Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Iced Coffee

Iced Coffee

1/2 cup instant coffee granules
1 cup cocoa
1 cup dry milk
1 cup dry creamer
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Place ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until fine. Keep in a jar in a cool, dry place.

To make iced coffee place the following in a blender:

1/2 cup mix
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup ice

Blend until ice is crushed and is a smooth consistency.

I don't drink iced coffee from any of the chains, so I don't really know what they normally taste like. This ends up being just a little bit slushy but sips through a straw nicely.

I also altered the mix and used half regular creamer and half French vanilla creamer. I probably could have reduced the sugar, but since I forgot to add it until after I'd already made my iced coffee and then had to figure out how much to add in, I'm not sure I did it quite right. I think the next time I do it that way I'll do 1/2 cup sugar when I'm adding in the French vanilla creamer since it's a little sweet on it's own.

Monday, June 28, 2010

3 out of 4 is PLENTY!

Chatty came back from Horse Camp happy, and more importantly, unscathed.

Because immediately following the stitch marks and blisters obtained by Buddy and Sparky (and those blisters ended up being second degree burns, and she has since turned into a scaly creature and we're just trying to protect the new skin), Caboose did this on the inflatables at Family Fun Night at church.

Like most 10-year-old boys, he didn't tell us until he got home. You know, so he wouldn't have to leave all the fun.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Angelic Fruit Dessert

I bookmarked a recipe from my friend Mari a while back. I thought it would be a good one to try for our monthly small group. She puts hers in trifle bowls, but for small group I prepared it in a 9x13 pan.

Angelic Fruit Dessert
from Mari

1 Angel Food Cake, cut up into cubes
2 small boxes of vanilla instant pudding
3 cups milk
1 small (8 oz) Cool Whip
Berries of choice

Put the Angel Food Cake cubes into the bottom of your 9x13 pan (or trifle bowls).

Prepare pudding with the 3 cups of milk. Fold in the 8 oz Cool Whip. Evenly distribute over the Angel Food Cake.

Top with sliced berries. The first time I used blueberries and strawberries. This time I added nectarines to half of it.

The first time I made it I had two boxes of French Vanilla pudding in my pantry and decided to use those instead of buying more. It worked. This time I only had a large box of pudding, so I made it with 2 1/2 cups of milk and it worked that way too.

I would have put nectarines on the entire dessert but I couldn't remember if they turned brown after they were exposed to the air. I figured I'd just cut up another one when we got ready to eat the rest.

This is a fantastic summer dessert that requires no cooking, unless you bake your own Angel Food Cake. Me, I'm lazy and buy one at the store.

This post is linked to the Ultimate Recipe Swap at Life as Mom.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

25 Years Ago Today...

...Hubby and I were married...we were only 19 years old and it was the summer between our freshman and sophomore years in college.

That's my cousin Jeff (almost 10 in this picture) and Hubby's brother Doyle (oh, maybe 16 years old) in the front. My mom made my dress.

These are all of our grandparents. My grandma (in the front) was the last one living and just passed away on May 20th of this year. Hubby's grandparents are in the back row with us — maternal on the outside and paternal on the inside.

Happy Anniversary, Hubby! Can't wait to see what another 25 years brings.

This post is linked to the Summer Marriage Challenge at Women Living Well.

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the CSN $60 Gift Certificate is:

Domestic Diva!

Congratulations! I'll be contacting you so I can send you your special code (or you can email me).

Thanks, everyone, for entering. I have so much fun with these. I wish everyone could win.

I haven't had a blog anniversary giveaway yet, and of course that 2-year point has passed me right on by this month, so watch for it sometime this week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Stitch Marks and Blisters

Tonight Buddy played a ball game with no injuries, bruises, or stitch marks.

Then he got home.

Buddy and Hubby were tossing the ball out in the yard before they came in the house. They were talking and tossing. Buddy pulled his glove down too soon from in front of his face. He just doesn't normally do things like that.

Sparky was totally impressed because he has stitch marks on his nose. That's the sign of a good injury to her. She loves stitch marks.

Buddy's nose appears to not be broken. He's had lots of ice on it to keep the swelling as low as it is. There's been a lot of blood. Hubby had to pour some water and rake the grass so it didn't look like a crime scene.

Really, Sparky had sunscreen on over the weekend. She is our sunburning child. She never goes without, and she uses the serious stuff. We just don't know what happened.

She has the unfortunate first of blisters, for her and all the kids.

I'll just add that if Chatty were here and not at horse camp, she'd be all over the Brady Bunch line, "Oh, my nose!"

Menu Plan Monday — June 21

Thank goodness this week will be less busy than last week. I don't feel like I ever fed my kids, but they didn't go hungry. Still not a good feeling.

