Friday, October 30, 2009

The Story of a Switch

The Story of a Switch

The reverse of a witch.

Author & Illustrator Nathan p Schweri

One day a beautiful woman was driving to her work. Her name was Allison. She worked at Rite Aid. When she got there she saw a sign. It said Switch The Drink That Will Change Your Life!!. She stared at it for a very long time. Then she went inside. When she got inside her jaw hung open. There were twenty shelves full of switch!!!! Now Allison didn’t feel like working any more. She went to the aisle and picked a bottle of switch. Then she went to the check out.

When she got to her car she heard a voice whispering in her ear. “Don’t drink it!” The voice said.
“Why not?” asked Allison.
“You do not know what that stuff will do to you”!! The voice said.
“I do to! It’ll change my life! And I have a depressing life! So this will help ME!!!!” Allison yelled.
The voice didn’t answer. So Allison drove home angry .When she got home she drank the whole thing in two huge gulps. It tasted like burnt hamburger and raw eggs in porridge. Allison thought it tasted pretty good.

Then all of the sudden her bones started to ache, her face felt like it was on fire. Allison looked at her hands. They were growing, her nails were getting bigger. She found a mirror and looked in to it. Her nose was longer, it had two warts on it, her teeth were a yellow color, she had a black hat on and a pitch black robe. That liquid that she drank turned her into a witch!!!

Ok, now she knew that she should have listened to that voice that was talking in her ear.

Maybe she could do stuff that a witch could do. She tried flying on a broom, but she couldn’t fly the right way. She tried poisoning an apple, but she could only make it sweeter. She turned her cat black but, it turned inside out, too. She tried making potions with her blender.

Then she saw a blinding light right in front of her. Then she heard a loud

She was amazed. Right in front of her she saw a pan with carved letters: A SWITCHES CAULDREN, it read. Now Allison new why that drink was called switch. Because a switch is basically a witch, it’s just a switch does all the opposites. All she ended up making was a stupid over easy egg. So she tossed the pan and sat on her couch.

She felt like she forgot something. “Oh! I have to go to work!” she said. So she got on a broom that she found in her cupboard and flew to work.

She flew the wrong way again. When she got there she saw a sign that said Oso Good changes you back into a human. Allison stared at it for a very long time, and then went inside. When she got inside her jaw hung open. There were twenty shelves full of Oso Good! She drank one with out buying it. She looked in a mirror and saw that she was back to her normal Allison self!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blogstyle Iron Chef: Pickles!


Well, this month certainly was a challenge.  Who woulda thunk it would be so unappetizing to the masses to come up with a recipe involving pickles? 

Sorry Chairman ~

there clearly is a reason Food Network has not used pickles as it's secret ingredient.

We had two brave souls willing to battle for the October Blogstyle Iron Chef title:

 Sarah @ I Blame My Mother with Pickle Rolls

Cheryl @ Spinning Coaster with Fried Pickles

In true Iron Chef style, I sat my judges and the chairman down at our dining room table. {after I cleaned off my mountains of coupons, *ahem*}

Now, before we get to the tantalizing dishes, let me first introduce our judges:

Our first judge is a pickle connoisseur and often eats them straight from the jar,


Our second judge is a picky pickle eater and prefers hers sliced rather than whole,


Our third and final judge is the hardest to please, choosing to spit out what does not please his palate,


Thank you judges!

First, we offer to your discriminating taste buds a fine combination of Brown Sugar Ham, Cream Cheese and a large dill pickle.  For garnish, a smear of sour cream and a squiggle of mustard - this is simply for show, seriously - don't eat it with the pickle. Bleck!

Last but not least, we offer to our esteemed judges the ultimate in late night bar food: pickles, deep fried and served with a side of Ranch, the good stuff, no wimpy light or fat free stuff on this plate!
Curious use of a "Finding Nemo" plate... wonder if the chef is getting you prepared for a night at the rim of the large fish bowl in the girls room after eating so much fried goodness???

