Potato Candy

My step-grandma used to make this for us kids, when we were growing up. After I moved away, I tried many, many times to recreate the recipe, with no luck. I was thrilled to find it by chance in a book called “Company’s Coming – Most Loved Treats” by Jean Pare. Most-loved indeed! Now I make them every Christmas. Well, every Christmas except the one Christmas immediately after the twins were born! If you look them up in the book, they are actually called Pinwheels.

 

2 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup mashed potatoes

½ teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

Combine the first four ingredients in a large bowl. Turn out onto a work surface dusted with confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. Knead until smooth, adding more powdered sugar as needed, until a pliable but not sticky dough forms. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out 1 portion on the surface dusted with powdered sugar, to 5×8 inch rectangle, 1/8 inch thick.

Spread about 1 ½ tablespoons peanut butter evenly over the top. Roll up, jelly-roll style, from long side. Wrap with plastic wrap. Chill. Repeat with remaining portions. Cut each roll in to ¼ inch slices. Makes about 6 dozen pinwheels.

(photo taken from shockinglydelicious.com)

A Nifty Little Tip for Your Kids’ Toys

I tried posting this on my Face Book page, but it really didn’t work.  I wonder if the post was too long?  So I apologize, this post will be too short on Making Mommas.  It probably really belongs on Face Book.  But I think it is a good tip, and worth posting, regardless.  🙂

So, A nifty little tip regarding your kids’ toys:  Rotate them!!

My kids have a lot of toys.  The twins have inherited a lot of their older brothers’ toys – some of them are dang near 17 years old now!  And, they continue to get their own, new toys as well.  So what is a mom to do with all of these toys?

Well, we naturally purged them when we moved.  We cleaned out all of the toys, and got rid of a lot.  Trashed them.  I didn’t have time to bring them anywhere or to put on a garage sale.  We don’t miss them.

But for those we kept, I rotate them.  I have some of them stashed under the stairs, to pull out occasionally when we need some new inspiration.  I have a closet and toy box downstairs full of toys.  I have a basket in the living room upstairs, full of toys.  And the twins have a basket in their bedroom full of toys.  The three year old has only a select few in his bedroom simply because he shares a bedroom with his 11-year-old brother, who really doesn’t appreciate having that many toys hanging around.

I often will bring some selected toys from the toy box downstairs to the basket in the living room upstairs. I then will move some of the toys in the basket in the living room in to the basket in the twins’ bedroom. And then I will move some of those toys out of the bedroom and back down to the toy box. I do this for big items as well, such as the kitchen and the Lego table. It’s amazing what a new setting, i.e., new room in the house, can do to an old toy!

How do I know when it’s time to rotate? When I get tired of cleaning up the same toys again and again! I was sick and tired of cleaning up the Duplex Blocks for the umpteenth time today. So rotate we did! It’s also a good time to rotate when you need something to capture your kids’ interest for a bit longer than usual. Some “new” toys can do the trick. Maybe rotate when you need to get some Christmas preparation finished up! 😉

And with Christmas around the corner, it’s a good time to go through all of the toys as well. Clean them out! Tuck them away, chuck them away, or haul them away. Give them to the Salvation Army or The Boys’ Ranch, or bring them to a second-hand store.

Happy Cleaning!

 

(photo from accesscal.org)

Holiday Traditions

Family traditions are important.  And fun.  But it’s hard, when you are newly married, to meld your family traditions with your husband’s.  My husband and I have been doing this for twenty years now, so we’ve got it down!

Not only did we have to find a way to meld our traditions together, but we had to do away with some 🙁 and add new ones.  It’s been trial and error over the years, but I think we have our Christmas traditions established now!

Why are traditions so important?  The same reason why everything else is so important – because it builds a relationship with your child.  It is a way to spend time together.

I get told so very many times, and so does my husband, that we are amazing parents.  That our boys are so very awesome.  (They are!) And that they wish there were more kids like our kids in this world.  That kids now-a-days……well, I’m sure you can complete that sentence for me.  It’s one reason why folks have told me I should write a blog.

My husband and I always laugh.  And we have spent some time musing over this.  Why are our kids so amazing?  Most of it, honestly, is their own doing.  It is their own personalities and character that makes them so wonderful.

