Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh, the Love of a Guinea Pig

My 9 year old daughter is in love with her guinea pig. She and my 5 year old son acquired these cuddly creatures a few weeks ago. Sydney had been begging for a pet for a couple of years. We already have a shih-tzu. However, she has wanted something to call her own. We had delayed getting an additional pet for as long as possible I think. After doing a lot of research on hamsters versus guinea pigs, we decided that a guinea pig would be more of what she is wanting in a pet -- soft, cuddly, small, doesn't run away from you, not vicious. Anyway, Coconut is her guinea pig and Luke has a guinea pig named Lizzie. The two little ladies live in a cage which we made from a design we saw on The cage stays in Sydney's room and she is responsible for cleaning it out and keeping the area clean. I think she would live in the "pig pen" herself if we'd allow her to. Here is a picture I took yesterday of Sydney and Coconut. It was taken with my new camera! I finally decided on the Canon S5 IS because it isn't so complicated that I can't figure it out. Yet it is the closest to an SLR camera I can find.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thinking Back on Easter

Easter was not our typical Easter this year. It didn't even feel like Easter. First of all, it is too COLD in the northeast to FEEL like an Easter holiday! Grant (our 11 year old son) was in a big Easter production on Saturday and Sunday at the church we've been attending. He had one of the main roles in a song. Well, lo and behold, who wakes up vomiting on Saturday morning? At first I thought that this stomach virus would move in and out quickly. However, he was still sick in the early afternoon. Not wanting to spread such a terrible thing to anyone else, I called the people in charge to let them know of the circumstances and to forewarn them that Grant may not be able to attend. Thankfully, prayers went up from us and the people at church and by 2:00 or 2:30 that afternoon, Grant was starting to feel better. Although he was late for the rehearsal before the performance, poor Grant finally made it in -- weary but alive. God is a great God and answered our prayers! Grant ended up doing well during all three performances and is finally starting to perk up this morning. The Easter production was really awesome and I'm glad that he got to take part in such a ministry.

Sunday evening we spontaneously arranged an after dark Easter egg hunt for our kids and a few neighbor friends. I think it was a big hit and we will probably be doing it again next year. The kids had flashlights and even though we didn't wait until pitch dark, it was fun for them to look for the eggs in the "almost" dark circumstances.

We didn't color eggs this year because of our busy schedule and we didn't even make our traditional Resurrection Rolls. Maybe next year . . .

Resurrection Rolls

1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 large marshmallows
Melted butter

Give each child one triangle shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
Each child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow.
Make sure all seams are pinched together well. (Otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams)
Bake according to package directions.
Break open the tomb and the body of Christ is no longer there!!
Celebrate God's love!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A healthy dose of spinach and blueberries in pancakes

One of my exciting finds in the past few months is "The Sneaky Chef" cookbook by Missy Chase Lapine. I also own "Deceptively Delicious" by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry Seinfeld's wife). My kids have no idea what I sneak into their foods these days. Although my middle child will eat just about anything you give her, my two boys have never been as accepting of vegetables. So I turned to The Sneaky Chef for a little bit of help. The basic concept is to spend a little bit of time each week pureeing foods which you will later put into your main recipe.

One of the purees which I seem to use up quite quickly is the PURPLE PUREE. Basically, you take 3 cups of raw baby spinach leaves, wash them up and boil them in a medium pot. I make sure and cram my measuring cup full instead of loosely putting the spinach leaves in there. After the water comes to a boil, you turn the heat on low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, fill the bowl of your food processor with 1 1/2 cups of frozen blueberries (rinse them off in cold water to thaw a little). Once the blueberries are in your food processor, add the cooked spinach, 1 tsp. of lemon juice and around 3 tablespoons of water. Puree away! You can keep the puree in your fridge for up to two days, but I usually place 1/4 cup portions in my freezer in sealed plastic baggies to use at a later time.

So here is one of my kids' FAVORITE breakfast meals!

Cocoa Chocolate Chip Pancakes

3/4 cups flour blend (1 c. all purpose flour, 1 c. whole wheat flour, & 1 c. wheat germ)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. milk (I use whole milk)

1 large egg

1/4 c. Purple Puree

2 tablespoons honey or pure maple syrup

1/4 c. chocolate chips

Mix together flour blend, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the vanilla, milk, egg, Purple Puree, honey (or maple syrup). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until just blended. Add a little milk if batter is too thick. Add the chocolate chips and mix lightly.

Well, there you have it! If you don't have "The Sneaky Chef" cookbook, I would highly recommend it (and no, I'm not being paid to advertise). I just love it and so do my kids!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In Search of a Camera

I usually consider myself to be relatively technologically savvy. However, in searching for a new camera, I feel a little bit overwhelmed.

For example, there are regular digital cameras and there are SLR cameras. These are Single Lens Reflex cameras. So should I spend $350+ on a regular digital camera or $650+ on an SLR camera? What type should I be looking at if my main photography experience includes taking pictures of my kids along with vacation pictures?

I'm an avid scrapbooker and realized recently that my Kodak EasyShare V530 is just not cutting it! When taking pictures indoors, my pictures turn out dark and fuzzy. I'm losing great opportunities for my scrapbook album!

So I am now trying to decide between the Canon Powershot Pro Series S5 IS and the Nikon D50. I'm keeping in mind the fact that I need something uncomplicated, yet reliable. Oh, it's all so overwhelming!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My business goals

I wasn't exactly sure as to how it would go when I enrolled as a Demonstrator for Uppercase Living last year, but I must say that I'm truly loving it. Not only do I love the products, but I love the fact that it has made me set some goals for myself. Right now, I am trying to earn a cruise for my husband and me. All expenses are paid for including airfare and gratuities for the both of us. Now . . . I know that some of you who know me may be laughing. The only cruise we've ever taken was to Mexico (which I won at my husband's company banquet) and I became so terribly sea sick! Of course, we were having 10-12 foot wave swells against the boat. I couldn't even walk straight and felt like I was living out "The Perfect Storm". However, the shore excursions were lots of fun! I even snorkeled, which was a big accomplishment for me since I can't swim and am terribly afraid of the water.

So why am I trying to earn this cruise?? Well, for one thing my husband doesn't usually take much time off from work. If we had to actually purchase the cruise, I would get this scenario . . . "I don't know if I can take time off work", "We have better things to spend our money on", "vacations are too expensive and then they're over". But if I EARN the cruise through all my hard work, how could he ever so no?? I will have definitely worked for it. The cruise incentive period ends on August 31. I am almost half way to where I need to be. I figure that if I am at the half way point by the end of April, I will definitely keep shooting for the goal. Besides, I am getting the word out about Uppercase Living. I am making new friends and making our car payment (which is most important to my husband). I am adding new ladies to my team and inspiring others with our products. I love it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm ready to blog!

I have finally succeeded in getting my blog up and running. Jen from The Trendy Mommy Blog Designs did a wonderful job in customizing my page and getting me started -- and it was VERY affordable. I would highly recommend her to anyone!

I haven't ever really "blogged" before so I'll add this to my list of new experiences. Hopefully, I will have something beneficial and fun to add to the blogging world. I hope to be able to talk about my wonderful family a little along with my fun businesses! And I'm definitely looking forward to making some new blogging friends.

Here is a photo of my three very beautiful children!