Pumpkin Pie Disaster

We spent Thanksgiving at Darrin and Maura’s home – technically, they are dear friends but actually they are much, much more like family.  They are more like our grown children than plain old friends and their children are our grandchildren.  Being a part of their extended family is one of the things for which we are very thankful not only on Thanksgiving but every day.

My contribution to Thanksgiving dinner was to make enough dessert for a large, extended family gathering.  So, I decided to make four pumpkin pies (as many as fit in my oven).  Usually my pies turn out well, I always make my own pastry and don’t have any problems with that turning out the way it should.   These four pies just didn’t turn out well at all – not because of the pastry but because I put more than twice as much sugar in the pumpkin mixture as the recipe called for.

Pumpkin Pie Failure

It was late on the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving and I was trying to be quick about making the pies.  I didn’t bother to put my reading glasses on and thought the recipe said each pie needed 1 3/4 cup of sugar so I multiplied that by 4 and put 7 cups of sugar in for the 4 pies.  They should have finished baking in an hour but it took 2 1/2 hours for them to get firm.  By that time, I knew something was wrong – not just the long baking time but the smell was dreadful.  Instead of that wonderful pumpkin pie smell wafting from the oven there was a sickeningly sweet, burnt sugar smell filling the house.   A sticky sugar syrup was bubbling out of the pies and all over my oven, when I took the pies out of the oven the syrup was at the hard crack stage making long crispy strings as I lifted them out and put them on the counter.  It was a mess.  Anyway, I looked at the recipe again to see what on earth might have gone wrong (with glasses on) and saw that each pie only needed 3/4 cup of sugar!  For the 4 pies, I should have only used 3 cups of sugar and I used 7!

No one tasted these pies but I bet they tasted really awful.  They certainly smelled awful.  I put them out in the garage before I went to bed so they would quit stinking up the house and they were thrown out Thanksgiving morning.

Coconut Cranberry Bars

Thanksgiving morning, I baked Coconut Cranberry Bars to bring for dessert.  Luckily, I had all the ingredients they needed and they were quick and easy to make.  I had seen the recipe on the Land O’Lakes site several days earlier.  They turned out nicely and tasted great. 

Thanksgiving Dessert

Here is a link to the recipe:

Coconut Cranberry Bars

They turned out so well and people seemed to like them so much that I made them again to take to my Knitting Night on Tuesday.  Everyone there seemed to like them, too – at least they ate them and even asked for the recipe!

Coconut Cranberry Bars For Knitting Night

The Land O’Lakes site has many good recipes, they are easy to find and the pages don’t have any pop-ups or weird ads.  I’ve had good luck with any of the recipes I’ve tried from their recipe collection.

To see more pictures from Thanksgiving, here is a link to a set of pictures on Flickr:

Thanksgiving 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger version.


Lego Mania

My blog has been neglected for a bit – seems like life gets so busy as the holiday season starts up, I can’t believe it will be Thanksgiving in four days.  It seemed like Halloween was just a couple of day ago.  Sometimes, it seems like the older I get the less I enjoy the holidays – I feel kind of like a Grinch this year.  It makes me sad to see Christmas decorations going up in stores the minute Halloween is over.  Oh well, that’s the way it is.

Building Brothers

Our two grandsons have really been into playing with Lego Blocks this past couple of weeks.  Whenever they come over after school it is the first thing they want to do.

Busy Building

It is really refreshing when kids want to play something besides video games.  They do enjoy Nintendo and Playstation, too – but the past few weeks they have been having Lego Mania.  You can see in the above picture I still haven’t put away the two Halloween Candles on the fireplace – I think they’re cute and haven’t gotten into Thanksgiving mode yet even though it’s just days away!

Whistle While You Work

Just listening to them while they build and play is fun.  You can see how their minds are working and what sort of things they have going on in their imaginations.  Both of the boys are so different – they invent and act out stories about totally different things.  Darrin was whistling to himself while he was building.

Lego Mania

Actually, I really enjoy playing with Legos myself!  It is almost like knitting – making something block by block instead of stitch by stitch.  I built myself a really cool Lego house with a garden and everything.

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

This, That and The Other

This blog post is kind of a mixed bag – definitely a reflection of how life has been lately!

EarCozyHatI started on a quick. new knitting project – a hat for my husband.  It is based on a childrens’ hat pattern – Ear Cozy Hat by Fiber Trends – I redid the math to make the hat in a large adult size.  I’ve made this pattern numerous times in the small sizes.  It is really nice because it covers the ears and keeps them warm – however, the ear flaps are much nicer than most ear flap hats because they are made with short rows and don’t hang down strangely and they don’t need ties to keep them in place.


Jack Hat Beginning

The wool is lovely, Karabella Aurora Melange – it is so soft yet bouncy feeling and is 100% extrafine Merino Wool that is machine washable, always a plus for a hat.

In other knitting news, I finished up the Pet Bed I was knitting with Knit Picks bulky, hand dyed Wool of The Andes in the Island Breeze colorway.  It took three skeins.  Now, I need to felt it and see how it looks.  I’m hoping the fabric gets a lot thicker and the sides will stand up on their own.


Pet Bed Unfelted

This is the second Pet Bed I’ve knitted – the first one never ended up being felted because my dog, Gidget, likes it just the way it is.  She spends a lot of time sleeping on it and hates me to pick it up off the floor. There’s a picture of that in this post:  She Likes It .  For the first Pet Bed, I used a felted bowl pattern and just made it bigger.  I wasn’t totally happy with the how the bottom turned out, so, for this bed I came up with my own pattern that has 9 segments to form the circular bottom.  It seems to lie nice and flat.  After I felt it and see if it turns out well, I’ll write up the pattern and make it available on this blog.

