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Friday, October 30, 2009

The History of Halloween

Christmas in Ireland 1991
Blarney Castle

Did you know that Halloween originated in Ireland? Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in) over 2,000 years ago. Originally, a celebration to mark the end of the year (New Year began on November 1st) and the end of Harvest. Since then Halloween has evolved to what we know today. I have been to Ireland twice once in 1989 and then again in 1991. I have found this country to be warm and friendly. Given the chance the people will invite into their homes and boy do they have the gift of the gab. No longer suffering from economic hardship it is a must see when crossing the Atlantic.

Indian Summer

Yesterday was a gorgeous day! The sun was shinning and it was about 75 degree outside, and even though I had a pile of wash that needed to be folded and a dishwasher to empty I decided it would be a shame not to take advantage of the beautiful gift that was given to us. Roman loves being outside. As we were walking through the forest he kept stopping to show me things that he would find. He found a pine cone and didn't like that though. Sticks are his favorite and he has now discovered throwing rocks. Check out the knees on his pants. A dirty boy is a happy boy! Look what I found a heart in the tree trunks bark.


We love Candy Corn!

The boys love candy corn! The other day I was looking through some of my favorite craft blogs and saw this idea to make candy corn sugar cookies. Roman had fun making the dough. He kept saying I cook, I stir, I taste. The boys enjoyed his creation.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dreaming of Africa

I have been dreaming of Africa lately. I have a friend from college who was recently married and is spending her honeymoon with her husband doing service work in Mozambique Reading their adventures has brought back a ton of memories. When I was about 10 years old maybe a little older, I saw the movie Out of Africa and it set in motion a trip I would take to South Africa when I was 18 years old. I lived in South Africa for three months as a nanny to an Afrikaans family that was arranged for me by a teacher who was a big game hunter. I arrived in October just before their summer season officially began. It was lovely. I could hear the music of African drummers from my bedroom window at night, and the voices were like the sounds of angels. South Africa was where I was introduce to curry for the first time, lamb on the spit, billtong, and mangoes. I learned a whole new vocabulary and even learned some Afrikaans. While I did not have lions and elephants in my backyard there were plenty of monkeys and lizards. I remember the first time I saw a herd of hippos. It was amazing. There were about 20 of them. We were on river in St. Lucia. South Africa has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. God's Garden. While I do not know if I will ever have a chance to go back, I certainly hope I do. I want to go to the top of Table Mountain with my husband and ride in a jeep through Kruger National Park to see the changes that have occurred since the end of Apartheid. All of this dreaming of Africa made me hungry this week and I made African Peanut Chicken.



African Peanut Chicken (chicken could be easily substituted for chickpeas or tofu)
1 onion chopped
1 Tablespoon Olive oil
I red pepper chopped
1/2 cup of chopped carrot. I used shredded carrot in order to get my boys to eat it, but chopped is just fine.
1 pound of cubed chicken breast
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of cream
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 small can of diced tomatoes
optional chopped peanuts and green onion
Serves 4
Serve over rice or couscous
In a large skillet saute onion, carrot, and red pepper in olive oil over medium heat. When onions are just about translucent add the chicken. Add salt, pepper, pepper flakes. Once chicken is browned, add peanut butter, chicken broth, can of diced tomatoes, and cream. If the sauce is too thick just add more chicken broth, cream, or water. Then when everything gets cozy warm in the pan serve over rice. This is my new comfort food.


Congratulations to the Happy Couple!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Corner View "Aqua"

Water is a pioneer which the settler follows,
taking advantage of its improvements-
Henry David Thoreau

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Apple Crisp

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A couple weeks ago, my husband bought me a new camera for an early Christmas present. I choose the Cannon Rebel. I have always grown up using a Kodak or a Cannon. A sweet friend of mine came over, and while our boys played together she showed me some fun techniques. I am really enjoying the challenge of learning how to use this camera and all that it can do. Remember a couple of weeks ago when we went to the apple farm? http://travelingbugwiththreeboys-kelleyn.blogspot.com/2009/10/harvest.html Well, this is just one thing I made with those apples. This is Apple Crisp to the max because it has double the topping. The topping is my favorite part.

Apple Crisp
8-10 medium size apples. I used Granny Smith and Roma this time, but usually I use a combination of Granny and Gala,1/2 the juice of a squeezed lemon,1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup of slivered almonds -could use walnuts.
Cut apples up in bite size pieces and mix with lemon juice, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Don't have brown sugar then just use white. I just like the richness the brown sugar adds to this recipe. Spread in a square baking dish.
In a bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup oatmeal, and 2 sticks butter. That's right 2 sticks! Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 1 hour.

