Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the Kitchen: Gourdian Angel (Pumpkin Soup)

I made this last week and LOVED it.
I promise it is tasty!
Just give it a try!!!

It makes a nice light lunch paired with homemade buns!


(From Eat Shrink and Be Merry)
2 tsp olive oil or butter
1 cup chopped onions
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp grated gingerroot
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups of pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 cup evaporated milk or light cream

Heat olive oil in a large, non stick soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add gingerroot, curry powder and ground cumin. Mix well and cook for 30 more seconds.

Add broth, apples, pumpkin, carrots, salt and pepper. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.

Working in two batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Soup will be very thick. Return puree to pot and stir in evaporated milk. Serve hot.

It tastes better than it looks...really.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In the Craftroom: Steed Family Bakery Sign

You know my cupboard doors I got??
And how I made this star fish for my bathroom???

Well I made this too....
A chalkboard for my kitchen

And a family sign as well. :)
I love my sign :) A lot.
I hand painted it. And then distressed it after to make it look old. :) I got the idea here.

Both SUPER easy!!! And super cheap :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

In the Craftroom: Christmas Kids Crafts

First up, Carmen I will look for that link - I made those last year but I think I have it bookmarked somewhere.

We've been a crafting up a storm around here!!

Handprint angels:

Nativity Cutting, Pasting and Painting practice from here (lots of good ones on here for kiddos!)

HUGE snowflakes. Made by gluing Popsicle sticks together. If we had that half circle thing from math 7 it would make them look perfect but whatever. :)
Lucy and her friend Anise holding them up

And then the garland on the last post with the trees

And of course one of these!!

What Christmas crafts have you made with your kids so far???

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the Craftroom: Homemade Christmas

I thought I'd share some of our decorations that are around the house.
A lot of them (as in most) I've made. (get ready for lots of pics!)

First up our tree. It is a GREAT tree this year (got it at Save On Foods)
Notice Eli standing in front of it. As soon as i get out my camera lately he wants to be in the picture and then see himself on the back of the LCD monitor. He's a goof ball :) (And our stuffed Nativity set the kids play with! Love it too! MIL gave it to me!

Made these at Super Saturday in Calgary last year. SO easy!!

These stars I found a folding patten online, then downloaded it and cut them out of Bazzill texture cardstock and folded away. Then hung them up! I love them! And can't beat the price! It's all cardstock.

Now these I am ALSO loving!!! I made a whole whack of them! For my birthday Regan got me a slice. (i LOVE IT!) and I saw someone made these last year and I have wanted to do them since! SO easy! Cut them all out and fold them in half and glue four together! Done!

My friend Jena gave me this when I lived in Nova Scotia. I have three different sizes and I love them all! She made them.

A special ornament my mom gave us all last year. It came with a cute little poem about how real Angels don't have wings but to keep this feather to remind us of a loved one gone for Kelly.

Oh how I LOVE my angel. It's so ME! Love love love it!

I love this row of trees! Some are from Super Saturday, some are the craft I did with my SIL's on Reg's side.

My advent Calendar

SUPER easy decoration: Tree garland. Bought a package from Micheal's and then just strung them together on white ribbon! Lucy and I did this one together one morning this week.

Stuffed Christmas Trees: Real easy too!

A yearly tradition at our house. We've been cutting out snowflakes since the year we were married!

An easy little craft I made with the left over stars from my star ornaments. All cut on the slice.

A little banner for the window also made with my slice. :)

And gotta add the tree at night

And for fun effect....

Next up Kids crafts we've done this year so far!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Silent auction

Looking for a way to provide service this holiday season? Here is a great opportunity. Starting Thursday, December 10th, there will be a charity auction at BLOOM to benefit Claire and Benson Skinner.

As explained by their parents, "Benson and Claire were born with a rare genetic disease in which their liver produces too much oxalate--called primary hyperoxaluria. Claire's condition has progressed much faster than Benson's. She has been on dialysis since she was 3 months old and is on dialysis 3 hours a day, 6 days a week. She is now on the waiting list to receive a combined kidney / liver transplant. It is expected Benson will eventually need similar transplants."

