Holiday Gifts for the Boys

Dear Sis,

Snowman Portrait

Josh likes to hold on to clothes forever… including, thin, stretched, discolored socks. He gets very put out if I forget to check with him before discarding or repurposing his well worn things. I set a few particularly bad-off socks aside weeks ago when I saw this idea via pinterest: sock snowmen. In the weeks they were set aside, I forgot to go through the all important checking with Josh step, before I did this…

Step One: Cutting


Step Two: Binding the Base

Turn cuff inside out. Using a yarn needle and cotton worsted yarn run large running stitches about 1/2 inch form the cutting line, as depicted below.

Running Stitch

Taking care to keep all the gathering on the wrong side of the sock, pull the stitches tight and tie them off.

Tie Off

Step Three: Stuffing & Shaping

Turn the cuff right-side-out. Add 1/2 cup rice to weight the base of the snowman.


Stuff the rest of the cuff with polyfil or scraps of quilt batting keeping in mind that the base ought to be plumper then the head of the snowman. 


Bind the top of the cuff as in Step Two: Binding the BaseAdd separation for the head and base with an overhand knotted scrap of cotton worsted yarn.


Not realizing I had forgotten to get permission to brutally murder Josh’s old socks, I happily skipped into the living room to show this silhouette of a snowman to him. “You can barely tell it is a sock. Isn’t it cute?” I happily inquired. “It’s cute baby,” he said only giving me half his attention. As I skip back to my craft room, the word “sock” must of hit home. “I really wish you wouldn’t throw away or cut up my clothes without asking me first,” I heard from around the corner. “I didn’t?” I asked, like a kid caught off guard. “I’m sorry, I must have forgotten.” In all the time I was planning this silly project I was sure I’d mentioned it, but apparently I didn’t! Wife fail! 

Step Four: Adding Buttons


Step Five: Making & Attaching Hat

Using the other side of the sock, fold cut edge down 1/2 inch, then back on itself again another 1/2 inch, to create a rolled hem. Whip stitch in place with needle and thread.

Hem Hat

Position the hat to disguise the gathering of the cuff at the top on the snowman and stitch securely into play with the whip stitch.

Attach Hat

Step Six: Adding Facial Features

Using permanent or fabric markers, draw facial features as decided. I went for the traditional snowman features of stone eyes and a carrot nose.


Step Seven: Make & Secure Scarf

Cut scarf of desired length and width from a remnant of fleece. Cut fringes if desired. 


Position scarf as desired and secure placement by tac stitching it in place.





Our Thanksgiving

Dear sis,

I didn’t feel homesick this Thanksgiving. Granna and Papa Roach let me run the show! Eleven hours of cooking made a very full buffet:)

Josh spent the day running around with, the boys’ dad, the boys, and their three cousins all day! 

Our Thanksgiving Dinner


They boys aunt brought a 19.5 pound fresh turkey with her. 

Papa Roach insisted I cook the bird. Although he is a fantastic cook himself, he prefers working with red meat. 

Oven Roasted Turkey
Write a review
  1. whole turkey, fresh or thawed
  2. 1/2 c butter, sliced
  3. 1/2 c celery, diced
  4. 1/2 c carrots, diced
  5. 1/2 c dry herb blend
  1. Prepare butter, vegetables, and herb blend. For herb blend, use basil, cumin, marjoram, sage, salt, parsley, pepper, rosemary, thyme in ratios that suit your preference.
  2. Preheat oven to 450.
  3. Remove bird from packaging. Remove neck and bag of giblets. Free turkey's legs. Drain liquid. Place bird on rack in a roasting pan.
  4. Carefully work skin way from flesh, without tearing.
  5. Rub herbs under skin. Place sliced butter and chopped vegetable under skin as well. Anything that does not fit under the skin can be placed in the chest cavity.
  6. Generously top bird with salt and pepper. Cover with lid or foil.
  7. Bake at 450 for first hour. Reduce temperature to 350 for remaining baking time.
  8. Remove from over and stand 1 hour before serving, basting as desired.
  1. Calculate baking time: 1 hour/4 pounds. We baked our 19.5 pound turkey just over 5 hours.
  2. A meat thermometer is a good way to check for doneness. Internal temperature should reach at least 155 degrees F.
Tag Sis, You're It!

