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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I forgot to write in the post last night that I wasn't going to be writing any more posts this week... opps

So Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm waiting for Pumpkin and Snowflake to go to bed to I can finish cleaning and start food prep. Talk about being behind So I snuck on here to do a  quick post. Early Friday, we'll be shopping.. so no more post for the week!

Enjoy your holiday kick-off!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tangle Teezer

For the past 2 years, it's been a battle with Pumpkin's hair. The first year it mostly just fell out, but after she turned 1, it started growing. And it turned out she has my hair.

Poor child.

Hair brushing  s an evil pair of words guaranteed to make us all cry.

(I could not get the "Tangle Teezer" to show up in the pics... sorry)

Our normal brush broke, so I finally caved and bought the Tangle Teezer on Saturday.

This thing is like a dream come true.

Best Friend even asked for it for Christmas.

It's not perfect, and really bad knots still need sprayed with detangler, but it's so much faster and easier. The girls even use it on my hair and it doesn't hurt me!

Of course, in my excitement that she finally sat down to brush her hair, I didn't get a chance to take pictures.

So I took pictures of my hair for you.

This is my usual hair style. This is pretty much what Pumpkin's hair looks like in the morning... without a ponytail holding it in place.

And this is my hair down, and unbrushed. You can see the knots. This thing runs right through them without snapping! It's quite amazing. We're all fighting over it now. Even Brian.

So for any of you with knotted up hair and daily fights with little girls... here's a great stocking stuffer.

I don't know why they're listing it so high, but it's only $10 at Target.

Your head will thank me.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Turkey Finger Puppet

We were watching Activity TV one day for about a whole 4 minutes. During those 4 minutes, they made a turkey finger puppet. It is really cute. Pumpkin wanted to make one, but she hasn't behaved long enough to make it yet.


That means I don't have pictures for you.

Whenever she decides to sit still long enough and listen, we will make one, and I will add the photos for you all to see. Whenever that is.

So I'll include the information here for you and maybe one of you moms with better listening children can send me pictures of your kids' turkeys? Just so I can have some kind of picture to post?

Here's the link for the print out with directions and the pattern to trace. You don't really need to do the googly eyes or the straw and string part of it. We weren't going to use the straw. Obviously we still have a ton of eyes to use up though.

Link to the pdf file to make the turkey finger puppet.

And here's a link to the video to see how to do it. It's a bit cheesy, but sometimes watching instructions are easier than reading them.

Link to the video to make the turkey finger puppet.

I really wish I had a picture or 3 for you. Maybe tomorrow.

EDIT: Guess who finally made them! YAY! Here you go!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Best Italian Salad Dressing


I mean it.

I don't like Italian salad dressing. I was never a fan. Which is weird since italian hoagies were very popular food items amongst my friends growing up. I was more of a Ranch girl. And a few handful of vinaigrettes. But never Italian.

Until my job.

One of the perks to my job is that I get to eat. As the hours and children have grown, thankfully, so has my food "allowance". Over the summer, I would try to get Pumpkin to eat something other than toast there. She doesn't only ever eat toast, but for some reason it's best at Ethel's. Even now, as soon as we get there after dropping Pumpkin off at school, Snowflake immediately asks for "toast and pop" (Ginger Ale spiked water). So while trying to get her to eat something, I would put out a few pieces of lettuce ("leaves" they call it) and she liked that. Then, one day Best Friend was with us and she wanted cucumber with dressing. Pumpkin wanted it, too. I've never seen this child of mine eat so many cucumbers in my life. It was a game changer.

Last week, I wanted some cucumbers and salad dressing to go with our grilled cheese sandwiches. It was a rare day that it could just be me and Pumpkin, so we ate this together. She originally wanted 4 thin slices. she ate a quarter of a cucumber. She kept wanting more! So I asked for the recipe.

The next day I was there, there was a salad dressing kit and a packet of the spices waiting for me. Best. Random. Gift. Ever.

I made it that night (last Thursday) and Pumpkin has had 4 salads, and carrot sticks dipped into it since. That's in 4 days. 3 of those salads were on Friday.

