Happy Hallmark Day!

Ahhhhhh, the joy of another holiday completely supported by commercialism and sugar. Isn’t that romantic?

I’m only sort of kidding.

This year I really wanted to send things with the boys to their classmates that did not include sugar. I mean, really, there will be enough of that, right?

So my almost-five-year-old (I can’t believe that!!) and I made bookmarks to go with his 3-D dinosaur Valentine’s Day cards. Nothing fancy, for sure, but it was a fun little project for us to work on this weekend.

Some red felt board cut into 2″x6″ rectangles…punch some holes…thread some ribbon…

…throw on some glittery foam stickers and haphazard handwriting in Sharpie ink…and there you have it!

He selected the stickers…which are red, white and blue stars…clearly meant for another holiday entirely, but what the heck.

And two of the book marks got a different kind of ribbon because sometimes I can’t add and I didn’t cut the cute XOXOXO ribbon into enough pieces. But if I wouldn’t have called it to anyone’s attention, it might have gone completely unnoticed.

And here’s what’s going to the almost-two-year-old’s classmates – color-your-own-monkey masks. Which I might have purchased just so I could watch him run around the house with one held up to his face while he makes the cutest monkey noises imaginable. Really, that whole no-sugar-thing is nice, but listening to his “ooh-ooh-aah-aahs” while he giggles behind a mask is hard to beat.

We also made some cookies for the teachers. With plenty of sugar, in case you were wondering.

That icing was more pink than it looks in these photos. But the icing job was certainly as messy as it appears in these photos. A decorator I am not. But we had fun making them anyway.

Best wishes to everyone for Valentine’s Day…be sure to tell those you love that you love them.  XOXOXO

‘Tis The Season

Gingerbread Houses!!

While we were at my in-laws’ house last weekend for a birthday celebration, a gingerbread village was constructed.

Complete with streets and cars, of course! Aren’t they all so cute?

I didn’t make one. But my four-year-old helped with one (which means he paid close attention to the construction of one house in particular while trying to steal as many pieces of candy as possible.)

I was just thrilled to have the cute little creations around without having to do all that tedious work. And it can be tedious.

And this was one of my favorites…a snow angel!!!

Gingerbread houses make me feel festive (even if it is nearly 80 degrees outside!) At least it’s snowing somewhere!!

Thanksgiving Wrap Up

Whew! What a beautiful day yesterday full of great food, family and glorious fall weather. There is so much for which we are thankful.

Before we turn our minds completely toward Christmas, I wanted to wrap up the Tree of Thanks and also share some fun photos from friends who made the turkey cupcakes!

Look! It's a rafter of turkeys! My friend Heather made these.

Periodically I will get interested in what the proper names are for groups of animals. You know, a “gaggle” of geese, a “pod” of whales, a “host” of sparrows and an “unkindness” of ravens…the list goes on and on. Turns out a group of turkeys can be called a “rafter” or a “gang.” Even though I tend to refer to any group of birds as a “herd” just because it sounds funny. Go ahead, say it. “A herd of turkeys.”

Here's another gang of turkeys made by Heather's sister. Heather forgot to mention the tails, obviously!

Thanks ladies for sharing your turkey photos with us!

And today I took down the Tree of Thanks. What fun we had filling out those little cards each night and hearing what our 4-year-old came up with to be grateful for.

Here it is completed...25 leaves each with 3 notes of gratitude. Lots of thanks to give.

Today when I took all the little notes out of their pockets and stored them away (I mean, really, how fun is it going to be to read those in about 20 years?) I read through them all again. I must admit I was surprised to see that my son had not listed any “stuff” in his thankful notes. There was one mention of his train bed – which was a labor of love by his dad and grandfather – and another mention of a new Spiderman book – which was a reward for really good behavior one weekend we were away. Otherwise there wasn’t a toy listed. Here are some of my favorites:

“I’m thankful for my toad, Fuego.” (There were notes for the cat and dog as well.)

“I’m thankful for the whole Earth.”

“I’m thankful for my baby and that he’s OK.” (This was after a trip to the ER with his little brother. We were all thankful for the same thing that night.)

“I’m thankful for my mommy’s good cooking.” (My husband swears that response was unprompted.)

“I’m thankful for Spanish class.”

“I’m thankful for a bike ride with daddy.”

“I’m thankful for God.”

I’m hoping that in this coming year I can see our life more like my son sees it. Grateful for the simplest things. The things I’ve long taken for granted.

And now, just four days until the advent-calendar-countdown begins…so I must go start untangling lights and find those stockings…

Turkey Pie and Turkey Cakes

Tonight we had turkey for dinner AND dessert.

Aren’t those cute? In an ugly-turkey-kind-of-way?

My son helped make them…and by “helped” I mean that he stood in the kitchen next to me while I made them and asked every thirty seconds if he could have a candy corn, or a sprinkle, or a mini chocolate chip and also “when will my turkey cupcake be ready so I can eat it?!”

That’s not entirely true. He did put on the little chocolate eyes and some of the sprinkles and tried to help with the fruit leather feathers, which were sort of sticky-tricky.  But mostly he was scavenging for stray candy pieces and waiting for his bird.

We found these cute little cakes here (along with a bunch of other clever ideas) and promptly went out and got the goods to copy them…and also the ingredients to make a Turkey Pot Pie, which was much more yummy than the cupcakes, in my book.

It’s been awhile since we had pie for dinner, and I was glad to have it back. What an easy and versatile comfort food…and timely for any leftover turkey you might have in your near future.

I used a store-bought crust, pre-roasted turkey and pre-chopped veggies. I can hardly even call this cooking, right?! And it got the stamp of approval from the four-year-old, which is always nice. Although he might have just been saying that to hurry me along to the turkey cupcakes. Whatever the case, it was a fun way to kick-off the last week before Thanksgiving…turkey all around!

To make the turkey cupcakes you need:

cupcakes, frosted and covered with sprinkles

Nutter Butter cookies – turkey body

White icing or decorating gel – “glue” for eyes and beak and wattle

Mini chocolate chips – eyes

Candy corn – beak

Multi-colored fruit leathers – wattle and feathers

Toothpicks – to secure feathers

And if you want yours to look just like mine, you should also throw a pair of four-year-old hands in the mix to insure the turkeys all look cross-eyed!

Turkey Pot Pie

Adapted from allrecipes.com

1 10-inch double crust pie

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 small onion, minced

3 stalks celery, chopped

3 carrots, diced

2 tablespoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper to taste

2 cubes chicken bouillon

2 cups water

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed

2-3 cups cubed cooked turkey

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425. Roll out bottom pie crust, press into a 10-inch pie pan, and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the onion, celery, carrots, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the bouillon and water. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in the potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm.

In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the turkey and flour. Add the milk, and heat through. Stir the turkey mixture into the vegetable mixture, and cook until thickened. Cool slightly, then pour mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Roll out the top crust, and place on top of filling. Flute edges, and make 4 slits in the top crust to let out steam.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Let sit 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.