Tuesday, February 28, 2012

So Thankful We Ran Out Of Fuel Oil

The kids and I got home from town this afternoon and realized that the it was a little chilly in the house.  I ran down to see if the furnace had blown a circuit breaker but they were all fine.  I hit the reset button on the furnace and it would start for about 12 seconds onlt to shut off again.

I quick called the oil company to have Kenny stop by and deliver some fuel oil hoping that an empty fuel tank would be the cause of our woes.  Sure enough, it was empty and as soon as it was filled the furnace started back up.

So why are we thankful that we ran out of fuel oil?  Because this had the hand of God all over it.  First, Dad was able to pick up an extra shift this week and, while it won't pay the whole bill, it will take a good chunk out of it.  Dad hasn't worked an extra shift for the longest time and just last night he picked one up. When we got home the house had only cooled down to 60 degrees so the furnace couldn't have been out for too long.  If we had run out of fuel oil after 5:00, just a few hours after we did, the oil company would have been closed and it would have been a really cold night.  I called the oil company about 3:00 and Kenny was able to finish up the job he was doing and come right over because he didn't have any more stops and still had plenty of fuel oil left on his truck.  He left at 4:40 and at 5:40 the winter storm we have been waiting for started to roar it's ugly head.  A foot of snow is coming our way, there are already large drifts, and it would have been hard to get the truck out here and in the drive way, and at what time would he have been able to get here.   As he was leaving, Kenny said that he was on our corner this morning and felt like he should stop in and see if we needed any oil but he had someone waiting for a delivery so he didn't stop.  I told him next time if he feels like he should stop to stop.  He said he could feel that we were out so he wasn't surprised when he got the call.  Maybe that is why he still had enough for us left on the truck.  Lastly, we are so thankful our tank was an empty and it wasn't a broken furnace that we would have had to pay who knows how much to be fixed and an after hours service call. Yep, God is good! 


Monday, February 27, 2012

Spelt Lemon Sugar Cookies

The spelt flour in these gives these cookies a bit of a nice grainy flavor.  You can change the recipe by changing the ratio of regular flour and the spelt flour to your tastes. These cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

Spelt Lemon Sugar Cookies

2 cups butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
5 cups flour
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each egg.  Beat in lemon juice, cream and lemon peel.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to the cream mixture.  This is hard to get mixed together.  If need be, add more lemon juice to combine the two mixtures, but don't let this make you shy away from trying these.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll out dough to 1/8 inch think and cut with floured glass or cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheet.  Top with sugar by dipping bottom of glass in the dough, then in sugar and then on the cookie.  Twist glass to get the sugar evenly on cookie.  Bake 350 degrees for 9 - 11 minutes or until lightly browned. 

My Big Fat Greek Math Book

One of our favorite movies as of late has been "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."  We have probably seen it about eight times and it just gets funnier every time we watch it. 

 My favorite character is the father of the bride, Gus, played by Michael Constantine, who delivers everyone one of his lines perfectly.  Some of his famous lines are about him taking any word and telling how it is from a Greek origin. 
So we are reading along in Dancer's math book and come to these few lines which I read just as Gus would have said them.  "The word polygon is formed from the Greek roots poly, which means, "more than one" or "many," and gonon, which means "angle."  Thus polygon literally means "more than one angle."  We were just rolling.  After a few moments we compose ourselves and move on. 
Another of Gus' great wisdom is that there are two kinds of people in the world, Greeks and those who wish they were Greeks.  A little further on on the page there are two diagrams much like the ones below.

So we decided, again while laughing, that polygons are Greek and all other shapes wish they were Greek.  I highly doubt that Dancer will ever forget what a polygon is.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nothin' Says Lovin' Like

A bowl of berries.  Dad brought me home this gorgeous bowl of berries this morning from work.  These are my all time favorites and it was so thoughtful of him to think of making my morning special after he worked all night.  I savored them all day long only having a few at a time.   

Every few weeks he comes home with a bunch of these to decorate our table and brighten up our school space.  They are alstroemeria and they often last up to three weeks.

They look this good the whole time until the petals fall off.  Love them, love him.

Also appreciated my birthday cake earlier this month, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Dairy Queen cake.  Oh my was this good.  I am one lucky wife, I hope Spark is taking notes.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

She Is A Lot Like Grandma Shirley

There are things my mother did that when I got older I swore I would never do.  One of her pet peeves was when I would wash dishes and leave the water on to rinse the whole time.  My mom would insist that I turn the water on and off between each and every dish.  I thought that was a dumb, time consuming thing to do and now when I do dishes I leave it running the whole time.  Does that still make me a strong willed child? 

