Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Last of the Thanksgiving Leftovers!

We finally used up the last bit of turkey tonight. Stan made enchilladas! He mixed the last of the turkey with sour cream, cheese and cilantro to make turkey enchilladas in green sauce, and then he made cheese enchilladas in red sauce. What a way to say goodbye to our Thanksgiving turkey!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Son, the Artist

I've published a new Christmas story, and Kevin did the cover for it! I'm so proud of him and his talents. I like the cover a lot. It's charming and whimsical, and I hope it won't be the last one he does for me. Here it is:

Here's a brief synopsis of the story:
Eight-year-old Alexander Billingsworth is having a very bad year. His best friend’s brother told him there was no Santa Claus. Now he sees the holiday as one big lie. That is, until his Grandpa gives him a very special gift that will answer his questions once and for all.

Grandpa's Gift sells for $.99 and is only available right now on Amazon and on Smashwords but will soon be available on Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo and other online e-book retailers.

I hope you take the time to check it out!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We've Been Christmastized!

We finally completed our indoor decorating! We had a blast. Christmas music, popcorn and boxes and boxes of decorations I've been collecting since I was in my twenties.

Our wreath will greet you when you come to our door!

The inside of our door has a big Santa stocking and jingle bells on the knob.

One of our mangers.
This one is special to me, because it was left on our doorstep a piece at a time.
The doorbell would ring, and we'd go out and find one of the pieces
along with a poem or scripture reference to it.
We never did find out who gave it to us, which also makes it more special.

We have a big selection of snowmen.
Kevin calls it the Snowman Forest!
There's also our rabbit who changes what he holds according to the season.
He's holding a wreath now.

Our other manger, given to us by our Secret Santa, when we were in Willow Glen Ward
in San Jose, California.
The boys were very little, and it was nice because it was wooden and they could play with it.

One of our Santas.
Yes, we have a collection of those as well!
This is supposed to be a tree topper.

I don't know what this is called. Stan's Aunt Barbara gave us this our first Christmas.
You put candles in at the bottom and it makes the paddles turn.

The Christmas sampler my sister Cheryl made
the Christmas after Kevin was born.

The newest addition to our Christmas collection!
I love this cute pillow made by my friends Liz and Claire.

So now you know how we spent our Sunday afternoon. Our house is ready for the holiday now. We still need to get the outside lights and decorations up as well.  Then I just need to wrap some presents and get them under the tree and get some cookies baked. Can't wait to get started!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Christmas Star

We put up our Christmas tree today. One of the most precious things to go on our tree is our Christmas Star. I love it dearly because my boys made it. They each decorated one side of the star. AJ was 7 and Kevin was 5 when they made it, and the memory of those little boys creating this lovely tree topper lies warm in my heart.

Here is AJ's side of the star!
He was 7 when he designed this!

Kevin was only 5 when he decorated this side of the star!
This star is the most beautiful Christmas Star in the world!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Tree Day!

Since Stan and I have been married, the Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day we get our tree. When we lived in California, we would drive into the Santa Cruz mountains and go to a Christmas tree farm where we would cut our own. We've tried, unsuccessfully, to recreate this experience here in Colorado, and now we just treat ourselves to breakfast and get a tree at the store.

Stan is working a 12 hour shift this Saturday, so we moved Christmas Tree Day to today. We went to Einstein's for bagels and hot chocolate, and as a special bonus, Captain Cool accompanied us!

We Make the Big Time!

One of the local TV stations yesterday asked for pictures of your Thanksgiving feast before you ate it, and I sent in the photo of our table laid out just before we ate. And we made it onto the 10 o'clock news! I don't know why that excited me so much. I guess we really are "easily amused!"

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy and Thankful!

Thanksgiving 2011 has been a wonderful one for the Mullis family! We have so much to be grateful for, and our hearts are full. Family, friends, good schools, jobs and a great home. We also enjoyed one of the best turkey dinners we've ever had--and one we all had a hand in preparing.

I made homemade dinner rolls for the first time ever! And they're weren't too bad either!

I decided to spruce things up this year and we used our good china and silver. The boys helped me get it out and wash everything. The table looked so pretty!

Kevin made the green bean casserole and the gravy, Stan made the layered jello salad, AJ and I made the croutons for the stuffing and then the stuffing too. I mashed the potatoes and AJ stuffed and prepped the turkey. It was a family effort!

We had a great time talking about all the things we're grateful for and how we're looking forward to the rest of the holidays and the upcoming new year. I love my family soooo much and cannot begin to say how much they mean to me. It was a lovely day. Now to get ready for Christmas!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We all have special traditions we trot out for the holidays. And, like most families in the United States, our traditions come from our ancestors who immigrated to this country long before us. My background is Irish, Danish, Norwegian and English, and my traditions are a motley collection from all of these cultures. One of my favorite is the Norwegian Lefse, from which we make Lefse Busse.

I know, what is that? Lefse is a Norwegian "flatbread" made from potatoes. My nephews always called it Norwegian tortillas, and it does resemble that. Last Christmas when we were in California my mother (whose father was Norwegian) taught the boys how to make it. To make a lefse busse you put something in the lefse, roll it up and eat it. We always had this at Christmastime and we would butter the lefse, sprinkle it with brown sugar and roll it up and scarf it down. AJ also likes to fill one with meat (preferable Christmas turkey) and eat it like that.

