Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stuffed Pumpkins

This evening I went over to my Mother-in-Law's home so that she could teach me how to make these adorable pumpkins. She had learned how to make them in a quilting group that she's a part of. She offered to teach me how to make them as well. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to make. I whipped these two up in about an hour. Amazingly fast for such a cute end product. I am so blessed to have a Mother-in-Law that I get along with and who has interests similar to my own. I know many who are not so fortunate with their in-laws.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Green Tomatoes

There was frost in the forecast for last night, so we picked all the veggies still in the garden. We have a total of 86 tomatoes and have to do something with them all. I found this link and this recipe and another recipe so I could find a way to use all of these green tomatoes. Tonight I made fried green tomatoes. This is amazing since I HATE tomatoes!!! It was super easy to do...slice the tomato, dip in cornmeal, then fry in veggie oil until brown. Before I tell you the verdict, I must tell you about the tastes in our family. We are a family where the males enjoy the taste of tomatoes while us females detest the taste especially the texture. Well, I was the only one that liked them! I shocked myself! I was surprised to find out that green tomatoes are very tart. My hubby even asked me numerous times if I put lemon juice on them. Both kiddos made sourpuss faces after their first (and final) bite. I actually enjoyed the tart taste. I think that this would be a good side dish in the middle of the hot summer. The tartness would be very refreshing. Who'd a thunk?!?!? I like fried green tomatoes!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ironed Leaves

I was talking with a friend recently and she mentioned a craft involving a way to incorporate the beautiful fall leaves. She told me how to do it and my response was skeptical. (Sorry, Deanna!) My response was, "Seriously, you iron them?" and "Are you sure you use wax paper?" She assured me that this was the correct process and so I gave it a try.

We gathered all the necessary supplies.

We folded a leave between the wax paper.

We put a towel over the wax paper and ironed it.

Then, I cut out a construction paper frame and we glued it over the wax paper. Then, I had my daughter write each member of our family under one of the leaves with a white crayon.

Don't they look fantastic hanging in our front window?!?!? Here are the individual shots of each of the leaves...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tuscani Pasta

Today we celebrated Pastor Appreciation Sunday by sharing lunch together. The meal was from Pizza Hut. They have new Tuscani Pastas and they are delicious. They have three kinds...Bacon Mac ‘N Cheese, Meaty Marinara or Creamy Chicken Alfredo. I tried all three and they were all really good. I was impressed that pasta from Pizza Hut could taste so good. I would definitely order this again.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Tonight I went to a Michael W. Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman concert. They are on tour together. It's called The United Tour. It was an amazing concert! I have seen both artists separately on several occasions. I even met Michael W. Smith a few years back...but that's another story!
Being a PK, I've been to a lot of Christian concerts and this was like none that I have ever been to before! First of all, seeing two pioneers in contemporary Christian Music together on the same stage was amazing. They both exhibited such respect for each other. Secondly, both of them had a son playing in the band. The son of MWS was playing keyboards and SCC's son was playing guitar. How cool is it that they have passed on their talent and love of music to their children. Finally, I have never cried so much at a concert. Chapman spent a great deal of time sharing his personal struggle after the loss of his daughter earlier this year. He was very open and honest. I don't think there was a dry eye in the audience.
I find it hard to write reviews. However, I found this review online and it really captures the essence of the concert.
The most memorable moment of the concert was when Stephen Curtis Chapman sang "Cinderella." If you haven't heard this song, go now and listen to it. It is life changing. It makes me want to strive to hold my little ones just a little tighter and let those moments linger just a little longer.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Chicken in Spaghetti Sauce

Today, I made up my own recipe. I took some chicken breasts and put them in my crock pot. Then I took a jar of spaghetti sauce and covered the chicken with it. I cooked them on low for the entire day. Shortly before serving, I removed the breasts and added water to the spaghetti sauce left in the crock pot. I brought it to a boil and added pasta. After the pasta was cooked, I drained it and served it alongside the chicken. It was delicious and so-o-o easy. All four of us loved this meal!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I learned today that a man that I serve on a committee with is receiving schooling to be a Cicerone. I had never heard of that term before so I was completely ignorant when he started talking about it. It turns out that a Cicerone is to beer what a Sommelier is to wine. I had no idea that such a position existed. An old friend of my husband's is a Sommelier, so I was aware of what that was but I had never heard of a Cicerone. Here is a link to more info on what a Cicerone is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

DIY Door Stop

Recently, I saw a doorstop at a friend's house that I thought would be a good idea for our little door slammer. He is fascinated with opening and closing doors. I am so worried about him slamming his little fingers in the door.

