Thursday, March 31, 2011

Horses and Cows and Chicks...Oh My!

 Super Excited about the Oil Ranch Trip (She's on the a train.)
This is my favorite picture from the day!
Riding a horse for the very first time. She LOVED it!!!

Playing in the hayloft. There was a slide or you could swing from a rope into a huge pile of hay.

My sweet Z and I enjoying a refreshing snowcone.

Z's Class plus somebody's big sister.

Went on Z's field trip to the Oil Ranch today. It was so much fun. She rode a horse, milked a cow, petted goats, bunnies, and chickens, went on a train ride and a hay ride, hand fed cows (which was very funny watching their faces when the cows stuck out their tongues), jumped in a bounce house, and played on a tractor, just to name a few of the activities. The kids and mommies had a great time and we couldn't have had a more perfect weather day! Lesson of the day: If you are going to hand feed a cow, plan on being licked by one very large slimy tongue.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Goodbye 1970's

Before
After

When we first saw our house, I loved it. It was unique and had a sort of old world cottage feel, but one of the first things out of my mouth was, "All this brassy gold has got to go!" It was very evident from our fixtures and door knobs that our house was built in the late 70's. Well, a year and a half later, the process has begun. We've replaced 3 outdated fixtures/ceiling fans and after hunting for the correct sized fireplace doors we discovered that our fireplace is a custom size. Since there is no way I'm going to sink that much money into a fireplace that we can't even use (a whole story in itself), Alan educated himself on painting it and wha-la...looks like a different house. You have to use a high heat safe paint which pretty much limits you to black but that's okay, we have a lot of black accents in the living room. I was kind-of disappointed with the picture.  It doesn't do the fireplace justice because it really looks good. Of course, now some my decorations don't look so good but I was already thinking about replacing them with something more up to date. So once again the lesson of the day: A little elbow grease and ingenuity sure can save you a bundle. Two more fixtures downstairs, a door handle, and then to the upstairs (of course that may be in another year and a half :)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sad, Sad Doughnut Day

Okay, so normally, I think I'm a pretty good cook...especially when it comes to baking. I can make some really good desserts. This morning, I decided I was going to be Mommy Extraordinaire and make homemade doughnuts for the kids, after all it is spring break. I have such great memories of my mom making doughnuts. I remember waiting with such anticipation for her to set down the warm platter of glazed and sugared treats. It was always exciting. Well, I've never made doughnuts before but how hard could it be. I mean "mix, cut, and fry- that's it!" (that's what it said at the top of my Better Crocker recipe). I should have read the WHOLE recipe first and frying, that should have been my first clue that things were not going to go as planned. I finished mixing, easy enough, then read, "Cover batter and refrigerate for 2 hours." REFRIGERATE for TWO HOURS!!! I don't remember mom refrigerating but then again, I was probably watching cartoons or playing or something. My kids were starving because we had already by some miracle slept in for us (8AM..I know sad for all you sleepers out there). Well, I handed over a banana to each kid, put the dough in a smaller container, and threw it into the freezer.

45 Minutes Later....I pull out the dough, roll it out, cut it, again easy peasy! I heated up my shortening...this is where the trouble really started. First, I must explain, I have never deep fried anything...ever. I have sauteed in a little olive oil or butter but that's about it. We don't eat much fried stuff but I whipped out the tallest and biggest pot I had, put some blobs of grease in, melted, and watch the temperature rise. When it hit 375 (and I had removed the smoke detector, turned on the exhaust onto ultra high, opened every window and door) I dropped in round one and obediently let them cook for 1 minute per side. Well, 1 minute led to burnt on one side, toasted on the other, and gooey in the center. To wrap this very long story up quickly, things didn't get much better no matter what I did...adjusting the fire, less time, more time. I finally resorted to taking them out, cutting them down the middle and cooking the gooey side. My family was sweet about it. They ate their very sad crispy goo doughnuts and said they tasted good, but I think it was just for my sake.

Well, now that I've spend half the day making and cleaning up a mess, I've got to get on that tread climber and work off all the taste testing. Soooo wasn't worth it!

Lesson of the Day: Want doughnuts....do yourself a favor....go to Shipleys! That's where we'll be getting ours.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Bread...it's a serious matter

Last night at the dinner table, I was once again onto Z for fooling around rather than eating her dinner.  We were having cinnamon popovers with honey for dessert and they were REALLY good.  Everyone else had finished theirs but I had Z's on my plate.  Alan jokingly said, "Z, you better hurry up, because it looks like mommy wants to eat your popover."  Z took a big bite and then very seriously did the, "I'm watching you" sign like the picture above.  I almost fell in the floor laughing.

Lesson of the day:  Think twice when it comes to stealing a bite of a certain 4 year old's bread.  She's very serious about it.  In her words she loves it, "just as much as chocolate and cake and cookies and popcicles."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ahhhh, parchment paper, how do I love thee?

I seriously LOVE parchment paper.  I don't know what I ever did without it and why everyone doesn't use it, except for maybe they don't know about it.  I no longer clean cookie sheets or have to scrub them between batches.  I just add a piece of parchment, throw on some cookie dough, cook, slide them onto my cooling rack, and add more dough.  It seriously makes baking cookies much easier and faster.

