Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween More Costumes

Posted by Paulette,

As I thought, the kids wanted to change their costumes again. Here's what we did tonight.

 Jonny didn't want to dress up at all. He originally said he was going as "an average kid." I told him he was not going to con our neighbors out of their candy, and not dress up. So on the fly, I came up with this as a compromise. The wounds were made from toilet paper, corn syrup and baby powder, with makeup applied over the top.

 Chris wore the same costume as before, but I added some makeup to his.

 Katie is going as a ghost tonight. Her costume consists of a size 24 skirt that I bought at Goodwill. It was too large for me and I planned to cut it down, but haven't I cut arm holes in the lining so that when she raises her arms, the costume still covers her. Her head is wrapped in cheese cloth, and she has an old swing set chain as a necklace. Her face is painted white, and then I used purple and navy eye shaddows to black out her eyes and contour her face. She also has black liquid liner on her eyes.

 Sophi is a witch tonight. She wears some of her own black clothes, a thrifted hat and a plastic snake around her neck. Her make up job was done by putting on moisturizer and then using a large makeup brush to put green eye shadow all over her face. Her eyes are made up with a darker shade of green. Also used under her cheeks. Then pink blush, blood red lipstick, and liquid liner on her eyes.

I've found that the costumes themselves don't really have to be much. It's the makeup that makes it awesome.

And me. I am staying at home while Daddy takes them out. I have a cold and am enjoying the peace and quiet with my eldest son, Hyrum, who is handing out the candy.  He's decided he's too old for this Halloween stuff. Which saddens me, because it's so much fun. I'm hoping he'll change his mind next year.
 Some homemade chicken soup and some hot herbal tea sound good right about now. 
                               Happy Hallows Eve to all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Do Your Kids Change Their Minds?

Posted by Paulette

We go through the same thing every year. There are three main events, four if you count the kids dressing up for the school parade. We go to Fall Festival, Trunk or Treat, and then Trick or Treat on Halloween. A few weeks before Halloween, I start assembling and making elements of the kids costumes. I used to make a lot of them by hand. This actually required starting the month before, to get everything done.

This year, Hyrum, my eldest decided not to participate. Which actually saddens me, because that means he's growing up. He will be 13 next week. I guess that means he's "too cool" for this kind of stuff. He's always been the best at this sort of thing though, because he really gets into character. 

Jonathan, my 11 year old decided to be Harry Potter. This was an easy one to do. A couple of thrift stores, and the dollar store and we were set.
   He wore this for school and the Trunk or Treat, and the later at a party took off the robe and glasses and announced that it was now an Artemis Fowl costume. At least I didn't have to go out and get more props or clothes.

 Chris decided to be a mad scientist. I found his doctor's jacket at a home decorating store, and the rest of the props at the dollar store. He originally had yellow rummer gloves and safety goggles.
We were lucky to find one of his patients at the Trunk or Treat.

 Katie wanted to be Snow White for school, and she wore it for the Fall festival too. But when it came time to dressing up for the Trunk or Treat, she wanted to be a vampire. Fortunately we already had a black velvet dress and a piece of lace. A change of make up and we were done.

 She won the costume contest in the best character category. I couldn't get a sweet picture of her. She is quite the character!
 I think she loved playing this part. It took no coaxing from her to get this picture.

Sophia wanted to be Cinderella for the Fall Festival. I didn't get a picture of her. And then she changed to Rapunzel for the Trunk or Treat.
 Her wig was a frustration and worked better as a Rapunzel wig than for Cinderella. The plan was to do an up do on it, but every time I did that, the cap underneath got pulled into funky ways and then wouldn't stay on her head.
 The dress was a birthday gift.
 So there you have it. Costumes for Halloween 2012. They will probably change their minds for Wednesday (Halloween), and I'll end up having to scramble to do something new. It's all part of the Halloween madness!

Do your kids do this; change their minds about what costume to wear? How do you deal with it? Tell them no, or roll with it?

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Posted by Paulette

My friend and I were hanging out last night watching uplifting videos on Youtube, when I remembered a song that I hadn't heard in a while. I have the CD, so there's no real excuse. It's about motherhood.

I think ideally we all think of motherhood  as something like this.
by Kate Chopin

But in reality, it's more often like this.

When I'm feeling more like the latest picture, the song "She" gets me bawling, and reminds me of how important, the job I do, is to my family.

I can't find a recording online. But here are the lyrics.
She is not the picture on the magazine
She's the woman just behind you in the checkout stand
She may to be common but she mystifies
in all the ways the wisest men and children understand
'Cause she has eyes that sparkle with her love
And she has a smile that's as gentle as a dove
And no woman in a movie or an ad
Could ever hope to be
As beautiful as she

 She is not a highly honored diplomat
Held responsible to lead the world to peace
But what she does is every bit as serious
Amidst the turmoil everywhere that will never cease
'Cause she has hands that wipe the tears away
And she has a voice that makes everything okay
And no woman from the papers or TV
Could ever hope to be
As indispensable as she

      And it breaks my heart every time I see her wonder
      If she means anything in this world that pulls her under
      And she doesn't always see the way that heaven smiles
        above her
      That's the reason I try to always tell her that I love her

'Cause she may not be known for giving millions
To the charities and auctions on the news
But I believe she's given more than anyone
On all the times she's ever had to choose
To give up sleep and rock her children every night
And give her heart to always hold their dreams so tight
And the best that you and I could ever hope to be
Is as wonderful as she

 Sometimes I feel like I'm not good enough, even though I'm trying to improve constantly. And then I remember the parable of the butterfly.

