Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kinda Krusty

Pin It Now! I am not a crustacean fan. I think they are kinda gross. The way they look. The way they smell. Those eye stalk things on crabs and lobsters freak me out, and I would NEVER even dream of eating one. Sick. The thought turns my stomach sour. And I don't like watching people eat them either. Shrimp remind me of large grubs, so that's definitely a NO.


That's what we're studying in science right now. I thought the Red Crabs of Christmas Island were neat.

Images below:

The kids had to design their own crustacean board game complete with questions and all. Shiloh found Lincoln Log people to use as pawns. We had fun playing, and I was surprised at how much they remembered from the lesson. :)

Also, we added to the ocean boxes last week: red crab for Shiloh, hermit crab for Mullin and a fiddler crab for Lincoln.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Think It's Safe to Say: The Force is with Us

Pin It Now! For a short time Thomas, Ninja Turtles, Veggie Tales characters, and Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter action figures littered the house, but ever since these boys got a load of Star Wars, everything else has been history. I kid you not, Mullin and Lincoln have been faithful followers of the Force for YEARS. There is no end in sight.

This is Lincoln's cake and mask from his 7th birthday. Notice the shirt as well.

Fast forward to his 8th birthday. He got the Star Wars ship he'd been wanting. Again notice the shirts. I doubt they planned it.

Same day--January 12th--8th birthday. Different Star Wars shirt. Short-sleeved this time b/c it got "too hot", he said.
I promise there are other shirts besides Star Wars shirts in their closet.
I am not even going to waste time loading pics from the last 4 Christmases. Just imagine various Star Wars ships and characters from vintage to new to Clone Wars to whatever else toy makers can get parents to spend their money on.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

WFMW: Cut the Cheese, Please!

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My life in the kitchen has been made much simpler by this wonderful tool, the cheese cutter. Mine looks just like the image on the left except older.

For years I have been buying block cheese instead of the shredded and pre-sliced cheese. (And I am not talking about the block of Velveeta cheese product, here.) I admit, it isn't as convenient, but at least it doesn't contain the anti-caking ingredients, etc. Until this past spring, I'd been using just a plain old knife to try and cut perfect slices of cheddar cheese. Anybody else out there know how hard it is to cut a thin, straight slice of cheese?!

Seriously, it never occurred to me that there was an easier way to cut cheese. I happened upon an old cheese cutter when going through a box of garage sale items given to me by my dad. Shamefully, I didn't even know what it was at the time. My husband of all people is the one who told me what it was. I decided to keep it and give it a try.

My life just hasn't been the same since.

Honestly, I am not even one who likes to have a bunch of silly kitchen tools lying around taking up space in my kitchen drawers. I can live without the banana slicer, the cute sandwich cutter, the strawberry slicer, etc., but I will ALWAYS have a cheese cutter from now on! :)

I really do love it and use it every time I need to slice those big blocks of Tillamook cheese.

Any other amazing kitchen tool that I have been missing out on?? Please feel free to enlighten me.

Visit here to view many more helpful tips!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sweet Time Turns Sour

Pin It Now! After lunch, Shiloh and Lincoln (and me, too!) partook of Gram's teacakes and sweet tea while I read to them from Oonawasse Summer, our current read-aloud. The teacake recipe was found in the back of the book. Yum! Poor Mullin couldn't be a part of it since he was pretty sick. :(

Once we were finished reading a chapter, we teamed up to juice some oranges from our friend's tree. Lincoln washed, Shiloh dried, and I cut.

I let the kids do the juicing since they did such an awesome job last year during citrus season. Yep, all was going quite smoothly until Shiloh decided she needed to stand on the chair for some extra leverage. *Sigh*

Juice, pulp, seeds and all things sticky all over my kitchen floor.

I held my breath for a moment and determined deep down that I was NOT going to get upset. Well, at least I wasn't going to show it too much. I calmly cleaned my daughter up and gently, but firmly, shooed my son and my ever-so-sorry princess OUT of the kitchen.

I tried to look at the bright side: My floor was going to get an unexpected mopping and I was going to get some unexpected exercise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The End is Near

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The light at the end of our tunnel is getting so bright I just may need to put on my sunglasses!!!

While this past year and a few months have been uncertain and very difficult at times, God has still been so merciful to us. We were still blessed with things that so many don't have. We never went hungry. We definitely weren't always eating like kings and had to pass up the urge to eat out, but we weren't hungry. Oh, I just can't imagine what that would be like.

We had a roof over our heads every single day. Now, there was a time or two when we weren't sure if this roof was going to be the one over our heads, but we continued to trust that God would take care of us. I am so glad we were able to stay in our own home. I can't imagine being homeless.

We always had a fresh, clean supply of water. To think that some don't have access to this necessity is so horrible. Even during our time of need, we had water! Water is something I just take for granted, but I really tried to be especially thankful this past year.

I have learned a lot, too, during this time. Um, hello humility! I know I have changed a smidge on the inside. I am a better person having gone (and still going) through this trial. I'd like to write about those things when I have more time. :)

Now about that bright light I mentioned...

Our present circumstances may be changing in the very near future, and God may be leading us down a path I would have NEVER imagined treading in a million years. I am beginning to think God likes working in the "never imagined possible" realm. I mean, I never thought I'd ever be living in the desert again, yet here I sit. In the desert. In January where it's 70 degrees.

