Archives for October 2011

14 New Grandbaby Photos

I’m going to have to stop calling him a grandbaby at some point…he’s a toddler! lol 🙂 He is 15 months old in these fabulous takes.

Here are 14 new photos…awesome pics. 🙂

Enjoy! 🙂

Sneeking In My Office…

In My China Cabinet…

A Parent’s Guide to Medicine Safety – For Grandparents Too

Answers to Common Questions Parents Have When They’re Sick

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Have a great day! 🙂

Grandma/Grandchild Halloween Costume Ideas – Guest Post

Halloween is a great time for people to be as creative as their imaginations will allow. Costume ideas run the gamut of silly, historical, literary, and more. When it comes time for you to take your grandchild (or grandchildren) trick-or-treating or to a costume party, here are some ideas that might just help you win a contest or two.

Cruella de Vil and a Dalmatian puppy

Inspired by 101 Dalmatians, consider dressing up as the famous villain and one of the puppies who manage to escape her grasp. You’ll need:

* A black dress – any style

* A wrap or cloak – the original character wears a floor-length fur coat, which is the perfect choice if you have access to such an item or can find something similar at a thrift store. You can also go with any kind of plush wrap, ideally in white

* Black-and-white wig (accomplish this look by parting hair and spray painting with colored hair spray, widely available at costume stores or in the Halloween aisle at your favorite retailer)

* Red elbow-length gloves

Outfit your “puppy” in a dog costume or mix-and-match a polka-dot outfit, making sure to add a little smudge of black paint on the nose, as well as a tail.

Flo from Progressive Insurance and an insurance seeker

Capitalizing on popular television commercials, you might dress as Flo, the cheery representative from Progressive Insurance. You’ll need:

* An all-white outfit

* Sneakers

* White apron on which you can write or paste a sign with “Progressive”

* Headband

Dress the insurance seeker however you want, simply making sure they have a toy car to drive. You might also affix Hot Wheel cars to a T-shirt and call the costume “rush-hour traffic.”
Picture taken by Rob Speed

Role reversal

A fun idea is to have Grandma and Grandchild switch places. You’ll need:

* An oversized handbag
* Apron
* A house dress
* Grey hair – a wig or hair that is treated with colored hair spray, or lightly coated with hairspray and then dusted with baby powder or flour
* Oversized bra that can be stuffed with padding for comic effect
* Orthopedic shoes or slippers (keeping in mind that late fall can bring inclement weather)
* Fake glasses on a chain (or add a chain to glasses you already wear to turn them into a prop)
* Knee-high stockings that are purposely visible
* Additional props like a cane, shawl, or an assortment of hard candy that “Grandma” can hand out to passerby


* Put hair in pigtails
* Carry a blankie or stuffed animal
* Wear pajamas and slippers in a whimsical design similar to a child’s sleep attire

Ideas abound for costumes, many of which can be put together with items you likely already have around the house. Don’t forget to visit yard sales, thrift and consignment stores for clothes and props whose costs won’t break the bank. Above all, have fun! 🙂

Danielle is a master of creative costume designs. She once decorated her disabled friend’s handicap van as The Mystery Machine and she and the rest of her crew dressed as Scooby Doo characters.

Monthly Food Column – From the Pumpkin Patch to the Kitchen: Favorite Recipes

From The Prepared PantryDennis Weaver

From the Pumpkin Patch to the Kitchen: Favorite Recipes

I fell in love in Fairbanks, Alaska—the land of the midnight sun—with sweetest girl in the valley. All five of our children were born there. We lived on a three-acre plot overlooking the Tanana Valley and the University of Alaska; a plot that backed up to old mining claims. With the kids, Merri Ann and I wandered those mining trails and explored old diggings. On our lot, where the slope banked into the summer sun, we cleared off the birch trees for a garden. We hauled in a truckload of peat and tilled it into the soil making it rich and thick. And then we read everything we could about gardening in the far north.

With banked beds, ground cover to capture the summer heat, and over-ambition, we were awash with summer produce. We had beans and peas and broccoli. On the deck in planter boxes, we grew tomatoes—ripe by the Fourth of July. Potatoes thrived. We built a room to store potatoes, squash, and canned goods. But we never grew pumpkins.

That didn’t mean that pumpkins didn’t thrive in the valley. Prize winners at the fair were over 50 pounds. But these were show pumpkins, not the sweet little meaty pumpkins that you want for pies. These we bought at the farmer’s market or at the store.

In this article, I’ll tell you about pumpkins, how to choose them and puree them and I’ll share great pumpkin recipes with you.

All about Pumpkins

Pumpkins are versatile. You can bake a pumpkin, steam a pumpkin, sauté a pumpkin, make puree out of a pumpkin, and more. But where a pumpkin really comes into its own is in your kitchen. Pumpkins make favorite pies, moist cakes, interesting breads, and delightful cookies. The flavor is mild, maybe a little earthy. Typically, pumpkin is the canvas for an array of spices. When we think of pumpkin, we think of mixtures of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves found in pumpkin pie.

