Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Just a quick post to wish everyone a happy and safe Halloween.  I am busy in the kitchen today making all sorts of goodies for our Halloween open house, and will post some of the new appetizers I made this year tomorrow.  The house is decorated, and we are stocked with candy for all the trick-or-treaters who will brave the soggy weather to gather their treats.

Here are some posts from our past Halloweens.

Here is a post from our 2010 Halloween Buffet, every year I make a big batch of mulled apple cider to enjoy, our crock pot is full right now, filling the house with yummy spiced apple scent.

Here are our Halloween Treat bags from last year, this was a fun and inexpensive way to make a goody bag.

Last Fall we explored a local Pioneer cemetery, it was very interesting looking at all of the names.

Here is a link to last years Halloween buffet and a recipe for one of my favorite appetizers, mushroom pinwheels.

I hope everyone has a fun Halloween evening, how are you spending your Halloween?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #37 - The Goose Girl

For week #37 in my 52 weeks of fairy tale series, I have chosen a tale from the Grimm brothers.  Although this is a classic tale, the first time I read it was earlier this year as I was reading through my various fairy tale books to decide on which fairy tales to share.

The tale is called The Goose Girl.

This tale begins with a Queen sending her daughter off to be married to her betrothed, a prince in a far away kingdom.  The Queen loved her daughter very much, and provided her with everything a royal princess would need, gold, silver, jewels, clothing, and other beautiful things.  She also sent a lady-in-waiting to journey along with the princess, they each had a horse, The Princess's horse was called Falada, and was a magical horse that could speak.

Before her daughter left, the Queen pricked her finger and let three drops of her blood fall onto a white cloth.  She gave this cloth to her daughter and told her to keep it near to her for good luck.  The princess hid the cloth in her blouse, and her and her mother sadly said their goodbyes.

After they had been riding for a while, the Princess became thirsty, and asked her lady-in-waiting to get down and fetch her some water in her golden cup.  The lady-in waiting answered very rudely, and told the princess to get down and get it herself.

So the princess got down and got herself the water, at which time the cloth that her mother had given her said " If your mother knew this, it would break her heart."  The princess was humble however, so she didn't say anything to her disobedient servant, after getting her water, she got back on her horse, and started back on her journey.

After a while, the princess became thirsty again, and when she asked her servant for water she received the same rude response as before.  Again the princess got down to get her own water, and again the cloth in her blouse said "If your mother knew, it would break her heart."  The princess bent down to get her water, and this time she was upset, and she didn't notice that the cloth with her mother's drops of blood fell from her shirt and into the stream of water, which carried it away.  The lady-in-waiting did notice, and she was happy, because she knew that not having her mother's special cloth would make the princess weak.

As the Princess went to get back on her horse Falada, the lady-in-waiting forcefully told the princess that she would no longer be riding Falada and instead would be riding her horse, in addition to that she made the Princess remove her royal garments and put on the servants clothing.  Lastly, the wicked lady-in -waiting made the Princess swear before heaven that she would never tell a creature at the palace what had taken place.  Since the lady-in-awiting was threatening her life, the princess had no choice, and took the oath.  Falada saw this all and remembered.

Soon they arrived at the Prince's Castle, the lady-in-waiting was dressed as the princess so the prince thought that she was his betrothed.  When asked who the Princess was, the lady-in-waiting said she was a servant and that they should put her to work to keep her busy.  So the Princess was given the task of helping Conrad, the boy who looked after the Geese.  That is how the princess became a Goose Girl.

The Lady-in-waiting knew that Falada the horse was magical, and that he could talk, not wanting the horse to give up her secret, she had the horse killed.  However the kind and humble princess had become friends with the servants at the castle, and when she heard what was to become of her Falada, she asked the man in charge of the task, that if she gave him a piece of gold, would he do her the favor of hanging up the horse's head at the gateway to town, where the princess had to pass on her way to tend the geese every day.  The man agreed, and hung up Falada's head at the gate.

As the Princess passed the gate the next day with Conrad, she said to Falada "Alas! dear Falada, there thou hangest."  Falada replied " Queen's Daughter, if thy mother knew thy fate, her heart would break with grief so great."

