Friday, December 23, 2005

Enjoying a daughter's talents...

for wrapping my Christmas presents!! WOO*HOO! My 13 y.o. hasn't yet realized the hassle of wrapping presents and finds it she is wrapping all the kids gifts other than the couple lil girls gifts I already wrapped this morning, and her own of course. What a relief let me tell ya! I fully recommend taking any help you can find, especially if you have a large family.

As for the other kids, they are quite rowdy today and driving me really nuts. My house is getting leveled, which is not ok with me, and getting into things, etc,... The baby is sleeping now, and lunch is cooking. Soon I will begin preparing the chocolate cream pie, and festive fudge we will be having for our family dinner on Sunday. I'll post the recipes below:

A chocolate cream pie with whipped topping.

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, cut in small
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pastry shell, 9-inch, baked
Chocolate Cream Pie Whipped Topping
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In top of a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch,
chocolate, and salt. Stir in milk. Cook mixture over
boiling water, stirring constantly, for about 10
minutes, or until chocolate mixture has thickened.

Continue to cook for about 10 minutes longer, stirring
Gradually stir half of the hot chocolate mixture into
beaten egg yolks; return egg mixture to the double
boiler, stirring well. Cook over boiling water,
stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from
heat; stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Pour
filling into a baked pie shell.

Chill chocolate cream pie thoroughly in refrigerator,
about 3 to 4 hours. In a mixing bowl, beat cream with
confectioners' sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
until stiff. Spread over chocolate cream pie and
return to refrigerator until serving time. Store
leftover chocolate cream pie in refrigerator
3 cups (18-ounce) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14-ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
(NOT evaporated milk)
Dash salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Line 8- or 9-inch square pan with foil. Butter foil;
set aside.

Line medium-sized heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt
chips with the sweetened condensed milk and salt. Remove from heat;
stir in nuts if desired and the vanilla. Spread evenly
into prepared pan.

Chill 2 hours or until firm. Turn fudge onto cutting
board; peel off foil and cut into squares. Store
covered in refrigerator.

Yield: about 2 pounds.

Enjoy the special weekend with your families.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Our Cookie Decorating Adventure

Our cookie decorating party had a major kink in it: Aiden had a fever, so our friends didn't come over afterall. What a bummer! We still made cookies amongst ourselves, though, and my dad happened to stop by. Here's one of elated Mikey, and I will put the rest in the yahoo album named Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gingerbread Road

OK, maybe not Gingerbread ROAD, but definitely Gingerbread House! My dad brought me over a ready to decorate gingerbread house for my birthday which is tomorrow. He was afraid he wouldn't be able to come tomorrow as we are expecting some snow and freezing rain. Of course, I had to open it tonight...hehe...and of course I had to jump right in and decorate it. Wow, let me just say it was not as easy as I had thought! What a mess!!! I am so glad I waited until the boys were in bed, so it was just me and Felicia. I'll definitely stick to graham cracker houses with the rest of the kids. =D

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not Again!

Believe it or not, there is yet another health crisis going on. Not a big deal, for that I am thankful, but it is enough to have kept me out of church yet another Sunday. I am getting pretty upset, and I miss being together at services with my family. :(

We missed about 4 weeks back when Aiden had the Mystery Rash which we couldn't be sure was contagious or not. Then we got to go back, and I have had bronchitis for a month, and a killer sinus infection. We've been going anyhow, but it had been getting harder and harder trying to keep from coughing and having to excuse myself. I hadn't been able to get to a doctor, since we had a lapse in our health insurance. I finally was able to go to the dr with having our insurance reinstated and start on meds last week. I can finally sleep at night. What a relief! I've still got a cough, but not like before. We missed a week or two here or there from me being just so exhausted and us being unable to get there in time. We go to the 8:30 am services since Mike has to work for noon on Sunday, so we cannot go to the 11am one.

Then, just as things were looking up, Danny developed pink eye and went to the Dr. on Thursday. He was starting to clear up and what happnes last night? Yeah, you guessed it...Little Aiden developed a really nasty case of pink eye, also in both eyes. So yet again we were unable to go to Church. Am I crazy to feel like we are being attacked here? I don't want to be one of those people who blame every little thing on the evil one, I am careful not to give him too much credit, I will not put my focus on him. It IS starting to feel that way though. Our church's Christmas play is tonight, and dh has to go since he volunteered to help in the nursery, however our own kids will be unable to attend and enjoy it now because I am unable to go. NICE! AARGH!

Please send up a prayer for us, friends, as you are able. Thanks, and I am enjoying reading your news as well.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Snow Fun!

We went out sledding this afternoon. It was fun, but didn't last long, as lil people got wet and cold before too long. We went home and had some homemade peppermint hot chocolate, made with white chocolate.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

If you haven't tried this, you're missing out! Since this is dh's only weekend off we are celebrating all weekend. This recipe came from a Big Y supermarket magazine they give out free. It didn't sound all that great, until we TRIED it. YUUUUMM! See the picture for the finished result.

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 oz. white chocolate morsels
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
-red food coloring (optional)
-prepared whipped topping
4-6 peppermint sticks or candy canes

In a medium saucepan over med-low heat, heat milk and
cream to a simmer, stirring often. Mix in Chocolate.
Whisk until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add
peppermint extract and stir. Slowly add food
coloring, a couple of drops at a time, stirring
between additions until desired color is reached.

Pour into mugs and top with whipped topping; garnish
with whole peppermint stick or candy cane.
4-6 servings yielded

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Christmas Tree Hunting!

Well, we went to a nice Christmas Tree farm nestled in a nice Agawam neighborhood. Basically someone has a very HUGE back yard. We drove thru their driveway and down a lil dirt road and there it was. There were two tractors giving rides down to the trees. We got out, found our tree and watched Mike saw it down. I think it was extra special for the boys and Felicia to see their own dad cut down their tree, as I bragged to them how strong and smart their dad was. Then someone gave us a hand carrying it to the tractor. They netted it up for us and helped carry it to the car. The kids also enjoyed some free hot chocolate inside their tiny little gift shop. It was fun, but I was disappointed that I was unable to get a picture for our photo Christmas cards I need to send out. My batteries died!!! I could not find the charger.

We returned home and fought with the tree a good long time, since it was not cut perfectly even it was very difficult! Mike ended up having to go back out and buy some fancy shmancy tree stand that cost more than the tree did!! How awful is that~ Anyhow, the tree is up and that counts for a lot! I quickly strang up some lights and grabbed myself a couple pics of the children. They are not great, but neither is my patience. I just had to rush. I'm feeling that Christmas is creeping up on us, and I am really wanting to send our cards out!