Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cinnamon Ornaments Made By . . .

We've been having fun doing lots of different activities and crafts together this Christmas . . . thanks in part to all the great ideas I've been pinning on pinterest.

One of those ideas was how to make Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments. I pinned the directions and recipe for making them from this website: Completely Delicious:

Homemade Cinnamon Ornaments

Don't those cinnamon ornaments in her picture look beautiful and Christmas-y.  So I got the ingredients (cinnamon and applesauce) at the grocery and waited for the day to make these with the Ferrell boys.

Waited . . . and waited . . . and waited . . .  Finally I gave up waiting for the perfect time and decided to do it last night.  I usually don't do messy projects with the boys when Dave is home, but he's been so sick this past week and hasn't been released by the doctor to go back to work so if I was going to get these ornaments made before Christmas, I knew I was just going to have to do it and hope the mess wouldn't make Dave nuts!

The entire recipe can be found at Completely Delicious.  I mixed together 1 cup of Applesauce and 1 1/4 cup of cinnamon in my mixer.
I bought 3 containers of the ground cinnamon, and I had two partial bottles of cinnamon at home.  Today I am out of cinnamon.  :)

The cinnamon dough was a little sticky but it formed a ball in my bowl so I thought it was ready to use.

I knew that one batch of the dough wouldn't be enough for my boys so I mixed up a second batch of dough.  This second batch required more cinnamon than the first batch did.  Go figure?

While I was at Dollar General a couple of weeks ago, I spotted some red and green plastic rolling pins and some little mesh bags of cookie cutters.  They were pretty cheap . . . $1.50 for the rolling pins and $1 for the cookie cutters . . . so I got 3 of each for my boys.  I figured that we would do some baking during this Christmas season and if each boy had his own rolling pin and cookie cutters, then any baking I tried to include them in would be infinitely better!

The boys had a great time.  I couldn't get over how well they behaved toward each other. 

The boys had just gotten out of the bathtub when I surprised them with this craft project.  That's why they have crazy hair.  :D

Shane got a little out of control with the cinnamon.  With this type of dough, you used cinnamon to keep the dough from sticking while you roll it out -- not flour. 

I sat at the table and just watched them work on the dough . . . rolling it out . . .

They were so careful and particular about cutting out the shapes with the cookie cutters.

Even Shane was patient and careful cutting out the dough . . .  look at all that cinnamon!

They were quiet and cooperative with each other while they were making the ornaments.  I sat at the table amazed at how well they were behaving.

After a while, I pulled out my alphabet cookie cutters for them to use.

I love this picture of Shane . . . carefully getting one of his ornaments up . . .

The boys had a great time.  Dave didn't get crazy because of the mess either.  I think he could see how much fun the boys were having and also how nice they were behaving.

When the boys had used up all the cinnamon dough, we put the ornaments in the 200 degree preheated oven for a couple of hours.  Here are Zach and Shane's ornaments:

Here are Alex's ornaments:

And the biggest surprise of the evening . . . I found Zach cleaning up the mess for me!  He's sweeping off the cinnamon and crumbs into a dustpan in this picture.  I was shocked!  I stepped outside to tell Dave something and this is what I found:

Okay . . . now for the truth about these ornaments . . .  they smell great . . . they are really cute if you are going for that homemade country Christmas look (which I am) . . . but I wouldn't recommend them for crafting with children.  The salt dough is better for children to work with than this cinnamon dough.  Cinnamon makes a grosser mess in my opinion.  I threw the dishcloths away that I used to clean this mess up. Also the cinnamon smell was intense with all the cinnamon in the air (created by Shane and Alex constantly sprinkling the cinnamon on the dough).  It was almost stifling!  I think these ornaments are better made by an adult.  But I think they should definitely be made!  I can't wait to see the finished product!  Just a little cautious words of wisdom about doing this with children.  :)

This afternoon I plan to let the boys decorate the ornaments with glue and glitter.  :)  If that doesn't make Dave crazy -- nothing will!

Check back to see the finished ornaments made by . . .

                                   the Ferrell boys and me!

