June 28, 2010

Apple Struedel Muffins

Apples have been on sale for a few months now. At first, the apples were sweet and crunchy. Just the perfect snack. But lately, the apples haven't been their best. I kept purchasing them hoping to get some good crunchy apples, but with no luck. As a result, no one's eating them and the apples have piled up. I couldn't throw them away. I started my search for recipes using apples.

The recipe had to have ingredients that I already had on hand. Applesauce? Nah....Apple Pie? No refrigerated crust (not brave enough to make one either)....Apple Juice? Not Pretty.....Apple Muffins? YES.....Why not? They're simple enough.
I found an Apple Muffin recipe, but while going over the ingredients, I noticed that it was made with butter. I had butter on hand, but I have this thing when it comes to muffin recipes. I believe that muffins are not made with butter. I should not have to cream butter and sugar. I'll be making a cake or cupcake doing that, not muffins. I wanted real authentic muffins.
That's when I remembered that I had a tried and true muffin recipe stored on my computer. I want to say that I got this recipe from, but I really can't remember. I've had the recipe since July 2008. The original recipe is a basic muffin mix. I made a few modifications to make it an Apple Struedel recipe. 

They turned out great.  Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Apple Struedel Muffins (makes a little more than a dozen)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup grated apple 
Struedel Topping: 
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
  1. Stir together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and sugar in a large bowl.Make a well in the center.
  2. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil.
  3. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy.
  4. Fold in grated apple. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups.
  5. In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
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Blessed With Grace


June 20, 2010

Summer Activity #3 - Nature Walks

 Kids are constantly "connected".  Television, Wii, Internet, Ipods, DSi's have all stolen an essential part of childhood.  Playing, sleeping and reading outside are some of the greatest memories I have as a child.   I wanted to get the kids out of the house for a few hours and decided on taking them on a Nature Walk.
We went in the early morning before the heat reached its peak.  It was quiet and peaceful.  The kids enjoyed looking at the different plant species, fish, insects and birds.

The Bahamas has 25 National Parks throughout the country.  Harold and Wilson Ponds encompasses 250 acres with more than 100 different species of birds. 

Unfortunately we only saw 2 different species.  I think we scared all the birds away. The kids weren't exactly quiet.

June 15, 2010

Summer Activity #2 - Balloon Painting

Today we did balloon painting:

All you need are:
  • Small Balloons
  • Paint
  • Paper
  • Foam Plates
Inflate the balloons, not too big, just big enough for the kids to hold in one hand.  Put blobs of paint on the foam plates.  Let the kids dip the balloons  in the blobs of paint.  Make sure they dip the balloons in more than one colour at a time.  Then let them roll the balloon all over the paper.

That's it!
It sounds simple, and it is.  I'm surprised that the kids enjoyed it so much.
So give it a try.

Summer Activity #1 -Trip To The Beach

This is our second week of Summer Break. The kids are here and they are great.  Yes, they scream, shout, argue, cry and make a mess but they are still great.   We did not do much last week as I was preparing for the Yard Sale.

By the way, the yard sale was a great success! People were here at 6:30 in the morning.  By 10:00 a.m. it was pretty much dead, but we made more money than I ever thought we would!  My sister and I plan to do this twice a year.

Back to the kids.
I took them to the beach on Friday.  It was like the official start to Summer activity.  There were 12 of us including myself.  Six ranging in ages of 2 through 9, and 5 teens.  While at the beach we found this little guy:

The water was unusually warm.  It was as if it came from a tap. 
We all had a great time as you can see from the pic below:
Okay, MOST of them enjoyed themselves. The kid in the bottom left corner had a different experience I guess.

June 11, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away

I normally love the rain.  It gives us a break from this ridiculous heat.  It feeds the plants and trees.  And the lawn is the greenest I've ever seen it. 

It's rained every day off and on this week.  But now, it has to stop.  I have a yard sale planned for tomorrow and my livingroom looks like this:

I'm tired of looking at it.  If I cannot have the sale tomorrow, then everything goes to charity.

June 8, 2010

It's Been A Year

This month is not only our wedding anniversary, but also the first anniversary of moving to Sapphire Ridge.  I can't believe it's been a year already. 
Sapphire Ridge has been good to us as a family.  My kids have found some great friends.  I have been able to start a wonderful hobby of gardening. And Roxy, (the dog) has a large yard to explore.
However, when you look around, not much has been done to the place.  With the exception of the kid's bedrooms, the walls are still the same eggshell colour.  I have put nothing up on the walls except my son's works of art. We I haven't done anything to personalise this place.
Oh I have wonderful ideas.  I know the colours, the accents, the diy projects, everything that would make Sapphire Ridge ours.  So what's my excuse?  I don't have one...actually there is ONE thing that is holding up all of this design and decorating activity.........

