Friday, June 29, 2012

A Minor (Shoe) Miracle

Remember back in March when I showed y'all my problem area?  You forgot, didn't you?  You can click the link if you need to refresh your memory.  The plan is to overhaul the laundry/mud room next month (isn't that exciting?), so I've started gathering ideas.  If you'd like to get an idea of what I'm thinking, feel free to check out my Laundry Room board on Pinterest (you don't have to be a member to look).

But in the meantime, you may recall that one of my biggest issues with the laundry/mud room is the boots and shoes.  My boys (remember, I love 'em) walk in the door, take off their shoes, and either leave them wherever they fall, or chuck 'em under the utility sink.  There is no neat lining up of shoes in straight rows.

Keep in mind that on this day, there were 4 pairs of shoes and 2 pairs of boots out for the day.

Idealistically, I instituted a no-more-than-three-pairs-of-boots-or-shoes-per-person rule, which was blantantly ignored by one and all, my husband being the worst offender.  And, you know, even with only 15 pairs, this area would still look cluttered and messy.

So the other day I was in the Bullseye store, and spotted these nifty metal bins.  I've been on the lookout for something to put under the utility sink for shoes and boots, so I bought four.

And we have experienced a minor miracle in our household.  Since the bins arrived, the shoes have stayed corralled in them.  I can't believe how easy that was, or how well it's working.

It's not perfect.  Because of other fixtures in the room, four bins don't really fit.  Well, they fit, but they don't fit neatly in a row (and by now, you probably know me well enough to know that this makes me very unhappy).  I'm also worried that when the bins shift around (and they will), the floor will get scratched.  And just look at all that wasted space between the bins.

I would love to have someone build a custom piece to put under there, to accomodate for the sink drain and other complications, but unfortunately, my main builder-person doesn't seem to want to take on the project.  And I'm not sure if my other main builder-person will be visiting soon enough.  Friends, I might just have to learn how to use a nail gun.  And brave the table saw (yikes). 

And, of course, it isn't winter, so we don't have boots, and I don't have a whole lot of confidence that the children (or husband) will realize that if their bin is full they need to find another room (like their bedrooms) for the overflow, but for now, I'm happy that our shoe explosion has been contained.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Craft of the Month--July

{Image Source}

Well friends, it's July and summer is in full swing.  It's time to celebrate with some fun activities that can be done indoors or out.

July crafts of the month include: sidewalk paint fireworks, blow paint monsters or fireworks, and bike decorating.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Adventures (in Mommy-hood)

So, y'all heard about our little adventure last week, mountain biking with the boys.  Some might question my sanity, agreeing to take not just my own three boys, but three whole extra boys (that makes six, just in case you're mathematically impaired) on this type of outing.  Or any type of outing.

In fact, that's just the type of thing that makes me question my own sanity. What was I thinking? Honestly. I've got my hands full enough without adding any thing or any body extra.

But I am so glad I did it. I am so glad I was able to do it.

Let me tell you a story.

Several years ago, I was helping out with Vacation Bible School, and I happened to overhear a conversation between two 7 year old boys. One of the boys, H, had a stay at home mom; both of T's parents worked full time.

T was telling H about the day camps he went to, about all the fun activities they did, and H said, "you're so lucky you get to go to camp and do all that stuff!" To which T replied, "you're lucky you don't have to."

Such a telling response, don't you think? This little boy was so wise to realize the advantage his friend had, just in having his mom around.

Lil' Peanut (AKD) July, 2000
I'm not saying that mommies shouldn't work, or that having two full-time working parents in a family is wrong. I just wonder if it's worth it, both in terms of the emotional cost to the children and of the missed opportunity for shared memories.  I wonder if the sacrifice is worth the pay-off.

Our little Chalupa (MC) April, 2003

Being there for my children, being present with my children--that's priceless. These long summer days of childhood, we will never get them back. There won't be any do-overs. Time marches relentlessly forward, and when my boys are grown, I want to know that I did my very best for them.

