Halloween Pictures!

October 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Pictures

I couldn’t go to sleep without putting a few pictures up of our 3 little trick-or-treaters! We all had a great BUSY Halloween day. img_0655.jpgimg_0651.jpgimg_0618.jpg

Our favorite Halloween book

October 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Reviews

Room on the BroomLast night I read the boys one of my favorite kids books, Room on the Broom. This book is a fun story about a witch and her animal friends whom she gives rides on her broom. What makes the book special is the wonderful rhythm of the story. Like Doctor Seuss, the book is so easy and FUN to read. Reading the words is almost lyrical and the story is very whimsical. I make sure we read it several nights around Halloween, but this is a book that can (and does in our house) get read any time of year.

FYI – Notice the link doesn’t take you to Amazon, but to our Amazon store. The items in the store are sold through Amazon the same as if you went straight there, but this is a way for us to showcase our favorite books, games, gadgets, etc. If you purchase something through this store we get a small referral fee. It ain’t a lot, but with a 4th kid on the way we still have a lot of diapers to pay for 😉 I’ll make sure that anything else we review in the future also gets placed in the store so it is easy to find later. The link to our store will always be on the left margin of the site.

Spider Cookies (not 100% homemade but still good)

October 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Recipes

dscf5513.jpgEthan made these Halloween cookies at school and wanted to make them at home so we did yesterday when we had the 2 kids I watch. I am a homemade cookie person BUT I didn’t want to roll cookie dough with 5 kids so I bought the log of pilsbury sugar cookie dough. Each kid stuck their own pretzel legs in and used some mini M&Ms to decorate them. I baked them 4 at a time because of the big legs and I let each of them make 2. It worked out nicely because while the first cookies were baking the kids made their 2nd one and then ate any leftover M&Ms. I think they came out pretty cute and were a nice way to keep the 4 kids busy for a little while (the baby just got a pile of M&Ms and pretzels to play with and eat).dscf5510.jpg

Upgrading to WordPress 2.3.1

October 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Misc

Site might be down for a bit today while I upgrade.

Snow!

October 29, 2007 by  
Filed under Misc, Pictures

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been back in DIY mode working on finishing the footings for our new deck – passed inspection! This past weekend I was hoping to get ahead on some posts, but I had to stay up to test some servers at work Saturday night to make sure they didn’t switch over during the old DST time change at 2am. Getting up for the boys 8am hockey practice was brutal. I’m still tired, but hopefully another good night of sleep will get me recharged.

My plans to pour the last of the cement into my footings was nixed due to the cold weather yesterday. Instead I went to work replacing the rubber gaskets on the bottoms of the garage doors. While Ethan and I were finishing up the second door I noticed the rain hitting my coat started making a different noise. I turned around to see SNOW. Our first flakes of the season. Only lasted a minute, but it sure got Ethan excited. No snowfall is in our forecast so he’ll have to wait a little longer for any snowman building. Although a snowball fight is always available at the ice rink.

This morning we had our first thick frost of the Fall. We also had a touch of hoar frost in places. This is a phenomenon I’d never seen until we moved to our house. We have lots of rivers, streams, and ponds around and with all the hills and valleys we get some serious fog in the morning. When the water is warm and the air gets really cold we sometimes get beautiful freezing fog and on rare occasions a hoar frost where everything is coated in crystal formations. I was running late to work so I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures, but I still have photos from the first hoar frost I witnessed. Click on the photos to get a good look at the ice crystals.

Hoar Frost on tree branch

Hoar frost on pine needles

Furry snowball

One Year Ago Today

October 27, 2007 by  
Filed under Pictures

One thing I love about Adobe Photoshop Elements is the time line above the image browser. Every once in awhile I like going back in time since these kids grow up way too fast. Last year on October 27th Ethan and Ben were learning about fire fighters and Jamie was looking cute.

Ben tries the fire hose Ethan and friends trying the hose
Jamie putting on the charm

Picky Inherited?

October 26, 2007 by  
Filed under Family Activities, Past Contests

Today the Parent Bloggers Network is discussing picky eaters to help promote the publication of Deceptively Delicious, a cookbook with recipes for hiding healthy food in meals your kids will like eating.

As a kid I was a notoriously picky eater. The family joke was that I wouldn’t eat anything green. In truth it was the texture of most veggies that made me gag and I soon was very stubborn and unwilling to try new things. It wasn’t until I was much older that I finally got adventuresome, but I’m still not the greatest eater.

All those nights of tormenting my parents with a battle of wills over a pile of peas and sneaking brussel sprouts onto other people’s plates is coming back to haunt me now because Ethan is proving to be just as picky as I was. What is interesting is that he was not picky when he was younger. He readily ate peas, avacado, and other veggies with delight, but now he is just like I was and will gag and make a huge fuss over eating a single pea. Meanwhile Ben will eat just about anything and a lot of it. I swear that kid would eat a whole cantaloupe if we let him.

