Monday, December 27, 2010

We're Still Here

There is not much going on around here. We're just plugging our way through the end of the year. This is not usually the most wonderful time of the year for me, so I choose to stay away from this blog. So, I'm going to hit the highlights.

  • Christmas is over! Woohoo! The kids got great stuff this year. Santa knew exactly what everyone wanted. Happy children live here.
  • We did a Christmas unit study the last couple of weeks. It was about the history of Christmas symbols. We're going to finish today by reading a couple of books that were recommended by the study.
  • New Year's Day menu is already planned. We are having turkey, black eyed peas, broccoli rice casserole, brussel sprouts, corn bread, and pie. The baby girl has asked for chocolate pie, so I need to get on that. The big girl wants a pumpkin cheesecake like I made at Thanksgiving. We'll see.
  • The big girl won second place at her youth Christmas party costume contest. She worked really hard puting her costume together. She sewed all the ornaments on her shirt, she stood still for about 30 minutes while I sewed garland on, and she held our heavy train. She was a Christmas tree. She even had presents on her tree skirt. I had pics, but they didn't turn out so well. Maybe I'll post them anyway.
  • My van officially has over 100,000 miles on it. We bought it used about three years ago and it had about 60,000 miles on it. We travel and travel and travel. When I say we are always in the van, I mean we are always in the van. Except, not so much anymore.
  • We had to drop dance. Money just would not let us continue. And now that gas is going to $3 a gallon and more (really, people? We haven't figured out a better way to do that? Of course not, all our green jobs went to China), it's even harder. At least we aren't in the van all the time anymore. We have days that let us breathe again. But do not think I have retired my crock pot. That will never happen. On the down side: WE MISS DANCE!!!!!! Maybe next year will be better.

That's the run down for now. Here's hoping that your new year is beautiful, prosperous, and blessing filled!!

Have a great day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

Most people are cruising the mall looking for that perfect gift. Some are cruising the stores just looking for a gift, perfect or not. Not me. I am cruising the Rainbow Resource catalogue looking at curriculum. This is where I get that warm fuzzy feeling. I love, love, love to look at curriculum. I think next year may be a little different for us. Hopefully, not different as in this year where getting started on anything has been a struggle for me. We are going to pull out some oldies but goodies, and try some different things. Here's the run down:

For the baby, I think we are going to concentrate on reading comprehension and spelling for language arts. I have a SpellWell curriculum that I really like. I think she will, too. She will be doing Horizons math. The rest of it, she'll do with the big girl and the boy. Except maybe science. I still haven't decided what we're doing for that. I need to find out what the kids want to do and check it out.

The boy I think is in for a bit of culture shock. I am going to do some book studies for him. I have some great ones from Progeny Press that I think he will like. Getting him to read is almost as hard as getting him to pick up a pencil. I think if I have him pick some books he wants to read, it won't be so tough for him. I will have him do the grammar sections from his left over LifePacs. I'm not sure about his math yet. He enjoys the LifePacs, but I just don't know.

And the big girl. Book study guides for her this year as well. I have some great ones for her and she loves to read. I may also do some creative writing with her. Algebra for math. I will probably stick to Switched on Schoolhouse for her. That frees me up for more time with the baby.

The only thing left is history, science, and bible. For bible we are going to use Grapevine Studies. Learning the bible using stick figures is about my speed. We are bored with what we are using and the kids have asked specifically for this curriculum. Ok. I can do it. History we will either use Story of the World, or I may borrow Mystery of History from a friend. I need to sit the kids down and figure out science. At least I have part of it figured out. Back to the catalogue.

Have a great day.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For Sale

What is this you may ask. This is a fundraiser for our youth group. These are travel mugs with lids. They are ceramic as opposed to plastic. They are a little heavier than the normal travel mug. They are $11.50 each. Please keep in mind they are a fundraiser, they make a great gift, and they advertise a great group of kids. Let me know how many you want.

The kid that sells the most wins a $100 Visa gift card. The big girl would love to have that so she can get her iPod.

Have a great day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Pie Eater

I just think it's funny that while my friend G is posting about her super healthy smoothies, I'm posting about pie. Really, though, the change is G has been amazing to watch and is very inspiring. There have been some nutritional changes in our home that have made a difference. But this pie is not one of them. This pie is just yummy without being the least bit good for you.

It's no secret that the holidays are not what they should be. So many issues, so little time. Except on the other blog. There's lots of time for griping over there. Anyway, this is my little bit of comfort over the holidays. I also made my brussel sprouts. I will not even tell you what response that got. On with pie!!

This came from Quick and Simple magazine. It is one of my favorites. It looks complicated, but is actually super simple. If you could see the pic! That's what got me. Hubby and I were standing in the grocery store check out line one day and there it was. All the lights went dim, the spotlight shone on the cover, the choir started singing. I didn't buy the magazine, but hubby had to pry it from my hands. A couple of days later, hubby came home with the magazine. That is one good man. So, thank hubby when you see him. He rules!! This is done in three parts, but don't be intimidated. One step at a time. It's well worth it.

Pumpkin-Cheesecake Pie


1 cup chocolate grahams, crushed
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In an ungreased 8 inch springform pan or 9 inch, deep dish pie pan, stir together graham crumbs and butter with fork until moist. Press mixture down with your hands to cover bottom of the dish. Bake crust 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Cheesecake Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced, candied ginger (optional)

Raise oven temp to 425 degrees. Beat cream cheese (because it was bad, sorry couldn't help it) with an electric mixer until smooth, a few lumps is fine. Beat in egg, vanilla, and candied ginger (they were bad, too LOL). Spoon mixture into cooled pie crust.

Pumpkin Filling:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
15 oz can pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling
1 cup light cream or evaporated milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten (they weren't as bad as the cream cheese-giggle, giggle)
whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
chocolate chips or shavings, for garnish optional)

In a speparate medium bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, and spices. Add pumpkin, cream or evaporated milk, and eggs. Whisk gently until smooth, trying not to incorporate too much air. Carefully spoon pumpkin mixture on top of cheesecake layer.

Place pie in oven and bake 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake another 30 to 40 minutes. The pie is done when it looks set but still wobbles slightly in the center when you jiggle it. Remove pie from oven and let cool to room temp. Refrigerate until serving time, or at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.

You know I cannot leave well enough alone so here's some things I do. If you don't have time for the crust or have a pie pan, buy a pre-made crust. Just make sure it's a large crust or deep dish. This pie can get pretty tall so you will need the room. I don't add candied ginger because I would only be buying it for this pie. I'm sure it's wonderful with it, but I can't comment on that. If you have pumpkin that you have made, use it. I bet fresh pumpkin would do amazing things for this pie. I use evaporated milk. I don't use all of the can, but I save the left overs and use them to make mashed potatoes. That's how my mom used to make potatoes and they are so yummy. One thing you can do to add to the cheesecake layer is chocolate chips. Add them after you mix the cream cheese layer and before you add it to the crust. You could even add them to the pumpkin pie layer, too. Good grief, that's good. I don't have all those spices for the pumpkin layer, but I do have pumpkin pie spice. That's just all those spices together in one layer. I add the amounts of the individual spices and add that much pumpkin pie spice.

That's it. It looks like alot, but it really isn't. One step at a time. I will say it's a really long three hours waiting for this pie. I make it the day before, put it in the back of the frig, and try to forget about it until it's time to eat. That's the hard part.

Merry CHRISTmas. Have a great day.