My Month In Photos Is Going To Be Late

We have been having so much fun this holiday season, there is just no way I can get the Photo-a-day pictures up for you for a little while longer. But to ease your pain and disappointment, here are just a few of what I have taken this month! Enjoy! 

(Oh, and these are out of order, if you follow along with Fat Mum Slim's list, which you can get here.) 

Have a Safe and Happy New Year!!!! 


Gone Fishing! ~ Wordless Wednesday

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas, and has been able to take it easy! 
I'm sure Santa is doing the same today!

Enjoy your family and friends!
Merry Christmas! And Happy Holidays! 


Holy-Awesome Gift, Batman!

And the winner for the most played with gift goes to the Batcave. 

Thank you Santa! You rock! 

Merry Christmas, from our Super Hideout to yours!


Our Elf on the Shelf

We have one of those elves. The ones who come to life and tell on my kids. He freaks me out. But, hey, if he makes my kids act better during the month of December, than God Bless him. 

He loves to make the kiddos laugh each morning when they find him. 
His name is Mr. Candy-Cane. This is our 3rd year hosting him. 

Here is what he has done. And he gets most of his, no, ALL of his ideas from cleaver places like Pinterest and Instagram, although he isn't nearly as naughty as some of those other elves. 

(Do be advised that looking up #elfontheshelf on Instagram, can bring up some very Naughty Elves indeed!)

C.C. arrived the day after Thanksgiving with a note stating that it was TIME!

Blending in with the locals.

Uh, this was MAMA's Stash!!! 

Going fishing. 

Hanging out in the bathroom. 
No one would use that bathroom that day! See! 
I'm not the only one who thinks he is creepy! 

Toasting Marshmallows.

Playing cards.

Reading stories.

Making snow angels… in the sugar.

Bubble bathes.

Camping under the stars.

But now it's time to bid this little scamp good-bye for another year. 
So long C.C., 
So long…. 
And Merry Christmas!!!


The Gingerbread Project

Apparently our school makes gingerbread houses in the fourth grade. I received a paper with a recipe and instructions as well as a time line of when things should be brought to school and when they should be baked and cut and dried.

I never new that gingerbread had to dry for at least 2 weeks before you could make the house! Where on earth am I going to keep all this gingerbread!? And of course I doubled the recipe so I would have a house to make with the little ones while we are at the school, and maybe one to make with Grandma while she's here…. That's a lot of gingerbread!

Here is the recipe that school sent home.

I doubled the recipe and ran out of molasses!
Adventure Man saved the day by bringing me some
from the Lodge Kitchen
The Little Town School's Gingerbread

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 cup dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix molasses, shortening and sugar thoroughly. Stir in water. Measure flour by dipping method or by sifting. Blend all ingredients, stir in. Chill. Divide dough in half.

(Mama's Notes: Measure the flour in a separate bowl and mix all the dry ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients a little at a time until it is too hard to mix with a mixer. Then turn it out to kneed in. Divide dough before chilling and wrap in plastic wrap. It's also helpful if you flatten each section before chilling so it's ready to roll once it's chilled.)

Heat oven to 350 F. Roll dough 1/4 inch think on 2 lightly greased cookie sheets. (15 1/2" x 12" is a good size for the cookie sheet to get the most use of the gingerbread.

Lulu, Bean, and Bear. Making their house at home.
It turned out scrumptious looking! 
Bake 10-12 minutes, or until no imprint remains when touched lightly. Cut the shapes while gingerbread is still warm. Cut as many rectangles and triangles as possible. Carefully remove from pan and place on a cooling rack. Keep as flat as possible while cooling to prevent pieces from curling. Gingerbread should get very hard.

1 batch should make 1 1/2 to 2 houses depending on sized of cookie sheets used.

(Mama's Notes: The templates that the school uses are for an A-frame house. They wanted just two triangles and two rectangles for each kid. That's fine, but for the house we did at home, I made four rectangles, the same length as the roof. They were only two inches tall, but it gave the feel of a regular house.)

They asked us to cut the pieces 6x6x7" for the triangle and 6x7" for the rectangles roof.

The Little Town School's Icing

1 lb. confectioners sugar
3 egg whites
3/4 tsp. cream of tarter

Beat with a mixer until smooth

Bunny and I were there too.
But I never got a picture of Grandma!
What was I thinking!



Dollhouse Diaries II

Today on the Dollhouse Diaries, Mom is getting the chores done. 

Dad's getting ready to help clean up by staring with his own hands.

Little Lucy is sweeping up the dining room while Baby Jimmy is trying to feed a carrot to the kitten.

Granny is looks like she's got a project going.

Here is the yard my daughter made for the family.
Complete with a toilet paper roll tree and a veggie patch. 

And last, Granddad seems to be indisposed! 

He doesn't seem to notice the camera!

The Dollhouse Diaries is brought to you by my daughter, Lulu, who loves to set up the dolls and even took all these pictures as well. 


