Thursday, June 28, 2012

Library Card - Let's try this again...

So, today was a big day for us.  We decided it was time to try and obtain a library card.  Again.  Oh we've had one before in the distant past when the girls were 5, 4, and 2, but with such tragic results we've been scarred and scared away for over two years.  Should I share the story?  Well, I don't really want to, but okay, here it is.  The long and the short of it goes something like this: Two years ago we went to the library.  We instantly lost a DVD and simultaneously got pink eye.  We haven't been back since.  True. story.  

Yup.  The pink eye part is hands to God true.  We had not been out of the house in over a week, with the library being the only place we decided to visit on a whim.  There were a number of toys the girls played with as we were looking for books, then bam, two days later, we had a pink eye outbreak.  Gross.  We also had, on first check out, brought home a Veggietales DVD which we watched non-stop for a few days, then it mysteriously vanished.  A scour of the land high and low revealed nothing. Weeks went by, and it never turned up.  Ashamed, we returned to the library at the end of our 3 week borrowing time I humbly had to tell the nice lady behind the counter I had lost their property.  For an avid book reader this was a very deep shame.  Fifteen dollars later we were back on speaking terms but I knew I could never show my face in there again...

Flash forward to today and I decided, now that we've got ourselves a couple of little readers, we need to be immersed in books all summer so that when school comes around, we are ahead of the game.  (Side note: I even ended up finding that lost DVD a year later and saved it to bring back, even though I had already paid for it).  Would the alarms go off?  Would the library lady gaze sternly at me from behind her glasses?  Luckily, no. Once inside we found a nice lady who looked up our info and we were still in the system.  She gave us a new library card lickety split and signed the girls up for a summer reading program where they can earn prizes and a trip to the zoo to boot!  No long lecture on lost things, no "this is a big responsibility" speech.  Nothing. Just a smile and can I help you find chapter books for your future 2nd grader.  Sweet.  She trusts me!

Technically, we should have taken it slow and just check out a few books for our first time back, but truth be told we went a little bit gaga over the books once we were released into the kid's book shelf area. Each girl starting picking out books they wanted, and soon I was standing there with a tower of heavy books in my arms, thirteen to be exact!  Wow. These girls are excited about this.  They were even more excited to discover we could check these books out all by ourselves! Scanning with glee accompanied by a satisfying "beep" and all three girls wanted to scan their own books for checkout.

After the drive home the books were piled precariously on the floor, and I knew right away I was going to need a system so that our books are not lost forever, or find their way into our own book shelves, or worst of all, vanish into a painful time warp.  Within minutes of getting home we got back in the car.  We need something to store these books in, with easy access, and we need a big bag to take them to and from the library.  This is what I came up with.

Isn't this great?  I got it for about $5 at Walmart. It is made for file folders, which made it nice and deep for all of those over sized library books.  This was handy because the lid folded in two.  Therefore if we had a huge book, we could tuck most of them away under the lid but if need be, but the giant book would be free to stick out of the top.

Luckily all the books fit with the lid closed.  This surprised me because some of them were pretty big.

Hooray.  Now we can tuck this little tub somewhere and keep all the books in one place.  I made the rule that the library books can not go up stairs and this little tub is like our library shelf at  home.  I'll let you know how that works.  Also I have a little folder in here that keeps our print out receipt we got at check out so we can check off the list before we have to go back and get more books.  It also is holding their reading charts where they color in a star every time they read for 20 minutes.  All in one place.  Genius.  Speaking of more books, I don't want to be standing there loaded down with an unbalanced tower of books again, so I also got this cute "designer" reusable shopping bag for $4 to lug our books back and forth with.

Not bad eh?  So now I am feeling much more organized and ready to take on the responsibility of a public library card (also I think it helps if your kids are out of the toddler "wander off with everything" stage).  I want my girls to love reading as much as I do, and I think this is the first step to making life long readers out of them.

So far... so good (Doing the happy mom dance here)!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Teriyaki London Broil (Flank Steak)

Have you ever been asked what you would have for your very last meal?  You know, if you only have one more time left to eat in this world, what would it be? Would it be quinoa? Brussels Sprouts? A nice green salad?  Um, for most of us, that would be a big ol' NO ma'am.  For a long time my answer probably would have been BBQ baby back ribs.  But upon recent reflection, I have a totally new and improved answer, and I am pretty sure from now on it's going to be this:

Mmm, can you smell it?  It smells a bit like heaven... well if heaven was made of seared meat (which I sincerely hope it is).  Not only is this of picture of my new favorite Teriyaki London Broil there, in all it's glory, but along side is an herb and butter rice, tender steamed artichokes with home made garlic butter, and a tangy fresh fruit salad.  I won't even tease you with what we have for dessert (ok I WILL)... but I warned you, you asked for it... for dessert we had razzleberry pie with vanilla icecream.

There.  Done.  I have given you the perfect meal. Sigh.  It was soooo nice.  This by the way, was the meal we had for mother's day this year.  So delicious and "da bomb diggity", as the kids are saying now a days.  Ok so now onto the London Broil recipe.  You are going to pinch yourself when I tell you it is only two ingredients.  
TWO. INGREDIENTS.  I'm going to let that sink in.

First thing you do is grab a flank steak, skirt steak, London Broil... whatever you want to call it, and try to find them on sale or a 2 for 1 sale and stock up.  Once you have your desired meat poke it gingerly on both sides with a fork.  Place it in a zip lock bag and add, what I'd like to call, "Magic Sauce", aka Yoshida's Original Gourmet Marinade and Cooking Sauce. Do yourself a favor and get it in vat-sized tubs at your local Costco.  This stuff is awesome with any meat, especially chicken, veggies, and BEEF.

Shake it up to get all the spices floating happily throughout the jug and then pour a bunch of sauce into the bag to marinate.  The best thing is to marinate for a few hours before you want to grill.  My mom says you don't want to marinate overnight.  I'm not sure why, but she's an awesome cook and I don't question her.  Will it explode?  Will it disintegrate? I'm not sure, but I am not about to experiment with my new favorite meat. Be sure to push all the air out of the zip lock so the marinate is touching the meat at all times, then store in the fridge for the allotted time.

When you are about to grill, take it out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.  Also discard the marinade. This part I leave for my hubby, the grill master, but I understand you want to cook it on a medium high heat to sear in the meaty goodness.  How long depends on how you like your meat cooked.  For medium rare I read it's like 5 minutes a side.  For medium probably 6-8 minutes a side depended on the thickness of the meat. My mom loves to bring it in, let it rest, slice it up (on the bias click here if you need to know more about that because otherwise it could turn into fibrous shoe strings and not a slab o' tasty tender meat) and put it in a 9x13 pan where she pours more sauce over it.  She then puts it in a warm oven to heat the sauce up with the meat.  You could also just heat up some extra sauce on the side and pour over the meat on each plate.

And there you have it, a delicious hunk of meat.  The Yoshida's Gourmet sauce has a lovely warm teriyaki flavor that really makes a nice glaze or "bark" on the outside of the meat.  It's sweet with a hint of spicy and absolutely out of this world.  Here is the recipe if you need it one more time:

Flank Steak
Yoshida's Gourment Marinade and Cooking Sauce
Fork, Zip lock Bag, Grill

Poke holes in steak.  Place in Zip Lock Bag.  Pour in Sauce to Marinate
Grill according to your meat preferred doneness time.  So easy, it hurts!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream

Well, it only took one batch for us to fall in love with our Cuisinart Ice Cream maker.  Let's move on to our second attempt. The overwhelming group consensus was that chocolate chip mint must be our next batch of ice cream.  A quick internet search brought up a few recipes, and I was still looking for a no cook version to make things easy on ourselves.  Well now I can say attempt number two was a big hit! Feast your eyes upon this:

Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream with mint leaves from our garden
It was another easy to put together recipe, and the girls helped.  Also I've decided if we are going to be "professional" ice cream makers whipping up batches at the spur of the moment, we are going to have to have heavy cream and whole milk on hand at all times. Luckily, we still had some left over from our first batch. The other tip is to keep the empty canister in the freezer frozen at all times (you can keep bags or corn or peas inside of it to conserve space), so you are good and frozen when you are ready to roll. Here is what you will need:


1 1/2 cups whole milk (original called for 2% milk)
2 2/3 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt (original called for 1/2 tsp, I freaked out and only added a smidge)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract 
(original said peppermint extract, mint is more like the ice cream you would buy in the store)
3 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Since I had all the ingredients except mini chocolate chips, my hubby gave me the idea of chopping up regular chocolate chips to save time and money.  So I got my handy-dandy Pampered Chef chopper out and whacked out some pent up frustrations on some tiny morsels of chocolate.

Take that, chocolate!!
Next we mixed the whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and the drops of food coloring in a bowl and used the electric mixture for 1-2 minutes until the sugar had disolved.

As you can see my "helpers" used a bit more than three drops of color, but we did get a great green color out of it
When you are finished you will have something that looks like a Shamrock Shake, the best drink in all of the land.

Pour this frothy mixture into your 2 quart ice cream machine and turn it on

You can actually smell a waft of mint if you stick your nose down in the hole as it spins around. You look ridiculous with your head stuffed down in the top of a machine, but trust me, it will be worth it.

At the 20-25 minute mark you can pour your "add ons" in, this being the crushed chocolate chips.  Let the machine spin for 5 more minutes or so and the chocolate will be incorporated through the whole batch.  After that you will need to chill the whole thing in a separate container in the freezer to harden up and be at a thicker consistency to serve.  By the way, this ice cream was creamy, but not as smooth and creamy as the strawberry ice cream.  My theory is that you need more heavy cream in a recipe than milk.  UPDATED: We tried this again and I updated the above recipe to reflect 2 3/4 cups heavy cream and only 1 1/2 cups of whole milk.  MUCH BETTER on the creaminess factor.  Wow.

Our family's choice for serving is this tiny mini cones (we call them baby cones).  They are just the right size for kids or a little sweet treat snack without going on sugar overload.  These little cones make our ice cream concoctions last almost a week, which is great.  I will continue to make a record of all the recipes we try and keep you posted on our favorites.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bavarian Stitch (Catherine Wheel/Yarneater) Crochet

Have you ever seen anything so lovely and homemade you stop dead in your tracks and say, I must LEARN this?  Well that happened to me the other day.  I came across the most beautiful blanket I've seen in a long time.  The colors were absolutely stunning, and it featured a stitch I have not yet tried in crochet.  It's called the Bavarian Stitch.  Some people call it the Catherine Wheel or the Yarn Eater as well. Check out this blanket, it is amazing!  It is from the blogger over at MadMe.  I am in Awe. Check out her site she has more pictures of this blanket, which you will want to gaze at endlessly.

Photo by MadMe.  All rights reserved.
I was happy to see she had a link to my favorite you tube crochet guru Teresa, aka the crochet geek.  If you do not know how to crochet I highly recommend her beginner courses.  She has the basic stitches, plus walk throughs of many projects from start to finish.  Who says the internet is not helpful, I learned a whole new SKILL and life long hobby there!  Here is another shot of a Bavarian stitched blanket:

Photo by Cthulhu Crochet and Cousins, check out her site for pictures of this project
I would definitely consider the Bavarian stitch (now that I've tried it) an advanced stitch.  There are cluster stitches, and some of the time up to 8 loops on your hook (relatively rare for crochet).  If you want to see Teresa's tutorial on it, click here.  So I just grabbed some soft extra yarn I had lying around and decided to try it today.  I was able to do the center (the first two rows) in white, then switched colors to a soft pink.

