Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Ginger Cupcakes

I decided it was time to get my pumpkin fix so I put my pumpkin scented warmers on and and I made these delicious pumpkin ginger cupcakes.

I found the recipe here, but I didn't have crystalized ginger so I used a little more ground ginger instead.
They didn't look quite done after 20 minutes, so I shut the oven off and kept them in the oven for about 10 minutes longer. . . big mistake! While they were still very delicious, I think they did dry out a little. Not so much that they weren't edible though and certainly nothing a little cream cheese frosting couldn't fix. I will admit though, I prefer them plain without any frosting. Don't get me wrong, I love frosting, but sometimes I just don't want anything to compete with my cakes. If you're looking for a yummy pumpkin recipe, be sure to try this out.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant butterscotch pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
      • 1/3 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger 
      • (I didn't have crystalized ginger so I just used an addition teaspoon of ground ginger)
      • 1 cup butter, room temperature
      • 1 cup white sugar
      • 1 cup packed brown sugar
      • 4 eggs
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

    Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. Whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, and crystallized ginger in a bowl; set aside.

    Beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add the room-temperature eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla and pumpkin puree with the last egg. Stir in the flour mixture, mixing until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

    Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, about 20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ahoy Me Hearties!

Often times if there is a holiday or event going on, it is celebrated on Fridays at our school. I think National Talk Like A Pirate Day was on the 19th, but that wasn't a Friday.

Today is!

So today my girls dressed up as a Venetian Pirate, A Cute 1st Grade Pirate, and a Diva Pirate and set out to find their Booty of Knowledge.

Little Things

I really should be doing housework, but instead I'm sitting at the computer stalling and avoiding the mountains of chores on my to do list today. I really am quite a talented procrastinaor.

While I was supposed to be picking up and cleaning the yard yesterday, I came across some twigs my kids had been playing with so I snatched them up and attempted to make a spider web. I admit it could've been a lot neater, but I wasn't going for neat, just quick and simple which has been the motto for me to live by lately. 

Nothing spectacular, very organic, and quite welcomed by my girls. It's a great feeling when my kids can be happy with the little things in life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick And Easy Spider Snacks

I've been making these cute and tasty spider snacks for my girls for years. I've even made a bunch to bring to school when it's been their turn to bring snacks, as long as there are no kids in the class with peanut allergies.

They are super quick, very easy, and are always a hit with kids.

All you need are some Ritz crackers, pretzel sticks, peanut butter, and mini chocolate chips. Spread a little peanut butter on both sides of the cracker, line the pretzel sticks up on each side, place the other cracker on top and put a couple mini chocolate chips on with some peanut butter for the eyes. 

The great thing about this snack is that you can substitute the ingredients with things like rice crackers, pita chips, almond butter, Nutella, raisins, or anything you or your child prefer. 

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Fall Inspiration

I can't stop thinking of all the beautiful colors and yummy treats Autumn has to offer. Something about this season really makes me happy. It could be that I absolutely adore earthy colors in a home, they really give me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Check out these great fall ideas I've pinned on Pinterest.

I love the combination of rustic and pretty. The contrast has always been appealing to me. I love how much the use of simple decorations has added to this place.

You may have seen these in Pottery Barn or on some totally talented DIY blogger's site, but mercury glass pumpkins look so classy to me.

Here's another warming fall idea. Love it.

Beautiful decor must be accompanied with yummy food. Doesn't this cake look absolutely delicious?

These totally adorable goblins would be great with some tasty pumpkin dip.

And what better way to cool your bottled drinks than with a large pumpkin! I think this is such a cute idea.

If you're not having or serving bottled drinks, this could be an alternative to serve adults during your fall festivities.

Or delicious apple cider for those who don't or prefer not to drink alcohol. Aren't those lattice cookies adorable?  I personally can't wait to try out the apple cups!

If you're looking for fall inspirations, take a look at Pinterest. If you're an avid www surfer, and you tend to bookmark things that get lost in the mile long list of bookmarks, this is a wonderful alternative. Everytime you pin something, the original web site will be listed so you always know what site you found your ideas on. Thanks Pinterest folks for making my computer happy as I lighten my bookmark load!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Keeping It Simple

All too often in life we tend to complicate things, but why? I've been asking myself that question for years.  I bought a thank you gift for a friend who has helped me out with some not so desirable manual labor recently.  I wanted to show my appreciation and present my friend with a nicely wrapped gift.

A few simple shots taken with my mobile phone
Normally I have an assortment of recycled gift bags on hand, but this time all I could find in my stash were bags appropriate for the two to ten year old range. Rather than driving 10 minutes into town, I decided to keep it simple and use supplies I had on hand. Brown paper packaging, card stock, stamps, ink pads, organza, ribbon, jute, and a lighter to be exact. In about 15 minutes I made very simple wrapping paper, wrapping emblishment, and a very simple thank you card. Not only did I save a few dollars, but the time, effort, and thought into my presentation is a gift in and of itself. 

So as the season of thanks approaches, remember not to sweat the small stuff, instead enjoy life and be thankful for the simple things. Thanks Tammy for your help lately! 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm Falling In Love. . .

