Tag: Birthday

Thanksgiving & Next Day Birthday Over

Thanksgiving Day went well. It was chilly but sunny in the morning, warmed up but not too much during the day, staying Sunny all day.

We had dinner later than I had wanted to. My hubby got me playing Warhawk in the morning and I quit when I realized it was 12:08pm and got going on getting things done.

Even with the turkey done ahead, and the stuffing … I had to make cheese sauce, white sauce, gravy (meant to do it ahead, but didn’t get to it) and cauliflower, green bean casserole, cook sweet potatoes, peel and cut into pieces and make a brown sugar syrup to candy them with. Also had potatoes to cook and mash. Then get out the turkey and stuffing and re-heat.

It was a big feast. We had cloverleaf rolls, my almost 13-year-old daughter got that done with my supervision. Getting all that done and ready to be served at the same time isn’t HARD just complex and tedious to a degree of, it takes kitchen talent to pull it off.

So I was pooped after all that. I made whipped cream to go with the pumpkin pie later that evening.

The next morning I had to get up and get things going for the birthday that day. I make banners for each child, put on the fireplace … they expect it now, and it has to be good πŸ˜‰ I had one nearly ready, but I hadn’t connected all the pieces to hang yet. So I finally decided what to do, and struggled with it as the eyelets I was using just weren’t playing nice with me. Augh! I got it done, it wasn’t fully the best it could have been, but that’s more my own criticism of my own project more than anything.

I made a yellow layer cake with very chocolate buttercream frosting, with chocolate curls (from a container of drinking chocolate curls I have) all over the top and at the base of the cake all around. On the sides I put Pearls in an offset pattern. It was nice, not perfect, I wasn’t going for perfection, but it sure did look nice. I took time to put the pearls on, it was tedious feeling, but really didn’t take much time considering everything. It’d be worth it to put more oomph into it another time.

My daughter loved her presents and the cake was really good and the homemade ice cream (which I made the day before Thanksgiving Day.) It was a good day. We had turkey quesadillas for supper, and played Monopoly after that, with cake after that.

It was all fun, but I’m glad it’s all over for this year. It’s less than a month to Christmas Day, and I have MORE to do! At least it’s awhile until some of it, and some of it longer, but lots of it more necessary for sooner than later, just not all of it. Phew!

My Baby is Four Years Old now!

Quentin turned 4 yesterday. He had a nice time, really liked his presents. He’s getting so big. He’s still the youngest though. He has more “baby traits” than the previous three did at this point, which isn’t precisely birth order, more personality. His older brother, Asa, was the baby at that age, has a different personality than Quentin for sure. He was “the baby” for nearly 7 years.

Quentin is demonstrative with love, thanks, etc. Yesterday was filled with hugs, kisses, and all that goes with that, for presents, the day, and how it ended … some little fireworks I got him at Target for last surprise presents. He’s just like that, was from the start. He’s very comfort oriented, when he’s comfortable, he’s happy, and overflowing with love, joy, enthusiasm. (which means there is more to him, what happens when he’s not comfortable … eek!)

The other three children are all different, but one thing in common, not demonstrative like Q. Not at all. That’s more like me. Q is the first one to be a hugger, wanting hugs, giving hugs, forcing me to “like” it with him. I am not a hugger.

I snuggle all my babies, that I can do. I’m not a hugger past that.

Any how, one thing we got for Q is a Cars 2 branded Leapster Explorer — we got him a Leapster 2 last year, but never bought any thing but 1 cartridge, and that cartridge lost a piece of it’s stuff, it’s stuck in the slot of the machine. And it was limited and who cares. So we got the Explorer, which was out just as or just after we got the Leapster 2 last year. Now this year, we got the Explorer, and they are releasing a new thing in the next month, a tablet sort of thing, LeapPad.

Q querying Cars 2 Explorer game box, Asa looking on with weird face

Now it seems that the Leapster Explorer and that tablet can use the same cartridges, since one of the games we bought for this birthday had such verbage on the box (works with both.) Which was my heads-up to a new device launching. He likes the Explorer though. It’s better than the Leapster 2, by far. Easier to hold, red and white, nice screen, more than just a couple things to do with it.