After two rows of pink were finished (two rows make one "wheel) then I added a third color of light green.  I figured out this stitch is even slightly different than a regular Catherine Wheel in that the variation of crocheting around the posts of the row in front gives it the cool raised ridge effect.  Tricky to master but pretty when every thing is said and done.

So that is as far as I got.  I sure hope I am doing it right.  I was having a hard time with row five, so I did my best guesstimation off the pattern and just kept going.  Now I need to decide if I start the pattern over with white or add a 4th color... decisions decisions... I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Thanks to a bunch of gift cards to Bed Bath and Beyond for my birthday, (and a hearty recommendation from my Sister-in-law Sara), I was able to fulfill a long-time wish and buy a Cuisinart 2-quart ice cream maker.  We were so excited to make homemade ice cream from scratch, even using fruit from our own garden!

Here is a look at the machine, aint' she a beaut?  Ps, by the way, I was able to use their 20% off one item coupon that can be found online, or sent to your smart phone, so instead of paying $89 I saved like $17 and the total came to about $71 - which was just covered by three gift cards!  Sweet.

We decided to try one of the recipes that came in the little booklet with the machine: Homemade Strawberry ice cream.  By the way, it should be noted that this product claims you can make ice cream in about 30 minutes, which on the surface it sort of true.  There is some prep work and chilling involved to really maximize your ice cream pleasure.  The inner canister really needs to be frozen for 12-24 hours before you make your first batch of ice cream, and any ingredients you use must all be fully chilled as well.  After 30 minutes you will have something akin to soft serve, that needs to be transferred to another container and frozen to a hard ice cream state.  Other than that everything was pretty easy.  There are only a few parts and one giant knob that goes from on to off.  It's pretty fool proof.  Okay, now onto the recipe: Printable Recipe here

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

3 cups of finely chopped strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
4 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice.

1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

So let's start with the strawberries.  Chop them up and put 3 cups worth in a bowl

Add the 1/2 cup of sugar and squeeze 4 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice in

Mix together and then chill for 2 hours (another hidden time they didn't mention but needed for good ice cream)

Two hours later the berries have all macerated and formed their own syrup.  Drain off the juice and leave just the strawberries behind in the strainer (be sure to save the juice in a bowl underneath).

Now smash half of the berries.  Check out my hubby in action here. Those strawberries didn't stand a chance...

Now it's finally time to add the milk and cream ingredients together.  Pour the 2 3/4 cups of heavy cream, 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, and 1 cup of sugar into a mixing bowl and blend until the sugar dissolves, about 1-2 minutes.  It helps if you have adorable people helping you with this process.

Next add the 1 1/2 teaspoons of good quality vanilla

Then you want to pour in the smashed strawberries, the reserve strawberry juice and stir gently together.  (By the way, save the left over 1/2 of berries that were not smashed to stir in during the last five minutes of the ice cream process). This way you will get nice chunks of fresh fruit with the strawberry flavor.

Remove your super frozen center canister from the freezer (use oven mitts) and place in the center of the machine. You are now ready to pour your mixture into the ice cream maker!!  (My hubby's super rad and retro Atari shirt can be found at Target, FYI)

Now turn the big knob from "off" to "on" and watch it start spinning!  How exciting.  Place the paddle in the center and snap on the lid and, that's it!  Now set a timer for when you need to add the stir-ins (aka extra chopped strawberries) and watch it spin about.

So riveting they can't tear their eyes away even for a second...
At the 25 minute mark we poured in the reserve chopped berries right into the hole in the top of the machine.  Also, during the spinning time, we put an oven mitt gently over the hole at the top to help keep in the cold.

We let that mix for another 5 minutes until everything was blended nicely together.  If you notice there is a little ridge at the top of the canister, so if your ice cream expands too much it will flow into that reserve space.  Be sure to measure everything properly, as the mixture does expands as it is freezing.  Now let's check out what we have:

Try to resist as you may here, but we all got out some spoons to sample what we had created.  It was delicious!!!  As you can see it's still pretty soupy so this is where we poured it into another container and let it sit in the freezer until it was a much harder consistency (which took about 6 hours).

