Thursday, December 31, 2015

Do Try This at Home's Best of 2015

Everyone and their brother seems to be doing a "most popular post" of 2015, and I figured I better get in on the fun before the year was over...tonight. 

Many of my posts this year went onto other websites and I'm not counting those here (although I believe I will repost them here eventually). 

One thing is very clear though: the people who came to visit me here on my very own blog came HUNGRY. I wanted to do my top 10 most popular, but I didn't think of it until too late, so here are the top few:

1) Mrs. Freedman's Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies - They're gluten free. They're extremely easy to make. And apparently they're very likable.


2) Bottle cap table - I actually posted this at the end of 2014, but it was either second or first most popular for 2015, depending on how proficient one is at finding information in Google Analytics. I'm not that good. But I'm hoping to make another of these in 2016:


3) Tres Leches Cake - See? I told you people were hungry. 


4) Peanut Butter "Dinosaur Eggs" - These are fun, easy and yummy. So...I guess people like them.


After that, because of my iffy relationship with Google Analytics, it gets a little tougher to tell. But right up there were the following:





So that's the best I had in 2015! Mostly people came with an appetite. Some people came to check out the stalking. Unfortunately, the world of blogging lost a wonderful soul this year and quite a few people stopped by to read my post about my old blogging friend Oren.

I look forward to visiting with everyone next year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: New Kitchen Countertops









Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Mom's Pecan Pie

My boy came home from Thanksgiving at his dad's asking, "Can I have any leftover pie?" Imagine his horror and surprise when I told him, "I didn't make any pie this year."

Because. We didn't have any kitchen countertops.

So I told him that when he got his first college acceptance letter, I'd make him a pie. 

Delicious homemade pecan pie recipe.


Fortunately or unfortunately he got a college acceptance letter BEFORE we got any kitchen counters. So I made him this pie...on the dining room table. We were also out of wax paper and had to use parchment paper, which is not the same at all.

Still, it was yummy.

I had a lot of help with this particular pie.
Pie shell crust
Total wrong way to roll out pie crust
My point is, this post does not include instructions for making the crust. Because I did it all wrong this time. You need actual kitchen counters, and also wax paper, preferably.

Pie crust or shell

The crust is the hardest. Here's the easy part. You put in the pecans. Mom's recipe says to chop them first, but I wanted them all big and pretty.

Pecan pie crust

Mix together everything else except the butter and pour the mixture over the pecans. This way they all get nice and yummy glazed with the filling as you pour.


Then you just put little pats of butter on top and bake!

pecan pie in plate

Pecan Pie

2 cups pecans, (coursely chopped if desired)
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
one 8 or 9 inch uncooked pie shell

Line pie shell with chopped pecans.
Mix all other ingredients except eggs and butter.
Mix in beaten eggs until well blended.
Pour over pecans and dot with butter (if desired).
Bake at 350 degrees until firm - 45 minutes to an hour.
Allow to cool before cutting.

Pecan pie recipe dessert

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Neighborhood Sunset



Want words? I'm on Mock Moms today (like The Onion for parents) with Doctors Seeking Cure for Chronic Elf Ennui Syndrome!





Sunday, December 13, 2015

Toddler Has Need That is Not Life Threateningly Urgent

Wait...were you looking for me? I'm over on Mock Moms this week with the breaking news!

Click here to read all the excitement caused by a toddler with a reasonable request!



And thanks for the picture Meg!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Galveston Train Museum













Monday, December 07, 2015

Puffy Paint Snowman (that looks like Olaf if you squint and maybe take off your glasses)

Long, long ago when the Chief Travel Correspondent was just little, we used to make puffy paint snowmen. And then I forgot it for 17 years.

But suddenly now that the Head of Demolition is in love with Olaf, I remembered!

And then I put here because I sort of forgot that I'm supposed to be selling a book that has all kinds of kid activities.

(GREAT BIG GIANT WARNING - these are affiliate links!)

Here's the book:
Learn With Play (all formats)

And here it is ON SALE bundled with a bunch of its friends!



The whole big 38 eBooks at 89% off (sale good until December 14th!)

And here's the activity:

Puffy Paint Snowman

Materials:
Glue
Shaving cream
Bowl
Craft sticks
Construction paper
Googlie eyes, sticks, pompoms or other embellishments



Sunday, December 06, 2015

Driving With Toddler in Car Discovered to be More Like Driving in Car Full of Bats Than Car Full of Screeching Monkeys

A decade-long study done by the National Institute of Parenting Science at CordanUniversity has yielded surprising results: driving a car containing a toddler has proven to be most similar to driving a car full of bats.
If you would like to find out more about this amazing new study (and I haven't already pummeled you to death with it over Facebook or Twitter), head right here to Mock Moms, which is basically a parent's version of The Onion and so fun!


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Easy Crock Pot Turkey Chili

Post contains one lousy affiliate link.  See full disclosure here.

This is pretty much my mom's regular beef chili recipe adjusted for use in the slow cooker. I did change around a couple of things because:

1) I wanted to use turkey meat
2) I wanted to use the crockpot
3) I dislike onions.

I know! Onion hate - the worst of the hate crimes! And yet, as I told our chief travel correspondent, "It's not that I hate onions. It's just that they ruin every food they touch."

Yet even I can't deny that they add a nice flavor. So what I do is whenever a recipe says, "chop" the onions, I just quarter them. That way they still flavor the meal, but I can easily pull them out of my own portion.

First, brown the turkey and sauté the onions in the oil until clear.

Then throw everything in the crock pot except the flour or gluten free flour.

