Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We may not have it all together.

This was our Christmas card this year. I started out searching for the "perfect" photo to send out. You know. The one where we are all together in our matching outfits, not a hair out of place, everyone smiling and looking at the camera..."perfect". Here's the truth. We are not perfect and that picture doesn't exist. My pictures of the year consisted of kids in mud, holding frogs, painting projects, ice cream all over faces, fits being thrown, tearful faces, crazy mismatched outfits, silly faces...LOTS of silly faces!!

And do you know what!?? I wouldn't trade ANY of those pictures (or memories) for that ONE "perfect" family picture. Actually, I think this one is perfect...perfect for US!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Corn Chowder

There is something about this cold weather that makes me crave a warm bowl of soup. And THIS is the first soup that usually comes to mind. My mom's Corn Chowder. I hope you like it as much as we do.

Corn Chowder Recipe

1/2 lb bacon
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp dill weed
2 cans whole corn
1 cup water
1 can cream style corn
1 12 o can evaporated milk
6 oz smoked sausage links (also known as little smokies), cut
2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
minced dried onion (optional)

In a large saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels, crumble, and set aside. Drain all but 2T of the drippings. Saute celery and onion in drippings until onion is lightly browned. Add potatoes and water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir in corn, milk, sausage, dill week, and bacon. Cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Today begins a special countdown at our house. 12 days until Christmas. A gift a day for the next 12 days. 3 piles. 3 styles of wrapping paper. 3 happy kiddos. Courtesy of Grandma!

Thanks, Mom, for starting this wonderful tradition for our family. The kids couldn't wait to pick out the first gift to open this morning!!

My mom started this a few years ago and the kids truly love it. The presents are usually small things that she picks up throughout the year. Sandwich and soup containers for lunch boxes, small stuffed animals, toothbrushes, hot chocolate, small games. When they were preschool age, she went with an art theme providing us with paper, crayons, paints, glue, pipe cleaners, and other things for us to "entertain" them with projects throughout the year. This morning it was Farkle, hot chocolate, and a car...can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!! What are your family traditions at Christmas time?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's beginning to look like Christmas!

Christmas at Maple Memories...

The tree is up and the stockings are hung. The gold ornaments and white lights against the wood in the entryway are BEAUTIFUL at night!! The outside is fun and festive this year too!!!

One little "helper" thought she needed her picture taken when we were done decorating. I think she was right!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

1. Gather Supplies. Natural Jute from Hobby Lobby, Candle and Glass Holder from Walmart.
2. Hold jute in place at the bottom with your thumb. 3. Start wrapping it around with your other hand. No glue was used. Just wrapped.
4. When you get as high up as you want, bring the jute back to your starting place and tuck under to secure.
5. Drop into glass. 6. Add smaller candles, ribbon, pumpkins, pinecones, and rocks.

Ahhh...ready for company!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Swap Table

At Maple Memories, we have a "Swap Table" in the basement. It's a place for you to leave things you won't use anymore and/or pick up something that you can use. Our guests have been so generous by leaving stickers, paper, embellishments, ribbons, cutters, stamps, etc. I often notice a change in the "stuff" so I can tell people are taking and leaving! This makes me happy!!

I wanted to share this story with you. After one guest left, she contacted me to let me know how thankful she was for the table. Money was tight (her weekend was a gift), she had few supplies, and didn't know if she would be able to finish the album she was working on because she was running out of supplies. She was able to find some things from the table and kept on working. She was SO VERY GRATEFUL! Isn't that wonderful!!??

There are no rules for the table. You can leave or take anything. As much or little as you want. You can leave full sheets of stickers or a sheet with only one left. ANYTHING that you think someone else could use. Don't feel guilty for taking...someone wanted you to have it or it wouldn't be there.

Ok, with that said, I need to work on organizing it!!! Any suggestions!?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Peanut Butter Cups

My MIL was kind enough to watch my kids for a few hours last Saturday. When I got home, she had homemade pizza made and a pan of this...

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups!!! MMMMM...I could eat the whole pan!! Seriously, I had to have them take it away after I woofed 3 of them down in no time!! ;) I thought you might enjoy them, so here's the recipe. THANKS, GRANDMA KAREN!!! P.S. I would like to know how you took care of the kids AND managed to make pizza from scratch (yes, even the dough) AND Homemade Peanut Butter Cups AND play AND quilt with them!!??? I hope you went home and took a nap!

1/3 Box Graham Crackers
2 Sticks Butter
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Cups Chocolate Chips

Crush graham crackers into crumbs. Mix with butter, peanut butter, and powdered sugar. Dough will be stiff. Press mixture into buttered 9x13 pan. Melt chocolate chips in pan on low heat, stirring to prevent burning. Spread over mixture in pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small squares. (Or big ones so you don't feel guilty for eating so many!)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Feature - Papa's Pumpkin Patch

Last week the kids only had a 1/2 day of school, so I asked them if they wanted to go to the pumpkin patch. "PAPA'S!!!!!" they all yelled at the same time! SO, off we went to Papa's Pumpkin Patch. I had my camera and debated whether to make them change into "coordinating" outfits and brush their hair (because Pumpkin Patches are the BEST places for GREAT pictures), but decided to just hit the road "as is"!!! I tell you, it was so relaxing and fun that I wanted to share Papa's Pumpkin Patch with you.

