Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


Friend Making Monday: Survey!

I love questions, which is what today's Friend Making Monday is all about! Here's some more info about me:
1. Favorite website
Hmmm...I check the news, my e-mail, Facebook and catch up on my favorite blogs. 2. Favorite color
I finally met someone who has the same dilemma that I do - I do not and never have had a favorite color. I like certain colors at certain times or for certain things for specific reasons. I'm more a color-texture-pattern-color combination person. 3. Facebook? {Post a link or share your name if you want some new Facebook friends!}
I am trying to keep my Facebook friends list filled with people I know personally, especially since some of my friends are teens... I've had some crazy posts come through from friends of friends that I didn't know, & it is hard to know how much info/photos pass through to your other contacts. 4. Favorite Christmas song? The Christmas Song, isn't that the actual name of the song? "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."
5. Christmas tree: Real or fake? I'd like to experience a real one some day, but ours is not only fake, it's WHITE!
6. Hottest celebrity? My husband is so ok with this (though he thinks it's kind of funny), but I think Dr. Oz is HOT!!! He's number one on my celebrity list.
7. Favorite restaurant? We don't go out to eat much, preferring the food we make at home, but I like the occasional Mexican restaurant or even Panera for a hearty soup & sandwich.
8. Favorite magazine? I like home & design magazines, Martha Stewart's Living, Better Home & Gardens, Ballard Designs catalog
9. Favorite thing to drink around the holidays? I like to have a glass or two of eggnog, but Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte is my favorite treat.
10. Favorite Christmas movie
Home Alone is my absolute favorite Christmas time movie for some strange reason. I think it's because of the house, the snow...I don't know!
Enough about me - what are your answers to these questions?


Friend Making Monday: Thanksgiving Edition

It's the Thanksgiving Edition of Friend Making Monday over at Amber's...
1. Turkey or Ham?
Turkey, maybe some meatballs too per hubby's request, but no ham 2. Favorite side dish
Sweet Potatoes and Stuffing 3. Favorite dessert
Something, anything PUMPKIN 4. Black Friday: Are you going or not?
I think so 5. If so, what's on the top of your list?
Not going for anything in particular, just for the fun and to look around. I like not having any pressure to get an item but the benefit from the specials if I'm there for them. 6. Going out of town or staying close to home?
After several years of trips taking more than double the normal time due to traffic, we are staying home and are soooooo glad about it! 7. Hosting or helping?
This year it's a small gathering, my mother-in-law is our only guest. We like to vary the holidays - last year we travelled on both holidays, so we're low-key this year. 8. Name one family tradition at Thanksgiving
We express what we are thankful for, pray together and thank God directly for His goodness to us. With our young children, we're still in the process of creating traditions - seeing which ones work for us, end up being meaningful. 9. What do you do after dinner?
Relax, hang out, chat, s-l-e-e-p!!! 10. What are you most thankful for this year?
For God's provision throughout the year - He's been so good to us through some challenging times


Butternut Squash Soup

19_33_39---New-Forest-Autumn-Colour_web The focus of today’s Friend Making Monday is sharing a favorite recipe for this time of year.  The browns-oranges-reds-yellows outside plus the crisp weather makes me want to snuggle up to a bowl of soup.  A dear friend from South Africa introduced me to this soup, and when I went searching for a recipe to make it at home I came across this one on the Web:

PAUL'S FAMOUS BUTTERNUT SOUP (serves 6 as a starter)

1 fresh butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups of chicken stock (I use chicken broth) 
Half a cup cream
1 tsp curry powder
A squirt of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and black pepper

1. Toss the chopped onion and garlic in a pot and sauté, don't burn or caramelise. They must be translucent but still white.
2. Add the peeled butternut and chicken stock and bring to the boil.
3. When the butternut is soft, mash (as in MASH, don't liquidise or pulverise!)
4. Add the other ingredients and stir.
5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6. And eat.

Beware of adding to much salt. It's the cream that makes all the difference.

Last week I was too lazy to look for couldn’t find the the recipe, so I boiled the cubed squash in the broth, mashed it, forgot about the cream and added some apple juice, with some curry powder and a dash of salt.  My family loved it!  (My South African friend’s recipe called for apples, and apple juice or applesauce works great.)  This is an easy way for me to get the kids to eat squash and gain the benefits of beta-carotene and the many nutrients it contains.  Enjoy! 