I love the newer cartridges. If I’d known what they were like before … Oh well.

Thanksgiving/Birthday 2010 is over

Our Thanksgiving holiday was really big because of my daughter having her birthday on the day this year. It’s always a tough week, but with it all “occurring” on the same one day every so often,  it’s a much harder job to pull off.

I made two turkeys (pastured, fresh from a farm) ahead of time, roasted & sliced & packaged. I made stock from one carcass beforehand, and had the other carcass in the pot through to the afternoon on Thursday. I made most of the sides on Thursday.

The day before I made pies, and also setup pastry, onions, bacon & Emmentaler (actually from Switzerland) cheese to make quiche. I covered that with ‘press & seal’ and put it into the refrigerator. In the morning, on Thanksgiving Day, I took that out and mixed 4 eggs with 2 cups of cream and cayenne pepper, poured that into the pastry shell, then put that into the oven to bake. Then I made mini muffins that had cheddar cheese, dried cranberries, sage & green onions in them. (recipe I found on Whole Foods website, but I’m not linking, I changed it, don’t like there entire recipe.)

That was a very nice Thanksgiving morning breakfast. I normally don’t go to so much effort, but the way I did things, making the pies at the same time,  it was easy enough to make pastry for quiche and get the other ingredients into it and refrigerate for later use. (that’s a method I’ve used before, making the day before, for quick put together for baking in the morning.) I used to make quiche fairly often, but the last few+ years I haven’t made it even once, until this week.

The quiche was a big hit with my eldest, 14 year old boy. He loves it, used to love it, he said too. My two youngest (10 years, 3 years — both boys) didn’t like it … wouldn’t eat it. My birthday daughter liked it, I think.

The mini-muffins were great. My daughter and my eldest son and I raved about them. It was a recipe needs tweaked a bit more, if I can get that done I’ll post it. Not sure when I’ll try that, they are special, not something to make “just any time”.

After breakfast I went about making a chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting for my daughters (12th) birthday celebration. I have a new Shannon Crystal cake platter which was a delight to use. I used a certain recipe for the cake, and upped the butter content as well as the chocolate content. Most recipes use 4 oz. of melted chocolate or 1/2 cup of cocoa. I used both amounts. πŸ™‚ Very chocolately, semi-dry, lovely flavor, crumb. Not gooey, not soft, more dry and firm but still “cake”. We liked it, the “we” being me, my 14-yo & my 12-yo. Interesting, I’ll have to compare what I did with more chocolate cake recipes and figure out an even better cake.

Decoration for the cake was white “pearl” nonpareils that I found in Target’s Christmas baking section. 5.1 oz container $2.99 I used 1/8 of the bottle to sprinkle the top of the cake with a seeming “ton” of white pearls. It was very pretty.

When the cake was done I started other things for Thanksgiving Dinner, like I made gravy, got the sweet potatoes mashed (baked the night before, in their skins) which entailed peeling their skins off, then mashing … then making them into sweet potato casserole by adding brown sugar, pineapple chunks & juice, and cinnamon & melted butter. I don’t use a recipe, just throw it in on the fly.

I made green bean casserole using organic frozen green beans (french cut), crispy onions (another brand), and my recipe for the base (basically a white sauce with some added thing for flavor.) I mixed that up and bake it, then add more crispy onions on the top for the last 5 minutes of oven time.

I also made a cheddar cheese sauce to put over a cooked whole cauliflower head. (Something I make for most holiday meals.) It is one of my favorite things to eat.

We also had mashed potatoes (with sour cream instead of milk, for special) and two kinds of turkey gravy, dark and light (has to do with the roux, cooked longer it browns, gravy takes on the color of your roux.) I made dough for rolls and tried something new (my mini-muffins above were made with my brand-new mini-muffin pan, never had one before) — a small ball of dough in each mini-muffin hole. Then with the rest of the dough I thought of Parker House shape, but then went nuts and made something new.

