Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lesson Learned the Hard Way!

Unfortunately, I have had to learn a lesson the hard way. I'm terrible about backing up my computer and the items on my computer. Well, my hard drive had to be replaced and the files were corrupted. Therefore, everything that I have done on my computer for about the last 5 years (since Garrett was born at least) was on this computer. Now it is all gone.  So I am starting a new practice in my life. With the help of flash drive, I am going to make it a priority to back up our computer files at the beginning of each month. That way if something else goes wrong, I will at least have only lost the most recent items which might be able to be replace instead of the things that I have on the computer for memories.

So how do you back up your computer files? How often and does anyone have a method for their computer clean-up and back ups? Just looking for advice.

Have a great weekend and remember to back up your files!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

4-H Day at the Mall

Are you curious what 4-H does in the local area? Venango County 4-H will be at the Cranberry Mall on Saturday all day to share that with you. Stop in and see what the kids have been doing. There will be demonstrations of projects, activities for kids to do and lots of 4-H projects to look at and explore. This is a great opportunity to explore what 4-H is all about. The annual award ceremony will be at 7pm in front of JCPenny's, so stop in and see what the 4-H'ers are doing! You will be amazed if you check out everything there is to be offered!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cake Balls

Okay these have come to me in an odd way. It started with a college student who made a batch of these for his girlfriend for Valentine's Day. He shared some of the extras with my mom, who asked for the recipe. Who then made them and shared 2 different flavors with me, which I in turn asked for the recipe.

Tonight, I made up a batch that I had added green food coloring for Spring and then bright colored sprinkles for Robert's youth group. Well I had several kids ask for the recipe or bring their mom's over for me to share the directions for these. So since I have shared the recipe with a few, I figured I might as well post it here. These are SO simple & good.

Cake Balls
1 cake mix (flavor of choice)
1 container of frosting (I used vanilla, but here that the Cream Cheese is good too!)
melting chocolates or white chocolates
sprinkles (optional)

Make the cake mix according to directions and bake completely. Once the cake is baked, remove from oven and crumble while warm. Once crumbled add the entire container of frosting and mix together. (I used my hands - it just seemed like the right thing to do!)  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight if possible. Then take a melon baller for small bite sized balls or a cookie scoop for a bit bigger balls, and roll into bite sized balls. Melt your chocolate and then dip the cake balls into chocolate or completely dunk into a bowl of melted chocolate. Add sprinkles while the chocolate is still soft. Let chocolate harden and you are ready to serve.
These are SO simple and kids would like to make them, but I haven't heard of anyone who has tried one that hasn't liked them.

If you want to see photos or other ideas for these go to and search "Cake balls" they come right up! Enjoy!

Signs of Spring

Well, in the last few days we have had 60 degree weather and it has seemed like spring. With today being the first official day of Spring, it is time to start looking for sings of Spring. For our house we start looking about the time that we tap Maple trees, but they are now easier to find. Garrett has been pointing them out all day today. On our way to the car this morning, he saw a robin "Look, Mom! It's a robin!" on the way to church it was "Look at the geese! They are back!" Then this afternoon, "mom those flowers are almost ready to... they are almost ready!" (He had seen a daffodil with a bud on it).  I try several times in the Spring to take a walk with the boys and point out different signs of spring, but it seems that Garrett is going to point them out to me this year!  And then all I had to do today was watch 3 boys playing in the backyard and then 2 of them riding bikes down the road and I knew - Spring is here! It might hid for a day here and there, but it is officially here!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

At The Movies

A new listing of movies at "The Movies" at Cranberry has been released. Here are the upcoming movies for the next few months on the $1 Saturday morning movies! What great bargin movies! Don't forget to print off the coupon for your chance to win a free pair of tickets. Just print off the coupon, take it to the movies when you go to a movie and drop it in the fish bowl for your chance a a pair of tickets. (there will be 2 winners!) click here for the coupon (it's at the bottom of the page)

March 19TMNT
March 26A Bug's Life
April 02Megamind
April 09Junglebook
April 16Wall-E
April 23Ratatouille
April 30The Blue Elephant
May 07The Princess and the Frog
May 14Up
May 21Toy Story 3

May 28
The Little Mermaid

Are you wearing green?

