Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Audrey's class performed a Thanksgiving play on Tuesday. Benton loved it! When Audrey's group said their lines, he beat the fire out of my shoulder saying, "There's Audrey!" over and over.

Here she is with two of her fellow Indians.

Here's her big home. He wouldn't stand still for a picture while we visited her school.

We took the kids to a basketball game last night. They got to see some friends and three of their second cousins. It was a ton of fun!
I have a lovely plate in my kitchen that says "Peace & Plenty". A nice Thanksgiving day wish.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chocolatey Christmas Goodness

Antique Mommy is hosting a blog carnival to showcase handmade/homemade Christmas gifts. I'm not the least bit creative or crafty, so I have made fudge for my neighbors for years. I usually get lots of compliments on it (which may say more about my cooking/baking than the quality of the fudge!).

However, one year after I delivered the fudge to my neighbors, I received a call from the children in one house. They asked if I had more fudge. When I said yes, they came for a second batch. Out of curiosity I asked what happened to the first batch. Their housekeeper had come that day and eaten the entire thing! No one in the family got a piece! So, at least we know the empty calories are good energy for vacuuming.

I use the recipe right off the jar of Kraft marshmallow creme. I do have a few tips though.
  1. Use a candy thermometer on your saucepan and heat the butter, evaporated milk and sugar to EXACTLY 234 degrees.
  2. Stir constantly, it scorches easily.
  3. Use real vanilla, no imitation.
  4. I also use 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips, because I keep these on hand and they melt easily.
  5. I put the fudge in a glass pan that is 8 1/2 by 11.

My biggest tip is to make the fudge and deliver it EARLY in December. I usually make it the weekend after Thanksgiving. I think that giving it early means your friends will be able to enjoy it before the onslaught of Christmas parties and excesses. Also, fudge lasts a long time and freezes well.

I cut the fudge into 1 inch cubes and wrap in wax paper using Scotch tape to seal it. I also use cut wax paper between the layers of pieces (see pic below). Then I deliver it in a cute tin from the Dollar Store. Make sure to save a few pieces for your house too!

Here is the recipe (copied right from the jar):

Heat in a saucepan to 234 degrees, stirring constantly:

3/4 c. butter

3 cups sugar

5 oz. evaporated milk

Remove from heat and add:

2 cups of chocolate chips

1 jar of marshmallow creme

Stir well and finish with:

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup of chopped nuts, if desired

My little nutcracker...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Planting Pansies

It was unusually warm after school today, so the kids and I headed to the nursery to load up on some more pansies for pots on our front porch.

Who doesn't like playing in some dirt?

Audrey wants to start a filing system of all the plants we've ever brought home since she was born.

The end results were lovely.

Almost as lovely as the workers.

Daddy came home and I sent him out to brag on their work. He said, "Your flowers look great!" Audrey, "I know."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And the winner is...

Audrey's school had a mini-pumpkin decorating contest the week of Halloween. The theme of the contest was "Reaching for the Stars". Here is her entry...

This pumpkin man can do it all! Read a book, walk his dog, and hold his stars! I'll confess, I might have suggested the reading theme. But the dog part, that's all her!

She was a little nervous about submitting her pumpkin to be judged. As we were making him, she asked, "Do the judges only look at the pumpkin or do they count behavior when they pick the winners?" I am not certain whether the behavior criteria would help or hurt her, but she seemed to think it would help.

After three days of nervous waiting, she was announced as the winner at her Halloween party. Her judging group included the three-year old class, four-year old class and Kindergarten. She really put those preschoolers in their place!
Here she is receiving her prize...

What's in the bag? Candy and a $10 gift card to Target! We headed to Target on the Sunday after Halloween. Oh my! It took longer to spend the card than to make the pumpkin!

Here are her carefully shopped for treasures...

A ghost pillow (half-price after Halloween!), a stuffed dalmatian and a Hello Kitty puzzle. Definitely worth it.

The Balancing Act

Welcome to my blog. A little pun on my profession (accounting) and my life as a wife and mother of two.