Monday, December 17, 2012

In Memory of Those Lost

God bless . . .

from the Ferrell boys and me . . .

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Amish Friendship Bread Starter Recipe

We are fortunate in my home town to have one of those fabulous Mennonite bakeries.  They have yummy doughnuts and cookies and breads. 

One of my favorite breads is the Amish Friendship Bread.  I used to make it all the time before I had children.  It does involve a little investment of time. . . 10 days dedicated to growing the starter for the bread.

I used to get a cup of the bread starter from my friend, Ms Geneva, at the Bakery when I wanted to make the bread.  But Ms Geneva doesn't own the Bakery anymore.  I've made the starter myself one time before with great results.  Here's the instructions for making your own starter:

Amish Friendship Bread Starter:

(Mix the starter in a glass or plastic bowl.  Do not use any metal containers or spoons)

Mix together 1/4 cup of warm water and a .25 package of active dry yeast.  Stir together to dissolve and let it sit for 10 minutes.

While the yeast is standing, mix together in a separate bowl . . . 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of sugar.  Mix the dry ingredients together well to prevent lumping when adding the wet ingredients in the next step.

Next add the yeast mixture and 1 cup of milk into the dry ingredients . . . stirring together well.

Cover loosely and let stand.  It will be bubbly.

This is Day 1 of the 10 days it takes to make the starter for the bread.

For Days 2, 3, and 4, all you do is stir the starter and cover loosely.

On Day 5, you add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk to the starter and mix together well.

For Days 6, 7, 8, and 9, all you do is stir the starter and cover loosely.

On Day 10, you add 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk to the starter and mix together well.

At this point your starter is ready to use!  Yea!  After mixing the last ingredients into the starter on Day 10, you dip out 4 cups of the starter and put each cup of starter in a ziplock bag. 

You keep one cup of the starter for yourself and give 3 cups of the starter to friends with the recipe for the bread and instructions for feeding the starter.

You use the starter remaining in the bowl to make your bread.

The one cup of starter you kept for yourself . . . it can be stored in the refrigerator, or you can use it to make more bread, or you can begin the 10 day process again.  This day being Day 1 of the new process for the new starter.  The next day will be Day 2.

I made this starter a couple of days ago. 

I am on Day 3 of the process.  When I  get to Day 10, I'll post the Bread recipe.  Until then . . . I'll be stirring and mixing and waiting to make the bread! 

Check back to see the bread being made by . . .

                      the Ferrell boys and me!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Elfin Mischief at the Farm

Our Elf, Jeff, has been on a rampage lately it seems.  He was so nice for the first week of his visit, that I felt blessed not to have one of those mischievous elves messing up the house.

That seems to be a thing of the past.  Jeff has gotten out of control!

Monday morning we woke up and found he had hung the boys' underwear on the living room ceiling fan . . .

 And then Tuesday, Jeff rolled our living room with 4 or 5 rolls of toilet paper!

 What a mess he made . . . luckily for him the boys cleaned it all up!

And Jeff wasn't the least bit ashamed of his behavior.  I caught him red-handed with the toilet paper!

 The next day he hid in a basket of beanie babies . . .  I think he knew I wasn't happy with him!  It took the boys forever to find him!  They loved being able to carry him where ever we were without touching him! 

 Shane hasn't really understood about not touching Jeff.  I was cooking in the kitchen that night, and Shane came in holding Jeff and said, "Look Momma . . . what I found!"
Totally freaked Alex and Zach out!  They were scared the elf would lose his magic and not be at our house the next morning.

Shane is so cute about the elf.  He can't say elf so he is constantly talking about the "F".  So cute.  When he does that, Alex and Zach look at me with a knowing smile . . . like we all have a secret.  So fun.

 But then on Thursday morning . . . He left the boys a message . . .

And he left me another mess!  How do you get toothpaste off a mirror!

   He's been a little less descructive since then.  I think he's been a little more merciful to me since Dave has gotten sick.  But more about that later.

The boys and I have been doing crafts and Christmas activities every night together.

We still had the handprint ornaments to paint.

