Another Busy (Blessed) Day in the Life of CraftyDad

Ready for the Season

With all the rain we’ve had during the past several weeks, I’ve had no need to use the sprinklers. So…I had no need to test the sprinklers.  Until tonight.

I just got finished and ALL the sprinkler heads are working!  That is a-mazing.  There’s always one or two that get busted up from the snowplow or a snow shovel that went over the driveway and into the yard.  But this year:  SUCCESS.  Everything is working just fine.

Busy Day

Let’s see.  What else did I do today?

Oh yeah, I worked from 8-5, stopped at the garden and watered the plants that we set out over the weekend.  My green beans have popped through the soil (excited about that).  Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, watermelon and zucchini all looked good.

The deer has not been through our spots lately.  Hopefully all the five-foot tomato stakes will scare him (her/them) off.

After the stop at the garden I got home and had a quick dinner.  Chicken stir-fry (thanks Honey, it was wonderful!).  Then…I made a dozen triple-berry muffins and a dozen chocolate chip muffins.

I’m taking some of each to work tomorrow to share with my team.  They turned out REALLY nice.  You should try the recipe.  It’s fantastic!

It’s 9:06 PM and time to get the kids settled down for bed.

Tomorrow is another busy day.  Plus a band concert in the evening.

So Thankful

It’s great to be alive.  And busy.  The alternative?  Not so good.

 

Mixed-Berry Muffins: You Gotta Try These!

 

Part of my money-saving tactics (see upcoming post on budgeting) is eating at home and making things (like muffins) from scratch.  Muffins at the grocery store bakery are 99 cents apiece.  So…a dozen muffins would be (you got it!) $12.00.  That’s crazy!

I can make them for much less.  My favorite muffin recipe is one I found a few years back in the cookbook,  Once Upon a Tart…: Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More.  Page 274 is the Apple-Cranberry Muffins recipe.  I substitute frozen mixed berries for the apples and cranberries (although the original recipe is excellent too).  They are fantastic — especially served warm with butter.  Here are the details:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium-size tart apple* (such as Granny Smith) cored (not peeled) and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries**

Instructions:

  1. Position oven rack so that it’s in the center.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Smear twelve muffin tin cups with butter OR insert muffin cup liners.  I prefer the liners.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In a separate, large bowl, whisk the eggs to break up the yolks.  Still whisking with one hand, pour in the sugar with the other.  Continue whisking for a few minutes, until the eggs begin to pale in color.  Use the whisk to stir in the oil and vanilla.
  4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, stirring gently with a wooden spoon until there’s just a little flour visible.  Add the apple and cranberries OR mixed berries and stir gently until there is not a trace of flour left.
  5. Scoop the batter up with a wooden or metal spoon (I use a medium-size melon ball scoop) and into the muffin tin cups, filling each almost to the top.  Divide the batter evenly between twelve cups.
  6. Place the muffin pan on the center rack in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a small knife or toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  7. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and place on a wire rack.  Let the muffins rest for a few minutes in the tin, until they’re cool enough to touch.  To remove the muffins, flip the tin upside down and let the muffins fall out onto the wire rack to cool completely.  Or, better yet, serve warm.

 

These are SO good. Your should make a batch…soon!

 

*I substitute 1 cup frozen mixed-berries for the apple

**I omit the cranberries

Prom Night: Such a Handsome Dude!

This is Nate.  My sixteen year-old son.

 

WHOOSH!

Time has a way of flying by.  You already knew that.  But…if you have little kids…please be extra aware that in the blink of an eye they’ll be going to school.  Learning how to drive.  And going to the prom.

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Flowers and Friends

This is just a sampling of the flowers we bought last weekend.  Wow…there are Impatiens, Marigolds, Begonias and a few other selections.  My wife was busy on Sunday getting all the pots cleaned up and planted for the summer season.

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