Saturday, December 31, 2011

Kids Say the Funniest Things: Part 6

Here's the second part of the funnies from this year. Enjoy! 

Jake singing: "Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I got a beautiful feeling, every time I get my way!"

Alyssa said, "Jacob, you are my best friend, and I love you."

Jake said, "Hey, I have a secret for you." I leaned down so he could whisper in my ear, but instead he kissed me on the cheek.

Jake: :Do you remember something I don't?"
Me: "Yes, I remember the day you were born. Do you?"
Jake: "No. Was it the 1930's?"

Jake asked, "Mommy, do you mind if I test your brain to see if I need to take it out?" 

Jake: "I wish we could go home."
Me: "We are home."
Jake: "No, I wish we could go to our other home."
Me: "Our other home where?"
Jake: "At Grandma's." 

I had to take Alyssa into a public restroom while were were out. As soon as we walked in, she said, "This bathroom is smelly . . . We can put our shoes on the floor, but not our nakey feet.

I found a blog that was filled with amazing sweets recipes. As I was oohing and aahing over all the cakes, Jake said, "Yeah, they have a lot of cakes, but I'm not impressed."

Alyssa said, "I don't want to smell like a dinosaur."

When we got home after a bike ride, I asked Jake to pull out the hose and water the garden. A minute later I notice that Alyssa was soaking wet. When I asked why, she replied, "Jake watered me."

Alyssa said, "When I grow up, I want to be a birdie."

The kids know that they can't come into the house if they're dripping wet. Jake stopped at the door, looked down, and said, "Nope, not leaking."

Jake said, "I raced myself there and won."

Jake told me "I don't love anyone as much as I love you." 

Jake was looking out the window at an eery-looking yellowish-orange sky and said, "Something's fishy here. I think it must be a huge Bat Signal for giants.

Jake told Alyssa, "Take off your shoes if you're going to keep kicking me." 

Alyssa said, "I practiced not eating little LEGOs 'cause I'm not a baby anymore."

Jake: "You're supposed to close your eyes when you pray."
Alyssa: "I don't know how."
Jake: "You have these things that shut your eyes off."

Jake singing, "I will cling to the old rugged cross and exchange it some day for a car." 

Jake asked, "Do you realize that I sound like a girl sometimes when I yell?"

Jake said, "English muffins? What? Muffins don't speak English!"

Jake and Alyssa pointed out the really fancy ice cream truck (aka Schwan's.)

While reading one of the Berestain Bears books, Too Much Birthday, Jake argued with the authors:
          Book: "Papa felled the tree."
          Jake: "You mean the tree fell."
          Me: "No, Papa felled the tree."
          Jake: "No, it's the tree fell."
          Me: Fell can be a different kind of verb, too.
          Jake: {Looks at me in disbelief as I continued with the story.}

I was trying to explain to Alyssa and Zachary that Jake had a stomach bug and didn't want them climbing all over him. Alyssa asked, "Is it like a crawly bug? Did it climb into his mouth and crawl down his throat into his belly?" 

While Jake was cleaning his room: "This room is going to be as clean as an apple!" 

Jake told Alyssa, while playing with his Trio Batcave, “I don't want to play Robin. He's just a young kid.”
Jake was eating a huge dill pickle and said, "It's pickly enough to pickle out my appetite." 
** Check back soon for Part Seven of Kids Say the Funniest Things! **

Want to read previous funny things?
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Kids Say the Funniest Things: Part 5

Another year has flown by! People always say the older you get, the faster time seems to pass. And it's so true! I am amazed at all my kids have learned an accomplished this past year. That's one reason I love this blog. I look back and remember all that we've done, all the projects and recipes we've made, and all the funny things they've said. Just like last year, I'm going to write up a summary of the funny things the kids said over the course of 2011. Here is the first 4 months.

Jake found an old picture of Leighton and me. He had to put it on his dresser next to his bed facing him. He told me, "Now I can see you first thing in the morning. I even kissed it!"

