Thursday, July 31, 2008

Teaching Idea--See How They Run

I'm always on the lookout for a fun and quick interaction activity. This one fills the bill plus it is an interesting game that can be used as a nature activity, a fun way to mix people up or a new way to create teams (i.e., "anybody slower than 30 miles an hour on one team, anybody over on another")

The following animals are listed with their approximate sprinting speeds. (Which, by the way, did you know that theoretically elephants can’t run they just walk really fast. I think they have the funniest waddle lope.)

Directions: Write names of animals on slips of paper for each participant. Distribute the papers (but do not allow participants to know the animal’s speed.) Have the participants try to arrange themselves in order of increasing speeds forming a straight line. After the line is complete, read the speeds aloud and let the line rearrange themselves in the proper order.

Animal MPH

Tortoise 1
Ant 1.5
Black Racer Snake 2
Eel 3
Beaver 4
Gorilla 8
Green Sea Turtle 11
Grasshopper 11
Common Bat 12
Dolphin 13
Honey Bee 14
Grizzly Bear 15
White Tailed Deer 15
Blue Jay 15
African Elephant 16
Trout 17
Blue Shark 17
House Cat 25
Giraffe 28
Greyhound 31
Bumblebee 31
Flying Fish 32
Kangaroo 34
Ostrich 35
Horse 37
Great Horned Owl 37
Swordfish 38
Lion 40
Jackrabbit 42
Wild Turkey 47
Dragonfly 52
Pronghorn Antelope 55
Cheetah 59
Canvasback Duck 73
Golden Eagle 86
Peregrine Falcon 92

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Homemaking Tip-Casserole Cover and Green Bean Giveaway

Unlike the rest of my family, I like casseroles. I just don’t understand what is not to like about only one pan to wash. Today’s tip works great for covering a casserole while it bakes. Instead of using tinfoil to cover it, just turn a cookie sheet upside down on top of the pan; or instead of using plastic wrap to keep a frosted cake from drying out, just put a cookie sheet on top of it. It’s not fancy or bright and shiny, but it’s cheap and it works.

Two questions:

Do you have a casserole recipe that would change my family’s opinion? I would love it if you’d share it in the comments.

Does anybody want a laundry basket full of fresh green beans? The girls and I picked them yesterday, and even at the risk of becoming the zucchini neighbor I thought I'd see if anybody wants them. Just call or comment.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

SPT-Ice Cream

The self in this portrait is my thumb in the upper left corner.
Oh, and funny enough, my maiden name is Chadwick
so that makes this portrait even more self -ish.

I remember my mom churning ice cream on the sidewalk so that the salty, ice, water run-off wouldn’t create havoc in the kitchen sink pipes. While she tended the dasher I rode my bike in circles around and around—shirtless. I remember the neighbor stared.

My grandmother used to take us out to lunch at a fancy restaurant when we spent the night with her. One day I dripped chocolate ice cream on my blouse. I pulled the clean part of my top over the dirty splotch and folded my arms to keep it secure. I hoped Grandma didn’t see. I didn’t unfold my arms until I went home hours later.

To this day, I still have nightmares where I forget to wear a shirt, but don’t realize it until I get to the party and someone looks at me funny. It makes me want to crumble in a corner every time. My friend says those dreams interpret that I’m feeling vulnerable and that could be, but what do you want to bet I only have them on days I eat ice cream?

Ande made this great dessert for us Sunday. Thanks to it, I’m finally a mint chocolate chip ice cream fan. Who knew it just needed some caramel?

Asphalt Pie

½ gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 jar each of hot fudge and caramel ice cream topping
1 large tub of whipped topping

Roll two of the three rows of Oreo cookies into crumbs. Line the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan with crumbs. Layer ice cream on top of cookie crumbs and drizzle ½ of the hot fudge and caramel over the ice cream. Top with whipped cream and garnish with more hot fudge and caramel drizzles and Oreos cut in half. Freeze until solid.

Monday, July 28, 2008

in which you promised not to laugh . . .

Alright, but first let me explain. As a kid I was fascinated with happy families. I closely watched their dynamics and how they interacted. The show The Walton’s was hands-down, my favorite TV show. They problem solved, worked, struggled and played together. They were loyal. When they fought they fought fairly. For one hour every Thursday night at 6:00 I morphed into their family. A few years later the Donny and Marie show began. Voila! A chance to watch another family interact successfully, but this time it wasn’t a pretend family. I didn’t watch for the music, choreography, or pretty faces; I watched to see how the family interacted. I watched to see them laugh, give eye contact to each other and help each other succeed.

