Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Too Smart For Me!

So my Mini is an early riser.  She gets up between 6:30a-7:00a.  Shut up, it is early to me!!  I am more of a night owl than a morning bird.  I was talking about this with a friend of mine, Mae over at Mae's Got This, and she told me about this awesome thing she came up with for her Munchkin, she talks about it here.  I had heard from other parents that they used the same trick so I thought 'why not!'  Then I got lazy and so I never posted a picture of 7:00, I just talked to Mini about how she needs to stay in her room until her clock starts with a 7.  I didn't really expect much, fully taking the blame on myself cause I hadn't posted anything.  Well, she figured it out herself!  And will tell you all about how she doesn't come out of her room until there's a 7.  :-)  Go me, right!!!  Um, no.  Well... partially no anyways.  Every morning around 6:45a I hear thumping in her room (which is right above mine, YAY!)  Then at no later than 7:02a she is "sneaking" into my room.  Seriously?!  So I asked her this morning "do you wait for the clock to turn 7:00a?"  Her answer, with the cutest little grin "yep!"  So much for sleeping in.  :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lumps of Coal

I'll start by saying thank goodness this is a holiday cookie.  By holiday cookie I mean there is really no reason to make it any other time of year (unless, of course, it is to hide in your closet and inhale the entire batch!)  This cookie gets it's name solely from the fact that it looks like a lump of coal, though I have heard it called a cookies & cream bar but what fun is that??? 

The recipe is pretty simple:

1 - 16 oz. package of Oreo Cookies (30 cookies)

4 Cups of Large Marshmallows well packed
(about 38 to 40 marshmallows)

1/4 Cup of Butter

Prepare a buttered cookie sheet.

Grind up the Oreo cookies in a blender or place the cookies in a plastic freezer bag and beat them to bits with a rolling pin.  You want a crumb like consistency.

Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, when butter is melted add the marshmallows and microwave for another minute to minute and a half (just until the marshmallows are melted.) Stir the butter and marshmallows together until full incorporated working quickly so it doesn't cool.

Quickly add in the cookie crumbs and stir til they are completely coated.  Using a greased cookie scoop or a tablespoon drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the cookie sheet to set into lumps of coal; place the sheet into the refrigerator to make them a bit more firm.  These cookies are soft and yummy!
For larger lumps of coal you can press the mixture into a buttered 8x8 pan, allow it to set for 20 minutes and then soften the edges to make it look more coal like.
Store in an airtight container.  For giving away put several lumps in a bag and tie closed tightly with a ribbon.
Here's a tag you can use to label them:
There really isn't much else to say about these except that if you eat an entire batch it is soooo not my fault.  :-)  ENJOY!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Garlicious Roast w/Potatoes & Carrots

After buying this for hubby the other day I figured I'd better find uses for all of it before it goes bad. So I grabbed the round roast I had purchased and came up with a game plan.  I usually just throw the roast in the crockpot with a packet of onion soup mix and some water.  This time I resolved to work a little harder.  I had heard of cutting slits in meat and stuffing garlic into it to season so I just went for it.  Amazing!  Here is how I did it:

First, I turned my oven on to preheat it to 525 degrees.  I then cut my garlic cloves into big slivers.  After that I cut pockets into my meat and shoved the garlic slivers in.  I suggest doing this to your own taste.  We are huge garlic fans so I used 5 cloves all over the roast.  Honestly, I think I could have used even more.  It came out looking like this:
I then mixed up a little rub to put on it.  I used approximately 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 tablespoon dried onion.  I sprinkled the rub allover the roast:

I then flipped the roast over so that the fat side was facing up onto a roasting pan that had been coated in nonstick cooking spray.  I halved my new potatoes and circled the roast with them and some baby carrots.  I then halved more garlic cloves and sprinkled them around with the veggies.  I could have put more potatoes, carrots and garlic.  I sprinkled some salt, black pepper and white pepper over the veggies:
I put the whole thing in the oven for 6 minutes per pound for a medium rare roast (5 minutes per pound for rare and 7 minutes per pound for well.)  So for my roast, which was a little over 4 pounds, I cooked it for 24 minutes at 525 degrees.  Now comes the most important part!  Once the cook time is over TURN THE OVEN OFF & DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!!!!  Leave it alone for 2 hours.  After the 2 hours are up you have 2 choices.  You can either take it out and eat it as is, it will be lukewarm or you can turn the oven on to 325 degrees and let it cook for 10 minutes.  This will warm it up without overcooking it, which is what I did:
I sliced it up and it was a perfect medium rare.


