Thursday, January 24, 2013

In Which We Break the Vacuum

Last year we purchased a nifty new vacuum. It was a big decision for us purely because vacuums are so incredibly expensive here. However, we were left with little choice when the old vacuum suddenly blew up, complete with a whiz, bang, & smoke. It turned out that there was something faulty in the fuse box & had that been up to date it wouldn't have killed our poor vacuum. Anyway, after much looking & debating I went down to the local shop that had what I wanted in stock on sale & haggled my way to a deeper discount. Came home, plugged in our new vacuum & have used it quite happily ever since.

That was until last weekend. We have a rather large home with many rooms that need vacuuming, especially at the current moment because we also happen to have an ant issue. As in, they tend to fall, dead from various places around the house in their journey towards water. Which means we vacuum a lot. Everybody pitches in. I'll vacuum, then call out two or three rooms for the next person to vacuum. When that child is done I'll call out the next three rooms for the following person to vacuum, & so on until our home is done.

Well last weekend I did my part, & then had each child vacuum. When they were done I was suppose to go vacuum the last two rooms, but I got distracted with doing something in the kitchen. Then the guys were screaming for food. Which meant a trip to the store, then back home to cut, cook, & serve their food. At which point I figured the vacuuming could wait until I was done with my own lunch.

The guys wanted to eat in the lounge so we could catch the last bit of the cricket match before they stopped for lunch. So I plopped down in one of our recliner chairs & decided to throw the foot rest up so I could ice my knee while I ate lunch. Only, at the very moment I flipped the foot rest up I heard a distinctive pop followed by the crackling of electricity. I said, "Guys, I've got a serious problem. I'm pretty sure this chair is being electrocuted & I dont' dare move." Before I was halfway finished with the sentence the power to the house went off.

I climbed out of the chair & we lifted it up to check out what was going on. Some kind & helpful child had wrapped the vacuum cord under the chair when they'd pulled the vacuum down the hall. Yes the cord is very long, but we also use a huge extension cord so we don't have to keep plugging & unplugging, we just turn it on & go until we're done. The cord was wrapped at just the wrong point & when I'd flipped the base of the chair up it had caught in between the metal bars & cut the wire in half. The plastic around the wire had literally melted to the wire of the chair!

What are the chances of that happening?! I wrapped up the wire, or rather what wasn't cut of it & wailed, "How will I vacuum now!" Mr S, a tad more rational shouts, "Who cares! You were nearly electrocuted  do you realise what could have happened?" My ever so loving response was, "Don't be ridiculous  the real problem is I can't vacuum the house!"

Thankfully Dyson didn't ask too many probing questions, all though they were a bit amazed we'd managed to slice the cord. They gave us the info of our local Dyson fellow who sent a courrier around to collect the machine & bring it back to us. A week without a vacuum though, nearly drove me insane!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lego Book Challenge

A few summer's ago we used a free Lego Lapbook & lessons from Homeschool Share. It was just one of those fun school things & the boys really enjoyed it. Their favourite part was the daily lego challenge & since then they've asked me a million times if I have any lego challenges for them. They've participated in the Lego Challenge blog, but not on a regular basis. 

A week or so ago it was quite hot & humid, the kind where you close all the blinds, pull the outside shade protectors down & huddle in the shade with a bottle of water until you run to the beach. Yeah, that kinda hot. Instead of hiding, though, we decided to finish off Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets. We started it sometime in 2010 I think.  The books are amazing to read, but it was often pushed to the back of the pile when something else came up, a library book, a school book, a long forgotten book on the shelf.

Morgan bemoaned the fact that I never finished reading it to him & that he'd really like to not only finish it but move on in the series. On this particularly hot & muggy day I grabbed the book & just started reading. They are the type of book that after only reading a few sentences you feel like you've read pages & pages, so beautifully descriptive & full of information. So we read & read, & each time I tried to put the book down they'd cry for more. We finished it that week & have since moved on & finished book three as well.

However, on this particular hot day, after visiting the beach for hours & reading for hours there was a very listless eleven year old who wanted to bake cake pops. He was so disappointed when I told him that I thought unwise as turning the oven on would make the house hotter, so instead I said, "But I do have a lego challenge for you!" 

