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Thursday, February 26, 2009

{Playing Around}

Last weekend Mike got me a sweet new camera (I guess it's for our anniversary next month, he said). I've been wanting a Canon Rebel camera, but I was still researching the different types. He got a screaming good deal on this one on craigslist and bought it w/o me knowing! and so I (and him) went to town playing w/ it. Now, I don't have a good picture editing software yet as I have Crappy Vista.... and Canon's software doesn't recognize Vista, so until then... I have to deal w/ semi-OK pictures. :) I really need to take a photography class though....

Typical look that Katie gives now... eyes about to roll

Most of these pictures were taken on FHE night (Monday night). It was Katie's turn to pick what we were going to do, and she picked tennis & smoothies (we don't always have a spiritual message). So, away we went to Target to buy more tennis balls (can't find our other balls from the move), and she also bought a basketball she'd been wanting. So, we played tennis for a bit, and basketball. Fun times!

{KC Temple}

For my Kansas City friends....

this is the temple Madison has in mind when it is built! :)

Covered with jewels all over.
Be afraid! Be VERY afraid!

A Primary activity was held last Saturday, and this was the amazing results. Katie's temple collapsed due to poor architecting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

{A Humbling Day}

We live in a huge Jewish community. At our grocery store, there is an amazing section of kosher foods. We live close to a Jewish community center, and this month they hosted a traveling exhibit of Anne Frank's Memoirs. I had been wanting to take the girls to this exhibit since I first found out about it back in January. But something happened before I made it to the exhibit today with the girls.

It all started when Mike changed out our struts (or shocks, since I can't figure out the difference between the two) on our car. I guess an alignment is very important to have after changing such things out. So, I made an appointment at Goodyear (they gave me a $20 coupon!), and this afternoon I went in with my big bottle of water and a few magazines. I sat down in the waiting room. I spotted an elderly woman in a wheelchair talking to an elderly man sitting right across from her. Another man was sitting next to this elderly woman. She kept looking at me, but then would talk to her husband. I could understand a few words here & there, but then she started speaking in a language I couldn't understand.

Finally, her son (I assume) went up to pay for their repairs, and she stared straight at me, and started talking to me. She told me about how she was going to make some ____ (some Jewish food) but her stove went out, and on & on & on she spoke. I smiled and nodded my head, as if I understood what she was saying (although deep down inside I had no clue). The son finally came over to me, and said "she is a survivor from Auschwitz". I took a double glance at him, and said "the concentration camp?... THE Auschwitz?" He replied "YES!" I thought "amazing!" She showed me her beautiful Star of David necklace adorned with diamonds. Her husband (who was a little short man dressed in a mismatched suit topped with a fancy hat) nodded in agreement to everything she said. She told me of how she & her husband were 15 years old when they were both at Auschwitz. Although they were there, they didn't know each other then, they met after the war was over. She was there for FIVE years! I asked her how she managed to stay alive for so long, and she replied "oh, I knew how to work".

Her father was a broom maker, so she made brooms. When the machines came that made brooms, she no longer made brooms. She went on to making watches, etc. That was when her husband picked up my arm that has my cheap $10 watch, and he said admiring it. I laughed and told him "oh, this is a cheapie". He smiled. After that, the wife kept talking and talking, and the husband was acting like "OK, I've heard this story a million times now, let's go". :)

It was such a humbling experience to meet someone (two people, actually) that experienced quite possibly the most horrific experience in their life, and all this lady did was SMILE! Amazing!

After saying goodbye to this couple, and getting my car.... I took the girls to the Anne Frank exhibit. Maddie was.... well, a pain in the butt. Katie read all the paragraphs & photographs shown. There wasn't any"thing" that came from Anne Frank's possessions that were there, but there were two wooden suitcases that were on display. A US woman & her husband were living in Germany back in the 1970's and while redecorating her place, found these wooden suitcases. After much conversations, they were found to be from Jewish people in hiding who left them in these hiding places.

I've always been touched by the story of Anne Frank. She read that Germany (or another country) was looking to publish diaries after the war, so she started from scratch & created a new diary with the hopes of being a published writer, and appropriately called it "The Secret Annex". I especially love it when she wrapped up her diary with this:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.

