Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Birthday Present from Me

I made myself a birthday present :o)
It's a flashy new binder from Target for my recipe collection, which reminds me of the red-and-white Better Homes & Gardens classic cookbook my mom used growing up. 
And it makes me intensely happy.
This was the old binder.  Not horrible, but a little rough around the edges.
It definitely needed a spruce up.
And when I read about another blogger collecting all her higgledy-piggledy scattered recipes into a neat and tidy spot, I got inspired.
I searched everywhere (Staples, Office Max, Amazon) for just the right tabs, but was disappointed by the way they looked when I tried them out.  So I had the idea to use scrapbook paper instead--off to Archivers I went.  I cut scalloped circles from off-white cardstock (using the smallest scalloped hole punch Archivers had in their crafting basket--free!) and halved them, and scribbled the categories on in black pen.  Then I pasted them onto the 12x12 sheets in a staggered pattern, cut around them so they jutted out, cut the other end of the paper to fit the binder, and laminated the dividers at Mardel for less than $2.  
I really love the way they turned out.
 I tried to set up the binder in the most logical way for our family, and came up with ten categories:
Appetizers, Brunch, Soups, Salads & Sides, Crock & Freeze
Poultry, Meat & Fish, Pasta & Casseroles, Desserts, Holidays

To make them extra strong, I glued a full scalloped circle onto the backside of each half-scalloped tab.
I figure I'll be tugging at them a lot.
Next, I collected my favorite recipes.  Some were in the old binder, others on my computer... I even made print-outs from Pinterest recipes I'd pinned and the world's best cooks at Heartland Church's Mothers Together (loving this year's new HeartlandMoms blog, where said recipes are stored).
Man, can they cook up a mean brunch.
Check out that French Toast Brunch Casserole there.
 I even tucked in my Apples of Gold recipe card gems.

 And my freezer recipes, from the freezer meal exchange I wrote an article about in KC Parent two years ago.

 Lorelei's begging to make this little banana pudding beauty.
 There are plenty of sentimental favorites from my grandmothers, Olive and Helen.
 This is where recipes are stored that I haven't tried yet, before they get their plastic sheets.
The happiness this brings me reminds me of a fantastic conversation the other night my friends and I listened to with Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.  She said that while simplicity is a good thing, there is also something to be said for enjoying our possessions.  I've been reading a very intriguing book--7: A Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker--which I am thoroughly enjoying, but it flaunts an ascetic lifestyle to the extreme as she intentionally tries to live with less and be mindful of those who have less.  Rubin's book moves me from this extreme to a less guilt-ridden middle ground.  Rid yourself of things you don't use, Rubin would advise, but engage with those that bring you pleasure. Then, be grateful for them.
And for this little cookbook--all the love tucked inside, all the ways it will spill over to bless my little family--I am very, very grateful.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pickin' Apples

A couple years ago, I wrote an article about apple season that listed orchards in the KC area on the sidebar, but it wasn't until today that we finally made the trip. I can't believe we've never done this before!
 We went to Cider Hill Family Orchard, which was only a 30 minute drive.
They have acres of trees and free hayrides to your apples of choice.
We ran into friends there by chance today, too!

 Guess who lost another tooth last night?  More about that in a later post.
 Gryffy's got some muscle.
 The best apples were at the top.

 And what's a family day without s'mores?
 We made caramel apples tonight and munched on them while we Skyped with Grandma and Grandpa in Canada.  Those rotten apples spoiled our dinner appetites, but they were delicious!


Gryffy's got a new gig--soccer.
Here's his Heartland team: The Destroyers.
They picked the name themselves.
 He's got some hard-core fans.
(He wanted "Gryffindor" on his shirt.)
Before the games, the dads work with the boys on drills.
 G's fortunate that his Daddy knows all about soccer.  
(His Mommy does not have an athletic bone in her body.)
And B-Pop once coached the championship team.  Mark couldn't make the first game due to a band gig, so B-Pop stepped in and saved the day.
Gryffy, Nick (coach's son), and Dylan
 These boys are major buds.
Here's Gryffy and Dylan doing some practice drills.
 I love that arm action with every kick.

 Here's some action on the field.  Gryffy was really aggressive his first game. 
 G has a perma-smile on his face the whole game through.  Pure joy.
 Here he is, about to score his first goal!
(He still thinks it was a goal for his team... we didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise.)

Coach had to continually remind him which goal was ours.
That minor detail was completely lost on Gryffy.
But it's all for good fun.
 Yep, I think some fun was had.
 1-2-3 Go Destroyers!
 The boy LOVES soccer.  
"Mommy, I want to play soccer all the time!"