Tuesday, December 28, 2010

this month

This month I:
learned how to make tamales...very time consuming.
tried my first sweet potato pie...YUM YUM!
gave Christmas cards out to neighbors.  Why do I leave out people we see almost daily?
got a kitchen aid!!!!  Dear hubby blessed me BIG time!  Anne it's red! 
didn't decorate for Christmas...the kids did it all.
had no children in the Christmas play.  Kind of nice yet strange.
JUST wore a sweater...it's been that warm here!
have made more food for potlucks than in all of the other months probably combined.

Hope your month went good!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

bistochitos and too much food

This morning I am home from church. 
Our son was up most of the night, more moaning than anything else.
Too much, too many combinations of food the past two days did his poor tummy in, we think.

We a wonderful Christmas with friends.  Stayed up too late and we all ate too much.
Photos of the great time we had, of the food we made, gifts we got...you ask.
Batteries not charged.  
My gift to the kids!  hee hee  They were pretty excited.

The batteries died right after this photo.  Sorry I don't have more.

Biscochitos, also known as biscochos (depending on if you're from the north or south), are the state cookie in New Mexico and have a long tradition in the state.  Some call them an afro-de-ze-ak.   They were originally introduced to Mexico by Spanish explorers in the 16th Century.
(information adapted from here)
While you can serve them all year-round, they are more commonly served Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.  One other New Mexican tradition on Christmas Eve are the luminarias.  A small town near us has a luminaria display every Christmas Eve.  There is one house that hands out biscochitos.  We always make sure to stop there!

Now for the recipe.  I noted the few changes that we do.

Biscochitos

Ingredients

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups lard (or butter, though lard tastes more authentic)
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons anise seed (can use 1 tsp seed and 1 tsp ground anise)
2 eggs
1/4 cup brandy (can omit)(if omitted, add milk or water to moisten)
I like to add about 2-3 teaspoons anise extract

1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the lard and 1 1/2 cups sugar until smooth. Mix in the anise seed/ground anise, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the sifted ingredients and brandy, and stir until well blended.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/2 or 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. The traditional is fleur-de-lis. You can also form small balls, then roll them in the sugar cinnamon mixture.  Place cookies onto baking sheets. Mix together the 1/4 cup of sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the bottoms are lightly browned.

Enjoy!
 
I also made my Mother-in-law's cheesy potatoes.  We brought back an empty dish. 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

just sayin'

Just saying....12 straight wins!!

So nice to have one of your teams doing good.  Makes the wait for Spring Training tolerable.   

Friday, December 17, 2010

worth every penny

*I did not get any $$ for these endorsements.*  Too bad, huh!

Here's a bit of a product review for ya.  They are each worth every penny.

Gold Bond totally helps dry hands!  Stays on too.  No guilt buying this one.

If you have hard water, water so hard it either eats away your faucets or calichifies on them then you NEED this!  Spray this on, let it sit and wipe away.  Works best on a caliche free surface, not layers of growth.  If you catch my drift.  For that you'll need a white vinegar bath overnight.  No not you!


Again, WOW for hard water!  Dishes come out clean every time.  Especially if the dog has licked them first!

Not for hard water, but for DRY hair.  My hair stylist Ceasar recommended this and LOVE it!  I did find it cheaper then what he was selling it to me for!  But we won't tell him.  Speaking of Ceasar, I need to make an appointment.

Last but not least for your laundry.  You know those stains you can't get out, those under arm stains and smells that don't come out...soak the clothes in a bucket of water mixed with this good stuff and most, if not all of your stains will come out.  The smells too.  One word of warning, will turn off white clothes white and may fade some colored clothes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

comic relief

Sunday, son and I didn't go to church.
The pain pills make him pretty sleepy.
He'll just crash out of nowhere.
Plus, he couldn't stand up too straight.

We needed something to do.
I thought it would be fun (or at least take up some of our time)
to cut up the comics, mix them up to make our own funnies.
Son's turned out much funnier than mine.

I think mine are in the trash now.
It was harder then I thought it would be.
But fun!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wrap This

Phew...I need to catch you all up.

First, our son is doing good after his surgery.  He only had one hernia, not two.  So, he only has one incision.  He's in a bit of pain, but the drugs are helping! ;)

Now to catch you up..
 Snow flakes made by kiddos!


 Picked this up at Pier 1.  Works SO good as a trivet!  Never mind the dried on food.



Science

(Only half really fit into our house!)
I think we went a bit over our height limit.  shhh...


This is the first year hubby has put the lights on the tree.
The job usually falls on me.

 I'm fixing my hair honest!  He did a great job with the lights.

 Son did most of the decorating this year.  I honestly didn't do much at all.

The finished tree.

A little something I made as gifts.  (saw it on a blog)
I kept the worst ones for us.

