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Pumpkins One, Two, and Three (and Me)

when I started the blog...

and a few years in...

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Entries in tips (3)


Another random tip (I need to start numbering these).

Last year, as I recapped Halloween, I promised myself that I would finish costumes early.  See this post because I even had the gumption to write it down.  Well, the 15th has come and gone and there are exactly 0 of 3 costumes finished (0 of 5 if you count the adult costumes but I'm not going to because then I might really panic).  It seems I do not respond to artificial deadlines.

Part of the problem is that the boys are waffling a bit.  I guess there are too many Star Wars characters to choose from.  But tonight I make them commit!  And if you've ever tried to pin down a two-year-old, you know what I'm in for this evening.

Speaking of the iron will of a two-year-old, I thought of something recently that made my life a tad easier so I thought I'd share. 

Two of our boys are crazy over yogurt.  The oldest, however, runs screaming (I am not exagerrating) from the sight of yogurt--dunno.  The five-year-old has the dexterity to handle yogurt tubes...something I frankly don't get the fuss over but he loves them.  And of course, once the two-year-old saw yogurt tubes, there was no deterring him.  Does he have the dexterity to eat them mess free.  No, not at all.  Instead, the tube contents are routinely flung about the kitchen as he struggles, insistently, to feed himself. 

This is an unwelcomed mess in any household.  But if your home is also a yogurtphobe habitat..well, you can imagine how much nicer it is for everyone if yogurt bits are not dotting random surfaces.

This was a very long way of introducing you to this idea--stick a straw into the yogurt tube before you hand it off to your two-year-old.  It gives the tube some much needed structure as well as ample access to the yogurty contents. 

So there you go.  Merely a week and a half to go until Halloween and I have nothing to show for it.  But at least I'm not scrubbing yogurt off the ceiling tonight!



Like monkeys.

This is one of those random posts I put up to later remind myself of the funny detours our family conversations sometimes take.

Charlie told the boys that monkeys peel bananas differently than we've always done--pinching the bottom end rather than breaking off the stem-necky-thing (totally a word, btw).  It is supposedly easier, though I'm not sold--probably because I've never found it terribly hard to break the stem.  But who knows, maybe I did when I was younger?  I think it has something to do with wrist strength.  The boys certainly manage to mangle bananas at an alarming rate, so this nugget of info was well received.

Leo (who is affectionately known as "our eater") was all over it.  The picture below shows him attempting a one-handed pinch.  But we've since discovered that two hands work best.  And removal of the black thing at the tip is evidently crucial before any of the boys will take a bite.  I told them that monkeys aren't bothered by that little bit, but it didn't work.   

When I Googled Swagbuck'd 'open a banana like a monkey' I found a YouTube video if you want to see it in action.  

In unrelated news:  party prep is in full swing, though not the fun, crafty stuff yet.  I power washed our deck this weekend.  All I have to say about that is I am not cut out for manual labor.  To be fair, it probably would not have been as awful if I had not attempted it the day after my 11 mile training run.  But as I am not smart enough to think of such things, I did.  And now I hurt, plain and simple.  Oh, and my sewing machine broke!  Luckily, my sister-in-law loaned me hers so I could finish some projects.  I'd love to complain about my machine, but I'm terrible about having it serviced so I'm pretty sure I had it coming.  But--whatever--I'm still grumpy about it.  To end on a happy note, it's Leo's 5th birthday tomorrow.  And in our house, that means cupcakes for breakfast, hooray!  



Random tips.

My father forwarded me one of those long emails filled with random tips.  It made me smile because he prefaced it like this:

"FYI.  Maybe you know all this stuff already.  Dad"

I of course didn't know most.  But I love that my dad thinks I may have somehow picked these up already.  He knows I'm a tip hound. Here are some that were new and interesting to me.  I have no idea whether they work but will definitely try them.

  • Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store.  If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster. 
  • Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.  Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking. 
  • Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef to help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
  • Heat up leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on the stovetop, over med-low heat until warm. This keeps the crust crispy without burning the toppings.
  • For easy deviled eggs, put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag.  Seal, mash, add other ingredients, reseal, mix thoroughly, cut the tip of the baggy, squeeze mixture into egg.   
  • **Can't believe I've never thought of this one**When you buy ready-made frosting, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes to double in volume.
  • To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster. 
  • **I think this one is brilliant**To get something out of a heat register or under the fridge add an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll to your vacuum. It can be bent or flattened to get into narrow openings.
  • If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place it in the freezer for an hour or two. Viola! It unseals easily.
  • **I immediately did this one and was amazed**Even if you always clean your lint filter in your dryer, it may still be clogged.  To check, take your filter to the sink and run hot water over it.  If water does not pass through, it means a film has formed over the mesh, caused by residue from dryer sheets.  The best way to keep your dryer working for a very long time (and to keep your electric bill lower) is to take that filter out and wash it with hot soapy water and an old toothbrush (or other brush) at least every six months.