Friday, November 28, 2008

Homemade Dark Chocolate "mounds" candy

Homemade Mounds Candy

I decided to make these home made mounds today. (link at bottom for recipe if interested)

When I was at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory last week on a homeschool field trip, I got some dark metling chocolate to make these.

It's all about the ingredients. I made a peanut butter pie about 15 years ago, and it has been a family favorite (extended family too) ever since. My sisters, their husbands and my mom always want some, not to mention my hubby and the boys. One thing I did differently in the recipe was subbed in what I liked....starting with the crust. Don't get me wrong, I like graham crackers, but my family loves it my way...with chocolate chip cookies made into crust. Cook what you like, and use only the ingredients you like! I made the mounds filling and its in the frige firming up.

The filling is good already, so they have to taste good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade Christmas

This is posted on my other blog, but I wanted to post it here for those who do not read my other blog.

This year, we are financially strapped, as most people in the world seem to be these days. I refuse to put Christmas on a credit card. That is not what Christmas is and I dont' want to have to pay for it later.
Some of the greatest gifts I ever recieved were homemade.

My step mother made me a book with school papers from my childhood. I still have this and cherish it. She also made me a recipe book, which I still have and remember it came from her.

My mom made me a card box out of wood with real cards decoupage on the front and cards inside for my game collection. I still have them and although these gifts were a long time ago....I still remember who made them for me. I pick them up and think of them every time I see them. I cant' say I remember what I got from someone who store bought me something 10 years ago, but I remember those homemade/handmade gifts. I think the thought and the care put into making them made them very special and memorable.

I have some really terrific ideas for homemade gifts, but unfortunately, I cannot post them here until after Christmas. Those on the recieving end may read this blog post.

If you are interested, please, provide your email addie and I will share them with you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Lititz Trip

Brian, Alex and Allen

Nov. 21, 2008

Lititz, PA

Above...Alex, Brian and Shannon (me)

A few pics from the trip....

Margie and Henriett

Trinity and Kelly

The wolves, watching the people lol.

Brian, Shannon (me) and Alex

Brian, Allen and Alex

We went to Lititz, PA yesterday with a bunch of other homeschool families for a tour of a Wolf Sanctuary. It had snowed all night and the whole time we were there, but it was a gorgeous snow. Did not lay in the roads, just on the ground and trees.

It was nice to get together with the homeschool group. I would have to say the Wolf Sanctuary tour was not really much of a tour. The tour guide talked about where he got the wolves, and how they adapted to his sanctuary, how they bit him, etc...but did not really teach about wolves. I guess that is a good project for my kids, to research about wolves and learn some more.

I paid 5.00 to bring a camera in (on top of the 25 to get in for our family) and had to take pictures through the chain link fence....thinking to myself, had I known that, I would have opted out of worrying about pics there lol.

We then went into the historic town if Lititz and had a nice time eating at the Cafe Chocolate on Main St. Hubby and I got a Cubana panini and a portabella mushroom burger with jalapeno sauce...we split those, as we both wanted to try both..we do that alot. Ours both came with a little salad on the side with chocolate dressing, it was really good.

Brian got a peanut butter and banana with chocolate sauce panini, he loved! And Alex got a flatbread pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, turkey sausage, and prov cheese. He loved it. Everything they served was organic. We had a turbo to drink, which was organic cocoa with a hit of expresso...and the boys had organic cocoa. I also bought an adorable "for life" tea infuser that was adorable and a chocolate mint tea, which is really yummy, I should have gotten more, I know I will drink it all in less than a week.

We then went across the street to an old friend's oriental rug shop. Robert Brobst and his wife Amy Eways Brobst sell and repair oriental rugs there. We have not seen them for about 15 years. Mr. Brobst was there, but Amy was home. It was great to see them again and we plan to visit with them, as they are from Wyomissing, they just happen to have a shop in Lititz. They are raising their great granddaughter from birth, who is now 10, both of them are in their 70s, but Robert said, it keeps them young, that is so true. He looked just the same as he did when we last saw him 15 years ago.

We took a trip over to the Wilbur Choc Factory/museum. I saw a Wilbur cocoa tin I have there, in their antiques. Pretty neat. The boys got a chocolate bar and I got some dark melting chocolate for some candy I am making for Christmas.

Then we went down to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel tour. We had too much time on our hands, as the boys and Allen were not into going through all of the shops, and I can't blame them, it was a fun time for girls to shop the town, but not much for the boys/men, so we ended up at the Sturgis house a half hour before the rest of the group.

