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