Muffin Top Madness

I LOVE MUFFIN TOPS!  Not the ones that fall out of the top of my pants, but the ones that come of out a special muffin top only pan.  I bought it recently at Meijer (like a Walmart) by suggestion of this website, Picky Palate.

She uses this pan a lot of cookies and such and I have been wanting one for a while.  I recently ate something called a Vitamuffin and really liked them, but not the $5.99 price (for 4).  So I thought I would try to make my own.  I used a recipe I have for Applesauce Cake and figured I could do a Vitamuffin sort of thing.  Anyway, here it is.

In a mixer, cream together 1 stick of soft butter and 1 cup of brown sugar.  Add two eggs and 1 tsp Vanilla.  Then mix in 1 1/2 Cups of applesauce.  It looks a bit curdly, but that is ok.  In another bowl mix together 2 Cups of Flour (I used 1 Cup Wheat and 1 Cup White), 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/8 tsp cloves.  Mix well with a whisk, then slowly add to the applesauce mix.  I also added 1/4 cup wheat germ and 1/4 Cup ground flax seeds.

Normally, you would bake this up at 350 for about 35-40 minutes.  But I put a dollop in the muffin top tin and baked for about 15 minutes.  Now, they are ready for me or the kids to take one for breakfast on the way to work or school.  They also will pack really well in their lunches. Th











PS.  Adam was driving me crazy while I was cooking.  He wanted to be right in the action.  Finally, I decided to engage him in something (novel idea) to keep him busy.  A small plate of flour and a spoon gave me about an hour of peace.  And…it was fun.

Liam’s Seventh Birthday

Last year, when Liam turned 6, he had a massive toothache and was not feeling very well for his party.  We also had a very small-scale party of only about 5 guests.  It was good for me, good for him…but not very fun or memorable.  Or, at least the memories of it are painful, from the tooth.  Every year I try to save money by having a party at home and every year I am swearing under my breath at that decision while I desperately clean my house.   I always think I can have the house picked up, but SOMETHING always happens and there is a last-minute screamfest scramble to clean things up.

So, this year, Liam was given a choice.  Home (please no) or Away.  He chose Away.  Yeah!  He then wanted Bounce U (bounce house).  It is like $300 for a party there.  Ummmm, no.  So then we looked at other options.  The local bowling alley has a great package for up to two hours, 10 plus kids (game and shoes included), hot dogs and french fries, plus your kid gets a bowling pin that everyone in the party can sign.    All for about $100.  All I had to do was bring the cake, goodie bags and Liam.  So fun!

For the family (real birthday) party, Liam chose to eat at PeiWei and have ice cream sundaes instead of a birthday cake.  Don and I debated his gift this year a great deal.  He wanted a 3DS very badly.  He has been asking for a long time and we have put it off.  I just don’t want him to have so much access to video games, although I know he enjoys them very much.  Well, we decided to go for it, with lots of contingencies (home work done, chores done, etc.).  It was a great hit and he exclaimed the BEST birthday ever.

For the kid’s 7th birthday, my Mom gives them a personalized Book of Mormon and some stickers to put in it.  Liam got to open one present first thing in the morning and he chose this.  He liked it a lot and was so excited to have his own scriptures to take to church on Sunday.




The Holy Grail.






The “Cake.”

My current Yogurt craze

My kids eat yogurt like it is going out of style.  I don’t get it, but I think it has something to do with Don’s unhealthy addiction to cottage cheese.  When I am at the store and want to get him a treat I bring home a pint of cottage cheese.  That, more than anything, is the key to his heart.  I wish I knew that when we dated.  I might have been able to get away with more. :)

I decided to try to make my own.  I have always been a little freaked out by it.  It is bacteria you know.  Bacteria, not treated in the right way can get very dangerous very quickly.  I really don’t want to poison my family, so I stayed away, thinking that one day I would just buy a yogurt machine.  Well, I saw a blog describing how to do it in your crock pot.  I have a crock pot, and thought, why not.  Let’s do it.  It was so EASY!  I can’t believe I was freaked out by it.  I also thought it would taste gross.  Well, not so.  In fact, it tasted better!  AND I used WAY less sugar!  My kids ate it within days and I only spent about $3 total.

