Monday, December 27, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

I am sure you wonder why I try to post my menu every Monday. The reason being, is two fold. First of all, I like to keep track of what we eat and the recipes that go along with menus. I like to think of part of this blog as my own little online recipe book. The second reason I make a weekly menu is to help with my grocery shopping. I make the menu ahead and then do my grocery shopping Monday evenings after the kids go to bed. (This also gives My Sweetie some quiet time). I have found that taking two little ones to the grocery and trying to concentrate and use coupons is almost impossible.

So here is my menu for the last week of the year:

Monday: Peanut Pad Thai Chicken

Tuesday: Ham and Bean Soup with Cornbread

Wednesday: Honey Glazed Pork Tenderloin and riced potatoes

Thursday - Sunday: Spending time with family abroad

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Menu

I always love planning the menu for the holidays. However, I try to make an easy Christmas meal so that I can spend time with the family and not be stressed out all day in the kitchen. My menu consist of everything that can be made the day before. The only thing that I need to bake is the hash brown potatoes.

Christmas 2010 Menu

Dried Beef Cheese Ball (a family favorite for many years) and Crackers

Mandarin Orange Salad

Honey Baked Ham

Hash Brown Potato Casserole

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Busy time, because it's Christmas time!

Having children in our home at Christmas has made everything more special. From decorating the tree to driving around looking at the lights in the evenings, Christmas has become magical.

We have been a bit busy here and I would just like to share a few things that have been up to lately.

On a daily basis Double D thinking the Christmas Tree skirt is a cape:

Dressing up the kids in their jammies and taking them to see lights several nights a week:

Making cookies with the best little kitchen helper a Mommy could ask for:
Look at her form. She is an expert baker at 2 years old!

Showing the kids the first snow fall of the year:

Getting ready to go visit Santa at the mall:

The kids excited and overjoyed to see him in person:

Sissyboo gazing up at the lights while lying under the Christmas tree:
We are thoroughly enjoying this wonderful time of year and thanking the Lord for all of his blessings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Simply Christmas

During the fall of my kindergarten year, my family packed up and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida. While it had always been a family favorite vacation destination, we left our home and moved due to my Dad's new position at a local company. While our house was still on the market in Ohio, we now were living in a little rental home. A small two bedroom winter home for a pair of snow birds who lived up north during the Summer.

I remember two very important things that I loved about that Christmas. One being that my very lovely Mommy didn't know how to decorate our Christmas tree due to the fact that all of our family ornaments were still in Ohio. So, she resorted to using red velvet bows to decorate the Christmas tree. In my child like mind, this is still the prettiest tree we ever had as a family. My Mom taking something so simple and making something so beautiful was amazing to me. I know she didn't think that it was perfect, but I did. I am sure that as my Mom tied on all those little bows, she would never know the impact that it would have on me. But, I will never forget that little tree. To help me never to forget, I always put up red bows in my own home to remind me of simpler times and my Mommy.

The second thing I loved about that Christmas is singing in our schools Christmas concert. We sang O Come All Ye Faithful. To this day, I still remember wearing my floor length (hey it was the 70's) red velvet dress and singing that song at the top of my lungs. I remember being hugged so tight after the concert by both parents because they were so proud.

For children, Christmas doesn't have to be perfect to be special. It is how we act as parents and live our lives that make the most wonderful memories for our children.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

We are enjoying a cold and snowy day here in the St. Louis area. We had our first snow of the winter yesterday and it feels like a great day just to stay inside and play games with the kiddos.
Here is the menu for this week:

Monday: My Mom's Vegetable Beef Soup and Homemade Bread

Thursday: My Sweetie is going to be out, so leftovers for me and the kids

Friday: Shrimp Scampi and Crab Legs

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Salad (for lunch); Chinese Take Away (for dinner)

Sunday: Spanish Rice

I hope you all have a blessed week. Only 13 more days until CHRISTmas. Yeah!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy English Toffee

This recipe is so simple it almost makes itself. I have been making this for several years and it turns out great every time. It taste just like a Heath Bar.

English Toffee
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup slivered almond
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon light Karo syrup
5 Hershey Bars

~ Combine all ingredients except the Hershey Bars.
~ Cook in heavy pan over high heat.
~ Stir until shade darker than brown sugar- about 10 to 12 minutes (less time if you are not using a heavy pan).
~ Pour onto cookie sheet (which I always spray with a light coating of cooking spray) and spread with back of wooden spoon to all edges.
~ Crush five Hershey Bars and spread over the top (while the toffee is still hot).
~ Refrigerate immediately for about an hour or until cool.
~ When harden, break into pieces and store in air tight container.
Best if kept in refrigerator.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

For the love of all things....FROSTY?

My daughter has a new love in her life. It all started this summer on a hot and humid 100 degree day. I put in the Frosty the Snowman DVD to get MY mind on cooler weather. I didn't know that just that simple act would cause such a big deal in my daughters little life!

Then, this fall I noticed that she started carrying the DVD around with her, like a precious baby. Followed then by wanting to watch it everyday. Ok I thought, no big deal.

