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Adventures of Mrs Pen

Musings from a Very Lucky Penny

My Country Life, Week 10

Here’s what we have to report for this week:

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1. My tomato plant has FOUR buds now!!! I’m going to make salsa and spaghetti sauce and tomatoes and ketchup and all the things with my homegrown tomatoes!

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2. I found this picture this week. It’s of my hubs as a child.

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3. He hasn’t changed much over the last 25 years.

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4. My baby went to his first Ugly Sweater Party last night! He won the most festive sweater award.

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5. His Uncle Davey won the ugliest sweater award. Uncle Davey is wearing a sweater from his everyday sweater collection. What can I say, we have a talent for ugly sweaters in our family.

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6. Here’s another awkward family photo.

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7. Here’s another awkward family photo taken this week. Our kid is so lucky.

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8. In other Christmas news, we have a special room in our house for Santa’s Workshop. Except instead of cute little elfs, my hubs works in it. And instead of making toys, he makes rifles. Otherwise it’s almost identical to the North Pole.

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9. In more other Christmas news, this is what we’re leaving out for Santa on Christmas eve this year. Hostess will always be alive in our home.

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10. In more other Christmas news, my baby just wrote his letter to Santa. Yes I am THAT mom. Well to be honest, he dictated it to me and I wrote it. But the chew marks on the corner are straight from him.

So that’s what we have for you this week. Happy Hanukah to those of you celebrating this week!

Love,
MrsPen, my baby and my big ol’ Elf

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The Give Away Results!

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Ok so our little giveaway game closed last night, and I would like to thank every single person who took the time to comment. This has been so very very fun.

I know you all are waiting for the results in eager anticipation. I’m sure the question everyone is dying to get answer to is “Well what is the best Christmas movie????” I know thats what you’re dying to know. To answer this question, I took the data you ladies contributed and created spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets. Some would call me nerdy, but I call myself Peniel. Here are the results:

The Top 5 most Popular Christmas Movies:
1. White Christmas
2. Love Actually
3. Elf
4. A Christmas Story
5. Christmas Shoes
6. The Grinch
7. It’s a Wonderful Life

(The last six are tied for 2nd place, that’s why there are more than 5)

I know you guys would prefer to see a pie chart about this. I know that about you guys.

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With 16% of the votes, the most popular Christmas movie is White Christmas. And much to my own embarrassment, I’ve never seen that movie. I’ll be fixing that problem tonight though. Don’t worry about me.

Now for the giveaway results!! About these mystery gift cards. This is what they are for:

1. Starbucks
2. Forever 21
3. Starbucks
4. Cold Stone Creamery
5. Bath and Body Works
6. Starbucks
7. Cold Stone Creamery

I’m realizing my counting to 5 skillz are rusty. By the way, one of the Starbucks cards only has .36 on it, but I’m not sure which.

To figure who the winner is, I assigned each entry a number, and then let Random.Org choose a number.

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Ol’ Randy chose number 10. Number 10 is assigned to…..

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Emily!!! Emily said:

I love ALL Christmas movies, although I’ve never seen White Christmas so it seems like that’s something I need to do

Thank you Emily for making me feel better about my lack of watching White Christmas skillz. I’ll arrange to send you your bounty shortly!

Also, I would like to recognize Kara for her creativity in contributing that Cinnamon Rolls are her favorite movie. Good one Kara. And my mom, because her favorite Christmas movie is pictures of me. You crazy gals! Oh and my baby would like to recognize his cousin Chico who donated that freakin cute Santa costume to him. He’s going to be wearing that every day for the rest of them month.

Thanks so much for participating!! We’ll have to do this again soon! I’ll let you know what I find next time I clean my house.

My Country Life, Week 9

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1. It’s Christmas! I just love Christmas and I just love going overboard on things! Its the 2nd of December and my baby has already met Santa twice and had 3 Christmas photo shoots!

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2. Santa came early this year! We’ve had more Twinkies in the last two weeks than I’ve had my whole life.

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3. As I previously mentioned, our mail is delivered to a row of random mailboxes nailed in no particular order near the paved road a few miles from us. Well we were having trouble receiving mail due to the previous owner’s name painted across the side of our mailbox.

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4. Well now our row of mailboxes isn’t gonna know what hit it.

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5. Plus it matches the fabric I just got for my baby’s Christmas pajammies!

