Wednesday, December 30, 2009
A year without french fries
At first it was hard, I felt deprived watching other people eating french fries. It put me in a bad mood eating with french fry eaters. This is dumb I thought, this self imposed french fry ban. So I ate some. I felt horrible. It isn't a sin to eat french fries I know, but I felt horrible. It doesn't matter to anyone else, my family might even be happy I am back to eating fries, but I felt horrible. I had let myself down, it is bad enough if someone lets you down, but I had done it to myself. No fry has made it past my lips since.
As the year has gone on it has actually become easy to avoid the fries. Since I have a pretty heavy hand in where we go out to eat we don't go to fast food burger places very often. Burger places have a lot of other options for sides now at no extra cost so it isn't like I am deprived. I have noticed that Dad and the kids don't order fries very often anymore either. Monkey see, monkey do? Maybe. Hopefully. I would love to report that we don't even eat fast food but we do, we switched to tacos.
Now I have to decide, do I or don't I eat them this next year? I am thinking probably not.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
The appointment has been made
I am already getting nervous about this. The kids and I decided that Spark and Dad will take her to the vet and Dancer and I will go and get her the next day. I had to take a cat once that got hit by a car and have it put to sleep so I think it only fair that he takes the dog for her "procedure." Besides, I would cry.
Nikki is 2 1/2 years old and we have been saying since we got her as a little pup that we were going to get her spayed. We could just never bring ourselves to do it. She was a replacement dog for our last dog, Irene Beans, who got hit by a truck, so we are more than a little protective of her. Dogs in heat are not endearing though and she doesn't have any love interests, now or in her foreseeable future, so the time has come. Poor thing, she has no idea what she is in for.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Recycle magazines into paper straws for crafts
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Basket weaving 101
Next was to start weaving the thin, long strips in and out of the side she just made. This is were it started to get difficult. The first two rounds were really hard to get them going and keep it square and the slats straight up and down. After the third lap around the basket it got much easier. You can see how hard she had to concentrate with her tongue sticking out. Every few rows the basket needs to be 'footed' where you make the bottom square and flat and the sides are straight.
Candle lit dinner
"Good, now I don't have to use my manners because no one can see me eating."
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Scarf with pockets
As we walked through the mall we stopped at a gift shop that has all kinds brick-a-brac and oddities in it. They had these scarves with pockets for $16.00. You read that right - $16.00. Dancer wanted to get one to give to her dance big sister at the next performance. While it was super cute, I wasn't going to spend that kind of money on about a half a yard of fabric, especially since we have a basement full of polar fleece.
We came home and whipped up two of these in a matter of minutes. Dancer is keeping the one she is wearing and giving the one Spark is modeling to her big sister with a candy bar in each pocket.
Here is the dimensions we used for these:
Scarf length is 60" long and 10" inches wide
Pockets are 10" wide by 9" tall
I cut the scarf and pockets out with the rotary cutter to get smooth edges. Across the top of the pocket are stitched two rows of stretch stitch to give it a little strength. Dancer pinned them on the bottoms of each end of the scarves, being careful to pin them both on the same side of the fabric, 2 1/2 inches from the ends. It is stitched on with two rows of straight stitching and at the top of each side we put about a quarter of an inch of very, very close together zigzag so it doesn't rip out when hands are repeatedly in and out of the pockets. Once the pocket was on, Dancer embellished it by cutting some fringe on each end. This was her own idea, the expensive store scarf was plain on the bottoms.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The snow, snow, snow
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Second Christmas Celebration
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Rhythmic breathing will not defeat him!
The level he had this last session, guppy, gave him a challenge and that challenge was rhythmic breathing. He will have to take the class over until he can successfully master this skill. In the summer this wouldn't be such a big deal because we could go to the beach and practice. However, when you live in the land where all the lakes freeze so thick you can drive a truck on the ice, practicing isn't an option.
Enter Grandma and Grandpa here for Christmas who are staying a week at a hotel with a pool. This changes everything. Tonight we went into town so that Spark could get a little time in perfecting his rhythmic breathing skills. He did make great strides and it was easy to see improvement in just one night. Hopefully this extra practice will translate into him passing the class when he takes it again in January.
