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Mothers' Hideaway: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mouthwatering Monday- Oven Roasted Broccoli


Thanks Jo for today's blog recipe!

I'm always looking for delicious vegetable recipes for my family. Between my husband, myself, and my four year old, we all have different ideas of what vegetables we like and how we like them prepared. This easily leads to very few ideas on how to serve that night's vegetable. Sometimes, the simplest additions or variations can lead to very satisfying results- especially when convincing my entire family to eat broccoli. Steaming it yields very little success, and simply melting cheese on top only pleases my four year old. This recipe, however, has met the ultimate success; we all ate it, and, what's more, we all loved it!

Oven Roasted Broccoli


  • 1 pound broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalk into 1/8-inch thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper and set aside.
Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal cake pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.

Share your favorite recipes with us in Mothers' Hideaway Recipe Luau!

A big thanks to A Southern Fairytale for hosting Mouthwatering Monday- yum!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Decorating We Go!

I love the weekend after Thanksgiving. To me, this officially starts the Christmas Season. I have several superstitions, as before this I do not watch Christmas movies, read Christmas books, or listen to Christmas music. But, once the turkey and stuffing is put away and the last of the pumpkin pie is eaten, it is time to let the Christmas Season invade! This year will be interesting for us. Typically, it's all systems a go, let the decorating begin. But, this year, we'll be moving the weekend before Christmas. So, we've decided to forgo the outdoor lights (well, maybe, unless I change my mind!) and instead focus on the inside. I put up the decorations, will pack them the 18th of December to be moved and then re-decorate in the new house the day we get there. Whew!

So, my evolution of decorating begins with a dining room full of boxes..wish me luck!

Share your decorating stories with us at our Mothers' Hideaway forums!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving! Enjoy a great holiday weekend and join us over at!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday- 4 years in a blink of an eye

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kitchen Tips Tuesday- Substitution Sifter!

Thanks to Elaine & Jo for today's tip!

Have you ever gone to bake something that required you to sift flour- just to realize your little one broke the sifter playing drums or throwing it at the ground? Or, did you realize that you left it behind in a move or just simply lost it? Let's face it a sifter is a great baking tool. However, if you broke that sifter or just don't have one, a wire mesh strainer works great!

As Elaine mentioned to us, "I have a wire mesh strainer that I use (I've never used a sifter). I put the flour/sugar/cocoa whatever into the that and push it through with a spoon."

A great kitchen save!

How do you recover from your kids helping in the kitchen? Share with us at!

Thanks to Tammy's Recipes for hosting Kitchen Tips Tuesday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Unexpected Thankfulness

Thank you Hillarie for today's blog!

I know this may be a bit of a downer, but it is the month to be thankful. Since there has been something on my mind lately, I thought I would blog it out.

My grandfather passed away suddenly July 8th. He was 85 and this month would have been his 68th wedding anniversary with my grandmother.

I think of the life and example he left us and am proud and grateful (eternally so) and thankful. He was a man of service, he cared about others and helped others as often as he possibly could. He was a good man. He did service right to the end. He brought in garbage cans and newspapers for little old widows who lived in his neighborhood. He did that every Wednesday but this time his heart gave out after getting home.

Although its been extremely tough on my family I cant help but think of this man, this rock and his smile. When we had his viewing, my grandmother nearly collapsed. It took my mom and my 3 sisters on all sides to hold her up and get her to sit next to him. As much as I was totally overcome with despair, mostly for my grandmother, I couldnt help but realize how that much sorrow also meant that there was that much love and devotion.

I looked at my husband and realized that I was so blessed and thankful to have him in my life and how much sorrow I would have if anything were to happen to him. A balance you could say. To have light you must have dark, etc.

I'm thankful for the love he and my grandma shared and that example. I'm thankful for his service to his fellow man and teaching me that. I'm thankful for his deep voice and crooked grin that resonate in my head daily so the sorrow I feel doesn't take over like it could.

I'm thankful for death because it taught me so much and it made me look deep within and see things I would not have focused on before and it has helped to make me a better person. It has helped to make me a better and more appreciative granddaughter to my grandma. It made me see her in a clearer way (and not the jaded way you can see stubborn older people at times LOL).So even with the great sadness it brings, my grandfather's passing helped me to see that there is always something to be thankful for- even in death.

Share with us what you're thankful for at!

Thank you to Carnival of Family Life for hosting this Thankfulness edition!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday- Hoover Steam Vac!

Thanks Sandy for today's blog!

With 5 kids at home, I know I'm going to see some messes. So we had to find a product that helps keep stain at bay (or else replace the carpet once or twice a year!) We use the Hoover SteamVac Spin Scrub TurboPower Carpet Cleaner. It's amazing!