Sweetie Pumpkin Pie (Roger) December, 2007

Don't get me wrong--being a mom is so very, very hard.  Sometimes I wish I could be doing anything other than this.  But in the end, I know that what I'm doing is better, is more important, is more satisfying and fulfilling, than any paid job could ever be.

Missionary to the Auca people in Ecuador, Jim Elliot, wrote this in 1949: "he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."  I have to say I agree.

I am so thankful; I am so blessed to be my kids' mom.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Fun To-Do List: Train Ride

Saturday, we knocked another activity off our Summer Fun To-Do list: we went on a train ride. 


But first, we hung out at a waterfall near the train station.  What a gem, hidden right downtown.  We never even knew it was there.

Or, I should say, we hung out behind a waterfall near the train station.

Isn't this a great picture? (Would have been even better if those people would have gotten out of my shot)  I love that boy.

Bonus points if you can tell me where this guy is.

So, after a nice picnic lunch and a not-so-nice dip in the waterfall (would have been nicer if we'd brought extra clothes for Bubby), we boarded the train for the long-awaited ride.

The journey was about 20 miles round trip, and took us about an hour and a half.  Most of the time we were riding by these sandstone bluffs in the river valley.

This summer fun activity was Bubby's choice and his first train ride (I know, hard to believe, right?  Especially considering MC took his first train ride at 2 months old).  Bubby was so very excited to be riding on a real train!  So excited, in fact, that he could barely stay in his seat.  I'm not sure how many times those boys walked the length of the train, but it was definitely more than once.

MC got to ride outside the train behind the engine for a little bit...until they got kicked out of the dining class car!

A highlight for me was riding over this old drawbridge.

Here's what it looked like from the ground when we stopped there for lunch while canoeing on the river 3 years ago.
This little beach was completely underwater, although I did look for it.

We ended the day by heading a few miles north to see what the river looked like just south of the dam (or, as my MIL calls it, "that dam thing").  It was amazing to see.  The river is up several feet, like 10 or 15 feet.  Usually you can see rocks under the bridge, but not this day.

Playing peek-a-boo with the old man of the dalles while Hubby tries to take our picture.
It was a lovely day creating fun memories...

Your turn: How's your summer going?  What's on your summer fun to-do list?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Fun To-Do List: Mountain Biking

Well, third time's the charm, I guess.  The boys finally got to go mountain biking today.  It's been quite the saga, getting this outing together.  Last week, the boys slept over one night, planning to leave early the next morning, but it stormed all the following day.  So disappointing.

It was disappointing enough that I decided we needed to reschedule right away.  I studied the weather and decided that Thursday looked like the best biking day this week.  And it really was a beautiful day.  It would have been great for biking.  But the trail was closed due to all the rain we've been getting.  Ug.

So today, finally, all of the pieces fell into place and off we went to the off-road trail, with 3 of AKD's friends.

The before picture:
From left: Con-Man, Ice-Man, D-Dog, AKD, MC
They look like they're in the zone, don't they?

Action shot:
AKD on the high turn
The after picture: well, we didn't get one.  Oops.  Sorry. 

While the big boys were biking, Roger and I headed to the beach for some water-splashing, castle-building, boat-racing fun. 

Everyone had such a great time!  They're already talking about going again.  Soon.  And my response?  Yes!  I will definitely take you again :)

Oh.  Here's the after picture:
The big boys joined us at the beach when they were done biking and we buried 'em in the sand.
From left: D-Dog, AKD, Con-Man, Ice-Man
Here's the updated Summer Fun To-Do List.  We're knocking 'em out, one by one :)
  • the new pool--the one with a zipline and a climbing wall you can jump off of into the water
  • cave (ahhh, 50* F year-round)
  • take a picnic lunch and bike along the river in the city, play in the fountain, and watch the barges
  • indoor waterpark
  • mountain biking with friends Done. Exuberantly.
  • kayaking (perhaps in Colorado) Done, but not the Colorado part.
  • trampoline place
  • inflatable jumpy place: Hoping to pull this one off next week while AKD is out of town 
  • big zoo: Tentatively scheduled for next week (but now AKD says he wants to go with us, so maybe not)
  • hike to the waterfall Done.  Beautifully.
  • take a train ride: Scheduled for this week
  • beach--the one at the man made lake, with the really cool play structure nearby

