Curly Crafty Mom: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I found this recipe on the Bargain thread on BBC, and I had to try it... I mean, really, you can't beat it. Pumpkin muffins WITH chocolate chips that are less then one weight watcher point and that only includes three simple ingredients? And, WOW, delicious!!!

Mix the spice cake mix with the pumpkin

Mix in chocolate chips

Pour into cupcake liners. I have a tablespoon cookie scooper, and I put 2 tablespoons into each liner. Its SO easy to use the scooper then to pour or use a spoon. You can find them at Bath, Bed and Beyond. Then, use a spoon to smooth out the tops evenly. These muffins do not rise much when baking, so you want the tops to be pretty even before you place them in the oven.

Bake for 22-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. These are DELICIOUS! The recipe makes about 32-48 muffins... and, I read that you can freeze them, then pop in the microwave for a morning time or lunch time treat for the kids at a later time. Yum!!

Easy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 spice cake mixes (Duncan Hines, although not pictured, is the best for this recipe)
1 30-oz. can pumpkin
1 12-oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Combine cake mixes and pumpkin. Add in chocolate chips.

Spoon mixture into lined muffin tins. This can make as many as 48 muffins or as few as 36, just depending on how full the tins are filled. These really don't rise very much, so you can fill the tins pretty full. If aesthetics are a concern, keep in mind that how they look going into the oven is very much what they will look like coming out of the oven. So a cookie scoop works great to keep things on the prettier side.

Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one of the muffins comes out clean.

You can store them in the freezer and then pop them into lunch bags or heat one up in the microwave for a few seconds.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

First Wine Class

My brother Jeff and SIL Tracy invited us to go to a wine class at Balabans, a restaurant close to their house. In the class we learned about the difference between French and Californian wines. They had the restaurant divided in half, so that the wine class was on one side of the restaurant. There were wine glasses everywhere... waiting to be filled. :o)-

Everyone got handouts with a map of the different wine regions on California, France and then a list of the eight different wines that we were trying that night. They put a brown bag over the wines as they were pouring them, and we had to guess if it was a French or Californian wine. We even got to try two vintage wines from 2000. Now, how cool is that? ;o)-

The restaurant had delicious gourmet food. Jeff and Tracy ordered a couple of trout pancakes and a flat bread pizza. Jeremi and I ordered bruschetta and we also had the most amazing lobster ravioli. The restaurant also brought around several different flat bread pizzas to try. Its a tapas restaurant so you share everything on the plate with who you are dining with.

I'll admit. It was a lot of wine. But, it was an informative night...

Jeff was kind enough to take a picture of Jeremi and I... we were a little smiley after all that wine! heheh.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Perfect Apple Pie

I have only made apple pie two times, the last time was in the Fall of 2004! The only reason I know that, is because I wanted to use the original recipe I tried, and it was taken from Kraft's Food and Family magazine. I was surprised when I looked at the date on the magazine at how long its been since I've made an apple pie. But, the wait was well worth it. Yum!!

Ingredients. The canisters have flour and sugar. Also, I forgot to put the Cornstarch in the picture.

This apple pie is definitely not a quick recipe... it took me most of Autumn's nap time to make it. What takes the longest is making the homemade pie crust. In this picture I have added the flour, salt and I am slicing in the shortening with two knives. Then, you add in ice cold water by the tablespoon until it forms the right consistency.

You split the dough into two balls, wrap them in saran wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I prepped the apples. Ok, so... peeling apples scares me. So, I sort of did it a silly way. I pealed the apple skin off with a potato peeler. It actually worked quite well. Then, I have a gadget that slices the apple into 6 slices and cores it, you sort of just put it on top of the apple and push down. Then, I thinly sliced up the apple... it didn't take me too long, but I wonder if there is an easier way :) I am picky in that I want my apple slices to all be cut the same way so they match and look pretty when you cut into the apple pie. Ok, really, I need help. :)

Then, I rolled out the dough and layered the bottom of the pie dish with one, dumped the pie filling in and then topped with the other ball of dough. Then, I cut little air vents, and made some leaves with the extra dough. Unfortunately I didn't have enough dough to make a fourth leaf, and Autumn woke up from her nap... so instead of rearranging the leaves I said the heck with it, and in the oven it went.

And, here is the finished pie! Ok, not to brag... but, Jeremi gave me a wonderful compliment! He told me that my apple pie is just as good as his Grandma's pies, and she does everything from scratch. How sweet! :) I must admit, it was pretty good... :o)- Yum! I don't think it'll be around long. I am also going to try out a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe later this week... so stay tuned!

Here is the recipe...

