Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Happy Pond




How cool is that?  I had given Happy a hard time because he has spent an insane amount of time on this project, but in his defense he has never made an ice rink before.  I even came home one night from a friends house and found Happy and Sam "watering the ice" at 11pm.  ...and the Trusty Tractor has now been converted to a Zamboni.  :)

Yes, We live in New Hampshire and we own a Zamboni.  :)

I think it was worth it though.  We invited our favorite NH family over and had a party on the ice.  Very neat and now my kids love ice hockey.  :)  Andrea slept with her puck that night, woke up, took it school, and carried it around most of the following days.  She has since traded her hockey puck for a ballerina outfit, but that is a different story!



Happy, the Keeper of the Pond.  His friend Sam has been a big help too.  I'm happy Happy has Sam; Sam does a lot of the stuff Happy would make me do.  :)





 The girls are remembering all of Danish ice skating lessons too.  YAY!  That makes me happy!
video
video




Look!  A picture of Mommy ...and her "Mommy Friend"!  :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How cold is it?

It's cold enough to drive a tractor on a pond.


Paul has made it his special mission to turn our pond into a skating rink.  Secretly I kept hoping that it would just warm up because I was scared to death that the kids would fall through the ice so while Paul made his ice rink plans and I started making my plans: attaching a life saver circle thing to a tree down there and making everyone ice skate with life jackets on... and even then only under my full supervision.  I was busy creating a list of rules that all had to be followed before any one of my children would step onto that frozen water.

Then we saw two snowmobiles racing in circles on it.  Oh, guess the pond is frozen enough.

Paul took the tractor out and plowed most of the snow off the top of the ice and he's going to spray some water on top of it tonight to help smooth it out and melt the top layer of snow so it can refreeze as smoother ice.

Andrea was surprisingly excited to try out her ice skates so Sierra and I took her out there.  Even though I saw the tractor and two snowmobiles on the ice I still wasn't convinced about the ice's thickness so I had to assess it myself.  The pond was TOTALLY FROZEN!  It was super thick ...I'm guessing because it's not like I really measured it, but it really was like solid ground.  Very cool and I wasn't scared a little bit.  I guess my kids won't be the dorky new kids ice skating in life jackets after all.  :)

Maybe I should stick a bike helmet on them though...






Andrea finally gets to wear the pair of training wheel skates I have had forever!  It's a skate with two blades on the bottom so you aren't as wobbly.  :)  How cute is that!  Andrea did pretty good and the snow dust on the top actually helped it be less slippery for her.  :)  She liked skating... but she liked it for about 30 minutes which was good, because then we simply just walked back inside.

Skating on a pond is really bumpy.  We've only skated on a pond one other time while in Calgary, Canada.  We were visiting some of Paul's friends and I remember watching the mom wrestle a snowsuit on her pink cheeked two year old and thinking how hard it must be to live somewhere THAT cold.  It was -3C and I was appalled that we would even consider going outside when it was that cold.  HA!

True, it is a lot of extra work when it's cold; snow suits, gloves, hats, snow melting off boots, muddy floors, plowing snow, salt on your cars, filling wood pellet stoves, preheating cars, buying winter things like skates and skis and sleds and snowball makers...  However, there are some benefits...  if you go grocery shopping the food stays cold in your ice box of a car so you can stop to run another errand.  Another However,  if you leave your food too long you will end up with frozen milk and black bananas.

...and about the bike helmet.  I'm not going to do it, I think people are a little over sensitive about things now...  Maybe if my kids were skating crazy fast or doing jumps I'd make them wear a helmet...and maybe if Andrea was doing skating without holding my hand ...because that ice is pretty hard; one wrong fall and your head isn't going to be very happy.  Hmmm...  Nevermind.  Bike Helmets are a new rule too.  Maybe even the hockey ones with the cage in front.  No need for busted teeth.  I guess we will see how much skating we really do.  Sorry kids, turns out you will be the dorky ones.  :)



Scotty didn't go skating yet because he stayed after school for the writing club, but just so he doesn't feel left out here is a picture of him at the bus stop.  Yes, it's at the end of our driveway, but it's still a long walk.  :)  I usually wrap a scarf around his face and when we see the bus pull up I unwrap him and he runs on.  That's the secret reason why he likes Mommy to walk him to the bus stop instead of Daddy.  :)



While we were skating Michaela was home.  She's been home early all week because of mid-terms, but she was too buys studying to skate with is.  HA! yeah right.  She was too busy playing on her phone to come out.  :)  Here is Michaela in the forest ....a week ago, before I cut three inches off her hair.  :)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Operation Shampoo

Since being back in the US we have been catching up on TV ...not really though, I'm still pretty ignorant when it comes to TV.  I can't even think of a popular show to name.  :)  That said my kids and I sit will watch a re-run reality show sometimes.  :)  We watched one called "Extreme Couponing" where the lady used a gazillion coupons and then got a gazillion things for... basically, free.

No way I thought, but guess it could happen.  Problem is that the show has ruined any chance consumers had at taking advantage of the coupons, now there are millions of stipulations and rules for using the coupons along with lots of teen tiny print.

I'm terrible at remembering to use coupons.  Even if I remember to print the coupon and then remember to bring it into the store by the time I get to the check out I've long forgotten about the coupon and I don't even use it.

I have a friend here in NH who is coupon master and she invited me on her coupon outing last night.  I really wanted to leave my house, so I agreed.  Plus, I've heard her stories about the great deals she has found and I decided I needed to see how it worked!  :)

Off we go to CVS, which is like a Longs (California) or a Budni (German) or a Netto (Denmark).

I'll admit I was just a little scared as my friend got into the car with 100 coupon books that you normally find in the newspapers!