The mini-muffin rolls turned out when baked as something that reminded me of something else. The other rolls reminded my daughter of something as I shaped them. So they are named:

1-up Mushroom Rolls (after Super Mario 1-up Mushroom) There are no real mushrooms in this roll (no mushrooms allowed in my house, I’m allergic to them.)

Tom-Kitten Rolls (after Beatrix Potter story, when rats roll Tom Kitten in dough with a pat of butter.)  For these I shaped them like this: Take a small piece of dough, flatten it into an oblong strip. Put a small pat of butter on one end and fold that end towards the middle and the other end towards the middle on top (thirds). Then take one opposite side and fold to the middle, then other other opposite side towards the middle and place on sheet pan covered with parchment paper.  I made different sizes of this and they were wonderful. Small and larger and even larger.

The stuffing I made was wonderful (the batch I had in the bird), but I forgot to reheat it for our big dinner! I couldn’t believe it when I realized that. It’s the thing I love about Thanksgiving the most. My husband put it the right way. “Your stuffing is my green bean casserole.” Well said.

So I threw it in the oven, then had a little bit so much later, couldn’t eat much since I ate my dinner as slowly as I could, waiting for the stuffing, but stuffed myself too easily anyhow. Sigh.

We had leftovers of all that for supper last night. It was really good then too. My favorite thing to do is what I call “Thanksgiving Stuffing Scramble” (I’ll make some for lunch today. It’s main part is, of course, stuffing. I use a skillet, melt lots of butter, add the stuffing, stir around as it heats up and sizzles and browns a bit. Then I add turkey bits and gravy, no over-mixing, letting it all heat up. Add some cranberry sauce on the side (yes, the jelly stuff in a can. I like it for the flavor and the cold smoothness of texture it adds.) Yum!

I also baked some stuffing in casserole dishes and saved that in the freezer for later. Then I made some with sausage. That’s in the fridge for sooner. I put red pepper flakes in it too. Whoo! It’s tasty, a bit heat oriented, but not tooooo much.

We ate no pie on Thanksgiving Day. (with dinner at about 4:30pm and a birthday party later, we didn’t want anything else.)

We had pumpkin pie for breakfast the day after though. I make my pies with organic canned pumpkin, and follow the Nourish Tradition’s method of putting it all together. Lemon peel, lots of eggs, grated ginger (though I didn’t do that part this year) & I add bourbon where the recipe says “brandy” I have bourbon always on hand. πŸ™‚

My choice was using Wild Turkey Rare Breed Vanilla’d, which is something I made a couple of years ago. I bought the bottle, added two large vanilla beans and put it in a closet where it would never get any light and left it there for several months. It’s very nice. Very nice indeed.

So anyhow, the pumpkin pie is spicy, spicy, spicy, kicked up! Served with sweet raw whipped cream, yummy!

I also made an apple pie, still uneaten, not for long though. Then there is one more pumpkin pie waiting too.

Now it’s Christmas Season. So much to do again. πŸ™‚

Crafting a Christmas Card

It’s already just a week before Christmas 2009. Time has flown. I still haven’t gotten my Christmas cards done. I know what I want to do. But haven’t gotten anything more than pro-types for cutting with my Cricut/Gypsy and putting that together and gluing things together & glitter … but no inside picture or writing done …

I wanted to get a family snapshot taken on Monday or Tuesday, but it didn’t happen, now hubby isn’t here until Friday night, so it’s a no-go … I could take a picture of just the children, but that’s not really what I wanted to do. Then on to printing it, I have an Epson picture printer, 4×6 size. It hasn’t worked well for me always, really wastes ink IMO and it’s only worth printing at all if you are printing a lot at once. I did have something installed on a computer once that allowed me to manually control “what it thought the ink levels were” but that’s long since gone since I mostly used it with my Epson All-in-One that was crazier than my Picture printer and I got sick of it and threw it away. Upgrading and new computers … it was either on my Desktop which is re-invented since, or my old laptop which was re-Clean-Installed since as well.