Dancer and I were doing the dishes today, I was washing and she was drying, and I told her about Grandma Shirley's crazy rule about turning the water on and off.  She surprised me by say quite passionately, "Yes, that is the way you should wash dishes.  It drives me nuts when you leave it on the whole time and you and Dad and Spark all do it!"  Since I now have my own sink, in my own house, and leave it run the whole time, she has never seen dishes washed the other way.  Makes me think it must be something that skips to every other generation.  I know Dancer didn't learn that from my mom because she has had severe dementia since Dancer was about a year old and, while she knows Grandma Shirley, she doesn't know the real Grandma Shirley.  If Dancer has a daughter, or a son for that matter, I just might teach her to leave the water on all the time.  Oh wait, it will skip that generation.

Salt Experiments

How salt melts ice

Salt lowers the freezing point of water so that ice forms at lower temperatures. If ice is already present, adding salt to it raises its melting point so that it melts more quickly. Salt affects how water freezes by altering the speed at which water molecules move.

To test this out we put three ice cubes in two bowls.  In the bowl on the left we added salt and on the right we didn't.  This is our ice cubes after 14 minutes.  The bowl on the right had made good progress from the house being warm but the ones on the left were almost gone. 

This is the reason highway departments put salt on the roads in the winters.  The salt only melts the ice though if the temperature is over -21 degrees.  Any colder than that and the salt doesn't create enough movement of the water molecules to cause any meltage.  While that sounds really cold, and it is, there are times in our little corner of the world that it gets colder than that and we will hear on the news that the road crews are not salting the roads because it is too cold.

The effect salt has on water freezing

Using two glasses we marked one salt and the other not salt.  Each glass has a cup of water and in the salt one Dancer put a tablespoon of salt.  We set them ever so careful so not to have a mess in the freezer and left them for about 45 minutes.

When we pulled them out we had the results we had anticipated.  The salted cup was slushy and easily poured right out because the salt had effected the freezing temperature of the water.

The glass without salt had frozen on the top and sides and was well on it way to becoming a solid mass. 

The effect of salt on the boiling temperature of water

For this experiment we put a quart of water in a pot and brought it to boil.  The temperature of the boiling was was 202 degrees.  This could be because we have a faulty candy thermometer or our elevation level makes water boil at a lower temperature for us.  That doesn't matter though for this because we only needed a base number of the boiling water to see any difference when salt was added.

Dancer added one tablespoon of salt to the already boiling water.  At first it bubbled up more and then stopped boiling.  In a few moments it started boiling again.  The new temperature of the water was now 205 degrees.  This was because the water had to get hotter to boil the salted water.  When the next tablespoon of salt was added the same thing happened and the temperature of the water rose to 207 degrees. 

When adding salt to cooking water to say boil pasta, the pasta will cook faster in salted water than plain because the water temperature is higher.  I am not sure how much time it saves, probably not a noticeable amount, that would be another experiment.
How salt makes objects float in water

When salt is added to water it makes it denser.  Objects float better in denser water so the salt makes objects that normally wouldn't float, float.  The denser the water the heavier the object that will float.

In a bowl with two cups of water and 11 teaspoons of salt an egg would float.  It was a fresh egg just laid last night and gathered before the experiment.  An older egg will float to the top because it has air pocket in it. Sadly, this egg rolled off the table during the rest of the experiment and found it's way into the cat bowl.  From the cats perspective that was a lucky turn of events.

Eleven teaspoons also made an apple float half above the water.  Good trick to know for bobbing for apples.

We tried to make other objects float, but after adding 22 teaspoons we couldn't get any more salt to dissolve.  We even thought heating it in the microwave would help dissolve the salt but it didn't. The dice floated a wee bit above the bottom of the bowl but the marble and the rock, nope.  The marble seemed like it rolled around real easy but it never made it off the bottom.

Friday, February 24, 2012

States Project - Ohio

The states project is a homeschool activity we participated in a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.  The kids each make a poster or display for any state they choose, then they get together and display and present them to each other.

This year Dancer chose Ohio because that is where the show "Family Ties" is supposed to be set in.  She loves anything with the young Michael J. Fox, not the old present day Michael J. Fox, she would like to think he is frozen in time.