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6. My baby took his first stab at driving the truck this week. His feet were just a tiny bit too short. Also, he’s not embarrassed by his socks.

7. Unfortunately I recently learned that if you get a speeding ticket for going 22 miles over the limit in our town, it is very expensive. But the good news is, a violation against our Town Code does not count on your record.

8. When I was paying the traffic ticket, my dad was paying his traffic ticket. At least I get it honestly.

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9. Due to our lack of television, we like to watch TV shows on DVD sometimes. That’s how I realized my baby makes a convincing Sheldon Cooper.

10. The biggest and most important news from this week is as follows:

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My tomato plant has a tiny little yellow flower! It’s a Christmas miracle! It’s going to grow up to be 100 tomatoes. I know it.

11. In conclusion, I hope the rest of y’all are having an awesome holiday season, overflowing with John Deeres and Twinkies and Blooming Tomato plants too!

Love,
MrsPen

WAHOOO! This is a give-away!

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It’s Christmastime! It’s Hanukkahtime! It’s Kwanzaatime! Wahoo! Happy Christma-Hanu-Kwanzaa to all! To kick off our holiday season, I am holding my very first giveaway!

The inspiration behind this is that I was recently was cleaning my house and came across a folder with several gift cards in it. Some of them have been used once or twice, some not at all. Many of them I’ve had for years but always forgot to use when I was at the establishment they were intended for. Sooooo to spread the Christmas cheer, I would like to give a lucky someone an envelope with 5 mystery gift cards. Here are some details-

1. I’m not telling you what they are for, but I will say one or maybe two can be redeemed for ice cream. And one of them rhymes with Charbucks.

2. None of the gift cards can be redeemed for carrots. Or sardines.

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3. I personally do not know the value of the gift cards but I do know they’re somewhere between .25 and $25 each. Unless I throw in my Blockbuster card, which holds a value of approx -$3.00.

4. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment telling us what your favorite Christmas movie is. If you don’t have a favorite Christmas movie, just say something like, “Bah-hum-bug!” Or “I like cherry pie!” Or something like that.
NOTE- you DO NOT have to sign into WordPress to leave a comment, just leave the login fields blank.

5. My favorite Christmas movie this year is Elf. My baby has an Elf costume. And he loves to smile. Smiling is his favorite!

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6. Here’s another cute picture of my little elf.

7. This giveaway closes next Thursday, Dec 6 at midnight. I hope every single person who reads this participates.

Alright that is all and good luck to all!

Love,
MrsPen

PS- These awesome pictures of my baby were provided by my very good friends at Two Mothers McGill. Thanks Teri and Ashleigh for the great pictures!

My Country Life, Week 8

Holy Macaroni I cannot believe its been nearly 2 months since we moved out here. Here are the highlights of last week…

1. We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in town and then came back to the country to celebrate with my hub’s family and then went back into town for a bonfire at my parent’s. I put approximately one battrillion miles on the truck that day.

2. Someone who shall remain nameless learned an important lesson this week about making sure there’s gas in the truck so you don’t run out of gas when you’re on a dirt road nice and far from anything that resembles a gas station, for the second week in a row. And that person shall remain nameless because it’s me.

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3. This is my baby and his Abuelo having a good ‘ol fashioned Thanksgiving staring contest.

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4. IT’S CHRISTMASTIME! CHRISTMAS IS MY FAVORITE.

5. I totally copied that picture from my friend Andi. I swear, I wish it wouldn’t be weird for me to put a picture of her daughter in a Santa hat. It’s so adorable it’s dangerous.

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6. My baby had a good chat with Santa. He knows he’s on the Nice list. He’s smug about it.

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7. All my baby wants for Christmas is a horsey. Or a ceiling fan. Or something crinkly, like news paper.

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8. I’m not sure I’m ready for the upkeep of a horse, but if I accidentally leave the gate open and a cow wonders in and decides to become my baby’s Christmas present, then so be it.

9. All I want for Christmas is for my tomato plant to bloom. Hint hint Mother Nature.

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10. Happy Christmas from our family to yours!

Love,
MrsPen

To the Man of My Dreams…

If you know my husband, you know this is the last thing he would want broadcasted for the world to see. But he’s just so awesome I can’t resist.

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13 is an unlucky number.

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Apparently 18 is an unlucky number too.

