Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 A Year in Review Party

I want to apologize for how pic heavy this thread is. While I like pictures, I try to avoid having too many in any one thread but it's really hard to have a year in review post without a lot of pictures. I am linking this post to My Romantic Home's Year in Review Party.

January brought us a big snow storm. While we do get snow from time to time we don't get snow like this. It was so deep you couldn't even sled in it.

It was also the first time that Cookie had experienced snow.
What made the snow storm so bad, and hard to get around in was the fact that there was ice underneath the deep snow. We were one of the lucky ones who had electricity throughout the storm.

In February, we had thawed out from all of the snow and were preparing for our new horse. Everyone pitched in to help build a pen for him.

And in March we brought home a baby goat

and some baby chickens

In April we enjoyed the spring weather by having a cookout with friends.

In May our little man turned 6. We celebrated with a massive deer head cake.

After his party we took the kids for a ride on the Shadow.

Little Man's favorite gift was the Dinosaur fossil kit. This thing kept him busy for hours!
In June we started our camping season. We took the two youngest ones on a trip by themselves at the beginning of the month while the two oldest were visiting their grandparents. It was a great opportunity to spend some quality time with just them.

And then at the end of the month we all went camping together.

On July 4th we visited one of the local state parks and then went to see the huge fireworks display put on at a local college.

I also started my blog in July!
The end of the month wasn't quite as fun though. It brought my birthday around, which was a good day, but then the next day I fell in a store and broke my ankle. That brought around a stop to our summer fun as I was in a boot all the way up to my knee for the next two months.
In August we celebrated Sunshine's 9th birthday. This is when she got her teapot set.

And we celebrated the day with a cowboy boot shaped cake. I was still in a cast at this point, unable to get around very well, so it's not my best work.

September brought nothing more than just playing in the nice weather.

And October brought Bubbles 12th birthday, The Teenagers 16th birthday, and my mother-in-laws birthday (which I will politely refrain from telling how old she turned). We celebrated all three birthdays on the same day with a great dinner.

We also took the kids camping over the Halloween weekend. Where they got to use their Halloween loot bags that I made them.
In November we counted down the days to Thanksgiving by sharing our blessings on our Blessings Tree.
We had a great Thanksgiving where we ate good and had a beautiful day.

December was another busy month where we visited Santa at Bass Pro Shop, made lots of cookies, and ate all kinds of good foods.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - How to Cook the Perfect Country Ham

I promised last week that I would post how I cooked my country ham, and I figured that Tempt My Tummy Tuesday would be the perfect day to do it.

I grew up in a very small country town, and worked at the grocery store in town. It's one of those cute little stores with a meat counter that serves plate lunches, and still has a butcher. I learned how to cook country ham by working here, and was taught by one of the best cooks around an 85 year old man who wouldn't even let cancer keep him at home in bed, he always made it to work. At Christmas time he would cook country hams for people, and would always have to stop taking orders to cook hams because we just simply had way too many orders. It was nothing for us to have eight to ten broilers going at the same time.

Here's what you want to do:

1. Put two to three inches of water in the bottom of your broiler. You want enough water to keep the ham moist but you do not want it touching the ham.

2. Place ham in the broiler, and cook at 350 degrees. You will want to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees at the deepest part of the meat. This will take several hours to do (think 5 to 6 hours).

3. Once the ham has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees you will want to remove it from the broiler immediately.

Be forewarned, these next steps will be messy and you will need help.

4. As soon as the ham is removed take a knife and remove the bone from the ham, when doing this be sure to cut the ham in the spot closest to the bone.

5. As soon as the bone is out of the ham wrap the ham tightly in saran wrap. This is a very important step and this is where you will need help. Be very sure that you wrap it extremely tight! Do not cheap out here either, be sure to buy the brand name saran wrap, as the generic will not hold the ham as tight as it needs to be here. By the way....can you tell I bought the colored holiday saran wrap by accident?

6. As soon as your ham is wrapped place it in the refrigerator. Yes, I know this doesn't sound right but take my word for it put it in the refrigerator while it's still hot.

