Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spendin' my time

There's nothin' like a day off of school to get me motivated!

We're on fall break, ya'll, so we had yesterday off (we did our errands yesterday so that we could have the whole day home today) AND we still have Monday off! I'm beyond excited!

The kids have been hounding me for months to use the colored sanding sugar we got at our neighborhood store about a month ago. (Don't worry, it doesn't go bad!) So today I got a bug up my butt to finally make frosted sugar cookies. Might as well make the recipe that makes 10 doz. right, and freeze some for Christmas. Good idea huh?

So bake is what I did. For a couple hours no less. Brent was away helping put windows in a house our neighbor owns, so we had the house to ourselves. First I made sugar cookies (recipe at end of post...along with buttercream frosting recipe) and then shortbread cookies with a chocolate in the middle.

Don't they look yummy?!

(Don't judge the blackness of my pan, it's well seasoned!)

So, like I said, I froze most of them for Christmas time. I usually give some to the kids teachers and our neighbors. Today, I couldn't tell ya which kind was my favorite. The kids couldn't wait till I had one frosted for each of them!

Next project: A coffee filter wreath for our Holiday Bazaar at church. A friend and I were in charge of the crafts for our Sunday School class. Each class makes a craft of their choosing, and it gets placed on our donated table at the bazaar, and it then gets sold, and the money goes to the church. Simple right. We've not made the same craft twice in all the years we've been doing this, and this year was no exception. This is just one of the items we made, and I brought it home to make myself to try it out. I'm TOTALLY making one of these for myself. So easy!
First, get all the essentials! A foam/styrofoam circle for the base of the wreath, then some very chocolate satin ribbon (or the color of your choice) to wrap the styrofoam, and to later use to hang.
Brown coffee filters...

Straight pins (already in my sewing box)

and then get busy...
Bunch up the coffee filters between your fingers,
and just pin all around the ribbon wrapped circle.

Until totally covered...

Puff out the filters with your hands to your liking, and then add more of the satin ribbon for hanging.

I made this bow from the ribbon, and added a gemstone that I had. Easy.

I really like the way it turned out. When Brent walked in and saw me making it, he didn't seem as excited or impressed as I was. THIS is why I do the decorating in our house, save for the "tractor room" I am learning to live with!

Cookie recipe as promised:

Soft Sugar Cookies (makes 10 doz)

2 C sugar 1/2 t vanilla
2 T baking powder 1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 C crisco 1 T baking soda
1T lemon juice 1/4 t salt
2 eggs 4-5 C flour

I just mix it all together in my kitchen aid, and add the flour last along with the buttermilk. It says to chill for 2 hours, but I didn't today, and it turned out just fine. Drop spoonfulls onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-12 min. until edges are slightly browned.

Buttercream frosting

1/2 C crisco
1/2 C melted butter
1 t vanilla
4 C powdered sugar
2 T milk

Mix altogether and add food coloring if desired.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Truth Thursday: My biggest fear!

I'm sure I've mentioned before...I'm deathly afraid of snakes. I don't care if they are the size of my pinky or the size of a car, I'm scared to death of them.

This image right now, I cannot even look at. It is literally giving me the chills, and I hope and pray I NEVER come across something this vile, EVAH!
It is making my skin crawl. Same thing happens when I look at one in a book. And believe you me, the kindergartners LOVE to feed off of this. When I least expect it, they will whip open a library book and say, "Mrs. Yoder, look at this!" Their faces light up like a Christmas tree over my distress.
One kindergartner even went so far as to draw a picture of a snake with ME running away from it! Ungrateful I tell ya!
I've told my own children, if you ever see me out in the yard LAYING DOWN it's not because I'm taking a nap (I don't ever usually take a nap in the yard for pete's sakes) it's because I've seen a snake in the grass or in my garden, and I've passed out or had a heart attack. Call 911 immediately!
Of course they think it's funny, and I suppose it is, but I honestly don't know what I would do if one ever jumped out at me from my strawberry patch. I'm not kidding when I tell you I go out armed into the garden. Boots up to my knees, and a hoe no less! This is no joking matter!
I'm not really sure where this horrible fear came from. I do remember, however, when I was probably 3 or 4 watching my dad hack one to pieces with a hoe. It was wrapped around one of the trees in our yard. I remember my mom telling me to get on the back bumper of the truck in the driveway. OR, maybe it was the time when I was walking down the road with my Grandpa and he threw a garter snake at me to be funny. Believe me, IT WAS NOT FUNNY!!!!!
I know I'm an adult, but I've just gotta say, and I'm being TRUTHFUL here...don't ever bring a snake around and I will no longer be friends!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sometimes you get lucky!

