Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photo Thursday - Roadtrip Finds

Just some photos to share today.
I've been having some editing fun recently.

What do your road trips look like?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Plastic Dinner Party

Last week DR and I were surprised by some visitors from southern Indiana. Mike and Connie were DR's neighbors when he was growing up and he was in school with their kids. I'd say Mike and Connie were like a second set of parents to DR. We lived fairly close to Mike and Connie for about a year, back when the boys were about two years old. They are a great couple and I've always loved spending time with them.

Mike and Connie had been in Texas visiting family and they decided to swing through Kansas to see us. DR called on Tuesday to let me know they'd be at our house just in time for dinner. Great!! A fabulous excuse to grill up some T-Bone steaks. I had dinner a hummin', the kids were behaving and helping me pick up the house...everything was going great! Until I went to set the table....

Did you know all of my dinnerware is plastic? 

Our plates are plastic McDonald plates DR used when he was a kid. And all our drinking glasses are plastic. I was mortified. It's not often I have dinner guests and I sure didn't want to serve dinner to a couple of adults on Ronald McDonald's face!! But I didn't have much choice, I couldn't stop time for an hour and rush to WalMart (cuz that's the only choice) and buy new glasses and plates. I should have known though, Connie and Mike are such wonderful folks it didn't bother them a bit. They were just happy to see family (well, not exactly family but close enough).

Now I distinctly remember receiving a set of white and blue ceramic dishes and real glass drinking glasses as wedding gifts. How is it that almost eight years later (wow, 8 years!) all of that adult dinnerware has disappeared? I know we lost some of it when we moved (one out of a million times) but what happened to the rest?

Oh yeah!!  *sigh* We had kids! It's a wonder we haven't moved into a plastic house yet!

So when do I get to eat like an adult again on real plates out of glasses that aren't decorated with Santa Claus or have a restaurant's name and cartoon characters emblazoned across it? Is there a magical age where kids don't break dishes anymore or can be trusted to actually, dare I say, be careful with a real glass? Better yet, can't I just cast a spell on dinnerware to become unbreakable?

It isn't like I intended to use plastic plates and cups when I starting having kids. Grandparents gave us some of it (not complaining grandparents, just stating facts), some came as part of goodies from school parties. Aliens drop off plastic silverware in the middle of the night! (There's no other explanation.) Plastic has invaded our home like rabbits. It's everywhere!! 

So, the older I get, I'd like to know which leaves first.....the plastic dishes or the kids?

Crash!!! (the sound Prairie Mother just heard in the background)


Anyone in the market to buy a few kids? They're housebroken....almost.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DR's Date Night Nightmare

DR and I had a date over the weekend...woo hoo!!
It doesn't happen very often and I was excited. DR kept asking me where I wanted to eat. Heck! I wasn't doing the cooking or cleaning up so I didn't care and told him to choose.

We ended up at Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant.
 It was small and cozy and had really good food.

Yay! I had a margarita! I've always wanted about a dozen of those cactus glasses....I just think they are just too darn cute!

I had a great dinner but DR??? Mmmmm, not so much.

There was a table full of high school prom kids out at the table right next to us.I loved looking at all of those pretty dresses. I thought the girl in lime looked just like a blooming flower. There were nine very excited girls and one, very quiet, boy enjoying dinner before prom.

Oh, they weren't loud or crazy or anything but poor DR couldn't stop staring.

He wasn't staring out of fascination or admiration or nostalgia.

He was staring out of sheer terror!

DR: "Those are girls...teenage girls."

Me: "Yes honey. Good observation."

DR: "Yahoo's a girl."

Me: "Yes dear she's a girl. And she just turned two years old. How long did it take you to figure that out?"

DR shakes his head: "Yahoo's going to become a teenage girl!!!!" (He said this as though shocking information had just been revealed.) "She's not going to want to dress up like she?""

"Oh silly Daddy!! Of course I am! Ha ha have soooo much to learn about little girls!"

DR wasn't in much of a good mood for the rest of the night.

Me? I thought it was hilarious!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Marker Monday - Coffee Filter Flowers

Here's a simple craft Yahoo and I worked on last week. Simple because it doesn't involve paint. I love to paint, but not with Yahoo. With her, paint always ends up everywhere but the paper she's supposed to paint on. Namely, it lands on her. But this was a simple project with not too much mess so cleanup was really quick.

Using magic markers (not permanent ) Yahoo scribbled on some flat coffee filters. I kept trying to get her to color more towards the edge but she was happy working in the middle.

I did a couple too.

Don't worry about coloring too nicely because the next step is to spray your drawing lightly with water. Spray it just enough to get the colors to run together.

Allow the coffee filters to dry then stack two or three together, pinch the center of the circles and scrunch the edges together to form flowers. I wrapped a pipe cleaner onto the bottom and stuck our flowers in a vase.

