Monday, May 25, 2015

Chinese Almond Cookies Recipe

This past spring Pierce's class did a unit on Ancient China.  I bought the ingredients to make some Chinese Almond Cookies to send to his class.  Then I got really busy, and didn't get around to making them until two days after they'd taken their exam.  But I figure late cookies are better than no cookies?

I took a recipe that was Chinese and adapted it to make it more U.S.-friendly in terms of measurements, instructions, and ingredients.  It's fairly simple, and was a hit with the kids, as Pierce came back with requests from his friends for the recipe.

1 cup flour
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
30 Whole almonds 

Preheat oven to 325*.  Mix butter and sugar.  Add in almond extract and egg and mix well.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.  Once well mixed, form into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten with your palm.  Place one almond in the center of each and press down slightly.  Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on edges.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheets.  Makes approximately 25 – 30 cookies. 
Readers, what is your favorite cookie?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fish in the Closet and Favorite Places

1.  A friend of mine was giving away tickets to see the ballet of Cinderella, so I took my little dancer, Cort.  We had a splendid time (and he picked out his outfit himself - doesn't he look handsome?).
2.  Pierce recently had to take some sort of end of the year reading test.  He made a big deal out of going to bed early and having a healthy breakfast.  That morning, while eating breakfast, Paul said, "The big reading test.  Well that's exciting!"  Pierce said, in his deadpan voice, "It's not exciting.  It's serious."

3.  Paul was brewing up some wine and had it in a big contraption in his closet.  It made burbling sounds as it fermented.  Cort came down and asked if he could see the fish in our closet.

4.  The boys recently had a big debate over how big God is.  The twins thought God is small because he "lives in your heart".  Pierce thought God is big because if you add up all the hearts in the world, that makes for a really big God.  I think I need a philosopher on retainer for some of these questions the boys come up with.

5.  Recently I was trying to get Cort to calm down when he was particularly upset.  I was doing a little meditation with him and was telling him to imagine his favorite place.  You know - most people picture the beach or whatever.  I was like, "Can you see it in your mind".  He nodded, eyes squeezed tight.  "Where is your place?" I asked, curiously.  He responded, "Chick Fil A.  It is my favorite place.  I like their chicken nuggets.  And I like their French fries.  And I like their drinks". 

Readers, what is your favorite place these days?

Linked today with Willy Nilly Friday

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

When Birds Make Poor Decisions

A few weeks ago we went to a bike rodeo and family picnic at the boys' school.  Upon arrival, we saw a small tree with caution tape around the borders.

This little bird laid eggs in the mulch.  Pierce said that on the morning announcements they reported it was a killdeer.  She was pretty agitated during the bike rodeo - hundreds of people walking by and bikes zooming everywhere.  She made quite a racket in her disapproval.

She laid her eggs right by a major walkway, so she must not have checked out the area beforehand.  I felt bad for her with all the activity going on.  I think it's nice the school is trying to watch out for her well being.

Hopefully she won't get so upset she abandons her eggs.  It does seem a strange place to lay them.  Maybe killdeer aren't the smartest birds on the block?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Reid's First Lacrosse Game

Reid is in the youngest age group for lacrosse, so his games were short and sweet.  The matches only last 10 minutes.  They call them playdates. So at one game, he might play three other teams, but each one for just 10 minutes or so.  Here he is doing what is called a 'face off' with another player.  There's a ball in the grass between them and they each have to try to get it. 
Paul and I still don't know much about lacrosse.  We've kind of figured out that there are three types of positions.  They rotate all the kids in and out of them during each game, so Reid gets a chance to play every spot.

However, Reid isn't totally clear on what he's supposed to be doing (and neither are we, so we can't really help him out).  But he seems to have fun running back and forth, even if it's always the older kids who end up getting the goals.

 I think that if he decides to play again next Spring, he'll fare much better because he'll have a season under his belt, not to mention having a little more size and maturity. 
Regardless, you have to admit he looks pretty cute in all his gear.  And he gets plenty of exercise running up and down the field.  That's win/win in my book!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Up High

Willie is such a climber.  I see him in strange places sometimes.  Like the roof of our little tack shed barn.  Or here, up on the balcony.  Good thing that light is screwed in well!

Luckily, he doesn't seem to get stuck when he's up high in trees and on rooftops.  Even by cat standards, he seems to be pretty athletic.

Readers, if you have cats, do they like to get in strange places?

Linking up today with Feline Friday

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hummingbirds and How to Make Your Own Food

We have a ton of hummingbirds this year.  I hung a feeder outside one of our slider doors.  All day long, they are drinking from the feeder.  I made my own nectar.  It's rather expensive in the stores, and the red dye is not good for the hummingbirds.  It is quick to make your own, and cheap as well. 

To make your own, just put four cups of water and one cup of sugar in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil for two minutes, then let cool before filling your feeder.  This recipe makes more than my feeder holds, so I just put the extra in the fridge until it is time to refill.

The hummingbirds are attracted to red on the feeder.  If you don't have any red on your feeder, just tie a red bow on it, and they will come.

Readers, do you have any hummingbirds?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cat Wallet Sewing Kit Giveaway

Are you looking for a fun project to keep your kids busy this summer?  Shine Kids Crafts has a lot of fun craft kits for children.  I browsed through the site and chose an adorable cat wallet, which will be given away in a week, and the winner gets to choose from 3 different colors.  Here is some information about the kit:
* Cutting is not required. Patterns are pre-cut.
* The kit also includes:
needle, thread, instructions, pattern, zipper, etc. (Instructions are translated in English)
* Size: 11.5cm x 7cm

Aren't they adorable?  I'm thinking if you laid out all the pieces on a small baking tray, they would make a fun car activity on a long trip to the beach. 
Shine Kids Crafts has many other fun sewing projects, so be sure to check out her Etsy shop.

Readers, do you see any kits on her site that interest you?

To enter the giveaway for a chance to win the Cat Wallet sewing kit, just click on the Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway