Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Day

Grandma and Grandpa came over and we had make your own pizza.  

Every year we put together a new puzzle.  Dancer's goal for Christmas was to watch musicals all day, but we didn't get to them until rather late so we only watched My Fair Lady and Chicago.

Christmas Eve Presnet Opening.

Dad slept all day after working a five night stretch.  The kids and I went to a Christmas Eve service in a barn and when we got home Dad was up and ready to open presents.  

Nikki wishing everyone Merry Christmas.  Getting a dog to pose is no easy feat.  She wouldn't put her ears up, I think she might of thought she was in trouble because we kept telling her to sit.

So Dancer hopped in the picture with her and then her ears popped up.  They are so cute together.  After we cleaned up a gift the cat had barfed up in front of the tree we were on to the gift opening.  

Yep, that is a "It's a Wonderful Life" paused on the t.v.  Can't really have Christmas without watching it at least once.

Dancer enjoying a krumkake after she opened her presents.  

Christmas Cookie Exchange

First we had to find our way to the cookie exchange.  There is a town in front of us in this picture.  It was a so foggy we couldn't see any houses from the road.

Over a hundred dozen cookies on the table and who know how many calories.

Round and round we went and 20 minutes later the table was empty.  

Christmas Party!

Another tradtion, again because we did it last year, was the Helmets Required Christmas party.  They were barely in the door before the present opening begain.

We made pizzas in various Chirstmas themed shapes.  This is a snowman in case it isn't obvious.

This is how boys celebrate.  Three chairs lined up playing games for hours on end.  A good time was had by all!

Mall of America Christmas Field Trip

Last year we took the boys to Mall of America at Christmas time and we were informed that now it is a tradtion.  Funny how that works.  As soon as we got there they high tailed it to the game store,  About an hour later they emerged victorious.

Until Spark gets his driving permit he will have to stick to this kind of truck.

The day we went there were protestors laying on the freeway.  We still aren't sure how no one got run over.  Dancer is ready to protest something, she just needs to find her cause.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kissy Pies Christmas Cookies

These I saw somewhere on Pinterest.  We have a cookie exchange so I was looking for something that was fast to make since we needed so many.

Only two ingredients: pie crust and kisses.

I bought pie crusts, but I think with homemade crust these would be even better.  Roll out the pie crust and cut as many circles out it as possible.  If you made your own crust you could reroll, but that doesn't really work with premade so get them as close a possible.

In the center of each circle place a kiss. 

Pinch them up on four sides so it makes a little parcel.  Be sure that you get them well pinched or they come apart while baking.

Bake at 350 degrees until brown.  These are little so they are very easy to keep popping in your mouth and pretty soon you wonder where all the cookies went.  That is my only warning with these cookies ;)

Christmas Hot Chocolate Snapple Bottles

Loved the Snapple bottles we decorated for Halloween so I made a couple with a Christmas theme.

Paint the tops red.  It is now too cold to spray paint so I painted them with those acrylic paints by Apple Barrel.  When dry it was really flat looking so I put a layer of clear nail polish over the top to make them shine.  Then I hot glued on a red ribbon and put a plaid one with a tiny bow tie over the top it.  

Inside the bottle, I filled it about 4o% with hot chocolate mix, a layer of crushed candy canes (make sure the bow is on top of this layer or it won't show), and the rest of the bottle with mini marshmallows.  The first one I put all the contents in the bottle before decorating it and some settling occurred as I was rolling it around to get the ribbon on and I had to add a few more marshmallows.  The second one I had the hot chocolate mix in it, but not the rest so that I wouldn't have to add more marshmallows when it was done. The hot chocolate mix rolled around on the inside so when I put the marshmallows in a few had a dusting of mix on them from the side of the jar.  I didn't think it looked as nice as the one where the marshmallows were pristine white.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014


 We went out to eat for Thanksgiving and took these pictures before we left.  Now seeing how well they turned out I wish we hadn't had our coats on.

Dad and his parents.  I never realized how much he looks like his mom.

Dinner was good, Spark needed a nap afterwards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

White Bean, Spinach and Rosemary Soup

You need to like rosemary to like this soup.  

I made this on a day when I was making six other soups to freeze and so the amounts are not set in stone, just throw together these ingredients and everything will work out.  This soup froze beautifully.  In fact, if you didn't know it had been frozen, you would think it came straight from a pot that had been simmering for hours.

With a little oil, saute some onion, carrots and celery until they are soft.  Add some chicken broth and a can of white beans.  Add a few handfuls of spinach and about a teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves.  The leaves I roll in my one palm with my thumb of the other hand to make them powdered.  Cook until it is hot and it is ready to eat.  Of course, the longer it cooks, or let it sit in your fridge until the next day, the more the flavors will meld together.  


