Monday, March 30, 2009

More April Fools Fun

April Fool's Day has come and gone most years in our house, smooshed between St. Patty's and Easter. The boys fancy themselves a pretty fun duo and like to "trick" their unsuspecting mama but so far I have managed to stay one step ahead of them {though I will often play along and let them think they "got" me}. Now that the boys are getting older and can appreciate a good joke {most of the time anyway} I think it might be fun to pull a few tricks on them. I was so pleased to see this new idea from Taste of Home for April Fools Berry Soda arrive in my inbox this week. Check out my other April Fool's food prank here.

April Fools Berry Soda

Here's a prank that will get your family to pucker up! These berry "beverages" look inviting to sip, but they're actually gelatin that's tricky to suck through a straw, so keep some spoons handy.

Serves 6

2 packages (3 ounces each) strawberry gelatin

3/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries

3/4 cup fresh raspberries

3/4 cup fresh blueberries

Prepare gelatin according to package directions. Refrigerate until partially set, about 2 hours. Stir in berries. Pour into six tall drink or soda glasses. Insert a straw into each glass. Refrigerate until set.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

April Fool's!


Do you ever tear out a page from a magazine with great intentions of doing the activity and/or recipe listed? I am guilty of this more than I will admit {it's bad, don't ask} and I know I really should implement this great organizing tip from Katie at A Listmaker's Life to keep these fun ideas in order. For example, last year I tore a page out of Parents Magazine with this fun idea {see below} for April Fool's Day. While searching for a dinner recipe a few weeks back I stumbled upon it again.
I will not be serving this clever little idea in the morning as breakfast, as I am certain the boys teachers would NOT appreciate a pure sugar start to their day... but I think it would be fun as a "breakfast for dinner" idea.
Do you have any April Fool's tricks up your sleeve? Leave a comment with any fun ideas or traditions you have for April Fool's Day, I would love to read about them.

More April Fool's Fun! Topher has decided that he will take a treat to school for his "half-birthday" {little fella has a July birthday, we do a "half-birthday" at school so he can share a treat and wear the birthday crown} on April 1st... so I need to get the creative juices flowing so that we can do something fun in honor of the day. 2 years ago we made cupcakes that looked like little hamburgers - now that was fun!

April Fool's Breakfast

What You'll Need:

1 (12-oz) all-butter loaf or pound cake


Vanilla frosting, tinted yellow

1. Slice a piece of cake for each person, and toast it until it's light brown. Cut "toast" in half diagonally.

2. Stack two marshmallows one on top of the other on a plate; microwave on high for 5 seconds. Using the back of a spoon, spread marshmallows into a circle so they look like egg whites. Let cool.

3. Grease an extra-small ice-cream scoop. Use it to put a mound of yellow frosting in center of marshmallows. Arrange toast on the plate with the egg- and the prank is ready to be served.

For more tasty recipe's stop by Crackers and Chaos . Yummy stuff!

Saturday Salads


5 Minute Southwest Salad

6 cups torn romaine
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 cup shredded cheese {I used a Mexican blend}
1 1/2 cups crushed tortilla chips

Put lettuce in the bottom of a bowl and layer remaining ingredients on top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

For more awesome Saturday Salads to tempt your tummy go to A Listmaker's Life. You should go there anyway - it is a super fun blog.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

4th of July last year. One of my favorite photos with Topher. Such a fun memory!

For more great pictures of mother's in front of their cameras or to join the fun, visit the 52 Week Challenge at Forever in Blue Jeans.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Not Me!

Certainly I am Super Mom, with my red crest hiding just beneath my snot stained hoodie. I am sure of this because I would never allow my 3 year old to play outside on her own while I watch from the warmth of my computer chair. I would never send her outside without boots and snowpants, knowing full well her intent was to play in the last little bits of snow remaining in the parking lot in front of our house. I would never allow her to sit in the snow without afore mentioned snowpants and to walk in the piles of dirty snow with just shoes on. Not I! It is a very good thing that I would not do that for I would surely have to dig out a new set of clothes from the laundry baskets that I would never leave sitting, becoming wrinkled beyond repair. Most of all, I would never sneak outside and settle for a far away shot of her sitting in the lonely strip of snow just so she would not notice me and want me to join her. {Want to see the adorable pic I took? That is considered evidence, and we can't have that, now can we?} I would also never do this because it falls right at nap time and what kind of mother would allow this craziness when a young girl should be getting her rest? Not me!

For more Not Me! Monday antics check out MckMamma at My Charming Kids.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life Skill Lesson: Cooperation


The Katie's over at ABC & 123... A Learning Cooperative have a great new post today- all about Cooperation. With three unique personalities running on hyper drive in our house it is easy to see why cooperation is an important tool to preserve what remains of this momma's sanity. I am especially excited about the Self Portrait project and will be trying that with my family. Take a few minutes and find something super fun to do with your family today!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Random Picture Challenge

3rd Folder
1st picture with the color brown in it

I put together a photo album this past Christmas for my family members as a gift to commemorate our annual camping trips. In my third folder I had these three pictures with all of the trees in the background - what is more brown than bark? I made a collage of each year to put in the album and this was from 2006, the summer before my Uncle (in the black & white photo) unexpectedly passed away from an aggressive cancer. I am so happy and extremely grateful that we had these times together and fun photos to remember him by.

