Friday, October 26, 2012

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

 Some of the pie pumpkins I had around the house were getting tired.  I had to either cook them up or toss them out.  So, I roasted the pumpkin for puree to stick in the freezer and roasted up the seeds for a fun snack.   I even saved some of the seeds to plant for next year.  We have not had luck growing pumpkins, but we'll try again!
Have you carved your pumpkin yet?  We are doing that this weekend. Probably with 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' on in the background.   Well, if you are looking for something to do with all those seeds, here is the recipe!  Bake up a batch!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Seeds from 2 pumpkins, rinsed
2 tsp melted butter
salt and pepper to taste
4 or so dashes of Lea and Perrins
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion powder
Spread on cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.
Here's a picture of the sunset the other night.  My kids noticed it and thought it was the most beautiful thing they had seen.  It was.  I just love when they point things like this out to me, causing me to pause and be grateful. 
On another note...I am working on the kiddos closets this weekend.  We have some great neighbors who gave us some shelving that they were going to toss out.  I picked up some bins from Target and we plan to figure out what to do with the shelving this weekend.  I'll keep you posted!  It amazes me what one 7-year-old can do to her closet without even trying. Geesh. 

Still Before

There are great ideas in my head for this closet. And her brother's. It's just trying to get them all to work together that is the tricky part.  Stay tuned!

What about all of you?  What are you working on this weekend?  Any cooking or projects going on? 

Linking up to:
Ladies Holiday
Tatertots and Jello
52 Mantels
Life Rearranged

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Hedgehog Cookies

I saw an idea like this on pinterest, but couldn't find a source or recipe. So I decided to use our favorite Christmas cookie recipe and play around with it today. The Hegehog version is fun and a great treat to have while snuggling up with a couple of good books by one of my favorite authors, Jan BrettBe sure you check out her website. She has some fun stuff on there for parents and teachers!

Snow Balls (Mexican Wedding Cakes)

1 C softened butter (use real butter)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c powdered sugar (plus more for rolling when done)
2 1/4 c flour
1/4 c finely chopped pecans

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla.  Work in flour salt and nuts until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until set, but not brown.  While warm, roll in powdered powdered sugar. Cool completely. Roll in sugar again.

Freezes well. When you take them out, thaw in fridge, then put out.  Otherwise powdered sugar gets pasty. 


Hedgehog cookies
After mixing all ingredients, form in to hedgehog shapes and bake.
When out of oven, place 2-3 chocolate chips on the body of the hedgehog.
Sprinkle on crushed pecans for the prickles.
Melt some chocolate chips and put in the corner of a Ziploc bag. Snip the very tip...a very small amount...of the corner and use it to add the eyes and nose.  (I used a toothpick and it was difficult. That's why one doesn't have eyes.)
Let set in refrigerator. 
Eat these cookies while you are reading The Mitten (or any of her other books that feature a hedgehog...this one just happens to be my favorite) to your kiddos. 
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gettin' It Together: Organizing My Time

October is over half over and I'm feeling better about getting organized for the holidays.  There are many things on my list that I haven't crossed off yet, but I'm ok with that.  Life is still going on here and I can still say that I'm making progress toward a calm Christmas season. 

Since coming up with my cleaning schedule, I've been thinking about my time and how I use it.  I get off task easily, especially if I don't have a goal or plan for my time.  So, I started looking at planners and printables. What I found didn't work.  There were either too many components I wouldn't use or not enough space to write everything down. 
Did I mention that in my previous life I was a teacher?  Well, what I kept coming back to was a lesson plan book. I found a printable and editable lesson plan document at Luckeyfrog's Lily Pad. If I was teaching, this is exactly what I would use.  I like that I can punch it and throw it right in my binder.  I'm loving this binder idea!  How great is it to have everything right in one place! This will definitely help me stay organized during the holiday season and well beyond!
Right now I fill it in the old-fashioned way...with a pencil.  Each day is different so each day the schedule looks a bit different.  I don't follow my schedule to the minute, but in my head it works great to think of the day in chunks of time, each of which has a task. Play time, cleaning, dinner prep, blog/internet time, etc.  I've been following my 'schedule' for close to a week now and so far so good.  That doesn't mean that at the end of the day I followed it all and completed each task.  You have to give yourself some wiggle room!
How about you guys?!  Do you need to schedule your time at all or are you great at keeping it all straight in your head?  Any tips or ideas?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Photo Friday