This couch. (there is another cushion..somewhere around here)

You see, a year ago I had promised to make a slipcover for this ugly couch and it's big brother (Big Brother is ten times as ugly with rips and holes in the cushions).  I started to make it.  It was going well.  I tucked, pinned, cut and even did some sewing.  Then it got pushed aside.

My husband kept  nagging asking me when would the slipcover be finished.  I gave him several definitive dates that have since passed. 
So, as a result, he has forbidden, that's right forbidden me to do any sort of diy, painting or decorating of Sapphire Ridge until I complete the two slipcovers.  Hence the original eggshell walls.
I'm going to finish those slipcovers.   It won't take me that long.  It's a simple project. I'll finish them this summer month. Really, I will.  Promise...cross my heart. 

Banana Pancakes

My father would make the best pancakes from scratch.  They were perfect every time.  I had always tried to replicate his recipe but without success. 
A few years ago I discovered a pancake mix recipe that has come very close to my father's recipe.  As a result, I haven't bought a box mix in years.

My Husband and son love banana pancakes. Growing up banana pancakes were a treat. You can add banana, blueberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon anything you like to this and they'll still be great.

Pancake mix adapted from Allrecipes:

1-1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tbls. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups of milk
2 overripe bananas mashed

Combine dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.  Combine wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients to dry. You may add more milk depending on how thick/thin you like your pancakes. Mix until just combined.  You should still see a few lumps, however this recipe is very forgiving. (At this point I make a few pancakes for my daughter.  She prefers them plain.) Add mashed bananas and mix until combined. 

Skillet should be hot.  I actually cook my pancakes in melted butter, I love the flavor.  Pam or oil can also be used.


The Countdown is On.....

And this is my livingroom!!!!
Our girls are scheduled to arrive here in less than 12 hours and that is what they are coming home to.
I'm planning a yard sale for Saturday and these are the things I hope will be sold.
Not the Welcome Home I expected for them.

June 2, 2010

The Sweetest Love

I don't have the ability to see the future.  I didn't know things would turn out like this.  Who knew?
If you told me nine years ago that I would be a stay at home, homeschooling, gardening and blogging mom; I would have said, "Yeah Right!".

But that's who I have become. That's who I am.  And I am thankful and grateful.  You see my future would not have been this way if I hadn't married Mr. Roper. (No, not that Mr. Roper.  Although Stanley did have a certain swagger.) 

Mr. Roper is my best friend, my greatest confidante, my sweetest love.  There is no other for me but him.  He knows me better than I know myself, or would care to admit.  He has wiped away many tears and created many smiles. 

He says that I am capable of doing ANYTHING I wish (except repairing a gas stove), and never says, "No. You can't."  He has been strength when I was weak, calm in my chaos, and cheerleader in my corner.  I can't ask for more except that I am/become for him what he is for me.

By Hollywood Industry standards, we have been married a long time.  But for us regular folks, nine years is just the beginning.  I am in it for the long haul baby!  We have so much to do, see and feel together.  I look forward to it all. 

I love you Mr. Roper. You are my Sweetest Love.

June 1, 2010

I've Become One of Them.....

Grandmother by Laura James
The relative you send your kids to for the summer.

I never thought I would reach this milestone.  I'm not sure if I'm comfortable with that.  Usually, you send your kids to Grandma's or Auntie Mame's.  They're old and jolly, they bake cookies and make jam.  They enjoy the sweet song of children's laughter and excuse screams and tantrums as "the kids expressing themselves".  They give lots of hugs and kisses and keep candy in their pockets.

So how did I get here? I am neither old nor jolly.  I don't make jam (although I've always wanted to), but I do bake cookies. I do not tolerate screaming or tantrums, because then I will have to "express myself".  And there are times when children's laughter equates to noise for me.

I'm not a grinch really.  I like kids, even my own sometimes.  Their cute and full of possibility.  They enjoy the little things that we adults have taken for granted.  They love to explore and play and laugh.  They fear nothing, except dogs and haircuts. They can make friends in a room full of strangers within five minutes.    They see things as they are.  They aren't tainted by life experiences.  They give hugs freely and wear their hearts on their sleeves. 

They don't seem so bad when you look at it that way.  Maybe five kids all under the age of ten will be good for me.  A renewed vigour and outlook on life!  We'll laugh, play, explore and give hugs freely! 
Ehhh....I don't know...maybe...maybe.