Saturday, January 29, 2011

Silly Boy

We've enjoyed the warmer weather this week, and even got to build a not-so-big snowman.  Henry walked around with a little stick saying "my carrot nose" while I rolled the snowballs around.  And once we got it built?  He admired it for half a second and then asked if he could kick it over.

It hasn't taken me long to learn with Henry that most of the joy in building something is the destruction of it seconds later.

Friday I took Henry out for a treat.

Ice Cream!
I knew he couldn't eat the whole thing, but share with Mom?  Phht.  We're too big for that.

So we took the rest home and stuck it in the freezer.

This morning, while I was mopping upstairs, Henry went down to get the ice pack (after walking into the door frame of his room), and came back up quite a while later.  "I ate ice cream.  I was hungry."
At least he put it back.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mmmm... Cookies!

A while ago I was randomly thinking about a cookie I haven't had in ages, and wasn't ever sure I had at home.  I didn't think I could even describe it well enough to my mom to see if she knew what I was talking about.  And within days I stumbled across this  post at Baking and Creating with Avril while looking at some blogs with Christmas cookie posts.

And I went, really?  Molasses cookies?  They sounded and looked like they might be what I was thinking of, but I never would have guesses molasses.

Even while I was making them, I was thinking that they smelled too molasses-y.

Then they came out of the oven.  Pure perfection.

And at the rate I've been eating them, I apparently like them more than a good chocolate chip cookie.

Molasses Cookies (from Baking and Creating with Avril, who got them from Cooking During Stolen Moments)

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 c. white sugar for rolling

Cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in the egg and molasses well.

Combine the flour, soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger with a whisk.  Add to molasses mixture and mix until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1-2 hours.

Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in white sugar.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheets (I have air bake pans and skip the greasing) and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes - I did 12 minutes and they were perfectly soft, just beyond doughy middles, but my cookies were smaller than Avril's.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Final Christmas Countdown Update

I know this is a little after the fact, but even though our last week was hit or miss with the activities, I'm still happy with how the project turned out.

Day 17: Watch a Christmas Movie
This almost didn't happen because I needed to get a movie from the library, and good Christmas movies were always checked out from our public library and the local college library.  That morning I looked online and the Muppet's Christmas Carol was in, so I left work at 8:59 to go get it. We had our movie night, ate homemade pizza on the couch, and later had hot chocolate but skipped the popcorn since none of us were hungry.  The downside - it's not "Cars" and barely held Henry's attention.  He kept asking where Kermit was, which was almost constant since Kermit does NOT have a leading role.  How the Grinch stole Christmas may have been better, but we own it on VHS and no longer have a VCR connected to our TV.  Oh well.

Day 18: Go Sledding
This was fun.  We went on a tiny little hill behind the school just down the block from us, which was perfect because Henry could climb back up all by himself even carrying the sled.  He had a blast, and Mom and Dad were there just to push him down the hill.  He even tipped back in the sled and went down the hill with his head bouncing off the ground and came up laughing.  Crazy kid.  And then he and Dad tried to sled down the road home.  That didn't work so well.

Day 19: Bake Surprise Meringues
This went pretty much the same as our other baking days: I did it by myself with him popping in every once in a while, mostly to snoop chocolate chips.

Day 20: Bring Treats to Neighbors
We actually brought a few plates of treats to a few local businesses we deal with instead, and Henry came home with a pocket full of suckers and tootsie rolls  I'm not sure who came out ahead on that deal!

Day 21: Look at Christmas Lights
Henry had in his mind he wanted to be doing something else and kept asking to go home, the chauffeur began the trip by saying there's nothing real impressive to look at in town, and Mom was getting frustrated because apparently she's the only one who wants to have fun.  Not the most successful night. :)

Day 22: Wrap Presents and Stuff Stockings
Actually, our stockings never got hung, again.  I started by wrapping Henry's presents when he was supposed to be having some quiet time, and barely got done before he showed up in the office.  He helped some, mostly putting on tape, but then he got sent out of the room when he started using the wrapped presents as step stools.

Day 23: Sleep by the Christmas Tree
This was one of the most successful things, even though none of us got a great night's sleep.  But we didn't have to go to work in the morning so it wasn't a big deal.

