Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili Recipe

I shared this recipe back in October, but I wanted to post it again. I made it again this week (healthy foods for us, remember). It's so yummy, healthy, and EASY. Do not let the pumpkin scare you away. It really just adds a creamier texture. This is so tasty, and even my children loved it. (Well, the two smallest did not, but they want to live on chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, peanut butter, and cheese. It's a challenge for Mom.) Remember that with soup and chili, you usually do not have to measure carefully. Let me know if you make this and if you like it!

Also, someone else checked the ww points. One serving is only 1.5 points, and it is all core.



Black Bean and Pumpkin Chili

1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped (I used green. I'm too cheap to pay for the yellow. The green are good.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (I buy the minced garlic in a jar in the produce section. I use a lot of garlic, onions, and peppers when I cook.)
2 -3 tsp olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed and drained (or about 4 cups if you cook them yourself)
2 1/2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken (Use whatever you have leftover or pick up an inexpensive rotisserie at the grocery store.)
1 can (15 oz) solid pack pumpkin
1 can diced tomatoes (undrained)
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt

In a skillet, sauté the onion, yellow pepper, and garlic in oil until tender. Transfer to a 5-qt slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Yield: 10 servings

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Getting Fit by Forty!

I will turn 40 in 2009. Yippee!

I have gained a lot of weight in my 30s, and I want to go into my 40s with a healthier body. I know it is stereo-typical to make weight loss a New Year’s Resolution, and that few people succeed, but I am going to try.

My weight-gain started about the time I turned 30, when both my metabolism and activity level decreased. Then, I had a few life changes: marriage, motherhood, cross-country move, career change, pregnancy, another cross-country move, another pregnancy (that’s zero to five children in just over two years), and other adjustments. It has been wonderful, but difficult, much more so than I anticipated. I have eaten my way through every stressful situation. I am still doing so, and that has to stop.

It is time for another change. I am concerned about my health, I am disappointed with the example I am setting for my children, and I am embarrassed about my appearance. I want to be slimmer, healthier, and more energetic as I raise my children and enjoy the coming years with my husband. I can do this.

I had a lot of success following the Weight Watchers Core Plan, but when life got hectic, I stopped going to meetings and got off plan before I reached my goal weight. I am slowly putting those pounds back on. WW recently changed their program and I am no longer a member, but the Core Plan worked for me, so I am going to try to follow it again. Basically, it requires eating healthy foods – fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fat-free (or low fat) dairy, whole grains – and limiting fat, breads, and sweets. There’s more to it, and I’ll talk more about that later, but since I feed seven people each day, and as much as possible I want us eating the same meals, this plan works for us.

Losing weight is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. It is harder than getting my master’s degree (but I had Pam to help me then). It’s harder than teaching high school English (but I had Denise, Jennifer, April, Clay, Jeff, Rebecca, and lots of other good friends and wonderful, dedicated educators by my side). More difficult than being single and taking care of my own home (but Dad and those great teenagers across the street, as well as other friends and family, helped). I know I am not alone, though. My family, who loves and encourages me, will support me. Maybe some of you will, too.

I already have some menus planned with lots of variety to keep things interesting. I will share recipes, tips, successes, and stumbles as I go. I may struggle and have to start over on the first day of every month. I may be reposting this goal a year from now. But this is important and all I know to do is keep trying.

So what about you? Does anyone else need to shed some pounds and work towards being healthier? Will you join me? If your jeans already fit nicely and you follow the food triangle each day, would you stop by on occasion and encourage me?

Today is day one. I can do this. If weight loss is also your goal, you can do it, too! Here we go!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Pictures and Vegetable Strata Recipe

We had a wonderful holiday with family, and we are enjoying some down time together before school starts back. I hope your holidays were special, too.

I made a really tasty egg dish for lunch today, and I want to share the recipe. The original recipe came from, but I adapted it a bit.

Tomorrow, I am blogging about weight loss goals for 2009. If you have some pounds to shed, let me know and we can cheer one another along.

Vegetable Strata

8 Servings

7 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes
2 tsp olive (or your favorite) oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 slices Canadian bacon, diced
20 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry in a dish towel
10 oz frozen butternut squash, thawed
8 eggs
¾ cup skim milk
½ tsp each, salt and pepper
Your favorite shredded cheese to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat oil in skillet and sauté onion until it is soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and bacon, and cook until onions start to brown, 3-4 more minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Place spinach, squash, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add onion mixture and whisk again. Pour in the bread. You may need a spoon to combine this time.

