Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Halloween Experiment

But first, here is Joe wishing you a Happy Halloween!  He's a little embarrassed as he's having to wear last year's costume, but he still enjoyed seeing all the kids come to the door.

And in fact, handing candy out to the kids and talking to them has always been one of my favorite things to do.  Talking to mom on the phone tonight we were thinking back to years ago and sharing favorite memories.  I remember huge groups of kids and parents walking the neighborhood when my kids were young and it was so much fun.  Mom told me a story of a lady that she said probably started getting ready for Halloween two weeks ahead of time.  They'd go to this lady's house to trick-or-treat and go inside to her dining room table and choose from homemade cookies, popcorn balls, etc.  Sadly, that sort of thing is but a memory now.

Now, we have a very warped and nerdy sense of adventure.  Earlier today we decided it would be fun to see what would actually happen if we set a bowl of candy on the porch with a note that read "Honor System, Take 2 Please".  If you look just to the right of Joe in the photo above you'll see the video camera we set up for the experiment (and we did fix the curtains so that the camera wasn't noticeable). 

Up until about 8:00 I handed out candy and enjoyed every moment of it.  Then we were ready for the experiment.  I set the bowl on the porch, we turned off the inside lights, shut the door, activated the camera and waited.  In the next hour only two groups of kids came to the porch, possibly because they saw the front door closed.

The first two kids came up to the porch and the older of the two read the sign out loud.  Then she counted her candy "one, two" and helped the younger one with her with their candy "one, two" and off they went.  The next two more kids came up and read the sign, then they were quiet for a minute.  The next thing you hear from them is "We can be good, can't we?" and they each took two pieces of candy.  As they left the porch they called out "Thank you bowl!"

When we watched the video after bringing it all inside we burst out laughing at the "we can be good, can't we?" statement.  I guess there was an instant of being torn, but good won out.

And it did our hearts good to see how the kids reacted.  The best part was that there was still candy in the bowl when we brought it in.  If children are our future, we're in good hands based on the kids that visited our porch tonight.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Papercrafting

It just hit me that if I want these to be posted before Halloween that I better get a move on!  Both of the projects I'm posting today were done at our last Stamp Club.  I just love how talented our demo is - she never disappoints.

Every time I look at this project I get a gigle out of the stamps.  Mr. Skeleton has such a put upon look on his face.  And it really is a darling little project - we used a die cut for the package portion, then tied the top with beautiful wide ribbon.

Next we made a little bit different candy bar wrapper.  This one has a ribbon wrapped around the candy portion and you can pull it out that way.  Very clever!  And when I read the sentiment stamp that says "Friend Good", well it makes me laugh as well.

These projects are the extent of my Halloween since we really don't do much for it.  I'm tickled pink with how cute the ideas are and am actually amazed that this candy bar has been on my desk for as long as it has without me eating it.  ;)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mummy Dogs

The theme for our potluck at last Friday night's scrapbook night was Halloween.  I had no idea what to bring, so figured I on bringing my Easy Apple Pie.  But then Friday morning while I did a little blog hopping I stumbled on the cutest thing - Mummy Dogs!

I could obviously use a little practice on my mummy wrapping, but I thought they turned out really cute.  They were a hit at the potluck, even though I forgot to put their little mustard eyes on when I got there.  If you do decide to make these for your crew I will warn you that it takes longer to wrap crescent roll bandages than what I counted on, so I got a little rushed towards the end.

Here's the layout that I finished that night.  You might recall our little mud "misadventure" here.  I guess my theory is that if you can't laugh at yourself, well you should!

And every single time I read the title on this layout there is a certain song that starts going through my mind.  I'm not so sure I think it's as cute as I first thought!   :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

It's Friday and you know what that means around here - time to reflect on some favorite things of the last week.  And if you want to see more, head over to Suzanne's blog at Living To Tell The Story to see what others have to offer.

1. Lynne's birthday.  Our baby girl turned 24 this last week and we celebrated by all going out for dinner.  Besides the fact that the meal was fabulous and one of my favorite places to go, it was special because of us all being together.  Time together was shortened somewhat as she had other social obligations and had to leave, but really that's as it should be when you're 24.