Sitting here in a Nyquil fog, I'm just hoping I'm typing everything right. Thank goodness for spell check, right!

Thanks to the lovelies I'm in class with everyday, I got a nasty cold, and so did Grace. Could it be I'm run down from all the running around we've done....possibly. I'm really glad this weekend is our fall break. I'm ready for it, and there WILL BE sleeping in! Guaranteed!

So, I wanted to share some of my recent finds with you. It's totally hit or miss every time I go to Goodwill whether or not I'll come out with anything. Especially if I have a mental list. Each time I do, I NEVER find anything. So, I try to have a clear mind when I go, and just "see" everything.

Last week the kids and I ran in quick (no more than 40 minutes). I found all this, plus an Eddie Bauer angora sweater and a pair of jeans for me.

The crazy socks are NOT something I would normally buy, but it's Red Ribbon Week at school this week, and Grace needed something for crazy sock day.

Note: I really wanted a new purse, and this is a THE SACK purse I got for $3 knowing I could spruce it up a little. The JOY tin pocket thingy I will fill with greenery and hang on my front door for Christmas. It was $4. The adorably cue polka dot photo box is covered with material, and I love anything polka dot! It was $2. the volleyball frame was perfect. Purple for Grace's room, and she just started playing volleyball. I think it was $2 as well, and from Target, so it's almost new. And the item in the back was $.50. It's called a copy holder.

I'm sure it's to hold copies of papers while you're typing them, but I plan on using it for a cookbook holder. I need one, and I'm tired of my cookbooks getting all nasty dirty on the counter while I'm cooking. I can just secure them with a big 'ol silver clip I have. First I decided to paint it one of my favorite colors.

Yeah, it's a little bold, but I have this color throughout my kitchen and house.

You can't go wrong with spray paint. ANYTHING can look different just by changing the color.
(great cookbook by the way, she's divine!)

Next, the purse. I knew when I walked in the store I was looking for a purse. I wanted something neutral, and I already had a pin in mind to put on it. This little number caught my eye.
The brand is good (which totally counts) and it had good pockets inside, and an adorable striped lining.
I brought it home, washed it, and added this pin. This really makes the purse.
Cute, huh?
Here is a picture of everything else. Perfect as they are, no changes need to be made.
I never know what I'm gonna get when I walk through the doors. It changes everyday, and all I have to say, as far as advice goes about finding something is, have an open mind, and give the store more than one chance. It takes two or more, or maybe you'll get lucky on the first try.
I try to keep in mind while I'm looking, what the item would actually cost in a store. If the item needs a color change or a hem shortened, no problem, but it's not worth buying if it would be too hard to alter.
Sometimes you just get lucky!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nothin a good party won't cure

Saturday we once again hosted our, (what has become an annual), Sunday School Fall Party. We had help of course from our friends Ross and Amy, and what good help they were!
We had food galore, of course, (what else do you expect from a Mennonite church group?) like sloppy joes, shredded beef sandwiches, corn chowder, salad, brownies, pumpkin bars, popcorn, hot chocolate, cider, and the list goes on and on and on.
This year, was slightly different, however. Since July Brent has been thinking of ideas for a "competition" we could have at the party. Strongman sounded good, or chasing a chicken, or catching a sheep. His mind was racing for months.
I purchased candy and filled mason jars and that became our prizes for the friendly, (but not really so friendly) competition.
Earlier in the week, Brent bought a bunch of round bails for the sheep for eating this winter. Low and behold, the first thing every kid did when they arrived at our house was this...

They all literally did this, (when not eating, or playing the games, or riding on the hay ride) all night long!

I've never seen anything like it in my life. Jumping from one bail to the next, all night. (that's even what my own kids did today as soon as we got home from church. "See ya, we're going outside to play on the hay.") "Really? Well. Ok."
So, remember we did a lot of eating.
Our garage was lined with tables and chairs, and the kids finished as fast as they could so they could go back out and jump on hay. Really.
We even had cute little babies.

