Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mama's In The Kitchen

Stuffed Acorn Squash Moroccan
Main Dish
Servings 10 (see notes for why)

My notes: I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online for a recipe so I made up my own. I made a lot of filling which ended up stuffing up to 10 halves. When I tried to changed the amounts on Master Cook 9 software it came up with weird amounts. I think the filling would keep well in the fridge or freezer. This could easily be made vegetarian with vegetable broth and chickpeas instead of chicken broth and ground beef. Some of my kids loved this. Others didn’t.

1 cup couscous
3/4 pound extra lean ground beef
1 large onion, minced
1 cup baby carrot, diced
clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
8 dried apricot halves, diced
5 whole acorn squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed
10 teaspoons butter
10 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2 cups fat free chicken broth
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim bottom of each acorn squash half so it will sit flat. Place acorn squash in deep roasting pan. Place 1 teaspoon butter and sprinkle 1 teaspoon brown sugar in each half. Sprinkle each with a pinch of kosher salt and a grind of black pepper. Pour water into the pan to come halfway up the acorn squash. Bake in oven for 45 minutes or until tender.

2. Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to boil. Turn off heat and add couscous, cranberries and apricots. Set aside (couscous takes about 5 minutes to be ready).

3. Pour olive oil into pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, and garlic. Cook and stir for 4 minutes. Add ground beef, cumin, and cinnamon. Cook, breaking up beef, until beef is cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Stir couscous mix into ground beef mixture. Spoon 2/3 Cup couscous filling into each acorn half. Serve with fresh bread and fruit or a salad.

Cal 312, Fat 12g, Fiber 5g, Chol 34 mg, C

Monday, October 26, 2009

From our house to yours - Happy Halloween! (be sure to turn off my music playlist before you watch)

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Hey, Wasatch Front 'Twilight' fanatics....yeah, you!

My sis-in-love is hosting a giveaway of two movie tickets to a special showing of Twilight that will include giveaways. Find her blog here. And tell her that Scarehaircare sent you.

FYI: If you win, I accept thank you's for the heads-up by way of chocolate. Really good chocolate like from Cummings or another local Wasatch Front chocolatier. Not a bag of Hershey's Kisses or M&Ms. After all, this is a special showing of Twilight.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

First of all I am grateful for all the kind words I've received from people who care. Heavenly Father has blessed my life by bringing all of you to me. It's good to know that I can vent once in a while and not be accused of being selfish.

I am grateful for a good night's sleep. It does wonders for the attitude. I highly recommend it.

I'm grateful that The Love Magnet and Thirdborn received the H1N1 shot this past week. I just wish that Firstborn and Secondborn could have, also. I hope it happens soon. The Love Magnet and Thirdborn are doing just fine.

I've also got to throw in a gratitude for datenight. We haven't had time for one for a few weeks. Last Saturday, Mr. Wonderful and I had some celebrating to do. Both of us have October birthdays, I survived midterms, and Mr. Wonderful's bonus was better than we anticipated. So we headed to our fave seafood restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed a quite dinner for two where we did not talk about kids. Afterwards we went for a drive, just to prolong being together. Did I mention today how much I love Mr. Wonderful? Life is so very good.

Last of all, today my Firstborn received his patriarchal blessing (click on the link to access a definition. Our stake Patriarch is a wonderful man to whom my family has tender feelings. He reminds me of my Georgia granddaddy. This brought back so many memories from when I my granddaddy came from Georgia to give me a patriarchal blessing (he was his stake's ordained patriarch). We went to the patriarch's home after church, having fasted. Firstborn received incredible counsel. The blessing was a glimpse for me is seeing the potential of my son. I was in tears when it was over. So was our patriarch. I am grateful for the priesthood, yet again, and for the blessing of being able to witness this moment in my son's life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sometimes I want a vacation from Holland.

The Love Magnet is not always the sweet, loving child.

Kids with Down syndrome exude love. I know that. It would be impossible to forget as people love to talk about it everywhere I go. But the general populace does not seem to understand that kids with Down syndrome also pitch fits. Whine. Mimic speech if only for the purpose of annoying their older brothers. All the things that typical kids do as they learn just how far they can push the envelope.

The Love Magnet has decidedly taken on the "push the envelope" challenge. She has gotten into the habit of acting out during the last 30 minutes of class. Swinging her backpack at the kids while they are lined up at the door. Pushing. Smacking.

Calling her fellow classmates 'poopyhead'. (It's the worst word she can think of at her age.)

She sometimes has a hard time understanding facial expressions. I visited her class to talk to her classmates. I explained that she has a hard time understanding their feelings by how they look, and to use words with nice manners to explain it. Telling her"Stop it! I don't like that, it hurts" gets the point across. These kids have been trying to work with me this way.

