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Posts tagged ‘Kids’

Rodeo Fun! Mutton Bustin Anyone?

Photo Credit: rodeohouston.comIt is RODEO time in Houston. Every year this time the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town for a few weeks. It usually is here during spring break so it becomes one of our day trips as a family. If you have never been to something like this it can be an all day event. Not only do they have a carnival with tons of rides, games and food vendors but there is also over 480 retail vendors with everything like cowboy boots, candy, jewelry, scented candles, furniture, clothing, kitchen gadgets, etc. They also have a kids zone with fun exhibits, rides and interactive activities. Want to see an egg hatch live? They have it! Want to see them milk a cow? They have it! Want to walk around thousands of pens full of stinky pigs, cows, horses, chickens, etc? They have it! They also have livestock auctions and competitions.

The big event is the rodeo and concert held inside Reliant Stadium. They always have a concert after the rodeo that features a headline singer or group. Although I am not a huge country music fan I am impressed with the A list of stars that have sold out shows each year like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Reba McEntire. The rodeo itself includes bucking horses and bull riding, chuck wagon races, barrel races, the calf scramble, calf roping, etc. One of my favorites by far is the “Mutton Bustin”. The announcer actually puts it the best when he says “this is the part of the show where we strap our kids to farm animals and call it entertainment”. If you have never seen it you have to watch the video below. Basically it is a  child around 5-6 years old wearing a heavily padded vest and helmet  put on the back of a sheep, told to grab on to its wool, and then hang on for dear life when the gate opens. As the sheep runs across the pen the object is to see who can stay on the longest. Over the years I have seen a few kids with tears but the majority have huge grins on their faces and are pumping their fists in the air with excitement after they take that dive to the ground.

What is your favorite thing about a rodeo?

Tips for Perfect Cookie Dough

Raw cookie dough in cookie clumps.

Image via Wikipedia

After seeing this article on Yahoo today I certainly am putting “cookie making with the kids” on my spring break list! I think everyone has their favorite cookie and certainly we all want to sneak a taste of the dough even though we have been advised against consuming products with raw eggs. Who can resist? And who doesn’t like the smell of fresh-baked cookies? I mean they make candles with that scent because we love it so much!

Although the perfect cookie for me is the pre-packaged cookie dough in the store that you just pull out of the package and bake, I do sometimes venture to make cookies from scratch. Most people will have the ingredients for baking cookies on hand and these are easy ingredients to stock up when on sale or you have a coupon.

This article gives some really simple tips in the way ingredients are mixed as well as other suggestions of how to get your cookies to come out consistent and how to adjust the recipe to your personal preference for the perfect cookie. This is instructions for a basic a chocolate chip cookie dough but it also has suggestions of variations for the same basic dough so we can get creative!

Check out the article HERE and let me know what cookies you are going to be baking soon!

Making Cake Fondant: Easier than you Think!

My son is in Cub Scouts and needed to make a theme cake to bring to the Blue and Gold Banquet for his pack. This is a father and son project to come up with an idea and decorate their cake for this competition. They went over many options to go with the theme of “resourcefulness” like a pocket knife, camp fire, recycling, and a compass. My son chose a compass. Instead of trying to frost and then decorate a cake with frosting tips they decided to try fondant instead. We have a close friend that decorates cakes that advised us to go online and find a recipe for marshmallow fondant because it was really easy.

Although I can follow recipes I always worry about trying something that in my mind is hard, even if someone tells me it is easy. In the spirit of adventure I decided to jump in feet first and make this fondant. It is simply melted marshmallows, a bit of water and a ton of powdered sugar. Using my KitchenAide Mixer with the dough hook made it even more simple! I just added the melted marshmallow and water and began slowly adding the powdered sugar until it reached the consistency I wanted. I then pulled it out and continued kneading it with some additional powdered sugar until it was no longer sticky. Since we decided to do more than one color I did not add the coloring with the initial mixing. I had to separate out the dough into the amounts I needed and then put it back into the mixer one at a time adding the color. I did some additional kneading to make sure all the color was consistent with no streaks. I then wrapped each color in plastic wrap and placed them in the refrigerator as the recipe had stated (I found out later from our friend that refrigeration isn’t necessary if it is wrapped properly and will be used within a few days).

We had already made a cake which we had frozen. This makes it easier when trying to press the fondant on and around the cake. Before starting with the fondant they spread a thin layer of cake frosting on the cake to help the fondant adhere properly. For the fondant they placed it in between two pieces of plastic wrap and used a rolling-pin to roll it out thin. They cut out the pieces they needed for each part and placed them on the cake. Where corners met they were able to mold and pinch them together to make it more seamless. They also made templates for the letters and markings on the top, cut them out and placed them on the top of the cake. It was done in no time!