Promotion

The boys went up for their Karate test this week. Harris received his second stripe on his green belt and Winston received his first. They have really enjoyed taking classes from coach Mike over these last couple of years. We love him! He is so patient with the boys. As a reward, we went to see Astroboy and then out for Pizza.


A cold Trunk or Treat!

The last couple of years around Halloween have been very cold, so this year the church carnival was moved indoors. The boys had a blast! They each won a giant cupcake at the cake walk and a couple of goldfish. Which was good because spot died yesterday. We found his tail caught in the air pump. Hot dogs, potato salad, chips, lemonade, cookies, and macaroni and cheese were served. I love looking at everyone's costumes. We had everything from Ninjas, Tina Turner, pirates, clowns, a few fairy princesses. I love it when families dress as a theme. I tried to get the boys to go as the three musketeers, but the older two wouldn't go for it. I guess the era of themed costumes are over. Afterwards the children went from car trunk to car trunk collecting their candy. The sugar high lasted an hour after we got home.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Boo Zoo and Kids at Heart

Today we had the opportunity to attend a Kids at Heart party that took place at the zoo which correlatedwith Boo Zoo! It was fun meeting new families and seeing old families that we have met before. Since the city it so spread out and the children come from all over the state, it is only through these activities that we can meet one another. The boys were more than thrilled when Chick-fil-A was the meal sponsor. As my oldest said, "Now this is my kind of party." Roman had fun watching the baby gorillas tear it up. I have never heard him giggle so hard. The older boys loved getting candy at the different candy stations.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Remembering Mason

Harris is on the left. He shaved his head to show Mason his love and support.
Mason is the boy wearing the red and white t-shirt.

My sons best friend past away last night. He had cancer. A type called called Burkett's. He was diagnosed when he was 8 1/2 years old in the middle of third grade. Him and my son did everything together. They loved to ride roller coaster at six flags, talk about and play video games, have eating contest at lunch to see who could drink their milk the fastest, and do all the things that boys do at that age. They were so excited because they knew that they would go to the same middle school and the same high school. Mason was a sweet boy who loved sports and had a very funny sense of humor. My heart aches for his family tonight they have returned home from the hospital without their son. He fought a brave battle. He was in remission three months after being diagnosed only to have the cancer return in his central nervous system. He lived through a week coma and even had a bone marrow transplant only to see the fierce cancer ravage his body. Mason we will never forget you. We love you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Corner View "My Dream"

A person can never dream to big! I believe when you dream about things and desire things that you want then you will make them happen. I often hear from people the statement someday I will get to do this or do that. If you do not honestly believe that something can happen then it never will. So dream big. Make it happen. Since the sky is the limit, my dream is to go to Brazil and see the statue of Jesus, to learn how to play tennis, to ride in a hot air balloon, and to own a bed and breakfast where I can feed those who visit my yummy treats! I wanted to include a picture of Giselle Bundchen, but that is more like wishful thinking because I will never have legs like a giraffe, but maybe if I work hard enough I can get my body back. The one I had before my babies. To see more corner views visit Jane at Spain Daily over on the left in my blog roll.

Look what I got

I don't get excited about clothes that often, but I am loving this top from Anne Taylor Loft. Being larger in the chest department makes it hard finding tops that fit. What is nice about this top is that it is a Jersey stretch material; however, it has so much elegance. I love it because you can wear it with something like a skirt and it is fancy or wear it with a pair of jeans and a cardigan and you have casual. I think I am in love. Speaking of love, I can't wait for the movie Amelia to come out this weekend.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Boo

This morning I went to visit a friend and thought it would be fun to take her a tasty treat. This will be her first Halloween here in America with her children. These little ghost are easy and fun to make. To make these you will need: 1 package of Nutter Butters, 1 12ounce bag of white chocolate chips, a handful of mini chocolate chips, and one adorable taste tester. I like to melt my white chips in a bowl over a bowl of boiling water. Watch carefully because they can burn fast. You can do this in the microwave too, but I would not do more than 15 seconds at a time. The white chips seem to burn faster than just plain chocolate. Dip cookies in melted white chocolate 2/3 of the way and place two chips for eyes. It is that simple and loads of fun to make.
BOO!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chili on a Cold Night