I have to use it about once a month at least. I love having one at home because with 5 kids even though we have rules about no snacks or drinks in carpeted areas it just doesn't always happen that way. I have white carpeting in my living room and it's DISGUSTING and next on my list to replace. As a matter of fact THREE days after we had the new carpeting installed Skyler accidentally dropped an entire gallong of blue juice on the new carpeting while carrying it up from the spare refridgerator in the basement!!! If it weren't for the steam cleaner we would have some very expensive brown carpeting with blue "accents"

How do you keep your house clean with kids running around? Share your tips with us at!

Thank you to We Are That Family for hosting Works for Me Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Kitchen Tips Tuesday- Homemade Cleaning/Disinfectant

Thanks Jo for today's blog!!

How about those grimy cutting boards? They say to use one for poultry/meat and one for fruits/veggies/etc. but who remembers? I clearly don't!

I try to use my glass one for meats since the knife can't cut into it like it does for the plastic or wood but sometimes I am just too plain lazy to take out the giant glass one so this is what I've come up with.

Keep in mind I don't have a dishwasher so I have to make sure to get all the germs off of everything by using really hot water and loads of soap so to make sure I really clean them well I started making my own disinfecting spray.

I could easily just use some fantastik but that can not be safe to use on food utenstils. So I use Lemon to disinfect it. Lemon is a natural disinfectant and I don't have to worry about contaminating my food. You can also scrub it with baking soda in between the disinfecting it to ensure that you get rid of any odors that food can leave behind. Obviously if you are using a glass cutting board the baking soda isn't important but for wood or plastic (which I would stay clear of wood cutting boards for meats!) it would be a good idea to give it a good scrub with the baking soda.

Here is the recipe to use for the disinfectant: 1 quart of water and 3 tbsp. of lemon juice. (I'd use a fresh one and not the bottle kind though I'm a big fan of that one for cooking!)

How do you make kitchen cleaning easier and safer? Share your tips with us at!

Thank you to Tammy's Recipes for hosting Kitchen Tips Tuesday!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday: Renovating some more!

Thanks Elaine for today's blog!!

We have wanted to redo our basement since we bought our house 7 years ago but never had the time, money or the motivation to do it. At the end of July our basement, along with about a thousand other homes in our neighbourhood and surrounding area, was flooded after heavy rain. Luckily no raw sewage (gag) just rain water but no one could guarantee that there was nothing damaging in the water so virtually everything it came into contact with had to go. Suddenly we had the motivation and the money to redo the basement. Time, not so much, but motivation and money, yes. With my husband working full-time, a 2 1/2 year old boy terror running around and a new baby due come the spring (we were out buying a pregnancy test when the basement flooded, actually, and wouldn't have known about it if our neighbour hadn't asked us when we pulled into the driveway), time is something we don't have a lot of.

So, you know all that stuff you pitch into a room/closet/in our case basement that you'll "get to later"? Well, we were forced to "get to it". A lot of it was tossed in the garbage as was all the furniture which was great because most of the furniture was old and crappy anyway.

~ Round 1 ~

Restoration company rips out bottom two feet of drywall throughout the rooms. We clean out all the junk that had accumulated over the years and toss all the furniture.

~ Round 2 ~

Tear down walls, ceiling and remove the bathroom. Make a mental note to force all those helping to wear face masks so they're not inhaling the minute dust particles floating in the air...

Attempt to figure out what the heck the previous owner did with the wiring. *scary*

~ Round 3 ~

Remove the remnants of torn up linoleum left on the concrete floor because previous owner glued it down. For the record, this sucks. There is no easy way to do it and believe me, we tried all sorts of things. We used a heat gun and tried to scrape it up; incredibly slow going. We poured boiling water on it and tried to scrape it up; slower than the heat gun. We tried a blow torch; slow going and emitted a horrible odour. Finally we pulled out a belt sander and after filling our entire house with dust (note to self - cover ALL vents when we start sanding the drywall) the linoleum foam and glue was gone. *Happy dance* After the dust has settled we cleaned the floor, primed it and sealed it with paint.

This is what happens when you put too much pressure on a cheap paint roller handle. Snapped off at almost the base of the handle forcing the person who snapped it (AKA my husband) to finish half the floor on his hands and knees.

~ Round 4 ~

Put up new insulation that meets the R requirements to get a refund from the government. *Another happy dance* Frame the exterior of the room. Take a stab at the so called laundry room and see what sort of damage we can do to the remaining drywall (that's behind many pipes and wiring).

Apparently the floor was a little messy so Ben took care of it...

Nothing is work when a compressor and nail gun are involved.

I do believe the end is in sight. *Yet another happy dance* We still have a long way to go but once the walls are up it starts to become fun. How often are you given a big cheque and told to buy all new stuff? After the government rebates (for making our house more energy efficient) and tax credits we'll get a good portion of the money we pay out back. *Final happy dance* Now if only there was a way to get a little more time (like 3 day weekends) so we could have the work done by Christmas.

