Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Kitten Love

It has only been five months since this guy came to live with us. He was so tiny when he came to us. He has certainly gained some weight. He is six months old now.

Despite his cuteness he really is very ornery.  I often find myself thinking, " I can't wait till he grows out of this stage so maybe he will be more cuddly."  We have started to let him roam around outside. It has truly helped his disposition.

I am going to try and stop wishing his life away.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Macaroni Art

It is the weekend.  I love the weekend. I love carving out some downtime. It helps me to recover from the crazy fast-paced days of the work week. No alarm clocks. No deadlines. I actually look forward to some morning television, a luxury I absolutely do not get during the work week.

However; my daughter has a completely different plan. From the minute her eyes pop open she is on the go. She has to talk out loud. Sing. Dance; even while lying down. Her imagination needs no priming. Unfortunately it does need an audience.

So, here we are...up early. She is peppy and I am disgruntled. I just really want coffee and she wants macaroni art. She wins.

For the first time ever, we dyed macaroni. It is pretty easy.  I liked that most of the supplies needed were found in my kitchen. That was helpful as The Husband was upstairs still sleeping.

 The Short Chic liked this activity because she was able to do nearly everything herself. She added the food coloring to the macaroni {5 or so drops}.  I added the tablespoon of alcohol to the bag.

She swirled it around. Mixed it all up. This might have been about the quietest she was all morning!

 After it was all mixed up, we dumped it out onto a paper towel lined baking sheet. Then the hardest thing ever for a kindergartner...we had to wait for the macaroni to dry.

It did not take long to dry. A half hour maybe. I lose track in all the chatter. 

After it was dry, The Short Chic spend the next hour or so creating her art. This is a lady wearing a dress.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Trunk Or Treat

I love Halloween!

I love trick or treating!  I love seeing children all dressed up excited to be receiving candy.

The Short Chic's school hosted a Trunk or Treat and we volunteered to host a trunk. My kids are slightly obsessed with Minions so we decided to use them as our theme.

I have been busy making decorations for the past week. I even painted. Which is something I do not consider myself good at.

I also made our costumes.

Here is a photo of our completed trunk:

I painted a tri-fold black poster board with white paint. It was my attempt to make it look like a chalkboard. I painted mathematical problems, diagrams of weapons, and sketches of Minions.  In front of the chalkboard we hung an old window. I painted a Minion on the window and hung a cute rag tie banner in Halloween colors.

The finishing touch for me was to paint and make a Minion treat bucket. Honestly, I did not even notice that I forgot his mouth until I was home looking at the photos! No one seemed to notice as we received a lot of compliments on him.

The costumes were pretty easy to pull together. I purchased bright yellow t-shirts from Hobby Lobby. {$3.99 - 30% on sale!}. I also purchased the hats at Hobby Lobby. They were also 30% off of $2.99. I used a bottle of RID dye which  was less than $5.00 to dye the white hats yellow. The Gru logo was made using iron on transfers. We added suspenders, and glasses to complete our look.

Our Short Chic did not want to be a Minion. She wanted to be a Monster High Doll. She loved hanging out and trick or treating with her cousin, Allie. Allie dressed up like Lizzie from Jake and The Neverland Pirates.

There were only about 28 trunks but we probably handed out candy to over 400 children. The Trunk or Treat started at 6:30 and the first time I saw the end of the line was after 8:00 p.m. The end of the line did not reach us till nearly 8:30 p.m.!

There were a few other notable trunks.

My wonderful Mother-In-Law threw together a trunk in less than a day. I wish you all could see her up close. She had the most amazing feather fake eyelashes on! She looked amazing!

I thought this Candy Bar was funny!

How cute is this scary mouth?

And of course, those Duck Dynasty dudes are all over the place! I do want to point out that There were so many young kids dressed up in camo and beards. Then I see one of the trunks embraced the theme as well!

We went through nearly 7 large bags of candy. By the time we got into our car to head home, the thermostat said it was 48 degrees outside. No wonder I felt cold! Maybe next year we will find a costume that is warmer!

Happy Halloween Everyone! Happy Trunk or Treat!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

WW: Updating The Front Door

We did a little updating this weekend. We bought a new outside light. Then we spray pained our house numbers. They were tarnished brass. Now they are black.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Family Campout: Food!

The question at this year's Family Camp-Out was: How many ways can you fix a hot dog on a campfire?

We had some fun answering that question!