My picture printer has been sitting around for many, many months so I have no idea if it can be counted on or not. So not is my guess, since it’s a crap shoot as to how many photos it will print.

The other option is to print onto cardstock or vellum with my HP Laserjet … which does make a good looking black and white image on regular paper and such just fine, it’s just not “photo-ish” it’s more “newspaper photo-ish” which is good, but different than usually used in cards.

I used vellum to print a large photo for my youngest’s first baby scrapbook page with the HP Laserjet. It’s kind of cool, very, in fact. It’s just not a full fleshed image like is expected, it’s very subtle, soft, gentle. Therefore interesting, so now I have convinced myself it’s not so bad to use such for my Christmas card either, probably.

A 3rd option is to get a picture taken and upload it to Costco to have printed, or another place. Since it’s so late in the season though, it’s not a good idea necessarily, plus it’s something I’d best do at home since Friday night or Saturday late morning is the first time to get a full family picture taken, so it’s just something I need to figure out here, children or entire family, & then print it how.

Meantime I do have to come up with a Christmas list. I have no address book available. I’m Out-of-Touch with most everyone, not sending Christmas cards for a long time, though I have attempted, but I don’t know where a list is right now. As the years have gone by most people have stopped sending me Christmas cards, which makes it impossible for me to send THEM Christmas cards. I am still here where I’ve been since 1997. Actually, the cards coming to me dropped off before I stopped sending them. So it’s not fully my fault at how I feel about it. I don’t know what’s the what, guess my generation just doesn’t do much. I don’t write Christmas letters, feel weird doing so, like I have to have something spectacular happen to write one, like in 2007 I had a baby, but then I had trouble getting birth announcements out, finally did 3 months later, not in a mode with 3 other children & a baby again to do anything for a Christmas letter/card anyhow.

My sisters don’t always send something, my in-law relatives either. I mean cards or letters.

I have good intentions. I do, always have. I just haven’t functioned well enough to follow-through. It’s easier to make a blah card and send it out, or to make a great one custom for one person for no good reason any other time of the year.

I love my Cricut & new Gypsy. I have many ideas I can implement, but it’s really the thing about why: I don’t have a good place to work on these things. My scrap stuff is in my bedroom piled up, and also in an old computer armoire, all piled up. No desk or table for crafting available. It’s frustrating to use the kitchen table, can’t leave a project out. Worse to use the bed, way worse, but better in a way, but still NO PLACE TO LEAVE A PROJECT OUT, something that is in stages of putting together. No place in this house. This house is too small in regular living in fact. I’m stir crazy from that, and not productive therefore. I try, and fail. I’m trying, finding it hard to get anything done in this realm.

I did get a new thing at Costco this year, recently too, that makes wrapping presents much more pleasant. It’s a SnapWare Gift Wrapping station. It’s plastic with metal folding legs. It holds several rolls of wrapping paper, ribbon, tape, scissors, etc. Neat thing to hold stuff while working on wrapping, channels in surface to follow with scissors to cut paper. I wrapped daughters birthday presents this Nov. with a happy heart the whole time. It went smoothly. Christmas wrapping has been great too. I’ve wrapped a lot in the last few weeks, a ton, but it’s not as bad past years using the bed, the floor, or the kitchen table. None of them work because they aren’t like the new wrapping station I got. It’s wonderful.

The wrapping station is something that shows what a good crafting area, a dedicated area, would do for me. It’s a wonderful template to apply to life in every area, what works best is a good kitchen, good bathroom, good living room, good vehicle. The right size & tools for the job, the right space, all works together with a human to do their best and enjoy doing it more than if they had to do it with lesser.

So I hope I can manage to send something out. I am trying.

V’s 11th Birthday

Today is our daughter’s 11th birthday. We are having Spaghetti, at her request, and chocolate cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting.

I’ll add some pictures here later.

11 years ago I was in the hospital, induced to give birth so that I didn’t go into labor over the holiday [rolling my eyes] which is a ridiculous thing, but ok in the end.

