Thursday, October 30, 2008

Need Christmas Ideas??

Yeah, I know...its not even Halloween yet, but it takes me forever to plan Christmas for the girls. Bob and I have really been struggling regarding their "big" gifts this year. Nothing has come to mind...except a trampoline. (and Beth NEEDS a new Bike - we are thinking that may wait till her Bday in March) Bob is trying his hardest to convince me that the girls need a trampoline. Yes, they truly would LOVE LOVE LOVE it, but I can't get past the fact that not only is it $350, but I'm 99.9% sure someone (probably Sarah) WILL get hurt....I'm trying to get past my fears and consider it, though, because they would be so excited! I'm also thinking a few more "doll" accessories for Sarah (like diapers, clothes, etc) might be good because she loves playing with her baby dolls, but we don't need any new dolls. I'm still undecided on dress-up clothes. I think our dress-up boxes are just about as full as they are gonna get!

And now I've found the COOLEST online toy website-
I also love, but it doesn't have as MANY cool things as the others do. So far, I'm in love with what I'm finding for both girls - Sarah & Beth!
Everything pictured is from . I got tired of cutting-n-pasting pictures after the hundreds of cool things on fatbrain! Hearthsong is more "mainstream" toys and I actually have a catalog and I've earmarked a lot of things in it for both girls, too!
How cool are these - they are Dado Blocks:

And these are Wedgits:

And this caught my eye for Beth- a bead/lacing/necklace/bracelet making kit:
And these two things are a new spin on "paint by number." I think they are both GREAT for lots of "independent play," as is the bead kit above:

And Beth LOVES the Crayola Color Wonder sets- this one looks like its a new kind!

I ALMOST bought her one of the magnetic mosaics last year...I still think its very cool and great for her BRAIN!! (geez...there's a thought!)
And this looks like something that Beth might like making...
I want things the girls will actually PLAY WITH this year. SO many of they toys they have are forgotten about 1 week after Christmas or never played with at all (hence the Dora make-up table that Beth HAD to have last now resides in Sarah's room because Beth NEVER ONCE played with the darn thing). She has requested the "wedding Barbie" on several occasions, but again..she doesn't really play with her Barbies. She is FAR MORE LIKELY to be coloring or playing with random household things! I'm sick to death of crappy toys that junk up their rooms and the entire house. I'm sure there will be a toys she just HAS TO HAVE, so I'll save a little room in the budget for that...depending on what it is. I feel like Santa needs to get her whatever is her "I HAVE to have it" item...I think that helps keep a little bit of the magic in Christmas!!
Oh, I can't wait for the "Holidays!" I love Thanksgiving and Christmas!!!! I'm so excited already...can I decorate on November 1st?? No?? Oh, okay...I'll wait a little bit longer....

Monday, October 27, 2008

It was a very busy weekend...for me, at least

*I* had a very busy weekend!! Saturday, the girls and I got up and went to a pancake breakfast and came home and enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL DAY! We went for a walk to our favorite apple tree and picked about 30-35 apples...probably the last trip there. MANY of the apples were already on the ground and not many at all were left on the tree. Here are a few pictures from our walk and at the apple tree:

Friday night, I got this wild idea to make my own pumpkin puree (for breads, muffins, pie, etc) from a pie pumpkin. Well, it took well over 3 hours from start to finish to make it (for step-by-step instructions - go here). All in all, it only made THREE CUPS of pumpkin puree...not really worth my time, but the end product of what I am going to make with the puree will be the ultimate decision on whether to go through all that trouble again.

SOO...Saturday, while the girls napped, I made a batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Mini-Muffins (for Sunday's Welcome Breakfast at Church) and used the puree...and honestly...I couldn't really tell a difference in the taste. Not sure I'll ever attempt homeade pumpkin puree again!! It was truly a pain in the butt!! So, after I made the muffins, I roasted the pumpkin seeds from the pie pumpkin, while I chopped apples for an Dapple Apple cake...which went into the freezer for Beth's school's Cake Auction the week of Thanksgiving. I just thought I'd go ahead and get it out of the way while I had time, instead of making the darn thing the night before the auction! I also had a crockpot full of chili cooking this whole time, too. I was a busy bee in the kitchen, that is for sure!!

