Sunday, October 18, 2009

Smells like Fall

Fall has most definitely arrived! This past week has been in the low 60s and 50s during the day, which is quite a break from our usual high 70s and 80s. It's even been cold at night, well, cold for here anyways. The leaves have begun to turn and it finally feels like Fall. To celebrate, we've enjoyed a toasty fire today and have been spending some time in the kitchen. H1 made a delicious cheesy potato soup for lunch. We'll have some leftovers of that for dinner, along with splitting a steak that I'm thawing out and some broccoli. There will even be enough for two lunches this week for H1 and 2 for H3 as well, and some to freeze for dinner. Mmmmmm!

Toasty Fire
Cheesy Potato Soup
After the soup, I made Peanut Butter Popcorn squares--a childhood favorite and incredibly simple to make (recipe below).
After the squares, I made a peach cobbler to go with dinner.
I must say that it smells divine in this kitchen, especially with the fire going! As I'm typing I can hear H1 out back chopping up more wood. I've been working on H3's scrapbook in between bakings. I'm hoping to have a few more pages done before my father-in-law arrives on Friday. I feel bad having my mess out on the kitchen table, so I'm going to have to stash everything somewhere before then.
Another project we've been working on this past week is the front of our house. Even though we are just renting it, I couldn't stand the mess. We put some grass seed down to help with our dirt yard (almost the entire front is black dirt, which turns to mud of course when it rains). The front planter bed is a mess too. While I'm not quite willing to spring for new rocks to line it, I did rearrange the concrete blocks and we have added mulch. Below is H1 working on that.
Before adding mulch to the right side
With mulch on the left side, and H1 working to dig up the walkway
H3 discovered how to get in and out of her toybox this week. Oh what fun! It does provide her endless amusement though. She loves to drop toys into it, then crawl in to get them and throw them back out.
Peanut Butter Popcorn Squares recipe
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter
8 cups popcorn
Bring corn syrup, sugar, and peanut butter to a boil in a large saucepan, stirring constantly. Add popcorn and toss with wooden spoons to coat. Press into buttered 9x13 pan and let cool. Cut into squares and enjoy!


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lovely outing

Today H3 and I enjoyed a trip to Newport News to meet some friends for shopping/lunch. We browsed through Kohl's and Lifeway Christian Bookstore before heading to Panera Bread for lunch (smoked turkey sandwich and black bean soup for me with a chai tea latte, spaghetti for H3 since she didn't want my lunch--normally she does). We then went to Michael's to pick up some crafting supplies for Robyn and I got some idea's for H1 and H3's Christmas stockings.

In my family, Christmas stockings are a pretty big deal My grandmother (mom's mom) handmade mine and my parents and they are extremely elaborate with tons of beadwork. I'll have to post pictures when I take mine out from storage. Anyways, part of the tradition is to add a little pin to the stocking each year. H1 and H3 have stockings, sort of, but aren't the same as mine and my folks so I'm going to attempt to make them. My grandmother is no longer able to do so, even though she was going to try at one point when H1 and I first got married. Again, the detail work is pretty incredible so I'm not 100% sure I'm up for the task but I will try! I did find pins to add to our stockings this year when I was at Kohl's, so now I have good motivation.

Anyways, back to the outing. It was so nice to be in some adult company! H3 is delightful, of course, but her conversation is a bit limited in depth. H1 usually doesn't get home until late, so often days go by without me talking to anyone except for H3 until late in the evening (my choice, I have to admit). I don't usually mind it because I have a million and one projects I'm working on around here, but occasionally the contact is nice! Dean and Robyn are such a sweet and fun couple too. Even when we do nothing I still enjoy hanging out with them.

Robyn taught me to make pan rolls a couple years back, which is what I made tonight. The house smells delicious and they went perfectly with the chicken. She taught me how to do the chicken too! She bakes hers in the oven, but I've been using a crockpot. Today I buttered the chicken (a whole one, minus the innerds) and added McCormicks Grillmatessalt-free chicken seasoning to it and stuck it in for 8 hours. It just fell off the bone by the time it was done. So yummy. H3 loved it too and ate about twice the amount I expected her too. I think my favorite part about it is that it takes about 5 minutes of prep to take it out of the packaging, butter it, put the seasoning on and stick it in the crockpot. By dinnertime it's ready to go and I didn't have to do a thing all day. Ahhhhhhh. Thanks Robyn!


Friday, October 2, 2009

Projects and such

Yesterday H1 surprised me and took the day off of work! He did have a good excuse, seeing as the football team didn't get back until 11:30 last night from their game and he didn't get home until 1am after waiting around for parents to pick their kids up and getting uniforms in the wash. After getting plenty of sleep (waking up around 10am), he started on some of the outdoor project we needed done, like trimming the back hedges, chopping up the wood on the side of the house, washing the siding on the front of the house, and cleaning up the front yard. I am sooo grateful to have all that done.

This afternoon is the homecoming parade and homecoming game at H1's school. We'll be heading over there sometime this afternoon for that--not quite sure when. In preparation for the big day, H3 was checking out some hats at the local Walmart. I had to inform her that as much as her daddy likes the NY Giants, that's not the game we're going to today. Haha!

I don't know if you remember waaaaay back when we moved into this house and I posted pictures of the mess, but I do have an update on one of the messy rooms! The second bedroom in this house was initially being used just for storage and was piled floor to ceiling with boxes. Through lots of hours of organizing, donating, and filling trash bags, here is the result! Hallelujah! Granted, it's not completely done and there's still a lot more to do, but I can at least see that there is a floor in there, more or less.

Another project that I've started recently is H3's baby scrapbook. Below are a few pictures of what I've done so far and the mess that I'm making on the kitchen table in the process. It will be so nice to have that second bedroom done so I can relocate this project in there!


Gooey fudge mint chip brownies

This recipe is a favorite around our house, especially with H1 and H3. H1 says they remind him of Andes mints, which are his favorite!

Gooey Fudge Mint Chip brownies

1 cup margarine or butter
4oz unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker's chocolate squares)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 bag Hersheys mint chocolate chips
Chocolate syrup

Grease 9x13 pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Melt margarine and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in eggs, vanilla, and sugar. Stir until just combines. Stir in flour. Add 1/2 bag of mint chips and a couple squirts of chocolate syrup. Pour into pan. Sprinkle remaining ships over batter...minus a small handful. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream and sprinkle ice cream with remaining chips!