Need an Idea for Creepy Halloween Treats?

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Try this yummy little treat for a scary Halloween feast . . . They are guaranteed to take a prize as the creepiest dish, but only make them if you don’t mind that no one will eat them. You can make severed lady fingers with sausage links, cheap fake fingernails, and ketchup.

To make these, first fry up your sausages, and trim a little off of the end of each sausage for that authentic severed look, then insert fingernails into the uncut end of each sausage and drizzle the cut ends with ketchup. Disgusting!

Childhood Ambitions

Alex came to me today and said “Z said he wants to be an author when he grows up.”

This was news to me, because last time he told me about his life’s ambitions, he said he wanted to be a fireman. He has actually wanted to be a fireman for a couple of years now. He is 6.

Z’s first childhood ambition was a lot more interesting. After his second Christmas, he went around saying “Ho, Ho, Ho!” in a loud voice, and then he declared that he wanted to be Santa Claus when he grew up. He was 22 months old. I assured him through suppressed laughter that he could be that and many other things. He continued with the Ho, Ho, Ho-ing for several months — It was a real holler.

Then at the age of 3, he saw the movie Fat Albert, and he decided that was what he wanted to be when he grew up (“Hey, Hey, Hey!”). At 4 he saw his first fire engine, and was duly impressed. Other than a Jedi Knight, that has been his one ambition that he keeps going back to.

But an author is a new one for him. I didn’t even know he knew that word, although it shouldn’t surprise me, since I write, and have taken the kids to a few book signings to meet authors that they have enjoyed, so maybe his wanting to be an author and write stories wasn’t such a stretch after all.

I looked at him and raised my eyebrows. “Oh?”

“I want to be an author. I want to write books,” he declared.

“What kind of books do you want to write?” I asked.

“Church books. I’m going to be the holiest man on earth.”

At this point I am sorry to say that I was unable to help myself, and I nearly choked on the mouthful of the apple I was munching on. Z is the one kid that I have had to drag out the door kicking and screaming “I don’t want to go! Church is so boring!”

“But you can’t stay home by yourself, it’s too dangerous, and there won’t be anyone to take care of you. It will be just as boring here,” I always tell him, shivering at the thought of coming home to a burning house or some other equally frightening scenario.

“The holiest man on earth?” I ask, struggling to keep my voice even.

“Why? Who is the holiest man on earth?” (He is totally serious.)

“Probably the Prophet,” I tell him.

“Well, then I’ll be the second holiest man on earth, ’cause I am really trying to be like Jesus.”

At this point I wondered if, at the age of 6, Moses’s or Elijah’s Mothers ever thought that their sons would take their turn as the holiest men on earth. Or Alma the younger, or Saul of Tarsus — what would their mothers have said?

What Adult Sisters Do When They Get Together

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

They do what they always did . . . snoop into their mothers things of course!drsup4

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters,
Never had to have a chaperone, no sir,
Im there to keep my eye on her
Caring, sharing
Every little thing that we are wearing
When a certain gentleman arrived from rome
She wore the dress, and I stayed home
All kinds of weather, we stick together
The same in the rain and sun
Two different faces, but in tight places
We think and we act as one
Those whove seen us
Know that not a thing could come between us
Many men have tried to split us up, but no one can
Lord help the mister who comes between me and my sister
And lord help the sister, who comes between me and my man

drsup2

Flashback to the 70’s

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Totally Awesome 80’s

Apple Picking Time

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We have a whole tree of delicious, although somewhat bug infested apples. Most of them are good, but pray before you take a bite . . . or just cut them up first.

Today, between conference sessions, we went out and picked up the windfall apples, and we also picked about three bushels to make applesauce. Nothing like a good day of hard work to bring the family together!

Making Applesauce

Applesauce is easy to make, and if your kids are anything like mine, they suck it down like locusts in a cornfield! (ok, that may be an exaggeration, but it seems like it sometimes!) So, it was a real blessing to have the apples come on so well this year. It is like getting a free bonus and I don’t even have to go to the grocery store!

If you have never made applesauce, you should give it a try sometime. All you have to do is get a bunch of nice sweet apples — not the tart type like granny smith apples, but sweet ones like a gala or a golden delicious. Then you peel, core, and chop the apples, throw them in a pot, rinse them, and then cover them with water and cook them until they are soft enough to mash with the fork, but don’t over cook! If they look like applesauce before you run them 

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through the food processor, then you have cooked them too long. Once they are cooked, drain out the water and blend them in the blender or with a food processor until they are applesauce. If you use a good sweet apple, you don’t need to add any sweetener.

Once you have the applesauce, if you made a really big batch, you just fill your bottles, put on the lids, and heat for about 15 to 20 minutes in a hot water bath. Then take them out and let them cool so you can put them in your pantry where the kids will then find them and slurp them down before you can say “HEY!”

