Monday, December 27, 2010


I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas!  Rowdy and I had a nice time with Uncle Mike and my parents. 

Santa brought Rowdy the chainsaw he wanted.  He started to cut down the tree with it!

He got some nice presents from Mommy and the family. 

Rowdy made sure there wasn't any stragglers left under the tree!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Holiday Baking and Canning

This is my favorite cookbook right now (Thanks Mom!).  This has some great small batch canning recipes for hot water bath canning.  And since it's just me most of the time (with a little guy for half of the week) it comes in handy when I don't want to make a big batch of something.  I decided to make some recipes from the book for holiday gifts - and of course to fill my pantry with home canned goodies!  

The first thing I made was "Your Basic Chunky Tomato Salsa".  It was very easy to make and I even added some cilantro to the mix.  I was able to use up the last of the onion I got from Grandpa's house in Utah and the garlic too.  The funniest part was when I cut up the jalepenos and breathed them in!  Rowdy asked if I was ok!  I now know to get plastic gloves to cut them up for next time - and maybe a mask!

I ended up getting 3 pints and 3 half pints of this - four jars for gifts and 2 pints for my pantry!  A co-worker has already cracked open a jar and said it was delish!  I am sure this recipe will be a keeper. 

This was the first time I have ever used cranberries.  I just love the rich red color of them.  So lovely!  With these beauties I made "Festive Cranstrawberry Jam".  I just loved that this recipe called for me to chop up a whole orange - rind and all!  The smell was grand in the kitchen when this was boiling on the stove! 

And doesn't it look lovely in my new Ball jars?  I was able to get 6 half pints out of this - 3 for gifts and 3 for my pantry.  I was a little stingy with this one.  I can't wait to try it!  The next jam I am going to can is Cranana Jam - yep, you guessed it - cranberries and bananas, yum!

Both of the above recipes can be found in "The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving" by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard.

Now onto Holiday Baking with Grandma White and Rowdy!

There is my kitchen helper - Rowdy.  He is shelling chocolate kisses to use in Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies.  He shelled the whole bag for me.  He was such a big help on Holiday Baking Day with Grandma White! 

His next job was to roll the PB balls in sugar and put them on the pan.  He completed it with ease.  He then helped put the kisses on the cookies!  Voila!  Blossom cookies.

We also made the traditional sugar cookie which he took on sprinkle duty. 

In one day we made PB blossoms, choc chip cookies, sugar cookies, choc chip zucchini bread (where I had a cocoa powder mishap), pb choc fudge, garlic pretzels, and jingle balls (choc covered pb)! 

Most of the goodies went to work as I use these to bribe my employees to do anything I want!  Totally kidding but they do enjoy these treats.  They always ask for the pretzels and jingle balls.  I guess now I am famous for them!  I wish I could take the credit for the recipes but alas, they are not mine.  But they sure are keepers!

  Next up.....I will dabble more into canning cranberry goodies!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Polar Express

Rowdy, Grandma White, and I traveled to Williams, AZ to ride on the Polar Express.  This is the second time we have done this and I think it's a new tradition!  We just love getting in our pajamas and listening to the story of the Polar Express as we ride the rails to the North Pole. 

Before we hopped on board the train, my Mom took some pics of Rowdy and I in front of the fireplace at the Depot Hotel where we stayed the night.  These two pics will be our annual Christmas card.  I love how they turned out!

I also took a nice pic of Grandma White and the boy together! 

After dinner, we hopped aboard the Polar Express and away we went - "To the North Pole, of course!". 

After hot chocolate and cookies made by Mrs. Claus, the North Pole was in sight!  All the kids jumped to our side of the train to catch of a glimpse of the big guy and his elves. 

Santa hopped on board with us and rode back to Williams.  During the trip back, he talked to every child and gave them a special bell - Mommy and Grandma got one too.  Thanks Santa!

The trip back was full of "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer".  We all sang Christmas carols together. 

Another great trip aboard the Polar Express!  Christmas cards have been ordered and will be coming your way in the next week!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Leaves Are Falling, Mommy

The leaves have fallen in the backyard here at the Rowdy and Mommy homestead.  As soon as Rowdy saw them out the backdoor this morning he immediately wanted me to rake them up so he could jump in them!

Now I don't get much leaves since I only have one little tree in the backyard but it was just enough to satisfy the boy for a good hour. 

He looked so cute in the hat that I got him in Alaska.  It was quite chilly today and it kept his ears nice and toasty!  But Brrrrr.....Mommy didn't last very long outside. 

I am thinking of using the first picture for my Christmas Cards this year?  What do you think? 