Today, I was throwing away some foam packaging material and I got an idea. I decided to try to make my own door stop. I used a knife and chopped away at that packing foam and now, I have a removable doorstop. I must admit, it is pretty ugly. But, hey, it's a lot prettier than fingers slammed in the door!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Unique Gourd

Yesterday, at the craft fair that we went to, I ran into a friend that I haven't seen since before I had children. We used to work together and I miss the friendship that we once had. I was so pleased to be able to introduce my children to her. They were enamored with some pumpkins and gourds that she had decorated her craft booth with. Since it was nearly time for her to take down her booth, she let both of the kids pick one out to take home.

My daughter picked out a "princess pumpkin." One that looks like the pumpkin that turned into Cinderella's coach.

My son picked out this one...

I thought it was a beautiful gourd and I was curious to learn what kind it was. My friend did not know so I came home and looked it up. I got my answer here. It's called a Turks Turban (Cucurbita maxima) and although we only plan on using it as a decoration, we learned that it's edible too!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reading the Fine Print

I received this tin as a gift recently. It had the cute little spatula, cookie cutters, and a sugar cookie mix included with it. I failed to read the packaging! Today I read it and found out that it included a card for a free subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. Whoo - Hoo, what a surprize! I learned that it pays to pay attention to the packaging...I didn't realize what it said until I glanced at it as I tossed it into the garbage can! So glad I read it, that card is in the mail now!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Harvest Party

Today, we went to a church sponsored harvest party at a member's farm. We had great fun! We had pot-luck lunch in the barn, horseback riding, a hayride and a candy toss.

Both of the kids got to ride on the horse. They thought that was the greatest thing!!! Our daughter got to ride on the horse by herself with Daddy walking beside her. She was so proud sitting up there all by herself. She looked so-o-o little up on that big old horse!

I rode with our son in the saddle with me. He LOVED it! Every time we would make our way around the arena and come close to the gate were others waited, he would frantically sign, "more!" Most of the people watching interpreted his signing as clapping and thought that he kept clapping his hands with glee. Although that wasn't what he meant, he was indeed a happy boy!

The hayride was fun, too. Daddy and daughter got to get up into the cab of the tractor and drive the hayride for a while. It was like a dream come true for our daughter. She loves, trains, construction trucks, tractors, etc. So, to be able to drive one was an amazing experience for her!

So, what did I learn? Believe it or not, I had never heard of a candy toss. They made the assumption that everyone knew what it was. I did not. As we were gathered around waiting for the candy toss to start, I realized that they were almost ready to begin and there were no instructions going to be given. I quickly asked someone nearby to explain and she briefly did. It turns out that a candy toss is just that. People toss candy down on you and you scoop it up and keep what you gather. The kids loved it. I was a nervous wreck. Lollipop sticks flying at my kiddos and big kids diving for candy had my heart pumping. Fortunately, the kids eyes were averted downward looking for candy on the ground avoiding the flying lollipop sticks. And, the big kids were kept in check by vigilant adults. We had quite a bag of loot to take home with us.

The little guy fell asleep while we were driving home, so his big sister suggested that we take a drive down to the beach so he could sleep longer. We agreed and took a detour. Daddy and the sleeping beauty stayed in the car while the two of us took a walk down by the water. When I told her it was too cold to get in, she wanted to take her notebook and fuzzy, purple, feather pen with her.

After exploring a bit and picking out some rocks to take home, she plopped herself down in the sand and started writing. She drew everything that she had seen...