Awhile ago our son asked a question that got me thinking.  I finally put this up.
It's for our prayer requests, verses, songs, etc. 
At first the kids balked at the idea, but it's pretty full already!

Now to close, my good friend sent me this knowing my love for...well I don't want to spoil it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm Still Standing, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

First, I want to say thank you all who comment.  They really help me from feeling I'm writing to the walls!

There is really SO much to write about lately.  However, since it's the end of the year, almost, yikes!  Since the sermon last night in revival was about "Why Me?/I'm Still Standing".  Since every sermon so far in the revival could have been just for me.  I figured I needed to write a bit about standing.

2010 has been a year of health issues for us.  I kid you not Dec. 31st 2009 ended with son stepping on a rusty nail and it has been almost non-stop since.  I will spare you all of the problems, I don't want to loose any readers.  However, I will mention some: scoliosis, three weeks food poisoning/flu(?), weird sickness the docs didn't even know what hubby had, LOTS of things going on with me, LOTS of blood work, x-rays, mention of three different kinds of cancer, meds and more meds, rashes, son is having surgery this Friday for two hernias, and so on.  For the most part we are all good.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous.  But the Lord delivers them out of them all
Psalms 34 : 19  (Hope this doesn't make it sound like I think I am all righteous.  This scripture just really helps me.)

This year my faith has been tested, tried and ran over the coals.  I have really learned that with faith comes a fight.  I have found myself embracing God's word like never before.  There have been times reading the Bib;e or in a sermon I find myself telling God, "I think I am getting it."

Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.  Psalms 103 : 2,3

In January my dad was in the hospital with blood clots, two of my grandparents almost died, one was on her death bed.  They are all here today!  Praise God!

Some times it's everything breaking in the house and the cars.  2009 seemed that way. 

Whatever the problem/s, crisis, God has ALWAYS brought us through.  I know it in my heart, I can open the book in my mind to all of the times when the situation seemed hopeless, but God ALWAYS brought us through.

You have been grieved by various trails, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1 : 6,7

There is only one reason that I am still standing and having joy is through the grace of God.  That may sound cliche, but oh so true after this year.  God has done SO much for me, I could really write for a few days.
(I need to be able to write like Patti here.)  I know some of you know God as I do.  I know that some of you don't and some don't want to.  (I also know that some of you may stop reading here if you haven't already.)  I have to tell you that without God in my life I would not be who I am today.  God has healed more then my body.  When I gave my life to Jesus at 17 I was a broken girl.  I wasn't a "bad" girl, but very hurt, confused and lonely girl.  I had been raised in a sort of christain home.  Yet it was a dysfunctional home many times.  God touched my life growing up and when I was 17 I knew I needed God.  I had hardened my heart toward Him so much that I wasn't sure if He would come in.  He took so much of the hurt away, gave me a purpose in my life.  And in the many years since He has done more for me than I could have imagined.  And during this year of sickness I have longed for Heaven more than ever before.  It has become real to me.  This has been on my heart for some time.  Jesus is coming back one of these days to take His children home.  I know it's going to be soon.  (Golly, I can't wait!!)  But I want as many of you to come with me as possible.  I know that it's hard to persuade someone to give their life to Jesus on a blog, but if you're lonely, empty, anxious, or you realize you have sin in your life that's bugging you, Jesus will take it all away and give you a new life.  Just ask Him in and see how good He is.

I don't know an easy way to end this post, but I know that I am ready for 2010 to end and to see what God is going to do in 2011!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am Stuck


One very common question I get asked about home schooling is "How do you know how to teach everything?"

I don't.  Not even close.  To be honest, it is amazing how easily my brain gets "fried" from school work! 
I feel for the kids some days.

Take Algebra I for example.  We are stuck on Slope and Intercept.
You know:
The line Y=4X-5 has a slope of _____.
The line Y=-3X + 2 has a Y-intercept of ______.
Give and example of a line with a Y-intercept of 0.

And...
Which of the following lines are parallel to the line you drew?  (There may be more than one answer.)
A) 4Y= -8+3
B) Y+2X=0
C) Y-2X=4

And graphing the points.

You get the idea.

Do you remember how to do those?  Me either, though I have learned/relearned most some of it.
What do I do when I am stuck?
Go through the books, first.  Most of the time that does it.
Next, go over the videos myself with worksheets and the answers.
If that doesn't work I look at the book's site for help.  Which usually come on the form of forums.
I could call too.

While I know she will probably never use Slope and Intercept, or much of Algebra for that matter, when she grows up.  Yet, I can't just let her skip through it.

In our public school days I could blame the teacher or the books, etc. for not really teaching.  I mean come on!  I could just give the kids some simple answer or tell the "I don't know, you'll have to ask your teacher."  Those days are over.  I am it! 

