Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scout awards

Last nite was the Court of honor for my 12 yo son's Boy scout troop. It is held several times a year and is when they hand out all the awards the boys have earned. I was so proud of him for earning 2 merit badges in fishing and rifle shooting and also an award for attending summer camp. He had such a fun time and really worked hard-his badges were well earned! Here is a picture of him and some of the boys in his troop. He is the one in the front in the ballcap. The lighting was very bad, so it was hard to get a good picture!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Spelling bee

My 9 yo saw an ad in the paper for a spelling bee at Macy's here in Houston. I guess they hold one every year and send the winners to New York to compete with other winners. Convinced she was going to come out on top, we packed up and drove over an hour to the store-having it at the one that was nearby us would have been too convenient! After getting lost for about 15 minutes, we made it just in time. Signed her in and got a number...

Here are all the kids lining up, getting ready to spell!

Here she is in the competition, up on the stage in front of everyone!

Though she didn't win, I was so proud of her for trying. It's not easy to get up in front of a crowd of people. She did receive some nice participation prizes, including a horse book and a backpack-she was happy. Actually, I think we left just in time. As we were packing up, they brought up the teen dancers doing a dance routine to a Justin Beiber song. Sorry....just not a fan!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Little Gunslinger

My 6 yo had the rare opportunity last nite to spend a Walmart gift card he received for his birthday last month. Trolling the toy aisles, he came across the amall cowboy section and his eyes just lit up. Amazingly, the belt and revolver set he wanted were just the amount that he had-perfect! When we got home, he wasted no time in putting them on. Unfortunately, the cheap belt that came with it broke in about 2 minutes, so Dad had the great idea to use a regular and much more durable belt for the holsters. While putting them on, Dad heard him whisper, "Now I'm a weel cowboy!" Yep, a true gunslinger. Today was full of "Put your hands up!" and "I shot you-you're dead!" We've got one happy little cowboy......who can put a price on that?

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The younger ones have been learning about birds in science. Besides reading tons about how they fly and the many different kinds, we had a few fun hands-on activities to do, too. They made a bird feeder, using a soda bottle. It now graces our tree in the front yard and we're sure it will attract many visitors soon, once they realize it is there!

We also made a fun snack-birds' nests. It's made from Chinese noodles (those crunchy ones), melted chocolate and peanut butter, and coconut. Just mix together and plop down in the shape of a bird nest. We added some mini marshmallows to look like eggs. They don't look all that great in the picture, but they tasted pretty yummy!

Though it's not a bird, we discovered this pretty butterfly in our yard. I'm not quite sure what it was doing, but it kept hanging out right by us. I was able to pick it up when it had its wings closed so the kids could all take a closer look at it. Pretty cool!

God made some amazing creatures and we've enjoyed learning about them!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My favorite kitchen things....

Spending so much time in my kitchen, cooking for a crowd, I thought I would post some of my favorite kitchen gadgets-probably many that you have, too!
First off, a pizza cutter. Not just for pizza, either-I use this for cutting up tortillas, bread, and food for my little ones. A great tool! We like the Sam's club pizza cutters the best.

Next, the scoops. In whatever size helps you! I use them for scooping cookie dough, muffin batter, etc. Much easier than using a regular spoon.

My pastry brush. Great for brushing on sauces, butter, water. The ones with the nylon bristles are the best-they don't shed like the other brushes.

My kitchen shears have been indispensible. I use them to cut up all kinds of things-including the little kids' food. Mine are a junky dollar store pair, but they work just fine.

Here's one I recently got-maybe a couple months ago...an over the sink colander. I can't believe it took me so long to finally buy one of these! It is huge, which is perfect for us, and so nice that it doesn't have to sit on the bottom of the sink!

My husband would be proud of this one....a cooking thermometer. We have several of these-I think it goes with having a chef husband. I always temp my meat that I'm cooking. I'm just not willing to take the risk of getting someone sick. Sometimes things look done, but they're not on the inside. Don't eyeball it-get a thermometer!

This one looks kind of strange...but this may be my most used item of all. They are silicone baking liners that go on your pans. Just pop one of those on and you don't have to spray the pan or line it with parchment. They clean up great, too. I love these and use them daily!

Not really a gadget, but these are my baking pans (that the liners go on top of!) I have used tons of baking pans and these are, by far, the best. They come in a 2 pack at sam's club and are super cheap. They last forever and are a great investment!

So there you have it-nothing spectacular, but a little peek into some items that help our kitchen run a little more smoothly!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Summer eating

Another reason why I love summer-the abundance of all the yummy produce-and it's actually affordable! We hit the jackpot with a big sale on strawberries, so we loaded up. After eating all we could, we took the rest and got creative. I got my girls to work mashing up several pounds of them. They actually had a lot of fun doing it.

Then made them into this...strawberry jam! My kids love this on their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So much fresher than the storebought stuff.

Several more pounds got chopped up....

and made into several loaves of strawberry bread. This was the first time I had made this, so I was unsure how it would turn out, but it was really moist and yummy. All the kids gave it 5 stars and have been asking when we can make it again. I'll be keeping my eyes open for more sales!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tuckered out

Here is the result of my little guy's action packed day.....

Konked out by 4:00! We did lunch out today, along with running a bunch of errands. Add no-nap on top of that, and that's a recipe for sleep! Hopefully he decides to go back to bed tonight!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bad teeth

Took half of my crew to the dentist yesterday for semi-annual cleanings, but I'm not quite sure I'm pleased with the results. What do you think?

Maybe time to lay off the sweets a bit? :-)