Our school PTO does a collection just before Winter Break for the teachers, and the parents send in money to be added to a gift card. Then each teacher’s card is filled up and given to them to use on school supplies that they would otherwise have to pay for. It’s an awesome idea that I fully support, but I wanted my kids to give their teacher a little something more. Thanks to pinterest, where I get pretty much every creative idea I ever have, I decided to help them write a book called What We Would Get You If We Had A Million Dollars.
The most precious thing to me is the responses inside so I’m going to share them here.
“I would like to give her the biggest car of all and she could drive it!” – Olivia
“I would buy her a fire engine!!” – Perrin
“A book that has horses in it.” – Olivia
“A lot of fire engines!” – Perrin
“I think I’ll get her a dollhouse and some dolls.” – Olivia
“Paper please!” – Perrin
“I want to give her a tv and wii remote like ours.” – Olivia
“A truck that throws gravel.” – Perrin
“A teensy weensie dinosaur and it should be red, my favorite color.” – Olivia
“Umm, a rabbit. Hop! Hop! Hop!” – Perrin
“A hinker tinker toy.” – Olivia
“Something that’s round like my wrench. My hammer would be better. Okay?” – Perrin
“A clock like mine and it should be a toy clock.” – Olivia
“A plate with a donut on it.” – Perrin
“A click clock mouse.” – Olivia
“A bike with a flashlight on it.” – Perrin
The only thing it cost me was a little bonding time with my kids, which I think I needed as much as them today, and some paper.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I spent the afternoon with my mom and had a wonderful time. She is really starting to feel a lot better after having her leg amputated and she is more like herself. It felt genuinely good to see my mom and not the cranky, sick lady that acts twenty years older than she is. I hope that continues.
Now that Black Friday is upon us, I come bearing a coupon code. Come on over to my etsy shop and use the code BFCM12 between now and midnight central time on Cyber Monday, and your order will be 50% off.
While you’re out shopping for hot deals, don’t forget about what really matters. Be sure to give your loved ones a hug and some kind words. All of the holiday gifts in the world aren’t more important than the love of those we care about.
Kid 3 turned 11 last weekend and she is a Harry Potter nut. I was going to do a candy themed party but I thought she would like Harry Potter instead. So last weekend, I spent a day online on pinterest and google, planning for her party. There were a lot of things that I didn’t get to do once the time came, but I think the party ended up being great anyway.
We invited the entire class but she forgot to get the invites out before this Monday so we only had three guests. One was a boy and had to go home at eight but the two girls are upstairs with my kiddo now, having a nail polish and makeup fest.
Here is the doorway from my kitchen to my dining room. I wanted this to be in front of the back door but hubby didn’t do the bricks in the right direction and I wasn’t going to complain because hey, he drew bricks on a tablecloth for 45 minutes. He made the sign afterward and I think it came out cute! (Pardon the ipod picture. I didn’t think to get one with the camera.)
Here is the dessert table. We had Sorting hat cookies, Butterbeer cupcakes, a Harry Potter Hagrid cake, and ice cream sundae bar. If you aren’t familiar with the story, I spelled happy birthday wrong on purpose.
For drinks, we used regular cream soda and just made a sign calling it butterbeer. The jar has “potion punch” which is just green berry Hawaiian punch, gingerale, and raspberry sherbet. I poured the gingerale in last to get the fizz like this. I wanted to make up jars of colored water for extra decoration, to look like potions, but I didn’t have time.
I know I’m displaying these a bit backwards because we ate food before dessert, and we drank the drinks with our meal, but the next photo is of our pizza making station. The kids really seemed to like this. It fit well with the Harry Potter theme and it was cheap. I changed my mind on the foods I wanted several times but I’m glad I finally settled on this. We have plenty left over for omelets too! (SOS pads and fire extinguisher optional… oops.)
We didn’t have enough kids to do the sorting ceremony, so we skipped that. I didn’t get the pencils to make pencil wands. We did do two games, though. We did a balloon stomp, and we did a dragon egg hunt. The balloon stomp was loads of fun. I even played.
We made ice cream sundaes after this but I didn’t get any photos of that. The kids loved it. Then came the cake.
And presents… she really loves pickles.
Finally, we handed out the broom loot bags, which had assorted candy, a slinkie (because slinkies magically walk down the stairs), and a balloon. Then we took photos of the birthday girl with each guest and the group.
There was really nothing I missed out on doing that would have made it more fun for them. In the end, she doesn’t care if there’s streamers behind her gift table or a sign in the dining room indicating it’s the great hall, so I think it was a success. With the way she looks in that last picture, I think she agrees.
Also, that concludes birthday season. She’s the last one of the kids to have a birthday through the year. I am SO glad it’s over. Now onto the holidays!