Alyssa told me, "I want to eat onions!" And she did . . . raw.

Jake was reading a book to Alyssa. I realized that he wasn't actually reading, but quoting it from memory. He said, "That's because I rememberized it."

I was reading the kids the story of Joshua and Hur holding Moses' arms up to defeat the Amalekites. It was like an Abbott and Costello skit:
Jake: "Who?"
Me: "Hur."
Jake: "What's her name?"
Me: "Hur."
Jake: "No, what's her name?"

Jake told me, "You make the super-duper best cinnamon rolls!"

Jake brought me his key ring filled with miscellaneous unused keys. "He asked, "Can we wash these? They seem kinda dirty."

Jake was eating a piece of my birthday cake. "I have to stop eating this, my tummy hurts. Well, maybe one more bite . . . just one more . . . one more bite . . .

Jake was trying to perform magic tricks. He put a quarter in his hand and blew on it. He was appalled to find out it was still there when he opened his hand. "What? Why isn't it in my ear?"

I took Zac out to play in the snow for the first time. He whined the entire time were were outside. Then when I brought him in, he whined because he wanted back out. 

I was practicing letter sounds with Alyssa. When asked what p says, she replied, "Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty!"

Jake told me, "Mommy, I love you more than acorns."

I told the kids that the next day was Washington's birthday. Jake asked, "How old is he gonna be? Are we invited?"

Alyssa was cuddling with me in bed one morning. She looked at me and said, "You know what? I love you."

Alyssa: "I'll put on my snow pants and coat and play outside with the birdies."
Me: "But they'll be scared and fly away."
Alyssa: "Why? I not a monster."

Jake said, "Mommy, I love you. I want you to shake like a wet dog."

Jake asked, "Mommy, how can I get my very own echo? Every time I try to say something, it never comes back to me."

I was listing all the things I had to do in the next couple hours. Jake asked, "Can't you have a break one day?"

Alyssa said, "Mommy, I want you. May I have you please?"

Jake said, "These Jigsaw Jones books are really old. You know how I know? Because they don't have any color."

Jake yelled out the window to random teenagers riding by, "Hey! Riding a two-wheeler is not as easy as it looks!"

We were driving home from church one evening and we were pretending that the van was a submarine and were pointing out the things we saw. I said, "I see a hammerhead shark!" Jake laughed so hard and said, "I see a screwdriverhead shark!"

Jake said, "Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curves and waves."

Alyssa told me, "My daddy's so cute!" 

Alyssa refused to take a nap because she was scared. Her daddy told her the day before that skin falls off when you sleep. She thought that meant ALL her skin would fall off.

Jake said, "Mommy, I love you so much my heart will go to you and give you a bigger heart."

Alyssa got the tiniest scratch on her finger. She walked around the house saying, "Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. My skin is falling off."

Jake spent the night at my parents' house. When I picked him up the next day, he said, "I missed you so much my heart was melting."

Alyssa was playing pat-a-cake: "Pat it and roll it. Put it in the oven. Set the timer." Forget about embellishments? Let's make sure it's not over-baked!

Alyssa: "I'm hungry."
Jake: "Are you so hungry you could eat a horse?"
Alyssa: "Nooo, I don't eat horse!"

Jake hurt his ankle and said, "I'm probably going to need a peg leg now."

Alyssa: "May I have candy please?"
Me: "No, I'm making dinner."
Alyssa: "Well, can I have chocolate sauce on my noodles?"

** Look for Part Six tomorrow! **

Want to read previous funny things?
Kids Say the Funniest Things: Part Four (quotes from my first grade students)
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Things That Make Me Smile 12/30/11

1. Spending time with family Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There's nothing better!

2. Leighton had to work only a couple hours on Monday. It was a real treat to have him home with us. I loved watching him play with the kids. I'm not sure who was having more fun . . . or who laughed more.

