Sunday, September 30, 2012

September 30, 2012 - YUM.

We made Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese for dinner. OMG. So very, very tasty.

The recipe came from Better Homes and Gardens.

  • 12 ounces dried rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks (3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded (2 cups) (I used extra-sharp cheddar)
  • 8 slices bacon
  • 2 small sweet onions, cut into chunks
  • 3 ounces sourdough bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (I used bacon grease)
  • fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley (skipped this)
    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a 3-quart au gratin or baking dish; set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan combine the squash and 2 1/2 cups of the milk over medium-high heat. Bring to boiling; reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, 18 to 20 minutes. Stir together remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour; stir into squash mixture. Bring to boiling; cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Gruyere until melted; keep warm.
    3. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain on paper towels. Crumble; set aside. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons bacon drippings. Return skillet to the heat.
    4. Add onions to skillet; cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and increase heat to high. Cook 4 to 6 minutes more, stirring, until onions are golden.
    5. Add squash-cheese mixture, onions, and bacon to the bowl with the pasta. Toss well to combine, then transfer to prepared baking dish.
    6. Place bread in a food processor and pulse with two or three on/off turns to form large coarse crumbs (you should have about 2 cups). Transfer to a small bowl; mix with melted butter. Sprinkle remaining Gruyere and the bread crumbs over pasta mixture. over Bake until top is browned, about 14 to 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012 - Dee's Turn

Here is my baby girl with her babies. The larger one is named Lilah (was also mine when I was young, I got it for my second Christmas) and the smaller one is Doodle (Dee named her that all on her own!).

She's really giggling here, I promise!

Yes, there are some HotWheels present as well.

Monday, September 24, 2012

September 24, 2012 - A Boy and His Baby

These were taken during C's hunting trip, when the kids and I established a morning snuggle as part of our routine. Both kids brought their babies to the party on this particular day, but here are the pics of only my boy.

 J and his baby doll (used to be mine, anyone remember Baby Shivers?), whom he named Hershey Hershey after Christmas last year.
Hershey Hershey is a boy, and he has footie pajamas and a train outfit. And just so you know, baby dolls that size actually can wear preemie clothes (which are cheaper than doll clothes, if you can find them at yard sales/thrift/consignment stores).

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September 23, 2012 - Little Fan

We're trying to teach L how to say either "Touchdown!" or "Go Broncos" with varying success. So far, she touches her head and yells "GO!" It is really, really cute though.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Newsflash, right?

Things I'm looking forward to:

Long sleeves!


Boots! (I need to glue a piece on my black ones, one of the sole grippy things on the heel fell off...Gorilla glue should work, right?)

Jackets! (Hmm, may need to get a new cute one...)


Adorable children dressed in adorable long sleeved outfits and/or sweaters! (Also, L wearing tights. Seriously *adorable* and she only has 2 long sleeved dresses at the moment...need to remedy that one)

Pumpkin Spice Lattes! 

Pumpkin bread! Pumpkin cookies! (Ok, so pretty much all things pumkin!)

Hot chocolate!

Being actually cold enough to get under all the covers at night.

Halloween! And costumes! And decorating the house!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012 - Dee and the "Whee"

This child loves slides. She has designated them as "whees" and has no fear at all about them, even if she falls off at the bottom.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sept 19, 2012 - Angry Birds Mini Pizzas!

Because I had some crescent rolls to use up, and because J asked nicely:

They looked way better before we cooked them. Afterward, well... they resembled Angry Birds that had been melted.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012 - Deer vs. Car

 In a terribly ironic twist of events, C hit a deer on his way up to Wyoming for his annual hunting trip. For deer. As it turns out, hitting an 80ish pound animal in a PT Cruiser going 75 miles per hour down the highway (in the dark) is pretty bad for all parties involved. C is okay. The deer and the car? Not so much. No, we didn't get to keep the deer, because my husband was not going to trek back down the highway in the dark to find it. So a new car is in our future, and our PT Cruiser is dead. *sniff* I loved that car. We put 160,000 miles on that baby in the 6+ years we had it. It brought both our kids home from the hospital. It came with us when we came home from our years in Washington.

If you want to know what happens when you hit a deer, here are pictures of our car.

  The engine casing is cracked.
The radiator is busted. There are hoses completely destroyed.

Not to mention the body work.

In sum, parts or labor alone would total the vehicle, and while the mechanic said he "could" get it running again, "it would die in about 10 miles" so it's not really fixable. Total bill would have been $7000+. We'll be getting a new car.

Also, just in case you're curious, here's how the insurance, etc went down. We have State Farm, so obviously I can't speak for other carriers. Our agent and his office are fantastic. The corporate people are less fantastic, but they do listen.

