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Eating : Pumpkin Oatmeal

November 4, 2011 05:52 by ehouston

Or, Halloween pumpkin oatmeal as I introduced it this past weekend.  Many, many years ago a co-worker introduced me to the world of pumpkin oatmeal and I have been hooked ever since.  Her recipe was cooked on a stove and called for lot’s of spices, and steps.  Since I am a lazy cook, when I can be, I modified it a bit.  First, I like to cook my oatmeal in the microwave and since The Mister will not partake, I usually make the following amount, which feeds me and the Little Guy two meals.  You will have to adjust the amounts according to the size of your brood.

Pumpkin Oatmeal

2 cups Regular Old Fashioned Oats (not the quick stuff)

3.25 cups water

1/4 tsp salt

Ground Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Ginger to your taste

Or,  Pumpkin Pie Spice (a readymade mix of the above spices) to your taste

Raisins (optional)

Large can Pumpkin Puree

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Put all of this in a bowl and microwave on high for 3 minutes.  Stir and cook for 3 more minutes.  Usually this is enough time, but you know everyone’s appliances are a little different, so you may have to adjust the time.  Just cook it until the water is absorbed and the cereal has the texture you like.

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Next I added three large dollops, about one third of a large can, of pumpkin puree to the oatmeal and stirred.

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My Little Guy loves maple syrup almost more than I do, so I served it up with a swirl of the good stuff and enjoyed!

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Mmm…. the perfect cool morning meal!

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PS-Separate the leftover pumpkin puree into thirds, place them in a zipper bag and freeze for the next time you are in the mood for some punkin’ goodness.


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For The Love Of…Halloween!

November 2, 2011 06:05 by ehouston

I know I recapped October earlier this week, but since it was the 31st and technically still Halloween I opted to post about our holiday adventures at a later time.  We actually celebrated Halloween or at least prepared for the excitement, all month long and ended October with a weekend of activities.  A week or so before the big dress up day we started the costume.  I say “we” because despite my best effort I could not keep the Little Guy away from his costume.  As I mentioned before over here, he got hooked on the idea of Thomas The Tank Engine and could not be led in any other direction.  So, off to the internet we went to Google ideas and figure out our plan of attack!  Once I sort of knew how to approach the costume we went to work measuring, cutting and painting.  All the while he was stacking and un-stacking his trains on whatever I was in the middle of measuring, cutting and painting. 

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Also, I finally did give in to the pleas of, “mommy, help, paint, Liam!”, his way of saying, “Let me paint Mom!”  Everything is third person right now, which makes for some strange conversations.  After wrapping him in a smock and covering everything else in drop cloth I let him have at it with the primer.  Mistake number one!  I should have known better than to let him use paint meant to stick really well and not come off.  When we got around to washing up I was having to scrap the stuff off, which as you can imagine was not very pleasing to him.  I had to give up on getting every bit off and just made sure nothing was on his thumb-sucking digit.  All was well until it was time for color.  At least that time around we were using acrylics and they were much easier to remove from skin.  Oh yeah, I employed my favorite painting tip this time too!  I always coat my hands and arms up to my elbows with a nice thick layer of lotion.  That way the paint usually slides off pretty easily afterward.  He loved putting the color on “Thomas” and I think having a hand in creating his costume made it all the more special to him.  In fact, at one point during the process of adding the details I had to put it out of his reach because I kept finding him pushing it around the house saying, “choo-choo!”  Cute to say the least! 

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I will post some more details about how we put the costume together later this week.

This year we decided to hit up one of the local churches for their annual Trunk or Treat.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this concept the idea is to gather a bunch of fun-loving folks together, usually in a church parking lot and trick or treat within in a closed off area of the lot.  Everyone involved opens their truck or hatch and decorates the inside and around the rear of the car, just as one may decorate their front door or porch in a neighborhood.  Then they hand out candy to the kids as they come around.  This particular event also included a large bounce house and free hot dogs and chips. 

IMG_0425Scoping out the best candy.

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Here he is with his pal Jane, who was dressed as Elmo.  (Photo courtesy of Jane’s mom, Erin.)

It was nice to get out and see all the cute costumes and to know that my son was experiencing the Halloween holiday in a very low risk environment.  Plus, because it’s a smaller sized area to trick or treat in he has a reasonable amount of candy to beg for over the course of the next couple of weeks.  (I can’t imagine if we had gone open season in the ‘hood.  He would have easily bagged a month’s supply, at minimum!) 

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He seemed to have a great time gathering candy with one of his pals, and eating hotdogs and Cheetos (a new treat) definitely capped the afternoon off on a high note.

The next morning we had our final Halloween related activity, pumpkin carving!  Since the middle of September we have been bringing home gourds and little pumpkins from various places, but not until the visit to the big pumpkin patch did we score one large enough to slap a face on.  He loved the idea of cutting into this larger than life pumpkin and it wasn’t easy to keep him free of the sharp objects.  But, he sat calmly as I dug out the “pumpkin brains”, and as I drew a face. 

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He even kept his fingers out of the way most of the time as I chiseled Sir Pumpkin’s features.  Thank God for those carving kits with the tiny saws!  Although I did receive an injury when one broke and I cut my finger on the jagged end- lovely image, I know- I was able to pretty safely slice up the Jack-O-Lantern with little worry about my kid losing his little pigs. 

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And, he loved pulling the little bits out from the eyes, nose and mouth.  He kept saying, “Pumpkin Eye”, which is a book his Great Auntie B sent earlier in the month and very apropos for this event.  Later in the evening we lit that baby up and he had another good time poking it, looking through the face holes at the candle inside and of course rearranging the “Lil’ Baby Pumpkins” that sat along side big daddy. 

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Halloween put a nice cap on a fun-filled month.  Now I just hope we can keep some momentum going through the rest of the year.  I’m already using Santa as a disciplinary tactic.  So far it’s working great!  I just don’t know what I’m gonna do when January hits????  Does the Easter Bunny get enough respect to bring him into the mix?

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