Snowflake tries it, but doesn't like it. And I'm ok with that. She's trying it. She's not even 2 and wants to try salad. I'm pretty lucky.

So to the recipe, shall we?

First you buy this:

It's under $3 at Walmart. It's what creates the magic. It comes with 2 packets of Italian seasoning. That's not the one you want. Sure, if you like regular Italian, this might be fine. I was suggested to use it over ground meat while it's browning before adding tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce. Seems like a perfect use for it.

^^THIS is the seasoning packet you want. It has all the taste of Italian but not as strong. It's perfect.

Then you follow the directions on the bottle. Yes, that simple! The bottle is marked "V" for vinegar, "W" for water, and "O" for oil. The box tells you different recipes to try using different vinegars and oils. I just used normal white vinegar and olive oil for mine. But like always, recipes I "follow" are ever so slightly altered.

Fill the vinegar up to the "V" line.

Fill water up to just past the "W" line.

Pour in flavoring packet.

Here's the biggest difference. Pour in about a teaspoon of sugar. Sorry the picture is blurrier than normal, I realized I was pouring in a bit too much sugar while trying to take the picture left handed.

You can see there's a bit too much sugar in there on the bottom, but aren't those layers pretty?

Then you shake all the ingredients up together. I think the excess sugars didn't dissolve all the way, and that's fine with me.

Pour the oil in until just over the "O" line. Vinegar and oil doesn't mix, so you'll get pretty layers. So more shaking. 

And you're done! Isn't it pretty? It costs less then buying it already made, tastes better, and much prettier on the dinner table. And it'll last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. So it won't go to waste.

Then watch as everyone fights over it to eat. Maybe not, but you'll feel good about controlling some of the ingredients you're eating, and it definitely upped our veggie count. We just had to buy another head of lettuce.

They have other packet flavors, and you can always create your own, so I'm excited to try other ones. And for a girl that never measures anything, having the bottle marked for me is a nice bonus. No worries of it being too vinegary or oily.

So what's your favorite dressing? Have you ever made your own before? Other recipes for me to try? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Ritz Crackers: Regular Evil or Super Evil?

(A lunch I served Ethel.... healthy enough?)
Totally stole that title from a friend of mine, not gonna lie. I posted on Facebook for some blog post ideas, and this one seemed like a fun one. Jeni from actually gave me that idea and title.

I feel like she should be the one writing this though. She's from Canada, where this wonderful Ritz cracker incident happened. I know we live in the states, but you heard of it. Right?

In case you haven't, here is a Reader's Digest version: A Canadian mother got fined $10 for failing to include a grain in her children's otherwise healthier-than-most-of-our-dinners-here lunch and the school had to supplement with Ritz crackers. Go ahead and read about it here.

(Picture taken from here.)
Don't get me wrong. Grains are great. All the food groups are. Especially the food groups that include cake and bacon. But what if they had an incredibly enormous amount of grains for breakfast, so the mom wanted to balance it out? Or for the family that can't have any dairy? Or those that are vegan? Is the school going to give those kids cheeseburgers to "balance the meal"?

I'm sorry. If this was a reoccurring issue and the school was genuinely concern for the malnutrition of the kids, I get that. Probably should have spoken to the parent first, though. And are Ritz crackers even considered healthy? By the looks of the ingredients list, it doesn't seem like it. "Enriched flour" is a great grain, eh?  And what about the crackers costing $10?

What do you think? School's right or the mom? Should have this been handled a different way? I dunno. This just all baffles me. There's just no choices left to make for yourself or your family without the whole world knowing about it.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Family

A week to go until Thanksgiving. Is there even a Thanksgiving anymore? With all the stores opening earlier and earlier, it's like we're slowly getting rid of all our holidays. Soon, it'll just be New Years Eve and Christmas. Although, those aren't cared for as much as they used to be.

