Thursday, May 31, 2007

It Must Be Summertime!

Last week Kymberly, a college roommate of mine, came to visit. We hadn't seen each other in 13 years, so on our first whole day together I brought the boys and Kymberly to the park.

Our town has several nice parks that the boys and I love to frequent. The beauty of taking another adult to the park is the children play (for HOURS) while we sit at the picnic table and "catch up." And this particular afternoon was no exception. Kymberly and I sat at the picnic table and enjoyed several games of Nertz (fun card game) while the boys covered themselves in copious amounts of fine playground sand.

While Kymberly and I were playing cards we heard one of those songs. You know, one of those songs that you just can't "place," but you know that you know it. The music got louder and closer and we couldn't figure out what it was. Finally, it clicked... It was the ICE CREAM TRUCK!! You know summer has arrived when the ice cream truck rounds the corner. :)
Kymberly generously purchased a cold, tasty treat for each of us. Yummy treats like this don't happen every day... and fabulous friends along for the day don't either!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WFMW- Unwanted Ants

I haven't been blogging this week because my old college roommate, Kymberly, has been visiting. (And we're not old.) In honor of her fabulous visit (we've had a blast!) I asked her to share a tip. She says that you can get rid of ants with cornmeal. Place a small pile of cornmeal near the "line" of ants or point of entry. The ants will gladly gorge themselves on the cornmeal (instead of everything else...) and take it back to the hill. Ants don't digest cornmeal, so it sort of makes them explode. Then your ant problem is over. Of course, Kymberly didn't share a tip about dealing with the exploding ants, so that must be another WFMW! ;)

Maybe you could find another helpful Works for Me Wednesday tip over at Shannon's !

Seriously, Kymberly, the family and I so enjoyed ourselves! I'm so glad you came to visit.
And, I hope everyone is looking forward to a few blog entries about Kymberly's visit...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Treasure Hunt Anyone?

Today was Aaron's last day of school. The two younger boys and I ventured over there to enjoy a few last moments of chaos parading as a "class party" before saying, "Good-bye" to Mrs. S. On our way out of the classroom she handed us a few books to enjoy over the next few months. There was an assortment of things, but the one item that we absolutely enjoyed this afternoon is this book of Treasure Hunts from Klutz.
After lunch and a little "quiet time" (Scooby Doo DVD and snoozing) the boys begged to play with this book. The book contains all the punch-out clues to do several different treasure hunts. We played two.
The first set of clues for the treasure hunt were picture clues that I placed where the directions told me to. ( :) Seriously, on the back of the clue it tells you where to hide the clue.) They were thrilled to discover 3 chocolate kisses in the shoe basket. (The book doesn't supply the treasures, just the clues!)
The second treasure hunt was an act-it-out hunt. I hid the clues and the boys had to act out the clue they found. It was too funny watching Sam trying to be a chair. Or Aaron trying to act out "jacket." This time the treasure was a sheet of Cars stickers stuck in my jacket pocket.
I loved watching them work together to find the clues. Their excitement was contagious and watching them encourage each other ("David, you get this clue!") just about made me weak in the knees.
I must admit, however, that it was tempting to run to the mall for a little "retail therapy" while the boys were so willingly sequestered in their rooms while I hid the clues. "Okay, boys. I'm just going to hide one more clue... No peeking!" ;)

Thanks, Mrs. S! Thanks for a great year and for a fun "bag of tricks!"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WFMW- Teacher Gifts

Well, the end of the school year is here! No more school; no more books...

I have loved the boys' teachers this year. (Actually, I've loved them every year, but I have only a few years' worth of experience on the parent side of the parent/teacher relationship. ;) ) I really wanted to send a "little something" just to say, "Thanks for spending a year with my mudpie-maker." With 5 teachers/teacher's aides to buy for, however, my funds were limited.

Now, I like to give teacher gifts that are edible. I know some would disagree with me, but, hey, everyone eats. And even if they wouldn't eat what you give them, they know someone who will.

