Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Acts

Last weekend I had a chance to get an afternoon off. I requested off work, grandpa offered to watch Little Man, and my sister bought tickets for us to see The Band Perry and Rodney Atkins in concert.
(Seriously in love with her boots.)

I'm not sure the last time I went out without Little Man and hubby. I'm sure it's been well over a year.

Now, don't get me wrong, I would choose to hang out with my family over anything else. But every now and again, it's nice to have a girls day.
Leaving the parking garage after the concert, we paid for the van behind us. I could see the confused look on their face as they tried to hand the toll booth attendant money. I'm sure they were left wondering who we were or why we paid for their parking. We were enjoying our afternoon and wanted to pass along a little of that to someone else.

That night at bed, Little Man told me, "Momma, you can go running around again if you want. As long as I can stay with grandpa." I asked if grandpa had spoiled him, and after explaining what spoiled meant, Little Man agreed, he was definitely spoiled that day. Happy Meals, a special animal DVD, hunting the meadow with a metal detector, and popcorn right before bed.

Since I have the 5 year old's permission, maybe I won't wait another whole year for another girls day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: The Furballs

Tackle It Tuesday: Reward Chart

Lately, I've been dealing with a rather grumpy Little Man. I'm not sure if it's the time change, a cold coming on or what, but 9 days out of ten, he's been in a mood.

In an effort to reward good behavior, encourage him to have fun at school, and praise a good mood, I decided to create a reward chart.

Since I'm cheap frugal, I gathered supplies from around the house. Materials:
An old cookie sheet
Mod Podge
Some pretty paper
Magnet sheets

To create:
1. Glue paper onto cookie sheet. I added a second color to create a place for the magnets before they were earned.

2. Put stickers onto magnet sheets and cut out.3. Arrange magnets on cookie sheet. I created daily labels, so Little Man can see how many stickers he's received each day.4. Be on the lookout for good behavior to reward. (Little Man can earn the book stickers for reading, the schools for behaving at school, pencils for practicing his writing, food for trying something new, and the others for general good behavior.)

Check out other tackles at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Just a Little Lost

Momma, are we going in circles?Momma, I just saw that tree like 5 minutes ago.Momma, I'm tired.
My feet hurt.
I can't walk anymore.Is it going to get dark soon?Our "short" walk yesterday turned into a 6 mile hike after we missed our turn onto a bridge and managed to follow a trail that led to a washed out bridge instead.

There were a few complaints, a few requests to be carried. But overall, it was quite the adventure. We explored, we studied, we observed. We were able to see the woods, beaches, streams, and lakes. We found turtles, salamanders, bugs, and turkey tracks. It was exciting and tiring. Very tiring.But, even with all the complaints, I've already heard requests to "do it again next week."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Homemade Pop Tarts

Pop Tarts:
1 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter (softened)
3 tablespoons water
Jelly of your choice (I used strawberry & blueberry)
Splash of milk

1. Mix flour, salt, and sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mix until coarse balls form. Add the rest of the butter, mix until small balls form.

2. Add water slowly, until dough holds together. Throw dough until it begins to feel a little drier. (I tossed it for 3-5 minutes.)

3. Form dough into a flattened ball and place in fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Once chilled, roll out dough. It should be about 1/8 inch to 1/16 inch thick. Cut into 10 equal rectangles.

5. Add jelly to center of 5 rectangles, leaving space at the edges. Stretch the other 5 pieces out just a little and place over top. Seal edges with a fork. Poke holes in the tops of each, without going through the bottom layer of dough!

6. Place on parchment paper and brush with milk.

7. Freeze for 30 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 375-400. And bake for 15-20 minutes. They will be golden brown.
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

9. Mix icing ingredients together and drizzle over warm pop tarts.

Sneaky, Sneaky Leprechaun

Apparently, every 5 year old in Little Man's kindergarten class wants to come to our house next St Patrick's Day. Supposedly, they are all planning out leprechaun traps to catch the sneaky leprechaun that visits our house each spring. (Which I completely believe after seeing several sketches of rainbow covered boxes and holes covered with grass.)

This sneaky leprechaun leaves footprints all over the house. (While wearing cowboy boots with spurs it seems.)

He writes letters to his little friends. Letters with clues on them.
And he leaves you the luck of the Irish. And a gift.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheap Date with Blockbuster Express

I've mentioned before that we live in a tiny little town. We're lucky to have one stoplight and a grocery store. We've always rented our movies at the little local grocery, but they recently told us they were getting rid of their movie section and replacing it with a Blockbuster Express kiosk. Seriously, I couldn't be happier. The selection is such an improvement!

With money being tight, I'm always on the lookout for cheap entertainment. Yes, I completely admit, I am a cheap date. Always have been.

Blockbuster Express makes creating a cheap date simple. Movie rentals are only $1 a night. At that rate, we can get a movie to watch early in the night with Little Man and a second to watch when our "date night" starts.

For a cheap, but fun date, we make our own pizza. Because making it together is half the fun. And he can have his (icky) mushrooms and I can throw on extra pepperoni. Some night, I'd love to create our own picnic on the living room floor, ala No Reservations, with a tent, pillows on the floor, and candles. Seriously, how romantic would that be?!

I won't mention that I usually fall asleep halfway through the movie...So not the most romantic part of date night.