I took yesterday off from posting a blog. I was just so tired. With the time change and weather, I think the cabin fever's starting to hit the girls harder than usual. We've been trying to keep busy on weekends, but that doesn't help with during the week days.

But anyways, I'm thankful for my family. All of them. The ones constantly in my life, the ones that pop in from time to time, and even the ones that seem to be around only when you need them. But for how little I might "see" or talk to them, I know they are there when needed. That's a nice feeling.

Brian and the girls haven't been able to be around a lot of my family. Most of them live far away. And some are just estranged. But we're huge. It's kinda of amazing. I know it's odd to maybe not talk to my Grandfather that lives down the street, yet I talk to my Great Aunts at least once a month. Not to many people even have "Great" anythings. Even my girls have met, on a regular basis, their "greats".

And I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful that my family is there and around. I'm thankful that I have a choice of who to go to when I need advice for something or help. I'm thankful that my girls get to see a generation gap be friends to one another.

I'm thankful that this Thanksgiving is bringing in another aspect of being with different parts of family.

It seems like each year, a new family member comes out of the woodwork to join us, and I'm thankful for that. For that comfort that only being a family can bring.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Under the Sycamore

Recently, my Aunt decided she wanted to start a blog. Knowing her as I do, I think she'll do wonderfully. The topic she wants to cover isn't one I would normally read or understand, but if for some awful reason I have to live it personally, I'll be glad she's willing to spread her voice.

She doesn't do Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest. I know, blasphemy. She actually heard about my blog through word of mouth. She lives in Georgia. How cool is that? So she called me and asked how and why I got started.

Me being me, I told her. Everything. Maybe I'll tell you one day when I need more post ideas. But I went on to explaining how a handful of blogs caught my attention and stuck with me. The ones I mentioned in one of my first posts about favorite bloggers. And about how they affected me, and I would like to do the same to someone else out there.

One blog, Under the Sycamore, isn't in the same realm of helpful tips that the others are. And even though I've only been following her blog and story for a few months, I'm invested in her family. They dig deep into me. Her post today (yesterday? depends when you read this I guess) is a perfect example of why.

The love and joy you see on these 2 little girls' faces as her adopted 2 and a half year old learns how to use a spoon just put me in tears. It's pure. Honest. Innocent. It's everything a child stands for. And she's willingly sharing this for the world to read and rejoice with her.

And now, I'm sharing it with you.

Click here to read about her new milestone. And go ahead and read other posts. It's OK to love someone you've never met. We all need some love. There's just not enough in this world anymore.

By the way, when my Aunt decides to get her blog up, I will post about it so you can all check it out.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Beautiful November

Wasn't this weekend beautiful? I don't know about where everyone else is, but around here the weather was like Spring. It definitely messes with the sinuses, though.

Considering we had snow earlier last week, we took advantage of the 67 degree Saturday. I had stuff to do in the morning, but in the afternoon we were able to make a visit to our local farm.

Not Triple B, that's closed for the season. But Round Hill Park. Heard of it? We love it there.

When I am done with work and Pumpkin is picked up from school, it tends to line up with Snowflake's nap. She, however, is too nosey for her own good. So I ended up helping that hole in the ozone layer grow by having to drive to get her asleep... just like a baby. I know you've all done it.

To make this drive around trip less boring for Pumpkin, and less of a nowhere destination for me, we would go to the park and I would let Pumpkin get out of the car and play in the parking lot to watch the ducks. I'm pretty sure they started recognizing us because there were these three geese that would always come up to us making Pumpkin run screaming back into the car and away we would go. I couldn't blame her, geese are terrifying and mean giant birds.

With my newer, cazier work schedule, we haven't been able to go in a while. So since it was nice out, I made them dress up for some picture taking, although the cows and chickens always steal their attention.

It's open year round, and it's FREE! Our tax money goes into keeping this place running. They have many separate playground areas that the girls love, including a "Splash Pad" for summer time. So if you live nearby, don't let the weather scare you off. We went last spring when it was still snowing out and we got to see one of the baby cows when it was only an hour old. They were still cleaning up the barn. How cool is that?!