Monday, December 29, 2008

Magic Tree

This is the Magic Tree in Columbia MO. It's a few blocks from Randi's home. It is very pretty
This is the Magic tree inspired hat I crocheted for Elijah while we were Christmas-ing in Missouri. I grabbed a skein of yarn from my project bucket as we walked out the door. It just happens to be as colorful as the tree. I made it there for Elijah so we could do a little bonding, we both enjoyed it. He was so compliant about trying on a half done hat, once he took off on a run but I had enough yarn unwound so I didn't loose any stitches. I told Randi that he doesn't have to wear it. The joy was in the journey!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Rosie the Rosetters

Like Rosie the Riviter we were heating iron , but with a whole different outcome.

I had no plans to do Rosettes this year. Grace had other plans. We made it a mother daughter day while A & W were at school. Grace did 90% of the work, I stepped in for pictures. Isn't she adorable in her apron. Its a youth apron that Barb gave her years ago. I offered her a bigger one but she was fine with hers, she didn't want to wear one with chickens on it!
Am I a beaut or what!! I think the apron added 10 pounds, that and the 3 layers you need to wear when you do anything in my kitchen in winter. I have on my Christmas apron. I have no idea where it came from. Had to be in a hand me down box. I'm sure it was made for someone alot taller than I, and the little pocket that once held someones hanky now holds my cell phone.
Grace came down with a bandana on, and like any full grown woman would do I said "Ooo go get me one!! It was fun teaching her how to make Rosettes (I had always done them when everyone went to bed a "my thing"). A memory I will hold dear.

Rosette Tutorial (kinda)

I've been making Rosettes for years. I love them, I could eat my weight in them - if it were humanly possible. I looked on-line to check out how other's are making them, I was disappointed. Most sites just had the recipe, but no tips and techniques, so I'm sharing!
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Lard -- for frying
sugar -- for dipping finished rosettes in

Mix first 6 ingredients until smooth. Let rest until room temp. Don't stir. Skim off foam. Heat lard to 375*-400*. Heat iron in hot lard. Tap on paper towel to remove excess lard. Dip iron into batter. Dip battered iron into hot lard. Hold in for a few seconds and pull away, you may need to use a fork to help rosette off iron. Fry until delicately brown. Turn once. Fry a bit more. Remove. Place on paper towels. Cool. Gently dip in granulated sugar. Store in air tight container.

*Don't use Armor Star Lard it tends to smoke. I use Snow Cap.
*Skim off foam with a flat end pancake turner so batter doesn't get to stirred up.
*I use clear glass bread pans for batter, lets you see the foam better, and is the perfect size for a double rosette iron.
*I mix 2 batches and put each batch into a bread pan.
*Don't cover iron top with batter.
* If batter "falls off" iron - iron could be to cold - your moving to slow - or the batter is to
saturated with lard and needs to be tossed
*Don't use last 1/2 inch of batter (lard saturation).
*Have a nice stack of plates, it helps with less lard build up.
*After removing Rosette from hot lard, place pretty side up, and don't stack any on top of each other or lard will drain onto the bottom ones.
*I store Rosettes in an ice cream buckets (I have alot of them. I may have eaten my weight in ice cream!)

Well worth the mess and effort!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Willy's Day

Happy 15th Birthday Willy!!!
Will's first gift of the day was a 2 hour snow delay!! He is a great kid!! Willy is a traditionalist, his birthday meal will be the same that he has had for years. Grace and Ave try to persuade him to change things up, but his meal will be "A Boy Scout Meal". Jon had it as a kid when camping on Royal Ranger outings.
Boy Scout Meal
--ring baloney
--seasons - salt (use very little), pepper, Lawreys
-- toast
Saute ring baloney, stir in eggs that have been whisked, season, stir until eggs are done, add cheese, when that's melted squirt in ketchup until a nice orange-ish color. Serve with toast!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dressed in Holiday Style

Drum roll please! I told you he out did himself!
We all stand in the front yard for the first lighting of the season. We take turns flipping the switch, Willy did the honors this year. Jon put in a master switch for all outside lights. It's located inside at the top of the stairs, to be turned off when the last one up is turning in.
I don't always get all (or any for that matter) of the candles turned on in the windows. If you drive by for a look, call and I can make sure they are all on.
I may be a bit prejudice, but this has my vote for
"Best of Show in a Small Town"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Line up the shoes, its St. Nicks Day!

