Friday, December 28, 2007

Remember, It's For The Children

I haven't paid much attention to the cigarette tax that's coming up, mostly because I don't smoke. I don't agree with it because it's just another stupid tax to take money away from people who want to make bad decisions in life. As I was reading an article on today though, this particular line caught my eye.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids predicts the higher tax will stop nearly 66,000 Wisconsin children from starting smoking. And it will make 33,300 smokers quit.

First of all, I highly doubt that the cost of cigarettes will stop children from smoking. At that age, it's a peer thing. Of course, I suppose that at any age it's a peer thing, as there's no good reason to start smoking. But aside from that, since when has it become the government's right to stop anyone from smoking something that is perfectly legal? Why should it be the government's job to "make" people quit by raising taxes? Is this just another feel-good-ism type of tax that's supposed to "fix" some "problem" that they've come up with? Yes, there are probably people who will finally quit smoking because of the cost. Likely, they wanted to quit before but didn't have a good enough reason. However, I doubt it will affect that much, certainly not the numbers they're predicting anyway.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wow, Talk About Brotherly Love

Priests come to blows inside Church of the Nativity

h/t The World According to Nick

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Alice Cochran Conard

Amazing what you can do with your life in 99 years.

Alice Cochran Conard

Alice Cochran Conard, 99 years of age, passed away Friday, December 21, 2007, at the Woodhaven Care Center in Ellinwood, KS. She was born May 2, 1908 at Goodwin, Oklahoma, the daughter of Alva W. and Verna May Hadley Cochran. The family moved to Rice, Kansas, when Alice was six months old. She was baptized September 18, 1921, at the Rice, KS Methodist Episcopal Church.

Alice was a teacher and a minister's wife. She was a graduate of Concordia High School and Kansas State Teachers College (later Emporia State University). She taught in the Cloud County rural schools and in Esbon, Hill City, and Norton before going to Great Bend in 1944.

She was married to the Rev. Arlyn E. Conard on November 22, 1962, in Great Bend, KS. He died November 21, 1980. She was also preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Hal; a sister, Dorothy Claycamp and her husband, Glenn; and by a niece, Shirley Holechek.

She was a member of First United Methodist Church in Great Bend, the United Methodist Women, NRTA division of AARP, EHU units, and Utopian Club. She had life memberships in the American Association of University Women, Delta Kappa Gamma, Kansas Retired School Personnel Association, and ESU Alumni Association. At one time or another, she served as president for most of these organizations.

Her interests and hobbies included reading, crafts, and travel. Her travels included Canada, Mexico, the South Sea Islands, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Greece, Panama, many European counties, and most of the states in the United States.

She is survived by a step-son, Mark Conard, and his wife, Joyce, of Hutchinson, KS; a foster daughter, Edna Sipp, and her husband, Cliff, of Pleasanton, NE; three grandchildren: Jonathan Conard and his wife, Melissa, of Junction City, KS; Andrew Conard and his wife, Nicole, of Overland Park, KS; and Kristin Conard of Edison, NJ; a great granddaughter, Katie Aspen Conard, of Junction City, KS; a sister-in-law, Eldora Conard, of Timken, KS; a nephew, Kenneth Claycamp, and his wife, Joleen, of Cuba, KS; three nieces: Lois Boettcher and her husband, Norm, of Solomon, KS; Loretta Cudney and her husband, Dave, of Riverside, CA; and Verla Hill and her husband, Dan, of Scottsbluff, NE; and by many great nieces and great nephews.

I Don't Think I Could Have Done It

I'm sorry, but Mary, riding on a donkey, right before she gave birth, I don't think I could have managed that. I can barely sit on a chair, let alone a donkey. But, I suppose when you're carrying the Savior in your womb, you're bound to try to do things you wouldn't normally do, right? Still, that had to hurt.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Great Aunt Alice

My great Aunt Alice (actually great great, I think) died last night. She was 99 years old. She would have been 100 in May. I knew she wouldn't last much longer, but it's still a bit of a shock. I have so many memories of visiting her house and her showing off all the interesting things she'd picked up on her travels. I remember even just 10 or 15 years ago she was still going on African safaris and the like. She was always such a strong woman.

In May of 1908, here are some of the major events from Wiki:

* May 10 - Mother's Day is observed for the first time (Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia).
* May 13 - Young Turks start revolution in the Ottoman Empire, and force sultan Abdul Hamid II to adhere to the constitution of 1876.
* May 24 - Empire Day is accepted as the traditional formation date of the 1st Arundel (Earl of Arundel's) Own Scout Group, although Scouting was probably active in Arundel prior to this date.
* May 26 - At Masjid-al-Salaman in southwest Persia, the first major commercial oil strike in the Middle East is made. The rights to the resource are quickly acquired by the United Kingdom.

Other things that happened that year:

* British suffragettes begin a campaign for female suffrage.
* Bureau of Investigation, forerunner of the FBI, is founded.
* Change of Emperor of Qing Dynasty from Guangxu Emperor of China (1875-1908) to Henry Puyi (1909-1911).

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Feel Sorry For The Kids

You'd think the parents could control themselves a little here. I wonder what the fight was about though. One of those "My kid is better than your kid" kind of things? How embarrassing for the kids though. And the parents are banned from future events. Do you think that's just for this year, or for the rest of the kid's school careers?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good For Him

Paul Keeps Donation From White Supremacist

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacist, and the Texas congressman doesn't plan to return it, an aide said Wednesday.

Don Black, of West Palm Beach, Fla., recently made the donation, according to campaign filings. He runs a Web site called Stormfront with the motto, "White Pride World Wide." The site welcomes postings to the "Stormfront White Nationalist Community."

"Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and inalienable rights. If someone with small ideologies happens to contribute money to Ron, thinking he can influence Ron in any way, he's wasted his money," Paul spokesman Jesse Benton said. "Ron is going to take the money and try to spread the message of freedom.

"And that's $500 less that this guy has to do whatever it is that he does," Benton added.
Black said he supports Paul's stance on ending the war in Iraq, securing America's borders and his opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

"We know that he's not a white nationalist. He says he isn't and we believe him, but on the issues, there's only one choice," Black said Wednesday.

On his Web site, Black says he has been involved in "the White patriot movement for 30 years."

The Web site LoneStarTimes first reported on Black's donation on Oct. 25.