November 6, 19991999-11999-21999-41999-51999-6Our first year…  1999-020aB0003974 Expecting our first baby!2000-22001-4 Two years later, expecting baby #2!2002-002 2003-2Five years as a happy foursome…  2004-12005-5… then a wonderful surprise!!!   2008-1 2009-1 And today, celebrating ten years of marriage2009-18   2009-17 2009-16 and three amazing gifts from God.2009-15 We are truly blessed. 2009-14

Friend Making Mondays: Favorite Scents

Today’s question for Friend Making Mondays is “What are your favorite candles/scents?”pearA dear friend gave me a delicious Autumn Pear candle last weekend, and it is making our home smell deeeee-vine.      p_candlesBut my absolute favorite scent for candles is Pumpkin Spice.  I burn my Pumpkin candles all year long without apology.   Fallscape1 Overall, I just love, love, love the colors and scents of Autumn.  What about you?  What are your favorite candles/scents??? 


CRAZY Fun!!!

In the weeks leading up to Halloween, I started searching online for fun & free activities to do with the family…and I came across a Scavenger Hunt around the harbor in our downtown area. The rules were simple: you needed a team of at least four people, a digital camera and cell phone with texting capabilities. And it said that kids were welcome too – perfect!!! Costumes were highly recommended, though not necessary. Rain postponed the Scavenger Hunt for a week, and it took place on Tuesday, after Halloween. Which may explain why we were the only team that showed up in costume. Our team name was “The Baxter Buccaneers,” and even our sleeping toddler was in full pirate gear, vest, mustache and all. Around 5 p.m., we were all given a bag that held a notebook (with instructions, a map of the harbor area, and a task sheet), pen, toilet paper, sidewalk chalk, and our first clue which had something to do with Edgar Allen Poe, Annabel Lee, and food by the sea. We headed towards the Harbor Food Court building, while I perused the paper filled with various tasks and trivia that would earn extra points. We realized that we wouldn’t be the fastest team, with a stroller and toddler, so our strategy was to make up for that by doing as many of the tasks as we could. One of the tasks was to draw a 3’ x 3’ Halloween picture with sidewalk chalk. Done!Another one was to get your face painted by Little Red Riding Hood. Seeing our costumes and guessing that there was a link, a group of people passing by mentioned seeing her and pointed the way. Faces painted – check!After finding the maiden with the next clue in the Food Court, we headed to the opposite side of the Harbor, across a street, to the top of Federal Hill, a steep ascent with two sets of stairs. Mr. Nice Guy pulled out his inner Hercules and carted the stroller and toddler up and down the stairs. At the top was a lady dressed up as a cat, and our clue instructed us to howl at the moon. Along the way, we tackled another task which involved taking pictures with a total of 20 strangers. We grabbed people along our path and asked them to pose with us. To get the next clue, we had to find a “Killer Banana” which had us stumped until one of the kids mentioned seeing someone dressed as a banana. Off to find him! Our proudest moment was when we convinced a man to let us wrap him in toilet paper, a task worth 100 points! What a great sport! Other clues had us searching for… our ancestor’s flag (we located a store selling flags and to be on the safe side grabbed flags from Japan, Trinidad, and Great Britain), a ringing telephone, the title of a book in Barnes and Noble by unscrambling letters, and finally a pirate ship. We received a phone call that we had 5 minutes to locate the ship and to check in. Mr. Nice Guy remembered that one of the ships docked at the harbor looked like a pirate ship. R-u-n!!! We checked in with the pirate at exactly 7 p.m., the deadline for the hunt! There was one team ahead of us throughout the race (all adults BTW), and they were already there at the finish line. We had reminded the kids throughout the race that we were going to give it our best, have a lot of fun, and work together as a family – winning wasn’t our primary focus. The Announcement: The prize for best costume went to the three kids – hurray! After adding up all of the points, we came in first place by less than 100 points – the costumes (worth 100 points) paid off!!! We each got a certificate, gift cards for Panera, and tons of candy! It was unbelievable!!! And the best part was doing it as a family, laughing and working together, experiencing this adventure together.


Friend Making Monday: Halloween Candy

What a relief to know that I'm not the only parent that digs through their children's candy stash to indulge in chocolate fantasies... We rarely buy candy and do provide healthy snacks most of the time. And that is how I rationalize my after-the-kids-have-gone-to-bed snack attack. M&Ms. They beckon me with their crispy chocolate goodness. So tiny and colorful. So easy to hide in your mouth when someone comes unexpectedly around the corner.
We went to one small Trunk or Treat party at a church last Sunday, so our goody jar has only a few pitiful reject candies left. The kind that even when your sweet tooth is screaming you pass over. How about you? Do you still have any of the good stuff hanging around? If you want to get rid of the temptation, I know of an empty glass jar that'd gladly take them off your hands... I DID NOT just write that!!! Anyway, I'm linking to Friend Makin' Mondays - check it out and go make some new friends!