Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hippie Hippie

Granola is really the only cereal I've ever liked to eat. Although I don't eat it with milk, it's still a great breakfast for me. My friend Bethany gave me the recipe for this. Hop on over to her blog and take a look. She has four girls, and just found out that her fifth baby is a boy! A big congrats to her.
This recipe is about as easy as they come. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Of course, I have made my own variations from this recipe. Feel free to adjust to your liking.
6 cups of oats (doesn't matter if they are quick cooking or not)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup powdered milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup coconut (I left this out)
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
In a small bowl, combine the honey, oil, and vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir to combine. Divide evenly between two greased baking sheets in a thin layer. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and give it a quick stir.
As it is cooling on the counter top, sprinkle in some craisins and some slivered almonds. When it is completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container. That's it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What Would You Do?

Kamy found a 50 dollar bill on the road, as she was walking home from school today. It was about a half mile from our house, on a busy road. Kamy said she saw it folded up, and there were no cars, so she walked out into the road and picked it up. Of course, she had no idea it was such a large amount of money.

It would be impossible to find the owner. If she found a wallet, it would be a different story. As it is, Heath and I are inclined to let her keep the money. What would you do?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Art of Kissing

There is a sort of development process that kids go through, when it comes to kissing. In fact, children's first kisses, when they are babies, really can't be called kisses. Rather, they open their mouths up as wide as they can, allowing for a never ending supply of drool to freely escape, dribbling down their chin, and yours, as they pinch your cheeks with their fat little fists and seek your mouth like an open-mouthed bass fish. Lip to drool contact. What an introduction to a kiss!

Soon, however, with a little prodding from you, they realize that not only are closed-mouth kisses entirely appropriate, but are desirable, encouraged, and even reciprocated. They start practicing these little kisses on the cheeks, lips, hands, and we, in turn, get a little revenge from their drooling kisses, by blowing zerberts on their bellies.

Most kids are satisfied with giving kisses that we would put in the "peck" category. Most kids. Not Georgie. Let me take you through her presentation.

Georgie crawls up on her Daddy's lap. He is happy to see her, thus giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Georgie is not satisfied with this. She puts her little hands on either side of his face, looks deeply into his eyes, and then ever so slowly, bends her head a little to the right, and fractionally moves her face closer to his, keeping his lips the center of her target.

The waiting is agony. It's just, so...wrong.

Painstakingly slow, her lips make contact with his lips. She must kiss his lips directly center, otherwise, the kiss doesn't count, and she tries again. Heath repeatedly tries to substitute his cheeks for his lips by turning his head, or he will quickly kiss her so she will end the kiss, but she will not be thwarted! She holds her hands firm on his cheeks, moves with tenderness and, dare I say sensuality, and tries to kiss him again.

Now, she is by no means trying to kiss in a "grownup way". She is just very particular about what part of his lips she wants to kiss, and by going slow, she ensures herself accuracy, and when she achieves her goal, let's just say she's not very quick to break contact. Heath and I are use to her intense display of affection at home, but today, it was a new sight to see for the congregation at church who sat around us. Georgie would not let up. She tried for a very long time to plant a "perfect" kiss on her Daddy. He tried to get it over with. He gave her quick kisses directly center on her lips, but it was over too quickly for her. She is all about quality versus quantity. I'm sure there were some old ladies who were very intrigued by this scene before them, but if they think they were witnessing any inappropriate activity, they are wrong. Georgie just wants an innocent kiss. It just happens to come across quite the opposite.

Maybe someday soon she'll be like other 3 year olds, and will most likely fight any sort of affection you try to show, but for now, the roles are reversed. It's Heath and I who shy away from her kisses. Please. Just give us a quick kiss. That's all we ask.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Mmmm. What could be better?

I love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. In my mind, nothing beats it. I first got this recipe from Pampered Chef. I've made some slight adjustments to it. Here goes.

2 chocolate premade pie crusts (I like to get the chocolate ones, but regular graham cracker crust, or the shortbread crust also tastes great.)
2 1/2 cups cold milk

1 pkg (3.4 oz) butterscotch instant pudding
1 pkg (3.4 oz) vanilla instant pudding

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

8 oz container of cool whip


Mini marshmallows
chocolate syrup
Reeses peanut butter cups

Mix together the dry pudding mixes with the milk. Add the peanut butter. Mix until thick and creamy. Fold in the cool whip. Divide evenly between the two pie crusts. Top each pie with nuts, marshmallows, chopped up Reeses peanut butter cups, and drizzle the top with chocolate syrup. Use the plastic lid that came with the pie crusts and cover. Put the pies in the freezer and freeze at least 6 hours before serving. To serve, remove pie from freezer and let thaw on countertop for about 20 minutes before eating. Keep leftover pie in the freezer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Blog Book

I got it!! I'm so excited about my blog book. I used BLURB and it was really easy to turn my blog into a book. Since I started my blog in the middle of 2007, I made my first book from 2007 through 2008. My next book will just cover my blog posts for 2009, and so on.