Happy St. Patrick's Day! So are you wearing green? Are you looking for the rainbow and the hidden gold?  In the past I have hidden gold for the boys or we would spend the day making rainbows. I'm not really sure what Garrett & I will be doing tomorrow, but I know that it will be lucky whatever we do!

We have already made a few shamrock's with some very simple supplies.
green paper (any kind)
contact paper

Take the contact paper and draw on a shamrock (You need 2 of these) While you are doing that have your child shred or tear up the green paper. We used tissue paper and green construction paper. With your contact paper cut out the shape of the shamrock and then peel the backing off. Lay it with the sticky side up and let your child push on pieces of the green paper. Once covered in paper, peel the other piece of contact paper and sandwich the green paper between the 2 pieces of contact paper. Now you have a St. Patrick's sun catcher, if you used tissue paper, or if you just use construction paper, you now have (depending on the size) either coasters or placemats!  And they are cute decorations for the holiday!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cookie cutters are for more than cookies

I have a large barrel of cookie cutters that are all plastic, that I was given as a gift. I use the holiday ones on a regular basis but I seldom use the letters and numbers. I pulled out the container the other day and Garrett asked to see them. As we were looking at them, I thought about how we could use them, without making cookies. I gave him all the letters and numbers and let him start tracing them on paper. Wow not only was he practicing letters but also coordination of holding with one hand and tracing with the other.  While watching him, I remembered tracing Christmas cookie cutters to make wrapping paper  (which I had forgotten until I was watching Garrett tracing the shapes).

As I watched him, I thought of a game for the numbers. I quickly put the numbers in a bag. We had to pull out a number and then go find that many similar things. For example, Garrett pulled out the 3 and he went and found 3 matchbox cars. I pulled 6 and grabbed 3 pairs of gloves (6 gloves). We played this for a while too.

So what other uses do you have for cookie cutters?

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Music Man Musical

The Oil City High School will be presenting the musical "The Music Man" Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 7:30 at the high school auditorium. I do not know the cost of tickets, but I know that Oil City usually does a wonderful job with their musicals.

Agriculture Minute - Maple Syrup Season

Well, it is one of he first sings of spring here at our house, when everyone starts watching the temperatures to see if it goes above freezing during the day and below freezing at night. When the snow starts to melt a little and we start seeing more daylight. This is the beginning of Maple Syrup Season. This year we started on March 1 by tapping a few trees and then we finished up on the morning of March 2.

Tapping trees is a simple process that actually come from the Native Americans, but for my family it comes from my Paw. As a kid, we would go to Paw's and help bring in sap and help tap the trees. We never got to cook down our own sap until all of us became adults. Mom did get a chance to learn from Paw, but we have learned from Mom and from the things that we can remember. Anyhow, we use the plastic tubing and plastic taps. We take a drill and drill bit and drill a hole into the southern side of a maple tree, about 2" deep. You then put the tap in place and use a hammer to "tap" it into place. The tubing is then put into a bucket or jug to catch the sap. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup. But we collect the sap in buckets each day and then I cook it down.

Cooking down is fairly simple process until you get to the end. To start we put the strained sap into large kettles and put it on the stove to evaporate the water content of the sap. This involves opening the windows in the house as it gets very humid in the house. People who make sap for more than a hobby , like us, usually have a "Sugar Shack" where they will cook down their syrup because of the humidity.  but we do it in our kitchen with lots of open windows. As it cooks it goes through several different stages. We learned to "Read the Bubbles" which is a very non-scientific way of making syrup. But as you watch the syrup, it is done when it starts to foam up like the reaction of baking soda and vinegar. The syrup will foam up and then it is jarred. We don't sell our syrup, we use it for gifts and for our own use, but it is definitely better than the artificial stuff that you get at the store.
When I get a chance and my computer back, I will try to post a few pictures of our syrup making. Maple Syrup is a large industry in the states of Vermont, Wisconsin, Michigan but there are producers in most of the New England States.