Monday, December 21, 2009
It's a big night
Spark has been besides himself with anticipation. He had the menu all planned, his favorite meal of spaghetti hotdish and ice cream for a night time snack. He also had lots of video games, board games and sledding on the agenda. So far so good, only one accident and our new slushy ice pack took care of that. They are going to each sleep on a couch downstairs so hopefully they will get a little sleep in and not stay up half the night.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Homemade Sports Icy Gel Packs
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Deck the Dog with new Duds
Friday, December 18, 2009
Let the baking begin!!
These are from the top KrumKake, below them to the left are Cran-Crazy cookies, to the right is Peanut Butter star cookies and the bottom is Honey Basil cookies.
We also whipped up a batch of Maple Date cookies. All these were new recipes to us this year and every one of them were keepers we will make again.
Maple Date Cookies
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped dates
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, vanilla, and maple extract. Blend well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in dates and walnuts. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 350 degrees for 9 to 12 minutes.
Honey Basil Cookies
1 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
Cream butter and sugar. Beat in egg, honey, basil, orange peel and vanilla. Mix in flour.
Shape into 1 inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Flatten with glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.
3/4 C butter, softened
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/3 C whole wheat flour - if you don't have it just use white
1 1/2 C walnuts
1 1/2 C dried cranberries
Cream butter and sugar. Add brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat well. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Mix in flour.
Drop by rounded teaspoon on two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 350 for 8 to 10 minutes.
Peanut Butter Star Cookies
1 C butter
1 C peanut butter
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 C flour
Mix well. Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 to 13 minutes. Remove from oven and top with a chocolate star, chocolate kisses work as well. Don't stack these until the chocolate is hardened which takes a while or the chocolate will stick to the cookie on top of it.
5 Tbsp. melted butter
2/3 C milk
2/3 C sugar
1 C flour
Melt the butter but do not over heat. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs and with mixer blend until the mixture is light yellow in color. Add milk and flour and mix until smooth. The batter should be thin and slowly flow off of a spoon. These have to be made on a KrumKake iron, either electric or one that goes on the stove top. We fill these with whipped cream for a super scrumptious treat.
The first Christmas celebration
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The Christmas Picture
Dad took a couple hay bales and set them up where there was a bit of a view in the back. Nikki got her pretty pink coat on and Eeyore came out of the barn. This was probably the hardest part because he hates the snow and coldness of winter so he had to be drug over the snow to where the kids were sitting. Once he saw Dancer was waiting for him he ran right over to be by her (she bottle fed him since day one and he thinks she is his mom). The kids sat down, as an added bonus the cat jumped up and walked back and forth. We snapped about 20 pictures and got one good one. We were working with children and animals so we were quite please that four out of five of them were looking.
Off to Walmart to print them out. No waiting at the picture kiosk, that is amazing in and of it's self. They had envelopes that fit the pictures, another amazing event.
Brought them home, addressed the envelopes, stuffed them, took turns licking the envelopes horrid tasting flaps, stuck the stamps on and now they are in mailbox waiting to be whisked off to all our friends and relatives just waiting to see pictures of our kids. Actually, I don't know if people like the pictures or not. Except for one lady, who is not our card list anymore, who told me that she just throws the pictures away because why would she want a picture of someone else's kids. I love to get the picture cards. I keep the ones from year to year in our Christmas boxes and compare how the kids have changed over the years.
This years fabulous picture is as shown above in our heading.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Peanut Butter Frito Brittle Recipe
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Away in the Manger
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Mary Kay give away
Our give away will consist of three Mary Kay products. A bronze highlighting powder, just thing for pale winter skin, a black water proof mascara so everyone can see your eyes between your scarf and hat, and an extra emollient night cream, perfect for dry winter skin.
To enter, all you have to do is tell us you were here by leaving a comment before the stroke of midnight on Tuesday.
