Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Cold Outside.....

even if you have fur.  With no fireplace, basking in front of the space heater is the next best thing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Marshmallow S'mores

Melt a bag of chocolate chips and dip in marshmallows.  They come out sort of glumpy so roll the sides and the top of the marshmallow on the side of the pan to give it a smooth coating.  Roll in crushed graham crackers.

Let them sit on wax paper to get hard or if they are not progressing as fast as you would like pop them in the freezer for a few minutes.  We took these to a fellowship at church and they flew out of the bowl.

The 20 Word Story

Dad gave Dancer 20 words that she needed to incorporate into a story.  The words were: flaming, forest, mushroom, kittens, sparkles, drove, oven, flood, noodle, harness, cheap, elf, spiral, shrunken, waffle, bow, load, plastic, garden and swamp.

Here is her story ~

Once upon a time there was a magic forest, and in that magic forest was the land of Boom.  Now the land of Boom is an odd place where they grow such things as, flaming mushrooms, pizza, and edible rocks.  The elves that dwell there are excellent bakers and are widely known for their tasty spiral waffles.  People travel long distances to get these waffles because no one has been able to figure out to make them spiral.
One day a little elf named Cece was working in her swamp garden when she saw an unusual looking bird eating some blueberries off her plants.  She was about to chase it away when it started to talk.  “This blueberry is not very tasty you know,” grumbled the bird, “it is rather sour and shrunken.”  Cece then noticed that the bird had sparkles on all of his feathers.  “Are you a Hodge Podgy bird?” asked Cece, for she had only seen a picture and had never seen one in real life.  “Yes, I am Sir Ruffle Puff,” he announced while taking a deep bow. “I was on my way to order a load of noodles for the palace because we are having a very important party for visiting royalty in five days and, alas, we do not have any,” he complained as he flew over and pecked her on the nose.  “Hey!” Cece exclaimed while holding her hand over her assaulted nose.  “Peck me again and I’ll throw you in the oven for a cheap source of protein in tonight’s dinner!  “You don’t want to eat me; kittens are a much better source of protein,” Sir Ruffle Puff replied.  Cece looked at him and shot back, “Or, I could just harness them to the fence next to my blueberry plants to eat pesky birds that try to eat my blueberries.” 
Sir Ruffle Puff then picked up a bulging, plastic bag full of smooth, shiny, colored rocks.  “Will you drive me to the store since I have wasted so much time here?” Cece thought this through.  “I will drive you to the store but, only if I can have some of those rocks.”  “Alright, I will give you 15 of them.” He retorted grumpily. 
“Okay, I drove you to the store and helped you get the noodles.  I cannot drive you any farther because there was a flood up ahead and I don’t want to get my car stuck in the mud,” Cece said as she opened the door for Sir Ruffle Puff.  “Thank you for your help and I can fly to the palace from here. Here are your rocks; I hope you enjoy them immensely.  They would be most beautiful in your garden by the gate door.” Sir Ruffle Puff called back as he flew away. 
Well, this has been a very interesting day though Cece as she drove home.  I hope they don’t burn the noodles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sour Cream Drops

Dancer says these plain looking cookies are a happy explosion in your mouth.

These must be good because while looking for another cookie recipe tonight I saw that I had already blogged about these before.  I thought they seemed familiar!

Sour Cream Drops

1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 to 4 tsp. hot water

Cream sugar and shortening.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients.  Bake at 425 degrees until lightly brown. 

For frosting - melt butter in saucepan until golden brown.  Stir in sugar and vanilla.  Add hot water one teaspoon at a time until spreading consistency.  Make it a little thin so that you can just dip the tops in the frosting and not deal with spreading it on the cookies.

2012 Handprint Thanksgiving Turkey

I love the Groucho Marx eyebrows he got this year courtesy of Spark.

He now resides on the turkey wall in the hallway.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Like A Boss

Our goats are sugar hooves - that's what Dad calls them because they are such babies about everything.  They don't like to be out in the rain, the wind, the snow, the dark, or in the summer when it is hot, the sun.  To make their poor lives more bearable we put a dog house in the corral so they could be outside and still be out of the rain, the wind, the snow, the sun and, well, not the dark but four out of five isn't bad. 
We expected them to run right into it because Eeyore, Dancer's goat that died of seizures, liked it very much.  Instead, they acted like it fell out of the sky like the Coke bottle in "The God's Must Be Crazy" and it must be evil.  This was back in August and they huddled by the barn.  Slowly they started to make their way around the corral again but never venturing too close to the house.  Now that it is November we started throwing our old pumpkins by the house and finally threw one in the house.  Goats, our goats anyway, are ruled by their stomachs so to get that final pumpkin at least Lola went into the house to eat it.   Now that she realizes the dog house isn't scary, or evil, she spends a lot of time standing on top of it - like a boss.  I still haven't seen her actually in the house but we are getting closer.
Nico has been out to do his manly duty and he wanted his picture taken too.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Week

Our week has been jammed pack full of activities, appointments, preparations and not much school.