*Digressing to tell one of my all-time favorite kindergarten teaching stories. Samantha came to my desk with a gift box tucked behind her back. I unwrapped the package to reveal two rows of spectacular Italian truffles. She was so excited that she said, "Look, Mrs. P. One row for you and one row for Mr. P." I winked at her, smiled a crooked smile, and replied. "Great. Let's eat his row now!!"

Keeping my budget and my love of good snacks in mind, I was brainstorming with another mom/teacher. She suggested something to go with a lemonade/summer theme. Here is what we came up with...

I bought Crystal Light Lemonade in the 4 pack bottles. (Any brand would work, I just found these bottles the right size for what I wanted.) I bought a set of plastic tumblers that looked "summer-y". And I baked yummy chocolate chip cookies.

I made the cutest little gifts each with a bottle of lemonade, a cute tumbler, and several cookies wrapped in a clear cellophane bag. I wrapped them in lime and blue tissue paper and tied them with curling ribbon (blue, teal, and lime) Attached was a blue tag that read, "Sitting in the shade drinking lemonade."

A few more ideas for frugal, yet edible teacher gifts...

Wrap up a box of graham crackers, a bag of marshmallows, and a large chocolate bar with a note that reads, "Have s'more fun this summer!"

A jar of tasty chocolate sauce, a couple of inexpensive sundae dishes, and a dollar store ice cream scoop with a note that reads, "Here's the scoop..."

How 'bout fancy pancake mix and real maple syrup wrapped in a large dishtowel?

May you enjoy those last few hectic days of school! And three cheers for Mrs. S, Mrs. T, Mrs. A , Mrs. A, and Mrs. S!

Leave a comment and head on over to Rocks in my Dryer to read more Works for Me Wednesday tips from other bloggers!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

WFMW: Butter Spray

Butter Spray: Not Just for the Calorie Conscious Anymore...

Recently I bought myself a bottle of butter spray. The purchase was made with calorie-cutting in mind, as a "spray" of butter is virtually calorie free. I have to admit that the butter flavor is good and a few sprays do the job.
Initially, I practically had a lock and key for my butter spray. After all, the children just L.O.V.E. spraying a spray bottle of "whatever-it-is". They would welcome the opportunity to spray their food with anything, even Windex, if they could be the one to pull the trigger or push the spray pump.
My Butter spray. Hands off...
Until I discovered how much simpler my life could be if I shared my butter spray.
No more squashing too-cold butter onto the children's waffles, flattening those cute little grids in the process. No more too-cold butter rips on the bread while making grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, ma'am, we've got better, quicker potatoes, bread, muffins, waffles, sandwiches, corn on the cob, popcorn, etc.
Butter Spray!
Leave a comment before heading over to Shannon's for more WFMW tips!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

My head is groggy and my throat hurts. My sinuses are stuffy and my ears itch. So, I spent Mother's Day dozing on the couch while my boys played.

A beautiful morning at church was replaced with a nap on the couch for me. (Special thanks to my friend who took the boys in her pew this morning so I could stay home and rest.) A fancy lunch out was replaced with Hubbymade Spiderman macaroni and cheese for the family and chicken noodle soup and tea for me. An afternoon at the park was replaced with a Centipede challenge after the ibuprofen kicked in. (Sam rocks at Centipede! And it is so cute to watch him wiggle and squirm while he plays.)

Oh, well. Husband promises that the boys will take me to buy flowers and a new fragrance (just what I asked for) as soon as I can smell again. Hmmph.

Anyway, I have a special fondness for preschool (or in Aaron's case, 1st grade) crafts, so I thought I would record what the boys made for me. Aaron gave me a huge tissue paper flower with the following note attached, "Dear Mom: Your prity and kind and nothing will sperat us ever."