Pour the entire mixture into a 9 x 13 pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit.

*Notes: I could not find frozen squash. I bought a whole butternut squash in the produce section. I microwaved it for 10 minutes to soften, then cut it in half lengthwise. I scooped out the flesh of one half to use in the dish, then scooped the rest into a bowl and froze it for later.

Also, the original recipe called for 4 eggs and 6 egg whites. I could not justify tossing out 6 egg yolks. Using 8 eggs allows for one egg per serving, which is a great way to get in good nutrients.

**Everyone really liked this. I like spinach, but I didn’t know if anyone else would go for it. They didn’t even try to top it with sour cream or ranch dressing, like they do many other vegetable dishes. It was so yummy and filling. I served it with a small plate of pear slices and peeled Clementines. This would make a great dish for brunch on New Year’s Day or on the weekend.



Monday, December 22, 2008

Trail Mix Recipe

If you need a last minute gift, or something to top off your gift bags, trail mix is quick and easy, and most people really love it. There are also numerous combinations you can use. Try this one.

(I do not measure. I do use store brands for as many ingredients as possible.)

Cheerios -- plain, honey-nut, yogurt, or a bit of each
Chex cereal -- any flavor or flavors
M & Ms -- your favorite flavor
Nuts -- any combination (I use plain peanuts) *If anyone is allergic or cannot eat peanuts, remember to leave these out.
Pretzels -- plain, chocolate-covered, whatever -- I like to crunch these up into smaller pieces.

*Other options: coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit... other snacks you enjoy

Fill quart-sized ziplocks and share with family and friends.

Have a wonderful weeks, friends! I am off to start baking banana bread and zucchini bread to share with loved ones. That's the last chore. Rock candy is made, trail mix is made, and all is ready to share. I am so very blessed.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Rock Candy Recipe

For most of my adult life, I have made most of the Christmas gifts I give. I am positively lousy at deciding what to buy for people, but I make a mean cookie and banana bread, so I go with my strengths. I admit that I have made some pretty goofy gifts over the years, but one that I know is appreciated is the rock candy I make for my dad. I know he loves it, and it pleases me immensely when I get that email saying his container is empty and I need to make more. It also makes me giggle the way he hides it from everyone and jokingly fusses at his wife if she dares ask for a piece.

I'm sharing my recipe here. The candy takes a little work, and it is easier to buy the little bags of pre-wrapped cinnamons at your local grocery store, but I think this is good candy. I am making a big batch this afternoon, so I will try to take pictures and add them to the post tonight. Enjoy!

Rock Candy

1 cup water
1 ¼ cups light corn syrup
3 ¾ cups granulated sugar
liquid food coloring (any color, as much as you wish)
1 tsp cinnamon oil or candy flavoring*
1/3 cup (more or less, as desired)

You need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

*I have not been able to find cinnamon oil at Walmart or Kroger lately, and since I am not willing to go shopping all over town, I have been using cinnamon extract. I use 1 tbsp of extract in place of 1 tsp of oil. Sometimes I add more since my dad likes the candy strong.

In a heavy saucepan, combine water, granulated sugar, corn syrup, and food coloring. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar crystals. (Do not lift the lid or stir.)

Uncover and attach candy thermometer to pot. Make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pot. Cook on medium-high heat without stirring until the hard crack stage. While the candy is cooking, line a cookie sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray. This is what you will pour the liquid candy into. Remove candy from heat. Stir in oil or flavoring.

*If you are using cinnamon oil or extract, I highly recommend adding the oil outside. It produces a powerful smoke that will sting your eyes and nostrils if you are not careful. It only takes a moment or two to settle back down so you can bring it inside. The other flavors do not seem to be as strong.

Quickly pour the candy onto the cookie sheet, being extremely careful. I try to have someone else available to help scrape the pot. This stuff gets sticky really fast.

When the candy has hardened, cover it with foil and break into small pieces. I use a meat mallet or a hammer. You may come up with an easier method. I suppose it would be simpler to use candy molds, but I have never tried them.