. . . with the new season.  Every year I dread the cold weather season, but as soon as Fall hits, I remember how much I love the cool brisk air and beautiful colors.

Last week I went on a field trip to Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm with my daughter's class.

Not only do you get super fresh produce, but look at the view of the mountains! Even on a hazy day, they are quite magnificent. Be sure to click on the photos for better quality.

Oh and did I mention the beautiful mums they have for sale? They are absolutely gorgeous. Here's one up close.

So if you haven't been there before, and you live in Alaska, be sure to check it out. It's a U-pick farm and there is an assortment of veggies to choose from. You can't beat super fresh produce, clean air, and beautiful scenery.

And just because I can, here's a photo of the view I wake up to every morning. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Paniyaaq

Eleven years ago, today, my life was forever changed when my sweet princess was born into this world. Little did I know how amazing she really would be.

Although I didn't teach her to speak my language, and she's never been to the village I grew up in, she's genuinely proud of her culture and who she is. I can't help but think of how joyful my mother would be if she were alive today. My baby girl doesn't follow trends, but sets her own, and most importantly, she is happy with herself.

She is a gentle soul with a huge heart. She reminds me of both my parents.

While sensitive and quite shy, she possesses a lot of inner and outer strength. Something most people, including myself, wish they had.

And of course, I think she's absolutely beautiful and quite perfect. 
Happy Birthday Princess! Words can't express the love I have for you. You are growing into such an amazing young lady. I hope you continue to be your own person and always stand tall and proud of who you are. I know I'm proud of you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Embracing Autumn

I'm not exactly a huge fan of the dark and cold Alaskan winters anymore so I'm always sad when summer ends, but as the leaves change, I quickly remember how much I love Fall time and the beautiful colors that come with it.

Since I have been totally lacking creativity lately, I decided to gather my older girls up and go for a walk to collect some leaves for a project I have in mind.

Along the way, I talked them into letting me take a couple quick shots of them. 

And of course I had to take pictures of the beautiful colors. When I look at Autumn photos taken in the Lower 48, I have serious color envy.

 Our season is always just so . . . . yellow,  however, in the beginning of the season you can always find the Fireweed and a few other species turn into a beautiful shade of red. 

So we gathered a some leaves.

And I snapped a couple more photos of my girls.

We said goodbye to the few remaining things holding onto to summer and just enjoyed the rest of our walk. Now if I can actually follow through with the leaf project I have in mind, I'll have something to share soon.

Memorial Day Weekend

On our last trip to our cabin last weekend, I realized that summer is definitely over in AK.

Aside from the chilly air, it was quite apparent in the brush along the river.

The girls even had to wear their winter hats.

But the cold didn't stop them from going barefoot in the river and getting dirty on the beach.

Not sure how they did it really, cause the air was CHILLY and the river was COLD.

My younger girls were out in Bethel visiting their Grandma so Taylor got to invite her friend Reilly.

They had a great time.

And Carson, well she's practically family and is pretty much there when we're there so she came along with her dad, who is always a huge help to my husband.

It was a perfect balance of great personalities. So much so that they left me alone while I kicked back, relaxed, and read a couple books on my Kindle. It was perfect Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Baby Warrior Seketl'e

Last month my friend, Torin and his wife, Lena, were blessed with a beautiful baby boy they named Seketl'e.

Soon after his birth, Seketl'e started having breathing complications. Seketl'e was hospitalized and eventually sent to the Seattle Children's Hospital where he was diagnosed with a condition called, hemangioendothelioma. He is now awaiting a liver transplant.

According to his family, in order to be placed on the transplant wait list, Seketl'e's health needed to improve. Being the little warrior that he is, he has made it back on the transplant list!

If you would like to help my friend Torin and his family, there are many ways you can do so. 

Lena & Torin Jr. Photo taken by Oscar Avellaneda
Seketl'e's wonderful big brother, Torin Jr. has selflessly found a way to help his baby brother by selling t-shirts. All proceeds will go to help Seketl'e and his family.  Send an email to Torin if you would like to place a t-shirt order.

Also Alaskan author, Don Rearden, who wrote The Raven's Gift, is holding an auction to help the Jacobs family.  Mr. Rearden is promising a chance to have a character in his next book named after the highest bidder! For more information, please go to Mr. Rearden's auction.

Monetary donations may be made at any Wells Fargo institution under the Seketl'e Jacobs Donation Fund. And last, but not least, please keep Seketl'e and his family in your prayers. For more information on his progress and condition, please visit Love For Seketl'e.

If one feels the need of something grand,
something infinite,
something that makes one feel aware of God,
one need not go far to find it.
I think that I see something deeper,
more infinite,
more eternal than the ocean in the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its little cradle.
-Vincent Van Gogh

The following was taken from the Love for Seketl'e blog. Please continue to pray for the Jacobs family as they grieve their little angel.

One day short of his 1 month birthday, Seketl’e Ut’an Jacobs was taken home by our heavenly Father. Requesting continued support to the family through prayers, positive energy, and notes of sympathy, solace, and encouragement.

Seketl'e Ut'an Jacobs
8/13/11 - 9/12/11
You put up a great fight and touched a lot of hearts. May you rest in peace Baby Warrior.

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