After careful consideration and 3 reminders of the rating scale {"yes, Topher - 5 means the best, so 1 means worst"}, the judges have reached their decision...

The winner, by 2 points:
Fried Pickles!

To see how it all shakes out, head over to Heidi's house at Sacred and Profane.  Ooooo - I can hardly wait to see who will be the proud owner of the Pick-a-deli, certainly a dilly of a prize!

A special thank you to my ever tolerant husband who humors me and to my little ones for being willing to stay up past your bedtime to eat high fat snacks just before going to bed {like I had to twist those arms...}.

Monday, October 26, 2009

From Chaos to Cleanliness

Look at this ~

It is certainly fair to say it needs a little help.  It is not inviting and does not say "read me" to my kids.

Now, check this out ~

Much better, no? 

This awesome little shelf is from and is absolutely affordable for even the tightest budget, much to my delight.

When I substitute teach in the boys elementary school I see that many of the teachers use these types of bookshelves for theme and holiday related books. 

Each of my three kids love to read but often have no idea that I have books for special occasions, such as Halloween. 

Replacing the beat up old bookshelf, it's contents spilling over with inefficiency, with this darling and extremely organized piece would be a dream come true.

CSN contacted me about reviewing one of their fabulous products and I nearly fell down with excitement - this is a first for me and couldn't have more appropriate timing.  

Do you have a moment to oh and ah over adorable baby items?  You know you want to...

If Lilly had this incredible nursery furniture when she was born, rather than her brothers blue and green hand-me-downs, I might just have a fun little girl who doesn't make scenes at Princess Tea Parties.

Are you familiar with my stroller related woe's?   Well, with this Jeep Liberty Limited Lightweight stroller from, I know I would proudly walk down the street and not give a darn in the world who was staring at me, while I push an empty stroller on my way to get Lilly from preschool. 

The best part?  When some unsuspecting person asks me about my ride I could honestly say, "I have a Jeep."  What?  It would be the truth. :)

I can't wait to show you just how incredible my bookshelf transformation will be, stay tuned!    

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Fun Has Just Begun

Halloween, it is nearly here!

We started our weekend with a classic: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.  The kids snuggled up in their bean bags and favorite blankets to enjoy this all time favorite Halloween tradition. 

We capped off the weekend with a little pumpkin carving, which wouldn't be the same if it didn't include large knives wielded by small children, of course. 

Lilly was having a little trouble, at first, with the "guts" getting all over her arm but soon she learned to embrace the yuck.

Nathan went for the traditional free-hand pumpkin.  He did his cleaning and carving without any help from Mom or Dad, a first in our house.  He is getting so grown up, sniff, sniff.

Lil' dug through the princess pattern book and decided on the absolutely most difficult pattern in there, and then asked me to carve it for her. 

I poked all of the holes and even made it through the first few pieces before I threw in the tiny little pink carving knife.  This is SO not my thing!  Thankfully, this is her Dad's "thing" and he swooped in to rescue the pumpkin from the brink of disaster. 

You wouldn't even know I touched it, would ya?

Topher's new obsession is Sonic the Hedgehog, sorry Thomas the Tank Engine - you've been kicked to the curb it seems. 

We did not have a pattern for Sonic, but does that stop Topher from asking?  Heavens, no!  Does that stop his Pumpkin Carving Master of a father from figuring out a way to do it?  I should think not.

Patrick found a picture of Sonic on the internet, moved it in to Word, resized it to fit the pumpkin and then made a makeshift pattern. 

I am truly impressed as, I am sure, are all of the critters outside who happen upon our front porch tonight at the lit glory of these fine Jack 'o Lanterns. {we live too far from the road for anyone to see them, so the show is for the deer and squirrels} 

Halloween is nearly here, are you ready? 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

Hayride fun with my little guy on his 2nd grade field trip!

Visit Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans to get a glimpse of all the Mom's in front of their cameras.