Toddler Art Exhibit

One of the lovely parts of toddlerhood is the artwork. Let me show you a few examples:

The Big Comfy Purple Couch

Sofa Art

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: Leather sofa

Techniques Used: Monochrome, Scribbling, Crosshatch

(Note the scrub marks, added later by parents. You might also notice the faded marker lines where parents had managed to fade the previous sofa painting – this is easier to see on the close up below.)
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The Wall of Shame

Wall Art

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: Wall (under counter top)

Techniques Used: Monochrome, Scribbling

Disk From The Black Lagoon

Random Decoration

Medium: Permanent marker

Support: CD Container

Techniques Used: Stippling, Scribbling

The Continuing Chicken Saga

So, one morning I am woken to the sound of crowing. And so I think, OK, one of the 5 chicks turns out to be a rooster, no biggie. But I could never catch the crowing one at it. In the meantime, hubby is getting more and more irritated by the crowing in the morning, so I am all the while spying on them to see if I can catch the one crowing because I can’t tell by just looking because they are still pretty young. As I am watching them, I start noticing that three of the ‘hens’ which I was told were sexed at the factory, and were 99% guaranteed to be hens, (I asked him three or four times, and he was getting irritated — probably the guy had something he wasn’t telling me) seemed to be taller, skinnier, and were growing tufts of feathers out of their ears. Their tail feathers looked different too, longer than the others, and they were starting to fight each other, fluffing up their feathers and flying a couple of feet off the ground and attacking each other with their feet and pecking. Seemed really roosterly to me. So we packed up the three of them and hauled them out to my brother-in-law’s out in the country. They were having some grasshopper problems and thought the roosters would be happy to take care of it for them.

Problem solved, right?

Wrong.

The very next morning, I am woken again by crowing. And so after watching the two remaining chicks, I could not see a bit of difference between the two. I finally found a lady on a farm nearby who said that she would identify the rooster for me, and take it off my hands. We paid her a visit, traded the rooster for two hens, (one was blind in one eye) and came home with the other one, who she said was definitely a hen, plus the two new ones, and she gave me some very helpful tips on how to identify young roosters.

Problem solved for sure this time, right?

Wrong!!!

The next day there was no crowing and I spent one blissful day thinking that the problem had been settled once and for all. But the next day . . . you guessed it. Crowing!!!

At least I don’t feel so dumb anymore, because she was a very experienced expert and she couldn’t tell for sure if it was a rooster or a hen . . .

But, here I am, having paid for 5 hens and raising them thinking I would be getting eggs soon, and then I find out that I got cheated by a lousy sneak thief. I thought about taking them all back to his house and turning them loose in his yard. But it’s really not the chicken’s fault that they turned out to be roosters, so now I have one last rooster. Even the breeds were wrong that he told me — one of the identical roosters he had said was an aracauna, and the other he had told me was a black wyandotte.ย  They were both silver laced wyandottes. Anyway, if for some reason the two hens this other lady gave me turn out to be crowers, she said that she would trade them for hens. Meanwhile until I can get rid of this one, I keep hoping the neighbors don’t get so irritated that they call the police, since our area is not zoned to allow roosters. ๐Ÿ™

So there you have the whole sordid story.

Building a Homework Center

Over labor day weekend, I built a homework center for my kids. On Friday morning, after kicking my kids out the door on their way to school (they were running late because I had to spend 45 minutes looking for Zee’s shoes) I was looking at the pile of shoes (some with only 1/2 of the pair) on the floor by the door in the kitchen, with the fresh memory of backpacks strung here and there, books, papers, and jackets everywhere, and I thought “please God! There must be a better way!” and then I had a vision . . . well, more like a really great idea that popped into my head. I would build a homework center. Hey, it’s not an ark, but I still think it was inspiration.Homework Center

It has four cubbies, each with two hooks inside where they can hang their jackets. They can put their shoes on the bottom, and then there is another large hook right on the front, where they can hang their backpacks. On the top, I put a three drawer storage unit, where they can put school supplies and homework that needs to be checked off and signed by moi. Then, on the wall above it, I put a cork board, a white board and a large desk calendar. And, it matches all my other furniture, also made by yours truly. The only thing it needs now are engraved nameplates . . . well, we’ll see ๐Ÿ™‚

Pie

My oldest at the age of 14 has decided that she really likes to cook. It’s been great! This week she called me at work and asked “what’s Gram’s Pie?”

“Why?”  I ask.

“Well, I just found this recipe card and it says gram’s pie.”

“Oh – that is your great grandma’s pie recipe.”

“Your grandma?”

“No, your dad’s. Why?”

“Can I make it?”

Now I am thinking Grandma Sandage, the legendary pie maker who no one dares to make a pie since she died because it always brings on these irritating comparison sprees, where the pie is analyzed from all possible directions and never ends up being as good as grandma’s, so that the “how is it?” question is always met with “it tastes OK, but . . . “

“What kind of pie do you want to make?” I say.

“well there are all those peaches downstairs that need to be used.”

I had forgotten about those and thought she was going to suggest using canned fruit which never really turns out that good, so I am surprised again. and then I think, Why not let her try?

“OK, go for it.”

“Really?” she is in shock.

“Yeah, just don’t make a mess.” I imagined the house covered in flour and mashed up peaches.

She paused and then asked.  “Will you pick up some ice cream on your way home?”