If you home school and get stuck what do you do?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our Story pt 3

I have totally left you all hanging in the Our Story saga!
First, I have to explain the photo above.
This is from our recent photo shoot with a young lady at church.
She's still learning and did a great job.
Hubby, however was working on the church and stopped just for the shoot.  He still had a lot of work to do, so his mind was not into the shoot.  So, this is totally staged and looking uncomfortable.

Anyway, back to our love story. 
After being totally frank and embarrassing we kept on dating.  My boldness is what saved the relationship.  Thank God for that.  It gets pretty boring from here.  Good thing it was a quick courtship. (8 months in all.)  During our courtship we took drives, hiked, hung out at my mom's house.  (I still lived at home.)  We even had Grammar lessons.  Hubby wanted help with his grammar.  So, I would teach him something and then give him home work.  Romantic, huh!  No way would that happen now!  (Disclaimer* I am by no means any good at grammar.)

One of the big events was going back to meet his family.  Now we were in California and his family in Massachusetts.  I had never been back east before.  Let me pause here and add that this trip meant something different for everyone involved.  For hubby and I it meant this was getting serious.  Meeting his family and all.  For his family, I think they knew it was probably serious.  He had never brought anyone home before.  For my mom, well she told me not to go.  Honestly, I don't totally blame her. 
Hubby paid for the whole trip and we stayed at his parents' house.  We took the red eye flight and talked the whole way, or did he fall asleep?  Probably fell asleep.
I spent a month there and did he show me the town!  We went all over Mass., to Maine, Illinois, Niagara Falls, took a ferry to Nova Scotia, drove through New Hampshire, and on and on.  I rode my first subway, called T's.  Fell in love with their accent and Harry's Pizza and the Red Sox. 
(I will have to get the scanner cranking here and post some photos.) 
There is really SO much to tell.  Since some of my in-laws read this blog I will spare some of the details.  I truly had a wonderful time.  While my hubby's family and mine are very, very different in so many ways, they were very welcoming and nice.  I only hope that I was as nice to them.  I was still pretty shy and honestly a bit overwhelmed with it all.
I met all of his school buddies.  Were talking elementary school friends.  They still talk to this day.  I met all of the family there.  We even drove across country with his parents.  Yikes, that was something!  I will have to write for the next post.  All-in-all we had a wonderful time.  It was to be one of many trips back east.  Mass. has become one of my favorite places to be.  My space in Heaven will look like Mass.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Blogger Envy

Are you like me?
Do you sometimes feel like "Keeping up with the Bloggers" is the new "Keeping up with the Jones."
You know, you browse through blog after beautiful blog showcasing their gorgeous homes, redos, etc.
I could spend all day in this bathroom.  (I am pretty sure it's from 320 Sycamore.)

And do tons of laundry here in Home and Harmony's laundry room.

 Another beautiful bathroom.  (source unknown.  If it's yours, you're one lucky lady.)

How about this kitchen!  Yeap, mine looks just like it...not, but maybe one day!
Sometimes, after spending time closed in the office, looking into other bloggers homes I can feel alittle envious.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our house.  Sometimes I just need to take a break from peeping and sit in our living room with the sun streaming in and listen to the kids and hubby fill it with laughter.

Off to enjoy clean my lovely home.

And Anne I hear you screaming that our home is beautiful!  Thank you!

Have a great day and enjoy your home.  Even if it's not "blog worthy", it's yours.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Slept In

Today we all slept in.  Even hubby.  (He has today off.)
After a very full week...
groceries
driving
dermatologist
more driving
dishes
doctors
surgeon
singing lessons
baking
schooling (skipped some)
walk the dog (try to at least)
calming fears (many times)
long distance sanity calls
3 1/2 hours of deep cleaning the church (can we say I woke up sore!!)
etc., etc....
We needed to sleep in.

Today we are:
attempting to catch up on school work
put the laundry away
change the bedding (hubby is ready for the flannel sheets)
hubby is going to work on the fence
dishes
cut down our tree
pick up for son since he's on very light duty
home bible study tonight
rake the leaves

But first I need to get into the shower.
Have a great day!  And thanks for reading and especially for commenting!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blessing

I am blessed...
by a hubby who has dinner hot-n-ready for us after being out of town half of the day...twice!
(Not pizza twice.)

For baking, my stress reliever.

For a son who has made some very wise decisions and who will be needing surgery for a hernia next Monday.

For a daughter who is a major help to me.  She had her schoolwork done, was raking the yard and had laundry going when son and I came back from Dr. appointment.  I truely would not get everything done without her.
The last two weeks have been busy and a bit stressful, but I am blessed!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Do-It-Myself.

