Monday, October 28, 2013

Super Delicious Pumpkin Bars

Fall, glorious fall! 
Oh how I love thee! 
Your crisp air, 
your vibrant colors,
your scents, 
your sounds, 
your flavors!

Especially pumpkin!
Although I have never been able to stomach pumpkin pie. 
It isn't the flavor, it's the texture. 
3 bites in and I'm gagging. 
However I love almost all other baked goods that have pumpkin as the main ingredient.

I wouldn't be a good friend if I didn't share one of my favorite pumpkin recipes with you.
These pumpkin bars are moist, flavorful, and AMAZING!
They are easy to make, easy to bake and easy to make disappear off the plate! 

The recipe come from a popular cook book, 
Betty Crocker's Cookbook.
Pumpkin-Spice Bars:

4 lg eggs
2 C - sugar
1 C - vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin
2 C - all purpose flour
2 tsp - baking powder
2 tsp - ground cinnamon
1 tsp - baking soda
1/2 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - ground ginger
1/4 tsp - ground cloves

* Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a jelly roll pan, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1 inch, with shortening.

* Beat eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin in a large bowl until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves. Spread in pan.

* Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely and frost with cream cheese frosting. 
Sprinkle with walnuts if you like. 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

6 oz of cream cheese
1/3 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

*Soften the butter and cream cheese. Beat with the vanilla until smooth.  Add in the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until creamy.

Make some today, trust me, you will be glad you did.
Happy baking!

What is your favorite fall recipe?
Share it in the comments section below.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month.
To help raise awareness of this unique condition our family participated in the Fox Cities Down Syndrome Awareness Walk.
We walked on behalf of a family we know who assembled a team to support their daughter Lydia.

She is an adorable little girl with an inner joy that lights up her face.
She is also a fighter, full of sass and personality.
She had to be. It was a rough few months at the beginning of her precious life.
But nothing is holding her back.

The walk was hosted in Neenah Wisconsin. 
I am very impressed with how organized the event was and with all the fun activities they had for the kids to participate in.

The kids all had a blast in the bounce houses and on the bungee trampolines. We got there early and the kids were able to take a turn right away before the lines started.

 There was also face painting.  A couple of the girls painting faces were true artists that turned out some amazing designs.

We also got lunch for $2.00 a piece. They gave out a hamburger and a hot dog, chips, a cookie or two and a soda. All the food was donated by an area business.

As you can see there were also clowns who made some pretty impressive balloon hats.
All of the activities were free with your registration which with lunch and a t-shirt was only $7.00.
The kids had more fun than at the fair.

And even though the weather was drippy, there was no raining on this parade! 

My whole family plus my mom and dad, niece and nephews were a part of Team Lydibug, pictured above. 
We had a great time in the name of a great cause and through this event a large sum of money was raised to aid people who have Down Syndrome and their families.

One of the reasons we were interested in being involved in this activity was because as a family, we value life.  
People who find out that they are pregnant with a child who may have Down Syndrome are often encouraged to consider abortion as an option. 
We don't believe that a child with Down Syndrome is any less valuable than a child without that diagnosis.
We want to support the families who have chosen to believe in the beauty and the sanctity of life of these awesome children. 
With the proper love, care, and support, a person with Down Syndrome can grow to lead an independent and productive life. 

I would encourage you, if you feel that way too, to investigate your local area and see how you can participate in a similar event. Or maybe there is already something else close to your heart, see what's going on in your area and get involved! 

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

RIT Dye to the Rescue!

Unless you live under a rock, you know that it is football season in America.
Being Wisconsin Natives we root for the green and gold. 
The boys were given some Packer shirts by their daddy so they can be good little fans.

Doodle's came as a two for one deal with a long sleeve white shirt under a short sleeve green T.
Of course Doodle wants to wear them separately so he can have 2 packer shirts.
However white shirts and my six year old do not go together.
That is a combination like oil and water, 
or mustard and milk, 
or a Chicago Bear fan in Green Bay.
They just don't mix. 

Doodle snuck this shirt twice before I could do something about that white color. Both times he stained it. One of those times he never even left the house.
See that blue on the sleeve?
That's chalk.
After it was sprayed with stain spray and washed.
This kid has talent folks.
He takes after his momma in the stain department.

So I dug around in my newly cleaned and updated craft closet (a post about that will be coming soon) and found a box of RIT dye.
The color was perfect.
The day was right.

I've used RIT before with mixed results but have rarely had the patience to actually follow the directions exactly on the box.
I decided today would be different.

First you Dissolve the dye powder in 2 cups hot water.

Then, add 1 cup of salt.
I was a little short, but I used less water so I thought it would be okay.
See - I told you I can't follow directions exactly.

Rinse the shirt in warm water and wring out. 
Have your large pot of hot water ready with 1 TB of laundry detergent mixed in.

Add your shirt.
Look, it takes on color immediately! 

Now the hard part is that you are supposed to stir it constantly for as long as it takes to reach the desired color, up to a half hour.
I was afraid it would actually take a half hour of stirring, but it didn't. It only took a few minutes.
I wanted it to be a medium grey color so it wouldn't show the dirt easily but not too dark because I wanted the writing to  show up well.

When it looked about right, I took it out. I used rubber gloves so I could touch it but it was still really hot, so be careful!

After the dip in the pot you need to rinse the shirt in warm water until the water runs clear.  Then throw it in the wash on warm, and toss it in the dryer.
I was afraid that the shirt would lose a lot of color during the laundering process, but it didn't.
The color stayed pretty well.

The final product turned out well with color that was pretty uniform throughout the whole shirt. Plus, it is a much more kid friendly color now. All in all it was a quick and easy project. 
I used that same pot of dye to tint 3 more shirts, 2 of which were white shirts I had ruined in a batch of laundry with a faded red pair of pants. 
What was I thinking?
Well, thanks to RIT they have been redeemed. 
Which is good because one shirt belonged to my middle son and he wasn't too keen on wearing a pink robot shirt around.
You should know that as I dyed each shirt, they each turned out a little bit lighter in color. But I didn't want to let them sit in the dye bath for an extended period of time either. It didn't bother me that they turned out that way,  I wasn't trying to make them match. 

Doodle is pretty happy that he won't get in trouble for staining his white shirt anymore.
Now he can cheer for the home team with wild abandon.
Well, almost.

No, RIT did not compensate me in any way for this blog post. All opinions are my own.

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