After supper we had the strongman competition. We've watched this at our county fair several times, and it's hilarious and amazing all at the same time.
Brent borrowed tractor tires from my uncle and that was the first leg of the competition.
(the picture is blurry because of how fast he's going.)
We had a super huge tire (which was double the points to flip) and a slightly smaller tire, and then two smaller tires for the women's competition.
The winners of the tire flipping contest then had to pull a hay wagon loaded down with kids. On the stone driveway, with no rolling start. THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART! It was funny, and quite amazing considering how heavy the wagon must've been.
The winner, Eric, who is pictured above, who pulled it more than 50 feet, got a jar full of candy.
The kids even had a strongman competition. They had teams of two, however, and their first task was to roll barrels.

The teams who rolled the fastest, then had to flip tires (together) for the championship.
There was a strongwoman competition too, and because I was in it, there are no pictures. :-( . We ran out of daylight, however, so we just flipped tires, and the one with the most flips got the jar of candy.
When the competition was finished we had to pry the kids from the hay bales (really) and we all left on a hayride. This is always a favorite, and our dog Rudy went along and had the time of his life getting petted by everyone in his wagon.
We came back for a campfire and smores.
We had a great night, but let me tell you, I'm exhausted today! It's a lot of work to get ready for and we had more than 50 people show up.
It's become a tradition, however, and I'm sure we'll host it again next year.
God gave us a great evening and we didn't even have to wear coats on the hayride. It was a blast!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Truth Thursday...Random thoughts from Lorie

Every Thursday (and ONLY on Thursday) during the morning announcements at school, our Principal and one of our fifth grade teachers (who happens to be male...AND Grace's teacher this year) do a "radio show" like performance. Announcements are made, and then jokes that are submitted by kids are read, and then we do a little trivia. Whoever the winner was would get the EASY button (from Staples) for their classroom for the week.

Last year the trivia was different every week. One week it was music trivia and when a song was played, the teachers could call into the Principal's office to name the song and artist. One week it was general trivia that was read. The next week was another kind that I forget, and the last was staff trivia. THAT was the fun week. We all submitted to the fifth grade teacher maybe 6 facts about ourselves that we thought the rest of us didn't know. Then we would try to guess which staff member the trivia was about. The kids LOVED this...and it was fun, but this year we're not doing it, and I miss it.

SO...I've decided that Thursdays will be Truth Thursdays. Random thoughts from Lorie (kinda like deep thoughts by Jack Handy for all you SNL fans!)

Let's begin...

1. The amount of time in hours that I wait for Grace's volleyball practice to be over everynight.

2. Total number of kids I call mine and thank God for everyday!

3. Amount of cars I've actually owned myself in my lifetime.

4. No. of years we've lived in our new home.

5. No. of friends I would HONESTLY tell my deepest darkest secrets to (my sister is #1 on the list!)

6. No. of years of piano lessons I took as a kid.

7. No. of years I stayed home with my kids before I went back to work. (Best choice we ever made!)

8. Total # of years of marriage it took us to pay off Brent's college loans! UGH!!

9 (1/2). No. of years we've been blessed to have Evan in our lives.

10 (1/2). No. of years we've been blessed to have Grace in our lives.

11. Amount in hours, of sleep I wish I got every night!

12. The age I was when I was first allowed to wear eye shadow (a HUGE deal at the time to me)

13. Day in October (10 years ago) that my nephew Landon was born. (It was Friday the 13th)

14. My favorite number since I was a kid! (happens to be my b-day)

15. The age I was when I got my permit to drive. (I CANNOT believe I've now been driving more than HALF my life!)

16. No. of hours I was in labor with Grace.

17. Age I was when I graduated from High School.

18. The age I was when I started college - I thought I was big stuff!

19. The no. of minutes it took me to write 20 random things about myself.

20. Number of scrapbook pages I completed at my getaway weekend 2 weekends ago.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The busy-ness fairy has crept into my home again. I'm finding it really hard to stay focused on each task because I'm feeling overwhelmed again. (I totally know Brent is rolling his eyes as he reads this!)