She wrote about the waves and the sailboat that sailed by and the tiny hole that she discovered in the sand. Beauty through her eyes... a joy to me!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun Fall Day

Whew! Today was a busy, fun-filled day. Where do I start? How about a list of things I learned or tried today and a picture for each one...
  1. I learned from a hard-core fisherman that fish in the pond behind our house are biting on "Rooster Tails." Despite all the stuff in there, we don't have "Rooster Tails" in our tackle box.

  2. I learned that both kiddos tire of fishing when there are no fish being caught and the wild outdoors bid them to play.
  3. I learned (while the hubby tried to fish and we went exploring) that my daughter can climb a tree. Yep, all. by. herself!

  4. I learned that wandering aimlessly through a corn maze with a sleeping 16 month old on your back is REALLY tiring. Wandering through with some friends and their family makes up for it though.

  5. I learned that when there is nothing to look at but corn at your sides and wood chips at your feet...look up! The clouds were magnificent today!

  6. I learned that some hens and roosters like to perch on evergreen tree branches. Now that's an interesting site.

  7. I've never seen a hen with her chicks tucked under wings except for in pictures. It was the cutest thing! The chicks didn't peek out from underneath her, they poked their heads right up through her feathers.

  8. I got to meet this little guy. Can you guess the name? This is Tina Turner...
  9. We met Grandma and Grandpa at a festival in a local park. From the moment we arrived, our daughter noticed the big blow up bouncy things. She really wanted to play in them. However, there were just too many kids trying to play in them. And, they were big kids who were being really rough. Instead of crying or throwing a fit, she simply said, "Could we go play at the park instead?" Once we were at the park, she looked at me and said, "This is much more peaceful, isn't it?" I sure do love that girl!!!

  10. I learned from a crafter at the craft fair who was willing to share tips on how to properly cut gourds. This is a skill I have tried but never mastered. I have so many dried out gourds around here that I hang onto in hopes that I will figure it out. This talented lady inspired me to try again. Here are some pictures of the ones I bought from her...

Wow, it was a busy day... fishing, the pumpkin farm, and the community festival. I feel exhausted but content. I love my family and days like these are so much fun to spend together.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Toddler Table Activity

I've been looking for ways to keep my little one occupied and busy while I attend to a few tasks that a mom must do. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE playing with my little ones but there are times when a task needs to be done and it needs to be done with out the assistance of a one-year-old. For instance, loading the dishwasher full of dirty dishes. The little guy want to unload everything. Not only is this counter productive, it's also rather disgusting to have him touching all over the dirty dishes.

(In the picture above, he is helping me with the clean dishes. While my back was turned, he climbed right up. Once he was up there, I couldn't resist taking a couple pictures. My hubby about fainted when he saw the pictures!)

A while back, I found that pipe cleaners were a great activity to keep him busy. Since then, I've been on the lookout for other activities that he can do in his highchair for short periods of time with minimal supervision.

Look what I found. It's called a Crayo-Craze Crayon and it's made by Liquid Mark. I bought it a Walmart.

It has 6 crayon nubs around in a circle. There is no right side up so no matter how he holds it, he can color. We've been using it for about a month and he loves it. I bought it so that he could do "work" while his big sister and I are doing "school." Currently he eats regular crayons and this one makes it more difficult to do so. At first, he would still try to eat it but I was right there with him to redirect.

Today, his sister was using markers at the kitchen table. He wanted to get into those markers badly. So, I let him use his Crayo-Craze independently. I taped a large sheet of paper to the table and pulled up his booster seat. He sat right across the table from his big sister and scribbled away!

While the two of them were drawing at the kitchen table, I got the dishwasher emptied and reloaded, cleaned the stove top, and vacuumed under the table. Pretty impressive, eh?

I love this new gizmo. I wish that I would have had it when my daughter was younger. She would have loved it too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I saw this idea for Boo Garland and thought I would give it a try. The link has free clip-art letters that you can download. I tried that and was having trouble, so I just used my own Word fonts and printed off the letters. So incredibly easy! Just think of all the garland you could make for each holiday. I already know that I am making one that says "JOY" for Christmas. Wouldn't "THANKS" be a great reminder for Thanksgiving. It's a great way to interest my 4 year old in letters and words. She thinks it's pretty cool that she can spell BOO!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Placemat Apron

Last month, I picked up a couple of placemats out of the clearance shelves at Target. I thought that they would make really great placemats for messy art projects. They are made of a material that would be easy to wipe up. I figured I could roll them up and stow them away with the art supplies and get them out for messy projects. Later that week, I ran across this post over at Flip Flops and Applesauce. Imagine my surprise when I realized that she had used the very same placemats that I had just bought! She had used them to make aprons for her girls. What a great idea!

