Saturday, March 31, 2012

Got Milk?

One of the stations at the Farm and Forestry Fair Ellea's 5th grade class attended was all about diary cows. They learned all kinds of different facts about milk and were given a little bottle of chocolate milk and a cheese stick to much on. The best part was the plastic cow.

Who can resist a picture gathered around a plastic cow?

Or the chance to milk her? There were lots of kids, so they each only got one squeeze! But they can all say they've milked a cow.

Sort of.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Field Trip

Yeah!! Today is the first day of the kids and my spring break from school/work!!

I got to tag along as a chaperone on Ellea's field trip to a Forestry and Agriculture Fair this week.

The first station was tree indentification. Ellea was pretty quiet for a forester's daughter. She probably didn't want to show off!
They learned all about growing wheat while they ate pancakes. Then they used their muscles to grind some wheat into flour. Some kids went really crazy turning the crank as fast as they could and wheat flew everywhere! Ellea stuck with slow and steady.
More to come...

Thursday, March 29, 2012



I am in love with chocolate. I think I might have a problem. If doctors announced tomorrow that chocolate was terribly bad for us and to be avoided at all costs, I may need to go into rehab. I am such a glutton!

I'm trying to give up chocolate during Lent. Let's just say it's been more of a "cutting back" than a "giving up!" Most days I've done really well, but sometimes, I just can't take it anymore! Sometimes, a girl just needs a little chocolate!

Good thing Easter's only a week and a half away.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rain or Shine

It was sunny briefly on Sunday around these parts. Sadly, by the time the girls made it outside, the sun was gone. They persevered despite the rain and gloom.

They rode their bikes for the first time this year. Shortly after this picture was taken, they peddeled away yelling, "Mom's taking pictures!"
Then it was on to basketball. Look at that form. (I know nothing about correct form in basketball, but it looks good to me!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ladies' Night

Last night was a speical treat of girls' night out with a couple of my dear friends. We went out to Mexican. I especially enjoyed my Pina Colada! Then we went to a local motel to soak in the hot tub and gab! Perfection!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

The girls and I went to the movie, The Hunger Games, last night. I was impressed that Grangeville was showing a movie on its opening day. That doesn't happen too often around here!

Nicole and I have both read the book. I really struggled with the disturbing premise (Two kids from each "district" in the country (24 kids total) are forced to participate in a survival game to the death with only one winner.) But, I admit that I was very drawn into the book. A real page-turner; just a difficult idea to accept. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about all the violence when it was translated to the big screen.

Turns out, it's still a difficult premise, but also a very exciting movie. If you're considering seeing the movie, and you haven't read the book, be aware what you're getting yourself into. It was almost too scary for Ellea, but I knew she'd be mad if I took Nicole and left her at home, so I let her make that choice. She covered her eyes a couple of times. Hopefully, we haven't scarred her for life!

As we waited in line, I asked the girls if I could get a picture of them with the movie poster. Nicole's always willing, but as you can see, Ellea's not too excited. Most moms don't take their cameras to the movie. But I'm not most moms!

Then, I had the brilliant idea of leaning in to take a self-portrait of ourselves as we were waiting for the movie to begin. Except, the people behind us were a little surprised by my flash! I'm only guessing about that. The gasp gave it away. It's not like it was dark, or the previews had started, but it was dim, and again, who takes pictures at the theater?! Only crazy bloggers.

Normally, I would've taken another shot (or two or three) and attempted to do better, but even I have my limits. I decided one blinding flash for the poor souls sitting behind us was plenty.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baby Calves

 It's calving season around here and those little Black Angus calves sure are cute!

They're known to squeeze through fences and go exploring.  It's not uncommon to hear mama cows bawling at their babies because they've wandered too far away.  The babies will often ignore their mamas until they're hungry. 

This one was by the back deck looking all cute.  He was ignoring his mom.  (He is standing next to our poor, dejected Christmas tree.)
Then he saw me taking his picture and ran away..... "Mama, mama, a big scary lady is trying to get me!"