******************52 Weeks********************

52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you're not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy 9th Birthday, Nathan!

On this day, 9 years ago, a beautiful little boy was born {before digital cameras in this no picture, sorry}.

Now he is a handsome young fella who celebrated with a spooky brownie treat at school, while wearing the special "birthday hat."

I wish I could take credit for these faces but I owe it all to Patrick for helping me out when I took on too much for one night.

After a movie and dinner we capped off the night with a strawberry flavored Lego cake and ice cream.

And just like all good things, it is going, going,


Friday, October 16, 2009

Field Trip Fun

What do you get when you take over a hundred 2nd graders to a farm for a fun field trip during the coldest October in a millennium?  Why, you get frozen 2nd graders walking around a farm for hours in various states of undress, of course.  I wish I were kidding about that - look at the picture below and note the amount of children either without hats, coats, gloves or combinations there of... 

Hello parents - at least two notes came home so you would know to:
1. dress in layers, i.e. put a coat, hat and mittens on your child - a lined sweat shirt with a hood and that stupid thumb hole is NOT the same thing...
2. wear boots or old shoes, i.e. do not allow your cute little 2nd grader to wear her favorite sparkly flats and no socks when she will be hauling tail through a corn maze, muddy pumpkin patch and pokey hay ride.
3. bring 50 cents to purchase a small pumpkin, i.e. don't expect the teacher to foot the bill for your child, 50 cents isn't a big deal for one kid but when you start creeping towards the double digits in 7 yr old forgetfulness it gets pricey.

Don't let my sarcasm fool you, we did have a nice time despite the freezing temps.  I scored myself a "buffalo chip" to take home too.  Oh stop - it was caramel with chocolate and pecans on top.  Although I did spend many minutes trying to explain to the young men in my group why that was funny.  *sigh*

Topher and his best bud from school, Aiden, enjoyed all of the neat stations at the farm.  We went on a bumpy hay ride and saw a neat collection of animals,

we were all able to pick a few apples right from the tree in the orchard,

the class watched apples being ground up and pressed in to cider,

and for a grand treat the kids ate freshly made donuts and cider, yum!  Topher and Aiden sold me on the goodness that is a cake donut dipped in apple cider, those boys are on to something.

What would a field trip be without a couple of fun if not super silly boys?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

29 of 52

Forever In Blue Jeans

 Saturday we ventured north to Montague for the Pumpkinfest.  For $2 the kids picked out a pumpkin and registered it for the famous Pumpkin Roll.

In the small town of Montague there is an exceptionally large hill, which was newly repaved, just right for rolling things down like, oh say, pumpkins.  Come to think of it I wonder what other things I could have brought along to try my hand at rolling down the mighty hill... hmmm - I'll have to make a game plan for next year. 

This incredibly steep hill, especially if you are hauling a cumbersome plastic wagon filled with all of the things your children refuse to carry, is blocked off from traffic {duh!} and numerous hay bales create a pumpkin barrier at the bottom.   

Hundreds of kids, no joke, smoosh together in the street at the top of the hill waiting for their age group to be called.  Lilly was in the 0-3 year old group, of which there were the most contestants by far.  Do you wonder if there are any 0 year olds there, rolling pumpkins, on a freezing October day... yeah, I don't think so either- a bit of overkill Pumpkinfest Committee, just a bit. 

The kids go in heats of about 25 or so kids and when the lady yells "GO!" the tykes shove their pumpkin down the hill as hard as their chubby little hands will allow. 

It is at this point that each and every adult with their 0-3 yr old ignores the good advice the "GO!" lady gave them just moments before the start, that being "wait a minute before following your pumpkin so they all have time to clear." 

So, since my view was obstructed with every adult rear-end that just knew the "GO!" lady certainly didn't mean them, I decided to listen and just waited. 

Many of the uber intelligent adults who ran ahead, I was happy to see, ended up getting nailed by a pumpkin or two on the way down.  Karma, perhaps?

