Friday, January 31, 2014


We made these for Mexican day at our co-op and the kids were eating them as fast as I could make them.  The only reason I got a picture of them is because the kids had to wait a minute or two for them to cool down, they are hot when they first come out of the oil.

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons lard or shortening
1 1/4 cups warm milk

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in lard or shortening like you would for pie crust.  Add the warm milk all at once and kneed until dough is not sticky.  Let dough rest for 15 minutes.  Roll out in a rectangle on a floured surface.  Cut into about 1 1/2 inch squares and then cut the squares into triangles.  Deep fry in oil.  Drop them in the oil and they will sink to the bottom, when the pop to the top let them get brown and then flip them over to brown on the other side.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Robot Competition

The kids robot 4-H team.  The big competition was this last weekend, Friday and Saturday.  The kids did well, they placed as Champion Finalist with two other teams, a fancy way to say 2nd place.  Out of 50 teams and it being their second year they did well.
Lots of cheering, running with signs and dancing got them the energy award.  They were really close last year to winning this award and weren't going to let it slip away this year so they turned it up a notch. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Personal Tech Support

When Dancer got a new phone for her birthday, somehow it crossed accounts with her iPod and it didn't recognize her password anymore, thus locking her out of her iPod. 
The iPod has been sitting here for two weeks, she could get her music out of her cloud and put it on her phone so it didn't seem like a dire need to get it unlocked but, we have been meaning to find out how to get it open.  
I did try once but, it didn't like the answers to her security questions so I gave up.  My patience on technical devices on a scale of one to ten is about a negative three. I don't think it is too much to ask for them to just work right all of the time, anything less and it makes me want to get out the maul and teach it a lesson.  Because of this negative three rating, I always defer to Spark to set the DVR, hook up the gaming consoles and fix things on the computer and anything else that beeps.
I was looking at it today and thought, I should set Spark to work on that to see if he can get into it, after all, she had the lock on it so he couldn't use it in the first place.  To give him motivation, I threw in five dollars if he was successful.  Half an hour later, he was clutching a five dollar bill and had finagled a Dr. Pepper from his sisters stash for his services.
I sure hope by the time he moves out that they have made all these devices fool proof or I will be back to relying on the US Postal Service and a rotary dial phone.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blow Bubbles with a CD

Cut a CD in half and separate the two layers of the CD.  Using the clear plastic half, make a hot spot by moving a lighter around in a circle on the CD a couple of inches in diameter.  When it bulges up on the top, blow at it like you would a soap bubble wand. 

The hot spot blows up just like soap bubbles.  These deflate quite quickly. 
The bigger the spot you heat up the bigger the bubble.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flamin' Hot Orange Skin

The skin of an orange, or any citrus fruit, contains oils.  We have probably all seen the oils spray out of the skin when you peel an orange.  The oil is flammable.
 Squeeze or tear a chunk of orange peel by a flame...

And watch the oils ignite as they pass through the flames.

Red Hot Balloon

Heat capacity of water.
Water is able to absorb a lot of heat.  In this experiment we held an empty inflated balloon over a flame and it popped immediately.  We then held an inflated balloon, 1/4 filled with water in the flame.  No matter how long we held the balloon in the flame it wouldn't pop.   

We had the balloon in the flame so long it got soot marks on it.

The balloon is safe because water is able to absorb the heat from the flame so the balloon doesn't melt and tear.  I have heard you can hold the balloon over the heat until the water starts to boil and it still won't break.  We only held it for a few minutes.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy 17 Dancer!!

We started celebrating on Sunday because that is when all of us going out worked into the schedule.  Started at Old Chicago.

Meet Grandma and went to Cherry Berry for frozen yogurt treats.
On her birthday we celebrated before Dad went to bed, hence why she looks like she just got up because she did.  She was showered with gifts of Dr. Pepper, Just Dance 2014, nail polish, a computer (she needed one but it just happened to coincide with her birthday so it ended up getting tacked on to the birthday gift list) and a new phone with texting! 

