Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homemade Oreos

Whenever Grayson asks me "So what are you making for dessert?" ... I am fairly certain he would like the answer to be "homemade oreos". I picked up this recipe back in my college days (thanks Cindy!) and it has been a family favorite. It's really so quick and easy too. Just take ...
  • One package of devil's food cake mix
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs

Mix these together ... I usually use a pastry cutter, but you can just use your hands. It's messy but effective (see the photo below). Roll them into balls and cook at 375 for 5-8 minutes. Spread cream cheese frosting (I just use the tubs you can buy at the store. We have found we have a preference for the Betty Crocker Whipped) in between two cookies. Tonight, the cookies were disappearing as fast as I could frost. Yum!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Science Fair

As you know, we are a pinewood derby family, and while all the boys love it, Callahan has always shown the most interest. So it made perfect sense choose a derby theme when it came to his science fair project. The goal of a derby is to finish fastest ... how can you do that? Decrease FRICTION, increase speed ... now there are oodles of ways to reduce friction in your car... he chose to focus on using graphite to lubricate the wheels and axles. After running the experiment, the conclusion was that lubricating your wheels/axles makes a BIG difference and should definitely be done if you want a chance at winning the race!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pizza Please

If you know ME at all ... you know I'm a "bit" of a picky eater. I've never eaten pizza (or a multitude of other things). Actually ... that NEVER eaten pizza statement may need to be revised ... I guess I have. Mountain Mike's Pizza that is. I requested a pizza with white garlic sauce and mozzarella cheese, and I liked it. We've been back for it a few times now. It's basically breadsticks ... and speaking of breadsticks, Mountain Mike's makes great ones! In fact, the kids seem prefer them to pizza. The boys have always finished off the entire batch ... until tonight. We asked if we could up the order from the standard medium to the biggest twenty inch pan size, and although the boys ate a lot, there were breadsticks left over.

While the food keeps us coming back ... we also like the easy going atmosphere of Mountain Mike's. There are games to keep the kids entertained (pool, air hockey and assorted video games) and a television or two showing current sporting events.

Colton LOVES to play air hockey, especially when his brothers let him win. We always have to bring a few dollars to change into quarters to keep the kids happy.

It's a great family night activity ... especially as Mondays all pizzas are half off! So if you haven't tried Mountain Mike's, here's a recommendation from a girl who doesn't even eat pizza.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Eleven Years Old

Eleven years ago it was a Sunday too. I remember being up much of the night with Landon, who was under the weather. I also couldn't sleep because I kept getting cramps ... when morning rolled around I finally came to the conclusion that perhaps they weren't just cramps, but contractions! I was caught a little off-guard because the baby wasn't due for another two and a half weeks! But ... it was time. My water broke and we were only at the hospital an hour before our Callahan was born. For the past eleven years, this kid has been an absolute joy!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

but Mom you said ...

I really try not to make promises ... so I don't break promises .... #3 has been wanting me to make "cookie press" cookies for a while now, and at one point I said "maybe for Valentine's Day" ... I really did say MAYBE ... it wasn't a fact or a promise ... unfortunately I caught a case of the sniffles for the days preceeding Valentine's Day and just didn't feel up to baking. I'm actually still not 100%, but when I came upon #3 dejected and down, I figured making some cookies would cheer him up. They are pretty easy ...

1 1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and blend well. Add the  flour and  baking powder. Add food coloring as desired and force the dough through a cookie press. Bake at 400 for 8-10 minutes.

We went ahead and made hearts, even though Valentine's Day has passed us by. I've put off making cookies .... because then I EAT cookies ... and for some reason, these cookies are addictive to me! Like the "poop" cookies in a previous post, these are great frozen ... I think maybe I need to go grab one ... or two ...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Resuming the Routine

When the elementary school is year round, "Back to School" isn't just in August, it happens several times throughout the year. I really don't mind having the kids around when they are off track, they are good boys. I certainly don't mind not having to drive to the school a couple times each day, and getting after the kids about homework ... but it's just hard transitioning back into a normal routine each time school starts again. I was definitely worried about getting up on time ... not just the kids, but myself as well. My oldest, who is in Jr. High, had still been getting up early and off to school, but he's so responsible, doing it all himself, that I would often still be in bed until after he left. I was especially worried about my #3, Keaton. He REALLY seemed to enjoy lounging in bed. Well, we all managed to get up and off fine. Even Colton resumed preschool ... preschool doesn't go off track, but his teacher has just had a baby and that break lined up with the older kids off track time perfectly. Preschool is a good thing for Colton, as he really misses his brothers when they are at school. With them going back on track, he's had to adjust again to some mornings with just Mom. He can't wait until kindergarten is done and it's time to pick up Cooper ... and then both boys look forward to their older brothers coming home later in the day (although at least they have each other until then).