Conrad and the princess made there way to the field, the princess let her hair down, and Conrad saw how beautiful and golden it was, he wanted to pluck a strand of her hair.  The princess didn't want Conrad to do this, so she said a magical rhyme that sent Conrad's hat flying off in to the field.  When he got back the princess had finished brushing her hair, and had put it back up.  Conrad was sulky about this, but they tended the geese until evening.  The next day the same thing happened, and Falada said the same thing as the princess passed by, and Conrad's hat once again blew away when he became too fond of her golden locks.

That evening Conrad went to the King, and said he would not tend the geese anymore with the goose girl, and that strange things kept happening, he told the King about her talking to Falada as well.  The King told Conrad to go tend the geese with her again tomorrow and that he would find out what was going on.  The King heard Falada the next day say to the goose girl " Queen's Daughter, if thy mother knew thy fate, her heart would break with grief so great"  The King saw the girl take down her beautiful golden hair to comb it, and Conrad's hat once again blew away.

That evening the King asked the Goose Girl what was going on, and she told the king that she swore an oath to tell no creature at the castle.  The King had an idea, and told the girl to tell her story to the iron stove.  He then listened in while the girl told all that had happened to her, and all about the lady-in-waiting.  The King realized that the Goose Girl was really the princess, and brought her her royal robes.  The King called his son and told him that his bride to be was the lady-in-waiting and not the princess, and introduced him to the real princess.  That evening the princess sat with the King and prince and his false bride, the lady-in-waiting at dinner, the lady-in-waiting didn't recognize the princess.  The King told a story of deception to the false bride, but didn't name any names, he asked the false bride what should become of a person who deceives their master.  The wicked woman replied with a horrid punishment- that the deceiver be placed in a barrel lined with nails and drug by horses.  So this was the punishment that the King gave to the lady-in-waiting.  The Prince then married the real princess, and they ruled the kingdom together and lived happily ever after.

This is definitely a darker tale by the Grimm brothers, with the poor horse being decapitated, and the lady-in-waiting meeting such an awful end (even if it was her own idea).  Definitely a candidate for a revised version for children.  I imagine that this is why I had not heard it as a child, but I had always heard of the Goose Girl, just never the story behind it.  I do think that the tale is very interesting.

I had a great time crafting a paper cutting for this story, paper cutting is fast becoming one of my favorite activities.  Here is how it turned out.  I really enjoyed making the tree!

We are having a fun Halloween week here, it will be a rainy evening for the various get-together's that the kids are attending this weekend.  We had fun gathering costume items today, a quick trip to bi-mart and the costumes are ready to go, I look forward to posting pictures later.  

My prayers and thoughts for your safety, go out to those of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #36 - The Starry Loom and a Cardboard Loom Project

For Week #36 I am sharing another fairy tale from The Fish Bride and other Gypsy Tales book that I checked out from the Library last month.  I am enjoying the tales in this book so much, I had to hunt down an out of print copy so I could have my own copy of these stories.  You can read more about this book in my fairy tale post about the story Noodle.

The tale that I am sharing this week is called- The Starry loom

This tale is about a Gypsy girl named Sikri who was willful and vain.  One evening is she is headed back to her caravan at midnight, and she fell through a crack in time.

She fell down and down, tumbling around, and finally landed at the feet of an old woman who was weaving.  The loom the old woman was weaving on was decorated with beautiful stars, the spindle and shuttle were silver.  Sikri rudely demanded to know who the old woman was.

The old woman, who did not look up from her work explained that she was the spinster who sat at the gates of time, and that she was as old as the world, everyday and every night she wove patterns on her loom that would take shape on earth.  Sikri realized that this meant that the old woman could tell the future, and the old woman confirmed that this was true.  Sikri looked upon the loom and saw a picture of herself rising in to the heavens, just as had happened to her.  The old woman told her that she should not have been walking around at midnight, and that Sikri was willful and didn't obey anyone.

Sikri sat down to think a bit, then decided that she wanted to know the future and weave it herself, and told the old woman that she wanted to weave right now!  The old woman told Sikri that she didn't know what she was asking.  For three days and nights Sikri kept hounding the old woman, and tried many tricks to get the old woman to let her weave.  But the old woman firmly stayed weaving at her loom.

Finally losing her patience, Sikri decided to push the old woman away from the loom, and when she did, Sikri sat down at the loom and grabbed the shuttle, announcing, " I always get what I want!"  The Old woman replied, "and so you shall", and smiled slyly.

