Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Stuff

I thought it would be fun to share with you a few internet links I either used or discovered recently.

First up:
10 Paper Airplanes
When your kiddo runs in and says, "The big boys are outside flying a paper airplane!  Will you make me one, too!??".... if you are as aviationally challenged as me, you might find the above site helpful.  Or even if you aren't in a 'keep-up-with-the-big-boys panic', you and yours still might have fun seeing what all you can make, and what flies the best for you!

And then...
Print maps of just about any continent, country or state you want: small enough to fit on a single sheet of paper, or big enough to stretch almost 7 feet across!!  
We will definitely be using this in the future.  And the website has tons of other fun stuff I haven't taken the time to explore yet.  :)

And in the kitchen...
Make your own
Cesar Salad Dressing
Yum!  I have used this recipe a couple of times lately.  Very easy, and very good!  I noticed our fam ate more salad last night than we usually do.  It was either because we were totally diggin' the dressing, or because the spicy buffalo chicken pizza was really getting to us.   ;)

Or if Cesar isn't your thing, try a
Vinaigrette or your own French Dressing.  
We have enjoyed both of those recently as well.

So... go fly a plane, chart it on your megamap and celebrate with a salad!  Or something like that.  ;)
At least come back and tell me if you do!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Garden Club Friday

Time to check on how the little garden is coming along!

The tomato plants continue to grow, and are getting their new, more tomato-looking leaves.  I lost four plants to my "little helper".... he picked them right out when I wasn't watching.  In his defense, I hadn't warned him not to, and he certainly hasn't touched them since!  :)

Anyway, I don't know if you can tell in the picture or not, but the three little babies on the front right are the re-plants of the ones that had a premature uprooting.  The fourth is just appearing on the second row, far left.
And even though I am a little behind for our area, I am happy to finally see my lettuce!
The lettuce was really a fun afterthought, so I don't care nearly as much about it as I do the....

CORN!!  It is up!!!
I can count about half of what I planted, and I'm sure the other half is not far behind.

But get this:  we have big thunderstorms predicted to come through this afternoon and tonight..... including hail!  I'm afraid my poor little corn plants are going to get pelted!  It makes me kind of glad for the half still hiding out safely beneath the dirt!

You can go
here to visit other Garden Club posts for this week.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Talkin' Tortillas

Flour tortillas have been a staple in this household since it came into being just over 8 years ago.

In the last couple of months I have experimented with making my own, and successful tortillas turned out to be trickier than I thought! But after a few attempts using
this recipe, I had them just about perfect.

It is really quick and easy to do, and we learned there is nothing like a hot-off-the-griddle tortilla!

So don't ask me why I bought a package of flour tortillas at the grocery store last week. I really don't know. My best guess is old habits die hard and I was feeling lazy that day.

But then this weekend, really mixing things up, I bought a package of 100 (yes, that is ONE HUNDRED) corn tortillas on clearance at the bread store for 50 cents. (Yes, that is 50 CENTS.)

And now I am in love.

Something about them is so authentic and old-fashioned and earthy and very satisfying.

Even though these were on clearance, they are still incredibly soft and fresh. (Minus the ones I double-wrapped and stuck in the freezer for later).

They changed my crock pot enchiladas into a completely different dish, and my newest favorite snack is a corn tortilla folded over a few slices of cheddar cheese.

I never knew I could be so excited over tortillas.

So what flavor do you prefer at your house? Corn or flour? Do you make your own? Do you even use tortillas?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mud, mud, glorious mud!

What do you get after a whole day of rain?  Mud, of course!

What do you get when you release 4 little kids (my 2 plus 2 from next door) into the great outdoors when the sun comes out after a day of rain? 

Lots of running, laughing, and LOTS of mud-puddle stomping!

What do you get after 4 little kids laugh and run and go mud-puddle stomping (and throwing and slinging and mud-pie making)?

I don't know about the neighbors, but 2 very muddy little buffaloes came home to me.
I present to you, Exhibit 1A, the littlest one:
You may note the muddy hem of the pants, and the stray bits of mud on his arms and right eyebrow.

For a closeup, Exhibit 1B:

Now, one might think that the 2 year old would be the dirtiest.  Oh, no.

Especially not when the rest of the crowd involved 5 & 7 year old siblings.  Two five year olds and a 7 year old (TWO of which were boys) can invent some very muddy games in a very short time-span.  Leaving them with mud evvvverywhere.

