Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sweaters, boots and Pumpkies too.

 Fall is finally starting to show up, at least a little bit, here in Southern California. Yesterday morning it was brisk enough to bundle up in a few layers and that's just what we did. I didn't even realized Nat and I were matching until we were out the door on our way to school. After dropping her off and taking Finn for a small walk, we headed back home and I took the opportunity to try my hand at a baking idea I had earlier this week.

I thought about the concept of brownies and figured why couldn't I do that with pumpkin instead. I have heard of pumpkin brownies and pumpkin bars but I wanted to be creative and try something different. And call it Pumpkies. So that's what I did. Following a basic brownies recipe, I used pumpkin instead of cocoa, whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour and added cinnamon, ginger and chopped pecans.The result was more than I could expect! Everyone here loved them and since I had to play around with baking times and oven degrees, I made a second batch later in the evening to help finalize the recipe. Get ready for a moist, dense but not heavy, pumpkin pie like sweet treat.

(italics, my own notes)

Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
1 1/4 pumpkin, canned
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan (I used a small casserole dish). In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow (Since I didn't have access to my mixer, I vigorously hand whisked the eggs). Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan and bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool. Seriously, resist the urge! My first batch I couldn't wait and made a mess of it. A delicious, pumpkiny mess. See photo below.

 Thankful to have let the second batch cool through the night and have it waiting for me this morning, with a nice hot cup of coffee with cinnamon. Mmmm, Autumn goodness.


Monday, October 28, 2013

My little wild things

Sweet, wild and free. I'm thankful for these children. So very thankful.

(Photos taken in Los Angeles, CA with my iPhone, edited with VSCO)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kingdom first.

I am thankful for His constant pursuing of my heart and His desires for me. He continues to reveal more of what my life in Him should be and challenges me daily. This morning our devotional was about 'The Most Important Prayer'. To be honest, some mornings feel like I'm just reading words with the meaning falling to the wayside. Today I read and my own heart was opened and listening. We talked about what it means to seek His Kingdom first. I had to assist my daughter's answers and by helping her, it was being revealed to me also. How will others see that God is our King, that His Kingdom is first in our lives? Yes, praying and reading His word is essential to every son and daughter but there is more. I challenged her thoughts with the ideas of showing kindness, love and service to others. Asking more about themselves than talking more about ourself. Having kind tones in the way we talk to others and to each other. Being helpful with her brother and obedient to her parents in front of others. All these examples are ways to shine our light and show that He is first in our life. As I shared this with her, areas in my life came to mind that needs adjusting to His will as well. After walking her to school (and confessing my need for Christ in these areas), I began to pray. That our family would seek first His Kingdom before all other things. For us as parents, to adjust and change what needs to be changed in order for us to glorify Him more than anything. For Him to continue to reveal our hearts and to aid us in leading our family well, as our first mission. For these things and more. I'm encouraged by Him and for the desire to want His will more and more every day. To seek His Kingdom first. Here on Earth as it is in Heaven. 


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It's beginning to look like Halloween around here.

+ During the Fall, we always bring out our 'great-great-great-auntie's' photo. DIY: old frame, any photo or artwork copy, print or cut out crazy eyes or googly eyes, glue. 

+ I love making things out of found branches and twigs from walks. This year we made a garland/mobile for Halloween.  Natalie used black watercolor on coffee filters and I cut leaves out of black stock paper. DIY: sturdy branch, twine, coffee filters, black watercolor paint, black stock paper, scissors, masking tape, clear tape. To make the coffee filter flowers,  I folded them one by one and cut scalloped edges once they were dried. I unfolded, gathered the filter until it resembled a flower and twisted the bottom to make a stem. I used a thin strip of masking tape to secure and clear tape to adhere it to the twine. 

+ Last year we made our first bat mobile. It's simple but it's a favorite. DIY: sturdy branch, black thread, black stock paper, scissors, clear tape.

+ Another mobile, this time cut out coffee filter ghosts for transparency, hanging from a spooky branch. DIY: coffee filter, scissors, marker (for dotted eyes), white thread, clear tape, twine (to hang the branch from the end).

+ I don't like spiders but I do appreciate the beautiful and haunting webs they weave. This year, I decided to weave my own using an embroidery hoop and white string. DIY: embroidery hoop, white string, scissors. I cut out four strings and criss-crossed them across the inner hoop, I tightened the outer hoop to it and tied the strings. Using one long piece of string, I tied it to the center, where all the strings meet. From there I 'weaved' it, pulling the string taut over each 'web' string, looping it and spiraling it. Finally I just tied it at the end.

+ Many years ago, I drew a pirate owl. I met a talented doll maker online and she turned my drawing into the cutest doll. Here is my Black Eyed Bart next to the sweetest little witchy owl, made by another sweet friend, Mathyld. Black Eyed Bart made by Munano, Witchy Owl by Under The Pyramids.

+ Happy Haunting