Monday, January 31, 2011

Pinewood Derby 2011

The Moo Racer

This past weekend was the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby. Robert worked very hard and learned a few new skills this year (how to use the band saw) but he made the Moo Racer!  We had a great time watching some really fast cars on the track this year. Robert won more of the races than he lost but, he wasn't one of the top 3, but that is okay. We are proud of what he built and what he learned. Congrats Robert.

 The pack also had a "Classic pinewood derby car race" where older cars could be brought back to race. So Robert let Garrett race his car from last year "Lighting McQueen."  Garrett won 2 races and thought it was just great!
Garrett with his"Classic car" and Robert with the Moo Racer

Robert's 10th Birthday!

Breakfast of ham & eggs looks like 10

Candles on a cupcake display is interesting
Well the past week has been a little busy, but in the middle we landed on Robert's birthday and he has now reached the double digits of 10. He had a special breakfast that was the number 10, he had a birthday supper (and then soccer practice) and cupcakes for his birthday because he had ordered his cake from Nanny for the weekend when the family got together.  He wanted a family tree birthday cake, which thanks to Nanny turned out very cool, even though it was a tough subject to work with. I decorated the pole in the kitchen with brown paper and added green balloons with family members names for his family tree. Then on Saturday after soccer we had a little get together for cake & ice cream. Happy 10th Birthday Robert!

Robert's Family Tree Cake
Thanks Nanny!

Happy Birthday to you....

Recycled Magazine boxes

Starting box

The angle on the top to the side

All year long, I have baskets sitting around my house collecting magazines. But at the beginning of each year, I try to sort through the magazines and see if there are ones that I want to keep. Gary & I both get magazines that have full sized patterns in them for woodworking and quilting, so I try to keep those that have ones that we want to use - someday. I also keep ALL of my Family Fun Magazines because it is easier to hand the boys a couple of magazines for ideas for Halloween costumes or Valentine's rather than searching the internet. 

Well, it was time to sort the magazines and attempt to organize them, but magazine files or holders are getting expensive, so this year, I took several cereal boxes (the big ones) and cut them into magazine files. You simply take a box, and cut a diagonal across the widest part of the box  from the corner to about 4 inches from the bottom, on both sides and then cut across the end to make those 2 sides match up.

You can then fill the boxes with books and they will stand so that you can read the spines. I have also added contact paper or wrapping paper to dress the boxes up a little bit. This is when I made these for the boys and they were out where people might see them.

The box with magazines in it
The spines and the box will sit upright

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keystone's Book Fair

For those who do not have kids in school, I just wanted you to know about the Scholastic book fair at Keystone Elementary. The Book Fairs runs Feb 26(Yes yesterday) - Feb 2. There will be "Family nights" AKA Open to public buying - tonight the 27th from 6-8 and again on Feb 1 from 6-8. The school will also accept "Box tops for education" for payment of books figuring each boxtop at .10. So grab your kids and head for the book fair, there is nothing better than a good book.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pudding Parfaits

I remember as a kid loving those little parfait cups that they sell at Kentucky Fried Chicken, but they always seemed expensive, especially if you had purchased the meals already. But recently Garrett has fallen in love with those little parfaits. So he has been making them here at home. Oh so easy and such a great little treat for the little bit of time to make them. Garrett enjoyed making them so much, that he made them for the whole family the other night for dessert, which made him feel very special.

Pudding Parfaits
1 box favorite pudding (Currently chocolate is our favorite)
2 cups milk
whipped cream
cup of some type to layer into

We mix the milk and pudding together in a shaker which Garrett usually likes to jump around while he is shaking it. Let the pudding chill for at least 15 minutes. While it was chilling we got out the little cups and a spoon to scoop the pudding with. Then When the pudding is firm. Begin layering in pudding and whipped cream, we happened to have Reddi Whip, which makes it fun, but regular whipped cream would work too. Layer the pudding and whipped cream until the cups are to the fullness that you desire. We topped ours with a few little sprinkles (for our desserts Garrett topped ours with cherries so let the kids decide) and you have a simple snack or dessert that the kids find cool.


Gingerbread Houses in January?!?!?

I was away this weekend and the boys went to my Mom's. Now she had a great idea that she and I had discussed and it was a hit (at least from the excitement at my end when I returned this weekend.) Robert and Garrett had both been wanting to purchase a gingerbread house kit over Christmas. I explained that I didn't really think that we had the time in our Christmas schedule to make the gingerbread houses and therefore it would be a waste of money. But then Nanny kicked in, she waited to AFTER Christmas and bought the kits at 60-75% off (therefore making them reasonable) and put them into the "when we get the opportunity to make craft." Well Friday night and Saturday were too frigid to go outside and play in the snow, so they set up shop in the kitchen. And you guessed it, they made snow covered gingerbread houses.

Robert's Gingerbread House,
if you look closely on the roof, he added an "S"

The boys had a great time making the houses and were very excited about bringing them home to show me. Garrett just wanted to show me so that he could then start eating it, since Gary had told him he couldn't eat it until I saw it. But they were both excited about their creativeness with their houses. I haven't talked to Nanny about how things went while making them, but they had a blast.