Shane wouldn't paint his according to the traditional design of Santa . . . He painted the whole thing red!

 My boys love to paint and glue and make things.  They are usually more manageable when they are busy doing crafts than most any other time.  Surprising I know!

Pretty ornaments.  We still have to make the black lines with the Sharpie markers.

We also made some cute wreaths made from left-over/mismatched pieces from the Sunday church craft I did with my class.  I dug the foam characters and stars out of the trash after the community children left to go home.  The boys loved it!

 I had to open some extra packages for my class because some of the pieces were missing in some of the children's kits . . . and that left some extra characters and also left 3 foam wreaths without all the parts.  Perfect for my sweet boys!  They didn't care that some of the characters were missing . . . the main one was there . . . baby Jesus!

 It was after this craft time that I went in to check on Dave again who had been in our bedroom sick.  He was moaning and shaking with chills . . . and I persuaded him to let me take him to the ER.  My sweet parents kept the boys for me.  It's a good thing too because it was 1:30 a.m. before I got home.  The doctor put Dave in the hospital for a couple of days.  Poor Dave had a very bad strep infection.  They let him come home today.  Thank goodness!  I've missed him!  He still can't go to work for a week the doctor said.  Poor Dave!  Poor me!  I've got to stay well . . . Can you imagine if he and I were both sick this close to Christmas!

So you can find us crafting . . . and recovering from strep . . .  and tolerating a mischievous elf  . . here at the Farm . . . with

                          the Ferrell boys and me!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fun ATV and the Ferrells

We are gearing up for Christmas here at Ferrell Farm.  The boys have all written Santa expressing their wishes for Christmas . . .

Dave always comes up with the boys' main Christmas gift from us.  It's something that he loves to do and he's actually very good at it.

This year Dave got it in his head that he wanted to get the boys all 4-wheelers for Christmas . . . that makes 3 ATVs for the Ferrell boys . . .

The problem with buying 3 ATVs . . . where to get all the money to buy the ATVs . . .

Dave decided -- after much research -- that the best way to get the boys the ATVs for Christmas was to start selling ATVs.  Yes.  We are now in the ATV selling business!

The boys quickly picked out the 4-wheeler they wanted.  Unfortunately, Dave and I have to sell a few ATVs before we can afford to buy the boys one each! 

I spent part of Saturday helping Dave sell the ATVs . . . crocheting . . . waiting for ATV customers . . . and crocheting . . . and this is what I made:

It's not the best picture.  It's an owl baby hat.  I made it for Myra's new grandbaby.  I hope to see a picture with him wearing it.

I got the pattern for it at this site:  Repeat Crafter Me.

Sunday afternoon my church had its Christmas event for our community children's ministry.  The youth performed a really cute skit with a great point about the best gift of Christmas . . . Jesus! 

When asked to choose the best gift for Christmas 2012 . . . and having the choices of a ZuZu pet, Barbie, Guitar Hero, or a Wii . . . the contestant picked Jesus as the best gift!

After the skit, we all went to our classrooms to make crafts depicting the Nativity.

I help teach the 11 and 12 year olds.  It can be quite interesting sometimes.

Santa stopped by to hand out candy canes with the Jesus/candy cane story.

We had a great time putting together the Nativity wreaths, and I enjoyed watching the children being creative with the foam pieces.

Some of their creativity extended beyond the making of the wreaths . . . into posing for the camera with their wreaths . . .

Mr. John posed with one of the children.  Mr. John and I teach this class together.  He has a great disposition and is very encouraging to me and the kids.  :)

After church, the Ferrell boys and I went home and went to bed . . . When we woke up Monday morning . . . this is what the Ferrell boys found:

That Jeff, our elf, had decided to play a trick on the boys . . . and hung some of their underwear on the fan in the living room! 

And now I have to figure out how to get the underwear down . . . I can't reach the fan without a ladder . . . and now I also have to clean the ceiling fan!  I never realized how dusty and dirty it was until I saw these pictures!

As I am getting ready to go to sleep tonight . . . I'm wondering what that elf has planned for tonight for . . .

                        the Ferrell boys and me!