Ordinary Days

My glasses.  I never wear them...they are emergency back up glasses.  The kids seem to love them though.

A heavy book bag.

These garlic roll ups are a family favorite.  You can find the easy peasy recipe for these babies here.

Did you wax leaves yet?  We are working on that this week.  They are coming down in droves around here.

Andrew has been writing me a note every night before bed and leaving it for me on the kitchen counter, or sailing it down the stairs in a paper airplane.

So cute.  One day he left me one that just said, "Have a nice day."  I set it where I can see it when I wake up every day.  A good reminder.


Gratitude For The Week

(my burst-of-energy straightened garage/mudroom)
Today I am grateful for:
1. Energy.  I cleaned, straightened, got out winter coats and boots, baked bread, put away Halloween things, organized my Christmas list and a heck of a bunch of other things.  Sometimes I get these great big bursts of energy and this week was one of them.  Health is not something to ever take for granted.

2. On Thursday Abbey had an early dismissal and Jeff picked her up and we all went out to lunch.  One on one time is the best.

3. Beautiful crisp days where I can look at blue skies and breathe fresh air.  I am trying to do that as much as I can because I know pretty soon I will be gazing at a gray sky every day.


My Very Own Cookbook

I finally finished a little fun project I have been working on all year.  I made my own cookbook.  I decided, earlier this year, that I needed a little boost to get out of a cooking rut I was in.  I knew what I needed was a project that would help my organize and simplify my recipes.  I decided to collect my family favorite recipes and consolidate them into a cookbook that I would really use...not like those cookbooks that I buy that have one or two or three good recipes in them, but a cookbook where I would use ALL the recipes often.

How many times can I type the word cookbook?

Anyways, I knew that when it comes to me and projects and being the mother of five children, I have to break everything down into little steps.  First I organized my recipe binder nicely.  I took out recipes that I would never make and marked the one I knew already were going to make the cut into the book.

Then I slowly but surely started trying some new things. This is what really got me out of that rut...I was making the same things over and over and I knew I wanted a nice collection of 100+ recipes, and I only had a little more than half of that of die-hard favorites so far. I found recipes through friends, family, blogs, and books and recipe site. I experimented on my children and if the recipe was a majority-rules good one, I would make adjustments (more sauce, a little less spicy etc) to make it our own.  If one didn't work out, I pitched the recipe and tried something new.  We mixed things up and tried things again and again.  I have to say-it was fun! 

Once I felt like I was ready, I opened a Blurb account (I chose this company to make the cookbook just because I heard they did a very nice job with the photo aspect and made it all easy-there are probably many good choices out there I am sure) and watched one quick tutorial on how to make a book.  I looked at some samples of recipe books already made and decided, of course, I wanted it to be very simple with full page pictures.  I downloaded the software and went to work, slowly but surely, entering recipes a little at a time...remember I just finished this and I started it in the beginning of the year.  

They have easy recipe templates.  Lots of choices of course, but I don't like lots of choices so I kept my blinders on and just went with the easy and quick templates.  I did have some food photos, and I had planned to have one for each recipe, but I decided that was just too time-consuming so I used some of my favorite family pictures throughout.  For the cover and the divider pages, I made a quick collage in Picasa and used that as my image.   I proofread, hit send, and chose what type of cover I wanted before ordering.  I would have loved to have a jacket, but I think for a cookbook that I'd be using everyday, I would have just ended up removing it anyways.

I exchanged this sloppy mess:

For this:
I was so excited when I got the email that it shipped that I stood outside waiting for 2 days and nights till it was delivered.   Not really but I wanted to.   I love it. 

(get it?)
The one drawback is that it is not super cheap...the cost depends on how many pages and what sort of cover you choose.  My book was around $65 I think-I used a coupon I found online.  To me it is worth every penny because I have a scrapbook type of cookbook that will be a family treasure. 

P.S.  You can find some of the recipes right now on Cooking On Clover Lane.  


Need gift ideas?
Here's a list of our favorite, most-played with, delivered-to-your-doorstep, Mom-approved toys.

And here are our favorite games.
Here are some great teen gift ideas.
By age and interest here.


Our Halloween Night

Andrew cried when he saw this.  The squirrels-those crazy squirrels...and this is after just ONE day.  But don't the two pumpkins look like they had a crazy, bloody fight?  I had to laugh.

Our dinner tradition.  The excitement level before 6 pm-trick or treat time-is at an all time high and just trying to get them to sit and eat is a losing battle.

I'm missing Matthew, darn!  He left for a friend's house already.  I will make him stand outside today, just so I have one for his scrapbook.  I have to get our front door traditional Halloween pictures. (Isaac was our hander-outer, boo hoo.)

My two cute tails.

It was a beautiful PERFECT Halloween night.  Chilly but clear and crisp.  I loved every minute of it.  Daylight quickly turned to...


The two hours flew.

Oh boy.