Place the candy in a ziplock bag and add the confectioner’s sugar. Seal the bag. Put this bag into another bag and seal it. Then, toss the candy and sugar until the sugar is distributed throughout and all the candy has a light coating.

Store in airtight containers. Give to someone special or hide away and keep for yourself.


Edited to add: In the midst of making candy, I had to leave to take Abel to the evening clinic, where he tested positive for strep throat. I looked at the doctor and said, "I have four more children. I'll see you tomorrow." Thus, I have no exciting candy-making pictures to share. Maybe next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Tiffany posted a writing prompt on her blog. She challenged readers to write a haiku about shiny things. My initial thought was to write about my children's eyes, which sparkle and shine, but I strayed a bit from the shiny part. Here are my pitiful little attempts.

Their eyes shine with pride
A goal they worked hard to reach
Blue belts for my boys

Tears are real this time
She pleads with Mommy to stay
It’s scary in the dark

She lights up a room
And finds true joy in learning
Growing up so fast

Full of energy
With my grandma’s eyes… and strength
Innocence and joy

They keep me awake
Make me laugh and cry, and
Teach me about love

Now it's your turn!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Meme

I copied this Christmas meme from Angie , who copied it from another blog. I chose only what I wanted to answer since it was a bit long. I think the questions are fun!

1. When do you put up the Christmas tree? As soon as possible after Thanksgiving.

2. Real or Fake? Fake. Small enough to sit on a table (app. 3’). Charlie Brown would approve.

3. Lights? What color? Multi-colored, mini, not blinking.

4. Theme or No theme? No theme. Just small ornaments the children hang on the tree. Only the top half are left because Hope pulled them off every time I turned my back and I got tired of fighting that battle.

5. What’s under the tree? Gifts for the children.

6. Where do you hang your stockings? All seven hang above the dining room window. I love that you can see their silhouettes from outside.

7. Do you put lights on your house? No, but I put a string of lights along the fence and some on the steps railing. They looked pretty in the snow yesterday.

8. Got any outside lawn decorations? No.

9. Do you put up a nativity? No.

10. Do you hang mistletoe under the door? Yes, under the door between the living room and dining room. Sometimes I stand under it and clear my throat until Mark notices. :-)

11. Got a wreath on your front door? Yes.

12. Favorite Children’s Christmas TV show/cartoon? I like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I’ve always felt like I belong on the Island of Misfit Toys. I thought I enjoyed the Peanuts cartoons, but I’ve been watching some of them with my children lately, and I had forgotten how much yelling, insulting, and name-calling they have. I guess my ears were not as sensitive when I was a child (how sad). My children did not really enjoy watching.

13. Have you ever seen the Nutcracker Suite Ballet live? Yes, twice, and I enjoyed it.

14. Ever been to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show? No, but I think it would be fun.

15. Ever gone to the movies on Christmas Day? No, but my brother often goes.

16. Did you know it’s the biggest day of the box-office? I knew a lot of people go that day. I did not know it was the biggest day.

17. Favorite Christmas book or story? The Gift of the Magi, The Legend of the Candy Cane . There are probably others that just aren’t coming to mind right now.

18. Do you stuff your stockings with any types of food? I stuff the children’s stockings with edible goodies and small toys. Hope and Elizabeth get coloring books this year. I’m not telling what the older children get because they sometimes read the blog.

19. Do you go to church on Christmas or Christmas Eve? No. I grew up in a small town and my church did not have Christmas services. The church we attend now does have a Christmas Eve service, which I would attend, but we will be at grandparents’ houses.

20. Have you ever gone Caroling? Yes, and when my children are a little older, I would like to do so again. It’s so much fun! (I hope I get to do all those things I keep putting off until I no longer have anyone in the house who wears diapers.)

21. Favorite Christmas Carol? I love Christmas music. We sometimes play it in July. I love it. One song that stirs my emotions every time is Mary, Did You Know. No one sings it better than my friend Dock, not Kathy Mattea, not Natalie Cole. He sings it with such heart and passion. He is a godly man with a strong, beautiful voice, and I always think of him and his wife this time of year. I really miss seeing them. (Don’t yell at me, Bonnie! I know she really knew, but it had to be hard to comprehend at the same time. It’s still a beautiful song.)

22. What’s your favorite Christmas cookie? All cookies are my favorite. I especially love monster cookies, which my friend Sheryl introduced me to many years/pounds ago. I’ll post the recipe some day.