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Fun To-Do List: Waterfall

Well, cross one off our to-do list.  On Tuesday, we visited the waterfall.  You know, the one where I always forget how steep that hill is.  We took the short-cut by Pooh's House and that darn geocache (which we can't seem to not find now) this time, so I wasn't brutally reminded of the steepness.  Anyhoo...

It has been raining here, seemingly non-stop, for the past 2 weeks.  Maybe even longer.  It just blows my mind that a month ago we were experiencing a drought.  Now we've got wide-scale flooding in the region.  The rain has been a quite a nuisance, wrecking havoc with our carefully laid plans.

On Tuesday, we were supposed to go to the library, followed by the 11-6 beach, but the day dawned dismal and gray, and we decided the beach might not be the best idea.  Our library plans were foiled by Tuesday.  I had forgotten that they open late on Tuesday.  Dejected, we headed home for lunch and to regroup, and by the time we were finished with lunch and chores, the sun was shining and the air was ripe with humidity.

In an attempt to redeem the situation, off we headed to the waterfall at the nearby state park.
 There was wading and picture taking.  (Maaooom!)

There was behind-the-waterfall walking.

Someday, the Mama will work up the courage to lead an expedition all the way across the river behind the waterfall.  Not this day, though.

There was rock climbing and cave exploring.

 There was watersliding.

It was a lovely day :)

And good thing, too, because today, the day we had planned our hike to the waterfall, the rain fell...  A different sort of waterfall, altogether.

Because I know you want to know, here's how we're doing on our list:
  • the new pool--the one with a zipline and a climbing wall you can jump off of into the water
  • cave (ahhh, 50* F year-round)
  • take a picnic lunch and bike along the river in the city, play in the fountain, and watch the barges
  • indoor waterpark
  • mountain biking with friends--Scheduled, this week (if the rain will hold off) 
  • kayaking (perhaps in Colorado) Done, but not the Colorado part.
  • trampoline place
  • inflatable jumpy place--hoping to be able to pull this off next week while AKD is out of town. 
  • big zoo--tentatively scheduled for next week. 
  • hike to the waterfall Done.  Beautifully.
  • take a train ride--Scheduled, this week (even if it rains) 
  • beach--the one at the man made lake, with the really cool play structure nearby

Sunday, June 17, 2012

{Updated} Summer Weekly Planning Sheet--FREE printable

So I've run into an itty bitty imperfection in my Summer Weekly Planning Sheet: no space for Saturday and Sunday.  See, I made the planner to assist in organizing our time during the week, so I didn't think I needed the weekend on there.  However, I've decided that I need an overview of the entire week so I don't have to look in two or three places for information on where we're going, and more importantly, what we're going to eat.  Because looking in one place is daunting enough.

Never fear--I've made the adjustment to include Saturday and Sunday, and uploaded it just for you!  You're welcome :)

With these changes, I'm thinking this may be just what I've been looking for in a year-round weekly planner.  I'll have to do a bit more pondering and get back to you on that one, though...

Just to review, all you need to do is print the planner and place it in a plastic page protector (or laminate or cover with clear contact paper).  Use a wet erase (vis-a-vis) marker to write in the dates, then write in the details of your week.  At the end of the week, use a wet paper towel or baby wipe to erase, then start over.

