Monday, November 29, 2010

a turkey day of our very own

Hannah stuffed and stitched this felt turkey head at school, isn't it great? Haha! I think we'll use it every year. Her teacher, Ms. Dains, said she made them with her grandma when she was little and they'd always pin it on a pineapple as a center piece. I love that she passed such a fun little tradition on to her students.

Oh, please pass the rolls! I was so happy they turned out! See below for my mom's recipe...the best rolls I've ever had. Ever.

I had the kids make "place cards" for everyone using little tags tied onto fresh pears.


My brother-in-law, Jon, at the cabin over Thanksgiving weekend. He was last in line on spaghetti night, but he said was thankful anyway. Haha!

A few years back my mom decided to switcheroo her year to do Thanksgiving to accommodate certain siblings {you know who you are!}. For us, that means that we have Thanksgiving every 4 years with my family, every 4 years with Clayton's family, and with no family in between.

This was the "off" year and we had nowhere to go. We decided to give it a go ourselves. Thanksgiving at our own house with our 5 little kids.

I had never cooked a turkey before, but it was the easiest thing ever with the help of one of those oven bags. I cheated and did boxed stuffing and powdered mashed potatoes just for the sake of time and the fact that my kids were only going to take two bites anyway.

It was a lot of work, but super cozy and I was excited that I pulled it off, including a homemade pecan pie {my favorite!}. After we cleaned up we headed off to the cabin for a couple days with Clayton's family, then to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner again on Sunday.

Okay. You HAVE to try these rolls. It's my mom's recipe that she got from her friend Lora years ago. Lora got it from her grandmother and said that the recipe is over 100 years old.

Becky Jo’s Favorite Dinner Rolls

{aka Lora Bingham’s “Grandma’s 100-Year-Old Refrigerator Roll Recipe”}

Makes 2 dozen.

2 1/2 tsp. yeast

1/2 c. butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 c. mashed potatoes (I use instant)

1 c. scalded milk

2 eggs, beaten

5-7 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Mix butter, sugar, salt, mashed potatoes, and scalded milk together in mixer bowl. When cooled add yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly and add eggs. Knead dough in mixer, adding in enough flour to make a stiff, yet slightly sticky dough (5-7 cups). Knead the dough until it pulls away clean from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes on a high spped. Place dough into a large buttered bowl or container and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Let rise in refrigerator 4-5 hours or overnight.

Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough out to a 1/8” thick circle. Using a pizza cutter, cut across the circle 6 times to form 12 triangles (like a pizza). Roll each triangle from the outside in to create a crescent roll. Place a dozen rolls each onto 2 greased cookie sheets. Cover with a light dish towel and let rise 2 hours in a warm place. (I preheat my oven for a minute just to get it warm then turn it off…it makes a great place for the rolls to rise).

After the rolls have risen, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until light golden on top. Brush with butter while still hot.

For cinnamon rolls:

Add extra 1/2 c. sugar, 1 Tbsp. vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. ginger. Refrigerate overnight.

Roll out 20” long by 8” wide ad 1/2 inch thick. Spread with softened butter, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Roll up and cut 24 rolls. Let rise 1-2 hours. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. For frosting when cooled, cream together 1 bag powdered sugar, 1 stick of butter and a teaspoon vanilla.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

north carolina

Surprise! My sister Cami knew my mom was coming, but didn't know that my sister Erika and I were coming too. It was the best to see the expression on her face when she pulled up at the airport.

Breakfast at Toast in Davidson, North Carolina.

Just a little bit of shopping...

Cami's house and two of her three cute kids.

My niece Imogen {she looks just like Cami!}.

I love this shadowbox Cami has in her house...the needlework "klokkestreng" was done by my great-grandmother from Norway, and there she is in the picture with Cami in 1978. The other photo is of my other Norwegian great-grandmother with my dad on her lap, 1952.

Some snippets of our day at the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Photos weren't allowed inside, but check out that balcony!

Craziness at the airport! Just me and Erika with our babies. Help!

This was the second week of November, such a fun trip! I'd never been to my sister Cami's house in North Carolina before, and it was so beautiful there with all the tall trees dressed in fall colors. And any trip with my mom is favorite quote this trip was when she and I had to squeeze into the front seat of the minivan. As she slammed the door she said, "Sorry I'm big butted!" Mom had reserved a rental car at the wrong airport, and since Cami wasn't expecting me and William and Erika and Casch, she had her three kids with her. So we all had to pretend we were clowns in a car! It was a real squish but we made it. Poor Erika sat on the floor in the back and got carsick.