I present Exhibit 2A, the big one:
You can see much more mud-coverage throughout the entire mid-section.

And what about the face?
Let's take a look at Exhibit 2B:

Clearly, the older you are, the muddier you get.

P.S. - 2 pair of shoes came into the house at over twice their normal weight, and despite spending the morning toasting in front of the bathroom heater, all 4 shoes are still soaking wet.  Clearly, we have a problem.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This n' that Tuesday

It's raining again. It seems like we just had rain not that long ago, but I guess it is spring, and we do need it. If only my corn would come up.
Dale and I are Five-In-a-Rowing Mrs. Katz & Tush this week. I hadn't ever read that book before, but I am loving the great variety of things in it to learn... immigration, Jewish observances (like Passover), cats & kittens, and other stuff. If you aren't familiar with it, Mrs. Katz is originally from Poland, and Tush is her kitten. And yes, that is "Tush" as in "rear end". What a name for a cat!
Greg and I discussed a couple of synonyms for it, and although they weren't profane or anything, I'll still not mention them here. You can come up with some on your own, I'm sure.
We are having sharing issues at our house. It seems like EVERYTHING little brother does, big brother absolutely has to do too. In fact, it is more than "it seems".... it is more like "I know". Just a minute ago Dale told me, "I like everything Alan likes except I like it best."
It is almost pitiful to watch sometimes, bless his little 5 year old heart.
We are heavy on the ground beef at our house this week: crock pot enchiladas on Sunday, Sloppy Joes on Monday, crock pot meatloaf tonight, and beef and bean burritos Thursday. Goodness. I'm not a big fan of ground beef as it is, so I expect to be burnt out by week's end. I usually like more variety in our menu. Not sure how the beef extravaganza happened.
Are you ground beef eaters? What are some of your favorite ground beef dishes?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Booty? Bounty? Beauty? Books!

This post is for the homeschoolers, the children's book lovers, and any of you who appreciate a bargain.

Dale and I got up early this morning and joined my mom and dad on a Garage-Sale expedition.

I was looking for three things, in particular (along with anything else that might catch my fancy for a bargain): Bunk beds, a Bicycle, and Books.

The bunk beds and bike were a no-go, but boy oh boy did we find the books!

I bought over 30 books today, most of them for 25 cents (and a few for 50 cents).  

And now...

I present..... Our Books!

These are all hard-back, and each in excellent condition.  The only one more than 25 cents was the Dick and Jane collection... it was a wallet-breaker at a whole 50 cents.

These are all paper-back, with several Caldecott and Caldecott honor books in the mix.  From left to right:
Stellaluna; Inch by Inch; Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type; Caps for Sale; If You Take a Mouse to School; Life in the Pond; The Talking Eggs; Sylvester and the Magic Pebble; Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

And finally, all the rest.  Not all of these were significant titles... a few of them are, and a few of them are books that are cool or appealing to us for one reason or another.  They include 3 Beatrix Potter pop-ups, a Magic Tree House book for school this fall (ancient Egypt), several insect books, an awesome see-through reptile book, and a few new board books for Alan, among other things.

What fun we had today!  We have already been reading several of our new books - some of them favorites we've had from the library many times, some of them new-to-my-boys that I'm sure will be favorites soon!

Do you recognize any of your favorite titles here?

Friday, March 20, 2009

We saw God's goodness today!

Alternate title: Spring Break Goes Out With a Bang

Or: A Whole New Meaning to Spring "Break"

Just before lunchtime, and the boys and I were all sitting around the table.  Dale was writing in a workbook, and Alan and I were there keeping him company.  We would all look up every now and then, watching Daddy mow the grass in the back yard.

This is how we were sitting:

And then this happened:

We are all fine.

It was a stray golf ball, hidden in a patch of thick clover, and thrown by the lawnmower.  The screen was not damaged one bit, and, thankfully, it kept the golf ball out.  That ball would have been like a missile!  ...and could have seriously hurt any one of us.  The loud pop and shower of glass was traumatic enough.

We are all feeling thankful and have given God a lot of thanks for what "might have been" and wasn't!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Yes, this post is a day late, but I just didn't get to it before bedtime last night.  Even if it is 'old news', it's in my head, so here it is!  :)

We started our St. Patrick's day celebration at bedtime Monday night by reading a little about St. Patrick so we'd know what we were celebrating.  I learned some interesting new things!  