Wednesday we will put everyones name in a hat and draw one name out.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Half way to the finish line
We started out and we half heartedly walked a few miles. One night a few days into our challenge he was talking with me and said "Do you really think we are going to get 300 miles done?" From the tone of his voice I knew right then and there that I needed to role model how to start and finish a goal. I told him we sure were and for incentive we could put a ticker on our blog.
He and I went to the computer and found a free ticker and he choose the grass and snail for the graphic to show our progress. When he chose the snail I thought I would feel like a snail trying to get all these miles walked so it was an appropriate icon. On the top of the ticker you could write what was being measured. I went to type in Spark and Mom walking by Feb. 1st. The 1st. didn't fit on the amount of space that they allowed for the heading. Good, I thought, it only says February so it could really take us to the end of February and we would still be in the boundaries of the now modified heading. I was looking for any loop hole at the time.
We set up the ticker and put in our miles. Our first entry, which was a couple of days worth of walking, was something like four miles. Our ticker said 4 miles done, 296 miles to go and we were already a good six days into our challenge. I saw us down by the tread mill the last week of February trying to get in 20 miles a day between the two of us so we would meet this goal.
Instead we decided to step our efforts up a notch. I started walking two miles a day even though I would have rather had my teeth cleaned than walk that extra mile every day. But then, even though I still hated that extra mile, I felt like I had really accomplished something when I was done. Pretty soon it wasn't so hard and felt like my legs weren't going to fall off at the end of two miles. November was very mild temperature wise and so most of my miles were done outside, Spark would walk half outside and half inside on the tread mill.
A couple of weeks ago I decided that two miles wasn't really challenging me anymore and bumped it up to three miles with Spark following suit. Around this time the weather took a turn right into the heart of winter so I am unable to walk outside anymore. I don't enjoy walking on the tread mill like I do walking outside so my goal is to get those miles done as quickly as possible. I started out at 3 mph but now I can comfortably walk 3.5 mph and get done in just a little over 50 minutes. Sometimes I walk it in three different sessions. I will look at the clock and think "In just 17 minutes I can have one of those miles done." This doesn't seem so daunting to me and I it seems easier for me to fit it in with everything else if I do it in one or two smaller time periods than taking almost a whole hour out of the day at one time to get it done.
The ticker has really been a great motivator for us. It is exciting to walk and then enter the amount into the computer and see our goal getting ever smaller. We are now at the half way mark, 150 miles, and we are a little bit ahead of schedule. At the rate we are going we should be done around the middle of January! We are already talking about what we will do then. A 5K run seems to be the next thing on Spark's mind. Dancer ran a few 5K's in the fall of 2008 and got some t-shirts. I think he thinks it would be pretty cool to be sprouting one of those t-shirts around town. I think it would pretty cool too.
Laundry or shopping...hmmm
Upon further exploration, in the way back of a drawer, under a pair of jammies I don't wear any more, was a pair of maternity unders. What they were doing there I don't know. It has been over nine years since I was last pregnant and we have moved since then, but today I am just thankful they were there. By the way, maternity underwear don't fit the non-pregnant, well at least not comfortably, unless you are desperate not to go naked under your clothes.
So now I have to decide, shopping or laundry, laundry or shopping. Shopping wins! But I do have a load of whites in the dryer already.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Calligraphy and gold leafing
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Genetic traits of the thumb
Everyone at our house puts their left thumb on top.........
except me, I put the right one on top. The kids got many other wonderful traits from me, just not this one, Dad can take full responsibility for it.
Another trait is if the top of your thumb can bend back more than 60 degrees. None of us here have that trait. Do you?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Keeping Chivalry Alive
Spark's coat of arms. You will know me by my coat of arms by knowing a little about the symbol I put on it. As you can see, in the middle is a rabbit. It could either be Scott or Creamy because they are both brown and I didn't color in the inside so it could be both of the rabbits. The colors I chose are because they are the main colors and they bright so that they show up well. The yellow I did with a highlighter so it would be really bright and you could notice all the other colors by it.