Hairy Dogs

We've got this crazy black wig that the kids were playing with the other day. Didn't take long before someone put it on Zip.

Really? Why?

No pictures, please.

Nicole is tickled. Zoey? Maybe not so much.

Put the camera down and help me, already!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beautiful Smile

Nicole sure is a good sport. She has braces on for the second time. Back in the 4th grade, she had braces just on the top. She's also had headgear for the past 18 months. (I doubt she'll let me post a picture of her with her headgear!!) Now she has braces all around.

She wasn't thrilled, but she a pleaser, so she didn't complain (much). They prop your mouth open while they're gluing the brackets on with this dreadful plastic apparatus. It was going fine, but then it was time to wait for the dentist to come take a peak. So we waited. And waited. And Nicole has this dreadful plastic apparatus in her mouth. And we're waiting. I look over and she's got a tear rolling down her face.

That's when mama bear came out. I reached over to hold Nicole's hand and I asked the assistant why we were waiting and what was the dentist doing? She said he was with another patient and she went to hurry him along.

I apologized for being a protective mother, but she said she'd do the same. Amazingly, Nicole was still speaking to us and flashed us one of her million-dollar smiles, despite the torture.

I could learn something from that girl.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Eatin' of the Green!

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we had green food with out buddies, Marv and Candi! Glenn makes "Beef Roll Ups" with a biscuit dough and ground beef. We talked him into dying the dough green with some food coloring.

It was very lime green. Kinda cool marbelized effect!

Just out of the oven.

Slathered in cheese sauce. With green beans and green salad, of course! This is one of the kids' favorite meals (even finicky Morgan likes it!).

My favorite thing about this meal?

Glenn cooks it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Basketball Finale

Ellea's 5th grade team played their final basketball game of the season last week. They did well, but the team they played against was pretty tough.

It was a fun season and it's always amazing how much improvement you see in a bunch of 10 year olds!

The girls were giddy with excitement when Glenn suggested they do a silly play called "Sault," as their last play with less than a minute on the clock. They were supposed to somersault across the key when the other team had the ball. I guess it was supposed to confuse them. The other team looked at them like they were crazy, but the girls had fun with it and that's what it's all about!

Ellea pointed out that after the game, her team was much more enthusiastic than the other team was, even though they lost. I hope they never lose that understanding that it's more about having fun than winning. There are a lot of adults that have forgotten that.

Go Pirates!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hidden Talents

The kids treated us to a "Talent Show" a week ago. It's always so heart-warming when they work together on something and enjoy each other's company, and sometimes it seems that behavior is rare!

Morgan's talent was a "rock dance!" What did he do? Rolled around the floor looking rock-like, of course!

His sister, Nicole, sang an orginal song, titled, "I am a rock!" It was funny.

Nicole did a Hula dance. The best part was her singing, "Hula, Hula, HULA!" as she did the hand actions.

Ellea did a puppet show and "interviewed" our dog, Zoey. So many creative kids we have around here!

The grande finale was a dance to "Cotton-eyed Joe." Morgan doesn't know that dance so he just did some freestyle dancing! You can see half of him in the above photo! He was moving so fast that I missed him!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Zerberts for Brother

 Ellea decided that Morgan needed a zerbert the other day. 

 Her sister was happy to pin him down for her.
He didn't enjoy it at all.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tacos and Margaritas

My dear hubby. We were about to sit down to tacos the other night and I mentioned off-handedly that a margarita sure would be nice. And you know what he did?

He pulled out the blender, that's what he did. He's so good to me.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Glimmer of Hope

Nicole and I had our first horseback ride of 2012 a couple weeks ago. It was a balmy 55 degrees and I was in heaven!! We rode without stocking caps or gloves and I had on a windbreaker. Those of you who live in balmier climates have no understanding of what a big deal it is to be outside without multiple layers of clothing after months of confinement!!!

We hadn't ridden since last November, but Nicole's horse, Zeus was a perfect gentleman.