The Perfect Apple Pie
(Taken from Kraft food&family)

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shortening
5-6 Tbsp. ice cold water
6 cups thinly slices peeled tart apples such as Granny Smith (4 large apples)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix flour and salt in large bowl. Cut in shortening using a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

2. Add water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, mixing lightly with fork until flour mixture is evenly moistened and clings together when pressed into a ball. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 1/2-in.-thich round. Wrap each dough round in plastic wrap; refrigerate 10 to 15 min.

3. Meanwhile, toss apples with sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice in large bowl; set aside. Place 1 dough round between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap; roll out dough with rolling pin to flatten slightely, working from center of dough to edge. Turn over; continue rolling until dough round is about 2 in. larger than diameter of inverted 9-in. pie plate.

4. Peel off top piece of plastic wrap; invert dough into pie plate. Peel off remaining piece of plastic wrap; press dough evenly onto bottom and up side of pie plate, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim any excess dough hanging over edge of pie plate with sharpe knife. Reserve trimmings.

5. Fill with apple mixture; set aside. Roll out remaining dough as directed; place over filling. Trim top crust about 1/2 in. beyond edge of pie plate. Fold edge of top crust under edge of bottom crust; pinch edge of bottom crust to form a flute ridge. Cut several slits near center of pie to allow steam to escape. Then, with extra dough, cut out leaf shapes and add to top of pie. Bake 45 minutes or until juices form bubbles that burst slowly. Cool.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Best Part of the Field Trip

Nathan went on his first field trip with his Preschool 4 class this past Wednesday to the Post Office. Jeremi and I were so nervous about this field trip, because we had to leave his car seat at school and then they assigned mothers of kids in the class to volunteer and drive 2-3 kids each. So, when I got home I asked Nathan how his field trip went, and how was the post office?

Well, you know what the highlight of the field trip was? Driving in a van for the first time... he said, "Mom, it had three rows of seats... A front row, a middle row and a back row! I sat in the back row! It was Nathan's Mom and a girl road with us too but I can't remember her name... but I do remember her hair color!"

Too funny! The Mom that drove him is the Mom that has a boy named Nathan, too! So, he kept talking about the van ride, but all he said about the post office was that there were A LOT of boxes! Silly boy!

And, guess what arrived in my mailbox a couple of days later? A letter from the field trip!

And, I opened it up and inside there was the sweetest letter from Nathan. :o)- Awwww! Thank you, Nathan!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Clothes from Janna to Miss Auttie

While on vacation in Denver, I met up with my friend Janna and we went to lunch. Janna is so sweet, she sent me home with a box of clothes for Miss Autumn. And, almost all of them are from Gymboree! My favorite place! Autumn will be styling this fall! There are some really cute dresses, pj's and shirts that were in the box. Thank you, Janna!

Closeup of the outfits. They are all hung up in her closet :o)- Ready to be worn!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Nathan's First Soccer Game

Nathan was so excited about his first soccer game. He missed practice on Thursday because he was sick, but my friend Cammie picked up his team shirt and brought it to me at work. We had such good faith in such a strong color for our boys team! So, guess what color Nathan and Jacob will be wearing? PURPLE! Like... barney purple! Yeah, it'll make a nice night shirt for Autumn after soccer is over. LOL! But, the good thing is that he is number 5! Nathan is obsessed with turning 5, so he was really excited to be number 5 on his team! Here is the team warming up before the game.

Autumn enjoying some gummies while she watches Nathan play... the game was totally during Auttie's nap time, but she did good! This girl LOVES to be outside!

The purple team played really good!

It was SO hot outside, where is the crisp fall weather? Nathan was a hot and sweaty boy out there!

Here are Autumn and Bonnie pulling leaves off the tree together. They have so much fun together, two little friends!

Nathan throwing the ball in. What a fun day it was... I am so proud of Nathan!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Chocolate Milk, in a wine glass. Can you guess where we are at?

Casino Buffet! And, might I add... thankfully picky Nathan ate to his hearts content, otherwise... that chocolate milk would have cost me $12.99 (the price of his meal)! LOL! For some reason, my kids LOVE eating at buffets!

Look what I found at the buffet. I may, or may not have shared these delicious desserts with the kids. ;o)- P.S. THEY HAD A GELATO BAR!! Yummoyummies!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Goal versus Mondo Beyondo

Goal: Running and completing 10k next month at the Halloween Fun 10k Run!

Mondo Beyondo: Running a Marathon

I am getting closer to next month's goal... I ran a little over 10k tonight on the treadmill. This is the most I have ever ran. I enjoy torturing myself every now and then ;o)- But, I did it.

I am enjoying my Mondo Beyondo class, last week we learned how goals are different from dreams. I won't go into details, because... well, I don't want to give away the class. :o)- But, WOW... some of the realizations and connections you make in Mondo Beyondo are amazing! And, I am only on week 2!