Using the Blurb software that you download onto your computer, you follow the steps to "slurp" your blog posts into the software, and from there you tweak each page to look how you want it to look. It lets you know if the picture isn't good enough quality for the size you chose, and so you make it smaller. It moves text to another page if it has gone over the formatting for that page. It's pretty easy to work with.

Once you have your book how you want it, blurb uploads all your work, and within a week, you have a hardbound copy of your blog in your eager little hands. I think that's pretty cool. My book is 8 1/2 x 11 size, it has 388 pages and is hardback. Some of my blog posts took up a few pages, and some were short enough that I could squeeze a few posts on the same page. All in all, I love my blog book. I encourage any of you who have blogs, to get it in print. It was economical, and the print quality is good. Basically, if your picture is good quality, it will print in good quality.
It even got a good rating from the husband. Now that's quality! I'm going to use the same site to make my cookbook. After it's made, I'll post the link and if you want to buy a copy of my cookbook, you can get it directly from blurb.

Do You Think...

Do you think that if I forced the kids to stay in a 4x4 square foot space that I made by taping duct tape to the floor, that my house would stay clean? I mean, it's not my mess that I see everywhere. I don't drag my blankets downstairs to watch cartoons (even though the t.v. is supposed to be off limits). I don't kick my shoes off underneath the kitchen table. I don't try to sneak cereal in the hood of my sweatshirt, so I can eat it later, while hiding in my bedroom closet. I don't leave my coats and gloves outside on the fence so the squirrels can run away with them. I don't wipe toothpaste all over the bathroom mirrors. I definitely don't pee in my bed and then try to disguise it by adding every other blanket in the house on top of it.

So, if I forced them to stay in their duct tape square, do you think I would have a clean house?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rescue Me

You know those shows on t.v. where the beautiful and flawless host searches the busy department store high and low, looking for an unsuspecting frumpy person, who is usually an overrun and rather homely looking mom (who probably wasn't feeling so cute, but had to leave the house so she could accomplish a few necessary things before she went back home to finish her never ending and thankless chores), and with a camera in her face, tells her that she looks terrible, and lucky for her, she is about to get the star treatment in an all expense paid makeover, complete with new clothes, hairstyle, makeup, and a boost of self confidence.

Today, I wish that person was me.

What's in a [Street] Name?

There are so many pretty street names where I live, such as Misty Meadows, Tulip Tree Court, Snapdragon Lane, Whisper Hallow Drive, Candleflower Road, Coralberry Court, Sweetgum Drive, and Dewpoint Drive. They all sound like such pleasant streets to live on. However, the husband feels opposite. He said that if there was a great house that we loved, and it happened to be on a street named Tulip Tree Court, that it would be the deciding factor for him, and he wouldn't buy the house. He says he would have to live on a manly street.

Just wondering what you all thought of that. I'd love to live on Tulip Tree Court! Tulips are my favorite flower. However, there are some street names I've come across, and I thank heaven that I don't live on that street. So I guess it does make a difference to me too. What do you think?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crescent Rolls

My friend Annaka posted this recipe for crescent rolls on her blog a month or two ago. I immediately tried them and discovered that not only are they super yummy, but they are really quite easy to make.

Mix together 1/2 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp sugar, and 2 Tbsp yeast in a bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pot, bring one cup of milk just to a boil. Take it off the heat and add in 4 Tbsp butter. Let the butter melt in the milk.

To your yeast mixture, add in 2 eggs, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp salt (I add in an extra 1/2 tsp of salt) and the milk/butter mixture. Mix together. Add in 3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour. If you are live in a high altitude, you might need to add some additional flour.

Once you have a good dough formed, let it rise until doubled in size (an hour or so). Punch down dough, divide in half, and roll out half on a floured surface into a circle. Pour two Tbsp of butter over dough, then slice it like a pizza, forming 12 slices. Starting at the fat end, roll each triangle up and place it on a greased baking sheet. Do the same with the other half of the dough.

Let the rolls rise for about 15 minutes, then bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned. Makes 2 dozen crescent rolls.
By the way, today I'm hosting a recipe for Grape Chicken Salad over at Lollychops's blog! Go check it out. Her blog is so craft and fun...I'm afraid you won't ever leave. She has so many fun ideas. Anyway, if you try the salad, it tastes really great with these crescent rolls!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hiking Again

I took the kids hiking yesterday to Garden of the Gods. We met up with some friends there and had a picnic lunch first. After eating, Georgie insisted that she had to go potty, even though it hadn't even been an hour since I had taken her right before we left. Anyway, the restrooms that were right by the picnic site were closed. I tried to get Georgie to go in the bushes, but she absolutely refused. As much as she was squirming around, she would not let me help her squat to go potty. "No Momma. It hurt my bum. I no go potty!" She got a little tickle from a plant across her bum, and it ruined everything. She would not go.