Self-portrait on horseback. Trickier than one would think. I have several photos with parts of me or Nicole cut off.
What is that shining orb in the sky?! It blinds me. Is it? Could it be? The sun!! Glorious, warm, delightful sun!

(Sadly, it wasn't to last. In the past week we've been snowed on several times. But there's hope! Someday, I will break out the capris and the sunscreen. Someday.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Basketball

Ellea's 5th grade team had a basketball tournament last Saturday in nearby Grangeville. They played one game Friday night and two games on Saturday.

They played well. They won their first game, lost their second and won the third. They ended up in 3rd place out of 6 teams. It's amazing how much they've improved over the past two months. They have a pretty good coach, though. =)

Between the Hallissey tournament Glenn took the 7th/8th graders to in Boise and this 5th grade team, we've seen a lot of basketball. Glenn tells me Ellea's team played their 17th game last night. Thankfully it was also their last game of the season. I'm all basetball'd out!

So, now we're moving on to track! Glenn has accepted the position of head track coach for the Junior High. Sadly, he couldn't talk Nicole into taking track, but he wants to train for Bloomsday and he loves track, so he decided to go ahead and coach.

Never a dull moment around here. A dull moment sounds nice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Roses are Purple

The night before my big trip to New York, Ellea had a fun event at school that we went to. One of the activities at this event was decorating a cake to take home.
She got to play with fondant and get her creative juices flowing. It was fun to see the different ideas everyone came up with.
I've been known to play with play-doh with my kids and I've perfected a technique of making roses. Fondant is a lot like play-doh, so I had no trouble making this rose for Ellea's cake.

I think I'll put that talent on my resume. Play-doh/Fondant rose artist! The employment possibilities are endless.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

China Town

Our last couple hours of free time in New York were spent riding the subway one last time (we were pros at that finally!) and going back to China Town for a quick lunch before our flight back to reality.

China town is a busy, interesting neighborhood. Lots of open-air markets, and every street-corner had a vendor selling produce.

We found a non-descript (read: clean, no ducks hanging in the window and not too scary-looking) Chinese restaurant for lunch. I had Chow Mein and it was like any other Chow Mein I've had at any other Chinese restaurant. The coolest thing was the bill which was written in chinese. He could've writen These Ladies are Crazy, $8.50, for all I knew!

And then it was time to go home. We flew from Newark, NJ to Denver, Colorado to Spokane, Washington. The flight was made so much more delightful by the free drink tickets that the state coordinator of our grant gave me and my seat mate. I was looking forward to getting a cute little bottle of alcohol, but alas, the flight attendant just brought us these boring plastic cups! It tasted just as good, but wasn't as fun to look at

I landed in Spokane at 10:30 pm, which was 1:30 am Eastern time. Thankfully, I had made a reservation for a motel room at the airport. There was no way I was up to the 3 hour drive home at that point!

After a few hours' sleep, I had a leisurely drive home. I stopped in Lewiston for a break from driving and to make a Costco run. You gotta maximize Costco opportunities! I had a blissful 19 hours at home and then it was on to Boise, Idaho with the family for the Hallissey Baskeball Tournament!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Random pics from New York City

There was so much to see in New York. There a lot that we didn't get to see, but I'm happy we got in as much as we did. For being in conference trainings most of the week, we crammed in a lot of sight-seeing, too!

We walked to Grand Central Station. It's a beautiful old building. Lots of people running around. It happened to be Valentine's Day, and there was a small chocolate shop inside Grand Central. The line (of mostly men) waiting to get in there and buy their honey some sweets was about 20 people deep.

We didnt' go into Radio City, but it was cool to see the iconic sign just a couple blocks from our motel.

And, can you believe that I didn't go into this chocoholic's paradise?!!
Neither can I!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Carnegie Deli

We went to this famous deli near our motel one day for lunch.  They have these CRAZY-huge sandwiches.  Their website says their sandwiches have at least a pount of meat in them!  Their specialty is corned beef and pastrami which aren't my favorite lunch meats.  I went with a good ol' burger which was quite tasty, but the real treat of the day was the strawberry cheesecake!  It was HUGE--and should've been at $10 a slice!  But it was incredibly yummy!!