This is a photo I took for the daily Instagram challenge set up by Fat Mum Slim.  It's fun even if you don't have an iPhone!  Use the list as prompts and reasons to get your camera out.  It's so fun to look for these different photo opportunities!
This particular day's theme was 'Emotion'.  We picked up paint at Lowes to start Noah's room and they were so thrilled to see the Christmas decorations up.  Just look at her face!  I love it too!
I have made huge progress on my home management binder and hope to show it to you next week. Right now I'm looking for different paper to decorate the front.  I want it to be more fun-looking than it is now. 
Other than keeping up with the organizing, here's what I'm up to today:
painting Noah's room
freezing pumpkin puree I made yesterday
putting the finishing touches on a wreath I made for my Mom's birthday
prepping the house for my parents' visit (Dad is going to help me with a couple of projects)
Plus cheering on the Fierce Unicorns in a soccer game tomorrow!
Have a great weekend everyone! 
Linking up at

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Best, Creamiest Mashed Potatoes You've Ever Tasted

Ok. Maybe that name is a little over the top.  But maybe not.  Try them and decide for yourself. 
I tweaked Pioneer Woman's Creamy Mashed Potatoes until they were just right for us.  I make them for Thanksgiving, Christmas, sometimes Easter, New Year's Day,  National Anthem Day, Grandparent's Day and Arbor Day.  This week I made them on meatloaf day.  Here's how I do it when I don't need to make 5 pounds of them.
Dark picture...we've had a lot of rainy days round these parts. 
Creamy Mashed Potatoes Just For Us
5 or 6 Russet potatoes
1 stick butter
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 to 1 tsp Lowry's seasoned salt
Splash to 1/4 cup half and half or milk
Peel and cut up the potatoes. Cover with water and boil the potatoes until fork tender. If there is any resistance at all, cook a bit longer.  When ready, drain.  Mash the potatoes with the burner on low heat.  This helps some of the water evaporate. Turn burner off and add butter, cream cheese, Lowry's and pepper. Mash into the potatoes. Add the half and half and continue mashing. You can add more until you reach your desired consistency. Transfer to a baking dish and either server immediately or keep warm in oven until your other amazing dishes are ready.

Linking up at

Stringtown Home
The Winthrop Chronicles
High Heels and Grills
My Turn (For Us)

Gettin' It Together: Making Do With What You Have

Today I'm working in the laundry room and hallway.  We have a good-sized laundry room and I have a vision.  It is going to be a mudroom of sorts.  These are the pictures that I have pinned. Check out more here.
This is most likely a long way off.  There are many little things we need to get done first.  I think a reasonable goal would be sometime in 2013.  I hope. 

Pinned Image
Pinned Image
Pinned Image

In the mean time, I need to be content with the way we are set up now. We use our garage entrance 99% of the time so that is where our things end up. There is a closet there that we use for shoes, coats, vacuum, mittens and hats, and so on.  This is what I have come up with and it works for now. 

I had this 3-drawer plastic unit from my old classroom.  The bottom drawer holds shoes. The second drawer is umbrellas and rain gear. The top drawer is mittens, hats and scarves. On top is a basket that holds soccer gear and boots are next to it.  This works because 1: everything is put away appears tidy and 2: it was free.  :)
I'm a rather impatient person.  Waiting to start this project is very difficult for me.  There just isn't time right now.  I just need to rest in where we are right now and be happy for what I have now and am able to do with it. 
Do you have anything you are making do with until you can do what you'd really like?  What is it?
Yesterday I was going through a box of kids' papers and came across this. Too funny.  It's on a paper towel.  Kayla said our hearts are going out toward each other and we both have kissy lips.  This makes me smile.
If you are enjoying these posts, become a follower by clicking on the right side. Follow Prairie Girl to Southern Belle on Facebook by clicking on the right as well.  On Facebook I'll let you know when there's a new post up, share photos, recipes I'm trying and more!  It would be fun to get come conversations and words of encouragement going on there!
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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stay Home Day and Dog Treats

Do you ever feel like you need a 'stay home day'?  I do.  things were a little crazy this week so we're taking it easy.
After soccer and a birthday party on Saturday, we relaxed. Not having somewhere to be or on the immediate to do list was so nice. 
While my guys napped and Kayla played in her room, I made treats for Moo.  Since they are so easy to make and use ingredients I have on hand anyway, I just can't buy treats from the store.
Dog Treats
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup skim milk
1/3 c butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
Mix dry ingredients in mixer. Add butter. Mix. Add egg, milk and peanut butter. Mix well. Roll out and either cut into pieces with pizza cutter or a little cookie cutter.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool and give 'em to your buddy! 
These are fun to give as a gift to your fellow dog people. Just be sure to tell them who they are for!
After waiting a couple of days for me to get around to making them, our little buddy was pretty happy. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Photo Friday

Fall fun up on the mountain!
Linking up at

Gettin' It Together: Cleaning Schedule

I don't know what it says about me that in order to get things done I need a schedule.  But I do. 