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Nov 22- I don’t know where to begin. You’re my hero, my love, my handyman, my best friend, my roommate, my suga daddy, my mechanic, and my fairy tale. Marrying you was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love you so much and I can’t wait to share a hundred more Thanksgivings with you.

My Country Life , Week 7

I just don’t know where to begin this week..

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1. Yesterday I came home to find 4 cows pacing back and forth on the road leading to our house. Were they staging a protest? Practicing the dramatization of their “How did the cow cross the road?” jokes? I’m not really sure.

2. We got a dishwasher this week! My friend Meredith pointed out we’re not exactly roughing it anymore. I feel no guilt. I feel no guilt.

3. A few weeks ago I mentioned I took a back road and nearly killed myself (read about it here). Well now that’s my favorite shortcut into town. Thank God for Ford pickup trucks.

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4. This sign indicates that you are on a dirt road. It is approximately 2 miles from any paved roads, in every direction. I appreciate the head’s up.

5. With a heavy heart I must tell you one of our neighborhood cows went to be with the Lord this week. That’s how I learned that if a cow is laying on the side of the road, they put one of those neon stickers on their hiney, like they do for abandoned vehicles.

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6. These gals had a little less pep in their step that day. Betsy, you’re always in our hearts and memories. Gone but not forgotten.

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7. In more sad news, I’m sure everyone knows about the loss of one of America’s most beloved snack companies. In other words, I don’t have any room on my freezer at the moment.

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8. My baby experienced his first and probably last Hostess Cupcake this week. Well at least he got a good taste of the wrapper.

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9. He got a taste of a lot of things this week. He also said his first words. It sounded like “GUH-BUH-THhBt” but I’m pretty sure that means “I love you mama.”

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10. As I already mentioned, we had a couple of our great friends over for a Pre-thanksgiving practice feast this week. It was the highlight of my week. I’m not kidding y’all, each and every one of you is invited over to the ranch for dinner! Just shout me a hollar.

11. Most importantly, I hope every single one of you has a safe and freakin awesome Thanksgiving and you stuff your face and you get so full you can’t look at a turkey for a whole year without feeling full again. That’s what I’ll be doing on Thursday.

In loving memory of Betsy, Twinkies, and our Thanksgiving turkey.

Love,
Mizzpenpen

More Thxgiving Stuff – Killa Sweet Potato Casserole

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Sweet Potatoes are consumed at our dinner table almost every night. That is because they are the only vegetable my hubs will consent to eat. If you put something green on his plate, no sir, he will not eat it. So every night we have roasted sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, mashed sweet potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, or sweet potato hash browns (raise your hand if you’re hearing this in Bubba’s voice from Forrest Gump)… Anyways, my favorite of all our sweet potato escapades is sweet potato casserole. I got the recipe from my friend Bethany’s mom years ago and I know he won’t admit this, but I think it’s what made my husband fall in love with me. Its the perfect balance if sweet and buttery and crunchy (Yes that does sound healthy). I made it for our Pre-thxgiving practice feast a few days ago, and I am making it for both Thanksgiving dinners we’re attending this year. And if you ever have surgery or something and need me to make you dinner, I’m probably going to make you this. Wow I’m really starting to sound like a grandma, with her prize casserole. At any rate, this is how my prize casserole is made:

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First, I get my sweet potatoes. I usually use about three medium size taters, but these ones were galactic size so I only used two. If they’re tiny, I use 4.

Then, I soften them up. This time I did this by boiling them for about 40 mins and then letting them cool to peel them. Sometimes I just poke a bunch of holes in them with a fork and then pop em in the microwave for 15 minutes, and then peel them once they’re cool. If I’m in a hurry, I peel them first and then boil them for about 30 min, then I don’t have to cool em down afterwards.

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The skin pretty much falls off if you boil them first.

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Then I put the sweet potaters in my mixer and blend them up real good like.

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Then I add the following ingredients: 2 eggs, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and a healthy amount of pumpkin pie spice and mix it up gooder.

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Then I spread my whole mix into a pan.

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I sprinkle brown sugar (about a quarter cup) and walnuts all over, then I sprinkle another 1/4 cup of melted margarine all over it.

Next I put the whole shebang in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until the brown sugar is bubbly and it’s done!