So, we loaded up in the van and drove all the way around the park until we got to the Visitor's Center, where we made everyone go potty, just for insurance.

Then we took off hiking again, starting at a different trail than we've been before. That's the nice thing about this place. You can pick a new exploration site everytime you go. However, it wasn't long before a familiar scene happened again....

"Momma! I have to go potty!" It wasn't one hour since she had gone. I told her she had to hold it. She squirmed and squirmed for half an hour. Finally, I realized if we waited any longer, she was going to have an accident. So we left. It was still a nice hike, though.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Drum Roll Please...

First off, a huge thank you for all the new friends that came over to my blog, as well as all the old faces that come over to visit. I had such a great time seeing your comments. Thank you! Lolly really knows how to send over the people, eh?

After I counted out all the entries, and double entries, and triple entries, it came to over 200 entries. Wowzas.
I cut up all the names and put them in a big red bucket.

Kolby drew out the winner.

Congrats to Ronnie, who said : "Your Huz is WRONG-O! Your apron is the bomb. You could hide entire waffles under those ruffles. Good Grief you sound just like "B" when you rant! Is that compliment enough?"

You get the apron. Send me your address (kamyrensmiles@hotmail.com)!!

By the way, here is the link again, for those of you who are inspired to make your own apron. Just a reminder, this apron is not a skirt! There's a big gap in the back, where it ties. So for those of you who were planning on wearing it as a skirt, you may feel a bit drafty.

Again, thank you for being part of the fun giveaway. I hope most of you will pull up a chair and try a recipe or two.

Hold all those Horses!

I'm tabulating all the comments from the giveaway, as well as my list of readers, as well as all of you who linked to me! I am floored by the amount of wonderful visitors I got! Thank you for coming.
So, when I get done with the count, I'll randomly draw a winner. Stay tuned. Later today. I promise.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Living in a Sugar World

This is Kolby. He has a blast every morning playing with Georgie, before he gets to go to afternoon Kindergarten. He really does love school, but he could care less about doing schoolwork. Let me take you through his day; The reality of it, as well as what it would be like in his dream world.

7:30 am: Kolby wakes up and has dry cereal or oatmeal for breakfast. He doesn't want any milk interfering with his cereal, unless it's in a cup. Even better if it has the word "chocolate" in front of it. (Dream world: Kolby wakes up after sleeping in the living room and is handed scrambled eggs, muffins, cinnamon rolls and juice on a platter in front of the television so he can earn gold medals playing golf on the Wii all morning.)

8:12 am: Kolby says "Is it lunch time yet? I'm starving!" ...said repeatedly all morning long until I finally cave in around 10 am and give him a snack of crackers and orange slices. (Dream world: Kolby is given a never ending bowl of fruit snacks.)

11:30 am: Kolby comes in from playing Star Wars outside, where he has slashed sticks into pieces due to their inability to withstand his mad Light Saber skills, and has a melted cheese crustless sandwich with goldfish and craisins. (Dream World: Kolby sheds his Darth Vader costume on the ground with magnificence, spears his sandwich with his double ended light saber, trades it in for his "world famous nachos" that he makes himself, and finishes his lunch off with anything sweet he can get his hands on, and washes it all down with lemonade.)

Noon: Georgie and I walk Kolby to school if the weather is nice, and he skips the whole way, with his green hoodie sweatshirt put on, but not zipped up. (Dream World: Kolby zooms to school on his bicycle, and impresses the world with his super duper tricks and speed.)

3:30 pm: Kolby comes home from school with the other kids, drops his backpack and sweatshirt on the floor, and asks for hot chocolate to help warm himself up. Instead, he's given a more appropriate snack, like a slice of banana bread, and we get started on homework. He reads me a book. "Sam. Sam sat. Sam sat on Pam. Pam sat." I encourage him to bring me a book he hasn't already memorized, and we get working on writing out sight words. It's a struggle. Kolby could care less about doing any schoolwork. (Dream World: Kolby comes home to find me making cookies and treats for him. Anything filled with sugar! He gets to play outside all afternoon, and only comes inside to refuel.)

5:30 pm: Kolby eats dinner. Somedays it's begrudgingly. Other days, I'm the best "cooker" in the world and the dinner is the "bestest food ever!" It's a hit and miss. He eats his food, and asks "What's for dessert?" Nothing. (Dream World: Kolby is swimming in a pool of ice cream.)

7:00 pm: Bedtime. (Dream World: "Kolby, why don't you sleep in your jeans? Don't bother changing into pajamas. Oh, and why go to sleep at all? Let's just stay up all night eating jelly beans and popsicles, win more gold metals on the Wii, and wrestle with daddy.)

That's the life of Kolby. He lives for sugar, if you didn't already figure that out. The only way I can get him to do any schoolwork, is to offer him a starburst. If I do that, he'll read a book to perfection. It's all about finding that trigger that is individual to everyone. For Kolby, he'll do anything for sugar.

