Bus Adventure

First day of December, first day of Holidalies blogging. For the past week or so, each morning when I awake I glance outside to see if there is snow on the ground. Not because it is in the forecast — just because it feels like it should be snowing. Today, was the day. The kids, up before Frank and I, were the ones to tip us off. The awestruck screech, “Snoooooooow!!!” jolted us. So much for Sleeping In Saturday. You’d think after a lifetime of Wisconsin winters, snow would not be a big deal. But every year, it surely is. Not just for the kids, but for adults as well… including me.

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Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.

Ours went well, not without a hitch but hey — I never expected things to go smoothly. Earlier this week I couldn’t find sweet potatoes. Finally found some yesterday (at Wal-mart). I put them in the oven to bake, telling the two oldest that when the buzzer goes off to turn the oven off, and went to a friend’s house. Naturally, they forgot (D said, “Oh turn the oven off? I thought you meant turn the buzzer off.”) and my potatoes turned into hollow shells reminiscent of a sweet potato. I placed them cool outside overnight hoping that some of them could be salvaged. Today Franny and I were able to scrape out only a few cups worth of potatoes, so Frank had to make a trip back to Wal-mart (naturally open on Thanksgiving, of coarse).

Power blew out in the kitchen. Mini crisis/heart attack for that ordeal.

But it all worked out. Food was cooked, company came, we ate and were merry. I was hoping to play some board games, but everyone is just tuckered out.

Snagged this from Robyn:

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Gifts In A Jar

I’m always on the lookout for simple ideas the kid’s can make for Christmas gifts. A gift in a jar has become pretty popular. Just get your recipe(s), grab a case of 1-quart canning jars, your ingredients and voila. You can find free recipes all over the internet. Here’s one that looks tasty:

SMORE BARS
Ingredients:
1 C. chocolate chips
1 1/2 C. miniature marshmallows
1 sleeve of graham cracker (ground into crumbs)
1/3 C. brown sugar (packed)

Recipe:
Pour SMORE BAR mix in large bowl. Melt 1/2 cup butter, pour over mix. Add 1 tsp. vanilla; mix. Place in greased 9×9 baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 350.

Here’s a good list of some great free resources:
geocities.com/giftsinajar – tons of recipes and wonderful tips.
handmadegifsinajarrecipes.com
familycrafts.about.com
organizedchristmas.com
recipezaar.com – Butterfinger cookie mix (yum!!)
momof9splace.com

I have to admit, though, when I get a gift in a jar I rarely eat them. OK, I don’t eat them.. anymore. See, a couple times I’ve opened it up and the stuff tasted like crap. The way the ingrediants are packed in like sardines kind of grouses me out. When you attempt to empty the jar, each layer resembles a hockey puck, clanking against the rim, screaming for Sharon Stone and her ice pick. Turned me off of eating them. So if anyone has some recipes that are actually GOOD to make and consume, I’m all ears. Maybe you can convince me.

If YOU get a gift in a jar, do you actually consume it or do you toss it?

12 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Bell Peppers For a few years now, we have made a conscious effort to feed our family healthier foods, opting for items made with natural ingredients and minimal chemicals. I have to admit, it isn’t always easy on a limited budget.

We do some of our shopping at Whole Foods, but don’t/can’t do all of our shopping there because it would break the bank. Though we purchase more organic foods than we did five years ago, instead of simply buying blanket organic, we buy organic for many of our “staple” foods (milk, eggs, olive oil).

It helps to know what foods are “worth” buying organic and what ones we can skip, if necessary to help save us some money. I found this little list of the “Dirty Dozen” foods you should buy organic, based on the high level of pesticide contamination:

 

Apples, Cherries, Grapes(imported – Chili) , Nectarines, Peaches , Pears, Raspberries, Strawberries, Bell Peppers, Celery, Potatoes, Spinach

In addition to those 12, the following three were also recommended:

 

Milk, Beef, Poultry

 

As always, it helps to comparison shop. Where I live, one store has better produce, once has better bargains on dry goods, and depending on the season, the farmer’s market is another option. We are also fortunate enough to have a relatively large local grocery store that carries a good variety of organic items at lower cost than some of the more upscale grocers supplying identical products.

 

*Photo credit fallingleaves.

Rossi’s Pizza

Every now and then we order pizza from Rossi’s in Monona. The pizza is good, but I gots to show you a picture of it. Keep in mind that we’re a family of seven and never (well, almost never) does one pizza work for feeding all of us. This pizza is the exception. It is huge. If I remember correctly, it is 30 inches.

rossispizzaboxclosed.jpg

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Frank is holding it. You have to turn the box sideways, carefully, to fit it through the door. The big factor isn’t all, though, it is a tasty pizza as well.