So, what do you do.

Measure out 8 cups of pasteurized milk (this is equivalent to a half-gallon).  We do Vitamin D at our house, but I think you can use less fattening ones.  It might be a bit runny though.  We will get to how to fix that in a moment.  You also can not use ULTRA Pasteurized milk.  Why?  The instructions didn’t tell me.  So I googled it and apparently it is cooked too much and you will not have what you need for the bacterial reaction.  I have heard raw milk is best, but sorry folks.  Not going there.  So, you got your milk.  Put it in your crock pot, cover it with the lid and turn your pot to “Low.”  Go do something for 2 1/2 hours.

2 1/2 hours are over.  Now turn your crock pot off.  Yes, off.  Don’t pick the lid up.  I put a towel over the top, just to help keep it warm.  Now, go do something for 3 hours.

3 hours are up.  Pour out about 2 cups of the milk.  Whisk in 1/2 a cup of already prepared yogurt into the 2 cups.  When it looks pretty well incorporated (not lumps), dump it back into the crock pot with the other milk.  Mix it pretty well.  Put the cover back on.  Wrap it up in the towel.  Go do something for 8 hours.  If you do this at night, then go to bed.  Don’t heat it because it will kill the good bacteria.  That is what you want to go to work on the milk.  By raising the temp of the milk (the low cycle) and then slowly bringing it down (the off cycle), you have killed the nasty bacteria and made a good environment for the cultures.  Oh, you want a yogurt with the four cultures in it.

In the AM, or 8 hours later, you will have a very thick yogurt.  Now, put it in the fridge!  You can prepare it anyway you like.  If you want it thicker, I am told to mix in dried milk at the yogurt stage, but I haven’t tried that.  When I do, I will update this page.  Here are pictures of the results.

This is the yogurt in the AM right out of the fridge.  I mixed mine with about a Tsp. of Honey and a Tsp. of jam.  That is all I needed.  Seriously.  I like things on the sweet side and it was sweet enough for me.




So, I have these little 1/2 cup servings.  I added the yogurt, a swirl of honey and a dollop of jam.




Here are the little yogurts, all ready for the kids to eat.  It made about 12 I think, maybe a bit more.




So, there are some benefits.  First, cost.  It was pretty darn cheap.  Second, health.  I am told that yogurt is really good for your gut and help with keeping a healthy immune system.  Third, I can rewash everything, saving my garbage of 12 plastic yogurt containers every week.  Now, to find a tube that I can put it in.  Adam likes his yogurt that way.  I will have to figure something out.  I have a heat sealer, maybe make a bunch of tubes with that?

NYC 2011- Best Family Trip Ever

About 6 months ago, Don got an offer to teach a graduate course for one week at a school in NYC.  At first we thought that they would be providing a hotel, so we figured we would take advantage of it and bring the whole family.  Well, turns out, no hotel.  So, I found an awesome deal through a friend and a yahoo group of subletted apartments in the NYC area.  We cleared our schedules and we were ready to go.

Day 1:  The trip takes about 12 hours from Detroit to NYC.  We could have done it in one day, but decided that our sanity was well worth the hotel costs.  So, we stayed in Pennsylvania.  I have to say, Pennsylvania was SO PRETTY.  Lots of rolling hills, rivers and bridges.  If you ever get the chance, take a trip on 80 in PA, take it.  Beautiful.  We traveled through the Poconos.  All I remember of the Poconos is advertisements in the back of Bridal Magazines for honey moon specials.  They are pretty though.  We did not see any champagne glass hot tubs (as advertised), but lots of pretty landscape and fern leaf lined forests.  We stayed in Danville, PA.  Which IS NOT like Danville, CA.  Our hotel was an old Sheraton that had a night club called “Club Fusion” in the courtyard.  Lucky for us, the club was not ” ‘n effect” during our stay, but I can only imagine.  The pool was COLD.  Not fun.  The room only had one available outlet to charge our phones AND it would only work if you left a light on.  So, we had to sleep with one light on.  It was a recessed light, so we could not unscrew the bulb.  Luckily, we were so tired, we just fell asleep. We took the Scion for gas mileage and parking purposes.  Whoa!  That was a lot of family packed into one little car.  We survived, but not without a few emotional breakdowns.

Day 2:  Driving through Jersey, Manhattan and on to Brooklyn.  It was so fun to see the Manhattan skyline on our way in.  We had a “little” incident in the Holland Tunnel where Liam needed to use the bathroom and there was no way we were going to get to one.  But, we solved the problem, although Liam said we could not mention the incident again, so I can’t say anymore about it….  We arrived at our apartment in Brooklyn.

We slept in the middle apartment.  It had one bedroom up front, a middle family room, kitchen in the back and bathroom in the way back.  It kind of reminded me of Amy’s place in SF when she lived there (for those who know Amy).  The kids slept on a futon in the family room, Don and I had a King Bed in the bedroom and the couple we were subletting from had a toddler, so we used their crib for the baby.  The great part, was there was a park up the street and two markets at each corner to get groceries.  You can really see why no one would need a car living out there, although you need good legs and walking shoes!

Day 3:  Central Park, Museum of Natural History, FAO Schwartz.  The kids took the subway for the first time.

We decided to go to the Museum of Natural History.  It was the place that was in Night at the Museum.  Fun place.  Nice Air Conditioning. 

Did I mention, it was HOT!!!!  As you can see in the pictures, this day I was looking pretty good, as the pictures go on, you can see the heat gets the best of me and I go for comfort over looks.  We took a break and walked through the park.  Here is Adam making a run for it.

Don left us after this to go teach and we checked out FAO Schwartz.  The kids danced on the big piano from BIG.  I did not have the camera, so no pictures.  Sorry.  Bought some toys and then went home.  It was so great to eat at home.  We saved so much money on dinners and we were able to make food that the kids would eat.  When eating out, it seems kids menus basically only have burgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets or pizza.  That gets a little old.

Day 4:  Staten Island Ferry, Statue of Liberty, Bryant Park.  Here is a little cheapskate tip.  The Staten Island Ferry will take you right by the Statue of Liberty.  It is FREE!  No child, nor adult, wants to endure a 6 hour day at Ellis Island in 80 degree muggy heat.  The Ferry was so nice.   Great and breezy.  The terminals are air-conditioned and have snacks! 

We dropped off some things for Don’s class, had lunch and then went up to Bryant Park.  It was fun little park with a carousel.  The baby totally fell asleep, so we sat in the shade and had ice cream. 

Day 5:  GTL, Papaya King, Eastern Village, More Central Park, Harry Potter, Times Square, M & M store.  So we needed to do a little laundry.  We spent the morning taking it easy and getting some much needed laundry done.  We decided to get lunch at Papaya King.  It was, eh.   Not that great.  There was a great courtyard across the street we could sit and eat at, but other than that, not that eventful. We walked from the East Village over to the Park.  Got some ice cream and walked down the park.  There is a great pond there with boats that you can sit on the side and drive.  We just watched them, but made a mental note to come back and do that with the kids.  It was about time to break from Don.  I decided to take the kids to a Harry Potter exhibit at times square.  They loved it.  Excuse my dorkiness.

Isn’t this picture great.  It was like what they do at disney land.  You take a picture in front of a green screen and then they super impose a picture.  It was fun and worth the 20 bucks, although I should mention they wanted 40 for a leather case to hold this in.  Uh, no way.

We went to the M & M store after, got some colorful M & Ms and then went home. 

