Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Tiny Tale of Prince Dawson

There once lived a tiny prince name Dawson
He wore a royal robe of blue
His crown was made only of plastic
But his toy was a toot-a-too-roo

Friday, December 14, 2007

Oh Christmas D, Oh Christmas D!

I did it again! I forced Dawson to sit through at least 20 minutes of photo manipulation. All in the name of Christmas. Last year, Jason was there to help, and actually he took the photos. This year, Jason wasn't home but Gloria was with us so she came up with all kinds of shenanigans to encourage Dawson to look at the camera.
Toward the end of the photo taking process, I did resort to bribery...
 Before she left, Gloria ordered a train activity table for Dawson. It came a week later and when it arrived Dawson played and played -he loves it.
 That being said, after he played a while, Jason and I wanted to go to the Y to workout. I have noticed lately that each month my pants keep shrinking in the dryer so my butt doesn't quite fit in them. I tried sticking my butt in the dryer to see if it would have the same effect as on my jeans.. it doesn't. Save yourself some time. We grabbed Dawson to get his coat on and immediately he acted like a rejected spoiled kid in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Screaming and crying and carrying on. So we got him in the car and gave him a snack. Silence in a bag I tell you. If your child ever gets an activity table and you need to go to the gym to shrink your butt, give your kid a snack. The end.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Share and Share Alike

I’ve had several people ask me about my buckeye recipe. Okay, so it’s been a total of 2. But I come from a long line of exaggerators/embellishers. So I try to keep up the good work.
Here is the recipe for making a good buckeye.
Ingredients:
·         1 16-18 oz jar of peanut butter
·         4 cups of powdered sugar
·         1 12 oz bag of chocolate chips
·         2 sticks of butter, softened
·         ½ cake of paraffin wax

Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar and butter together. Then refrigerate. In the meantime, melt chocolate chips in a double broiler with the paraffin wax. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, get your peanut butter mixture out of the refrigerator. Make your little balls of peanut butter and then use a toothpick to poke down through the center of them and dip them in the chocolate. You want to get most of the peanut butter dipped except for a small portion at the top. That’s the eye of the buck. Or the buck of the eye? Let them sit long enough for the chocolate to set and…

Then you eat them!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Buckeyes and quilts and crochet problems.

Twice a year my mom’s family sets aside a day to celebrate the culinary arts. Particularly candy and cookies. We had our annual cookie day a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t get any pictures of  the cookies I made. I just made peanut butter blossoms. The cookie part was Pillsbury and the blossom part was Hershey kisses, but let me tell ya, I  worked getting the wrappers off those kisses! My favorite cookie of all that is brought to cookie day is the one kindy my Aunt DeDe makes. They are german and made with black walnuts. Springerlies, or something like that, and they’re cut into the shape of stars. I take as many of those as I can without getting into trouble by my other aunts. And speaking of my aunt DeDe, this year my sister’s and I got a special present from her on cookie day. She made us each a quilt. Each quilt she made had a story attached to it of when she made it or where she got the material.
 My sister Karen and I are currently fighting over one. My sister won… for now… (evil laugh). My aunt DeDe laughs about it because she heard the story. –In the picture you will see the quilt on the end (to the right). It’s border is yellow. Well, that’s the one Karen and I both wanted but Karen claimed it first. So after we left that day, I called Karen’s cell phone and in a demon voice I said “I want that QUILTttttt….” And Karen busted up laughing so we were both laughing and having a good time with it and the story got around to my mom’s family who all come up to me telling me in a demon voice that they want a quilt.
Below are some pictures of my mom’s sisters who were there that day. And other pictures of cookie day.
 Now. Candy day is coming up this Sunday, the 9th. I decided to make Buckeyes. I’ve never made them before. I called my mom the other night because the recipe called for paraffin wax. After hours of searching in WalMart I found some. But the box said it was household paraffin wax. One of the uses was to make candles. This is where my mom comes in. I called mom all panicked. Mom! My recipe calls for me to melt paraffin wax in my chocolate! I don’t want to make chocolate candles!! But she reassured me that paraffin wax would be fine for this recipe. So I did use it and my buckeyes look as though they are freshly dipped! They’re so shiny! Hopefully they won’t taste like wax buckeyes. Jason has eaten most of them now and he says they’re good. So I guess I have to make more. Actually, HE has to make more. Ha ha honey!
 Now onto my latest hobby. Crocheting. A hobby I will most likely give up soon enough. Let’s have a look at the different stages of my crocheting skills as they have progressed.
First, there is the chain. This chain is learning disabled.
 Second there is the granny square. That’s the phase  I’m working on right now. I can barely get a chain let alone a square. This one more resembles… a baby whale.
 It was right after this that I was getting frustrated with my yarn. Surely I could crochet! It’s the YARN’S fault that it’s not working right for me. And this is what I was able to do with the new yarn.
 Hmmm…Not a square. Maybe a tapeworm? But I felt more confident because I found better directions online. So I switched back to my old yarn. And this is the one I’m working on as we speak.
 Not bad! It took me about an hour and half to get that tiny thing crotcheted! And it looks too tight. This is a scarf for my pinky finger. I can’t seem to figure out where to go from here. Do I turn it? If I turn it where do I put the hook? *sigh.
Confused Crocheter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Class Picture