For videos of maple syrup production and different techniques, go to and search maple syrup production. There are a lot of videos showing different ways to make Maple Syrup. But now you know how we make our syrup!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Movie this week and give away

This week at The Movies At Cranberry the Saturday morning $1 is Snow White and it starts at 10 am. The rest of the movie listings are available at and then select which theater you are planning on attending for the listings at that location. Remember at the bottom of this old post there is a coupon to sign up for a chance to win 2 free tickets for the theater when you attend a movie for this month only!!!!!

So hi ho hi ho it's off to the movies we go!

Family Tragedy in Pennsylvania

On Tuesday night a PA dairy farming family experienced a tragedy, that I pray no one would have to experience. My heart goes out to the family and I pray that they will be able to cope and cling to their faith to get them through the loss of 7 children in a house fire. The mother was in the barn and the father was on his milk route when their 3 year old came to the barn to tell mom about the smoke. Until she got there it was too late and she tried to get help.

As my heart aches for the family, I used this as an opportunity to remind my boys about our fire escape plan and what we are to do. The thing was last night we had the opportunity to practice and we failed. I had boiled over something in the oven and forgot to clean it out. Gary lit the oven for supper and he went outside for a minute, when he came back in he said the kitchen was full of smoke, but it wasn't throughout the house. So I asked Garrett, our 4 year old, "What did you do?" He answered "I went to see if the smoke was in my bedroom." To this I just wanted to cry. I asked him what he should have done if he thought there was a fire in the house or even just smoke. He answered correctly, "Get out of the house." But that wasn't what he had done. He was curious, just like many 4 year olds.

We were lucky that all it took was to turn off the oven and open a few windows to air things out. But the grief that the family in Eastern PA is suffering, is something that none of us want to experience. So here are a few things to remind your families, and not just in October for Fire Safety month.

1. Check your fire alarms
2. Change batteries in those alarms - we change at each time change just to be safe!
3. Practice getting out of your house and make sure everyone knows where to meet at!
4. Try a fire drill in the middle of the night, and see if your children will wake up to the fire alarm and time them as to how long it takes to get to your meeting place. This was a post that I had earlier about these drills.
5. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher
6. Practice with the kids on a play phone (fines apply for fake calls) how to dial 911 and what information to be able to give. Full name, full address, full phone number and what the emergency is are the main things to know

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, but let's make sure that none of us are he next tragedy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kid's Sunday

This morning we were blessed by the children at our church as they took control of the entire service. They were the praise team, the ushers, the greeters, and then they performed a skit "Got Faith?" for our sermon. Unfortunately I am having a few tech difficulties so I can't upload pictures of this morning, but what a blessing those kids are and I am pleased that our church listens to Matthew 19:14 and lets the children come and we do not hinder them. Once the tech problems get worked out, I'll put up pics and don't forget to print off your movie coupon for the movie ticket drawing!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tickets Give Away for The Movies at Cranberry!

Okay here is the deal. For the month of March for each moive you go to see at The Movies at Cranberry, you need to print the coupon below take it to the theater and put it in the fishbowl. You will be entered into a drawing for a chance at 2 free tickets. There will be 2 winners, so the theater has offered 4 tickets! How cool is this!!! Then on April 1st the 2 winners will be pulled at random - no foolin'!!!

So grab your kids or your honey and head for The Movies at Cranberry, don't forget to take your filled in coupon along and you will have a chance at winning 2 free ticketes!!! Let your friends and neighbors know as this is only for this month and maybe the Luck of the Irish will be with you this month!!!!

Highlight the lower portion of this post and then print selection and you will have your coupon!

Schickfunideas Blog Give Away

auditoriums,cinemas,films,food,leisure,movie theaters,movies,popcorn,theaters,ticketsOfficial entry form
Name ___________________________________
Address _________________________________


Phone number ____________________________

Email address ____________________________

Dr. Seuss Week

practicing tracing our fish
I really don't think that one day is quite enough
for all of the Dr. Seuss fun stuff.

On day one, we had a lot of fun,
Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish
Oh the things that I had wished!

We made our fish from fun foam
And then we let those little fish roam
Behind the chair
There was only 1 pair.
Fishing for our colorful fish
We went fishing by color matching
When our magnet was a latching

Have a great week 

And don't forget to stop back for a peek!