Sunday, July 25, 2010

Anatomy of a Baking Fail

I went to make Better Than Pop Tarts again yesterday, and the first step of the recipe calls for crumbling the dry ingredients with butter by hand. Since I had such great success with making pie dough in the food processor, I decided to try it for this recipe, too (Mistake #1).

The dough got WAY too sticky, and was very difficult to layer on top of the jam. So then I had the idea to put it in a pastry bag and pipe it on top (Mistake #2).

Which did not go so well. The dough was too sticky to place by hand, but too thick to go through the icing tip. Frustrated, I squeezed all the dough out of the bag in big glops on top of the filling and smeared them around with a spreader (Mistake #3).

Definitely not my most beautiful looking dessert, but it still baked well and happily, tasted great (though the top layer was slightly um, uneven).

And everything looks better with frosting on top.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ice Cream Safari - Stop #3

Week #3 was a soggy one, for our annual Ice Cream Social at the park. The kids and I spent about two hours in the sunshine, and then minutes before the party started, the skies opened up and rain poured down.

It broke long enough for us to quickly serve sundaes.

Theo was loving running out in the rain, and I had to make a Bad Mom decision in my mind (I really don't care if he gets wet, and he can't really get pneumonia from being out in the rain, can he? Does letting him run in the rain make me a Bad Mom?)

Clark chose a cup of M&M's over ice cream.

And then did the "Puddle Boogie".

Five minutes after we cleaned up, the sun came out.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Art Week

This was an easy theme for me. I love doing art projects with the kids. I overplanned again ... many more things I'm hoping to get to later this summer.

The kids started out making birthday cards for their aunt.

I love these beautiful eyes!

Theo wanted to use every color pencil. I like how he snuck his birthday greeting onto the arms.

 Clark made a page of little faces ... he calls them "Crazy Clarks."

I've been wanting to do this project for awhile ... making foam stamps.

Dora's work ... a spider, a self-portrait, a flower and an ice cream cone, which she used for Ice Cream Safari this week.

Theo also made a self portrait and asked me to help him with a name stamp.

And these are mine!

Here's another something I've been wanting to do for awhile: Mess-Free Finger painting.

Put a generous amount of paint into a gallon plastic bag, seal it closed, and finger paint away!

Everyone thought this was pretty cool. We also got out some cookie cutters to make shapes.

Then Dora tried out our homemade stamps and those made interesting patterns, too.

We also tried Bubble Printing this week. I had done this in college with great results ... our experiment didn't work out as well, I think because we used tempera paints instead of ink, the colors were not very intense. But the kids had a great time making the bubbles.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pad My Mouse

I need a new mousepad. For many years, I had a heat-sensitive mousepad that changed color when I rested my hand on it, that was pretty cool. Then I had a round polka-dotted mousepad from Ikea that wore out, I recovered it, then it wore out again. I bought a notepad / mousepad at Target last month that was a great idea in theory, but isn't providing enough traction for my optical mouse and I'm finding myself annoyed with it.

So: coolest mousepad? Any suggestions internet?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ice Cream Safari - Stop #2

Today we had ...

Chocolate Vanilla twist with rainbow sprinkles - the Theo special. He was having some issues today with drip control. And, thanks for wearing that white shirt today, buddy! Oh yeah, those napkins? Don't need 'em. You can just wipe hands on your shirt!

Plain chocolate for the plain chocolate kid.

And Orange Dream for Dora ... orange and vanilla with mini orange chocolate cups. I love that Dora is such an adventurous ice cream eater! She is always up for trying a new flavor, usually fruity, rarely chocolate. Turns out that she is not very adventurous in new eyewear. We went today to pick out new frames and she decided on the exact same style, only pink this time.

Friday, July 9, 2010

During The Non-Crazy Times

Dora and I have actually had a pretty good week during camp time. On Tuesday, Clark fell asleep on the way back from camp drop-off, so I plunked his snoozy self into the stroller and we went to the library, where we spent two lovely air-conditioned hours selecting and reading books. We went back today for another round, as Dora had read all 23 books in two days. Clark was awake this time, but loves playing at the library, so we had another relaxing afternoon. (Dora brought home 36 books this time ... hope they last her through the weekend.)

Yesterday, Clark napped at home and Dora and I decided to do some painting. I haven't done watercolors in a long time, it was fun to play.

And soooo quiet in the house. Aaaaaah.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

And Then She Took My Book

The kids have a bad case of the crazies.

I'm blaming it on this heat wave we've been having that has been keeping us inside all week. (I know, complaining because it's too hot? I want to punch myself just for thinking it.)