How do you balance your renovations with family life? Share with us at!

Thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom for hosting Tackle it Tuesday!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Things I Love Thursday- Family Pride

Thanks Hillarie for today's blog!!

Hmmm parenthood....I always go back to that scene in the movie, Parenthood with Steve Martin and the little ole grandma who talks about the roller coaster ride and how it is like being a parent(well life in general really).

You get your ups and your downs. You get your nauseated moments and your joyous ones. You get the moments when you want to rip your hair out by the roots and then the moments where you realize that making that cookie dough requires hair pulled back and out of your face.

I get things done a little at a time. I do a couple things a day but do dishes and take trash out daily. Everything else gets done once or twice a week. I dont care if my home is perfect and I realize I miss things or blow them off but thats ok. My home is decent and people worthy...immaculate can wait til Im dead LOL.

My kids needs will always prevail household chores so if they are sick or hurting vacuuming can wait. My time for myself consists of computer time. Thats where I get my out and my "me" time.


Last December my husband and I decided to celebrate both Yule and Christmas. We decided we would put the tree up close to Christmas Eve because we loved the idea of having Santa put the tree up and decorate it while the kids slept. Just another joyous, magical moment of the season.

Since we celebrate Yule we did the tree while the kids napped the afternoon of the 21st(you have to understand my husband and I tend to procrastinate. Well, he's lazy and I procrastinate so its a great combo). We sat it up and when the boys came out of their rooms we showed them the little tree lit with various colors of the rainbow. The sparkle in their eyes were soooo bright you couldnt see anything else. My oldest(was 4 then) said "did Father Winter and his fairies do the tree for us?" and my husband and I said "yes." He was so excited that little fairies had come into our house to do that special for him he just kept jumping up and down. My 3 yr old(2 1/2 then)quickly joined him in the jumping and squealing. My youngest was bright eyed but that was about it, he was only 11 mths so he wasnt big on jumping and squealing just yet.

My heart grew with joy and pride in that moment simply because I saw the wonder of the season through my childrens eyes and its a gift. You always forget that feeling when life gets in the way but thankfully a child is always nearby to remind you of the innocence and wonder that takes away, even for a moment or two, all the stress you may have been feeling.

What do you love about your kids? Share with us at!

Thanks to The Diaper Diaries for hosting Things I Love Thursday!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday- Keeping baby warm!

Taking walks give both mommy and baby a break, and can do wonders for inducing naps. But the fall weather can present a bit of a problem for babies that like to be worn. So I had to find a product that works for me, and I've found that I love my peekaru! It keeps Matthew warm when it's cold out and I don't have to bundle him up. If we go for a walk with the Ergo I just pop the peekaru over him so I don't have to wear a coat. It's great for those brisk fall days when you don't want to bundle up but still need something to keep the chill out.

It's also really easy to use by yourself. The step by step instructions are really clear cut and you really do not need help from anyone! I love finding simple and easy to use mama/baby gear that works for me!

What works for you when facing parenting obstacles? Share with us at!

Thanks to We Are That Family for hosting Works for Me Wednesday!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kitchen Tips Tuesday- Letting your children help

When cooking something in the kitchen, it seems inevitable that your children are going to have to be underfoot. They're in the kitchen asking for snacks, wanting to play a game, or just plain driving you crazy with "What are you doing? What are you doing now? How about now?" So how do you entertain your kids while still getting things done?

I found that turning the kitchen into our own Food Network set has made things fun! When baking cookies or putting together a meal, I get everything ready in dishes ready to put into the mix. Now granted, this does not work for every meal, but it sure makes things more fun! For example, I was making a pasta salad for a picnic. I had my 3 year old picking up his toys and washing his hands while I prepared the ingredients, and then he "made" the pasta salad.

The perfect way to get a meal or some baking done while letting your children help :)

How do you involve your children in the kitchen? Tell us at!

Thank you to Tammy's Recipes for hosting Kitchen Tips Tuesday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Things I Love Thursday- Indoor Craft Project with the kids.

Thanks Mama Sandy for today's blog!!

When it's too cold to play outside, how do you entertain the kids? I love to do projects to keep them buys! Do you remember doing paper mache in school? You know the stinky stuff with all the strips of newspaper and it was a huge mess? Well, I recently decided to take on a paper mache project with the kids and honestly, it wasn't too bad. Not as messy OR as stinky as I remember it being!

The first recommendation I have is that you invest in a vinyl or plastic tablecloth before you even consider this project. You can pick those up for a dollar that the dollar store and then just toss it or wash it up to re-use for other messy projects (or for under the high chair).

Our paper mache project was a large spider halloween decoration. We used punch balloons for the "posterior" of the spider and a regular party balloon for the head. I also purchased some evergreen garland that we spray painted black for the legs and some green rubber balls for the eyes.