23. Any “special” foods or candy that you only have at Christmas time? I can’t think of any. I can say that we always have banana pudding at holidays, except for the time my brother was away in the Navy. For some reason all the cooks decided we could not have his favorite dessert when he was not there. My cousin and I revolted and the pudding returned.

24. What do you eat on Christmas EVE? Dinner at my dad’s house: ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, rolls, desserts, lots of other yummy stuff...

25. What do you eat on Christmas day? Dinner at my mom’s house: ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn bread, rolls, desserts, lots of other yummy stuff...

26. Do you like Eggnog? No, but Mark and the children really do.

27. Do you like candy canes? I don’t love them. I don’t love candy. I love cookies and cakes, unfortunately. I like giving candy canes to the children, though. They all enjoy them. They sometimes use them to stir hot chocolate.

28. Do you send Christmas cards (handmade or bought)? Yes (bought), but mostly to family and friends I do not see often. I include a picture of the children. This year, I included the address for my blog!

29. Do you make a “list”? Yes. Each child gets a gift you want, a gift you need, a gift to wear, and a gift to read. Extended family members receive baked goods. My dad gets homemade cinnamon rock candy. It gives me much joy to give him something I know he enjoys.

30. Do you shop on Black Friday? No!

31. ARE YOU READY FOR CHRISTMAS? For the most part. Shopping is finished, but there is baking to be done.

May your holidays be filled with joy, regardless of how you celebrate!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Words of Wisdom for Wives

When I married Mark, the women in his church hosted a shower/welcome party for me. The hostess asked each woman to write her favorite recipes, as well as some words of wisdom for marriage, on recipe cards. They were presented to me as a gift. I still keep the cards in my recipe box, so I see them often. I want to share some of the things those wives wrote. I think it was pretty good advice!

* Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more. It is a key ingredient to a successful marriage.

* Read "The Excellent Wife," by Martha Peace.

* Strive to be a Proverbs 31 wife. Love your husband and do loving things for him, even when you do not feel like doing so. The tone/mood of the wife/mother sets the tone/mood for the entire house.

* Seek help, guidance, and counsel from other godly women. Do not think you have to do it all or figure everything out yourself.

* Be an encourager to your husband! Isaiah 50:4 -- "The sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."

* Proverbs 15:1 -- "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." These words are so important in a family. They promote peace between husband and wife, parent and child. They stave off many an argument. They open the heart and ears of the other person to hear you speak instead of making him more defensive. These words are hard to follow in the heat of an argument or when you are sure you are correct, or when a child is very irritating or extra disobedient, or when relatives force their two cents of advice on you, or when friends rebuke and correct an action or attitude. These words are well worth keeping at the front of your mind -- a soft answer.

It is easy in the busyness of day to day living to forget these and other important truths that protect our marriages and families. It is important to be reminded of them, however. Even after 4 1/2 years, I still feel so new at being a wife and mother. I still feel like I am trying to figure it all out, and just keeping everyone fed and clothed is sometimes a challenge, much less tending to spiritual needs and trying to be a role model. I fail daily, but I keep trying, and I keep asking for God's grace and mercy.

I also try to keep in mind that Proverbs 21 says it is better for a man to dwell in the corner of the rooftop than to share his home with a contentious woman. When I am tempted to nag (or after I have nagged!) about dirty clothes that don't make it to the laundry basket, or water left on the sink after teeth are brushed, or other matters of equal importance, I try to ask if I am driving my husband to the rooftop. Yes, I want him to do his part in keeping the house picked up, but I need to honor him as well. It is a delicate balance, one I am still trying to acquire. Again, I keep asking for grace and mercy. I am not an excellent wife or mother, but I long to be.

Perhaps you have other words of wisdom to share regarding marriage or family. I would certainly love to hear them.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Life Gives You Lasagna, Make Soup

Elizabeth: (While playing with her Play-Doh factory) Look at the soup I made!

Robert: Elizabeth, that's lasagna. See, it's flat like lasagna noodles.

Elizabeth: Ya...Ya (having trouble saying the word)... I'll just call it soup.


Here are some pictures of her 4:30 this morning. So much for getting up early to have quiet time to myself. She looked so sweet, though, feeding "nutritious foods" to her Hippo.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do you wear crocs?