They had some communication issues with their sub-contracted tow company and the garage, and we had to intervene in to get the car to the mechanic. Fortunately the mechanic knew the guy that my dad and C hunt with (yay for small towns!) so that wasn't as hard as it could have been. If you are ever in the Sheridan, WY area and need auto work, I highly, highly recommend Xtreme Auto Body. The guy actually even covered the towing bill while State Farm's corporate (or whatever) office was trying to figure out their shit.

Anyway, once the car was at the garage, the shop made a list of what work needed to be done and how much it would cost. The insurance adjuster looked at that and at the car, and they made us an offer for the value. They calculated the value based on NADA and the features we had/didn't have. We had comprehensive coverage, and they subtracted our deductible ($1000) from the total they gave us.

So...for the moment, we're going to borrow my mom's car. Since she's in Hawaii for the next 6 months for work and doesn't need it.

P.S. C got his pronghorn and 2 (additional) deer, just like always, so we're set on red meat for the year.

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 17, 2012 - Ghost Feet!

Thanks, Pinterest, for this idea!

I covered a shoebox lid with black fabric (that I already had), used a fabric leaf painted white to stamp out the tree pattern, and painted the kids' feet with white poster paint. The moon was done with white poster paint and a foam brush.

Total cost? $3 (including the orange ribbon around the outside)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September 16, 2012 - Leaf Wreath

I made this with silk/fabric leaves purchased on clearance last fall, a paper wreath (made myself from salvaged packing materials and twine), some ribbon I already had, and my trusty hot glue gun. Total cost? $2. Booya! J picked which leaf I glued as I went, so that contributed to the awesome randomness that happened. *Love it!*

Saturday, September 15, 2012

September 15, 2012 - Fossil Show!

I did not tell him to pose this way.
It's time for C's annual hunting trip, and the kids and I went to the fossil show because I thought J would enjoy it. He did!
L also thought it was cool, but she was kept in the stroller so we didn't end up with broken things that cost more than the house.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September 13, 2012

I think this pretty well sums up the difference between my children.


I'm trying to get through to next week, when I'm home with the kids all week and can craft to my hearts content (I may be in denial about that one...). Here are the costumes I made for the kids last year.

This year, J is going to be Spiderman and L is going to be a dinosaur. I will post pictures this year (promise!).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12, 2012

Baby girl sleeping with "baby," a doll named Lilah that I've had since my second Christmas.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

She can climb into this chair and back down, and she's so proud!

Monday, September 10, 2012

September 10, 2012 - Hot air balloon?

I saw a hot air balloon trying to land practically in my neighborhood this morning...not generally where I think they'd try that.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

September 6, 2012

Big brother reading to little sister. Not posed, even!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012

J in his "boat" that he made on the couch. He spends a lot of time there!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

And The Winner Is...

As drawn by, the winner is Comment Number 7!

Amanda Hoffman, come on down! Well, check your email.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered! I'll be posting some of your suggestions on simplifying laundry in an upcoming post.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

Mmmm, Fall. My favorite season, and one of the best times of the year. With it comes cool weather, pumpkins, sweaters, changing leaves, and, of course, pumpkin spice lattes at everyone's favorite coffee chain. If you *don't* feel like shelling out $4 for a cup of coffee, here's my cheapo pumpkin spice latte recipe (which is better than Barstucks, in my humble opinion, but mostly because I don't like it as sweet as they make it).

For two servings of Pumpkin Spice Lattes:
Use 1 tablespoon of your favorite Pumpkin Spice seasoning mix (or 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger) added directly to your coffee grounds before brewing (this eliminates the unsavory sludge problem caused when you add it directly to your cup, though you could also put the spices in a tea strainer with very fine mesh).

While coffee is brewing, heat up milk however you want and pour it into two mugs (1/4 to 1/2 cup milk each, depending on your preferences). Froth the milk with your favorite frother (I super pink puffy heart this one from Ikea, and it's only $3!!! It's actually stood up to heavy use for the 9 months we've had it), or not, if you are opposed to frothy milk.

Once your coffee is brewed, pour it into your prepared mugs. Sweeten to taste. I generally use 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of sweetener per serving, but that's just me. You can also add the sweetener to the milk instead so it gets all blended in while you froth everything, but I'd wait until you've discovered your magic amount of sweetener. I like to use agave nectar or just plain sugar in mine.

Top with whipped cream (if you're feeling decadent) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.


This can be pretty easily scaled up to brew a whole pot (using 1.5 teaspoons of spice mix per serving), though usually C and I just make a couple in our french press using the ratios above. We went through a lot of pumpkin pie spice mix last fall and winter. Good thing we live pretty near a spice shop!

Monday, September 3, 2012

September 3, 2012

C got me this for our anniversary in July and we finally got it mounted in the dining room! I *love* it.