7. Let the ham sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days before cutting. The juices and the saran wrap will heal the cut you made in the ham earlier to remove the bone.

8. Now you are ready to slice your ham. We use an electric knife, but you can use a sharp butcher knife or a meat slicer to slice it.

9. Before serving you can reheat sliced ham in the oven or use it cold for sandwiches. Leftover ham can be frozen for use at a later date.

The Simple Woman's Daybook, December 28th

My daybook for Monday December 28, 2009
Outside my's cloudy and dark, with a few flurries in the air.
I am thinking....about how bad my carpet looks in all of my Christmas pictures and how I really can not wait until we get to replace it.
I am thankful for.....a very wonderful Christmas season.
I am much fun it was to see Sunshine's face when she came into the living room on Christmas morning. It was a look of sheer joy and excitement, a look that only a child could give.
I am creating...some placemats out of snowman fabric, and need to get busy on my apron for the Hot Mama Apron Swap.
I am spend a low key week at home trying to enjoy the last few days of Christmas break with the kids.
I am hoping....for a huge snowfall for the kids. They are so excited over an inch of snow, and I would love to see them have a bunch of snow to play in for a day or two.
On my mind....the many changes that I am wanting to make in 2010.
Noticing that....the house is so much more peaceful when the kids are outside.
Pondering these words....
"And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom than Shall I fear?"
You Never Let Go by Matt Redman
From the kitchen....smelling the wonderful Jambalaya in the slow cooker for supper tonight.
Around the house...just trying to get things back to normal after the house was ripped apart during Christmas. Can anyone with kids really keep their house clean during Christmas time?
One of my favorite things....curling up on the couch with my husband to watch a movie when it's cold outside.
A few plans for the rest of the week....Nothing! Just planning to take it easy this week.
From my picture journal:
Christmas Eve

Christmas Morning

The day after Christmas with family

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - New Years Edition

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. While I am sad that Christmas Day has already came and gone, I am also grateful for the rest that this next week will bring. After a three day Christmas celebration, on top of three days of preparation for the big event I am absolutely, positively beyond exhausted.

One of the new items that I made this year was Taste of Home's Santa Bread. This was super easy to make, and was a huge hit. I just had to share a picture of it:

I used my recipe for Sweet Dinner Rolls for the bread dough. However my bread was really thick, I think that I let it rise too much, which made it extremely hard to get the inside of the bread done without burning the crust of the bread. My bread was still pretty doughy inside.

While we do have plans to stay home for the most part this week there is a chance we might be going out of town mid-week, nothing like a spontaneous road trip. So this week's menu is definetly subject to change.

Monday - Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza using homemade pizza crusts and my homeamade pizza sauce

Wednesday - Pork Ole (adjusted to feed six instead of two)

Thursday (New Years Eve) - White Chicken Chili

Friday (New Years Day) - Corned Beef and Cabbage

Saturday - University of Louisville vs. University of Kentucky basketball game! Go Cards!
Homemade Chicken Wings using sauces bought at Buffalo Wild Wings, Cheesy Hot Potatoes

Sunday - Eat out after Church, leftovers for supper

For more Menu Plan Monday ideas please visit I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - December 23rd

I know it's Wordless Wednesday but what good are pictures without at least a few words?

We took the kids to Bass Pro Shop yesterday to see Santa and couldn't resist posing for a few pictures with their cute Christmas scenery.

And on Sunday night I went to a Cookie Exchange with some friends. I made Russian Tea Cakes and Holiday Truffles to take. Here they are all wrapped up in tissue paper and ready to go.

I have one of those cake stands that converts into a punch bowl. I filled the bottom of the bowl with some gold fabric left over from the apron I made for the White Christmas Apron Swap, a few strands of pearls, and some glittery Christmas ornaments. The pearls are from some necklaces that belonged to my youngest daughter, the necklaces broke but I kept the pieces anyhow. I have strung them on my tree the past few years but didn't this year.

