Friday, January 29, 2010

Muffins, Muffins, Muffins, Nothin' but Muffins

I was asked to make cornbread muffins for this weekend's wedding. Yesterday I made my third and final triple batch, for a total of 104 muffins! My poor kiddo who has the kitchen chore this week asked me yesterday, "How many more times am I going to have to wash these muffin pans?" The funny part about that, is the child rinsed them once - I washed them every time.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

You've Been a Mom a Long Time When...

you can orchestrate three complicated school carpool schedules, and still get everyone where they need to be when they need to be there, with the least trips possible - and have time to eat before the evening activities begin!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Kids Birthday Party Contest

Jen at Creative Hostess has a Most Adorable Kids Birthday Party Contest of 2009 going on. We had a really fun, hands-on party last spring. It was a Cupcake Challenge based loosely on the Food Network Challenge. The kiddos were divided into teams of two. They had 15 minutes to plan their cupcake design, then they were issued 3 cupcakes and they could choose the color of frosting and the toppings needed to complete their design.
A friend brought cake decorating magazines for inspiration. She also brought some fondant and tools and taught the contestants how to use it to make flowers with it. Part of their presentation was decorating the place mat to display their creations. A few of our neighbors volunteered to be our "celebrity judges". The contestants were judged on skill, overall appearance, artistic presentation, use of color, difficulty, originality and neatness. After judging and pictures, the contestants were invited to eat their masterpieces.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Planing Dinner

I don't know how everyone else chooses what they are cooking for dinner each night. The choosing isn't one of my favorite things because no matter what, someone's complaining about what's chosen. Every week, I have everyone choose a dinner. That way I figure, there will usually be at least one person not complaining about what I made.

This week feels a little more challenging since I'm not sure who will be here on what nights or even how many people I'll be cooking for. I'm planning on having French toast tonight because there should be the least amount of people here, and I'm not super comfortable serving guests French toast for dinner!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Preparations Continue

I tried to control my frenzied thoughts about people coming into my home and it not being all that I want it to be. But, since there was a Saturday without any specific plans, I decided to paint a wall. My hubby even jumped in to help me!

It was a wall that had a large 3-foot by 4-foot patch of the last color we tried, but didn't like. I had a free sample of paint from the summer that was enough to paint the whole wall, even the yucky flat, white paint that the house came with when we bought it. The color is lighter than I would have picked if I have more choices, but I like it - or maybe I just like the clean uniformity!

I'll have to live with the color for a few weeks before I make a final decision. I hope I like it, then next time we have time, motivation, and some money for paint - we'll know what color to buy!

If the painting wasn't enough, I even cleaned my fridge and organized a few other things here and there. My family may not like me being frenzied before a party, but they do appreciate having a cleaner house.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shower Preparations

I mentioned a few posts ago, we're hosting a bridal shower. I hope I'm not the only one who looks at my house with different eyes when I know company is coming. I'm not a horrible housekeeper, but I have plenty of room for improvement. As the day of the event draws nearer, my wish list of things to clean, organize, paint and decorate grows longer. Yet I don't seem to have any more extra time for these activities than usual. Yesterday, I did manage to work a little more on the favors, deep clean my bathroom, straighten book shelves and help the bride with her wedding favors. I wonder if I have time to paint the living room today?

Friday, January 22, 2010

First Assignment

I'm always a little anxious turning in my first assignment to a new class,even if the answers are fill in the blank. My literature class assignments are writing assignments, which is more challenging. I don't even get to write if I like the story or how it makes me feel, it has to be in the parameters of the class. Don't restate the plot, but back up your findings from the text of the story. So that first assignment feels like a stab in the dark, hoping to give the answers the instructor wants.

Happily, I've already received feedback from my instructor and she was pleased. She also let me know of the one thing she would like to see in the next assignment. I'll take the 9 out of 10 points. It is so nice to have teacher interaction! The last two classes I took online felt very much like do it yourself classes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


What's a windlass? Even after looking at the picture in the book, it took me a while to figure out reasons why I'd want to make one with my kiddos. The reasons I came up with was mainly we could build something together. A windlass is a small scale well, without the water. Parental supervision and assistance is a must!

Overall it was a fun project. It's interesting to turn the crank (made from a paperclip and attached to a pencil) and watch the thread wind around the pencil bringing the cup up to the top. I like my cup to hold a few M&M's to reward me for all that cranking!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oreo Truffles

I'm throwing a bridal shower next week and I found these great Oreo Truffles at . I adapted them to my colors. I'm still hoping to drizzle some aqua colored candy melts on the top. But right now you can see the process, the filling and the chocolate covered truffle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Best Frosting Ever!

I made Red Cake last night. The frosting has a base that has to be cooked to make the frosting thick and spreadable. I've always struggled with the frosting, usually because I don't make the base thick enough. When I do make it thick enough, I can't seem to get the lumps out or get a smooth consistency.