Winter came early this year, November 9th, and dropped over 12 inches of snow.  Way to start out the winter.  We went out to shovel the first six inches and then a couple hours later went out and shoveled another six inches.   Shoveling was a lot of work as the snow was so heavy and stuck to the shovel.   It was so slippery that the car, even though we had the emergency brakes on, kept sliding down the driveway. The first time I looked outside and saw it at the bottom of the drive and the second time it slid down while we were still out there.  Finally we shoveled down as far as we possibly could on the cement and put an ice cream bucket of fish tank pebbles and another bucket of grit where the wheels would be.   Then we put blocks of wood behind the wheels and it stayed in place.

We shovel the cement part of the drive and thankfully the neighbor came and plowed the rest of it.  If he didn't plow for us we would probably be housebound until April.

The next day we could see our driveway again and it seemed like such a joyous occasion that I took a picture.  

Llama walk

We have a really great leader of our llama club who plans tons of great activities for us.  So when she suggested someone plan a llama walk we took on the challenge and quick got one planned.  We held it at a beautiful county park that has a river that winds through it.  

Afterwards we roasted hot dogs and made S'mores.  This was a lot of fun and we already have ideas on how to make it more exciting next year when we have more time to plan.  

First Eggs

One of our new chickens was standing in the driveway having a little snack.  Standing at the bottom of the driveway, I heard a clink and then a tinkling sound.  

When I looked down, an egg was rolling towards my feet. I don't think she even knew she had laid an egg as she went right on eating.  Thankfully she was standing in the middle of the food and it broke the fall for the egg or it would have been the egg that broke.  Our girls are growing up!  Now they are laying lots of eggs, but by the time we find them they are frozen.  

Llama Herdsmanship

At the 4-H awards banquet, the kids won the award for llama herdsmanship at the fair.  That means that they kept the stalls and area clean and the water buckets and feeders full.  The llama kids in our county all work together as a team and take of whatever they see isn't up to par when the walk through the barns, but it is nice to be recognized anyway.  Actually, I am more proud that they all are willing to take care of someone else's animal than worry about winning the award just for themselves.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Spring Semester Enrollment

Dancer all ready to go.  Just have to finish this sememster, celebrate Christmas and New Years and she should be ready to tackle that list of classes.  Right?!

Halloween Goodies and Goblins

Trick or treats in a Snapple bottle.  Spray paint the covers orange.  Adorn with ribbon and stickers.  Make sure the jars are completely dry before putting in the candy or you will end up throwing it all out, rewashing the jars and refilling with new candy you have to run to town to buy.   

We were suppose to have a Halloween themed dish for the 4-H party.  Low on time and motivation we grabbed a container of cheese balls from Sam's Club and drew a pumpkin face on it.

For our homeschool co-op party I was more organized.  This is a pan of lasagna with RIP in green olives.  If you don't like green olives (I don't) just eat from the bottom of the pan.

Also for co-op, pumpkin biscuits.  These are those biscuits that come in the tube and make your heart stop while you are waiting for it to pop upon opening.  Lay them out on your baking sheet and then cut slits around the sides.  Cut one biscuit into small pieces and stick on top for the stems.

Co-op trick or treating.  We had Sonic, Little Mac, and Mario.

In about one hour between the three of them they brought home about 30 pounds of candy.  A good chuck of Sparks went to the hospital with Dad.  Nurses love candy :)

4-H Halloween party, Mario and Mary Poppins.

The funniest game they played was trying to eat a donut tied from the ceiling without using their hands.

Dancer's dead and scarred pumpkin.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Black Bean Soup

While it isn't pretty, it might the best soup we have ever had.  The kids love it and even requested to make a pot at 11:30 p.m. the other night.

1 onion chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
45 oz. black beans or 6 cups
2 cups chicken broth
3 cups salsa of however hot you like it.  

Cook the onion and cumin until onions are just becoming translucent.  Puree 4 cups of beans and the chicken broth in a blender.  I used the Vitamix and started heating them while the onions were cooking.   Add pureed mixture to onions.  Add rest of the beans and salsa.  Cook until hot and serve with cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Running of the Llamas

Every fall in the town of Hammond Wisconsin thousand of people line the street and place bets on which llama will run down the street the fastest.

Spark and Marceline signed up to be in one of the four races this year.  

Spark won his race and was in the final race where he took third place over all.  He was in first place almost the whole way and got edged out in the last minute by a large white llama and a little alpaca that both got a burst of energy at the last second.  Not all llamas are runners.  The ones who win are ones who want to be leaders and do everything they can to make sure no other llama is in front of them.  Marceline went because she is the only llama we have with that trait.  The rest of them are happy to followers.

Right before the race Spark was asked by a group of old women bikers if Marceline could wear a handkerchief with their logo on it.  Marceline was proud to represent them!  

After the race Spark was even asked for autographs.  We are already looking forward to next year and I think their might even be a bit of training that goes on before hand.