Thursday, January 31, 2013

Wagon Wheel Hotdish

Fast, easy and the kids always eat it.
Dump together a can of baked beans, a can of green beans and put hot dogs in a wheel shape on the top.  Bake until hot.  Not enough time to bake it;  just mix the cans of beans together and heat it on the stove, cook the hot dogs and arrange them on top.  

Bad Dog, No Biscuit

In her defense, it was -25 with the wind chill this morning, I wouldn't have wanted to go out either.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Dancer and I took a couple of days and made a whole slew of slipper socks. 
We sewed them much like an assembly line.  First, we cut them all out and then sewed one seam on all of them before moving on to the next seam.  One of us would pin and one would sew and then we would switch.  We got a lot of chatting in too! 
We made 12 pairs for babies, which is great way to use up otherwise unusable pieces of fleece because of their tiny size.  By trying to use every scrap I had, many of them got fun little soles on them like the pair in the front.  I am not sure why I kept all those little pieces but I guess it was for just this project.  We also made 12 pair for kiddos with preschool sized feet.  What did we make all these for?  We sent them to Mexico to missionaries who can use them to open doors to share the good news of Jesus or for anyone in their own church family with cold toes.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Notice Nikki on the couch while the cats have taken over her spot on the back cushions - those cats are thugs!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rolled Up Pizza

No, they don't taste as good as they look. They taste better!
Roll out pizza dough into a rectangle.  Put all the fixings on just as you would for pizza and roll it up like cinnamon rolls, slice and bake in the oven at 430 degrees.  Take them out when the crust is done, 18 minutes give or take.  These freeze well, put a container of pizza sauce with them for dipping.

Friday, January 25, 2013

♬ ♫ ♪ Reunited ♪ ♫ ♬

Fluffles went to the vet this week to have the big snip, his hormones were raging so bad he was finding the dog attractive.  We also wanted to get him in before he started to spray the furniture to mark his territory, a sure fire way to finding himself outside in the cold.  The vet thinks that Fluffles is about seven months, more than old enough to be neutered, and Skips only about about five months, still too young to be put under with anesthesia.  Fluffles behavior made it obvious that he couldn't wait for Skips so that they could go together. 
While I know that it wasn't fun for Fluffles, it was also a miserable time for Skips.  The first morning and afternoon Fluffles was gone Skips roamed the house, this is his usual nap time so we don't normally see him during these hours.  Finally, Dancer couldn't take his sulking any more and played with him with a string and crinkly paper until he was worn out and went off to nap. 
During the evening he seemed like he had accepted that Fluffles wasn't around but, then it was time to go to bed.  The cats sleep together in a kennel because the thought of cats walking around the counters and table at night just grosses me out.  Dancer put Skips in the kennel and he started to cry and cry and cry and cry.  At some point he did settle down but, goodness, it was a lonely night for him. 
The next day we went to get Fluffles and took the kennel to transport him home in.  When we got home we set the kennel down in it's usual spot, opened the door and out walked Fluffles!  Skips jumped in the kennel and started looking around like we magically made Fluffles appear and he was going to figure out how we did it. 
Fluffles has been home for over a day now and they are still very clingy with each other.  Up until Fluffles surgery they napped in separate places but now they snuggle together.  It is so cute and made me think of the song Reunited by Peaches and Herb. 
Reunited and it feels so good 
Reunited 'cause we understood
There's one perfect fit 
And, sugar, this one is it
We both are so excited
'Cause we're reunited, hey, hey

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sweet Potato Pancakes

When I placed my vegetable order last week I may have over estimated what 10 pounds of sweet potatoes was going to look like.  For the record, it is a big bag that looks daunting on the counter if you are the only one in your family that really loves the tuber. 

To try and convince the kids that sweet potatoes really are yummy, and to at least attempt to make a dent in that huge bag, I added some into the pancake batter.

Spark sat down with his plate, took one bite and said, "You need to share these with the world!!"  He took a picture of his plate for a visual, they taste much more exciting than they look.  As an affirmation that they are really, really good, the kids keep asking, "When are you going to make those pancakes again?" 

Here is the recipe I put together but, after I made the pancakes I thought, 'there isn't really anything new under the sun so I bet there are sweet potato pancake recipes out there'.  Sure enough there are, so if you like specific amounts when you cook, a quick google search will give you a wealth of recipes for these pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

1 baked sweet potato - size really doesn't matter but it was probably around a cup of potato
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup milk - less if you like thick pancakes
1 T. sugar
2 T. vegetable oil
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Mash the sweet potato.  Add in egg and beat well.  Stir in rest of ingredients and fry on griddle.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Misplaced Fish House

There is a fish house in the basement, which I hope is only going to be temporary.

And yes, that is a cat lounging on the roof of it. 

