You can’t make this up! My son actually said that to me one night this week. We have a chore chart that rotates each week and some weeks are done better than others. My son is by far the best at doing his chores without being asked and he is only 9. This week his chore was dishes and he made sure they were done! I even found the dishwasher going the other morning to my surprise because I don’t remember many dishes in the sink. Of course when I opened the dishwasher there indeed were only 4 dishes in there and it was going! Too cute! I had to explain to him later that he can load the dishwasher and wait until the end of the day when it is more full to run them.
So back to the title. After doing the dishes one night he decided to clean off the kitchen counter with the cleaning spray. He then moved to the table. Then just started cleaning things around the house like the shower doors, sinks, bathroom counters, etc. That is when we said it was bedtime and he said “I’m not tired can I stay up and clean? Oh if we could only bottle that type of enthusiasm for cleaning! I am still trying to figure out if he really was having fun cleaning or if he just thought that would allow him to stay up later.
We have tried to make our children understand the importance of work as well as the need to help around the house because they live there too. This education and experience will hopefully follow them when they leave home. Their rooms are their responsibility, however most days it looks like a bomb went off. Their idea of cleaning their room is find the closest area to shove something under or into and now that it is “out of sight” it is clean. We are still working on that! We started with chores when they were younger and of course they were more basic but have progressed to larger responsibilities or ones they are required to do without help now that they are older. Our chore chart now consists of 3 different major chores that will rotate each week so they each get a chance to do something different weekly.
- Pick up all laundry around house on floors and from baskets
- Sort laundry
- Fold laundry and help put up
- Pick up dirty dishes from around the house
- Load dishwasher
- Empty dishwasher
- Clean counters and dining table
- Clean trash from floors
- Sweep and spot mop floors
- Take out the trash
- Clean bathrooms once during the week
What chores do your children do around the house?
Photo Credit: grouprecipes.com
My husband’s family grew up loving Red Velvet Cake which quickly became a favorite of theirs for birthdays or special occasions. I had never tried one until I had married my husband. The recipe is said to be the actual Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake served at their hotel and after trying it you could certainly see why. Although if you search it online as Waldorf Astoria Red Velvet Cake you will find a few variations of the recipe.
I have tried to make cakes from scratch before and they have never turned out as tasty or easy as this one. I have to admit that if I am short on time I have cheated and made a store-bought red velvet cake however I will not cheat on the icing. This icing is to die for! It is not like a traditional cream cheese frosting you will find on many Red Velvet Cakes. This one is almost like whipped cream but is very rich. It also is fairly simple to make as long as you follow the instructions and make sure the flour mixture is completely cooled before preparing the remainder of the icing.
This still is the cake my husband loves for his birthday and of course being red it is perfect for Valentines too. I am never so fancy as to do multiple layers as shown but I have cut the cake in half and put a layer of icing in the center. Although I have never done it before these would make really fun cupcakes for Valentines parties too. If you have never had red velvet cake, or never had this recipe you HAVE to try it! Click HERE for the recipe:
What is your favorite cake or frosting?
Valentines Day costs consumers nearly 16 billion dollars a year. That is almost 1.1 billion boxes of chocolates. Jewelry and dining out average 3.5 billion each in dollars spent and flowers bring in around 1.7 billion. We spend almost a billion dollars on greeting cards alone. The average man will spend around $150 and women around $75 for their significant other. All to show our love for others on this special day.
Remember in elementary school where children exchange Valentines with classmates and how paranoid you were that someone would think you liked them because of what your valentine would say. Inspecting each candy heart to verify what it said before it went into the envelope? Maybe the goal was the opposite and you wanted to profess your love for someone by reserving that special Valentine just for them and maybe giving them a few extra candy hearts too!
I think I am a bit of a strange cookie because I have never been one that was big on a specific day set aside to profess my love for someone or them for me. I think we have that opportunity “every” day and frankly getting flowers, cards or other gestures out of nowhere on a regular day says more to me then a set day on the calendar where you feel the pressured to profess your love. There are some that have expectations on Valentines day. When those expectations are not met they often become angry or hurt because they did not receive what they specifically wanted or feel they deserved. True heart-felt gestures of love should be accepted for what they are, a gesture of love. I think expectations can put pressure and stress on your significant other to “perform” and then it no longer feels like a true gesture of love. That said I understand that it is a fun day to make sure we are letting all those important people in our lives know that they are loved and frankly just having a whole day set aside to focus on love itself.