Dancer's coat of arms. This is my coat of arms and you will be able to tell that it is me even if I was wearing full armor because it has all the things I like on it. On the top left is a basketball. I like to play basketball and I really miss not being on a team this year. I am glad my brother is playing so I still get to go to games. On the top middle is a lawn mower. I love to mow lawn, I do some of my best singing when I am on the mower going around and around the yard. Next to that on the top right is a pair of tap shoes. I love to dance and tap is my favorite style of dance. I would be happy if I got to tap dance every single day of the year. Underneath the tap shoes is Ballina my favorite chicken. She the runt of the barnyard flock. She likes to be held, petted and fed rabbit food out of my hand. I know she is a chicken but she still likes rabbit food. To the left of Ballina is a book and Nikki. I put a book big in the middle because I love to read so much. I put Nikki by the book because I didn't have much room to put her on the coat of arms without her being sideways and she is usually by me when I read. Lower left is roller skates. Lower right is Eeyore my goat. I put him on there because my life just wouldn't be my life without Eeyore. He is so cute and I play with him every day. Even though he is getting quite big he still likes to climb from the milking stand onto my lap to sit and nuzzle.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Have a good day!!!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Recycled Christmas card ornaments
These orb like ornaments are virtually free except for a little bit of glue. We spent part of the afternoon and evening creating them. Dancer and Dad are still going strong with no signs of slowing down. They have moved on to making them in different sizes. One that will be about the side of a basketball is in the works right now. Dancer is also a buzz about all the different materials she could make them out of. The ones shown here, our first attempts, are about size of a baseball. The ornament on the bottom is a double decker with two middle parts. These have been around probably since the beginning of time, but if you haven't seem them before or need a refresher course, here is how it is done.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Frosted Maple Walnut Cookies
Frosted Maple Walnut Cookies
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter softened
1 - 2 tsps. maple flavoring
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour - or use another cup of white flour
1 tsp. baking soda
a dash of salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
4 cups powdered sugar
3 - 4 tbsp. milk - we need more than this but it will depend on the humidity
2 tbsp. butter softened
2 tsp. maple flavoring
Cream sugar and butter. Add maple flavor and eggs, beat well. Mix in rest of ingredients. Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7 -9 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool a couple minutes on the cookie sheet or you will have oval instead of round cookies.
Combine all frosting ingredients and beat until smooth. We needed to use the hand mixer to be able to get it smooth, a spoon just didn't cut it. Frost cookies when cool.
These cookies were so good we had to give a big plate of them away or we would have sat and eaten all of them in a matter of a few days.
We also made these tasty little morsels. I got the idea from here: Keeping It Simple
I looked at it quickly and then today at the store I thought I would remember the ingredients but that wasn't the case. She used chocolate Kisses and I bought Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Which ever form of chocoalte you use here is how to make them. These are so easy they don't take any longer than five minutes. First take mini pretzels, I used the square ones, and lay them out on a cookie sheet and put a peanut butter cup on top of it. Pop these in the oven for a minute or two until they are melty but not melted. I put them in at 350 degrees because that is what I had the pork ribs we had for dinner baking at. Pull the pan out of the oven and quick push a M&M into the center of them. Let them cool and then hide them from your kids and husband or they will quickly be gone.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Girls are from Venus...
The big white board has been up in the living room for school and the kids spend some of their free time drawing pictures, playing hangman etc. This day Dancer had drawn a cute duck on her side of the board and Spark made a robot on his side.
After a few minutes, Spark's robot had army tanks accompanying it. Yes, they had fired on the duck. A classic example of an arms race soon developed.
The picture above shows the robot had added a helicopter, assorted bombs and appears to be taking a duckling hostage. You can now see Dancer's "cute little duck" has machine guns mounted on it's wings, a torpedo launching tail, guided rockets under it's chin, and a Viking companion with a flamethrower. A later, even more gruesome look, would show Dancer's hideous three headed, forked tongued worm had burrowed under the robot. Oh, and look, our little angel's duck has grown fangs!!
With a nine year old boy in the house virtually any activity can become very competitive and even an epic battle.