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So that’s one of the dishes we will be serving on turkey day. Monday I’m planning to talk about two more important dishes that help us eat too much on T-day.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving day dish? More importantly, what is your favorite kind of pie??

I’m so excited for Thanksgiving I could die!
Love,
MrsPen

Turkey Roasting for the First Timer

This year I have so much to be thankful for. I’m so thankful for my husband, our baby, our friends, our church, our town, our police officer who just apologized for giving me a speeding ticket and said my baby was cute, and most of all I’m thankful for my husband again. I swear I love that man so much. Anyways, since we both have awesome families that really live it up on Thanksgiving and therefore get two feasts on T-day, I realized the only way I’ll ever learn how to cook a turkey is if I do it on a day that ain’t Thanksgiving. And that is how our First Annual Pre-Thx-Giving Practice Feast came to be.

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Last night, a handful of our favorite people braved our cow-infested dirt roads to come eat and draw on our table with crayons and spread the Thanksgiving cheer with us.

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We drank tea from mason jars. My hubs tried to give our fine mason jar collection away as party favors. I don’t know why he doesn’t like them.

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The men-folk discussed rifle-building in the Man-Cave. I went behind enemy lines to get this picture.

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Mostly we ate ourselves silly. I had so much fun that I weigh at least 5 lbs more today. And I have no regrets.

Annnyways, here is an account of my first turkey-makin experience.

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To start out, I thawed my frozen bird out in a 5 gallon bucket of cold water the night before. You must be VERY careful thawing a turkey out because bacteria monsters thrive at room temperature so if the outside thaws out before the inside does, you will end up with a very unhappy turkey.

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Next, I watched a hundred thousand of YouTube videos to learn about turkey roasting science. My favorite is Hilah Cooking’s video. I love Hilah; she taught me how to fry a chicken, how to sear a steak, how to grill a pork chop, and best of all she bears the uncanny resemblance to Pheobe from Friends. So this recipe closely resembles Hilah/Pheobe’s, with a few adjustments based on the ingredients I had on hand.

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I put together the seasoning for inside the bird- red onions, parsley, salt, garlic, and butter. Hilah added apples, which I would have been delighted to do if the grocery store weren’t so dang far away.

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Then I put together the basting sauce- chicken broth, garlic, paprika, butter, and orange juice. This odd combo of ingredients made for a sweet, tangy, juicy turkey. I used this scary looking contraption to inject the turkey with the juice, since basting really only flavors the skin. Notice, the turkey is not in sight yet. That is because once I started messing with that bad boy I didn’t touch anything else to take pictures. I prepped all this first, then prepared the operating table.

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Once I got the turkey out, I took every precaution I could think of to prevent contamination. I didn’t want any sick people, man!

This is the part where me and the turkey got friendly. To make a long story short, his name was Melvin, but you can call him SpaceRocketMan for short. This part includes zero pictures because I wasn’t touching anything besides the bird. This is what we did:

1. I rinsed and dried SpaceRocketMan off.
2. I sprinkled him with salt and pepper
3. I rubbed the cavity with half the parsley/garlic/onion mix
4. I put the rest of that mix in a bowl of more butter, and rubbed it all up under his skin. Mmmm this part was disgusting.
5. I used the syringe looking thing to inject my basting sauce all throughout SpaceRocketMan, especially in the thickest spots.
6. I put him in my roaster and poured the rest of the basting sauce all over him.
7. Right before he went in the oven, I loosely filled him with stuffing. It’s important to stuff the bird immediately before putting it in the oven to prevent contamination. Also, the stuffing was awesome! The recipe is to be shared tomorrow.
8. I stuck the thermometer in the thickest part and then put him in the oven at 375 degrees.

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After one hour, I opened the oven and basted the turkey, and then put it back in. I continued doing this every 30 minutes for a total of 3 hours. Every time I took it out, I rotated it when I put it back in, to help it cook evenly. I knew it was done when the thermometer read 180 degrees.

When it was done, I pulled it out, covered it with tin foil, and let it “rest” for 30 minutes. And then it was ready!

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And then we ate the heck out of that bird!

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These two beautiful ladies washed all my dishes afterwards. They are welcome in my house any day, day or night.

And that was all there was to it! I would LOVE to know any hints you might have for turkey making. Thanks for reading this whole long thing and you are cordially invited to the ranch for dinner!

Love,
MrsPen

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