Checking in

We made it safely to Nebraska, despite a little drama in Hinton, Iowa, when we stopped for a potty break and the car wouldn’t start!  I figured it had vapor-locked again and waited somewhat patiently with a horde of children until it would finally start about 45 minutes later.  It did at last and we were back on our way.  I was nervous the whole rest of the way but we made it and it was so nice to arrive!

We’re having a wonderful time, as always.

Alex woke me up at 4:30 this morning so it was an early start to the day.  I got a little nap on the couch with him later on though, so I should be able to do “Boo at the Zoo” with the gang later today without needing to superglue my eyelids up!

The girls started the day dressed in matching “school” uniforms, begging for class to start.   Tiffany did some lessons with them and later I filled in as a substitute teacher and did Halloween mad libs (I made them up) with them.  Then I had them write HALLOWEEN going down a page and each write a poem with each line starting with that letter.  These girls are so funny the way they want structure and school!  All except Anna, that is, who is more like me.  She’d be happy to talk, read and find some chocolate!  😉

I have a little guy to con into napping now.  I’ll catch you later!

What to do with all that Halloween candy

The trickiest part of Halloween for me has always been the candy.

We always end up with so much candy and much of it is cheap JUNK that isn’t even tasty (several hundred 10 year-old cherry tootsie rolls anyone?).  I don’t want to be a grinch about it but I also hate the idea of my dear children filling up on red dye #40, wax and high fructose corn syrup every night until May.  And since after Halloween night I limit how much they can eat at once, it could last that long!

And that Halloween fairy business?  Don’t even ask my kids.  🙂

So I love this idea from Mom’s Marbles

The kids can eat as much candy as they want on Halloween night. After that, it’s a one-treat-per-meal rule. Sure, for a few days they’ll be having candy bars after breakfast, but after that they tend to forget to ask, and I certainly won’t remind them! Any candy that’s still in the bag at Thanksgiving turns into decorations for our gingerbread houses.

Brilliant!  It’s the perfect window of opportunity to enjoy the stuff.  By Thanksgiving you’ve eaten all the good treats and getting to use it for gingerbread houses is the perfect solution.  I’m definitely giving this a try this year.

Thin: Cooking & Eating Fun

This week’s theme for Unplug Your Kids was thin and I thought it sounded perfect for food.  I’ve been teaching the girls how to cook full meals lately and so we worked it in with that.

First, though, Daddy helped us out by bringing home some Lefse.  This traditional, thin Norwegian flatbread is sort of like a tortilla made out of potato, flour and milk.  Our grocery stores carry it this time of year and Daryl grew up with it so he brought some home for a treat.

The way his family serves it (and many of the others I’ve read online) is to simply spread it with butter and then sprinkle sugar on top, then roll it up.

I think it’s a bit like a soft butter & sugar tortilla (shrug) but the girls sure liked it.

The next night we moved on to cooking school.

The main course:  a simple monterey jack & spinach quiche.

Victoria made the pie crust from a recipe I found at allrecipes.com.  I meant to do a traditional rolling type but I forgot about the chilling time and wanted to get supper done ASAP so I found a quickie crust that you could mix up right in the pie pan and pop in the oven in about 2 minutes.  I thought it sounded like a fun experiment.

The basic ingredients: flour, salt, milk, oil.  We used organic whole wheat pastry flour, olive oil and sea salt, mainly because pie crusts are so unhealthy and I thought the quiche could handle the flavors.  And I’m like that.  😉

(Note: whole wheat pastry flour is lovely and light so it won’t make your family get really snippy about having such a health freak in the kitchen.  Don’t use regular whole wheat flour in pie crust or I cannot be responsible for the lack of love and admiration you may receive!)

It was super easy to mix together and then press flat (or thin, if you will!).

Okay, that picture didn’t look thin so much as goopy, but it shows how easy it was!

The funniest part was when I instructed Victoria to poke holes all over the crust while I ran upstairs to check something.  She wanted to know why I burst out laughing when I came back.

Here’s round two of poking holes, this time with a fork!  Also in the picture, my fashionable camera strap.  Ahem.

We baked it for 15 minutes and it came out golden and lovely.  Next up, Anna for the filling!

The filling was simple– eggs, milk, grated cheese, a bit of salt and pepper, and a thin (aha! see, there it is again!) layer of spinach on the bottom.

We popped that in the oven for a bit, lowered the temp and cooked it a bit more, and pulled out our tasty quiche.

We accompanied it with corn (okay, that’s not really thin at all) and eggrolls from the Laotian market (thin again!).

Jack wasn’t so sure about it but he ate a respectable amount.  Anna liked it all right and Victoria had seconds.  Here’s Anna with the final dish.

It was a tasty theme!  Suggested future theme:  chocolate.  🙂

Halloween at Tacy's House

 

We went to the Halloween party sponsored by the Betsy and Tacy Society yesterday.  Here’s some pics!

Singing songs and listening to stories…

Here’s the lyrics.  The songs are really cute!

Mug shots with Mr. Pumpkin…

Coloring, playing pin the nose on the pumpkin and so on…

Anna’s superpower is making friends in under 3 minutes flat.

It was a beautiful day and a great time.  🙂

Field Tripping

We went lots of places today… Old Country Buffet with Grandma, Menards home improvement store (which my sweet little small town girl said was so incredible and enormous!), Lowes, a thrift store and even Taco Bell for drive-thru.

Three trips were especially fun though…

The Betsy & Tacy Society’s Halloween Party where we sang Halloween songs, colored pictures for a coloring contest (Victoria won first prize!), made new friends, listened to a story, got treats and played in costumes with lots of other goblins, knights, princesses and spider girls.

The Humane Society where I filled out the form to become a volunteer with the kids and we got to see many sweet kitties.  We are now officially invited to come by to play with cats, walk small dogs, make posters, raise funds, help at special events and whatever else we’d care to do to help.  We may foster an animal in the future, depending on what Daddy has to say about that.  The kids are super excited to get to volunteer there and can’t wait to come back to Mankato to start helping.

Petco where we ogled guinea pigs, geckos, fish, birds, turtles, rats, ferrets, a family of hairless rats that had been abandoned in the store in a cardboard box (egads, you should have seen the unfortunate things– it’s not like rats are gorgeous WITH hair, after all) and lots more.  Alex was ENTHRALLED the entire time.  He was 3 hours late for a nap and in a foul mood until the moment he spied his first critter, and then he was mesmerized for the whole visit.  We bought a few supplies and in the checkout line we stood by a lady with a cockatiel on her shoulder.  Alex had never seen anything as neat and was rendered speechless (which honestly isn’t saying a whole lot since the boy mostly grunts anyway).  It was fabulous stuff to my little guy.

We came home exhausted and yes, to a warm house.  We did not make it to the end of the month for our “How long can we go?” challenge.  Daryl was sick earlier this week and the poor guy kept shivering.  He finally announced that he was turning on the heat and I didn’t have the heart to stop him.  It’s supposed to be ferociously cold and windy tomorrow, so I doubt we could have made it the whole month anyway.  Still, we gave it a good run!

Off for the day

We’re heading to Mankato to meet Grandma for lunch and then over to the Betsy & Tacy Society’s Halloween party.

Jack is Spiderman.

Alex is a skeleton.

Anna is a princess.

Victoria is Jane Eyre.

I’m going as a sleep deprived mom and lousy housekeeper.  Smile Have a great day!