Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Tail of Two Kitties

We have two wonderful feline friends. They are sisters, but look as different as night and day.

Chena and Penelope got them for Christmas. Yup, found them under the Christmas tree almost five years ago now. Chena said "Oh goodie...can we raise them?" (which I thought was a funny word for a six year old) and Penelope said "Are they really ours or do we have to give them back?" (which really makes us sound like we are big meanies on a regular basis, doesn't it?).

Anyway, We named them Penguin and Sparrow.

Penguin because she looks like this:

and Sparrow because she liked to fly off of the couch. But now she likes to sit in the cat house like this:

Which keeps her safe from invaders, like this one...

They really are sweet cats with the funniest personalities.

Here are ten facts about Penguin, or "Pingy" as we sometimes call her.

1. Runs up the stairs ahead of me if she thinks I'm heading for the shower

2. Hates Most dogs but likes Pluto and is veeeery curious about Dandelion

3. If I say "I'm going to get your foot" she flops over and playfully bites me

4. Likes to sleep on top of beds, preferable top bunks

5. Answers back any time you talk to her. I mean, EVERY time!

6. Has a serious thing for pipe cleaners. Goes crazy for them

7. Lays down on command (but only for Mom)

8. Has a "smile" of white fur under her mouth

9. Loves to go "to school" when we head for the classroom each morning

10. Follows us on walks in the woods

Sparrow is pretty silly too! Here are ten facts about Sparrow.

1. She isn't afraid of dogs. Stares them down but good!

2. She hides all the time, new hiding spots constantly

3. If she thinks we are leaving the house, she hides so she doesn't get put out

4. If you pick her up, she immediately turns to you and hugs you

5. Doesn't like the top bunk

6. She only meows when she is hungry or thirst, never just to say hello

7. If she gets in trouble, she doesn't care. She just flops down right there in front of you, like she is laughing at you

8. She hates the dogs, but never runs from them

9. She wants to be towel-dried after being out in the rain, and meows for it

10. She likes to cuddle first thing in the morning while I have my coffee

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cupcakes, Cousins, Crafts, and Clowns!

Penelope had her first SLEEPOVER when she turned TEN! She was so excited, and she eagerly helped me plan everything to the last detail.
She knew she wanted to decorate cupcakes, so I got all the fun stuff to make their creations super special. She loved the cupcake tower!
Stealing some goodies!

Super yummy (don't invite any dentists to this decorating shindig!)

I love these clown cupcake bakers. Made of silicone, you can just stick them in the oven as they are. They are called Silly Feet, but I called them Stinky Feet just to make the girls giggle and say "uh UH!" Look what a great job they did decorating their "Stinky Feet Clowns".

Late at night, watching "Nim's Island" in the living room. We were going to watch the movie "Penelope" because I mean, how perfect is that? But one of the girls had already seen it, and said she was "freaked out by the pig nose". So we decided on a far away island where you can dance with sea lions. So cute!

For breakfast (which came waaaaay too early for one mom...) I made a surprise treat my mom used to make for me when I had sleepovers. Cake Waffles! Its easy! You make up a cake batter, and then just make waffles like normal in the wafffle iron. My mom used to make frosting to pour on them, but I thought that was a bit tooooo sweet, so I just put out butter and syrup. They loved t hem!

I might be just a wee bit partial, but isn't this just the CUTEST little gaggle of girls?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Hogs and Kisses

Thank you, thank you, thank you! That is what each of these cards said, that I made for our 4-H Awards Day. I was asked to make some stamped cards for the kids to give out to local businesses who had helped support them this year at the fair.

So I decided on a "fair" theme...fat pigs! I have had this big piggy stamp for at least 12 years, so it was kind of fun to pull him out and put him to work after a long time gathering dust. The girls and I stamped, colored, cut out, and pasted LOTS of pigs! I used pop-dots to make him a bit more 3-D. Then I added some raffia and buttons, and fun "farmy" patterned paper.

We made over 20 of these funny fellas. Here are just a few of them!

This one was my favorite, so I kept him! (maybe someday, if you are very very good, you will get him in the mail...hee hee)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Lumps on the Lawn

This is what I woke up to on Sunday morning, before it was light out.
A mama, and twin calves. Making my dogs bark, leaving surprises to step on, eating my favorite trees, and making us not want to go outside for fear of being stomped to death.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Running Away from Home (but not too far!)

Its the craziest thing, but I ran away from home with my Mom not too long ago. She ran away from home too. Hee hee.

We checked into a hotel not even an hour from home!

You see, we had talked about doing a little fall get-a-way, but everything we talked about seemed rather expensive. Taking their motorhome would cost a lot for gas, and we could not go far. Driving anywhere would be costly. Hotel prices would be added to that. Plus, I had to find somebody to watch my girls and could not be gone from home too long.