2. My beloved granddaughter Brooklyn at the pumpkin patch.  We absolutely have so much out there and I can tell that in the coming years we'll enjoy it even more.  The fresh air and the carnival atmosphere is so fun.  This year was beyond crowded since we had rain for the two weeks prior to our going and this day was spectacularly beautiful. 

3. Knitting - or more specifically, sock knitting.  It doesn't matter how many times I knit a sock, I am still fascinated by the entire process.  I wonder who first figured out this mess with all the needles?  I'm certainly glad they did though as it is very satisfying to me to knit a pair.  I wonder if their last name was Sock.....

4. Lindor Truffles - Oh my word, why has nobody told me of these before?  I bought a bag to take to a crop last Saturday, then forgot them at home.  Really what's a woman to do but eat them herself?  The beauty of these is that one is really all I can eat, so it might be that these are better for me than other chocolates because I don't eat a million and four.

5. BSF - I love that every Monday night I pick up a girlfriend, we visit and laugh all the way to church, then the next few hours are spend in prayer and Bible time.  The time spent with the Lord and knowing that I can count on that time is priceless.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Quick Apple Pie

There are so many foods that just say autumn to me and among those is apple pie.  Oh I do love pumpkin, but apple pie just gives me a picture in my mind of a grandma carrying the pie proudly to the table.

This recipe uses fresh apples, so not as quick as a can of pie filling.  But the beautiful part is that there is no rolling out of the pie crust.  Instead you just mix it, spread it and bake it.  And oh the house smells so good.

Quick Apple Pie

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into bite size portions
1 T cinnamon
1 T sugar 
2 t cloves

Preheat oven to 375 and place apples in a pie plate.  Sprinkle the cinnamon, sugar and cloves evenly over the top.

1 stick of butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour

Stir the four crust ingredients together and spread over the top of the apples.  This batter is very thick and sticky, so do the best you can and know that it will all work together in the end.

Bake for 30 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  And think fondly of your grandmother. 

I'm linking this to Rhoda's Recipe Party - go and see how many great recipes have been posted! Also linking to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life As Mom.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lynne' Turns 24

I'm a few days late, but I'm going to post anyway - my daughter turned 24 on Monday!  The entire family went out for dinner on Sunday night and I cannot believe I didn't get my camera out for pictures.  That's ok - we were living in the moment and appreciating our time together.  And my word did we ever eat too much, even including cheesecake for dessert.

Does anybody else look at their children and wonder where the years went?  I always called her my little ray of sunshine when she was a baby.  Every time I would go in her room in the morning she'd be standing up in her crib with a smile that would light up the room.

And while I do miss those days I wouldn't go back for anything.  I'm enjoying the lovely young lady that she has become so much.

I had to kind of sneak around to get her card made since she lives at home again and sees what I do.  Luckily I went scrapbooking on Saturday with some friends and was able to get this done.  (the stamp is Crazy for Cupcakes by Stampin Up)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Brooklyn At the Pumpkin Patch

Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful fall weather and headed out to the pumpkin patch, along with about a million other people.  Brooklyn fell asleep about 10 minutes before they arrived, so she woke up a little grumpy.  Luckily, after a little cajoling, we ended up getting her into her usual happy self.  And I'm sure you can see by my happy face above that I did not mind at all that she was sure a MawMaw's girl that day.  :)

And I had no idea just how much this little girl dislikes flies until I saw it at the pumpkin patch.  The pumpkin she's looking at has a handful of flies sitting on it and she kept leaning over to get a better look, then would say "EWE", drawing the word out quite long.

Silly girl.....

In the end she did enjoy it.  And it's always interesting to me to watch a little one looking around at all there is to see and hear.  Can you even imagine just how cool this must have been to a two year old?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Joshua Bell - At Home With Friends

Throughout their school years both of my kids played the viola in the school orchestra.  We went to many programs and competitions through the years, including once travelling to New York City to compete (from Dallas - that was awesome!). So when I got the opportunity to review this CD I was thrilled.  

Joshua Bell's newest CD, At Home With Friends, is far different than you'd first think of violin music.  He’s well known for holding ‘musical soirées’ at his Manhattan residence – parties with musicians, actors, comics and authors who get together just for the sheer joy of sharing their art. So with this new album, Joshua fulfilled a life-long career dream of recording a CD of instrumental and vocal duets with an amazing roster of musicians and friends.

