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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Road Trip


Thursday November 26th 2015 will see many of us gathering at the family table for a Thanksgiving feast. Our family Thanksgiving feast will be hosted by youngest son and his family. It is their first time and we will be traveling to their house. Will you be traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday? Well there are some do's and don'ts that you will want to be aware of.

First trick, deciding on what day to travel. Many schools in our area and maybe your own will be closed on Wednesday. Wednesday is also the most traveled day during the Thanksgiving week. Google maps shares that Wednesday is the worst day for most areas to travel on. So perhaps it is better to wait til Thanksgiving day Thursday or go up late Tuesday. But, if you must travel on Wednesday then there are some more preferred times to travel.

So now that you have decided when you will leave on the trip its time to prepare to leave. First, get your car inspected. Have a ASE mechanic check the car for any problems, tires and tune up. Having your car in tip top condition will be safer for your family to travel as well as give you the best ride and gas economy.

If it is will be a long ride plan for several stops along the way. Whether it be to just stretch your legs, clear your mind or get a drink riding in a car for hours can get long and frustrating. When that ride in a car involves young children it becomes even more important to make those stops. If you are blessed to have a vehicle that has either a game or dvd built in then that is awesome one tip to remember is offer headphones so that it will become distraction to other riders. However, there are take along items that you can bring on a ride to offer more comfort for all riders as well. Just make sure to pack these before leaving on the trip.

It is also better to travel back home on Sunday rather than on Saturday. More traffic will be heading back home on Saturday to prepare for the week ahead but waiting til Sunday will find about 40% less traffic.

Preparing for Winter Weather

It's cold and rainy here today but the weather a few hours from here looks a bit like this

My first thought is time to get prepared. I work early mornings and sometimes work late into the day coming home in the evening. So the thought of commuting to and from work enters my thoughts and since we are not always ready for early morning not knowing what will happen when we are a sleep it is best to do things ahead of time.

We have been hit with winter storms that traps us inside the house. No chance to get out and get anything so having an emergency supply kit on hand is what we need to do.
Things we will need in our kit will includ
snowflake-iconThree days’ food that doesn’t need refrigeration or electricity to prepare it.
snowflake-iconThree days’ water (a gallon per person per day).
snowflake-iconA battery-powered and/or hand-crank radio with extra batteries.
snowflake-iconA first-aid kit, prescription medications, blankets and warm clothing, and supplies for special members of your household and pet items.
snowflake-iconA power pack for recharging cellphones and other mobile devices.
snowflake-iconFor businesses and offices, keep some bottles of water and food bars on hand.
snowflake-iconHave a radio to hear local information about whether or not it is safe to travel. Officials may advise staying in place until it is safe to travel.
snowflake-iconBe sure to keep an emergency kit in your car as well.

Remember it is very important to stay informed before, during and after the storm. Local media should keep their listeners informed of any winter storm watches and warnings and road conditions

Friday, November 20, 2015

Chocolate Pumpkin bread

This is a delicious recipe that should please both the pumpkin lovers and the chocolate lovers. I simply love the marbled orange and black look. Serve up with some flavored cream cheese and you have a real treat. Enjoy!!
2 cups white whole wheat flour
2-1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Cloves
2 large eggs
1 15 ounces can of pumpkin
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons Mazola Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted in a double boiler
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a medium bowl and set aside
Whisk eggs until light and fluffy
Add pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla
Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture to combine, but do not overmix
Separate the batter into 2 bowls
Add melted chocolate to one of the bowls and combine
Spread a layer of pumpkin batter into a loaf pan prepared with cooking spray
Spread a layer of chocolate batter
Continue alternating batters but be sure to finish with the pumpkin batter
Use a knife to swirl the chocolate into the pumpkin batter but do not mix
Sprinkle with cinnamon and chocolate chips
Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
recipe source here

Pumpkin Nut Bar

My daughter has requested more pumpkin. So in my attempt to locate more pumpkin recipes for her I turned to one of the common resources that my grandmother would have turned to the U of I extension. She was a homemaker with lots of knowledge even in the old days.

