Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat

We had a great time tonight, visiting good friends and getting some candy.

Our little princess loved it all, especially going with her Aunties,

and cousin,

and ended the night like this.

Happy Halloween Jokes!

Why did the vampire go to the orthodontist?
-To improve his bite...

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers?
-No, they eat the fingers separately...

Why do mummies have trouble keeping friends?
-They're all wrapped up in themselves...

What is a skeleton's favorite musical instrument?
-A trombone...

What do birds give out on Halloween night?

Why do vampires need mouthwash?
-They have bat breath...

What's a vampire's favorite fast food?
-A guy with very high blood pressure...

Why did the vampire subscribe to the Wall Street Journal?
-He heard it had great circulation...

Have a happy day! Share your bad (good!) jokes if you've got 'em.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Since we're still eating out of the pantry, I decided to make haystack cookies today to use up some old chow-mein noodles.

I used this recipe from I think you could easily use more noodles, they were pretty sticky and sweet. Yummy though, for a quick cookie.

(This time it is my photo. I tried and tried to get one as good as Michele's, but no luck yet.) I need macro practice.

When they were done and I put them in the fridge to chill, Anna came running back in and said "Mama! You forgot to put them in the red spinner!"
Can you guess what she meant?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'm curious.

In my little world, I'm only at my house for dinner two nights a week. Not counting the weekend, because who knows what'll happen on the weekend. But almost never a quiet evening at home.

Is everyone else's life like this?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


My niece Joanna sent me a link to Pandora Radio last year, and I've been really loving it. You can create your own station based on a single artist that you like, or mix it all up.

I have a couple of stations that I listen to all the time, one based on Over the Rhine and one for Fernando Ortega. When I'm playing with Anna in the computer room we listen to one based on Elizabeth Mitchell, and when I want Spanish music I listen to one like Ricardo Arjona.

To make a new station, you just have to tell them who you like, and they'll analyze the music and find lots of things that are similar. You can thumbs up or down the individual songs to give further direction. I used to listen to Yahoo radio, but I like Pandora better. No commercials and no log in.

You can share stations too, so let me know if you want one of mine. Bear in mind, I'm kind of an old lady.

Monday, October 27, 2008


We just got home from Manhattan, where we spent a little time on Saturday shopping at the Mall.

We took Anna to Gap Kids and found a nice dress on clearance.

Abby found a few things at AeroPostale.

Abby and Susan both found Sale fun at American Eagle.

I found a Senior Center Craft show and got a quilt! With a kitty on it!
To Summarize:

Anna: Cool Kid.
Abby: Cool Kid.
Susan: Cool Kid.
Betsy: Old Lady.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Coats

I've been buying my coats at Thrift Stores since High School. I'm always frustrated by the linings, since that's usually the reason they end up at the thrift store in the first place. Mom sewed several for me, and last year I had her teach me how to sew it myself, but it was a lot of trouble, and then the coat I had fixed up so nicely in the lining started to come apart at all of the seams. So I decided to buy regular coats.

Then I saw how much regular coats cost. I can't do that!

So I decided to just buy a new thrift store coat every year and not try to fix them. I'll just wear them out completely and get a new one.

This year I couldn't possibly choose, so I got two. One is green, with Sparkly Buttons! (and with a torn lining)

The other is a beautiful pink and the lining looks good! Could it be a two-season coat??

We'll see. Mom always said I was "awfully hard on things".

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Patience IS a virtue

We made our last batch of crayons today. We did everything right, and they turned out so well!

First, we used all crayola crayons. Anna and I spent FOREVER peeling crayons. Matthew came home and somehow we were able to convince him to help too. I asked him what normal people did with their time, since I don't think they spend two hours peeling crayons. He guessed TV.

We made some more heart crayons and they look great.

Then I spread the rest of them onto our cookie sheet. We had a little more than one layer.

Here they are when we turned off the heat, all melted.

We left them in the oven to cool, with the door ajar and the vent running. I also opened the door a bit for a minute to bring in some new air. The colors continue to mix on the top as it cools.

When it was partially cooled, but still warm, I took it out of the oven and carefully cut it with the cookie cutters. I used a straw to put holes in a couple of them, I was wondering if they'd be cute Christmas ornaments. Then, and this is a very important part--I left them alone!

I came back when they were all cool and was able to flip the pan over and tumble everything out in nice clean pieces. Here you are! They're a pretty sunsetty orange on the front and multicolored on the back.

Then my problem was that I didn't want to throw away the excess of that.

But that's too crazy, so I just enjoyed breaking it all up and then PUT IT IN THE TRASH.

What shall we do next?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Tart

This is another yummy dessert I made from the Kraft Food & Family Fall edition.

Freestyle Apple Tart

I made two, one for school and one for Dad and Abby. It was simple and well received.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Identity Theft!

This is serious. Not credit cards or social security numbers, much more serious.

When the new Volkswagon Bug was introduced in 1998, I wanted one. (I called it a "Hug Bug" I can't remember if everyone did or not. I tried to make a new game, where you gave the person next to you a squeeze whenever you saw one, but it didn't take off. Not as successful as the Carl's Jr./Hardees boycott, but that's another story.) I set about deciding on colors and styling. The only proof I have of this is this post, but those close to me can verify that I've wanted a Barbie Pink Hug Bug with silver glitter lightning stripes for some time.

