Thursday, September 11, 2014

Public Service Annoucement to BACK UP your information, ALWAYS!

Our primary home computer has been cranky all year but it seemed like more old age issues of working really slow, not wanting to visit many websites, etc.  I'd learned to work around it's quirks and only used it for very specific basic things like scanning, saving photos, storing home information, etc.  So when the computer suddenly shut off while plugged in I was completely mystified!  No blue screen warnings of hey, I'm about to take a nose dive into computer death.  No warnings.  Just sudden death.

Of course I'll be taking it to a computer store to try and salvage the information, which will put a dent in the computer budget I've been saving all year to get a new one - boo hiss!  I haven't backed up all year and that's just irritating me because it's been on my list of things to do for a year. 

Henceforth my plea to please back up your work, always. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

Labor Day 2014

Part of me really wanted this to be a productive day but it's become a fun day with the kids and that's important too - right?

We started with Play Doh but that quickly spiraled out of control when they took greater interest in the "new to us" $2.00 yard sale bubble Fisher Price car. 

I quickly packed them into the van with the promise of a trip to the canal to hunt for leaves and flowers but first we need to throw rocks in the water. 

It's a hot humid day and I can't say it's my favorite weather but I'm glad we got out and did a nature walk.  It's fun to see what the kids pick up. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Reluctant Art Teacher Part 2

She asked for paint and then to my horror, barely used it.  As a former art student wasting materials is a very very bad thing to do so I sit down to use up the leftover paint.  She comes to join me because it's more fun to paint what mom is drawing.

It's a crazy unplanned art piece.  It was only supposed to be a few flowers that I'd crop and put in my journal because the center was already cut out but it turned into a full art piece so I just glued some pink paper to cover the hole and placed a few more cut flowers in the center.  Weird, unplanned, total random piece of art, and we still had a little paint left over!

Monday, August 25, 2014

First day of First Grade!

I had a long mental list of things I was planning to do with Charlotte this summer and I can't say that we did any of it but she had an amazing summer so I'm not beating myself up over this.

There's this educational bug that's going around that makes parents want to cram as much knowledge as possible into our kids heads.  Make them read as many books as possible over the summer.  Make them do math every day.  It's helpful when people post articles about "Unschooling" on Facebook to help bring the frazzled overburdened parent back to earth. 

This summer, Charlotte left home for a month and not once did she call in a panic out of boredom or fear.  I knew she's be okay but I really thought she might need a little more hand holding, more phone calls, etc.  She did not. 

She left for Texas on June 26th, a week after her birthday and spent about one week in Texas with family.  She then went on a 2 day road trip with her grandparents to Montana where they stayed for two weeks.  She then did the return trip back to Texas and flew home on July 29th, just in time to celebrate Sam's birthday. 

She hasn't stopped talking about this trip since returning.  The outdoor stuff she discovered like finding dead animals, a bird that Odie the Dalmatian may have killed, a butterfly that had it's head fall off, a bag of rocks that were brought back to paint because she found a lovely one in a shop that she wanted to imitate.  So much learning and we just had to set her free to discover things.  This is the beauty of education.  The ugly part is the cramming.  Let's just hope I've learned my lesson and don't go into over drive next summer thinking we have to do school every day!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Starbucks Pumpkin Muffins - 3 ways!

I've been baking muffins obsessively for about 3 years now and have learned the value of butter VS oil.  Aside from taste, the biggest difference is the oil based muffins will last in the fridge longer than the butter base.  The butter base get harder and denser as the days go on so I suggest to eat these up within 2 days of making them. If you want an amazing butter based recipe, I suggest this one from Pioneer Women.  I've made it over 50 times and it's just wonderful.  It never lasts more than 2 days anyway! 

This recipe is oil based and I can't remember where I got the original recipe but I've made enough changes to make it my own so here goes:

Powder Mixture:
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Wet Mixture:
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin (or use your favorite squash)
  • 1 cup oil
You know the drill, mix powders in one bowl and wet mixture in a second bowl.  Slowly combine both in a mixer or by hand.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

This recipe makes 30 muffins so be prepared to grease a lot of muffin containers!  I haven't tried cutting it in half, instead I just got creative with the toppings.

1st 12 muffins - AWESOME ADDITION!
  • 1/3 cream cheese bar, cut in 12 pieces, drop one small chunk into each muffin container after it's been filled with the muffin mixture.  It will kinda float near the top.  Then add a spoonful of brown sugar topping.
  • Brown Sugar Topping (I keep this premade in a jar)
    • 4 Tablespoons Turbinado
    • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Alternative is regular brown sugar mixed with cinnamon
2nd 12 muffins - AWESOME ADDITION!
  • Topping can be any nuts and dried fruit you happen to have on hand.  The ones you buy at Starbucks have Pumpkin seeds so we thought why not use up some of this trail mix we have on hand!

3rd set of 6 muffins - AWESOME ADDITION!
  • We had a bag of cranberries to use up and thought, why not put these inside the muffin mix!  The topping was back to the brown sugar/cinnamon mix.

And here's the photo of the first 12 muffins!

These freeze extremely well.  To thaw in a hurry, microwave for 15 seconds to thaw inside and then in the oven for 5 minutes at 350.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lego Man Slays the Dragon

I love taking photos of toys as my children have left them.  You could call it my long love for Toy Story, or just looking for humor.  I must admit, I did add Lego man.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Random Tuesday

Peeking my head out of the covers to rejoin the Random community.  Yawn, stretch, it's been a long year since I've joined in the merriment! 

1)  Husband brought this flower inside while it was a bud.  As it opened we discovered a beetle.  He moves occasionally, even after we were sure he was dead.  Maybe he's just alarmed by all the noise.

2)  I've declared today to be the last day Frozen shall be played until it snows again!  I want the kids to fall in love with it again and get excited about building snowmen so I'm hiding the DVD after today!  Sorry little girl.

3)  Fun signs my husband leaves on my work white board.

4)  Did you know it's cheaper to rent a castle in France than to stay at some Disney Resorts?!?  Check out the link.

Hope ya'll have a great Tuesday!