Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Family Fun: The Muppet Show!

Do you remember The Muppet Show? This is what I asked my 29 year old sister a few weeks ago and she said, "not really". What a shame that she doesn't but I'm 35 and remember it well!

About a month ago I reserved, through inter-library loan, The Best of the Muppet Show with Carol Burnett, Steve Martin, and Gilda Radner. The kids and I had sooo much fun watching this DVD. We're still singing the songs and acting out the skits a month later!

The Muppet Show is good clean silly humour which is great for families. I love the music and am still facinated at how life-like the muppets can be. We all have fun watching it. I don't get the chance to watch much tv, and really have no interest, but this show has me laughing out loud and is well worth it!

I've just reserved, again through inter-library loan, Season 1 of The Muppet Show. Isn't the library great! I'm looking forward to sharing the laughs and silliness with our kids. Anything that brings us together like that is priceless :)

Look at the site I found for fans of the show - Muppet Central. Make sure to check-out the Muppet Wild! site as well which is dedicated to all things Muppets!

I'm also looking forward to visiting The Jim Henson Legacy display at The University of Maryland where he (along with my husband) graduated from.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Girl Scouts: Always Be Prepared

I am proud to say that I'm a new 3rd Grade Brownie Girl Scout Leader! We had our first meeting last week and now that I've gotten my feet wet, I'm ready to run with it!

My co-leader, thankfully, is a music teacher and is enthused about helping. We already have our Cookie Mom as well, who's on her 3rd year of doing this. So, you see, with all this support how could I refuse to volunteer?

I firmly believe in the role of Girl Scouts and their Mission Statement sums up nicely why:


Girl Scouting builds girls of courage,

confidence and character,

who make the world a better place.

So, off we go with my craft ideas! I'm not a crafter by any means and was, frankly, never that interested. But now that I've got to come up with ideas of what to do, I'm slowly getting "hooked"! I'm even going for coffee with a friend of mine this week so she can show me how to sew some simple stitches that I can teach the girls... you read corretly, I can't even sew a button! :)

Check-out some of the cool craft ideas I saw in Family Fun magazine:

Flower Power (we're gonna pin these one the plain baseball hats I picked-up)

Yarn Painting (how cool is this!)

.. now to just tie these awsome crafts into a badge, hmm maybe I'm doing this all backwards?

I also made a cool (password protected) website for our troop today using http://www.clubspaces.com/. It's free, was pretty easy to set up and now I've got a great place to communicate with the parents.

Cookie sales start soon and it's such a great fundraiser for the troop. Last year the girls troop saved enough money from sales (like over $1000 bucks) to go on an overnight resort waterpark trip. Many of the girls in the troop likely would not have experienced anything like this had it not been for girl scouts. How great is that?
I'll keep sharing all the fun we're having! In the meantime, buy some Girl Scout cookies when they come knockin at your door ;o)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recipe: Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

It's Bus Driver Appreciation week here so I made two of these delicious cakes to send to the bus barn. I doubled the recipe and made 2 cakes. The recipe below is for 1 cake only.

I wish I had a picture of this cake cut so you could see the delicious center filled with apples and streusel. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to make another this week! This is from another one of my favourite Jean Pare "Company's Coming" cookbooks "Baking - Simple to Sensational" page 104.

Here's a link to the "Company's Coming" website.

Tart, apple-flavoured coffee cake with the fragrance of a sugar and cinnamon topping to stir memories and taste buds.
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1-3/4 cups milk, approximately

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup cold butter

3/4 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
Measure vinegar into 2 cup liquid measure. add milk to equal 1-3/4 cups. Let stand 10 minutes to sour.

Combine first 4 ingredients in small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coasrse crumbs. Makes 1-3/4 cups topping.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Stir.

Combine next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in 4 additions, alternatiing with milk mixture in 3 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon 1/2 of batter into greased 9x13" pan. Spread evenly.

