Archive | November 2012

SOMETHING GOOD!

“One of my Favorite things is my newly found Dish Soap Made in the USA by J.R. Watkins”.  Pamela Kinney

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If you can’t find J.R. Watkins in a store near you, you can shop online directly from their website: http://www.jrwatkins.com/jrwatkins/index.cfm

You can also find them on facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/JRWNaturals

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There’s a Nip in the air!

While giving my pooch his morning walk, I could smell the drying leaves wafting through the brisk cool air. Ahhh, they smell so good. I close my eyes, and deeply breathe it all in. As I look again, I see a leaf or two barely clinging to life, desperately hanging on, in the tall, masculine timbers.  Somehow, the trees look taller without all their leaves.,  almost reaching the clouds.  For their ceiling is no more.  New life will come again, but first, starting today at least, we must all prepare to go through our winter. 

Here in Tennessee, it is a cool 48*. A wee bit cloudy, no sun in sight.  Today, I am not a happy camper. Cold air, gloomy wintery like days, chance of rain…..nope. Not my cup of tea. It is the makings of a good photo op however! I love my rustic, beaten down, broken farm implements on our property. So, I thought I would share!  Have a nice day ya’ll!

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Cinnamon Ornaments

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Cinnamon Ornaments  
Making Cinnamon Ornaments are a perfect holiday fun activity for kids. The ornaments are easy to make and their aroma lasts long after the holidays are over.

 Makes 12 to 20 ornaments.

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 1/2 hours in oven Or 1 to 2 days drying time

Ingredients:

3/4 cup applesauce
1 bottle (4.12 ounces) McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground

***(While I personally use McCormick seasonings for most of my day to day cooking, if you are on a limited holiday budget, Dollar Stores sell a 4.25 ounce bottle of Cinnamon which is perfect for this project. Or, any brand & measure 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cinnamon).

Supplies needed:
Cookie cutters
Drinking straw
Colorful ribbon
I suggest you also wear either a mask, or a handkerchief over your mouth and nose, as this is very dusty and can take your breath away or make you gag.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200°F. Mix applesauce and cinnamon in small bowl until a smooth ball of dough is formed. (You may need use your hands to incorporate all of the cinnamon.) Using about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll dough to 1/4-inch to 1/3-inch thickness between two sheets of plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet of plastic wrap. Cut dough into desired shapes with 2- to 3-inch cookie cutters. Make a hole at top of ornament with drinking straw or skewer. Place ornaments on baking sheet.

2. Bake 2 1/2 hours. Cool ornaments on wire rack. (Or, to dry ornaments at room temperature, carefully place them on wire rack. Let stand 1 to 2 days or until thoroughly dry, turning occasionally.)

While your ornaments are in the oven or drying, you can prepare your ribbon. I started with approx 1/4 yard of red Gingham fabric. I feel it best represents an old fashioned Christmas spirit, but you can choose any color or style ribbon you wish. I also like the “frayed” look, as it adds to the rustic charm.  You will need at least 12-20 strips, 22-24″ long and about half the width of a finger. 🙂

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3. Insert ribbon through holes and tie to hang. Decorate with opaque paint markers, found in arts and crafts stores, if desired.

nutritional_information:
DO NOT EAT

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Lastly…..

If you are anything like me, you first attempt you are bound to make mistakes, or get too impatient, and rush a little when removing the ornies from the pan. They are very fragile, and make break.  Out of 24, I ended up with exactly HALF, that broke to pieces!

So…..what to do with the broken bits? Well, I re-purposed those as well! Which leads me to my next simple craft.

Potpourri

Broken cinnamon ornaments

Cloves

First, if you are fortunate to have a food processor, toss them in until they are crumbs. Or, just put them into a paper bag and roll them . That will work too. 

Next, crush cloves as well as you can, and mix both the ornie crumbs and the cloves. Now, you have a long lasting homemade potpourri, that you can boast about making (not by accident of course lol)Caution: Be sure to place out of reach of children.

You will need a decorative bowl to put your new found potpourri in. I used an old pottery crock. I cut  fabric to my desired width and length, and glued it, using a simple Elmer’s glue stick (mine was leftover from my much younger children~~I hang on to “everything”). Then create a bow. This can be as simple, or as sophisticated as you prefer. Enjoy!

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Courtesy of & Original Recipe for the Cinnamon Ornaments was obtained from The McCormick.com website. I made a few changes with a few of my own contributions and photos etc. For Their version, please visit http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Other/Cinnamon-Ornaments.aspx

Thanksgiving 2012

The Thanksgiving weekend is wrapping up. I had a very enjoyable time on Thanksgiving day with my family. My husband, kids and I,  all shared some laughs & good times. The four of us getting together at the same time, is becoming more and more like a special occasion, and seems to come but once a month. I do believe absence makes the heart grow fonder, although I feel the need to spend as many moments together as possible with them. It is never enough. The time; whether hours or minutes,  goes quickly in the presence of enjoyment.

Everything I cooked,  turned out perfectly. No mishaps this year. Four days of feasting, from that one 20 lb. bird. On Friday, we had turkey sandwiches for lunch, and another full course hot meal for dinner. On Saturday, more sandwiches, and I made a huge vat of soup for dinner. When I finally realized I used the wrong size pot, I managed to burn myself pouring the piping hot stock from one pot to the larger one. Today, being Sunday, we are on day two of soup. I’m thinking I should freeze some for a rainy day, as I am considering pasta for Monday. Maybe even a steak or a burger, to mix things up.

I didn’t join the masses for the Black Friday event. Actually, I never do. I think it’s crazy to stand in line for hours, just to fight a stranger for some unnecessary and unneeded electronic or other item, that I wouldn’t normally spend the money on. I wish people would realize the true meaning of Christmas. Do they know WHY we celebrate Christmas? Do they really know WHO was born on this day? 

Well, Each day I wake up, when I see my family, I thank God for giving me this life. Being human, I guess, it’s normal to see pretty things and have some desires to have them for your home, or to wear. But, I, myself, have been trying so hard to get out of that mindset. I feel I am a more simple person. One who appreciates the beauty in the nature around us, and the gifts God has given us. No. Not material goods. But things that most of us take for granted day in and day out. Things like the breath we breathe. The colors we see. Music in nature out of doors. Our feet which help us reach our destinations and hands that allow us to hold another person or an object. All of this reminds me, of a prayer I wrote in 2009 for my Thanksgiving dinner. I will end my post with that. Enjoy your family, and enjoy the life God has given you. Peace ❤

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Dear God,

I am so very Thankful for My family. My dear Husband~my very best friend and love of my life. My 2 Children, who I am most proud of & to be givin the opportunity to be their Mother. They are the very best of me and Wal. I am Thankful for my Mother. I’m thankful for all those who have come and gone, or remained a constant in my life. Each one has touched my life in one way or another and molded me, into the person I am today.
I am thankful for my eyes to see the beauty in everything that life has to offer. I am thankful for my pets, as they give me such comfort and joy. I’m thankful for my arms; so that I may hug those who mean the most to me & to be hugged! I am thankful for my feet to carry my (sometimes aching) body wherever I choose to go. I am thankful for My ears to hear, and my heart to know Love.
I am so very thankful for God for pulling me thru my darkest hrs and believing in me and giving me more chances than I deserve.
God Bless everyone ~ may you all get to be (either in spirit or in person), with the ones you love, and value each and every moment while you can, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving. ❤
written by Pam, Thanksgiving 2009

PIES IN A JAR

I saw idea and just had to share!!

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Pie in a Jar
Source: Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

* 12 – Half-Pint Wide-Mouth Mason Jars (The short, chunky ones)
*  3 – 9-inch Pie Crusts (double that if you’re making a pie that needs crust on top) You can make your own, but if       you are short on time, store bought crust would work just fine.
*  Pie Filling (Apple is my favorite, but you can use any filling you prefer)

Directions:

Thoroughly Wash and dry your Mason Jars. (removing any stickers or labels)

Step 1. Dough. Make your dough, and roll it out. Cut the pie crust into quarters. You’ll use 1/4 of each pie crust for each jar. Press the piece of pie crust into the jar, covering the sides and reapplying excess crust as needed. Fill the jar with your pie filling .About a half cup filling per jar. Roll out a small amount for the top crust, using the lid to the jar as a guide.

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Once you have filled your jar, and topped it with the crust, you can put the jar lids on and freeze the individual pies (before baking) to have them set aside in the event you need a quick dessert for company. You’ll just pull ‘em from the freezer and bake them as directed in the recipe.

Optional:  (visit website for more variations and additional photos)

Crumb Topping (for 4-6 pies)                               
1/4C brown sugar
1/4 C flour
2 Tbs oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs cold butter
Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter. Add oats and stir to combine.

Or, you can go ahead and bake your pies according to the recipe.** Optional step here that I HIGHLY reccomend: Brush pie tops with butter and sprinkle with sugar at this point! I’ve found no variation in cook time needed from a 9-inch pie to the Pies in a Jar. You might want to keep an eye on your pies, though, just to be safe.

Bake ‘em

Now first let me say that one of the biggest concerns from everyone is about the jars breaking in the oven. All I can say it that I’ve baked hundreds of these and never once has a jar broken. These are canning jars- they are designed to be boiled, pressure cooked, etc. So it’s different than putting any ol’ piece of glass in the oven. They bake just fine!But if you’re freaking out then my advice would be this: remove lids from jars and place jars on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in a COLD oven. Then turn the oven to 375. That will give the jars a chance to warm up slowly as the oven preheats. If you’re really worried you can always let them sit at room temp for a bit first before putting them in a cold oven. Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and the middles are bubbly. If you’re baking them fresh and not frozen they take about 45 minutes.

Once they’re ready, just let ‘em cool and serve when desired.

Credit of & You can visit  “Our Best Bites” at http://www.ourbestbites.com/2009/09/single-serving-pie-in-a-jar/.

Busy Bees

October & November are busy months for our home. Three Birthdays, an Anniversary, Halloween, Thanksgiving…..wow. Just so much to do, a year to plan, and never enough time for any of it. I always put myself in rush mode, down to the wire, and when it’s said and done, I promise myself I will do better, do it differently the following year.. One of these days I will get it right! I think that should be MY birthday wish! To end all my procrastination. 🙂