Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Mugs - Black and White




Check out more Monday Mugs at Oswald Cuties.
My post is now

Friday, November 26, 2010

Homemade Granola

I love looking at recipes on a well-organized blog. Nice pictures, good directions, you can hardly wait to stop reading and start cooking.

I also wanted to share my recipe for granola, but every time I make granola the kitchen is usually in various stages of disarray. So this is real life in the Vik household folks, cluttered counters and all. But what else would you expect from a blog titled Messy Cars and Muddy Shoes?

     ( How many things can you spot that shouldn't be here?
     *Apple Butter canned two days before but not put away
     *Canning Equipment
     *Apple Peeler Box
     *Two cupboards left open by careless daughters
     *Step Stool, left out by the cupboard opener
     *Cream Cheese for cheesecake
     *Taco fixings for dinner

So ignore the perpetual clutter and look at the big stockpot, ancient orange Tupperware measuring cup, and beloved More With Less Cookbook. The recipe isn't officially in the cookbook, but I wrote it on the first page since that's my favorite cookbook. I don't like to look through lots of cookbooks to find a recipe.

The recipe is lower in fat than a lot of granola recipes and comes from good friend Carol Moyer whose kitchen is always spotlessly clean. Since she is too clean, organized, and sensible to have a blog, I'll share her recipe for her.

Mix Together:
8 1/2 c. oats (I used old-fashioned)
1 c. coconut
1 c. brown sugar - more if you like it sweeter
Optional: 1/2 c. slivered or sliced almonds ( I usually add 1 c.)
(opt.) 1 c. wheat germ
Cinnamon to taste

1 c. water
1/2 oil
1 t. vanilla
optional 2 t. maple flavoring

Add wet ingredients to dry. (True confessions. I don't like to dirty two pans so don't mix the wet ingredients separately. I just dump everything and mix well and it turns out okay. 

Bake at 300 degrees for approximately 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Here's the tricky part. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it takes less. It needs to be crunchy but it also firms  as it cools.  You know how some people cook by taste, well, I cook this granola by smell. It has a pleasant toasty smell when done. After you've made a few batches you'll get the hang of when it smells right.
Nutritious, delicious, inexpensive, easy to make, 
and makes a nice gift. 

Do you have any tips on granola making?
What are your favorite things to put in granola? 
Or ways to eat it?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We Gather Together

Made it safe and sound to my son's house for Thanksgiving. So far we've played volleyball and Catch Phrase, Farkle, watched a chick flick, eaten yummy food, wrestled, laughed, giggled, and argued. It's fun to be together and see Andrew and Rachel in their own home. Just waiting for Christina to arrive this afternoon and hoping the icky weather doesn't put a kink in those plans.

 I'm passing along a good recipe we got from Keith's sister, whom we affectionately refer to as, "Aunt Fun."

How To Be a Good Neighbor

1 tongues that does not slandder
2 ears closed to gossip
2 hands willing to help others
1 dash of sunny disposition
1 dash of cheerfulness
2 eyes that overlook other's faults
1 heart, generous and kind
1 mind, free of intolerance
1 dash of wit
1 dash of smiles

Blend all together. Form into one being and serve generous  portions daily to everyone you meet.

Thought this recipe would be welcome at any Thanksgiving Feast.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Mugs - Paper

I didn't mean for a whole week to pass in between posts but life happens and things fall through the cracks. Colds rotated through our house this week, and me being the queen of fairness, took my turn. We hope everyone gets it out of their systems so we can properly enjoy Thanksgiving. What good is a feast if you have a stuffy nose and can't taste your food?

I'm feeling the effects today of playing volleyball last night with people old enough to be my children or grandchildren. As I keep finding sore spots I wonder if there is a good reason there aren't any other people my age playing in our league. Thank goodness for knee pads and wishing there were other kinds of pads for other vulnerable body parts.

This weeks Monday Mugs Theme is PAPER. I was stymied until the kids suggested a few moldy oldies. From the Vik Family Archives, I present:

Christina the Magazine Queen
Christina, at age 14, LOVED magazines and was on constant alert for freebies. Free dentist office waiting room back issues. Scoop!  Free old magazines in the library foyer. Scoop! Grandma's discards. Scoop! Garage Sales finds. Scoop! I eyed the magazine piles in her room and wondered how much weight the floor could hold. Finally Keith said if she'd get rid of 100 magazines, he'd get her a current subscription to the magazine of her choice. She agreed and had fun choosing a magazine. Afraid she might dig the 100 magazines out of the garbage we burned them. But not before we took the above picture.