I think this is good. He knows the person that donated the money doesn't agree with everything he says, and is perhaps promoting things that are morally wrong. That, however, is the beauty of freedom. We all have the freedom to make dumb decisions, believe in things that are wrong, dislike someone for the color of their skin or the tenets of their faith, and the freedom to live in a country where we can make those mistakes. That's not to say there won't be repercussions for our actions, should we choose to do something outside the scope of the law, but we still have the freedom to make that decision in the first place. That's what I love about Ron Paul. That, and he's just so darn cute!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Why We Home School 7

7. Do you really want to have teachers that care more about their own agenda than your children, being the ones to educate them?

6. Why subject your children to religious indoctrination?

5. Would you want your child indoctrinated without your knowledge?

4. Who wouldn't want their child courted by a college because they were homeschooled?

3. Our children are less likely to have this happen.

2. Our children won't have to witness terrible crimes like this.

1. Our children are less likely to be sexually assaulted.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Potter Puppets

This is just cute :)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

So When The Man Does It, It's Murder?

I am just shocked by this story about a man who is being charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child.

What truly bothers me, is that the man is being charged with intentional homicide for giving his girlfriend an abortion pill. Why is it, that when a woman willingly chooses to abort her baby by taking that same pill, is it alright, and perfectly legal? Why is it, that a woman can choose to have her baby murdered by a "doctor", and it is perfectly legal? Yet, a man, who is the father of that same child, cannot have the same say in the child's life?

All life is sacred, and should be treated as such. The choice of whether a child should live or die should not be in the hands of the mother or the father, or a doctor or a pill.

And The Winner Is....

Lydia! Thanks for entering! Please visit my Etsy shop, and tell me which purse you'd like to have. Then email me at shanawoodman (at) hotmail (dot) com with your selection and mailing information, and I will get that out to you within a few days.


You Wanna Win Something, Right?


In the spirit of my upcoming birthday, I have decided to give away one of my purses. I have been making purses like they're going out of style, and I have amassed several. I currently have several already made up and for sale in my Etsy Shop BeStitched, and I have a few more I'm finishing right now. They will be up on the site within the next week or so.

So, here's how this contest will work.

1. Go check out the purses section of BeStitched.
2. Put a link on your site to this contest AND BeStitched.
3. Leave your link on Mr. Linky, and you will be entered.

The contest will close at midnight on Saturday December 1st. I will announce the winner on my birthday, Sunday December 2nd, sometime before the end of the day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And We Need To Legislate This....Why?

A new bill that was approved Wednesday will require that all government buildings buy flags that have been made in the US.

And, why do we need to waste time legislating this? I agree, it makes sense to buy our American flags made by an American company, but why are we spending taxpayer time and money on something that should be a given in the first place?

Tasty Thursday: Leftover Turkey

I had to do this one. We had so much turkey left over because I can never quite judge how much turkey to get. So, this recipe was a great way to use up the remainder of the bird. I even managed to make this in the toaster oven, in a little 8 1/2 inch cake pan, and it turned out great. You can even do this with leftover chicken.

Turkey potpie


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cubed
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water


  • 1 cup diced peeled potatoes*
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a food processor, combine flour and salt; cover and pulse to blend. Add cheese; pulse until fine crumbs form. Add shortening and butter; pulse until coarse crumbs form. While processing, gradually add water until dough forms a ball.

Divide dough in half with one ball slightly larger than the other; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For filling, in a large saucepan, sauté the potatoes, carrots, celery, onion and garlic in butter for 5-6 minutes. Add broth; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

In a small bowl, combine flour and milk until smooth. Gradually add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the remaining ingredients; simmer 5 minutes longer.

Roll out larger pastry ball to fit a 9-inch pie plate; transfer to pie plate. Trim pastry even with edge. Pour hot turkey filling into a crust. Roll out remaining pastry to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim, seal and flute edges. Cut slits in top or make decorative cutouts in pastry.

Bake at 350° F. for 35-45 minutes or until crust is light golden brown. Serve immediately.

*I have used the little new red potatoes, and just cut them without peeling them. That worked out fine, and tasted really good.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday recipes!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!! catch breath! Alderman Michael McGee Jr., the one that's in jail, has filed for re-election. Read the story here. What's really scary, is after following this guy's antics for several years now, I could easily see him being reelected.

MILWAUKEE - Alderman Michael McGee Jr. has filed initial papers from jail to run for re-election.

McGee is charged in state court with conspiring to have a man beaten and running a $5-per-person vote-buying operation. He also faces federal charges accusing him of shaking down business owners in his district.

He is scheduled for trial early next year. If convicted of a felony before the April election, he would not be able to serve on the city council.

It is unclear what would happen if his name remained on the ballot and he won.

McGee has filed a declaration of candidacy form. He also will have to submit a campaign registration statement to be eligible to circulate nomination papers beginning Dec. 1, said Neil Albrecht, deputy director of the city Election Commission.

It could be difficult for McGee to campaign. He remains behind bars after federal prosecutors successfully argued he was attempting to intimidate witnesses. His federal public defender has moved to have him released, but that matter is still pending.

I'm Just Here For The Chocolate

Christmas Giveaway 2007 Sweepstakes

I am definitely in for this giveaway over at 5 Minutes For Mom. They are hosting a giveaway for some Ferrero Rondnoir , and it looks absolutely divine. Mmmmmm.....chocolate!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tasty Thursday: One Day Ahead

I'm posting this ahead, because tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and this is a recipe you need to start the night before. I'm sharing a recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes, which are really good. They're a little heavier on the flavor, but not quite overpowering. They really are good, and they're old-fashioned to boot. Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday recipes!

Buckwheat Pancakes

  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 oz. fresh yeast
  • 2 cups buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour OR unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon drippings OR lard
  • ½ cup brown sugar

The night (or 8 hours) before serving, put ½ cup of bloodwarm water in the bowl or pitcher, stir in molasses, and crumble yeast on top. When yeast has softened, stir in another 2 cups of tap water and both the flours. Cover with a cloth and let stand at room temperature (under 70° F.; refrigerate if room is hotter) to make the sponge.

Next morning remove 1 cup of the sponge to a jar as a starter for the next batch. Store in refrigerator. Dissolve baking soda and salt in ½ cup of hot water, and add drippings. Beat this into the sponge until well mixed.

Heat griddle until it makes water drops dance; grease it with salt pork or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Pour one large test cake to start; use this to cover remaining cakes. Pour each cake 3 to 4 inches wide. Cook until bubbles form and burst, then turn and cook equally long on the other side. As you stack finished cakes on a warm plate, sprinkle each with a little brown sugar.