Spark has taken a fancy to sitting in it and now the cat.  I think I am going to have to work hard to get it out the door in a reasonable amount of time.  By the way, what is a reasonable amount of time for something like this?

Were You Trying To Read?

Friday, January 18, 2013

"It's Been a Good Week"

Said Dancer, "I had my birthday, won a prize in the library winter reading program and passed my drivers test."  Yep, I think that qualifies as a good week.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

She's Sweet 16


Saw Grandma and Grandpa

She chose supper at the food court at the mall.

Dessert at Coldstone.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

O Tannenbaum Burning Party

Our January 4-H meeting and winter party were combined into one event.  Nice big bonfire because it was 3 degrees out (windchill -11).

The soup line.  All the food froze, except the soup and hot dogs which were on the camp stove, including the hot dog buns.

Sledding in the woods.  I worried Spark would hit a tree so I just closed my eyes and waited to hear the all clear that he was safe at the bottom.

Mr. Snowman Football toss.


That little rope snapped but they had a bigger back up rope.

Celebrating the great year our club had in 2012.


Burning the tree

Snowmobile rides to and from the party site.  Everyone stayed almost four hours so we know it was fun if they hung out that long in the cold.  Thankfully we had the fire to toast ourselves like rotisserie chickens.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


We went to the local homeschool production of OKLAHOMA! to see one of Dancer's good friends perform.  There were only a few kids we didn't know in the play and the orchestra made it really fun to watch.  There is a lot of talent in our homeschool community!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Waiting Game

I may be a professional waiter.  Not restaurant kind, the kind you become when you are a mom.  Why doesn't anyone ever tell you about that part of parenthood?  All you hear about is the sitting up all night with them as cute, little babies.  The hours I spent doing that was a drop in the bucket compared to the hours I have spent watching and/or waiting at dance rehearsals, basketball games, soccer, church functions, Frisbee, co-op classes, 4-H events, appointments (this is a fraction of the list) and today, Dancer's last behind the wheel session. 
I have gotten good at this part of parenting.  Actually it is easy now, doing it with a toddler was a test of my sanity.  I should give credit to Spark too, he has put in hours of waiting being a younger brother which has now made him a very patient kid.  When he was a toddler, Dancer danced at a facility with a pro shop that was open to the waiting area.  I swear I put that pro shop back together every single week because a toddler can take down a rack of shoes and leotards faster than Black Friday shoppers.  I think the place counted on me every week to straighten all their merchandise.
Over the years I have knitted and crocheted a few afghans, read, walked miles and miles (although you would never tell it by my back side), window shopped, geocached, had crazy conversations with other moms (like the one where the mom explained to me that they don't really kill chickens for chicken nuggets, they just cut a piece out of their thigh or breast and sew them back up when she thought it was barbaric that we clean and eat our own chickens).  On the flip side, I have made some wonderful friends while waiting.  If it can be done while sitting on a hard bench, or in a car, I have probably done it. 

Today we perused the aisles of Walmart. I often wonder if they think we are shop lifters since we can spend a couple hours in there and not hardly spend a dime. You can usually find Spark in the video game section.  If he isn't looking at the games he is at the demo game they usually have set up to play.

McDonald's is also our friend (that could explain my back side).  Spark played Yu-Gi-Oh and
we take advantage of the Wi-Fi.  The Kindle is definitely the waiting mothers friend.

I was happy to have Spark with today because since he has gotten old enough to stay home alone he doesn't like to come with as much.  I keeping thinking about how soon it will only be him to wait for and then I will always be by myself.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Peanut Brittle

I use to think I didn't like peanut brittle until Dad started making it.  Once I had the real deal there has been no turning back. 

Here is the recipe.

Grease a large cookie sheet and set aside.  Find your candy thermometer.

1 cup white sugar

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Water Pressure Experiment

Water pressure - the stuff that makes your head hurt if you dive down too deep in the lake. 

To show how water pressure effects the flow of water we took a milk carton and with a nail punched three vertical holes in the side of it.  Then we filled it to the top, set it on the side of the sink to see how the water would flow out of the three holes.   The top hole was unimpressive.  The second and third holes had the same distance in the water spray but the middle hole had a weaker flow shown by the fact that it was the same as the bottom hole.  If they had been the same the middle hole would have gone further because it was higher than the bottom hole. 

The farther up the carton you go, the less weight is pressing down so the lower the water pressure.

The same works with air pressure.  The air that closest to the earth has the highest pressure.  Go up in the mountains and the air gets much thinner because it has less weight pressing on it making the air pressure lower.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Homeschoolers Take Over The Rink

Proof that our kids live in an electronic world:  As I was taking these, the batteries in the camera died.  After voicing my disappointment, Dancer reaches into her pocket and says, "Here, use my extra set."  Just standard, 'don't leave home without it' equipment for kids in 2013.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Felting and Crocheting

So that it doesn't seem like all we did over Christmas break was eat cheese balls and play Farkle we will post a few things we made.