Sikri tried to let go of the shuttle, and she couldn't get it out of her hand, it was stuck, she tried to stand up from the loom, and she couldn't stand up.

The old woman put on her cloak and stared down the sky.  Sikri angrily asked where the old woman was going, the old woman called back over her shoulder " Wherever the wind blows me.  The world is always in need of a wise woman."

That is how it came to be that a Gypsy girl sits at the gates of time, weaving upon the starry loom.

I just absolutely loved this story, it was the first time I had heard it.  Definitely a reminder to be careful what you wish for.

I love fiber arts, and have always wanted to learn weaving, so this story was right up my alley.  One of these days I would love to have a large loom to weave blankets,  until then I will have to play at weaving with smaller looms.  

In my fourth grade class we were doing a term long unit on the Oregon trail, one of our crafts was to weave upon a cardboard loom.  This story reminded me of that craft, and how much I loved it when I was younger, I used the cardboard loom to make a rug for my Barbies.  So for this fairy tale craft I decided to make a cardboard loom.

First I cut out the side of a large cardboard box, then with a ruler marked off ever half inch, then made little triangle cuts with the point every half inch.  The I wound around the yarn all the way around the cardboard taping off both ends, this made the "warp".

I started with a piece of yarn about 8 feet long, you could make the piece shorter for younger children, using a yarn needle, I thread the whole string of yarn through until it reached the end of the first line, weaving under and over every other string.  I tied off the end of the first string to the first string on the bottom left hand side of the warp.  Then I kept weaving over and under, until the first 8 foot string was all the way through, I cut another 8 foot section of yarn, tied it onto the end of the first 8 foot piece of yarn then kept weaving.

As you can see, I made the mistake of tightening the weave to much, so it turned out bigger on one end, next time I will draw guidelines on the edge of the cardboard so I keep it all the same width.  

This little weaving project took a couple of hours, I chose a very pretty harvest variegated yarn.  Weaving is a very relaxing craft, and I really enjoyed working on it.  My daughter is looking forward to using the loom to  make her own project, she loves knitting and yarn, and is also interested in weaving.  You can find very good instructional videos on Youtube if you search "Cardboard Looms".

When I was done weaving, I cut through the center of the warp yarn on the back of the loom, then tied off every two pieces of yarn using a double knot, then trimmed the yarn to a fringe length.  Although it is a little lopsided, it was still a fun project, I hope to give it another try, this would be a  perfect craft for making a little decorative mat, you could probably find a large piece of cardboard and weave place mats, and my daughter suggested  finding a tiny square to make coasters.  Of course, thinking back to the fourth grade, also a perfect way to make doll rugs and blankets, and a very fun rainy day craft for the kids.

One week until Halloween, I am looking forward to our church pumpkin carving party as well as Halloween evening with good snacks and friends and all the trick or treat fun.  I am working away at crafting the other fairy tales I hope to share before Halloween as well.  Hope everyone is having a nice week!

Monday, October 22, 2012

It was a Dark and Stormy... Homecoming!

This past week we heard the reports that rain was on the way.  We got out to the garden and did some quick clean up while the weather was still sunny.

We had a nice little mini bonfire from the lavender twigs that we finally finished digging out of our very over grown lavender bed.

I enjoy bonfires, watching the fire dance is mesmerizing.

The twigs were fairly dry so the fire burned down pretty quickly, we thought we would smell more lavender but didn't really smell it much until the end, when we added a few branches that still had lavender buds attached.

I love sitting around fire in the fall, and hope to have at least one more bonfire before winter gets here.

We finished our garden clean up and bonfire just in time, and the rain arrived.  

This weekend was Homecoming weekend, the weekend started off with a fun little parade through town.

Led by a firetruck, the different classes and clubs rode on their various floats.

The football team road through as people cheered them on.

The FFA and their bright red tractor.

Sarah walked in the parade with the schools "Green Team", instead of a float they chose alternative methods of transportation and walked, biked, and skateboarded through the parade.

A few hours later we were on our way to the game, and the rain really started pouring.  The Socialaires kicked off the event by singing the National Anthem, Joseph has really enjoyed being in this choir this year, and they all did a really nice job singing in the rain. They were huddled up in their coats until just before it was time to get out and sing.  Thankfully, although it was wet, it wasn't too cold.