The starter will keep for a number of days in the refrigerator. For your next batch of cakes, make the sponge by mixing starter with 2 Tablespoons molasses, 2 cups bloodwarm water, 1 ½ cups buckwheat flour, and 1 cup whole wheat or unbleached all-purpose flour. Let stand overnight, then proceed as before, setting aside a new cup before adding final ingredients.

COOKS NOTE: This is a really thin batter, so pour carefully. I used a 1/3 cup measure, and was able to get three small cakes out of it.


You're Kidding, Right?

So last night, I went to cook some dinner. I turned on the oven, and started unloading groceries, since it takes a while for our oven to heat up to temperature. I get everything in the house, start getting the food ready to put in, open the oven door, and...... Guess what. NOTHING! There is nothing happening in the oven. No flame (we have a gas oven), not even a gassy smell.

Alright, at least it's Tuesday, I can still maybe get something done. I wait for my husband to arrive home, he looks at it, follows the instructions for relighting it, and..... NOTHING! Again, nothing is happening.

Alright, it's still early, I can call the property manager. I call, he says he'll call me back. An hour goes by, I'm feeling antsy, so I call him. He says the owner's nephew is looking for our lease to check the terms. Apparently, most of the people who rent from him have to repair their own appliances (even though we don't own said appliances). I'm thinking, is this guy nuts? I have never heard of an instance where a tenant had to repair their own appliances that they didn't own. This isn't anything we did to the oven, we can't even figure out what's wrong, or why the burners work when the oven doesn't. So now, we're waiting for a call to determine the fate of our oven, which may or may not (I'm thinking not) be fixed before tomorrow.

So, now we're at Wednesday morning, with no oven, and close to 20 people wanting to be fed at noon tomorrow. I had so much baking I was going to do today, but that's not happening. I was going to go to church tonight, but now it looks like that's not happening either, because I don't do well driving in snow. And now tomorrow, who knows!?

Thankfully, my husband works at a restaurant where I just might be able to use their oven tomorrow. At least I can get the turkey cooked, even if it's not in my own oven.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Thanksgiving Post 2

I have another great little recipe for y'all. These are a few of the sweeter recipes that we like to make around here.

Chow Mein Cookies

1 bag semi-sweet OR milk chocolate (my personal favorite) chips
1 bag butterscotch chips
1 bag chow mein noodles (the brown crunchy kind)

Melt the chips over very low heat or a double boiler until everything is smooth and melted, stirring occasionally.

Pop a hole in the bag of noodles and crunch them up a bit. This just helps keep the pieces a little smaller and easier to eat.

Combine the melted chips and noodles in a very large bowl until everything is covered in chocolately goodness.

Using a cookie scoop (or a spoon, but the cookie scoop is easier and more fun), scoop little mounds out onto waxed paper. You will have a lot of little cookies. Allow these to set at room temp (or in the fridge or covered outside if it's cool enough and you're in a hurry).

I love a good apple pie, and this is really one of the best recipes I've ever found. I make it one of two ways, and it's always hard to choose. The difference I go between is which spices I use. I'll either go for straight cinnamon (Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon), or Apple Pie Spice, both available at Penzey's. Occasionally, I'll even mix the two.

This is a precooked filling recipe. I usually cheat and use a store bought crust, only because I don't usually have the time to make a crust of my own. Because it's precooked, you can use any kind of top crust you want without any issues with the apples shrinking. A lattice crust looks great on this one, and if you use a disposable pie tin, people will think it's a store bought pie!

Apple Pie

3 pounds apples (6-8 medium-large) (Golden Delicious is what I usually use, though Jonagolds are also very good)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon OR apple pie spice
1/8 tsp. salt

Peel and core the apples. Slice them to a little thicker than 1/4 inch. Measure 7 cups. In a very large, wide skillet over high heat, melt the butter until sizzling and fragrant. Add the apples and toss until glazed with butter. Reduce heat to medium, cover tightly and cook, stirring frequently until the apples are soft on the outside but still slightly crunchy on the inside, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Increase heat to high and cook the apples at a rapid boil until the juices become thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. (**I have had some trouble getting this to thicken up in only three minutes, so I will often let this cook a little longer). Immediately spread the apples on a baking sheet and cool to room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Pour the apples into the bottom crust. Brush the hanging edge of the crust with cold water. Cover with the top crust or lattice, and seal the edge, trim, and crimp or flute. If using a closed top crust, cut steam vents. If desired, you can sprinkle the crust with a little bit of cinnamon sugar.

Bake until the crust is richly browned, and the filling has begun to bubble, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a rack, 3 to 4 hours.

Tasty Thursday: Thanksgiving Post 1

I know I'm a bit late today (loooong day), but here it is!

This week's Tasty Thursday is the Thanksgiving edition, and I've got a few goodies for you!

A few years ago, I tried a version of this recipe that required a whole turkey. The turkey was great, and the leftovers were amazing, but as usual, we didn't eat all of the bird (no one likes dark meat here), and it just seemed that there was a lot of waste. More recently however, we realized that we could order just a turkey breast, getting a whole bunch of white meat, no dark meat, and satisfying everyone at the same time. I was able to adapt the recipe that we've grown to favor, and use it on the breast. This recipe can easily be used on chicken as well, if you're not a big turkey fan.

Garlic Rosemary Turkey Breast

1 or 2 whole, deboned turkey breasts (you have to ask for this at a butcher shop by the way, don't bother with the turkey breasts from the store, if you can even find one)
2-4 garlic cloves, cut in half
Fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Fresh sage, finely chopped
1 lemon, halved
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray or drizzle with olive oil. Place the breasts, skin side up in the baking dish. Make tiny slits in the skin and insert small pieces of garlic between the skin and the meat. You can use as much or as little as you like. (Too much can be pretty overpowering though, so be careful) Squeeze the lemons over the turkey, and sprinkle with sage, rosemary, salt and pepper (sea salt is great for this, as is a peppermill on a coarse setting). Bake until golden brown, and a meat thermometer reads 170 degrees F. (I strongly recommend getting a good thermometer, because I've never actually timed this, I've always gone by temperature. Though if you asked me, I'd say around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on the thickness, freshness and beginning temperature of the breasts).
Serve with all sorts of goodies, and save some for sandwiches.