Are you ready for another guest blogger?  I am!!
I can't even remember how I discovered Mandi from Tidbits from the Tremaynes.
Most likely from a blog that led to a blog...you know how that goes.
Once I read her lively posts and saw her adorable kids, I was hooked.
Mandi is funny, down-to-earth, a real sweet heart and funny (did I already mention that?).
I so wish that we were neighbors.  She's the type you could totally go ask for a cup of sugar and you'd go home with something else!  Maybe some scraps of trim!  heehee
Maybe one day we'll meet in real life.
So without further adieu...

Last year, we searched for our first house.


And while I knew I was full of all kinds of cuh-razy decorating ideas, I only had two main priorities for this new house of mine: location and an "open" feel.

Um, yeah. My house is a full-of-windows peepshow, man. Felt like I was getting snowed on the other day. That'll do for an "open" feel.

Anywho, this house: it's new-ish, from a real estate perspective. From a decorator's perspective? Hehehe. . .

Yee-ah. It was built at that age where there is now a lot of need for an update. Are you thinking lots and lots a brass? The original builder's white? Then we're on the same page.

So, for a gal with all kinds of crazy ideas floating in the noggin', a new house to torture, and a hubby that works all kinds of crazy hours. . .

Oh. Crap. The hubby works all kinds of crazy hours. And I couldn't even really use our drill. Dang. I's in a tight spot.

That was when cold, hard reality gave me a good B-slap to the face:

it's you. Or it's not getting done.

So I guess it'll have to be me, dang it.

(excuse the hair; that totally hist 'do is an "I've-got-a-project" 'do)

Now would be a good time to tell you that I love molding. It goes with everything. Including chips.

(On my favorite project list)

Now, I'm not telling you that I have no fear when it comes to a saw. They scare me so bad they might make me pee a little. Might.

I'm not telling you that I don't make mistakes.

(also on that favorite project list)

Ahem, my bed might be covering up a slight spacing discrepancy with that wainscoting. Might.

I'm not gonna tell you that I don't have a close relationship with spackle (the mistake hiding wonder),

Or that I haven't accidentally drilled my finger, sanded my hand, wasted an entire piece of molding with bad cuts, spilled paint on the carpet, pulled out crooked molding with a crow-bar, snapped the measuring tape back in so fast that it flipped back, broke a blood vessel, and I thought I broke a finger it hurt so bad. . .

All I'm sayin' is, besides that my house is a hot mess, is that practice makes perfect.

Right??

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How-to Make a Pie Crust

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. 
We did.  We went to a friend from church.  They had over 50 other church people over.
Lots of fun!


Yesterday I blew the leaves off off the patio.
I awoke to this...

For Thanksgiving I made 4 pies, 2 buttermilk, 1 pecan and 1 pumpkin.
My grandma taught me how to make pie crust.
I love making them and teaching others to make it too.
Here (with the help of my daughter) are step-by-step photos for you.

I use an old recipe book. (1960's I think was the last revision.)
There is duct tape holding it together, seriously.
 Here is the recipe for one 8-inch pie crust.  (Though the photos below show enough for three crust.)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening (butter flavored tastes the best)
4-5 tablespoons cold water **see water photo**

This is how I measure.
A teaspoon can fit nicely in the palm of my hand.
 Stir dry ingredients.
 Add shortening.
Cut the shortening in with pastry knife until crumbly.
For flakier crust have bigger crumbles. 
 Two knives will do if you don't have a pastry knife.
 **Water photo**  I find that I ALWAYS have to add more water then the recipes call for.
So, I just  add water from the tap until I get the consistency that I like.
I add the water a little bit at a time in a small "well" on the side.
Then, with a fork, I "work" the water into the dough.
I keep adding water and working it until I get a nice ball.
The drier your dough the flakier it will be.
However, too dry at it will crack and be hard to roll out.
To much water and it's a sticky, gooey mess.
You'll know.
 Don't be afraid to use your hands to work the dough, not knead it.
 I like to form the dough into a nice flat, round mound before rolling.
I always roll my rolling pin across the floured surface before rolling the dough.
This helps it not to stick.
You can also flip the dough on the flour on both sides. (Hope I made sense here.)
 I don't have a crust mat or whatever you call them.
So, what I do is roll the crust out until I think it's the right size.
I then place the pie plate on the crust to see if it's to small or too big.
 I then place the rolling pin at the top of the dough and gently roll the dough along the pin.
It usually looks like this before I transfer it onto the pie plate.
 Once that's done, I fit it into the plate.
 Now here's where you can get creative.
You can use a fork and press it right onto the dough for a flat edge look.  Trim the excess crust off.
Or you can pinch the edges.
This works great for a full pie and one that puffs up while baking.
Fold the excess dough under to make a wall all around the dish. 
You want it to be a bit taller then your dish.
Then you pinch the dough like so...(see below photo).
 Some turn out like this...
 ...while some turn out a bit prettier.
You can leave the crust out on the counter while you prepare the filling or place it in the frig until ready.
Enjoy!