Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bead ornament

Harlee made these whale ornaments as a Christmas present this year.  I seen the idea on pinterest but the instructions where in dutch and there was quite a bit that was lost in the translation so I made it up mostly by looking at the pictures.  First we picked out a couple of cookie cutters, set them on parchment paper and Harlee very meticulously added the beads.  Then I poured oil in the cookie cutters.  Then I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  You could bake it for a less time to keep it looking more like beads or bake it longer to make it more smooth. As soon as they where cool enough to touch we popped em out.  I drilled a small hole in the big one for the tree hanger but the little one had a small hole in it from the beads not spreading out 100%.  This was a fun thing for Harlee to make and with millions of cookie cutters and bead colors out there I'm seeing a lot more melted bead ornaments in our future.                                     

Monday, December 17, 2012

Not quitting, just changing tactics

Harlee has been in guitar since September and she is doing really well for a four year old.  I'm very proud of her.  She is really enthused about it and works hard.  She loves it. 

There is just one big problem.  Her guitar teacher.  She is like 150 years old and doesn't seem to know a thing about young children.  She has this really awful habit of grabbing Harlee's fingers and moving them for her.  Not just helping her put with placement but playing a whole song...with my daughters fingers.  I kept telling her to let Harlee play and she would stop but it would be long til she was doing it again. 

About two weeks ago she did it and Harlee's face fell.  She instantly went from "I love guitar'' to ''I don't wanna be here ever again''.  She looked like a wild horse that had just been broke.  Her spirit that was crushed.  I pulled her teacher to the side and told her to NEVER touch her again.  She said she would but it would make teaching her harder. 

The next lesson Harlee was very upset before we went.  I talked to her and told her that her teacher said she wouldn't touch her anymore and if she did I would stop her.  But her teacher did it again and even though I told her not to right away the damage was done.

Last weeks lesson she didn't touch her but Harlee didn't even want to look at her.  Practices at home have been ruff to say the least and normally she practices very well at home with me.  After a long conversation it was obvious that the problem was the teacher, not guitar.

As much as I want to to finish the semester to teach her that sometimes in life we have to deal with people we don't like, I also want her to love music.  I want to teach her not to quit.  I want to teach her how to be the bigger person. 

In the end it came down to she is only four and that lady is breaking her spirit and I won't take it anymore!  There will be many more times in life to teach her that she needs to deal with people she doesn't like.  I told her we weren't going back to that teacher again and I was rewarded with a giant hug and kiss.  Then she asked if we were still going to practice at home and if I would be her teacher and I said yes, once again I was rewarded with a giant hug and kiss.  Then I reminded her how we will get her a new teacher after we move and for the third time I was rewarded with a giant hug and kiss. 

I can't wait to see how guitar practice goes for us tomorrow!  

UPDATE: Guitar practices are going well. She is happy and working hard again!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Finally snow!!

I can't believe it was December 14th before the first snow of the year that lasted longer than an hour. Naturally the girls had to go and play in it.

Someone got snow thrown in her face.

They had to eat some!
 All in all it was a great first time in the snow.  Now the kids are asking to go sledding! Bring on the snow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Rum Slushie

Nothing says the holidays like some rum slushie.  No really, nothing else does.  Just try this and you will see what I mean.

1 can lemonade concentrate
1 can orange juice concentrate
3/4 Cup sugar
4 Cups water
2 Cups VERY strong tea
4 Cups pineapple juice
4 Cups Rum

Mix everything in a giant Tupperware til the sugar is dissolved.   Pop that baby in the freezer.  Once frozen spoon into glasses and cover with  lemon-lime soda. 

Optional: Top it off with 1 shot of vodka for a 'turbo charge'.

This recipe came from my Nana, I don't know where she got it but that woman is a genius.  True story.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bunny birthday party

Wow. I can not believe time has flown by so quickly.  Here my 'baby' is two years old already.  Cheyenne isn't much of a baby anymore.  She runs around spouting full sentences, learning colors, numbers, and shapes, and trying to do everything her big sister  does. 

The first thing I did was run to pinterest and found these bunny invitations, they turned out perfect, and really set the mood for the rest of the party.  I would post a picture but it would be like deja vu if you click on the link...and they have my address on them.