And we have nothing to do with that – no control over that. Who knows how the youngest three will turn out?!? Will my husband and I still be such good parents if we have one wild child? One little renegade coming up to throw the whole thing off? Because, I think we do! And oddly enough, he is the youngest of all the boys, the youngest twin.

We did, in all of our musings, though, decide that we do stand out from other parents in one simple way. There is one thing we do that we don’t see very many other parents doing. Continue reading

26 Ways to Spend Quality Time with Your Child This Holiday Season

 

 

  1. Involve them in as many preparations as you can – gift wrapping, shopping, baking, etc.
  2. Eat at least one meal together every day.
  3. Pray together every night.
  4. Play outside! And be active – don’t just watch them. Run with them, swing with them, build a snowman with them, etc.
  5. Read together.
  6. Go sledding, skiing, snowmobiling or ice skating!
  7. Do household chores together, such as the dishes.
  8. Play a board game together.
  9. Engage your child in free or imaginative play, and then follow his/her lead – play what they want to play.
  10. Go for walks together.
  11. Go to the Library together.
  12. Spend time playing with and talking to your child while he/she is taking a bath.
  13. Watch a movie together – the Christmas classics are great!
  14. Sing together – or better yet, go Christmas Caroling!
  15. Go to church together.
  16. Volunteer together or do something nice for someone else together.
  17. Play with your cat/dog together.
  18. Make something for someone together. Pinterest has wonderful ideas!
  19. Visit a family member together.
  20. Take a class together, such as quilting or woodworking.
  21. Go out to eat, just you and your child.
  22. Go to his/her athletic event (basketball, hockey, etc.), concert or program.
  23. Watch Sunday or Monday Night Football together.
  24. Cook dinner together.
  25. Go for a drive – especially if you have a teenager – it’s the best place to have a good conversation. 🙂
  26. And finally, build Christmas Traditions together.

 

Any more ideas? Leave them in the comments!

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Child

‘Tis the Season…..

You can fill the end of that sentence in any way you want to right now. ‘Tis the season for absolute chaos! That might work. 😉 It’s hard, though, preparing for Christmas. Such a huge celebration. There are parties all month long, sometimes extending in to January. It’s one big celebration, starting with Thanksgiving and ending, for most, with New Years’. Some larger families really do celebrate well in to January though.

So there is gift buying, gift wrapping, possibly last minute gift making, tree decorating, goodies baking, Christmas Card making/buying/addressing/mailing. Presents that need to be shipped. Traveling. Meals to cook, parties to plan. Concerts and programs to go to, play in or sing in. Things get busy at church. People volunteer to help others in need more during this time of the year. And for some, there is extra work shifts, or moonlighting/temporary jobs, just to afford it all.

So how, as a working mom, or in my case, just a plain busy mom, does one fit it all in? How does one accomplish all of that on top of the everyday chaos? There’s still every day meals to prepare, laundry to do, diapers to change, toilets to clean, bills to pay, kids to chauffer, basketball/hockey/wrestling games/matches to attend, doctor appointments to make, baths to give, stories to read, prayers to say, etc. etc. etc. How do you do it all?

Well, if you are like me, you stay up late and do as much as you can in the middle of the night. (Your butt drags the whole holiday season!) And your kids are sorely neglected.

It’s the truth. Instead of playing outside, in this unusually warm December we are having here up North, the kids run around the house, willy-nilly, entertaining themselves, as I wrap presents, shop on line, or address Christmas Cards. It often leads to fights, owies, and a total disaster that I pay for later (in clean-up and in a bad case of the crabbie patties!). Their naps also get extended – just a bit – just long enough that they don’t notice the difference, buying me a few extra minutes. And everything gets done.

How else do you do it?

It doesn’t feel right at all. But in the end, the kids all get wonderful fun presents that make them forget all about how boring and (sometimes) mean mom has been in the last six to eight weeks. Right?

Wrong. That’s not what Christmas is all about!
Aside from the obvious (Celebrating Jesus), Christmas is about spending time with those we love. Shouldn’t our children be at the top of that list? And shouldn’t we make it a priority to spend time with them each and every day during the hustle and bustle of the holidays? Aren’t they the main reason we do it all to begin with? Let’s face it – we aren’t eating all those cookies. Or unwrapping all those presents. It’s for them. Let’s make them a part of the celebrating and preparing; a part of our everyday lives. Let’s give them the best of us. This Christmas, let’s give them our time. It is, after all, the best gift we could ever give them.