1 cup cooked pumpkin puree, fresh or canned
1/2 cup butter or margarine (melted)
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped salted peanuts, pecans, or almonds

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, beat egg whites slightly; add pumpkin and melted butter or margarine beat until smooth.
In another bowl combine oats, brown sugar, coconut, wheat germ, and nuts.
Fold oat mixture into pumpkin mixture to form stiff dough.
Press dough into a lightly greased 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 inch jelly roll pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. While still warm, cut into 2x3 inch bars. Yield about 30 bars. Serve warm or cool completely.

shared at
plant based party

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tips To Hook Up a Washing Machine

Recently our oldest son called to ask for a bit of help. The problem was that him and his wife had bought a new washer and driver and were not sure how to hook it up. So like with everything else they called for their dad to come over and help them. This time though dad taught them how to do it rather than doing it for them. That way if the problem ever arises again then they will have the skills to do it their selves.
If you have not gained the skills to install a washing machine then perhaps this post will help you as well. You can find a step by step guide with pictures here

There are two main parts to hooking up a washing machine. Attaching the water supply is the first part. Washing machines are equipped with PVC hoses to link to the water inlet at the back of the washer. Special miniature valves connected to the house plumbing. The hoses are color coded with red for hot and blue for cold. It is important to make sure that the valve is turned off. Connect the hose by screwing it to the valve. All should be nice and tight before valve is turned on.

The second part is to connect the waste system. The waste system allows the water to escape from the washer and go down the sewer. The standard method of the waste system connection includes a standpipe and trap. The machine hose fits loosely into the pipe so dirty water can not re-enter the machine.

Preparing for Operation Christmas Child

It's a wonderful time of year to be active in women's ministry. Ministry has always been a passion for me. While I may not share it on our blog as much as I should I have always been active and support missions. Recently we met to discuss our upcoming Operation Christmas Child drop off spot. Our church works as the local support station. Packages our dropped off and we ship them to where they are to go next. Eventually children in need around the world will be presented with a Christmas present from Operation Christmas Child
This past Sunday our children's classes teamed up with adult classes and packed Operation Christmas Child boxes. Here are a few pictures of my Princess taking part.
With all the hard work going on of course we had to have a bit of a snack. I so wish that I had the chance to get a picture of the cake we tried  The truth is that the cake was gone before I could even snap a pic. Everyone loved the yumminess of the pumpkin dump cake. It was smooth and spice with no better flavor than pumpkin. You may want to try this easy recipe and share with your friends, family or next gathering.
Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (18 1/2 ounce) box spice cake mix
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup butter, melted

1Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
2Grease a 9x13 baking pan.
3In a large bowl combine pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, evaporated milk and salt and spice. Stir well to combine, or beat on low to mix. Pour into prepared pan.
4Sprinkle with cake mix and nuts over the top of that.
5Drizzle the melted butter over all. Bake for 50-60 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool and serve with whipped cream.

shared on
sharing Saturday

Thanksgiving appetizer : Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip

1 package of cream cheese, softened (this can't be skipped ... voice of experience :) )

1 can pureed pumpkin pie mix (18 oz)

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 - 1 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. ground ginger

dash ground cloves

dash nutmeg

In a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the pumpkin, beating well. Add the sugar and spices, beating well until it's a smooth, creamy consistency. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Perfect with cookies or muffins in the fall!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hot Apple Cider

The weatherman is calling for cold weather and lots of rain. I believe it is time to sit back, come inside and relax a bit with some hot apple cider. care to share a cup with me??

8 cups fresh apple cider or apple juice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 whole cloves
1 orange, cut into slices
8 cinnamon sticks
1 cup sweetened whipped cream                                                                               

Heat the cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange slices in a 3-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.                                       
Strain the cider into a heatproof pitcher or individual mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and whipped cream, if desired.

recipe source Campbells Kitchen

Deviled eggs

One thing that will always find a place on the holiday table is deviled eggs. So many of my own children love them and they take that naturally as it was always one of my favorite parts of the dinner. Do you make deviled eggs for your holiday dinner?? If you have never made them before here is an awesome recipe to try. 
12 large eggs, hard cooked
2 Tbsps mayonnaise
1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1 dash pepper
Cut eggs lengthwise into halves.
Slip out yolks and mash well with a fork.
Mix in remaining ingredients.
Fill whites with yolk mixture, heaping it up lightly.

