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Updates on kids and family, plus yummy recipes!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not an Ugly Bug

For weeks Liza has been working hard to learn new songs at school for a program for parents. Tonight, she finally got to put her songs to the test. She got up on stage and belted out a few songs with more than a few fellow kindergartners. They sang I'm bringing home a baby bumblebee, Ugly Bug, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and a few others. The whole thing took the teachers weeks to put together, and only 30 minutes to run through. Sadly, we learned the hard way that arriving 20 minutes before the show puts you in the 3rd to the last row. Wow, the place was packed. Standing room only. The show was cute, and when all was said and done, we took the kids to Arctic circle to get ice cream. I remember doing that with my family after any school performance, so I had to carry on the tradition. Liza was thrilled that both of her grandmothers came out to enjoy the show as well. Oh, heads up, the boy at the bottom of the picture is Eric. He is the boy Liza says she is going to marry some day.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spelling test

I have been practicing Liza's spelling lists with her for several weeks now. This week her words are some, come, from, there, and here. PJ wanted in on the action. While we are having breakfast, PJ says, "Some. s-o-m-e. Is that correct, Mommy?" In just love the big words he uses. Sometimes he just sounds so grown up!

On a side note, I have discovered a craft bone in my body. Its not very big at all, but apparently it's there. I saw these flowers that Martha Stewart had made. She glued them onto a branch and turned it into a centerpiece. I don't need or want anything like that, but I thought they would turn into cute little barrettes. They did. I just need to get some fabric in more colors that Liza wears. But she loves them.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Catalina Magdalena Hopperstiener Waldendiner Hogan Bogan Logan was her name

When I first started working in the take home library at the school, I would sit in the room with the books reading to PJ while we had to wait for Liza to get out of class. Well, one day I read him this funny book that we both loved. Trouble was I had no idea what it was or where I got it out of the shelves. Today I pulled it out to give it to another student. I was so excited. I found a post-it, scribbled down the name and now I cant wait to order it for the kids. Ok, not all for the kids. I love reading this one out loud. It is just FUN!!

On another note, Jer's interview went well. They said they were really interested, but they don't know if they can afford him. The guy who did the interview said that he had not been able to get with the director to find out the budget, and he himself would be leaving on vacation soon. So we may not hear anything for a few weeks. That's alright. Jer is still not sure if he wants to leave Dentrix, at least not completely. For some kind of raise though, he might be willing to hand in his golden shackles. The biggest thing he would be walking away from would be the vacation time. But the severance package he has earned over the last 11 years and the life insurance are a little hard to swallow (as far as "what if's" go). For Jeremie, though, this was at the very least, a great way to get some networking done and see if he had some other possibilities out there. Guess we will just sit and wait, see what happens.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

12' tall sunflower

In honor of Earth Day, I went into Liza's class today to plant flowers. I didn't know that the other mom would come in with giant sunflowers for all the kids to plant. Ah, this should be fun. Yes, I do know that Earth Day is actually Thursday, but there were some scheduling conflicts so we had to do it today. It was a lot of fun. Watching 30 kindergartners plant flowers in tiny pots is really funny.

On another subject, Liza had her DRA testing today. Total brag moment, but she did fantastic! She is reading well above her grade and her fluency and word speed are really good. She had a story that she had to read in under a minute, and read it flawlessly in 32 seconds. Her teacher was impressed. So was her mother. I am afraid that Liza may get a big head though. She knows she did well, and is excited about it. she has every right to be. She did great all around, even on math. I am really bad about working on that with her.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

With the end of the school year comes events. Last week Liza was given a paper asking parents to provide a baby picture and a current picture for her little "graduation". Of course, I completely forgot all about it. Until yesterday. I find the paper, look at the date the pictures are due, and what da ya know. TODAY!! That would be all fine and dandy, except I the last time I had pictures printed up was from Disneyland, almost 2 years ago. So I get Liza's hair done, take her out into the front yard and snap a few photos of her. Run to Walmart and get a bunch of pictures printed. I come home, go through the pictures, and discover, I didn't print Liza's picture. Grrr. I had another bad headache, so I caved to the pressure and went to bed. After I took the kids to school, I ran back to Walmart and printed up just the picture of Liza. Can't screw that up, right? Thought I'd share the picture!! I have to say, I think this is by far one of the best pictures I have of Liza since she was a baby.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peanut butter cookies

So this is more for Becky than anyone else. I don't know why I don't have her email, so I am going to use this recipe for my menu tonight as a substitute. Hope she sees it.