I challenged him to build a scene from the book we had just wrapped up, any scene he wanted from his own imagination. We lost him for hours buried deep in the lego pool. {No, really it's a pool of lego!} When he emerged later he had the above scene all built up. He asked me if I knew what it was & was ever so delighted when I said, "Of course I do! That's Harry after he's defeated the Basilisk & he's about to throw the fang into Tom Riddle's diary. Ginny is the red head laying off to the side still waiting to wake-up. But, really I love the fact that you included the Sorting Hat & the Sword of Gryffindor!" Of course that was nothing to the elation when Mr S walked in & knew what it was without descriptions.  

You knew what it was too, if you read the book, right?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nerdy Jokes

There's this rediculious joke running around about Chuck Norris. Don't ask me why, I couldn't tell you. All I know is that my husband & his brothers have gone crazy with it.  There was a time when you couldn't get anything done without them attempting to crack at least one of these silly jokes.

It just so also happens to be that Mr S & I don't watch tv shows when they are on tv, at least not very often. Mr S use to tape them to watch later, but eventually he had so many taped & not watched that he ran out of space to tape more! Weird, but true. Then, we also noticed that the station he was taping them from would have a poor signal during the one show he wanted to watch!

He was so annoyed by the whole thing that I went down to the local video shop to see what I could find for him. They had a special on where you could buy 2 full seasons of shows for $45. He loved this so much that every now & again he'll ask if I've been to the shop to pick up anymore because he's currently out & rewatched what he's had many times over.

That day the dog managed to prove his door opening skills while we were running all over town I happened to pop in to pick him up a few more shows because the shop was having a major special again. While looking for something different for Mr S, that wouldn't freak me out {because I don't do intense very well at all}, I stumbled upon a few seasons of Walker Texas Ranger. Laugh if you must, but my family actually use to watch that show on a rather regular basis. In fact, my brother once met Walker's sidekick in the show at a Karate Tournament. That was the talk of the house for a long time.

So there I am standing in the middle of this shop that is, by the way, incredibly noisy. I burst out laughing & decided that was the show I had to purchase for him. I brought them all home & stacked them up on the counter & left them for Mr S to find. You should have heard the laughter in our house when he saw the DVD. I'd like to think of it as the whole "Final word on the joke", but I'm pretty sure before it's over we'll end up with the whole crazy set.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In Which A Door Is Fixed

Remember how our dog ran off in a spastic furry of fear during a thunder storm while we weren't home? We collected him from the "Doggie Jail" & then life went back to normal? Well, it didn't quite go back to normal. For a week solid we tripped over Buster non-stop because he would not leave my side. As in, where I went he'd be right under my feet. He's not exactly a small dog either!

We needed to return library books, so we put him outback, double secured all gates, threw him a bone & left. We came hom & our sliding screen door didn't look right, as though someone had stretched the screen in a few spots. The next time we went out we came home & there were obvious holes in the the door, & by the third time we went out the door was ripped & the dog was in the house staring out the front window crying. I was livid with him & shooed him outside where he sat sulking & crying more.

We fixed the door, temporarily, & then a while later we went out again. This time the door was ripped beyond repair & the dog stood at the window, crying with his tail between his legs. He always puts his tail between his legs when he's been naughty, which is how we know he's been naughty! So I told him to go to bed & he crawled down the hall & slinked into bed while I picked up the mess.

Now, you'd think that would be the end of it because we stuck him outside a week or so later & closed the glass door as we now couldn't have the screen open because flies were coming in like crazy. Which is exactly what we did as we went to town to get groceries, a few school supplies, & of course the needs so we could rescreen the door.

We were gone an incredibly long amount of time as we walked all over town, & then retraced our steps looking for a tiny dropped item, then back again to get to the car.. You're getting the point now right? By the time we got we were completely worn out & couldn't wait to put things away just so we could sit down. Imagine our surprise when we drive up & see the dog, pretty as you please, sitting in the window laughing at us!

So we march inside & tell him to get out of the house. He sulks, but does as he's told. That naughty beast had pried the back sliding door open, because he's incredibly clever & a little boy didn't lock the back door.

That evening Mr S helped rescreen the door after the dog sat staring at me for a half hour while I pulled the door off the track. He sulked while he saw the new screen going on, he sulked when we rehung the door. He was quite excited when we had to pull the door down & fix a few of the tension screws, but he quickly regained his sulky composure when the door went back up.