I have typed this post several times, but before I can publish it, life interferes. Hope wakes up early, or Elizabeth bumps her head and needs me to hold her (which is better than when she tells me she hurt her bottom and needs me to kiss it...), or Robert and Abel turn into the Pick and Nag brothers and get into a disagreement in which the word butt is used several times. (Please do not get the wrong idea. They are fabulous boys.)

Oh wait. Here are the girls. It seems Dora went off before I could finish typing. Now I must go put my daughters to bed. Priorities and all that. Let's see if I can get back before the session times out.


One daughter down. One refusing to close her eyes. But here I go again.

If you wear crocs, you can have them recycled. They are ground up, formed into new shoes, and donated to organizations that work in third world countries. Neat, huh? Someone posted the site on the message board for our homeschool group, and I wanted to share it here. To learn more about the program, go to SolesUnited . To learn where you can donate your used shoes, click here .

Now, it's trivia time.

Who kept time with the Little Drummer Boy? The ox and the lamb.

What do most elves wear on the tips of their shoes? Bells.

Who do we pretend the snowman is in the song "Winter Wonderland"? Parson Brown

... I hear the patter of little feet. She is still not asleep. She is asking for cookies. (No way!) I suspect it will be a long night.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wise Decisions

Today's news provides me with another wise-decisions lesson for my children. This is not a happy story. You can read it here. A 25-year-old woman from Brooklyn has been missing since Wednesday morning, when she left a bar with a registered sex offender.

Now, how many things are wrong with that picture? Hmmm... let's see. I would say you do not need to be in a bar, especially at 4:00 in the morning. Tell me what good can come of that. (Go ahead and yell at me for saying you need not frequent bars. I will not be swayed. I am certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that one can lead an exciting, fulfilling life without spending your evenings in night clubs.) Next, she left the bar with a man I am assuming she did not know. If she did know him, did she know about his criminal record? Just what does one think a man has in mind when he leaves a bar with a woman in the wee hours of the night? He is not interested in hearing about the books she reads or about her dreams of becoming an actress. He does not know a famous producer that he can hook her up with. If he promises any of those things and is sincere, then he can contact her via email or the telephone -- tomorrow -- when it is light outside.

At 25, a woman should know better, but a charming man can be incredibly persuasive. Even strong, intelligent, mature women who have been taught to say no, who know the dangers, can get caught up in the thrill of being at the center of a handsome man's attention. Believe me, silly, giggly, immature teenagers are not the only females whose emotions can get the best of them. A smooth talking man can talk a woman into making very unwise choices, especially if she has alcohol in her system, especially if she is lonely, especially in an environment like a nightclub. (Want to yell at me again? I am not belittling females. I am being honest. We are emotional creatures. Yes, some women are stronger than others. Yes, some can resist or see through a slick proposal, but do you want to take that chance when it comes to your daughter?) I do not mean to say that tragedies like this are the fault of the victim. I am saying that we cannot control the actions of others, so we need to protect ourselves and try to stay out of harm's way.

So how does one avoid pitfalls like this? The answer is easy. You do not go to bars alone. You do not go places with men you do not know. You need to be home during the wee hours of the night! You say there are no other ways for a woman to look for a potential mate? Sure there are -- and believe it or not, nice men go out during daylight hours, too. You say a girl has a right to unwind and have a good time? Sure she does, but there are plenty of safer ways to unwind, make friends, and enjoy yourself.

Am I a prude? You better believe it. Do I want to do everything I can to protect my children and prepare them for adulthood? Absolutely. Do I want to keep them from ever having fun? Of course not! But I want them to learn to find pleasure in the simple things in life, to dream big and pursue their dreams, and to do so wisely. There are enough dangers in day to day living, and we need not go looking for trouble.

My heart breaks for this poor woman and for her loved ones who just want her to come home. I do not know if she is dead or alive, but if she is missing, can it be for a good reason? I doubt it. This is a senseless tragedy. It could have been prevented.

Teach your children to make wise decisions, do all you can to protect them, and pray that they will remember what they have been taught.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pictures, Ornament Recipe, and Fun Facts

I usually have family pictures made this time of year, but with the busyness of our world lately, I have not had time to schedule an appointment. I really wanted to have pics to send with Christmas cards, though, especially for loved ones we do not see often. I decided to use the digital camera and take photos myself. They won't look like the professional ones, but I thought they would be nice.

