Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shortbread Cutouts

Shortbread cookies (cutouts)

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar; gradually add the flour.  Divid the dough in half.  On a lightly floured surface, roll our each portion to 1/4 inch thickness.  Cut with cooke cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on pan.  Sprinkle with colored sugar if desired.
Bake at 300 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lemon Sugar Cookies

Lemon Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp half and half
1 tsp grated lemon peel
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in lemon juice, half and half and lemon peel.  Combine flour and baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  cover and refrigerate for 1 hours or until easy to handle.  On a lightly floured surface, roll out.  Cut with cookie cutters.  Place 1 inch apart on baking sheets.  Sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks to cool.

**I didn't have the lemon peel, and I think this gave it a lesser lemon flavor than I was hoping for.  However they were still ok.
Plus, I didn't want to wait to chill it, I know patience right?, so instead I rolled them into balls, coated with sugar and then pressed them criss cross with a fork, like we did in the olden-days with my grandma. :)
Like I said they were ok, but really only good to me while they were hot and still nice and soft.  After a few days they got harder and less tasty to me, even though my children still liked them.  They will eat anything though. ha.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Susie's Cookies

I used to make these cookies all the time.
I've shared the recipe with friends.

The other day, a friend came over for the night.  Naturally we played boggle, and made cookies. :)
She asked me about making this kind of cookie because I gave her the recipe back in the day and used to make them all the time.  I said, oh yeah, I haven't made those for years.

I found some other cookies recipes and fizzled out of this one I guess....and then it was on the back burner, forgotten.

Well, we revived it because after making them and having them years later, almost like it was the first time they were once again delicious!
We got this recipe when I was a kid, from Susie.  Hence, Susie's cookies.

Susie's Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 pkg, instant vanilla pudding dry mix
2 1/4 cups flour
6 oz chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.  Make about 3 dozen.



Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sweet & Sour Chicken #2

I had posted a previous recipe about sweet and sour chicken that I normally make, but found this one that is a little different.  It's been awhile since I've done the other one so maybe I shouldn't compare, but I really like this one and it was really easy.

Check it out.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

4 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup vinegar
1 cup cold water
1 chicken bouillon cube
7 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 1/2 tsp cornstarch

Cut chicken into cubes.  Heat olive oil into the skillet.  Add the chicken.  Let the chicken cook, and pour any excess liquid out of the pan.  Drain the juices to get the sides of the chicken nice and golden brown.
While the chicken is cooking, mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl.  Whisk together until all blended together.
When the chicken is nice and golden brown, pour the sauce over top.  Stir it together.  Turn up the heat until it comes to a boil, then turn it back down to let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve over rice and Enjoy!


Friday, January 18, 2013


Do you know everything in your memory?

Isn't it crazy how we can hear a song years later, and just start singing along as if the last time we heard it was yesterday?

What about little jingles, or ads.  Can you finish any of these, or tell me what product they are for?

It's the real thing.

Good to the last drop.

Just do it.

Eat Fresh.

I'm loving it.

They're magically delicious.

melts in your mouth, not in your hands.

Hungry? Why wait?

How many did you know?  Did you have to think very hard on some or all of them?

Next question....Did you sit down and study all the commercial jingles so you would know those at the drop of a hat?

Hmmm.....interesting how their little words/advice/opinion is pushing it's way into our head without us really dwelling on it or purposing to remember it.

Now the real question that got me thinking about this came up in Sunday School.  How much are you studying the Word of God so that it will roll right off the tip of your tongue when you hear the start of a verse?

I have to admit, I may know many verses of the Bible, but not always word for word, and not always the reference for where they are found.  So this convicted me.  All this time when I am not purposely putting God's Word into my brain or even just something wholesome, someone else, somehow is putting something in there.  Maybe it's the music I'm listening to, or the movie/tv show/commercial I'm seeing at the moment, the people I'm listening to converse, or you name it.

What am I dwelling on?  What does my brain think about in it's dull moments?  What is playing in the background that is subtly piercing it's way into my mind?

