November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving Pictures!

Hi Everyone!!

This year for Thanksgiving, my husbands side of the family all went to his newly wed nieces home to help them celebrate! They fried a turkey, had all the yummy sides and deserts... the kids had so much fun!
Here are some pictures from that day.

 TinkerBell with her cheesy smile :) 

 My husbands niece (& one of my best friends) holding her nephew.

 Me and my bestie (she's getting married in March... guess 
who her Matron of Honor is!) My arms are NOT that big!!!

 In the middle of the photo is my husbands older sister.. the three girls 
are her daughters.. with their husbands & Fiance's.

One of the daughters and her growing lil family. 

Me and hubby! The sun was SO BRIGHT!! It took
everything we had to keep our eyes open long enough 
to snap the picture! 

Looks like he lost interest with this try! :)

Here we are with half our children :)
My oldest two were already at my family's house.
I sure do wish we all could have been there.. this would have made a beautiful picture. 

Very blurry (taken with my cell) picture of our Christmas tree!

After we left their home, we headed to my family's house. Unfortunately I did not think to take pictures there :(  Next year, I promise.. I will not forget!

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November 26, 2011

Very Late Fall Festival Pictures!


Hi guys,

These pictures are very late in coming, I am so sorry for that. Lol


This year (and every year) on Halloween night, we head over to the church for our annual Fall Festival!


We went to a local church this year… it was a last minute decision and we wouldn’t have made it to our church, so we went a few blocks down to the church my in-laws attend… and the kids had fun. They had all sorts of game stands set up with games that they took from “minute to win it”.  They had a fun jump the kids had a blast jumping and sliding down!

There was one stand set up, where the kids could get their faces painted… well, I didn’t realize just how beautiful of a job this lady would do on them! Once each of my girls had beautiful butterflies on their faces, I could not resist. I had to get my face painted with them. My husband thought this was so funny once we got home, he had to take pictures of us.

I could not get my son to get his face painted (I would not have made him get a butterfly… but he could have gotten something). So it was just me and my three girls : )


Just wanted to show you the pictures of the beautiful job the lady did on the painting… we hated to wash it off before we went to bed. 



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November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!


Hi Friends…

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!
As we set our tables and surround ourselves with loved ones this Thanksgiving day… I pray we are able to slow down, and honestly assess our lives.


I pray we are able to give thanks for everything we have been blessed with. It doesn’t matter if you have a smaller house than you would like, or if your yard is less square feet than your neighbors. It doesn’t matter if you make less per hour than the person standing next to you.

You are so richly blessed!

If you are reading these words, you have been given another day of life! You have an education! You have access to the Internet, you own a computer or phone which allows you to find any type of information you could possibly need to obtain!  You have a job, or receive some type of steady income that allows you to pay for these luxuries! You have food in your pantry, or the ability to drive to a restaurant and eat a nice hot meal!

We all have something to be thankful for…



I am so thankful for…

·         A husband who loves me and has always tried his best to provide for our family.
·         Four beautiful, healthy children.
·         Roof over our heads and floors under our feet.
·         Being born in the USA.
·         Being born in Louisiana; I love this beautiful land with its rich culture (and the best foods you can find!)
·         My education.
·         The freedom to believe.
·         A bible that I can read in public if I wish.
·         My many God given talents.
·         Hot coffee in the morning, and afternoon, and sometimes night : )
·         Many, many, many other things…


My husband has such a large family, 8 brothers and sisters in all, that we usually house hop for Thanksgiving each year.

My grandmother cooks a huge meal for all of us to gather and eat, as does my Mother-in-law. Normally on Thanksgiving day we head to my Grandmothers house for lunch. We eat some yummy food and visit for a few hours talking and catching up with relatives who might live out of town. Afterwards we head to my mother-in-laws for supper and visit just the same.  My mother-in-law decided a few years ago that it was better to have her holiday meals in the afternoon, so that everyone can have a chance to visit all their family during the day.

This year my Mother-in-law had her Thanksgiving meal last Sunday… so we will not have to try and make room for everyone’s cooking! Lol.  Nothing offends a woman who has been slaving over a stove all day more than to show up and NOT eat!  

It is NOT easy to show up at the first home with all those delicious smells and restrain yourself from eating all you can, to make room for the second and possibly third homes! Now, just because my Mother-in-law had her Thanksgiving meal Sunday doesn’t mean that she will not go ahead and fix something up quick just to get everyone together tonight, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she calls to come over.

Today on my side of the family, I have a cousin (we were raised together, so she is more like a sister) who lives in Texas and her two younger children coming for a visit… as well as her brother (also, like a brother to me due to us being raised together) who lives a few hours away is coming with his wife and their newly born 2 month old son! I am so excited to be able to spend some time holding and loving on that sweet baby boy!!! That is in addition to the numerous aunts, great aunts, brothers, parents who are normally around during Thanksgiving meals.

On my husband’s side of the family, he has a brother who lives in Georgia who will be coming over for a visit. (oh man… just had a thought… I may actually have to fix a meal today due to his visit!! AAAGHHH)! Lol.  Usually we just bring a covered dish to the home we are visiting. All of my married life I have never had to cook a huge Thanksgiving meal for my family. By the time we arrive at home in the late afternoon, we are so tired and full, we couldn’t possibly think of eating another bite of anything.
I’ve grown rather fond of this arrangement : ) 

My grandmother is now 78 years old and I know that, realistically, there may not be many more Thanksgiving lunches cooked by her for our enjoyment.  After there are no longer lunches fixed by her, I will have to pick up the lack, and fix something for our family.  I can hope that the rest of my family would still like to gather together, even if we take turns holding the meals at our homes each year… but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.

I think today when the kids wake up we might cut out some paper leaves, and have everyone write on each of them what they are thankful for. I can spread them out on the kitchen table or counter to be read aloud tonight.  We have never done anything like that before, just maybe voiced what we were thankful for… but I really love hands on activities!!

If I decide to, I’ll be sure and take some pictures for you!


I hope you all enjoy your day, remember what you have to be thankful for… and go to bed with satisfied bellies.

Todays Rambling Question is.... what are your Thanksgiving traditions?


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November 23, 2011

Welcome Wednesday Blog Hop

Hi Guys… 

I want to try a blog hop.. care to join me? 
This blog hop is hosted by TAKE IT FROM ME! It’s titled Welcome Wednesday and is a great way to meet new people and learn new things as well as increase your blog followers! 

So.. let’s get started! 

If you want to be a party of Welcome Wednesday, Just follow these steps.
1. Please follow my blog
2. Link up your blog name and URL with the linky.
3. Grab the Welcome Wednesday Button and include it in a post about the event on your blog
4. Go to as many blogs on the MckLinky as you want and follow them.

Be sure to tell them you are from Welcome Wednesday!

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November 22, 2011

My Sons Bonfire Party



Hi guys, this past Saturday we had my son’s bonfire party! His birthday was Wednesday, the 16th

He is officially 10 years old! 


His bonfire party was a big hit. We didn’t send out many invitations, but we had even more people show up than we expected… we had a total of 13 children.
The party was from 6:00pm – 10:00pm and 4 of the 13 children stayed all night and camped out in a tent in our front yard!


 They had so much fun!

This was the menu for the party…


S’mores Casserole
Graham Crackers
Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows

·         In a baking pan, break the graham crackers up in pieces, sprinkle in a good bit of chocolate chips, sprinkle in some mini marshmallows & toss good.

·         Bake in the oven at 300 until the chocolate is melted,

·         Once the chocolate is melted, broil the mixture in the oven until the marshmallows are toasted (watch that they don’t burn).

We made this casserole in lieu of a cake… just spoon the mixture into plates for gooey s’more goodness!


S’mores Shake

Clear Plastic Cups
Plastic Spoons
Graham Crackers (smashed into crumbs)
Chocolate Chips
Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Milk
Mini Marshmallows (decorative topping)
Marshmallow Cream (topping)

·         Crumble the graham crackers and cover the bottom of the clear plastic cups with the crumbs
·         (Eye balling the amounts)
Add the vanilla ice cream, chocolate milk, and chocolate chips into the blender and blend (using the smoothie setting).
 ·         Pour the mixture into the plastic cups on top of the crumbs.
 ·         Top the mixture with a scoop of marshmallow cream, about 3 mini marshmallows and 3 chocolate chips.