The kids had to keep their paper banner close to the ground, the wind was trying very hard to rip it apart, but it stayed intact and the football team ran through it to start the homecoming game.

It was very difficult to get any clear picture, my camera wouldn't focus at all, but Gary's camera was able to get a few good shots.  We wanted to try and capture the total downpour that was going on through most of the game.  You can kind of see in the picture below.  The rain was coming down in sheets, being blown sideways by the wind.

All of the rain was in some way very energizing though, and it was one of the best games I have ever been to.  Our team made some amazing touchdowns, the crowd was cheering, it was a wonderful homecoming game.

You can see the puddles of mud forming under the players.

In the end we won 38 to 7.  Very, very fun homecoming this year!

Saturday the kids got all dressed up for the homecoming dance, and had a very nice evening.  Homecoming is such a neat fall tradition.

Hope everyone is having a nice Monday.  I will leave you with this stunning sunrise that we had the other day, such a beautiful pink sky!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Surprise Sunflowers and Roasted Beets

The rain has finally returned, and fall is finally settling in.  I looked out the window last night, and saw our tree against the backdrop of dark rain clouds, with the sunset just peeking out in the distance, and thought it was so beautiful.  Our garden is very happy to have rain back!

With all this cooler weather, I have been busy in the kitchen. Last week I bought a nice little bunch of beets, and last night roasted them up.  Most recipes on the web have you place an unpeeled beet in a foil pouch with olive oil to roast in the oven, and then peel it after it is done roasting.  I wasn't sure how well that would work, and I wasn't sure I wanted to try peeling hot beets and then cutting them into chunks right at the time I would be finishing off the rest of dinner, so I opted to peel and cube them first.  My what a magenta mess that was, my hands are still died purple and pink!  Next time I need to pick up a box of kitchen gloves. :)  But it was well worth it.  They turned out delicious!

After peeling with a vegetable peeler, just like I would a carrot or potato, and chopping in to nice bite sized chunks, I tossed them with olive oil and ground sea salt.  I added about half a cup of water to help them steam a bit also, then cover the roasting pan with foil and baked at 375 F. for about an hour, until they were fork tender.

I was amazed at the beautiful color of the beets, this was my first time preparing them fresh, I always grew up eating canned beets.

Here is how they looked all ready to serve, I drizzled them with a little melted butter and added a little more sea salt.  I thought the were a perfect fall side dish,  Gary (hubby) enjoyed them as did Sarah, but Joseph was not too fond of them, he ate half his serving, then the dogs very graciously finished the rest of his beets.
While I was looking up recipes, I read that often times, when it comes to beets, people either love them or hate them we'll have to try them a few more times and see if we can't win Joe over. :)

I have been so busy inside the last couple of weeks, that my garden has been a bit neglected. I was pleasantly surprised last week though, when I went for a walk through my garden to assess the weeding and fall clean up that I still needed to do, and found that some beautiful sunflower plants had sprung up under the bird feeders.  The buds hadn't opened yet, but they looked like they would any day.  The last few days beautiful sunflowers have blossomed!

What a nice surprise, I haven't planted sunflowers for quite some time, and I have been missing them.  I usually feed the birds a waste free seed, with chopped sunflower, but once or twice this summer we used a seed mix with whole sunflower seeds, and it looks like a few have sprouted up.  I love the happy yellow color against the browns of the plants that are starting to die back.

I also think the sunflowers look very pretty against the red holly berries.   What a nice fall treat!

I am looking forward to a nice relaxing Sunday evening, and getting ready for a nice productive week.  I hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cabbage Chowder and Baked Apples

Today was the first day that I woke up and it was really starting to feel like fall.  Although we have had little moments here and there since fall started that had a little hint of fall, we have mostly been having lovely sunny days with temperatures more like summer.  It felt a little odd getting out Halloween decorations when it still felt like summer.  Today, however, I woke up to a beautiful foggy morning, with nice crisp fall air.  A perfect day to experiment with a new soup recipe.

