Saturday, February 2, 2008

Eye of a Hawk

Debbie and I were out the door with the boys very early Saturday to go yard saling. However, it's a little early in the year for there to be many sales, and mostly we just enjoyed spending the morning together talking, taking the boys to Dunkin Donuts, and taking pictures of the sunrise and other interesting thing going on in nature.

We started off getting some nice shots of the sunrise. This is a tree behind Porter Farms produce stand.




Debbie saw an interesting 'long road' shot as we drove down Rock Service Station road and suggested that I go back and shoot it.


At the intersection of Old Stage Road and Rock Service Station Road, I turned around to go back and shoot this lovely reflection in the farm pond. The horse, white and red barns, and tree are great. The dog houses and blue tarp not so hot. Still, an interesting photo.



But, the crown jewel of the morning was this shot of a hawk that I took on John Adams Road. Unfortunately, it's a tad blurry, but still just awesome to catch a picture of him. As we pulled up to the spot where I previously saw a blue heron, I went real slow. Before anyone else saw him, I saw him. I told everyone to hush. Debbie was franticlaly looking for what it was I was so excited about. I carefully adjusted the camera and rolled down the window and got off about 9 shots before he flew. I was relieved but also wishing I'd had more chances...like to change the camera to spot focus. Oh well, still thankful for catching him at all.

The best of pics of the morning are here.

The entire morning album is here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wrestling...Brother Style

The boys were a bit fiesty after they ate dinner... Joey was a really good big brother today, and you can tell he was having fun making Johnny happy here.

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video

My Attempt at PW Cobbler #1

I was on a cooking roll tonight. And, I was in the mood for cobbler after inspiration from the Pioneer Woman and Patricia.

The original Pioneer Woman's version is here.

Patricia's version is here.

The ingredients are simple.




Johnny just wanted to eat the plain still slightly frozen berries...




Joey never used a whisk before. COOL!





Wait a minute! Are we cooking or eating?



I don't really care...



On his own, Joey decided that Johnny's mouth needed wiping. Very sweet...



Ready for the oven.



Cooking...


Done!



Good, but too many berries?



Rest of pics are here.

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A good night for a stir fry...

Here's my proud chef!


I felt like cooking tonight. What a concept! It's so much fun with two enthusiastic helpers. I was in Wal-Mart earlier, so I had what we needed to make a chicken broccoli stir fry.


Stir fry is a great meal to get the kids involved with because there are quite a few steps to do and therefore lots of opportunities to help.

Here's what we used plus a jar of mushrooms.


To start, both boys took turns chopping onions with my Pampered Chef chopper. We all love this tool. If I make the onions small enough, Joey won't refuse to eat his meal;-)


Joey set to work right away stirring the stir fry. He loves to get out that wooden spoon and go to town. He quickly donned the sunglasses to avoid the onion smell and steam. TOO CUTE!



Mom chopped the broccoli and added it for Joey to stir. (He liked chopping it small.)



Time to cut up and added the chicken.




Now time for the sauce.



Ready! Just serve over rice!!!



YUM!!!





Rest of pics are here.

Vibrant, Red, and Wet Camelia


On anotherwise dreary and wet day in North Carolina, I thought I'd share a cheery and very red camelia picture. Here's a few more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chicken Delicious

I make a crockpot staple at our house called Chicken Delicious. You ask, what's that? Well, it's a tasty, yummy, hearty, easy dish made mostly out of chicken breasts or tenderloins and cream soups. To get started, put some baby carrots at the bottom of the crockpot. They keep the chicken from sticking until it all gets going good. Put the chicken breasts on top. Squeeze on some lemon juice. Shake on some paprika. Dump on some bottled mushrooms. Drip on some worchestershire sauce.


You need two cans of cream soup. Cream of Mushroom, Chicken, Chicken Mushroom, Celery or some combination work good. Today was Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken Mushroom. Just pour 'em on top.

4-6 hours later depending on if the chicken started out frozen and what temp you keep the crockpot on, you have a yummy soupish looking meal. I serve with mashed potatoes, and the gravy is oh so good on top of them.

Joey even got to eat off a dinosaur plate tonight. It was definitely dinosaur night at our house.

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Dinosaur-Shaped Sugar Cookies


The kids are studying dinosaurs at school this week, and we had a box of sugar cookie mix in the pantry that came with some dinosaur cookie cutters, so I thought it would be nice if we finally got around to making them. The boys are always eager to help cook in the kitchen, and making cookies are one of their favorite things.




First, they mixed the dough. It's always a battle of the stirrers. And, I have to keep anxious mouths from eating the goods before we even get stuff mixed up! This dough was mixed by hand lickety split and we were on our way to the next step.