Then, wouldn't you know that naughty little beast sat outside the door the other morning staring at me. It was quite chilly so the glass door was closed instead of the screen door. I often ignore him when he's staring at me, it's game we play called, "I don't like you staring at me so I'm going to pretend you aren't.." Unless I play the other version which is, "I can stare into your eyes longer then you can stare into mine.." But I digress..

Here I sat working on school plans when that naughty dog got tired of me ignoring him & decided to demonstrate just how he knows how to open the sliding doors. What he failed to realise is that I wouldn't be proud of him. Instead I jumped up & growled & complained at him & told him to go hide himself. Which he did. While I closed the door & went right back to ignore him..

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Busy Planning

We're enjoying the final weeks of our summer holiday, but I've not been entirely idle despite my blogging disappearance. Gearing up for a new school year takes a bit of time as we decide on our final choices & attempt to set up some form of schedule to get us through the months ahead.

One thing I've really enjoyed about our curriculum of late is that there's no planning needed on my part. It means I can spend the time enjoying the learning instead. However, this year Jayden's taking a year off from Sonlight & switching back to Winter Promise as I don't feel he's quite ready for Core F yet.

Instead he's selected to use the Winter Promise Animal Worlds Core. Instead of purchasing their latest edition I decided to extend our budget a little & take their older edition & their more updated science core edition & turn it into something that will work for us. It's not a complicated process, all though I did swap in & out some books based on what we had, what we wanted to read, & what we've all ready read a few times over.

I'm really happy with the result & Jayden is so excited! I've been sharing with him some of the crafts he'll be doing & discussing some of the animals he'll learn about. Of course my entire intention is simply to excite him for the year ahead, animals & being outside all wrapped into learning has his name written all over it!

I finally wrapped it up today, all though I still need to schedule a few read alouds to use in there. Double check that our weeks align with our seasons, look into a membership for a local animal sanctuary, & schedule the science book in when it arrives in the mail. But the majority of the work is done which is such an awesome feeling.

Now I get to read over the other exciting bits of curriculum we have planned & finalise our "schedule" which I should really consider calling a "guideline" so I don't panic when we don't stick to it too closely. We're looking forward to a funtastic school year!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Years Eve

We celebrated NYE with our tradition of opening a bag every hour starting at a designated time. Truth be told, we've always, always, always rolled the clocks back around 8 or 9, we watch a movie & everyone is tucked into bed by 11 at the latest. This year we decided to let the kids stay up until it was really midnight, after all they've finally reached the point where we let them stay up quite late during family camping & other special occasions throughout the year.

This year we started our tradition a bit later in the day as we spent the nice weather out on a family walk, cleaning the house, & other odd chores. Then we collected Nana, who quite enjoys hanging out as ringing in the New Year was a big thing in England. Mostly, though, we just enjoy a good reason to hang out as a family & have fun.

The tradition for many years has been to go to our local Cherry Orchard, get some fresh cherries & everyone a cherry ice cream. The downside is their ice cream is sugary, & well made of milk. You know, like most ice cream! I can't have milk, & we've been seriously limiting Jayden's milk intake due to eczema so I suggested to the boy we go to the Cherry Shed on the 30th & collect cherries to freeze. Then we could make our own nifty coconut milk ice cream & blend cherries in it. Jayden wasn't totally on board until Morgan reminded him that I can't have the cherry shed ice cream & I'd be left out. So we made our own ice cream {2 tins of light coconut cream we use the Marco brand, 1/3-1/2 c honey we used less with sweet cherries being blended in, & 2 T vanilla} & then blended it in the food processor with frozen, pitted, cherries. The guys had them in ice cream cones.

Next up we played a few quick card games: Sleeping Queens, Say Cheese, & Snout. An awful lot of giggles were heard when I whined that I wanted to have the Bubble Gum king. The cards are seriously cute to this game! Say Cheese is very fast paced, Jayden decided to just try & help Nana with that one.

Then the guys helped make dinner. All though Mr S cooked it for us. Yeah, sadly he was left with the pink apron because I all ready had my favourite red polka dotted one on. Ignore our laundry hanging in the background, will you? We watched a movie while we ate, but it wasn't very good..