Monday, February 23, 2009

{Burns dinner}

A few weeks ago my girls participated in the annual Robert Burns dinner that is held. All people who love their Scottish heritage generally dress up in their kilts and eat a traditional scottish meal (haggis). It's quite a night! I love it when the pipers play and the big drums are being .. what? banged? boomed? It's an exciting night!

I was very fortunate to find this Scottish dance group here in San Antonio. My girls are used to competing, but are no longer competing (due to a lack of a certified teacher), just dancing for enjoyment. I didn't take any pictures that night b/c I had my camera taking video of the girls dancing instead. You can view those on my facebook page under videos.

This is the first professional picture of them in their traditional outfits... I wished I would have done this with their old friends with whom they danced with for the past 4-5 years. :(

Both girls are dressed differently because they are still new to the group, and Katie wore her national dress, and Maddie wore Katie's kilt outfit. Course, I had to put suspenders under and hike it all the way up to her armpits, and constantly heard all night "this is making me look like I have a big fat belly Mom!".

They had a great night, and danced beautifully! Maddie danced the Sword Dance all by herself (got a standing ovation too and a ton of cat calls!), Katie danced the Seann Trius by herself, and another few dances with other dancers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

{I'm SO clever!}

Katie loves to eat.... she eats more than I do (double at least), and sometimes eats as much as Mike does.
She hates vegetables. She won't eat her salad. She refuses to touch her veggies!
Until tonight!
A very clever idea came to me ::throwing head back & cackling wickedly:: tonight at the dinner table. Katie wanted another helping of ravioli. I thought & thought, and finally said "y'know... you can only have another helping of ravioli IF you take another helping of salad."
Will it work?
guess what?
She finally agreed!
Now I have my secret weapon of getting her to either a) not eat as much food b/c darn it, she eats more than she really needs to eat! or b) eat more veggies

Thursday, February 19, 2009

{Say WHAT?}

It is mind boggling how difficult math can be.
Especially for elementary school kids now. I remember doing the stuff Katie is doing now, when I was in 8th grade! Not 5th grade!
Take this math problem. BOTH Mike & I couldn't figure it out, and Mike has a ton of math behind his belt!
Doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Can YOU figure it out?
The table shows what fraction of the animals on Mr. S's ranch are cattle, chickens, horses, & dogs.
Cattle Chicken Horses Dogs
66/100 26/100 3/100 5/100
(cattle is 66/100, chicken is 26/100, horses is 3/100 & dogs are 5/100)
What fraction of Mr. S's animals are chicken or horses??
Now, go solve & report back to me the answer.
and yes, I did write a letter to the teacher asking for the answer AND how she got her answer. ::looking around me:: Mike made me do it!

Monday, February 16, 2009

{Attention Chex Mix people....}

Last month I bought a bag of the Chocolate Peanut Butter Chex Mix. I usually love this stuff, and very rarely buy it for myself unless it's on sale.

I bought a bag a month ago, and found it was mostly pretzels. Well, I could buy a HUGE bag of pretzels for 99 cents, if I wanted to eat pretzels. No, I like the chocolate covered Chex Mix cereal!
So, I emailed the company and basically shared my opinion that I was sorely disappointed they were heading for cheap fillers (aka pretzels).... and a few weeks later came an email w/ a "sorry, that was a malfunction & 2 coupons are heading to you". I get my coupon for a free bag & $1 off another bag last week. SO.... I went grocery shopping last Friday & used my free coupon to buy another bag.
Today I opened the bag. What did I find?


I thought "ahh... well, maybe they all are in the bottom".

I took it all out, separated the pretzels from the good stuff.

And guess what? I have a much smaller amount of "good stuff" vs a huge, over the top of the bowl pretzels. The chocolate coated cereal? There were about 12 total!

Chex Mix people.... cheap are ya? For $2.50 a bag I'm never buying this stuff again AND I'm telling all my friends how cheap you are! So, lay off the pretzels, will ya?

{Texas Sized Cinnamon Rolls}

OK... these probably aren't "Texas sized", but they were the largest cinnamon rolls I've made so far. My friend Lisa has 11 kids: 9 boys & 2 girls ~ surely she can make good rolls, right? I had her cinnamon rolls last week, and I truly thought she bought them from the store. Imagine my surprise to see her super large pan filled w/ this amazing treat. Yes, she made them! From scratch! (I sometimes make my cinnamon rolls from frozen bread). So, I told her the next time she made the rolls, to let me know.