So, we decided that, silly though it might be, we would just go to another town close by, check into a hotel, and spend some time together just relaxing. Mom brought her knitting, and I brought my scrapbooking. We brought our swimsuits for the pool and hot tub, and a bottle of wine, and our favorite books. It was heaven!
View from our window:

Our hotel was on the beautiful Kenai River, so we took walks along the water and enjoyed watching the late silver salmon roll in the waves. We enjoyed the last of the fall leaves blowing by our faces. That night we watched talk shows and giggled like little girls. Mom wanted icecream, so we dumped our purses and seached through our coat pockets looking for enough change to get icecream bars out of the machine in the hall. Then we ran down there in our pajamas and bare feet, trying to sneak back into the room before we were seen. I had never even heard of Choco Tacos but they were good!

We had such a great time! But time passed way too quickly, and it was time to head for home. Mom said something about too bad we could not stay longer, and I jumped on it. I called my babysitter, and she said she could stay with the girls another night! We called the front desk, and they said why yes, our room was available that night as well. Too cool! We felt wicked and spoiled and it was a delicious feeling. There was a restaurant we had been wanting to try, so we went there for dinner and the brick-oven-baked pizza was garlicky perfection.

The whole trip left me feeling refreshed and de-stressed. My schedule had been moving along pretty fast, and it was lovely to slow down and have some time with Mom. Life is always uncertain, and we need to grab every opportunity to be with the people we love most, to just walk with them, listen to them, laugh with them, and fight over the last glass of wine with them. Mom is my best friend, and I'm just lucky in every way to have somebody like her as my mother. We always have fun together, and we can be as goofy as we want, and not have to worry about acting normal. LOL.

Thanks Mom! And I agree with you, this needs to be an annual trip. I'll bring the Choco Tacos...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Double Digit Day (Happy Birthday, Penelope!)

Well it was bound to happen and I could not stop time. In a bottle or elsewhere. I know because I have tried! I even attempted to convince my little girl that we had made a mistake somewhere along the line, and she was turning NINE this year. Nope, no go. She was having none of it. Her sister had already sold her on the idea of double digits, and sold her good. She was so excited!
So in the spirit of thinking back over the wonderful and precious ten years I have had her in my life, and since I have been thinking about these all day, here is a list of things and moments that I miss, things she has left behind. A series of "last times" that I did not even realize had happened until they were gone.

- Always wanting to wear socks to bed

- Needing her tears wiped away with a tissue before she could feel better about something

- Jumping on the bed but saying "just bumping, mama!"

- Saying "No hing my hong, dat my hong!" (Don't sing my song, that's my song!)

- Wanting to wear a tiara all the time, or her Alice in Wonderland dress

- Playing with the faucet drips while I braided her hair

- Always wanting to wear her light-up Snow White shoes

- Backwards baseball caps

- Wanting to help "thow away them mail" (help me sort out junk mail)

- Needing to smell EVERY flower she ever saw

- Asking for nap time

- Stuffing her pockets with anything she could find that was tiny enough

- Saying "I see pitcha? I see pitcha?" when I tried to video her

- Making me read Freddie Spaghetti every single day

- Afraid to talk on the phone

- Asking for tea parties all the time, and dressing up for them

- Bringing in "calipitters" she found on a leaf outside

- Saying her bedtime prayers in her fuzzy purple footie jammies, thanking Jesus for her "hamily"

- Saying "me ready for dance dance!" on the way to ballet class

(she is on the far left on ballet class photo)

And this is my beautiful TEN YEAR OLD girl today.
- Loves American Girl dolls
- Asks me for spelling bees in the car
- Hates wearing socks
- Holds my hand all the time
- Still wants flowers in her hair
- Likes to memorize bible verses
- Crazy about her dog, Pluto
- Loves to ride and train her horse
- Still a packrat for tiny things she can put in her pockets (ask the laundry lady)
- Saves up money...then spends it on her sister or friends
- Has a bed piled with stuffed animals but her favorite is Amigo, the goat.
- Beats everyone at most card games
- Brave but tender hearted too
- Can make a mean guacomole dip
- Hates raisins
- Is a Mommy's girl

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fairy Houses!

The other day I wandered outside to check on the girls, and found them utterly engrossed in building projects on the edge of the lawn. "Come look at our fairy houses!" they shouted eagerly.

It was so neat! They had carefully built the most fragile little worlds, complete with bridges, cobblestone roads, moss covered roofs, and tiny fences. If I were a fairy or a gnome, I would have moved right on in.

Oops, demolition crew....keep away!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dandelion In the Snow!

Do Dandelions flourish in the snow?

Watch and see the little snow blossom for yourself.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Signs of the Times

Our homeschool had a different kind of social studies class last Friday. We stood out on a street corner for four hours, holding signs during the local mayoral elections! It was TONS of fun. Even during the snowstorm. (and afterwards, the kids made a snowman who helped hold up signs!)

Ya see, it all started when my folks hosted a meet n greet coffee/cake get together at their home, to invite the community to get to know one of our candidates for mayor.

We all enjoyed being able to ask him questions about local issues, and really have the opportunity to be heard, and to get a feel for where he would take us in the future, if he were elected borough mayor.

