Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Be Prepared

I've spent the last 2 days running errands and being out of the house. I had planned on staying in today, maybe getting the house in order. My plan was to only get the kids to and from school but then just keeping a low profile at home.

And then...

On the way home from preschool my tire got a flat. So, on the bright side, I was already planning on spending a day at home and had no appointments or places I had to be, but, on the other side, good day or not, I have to shell out big bucks for new tires, an alignment and a fixed tire rod.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Using my beans

I'm making dinner tonight. Its been a rare occasion these days.

Taco Soup (I got this from my neighbor and do not know the original source)

2 lbs ground beef (today I just used one lb of ground beef and 1 can of black beans)
2 cans pinto beans (don't drain)
2 cans stewed tomatos
2 cans corn (drain)
1 can rotel zesty tomatoes (I use a different brand name that has green chiles in it)
1 pkg hidden valley ranch dressing
1 pkg taco seasoning

dump it all into a crockpot for a couple of hours.

serve with sourcream and shredded cheese and chips.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

How to host a Super Hero Training Camp

Super Hero Training Camp starts with a boy who is going to have a 5th birthday party and loves superheros.

Invitations were homemade (by Lster) and told the guests that Lster thought they would be awesome superheros and should come to his superhero training camp to better their skills.

When superhero trainees arrived they were checked at the door to make sure no unauthorized superheros entered. They were then directed to the table to color some pictures while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Once we had all the guests we gathered in the living room to learn a bit about our training camp. Here guests got their masks, capes and an intro to our training activities.

1st Activity: An obstacle course.

2nd Activity: Save the Baby - I had Mster and her friend call me on my cell phone. I put it on speaker and they told the trainees that they had kidnapped a baby and if the superheros didn't find it, they wouldn't be real super heros. (this was a hit so we hid the baby more than once)

3rd Activity: Once we had sufficiently caught the babies and had captured the villains we had to tie them up.

4th Activity - Evading Kryptonite (hot potato with glow sticks)

And it was time for Cake and Presents

I made a super lame cake that all the kids thought was super awesome. It just goes to show that it doesn't take much to impress 5 yr olds.

Then we had an awards ceremony. During presents time I had my helpers come up with something great that each trainee had done and so we called everybody up by name and gave them a medal (sugar cookie) and told them something special they did.

With 15 minutes left (of a 2 hr party), I sent the kids to the basement to pretend play with their capes and masks. I also gave everyone their own glow sticks. (mama was tired) 

Party was a success.

After the party, capes and masks were worn for most of the night.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Happy Birthday Cster

Cster had a birthday.

Cster does not like cake.

Cster likes ice cream, specifically Ben and Jerry's.

Cster likes pie.

I make Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Pie

Graham Cracker Crust
Ben and Jerry's Peach Cobbler
Ben and Jerry's Vanilla
Haagen Daas Raspberry White Chocolate Truffle

 Oreo Cookie Crust
Ben and Jerry's Phish Food
Ben and Jerry's Milk and Cookies
Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Macadamia Nut

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Dorky Kids

They really really like to pull their pants up high!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I like Mster's teacher because...

she has "read aloud/snack time" for her students. Sometime in the morning she reads to them while they eat their morning snack.

Why do I like this setup?

1. The teacher is reading a story to the class.
2. The kids can focus on playing, running around, and releasing stress and energy during their recess instead of eating their snack while running or eating their snack and then getting 5 minutes to actually play.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

When life gives you beans, can them.

The pinto beans worked so well for our meal on Monday that I decided to also do black beans.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I've been on a little bit of a canning kick. I'm on a mission to build up some food supply that's easy to prepare.  Cster makes a pretty mean jambalaya so a few saturdays ago we decided to attempt jambalaya. We weren't sure exactly the best way to accomplish this feat. But Cster had some good ideas. He made the jambalaya without cooking everything all the way through and he didn't add the rice.

I canned the jambalaya "soup".

My neighbour took one look at the jar, raised her eyebrows and said, "you have not sold me yet." :)

Last Sunday, I hadn't really made any plans for dinner. Everybody had been gone all day Saturday and there wasn't a super abundance of food to make dinner. Nor was anything taken out of the freezer. I thought this would be a great day to try out the jambalaya.

Cster opened the jar and dumped it in the pot. He added the appropriate amount of rice. (It will be different for every jar because the liquid is not equally distributed). As soon as the rice was cooked, we ate.

The result...IT WORKED!!

The dish was not as good as freshly made jambalaya but it still tasted great. Really great. So for conveniance food, it was PERFECT!

Will we make jambalaya fresh again? Of course. But for those moments when we don't have a dinner plan, we don't have to do take out.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What did you do yesterday?

Yesterday I participated in the WarriorDash.  Its a 3 mile race over 10 obstacles, one of them being a big mut pit with 3 barbed wire lines about 1.5 feet up and across so you have to climb under them (in the mud) to get through.

This is our before picture.

These are the warrior hats we got with our race packages (along with an "I survived the warrior dash" tshirt) Mster is now wearing it and announcing that she is a Warrior while marching around the house giving orders to her younger siblings.

This is us after the race. We finished the race. We did all the obstacles and we survived. I was unsure at one point when I found myself hyperventalating at the top of an obstacle for sure that I was not going to make it.

We wished we had pictures of all the obstacles but as you can see cameras wouldn't have quite made it through the course alive. :(

Obstacle 1: running through swinging tires.
Obstacle 2: jumping (climbing) over hurdle walls
Obstacle 3: climbing up a steep wall with foot holes (The guy at the bottom told us there were margaritas at the top, which as you can imagine was highly motivating. :) )
Obstacle 4: The mud pit

Here is the beginning of the pit, where you jump in. If you just jump in, you get booed by spectators. They want belly dives. They love front flips.

