Monday, November 30, 2009

Adventures in Thanksgiving Travels

This past weekend we went to visit some of my family in southwest Virginia for Thanksgiving.  I love going down to visit everyone and have been making the trip pretty much my whole life (either from Virginia to Maryland or Maryland to Virginia depending on where I lived at the time).  It is 5 hours or so each way and after awhile you get used to it.  However, the trip is a little different than it was before I had a family of my own to travel with.

We took our four-door Silverado because its the only thing we own thats actually big enough for us to travel in.  So, in the front seat its me and my husband.  Between us and in the floor, we have stuff cramed into every bit of open space:  snacks and diapers and cameras and everything that can't go in the bed of the truck.  We do manage to leave just enough space for my feet.  In the back seat we have our two kids in their carseats, our bassett hound, and our big mutt/hound dog.  Its a full truck!!  Luckily, we have a nice large bed for all the luggage.  Oh, and this time we decided to bring home another chicken from my parents farm, so we had a chicken in a box in the back with our luggage (because we didn't look Beverly Hillbilly enough with the loaded down truck). 

Now, traveling with dogs does have its obvious down side, like having to walk them, get them water, and stuff.  But, add to that the fact that everytime we visit the farm they roll in every dead animal they can find before they get in the truck to come home.  So, we had the pleasure of smelling their nasty, dead animal scent the entire confined trip.

Because it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving we, of coarse, hit stop and go traffic several times.  And, if you've traveled with children, you know that everytime you stop the baby cries.  And everytime the baby cried the 2 year old grabs her or pokes her.  And everytime she falls back asleep, the two year old grabs her or pokes her until she cries again.

Finally, we were about 25 minutes or so from home and we got pulled over for only having running lights on (my husband turned the lights down at a traffic light we had just stopped at because they were going straight into the little car in front of us and he didn't turn them on afterwards).  So the cop walks over and comes to the window.  That made the dogs start barking like crazy, which scared the crap out of the sleeping children so they woke up screaming and crying.  The officer is trying to talk to us, but all we hear is screaming and barking.  The dogs are jumping over the baby trying to get to the cop so she is screaming louder.  I'm turned around trying to get her pacifier in her mouth so she can calm down and am trying to keep the dogs off of her.  Russ got excited when he realized what was going on and just started yelling police car, police car! 

I think they felt sorry for us, so they quickly sent us on our way.

Can't wait to make the trip again next year!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving By Candlelight

I guess I should have posted this a little sooner so everyone could have saved their Halloween pumpkins, but with the kids being sick lately I am a little behind.  My friend Sarah and I like to make these candles for our Thanksgiving tables.  They are super easy to make and look oh so cute next to a big, fat turkey.

Take some little pumpkins or goards, cut them open on top, and hollow them out. 

Next, melt some wax.  If you don't have a big block of candle wax (I'm sure most of you don't), take all of your old candles you don't like anymore and all of the left-over pieces from candles you've almost burned out.  Melt the pieces in a double boiler.  If you don't have one, you can fill a pot with water & float a smaller pot inside of it.  Add the pieces to the inside pot.  Be sure to use a pot that you no longer use for food, though.  To color the wax, add old crayon pieces.

You'll need to get a wick (either a new one or one out of a candle you no longer need).  Spoon a small amount of the wax into the bottom of the pumpkin, and then push the end of the wick into it.  When it hardens, wrap a pencil around the top of the wick and lay it on top of the pumpkin.  This will keep the wick from moving when the wax is hardening.  After the wick is in place, fill the candle with the melted wax.  The easiest way is to use a disposable cup. 

Once the wax hardens some, the top of the candle will sink in a little; you will need to add a little more wax.

These candles are soooo easy to make and are such a nice touch to your holiday table!!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Many Santas Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb??

Each Christmas we decorate our tree with ornaments that have been made by our friends and family; we don't use any store bought ornaments.  After signing up for an ornament exchange on my friend's blog,, I got motivated to start my yearly ornament making!!

