Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dog Biscuits

Grandma, if you're reading this, perchance, go away.
Okay, now that that's dealt with...
The boys decided they'd love to make dog biscuits for grandma's new dog, Buddy.  Buddy is the sweetest Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.  And he's 6 months old. 
I found a recipe by Googling.  I can't remember which recipe it is and I've misplaced the print out of the recipe.  Yes, I'm that organized and helpful.
We all gathered around the table and got to making the biscuits.  Measuring was off...some of the little ones don't quite understand that in order to complete the measure you've got to fill the spoon or cup...
They enjoyed kneading and stirring the dough.  They wanted to taste it...2 liked it and one just about threw up. 
Ingredients:  5-6 cups whole wheat flour, 1.5 cups chicken broth, 4 garlic cloves, 2 tbs parsley, and the rest I cannot remember. 
The recipe called for rolling out the dough to a 1/4" thick, cutting and baking for 30 minutes, then flipping them all over and baking for another 15 minutes, turning off the oven and letting them sit there overnight so they get all crispy.  Um, so we rolled out the dough to a 1/4" thick.  The kids fought over who's turn it was to cut and how many they could cut before the next child could partake.  They were baked for 30 minutes and were way crispy.  So I didn't flip them over or leave them in the oven all night. 
I'm wondering if Buddy will ever get to taste these treats.  I asked my husband, "If you had a dog and someone made him treats, would you feed them to him?"  He said, "I'd say 'thank you' very politely and mean it."  Well, that didn't answer my question.  Then he said, "Maybe."  I think that's better...
We didn't have dog bone shaped cookie cutters.  The boys also thought our Christmas cookie cutters were too big.  So, we used a biscuit cutter and a knife.  Check out these masterpieces!

Using the garlic press...Oh, look, there is yeast! 
There was yeast in the biscuits.  One more ingredient uncovered....2 tsp.

Cutting biscuits is very serious business.

Shmorgasboard of biscuits...

I will totally not blame grandma if these end up in the trash.  However, I'm hopeful that she'll allow the kids to give Buddy one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homemade Christmas Ornaments

I made this little guy on a whim.  We started out making snowmen with the large sized pom poms.  Then our snowmen needed scenes, trees and santas.  This santa was pretty easy to make.  The head is a pom pom.  The body is a pom pom wrapped in a square of red felt.  The arms and legs are rolled up pieces of felt.  The boots are triangular pieces of black felt glued to the leg to look like a boot.   The hat is a triangular piece of felt wrapped around the pom pom and glued together.  Everything is hot-glued together.  I like hot glue. 
This was our Christmas tree ornament.  It's stuffed with Poly-fil, hot-glued and beaded.  I had more insight to take pictures of the tree.  The santas went by so fast I didn't even think of documenting every step. 

Lastly, we experimented with an ornament idea from another site.  The melted snowman ornament.  Too cute of an idea.  I tried.  I don't know if I need an industrial sized hot glue gun, but I couldn't get the glue out fast enough before the existing glue started to cool and harden.  Hers are much cuter than mine.  This is what ours ended up looking like:
Not very cute.  Now I have a zillion little black hats...  

Date Night

I find it weirdly interesting how cyclical life is.  I see this in my blogging, for one.  I also see it in my parenting, my interests, the boys' interests and behaviors.  For example, I blog religiously for a few days, maybe even a week.  Then, my photos pile up (on my computer screen desktop, that is).  I keep thinking of things I want to blog about and keep a running list in the back of my mind.  When I finally find some time (or remember to blog instead of watching The Wonder Years on Hulu) I have so many things to blog about that I end up with "Highlights"...and all my fabulous blogging ideas are lost somewhere in the depths of my mind that only a pill, like in the movie Limitless, could extract.  It is only now that I look back at my postings and the "highlights" of the month...I've already posted about most of them.  What?  Has it really only been 13 days since my last post?  And where are the pictures of all that we've done in those 13 days? 
I'd like to think we've been busy.  I'd like to say that perhaps I've been so busy that there just weren't photo opportunities.  Bwahahahaha. 

Last week I went on a date night with Odin.  I try to do this every so often with each of the boys.  Odin loves to visit Whole Foods and "the samples" we did that.  Then we cruised around the plaza and did a little bit of everything there. 

This was him posing...on purpose.  He was mighty pleased with this one.

Eating Gum drop candies.  He was elated.

Video games...

Ice cream
(by the way, why do people rave about this ice cream?  I thought it was gross.)

Next month is my date night with Eli.  He'd like to do everything Odin and I did.  Just replace Odin's face with Eli's and I'm sure it'll represent very well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What's With The Weather?! ...and some mud fun...