Garrett's Gingerbread House
He was excited about his stop light on the end of the house

The neat part is, they had time to do them well - not hurried as it would have been during Christmas. They had a fun project that they wanted to do, in January and they were on sale so it didn't cost much. So maybe next year we will have Valentine's Day gingerbread houses or maybe just "Snow Day" gingerbread houses, but I'm pretty sure that we won't have it at Christmas time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Recycled Christmas Thank you's

Right after Christmas, a blog that I follow, Teach mama, posted the following where she talks about letting her children cut the wrapping paper as a great way to practice cutting. She also includes ribbons and bows. Well I loved her post, but Garrett wanted to know "why are we cutting the paper into shapes?" Fortunately I was prepared for this question and had figured out that if we cut the shapes out into circles (that worked best for our wrapping paper) that we could then create snowglobe Christmas thank you notes. These turned out great and not only did we practice cutting with Garrett, but we also were able to recycle some wrapping paper and make nice thank you's.
All we did was use a glue stick to glue down a brown piece of paper to look like the base of a snowglobe and then added the circle cut from the used wrapping paper. I did ever so lightly, iron the wrapping paper after cutting it to get out any little wrinkles that were in it.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Andrew's Birthday!

Today we finally got to celebrate Andrew's birthday. The boys were going to go sledding, but it was colder than excepted and they ended up sledding for about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes and came back in. But here are a few pictures from the birthday!
My headlamp - finally!
All the candles are lit!
Starting to blow out the candles
Ah, they are all out!
Happy (Late) Birthday Andrew!!!!

Bible Verse "addresses"

I just wanted to share a quick idea about how to help kids understand the book, chapter, verse format of Bible verses. Our Kids Klub leader has been calling it the "address." Forr example where is "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." The address is John 3:16.  This helps the kids relate this to their street address, book is the same as the street and the numbers are the similar to their house number. I just think this is a great way to help them think that the location is just as important as the verse, plus I never remember where to find verses.

Children's Sermon - Hot or Cold?

Danger Zone graphic

Today we had a guest speaker at our church. I had prepared for the Children's Sermon by asking about the scripture that the speaker would be using.  The following is the Children's Sermon that came from the scripture used by the speaker.

"Good Morning! So today we are going to talk about food. You all like food right? Well how do you like mashed potatoes and gravy - cold? How about ice cream that has been in the microwave for a minute? It's that how we should eat those foods? No, are you sure? So you think potatoes and gravy should be hot and ice cream cold? Well, you are right.

Did you know that there are certain temperatures that food should be served at? (Holding up the picture on the right) What is this a picture of? A thermometer, you are right, but this is a special thermometer. It is the food safety scale or thermometer. And it is showing me that from 40 degrees to 140 degrees is the Danger Zone. Hum, why would that be the danger zone? I know that I like it when it is about 60 degrees outside. Yes, that is a germ on the poster and that is the temperature that germs like the best to grow and make people sick. But did you know that God used this same temperature range in the Bible?  In Revelations 3:16 it says ' So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot or cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth.'

See God only wants people who are hot for him. Those are people who are excited and fully committed to serving the Lord. Those who say "oh I'll do that today but not that" are people who are lukewarm and God wants to spit you out. And those that are cold to God means that they are either non believers or are part of Satan's gang. So let us stay hot or excited to serve God. WE do not want to be the people that God is spitting out. And when we see this Food Safety thermometer remember that anything below the "Danger Zone sign" is really a dangerous place to be with God."

We closed with prayer and then the kids were given envelops of hot chocolate mix so they could find "hot" water to mix it up with.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cinnamon Ornaments

This year I had several people ask me for the Cinnamon ornament recipe, so their kids could make the ornaments as gifts. Well to be honest, I have never made the ornaments, but the people that asked for the recipe- I did find a recipe and got it to them. But in case anyone else is looking for this recipe, here it is:

3/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup applesauce
craft twine or ribbon

Directions: Blend the dry ingredients together and then stir in the applesauce. It should make a thick paste. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 1/4" thickness. Cut it with cookie cutters according to the holiday. Poke a hole through the top, a straw works well. Preheat the oven to 150 and bake ornaments on ungreased cookie sheet for 1 1/2 hours. Let the ornaments cool and then add the ribbon or twine through the hole as a hanger. You can add embellishments with craft paint, buttons & glue, glitter or other small craft items. These are nice ornaments and they could easily be made into pins by gluing a pin back to the back of the ornament and skip the hole at the top of each if you are making a pin.

Card organizer

This morning Garrett had several thank you cards laying on the table and we added them to the Card Organizer. Now we have a card ring that we use to keep the cards that the kids like. It is really simple but it works great for those birthday cards or congrats, & thank you's that the kids receive and they don't want to throw away. It is very simple to put together. All you need is a Book ring (ours is 1 1/4"), a paper punch and cards. Put a hole in the corner of the card and then feed onto the book ring and close the ring. This way the kids can keep their cards (for sometime) and they are not all over the house. I have seen the boys looking through these cards on occassion and asking about the people that sent them or they remember that the card came from such and such friend and that it was a favorite from their birthday. Regardless it is an easy way to organize these cards that kids aren't quite ready to get rid of just yet, and it keeps them picked up and neat.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weekend trip to Farm Show

We packed up on Friday and took off for our friend's home in Lancaster County where we celebrated Christmas with them. Abby is a real gem and the dress-up bucket was a real hit.
Abby in a bucket!

