Monday, August 30, 2010

I was sick

I spent Saturday night... all night... well, sick.  Sunday was spent with an on and off fever and an inability to move. today I feel better but must now try to get the house back to normal. 

That said, no blog post today. 

Except this one...

which hardly counts.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Favorite Links for Young Children

Here are some of my favorite links for kid stuff!  games for the younger ones! great for learning to read and phonics! Make or choose spelling lists for your kids to practice at home.  Sweet Pea's favorite spelling city game is "hang mouse".  It's like hangman except when you've guessed too many wrong answers the cat catches the mouse (but doesn't eat it). Games for girls (imagine that!),  my school-agers are able to play most these games, but the younger one's struggle with most of them.  Watch them on this one though, many of the games are fine but I don't like some of them. I order my preschool curriculum from them, they have suppliments that can be used by anyone as well. One of the many websites I use to suppliment my curriculum. This website is vast and I can spend hours looking through it for fun and educational worksheets!  This is basically a compilation of a TON of ideas from teachers, organized by theme. Yet another website I use to suppliment preschool themes. Great resource for parents of young children. Printable crafts for young children. You guessed it, free coloring pages. Really cool science website for kids of all ages!

There you have it!  Do you have any to add to the list?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I wish there were more episodes on that first dvd of Dr. Quinn!  I finished it and don't want to wait for the next one to arrive from Netflix!

I hope Sweet Pea feels better in the morning, she's feeling pretty bad this evening. :o(  She's going to recover at Nana's house tomorrow so I can still work.

I want a new printer/copier, so I wish for that too.

Your turn!! What are you wishing or hoping for?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Kids Say...

There's a new entry at the bottom of my "Kids Say the Darndest Things" thingy.  If you've never seen it before, it's in the left column.  Once again, it's Babydoll that said it. 

I can't get enough of that girl! 

Except for when I can.

The Hunt for the Perfect Sugar Cookie

Last week, and the week before, the theme at my daycare was baking!  Specifically cookies!  First we made peanut butter cookies, then it was time for sugar cookies, and finally decorating those sugar cookies! 

Confession:  I love cookies.  I am addicted in a way that if they are in my vicinity, I can not, under any circumstances, have just one.  It is impossible.  Usually at home I eat about 5, or more.

It's bad, and I know it.  This is why we rarely have cookies in the house anymore, it's just a bad idea.

That said, I am on the hunt for the perfect sugar cookie recipe.  I want to make a sugar cookie that tastes yummy and sweet even without icing.  I also want them to be sturdy enough to package/decorate/store without falling apart.

I know, I'm picky.

I've tried several sugar cookie recipes since last Christmas, and so far this is my favorite, but it must be tweaked!  I paid attention to the reader comments for the recipe and tried it two different ways, because I could tell be reading it that it was going to be just as boring as every other recipe I've tried. 

The kids and I made the first variation together.  The changes I made were: instead of just 2 C of sugar, I used 3, and I upped the vanilla to 2 tsp.  And chilled the dough for an hour.

Oh yeah, and there was my favorite suggestion ever!! instead of rolling them out and making cut-outs, we did this:

We rolled the chilled dough into balls...

Placed them on the cookie sheet...

Dipped a measuring cup in sugar, and squished them to about 1/4 inch thick

I don't know about you, but I hate the process of making sugar cookie cut-outs.  The shapes are fun and all, but I don't like having to re-ball up the dough and re-roll it out each time. 

This way was SO EASY!  Which is especially helpful when the kids stop helping after the first 2 trays are filled!

OH! Also, I baked the cookies for 8 minutes on my Air Bake sheet, or 7 minutes on the disposable sheet, and allowed them to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing them.

And then we each ate one because  I the kids couldn't wait until they were decorated.

The next day we decorated them!  I was going to make royal icing but never made it to Walmart to get the meringue powder, so what we did was this.  I mixed a couple heaping spoonfuls of powdered sugar, with about a teaspoon (I never measured it) of milk, and adjusted as needed for desired consistency.  I wanted it to be thick, but paintable.

Then I took out 4 brand spankin' new watercolor paintbrushes and put one in each bowl of icing, and let them "paint" the cookies!

The cookies sat and dried for several hours, and the icing hardened, and they tasted delicious!  Not quite the perfect sugar cookie, but very very delicious! 

The batch I made the other night was a different variation.  The only difference from the previous batch was I used 1.5 C of granulated sugar, and 1C of powdered sugar.  These cookies are not as sweet, and they crumble really easily. 

Back to the drawing board!

Oh darn :o)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Prima Ballerina

I want to blog about the sugar cookies we made, but I'm feeling tired and lazy so I will leave you with these pictures of Babydoll trying on the dance recital stuff that Sweet Pea wore when she was 3.5 years old.

Have a happy Monday!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Keep your tongue in your mouth.

On our way to my mom and dad's house this afternoon, we stopped at the gas station to fill up.  While Spence was outside pumping gas, the kids and I waited in the car... radio off... enjoying a few moments of silence.  And then I heard Sweet Pea from the back seat (sitting next to Babydoll) quietly say, "Keep your tongue in your mouth.  I said keep your tongue in your mouth.  [Babydoll] if you don't keep your tongue in your mouth then when we get home I'm going to take away one of your toys."

