Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs!

Dying Easter eggs is an inexpensive and fun craft and you don't even have to worry about it adding clutter to your house, as the result is edible. This year we picked up three egg dying kits at the store, added our own stash of crayons, and created some marvelous egg masterpieces.

This year we had my mom and my younger sister along, as well as my brother, his wife (who is pregnant with twins!!), and their adorable little man, Lincoln. It was nice for the kids to spend some time with their Grandma, aunts, uncle, and cousin.

My favorite thing that we tried this year was taking some eggs that were still very hot from being hard boiled. While using a rag to hold onto the eggs, because they really are hot, draw on the egg with a crayon. The heat melts the crayon as draw, creating rich swaths of color. Afterward, we put the eggs into some of the egg dye. It was definitely an egg coloring technique that is best for older kids and adults, but a lot of fun. It ends up looking something like this...of course, your design would be different, but you get the idea.All in all, we colored and decorated roughly five dozen eggs this year. Good thing that my kids like to eat hard-boiled eggs.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One Year Left

Today I am celebrating the fact that in exactly one year I am going to be on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship! It may still be a year away, but my preparations and planning have already begun. Pirate costumes need to be made, packing lists need to be organized, fun door magnets need to be designed, and custom T-shirts need to be printed. Hurray!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Busy Days

Lately it seems like we constantly running around town. Between dental appointments, doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and all other errands that need to be accomplished, I find myself wistfully thinking about a day spent entirely at home. Today was a doctor appointment for myself, a dental appointment for Gizmo and Spike, the library for their after school program, and stopping by the grocery store to pick up the remainder of items on my shopping list. It does not seem like that much, but I had all the liveliness of a sloth by the time we finish.

I took some pictures of the kids while they we were at the dental office. I am still getting used to the new camera my awesome hubby bought. Squirt has reached the awkward age at which he is not big enough yet to really play with the bigger kids, but thinks he is too big to sit with me. Alas, they just grow up too quick.
When we got home, we put Squirt in his playpen, surrounded by fun toys.His response was trying to get out by force, using his face.
It was pretty hilarious, but don't worry, I did rescue him for the torturous playpen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gluten Free Fry Bread

Navajo tacos are one of my family's favorite dinners. One of those rare meal ideas that all five of us who can eat regular food enjoy. I don't doubt that Squirt will like it as well when he gets a bit bigger. It was all great until me and my husband decided that for my health, and the future health of our kids, that we should go on a gluten free diet. Last week I had Navajo tacos on the menu, thinking I would figure something out when the time came. I did some internet searching, but I did not find any really good recipes for gluten free fry bread. I took some regular recipes and a few recipes using commercial gluten free flour mixes, made notes, and came up with my own to try. It was pretty good, but I figured I could do a little better. So here you are, my newly thought up and tried recipe for gluten free fry bread. Today I made it into a beignet style doughnut for the kids. They were very pleased with my efforts.

1 1/2 cups rice flour
2/3 cups cornstarch
1/3 cups tapioca flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. xanthum gum
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. dry milk (you could probably skip this and use milk instead of water if you don't have any)
2 cups very warm water (approximately 115 degrees, but does not need to be exact)
Hot oil for frying

Mix together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, sugar, xanthum gum, and yeast in a large bowl. Add in water and mix well. The dough will be fairly batter-like. Let it sit for about an hour. It should look something like this.
I won't does not look all that appetizing at this point. It will be a white and slightly gelatinous mass. Just stick with me, it gets better.

This next step can be a little fiddly, so don't get discouraged if your first couple tries are not perfect. First, start getting the oil ready for frying. Get your hands wet and just shake them off so they are not too dripping wet. Then, reach into the dough and scoop out some batter. It should not be about a half of a handful, but you can mess around with it and figure out the size that works for you. With your other hand (making sure it is wet), gently pat the dough to flatten it out a bit. Try to be gentle enough to not complete deflate all the air out of it. After that, slide the dough off your hand into the awaiting hot oil. These will take longer to cook than normal fry bread does, so just be patient. Mine took approximately 10 minutes per batch to cook through. You will need to rinse and re-wet your hands frequently, otherwise the dough will just stick to you and make a mess.When they are finished, get them out, drain them, and them top them with whatever suits your fancy. Today we topped them with powdered sugar. The texture is even better if you let them cool a bit, so try and resist the urge to stick them right in your mouth. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I have a previous post about the fun we had working outside, how lovely the weather was, and how I hoped it would stay like that. Perhaps it was ominous that I posted that on April Fool's Day, because it didn't. It looks like this.
Boo to snowing in April. The daffodils are blooming around town. It is just not right.

A rock show....not a concert

A week or two ago I told my husband that the rock show we would be going to on a field trip would be on his day off. Unfortunately, when it finally rolled around, he apologized that he would not be able to go to the concert with us due to having quite a headache. "Huh?" was my reply. "You know," he said, "the music concert thing...the rock show." At this point I could not help but laugh, as the rock stars at this show would be of the igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary type. Nevertheless, it was still quite fun.

