Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Meme Fun

1.Do you like cheese? Yes, but I'm not terribly cheese adventurous. Pretty standard stuff, and let's skip the mold if we can.
2.Have you ever smoked? Nope.
3. Do you own a gun? Disc shooters, Nerf guns, cap guns, water guns, guns chewed from toast, guns fashioned from Kid'nex and Lego...

4. Do you like listening to Christmas music? my IPod is jammed full. Thanks, Hubby.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? Silly, but yes. Usually jacks my blood pressure up a bit, too.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? Tasty junk food. Let's do all beef, lite. Grab the mustard.

7. Favorite Christmas song for all time? O, Holy Night

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? orange juice

9. Can you do push ups? I think I can... I think I can...

10. Who is your favorite Grey’s Anatomy Character? I watched this show one time years ago and can't remember a single thing. Now, House. That is a medical show I watch.

11. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? wedding ring

12. Favorite hobby? reading

13. Do you eat “exotic” foods? no

14. Do you have A.D.D.? Why do you ask?

15. What one trait do you hate about yourself? I procrastinate way too much. Maybe you should ask me tomorrow...

16. Middle Name? Ellen

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? "I wonder what tv show the boys are watching" ; "It's a bit chilly in here." "I could go for Diet Pepsi right now."

18. Name 3 things you bought yesterday? blueberry pie for DH's birthday, rice, strawberry milkshake

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? water, Diet Pepsi, orange juice

20. Current worry right now? Getting "back on the wagon" with my diet and exercise routine

21. Current hate? TRAFFIC

22. Favorite place to be? Out for dinner or the movies!

23. How will you bring in the New Year? champagne, finger foods, my boys, and a movie

24. Where would you like to go? IKEA

25. Name three people who will complete this? Anyone! (Let me know, so I can come look.)

26. Do you own flip flops? brown and teal Carolina girl

27. What shirt are you wearing? red and white

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I don't know

29. Can you whistle? only by breathing in

30. Favorite color? purple

31. Would you be a pirate? No, I hate the torn clothing look, but have you seen my profile pic?

32. What songs do you sing in the shower? VBS songs. I Am A C...

33. Favorite girl’s name? Ellen Rebecca

34. Favorite boy’s name? It's a three way tie!

35. What’s in your pocket right now? wadded up tissue and a cell phone

36. Last thing that made you laugh?

37. Bed sheets as a child? rainbows and unicorns

38. Worst injury you’ve ever had? cut my foot on a beer bottle

39. Do you love where you live? There's some great things about living here.

40. How many TV’s do you have in your house? two

41. Who is your loudest friend? Susan H!! ;)

42. How many dogs do you have? none, but have a puggle?

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Three little boys keep smiling at me and bringing me stuff...

44. Do you get embarrassed easily? more easily than I like

45. What is your favorite book? Atonement Child by Francine Rivers

46. What is your favorite candy? chocolate

47. Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince theme song? no

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? Now Thank We All Our God (And I don't mean that tongue in cheek...); Praise to the Lord, the Almighty; I'm But a Stranger Here, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

49. What were you doing at 12 AM last night? sleeping

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up? Did I sleep that late??

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Post Christmas Tour 2008: Bring Your Hazmat Suit

Just a few days ago many of us delighted in spending hours peering through the blog windows of bloggers everywhere. It was great fun to sneak a peek at a bit of their Christmas decorations and preparations along the trails of Boomama's Christmas Tour of Homes 2008.
Many of you stopped by my place and left lovely comments and directions to share in your tour. I thoroughly enjoyed my visits to so many blogs. (And I am still sneaking in a new visit or two. There are over 1000 blogs linked to the tour!)
But, now Christmas is over. Christ is still in my heart, but I look like an elf caught in the sleigh's headlights! You wouldn't believe the mess!
Well, in the interest of keeping it real, and gathering the help of many hands, I bring you the Post Christmas Tour 2008. Swig the last of the egg nog, don you now your hazmat apparel, and as we like to say around here, "Hold onto your buckets!"Climb over the wrapping and packaging bits, avoid stepping on stray Legos, and take a look at the Christmas tree. It still looks festive, but gone are all the prettily wrapped packages. The toys and games were squirreled away faster than a pirate's buried treasure.
I know you can't see the pile up of cat hairs and dust gorillas, but would you mind vacuuming?

Well, now, don't go sucking up the markers and toys under there and watch out for the nativity scene. Let's get a space ship for those extra visitors!

And, as long as we are clearing up stables and removing the riffraff from Bethlehem's hotel district, let's get the Bionicle out from under Joseph's feet. No wonder the angel was telling them to Fear Not!