So what gift ideas are trending for Valentines Day this year?
- Lingerie (is that really for her or more for him?)
- Aroma Candles (lets set the mood)
- Music Players or Equipment
- Mood Music
- Digital Reading Device
- Books on Relationships/Marriage
- Romance Gift Basket (PG all the way to X rated!)
- Romance Gift (also PG all the way to X rated)
- Handheld Organizer
- Accessories (belt, wallet, gloves, etc)
- Grooming Products
- Alcohol & Candy
- Bar Set (so they will drink at home I guess?)
Gifts are a fun way of celebrating but they really are just material items and it is the time we spend with loved ones that shows our true feelings. Just as the Beatles song says “All you need is love”. Happy Valentines Day!
What are you planning for Valentines Day? What was your best memory?
I work as a customer service agent and one of my biggest challenges is when a customer calls in with a unique name and doesn’t spell it for you. We are required to verify spelling even if your name is John Smith but I was assuming having a unique name you would understand it would need to be spelled in those circumstances. This certainly is important if you are one who has every letter of the alphabet in your name! How about those with common names that have unique spellings? I get that on calls too where I will say “do you spell that Alison” and then find out it is actually spelled Alesyn. This can often make a typically easy name hard to pronounce phonetically when seen on paper. That name looks like it would be pronounced A-el-sin not Al-ih-sun.
How about those children growing up with a name their parents thought were either funny or unique but really are just awkward and weird. Nosmo wouldn’t be my first choice but alone it is okay, however if your last name is King then your name spells out “no smoking”. How about the mom who had twins whose names are pronounced “or-ann-jilo and leh-man-jilo” but spelled out they are Orangejello and Limejello. Orange and lime jello? Really?
We had picked unique names for our daughters and although my son’s name is more traditional we don’t find many peers with the same name. The spelling of their names is easy enough that most pronounce them correctly and they have beautiful names.
I was in the store the other day and heard a mother yelling at her kids and calling out their names on the next aisle. This took me back to when I had to realize when at the store I might know someone on the next isle when I am speaking in a raised voice to my kids. They would certainly know it is me because who else has those names?. Of course I also realized I just shouldn’t be yelling at my kids in the store anyway!
So what are some of the pros and cons of a unique name?
- You are probably the only one with your name or maybe only one of a few so you are easily identifiable.
- People may find it easier to remember you when you first meet because of your unique name.
- You will find more compliments on your name because it is not common and may be the first time someone has heard that name.
- You are all set to become a celebrity with a stand out name if you choose a life of fame. You could be known by your first name only, like many famous people.
- You don’t have to be identified by your first “and” last name. Remember in school where there are 3 Adam’s in one class and each had to go by their last name or last initial to be identified.
- There isn’t any products with your name on it at the store.
- Your name can be difficult for someone to spell or pronounce.
- There may be more teasing associated because of a unique name. But let’s be honest, kids will find anything to tease each other about.
- Could others be confusion of your gender with a unique name? If your name is Jennifer or Steve on paper it is obvious who you are but with a unique name someone may have difficulty when having to addressing you as Mr. or Mrs. on the phone or in a letter.
- If you are named after a celebrity with a unique name are you going to always be identified back to that person? “So your name is Keanu like Keanu Reeves the actor?”. This also would apply if you name your child after a character like Thor they certainly will be always answering that question “from the comic books?” or ask “where is your enchanted hammer?” for the rest of his life.
- Some unique names just don’t fit in a professional world. It can be hard to take someone serious in business when they introduce themselves with a funky name!
What unique names have your heard? What experiences have you had with a unique name either for yourself, your child or someone you know?
I do have to post this because many of you may be doing volcano projects at school and I guarantee that if you have your teachers permission this will be a huge hit with the students because they get to eat it! This would be fun for parties too!
Several years ago my oldest daughter had a volcano project at school. She had eaten a dessert called the chocolate volcano once and thought it would be cool to do one for school. Easier said then done until my mother and I got brainstorming. We borrowed my mother’s chocolate fountain and got to work on how to build some cake up around the fountain. When all was said and done it was the most awesome volcano we had ever seen. So, of course the following year when my other daughter had a volcano project we had to repeat the edible volcano!
I apologize I do not have pictures of each step nor of the finished volcano so I hope the pictures I do show help to give you visual of what to do.