Easy slow cooker turkey chili

Sprinkle the flour or tapioca flour evenly over the top and stir in. Then cook on low for about six hours, or the longer the better!


Easy Crock Pot Chili

Ingredients
  • 1 Pound Ground Turkey
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 15 Ounce Cans Kidney Beans
  • 1 14 Ounce Can Stewed Tomatoes
  • 1 6 Ounce Can Tomato Paste
  • 1 Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour (or gluten free flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions

  1. Brown turkey and onion.
  2. Mix all ingredients except flour into the crockpot.
  3. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir in.
  4. Cook on low for six or more hours.
And that's it! My mom's chili uses ground beef instead of turkey. Her recipe does not call for the flour because she just simmers it for an hour on the stove. Crock posts make everything a little more watery, so...flour it is for this recipe. And she uses a teaspoon less cumin, but my mom says turkey always needs more seasoning so I added that and the oregano.

Happy eating!

Slow cooker gluten free turkey chili

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

25+ Picture Books for Hanukkah, Chanukkah, Hanukah, and Chanukah

Post contains affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.
The great thing about Hanukkah books is that they're supposed to be full of miracles and the unbelievable. So don't even have to think twice when latkes get up to walk away or an old woman thinks a bear is a human or a polar bear decides NOT to eat a lonely traveler for lunch.

I've grouped these books for older kids and younger kids, but it really depends on the maturity of the child, so mix and match!  I've started with the ones for older kids and sort of worked back.

Chanukah and Hanukkah books for elementary aged kids:

Simon is saved rather than eaten by a polar bear. The pictures in this book are just beautiful:

Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale


Bears are well represented in Chanukah books. And Hanukkah books. In this story, Bubba Brayna doesn't realize her guest is a bear:

The Chanukkah Guest



Latkes taste even better after they've gotten their heart rate up running around all over town:

The Runaway Latkes



The basic story from beginning to end:

The Story of Hanukkah




A goblin gives Jacob special dreidels, but first he has to foil Fruma Sarah's plans to steal them:

Monday, November 23, 2015

Is Your Life Too Chaotic? Take this quick, easy quiz to find out!

If you're at all like us, you'll soon be hosting the big Thanksgiving feast this year sans countertops.

Yes! Those are our plans. We're going to cook a giant dead bird with all the fixings in a gorgeous almost done kitchen with no kitchen counters.


Welcome insects one and all! Just kidding. I'm sure we'll find a way to clean the plywood. And the kitchen really is coming along though (you can see the progress in the last picture of this post).

There's no telling when it could all spin out of control though, so I invented an easy test to help determine when life might be getting too chaotic.

Want to give it a try? It's easy and only takes a second - take the test and score it all at the same time!

The Sock Drawer Life Litmus Test


Take a quick look at your sock drawer and then compare it to one of the following pictures -

A) Nice neat pairs.

If your socks look like picture A, you're on an upswing! Great time to adopt a dog.


B) A few pairs, but little order.

If a few of your socks are paired, you're still doing semi-okay. Try not to make any major life decisions.


C) No pairs, no order.

If you have no matches to any of your socks and they're thrown in willynilly, you might need a short vacation. Or a long vacation. Or fewer children. Your pick.


Hope you had fun and learned something about the state of your footwear! All pictures except the middle one are courtesy of Dollar Photo Club. Because I got tired of taking pictures of my socks.

Have a great Thanksgiving all!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Get Used to Wearing Dull Colors (More of Where I've Been When I Wasn't Here)

I happen to know that even though I haven't been posting much recently that a few people still stop by here every now and then to see what I'm up to (or not up to, as the case may be). In Blogsilvania, this is not called being "unpopular". It is called having an "intimate audience" (Hi Mom! Hi Dad!).

And so, for you select few I offer these excuses reasons for my absence:

1) Staph. Always staph. In a contest between writing and laundry, I would always, always choose writing. But being the neurotic mom that I am, I have decided to launder the entire household within an inch of its very life. It doesn't seem to help my boy, but it does make me feel like I'm fighting the good fight. Or, as my husband told my boy -

"Get used to wearing dull colors." 

Did I mention I always wash on the hottest available water these days?

2) Worry. I've taken it up as a full time job. I sent my boy to Israel again, only this time instead of sending him during a war, I sent him with a staph infection. He could have been in perfect health and vacationing at a lake house in Cleveland though. I'd have found just as many things to worry about. I'm a total expert that way. If I could find a way to make an income from worrying, we wouldn't even have to worry about those college scholarship things that take up so much of our time these days.

3) College. Which brings me to college. It is SO much harder to apply than when I went! Luckily I get to see the process in all its glory as my boy tries to forge method from madness.

4) Sammiches and Psych Meds. You know those kids who sit in the car and rarely complain, only asking where you're going once you're halfway there? You don't!?!?!? You might enjoy my post Driving Under the Influence. Go ahead! Click on it! It's good for you.

5) Memes. I got a little bit into making these, although I'm generally better at making them than actually posting them:




6) Halloween. Sometimes Facebook shows you stuff and sometimes not. So in case you didn't see my kid as Gymbo from Gymboree:




And that's pretty much it folks! It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Hope you are all well!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Where I've Been When I Wasn't Here

Here's where I've been when I wasn't around here:

Everything you ever needed to know about getting your kid to sleep on TODAY Parenting Team.

Instructions for helping your kid apply to college on Ten to Twenty Parenting

And of course, it's late October so...swimming with a "giant duckling."


And of course, Facebook.  Because where else?


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