Without the schedule of school, it's also hard for me to remember other things, like basketball practice or scouts. Being the third week, it was actually Pack Meeting today. It was the annual Blue and Gold Banquet. Callahan, who will turn 11 next Sunday received his Arrow of Light award. Congratulations Callahan.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Lazy Mom's Valentine Box

When the kids aren't in school (off-track) for Valentine's Day, it's easy to let the holiday slide. Actually, the kindergarten class had their Valentine party several weeks ago before school let out and the older boys will have theirs Friday the 19th (hey, I should be able to get some good deals on cards and candy!). I was actually under the weather this year, didn't get around to making cookies or anything. So, just so I can have a Valentine's Day post, I thought I'd share the Valentine's Box the kids and I created ... yes, it's a garbage can (it is a new clean one!). Quick and easy! Easy in, easy out. *Ü*

Friday, February 12, 2010

Out To Breakfast

Nothing makes a day feel more like a holiday to me than going out to breakfast. Grayson had this week off as he transitions between jobs, the elementary school kids were off-track, and Landon had late start Friday ... so although it wasn't a holiday, we headed out for an early morning meal. Now there are the traditional places ... IHOP, Village Inn, Dennys ... but we prefer something a little different. During the summer, we'd gone as a family to Virg's (5800 S Redwood) and the boys were adamant about going back there. HUGE pancakes! But I wanted to share with them another diner Gray and I had frequented, Outpost Café (7700 S and State). It's a sports themed place, with lots of UofU posters ... so I thought my U fans would like it. Yummy pancakes, delicious french toast, great eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and sausage. Pretty reasonable prices too. Colton ate more than Keaton or Cooper did. Landon didn't eat his bacon ... he said he only likes Mom's bacon :) Daddy commented "It's just pig and salt, it's all the same" ... Landon replied "Mom's bacon is pig and salt and LOVE" ... It's a fun way to start a Friday ... or any day :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blackham Bowling

With our year-round elementary schools, we have several two-three week breaks spread throughout the year. One thing we do during the kids "off-track" time to stay busy is bowling at All Star Lanes. Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 -12:00. It's a decent deal; it comes out to $7 for each visit, it includes bowling, shoe rental and lunch (the boys love their pizza and hot dogs). Callahan and Keaton were attending, and I told the two little boys that on the last day, we could stay and bowl too. So that was the plan ... but when we walked in, it was PACKED. Every lane was taken. I guess Bingham High has some sort of bowling program, and there was also a big group of handicapped folks come to play. Allstar had it pretty well set up ... I couldn't believe all the shoes! Anyway, I took my little guys to play in the arcade for a bit (which they like just as much as bowling), we were about to give up and go home when a lane opened up.
Cooper is such a cute little bowler. As he stands and watches the ball roll down he twists his little body trying to WILL the ball one direction or another. He got a few spares!
With Colton being so small, we used to use the help of the rail roller ... but not anymore. He just picks up the ball and flings it down. The timing worked out perfectly. We finished our games at the same time the older boys finished theirs. A little more skeeball, basketball and air hockey in the arcade and it's bye bye bowling until the next off-track session. Thanks All Star Lanes! *Ü*

Monday, February 8, 2010

Eating His Words

Coconut Goodies:
Melt 1 square margarine in a pan. Add 1/2 cup milk, 2 cups sugar and 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder. Add a dash of salt and bring to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add 3 cups of oats (I use half quick, half oldfashioned) and stir. Put on lid for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup coconut and a tsp of vanilla. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Mmmm ... They are great frozen!

This recipe has always been a favorite of mine, but Grayson ... he has always mocked them ... he calls them "poop cookies". Well the other day HE made up a recipe for something very similar from one of his "healthy" cookbooks. Granted, in his version it leaves out the butter and sugar, adds peanut butter and protein powder ... but they are basically POOP COOKIES! We've had a little laugh as Grayson has had to "eat his words" quite literally. He even gave MY cookies a try ... and said they tasted better :) ... mine are gone, while his are still awaiting eating ...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ref Recollections

Basketball is a big part of Blackham boy life. Not just Jr. Jazz during the winter months, but also the spring, summer and fall leagues at the rec center. As fall season was winding down, I noticed a sign calling for refs for the Jr. Jazz season ... ages 14 and up welcome to apply. Hmmmm, Landon just turned 14 ... I ran the "job" past my oldest son, and he did express an interest. He attended the two training sessions and was hired. We found out that while they would be supplied with a whistle, the uniform would have to be purchased. Ref shirt ... $26. Black pants ... $12. Black shoes ... $30 ... there goes the first few paychecks (ah ... ok, the parents decided to cover this cost).

With it being Landon's first year reffing, and him being one of the youngest refs hired, I was fairly confident he would get the "easy" shift ... kindergarten. Not a lot of overly involved parents or competitive games, not really needing to even know much, just call traveling when the kids have run all the way down the court without dribbling ... So I was a bit surprised when we got his first shift ... 5th grade boys! He would actually need to KNOW stuff and make hard calls... traveling, double dribble, 3-seconds, fouls ...and these games could get a little heated. I actually called the rec center to make sure there hadn't been a mistake, but the supervisor for the site knew Landon from school and had requested him personally. I wasn't sure if I was happy about that ...

It turned out to be a great thing (thanks LaTrill!). A couple of the other refs were older and experienced (and cool ... they played on the high school team) and Landon was able to learn so much more than he would have with the easy, kindergarten shift. It was a very good experience, gave him some job experience and a little spending money ... a three pointer!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hello Brace Face ...

Callahan has braces! Just a few to start as things get moved into position and a few more teeth come out (he lost TWO just last week ... does the tooth fairy have an age limitation?). Just as we're concluding Landon's monthly visits (he should be getting his off in the next little bit) we start at the very beginning with #2 ... I think he looks cute!

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