Saturday night the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Osmond family performed a concert together in Salt Lake City, Utah celebrating Pioneer Day. We watched the performance on TV and I was not disappointed. The Choir is always good and . . . once again . . . I got to watch a family interact successfully. A family that has problem solved, worked, struggled and played together. It is amazing to me that in today’s society when so many family members eat fellow family members for lunch that all nine of them can stand on a stage together and perform with sincerity and incredible talent. And that’s why I was excited Saturday evening.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

At Home

Ande and Abe

It is great having the kids home. Ande is the best companion. If it couldn’t be misinterpreted, I’d compare her to a dog. She is just such a pleasant companion. She’s happy. She’s easily contented. She’s pleasant. She gets excited for little things. She’s appreciative. She’s just fun to have along. We went to the Farmer’s Market this morning looking for fruit and found cherries and apricots with a big, fresh bunch of lavender for good measure. Ande hung it on our drying rack when we got home and now the whole kitchen smells peaceful.

We have several Hutterite colonies in the area and a few of them have this little bake stand. Their baked goods are beautiful and they sell the driest, blandest, poppy seed, sweet rolls that I’ve ever tasted, but Ande just loves them so we picked up one of those for her.

After going to the Farmer's Market, Ande and I walked over to the library to pick up a couple of movies, A Girl Named Zippy and The Tightwad Gazette, the Complete Edition (I think the funniest frugal tip I’ve ever read from the TG is when a lady crocheted herself a bikini from old nylons.) I love having a book waiting in the wings.

Calvin picked Abe up at the airport this afternoon and they came home starved. Ande had fresh cookies waiting for them and I’d made a pot of chili so after they’d eaten we sat at the table and Abe told us about his last assignment to a nuclear facility. It was fascinating being taught by him about nuclear energy. I learned more about neutrons in our 45 minutes than I have in twenty-one chapters of physical science. Abe looks great and it’s just so fun to have him home. I love his enthusiasm.

Cali will be home after work later tonight, hooray. She’s also bringing a friend that we really enjoy, so that’s a double bonus. That explains why I’d make a pot of chili on a hot summer day, it serves all hours.

Ty hit his mission one year mark this week. He’s doing great. (I cannot figure out the Chinese directions on the picture cd he sent home, so you'll just have to picture 6', blonde Ty with shortish, dark haired Chinese and great big smiles on everyone's faces.) Life is always going to be a welcome adventure for Ty. I just smile thinking of him trying new things and new people getting to meet him. Did you know before he sends his weekly e-mail home that he always sends a little one to me that says “Buongiorno Princepessa” in the subject line with just a quick note telling me he loves me and why? (Yes, I know I told you that before, but I thought it worth repeating.)

Tonight. Well, I’m embarrassed to tell you what I’m excited for because the kids have given me a rash of trash about it all day . . . I don’t think I could bear it if my fellow bloggers teased me, too, sufficeth me to say I’m excited for something this evening.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Life in My World

Abe is coming home tomorrow for his summer leave. Oh ho, that means we’ll have three out of the four home for over a week! Yay for us. I’m still plugging away on my physical science class. Argh. This class has about 35 tests in it. I’m hoping to finish it in the next couple of weeks while I have the kids to teach me what I’m failing to learn from the book, but that the tests are certain I should know. Amazing how my expectations lowered when it’s me trying to pass. This degree will definitely be a family effort.

The new hens are laying. Their eggs are miniature and they haven’t figured out the comfort of the nests so they leave their eggs in the dust.

Ande and I got fresh haircuts today. Ahhhhh. Melanie is a miracle worker. Ande is scrapbooking her Alaska experience. She has found the power in making pages while the memory is fresh. All the kids in her clan were mesmerized by her green eyes, so for one page she took a picture of each one’s brown eyes, plus her green ones. It is cool.

We went to Wal-Mart this afternoon. Good-bye $64.95 for not very many things. At least we’ll have a good dessert for Sunday dinner because we got Oreos, mint chocolate chip ice cream and chocolate/caramel sauce for a layered ice cream dessert . . . and a big bag of peanut M&M’s to eat while we play games. Hello 6.495 pounds.

We’re eating tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, beets, lettuce, beans, carrotts, squash and peppers out of the garden and all the flowers in the front rows are blooming.