It always makes us happy when St. Nicholas Day lands on Saturday, as it did this year. If not we just celebrate on the Sat. closest to that date. This years gifts were Dollar Tree Mugs, and the traditional oranges, nuts, & candy. We put our shoes outside of bedroom doors, its way too cold to leave them outside or even inside the back door for that matter!
Grace, who has a wee bit of a shoe addiction, always puts out the funnest pair of shoes she has.Avery put out his baseball cleats, he keeps them in his room to "gaze upon their loveliness" he rescued them from being sent to the garden shed attic for winter storage.
Willy forgot to put out a pair of shoes. I had no desire to traipse back down stairs and find some for him. I grabbed his catchers mitt (another rescue from storage) off his bedroom floor. I figure it like this: Its leather, its dusty and stinks, and I spend a significant amount of time tripping over it when I come in the back door, close enough to a pair of shoes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tree Shopping

We went with a scotch pine this year. $10 from the too big clearance lot! What a deal! They don't hold ornaments that well, but with a price like that we couldn't pass it up!
Eli making sure Uncle Willy is getting the job done right.

J.J. taking his turn at the saw!

Grace helping Elijah learn stump jumping.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Exterior Illumination Specialst

Every year I tell him: cut it down, its too big, plant a smaller one, you can't see and I don't want to hit a little old lady (The one who is caretaker of the A. A. Arnold house) when I (or Grace who Chauffeurs me) back out, and you are going to break your neck one of these times. Every year he says I know but I planted these with them, Randi was in 3rd grade and J.J. was in kindergarten, they brought them home for National Arbor Day. Every year he devises another "tool" to help him get the lights to the top. And every year he out does his self! I will post the end result soon, we just had a beautiful snow and it is lovely.
Checking up on the Vikings game between putting up the strands of lights. He bought a "I gotta have it" tool, he heard about it last year but MENards was sold out. It repairs the light strands so slick and helps find that one burnt out bulb that makes 1/2 of them to go out.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

B is for Boy

The blue eyed boy in big blue shoes!!
This was our Thanksgiving surprise!! They arrived from Missouri and ambushed us at the entrance to Macy's Christmas display. And this Grma did a huge red nosed cry (you know the one) yes I did right there holding up the line. His Grmpa let him go into the display (yea and had one of our 5 ever tried that there would have been trouble). We took him to cut a real tree (pictures to follow) and loved on him like there was no tomorrow! I am Thankful.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lefse Memories

We are not Norwegian, but we sure do love our lefse a.k.a. Manna from Heaven. Jon and I started making lefse about 17 years ago. It was truly a trial and error--lots of error endeavour. It became our challenge to get it right. We asked a ton of questions from any one who made the stuff. I even called someone in Milwaukee for advice.

We are now lefse snobs, we are! We think ours is the best we've tasted!
We make it the week before Thanksgiving and supply it for the feast.

This is the first year Jon's mom has come and joined the labor of love.

Jon is the expert roller and fryer!

This year Grace made a move up the lefse latter and rolled and fryed alot. We were also joined by Jon's sisters family and Grace's boy friend Ian. Pictured here Ian, Kaydra (who looks like a porcelain doll and is Norwegian), yes Willy we see you, and Grace. It won't take long and the lefse will be just a memory.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monkeying Around

Happy 16th Birthday Daina!!
I made this for my niece. When she was here months ago she made a sock monkey--she has a fine appreciation for anything of the sock monkey nature. I started this pre-surgery, needless to say it has taken me a long time to finish. This was my post-surgery "if I'm not back to normal soon I will go crazy!!" project. It took so much concentration and the first couple times I worked on it my neck swelled up, my kids were freaked out by the sight, I was a hurtin' unit! I paced myself after that, a couple of rows a day and finally I finished it!! Oh yea. that back to normal thing still eludes me--monkeying around in moderation!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thanksgiving/Harvest Decor

It never ceases to amaze me what you can do with a brown paper bag!!
Maybe I should start a brown paper bag chronical,

Isn't this so cute? It was road side trash! Grace, who was chauffeuring on a dr. run was a little reluctant to turn around and gather this treasure for me. Willy hosed it off and drug it in for me. Although they all scoffed at my "treasure find", Jon and the kids liked the end result. It took the dog a few days to realize that it meant war when he tried to play with my gourds.

It also never ceases to amaze how creative God is.
We truly have so much to be Thankful for!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hot Dog its a Hot Date!!

