Thursday, July 30, 2009

summer excuses.

I love summer.
It gives you the perfect excuse to take a break from the real world and relish in it's glory.
Summer doesn't care if you are cranky, tired, or stressed.
Summer doesn't get it's feelings hurt if you don't call that evening-- or if you break dinner plans, or if your house is messy. Summer beckons freedom. Summer is my oasis.
Summer helps you escape.
Summer makes excuses for you.

The excuse to pick flowers to put on the dining room table.

The excuse to wear a rather large, floppy white hat anywhere. (Summer says it's alright...)
The excuse to make a special trip downtown to visit the candy store. That's what Summer says to do...
...and to help yourself to an extra hand full. (Summer insists.)

Summer won't look twice if you decide to sip sweet green apple sodey pop all the live-long day.
Summer smiles.
Summer accepts your excuse to spend most of the afternoon hunting bugs in the cool, green grass... until your legs itch. (Thank you Summer!)
Summer is always awake on those early,every other weekend zips around the warm sky. No excuse needed!
Summer finds delight in presenting you with her bounty. Summer is excited in your excitement!

I love Summer.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a mighty spray.

It's eight o' clock.
We're outside "watering".
The afternoon heat wave has finally passed... but it's still hot.

Only a little tepid hose water will do the trick.

Now, that's one satisfied customer!
Who needs a bath anyway?!
For dinner, I whip up some of our favorite-- recipe tomorrow!
And-- attention students!

Pop quiz!

Brownie points awarded to someone who can tell me what this is:

A few clues?
They are alive!
Jeff and I are visiting a country in which they live. (and I can't wait to see some!)
There is a children's toy inspired by them.
What are they? (Answer tomorrow...)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

stuck in the moustache.

We decided to indulge our sweet tooth and our imaginations and whip up these little ditties.
I've seen a chocolate moustache mold around, but decided to expand on the idea a little bit-- "How can I make this idea better?!" I always ask myself.
The flexibility to choose your own moustache style! Because, we all know that every moustache is as different and interesting as their wearer.
I know you are dying to make your own-- I'll divulge my most secret chocolate moustache recipe that even Willy Wonka would be jealous of.
Here is the recipe-- just good ol' melting chocolate bark. (I used the Wilton brand--)
That's it. Melt it down in the microwave, and pop it into a large ziploc freezer bag.
Cut the tip a teeny-tiny bit so you can pipe it onto a plastic wrap covered cookie sheet.

Just make your outline and fill it in! If you use real chocolate, you might have to refrigerate your moustaches-- but if you use the chocolate bark like I did, just a little time on the counter top will be sufficient for hardening.

Here we have the Einstein... all we need is the white frizzy hair.You can't talk moustaches with out the trucker special somehow worming his way in there.
The connoisseur has a special place in my heart. This one is curly and wild.
The abra cadabra is just as magical as it sounds-- and if you're lucky, a little will rub off under your nose, perfect for licking.
See, even you can make the perfect chocolate moustache with a few simple ingredients and some creativity. In no time you will have the perfect moustaches to share with friends!

Friday, July 10, 2009

getting our summers worth of sun.

Sorry, I can't blog right now... we are here today.
Splashing, picnicking, and being chased by a giant catfish that seems to not be alarmed by small children splashing in water.
Alas, life is amusing. Life is good.
My favorite part of the beach, chatting it up with friends.
Trying to catch up on our busy lives. Showing everyone my dreadful farmer tan and new swim moves.
That's right, did I tell you-- I've learned how to swim!
It only took 29 years.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

mr.cheesehead, and friends.

So, I've been told that the lunches around my place are getting pretty boring-- are lacking a certain "zing" or "flair".
I've been stuck in the-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich-or-spaghetti-o's-for-lunch rut for about 2 months now, to my children's chagrin. This was brought to my attention right before, as my eldest asked the age old question "What's for lunch mom?"
The answer actually brought tears to his eyes-- TEARS TO HIS EYES! I had to laugh, but also make a mental note to change it up a bit. I wouldn't want this subject brought up to any psychiatrist in about 20 years.
Quickly, I grabbed the bread.
What do I do? What do I do? I could feel the sweat start to collect on my brow-- I had 4 hungry boys chanting and waiting.
Remembering those very large, and oh so unnecessary crocodile tears, I put away the peanut butter jar. I know all too well about choosing my battles, and this one didn't seem fair. 4 to 1. I would loose for sure.
This is when quick thinking delivered me an idea-- Mr. Cheesehead.
I had limited ingredients on such short notice, but after a quick rifle around the refrigerator, I found some items fit for eyeballs, noses, and hair.
Chopping quickly, I placed the items on the table and set in front of each hungry boy a plate with a piece of bread topped with cheese. Lunch quickly became the Little Momma version of Mr. Potatohead, but cheesier!
The boys were smitten with the fact that they could play with their food. Decorating their Mr.Cheesehead was just as much as an art lesson as it was lunch!
And oh! Even the veggies were gobbled down to crumbs. Who could resist taking a bite out of goofy Mr. Cheesehead's face? Not I.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

having a gran{d}ola time.

Question: Can I make my own granola bars?
I tried to this afternoon with wonderful results.
Easy peasy, and cost friendly too.

I call mine Trail Mix Granola Bars-- you will see why in a minute.
Start with one part butter, to one part honey, to two parts brown sugar.
Place in a deep pot over medium heat.

Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Stir in granola, puffed rice cereal, and any other goodies-- I chose golden raisins, chocolate chips, and pretzel rods.

I waited for the mixture to cool until I added the chips-- so they would not melt. I just greased up my hands and pressed everything down into a cookie pan with a lip.

Refrigerate-- a good hour or so.
Dump pan onto a cutting board and cut into bars. It makes at least 20.

Enjoy one with a cold glass of milk. YUM.
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
3 to 4 cups granola, such as Back to Nature brand
1 cup rice cereal, such as Rice Krispies
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup thin pretzel sticks
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

(ca-prey-zay!) caprese salad.

To market, to market to buy a fat pig,
home again, home again- jiggity jig...
Instead of a fat pig, I found some pretty little tomatoes in red, yellow, and orange.
They screamed CAPRESE! (ca-prey-zay!)

Have you ever eaten a yellow tomato? I hadn't.
Have you ever had caprese salad? I love it.
Did you know I could drink balsamic vinegar by the shot glass? I could!

This is my own kid friendly version of caprese.
Pan fried chicken, tomatoes, basil, and instead of fresh mozzarella, I buy it in a block. My kids like it a bit better.
Cut and assemble. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Add a piece of crusty bread to soak up the juices. Mmmmm!
Who says kids only want to eat chicken nuggets and corn dogs? Not I!

Monday, July 6, 2009

celebrating freedom.

A pictorial essay of our holiday:

(with a few words too)

Small town America-- we loved the quaint views and yummy BBQ!

Most of the weekend was spent in natures company.

I had a hay-day taking pictures of all of the creatures, including this gorgeous blue dragonfly.

But, our favorite activity included a bit of water---

(and me, back in my favorite spot-- the kayak!)

The oldest child has become fearless-- jumping off the dock into the cool lake water time after time.

I had to do a bit of sweet talking to get a kayak buddy.
My new sun hat-- do you recognise me?

peek a boo!

Jeff's favorite activity included lots of this!
And my youngest was happy fishing.
He fished for hours and hours.

-- he got such delight these:

The 4th is not complete without some hamburgers.

And sparklers...

Enjoying the cool night air, anticipating the fireworks!
A perfect ending.