Thursday, May 26, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week 20- you be the star!

Okay blog readers.

I am NOT going to get a recipe done this week. No way no how. To keep with my official "one a week" I'm posting this post, but I do promise to do a double-recipe week in the near future :)

Instead, I'd like to ask you to be the recipe tester today! Here is a link to some taco burgers that I think sound yummy. I challenge someone to give them a try in the next week or so, and leave a comment on this post with your review?!?

Please and thank you!

Taco Burgers

Friday, May 20, 2011

What the heck is a Fish Extender?!

If you are one of my cruise message board friends that has found your way to my blog, do not read this post! Spoiler alert :)

We are going to be taking our third Disney cruise this summer. In 2007 we set sail on the Wonder, in 2009 we went on the Magic, and now in 2011 we are going on the Dream. The one in all the commercials they are running right now.

This is the first year that I've become active in one particular online-Disney nut community. On the message boards, there are threads for each of the sailings, so you can find some other people on your cruise for some extra friendly fun.

One thing this group of folks does is "Fish Extenders"

What the heck is a fish extender? Well, first I will give you a visual:

The door of our stateroom in 2009. See the metal fish that is to the left? THAT would be the FISH in "Fish Extender." Crew members usually leave our navigators sticking up in them, other little notes and invitations, etc.

This thing would be our "Extender." It' a pocket holder thing that you hang from your fishy. Some people make theirs much more simple than this, some people order cute embroidered ones from people that are much fancier than this. I wanted to try to make mine all on my own, so I whipped out my moms old Kenmore sewing machine and went to town. I still have to get the dowel and ribbon thru the top so we can actually hang it.

Here's a pic of one I found online. Lots of people decorate their doors with magnets too. I've done a few magnets, but not anything major. We Disney people are a little crazy though, I will admit. But it's a good crazy :)

Now you know what a "Fish Extender" physically is. What the heck do you do with it? Well, within our "Cruise Meet Thread", where people chime in and say "Hey I'm on this sailing too!" etc etc, we put together a group of those who want to participate in the FE. Apparently this has been going on for years. You sign up to participate, thereby saying that you will be hanging an extender outside your room, and that you will Love to go put little gifty things in everyone elses. The number of cabins participating varies greatly. I know some sailings have had just a dozen cabins involved in the FE....but our very active group has 47 cabins participating! So that means we take a little gifty thing for 47 cabins, and sometime during our cruise, we play basically "secret santa" to everyone. The word on the street is that it is a lot of fun to come back and find things in your mailbox.

If you know me, I'm all about little gifts and fun stuff like that. You decide as a group if you are just doing one delivery, or daily deliveries (we're doing one) and what the day your deliveries are (ours is whenever). You decide as a giver if you want to give one thing for the whole cabin or something for each person. We get a little list that says the participants cabin number, and the name/sex/age of those there. You can buy stuff, make stuff...give cruise/disney stuff, pretty much whatever.

I wanted to do the most for my buck.... I loved the challenge of seeing how fabulous I could make the gifts without breaking the budget. And my ideas were all "individual based" so that's what I did.

The first thing I came across were these little purse compacts at this random weird store here in town for TEN CENTS EACH. Hello cheapness! I thought they'd be a great little addition for the women. I glued little cardstock quotes inside that say "It is nice to be beautiful but it is even more beautiful to be nice" and signed it with my message board name.

Then I had an idea to make the women necklaces. I took those glass marble things that are flat on one side (found in the floral department), glued pictures on the back (of our ship or of the water-feature at the private island), added the loopy-things (called a bail) and got the ribbon necklaces from a vendor on etsy for about 15 cents each. Total necklace cost- about 35 cents.

For the guys, I found little nail clippers at the same random weird store for twenty cents each. I took some of the glass marble things and instead of turning theirs into necklaces, I made them into magnets.

I didn't really get too creative with the kids' stuff. I ordered shovels for the under-age-10 set from ebay for about 25 cents each. We have two days at Castaway Cay, and not everyone remembers to pack sand toys. I added these little labels to them:

I found triple packs of those squishy water-ball things in the target dollar section for the 10 and older crowd. So their gift was about 30 cents each.