A quick way to enjoy some flowers if it isn't quite warm enough to go outside and enjoy any....yet!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Devotions - Spring Flowers

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:28-34

My neighbor has spring flowers coming up in her flowerbed.
I sneaked over and took some photos; I don't think she'll mind.

I don't know if there is anything more welcome than the sight of spring flowers after a long dreary winter. The did my heart good this morning to spy them. The sight of them lifted me up and assured me that the warm weather is close at hand.

The sight of these gorgeous flowers are also a reminder of God's constant presence in our lives. He loves His believers more than anything else. Yet look around at the beauty of nature! What beautiful wonders he has created; the sunny daffodil, the vast expanse of the Grand Canyon, the gentle flight of an eagle. For us they are wonders to behold. But they are also a reminder that although God cares a great deal for the birds and animals and flowers that He cares for us even more. He will take care of us no matter what comes our way, if only we believe.

Thank You God for the stunning beauty of this world! Thank You for Your reassurance and Your love. Amen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Trampoline

We went to the country over Spring Break to buy eggs and wheat flour from Connie, a farmer friend of ours. She and her son mill white wheat they've grown and sell it in local grocery stores.

She had a trampoline in her backyard and she graciously let us invade her yard, not once, but two days in a row to bounce. Needless to say Connie is now Yip and Yap's favorite person in the community!

And of course Yahoo wouldn't be left out.
She climbed up right between the boys.

She squealed with joy! 

"Stop bouncing your sister so high!!!"

How many years can I put off buying a trampoline? I admit, I've always wanted one.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Foody Friday - Peanut Butter Granola

I pulled this recipe out of a magazine years ago and I used to make it all the time. However, I had totally forgotten about it until DR requested some the other day. But I didn't have all the ingredients so I changed it up a bit and it worked out great.

The Original
Yummy Peanut Butter Granola

3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup roasted peanuts
1/4 c. wheat germ
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 c. canola oil
1 c. honey
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c. raisins

Preheat oven to 300. Grease a 13X9 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, combine oats, peanuts, wheat germ, coconut, cinnamon and salt. in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the oil, honey and peanut butter and vanilla. Stir until the mixture is completely combined - don't allow to simmer. Pour the warm peanut butter mix into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Spread the granola on prepared pan and bake 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool, then break into chunks. Transfer to airtight container suitable for storage; add raisins and mix until combined.

How I changed it;

3 cups oats
1/4 c. ground flax seed
1/2 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c. chopped pecans
(I just happened to have them on hand and tossed em' in.)
lots of cinnamon (I didn't measure)
1/2 t. salt
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
1 cup of chunky peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. raisins or dried cranberries

I followed the instructions as above until I came to melting the peanut butter. I had mixed it in a small bowl and forgot I was supposed to put it on the stove. I popped it in the microwave for 30 second intervals and it worked just fine. I spread my granola on a cookie sheet and roasted it. Mine took closer to an hour to finish.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Photo Thursday - My Drive Through the Country...and the Attack of The Barn Owls!

Over the weekend I took off for a little drive through the country.
DR and I have been stumbling across all kinds of old windmills and farmsteads out here.

There is one location I know of where I can stop in the middle of the road and see three old windmills in the distance. There aren't many of these guys left in other parts of the country but they are bountiful here.

I came across this little old shack in the middle of no where and didn't think anyone would mind if I took a few pictures.

I wonder how old that house and windmill is?

I admired the roughness of it and began walking around quickly snapping photos.

Here's a view of a windmill you don't often see.
The windmill was less than an arm span from the building so that made me think it wasn't a house. Who'd want a squeaky windmill right out their front door? Or maybe it was and the windmill was added later. Or maybe it was built that way on purpose because some farmer didn't want to travel too far to work on his windmill.  


The building was abandoned and in disrepair. I wonder if it had been a house at one time or if it had been built with a different purpose? I didn't go inside the building of course but there were plenty of open windows that I could shoot through. I was really enjoying myself, finding all the wonderful photo opportunities when I suddenly heard some loud rustling up above and to my right.

I stepped back quickly. I'm kind of a wimp when it comes to unidentified sounds!

Holy smoke! A huge bird flew out of the doorway from the attic and scared the bejeezus out of me!!!!

And then there was a second one!!!

It was a pair of barn owls!  These two photos were all I managed to get of them. I did manage to get a glimpse of their faces and they were gorgeous!

They flew off in different directions. From what I've read on them I assume they were a pair nesting in the old barn. I've read barn owls will use the same nesting site over and over again. Now that I know where they are I'm going to return sometime and maybe I'll get a better shot.

borrowed from Internet
Aren't they beautiful? I just love the shape of their faces.
Wish me luck and maybe I'll have some better photos soon! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What does your refrigerator say about you?