Sure enough, Friday afternoon comes around and she's calling me on the phone! "Amy!! I'm making my rolls!" I said "OK, be there in 5 minutes!". So away I went, w/ a huge bowl in my hand, to learn all the secrets of cinnamon roll making (and I learned a lot!).

Cinnamon Rolls

makes 4 dozen

2 c milk + 1 stick butter
melt in the microwave, let cool a bit

2 pkg yeast (that's under 1 tbsp x 2, so under 2 tbsp)
3 1/2 c flour
1/2 c sugar
salt (1/2 tsp - 2 tsp)... says recipe calls for 2 tsp but she likes sweeter rolls,
so she uses about 1/2 tsp

Mix milk & flour stuff
Add 1 egg & beat
Add about 3 cups more flour
Knead for 10 minutes & rise for 1 hour or double in size (punch)
Roll out into rectable, and sprinkle cinnamon, sugar, brown sugar, etc.

Do all that extra stuff you love, and let rise again, bake at 350 for about 14 minutes or until done.

Now, we did not use a mixer, we used our HANDS (and a whisk & wooden spoon)! Let me tell you, I am very grateful for my Kitchenaid mixer.... but I did learn that we can use our own hands for this, and it turns out just fine! I did also learn that when we roll it out, it should NOT stick to our rolling pin! Mine was always sticking.

Thanks Lisa for the great tuturial! My first batch (I had to bake them all in 3 pans) was undercooked (ugh), but my 2nd pan was a little overdone. One of these days I'll get it. Why does everyone else's rolls always turn out better than mine? After you pull them out of the oven, drizzle the frosting over it immediately.


2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (or almond extract)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

{the monster is back!}

Yes.... my daughter is a monster when she is on prednisone.

The following symptoms are the following:

Eye Rolling




Course, I do hope it doesn't stay when she's a teen... this is going to be a hard few years if she doesn't snap out of this!

These photos were taken a few weeks ago at the Burns Dinner here locally. I couldn't resist adding a cute one of Maddie of the same night! (and yes, they are wearing makeup... their tea
cher told them they had to! they were thrilled!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

{Miss K & her fancy machine}

Well, the update on Katie is this: she'll live.

Last week K started getting sick. Well, we ALL were getting sick. Not sure if it was a cold or just allergies, but there was a lot of sneezing, coughing, sniffling going around. At the school, tons of kids are absent. Katie started in on her cough. She always is so sensitive when she gets sick as she just coughs her head off, and NOTHING will stop it. So, I kept her home Thursday & Friday b/c it was just so uncontrollable, and a deep cough. Saturday it's bad, and Sunday we stay home b/c it's still pretty bad. In fact, I try taking her to two different Urgent Cares to see about getting her more prednisone to stop it. After refusing to spent 5-6 hours in the Urgent Care, we decided to take her in the morning on Monday to the doctor instead.

So... Monday morning we get an early appointment. She did not have bronchitis or pneumonia (which is what her cough sounds like). Her allergies are apparently out of control (even though she doesn't have many symptoms). So, she gets started on a new breathing treatment w/ a nebulizer & 3 other new meds. One for a recurring ear infection (antibiotics), and another for prednisone (after the doctor on call said "absolutely not!" she wouldn't prescribe her prednisone b/c she just had it 3 weeks prior....::sigh:: it's the ONLY thing that gets her to stop), and a new one for Singulair & a higher dose of Advair. UGH!
Then, the doctor brought in a new Nebulizer for Katie. ::giggling:: It was a PANDA BEAR nebulizer! Ha ha! I didn't want to pay $100 for the machine, so I was going to wait to see what insurance was going to charge to rent it. We get home after running to Target for all the meds, and I looked up on craigslist and found a brand new nebulizer just like Katie's (but it was a penguin) ::giggling:: for only $25..... Poor Katie is just dying of embarrassment! Is it working? I dunno... a little, I think.