Thanks to all the 4-H projects over the years she is able to whip out these poster boards without any help.  Well, she did ask me what colors I thought looked good together for the matting under the headings.  For this project she said she thought it took her about three hours total to do the research and get it all organized because she was chatting on Facebook at the same time.  Good to know the girl can multi-task.

Her finished poster.  My favorite part was "That's Just Crazy" where she listed a few of the crazy laws still on the books in Ohio.  A few illegal activities in Ohio are to hunt for whales on Sunday, get a fish drunk, participate or conduct a duel, if you ignore an orator on Declaration Day to such an extent as to play publicly croquet or pitch horseshoes within one mile of the speaker's stand you can be fined $25, and owner of tigers must notify authorities within one hour if the tiger escapes.  The very best part though is that the day for the event is over a week away and she already has it done.  No nagging on my part!

Co-op Bowling

The boys plus and minus a few.

The girls minus a few who were bowling on another lane.

One hundred and forty five homeschoolers signed up to go bowling at the same time, that's not even close to all the homeschoolers in our area.  Our co-op went together as a group and had a great time playing and chatting together.  When we are at co-op we are quite busy, so to have time to just "be" together with no structure for a couple of hours was really fun.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good Study Habits

Spark assures me that this is indeed a comfy way to study.

Police Department Field Trip

Our neighboring town has a pretty new police department, so when another homeschool mom set up a tour and asked if we wanted to join them we jumped at the chance to get to see the new facility. 

Our tour guide was a college student, who works as a community officer, that did a wonderful job and had the perfect personality for what she was doing.  One part that was a little unnerving was when she took us to the underground garage to see the police cars.  The garage is two tall stories underground.  I am more of a surface dweller, so when she said that we were going to level -2 I asked Dad if he thought that really meant what I thought it meant.  Yep.  No one else seemed one iota alarmed, but the whole time I was thinking, "okay this is all nice but up lets go back up."

The tour went down this hallway, in one side of a room and out another side, back down another hallway, up one stair case, and way, way down another one as we were going to the underground garage.  The whole building was very confusing, or at least the way she took us through, so I thought if I got separated from the group, the only hope I would have would be to find a security camera and start yelling help at it hoping someone would come to my rescue.  I would have to find a camera because oddly it seemed like there were almost no people working there, just room after empty room, so there wouldn't even be anyone to ask where you were.   Another mom comment the same thing to me when we got back to the room we met in so I wasn't the only one that felt lost.  Perhaps the reason for the lack of people could be because this building was more administrative, the jail and all the other parts one would think of a police station is housed at the court house building.  They don't even fingerprint people at this location unless it is for a job such as, and this surprised me, a taxi cab driver.  I never knew taxi cab drivers where fingerprinted.  Of course, I don't ride in cabs so I guess I never gave it any thought.

Another interesting thing we learned was that the drug dog is a very, very friendly Golden Lab.  He loves to be petted and given attention.  When he smells drugs on someone he just goes over and sits down by them.  The person with the drugs would probably just be thinking 'wow this dog really likes me' and maybe even give him a little scratch behind the ears.  That is until they had the handcuffs on.  Sneaky, I like that and seems much safer than how the German Shepards are trained to take care of business.  I didn't even know there were police dogs that weren't German Shepards.  If we were somewhere and I saw someone with a German Shepard I might wonder if they were a police officer, just because you don't see a lot of German Shepards, but if I saw someone with a lab I would just think it was someone out with their dog. 

The last thing that stuck out in my mind was while we were listening to the presentation they gave at the beginning of our tour, a man stuck his head in the door and the speaker introduced him as the sargent in charge of the officers that are in the schools.  Each senior and junior high in town has not one, but two officers there at all times.  Thank you for another reason to reaffirm why we homeschool.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Crispy Walnut Strips

Remember those tasty little leftover pieces of pie crust you bake on the cookie sheet along with the pie?  These cookie are those, only as Emeril Lagasse would say, "Kicked up a notch."  The great thing about these is that there is a whole batch so no one has to fight over them like I remember as a kid doing over the pie crusts pieces.

Crispy Walnut Strips

1 cup cold butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar - divided
1 cup ground walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cut butter into flour until it is course crumbs.  With a fork, stir in sour cream.  Divide dough in half, shape into balls, wrap tightly and freeze for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar on lightly floured surface.  Roll out like pie crust.  Combine rest of sugar, cinnamon and nuts and sprinkle over dough.  Press the mixture into the dough, the rolling pin works good for this.  Cut into 1 inch strips.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12-14 minutes.