So, does anyone have any costume ideas for me for my 10k run? I am really drawing a blank on a fun costume that I could run (and sweat a lot) in... HMMM.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Soccer Practice

Instead of doing soccer lessons at Vetta, I decided to put Nathan on an actual soccer team this fall. My friend Cammie at work sends her son to a Catholic school that is in the same area as Nathan's Lutheran school. She had her son on the pre-k team last year and told me she was signing him up again this year. I decided to get Nathan on the team, too, so both boys will get to play together. How fun! We have one practice every week, and then most Saturdays they will have a game. This week we have two practices since the practice last week got rained out.

Nathan loves to run, just like Momma! Here they are running around the cones without the soccer balls.

Another practice photo... I hope they get their team shirts on Thursday!

Nathan and Jacob kicking their balls into the goal

Practice involved lots and lots and lots and lots of kicking

Cammie also has a daughter who is 4 months older then Autumn. Here they are sharing some trail mix that BonBons brought.

The girls had a lot of fun playing in the net and getting tangled up. Even Mommy got tangled up in the net while trying to get Autumn untangled. Fun, fun. The coach told me he has a size 15.5 shoe size (wow!) and he has that problem, too! lol! :o)-

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What happened when I asked Nathan to clean his room...

Sometimes the evenings are a little hectic, and the other night I told Nathan to clean up all of the toys off of his floor in his room. Nathan has a wheel barrow in his room that stores most of his cars, trains and planes. Well, I was in the living room cleaning up even more toys while I heard the sounds of him putting his toys away.

I finished picking up the living room, and decided to go in his room to see his progress. Much to my surprise, all of the toys WERE off the floor... but, instead of being in the wheel barrow, they were all on top of his desk. LOL. I had to laugh... because, it wasn't what I was expecting to see when I walked in the room. That is what is so great about 4 year olds, they always seem to find a way to see something in their own little perspective. I told him to pick the toys up off the floor, I didn't tell him to put them in the wheel barrow. LOL. However, he did do quite a good job at balancing everything on the desk.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Japanese Festival at MoBot

The Japanese Festival comes to the Missouri Botanical Gardens every Labor Day weekend, and for several years now I have wanted to see it... Today I did. :) The Japanese garden is beautiful, it houses a 10 acre lake and 4-4.5 acres of land that surrounds the beautiful and serene lake. I didn't get to see the tea house, but the tour guide told us some interesting tidbits about it such as the door to the tea house is raised up, so that you have to step over it to enter... this was to protect the Buddhist monks inside the tea house from intruders bearing weapons (swords!). The monks drank tea because they studied for long hours, and the tea helped keep them awake (go figure!).

Here is a picture of the gravel that has been raked. There is another spot in the garden where there are larger rocks placed in the gravel to symbolize the smaller islands that rest between Japan and China.

Autumn on the steps that lead down to the lake... I was asking her where Momma was and that is why she's pointing to me.

A beautiful photo of Autumn, if I can ignore the blaring binky! heheh

Looking down at the koi

Autumn pointing to the koi, she was making all kinds of cute noises and sounds at the fish

Taiko (drums)

Autumn got this cute little balloon filled partially with water and it has a rubber band on it so you can bounce it back and forth. What a fun day!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Family Night at the Library

The Moms Club I am in had a field trip scheduled at the library for the sand activity for family night. Nathan got to stay up a little bit past his bed time (which he loved) and we went and met up with two other moms. It was a lot of fun! They do a family night at the library every month... the theme this month was sand, next month its games... I may try and take Nathan to some of these when I have time. Especially the cookie decorating one that they have planned in the winter! Yum, yum! Here is the table they had set up with 3 crafts.

The first craft we worked on was layering different colors of sand into a small water bottle. Then, they gave each kid a small container with marbles, beads, tiny seashells, etc. Nathan LOVED the marbles, can you tell? When we got home, he asked me if he could open the bottle and put some of his marbles in it. Silly boy!

The second activity was a door hanger. We used a stencil and made a fish, and then covered the inside with glue. Then, Nathan got to shake different colors of sand on his fish.

Here is Nathan with his crafts. One of my favorites was they taped a piece of sand paper onto a white sheet of paper. Then, you take stencils that they gave you and traced a few shapes on the sand paper. Then, the kids got to color with sidewalk chalk on the rough sandpaper which mimicked concrete. SUCH a neat idea! The kids also got a snack and drink. Of course, Nathan had to have the Cheetos and a Capri Sun. What a nice free program for the library to offer their kids. :o)-

Nathan loves going out with me every so often a little past his bed time. I think I may take him rollerskating or bowling next... he told me he really wants to go rollerskating, so we may try that next. I am not sure if 4 is a good age to try that at, but I know the roller rink on Baptist Church road has a religious songs night and I may take him then because its not too crowded, and it only runs for an hour.
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