Here is the list of songs on the CD and who is preforming with:
I Loves You Porgy   featuring Chris Botti, trumpet
Come Again   featuring Sting, vocals
Oblivion   featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Cinema Paradiso   featuring Josh Groban, vocals
Para Tí   featuring Tiempo Libre, various
My Funny Valentine   featuring Kristin Chenoweth, vocals
Maybe So   featuring Edgar Meyer Sam Bush and Mike Marshall, strings
Grieg: Sonata No. 3   featuring Sergei Rachmaninoff (Zenph re-performance)
Eleanor Rigby   featuring Frankie Moreno, piano & vocals
O, Cease Thy Maiden Fair   featuring Nathan Gunn, baritone
Il Postino   featuring Carel Kraayenhof, bandoneon
Left Hand Song   featuring Regina Spektor, piano & vocals
Chovendo Na Roseira
   featuring Dave Grusin, piano
Look Away   featuring Edgar Meyer, bass and Chris Thile, mandolin
Variant Moods: Duet for Sitar & Violin   featuring Anoushka Shankar, sitar
I'll Take Manhattan   featuring Marvin Hamlisch, piano
Left Hand   featuring Regina Spektor, vocals

I can honestly say I've had this CD playing often in our home since we received it.  We play it while eating dinner, while relaxing in the evening with my knitting and it's on my iPhone to play while working.  It is amazing music and I'm so glad to have found this artist.

Disclosure:  I was sent a free copy of this CD in order to do a review on my blog.   

In the still of the morning...

...before the others get out of bed, I sit alone. I have a perfect cup
of coffee, knitting a wonderful sock pattern, and listening to the one
year audio Bible. In these quiet moments it's easy to reflect on the
blessings of my life. May your day today bring you blessings as well.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

If you'd like to read more Friday Fave Fives go to Susanne's blog - Living to tell the Story - and click on the links. Such an uplifting way to end the week!

1. Brooklyn - She got her school picture from daycare this week and she looks so old to me!  A sure sign that our little cupcake is growing up.  Looking at the picture it's rather amazing to me that they are able to pose 2 year olds and get such a perfect response.  Granddaughters are such a gift.

2. Sunshine today!  Our news said yesterday morning that out of the last 14 days we'd only seen the sun twice.  I have a vitamin D deficiency at the best of times, so no sunshine sends me into quite a funk and I end up weepy and out of sorts.  So glad to see Mr. Sun and I'm sure my family is glad too!

3. Prayers at dinner time - I so enjoy this every evening before we eat dinner.  God is so gracious and good to bless us with good food that really the least we can do is thank Him for it.  Funny too - last night I sat down and looked at Keith and Lynne' and said I want to do something different and we would start holding hands during prayer.  Keith looked at me for just a second and said that as soon as I said I wanted to do something different he knew without a doubt it was holding hands.  There is something so incredibly right about joining hands with your family and thanking God for your meal.

4. Facebook - I know, this one is on here frequently.  But I got a request last night from a girl that I was in Bluebirds with lo these many years ago.  We've been chatting of and on today and she has turned into a woman with such a beautiful spirit.  When you are young there's a vague feeling of "we'll be friends forever" and the reality is that people move away and such and life takes different turns.  Such a huge blessing to have some of these ladies back in my life again.

5. Fall flavors - I love the way my home looks right now with the new fall tablecloth and floral arrangements around the rooms.  I would say this is definitely my favorite season and I'm looking forward to some pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting soon!  From what I"m hearing on the news I should probably get my canned pumpkin soon - who knew there would be a shortage of something like that?

Friday, October 09, 2009

Spiral Crochet Necklace

Last night was knitting guild meeting and ironically our program was on crochet!  We learned to make this necklace and though mine is only about 2 inches long right now I have dreams of wearing it this fall. 

It was kind of fiddly at the beginning, but once it gets set and you find your rhythm it's not bad at all.  The biggest problem I had was once I got home - I didn't want to stop!  I did sit up for awhile working on this to be certain I got the "how to" imprinted on my brain.

The girl next to me did hers in a red and white pattern that when it became a spiral looked exactly like a candy cane to me.  I see a trip to Hobby Lobby in my future so I can get more beads.  How fun to have something like that to wear during the holiday season.