Dawson got his daycare class picture taken a few weeks ago. I got a little nervous because I couldn’t be there to make sure he smiled, his nose was booger free, etc…
I went to visit him over my lunch break after his picture has been taken. The daycare director came up to me and told that pictures were being taken in the gym and while the toddler class was waiting for their turn, Dawson was running circles around the gym and the equipment! So she went and grabbed him and had them get his picture first because she was afraid he was going to fall and have a bloody nose or goose-egg on his head for his picture. Thanks Jan!
My first glance at this picture caused me to laugh out loud. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Dawson’s mouth. He’s biting his lip! I wanted to have the picture retaken but he’s such a cutie head and really, this picture is adorable and memorable. But he looks so big!
 This is Dawson’s class picture. Last night Jason held it up to Dawson and said “Dawson, where’s Evan?” And Dawson pointed to Evan (he’s his best friend in class). Then he said “Where’s Graceson” and Dawson pointed to her. He identified each toddler in his class! Maybe he’’ll be a salesman someday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food, Festivities & Fun -Part II

Friday morning my sisters and I attempted another black Friday "death by shopping" morning out. Only, we were a little disappointed. Kendallville was dead to the world. l guess all of the extreme shoppers were in Ft Wayne. Standing in long lines. Fighting. None of them shopping for me...

Who would pass up the Kendallville WalMart??
We ate at Applebee's and laughed and shared heart-to-heart talks. I love my sisters.

Once I finished all 7 courses of my meal and asked for another round of Welcome Willy Dip, I had to hurry home because Goria, Dawson and I were headed to Cleveland to spend the weekend with the Conrad's and the Janke's. Cleveland is where Gloria grew up and her sister Diana and brother Gil still live there. So we were off to visit them.
Here's Kirsten helping Dawson with his shoes.
We stayed with the Conrad's and spend most of the weekend eating. WE visited Westside Market, B.A. Sweetie's, Rito's and Jack Frost doughnuts., not to mention the fact that Diana and Jeff spent most of their time cooking in the kitchen when weren't eating pre-fabricated items. Staying with them was like being on a cruise. you want it, you got it.

Dawson had a wonderful time with his cousins Kirsten, Kelsey and Briana. I helped Briana start her own blog and I added a link to her site with the rest of my links over to the right. It's "Princess Bri". I can't figure out why we don't have any pictures with Briana and Kelsey in them. Briana has some pictures of her own posted so if you go visit her blog, you'll see them. Dawson spent most of his time running back and forth between the girls' rooms. He found a German hat in Briana's room and he kept it on! It was too cute. So I made him take a picture with me.

We celebrated Briana's birthday while were there even though it was early. Ragelle brought Lydia over to play. Of course, she's holding Dawson in this picture.

But here are some cute pics of Aunty Gloria with Lydia.


Probably one of the main highlights of this time with family had to be watching Dawson and Lydia interact. The Conrad's have this thing called a sit-n-spin, which neither toddler could control. but when Kirsten got them spinning, they were having screaming matches. The whole room erupted in laughter. I have a video clip of it so you can watch it yourself.
Aunt Diana tried teaching me how to crotchet. (I know that looks like the word crotch-it but it's not). I'm terrible at it and I can't even get a chain to look like a chain. I'll keep trying. But don't expect a handmade scarf, hat or pashmina for Christmas. If you really do want something though, I can send you a crooked chain.

One night Jeff and Diana pulled out some old cassette tapes they had that had voice recordings of Grandpa Janke on it. (Gloria's dad). One of the tapes ahd Jason's cousin Gib talking on it when was really little. I'd say he was maybe 5. On the tape Aunt Diana was asking him what he wanted to name his little brother or sister that was due soon so he said a few names and then he had an "aha" moment where he figured out what he really wanted the baby to be named. He says "I know! Name it Jason.. Jason Wilkins". We all busted up laughing. Jason had quite an impression on his young cousin in those days.
And now Jason has proof of the impact he had on his special cousin. When we headed out to leave on Sunday morning, Jason found this:

Jason still hasn't washed it off yet.. ugh. However, we did get some honks and waves on the drive home. What did you use Gib? White-Out? It rained and it wouldn't budge! Gib and his wife Jenessa are expecting their first baby. Jenessa is a cutie pregnant girl!
 We were trying to give them practice and make them take care of two at once.