I need to spread the work out.  If I don't, I never feel like I'm done. Everything is on my mental to-do list.  Sure, I might have folded 5 loads of laundry  and put it all away(not likely), vacuumed AND cleaned the bathrooms; but in my head the dusting and mopping need to be done, the windows need washing, the appliances need to be wiped down and our closets need going through. 
If I break the work up over the course of a week and decide ahead of time what 'extra' tasks I will tackle, I'm much better off.  I can get those jobs done, check them off the list and then relax because I accomplished what I intended to do for the day. 
If not, I can take a shortcut and it is on the schedule for next week. One week won't hurt anyone. 
So, here's what I came up with.  I'm making this into a printable and putting it in my binder to be referred to any time. 
Daily Cleaning Schedule
Appliances: Wipe down every appliance.  Stove (scour if needed), dishwasher, mixer, washer, dryer, fridge...anything else you may have.
Laundry: wash, dry, fold and put away
Floors: vacuum/sweep and mop
Zone: 15 minutes for extra job
Surfaces: Wipe all counter tops (kitchen and bathroom), moving items to clean behind and underneath; mirrors; dust; vacuum and mop. Basically, clean anything that has a flat surface. Put items back in their home if they don't belong here.
Laundry: Beds
Floors: vacuum/sweep
Zone: 15 minutes
Bathrooms: Showers and tubs, toilets, garbages Aren't you glad you did the counters yesterday?  Don't you feel like you worked ahead?
Laundry: at least one load done and put away
Floors: vacuum/sweep
Zone: 15 minutes
Bedrooms: straighten bedrooms as needed. Put away anything that is out and shouldn't be.
Laundry: at least one load done and put away
Floors: vacuum/sweep
Zone: 15 minutes
Living areas: straighten up as needed and declutter. Put anything away that shouldn't be out.
Laundry: at least one load done and put away
Floors: vacuum/sweep/mop
Zone: 15 minutes
Laundry: at least one load done and put away.
Sundays are for relaxing and recharging. Maybe some meal planning with a good, old movie on. 
Zone:  Pick one and work on it for 15 minutes.  Ideas include:
door frames
carpet edges
under furniture
craft supplies
etc. etc. etc.
There you go.  My schedule in a nutshell.  If I don't get to something, I don't stress. It will be there next week.

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And here's another picture from today just because.
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall Around The House

The weather is cooling down. We had our fireplace on for a while today! Pumpkins are everywhere and things are just feeling cozy.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea, sit in a comfy chair and look around!  I'm linking up at The Inspired Room for Fall Around the House. Head on over there and find some great ideas!

Gettin' It Together: Pantry

I'm taking the month of October to get our house in order.  Nothing crazy, just getting our house in order and running smoothly. 

I thought I'd start in the kitchen, specifically the pantry, since my family insists on being fed ever day.  Someone said the kitchen is the heart of the home.  If you're like me, that's where you spend most of your time.  It only makes sense to get things organized!  Make things easier on yourself! Enjoy the space you spend so much time in!
Here's what I ended up with. Sorry for the poor lighting in the photos! The pantry is in a hallway and is a bit dark. I Instagrammed them in hopes to make them a bit brighter.
Looking in.  Mason jars are a great way to organize. Cute and cheap!
On the floor: Extra jugs of things like water and vinegar. I use 3 drink buckets to hold bottles of water and paper towels.  Paper towels are obviously on my list for this week.