**Here is the whole turkey recipe, for those of you that want the whole bird**

Garlic Rosemary Turkey

1 whole turkey (10 to 12 lbs)
6 -8 garlic cloves
2 large lemons, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
Salt and pepper

Cut 6-8 small slits in the turkey skin and insert the garlic between the skin and the meat. Squeeze two lemon halves inside the turkey and leave them inside. Squeeze remaining lemon over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey with rosemary, sage, salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a roasting pan (not something I've ever done, since I've never gotten around to getting a rack, but the bird will still cook just fine). Bake uncovered at 325 degrees F. for 1 hour. Cover and bake 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours longer or until a meat thermometer reads 185 degrees F. under the thigh.

Don't forget to visit The Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday Thanksgiving recipes!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Few Updates

I have really been neglecting this lately, haven't I? There has been so much to do lately, with my mom visiting from out of state, getting in contact with my best friend that I hadn't spoken to in about 10 years, finding out that we're having ANOTHER BOY!, you know, little things like that. Not to mention the minor injuries, weird bugs, school, laundry, cleaning, winterizing, and so on.

Thankfully, in the midst of all of that, hubby and I managed to get a nice, relaxing weekend together, where we didn't have to deal with any of the children. Now, for us, this took the help of four different people to get all of our kids taken care of for the weekend. That was a feat in itself, just finding that many people available at the same time, when we only had one weekend to choose from. And I don't even know very many people. Ah well, it was fun. We went to the Wilderness in the Dells. We actually stayed at the Glacier Canyon Lodge, which is some sort of timeshare sort of thing, but you can rent it out like a hotel room I guess. I'm not sure how it works, but we had to sign paperwork saying we weren't going to have any non-family themed parties. I'm wondering exactly what they meant by non-family themed, but I was too tired to ask by the time we got there.

We had fun hanging out though. We were able to do a lot of things around town that we'd never even attempted with the kids. If you still have an inner child, I suggest checking out Wizard Quest. It's a bit cheesy to start off with, but finding the clues was fun. We go so caught up looking for clues that we ran out of time. We would have done it again, but I was getting a bit tired. Plus my belly made it difficult to get into certain places. I was limited in the waterpark area as well, since pretty much the only thing I could do was go on the lazy river. Ah well. I'm not big on water anyway, hubby is. But we had fun anyway. We were able to go out to dinner without having to figure out what everyone wanted or would even be willing to eat, and I managed to make it through a whole day without being snotted on.

Other than that, we've just been busy with the usual day to day. The kids are enjoying the bit of nice weather we're having, which I'm hoping lasts a few more days, and we've been working on getting everything together for Thanksgiving too. My brother-in-law and his girlfriend are coming for sure, and hopefully a few other friends as well. We like to take in strays whenever possible, so it always makes for interesting holidays.

Well, I've got a few things lined up for this week, but hopefully semi-normal posting will resume again. Soon.

Friday, November 2, 2007

And The Winner Is..........

Comment number 27!!!! Phyllis Sommer!! Go visit her blog and wish her a big congratulations!

And as a reminder, here is what she won:

And for anyone else interested in one of my little purses, don't forget to visit my Etsy shop, and check out the other one-of-a-kind creations!

It's Almost Pickin' Time And A Shameless Plug

That's right ladies (and gents, if there are any), it's almost time to pick the winner. Using this great little invention, the Random Number Generator, I will magically pick one awesome winner from the loooong list of entries. 145 to be exact, at the moment anyway.

I will be ending this contest today at 4 p.m. Central Time. So get your entries in quick!!!

As for the shameless plug, here it is. For those of you that just loved my little purse, I have plenty more where that came from. Visit my Etsy shop, and you can choose from several different colors. At the moment, no two are alike. I've been rummaging the remnant bin finding all sorts of cute little oddities, and it has been extremely fun, and addictive. I have two more that I'm making this afternoon, and I'll post pics of the fabrics in just a little while. For now, you'll just have to drool on these:

FINALLY!! I have managed to take pictures that might actually look almost like the real item!!!

The pictures of fabric are the ones that I am going to be making over the next day or so. If you are interested, let me know via email, and I can set it aside for you. The others are just a little eye candy of what is now available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What Is This???!!!

Help! I found this next to my baby, on his blanket to be exact. I don't know if it bit him or not, but I'm having a lot of trouble identifying it. The pictures are about as close as I'm going to get, so I'll add a description. Any help in identifying this thing would be great.

My best description of this thing is that it's body is a gray color with a little dark stripe down the middle of the back, the head looks pretty much black to me (and I'm not about to get closer to find out), and the legs are darker red in the front, and as they go back they get a bit lighter.

Retro Giveaway!

Over at 5 Minutes For Mom! They are giving away a choice of a really great retro gift. Go check it out! Check out the Pedal Cars and Retro Collectibles and the contest link right here!

Monday, October 29, 2007



Wow, that went quick! It's already time for the Rocks In My Dryer Bloggy Giveaway!

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So here it is, my prize for the giveaway. I have been going purse crazy the last week, and I have a few really cute ones. The trouble of course, is deciding which one to give away.

So with the decision finally made, here is my offering for the giveaway:

As usual, the picture doesn't do it justice. It's a cute little shoulder bag. The fabric on the outside is a green with brown flowers, and the fabric on the inside is a reddish brown that also has some flowers. There is a pocket on the inside, and a cute little wooden button holding the top closed.

Good luck everyone! Don't forget to make it possible for me to contact you when you win!.

Quick Edit! Open to U.S. residents only!

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's Fall, Y'all!

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Yes, it's another Giveaway Carnival hosted by Rocks In My Dryer on her Bloggy Giveaway site!

I know exactly what I will be giving away, and it is going to be so much fun! You know all those purses I've been making like it's the last thing I'll ever do? Well, I'm going to give away one of those little beauts! I will look for more fabric options since I have plenty of time. Maybe I'll even do a Fall or Winter theme, since we're into those seasons (or will be). Sound good? Great!

I'll get some more pictures of the rest of the purses I made last night, and the ones I'm going to make in just a little while. I still can't get over how easy these little things are :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Purses To Come!

I found some great fabric and buttons today at JoAnn's, and I had a blast matching them up.

I did my best on adjusting the colors of the pictures, but as usual my camera does not do them justice.

First up, is probably the one that will be my favorite. I found a nice tan embroidered linen remnant, and then a black fabric with white/tan flowers. They really look great together. I then found a nice little slivery button with black accents.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Second up is a nice little ticking, also from the remnant section. It is pink, gold, green and cream. I found a bright red floral with little flowers on it that pick up some of the other colors in the ticking, and a cute little fantasy style button of a lady's head.