Parable of the Butterfly
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further.
So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God's way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If God allowed us to go through our lives without any obstacles, it would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as what we could have been. We could never fly!
I asked for Strength.........And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom.........And God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity.........And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage.........And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love.........And God gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favors.........And God gave me Opportunities.
I received nothing I wanted ........And everything I needed!

It doesn't really matter if we aren't good enough. What's important is that we keep trying. And When we realize that we are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, and sees in us divine potential, we will progress.


Pumpkin Smoothie

Posted by Paulette

 When I buy a pumpkin, I love to roast it in the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees. It develops a rich flavor. Use a pie pumpkin for this. They have a deeper flavor than the pumpkins used for carving Jack-o-lanterns. 
  Place the squash cut side down. Don't worry about the pumpkin skin that's closest to the element in your stove getting really brown, or even black. After the pumpkin has cooled, the flesh will shrink away from the skin, and it will be super easy to peel. 
 I freeze my roasted pumpkins in zip lock bags to use later in recipes. It doesn't get that metallic flavor that canned pumpkin has. If all that you have available is canned pumpkin, it will still work fine for this recipe.

Pumpkin Smoothie
1 frozen ripe banana
1cup Greek yogurt
1 cup milk (I use soy milk)
1 cup frozen pumpkin (or pumpkin puree)
1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Blend until smooth in a blender. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spicy Sweet Pepitas

Posted by Paulette
 It's Autumn, finally! The temps in Arizona are now around the low 90's which for us is nice and cool. Halloween i s two weeks away, and the pumpkins are in the stores. 
This is one of my favorite times of year for cooking. The fact that my A/C doesn't have to work over time to cool the house, I can do some baking!
 Today, I promised Chris that we'd make some sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds that we saw on Martha Stewart.
   We started by cutting a pumpkin in two, and scooping out the seeds. Then they were dried on a cookie sheet in the oven for 1 hour at 200 degrees F.

Now pour 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil  and 2 tablespoons brown sugar into a large pan, on medium heat
While that heats up a little, in a small bowl, combine: 
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika \
The original recipe calls for cayenne pepper. But I'm making this for my kids, so I wanted the sweet smoky flavor without the heat. 

  After the pepitas have cooked for about 5 minutes in the oil and sugar, stirring constantly, add the sugar spice mixture.
  And stir it in until the pumpkin seeds are well coated. Pour into a container to cool, and then enjoy! 
Ours didn't last out the hour. They were that GOOD!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Everything!

Posted by Paulette

When David and I were first married, he brought home the biggest, ugliest pumpkin I'd ever seen. It didn't even sit straight. And I wondered what the heck I was supposed to do with it!
He told me to cook it.
Well, in my family, the only pumpkin I was acquainted with came in a can with a recipe for pumpkin pie on the label.

The only thing we did with raw pumpkins was carve them and place a candle inside for Halloween.

Well I soon learned some great recipes, and made up some others. 
Pumpkin pancakes
Pumpkin muffins with cream cheese filling
Pumpkin spice shake
Pumpkin soup
Roasted pumpkin seeds

And last Christmas, I made a pumpkin spice sugar scrub as Christmas presents.

I currently only have one pumpkin. That went into the oven today to be roasted in preparation for wonderful recipes.

I can't wait!

Gluten Free Sanwich Bread

Posted by Paulette

  Six years ago when I found out that I was allergic to wheat, I felt helpless. For years I had been grinding my own wheat and making whole wheat substitutes for most things. I went through a period of experimentation. I bought gluten free breads, blech! I made my own gluten free breads. The quick breads were fine, but the yeast breads bombed. 
The gluten free lifestyle has blossomed over the last few years. There are so many great products out there! I could finally have a sandwich again!
As you may have read in my last post, we had some a financial bomb land in our household. I decided to pick up one of the cookbooks I recently purchased and give the yeast bread a try.
It turned out fantastic! And now I am sharing the recipe with you.

Easy Sandwich Bread 
from Easy Gluten Free Baking by, Elizabeth Barbone

Wet Ingredients   
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs     

Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cups cornstarch (I used potato starch)
2/3 cips instant nonfat dry milk
1 Tablespoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)

Lightly grease 9x5 inch loaf pan with gluten free cooking spray

In a small bowl, combine water and yeast

In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture, oil and eggs.

Using an electric mixer, mix dough for 5 minutes on medium-high speed. (if using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment) Your dough should be soft, thick and sticky. It will not form a cohesive ball. If you are using a handheld mixer, the dough will try to climb the beaters. Use a rubber spatula to push it back into the bowl. The dough will not be as thin as cake batter. It should be slightly thicker, but of it looks too thick, add a tablespoon of water to achieve the right consistency.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray and cover the loaf lightly with the plastic wrap. If you cover it too tightly the loaf will have difficulty rising. Let sit to rise in a draft free warm place for one hour.

At least 15 minutes before the loaf is done rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 55 minutes, or until internal temp. reaches 208 to 211 degrees. If the top begins to brown too quickly, cover with foil.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. This step is essential. The loaf will become gooey if it doesn't have air circulation. Store at room temperature for 2 to 3 days or slice and freeze.