There are so many ways to decorate your deviled eggs. Here are some cute ways that we found What do you think??

Holiday Dinner Delicious But Not Good For Pets

  We all enjoy getting together during the holidays. We sit down for a delicious dinner that someone very special has prepared and take pride in. While it may be delicious to us it is not good for our pets. Lets take a look at the holiday dinner and fixings

We often have a good ham or turkey and dressing as the main entrée.

Ham and other pork products can cause pancreatitis, upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. Ham also tends to be high in fat which can help lead to obesity in pets.

Many of us look forward to turkey and dressing or stuffing. Because the dressing or stuffing often has onions, scallions or garlic in the ingredients it can be toxic to our pets which can lead to a life threatening anemia. The turkey bones can cause severe indigestion problems in dogs and cats. Problems including vomiting and obstructing the bowel. Turkey bones may also splinter and cause damage to the inside of the pets stomach and intestines.

Mashed potatoes surprisingly are safe for pets to eat. However the butter and milk in the potatoes may cause diarrhea in pets that may have a lactose intolerance. If you include onion powder or garlic in your mashed potato recipe then they may be toxic to pets

Many salads served at the holidays will have raisins or grapes as ingredients. Fruit salad, waldorf salad and ambrosia are all examples of salads that may have grapes or raisins. Grapes and raisins are very toxic and potentially deadly and can cause severe, irreversible and sometimes fatal kidney failure in dogs.

Even desserts hide dangers for our pets. Chocolate pie one of the all time favorites is toxic to dogs and cats.
If your pets do ingest any of the foods on the list be sure to call your veterinarian at once. Early action may prevent more costly and serious complications from developing.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Mandarin Orange Fluff Jello Salad

1½ cups heavy cream or heavy whipping cream, very cold
1 Tablespoon sugar
16 oz small curd cottage cheese
6 oz orange flavored gelatin (or 2 3oz packages)
8 oz can crushed pineapple, very well drained
2 cups of mandarin orange segments, about 6 - 8 oranges

Spicy Pumpkin Bread Raisin Muffins

Spicy Pumpkin Pecan Raisin MuffinsMakes about 18 large muffins (recipe may be halved)

1 cup raisins
3/4 cup orange juice
3 cups organic all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole organic wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (a little less if freshly grated)
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces) organic butter or trans-fat free vegetable oil sticks
(such as Earth Balance), melted*
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 15-ounce can organic pumpkin (or 1 pound fresh pumpkin purée)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted if desired

*Lower fat version: Simply omit 1/2 cup (1 stick) of the butter.

Heat oven to 350°. Place raisins and orange juice in a small bowl and microwave for 2 minutes; set aside. Grease muffin tins

Combine flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large bowl and set aside. Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, and eggs in a large bowl and mix well. Stir in pumpkin. Gently fold in dry ingredients, alternating with the raisin/juice mixture. Stir in the pecans.

Generously fill muffin pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Bake baby muffins about 15 minutes.) Cool muffins in tins for 15 minutes, then remove from tins and serve warm, or let cool on wire racks. Store in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze.

recipe source here

Kernel Seasons offers lots of great taste

For as long as I can remember our family has been popcorn lovers. I believe it all started with my mom and her sunday night big bowl popcorn. Me and my 5 siblings would all get our own small bowl. In the early days the popcorn was created in a popcorn popper and butter and salt would be the toppings that we would enjoy. When I was first married popcorn was my favorite snack and we prepared it in a hot air popper, (there was yet to be any microwave popcorn). Now days my family uses the microwave to pop most of the popcorn but I still love the old fashioned ways of popping as well.