Place spoon into the mixture and serve! This was a big hit with the kids…

And of course… the bonfire staples:

 Roasted Hot Dogs
Roasted Marshmallows

What’s a party without games? I dug around online to find games that were geared towards outside parties. They had to be games that these 10-12 year old boys wouldn’t find lame or baby-ish, and they couldn’t be for much older teens… it had to be something that these guys would be able to grasp the concept of.


I found two that really fit the bill, and they had a blast playing them.
The first game really only lasted about 15-20 minutes… Find the glow sticks… these little jr. hunters took no time finding all the mini glow sticks I hid all around our yard (under leaves, in cinder blocks, behind trees, in the flower garden…etc.)

After they found all 24 of them, they spent another good 20 minutes cutting the glow sticks open and writing on the cement and themselves. All in good fun!

The second game was called “Killer” you play it by taking a stack of index cards (or pieces of paper, whichever you have on hand) and on one card write the word Killer. One another card you write the word Detective. On all the other cards (1 for each player) write the word Victim.

Shuffle all the cards so no one knows where the Killer or Detective cards are in the stack and hand them out so everyone has a card.

Sitting around the bonfire the person who holds the “Killer” card has to catch eye contact with someone, and blink at them twice to kill them.

The persons with the “Victim” cards have to catch eye contact with everyone… if someone blinks at them twice (the killer) they have to count to five silently in their minds, and then die.

The person who has the “Detective” card, has to try and figure out who the killer is. If the killer accidentally tries to kill the detective… he is caught red handed.

Once the killer is caught, he gets a point for everyone he kills before he is caught, and the detective gets a point for everyone who is still alive.

Pick up all the cards, re-shuffle them, and pass them out again to play another round.

I really wasn’t sure how this game would be accepted by the kids. I thought they would either LOVE IT, or HATE IT… and they LOVED IT!

I was so glad we were able to have this party for him.
Being the only boy among three sisters, it's good for him to have "boy time" every once in a while. Also, it seems like the last few years we've had to put off having one for him due to a death in the family, being difficult due to the time of the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner... etc.  It's always been something.

I was determined to have something for him this year, and I think it turned out very well. I heard one little one say "This is the best day of my life!" LOL... I doubt it was that fun, but it at least made me feel like the party was a hit.

Thank you all for stopping in and reading my ramble for the day : )

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November 21, 2011

Most Requested Holiday Treats!

I wanted to share with you today my family’s favorite holiday treats!
The treat that I make, that gets the most requests, would have to be the Pecan & Pumpkin Tassies.

These small bite sized treats were RAVED over the first time I made them for a family gathering… and they have been asked for ever since. They come together rather quickly, and disappear even faster. Whenever I create these for a get-together, I always have to be sure to make at least one extra batch to make up for the dozen or so my husband and children will sneak before we head out the door!

Yummy Yummy…. I don’t even like pumpkin… but these are wonderful!


Ingredients

CRUST:
·         1/2 cup butter, softened
·         1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
·         1 cup all-purpose flour


FILLING:

·         3/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
·         1/4 cup canned pumpkin
·         4 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted, divided
·         1 egg yolk
·         1 tablespoon half-and-half cream
·         1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         1/4 teaspoon rum extract
·         1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·         1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·         1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
  •       In a small bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Beat in flour. Shape into 24 balls. With floured fingers, press onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin cups.
  •       Bake at 325° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  •       Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, pumpkin, 4 teaspoons butter, egg yolk, cream, extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spoon into warm cups. Combine the pecans and remaining brown sugar and butter; sprinkle over filling.
  •       Bake 23-27 minutes longer or until set and edges are golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Yield: 2 dozen. 


Also, my grandmothers Sweet Potato Casserole!  This would have to be her most requested dish (second would be her peach cobbler!)

(See above) 
Before I could take a picture of the casserole, this is all that was left!

POTATO FILLING
2  Large cans of Yams (strain and mash real good)
2 Eggs
1/3 Cup Milk
½ Cup Sugar
½ Cup Melted Butter
1 tsp vanilla

  • Mix it all together well and place in your baking pan.

 TOPPING

2/3 Cup Melted Butter
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Pecans

  • Mix the butter and brown sugar together first. 
  • Add in the flour, you add more flour as needed until it is no longer tacky, but crumbly in consistency.
  • Mix in the pecans.
  • Sprinkle the topping onto the yam mixture.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 minutes


So…. My question for todays rambling… what is your favorite holiday treat!?