After all that work we were rewarded with the best tasting, creamy, sweet, decedent strawberry ice cream I've ever had!

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream - it doesn't get better than this
We kept saying to each other that it had a nice rich "mouth feel" that was awesome!  The kids wanted to try some the next day and so scandalously, we ended up having mini strawberry ice cream cones for breakfast.  We are currently taking nominations for the coolest parents ever.

I will keep posting each recipe we try, as I have found there are not a lot of 2 quart recipes out there (most are for the smaller 1 1/2 quart machine).  Next on our list will be chocolate chip mint.  Stay tuned! Ps. By the way, this machine also makes frozen yogurt, sorbet, gelato, sherberts, slushies, and drinks!  So excited to try more recipes.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Creamy White Chicken Artichoke Lasagna

I recently pinned another recipe to try from Pinterest.  This one sounded too good to pass up, it had all of my favorite things in one place!  What's not to love about chicken, artichokes, lasagna, and creamy goodness?  This recipe was originally posted at Kraft and this just happened to coincide with those new packages of mozzarella with the Philadelphia cream cheese added in that I wanted to try anyway. 

First, gather your ingredients:

You will need:

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 can artichokes, drained and chopped
1 8oz package shredded mozzarella cheese w/ Philadelphia added (divided)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup drained, chopped sun dried tomatoes 
2 packages (8oz) of cream cheese (softened)
1 cup of milk
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1/4 cup of fresh chopped basil (divided)
12 cooked lasagna noodles 

HEAT oven to 350°F. 

COMBINE chicken, artichokes, 1 cup mozzarella, Parmesan and tomatoes into a large bowl

Beat cream cheese, milk and garlic powder with mixer until well blended; and stir in 2 Tbsp. basil.

Note: This made a giant mess.  I recommend mixing JUST the cream cheese fist and add the milk slowly.

Pour half of creamy mixture over the chicken mixture in the other bowl and mix together.
SPREAD half the remaining cream cheese mixture onto bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; cover with 3 noodles and 1/3 of the chicken mixture. Repeat layers of noodles and chicken mixture twice. Top with remaining noodles, cream cheese mixture and the rest of the mozzarella; cover.

I actually baked uncovered.  Still worked great
BAKE 25 min. or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining basil. Let stand 5 min. before cutting to serve.

This turned out very creamy and cheesey, just like I was hoping. I wasn't sure if I would like the sun dried tomatoes but they gave it a really nice flavor.  This is what a slice turned out like:

We served it with a loaf of french bread and a salad.  It also made some nice left overs for hubby's lunch the next day.  All in all I think it turned out pretty good.  Another successful pinterest test completed. This one is very tasty and is going into our regular line up.

Cute Teacher Gift - An Acrostic Poem

We wanted to do something special for my daughter's kindergarten teacher.  She had been such a great teacher and positive influence on my middle child.  We wanted to make her something homemade, and I noticed in her classroom she has some gifts from former students displayed on the walls (pictures with cool teacher sayings, notes from parents, etc).  So we decided to make an acrostic.  What's an acrostic you say?  Well at the time I didn't know what it's official name was.  When the teacher actually pulled it out of the bag I thought she had said, "Oh a cross stitch"... which turns out was not the case.  The true definition is: An acrostic poem uses the letters in a word to begin each line of the poem. All lines of the poem relate to or describe the main topic word. We just took the first letters of her last name and stacked the vertically, then horizontally we added one characteristic/adjective about her for each letter.

The supplies were not expensive.  We bought a nice document frame from Walmart for $5, a piece of wide-spaced notebook paper, a package of sparkly letter stickers for $3, and a package of doggie stickers $2.  Then we customized it for this particular teacher.  This teacher loves scottie dogs, so we picked out those stickers.  My daughter did most of this work herself.  (It was hard for me as a perfectionist to let her do most of the placing, as I wanted it so bad to be lined up and with properly with good visual white space around it.  However it was also important that she do most of the lettering because it with this teacher who taught her all the letters).  I wrote out the big words on a piece of paper and placed it underneath so my daughter could trace the letters. We left the putting on of the capital letter stickers for last, in case there were any mistakes.