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This one was a little trickier to match. It is a muted rose color, with diamonds and flowers. I didn't notice it at first, but it also has a lot of very light areas that were woven into the fabric. I'm not sure if I like it or not, but we'll see how it turns out. My kids helped me with the inside fabric on this one, and they went for a dark red floral. I also used the little button lady on this one as well.

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The last one was another tricky one. I liked the green/brown floral print, but was having trouble finding a good lining. I found a reddish brown floral print that seems to work well with it, along with a nice dark brown wooden button. I think it will look fine once I actually get it together.

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I am quite excited to get started. I should be able to finish these all tomorrow. I have to check on my thread supplies, but I think I've got what I need.

Tasty Thursday: Crock-Pot Pizza

Crock-Pot Pizza

1 package (12 ounces) wide egg noodles

1 ½ pounds ground beef or turkey

¼ cup chopped onion

1 jar (28 ounces) spaghetti sauce

1 jar (4 ½ ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained

1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 package (3 ½ ounces) sliced pepperoni, halved

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

3 cups (12 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Drain noodles. In a 5 qt. slow cooker coated with non-stick cooking spray, spread a third of the meat sauce. Cover with a third of the noodles and pepperoni. Sprinkle with a third of the cheeses. Repeat layers twice. Cover and cook on low for three to four hours or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

This is one that my husband really loves. I did find that I only needed about half of the egg noodles called for. It makes a lot, too.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday recipes!

A Little Whiskey In Your Formula, Madamoiselle?

While this isn't exactly funny, for either the mom or the baby, I do have to laugh just a tiny bit. The mom put some whiskey in her baby's bottle, in an attempt to help her calm down from a nasty teething episode. Now, as a mom, as tempting as it might be to do almost anything to get a screaming child quiet, I would never have thought of actually putting alcohol into a bottle. As a child, my mom used to put whiskey on my gums to soothe my teething, because I was allergic to the num-gums stuff they had back then. I didn't suffer any ill effects from it, other than perhaps it led to my dislike of all things alcoholic. (I still have never been drunk, and have never been able to handle more than an ounce or two of anything with even the slightest taste of alcohol in it.). Maybe that's not such a bad thing though ;)

As for the mom, I'm not sure that charging her and taking away her baby is the best solution. My guess is that she's probably learned her lesson on this one, and will not ever consider doing anything like this again. While obviously not the brightest idea the woman ever had, hopefully this is doing enough to scare her into thinking a little more thoroughly through her future actions.

Tiny Happy Purses

I found this pattern yesterday, and I knew I had to try it right away. I found a really cute home decor remnant at JoAnn's, which was also on sale for 75% off the original price. It is a really cute cream colored, with a diamond pattern woven in, and little dots of green, pink and purple in the middle of the diamonds. As usual, my camera does not do it justice. I then found a really cute farm print for the inside, complete with barns and chickens. Somehow they just seemed right together. Now I just have to decide whether to sell it, keep it, or give it away! I'm definitely going back for more fabric though.

Just a quick note, I did change the pattern for myself. The remnant I bought wasn't quite wide enough, so I made the straps and the purse body separately. I reinforced the straps with a good couple of passes with a zig zag stitch, which worked nicely. I also made a covered button with fabric from the lining. And while you can't see it (because of course, I forgot to take a picture), there is a pocket on the inside that is made from the outer fabric.

H/T to Thought and Thimble for linking to the pattern in the first place :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Quilting Projects

I thought I'd share some of my past projects that I've completed, since I haven't been blogging as much lately.

This is the envelope quilt that I made for a great charity last year. The Delafield Walmart here does a quilt drive and contest every year for the Waukesha Memorial Hospital NICU. Last year they took in the most quilts ever, with well over 100 quilts. I don't remember the exact number, but there were tons, and they were all displayed from the fabric department all the way to the children's clothing department. All quilts must be 36"x36", and the judges check for how well made it is, and if everything is just right (however that works, I'm still a bit new to this). While they loved my quilt, (they really liked the envelopes), I wasn't quite good enough to win anything. But there was sooooo much competition, that I don't think I stood a chance against some of those ladies. I'm working on another one for the next contest, but I haven't started taking pictures yet. I'll get those up soon.

This next quilt is a little thing I did, which started out being for the contest previously mentioned, but I had a little trouble getting the size just right. So I ended up making it much smaller, and giving it to a little girl from our church who was just getting out of the hospital by the time I finished it. She thought it was great. It has the cutest little ballerinas on the fabric, and I would have spent time highlighting those, but I didn't have enough time for that.

This is about it for my quilting projects. I have one more that I have to take some good pictures of, because it really turned out great. I did a small crazy quilt for my mom, complete with hand embroidery, and she brought it up here on her visit so I could take pictures of it in the frame she found. It turned out great, they managed to find the perfect frame for it. I'll hopefully get those up this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Would A Muzzle Be Too Much? Or Should I Just Find A Big Hole To Crawl In?

I love my 4 year old. He has a grasp on verbal skills that none of his older or younger siblings will probably ever quite be able to match. However, this can cause so many issues, for instance like yesterday. I wanted to crawl under a big rock so bad, but I couldn't.

This past spring, as some of you know, we lost a baby through miscarriage. We never really got around to explaining it to the kids, because we just didn't know how, and they didn't really ask what was going on, so we just left it. Good or bad, who knows. But back to yesterday, the hospital where they did the d&c allows mothers the options of burying the remains (as much as they're able to save), and then having a once a year memorial service for all the lost little ones. It was on the way there that I decided to explain what was going on that day. I told the kids that I had had a baby that died in my tummy (they're all pretty young, so I have to choose my words carefully), and that we were going to have a special church service. I allowed them to get all their questions out of the way before the service so that they would hopefully be quiet during the service.

We arrived at the chapel (a very small room, maybe 15 or 20 chairs, maybe half of which were filled when we arrived), and almost right away, my 4 year old boy starts announcing why we're there. Loudly. "My mommy has a baby in her tummy that died! It's right in there (pointing to my tummy). It died and we're here for a special church service!" At this point, I'm trying to quiet him down, and explain that the baby already came out, and there was a new baby in my tummy that was alive. Bad idea. "My mommy has a live baby! Where is the baby mommy? (I point to my belly, sinking even lower into my seat) Right there! There's a baby in there!"