Now that I know what works for him, he's been doing better in his schoolwork. In fact, I had a parent/teacher conference today. Looks like Kolby is doing well enough that he will move on to 1st grade. That is good news. He's young for his class, and I thought another year would benefit him, but his teacher seems to think that with enough work throughout the summer, he will be good to go. I'm happy for him.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Stalker Mailman

The thing that's bad about having a stalker as a mailman, is that he knows all your personal information! He knows where you live, which..come on. That is a biggie! He knows when you get a box of checks in the mail from the bank. He knows what bills you have. He knows if you have the type of parents who send care packages. He also knows if you have a boyfriend. Well, at least he knew I had a boyfriend that wrote to me. Boy, did that cause some jealousy.

My third year in college, I had a stalker mailman. He was in his late 30's, with a mustache and a pot belly. He enjoyed wearing the postal carrier thigh-hugging shorts that came with his uniform, as opposed to the pants, which he grudgingly wore in the cold season. He also wore his black calf-length socks rolled down to his ankles, so he could soak up as much sun as possible when he was working his route. And work his route he did!

There must've been about 25 complexes that he was responsible for, and all of them were centered between my apartment complex, and the University. It wasn't long before the mailman started recognizing us, when my roommates and I would come down to get the mail. He would tell us if one of us got a package, or if we just got some magazines. He would also comment if I got a letter from "my missionary".

I was writing to a guy I had dated on and off through high school and college. Even though this guy had my proper address, he didn't usually put my name on the envelope. Instead, he wrote down the little nickname he had for me, which was "Sunshine". Thus I had to tell the mailman that any letters addressed as such, were meant for me, so he wouldn't send them back as "return to sender". However, this little pet name really made my mailman jealous. He would grumpily hand over my sunshine letters, and ask me why I would waste my time on a missionary when he, himself, was ready and able. At first, I was shocked. My mailman had a crush on me!

Things continued though. Sometimes he would say that he was going to keep all the letters my missionary wrote to me, instead of delivering them. "I could throw these away, you know" he would say to me. I replied that it was a federal offense to tamper with mail. After that, he tried different tactics. "The girls in 3F leave me cookies in the mailbox. Why don't you?" I told him that it would be a shame to wake up one morning and not be able to fit into his uniform shorts, all because he ate too many cookies.

Then, I would see him as I was walking to school. He would swerve his little mailtruck to the sided of the road, where I was walking, and try to start up a conversation. "So, you going to your biology class, eh?" Oh my gosh! How much did this guy know about me? I got to where I knew the 9 digit number on the back of his mailtruck, and would go out of my way to steer clear of his route.

One day, he came to me right before spring break. "I'm going to take a trip to the Bahamas for Spring Break. Gonna get some more sun on these legs. Wanna join me?" WHAT? "Uh, no thanks. You go on and have a blast." He countered back "Come on! What are ya gonna do? Sit at home and write to your boyfriend?"

Well, I guess he went on his trip. It was a nice week without him stalking me, but when he came back, he seemed to "run into me" all the time. I couldn't shake him! That guy was really persistent.

It wasn't long before the end of the semester came, and my roommates and I all filled out forwarding address cards. He personally came to our door to collect ours. (no small surprise there.) When he flipped through the stack, he stopped at my card. Under "other names", I had put down "Sunshine". He snorted at this. "Your lucky you got any of those letters. I could have totally put them as "undeliverable". I thanked him for delivering the letters and shut the door in his face.

I was very glad to see the semester come to an end, so I wouldn't have to see the mailman anymore. The following fall, I lived in a different complex that was out of his mailroute. Every once in a while, I would see his mailtruck, but he never saw me. Thank Goodness. Mailmen just know too much information. They make really great stalkers, unfortunately.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Green Giveaway! (closed)

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm giving away this cute green frilly apron to one of you! I made it, following the instructions from One More Moore out of some leftover material I had used to make purses, dolls, and skirts. I saw all the fabric sitting together, and knew it would make a really cute frilly apron.

So, there are a few ways you can increase your chances to win this apron.

1. Leave me a nice comment, like "Wow. All those apron frills really hide the extra 20 pounds you are carrying...." or "I'll bet your feet smell really nice" or "I made your Swedish meatballs the other day and they were fabulous!" (of course, you can come up with your own nice comment)

2. If you are a follower, new or old, you will get an extra entry!

3. Wanna share me throughout blog land? Tell all your friends how cool I am (or try to be) ((ok, I know I'm not really that cool, but you can humor me, right?)) and you'll get an extra entry. Just let me know you linked to me.

So, if you really think this apron is ugly, don't hurt my feelings. My husband already scrunched his nose up at it, and made a suggestion that he would like it if it was the "only" thing I had on.... Anyway, I think it's adorable. Fun aprons make for fun times in the kitchen...or other places. So leave a comment if you want to win it! (I'll draw a winner on Friday!)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I can't help it!