We did get some book recommendations and got to flip through them last night - Bead Crochet Ropes by Judith Bertoglio-Giffin; Beaded Crochet Designs by Ann Benson and Bead Crochet Jewelry by Linda Lehman.  There were others, but I didn't get the names written down.

One of the coolest things about this project to me was that years ago - like 30 or so - my mom used to make these necklaces.  I love how things circle around again.   :)
(Pay no attention to the blue clip - it's there to hold my place so it doesn't all unravel!)

Good times................

Thursday, October 08, 2009

A Dora Tent for Brooklyn

The internet is such a beautiful thing.  Right now Brooklyn absolutely loves Dora the Explorer and really I love it that she does.  They are silly little shows, but they actually do sneak in some learning opportunities.  Not that we spend a lot of time watching movies - she is still just 2 after all.  But it is an easy way to transition to quiet time and that does lead to a nap or bedtime.  When she's at MawMaw's house she wants to go-go-go and this helps.

Anyway, Loni is planning a sleepover for Brooklyn and her cousins.  Naturally that calls for a tent, so she turned to Craigslist and lo and behold found a Dora tent!  Luckily it was very close to me (being in DFW you just never know where you might end up), so off I went one evening.

I do have to say the 'pick-up' was funny in itself.  I agreed to meet the mom tent owner in the CVS parking lot, you know, so we would be in a public place and all that.  She had her young daughter and slightly older son with her and we chatted for a minute, then she got the tent out very quickly and into my truck.  Apparently we were hoping for the daughter to not see her tent leaving and she was successful.  I paid her and off I went, thinking what a strange feeling it was to meet a stranger in a parking lot, hand her money and leave with a tent.

We opened up the tent last night to check it out and Lynne' crawled inside to insert the stabilizer bar at the top.  Joe, our trusty golden retriever, thought this was a grand idea and went right in after her.  The tent has a back door and he went in and out the doors several time, wagging his tail and enjoying the moment.

Good times...............
Before I forget - I need to announce the winner of the book!  The winner is Grammy of The Kinz Family News!  Thanks to all for entering - I enjoyed being able to do this.

Harry Connick Jr. - Your Songs

I think I first fell in love with Harry (I can call him that because I adore him) when he was in the movie Hope Floats.  But it was the more recent movie P.S. I Love You that I really became a fan.  His mellow, easy going, romantic nature really shows through.

And I say all that to set the scene for his new CD, Your Songs.  These are songs that we know and love from other fabulous artists, but now with a Harry Connick, Jr. spin to them.  His crooning voice is wonderful for the perfectly chosen songs.  Listening to them will certainly bring to mind the romantic characters he plays in movies.

This is the list of songs and the original artists that you will find on this cd (I almost put album - does that date me?):

All The Way (Frank Sinatra)
Just The Way You Are (Billy Joel)
Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley)
And I Love Her (The Beatles)
(They Long To Be) Close To You (The Carpenters)
Besame Mucho
The Way You Look Tonight
First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack)
Your Song (Elton John)
Some Enchanted Evening
And I Love You So (Don McLean)
Who Can I Turn To? (Tony Bennett)
Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole)

This is a great CD that any Harry Connick, Jr., fan is sure to love.

Disclosure:  I was sent a free copy of this CD in order to do a review on my blog.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Babyback Ribs

One of our favorite things to order when we go out to eat is Babyback Ribs.  And for some reason I never even tried to make them.  I think that somewhere in the back of my mind I assumed they were too hard to make and nothing could be farther from the truth.  They are so easy and a great thing to make when you have a lot of people to feed.

adapted from Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking 2

2 full racks babyback ribs, quartered
4 cups beef broth
2 cups barbecue sauce (we use KC Masterpiece)
1 cup honey

Place ribs and broth in a heavy pot or dutch oven and add enough water to cover ribs.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 1 hour or until tender.  Remove ribs from pot; set aside.