Next up was another round of quick card games. Say Cheese {pictured above} was back on the table as well as Ratukee. We picked the later up while in the US during one our trips down the clearance isle in Walmart. It's another really fast paced game, but both boys really enjoyed it. It caused an awful lot of laughter.

We headed back to our old neighborhood, because it's less crowded & you can sit right on the water, to watch the early fireworks show. Jayden hates loud noises, me too, but amazingly watched the firework shows without the need for ear plugs or fingers. I was really impressed.

Next up we had grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free {we just call them everything free} chocolate cakes in the microwave, & The Railway Children movie to watch. I love The Railway children, the book, the movie, all of it. It's so good. I can't wait to read the book to the boys now that they've seen the movie. I'm afraid that Jayden is very much like me & will lament loudly when the movie doesn't match the book.. I feel his pain, deeply.

We paused halfway through the movie to open up our new devotionals for the year & calendars. Jayden's devotional was the only one that arrived in time, can you tell what he'll be studying in school this year? Morgan's came when the mail was up & running again {Adventures in Odyssey}, & so did Jayden's Veggie Tale Calendar. Morgan received the same calendar we give him every year.

10 minutes before 12 we paused the movie again & the boys hung up the New Year banner. Jayden was so ready for bed, & we told him he could just curl up in his quilt & sleep if he wanted, but he decided he couldn't possibly go to bed before the movie ended. He really loved it!

At 12 we went outside & the guys used some extraordinarily long sparklers Morgan spotted at our local grocery. We usually have sparklers for birthdays too, but when Morgan spotted the super big ones I thought it would be a fun treat to surprise him with. I, personally, hate sparklers so I don't generally use them. Instead I light them for others. Jayden was too tired & cold to do more then half heartedly shake one sparkler. Instead he kept begging Morgan to hurry up so they could finish the last 10 minutes of the movie. He actually did stay awake long enough to finish the movie & then they both trundled off to bed.

After a nice long sleep-in for everyone we woke up & had our traditional New Years Day pancakes. I tried a new recipe that was "everything free" again, that weren't actually "everything free" as I went & put eggs in them. Whoops! I didn't eat them, but Nana & the guys did. Everyone but Jayden gave them thumb up. He only ate one & then said it was so filling he just remembered he didn't like pancakes. Ha! Yeah, we laughed, big time.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mr Mouse

For Christmas I made the boys these cute little mice that fit right into tins. I'd had them on my craft list to make for a while but couldn't find the tins I was after. While in the US we stopped into a little shop near Mom's for lawn chairs & while browsing the isles looking for something for Mom I found little tins just the right size for $1. So I snagged them, but then when I got home I was so busy I never found time to make them, along with a hundred other projects I have on my "to-do" list.

I snuck away one afternoon & sat in the craft room working on them. Of course none of the guys would come in the room & stood in the hallway outside shouting, "We're hungry!" or "What are you doing?" or "Can we come in?" I had actually considered havin the boys help make them for something to do this summer, but I was worried that with the small "fiddliness" of them it might be too much.

Either way they've been great sources of entertainment of late. Jayden asked Mr S to help him make a clothes line & this is what they came up with. How cute is that? Apparently Mr Mouse wet his bed & had to wash up all his bedding & then sit & wait patiently to dry. It took all day & I had to vacuum around him.

There was a lego car built for him, complete with a special section for his tin house to hold it in place so when Mr Mouse did loop-de-loos in the sky with his car, that can obviously fly, his house didn't tumble out. The whole car was remodified so there was a window to help Mr Mouse drive better because he was tired of getting tickets.

I even heard tell that Mr Mouse got to play in the playmobil pirate ship, but the pirates tried to cut his tail off so he ran away. I'd feel bad for him except Mr Mouse & Mr Mouse 2 went to the shop with us for our weekly fruit/veggie run. Mr Mouse 2 was caught trying to juggle sweeties/cuties/mandarins/tangerines. He then proceeded to use his tail as a radar to call in enemy fighting ships & had to be pulled out of the red onion bin where he was seeking shelter from enemy warcraft. Mr Mouse nearly fell into the butcher's room, was nearly left behind in the weighing scale, & then proceeded to beg for a chocolate. I told both mice they'd better get back in their little tin boxes or I was going to pick up mouse traps!

Friday, January 11, 2013

It's back!!