Last weekend we decided to put in a pellet stove. No kids wanted to go with Jon to pick one up, since I don't get out much I went with. We stopped at the DQ for a bite to eat. Jon said this could almost qualify for a date--a hot date! We are lovin' the warm heat! This 100+ year old house is drafty (we call it the fresh air exchange) and hard to heat. The big old cast iron registers will now hold plants and other family paraphernalia, I will have to rethink how we dry rugs and snow clothes.
Hot Dog!
Otto found the new favorite spot in the house right away.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Putting the Yard to Bed

The kids worked well together, they even had fun in the process.
"when we all work together the happier we'll be"
"cuz your work is my work and my work is your work"
Burning leaves and some football to end the day.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Recipes

Just listening to a little "Blessed Assurance" comfort music--comfort food, good combination!

Squash Soup

Squash Soup
1 lg buttercup squash (my favorite)
1 can chicken stock
Brown sugar
Heavy Cream
Little bit of Lawry's
Clean squash and bake until done (I cut in 1/2 and cover with foil)
While squash is baking caramelize pecans
--melt 2-3 tbls. butter in pan
--add 1/4 cup brown sugar
--stir in pecans
--keep stirring until well covered with a glazey look, cool spread on plate
When squash is done scoop out and mix with stock.
I then put in blender a bit at a time and puree.
Heat well in a kettle, adding salt, pepper, & Lawry's to taste
To serve
--scoop soup into bowls
--pour heavy cream around edges
--sprinkle caramelized pecans on top.

Pumpkin Stew
1 pumpkin - top cut off & cleaned (make sure will fit in oven)
1-1&1/2 lb. Ground beef or any other cubed beef or pork you choose
1 large onion
few potatoes cubed
1/2 bag frozen mixed veggies
Beef bouillon (I get it from The Common Market)
Lawreys season salt
sea salt
any other season you enjoy or have on hand (the latter usually guides the
flavor of the food I cook)
I try to keep it to a 2 kettle operation.
Place pumpkin in round kettle (hey, is there a difference between a kettle and a pot?)
I use a footless cast iron dutch oven. (gives me that back woodsy feelin')
add 1-2 cups of water around pumpkin.
In large skillet brown meat with onions.
When it's 3/4 of the way done add about 3-4 cups water and all
other stuff including bouillon and seasonings.
Cook until Potatoes are 3/4 the way done.
Give a taste test to make sure you have enough seasons.
Gently scoop/dump into pumpkin
Bake 3-4 hours @ 350* depending on thickness and size of pumpkin. ( I check by lifting pumpkin lid and poking pumpkin on inside. Also check potatoes.)
--This year I used 2 pumpkins that were sm/med size.
--I also used dill--it fell into the "on hand" category. I will repeat
--We bought pumpkins from a local family produce farm, we had planted just carving ones, the skin is not tough enough to withstand he baking process or the scrap out when you dish up. They had painting pumpkins that were thick skinned. Next year will plant thick skinned flavorful pumpkins made for eatin'!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pumpkin Stew

Pumpkin stew is a tradition at our house. We skipped it a couple of years, Grace requested that it be reinstated, and so it was. We scoop out a chunk of pumpkin along with veggies, potato's, onions, ground beef, broth, & seasonings. Good tradition food!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Happy Feet

Don't they look so comfy? Take my word for it, I'm quite sure they are close to foot heaven. My Birthday present. I bought them on clearance last year and when birthday time rolled around I told my family just what to give me! I usually make sure they all make an event of the day, but this year I just don't have the umph. Jon did send me a plant and make a spaghetti supper. Will baked me my favorite chocolate cherry cake, Grace spiffed up the place. It was a good day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Harvesting Treasure

Corn Dog!!!

Fall splender--back yard version!!

Willy harvested the Indian corn for me. I just love it.
It is like opening a treasure, you never know what your going to get until you peel back the husk. Which kiddo can I con into doing the fall decorating?

This is my favorite, the color is black burgandy. Definatly a treasure!
Second thought the real treasure is the boy in a grubby MN Viking t-shirt.

Pumpkin Harvest

Its Willy's turn to harvest. Will was on his own. Ave was resting a migraine, he was bummed he miss out on the pumpkin harvest. Now comes the "I get that one" war.

We have a few green ones, we will still think of something fun to do with them. Back when we were homeschooling and had a Homeschoolers Harvest party I made a mock apple pie. I found the recipe in my Little House on the Prairie Cook Book. No one knew I used a green pumpkin. Love that cookbook-loved feeling like Caroline Ingalls if only for a day.

The best part of harvesting for Mom would be driving Dad's lawn mower.

That look of incredible happiness is 'cuz I just told him I would reward him with the corn harvest for doing such a good job on the pumpkins. Will is easy going and a good sport!