MondayGrilled hamburgers and hot dogs. We never got to grill out over the weekend since we were at the softball tournament the entire time. Buddy does have a ball game tonight, but Hubby can make them early enough and then we'll still have leftovers for a couple of days.

Oh, and our microwave went out as soon as our baked potatoes were done last week. I think it overheated but it never cooled off and decided to work again. We have to get a new one or we can't eat leftovers (good thing I added 'participate with a friend in a yard sale' to all the other things I was doing last week and have enough to go buy one).

TuesdayIt's my 25th anniversary!

I'm eating leftover hamburgers and hotdogs. Sparky has her double-header for the league her team plays in, so we'll be spending our anniversary watching softball. We spent our anniversary two years ago at a softball tournament.

Wednesday — We should still have enough for leftovers. If Buddy's team wins Monday night, he'll have a game, but we have church for some of the kids or all of us either way.

ThursdayDijon marinated chicken on the grill. I already have it frozen and ready to go. I got the recipe along with others here. I've tried it and Asian and they are both great!

Friday — We'll be picking up Chatty and eating dinner at the horse camp. They serve dinner and then have a "shodeo" for all the family.

Saturday — We may finally get to have our anniversary dinner!

Sunday — Normally we would eat out since we ate in all week. I may try to have some chicken already marinated and ready to go on the grill.

We're going to have a lot of salad and fresh fruits and vegetables with everything. It's been warm and I'm trying to cook with the stove as little as possible.

This post is linked to Menu Plan Monday hosted by The Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!

(Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the $60 CSN Gift Certificate here. It's open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 20th.)

Chatty left for horse camp early today, so we are minus one in our pictures. It's weird. I took a picture of her, but it's on the camera she has with her. That was really good planning on my part.

Before this picture Buddy told Hubby, "This might be your last Father's Day where you're taller than me."

This might be the last Father's Day where Sparky is taller than Caboose. You can even see her heart in the picture.

Last year I fondly remembered Lou Brock Bobblehead Day from 2004.

This is Father's Day just two years ago, right after I started my blog. We were still living in Virginia at the time.

Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

I Couldn't Use My Facial Scrub Tonight

(Don't forget to enter the giveaway for the $60 CSN Gift Certificate here. It's open until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 20th.)

Because we all have some version of this:

Some of us a little worse than others. It was our first full day at the softball fields.

Sparky got the coolest sunburn if we're looking for positives.

I guess it was the way her uniform was cut and then her chin blocked the sun in the middle.

We'll be back out tomorrow morning at 7:45.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smart or Cheap?

I've been cutting down on the clutter in my house. I haven't been doing it alone. I've had some help from my family, especially Caboose.

That's probably because he's always been my keeper and stasher of things. He really doesn't like to get rid of stuff. He always remembers something special about an item, or a stuffed animal is just "so cute" or whatever reason.

But he has ruthlessly gone through his stuffed animals (more than once...he keeps going back and trying to slim back more) and has given up more than I want to admit he had on a public forum. He and his brother have given up all the Rokenbok sets except the one they really play with (it's a dueling set where the vehicles battle on a raised stadium platform), he's given up some of his Imaginext sets (the primary toy type he plays with), and some miscellaneous toys that were just taking up space and not really special enough to keep.

I've been going through our homeschool materials and books just as ruthlessly. They're hard for me to get rid of, especially books. I've sold some of the curriculum that we've outgrown (Caboose being the youngest) on ebay, and I participated in a local homeschool used book and curriculum sale recently.

I brought home less items than I took, and there are a handful of things that I can list on ebay. The other 67 books I didn't want to put back on my shelves (I did want to, but I didn't), and I didn't want to hold on to them until the next sale in the fall. One of the local Barnes & Noble stores has a used book section and they buy and sell used books. I decided to take them there and see what would happen, even though I knew I wouldn't get close to the prices I had originally wanted at the used book sale.

When you take items there, they offer you an amount for store credit (that you have to use that day, but on anything in the store), or you can take half in cash. They were willing to take every single book I took in that day, but they were only willing to give me $57 in store credit. There were some really nice books in there, so I had to make a hard choice.

Hubby and I had been at the store about a week ago and he found a couple of birding books that he mentioned he'd like to have for Father's Day if I needed any ideas for him. I didn't even look at them, and I didn't have anything for him yet. I called him on the phone from the store and asked him which ones they were. I was able to get him not two, but three birding books, and after my teacher discount on those, I was also able to get three paperback mystery books for myself (one from the used book area).

So I took the store credit and got Hubby his Father's Day gifts and my bonus books for 80 cents out of my pocket. And the gas to drive to the store and home.

I also have those 67 books out of my house, I don't have to hang onto them or try to list them online, keep the ones that don't sell, etc. I think I would have spent as much as my time was worth trying to make the extra money I thought those books were worth.