Well, today I tried my hand at the project. I didn't follow her project exactly, I only used hers for inspiration. I had left over bias tape from my recent curtain project. I used my sewing machine to attach the bias tape to the folded area and left enough at the top to tie the apron around the neck. Then, I took more bias tape and attached it to the hip to tie the apron around the back. I liked that in the original idea she had used buttons so I decided to add a few funky ones that I had on hand. This was by far the hardest part of the craft. It was so-o-o hard to push the needle through two layers of the thick material plus the bias tape. I wanted to put two more buttons at the top but my fingers hurt to much so I stopped. Maybe later.

Anyways, I am very happy with how it turned out. I'm glad I bought two of the placemats because now I want to make another so both kiddos have one.

My hubby looked at it on our littlest and said, "Now we've got his Halloween costume...Can you make a chef's hat?" Not a bad idea. Now, I've just got to find a pattern for making one of those.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Children's Classics

A friend of mine blogged today about 5 Minutes for Books. First of all, I had never visited this site and already, I love it. They state on their site, "At 5 Minutes for Books, we hope to build a community of people who love books and reading." What a great hope!

Currently, they are discussing
Children's Classics — Newbery Medal Winners. They are asking bloggers to review one of the Newbery books. My friend posted about her favorite Newbery Medal Winner, Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. This is a book that she had given me as a gift and I loved it. It is a great book and I would highly recommend it.

As I looked at the
list of Newbery Medal Winners, it made me itch to read them. I've read quite a few but I would love to read them all. Wouldn't that be wonderful?!?!?

As I looked through the list I tried to decide which is my favorite. That is hard!

When I was teaching, I had a goal of reading all of the Newbery winners and honor books. I never made it. Here are the books that I have read:

  • A Year Down Yonder by by Richard Peck
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  • Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Wringer by Jerry Spinelli
  • A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer
  • Moorchild by Eloise McGraw
  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
  • The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Crazy Lady by Jane Leslie Conly
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery by Russell Freedman
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  • Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
  • On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes
  • Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
  • The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
  • Doctor DeSoto by William Steig
  • Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
  • Abel's Island by William Steig
  • A String in the Harp by Nancy Bond
  • The Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis
  • Dragonwings by Laurence Yep
  • Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  • Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
  • Incident At Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert
  • Sounder by William H. Armstrong
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  • It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
  • The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden, pseud. (George Thompson)
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
  • Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
  • Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
  • ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates
  • Kildee House by Rutherford Montgomery
  • Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
  • Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Calico Bush by Rachel Field
  • The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

So, which is my favorite? That is not hard at all. My all-time favorite Children's book is Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. I love this book. It was recommend to me by a good friend of mine while I was a senior in college. We had been Elementary Education majors together at the same college and he had already graduated and was in his first teaching job. He thought I would like the book and he was correct. I was so enthralled with the story that when I finished reading it, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. I threw the book across the room and called my friend to tell him how deeply the book had moved me. It was the first book to ever make me cry and it is the only book that I have ever thrown across a room. (Something that I would not normally advocate!)

If this friend of mine and I had met when we were much younger, I envision that we would have been very much like the two main characters in Bridge to Terabithia, Jess and Leslie. It is a story of a very unlikely friendship and the bond that develops between these two friends. Together, they create their own magical kingdom where they let their imaginations soar. In the Kingdom of Terabithia, they learn to overcome fear and free themselves of the cares of life. In Terabithia they gain inner strength and learn how to be carefree. As in any friendship, there are highs and lows. Jess and Leslie experience both of these and the reader experiences joy, hope, sadness, anger, and frustration. There are points in the story where I hated Paterson for choosing to take the story into some unexpected twists. I felt let down as the reader and wondered if the book could even be salvaged. In the end, Paterson closes in a way that makes the reader feel a deep connection with the characters. It left me feeling warm and uplifted. It's a story that celebrates friendship and love despite differences and challenges.