First: The Traditional Roasted Hot Dog

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a hot dog cooked on a stick over a fire. The cooker gets to control how cooked the dog gets. I personally prefer mine with a fine coating of burnt!  This is how my daughter prefers her hot dog with a little ketchup and some chips. She is happy as can be!

Second: The Campfire Corn-Dog

Oh, this was new to us all. We all know corn-dogs are deep fried in oil. But, I wondered, can you cook them on the campfire? We purchased a few of those campfire pie makers and I honestly thought maybe...just maybe you could make corn dogs in them. We used Jiffy Corn Meal Mix, which was easy enough to mix up at the campsite. 

I started by cutting up the hot dog. Then adding the corn meal mix. 

Then we put the pie iron in the fire, or really we used indirect heat.  It cooked perfectly!  Do you have some of these pie irons? They are the best! You can cook breakfast in them. Lunch. Dinner. Even dessert!

They do not look like a traditional corn dog. But they taste amazing. All the components are there. This is how The Short Chic's BFF likes her hot dogs. She declared that they were the best!

Third: Campfire Pig in a Blanket

The next option is all about taking an American Classic camping. There are variations to this dog and I like them all. I like adding a small slice of cheese to my hot dog before I wrap the biscuit around it. 

At the Family Camp-Out we used bread-stick dough instead of biscuits.  Before we wrapped them in dough we sliced the hot dog down the center and added pieces of sliced cheese to the middle. Then wrapped it in bread-stick dough. 

They take a little longer to cook but they are so worth the wait.  We also played with the bread. At our local ALDI store we found canned Bavarian Pretzel dough. I purchased a few cans of them and we also wrapped the hot dogs in Pretzel Bread. 

Everyone seemed to love the Camp-Fire Pig in a Blanket!  The good news, you don't even need buns. Which is a good thing because this event planner forgot to put buns on the list of needed items!

Fourth: Two Pigs In a Blanket!

What! Two pigs in one blanket? Is that possible? Sure it is! And we certainly experimented with that too! To make a Two Pigs In a Blanket you follow the basic premise of a Camp-Fire Pig In A Blanket. Cut the hot dog down the middle, add cheese {or don't if you prefer not to}, then before you wrap the bread-stick around the hot dog add a slice of bacon. Then add the bread. 

We did not use precooked bacon so it was a trick to cook these over the campfire. We needed the bacon to cook and not burn the bread. In the future, we will do this again but use precooked bacon. 

Fifth: Chili Dog

My family loves hot dogs. They even get angry with me when we go camping and I have not put hot dogs on our menu. But, I was not sure if everyone would like them or not so I wanted an alternative just in case someone did not like hot dogs. I selected chili because it could be eaten alone or on top of a hot dog for a chili dog. I made my Mom's famous chili and froze it prior to the camp-out, then I just heated up and served it.  My Momma would be happy to know that I received lots of compliments on her chili! {Maybe one day I will share her recipe with you all? Maybe!}

Five. We found five different ways of serving hot dogs at this year's Family Camp-Out. I would say the hot dogs were a huge hit because the fire was busy for hours. 

Hot Dogs were not the only food we had at the Camp-Out that is worth mentioning. One of the campers brought his Paint Bucket Drink.  Other than Vodka and Lemonade, I can't seem to recall what went into this drink.  I can tell you it was yummy! 

On our final morning, everyone brought their own breakfast burrito's to put on the campfire. I made homemade donuts to tied us over! Campfire Donuts are the easiest thing to make and are so yummy.

I used a cast iron dutch oven and heated Canola Oil up over the campfire. The donuts are simply the cheapest canned biscuits on the market. I poked a hole in the middle using a straw and then deep fried them in the oil. It really does not take long to cook the donuts, You will probably want to flip them once and then pull them out. I made a simple glaze out of powdered sugar and milk and dipped each donut in the glaze while it was still hot.

Our Second Annual Family Camp-Out was a success! It was nice to just relax and enjoy each other's company as Autumn makes it's entrance. 

Camping, to me, is about unplugging from life.

I am so thankful that so many families and people came out to the camp-out this year. We might have dealt with some wind...and rain...but we had a great time doing it.

Until next year friends!

Our Sixth Anniversary

 Today, we celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary.

My husband will tell you all we have only been dating six months. He never lets the truth get in the way of his story!

Six years ago we merged and created our blended family.  I am not gonna lie to you all, it has not been all roses. Merging a family is hard work. There have been some thorns. But we faced them together and have come out stronger.