Just before leaving Cleveland the Conrad girls wanted us to take Dawson to the mall so that he could ride the train. I wondered how he would do since he has to ride it by himself. But when he saw the train coming around the tracks for the first time, he just about jumped out of my arms right onto the tracks. Guess he wanted to ride.
View form the side of the train tracks of the neat Christmas display that was set up.
Once the train ride was over, he wanted to ride again. So we had to bribe him with food.
Fun times in Cleveland! Thank you to the Conrads and Janke's for sharing quality time with us.
And now I leave you with: The Sit-N-Spin:
video

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Food, Festivities & Welcome Willy Dip

Ahhh... Thanksgiving! How I love you. Let me count the ways.. 1.2.3. Food.

Well Thanksgiving started early for us. Jason's mom, Gloria, got to fly out to be with us this year. She flew in last Monday and she is flying back this afternoon. We are sad to see her go. She's like having a live-in nanny.
For Thanksgiving dinner this year, we all met at my sister Bobbie's house. She's got plenty of room to house us all and still have place for the food. Now I'd like to take a minute to show off my sister's creative abilities. Not only did she have a big portion of the meal that she cooked for us, let us invade her house, but take a look at these extraordinary centerpieces she made!:

She tucked old family pictures around the fruit pieces and had candles burning and sitting inside. She should be on "Lifestyles of Creative Geniuses".

Before the festivities began we needed the kids to get their energy channeled through another source so they decided to keekle keekle as Dawson says it (tickle, tickle) each other.
Let's talk about food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, deviled eggs and the highlight: Welcome Willy Dip. How many families get that for Thanksgiving? I'm going to venture around the none category. Here's the story:

When my sister Anita and her friend Jose arrived, they brought an appetizer. At this time, the rest of the family was gathered in the kitchen sampling various food items. Mom and I were talking and Nita set her food down on the table. Mom asked "oh what's this?" and Jose told her but I don't think she could hear him very well with all of us girls jabbering, mouths full and carrying on. So I hear mom say "Oh now isn't that nice? He named the dish he brought". I kept quiet because I didn't hear Jose tell mom anything. I could hear mom mumbling about the dish and the name he gave it, so I finally asked "mom, what did Jose call it?" Ans she said "Welcome Willy dip". And Nita came trouncing right over and said "Mom, it's GUACOMOLE dip". I laughed about that all afternoon.
I have to tell about the appetizer my sister Karen brought along. It's cracked pepper and olive triscuits with sliced muenster cheese on top drizzled with a dollop of pesto. Positively yummy.
After the large intake of food, we had set aside time for drama. A poem read by my mother and performed by the children.

 I cannot remember the title of the poem, but it was very patriotic-a tribute to soldiers (played by Corbin and Kadan). Kazlan was the keeper of the American flag and Dawson was.... a little patriotic boy with good intentions of keeping his bandana on but..it didn't work out. The drama concluded with the adults singing a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.
 
Right after the drama we did our DePew annual "draw for names". That's not a very clever title for it, is it? If you can think of a better one, than good for you. Mom, each of us girls and our husbands, fill out wish lists and put them in a hat. Then we each draw and see whose name we got for Christmas. This part of our Thanksgiving tradition takes FOREVER for all of my family members except for my sister Karen, and myself. We come fully prepared. We start the Christmas wish list process sometime in July. Complete with prices, pictures of the items and coupons if we have any. The worst part is.. we have to condense our 200 list of items down to a half sheet of paper to match the others. What the heck? How do we do that? Well, we write small like this: oooh,I really hope I get an official Red Ryder carbine-action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time! Otherwise, we'd be doomed to take things off the list. our husband's lists... they look like this: gloves. knife. That makes the rest of us grumble.

When all wish list making was over we gathered around for family pictures. I saw Dawson running around the kitchen with a piece of ham. Corbin and his dad were sitting on the steps and Dawson headed their way. Corbin said "what does Dawson have?" I told him he had a piece of ham and Corbin looked at his dad and said "Daddy, do I like ham?" 
As Thanksgiving was drawing to a close, Bobbie asked if anyone wanted to play Yahtzee. Several minutes went by before anyone responded and an impatient Kazlan declared "I want to play Tootsie!". Gloria won. She and my mom both rolled 2 yahtzees during the course of the game and I pouted.