3. Jake and Alyssa were filling the kitchen table with play dough toys to start making a mess, I mean, playing. Zac saw them and immediately cleaned up the toys he was playing with before joining them.

4. Jake: "What day is it?"
Me: "Tuesday."
Jake: "Oh, man. I wanted to go to church."

5. Zac has been on a big dinosaur kick for the past month or so. He likes watching Dinosaur Train on PBS (Netflix) He ran up to me, raised one finger in the air and said, "I have hypopisis!" (hypothesis)  He's been saying it ever since. It's just the cutest thing! "I have hypopisis!"

6. We were looking at some pictures from this past year. Jake saw this one from Father's Day and said, "Hey! That was in the winter when we had snow!" Nope, sorry. That was in June . . . when we had smudges on the window. Guess I need to clean the windows more.

7. I don't usually add things that Leighton says or does since it's probably not as cute as the kids. I could mention how it makes me smile when he walks in the door at home or when he comes off the platform to sit with me in church or when he reads to the kids at night. There are so many things that make me smile, but I will mention something he said to me this week. I cooked a ham for dinner one night. After he couldn't stop eating it he said, "You know, you're really good at a lot of things, but I have to say, cooking is at the top of the list." That made me smile.

8. Zac loves playing with Alyssa's baby dolls. He'll feed them, put them to bed, and love on them. Lately, he's been cradling a baby as he rocks it and says, "Shh, it's ok. It's ok. Shh, it's ok." I think he's going to make a great big brother. (As long we can keep him from tackling the baby like he does his other siblings!) 
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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 12/28/11

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Tasty Tuesday: Chocolate Fudge

We're continuing this week reviewing a recipe from our Christmas baking. Last week was no bake cookies. This week . . . fudge!

Pour all the ingredients into a bowl and melt in the microwave at 50% power. You can melt it on the stove as well, but who has time for that when you're making 7 other desserts too?

Lining the dish with foil makes it very easy to remove after the fudge is set. Simply lift the foil and turnout onto a cutting board to slice as desired.

The fudge is firm, but soft. Your teeth will siiiink into it as you take a bite. You can change up the intensity of the chocolate by changing the chips you use. You can even use white chocolate or peanut butter chips. This fudge is so, so easy to make, but tastes delicious!

The hardest part is trying to get the toddler to understand that it is not suitable breakfast. Though I can't blame him for trying!

Chocolate Fudge
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Place chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter in large microwaveable bowl. Zap in microwave on medium until chips are melted, about 3-5 minute, stirring once or twice during cooking. Stir in nuts, if desired.
2. Pour into well-greased (or foil-lined) 8x8-inch glass baking dish. Refrigerate until set.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Make It Monday: Wooden Helicopter

Monday was spent utilizing some of the crafty gifts the kids got for Christmas. They were busy stamping with the Melissa & Doug alphabet set, painting with watercolors, painting in paint poster books, coloring, stickering, etc. 

Jake also decided to assemble his wooden helicopter that he found in his stocking. He cut open the top and dumped all the pieces on the table. 

And 5 minutes later it was completely glued together. The kid amazes me.

Every 2 minutes after that, he asked if it was dry yet. Much competence; little patience.

I was planning to take a picture of the finished product, but little Zachy got a hold of it and broke it into pieces. I asked Jake if he was going to put it back together. "Uh, maybe. Not today." He wasn't very impressed once he realized that it couldn't actually fly, that the rubber band just made the rotor spin.  

One thing he has especially like was the glue that came in the kit. He's already used it to fix Zac's new car track thingy after he stepped on it and broke a piece off and he's glued miscellaneous things around the house. 

I'd say it was a dollar well-spent. 

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile 12/23/11

1. Alyssa took an impromptu nap while at my parents house and woke up very sweaty. Upon seeing her own reflection in the mirror, she said, "Um, my hair is not right. We definitely need to brush it."

