Tuesday, April 28, 2009

For the birds

Last week I wanted to grill some chicken for dinner. I went outside to start the grill and imagine my surprise when I opened the lid and found this:

What in the world?! I originally jumped because I didn't expect to find my grill full of the scraps of my backyard but then I really freaked when I realized that an animal, most likely a nasty, dirty, poopy bird placed all these scraps here. I nearly peed in my pants when the thought of one very pissed off, nasty bird would come flying out to attack me. Thankfully I opened the grill while they were out for dinner so I wasn't attacked. We had to completely sterilize the grill before I would put food on it. I've opened the grill every day and the persistent little feathered creatures won't give up; they start over on their nest every day. Well, this morning I just left the grill lid open so we'll see if they are birds that enjoy voyeurism.

On a completely different song note...
The school was having the spring carnival this weekend and I volunteered to bake goodies for the cake walk. I found some very cute bluebird cupcakes online and decided to make two dozen for the school. I had decided this before I found nasty bird remnants in my grill, otherwise I wouldn't be making any cutesy bird products.These cupcakes are supposed to resemble a bird nest with three baby birds tweeting for some food. I quietly relish in the fact that someone ate the heads of these birds. OK no, I'm not some deep dark personality that likes to harm animals. But, if these birds don't stay out of my grill...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My baby is 7!

Happy Birthday Matthew!
I can't believe my youngest child, my little sweet boy, my baby is actually 7 years old today. Matthew decided to make a grand entrance and cause a lot of hub-bub commotion 7 years ago and he didn't stop there. A few things about Matthew:
1. He loves to build. He will build with anything he can find and has the most creative ideas. (in fact, his teacher had to remove a stack of paper from behind his desk because every time she looked up he was folding paper to build sculptures; is it bad that I laughed?)
2. He loves anything to do with Egypt and mummies; he knows more about mummies than I ever cared to learn. The grosser, the better.
3. I am convinced he will be an archaeologist when he grows up but if that doesn't work out he will be an architect.
4. He idolizes his big brother, Jacob and even said he wanted to have the same job Jacob does as an adult so they can be together.
5. He will climb any and every tree he can find; the picture is proof. He was actually climbing the small tree so he could reach the bottom branch of the huge tree. He has named that tree "The Grandfather Tree;" because I guess it has to as old as a grandfather?
6. He will ruin every shirt and pair of pants I buy with mud or holes from sticks. I have given up and started letting him wear his holey jeans because he thinks it's cool.
7. Despite his mummy loving, tree hugging, clothes ruining characteristics he has the softest heart of any boy I know. He has always been a cuddler.
8. He is very sensitive but also tries very hard to not show others he might be crying; "I've got something in my eyes" is his favorite cover-up for tears.
9. He is a great friend.
10. He is a wonderful son and he makes me a better person. I might have gray hair before he graduates from high school but he is going to give us a ride we'll never forget.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Adoption Fundraiser

We are thinking of several different ways to raise funds for our adoption and our first attempt is a Tastefully Simple catalog party through a consultant will donate 50% of her profits towards our adoption. Fill up on some good, EASY food while helping us bring our new girl home! (I can't wait until we get matched and decide on her name so we can stop saying "new girl, new sister or new daughter!") Click on the Tastefully Simple logo to order through our fundraiser.

My favorites are the beer bread mix and the almond pound cake. The beer bread can be made with any carbonated beverage making the possibilities endless! Check out the recipe section for many different uses for both products.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easter dress

Here are the kids before we went to the Easter service at church.

I started making Emily's dress about a month before Easter and then procrastinated the finish work until a few days before. That dress is heavy, it has to weigh at least 4 lbs! It has a ton of material in the skirt and it is also fully lined. She loves it so that makes me happy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tie-Dye Eggs

I saw a blurb on TV about dying eggs with printed silk from neckties, scarfs or blouses. It looked really cool and I thought it might afford me one year in church with fingers that weren't blue, green and red. So I headed to the second hand store to buy a few ties because I have a husband who does not enjoy wearing items knotted around his neck.

Find yourself some old silk ties or scarves in the closet or hit the second hand store as I did. Also find some white material, it can be muslin or even an old pillowcase.
Cut both materials into squares big enough to wrap up around an egg.
Wrap egg with silk material, printed side towards egg, and fasten with a twist tie. Wrap white material around the silk and secure it with a twist tie.
I buy drawstring trash bags so I did not have twist ties lying around. I headed to the grocery store to find they don't sell a package of twist ties. I could have bought a box of trash bags that use twist ties but I thought that would be pretty useless. So instead, Emily and I got some fresh produce and accidently dropped some twist ties into the bags. Oopsie

Boil your eggs for 20-25 minutes in a non-reactive pot with 1/4 cup white vinegar. Immediately place eggs into an ice bath (this gets rid of that funky green coated yolk) until cool enough to handle.