A Thoughtful Gift

Adventure Man had to go out of town for a week. He's gone on business trips before, but never for a whole week. He was worried. About me. Or maybe he was more worried for the kids that I might just have to string them up by their toenails if they drive me to it. I don't know. But in his worrying, he came up with a wonderful plan.

He flew my Mom out to be with us while he was gone. She would keep me from going crazy in the woods with four kids. Or it would just be a fun Christmas gift to both her and me, and the kids! Who get to spend the week with Gramma!
Adventure Man getting Naked at the Beach.
Photo of himself. 

So really it's a Win Win! We all have a fun week while he is in Florida…

Oh wait, that was it! He knew I would be pissed that he was in Florida so I would be extra grumpy, irritable and most likely take it out on the kids, so Gramma is here, because that feels like a wonderful treat, until I think about him in the hotel on the beach in Florida….

No, really. What a wonderful thing to have my mom here all to myself and to have the extra hands with the kids. I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift.

…Unless it was to have left all the kids with Gramma and gone with Adventure Man to Florida…

No, no! It really does take two to get this crew off to the bus in the morning. I really don't know what I would do without Adventure Man, or my Mom for that matter!


Old Man Winter

Old Man Winter has been a tease this year. He has played with Autumn's emotions. At first I think she liked it. He surprised her by coming early and covering up her color at her most brilliant moment. But she didn't mind. It was stunning, she thought. Then he left just a quickly, leaving her feeling vulnerable. He reassured her by coming again.

But then when Autumn was worn and tired and had nothing else to offer us he seemed to forget that it was his moment to come to her rescue. He was enjoying the game too much, or perhaps has already lost interest.

Really it is Mother Nature herself who is toying with them and us. Using them like pawns on a chess board. But for what? To remind us that nothing is predictable. Nothing is permanent. No one has control. She brought on Winter's wrath and then melted him away leaving only mud and dead grass. Naked trees and bare mountains.

He has come again, today. Just a little. And not as much in town as here on the Mountain. Part of me is glad and hopes he will stay. But part of me has been grateful for the warm weather and lack of snow. To not feel the bite of winter when I go out, or too have to deal with the mess of it all.

Summer was not long enough for me.


Embracing the Camera While Trimming the Tree

Adventure Man took pictures of us trimming the tree. 
We decorated for the holidays right after Thanksgiving. 
I thought I would share. 

The question is whether or not she is helping or hindering? 

This was him saying, "Kris!" SO I looked up. Nice!

Dad made a yogurt shake to tide us over until dinner.

Bunny is getting sleepy and wants to play with Mama's hair.

Doesn't everyone have a Pink Panther Santa?

The Nutcrackers are ready to fight the mice!

And Super Santa is saying cheese! 

Happy Getting Ready For The Holidays, Y'all! 


My Month In Photos

I'm really bad at multi tasking. I'm way to ADD for that. I didn't get all my photos taken this month, but here's what I've got. I'm sure December will be even less, as I will be traveling. 

• something that starts with a "C"     • Color     • breakfast

• TV    • 5 o'clock    • a favorite thing (smiling) ~ I'm starting to think about elves…  • reflection ~ can you see my kid sitting on the couch in the hutch glass? 

• something I do everyday ~ check the temp.    • small ~ a small workout (ok, not for me!)    • something I can't live without ~ my water! it goes everywhere with me. Also the girl who stole my water!    • night ~ the night we went on a date only to find the theatre closed!

• a drink   • where I slept ~ well, the view from where I slept.   • Man made   • In your bag ~ it's preschool music class day! 

• the view from my window ~ two of them: the kitchen window is where I can see the construction on the septic and my bedroom window where my kids like to watch the annual deer eating of the halloween pumpkins. 

• the last thing I bought ~ I bought it to make a pie with, but ended up just buying a store bought pie later on! Now what to do with the pie pumpkin!    • something I wore ~ flour!   • black ~ the molasses for the ginger bread!   • sky ~ it was snowing, but the sun was shining? 

• grateful. 
I am grateful for family. 
The shells remind me of my dear sister-in-law who lives in Florida.
We collected these shells while visiting her there. 
Her husband has just been deployed again and so they have been on our mind a lot this Thanksgiving.

• in the cupboard ~ Mr Candy~Cane has come to stay again for the month! 

• tree
This 1st tree is over 900 years old, I'm told. It is located just a few miles from my home. The 2nd is on our christmas tree. It came with it's own decor! And the 3rd would be Mr. Candy~Cane again, up to his old tricks.

• vehicle  • Big (sky)   • on the wall ~ One of many pieces I have of my Grandmother's Red Cross memorabilia.

I'm sorry this is so late and I have neglected my Blog! But as I said, I am bad at multi tasking when I have company and want to do other things! Do bare with me this month. I am trying to get things scheduled before we go on vacation. And I promise I will be back together with everything come January! I may be gone, but I haven't forgotten you! 


