Monday, December 19, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts - Oh My!

As Christmas is upon us and parties are afoot here's a fabulous little appetizer for you. My family always had these and I made them last night for our church Christmas party. In fact I was requested to make them by my friend Beth (who is pregnant and was craving them - you know something's yummy if pregnant women crave them!). These little nuggets of gold pretty much have everything going for them as an appetizer, or any type of food really, they're SALTY, SWEET, and WRAPPED IN BACON. That's pretty much the recipe for success in all food. I can't think of much that wouldn't be good salty, sweet and wrapped in bacon. Apples? With caramel? Wrapped in bacon? Sounds good. Glazed carrots wrapped in bacon? Yep. Ruffles potato chips covered in chocolate and bacon? Yep sounds good too. I challenge you to find anything that with a little sweet and wrapped in bacon isn't just downright yummy.


It's not really a recipe that requires exact amounts. So I took a few pictures and from there you can easily get er done.

So the cast of characters:
Cans of WHOLE Water Chestnuts
Bottle of Teriyaki Sauce

Start by opening and draining the cans of water chestnuts. I used 6 cans in total for my two cookie sheets worth. Now my grandma always just marinated them in the cans. I started to but I had so many I just dumped them all in a ziploc bag. I just kept putting more and more until there was a lot of teriyaki sauce. You'll just have to wing it. But you can do it! I marinated these for about an hour. They could have gone closer to 2 hours and been just as good if not better.
Next, cut the bacon into thirds. I find it much easier to cut it with the wrapping still on.

Take a piece of bacon (if it's too wide, you can fold it over like is in the photo below). Simply place one of the marinated water chesnuts at one end, roll, and pierce through with a toothpick. The water chestnuts are wide and flat. Poke the toothpick through the flat side.

Those are NOT my hands by the way. They belong to my beautiful helper :) Lay all the little bundles on a cookie sheet where they don't touch. I lined mine with aluminum foil so I'd have no mess! The time is always different when I make these but this big batch with two pans side by side took 30 minutes on 400 then I finished them with the broiler for about 5 minutes to get a nice crispy top. The bottoms sizzled and got crispy in the grease in the pan. Sometimes depending the bacon they don't get crispy on the bottom so after about 15 minutes check them and see if they're sizzling on the bottom or if they're just soggy and stewing in their juices. If you need to flip them, do. But most of the time I don't think it's necessary.

I ended up being almost late for our party and forgot to take a picture of the pan of sizzling goodness when they came out. I got home from the party and realized I didn't have a picture of the finished product. My smart 7 year old reminded me I had a few leftover water chestnuts and a few small pieces of bacon and could just make another one. So I made a single one for this post. How all you bloggers get dinner done taking all these pictures I'll never know.
So there it is. The lonely little wrapped water chestnut. And it tasted GOOD too.

This post is linked up to these blog parties:
 Take A Look Tuesdays @ Sugar Bee Crafts
Talent Tuesdays @ Vintage Wanna Be
Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings
One Project at a Time @ A Bowl Full of Lemons
Get Your Craft On Tuesday @ Todays Creative Blog
CRAFT - Making Monday Marvelous
Amaze Me Monday @ Dittle Dattle
Just Something I Whipped Up @ the girl creative

Friday, December 16, 2011

It's the Overachiever's Christmas This Year!

No, this is not going to be a rant. If you've stumbled here because you have been eating up all the rants on this topic lately, might as well scoot. We're roasting pumpkins and making my famous pumpkin cake tomorrow so come back then. If not, onto the post...

Maybe it's pinterest. Maybe it's the huge surge in the number of blogs out there. Maybe it's the economy that leaves us wanting to be home and enjoy home more than ever. Whatever it is, you know you've noticed.....

This year is the year of the overachieving Christmas.

It is. It seems that everywhere I turn there are pictures of homes of moms with loads of kids who have houses decorated to the tilt, of moms who planned out activities for every day of December and they make cute garlands or boxes so the kids will be excited to find out each day what the activity is. Blogland is teeming with amazing mantles topped with burlap and painted signs and piles of monogrammed ornaments. And we most certainly can't forget those who plan an elaborate plan of what their cute little red ELF will be doing in the wee hours of the morning. Face it. It's everywhere this year.