We ate cheese cake and ice cream for breakfast. 
In the afternoon Dancer, Spark and I went to the movie the "Secret Life of Walter Mitty."  It has always been our tradition to go to a movie on our birthdays but, the last few years there hasn't been anything out she wanted to see so we were excited to resurrect that tradition this year. 
We picked up pizza for supper on the way home, had cheese cake again before bed and she was 17!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First Day of School

Dancer's first day of school picture.  Not your typical little cutie standing at the end of the drive way with an oversized backpack filled with markers and glue sticks waiting for the bus.  Her very first day of school ever didn't happen until the day before she turned 17 and she is sitting in front of the computer.  She is taking three on-line college classes through the PSEO program. 
This week, to say the least, has been a little overwhelming.  College has changed since I went, or even when Dad went back to school 12 years ago.  It's not the course work that is overwhelming it is this on-line stuff.  We have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to use their system.  Did she hand in that assignment correctly?  There was a two page tutorial just on how to submit your homework.  Did that quiz register?  Then there is your profile to set up, discussion areas to get into, where to get your assignments, how to down load and use a web site that interacts with her book (that was two YouTube videos that took over an hour to watch) and the list goes on and on.   I think by the time she goes through one more week she will have it down and it should be smooth sailing.  I tell you, there is something to be said about the old school simplicity of just passing your paper forward. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Ice Cream Sandwich

Spark made an actual ice cream sandwich.  He said it tasted a lot like cake.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Governor Closes Schools

“Don't forget your booties 'cause it's cooooold out there today!”   That was the greeting Bill Murray woke up to every morning on his alarm clock radio in the movie "Groundhog Day."  I always think of that line when it is cold out.  Today, we may need two pair of booties because it is -27 with wind chills in the -50s.  It is so cold that our governor cancelled school for the whole state.  I feel a little nostalgic about him doing that because the last time it happened I was snug up in the hospital having Dancer.

I don't know how cold it was then but, I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention.  We were over the moon happy to finally have a baby!  Also, I was on strict bed rest for the six weeks before and I was happy to be sitting up.  By the time we left the hospital, it was still cold but, the frigid temps were over.

Just before we bundled her up to leave the hospital and take her home.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pumpkin Treats

We have had this huge pumpkin in our kitchen that Dancer keeps stubbing her toes on.  Today, before it started to get soft and make a mess, Dad cut it up for the animals.  When he cut into it we realized that it was probably never going to get soft because it had such a hard rind that it was drying out.  Perhaps that was from our dry, dry summer.

It made Chester very happy.

The llamas could smell something good was on its way before we even got one step in the barn.
Dancer had them eating out of her hands.  They always eat out our hands, I just wanted to say that.

The chickens were happy.

Calliope was so happy it turned her eyes blue!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Round And Round We Go

In 1961 in a Peanuts comic strip, Linus spoke the wise words, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people...religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”  What he should have said was, "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people...religion, politics and fluoride." 

Yes, our dentist got a new assistant and she is a fluoride Nazi.  We have been through this before to where I almost walked out in the middle of an appointment with the little paper bib still clipped around my child's neck.  That assistant finally gave up on us once she realized I wasn't ever going to "understand" the importance of fluoride.  Just to be sure we are always on the same page, I remind them when we sign the form and tell the kids in front of them that if they try to put the little tray of goo on their teeth to tell them no.

Miss Fluoride Nazi (MFN) couldn't believe we would make such a grave mistake.  We don't "seek out those non-fluoride toothpastes too" do we?"!!!  Dancer goes back and they both come out after the appointment and MFN announces that by some miracle, Dancer's non-fluorinated mouth doesn't have any cavities. 

However, when MFN dried off her teeth she could see on the front teeth that there was a little wear and if she had had fluoride that would have never happened and if she just took her back now and painted a little fluoride on them she could save the day.  First off, you dried off her teeth?  What? 

I, not getting as excited as she must have hoped, said it must have been from the brackets of her braces, they warn you of that before they put them on, or the medal on her retainer might just be rubbing a bit in the front.  What?! She doesn't have a plastic retainer on top?!  We had better bring that in so they can look at it.  Yeah, I think we will ask the orthodontist, who we paid a crap load of money to and is an expert in this area, about it the next time we go in.

At this point MFN was being to see that I wasn't going to "understand" and she finished with instructions to Dancer to "rub toothpaste on her teeth and not rinse after brushing." Duly noted. 

She also showed me that she wrote, in all caps mind you, that "MOM SAYS NO FLUORIDE" in her chart.  Good, maybe we won't have to go through this next time then. 

When we got in the car, I asked Dancer if she brought it up during the appointment.  Dancer said she hadn't even reclined yet and MFN asked why her mom doesn't want her to get fluoride.  Dancer said she just said she didn't know - my kids are experts at blowing people off on these issues, dodging homeschooling questions will do that for you.  She did get quite the fluoridication for a good majority of the appointment though.

Had I known beforehand MFN was going to get so excited, I would have instructed her to put her mask on nice and snug because Dancer doesn't have all her immunizations either.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Trip To The Village Well

We don't drink our water because of nitrates.  The test came back just under what the government thinks is a safe level, which isn't a safe level to us, so we trek to the grocery store to refill our water judges.  Whenever we go I always think that that is what it must have been like when everyone had to go to the village well everyday for their water.