Monday, June 30, 2008

Manic Monday

Friday, June 27, 2008

Abe and George


Most of our discussions around here have something to do with costumes.

It's always....

Cainan: "Where is my black cape, not the long one, the one that goes with blue Batman?

Ryker: "I can't find the Spiderman mask. I can only find black suit. I want the red one so I can be Peter and then turn into Spiderman."

Ryker: "Can I wear my suit jacket too? I want to be Maxwell Smart just like Cainan."

Cainan: "How do you make metal? Can you make me an Ironman costume?

Cainan: "I want to have an Indiana Jones birthday party. Can I have a brown leather jacket to wear for it?"

Mom: "Hurry up! We've got to get your costumes on so you won't be late for your ballgames."

Dad: "They're called 'uniforms', not costumes."

And on and on and on. They spend months planning what they will dress up as for Halloween and for their birthday parties. See, Ryker's birthday is the day after Halloween so we've always themed the party to go along with his Halloween costume for the year. So of course Cainan, even though his birthday is in the middle of July and nowhere close to Halloween, now thinks that all of his parties should involve elaborate costumes. Remember the pirate ensemble last year?

So it should come as no surprise that I overheard this conversation earlier this week.

Cainan: "I know. I'll be Abraham Lincoln for Halloween and you can be George Washington."

Ryker: "Well, then you'd have to have a beard."

Cainan: "So. You'd have to have hair on your ears."

I guess he does have hair on his ears. I never noticed that before.

I think I'd rather make a stove pipe hat than try my hand at forging metal so I think I'll encourage the Abraham Lincoln idea.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Will They Think of Next?

Now this is funny!

Check out Travis' post about a special new service that none of us will want to be without.

Oh my!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More Power

I have never been a tooth person.

Don't get me wrong....I have teeth, all of them actually, except my wisdom teeth.

I just don't enjoy working on them.

I've always hated brushing my teeth. I don't like the taste of toothpaste or the feeling of all that foam in my mouth. I do brush my teeth because I know I need to but I don't like it and I never, ever, ever floss. It is just too annoying and time consuming and painful.

I also don't go to the dentist unless it is an emergency.

The thought of all of that scraping and poking and digging gives me little nervous butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.

I know. I am a horrible and disgusting person. Sue me.

Anyway, I have always hoped that my dental discrimination wouldn't rub off on my kids. I don't think it has. They love to brush their teeth, but they're 8 and 4 year old boys...they don't keep up with it very well.

Until now.

Because they were practically giving them away at CVS last week, I got two Oral-B Pulsar electric toothbrushes. The boys think they are the best invention known to mankind. They are brushing their teeth multiple times a day...just for the fun of it.

They love the buzzing sound and the tickly feeling it makes on their gums.There is no need to set a timer...unless it would be to make them stop brushing and go to bed. They cover each tooth multiple times with the spinning bristles.

Now if I could only teach them how to use a small dollop of toothpaste instead of half a tube at a time. Oh well, baby steps, baby steps.

So, electric toothbrushes definitely work for me, or at least for my kids.

For more Works For Me Wednesday Tips head over to Rocks in My Dryer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homemade Soft Pretzels

By popular demand here it is.........

Laura's Amazing Soft Pretzel recipe


1 cup water
2 pkgs. yeast (2 T.)
2 t. honey
2 1/2 cups milk
1 stick butter
1/2 cup honey
4 t. salt
8 cups whole wheat flour

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup very warm water, yeast, and 2 t. honey. Stir, then let sit for a few minutes.

Melt stick of butter in a large saucepan. Add 1/2 c. honey, 4 t. salt and 2 1/2 cups milk. Heat to 120 degrees.

Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture and stir.

Stir in 8 cups of flour, 2 cups at a time.

Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise for 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.

Punch dough down. And start shaping your pretzels.

Start with a ball of dough about the size of your fist. Roll it out into a long snake shape. (Make sure it is pretty skinny. We made our snakes too fat I think.) Then twist it into a pretzel shape.

Place pretzels on a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt a stick of butter in a saucepan. As soon as pretzels come out of the oven baste them with butter and sprinkle them with salt, cinnamon and sugar, garlic powder or grated cheese.


You can see the original post where I found this recipe, complete with pictures to accompany the step by step instructions, here. Thanks, Laura!
For more great kitchen tips and recipes head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Manic Monday

Tell the truth now....haven't you wanted to say this before?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Save on Milk

In my never ending journey to try and spend less on groceries one of the biggest obstacles is milk.

My family could consume a gallon a day if I let them. Let them? Yep. I'm the milk nazi. I ration the stuff like its liquid gold.