Since we are in the family room, I'm going to need a few properly trained people to fix the "Laundry Situation." Oh, my word. A few days of merriment and the washer and dryer are going to need to be kick started!! (Don't mind the green gun in the laundry basket. There must have been a " drive-by staining!!")

Which one of you brought the industrial cleaner and paint scrapers? Can you get the inch of cookie/soda/candy cane residue/crust off of the dining room table? Let's get that pretty centerpiece back up.

I don't' need to tell you that the dishes need washing, do I? Or that the trash needs to be taken out...
Alright. We may have things under control here.

Someone call the kids back from the beach.
Now, thank you so much for coming. Don't forget to take some LEFTOVERS from the fridge!! Where to next?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

WFMW: Quick Christmas Cookies

Tonight my boys and I made a quick batch of a Christmas Cookie favorite we call, "Peppermint Wafers." I first had these a few years ago at a Christmas cookie swap and I instantly fell in love. I'm not usually wild about mint or no-bake cookies, but these are The Bomb. I promise. And your kids can help.

Obtain a package of Nabisco chocolate wafers. They are sold at the grocery store on the same shelf as the ice cream toppings. Now, don't even bother looking in the cookie aisle. They won't be there. I've included a pic, just incase you need more help locating the wafers.
While at the store grab a bag of white chocolate chips. (You couldn't read it if I made the print white, could you?)

You also need a few candy canes all smashed up. So, if you don't have any candy canes at home, get those while you are out and then smash them up with all your anger pent up while fighting the December traffic. (A hammer and a plastic bag make the smashing much more, well, neater.)

3 ingredients. That is it. You can do this!

Easy Peasy Directions:

Spread a bit of melted white chocolate (yes, you are going to have to melt the white chocolate) on a chocolate wafer. Sprinkle with smashed up candy cane bits. Let the white chocolate set and then share with the people you love the most.

Oh, pretty!
Quick Christmas Cookies work for me. Visit Shannon's blog for some more Works for Me Wednesday Tips.

And if you haven't stopped by my place for Boomama's Tour of Christmas Homes please come on in and I'll get you a handful of these cookies!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Tour 2008: Come on Over!

Boys! Get out of that tree! All the bloggers from BooMama's are coming over to see our Christmas decorations. Please help me get everything ready! A, start decorating the tree!
Ok. Light the Christmas tree. Woohoo!
D, go hide Jess Jingle so someone else can find him! Is the hot cocoa ready? Let's put out whipped cream and marshmallows. Candy Canes make perfect stir sticks.

S, Get out of the whipped cream! A, please go in the family room and put on my Faith Hill Christmas CD.

D, Thank you for putting the flame on that little Advent banner you made years ago in Mommy and Me Sunday School Class.

S, please get the Pastor's Party Mix ready for our guests to nibble.

I'll go turn on the little houses on the piano. Who put the toys from under the tree by the houses?
Boys, we'll finish the Peanuts puzzle later. Let's go get dressed!

Okay. We are just about ready! Dear, will you turn on the outside lights and invite everyone in?Merry Christmas, Friends.

May the love of Christ warm your hearts this Christmas and all year!

Yummy Hot Cocoa

1 (14 ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 1/2 cups milk

In a large pot, over medium heat, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Whisk in the milk. Heat through, but do not boil. Top with marshmallows, whipped cream, or peppermint schnapps! Store any leftovers covered in the fridge. (Recipe doubles easily.)

Pastor's Party Mix

1 10 ounce package of mini twist pretzels
5 cups cinnamon Life cereal
5 cups Crispix
1 14 ounce bag of seasonal M&M's
2 cups salted peanuts
2 bags of Nestle white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon canola oil

Line your counter with waxed or parchmant paper. Use the biggest bowl (or pot) you own to stir together the pretzels, cereals, M's, and peanuts. In a separate, small bowl melt the white chocolate chips and canola oil in the microwave, until smooth.
Slowly pour the metled white chocolate over the cereal mixture and stir gently, but quickly. (I know... slowly pour, but quickly stir.) (This always seems to take more than 2 hands and just skip trying to use a spatula or spoon. Put your clean hands right on in there.)
Spread onto the papered counter and allow to cool. (I usually fuss with it a bit while it is warm. I try to stick the M&M's that never get any coating onto something already sticky. I break apart the really big blobs, but even if you do nothing, the stuff will be yummy.)
Store in an airtight container.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Makes My Monday

Cheryl, over at Twinfatuation hosts a bit of bloggy fun called, Makes My Monday. Here is a picture that makes my Monday. A few weeks ago my dad was in town and on his way home we all went to Dunkin' Donuts for a Dunkin' Run. I love, love, love my dad and it makes my day to see my boys and my dad together.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WFMW: Entertaining Tip

Having people over soon? Will you be serving steaks, nibbles, cookies, or drinks? Doesn't matter what you are serving, I know you will need a huge stash of napkins! Here's an easy tip to spruce up your pile of napkins.