Sorry about the poor picture quality--the camera is off on another adventure
Did you notice we're attempting to cross THREE things off our summer fun to-do list next week? While it's true that we have 12 weeks this summer, and 12 things on our list, we're planning to be gone for some of those weeks, plus several of our adventures depend on good weather--last week's adventure (mountain biking) got rained out--so I thought we should probably try to get ahead of ourselves and at least get some of these on the calendar so if we do have good weather we'll be prepared to do them.

So, the FREE printable that will revolutionize your life!  (or maybe just make it a little easier):

Click here for an editable version: download, replace my chores with your chores, then print (the formatting makes it look like it's more than one page, but you can download it and adjust margins as needed).

Click here for a verson with the chores left blank: just print, then write in your chores

Blank Summer Weekly Planner

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Menu Board

I am in love.  I saw this menu planning board this morning on Pinterest and now I must make it.
It is no big secret that although I am in my dream job as our family's COO, and therefore am in charge of...well, everything, I have come to dread all things homemake-y, including planning menus and grocery shopping.  At the risk of sounding like a whiner, it's just so hard.  So hard to come up with new ideas every.single.week.  So hard to come up with main dishes that everyone or even just a majority will like.  So hard to get motivated to plan, shop, and cook when I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will be receiving complaints from at least 2 separate people per meal.  One of my children doesn't like cheese for goodness sake.  Arrgghh!
I know that a stronger woman would just let all that roll off her back and continue to serve a variety of nutritious meals regardless of negative feedback.  But I am not that strong.  I put my heart, my very self, into everything I do as a wife, mommy, and homemaker (whatever that is), and it hurts to be told, over and over again, that it's not good enough.  I mean, family, the voices in my head totally have that negative stuff covered--y'all need to be my cheerleaders, drowning the voices out.
And when I ask those complainers what they would like to eat, they stare at me with blank expressions.  I'm pretty sure at least 2 of the people who live here would be happy with Fruit Loops for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...well, those nutrition experts do say to eat a rainbow every day...
People who love me have suggested a rotating menu.  Like, just plan 5 weeks' worth of menus and repeat...and repeat...and repeat.  And it sounds like a good idea, until I get down to the nitty gritty and realize that I would be changing it every week because I found a new recipe I want to try, or because whatever is on the menu is not on sale (please don't ask me to pay $5/lb for pork chops, when I know they'll go on sale for $2.50 in the next few weeks), or because whatever is on the menu doesn't sound good to me.
So I've just been plugging along, asking the family for suggestions and receiving blank stares, brainstorming and rejecting 3/4 of the ideas I come up with because I know the natives won't like it, procrastinating until the last minute...and then serving leftovers or cereal and procrastinating some more.
This menu board could be the miracle I've been searching for.  Or not.  All I know is, something's got to change.  Stand by...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Another FREE two songs--through June 18

UPDATE: Just wanted to let y'all know this deal has been extended through June 18

I've got nothing to post about today, so I'll share the latest Amazon MP3 code.  Really, y'all should do this.

Click here, then click on the "enter your code" button.  A smaller window will pop up.  Enter the code MP3S4ALL in the box, then click "apply."  It's as easy as that.

Promotional offer is valid from June 12, 2012 through June 15, 2012 June 18, 2012 and subject to change. You must redeem the credit by 11:59 p.m. PST on June 15, 2012 June 18, 2012. Limit one promotional credit per customer.

So...a little trick.  If you can't decide which song you want to get before the credit expires, just choose any two $0.99 songs and choose to give as a gift.  Enter your alternate email address or your spouse's, or whatever.  When you get the email saying the song has been gifted, you'll have the option to download that song or choose a different song.  Just hang on to the email until you know which song you want.  Even if you never get a song, at least you've kept the option open.

And, as you can tell if you've been reading my blog the past couple of months, these codes pop up often--so start your list and stop paying for song downloads!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My birthday treat: Frosty S'more Cups

Yesterday, I was 38 years old.  I know this because I had to have some blood drawn yesterday, and you know how the clinic prints out those labels when you go in for anything?  {maybe it's just my clinic} Those labels said I was 38.  Today, I'm almost 40. 