All in all to give gifts to 47 cabins and spread some pixie dust, the cost wasn't bad. I spread it out over about two or three months, so I didn't really feel it on our "bottom line" at all. I've got them packed compactly into containers to go in the suitcase. I think I'll take one of those reusable shopping bags, fill it up with some loot, and take my list around for the deliveries. I'll get to cabin 9521 and see that from my list that I need to put in one male, one female, and one teen gift. Drop and go...!

I'm so excited for the trip. For so many reasons. But making some friends before the sailing is certainly adding a new dimension to it that social ol' me is so loving!

And what do you get out of the deal? Well, you'll get a very long recap post-cruise about all the details! Unfortunately, since I still have some waiting to do for the cruise, you have even more waiting to do for the recap!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week #19-Apple Biscuits

Whew! Things have been busy in the Worthwhile Moments household! last weekend was busy with cake orders, all the usual life stuff, starting to get things organized for our upcoming vacation, and all that good stuff.

We are in serious countdown mode around the end of school and to summer vaca. The weather has been wacky but we have spent as much time outside in the evenings as we can.

I've not been in the mood to cook much of anything. Not sure if it's just that there's so many other things I'd rather occupy my time with, or the changing of the seasons, or what.

Pioneer Woman posted this recipe on her page sometime last week, and I knew I had to try it. I like all things apple and all things biscuit. I think she calls it by a different name, and the original recipe used pineapple but both PW and myself used apples instead because that's what we had on hand.

But I'm calling them Apple Biscuits. Click here for the link to PW's post of the recipe... you have to scroll down a little ways in the post.

Here is my product freshly flipped out of the cake pan onto a plate:

And here is my serving with a healthy blob of home-made whipped cream. I had some heavy whipping cream to use up, and so I did!

These were pretty good. Not overly sweet like a cobbler or crisp, and I think the whipped cream is a MUST. I don't know that I could eat the entire biscuit part without the whipped cream. (I'd eat the top half of the biscuits with the apple/caramel stuff on it!). Kinda like pumpkin pie, every bite must have some cool-whip/whipped cream on it. But they were good, and easy!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Hearts Wide Open

A few months ago, someone I know on Facebook said on her status "I live my life with my heart wide open. Please do not come in if you are going to make a mess."

I read that and thought, "that is me. I'm that way too!"

My Dear Hubby always says that I am too quick to call someone a friend. I always say that I call someone a friend until they give me a reason not to.

I live my life with my heart wide open. I love people, because, well...God tells us to, right?

Does this mean that I've been hurt more than I probably need to be? Probably so. I've had people that I was thrilled to befriend, who ended up rejecting me or not wanting my friendship. That hurts. Rejection sucks. It makes you feel like you're not good enough.

But did it change who I am? No. Because I'm still going to live life with my heart wide open. Loving people and taking them in. Because for every butthead that hurts me or rejects me or makes me feel like I'm not good enough, there's another person out there who may end up being a real, true friend. Who may end up needing me. Who may end up being thankful to "do life" with me.

While I have no need for the buttheads who think they don't need me, I cherish the ones that end up being a real, true friend. And all I want to be is a real, true friend to someone who needs me to be.

So, do you live your life with your heart wide open? Do you let people in and cherish a new friendship as a gift from God? or are you one of the buttheads?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

a zillion kids, 95 degrees, and one zoo

Zoo field trip today. Our school alone had 200 kids there, and I can't tell you how many schools were there!

It was about 95 degrees today. A little better than yesterdays 100 degrees. And thankfully, this is Kansas, so it was breezy. Otherwise, I may well have died.

My camera was dead, so I snapped some pics on the iphone. Had Hannah with me, and she did great. Our class had lots of parents along, so I didn't really officially have a group to take care of, a bunch of us just kind of hung together.

We always go LEFT at the zoo....away from the petting zoos lol. So our first stop today was the Chimpanzees. Had to get a pic of the kiddos with the statue:

The chimps were so cute, and there was a BABY one which I just loved.

