Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice

We've made it to our first official day of winter in Western Kentucky and while hoping we make it through the season without a repeat of the 2009 epic ice storm I'm stocking up the pantry for the months ahead. The 40-50 degree days this past week have been wonderful and we've enjoyed taking full advantage of the parks while we hang onto these very short warmer days.

The boys are growing, growing so very fast. I'm in awe of the little men we are raising and while I can't take credit for their tender moments, I beam as I watch their relationship grow.


 A is going to be 3 years old in less than a month's time and the personality that has emerged from that cuddly chubby baby is more than I could ever begin to put into words. He's a sensitive soul with a servants heart much like is Father, creative, stubborn like his Mama, and recently become quite the singer and basketball player. I'm really looking forward to see what this next stage with him brings.

Then of course there is the perpetual spouting of nine month old baby H. He finally seems to have slowed down in weight gain with the increase of mobility, my back is thankful but my anxiety is increasing as he's mastered the art of crawling with exemplary speed and precision.  He has a fearless personality, which is already taking him far in his daily explorations, and adventures beyond his years with big brother.

 And as the boys grow and change we look forward to the challenge of a new season and are reminded,
"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer." -Albert Camus

Monday, December 19, 2011

Spiked Egg Nog Cookies (My Favorite Christmas Cookie)

Photo Courtesy of Southern Living

 Spiked Egg Nog Cookies

I don't have the original source to this recipe, I think it came out of a holiday baking magazine. It's been my favorite Christmas cookie for the past 4 years

1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Cream sugar and butter until light. Add eggnog, vanilla, and egg yolks; beat at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture and beat at low speed until just combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 20 to 23 minutes until bottoms turn light brown.
Spiked Egg Nog Cookies
Rum Butter Cream Icing 

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
A pinch of salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream (or egg nog)
1 tablespoon dark rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

  1. Beat all ingredients until fluffy
  2. Spead on cooled cookies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SILK Holiday Recipe Contest

***Update 12/19/2011***
Thank you for all of your votes!! I won best dessert category in the Silk Holiday Recipe Contest.

Simply put, we have an Amish kitchen.The C family is lacking in the electronic department of our galley and Mama's arms are getting tired of working overtime in the kitchen. Meal time could be far more productive with the addition of an electric mixer in our lives.

Behold this lovely Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

A glorious addition to our counter top it would be. But we need your help. Please vote for my latest recipe Toasted Coconut Pumpkin Muffins on the SILK facebook page and tell all your friends to vote, and their friends to vote, and make a facebook page for your dog so he can vote too!

Please Vote For My Mama

Click here for recipe, Don't forget to click vote!

Dairy Free Toasted Coconut Pumpkin Muffins

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fake Santa

 When you're nine months old what's not love about Santa? He's soft, plump, wears bright colors, and his, "Ho Ho Ho", of jolly laughter isn't too far outside of your vocabulary. But of all the wonderful things about Santa the most important, in the eyes of my youngest child, is the beard. Baby H and those that know him consider him to be an expert in the field of pulling hair. Hear sudden howling in our home and one can almost guarantee it's Baby H's most recent victim in his favorite game of tangle and tug.

The thing about this particular Santa is he is the first person in H's life that doesn't seem to react to being tugged. He can't even get a "Ho Ho Ho" out of him upon yanking.

" I tugged your beard Santa, you should do something! Tug! Tug! Tug! Tug! Ugh...all your doing is looking at the camera can you not FEEL the power of my awesome baby hands? C'mon, you're no fun. Can I get a Ho, Ho, Ho? You really should  feel that. Are you fake?"

" Hey Santa, My Big bro isn't impressed with you either. He's upset that he can't hear the bell. We don't believe in you"

"Fake Santa, no tips for you!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week 6: St. Nicholas

Theme: St. Nicholas

Vocabulary word: Beard
Shape/Color: Sphere/ Crimson
Letter:: F
Field Trip: Visiting Santa

This past week we learned all about St. Nicholas and have really enjoyed all the free resources off of the St. Nicholas Center.