I know some people say "We create busy-ness in our lives." I have a hard time with this. Because I agreed to be on a church committee and I have to attend meetings....because Grace is playing volleyball, and I have to pick her up from practice everyday....because I work and once a month have a staff meeting....because I get groceries every week....or because we live 25 minutes away from church, and once a week the kids have church group....does this mean I've created my busy-ness or is it just a result of our circumstances? I believe it's the latter, and sometimes our weeks have a jumble of it all together.

We're getting ready for our annual Sunday School fall party at our house. We have a hayride, and a campfire, and a supper, and this year we're having games like a strong man competition, a chase the chicken game/catch, or a catch the sheep contest. This year there are close to 50 people coming, so I'm feeling the pressure to get everything just right and clean before they come. I feel myself spinning out onto the edge of a limb, and I need to get grounded again.

Anyway, my whole point of this post is to complain I guess....I don't know. I don't know how you full time working people post so often. Give me a secret to your madness!

Because of the hecticness of the week, I'm posting some random pictures. I'll get back to normalness again soon, I promise.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Country Mouse visits the Big City

I'm a country mouse who likes the big city...every once in awhile. You won't ever catch me living there, but visiting is nice.
I spent all last week with my normal busy-ness as well as getting ready to take off for Chicago.
You see, my husband's cousin's son (lost yet?) was getting married. My husband is the youngest of all the cousins on this side. They are all about 5-10 years older than him, and their kids are all 10-20 years younger than us, so we're caught in the middle. We can hang with the "older ones" (sorry guys, I don't mean anything by it!) AND we can hang with the "younger ones" (or so we tell ourselves that!)
Anyway, the oldest son of Brent's cousins Troy and Vicki got married, so we went out for the big party.
We stayed with Brad and Sally, Brent's OTHER cousins, (who we stay with every year when we go out for vacation) and had a great time like we always do. The kids LOVE to stay with them because they have so many fun toys we don't have. They have a large game room with a pool table, foosball table, air hockey, darts, and MANY large screen tv's with dish network. We have the 8 channel amish cable here folks. (yeah, we're high class!)
So, it's always a fun time to go out and hang out with them. We went out early, right after school on Thurs. to get an extra day in before the festivities. It's a 5 hour trip, and we have to go through Chicago, which on a Thursday after work looks like this:

Brent graciously drives through this every time, and EVERY TIME by the time we get through it, my nerves are pretty much SHOT! I just CANNOT handle the stress of the weaving in and out of lanes at 65+ mph! It's INSANE people! THIS is why I live on a secluded dirt road surrounded by only 2 lane roads. It's NUTS!
I TRIED to not look out the window the whole time. I tried to read this....

my book club book for the month. No such luck. I just couldn't do it. I was very glad to finally reach our destination and head to bed after a good conversation.
The next day found us waking up crazy early (they are an hour behind us) and eating a late breakfast and heading out to this quaint little apple orchard.

The weather was gorgeous the whole weekend. And the colors out there were very pretty.
After riding around for the afternoon, and then going back to the house and taking a nap (I actually did...that NEVER happens here) we headed down to our uncle's house for supper. We had a good time, and went to sleep late again, only to get up early again the next day....the day of the WEDDING.
I have to admit, I wasn't prepared for the way the younger generation dresses for weddings. We're talkin' prom dress kind of dresses, that were very short, (I guess I'm showin' my age!) with even more fallin' out of the top than I expected. I had to check myself though, the bride and groom are 22 and 23, and that seems so long ago to me, but I guess at that age, I wanted to dress up for my friend's weddings too.
Anyway, since it was fall, that's the colors she used for the wedding...and they were GORGEOUS!

Evan and cousin Travis.

The happy couple, Jesse and Erica.

The reception was a couple hours AFTER the wedding, so we went back to the house and hung out for awhile, and prepared ourselves for the big party. There was Italian food, and dancing until late in the evening.
Evan totally gettin' his groove on! And then dancin' with the bride.

We had a great time, and the kids and us danced till about 11:00. We were tired today as we headed back, and the traffic wasn't so bad going home....but I'm just glad to be back. I missed my bed, and my life. Funny as it is, I'm just glad we visit once or twice a year. That's about all this country girl can take!