OH - Saturday I also managed to run through my Laity Sunday Message 2-3 times, just so I could say it out loud. I don't think I've mentioned that our minister asked me to give the Message on Laity Sunday this year. For those non-Methodist, once a year, the "lay people" of the church (your basic church member) run the service. He asked me to give the Message (i.e. the Sermon). AUGH!! I'm typically a pretty decent public speaker, so it was no biggie, but coming up with what to talk about was a little tricky! I utlimately decided on "What Gift Did God Give you"...and how to give it back to the Church. I talked for roughly 20 minutes. It was fun- I'd do it again!!

So, Sunday after Church, while the girls napped, I chopped up more apples and made Spiced Apple Bread - 1 big loaf and 3 mini-loaves. Not sure yet if I'm giving the mini-loaves away or freezing them for our own use later...But boy, is it good bread! The recipe is somewhere on this blog - in September maybe?? Then we played at a local park with the girls till around dinner time and then headed to our new Pizza Hut with Dandaddy (my dad).

Beth had another ROUGH night last night...not sure why...she had been doing VERY well. I think I'm convinced she is waking up so much at night and having such a hard time going back to sleep because there is entirely too much LIGHT in her room!! Her eyes/brain see all that light and think its time to get up and then she gets scared because the house is all dark and quiet. Her closet light is bright, especially with the closet doors OPEN and her nightlight puts off a fair amount of light, too. I told her that tonight, the closet doors would be CLOSED (they are slatted, so the light still shines through) and after she fell asleep, I'd be turning it off completely, which I haven't done since the nightmare incident. She has yet to recover...I can't wait for Halloween season to be OVER!!! This has been a bad year for her getting spooked so easily.....

Thank goodness today is Monday & I'm at work...I needed a break!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beth's Kindergarten Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Beth trying to carry the heavy pumpkin by herself....luckily Bob was nearby to assist!

Shucking Corn...or whatever it is called!

Playing in the hay tower/maze:

Tuesday was Beth's Kindergarten class trip to the Pumpkin Patch and I remembered my camera this year, although she was quite uncooperative in actually letting me take her picture. These were the only good ones! Nothing really eventful happened- she seemed to be having fun, but hung on me or Bob the whole time. I'd LIKE to take Sarah and go back this weekend...but we had lots of rain today, so I'm guessing it will be pretty messy there tomorrow. Oh well....So much for photo ops of Sarah with pumpkins...I guess our own little jack-o-lantern will have to do.

Beth is so looking forward to Halloween! I'm looking forward to making my pumpkin pizza!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bows - Last Call!

I'm getting ready to finish up a few Special Orders, then I'm packing up the bow supplies until next February. So, if you still want to order Christmas bows or Ponytail Streamers, let me know ASAP! Leave a comment with your email address and I'll contact you or you can email me directly if you have my email address. I can invoice via Paypal and make it easy.

Medium Bows: $3.00
Large Bows: $4.00
3-Ribbon Ponytail Streamers: $4.00
4-8 Ribbon Ponytail Streamers: $5.00

This is a 4-8 Ribbon Ponytail Streamer (and this particular one is sold, but I do have a lot of this same ribbon left, plus some new ribbon just purchased, see below) . The 3-Ribbon Ponytail Streamers have more a simple look.
New ribbon I have in stock:
I'm out of "themed" Halloween ribbon, but I do have plenty of solid orange and black in several different sizes, as well a black & white striped ribbon and black & white polka dot ribbon. If you are at all interested in a Halloween bow or Ponytail Streamer, let me know ASAP, so I can have them in the mail by the end of this week! I also now have soccer ribbon back in stock!! I can also take a look at school uniforms or special outfits and try to come up with a custom bow or streamer, as well. It also helps to know the lenghth of the person's hair, if you are ordering a ponytail streamer....some people don't like the streamers to be longer than the actual ponytail!

