Sunday, March 31, 2013

Devilishly Cute Chicks

On Facebook today, a friend posted a  photo of deviled eggs turned into angry chicks and I thought "That's not right for Easter! They need to be happy!" So, I made the following:

Isn't he CUTE?
Then I got to thinking...maybe you'd like to know how to do this too. So, come along with me while I teach you had to make devilishly cute chicks!
  • Dozen Eggs - 13 or 14 if you want extra yolk
  • Miracle Whip (or mayo if you prefer)
  • Grape Cherry Tomatoes
  • Black Olives 
(The bananas in the photo are NOT an ingredient...
that's just where they live on my counter.)

  1. First, boil the eggs like you normally would for deviled eggs. I do mine about 13 minutes and they're darn near perfect. Peel them after they're cooled enough to handle
  2. Next, lop off their hats. I cut mine about 1/3 of the way down, but you can make smaller hats if you desire.
  3. If the yolk isn't visible or is hard to get out, use a very thin knife to cut around the inside of the shell until the yolk can escape.
  4. Make the yolk mixture like you normally would for deviled eggs. I can't tell you measurements because it depends on how many eggs and how mushy you like it. I personally just squeeze in the MW then stir and repeat until the consistency desired.
  5. Fill your eggs with the yolk mixture, adding some above the egg white for the chick head. Personally, I use a chef's icing bag for the yolk mixture. It makes deviled eggs so much easier, whether they're done this way or the normal way. (One of the best "for no reason" gifts my husband has ever bought me; although I think his reason was to keep me making deviled eggs.)
  6. Cut the tomatoes in half then cut the halves in long quarters to get the beaks. I cleared off the gooey part of the tomato. Push the beaks gently into the bottom of the visible yolk on each chick. I used three tomatoes to get the right beaks for mine.
  7. Cut the black olives into little pieces for the eyes. I only used 2 olives for a dozen chicks. Push the eyes into the yolk as well, above the eyes.
  8. When the faces are in place, put the caps back on the eggs and smush down a little so they stick.
  9. Voila! Devilishly Cute Chick Eggs! :) 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Failed Challenge...but Two New Ones!

So, I completely failed with my self-produced "Pinterest Challenge" from September. Failed it so miserably I want to take down the ONE post that I made for it! Seriously, that's just sad and I'm ashamed of myself for such a lack of commitment!

But, I'm a firm believe in setting goals and trying to reach them. Occassionally I just need a little incentive and help. So, I've set myself up for TWO challenges in November and I will be committed to seeing them through!

I've already introduced these challenges on my other blog and really hate to repeat myself. So, please head over and read about National Blog Post Month and National Novel Writing Month at!

The daily blog posts will actually be happening over at that site. Maybe next year I'll be able to do it here, too! But, please be sure to ask me about the fiction novel writing challenge - how it's coming, do I need ideas, do I need readers, do I need coffee, food or some sleep?

If I know there's interest I feel accountable and if I'm accountable I'll stick to the plan (hopefully...)

Cross your fingers and say a prayer for me!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Adventures in Pinterest #1

Follow Me on PinterestToday I officially tried one of my Pinterest pins and during the trial I decided, why not make this a regular thing? I've already made SO many pins (399 pins on 18 boards!) and I really haven't DONE any of them! What's the point of putting all these things on a board if I'm not actually intending to use them?!

So, at least once a week I will be trying out a new recipe, a DIY crafty thing for the home, a new exercise routine, a new outfit, etc. Right now, I only pledge to one a week because life is a bit nuts. Once I get in to the habit of trying new things, hopefully I'll forage into the Pins a bit more often. :) After I try these things, I'll post here and pin the post to my new "Pins I've Tried" board.

On to the first adventure!

After a Saturday I could swear was a Monday and a Sunday spent doing housework and playing disc golf with the kids, I needed some "me" time. I had just posted this pin on Saturday night about a detox bath and I couldn't think of anything more relaxing to try. While I was at the grocery store on Sunday, I had to pick up the hydrogen peroxide and the ginger and by 8:30 I was ready to detox and relax!

When I went to add the hydrogen peroxide I had to convert the 3 pints she lists in the directions to ounces. Wow. Um, for those who can't do that in their heads, it's 48 ounces. Or 6 cups. Although I had purchased the large bottle of peroxide, it wasn't nearly enough. So, I only put in 4 cups and hoped for the best. Be sure you buy enough if you try this out!

I ran a pretty hot bath but it wasn't nearly hot enough to make me sweat. Once I could tolerate the temp on my skin, I kept adding hot water until I was actually sweating. Yikes that's HOT! But, once the sweating started, it was like the post said and I was a faucet. Ick...but that's the point, right?