Last night's frosting was the best I've ever made! There were still a few very small lumps, but overall it was creamy and had a great consistency. Hubby contends it was because that was the first time he ever helped make it and he put the vanilla in a step early. I think it was because I didn't let the base cool all the way down and I beat it a lot longer than usual. I also used real butter. Maybe it's just all the years of practice finally paying off.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No Disneyland in Heaven

We were discussing our plans for a vacation this summer. One of the kiddos really wants to go to Disneyland since they haven't been there yet. I was explaining that we wouldn't be able to save enough by this fall, but maybe we could start saving now, go see some family in the summer with some of the money and keep saving until the following fall and go to Disneyland next year.

All the other kiddos were fine with that plan, but the one that started the crusade to go to Disneyland, was very upset with the arrangement. The child argued that if we dumped the family trip, we could get to Disneyland sooner. I was explaining how important family relationships are and how we needed to make them a priority. We will be with our family in heaven and we need to build relationships with them now; there is no Disneyland in heaven. The response, "Exactly! There is no Disneyland in heaven. That's why we need to go now!"

Do you ever feel like you're not getting through to your children?

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Found My Desk!

The last couple of months (OK maybe longer), my desk went from a few fairly organized piles to a huge heap. Trying to finish my class, working on Christmas projects, scrapbooking and all the other things that needed to be done or put a way all ended up on my desk.

Last night while my hubby worked on a project with the kids, I spent an hour and a half cleaning my desk. I took care of several quick to-do items, threw stuff away, and put a ton of things where they go - not on my desk!

I thought about taking a picture for you to see how nice it is, but without the before picture - it probably still looks messy. There are still some things to put away, a pile of things to do, a few piles of projects I'm working in progress. But they are neat, orderly, and manageable piles. Now if I could do the same to the rest of the room-- and the house :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

M&M Science

Here's a cool science experiment we did last night.

Put 5 or 6 different colors of M&M's in a glass with a small amount of water. Stir around until the color comes off. Note that the water will be all one color – remove the M&M’s and stir until colors are all dissolved into one color – usually something grayish. Spoon out the M&M remains.

Point out that the colors seem to have all blended together – the bright colors seem to have disappeared. Now I like M&M's, but this "soup" doesn't look very appetizing!

Take a coffee filter (or a paper towel) and cut a strip long enough to reach down into the water. You can staple the top edge to make a loop that you can hang from a pencil. Make sure the paper reaches down to touch the water.

Leave it overnight, the various colors will separate on the paper, showing that they really didn’t disappear into a single color. I think we would have a better rainbow if we didn't put brown M&M's in the water.

Here’s the science behind it: because molecules in ink or the colored coating on M&M’s have different characteristics, such as size and solubility, the travel at different speeds when pulled along a piece of paper by a solvent (the water). For example, the grayish water color, contain several colors. The water soluble colors behave differently due to their molecules, and separate into a sort of “rainbow” of colors.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One Step Closer

I've registered for my class and my textbook is on the way. Next week, I'll start Intro to Literature!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Dale Chihuly is a glass artists who had an "exhibit" at the local Botanical Garden last year. I finally scrapbooked it yesterday. I like how the layout turned out. It was a great date night. We took a ton of cool pictures, even with our little PHD (push here dummy) camera.

I also had a realization. I haven't ordered my pictures from December yet, so I have more layouts to do by November than I thought. I better get cracking!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Family History

Yesterday I went through 3 folders of cool info I picked up at last year's family reunion - thanks Debbie! I know, the family reunion was in July; better late than never! I was able to add 11 names, mostly spouses and children to family I already had on file. There was also a cool story in one of the folders and several obituaries - a great source of information, but the beware of the accuracy.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Clean Up

After several hours of work, the Christmas decorations are packed away. The closet is organized by holiday so the Easter decorations are closest to the front.

The house looks so empty and barren. It will look better when I shift furniture around and put a few remaining nick-knacks in place.

Today I cleaned out the leftovers in the fridge. I'm sad to admit that I still had manicotti in there from Christmas Eve. I think that's a dish I enjoy when someone else makes it!

I am disappointed in how much food we wasted this holiday season. I hope to find a better balance next year.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pictures Taken

Yesterday I finished taking pictures of our Christmas ornaments and decorations (except those few that we always seem to find a few weeks after all the decorations are packed). Now I can move on to the writing part!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Writer's Block

It's been almost a month since I wrote an article for the Homemaking Cottage. I wanted to get a jump on it for January and had a few article ideas floating in my head. Every time I sat down to write something this week, or to even choose a topic to write about, the ideas just swirled around in my head and I couldn't get anything on paper. I'd given up again yesterday, then a few of the ideas gelled. I figured I better get them on paper while I could. Once I started writing, I couldn't stop. I ended up being an hour late to volunteer in the kiddos classroom, fortunately the teacher didn't have too much for me to do. Today I'm hoping to have a chance to look at what I wrote to see if it is even any good.