Then the boys went to bed wearing green pj's so they'd wake up wearing green.  :)

Of course, no proper St. Patrick's Day celebration is complete without a green breakfast, so I made green shamrock pancakes.  :) 

The afternoon turned out to be good for kite flying, so our new kite took its maiden voyage.  :)

I love this picture!
After supper we went to see our friends whose new baby arrived just 5 days ago!  Alan wanted to help.  :)
If you want the 'baby' of your family to look big, just put them next to a newborn.  Alan went from baby to kid in an instant!

Sorry I don't have a better picture of the star of the hour, the actual
baby - after enjoying Alan 'helping' so much and taking a couple of pics of that, I didn't want to keep putting the flash in poor baby's eyes!  :)

And at this moment my boys are out trying the kite again... I think I'll go join them!  Do you ever go kite flying this time of year?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tractors, chocolate, and long-awaited sunshine

Yay!  We finally had sunshine today, after 6 days of clouds!  Good timing, too, since it was the first day of Greg's spring break.

He stayed awfully busy today taking care of all those odds and ends that just can't seem to get done on the weekends, and the boys stuck by his side for most of it.  

This would be a good place to put in a picture, but I guess I didn't think of that today!

We are also doing odds and ends in school this week, taking it light since Daddy is home.  I plan on assembling a quick lapbook with Dale on the solar system to show all he learned from the many books we've read over it the past couple of weeks.

Throw in a few St. Patrick's day and spring activities, and that will be our school for the week!

We went to see my grandparents this weekend, and the boys got to sit on the tractor.  This should have been a real treat, since tractors are one of Alan's most favoritest things in the whole world, but for some reason he was scared!

I am loving all his talking lately - he can really tell us things! 

This particular afternoon he communicated very clearly that he wanted to go "back" in the "house"!
Hmmmm... now that I think about it, maybe it wasn't fear of the tractor after all.... maybe it was the fact that Grandmama and the chocolate bowl were in the "house"!  :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My sweet boy

Dale: Why is there grass?

Mama: To keep the dirt from washing away when it rains.

Dale: Oh.  And to look pretty?

Mama: Yeah.

Dale: There are two reasons there are flowers.

Mama: Oh really?

Dale: Yes, one reason is to look pretty, and the other is so little boys can pick them and give them to their mamas.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

How does your garden grow?

Even though I have only had a garden once or twice in my married life, having a vegetable garden goes way back in my family.

My Dad grew one just about every year when I was growing up. His mother and grandmother always had big prolific gardens. And then on my mom's side, my PawPaw (her Dad) keeps up 2 gardens each year. And both of my great-grandmothers on that side were big gardeners as well.

Didn't mean to get off on my gardening genealogy there. Just wanted to say: growing a garden runs in the family.

It's been a few years since we've had one at our house, but plans are coming right along this year and I'm so excited! It is even better this year than before, because I feel like Greg is (almost) as into it as I am, so it's OUR garden, not just mine. :)

He has definitely been putting some muscle into this year. I posted
here about him doing the beginning dirt work on his birthday last month.

Then a couple of weeks ago he borrowed PawPaw's tiller (and a few lessons to go with it) and got all our dirt nice and soft and into rows.

My job has been all the planning and purchasing.

Whether it's good or bad I'm not sure, but tend to be #1 - very sentimental, and #2 easily influenced. So, when I read a book this winter about the big bad farmers and companies having a monopoly on the seed market with their genetically engineered, blahblahblahblahblah, I instantly loved this company:

Seed Savers Exchange

From their catalog: "Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to conserving and promoting heirloom vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers."

I just thought that was too cool and was hooked. It was so much fun poring over the catalog and reading the descriptions of all the different vegetables!

From them I ordered seed packets of zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, bell pepper, eggplant, corn, and 3 varieties of tomatoes.

Last Saturday I started the tomatoes, peppers & eggplant in the little Jiffy peat starter kit. I also threw in a couple of basil seeds since I already had them. We'll see how that goes.

Here is how things are looking one week later:
This past Monday I put out some lettuce seed that I already had, plus the corn. And then Tuesday, it rained. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday.

So.... not sure what is going to come of my corn and lettuce. Especially the lettuce! I'm afraid it is all washed away! But starting Monday we're supposed to have sunny highs in the 70s. I'm hoping things will start popping right up.

