Thursday, February 19, 2009

Peanut Butter Bears

A guest post from my sister, Holly. I question her originality, since she might have mentioned 'pretending it was her idea,' but I didn't have to do much work, so I don't question too far.

So here's a recipe that's adorable, and kids can help too!

Peanut Butter Bears

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • decorations (I use mini chocolate chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix shortening and peanut butter together. Mix in sugar, brown sugar, and baking soda.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla.
  4. Mix in flour slowly.
  5. For each bear, form the following out of dough.
  6. -One 1" ball
    -One 3/4" ball
    -Six 1/2" balls
    -One 1/4" ball
  7. On ungreased cookie sheet, press the 1" ball to about a half inch thickness. Attach the 3/4" ball as the head; flatten. Arrange the 1/2" balls around for arms, legs, and ears. Place the 1/4" ball on the head as the snout.
  8. Add decorations as eyes, nose, teeth, whatever.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are light brown.
Makes about 24 to 36 cookies.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shadow Children series

The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix starts with the story of Luke Garner in Among the Hidden and follows him loosely through six additional books. (Several books follow another child, but the main plot revolves around Luke.)

It's your standard distopia of a future in which droughts and alleged famines led to a population law limiting families to two children. It's not a particularly new idea. They have it in China. It's a backdrop to Ender's Game. But the stories of these children still feel important. They have real problems and fears. And their actions - and consequences - have a real feel to them too. None of the 'spy kids' drama where adults are stupid and kids can do fantastic things. The adults in this series are intelligent and compassionate while at the same time, they are limited and have their own fears. The children are brave and inventive, but I never question that a child could do what they do.

The books are young adult literature. They're fairly short, and they're quick reads. I finished each of them in about a day. I recommend.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mushy Valentine Day 4

Shakespeare is another oft-quoted poet.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?..."
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds..."
(Love that part of Sense & Sensibility)

Have you read this one? I find myself liking it a lot.

Let not my love be called idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
Therefore my verse to constancy confined,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,
Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
Fair, kind, and true, have often lived alone,
Which three till now, never kept seat in one.

~Shakespeare, Sonnet 105

Watership Down

I need a new topic. I was thinking about doing regular stuff about the Southwest and desert. But apparently it's not as interesting as I thought. I could probably do stuff about Twilight for a while, but it's not like it doesn't find its way into my regular posts already anyway.

Book reviews? I could totally do that.

Here's my review of Watership Down, from January's book club.

My introduction to this book was seeing Sawyer read it on Lost. And of course, I thought it was about some kind of sea voyage or something. It's not. There's no ship at all.

It's a little slow getting into it, but it's an easy enough read. Cute story. Despite being violent bunnies, I can't really take them seriously enough for it to be disturbing.

The consensus of book club was that it's a nice story about leadership and loyalty. The only disagreement was a discussion over Cowslip's warren. I think it represents a welfare state where the bunnies have all their food provided for them and forget how to survive on their own and go a little bit crazy. The alternate suggestion was that it showed a higher level of society where the bunnies could create art and poetry because they didn't have to worry about lower level survival issues anymore. Who's right? You decide.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mushy Valentine Day 3

Very, very famous poem. But how many read beyond the first line? The rest is powerful. I had it memorized once...

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Valentine's Day Finance

You can't argue with statistics. I also love that when you look at the original page, it has a mouseover that says "...okay, but because you said that, we're breaking up."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love It Lunes

This week I love Chex Mix. Honey Nut Chex Mix. You are salty. You are sweet. You are good for snacky cravings. You are not as high in sugar as candy. You are not as high in salt as chips or other salty snacks. You are low in saturated fat. You allow me the illusion that I'm getting a healthy treat. You were also pretty cheap on sale with a coupon. I love your cousin Dark Chocolate Chex Mix too, but she is a little less healthy.

Win. 22/35, 62.9% win.

If you are not satisfied with my rating system, you may make suggestions for alternatives. You know who you are.

Mushy Valentine Day 2

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

~Pablo Neruda
"If You Forget Me"

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Mushy Valentine suggestions

Make your own! Every day, all week! This should get you started:

"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you."
~Roy Croft

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Lazy Link

Don't be fooled when this site loads; it's not a blank page. Well, it is. But not for long... Click and hold your mouse button, and color-changing sand falls to the bottom of the screen making pictures like those monochrome sand sculpture toys that never fail to mesmerize me when I get a hold of one. It also makes a soothing sound. So if you need a relaxing break on the computer, take a look.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


If you noticed I missed a couple of days posting, here's my exciting story.

I don't know if I got a bad pair of contacts, or what, but two days after switching to a new pair, I woke up with severe light sensitivity. I had a really hard time driving Sarah to school. I had to hold one hand constantly right next to my eye to block the sunlight, and even so, the ambient light made my eyes go in and out of focus. I even had to keep one eye shut part of the time. I probably shouldn't have been driving at all, but what do you do?

I got home and sat in the office with all the blinds closed and lights off, but the light from the computer monitor was too much. I just sat around my house with the lights off until afternoon. It was better by the time I went to pick Sarah up from school, but I had a headache and slightly upset stomach the rest of the day.

So, yesterday, I woke up, and it was worse. I couldn't even open my eyes. Rich took the day off and did the driving and picking up and watching kids while I lay in a dark room. With sunglasses on. Under the covers. By that time, I knew enough to ditch the contacts, but it still took until around 4 (when the sunlight was waning and less intense) before I could walk around the house and get dinner done. My eyes felt like I'd been on a major crying jag, and my head ached.

It was with trepidation that I opened my eyes this morning. Fortunately, the worst has passed. Direct sunlight is still painful, but I am functioning again. Not fun.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Love It Lunes

This week I love the library. Library, you are amazing. You are great. You save me from myself when I have impulses to break the budget buying even more books. You cater to my every whim. Self checkout in the children's area? You deliver. Books from other branches? You deliver. Reserve shelf moved closer to the children's section to avoid walking through the whole library with kids in tow? You deliver. Online renewals? Late fee grace periods? Online reservations? You deliver. I love you library. I see us together for a long, long time.

(Lunes is Spanish for Monday. Goodness knows we all love Mondays. I justify my usurpation of the Spanish word for the cause of alliteration and by virtue of living an hour away from the Mexican border. Also I took two years high school Spanish.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009


"You know you don't have to be an actor when you read a book to a child. All you need is to simply love what you're reading. Even just enjoying the pictures together is a great start. When you share a book with a child, you're saying to them that books are important. That's a gift that can nurture them all through their lives."
~ Mr. Rogers