Saturday, January 30, 2010

Old Movies

We watched a wonderful movie last night called Mrs. Miniver. Alison at Brocante Home mentioned it a few weeks ago and it sounded like something we would enjoy. It won 6 Academy Awards in 1942 including best picture and best director. Mrs. Miniver is a British housewife who holds her family together during WWII which was of course still going on at the time this movie was filmed. It's definitely on my list of favorite movies of all time!

What are your favorite movies of all time?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Day

No work or school for us today. The roads are too icy.

So we go outside to play until we are frozen...

Look at my poor rosemary plant.

The kids were "ice skating". I was just praying no one wound up with bruises or broken bones (which would have been a certainty if I had been sliding around out there).

Then we come inside to warm up...

Something warm to drink.

Some delicious scones

A warm fire.

And some good music

Thursday, January 21, 2010

3 Cheese Baked Penne

This is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It's quick and easy and serves 6 generously.

* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use the dried kind)
* 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
* 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
* 1 jar spaghetti sauce
* 1 lb ground hamburger
* 1 egg
* 1 lb Penne pasta
* 2 tsp dried parsley
* 1 tsp dried basil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium saucepan, cook ground beef until browned; drain grease and add spaghetti sauce. Meanwhile boil pasta according to package directions.
2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, half the mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, parsley and basil.
3. Lightly grease 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Layer pasta, sauce mixture and cheese mixture. Repeat layers. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over top. Bake 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Organization Challenge - Priorities

Now that the Christmas season is behind us and our decorations are (hopefully) all put away we can get back to our weekly organizing. This week we are going to focus on setting priorities and make thoughtful and realistic choices about what is important.

This picture is just a reminder that having our priorities in order helps us to find time to do the things we want to do.

Goals for the week:

1. Ask yourself some questions. What is important to me? What do I want to accomplish? What have I always wanted to do? Maybe you could even write a mission statement for yourself and/or your family. When you have the big picture in mind it's easier to know how the little things will fit into it.

2. Make a list of your top ten priorities and keep them in your journal or somewhere where you can see them regularly. I know we all have these in our heads, but I think it's a good idea to actually write them out and look at them. Most of these may be serious but don't forget to include fun in your list.
"...look first for the kingdom of God..." (Matthew 6:33)

3. Make a list of all the activities you currently participate in and compare them to the list above. Which activities need to stay and which need to go? What you don't do is as important as what you do. Be realistic and realize that you will also need some free, unstructured time in your day. Not everything has to be preplanned.

As your life changes, this list will change. Your priorities now may look different than they will down the road. Revise your list every 6 months or so as needed.

Week 1 - Your Mind
Week 2 - Your Schedule
Week 3 - Cleaning Schedule

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cleaning Up Christmas

Anyone else still putting away Christmas decorations and vacuuming pine needles out of the carpet? I have the majority of it done, but I still need to take down the small artificial tree in the kitchen and my Christmas village.

I'm trying to make sure I put everything in the attic in an organized manner to save myself some aggravation next Christmas. I'm also planning to browse the 75% off decorations. Most of my lights finally gave out this year (as you can see if you look at the big dark spot on the tree in the Christmas morning pictures) and I know I won't want to buy them at full price next December. Might as well plan ahead.

This is also the time of year when I desperately need to clean out the refrigerator. I baked and cooked (and ate) my way through December and there is no telling what leftovers and gunk I'm going to find. I'm pulling out a trash bag and my rubber gloves this afternoon. If I don't come back send a search party!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


I just saw Julie and Julia for the first time (I tend not to see movies until they come to my corner Redbox) and I really enjoyed it. I used to love watching Julia Child on TV and it was fun to see her portrayed by Meryl Streep.

My sons watched it with me. It wasn't their favorite I have to admit (not much of a guy movie), but we did have some fun conversations about cookbooks and blogging afterward. I started thinking about my cookbook collection and if I had to pick one to blog about for a year which one would it be. My 1975 version of Joy of Cooking probably has the most variety and is one of my most loved cookbooks, but there is no way I could bring myself to cook through the game chapter that includes recipes for rabbit, opossum and raccoon. I can hardly even read that has diagrams. Ugh!

Two of my favorites are Moosewood Cookbook or The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook. I know that's an odd combination and the two don't really go together. The Moosewood Cookbook is a vegetarian cookbook with lots of healthy recipes and of course we know Paula Deen's recipes are down home country cooking with lots of butter and calories, but I love them both. I could see myself cooking all the recipes in either of them. I've pretty much already cooked my way through The Pioneer Woman Cooks, so that would be an easy one.

My most retro cookbook would have to be The Ground Beef Cookbook. It was published in the 1960s, but I found it at a garage sale. It has over 500 recipes and includes Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson's "Pedernales River Chili," and Mrs. Hubert Humphrey's "Dinner -in-a -Dish". There's a whole chapter of "first lady favorites" from the first ladies of Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Kansas, Ohio, and several others. It would be a fun cookbook to both cook from and blog about.

Would you ever consider cooking ALL the recipes in one particular cookbook and/or blogging about it? If so which one would you choose?