I have never felt so horrid, since I knew there were a few families in there who had lost little ones as well, and don't have my ability to get pregnant at the drop of a hat. I didn't know what to do other than to just keep trying to get him to quiet down. Eventually he gave up trying to announce my situation to the world, but then started up on complete strangers on the way out of the hospital. Oh my. Whatever will I do with that boy?

By the way, the service was beautiful. We took the tiny coffin to the grave site, and now we have a beautiful place to visit our lost little ones. I had never heard of anyone doing this before, but it was really beautiful, and a wonderful idea. And while the kids probably were still too young to understand what was going on, eventually they will understand, and will be as excited to meet that little one in heaven some day as I am.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Tasty Thursday

With all the busyness of trying to get rolling with home school, starting Awanas for the first time with 4 kids involved, and I'm still battling the dreaded morning sickness (shouldn't that be gone yet?), I haven't been doing much posting. I did however, manage to try a new recipe last night.

I love the ingredient search option at I have been craving something with chicken and rice, and I found the perfect recipe. I made it last night, and my kids gobbled it down quicker than I could keep it on their plates. Even my super picky husband liked it, and is willing to let me cook it for dinner again. So this was definitely a hit. I changed a few things from the original recipe (which I think helped for our family), and I'll include those notes at the bottom.

Delicious Chicken Casserole

4 skinless, bone-in chicken breast halves
2 stalks celery, cut into thirds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup cooked rice
6 ounces sour cream
2 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups crushed buttery round crackers
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Bring to a boil the chicken breasts, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, and enough water to cover. Cover, reduce heat to medium low; simmer for 35 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup liquid. Cool chicken, remove meat from bones, and cut into bite-size pieces.

In a large bowl, stir together sour cream, soup, broth, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix in cooked rice and chicken. Spoon mixture into a 9x13 inch casserole dish. In a resealable bag, shake together crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle crackers over the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

**I used frozen chicken, because I have two bags of it. I didn't have any celery, so I didn't put that in, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out where my celery salt went to. I used twice as much rice as was called for, and I also skipped the butter cracker topping in favor of a topping I use on my Au Gratin potatoes.

Crunchy Topping:

1/2 cup butter, melted ****CORRECTION**** THIS SHOULD BE 1/4 CUP BUTTER!!!
2 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes

Combine the butter and cornflakes, and spread evenly over the top of the casserole.

Trust me folks, this is the most simple, basic, satisfying dish I've made in a while. I even convinced my oldest boy to eat a whole spoonful of peas just so he could get a second helping. That's gold ladies :)

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just For Fun....

I decided to try to figure out who my worst idea of a candidate would be, by answering as many of the questions opposite of what I would prefer in a candidate.

This is who I came up with:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I So Want One!!

My husband and I have been talking about getting a vacuum for a while now. Our old one was too much fuss (we had a Rainbow, which works great, for a while, until you accidentally leave it on the water a few times. It gets ugly after that). The one we're using now is an ancient one that belongs to his mother, which also works nice, but it's definitely an old one.

So, when I saw this post for the Dyson giveaway on 5 Minutes For Mom, I got very excited. Now, I realize I have a pretty good track record when it comes to winning things on this site, but this is definitely one our whole family would benefit from. Plus, I lost a very good friend to breast cancer several years ago, so this would be a great honor to her memory. (Does anyone still name their appliances? I might have to name this one after my friend!)

So go check out the contest, sign up, and hopefully, I'll win!!! (Just kidding!)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Go Ron Paul!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tasty Thursday

Today's recipe is one that I picked up from a calendar from Pfaltzgraff, when I was buying table decorations for my wedding. It was one of those free calendars that they handed out with purchases, so I took it home and leafed through it. This is really the first yeast bread I had ever made (so the first few attempts were a bit scary, since I had never worked with yeast before), but now it's a family favorite and one of the softest breads I have in my arsenal. I've been making it now since just before my husband and I were married. It's a great bread to match with just about anything, especially a nice brothy chicken soup.

Herb Peel-Away Bread

3 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages rapid rise yeast
1 Tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 cup water
6 Tablespoon butter, divided
1 egg, room temperature

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast and herbs in a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan, combine water and 4 tablespoons butter. Heat until hot to touch (125-130 degrees F.). Add liquid to dry ingredients. Stir in egg and just enough of remaining flour to form soft dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for about 4 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Let rise, covered, for 10 minutes. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch square (it's important to measure!). Melt 2 tablespoons butter; brush dough surface with butter. Cut into 36 squares (6x6). Place squares butter side down, 12 in a layer, in a greased 9x5x3" loaf pan. Let rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes.

Makes 1 loaf.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It Is Finished!

My quilt that is! I finally finished the baby quilt that I've been working on for nearly a year. It is light and dark yellow, light and dark green, and white with yellow rosebuds. It also sports some origami flowers, which were a lot of fun to make. (I highly recommend Fantastic Fabric Folding by Rebecca Wat, it's where I got the idea for this blanket.)

Here is a slideshow of the blanket.

Monday, September 3, 2007

My Little Girl

What a funny little thing she is. She is six, and the only girl in a houseful of boys. I recently had two different conversations with her. One let me know that she is starting to learn to listen. The other, well I'm not sure what she's learning there, but it was cute anyway.

Yesterday, after a rather difficult ride home from church (the ever popular stop-touching-me-he's-licking-me-i-don't-like-you-very-much fighting in the backseat kind of ride), I had finally had enough and offered to spank all of them when I got home. So, when we get home, my ever observant daughter had a revelation.

Ariel: Mommy?
Mommy: Yes dear?
Ariel: I was thinking. Maybe, if I don't steal, and I'm not naughty, maybe I won't get spanked.
Mommy: (trying desperately to turn this into a really good teaching moment), You're right sweetie. If you don't do those things, you won't get spanked. That's very good.
Ariel: (shoots me a little grin and runs off)

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my daughter, who has finally learned the truth about spankings. Now, if only her brothers would get the same idea!

Conversation number two. It was bath night last night. Lately, my daughter has decided that she doesn't like to be alone in the bathroom, and wants someone to sit with her. Well, in a house of boys, that's not always a good idea. So, I would sit with her for a little bit, then go do a few things. That seemed to work alright for a little bit. But then, came last night's conversation.