{It's hailing cats & dogs!}

Had a dry line come through last night..... (what is a dry line?), we are in DIRE need of rain here! We got hail instead! :) Some hail were itty bitty, and some hail were HUGE (like golf balls). Love it when hail comes! So cool!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

{My daughter... the potential is great}

Last November we went to Dallas for Thanksgiving. While my SIL Tiffany, my MIL & I were enjoying our pedicures ~ y'know, doing girly things... my husband, BIL & FIL took the kids and went shopping (for car stuff, hunting stuff), fed them lunch (each kid had their own full sized bag of chocolates....) then later went to a shooting place. Mike took Katie with him. (I know... I was shocked as well)

When they came back home, Katie was so proud of her results of shooting, w/ a bullseye target! I told Mike "Aww... she takes after me!" to which he snorted and said "yeah right... she takes after ME!" I am still proud of my 2nd place status in SEP camp when I was 16 years old, when I shot many targets dead on w/ a similar shotgun.

Katie's so unique! If you turn the target upside down, it looks like a K was made w/ her shots! How's that for unique-ness?
Mike dreams of the day when Katie will sit in a deer stand or a tree with him waiting for a buck (or a doe). Course, she's already been deer hunting with him a few times, and she can handle it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

{My dreams are dashed....}

Long long time ago, when I was a preteen (even a teenager), my mom tried in vain to pull me into the kitchen and together create wonderful memories of cooking & baking. After many tries, and no interest from me, she gave up ..... I did have a love of baking, and I remember one time I made chocolate frosting from scratch, I made it so runny that the frosting just poured all over my cake, and onto the counter where it finally landed on the floor. Apparently I added too much water, my mom said.

Then came the time I made chicken stirfry. It called for red pepper..... I couldn't find "red pepper" so I used cayenne pepper. That night as I proudly served my mom, dad & brother their dinner, they pretty much choked on their food. It was a "it's FIRE" hot. Apparently the red pepper is the VEGETABLE red pepper, not the spice. {{how was I supposed to know?}}

Sorry Mom for not paying enough attention in the kitchen growing up. I severely paid for that when I got married..... poor poor Mike!

So, here Katie is 11 years old .... old enough for her to hopefully have some interest in the kitchen. She does have interest, every now & then. She loves to bake, but sadly my patience wears thin, so she's often not invited back in the kitchen for a while (yes, it's my problem, I know that).

Well, tonight for dinner we are having meatloaf. I hate mixing that up with my bare hands. Who else better to help than KATIE! So, I asked Katie if she'd like to help, and she shrugged her shoulders and said "uh.... ok". So I grab my cookbook off the shelf, open it up and show her the receipe. First thing it calls for is ground beef, which is on my counter, thawing out.

I want to teach her how to read a recipe (she knows, but I always think I have to reteach her b/c she just doesn't retain the information, it seems). Here is our conversation in the beginning:

ME: Katie, grab the ground beef.

KATIE: OK... where would I find that? The pantry?

ME: Are you kidding me? {{I stare at her as if she grew an extra head}}

ME: Do you know what ground beef is? {{gasping... what have I done to my daughter?! I thought she was pretty smart!}}

ME: The other term for ground beef is hamburger.

KATIE: oh.

From there, she (and I mean we) managed to make a wonderful looking mean dish of meatloaf. I think I need to invite her back into the kitchen some more....

Enjoy my meatloaf recipe!


2 lbs ground beef (aka hamburger if Katie reads this)
2 eggs, beaten
1 c oats
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c chopped green pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp basil

Mix all together by hand and place in a loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until done.

Monday, February 2, 2009

{What I've learned this week...}

I've learned....

~ that an allowance & a great chore chart system gets the girls moving

~ that my oldest child is a klutz....

~ said child spilled half bottle of nail polish remover all over table

~ that a brand new bottle of blue nail polish that gets knocked off the kitchen counter breaks all over the kitchen tile floor, and it's a MESS to clean up (and happens right before church of all times!)

~ that the remaining bottle of nail polish remover is needed to help clean up the blue nail polish all over floor

~ my girls are messy & unorganized.... I'm currently cleaning their room for them (and throwing away a ton of stuff!! they won't notice, trust me!)

~ being without a vehicle is tough... I didn't realize how much I rely on my vehicle!

~ working out in the afternoon is surprisingly... easier than working out in the morning!

~ something always happens to Mike's truck when I drive it.... always. ::rolling eyes::

~having faith that a good dependable vehicle will *magically* appear... does work!

~that there is THE best hamburger place here down the road... to DIE for! Come visit me & I'll take you there!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

{Things that make you go EEK!}

After church, I opened the girls bathroom cabinet to find something, and look what I found....


Got a good EEK! out of both me & Maddie....

Gotta love Texas.

Where everything is bigger in Texas.

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