They had so much fun making this cake and seeing how quickly everything came together we want to do more. I think over spring break and the summer I will make some cupcakes, fondant of different colors, and get small cookie cutters and stencil templates to let my children decorate some cupcakes! We may even become adventurous and do a layered cake together.  LET THEM EAT CAKE!

To see the website for recipe and instructions on this easy marshmallow fondant click HERE.

Have you ever used fondant for your cake decorating?

Homemade Can Rotators

I like to stock up on food items we use often especially when I can use coupons and find them on sale. There are many commercial can rotators available but frankly I would rather spend money on more food storage then a piece of plastic. I found several patterns online to make cardboard can rotators and after some trial and error and a little tinkering I came up with this cardboard can rotator that is literally made with just cardboard, popsicle sticks and glue! The ones I have made have held up perfect for the last 8 months. I have done 3 at the same time assembly line style and it takes about 1 ½ hours. This would be a fun project to involve your kids with for some of the easy steps. Most of that time spent is actually waiting for glue to dry! You can take a label or just write with a sharpie marker the “Name” of the product can in each rotator. Each rotator will hold approx. 15 cans like vegetables or fruit, and about 20 or more smaller cans like Campbell’s soup.

Cardboard Can Rotator:

Supplies: You can use any cardboard boxes you have but I have found those that are used and bent are harder to use. You can easily purchase a 14x14x14 box in the office section of Wal-Mart for approx. 67 cents. They are perfect to use for this project!

  • Need cut and have:                                             Also will need:
  • 2- 14×14 cardboard pieces                                   Utility (Exacto) Knife
  • 2- 7×14 cardboard pieces                                     Elmers Glue
  • 2- 5×11 cardboard pieces                                     Popsicle Sticks
  • 1- 2×7 cardboard piece                                         Ruler
  • 1- 5×7 cardboard pieces                                       Pencil
  • 1- 2×5 cardboard piece

Step 1: Take your two 14×14 pieces and lay next to each other. Using a ruler mark your “shelf” lines as follows:

Cardboard on Right:

  • #1: Starting from the top right corner measure 10 inches across the top and then draw a line 4 inches down from there. From the bottom of that 4 inch line draw a straight line up to the top right hand corner (making a triangle).
  • #2: Then on the same piece of cardboard start at the bottom left hand corner and measure across the bottom 10 inches and draw a line up 4 inches. Go back to the left hand bottom corner and measure straight up 6 inches and mark a small line. Take that small line and draw a line down to where it meets the 4 inch line you just did at the bottom.
  • #3: Then from the bottom right hand corner measure straight up 2 inches and mark a small line. Then go back to the bottom right hand corner and measure 3 inches along the bottom and mark a small line there. Draw a line between the two small marks.

Repeat this same step on the left side cardboard piece but you will change the directions you start with so you basically are making a mirror image of the right cardboard piece.

Step 2: You then will glue 2 popsicle sticks directly under each of the top two lines and then on the bottom line glue just one stick (See picture) and then set aside to dry.

Step 3: Take the 2- 7×14 inch pieces. These will be the pieces for the back panel and bottom. Take your ruler across where it measures 7 inches and mark a small line at 1 inches and another at 6 inches. Draw a straight line up from both of these lines. Score slightly with your utility knife to make it easier to fold, and then fold up the sides.You will take “one” of these 7×14 pieces and at the very top about ¼ inch down glue a popsicle stick across it (see picture below):

Step 4: Take one of the 7×14 panels and put glue on both of the turned up sides and glue the 2 14×14 panels to it and set it aside to dry (you can set a book on it to help it hold together and dry).

Step 5: Once the back panel and two side panels are dried stand them up and fold it in. Taking the other 7×14 panel put glue again on the folded up sides and place the side/back panel pieces inside of it pushing the bottom of the side panels against the folded up sides of the bottom panel. You can use chip clips to hold them together or keep pressing them together until they dry.

Step 6: Once the bottom panel is dried take the 2×7 piece and the 5×7 piece.  Repeat the steps (like you did with the 7×14 pieces) in Step 3 where you measure across 7 inches, marking the 1 inch and 6 inch with a small line, draw a line up, slightly score and then turn up the edges. Take the 2×7 piece and glue the folded up sides.  Glue across the bottom front pressing the folded sides around the edges of the side panels. Repeat this with the 5×7 piece which you will place the bottom of that piece about half way up (the bottom of that piece lines up with the line of popsicle sticks). See picture:

Step 7:  Put glue on all the tops of the popsicle sticks and just above them along the sides of the cardboard box. Taking your 2×5 piece lay it on the very bottom row of popsicle sticks where it rests on the sticks. Press down so it will glue onto the popsicle sticks. Glue all around the edges almost like your caulking the corners with the glue. Repeat this step with the next row of popsicle sticks with one of the 5×11 pieces, and then finish with the top row of popsicle sticks with the last 5×11 piece (this will also rest on the popsicle stick on the top of the back panel). Make sure you put glue around all the edges. Lay the can rotator on its side and place a heavy book on it to help press everything together.