I will definitely use this method again, only next time I will be using even more garlic.  :-D

Garlicious Roast w/Potatoes & Carrots

1 round roast approx 4 pounds
15 cloves of garlic (5 in slivers & 10 halved)
6 new potatoes halved
20-ish baby carrots
Salt, black pepper & white pepper to season vegetables

Rub Mix:
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried onion

Preheat oven to 525 degrees.  Cut slits in the roast and stuff with slivers of garlic.  Sprinkle rub mix over the entire roast.  Place roast fatty side up on roasting pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Surround evenly with new potatoes, baby carrots and garlic halves.  Bake in oven for 24 minutes.  Then turn oven off and allow to continue cooking with the oven door closed for 2 more hours.  It is imperative that you do not open the oven door during these 2 hours.  Once the 2 hours is over either serve as is (it will be lukewarm) or turn oven on to 325 degrees and allow to reheat for 10 minutes.  Enjoy.

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OCCUPYing My Mind

I try not to get into political arguments and whatnot.  I listen, absorb, research and make up my own mind about things.  I realize that the idea of journalistic freedom is a vague concept a lot of the times and I am a believer that in war times there are things that don't need to be shown out of respect and safety.  I also believe that much of the news that is reported is skewed this way & that so that the full story is not really represented.  I allow others to believe what they will and go my own way.  BUT this picture is making the rounds and I am having a hard time with it.

My grandfather, a rancher who worked the land that has been a part of our family for 125+ years until he was physically unable to at 88 due to cancer, would say that he fought so that his children were able to live in a country where they were free to not live hand to mouth & so that others had those same opportunities.

My father believes he served so that his children could continue to prosper and have opportunities that were unheard of previously. He continues to work after 22 years of service in the ARMY so that he can help take care of his grandchildren NOT because their parents can't but because his children are part of the working poor- those people who work full time, live modestly & still are unable to 'get ahead.' My father does not want his children & grandchildren to go without.

I believe that the full picture of the protesters is not being shown. The protests are full of servicemen who have returned from war to a country unprepared and financially unable to support their needs; there are vets from previous wars who believed what they were told, long ago, and are finding that there is nothing left to support their care. There are parents who have to send their children to schools that are questionable, at best, because the education budget has been deeply cut. There are young people who were told to get an education and they would be able to get a job to pay for it and have found that there are no jobs. There are professionals who have been out of work for several years who have applied for 100's of jobs and have not been able to get one yet.

Take a good look at this picture (found here)and tell me how many 20 year olds you see:

More of today's vets are a part of the Occupy Movement (as discussed here):
WWII Veterans (like the soldiers in the first pic) are a part of the Occupy movement (as pictured on the Facebook page for Military Veterans Who Support Occupy Wall Street Protest):

This is not about ENTITLEMENT. It is about being ENTITLED to a decent work week that allows you to support your family without going into debt. It is about NOT having to work 2 or 3 jobs, have your spouse working and having to pay someone to raise your kids. It's about being able to sleep at night knowing that there will be food to feed your family the next day. To know that you can keep your house warm in the winter & cool in the summer.  It's about knowing that if you are laid off you will be able to find a job to support yourself and your family, if you have one.  It is about being able to HAVE a family.  It is about having the confidence to work a job for 25-35+ years and know that you'll be able to retire and live comfortably.

It is about everyone paying their fair share. It is about helping our country as a whole and not allowing the rich to get richer while the people who line their pockets suffer unduly.

This is what each generation that has gone before has worked towards. What they have believed in. What must be. Is this the best way to make it happen, I don't know. But I do hope that this does bring change for I am very worried about the quality of life for my children if things remain the same.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Do You Hear The Words That Are Coming Out Of My Mouth?!?

If you are my 3 year old, Mini, you do not.  I swear she blocks me out better than anyone I have ever met.  I will ask her to do something when she is stand just a foot or so away and all I will get is a blank stare (if I get that!)  I repeat myself over and over and over again and it gets me absolutely nowhere.  I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely frustrating it can be.  Not to mention when I tell her to do something and she actually responds to me and then she STILL doesn't do it!

I know I am not the only mom in my crowd who is having this issue.  We have pretty much decided that the 3's are way worse then the 2's (and rumor has it that the 4's aren't any better!)

This article, from Scholastic's Parent & Child magazine, helped me to understand what was going through her head.  I know that I am guilty of not following through.  As in- "It's time to go...after Mommy pins this one last thing on Pinterest."  (Beware of clicking that link!  It will suck you in!)  Or- "I am counting to 5...and going to catch your little brother before he destroys something."    I know that Mini believes that we know what she is thinking or what she has done every minute of every day.  When asked what she did today or what she is drawing she constantly responds with "you know, you tell me."  Now I feels safe in the knowledge that this is normal.  How do I deal with this?  I plan to make sure she knows that I am talking to her; I have a feeling that a big part of our communication issues come from the fact she doesn't realize that we are talking to her.  I also hope to remember to break down tasks into small, short instructions so that she can remember and follow them easily.  I want to have her understand that I am in charge but that I respect her as a little one.  Plus, I will make sure that I am better at following through so that "give me just one sec..." doesn't end up meaning "it'll be awhile." 

