Just a quick post at the end of a busy day. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving, just the six of us at home by ourselves. While is is always nice to be surrounded by extended family on the holidays, it was equally as nice to spend the day in the quiet solitude of home, just the two of us and our kiddos.
The food was great, and except for finding the bag of giblets inside the turkey AFTER it was cooked, the day was a success. I even looked for the giblets and didn’t see them and I was not about to stick my hand inside the bird to feel for them. I rinsed it out several times, but they never came out, so I assumed that they weren’t there. Sad thing is, I’ve done this before! It was years ago, but still. The turkey was great nonetheless.
I am thankful for so many things. My husband and children, our health, extended family and the best friends a girl could ever hope for, just to name a few. I am beyond thankful that God sent His only son to die on the cross for my sins and so that I may have eternal life in Heaven. This makes me smile even more today because this is the first Thanksgiving without my Aunt Barb who died this past August. I know she is in Heaven and I rejoice in knowing I will see her and all my other loved ones again someday.
Speaking of my Aunt Barb (who was the life of every party!), I will tell you a funny Thanksgiving story about her. When I was in high school, we were all gathering at my grandparents house for Thanksgiving. Barb was bringing a few things that day, one of them being gravy. She made the gravy and had it cooling on her kitchen counter. She gave it one last stir before covering it to bring it to my grandparents house and noticed a lump in it. She scooped the lump out and noticed it was a mouse!!! Apparently a mouse had run across the counter and crawled in the gravy and drowned!! I would’ve been so embarrassed that I would never have told a soul, however, we are talking about my Aunt Barb, the woman who had no secrets. The woman who laughed until she cried when she was telling us the story. I have always loved this story and she and I would talk about “mouse gravy” every single Thanksgiving. I got teary today knowing that we couldn’t talk about it like we always did, but I had to smile at her memory. I am sincerely thankful for all the years I did have with her.
I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving and that you took some time to reflect on the many things you have to be thankful for. Even when things aren’t the best, we still have so much to be thankful for.
My 4 year old gets to bring a snack to preschool once a month and this past Friday was his “snack helper” day. I had asked him earlier in the week what he wanted to bring to his class and his response was “a Thanksgiving turkey”. There was no way I was going to make a real turkey for a bunch of picky preschoolers, so we had to go to Plan B. I went straight to Pinterest and searched ‘Thanksgiving snack ideas” and voila….there it was….the fruit turkey! (In hindsight, a real turkey probably would’ve been much cheaper, but heck….what’s the fun in that?!)
The hardest part about the darn thing was finding the honeydew melon for the body and the right kind of pear for the head. For starters, I had to go to a grocery store that was 35 minutes away to find a honeydew melon and a bosc pear. Also ridiculous was the cost since all the fruit was out of season. No joke, the fruit for this turkey cost around $40.00!! It wasn’t difficult at all to do and with my hubby’s help, it only took us about an hour to put it together.
Needless to say, it was a HUGE hit at preschool. My son was guarding it with his life, telling his friends to “stay away from the turkey”!! My other two sons were complaining that is was unfair that I didn’t make one for their classes too. I was thinking that I could reuse the hard to find honeydew melon and pear and just throw a few skewers of fruit on them to make another one, but surprisingly, all that came back from the preschool class was the pear and a sliver of melon. A mere turkey carcass.
If you’re wondering, the little tail feathers, the feet, and the thing by the beak are all made out of tri-colored peppers. The beak was cheese, the eyes were raisins and obviously the skewers were fruit and cheese. It was held together with toothpicks and I sliced a thin piece off the bottom of the melon so it would be sturdy and would sit well. Really…you should try this. It’s just a little effort and everyone will be impressed by your efforts. I’d be willing to bet at least one person will even call you Suzy Homemaker!
Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls
Printable Version with Picture
*Note: to use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast, decrease the yeast amount to 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast. Still mix it with the water and sugar but you don’t need to wait for it to proof – just continue with the recipe, adding in the yeast/water mixture where indicated. Also, as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. This tutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.
*Freezable Recipe: After shaping the rolls and placing them on the baking sheet, cover with lightly greased saran wrap and a layer of tin foil. Store in the freezer. The night before you want to serve them take out the rolls and put them in the refrigerator. Let them thaw in the refrigerator. Take them out about 8-9 hours after being in the refrigerator and let them rise until doubled. Bake according to the recipe. (If you have less time, you can take the rolls out of the freezer and let them come to room temperature on the counter – about 4 hours, then let rise until doubled).
This was my labor of love this morning. I started on them last night and got up at 5am to finish them so my family would have a better-than-usual breakfast today. These things were SO good. I’m talking like heavenly kind of good. The frosting was ridiculously rich, but worth every calorie. Cream cheese, real butter, vanilla, powdered sugar and milk….I could (ok, did) eat this stuff by the spoonful. I found the recipe on Pinterest (if you do not know about pinterest.com I’m forewarning you that you will become addicted the first time you use it!).
Second to the love I got from my family this morning, the best part was that it made two dozen HUGE cinnamon rolls, plenty to share with friends, neighbors and teachers. Wow…how I’d love to be greeted in the morning with a plate of warm, homemade cinnamon rolls. Instead I get woken up by three little boys beating my bedroom door down because they want food and they want it NOW. Oh well…such is life.