We found the list of St Nicholas stories on the kids pages rather informative.

Some good reasons to learn about St Nicholas include (from St. Nicholas. org):

  • To learn about the true Santa Claus and Father Christmas: St. Nicholas, a man of faith who lived his life in devotion to Christ
  • To focus on giving more than receiving: St. Nicholas cared for the needy
  • To emphasize small treats and family fun: St. Nicholas loved children
  • To provide a bit of special festivity early in the waiting weeks of Advent: St. Nicholas points to Jesus, the heart of Christmas
  • To offer a spiritual dimension to gift giving
  • To tell the story of a Christian saint, whose model life inspires compassion and charity
  • To honor St. Nicholas honors the Christ Child who selflessly gave the greatest gift of all—himself
Highlights of this week include: Visiting Santa, finding oranges in our shoes, making miters, sharing golden coins with friends, giving to the poor, and reading about St. Nicholas and other Santa traditions around the world.

A was really excited about visiting Santa, he sat on his lap but decided he didn't want to be that close and chose to admire him from a distance.

The mitre, also spelled miter, is a type of headwear now known as the traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in the Roman Catholic Church, as well as in the Anglican Communion, some Lutheran churches, and also bishops and certain other clergy in the Eastern Orthodox churches, Eastern Catholic Churches and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. - wikipedia

"Dot-ted My der"

Beautiful, job A!
Sorry about the bad photo quality, shot from my cell, Dada's slippers are filled with oranges.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ziploc Art Quilt

Photo courtesy of pinterest
Another idea I found on Pinterest,

Gallon Ziploc bags + Duck tape = An art quilt! Art work slides in the back. You won't see where it says Ziploc because that is on the back side!  -Pinterest
We are finding many purposes for this plastic quilt beyond just an display. 
  • It is a great way to display our messy glitter crafts that tend to constantly flake glitter onto the floor. 
  • It serves as an easy clean up mat for play dough
  • You can fill each square with different messy solutions, finger paint, soap/water, glitter/water, mud, play dough, etc and seal the back of the bags with plumbers tape for all kinds of gushy contained fun.
  • You can create your quilt as large or small as you want and are only limited to the amount of bags and tape on hand. 
  • You can trace letters, numbers, with dry erase markers on it
  • Our 8 month old enjoys scooting across it
  • A giant math manipulative
  • Giant checker/chess board (when made with the appropriate amount of squares)
  • Hang it on the wall for a giant mural
  • Set it on the floor for a decorative rug
Our very own 2x3 Ziploc Art Quilt.
  If you don't want wrinkles in your tape I don't recommend trying to make this in the presence of your newly mobile baby and two year old :D Make sure the labeled side of the bag is facing the floor. Tape the top of the bags. If you want to fill each bag with messy solutions make sure you reinforce the filled bag with plumbers tape.

Art on Display

Old Tyme Christmas at Ft. Massac

Courtesy of  Illinois DNR, Ft. Massac Encampment 2011
Crossed over the Ohio River today for Christmas at Fort Massac State Park in Metropolis, IL. to observe reenactors  represent the French, Early American and Civil War traditions of Christmas and enjoy some live colonial music and hot chocolate. I was slightly disappointed that we were not able to tour the replicated fort but we will look forward to visiting next October for the two day encampment. The view from the Illinois side of the riverbanks is absolutely stunning.

The History of Fort Massac courtesy of the Illionis Department of Natural Resources.
The rich history of this site begins before recorded history, when native Americans undoubtedly took advantage of its strategic location overlooking the Ohio River. Legend has it that Europeans took this same advantage as early as 1540, when the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto and his soldiers constructed a primitive fortification here to defend themselves from hostile native attack.

The French built Fort De L’Ascension on the site in 1757, during the French and Indian War, when France and Great Britain were fighting for ultimate control of central North America. Rebuilt in 1759-60, the structure was renamed Massiac in honor of the then French Minister of Colonial Affairs, and came under fire only once, when unsuccessfully attacked by a group of Cherokee.