There are two types of pumpkins—the decorative pumpkins intended for jack-o-lanterns and sweet, pie, or eating pumpkins. The larger decorative pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns tend to be watery and stringy and are not very good for baking. Pie pumpkins are much better—meatier, smoother, and sweeter.

When choosing pumpkins, select those that are firm and heavy for their size. Avoid those with soft spots or any signs of decay. Inspect carefully any areas that may be soiled with dirt from the field. The rind should be hard. Choose one that is small enough to use at one time since cut pumpkins will not keep as well.

In the right conditions, your pumpkins will keep for two or three months. Store them in a cool, dry location. Space them so that the air can circulate around them. Ideal temperatures are 50-55 degrees.

Once you cut into a pumpkin, it should be refrigerated. Chunks can be kept in your crisper where the atmosphere is moist or in perforated plastic bags for a week or more.

For longer storage, cook your pumpkin, puree it, and freeze the puree. Properly frozen, your puree will keep in the freezer for six months.

Raw pumpkin can also be frozen. Clean and peel the pumpkin. Cut the flesh into one-inch cubes. Place the cubes in freezer-type bags and freeze. Measure out what you need for your favorite recipes. Use within two months.

Pumpkin and Spices

Pumpkin is mild and it’s gently earthy flavor is often used as palette to deliver other flavors–most often, spices. The most common spices are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Cinnamon is the mildest of the quartet and often hides behind the others. Yet, many times, I prefer to use cinnamon alone. A really good cinnamon melds perfectly with pumpkin.

Just as there is a stark difference between good cinnamon and cheap cinnamon, so is there a marked difference in types of cinnamon. There are three major types of cinnamon and I recommend that you keep all three in your cupboard:

Korintje Cassia Cinnamon This is the most popular cinnamon used in the United States. A good cassia is pleasant, not astringent, and you can dip your finger in it and taste it. If you have a good cinnamon, you can use much more than what the recipe calls for—two or three times as much.

Sri Lanka Cinnamon This is a very mild, sweet, woodsy cinnamon—a true cinnamon. It almost has a honey tone to it. It will get lost behind stronger spices like cloves or nutmeg but melds perfectly with earthy pumpkin.

Vietnamese Cinnamon This is an exciting cinnamon. It packs a punch and fills your kitchen with sweet aroma when baking. Vietnamese cinnamon has more volatile oils and has a tone associated with cinnamon oil more than the ground spice. I love this cinnamon in an apple pie. You don’t need cloves and nutmeg when you use this spice.

How to Puree Fresh Pumpkin

Can you use fresh pumpkin instead of canned?

Yes. We prefer fresh but we suspect that we’re biased. Quite frankly, in many recipes, we have a hard time telling the difference. And we often use commercially canned pumpkin for the convenience.

Cut a sugar or pie pumpkin in half. Remove the seeds.

Place the halves in a baking pan, flesh side down with 3/4-inch of water in the pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees or until the flesh is tender. (For small quantities, you can cook the pumpkin in the microwave.)

Let the pumpkin cool until you can handle it without burning. Scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin and place it in a blender, food mill , or food processor.

Process until smooth. If you have a Victorio-type strainer, you can process the cooked pumpkin with the skin. The strainer will separate the skin from the pulp.

Often, especially from smaller or immature pumpkins, the puree will not be thick enough—a spoon should stand upright in the puree. To thicken, place the puree in a saucepan and cook, stirring often, until the puree becomes thicker.

The Recipes

Pumpkin and Corn Fritters

This is one of Merri Ann’s favorite pumpkin recipes. We’ve been making these fritters for a long time. These make wonderful breakfast fare but we’ve served them often on chilly fall evenings served alongside a soup or a salad. Mostly we have served them drizzled with maple syrup but they are also wonderful with cinnamon apple syrup, maple cream syrup, cinnamon cream syrup.

You deep fry these pumpkin fritters just as you would French fries. The fritter batter mixes together quickly so this is a quick dish to put together for those evenings when you just don’t have a lot of time. It’s also very economical.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
3 cups grated, raw pumpkin
1 cup frozen or drained canned corn kernels


Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Add the milk and eggs and stir until mixed. Add the pumpkin and corn kernels.

In a deep fryer or heavy pan, heat enough vegetable oil for deep frying. The oil should be very hot, 375 degrees.

Drop three or four large spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Let them cook for three or four minutes, turning once, or until they just start to brown.

Remove them to dry on paper towels. Serve immediately drizzled with maple syrup.

Pumpkin Pie Squares

When we were first married, Merri Ann started making Pumpkin Pie Squares—I think from an old Farmer’s Home Journal recipe. Over the years, we tweaked it a little here and there and adopted it to different sized pans.

It’s like a pumpkin pie on a baking sheet with pecans added and has been a go-to recipe when we’ve needed to feed a crowd.

Except for Ben who doesn’t like nuts, our kids prefer this over pumpkin pie.

This recipe is designed for a small, a medium or a large batch. The chart below sets forth the ingredients for each. Use the ingredient amount in the first column for a small batch. Use an 8 x 8-inch baking pan for the small, an 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan for the medium, and a 10 x 15-inch pan for the large.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

For the crust, cut the butter into the sugar, oats, and flour until crumbly. Press the ingredients into an ungreased baking pan, across the bottom and up the sides. Bake the crust for 15 minutes.