I know that there's got to be a dividing line between one age and the next, and we've decided that a birthday is that dividing line, but for some reason, this year it really struck me how quickly time passes.  Yesterday I was so much younger than I am today.

Yeah, I know, those of you who are older than me, like, say, my parents, are saying, "you're so young!"  Those of you who are younger than me, like, say, my children, are saying, "you're right.  You're really old."  And those of you who are about the same age as me are saying, "no biggie.  It happens.  People get older.  Better than the alternative."

Anyway, this post is not about me being so much older today than yesterday.  This post is about my yummy birthday treat.  I decided to make these:

{Image Source}
Don't they just look divine?  Mmmm!  Ruthanne, author of Easy Baked, calls them Frosty S'more Cups.

The advantage, of course, of having to make your own birthday treat, is that you will end up with exactly what you want.  I don't really like cake, but these little chocolaty frozen treats are more delicious than the sum of their parts--just perfect.

Click here for the recipe.

Recipe notes:
  • I don't have a mini cheesecake pan {maybe I should get one}, so I used a dozen muffin cups.  I was afraid they wouldn't pop out after they'd been frozen, so I also used cupcake liners. You could also totally make this in a pie plate or springform pan, but I like the built-in portion control of the muffin cups.
  • I didn't have any whipping cream OR milk chocolate chips, so I substituted some melted Hershey chocolate bars.  This was a delicious option, but the chocolate hardened, of course, and made the treat a little difficult to bite into, so I highly recommend adding the whipping cream or some shortening or something to soften the chocolate a bit.
  • Ruthanne is way into piping things, which is cool.  Piping is fun.  But I just spooned the stuff in--it worked just fine.
  • Like Ruthanne, I had leftover pudding/cool whip mixture.  I agree that it's delicious, right from the bowl :)
Happy birthday to me!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Weekly Planning Sheet {free printable}

Is anyone else out there dismayed to watch as the days of summer seem to slip away faster and faster?  As I mentioned yesterday, I need to be really intentional about planning our summer fun or before I know it, the summer's gone and those warm fuzzy memories I was yearning for?  Didn't happen.

Well, not this year, not if I can help it.

So you already know about our list--each of us came up with just 3 things that we really want to do this summer, and we'll do one of those things each week to make sure we get to them all. 

But what about the rest of the time?  Are we going to sit around playing our iPods (that would be AKD and MC) or dumping out the contents of every drawer, bin, and cupboard we can get our hands on (Roger) or constantly and ineffectively attempting to clean up after the kiddos (me)? 

No.  We are not. 

I don't know about you, but I always have these grand plans that hardly ever seem to materialize.  I really think it's because my memory is shot.  I forget.  And the kids take advantage of my forgetfulness and general scatter-brain-ed-ness to avoid whatever it is they wish to avoid.  And I spend more time than I need to being frustrated by their lack of cooperation.

Enter, the summer weekly planner.

It's pretty simple, just 5 columns, one for each week-day, and 4 rows, for meals, chores, fun, and other.  All I did was make a table in Word.  I added chores that needed to be done weekly, printed it out, and placed it in a page protector. 

Each week, the kids and I will sit down to talk about what our week will hold.  I'll use a wet erase (sometimes called vis-a-vis) marker to write in the week's details, and erase at the end of each week.  Our top 12 list is written on the back, along with some other ideas for spontaneous outings.

I should mention that, even though we will be planning for each week, I intend to treat the plan somewhat loosely--after all, some of the magic of summer is due to its relaxed, laid back nature: a lack of structure, a loosening of the rules that bind us so much of the year.

It's really simple, so simple that I'm sure you could make one yourself.  However, if you are like me, and the idea of getting it together to make something like this is overwhelming to you, never fear!  I have made this document available to you for FREE!  It's even editable, because I'm sure your chores will be different than mine.  Just click here, then choose "download" from the file menu, or, if you like it as is, just click on the printer icon.

