Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kid's Thanksgiving Stuffing

I saw this pattern for Kid's Thanksgiving stuffing last year in  Family Fun Magazine. I finished most of it a few weeks ago but haven't posted it yet because I had not yet sewn the cornucopia. It would have been nice if it would have been posted early enough for those of you who would like to have time before Thanksgiving but you can hold on to it for next year like I did!

Pattern includes: cornicopia, pumpkin, apple, eggplant, butternut squash, turnip, apple, onion, garlic, corn, carrot, green beans, acorn squash, tomato, potato and pear.

The only thing that I really did different from the pattern is that since I was taking so much time already, I cut two pieces for all the stems and sewed them together also to make them more sturdy to last through toddler play.

Click HERE for the template for the Thanksgiving stuffing. They claim that this project will take 1-2 hours but I warn you that they LIE! Between cutting the template, cutting the felt and hand sewing 16 pieces total, I'm guessing it was closer to 5-6 hours. Maybe it took their entire staff 1-2 hours as they worked on it together, who knows!

 Making stew with the vegetables!

 Taste test to make sure that it's just right!

 No sense crying over spilt...stew!

I hope you enjoyed and have fun making your own! I am hooked on the felt food and might venture onto some fried eggs, bacon and toast that I saw on another blog!


Monday, November 21, 2011

The BEST Apple Pie Ever!

I know that apple pie recipes come a dime a dozen but that doesn't make them all equal! I am claiming this as my own recipe because I have looked at and made MANY apple pies and in the end, this is the combination that I love. I do have some proof behind my claim of this being an awesome recipe because I sell these at my parents' over opening hunting weekend and have gotten great compliments on them (this year I sold about 30 apple pies!)

Apple Pie

7-9 apples
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter- butter must be cold!

Preheat oven to 425°. Peel, core and slice apples. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, then add to apples in a large bowl and stir well. Unroll, (yes, I use Pillsbury crust!) pie crust and line pie tin, fluting the edges. Fill crust with apple mixture. Combine ingredients for the topping in a food processor and process until there are only small pieces of butter. If you don't have a food processor you can do this step by hand with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle topping over apples. Place pie in preheated oven and loosely cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake another 20 minutes. So, a total of 45 minutes. If you don't have time to worry about taking the foil off half way, you can put it in the oven for the entire 45 minutes without foil but I find that the crust and top get a wee bit too brown. Let cool and hide until you plan to serve or you might risk the pie disappearing unexpectedly:)

***Here's the key to great apple pie: use more than one apple variety! I heard one woman at an orchard where we were picking apples once say to go picking apples, not being particular to the variety but grabbing many different types. If you are purchasing them at the store, buy at least two varieties. If you can, try to get one hard apple and one soft apple and/or one sweet and one tart. This year I have been mixing Cortlands (hard) and different gold varieties or Macintosh (soft.) The point of all this is that when you bake the pie, some apples will become very soft and some will remain a little more firm which gives a great texture and taste combination!

"Let Me Do My Best Today"

I have been a little lazy these past two weeks with my Monday Inspirations. I have been SWAMPED lately (as many moms are) mostly due to my own goals and projects. Most of them will be posted here soon. I have been at my parents' for just shy of a week and have looked repeatedly at this plaque that my mom has displayed since I was young. I'm guessing that I have read it somewhere between a hundred and a thousand times. I thought that this would be a good saying to share today.

"Let Me Do My Best Today"


                                                  -Author Unknown

Like I said before, I have read this many times as I was growing up in my parents' home. When I read this now, I realize how much more true it is for parents. Let me do my best today, I can be guaranteed that I will not gain any glory, fame, any sort of acknowledgement and definately not any thanks. What I do today matters though, alot, because what I do today will affect my children, myself and my entire family as a whole. So, let me do my best today!

Have a great week!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Yam Casserole

With Thanksgiving closely approaching, I just have to share this Yam Casserole. My mother found this recipe around 15 years ago and it quickly settled into part of our family's Thanksgiving tradition. In fact, the first time that I brought this to my husband's Thanksgiving we were still dating and my now father-in-law declared that I was officially invited to every Thanksgiving from then on. When my husband joked about what would happen then if we broke up, my father-in-law replied "then I guess it might be a little awkward for you!"

Yam Casserole

4 pounds yams- cooked & mashed (stab yams & bake on cookie sheet for one hour at 350°)
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoon vanilla

Combine ingredients and fill dish. Personally, we put it in a round or square deep casserole dish but it could go in a 9x13.

2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cold butter

Combine the ingredients, cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or in a food processor.
Then add:

2/3 cup pecans
2/3 cup flaked coconut

Sprinkle topping over yams. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350°.



Monday, November 7, 2011

"A Few Words to the Public"

At my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meetings, they always start the day with a devotion. Last year the leader mostly used two books, both of which I really liked and asked for the titles to purchase for myself. "Hold You, Mommy" is my personal favorite and that is where this post comes from. I'm not going to post the entire devotion but simply the "guts" of it. It speaks to the power of words that are spoken to our children (although, really for anyone in our lives) in public.

