Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's a "trashy" post...

Geez!  Not that kind of "trashy".  This is a family blog! ha.ha.
Well, my boys {OK so mostly Ty} decided they HAD to make a recycling/garbage dump in my house the other day. 
I knew this would result in a big mess. 
I knew I would be the one to have to clean it up. 
I also knew if I did not say yes to this the next words to come out of his mouth would be "play dough". I don't feel I need to explain that mess! So I gave the very reluctant "yes". 
Here is what my house looked like afterwards...
Ty in his "Garbage truck".  Safety first!

Yes, Aaron is wearing bubble wrap to do his recycling.  His idea, not mine.

"Oh, look mom!  while I was recycling, something caught my eye...and it's on sale!"

The trail of garbage that needs to be recycled.

A very happy garbage man.

Oh yes, just another rainy day activity at the Grosser Zoo...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Turkey Day!

I would normally be doing an embrace the camera today, but I decided to get in the spirit of Thanksgiving and take a moment to show some gratitude for all the good in my life.  Warning-this could get mushy...

I am so grateful for my family.  I know this sounds generic and everyone says it, so let me break it down for you.  

First off, I have to say My husband is amazing.  He is a wonderful father to our boys and a great support to me.  He works so hard everyday so I can be home with them and I truly appreciate all that he does.  I love him so...

I am so very grateful for my sweet boys.  They make me smile everyday.  I love being their Mom.  They have truly made me a better person. I love them to infinity and beyond!

I am also so very grateful for my Mom.  I would not be who I am today with out her in my life.  I am so lucky to be so close to her.  I know I could go to her with anything and she would do her best to help me.  She has a truly selfless heart.

I am also grateful for my Dad {AKA Clark Grizwald}. He has taught me so much about life and independence.  He has also shown all of us kids how it's OK to cry...especially when it's tears of joy. Thanks Dad!

I have also been blessed with fabulous in laws.  They really care about our little family and I love them for that.  They spend quality time with my boys and it's so good to see.   

I have what you would call a tight knit family and I could go on and on and on...all of my grandparents are wonderful, I have three beautiful, sweet, sometimes snarky sisters, and I have a lovable, funny brother.  My very large and extended family is also truly fabulous. Bottom line though is that we are all there for each other.  That's a great thing.  I know that my family loves me unconditionally and I have to say I love them too!  

I have also been lucky enough to have such a supportive network of truly caring friends. 

I am such a lucky lady.  Take a moment to thank all of the wonderful people in your lives just for being great today.  I just did!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My wild little indians

Here is a fun little project Ty made in preschool out of grocery bags. He LOVES it.  He may even wear it on Thanksgiving.  I'll keep you posted on that. He is really enjoying school and growing up so fast.  So cute!

Aaron made one too! His first grade class had a little thanksgiving feast and they were all wearing their little hats...so fun! Aaron said it was his best day at school EVER!!!  Here he is being silly as usual...I wouldn't mess with him though, that weapon looks a little menacing!

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Homemade Christmas Wreath

OK, so first off I have to give credit where credit is due. I got this great idea from the nato's. {thanks Jami!}   I did put my own little twist on it and I think it turned out great, if I do say so myself!  For the record, this was my first little rendezvous with a hot glue gun.  It definitely won't be my last though!  I think I am addicted.  I am now looking around the house trying to see what else I can make with it.  How have I never had one of these before now?  Anyway, for full instructions, go to Jami's blog as I am terrible with tutorials, but I'll give it a very basic and brief  try.

what you'll need:
a foam floral circle
an old book you don't care about anymore
a hot glue gun with clear sticks 
twine or ribbon

step 1)  
Rip out a bunch of paper from a book you really don't care about anymore.  I know it seems like your breaking some sort of law by doing this, but I promise the library cops have better things to do.

step 2) 
Roll a bunch of them into cone shapes and secure them with your glue gun on low heat.

Step 3) 
Attach with glue gun to the front of your foam circle like picture below.  

step 4)  
once you have completed the circle, cut off about an inch from the narrow side of your cone on about 15 or so {depending on how big your circle is}.  Save your tiny cones!

Step 5) 
Attach these trimmed cones to the outside upper edge of your ring.

step 6) 
Bend each cone toward the last round of attached cones.  Attach to other paper cones with a dot of glue to hold them down.  On my wreath, these end up on the back, so flip it over and move on to your next step.

step 7)  
OK, so I forgot to take a picture of the next step, so I will try to explain as best I can. Basically you repeat step five, but you cut it about an inch and a half and you attach them to the center of the ring.

step 8)  
Next you will basically repeat step 6.  Bend and attach with a dot of glue.