Right now you can rent a movie and get a second one free for a night from Blockbuster Express using the code: 5G13B24. (Code is valid thru 3/31/2010. When you rent a movie at the regular price, you'll receive the first night's rental on a second movie FREE. Extra night charges and taxes apply. May not be combined with any other offer. Rental terms and conditions apply. Not valid at Blockbuster store locations.)What do you do for a cheap date night?

I received a gift card from Collective Bias for participating in the Cheap Date Night promotion for Blockbuster Express.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Rain, Rain

Hello, Flood Waters...

And wet dog...

Rainbow Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg whites
1/2 cup crushed Oreos (Should use 1 cup or more next time though)

Makes 24 (and 10 minis)

1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add sugar. Add in milk, softened butter, and vanilla. Mix on low for 30 seconds. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. Add egg whites and mix another 2 minutes.

2. Fold in crushed Oreos.

3. Separate batter into six bowls (or a muffin pan.) Add food coloring.

4. Line muffin pan and fill each cup 2/3 full. Alternate colors to create a rainbow look.
5. Bake 18-20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

6. Frost when cool.
Marshmallow Frosting
10 oz Marshmallow Fluff
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together for about 4 minutes on medium speed.The frosting did end up a little soft. My fingers are crossed that it will firm up, but next time I might use a little less Fluff or a little more sugar. And definitely more Oreos next time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Little Farmer

After parent-teacher conferences last night, we had to rush off to grandma's house to help with the milking. Grandpa recently had surgery on his shoulder and isn't supposed to be doing too much work on his own. Though he's as stubborn as always and not listening.
Little Man was excited to help out in the barn. He was in charge of playing with Anabelle, the goat kid who was just moved to the barn. From my parent's kitchen. She has made quite the impression at Little Man's school. Staying in grandma's class during the day, and even visiting Little Man's kindergarten class. He was on cloud 9 the day that he "had the best show and tell. Ever."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A Perfect Afternoon

Tackle It Tuesday: Photos

I admit, I take way too many photos. And many times, they end up left in a stack. Or worse, never get printed at all.
I finally sorted through the thousands of photos stacked in the den and added them to the appropriate albums.
Now I just need to print the ones still living on my computer. Though I'm a little scared to see that bill. Especially since I haven't printed any photos since our last vacation. In 2006.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Healthy Choice Review

Every now and then, dinner is a "fend for yourself" ordeal. Everyone is in charge of finding something for themselves. It usually consists of leftovers or freezer meals. (Except Little Man who always requests a grilled cheese.)

One of my standbys are the frozen meals from Healthy Choice. I am such a sucker for the Asian Potstickers. Mmmm.

I love that Healthy Choice meals are filling, without a ton of calories. And, they are so flavorful. Plus, they're quick and effortless. I have my share of days where cooking is the last thing on my mind by 5 o'clock, and pushing a button or two on the microwave is about all I can handle at that point.

According to Healthy Choice, their products are low in calories, saturated fat, and sodium when compared to a typical American meal.

When a company uses a brand name containing the word "healthy," they are held to a higher standard by the Food & Drug Administration. Healthy Choice is the only major brand in that category that can call 100% of their products "healthy," as defined by the FDA.
Recently, Healthy Choice added 11 new entrees to their product line. I had the chance to taste two of the latest Healthy Choice All Natural Entrees. The Roasted Red Pepper Marinara, one of the new vegetarian offerings, combines roasted peppers, garlic, and marinara with whole-grain cavatelli pasta. And, the Tortellini Primavera Parmesan offers a four-cheese tortellini mixed with julienne carrots and red peppers, and tossed with Chardonnay wine and extra virgin olive oil.
Both meals were filling and delicious. While the Asian Potstickers may still continue to be my favorite Healthy Choice standby, both of these meals will be making their way into my freezer again.

Buy It
Find Healthy Choice products in your grocer's freezer and soup aisle

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Healthy Choice and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Feeling Like Spring...

The snow seems to be slowly melting, and my fingers are crossed that we won't see anymore of it this winter!

I'm in a complete spring frame of mind. I've started my spring cleaning, pulled out some light, fun clothes from storage, and finally put away all the winter decor still floating around the house.

I even got an (early) spring haircut. No one (including me) believed I'd chop all my hair off on a whim. But 9 inches later, I was happy with the results. It's so much lighter and looks so much healthier.When I picked Little Man up at school, I was greeted with "Whoa...Momma?" That kid always makes me giggle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Discovery

While cleaning the garage, I found my old Gameboy.
Little Man has a new obsession.
However, I constantly have to remind him that it's not like the Wii. Shaking, jumping, and swinging will not help you win.

Happy Birthday, Dr Seuss!

Little Man's kindergarten class is celebrating Dr Seuss's birthday all week long. He is so excited that they get to wear funky socks tomorrow and has had no less than 52 times if it's Thursday yet, because they get to wear pajamas to class.

Since he's so excited about the week's topic, we've been celebrating at home too. We've read Cat in the Hat, Fox in Socks, Oh! The Places You'll Go, as well as every other Seuss book he can find every night.

His absolute favorite is There's a Wocket in my Pocket. So we decided to create our own copycat story.
We chose places for the critters to live out of some old magazines, Little Man drew each of the "monsters," and he told me what to write on each page. The Fry-Pod listening to his I-Pod cracked me up.

I was lucky to find blank Golden Books one day a Micheal's awhile back. I adore these things. What can be cooler to a (book-obsessed) five year old than creating a book that looks authentic?!