Ariel: Mommy, I don't like being alone with the door closed.
Mommy: What is it you're afraid of?
Ariel: I'm afraid the monsters are going to come get me.
Mommy: Hmmm. Where do you think the monsters are going to come from?
Ariel: Right here, behind the wall. (I was totally expecting the drain, but I went with it anyway)
Mommy: Well honey, if the monsters are going to come through that wall, they'd have to make a lot of noise doing it. (no sympathy here, right?) So, if you hear lots of noise, you'll have enough time to get out of the tub before they get through the wall. Okay? I'll be back in a little bit. (I was sooo tempted to go start banging on the wall from the other side, but I figured that might scar her for life, so I refrained).
Ariel: Mommy?
Mommy: Yes sweetie?
Ariel: I know there aren't any monsters on the other side of the wall. (Brilliant reasoning)
Mommy: That's right dear. So you have nothing to be afraid of then, do you?
Ariel: No, Mommy. You're just being silly.

How true that is. And all this from the reasoning of a 6 year old.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Man Stew

This is about as simple as it gets gals. This is a hearty, meat and potatoes stew that is sure to fill up even the pickiest of men (like mine!).

Manly Beef Stew

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening
3 cups hot water OR beef broth or stock
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3-4 large potatoes, gold potatoes are great for this
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 or 2 bay leaves
3/4 cup cold water
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cook and stir the meat in the shortening in a 12-inch skillet or preferably a Dutch oven, until beef is brown. This will take about 15 minutes. Add 3 cups hot water (or broth), 3/4 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer until beef is almost tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Be prepared to add more water if necessary. Occasionally I've had a lot of the water cook off, probably from the heat being just a tad too high. I just keep it nearby now.)

Stir in the potatoes, 2 1/4 teaspoons salt and bay leaves. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves.

Shake the 3/4 cup cold water and 3 tablespoons flour in a tightly sealed container, and gradually stir into stew. (this is the thickener, if you want it thicker later, you can also add dried potato flakes). Boil and stir 1 minute, then reduce heat.

Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

This makes around 5-8 servings, depending on how hungry your man is!

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday Recipes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Somehow, This Doesn't Surprise Me

I read an article today that discussed the efficacy of using anti-bacterial hand soaps,
versus regular hand soaps. The article basically states that the anti-bacterial soaps don't do anything more than regular soaps, and may even cause some resistance to certain bacteria. I'm really not at all surprised by this. I mean, our ancestors did just fine with ash and tallow, why do we need fancy, chemical laden stuff that doesn't work any better than the other?

Read the article for yourself here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Casseroles

Well, we don't really do a lot of casseroles in my house. At least, not as many as I'd like. My husband is picky, and each of the kids have so many different likes/dislikes, it's hard to get something mixed together that Everyone likes.

The closest thing that I have to a casserole, that everyone in my family likes, and the kids just absolutely love, is Hamburger Pie. It's a very simple, body warming food. One of those good old comfort foods, or that's what my husband tells me. I don't have any measurements for the most part, since I've been making it so long. It's really a great one for making only as much as you need. You can tailor it to your family's needs, and preferences. So here it is:

Hamburger Pie

Grease a 2 qt. deep casserole dish. Fill it about 2/3 of the way with prepared mashed potatoes. (You can use boxed or real mashed potatoes.) Top with about a cup or so of shredded cheddar, enough to spread evenly in a layer over the potatoes. Top with about a pound of cooked ground beef. Cover that with more cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

My mom used to use ground turkey or chicken on occasion. It tasted alright, but I was never partial to those ground meats. If they are kinds you use regularly, it may be worth trying that way.

Don't forget to visit The Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Tasty Thursday: Casseroles

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Who's Safe Anymore?

Wow, even a woman with 5 kids isn't immune to carjacking. I had hoped that any criminal stupid enough to even try to take my van would think twice after seeing all the kids in the back seat, but apparently that might not be the case. This woman was shot even after she was getting the children out so he could take the car.

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police said they want to find a man who shot and carjacked a woman traveling with five children.

The woman, who survived the shooting, told police she was stopped at 13th Street and Lincoln Avenue on Thursday when a man stuck a gun through the window and told her to get out of the vehicle.

She was getting the children out when the suspect shot her and took off with her Ford Explorer, police said.
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None of the children was hurt.

The woman is recovering at Froedtert Hospital.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Milwaukee police.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Chicken Soup

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I'm sharing it because I made it yesterday. I'm even having some for breakfast right now!

Awesome Chicken Soup

1 to 2 pounds cooked chicken, diced or torn, or white meat from a whole roast chicken, torn off by hand (original recipe suggested a few raw chicken breasts, cut)

3 tablespoons butter

2 to 3 ribs celery and greens from the heart, chopped

1 medium white onion, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and diced

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup shredded potatoes, ready to cook hash browns, or frozen shredded hashbrowns

1 pint whole milk, or half-and-half or cream

1 quart chicken stock, available in boxes on soup aisle

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg, a healthy grating

1 cup frozen green peas

In a medium pot over medium to medium high heat, cook chicken in butter for a minute or two, then add veggies and season with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning. Cook 5 minutes more, add flour cook another minute. Add potatoes, then whisk in half-and-half or cream and chicken stock. Add nutmeg. Bring soup to a boil by raising heat, then turn heat back to simmer and cook soup another 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings. Add peas. Stir in to warm them through a minute.

Don't forget to visit The Pumkin Patch for more Tasty Thursday recipes!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Home Based Or Internet Business?

Does anyone know the Wisconsin laws regarding this? I'm getting ready to start a business, mostly online, but I can't seem to find what forms I'm required to file, if any.

Any help would be great, thanks.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Tasty Thursday: Cookies!!!!

I love cookies. A lot. I love making them. I definitely love eating them. I don't love having to pick only one recipe to share. So, I'll share a few of my favorites. These are some of the best recipes I have, and they are all sooooo good. I'm drooling just thinking of it.

Okay, here goes:


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups quick oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butterscotch chips
½ cup chopped walnuts

Cream the shortening, sugars and vanilla. Add eggs and cream together. Add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix together and add chips and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350* for about 12 min.

The Cowboy Cookies are very good, especially if you don't care much for chocolate, like my husband. I did try adding chocolate chips once, but it didn't go over too well. It tasted alright, but it was actually better without the chocolate. Who could have guessed?!


Original recipe yield: 4 dozen.

1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup butter
1 egg
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix together the sugars, oil, butter and egg.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar and vanilla. Stir into butter mixture. Stir in vanilla
Stir in cereal, coconut, oatmeal, and chocolate chips.
Chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
Make into balls the size of walnuts. Mix and flatten with a glass dipped in sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes.