Sparky and I had a big discussion on the way home whether I was cheap or smart for getting Hubby's Father's Day gifts that way — discussion instigated by me. After we talked about all those scenarios, she decided I was smart. I'm glad. I think I would have felt bad otherwise.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

$60 CSN Store Gift Certificate Giveaway

It's time for a $60 giveaway from CSN Stores.

A $60 gift certificate to use any way you want (pick something that has free shipping, or you have to pay for the shipping, but other than that, any way you want).

I told you my favorite item in the last post was not a sectional sofa, but did you figure out what my favorite item was from this CSN Store anyway?

It's the coffee table, not the sofa. Until we finish our basement, I have absolutely no place to put it, unless of course I cut the legs off and hang it on the wall. When Hubby reads this he'll probably be getting ideas.

I do love all these coffee tables, and any one of them would be perfect in our rec room where we don't have a coffee table (the sofa in the first one is cute too).

I appear to be drawn to a similar style, and there is also a storage theme going on!

I'd love to have a chair in the corner of my bedroom, and this would be perfect.

But then this would be totally awesome and unreasonable at the same time.

Of course $60 wouldn't be enough for any of these items, but I thought I'd introduce you to just one of their over 200 stores. There are tons of things you can find, individually or grouped together, for $60. Shop away!

Here's how to enter the giveaway (please leave a separate comment for each entry). You have a chance at four entries.
  1. Leave me a nice comment and say, "Hi," or, "Howdy," or however you say it in your parts.
  2. Visit the CSN Sofa store and see if they have your favorite college team featured on a coffee table, and then let me know who it is.
  3. You get an extra entry if you are a follower on my sidebar or on your google reader. Just leave a separate comment saying so.
  4. If you don't facebook or tweet, you get an extra entry. That's because I don't facebook or tweet, and people always get extra entries for those and I never do, so if you don't you get an extra entry, just because.

This giveaway will be open until Sunday night, June 20th (Father's Day), until 11:59 p.m. I'll use the random generator to select a winner. If you don't have a blog, please leave an email so I can contact you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Another CSN Giveaway!

I get to have another CSN giveaway. This time it will be for a gift certificate to any of their over 200 stores.

I'll be back in another post to give you all the great details, so keep an eye out for it, or two...coming later today or tomorrow...depends on how quickly I can get it together since I'm a little busy!

In the meantime, check out the sectional sofas at this CSN Store I didn't even realize was out there. I'll tell you when I post the giveaway my favorite thing from there (hint: it's not a sectional sofa). See if you can figure it out. ;)

Menu Plan Monday — June 14

I had blogger issues last Monday and couldn't get my menu plan posted. It's probably just as well. I don't think I would have stuck to it.

We have ball games every single night this week until Sunday, and Hubby is out of town again. Again as in not last week but two weeks ago. This is really the only time of the year it gets like this because baseball and softball are the only sports we do. Planning will take a priority for me though, especially considering we have small group at our house tomorrow night and Sparky has a double header that I have to manage to take her to. Actually getting her back home is going to be the problem, and I'd like her back.

The highlights from last week were two chicken marinades from Life as Mom. I tried the Asian and the Dijon, and they were both huge hits with every person in the family. They were simple to do by the freezer method, and I actually thawed the bag out in a large bowl of cold water an hour or so before I needed them grilled.

Monday — Buddy and I will eat cereal or something lazy for me at home, because the other three are having pizza at church for the final night of a CEF class/party. I'm playing muscial children all night between that and Buddy's ball game.

TuesdayCalzones. We had these last week and everyone enjoyed them. I made double filling and put the extra in the refrigerator for this week. I'm making this Angelic Fruit Dessert and No-Bake Cookies as a snack for small group.

WednesdayBaked Potato Bar. I don't want to operate the oven if I don't have to.

ThursdaySpaghetti with fun noodles instead of spaghetti noodles. Last time I used bow-tie pasta.

Friday — TBD, depends on tournament game times.

Saturday — Hubby's home, so I'm going to ask him to grill up a bunch of burgers and hot dogs. He usually makes extra so we have leftovers for a day or so.

Sunday — Father's Day, Hubby's choice where to eat! But somewhere in the middle of all this we have to get Chatty to horse camp about three hours away and Sparky is finishing up her softball tournament, locally at least.

I have my anniversary to look forward to next week!

For more menu plans, visit The Organizing Junkie.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Front Yard Beautification

I love putting pretty, bright flowers out in the spring.

Of course now that I live in Michigan that means waiting until late in May or early in June so they don't die.

Some places I've lived I've planted them in early or mid-April, sometimes even late March. But having definite seasons and nice, cool summers are worth the trade-off.

Now that we have the front landscaping (done last summer) I did more than just put some impatiens in pots on the porch.

This pot has lots of different flowers that require full sun. They were ones I liked when I was browsing through the flower selections and thought I could put together in one gigantic pot.