I have to admit, though, that there are times where I hate having to explain my daughter to children her age. It makes me feel that I am yet again pointing out that my daughter is different. I know they are going to figure it out anyway. I know that she looks different, acts different, is different. Truly, I do know this. I live with that knowledge ever single day.

Why is it so hard for me to deal with different? I have had 7 years to accept and get used to the fact. It is not a big deal to me that my daughter has Ds. But there are still times (still!) where I wish I could take a vacation from Holland. Along with all the great tulips, windmills, and Rembrandts, Holland also has guide book that is at times 3 feet thick, requires memorization and too often doesn't have all the current information needed, a language barrier, a myriad of doctor and specialist appointments along the way, and the siblings who feel you're spending too much time in Holland.

Usually that is my personal cue that I just need a vacation, period. Mr. Wonderful and I haven't had a weekend alone since we moved here. We're trying to find time and coordinate plans, but it just hasn't happened. We have been able to give the boys their own personal vacays away. EFY, scout camps, and a week here and there visiting a cousin's house all by themselves.

Okay, I vented. I allow myself to do that once in a while. I think any parent is allowed to vent.

Trust me, though, when The Love Magnet gets home today, I will hug her tightly and be thrilled that she is home.

I love her.

Down syndrome is not who she is.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mom, take a picture of you and me.....

Yesterday the Love Magnet received the H1N1 flu shot (at the suggestion of my family doctor. His reasoning was b/c of her health history). She fell asleep at 5:00that night and didn't wake up until 8:00 this morning. Highly unusual. She did wake up with a low grade fever. Very typical behavior after receiving vaccines. The elementary school has a no-fever policy so I had to keep her home. Luckily, my professors are willing to video record the lectures I missed. Just one of their ways to make sure no one brings the Swine Flu to school.
The Love Magnet ate breakfast and watched a movie. Then she asked for one of her favorite forms of entertainment. "Mom, take a picture of me. And you and me."
Things started our well. But, she couldn't resist. She started doing something her brothers taught her very well. My daughter started pulling faces. She told me this was her surprised look.

Her "tough" face.....

Then her "silly sleepy face" which she learned from Secondborn. I kid you not, he loves pulling this face, too, and he is 12.

After a series of poses, my daughter begged for "just one more".........

Yep, she loves me. That one is a keeper.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

First of all I am grateful that I survived midterm week. I earned A's on all midterms except one. That was was an absolute bear for all of the class. I have not received a grade yet. I am not looking forward to it..
This past week Mr. Wonderful and I had a meeting with Firstborn, one of his teachers and his counselor. The meeting went very well. I think Firstborn thought so, too. He needs to learn organizational skills (what teen doesn't?) and everything will be okay. I'm grateful for teachers who truly care about their students.
Secondborn started basketball practice. This was his first time having to try out for a team and he did great. He has been looking forward to this league for months. Even better, one of the coaches is in our ward and the other is the father of one of Secondborn's best friends. I'm grateful that Secondborn will be involved in basketball. It will be fun to attend his games. The Love Magnet loves cheering at ball games.

Last Friday, Mr. Wonderful took me into the mountains. He needed to check on a job site. I was hoping to get some good pictures to enlarge for our dining room. I found some unusual moss. Not great formal dining art, but unusual. I took a pic just to document it:

It started to get foggy in the higher elevations. I tried to show the steam coming off the river. (I still need to learn how to use this camera.

I did get a picture of a ghost cow worthy of Pioneer Woman. At least I think it's worthy of Pioneer Woman status. She sets the bar high. Okay, I just thought it was pretty funny to find this white cow in the fog, staring at me from the top of the hill.

Lazy circle contrails in the sky. Still not worthy of formal dining room art.

Sheep! Cute for a picture. Until they all decided to turn tail just as I snapped. All I got was a shot of a bunch of sheep bums. Definitely not worthy of the dining room.

After that, we got lost while looking for cabin property. The satellite maps did not match the roads we were on. We were in such a hurry to find out way out and get home in time that there was no time to stop and find a few good shots.
Maybe the ghost cow would look good in a framed and matted 16 x 20 in the dining room.
At least I am grateful for nearly 8 hours of uninterrupted time with Mr. Wonderful. That is a complete luxury since I started school.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dear blog lurkers in Australia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Belgium -

I'm really curious about you. Would you mind introducing yourselves? :)

Thanks so much!

(as for the rest of you in the United States. I think you are either my family, T-21 buddies, or my Cookies. Why don't you introduce yourselves, too. )

Much love to you all,


PS - heading to the mountains tomorrow. Will post pics of fall color and Mr. Wonderful. A whole weekend with no textbooks! This is my reward after a crazy week of midterms. I'll tell you about those tomorrow, too. I'll probably vent about The Love Magnet. She has been acting odd.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Gratitudes

We drove to Utah yesterday afternoon to see my family. This morning we attended the homecoming of one of my nephews. Ate lunch. Drove home. Not a good way to promote family harmony between my children. But a good way to spend time thinking up gratitudes:

I'm grateful for teachers who contact us on their own time to let Mr. Wonderful and I know about their concerns (late homework) before it becomes a big problem (as in final grades).