Dragon Aren't Scary

It's the parrot in the background we should be worried about.

Bert is Dancer's parrot but her room isn't big enough for his palace so he lives in Spark's room.  Spark spends a lot of time in his room playing with his Legos and taking hundreds of pictures of them. Bert always goes to the bottom of his house to get as close as he can to the action and to snoopervise what is going on.  If he gets to come out he will fly over to the Lego bins and look through them.  Alas, he doesn't get to come out very often because it is so hard to get him to go back in.  He doesn't go back until he is darn good and ready, which is always way longer than when we want him to, and we can't just grab him and put him back because he will bite.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Power of Kim Chee

By Dad

Kim Chee, also known as kimchi or gimchi is a is a traditional fermented Koren food made of vegetables with usually spicy seasonings.  There are hundreds of varieties of Kimchee.  Common types are made using napa cabbage, radishes and cucumbers.  Kim Chee is low in calories and high in fiber.  Because it is fermented it contains a number of lactic acid bacteria.  Health magazine named kimchi in its list of top five "World's Healthiest Foods" for being rich in vitamins, aiding digestion, and even possibly reducing cancer growth.

Above you can see a brand of Kim Chee commonly available in supermarketes.  I decided to try having some Kim Chee every day this winter and see if it would ward off the common cold and other winter ailments.  I have manged to have a forkful of kim chee most days and am happy to report good health so far this winter (knock on wood).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Single Serve Brownie Or How To Get Your Chocolate Fix In 3 Minutes

Hot Chocolate Microwave Brownie

  • 6 tablespoons hot chocolate mix

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • Handful of chocolate chips

  • Mix all in a mug and microwave for 60 - 90 seconds.  This is done when the edges are done but the center is still molten.  This is very, very hot when you take it out of the microwave.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    The Shopping List

    Spark and Dad were going to the 3D Star Wars movie tonight and Dancer and I were going to go shopping.  On the way out the door I stopped to grab the shopping list we keep on the refrigerator and this song came to me.
    One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn't belong,
    Can you tell which thing is not like the others
    By the time I finish my song?

    A Lego Millennium Falcon, hmmm, did Spark really think I would see that and mosey on over to the Lego aisle, throw a $130 Lego set into the cart, proceed to the check out while thinking it was business as usual?  I give him credit for creativity and being ever hopeful but that is all he got.

    Thursday, February 16, 2012

    Real Algebra Here We Come

    Dancer started real algebra yesterday.  I say "real" algebra because I guess what we were slogging through before was pre algebra with a heavy dose of rip my hair out geometry.   Paging through the new book, I was happy to see that at least the first 20 lessons are review.  I need 20 days to have a break from learning a new concept everyday and make me feel like, yes, will be able to teach this.  It has been 30 years since I had algebra and, no Mr. Teacher, I never did use it. 

    I took Dancer's picture enjoying lesson 1 since she is still smiling with no tears.  I wonder how many tears have been shed over math, I know I had plenty of my own as a kid.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Dancer Get Your Gun

    Nothing says Happy Valentines Day to a girl like a new gun. 

    In her first round she had nine of her ten shots on the target, not bad for her first time shooting it.  In her second round she had three in the bulls eye but I had already taken the camera back in the house.  One of her favorite shows is Top Shot and she says, "That would just be awsome if I could shoot like that!"

    Spark's first time shooting ever and he had eight out of nine bullets hit the target.  He is taking gun safety and has his shooting part coming up in a few weeks so he welcomed the chance to practice a little before the real thing.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    I Always Feel Like Somebodys Watching Me

    We do a lot of our school in the basement where the front windows are ground level.  Every day the chickens gather around a window and watch us.  It is sort of creepy as I just know they are talking about us.  They also come up on the deck and look in the dining room but by the time we run for the camera they leave.

    After posting yesterday about not being able to get a picture of one on the deck Dancer caught this one this morning on film, or guess now it would be caught on SD card.  See her all nonchalantly walking up to the door.  There were two others waiting at the bottom of the stairs so I am certain that she was sent up to look in on us and report back any findings. Why else would they run off like they were guilty when we come to the door?