Kernel Season's was sweet enough to send us some of their awesome products in October, which if you did not know is the national month for Popcorn. Kernel Season's to me puts even more fun into one of my favorite snacks of all time. With the delicious flavorings for popcorn to the movie theater feel of butter spray all of it is fun and yummy

I recall those long cold Illinois winter nights and sitting with mom all bundled up enjoying a bowl of popcorn. To me popcorn is a great reason to get together. With all that Kernel Season's offers now there is even more reason and a great variety of flavors everyone can shake on their own.

Some of our favorite flavors available are

Bacon and Cheddar season adds two favorites of nearly everyone in our house and maybe yours as well. The two taste together offer a delicious flavored popcorn.

I have long loved caramel corn. I now love the fact that I can find that in Kernel Season's Caramel seasoning offers the same creamy delicious flavor in a sprinkle on topping.

Kettle Corn is something that I buy each and every time I am at a festival where it is being sold. I love the fact that Kernel Season's has created delicious kettle corn seasoning that has become a favorite of mine

 Ranch has become the new favorite topping of my kids so you know when we found Kernel Season's ranch seasoning it would become a favorite in our house as well.

Looking for a great Christmas gift to give a popcorn lover or a family gift for friends? Check out the Kernel Season's gift basket. Packed with yummy seasoning and so much more. Just take a look at what is included in this wonderful gift basket. For just $24.99 you can give a gift with lots of love and flavor

  • 1 White Cheddar
  • 1 Nacho Cheese
  • 1 Kettle Corn
  • 1 Butter
  • 1 Garlic Parmesan
  • 1 Bacon Cheddar
  • 1 Ranch
  • 1 Caramel
  • 2 Microwave Popcorn Packets
Connect with Kernel Season's

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Time To Clean The Fridge

This special day comes just in the nick of time. Ten days prior to Thanksgiving day it's time to start the holidays off and clean the fridge. Some times it may be a bit scary but it is still a job that must be done. There may be things in there that the kids have put in and are now in the dark ends of the fridge where we barely see and never reach. We may discover where all our rubber dishes with lids have disappeared to as we participate in this clean up.

How To:
The goal is to clean the inside of the fridge. It is important to spray every part of the inside of the fridge with a multipurpose cleaner. Remember to wipe down the walls, shelves, shelf seams and the rubber door seal. A non-abrasive sponge should be used to easily and quickly remove sticky, caked on spills. Using an old toothbrush (now girls just because your hubby did not make you smile today does not mean you can use his toothbrush for this job) to get into the crevices.

Start your job by emptying the contents of your fridge. Anything that has passed its prime and empty containers should be tossed. Glass and plastic containers can be washed and used again

Pull out the drawers and place them in the sink. Scrub the drawers with a sponge, warm water and liquid dish soap. Leave out to dry

Spray the interior of the fridge surfaces with a multi surface spray. Wipe down the walls and each shelf. Remember to wash the shelf seams and rubber door seal. Here is the time to use that old toothbrush to get the grime from crevices the sponge can not reach

The fridge is now clean and you can return the drawers. Time to put the food back in. Be sure to wash off any bottles and jars

Don't forget the exterior of the fridge.
Enamled steel you can use a multisurface solution and paper towels
Stainless steel: use a damp microfiber cloth with distilled white vinegar and rub in the direction of the grain.

cruncy Raisin Bran Cookies

Crunchy Raisin Bran Cookies
source : kraft
Serves: 24
1 1/8 cups (5.6 oz) all-purpose flour or white whole grain
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats, old fashioned type
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Raisin Bran cereal
3/4 cup flaked coconut -- original version used more
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips OR 1/2 cup currants, raisins or whatever dried fruit you have around

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Have ready a large ungreased baking sheet.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats in a small bowl; set aside.In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing with a spoon until well blended. Add cereal, coconut, nuts, and chocolate chips (or dried fruit). Drop by heaping teaspoons spacing 2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on tray for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.

shared at
Tuesdays table

Down at the River

This picture is from Hardin County Illinois, it reminds of how simple life used to be. The religious song Down to the River To Pray makes me wonder if that is how life was like by ages ago