Following the end of the French and Indian War in 1763, the French abandoned the fort and a band of Chickasaws burned it to the ground. When Captain Thomas Stirling, commander of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment, arrived to take possession, all he found was a charred ruin.

The British anglicized the name to “Massac” but, despite the counsel of their military advisers, they neither rebuilt nor regarrisoned the fort. This oversight left them vulnerable and in 1778, during the Revolutionary War, Colonel George Rogers Clark led his “Long Knives” regiment into Illinois at Massac Creek and was able to capture Kaskaskia, 100 miles to the north, without firing a shot-thus taking the entire Illinois Territory for the State of Virginia and the fledgling United States.

In 1794, President George Washington ordered the fort rebuilt, and for the next 20 years it protected U.S. military and commercial interests in the Ohio Valley.

U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr and Gen. James Wilkinson, who allegedly drew up plans to personally conquer Mexico and the American southwest, met at Fort Massac during the summer of 1805. Edward Everett Hale later used the setting of Fort Massac and the Burr-Wilkinson plot as basis for his classic historical novel, “The Man Without a Country.”

Although ravaged by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811-12, the fort was again rebuilt in time to play a minor role in the War of 1812, only to be abandoned again in 1814. Local citizens dismantled the fort for timber, and by 1828 little remained of the original construction. In 1839 the city of Metropolis was platted about a mile west of the fort.

The site served briefly as a training camp during the early years of the Civil War, marking the last time U.S. troops were stationed at the site. The fort was abandoned after a measles epidemic in 1861-62 claimed the lives of a substantial number of soldiers of the Third Illinois Cavalry and the 131st Illinois Infantry, who were using the fort as an encampment.

In 1903, through the efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution, 24 acres surrounding the site were purchased by the state and on Nov. 5, 1908, it was officially dedicated as Illinois’ first state park.

Archeological and historical excavations were conducted on the site from 1939-42 and attempted again in 1966 , 1970, and during 2002. In the early 1970's a replica of an American fort at Fort Massac was reconstructed off the original site of the forts. The replica was based on the 1794 American Fort. This reconstruction was brought down in the fall of 2002, to rebuild another replica of a 1802 American fort. The original site, where all the forts were built has the archeological outline of the 1757 French Fort.

Christmas Carolers at Ft. Massac

A exploring alongside George Rogers Clark

Fort Massac
George Rogers Clark Monument

Beautiful view from the original foundation of Ft. Massac overlooking the Metropolis Bridge entering into state of Kentucky.

"Healthier" Rudolph Cookies for kids

I originally came across the decoration idea for these cookies at Pinterest and I tweaked a few recipes to come up with something a little "healthier". We used a white wheat reduced sugar version of a basic sugar cookie and it turned out tasty, I think next time we will try peanut butter or gingerbread.


2 3/4 white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbs milk

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg, vanilla, and milk. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto parchment lined cookie sheets. 
  3. Flatten dough balls into rounds with the bottom of a greased cup. Gently press mini pretzels into the head for antlers and mini M&M's in for the eyes and mouth.
  4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peppermint Snow Dough

Peppermint Snow Dough

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of coloured water
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt2-4 tbs glitter
few drops of peppermint oil
Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers. This is similar to the traditional playdough recipe.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 5: Moon

Theme: Moon
Vocabulary word: Full
Shape/Color: Crescent/Silver
Field Trip: Nightly observations of the moon from our driveway.

Highlights from moon week include nightly observations of the moon, identifying the phases of the moon with Oreo cookies, playing catch with "the man in the moon"- a face drawn on one of those giant balls you get from Walmart, making the moon with ornaments and duct tape, cranking up Michael Jackson and moon walking, and eating crescent rolls. We practiced drawing the big and little letter "e" in moon sand.

Got this idea/photo from the sweet treats blog, click image for link, it was a big hit with A. I'm kind of thrilled that he knows what a waxing gibbous is.
Last but certainly not least, no moon study is complete with out watching this.

Wax on. Wane off.