We decided to take the next tour and then head home. The 14 year old girl Ivy, who gave us the tour, was a wonderful tour guide, very informative and dramatic through out the fun tour. There was only two other families in our tour group, so it was nice, we all got our hands in the pretzels and were awarded diplomas for our pretzel making lol. I am easily amused. I said a hello on our way out to the homeschoolers, hoping they were not mad that we went ahead in early. The group was rather large so it was better for us to be in a smaller group.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

clutter and hand outs

People keep trying to give us their junk that they do not want. I very quickly refuse it, hubby brings it home and leaves it to collect dust here. I think he is finally realizing, if they didn't want it, why would we. I am hoping he can now say, no thanks.
I am also guilty of handing my stuff off to people lol...but I will not keep it around anymore to sell at yard sales, the effort, and time I put into a yard sale makes me nothing! I gave a friend of mine some stuff, things like a good pot rack, worth over 100.00, and brand new things from Southern Living from when I sold it. I didn't care if she threw it out, but I know she had a flood a year ago and lost everything. She could also give it out as gifts, as I had so many of the same thing, I gave the same types of things as gifts to people already. lol.

I like the in one out. When I see something I want now, I think...where would I put it? Can I get rid of something if I bring it home? This saves me a lot of money. I have not been to a yard sale in ages, nor have I had the desire to go.....I have been feeding my trashman big time lately. So PLEASE, if you see my husband, do not give him your crap! We do not want it and I will throw it away anyway! lol. If he comes home with a box of stuff from you, I will find you and dump my unwanted items on your porch! lol.

My Windows Calendar

What's for dinner?

I love my windows calendar that came on my laptop. I use this as my main calendar now. You can set reminders so that it will pop up and remind you of appts.

I also use it to plan my meals. It's wonderful, because if things change, you drag that days meal to another day. It's just an easy drag to a new day. You can rearrange etc.
So if you are supposed to have meatloaf today and someone invites you out to dinner,you decide you don't want to cook today and order a pizza, or you decide that you are not in the mood for meatloaf, you can drag it to another day and drag what you want to that day. I plan my meals for the week and then I grocery shop by what we want. I ask the boys if there is anything special they want and I add it to the calendar for the week.
I also plan to play tennis with a friend, if it rains, she will call and we reschedule and its just a drag across to the date we replan it for.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving at home!

This year, we are having Thanksgiving dinner at home. No stress, nobody but hubby, the boys and I. I am making dinner for just us and we are going to eat whenever its ready, and actually have leftovers for a few days after this time! We always get together with family. This year, we are just going to stay in, alone.

I have done dinner at my house with 20 some people and my house is tiny, my kitchen is tiny...I don't mind entertaining, outside, but when all of those people are in my house, it drives me nuts. I have gone to family houses, sisters, mother, in-laws..and I always have to cook anyway and I never have leftovers. If this works, it may be tradition lol. Hubby and the boys are going to drywall and I am going to cook...and when its done, its done, no deadlines, no worrying about pleasing everyone else, etc.

I know it sounds self-centered, but this year, I am thankful that I can be self-centered occasionally if I want. lol

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My favorite homemade trail mix

I keep this in the frige in a jar to keep it the freshest I can (plus it tastes great cold) and carry it out to eat while watching tv.

in a 3 cup canning jar..

dried cranberries
dried raisins
dried dates
and semi sweet chocolate chips

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

artisan bread in five minutes a day

I just prepared the cinnamonn raisin bread using the buttermilk bread dough recipe. Its rising now and I can put it in the oven in about an hour. I looks good already. I cannot wait to try it.
This picture is from their site... I totally recommend this book. They are coming out with a Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day next, but until then, I highly recommend this book. I don't even put it away. I am constantly reading it to get ideas and finding new recipes I want to try (jalapeno bread is going to be next!)

I started a yahoo group to try to find other's that like the book to share ideas, tips etc.
Click to join Art-Bread-in-Five

Click to join Art-Bread-in-Five

PS I am not affiliated with the authors, I do not make any profit from promoting their book, I just am a big fan of their book.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I got this from great site.