For the topping, cut the butter into the nuts, flour, and brown sugar. Set aside.

For the filling, combine all ingredients in and whisk until smooth and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Pour into the baked crust. Bake for twenty minutes and remove from the oven.

Immediately, spoon the topping over the filling and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife stuck in the center comes out almost clean. Cool on a wire rack. Garnish with whipped cream.

Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Snacking Cake

Pumpkin has a neutral, earthy flavor. Typically we rely on spices to deliver the flavor—most notably, cinnamon. I recent years, we’ve taken to adding cinnamon chips to our pumpkin recipes from pumpkin bread to cookies. The burst of cinnamon in every bight is delightful.

To get more recipes using cinnamon chips, download our free guide, “The Magic of Cinnamon Chips.”

3 1/2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon maple flavoring
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cinnamon chips
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. If you are using a dark pan, preheat to 300 degrees.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice tighter in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy.
Add the maple and pumpkin and combine.

Alternately add the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting with the flour. (Adding the flour and milk in stages will better balance the batter.) Add the chips. Scrape the batter into a well-greased 8 1/2 x 13-inch pan.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake tests done. Cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating. Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add just enough water to bring the frosting to a spreadable consistency. Frost the cake after it has cooled.

Free! “The Prepared Pantry Pumpkin Baking Guide”

Learn more about cooking with pumpkin and get recipes with this free guide available for immediate download: “The Prepared Pantry Pumpkin Baking Guide.”


Dennis Weaver is the president of The Prepared Pantry. The Prepared Pantry sells baking ingredients and tools including the kitchen tools and spices and other baking ingredients that you will need for baking with pumpkin. They also sell baking mixes including mixes for pumpkin bread, cookies, pancakes, and muffins.

Copyright © Dennis Weaver :: The Prepared Pantry :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

Review and Giveaway – Boogie Wipes and Saline Soothers For Cold and Flu Season

Snot Your Average Wipe!
These wipes are made with natural saline and alcohol free

Introducing Boogie Wipes,  a nice alternative to the average everyday kleenex tissue…

My experience with the boogie wipes  was pleasant. I honestly could not believe how they effortlessly soothed my nose. They are extraordinarily super soft! And they leave you feeling fresh and clean.

I even used the fresh scent to wipe over my whole face. Awesome moisturizer! I really could not believe how soft they really were. Definitely much better than regular alternative tissues. Leaves the nose healthy and moisturized. 🙂

Something else I noticed with the wipes after use is how much easier it was to breathe. Especially using the minty menthol scent. Shear genius of the two Mothers from Oregon that invented these wipes! A huge plus with babies, toddlers, and all ages.

Just like a kleenex dispenser with a convenient plastic cover that clicks when you close it.

Comes In The Following Scents

Great Grape

Fresh Scent

Minty Menthol

Simply Unscented

The Fresh Scent Is My Favorite! 🙂

I will be purchasing some boogie wipes for my grandson for the flu season. 🙂

Recommended By Pediatricians!


Introducing Saline Soothers

The Saline Soothers Website

The cool menthal scent is awesome! If you have a bad cold or flu, these are much more effective than using vicks! They are definitely a big thumbs up!

My favorite of the Saline Soothers is cool menthol. In fact, I’m going to be purchasing some cool menthol. Since the flu season is here, I will be prepared for the worst. These wipes will make being sick a better experience for sure!

And for the people that suffer from allergies, these WONDERFUL SOOTHING WIPES simply cannot be beat!!

Comes in cool menthol, light lavender, and fragrance free
The Winner Will Receive —- Saline Soothers – (2) packs of 15-count wipes (cool menthol and fragrance free).  

Rule #1 – No posts relating to drugs, alcohol, gambling. Period!!
Rule #2 – No posts with slander or hate. Period!!
The Following Counts For 1 Entry, and You Have To Do Both 
* Follow Grandma’s Home Blogger Place using friend connect (far right column)
* Comment on products and leave (both) your name and email address
The Following Counts As Extra Entries
* Tweet about this giveaway and then make a comment on the blog and leave the URL of your tweet

* Blog about this giveaway and leave the  URL to the blog post

You can tweet and blog about this review/giveaway as many times as you like for extra entries and a much better chance of winning the giveaway! 😉


This giveaway will run until October 21st!!!

Thanks Tamena for sponsoring and all the coupons!!! 🙂

Winner of this giveaway is Darlene Demell…Congrats to you!

Copyright © Tammy Embrich :: Grandma’s Home Blogger Place :: All Rights Reserved

October Is Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating 25 years of awareness, education and empowerment.

Fund Mammograms For Women In Need ~~ They Need Your Click!

The Breast Cancer Site


Yesterday I went to Walmart and was greeted and given this pretty piece of paper with the Domestic Violence logo and ribbon on it. 😉

It just reminded me of how fortunate I am and also very thankful I have a gentle, loving, and caring husband that loves and supports me 100% !! 🙂

So Comforting!!!

However, not all women are as fortunate…

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime.