Thursday, January 31, 2008
This year, I'm going to give a simple, little gift to Tony each night of February leading up to Valentine's Day. Nothing big, just a little reminder that after almost 12 years and 3 children, I'm still crazy about him. I'm going to make a little tag for each gift with the message and leave them out on his nightstand. Please feel free to use these ideas or substitute ideas that are more appropriate for your husband. These, of course, are tailored a bit to Tony's taste. And the big gift on February 14th? That one is all up to you!!
February 1: You're the "write" one for me. (bunch of his favorite pens)
February 2: I'm lucky to have you. (box of Lucky Charms cereal)
February 3: You light up my life. (a lit candle)
February 4: I have the hots for you. (Red Hot candies)
February 5: You are my dreamboat. (toy boat)
February 6: We were "mint" to be together. (box of Junior Mints)
February 7: I'm nuts about you. (little bag of nuts)
February 8: Our love was written in the stars. (star shaped sugar cookies)
February 9: I'm so lucky you're my sweetheart. (SweeTarts)
February 10: You're the man of my dreams. (a new flannel pillowcase)
February 11: You complete me. (total "The Office" joke...last piece of a puzzle)
February 12: You're a Cracker Jack husband and father. (Cracker Jacks)
February 13: You're the icing on my cake. (favorite cake)
February 14: Happy Valentine's Day!
SO GLAD January is almost over...
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I trudged my way out into the backyard last night in the sub-zero weather to get my kids' empty plastic turtle sandbox (but an empty plastic swimming pool would work even better). Then I gave it a quick wipe-down and let the ice thaw out of the bottom enough to pick it up in a 36 inch ice circle and throw it into the back yard. Seriously. Then I cleaned the bottom and let it dry. While it was drying, I shredded all the papers in our shred basket and VOILA! The kids found it first thing this morning and have had so much fun already.
(**The lady who submitted the idea in Family Fun mentioned that she chooses to change colors of paper to coordinate with seasons or holidays. For example, green for Easter with plastic eggs hidden in the "grass", black and orange for Halloween, etc.)
For more excellent ideas, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Also, Martha Stewart came out this past week with a half-sized Good Things for Kids filled to the brim with adorable kids' crafts...most made from things we have around the house already. It is worth a thumb-through.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Saturday, January 26, 2008
I'll post pictures of mine when I've completed it.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Italian Sausage & Penne
3/4 lb. hot uncooked Italian sausage links, cut into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce
6 oz. cooked penne pasta
Stir all ingredients together except pasta in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. At serving time, stir in cooked pasta. Makes 4 servings.
I took the liberty of adding some grated Parmesan cheese to the top and served it with rolls.
And in other *exciting* news, Sam is now officially a Word Wizard! This means that he has memorized all 100 of the 1st grade Fry Sight Words and passed an oral test given by the principal of his elementary school. Even though he has been very good at his sight reading words since before Christmas, he only wanted to be tested when he felt ready. We're so proud of him!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Cut a 4 1/2 inch diameter circle from a piece of felt.Cut a piece of matching ribbon just short of 4 1/2 inches. Using wire cutters, cut a piece of floral wire slightly shorter than the length of ribbon. Use tacky glue to attach floral wire across the center of a felt circle. Glue the piece of ribbon to cover the wire. Allow to dry completely.
When dry, fold the circle in half along wire, with the ribbon folded inside. Then bend the wire in half and bring the sides together fold to fold and forming a fortune cookie shape. Carefully pull back one side of the felt cookie and place a fortune inside with a few candies (I used candy kisses) . Fold the flap back over the fortune and treats.
For more great ideas to help keep your family from going crazy this winter, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Yes, the Halloween picture are from 2006. So I'm a little behind...
Monday, January 21, 2008
This site has a really cute Montgomery Public Transportation bus for the kids to color. I am using this free pattern...I like the kids' faces for my children to color, cut out and glue in the bus windows while we teach about Dr. King's life and legacy.
I'm also going to use this poem by Jamie McKenzie tonight.
And a couple of pictures for your wee ones to color can be found here and here.
Here is a text with exerpts from MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech with key words missing. I thought for older children, it would be fun to listen to the speech online and have them try and fill in the words. Or you can even play online if you're gutsy.
What a legacy to teach our children. Be sure to share any other great resources you find out there!
Friday, January 18, 2008
We'll be open to scheduling more double dates shortly if anybody else gets desperate and wants to go into labor. Our services will not be cheap.
Good luck tonight, Aaron and Holly!
Chocolate-Raspberry Cookie Trifle
1 cup milk
1 pkg. white chocolate instant pudding
1 16 oz. container cool whip
1 12 oz. box of Nilla wafers (broken in half)
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 12 oz. jar seedless raspberry jam
1 12 oz. bag frozen raspberries (not in syrup)
For filling, combine milk and pudding mix;whisk until it starts to thicken. Reserve 1/2 cup cool whip and gently fold the remaining cool whip into the pudding mixture. Cover and refrigerate. For ganache, combine chocolate chips, 1/2 cup cool whip and half of the jam and microwave for 40-60 seconds, or until melted. Stir until smooth. Place remaining jam in bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until melted. gently stir in thawed raspberries. Set aside 16 whole cookies for garnish.
To assemble trifle, place 1/3 of the cookies into bottom of the trifle bowl. layer 1/3 of raspberry mixture over cookies. Top with 1/3 of the pudding mixture and 1/3 of ganache. Repeat layers two more times, finishing with a smooth layer of ganache. Place the reserved whole cookies into top of trifle.
Happy Birthday, Megs!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
We get to play with Ashley today...we just love Ashley!
But the best part of the deal was at the very last minute, I got to keep baby Rebecca, too.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Tools and Materials
Mini-cake tins (we used a mini-muffin tin and some antique chocolate molds)
1. Parents can use the knife to chop crayons into pea-size pieces, taking care to keep colors separate so kids can combine them as they like.
2. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees while children fill the tin with crayon pieces, arranging them in interesting designs.(our stove only goes down to 170 degrees and that worked fine...just watch them closely!)
3. Bake just until the waxes have melted, 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Remove the shapes after they have cooled. If they stick, place tray in the freezer for an hour, and the crayons will pop out.
This is how ours turned out. Next time, I think we'll make them a bit thicker. We had so much fun with these, I'd get a couple boxes of crayons at the $1 store even after we've used up all our old and broken crayons and do more!
For more great winter ideas, crafts and recipes, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!
Monday, January 14, 2008
I can only guess that they started a new science section in Sam's 1st grade class today because as soon as Sam jumped in the car after school this afternoon he said,
Sam: "Mom, guess what you're made of."
Me: (not wanting to influence AT ALL the schooling I was about to get) "I don't know, Sam. What am I made of?"
Me: "Wow, Sam, that's right. I am made of matter."
Sam: "Yep. Anna is, too."
Anna must have found this profoundly offensive because she instantly shrieks,
Anna: "No, I'm NOT!"
Me: "Actually, Anna, your brother is right. We are all made of matter."
Anna: "Not me."
Me: "Then what are you made of?"
I'm so glad I asked.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Now on to the giveaway!
Having a husband in the Air Force makes me sort of a sap for military quotes...especially from historical figures. So I was delighted when I found a really cute sampler (see original here) in the latest The Country House catalog. I loved the quote and the idea, but didn't love the way it was done enough to actually buy it. So I made up my own. I was so happy with the way it turned out that I made one for me and one to giveaway! Leave a comment before I post my 101st post (which could be anytime so act soon) and you're entered! Thanks for making my world a little more interesting and a lot more FUN!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I love old antique boxes, but couldn't figure out an effective way to use my old coke box...until I came across these spice jars at World Market. They are only $1 and hold buttons, charms, metal accents...anything small. I just added a label to the top so I know what's in each one.
I got these two chests of pull-out basket drawers at Hobby Lobby on clearance and they are HUGE inside. All my supplies are put away with similar supplies, and then I labeled each basket at the handle so I know what is it each one without digging. I reorganize constantly, so I sometimes forget what is where.
I requisitioned the top of our book shelves in the basement to hold my current magazines and reference books, binders, and my priceless idea book of gathered ideas and sketches. I only keep my magazines for one year, and then sort through them and file away the good stuff in my idea book. That way, I don't get overwhelmed. The kids love to cut up the magazines when I am done with them.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Sam: Mom? Do you promise to take Anna to the doctor tomorrow while I am at school?
Me: Why does Anna need to go to the doctor?
Sam: Because she is sick and needs to go to the hospital.
Me: Sam, Anna isn't sick...she's just pretending.
Sam: No, Mom, she REALLY is sick, and she needs to see the doctor!
Me: Hold on, Sam, why does she NEED to see the doctor (starting to worry).
Sam: So she can get her toy back.
Me: (really starting to worry) What toy, Sam?
Sam: Her Barbie horse food.
Anna got a Barbie horse for Christmas that you feed these tiny pieces of plastic clover to and then they magically reappear out a chute on the horses' saddle so you can feed the horse again. They are tiny and have no sharp edges, thank goodness.
Me: Sam! Did Anna swallow the horse's food?
Sam: Yes...and now she needs an x-ray and the doctor will give her a shot to make her sleep and then when she wakes up, the doctor will give her the horse's food back in a a jar.
This is all starting to sound familiar. That's right. It's the plot right out of Curious George Goes to the Hospital, where Curious George swallows a puzzle piece and gets "sick" so the Man in the Yellow Hat takes him to the see the doctor and they remove the puzzle piece from his tummy. So I ran upstairs to talk to Anna, where I finally convinced her that the food was really tiny and that it won't really make her sick like Curious George and that she won't have to go and see the doctor.
She was so relieved, until I told her the horse food eventually would come out of her tummy (and how) and that we weren't going to play with it again:-) You can't make up a story like that, my friends.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
I saved all of my family's jeans in a special corner of my craft area, and when I had about 20 assorted pairs, I cut them all into 6 1/2" squares with my rotary cutter. Then, I also cut 6 1/2" squares of a soft, blue flannel. I then put wrong sides together and stitched with jean-colored thread from corner to corner, creating an "x" on each square. Then, place flannel side to flannel side and stitch together 1/4" from edge. When you have completed the body of the quilt, stitch 1/4" all around the outside of the quilt. Then clip all the thicknesses of seams and wash and dry to fray the edges. No finishing, no binding...the perfect quilting project! I loved putting the labels and even entire pockets from my kids' jeans into the quilt. Tony LOVES it.
And for all you hot cocoa lovers, a favorite!
White Chocolate Cocoa Mix
1 tsp. vanilla powder
1 tsp. dried orange zest
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
Mix ingredients together well and store in an airtight container or canning jar. To make, heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a saucepan, then blend in 1/4 cup cocoa mix until the chocolate chips melt. It's worth the effort! Makes 2 servings. You CAN substitute French Vanilla Coffee Mate powdered creamer for the vanilla powder, but it is worth a trip to a specialty cooking store to find the vanilla powder.
For more great ideas, check out Scribbit's Winter Bazaar!
Monday, January 7, 2008
Apple Pulled Pork BBQ
5 lb. pork roast
5 cloves garlic
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cup spicy BBQ sauce of your choice
1 1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
10-12 rolls, split
Place roast in crock pot (you can cut it in several pieces if necessary). Top with whole garlic cloves and chopped onion; add water to cover roast. Cover and cook for 10-14 hours on low, or overnight. When pork is tender and easily shredded, drain and discard cooking liquid. Break apart roast in crock pot and shred, removing any bones; mash and blend in garlic. Combine BBQ sauce and applesauce; toss with pulled pork to coat evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until warmed through. Serve spooned onto rolls. Makes 10-12 sandwiches.
I love to cook and bake...except with yeast. I SUCK at yeast. I just could never seem to figure it out! But my friend Brenda shared a recipe with me where you don't have to proof the yeast...amazing! Even I have yet to screw it up! Plus, the pulled pork tastes so much better on homemade rolls. Thank you, Brenda, for making me look good!
3 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/3 cup powdered milk
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
Mix above ingredients together. Add two cups HOT tap water (as hot as you can get it from the tap). Once it is mixed well (just with a spoon), add two eggs and 1/3 cup oil and continue to stir with a spoon. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Add another 3 1/2 cups flour. Mix in and knead until you have a nice dough consistency. Let rise. Divide in half. Roll into 2 large circles and brush with melted butter. Cut into 16 pieces-like a pizza. Roll from outside in to make a crescent shape. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Brush melted butter on top after baking.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
We love you Sam! Here's to another fun-filled year of laughter and love!
Saturday, January 5, 2008
Rags inside the fireplace. (Tony actually had to take the thing apart to get him in and out of there. Now that's dedication...)
Rags in Tony's stocking.
Rags stuffed inside a quart canning jar. And he is, for the record, A DOG.
Osama bin Rags ready to end it all.
Thanks for the fun visit, Megan. We'll be happy to pay for Rags' therapy.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
...listened to SIX hours of talk radio (gotta love the Iowa Caucus. Oh.My.Gosh. I really am a nerd!) and changed SIX diapers.
...washed, folded, and put away FIVE loads of laundry, and spent FIVE dollars at Target. (I actually didn't know it was possible to only spend $5 at Target until today.)
...packed up FOUR bins of Christmas decorations, and made FOUR visiting teaching gifts.
...watched Josh enjoy the THREE new teeth he has gotten in since Sunday, and bathed THREE of the world's cutest kids.
...made TWO dozen birthday cupcakes for my animal fanatic Sam's class tomorrow and mailed TWO packages.
...cleaned up ONE broken snow-globe (the price of having Anna help me pack up Christmas:-) and am taking ONE quiet moment to relax!
Hope you had a fabulous day!
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Next on the "to-do" list today...a new monthly menu for my family. Anything to delay having to take Christmas down...