Apron Evangelism

philosophies on the pleasure & power of aprons
One day not too long ago I was struggling with the boys over some minor details which come up when a lot of people live in a small shack in the woods. Details like the value of picking one's dirty clothes up off of the living room floor when company has been spotted driving up the mountain. The boys were unusually stubborn that particular day. Rather than fight with them over their household responsibilities I picked up the dirty clothes myself and crammed them into the washing machine. I ran some soapy water in the sink to get a start on the dishes before the company arrived.
Now usually I am not one to hold a grudge over small disagreements like laundry on the living room floor. This one settled in my brain though, and I felt compelled to mull over it for several days. It was the outright insubordination which offended me the most. After I figured that out I went in search of solutions.
About the same time I was in the process of Spring Cleaning. I was having a great deal of trouble motivating myself to wash the walls in the kitchen and mop the back porch where the cats live (blessedly with a doggie door so they don't need litter boxes).
Well, the more I worried about these twin dilemmas the more I felt the need to discuss them with the queen of solutions, my momma Darthulia. As I suspected she had the perfect solution. Darthulia told me I needed a uniform or costume which would reassure myself and others of my intention and status in the home. She claimed it would remind me of my duties, inspire me to greater levels of cleanliness (which as a hillbilly I sorely need), and reaffirm my authority in the home.
Darthulia then went on to describe the homemaker's uniform to me in detail. "Imagine the modern archetype of the housewife." She began. "Think Donna Reed, or Beaver Cleaver's mom. They wore full skirts, and stockings, and heels when they vacuumed. But you knew they were doing housework because they had their aprons on. A string of beads graced the necks of their classic shirtwaist dresses, and a lacy bibbed apron proclaimed their role as matriarch in charge of household management."
I only have a fleeting memory of Donna Reed. I sort of wish she came on television regularly so I could take notes but she doesn't in my area so I am stuck looking for other heroines-of-the-home to model myself after. Most of what momma said made sense to me though. That very day, I put on a full skirt, stockings, sensibly low high heeled shoes, and a string of pearly white beads. Then I sat down at my sewing machine and ran up a couple of bibbed aprons, decorated with lace and ribbons.
I made up the pattern as I went along using a small rectangle for the first bib and a heart shape for the second bib. Then I stitched lace around the edges of the bib and attatched it to a simple tie with a full apron skirt gathered to the waist. I made them short waisted so they would fit my maternal figure a bit better, and voila, I was set. I put the first apron on, a creamy white or ecru, and looked in the mirror to admire my handiwork. I expected to see myself staring back at me, probably looking a little silly in this frilly piece of confection designed to protect my clothing.
Boy howdy, was I in for a surprise. In the mirror I saw a vision of the homemaker I have always strived to become staring back at me. Her cheery face glistened in the sunshine. Her hair tied up neatly in bun looked authoritative, and compassionate all at the same time. The apron covered several figure flaws and accentuated the fertile curves of the woman I saw in the mirror. This woman had purpose. She had status. She had clout. I stood there, contemplating the wonder of the homemaker that shone through my image in the mirror. "This is who I want to be" I told myself. "This is the Keeper of the home, with a capital 'K'. "
I wear my aprons every day now. I have made more, in different colors and configurations so as to be pleasing to my senses. I have come to believe they are a like lacy bits of lingerie, only worn on the outside, and a quite a bit more respectable. When I put on my aprons the children mind me better, wandering visitors immediately know my role as a stay at home mom. Door to door religious missionaries assume I am a virtuous woman and cheerfully move on to the next house. Fred thinks I look cute as a button, and neighbor children hug me more often.
I like my aprons. They have changed my life, raising my standards, inspiring me to greater feats of home making skill, and making me more effective as a parent. Whoever thought that a dollars worth of fabric and lace could effect so many changes on one woman and one family? Since my success with aprons I have become a true believer. I am now called to spread the word among my fellow housewives. Join the crusade by sharing your love of aprons with friends, family and internet buddies around the world. Together we will change the face of the House Wife, the world over.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A friend asked me to share the easy casserole I make and since I was sharing, I figured I would share this on the blog for future reference.

My boys have their friends sleeping over all the time, seems like I have a house full of kids every other weekend sometimes every weekend.
...I love to make casserole type breakfasts so I don't have to slave over the stove all morning...

Breakfast Casserole
I make this all the time for when the boys have friends over .
My short cut is, I buy frozen cooked sausage from schwanns and cooked bacon pieces (real bacon) from sams and freeze it, you can grab what you need right out of the bag and put it back in the freezer...saves so much time in the kitchen, not to mention electric to cook bacon and sausage.
in a lasagna size pan or stone in order....
1 bag of shredded hash brown potatoes (I use giant generic brand)bacon and sausage (I buy it already cooked and I freeze so I have it on hand) cut up sausageand sprinkle sausage and bacon over top.12 eggs1 c milkput shredded potatoes in casseroleadd cut up bacon and sausagemix the eggs and milk, add some pepper (salt not needed with the bacon and sausage)pour over the casserole and bake at 350 for an hour. you can add cheese to this, onions, green or hot peppers, whatever you have on hand, whatever you like. I stay away from the cheese, as I feel it only makes it salty and the bacon and sausage already salt it.