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potaoes
Write a review
  1. potatoes, peeled and quartered
  2. garlic, peeled
  3. 1 t salt
  4. unsalted butter
  5. cottage cheese
  6. milk & cream
  7. salt & pepper
  8. shredded cheese
  1. Combine potatoes, 1 clove garlic for every two potatoes, and salt in a large pot. Cover contents with water and a lid.
  2. Bring to a boil. Remove lid to prevent boil-over. Cook until potatoes are tender. Drain.
  3. Mash potatoes until smooth adding butter, cheese, milk, cream, salt, and pepper, until desired taste and consistency are reached.
  4. Scrape potatoes into a large oven safe dish. Top with shredded cheese and additional pepper. Serve immediately or cover with foil and reheat at 350 before serving.
Tag Sis, You're It!

Creamed Corn


We cheated and used a Pepperidge Farm Stuffing mix.

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Bread

Sourdough Starter
Write a review
  1. 2 1/2 c warm water
  2. 2 c bread flour
  3. 2 T sugar
  4. 1 1/2 t yeast
  1. Combine all ingredients in a nonmetallic bowl.
  2. Cover with a towel and stand overnight.
  1. Store leftover starter in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator.
  2. Replenish starter as needed by adding 1 1/2 c warm water, 1 1/2 c flour, and 1 1/2 t sugar. Stand overnight before using replenished starter.
Tag Sis, You're It!
Sourdough Bread
Write a review
  1. 1 c milk
  2. 3 T oil
  3. 5 - 6 c flour, divided
  4. 3 T sugar
  5. 1 t salt
  6. 1 t yeast
  7. 1/2 sourdough starter
  8. 1 c flour
  9. cornmeal
  1. Warm milk and oil to 100 degrees F.
  2. Whisk in 2 c flour, sugar, salt, and yeast.
  3. Stir in starter and 1 c flour.
  4. Knead in 2-3 c flour until dough is smooth and elastic.
  5. Rise in a greased bowl 1 hour.
  6. Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. Shape loaf and place on baking sheet. Rise 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350. Bake 45 - 55 minutes.
  1. Makes 1 loaf.
  2. Double batch uses all starter and makes 2 loaves.
Tag Sis, You're It!

Italian-Style Green Beans

Creamed Peas

Homemade Applesauce

This batch was chunkier than what I usually can.

Pumpkin Pie

I cheated on this as well. I lined my pie plate with a refrigerated crust.

Pecan Pie

Papa Roach makes divine Pecan Pie. I am promised the recipe!

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle

Peanut Brittle
Write a review
  1. 1 1/2 c sugar
  2. 1/2 c corn syrup
  3. 2 T water
  4. 1 1/2 c raw peanuts
  5. 1/2 t salt
  6. 1 t baking soda
  7. 1 1/2 T unsalted butter
  1. Butter a jellyroll pan.
  2. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and water to a boil over medium heat; stirring until sugar dissolves. Cook to 280, without stirring.
  3. Stir in peanuts. Cook stirring occasionally to prevent nuts sticking, to 300.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in salt, baking soda, and butter until well blended and mixture turns to a golden color. Pour and spread over prepared pan.
  5. Stand until set. Break into pieces and serve.
Tag Sis, You're It!
After our meal enjoyed by all, everyone worked together to clean up. I didn’t wash a single dish! That was a treat:)




Breakfast Casserole

Dear Sis,

After I put the boys to bed, I prepared a breakfast casserole to for Thanksgiving morning. Thus avoiding a dozen people crashing through the kitchen in the morning in search of breakfast.