After about 30 minutes, my kids checked on me to see if I had drowned. Since I hadn't and I actually needed to get them to bed, I took a quick shower to wash my hair and clear off the sweat (cuz seriously, who wants to go to bed sweaty wihtout a good reason?).

Right now, I'm downing lots of water cuz I feel depleted after the disc golf and the bath. My body does feel less stressed and my skin is super soft. (Added bonus?)

I'll have to check in tomorrow morning to see if it actually helps me sleep better and wake up less achy than I would normally be after a weekend like this. If I actually sleep better, I might have to make this a fairly regular thing.

Oh, but next time? I have to remember this little do-dad. Without it, my displaced water keeps escaping, my water level is pretty low and the drain noise is anything BUT relaxing! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Break: Clean or Consequences

My goal for Spring Break was to have a MUCH cleaner home - not just decluttered but really CLEAN. But, with two boys to entertain and to keep from grumbling while cleaning, I needed a plan! Thus was born the weeklong game of "Spring Break: Clean or Consequences!".
The idea WAS to have a gameboard and actual game-type cards, etc. but I planned too late and had a karate tournament to sit through the day before we started. So, we went with a modified version for this first year and just pulled the activity cards out of a paper back and we're tracking the rewards in our heads.

To start, I wrote down all the things I wanted to get done around the house. For reference I suggest breaking them up into 15 to 30 minute tasks (see below for why I suggest this...). Instead of "Clean bedrooms" you might have: 1) Pickup clothes & toys, 2) Vacuum/Sweep floor, 3) Dust furniture, and 4) Make beds. Repeat card-making for all rooms and tasks you think you can complete in one week. If certain tasks are dependent on others (you can't vacuum until all the clothes and toys are picked up, for instance) leave them out of the game until they can be done.

I also needed rewards and consequences to make this a "game" for my 10-yr-old boys (everything is a game at this age!). Mine tended to run towards money but use whatever works for your kids. If they can earn money in one reward, you should have an equal consequence of losing money...or break time, or an extra snack, etc. We also have "Remove one consequence" rewards - sort of like a "Get out of jail free card" in Monopoly.

To make it even more fun, we added some "race" activities - like clean bedrooms, pick up office/playroom, scrub tub/toilets (guess which one mom has to do...). The kids work as a team against mom. If they win, they get an extra reward. If mom wins, they have to do an activitiy without mom helping.

We set a daily deadline for getting clean cards completed - our deadline was 1 pm every day. So, we spend the morning cleaning and if we succeed then they have the afternoon for playing and "daily awards". They take turns pulling cards so there's fairness and mom can't stack the deck (dumb rule that *I* set). We set a time limit for the activity to be completed within and hit it hard. If they do it without complaining and within the limit THEY helped set, they get the reward and a 10 minute break. If we don't, no reward and only a 5 minute break. We try to get as many cards completed by the daily deadline as possible.

Overall, I promised them $20 for a week of good hard cleaning. They can lose money for consequences and possibly earn it back with rewards. They can't go over $20 or under $0.

My thought was this would make the cleaning go easier with time limits and deadlines, they would actually get rewards instead of nagging, just the threat of a consequence card makes them work harder, and I'm happy because the house would look better without (many) arguments. Here's how it turned out:

So, because it's hard to get ANYTHING done with that mound of insanity piled up in bedrooms and the laundry room, this day was devoted to getting as much cleaned and put away as possible. Plus, I had to take Travis to the doctor, so the day was sort of off kilter anyway. AND it was nice to just have a down day overall - we all needed a mental health day. :) So, the game didn't really start today, but we got things ready and they got an understanding of the games. I also learned that NOT using the word "CHORE" but rather "ACTIVITY" helped their mental reaction to what we are doing.

I didn't follow my own advice and had "Clean Bedrooms" as one all-encompassing task. Took us over 90 miunutes to get two bedrooms cleaned. UGH. But, SO much better now! It was also a race and they beat me pretty handily so they won a reward. But then they came in an helped me finish (without being asked!), earning them an extra reward. We also pulled the "Pack up books" card and got *6* boxes of books out to the garage. Then we reorganized the book case and it looks so much better!

Consquences: NONE
Rewards: Each boy pulled some money rewards and Son #1 got a "Take a 10-miute break" card - which he saved until day 3.
Daily Award: Cosmic Golf at the Great Mall of the Great Plains plus Topsy's popcorn.

After the "clean bedrooms" craziness I redid a few cards to make the tasks smaller. We ended up completing these tasks:
  • Declutter Living Room
  • Declutter Dining Room
  • Clean Figurines / Reorganize Art Supplies - RACE! (They won, again!)
  • Vacuum Hallway
  • Vacuum Bedrooms
Now, I've thrown the "Wash DR Walls", "Wash LR Walls", "Vacuum LR", and "Mop DR floor" into the deck for tomorrow. :)

Consequences: NONE! Although, we came close with the art supplies time until they remembered it was a race and mom was close to beating them.
Rewards: Again, money and snacks. Plus Son #2 pulled TWO break cards and has 15 minutes to take on Day 4.
Daily Award: Subway picnic lunch at the park with a photo shoot on the playset then a 2-mile (30 minute!) walk in the woods.