And one I also make a head of time allen and the boys love....
..sausage gravy with biscuits...just make the sausage gravy and put in a glass jar....make the biscuits and put in a paper bag and refrigerate..when ready to serve...just put two rolls on a plate, some sausage gravy over top and microwave about 1-2 min til hot.

this looks yummy for when you have guests....
although its not very nutritional, looks good. this one I have not tried yet, but will tonight.
Overnight Coffee Cake

1 small pkg. vanilla pudding mix (not instant)3/4 stick butter, melted1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup chopped pecans25 oz. bag frozen rolls (20 rolls)Combine dry pudding mix with brown sugar. Place pecan pieces in wellbuttered Bundt pan, then place frozen rolls on top of pecans. Pourmelted butter over frozen rolls and sprinkle with the pudding mix.Leave cake out overnight, covered. (Dough will rise.) Bake at 350for 30 minutes. Invert on serving plate right away.

Great article

I got this from someone I don't know this morning in email (thanks whoever RolandStcy is).....great article

A Republican Says It Better Than I Ever Could
by thereisnospoon
Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:36:50 AM PST
About a month ago I wrote that America is not now, and has never been, a conservative country. Paul Rosenberg, Eric Alterman, and Think Progress have also done an excellent job swatting away at this meme.
But the best argument that America is indeed a center-left nation was penned without fanfare by one of the Republicans at, nephewmiltie, in response to a post assessing the grim future of the GOP.
In just a few short grafs, nephewmiltie exposes the entire GOP economic fraud better than I've seen any progressive do.
thereisnospoon's diary :: ::
People are not afraid of Socialism, it is an acceptable political outcome.
Well, be honest. The voters have long supported socialism. This country was dominated for 50 years by the New Deal coalition, remember? The Reagan and Gingrich revolutions were never against the New Deal. They were against the Great Society. Thus, people have never opposed socialism for themselves. People have for decades wanted free public schools, grants to go to college, retirements, medical care, money to keep their businesses and farms afloat, etc. So in other words, Americans supported the socialism that benefitted them and people like them. They just opposed it for the other guy. The Great Society was easy pickings, because it went to a small segment of society that, let's face it, most people didn't like anyway.
In other words, when most of Europe went hard right in the wake of global depression, America went socialist with FDR and the New Deal--and loved it. But when that New Deal got extended to minorities and the desperately poor, many people freaked out. The Old Dixiecratic South switched to the GOP, and the rest is history.
But the GOP never even seriously tried to cut off the spigot of the huge amounts of money going to "real Americans." By contrast, the GOP actually gave away more money to their constituents than the Democrats ever dreamed of giving to their inner city base. Remember when Democrats were pointing out that "red state America" was a net economic drain while "blue state America" paid more taxes than they spent? It was 100% true, yet the next GOPer who stood up before his "real American" constituents of suburbanites and middle Americans and told them that they needed to get off welfare and stand on their own two feet would be the first. No, that was a message for the folks in Barack Obama's inner city, not the Iowans whose economic boom the past few years has been totally due to the government funded ethanol industry.
In other words, the Republican Party isn't about "small government": it's about socialism for corporations and rich white people.
The GOP needs to come up with a "no socialism for anybody" message instead of the "no socialism for the people who we don't like and don't vote for us but plenty of socialism for 'our types of people the real Americans'" message and actions that have dominated the GOP since 1980.
By the way: small government Sarah Palin actually increased spending in her state. So why did we presume that she supported small government and less spending? Simple: because she is a Republican from a state that doesn't have a Chicago, Detroit or Harlem in it. That is precisely the problem that I am speaking of.
Ouch. In other words, the Republican Party is, above all, a party of lying racist thugs who steal money from the electorate, and have gotten away with it because they refuse to spend it on black people. That's really all she wrote.
And the worst news for the GOP? The country just elected an African-American. As I said many moons ago, Obama's election means the GOP is screwed, because every day an African-American family lives in the White House, is another day the Southern Strategy dies, and people get used to the idea of African-Americans being not "other", but American just like them.
The racist lie upon which the GOP has predicated itself is exposed. We're ALL "socialists" under their definition, with the rare exception of a few in the utterly discredited Club for Growth crowd. It's just that some of us with a moral sense want to put that "socialism" to work for all of us, while others are content to advocate only for "socialism" for our rich, white, and corporate citizens.
Thank you, nephewmiltie, for putting it better than I ever could.