Breakfast Casserole

Cheesy Broccoli Sausage Hash Breakfast Casserole
Write a review
  1. 1 pkg. apple chicken sausages, cubed
  2. small onion, diced
  3. 1 t minced garlic
  4. 24 oz pkg. frozen shredded hash potatoes
  5. 14 oz pkg. frozen broccoli florets, chopped
  6. 6 eggs
  7. 1 c cottage cheese
  8. 1 c cheddar, shredded
  9. 1 c Pepper Jack, shredded
  10. 1 t pepper & salt
  1. Sauté sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat until sausage is browned.
  2. Combine sautéed mixture with remaining ingredients and pour into an oven safe pan.
  3. Bake 60 - 75 minutes at 375.
  1. Casserole can be prepared the night before and refrigerated until morning when it is baked.
Tag Sis, You're It!
 I combined concepts form 1/2 dozen different breakfast casseroles ideas to make one that had everything I like. Happily everyone else liked it too. It was all eaten up by 11 o’clock and I had the kitchen free of hungry wonderers while I cooked.





A Gift for Granna

Dear Sis,

This weekend, the boys worked on their Christmas Gift for Granna.

She is getting HOPE and LOVE!


2 (11×14 inch) canvases

3 – 4 colors acrylic paint (we used primary colors)

sponge brushes and/or natural sponges

self-adhesive vinyl

vinyl cutting tools (listed below)

Step One: Base Coat

Base Coat

We squirted pant directly on our canvases and rubbed it around with sponge brushes.

Step Two: Preparing Vinyl

If you haven’t splurged on a die cutting machine, you will need the following:

Vinyl Cutting Tools

Self-Healing Cutting Mat

X-acto Knife

Scissors & Tape

Printable Cutting Template


Cut away a section of vinyl. Tape it down with duck tape.

Center template and tape down with scotch tape.

Cup away lettering with the X-acto knife.

This step is clearly for a grown up!

Step Three: Place Lettering

Stickers II

Step Four: Second Coat

Second Coat

We had to work very carefully around the vinyl. The self-adhesive wasn’t all that agreeable with the base coat. We found that dabbing the paint on the lettering was best.

Second Coat II

Step Five: Removing Lettering

All Done

With a cheesy poem hand written by Little, about how the boys couldn’t afford to buy anything fancy, but had plenty of hope and love to share, it will be the perfect present for Granna.




Chicken Salad

Dear Sis,

I made Pot Pie Casserole for Josh and the boys this weekend. While I was baking the chicken for the casserole, I threw a few extra pieces in the pan, so I could make Chicken Salad.


Chicken Salad
Write a review
  1. 3 baked chicken breasts, shredded
  2. 1 stalk celery, diced
  3. 1 small red onion, minced
  4. 1/2 c dry cranberries
  5. mayonnaise
  1. Combine chicken, celery, onion, and cranberries.
  2. Stir in enough mayonnaise to create the desired consistency.
  3. Serve with crackers or apple slices, or as a sandwich.
  1. Makes 4 cups.
Tag Sis, You're It!


I was out of red onion, so I had to work with a more potent variety.

Chicken Salad

Time to put a batch of Honey Oat Bread in the Bread Machine!




Red Velvet Doughnuts

Dear Sis,

This weekend the boys and I made Red Velvet Doughnuts!

Red Velvet Doughnuts

Red Velvet Doughnuts
Yields 12
Write a review
  1. 2/3 c granulated sugar
  2. 1/3 c unsalted butter, soft
  3. 1/2 c buttermilk
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 t vanilla extract
  6. 1 t white vinegar
  7. 1 c unbleached cake flour
  8. 1/4 c unbleached flour
  9. 3 T cocoa powder
  10. 1 t baking powder
  11. 1/4 t salt
  12. 1/4 t baking soda
  13. 1/4 t red food paste
  1. 1/4 c powdered sugar
  2. 3 T cream cheese, soft
  3. 1/2 t vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two doughnut pans.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and vinegar.
  3. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into creamed mixture. Fold in color until well incorporated.
  4. Spoon into prepared pans. Bake 10 - 15 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing.
  1. Beat all ingredients together. Thin with milk if desired. Drizzle over doughnuts.
Tag Sis, You're It!
Red Velvet