Spark got this Alpaca felting kit as a Christmas gift from Grandma Pat.  To felt the wool onto the base piece you need a thick foam block and a needle with barbs on the sides.  Then you stab it up and down over and over and over until it is as flat or as fluffy as you like.  Spark really got into this and seemed to maybe over enjoy himself with the stabbing.  Secretly, I was hoping that he didn't like it because I would have loved to make it and had a hard time keeping my hands to myself as he was working on it. 

This turned out so cute but the picture doesn't show it well.  He will put this in the fair as a 4-H project this next summer.  Yeah - one fair project down, several more to go.
Dancer wanted to make a cover for her Ipod.  It became quickly apparent that the one on the left was going to be way too big for her iPod but the perfect size for her DS.  I finished that one for her so she could get started on a smaller one for her iPod. 
The pattern for the DS case was simple. Chain 18, sc in 2nd ch from the hook and in each of the next 15 stitches, 3 sc in the 16th stitch, sc in the back of the loops for 15 stitches on the foundation chain, 3 sc in the next stitch.  From there you just keep sc around and around until it is the height you want.  I put a little loop on the top (as you are on the last round, chain the length of loop you want, skip 2 stitches and keep going).  Sew on a button to fasten. We dc to make but any stitch could be used.  
iPod case.  Chain 14, follow directions same as above but instead of 3 sc in each end only do 2 so that it is thinner.  This fit tight enough that it didn't need a loop and button.  After looking at cases on Pinterest Dancer fancied a case with a face on it.  Dancer named her case Betty. 
The bow was made by chain 5, sc 4 from the second ch from the hook, turn and decrease to 3 sc, turn and decrease 2 sc, turn sc 2, then increase back up 3, 4, and 4, bind off.
The eyes were 14 dc in a magic loop in black.  Crochet two bobbles for the inside of the eyes and thread through the middle of the eye. That is it, just hand sew the pieces onto the case and add a mouth and few eyelashes.   
I received the Leisure Arts book Kitchen Basics in Cotton for Christmas and I stitched up a couple of the dishcloths.  The one on the left is the Moss Rose pattern and the one on the right is Irish Rose.  These would have been a lot prettier out of four different colors but I used what cotton thread I had on hand.  Need to at least attempt to use up some of our yarn stash. 

A Break In Tradition

"The times they are a changin."  Yes, these lyrics by Bob Dylan could be appropriate for the world of government this morning but, when they were running through my head on an endless loop, I was thinking of my family, especially the kids.

Every New Year's Eve, since Dancer was about three, we have camped in the living room all night, watched movies after stuffing ourselves with crab legs and ooh and aahed at the ball dropping at midnight.  This year the times have changed.

It started out that we went to the store to get the crab.  The price per pound was much to rich for our blood so we offered to the kids the alternative of stopping to eat on the way home.  Dancer jumped at the chance because she isn't a fan of crab anyway.  So our big New Year's meal was Taco Johns.  It was expensive but not as expensive as the crab legs would have been. 

Dad worked this year and the kids didn't want to stay home just the three of us.  There was a party at church where they knew friends were waiting and they wanted to go.  We made a batch of Chex Mix, grabbed a bag of M&M's and were off to play games and break our tradition a little more. 

I thought we would stay until about 9:00 or so and be home in time to watch Robin Hood, a New Year's must see, and the ball drop.  Nope, we were there having a good time until after midnight.

The car thermometer on the way home read -20.  It was so cold the garage door opener refused to open the garage door - can you blame it?  Spark offered to work on it but, I said it wasn't going to get any warmer in the garage, we will just park outside.  We still needed to bring some warm water out to all the animals in the barn, -20 is too cold for them to go with out water since the chores were done about 4:00 and I was sure the buckets had frozen probably by 6:00.  We filled up the jugs, redid the rabbit bottles, each of us said what were going to do when we got out there so we wouldn't waste time discussing it in the barn and dashed out the door.  Less than five minutes later we were back in the house with frozen eye balls and minimal frost bite. 

Spark had set the DVR to record the ball dropping so we watched it an hour late and then snuggled in to watch Robin Hood.  Spark fell asleep about 10 minutes into the movie, so technically he did camp in the living room, and Dancer I made it about 45 minutes until we couldn't keep our eyes open anymore and crawled off to bed. 

I have to admit I did enjoy this "new" New Year's celebration but it didn't really feel like we spent it together.  

Also hindering my not wanting our traditions to change is that I am not a fan of New Year's.  While others see it as a chance to make changes, I view it as my old year, which contained so much blood, sweat and tears, being ripped out from under me and having to start all over with one tick of the clock. 

"As the present now, will later be past." - so without further ado, let's get this new year started!!!