About a week ago I was organizing my bookshelves, and came across one of my most interesting cookbooks, called The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black.  About ten years ago I was on a medieval history kick, I love history and sometimes get very interested in certain time periods, part of my studying included learning about medieval foods and one of the cookbooks I tracked down was The Medieval Cookbook.  I am particularly fascinated by peasant cooking, and all of their wonderful soups.  One of the recipes in the cookbook is for a Cabbage Chowder or Caboches in Potage.   The original recipe calls for cabbage, onions, leeks, saffron, salt, in a chicken stock, along with the addition of coriander, cinnamon and sugar.  And suggests serving with bacon.  I didn't have all of these ingredients, and I also wanted to fill out the soup more with potatoes, so here is my take on Cabbage Chowder.

Cabbage Chowder

Chicken broth ( a few small cans or a box)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Italian herb blend to taste
1 head of cabbage chopped
4-5 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 medium onions chopped
about a cup or two of frozen crinkle cut carrots for a little color
and then, because I cannot resist, I added a package of baby crimini mushrooms, we all love mushrooms here, and the rich flavor that they impart to all soups and chowders, but I am sure this soup could be made with out them.
and like the original recipe I did add a couple dashes of cinnamon and a tablespoon of brown sugar.
1 1/2 cups milk along with 3 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 flour to make a white sauce as a thickener
1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes
I normally add celery to my soups and chowders but forgot to with this soup, if I made it again, I would probably also try adding celery with the other veggies.

I added all of the ingredients up to the addition of the mushrooms into my crock pot and cooked it on high for about 5 hours, then I realized my crock pot was not cooking it fast enough, so I transferred it to a soup pot and finished it on the stove, in about another hour and a half, when the potatoes and cabbage were cooked through. I then added the cinnamon (just about 1/2 a teaspoon, maybe a dash more, a little goes a long way) and the brown sugar.  Here is what the chowder looked like at this point.

Then, in a small sauce pan I made a white sauce by first melting the butter over medium high heat, then adding the flour until it formed a paste, cooked it for about a minute stirring constantly with whisk, then I added the milk and a little salt and pepper, and stirred until it was a nice gravy like consistency.  I then stirred that into the soup, which helped to thicken it up a bit and give it that chowder consistency.  The soup was still a bit too thin so I took a potato masher and used it to break up some of the potato chunks in the soup and also added 1/2 cup of instant potato flakes, which are wonderful to have on hand for thickening.  That did the trick, and the chowder was a nice consistency.  Here's how it looked when it was finished.

Here is our Cabbage Chowder all served up, with extra bacon on the side for sprinkling on top and a nice slice of sourdough.  The soup was wonderful, I loved the very subtle hint of cinnamon, a perfect October dinner.

Keeping with the fall theme I decided to bake apples for dessert.  One of my husbands favorite apples is the honeycrisp, and I buy some every year when they come in season, I did however fail to look at the price or weigh them, thinking that how much could apples be in the Pacific Northwest in the fall, and was quite startled at the check out when they rang up over $10.00 for five apples.  Yikes!!  So these apples deserve special treatment, and I have learned my lesson about paying attention to the produce weight and price.  Here's how I make baked apples, nice and simple, and a dessert my mom used to make my sisters and I when we were little.

Baked Apples 

Core an apple per person, set apples in an oven proof baking dish.  Sprinkle inside of apple with cinnamon, then add a teaspoon of raisins, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a few more raisins, and another sprinkle of brown sugar and another dash of cinnamon.  Add a cup of water to the base of the pan to help steam the apples.  Bake at 375 F. until apples are soft through, about 35-55 minutes.  I served them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel syrup (my favorite), you can also eat them plain.

Here are the apples all prepped and ready for water and baking.

Here is how I served them, yummy dessert, and just the thing to get me in the mood for this weekend's town apple festival. :)

You might also enjoy my mushroom chowder recipe , a somewhat similar chowder, minus the cabbage and cinnamon, but also a delicious fall soup.

Here is my Amazon link to the new edition (my edition is out of print) of The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black, full of interesting recipes along with their history.  I hope to work through some more of these recipes this fall and winter.

Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #35 - Cinderella and Needle Felt

Sorry for my delay in posting my fairy tales, many are in the works, but we have found ourselves a very busy family this October.  :)

I am excited that it is the month of October, and have a couple special tales that I look forward to sharing closer to Halloween, for now, however, the pumpkin in this next classic tale, is my nod to October.  The tale is Cinderella, and is one I grew up hearing a lot. Most people are familiar with this tale, especially the classic Perrault's version, there are many other versions, as well as modern remakes.  I will share the version I grew up hearing along with some of the variations I remember.


