Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We celebrated the day by having 21 friends over to share turkey and sides and fun. We had 10 kids under the age of 8 so it was a lively occasion :) Only one major mishap happened and it involved a pie loving squirrel. The much loved French silk pie was placed just outside our back door to keep it cool. Within 10 minutes a squirrel had opened the plastic container and taken out a big chuck of pie. When we ran out to try and save the pie he took his chunk and proceeded to eat it in a tree right in front of us just to taunt us. I never thought a squirrel would be able to get through a plastic, well sealed pie container but it just goes to show how I underestimate the power of chocolate. The pumpkin pies were just fine :)
Well, this week we were supposed to be posting our favorite fall pictures. Funny thing is, I am the only one who is not really busy preparing for Thanksgiving. We will be going to Gretchen’s house because our baby is due any day now and we’ll have to take off to pick him up. The other funny thing is that we have hardly any good pics from the fall. We were sick almost the whole month of October, so we didn’t get to take multiple trips to the orchard like I’d hoped. Oh well, here are a few pics to make you laugh.
A Sustainable Model for Birthdays November 18, 2009
Because we’d like to have a bunch of kids, Andrew decided early on that we needed “a sustainable model” for birthdays. Those of you who know him will not be surprised by this terminology :) Basically, we didn’t want to have huge parties for the first couple kids and then not be able to keep it up for the others. Consequently, we have pretty low-key birthday celebrations.
Ruth is turning 4 on Thanksgiving this year and we just celebrated her birthday a few weeks early since it will likely be busy on the actual day (it adds to the chaos that the baby is due 3 days after her b-day). This was the first year that we had “little friends” over for Ruth’s birthday. The past few years, we have just had a couple special adults come over to celebrate by joining us for dinner or dessert and present opening. Similar to the Naugles, we usually let the birthday kids choose special foods to eat that day. I also usually get a mylar balloon from the dollar store. We have varied when we open the gifts. When possible, we have done it at breakfast so they can enjoy new toys during the day.
Ruth’s celebration this year was tailored to what she likes- we dressed up and had a tea party with 3 of her girl buddies. We used real china and had special tea party foods, complete with mini chocolate eclairs for dessert. We asked that the friends go low key in the gift department, as I wanted it to be more about the experience than the gifts. Their gift was fitting- a tea cup with roses :)
Happy Birthday!! November 16, 2009
This is Birthday week! We are going to be talking about how we celebrate our children’s birthdays in an affordable fashion.
At the Naugle household we love to celebrate. Each birthday starts with a special breakfast complete with decorations. For some of my girls this means bacon and eggs for the others it means cinnamon rolls. We then usually try to do or go somewhere fun like swimming at our local YWCA or to a movie or the zoo. Dinner that night will be the child’s choice and we end the evening with cake or pie. Sometimes these festivities include family and friends and sometimes it is just our family. We have 2 birthdays right after Christmas and it is often difficult to do actual birthday parties with lots of friends so we try and make it special with just our family. We also end the day by talking about and praying for the birthday girl. It is fun to incorporate each of their personalities into making their birthday special. For our youngest this year we just did a dance party after nap time and ate pizza and played outside. She had a great time! Our second really likes big parties and her birthday is in July so we have often just invite families to come bbq with us in the park where there is a wading pool and playground. The kids swim and play while we grill and I do not have to clean my house afterward :). Our oldest was born on January 6 and this has proven really difficult to even attempt birthday parties for with all the partying from Christmas and New Years so we usually just let her pick an activity that we all do with her. Our third was born 3 days after Christmas and her celebration usually includes a pizza dinner with her good friend Ruth :)
Birthdays for us do not always include a big production but we do try and take into consideration how each girl likes to celebrate.
Freezer Cooking Potpourri November 13, 2009
I admit I’m not a freezer cooker. I love to cook, therefore freezing entire entrees/dinners doesn’t really appeal to me….that’s the honest truth! I know it saves time (and sometimes money!) but I just like to cook it – then eat it! :-)BUT, there are some things that I DO prepare ahead of time and store in the freezer to make dinner prep easier. Here is a potpourri of items you might find in my freezer:
- Breads/Muffins (Banana, Zucchini, Zucchini-Pineapple)
- Breakfast Items (Buttermilk Pancakes -recipe below, Waffles)
- Meats (Cooked and shredded Chicken, Cooked Ground Beef, Turkey Burgers Mixture, Meatball Burgers Mixture)
- Meatballs (Italian Sausage Meatballs -recipe below, Ham Balls)
- Fruit (Rhubarb, Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Bananas, Peaches -ready for Waffle toppings, Smoothies, Coffee Cakes, Freezer Jam, or a Dessert)
- Shredded Zucchini (portioned out in 2 cups bags for quick breads)
- Potatoes (cooked and diced to be tossed with Lipton Onion Soup Mix and baked)
2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 T. sugar
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 t. vanilla
Combine, let sit 5 minutes and cook on greased skillet! Super fluffy and YUMMY! (I’m not a pancake girl and I LOVE these!!!)
Italian Sausage Meatballs
2 lbs ground beef
1 T. course ground fennel seeds (I don’t grind mine…too lazy….)
2 bay leaves, crushed
1 T. dried parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
4 T. water
1/8 t. red pepper flakes, optional
Mix, then let stand in fridge for 1 hour. Mix again and form into balls. Place on foiled and greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees approximately 20 minutes, or until done. Meatballs may be frozen pre-cooked or raw. If you choose to freeze them raw be sure to freeze them completely on the cookie sheet first, THEN put them into a freezer bag for storage. (Otherwise you will just have a big frozen lump of meat rather than individual balls….).
Enjoy with Spaghetti, in a crock pot with sauce as an appetizer, or with marinara and mozzarella on a stadium/hoagie roll for a Meatball Sandwich.
GREAT sale starting today at my favorite place to buy clothes: DownEast Basics!
Take an extra 50% off all clearance with code: FALL50. Get there quick and have fun! Super cute skirts for $12 are my favorite find. Remember to check ALL shipping options upon checkout, as I often find UPS to be a dollar or so cheaper than the default USPS.