Second, it was time to roll out the dough and cut out the cookies. I prefer to roll the dough so I can keep the cookies a consistent thickness, but the kids just love that rolling pin and get in there eager as can be. Rule at our house is they press, I lift to the cookie sheet...unless the cookies are super firm and easy to move...these weren't.



Third, once we'd used up all the dough, I let the kids paint them with egg yolk mixed with food color. Besides making the cookies look pretty, it helps all sorts of sprinkles to stick to the cookies.


Fourth, sprinkles, sprinkles, and more sprinkles. Need I say more? A few cookies had heaped on sprinkles but most were reasonable. We even had dinosaur-shaped sprinkles we'd picked up at A Southern Season last year. We're now out, so next time we go Joey wants more!


Fifth, the kids love for me to turn on the oven light and watch their masterpieces bake. 10 minutes does the magic with sugar cookies. We ate dinner, chicken delicious, while they baked, and then feasted on cookies for dessert. I have an e-mail into preschool to see if we can bring the majority of the cookies in for the Bear class (Joey) snack tomorrow. No allergies in that class.


Don't you feel like you need to make some cookies now? You too can have this much fun!!!

All of the fun cookie making pics are here.

Lego 50th Anniversary


Lego® is celebrating 50 glorious years today. I was reminded when I went to do a search on Google this morning and saw that their banner was celebrating the anniversary. We absolutely love playing with Lego bricks at our house. We started out with Duplo bricks including Bob the Builder and Thomas sets and are now venturing out to the 'bigger boy' brick sets like StarWars and SpongeBob. Just yesterday, Joey and I put set 7667 Imperial Dropship together. He assmebled the minifigs (4 stormtroopers), and I assembled the ship;-) But, our favorite kit recently was the SpongeBob Rocket Ride kit 3881. Joey and Johnny continue to play with that toy a lot even after the intial thrill of the assembly.


There's a great link on the Lego site to their company history. A few bullets that I thought particularly interesting are:


  • The founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen, hit upon the LEGO® name in 1934. He took the first two letters of the Danish words LEG GODT, meaning “play well”, and put them together – quite unaware that one meaning of the word in Latin is ... “I put together”.

  • During the moulding process, the plastic is heated to 232° C until its consistency is about that of dough. It is then injected into the moulds at a pressure of 25‑150 tons, depending on which element is being produced. It takes seven seconds to cool and eject new elements. The moulds used in production are accurate to within two‑thousandth of a millimeter (0.002 mm), and the accuracy of the moulding process means that only 18 elements in every million produced fail to meet the company’s high quality standard. All LEGO elements are fully compatible, irrespective when they were made during the period from 1958 to the present or by which factory.

  • Over the years approx. 4 billion minifigures have been produced.

In addition, we also enjoy the Ultimate Lego Book. It's just crammed with interesting facts and picturs about Lego.


In honor of Lego, go forth and build!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Icee Addiction



It all started one innocent day when the Wal-Mart (WM) in Fuquay opened and I was pregnant with Joey. I was miserable, it was hot, and the snack bar had an Icee machine with Coke Icee in it. Now, I'm not sure how many times I ever had an Icee or slushy before. I'd definitely had daiquiris, mudslides, and other frozen concoctions, but maybe not Icees. I went in and got one. It's been a complete addiction ever since.

Saying that I get a Coke Icee every time I got to WM is not an exaggeration. By the time Joey and Johnny were both 9 months old, they were sipping right along with me. To my chagrin, they sometimes now choose red or blue (cherry or blue raspberry). I'm strictly a Coca-Cola girl;-)

Christine has told me several times lately that I've passed on the Icee addiction to Madi (and her) too. Oh well... Good things are worth sharing with friends.


When I was in Wal-Mart on Friday, Mr. Henry, the Blimpie's owner, gave me Icee Bear tatoos for the boys. They were so excited when I put them on this morning.





Now, when's the next time I get to go to WM? for an Icee? you?

Icee website

New Bird Feeders

I'm excited. I have purchased 3 new bird feeders. There's a chrome one from Lowe's that Joey helped me pick out. There's a birdbath turned bird feeder from Home Depot. And, there's a cool globe-shaped feeder from Petsmart that I got on clearance and am super psyched about. I've rearranged what I had and added the new stuff and am all ready to take more bird pics! All the feeders have black oil sunflower seed in them except the suet feeder (red pepper suet) and the yellow feeder which has thistle seed (for the Gold Finches). I intend to get some of the smaller mixed seed and use it in one of the feeders...maybe the globe. I'm a little concerned that the new, chrome feeder will cause a glare in pictures...hope not. If so, I'll just rearrange. I am really getting into my birds and bird pics again:-)