Because of some deeply troubling events, I would not recommend this book for younger children...not even as a book read to them by an adult. I would recommend it for upper elementary or junior high children.

My least favorite book from the list of Newbery's I've read would have to be Missing May and Shabanu. I just simply did not like either of these stories at all.

I'll close by sharing my top five favorites under Bridge to Terabithia...The Giver, Wrinkle in Time, Number the Stars, The Bronze Bow, and Because of Winn Dixie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Laundry Room Saga

A week and a half.

That's how long I've been without a dryer.

If I had to choose, I would pick the dryer going out rather than the washing machine. I'd hate to hand wash my clothes or haul them to and from a laundromat. But, even so, it's not fun. It's not warm enough outside to dry clothes in the breeze. So, my home has been overtaken by drying laundry. The railing for the stairs, every doorknob, the shower curtain, on top of doors, wall sconces...everything and anything that I can hang laundry on has had clothing on it. Ugh!

No longer.

Today, my hubby fixed the machine. Rather than paying an exorbitant amount for a repairman just to walk through the door and then paying for parts and labor on top of that, he figured it out himself.

I'm so proud of him. He had the whole machine taken apart. I've never seen the inside of a dryer. Of course I've seen inside the dryer but I mean the real inside of the dryer. Did you know that a tiny belt wrapped around the drum and connected to a motor is what keeps the drum turning? I didn't. I thought there would be a huge strap of sorts that made it go but no, it's just this thin little belt.

Anyways, the machine is now fixed and the broken part only cost $50. I say only in comparison to what it could have cost if my hubby wasn't a do-it-yourself-er. Only $50 is actually weird to day when the part that cost this much was small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. I vacillated from thinking, "What, that little thing cost $50?!?!?!" to "Thank goodness that only cost $50!!!!!" I guess it's all a matter of perspective.

My perspective right now is thankful. Thankful for a resourceful, handy husband. Thankful for not having to dip into savings. Thankful that my home is no longer cluttered with drying laundry everywhere. I am most definitely thankful for a dryer that works!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stack of Books

Once upon a time, a stack of books could totally stress me out.

Take, for example, my freshman year of college. I wandered all around campus for several hours looking for the bookstore. I could have asked where it was but I was too embarrassed, too shy, too proud to admit that I couldn't find it.

After finally finding the bookstore, With the help of two very kind upper classmen girls, I nearly broke my back lugging all those books to the cash register. Then, I nearly fainted when the cashier rang up my total. Yes, indeed, that was a BIG shock! After forking over the money, I hauled by load of books out to my beat up Dodge Omni, placed them in the passengers seat, locked the door, closed the door and walked around to get in the driver's door.

It was then that I realized that my keys were setting on the passenger's seat next to that enormous pile of books. Crap. I just locked the door!

Campus security tried unsuccessfully to open the door before calling the police who were also unsuccessful at opening the door. Finally, the police officer offered to drive me to my off campus residence in his patrol car to retrieve my spare set of keys. He told me the only problem was that if he receive a call that he had to attend to, he would have to drop me off on the side of the road. I rolled the dice and took the free ride home. Not too difficult to choose when your choices are 1. a free ride or 2. break the window.

When the whole fiasco was over, I remember looking at the stack of books and just feeling so bitter about them. They had caused me so much pain...physically, financially, and my pride was hurt too. I vividly remember picking up the book titled Hermeneutical Spiral and just laughing at the entire situation. I was laughing because it was the only thing keeping that homesick freshman that I was from crying.

So, that long story is to document just how much pain a pile of books can cause.

Not today though. Today, I look at that enormous pile of books and I long to read each one. I envision many relaxing hours curled up on the couch with a warm drink diving into each book. I haven't had that many new-to-me books at one time since college. I learned today that I no longer loath a pile of books, I embrace it!

In the last week, I have accumulated 10 new books! And, I am thrilled about each one.

5 were received as very thoughtful birthday gifts.

1 came in the mail as part of my MOPS membership.

2 are on loan from a friend who is a former pre-school teacher.