Start with a neat pile of napkins.

Assuming you are right-handed, hold the pile in your left hand- at an angle. Use your right fist to hold the napkins in your hand.

Stretch out your right thumb a bit and begin to gently press and rotate your right hand into the stack of napkins. This should "smoosh and slide" your napkins off each other in a spiral fashion.

Put the napkins back on the table and remove the top one that you got all "smooshy".

Admire the simplicity and elegance that a pretty stack of napkins will give you! Leave a comment and then run on over to Shannon's blog for more great Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Cookie Swap: Mom's Thumbprint Cookies

My Buddy, Fuscia, hosted a virtual cookie swap yesterday. Boo-hoo. I didn't make it over there yesterday. But, I am confident that if I take over a tray of my Mom's Thumbprint Cookies she will let me help her sweep up the crumbs and drink some left over tea.

Mom's Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 cup BUTTER, softened (don't even think about using margarine)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 egg yolk
good jelly

Cream the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add in the egg yolk. Beat in the flour. Easy Peasy. These are little, dainty cookies, so shape the dough into small balls. (I use the small Pampered Chef cookie scoop.) Make a small indentation with your pinky in each ball of dough. Fill the indentation with jelly. (My mom told me she kept our baby spoon for just this job!) Don't overfill the indentations or the jelly will cook out and burn to your pan. My favorite is apricot jam. :)

Bake at 350 for 8-12 minutes. They should be just golden brown on the bottom and barely colored on the top. You might have to adjust the baking time to get the "browness" you like.

Don't say I didn't warn you: These are small enough to pop a few in your mouth every time you walk past the cookie jar, so consider having your jaw wired before preheating the oven.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFMW: A Christmas Tradition... Jess Jingle

I'd like you to meet our buddy, Jess Jingle. Jess Jingle is a small, stuffed Santa that we hide around our house during Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas). You never know where you will find him. He might be in your sock drawer. Or behind your book bag. But when you find him your job is to hide him for someone else to find.

The children, big and small, look forward to this silly little tradition every year. They giggle and sneak and have a blast hiding Jess Jingle in the craziest places. This fun tradition works for our family and I bet it would work for yours, too!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Mix

Last year we made this snack mix and bagged it in resealable bags to give away. I'm not sure where I initially found this recipe, but I've even made it with my students when I was teaching.

Thanksgiving Blessing Mix

Bugles: Shaped like a cornucopia or Horn of Plenty, a symbol of our nation's abundance.
Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom sought by those who founded our country.
Candy corn: The sacrifices of the Pilgrims' first winter. Food was so scarce that settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
Sunflower Seeds: Promise of a future harvest, one we will reap only if seeds are planted and tended with diligence.
Dried fruits(raisins): Harvest gifts from our bountiful land.
M&Ms: Memories of those who came before us to lead us into a blessed future.
Hershey's Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monkey Munch

Recently my freind Joy and I were talking about a yummy snack she calls, "Monkey Munch." I remember eating this, but we called it, "Puppy Chow." There aren't any bananas in it, but I do refer to my boys as monkeys, so I think I am calling it...


1/2 cup Peanut Butter
1/4 cup Butter
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
9 cups Crispix or Chex cereal (We like Corn Chex the best)
1-1/2 cups Powdered Sugar

In a large pot, melt the butter, peanut butter and chocolate chips until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour in the cereal and stir gently until the cereal is coated. Put the powdered sugar in a large resealable bag. Pour in the chocolate-y, peanut-y cereal and shake. Serve to monkeys and munch!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Makes My Monday!

Some pictures just "make your day." And some photos make your day on Monday. Hence the blog carnival over at Cheryl's blog, Twinfatuation. I was excited to participate!
Many afternoons my mantra is "Wear the boys out!" With that in mind, we hit a park on the way home from school. This particular park had a curvy slide, which for some reason, begs for a boy pile-up and a photo op.
One of those turkeys will be choosing my nursing home...

Gone Bananas!

Last Tuesday the boys had Veteran's Day off from school, so Monday afternoon I picked the boys up from school and we headed north. We drove to my sister in law's house and spent time with my nieces and sister-in-law and with my friend and her four kids.
We had a blast. In a little more than 24 hours we played cards, terrorized customers at a Subway (What? You don't want to sit with 10 children?), raced scooters at the park, and went to see Madagascar 2. Phew! I was exhausted, but it was sooo worth it!