The story starts with a wealthy widower and his daughter, his daughter is a good and sweet tempered girl. Her father re-marries a very selfish and prideful woman who has two daughters who are just like their mother; horrible. The new wife and daughters are jealous of the sweet tempered daughter, and force her to do all sorts of chores and hard work.  In the evening, when the girl was done with her work, she would sit by the fireplace and was always covered in ashes, so her step mother and sisters called her Cinderella.  In some versions the father dies at this point in the story, in other versions the father is still alive, but Cinderella does not tell him of the abuse she suffers from her step mother and sister's.

One day it is announced that there will be a ball at the palace, and all the young ladies of the kingdom are invited so the prince may choose a wife.  The step-sisters are very excited, and force Cinderella to spend the day getting them ready for the ball, fixing their hair, and helping to prepare their gowns.  All the while, the step sisters taunt Cinderella, and tell her that maids cannot go to the ball.  ( in the Disney version, she has permission to go, and the mice help to fashion her a gown from one of her mother's old gowns, but then at the end the step mother accuses Cinderella of stealing a sash and beads, and tells her she cannot go)

(Here are my little Disney Cinderella mice, I love the mice in Disney's Cinderella!)

Cinderella is so sad that she cannot attend, she begins to cry.  It is then that her Fairy Godmother appears, and asks her what is wrong, and Cinderella tells her that she wishes she could go to the ball.  So the Fairy Godmother asks Cinderella to go into the garden and fetch the nicest pumpkin.

When Cinderella brings back the pumpkin the fairy godmother turns it into a beautiful coach.  She then sends Cinderella for various little critters, mice are turned into the horses, a rat for the coachman  and lizards for the footman.  Lastly, Cinderella needed a dress for the ball, so the fairy godmother touched Cinderella with her wand, and her rags turned into a glorious dress, and on her feet beautiful glass slippers.  (In the Disney version we have the wonderful Bibiddy-Bobbity-Boo song during all of this transition)

The fairy godmother issues a warning, that Cinderella must return home by midnight, as that is the time the magic will wear off, and everything will go back to normal.  So Cinderella agrees, and off she goes to the ball.

When she arrives at the ball, the Prince thinks she is beautiful, and spends most of the evening dancing with Cinderella.  Everyone at the ball, including  Cinderella's step mother and sisters, wonder who this beautiful girl is.  In some versions, she returns home on time after having danced the night away with the prince, and there is another ball the following night, in others versions there is only one ball.  At the end of the ball (or last ball), Cinderella has lost track of time, as she is so enjoying time with the prince.  When the clock strikes midnight, she runs off, leaving behind one of her glass slippers, which luckily didn't disappear when the magic wore off.  The prince picked up the glass slipper, and vowed to find the woman who the shoe fits, and marry her.

The next day the Prince's servants went throughout the land trying the shoe on all the ladies, when the servants arrived at Cinderella's house, Cinderella watched as her sisters tried the slipper on.  (In a darker version, I think from the German Grimm's version, the step sisters cut off part of their feet, one her toes, and one her heel, to try and make the slipper fit.  I remember reading this version as a child, as well as the less gruesome Perrault and Disney version.)  When the slippers don't fit the step sisters, Cinderella asks if she might try on the slipper.  The Step mother and sisters are shocked at Cinderella, and make fun of her, but the servants see that Cinderella is a sweet and beautiful young woman, and as they were instructed that all women in the kingdom try the shoe on, they let her try on the glass slipper.  The Slipper fits perfectly, and then Cinderella pulls the other glass slipper out of her apron pocket as further proof.

Cinderella is taken to the Prince, and they are married.  Because Cinderella is gracious, and has a good heart,  she forgives her step mother and sisters, she allows her Step Mother and sisters to live at the castle, and finds the step-sisters Lords for husbands.

The moral of the story being that although beauty is a treasure, being gracious is priceless and worth much more, certainly much more than fancy dresses and beautiful hairdos. And another moral Perrault mentions is that " it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense, talents which come from heaven".

In the German Grimm's version, the step-sisters don't get off quite so nicely, and in the end have their eye's pecked out by birds and are blind for the rest of their life as punishment for their wicked ways.  I have seen other versions where the step sisters and step mother are punished but not so harshly, like being made to do chores.

