Monday, January 26, 2009

Pumpkin Pop-sicles - Cooking Class with the Kids

This recipe is so easy anybody can make it!

Today we are enjoying one of the cooking class projects done by the kids and we all highly recommend the recipe to our friends of ALL ages!

Pumpkin Pie-sicles anyone? They are not only an incredibly healthy dessert/snack but they are delicious too! YUMMY.

We followed the recipe from Family Fun Magazine, except we substituted coconut milk for the cream. Also, be sure to get the mixture nice and creamy in your blender, food processor, or vitamix machine before putting in your molds or dixie cups.

Mike came home from work for lunch so he could sample one and gave it 2 thumbs up!

This recipe is a winner folks - try it for yourself! What a great way to sneak those orange veggies in on the kids :-)

PS Oh, we had some leftover after we filled the molds last night, so we warmed it and had it with supper - it was awesome!

Pumpkin Pie-sicles

These butternut squash ice pops taste just like the classic Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

2 1/2 lbs. butternut squash
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup light cream (we used coconut milk)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Step 1
To make a batch, cut a butternut squash into quarters and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2
Boil, bake, or microwave the squash until it's soft. Let the squash cool a bit before scooping its flesh into a medium-size bowl.

Step 3
Add pure maple syrup, light cream, and pumpkin pie spice to the bowl. Use a potato masher to mush the squash and blend all of the ingredients.

Step 4
Spoon the mixture into ice pop molds (we were able to fill 10), add sticks, and freeze for at least 6 hours before serving.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Tracking New Year's Goals with Smiley Joe

Okay... you may be asking WHAT is with the big ol' smiley face today (interestingly following the big ol' Grinch post)?

Well... I'm just happy today I guess. Now you of course ask, "why?". Well, I'm feelin' good today because I had taken some time in the last few month of 2008 to contemplate my life over the past year and decide on some changes I want to make in 2009. So, some simple, but important goals were set for myself to attain during 2009... some may term this process as making New Year's Resolutions.. call it what you wish.

In a nutshell, my 2009 mission statement could read, "To take the time needed for myself to strengthen me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically in 2009". Self is a thing that I have neglected in recent years, my cup is empty when it should be runneth over - therefore... this year I'll be requiring a refill.

My smiley little friend is my new icon that will be my reminder and my tracking device via a fabulous free online goal tracker program I found at Joe's I highly recommend this helpful tool for anyone of any age to track daily goals/habits (good or bad), and it also includes an optional log to add any details you want to remember. I may just get my kids using this to track their goals as well.... it's super easy, quick to do and fun. You'll even get an email from "Joe" after a few days if you have not recorded your progress - a helpful reminder to keep you on track and be accountable to.

Anyway... so far so good here with goal keeping, but I have a long year ahead to keep myself on task - I'm relying on my "Smiley Joe" to keep me in check!

**You can see my progress too by simply checking the chart on the right margin of my blog. If you see me having difficulty, please feel free to send a note of encouragement - I probably need it!

Monday, January 05, 2009

December Disaster

A few weeks into the month of December, something completely unexpected, unplanned, and unwanted occurred in my life... it was basically a haze of last minute activities and events that left me in a state somewhere between Eboneezer Scrooge and the Grinch. My friend who has always deemed me a "Christmas elf" was in shocked confusion all month, as was my husband, family and admittedly myself. Although many of the activities were "fun" for the kids, they really were not for me since I somehow ended up being at the forefront of planning and organizing most of them, I'm still not sure how I got this job over & over again - various parties for the kids in groups they belong to and so on. But the one that took the cake, or that you might say was the straw that broke the elf's back was the last minute request to put together a children's Christmas program for church - one that would take up the entire church service (by last minute I mean a week and a half before the date it was to be performed). Did I say "yes" to this insane request... YES!!! what was I thinking??? - but never again. All in all everything went well with the program and all the other events, but I had nothing left to give at home... the Christmas elf was no more this year... resulting in few decorations, even fewer gifts, next to nothing of our usual family holiday traditions... sad I know. The kids did fine though, but thought mom was a bit "off" this year. Christopher's wise words to me were to" just say 'no' more mom..." I added that to my resolution list for 2009.

Christmas eve & day were very nice though - surprisingly quiet. ALL the company we expected cancelled. We were alone and it was lovely. Christmas eve we attended a lovely service at our church that brought me back to where I had wanted to be all month - focused on Christ with peace in my heart. Late that night we even watched my favorite holiday film It's A Wonderful Life - something we had not been able to do on Christmas eve for a number of years and I had missed it. We ended up having a very relaxing Christmas Day and holiday vacation due to repeat weather situations causing cancellations, poor travel and so on.

New Years was a blast though... we travelled to Fargo to see a few families who are dear to us and bring in the New Year in style with lots of yummy food, fun music and great conversation. It was a pretty happening party made up of: 6 adults, 2 teens, 1 preteen, 4 kids, & 2 dogs.... Ya, if you do the math, the big people were really outnumbered!

Now we are in January and life resumed it's normal state today with homeschool, activities and schedules... but at least we had some down time to end the year :-)
I have made some very firm decisions about how we spend our time next December and plan to stick by them no matter what, after all I have 11 months to practice saying "NO!". I should have it down by then huh?

Next year, I'm confident I'll be back to my normal self in December.... ???? Let's hope anyway :-)