- First you need a chocolate fountain. Some are taller than others so you may not need all three layers as I describe. The one I used was a larger version so you may have to do a trial round first and put it all together to make sure what works before the actual event or adjust your cake sizes to fit a smaller fountain. You need a chocolate fountain that will allow you to only use the cylinder with top & auger parts without having to use the different plastic tiers. You will be building up around the cylinder only.
- Take a round cake cardboard (can find at any craft store and Wal-Mart). Cut a whole in the center. Slide down around the base of the cylinder to lie flat on the top of the bowl of the fountain. You will be layering your cakes on top of this cardboard.
- You will need to make three different chocolate cakes.
- The first is a one layer round cake. I used about a 15-16 inch pan and the cake was about 2 inches high. You will cut a whole in the middle and slide down the cylinder to lie on the cardboard cake piece.
- The second cake is a bundt cake. Mine was about a 12 inch cake pan. This you will slide down the cylinder to lie on top of the first cake. Notice it “already” has a whole so that job is done for you! Yippy!
- The last cake if you need it is an oversized cupcake for the top. Notice in the picture it has a normal size cupcake and then the larger cupcake. If you look in most kitchen supply areas next to the normal 12 cupcake pans they should have the larger size 6 cupcake pan. Take the cupcake and carefully cut a whole in the center. Turn the cupcake upside down so the large top will now be on the bottom. Carefully slide it down the cylinder to lie on the top of the bundt cake. You should be able to place the lid top for the cylinder on after putting on the cupcake.
- Now that your cakes make a pyramid type shape you will need to frost and decorate it. Using chocolate frosting make sure to cover the entire cake and up around the sides of the cylinder top. You can also decorate it with green sprinkles in areas to look like trees or if you feel very talented you can pipe frosting to look like rocks and trees around the cake.
- For the actual lava you will take approximately 1-2 bottles of Hershey’s Caramel Syrup depending on the size of your fountain. Add enough red food coloring and shake the caramel in the bottle until you get the color you want. Before you present your volcano fill the base of the fountain with the caramel. Make sure you have enough caramel to allow the fountain to run properly! If your cardboard goes all the way to the edges of the fountain bowl you may have to cut a small whole at one edge of the cardboard before putting it on the base to allow you room to pour in the caramel.
- Now the fun part! Turn on the fountain and watch the caramel lava flow out the top and down around your cake. Cut and serve!
What things have you made to eat that were as fun to look at as they were to eat?
My son is in third grade and they recently had to make a volcano for school. My two daughters had done this in the past but opted to go a different route with an edible volcano. I will post about that soon I promise cause it was such a huge success. I wanted to post this one today because it was by far much easier and came together fairly quickly. Click here to see the website that we found the instructions for this volcano. It has really good pictures showing each step. The picture above is the our finished volcano!
This only requires a small cardboard box with no lid (find them easily at the grocery store), newspaper, tape, aluminum foil, paint, empty water bottle and moss or sand to decorate. The website called for a vile for the center but we just used an empty water bottle and frankly because it is more narrow in the opening when we put the chemicals for the lava in it actually popped up about two inches above the top of the volcano and then flowed down. Others who had a wider opening at the top just had their lava ooze over the top. He had the best reaction by far because everyone was excited to see it actually “erupt” and blow up into the air a bit!
We took the water bottle and used duct tape to secure it to the cardboard box. We crumpled up newspaper and built it up around the bottle and used tape to help secure the paper pieces together. We then took pieces of aluminum foil and wrapped them from the top down pressing into the newspaper to make it look more rough and mountainous. Where the foil overlapped we put double-stick tape to secure the seams. We bought Krylon Make It Stone paint that makes it look more rough and rocky then just one tone. After drying we used spray glue to attach moss around areas of the volcano and around the base to look like trees.
For the lava it is really simple. We took an empty water bottle and filled it with about 1/4 cup baking soda, one drop of dish soap, red dye (enough to get the color you want) and warm water. Leave room at the top to be able to shake the ingredients together because the baking powder does settle at the bottom and has to be shaken before using. When time to make the volcano erupt we poured about 1/4 cup of vinegar into the water bottle inside the volcano. We then poured the baking powder mixture in and stood back as it erupted!
Have you made a volcano for a school project before? What success stories do you have with any school projects you have done with your kids?