2 are from our church used book sale. ($1 per book...yippee!)

I look at this pile and I am filled with anticipation. I long to read each book RIGHT NOW. Where do I start? Should I read more than one at a time? Which do I pick? The fiction? The craft book? The cookbook? The inspirational? The factual? The educational? Such tough decisions...much better than the stack that sat locked in my Dodge Omni!

Don't get me wrong, I've always loved a good book. It's just the piles of books waiting to be read that used to intimidate me.

By the way, I don't recommend The Hermeneutical Spiral unless you need some serious help for insomnia.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Car Sickness

Today, I learned that my daughter gets carsick. Previously, I've refused to believe it. I've explained away other unfortunate situations. You see, this is something that we have wondered about but have never been quite sure of. Today, I am confident of it. We had a 2 1/2 hour drive to a 3 year old friend's birthday party. When we were 10 minutes from our friends' home, she started to feel really hot and then all of a sudden thought she was going to throw up. She had that know, that look. Luckily, we were off the tollway and we were able to pull into a shopping center. Getting her out of the car, breathing some fresh air and walking around did wonders for her! And, once we arrived and the party was underway, she was back to her usual self.

I looked for info online and if you have a child that suffers from carsickness, here is a link for you. They even have a link to a site where you can buy your own YakPack for those unfortunate situations when carsickness hits before you can pull over. That is so funny, yet so-o-o not funny!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Crock-Pot Chicken

I am trying to make good use of the chest freezer that we got this year. I'd love to make more double meals and freeze half. I am working on this but we still have tons of room. I try to stock up on meat when it is on sale. One thing that I have been doing is freezing cooked chicken breasts cut into strips. We can unthaw as many or as little as we want. I can put them frozen in my husband's lunchbox and by the time he eats his lunch, they're thawed. They're perfect for tossing into a salad, putting into a tortilla with some veggies, or making a quick meal for the kiddos. It's definitely healthier that giving them frozen chicken nuggets!

Anyways, as successful as this has been, the chicken has been very dry. I've done the chicken on the grill and after it's thawed out, it needs some sort of sauce to balance the dryness of the meat. I thought that using my crock-pot might help alleviate this problem. I looked online and was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of recipes. I just wanted a simple way to cook the chicken not a full blown chicken dinner. So, I called my friend, Deanna, who has been using her crock-pot a lot, for some advice. I have never done chicken in the crock-pot but she has. Per her suggestions, I placed 3 pounds of chicken breasts and two chicken bullion cubes in about 4 inches of water. The results were fantastic. The chicken was moist right out of the crock-pot (of course!). Now that it has frozen, I tried a piece and it seems to be better. My hubby says that he misses the grilled taste but that the moisture content is closer to normal.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Dinner, drinks, and a coffee house plus a mom who's willing to watch your kids so that you and hubby can have a night out equals one happy momma!

It's been over 2 years since I've had an alcoholic drink. I've never really been much of a drinker. But, I do like to have a fru-fru drink every now and then. A little over two years ago, we started thinking about having a second child. From that point, through the pregnancy and through the breastfeeding stage, I have avoided alchohol for the obvious reasons. Well, tonight was a night of celebration and I had a margarita. Mmmmm. There's nothing like relearning how tasty something is after a time away from it!

After dinner, we headed across town to our favorite local coffeehouse. We were happy to see that "our spot" was open. We love this particular table because it's seated next to tall windows overlooking the harbor. While sitting there, we noticed that the water appeared to be boiling in spots. As we peered to look closer, we realized that in the midst of this "boiling water" periodically, a fish would jump up and slap the water. We were very curious about this. So after our mochas were finished, we took a walk on the boardwalk so we could see this phenomenon up close.

It turns out that the "boiling water" was fish preparing to spawn. Based on what we learned from a local fisherman, they are probably Coho Salmon coming into the harbor to spawn. We also learned that in order to fish in the dark effectively, some fishermen use lighted bobber. I had never heard of such a thing. It sure did look funny watching the fisherman prepare to cast while a very large firefly buzzed around his head. It took us a while to figure out what was going on with that too.