2. Our church performed our Christmas cantata (musical drama) on Sunday. With Leighton being the choir director and in charge of the whole production, we (especially he) have been very busy with practices and preparations and such. We performed both Sunday morning and evening and had over 100 visitors between the 2 services! During the evening performance, a man in our church talked Jake (who was one of the characters in the play) into adding to one of his lines. After he said, "I'm a sheep cowboy!" he yelled out "Yee-haw!" Jake was so excited about that last part that he skipped over the lines that came before. 

3. Me to Zac: "You have the cutest little face."
Zac, very adamantly: "No! Lyssa do!"

 4. Alyssa had a mini-spiral notebook and a pen and was testing me on my letters. She'd write an A. "Mommy, what's this?"  Then she moved on to a T and on it went. It was good practice for letter writing for her and evidently good practice for letter recognition for me. 

5.  I just love this picture of Jake and Alyssa coating pretzels in white chocolate. They were having so much fun! . . . Maybe even too much fun. 

6. Alyssa's and Zac's teachers at church made foam snowmen ornaments with the kids' pictures in the center. Once Zac saw them hanging on the tree, he walked over to his, squatted down, and said, "Hi Zac!"

7. Wednesday evening was the children's Christmas program at church. Alyssa moved her mouth as she "sang," though I'm not sure any noise actually came out. Zac walked around looking confused and never even attempted to sing. Jake was in the play for the older kids. He said his lines well and was the cutest little shepherd. He didn't sing much of the songs expect for "Go Tell It On the Mountain." That one he was the loudest of all the kids - but just on the chorus. The kids mumbled their way through the verses, then sang at the top of their lungs for the chorus, with our Jacob being the loudest of all.  

8. Alyssa came running into our room in the middle of the night. She was nearly in tears when she asked, "Are we ever gonna see Sugar Cookie again?" Jake had misplaced his beloved teddy bear the night before. Apparently it was still traumatizing to his sister. (P.S. He probably should have looked in the Christmas tree!) Even being woken up from a sound sleep for something as trivial (to me) as a lost toy made me laugh.

9. Alyssa said "I can fix that easily." Ok, that statement might not mean anything to you, but after all, this is a list of things that make me smile. The English teacher in me beams with joy when my kids use adverbs properly.

Merry Christmas! I trust you'll have lots to smile about during the next few days!

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: 12/21/11

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Tasty Tuesday: No Bake Cookies

It's that time of year again - time to spend an entire day baking, baking, and more baking! I love making all these goodies and sharing them. I get a few bites here and there, but am not tempted to eat every single morsel!

We were able to make 5 tins and 2 huge plates full of goodies to spread some holiday cheer. And we still have waaaayy too many left in the house. Trust me, the kids are not complaining (either is the husband, for that matter.)

This picture might remind you of the one from last year. Some of the lineup is the same, but we decided to change it up a little bit. We made spritz cookies in green Christmas trees and red ornaments, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, no bake cookies, fudge, white chocolate & milk chocolate-covered pretzels and Oreos (both regular flavor and Very Berry), sour cream cookies, and brownies. 

This year, I decided to take a few weeks to highlight some of the recipes we made.

First up - no bake cookies! You are not going to find many cookies that are easier to make than these. And they're seriously good. They don't look very appetizing, but looks can be deceiving. 

 Dump some sugar, cocoa powder, butter, milk, and salt into a pot.

 Bring to a boil and be amazed by the bubbly goodness.

 Add peanut butter, vanilla, and oats and stir, stir, stir.

Immediately plop some of the mixture onto wax paper. The gooeyness will just slide right off while it's still warm. 

It's totally ok if some bits randomly fall. It's the perfect way to sneak a taste!

As the cookies cool, they will harden, making it possible to pick them up.

See what I mean? They're not very pretty, but who cares! The peanut butter and chocolate flavors blend into complete yumminess and the oatmeal gives it a bit of texture. Alyssa, Zac, and I love these cookies; Leighton and Jake, not as much. It's a good thing we have many other options for them to choose!