It's December 7, 2011.  I am in Massachusetts.  It is 52 degrees out.  What in the world?!
My husband said, "This is going to be a warm winter!"  My brother-in-law said, "Farmer's Almanac said we're going to have a very snowy winter!"  We'll see.
A mama I know is trying to graph the weather to show how November and December are the cold months.  It's not working out so well.  After saying, "So, are November and December warm or cold months?", they responded with, "WARM!", very emphatically. 
All I know is that it's raining and my kids were out there having a blast.  Let your kids out, in the rain, to play in the mud.  It's good for them.  And it gives you a moment's peace before you need to mop the floor, do some laundry and give baths.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Millis Wonderland

Every year we take the kids to Millis Wonderland.  In case you haven't heard about it, check out the link.  It's free.  It's festive.  It's crazy.  We love it.  We let the kids ride through it unbuckled...*gasp!*  We drink hot cocoa.  It only takes about ten minutes with no traffic, like tonight.  On a busy night, you might be in line for miles, it seems, for well over an hour.  I think last year we waited an hour and a half.  It was horrible.  I came prepared for a 1/2 hour wait.  Then it got insane with tears and screams.  We ended up leaving after that hour and a half.  We went back on a different night...a weekday night.  Tonight was perfect.  It's Tuesday and raining.  We went through twice with the kids hanging out of the car windows.  Yes, we were the crazy ones.  Don't worry, everyone was all buckled up once we got to the end and were on the street.  Merry, Merry!  Enjoy a sampling of the sights!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cray Pas Fun!

Another fabulous art class with the wonderful Ms. J at the local library.  The kids were introduced, or reintroduced, to oil pastels.  I have a love/hate relationship with these things.  I've loved them forever.  Then I had children.  While I love doing messy projects with them, oil pastels does not fall into that category.  I know my concerns are completely ridiculous.  It's one of the weird pet peeves I have, I suppose.  The kids spent about a half an hour experimenting with oil pastels.  It was cool to see what each kid came up with.  There were happy faces, Christmas trees, get well cards, monsters, cars and food. 
The kids had fun.  There were smudges everywhere.  The world didn't end and I'm okay.

Okay, so this is not oil pasteling...but they were so cute in the children's library I had to take a picture of them.

Gingerbread Cookies

I got our recipe from Simply Recipes.  I have a tendency to try to stay away from things I have to roll out.  I have this notion that it's hard.  I know, I sound like a weenie.  Rolling out dough used to be this thing only accomplished bakers did.  I was not an accomplished baker.  So I avoided it.  Pillsbury made a fine pie crust.  And there's nothing wrong with chocolate chip cookies.  Well, now that I care about my food, Pillsbury no longer makes the cut.  And when your kids want gingerbread cookies, telling them that chocolate chip cookie shaped men are the same is not an option.  I'm getting better at it.  I can now roll out the dough less than 1/2 an inch thick.  Confidence is key, I think.  I still don't know the specifics of the whys and hows of it all.  Nor do I really care to.  I just know that this recipe worked well.  The cookies came out beautifully.  Although, they did stick to the cookie sheet.  I also used a cookie sheet I rarely use because it simply sucks, but when you've got Legos on one and Playdoh on the other, the choices are limited.  The boys inhaled the cookies.  I swear.  They were there and then they were gone.  All that was left were little voices telling me I hated them because I was obviously lying about the non-existence of any more cookies.  This is what happens when you indulge your children right before bed.  The Royal Icing came out beautifully as well.  This was just a good cookie.  Thanks, Simply Recipes.  It really was simple.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Making Raw Butter

After all that holiday cheer with trimming the tree and all, the kids wanted to make gingerbread cookies.  However, we did not have enough butter.  Enter in Ms. Resourceful.  I grabbed the pitcher of raw milk.  The cream was sitting right on top.  I scooped it right off and poured it into some canning jars.  I ended up with 2 cups without dipping into the milk.  There was still about a 1/2 inch of cream sitting on top, but I didn't want to risk dipping into the milk.  Plus, that cream is yummy in the milk!
I put the lids on, handed them to the kids and told them to shake.  I hope this video makes you smile.  It makes me giggle...a lot.

I've made butter with pasteurized cream before. It doesn't take that long. This took forever. My kids shook, and shook. I ended up holding a jar in each hand and shook. And shook. And shook. I finally poured them into a bowl, grabbed the beaters and beat that cream. And beat. And beat. I didn't time it, but it took at least five minutes on the highest speed available before it even began to resemble something that had been whipped. I then poured it back into the jars.

Add caption

Once I put the whipped cream into the jars I started shaking again.  It quickly turned consistency. 

Before shaking and after shaking

Starting to separate the buttermilk

Buttermilk surrounding the butter

1 gallon of milk yielded 3/4 cup of butter
It took longer than anticipated, but it was such a great experience for us.  My boys were amazed at the transformation.  It was also very satisfying to be able to create butter for the cookies we then made.  I love really knowing what we put into our bodies.