I know my little indoor seedlings could sure use some sun. The little things are starting to look kind of pitiful!

To check on other gardeners or to post your own Garden Club report, go visit the
Peterson Clan!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Number 400

This post marks the 400th one I have published to my blog.  I can't believe it!

As I have gotten closer to this number I tried to think of some way to celebrate.  I couldn't think of anything good to giveaway.  $400 would be cool, but even if I had $400 laying around, giving it away wouldn't be my first choice of what to do with it.  Or my 3rd, 8th, or 11th choice, either.  Sorry.

Someone suggested $4.  A penny for every blog thought.  I thought that was fun and clever.
But I was too afraid no one would sign up for $4!  How embarrassing that would be!

So then I remembered all those folks who have done "100 Things About Me" posts.  What if.... what if I did 100 things about each of us!  That would be 400 Things for my 400th Post.  How FUN!

But I don't think I could come up with 100 things about ME, let alone all 4 of us.

But I might could do 10 things about each of us... yeah... that'd be fun.

So I started thinking.

And even that was more challenging than I thought.

So my 400th post celebration has shrunk and shrunk, and so now I give you this:

10 Things You Might or Might Not Know About Us

1.  Greg learned to fly airplanes in college.

2.  Dale reads faster than I do (and comprehends what he reads!).

3.  Alan was briefly bilingual: when he first started talking he only said "agua" for water.  We don't know how this happened.

4.  When Dale was 2 he knew over 50 "baby signs!"  (And only spoke a few words.)

5.  We like to watch Nascar.  Y'all.

6.  We have had 8 different vehicles since we got married 8 years ago.

7.  I didn't like Greg the first time I saw him.

8.  We once took a cat camping.  In a tent.  Before we had kids, obviously.

9.  Greg was the 8th grade spelling bee champ for his county.

10. On our honeymoon, Greg and I went out shopping one day: we went to a Dollar General and bought vitamin C, echinacea, and grape juice.  Neither of us was sick, and it was the middle of the summer.  We were just weird like that.

Whew!  There you have it.  10 random things about us.  Did you learn something you didn't already know?  For the remaining 390, skim through the archives, or just stay tuned.  I'm sure the next 400 posts will be full of more trivial bits from the Buffalo herd!  :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Busy hands

I've mentioned before about re-learning to sew the past few months.  

Pretty much since day one, Dale has wanted to help or sew too.  

Finally one day recently I gave in and set him up with a needle and thread, a scrap of fabric, and few big buttons.  A little instruction and he was on his way!

I love the soft fabric and tiny needle with Doc Hudson looking on:

And in case you question a boy (*gasp!*) sewing, (even after the Doc Hudson thing) think of these two points:

1 - the awesome fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination he was picking up

2 - the self-sufficiency and other benefits of a boy/man being able to fix his own button, if needed

He was so ("sew" - haha) proud of his work, and had a great time.  I will definitely have his little project handy the next time I am working on one of my own!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Easy Peasy Fun Snack

Snow-capped Sandwich Mountains :)
Spread one slice of bread with peanut butter. Honey or jelly is optional. For stability it is best to use the jelly minimally if you use it at all.

Top PB with another slice of bread.

Cut diagonally from opposite directions with a sharp knife, so you have 4 triangles.

Stand each triangle on its crust end (don't tell me you cut off the crusts?).

Tap some powdered (confectioner's) sugar over each triangle, using a strainer or sifter.

Serve up your Snowy Mountain Sandwiches!

Be thankful that kids are so easily amused. :)

Frugal Fridays - Save on Milk

I read this tip a while back and not only has it saved me money, it has helped when I have been out of fresh milk:

In baked goods and cooked things like mashed potatoes or macaroni & cheese, substitute reconstituted dry milk for the fresh stuff.

This can really stretch a gallon of fresh milk! It has also been good in our case since we buy our fresh milk whole, and the dry is fat free. That way the fat in the cooking has been reduced for those of us that need to watch that. :)

For more frugal tips visit Crystal at
Biblical Womanhood.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Is it? Could it be? .... Spring?