"A Few Words to the Public"

    I sat waiting as my tires were being rotated, when a grandfather walked in with his adorable little grandson who looked to be about four years old. With his buzz haircut and big eyes, the little boy looked practically irresistible. The owner of the tire shop noticed the little guy too and said, "That's a good-looking boy you've got there." I listened for the grandpa's response. My wide-eyed smile fell when he sarcastically commented, "Oh, he's trouble!"
    How do you respond to that? The owner ran his hand over the little fella's stubby hair in comfort. My heart hurt for the boy. I thought about the great opportunity that this grandfather had been given to publicly build this little boy up, and he missed it.
   Have you done that? I have. It's easy to do. Sometimes we're so frustrated with our kids that when someone says they are well behaved, we want them to know the truth: "You should see them at home!" Or if someone says, "They look like so much fun," it's tempting to reply, "You wanna take 'em home with you?"
   A mom shared with us that when answering the phone, her husband always greets the caller with, "Trevor and Parker's proud father." Isn't that great? That dad is taking every opportunity to build his little guys up "in public" where his kids can hear. I'm sure they'll always remember that! Fred Hartley, Jr., author of "parenting at it's best", said, "The only thing better than personally receiving a sincere compliment is publicly  receiving a sincere compliment."
   One grandma told us, "What you say about your child in front of someone else is what they'll remember." Laurie and I, along with our brother, know that she's right. We remember our dad introducing each of us to strangers as his "right'-hand man."
   We didn't mind him calling us that. I was so excited that he was glad to be with me that I cherished the title of "right-hand man." After his words of public praise, I wholeheartedly helped him in any way I could.
   God modeled this public approval for His son as well. After Jesus was baptized, "A voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased' " (Matthew 3:17). Jesus had the blessing of His father, complete with a public declaration of approval.
   Our kids need that approval from us too. The next time you have the chance to publicly compliment your kids, don't miss it! What you say about your kids in front of someone is what they'll remember.

"Hold You, Mommy" by Laurie Lovejoy Hilliard &Sharon Lovejoy Autry

   After reading this devotion I realized that I am too honest about my family. It is an easy trap to fall into because when children are born they have no idea for quite some time what you are saying. When one of my babies would be a month old and people ask how things are going, I can picture that I would admit "good but exhausting." This can continue on until they are four and one day I realize that I just admitted to someone that they are a handful right in front of them.

   My son is and always has been an awesome sharer. I have really noticed lately that when I tell this to someone in front of him he has the biggest smile on his face. He then proceeds to go above and beyond and start offering his treats and toys with others just to show how well he really does share. At the same time, if I tell someone that he can be a challenge, why would I expect him to not proceed to prove me right. This reminds me of something I read many years ago. A woman was saying how much her husband always spoke highly of her when talking to others, she went on to list the qualities that he would praise and she thought to herself "I had better figure out how to become all those things before he realized that they were not all true!" It made me think of how much better our relationships would be if we would choose (yes, it has to be a conscious choice) to look for the good in each other instead of focusing on the negatives. I know that I'm not perfect (no laughing) and I don't want my husband to dwell on that so why would I do it to him.

This takes me back to one of my previous posts. The words to "Encouragement" by Don Wharton are very fitting with the rest of this post. Just imagine what we can accomplish with a little encouragement. Even more, imagine the possibilities of what our children can accomplish in their lives if given ample encouragement. Pretty powerful!

Have a great week!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Apple Stamping Tutorial

I while ago I was thinking about what project I wanted the kiddos to do for our Harvestfest and I remembered coming across a picture of someone using an apple as a stamp and decided that's what they would do. I recently looked up apple stamping figuring that you can find anything online and came across another picture of an apple tree on Family Fun online (I love their magazine for ideas too!)

Start by pre-washing all items that you want to stamp (do not use fabric softener.) Next, cut a piece of cardboard to put inside the garments so the paint won't bleed through the other side. Try to make the cardboard large enough to fill most of the shirt so you have plenty of work space, especially if you are doing this project with young children.

You will need to purchase special fabric paint for this. I'm pretty sure they sell it at all craft stores.

I used a small, cheap brush to paint a trunk and some branches on each item. If you have older children, they can do this step themselves but I figured that my 2 & 4 year olds wouldn't do so well with this step. Let the shirt dry either by air if you have time or use a hairdryer.

Cut an apple in half, trying to get a nice apple seed design. I also cut some small wedges out of the back of the apple to give small fingers a place to hold onto (sorry the picture isn't very clear once I cropped it.)Place a good amount of green fabric paint on a paper plate and dip the apple half and simply stamp it on the shirt. It helps to hold it in place and push down for a few seconds to give the fabric paint a chance to soak in.

Remember to have everyone involved wear old clothing and art smocks since you are working with fabric paint!

My daughter's work in progress...
My son's work in progress...
My work in progress... I purposefully left "holes" in the tree to leave spots to stamp the red apples. My kids obviously did not do that and theirs turned out fine.

 I didn't photograph the last step but when the green paint is dry, go back and fill in the tree with the red apples! When stamping the red apples I used the half of the apple which had the stem and tried to get some of it on the shirt when I stamped.

The Finished Projects:

This is just one of those plain canvas shopping bags that I painted.

This is going to be a gift for someone special (no, it's not for me!) I plan to make a pair of matching knit pants to go with it. What is more comfy for a newborn than a onesie and pants? Maybe being naked but this little one will be born when it's still cool so it will have to wear something!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun with your own apple stamping!