I vow, as a parent, to do my part to make sure my child grows up to be someone who knows how to listen.  If only I could guarantee that she'll WANT to listen. ;-)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do Blondes Really Have More Fun?

Well...  Do they?

The infamous Marilyn Monroe believed they do; hence her evolution from Norma Jean to Marilyn.

 (Isn't she beautiful?!?)

I have no clue and I have been blonde for 10 weeks.  I have not noticed a difference.  What I have noticed is that I still blink when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror.  My hair has been many different colors over the years but this is the first time it has ever been truly blonde since I was 12 years old.  While I like it I am not sure that it is my favorite look.  Recently my 3 year old daughter asked me why I had black underneath my blonde  So now I am at the fork in the road.  Do I stay blonde, go back to brunette or go DARK, as in black (which I have done before and is very striking)?????

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nap Time

Nap time.  Ugh.  You never know how good you got it til the game gets changed.  In many ways I was spoiled when I had my daughter.  Because my husband worked long hours away from home 6 days a week it was mainly just her and I.  This meant that, as a stay at home mom, my world revolved around her & her needs.  I was able to get us into a routine that worked for us and by the time we moved across the country to be closer to my family & keep hubby from working himself to death, she was locked into a set nap routine.  One that meant I got 2 hours free in the morning and 2 hours free in the afternoon.  We moved in with my parents & I kept that routine and pretty much 'convinced' my niece (my sister & her daughter lived with my parents, too- they have a HUGE house) to be on the same routine.  Yay! After I got pregnant with our twins we moved out, our nap routine stayed the same (I know, a 2 year old who takes 2 naps a day?!?) and I was able to get the rest I desperately needed. 

The twins have not been as cooperative as my daughter.  :-(  I know that part of the problem is our daily routine is not as calm.  Mini has dropped her morning nap and it is not like we can just hang around the house while the boys take a nap.  She has school 3 days a week which means we have to be out of the house early and since the school isn't near home and it is near the gym that means we go there next, then it is lunch time and before I know it time to pick Mini up from school.  I took the easy road for the first year and just held both boys to get them to go to sleep for nap time.  Now that they have a set bedtime routine I am trying to get a set nap time routine for at least one nap, the afternoon one since, theoretically Mini takes one, too.

Getting their bedtime routine set was not fun.  It required the use of the Cry It Out method.  Now, before you get your panties in a twist, the twins are 1 year old and old enough to get the concept.  It only took a couple days but they figured it out and now they sleep from about 7:30p-7:00a.  :-)  Nap time has not been so easy.  I put them in their cribs at 3:30p every day and leave them there until 5:00p; 90% of the time Little, Little Man will sleep while Big, Little Man will scream & cry like he is being tortured. It makes me sick to my stomach to listen to him cry and I hate it.  I KNOW he needs sleep and I can't think of another way to make it happen besides holding him BUT I need to get things done without interruptions and, yes, sometimes I need some sleep.  I don't know what else to try and so tomorrow I will do it all over again...

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Mini loves to wear dresses to school, the gym, the store, everywhere.  Mini lives where it is getting cold fast.   Mini is a 3 year old who is likes to go to the potty by herself.  Tights are no longer an option (pants are complicated enough!)  Sooo....  LEGWARMERS!!!!  We have a couple pairs from when Mini & her cousin were babies and she wears them all the time but more are needed.  They are soo expensive!  So I looked up how to make them from ladies' knee high socks.  I made hubby buy some today (I let him pick the patterns- talk about trust!)  And I made a pair for each kiddo!  (They work great for the boys when we are at home cause it means I don't have to take pants off to change diapers.)  Here's how I did it:

Women's knee high socks:

Cut the socks as shown:

Discard toe and heel sections.  Trim the last piece as shown:
(This will be the second cuff so how much you trim is up to you-
it all depends on how tight you want the cuff to be.)

Sew the soon-to-be cuff WRONG SIDE OUT back together:

Fold the cuff in half so the RIGHT SIDE shows (I missed this pic.  OOPS!)
Turn the sock WRONG SIDE OUT and pin the folded cuff to the inside:
Sew close to the unfinished edge, I recommend sewing it twice.
(You don't HAVE to pin it; feel free to free hand sew it.)  :-)


Not bad for my first go around.  Plus, each pair only cost $2.50 and it only took me about and hour and a half to make all 3 pairs (this was in between taking care of a 3 year old & 2 1 year olds soo....)  Oh & I have some ideas about how to turn them into arm warmers.  :-D

Big, Little Man    Mini    Little, Little Man
in their legwarmers/baby legs

**UPDATE**  Mini has mastered tight and as it gets colder we have found that legwarmers over tights or leggings is perfect for her.