At the end we decided the creamy white border was a bit bland and we decided to gussy it up with some color.  My daughter had fun picking all kinds of colors and coloring away.  At the end she signed her name and the year then we wrapped it up ready to give on the last day of school.

This is Eva and her teacher Mrs. Mulcrone after she gave her the present.  She was so proud of her picture and the teacher loved it.  Even though there were only 10 minute left in class on the last day, she told the kids what an acrostic is, then used it to teach the letters in her name, even had the class count the scottie dogs across the top (you have to love teachers, they love to teach). After that she read them a book called "The last day of Kindergarten".  I love her so much, she is such a warm caring teacher.  By the way if you were wondering, the "Rawr-some" for the R letter is because their class has the theme of grizzly bears and they do this little cheer where all the kids "rawr" at the end of it, so we made awesome into "rawr-some".

So there you have it, a nice little unique and personalized end of the year teacher gift from your little ones. You could also use this idea for a parent, or grandparent, father's day or mother's day, get as creative as you want! Have fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Creamy Grape Salad

I went to my friend Lisa's backyard birthday party a few years back, and her friend brought the most amazing dessert/salad.  It was cool, refreshing, sweet delicious, addicting, and went perfectly with the rest of the potluck. Matter of fact if you have a party or gathering to go to this summer, well I highly recommend you bring this dish!  People you've never met at the same party will hunt you down and not leave your side until you write this recipe down on a party napkin.  It's that good.  Behold I give you... Creamy Grape Salad.

Picture by Gina's skinny recipes which features a low fat version of this same recipe
I have to thank Gina over at her blog for this beautiful picture of the grape salad.  I realize that every time I'm near one, my only goal is to get it on a plate and stuff it in my face, and for some reason after that, I always forget to take a picture of it before it vanishes completely.  This recipe is the regular (full flavor) version.

So first, gather your ingredients.  You will need:

2 lbs green grapes, washed, de-stemed, and pat dry
2 lbs red grapes, washed, de-stemed, and pat dry
1 8 oz package cream cheese (softened)
1 8 oz container sour cream
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
chopped pecans and a little extra brown sugar (at least 1/2 cup each)
Note: You can make this whole thing low cal by following Gina's link 
or buy light versions of the sour cream/cream cheese or use Greek yogurt

In a bowl, mix with electric beaters the 8 oz softened cream cheese, sour cream, 
the 1/2 tsp vanilla, and the 3/4 cup brown sugar.  

Add this mixture to the 4 lbs of grapes and mix gently together.  

Put entire mixture into your serving bowl you are taking to the party. 

Mix together equal parts of pecans and brown sugar (you can do as little as 1/2 cup each, or add more to taste).  Sprinkle over the top of the salad and chill for at least two hours.

That's it!  The chilling part is really key, as the flavors meld the the brown sugar makes everything extra yummy.  When you serve it, at first people might look at it a little funny.  It does sort of look odd with its white lumps and sprinkle of nuts.  But I promise you, once people get a taste of it, they will come back for seconds, and then thirds.  I think if a grape pie existed, this is what it would taste like.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A round of hugs for my friends

I have a friend that has a blog called "I had a dream about sleep".  The other day I was reading one of her posts about her kids doing the one thing that can get under any parent's skin quicker than anything: siblings fighting, whining, not getting along, and the big one tattling. In a stroke of genius with a simultaneous nod to letting the punishment fit the crime, she hideously made her kids hug.  That's right HUG for two straight minutes.  Timed and everything.  By the end the animosity had turned into giggles and all was right with the world again.  I thought, wait a second, I wanted to try this!  