Today, I decided to repurpose items in my house to make my Christmas decorations.  So, I searched the house for all of our burned out light bulbs and turned them into tree ornaments!!

For the snowman, I started off by glueing ribbon around the top of each bulb.  This will be used to hang the ornament on the tree.  I then glued felt around the bulb to form the ring of the hat & let the ribbon hang out of the top.  After the ring is on, go ahead and make the rest of the hat & glue it in place.

Next,  paint a face on the bulb and thats it!!

In the living room light, I had a long bulb that had burned out.  It looked to me like a Santa face, so thats where I went with it.  The Santa ornament is basically the same thing, but I started off by painting the entire thing white.  After the paint dried, I glued felt into a hat shape & put it on the top of the bulb, leaving ribbon hanging out as I did with the snowman bulb.  I took batting & twisted it into a "string" & glued it around the hat & to the end of the hat.  I then painted on the Santa face.

I'm so excited about these "recycled" light bulb ornaments.  I have a burned out flood light outside that I am going to make into an angel for the top of my tree (as soon as my husband goes out to get it for me).  I'll post pictures when its finished.  If any of you make any of these, I would love to see pictures!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Its Getting Snotty in Here

Both of my beautiful babies have been hit with a yucky cold that is accompanied by viral eye infections.  Its some fun stuff.  They have snot pouring from their noses AND their eyes.  Everytime I catch up to Russ, he has it smeared from his forehead to his chin and from eye to eye.  At least Lexi hasn't figured out how to wipe it yet.  I've never cleaned so much mucus in my life as I have the last 3 days.  Russ' sleeves (and mine) are nice and slimy :)  Want to know what else is a little disgusting?  When you are nursing your baby and there is a string of snot leading from her nose to your boob when she pulls away!!

By the way, if you haven't tried them yet, check out Boogie Wipes.  They are the best thing ever.  They are like diaper wipes for the nose, but they contain a saline solution that breaks up the boogies when you use them.   

So anyway, the doctor gave us eye drops for both of them.  Thats an adventure in itself.  Putting the drops in Lexi isn't so bad; she is too young to fight or run from me.  Russ, however, is nearly impossible.  First, I have to catch him.  Then, I have to wrestle him over my knees.  Then, I have to try to get his eye open with one hand and have the drops ready in the other.  I'm lucky if I get one drop in before he knocks the bottle across the floor, and I'm suppose to get TWO drops in EACH eye??  And, I have to do this 4 times a day??  I've tried bribes and threats and begging and pleading, but seem to work.  Oh well, it will be my daily work out. 

Today, I'm thankful for the fact that my two babies just have colds and nothing more serious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Its That Cookie Time of Year

Every year I like to bake lots of candy and cookies for Christmas.  Last year I didn't get to because I was newly pregnant and sooo sick.  Russ and I plan on making up for it this year by making even more than normal.  We started trying out some different recipes this week.  This is one of my favorites, and the kids really seem to like them, so I'm going to share. 

These are called stained glass cookies.  Start out with some sugar cookie dough.  You can either buy the store bought dough or you can make your own.  I use this recipe:

Mix 1 softened cup butter & 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.  Fold in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract & 1 egg yolk.  Mix in 2 1/4 cups flour until dough forms a ball.  Refridgerate for 2 or more hours.

Preheat the over to 375.  The store-bought dough directions call for less, but you need to use 375!! 

This is the fun part:  take some Jolly Ranchers in colors of your choice and crush them up in a food processor.  Keep your colors seperate.  If you don't have a food processor, you can put them in a plastic bag and use a hammer.  You can use almost any hard candy.  We used candy canes for some of them.

Now, take your home-made or store-bought dough out of the refridgerator, knead until softened, and roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured counter.  Take a cookie cutter and cut out your shapes.  Place the cut-outs on parchment paper and place it on a cookie sheet.  If you don't use parchment paper, the candy will stick to the cookie sheet & not come off.  Use a smaller cookie cutter (or a knife) and take the center out of the cookie.