As you can imagine, this guy got booed.

Then you climb under 3 barbed wires. And then, it is near impossible to run as you have to go uphill, on a muddy slope, covered in mud yourself. We were just happy not to fall down.

Here is where my memory is a little hazy so the obstacles might not be in the right order and hopefully I remember them all.

Obstacle 5: climbing under a wooden structure covered with a tarp. So, its dark, and you have to crawl on the ground. (But really you can sort of bend over and make it if you aren't super tall)
Obstacle 6: Tightrope Walk. They had a balance beam that sloped up and down and up and down that you had to walk across.
Obstacle 7: Climb up a huge structure and climb, fall down the other side. You climb up one side that has beams of 2X4's spread  pretty far apart. Then on the other side they are spread apart until part way down when it is just a sheet of metal that you sort of shimmy down.
Obstacle 8: Rope climb. They have a slanted obstacle with rope. You grab onto the rope and use it to climb to the top. Somehow you get yourself over to the other side, and use the spaced out 2X4's to get down. (When I say spaced out, I mean very spaced out)
Obstacle 9: Chained rope. Climb up rope and then cross a bunch of chained rope sections. We heard a guy tell use to log roll across, so we did. I have a nice rope burn welt on my knee. But I still think it was the best way to go.

Obstacle 10: Jump through fire.

Finish Race!

At the end you are head to toe muddy. Luckily they have some showers you can try and scrape the mud off of you with and luckily this year the water was tepid/warm (we heard last year they pumped the water from the 45degree river).

For those people feeling generous, and not in the mood to clean their shoes, they collect shoes for third world countries. (I had to laugh when they kept announcing that they would powerwash them before shipping them off to needy families.)

And here we are feeling extra warriorish. What a FUN DAY!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tortilla Chips and Leftovers

We've been eating fish tacos lately which use corn tortillas and we can never use the entire package before they go bad. We finally found the solution and now I'm kicking myself that we didn't think of it sooner.

First take your corn tortillas (I'm sure you could use flour but we go through those like hotcakes). Make a solution of 1 part oil and 3 parts lime juice and salt (how much is your preference.) Either spritz or "paint" on both sides of tortilla. Use a pizze cutter to cut the tortillas in 8 wedges. Place tortilla wedges in one layer on a cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 7 minutes and then flip over and bake for another 8 minutes

Enjoy and wonder why you never did this sooner.

Back to School

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Outside Influences

Today my kids saw a clip from Jersey Shore while I was at the Pharmacy. They had Regis and Kelly interviewing one of the cast members and they turned to a clip of some crazy antics. Lovely.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mster's future as a literary critic

Mster has turned into the little reader this summer. We decided this week to give her a shelfari account to start tracking her books. Then, I realized that she needed an amazon account since they are now partners or connected or something. I'm not ready for my 7 yr old to have her own amazon account (even it just sits there stagnant), so I set her up on goodreads instead.

So, I've started putting her books in and I've explained the star system to her and so when she tells me what book she has to give me a rating.

She just told me her last book. I asked her how many starts. She said. "5. no 2. no 4, yeah 4."

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Temple in France

Not sure if some of you have already heard that they church has submitted plans to build a temple near Versailles. Its not confirmed yet. The church has just put proposals in for some land, it seems.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Birthday Spinning

For my birthday my family decided to entertain me...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ricotta Cheese in Cookies

After my yogurt success, I decided to try my hand at making cheese. And so, a few weeks ago I made some ricotta cheese with a friend of mine. I was thinking pasta and she was thinking dessert. Turned out she used her half in pasta and I found this delectable recipe to make a dessert. The result...delicious.

I was told by more than one person that they tasted like donuts.

I followed the recipe for the cookies but halved the glaze, omitting the shortening and adding way more lemon (extract and real juice) than asked for.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Days

Today, when the sun isn't shining, the wind is gusting and the rain comes off and on, I bring you summer fun from last week.

 The kids love their water pistols.

I was surprized how much he loved the sprinkler.

Goggles are a must in a water fight with the neighborhood kids.

I love this picture.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Leftovers and What's on Sale

This plate of leftovers is to just prove that you can make yummy, healthy food, on a budget. Everything on this plate I purchased on sale.

1. Lettuce (green leaf lettuce) - $.49 a bunch

2. Peach Salsa - This was my last minute concoction tonight when at 4:55pm I realized I had no side prepared.

peaches - $.69/lb
roma tomatoes/tomatillos/jalapenos - all roughly $.50/lb
green onions - $.50/bunch
lime - $.06each
avocado - $.33each

3. Chicken - I got an amazing deal on chicken a few weeks ago and marinated it, then grilled a ton of it on Monday to use as dinner and then leftovers during the week.

So...grilled chicken, with peach salsa, salad, all made with leftovers and all made with grocery items (that were not processed) that I got on sale.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mster lost another tooth.

After many poses to get the perfect shot, Kster decided it was his turn for a picture and posed.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Because I can...

After my excited from making yogurt died down, (who am I kidding, I'm still very excited) I decided to try making cheese. A friend and I embarked on this new journey together and within an hour or so...RICOTTA CHEESE!!!

And now I'm making bread with the leftover whey.

Oh the things that I now deem "fun". :)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Mama's Taking Us to the Zoo Tomorrow

In the wind machine.

I love happy, smiling kids.

The kids were so brave. hahaha

Pet a Wallaby, get a free ticket to the train. Yes, please.

I couldn't believe he wanted his face painted.

Such a great group of kids.

Poor guy. He's ready to be BIG!!

The zoo tired me out too.
(note the missing shoe. This kid takes off his shoes the moment he gets in his car seat. And even in his sleep, this kid took off his shoe)