Suddenly I wanted my kids to squabble (wait, what did I just say??  Okay, well there is always a first for everything, right?).  I was wishing for a spat, a "she's touching me", or even a good old fashioned "she won't share with me" moment.  I mean, look at these three little angles.  They don't look like the type to go a couple rounds with each other, correct?

You'd be wrong.  Dead wrong.  Well, Okay, 93% of the time I could say they get along fine (for the most part), but a mandatory timed hug was just around the corner, I could just FEEL it.  Finally this afternoon, it happened.  Nothing too dramatic but the two older ones were excluding the youngest and making her feel bad.  I DESPISE girl drama of any kind.  In the real world or in my house.  We will not have two against one.  We are all sisters, best friends, and we love each other.  No one is left out.  I called them all down and explained the situation.  We were going to have a group hug and it was going to be one minute long.  Hubby was only too excited to help out and hurried over to the kitchen clock to help time the festivities.  

They looked at us with perplexed faces at first, but then they scooted towards each other to prepare for the required hug.  At the call of "start" we were off.  There were some squeezes, then some smiles were cracked.  There were a few off balanced moments where the whole group might of tipped over, and a few moments where the littlest one needed a little less hugging and more air (since she was shorter and the hugs were going more around her neck).  Soon there was full-on giggles, laughing and big smiles on all the faces.  By the time the buzzer sounded they broke apart with a "yeah" and ran upstairs laughing and talking about what they were going to play next - the earlier altercation completely forgotten.

What??  That was pretty awesome.  I had to let Jeanne (blog writer) know that the timed hug worked like a charm!  Just thought I'd pass it along, just in case there are other people in your life that need forced hugs.  I can attest so far, it works great!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yes, I speak Preschooler

Don't you agree, all rocks should be covered in colorful chalk?
My youngest is so funny.  She's my little jibber-jabberer.  She can talk your ever-lovin' ear off about almost anything.  Lately, all she can talk about is that she is officially four years old (and after this summer is over), she is going to go to preschool with her new teacher Ms. Cindy and she will be a "big girl".
Out of all my girls she is the one that tries to use the biggest grown up words, things like: actually, beautiful, discovery, wonderful, absolutely, and awesome.  She can tell you a whale shark is the size of a school bus, and snapping shrimp is the loudest animal on earth (thanks Octonauts). Unbeknownst to her, I've been keeping a running list of words on the fridge that she is trying to use correctly but are, for now, adoarably just a tad off.  Let's see if you can speak preschooler as well as I can and guess what she is trying to say:

First:  I'll give you an easy one.  She asks for these almost every day. PINECONES

Yes, I should give her this one, it is so close.  They are even the same pokey oblong shape.  Instead of a coarse spiky cone from a tree though,  what she really wants is some pineapple

Ok, here's the next one.  She wants a bowl of these, sometimes for breakfast and they give her the worst breath ever.  Mommy, can a have a bowl of FUTONS pretty please!!

Does she want a fold down apparatus that is as equally most uncomfortable both as a couch and a bed?  Nope, she wants those tasty garlic salad toppers, otherwise known as croutons.

The breakfast of champions

Ok I like these next ones, she combines a couple of words to make one new word.  Let me just give you the picture and you can try and see what she wants:

Does she want to siphon her morning bowl of cereal through a fishing net??


What she wants is: to watch some shows on demand on Netflix. Preferably Curious George or My Little Pony.

she also knows how to run our TIVO remote perfectly, by the way

I really like this next one too.  Here's another picture.  It always gives me a chuckle when she asks for it:

Hmmmm, sun plus SCREAM.  Mommy, I need SUNSCREAM before I go outside. 

Yup.  She wants some sunscreen.  

This one cracks me up because I suppose if you were to go outside all day long without it, you might indeed be making a lot of sun "scream" later on.

Here's the last one.  She actually combined the words

HAND plus SANITIZER equals.... "Hanitizer"... hey wait a second.  That has got a ring to it.  I really like that one. Hmmm, maybe that one will catch on?  My littler wordsmith preschooler, can't wait to hear what she comes up with next!

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