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Repurposed Spice Rack

I am on a roll with this repurposing thing!  I just walk through a thrift store and let my mind whirl about what I can do with stuff I find.  This was a - not so loved anymore - spice rack that I had a vision for - to turn it into acrylic paint storage.  Here it is:

Again,  I love how it turned out!  I just need to put the color of the paints on the top of the bottles.  Most of my paints are the same company and they don't put the "flavor" on top.  This matches my shelf perfectly and is a great addition to my room. 

I had to sand this down a little bit as there was some finish on it.  Then I spray painted it with the same semi-gloss black paint and added the same ribbon.  Total cost - $4.

I am on the lookout for a old cassette tape holder - preferably small - to repurpose for ink pad storage if anyone has one that you don't need.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Repurposed Shelf

So I found this treasure at Stepping Stones today - a thrift store here in a Prescott Valley - for $12.   I must have been in a crafty mood because my mind started spinning on what I could do with it.  And believe it or not, it came out exactly how I envisioned it and I couldn't be happier!

Isn't this the cutest!?  It is now a homemade "clip it up" shelf for my ribbon! 

Renee's Clip it Up systems can run you in upwards of $50!  This project cost me less than $20!   I just painted it with black semi-gloss spray paint, added ribbon to the edges of the shelves with glue dots,  screwed on closet rod attachments and a dowl rod - then painted those black too, and added swivel clips from IKEA.  Voila!  Homemade Clip it Up!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

There he little Fireman!  And our silly "Redneck" pumpkin as Rowdy calls it! 

Not bad for a $5 costume, eh?  The coat I bought at Goodwill for only 5 bucks, can you believe it?  He already had the hat, axe, and boots (from our trip to Smith and Edwards in Utah). 

We went Trick or Treating with his buddies Seth the "vampire" and James "Bumblebee" transformer.  They did really well saying "Trick or Treat" and thank you to everyone.  Seth even started scaring people with that scary face of his!  They had alot of fun!

After about 2 streets, Rowdy's feet started to hurt and he asked if we could go home.  Seth and James went with their Mommies for more trick or treating and we retired for the evening.  He ended up with a good amount of loot anyway!  It was a quick night but worth it! 

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch Pic That Almost Wasn't

Boy, was this photo a struggle to get!  Our annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch wasn't the greatest experience.  Not to mention that it was without Lisa (who he is STILL asking when she is coming back!).  We went to Freeman Farms in Chino Valley this year and it was kind of a rip off.  I should have just walked over to the pumpkin patch right away like Rowdy wanted and got the pictures.  Instead I paid an overpriced ticket for silly stuff that Rowdy didn't really want to do. 

I was able to get some cute pics but not as many as I would have liked.  I tried to get a cute one of the two of us but it wasn't to be. 

Now, this he loved!  Picking out little pumpkins!  He thought these were the coolest and picked out an orange one, a white one, and a yellow one.  These came home and got colored by my little Picasso! 

Grandma thought they were pretty cute too! 

Even though it wasn't the best trip to the patch this year, Rowdy was pretty excited to pick out his pumpkin!  So just remember, skip all the stupid crap that cost a lot of money and go right to the patch.  You will save yourself a few meltdowns from a 3 year old! 


Monday, October 4, 2010

Rainy Day Breadmaking

"How does this look, Mommy?"

It was a lazy rainy day today and I didn't feel like cleaning the house (even though I should have!).  I thought it would be fun to make bread with Rowdy.  I found a pretty easy recipe on the good 'old internet via google (gotta love google). 

He started out very interested as always - pouring ingredients into the bowl and dousing himself with flour!   He had a lot of fun punching the dough, too!

When it was time for it to sit and rise I thought it would be a great time for Rowdy to take a nap.  A little quiet time was fantastic!  Now don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with the little guy, but sometimes some "Mommy Time" is much needed! 

While he napped we got one heck of a rainstorm!  It was coming down something fierce!  The garden was loving it though.  Here are some of my peppers still left.  That green pepper went into the dinner salad!  And look at my gypsy peppers - I have a few that are turning red finally.

To go with our fresh baked bread, I made Mac & Cheese from the Lottie and Doof blog - a fantastic blog for yummy recipes!  It was like grown up mac & cheese.  With a salad of greens and peppers, tomatoes, and green onion from our garden it was a great meal.

The bread turned out a little flat - I don't think I let it rise enough.  But, oh well, warm with some butter it was still delish.  And Rowdy loved it!

Here are the recipes I referenced in this post. 

Mac & Cheese (Lottie & Doof Style)

Basic White Bread