I'm having a giveaway on Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to host a Tea Party

First, make up some invitations, roll them up, and tie them with a pretty ribbon and flower.

Get your girls fancied up in pretty dresses and jewelry. When your guests arrive, let them paint fingernails and make necklaces, and model their outfits.

Have fancy plates and teacups beautifully laid out, along with platters of yummy food, including fruit, cheese, meat, crackers, deviled eggs, fancy cookies, and pineapple cream cheese sandwiches, and lime sherbet ginger-ale punch.

Then watch as your three year old acts just as grown up and lady-like as everyone else.

Make icecream cake cupcakes for dessert, complete with tricky candles that won't blow out.

Top them with a cherry.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Sandwiches
Combine 1/2 cup soft butter with 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Mix together and set aside.
Combine 1 brick of cream cheese, 1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained), 1/3 cup crushed walnuts or pecans, 1 tsp sugar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Set aside.
Remove the crusts from your sliced bread, and on one side, spread with cinnamon butter. On the other side, spread with cream cheese mixture. Put the sandwich together and slice in a triangle. Serve.
Lime Sherbet Punch
1 qt lime sherbet
1 liter ginger-ale
20 oz pineapple juice
lemon slices
maraschino cherries
Combine everything in a large punch bowl and serve. The sherbet can be in small scoops, floating in the punch.

Recipe for Icecream Cake will be posted soon.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Super Cape Saves The Day!

The kids are invited to birthday parties all the time. Usually, unless I personally know the birthday boy/girl, we decline the invitation. However, this was Keaton's third birthday party that he has been invited to, and I felt bad telling him "no" again, when Kolby has gotten to go to three in the past two months. So even though I don't know his friend Eli, Keaton gets to go to a birthday party tomorrow. It's happening at the same time as Kamy's tea party, so it works out nicely.

This time, the cape looks like Merlin's Magician Cape. It's a little shorter than the normal capes I make, because I had a bugger of a time getting the slippery silver material to stay straight when I was cutting it! All he needs now, is a tall pointy Wizard Hat...which I am NOT making.

(SUB)stitute Dinner

Heath here. Or, maybe it is just Shaina, channelling the husband, and trying to type with masculinity, but at any rate, one of us is here to tell you how to make a Meatball Sub Pizza.

First, take some pre-made meatballs (this is a super easy recipe. Go with the pre-made meatballs) and cook them in the oven for about 20 minutes on 400 degrees. Take them out and chop them up a bit.

Next, take your hoagie rolls, open them up, and drizzle the insides of them with olive oil, generously. Broil these in your oven for a few minutes, until lightly brown.

Top the bread with meatballs, and then top that with cheese. We used mozzarella cheese. Put them back under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Remove them from the oven, and turn it off. You are done broiling. Top your hoagie bread pizzas with a desired amount of heated marinara sauce. From here, you can eat it like a pizza, or you can top it with a plain toasted top half of the hoagie and eat it like a sub sandwich. Your choice. Either way, it's dang good. Feel free to add your variations to this recipe. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pick a Pear

I made these two pear pincushions last weekend. They seriously took about 5 minutes each to make. I got the cute pear fabric from my friend Lolly. Now these two lovelies are decorating my craft space.
Also, on Sunday, Heath made a really yummy toasted meatball subs for us to have for lunch. Too bad I ate it before I thought to take a picture of it. (I eat my pizza, sandwhiches, etc, with a knife and fork. I hate to bite into things. It's just me.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Kamy was born the day before her due date. I woke up just after 7am with no contractions, and she was born barely one hour later, having just arrived at the hospital. I walked up to Labor and Delivery myself, after sharing a very painful transitional contraction in the elevator with a man whose eyeballs were about to pop out of his head, and said to the Nurse "I'm about to have a baby". She casually pointed to a nearby room, plainly not believing me, and I hustled over to the room, anxious to have a place to lay down before the next contraction hit, and Kamy was born a few minutes later.

It was a whirlwind, for a first labor, and nobody in my family believed me, when they finally showed up hours after I had called them, and told them I had already had her. My parents even stopped and had breakfast, casually enjoying the morning, only to show up to find out they had missed the whole thing. Of course, who would have guessed that things would have happened so fast? Certainly not me.

Here we are the day we got home from the hospital, 24 hours after Kamy was born. Fresh new parents, with an ugly couch to boot.

Kamy was a very happy baby. She grew into a fun and energetic toddler.

In this next picture, she is almost 4 years old.

Now she is 9 years old and feeling very grown up. She is looking forward to reading the Harry Potter series when she is 10, babysitting when she is 11, and getting her ears pierced when she is 12.

