Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays

Just a quick update- Holidays are in full swing at the Musgrove home. I love all holidays, and Christmas is the biggy. Every year I start my gift list as soon as the kids are back to school- about 80% of my gift shopping takes place online- and I like to finish before Thanksgiving. So right now my bedroom corner is filled with boxes from the UPS man- all eagerly waiting for wrapping day. I hope to get a lot wrapped before Thanksgiving. I always give my house a good deep clean before Thanksgiving for company and so I will be all ready to transform my house into its Christmassy self. I hope to post lots of pictures. Gary was out putting up Christmas lights today- as it was a rare non rainy day- we always turn on the lights as everyone leaves after Thanksgiving dinner. Then I spend the entire week after Thanksgiving getting up all of my decorations. Then comes all the cookie baking, and lots and lots of holiday TV specials and movies- here is a new Amazon listmania list I just made with most of my favorite holiday shows.

I also hope to get in some Christmas crafting- I have a few felt projects I would love to do. I will be posting pictures, and recipes in the weeks to come. Hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

It has been a busy month, lots of fun fall activities. Tomorrow is Halloween and our family celebration activities are in full swing. School dance, school volunteering, church all night youth event, a few friends over on Halloween night, and my Sunday school Harvest party on Sunday. I am also looking forward to the huge amount of trick or treaters we get here, when we lived in the country we never had any, now we live in a part of town that gets a steady flow of trick-or-treating all night, it is so fun to see all the different costumes, and all the neighborhood is out, it is great. We fill a huge bin full of candy, and by the end of the night we are all out. These are some of our Halloween pictures, all our candy, two of my new favorite Halloween/Harvest Children's Books- Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper- amazing illustrations, and Strega Nona's Harvest by Tomie dePaola- one of my all time favorite children's writers, great story- as well as two old favorites- In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories classic scary stories from the 80's and Jack Prelutsky's It's Halloween- great catchy little poems and stories for Halloween, also a favorite from when I was young. I have also included a picture of one of the games I decided to play at our children's Harvest party- Pumpkin ring toss- using mini pumpkins and three embroidery hoops- fun and pretty challenging. Also a picture of Sarah and Joe- Sarah is dressed as a pirate to help out at her old elementary school trick or treat evening, and brother is doing what he can to get her to smile for the camera.

Hope everyone has an super fun Halloween!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Apple Festival

It has been a busy week and a half- we had a fun weekend celebrating my sons birthday together with his good friend, they are born 2 weeks apart and both turned 13 recently. My son was introduced to his first air soft war, and had a very good time playing at his friends property, then all the boys headed here for a fun sleepover. This week I also got the house decorated for Halloween- progress on my felting has been slow, I did embroider a nice felt mat to put under one of my Halloween trees. I have included pictures of a few of my Halloween decorations.

Today we enjoyed our town's annual Apple Festival- we have always visited some of this event but today was the first time I took the self-guided tours through the historic buildings- built in the mid 1800's. We had a ton of fun looking through the old farm equipment, and old kitchen stuff, the old children's toys were also cool. The buildings themselves were very fun to see, all the old style construction. We saw apple cider being pressed, tasted some good apple butter- apple cider and apple pie, and I as a needle crafter I really enjoyed the living history demonstrations of many different needle type crafts. One older women was making the most pretty lace using the old wooden bobbins- amazing! We went home with some locally grown apples which I will turn into apple butter tomorrow- all around a very fun fall weekend.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Michaelmas Fun

Today is Michaelmas- September 29th. A day celebrating Michael the Archangel. This day isn't celebrated in America much, but it is a fun fall day to recognize. Revelations 12:7-9 tells of when Michael the Archangel threw Satan out of heaven, down to earth. There are many traditions that go along w/ this day- it is fun to read the story of St. George and the Dragon, and to make dragon shaped bread. Even though my children are know in their early teens they really enjoyed this activity. Our heritage is largely Celtic/British so it is interesting to celebrate holidays that they do. The traditional meal is goose, but I decided to serve Chicken breast sauteed with apple and onion slices, stuffing, and acorn squash cut in half and served with melted butter and brown sugar. Another interesting Michaelmas tradition is to not pick blackberries after this day, as when the devil fell from heaven he landed in a blackberry bush, and they of course went bad- a fun way to remember to get all of your blackberries harvested before September 29th.

Because I was busy today cleaning out a kitchen cupboard, and then inspired to needle felt some of my fall scene, I didn't have time to make a yeast bread dough for the children to make dragon bread- so I had hubby bring home two tubes of buttermilk refrigerator biscuits, and gave each one a whole tube, they fashioned the dough into dragons, and ate them for a snack with jam & honey. I included a picture of our easy dragon bread, and a couple of great dragon themed books for the day.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall Fun & Applesauce Spice Cake

Thought I would put up a picture of my tiny corn patch. I planted it very late, but I was so happy with the new raised beds my hubby and kids built for my birthday that I felt we had to plant something in them. I just love the look of corn patches. Also is a picture of Father and son giving our lab a much needed bath, before it is too cold outside to wash her. My sprinkler wand is attached to the chair with clamps, works great for cleaning big dogs.