I absolutely love the Day Spring calendar Bible Tails!! So much so I think I've mentioned it a few times over. My sister-in-law gave it to us one year for Christmas, three years back now I think? After Mr S had stood in Koorong laughing so hard I was certain they'd chuck him out. He'd been reading the calendar.

Last year we were so sad to learn there wasn't going to be a wall calendar. We'd actually heard from Jon Huckeby, the fellow who draws the funny pictures for this calendar, & he confirmed that instead of a wall calendar it was a postcard calendar last year. Our local Koorong didn't carry it so we didn't even get to see it! Even still, I really wanted the wall Calendar. The boxes are just the right size for jotting down all the craziness we have going on. And the pictures..

Oh my goodness. We refuse to peek ahead because we just find them so incredibly funny we want to be surprised each month. I spotted this years calendar at Koorong during one of their specials for $4! I was so excited & ordered it straight away. There was a lot of laughter when we hung it up this month. We're so looking forward to having it on the wall again this year!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Silly Boy

While making ornaments for last year's swap we had a whole assembly line going. It was quite the production here & we were all chatting away about the fun things we'd spent our year doing, the books that went with our ornaments & so on. Jayden was incredibly quiet & I looked up from what I was cutting to see him staring at me just like this.

The excess foam from our ornament left him with a perfect little mustache! He was quite proud of his idea for using the leftover bits, but we simply could not stop laughing. Thankfully most of what he does it so make us laugh so he didn't mind.

I'm afraid if there were a class clown in our little homeschool his name would be Jayden. This child can sit there & say the silliest, or naughtiest, thing while keeping a straight face. Once you get him laughing though it's pretty hard to make him stop.

This is the child who started the entire bunk house of cousins, uncles, aunties, & Nanas roaring with laughter when, after the rounds of "Goodnight Jayden." "Goodnight Daddy." & so on Walton style were finished, when he decided to let out the most realistic sounding gas noise ever. I joke not. There were a few twitters from his girlie cousins until his brother shouted out, "Awesome idea!" And may I just say he not only had them all rolling with laughter, this child had them all joining in, & when they couldn't make their noises sound realistic we heard, "Jayden, how are you making them sound so real?"

"Oh, you have to put the top of your leg on your mouth. It makes the best sound."
"How on earth did you get your leg up that high?"
"Like this!"

Never mind that it was dark & no one could see him. That he was in a totally different bunk room then everyone else. That night has gone down in family history as, "The night Jayden started a Gas War." Which is probably only second under, "The night Jayden started a snoring war.."

Truthfully, he doesn't always mean to be funny, it just happens! This past weekend we were changing all the bedding on all 6 beds & when I asked for the doona to go on his bunk he came running with it. I took it from him & said, "Thanks, but I don't think you're too short to reach it!"

He put his arms on his hips, tapped his toe, & glared at me. For five minutes. Until I finally said, "What on earth is wrong now?"
"You called me a rude name & I'm not helping you anymore!"
"I did not! I never called you a rude name Jayden!"
"Yes you did, you called me skinny!"
"You said I wasn't tall enough to reach the top bunk, you called me skinny!"
"Jayde! That means you're too short, which wasn't calling you names. I didn't think you could throw it up there & get it to lay flat because you can't even see the top bunk from the floor!"
"SEE!! You did call me skinny!"

He keeps us laughing for sure.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Christmas Gifts

Jayden has really loved his history studies this year. In fact it's all he talked about for a long long time. So when Gram wanted to know what he wanted for Christmas I confessed that what he'd really love most was things based around WWII. She was very happy to do just that.

Not only did Jayden discover the book & video about Alvin C York {WWI} along with that crazy long package that caused so much commotion at the post office, there was also a WWII rucksack & helmet. Of course, no one could resist trying that crazy helmet on & goodness me it was heavy. I'm talking smashing your vertebre kinda heavy. In fact, we had this on going chat over Christmas imagining what those fellows must have been going through in regards to neck muscles along having to wear those heavy helmets!

It doesn't phase Jayden though, he just straps it on & trots outside to reenact one battle or another. In fact, for a while he had all his essentials in his rucksack: fizzy juice, chocolat bars, & nerf bullets. Not so sure that's what they mean with the "always be prepared" statement, but it seemed to be enough for him!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Ornament Swap

For many years now our family has participated in an annual ornament swamp with the fellow families over at the Five In A Row Message Board. Our first year the boys made different ornaments to send out & that was the year the post office never wanted to see us again. We didn't make Jayden's ornaments flat so we had to fill out a customs form for every single one we mailed out!