Here are some signs to look for to see if spring is arriving in your neighborhood:

1 - You and/or your children spend more time outside (in short sleeves no less!) doing things like digging in the dirt, or writing on the sidewalks:

2 - Your home decor begins to reflect Colors of the Season. Maybe you have these on your kitchen counter:

or these in the bathroom:

And finally,
3 - because of all that time outside spent chalking and digging and in other spring-like pursuits, you may find your children needing more of these:

What do YOU see when spring comes to your neighborhood?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sewing and Lemonade

I woke up thinking about sewing yesterday and have been wanting to get to it ever since!

So, I caught a few minutes while Alan was sleeping this afternoon and spent some time with my sewing machine.

After repairing a hole in Dale's pajamas, I followed
this handy tutorial, and made this grocery bag dispenser: Yay!

It turned out to be a lot bigger than I expected (even with me knowing from the get-go how big the fabric was), but that is ok... we go through a lot of plastic bags!

Speaking of looking on the bright side... my friend
Natalie recently gave me this award:
Thank you so much, Natalie! How kind!

Here is how this one works:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Nominate other blogs which show great attitude and or gratitude.
3. Link to the nominees.
4. Let them know by leaving them a comment.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your reward.

I nominate:


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheap. Easy. Comfort food.

So I mentioned us having colds. That is a good time for soup, right?

Yesterday I put a package of big ol' chicken breasts in the crock pot. Usually when I use the CP I have a plan, but not so yesterday, so I just salted & peppered them generously and added a cup or two of water. Since they were still partially frozen I set it to 'high' and let it go for the day.

Later on in the day I started thinking of lentils and rice, thanks to a
group of youtube videos my blog friend Heart of a Mommy linked to. They are of 90-something year old Clara who explains how to cook Depression-Era meals, along with her own memories of that time.

I LOVE those videos. LOVE them.

One of them is a "
poor-man's feast", which includes a lentil & rice dish (along with a small piece of meat and a salad).

So I had the lentils on my mind.

About an hour before eating time, I poured all the cooking juices from the crock-pot into a big pot on the stove, and added enough water to make .... 6-8 cups?

As it heated to boiling, I added in half a pound of lentils (rinsed) and about a cup of long grain white rice.

I cooked those together for half an hour or so, adding more hot water as needed.... just enough to keep them a little soupy.

As they began to get soft I added in a can of Italian-style diced tomatoes (undrained). It also needed more water at that point, so I microwaved my tomatoes and water in a measuring cup so they'd be hot when I poured them in.

Just before serving I deboned and cubed one of the chicken breasts from the crock pot. You could add more chicken if you wanted, but I guess I was in Depression mode and went light on the meat. :)

It was SO GOOD.

I think partly it was because it was so simple! Usually I like to add in lots of stuff, but this was really good and simple and cheap and easy and yum.
Well I didn't say it was pretty. But I can guarantee it tasted a lot better than it looked!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

In case you didn't know (or guess by my clever title - ha!) today was Dr. Seuss' birthday.

I wouldn't have known this if I had stuck to my original plan for today, which was to leave the computer off until after lunch.

But in a rare turn of events I was actually up before the boys this morning (they tend to be early risers)... anyway, I was awake early... probably had a lot to do with the fact that not breathing well = not sleeping well. I can thank this glorious head-cold for that.

Anyway... I was excited to discover the Seuss birthday thing. That is often the sort of thing I come up on after the fact.

I knew I didn't have long before the boys were awake, so I started gathering as much Seuss stuff from around the house that I could find. Dale did come in before I was done, but I had enough out on the table that it got his attention.

He asked what it was all for and I told him we were going to have Dr. Seuss Day!

He immediately started pulling out stuff I didn't know we even had, and this is what the two of us together came up with:

Alan jumped right in and did what I had been tempted to do from the get-go:

We then got busy reading Green Eggs and Ham and making our own batch. How lucky was I to have a bit of leftover ham in the freezer?

AND... how cool was it that we even had a big ol' box for the boys to eat in?
"Would you eat them in a box?"
The trains were Dale's touch. You know... "Could you, would you, on a train?"

The toast was my touch. Green eggs are hard to stomach by themselves, no?

We all read The Cat in the Hat before Alan's naptime this afternoon, and then Dale did a few printables, including a fun word search, from Later he played some of the online games there, too. The Fox in Sox word scramble was my favorite.
Couldn't have been better timing, since, feeling yucky and all, I had absolutely nothing up my sleeve or in my planner or anywhere else for school today. So thank you, Dr. Seuss, for being born on March 2.

Or something like that.