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November 17, 2011

Christmas Traditions and Salt Dough Ornaments!

Hi Friends,

Now that we are beginning to put up our Christmas decorations... it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas!! :)

When I was pregnant with our son (Who is turned 10 on the 16th!)  I was huge and miserable! It was Halloween night and I was trying to find projects to keep me busy or throw me into labor.  We never celebrated Halloween and no one really tricks or treats around our neighborhood... so that was pretty much out.


I decided, that even though it was early... I would take down the Christmas tree and start decorating it. This sort of became a family tradition for us. Each year on Halloween night, we would take down the Christmas Decorations and begin to decorate our living room.  I said to myself (why take all of those decorations down, and put them up only to last a few weeks and have to take them down again? Why not let them stay up there for a couple of months?)

We have done this every year for the last 10 years now... except for this year : (  we have had so many things going on, that we just didn't have the time to take the stuff out of the attic for Halloween. 

So, we are late getting things going... but we are getting there :). 

I also try to get all of my children, and god children, nieces and nephews together every year and make salt dough ornaments for them to hang on their trees at home.  They have loved this!  I am going to try my best to do this again this year for them since they enjoy it so much. You simply mix the salt dough ingredients together, bake to set and harden it... then decorate with paint, glitter, glue, markers, etc. 

Here is the ingredients you can try with your own kids! 


  • one part salt
  • one part water
  • two parts flour
  • Blend together until a sticky dough forms
  • Kneed together for 7 - 10 minutes on a well floured surface
  • Once it feels smooth and elastic, you are ready to start making the ornaments.
  • Keep any dough you are not using at the moment wrapped in plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out before you get to it. 
  • You can roll out the dough and use cookie cutters to design ornament shapes, or you can give the kids each a handfull of dough to make their own designs. REMEMBER to place a little hole with a toothpick so they can be hung after they have hardened. 
  • To rid them of any moisture, bake them in an oven at 200 degrees for 4-6 hours. 
  • Once they are hardened, you can decorate them with glitter, markers, paint, etc.
You can seal them with with 3-4 very thin coats of polyurethane gloss varnish to last forever!

Here are some photos of Salt Dough Ornaments I have found online!







There are so many different ways to dress up these ornaments... the last pictures shows salt dough ornaments stamped with actual ink stamps, then dried out afterwards, very cute and the possibilities are endless!

Another tradition we have always had, was we allow the kids to open one gift the night of Christmas Eve... they are allowed to open the rest of their gifts on Christmas morning. 

This will have to change this year though... last year I spoke with the kids about an idea I had regarding the amount of gifts they receive from us.  They all loved the idea and we will be implementing it starting this year. 
They know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ
I asked the children how many gifts Jesus received on his birthday... we read from the bible and they discovered that Jesus received 3 gifts on his birthday.

I asked them how they felt about receiving only 3 gifts each, every year for Christmas.  They would receive a small gift in the price range of 5-10 dollars... a medium gift in the price range of 25-50 dollars... and a large gift in the price range of 60-100.  

They could each write a list of the gifts they would love to receive from each price range, and me and their dad would get together and pick one item from each price range to purchase for them for Christmas.

I was really surprised that they loved this idea. I thought it would eliminate the greediness of Christmas... I really disliked when they would open a gift, toss it aside and ask if there was another one for them to open. It really took away from the actual meaning of Christmas.

Because we are going to start this NEW tradition this year, of only 3 gifts each... I think it would be a good idea to start getting some small stocking stuffers to fill their stockings also (something I never really did before, I usually just hang them for decorations) and we will allow them to have their stockings on Christmas Eve night instead of opening a gift.

We sometimes stay up and bake cookies, no... not for Santa. I was never told that there was a Santa growing up, and I never told my kids that there was one.  I do have a 7 year old who asked me if it was ok if she believed in Santa... and I told her if she wanted to, that it was fine with me :) But the cookies we bake are for us to enjoy, snuggled together as a family, watching a Christmas movie on Christmas Eve... just me, my hubby, my handsome son and my three beautiful daughters. 


So... in keeping with the Rambling giveaway theme... I will be choosing a lucky winner who comments on one of my Ramblings to win a beautiful Christmas ornament!

The question for today is... What are some of the Holiday Traditions you share with your family? Or your favorite memories of Traditions your parents or grandparents once shared with you?

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