And here is a picture of the plate with cookies for the tasting table.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies and Candy Recipes

I have already had one very sweet person ask what kind of cookies I am going to be baking so here is what I will be doing today.

Buttery Spritz Cookies

Peppermint Meltaways

Candy Cane Snowballs

Toasted Coconut Truffles

Truffle Cherries

Holiday Truffles

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

Russian Tea Cakes

Cinnamon Sugar Sticks

Gingersnap Cookies

Chocolate Crinkles

Butter Mint Cookies

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

100 Post Giveaway

I can't believe it but I have almost reached 100 posts! This is my 90th post so we are just 10 posts away from 100! I know that many of you have well over 100 posts already but as a new blogger this is quite a milestone for me. In honor of my 100th post I am planning a very special giveaway. What will it be? I don't know you will just have to wait and see......

Menu Plan Monday - Christmas Edition

It is so hard to believe that Christmas is almost here! Which means this will be a very busy week for us, and unfortunately we will be eating out way more than I like to this week but as part of my effort to make Christmas less stressful for myself this year, it is something I am okay with. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Yesterday we were suppose to have the Dry Rub Chicken With Honey Barbecue Sauce but didn't get around to it. I went to a cookie exchange last night, and had a few errands to run before I left so I went through the Arby's drive thru to save on time. Since I already had the chicken laid out we will be having that for supper today instead.

Monday - Dry Rub Chicken With Honey Barbecue Sauce, Baked Beans, Seasoned Potatoes

Tuesday - My youngest brother will be turning 11 on Wednesday, and since we won't be able to spend the day with him then we are all going bowling today. We will be eating out at the kids favorite place as well, you know where I am talking about - McDonalds.

Wednesday - Our church is offering four Christmas services and the first two are on Wednesday night. With everything going on we have decided to attend worship on Wednesday instead of Christmas Eve (again trying to make it a stress free Christmas this year). We haven't taken the youngest kids to see Santa yet, so we will go see Santa at Bass Pro Shop before church since the kids will already be dressed up for church. Since it will be a big day we are going to be eating out again and hopefully today it will be someplace a little nicer than McDonalds.

Christmas Eve (aka Thursday) - Roast with vegetables, Santa Bread, Cookies and Hot Chocolate for dessert

Christmas (aka Friday) - Deep Fried Turkey (again with the healthiness - don't worry my family is going on a diet in January), Stuffing, My Grandmother's Green Beans, Pumpkin Rolls, Peppermint Cheesecake (I will post the recipe later on)

Saturday - Dinner with our extended family at our house
Country Ham (we have a great way of cooking this and I will post pictures of the process later), My Grandmothers Green Beans, The Best Baked Potatoes, Stewed Tomatoes, Cinnamon Apple Rings, Brocolli Casserole, Baked Beans, Santa Bread, Christmas Cookies and Candies for Dessert

For more Menu Plan Monday posts please visit I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Can You Keep a Secret?

I hope you can because I am going to confess something just awful.....I am just not in the Christmas spirit this year. Not at all. Which is suprising I was in the Christmas spirit before Thanksgiving and then something just happened, I don't know what, I can't explain but it just doesn't feel like Christmas is next week. I haven't been a Scrooge though, my tree went up the day after Thanksgiving, I changed my blog to a Christmas layout, I decorated my house for Christmas, the presents are bought and's just that my heart isn't into it this year. It feels like I am just going through the motions. We are planning on going to a big Christmas lights display tommorow after church, and I am hoping to spend Monday baking with my kids. My prayer is that somewhere along the way that happy, joyful feeling that you are suppose to have at Christmas will find it's way into my heart but even if it doesn't I am determined that my kids will never know how not into Christmas I am this year.

New Hot Mama Apron Swap Theme

I participated in the White Christmas Apron Swap at Flirty Apron Swap last month, and while I had a blast putting the package together it did cost a little more than I expected. It wasn't a lot, and it was fun, but definetly not something I could afford to do on a regular basis. So I told myself that I wouldn't do another one for a little while. Well as soon as I said that I read a post on Hot Mama Apron Swap about their new apron swap and just couldn't resisit participating.