Guess what?  Your done!

What ideas do you have for storing cans and other non perishable food items?

2 Pot Roast Recipes. Fast,Easy Delicious!!!

Any meal cooked in a crock pot is my kind of meal. Even better is a recipe where the prep time is just minutes and you literally just throw it all in, close the lid and let it cook. Here are two of my favorite go-to pot roast recipes that really do only take minutes to prepare. The aroma when cooking is to die for and you will love the variety in flavor between the two recipes but both are amazingly sumptuous! You can also toss in some peeled potatoes, carrots or onions if you want or serve with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Of course some hot fresh bread or rolls is a must too!

Campbell’s Soup Pot Roast

Brown the roast on all sides and put in the crock pot. In mixing bowl mix cans of soup with the dry soup mix until well blended. Pour over the roast and close the lid to the crock pot. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. The sauce  will be thick enough to use as gravy over the roast and potatoes.

Ranch Dressing Pot Roast:

Brown the roast on all sides and put in the crock pot. In large cup or bowl add all dry mixes with one cup of water and whisk until well blended. Pour over roast and close the lid to the crock pot. Set on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. The sauce will be thin so if you desire a thicker gravy pour the sauce into a sauce pan and then take either 2 tbsp of flour or corn starch mixed in 1/2 cup of water and slowly add to the sauce until it thickens.

Do you have a good pot roast recipe to share?

Headache? Reach for the Peppermint Oil!!!!!

Photo Credit: doterraoil.com

We as parents will certainly have a few headaches come our way. Some are related to sickness itself but others will just come from stress. I have always relied on the usual tactics of medication, hot showers, cold packs or sleep to get rid of a headache that often provide little help or take forever for the headache to finally go away.

Years ago as I was walking through a high-end department store on my way from the parking lot into the mall I was stopped in the cosmetic section by a woman giving free samples of peppermint lotion. She swore this would help with any aches and pains but especially headache  and stress relief. I took the sample because it was free and as you all know I like free. I used it and was pleasantly surprised at the results I got with my first headache. Of course when I went to see about purchasing this same lotion I realized I would have to take out a  small loan to afford it so I decided it was not going to become a part of my headache fighting regimen after all!

Fast forward many years later where I have some friends telling me about their new excitement for essential oils and all the health benefits they offer. I being the natural skeptic that I am smiled politely but really didn’t pay it much attention until I had my next headache and I remembered the peppermint lotion I had used years ago. Having  that good success in the past I contacted my friend who is now a DoTERRA Product Consultant and told her to order me some peppermint oil. Best decision in the world! Not only does it smell good but it has a warming sensation that helps soothe and the natural oil helps alleviate pain.

I promise to post more about other oils we use another time however since I had a horrible headache last night and was reaching for the peppermint oil to find relief I thought I would share this today. I now have my whole family in love with peppermint!

Although there are many companies that offer essential oils I will have to admit I like everything I have heard about this company DoTERRA because their oils are Certified 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade. They offer a variety of oils and oil blends along with other products containing oils for a variety of needs. You can visit the website for the DoTERRA Product Consultant to inquire about their products or discuss ailments you may want help for.  Click HERE for more information.

Do you used essential oils?

Why is that Song Stuck in my Head???

I often will hear a song and it becomes stuck in my head all day long. Even after trying to listen to other music I will find I still begin humming the same tune eventually sometime that day. It would be okay if it was a song I liked but often it is to the contrary. Like the time I had to catch a flight for a business trip and on the way to the airport my husband was singing a goofy variation of the alphabet song. I am sure you have guessed that yes I indeed was humming and singing that song for TWO DAYS! So my question is why does it always have to be songs that annoy me or are silly that get stuck in my head?

I also have a daughter who is extremely silly, sarcastic and loves to tease. In her defense she takes after both of her parents so this is a naturally inherited trait that she does so well! She loves to push my buttons by purposely singing a song she knows will annoy me and likely get stuck in my head.

Then there are the times I start to sing a song and wonder where in the world that came from. I haven’t heard it recently and I just realize I am singing or humming it. I actually was in Wal-Mart one day totally by myself and suddenly realized I was humming a tune from The Little Mermaid. My kids are a little older so it had been some time since we had seen that movie so that in itself was weird. Doesn’t it seem weird to you for a 30 something woman all alone to be singing “Part of Your World” from a Disney movie?

I also have the wonderful talent of hearing someone say a word and it immediately triggers a connection with a song that I start singing or hear it playing as a constant stream in my head.

How do you get a song out of your head?