Don't forget to check back next week as we continue with our Christmas baking recipes.

No Bake Cookies
2 c white sugar                                                  1 pinch salt
3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder                    3 c quick cooking oats
1/2 c butter                                                        1/2 c peanut butter
1/2 c milk                                                           1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan bring sugar, cocoa, margarine, milk, and salt to a rapid boil for 1 minute.
2. Add quick cooking oats, peanut butter, and vanilla; mix well.
3. Working quickly, drop by tablespoon onto waxed paper, and let cool.

Linked to Watcha Making Wednesday.
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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vintage Remedies - Review

My family likes to eat. Can you believe it? Yours probably does too, huh?  We certainly eat our fair-share of sweets as you can tell from most of our Tasty Tuesday recipes, but what you don't see are all the other times when we eat healthy - and we like to eat healthy. In fact, just the other day the kids were fighting over brussel sprouts, and a few weeks ago I mentioned how Jake (6 yr) begged for asparagus. I often refer to my kids as little bunny rabbits because they love their veggies. I laugh every time they pick out the fresh spinach from the salad - to eat it first!

I enjoy learning and then teaching the kids about nutrition and eating healthy. This is where Vintage Remedies comes into the picture. The company is founded by Jessie Hawkins, who wrote the books because she was eager to share her wealth of knowledge with others. 

The book we received is Vintage Remedies for Kids ($25.) It's geared for kids ages 2-6 and is designed specifically for parents to teach their children about eating healthy and natural living.  Its 18 chapters are divided into 3 sections: Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, and Healthy Lifestyles. Each chapter begins with a parents section packed full of information and is followed by a read to me section that you read directly with the kids. 

The book also suggests many activities like going to a farm, growing your own garden, watching bugs, and using reusable shopping bags and includes recipes like elderberry pancakes, homemade gum drops, garlic oil, and calendula balm. While we partake in many of those things already, it was fun to see some new ideas. The kids especially like the hands-on part. 

There are many other books  in the Vintage Remedies collection. One of them is the Kitchen Herbal which they graciously sent along to review. This book teaches about 18 traditional culinary herbs and includes recipes like artichoke and parsley frittata, cheddar dill cornbread muffins, and cheesy mustard fondue. Yum! 

You definitely should check out the website and see which book(s) work best for your family. You're bound to find something you just can't live without!

Don't forget to stop by the Crew blog to read other reviews of Vintage Remedies HERE

* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile 12/16/11

1. Jake, my tiny 40-pound 6-year-old, asked, "Can I be a sumo wrestler when I grow up?"

2. . . . Two minutes later, he asked, "Can I be a cyclops when I grow up?" (So much for the high aspirations he had HERE.) 

3. Jake felt the baby kick for the first time! He was so excited and had the biggest smile.

4. Alyssa new thing is "It's my favorite." Every movie she sees -  "It's my favorite." Every shirt she wears - "It's my favorite." Every meal she eats - "It's my favorite." Every toy she plays with - "It's my favorite." My favorite of her favorites was the other day when she said, "What's this? . . . It's my favorite."

5. We needed brown-colored frosting for the reindeer cupcakes, but we had only buttercream and we were all out of cocoa. I took a container of chocolate ganache out of the refrigerator to mix with the buttercream. I left it on the counter to warm to room temperature. When I came back into the kitchen a little while later, I found this scene:   

6. The other day, I was apparently playing hide and seek. Zac came running into the kitchen and yelled, "I find you!!!" He ran back out and said, "hide and seek." Had I only known, I may have hidden better.

7. We made cookies with part chocolate chips and part plain M&Ms. Jake told me, "These cookies taste sooo good, it tastes like you didn't even bake them right." Slightly confused, I asked for an explanation. "They taste better than the recipe makes them. These are the BEST cookies ever!" I think he kinda liked them. 