I don't know the process other writers have, but I like to put everything on paper and leave it for a day before I go back and edit. My hubby offered to do some editing for me, but I don't want anyone else to read it at this stage. He was teasing me about not wanting to show everything I write to everyone I know. I guess he's right in a way. I'm reluctant to share what I write, especially with people I know - they might think I'm weird. OK, everyone who knows me knows I'm weird, I just try not to confirm the fact too often.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two More Classes - Still!

I've been trying to finish up my 2-year degree for about 3 years now. It seems like I've been two classes away (or more) for the whole time. First, I estimated from the last time I met with a college counselor and I needed two classes. One class later, I met with a counselor again. Because of changing states and colleges, I still needed 2 science classes and a math class. One science class and one math class later, I finally have all my transcripts in one place and get an official audit. Guess what, I still have two classes to finish, a science class and a class to fulfill the "cultural diversity" requirement. Cultural diversity? I think they are just making things up now. But those two classes will also meet the credit requirements to get a degree from the college I'm attending.

Let's keep our fingers crossed that at this time next year, I'll actually have an AA degree!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Progress on Scrapbooking Goal

Yesterday I was able to spend some time scrapbooking. One 2009 layout down, 87 more to go!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Word - Progress

My friend at "If You're Happy and You Know It", wrote about a word of the year. I thought that was a cool idea, so here's mine.


1. a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage: the progress of a student toward a degree.
2. developmental activity in science, technology, etc., esp. with reference to the commercial opportunities created thereby or to the promotion of the material well-being of the public through the goods, techniques, or facilities created.
3. advancement in general.
4. growth or development; continuous improvement: He shows progress in his muscular coordination.
5. the development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.
6. Biology. increasing differentiation and perfection in the course of ontogeny or phylogeny.
7. forward or onward movement: the progress of the planets.
8. the forward course of action, events, time, etc.
9. an official journey or tour, as by a sovereign or dignitary.
–verb (used without object)
10. to go forward or onward in space or time: The wagon train progressed through the valley. As the play progressed, the leading man grew more inaudible.
11. to grow or develop, as in complexity, scope, or severity; advance: Are you progressing in your piano studies? The disease progressed slowly.

I wanted a word that will keep focused on my mission here in life; to learn and grow. I want to remember to keep trying even when it's hard - to carry on.

Here's to a year of added knowledge and growth!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A Family Book

I loved how my scrapbook layout "Images of Christmas" turned out, but there wasn't enough room to tell the whole story of the decorations I pictured - not to mention all the ones I didn't picture. I've started photographing them all and will record my memories of them all in a "book". I don't know if or when I'll publish it. It'll be on the computer for now. I'm not even sure if I can get all the pictures taken this month, they might have to wait until next November. And writing the memories will take much longer. Nevertheless, I think it will be a project my children and maybe my future grandchildren will cherish, or at least appreciate when I'm not around to tell them the stories myself.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Top Ten

On New Year's Eve we spent some time reviewing our Top Ten Favorite Things of 2008, before we listed our Top Ten Favorite Things of 2009. It was interesting to see what stood out to everyone.

Later on in the evening, we reviewed the Top Ten Favorite Things We Hoped to Happen in 2009 and compared how we did. I had a goal to read 20, including the Doctrine and Covenants. I'm happy to say I read 31 books total. I met some family goals. I was unable to weigh less at the end of 2009 than I started it. I progressed on the piano and completed a couple of college classes. I finished scrapbooking 2008 on New Year's Eve around 3:30 in the afternoon, but I finished by the end of the year! I didn't accomplish all the writing and family history goals I set, but I have a more realistic idea of what I can accomplish.

This year's Top Ten is similar. Read 30 books, including the Old Testament. Lose weight. Continue progressing with the piano, family history research and my writing. Take a couple more college classes (maybe I can get my degree before I'm 50). Finish scrapbooking 2009 by the end of November. There are also a few spiritual goals.

What are your goals for the New Year? Now that I have mine, I'm establishing a plan to achieve them!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year's Predictions

One of our activities on New Year's Eve was to predict the answers to silly questions. Last year for Christmas, we received Wii Fit from my Mom. We were constantly kicking off one of our kiddos so everyone else could have a turn. By New Year's Eve, the child had over 3 hours logged. One of our questions to predict the answer to was how many hours this child would log by the end of 2009. We were all way off on that one. I ended up with the most hours, but it was just over 18.

We also guessed at how much money we would have in our wallets this New Year's Eve. One of us was pretty close.

The third question was about how many cousins we would have at the end of 2009. Most of us thought there would be more babies born in the family.

The last question was how many Christmas cards we would receive in 2009. We were pleasantly surprised to receive more than we guessed!

I'll have to let you know how we do with this year's predictions.


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