So we started walking down the hill, trying to see the number on Lilly's pumpkin to free it from the curb if need be...

As we walked down the hill we heard over the garbled loud speaker the winning pumpkin number being called that soundly incredibly close to the one written on my little Lilly's oddly flat pumpkin.  Certain that I was hearing it wrong we continued to take our time down the hill.  Her pumpkin was so "un-round" that I just knew it would not do well. 

If only I had taken a moment to picture a car tire in my mind... not incredibly round are they?  Instead they could be considered flat on two sides, much like the pumpkin Lil' picked.  She is a genius, she had a pumpkin wheel!  Wouldn't you know...???

She won her heat and received a cute button with a pride-inducing blue ribbon attached!

Back up the hill we waited in the crowd for the 7-12 age group and the boys gave it a go.  While both claim to have come in second there is really no way to know.  The pumpkins fly down the hill and the smaller and flatter they are the better they do.  The curb looked like a Nascar race, with pumpkins zooming past, all vying for the front spot.

It was a fun day at this neat little festival.  The boys tried pumpkin seed spitting,

face painting,

and pumpkin painting.

I would like to take a moment to mention that the pumpkin roll pumpkin cost $1 each and yet the painting pumpkins were free... if only we had done it in reverse order we could have shoved the FREE ones down the hill.  

Nathan and Topher both painted eyes on theirs so it would have looked like severed heads racing down the street - hmmm, we could have awarded 1 point for every 0 yr old who cried.  Next year, next year.

We will definitely be making a trip to Pumpkinfest again!

Visit Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans to see lots of Mom's up to the same monkey business.
******************52 Weeks********************
52 Weeks is a year long challenge for YOU to be in a picture once a week for 52 weeks. We are always the ones behind the camera, this is YOUR chance to get out in front and be in the pictures with our family. We are glad you are joining this challenge. More importantly your family will really enjoy having you in the picture. Thanks for playing along! Oh, you can just jump in now with 1 of 52, you're not getting off that easy! Now go take a picture!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Purple Paint-a-thon!

Off to Hobby Lobby we went, simply intending to buy inexpensive felt for a few Halloween costumes.
Out we walked with a Halloween sign and a container of purple paint, and only purple paint. 

An artist of her own making Lilly felt the Halloween plaque was suited with just a coat on the front and the bit that dripped off of the letters on to the base.  Thankfully she let me talk her in to a bit of glitter to jazz it up.  Gorgeous, no?

Would you believe that the Halloween sign did NOT take the entire bottle of purple paint... so Lilly went in search of other things to paint. 

She happened upon the little wooden Halloween characters I found for all three kids to decorate with markers - and threw a fit until I gave in and allowed them all to be hers.  Sure, I know what I should have done, but I am not in a fightin' mood today... so it happened and she got her way.  So sue me - the boys will be none the wiser.  Well, 'till school gets out anyway. 

Not only did Lilly paint all 6 of the little things that used to have faces and lines to color between but she used a new paint brush for each one... notice the over abundance of brushes on the newspaper.  *sigh* that girl - it is never the easy way.

Hey, at least I was able to use up some glitter - check out that bling!

So concludes my randon post, Happy Friday everyone!

Great Escape Meme Contest

This is a contest entry for those crazy folks at TodaysMama and Cricut. Be sure to check out Cricut's cool new cartridges and the chance at $30,000 in travel for you and your friends at the Great Gypsy Escape site!

Great Escape Meme

1. If you could escape to anywhere in the world where would it be?
    Right now I'd take a trip south to a HOT climate, Mexico would be nice!

2. What song do you play when you are by yourself in the car?
     hmmm, I crank up the local Christian Rock station... not terribly daring but, hey, it gives me a boost                   

3. If you had a night to yourself, and money was no object, what would you do?
    Oh, my, I do believe I would get my hair colored, my nails manicured and my feet desperately deserve a pedicure.  I would throw in a facial, for good measure, and since money is no object I'd bring along all of my girlfriends too!
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
     A hot shower with no children to interupt me, so rare these past 9 years.            