The space will fill up with something, better make sure you are putting in the right things!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Chicken Pesto French Bread Sandwiches


Chicken Pesto French Bread
(open faced sandwich)

French Bread Loaf
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup pesto
2 cups mozzarella
1 cup parmesan

Cut chicken into cubes.  Warm up your pan, add the olive oil, garlic and chicken.  Season it with salt and pepper.  Let cook until the chicken is golden, then set aside in a bowl.  In the same pan, place 2 Tbsp butter and sliced onion.  Cook until they are golden and caramelized in appearance.
Cut your french bread lengthwise to have make your sandwich top and bottom.  Spread pesto on both halves of bread.  Next layer the cooked chicken, onions and then top with cheese.
Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.  Until cheese is golden brown.


TJ gives this an 8 out of 10.


Science Experiment 9- Freezing water

In 3rd grade we are talking about the differences in lakes, ponds and the ocean.

We did an experiment about freezing water and comparing fresh water and salt water.

First we used two glass jars.  One with regular water, and the other with water and 2 tablespoons of salt mixed in.

Now put them in the frige and record what you see every 10 minutes for an hour.



After 30 minutes there was a nice thin layer of ice on the top of the fresh water and nothing yet in the salt water.

Then in 40 minutes, there was a little thicker layer of ice all around the edges and top of the fresh water and still nothing noticeable in the salt water.

After completely frozen for the rest of the day.  The fresh water was hard as a rock.  The salt water was frozen, but frosty in look and more slushy in appearance. 

 Seeing the difference in the clarity after it started thawing a little bit.

See for yourself!

Happy Experimenting!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Water Experiment 8-Will it float

In science we are talking about water, and experimenting with water in 1st grade.
I asked Bear to find 5 things that he wanted to test on if they float.  He brought me some pretty interesting things.
We made a chart, and then he guessed if it would float, and then tested it.

He got 3 out of 5 of them right.

Happy Experimenting.


Thursday, January 10, 2013


Making our silhouettes.

First I used a bright light and traced their head with pencil on paper.
Then I took a picture of it and used the computer to take the paper version, and create the black and white computer version.  Now I'm going to print it as a 5x7 picture to put in their scrapbook.  Because the real one is too big for their scrapbook.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eiffel Tower part 1

We were supposed to make an Eiffel tower with popsicle sticks or something.  Well we didn't have that, but we wanted to do something crafty.  So we changed it up a little.

We used some straws.  Drew a simple design, and then taped on the straws.

Here's the finished artwork.  Have fun with the little things, and if you don't have something just switch it up instead of scrapping the whole project.

Whether your a Picasso or not.....making memories is what it's about. :)

Enjoy your artsy times!


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mending Jeans

Do you have the trouble with ripped out knees in your kids jeans?
It seems every pair of pants my boys own have holes in the knees.
I decided to take the first pair and cut them apart.  Then I sewed patches of the cut material on to their pants.

It just might be easier if I had a sewing machine, but I guess we made it work without.
You could do it too.

On the other hand.  I was talking about this with a friend, and she gave me a little piece of information.  She said that Shopko has a replacement offer on kids jeans.  If they don't stay nice the whole time your child wears them they will replace them.  I still have yet to look into this, but I know she wouldn't lie to me. :)  So, check it out for yourself.  I know I'm going to check it out next time I'm near Shopko.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Snow Season

After Christmas we decorate with snowmen, and snowflakes.

What do you do?


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

DON'T cruise with Royal Caribbean

If you haven't read my long article on the misfortune of our first time cruising experience, you can click here.

I just wanted to explain why I want to unpromote (if that can be a word) Royal Caribbean.

I am well aware that there was a medical emergency while on our cruise.  I believe in the sanctity of life.  I think that all people are created equal, no thing is more important than saving someone's life.

But in the case of bad circumstances, I also believe a company should be willing and even more so, desire to offer customer satisfaction.

When we finally got back home I called and emailed conversing with Royal Caribbean about our trip multiple times.  We paid to cruise with them to Jamaica.  We did not get to go to Jamaica.  They did not offer something in exchange for this misfortune.  In stead we got to sail aimlessly through the sea for the day.   They claimed that they have the right to change the itinerary.  But, would you say that not going to your main destination and offering nothing in it's place a change of itinerary? Seems like a cancelation to me.  Especially when for half a year you are dreaming and planning on going to Jamaica and in stead they say, sorry, we can't make it, but instead we are going to sail through the sea without the chance of getting off the ship for 2 more days!