I'm grateful for teachers who contact us on their own time just to let us know how much they love our child in their class and what a sweet, incredibly sensitive, polite child he is. (I love phone calls of that nature.)

I'm grateful for my close extended family. On both sides. I think I am the only person who loves her parent-in-laws and brothers and sister-in-laws. I even get along with my sibling-in-laws parents. I love it when my sister's mom-in-law hugs me or Mr. Wonderful's brother's mom-in-law (did that makes sense to you?) comes over to talk and remembers what is going on in my family and celebrates the exciting times with us.

Despite the not-so-fun travel time, I am grateful that I was able to spend an evening with my parents and see some of my sibs and their families. All we did was talk. Face-to-face is so much better than on the phone.

I'm grateful that I've got one midterm down and only four more to go.

I'm grateful for LDS General Conference. My two favorite talks this year were by Elder Jeffery R. Holland and President Thomas S. Monson. Click here, select English translation and then selected Sunday PM session. You'll see them both. Also the song just before Elder Holland is Mo-Tab singing O Divine Redeemer. It is absolutely exquisite.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Breakfast in bed. No picture as I was the one in bed. But just so you know, it was divine. I felt very loved. I also received an I-love-you-you're-the-greatest-mom-in-the-whole-world letter from Thirdborn. I told him it was the very best present.
Went to school. Forgot to make cupcakes to take to my classmates. I'll make some for tomorrow's class.
Lunch with Mr. Wonderful at our fave sushi place. No pictures as I didn't take my camera.
Mr. Wonderful even turned his phone off. I felt very loved.
(He told me he wanted to buy me a laptop for my bday but decided I'd better pick it out myself.)
Quick dinner fix. Wednesdays are spaghetti night at our house. There was absolutely no time for a birthday celebration as we were trying to juggle tutoring/scouts/homework. Time later for that this weekend.
I did receive this in the mail. Is there anything better than a beautifully wrapped package in the mail?

With an absolutely gorgeous card.

Want to know what it is? You'll be so envious....

Handmade chocolates from somebody named Fran. Actually it was from my friends Sooz and Captain Midnight from the Pacific Northwest. Thanks so much! I shall limit myself to one a day and really savor them.

The kids asked if I was going to share. Uh, no.....well, I will with Mr. Wonderful. The kids wouldn't appreciate these any more than a bag of Hershey's Kisses.
Tonight I tried the smoked salted caramel (bottom right in the photo). Oh *swoon*, these are soooooo divine.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Corn Maze

Navigating the corn maze: $20.00/family

Hunting for pumpkins: $0.30/lb

Running thru the hay bale maze (six times!): free

Riding the barrel train: $2.00/person

Really hoping your friends don't see you riding the barrel train (because your mom wanted you to make sure your little sister didn't jump ship): not enough money in the world....

Petting zoo: $2.00/person

Watching your daughter hug a 6 week old baby goat: priceless
(until she wanted to take it home).

Family togetherness for one afternoon: also priceless

tired kids on the way home: Cha-Ching!!!!!!

Ebelskiver's and Butter Syrup

I inherited an Ebelskiver pan form my grandma. This is a pan I've wanted for years but could never bring myself to purchase as it is good for only one thing. (If you know other uses, please let me know.) Today we had guests and made Ebelskivers for the first time. I think my Grandma came to hang out with us this morning. Love and good will abounded....along with a steady subconscious stream of "No, do it this way". *smile* You had to know my grandma. I sure miss her.


4 eggs separated

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 Cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 Cup melted butter

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

2 Cups milk

Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. In separate bowl beat egg yolks, vanilla, melted butter, and sugar together. In third bowl mix dry ingredients. Alternate stirring egg yolk mixture and milk into dry ingredients. Fold in egg whites.

(How I figured it out.) Grease ebelskiver pan using a bowl of oil and a silicone brush. Set aside and repeat this process for every batch. Heat pan over medium low heat (the other directions I found all said heat pan to smoking point but that was way to hot for what we were trying to accomplish). Fill each depression with batter. When bubbles appear on top of batter use a table spoon to turn the ebelskivers over (other recipes said to use a fork or wooden skewer. I found it much easier to use a spoon and a wooden skewer.) Let cook a few more minutes before scooping out of pan with a clean spoon. Ebelskivers can be served with syrups, jams or powdered sugar and melted butter. We really like the following butter syrup recipe.

Scarehaircare's Family Favorite Butter Syrup

1 Cup butter

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon or orange juice

Zest from that lemon

1 Cup milk

2 Cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon vanilla

Bring butter, milk, lemon juice, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda, vanilla and lemon zest. Let it foam for a minute before serving.