Honestly it's all so gorgeous. So why the animosity and all these blog posts circling around laughing (mixed with a twinge of bitterness) at these overachieving moms? I won't go so far as to say I think it's jealousy but I'll teeter on the edge of saying it, and will admit to thinking it :) And at times I'd be guilty of it. It's hard not be when you can't keep your dishes clean let alone take a simple shower and a mom of NINE has a house like this (Lisa you are my hero and truly an inspiration to me and many others)
Above is Lisa from the Pennington Point's AMAZING home!
 There have been times in my life where I had to step back from these types of amazing blogs due to stirrings of discontentment in my own heart. Jealousy has a way of making you look at your life as being less than it even is. It makes it hard to even enjoy the blessings you have. Even more so around the holidays where we wish we were the ones creating amazing traditions and memories for our kids when the reality is that we will be lucky to even make them a cup of hot cocoa before Christmas passes. But this year I made peace with the Overachieving Christmases around the web.

I started wondering what it was exactly that created a feeling of longing, or maybe more a feeling of lacking. These women, these amazing and seemingly perfect women (which we know is not true right?) were living lives of INTENTION. It's not the perfect mantles, the endless cute crafts, the perfect holiday treats that made me feel like less of a mom and wife, it was that they had found what I wanted to find, the ability to live lives of INTENTION.When you see the perfect holiday mantle, it's because they went shopping the day after Christmas last year at 80% off with the intention of something nice this year, they picked up a cute star at Goodwill and thought about how cute that would look, they actually planned ahead, writing things on their calendar, it's that they wrapped their lights up last year properly and stored them in an organized manner instead of stuffing them in the box breaking bulbs so they could use them this year - all things that require thought, organization, intention. Same with cute advent ideas, or crafts, of cookies. Traditions require intent.

Clay and I were talking recently about how both of our families were steeped with traditions. Somehow though, we had lost our way and due to our disorganization, our lack of living a life of intention, were not passing any traditions along to our children. It is now our intent to change that.

I choose now to let these types of blogs (and types of women!) inspire me instead of make me feel inferior. It's not inspiration to make my house look like theirs, or to have things measure up. It's inspiration to be intentional. So when I look at all these overachieving Christmases I don't see overachieving, I see intentional Christmases - ones where parents desired to create traditions and memories that would be precious to their children and made it a priority in their lives. And I think it great. It inspires me to be better, to do better. The Lord wants us to INTENTIONALLY glorify Him in all we do whether that be how we treat our neighbor, how we keep the homes He blesses us with, or how we raise up our children. I feel so blessed that there are women out there, and that their lives are so accessible through the internet, that show me that I can do more, be more with the Lord's help. So onto my intentional Christmas. Pumpkin cake tomorrow it is!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Little Wooden House Tour

Well if this is going to be Our Little Wooden House blog I guess we should take ourselves a little tour. I love love love house tours, even my own. So let's go on a tour:

Some of these pictures are a tad old. I guess the watermelon on the kitchen table gives it away. Definitely was summer :) And we have a Christmas tablecloth instead of summery, little details like that. WELL and of course... there is a Christmas tree up now. I took them before our camera broke and some things have been changed a tad. For the most part things are the same. I may try and get a new picture of the bedroom since I did paint that and change the comforter. Santa brought a new camera a few week early so I can actually take a few new pictures! I should admit that this is as clean as our house ever gets. We had someone important coming over and it had to be clean clean.

Here's our humble abode. You can see the front of the house over on the right. I'll try and get a new one of it soon. A little wooden house it is. I'll have to ask Clay to confirm but I think that we stand around 1400 square feet. We have no garage. We have a small tiny shed Clay put up that holds large tools/machinery but no storage area like a garage. So everything - strollers, containers of clothing, carseats, etc. all have to be stored in the house. So... here we go.

So this is when you first walk in and glance left. Living room. kitchen, dining room, homeschooling room, and office all in one.
From the kitchen facing the living room:

Kitchen Table:
From the Kitchen facing the bathroom and storage room. The pantry is in the middle there.