Today was Preschool Sunday for our youngest son. He and his class of fellow 4 year olds got to recite The Lord’s Prayer and sing “Jesus Loves Me” in front of an eager-to-hear audience. It all went down well for the most part. A few funnies in front of the congregation….including my friends son who raised his hand after they were done and yelled “I did it!” when the Pastor asked him what he needed. My little guy is like the ring leader of his class. He has been around this preschool on a daily basis for 4 years now. His two older brothers went there as well so we’ve been on the class roster for 4 years in a row now. My son was the loudest singer because his teacher promised gummy worms to those who performed loudy so everyone could hear their beautiful voices. My kid will do ANYTHING for candy. And being up on “stage”?! He was in his element.
Ok…so you are wondering why the image of the boob above, right? I mean we are talking about The Lord’s Prayer and Jesus Loves Me. This morning, in preparation for the church service, my near teenage daughter was reciting The Lord’s Prayer with our son. He came into the bathroom while I was putting on my makeup and started saying the prayer. I stopped dead in my tracks when he said it….and then I thought I was going to die laughing!! As serious as could be, he said “Give us this day our daily breast”. OMG…what is funnier than that?! I swear, even at the tender age of 4, boys are boys. They LOVE boobs. I mean they even think about them when they are supposed to have GOD on the brain! I think my son just spoke on behalf of men everywhere….all wanting their dose of daily breast.
Just a little funny for your Monday!
A special thank you to every veteran everywhere. Young and old. Marine Corps, Navy, Army, Air Force and Coast Guard. To those who have given years of their lives serving our country and to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. To my friends who have endured single parenting while their husbands have been deployed over and over again. To the husbands who have missed out on their childrens births, holidays, birthdays, etc. To those friends who have spent the majority of their newly married life with their spouse tens of thousands of miles away in a god-forsaken country. For families near and far who are grieving the loss of a son, husband, brother, daddy.
The thing that comes to mind everytime I think about someone in the military that has lost their life in the way of freedom, is Jesus Christ. Other than Jesus, those who have died for our freedom are the only ones I can think of who voluntarily gave their life for people they’ve never even met. People who are undeserving. Worse than that, they’ve given their lives for many who have no appreciation for the freedoms we have because of them.
To every veteran everywhere, this side of Heaven and that, thank you.
Ask any Marine and he’ll tell you. It all began on November 10th, 1775 at Tun’s Tavern and the rest is history. I might be a tad bit biased because I’m married to a Marine, however, they are known as the world’s finest fighting force.
Who’s always called up first? Marines.
Who protects the President? Marines.
Who guards the streets of Heaven? Marines do, of course, according to the Marine Corps Hymn.
The USMC might be the smallest of the military branches, but they are the first for everything. And besides, what is hotter than a Jarhead in dress blues? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Around the world today, every USMC Platoon is celebrating where it all began. There will be cake cutting ceremonies with the first piece of cake going to the oldest Marine in the Platoon and the second piece going to the youngest Marine in the Platoon. In some places, two-hundred thirty six miles have been run in one-mile increments signifying each year of the Corps’ existence. There is something about the Corps that is different than other branches of the military. My husband can see a Marine that served in WWII and they instantly strike up a conversation. Yes, much is different, but more than not, it’s the same as it ever was. I LOVE when we go somewhere and they ask each specific branch to stand to be recognized and my hubby stands with his fellow Marines. I am so proud of him and the sacrifice he made for our country. He always says those were some of the hardest years of his life, but by far some of the best.
Here’s to the Marines! OOH RAH!
Ok…so this is what I have been up to the last few days. Second grade project….a “family project” to be exact. This kind of stuff is a hassle at first, then once I get into it, I want it to be the best. I actually think “family projects” are rather ridiculous because ultimately you are going to have some families that go all out and others that simply don’t care and send their kid to school with something less than mediocre, only resulting in embarassment for the kid. I just wish teachers would put out a box of odds and ends in class and would then encourage the kids to create their own projects. For starters, I really don’t have much free time to put into a project like this and second, it’s basically like me re-living 1986 back at Ella Canavan Elementary. This is not my son’s project….it’s mine. Ok…he colored the teepee, but that’s it. Gotta give credit where credit is due.
You probably can’t tell from the photo, but the teepee is complete with a fringed “buffalo skin” rug inside, the fire has flames and smoke and there is a fish being smoked over the fire. Did Indians even smoke fish?! I have no idea but it makes for a good project, right?! And the brown piece of felt hanging on the drying rack thing. My wonderful hubby’s idea. The initial plan was to hang a real piece of animal fur from it, however, there was none to be had. My willing-to-do-anything for me husband asked if I would like him to go kill a squirrel or if he should stop and cut a hunk of deer skin/fur off of a piece of roadkill. I even contemplated going back to my youngest son’s preschool to hunt down a random squirrel tail I saw near the playground last week. When this conversation was going on, I had to take a step back and realize we are talking about a second grade project here. There is no need to resort to killing small animals or seeking out roadkill to ensure our son gets an A. In fact, this project isn’t even for a grade now that I think about it. It is simply to inspire my son for a writing assignment.
When my 2nd grader checked out the finished product, his response was “Mom, you’re good at everything!”. Hey, that’s an A in my book. I’ll take it!
I came across this little beauty in St. Charles, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis. It is everything I dream about…..tons of character, sits on a brick street, iron fence, gorgeous yard. The only thing that would make it better is if it were in the middle of about 10 acres. And if it had a barn so I could have a few chickens and a milking goat. I think that would do it. I would love, love, love to see inside this house. I bet the inside is even more perfect than the outside. The downer is that in St. Charles, a house like this starts in the high $300’s. Hey, a girl can dream, right?!