David made me a garden stone complete with jewels surrounding his foot imprint. According to the card he gave me David thinks I am best at "watching us and planting a garden." Well, I hope I am MUCH better at "watching" the children than planting a garden. (Brown thumb...)

Sam made a cute hand towel for me. His hand print is bright yellow and has a stem and leaves to look like a flower. His fingerprints are all over the card and each fingerprint is part of something... a flower, a bug, a frog, etc.

On this Mother's Day I give thanks for the three little boys who call me, "MOM!"

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Library Tip

I love going to the library, but with three small children I have very little time to walk leisurely through the stacks selecting books for myself. Here's how I manage to get books for myself while at the library...
My local library has a website. I go on the site to see if they have books or authors that I want to read. If the book I want is out I can place a "hold" for it and the library will have it at the front desk for me when it is returned. (Usually they call me when the book comes in and I have a few days to pick it up.)
If the book is on the shelf I can't put a "hold" on it. Instead, I write the title and author on a post-it note (those skinny tab ones work very well) and I put the post-it note on my library card. When I'm at the library I can manage my kids long enough to walk a few stacks to get a specific book.
Leave a comment before heading over to Shannon's for more WFMW tips!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Strawberry Fields Forever

Let me just say that I wrote this entry on Tuesday, but I've been struggling to get the pictures where I want them and the size I want them. I've followed Blogger's directiosn, but I still get itty bitty photos that only appear above the journaling. Any suggestions?
This morning (Tuesday morning) we went strawberry picking! Yeah... the first delicious berries of the season. We tried to go last week, but the fields were picked clean, but today... success! David, Sam and I dropped Aaron off at school and drove to The Berry Patch. The boys were hard workers and the three of us filled the whole bucket that Sam is holding.

We've had LOTS of strawberries to eat today. From cheerios and strawberries ("Just like the picture on the box, Mom!") to this tasty angel food cake strawberry roll. (Very easy. Whip up a boxed angel food cake mix as directed, but bake it in a jellyroll pan/cookie sheet. While it is still warm, roll it up with a dishtowel and let cool. Unroll the cooled cake and spread with cool whip and strawberries. Roll it back up and "frost" with cool whip and garnish strawberries.) Aaron loves to help me bake and cook and was very happy to pose with the finished product.

The boys loved the dessert. There was even begging for seconds. The third picture is of David enjoying the last bite.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

7 Things Meme

I've been tagged! Leslie has tagged me to participate in the 7 Things Meme. I am to tell you 7 things not universally known about me. Here goes...

1. I hate tuna fish. Really, really cannot eat it. The odd thing is that sometimes I actually want a tuna fish sandwich, but I can't eat it when I get it.

2. My favorite candy bar is a Reese's cup. I have no particular pattern of eating a Reese's cup, I just make sure to go slow and savor every high calorie nibble.

3. I like my Diet Pepsi and my water from a bottle with a screw on lid. And I really prefer a 12 ounce bottle. Orange juice should be consumed from a small juice glass. And if I am having a drink with a straw I really like the straws at McDonald's. Bigger than average.

4. I don't like gardening. Dirty. Hot. Messy. High-maintenance.

5. My favorite bible verse is Matthew 6:33, But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

6. I almost never wear mascara on my lower eyelashes. I ALWAYS have mascara on the upper eyelashes, but my lower lashes are close to my skin and I look rather racoon-ish with mascara on them.

7. I really don't like to drive. Ok, it isn't that I don't like to drive, it's just that I would rather watch everything going on outside the window. (Oh, yeah, and I can't park. I will, however, back up and re-do it until the van is parked correctly.)