I can't remember the exact touring order of things to be honest. We did a lot. We rode the tram. We didn't get to the gorillas, tigers, or the jungle (thank God we missed the jungle. I hate the jungle. Why doesn't the zoo have like an Antarctic walk through? I would like that).

One of the highlights of the day was feeding the giraffes. That was so fun.
Hannah fed them once and got quickly intimidated by their fast and grabby tongues.

This guy was ornery. I tried to take a picture with him, and he tried to lick my face. Thankfully I moved and squealed simultaneously and quickly. No giraffe kisses for me!

See little blondie there? one of Brooke's classmates. He "got her" several times. It was so funny.

Brooke feeding the ornery one.

Right after I took this picture, I took a moment to pet the giraffe too. Then I was told that we are not supposed to pet them. Apparently it was okay for them to lick us, but not for us to touch them. Hmmm.

We hopped on the Zoo Tram (another first for us, even though we've been to the zoo lots of times).

Hannah and Brooke both LOVE the turtles.

Another statue picture. I do not know what Hannah is doing.

We had lunch around 1130. The kids had box lunches from the school, and the parents/siblings brought their own. The drink with the box lunches was milk. In 95 degree weather? It was cold, but ugh. I can't even think about drinking milk if I'm in the heat. Grody. So I just gave Brooke a bottled water.

While we were eating, there were geese nearby. Of course there were geese nearby, they are everywhere. Momma geese. Daddy geese. Baby geese. Toddler geese. We had one goose who kept coming over to investigate, and the booger got so close to one of the boys, he snatched the bun right off his sandwich! A few minutes after that, I look back behind the benches that we were sitting on (they backed up to some trees/landscaping area) and saw some kind of rodent. I thought it was too big to be a mouse, so maybe a rat? Whatever it was, he was scurrying around under the benches. Grody.

After lunch all the kids were begging to go to the playground. They have a climber/play area over near the Gorilla exhibit. We trekked that way (and saw lions, meerkats, and zebras along the way). I did not enjoy the playground, because there was of course a zillion school-aged kids running around on it like maniacs, with my little three year old munchkin up there trying to hang too. Fortunately, she negotiated the big kids like a pro and had some moments of help from Brooke and her friends.

At this point, it was about 1245 and it was HOT. All the kids had rec'd their second coating of sunscreen, but they were all so red just from being hot. I rubbed some ice over their faces and necks to help them cool down. I kept looking at Hannah thinking she was getting sunburned, so I put a third application of sunscreen on her. Later, once we got out of the heat, I realized that she just turns red when she is hot, not because she is burning.

We made our way back to the elephants because it was time for "Elephant Training!" It was inside....and it was stinky! But it was so funny! They gave the elephants a bath (with a fire hose!).

One elephant painted a picture! (And the girl helping had on an Iowa State tshirt!).

After each brush stroke, she was rewarded with a few chunks of fruit/veggies...which she eats 150 pounds of PER DAY!

She took a bow, and then went for her turn to get a bath. The other elephant came over to start getting a pedicure. (Which is elephant terminology for getting a TON of dead skin scraped off the bottom of their feet. Grody).

After about 30 minutes of fun with the elephants, we started our way back to the front of the zoo. We hung out in the shade and had fun with the obnoxious geese and their babies, and checked out the swans and the fish.

I don't know what Hannah is doing here, but apparently she was hot.

Five hours at the zoo. Lots of kids. Lots of heat.... really turned out to be a pretty good day. The kids all behaved great, Hannah was a trooper and sooooo good (getting back in the stroller when i asked her, not throwing fits, etc). It was a lot funner than I thought it was going to be!

But yes. I am tired :)

If I get a pick of the giraffe trying to lick me, I'll post it

Monday, May 9, 2011

Worthwhile Challenge Week 18-Fruit Cobbler

I'm running a little behing on recipe posts, this is actually the one for last week.

I was pre-menstrual, and had tried this at my MILs, and damn near ate the whole pan.

Yes, I am going to Zumba this morning.

Anyways, EASY YUMMY Fruit Cobbler. Where it says "fruit of your choice" you can put in fresh fruit, canned (drained) fruit, even pie filling. I used the Dole Peaches (in the plastic jars) and it was wonderful.