Take your crushed up candy, sprinkle it into the holes in the cookies.  Fill the holes completely! 

Bake at 375 for 7 to 10 minutes.

I didnt have cookie cutters, so I had to shape mine by hand.  The shapes turned out kind of funny, but you get the idea.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Potato Candy

A few of you asked me how to make potato candy, so here ya go!!

The only ingredients you need are powdered sugar, peanut butter, and a potato.  Start off by peeling, cutting, and boiling the potato.  After it is cooked and the water is drained, put about 1/3 of the potato in a large mixing bowl.  Add about 1/3 cup powdered sugar.  Mix.  Keep adding powdered sugar and mixing until you end up with a nice doughy consistency.  I can't tell you exactly how much powdered sugar or potato you need; just keep adding small amounts of both until you have a firm dough.  You can mix with a blender if you want, but I find that hand mixing works better.

Put you dough on wax paper thats been sprinkled with a small coating of powdered sugar (to keep it from sticking).  Then, roll the dough out thin with a rolling pen.

When the dough is nice and thin, coat it with peanut butter.

Finally, roll the peanut butter covered dough up into a log, and cut it into pinwheels.

The pinwheels turn out much prettier if you put the log in the refridgerator before cutting and if you don't let your 2 year old cut it for you!!

Man It's Cold!

Each morning Russ and I let out and feed the chickens before we do anything else; this is his daily chore.  Russ loves his chickens more than anything and loves feeding them our leftovers from the night before.  So, I know its getting cold when he stands at the door and says, " bye-bye mommy," and shuts the door on me.  I think its about time we start wearing shoes and coats when we go out there.  Man did my feet get cold!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Got Pudding??

Since the bathroom tile was being layed today, I had the job of keeping Russ out of the bathroom.  If you know Russ, you know how difficult this could be due to his love of power tools and bulding things.  So, we decided that we would paint.  Our favorite medium is pudding!  Pudding definately has many advantages:  it doesn't stain the furniture, its fun to take a bite between brush strokes, and the dogs can clean up the floor for you when you are finished

I encourage all of you with kids to try pudding painting;  its soo much fun and soo much easier to clean than paint.  We did forget until half way through to take Russ' shirt off though.  He told me that "Mommy needs to take her shirt off, too."  I didn't think that would be the best idea with the tile guy here :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Too Many Projects, Too Little Time

Well, I wanted to be able to post pictures of my latest projects this weekend, however, I didn't manage to complete any of them.  With finishing costumes, trick-or-treating, and the church carnival, this weekend was soo busy.  I did actually get a couple of projects started.  I'm in the process of making wall hangings for Lexi's room, a tutu for a friend, and also a bag for myself (or a Christmas gift for someone else depending on how it goes and if they see it on this blog).  I'm happy so far with the progress on all of the above. 

It seems when you have a child who is 2 years and 1 who is 3 months, there is a lot of time left for crafts :)  I am bouncing back and forth between projects whenever I have a little time here and there.  My plan is to have all three finished by Friday.

The biggest project I took on this weekend is potty training Russ!

We started Russ on the potty this weekend, and its going really good so far.  He didn't have any accidents today in his big boy undies & only went once in a diaper (because we were at the store).  Hopefully, tomorrow will go just as good (fingers crossed).  He seems really into it;  its probably just because he likes getting stickers for his board & potty when he goes.  Hey, whatever works for him.

It was really nice today only using a total of 2 disposable diapers between the two kids!!  With Lexi in cloth diapers & Russ in undies, we weren't throwing extra money away.  Yay us!!  I can't wait to only have one kid in diapers again.

Sometimes I think that maybe this is too much to take on all at once, but oh well.  It keeps things interesting!!


Russ peed on the potty all day yesterday and pooped on it this morning!  He came and got me and told me before he had to go!  My baby is growing up. 

Its amazing how exciting pooping can be when you are a mom!!