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    Sign, Sign Everywhere a Sign

    The sign for male

    The sign for female


    Friday, February 10, 2012


    Before we left our study of England Dancer wanted to be sure to try crumpets.  We looked up and selected a recipe at Allrecipes that is as follows.

    1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
    1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1/3 cup warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
    4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, divided
    1 egg
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar; let stand for 5 minutes. Add the milk, 1 T. butter and egg; mix well.  Add flour and salt; beat until smooth.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Brush griddle and 3-in. metal rings or open-topped metal cookie cutter with remaining butter.  Place the rings on the griddle; heat over low heat.  Pour 3 T. of batter into each ring.  Cook for 7 minutes or until bubbles begin to pop and the top appears dry.  Remove rings.  Turn crumpets; cook 1-2 minutes longer or until the second side is golden brown.  Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack and toast before serving.            

    We couldn't find the cord for the griddle, I am sure it is the cupboard with the griddle but Dancer dug around in there and came up empty handed, so we made them in a pan on the stove.  We used canning jar rings for our rings and learned that yes, you really do need to grease the rings too and between each crumpet.

    A done crumpet with a dolop of grape jelly.  The kids were all over these and snarfed the whole batch while standing at the counter but I think it had to do with the fact that we don't eat bread very often and these are a bread product.  I thought they were pretty much a fat pancake.  Our crumpets did not have the little holes all over the tops but that could have been because we had to run out to do an errand while they were rising and they rose about three times as long as the recipe called for.  Perhaps our yeast was worn out by the time we got around to scooping the batter into the rings and they fell making them denser than they should have been.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Thank You Cheddar, England

    For our study of England we came across the most wonderful information because it involves cheese.  We love cheese.  I don't mean kinda like it so we say we love cheese, I mean we love cheese.  We eat it sliced, individually wrapped, melted (there really isn't much you can't added melted cheese to the top of), cubed, fried, creamed, as a dip, with apples, on every sandwich and burger, baked, microwaved on a plate  and heck, when we are milking the goats Dad even makes cheese.  The kids go into panic mode when we run out of string cheese and it warrants a trip to town. 

    So as we were studying and came across Cheddar, England our ears perked up and our stomachs started to growl.  People in Cheddar, England have the honor of saying they live in the birthplace of cheddar cheese.  How cool would that be?  Probably not as cool as I imagine it to be. 

    Cheddar cheese got it's name from the process used to make cheddar cheese, which appropriately is called, cheddaring.  Cheddaring is where cheese makers stack the cheese so that lots of whey is squeezed out and acidity level raises.  Once it hits some point that makes the cheese maker happy, they run it through a cheddar mill that is like a wood chipper to cut the cheese into finger sized pieces.  Then they squeeze it again, wrap it up and age it for about a year all the while treating it with tender loving care.  Cheddar cheese is white unless anatto, which is a natural food coloring so Dancer can eat it, is added to make it orange. 

    All this cheese talk got us hungry so we whipped up a batch of cheddar cheese soup.

    Cheddar Cheese Soup

    1 small onion
    1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons flour
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 can 10 3/4 ounce chicken broth
    1 cup milk
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz.)

    Saute onion and celery in butter until onion is tender.  Stir in flour, pepper, and dry mustard.  Add chicken broth and milk.  Heat to boiling over medium heat stirring constantly.  Boil and stir one minute.  Stir in cheese over low heat just until cheese is melted. 

    The kids plopped a few garlic croutons in their bowls and we had it with chicken Kiev.  It was awsome as a dinner side dish.

    A Purple Car!!

    I always wanted a purple car and have not had one because the opportunity has never arose with cars that we were looking at.  I also love the PT Cruiser but we are a van family so again, not happening for me.  On Monday Dad and Spark brought the car in to have a few things fixed and it has turned into four days and lots of money (did they know we got a tax refund?).  They came home all excited and eager to announce that we had a purple PT Cruiser for a loaner.   Our car is done and I will, sadly, have to bring back the purple car.  At least it was fun while it lasted and technically my dream of a purple car came to fruition.  Maybe when my days of toting around children, goats and other messy miscellaneous things in the car are done I can get a fancy purple car.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Dad's Vast And Varied Wardrobe

    No one will ever call Dad a clothes horse, well, at least that is what I thought before but I have been set straight. 

    Dad got new shorts yesterday, it was blue tag day at the Goodwill and since Spark had gotten all his work done for the week we were there.  Yes, a Goodwill trip is an incentive for Spark, it is one of the few things he cares about loosing.  Odd, but I go with what works. 