Life in my world is pleasantly ordinary.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Craft Idea--Rag Dolls

this isn't the doll pattern I mention below, but I still like it

Last night I dreamed I was making rag dolls again. For several years I sewed and sold handcrafted items to supplement our income. Old-fashioned rag dolls were my favorite thing to make. I found I could do several things with one good doll pattern

• add a dress and pinafore and she was a little girl
• add a little doll in her hand and she was an adorable little girl
• put a quilt in her hands and she was a quilter
• put a baby wrapped in a quilt in her arms and she was a mother
• put a rolling pin or an sack of flour in her arms and she was a homemaker
• paint the feet brown and add a few stitches resembling laces and the doll was wearing winter boots, add a pair of pants, a wool shirt, a knit cap and a little wooden sled and he was a little boy playing in the snow
• add a carpenter apron with a few miniature tools, a beard and a tiny bird or olive branch to his hand and he was Noah
• add a red triangle for the nose and red hair and she was Raggedy Ann (or Andy)
• add wings and she was an angel
• add big, floppy ears and he was a rabbit
• paint two dots on the face for the eyes, paint a whole clove stem orange and glue it on for the nose, and glue whole allspice in a curve for the smile and it was a snowman
• paint the feet black, add a red, pointed hat, a beard, red pants, a red shirt with a strip of white down the middle and a few black buttons and he was Santa
• add a bag to Santa and it was the perfect place to put a gift card
• add excelsior to the neck, leg and sleeve openings, a straw hat and a necklace of corn kernels and he was a scarecrow

One afternoon a few years ago I sat down and sewed several dolls. I didn’t have anything in mind other than they would be given as gifts to someone in the future. Last night’s dream made me want to sew dolls for gifts again.
(By the way, I'm not a seamstress. I can sew straight seams for curtains and do primitive hand-stitching. Doll making is a combination of the two. It's relatively easy if you want to try.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Homemaking Tip--Favorites

This morning Cali, Ande and I were driving over to help a friend, who badly sprained her ankle a few days ago. This friend has been house-dog-sitting for a month and the owners are returning in a day or two, and she needed help getting a few things back in order. Thinking that today was Homemaking Tip day on the blog, I said, “Okay girls, what’s a homemaking tip for the day?”

Cali quickly answered, “Teach your kids to can so you don’t have to.” Apparently she was thinking about the tub of green beans on the counter at home that she promised to can today. But that tip doesn’t work because she got a text message a few hours later and she’s bailing and heading out of town.

Ande said, “You are making cookies today, right?” —alluding to this tip that I’ve already shared.

So, other than being great help to our friend, they were no help; however, the house we went to clean was so creatively decorated that I have a homemaking tip after all.

I love when someone can combine several different genres successfully. The homemaker of this home had taken her favorite things from every culture and time-period and combined them.

She successfully combined a zebra print rug on the floor with a white couch and an old, wooden framed, bubbles-in-the-glass window hung by two chains from the ceiling as a couch back or art. (I stood on a real zebra hide to take this picture and there was a black armoire behind me.) The kitchen had two hoosiers and white-washed boards on the floor, but modern art on the wall.

The bathroom had a plush, gold, high-backed chair with black marble flooring and brass fixtures, but a wooden cabinet filled with white fluffy towels and the sign “Prive” hanging from the door.

This homemaker was not afraid to combine a few of her favorite things and the house was so attractive because of it. So my homekeeping tip for the day is: Don’t be afraid to combine your favorite things. Eclectic can be a very attractive decorating style.

This is one of my favorites—all kinds of vegetables from dinner the night before tossed together and browned in a frying pan. (If you’re a cheese lover and not counting WW points then sprinkle that on top, too.) Combine your favorites—whether in a house or a frying pan-is my tip for the day.

I’m pleased to report it wasn’t me who had to buy the ice cream last night after our mini-golf game. I had one stroke less than Cali and Ande. Calvin thumped us all, but he practiced while we were doing the dishes AND he designed the course so that all but disqualifies him from being an honest contender. It was great fun and we laughed awful hard (especially at the end when we gathered for a self-portrait and a bird flew over and dropped and it ONLY hit Ande).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Calvin mowed a nine-hole miniature golf course in the back yard last week—complete with a teeing ground, fairways marked by orange flags, cups made from pvc pipe (with yellow flags sticking out of them) and greens mowed so short I hope the grass doesn’t die. It is the funniest thing. I’ll make my golfing debut on it tonight. I’ve never even mini-golfed before, but Calvin, Cali, Ande and I are playing a few rounds after supper to celebrate Ande coming home. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. . .