This drives Brian absolutely crazy. He "makes the money to buy the milk....he should be able to drink the milk whenever he wants."

True. But I think children need milk much worse than adult men do and people who eat cereal for breakfast (i.e. all of us but Brian) deserve to have some milk each morning and not have it guzzled by someone else as a midnight snack the night before.

He isn't the only one that has had to cut back. I've basically eliminated milk from my diet all together. I know, I know...the calcium. But I just can't justify drinking it when it is soooooo expensive and the kids need it.

But I have found a nice alternative. Yogurt.

I mix my cereal with yogurt, and sometimes berries. It's really good! I like the creamy and crunchy and sweet and tart all mixed together. And there is calcium in yogurt too! Not to mention the fact that I always have coupons for yogurt.

Just one more creative way to save a little at the grocery store.

For lots of other good ideas head over to Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baking Fun

Well, we finally did it.

The kids have been begging to make homemade soft pretzels ever since I showed them the pictures online (from one of the blogs I read but can't remember right now, sorry, loved the recipe though).

I promised them we'd give it a try this summer.

Well, it's been summer for a while now so I had to keep my word.

I love cooking...but making yeast breads with an 8 year old and a 4 year old boy isn't always the most fun.

We ended up having a great time though and the pretzels were delicious. Success!!

Yes, this is Ryker's best smile right now. He is going through and awkward smile stage. Ugh!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Milestone

And this one is a biggie.

Kinley now (ocasionally) plays by herself!!!!

On her own initiative she'll head upstairs to the toy room and entertain herself for a while. I never thought this day would come. Yippee!

I first discovered her new found independence a few days ago when I noticed she wasn't hanging around my legs, but instead giggling hysterically upstairs. I crept up and peeked in the toy room to see which of the boys was playing with her and eliciting such happy sounds. Instead I found Kinley all alone holding the toy battery powered drill to her stomach tickling herself. She kept that up for probably 5 minutes.

The next day I didn't hear anything from her for a while and went to investigate once again. This time I found her sitting on the top step completely under her blankie drinking from a Gatorade bottle of water she had found in the boys' room. Since it was just water I let her enjoy her forbidden fruit for as long as it would last.

Of course, as I type this she is sitting on my lap throwing a screaming fit and trying to push the "alt" key, so it isn't a full time thing....yet.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Blooming Projects

Well, I've been inspired once again by Pink Paper Peppermints.

I just can't get enough of those little flowers with the button centers.

This time I made one with rounded petals and added it to a dress I made for Kinley.

I also made the hair pin flower to go with it. Isn't it cute?

Then she had a tutorial about dressing up your resuable shopping bags....and I realized I'd already done that.

Thanks to Noel, who had a bag that had, "Breastfeeding is Fun!" emblazoned on it that she needed to cover up, for coming up with this idea to transform any bag into a photo display bag.

Here is my version of the dressed up canvas bag

1. Cut a rectangle (2 inches bigger than your picture on each side) out of a decorative fabric with pinking shears.

2. Apply fusible web to the back of the fabric and then iron it on to the bag. (Follow the directions on the package.)

3. Cut a rectangle (just slightly larger than your photo) out of clear vinyl. (Sold in fabric stores.)

4. Hand stitch it (I know, I know, but my machine doesn't like vinyl) onto your bag, centering it on the fabric you just ironed on.

5. Embellish the corner of the fabric square with silk flowers, beads, etc.

Voila! Embarassing messages disappear behind one of your favorite photos.

Manic Monday

I have to admit that I was thinking about the Community Theatre play I am directing when I read this.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Discuss It

Yahoo recently had a little article about how much height matters when falling in love and choosing a mate. As someone who is virtually the same height as her husband, I was interested in the article.

The female writer said that height did matter in first impressions but that women were willing to overlook it (or him, as the case may be) if they truly love the shorter man. She said,

"The things that matter when it comes to love are whether or not your values,
life goals, priorities, and communication skills align -- not whether you can
see over him when you wear your favorite stiletto heels."

A man said that it didn't matter to guys at all. He explained,

"Sometimes the one you end up falling head over 3-inch heels for doesn't
necessarily fit your "type," but then maybe she is exactly your type after all.
I mean you may not end up seeing eye-to-eye on your wedding day, but that
shouldn't matter because you can always PhotoShop the pictures. I did."

(I'd like to point out that if you are doctoring matters to you.)

I've always been self-consious about my height. I'm only 5'6" but I've been this tall since 5th grade when everyone else...including the boys....were all about 4'3". Finally by high school most of the guys started to pass me up. Now I consider myself to be average height, but being married to someone who is the tallest person in his family and claims to be 5'10" but is probably closer to 5'8" makes me think about it again.

I never, ever wear heels unless I'm going somewhere without my husband. In pictures I always make sure that he looks taller than me. If we are at home and he is barefoot and I have shoes on, I take mine off, so we'll be eye to eye. I don't know why it bothers me.

Brian could care less. He wants me to wear heels. He is quick to point to Nicole Kidman and the way she towered over Tom Cruise and no one seemed to care. I am quick to point out that they are divorced and she has since married someone that is at least the same height that she is.

Does anyone else feel this way?

What do you think when you see couples where the woman is taller than the man?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Nothing But the "Tooth"

Ryker and a friend were having a discussion about how many teeth they had each lost. Ryker has lost 6 or 7 and his friend had lost almost as many.

Cainan couldn't join in on the conversation since he has yet to lose any teeth at all. Feeling left out he decided to chime in with his own tooth anecdote.

"We have a grandpa that is so old that all of his teeth were lost. He had to get fake ones. Then he got so old that he died and went to heaven....and lived happily ever after."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer School

I can't believe I'm saying this but....

Summer School works for me.

Not the kind where the kids go to the school for remedial courses but the kind where I sit down with them at the table every day and we "do school".

I am not a homeschooling mom. I do not have the patience to instruct my children in anything or be with them 24 hours a day.

But, this summer I really wanted to make sure that my oldest didn't forget all of those addition, subtraction and multiplication facts that we've studied all year and I needed to get my 5 year old ready for kindergarten. Plus, they both need to work on their penmanship...big time.

Not to mention the fact that left to their own devices for 8 hours a day they will simply bicker with each other until I can't take it anymore and lock them both outside. We need some structure.

So far it has really worked well. Ryker quizzes Cainan on letter recognition with flashcards and Cainan quizzes Ryker on math facts (as an added bonus Cainan gets to practice number recognition when he reads the answers on the back of the flashcard too.). Cainan practices writing his name while Ryker writes letters to his teacher or friends. We make homemade cards and work in some age appropriate workbooks. Ryker also practices the piano and Cainan sorts items by shape, color and size. I plan on doing some baking with them (which they both love) to practice measuring, fractions, and just plain old cooking skills.

Granted it has only been one week, but so far we are all enjoying it. Kinley even gets in on the fun by sitting in her high chair and coloring or reading books. They don't know it but we are going to take them on a "field trip" to the City Museum later this summer.

As crazy as it sounds, summer school at home is working. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread

A few weeks ago I got a starter of Amish Friendship Bread from an aquaintance. You know, the stuff that you feed little by little then make bread every 10 days and pass on starters to your friends.

Well, it was as delicious as I remembered from the last time the starters were flying around our little community a few years ago and the boys have had fun helping me make it. The only problem is nobody wants the 3 starters that I have to give away every 10 days.

When I offer it to someone they jump back like I've just tried to hand them the bubonic plague in a Ziploc bag. The reactions I get are all the same:

"No way, I've had that stuff before and it just goes on forever."

"No thanks. The bread is really good but I hate having to take care of it."

"It is such a waste because you can never get anyone to take the starters."

and even...

"If I had that stuff around my house I'd gain a hundred pounds."

I don't blame them. After making two batches over the last 20 days and only being able to give away 1 of the 6 starters I've been left with I totally understand. I'm not sick of the bread but I'm sick of dealing with the extra starters.

So....surely there is a way I can just make enough for my own bread and a starter for myself, right? I mean if I am currently making 2 loaves of bread and 4 starters and I just want to make 2 loaves of bread and 1 starter I could simply cut down the recipe, right?

Does anyone know if this works?

Do I need to cut down the recipe all along or just when I get to day 10 and start to divide it and make the bread?

Does anyone want a starter of Amish Friendsip Bread shipped to them?

For kitchen tips or advice head over to Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

No time to blog.

Too busy rehearsing two shows and attending three ballgames a week.

Be back on Monday.....maybe.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pottery Hollow

A few weeks ago I tried a new activity in our area. I wanted to take the college student that I mentor out for a night of fun before we had to part for the summer. We joined up with another mentor/student pair and headed to Pottery Hollow.

Pottery Hollow is a really cool place where you buy plain, cream colored bisque (pottery) and then use their paints, brushes, etc. to paint and decorate your piece. They have hundreds of cool pieces to choose from and actually that is the hardest part of the whole experience. They've got travel mugs, platters, plates, bowls, coffee cups, pitchers, vases, picture frames, piggy banks, all manner of figurines and statues, and lots of funky shaped decorative pieces too.

I chose something called a Triple Swoop Platter which cost $15 and looked like this.

The staff at Pottery Hollow kindly showed us how to pick patterns and designs from their idea books. They also showed us how to layer the paints for a better color. Then they turned us loose to use all of their supplies. (We paid a $1 supply fee per person for this priveledge because we went on a Monday. Normally the supply fee is $8.)

After 2 hours of painting we left our pieces behind so that they could be glazed and fired by the professionals at Pottery Hollow. When I went back yesterday to get my finished platter I was amazed. It was so shiny and bright and beautiful.

Can you believe it?

It was so fun and it turned out so well that I want to go again soon. I think I'm going to take Cainan there for a final fling before he heads off to school in the fall.
Now I have to figure out how to use the Triple Swoop Platter. I almost want to hang it on the wall it is so PRETTY! I definitely don't want to put food on it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Manic Monday

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Final Thoughts on LOST

I haven't posted about the LOST Finale yet because I just watched it last night. We were swamped around here and didn't have time to watch it on Thursday. We got together with friends on Sat. evening to watch it and it did not dissapoint me one bit.

Well...maybe one bit. Jin did die...while Sun watched, screaming from the helicopter. That was awful, although not totally unexpected.
But the Desmond and Penny reunion more than made up for it. I couldn't believe it. I thought they'd dangle that relationship along for another season or two. I was so thrilled that they were reunited on the boat. I shouted for joy as we watched it.

Here is the one thing that TOTALLY shocked me. Sawyer lives. I know that probably didn't shock anyone else but I happened to read this post on Friday that said, "Now I'm going to go do some housework and try not to worry that they've killed-off Sawyer in LOST tonight!"

I watched the whole first half just knowing that he would die. Then he jumped off the helicopter (to sacrifice himself for Kate and the sweet...and because he really has no life to go back to anyway) and I thought it was over for him. Then like 10 minutes later he swims up and starts talking to Juliette! What episode was she watching? Did she stop watching part way through? Does she think that everyone who was on the island when it "moved" died? Was she just messing with us? I don't know. I plan to ask her though.

I thought the most intriguing part of the whole show was when Miles mentions that Charlotte (who one of my fellow bloggers calls C.S. Lewis...anyone know why?) has been trying to get back to the island for a long time. Hummmm! So she was there before. She is looking for her birthplace? Odd. I've read some theories that she is Sawyer's daughter. Who knows?

Of course the best lines of the night were,

Locke: Is he talking about what I think he's talking about?
Ben: If you mean time travelling bunnies, then yes.

And Sawyer came up with another great nickname. He called Frank the pilot "Kenny Rogers". Doesn't he look like Kenny Rogers? That is so funny. Do you think the writers come up with that or Josh What's-His-Name that plays Sawyer just said that because the guy really does remind him of Kenny Rogers?

I was glad that they seemed to answer several questions for us.

Who is in the coffin? John Locke
How do the 6 get off the island? Helicopter crash
How does Jin die? C-4
Who rescues them? Penny
How do you move an island? Turn a frozen underground wheel until you see fire and disappear.

Of course we are left with lots of questions too.

Why did John change his name to Jeremy Bentham?
Why are Jack and Sayid desperate to get back to the island?
Is Sun working for or against Whidmore?
Is Sun working for or against the Oceanic 6?
Why was Charlotte on the island?
How did Charlotte get off the island?
Is Hurley really insane?
Is Claire really dead?
Is the new season really not going to start until January? Ugh!

My newest wild theory: Charlotte is dead. That is how Miles knows about her. He talks to dead people, you know. Just a theory. We'll see.

Head over to Rocks in My Dryer to read some other insightful comments.

CVS Deals

To see my CVS deals for this week go here.

20 Things I'll (probably) Never Say

1. Don't you just love that Angelina Jolie?

2. This 4 doesn't fit. Maybe I should try the 2.

3. I'd love to play Star Wars with you.

4. Would you like fries with that?

5. I'd rather be fishing.

6. I wish you could sit with me in big church every Sunday.

7. Sports Center. Yes!

8. Hillary '08!!

9. Hillary '12!!

10. Can we watch Barney just one more time, pleeeeease?

11. Let's skip the hugs and kisses and just go straight to the part where I give you the candy/car keys/tuition.

12. Wanna fingerpaint?

13. Can't we go out just once without having to stop at Cold Stone Creamery?

14. I wish those LOST writers would just kill Jack off.

15. No naps today!!!

16. I'll weed the green beans just as soon as I finish pruning the rose bushes.

17. How do you like my new tatoo?

18. Nurse, scalpel please.

19. What key would you like me to sing that in?

20. Go Cubs!