Soup-er Saturday


Broccoli and Chicken Noodle Soup


Cooking Spray

2 cups chopped onion

1 cup presliced mushrooms

1 garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons butter

1.1 ounce all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)

4 cups 1% low-fat milk

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

4 ounces uncooked vermicelli, broken in to 2-in pieces
{I used angel hair pasta}

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light) {I just used the block of Velveeta - couldn't find it shredded and didn't want to shred it myself}

4 cups (1-inch) cubed cooked chicken breast

3 cups small broccoli florets (8 ounces)

1 cup half-and-half

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper {I found this to be too much and will do 1/2 next time}

3/4 teaspoon salt

Heat Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic to pan; saute 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium; add butter to mushroom mixture, stirring until butter melts. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add pasta to pan; cook 10 minutes. Add cheese to pan, and stir until cheese melts. Add chicken and remaining ingredients to pan; cook 5 minutes or until broccoli is tender and soup is thoroughly heated. Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Want more great soup recipes? Hurry over to A Listmakers Life for this final installment of Soup-er Saturday, with the warm weather around the corner Katie is switching to Saturday Salads soon!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Unplug Friday!

Do you spend a lot of time in front of the computer, TV or other electronic device? I know I certainly do, some more days than others. Kimba at A Soft Place To Land has issued an Unplug Friday challenge for March 27th. This gives us all a week to prepare for 24 hours of Unplugging Glory! Will this be easy for you or perhaps very difficult? I encourage you to join me and get Unplugged!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Think About It Thursday

Patterns are one of the first concepts the boys learned when they started school and they have brought their love of all things colorfully aligned to their little sister. Lilly received a very fun gift of colored foam beads from the school Librarian, thank you Ellen! One morning as she was stringing the shapes on to the plastic line I asked her each color and attempted to show her how to make different patterns. It is still a work in progress but so much fun. I think she is learning these concepts because when we are doing our everyday activities she points out colors, numbers and patterns to me. It is so exciting!!!

Learning Objectives: Lilly will identify and create patterns from various shapes and colors

~Large foam beads {Walmart craft section}
~Plastic string
~Large blunt-tip plastic needle
1. Spread out many different shapes and colors within the childs reach
2. As the child strings the beads ask her to tell you the color and shape (or identify the shape if the child does not know)
3. Using your own example show the child a pattern of either shapes or colors or a combination of both
Bonus Lesson: this teachs great fine motor skills as the child manpulates the needle to fit in the beads small opening.
This is a fun activity that keeps all of my kids busy for a long time and was a welcome distraction on a recent long car trip.
For more learning fun be sure to visit
ABC...123 and A Listmaker's Life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let the Sun Shine!

Wordless Wednesday is so much fun! Visit 5 Minutes for Mom to see even more fun pictures!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Bridal Shower Pink Tea

Pink Tea! Ladies in fun floral skirts! Sweet little treats and tea sandwiches! Guest gifts of handmade adorable aprons!
This past Saturday Lilly and I had the honor of attending a bridal shower for Claudia, my future sister-in-law. The Pink Tea shower was hosted by her family and they did such a wonderful job, we really enjoyed ourselves during the festivities. I was excited to have a chance to make cute little bonnet shaped cookies and assist Rachel (Claudia's younger sister) with some of the games.

Lilly and my niece Ana were treated to their very own table, complete with a pretty table cloth and their very own little aprons. The girls had such a great time chatting as only three year-old girls can while they sipped on green punch and ate pink M&M's by the fistful. Unknown to my sister and me the girls were getting perpetual refills from other guests who happened to pass by. I certainly don't blame the ladies who refilled their little cups because the girls quickly learned that if they looked sad enough and held their empty cup high enough they would not have to say a word, which might have alerted us to their rouse.
Each table at the tea was adorned with pretty tea pots and each guest had a delicate tea cup and a fun assortment of teas to choose from. The highlight was the chocolate fountain and the pink marshmallows to dip in to its chocolaty goodness. As we left that day Lilly made sure to stuff a few pink marshmallows into her mouth and carry out one in each little hand. We had a great time and now this mother and her adorable daughter have matching pink aprons to model for our boys as we cook/play in the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bath Time!

Wanna see more Wordless Wednesday Fun? Check out 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Homemade Bread Chronicles Part 1

During Lent our church is holding a Soup/Salad/Bread book study on Tuesday nights. We are looking at The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, so far it is oddly intriguing.

Last week I offered to make the bread and decided it would be fun (and more cost effective) to try to make it from scratch. Thanks to inspiration from Cooking During Stolen Moments I attempted the yummy looking Cheddar Pan Rolls. I would like to tell you that they turned out great but that would certainly not be the truth. They looked like a wimpy version of the picture and had a odd taste to them. To the credit of everyone at church the rolls were eaten up quickly and I even received a few polite compliments.