You can read more about the Skinners' experience HERE.

All proceeds from the auction at BLOOM will go directly to Claire's COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association) account to help pay for her transplant. Please head over to BLOOM Thursday-Saturday for the auction!

I am adding a blogger banner to the auction. I hope you'll go over to BLOOM and read about how you can help out these lovely children and their parents!!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dear Alden

(photo by the lovely Rebecca Cooper!)
I just wanted to tell you that I am just enjoying you so much. You have always been an easy kid to have. And easy baby. And easy toddler. And easy preschooler. And now an easy grade schooler. You are easy because you are obedient. You want to do what is right. You aren't demanding at all. But more of a go with the flow kind of a kid (I think you get that from your dad.) Most of the time you are just happy to be.
You are doing so good in Grade one. It just makes me so happy and proud. And your dad too. You are learning to read. A few nights ago when we were laying on your bed doing your home reading and we were laughing from something silly you said; it just filled my heart with love for you. It was bursting out of me. I didn't want to say good night to you. I was having fun and enjoying just to two of us being together. It was marvelous. Sometimes it's hard to get moments that are just for me and you around here. Lucy and Eli demand a lot of attention. And often you are left waiting. And you do it so wonderfully. I try to make sure I get some time of just me and you. I need to try harder and I will.
Your testimony is growing of Jesus Christ. I love that you are always willing to share it with our family. That you are attentive and listening when we having Family Home Evening or in church or Primary. Your teachers have told me how good you are at church. That you participate and are often one of the first to raise your hand and answer the questions. There is nothing in the world that could make me or dad more happy than seeing your testimony growing. Because I know that if your testimony is strong, if you know how to talk to your loving Heavenly Father in prayer and receive the answers he sends, then you will be safe. Always.
You are getting so tall and handsome. Sometimes I am amazed that you are getting so tall and big. And oh so handsome. When I was in your classroom the other day helping, one of the girls asked me who's mom I was. I said Alden's. And she said he is CUTE! I said I know :)
I think one of the best things about you is your ability to just be who you are and not care what anyone else says. At your seventh birthday party the boys were talking about girl movies. One of the boys said they had to watch the Barbie musketeer movie with their sister and how they hated it. They were all talking about how silly it was. You spoke loudly and said "I watched it all and i LOVED IT." I love that you are comfortable enough with yourself to say that. You are just you. And you don't care what anyone else says. Oh how I wish I was more like you in that way!
I love that yesterday you came home from school and the first thing you said when you came upstairs was "Mom, wanna snuggle on the couch?" Of course!!!
I just wanted to tell you how much I love you. How proud of you I am. And how happy I am that you are my boy.

All my heart.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

In the Craftroom: StarFish Wall Hanging

I've been in the crafting MOOD. Seriously.
So besides all the Christmas crafts we've been doing (which I'll show you tomorrow or Tuesday) I've been doing home decor ones too :)

Like this one.

Started with a cheap white outcast cupboard door from Totem. Good times right Jen?? :)
Sanded it down a bit and rubbed it all over with this and then wiped it off with a wet cloth (sorry totally blurry basement evening picture!!)
To get this effect.
(close up)
Then drew on my hanging holes.
And used my fancy dancy drill
Used some cool ribbon from SEI that my nice friend Mary gave me forever ago. Strung it through and tied some knots.

Then Glue gunned on my Nova Scotia star fish. Perfect-o!

I am not joking when I say the entire thing took my... oh about.... 10 minutes. Start to finish. Sweeet.

