Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent Calendar - Week 2

Here's this week's recap:

Day 4 - Make Christmas Goodies with Mom

I forgot to take a picture of him helping me, but I chose a simple one - Pretzel Hugs.  He did okay, but the only part he really enjoyed was setting the hugs on the pretzels, and once I put them in the oven he disappeared.

Day 5 - Buy a Gift to Give Away

We went and bought our Angel Tree gifts, and today we brought them back to church so they could be delivered.  No picture of that, but here's some colored ice he made with Grandma:

Day 6 - Visit Great-Grandpa DG and Great-Grandpa VV
Both Henry and Great-Grandpa were impressed by the three Hubers Lumber hats.

Day 7: Have Grandpa & Grandma H and Grandpa & Grandma VM Over for Supper

This was one of the highlights last year, and this year was no different.  I had Henry make the phone calls to invite them over when we got home at noon (I had arranged the date in advance!), and the calls were short and to the point. :)
 He got to lick out the bowl of whipped cream, which is never disappointing.
And Henry made sure they played down stairs with him after supper.

Day 8: Visit the Nursing Home and Hand out Treats

We had made extra candy cane reindeer and went to pass them out.  Henry did pretty good - only two really wanted us to stay and sit down (which wasn't an option with Henry!).  One guy was pretty interesting, but the last one we stopped by was where we ran into problems.  Henry was ready to go, and I had said this was our last one, but the poor lady was confused and thought we were someone she knew and REALLY wanted Henry to come say hi and sit by her.  Not much I could do about that, though.

Day 9: Make a Snowman Ornament
We actually did this the next day, because Friday we went shopping with Rachel.

This was kind of fun - because I gave up my plan!  I enjoy crafts, but I want them to turn out and therefore have a hard time letting Henry do his own thing.  So instead of making an ornament where I would want them to look "just right," I got out the construction paper and let him paint however he wanted.  He thought it was hilarious that I painted his hand.

Day 10: Make Treats for Friends

We skipped this - we did the snowman painting instead, and we have the candy cane reindeer done.  I had an idea to go with it, but it just wasn't necessary and didn't sound fun at the time.

While we were shopping with Rachel, we drove through Falls Park to look at the lights before heading home.  Henry saw a "raining tree" and we had to park the car so he could get out and look at it closer.  We ended up running all over and he had to touch some lights, and he wanted to roll down a big hill - I was freezing and it was pretty close to the water so I put a nix on that idea.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Advent Calendar, Year 2

I'll never be a dependable blogger - sometimes it just doesn't fit in my life.  So you'll just have to bear with me on the random posts and unannounced breaks.

Henry and I really enjoyed our Advent Calendar and all the activities last year, so I think it will always be one of our traditions.  The activities will change from year to year as I figure out what some favorites are and what isn't that enjoyable.  And while I think something like this would be fun for every family, some of our activities may be "way over the top" for others.  But I have the time and the enjoyment for baking and crafting.

One thing I learned last year was to be flexible.  If Henry wasn't in the mood to do something, trying to convince him it would be fun was never successful.  And that defeats the reason I wanted to do this - to make this a season of fun and serving others so it doesn't become a season wrapped around one day of presents.

On to the calendar.  Here is this year's version:
While I found tons of cute ideas, I needed something simple so that I would actually get it made before December 1.  I had squares of cardstock that I folded over a little to make a pocket in the back, and stuck a piece of paper in it with our activity on it (which makes it easy to switch activities if something unexpected comes up one day).  Then I printed numbers on paper, cut them out and glued them on the fronts of the cards.  Then I taped a piece of twine onto our mantel and used mini clothespins to hang the cards up.  A little effort, but pretty simple (and reusable next year).

Day 1: Put up the Christmas Tree and Decorate:
This went about the same as last year, but I planned for him to have some hot chocolate while I "un-smooshed" the branches (which is where he lost interest last year.  He also decided that he wanted a popcorn string on the tree because of the book, If You Take a Mouse to the Movies

It may not have been my best decision, but I agreed and even thought, "Hey, I have a bag of cranberries still setting in the fridge.  And I'm stubborn enough to finish what I started even though I keep wondering why I'm doing it.  So we have cranberry and popcorn garlands on our tree.  For about the only time in my life.

Day 2: Make Candy Cane Reindeer for Great-Grandparents
I thought this would be something he had fun doing.  I thought the eyes, and the noses, and the bells would be fun for him to put on.

He only wanted to be in charge of the glue, which was fine.  I just had to remind myself it was better if I didn't watch.

Day 3: Decorate Wrapping Paper with Finger Paint.

This hasn't happened, maybe in part because I don't want paint all over clothes and he refuses to wear one of Doug's old shirts.  Oh well. 
Instead we played in the fresh-fallen snow and Doug hooked the sled up to the back of the 4-wheeler and we were the crazy neighbors going up and down our road.  We had fun, and thankfully we were about done when the sled broke in half.  It wasn't quite made for that!

Not sure if I'll try to update daily, otherwise I'll have a weekly summary next Saturday.

Do you have any special Christmas traditions?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - August 29

We've been busy around here, filling the (last) dumpster in front of our house.  Anyway, I have been planning and we have been eating, so here's the plan for this week:

Monday: We're going to a benefit supper

Tuesday: Saucy Meatballs, Un-fried French Fries, and Beans from the garden

Wednesday: Chef Salad

Thursday: Southwest Sandwiches and more Beans

Friday: Grilled Steak, Potatoes, and Cabbage

Saturday: Sub Sandwiches and Chips

Sunday: Breakfast - Amish Baked Oatmeal
             Dinner - Doug's parents'

Monday: Breakfast - Sticky Buns
              Dinner - Sandwiches/Leftovers
              Supper - My parents'

Have a good week!