8. Jake: "I can't wait til I grow up and have kids."
Me: "Why's that?"
Jake: "'Cause I won't have to take care of them, but I'll still get to see them 'cause I'll love them."
Me: "Since you'll be the daddy, you won't have to take care of them?"
Jake: "Yeah. My wife will. I'll just go to work. I still don't know who I'm going to marry though."

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 12/14/11

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Tasty Tuesday: Reindeer Cupcakes

'Tis the season for baking and sharing! With all the Christmas parties and get-togethers happening, why not bring along a herd of adorable reindeer cupcakes? They're sure to produce many smiles and sporadic tunes of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

See what I mean? They're just too cute! Jake and Alyssa were so excited to share them with their friends at church for their Christmas party.  Kids love cupcakes, (Who am I kidding? Adults love cupcakes!) but start adding things like cookies and candy, and the attraction grows. 

So, what are we waiting for? Let's make some cupcakes!

The first step is pretty simple - make your cupcakes.  Following me so far? Good.

Usually, this is where I'd grab a box of cake mix and hand it and all the ingredients to Jake and Alyssa and say, "Have at it," since a mix is perfectly fine, in my opinion, for cupcakes for elementary kids. Problem was, we are out of mixes.  From scratch cupcakes it was.

While the cupcakes are baking and cooling, you can begin preparations for decorating. These are the embellishments we used, but feel free to be creative and change it up.

The assembling of the cupcakes is challenging with a 3 year old and a 6 year old.  They wanted to go, go, go! They did not seem to realize that I am only 1 person. Crazy, I know, but it's true. There is indeed only one of me. I would frost a cupcake and hand it to a child to put on the whites of the eyes and the muzzle, all while the other child is frantically bouncing around in the chair, and I begin to frost another cupcake.

We eventually did get a pretty smooth assembly line going. There were things I did not let them do, like add the ears, antlers, and mouths. I finished up those details after I shooed the kids away from the table. Zac woke up from his nap about halfway through the decorating. His presence at the table added another element to the process.

Here's the breakdown -
  • fur = chocolate frosting, tapped with spatula to add texture
  • ears = pieces of Tootsie Rolls (warm in the microwave for 5-10 second. Pull unto pea-sized pieces, roll into balls, and flatten into ears
  • antlers = mini-twist pretzels, cut in half
  • whites of eyes = mini-marshmallows, cut in half
  • brown eyes = mini-M&Ms, glued with dab of frosting (used my decorator)
  • muzzle= Nilla Wafer
  • red nose= mini-M&M, glued with dab of frosting (used my decorator)
  • mouth = brown decorating gel

Hello, little cutie! I hope your short-lived life was a pleasant one!

Make these fun cupcakes for your next get-together and make some kids (or adults!) happy. Don't forget to come back and let us know how they turned out!

Yellow Cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour                             1 1/3 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder                             1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt                                              2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour 2 round cake pans or 1 bread loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, shortening, and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.
4. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beating well.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes for round pans or about 45 minutes for loaf pan. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Linked to Watcha Making Wednesday.
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The World's Greatest Stories - Review

My children love listening to audio books. I like that I can enrich their minds with good books, even while we're busy doing other things like driving in the van, coloring at the table, or playing in the living room. When I had the opportunity to review The World's Greatest Stories, I jumped at the chance.

The World's Greatest Stories is exactly what it claims to be. It literally is the world's greatest stories since they're taken word for word from the Bible. When the website says "They are told using the art of a dramatic storyteller, incorporating carefully chosen music and sound effects. The result is a very exciting story that comes straight from the words of Scripture," they're not kidding!

The stories are preformed by actor George W. Sarris, who does a phenomenal job! I was amazed the first time I put the CD in and hit play. The story sounds like a full production. You can visualize being in those places with the characters. Mr. Sarris does a fantastic job with the different voices for each character. So much so, that my kids (6 yr & 3 yr) won't listen to the stories in the van when it's dark because the "bad guys are too scary!"