Day 6:  Coney Island, Brighton Beach.  For me, this was the best day we had.  The baby was tired of being in the backpack and the kids needed to roam free without having to be supervised every money.  We checked out Coney Island, which is a bit like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  We ate some Nathan’s Hot Dogs (this is where they do the hot dog eating contest every July 4th).  Liam informed me that if I gave him another hot dog, he was going to throw up.    We then went down to Brighton Beach and had a great time.  No pictures because I forgot the camera, but it was also nice to not have to deal with taking pictures either.  On the subway home, we were serenaded by a hispanic guy and it was just so nice, because we were so tired.  The train home was elevated, so we were looking out over the rooftops of Brooklyn and everyone was in a good mood.  Liam gave him a dollar. We also found a Target on the way home, so I was set.  This place has all of my necessary things on a move list, The 3 T’s.  Temple. Target. Trader Joes.

Day 7:  Brooklyn, Books of Wonder and Walking the Brooklyn Bridge.  This was our last day in the city and we met a friend of ours who lives just under the Bridge on the Brooklyn side.  We had some lunch and spent a few fun hours with him.  Then we took the train into the city and went through Midtown to a store called Books of Wonder.  It is a children’s bookstore that is really cool.  It is very geared towards children.  They have hourly story readings and the staff didn’t care (at least I think they didn’t care) about our children running around while we sat and had a soda.  AND they had air conditioning.  This is us listening to a story.

Then we took the train to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked back.  It was fun, scenic, but long.  For a hot day, it may not have been the BEST idea, but you really do get a view of the city that you just can’t get anywhere else.  Totally panoramic from the Statue of Liberty to the famous city buildings to the bridges and the shores of Brooklyn.  At the base of the bridge is an ice cream place with THE BEST ICE CREAM I have every had.  You have to walk over to the river walk, but oh my gosh, it was so worth it.

Day 8:  Pack’n it up.  We packed up the car, cleaned the apartment (yelled at the kids :) ), and left.  We decided to stay in Cleveland, OH on the way home because it is only about 3 hours from our home and we thought it might be fun to go to Kirtland the next day.

Day 9:  Kirtland and home.  For those that don’t know, Kirtland, Ohio is important to Mormons because it is where the early church was headquartered and there is the first temple ever built there.  I recommend a visit, but the temple was a little less exciting.  The LDS church has bought the property just north of the temple and built a recreation of the city there as it once was.  They did a great job and it is a great tour.  Now, back in 18….something, something, something…, the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed and they were looking to who would be the new leader/prophet.  This was the first time something like this had happened, so people were unsure of what to do.  Luckily, we believe that the organization as instructed by God through the Prophet showed what should be done, but unfortunately, not everyone agreed with that.  So, there were off shoots.  There was one called the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS).  They believed that Joseph Smith had named his son (who was 11 at the time) to be the next prophet.  That is not how others saw it and the majority followd the instructions from the scriptures and the natural choice was Brigham Young.  The RLDS broke off and the rest of the LDS people went to Salt Lake City.  The RLDS stayed behind and ended up keeping ownership of the temple.  Lots of things happened….flash forward to now…..and the RLDS church has the temple, but the LDS church has the grounds around the temple.  They have a good working relationship.  We bring attention and money to them (they charge for their tour) and we can keep a church artifact in good working order.  In the 90’s, the RLDS church renamed itself Community of Christ (CC).  There is a lot of things I have to say about this experience, but the public blog is not really where I want to put it.  Long story short, the CC people were very nice, but I was reminded about something someone in our old SLC ward once said.  He was responding to people who pay all sorts of money and go to the Holy Land in Israel, but I think it applies here.  He used to say, “I can go where he was, or I can pay 10 cents for the bus and go where he IS (temple).”  That is how I felt.  It was pretty much a building, but no spirit that I could feel anyway.  The kids enjoyed themselves and it was nice to finally be home.  I highly recommend a trip to NYC.  It was a great experience and once that I hope my kids will remember for a long time.  (Pictures:  me on the lawn at the church tour.  The family in front of the temple.)