How could I say no to that?

When I got home, the house was not a wreck as I imagined, but instead, there was a beautiful pie sitting on the oven. WOW! the edges of the crust were a bit dark, but I had forgotten to tell her to put foil over the edges of the crust while it was baking. The crust was flaky and the filling was divine.

The next day she made two, using up the rest of the peaches and she picked some apples off of the tree in the back yard for the second pie. This time she used foil on the edges of the crust.

“Your going to make me really fat,” I say as I bite into a piece of hot peach pie.

The legand lives on . . .

The Proper Care and Feeding of Chickens

Chickens are probably one of the easiest pets to take care of. As long as you supply them with food, shelter, and water, they will stay around and mostly take care of themselves. They do not do well with just one. They are flock animals and get lonely, so you should have at least two. If you have a garden, you need to create some type of barrier to prevent them from eating it, or you need to keep them in a pen. They are happiest if they have a large fenced in area (to keep them out of neighbors yards or out of the street) where they can run free, and they do need a small shelter with something that they can perch on. This keeps them safe from preditors like hawks, skunks, and the neighbor’s dog and also allows them a safe, dry place to rest that resembles the old habitat of their ancestors –tree branches–to satisfy their need to perch on a limb. Perching in trees is not really something that domestic chickens do, but they do need to perch on something!

You can buy chicken feed at the store, or you can just buy a mixture of grains and mix your own feed. When I was growing up my dad would just take wheat and dig out a shallow space in a small section of dirt, about four feet square, and he would pour in a layer of wheat. Then he would cover it up and water it really good. After a few days the grain sprouts and we would just dig up a couple of shovelfuls and toss it in to the chicken yard. Chickens love wheat or barley grass, so if you actually let it grow right in the place where they will be, they will graze on it for several days. If you want to do this, you have to keep them out of it until it is grown enough for them to eat, or they will dig it up before it has a chance to grow.

That and plenty of bugs got us enough eggs for our whole family (there were 9 kids at that time) Another thing that I have considered, since chickens require plenty of protein to keep up egg production, is to raise earthworms or maybe composting worms like red wrigglers, which are very prolific. You could also use traps to catch snails or grasshoppers, which are really abundant here in Utah. If you don’t provide them with access to plenty of bugs or other protein, you should buy laying pellets or chicken mask that has a high protein content, or theyย  will not lay as well.

The problem with pellets or mash (for me, anyway) is that I don’t know exactly what is in them, and I don’t like the idea of feeding my hens food that is not naturally grown. I am really sensitive to eggs, and certain brands of eggs when I eat them give me food poisoning symptoms. I think if we are what we eat, then chickens are what they eat, and if they are eating the equivalent of Twinkies day in and day out, then they will be more prone to disease and their eggs are not going to be as healthy for us.

Another thing to think about while feeding your chickens, is that chickens actually also need plenty of fresh greens. They can decimate an entire garden in less than two days (trust me ๐Ÿ™ I have seen it.) Spinach or beet greens are both really good, because they are great sources of iron and calcium, and they are really easy to grow. You can grow them in batches all summer long, starting them a few weeks apart so you will have fresh ones all year round. In the hot part of the summer you will want them to be partly shaded so they don’t bolt as quickly. Also, if you grow them yourself, you will know for sure that they are truly organic.

Another good source of greens for chickens would be lambs quarters, which grow wild everywhere here. You probably have them growing in your yard even. (You can read about them here at the Veggie Gardening Tips blog)

Another thing that you can do is save bits of produce like the outer leaves on lettuce that you don’t use, strawberry tops (they LOVE those) cantaloupe rinds, and other greens to feed them. The kids love to take these little treats out so much that once they took my entire green salad that I had just made for dinner. I was putting the food on the table when I discovered that the salad had just vanished! It is not hard to make sure that chickens get all the nutrition that they need, and you shouldn’t have to rely on a store bought pellet or grain mix to have great results with very healthy chickens and plenty of eggs!

The 20 Day Challenge

The idea behind the 20 day challenge is that if you do something for 20 days, it becomes a habit, and then you will continue to do that thing (hopefully) for the rest of your life.

Writing in a journal can help you:

  • make difficult decisions
  • get rid of anger in a positive way
  • think more clearly when you are confused
  • understand yourself better
  • set goals
  • sort out your feelings
  • solve problems
  • preserve memories
  • develop dreams

“You don’t have to see miracles or change the world in order to have something worthy to record in your journal–your thoughts and feelings are exciting enough. When you catch the greater vision of writing in a journal, you’ll find it can become one of your best friends.”ย  –unknown

Since my daughter was challenged to write in her journal for 20 days and was given a handout with 1 journal prompt a day for 20 days worth of journal writing, she has, as I said in my previous post, become almost a different person. I remember how much writing in my journal helped me when I was her age, and I understand what a powerful outlet for the emotions writing is for many people.

She has run out of writing prompts on the handout that her teacher gave her, but she has kept writing, using writing prompts out of ‘”The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate your Writing.” I have also given her a new list, using the same format as her original handout, and you can see it here: The 20 Day Challenge