As soon as it was in sight, the van exploded with excitement as they saw the giant slide. I barely got the van in park before doors were opening and kids were jumping out! Off they ran, straight for the slide. This is one of the MANY things that I love about Papa's...IT'S FREE!!! No waiting in line to pay. You just start experiencing it right away!!! We were greeted by Shanna, whose parents own the patch. She is so warm and welcoming and told us all the patch had to offer this year.


PUMPKIN SLINGSHOTS...5 for a $ a prize if you hit the "PRIZE" target...we didn't, but not for lack of trying!

KID ACTIVITY AREA...they could spend HOURS just playing in the corn. There is also a CORN MAZE, but since Daddy wasn't along this time, we decided to wait till next time.

PUMPKIN PATCHES...they have 3 of them. You get to cut your own and if you bring enough "helpers" you don't even have to push the wagon back yourself! ;)

ANIMALS...pigs, turkeys, goats, a donkey, and dogs...the kids fell in love with "Louie"...he returned his love with puppy kisses!

You can also take a FREE WAGON RIDE!! Buy beautiful MUMS, GOURDS, and other UNIQUE PUMPKINS. There is FOOD (like grilled pork burgers and homemade desserts) and DRINKS! AND they have cute little areas set up for photographs...hay bales, mums, pumpkins, tractors, the side of a barn...PERFECT!!!

See!!?? You don't need coordinating outfits for a day of fun and great pictures!!!

PAPA'S PUMPKIN PATCH, 374 E 70th, Newton, KS 67114

HOURS: Fridays 1 - 6; Saturdays 10 - 6; Sundays 12 - 6

Located 6 miles North of Newton on Hwy K-15, then 3/4 mile East


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Halloween Sanitizer

When did OCTOBER get here!!?? I LOVE FALL, absolutely LOVE it!! There are so many things going on and fun things to do. SO MANY THINGS (Football games, soccer games, Pumpkin Patches, Fall Parties, Scrapbooking Weekends, Chili Feeds, Apple Orchards) that the months seem to FLY by!! I've been spending some time in blogland and, as always, am inspired by the amazing talent of so many different women. All the Fall and Halloween decorations makes me wish I had ALL DAY to CREATE!! Well, like most of you, I don't. BUT, I found these adorable Boo Sanitizers over at Just a Girl....

and HAD to try them for myself. I dug through my scrapbooking stuff (great way to use up scraps) and created these...

And these...


Once you have your supplies out, it really only take MINUTES to get them done! I then went out and delivered them to friends...after all, EVERYONE could use these this time of year and it's so fun to give those "unexpected" little gifts!! Oh, and if you're a friend reading this and HAVEN'T gotten one, don't be mad...I still love you...I ran out of Sanitizer...making a trip to Walgreen's this afternoon...they have them on sale for 2 for $3.00!!! ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Laundry Room Sign

I found this collage frame at a garage sale for $1.00. I really liked the frame itself. The yellow collage matting...not so much. I purchased a vinyl wall saying several months ago for my laundry room and have been waiting to put it up. I am still toying with the idea of painting the laundry room at some point and I didn't want to waste my vinyl saying. SO, I decided to use this frame to help solve my dilemma.

The first thing I did was remove the matting and white paper that was inside the frame. I then adhered the vinyl saying to the GLASS of the frame. Now, I needed to create a new background. I went through my fabric and scrapbooking paper, but didn't find what I was looking for. Then it hit me, why not use wrapping paper!!?? It was CHEAP and AVAILABLE!!

So I cut the wrapping paper to the size needed to wrap the backboard of the picture frame.

Remember this doesn't have to look one is going to see the back.

The final step was putting it all back together. So simple and easy. It took me about 1o minutes...most of which was spent rubbing on the vinyl saying. I like the paper. Seems fitting for the laundry room, don't you think!? AND the best part is, if I want to change colors or get tired of this, I can just take out the blue wrapping paper and change the background to something else!!! Side note: This isn't the greatest picture due to the glare. Looks much better in person AND you can't tell it's wrapping paper at all!!!

My plan is to frame pictures of my kiddos, all nice and DIRTY, having "loads of fun" all around it. I think this one qualifies, don't you!!??

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


If you've ever met me, you know that I love Meg!!! She's full of the greatest ideas and has to be the coolest mom EVER!! She had this post about her Summer Fun List, so we decided to give it a try. I just let the kids shout out anything that came to mind. There was no right or wrong answers, nothing too big or too small. I DID tell them that we would try our best to do as many as we could, but NO PROMISES on EVERYTHING (ummm...Disney World!??).

Here's a sampling of our Summer! It became a quest to do everything (or ALMOST everything) on our list. Thank you Meg for helping us form some great Summer memories!! You guys should try this...REALLY!!

Geocaching....CHECK!!! This is a great family activity. It's a treasure hunt AND they are located all over the country, so you can do this on any family vacation or day outing or just because you have some time to kill.

Paint seashells...CHECK!! I know, the original list says "Paint Rocks", but we all agreed this counted!

Put flowers on someone's grave...CHECK!

Make Rainbow Cake...CHECK!! We made this on the first day of SUMMER to CELEBRATE!! Invited the neighbor kids over, ate outside, lots of laughs...may have started a tradition.

Visit Ducks...CHECK!! Run from them when they start attacking you...CHECK!!!

Catch a toad...CHECK!! I think I prefer this little guy...

Lemonade Stand...CHECK!!!


Kind of makes you wish it was Summer again, doesn't it!!??

Monday, September 14, 2009

New friends at Maple Memories

We have two new dress forms at Maple Memories for those of you that sew.

And, if you DON'T sew...feel free to take a photo with our new "friends"!! HA!