On Tuesday our homeschool co-op made and delivered Thanksgiving baskets and pies.  This is a fun project we have enjoyed the last two years.

Wednesday was spent baking for our Thanksgiving diner.  We made an Amish Sugar pie.  The jury is out on if it was good or not.  I think it was one of those things you either love it or you don't.  As the name says it is sugar, lots and lots of it makes my teeth hurt to eat this sugar with a little lemon and three eggs thrown in.  Dad made rolls and he is a very picky baker, you could call him a baking snob in fact.  He made several batches before he had ones that he thought were worthy for a Thanksgiving diner.  The kids and I had no problems enjoying the ones that he shunned. 

The kids also had dentist appointments on Wednesday.  Dancer had her first cavity.  She is pretty upset about it which I wasn't expecting.  She has been through having teeth pulled and braces so this should really be a walk in the park, it is just a little one.  Once she has it done I am sure she will see that it isn't such a big deal.  I had a mouthful of fillings by the time I was her age, although that fact isn't making her feel better.  She will understand now though why Dad and I don't enjoying going to the dentist, something the kids have never understood before.

Wednesday night Dancer was invited to a youth group Thanksgiving dinner and game night.  They played "Plunger Ball" - yes it is a game played with a toilet plunger.  When we went into town to pick her up we stopped for a late night snack at McDonalds so I could down load the book The Homeschooling Highway: How To Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick  on the Kindle.  It is wonderfully written by a famish kind of homeschool mom  we happen to have the good fortune of being friends with. We don't have wifi at our house so any time we want something it means a trip to either a restaurant or the local laundromat.

Thursday we celebrated the day at church.  Our church is right across the road from a college and we extended an invitation to the international students to join us for dinner.  Only two came, one from the Bahamas and one from Ethiopia, we had a fun time getting to know them and playing games.  During diner it started to snow and just kept on snowing and snowing and snowing. 

By the time we were ready to leave the roads were slick and we had to creep our way home.  There were a lot of accidents which means that Dad, who was hoping to get put on call a good portion of the holiday weekend, is working since many were very serious and people are hospitalized.  Dad always says that people misunderstand that when people hear of a crash that reports there were no deaths they assume everyone is alright.  The reality, the part he sees, is that many are hospitalized for months and months, endure many surgeries, intense pain and have life long problems that make their former lives a memory. 

Friday we were invited to dinner at a friends.  Only Dancer and I were able to go as Dad was going to work and Spark wasn't feeling well so he stayed home.  They both really missed out as the food was plentiful and delicious.  After dinner we played the game "What's Yours Like?"  We laughed so hard that my cheeks hurt by the time we left.  Might have to look for that game the next time we are shopping.


Mr. Fluffles
That brings us to today, Saturday afternoon.  This morning we brought our two new kittens to the vet for check ups and their first shots.  This first appointment was $248 - so much for free kittens.  We thought they would be outside cats but I am rethinking that plan since they are going to be expensive little creatures by the time we finish up their shots and neutering.  I use to think that a cat at the Humane Society for $60 was out of line but it looks like a bargain now. 

We have lots of pictures from the week but Blogger is not cooperating.  When it starts to work I will add some in.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Crafts

Little Rice Krispy ball on half an Oreo with frosting for glue and candy corn head and tail feathers.

Thankful pumpkin 

Fingerprint turkey.  One on the left is a napkin ring.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Homemade Raisin

Spark brings me this.

"What is it?" I wonder since it looks like a baby belly button.

"It's a raisin I made.  I put a grape behind the microwave on October 26th and now it is a raisin.  Cool huh?"  Or else a sign that I need to do a better job cleaning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Photos

Fall is always a melancholy time for the me (the Dad) as my favorite season, by far, is summer.  This is probably because I want to be outside most of the time (wearing shorts).  When I am outside during the evening in July and there is a warm southern wind I close my eyes and think, "This is awesome.  It's like a hot shower without having to get wet!"  I took these pictures to show that, as the mom says, there are so many great colors and textures in the fall, in the summer everything is just green.   

This is what a clematis flower looks like when it is done being a flower.