Each time I talked with them they ended the conversation with, 'We hope you join us again".  I said, do you really hope we do?  You just told me that you are not going to offer any compensation to anyone on the cruise ship for that week, no matter what.  But yet you hope we join you again?  What in your words makes me glad I sailed with you, and above and beyond glad, that I would want to do it again.
Many times in email and over the phone they said there was nothing they were going to offer to me.  Not money back, and not a discount on another cruise with them.  But we hope you come back.

Would you want to go back to someone who says this to you?

I don't get it?  I was not asking for a full refund, I was not angry with them and demanding.  Just simply asking for something to compensate for our misfortune and disappointment.  Even something basic to prove that they care about customer satisfaction.

Instead they proved they don't care about customer satisfaction.  Not as long as they already have your money.  Or that's what it seems to me.

What would you do?
How would you feel?

In a simpler sense...
Would you want to go back to a store who sells you half a product for full price, and when you find out it's not complete they say they aren't going to do anything about it, but please shop with us again?


Cruise-ing "literally"

Well, maybe you haven't heard yet.

TJ and I went on a cruise in December.

We hoped to go to Jamaica.  I hoped to experienced another country and lifestyle for the first time.
Seemed simple enough.

Unfortunately, we basically just cruised the ocean.
So we were cruising.....literally and almost only, completely cruising.

First of all if you know anything about me, you might be amazed that I went.  You should be.  I'm amazed I went.  I'm afraid of boats and water, so I thought this would be horrible.  I thought I would be scared to not be able to see land, and terrified of being on the water for such a long period of time.
Let me tell you, the boat is so HUGE!  You feel like you are in a mall, or hotel.  It's pretty amazing in size and grandeur.  I will definitely not say that you can't tell you are on a boat, like some liars told me, (lol).  But I will say that you are on such a massive device that you can get caught up in all the things there are to do, to not be constantly thinking about the fact that you are on a boat or water.

Our cruise was from Monday night-Saturday morning.  We left around supper time Monday, so besides eating we took that day to go around and find where everything was on the ship.  I was feeling good about about this process so far.  No too bad.  But it was dark and we were sailing through the night.  When we got up on Tuesday we were supposed to be at sea all day and then arrive in Haiti on Wednesday.  We were sailing along Cuba basically.  We could see it  most of the day way in the distance, maybe that helped?  Not sure.  I was still feeling fine.  But then we hit some rough weather.  45-50 mph wind. We were tossing pretty good.  Couldn't walk very straight in the hallways, and just sitting down felt sick to our stomachs a little.  We just wanted it to be night time already so we could go to sleep and wake up to land!  After doing a few activities, and skipping supper because we didn't feel well from the tossing, we went to an ice skating show, then took some seasickness medicine and went to bed.
Wednesday we woke up to find ourselves ported at the "Cruise line owned" part of Haiti.  This was an amazing view!  It was beautiful weather.  We grabbed some breakfast and went down to the dock to get off and sit on the beach.  It was such a nice day there that at that point I was glad, and thought it was worth the seasickness the night before.  Plus, the main reason for getting on the boat was still to come....Jamaica tomorrow!  We had til 3pm to get back on the boat that day, so we headed back and after just having those morning hours on beach and land we soaked up some more sun at the top of the boat.  That night the forecast looked clear.  Should have been smooth sailing.  But they were wrong.  We started to feel the back and forth again, and turned on the tv in the room where it would tell you how far you were and what the weather was like.  The winds were back up to 45-50 mph. Ugh.  At least we get to get off the boat in the morning again.  Right?  We were at a late night show that night 10pm, and heard over the main speaker from the captain that there would be a medical evacuation.  We continued at the show not thinking much else about it.  Then around midnight we went up to the top decks of the boat where the pools are.  We heard the coast guard was going to be rescuing someone off the ship.  So we waiting to watch thinking it would be neat to see.  They had most of the front of the ship blocked off since it would be dangerous to be that close to a landing helicopter.  Remember there are still 50 mph winds blowing and the ship is still sailing on.  The coast guard did not have any lights on and since it was midnight it was hard to see it.  But we could see it slightly in the distance.  They were having a  hard time landing on the helicopter pad on the front of the ship because of the high winds.  They attempted over and over, each time unable to land safely because of the winds and then pulling away from the ship to hover and recalculate or something.  During this process I came to a point where I literally thought it was possible we could be in serious danger.  There are dangerous winds, a helicopter is trying to land on a small pad on the front of a ship that is sailing in dangerous winds.  One wrong move and the helicopter could snap a wire, or snip a part of the boat, or worse.  I'm standing there with everyone else, but cover my eyes and pray that the 4,000 others of us on the ship don't die in the process of trying to save this one other person.  After what feels like forever, the helicopter has to hover over the landing pad, and hoist the people up onto the helicopter since it's not safe or able to land it.  We finally go back to the room, take more seasickness pills and go to bed majorly looking forward to docking and getting off at land in the morning.
I wake up Thursday totally excited.  The main reason I got on this ship, was to go to Jamaica.  I go to my cabin deck door, and look out and all I see is water.  Oh no....this can't be.  I run out of the room, down the hall, cross over to the other side of the ship, hoping that we are docked on the other side, and there is land there.  nope.  So confused.  What is going on?  We go back to the room and turn on the tv back to the same channel that tells you the weather, and show a map of where the boat is.  Not wanting to believe it, the map showed the boat had turned and is going the opposite direction of Jamaica.
What's going on?!  I wanted to get off this boat today!!! AH!
Finally the captain comes on the loud speaker and explains....there were complications with the rescue and weather the night before.  It threw us 7 hours off course.  So there was not enough time in the sailing schedule to go to Jamaica.  So instead....we are going slowly sail through the ocean all day.
OH MY, are you serious?!  I don't know if you can begin to understand how upset and disappointed I was.  Are you kidding me?  This is why I worked up the courage to get on this boat.  This was the leverage my husband used to get me to be ok with going on a cruise. "But we will get to go to Jamaica".
The first few hours of the day were very depressing.  Even though we had nice weather, everyone sitting up on the pool decks were just depressed, in their look and actions.  By mid afternoon I think everyone was finally able to face the realization that we were just going to slowly sail through the ocean for the next two days, there's no where else we can go, and nothing else we can do about it.  So we may as well, find some other activities to do, along with soak up the sun.
We made it through the next two days, but instead of having an awesome time, I was more thinking I can't wait til Saturday.  But really I was wishing they would speed the boat up and get to Florida sooner instead of going slow and keeping the same docking time.

I will only say once in this post, that we sailed with Royal Caribbean.  Even though I do not really want to give them any good publicity because they did not want to offer any sort of compensation for this, I will highlight some things that we had a fun time with.

First even though I don't really count it as a real experience in another country because it was cruise line owned, we had a good time on the beach in Haiti.  Just wish we could have seen what life is really like there and not the nicely put together and almost 'americanized' version of Haiti.
All the workers who helped and served us while on the ship were so pleasant and helpful.  I was very shocked to find them in such good moods considering they are away from family for such long periods, and on a ship 24/7.  Yikes.
The broadway style shows on the ship were very well put together.  I was completely impressed with their professionalism.  I had lower expectations I guess, and they really went above that!

Click here to see another link with very few pictures from the cruise.  (Again I don't want to promote this company, so there will be limited pictures from on the ship.)

Click here to hear more about why I do not wish to promote or support this cruise line.

In the end...
I am alive.
I was able to get away and relax with my husband, and other friends whom we do not see often.
My children survived while we were away. (Thanks to amazing people who stepped in.)
We had warm weather and got to wear shorts in December.  (Not common for us Minnesotans.)
We didn't have things to do, clean or make.  They served and cleaned for us.

Will I do it again?
Maybe....but under certain circumstance.
More stops, closer together.  Again with people we know.  And a few other stipulations. :)


Cruise Pictures (limited)

Click here to read all about our trip.

 All the Cherry Coke I want. :)

 (trying to make the most of the day that we were supposed to be on land.)



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