In 2011 we had a grand idea in the works, but unfortunately our drill bit kept breaking & we couldn't obtain one locally that would do what we needed. We decided to change tactics & the boys made more wooden soldiers that we mailed out. That year the postal service in Australia had changed their fees so it was cheaper for us to send every single one of those ornaments to my parents & have them posted state side.

This year we had a grand idea but it went terribly awry. So we diverted to our backup idea which also went kapoot. What's the chances of that? We're hoping to work the kinks out of both of those & the previous one so that in following years we can still use those ideas. In the mean time we went with something totally different & our ornaments will be extremely late arriving to those who shared theirs with us.

We had to expand to a bigger box this year too, our former box was spilling over & then some. While the only rule to the swap is that the ornaments must be handmade, we love getting ones based on the stories that are used with the FIAR curriculum. It's fun to watch the boys remember which story the ornaments go with. That Peter Rabbit one up at the top is one Jayden made last year to mail out, all though it's generally a family affair assembling these fun ornaments. The globe under it is the one Morgan made last year, & he was ever so fussy about the beads he used!

This year we made two different ornaments as well, but only because we had a few people on our list who's siblings were also on our lists & we didn't want to send them duplicates. Which means one of the ornaments we made this year which we only sent to 4 people we'll be glorifying a wee bit to send out next year. Maybe we'll actually get them out on time for a change!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

New Games

Our family loves playing games, & one thing we do every summer when Mr S is out of work is spend a lot of time playing the ones we own. It's also been a tradition for me to purchase the guys all a new game every Christmas. This year Mom joined the fun & purchased our family Memoir '44. The boys had been eyeing this up for a long time & it has a lot of expansion packs that go with it too.

The entire game is based on WWII which was a huge hit with the boys after all our studies this past year. It was played many times over the Christmas holiday while we were visiting family. Notice all the guys teaming up in this game? Yeah, the loved it.

Mr S was given Settles of Catan, which I finally broke down & purchased. It's quite pricey here in Tasmania, but we spent many hours playing & enjoying it. All though there were more laughs as we tried to figure out how to play the game, especially when we hit Turn 1, step 1000. Which doesn't truly exist, but by the time you've read through a half dozen you kinda feel like there is.

It was pretty quick to learn though, once we made our way through the rather well detailed steps for each turn. That was until we met the snag of Mr S not understanding what we meant when we were trying to trade goods with him! Lots of laughter there too, but all in good fun.

Friday, January 4, 2013


Each year we hang up our crazy reindeer calendar as we make our way through December. In years past when the boys were younger each pocket had something to do in it. It's not that they are too old for the fun of that now, but that we are usually on a mad dash to the end of our school year. It's one of those things about living overseas.

This year, I was debating filling them with the typical things we do, but I hate putting things in there & then worrying over being able to follow through with doing them. I debated a Lego Advent calendar, but goodness me they are far too pricey. So we came up with a better idea, we made our own.

We printed out 25 Christmas jokes, 25 Bible readings, & broke down two boxes of lego into 12 snack sized baggies. Then we filled our calendar. Each day the boys were excited to see what lego they'd get, but it wasn't until the 24th that they knew what their sets were! We always have a special note in the 25th pocket, & since we wouldn't be home on the 25th we opted not to put lego in there.

The boys absolutely loved the new spin on our old tradition, & it was a lot of fun watching Mr S sweat it out when the boys were walking down the Lego section in a local book shop & figured out what their Lego sets most likely were. I tried to help by telling them they were all wrong & pointing to absurd sets, but it did little to persuade them.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

One time a year I make great big cinnamon rolls: Christmas. Morgan's first official Christmas I was reading a mystery book & there was a recipe in it for Monster Cinnamon Rolls. The recipe claimed the cinnamon rolls were truly monstrous in size & being a small family of three at the time I didn't see us being capable of eating them. Instead I decided I'd make them for Christmas morning & we'd take them with us to share with family. The rest is pretty much history.