24 Hours

So, it has been about 24 hours into the wheat free house.  I made a mistake and told Liam we were going wheat free.  He decided he did not like that, even after he ate all the wheat free options.  He said the cookies made his stomach “wobbly.”  So, now I just don’t mention it and we are good.

I gave the kids hummus and rice chips to dip for lunch.  They loved it.  Liam asked for it again today.  My one problem is that there are no wheat free pita chips, that I can find.  The rice ones are pretty close and work, but the bag is small.  It only lasted through about 3-4 lunches.  Maybe rice cakes?  I will try that this weekend.  The good news is, our local Aldi (super cheap grocery store) has those veggie chips that are made with potatoes.  So, it is cheap and gluten free and will work as a snack.  We had smoothies for breakfast this morning.  My sister told me that Jamba Juice is putting out smoothie mixes at the grocery store.  My local Meijer carries them!  So, we tried a few.  The kids liked it and they got a little fruit, but at $2.50 per bag, I needed a cheaper alternative.  I have also been watching the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution show and wanted to make healthier alternatives for the kids.  So, I bought some vanilla flavored yogurt and froze it in my old baby food freezer trays.  Then, I can mix it with the frozen fruit and add some apple juice, which is exactly what is in those Jamba packages.

We had some Quinoa last night with zucchini and it was great.  I find that putting sautéed in onions in anything will make it taste better.  I first sautéed about 1/4 of an onion and then added the quinoa to onions and let it toast up a bit.  Then added the zucchini, one cup of chicken broth and one cup of water.  Let it boil, then cover and reduce to low for 20 minutes.  I turned out really good and the kids ate it, so… Score!

Tonight is meatloaf.  I am just going to use a piece of the gluten free bread for the bread crumbs.  I also like to shred carrots into my meatloaf and add sautéed onions (once again) and mushrooms.  I find if I top it with ketchup mixed with brown sugar, the kids have no complaints.  I also started mixing in some ground pork and it makes it taste so good. I am going to make some chocolate chip cookies and brownies with the oat flour and just not tell anyone.

Another good news about gluten free foods is that there are actually a lot of cereals out there that are gluten free….like Cheerios, Kix, Corn Checks.  So, that is not so bad.

Gluten free and “trying” to love it.

We are testing out a wheat allergy in our house, so I have had to go Gluten free, which means no white or wheat flour.  It seems like it is in EVERYTHING.  I am bound and determined to not make weird food, so we will see how this works.  I thought I would use the old blog to help me track the success of this trial period.  So, if you are interested in gluten free eating, check it out.

Shopping:  I have to go to Whole Foods now to get my oat flour and gluten free pasta.  I don’t particularly love Whole Foods, but there is not a lot of variety at the local Kroger.  I hear there is an Amish market up north with cheaper flour alternatives.  I will be checking it out soon.

So, what are we eating?

Wed:  Ratatoullie (sp?) on pasta.  We eat this anyway with regular pasta, so it is not much of a change.  I just substituted the wheat pasta for corn pasta.  It was not too bad.  The kids didn’t even know the difference.  I also made some Almond Butter Cookies with some Oat flour and they turned out FANTASTIC.  I have made these before with some Almond Butter that I got from Trader Joes.  I didn’t notice any difference between the Oat flour and the Wheat Flour.

Thursday:  Baked Chicken with Salad, Quinoa mixed with zucchini

Friday:  Meatloaf (using gluten free bread crumbs), baked potatoes and salad

Saturday:  Fish with rice and veggies

Sunday:  Potato gnocchi (using the oat flour) with veggies

Breakfasts:  gluten free waffles, smoothies with yogurt, muffins (using the oat flour), homemade poptarts using the oat flour.

School lunches:  PB & J, Corn Quesadillas, Hummus and Rice Chips

Snack:  Fruit leather, almond cookies and brownies with the oat flour

So, we will see how this works.


Where I have been- or why the blog as been pretty silent for a while.