Frank’s 2008 B-Day

For Frank’s birthday yesterday I made cupcakes. Usually we don’t make cakes for his birthday, not regular cakes. In the past I would often make a cheesecake for his birthday, or nothing, since he didn’t care as much about cakes as, say, the children would for their birthdays. Frank doesn’t care much for holiday trappings, would do fine without them, so he says and acts, but if I have the energy to do something, he doesn’t mind, I suppose. Maybe actually likes it.

Holiday stuff for us is just “us” having no external family in the area we live in. THis makes it harder for me to get into all of it, compared to what I desire to have done, and could do when I was younger/single especially. Being older and a Mama of younger children is a hard job and something has to give.

I had planned to do a couple of firework things we had leftover from our New Year’s home show. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to do that, it was raining/drizzling/dripping out most of the late afternoon, and even at 8:30pm when I last had checked, but I was hopeful that when 9pm rolled around there wouldn’t be wet stuff coming down at all, and it did work out that way! That was nice, a couple of TNT “Cuckoo” fountains and some flashing little things. Just something special, nothing big, something different.

I hadn’t made anything cake-wise since I had made a cheesecake for Baby Q’s first birthday on June 23, not that long before. We didn’t want another so soon. So when it came time to make dinner I finally decided that wasn’t what I wanted and was inspired to make cupcakes.

I made vanilla cupcakes and chocolate frosting. Nothing fancy, just simple homemade cupcakes, delicate and moist, with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting. Simply frosted.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

We had them after the fireworks, we didn’t do any candles on the cupcakes, not for big Frank. It was nice though, Happy Birthday singing was loud and full, the children really joining in for the first time for his birthday, so vibrantly at the least.

We all made him cards. That was our gift to him. We didn’t make anything else, but will get him something later, something that he’ll appreciate, like something Tiger’s related (MLB)

Happy Birthday Frank!

Happy Birthday dear! It was 43 years ago that you were born. I’ve known you for over 16 of those years, and I hope with God’s Good Grace it will be many, many more for us both.

Baby Q Turns One

Well, Baby Q turned One Year Old on the 23rd of June. I forgot to post anything about it. I do suppose it was because I was busy with the birthday, then busy getting ready to go out-of-town right after.

Baby Q is growing up, not as much a baby, closer to a toddler now. I still BF him, he’s eating more food now though too. So poopy diapers are oh so much more different of late. :rolleyes:

Q is talking a lot now. Sure, only WE can understand what he says, but he says so much. Like a few days ago, he was being cute, running away from something, brother or something he was doing, and he fell down, and as he did that he looked up at me and his Daddy and said, “I fell down!”

One present we got him for his birthday is a Leap Frog musical table called the Learn & Groove Musical Table. It’s pretty cool, and he loves it. He makes things happen and stands there sort of bounce-sway dancing to the music. It’s a nice busy/learning toy that isn’t annoying to parents and siblings at all. We all love to play with him with it.

Birthday Girl

9 Years Ago today, my darling daughter was born. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and that puts her Birthday squarely on Thanksgiving Day on occassion, but always so very near-by.

The birthday girl isn’t feeling so well, with some sort of chest congestion/cough thing going on the past few days. Over all though, she is doing well and definitely getting older, getting less and less “toys” and more “things” to do things with, crafty mostly. She got her first camera today

It’s from The Limited Too, is cute, and features are just right for a beginning-digital girl.

I got disney princess paper plates and napkins for the Birthday Cake time. Of course she appreciated that, but her older brother was all “i’m not going to eat off of THAT” about it. :rolleyes: Boys.

It’s not like he has to go through tons of girly stuff, with just one sister, and two other brothers now. KWIM? I’m not the girly-est Mama around either.

Eventually he caved and had the cake and ice cream.

Now it’s time for a breather, the Thanksgiving/Birthday week long prep and occassions is over. Christmas is coming fast. I hope to get some things done in the house and with education this week. I hope to. Hope is promising, from this side. πŸ™‚

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