Now the child is over the moon for all things snowmen related! She can literally spot a snowman across the room. She even sits on Sunday afternoons and peruses the newspaper advertisements in hopes that she may be able to find a snowman. I love it!

To add to her love, her Grandparents bought her a Frosty the Snowman shirt. When she is not wearing it, she tries to carry it around like a blankie! My Sweetie even bought her a singing Frosty that she has loved on so much already, that it is broken!

I had no idea that she would love snowmen this much, but I love watching her face light up and hearing her she scream..."Frosty Man"!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Goodbye My Dear Friend Fall

Goodbye My Friend Fall,

The stockings are already hung with care, but I just can’t seem to get the wonderful thoughts of the fall that we shared as a family out of my head. I love fall and all that goes with all of the holidays. Before I fully put all my thoughts on Christmas, I would like to reflect the glorious fall that we shared.

Here are a few pictures:

The babies cuddling up on a chilly morning. A wonderful visit with family.
Exploring new places like The Magic House.
Picking the perfect pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.
Double D dropping every pumpkin he picked up to see if it would bounce. (They don't).
Carving pumpkins with my favorite people.
Getting to take Double D and Sissyboo out on their first Trick or Treat night.
Feeding the goats at Grant's Farm.
My Sweetie and Double D cooking stuffing for Thanksgiving.
The proud couple and their little turkey.
Double D being a big boy trying to eat his Thanksgiving Turkey with an adult sized fork.
Many visits with dear family members.
Confirming Double D looks JUST LIKE his Papaw!
We have had a wonderful fall here and hope you all did as well.

Blessings, Lori

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We found out this past week that....

We are overjoyed that we will be adding another little girl to our family. My Sweetie and I were really hoping that Sissyboo would have a little sister to grow up with. One of the reasons would be that I often admire the relationships my friends have with their sisters and how close they are. Although, I often pray that all of my children will remain close to each other as they grow older.

Now the real fun begins, decorating the nursery! Several years ago, I discovered the artist Maud Humphrey (Humphrey Bogart's Mother!). My love of all things Victorian and nursery rhythms are intermingled in some of her artwork. Here are samples of some of her art that I am planning on having in the nursery:

I am also perusing crib bedding. I fell in love with this one and am thinking this may just be the one.

For some reason I have had a much easier time planning this little girls room than I did with Double D's. I guess I am just a girlie girl through and through.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Menu

( Cooking Thanksgiving's Turkey Last Year. The Turkey was so small!)

Thanksgiving Holiday Menu for Tomorrow:
Roast Turkey with Gravy
My Sweetie's Special Stuffing
Overnight Salad
Cranberry Pineapple Jello Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole
Broccoli Casserole
Kings Hawaiian Rolls (this is not a typical Thanksgiving roll, but I just love them!)
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Bars
Sweet Tea and Sparkling Grape Juice

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Mantel

Just wanted to post a picture of my Thanksgiving Mantel. It is pretty simple, but I wanted the print to be the focus.

While you can't really see the print in the picture, it is called The First Thanksgiving 1621 by J.L.G. Ferris. The print is an actual page out of 1917 edition of Ladies Home Journal.

Here is a better version:

If you would like to check out more artwork by this amazing artist, go to the American Gallery. He is best known for 78 scenes from American history, entitled The Pageant of a Nation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Past: 1977

This Thanksgiving, I was recalling various Thanksgivings that I have spent with my family and one that always come to my mind is Thanksgiving 1977. I was only 3, but it still made a lasting impression on me. Not for any one thing, but the fact that most of my my Mom's 7 siblings, along with there spouses and my Grandmother were all gathered together at my Aunt Marilyn's home. I still have visions of my Mom and Aunts in the kitchen, working away. I can still taste my Mom's homemade buttered noodles.

As a child there is nothing more fun then being with all your Aunt's and Uncles and more importantly cousins. Have I ever mentioned that I have 19 first cousins on my Mom's side! I have always loved being a part of a big family.

So here are a few pictures from 1977 for my family to look and laugh at:

That's me with the ponytails! Happy as a clam!

As I prepare for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am planning on doing a series called "Counting My Blessings". So, with this post, I would like to say that I am blessed with an amazing God fearing and loving extended family.

My Gurley Candles

Ever since I can remember, these pilgrim candles have always had a place on our Thanksgiving table. It was a little tradition in our family. I am not sure where they came from, but they were my Mom's, making them very important to me.

Over the years, they have traveled from my first tiny apartment in Cedarville, Ohio to my current home outside St. Louis. I just don't think it would be Thanksgiving with out them being displayed.

One year, when I had moved, I could not locate my candles in all of my boxes. I thought they were lost forever, so I typed in pilgrim candles and found the same candles in a smaller version from The Vermont Country Store. (If you are ever feeling nostalgic, check out their website for all types of goodies from the past).
This year, I was trying to find out more information about the origins of my candles and found that these candles are all over Ebay! I found that Gurley Candle Company was the maker and that this company started back in the 1930's. There are quite a few originals for sale and for all different holidays.