It was such a beautifully clear night. Walking beside the water by the light of the moon with the man that I love was the perfect way to finish off my birthday.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Scalloped Potatoes

This morning my dad stopped by with some food for our family. That's one of the blessing of having family so close! He and my mom had made a ham and had more left-overs than they would be able to eat. He also had a bag of potatoes that had more than what they could eat before they would go bad. So, we benefited from this. He arrived bearing the left-over ham and a half dozen potatoes. He said that he was going to make scalloped potatoes for dinner for him and my mom this evening. I thought that was a great idea but I had no idea how to make it. I found this recipe for Scalloped Potatoes online. I actually had every ingredient on hand (unusual for me).
It was a perfect recipe to do with my 4-year-old. I chopped the potatoes, ham, onion, and green peppers and she took the chopped pieces and put them in the measuring cups. She loved taste testing the ingredients and we found out that she likes to eat raw onions! Then, she stirred the liquid ingredients together. But her favorite part was layering the ingredients into the baking dish.
The results...we loved it!!! Well, everyone but the 4-year-old. I think she ate too much ham and onions during the prep time because she hardly touched it at dinner. The 1-year-old loved it! This may well be his favorite meal. He kept asking for more!
This is definitely a recipe we will make again. It's a great way to use up left-over ham.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

T-shirt Bag

I finally did a project that I have been wanting to do for some time. I made a bag out of an old t-shirt. It was so-o-o easy!

I roughly followed this tutorial but there are millions out there on the web. It literally only took me about 5 minutes to make this bag. All you have to do is sew the bottom hem together, cut off the arms, and cut a scoop around the neck. It is the easiest project. Now I've just gotta make a few more so I can have a set for grocery shopping. I really and truly can't believe how easy this was!

Here's the "before" shot...

And the "after" shot...

Monday, October 6, 2008


I've got a really big project that I am in the midst of and today it just got much bigger. I learned that for this project to be successful, I need to sort through and disseminate a huge amount of data. That means that I have to manipulate the data on an Excel spreadsheet. I haven't used Excel since before kids and that's been over 4 years! When I did use it, it wasn't very in depth, just your basic spreadsheet. A friend and team member on this project has experience manipulating similar data. He took the time today to explain it to me and walk me through some of the steps.
So, pretty boring, but today I learned how to manipulate huge amounts of data through Excel.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Terrible Two's

I teach Sunday School at our church. Last year, I taught in the 3 year old room. This year, I was switched to the 2 year old room. Let me just say, what a difference a year makes!!!

Imagine, in a classroom room with 6 two year olds, trying to teach them a bible story about God creating light and dark. Imagine the lights dimmed and a flashlight being used to illustrate the dark and light concept. Now imagine me sitting these 6 angels down to play with play dough to illustrate how our hands can create just like God created. Now, imagine me giving all the children a black piece of construction paper and white chalk to draw with to illustrate God creating the light in the dark sky.
Can you imagine it? I thought I could. It seemed like the perfect plan for 2 year olds. I was wrong!

Here's what I learned from my day in the 2 year old classroom...

  • Having a helper would be real handy.
  • 2 year olds don't stay in one place for long.

  • 2 year olds think play dough is edible.

  • 2 year olds can't focus when their environment changes drastically. (ie. lights out/flashlight on)

  • 2 year olds want their own flashlight.

  • 2 year olds think chalk is edible.
  • 2 year olds don't realize that chalk shatters when it's thrown across the room.
  • 2 year olds think sharing is grabbing a toy from another kid and running in the opposite direction.

  • 2 year olds are, well, 2 year olds.

Now, I've learned my lesson...hopefully. I had a super fun time with them but, boy am I exhausted! Next week, I'll be back in there again with a new plan in place.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Returning to Normal

This past week we have been incredibly busy - a good kind of busy but still busy none the less. Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the weather was perfect. A sweater or sweatshirt was all that was needed for sufficient warmth.

We headed outdoors, all four of us. We took down the canopy that was gracing our backyard. Then, we relaxed. We enjoyed each other's company. The kids played in their playhouse and enjoyed their snack outdoors on their picnic table. We got some much needed relaxation...

Now, I've just gotta learn to make time for this more often!