Determined to figure out this bread making thing I offered to make bread again today. One thing I must say is assembling homemade bread or rolls takes FOREVER! I started making these rolls at noon today and they were done 10 minutes before we walked out the door to church at 6 PM. This statement would certiainly be more dramatic if church was more than a few second walk across the lot... but I digress. The upside is that they were nice and warm at dinner time.

{Side Note} What a true sign that you are grown-up? When your kids give you the "what the heck" look when you get excited to use a dough hook in your stand mixer for the first time. Yah - I'm talking about myself... and in the third person too.

I am so happy to say these turned out great and I hope you give them a try! Look for more homemade bread attempts in the future, who knows what I'll turn out.

Potato Rolls

1 medium baking potato (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup hot water (115 degrees F)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar (4 1/4 ounces)
2 1/4 teaspoons rapid rise yeast (1/4 ounce package)
1 teaspoon fine salt
4 1/4 to 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (13 1/8 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for brushing

Cook the potato in a microwave on HIGH until soft and it squeezes easily, using the designated baked potato setting, or up to 15 minutes. Peel and pass the warm potato through a potato ricer or food mill into a large bowl. (You should have 1 cup pureed potato). {I used my Quick Chef Chopper from Tupperware}

Stir the hot water, eggs, 1/3 cup sugar and yeast into the potato. Add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix with a wooden spoon to make a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the dough doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.

Beat butter with the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Switch to the dough hook and add the risen dough to the creamed butter. Continue to mix on low until the butter and dough come together, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 2 1/4 cups of flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, to make a shaggy dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Continue kneading on medium speed until dough is smooth but still tacky, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand until dough is smooth and no longer tacky, 1 to 2 minutes more. (If dough is still sticky, gradually add 1/4 cup flour.) Shape dough into a ball. {I had to add 1/2 cup additional flour to get it smooth and unattached from my fingers. If only there had been someone home to take that picture...}

Brush a large bowl with butter and turn dough around in bowl to coat lightly. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, trace a circle the size of the dough on the plastic and note the time. Let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Generously butter two 9-inch round or square cake pans. Turn the dough out of the bowl and pat in to a rectangle about 16- by 8-inches, gently pressing out excess air. Divide dough into 32 equal portions, about an ounce each, with a pizza wheel or bench scraper. (If you don't have a scale, divide dough in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise. Cut each of those four sections in to 8 equal-sized rolls.)

Tuck the edges of the dough under to make round rolls and place them seam-side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space in between each roll. Cover the pan with buttered plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place until the rolls rise almost to the rim of the pan and have more than doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Bake Rolls until golden brown and puffy and register 190 degrees F, about 40 minutes. Remove rolls from oven and quickly brush the tops with soft butter.

Cool the rolls in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack in one piece. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature in one piece or pulled apart as individual rolls.

Teach Me Tuesday: Bathtime!

Bath time is learning time when you are a preschooler! Lilly loves her bath so we take those opportunities to work on colors and letters.

Learning Objective: Lilly will identify the color of the letter as she sticks it to the wall of the bath tub. We will also work on identifing the letter itself and associating it with words that begin with the same letter.

-a dirty (or bored) child
-water in the tub
-foam letters {these are from Target}

1. Pick a letter and ask the child what the color is
2. Tell child the letter, sounds the letter makes and a word that starts with that letter
3. If you have enough letters have fun spelling out words
4. Repeat

For more ideas on Teach Me Tuesday, visit A Listmakers Life

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Think it Through Thursday: Cookies!


Math is increasingly more difficult for elementary school children then 'back in my day.' To help my 2nd grader grasp concepts in fractions I enjoy opportunities to have them help in the kitchen when I am baking. Today we are making Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies! {recipe on the bag of chocolate chips}

Learning Objective: Nathan will successfully follow the recipe directions, which includes identifying the necessary measuring cups and spoons needed for each ingredient in the correct order.

-Recipe ingredients
-measuring cups and spoons
-mixing bowl and mixer
-cookie sheets
-cooling rack

1. Wash hands - bonus lesson on cleanliness
2. Read through recipe and set out all ingredients to ensure we have everything
3. Begin adding ingredients in order and mixing as the recipe calls for
4. Adult: put formed dough in to oven, set timer and remove cookies when finished baking
5. Allow cookies to cool - bonus lesson on patience
6. Enjoy!

For more Think it Through Thursday fun, visit A Listmaker's Life!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Fashion Statement

For more Wordless Wednesday fun, check out 5 Minutes for Mom

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

March is Reading Month
& today is Dr. Seuss' birthday!
How fun is that?
Turn off those T.V.'s and pick up a
good book, you will be so happy you did.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Random... and loving it

I love randomness and was delighted to learn about an event (thanks Blue Eyed Blessings!) to celebrate random photos. Click on the button above to see where the fun began at 4 Little Men and Girly Twins.

This weeks challenge:

11th Folder


September 2007
The 11th picture in my 11th folder in my picture files just happens to be a super fun picture that makes me smile. Last summer we made our annual trip to the cottage way up in the U.P. on Lake Gogebic. Here the kids are using foam noodles to wack each other and being the responsible mother I am I grabbed the camera rather than break it up. Disclaimer: no one was hurt in the making of this photo (or so I am told).