What Kids Say in Public

How many times have you been walking through the store with your child and they not so quietly say “who farted” or “I need to go pooh”? Oh the joys of parenthood as you usually are surrounded by crowds of people who also get to enjoy the moment. Have you ever had the pleasure of your really young child deciding the store is a good place to discuss their new knowledge of what makes boys and girls different and your efforts to get them to stop talking or whisper are futile?

I guess this could be expanded to include actions as well as words. I have had my children doing the potty dance in public with their hands holding certain body parts and screaming they need to go to the bathroom.

I always enjoyed the awkward moments when standing in the check out lane or just walking around a store and out pops “that lady is really fat” or “look at that guys blue hair”. That person of course is standing two feet in front of you and is now giving you the stare glare. Of course as adults we understand the ramblings and innocence of small children, but what about the times this happens with the not so small children? I have turned every shade of red known to man out of embarrassment and then turned blue in the face as I held my breath to keep me from going off on my child right there. You often just do that apologetic eye contact with the insulted party and all is good because in that moment they know once in the car or at home that child is getting an ear full!

There are some good teaching moments in those later conversations with children about proper social skills and what is appropriate in public. Although we all see things we consider different or weird we learn to keep it to ourselves out of respect for others and we all had to learn those manners at some point too. It just seems that those teaching moments happen more often  in that humiliating public setting more than at home in a controlled environment!

Just to be fair to the children I have witnessed many elderly people who obviously are hard of hearing also not so quietly making comments. Their adult children or caregivers who are accompanying them look just a surprised and embarrassed as us younger parent’s.

What are your stories of the embarrassing comments or actions your child has made in public?

The kids are awfully quiet!

A friend the other day was mentioning how stressful it is with her very active child because she has to constantly be monitoring what he is doing. If she takes her eyes off him he is into something. Sometimes it just gets too quiet and you know something is up!

Do kids have a mommy radar that they just know when we are occupied and can get into anything they want? I know that as soon as the phone rings that is my kids cue to start fighting or they need to ask me 20 questions! When they were younger my husband would go to mow the lawn on a Saturday and I would clean the house. When he came in I would tell him “you missed it!” I had cleaned the whole house but I swear the kids followed behind me messing it back up!

So I was sharing with my friend this story of when my daughters were toddlers and I have to share it with you too. I was working an evening shift and my husband was home with the girls. He was busy taking care of cleaning up dinner and getting household things taken care of when he realized he had not seen the girls in a bit and it was really quiet. He walked to the back bedroom noticed their door was shut. He opened the door and couldn’t see a thing! There was baby powder all over the room and it was like walking into a fog. He called out their names and suddenly in the fog he could see four little eyes peering back at him. Needless to say it is funny now but at the time it was a huge mess. Although he cleaned up what he could we would find baby powder on things weeks and months later! Then sometime that same year he had a very similar situation where he found them smearing  diaper rash cream on the television!  It did come off the screen but it would not completely come out of the crevices of the plastic sides of the T.V.  Yuck!

What mischief have your kids gotten into when you have found the house was just a little too quiet?

 

Sacrificing Good Sleep Habits

I have worked nights for almost 15 years now in one job or another. This was a choice we made when we started having kids to make sure I was home during the day. My husband would take care of getting our kids dinner and into bed at night while I was at work into the early morning hours. Although day care works for others we decided this worked best for us. Thankfully I have an amazing husband that took on this role and magnified his job as a dad. I will have to do a post about that some other time.

As the years went on I have continued working during normal “sleeping hours” even after my kids started school because I have a great job and I am able to make better money on the over night shift compared to the day shift. The biggest drawback I have found is a lack of “good” sleep. I currently do take weekends off and get a full night sleep but during the week my sleep is spread out into sections. My schedule is in the early morning hours so I will sleep for a few hours when my kids go to bed until I get up to work and then work until it is time to get them ready for school. I then take a nap during the day for a few hours while they are at school in between house work and other necessities. I have done this long enough that I guess I think my body is used to it but I do find those days that I am just dragging and worn out. I also find that I often get sick easier when I am really worn down. My family will all confirm that I usually cannot sit down to watch a movie with them without falling asleep.  I think my body is saying “here is your opportunity, shut it down now” and it does!

I have found ways over the years to help me sleep better at night and during the day. First I do make sure I go to bed at night when my kids do and get a few hours before working. During the day I make the room dark with blacked out curtains and close the bedroom door to block out sunlight. I also turn off the phones (except my cell phone in case my family has an emergency). I also try to take a nap around the same time every day. Although this has been a struggle for me personally over the years I have found ways to make it work better for me and I do think the benefits I have seen by being home for my kids outweigh the times I do struggle.

I know there are many who sacrifices for what they believe is best for themselves and their families. What sacrifices are you making? What do you find is the biggest challenge with doing that and what ways are you facing those challenges?”