At the grocery store, I asked for a banana crate and they gave me one!  Holds cookbooks perfectly! This sits on the floor under the shelves.
My grocery list is on a clipboard that I covered with cute paper hangs in the pantry.  I just used a shower curtain hook that we weren't using. 
These buckets hold the labeled items and are easy to access for the kids...and to put things away.  For the labels, I just used regular mailing labels and painted them with a couple thin coats of chalkboard paint.  Perfect!  (I don't have a Silhouette, but would love one!)
I hung clothes pins on the shelf with some twine and this is where the kids hang up their lunch boxes. It uses some of the dead space between the floor and first shelf. 
I added some shelf liner to a lot of the shelves that either had books or mason jars.  These are my most used cookbooks and my recipe cards are stored in Grandma's cute little loaf tin. To the right, more mason jars holding bread crumbs and quinoa. 
Cute basket found on clearance holding packages.   Some old spices found at my grandmas. To the left is a big enamelware bowl that holds all the lids and bands for the jars not in use.
For now, this is here.  It adds something cute and fun, but I would rather have it in the kitchen.  There are just a few other things I'd like to do in the kitchen and this would be a finishing touch.  I do like it here for now. 

You don't need a big pantry to put these ideas into use!  You could store things in mason jars with labels.  The big things is to get a sort of uniform look. I have many different containers for storing, but the labels bring it all together. 

Linking up at
Romance on a Dime
Stringtown Home
Tip Junkie
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Sugar Bee Crafts
Not Just a Housewife
Winthrop Chronicles
High Heels and Grills


Friday, October 5, 2012

Gettin' It Together

Today I'm wondering "Why does it feel like all I do is pick up?". Well, the answer is simply 'because I am'.
I need a plan!  I know that I work better on a schedule. I always have.  So, why don't I have one at home? I have had one in the past and it worked well.  When we moved I let it go and never got back to it.  It's been about 3 years.  It's time.
No more of this
There are a bunch of bloggers taking on the 31 Days challenge at Nesting Place.  They are blogging about one topic every day for the month of October.  I really thought about doing this, but it's just not an attainable goal for me. I am going to have a goal for October though.  It's called Gettin' It Together.  There are too many things that are going undone and I'm tired of it. 
It's time to get things organized and implement a few systems to help keep it all up.  October is a great month to do this before all the family get togethers and Christmas decorations.  The house is going to be clean...even the once or twice a year things. My workspace will be defined and organized. The kids will have workspaces. There will be a laundry system. Laundry is my nemesis.
This month I'll post about what is working and what isn't. I'm going to keep it all here.
Come back. Ask about it. Keep me going on this!  Do you have any systems in place that really help you run your house smoothly?  Please share!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

Yesterday I came up with this recipe based on my Sour Cream Banana Bread.  This is what I came up with. 
3 cups sugar
1/2 cup regular, salted butter, softened (1 stick)
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-15oz can pumpkin
2/3 cup sour cream
3 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 Tbs nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and sour cream. Mix well.  Add flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well. Add chocolate chips if using.
Pour into 2 loaf pans that have been buttered. Bake for 70 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  (check it at 60 minutes, but it took me 70 minutes)
Make it! Enjoy it! Give a loaf to a neighbor! Or stick it in the freezer and keep it for a day you need it!
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Spiced Party Pecans Recipe

Spiced Party Pecans
1/2 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 egg white
1 lb pecan halves or chopped pecans
In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon and salt- set aside.
In larger bowl, beat egg white and stir in pecans until coated.  Pour dry mixture over nuts and stir until coated. Spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 min. at 300. 
I bake line my pan with foil.  You could spray it as well, but it peels off easily. Just break them apart.
These are yummy on their own and are often out for guests at our house during Christmas, but this time I used chopped pecans and added them to my salad. 
Apple Pear Salad
Add all ingredients to taste.
chopped apple
chopped pear
lettuce and/or baby spinach
bleu cheese crumbles
Spiced Party Pecans
I didn't add any dressing because there are so many flavors in this salad, but I will be trying this recipe as soon as I can.  Yum!
Robin Miller's Pomegranate Vinaigrette
This week's menu:
scrambled eggs with cheese
yogurt with fresh fruit and granola
Slow Cooker Irish Oatmeal
Apple Pear Salad with Spiced Party Pecans
 meat and cheese rollups
sandwich with french bread
 Pizza Braid based on this idea
 Easy Garlic Chicken
Chicken Nachos with Seasoned Black Beans
 Jalapeno Popper Chicken
Date Night kids either eat nuggets or at babysitter's house. This week she fed them! 
popcorn... old-fashioned way
Pumpkin Frozen Yogurt
cheese, crackers apples
other yummy things I haven't thought of yet

A lot of these are from my pinterest board. Anyone else pin anything yummy lateley?