We received Volume 1 - The Prophets (KJV) which contains the following stories:
  • The Blazing Furnace, Daniel 3
  • The Handwriting on the Wall, Daniel 5
  • Daniel in the Lion's Den, Daniel 6
  • Elijah & the Prophets of Baal, 1 Kings 17-18 (My all-time favorite Bible story!)
  • The Prophecy of Jonah, The Book of Jonah 

 Mr. Sarris has also recorded 5 other volumes including stories of the life of Christ, Joseph, and defeating giants, amongst others. All CDs are offered in both KJV and NIV formats and cost $7.95 each. He also has a few other recordings about various topics like  The Two Most Important Things a Father Can Do and Waiting on the Lord for a Life Partner ($4.95 each.)

I highly recommend The World's Greatest Stories! In fact, we've already purchased volumes 2 and 3 to give our kids for Christmas. (Shh, don't tell!) The CDs are great for any age. I think I may have enjoyed listening more than my little ones. I love that we're listening to and absorbing God's Word. There is no literature, no story that is better.

Stop by and read other reviews from The Old Schoolhouse HERE.

* I was given a recording of The World's Greatest Stories in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Make It Monday: Gingerbread Play Dough

The kids and I baked up a batch of gingerbread cookies. But instead of cookie dough, we used play dough; and in place of the sprinkles we used googly eyes and beads. And technically, instead of baking we smashed them up to make them again and again! Either way, the house smelled delicious!

 They were so excited to make the dough. We even had a couple extra helpers.

Dump the dry ingredients into a bowl. Jake was impressed by how pretty it looked with the different shades of brown.

Use your big strong muscles to mix it up.

 Add the wet ingredients.

 Combine well. Once it gets too thick to mix with the spoon, knead the dough with your hands.

They had a very hard time waiting until the dough was completely cool before they started cookie preparations. In fact, they didn't wait. They dough was still slightly warm when they first rolled out their dough and began cutting their shapes.

We had our very own bakery setup in the kitchen. 

 We baked up some traditional gingerbread men . . .

 and Christmas trees.

And some not-so-traditional cyclops trees with pink bellybuttons . . .

 and even a pet rock cookie.

We certainly have been busy. We are now officially open for business and taking orders for all your Christmas needs! 

The kids (ok, me too!) had so much fun rolling, cutting, and decorating our "cookies." They really did look and smell like the real things. Jake asked a few different times, "Can we bake these for real? They smell so good!" A tablespoon or two of some of these spices might be a little costly to be used for something like play dough, but I expect it to last a long time. In fact, the play dough we made last year is just about on its last leg. It's survived 3 kids for over a year. Definitely cost effective. I actually ended up finishing off a few of our spices to make this dough, so I'd better add them to the grocery list for our annual baking extravaganza coming up! Besides, now we'll have fresh spices for our real baked goods.

My favorite part was a conversation that took place between the 2 kids -
Jake: "Look, the candy canes look like J's for Jesus."
Alyssa: "And for Jacob!"
Jake: "Yeah, but Christmas isn't about me. It's all about Jesus."
And he couldn't be more right.

Gingerbread Play Dough
2 c flour                                           1 Tbs cinnamon
1 c salt                                            1 Tbs nutmeg
2 Tbs cream of tartar                      2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs ginger                                    1 1/2  c boiling water

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
2. Add in the vegetable oil and boiling water.
3. Mix well. Once the mixture becomes too thick to stir with a spoon, use your hands to knead it until it is soft and thoroughly combined.
4. Allow mixture to cool before playing.
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Monday, December 12, 2011

Pantry Surprise 12/12/11

Zac has been rearranging the ornaments on our tree for days. They are like dozens of new little toys for him to explore, and he just can't help himself. Much to my dismay, he especially loves pulling down our large collection of ceramic s'mores ornaments that look like little snowmen and making them interact with each other. Those silly snowmen,always tempting him to disobey.