My motivating factor? The theme for this apron swap is "Cheap Hot Mamas". Not cheap as in your skirt's too short and you have on too much makeup but as in you don't have to spend a lot of money. With this swap you are to create an apron using fabric solely from your fabric stash, you don't have to purchase any fabric for this swap. The package is also to include one to two recipes that you use on a frequent basis printed on nice recipe cards, and a theme inspired item that you already have on hand. So basically your only cost for this swap is the shipping costs.

If you want to participate in this swap as well you better head on over to Hot Mama Apron Swap and sign up ASAP as registration for the swap closes on December 20th!

Show and Tell Friday: White Christmas Apron Swap Package

Last month I participated in the White Christmas Apron Swap over at Flirty Apron Swap. As part of the swap I made this apron for my partner:

Her favorite Christmas Carol is "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", which is what I based my apron on, and is the reason I picked the bell fabric.
My swap package from the swap came in the mail yesterday and this cute half apron is what I received:

There were several other goodies in the package, some candy (which didn't last long), some candleholders and a gold "Celebrate" sign from Michael's. The sign was definetly my favorite thing in the package (aside from the apron of course), and I think it looks great displayed atop my Nativity picture. Don't you?

For more Show and Tell Friday posts please visit My Romantic Home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - December 14th - 20th

Can you believe that I have been menu planning for fifteen weeks now? Time sure does fly! I have to admit that I had no idea how big of a help menu planning would be until I started doing it. I have really come to depend on my menu plan, and the week that I did skip a menu plan I really missed it, I felt like a mess.

Last week wasn't a huge week as far as cooking goes, the only new recipe that I tried was the Roast Beef and Gravy recipe from Taste of Home and it was absolutely delicious. My husband wasn't sure if he would like it based upon the smell of it cooking (it had a very strong wine smell) but he ended up loving it. It is definetly a recipe that I will add to my favorites list. I cooked two roasts using this recipe and froze the leftovers for a later date.

We didn't get to eat our Tarragon Chicken last week so I am going to add it to the menu for this week. It is one of my favorite meals.

Monday - Tacos

Tuesday - Tarragon Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Friday - Aloha Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Baked Beans

Saturday - Spaghetti with Meatballs, Bread Machine French Bread

Country Fried Pork Chops

6 breakfast cut pork chops
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorn
2 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil (or other oil for frying)
1. Mix flour, sea salt and peeppercorn in a shallow bowl.
2. In a second shallow bowl beat the two eggs.
3. Dip each pork chop in the egg mixture, and then dredge in the flour mixture, coating thouroughly.
4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
5. When oil is hot brown pork chops in the skillet. Cook for five minutes on each side or until the pork chops are golden brown.
We like to serve these with white pepper gravy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tempt My Tummy Tuesday - Cheesy Hot Potatoes

We eat a lot of potatoes around here, and I am always looking for ways to spice them up. One of our favorite potato variations are these Cheesy Hot Potatoes.

6 small potatoes (adjust this number for your family - there are six of us so I use one for each of us)
Olive oil
Cheddar Cheese
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Peppercorn (you can use regular pepper instead if you wish)
1. Clean potatoes thoroughly and place them in a large saucepan.
2. Cover potatoes with water and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Once the potatoes have reached a boil allow them to continue to cook until they are tender and can easily be pierced with a fork.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Drizzle Olive Oil on a large baking sheet.
5. Remove potatoes from water, and place on baking sheet. Roll potatoes around in the olive oil.
6. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.
7. Once potatoes have been cut in half use a fork to gently smash the potatoes.
8. Sprinkle each half of the potato with sea salt and pepper. I prefer a lot of salt and pepper but you can adjust the amount to suit your preferences.

9. Cover each half of the potato with cheddar cheese. I used the Sargento Four Cheese Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

10. Place potatoes in the oven and cook for an additional twenty minutes.

For more Tempt My Tummy Posts please visit Blessed With Grace.