While I was there my friend gave me a huge bunch of bananas that were spotted and just waiting to be turned into banana bread. I made a batch of my stand-by banana bread which is a lower fat recipe I doctored from a few years ago. I also made a batch of marble banana bread, which was based on a recipe from the Cooking Light Holiday Cookbook. Both were yummy and I thought I would share the recipes.

Lower Fat Banana Bread
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed (1 to 1 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 2/3 cup four
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch ground ginger
pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven 350. Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.
Beat butter and sugars. Beat in the eggs, milk, bananas, and vanilla. Mix in the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.
Bake for about an hour. Cool on rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and allow the loaf to finish cooling on the rack.

Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread

2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 light sour cream
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar with a mixer. Beat in the vanilla and eggs. Add the mashed bananas and the sour cream. Add the dry ingredients.
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. (HIGH for 1 minute and then stir.) Combine 1 cup of the batter with the melted chocolate and set aside.
Spoon chocolate batter alternately with the plain batter into the prepared loaf pan. Swirl batters using a knife. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

M&M Prayer

Before the boys go to bed we try to have a bit of quiet time with them. My husband usually reads to them and then they have some prayer time and maybe a Jesus song or two.

We call one of our favorite prayer starters the, "M&M Prayer." Here's how it works. We sit in a circle and I give each person one M&M. (Don't eat it yet!) Then we bow our heads and each person has a turn to thank God for something that is the same color as the M&M they have. (Now you can eat it.)
When the children were very young the prayers were very simple, "Thank you, God, for the sun." Now that they are a bit older the M&M helps get their turn in the prayer circle started as they start with the M&M and move on to praise and prayer requests.

For other Works for Me Wednesday posts, visit Rocks in my Dryer.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

He's a Smart Boy

One day last week my son (D) came into the monkey bus saying, with much enthusiasm, "MOM! Mom! We've got to go to this website:!! Can we, Mom? My teacher showed it to me and you have to see it!"
I smiled at his excitement and then I said, "I am amazed by a little boy who can remember a website address ALL day, but can't remember to flush the toilet." ;)

By the way, the website has games that D enjoys.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

WFMW: Toys Worth Buying

This week's edition of Works for Me Wednesday is a bit different. This week we are all trying to give our favorite toy suggestions. Here are two toys that my boys and I love.
Hyperslide. This is a fun game for one player, two players or teams. Simply pass the pucks back and forth according to what color the voice tells you to send. Easy. Yeah, right. Let's just see you keep up!
The box says the game is for kids 8 and up, but my youngest son (5) plays this and I frequently enjoy a game or six by myself. I mean, I frequently play with a crowd of 8 year olds.
I've seen This Hasbro game for sale at Wal Mart and at Target. (Around $20)
You can try the game here. Just look for the DEMO button.

Another toy that my kids play with for extended periods of time is
Kid K'nex. Are your kids into construction toys? How 'bout cute plastic things you put together? Give Kid K'nex a try.

The website says that the kids are learning all sorts of stuff and strengthening their fine motor skills while playing with these bright toys, but my kids think these boxes of linking parts are pure bliss. ($9.99 +)

Kids 3-7 are happy with Kid K'nex while the older set may enjoy the more intricate K'nex construction sets. (The Ferris Wheel and roller coaster are very cool!)
And who doesn't miss thier Lite Brite just a little bit? This is one of the few toys we've actually purchased more than once. And haven't they improved this nostalgic toy with the little peg holder?

Head on over to Rocks in My Dryer to see what other toys are working for families this week!

Anybody know how many days of Christmas shopping left??

Try-It-Tuesday: Donkeys. Elephants. Turkeys?

In honor of Election Day I want to talk... turkey. It may be Election Day today, but I want to talk about turkey. Turkey sausages, that is.
Last week I was in the mood for some Italian sausage with peppers and onions, but I didn't want all the bad cholesterol, calories and fat from a regular Italian sausage. I searched the meat counter at Publix for some TURKEY Italian sausages. The Jennie-O turkey sweet Italian sausages were full of all that sausage flavor without most of the grease and artery-clogging stuff your doctor has warned you about.
I cooked the sausages in the pan, sliced 'em up, added a few green peppers, onions and a bit of tomato sauce. I served the concoction over whole wheat penne. Yummy.
Head on over to Mrs. Who's blog and see what else people are trying while not in line to make their vote count!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Super Hero Love

Wolverine * Ghost Rider * Human Torch
D * A * S