Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Highlight Reel

What a year 2014 has been! We have so much to be thankful for. Here is the year through the eyes of Lex and Eli.

Happy New Year!

Are we getting too old for matching jammies? Mommy doesn't thing so!

A snowstorm kept us home for a week!

St. Louis Zoo

Grassland Prairies - The first of MANY hikes this year.    


Three Creeks South


Warm Enough for Shorts! Yeah for warm weather!

Always wanting to be outside.

Last Day of Preschool


Father's Day Fishing

Visiting a Park in Ohio

Just because mommy loves this picture of us.


Wading in the Creek at Three Creeks

Screaming in Ohio (and apparently still not to old for Mommy to dress us alike).

Throwing Rocks in the Creek - a favorite activity


Let Football season begin!

Springfield, MO Footbridge

Pumpkin Time

Our First Concert, Outside Festival Style
This Season's First Snowfall

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Candy Buckeyes

If you are from Ohio (or a neighboring state), these need no introduction. If you aren't from Ohio, I hope someone has introduced you to these little peanut butter and chocolate treats before now, because Ohio doesn't need them all for itself. They should share. These candies are named because they look like the nut from Ohio's state tree, the Buckeye tree. And they are the perfect bite.

4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 t. vannilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark)
2 T. shortening

First, mix together the first 4 ingredients. It's a pretty thick dough, so I recommend getting in there with your hands.

Roll the dough into balls (about 2 tsp.) and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate. 

The little ones are the ones Eli did. He worked so hard on those!

Next, heat the shortening and chocolate over a double broiler or in my case a makeshift double broiler.

Once the peanut butter balls are nice and chilled, use a toothpick to dip each one in the chocolate, covering about 3/4 of the peanut butter.

Set them back on the parchment paper, then refrigerate them so they can set. If you have eager little boys like I do, then maybe you'll want to rush the process by putting them in the freezer.

How easy is that? These make great gifts and look great on a goodie tray if you need to take treats somewhere for a party.  OR you can just put them in your fridge and eat them all up yourself, one guilty bite at a time!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Roast Beef and Swiss Sliders

Oh. My. Goodness! These little sandwiches are so tasty that I am adding them to my monthly menu rotation. They are super easy, really fast to make, and they are absolutely delicious! The downside is that they are a little expensive just because the price of roast beef and Swiss cheese is so high. If you menu plan on a budget, this recipe may be worth pinching pennies on another meal so you can splurge on this one.

Inspired (and adapted) from here.

Here are the ingredients.

1 12 pack of Hawaiian rolls.
3/4 pound roast beef, chipped
12 slices (about half pound)Swiss cheese
2 T. mustard
1 tsp. onion powder
2 T. Worcestershire *extra optional - see directions below
2 T. melted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, slice the rolls in half and layer the bottom half in a 9 by 13 pan.

Layer the roast beef and Swiss cheese, then put top half of roll on top.

Mix together the remaining ingredients to create a sauce. Pour it over the top of the rolls.

Loosely cover the pan with foil and bake for 8 minutes.

After 8 minutes, take off the foil.

*** At this point, I drizzled extra Worcestershire over all the sandwiches and spread the sauce around.

Bake for 4-5 more minutes uncovered.

 Seriously, it takes 20 minutes from start to finish and they are soooooo worth it. You will need a napkin because the sauce is perfectly drippy and the top has the slightest crust. You cannot eat just one. I also think horseradish would be a great addition to this sandwich. It will be something I try in the future. Okay, I have to go now. Writing this post has made me hungry for another one.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Craft Stick Snowflake

This simple craft can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be. It's basically craft sticks (aka Popsicle sticks), hot glue, and paint. Glitter is optional. I first got my inspiration from this site through Pinterest but then I Googled this craft and found a lot more images of different snowflake patterns.

Here is one of our final products, but you can see more of the process below.

 We started with regular and large size craft sticks. Lex made a snowflake that was seriously 1/2 as big as he was. When I had to go back to the store for more, I found these mini craft sticks and bought them for some variety.

So there's really no science here. Find a pattern you like or design your own. I laid them out first, then started gluing from the inside out. Here are some of the pictures we took before things got messy.

Even the "mini" sticks turned into snowflakes that were at least 12 inches each.

Let the painting begin! Because you are painting wood, you may need more than 1 coat. We did 2 coats, but probably could have done another one. We used white, but I would love to do some blue and silver ones too.

While the paint was still wet, we added glitter. I have a long standing rule against using glitter, but we did this craft with one of my students at school, and when we added glitter, it looked SO pretty. So I broke the rule and allowed glitter. And yes, now it's everywhere. All in the name of holiday spirit.



 And more Glitter!

This one broke in the middle as I peeled it off the cardboard (the paint stuck). Nothing a little hot glue can't fix.

 I haven't quite decided what to do with them yet, but I do think they will be part of my mantle scape in January. I tried them out just to see how they looked. The camera didn't capture the glitter that much, but I really do like how they look. Lex wants to hang his (the big one) in his room, so we will do that for now.

That's all!