I also discovered that The Vermont Country Store had purchased the original candle molds from Gurley years ago and now sells reproductions (shown here below).
While I am sure people my age would consider them tacky, I love my Gurley Candles. I love them even more now, because of all the oohs and aahs I heard from 2 year old Sissyboo when I put them on display this year!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Good Monday Morning! It is a chilly fall day here in the St. Louis area, a perfect day for staying in and taking care of my sick little ones. Everyone here is fighting off colds including yours truly!

Even if we have to stay indoors today, the beautiful colored trees outside help cheer us up. As I have mentioned before, we live in a newer home in a new development so there are not very many mature trees close by but further away past the field behind our house. However, we have six smaller Cleveland Pear trees that have finally turned red within the last week. Even though they are smaller trees, we sure love watching the leaves change as do the children. Sissyboo loves going outside and collecting different colored leaves.

Here is our menu for the week as well as some of the recipes (just click on the link):

Monday: Marinated Baked Pork Chops and riced potatoes

Tuesday: Beef Bulgogi (Korean Beef) with rice

Wednesday: Clam Chowder with homemade bread

Friday: Taco Bar with hard and soft tacos

Saturday: Pizza

Sunday: Homemade Sushi (California Rolls)

Can you believe there are only 10 DAYS until Thanksgiving? Have a blessed week.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honoring A Veteran, My Grandfather Keith

I never had the pleasure of knowing my Grandfather Keith. However, I have spent so many hours talking with my Grandmother about him that I feel like I do.

I have stood on the steps where my Grandmother stood as she looked across the church lawn and saw him for the first time. I have stood at the doorstep of the house where they raised their family of eight children. I have put on his military jacket that still hangs in my Grandmother's closet.

When my Grandmother talks about him, she still has a twinkle in her eye and tells me that he was the love of her life.

On Veteran's Day, I would like to remember my Grandfather Keith. In the midst of World War II, my Grandfather then 29 years old with three small children at home, joined the Army because he felt that it was his duty as an American.

My Grandmother kept every letter he ever wrote her and he kept all of hers. While reading over some of the letters, I distinctly remember that even though he said that it was hard leaving his family that he wanted "to look back on this part of his life and be proud of it".

I am always so proud to say that my Grandfather was a World War II Veteran and for the sacrifices he made for all of us.

Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.
Winston Churchill

Monday, November 8, 2010


I recently snapped this photo while my nieces were here for a visit.

My nieces "Lovely" and "Kind Heart" take the best care of my little ones. They just love my children so much it just touches my heart in so many ways. We are all so blessed to have these girls in our lives. Their parents, my brother and sister-in-law are raising some of the most amazing girls I have ever known. Their kindness and thoughtfulness is beyond compare.

When the cousins are close by, my Sissyboo literally can not stop smiling! You can see as the girls hold hands and walk up the street, that she is in heaven.

"Cousins are those childhood playmates who grow up to be forever friends."

Meal Plan Monday

Good Monday Morning! I realized I haven't blogged in two weeks but hopefully that will change this week. It just seems that there is always something hindering me from blogging, plus I am exhausted by the end of the day. While I usually have great pregnancies, with this one, I am just really exhausted by 8 PM!

Here is our menu for this week:

Monday: Juicy Roasted Chicken with veggies

Tuesday: Broccoli Chicken Braid

Wednesday: Pork and Sauerkraut with Mashed Potatoes

Thursday: Chipotle Tamale Pie

Friday: While watching the Cooking Channel this weekend we came across the show Brunch at Bobby's. He had so many good recipes that we are going to try for dinner: Cheesy Hash Browns, Sauteed Mushrooms, Roasted Tomatoes, basted eggs and bacon.

Saturday: Dinner Out with the family

Sunday: Pork Chops to Live For (crock pot recipe)

I hope you all are doing well. We here at My Magnolia Cottage are getting ready for the holidays. My Thanksgiving menu is already planned and the children's gifts have been purchased for Christmas. (Have I ever said how much I love to plan?)

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

Good Monday Morning! After not blogging all last week, I am glad to be back. I spent last week doing my Fall cleaning. Boy am I glad that this over with! There isn't a corner in my home that didn't get touched.

This weekend my brother and sister-in-law came for a visit and brought along my nieces. Oh how I love those girls! I have never known sweeter children in all my life. I wish everyone could see how well they get along with my children. My nieces take the best care of my babies.

We also got to get out and see The Arch, The St. Louis Zoo as well as The Magic House. We had such a blast! Not only was the weather great, so was the company. I just hate that we live so far away. However, we already have our next visit planned.

Here is my menu for the week:

Monday: Chicken and Dumplings (but I use drop biscuits)

Tuesday: Beef, Mushroom and Onion Tart

Wednesday: Aunt Kristin's Killer BBQ

Thursday: Panera's Cream Cheese Potato Soup

Friday: BLT's

Saturday: Linguine

Halloween with the In-Laws: Witches Brew with Skeleton Fingers