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Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day Activities

We had our first snow day of the school year today.  Everyone (well, everyone but Cameron, who had a Calculus final at 8:00 am!) enjoyed sleeping in this morning.

Rachel decided to bake Grandma’s Gingerbread cookies.  At least that’s what we call them around here!

She mixed:

  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. shortening

until smooth and creamy.  Then she added:

  • 1 egg

and blended a bit more. 

We kind of alternated the next few ingredients, adding a little liquid and a little dry ingredients.

  • 1 c. sour milk (1 T. vinegar and then add milk to = 1 cup) with 2 T. baking soda
  • 1 pint dark molasses
  • flour (enough to make a rollable consistency (up to 10 cups)
  • spices
    • 1 1/2 t. anis seed
    • 1/2 t. cardamom
    • 1/2 t. cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 t. cloves

Mix it all well and then…


plop the dough on a well floured surface and then…


roll it, roll it, roll it all out and then…


cut out the various shapes that you like.


and then put the m on the pan and bake them!


Bake them in a 350 oven for 10-12 minutes, just til firm.  We don’t like them crispy!


While they are cooling, make the icing:

  • 1 lb. powdered sugar
  • 2 T. Crisco
  • 1-2 t. lemon juice
  • water to desired concistency

Mix with mixer til it is fairly thick but spreadable.

Then, decorate!  (this is one version of how we decorate.  Next batch we are doing it the old way…with thin powdered sugar and milk icing and painting it on with a paintbrush!)





I LOVE baking with my daughter!  We just have fun and laugh a lot!  And make fun and funky and pretty cookies to share with students at Luther College Bible Study.

While we were working, we listened to Christian music radio station with lots of fun songs we love and Christmas tunes.

While WE worked, others….didn’t.


This was constructed during yesterday’s snowed in period


Cameron played Perfect World on dad’s laptop.


And Ethan played Perfect World on the Desktop computer.

Poor Ronnie was out taking his turn at shoveling snow!

What a nice December day!

Birthday Treat

Rachel made me a YUMMY fruit pizza for my birthday treat yesterday.  Absolutely, perfectly delicious!


She used our favorite sugar cookie recipe (we only had a LITTLE issue with the dough spreading over the edge of the pan and spilling over in the oven…and it was MY fault, not hers.  I told her to roll it all the way to the edge.  Now I know better for next time!)

Then she blended

  • 1 8 oz pkg. softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

until it was smooth and creamy.  After the cookie/pizza was cooled, she arranged the apple slices on top.  She sprinkled pecans on half.  Other options would be to sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon, and/or drizzle with warm caramel ice cream topping.

What a WONDERFUL birthday treat!  And the slice (or two) that I had today were JUST as YUMMY!

Thanks, Rachel!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Even my YOUNGEST is an idiot

(said in the MOST loving manner and tone possible, of course!)  He’s outside shoveling the driveway.  It’s dark, still snowing and 25* outside.  For my first snap of the camera, the settings weren’t quite right, so this is the shot I got.


Yeah.  It’s snowing that hard.  You can kind of see Ethan’s orange coat (at least he was wearing a COAT!)

But THIS is the picture I was trying to get (again…maybe a bit fuzzy because the settings weren’t quite right…)


Yep.  Coat, hat, gloves, boots…and SHORTS!  Sigh…


Kid!  Didn’t your parents teach you ANYTHING in your 12 years?

I just gotta love him!

Blustery, Snowy, Blizzardy type of day

Well…winter has hit NE Iowa, that’s for sure.  Of course the OTHERS in my family think it is fun and amazing and wonderful!  I, on the other hand…well…DON’T.  Rachel wanted to go climb the tree for some pictures…


It started snowing at around 11 this morning (after a little rain/freezing rain)  I took these at around 1:30 or so.  It has been a heavy, heavy snow, with what sounds like several hours more to go.




Then, she talked her brother into going out with her and make a snowman.






The boy sure does love his dog!


And I think the feeling is mutual!






OK…and one last video for today….we are now all inside and toasty warm!

Ethan and KT playing fetch in the snow

Straight No Chaser - The Christmas Can-Can (Single Edit)

A friend (thanks, Jen!) shared this on her blog and I just have to say I LOVE it! We've chuckled at it several times around here in the past couple of days! Hope you enjoy it, too!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Teaching moments…

I spent a delightful afternoon with my daughter!  She’s a lovely girl, inside and out, and I had SO much fun with her today, teaching her how to make cinnamon rolls.  I have yet to find a bad recipe from the Pioneer Woman,  so I chose her AMAZING cinnamon roll recipe to use to start Rachel on.

Here are the results.  Please don’t drool on your computer while you look at these pictures.  Drool is kinda nasty to clean off of a keyboard.



yeah…there are four pans of them in this picture.  That’s just because the OTHER two pans are still in the oven.  Did I mention that PW’s AMAZING cinnamon roll recipe makes SIX or SEVEN pans of cinnamon rolls?? 


Yum!!!  I can’t WAIT for breakfast! 

Monday, November 29, 2010

My Family


The love of my life!


Caleb (19), Rachel (15), Ethan (12) and Cameron (17)






But how I love them!

Grandpa’s Button Box

Cameron agreed to have Sr. pictures taken, if Aunt Sue Ann would promise to let him borrow Grandpa Miller’s button box.  Well, he did, and so….


she did!  She brought it out last weekend, and he has hardly put it down since.  He’s having a blast with it!




Here’s a “rough draft” after just an hour or so of trying to figure the thing out.

Thanksgiving Fun

Once again, my sister and her family made the trip from Ohio to Iowa to visit us for Thanksgiving.  They arrived Thursday afternoon.  Unfortunately, on Friday morning, the barn where my BIL stores his farm equipment burned down.  They lost most of their tractors/combines/etc.  So Bill drove back home to Ohio on Friday to assess the damage and see what could be done.  We missed him for our big dinner and the opening of our Christmas gifts!  But were glad that Sue Ann and the kids stayed with us!


KT was thrilled with all the excitement!


Rachel and Madi during the Nerf war!


Ethan and Jordy in the Nerf War

(Bill and Caleb were not photographed…they were in hiding!)


Ron and Caleb deep fried a turkey…YUM!


The best turkey EVER!!


Look how they’ve GROWN!!

Cameron, Madi, Caleb, Rachel

Ethan and Jordan


Madi was happy with her Blythe set of littlest pet shop!


Jordan got a RC hotwheels car.  He was happy with it, too!


Ethan got an Iowa Snuggy!!!!  It’s AWESOME!!!



Rachel got 120 crayons!!! She was SOOOO happy!


Cameron got an accordian! HE was very happy, too!


Caleb got a mirrored rubik’s cube!  Talk about excited!!!


Big time RUSH!


Fun times with FAMILY!





No Thanksgiving is complete without PUMPKIN PIE!

And Rachel made it this year!  It was DELICIOUS!


SO glad you all came to visit.  Sorry it was such a short one!  Can’t wait to see you all again!