Six years of feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. The year before we met, I had my palms read. The reader told me I would met my life partner and we would travel together. I wonder if  our little pop-up camper is what she had in mind?

 I don't know about him, but I look forward to the next six years.  Our oldest will be finishing college. Our youngest starting middle school. Our lives are always moving so fast.

The Boy is not with us this weekend so the Husband gave me my anniversary present early so the whole family could be there. He gave me a Pandora Bracelet. I have always wanted one. I am not sure I have ever told him that. That is how good he is.  He started me off with three charms. Initials of our children and a rose.

He also had my rings cleaned. They are super sparkly and beautiful.

I have not give him his present yet. I am super excited about it!

I am amazed at how quickly these past six years have zipped past us. Happy Anniversary dear Husband. Thank you for loving me. I hope you know that I love you to infinity and beyond! I am glad that you are my travel companion and life partner. I love how you have taken The Boy under your wing. Yes, you ride him pretty hard but I know you love him. I love seeing your tender side every single time you look at our daughter. Thank you for allowing me to soar. And thank you for grounding me when I need it!

 I love that every year you accompany me to movie's you have no desire to see just because I want to see every film nominated for an Oscar. I love it that you even like some of them.I love that you like to go camping with me. You grump about all the stuff I take but you always pack it for me.  I will happily pack you a picnic lunch and accompany you fishing any time!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Camping Craft: Spray Bottle Tye Bottle

Last year's camp t-shirts were a reverse tie-dye using bleach. They were a huge hit!  You can check them out here. This year I decided to do some tie-dying using spray bottles. 

I spent an entire Saturday using my Cricut to cut out the letters C-M-P. I used the Going Places cartridge to cut a pup-tent out to use instead of the A. 

In preparation for the big day I purchased several inexpensive spray bottles to put the dye into. My plan was to adhere the letters to white t-shirts, use the spray bottle to add color and then remove the letters to reveal white letters surrounded by dyed shirts. 

It was a good plan, too. I am positive it would have worked. In fact, I know it would have. If I had not forgotten the letters at home and forgot to take them to the campsite.  By the time I realized I didn't have the letters it was too late to run home and get them. A back-up plan was needed. 

My back-up plan was to just let the kids have at it with the spray bottles. They lined up and we passed bottle after bottle down the line. 

We let the kids spray one side of their shirts and then we carefully flipped them over and sprayed the second side.

Parental assistance when using dye is a good idea.

Otherwise, they might accidentally spray their cute jackets. Or even their faces. 

As far as my original idea: well, when we got home I found the letters. They were left on my kitchen table. Since I had them already cut, I figured I would at least try. 

I used some spray adhesive that I had left over from last year. The letters stuck so well! Then we just sprayed away! I removed the letters and they revealed the white t-shirt underneath. Just like I had planned. 

The good news: the letters will keep till next year. The other good news: the shirts they did at camp look pretty good too. Below is The Short Chic's camp shirt. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Camp Craft: Stamped Metal

A while back I purchased a set of metal stamps from Pick Your Plum. {Are you a registered Plumster? You really should be!}  The Second Annual Family Camp-Out finally gave me an opportunity to use my metal stamps.

The first craft at this years camp-out was to stamp metal and make necklaces. We made Wood Chip Necklaces and they were a big hit. I hoped the campers would enjoy metal stamping just as much. These necklaces were pretty easy to make; even the youngest children had fun making them.

We started off with a washer. I bought an entire package of them for less than $4.00 that had enough washers in it for the entire group.

The first step is taking a hammer and your metal stamps and "stamping" your word onto the metal by hammering the stamp. It only took about three/four strikes to do the job. I found if you hammered more then the stamp went through to the other side. Alignment and spelling are your two biggest obstacles at this point!

At the campground we found a small slab of concrete to use. You really do want your washer on a solid surface. 

When you are finished stamping, your washer should look like this:

After this, you should take a black Sharpie and color over the letters you have just stamped.  As soon as they are all blacked out you will want to quickly wipe off the Sharpie using a baby wipe. 

The black on the washer will come off but the ink that got down in the letters will stay; adding definition to your stamped word. 

The last few steps are some personal preferences. I used leftover ribbon but you also can use plastic or leather cord to make a necklace. We even added some beads to the ribbon to jazz it up a bit. 

We were so happy to be out of our campers and while it might have been soggy, it was no longer raining.  Everyone at camp had a great time making their necklaces.

What do you think? Do they look like happy girls?