I usually make these a week or two in advanced & let them rise the final time before I cover them in plastic wrap & foil then pop them in the freezer. They stay there, usually, until Christmas morning when I turn the oven on & pop them, frozen, in there to heat while we go about our business. This year I defrosted them by pulling them out of the freezer very late on Christmas Eve because we were going to the need the oven for a variety of things.

I've tried to get out of making these a few times, but the guys always insist that we must make them. For a while I was making them sugar-free too, but this year I made them the old fashioned way. Because they had eggs, milk, butter, & wheat in them I couldn't have any so I made an "everything free" version & Jayden & I shared those.

On years when it's just the four of us at home we only pull one pan out & leave the other in the freezer for another time. Sometimes I wrap up the extras individually & will pull one or two out for them as a special treat. This year, I'm thinking of surprising them with Cinnamon Rolls for Valentine's Day, because I really love surprising them!

If your bread maker can handle large quantities of dough you can let it mix the dough up, but I suggest oiling a large bowl to let it rise in. I usually turn my oven on very low so the dough rises much quicker in the big bread bowl. My guys love the icing on them, but I rarely remember to make it, when I do Mr S is always very gleeful.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lunch Out

The Village my mother-in-law lives in threw a Christmas Lunch for the residents & Nana invited us to go along. The boys were really keen to go & see what it would be like, I confess I was less enthusiastic because with my food issues eating out can often be a nightmare. However, between the Chef on duty & Nana they made sure the food I was served was safe for me! It was really sweet of them.

My children will most likely never be forgotten by the other residents, & it all started with a bottle of ketchup. See, they served turkey &/or ham as the meat. Jayden took the turkey & then asked if he could please have some ketchup. There were two guys working behind the counter, the manager one of them. He told Jayde, while trying to surpress laughter, that they didn't have ketchup they only had tomato sauce. Jayden shrugged & said, "That's okay, it's the same thing." Which led to a ridiculously long discussion on why or why not they may or may not be the same item. In the end they gave him the bottle of sauce with "tomato sauce" scratched out & ketchup written on in it's place.

You'd think it would have ended there, right? No. Of course not. Word got out that we'd recently been in the states so when the blind auction started there were rumours people might be putting US money in the pot. When Morgan won they triple checked that all his funds were Aussie, which only caused more laughter. 

We quite enjoyed ourselves though, & the boys thought it was fantastic to drink out of fancy cups with mint leaves floating in their punch. They were even farther over the moon when a couple of residents who won other rounds of the auction gave them the lollies in their packages. Not a bad way to spend a rainy afternoon!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Packages & Customs

It's not abnormal for packages to get stopped in quarentine. We've had a few things sent to us held up there. A valentine, they suspected homemade paper with who knows what in it. A package that had peanut butter candy in it. They always leave a note inside telling us that they've opened it up & why. Circling any pertinent information in their flyer, but we've never had anything confiscated.

In December Mom sent the boys gifts, & one was held in Customs for a few days. They didn't hold it long enough to notify us until after the fact, & we just presumed the object was back ordered based on the invoice in the first box. It wasn't until we had a notice to collect our package at the post office we found out where it had really been.

The box was nearly as tall as I was & in pretty poor condition when it arrived, not that we paid much attention to that, it was the giant orange sticker on the reverse said that stated it had been subjected to inspection via customs. Inside was the legal statement I presume is in all such packages which was signed & dated.

The boys didn't find out until Christmas Day what was in the package, but it sure caused a lot of commotion around the house. In fact they had an Uncle tell them that he use to shake the packages so he could try to figure out what they were, & they reminded him that Grandpa was naughty for that too. Mr S & I nearly spilled the beans when Jayde was carrying the package into the house pretending it was a gun.

The gun is not real, it's a replica that went along with an Alivn C. York book & video. All of which Jayden is totally fascinated with. All though there were complaints about the film being in black & white. I told him to hold out I was certain the end scene, you know where York gets his medals, was in color.

Seriously, every time that movie was on tv Dad watched it. I was absolutely certain the final part there was in colour, but such was not the case on the DVD. Mr S was put out that I'd led them up the garden path on that one, after all he watched the entire movie! Jayden decided that it was a great movie, even if it was in black & white, then proceeded to go outside & spend hours pretending he was York. Never mind that the gun is the same size as he is. I may have to persuade him not to play sentry in the front yard with it though, we might attract the attention of the police officer in our neighborhood...