For her birthday, she requested strawberry muffins for breakfast, with yogurt and orange juice. I bought her a special lunchable for lunch, with mini hamburgers. She brought 30 sugar cookies to school, to share with her teachers and classmates. For dinner, she wanted broccoli soup with ham and swiss toast, and for her birthday dessert, she chose ice cream sundaes.

Her presents included a scooter, three sweaters, and the Narnia Book Set. She is having about 7 of her girlfriends over Saturday morning for a tea party, where everyone will come adorned with fancy hats and long pretty dresses.

Happy Birthday Kamyren! (Here is our family birthday picture)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Little Herbs

For Heath's Valentine's gift, last month, I planted him a little herb garden. It's been almost a month and they are growing well. Not sure how long it will be until we can use them, but we are enjoying having some greenery in our house, and the kids love seeing how much the little plants have grown every day. We really can see a difference, day to day, and it's been fun. The window over our kitchen sink gets great light, so it's been like a little greenhouse for them.

Kamy's birthday is today! She turns nine. I told her we only had 4 candles, so she'd have to be four this year. She scrunched up her nose and said "Momma!!". So I guess I need to go find 5 more candles. More on her birthday in tomorrow's post, but I wanted to share a book report she did last week. Her teacher loved her drawing. To this day, Kamy will still prefer to sit and draw over anything else. Anyway, I thought the drawing was pretty fun too. Great job, Kamy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

The 5 Minute Whilrwind

You roll over in bed and stretch luxuriously. Eyes flutter open. You hear the soft tweets of a birdie outside, but nothing else. Ah. The kids are still sleeping. What a rare occurrence. Usually they are up at the crack of dawn, making enough noise to wake up your sleeping neighbors all around the cul-de-sac.

You look to the nightstand in search of the alarm clock. Hmm...it's not there. You remember that Georgie took it downstairs a few days ago, when you asked her to bring a blanket. It was downstairs by the couch, keeping time for the cushions. Well, you'd best get up and see what time it is.

On the way downstairs, you wake up Kamy and Keaton, and tell them to get moving. They stretch and yawn and don't seem interested in following your request immediately. They have plenty of time, though, you think. But doubt still creeps into your mind as you wander downstairs in search of the clock.

The clock on the far wall is too masked by darkness to see, so you meander over to your laptop, plop yourself down in the chair, move the mouse to bring up the screen, and look at the clock. Then you look again. Then you rub your eyes, because that can't be the right time! Then you look again!!!

Oh Crap. It was already a few minutes PAST the time when the kids walk out the door. Crap!

You run upstairs and instill fear in your kids. You tell them they have two minutes to get themselves dressed, complete with shoes and socks, and get their teeth brushed, because they were already late for school!

They continue on getting ready, exponentially increasing their normal speed, and you run down the stairs to start making their lunches. You put together peanut butter and honey sandwiches, along with a few other things, throw in an orange (they can peel it themselves at school) and get it all in their appropriate backpacks.

You yell up to the kids that it's time to go, and for Kamy to bring down the brush and rubber band for her hair. The kids come flying down the stairs with excitement in their eyes, put on their coats and backpacks and accept the granola bar you offer to them as their breakfast.

With a kiss and a prayer, and a warning to RUN all the way to school, they are out the door five minutes from the time you woke them up. You flop down on the couch and enjoy the moment. You just survived the 5 minute whirlwind.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

...By the End of the Year

My goal by the end of the year is to organize my recipes. I have so many, in a variety of formats, just begging to be organized. Really. I hear their caloric little voices saying things like "You like chicken don't you? Come find me. I'm under this pile of 26 inches worth of Taste at Home Magazines, on page 31." or "Remember me? You use to make me all the time. We were good together. You just need to find me again!"

Not only that, but there are many recipes that I don't have memorized, and I have to constantly look through my piles of clippings and notes, in order to find the one I want. Luckily, some of my favorites are posted on my blog, and I'm always bringing up one of my recipes, and then scribbling the measurements on a torn piece of paper so I can bring it into the kitchen with me, and finish making whatever it is that I'm making.

I know it's an improbability that I will get through ALL of these books and magazines filled with wonderful, delightful, recipes, but I hope to get through enough to make a super cool recipe book for myself.

I am going to make a blurb recipe book. I'm so excited about it. I'm in the process of making a blog book from my entries through the end of 2008, but this recipe book will be different. It will be a cookbook. So, because blurb lets you make as many books as you want, I was wondering if anyone else would want to order a copy of my recipe book as well. Just putting feelers out there, to see what you thought. It's not even started yet, but it will feature all the recipes already posted on my blog, as well as a plethora of new recipes.

So, you interested?

Friday, March 6, 2009

{{NOT}} Just Another Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe!

