Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The annual Christmas card photo fiasco!

Every year it's the same story...

I do have to admit that this year was definitely better than the last few. I only had one stroke and didn't lose my voice! You'd think these kids were at the age where they could take simple'd THINK!

Most of the time JP, Danny, and Abby weren't even looking at the camera. Funny thing is is that wherever the dog was looking, the kids were too.

Then the giggles start.

Then there are the two oldest who are waaay too cool to be posing for family pictures. These guys look like they're trying to make the next cover of GQ magazine!

Abby gives Danny a bath.

Then Mary Grace gets one, too!

Up to this point, Abby was the most well behaved of the bunch! Hopefully we'll be able to salvage just one out of the dozens taken!

Friday, November 25, 2011


We have so much to be thankful for this season:
and I'm feeling mighty unworthy of such goodness these days.
Unworthy, but so very thankful!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One month old

Don't let the red hair fool you,
this is our most mellow kiddo yet!

Has it already been a month?
Seems like just yesterday to me.

We are still finding our way through these newborn days and the fog is starting to clear a bit.

Life is good, tiring, but good!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another growing season

I saw seed packets in the store the other day and like a knee-jerk reaction, I bought some. I had Kyle clean out the garden boxes nearest the house (four 4X4 boxes I had used for herbs in the past) and filled them with compost that has been brewing the last nine months.

John Paul and I planted about 40 cloves of garlic, some swiss chard, turnips, and romaine lettuce seeds.

I'm not sure how this fledgling garden is going to fare this fall with my attentions on a new baby.

But I guess it will manage, like I will manage...

I'll provide them both with sunshine, food, and lots of love, and they will grow.

Except swiss chard won't wake me up at 4 a.m.!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Officially gone off the deep end!

I finally harvested some of the horseradish that we planted last winter. This is hardy stuff! It survived the hottest, driest Texas summer that we've had in a long time and is practically busting out of the enormous planter that we are growing it in!

Why did I harvest this pungent root you ask?

Well my husband found a recipe for "Master Tonic" online and wanted to brew a batch.

Master Tonic is a health elixir similar to a tincture. It is practically guaranteed to cure anything that ails you...especially ridding you of of a cold or flu within 24 hours!

Master Tonic Ingredients
1 part fresh chopped garlic cloves (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitical)
1 part fresh chopped white onions (similar properties to garlic)
1 part fresh grated ginger root (increases circulation to the extremities)
1 part fresh grated horseradish root (increases blood flow)
1 part fresh chopped Cayenne peppers, Jalapenos, Serranos, Habeneros, African bird peppers....any combination of the hottest peppers available
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar


· Fill a glass jar 3/4 of the way full with equal parts of the above fresh chopped and grated herbs.
Then fill to the top with raw unfiltered, unbleached, nondistilled apple cider vinegar like Bragg's.
· Close and shake vigorously and then top off the vinegar if necessary. Store in a cool, dark place and shake daily. Let mixture steep for two weeks. Filter the mixture through a clean piece of cotton, bottle and label.
· Make sure that when you are making this tonic that you shake it every time you walk by it, a minimum of once per day. Remember that all the herbs and vegetables should be fresh (and organic if possible), and to use dried herbs only in an emergency.


Strain liquids from solids through muslin cloth or strainer into a glass container. Take 1/2 to 1 ounce, two or more times daily.

This stuff is not for the faint of heart! Just chopping and grating all the ingredients cleared my sinuses AND everyone else's in the house! I cannot imagine drinking it straight but it might be tasty in some V-8 juice or as a dressing for salad. No one in the house has been sick yet, but you can be sure at the first sign of a sniffle that I'll be testing this home remedy...and I'll let you know how it works!

Read what others are saying about Master Tonic:
Click here
or here
or just Google it yourself!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cloud Sand

In an effort to get the boys to finish school work and chores in a timely manner, I bribed them with cloud sand.

Cloud sand is really lovely stuff!
Soft, silky, moldable (is that even a word?), and super easy to make.

Mix together 8 cups of plain flour with 1 cup of baby oil.
The baby oil gives it a wonderful scent.
I actually think it helped to calm the kids a bit.

This kept them busy for HOURS which allowed for me and Mary Grace to have a little cat nap on the couch. Thankfully, it cleans up pretty easily too...and the mess was well worth getting to nap!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Smashing Pumpkins

When we got the kids pumpkins for halloween, I purchased two extra to make some pumpkin puree for holiday baking. I've never made my own pumpkin puree, but it was super easy and I don't think we'll be using the canned stuff ever again!

Wash and dry pumpkins, cut into quarters or eighths, scoop out seeds, and place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour and allow to cool.
Peel off skin and place pumpkin meat into food processor. Process until smooth.

Put serving size portions into ziplocks and freeze.

Canned pumpkin costs a little under two bucks here. I purchased a large pumpkin for $3.88 and got 12 cups of puree (and I still have another pumpkin sitting on the porch waiting to be roasted!). I was so inspired by the fresh puree that I made two loaves of:
Pumpkin Gingerbread
Trust me, you want to make this!
And I have a feeling those 12 cups are going to get used up FAST!