The Bookworms 
(Our oldest 6 holding their favorite books at the time)

The Bad Speller

In 2004, Andrew had done something stupid, the details of which have long been forgotten. What he did next remains firmly entrenched in Vik family history. He made this dunce cap and wrote "Brillent" on the front. The words don't show in this small picture, but we had many laughs at his attempt to spell "Brilliant."

A Hobbit Warrior
 Amy (age 7) made this paper costume after watching the first Lord of the Rings movie.

The Busy Beavers
 I taught a Rubberstamping class for my daughter's Girls Club

The Cute Cardmakers
Erica and her buddy showing off their hard work.

To view other Monday Mugs hop over to the blog Oswald Cuties.  Heather's blog comes by its name honestly. Either she has very cute kids, or she takes really cute pictures of her kids, but one way or the other her pictures are always nice and fun to look at.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday Mugs - Umbrellas

When I heard this week's theme was umbrellas, pictures immediately came to mind.

Christina at age 3 in Portland, OR because 
as everyone knows, it rains all the time there.
Christina - age 5
Standard JC Penney umbrella pose

Fast forward 20 years
Christina - age 25
Sightseeing on a rainy day in Sevilla, Spain

Fellow umbrella-covered sightseers

Erica took this family favorite five years ago when she was 13 years old. We'd spent an hour taking family pictures and the mud puddle called her name. She posed her sisters and got in a few shots before the rain started. Those aren't white spots on your computer screen. She was able to catch the raindrops. Erica won an open class purple ribbon for this picture at our small county fair when we lived in Northwest Iowa. We have it framed on our living room wall.  (The picture, not the ribbon)

When I think of umbrellas, I always think of Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh saying, "Tut-tut. Looks like rain."

Next week's them is PAPER. I'm drawing a blank. Any ideas?

 To see other umbrella pictures click over to Oswald Cuties

 Are you in need of a mindless Monday Blog post? Do you struggle with the weekend being over and can't muster the strength to type a single word? Well, Monday Mugs is for YOU!

Mondays are hard! 
Blogging on Mondays shouldn't be!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Feeling Blessed

Every year our family participates in Operation Christmas Child. Usually Keith or I buy supplies and the girls assemble the Shoeboxes.

I stood in a Wal-Mart check out tonight and watched four daughters buy their own supplies and realized we'd turned a corner. 14-year-old Amy used a birthday gift certificate to buy her gifts.I love seeing my children learn how to give.

We went to Wal-Mart with our youth leader and three friends from youth group. Then back to our house to laugh, shoot rubber bands, pack boxes, and eat Pumpkin Cheesecake.

We took a group picture that Keith and I zipped over to Walgreens to develop. Each box gets a group picture and a short note.

We wish we could see the recipients receive our gifts. Will they like what we chose? Are they like my kids and think underwear isn't a good gift. Will they see the love and goodwill packed in each box? Will they smile? For how long? Eat the candy all at once or dole it out?

Wishing there was more we could do, but hoping the fun of a Christmas shoebox will make a child happy and desire to know the One who made us want to give the gifts in the first place. 


The first gift these shoeboxes gave was to bless my heart. Now they are on their way to bless God only knows who.

  May God bless the givers and the gifts
and use them for great good.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monday Mugs - Best Friends

Our two youngest daughters, Amy and Lani, have been partners in crime from the get go. What one doesn't think of the other does. 

They don't think of each other as best friends but when you've been through thick and thin and taken baths together, what else would you call it?
 For years we've called them "The Cahoots"  
because they are often in cahoots.
 Best Buds
 Double Trouble
 They're wearing sleep masks given on airplanes
 Their birthdays are a week apart
To see other best friend pictures
click over to Oswald Cuties

 Are you in need of a mindless Monday Blog post? Do you struggle with the weekend being over and can't muster the strength to type a single word? Well, Monday Mugs is for YOU!

Mondays are hard! 
Blogging on Mondays shouldn't be!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

To Love and To Cherish

To have and to hold from this day forward

For better or for worse

For richer, for poorer
In sickness and in health
To love and to cherish
From this day forward
Until death do us part.

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.  ~Nora Ephron, ~