I know what you are thinking. "But I already have a great chocolate chip cookie recipe!" Well then, by all means, continue making your cookies. Who am I to tell you that mine is better? However, you might take the recommendation of all my friends that I've made these cookies for. It is, by far, my most requested recipe.
It all started way back when, during my first year of college. I had always thought that a chocolate chip cookie was kind of dry and not very impressive. I don't know how many times I made cookies growing up, but they were never anything special. So when I woke up one morning at college, after my roommates had a late-night baking session, and saw the kitchen counters lined with these perfectly amazing chocolate chip cookies, I didn't think twice about them...until I was given one to try.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Those cookies were fantastic! I copied the recipe immediately, and put on my card that they were from my roommates Rebecca and Megan Stringham, and I still have that recipe card today. The measurements and directions have long since been memorized, but I still treasure it.
These cookies are named "Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies". The name should have clued me in, but it wasn't until about 10 years later that I actually looked on the back of a Toll House chocolate chip bag and discovered something: There was my precious recipe in print! (only mine was doubled) So sometimes, those recipes you find on the packaging really ARE good. Give some of them a try. You might stumble upon something great.
Original Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
(otherwise titled: The most fantastic chocolate chip cookie ever!)
In your mixer, combine 2 cups of shortening, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp water. Then, beat in 4 eggs.
Add in 2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of baking soda. Mix. Then add in 4 1/2 cups of flour. Mix in a bag of chocolate chips. (optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans) ((The dough will be soft and creamy. Don't add more flour. Really.)
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes.
Ok, now here's where I get serious about the instructions. If you are using a pampered chef baking stone to cook these cookies (like I show in the picture), it might take an extra few minutes of cooking time for the first batch. The cookies should be just slightly light brown when you remove them from the oven, and whether or not you use the baking stone, LET THE COOKIES COOL DOWN 10 MINUTES BEFORE YOU REMOVE THEM FROM THE PAN! That is so important! If you try to remove them right away, they will fall apart into a mushy heap, and it won't be pretty.
If you forget my instructions, and remove them right away, and say "What was she thinking? These came off just fine" I'll let you know right now, that you overcooked the cookies, and that those cookies are going to be so hard and crumbly when they cool down; they won't taste good at all. Trust me on this. You want them BARELY light brown. Take those babies out and you'll have cookie perfection in a matter of minutes.
If you are like most of my friends, you'll prefer the cookie dough. When I make this recipe, because it makes a lot, I usually form the dough into cookie balls, line them on my big baking sheet, and freeze them for a few hours, until I can remove them from the pan and place them all in a double lined Ziploc bag. Whenever I want to make cookies, I just get out the selected amount, put them on my baking stone, and bake away. Or...I hand out the bags of cookie dough to friends, who usually eat them up before they even make it to the baking pan. It really is THE BEST cookie dough I've ever had, and before I ever made these, I was not a fan of cookie dough. These little chocolate chip blessings changed my life (and my hip size!).
So once again, if you still aren't convinced that this is the best recipe ever, then I would just suggest that you try them. I believe I'll change your mind. If you like mint chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or other combinations of goodness, then feel free to tweak the add-ins for this recipe. It's a great base recipe for whatever cookie catches your fancy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

30. Flirty. &. Thriving.

I love that movie "13 Going on 30". It's so cute, and funny, and I cringe every time the ugly boyfriend starts dancing for Jenna instead of playing battleship, like she suggested, but I think that scene is so hilarious.
Anyway, I'm not 30 anymore, and I guess I'm thriving, but today, I'm FLIRTY.... especially when I'm wearing this cute "Flirty Apron" that I just made. My friends and I were supposed to get together last month and make them together, but I had some things going on, and I just got around to pulling the material out and sewing it together. What do you think? Flirty?

Just another day...

...filled with taking baths

...putting away laundry
...and walking kids to school

...then trying to convince the three-year-old that just because she has a backpack, it doesn't mean she gets to stay at school with the big kids.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

In which we play a game that produces hilarious drawings...

This is one of my favorite games to play. Have everyone sit in a circle, and everyone writes a sentence at the top of the paper. Pass the paper onto the next person, and they draw a picture that represents your sentence. Then they fold down the paper over the sentence, so you can only see the drawing. They hand the paper to the next person, and they must write a sentence, based on the picture that they see. Then they cover up the picture, showing only the last sentence, and the next person draws a picture. On and on it goes until the paper is filled up.

What you are left with, is Telephone Pictionary. These were some of my favorite drawings, from my Girl's Night. You should play it with your family, friends, co-workers, and strangers. It's hilarious.

When the sheet of paper is done, everyone reads through the paper they end up with, and then pass around the paper so everyone can see the pictures. What is especially funny, is when personal stories are written down, such as "The car fell down on Grandpa Pete when he was lying underneath it." (remind me to tell you that story)

Anyway, if you play this game, you'll laugh to tears. I guarantee it. (click on the pictures to enlarge them)

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Look Ma! No Hands!"