I'm tagging Stacy. You can see her blog at

Kentucky Derby Pie

Yesterday Husband and I were invited to a Derby Party. I'm not sure either one of us had ever watched The Kentucky Derby before yesterday, but we did enjoy ourselves. With a mint julep and a plate of goodies we cheered on the two horses we picked from the pot, Scat Daddy and Sedgefield. Our horses didn't win, Streetsense did, but it was fun, anyway.
A friend of mine was also going to the party, and we were trying to think of something to bring along. One of the teachers I work with suggested a Kentucky Derby Pie. I'd never heard of it, but we got the ingredients together and made the pie. Sort of a cross between a chocolate chip pie and a pecan pie. Tasty.
Here's the recipe:

Kentucky Derby Pie

1 baked pie shell
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup self rising flour
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pecan pieces
1 cup chocolate chips
Mix the flour and the sugar and then stir in the other ingredients. Place in a the baked pie shell. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes. (I think you can use an unbaked pie shell and bake it for an hour.)

Friday, May 4, 2007

Crystal Light Pie!

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week and I love those ladies that teach my boys!

Since I can't send the ladies a large bottle of liquor to complete the day with one of my boys, I like to bake a special sweet treat for each teacher. This week I've gone to each of them (3 teachers and 3 assistants) to inquire about their "favorites."

One of the teachers is "low-carbing it" and I wasn't sure what to bake for her. She suggested a creamy, refreshing pie and promised to send the recipe for Crystal Light Pie.

I'm not usually a fan of easycreamypieinagrahamcrackershell, so when I looked at the recipe I was skeptical. Being brave, however, I whipped up a pie yesterday.

Let's just say, "YUM!!" It was light, but not gaggy, and I loved the raspberry lemon flavor. The husband and the boys gave it a thumbs up. It would be great at a picnic or summer potluck.
I may just have to whip up one of these for our favorite Mrs. S. ;)

Crystal Light Pie
1 can sweetened, condensed milk
1 pk of Crystal Light powder for making a pitcher of drink (any flavor-- I used the raspberry lemonade)
1 tub Cool Whip (I used Lite)
1 graham cracker pie crust(I used the reduced fat one)

I mixed the Crystal Light with the sweetened, condensed milk and then folded in the Lite Cool Whip. I then plopped that mixture into the pie crust. I put it in the freezer for a quick cool down, but I could've just put it in the fridge. I do wonder how it would taste frozen

Thursday, May 3, 2007

I Wanna Win...

Over at there is a contest to win an ipod. A pink ipod and chocolates just in time for Mother's Day. Now, how cool is that? Check it out.

Works for Me Wednesday: Honeybun Cake & Giftwrap

Is it okay to post a "Works for Me Wednesday" on Thursday? Well, I hope so, because here it goes!!

The first thing I thought of when Shannon announced that this week's WFMW would be birthday tips was... gotta share the honeybun cake recipe. At our house, if it is your birthday we start the day with a honeybun cake. It is a yummy, yellow cake with a struesel in the middle (just nuts, no raisins in the struesel) and a powdered sugar glaze on top. I use the recipe from the back of the box of yellow cake mix.

My giftwrap tip I learned while watching the Martha Stewart Weddings DVD. Recycle pretty giftwrap by putting it through the shredder. Then use the pretty shreds as filler in bags or boxes.

My other giftwrap tip is for packages that will be sent throug the mail. Add wrapped, hard candies to the "filler" (those little "peanuts" or shredded paper) before placing the gift in the box. Festive!
Don't forget to post a comment!
And look at Shannon's for more birthday tips!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

A Southern Moment...

I may live in The South, but I didn't grow up here. Now, I'm not implying that it isn't lovely living here, I'm just saying that sometimes things happen to me or I overhear something that reminds me that "I'm not from 'round here." Tonight I had one of them, there, Southern Moments. :)

My oldest son's class was performing in a school musical. My family (two younger boys on my lap craning to see Aaron and Husband on the wall with the video camera) was watching the crowd of first graders sing songs about colorful rainbows, keeping the planet clean, and how we all need the moon.

Now, there was a family behind me also enjoying the show. At one point, the little boy asked his dad if he could use the camera to take a picture of his big brother. The dad, in full instructor mode handed over his camera to the little boy and said, "Now, it's just like using the GUN. You look through here..."