I bought 3 other cupboard doors and 2 of them are also finished crafts and hanging in my home. I'll show them soon!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Martha Stewart Baking Challenge

I thought I'd give a bit recap of where I am at on my challenge. (If you don't know what I am doing you can read here
1. Banana Nut Bread
2. Chocolate Frosting
3. Yellow Butter Cake
4. Ciabatta
5. Sugar Cookies
6. Rugelach
7. Banana Carmel Cake
8. Mascarpone icing
9. Pumpkin Bread
10. Pizza Dough
11. Chocolate Chunk Cookies
12. Honey Whole Wheat Bread
13. Coconut Cream Pie
14. Key Lime Pie
15. Candied Key Lime Slices
16. Individual Gingerbread cakes
17. Chocolate Ganache
18. One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
19. Swiss Buttercream
20. Chocolate Wafers
21. Coconut Pecan Caramel Sandwich Cookies
22. Martha's Birthday Cake
23. Almond Swiss Meringue
24. Almond Buttercream
25. Herb Baking Powder Biscuits
26. Lemon Curd
27. Pate Brisee
28. Cornmeal Drop Busicuts
29. Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
30. Banana Carmel Cake
31. Mascarpone Frosting
32. Caramel Sauce
33. Tart Dough
34. Lemon Curd
35. Tarte Tatin
36. Tomato Tart
37. Pate A Choux
38. Cream puffs
39. Pastry Cream
40. Chocolate Eclairs
41. Vanilla Whipped Cream
42. Pastry Cream
43. Baking Powder Biscuits
44. Parker house Rolls
45. Cranberry Zucchini Muffins
46. Coconut Cake
47. Seven Minute Frosting
48. Classic Angel Food Cake
49. Gingerbread Men

Both the Angel Food Cake (because I thought it would be harder to make) and the Tomato Tart (because it was really really good and I was expecting not to like it) surprised me.

I have learned quite a bit already! A lot about icings and frostings! And a lot about bread doughs and how my stove cooks!

I've been doing this about 2 months and I've made 49 of the 208 recipes. Over Christmas I can find lots of reasons to cook!

One this is there is a wedding cake recipe in there.... so I need someone getting married who wants me to make them their wedding cake and decorate it..... anyone know anyone who needs that in the next 10 months? :)

And since a post is more fun with a photo.....
A recent from the last posted family session on my photo blog.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent Calendar 2009

For our advent calendar I am doing a combo. I am combing a Christmas book plus an activity or craft. Now this is a list of all our books and crafts/ activities. I am not doing them in this order. I'll do them according to what we can fit in that day. If there isn't a link to the idea then I think it's pretty self explanatory. You are welcome to use the same idea, just adjust it to the books you have. Like using a snowman book for making a snowman, etc. Clear as mud? :)

2009 Advent Book + Activity Calendar
1. Snowmen at night: Build a real snowman or make a paper snowman out of cottonballs
2. What Star is this? Cut out Paper Snowflakes
3. Dora’s Christmas Parade: Make homemade musical instruments and have a parade
4. Franklin’s Christmas Gift: Prepare Secret Santa gifts and drop off
5. Winter Wishes: Write letters to Santa
6. Sam’s Snowy Day: Build a real snowman (if didn’t do it) or make snowman cupcakes
7. I’ve seen Santa: Handprint Santa on cards or gift tags
8. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer: Reindeer cookies or decorate reindeer craft
9. Merry Christmas Little Critter: Wrap presents
10. Nativity: Make handprint angels
11. This is the Stable: Sparkly pinecones
12. The First Night: Gingerbread playdough
13. The Biggest Snowball Ever: Borax snow flakes
14. A Shepard’s Gift: Mittens for Grammy
15. Polar Express: Make Jingle Bell Necklaces
16. Joy to the World: Jesus Cutting and Coloring Page
17. Come and See: Nativity Page
18. Santasaurus: Gumdrop Characters
19. Christmas Trolls: Decorate our tree
20. The littlest Christmas Elf: watch the movie the Happy Elf
21. Russell’s Christmas Magic: Pin the Nose on the Snowman Game
22. The Night Before Christmas: Snowman/ Reindeer cookies
23. The Christmas Story: Rip and glue Paper Plate Wreath (rip green paper and glue onto a paper plate)
24. The Story of Christmas: Felt Gingerbread Boy