Halloween Preview

Beth can't decide what to wear for Halloween. I think I've convinced her to wear one costume to school for her party there and one costume for actual trick-or-treating. The plan all along was for her to be Snow White. (its a costume my grandmother made for me in 1st Grade in 1982!!) THEN, she found the "groovy girl" costume I bought on clearance last Halloween on the chance that her school "dance" might be a Disco again, like it was last year. (nope - its a Howdown!) She LOVES it. I told her if she wears it, she has to learn how to give the Peace sign...for giggles!

So what do you think - wear both or just pick one?

Friday, October 17, 2008


Gas is $2.91 here!! Hallelujah!! Do you think it will drop another $1 or so?? I'm doubting it...but at least I can fill up for under $36 now! FINALLY!! I was so SICK of seeing $3.xx on all the gas station signs...... When I first bought my car, I was filling up for $18!! Good times...good times....

So if it hasn't hit your area yet...its probably coming....keep hanging on!!

Edited to add -I went home for lunch -its now down to $2.89!!

Edited Again - its now Sunday and gas is $2.69! At this rate, we'll be under $2 in no time, even though that is probably unrealistic.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Soup

Its raining here...and its 56 degree. (It was 84 yesterday!) I think Fall has fallen on us! WOO HOO! I think I'm going to go make some are a few favorites....

Susan’s Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


1-2 packages Chicken Noodle Soup Starter (now Mrs. Grass’s)
3-5 breasts of chicken (or 3-4 cups of pre-cooked shredded chicken)
2 - 49.5 oz cans of chicken broth OR 3 - 32 oz "boxes" of broth.
1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrots (or however much you like)
3-4 stalks chopped celery
1/2-1 chopped onion (optional)
1/3 bag of egg noodles

In large saucepan, pour chicken broth in pan and add chicken.
Cook/Boil chicken in broth until done and REMOVE chicken from broth. If needed, add a little bit of water so the broth completely covers the chicken while it is cooking.
Then, add soup starter to broth and vegies. Cook this until vegies are nice and very tender. This can take up to 30-45 minutes. (to really speed up the process, I've been known to either saute the vegies in a little butter in a pan until they are a little bit tender or cook/steam in my Pampered Chef Microcooker in the microwave until tender).
Next, start tearing up the chicken into small, bite-size pieces, chunk, doesn't have to be pretty -and add chicken to broth.
Then add egg noodles.
Cook an additional 10 minutes or until noodles are done.
Serve immediately or store in refrigerator to serve later.
This recipe does NOT freeze well.

Famous Potato Bacon Soup (crock pot)

8 cups coarsely chopped peeled potatoes
1 small onion, chopped (1/3 cup)
1/2 pound bacon, crisped, drained, and crumbled
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened
3 cans (14.5 oz) each reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 tsp. pepper

In a 4-qt. crock, stir together the potatoes and onion. Stir in the bacon.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, and the pepper. Add the mixture to the crock.
Cover and cook the soup on low heat for 8-10 hours or on high heat for 4-5 hours. If you like, mash the potatoes slightly for a thicker consistency before serving.

Mom’s Chicken or Turkey Velvet Soup

3 Cups water - boiling
3 Chicken bouillon cubes
6 T Butter
1/3 Cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup of 2% Milk
1/2 Cup of cream or “Half and half”
2 Cups of chopped cooked chicken or turkey (Mix dark and light meat)
White Pepper

Make a broth by putting the water and bouillon cubes in a microwaveable bowl or a pot and heat until the cubes are dissolved. While it is heating, melt the butter in a skillet and then stir in the flour. Slowly add the milk and cream and stir continuously to avoid lumping. Add the broth and continue stirring until it has thickened.
(If it looks lumpy, don’t panic, just put it in the blender until smooth and then back in the skillet!)
Lower the heat to simmering and stir in the chicken/turkey and heat until hot (do not boil).
Sprinkle with White Pepper and stir. Serve immediately.