I liked what I heard, and decided to do my best to help him win. And that is how we came to be sign-holders at the polls on the big day.

I think it was important for the girls to see how politics work, how you can get involved on a small or big level, and why our concerns matter. Plus it was just super neat and plain old fun to wave at everyone we knew as they went by. In our small town, we know just about everyone! And they all smiled, waved, honked their horns, or even stopped to say hello. From, across the street the owner of the gas station walked over with some hot coffee and real creamer. When we went into the fire station on the corner to use the restroom, the firemen there offered us hot chocolate and smiled and joked with the kids.

I just love our little town, and I am happy I am able to raise my girls to know that their opinions matter, and how even getting involved on a small level can make a difference. And ya know, our guy even won! He is the new mayor!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fall Yummyness

I really don't care if that is a word or not. Just had to say that up front!

I know, I know, there are people who actually think you can take a circle of caramel called a Wrapple, awkwardly press it around an apple and call it good. Eat it even.

NO WAY! we stand in defiance against such an artificial attempt at creating a caramel apple.

In this family, we take caramel apples very seriously. Got to be the real thing, baby! I mean, accept no substitutes and power on. Ya gotta know the good stuff! It takes sacrifice, hard work, and dedication to get the perfect caramel apple.

First, the season has to be right. So you can just forget summer caramel apples, spring, or anything besides a brisk fall day. And its okay if some snow has fallen, but if you are into November or Christmas cards have started to arrive, you missed your shot. Too late, its like wearing white shoes after labor day or something. I dunno. But just don't do it. As my favorite line from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang goes..."Too late, had your chance-muffed it!"

So, if you have your season right, now its on to the perfect thing to put into your shopping cart. Choose beautiful shiny apples. Don't even think about Red Delicious (which are red but never delicious) and Goldens are out. Granny Smith could be acceptable but why lower your standards if you have something really good to my personal favorite, the Honey Crisp. Or the Pink Lady but the Honey Crisp just sounds like a foundation of a special treat. Its got it all-the gorgeous red/green color, the juicy sweet but not too sweet taste, and the perfect name to boot.

Move on down the aisles. Time to get your caramel. Now to my mind a caramel apple is not fit to eat if you did not spend a minimum of 20 minutes just peeling candy wrapper by wrapper and putting them into a bowl. For pure perfection, you would have wrappers everywhere...on the floor, on the counter, in your hair, and possibly even be finding them for weeks here and there.

The bag of caramels (we prefer Kraft) should come with sticks. We always buy two bags, because there is nothing worse than having naked and neglected apples left to sit there wondering why some of their friends are now coated in yummy caramel, while they have to sit nude and rejected. So as you can see, extra caramel is just fine and running out may incite a riot. :)

Once home, wash and dry your apples, and peel wrappers off caramels. Put the lovely brown squares of candy in a saucepan with a few tablespoons of water. Melt on stove slowly....stir often and do not let scorch.

Once smooth, put a stick in each apple and hold apple over the pan. Use a spoon to drizzle the caramel over each apple until completely coated. DO NOT leave even a smidgen of apple showing without caramel. I will be ashamed of you for life, plus I guarantee that poor apple will be eaten DEAD LAST. Don't say you have not been warned. Cover every bitty bit of skin.

Transfer covered apple to plate covered with wax paper. Allow some of the caramel to drip from the apple onto the counter. If you don't get the whole kitchen sticky you are letting me down. Leave a generous trail of brown yummy gloppyness. (don't get me started on words again! I thought we went over that)

Once you have every apple on the plate, put the whole beautiful thing in the fridge for one hour to harden. Set the timer so the children are not opening the fridge every five minutes, firmly pressing their already sticky fingers into each apple to "test" it.


(Oh, and don't forget that once the children are tucked in bed you can sneak back to the stove and eat the leftover caramel in the pot using a spoon and a seared conscience)

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Mini Field Trip

This past week we had the wonderful opportunity to visit a miniature horse farm called Triple M Miniatures, in Sterling, Alaska. I have a crazy love for mini horses, and I discovered the little ranch when browsing online one day.
We went with a few members of our 4-H horse club, and we had a blast!
There were thirteen minis on the farm, and as we tried over and over to name our favorites. But, it was just too hard! We played with them in the field, brushed their coats, and delighted in their soft nuzzles and curious gazes. Lets see, there was Roscoe, Firefly, Vienna, Vanilla, Wishes, Rocky, Cocoa, Streak, Dandy, and more!
The baby of the farm is tiny Cheyenne Monarch. She has a cute little butterfly pattern on her hind end, thus her very pretty name.
At the end of the visit, as we stood up by the gate, somebody asked the owner how in the world she manages to round up all the little ones from the field at the end of the day. "I just call them in" she said.
I was dying to ask, and finally could not stand it. "Is it time for them to come in? Can we see you call them up?" I asked.
Look at those cuties fly!!!!!!!!!