Decoration time!  Normally decorations are my favorite part but this time it was hard.  Most bunny stuff is also Eastery and this is not Easter! I was able to find most things I needed from Oriental Trading and a few key items from Amazon.  These bunny plates, cups and napkins were the only non Easter ones I found. Good thing they are perfect! And this bunny foil balloon is just the cutest thing ever. 

The pinata was the hardest to find. It's sold out now which is a huge bummer. I think I bought the last one.

Birthday Girl!!

Another view of the cake with the carrot silverware and napkins.

Duck tape on water bottles = cute!

I love this cake.  It was VERY easy to do and I love the little bunny tail.

"Bunny juice" I didn't want to call it carrot juice because I wanted kids to drink it!  It's 2/3 tang and 1/3 strawberry lemonade.

This party turned out perfectly.  Most importantly Cheyenne loved it. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No process apricot jelly

I super love apricot chicken.  It's really good as leftovers on salads too with it's awesome fruitiness.  Back when we believed Cheyenne to allergic to peanuts I could not find apricot jelly without a peanut warning.  So I asked my mom is she had some jelly to spare.  She didn't but she had a bucket of apricots just chilling in her freezer she gave me...which is fantabulous of her. 

Even though I could buy it from the store I just don't want to.  I like making homemade stuff.  It makes me feel awesome.

Apparently apricot jelly recipes must be kept highly secretive because I had a hard time finding one.  Here is the recipe I used but since there doesn't seem to be a plethora of them I think it's worth repeating.  I like jelly recipes that use the juice amounts rather than the pounds of fruit so this is perfect.

Here it is...

7 cups apricot juice (unsweetened)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package fruit pectin
9 cups sugar

I just dumped all of my (thawed)apricots out of my bucket into a pot and basically heated it up properly.  It already had lots of juice so I didn't add any water.


Then I strained it threw my cheese cloth. Your basic jelly making process, nothing special.

Combine the apricot juice, lemon juice and pectin and heat to a boil. Add the sugar and heat to a rolling boil. Boil for one minute.

Put it in your jars. Put on your super boiled lids and tighten those rings down tight.  Turn your jars upside down for 5 minutes. After that just turn the jars right side up and done!

My mom taught me this method(come to think of it why doesn't my mom have her own blog for all this stuff?!?). If you want to use this recipe but don't like in 'no process' method just put the jars in a hot water bath for 10-15 minutes.

My jelly turned out amazing.  We have already had peanut butter and apricot jelly sandwiches and I can't wait to make some apricot chicken!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I love thanksgiving and I'm glad my husband is home for the holiday.  He almost had to work.  We were supposed to go be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday but the kids came down with the stomach flu.  So our little family had Thanksgiving together, just us.

It was a complete bummer to not be around other family but it was also completely perfect. It was so relaxed.  

Cooking together with our kids is awesome. One of Harlee's favorite jobs is to wash potatoes. She is such a goof, her MOST favorite chore is cleaning the toilets. 

They were so excited they had to 'cheers' their forks.

Turkey veggie platter

I threw this handsome gobbler together on a whim this morning.  It was fun and actually really really easy.  I'm sure you could use any veggies you wanted in the body but I used yellow and red bell peppers, olives, and cucumber.  The carrot legs and the face really top it off.  I used a triangle piece of cucumber for the beak, a bit of red pepper for the waddle and olive for the eye. 

My kids loved eating him up! Turkey veggie platters are way cooler than regular veggie platters.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Make ahead stuffing recipe

OK this recipe isn't mine.  It's my Mom's so of course it is the best.

Here is what you need.

3 loaves of bread
1 celery stalk
4 medium onions

Kitchen Helper
8 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
6 tablespoons Poultry Seasoning
2 tablespoons Sage
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
4 cubes beef bullion

At our house, we don't like to eat the heels of the bread.  So I save those all year long(in the freezer of course!!).  I also save all our hamburger and hot dog buns leftover form birthday parties and BBQs.  I like using buns better than bread, they are easier to crumble.  Bread you have to tediously tear apart.  Buns are for lazy efficient people.  So I just pile all my heels and buns up til it looks like 3 loaves worth. 

Crumble all your bread.  Chop onions and celery in a food processor until it is very fine. Add all the Poultry Seasoning, sage, salt, pepper and beef bullion to 4 cups of hot water and dissolve.  Pour it over your bread/onion/celery mix. Add the eggs and melted butter. Get your hands all up in it and mix it up....way easier and funner than using a spoon. Add 2-4 MORE cups of water.  It should be juicy.  Pour into greased loaf pans.  Double wrap with foil.  Pop those babies in the freezer.  The night before you wanna cook them unwrap one layer of foil and them in the fridge.  Bake for 3-4 hours at whatever temperature you cook your turkey.  Whalaa  easy as pie.