Step 9)  
line the center of your ring with paper and attach your ribbon, or twine for hanging.

step 10)  
glue your trimmings {mini cones} around the center.
Voila!  Here's your finished product! 
You could do this with virtually anything from felt to music sheets.  It's all good.

All in a crafternoon...If you try it out, send me a link.  I would love to see your version!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Maple Apple & Sausage Stuffing

OK, so here's another recipe for your arsenal to pull off a fantastic spread on the big day.  
I have never been much of a stuffing connoisseur until I tried this recipe.  I got it at a cooking show way back in my bakery days.  It's not to hard to make, but you have to plan ahead.  Anyway, hope you like it too!

*prep time: 30 minutes  {plus overnight stand time}
Cook time: 1 1/2 hours total

1 1/2 loaves day-old french bread {you can use whatever favorite you like, I prefer the crusty ones}
2-8 oz. Packages Farmer John skinless maple links
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 large red apples, cored and diced
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery
2 cups apple cider
2-14 1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup slide almonds

Cut bread into 1 1/2 inch chunks and lay flat on baking sheets overnight to dry.
Preheat oven to 350.
Brown sausage in a large skillet breaking it up until it is cooked thoroughly.
Drain fat and melt butter in skillet.  Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. 
Add apples and celery cook for 5 minutes more.
Place stale bread and vegetable mixture in a large mixing bowl.
Slowly our cider and broth over bread, stirring to evenly coat with liquid.
Stir in herbs.
Lightly butter a 9X13 casserole dish.  Pour bread and veggie mixture into dish and sprinkle with almonds.
Bake for at least 1 hour or until temp. reaches 165.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Embrace the Camara: November 18th 2010

It's Thursday already?!?! Times a flyin'!  I know you'll hate me for saying this, but we only have 37 days 'til Christmas!!!!  HOLY MOLY!!! Santa's helper had better get to work so these good little boys of mine get exactly what they want.  ;)  Remember when you were a kid and Christmas couldn't come soon enough?  Then you grow up and you just need a little more time right?

So, here's a kid that has literally been ready for Christmas since December 26th.  He is already sporting his Santa had for goodness sake.  Remember how excited he was when we started decorating last year? {Click here if you forgot.}  Well Aaron is ready and kind of patiently waiting.  Although, if it were up to him we would skip Thanksgiving all together.  Luckily it's not up to him, or we would miss out on some serious grub.

Jolly rogers and Santa hats?  Haven't you ever heard of Nightmare before Christmas?  It's Aaron's Favorite movie.
Link up with Embracers here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Potato Pudding

In the spirit of the most gluttonous and fabulous calorie free holiday known as Turkey day {even though we all know it's not really about the turkey}, I have to post yet another recipe this week.
This one is to rescue you from the same old candied yams.  We all know the ones.  They are oozing with butter and brown sugar and in my family, topped with marshmallows.  Yes, they are a tradition in most homes. Every family has a different version.   Not to say they are bad, they can be quite good actually, but once you try these, you won't be satisfied with them any longer.

1/4 cup butter
3 large sweet potatoes or yams  {roasted}
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. Maple syrup

1/2 cup butter melted
1 1/4 cup coconut
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease a 9X13 pan.
Mix all topping ingredients.  Set aside.
Peel your roasted potatoes  and add to large mixer bowl.  {If you have a large stand up mixer...use it.  If not, a hand mixer works too.}
Add all dry ingredients and mix until slightly lumpy.
* I like to add a handful of chopped pecans to the potato mixture for added texture...
While stirring constantly, add eggs, heavy cream, and vanilla.  Mix well.
Pour into prepared pan.  Sprinkle with topping and bake at 375 covered for about 45-55 minutes or until golden brown.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The New and Improved Green Bean Casserole

Trust me when I say this will jazz up your Turkey day and maybe even get a few picky peeps to try some green veggies.  It is not your average green bean casserole and in my opinion, it is much improved.  I will not and can not ever go back to the same ol' same ol' again.  
It's delish. 

1/2 cup cornflake crumbs or seasoned bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. melted butter + 2 Tbsp. butter unmelted
2 Tbsp. flour
1 cup sour cream
4 cups french style green beans  {I use frozen or fresh}
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
3/4 tsp. minced dehydrated onion
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix melted butter and crumbs in a bowl.  Set aside for topping.
Melt butter in large fry pan.  Stir in flour, pepper, salt, onion, and sugar.
Add sour cream.  Stir until thickened.
Fold in green beans.
Pour into 8X8 baking dish.  
Cover top with Swiss cheese and then sprinkle crumb mixture over the top.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until crumbs are golden and beans are tender.

Enjoy and your welcome.

Monday, November 15, 2010

aaahhh it's fall...