White Bean Chile
1 medium sweet white onion
1 Tablespoon of olive oil
1 small can of green chilies
1 10 ounce package of ground turkey
1 teaspoon of salt and pepper
2 cans of chicken stock
2 cans of white northern beans
1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar or Monterrey Jack
Serves 4
In a medium sized quart pan saute onion in olive oil. Once the onions are translucent add the green chilies and add ground turkey. Once turkey is browned add salt, pepper, and chicken stock. Drain and rinse beans and add to pot. Simmer for about 5 minutes and as you take off stove add cheese. This recipe is so simple. From start to finish this recipe take about 15 minutes. Serve with a roll or with a corn muffin. Did you know that white beans are a fantastic source of vitamin b which will give you energy?
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There is nothing like Chili on a cold night. Today it is definitely fall here in Georgia and we have brought the blankets out of the closets. My husband at first complained when I told him what was for dinner because he really doesn't like beans. He thinks they are prisoner food, but strange enough he loves baked beans. It could be that they are covered in ketchup and sugar. When it tasted this white bean chili he was like, "WOW! This is really good," and the boys gobbled it down. No leftovers tonight.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Maple meets Pumpkin

It has been raining here in Georgia much more than usual for this time of year. We have had some flooding around the city, but I am thankful it hasn't effected our house. Strange to think that we have been in a drought for the last couple of years. A sure sign of fall is pumpkin bread. Yummy! This year I took it to the max by adding maple frosting. To die for is all I can say.

Pumpkin Bread
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Frosting
1 cup powder sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix all ingredients.
3. Pour into two greased bread pans.
4. Bake for one hour or until tester stick comes out dry.
5. Mix Frosting ingredients together and spoon over bread once it is cooled.

Fall Reading

My boys love this book! It is way to funny! Halloween is just around the corner, I bought my seven year old the book Haunted Castles on Hallows Eve by Mary Pope Osborne. This book is apart of the Magic Tree House series. He finished that one within a couple of hours and asked me if we had any other books from this series. I gave him 4 more books from this series and he had read them all by the end of the weekend. Yeah! I finally have a book worm. It has been fun cuddling in bed with him the evenings listening to him read.
What is Roman reading?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's for Dinner Spaghetti Carbonara

Spagetti Carbonara
Spaghetti Carbonara is one of my children's favorite recipes and it is so simple to make. First in a large pot boil water and salt. Choose your favorite pasta. I do not usually use spaghetti noodles for my children just because they are so messy. Cook pasta according to directions. In the last minute add 1/2 cup of defrosted peas. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and return pasta to pot. Do not put back on burner. Add 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste and 6 strips of cooked and crumbled up bacon, then add two eggs. Believe me the eggs will cook from the heat of pasta, but if you add eggs first you will end up with scrambled eggs in your pasta. Now stir like crazy. Instead of bacon, you can use Canadian bacon, pancetta, or diced ham. Usually, we use diced ham because that makes it one less step in preparing this dish. From start to finish this dish takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Aargh our new pets

Last week we become the proud owners of three fish and a snail. The black moor's name is Blackbeard, the gold ones name is Pirates Gold, and the calico ones name is Spot. I better not forget the snail his or her name is Spidey or Spiderman because he can climb the walls. The boys are having so much fun watching and feeding the fish.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Corner View "Souvenir"


Coming up with a souvenir from my city was kind of hard. The city I live in is part of a larger city called Atlanta. In and of itself we are not really know for any thing that someone could take home with them after vacationing here; however, we have a great Baseball team called the Braves, we have lots of historical monuments such as Stone Mountain or the Martin Luther King Jr. exhibit. You can even visit the house where the Gone with the Wind was written. Our state has an ugly history of slavery. In fact, the city was burned during the Civil War. Like a Phoenix the city has risen from the ashes. It has become an economic power house for the south. I am not originally from this city or even from this state. When we were considering moving here we were not too sure, and one of the concerns we had though minor was that our children would begin speaking with a southern accent. Not only that they would speak English with a southern accent, but that they would begin to speak German with a southern accent. We have fallen head over heals in love with our city and with our state. While peaches might be the more logical choice for a souvenir because we are known as the Peachtree state, I choose peanuts. Peanuts have gotten a bad rap recently in the news because of salmonella poisoning, however, peanuts are a major economic resource to our state with two of the major peanut butter brands such as Jiff and Peter Pan being manufactured here. Jimmy Carter who was our 39Th President was a peanut farmer. If you are not allergic to them, they are lovely in cookies, on sandwiches, and as a soup. Have you ever tried Peanut Butter Soup? It is something not to be missed. Try this recipe out that I found on Rachel's bite http://rachelsbite.blogspot.com/2007/01/georgia-peanut-soup.html . All I can say is yummy!!!! For more corner view visit Jane at Spain Daily located on the left hand side under my blog roll.