This pot ended up with my leftover impatiens and one of the other full sun flowers. I should have kept those little sticks with the names.

This is another full sun spot. I have those requisite gerbera daisies (they came just like this!) and another small pot with some flowers requiring full sun.

The requisite impatiens on the front porch. There are matching pots on the other side.

I also planted three little perennial plants in the bed. I don't have a great picture of those, but they are behind the bright purple in this picture and left of the rock. But it's before the bushiest blue-green bush in the back. I do remember their name — moonbeam.

Some overall views:

It's always nice to come home!

This post is linked to Show & Tell Friday hosted by Cindy at My Romantic Home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Baked Beans

These are super easy if you use the pre-packaged bacon crumbles (I like the huge bag found at Sam's Club) as opposed to cooking your own and then crumbling it, but I've done both.

Baked Beans
from my mom

1 large can pork and beans, drain the juice off the top (the can that's about 8-9 inches tall, around the size of a big can of pineapple juice — can you tell I've never paid attention to how big it is)
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large spoons of mustard
1 lb bacon cooked and crumbled, or 1 to 1 1/2 cups of bacon crumbles

Stir everything together and put in a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and hot in the middle.

This picture is of my extra-deep 9x13 pan with a double batch.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catdog is...


Betsy is going to have to order a lot of croissants based on her comment.

Jessica is very smart because she knew exactly what Caboose was thinking. I think that makes her smart.

Caboose thinks 14 in French (quatorze) sounds like catdog in English, at least when spoken with the French accent by the people on the cd-rom. That's how he remembers it.

Of course he was born in New Jersey to parents that were born and raised in Arkansas, has a brother that was born in Louisiana, lived most of the first six years of his life smack in the midwest outside of St. Louis (on the Illinois side of the river) where there is no accent, lived in Virginia for two years, and then ended up in Michigan where there is just a bit of Norwegian/Canadian twist to the accent. Plus it seems like we have a lot of friends from New York that have a strong accent undertone (think of how they say the word coffee).

So I'm not really sure what words in English are going to sound like the French words to him, as long as it helps him remember them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It Sounds Like Catdog In English

Do you know what number that would be when spoken in French, according to Caboose?

I can finally post again (I hadn't been able to do anything on my blog since last night) and thought I'd throw one up for fun before leaving for Buddy's ball game. This happened to be part of our discussion at the dinner table.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Latin and Cow Milk from a Straw

We've moved on from French and Blank Socks.

Sparky and the boys are learning French. Sparky is learning French since that is the primary language they speak in Togo, West Africa, where she wants to be a missionary. The boys are learning it because they think it's cool, fun, and they want to talk to her so no one else knows what they are saying.

All the kids are learning Latin. We're using Prima Latina to start everyone at the beginning together. It makes it easier for me. We're learning Latin to help with vocabulary.

When I told the kids we were starting Latin a couple of weeks ago, Caboose was excited. He said, "Now I'll know three languages." I told him Latin isn't a language that is spoken in any countries anymore like English or French. He no longer saw the need to learn it.

Today during our lesson they were supposed to remember to call me teacher in Latin. Magistra. They were doing that, Salve, Magistra, and then Buddy piped in, "It sounds like you would be something we would be drinking milk out of - the straw part."

I went along with it and said, "I'm a magic straw." Although there is no 'c' sound in there.

And then to finish it off, Caboose chimed in, "You don't have things you squeeze milk out of like a cow."

There were three kids and one mom who are a lot smarter than one 10-year-old at the table, and we were totally cracking up. Sparky was laughing so hard she was crying.

I just gave the zip-the-lip sign and we're waiting until he's older.

When Sparky Was In Africa...

...and the last time we went over for a day to play at the Simpson's (as opposed to Memorial Day when it was nice and warm and we played in the water), this is what it looked like and what we did:

What a difference three months makes!

And every time Caboose went sledding, this is what his snow boots ended up looking like when he was finished:

Every single time.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

F U N !

I think by Memorial Day on May 31st this year we had already had more days in the 80's than we did last year by the beginning of August. It's been that warm here.

Not that that has anything to do with fun, although I suppose indirectly it does because the kids can play outside in the water without freezing to death, or at least without thinking they are.

We also have to remember to wear sunscreen here because it's sunny but not as hot and we forget to wear it because it's not scorching where you absolutely can't forget. We're still acclimating.

Before it rained in the middle of the afternoon on Memorial Day (stormed to be exact), it was hot and sunny/cloudy and the kids got to play in the water and play ball and eat outside.

Four 10-year old boys:

When they weren't in the water, Sparky and Buddy alternated throwing the softball and baseball. They would throw their own ball hard and the other one's ball they would sort of lob most of the time.

Notice that opposed to all of the men in the first picture, all of the women are here with their backs to you working. :)

The littlest guy there, who was just the right age to enjoy feeding his pudding cup to himself.

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