The boys are having an international dining experience in their Japanese class tonight and their teacher asked them each to bring a food from their cultural background to share with the other students, and the boys have spent the afternoon make lefse. This is a recipe that has been handed down through a couple of generations. It's simple, and fun.

First you start with potatoes. Okay, maybe not this big!
You need 5 large potatoes ....

Peel the potatoes and rinse them clean ....

Boil them until they are tender enough to mash.
Actually, you are supposed to use a potato ricer for lefse,
but since we don't have one we did what we could!

We mashed them up!
For 5 large potatoes, we used:
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon of salt
3 Tablespoon of butter
You need to mash them very finely! This is one recipe you want absolutely NO lumps!

Then, you let them cool. When the potatoes are cooled off,
you add flour.
Use 1/2 cup of flour for every cup of potatoes, and mix until you have a soft dough

Flour a board and roll out your dough.
Just like pie dough!
After it's rolled out, you cook it on a griddle.
We used a cast iron griddle ....

Spray the griddle lightly with cooking spray.
Cook until light brown spots appear.
Place between cloths to keep it from getting dry.

Looks so good!
And if you've done it right, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labors!

Now, that's some good eatin'!!!

Mexican Street Tacos

Kevin asked for Mexican Street Tacos for his birthday dinner yesterday. I've never made them before and searched all over for a recipe I thought I could handle. I found one that was so easy it's crazy. And, oh mama! were they good! If you like these type of tacos, you must try this.

When Stan was grilling up the tortillas he used a trick he saw them use in a taqueria in California--he dipped the tortillas in water before putting them on the griddle, which he also sprayed with cooking spray. Definitely use two tortillas per serving as they are very soft since they aren't fried, and do split.

And here's a picture of Kevin with a couple of his birthday gifts, a new blanket (one of those fleece ones) for his bed, and an Angry Bird. He also received some new reeds for his saxaphone and a new winter jacket which he was given early since it's gotten colder, and a new black dress shirt. He's a happenin' guy!


1 lb boneless skinless chicken (can be frozen)
1 cup msg free chicken broth
3 teaspoons taco seasoning (no Msg preferred)
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
1/2 cup cilantro (not minced) [I just tied the stems with twine and used that, then had the tops for the tacos]

2 cups minced and cleaned fresh cilantro
1 cup minced onions
1 cup pico de gallo
30 round corn tortillas or 30 white corn tortillas, 3-4-inch
2 limes, cut into slices

The Meat: Take all of the top ingredients and put in a crock pot for 1 hour on high, turn on low for 4 hours. Remove Cilantro and Tear up chicken with two forks.

Heat the tortillas in light oil using cast iron skillet. Use two tortilla stacked and put a small circle of meat in the middle. Top with Cilantro, onions, pico de gallo. Squeeze of Lime. Serve immediately while hot.

Can add some salsa choices to taste. May also add queso fresco if you choose.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


When Kevin was a little boy, one of his favorite things was to ride on Daddy's shoulders. For some reason, he called this "bonkers." We never knew where this term came from or what it meant to him. Maybe it meant that he liked to bonk his dad on the head while he was up there. At any rate, Stan found a card to give him for his birthday that had a picture of a dad giving his little boy "bonkers." He wrote this poem to put inside, and I think it's just ....


"Pick me up,"
I heard you say
"Please, Daddy, please,
Now ... right away!"
Up you would go
Up oh so high
On Daddy's shoulders
You could touch the sky

Flying high above the ground
Taking another look around
Perched up there what did you see?
Were you looking down at me?
Did you play among the clouds
Sitting there above the crowds?

Who knew life could bring such joy
When a father was bonkers for his little boy!

Stanley Mullis

Kevin Is 20!!!

Okay, say it with me .... no more teenagers in the house! It's strange to think of it. We've had at least one teenager around for the past nine years, so this is a new phase for us.

Kevin turns 20 today, and I'm excited for him, but also feeling a little melancholy about my babies growing up. I have such incredibly sweet memories of my youngest, who had a personality all his own from the moment he was born. Probably before that!

He used to call carrots "docs" because Bugs Bunny ate them and said "What's up doc?" We eventually nicknamed him "Bugs" because of it. That's still his nickname!

He used to bring along a little stuffed dog named "Shotty" (he couldn't say Shorty) with him wherever he went. And he would introduce Shotty to people and play with him when I went to work at the library, or to church, the bank, grocery shopping ... you name it! Very cute.

He's very artistic, and started drawing when he was small like most boys. He loved to create art work, and my sister, a former art teacher, said his talent was beyond his years and encouraged us to support him. We bought him sets of crayons, then colored pencils and paints and so many pads of paper over the years! Took art classes as he got older and has received awards for his work.

When AJ started kindergarten, he was so jealous! So we signed him up for a toddlers cooking class and sparked another creative interest of his. He's grown from children's cookbooks to adult cookbooks and now creates his own recipes. We've all benefited from and enjoyed his creativity in this area, let me tell you!

But one of the things that defines Kevin the most is his deep love of and stalwart defense of his family. To Kevin, family is everything. He has a strong faith and is often the one reminding us of family prayer and not to give up when things seem difficult. "It'll be alright!" he says, "It always is." And he's right.

I always wanted to be a mother. After my very difficult delivery with AJ my doctor didn't want me to have any more children. I knew there was one more and I was going to have him. I am SO grateful I did! What would it be like if Kevin were not here? I can't even go there. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that He helped me and we have this precious spirit in our family. We wouldn't truly be a family without him.