This morning, I was baking cookies before the kids got up, since I totally forgot I was suppose to deliver a snack for teacher treat day this morning until late last night.  I made this new chocolate chip recipe from this link:  http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cookies/cookies2/cherry-chocolate-chip-cookies.asp.  I was going to make the actual cherry chocolate chip cookies but realized that I had inadvertently picked up dried cranberries flavored like cherries instead of real dried cherries.  That's what happens when you shop with two kids and their friends in tow.  So I scrambled around a bit before I saw the candy jar with the Hershey Hugs left over from Valentines Day.  I grabbed a handful, chopped them up, and tossed them into the dough with the chocolate chips.  YUM-O!  These are REALLY good cookies, a little crispy on the outside but oh so soft on the inside.  I do recommend using good chocolate chips (not the cheapy stuff) but I tend to be a little bit of a chocolate snob.  Anyway, thought I'd share.

Lesson of the day:  If you don't want to work out...don't start your day with cookies. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Has it really been 9 years???

I became a mom 9 years ago today. 
My sweet boy has been a blessing everyday since. 
Happy Birthday, J-man!!!
We sure do love you!

Then

Now

Lesson of the Day:  Treasure every day because one day you'll blink and it will be 9 years later.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One Legotastic Birthday Party!!!


The Birthday Boy


The Birthday Boy and his Buds 
(and sneaky little sister who popped her head up right as I took the picture)
Big 9 Year Old
I think it's funny how BIG they were all singing.  
Check sneaking little sister out again in the background.  That toot!

On Sunday, we celebrated J's 9th birthday. I'm blown away at how fast he's growing up. Nine!!! Anyway, he decided on another lego themed party (since he hadn't had one with this set of friends). It was a great success. I didn't think much could beat last year's Mad Scientist Party but according to the boys this was "the best party ever." I think a bounce house always helps. J had a fantastic time. They bounced, they played lego themed party games, and ate more pizza (shaped like lego pieces), popcorn, and cupcakes than any adult would ever dream of eating. All in all, it was a great party. Best part was that J couldn't have been happier.



You can kind-of see that that the back porch was also decorated since we did most of the party there.






FYI: Most of the decorations came from Printables by Amy at www.livinglocurto.com (my absolute favorite party source-we'll be doing the mermaid one for Z this year). I made the bunting flags in publisher. Sorry, I had to blur most of his name for safety. If you want a copy, just let me know and I'll send them to you as soon as I finish the alphabet. The legoman head pops are a large marshmallow topped with 1/2 of a small marshmallow, coated with candy coating. I painted the faces with black food coloring and a toothpick. (I tried those food markers but they just didn't work.)



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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Yee-Ha it's Western Day!!!

Thursday was Z's western day. Here's just a few pics from the day. Here she's having her hand painted with a cactus picture.  
Now she's milking a cow...I ended up needing to work during Z's rotation and this was my station. By the end of it my clothes were a tad bit crispy with dried milk. I was shot about every other time. The kids LOVED it, I think because it was so messy. They were hysterical because I would ask them if they liked milk (yes) and then I would ask if they knew milk came from a cow. The shocked and a few grossed out looks I got from the kids was too funny. Milk comes from cows!?! Hope they drank their milk that night.
Miss Terry would hurt me if she saw this picture but I loved how engaged Z is. She adores Miss Terry and loves music time. They sang Old Mac Donald, Deep In the Heart of Texas, and several other greats.

Lesson of the Day:  Always wear a rain parka or protective clothing when milking cows with 4 year olds.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Back in business and busy, busy, busy

So, this is the first week that I really feel like I'm back to my normal self which is a good thing because this is a crazy week. Tuesday, I went on J's field trip to the Children's Museum and to a very large local park. It was the most exercise I think I've ever gotten on a field trip. Besides climbing this huge tower that was obviously not made to be climbed by adults (required a lot of shimmying and squeezing), I had to have walked at least 10 miles before the day was over. We had an awesome time, though. Our tour guide at the museum was amazing! He will make a crazy good teacher. J loved that I was there too and I loved that I was able to be there with him. It's been too long since I've gotten to do this kind of thing with my boy.
On Wednesday, besides our usual ballet class and AWANA, Z and I hosted a surprise baby shower for one of the ballet moms. She was totally shocked that the rest of the moms had thrown together a little party for her. Check out the cake. One of moms is a very talented cake decorator. The bunting flags were from this link: http://ruffledblog.com/printable-alphabet-bunting/ They are totally cute! I printed a set with Z's first and middle name and hung them in her room. Party was a complete success even with 5 bazillion kids running around the house. We all had a lot of fun.

Today, is Go Western Day for Z. In fact, I've got to go dud her up right now and get to the school so I can put in my volunteer hours so I can watch her class later. Then it's full on "get ready for the birthday party" mode for J with the million other things I feel like I've gotten way behind on while I was out of commission. Whoo, I think I'll sit down next week. Lesson of the Day: (This is from my devo this morning.) "I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance." John 10:10...That totally contradicts stress, worry, anxiety, and constantly thinking about what you're going to do next...Don't get so caught up in those things that you fail to enjoy the moment. Life should be enjoyable...so have fun today, people!
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