I am currently participating in Walk Kansas, a statewide initiative to get exercising more and eating better. Along with my 5 teammates, my goal is at least twenty minutes of vigorous exercise a day and 4 cups of fruits and/ or vegetables. To help us towards our goal Walk Kansas sends out newsletters and shares healthy living tips on their Facebook page.

On of their shared links was Mark Menjivar's You Are What You Eat Photography Exhibit. Menjivar traveled the country for three years asking to photograph people's refrigerators.

He says, For three years I traveled around the country exploring food issues. The more time I spent speaking and listening to individual stories, the more I began to think about the foods we consume and the effects they have on us as individuals and communities.
An intense curiosity and questions about stewardship led me to begin to make these unconventional portraits. A refrigerator is both a private and a shared space. One person likened the question, “May I photograph the interior of your fridge?” to asking someone to pose nude for the camera.
Each fridge is photographed “as is”. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

These are portraits of the rich and the poor. Vegetarians, Republicans, members of the NRA, those left out, the under appreciated, former soldiers in Hitler’s SS, dreamers, and so much more. We never know the full story of one’s life.

There are about 20 different refrigerators on his website. And it's funny but as I flipped through the photos and read the very brief descriptions I did get a sense that what is in your fridge can really reveal a lot about a person.

The teacher who chose to eat only local produce

A one person household on a $432 fixed monthly budget.
(This one just made me so sad.)

Twelve point buck shot on the family farm.
(The tequila is a nice touch.)

Three College students in a heavy metal band.
(Hey, Pale Ale! At least they have good taste in beer.)

So, I wonder...what does my refrigerator say about me, Prairie Mother?

My fridge a few days after hitting the store for produce.
I don't have a very organized fridge do I? It looks like half my stuff is going to fall out.

I included my door since it holds so much stuff.
I think it's safe to say we like condiments in our house! And yes, that is a giant container of Parmesan cheese next to the giant size apple juice. Yip and Yap sure like their 'shaker cheese'.

So, what does my fridge say about me?

How about you? Care to drop a link in the comments and share your fridge photos with us?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Post by DR...a Kansas Country Drive.

Over the weekend the weather was gorgeous in SW Kansas.
DR and I both took some time to take some solo drives through the countryside.
We never know what we'll find out here.  

DR came back with some pretty cool photos (and thoughts) he'd like to share with you today.

Cow skulls rock!
Built like a brick....(fill in the blank!)

This is what my house would look like if the boys (DR too) were left unsupervised.

Field ready!

(rust in peace)

No matter where you go in this part of Kansas you will run across farm machinery in a field or pasture, at all times of the year. It's so dry here that farmers don't need to worry too much about their equipment rusting.
Of course some of these look to have been out for QUITE a while!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marker Monday - Spring Break

Last week was Spring Break from school for Yip and Yap. Since we had just went to Taos last month we just spent the week at home. We declared Spring Break as Art Week in our house! I told the boys we would do any sort of art project they wanted. After combing some craft books for inspiration these projects are what they came up with!

Marble Painting

We taped down pieces of paper on the bottom of a box and dropped paint covered marbles inside. The boys rolled the marbles back and forth to create straight paint paths across the paper.

String Painting

I enjoyed this project because it is great for every age.
Watered down paint, dip in some string and go to town.

African Thumb Pianos

The boys found the plans for a thumb piano in one of our books and luckily it was pretty easy. I cut all the wood while the boys sanded. The fender of a Jeep sure works well for a workbench doesn't it? 

Basically, you cut two rectangles and glue 1" cubes between them at the four corners. We used ABC blocks and they worked just fine. Then you add three cross pieces along the top.
The outside cross pieces are glued down, the front being slightly thicker than the back. The middle piece is attached with screws at each end. Once you've slid the Popsicle sticks under the middle piece and adjusted them to different lengths the screws are tightened to hold the sticks in place.

Then we decorated them! These have a surprisingly pleasant sound when played.

Paper Mache Bottle People

I actually chose this project just because I hadn't done paper mache in such a long time....and I think it's kinda fun! But soon after I started Yap wanted to make one too. We used a ball of paper for the head and pipe cleaners for the arms and covered em' up!

Mine is the big one...the shamrock superhero. Yip didn't want to make one of these but he sure did want to tell me how I should make mine. So the Shamrock Hero brings colors to all the places in the world with no colors with her laser eyes. The design was Yip's....I just did the grunt work :)

Please excuse her pipe cleaner hair....she's having a Bad Hair Day!

Yap did a great job on his! It's hard to paint on details so he used a Sharpie marker which worked just fine.

The Christmas Go Cart

And finally, for their last art project of the week, they painted their go cart DR helped them build on Christmas Day. They had a ball when I released them with a can of spray paint!!

Overall we had a great Spring Break even though the furthest we got from home was the town park!

How do you spend your Spring Break?

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