Needless to say, the tree is constantly changing. One day it's "perfect" and the next we have 3 or 4 ornaments on a single branch surrounded by a big, empty void. 

But Zac wasn't the culprit of the Christmas tree surprise this day . . . 

Meet Sugar Cookie, Jake's teddy bear. I guess Jake thought it would make a nice addition to our tree because he literally tossed the stuffed toy up into it and left it there for me to find. I walked from the kitchen to the living room and it caught my attention immediately. 

Me: "Why is Sugar Cookie in our tree?"
Jake: Hahaha! Isn't it funny?"
Me: "Yeah, really funny. Now, please get it out of the tree."

I had visions of little Zachy climbing the tree to reach the newest decoration.

Kids. Never a dull moment.

Find all Pantry Surprises HERE.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Proper Way to Eat Spaghetti

There is a proper way to eat certain foods. Foods like soup, oysters, and sushi can be complicated. Spaghetti is no exception. 

Here Zac will demonstrate the proper way to eat spaghetti.

1. Start by sticking your whole face directly in the plate. 

2. Be sure to fill your mouth completely so as to truly enjoy the meal and make full use of your time.

3. Repeat step one.

 4. When that method no longer fits your needs, grab a handful of spaghetti.

5. Cram it all into your mouth.

6. Stop to shove a piece of garlic bread into your mouth. Please, try to get as much as possible.

7. Repeat steps four and five as necessary.

8. Last, but certainly not least, make sure to check your hands for any remaining spaghetti before leaving the table.

Now that you know the proper way to eat spaghetti, make a batch and practice yourself. No one wants to portray bad etiquette. You want to be prepared next time that you eat spaghetti with others.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Things That Make Me Smile 12/9/11

1. Jake: "I think I'm going to like the new baby. Well, as long as it's not worse than Zachy." - said after Zac took his favorite coloring book

2. We took the kids on a drive through the neighborhood to look at the Christmas decorations. I pointed out 3 reindeer at one house. "No," Zac said. "Horsey."

3. Alyssa pointed to the size 3 on the tag of her dress and asked, "Is this how old it is?"

4. Alyssa, pointing to the nativity scene at church: "Look! It's baby Moses."

5. Jake: "I know why we can't fly - we don't have feathers."

6. I heard Jake talking in his room and it caught my attention. I listened carefully and realized that he was reading a book to Alyssa! How exciting! Ever since this post, he's enjoying reading more and more. I love it!

7. Jake: "Zachy has my tape measurer and he's squirting it all out!"

8. Zac: "Monster out dere!"
Alyssa: "There's no monster out there; it's light out."
Jake: "Yeah, everybody knows that monsters only come out at night."

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Theory Thursday: Volcano Fossil

There is a lady at our church that gives us all sorts of fun school things. She gave us the egg spinner, the JELL-O egg mold, a ton of file folder games, and a few other things.

She gave Jake a special gift last weekend, just because. She even wrapped it up for him. You can bet he was super excited! And then, once he saw what it was, he was even more excited! No more of this fake paleontologist stuff. He was going to excavate his very own fossil.

The kit came with a cute little shovel and a hardened-sand volcano.

Jake went right to work chipping away the sand.

We were both surprised just how much work it was.

And how much of a mess it made.

Eventually though, he made enough progress to spot the treasure inside.

It still took a while longer to work away the sand from the rest of the fossil.

 Success! You can see just how happy his blurry little face was once he finally broke the fossil loose.

We're not exactly sure what it is. It just looks like a rock to me, and maybe it is, but maybe it is a real fossil. Jake was confused at first. He was under the assumption that all fossils are dinosaur bones. It led the way for a discussion about what fossil are. 

It was a perfect learning experience!

I wish I would have kept track of how long the activity took him. It was very time-consuming, which is a good thing. Of course, we had to keep the sand so we can wet it, hide a new treasure inside, and practice paleontology all over again! It's the gift that keeps on giving.

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