Friday, August 19, 2011

New Territory

I'm quite comfortable with most aspects of my life.

Obviously I'm not perfect in any part of my life, but mostly content.

I'm even comfortable remodeling, from doing the work to changing a house layout to making decisions about style and color.

But now I've entered new territory.

A place I've never had to challenge myself since we never stayed in a house long enough.


I've spent the past weeks devouring magazines, decorating blogs and books.  And exploring thrift and second-hand stores, since I'm not after perfect and I love vintage and re-purposed pieces.  An area I had to (willingly) give Doug veto power over any piece I re-finish.

I'll have lots of upcoming posts on this, it's just a matter of finding making the time to sit down and do it.  Because I'm going to be looking for more feedback than Doug's "It's fine" responses. :)

Stage One: Bar Seating

I got the idea for this a while ago, and started it not too long after.

It's just the "completing" that I struggle with.

The pattern is from Ana White, called Small Easy Rustic X Benches.  There are so many things from her site that I have on my to do list it's not even funny.

I ended up painting them an off-white and then "dry-brushing" a brown over top to get the rustic look.  I like the effect, and it was much easier than my first (and quickly discarded) plan of painting it brown, and then white, and then sanding to give it the distressed look.  It would have taken a coat of prime, 1-2 coats of brown, 2 coats of white, and then careful sanding.  2 coats of white was enough after the primer, and the dry-brushing went - and dried - quickly.

You can't see the brown very well in the photo, but in person they look good.  Much better than the too-clean off white I considered for about the 10 seconds I had it setting by our counter.

And it was a very cheap project.  Well, anything that doesn't involve anything other than wood, screws, and paint is going to be really cheap for me. ;)  But even full price it would probably have been under $50, and that's including paint that I can use for lots of different projects I have planned.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Menu Plan and How to Use Up Cucumbers

I haven't had much of a plan for meals lately, which is kind of a good sign since we're eating lots from the garden.

We're still well-supplied with cucumbers, tomatoes are ripening about 2 at a time, and I've made and froze a few batches of pesto from my healthy basil plant.  And after being half-eaten by rabbits or birds, my green beans have apparently recovered and flourished and now we'll probably be eating beans every-other night.

This week I actually have a plan:

Monday: Burgers, Grilled Corn, and Beans

Tuesday: Baked Fish, Buttermilk Rolls, and Cucumber Pickles

Wednesday: Sandwiches/Veggies/Use up the produce/Leftovers night

Thursday: Mexican Lasagna

Friday: Tavern, Un-fried French Fries, and Beans or Cucumbers

Saturday: Pizza and Chips (Hopefully I'll get to make the tomato and pesto one I planned to make all last year, but didn't have any garden tomatoes)

Sunday: Breakfast - Sticky Buns
             Lunch - Doug's parents'

If anyone else needs ideas for using up cucumbers, here are some of my favorites:

Pickles - 3-4 cucumbers sliced thin (we like ours peeled) and sprinkled with salt, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 1Tbsp. vinegar.  Mix and let set for a little while - or serve right away if you remembered to make them as everyone is already on their way to the table.  Keeps just fine in the fridge for quite a while (if there's enough juice).

Cucumber Sandwich - Spread a little mayo on bread (top and bottom unless you want an open sandwich.  But I like bread.), sprinkle with dried dill weed.  Top with (peeled) cucumber slices and sprinkle with salt.  Yum!

Cucumber Tomato Salad - 1 (peeled) cucumber and 1 tomato, diced large.  Sprinkle with salt and stir in 1-2 tsp. Ranch dressing.  This one doesn't keep overnight very well.

I also made Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles and Crisp Freezer Pickles.

I also made Pico de Gallo this week.  When we were in Mexico, I could have lived on this stuff.  I smothered eggs and omelets with it for breakfast, I had it with chips and guacamole for dinner, and if I was lucky they included it in the condiments tray when we were seated for supper.  I started with a small amount, and then decided to make more, but this is the recipe I sort of followed (minus the jalapeno because I'm a very mild kind of girl).

Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

While Mom Mowed...

I seriously should have a separate folder for pictures of things that went on while I was busy mowing.

Henry usually hangs out by me, riding bike while I mow the front or in the sandbox while I mow the back.  He'll disappear sometimes, but since he's good about not playing out front by the sidewalk without me, I usually don't worry and just go check on him a few times. 

Because he's almost always just playing in the car and loading it up with tools and the scraps of wood we keep for the fireplace.

Except sometimes he's not.

Sometimes he's enjoying unsupervised time in the house.

This is what I found last week after mowing, and I did have to laugh because I didn't find either of the messes until several hours later.

His bedroom:
He helped himself to about half a block of cheese.  And ate off of every edge.

The office:
My stack of post its was in about a hundred pieces, papers had random "H"s on them, and several post its were stapled.
He also emptied out some of my hanging folders so his toolbox would fit in the drawer.  Because every toolbox needs a drawer, you know.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - July 25

I'm patiently waiting for the tomatoes in the garden to turn red, but we're enjoying the fresh lettuce and cucumbers!

Here's the plan for this week:

Monday: Stromboli and Broccoli

Tuesday: Chicken Fingers, Stuffing, and Corn on the Cob

Wednesday: Brunch Casserole and Fruit (bumped from last week)

Thursday: Leftover/misc

Friday: Beef Enchiladas

Saturday: Chef Salad or Sandwiches

Sunday: Breakfast- Orange Rolls
             Dinner- BLTs and Chips