What do you think is a fitting end for the step-sisters and mother?


I have always enjoyed this story, all versions, including the Disney version.  I think it is a nice tale, with interesting lessons.  I just heard they are releasing Cinderella from the Disney vault, this time on Blu-ray as well, sigh, I so do not want to think about Blu-ray, I still have a few lingering VHS videos that I must replace with DVDs while they are still in print.  Thankfully they are putting it out on regular DVD as well, at this time, I have no intention of switching to Blu-ray! :) 

Another movie based on Cinderella that I have enjoyed, is Ever After: A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Barrymore as Cinderella and Angelica Houston as the stepmother.  The movie is set in renaissance era France and is an interesting version, it is rated PG-13 so it isn't for younger children, but it is a nice historical fiction, romantic, and adventurous tale for more mature viewers.  

For my craft, I decided to needle felt Cinderella in her ball gown, she stands along side a needle felted pumpkin waiting to be turned into a coach.

I hope everyone is having a nice October!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Happy October and Big Fat Spice Cake Cookies

Happy October!  I so enjoy October. I love all stuff Autumn, the rich colors, the crisp air, apple and pumpkin flavors, hearty cooking, the start of all the holidays to come, bonfires, popcorn and movies, cozy blankets, and big harvest moons.

The Harvest moon was beautiful the other night.  Here it is as it rose above the trees.

Gary got some nice pictures, I'll need to get out my telescope for the next full moon.

I also seem to get a big organizing bug around the start of every October, as I take down my summer decorations, and swap them for my Halloween chachkies that I have collected over the years, it is a natural time to pare down what I don't need.  I love to use eBay to sell off the items that no longer fit our tastes and things the kids no longer use, and use the proceeds to help pay for the holidays.  So that is what I have been very busy doing this week.  Sorting through things can get messy, especially when a young curious Labrador thinks all the things you are sorting through make wonderful toys to play keep away with!

Saturday we had a mini little outing, I had been drooling over some very nicely priced rural properties, and when I saw that one of them was an A-Frame style home, I just had to go take a peek.  My husband is a Realtor, so he found a few other rural vacant properties in our school district, that he also thought might be interesting, so we all got in our van and went for a drive.  It is a goal of ours to get back on a couple of acres.

We looked at the A-Frame house first.  It was fascinating, it needed a lot of work, but it was a fun house.  I just love that it is nestled in the woods, and, as a child of the 70's, have loved A-frame houses since the Fisher Price Little People Family A Frame House. :)

Here is the Fisher Price A Frame I grew up loving, they need to reproduce this toy!

Source: via Colette on Pinterest

We had fun exploring the property and by the end of it me and my daughter were deciding were to put goats, chickens, and a garden.  The house is on the small side though, so it would be a tough sell to the boys.

We looked at a couple other promising houses as well, nice properties, and all had potential.  It was really motivating to me to keep my budget in line, as well as be more motivated with my decluttering project.

Since today is the first day of October, I wanted to bake a nice treat.  I am very fond of one of our favorite ways to make cookies- The Big Fat Cookie recipe my mom found when I was a child. Then I made a variation for Valentines Day- Big Fat Cherry Chip Cookies, so I decided to make a variation for fall using A Spice Cake mix.  I love the combination of the spice flavor along with the chocolate chips.  I think this cookie might also be good baked with no chocolate chips and then frosted with a nice buttercream, I will have to try that variation next time.

Here is my recipe for Big Fat Spice Cookies

Pre-heat oven to 375 F. 

Set aside half a bag of chocolate chips
Mix one box of Spice cake mix
with 1/2 cup of water
and two eggs.

Stir until well combined.  Drop by rounded Tablespoon full on parchment lined baking sheets (or well greased if you don't have parchment paper).  Then sprinkle the top of the cookie with chocolate chips.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until no impression is left when you touch cookie lightly or until edges start to be a nice golden brown.  Cool, then enjoy.  They make a nice fluffy cookie, a lot like the top of a cupcake.  Recipe only makes a few more than a dozen, enough for a family of four to enjoy, but when I make them for a crowd I like to double or triple the recipe.  Fun, easy recipe!

What is your favorite part of October?