Tonight, at Dillons, in my own small town, we spotted a custom pink Hug Bug with silvery blue paint splashes. We were too far away, and it was too dark, to verify the actual color of the car or the stripes, but it was too close for comfort.

I have a long history of predicting trends, we've joked about the satellite following my style choices, but this is too far.

That's MY car.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cookie Cutter Crayons

Abby and I tried to make some of the cookie cutter crayons on Sunday afternoon. We didn't have a tremendous amount of luck, but we did have fun, and we learned several things for next time.

It's important to use all one kind of crayons because they melt at different times otherwise. We kept waiting for this one little guy to melt and ended up kind of boiling the wax. Oops.

Once it's all melted, you just need to turn off the oven because if you try to pick up the pan, you'll swirl all of your colors together and end up with brown. Eeew.

Use the cookie cutter to cut them when it's solid but still warm, but then WAIT until it's totally cooled before you try to take them out. I think that's why so many of ours broke. When I was cleaning up, hours later, it was much easier to take them out.

To prep, we sprayed the old baking sheet with Pam, and then we melted the crayons at 350. They melted pretty quickly. We're going to try again, using what we've learned. Hopefully it'll go better next time.

Oh! and you probably want ventilation. Abby's head was hurting and my eyes were burning. That may have been from the boiling though. Or the other plastic we accidentally melted earlier. Oops again.

Here's what we managed to get out in one piece. The Kansas shows you what they looked like on top, and the others are flipped over to show the pretty bottom. It think it's really neat how they're different on each side and in the middle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Boston Cream Pie

I saw this in the Fall issue of Kraft Food and Family, (click "sign up" in the top right corner to get the magazine) and thought it looked awfully pretty and fairly simple. I've made it three times now, and it's always a huge hit. Click the picture for the recipe. (or the words)

Boston Cream Pie Recipe

Since it only uses one layer, you can freeze the other and have it ready to make another one super-de-duper quick.

For the chocolate on top, I've done some fiddling. Today I cut the milk to one T, heated it before I added it to the chocolate, and used a bit more sugar. That made a nice consistency. I thought it was too runny when I followed the recipe.

I like this especially because I get to use my domed cake plate, and cut the cake in half, so I feel like a real cook. Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Stuff

I am- still trying to enroll in my first Master's class.
I want- to start getting more rest.
I have- too many things in the to-do pile
I wish- my Mama was still here.
I hate- this election
I fear- regret
I hear- nothing. It's nice and quiet at the moment.
I search- for fun and easy and quick projects, for bargains, for gifts.
I wonder- what heaven's like.
I always- stay up too late.
I usually- buy too many presents.
I am not- meeting my goal of being in bed by 11:00 tonight.
I dance- at school, in the car, in the kitchen, with Anna, circles around Matthew.
I sing- a lot, but not when Matthew's around, apparently.
I never- vacuum the dust coils on my refrigerator, even though that's one of the things magazine people are always reminding you to do. Who does that?
I rarely- eat red meat anymore.
I cry- easily.
I am not always- patient with the kids at school.
I lose- my earplugs in the night sometimes.
I’m confused- about the balance between feeling and doing.
I need-a swimming pool.
I should- do so many things.
I dream- in English, though I'd rather be practicing my Spanish in my sleep.
I TAG- Katrina, Jenny, Sarah, Sara

Saturday, October 18, 2008


The curtains were awfully good in our hotel room, Anna and I slept and slept this morning, and didn't roll out until lunchtime.

We checked our trusty Kansas Guidebook for Explorers and went to Bob's Diner, which was every bit as much fun as you'd think. Here's Anna with her strawberry milkshake. (Because we're girls, Mom, and it should be a pink milkshake)Then we went to Dorothy's house and took the tour, and that was fun. Anna, of course, is pretending to be Dorothy now, and doesn't like to be addressed by any other name. There was a picnic table in the just the right spot to set the camera, so we could get a picture of these munchkins.Then we went to see the Samson of the Cimarron, the giant railroad bridge. It was cool.
Then we came home, because I thought we had something to do tonight, but it was cancelled. But regardless...

Friday, October 17, 2008


Running away from home once is fun and spontaneous. Is it borderline irresponsible to do it twice in the same month?

Today Anna and I went south. We drove through Hugoton and into Rolla, where they have free Roller Skating from 6-10 during the school year.

It is hard to skate with a 3 year old!
We went around about 5 times, and then Anna was done. She spent a lot of time on the floor.Still, it was buckets of fun to skate on the original wooden floor, with the local kids.

Then we played for awhile at the elementary school, because it was that beautiful time of day when all of the pictures are amazing.

It would be really nice if she'd hold still for a minute, or look at me, but she's wise to the whole picture taking thing, and impishly refuses to do either.
Then we decided to go to Liberal, because I thought we'd have better luck finding a hotel with an indoor pool and internet there.