5. What is the farthest place you have traveled away from your home?
     Sunny Mexico

6. Last book that you couldn't put down?
     *sigh* Twilight...

7. When you want to escape into another time, what movie do you watch?
     Grease - it's the word!

8. What is your favorite local escape?
      Hobo's Restaurant, an awesome local joint

9. How do you escape on a budget?
    To the Cottage, way up in the Upper Peninsula to my Grandparents little retreat.  You only need gasoline for your car and groceries once you get there, perfect!

10. Best food you've ever had while on vacation.
     I had some really great food while on vacation to Mexico but it was the summer after I graduated high school, 14 yrs ago {gasp}, and I'll be darned if I can remember the name of anything.

Would you LOVE a shot at winning a Cricut too?  Visit TodaysMama for the details.  I would fall right over if I won, could you imagine???  Oh, the possibilities!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Blogstyle Iron Chef Challenge!

Welcome to the guest blog of Blogstyle Iron Chef
Now, first things first.  If you are new to Iron Chef, take a moment, click here and see what the contest is all about.

Welcome back, to those who are not new and to those who left to find out about the hullabaloo!

This month I am so excited to shake things up over at Sacred and Profane, the home of Blogstyle Iron Chef.  After winning a Blogstyle Iron Chef with my Slow Cooker Roast recipe, being a guest judge and attempting Sous Chef to my 3yr old daughters winning recipe in the kid challenge I figure it is time to get on the flip side of it.  Yup, Heidi is lettin' me wear the awesome title of Co-host!  Go me. Go me. It's my birthday. {um, no it isn't, but feel free to send gifts anyway}.  Woo hoo!

Here's how it works, in general terms: 
  • Heidi and I are revealing the secret ingredient today.
  • You post a recipe or find one you've already posted that incorporates the secret ingredient.
  • Leave a comment at Sacred and Profane by next Tuesday with the link to your entry and Heidi will add it to her post.
  • Next Wednesday we'll use to pick 3 contestants for the month and we will announce those contestants. 
Heidi will have a poll in her sidebar for voting as well as voting from guest judges, be sure to steer people to her blog.

The winner will be announced on the last Wednesday of October and prizes will be awarded!

What does it take to be a guest judge you wonder?  Oh, my friend, wonder no more!  A guest judge simply agrees to try all three dishes and let one of us know via email which was your favorite. It is super fun to post your thoughts on your blog, but not a requirement.  If this sounds like your calling, contact Heidi here.  No, go ahead, she doesn't bite, and while you are there look around her blog - it is hi-lar-i-ous.

On to the, wait..not quite about if we reveal the secret ingredient, first?

{Cue menacing music...}
The Chairman has entered the building! 

Chairman Schweri, we must know,what is our ingredient for October???

Dill, sweet, bread and butter, homemade, candied, baby, half sour, fermented, german - it doesn't matter! You pick the pickle!

Let me be clear - you don't have to make a pickle. Thank goodness, that would take forever

We are looking for you to post a recipe that FEATURES pickles as one of the main ingredients. Things like Pickled Meat Loaf or
Pickled Tortilla Roll-Ups or perhaps you make a killer Fried Pickle? Let's have 'em! Post your Pickle recipes!!

The winner of this competition will win a $10 Gift Card to Target, Walmart or Smith's courtesy of Heidi, as well as this LOVELY prize, compliments of Michelle, the Tupper Queen!

How did I come up with such a fitting prize? All of the pickles I hauled out for the Chairman's picture would not go back in to their respective jars, so I called to duty my trusty 'ol Tupperware Pick-a-Deli, and I just knew the winner must have one too!

So, there ya have it. The contest, the ingredient and the prizes. What are you waiting for?

"Allez! Cuisinez!"