Update: I've added another FREE printable with Saturday and Sunday on it.
Click here for the editable update.
Click here for the update with no chores (write in your own chores)

I'm expecting that my summer weekly planning sheet will be just the thing to keep the whole family on track and moving in the same direction this summer as we balance fun with obligation, all while (hopefully) maintaining my sanity. 

I'll let you know how it goes...(that is, if it goes well :) )

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Summer Plans

School's out for the summer!

Now...sing it again, this time with feeling!

Now that we have that out of the way...

I always have such great intentions for fun summer activities with my kids.  I vow to keep them busy, and therefore, happy.  Or at least not at each other's throats.  But every year, our busy, fun summer just doesn't materialize.  Oh, sure, we have fun together, but there are always things left undone because we forget about them or we forget to plan for them.  And as the days go by, I realize that without intentionality, summer slips away all too quickly.

I've tried different methods of planning our summer days.  One year, it was a letter of the week, or two letters, actually, so we could get through the whole alphabet before school started up again.  One year, we just made a list of all the things we wanted to do (and then forgot to refer back to it).  One year, we put activity ideas in a jar to draw out (too unpredictable for me).  Another year, we had one sunny day jar and another rainy day jar.  I don't know why I thought that would work, when 1 jar didn't.

I decided to take a different approach this year.  I asked the boys to each come up with 3 things that they for sure want to do this summer (there I go with 3 things again...).  I made a list, too (and luckily, since I really wanted to put more than 3 things on my list, some of the boys' three things overlap with things I would like to do).  This works out well, because we have a 12 week summer this year. 

(3 boys + 1 mom) x 3 things = 12 activities

I think we'll go in age order, taking turns deciding which activity we'll do each week, and filling in the rest of the time with more spontaneous fun or, if we need it, rest.

Last summer we went to this playground

So, are you curious?  Want to know what's on our list?  Here you go:
  • the new pool--the one with a zipline and a climbing wall you can jump off of into the water
  • cave (ahhh, 50* F year-round)
  • take a picnic lunch and bike along the river in the city, play in the fountain, and watch the barges
  • indoor waterpark
  • mountain biking with friends
  • kayaking (perhaps in Colorado)
  • trampoline place
  • inflatable jumpy place
  • big zoo
  • hike to the waterfall
  • take a train ride
  • beach--the one at the man made lake, with the really cool play structure nearby
Ready or not, summer, here we come!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Photo Friday: Last week of school

A look back at our week, in pictures:

On Saturday, we went to the kiddie amusement park.  AKD was kind enough to go on the teacups with his little brother.

Monday (after the mustache cookies) was kite day at MC's school.  I picked AKD up at his school for the occasion.  It wasn't windy at all, so we didn't have much luck getting our kites up, but lots of other people did.

Thursday was Pal's last day...ever...with us--next year she's off to kindergarten.  We ended the year the same way we started it, at the beach.  My toenails were not nearly as pretty this time, though.

Thursday was 3rd grade BlastOff day for MC and his classmates.  The kids played a couple of fun relay-type games, and then they spent a good long time shooting off their homemade rockets, before sharing a picnic lunch.
{Image Source}
AKD went to the zoo today, which is a particularly fitting place to take a bunch of 6th graders on the last day of school.  I'm sure he spent some time with this guy.

The sun is out to get me

I know that the sun is out to get me because I keep getting sunburned, and everybody knows that can kill you.  Eventually.

Now before you get all go-put-on-some-sunscreen on me, let me just tell you that I have been applying sunscreen.  Religiously. 

At first, I thought the burns were the result of using last year's sunscreen even though it wasn't past its expiration date, so I tossed it and started using a brand new bottle.

The sunburns have continued.  So it's not the sunscreen itself. 