I have started with the contests I mentioned in the last entry. The first one is on Facebook. Once we get to 200 “likes”, I will be giving away a homemade Christmas stocking. I’m hoping that will get some business going. Here is the link, if you’d like to join in.
There will be a blog contest here too, soon. My kids have finally learned to share and they’re giving each other the flu so time is limited but I’ll be making two items and the winner will be able to choose between them. Stay tuned!
First, a recipe. I can’t take credit for this one but I can promise you that it’s delicious. I made it for myself last week, then used the remainder of the salsa on a hamburger patty the following night because I got home late and missed dinner. I made it again on pork chops for the entire family a couple of nights later, just doubling the salsa recipe. I served it over rice both times I made pork chops and I thought it was amazing.
I haven’t been doing much cooking at night lately because I’ve been leaving it up to my oldest daughter. She mentioned in passing a couple of weeks back that she doesn’t know how to cook. My parenting philosophy has always been that I am training children to be adults, somewhat like a job trainer. I’m teaching them to live without me. It occurred to me that I failed miserably in this case, so I have been teaching her all of those recipes that I would want her to know if I suddenly passed away. I don’t expect that to happen for many years and I hope I’ll be there for her to call on when she has a question, but that’s how I’m going about it. She has a friend that is her age that has no clue how to even boil water because her mother does it for her. I’m sorry, but I think you’re doing your children a great disservice if, by sixteen, they can’t even cook basic foods. You’re not going to live forever. You don’t want your kids living with you forever (or I wouldn’t think you would, anyway). They need to know how to survive. This applies to boys and girls, by the way. Food is a basic need and fast food every night is bad for you. It’s nice to want to do things for your children but you have to let them go off on their own eventually.
Thankfully, my daughter could always boil water. Now she can also cook French toast, spaghetti with homemade sauce, pulled pork, mashed potatoes, and chicken pieces. We’re still working on the rest.
Since I have all of this free time (ha!) on my hands, I’ve been building up my etsy shop. I have enough inventory in there that I can go live and hopefully make a little money before Christmas. Another quilt will be going up some time today. I have a Black Friday sale in the works and I’ll announce that anywhere I can (including here) when I get that together. I also plan to do a giveaway soon to get the word out, and all customers will get a 10% off coupon for their next purchase when they receive their first order. There’s not much I can do other than that, except to watch and wait (and sew). So stop on by and if you find something you like, feel free to buy it. Even if you don’t, remember to support small businesses this holiday season.
I served this tonight at a birthday party for my daughter. Upon tasting it, one of my dearest friends announced “I saw Jesus.” This is a variation of the popular snickers salad. This is what happens when you live in a rural area and the store you drove 10 miles to get to doesn’t have the right flavor of pudding mix. Apparently it was meant to be, because it was a religious experience.
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk
2 tbsp vanilla
15 miniature snickers, diced
6 taffy apples with nuts, sticks removed, cored, and diced
1/2 c miniature marshmallows
In heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Slowly add in milk while whisking and turn stove on to medium heat. Whisk often until pudding thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You don’t want it to be really runny but it won’t get as thick as packaged pudding either. Cool for a few minutes so that the snickers bars don’t melt when they hit the sauce.
Place snickers, apples, and marshmallows in a large bowl and stir in pudding mixture. Chill at least two hours, covered.
This was part of a My Little Pony party. We also served fruit arranged in a rainbow (Strawberries, peaches, pineapple chunks, green grapes, blueberries, purple grapes), white cheese cubes to signify sugar cubes, carrots and dip, and hot dogs. Then of course there was cake and cupcakes. We had lemonade with orange slices floating in it and coffee to drink.
Following the pattern of inexpensive meals, I have another tasty recipe that costs very little to make. (Can you tell it’s a slim week here?)
This recipe is adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com and the original can be found here. Here is my version, which is flavorful and almost addicting. If you have rolls, or the time to make rolls, it makes a very filling meal.
3 tbsp oil
1 small onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
4 ounces frozen green beans
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cups beef stock (the original recipe calls for veggie stock and would make it vegetarian but this is what I have on hand)
4 chopped tomatoes, or 1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 cups white beans, cooked and drained, or 1 can, drained
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 c elbow macaroni
Saute the onion and carrot in oil over medium heat until onion is translucent and carrot begins to soften. Add zucchini, green beans, and celery. Continue to saute but be careful not to scorch the onions, for a total of about 10 minutes. Add stock, tomatoes, beans*, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, simmering 30 minutes or so. Add macaroni and cook, uncovered until tender.
*If you use canned beans, add them with the macaroni.
This makes a decent sized pot of soup and is very inexpensive to make. I made it last night and ate four bowls. I couldn’t stop.