Melt 1 stick of margarine in a 9x13 pan. Mix together 1 c. flour, 1 cup sugar, 1.5 tsp baking powder and 3/4 cup milk. Pour over margarine. Carefully add fruit of your choice. Sprinkle another one cup of sugar over all. Bake at 350 for about an hour. Great served with a little blob of cool whip.

SO YUMMY! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


True story: I got my first pair of glasses in fourth grade. They had little bitty strawberries on the sides. I still have them. They are horrendous. I remember walking into school the first day I had them, already extremely self conscious about them. Shane Ross looked at me for a minute, and said "They make you look smarter!". I promptly burst into tears.

True story: I got my first pair of contacts in eighth grade. Thank you Jesus. Thank you parents. I walked into my room after I got home from the eye doctor, and I heard a ringing sound. That same day, my parents had hooked a teen-line up in my bedroom!!! Thank you Jesus. Thank you parents. I did a happy dance.

Last week I got some new glasses. I think it's the first new pair of glasses I've gotten in probably 4 years. A little different look for me. I only wear them at night, but it's nice to have something that feel better on my face too.

Here are the old ones:

And here are the new ones:

What do you think?

Neither tears nor happy dance occurred with the arrival of these glasses.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May Day

Do you do May Day baskets?

I've done them for as long as I can remember. Love doing things like that. (My "love language" is small gifts, so it's right up my alley).

When I did not yet have kids, I did little gifts for my friends. Now, I am doing May Day baskets with the girls.

My baskets have taken on many forms over the years. I've learned to make them with whatever I might have on hand. I've done the little dixie cups. I've done the solo cups with pipe cleaner handles. I remember making paper cones out of construction paper. This year, we colored flowers on paper lunch sacks and made construction paper handles.

The baskets have also been filled with a variety of things. This year, each bag had a handful of crunch-n-munch popcorn, some twizzlers, and a few gumballs. A little uninspired, but I was kind of winging it...and it was rainy.

Hannah really didn't understand what we were doing... and Brooke was WAY more excited than she looks in this picture:

This was our first delivery...the neighbors across the street. Brooke of course left Hannah in the dust. She finally caught up. I yelled "put the bags down and ring the doorbell!". After I saw that they did that I said "okay, now run on back to me!!!". Hannah leans down, picks up the bag, and starts to bail. I said "No no!! leave the bag there hannah!!!". So she set it on the step and headed back. One bag on the porch. One on the step. I only hoped it did not start raining before the kids found them. (they weren't home at that moment I found out later).

Then it was on to the other neighbor's house. They have four kids! Hannah got the hang of it a bit better, set her bags down and waited for Brooke to ring the (broken) doorbell. (Found out it was broken later). They scramble down the porch to head my way. This time, Hannah leaves the bag, but does make a pitstop to snag a few pieces of crunch-n-munch out of one of them for herself.

That kid is a hoot.

Not the most stellar of baskets, weather, or delivery experience. And the poor girls did not receive any May Baskets. Is this a dead tradition? Well, it will play on in the Worthwhile Moments house!

Give it a try next year! It's a fun project!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Homework Not-so-Merry-Go-Round

Homework sucks.

I never minded it much as a kid (no, I was not a nerd).

But as a mommy. Ugh. Shove toothpicks in my eyeballs and string me up by my toes. It can get SO tedious.

And it's not that we have A LOT. It's's hard to find the "perfect time" to do it.

Right after school, the poor kid is so tired and has had a long day, she really needs some time to unwind, play, and relax.

But after dinner? Holy cow. The kid gets her second wind as her blood sugar goes back up, and let me tell you, all hell breaks loose around here. She gets ants in her pants, spastic, loud, energetic. Little monkey is the same way. We finished eating 20 ago, and they are marching stomping around the house in circles, screaming singing at the top of their lungs. Give it about five minutes and I'm sure they will be fighting.

It's that 20 minutes between dinner and all hell breaking loose that we try to get homework done. And homework is frustrating.

Mostly because it's a lot of math, and no one in this house is a fan of math.

Thank GOD school is almost done for the year.