thanksgiving weekend

We celebrated our Thanksgiving holiday Thursday through Sunday.  Several days full of family, food, laughs, and blessings upon blessings.  Thursday was spent with Ryan's parents and grandparents.  Then my family came on Friday and spent the weekend here.  It was so much fun to all be together.  The weather was beautiful.  We spent Friday morning at the park and did a little shopping in town before my sister and mom arrived.  After dinner, two of my cousins came over and we got out the yarn and crochet needles.  On Saturday the cousins played and played before we all at our Thanksgiving meal at my aunt and uncle's house. 
Emma helping with the pie dough.

Mason helping Grandpa with a project.

 Puzzle time!

Mason snuggles.
After everyone left today we went and cut down a Christmas tree.  The house is officially decorated.  Mason keeps insisting that it is going to snow because it's Christmas time.  Our shopping is done except for two things (I think this is the earliest I've ever said that.) I have a few projects left to finish up and then I'm hoping to wrap everything up.   I'm searching for new recipes to try, activities to do with the kids, and just plain enjoying the season. 



I've decided you can tell a lot about a person's personality by the way they approach fingerpainting. 
Take Mason for example:

Careful, meticulous, precise. Don't you dare mix the colors or get too messy.  It's all about the details.  Take your time.  Plan it out. 
Then there's Emma: 


Go all in!  It's all about having fun and making the biggest mess possible.  The sooner you finish the sooner you can get to the next thing.  The more paint you get on your hands and in your hair the better.  See?


weekend moments

So much to be thankful for this weekend. I love my job.  I love my 3-day weekends even more.  I consider it a blessing to spend Monday through Thursday with my precious second graders.  My days are full to the tip top.  Each morning begins with a quiet time (sort of...depending on which early riser climbs into my lap as the sun rises and we study the bible together) and then it's a mad scramble to get showers, breakfast, kids dressed, myself ready for the day, sometimes packing lunch and dinner to bring into town depending on the day and what we have going on after school and we're out the door.  After a super fun day with the kiddos at school it's dinner, bible study, Awanas, cousins, baths, books, singing, dancing, playing and bedtime.  Repeat.  But come Friday, I'm ready to soak up the blessings of our slower pace and lots of family time. 
Sweet girl snuggles with daddy.

Reading books on top of the coffee table, where else?

Giggles and grins at every turn.

Making thanksgiving banners and then cutting "spaghetti" with the extra yarn.

My cracker-making helpers.

Checking out snowplows for our new truck.

Also on tap this weekend: a wedding celebration complete with cupcakes, a great visit with the great-grandparents, and a wonderful message at church and dinner with friends.  Hope your weekend is just as blessed.


apple challah

Craving something full of apples and cinnamon?  I came across this recipe in my bread machine cookbook and since we have an abundance of apples around I decided to try it out. 
There are three sections of dough braided together.  Each section of dough is like a apple cinnamon roll...the apple filling is rolled up inside. 
The result is a pretty braid full with apples, cinnamon, and honey in every bite.  

Apple Challah
adapted from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook

3/4 c. water
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. oil
3 c. bread flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast

Combine the ingredients in a bread machine and select the dough cycle.  Or, make the dough with any other method you prefer. 

3 medium appkes, peeled cored and sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl.  Divide the dough into three equal sections.  Roll each portion into a 12 by 3 inch rectangle.  Brush with melted butter and place 1/3 of the filling down one side.  Roll up jelly-roll style and pinch the seam.  Place the 3 ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid together.  Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk (about 45 minutes).

Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes.