Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I saw this over at Comfort Joy Designs then at a few other blogs. I'm always a sucker for these types if things :)
Things I’ve already done: bold
Things I want to do: italicize
Things I haven’t done and don’t want to - plain font
1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars – I’ve camped a lot.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world - both.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo – every time I get into the car :) .
11. Bungee jumped – went on a bungee swing a few weekends back with my daughter – it was scary.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch – cake decorating - I think it's an art!
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables – have a huge tomato crop right now, carrots, radishes, and peas ready soon.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train – we went to visit my grandparents in MT (from MN) a few times for Christmas – it was beautiful and snowy.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked - no way!
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort – walking home from school with my friend Andrea used to take hours in 1st and 2nd grade because we would stop to make snow forts along the way (in other peoples yards).
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon – very hard but well worth it.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse – lunar eclipse while I was running one morning – very cool.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - both.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language - I could use Spanish, would love to relearn Russian.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted (only if it was by one of my children – otherwise wouldn’t care to have it done).
48. Gone deep sea fishing – in the British Virgin Islands.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling - in the keys and BVI.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud – mud wrestling and mud volleyball in college.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater – saw ET sitting on the top of our vibrant green suburban.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class – Krav Maga – loved to grapple, who would have thought?
59. Visited Russia – when the USSR was breaking up in 1991/1992.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood - also a lot of plasma while in college.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten Caviar – yuck, too salty.
72. Pieced a quilt – started, never finished.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book - I guess Snapfish doesn't count :).
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper – once in grade school playing softball, the other while watching an Elvis impersonator….long, funny story.
85. Read the entire Bible – almost all, few in OT I haven't gotten through.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating – I did bow hunt for one season – didn’t shoot anything - never saw a deer - so I'm not sure if I would even had tried.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby - three.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone – I sometimes wish they were not invented.
99. Been stung by a bee – ouch!
So what about you??
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
The best present Scarlett could ask for - whatever wrapping paper came close enough to her to grab....and eat. Then the present mom wanted for her.....
a sock monkey....and the sweetest little tutu.
The girls also got field guides to birds, bugs, trees, and wild flowers. They are a big hit. Emma went out with her bird guide and binoculars, sat on the top of the dome, and did some bird watching. When I went out with her we actually saw a Red Bellied Sap Sucker, Blue jay, and some kind of yellow finch. That is the benefit of having some woods in your backyard!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
When I was a kid one of my highlights of Christmas decoration was our felt stockings made by my mom. I think it had a sequin or two and I was in awe. Nowadays....stockings have a bazillion sequins and the same number of little felt pieces. And to my little girls, spectacular equals the number of sequins present on the stocking (sorry, lots of math today). Nothing is ever simple, is it?
Anyway, I completed the third and final stocking just in time (even though Scarlett is not getting anything in her stocking). If I didn't get it done now there would be no big deadline looming to motivate me to complete it - except NEXT Christmas. I couldn't have that hanging over my head for another year (I have scrapbooks to complete that take on that job).
I hope to never have to sew another sequin to a piece of felt again. Ever.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Monday, December 22, 2008
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I didn't use nuts)
1-1/2 pounds semisweet candy coating, chopped
Directions: In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. If desired, remelt remaining candy coating and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
I always thought that I would adopt. I have two younger sisters that were adopted internationally. I worked at an international adoption agency as a case manager for 4 years. I certainly understand why families choose to adopt internationally. There are families waiting over three years just to get their chance to adopt an infant from a foreign country. These adoptions are time consuming, expensive, and often emotional roller coasters as you are at the mercy of the government of that country. Too many willing families, not enough available infants. The wait for older children and sibling groups is much less. This is the same in our system. These are the children that are so hard to place...they come with baggage (don't we all??).
With three young children could we parent a much older child? Are we where we need to be at to give that older child all they needed. Probably not, but I also feel that at any stage in our lives we could justify why it was not the right time.
It breaks my heart to think that children age out of the foster care system without having found that forever family, to not feel wanted enough to be adopted. Can you imagine the holidays without a family to go home to?
Look at some of the children in need of a home in Central Florida.
Friday, December 12, 2008
If I ever find that picture of him in the short shorts and half shirt from WAY back in the 80's, you'll be the first to see it. Love you baby!!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Her favorite thing to do right now is the "raspberry" sound, ppfffttt. Like she's blowing bubbles. She does it right when she is done nursing. She did it in the middle of the night a few nights back (just for fun and to see who she could wake up - play with - at that time). She'll ppffftttt constantly for a minute or two to get some good laughs. She's already a ham. So she took her first bite and pppfffftttt'd it all over. Very funny. I guess there is no going back now!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I found this Chicken-Fried Chops recipe for the crock pot. I knew the "Chicken-Fried" part would go over well with my husband. Little did I know this will now be my go-to chop dish. It was incredible and the time it took was so much less than the other. I am always a little suspect of dishes with canned cream soup, but the crock pot turns it into something magical. Now that I think about it, the crock pot potato soup recipe that we always battle for the leftovers also has cream of chicken soup. Anyway, you should try it if you are looking for a quick fix. I'm even going to make it next week when my relatives come to town. It was THAT good!
For the faux mashed potatoes, steam cauliflower and boil just a few potatoes. With mine the cauli far outweighs the potatoes. You could do half and half if you are skeptical. I leave some potatoes in because it gives them a better consistency. Mash them all together like you normally would. I add chicken bouillon, butter, and milk. Now you have some sneaky mashed potatoes that have a little better nutritional content. AND you are getting two veggies in one. Nobody noticed when I made the switch. I couldn't help tell my husband that what he was eating had cauli. I don't dare tell the kids....
Enjoy your day.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Dec 1 – Make a paper prayer chain for the advent season
Dec 2 – Look through scrapbooks and home video.
Dec 3 – Have breakfast for dinner! Make Christmas wrapping paper out of paper bags.
Dec 4 – Go out and look at the stars. Play with the snaps and sparklers. Hot cocoa?
Dec 5 – We are going to Young Life camp! Let’s listen to Christmas music on the way!
Dec 6 – Young Life camp -
Dec 7 – Young Life Christmas Party!
Dec 8 – Paint everyone’s toenails bright red - let's see if we can get Daddy to do it! Play outside!
Dec 10 – Make Christmas cards for your teachers. Make coffee mix for teachers.
Dec 11 – Decorate for Aunt Jackie’s Birthday party.
Dec 12 – Bake sugar cookies and decorate them! Send a care package to Aunt Abby and Aunt Beth.
Dec 13 – Run a 5K and kids run! Visit “A Walk Through Bethlehem” 4-9pm
Dec 14 – Scarlett’s Baptism (party!). Game Night! Make mulled cider and popcorn!
Dec 15 – Craft: color stained glass nativity book.
Dec 16 - Have a fancy dinner using the fine china (dress up for dinner).
Dec 17 – Read Christmas books.
Dec 18 – Go see Santa (in the neighborhood holiday party).
Dec 19 – Bring the tabs to the Ronald McDonald house (bring cookies too!).
Dec 20 – Feed the homeless. Bring them Christmas cookies as well.
Dec 22 – Watch The Christmas Story and eat popcorn!
Dec 21 - Go look at Christmas lights.
Dec 24 - Make a birthday cake for Jesus!
Dec 25 – Christmas morning Breakfast!
Go HERE to read more about the overall celebration.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
1. Go to YouTube.com
2. Search for "laughing baby."
3. Play any number of the clips over and over until each of the 10 tiny fingernails are no longer razor sharp.
This also works for bad days, stressed moments, or when trying to get your 3 year old to laugh herself out of a tantrum.
This is one of my favorites....here.
Go to Rocks In My Dryer to check out more Works-For-Me Wednesdays ideas!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Curried Cauliflower! Sounds funny but I love it. Another traditional side dish in my family that is one of my comfort foods. It's not something you would want to make all of the time (my kids won't eat it) but it's something I make on major holidays. Make it with fresh or frozen cauliflower. Make it with mild or hot curry. Make it "light" with low fat soup, cheese and mayo. Just try it, try it and you'll see...in a box, with a fox.....! You may just find it on your must-have list. You'll appreciate that it's another easy recipe :)
1 large head cauliflower (or 2 bags frozen)
½ tsp salt
1 can cream of chicken soup (or make-your-own cream soup concentrate, like I do!)
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
½ cup bread crumbs
4 T melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces and steam until tender. Mix salt, soup, cheese, mayonnaise, and curry in a casserole dish. Add cauliflower. Mix well. Mix bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over the top of casserole. Bake for 30 minutes.
P.S. This is also a good after Thanksgiving meal - just add cut up turkey, and cranberries if you are feeling festive!
***Go over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for some more festive recipes! Enjoy~
Monday, November 24, 2008
I've never been a big fan of crust (making it or eating it), therefore pumpkin pie is only the pumpkin filling for me. Last week I found a recipe long hidden in my recipe box. I think it came from one of my old church cookbooks because it's name is....The GREAT Pumpkin Dessert! How original :) I made this for my small group but with the disclaimer "I'm really not sure how this will all turn out." Lucky for me, the group is OK with experimental desserts. It was so much better than pumpkin pie because, instead of a crust, it had a crunchy and sweet topping. And did I mention that it is very, very easy?? Bonus!
THE GREAT PUMPKIN DESSERT
One can pumpkin (15 oz)
One can sweetened condensed milk
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
One yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
In a medium mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, and spice until smooth. Pour into 9" x 13" dish. Dump yellow cake mix (dry) on top of the pumpkin mixture. Pour butter as evenly as possible over the top. Bake at 350°F for one hour or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.
P.S. The picture is of some pumpkin cupcakes that I had made for Emma's kindergarten class.
Friday, November 21, 2008
· 1 cup granulated sugar
· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 2 cups shortening
· 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
· 1 large egg, beaten
· 4 1/3 cups cake flour = important (I've never used cake flour before but it really makes a difference)
· 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
· 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· sugar, for decorating
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer.
3. Mix on slow speed 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
4. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
5. Slowly add vanilla and beaten egg while mixing.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not over mix.
7. Scoop with an ice-cream scoop and roll in sugar.
8. Place directly on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with palm of hand.
9. Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown. They will look a little underdone.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I truly have gardening in my blood. My grandpa was a tomato farmer in MN (as well as other relatives who still have nurseries up there) and my father devotes most of his free time to his extensive gardens. I think he retired just so he could spend more time in the garden.
One of my fondest memories of growing up was going to the St. Paul Farmer's Market early Saturday morning to help sell produce, eat ham and cheese bagels, and play with my cousins. I worked at a nursery and craft store throughout high school and a small nursery one summer in college (I have had an abundant amount of jobs, but that is another post altogether). With my last two babies I planted instead of nested. My children, who are ecstatic to get a shovel and plant seeds, know where veggies actually come from. They have seen it happen. So you get the picture, I love gardening.
Last winter my Dad came for a visit and dug up a garden bed and started tons of seedlings for me. Besides the sunflowers, the garden did not do well. I think the summer is just too hot for things down here. I've planted things before for the summer season but never had great results. When he came down again after Scarlett was born he dug another two beds and two sides along the house. Tons more space! So I have experimented with a fall garden. It is doing great! I have 20+ tomato plants (I really cannot help myself, it's an addiction), bell peppers, banana peppers, habenero and jalapeno peppers, string beans, radishes, carrots, cucumbers, red onions, scallions, a lettuce mix, various herbs and an eggplant that has hardly made it past a seedling. You can tell you have a gardening problem when you start planting things you don't even normally eat (radishes).
The tomatoes have really blossomed in the past few week. I think they like the cooler weather we have been having. I'm so used to the traditional northern summer garden that each thing is toss up. The true scientist (nerd) that I am, I have been keeping notebooks as to what grows well, when, where, and for how long. Maybe in a few years I'll have it down. For now, I keep vigilant watch on my little tomato babies! Soon the girls will be eating them right off the plants quicker than I can get my hands on them.
P.S. I hate squirrels. They are doing as much "gardening" in my beds and pots as I am.