We’ve done nothing different between the two it just seems to be their inherited personality. Ethan definitely has my eating habits and Ben has Heather’s. Given my intimate knowledge of being picky I realize that battling Ethan head on will not work. With that in mind I decided to tackle the problem at the grocery store.

During our last trip to Wegmans, Ben wanted to ride in Heather’s cart with Jamie so Ethan and I set off on a mission: find things he would like to eat. My first question for him was to name his three favorite foods. He responded with chicken, toast, and fish. I described some different food combinations that I like and we decided to try something Ethan used to love when he was little – smoked salmon on a bagel. Ethan helped me pick everything out and the next night we had our meal. Ethan tried the salmon without any problems…and didn’t really like it. Ben, of course, thought it was great and at all his salmon along with Ethan’s. Well, I consider it a victory that I got Mr “I don’t like new things” to try something. An added benefit is that he told me he likes “big fish” like the one he caught this summer. I told him our next trip we’ll pick something out from the seafood section and he can help me cook.

My philosophy in all this is that there is no magic spell to get your kids eating the right foods. I think it is more important to get them willing to try new things and let them take part in the food selection. Of course, my optimism might change after a few more trips to the grocery store, but I think in the end we’ll get Ethan liking a few more new things and dinner will become less of a battle and more of an adventure.

DIY Tip: How to fix a smelly faucet

October 25, 2007 by  
Filed under DIY Projects

We have a very strange problem with the faucet in our main bathroom. When you use the cold water, especially in the morning, you get a horrible rotten egg smell. No other water source in the house does this and even the hot water of the same faucet does not do this. Doing a little google research I discovered that this is not an uncommon problem. The smell is caused by sulfur bacteria that release hydrogen sulfide gas. What is unusual is that the problem is limited to a single faucet.

Typically this problem either affects all water sources or just the hot water since the water heater is great environment for this bacteria. Since our smell is confined to such a small area I tried replacing the water supply hose…no luck. I did find a way to get rid of the odor, but it only last 4-6 months before the smell returns. I take the filter out of our whole house filter and fill the cannister with chlorine bleach. Then run the smelly tap for a long time until the bleach smell is gone. Simple solution, but the smell has always come back.

I’m going to do some more brainstorming and googling to try and find a permanent solution, but if all else fails it will be back to the bleach. For information on bleaching your well, check out this link. It sounds like a harsh solution, but it is recommended and safe if you follow instructions. The keys is making sure you flush all your taps until the smell is gone.

Has anyone else encountered this problem? What did you do to fix it?

Peanut butter on an Oreo!

October 24, 2007 by  
Filed under Recipes

So I have mentioned being pregnant and I’m sure it will come up a lot the next 7 months. I don’t have bizarre cravings but I do seem to crave things occasionally (like I bought myself Pop Tarts last grocery trip and I never buy them or want them). Two nights ago I was ending a pretty queasy day and I wanted a snack after the boys were in bed. I opened a package of generic store brand double stuffed Oreos (they had been untouched for a month in the cabinet because I can somehow resist them) and while still in the cabinet I got the wonderful idea to spread a little creamy peanut butter on top. Now that may sound like nothing special BUT it was the most delicious thing I could have hoped for at that moment. John and I both ate four of them and they were sooooo good. It reminded me of a girl scout peanut butter patty cookie but much better tasting. I’m not thinking about how bad that combo must be for you at the moment. I only had 4 because I pre-made them in the kitchen and put the cookies and peanut butter right away. If I hadn’t done that I think it would have been way too tempting to eat a lot more of them. Of course now that I’m writing this I’ll have to go try it again ASAP.

So basically I’m saying you really should try this at home, its a miraculous discovery!

Glue & Shaving Cream Paint

October 23, 2007 by  
Filed under Art Projects

I saw this on some site and I can’t believe how well it worked! Anyone with kids NEEDS TO TRY THIS! You mix equal amounts of shaving cream and glue and then paint with it. I thought it would be fun on black paper to make clouds and ghosts (I cut out little circles of black paper to add to the ghosts for eyes). We used a butter knife and paint brushes to apply the glue paint. Once you’re done painting you need to put it out of reach from the kids until its dry (roughly overnight) and it dries nice and puffy and looks really neat. You can add a little regular paint to make different colors and next time we’ll try that. Maybe some glitter sprinkled onto the still wet but finished painting would be a nice addition. Oh and don’t go crazy making a ton of this paint, it won’t last more than a day.

I am pregnant with #4 and tired and lack motivation so there is no picture to go along with this (really bugs me to post with no picture but I need to get over that).

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