We drove there on back roads, which may not sound exciting, but was a huge victory for me, as I have serious map reading difficulties. To illustrate: I kept stopping and turning the map so that it was oriented with where I knew we were, because I was very confused about where the sun was. About halfway through the trip, when numerous things had confirmed that we were heading in the right direction, I realized: "The sun sets in the WEST, not the east. So this is right." See? It's hard for me.

We got here, and ended up picking a hotel because it was cute and cheap and Anna was pretty much too tuckered to swim anyway.

We walked over to the diner next door and after much convincing, had pancakes and eggs and hashbrowns for dinner. Anna did not think it would be OK to eat breakfast for dinner.

I think we're going to go to Dorothy's house tomorrow morning, and then see the Cimarron Grasslands.

But who knows, really?

And that's the beauty of it.

Take Two

We made another set yesterday.

I was right about the lighter colored ring on one side of the first batch. That part doesn't color much. The second set we made also has the light colored ring, but much smaller.
The other parts do color very nicely though. Here's a picture of cousins having loads of fun. Our house has been full this afternoon, lots of joyful noise.
Anna, Jairus, Cephas


I made the second batch in some glass dishes and a mold I found today at Goodwill.

The star mold didn't work at all. I couldn't get the crayon out without breaking it.

I melted them at 250 for 25 minutes. I can't figure out why other people's crayons seem to melt so much faster.

I think I made these a little too big, a thinner disk would be nicer. But look how cute they are packaged like this:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Making crayons

I decided to treat the kids at school to new crayons this year, the old ones were getting pretty sad. Last year they started asking most days if they could bring their own crayons in.

That meant I had two big Ziploc bags full of crayon bits that I couldn't possibly throw away.

Yesterday Anna and I started making big mixed crayons out of them.
It's fun. We peeled a few crayons, cut them into smaller bits, and then put them into some heart shaped foil things I got free a few years ago. I'm going to have to find another mold that's not as girly.

We followed this tutorial initially, but after 25 minutes at 170 degrees, they weren't melted much at all.

We had to go to town then, so we let them cool back down, and then I cooked them for a bit later in the evening at 230, and then we had to go again, and then finally at 250. Eventually they melted and we took them out and cooled them. They're really pretty, but have a row of lighter wax at the top/bottom. I'm not sure if that's because of the higher heat or the heating and reheating. Hopefully next time I'll not try to squeeze it in on a busy day.

Here are a couple more super cool ideas I found when I was looking for more information:

I've found a wide range of temperatures, from 150 to 250, so let me know if you try it, and what you think works best. I'll keep you posted on what we come up with too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Food Experiment

I try to be good about planning menus and shopping the sales, but I definitely have the bad habit of forgetting what we have in the pantry and freezer.

So as a fun experiment, I'm going to try and only use what we have in the house until we get cleaned out a bit. I'm thinking I'll have to buy milk, and one treat thing for each of us. Anna and I want caramel for our apples, and Matthew's getting frozen pizza. I'm also going to get a couple of cans of chicken noodle soup, just in case someone gets sick.

Our menu for this week: (Not weird at all yet)

Thursday: Spaghetti and Salad
Friday: Casserole from the freezer
Saturday: Home Group
Sunday: Farm
Monday: Brats with kraut and Fries

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pavlov and Me

I was googling "How to get to bed on time" and ran into this guy's website. I don't know anything about him, he may be a crazy internet kook, but I'm intrigued. Especially this about how to get up right away when your alarm goes off.

Just now I did three reps of the whole get ready for bed and set your alarm and then get up right away thing. It took about 30 minutes. I had the strong urge to hit the snooze each time, even though I wasn't really asleep.

I'm excited. I think this might work.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Overheard at school

"Yes, you may take the pliers out to Mrs. _______, but children may not touch dead birds."

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A project!

It's been a long time since I made anything. The sewing machine has actually been under the table for awhile, but I got it back out today and had a pretty good afternoon.

I got started making legwarmers, since Anna's refusing to wear pants, and legwarmers are $5 at Target. For less than that, I can get a nice wool sweater at Goodwill and cut it up and have lots of fun. I like to try and find sweaters that people have already washed accidentally, because then I don't feel so bad cutting it up.

Here are the 3 sweaters I started with. The dark one and the pink one were "pre-felted" wool, and the Tommy Hilfiger was all stretched out. It was pretty, but cotton, so I wasn't sure how it would work.

To make leg warmers out of a wool sweater, all you have to do is felt it, and then cut the sleeves off at the arm, straight across. It makes a kind of cropped sleeve sweater when you're done. I use pinking shears, but I don't think it matters. Usually that's all you need to do. Then pull them on the little legs and you're done.

For the cotton sweater, I had to make the tube a little narrower, so that it would stay up. Just turn it inside out and sew a line along side the seam, then turn it back right side out and try it on. Repeat until it fits, and then cut off your excess.

Then I had the bodies of the sweaters to work with, so I made this little bag first. I think it's fun that you can reach through the neck to grab something small, or lift the flap for big things.

Out of the cotton sweater, after much fiddling, I made this little dress for Anna. I'm pretty happy with it.

I posted all of this to Craftster. Eeek!