Preheat grill to medium heat.  In a medium bowl combine barbecue sauce and honey.  Baste ribs generously with sauce.  Grill ribs, uncovered, for about 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
See more great recipes at the Tasty Tuesday Food Parade and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Celebrating World Card Making Day

Today is World Card Making Day and I didn't even realize that until just a few days ago.  Part of me thinks I might shoulda baked a cake for this event!  ;)

Anyway, I was needing a card to send to my senior lady and decided to make a card for Dawn's Raspberry Suite Color Challenge #17.  The colors she chose for her challenge are:

I absolutely love her color choice and it really helps that I'm somewhat enamored with color and kraft at the moment.  And this is the card I came up with:

Stampin Up Stamp: Best Yet

Stampin Up cardstock colors: Kraft, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Stampin Up ribbon: Real Red
Blue Flower: Bazzill Wings Bitty Blossoms
Ink: Versa Color 54 Brown
Stampin Up Punch: Scalloped Edge
Dew Drops: Red 

Friday, October 02, 2009

Friday's Fave Five

Well by the skin of my teeth I am getting this posted on Friday! And without further ado, five of my favorite things from this last week:

1. Brooklyn! Getting to have our granddaughter spend an entire weekend with us last weekend was truly a highlight. We took her to a local festival, the library, the park and just had fun playing at the house. She is such a joy and I am so blessed that the kids live close enough that I sometimes get to keep her like that.

We also played a little game with my sunglasses. I keep them in a drawer in a jewelry chest and I've pulled out the one pair I'd prefer not to be played with. The others I mostly purchased when I went shopping a couple of years ago with friends Jeanie and Dawn and we had the best time in a little shop that sold cheapie sunglasses. So no worries about a 2 year old playing with them. Anyway...last weekend she'd get a handful of them out and sit on my bed with me. I realized just how fast little ones pick up some of the phrases we use. She'd put a pair on and I'd say "Look at you!" After a bit she decided to put them on me. She'd get them on my face, sit back and say "Look atchew!" and draw the chew part of the word out with quite a drawl. I got to laughing so much and then so did she.

2. Last night I went to my first Stitch n Lit Book Club meeting and had such a delightful time! This group shares needlework, whether it be knitting, crochet, cross stitch or whatever and reads a book each month that has some sort of stitching theme. It's a pretty small group, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ladies there. And I have always wanted to be in a book club!

3. BSF! I will admit that the questions each week are far more challenging than any Bible Study I've ever done. But honestly that is not a bad thing to stretch the mind and see what I can do. I was doing part of my study last Sunday night after Brooklyn left and Keith came by at one point and I told him I couldn't figure out one of the questions. I explained it at all to him and he sat silently for a moment, then said "You know Elizabeth, there are Bible scholars that spend their entire lives figuring out the Bible. It's ok if you find things you don't understand. If you knew it all there would be no need to go to a study." I do love this man so much! His wisdom blesses me continually.

4. The changing season. I think at the beginning of each season I make the statement that "this is my favorite season" and fall is no exception. The cooler weather, more coffee, pumpkin desserts, fall candles and fall decorations all just make me feel giddy. And my absolute favorite candy ever is candy corn, so I love that there are so many decorations that include their image. Which reminds me of the 1.25 socks that I have knitted with candy corn colored yarn and the fact that they still aren't done for this fall. But that's not what the focus of Friday Fave #4 is - the focus is the changing season! :)

5. An understanding husband! There are a couple of travel opportunities for me next year and so far he has said yes to every one of them. I'm not going to give a bunch of details yet as I haven't decided for sure which ones I'm going to do, but I want to give focus to a great husband here.

If you'd like to read more Friday Fave Fives go to Susanne's blog - Living to tell the Story - and click on the links. Such an uplifting thing to do! :)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Love of a Granddaughter

Life is such a beautiful thing and I love it when things come full circle. Brooklyn fell asleep Sunday while watching an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, despite spending a bunch of time really working on keeping herself awake. I love to watch them fighting sleep - it really is quite darling. Rather than go and get a blanket out of the linen closet for her I got this blanket out of my closet. It was crocheted by my mom when James, Brooklyn's daddy, was first born.

When I spread this blanket over her and stood watching for a few minutes my heart was just so full. The idea that God Our Father entrusts us with the care of these little guys can sometimes almost overwhelm. But He is faithful and just and provides us with the knowledge that we need to watch over them. And while praying over her this weekend my throat got so tight with the love I have for her.

When we woke her up she crawled into my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck. I was holding her tight, kissed the top of her head and whispered "I love you Brooklyn". I heard the sweetest voice in all the land reply "I love you MawMaw".
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen." 2 Peter 3:18 NIV
Ah...good times indeed........