everyone loved them.

All time favorite is the Minion’s. I searched high and low for overalls. I wasn’t willing to pay a lot for them but then I found that they are hard to find. On a whim I ran into Savers and found three pairs for overall shorts in the women’s section. They worked great. The hats were easy to make with canning rings and felt for the goggles.

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Now what? What is next? Any suggestions? Looking forward to the memories we will build this year.