Wow, this was a day for some CRAZY cleaning! We accomplished:
  • Washed the walls in the dining room and the hallway (lots of little boy handprints to be removed)
  • Revacuumed the hallway, bedrooms & living room - apparently the bag was full on Wednesday. :)
  • Scrubbed the bathroom floor. This one was all mom. And it wasn't as bad as I  feared!
  • Dusted the living room furtniture - this was hte boys while I did the bathroom.
  • Swept the dining room and kitchen floors - again, the boys while I continued to tackle the bathroom floor.
  • More laundry and dishes
  • Started removing wallpaper in boys room in painting anticipation
  • Moved boys furniture around from original layout we set up 7 years ago! And that stuff is HEAVY!
Consequences: NONE!
Rewards: Boys decided they really didn't need the rewards to keep doing good things. YAY!
Daily Award: Headed over to my friend's house for a few hours. Her husband volunteered to create a chess-based mural for the boys' walls. He and the boys discussed that while she and I discussed her newly painted walls and colors for my bathroom. Then her son and the boys played outside while we drank some wine.

Ok, I admit. I gave up long before the boys did. I was SO tired from everything all week and I just wanted a break. So we took the day off and did NOTHING. At least until 3pm when I started to feel guilty so I hit the boys room to finish stripping the border from their room. Boys chilled out on the Wii for (too many) hours. And they fought more today than any other day this week. Hmmm...lesson to be learned? Keep them busy with work and planned activities rather than let them handle things themselves!

Conclusion: GREAT GAME!
The kids were really positive about this endeavor / experiment! They've told other people about  it and they keep telling me we should make it a real game. Guess that's my next "activity"... :)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Christmas Gifts: Made in America!

This time of year, we all think of giving big, beautiful gifts to our loved ones. These days, that typically means electronics, toys, and other consumer goods generally made in other countries. This year, during a time of economic crisis in the US, let's think outside the box and keep American money inside America. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in commerical wrapping paper?

  • Restaurant gift certificates, from the fancy new dinner place to their preferred lunchtime haunt.
  • Gift certificate from the recipient's preferred hair salon or barber.
  • Contribute to a gym membership or purchase bootcamp sessions.
  • Car detailing, car washes and oil changes for anyone with a car, truck or motorcycle
  • Maid service for a day, month, year, life. (one of my personal requests!)
  • Rather than a new computer, think tune-up and upgrading by the local friend trying to get his repair business up and running.
  • Tickets to local concerts, sporting events and movies.  Even certificates that just pay for the concessions might be welcome!
  • Photo sessions with a local photographer are good for everyone from babies to golden anniversary couples.
  • Think about gift cards for paintball, laser tag or rock climbing at local venues for anyone over 10. Make it a family event!
  • Spa certificates for mani/pedis and massages will soothe the savage beast.
  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions. You should be able to find out if they are printed in the US (daily and weekly media are more likely to be printed here due to time constraints)
  • Are you the big spender who usually buys the TVs, video games and other high-dollar gifts? This year, think about driveway sealings, lawn care and driveway snow clearing services, or a golf course membership. Also, consider plane tickets to visit grandma or a weekend getaway for your sister & brother-in-law (while you watch the kids!)
  • Prefer a tangible gift? Consider the many local craft people who spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. Others make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Search out that local tailor who makes custom dress shirts or evening gowns for a one-of-a-kind clothing gift.
  • Check out sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, Morgan's Deals, and AmazonLocal - most items on these sites are from local service providers.
  • And, while it might seem cheesy or cheap, consider homemade certificates for things like "One whine-free bathroom cleaning" or "one husband-made family dinner where the children act like people instead of monkeys". When redeemed, these mean SO much more than any material product.
If you want to still give traditional gifts, check the labels. Look for that Made in America label. Sometimes it might cost a bit more, but isn't it worth it to keep the money in the US? Need help finding American goods? Try searching on these sites (not the greatest, but they can help you find some things):,, or

  • Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a larger tip than usual.
  • Go out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre.
  • Find a venue showcasing local bands.
  • Give your the postal carrier, trash company, and sitters monetary tips.

This Christmas consider where your money is going when you spend it on gifts. Encourage American small businesses to keep following their dreams. When we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

Note: I received this message with a lot of China references. I have rewritten it to remove the negative comments about another country while trying to keep the idea that we can think outside the box for holiday gift giving as I thought it was important enough to share. It's hard for me to be negative while also talking about the holidays...