I started a little Christmas shopping on the trip, picked up some Lego Star Wars magnets for Ben at the Lego store, some cute clothes at killer deals at The Children's Place outlet, and a handmade flower pin for Hailey in one of the artsy shops in Davidson.

We were so sad Mom went home after the first day. Not only did we miss laughing about everything with her, but we were sad that Grandpa Stanley was going through such a hard time at the hospital. Mom was so worried about losing him she couldn't stand it, she just had to go home. She was so sweet, she paid for our tickets to go to the Biltmore Mansion without her. That's her favorite place to go when she visits Cami, especially when it's decorated for Christmas and she didn't want us to miss it.

It really was amazing and worth the 2-hours-sharing-the-front-seat drive. Part of it is open for touring, and there were Christmas trees in every room. We were laughing about how all the rooms had buttons at the doorways, one that said "MAID" and one that said "BUTLER."

"How lazy were these people?" Erika giggled.

{The Vanderbilt family that lived there had only one kid!}

But here's the kicker:

They had an indoor pool {pretty crazy for 1895} complete with lights in the bottom of it, and of course...TA-DA! A button at the door that said "VALET" so that Mr. Valet Person could come and help you change out of your bathingsuit...ha!

Will kept screaming through the tour {SUCH a screamer on this trip}, so Cami took him outside since she'd been there a few times before. She had her three kids out there too. Everyone there was looking at us like we were totally insane for bringing so many kids with us. Yeah, we got some dirty looks for sure, haha! It's not exactly a fun place for kids anyway. Zach was so upset he had to spend his day off of school there, but Tate {always the optimist} was saying stuff like, "This place is beautiful! It's beautiful, huh, Mom?"

We ate lunch in the stable house restaurant and later had hot chocolate and ice cream there in the courtyard. The Christmas lights around the mansion sparkled while we loaded 5 cranky kids into the minivan and an old lady gave us the evil eye. It was great. And then I told Erika, "Sorry I'm big butted" since we had to share the front seat for 2 hours on the ride back! We had some really good laughs that night about crazy old grandmas and stuff.

Other than that, Cami and Colby treated us to some of the best Mexican food I've had in my life, and we watched movies, played the Wii and slept in. Ate some more. Went for walks around the neighborhood and in foresty parks and around lakes. nice. Except for Will screaming.

The time came for Erika and I to go home. Cami dropped us off at the airport, lots of hugs and then "BYE!" We thought it was a little weird that the Delta terminal was so deserted when we went inside. "You won't be going home tonight," the lady at the desk informed us. Huh? Apparently an ice storm in Minneapolis meant that our connecting flight had been cancelled.

Yahoo! Another night of vacation for us!

So we called Cami to come back for us, but no answer. No answer. No answer.
So we called Colby, who answered, but was on his way to the Jazz/Bobcats game in downtown Charlotte with the boys. Luckily he was caravanning with a friend and was near the airport, so he stopped by the airport and gave us his car. He and Zach and Tate jumped into their friends car and Colby tried to give us simple directions back to their house and said, "Get thee to a gas station!"

Haha, no kidding! The fuel light was on and we had no clue how to get to Cami's, and of course Will was screaming! So we pulled out the trusty Google Map and found a gas station, and then surprised the heck out of Cami at her house! She was about to dive into a triple chocolate cheesecake on her own...darn! She ended up having to share it with us, haha! And when the boys all got home from the game, Zach cried because he had to sleep on the floor AGAIN! He couldn't wait for his pesky aunts to leave and get the heck out of his bedroom.

Flying home without Mom's help made us nervous with the babies. If one of us had to go to the bathroom, the other had to juggle the two. Will screamed for a while on the first flight and I'm sure I was beet red and sweating before we landed. BUT, the benefit of getting your flight cancelled is that sometimes the only available seats on the next flight are in FIRST CLASS. Oh yes. It was great. On the connecting flight Erika and I had seats together, room to stretch, the babies slept almost the whole way, and the food was actually pretty good.

I love girl trips, thank you Mom! And thanks Cami and Colby for letting us stay {and especially to Zach for giving up his bedroom}.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

william's blessing day

Oh, look at this little guy. Three months old.
His blessing day was today, November 7, 2010...a beautiful blessing given by his dad, followed by a few cozy hours spent with family packed into our little house, and plenty of food. I love days like that.

P.S. This was Ben's blessing outfit too!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the quiet book

A new little treasure I found at the library. Sweet and simple, it shows all kinds of ways that "quiet" can be. Perfect for settling little ones down before a trip to Sleepyland. Find it here.