*Notes - If your chicken/turkey is already cut up, it only takes about 10 minutes from beginning to end. Whenever I have left over poultry, I go ahead and cut it up, measure out 2 cups and freeze it in a “freezer bag”. Then, I just put the bag in the refrigerator to defrost the day I plan to make soup.
*All white meat is prettier, but the dark meat adds more flavors.
*If you really like cheese, sprinkle the bowl of soup with grated cheese!

Quick Chicken and Dumplings
1 32-oz containers chicken broth

1 cup water (add more if you like the broth more liquid)
1 (10 3/4-oz) can cream of celery soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-oz) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (12-oz) can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

In Dutch oven combine chicken broth, water, cream of chicken soup, cream of celery soup, and pepper; Bring to a boil over medium-high hear; stirring occasionally. Add chicken.

Cut each biscuit into 4-6 pieces. Drop biscuit pieces in boiling mixture, 1 at a time.
Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serves 4 to 6.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Skeletons in the Closet

We've had a few "traumatic" days around here. Saturday night, Beth had a nightmare. Evidently, it was pretty scarry to her because it totally freaked her out. I've never seen the child this scared of anything. It took me almost 24 hours just to get out of her what the dream was the top of the stairs...and the man came and tried to kill them. And she said she sang scarry songs about skeletons in music class last week. WTH? Of course, I have no way of knowing what images she saw in her head, but they were evidently so bad, she refused to sleep (because she was scared to have that dream again) and refused to do anything or go anywhere by herself...which included going to to the bathroom, to her bedroom, outside, etc...she has been everyone's shadow for 2 days. Beth has a tendency to fake being scared of the dark (or whatever other tactic might work to delay going to bed), but the last two days, she has been seriously scared of something. When I lose my patience with her, I tend to give consequences for whatever behavior she is doing (i.e. "if you don't stop whining, I'm going to take the ____ toy."). In general, consequences will make her stop whatever behavior she is exhibiting, but not these last few days. She told me I could take all her toys, she didn't care, she just wanted me to stay with her until she fell asleep (and that comment came at 2 a.m.). UGH!

SO, out of desperation for answers, I called the Pediatrician yesterday. He indicated it was perfectly normal for children this age to have nightmares, especially this time of year. He did, however, think that her anxiety about the dream was lasting too long, and the fact that she was refusing to sleep was probably making it worse. So, he prescribed Anarax (sp?), which is a drug used as an antihistamine, as well as a sleep-inducing drug and can also be used for anxiety. He suggested I crush it up and put it in applesauce or whatever, right before bedtime. So, at bedtime, I gave her a yogurt with the Anarax crushed up in it. She ate it all..and was in dreamland within about an hour. She slept from 7:15p-5:30a. YEAH! At 5:30, she woke screaming that she was scared, so I went in and patted her back for about 5 seconds and she was asleep until 7:15. She seems to be doing a little bit better today. I asked her to go let the dog outside, which means going from one end of the house to the other, and she did it without a problem. However, 5 minutes later she refused to get dressed in her room by herself and brought all her clothes into Sarah's room, where I was, and proceeded to get dressed there. So, baby steps. She also waited for Grammy to come get her...outside by herself.

So, I think a good nights sleep was very healing, but I think TWO good nights sleeps will better. Hopefully by the end of the week, she'll be back to normal, for everyone's sake!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Missing Money?

I just did a quick search using my maiden name (and married name) on - which is a database for 40 states holding millions of unclaimed dollars. I ACTUALLY FOUND SOME!!!! Its under my maiden name at my old college address....its an "unidentified" amount, which makes me SOO curious! I have to submit a form to the KY Unclaimed Property Division to get an "official" claim form and go from there...with my luck, it will be something like $2 and not even worth my effort! Oh well- its still fun!

But anyway - go seach your name, your siblings names, your spouse's name, your parents' names, etc. Its pretty neat!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Quick Kids Closet Update on how we did...

We grossed over $52,000. Consigners get 70% of that - the Kindergarten/Nursery School gets 30%. WOW! Biggest sale in our history!

As for me, I'm not sure how much clothes/toys I sold, but I came home with VERY little left over. I do know I sold over $255 in bows, which equals out to be $178 back in my pocket...which is close to the total amount I spent at the sale! YEAH!