Today is my bible study group comes over- every Monday night- and every Monday I make a dessert. I usually make cookies, but tonight I am in the mood for one of my favorite homemade cakes- Applesauce Spice Cake. It is a very easy recipe, and perfect fit for autumn. This recipe was passed down to me from my Grandma- my great grandma a.k.a.- Nana - used to make it. Hope you all give it a try.
Applesauce Spice Cake
2 1/2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 cups applesauce
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. water
2 eggs
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground allspice
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 c. raisins
1 c. ground walnuts (these are optional- I don't use them because of my allergy to tree nuts)
Preheat oven to 350 F.

The recipe just says to mix ingredients in a bowl, I mix wet ingredients first, then put the flour on top of the wet ingredients, then the other dry ingredients except raisins, I carefully mix the spices with the flour with a fork, then I mix it all with my electric hand mixer, until well blended, then I blend in the raisins. Pour into greased and floured cake pan- either 2- 9" rounds, I make mine in a bundt pan so I don't have to mess with frosting layers, you could also make it in a 9 x13. Bake for 30- 35 minutes. My bundt pan usually takes longer, I test done when a butter knife comes out from center clean.

Cool, then frost. This cake is best with homemade frosting. A good buttercream, or cream cheese frosting, or my favorite just a basic white frosting made with powdered sugar, 1/2 a stick of shortening, and milk, and a cap of vanilla. I have no recipe I just eye it, and taste it until it is the right flavor and consistency.

Well, I better get to baking, and tidying. I will update later this week on my needle felting, and my decluttering 5 things per day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Halloween Books

Here is a link to an amazon listmania list I created today with as many of the fun Halloween books I could think of that my family has enjoyed throughout the years.

First Day of Fall

Today is the first day of fall, my favorite season. The weather here is extremely hot, which is good for the corn I am still trying to grow, but I do look forward to the crisp, blustery fall days. Tonight we will have some of the german sausages we brought home from Oktoberfest and I was going to make our sqash, but the oven being on today would not be welcome. This fall I will be working on needle felting an entire gnome harvest village to add to my fall decor, I have included a picture of a few of the items I have already made. Needle felting is a new craft for me this year and I just love working with it. The full moon picture was taken by my son during the first home football game for our local high school earlier this month. High school football games are one of my favorite fall things to do. Great, crisp fall air, and freinds, and the excitement. I look forward to sharing all of my fall activities - I have set a cleaning goal for myself for this fall in addition to my regular fall cleanup- from now until the end of October- I want to find five items a day to give away. My house isn't overly cluttered but it is amazing how much stuff accumulates- so I will be curious to see if I can find this many items. Hope everyone has a great first day of fall!

Monday, September 21, 2009


This past weekend we were able to attend the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest- I have always wanted to attend this event- but wasn't sure where Mt. Angel was- this summer while we were out driving around we found it was only 15 minutes from our house! It was a very fun event, great music, dancing, very yummy food (German sausages and funnel cakes), and best of all the kids loved the wiener dog races. Oktoberfest is a fun way to welcome the fall- getting out among such a happy group of people was great. We brought home some frozen locally made german sausages to enjoy later this week, and on the way home stopped at a farm stand to pick up some acorn squash. Such a fun weekend. Below is a video my son took of the weiner dog races.

Beginning Blogger

Okay, this is my first official blog post, I am a complete newbie, and am learning as I go, so bear with me. April's Homemaking blog is something I have wanted to start for quite awhile now. I love reading other people's blogs, and find it to be a really great way to connect with other homemakers.

I have been a full-time homemaker/SAHM for 15 years now. I have lived in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon- I have lived for 7 years out in the country, and now I am living in a small town. I have two wonderful children 14 year old daughter, 13 year old son, I have been married to my dear hubby for 15 years, and I have a crazy 5 year old -lab/dalmation/shepherd mix- shelter rescued dog.

I am always in pursuit of a more organized and simplified home, I love holidays and celebrations and try to incorporate as many as I can into our familiy traditions. I love to cook and bake- and am always trying to control my weight as a result. I love gardening- how a small seed can turn into a big plant with flowers and fruits and veggies amazes me every time. I love books, and reading, and studying just about anything. I love crafting with wool felt- needlefelting and embroidery. Our whole family loves sci-fi. Our family regularly attends a medium sized country church, I have been a sunday school teacher for 12 years and absolutly love teaching children about the lord and his love for them.

That's just a nutshell edition of who I am- My main goal is to share the fun things my family does, the struggles we have, etc. in order to relate with other people out there living life w/ their families.

Now I am going to figure out how to post pictures to let you in on some of the fall fun we've been haivng. Chat later.