Day 24: Make Christingle Candles for Tomorrow's Breakfast
(Chrstingle Candles are the oranges with the cloves and cranberries with a hole for a candle)  Didn't happen.  Not only that but my "special" Christmas breakfast never happened either.  But we left early afternoon for our Christmas party with Doug's side of the family and had lots of fun sledding and eating and sharing gifts.

Day 25: Read Luke 2 After Breakfast
We did have a good breakfast, although I forget what we had.  Probably waffles since that's what Doug usually requests and I rarely make.  We read Luke 2 and then the rest of the day flew by. 

We got ready for church then packed up food, presents, snow clothes, games, toys, extra clothes.  We opened our presents as a family, went to church, came home, changed clothes, piled in the car, went to an extended family Christmas dinner, went straight to Christmas with my side of the family and went sledding again, ate, exchanged gifts, and got home late and exhausted.

Which pretty much sums up my reasons for wanting to do this countdown calendar.  So much emphasis (and pressure) is put on a single day and for parents of young children, this day can often be less than enjoyable with the busyness it brings before it comes to a screeching halt.  It's supposed to be a season of joy celebrating the fact that our Savior came to earth to save us, and doing this helped us slow down a little and enjoy doing some things together and do a little more giving.

What I would change?
Having the grandparents over and sleeping by the tree were definitely the most talked about (therefore most enjoyed) by our 2 year old.
I had a lot of activities, partly because I wanted to do a lot, and partly because the only alternative seemed to be treats.  Next year I'm going to cut back a little - this year I easily got away with skipping activities if it was getting too busy, but I may not always be that lucky.
With the right activities, this can be a great teaching tool as Henry grows.
We will definitely be making this a tradition!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Avocados - Two Ways

I have loved avocados for about two years, and look forward to when they go on sale.  I never disliked them before that - I just never had them.

And now I get to enjoy one of my favorite lunches whenever they're on sale:

Avocado Sandwiches
1 avocado
~1.5 tsp. lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Cut avocado in half, remove pit, and dice while still in peel; scoop flesh out with a spoon.  Sprinkle with lemon juice, and stir in mayonnaise (I usually use just enough to hold it together) and add salt and pepper.  Serve on a piece of toast, or wrapped in a tortilla.  Or eat by the spoonful if you're so inclined.  I won't tell.

I've also added bacon and/or tomatoes at times.  Yum!

And now I have a new recipe that I love that uses avocados, except this one's for your hair!

I know I found the inspiration on other internet sites, but I don't remember where and it's a combination of several different ones I read about.

Avocado Hair Mask
1/2 avocado
1/4 c. mayonnaise
olive oil

I didn't measure the oil or honey, just a drizzle of each.  Combine in a blender so you don't have to pick chunks of avocado out of your hair!

To use:  Wash your hair and apply the avocado mixture.  I don't have a shower cap, so I just wrapped my head in saran wrap and then a towel and left it on for about an hour.  I washed and conditioned it again after I rinsed it out - I wasn't sure if I would wake up smelling like bad mayonnaise if I just rinsed it out and it wasn't worth that risk.

This left my hair super soft and much more moisturized than it usually is!  I have really thick hair about shoulder length, and I still had enough to use this twice.  Just put the leftovers in the fridge until next time - you might want to make sure your family knows it's not food, even though it is technically edible. :)

I do have my final Christmas update coming.  Soon.  Before next Christmas.  Okay, hopefully in the next week.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Finally Did It.

I gave blood.

And I almost passed out.

And one of the workers played babysitter for me.

I got rejected the time I tried in high school because of low iron, and I've considered it off and on over the years.  This past year I thought about it seriously, yet always had an excuse, and this time I had enough with my lame excuses.

I had planned on going in the morning so I wouldn't have Henry to worry about.  But I couldn't get away from work.  So I stopped there on the way home and asked if it was something I could do with a little tag-along.  They were very accommodating, even without knowing my blood type.  (That was my main push for donating - I KNOW I am a universal donor).  But I should have eaten first.

Maybe half-way through I started feeling light-headed, and asked if that was normal just as my vision started to go black.  Whoops.  The lady helping the person next to me was telling me to cough as the guy helping me tipped my chair back and another lady was headed towards me with cold towels.  So I didn't suffer long, but it still wasn't fun.

My stomach doesn't handle sugar on an empty stomach very well, so the juice and cookies they have to offer weren't much help.  But I survived and am willing to do it again.

After I eat a feast first.