Well, let’s start with work.  I find that working part-time is really like working full-time, except you don’t get paid for the extra work.  I work about 2-3 full days a week, but that does not include paperwork.  There is TONS of paperwork that us social workers go through.  I have no flippin’ idea why they need so much paperwork, but when you use public funds for programs, there are a lot of hands in the ’till and they all want to know what you are doing.  I also started another part-time job of contracting out my social work skills to people in the current county I am in.  I have about 6 people, on top of the 34 (!) on my part-time caseload (which I was told at the time when I started it would be around 15-18….Ha….ha, ha, ha).

Now, onto home.  We had some really great news this last Christmas as Don was given the opportunity to be Chair of his department.  The nice part is that he has been Interim Chair twice before, so he knows what to do, but this time he won’t have to teach 3 classes.  Even though he is busier, he is home more because he is not having to teach late.  So, I appreciate this as it helps me with the kids.  The downside?  I used to be able to watch all my chick flicks when he worked late.  Now, I am having to watch Zombie shows on A & E.  We are hoping, that with some work on our part, we can get our debts reduced and *hopefully* I can stop working the one part-time and just keep my nice 6 people.  That would be a joy if it can happen.  I really need to work on a budget, so that it will happen, but at least the hope is there.

Well, the kids take up a lot of time.  Specifically, this last couple of months we have had worries, concerns and frustrations with Liam.  I haven’t talked to many people about it, other than some close friends and family, but there are some things going on that just adds fuel to an already overwhelming day.  The good news is Liam is academically doing very well, almost a full grade ahead of himself.  That is awesome and I am glad that school work so far has not been a struggle.  So, I am sitting at his parent teacher conference in November and his teacher asks me if I ever thought about testing him for Aspergers.  This is a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum.  You know, I have had my worries about him, but it wasn’t until someone confirmed those concerns that broke me down.  Suddenly, I was on the other side of the service line.  I went from physician to patient in about 10 seconds.  He is struggling socially and emotionally.  He has a hard time making friends, and really this is a great sadness to me.  He does not have a best friend.  He doesn’t have anyone that just calls him up to come over.  He did get invited to a birthday party recently, and he did great, despite his anxiety about it.

I am not totally convinced it is Asperger’s.  We need to do some testing.  I have called around and it will be between $3,000 to $5,000, totally not covered by insurance.  Totally sucks.  Plus, I work with so many families that get these tests done only to be told the things they already know about their child.  The tests will really do nothing other than give us a diagnosis.  The diagnosis may help with school, but not much because his academics are so high.  They don’t have a “friends” class or a “how to cope with your emotions” class.  So, I talked to some great friends who have some knowledge in this area and I am pursuing some tests at school before I launch into full-fledged testing.  Part of me thinks it is OCD in early manifestation.  He is washing his hands a lot and is overly concerned about germs.  Like if he touches his nose, even a little bit, he will need to go wash his hands.  He is also very jumpy.  He has a hard time staying still for too long.  I think it is a Sensory Integration sort of thing.  Anyway, it is frustrating to live with, but he is not frustrating.  He is often very nice and pleasant to be with and we take those moments when we can get them.

The other two kids are doing great.  I can’t complain.  Maren is now 10 years old, which is CRAZY to me.  The friend drama of last year seems to be getting better.  Adam is a joy and cute as ever.  He is quite the dancer and loves music.  He also loves his sister’s dolls and has some sort of fascination with their hair (!?).  Well, on top of all this, we decided that maybe we need to move to a bigger place (still in the area) but we have a great landlord and are hesitant to go, since she works with us so well….is it worth another bathroom?  An attached garage?  I am not sure.  Somedays, yes and somedays, no.

So, that is where I have been.  I have no idea where I am going.  I am hoping to make a trip to CA in the near future.  Don will be in NY for a week in the summer and we are thinking about joining him.  We would also like to travel around locally.  All that, plus I want to start a garden soon, join a CSA, go to Eastern Market (farmer’s market) for my groceries, and get our home on a better recycling schedule.  Have you seen this lady.  She is scary and inspiring.  So, I hope to blog more soon.  Maybe I will now that I have spilt all my beans about what has been going on lately.  I suddenly feel a little less burdened.