I worked hard to get this done right, mind you. I dressed the children in red and white. I took lots of practice shots until I found just the right spot (making sure the Christmas tree was not fully in view since Hope pulls all of the ornaments off the bottom half when my back is turned and I got tired of putting them back on). I was ready. The problem was that my darling two-year-old did not want to sit in her sister's lap for pictures. She was not hungry. She was not sleepy. She just did not want to cooperate.

Pictures really are a big deal to me. I really wanted this to work. I did all I could think of to get her to smile long enough to snap one good shot. I bribed her with a lollipop. I did funny dances. I squeaked a duck and jingled some bells. Nothing was working. Then my older children had an idea. I turned a Dora DVD on and sat with the computer in my lap. It worked. We will have Christmas pictures after all. I thought I would share some of the shots that will not be mailed with the cards. Of course, maybe these are the ones I should send. I am certain we would get some laughs!

We had fun decorating for the holidays this week. I don't do anything fancy, but I do enjoy having a few lights along the fence and here and there inside the house. The lights give me joy. I especially enjoy turning them on early in the morning, when I am the only one awake. It's so peaceful and happy. Last year, I was reluctant to take my lights down, so I made heart shaped ornaments, painted them red, and hung them on the set of lights and garland hanging around my back door. I kept that set up until Valentine's Day. I considered making shamrocks and hanging on for another month, but I gave in and packed them away.

There are several ornament recipes online and in my numerous cookbooks, and I do not remember which one I used. (I know it was a really simple one!) Here is one I found that allows you to do the baking in the microwave. I think I'll try that this year!


4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. salt
1 1/2 c. water
Tempera or acrylic paint
String or ribbon
Clear acrylic or varnish

Do not eat the ornament!

Mix all ingredients in large bowl with your hands. Roll into a smooth ball. Roll dough 1/4" thick with rolling pin on waxed paper. If sticky, sprinkle more flour on wax paper. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or table knife. Use a pencil to make a hole for a string to go through. Bake 4 to 5 minutes in microwave on high. Do one at a time. The time needed and the size/thickness can be changed for different projects. When cooled they can be painted with tempera/acrylic paint. Then sprayed with clear acrylic paint (or varnish) to seal out moisture.

Store in cool, dry place when not being used.

Lots o' fun!

Of course, I cannot end this post without a few important facts about Christmas.

What are the two most popular Christmas colors after red and green?

Silver and Gold.

Hanging a wreath on the front door comes from which ancient culture?

The Romans (or maybe the Persians, depending on what sources you check)

One more...What is the biggest selling Christmas single of all time?

"White Christmas"

A fun site for lots of things Christmas



Does it make anyone else the least bit uncomfortable that the people who are leading our nation during an economic recession are not so great at managing their campaign money? Why would we expect them to be stern with banks and automakers who come asking for bailout money when they spend more than they have to get elected?

I am not in favor of more government control on spending, but I would certainly be more impressed by leaders who spend carefully, and who do not spend money they don't have. They might be a little more inclined to work on the national budget in the same manner.

Just a thought...

Democrats in Debt

Clinton's Fundraising

(In the interest of fairness, when I find stories about Republicans in financial trouble, I will share those, too.) My goal is not to embarrass those who spend unwisely, as I certainly am constantly working on that myself, but to bring attention to the practices of those who have been elected to lead our country. I am neither a politician nor a financial advisor, but stories like this frighten me as a mom.


Friday, December 5, 2008

O.J. Simpson

Woo. Hoo.

Small comfort to the Brown and Goldman families, but perhaps a small taste of justice nonetheless.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mom Videos

Where did this week go??? I have intended to post several times, but bedtime comes before I get to the computer or Hope wakes up early in the morning and wants to help me type. I have several things I want to share, but while I work on getting them written, enjoy the following videos. One was sent by my fun friend Deb. It reminded me of the Mom Song, which you have probably seen but is still really funny. Enjoy, and I hope to be back with more posts soon.


(I could not get the videos to load directly on the page, so I am pasting in the links. Sorry.)

Go Fish Mom Song

The Mom Song

PS -- Name the two states in the USA with a town called North Pole.

Alaska and New York.

(I love the holidays!)