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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kids eat Salad!

Awesome thing......my kids love salad. Especially the kind that you dress before it comes to the table. I learned that the "dish-it-up-and-squirt-on-some-kind-of-bottled-dressing" kind of salad doesn't disappear as quickly as a fresh tossed salad that is pre-dressed.


Lately they have snarfed down the following salads:


Strawberry Spinach Salad


one bunch of spinach
your favorite head of crunchy lettuce
Lots of strawberries sliced up
half a red onion- sliced thin in rings

dress with:

1/2 cup Mayo (NOT miracle whip)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp white vinegar (I have used raspberry vinegar with excellent reviews. If you have it....)
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste


Whisk together the dressing and pour over greens. Your kids will lick their plates clean.



Olive Garden Salad--(or as close as we've ever done)





two heads romaine or other crunchy lettuce
1 cup red cabbage sliced thin
1/4 cup Red onion sliced thin
Sliced Yellow banana peppers (you'll find them by the pickles)
a few medium firm tomatoes-quartered into wedges
a handful of your favorite croutons
Black Olives

Dress with:

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (again NOT miracle whip)-we love miracle whip, but you gotta use mayo
1/3 cup white vinegar
1Tbsp vegetable oil
3-4 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
2Tbsp Ramono Cheese
(Note...you can use 4 tbsp Kraft parmesan cheese instead of the two cheeses, it will just be a bit less smooth)
1/2 tsp garlic salt-(or one clove garlic and a little salt)
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp parsley flakes
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Put in the blender and let it blend like crazy. Pour over our salad and top with some fresh grated parmesan cheese-- just like they do at the Olive Garden. Yum.


This next salad is one I grew up with and all my brothers still make it for their families too. Hey Mom, thanks for all the yummy salads growing up. You made liking vegetables a fun thing.

Mom's Spinach Salad


Two bunches small leaf spinach
two heads of romaine
8 oz. grated monterey jack or swiss cheese
1/2 lb crumbled cooked bacon

Dress with:

3/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar (cidar is fine too)
1/2 Tbsp minced onion
1 1/2 tsp salt
Blend together till combined and then stir in gently:

1 tsp poppy seeds


This is awesome when you make the dressing the night before and then make up the salad the next day. But it is still wonderful if made all the same day.


When I eat this salad I am transported back to Mom's table with Dad and all my brothers anxiously waiting for Mom to pour on the dressing. Long live spinach salad!
Here's a big "I LOVE YOU" to all of you whom I've shared a bowl with.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cinco De Mayo

The weather has been a bit drab until now and I was feeling stir crazy. So, I decided we would have a Cinco De Mayo family party. Ryan asked me why we celebrate Cinco De Mayo in the U.S. and I couldn't come up with a good answer. I just needed something fun to look forward to and a little bit of spice around here!So we took these two mixes-Masa and pork- and made tamales! Ole'!
Here's the crazy Tamale maker....... ......and his super cute twin. AKA-Daddy

Add in a few silly hats.






and some fun little drink umbrellas




lime slices, party decorations, and a poncho





cute smiles and some yummy food










with a few "Mock Margaritas"





and it makes for a very fun evening. Does anyone else celebrate just to celebrate? Tell us what you do to keep the cabin fever down!







Random things I find on my camera

The kids are allowed to use my camera (not dad's $$) and I find some pretty interesting things on it:
Like Holly's double decker shredded wheat? A miniature Harry Potter in my living room.
Girls with pants on their heads.




More with the pants.............



Ryan and his "big breakfast" before WASL testing. By the way.....he thought he did GREAT!


Some sort of a "Kitchen Creation" curtesy of Holly.

These little lego guys are having a bit of trouble in the mashed potatoes. This is Ryan's attempt at "a lego a day". A lego a day is a fun site our family has been watching. The blog's owner made a goal to post one lego picture every day for a year. He does a smashing job with his photography and of course, we love the lego aspect. Have you seen the real website? Check it out.



What do you find on your camera?










Books, Baby!

For those of you who know us, you have probably been to our house and seen the pile o' books. We homeschool our children and so we use many, many (can I say many again?) books to teach and learn from. So, we have a regular library day that we attend every week. That makes the books all due on the same day we will be there again the next week. Convenient, eh?


I check out curricula for homeschool;
the little kids check out story books;
the older kids check out chapter books;
I check out fun reads for personal time;
Timothy checks out wood design books and good-reads for his lunch break and books about wooden boats and boatbuilding;
we check out books to read outloud to the kids at bedtime;
we check out books to read outloud as a family;
and altogether, that makes for A LOT of books.
(about 150 on any given day.)
So, Timothy got busy making a way to get rid of "The pile".
The kids each got to design a bookshelf for the wall in their room. Above is Ryan's shelf. One side has their initial and the other side has a picture they chose. Ryan chose a rocket.


I loved how the "R" turned out. It looks like calligraphy.

Nice job, Daddy!



Jaren chose a car. Doesn't Timothy do pretty well with a saw? Wait till you see the girls shelves.





Holly need something princess-y and chose a crown. Her shelf wasn't in box form yet, so here are the two sides.







I need to flip this image, but it is a cursive "A" for Ariana. She just finished learning cursive. Everything must be in cursive for her now. :) The other side (below) is a flower.
Timothy used a drill bit and placed each hole around the center circle to make the flower. Then I think he used a jig saw to cut the stem and leaves. When it comes to wood, I think he is superb! (Don't tell him I'm bragging or he'll blush.)



Isn't it pretty?



We spent a windy day outside with the kids priming them white.

Windy=messy!




Don't ask why I don't have pictures of them with the paint. I was a little bit busy trying to salvage their clothes and the driveway. Phew.....I think I had a meltdown.

Word of advice:

Don't give four little kids paintbrushes while the neighbors are over in their nice school clothes. Things will rapidly deteriorate and some stern parenting will ensue. That leads to a not-so-fun family activity.

And finally, here are the colors they chose to paint the shelves. Hot pepper (green) for the boys and Coral flower (peachy salmon) for the girls. I can't wait to paint them. (Well, maybe I can. :)



Timothy has been doing a lot in the shop lately. Stay tuned for more pictures:
~Handmade wooden spatulas and spoons for mother's day. They are beautiful.
~My piano bench....it's almost done!
~Did I post the shelving he did at Christmas time? I'll have to check.
~I've put in an order for a new chest of drawers and night stands for our room next.
~And he has the plans for the standing bookshelves in the living room. Those will be a while, but aren't I lucky?!

Spaghetti squash

What can you make with this stringy squash?
You can make...................................healthy spaghetti and happy kids! Take a look-see.














And of course, we have to have a double meatball face! What fun would spaghetti and meatballs be if you couldn't make chipmunk cheeks?