Watching the rodeo and eating lunch
Saturday it was off to the PA Farm Show. We were able to take in the High School Rodeo, and check out the projects of friends and of course Robert's. The 4-H club that we work with did very well with 2 Best of Show Ribbons. The Farm Show really isn't an expensive trip as long as you don't eat at the Farm Show Building. We packed our lunch and ended up that all we paid for was 1 meal on Saturday, parking and fuel to get there. We are blessed to have friends in the area that we were able to visit and stay with them too. It was a very fun weekend, also very tiring on the kids, but they had fun and learned a little along the way.
Robert with his poster (The poster on the left).
Good Job we are proud of you!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Creative Storage

So as the New Year has come so has finding a place for everything. Years ago Gary had some 2 1/2 gallon buckets at the farm that he asked if I had a use for. He brought me one over to work with. That bucket became Robert's matchbox car and toy tractor (small scale) bucket. I have used buckets for several other things, but as a storage area for the kids has been the most popular. I have found that a better place to find buckets than the farm is the local bakery. The bakery's get their icing and fillings in different size buckets, some of them are square, some are short and round, but regardless you can go and pick up a bucket sometimes for free and sometimes for $1.00 depending on the bakery.

This is the dress-up bucket which is storage and a cute little stool!
This year for Christmas, one of my friend's daughter is big enough to receive a bucket. Her bucket is a dress-up bucket.

I have decorated buckets in several ways. Robert's I took plastic spray paint and painted it red. Then I took material that matched his bedroom and decoupaged little cut outs of the material all over the bucket. Finally, I took matching material and made a cushion for on the top of the bucket.

The bucket that I just finished, I decoupaged material all over the bucket, ran a piece of ribbon around the top edge and then added a cushion with a little bit of lace and attached to the lid with a few pieces of Velcro. This makes it storage and a great little seat for her. To make it a dress-up bucket, I filled it with hats, necklaces, and a few little girl dresses that she can play with and pretend with. A great time to find those dress up outfits is right after Halloween, especially if you have boys who want a fireman's outfit or a doctor's outfit!!!!

PA Farm Show

Starting Saturday in Harrisburg, PA is the PA Farm Show. This is equal to many states State Fair, but PA puts its Agriculture showcase indoors in January. This year Robert has entered a poster and a quilt patch. I have entered a quilt patch. But for those who would like to see what is going on at the Farm Show but can't be there, check your television listing for PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) they follow the Farm Show all week. You can check the schedule of events and viewing times at Check it out if you get a chance, we watched a lot of events last year on PCN that we missed while at the Farm Show or events that happened after we had returned home.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Fruits?

Gary recently shared with me a discussion that he had with some friends that really got me to thinking. God has asked for our first fruits and it is to be a 10th. Now Gary and I have been trying to tithe and we have steadily increased our giving. But this discussion had a different way to tithe - we give our 10% from each paycheck that Gary receives and if I make some money we add that amount to the tithe. One man that Gary was talking to said that they give everything that they earn in the month of January, it is the 1st month. Hmmm... I hadn't thought about it that way before.

As we do each year, Gary and I will sit down to discuss our finances so that we both know where we are at and what plans we each have or goals for our money that we each have (he is a saver and I'm a spender so we tend to have different opinions.)  But this might be something to discuss with your spouse, what are we giving to God? He has given us SO much and he asks for so little. Trust me the rewards are outstanding.  Just try it start by increasing your giving to God by either a percent or by a certain amount of dollars each month. And remember you can't out give God.

Simple Fudge Recipe

 I didn't post this recipe before Christmas because I didn't want to ruin Christmas for some, since my boys used this recipe for gifts this year. But now that Christmas is over, I will share the recipe.

This Fudge is SO simple that Robert can make it by himself and Garrett can easily help make most of it.

You need:
nonstick cooking spray
12oz. bag of chocolate chips (we have found that different flavored chips work well too)
16oz. ready made frosting (regular, not whipped frosting)
1/4 c. finely chopped almonds optional ( we have also used crushed peppermint sticks, sprinkles, etc.)
9x9" glass pan

Spray the 9x9 pan with the cooking spray and set aside
Pour the chocolate chips and frosting into a microwave safe bowl.
Heat the frosting and chips in 30 second increments until melted smooth. Stir after each 30 seconds to check for smoothness.
Stir fudge until smooth and well mixed together.
Now pour into prepared pan
Sprinkle toppings top top and you may need to gently push the toppings into the fudge.
Refrigerate until completely cooled and firm.
Cut into 1" squares and enjoy!

We usually make several different flavors and then the boys wrap up a couple pieces of each flavor and make a fudge assortment in nice tins that I usually pick up during the "After Christmas Sales" the year before.

This would be a great little gift for Valentine's Day so you might want to keep this recipe in mind.

Take time and have some fun with your kids in the kitchen !