I then rectified the situation with a classic, "[Sweet Pea], who do you think you are??"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Little Man seriously loves popcorn!

Mom, this popcorn is really great!

Really really really great!


Uh oh, was that the last piece?

That couldn't have been the last piece!!!

More please!!




How do you not give that face more popcorn??

You don't, you just let him finish off the bag.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wishful Wednesday

I wish I had the discipline to get my stuff done earlier in the evening so I could go to bed at 10 every night

I wish they didn't grow up so fast, my first baby is almost 8!

I hope my friend's baby stays in there for at least a few more weeks!

I hope we can fix our broken shower wall!  We're pretty bad DIYers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Look Who's Walking!

Look who's finally walking!

My Little Man took his first steps with Daddy on July 21st!
I would have blogged about it earlier, but it took a while to get photos!

He took his first two steps while I was painting the set for the play.  Spence called to tell me, and I was majorly bummed!  I was reminded by a castmate that I had been the one to witness the girls' first steps, and at least one of his parents was the one to see it happen.

Regardless of who saw it first, I am very proud of my little walker!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Theme is Baking!

Last week and this week the theme is "Baking"!  Note to self: Do not schedule baking week in August, it is very hot in August and the oven should not be turned on for that length of time when it is this hot!

Anyway, last week we made peanutbutter cookies from my Betty Crocker's Cooky Book.  They are very good, not perfect, but very good.  The important part was that they were easy enough for the kids to be involved in every step.

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Step 1: make cookie dough.  If you have several young children helping with this then you will be unable to take pictures.  But it's peanutbutter cookies, not rocket science, you don't need pictures.

Step 2: Use a spoon to scoop out the dough,

Step 3:  Roll into a ball

Step 4:  Dipp fork in sugar

Step 5:  Make crisscross pattern on the cookie, don't press too far though or the cookie will burn!

Step 6:  Bake for a couple minutes less than recipe says, and let cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Step 7:  Feed to cute little blue-eyed boys.

This week we will be making sugar cookies and decorating them with Royal Icing!  I predict much mess so we'll see how I do with taking pictures!

By the way, I am still on the lookout for the perfect sugar cookie recipe, let me know if you have one!  I want to make sugar cookies that taste great even without icing!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

After the Storm

A few weeks ago, or several weeks ago, I've lost track, we had a storm.  That evening I was on a conference call with the Sound of Music producer, set designer, and my fellow paint manager when the storms started rolling in, the clouds got dark and creepy, and then the sirens started going off.  After finishing up our business (while simultaneously moving our family members to a safe location and watching the weather warnings) the kids and I cozied up for a little storm-time fun. 

We prayed that we would stay safe and that all our friends and family would stay safe, and that the storm wouldn't break our house.  Sweet Pea amended the prayer because she figured if the house broke we'd build a bigger house... I hope there isn't insurance fraud in her future! 

Spencer was in WI that night for Rockfest, so it was just me and the kids in the basement.  Since Sweet Pea and I had been obsessing working on The Sound of Music the first thing that popped into my head to do during a scary storm was to sing!  Now in the movie version Maria sings "My Favorite Things" with the kids when the storm comes, but in the stage version they sing "The Lonely Goatherd"... we sang both. :o)

When the storm passed I put the kids back to bed and went outside to take pictures.  The sky had turned from funnel clouds to this...

I just stood there and kept taking pictures, the colors were changing so fast and it was so beautiful.  I wish the pictures looked as good as it did in person!  It was a beautiful end to a pretty severe storm!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Curtain Has Closed

Well it's over.

The Sound of Music is over.

I've turned in my habit, Sweet Pea has turned in her horrible pink and white dress.

I've thrown my nun-shoes in the closet to donate to Goodwill.

The dressing room has been emptied.

The set has been taken apart.

And the curtain has closed.

Oh and I'm back to wearing normal amounts of makeup.

So while this has been difficult for Babydoll, crying when it was time for me to leave every night.  And it ment that Spencer had to be home by a certain time every weeknight and give up any chance of going out on weekdays.  This play was exactly what I needed.

I have spent the last 8 years taking care of not only myself, but my family.  I did it willingly and without any regret, but who takes care of the caregiver?  It was time to take care of myself.

Ever since I transfered out of the University of Minnesota 8 years ago, I haven't done a single organized vocal or theatrical activity.  For many years I didn't even have a piano in this house.  For someone who needs to express emotion musicaly, that was years of pent up tension. 

So for several years I've been waiting for my opportunity to do a musical with ERCT, but every summer I was either pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or had a baby, and couldn't do the play.  Until this summer!

Here's Sweet Pea, second from the right in the front row.  I can't tell you how unsettling it is to see my daughter singing in front of nazi banners.

The Sound of Music was a LOT of work, but I have LOVED every minute of it!!  This cast was absolutely amazing and I have made several new friends.  People who have come to mean a lot to me in the last two months! 

Not only was the cast a blast to work with (and party with!) but the talent was incredible!  Our director Eileen Bowersox told us at our first gathering that if we were looking for "community theater" then we came to the wrong place.  This production was amazing!  So a BIG thank you to my family who helped me out with my other responsibilities, and everyone who came out to show their support and see the play!  I wouldn't have been able to take this opportunity without your support!

I had so much fun!

And I'm already planning ahead for next summer's show...

The Phantom of the Opera

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