The Theatre After All

I just wanted to give you an update. Adventure Man contacted the little theatre that we wanted to attend on our Date Night Flop. They got back to him and said they just had to close last minute for the night.

We were so happy to hear that they hadn't gone out of business! We love small theatre companies and want to enjoy them as much as we can. We were sad to think that they might not be there anymore after we had just found them.

They felt awful for the miscommunication and have offered to comp our family at their Christmas performance in December. I think we will have to take them up on it!

The Pooh Theory

My brother gave me the original A. A. Milne book Winnie the Pooh when I was about twelve. I read it. I had seen the Disney movies as a kid, but this was before everyone had a copy of every single Disney movie ever made in the universe. So it was from this book that I drew my knowledge and love for the stuffed bear. The book has been one of my favorites ever since.

When I met my husband, we actually had a conversation about Pooh and his friends. As it turned out, his mom had always called him Tigger. I had always likened myself to Pooh, "being a bear of very little brains." Over the years, that was something we had in common and we sort of connected with it. I sent him a copy of one of my favorite songs, House at Pooh Corner. He gave me a mug with the cast on it.

One night just before Christmas, many years ago, when he knew I would be home from school, Santa came walking up my driveway. I sat in stunned shock as my mom answered the door. Our Palo Alto house had a front atrium that lead to the front door and the walls were windows, we all had a perfect view of the strange visitor. He handed my mom a small package and headed out saying he left the sleigh running. My mom handed the gift to me. I wondered how she could be so sure it was for me? My mom said, he was looking at you the whole time!

When I opened it and found a plastic Winnie the Pooh and Tigger figure. I knew exactly who the bearded man in red was. When my mom asked me who it was, I announced simply, "the man I'm going to marry."

We even had Winnie the Pooh and Tigger on our wedding cake. The cake was awful, but that was the baker's fault. The idea, I still love. We have received many more Pooh and Friends over the years. Christmas ornaments, blankets, puzzles. We love it.

It was that first reading that started my Pooh Theory. I, as I said, have felt a kinship with Pooh. And it was this trouncey bouncy boy who helped me realize the theory to be true. We all have a bit of one or another of A. A. Milne's caricatures in us. Over the years I have seen that all the caricatures are in all of us. It's just one or two who come out as a personality. I have seen that as I have grown, some times we might get scared, as Piglet does, or more brave, like Roo. I can be more maternal, like Kanga. But mostly I am forgetful and often hungry and therefor am more Pooh than anyone else.

The last year and a half I have been more Eeyore than anyone. I have had to contend with depression brought on after the birth of my last baby. Eeyore mixed with bursts of Rabbit.

Now our littlest one is obsessed with Pooh and "Teegger" and Eeyore. She only wants to watch Pooh DVDs and if someone else has an opinion about it, she pulls rank. We now have the small portable TV permanently set up in the living room with a Pooh DVD perpetually running. We all have the songs stuck in our heads. And we hear that Santa will be offering a similar gift, as he did so many years before. Only with batteries and springs. If she's good.

Which caricature are you?


The Best Christmas Gift Ever (+Aunt Arlene's Refrigerator Rolls)

If you're looking for a gift for your family, then shop no more.

A few years ago my mom gave all her kids, me and my three brothers (or perhaps their wives), a cookbook. But not just any cookbook, this was her cookbook!

A simple binder, filled with all the family recipes we've loved all our lives. As she converted her hand written recipe cards, her Sunset Magazine clippings, her dog eared cookbooks, to new typed recipe pages, she compiled a binder for each of us. It is a treasury of family times. A legacy for my children as well.

I've been adding my own favorite dishes, the things I discover on blogs or google, favorites I pick up from my husband's family, and my own recipes I've been making since college. The binder has grown so big, I need to get myself a larger one! It would be fun to see what my sister-in-laws have added to theirs.

Now I want to share one of my mom's best! But really, it's not even hers, it's her Aunts, her Aunt Arlene's.

These are the rolls that we have had for every Thanksgiving and Christmas for as long as I can remember!

Aunt Arlene's Refrigerator Rolls

2 pkg dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 eggs
2 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shortening* (or butter)
8 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar

Soften yeast in warm water. Add shortening, sugar, eggs, four cups of flour, and salt. Beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour and knead until it feels like a newborn babies bottom. Cover tightly and store in refrigerator until needed. When you want to use it, make your rolls and then let them rise.     You may make fresh rolls for up to a week.

If you want to use it right away, let tit rise until double in bulk. Punch down and form your rolls. Let rolls rise until double. Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 25 minutes, or until done.

*My mom says she doesn't use shortening anymore because of the trans fats that are bad for you. You may substitute unsalted butter or if you only have salted butter leave out the called for salt.

I am grateful for good good and good friends to share it with. 

Do you have a recipe that's been in the family for as long as you can remember?