The downstairs bathroom. There is a bathtub and washer/dryer I didn't get in that shot. *Note that this is the second shot where my 2yo is walking around DRINKING out of a water gun pointed into his mouth. Um.... yeah*
The Storage Room:
Clothes Shelves to the left in the storage room. Ugh the clutter.
Now if you turn right where those shelves of canned foods are there is a standing freezer, chest freezer and a small closet and shelves. Didn't take a pic of that.

Stairs with shoe shelves, etc. right by front door. Above are all the lunchboxes I needed for day camp. We have since lost most if not all of those nice stainless water bottles. Argh:
Now we get to the really ugly icky part of the house  Nail Biting Whistle
Go up the stairs and to the left is the bog part of the room. Clay started building two rooms. The small room for Cassie is on the left. And the boys' room will be on the right and there will be a small tv/game/bookshelves room up there. But for now it's a big ole mess.And to be honest this is much much cleaner than it is right now. While I like blogs that are honest about messes of life, I will NOT be taking a picture of how it is right now LOL.
Weights, etc. upstairs. Even at its cleanest (which these pictures are at our cleanest) there was a nice hanger sculpture on the weights.
Now at the top of the stairs to the right is our bedroom and also a bathroom. I didn't take pics of the bathroom. It's locked after a child overflowed the toilet in the middle of the night  Head Bang This is a picture of  my bedroom before I painted it.  Now it's a pale gray with bright white trim and has a spring green comforter with pale aqua pillows. But anyways, this is the view from the door pretty much.
 To the right is Clay's "closet" and it's also where Garrison and Hartley sleep. That area is changed around some now but it's not that different so I'll leave the picture. Don't all 4 year old boys need pale pink beds? Well our 4yo has one up on your 4yo. Take that.
We won't even go there on outside pictures. Things are a bit too white-trashey for me to even think of taking pictures of and hey it's winter. I have an excuse not to post pictures right? It's not an outside time of year.

And now you can all A, feel SO happy that you have a bigger house than I do B, have a skewed view of whether I keep my house this clean, C, think how you could never live with such clutter and D, notice the naughty dog on my 4yo's bed and gross out. Naughty dog. And don't forget E, question my parenting skills as you look at those pictures with a water gun pointed in my 2yo's mouth all day.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Blog Begins

So here it is. That dreaded first blog post. In all honesty no one actually reads the first number of posts on anyone's blog anyways right? Takes forever for even family members to get wind of a new blog, let alone anyone else, so none of you will actually read this. I could say any number of crazy things that would make you think I'm a psycho and you would be none the wiser. Hmm... so..... um.... while I'm sure my husband would say I'm pretty crazy and say crazy things all day long when the pressure is on and I NEED to come up with insane weird things to say I got nuttin', Go figure. I mean I'm a mom of 6 kids. Surely I do cuh-razy every single day right? Ahhh I see. I spent all my crazy up during the day today. Too bad everyone's not around late at night when I guess I turn into a mellow normal person.

So throughout the years I've had a couple blogs. One a somewhat popular one back when I designed scrapbooking stuffs :) but I let it go when I quit to focus more on my home life. And one less so when it was a family blog with snippets of homey things. And here is yet ANOTHER blog welcomed into the blogging world. I realized that I wasn't posting as often on my braidsandboots blog because there are things I know my grandmother and other family members would care little about or even not want to hear about like *gasp* my messy shelves or gaining, I mean losing weight. And I couldn't help but feel like everyone who was not my family could care less about the onslaught of pictures of my kids and my rambling about how they're the cutest, funniest, smartest people on the planet. So I'm moving the homey ramblings here and leaving the "my kids are better than everyone else's" ramblings over at my other blog. Okay so I don't come out and SAY things like that. I mean what kind of person do you think I am anyways? I'm only allowed to think it of course. I have some class you know. I was raised right.

Now should you decide you want to see the cuteness of my kids I will be blogging again (after a long hiatus due to both life and a broken camera *sigh* Nothing like your DSLR making a loud horrible internal crunching sound when you try and take a picture) I am going to restart family blogging over at BraidsandBoots  For now we're still without a good camera so the pages won't be getting full over there any time soon. Oh how spoiled I've become camera-wise. What's a girl to do when her DSLR dies, floating away to the camera heaven in the sky? Pout and take no pictures at all. That's what she does.

So here it was. The first Our Little Wooden House blog post. Oh and YES, we live in a LITTLE little wooden house.