Remember stuffing is easy.  It's forgiving.  Only have 7 eggs? No problem!  Wanna use a whole cup of butter? Knock yourself out!

Now I have all my stuffing done for Thanksgiving AND Christmas.  Score!  After that color some turkeys.  Turkey Coloring Sheet 1 and Turkey Coloring Sheet 2

Harlee can't get enough projects so I had to come up with one more. I seen this on pinterest and we gave it a go.  I thought it was more of a pintrosity than anything.  But Harlee said it was "super duper cool".  And for that I am thankful.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The National Jewish Hospital is an amazing place

Upon the first tour of the pediatric day program ward I realized I over-packed and worried a lot more than necessary.  I had pictured us being put into a doctors office and left there for two weeks while I try hopelessly to control my children, while feeding them a hundred packages of fruit snacks on a daily bases. 

I even pictured myself leaving the two week program early because of it being to hard to handle...looking back I'm embarrassed of that thought.  How could I be so weak? I hadn't even started and I could envision myself being a quitter! What a horrible example to set for my children.  Thankfully that was not what transpired.

Upon arriving we are given a tour of our unit.  It is small but everyone has smiling faces.  There is a fridge, with snacks for the kids...whoa why am I lugging this junk food around?  I still need this bag though so my kids have stuff to do.  I spent a lot of time preparing small art projects and activities for Harlee to do while waiting.  A few small toys and coloring books and crayons, my kindle is full of new apps and there is Team Umizoomie on my phone.  I am ready for the boredom of sitting in a hospital for two weeks.  Wait...what is this, is this play room??  Only child appropriate TV allowed here, which is great for a TV natzi like my husband and I.  We are very picky about what our children watch.  There was a 'teen room' down the hall for the older kids to watch more adult TV.

Cheyenne playing in the little playroom.

We are shown to our room which not the dreaded doctors office but a real hospital room and it's baby proofed, that in it's self is a mother's dream.  First things first, Cheyenne is giving a ton of toys.
Cheyenne and some of her in they gave her more than you see here.

Every child is rewarded for all the stuff they are required to do. Everyone has a sticker chart. Each required activity has a sticker value, once your chart is full you go to the reward closet. Cheyenne loves the stickers but the overall idea is lost on her, so the nurses bring her toys every once in a while.

After her first prick allergy testing they bring her a baby! Her favorite thing!

So then they have this super play area that is sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House.  This place is amazing.  It has indoor play area AND outdoor play area.  This place is awesome!  I would take my kids here even if we weren't in the hospital.

At this point she thinks we are on vacation. 

This super play area isn't open all the time, only when a child life specialist is available to be in there to watch the children.  On another day the child life specialist came with us to Cheyenne's throat X-Ray to help distract her from the 'big scary machine'.  I had never even heard of a child life specialist I wish I could hire one to come live with me. 

My husband and I went on a 'date' to the hospital cafeteria for lunch.  They happily kept both of our children even though Harlee wasn't a patient.  In fact it was their idea.  Apparently we are in desperate need of more date nights.  I don't think the girls even noticed we were gone and Harlee keeps asking me for these markers.

In the end there was no worries.  Being here was comfortable.  Being here was easy.  I feel so blessed to have been a part of this program and even more blessed after seeing the other children here and the miraculous things they do here for extreme allergies and eczema.  I would recommend this program to anyone who has a child with allergies and/or eczema.  The toys I brought went unplayed with, the projects for Harlee went undone and my snacks went uneaten, which was just fine with me. I even kept my kindle to myself and got a little reading done.  I didn't need to worry about anything before coming here. 

Now that it's all said and done  I look back at our time in the hospital and feel grateful and I see memories instead of they suckyness I imagined.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Our Halloween this year was pretty average.  Pumpkin carving, carnival and trick or treating, and tons of candy.

At the carnival.  It was mostly just waiting in line and collectng candy.
The Enchanting Witch
The Candy Corn Witch

The end of the night, all hyped up on sugar.
Thanks for the candy kids! Your father and I love the chocolate!

Happy Halloween everyone!!
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