Today's Menu: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

First Beck, yes, the time you bake the cookies determines how soft they are, but it is actually the amount of white sugar to brown sugar that will give you the chewy cookie you are looking for. More white gives you a firmer cookie, more brown will give you a chewier cookie. It's all about the molasses. This recipe calls for equal amounts of both sugars, feel free to give or take 1/4 cup in either direction.

In medium bowl, sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
In mixing bowl cream:
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temp
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cup white sugar
Add 3 eggs, one at a time until just mixed in. Add 1 cup peanut butter (I prefer creamy, but you can use chunky if that's what you have on hand) and 2 tsp vanilla bean paste, or extract since most people don't have the paste. Mix until light and fluffy. Add flour in about 3 batches until mixture comes together.

Drop by rounded teaspoon or a small ice cream scoop onto baking sheet. Add no more than a dozen cookies per sheet. For a traditional look, make the criss cross pattern with fork pressing down. Slightly dampen fork to keep from sticking. For quicker results, use the bottom of a glass or a cookie press if you have one.

Bake in preheated 325 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, until cookies are just set in the middle. If cookies look done in the oven, you will have a hard cookie. If you do want a crispy cookie, bake 15-18 minutes until cookies are slightly golden around the edges. I usually get 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cows and pets

Driving home the other night, Liza asked about cows. She wanted to know what it would be like to be a cow. I told her that I didn't think it would be much fun. After all, imagine being outside all the time wearing a leather jacket in the snow, the wind, or the sun. She says to me, "And cows cant have pets. Dogs? No. Cats? No. Fish? Definitely not!!"

Today's Menu Homemade Potato Chips

1 russet potato per person, peeled and sliced as thin as possible
1 qt canola oil
Favorite seasoning, I used my essence (recipe below)

As you slice the potatoes, put them in cold water. Give them a good rinse and dry them well. Meanwhile, heat oil. I did this on a high heat, about 375-400 degrees. The hotter oil gives the chips the crisp that you are looking for. Fry up in batches, and while each batch is still hot, sprinkle with seasoning.

2 1/2 tbls paprika
2 tbls salt
2 tbls garlic powder
1 tbls each ground black pepper, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried leaf oregano, dried thyme

Mix and store in spice jar. Use on anything from eggs to fish to pasta.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

It may not have been a diamond ring...

We are frozen solid! Jer and I just spent close to an hour outside looking at planets. Venus was a close call, but we saw it. We couldn't make out Mercury, it was too close to Venus, so she blocked it out. We got out there just a few minutes before she went down. Venus and Mercury are following the sun pretty closely right now, so they set just after sundown. But SATURN! WOW!!

Right now Saturn appears southwest in the early evening. It has a slight pinkish hue that sets it out from the stars. You will find it in the Virgo constellation, a few inches down from the triangle formation in Leo. When we got the telescope, we were told you could see the rings of Saturn. I had my doubts. The rings are pretty perpendicular right now, but you can clearly see them- just jutting out from the planet. It seems we will need to wait a year or so before we can see the rings parallel to the earth. But what I am really looking forward to will be the Perseid's meteor shower in August. At the same time we will be able to see the shower, we can see Jupiter and Andromeda Galaxy. We plan to take the kids with us when we go out to Five Mile. You need to be clear of all light pollution to see the galaxies. All this will happen the second week of August. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. I am already super excited about this. Jer has been hearing about it since I started tracking Jupiter. I'm sure he can hardly wait to get it over with. I am like a kid counting down to Christmas. I am so over the top, I am well into ridiculous.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

New bikes

I went out today to get the kids new bikes for Easter. They were getting a little big for the ones they already had. I went to Target, grabbed one for Liza that was $100. And yes, I quarrelled with myself. I just thought that was a lot to spend. But I got it anyway. Then I ran to Walmart to get one for PJ. While I am there, I find a nearly identical bike to the one that I got Liza, but it was half the price. HA! So I got the one there for Liza. They had it in pink anyway. Turned out that I got both kids bikes for almost the same cost as the one at Target. Boy, I don't know why I bother going anywhere else. Sure, when Liza stops needing a new bike every year or two, I wont mind spending some money on a bike for her, but not now. I got her one of the 20" bikes. It's a little big for her, but she rides it just fine. And instead of training wheels, it had a kick stand.

PJ's bike is also a little big, but it wont be long before he is riding it just fine. And with the training wheels on that one, It is OK that his feet don't touch the ground. I got him a 12" to replace his tiny 10". This is actually the first bike we bought for him. He just had Liza's old 10" that we painted. he loves it. Jer will probably take him out to learn how to ride it sometime this summer. PJ wants to start now, but since his feet don't reach, we think it's best to wait a little bit.