    Anyway, we get home and Dad puts them on and asks how they look.  "Great," I told him, "they look like all your other shorts."  I was politely told that all his shorts are different colors and his new ones are at least half a tone different.  He went into the bedroom and came back with all his shorts, three pairs now, and said see, they are all different colored.  Sure enough, they are all different colors of tan.

    Clabber Or Clobber

    With all the baking Dancer has been doing she has been reaching for the baking powder a lot.  However, it seems every time she tries to get it down from the top of the cabinet where we keep it it falls down on her.  Last night she asked Dad to get it down for her and when she told him how it always falls on her he said that is because it is really called Clobber Girl instead of Clabber Girl.  We should try switching to the Calumet brand and see if that alleviates her problem. 

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Chocolate Orange Cookies

    Dancer's second batch of cookies for the night.  This one is also from the Taste Of Home Baking Book and is by Ruth Rumple.  These may be the best cookie I have ever eaten in my life as orange and chocolate are one of my favorite flavor combinations.  I told Dancer to quick get these in the freezer because I could have eaten the whole batch.

    Chocolate Orange Cookies

    1 cup butter softened
    3/4 cup sugar divided
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup finely grated orange peel
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Cream butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Gradually add flour and salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

    On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with cookie cutters or glass rim. Combine orange peel and the rest of sugar and sprinkle over cookies.

    Bake 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or just until edges brown.  Cool cookies.  Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over cookies.

    Sour Cream Drops

    While these may look like a plain boring cookie they are anything but.  Another recipe from the Taste Of Home Baking Book submitted by Tracy Betzler.  She knows how to make a gooood cookie!

    Sour Cream Drops

    1/4 cup shortening
    3/4 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2 tablespoons butter
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    3 teaspoons hot water

    Cream shortening, sugar and egg. Add sour cream and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; add to the creamed mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour.               

     Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.               

    For frosting, melt butter in a small saucepan until golden brown; stir, vanilla and enough water to achieve a spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies.

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Dancer Is A Tax Paying Citizen

    We had our taxes prepared today and brought with the kids little bit of income documentation just to make sure they didn't go over the amount they can make.  Spark was fine but Dancer made $20 too much last year and has to pay $3 dollars in taxes.  She didn't seem too fazed, but I don't think she realizes how many more dollars will follow those three in her life time.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    One Ingredient Ice Cream

    All that is needed is a banana.

    The banana needs to be frozen rock solid for this to work.  Spark is making sure ours is frozen, only a boy would think of this.  A word to the wise here is to peel the banana before freezing it or you have to whittle the peel off after it is frozen.

    Chop it up and give it a few spins in the food processor.  Adding a tablespoon of very cold water after it is mostly chopped makes it turn into ice cream faster.

    The consistency is just like ice cream.  Spark loved it and Dancer had a little, tiny bite and agreed that it was the same as ice cream.  She doesn't like bananas, I think I fed her too many as a baby, so Spark got to enjoy the whole bowl. 

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    In Which Dad Is Cleaning The Windshield

    I took these pictures just because we had the camera with and I liked  how the water was running down the window like a small wave.  Look how serious he is taking the job.

    Almost all done and he saw me with the camera, hence the big smile.  The sky is much darker in this picture, not because it took him so long to wash the window, but because I used the flash.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Hoarfrost and Phil Did Not See His Shadow

    Hoar frost occurs when water vapor, such as fog, touches a very cold surface and freezes on it instantly.

    This is called sublimation.

    Sublimation is the transition of a substance from the solid phase directly to the vapor phase, or vice versa, without passing through an intermediate liquid phase according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

    This can happen to any object that's cold enough for the water vapor to freeze on but it is usually something that has a smaller circumference.  It wasn't very thick today but it was beautiful.

     The word hoar has its origin in German and is taken from the word 'hehr'. 'hehr' means sublime. Later, it was adapted by Old High German as hér and meant old. The Old Norse modified it as 'harr' and meant 'grey with age'. The Old English adapted it as hār and the Middle English as hor.

    Hoarfrost could then be translated to Mr. Frost.

    The whole day was foggy giving Phil the ground hog, also know as the woodchuck (which is what is called in these parts), whistle pig or marmot, no chance to see his shadow.  Spring should be right around the corner.  Actually, we are still waiting for a proper winter to arrive, but if it doesn't come we won't be complaining.