Have fun unwrapping your eggs!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Cake

I had planned on making this cake with the kids this weekend but they were downstairs playing so nicely that I decided to spend some therapy time in the kitchen baking; just me and my Kitchen Aid. There is one thing that I have learned beyond "never wake a sleeping baby" and that is never ask questions when all three kids are playing nicely.

J and I have done Weight Watchers for three months without any baked goods in the house so I thought we'd splurge this weekend...sort of. I took this recipe out of Family Circle magazine and tweaked it a bit. OK, after looking at the recipe and picture I guess I kind of took this cake as the inspiration and pretty much changed every part of it.


Now my cake with changes made to be a bit more friendly to those of us who need to fit into the majority of the clothes hanging in the closet.
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, lite margarine sticks, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1-1/4 cups buttermilk skim milk with 1 1/4 tbsp. lemon juice to make buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 2 8” circle pans.
Mix dry ingredients (first 5). Beat butter sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes, add eggs 1 at a time. Slowly beat flour into sugar mixture, alternating with buttermilk. (Begin and end with flour mixture.) Divide into two pans and bake 34 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and turn cakes out.
Bakers Note: If I had regular margarine sticks I would have used those. Due to my longing desire to fit into the clothes in my closet I only stock lite margarine sticks in the fridge. The batter gets pretty runny after adding the eggs when using the lite margarine but the cakes appear to have baked fine. Also, it took a bit of extra flour to make a cake batter consistency so either plan on using a bit more flour or a bit less buttermilk. Consider your kitchen a mad science lab!

Filling: (original filling completely scrapped)
1 container fat free Cool Whip
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
2 tbsp. sugar

Divide each cake layer in half.
Mix all ingredients until smooth and then spread 1/3 of mixture between the cake layers.

Frosting: (original filling completely scrapped)
1 container fat free cool whip
3 cups crushed Oreos

Spread cool whip over cake. Place crushed oreos on sides of cake.

The original cake is 13 points per piece (16 servings). My diet twist is 5 points per piece (16 servings).
I can say that the cake was completely gone in two days, so I guess it was edible even with the diet twist.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

More veggie soup

Another dose of blogger vegetable soup; if you don't like vegetable soup imagine chicken noodle or french onion- just stay away from the clam chowder. I don't like stinky blogs.
Whenever I go out I look for hidden treasures that other people overlook and try to figure out a way to fix it up and use it. All that means is I like junk; I look for junk and then try to find a way to make it pretty junk that I will use in my house. Sometimes it works, and other times i just make the junk even more junky so I toss it out.

Last week I found this lovely, painted mirror for a mere $16. The frame around it was great and the mirror even had a bevel around it. I would have paid a lot more for just a mirror, let alone a frame as well. Only one problem; it was ugly! Copper looking paint doesn't match a darn thing in my house and I can only imagine that is why it was still sitting on the clearance shelf. But I was able to look beyond the hideous, gaudy colored frame so I bought it and bought a can of spray paint the same day.

Here is the painted version in our bedroom. Every time I bring home of these ugly gems my husband always gives me a look. It is the same look every time which says "that is ugly, very ugly and what do you plan on doing with it in our house?" I always tell him my grand plan and I still get the look, only now it has transformed into "that won't work, but have a nice time trying honey." He hung my mirror for me a couple days ago; enough said.

Last weekend the fifth graders got to take a trip to the science center and sleep there overnight. I didn't think a mom with a group of 10-11 year old boys was a stellar idea so I volunteered J. I could tell the second I saw him Saturday morning that it was a long night on a very hard floor. Although, I think he secretly had a good time wagering bets with the boys on how much pizza they could eat.
(Doesn't Jacob look like a mini-me of J?!)

And finally, here is a picture of the kids' bathroom. We have had ducks in our kids bathroom for four years so I figured it was about time to change to something else. I painted the walls a very light lime green and added turquoise rugs and the brightly striped shower curtain. It is like a color explosion in there! Even with the new theme we still refer to it as the "ducky bathroom" because "stripey bathroom" just doesn't have the same flow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Your reward

Thank you to all the family members who will soon be receiving three seperate post cards, all containing the same information. Every year at school the kids bring home a packet of post cards to address to friends and family with the hopes that they will be suckered into buying a magazine subscription with money coming back to the school. Some years I'm able to quietly dispose of them, but not this year. An assembly and promise of a great toy made it impossible to wrangle these post card packets out of their dirty, long fingernailed (yes, I say that is a word) hands this year. All three of them were so eager to get their straw glasses.

So, without further ado...I give you your reward for accepting three offers of exactly the same thing and so lovingly disposing of them, for me.