I wish I could elaborate a little more, but I can't~ yet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

WFMW: Make Your Own Fondant!

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Did you know you can make your own fondant with just 4 ingredients??

*powdered sugar

Not healthy, I know. And I really don't like Crisco, but it is a must for making this very sticky "dough". (Only sticky in the beginning) The Crisco is used for keeping your hands and counter greased at all times.

In 2007 I made a baseball cake for my oldest son's birthday. At that time I did not know how to make fondant and definitely couldn't afford to buy it. Plus, I had heard that store bought fondant doesn't taste very good. Anyway, I tried my best to make regular, white icing smooth because I just didn't feel like starring it.

Well, it worked for the party, but I wasn't completely satisfied. I knew I'd probably use the ball pan again for end-of-the-year baseball parties and such, so I found a home made fondant recipe through a friend of mine.

A year later, I tried fondant on the baseball and loved how it looked! To me it was a huge improvement over the frosted one.

Here is a Lego cake I just made for my second son's 8th birthday. It was my first attempt at coloring the fondant. (Please keep in mind that I am NOT by any means a professional!! I just make cakes for my kids' birthdays and stuff.)

Now, if you'd like to give fondant a try, I am going to refer you to the same website that I used. I just printed off the very easy to follow and very detailed instructions and gave it a shot. I must warn you, I did get a little frustrated at first since it was a bit messy. It's gotten easier with each batch, though. I have probably made it 4 times in the past few years.

For more fabulous tips visit WeareTHATfamily.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Lincoln's Birthday Party

Pin It Now! Singing Happy Birthday--really he isn't the big 8 just yet.

Not much frosting to lick off of fondant. :)

Love the twins faces here. Guess I should get them each a sling-shot for their birthday this year?? Bet mama and daddy wouldn't like that too much!

Cool rockets--one already decorates the neighbor's roof. Go figure.

My dad, a die hard Cowboys fan, reluctantly got Lincoln this Steelers jersey he's been wanting.
They both have stars on their uniforms, right? Shouldn't that count for something!

Lincoln and cousin, Jacob, playing on the castle. Love being able to have a birthday party at the park in January!! Nice to just let the kids RUN.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lego Cake

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Wow, up close you can really see all of the imperfections in the fondant!! Yikes. From a distance it doesn't look too bad for my first time to dye it.
I have seen enough Crisco to hold me over for awhile, that's for sure!

Friday, January 08, 2010


Pin It Now! intestinal nightmare.

I will not eat it anywhere.

I don't care about fried chicken,

or its claim of finger-lickin'.

Hydrogenation's not for me.

I want my food trans-fat free!!

Oh no! Wait, there is a place

I'll eat this gloopy, white disgrace.

Mmmmm, rich buttercream

and fondant dream;

I'll eat you up upon a cake!

Please don't call me phony, fake.

I just can't refuse the taste!

I cannot let it go to waste!

Just one meal--

No big deal.

But... until the next birthday rolls around,

In my food no Crisco will be found!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

WFMW: Help! (I need writing and agent advice.)

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Yea! It is backwards edition for WFMW participants, so if you have a question you hope to have answered, hop on over to WeareThatFamily and ask away.

First, though, I hope you can help me with some writing and agent advice!!

I won't bother everyone with all of the gory details of my writing journey, but here is where I am at right now--I have written two children's, fiction manuscripts and am working on another. I have already sent one off to a publisher, and one I entered in a contest. I am assuming both were a no go. I am thinking at this point it would be better to go ahead and get an agent instead of wasting my time sending unsolicited manuscripts to publishers. The 2009 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market book has been my companion and guide for the past year, but what I really need now is some advice from a real, live person who maybe has been there and done that or knows someone who has. (Plus, I am tired of researching endless material on the internet.) Sigh.

Question #1 Do any of you know an agent personally or have any of you worked with one you would recommend?

Question #2 Can anyone give me some advice on writing a great query for a children's fiction book? My only experience is with writing cover letters to publishers.

Question #3 Are there any other resources, besides the one I mentioned earlier, that I should be reading?

Question #4 Is it possible to find new, but reputable agents who are actually looking for work? And where would this info be found?

And finally, if any of you just have general writing advice you wish to give, I would very much appreciate it!!

My ultimate goal is to write novels, but so far I just have notebooks filled with notes. Home schooling takes up most of my time right now, but I have been able to squeeze out a few children's books. Gotta start somewhere, I guess. :)

Blessings to you all, and hopefully I can be of help to some of you and your unanswered questions!!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas in Pictures Round 4

Pin It Now! Last stop Christmas Day--my dad's house.

Oops, Lincoln squeezed in between the twins and can hardly be seen. These group pics can be such a chore, but so fun to look at. :)

Cute as pie!! I believe I can really tell them apart in pictures, but in person when they are on the go, it is much more difficult! It's gotta be Kenny on the left and Ryan on the right.

I miss the days of dressing up my boys so cute like these three!! Mine are way past that age, though, and I try to not be the obnoxious mom! At least I still have Shiloh for a little while, hopefully. :)

Both Livi and Shiloh got a play tent. Shiloh and some neighborhood kids sure have had some fun in it!!

We had such a wonderful Christmas. It is so much easier now that we don't have any babies or toddlers. It is so nice to just be able to finally hang out again!!!!

Hopefully by next Christmas I will no longer have a camera that is held together with tape. I want one, too, that has more pixels, or something like that, so we can blow up quality looking photos.


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