 I just have to say that we are so loving this gorgeous fall weather.  
I feel like we end up skipping over my favorite seasons so much of the time.  We go straight from winter to summer, then summer to winter practically over night.  
I'm left wondering if we ever truly have spring or fall here in Cali.  
So this year we have been lucky enough to get both.  
Here we are in November, almost to Thanksgiving no less, and we've got  mid 70's and beautiful blue skies.  
I'm a happy girl.  
Here's my happy boys.
awww, a little brotherly love.

i got them to pose in a pile of freshly raked leaves...i'm sure you can guess what comes next.
wow.  it really is those little things that make kids so happy.  =)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Eat your vegetables!

So we all know the dinnertime saying "eat your vegetables!" and I have yet to meet a kid that truly enjoys them. I have tried it all...
"Psh...silly mommy, i will never, not ever eat that carrot!"
I am not above bribery...If you eat this piece of broccoli you can watch a show before bed.
If you eat that carrot, we can read an extra book before bed.
And the threats...If you don't eat that pea, you don't get dessert tonight.
and my personal favorite..
If you eat that corn, i will let you pick a piece of candy.
Don't judge. and no, I don't think one cancels out the other.
"You eat it!"
So my latest tactic was to use Ty's friend Mason.  I simply told him that Mason is really REALLY strong because he always eats carrots dipped in ranch.  {everything is good dipped in ranch right?} He is highly competitive so ya, I played him a little.
Guess what?  He believed me!  Not only that, but the whole time he was munching on his lunch that day which included carrots, he was checking out his muscles to see how big they were getting.

Oh, that grubbiness on his belly is not dirt.  It's the remnants of a long lasting tattoo.  I do bathe my kids.  Every night.  I swear.

So now any time someone says, "My, look how big you are growing Ty!"  he simply states, " I eat carrots."
I love this kid!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Embrace the Camera: November 11th 2010

I'm changing it up a bit.  I'm letting "Crazy Gram" get in on the action.  That's right, I said "Crazy Gram".
I know what you're thinking...
"Does her mother-in-law know they call her that?"  
Yes, yes she does.  
Not only does she know we call her that but I believe she secretly embraces it. ha.
For real though, Diana is crazy about her Grand kids and I gather that the feeling is mutual.
My MIL and Aaron.
My MIL with Ty, my niece Hayden, and Aaron.

We all have a little crazy in us right?  Why not embrace it?  
Click here to link up with fellow embracers.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Add a little Hip Hop to Your Day!

Ummm...I'm not quite sure where these kids got their dance genes. It is certainly not from me and it is most definitely not from Jeremy. {Sorry Honey} Yet here they are spontaneously getting down with their little selves.   I LOVE IT!!!

Freakin' Fantastic!!!

Corn Chowder

One of my main staples in the cold months.  I love this dish!  I tweak it often depending on my mood.  You can even make it in the morning and put it in the crock pot so it's all ready for dinner.
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5 slices chopped bacon
1 medium diced onion
1 Poblano or red pepper, diced
2-3 medium celery stalks, chopped
about 2 cups sliced carrots
2 cloves chopped garlic {optional}
1-16 oz. bag frozen sweet white corn
3 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth
4 largish potatoes, cut into bit sized pieces
1-2 tsp salt {to taste}
1/2- 1 tsp pepper {to taste}
1 tbsp butter
A generous handful of cheddar cheese {you can really use whatever you have on hand.}

I like to do this all in one pot to save on dishes.  Chop and prepare all you veggies.  Heat a large soup pot on medium high heat.  add chopped bacon and cook until crispy.  Remove bacon and set aside on a paper towel.  Add butter, onions, peppers, and celery.  Cook until tender.  Add carrots and garlic, cook until fragrant.  Add potatoes, milk and broth; bring to a boil.  Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender.  Add salt, pepper, and corn.  To thicken, remove about 2 cups of the veggies with a slotted spoon and puree with the handful of cheese until smooth.  Return puree to the pot stir in the bacon.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with cheese.  mmm mmm good.

*add in options*
2 cooked shredded chicken breasts
1-4 oz. can diced green chillies
a couple of diced stewed tomatoes
a few jalapenos
a splash of lime with some fresh cilantro
Come up with your own twist and let me know!  I'm always up for something new.  =)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back scratch fevah

buh bu buhm...
These boys LOVE getting their back scratched.  They really get into it.

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Embrace the Camera: November 4th, 2010

I simply had to say, "What's up with Ty's face?" Cool guy police man? Crazy 4 year old?  Not really sure.  I thought it was funny anyway, so I included a couple more. 

Here we are on Halloween night.  At least I got a different smile out of Ty for this one. 

Link up with fellow embracers here.