A thistle ready to re-seed the flower garden for next spring.

End of the season for the sugar maple.

This used to be the corn field that surrounded yard and made us feel secluded and protected.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Taking Out The Garbage

Dad cleaned out the shed this weekend and found a brittle, broken lawn chair, the ducks old kiddie pool and a little, green, Pooh Bear wheelbarrow (not in the picture) that Dancer use to be small enough to sit in.  How to get it to fit in the garbage can?

Mention to Spark that you need to smash up the items small enough to get them in the garbage can.  He will be on it in about two second flat.

All that is left and there are the handles to the wheelbarrow.  Plus, he raked it all up and shoveled it in the can without being asked. :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

4-H Meeting Around The Campfire

Back in September, when we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts, we started throwing around ideas for what to do at our future 4-H meetings.  An idea came up to have our November meeting outside by a campfire with sleeping bags and flash lights.  "Great idea!" we all said.  So it was all set, the November 12th meeting would be outside.  Well who knew we would wake to snow on the ground this morning and tonight it would be about 20 degrees with a very brisk wind.  In the spring we would think that these temps and conditions were nice but tonight it felt just a wee bit nippy.

This is all we saw on Dancer for almost the entire evening.  She did poke her nose out when she gave her report about the Jr. Leader meeting and did emerge completely from her self made cocoon to quickly play the game at the end.  I have to say though, except for some very cold toes, it was an awesome way to have a meeting.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Walking Humane Society

Most days we walk the dog around the yard 21 times for her, and our, exercise.  At least once during our walk Kacheekers will come and want to be part of our group.  He doesn't want to walk with us though, he wants Dancer to carry him around a few laps.  He meows almost the entire time like he is telling us all the news of the day and then he wants down and goes on his way.  Today I told Dancer she looked like a walking Humane Society of black and white animals.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

Here is a spaghetti squash as you would buy it at the market or pick it from the garden.  The skin is hard.  It weighs 3 or 4 pounds and looks like an overeripe cucumber but much bigger.  Cut the squash in half the long way.  Leave the seeds in it, place both halves cut side down in 9x13 pan with a half inch of water in it.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until a paring knife easily pokes through the skin. 

Scoop out he seed and pulp in the middle of the squash and use a fork to peel the long strands of noodle-like spaghetti squash from the sides.  If it wont come out easily return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

In the picture above, on the right side, you can see the middle seeds and pulp that you scoop out and discard.  The bowl on the left has the strands from 1/2 of the squash.

The spaghetti squash, ready to serve with butter, garlic and thyme.  It is also delicious with Alfredo sauce and Italian sausage.  These dishes have less calories than regular pasta and way less carbohydrates.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Animal Camouflage

See anything?

It's Skips, one of our new kittens.  Made Dancer jump back
when she went to pick up the blanket and it moved. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Looks Lion Kingish

Monday, November 5, 2012

Amazing Race

Two teams with nine different events to complete.

From saying the Pledge of Allegiance to sorting beans to making rockets.

The team that finished first by about a half an hour.  Team work was the key.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Refilling Our Bird Feeders

We just keep using the same pinecones.  Spread them with peanut butter,
roll them in bird seed,
and they are ready to hang.

In a couple of days they will be competely clean again.  I am amazed at how the birds can get every last bit of the peanut butter off of them. 

Election Day Pretzels

Made these for my social studies class at our Tuesday co-op.  Whether Romney or Obama wins, you should have good patriotic snacks while you wait for the results!

Apple Dip

Super simple - 1 cup peanut butter - 8 oz. cream cheese - 1/4 cup honey - 1/4 cup milk.  Mix it together and chill. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Soccer Complete

Early in the morning every Saturday since the beginning of September we have been trudging, well I have been trudging because it is Saturday and mornings are so not my thing, into town to play soccer with a boat load of other homeschoolers.  Today was the last day!  Did I put that exclamation point there?  Here they all are warming up, good thing, it was 34 degrees with snow flurries.  Notice this was taken from the warm car.

The leaders lined the kids up for a photo op.  Dad got out to take this picture while I stayed in the car guard it, yeah that's it.  This is just a portion of the kids that come for soccer, the rest their parents were able to talk them into staying home where it is warm.  I suggested that repeatedly this morning but it got shot down. 

A closer look at where Spark and Dancer are in the picture with their friends, the real reason we go to soccer.  I don't even know if my kids like soccer.
Spark's game, he's in the brown.  Some of these boys are highly competitive so they really play hard.

The teenage girl team, well they must play hard too because they had dead to haul off the field.