A new blog to follow

Maren has created a blog that she is going to work on.  It is pretty cute and funny.  If you like, you may comment (as long as it is decent, plus I am the moderator and will see all comments) because she wants a lot of comments.

Here it is:

Halloween 2010

This year, we had a pretty good Halloween.  It was busy, but good.  I wasn’t sure that Liam was going to participate this year.  He pretty much hates Halloween.  He does not like being scared or even playing with the idea of being scared.  Around this time of year, he starts to avoid all store related errands with me.  He does not like the decorations that the stores put up.  I blame the Party City store, which traumatized him once with a half torso that was movement operated and it crawled towards him on the floor.  Oh, and a winged demon thing that they had strapped to the ceiling.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Halloween costume stores.  Ugh!  This year, Maren wanted to be the Mad Hatter from the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland.  In August, I checked out the Salvation Army and found a velour coat for a petite woman, a blousy shirt that has a bow and some green boys dress pants.  In total, those items probably cost about $10.  Then I found a tutorial on You Tube that shows you how to make the hat.  Our did not look exactly like the tutorial, but pretty close.  A little orange hair spray and some face make up and it turned out pretty good.

This was taken at the school Halloween party.






Liam decided to be an Army Guy.  He wanted a costume that was “normal clothes” according to him.  He had some camo pants, so we decided to just buy an army shirt and hat from the local army navy store.  My MIL Nancy cut down one of my FIL’s army shirts for Don when he was a kid.  We have had it for a few years.  It fit Liam really well.  It is kind of neat that it is probably over 40 years old and was worn by three generations.  I do have to say, thank heaven Liam is not totally  into the costume thing.  It is so much easier to just put on a shirt and hat.  We didn’t have to do any special arrangements at school to get him ready (like with Maren and her makeup).








Adam was pretty easy too.  I was shopping at Target about a month ago and saw this gnome costume for toddlers.  It was so funny and I thought it would look so cute.  Plus, this is probably the last year that I will be able to dress Adam up in anything that I choose.  Next year, he may be more picky.  We got lucky and he kept the beard on for most of the night.  It was pretty funny watching him walk around the church gym with his little beard on.






Here are some more fun pictures of the season.  We had school Halloween activities the other day and church trunk or treating tonight. Tomorrow is actually Halloween.  We practice keeping the Sabbath Day holy in our house, which usually means no parties or huge get togethers.  But, Don and I talked and thought that maybe the kids could just go up the street and see the neighbors, and then we would call this season over.  Thank Heaven.  I am almost all Halloweened out.





































Cook Book Challenge: Mad Hungry

The other day I was flipping the channels around and came upon a show called Mad Hungry on the Hallmark Channel.  She was showing a technique for flat roasting chicken.  I had never tried that before, so I thought I would give it a whirl.  So, for the month of October, I am picking Mad Hungry as my cook book challenge.  The first recipe will be the Flat Roast Chicken.

Truth be told, I actually made this a few days ago, but did not have the camera handy, so I have no pictures.  So, I will make it again and take pictures.  I really liked this method.  Not only is it a lot faster, but it seemed cleaner in some way.  We ate more of the chicken and there seemed to be less waste.  I did go out and buy a cast iron skillet at Target for $15.  It was necessary for this recipe because you need a skillet that can go from the stove top to the oven.  I have my favorite cast iron enameled one, but it is concave and would not flatten out the chicken well like a cast iron.  So, I followed her steps on the video, and it worked great!  This method also cooks the chicken quicker, in about an hour.  You do have to have prep time, so if you are short on time, you have to put the chicken in the fridge the night before so it will defrost.

I also need to go get the book.  I thought I would get it for myself for my birthday.

Good luck and I hope you make some chicken like this sometime soon.