This was our second time going to this annual event that is held in the fairgrounds near us. For a free outing, it really is quite fun. Well, not quite free since I bought the kids souvenir rocks, but you get my drift.

If you have never attended a rock and gem show, you may be asking yourself, "What does one do at such a place?" Most of the event is vendors that are selling neat stones, beads, and various gems. There are also stands set up with activities for kids, like polishing pieces of jade or painting flat rocks. Gizmo's favorite was searching for rough gems among a pile of rocks, armed with a pair of tweezers. She found a ruby and a few sapphires, including a pink one which we were told is the rarest color of sapphire. She probably would have stayed there all day if her younger siblings would have cooperated.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Big 3-0!

Today is my 30th birthday. It is also me and my husband's 12th anniversary. Yup, we were married on my birthday. So I suppose you could say that it is a pretty special day for little old me. I was really happy that my husband was able to get today off of work so he could spend the day with me. The kids got a free day off of school for the occasion.

I spent my morning rather leisurely. Gizmo and Spike did a load of dishes and cleaned up the family room for me. That sure put a smile on my face. Squirt even slept in a little. After Brady got home from a doctor appointment, we headed out to breakfast. Me and Brady are rather fond of the Spanish Omelet from Dee's. It is hard to beat eggs topped with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Add hash browns to the side, and that is definitely a nice birthday breakfast.
When we got home, I spent my birthday in my favorite way. Just relaxing. I napped on the couch with Squirt, watched an episode of Scrubs while the kids played outside, and generally enjoyed myself. I do find it hard to do nothing but relax though, so I did sneak in some laundry and cleaning. Squirt was "helping" me sort socks.
Spike helped me make a cake for the occasion. This cake is rather boring compared to those that I do for the kids' birthdays and stuff, but it is exactly what I like on my birthday. Something easy that tastes good. No fondant or fancy stuff. Since we are experimenting with a gluten free diet, this here is a gluten free cake. A chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting to be precise. I was a little apprehensive after trying some batter and finding it a little....gritty, but it turned out really well. Hurray!
So far, this year is looking like it is going to be amazing.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Date Night!

As I have already mentioned, me and my husband (the handsome fella' pictured above) have been married quite a while. To be exact, this week we will celebrate our 12th anniversary. Most evenings are spent watching movies together, but we rarely go out with just the two of us. This past weekend we decided to celebrate our upcoming anniversary with a night on the town....or something like that.

My mom came over to watch our kiddos, and we were out the door. It felt strange being out without our little entourage, but it was also wonderful. First we shared an appetizer at Sonora Grill. We chose the guacamole which they prepare table side, and some mojitos to go with it. Both were delicious.
Afterward we headed over to the theater and watched Suckerpunch. I had been waiting to see this movie for nearly a year since my husband first saw the trailer and knew it was something right up my alley. As most people have agreed, the plot was nothing to write home about, but the visuals of it made it worth it to me. I did wish that the story involved more steampunk elements, but that is just what kind of girl I am.

My husband had a migraine just knocking on the door and waiting to take over his head, but luckily he was able to make it through and enjoy the evening with me. Good food, interesting movie, and a guy I am crazy about by my side. What a lucky lady I am.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring has Sprung...Maybe

Today brought sunshine and warm weather outside, so my crew were all itching to get outside. Or perhaps it was just me and Gizmo wanting to get outside and persuading the rest to come along, hard to say. First off we had to get some school work done. Spike had an online class scheduled this morning for language arts, so while he was doing that, I helped Gizmo with her math. She is working on mapping coordinate planes and doing quite nicely with it. She then read Johnny Tremain for a bit for literature before Spike finished up on the computer.

After lunch we all geared up to go outside. I swear this takes longer than we actually spend outdoors. Squirt's bouncer needed to be hauled outside, and Princess and my nephew (who I babysit) needed help with socks and shoes. Then shovels and gloves needed to be gathered. It is all such an event. Luckily, my oldest daughter is very helpful.

We worked on digging out the flower bed in front of our house. It needs to be completely redone, but some of the plants we would like to salvage. Gizmo and Spike worked on digging out bulbs.

Squirt bounced for a while. The hat was a continuous struggle between me putting it on and him taking it off.
Princess and her cousin colored with sidewalk chalk. All in all, it was a lovely time being outside in the fresh air after having cold and wet weather for a long time. I have my doubts that it will stay nice since the weather here always seems to be playing a trick, but we will enjoy it for now.

After all this fresh air, I was sure my kids were ready for more school! They were not quite as convinced. Being the awesome kids they are though, they participated anyway....Gizmo went off to do her online class, and this time I helped Spike with his math. He was working on chancing fractions to decimals and vice versa.

My body tried to tell me that my day was over, but alas, there was still Girl Scouts to get to. I don't really mind since Gizmo really likes going. Usually I head over to the gym while she was there, but since I have been fighting a nasty cold and can't breath worth squat, I hung out in the car with Squirt.

First he sat on my lap and pretended to drive.

Then he sat in the passenger seat and played.
And then he found a box of cookies, made a big mess, and then was ready for a nap.
I did get to knit for a little bit while he slept, which was certainly nice.