Arrange apple slices close together in single layer over batter. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup topping over apples. Spoon remaining 1/2 of batter over top. Spread evenly.
Sprinkle with remaining streusel topping. Bake in 350F oven for about 55 minutes until wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cuts into 15 pieces.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Frugal Friday: Dial-A-Story

If you haven't heard about this service from your local library yet, you'll be glad that you found it! To access DIAL-A-STORY you simply dial the phone number given by your local library and a recording (a real person not a robot) begins to tell a children's story. This is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

I find DIAL-A-STORY especially helpful when we have to take a 20 minute drive into town, or stuck in traffic, if I'm trying to distract our son while I try to complete a task, when our daughter was home sick and bored, or when we're stuck inside on cold and wet days.

You can read more about it here from Parent's Press. Here's the link for those of us in Kansas from the Kansas City Public Library DIAL-A-STORY 816.701.3456. Here's another line 208.726.0033 by The Community Library where you can press a code listed here to select the story you want.

If you have unlimited long distance, especially between USA and Canada, just think of all the different story lines you could call! Here's one 416.395.5400 from the Toronto Public Library in Ontario, Canada where you can chose from 12 different language options!

Happily submitted to Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom (such a great site!).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Recipe: Brown Batter Bread

I've done it! I've found a great no-kneed recipe for bread that's easy, healthy, can be easily used for sandwiches and tastes great!

I've been struggling for a while to find a recipe that I can make on a regular basis for our family. A recipe that's fairly quick, not too messy, doesn't involve allot of kneading, and tastes good. Well ladies and gentleman, I've found it in my favourite cookbook by Jean Pare's Company's Coming, Cooking for Two.


No kneading required. Just the pleasant task of consuming.

1 tsp. Granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups Warm water

1 Tbsp. Active dry yeast

2 cups Whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. Cooking oil (I used Canola Oil)

2 Tbsp. Mild molasses

1 tsp. salt

1 cup All-purpose flour

Stir sugar into warm water in large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve yeast.

Add next 4 ingredients. Beat on low to moisten (I just used our hand beaters). Beat on medium-high for 2 minutes.

Work in remaining flour (I used a wooden spoon, then my hands to make it into a ball and combine it all). Cover with greased waxed paper (I used parchment paper) and tea towel. Let stand in oven with light on and door closed for 40-45 minutes until doubled in bulk.

Stir batter down. Spoon into greased glass loaf pan (I don't know why it says stir, I just transferred the loaf ball after stirring it down with a wooden spoon). Cover with greased waxed paper (again I used parchment) and tea towel. Let stand in oven with light on and door closed for 20 minutes until doubled in size or just up to top edge of pan. (I put it in the microwave instead as I wanted to preheat the oven to 375 and have it ready).

Bake in 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf. Cuts into 16 slices.

(After letting it cool on the rack for about 30 minutes, I cut it with an electric knife).

I have a bread machine but I can't find a consistent bread recipe and the bread tends to come out too light and airy for sandwiches. Found lots of good dough recipes for the bread maker and I'll post about those soon.

I borrowed Artisan Bread in Five Minutes cookbook from the library but I don't have the suggested stone for baking yet, so I returned the book until I get the right equipment.

I haven't tried the old fashioned type recipe that involves kneading because I simply don't know what I'm doing! The recipe will say something like "kneed until texture is good enough" and I think.. huh? I'll post when I find a good old fashioned recipe.

Our house smells wonderful with all this bread baking going on... mmmm.

Happily submitted to Works for Me Wednesday over at We Are THAT Family (such a hilarious site to read!).

Monday, October 5, 2009

Recipe: Applesauce Bread Pudding

When I was little, bread pudding was one of my favourite desserts. This brings back memories of Sunday family dinners at my Nana and Grandad's. We'd have roast beef dinner with roasted potatoes, then have this for dessert in the den on TV trays and watch Walt Disney at 6pm.

This recipe from Gina @ Home Joys made for a delicious after school snack and kept well enough in the fridge to fill lunch boxes for the week! This is a great way to use left over bread and treat your family!
Applesauce Bread Pudding
In greased 9 inch square pan, arrange4 slices of bread, cubed
2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Spread over bread.
Top with4 additional slices of dry bread, cubed
Beat together:
2 eggs
2 cup milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp saltdash of nutmeg
Pour over bread.
Top with 1/2 cup applesauce and sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar.
Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes.

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