I rode my bike everywhere when I was younger. In fact, when I was a Sr. in High School, I was still riding my bike to school. It was a great source of transportation, especially when you had miles and miles to travel. Such was the case when I was about 10 years old. As I mentioned before, my family lived on a ranch, 7 miles out of town. The closest store was a gas station called Maxwell's, and once we got to the highway, it was still 2.5 miles away. It was a glorious store, full of rows and rows of box candies, such as Boston Baked Beans and Lemon Drops, that sold for a dime, with lots more nickel and penny candies that we loved to buy.

Going to Maxwell's took a bit of planning, since we were so far away, but more often than not, my older brothers and sister (as well as my friends) and I would get permission to go to Maxwell's and spend our dollars on candy. We had but one rule, and we heard it again and again. "Stay off the highway!" You see, we could still get to the store by riding our bikes on the trail running alongside the highway. It was a slow going trail, with lots of hills, rocky parts, sandy traps, and prickly bushes, but if it meant getting a bag full of candy, we were happy. Sometimes, if I was lucky, we would saddle my friend Tisha's horse, and with her sitting in the front, and me bouncing behind her, we made quick work of the trail. That was always the best. But usually, it was our trusty bikes that got us where we needed to go.

It wasn't long before we figured out that if we rode our bikes on the tiny two lane highway, then (1) we would get there faster, (2) use less energy, and (3) mom and dad would never be the wiser. Oh, we were brilliant. So we began riding on the highway. We got away with it for a long time too, that is, until the day that I got caught.

I can't remember who was with me, but I'm guessing that it was probably my friend Tisha, because I don't remember anyone else getting in trouble but me. Anyway, we were riding on the highway, about half a mile away from Maxwell's, with our coins jingling away in our pockets. My friend was about 20 feet in front of me, riding her bike, and I was following. We were riding on the right hand side of the road, so we couldn't see what vehicles were on the road with us, until they passed us.

I was really really good at riding my bike. I was so good, that most of the time, I didn't have to use the handlebars. I could turn corners, slow down, speed up, and even read my book, as I road without gripping on to the handlebars. This time, I wasn't reading a book, but I definitely wasn't holding on to the handlebars. I was sitting straight up, with my arms raised above me, and riding like there was no tomorrow.


A big white van passed by me, and I heard a honk. I looked up, in time to see my dad, who was driving, stick his head out of the drivers side window and give me a look that I will never forget. I knew I was in big trouble. I saw my dad put on his blinker, and pull into the parking lot of Maxwell's. By this point, I knew it would do me no good to turn around now. I continued on to the store, to find my dad leaning against the van, waiting for me.

I was terrified. First off, I had broken the one and only major rule, which was "Absolutely no riding on the highway!". Well, there I was, riding on the highway. Secondly, I was riding my bike with no hands. Stupid Stupid Stupid. Third, I made my friend become a sinner along with me, and I was sure that I'd never ever get to see her again. Fourth, my mom was also in the van, and she had seen the whole thing. Oh boy.

I parked my bike in the bushes and walked slowly across the loose gravel to where my dad stood waiting. My head hung in shame and my lip quivered in anticipation of the scolding I was sure to receive. I looked up at my dad. He looked down at me. My life was over. Then he said, in a calm but authoritative voice

"Look Ma...No Hands. Look Ma...No Teeth."

That was all he said to me, then he shooed me inside to get my candy. It was a long ride home from Maxwell's that day, full of grief and horror and what I'd done, and how I'd been caught. The trails seemed extra burdensome to maneuver, but I made it home, and didn't have the urge to ride to Maxwell's for a long, long time. After that, I realized that my parents were not as upset about me riding on the highway, but that I was riding by bike with no hands, on the highway. Yes. I would have to agree with them.

In all the years that have passed since then, I remember with crystal clarity what my dad said to me that day. I'm glad he said what he did. After all, I quite like having teeth.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

ARTWORK holders

I've posted some artwork holders before, but thought I would put some up again. We were invited to a birthday party for two little girls this last weekend, so I made these up for their birthday presents.

Simply hang them on the wall, and whenever your kids bring home some artwork, use the clips to hold up the paper, and you've got a great way to showcase those papers that otherwise might get crumpled and forgotten.

(click on the pictures to enlarge)

The Music Videos

So I told everyone to bring a random prop to use for our music videos. We divided into groups, each group quickly picked a song from Colleen's IPOD, and they had 10 minutes to prepare for production. While we were all busy coming up with our choreography, we also raided my kid's dress-up box to add to the fun costumes.

This was the first group waiting "off stage" for their entrance. They rocked it.

The next group used a caterpillar costume as one of their props. Kendra was really working the prop, it was so funny.

She even did the "worm" for a few minutes, and it was hilarious.

The next group did a YMCA/MACARENA dance and they really got into it.

My group was the last to go, and we never got to practice with the IPOD, so when our turn came up, and we tried to find our song, we discovered that it wasn't on the playlist. I can't remember which song we ended up choosing, but it was totally ad-lib, and very fun. Two of the girls even pinned kamy's dress-up dresses to their shirt fronts.