Yesterday, I baked some Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins, they are based on a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins that Mary Jo baked recently for our knitting night.  I altered them a bit to make them more cake-like by adding less oil, one more egg, more flour, more cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg and a bit of milk.  They turned out well – not very sweet but very good.


Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Finally, I wanted to share this picture of our two grandsons having an after school snack and playing Nintendo DS – they bicker so much that it was wonderful to see them cooperating with each other!  You can see how much they really do love each other even though they tend to bicker over everything.


Brothers Cooperating

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger view.

Halloween 2009

This is another post I’ve been meaning to do all week and haven’t gotten it done because I took too many pictures and couldn’t decide which ones to edit and use.  I get snap happy with my cameras and never know when to stop!

Halloween seemed like a two day holiday this year – on Friday, Oct. 30th, the elementray school our grandchildren attend had their Halloween celebrations.  Kindergarten through Second Grade went on a parade around our tiny town and got treats from the businesses and post office.


Nephi (Optimus Prime) in the Halloween Parade

Third through Fifth Grade had a costume exhibition – some of the kids had fantastic costumes.  Afterwards, all the classes had Halloween parties.


Darrin the Mummy

Then on Saturday it was time for trick or treating.  We usually have around 100 trick or treaters come to our house – this year I thought there might be a lot more than usual because the weather was so nice and it was on the weekend.  However, there were only 47 trick or treaters this year.  Perhaps the nice weather and weekend combined made families decide to head somewhere else on Saturday.


Optimus Prime and the Mummy

Our grandkids wore the same costumes they wore at school and ended their trick or treating at our house so they could help give out treats – they really enjoy doing that.


Darrin giving out treats.

Along with fewer than usual trick or treaters this year, they started coming later that usual as well.  Our first trick or treater didn’t come till 7pm!  They usually start shortly after 5pm. 


Nephi giving out treats.

It ended up being a fun and Happy Halloween! 


Toothless and Happy on Halloween!

If you would like to see more pictures from Halloween, here is a link for a set of Halloween pictures on Flickr:

Halloween 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post for a larger view.


Shania, Larissa and Friends

Snow Cones & Kids

Each Tuesday, I pick up my grandchildren after school and we spend the afternoon and early evening together. Sometimes, one or the other of them have something going on at church or school so there aren’t always four.  We have a wonderful time playing games and lately we have been making snow cones every Tuesday.  The kids just love having them even though it is the middle of winter!

Click For A Larger View

Click For A Larger View

I bought the snow cone maker just after Christmas for only $11 and it works really well.  The ice is frozen in round molds and then the machine shaves it to make a light fluffy ice – almost like snow.  At first, we used powdered drink mix and a bit of water to flavor the ice but I finally found some snow cone syrup and it works better.

Who knows, when the kids like to have snow cones in the winter perhaps they will be wanting hot chocolate in the summer!


We had 75 Trick or Treaters this year! That is a new record for the over 20 years we have been living in this house.  Usually, there are around 50 or so.  It was a warm night which must have made it more fun to be outside.  Sometimes, it is bitter cold here on Halloween.

Even though we live in a tiny town of only around 700 people, we get more trick or treaters than people who live in much larger towns and cities.  I guess everyone here likes to take their children out to trick or treat!


The picture above is of my two grandsons. They were both soldiers this year.


This picture shows my friend’s two youngest girls.  They are almost like my grandchildren, too!  The youngest one is Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and the older one is dressed up like a baby.

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year.  It is so fun to see the little kids come to the door in their costumes.

Busy Week

This week was busy and fun – not a lot of time for knitting or blogging though.  On Tuesday, I watched my five year old grandson after school.  He is in Kindergarten this year.  We played Pirate-opoly – a version of Monopoly with pirates especially for kids ages 5 to 8.  It is very fun and he loves to play as he usually always wins! (I don’t let him either!)  He also loves to play the game with plastic jumping frogs that is kind of like tiddly winks – I can hardly get them to jump in the container but he does it so well that he wins every time.  Bubble gum is another of his favorite things – just look at the size of the bubbles he can blow.  He is so full of energy and fun.  Being a grandma is great!

On Wednesday, I went to lunch with a close friend.  Afterwards, I did the grocery shopping and on the way home took this picture of Mount Blanca.  There had been fresh snow during the night and it looked so pretty.

On Friday morning, I went to a school play.  My friend’s daughter in the 6th grade was in the play that was a project for her drama class at the middle school.  It was really good!  They did a set of four fairy tales – Three Little Pigs, Rumplestiltskin, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.  Each of the tales had its own new spin – such as the wolf ending up being friends with the three little pigs and the glass slipper getting broken when it was tried on by one of the ugly step sisters but Cinderella came up with the other one and still got to marry Prince Charming.  It was really an enjoyable play and the acting was very well done for 6th grade students.

Friday afternoon, I decided to go for a drive to the wildlife refuge then drove on to a neighboring town and shopped at a cute little organic store.  The Sandhill Cranes are back in the valley – they stop here on their migration in the spring and fall.  November is the main month for the fall migration but there are already a lot of cranes near the refuge.

The weather was lovely this week, warm without much wind.  Autumn is my favorite season.