There was a waiter there who saw us contemplating what kind of cheesecake to buy.  He looked at us very sternly and said, "Strawberry cheesecake.  Don't mess it up."  He was almost scary.  No smile.  I think he may have even wagged his finger at us as he said it!!  He didn't lead us astray, though, it was very good advice!

I found the cheesecake recipe on their website and I thought I'd share.  Maybe I'll even make it someday.

I placed a quarter on the plate in an attempt
show just how ginormous this thing was,
but it just looks funny!!!
"It usually takes a couple of tries to get it just right"
Cookie Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 - inch bits
Cheese Filling

1 1/4 pounds softened cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. To make the crust, place the flour, sugar, grated lemon rind, vanilla extract, egg yolk, and butter in a large mixing bowl. With your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until they are well mixed and can be gathered into a ball. Dust with a little flour, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. Butter and flour the bottom of a 9 inch X 2 inch spring-form pan, roll out a piece of dough to cover bottom. Dough should be as thick as for a normal sugar cookie (1/4 inch) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven to a light brown color. Cool the pan and bottom. Butter the sides of the pan. Roll out and line the sides of the pan with more of the cookie dough. Trim excess dough from the edges.
To make the filling, place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is creamy and smooth. Beat in the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, and, when it is well incorporated, beat in the flour, lemon, vanilla, eggs and egg yolk and heavy cream. No lumps please!
Baking Step One:
Preheat the oven to 485-500 degrees. Oven should be hot to enhance color. Pour the filling into the cookie dough lined pan, bake in the center of the oven until a dark brown color has been achieved. The cake should also start to rise slightly. Cool for 30 minutes and set oven to 350 degrees.
Baking Step Two:
After cheesecake has cooled for 30 minutes, return the cheesecake to the oven for final baking (this procedure will set the cheesecake).

NOTE: Cheesecake is like a pudding with only eggs being used to firm the cake. When the cake is bouncy in the center and slightly risen in the middle as well as on the sides, it's finished!

Baking time at 350°F will vary (usually 25 to 40 minutes) depending on your oven.
Final Step:
Cool cheesecake in pan for at least 2 hours before trying to remove it from the pan. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight. For best flavor, cheesecake should be served at nearly room temperature. Slice cake using a hot, wet knife; wipe blade clean between slices.

NOTE: If you over bake, the cake will crack and be too firm. If you under bake, the cake will tend to be soft in the center.

From the Carnegie Deli website.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

More New York Sites

Rockefellar Center ice rick.  Smallish and I'm not sure what the statue-dude is supposed to represent, but by-golly I saw it!
 I had to have a picture of the Today Show studio.  I suppose I could've gotten up early in the morning to go and see the real thing, but this was good enough for me!  There were a couple of guys in there setting up for the next morning's show. 
We wanted brick-oven pizza for our last dinner.  We debated taking the subway to a recommended restaurant, but someone in our group insisted we go to a restaurant she had eaten at a few days prior.  It about killed me to walk the 10 blocks to get there!  I was all walked out!

The pizza was very yummy, though.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lego Land

We stumbled onto a Lego store near Rockefeller Center.  I wished Morgan was there to enjoy it with me, but I had to pretend to be a 7-year-old boy in love with Legos as I wandered around the store in awe!!
This Lego sign is made out of lego bodies.

I assume this Lego dude is supposed to resemble Atlas.

Lego dude isn't quite as muscular.

This dragon's body weaves all through the store. 

And this is where the little-boy bliss would've come in.  For a fee, you can fill up a container with the lego pieces you want most in all the world!  It was actually a little disappointing that there wasn't more selection.  This looks like a lot, but most of them are pretty basic bricks which Morgan already own's 100s of!  I did buy him a bucket of bricks and he was thrilled.  Someday, we'll have to get him to a Lego store in person!