Monday, October 5, 2009

M&M Math

Last week Winston was having a hard time doing double digit math. He was trying to use his fingers, but he kept getting his fingers mixed up. We made it fun by pulling out a bag of Halloween M&M's Cool Ghoul blend. He used the M& M's to help him count. Not only did he finish his math, but he had a tasty time doing it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Harvest!

The day was so beautiful as we drove through the foot of the Appalachian Trail. The rolling hills and vistas around each corner. It was a day that for me at least makes me amazed at all of God's creations. What a masterful artist he is! Though it was not originally on our plan, we stopped at an apple farm in Ellijay to pick apples. The boys had fun. They picked about 4 different varieties: Rome, Cameo, Granny Smiths, and Golden Delicious. I can't wait to make an apple crisp and maybe some applesauce. The farm was having a festival and for $5 per child you could go on a hayride, pet the farm animals, and watch various groups perform. The smell of yummy food floated all around almost making me dizzy with delight,and had we not just ate lunch I am sure we would have had our teeth into the apple dumplings, cider, smoke turkey legs, or a plate of apples with carmel dip. The only thing I didn't like was the smell. I think the farm needs to move the manure to the far end of the property because I almost past out on the hayride. I better get cooking!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pumkins, Pumpkins, and More Pumpkins

Every year it is a tradition in our family to go pick pumpkins. Unfortunately, here in Georgia you can't pick your pumpkin in the traditional sense off the vine due to Black Widows and snakes, but it is still fun to go to the farm. The boys love selecting their pumpkins. It is a big debate in how much they can spend, what color they should get, and whether or not to buy one with warts all over it. I love Burt's Pumpkin Farm located in Dawsonville, Georgia. The staff are friendly and helpful. They are very well organized. The toilets are clean, and the hayride is fun. Roman wanted every pumpkin and while he was not looking we would have to remove all the pumpkins from our wheel barrel. I had a hard time getting a good shot this year. Roman had just as much fun watching everyone else pick their pumpkins that it was hard getting him to look at the Camera. Then the lighting was off. In some place of the farm it was too bright and in others the shadows seemed to hit the boys right across their faces. Despite having brought our own picnic of salami sandwiches, lemonade, macaroni salad, and doughnuts for dessert we could not resist buying a loaf of pumpkin bread. The smell of pumpkin and cinnamon was just too tempting.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fame

Since I saw the trailer for this movie, I have wanted to go see it. I was too little to see the original movie, but I would occasionally get a peek at the TV series shows that spun out of that movie. I even owned the soundtrack. I loved that sound track, and can still sing most of the lyrics to the songs. I wanted to be a dancer. My body had other plans, but deep in my heart I am a dancer. Unfortunately, the movie did not meet up to my expectations. While all the characters were wonderful the audience just wasn't given a chance to fall in love with them. You will be surprised by Naturi Naughten performance, who plays the character Denise, a young woman who is a trained classical pianist who is held back by her parents. I do hope to see more of her because she has the most amazing voice. The movie was too dis-jointed which took away the energy or the ability to get emotionaly attached. The soundtrack was updated to the sound of today, and was equally wonderful. Sadly, I wished I had waited for this to come on DVD. Safe your money.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Kickoff

Fall is here. There is no denying it. The leaves are starting to change colors and the temperatures are slightly cooler. The boys have decorated our kitchen in black and orange paper chains. The glass ceramic bowl has been filled with candy corn, and black paper bats hang from our chandelier in the kitchen. The house is officially covered in fake spider webs, the fall wreath is hung on the door, and pumpkins are in the garden. This weekend we will pull out the rest of the decorations after we make our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. However, tomorrow after school the boys will sit in our basement with a big bowl of popcorn and kick off fall by watching the Legends of Sleepy Hollow. While slightly outdated it is so much fun sharing with my children the videos and traditions that I grew up with, and just for a minute I can be 7 years old again. The great thing too is that it is a learning opportunity for them because I was able to find a copy of it in Germany when I was there last year!