One of Everything cookies go fast. Very fast. I can barely keep up with them. If I had my big mixer I would probably make 2 or three batches at once. They are good for a really long time too, if you can get them to last that long. (Once, a small container of them got lost in the back of my pantry for about a month, and they were still just as good as when they were first made. They were a little more crumbly, but they still tasted great. No spoilage at all.)

Lastly, here is a recipe I haven't tried yet, but it looks really good. I might try it some day, just for the fun of it.

The Chewy Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007

8 ounces unsalted butter
11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.

I don't have most of these ingredients on hand, but I've been wanting to try some of the gluten-free cooking just for kicks. We had a scare with my oldest a few years ago (tested positive on one of the markers for Celiac disease), but thankfully he was alright. It still led me to be interested in the method of cooking without gluten, since it is present in so many things. So, if any of you try it before I do, let me know how they taste.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Would You Like To Sign A Petition Banning DiHydrogen Monoxide?

Turkeys! In My Yard!

The last few weeks, we have had two turkey families showing up in our yard. I saw both families about an hour ago, and when I looked outside a few minutes ago, I saw one of the families still wandering around. So, here are some pictures of the Turkey family.

This Bothers Me

This man was accused of 2nd Degree Sexual Assault on a Child. The problem here, is that this happened more than 10 years ago, when he was 16. He had consensual sex with a 15 year old girl, and now carries the stigma of having assaulted a child. He was a child himself at the time, so how can he be charged with this? When a 16 year old boy has sex with an adult teacher, he has no ability to make adult decisions, so therefore he's automatically assumed to be completely innocent and taken advantage of. Yet, a boy of the same age has sex with a peer (which, if you've ever been to a high school sex ed class, what do you think they're promoting when they're handing out condoms?), he's labeled a sex-offender.

How is this right? The man is now being ostracized, his neighbors don't want him near their children (when he has no interest in them in the first place, since that's not even what he was convicted on), and his life is being destroyed because he had sex when he was a kid. Now, I'm a firm supporter of abstinence until marriage, but when the sex ed classes are handing out condoms, and telling kids to practice safe sex (instead of telling them not to have it in the first place), of course this sort of thing is going to happen. There is absolutely no reason to label this man as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

On a side note, part of the reason I hate this system is because I have a friend who was wrongly accused of inappropriate behavior with a student. I know this man well, and his wife was even around for some of the supposed "incidents". The girl was troubled, she hit a police officer, and then had him removed from the case because he came into the store where she worked, to return a shirt with his daughter, and basically managed to get all of the witnesses discredited in some fashion or another, so that my friend had no ability to make a case. So now, he's being harassed by a nasty case worker who won't let him so much as breathe the wrong way, and he will be labeled an offender for the rest of his life. All because some bratty little girl didn't like him. This system is seriously screwed up.

Twice? In Two Hours?

Man Receives Two OWIs In Two Hours

NORWAY, Wis. -- A Franklin man's plea to "just give me a ride home" instead landed him to the Racine County Jail after he was booked twice in just over two hours for drunken driving.

Clayton J. Paul's bad day started July 23 when he tried to leave a bar parking lot at 2:17 p.m. and backed his truck into a Racine County Sheriff's Department cruiser at a high rate of speed, authorities said.

The impact left a large dent in the squad car's front bumper and police said Paul's blood-alcohol level registered a 0.16. That's twice the legal limit of 0.08.

Paul, 53, was cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and exceeding the legal limit. He was booked at the Town of Waterford police station and released to the custody of his wife.

Twelve minutes later at 4:38 p.m., a deputy pulled Paul over again.

According to records, the deputy said that Paul told him, "just give me a ride home."

Instead, Paul failed sobriety tests and registered a 0.13 blood-alcohol level.

He received citations again for OWI and exceeding the legal limit. After being taken back to the station, he was transferred to the Racine County Jail.

So, the man was released into his wife's care, and was found drunk driving 12 minutes later? Where was his wife?

Do you think she should be held responsible? If the man was released, drunk, into her care, and he managed to go driving again, is she legally responsible? Morally responsible? I wonder how that works here.

Tasty Thursday: Caramel Cake

I've been thinking about this cake lately, and with fall coming up, it's really sounding good.


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Caramel Sauce:
½ cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup caramel sauce
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 - ¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. In a large bowl, cream butter, slowly add sugar, beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt together. Measure milk and add vanilla to it. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the large bowl, alternating between flour and milk. Blend thoroughly after each addition. Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 40 minutes. Start checking for doneness after 30 minutes. The middle should be firm and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. The cake should rise even with the pan or a bit above it.
Caramel Sauce: While cake is baking, combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium. Once the butter has melted and the mixture is hot, add milk and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside ½ cup. Once you remove the cake from the oven, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, using a fork, poke the top of the cake to make an even pattern of holes. Slowly pour the remaining caramel sauce over the top, spreading it evenly. Some of the sauce will be absorbed into the holes. Let cake cool.
Frosting: In a roomy bowl, whip the remaining caramel sauce with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly add the milk, 1/8 cup at a time. Beat to a nice spreading consistency. Spread over cooled cake.

The cake is a bit on the sweet side, but it has great flavor. This year I plan on finding a way to add apples to it, because it seems like it would be a great combination.

Don't forget to visit the Pumkin Patch for more great Tasty Thursday recipes!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Where Have All The Parents Gone?

This is just another example of how young children are running free to the point of destruction. 12 and 14 year old boys, with enough boredom, or anger, or whatever the case may be, going to a store and destroying and stealing property. Where are their parents? Where is any influence in their young lives telling them that what they are doing is wrong? Has no one told them that destroying another person's property is a bad idea?

In my opinion, the parents of these children should be held at least partially responsible. The parents are supposed to teach the children values and respect for others. These are their children, and they have a certain amount of responsibility until those children are adults.

When my oldest son, who was 4 at the time, developed a bit of a klepto problem, we dealt with it strictly and immediately. He still does it around the house now and then, but he is punished each time. And it becomes further between each time. When he stole something from a store, we made him take it back, apologize, pay for it, and kept it from him. A candy bar once, a pen another time. We paid for them, and then threw them away. It upset him terribly, but now he is more willing to work for the money to buy these things. He is learning that there are consequences to actions, and that there are ways of getting something that is desired, without stealing. Where was that sort of teaching for these boys? Where are the parents in all this?

Does anyone else think the parents should be responsible for their children's actions?