The first step was preparation. We placed the vinyl tablecloth on the dining room table and set out our supplies. Here's what you'll need:

The already mentioned tablecloth/cover

A form anything that will hold the shape of your paper mache (wire, balloons, etc.) but should be something that can remain inside the paper mache as you won't be able to get it out. We used balloons so that we could pop them later and remove them.

Newspaper, lots of newspaper. Brown paper bags work too but since newspaper is easier for us to come by we went that route.

A large bowl or container for your "paste" or the container it came in if you're using wallpaper paste

Paste - a flour and water mixture or wallpaper paste. There are other types of pastes out there and an internet search could produce many different recipes.

Rubber gloves

We started by tearing our newspaper into strips. The paper tore very easily into strips in one direction but not the other. It's better to tear the paper rather than cut it into strips as it will fray the edges and make a smoother finished product.

Once we had that part complete it was time to blow up our balloons and start the actual paper mache process. We decided to use wallpaper paste for our past since it will not mold like a flour and water mixture can. If you decide to use the flour and water mixture it's as easy as that; flour and water mixed together to form a paste so the consistency should be rather thick. If you do use the flour and water mixture you should be aware that it absolutely has to dry for at least 24 hours between layers to help prevent mold from growing on your finished product.

We used a medium sized bowl to rest our balloon on while we applied our newspaper strips because otherwise it rolled around once one side got heavy. We dipped the newspaper strips into the paste and removed the excess by running the strips between our fingers (why we wore rubber gloves). Then we placed them on the balloon in a thin layer with each strip going in the same direction and overlapping slightly so the entire balloon was covered. We kept the strips in the same direction so it was easy to tell the layers apart as we got further into the process. Once that layer was complete we used the rubber band on the punch balloon to hang the balloon to dry.

Our next step was to blow up the part balloon and tie a ribbon to the end so we had something to hang it to dry from. Then we followed the same steps.

This continued every day or two until we had completed about 4 layers for each piece. The finished products were nice and firm. We popped the balloons and removed them through the hole that was left from the end sticking out.

Then it was time to put the pieces together. We glued the larger paper mache end to the other and let it dry overnight. While we waited for the glue to dry we spray painted the evergreen garland (purchased at the dollar store for only a dollar) with black spray paint, let it dry and applied a second coat to make sure we had covered all the green.

The next day we spray painted the spider peices that were glued together, glued the green rubber balls for the eyes, poked holes and glued some of the garland for "fangs" and also for 8 legs. Here is the finished product still on the vinyl tablecloth:

The kids all loved this project and it was something that kept us busy for an extended amount of time while the October weather was too cold and damp to play outside. Add another balloon and this could be converted to a snowman project. A great activity and entertained children- things I love!

What things do you love to do with your children? Tell us at!

Thanks to the The Diaper Diaries for hosting Things I Love Thursday!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Easing Hosting Strain!

Thanks Jojo for today's blog!

I used to love cooking and baking every holiday. I would take on the task of making multiple dishes without anyone helping. I enjoyed literally slaving over ingredients for days. Thanksgiving--I would take 3 days to get everything prepared and ready so that by the time Turkey day rolled around all I'd have to do was pop everything into the oven and it would be set.

But this year things are different. I don't have 3 whole days to get things prepared. Heck, I don't even have 3 hours to get things prepared so I am calling in help. Each family member will be bringing a dish to this years Thanksgiving table. I guess you can say we are having a potluck Thanksgiving! If you want to eat you must participate! Of course, I still have to have full reins on the turkey and one side dish.

I figured this new trick out when I said in advance that I was hosting Easter. I didn't really realize how tough it would be to host a dinner and have a newborn. Everyone pitched in and brought something and it was so stress free. There wasn't much to clean up and it was great.

Now to make it even more easier I might have to go buy some plastic forks and plates. This in addition to barely cooking works for me!

How do you handle the holidays? Tell us at!

Thanks to We Are THAT Family for hosting Works for Me Wednesday!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Kitchen Tips Tuesday- Themed food!

Thanks Sandy for today's blog!

Halloween themed meals

We recently had a meal made from hot dogs and crescent strips. Rather than wrap the hot dogs into the crescent rolls in the typical "pigs in a blanket" fashion we cut the crescent dough into thing strips and wrapping them around the hot dogs to look like bandages. When they were cooked we let the kids put eyes and a mouth on the mummies with mustard and ketchup. It was a big hit and the kids had a blast making them and eating them.

We also made our own personal pizzas and let the kids decorate them with creepy faces:

Sausage Beard The Pirate

Olive the Vampire

And, just to make the chili we had for dinner on Halloween night fit into our theme we let the kids cut their cheese into jack-o-lantern shapes

How do you make meals more fun for your kids? Share with us at!

Thanks to Tammy's Recipes for hosting Kitchen Tips Tuesday!