I'm pretty sure it's not my technique, since I use the same technique to apply sunscreen to the children and they're not getting burned (even Pal, and she, according to her parents, burns easily).  I've actually even started reapplying more often for myself than the kids.

Still. Getting. Burned.

That's how I know.  The sun is out to get me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mustache Cookies

Because who can resist a giggle when faced with a beautiful woman holding a mustache up to her lip?

It all started about a week ago, when I was perusing Pinterest and I saw that someone had pinned mustache cookie cutters, of all things.
{Image Source}

This made me think of my friend A, who is obsessed with mustaches. 

I have to admit, I didn't quite "get" it, this obsession.  I mean, sure it's cute to put dollar store self-adhesive mustaches on people and inanimate objects, but is it obsession-worthy? 

But I love my friend A, so I'm willing to giggle about mustaches with her, and I posted the link to the cookie cutters to her Facebook Wall.

To make a medium-length story super-short, a few girlfriends came over on Monday to make mustache cookies with me.  Unfortunately, A couldn't make it, but J, MomoftheWildThings and I had a hilarious time with our mustaches.  Couldn't. Stop. Laughing.  It was perfect therapy to counteract the end of school busy rush.

It's true, J and MotWT are both beautiful women (inside and out), and they were still gorgeous, even with their mustaches on.  For some reason, though, neither one of them texted or emailed the pictures they took of each other to me.  Couldn't be because they didn't want to end up on my blog in mustaches, could it?

To make your own, use your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe (I like this one, from Betty Crocker), or store-bought cookie dough. 
  1. Take about a tablespoon or so of dough and roll it into a "snake".  
  2. Shape the snake into a roughly mustache-ular shape, and gently flatten. 
  3. You can stick popsicle sticks into the dough at this point to make it easier to hold the finished cookies up to faces. 
  4. Bake according to instructions, keeping in mind that these cookies are a bit thicker than usual, and therefore will take a little longer.
  5. After the cookies have baked and cooled, pipe yellow, orange, red, brown, or black frosting "hairs" onto the mustaches.  We even used a bit of toasted coconut and some chocolate sprinkles (aka jimmies) to simulate hairs.
Next up: Ninja Cookies!
{Image Source}

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Home Made Doughnuts to Die For

OK, so maybe they're not quite to die for, but these doughnuts are so, so delicious, you will not even believe it.  Even Hubby thinks they're quite possibly the best doughnuts he's ever tasted.  And they're so, so easy, you won't believe that either.  I certainly couldn't.

I first heard about these doughnuts from my good (virtual) friend Valerie, and decided to finally try them last weekend in honor of National Donut Day (which falls on the first Friday in June, so be sure to mark your calendars for next year).

All you need are canned biscuits (we used our store brand large buttermilk biscuits, like Grands biscuits) and oil for frying.  What could be easier than that?

This was taken after more than half of the doughnuts had been devoured
 You can find the recipe here*.  Paula Deen's got all sorts of topping ideas (so the ingredient list is pretty long), but (don't let that intimidate you) we just used good ol' cinnamon sugar.

And I'm telling you, these are so good.  Melt in your mouth good.  Try it--you'll see.


*recipe notes:
~I flattened the biscuits slightly before cutting the holes out--PD doesn't mention that in her recipe. 
~I also didn't have an appropriately sized circle cutter, so I used the lid from an apple juice bottle--look around--you probably have something, too. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Five Photo Friday

A look back at our week in pictures:

Bubby rode his bike without training wheels for the first time.

We spotted this snapping turtle laying her eggs--you can just barely see one in the hole on the left

We spent some time catching, observing, and releasing tadpoles and learned some interesting facts about frogs.  For instance, did you know that frogs don't just hibernate in the winter?  They actually freeze solid.  In the spring, the frog-sicles thaw out and hop away!

Meet our new monarch friends: Biggie Super Hero Save the Planet, Super Hero Biggie, and Julia.  Guess which one is mine.

We have apples.  Good thing, too, because we finally ran out of applesauce.
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