The middle child has camp at 1:00 this week, and that combined with our now-standard lazy mornings leave a 90-minute dead zone in our day in between late breakfast and early lunch where there's not enough time to actually go anywhere and too hot to go outside. They play with each other long enough to fool me in to thinking I can get something done, then I'm halfway into a project when the whining / fighting begins.

Last night at dinner, they came down with a bad case of the overactive giggles, which led to spilled milk and spilled food and me screaming and the merriment just continued.

(Seriously, crazy! Like running around, bumping into each other and spouting nonsense crazy!)

We drove to an outdoor concert last night, once it was finally comfortable enough to be outside again. (More jumping, more crazy. Taking each others' shoes off and throwing them. Shouting potty words to make each other laugh.) We all got out of the car and I wondered out loud (maybe a little too loudly, the band may have heard me) if I should take them home and put them to bed, because I didn't know what else to do with them.

The concert was good. Being outside was good. I had a meeting to go to last night, so after the show I dropped them off at home with dad. But then I skipped the meeting to go shopping instead, because I just ... needed ... quiet. (Another benefit of Mothers & More? An excuse to go out every Wednesday night, even if I don't make it to the meetings.)

The crazies were still in full swing this morning, with sword fights, boxing matches and vaulting off the furniture. I planned ahead to get out as early as we could and go to our indoor (air-conditioned) gym that has inflatable equipment.


The kids played. I read my book. I drank my tea and marvelled at how the white noise of the fans drowned out the screaming.


For ten minutes.

Then Dora approached me with tears and a chipped tooth. (Permanent tooth, of course.) She had bonked heads with another kid in the bounce house. Crying, sobbing, assurances that everything will be okay, our friendly dentist will fix it right up (seriously, we have the BEST dentist). Eventually, she calmed down, but was done playing. And then she took my book.

So I picked up my phone and wrote this post.

PS. I know, wah-wah-wah, me and my poor problems. It's just been one of those days when lots of little things add up and I can't seem to get a break. Truth is, I am thankful and blessed to have three healthy children who have the energy to make me crazy every day. And thankful that eventually, they fall asleep, so I can love them again tomorrow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

America Week!

We spent the week leading up to the 4th doing some patriotic activities:

A trip to the Liberty Bell.

We talked about how the colonists came up with symbols for their new country to show that they were newly independent. We made family flags.

Dora's flag is red, blue and purple, representing the favorite colors of everyone in our family. The purple stripe is in the middle because red and blue make purple. Both kids included five stars to represent the five of us.

They made patriotic t-shirts to wear for the 4th. (Instructions from Family Fun.)

Clark didn't want to wear his t-shirt yesterday morning. So Jeff flipped it around and said "Look! A plain blue shirt!" Brilliant.

We had practiced the fireworks printing on paper before putting them on shirts.

And our practice paper made an awesome banner.

And then ... Uncle Sam pins! (Also from Family Fun.)

The googly eyes make these extra adorable. These were fun to make. 

This was Theo's. Because why have a regular Uncle Sam, when he can have two heads instead?

And we even had a good ol' fashioned protest this week.

(He just got a trim.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red, White & Blue

Cake Bites for the 4th of July ...

... which Jeff re-named "America Balls."

Happy Independence Day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Peaceful Moment

We've had an unusually harmonious household this morning and I'm enjoying it.

Dora and Theo are playing Scrabble and Clark is playing with blocks. I have an addiction to online Scrabble thanks to two people: my friend Samantha who got me started (only on Facebook can I play a game of Scrabble with my BFF from middle school. Love it.) and my friend Amy who got me hooked. (I think we're on game what - 15?) Anyhow, now the kids have gotten in to it as well, and Dora even has her first online game going with a friend, via my account.

(And yes, of course she is wearing a formal gown to play. This was a bridesmaid dress from my aunt's wedding in the 70's. Awesome!)

BTW, this idyllic setting lasted 40 minutes before someone threw a pencil at someone else. But long enough for me to shower and have a mug of tea, so ... Go, Me!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ice Cream Safari!

A friend of mine had the brilliant idea to try a different ice cream stand each week during the summer. Wednesdays are now officially Ice Cream Safari days! An adventure this grand called for some special gear.

Yes ... passports.

There are ten pages for logging location, flavor selection and rating (loved it, liked it, not my favorite) with room for a stamp. There's also a page to paste a picture and fill out vital information about the passport holder. I bring them each week in a plastic bin with rubber stamps, an ink pad, pencils and coloring supplies. After everyone is done eating, we fill in the info and stamp the page.

Want to try your own ice cream safari? Get your passports here.

So, what did we get on week one?

Blue Goo (loved it).

Panda Paws (liked it).

Chocolate (too distracted by the playset to finish it).