She had developed a plan ...and I did as I was told.

First of all I needed to have the store card so when we went in I signed up for the card.  That is one thing I didn't miss about the United States.  Store Cards.  You get special deals, or coupons, or accrue points to later be turned in for special deals or coupons or better points.  Within a couple months of living here I had a HUGE collection of cards I now get to carry around with me in case I need them.  

Anyways, add another card to my pile and off we go to the shampoo aisle.... which was the target of our shopping mission.  


We put 20 bottles of Pantene Shampoo into our cart. 

Here's how it worked for me, who bought ten of the Pantenes. 

The store had a promotion and if you bought $30 worth of certain items (shampoo) you got a $10 gift card.  10 bottles of shampoo = $30.48.  (2 for $7.00, except for two bottles that rang up as $1.24 for some reason).  

There.  I spent over $30, BUT then I gave them four coupons for $3.00 off!  ...so subtract $12.00 and I spent $18.48, BUT then I got a $10 gift certificate!  :)  

SO.  I really spent $18.48, but technically only $8.48.  :)

That means each bottle of shampoo cost me $1.84, which, for a big bottle of panteen, is a good deal, but not "OMG exciting" as my daughter would say.  HOWEVER ...if you consider the $10 they gave me back, each bottle of shampoo was only 84 cents.  :)  ...and that is kinda fun!  Besides, it's not like shampoo ever goes bad and I have six heads of hair to wash in this house!

There you have it.  My first extreme couponing experience.  It was fun, but maybe more fun because I was with a friend who I know I couldn't live without here in New Hampshire.  :)  (...and after Operation Shampoo was complete, we went out dancing at a place that will rename nameless)  

Friday, January 18, 2013

Late Christmas!


I've posted pictures of our Christmas before Paul has taken down the big green Triangle Tree outside, so I win. ...besides we still have our Christmas tree outside our front door.  It looks pretty now, so we left it there.  :)


On Christmas Eve we open one present...  Paul and mUm were still a little confused why I insisted we do this, but I said they'd have to call my parents to ask them. :) It's just how it works.






It was the year of the iPhone.  Michaela and Sierra each unwrapped a vibrating and ringing gift; needless to say both girls were a little happy.  I got a new iPhone before I went to Germany.  Mine other one fell in the toilet.  :(  Long story, but it involved the cat...


We didn't think we would have snow for Christmas, but Christmas morning it snowed! ...which I believe is the true definition of a "White Christmas".  In all honesty it wasn't very white though.  :)  It was just enough for Santa to use his sleigh.

I'm not sure how I feel about the responsibility this elf brings, but I had seen all the fun things the elf did at other peoples houses.  The final straw was when Scotty asked why we didn't have an elf like the other kids at school did.  Hmmmmm....  I guess the elf only lives in America and since we are here now, Santa left us one for next year.


I think another one of our new traditions will be to NOT clean up any paper on Christmas morning.  We chose to throw all the paper into the kid room and the kids had tons of fun jumping in the pile.  See Scotty's foot in there?


Mommy and Daddy ...and a little Scotty in yellow Christmas Cracker hats.  :)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

My secret language... and you know you had one...

FYI I had a secret language   It's called the "S language".  My friends and I made it up in the 4th grade when I lived in Georgia.

I was super impressed with myself tonight when my magical husband and I were watching The Big Bang Theory together and the topic of "a secret language" came up.  I proudly declared I had a secret language when I was much younger...  AND I still remembered it!!!

I guess I can describe how it works because I'm not quite sure Happy (or anyone) could figure it out ...and I'm not really quite sure how to even describe it.  :)  I THINK you put the sound "sigh-ay" at the end of every syllable.

Here it goes...

Let's say I want to say, "My cat loves to eat tacos on Saturday night."

It's pronounced...  Mysai, catsat lovsoves tosoo eatseat tasacosos onson Sasatursurdaysay nighsight.

This is amusing me....

To say, "I have a green crayon in my pocket", you say...

Isigh havesave asay greensean casaransan insin mysiy posacasetet.

Hmmm....   It works better with bigger words.

My cornucopia, which is full of butternut squash, bounces on the trampoline at midnight.

Mysigh corsanasapocia whichich issi fullsh oshove buttsertersernut squash, bounceses onson thesa trasampolsolinesein atsat misidnisight.

:)

Take that German; I have the S language....

PS. It all makes perfect sense to me.  :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Warm Cat, Yorkshires, Triangle Tree, Old Happy



When I was younger I had a cat named Mittens.  I think every cat family has had a black cat with white feet named Mittens...  Anyways, Mittens would sleep in the middle of my bed and when I'd go to bed I would contort myself all over the place so I didn't disturb her ...and I do the same thing for Velcro now.  He sleeps with me every night and he rules the bed.

However....  the fire is MY spot.  It is obviously the warmest spot in the house and Happy made it for ME, but Velcro seems to think otherwise.  80% of Velcro's day is spent lying in front of the fire, but I have no hesitation in shoving Velcro's little kitty butt over to take MY warm spot back.



These are Yorkshires.  They go with a meal called Yorkshire Pudding and I'm not quite sure why the word pudding is used because there is zero pudding involved and it doesn't resemble a dessert in any way shape or form.  It's a bread thing, like a roll...

Paul's mom came to spend Christmas with us and she showed me how to make them.  I did NOT make these, but I watched and was carefully instructed.  :)  I should have taken notes, but what I do remember is that under no circumstances am I to add salt or baking powder to them; that is cheating.  It's like how I have a strict rule against fondant for my cake decorating.  :)

AND, you eat Yorkshire Pudding with roast beef, not pot roast.  :) These little roll things are flipped upside down and then you poke a hole in the bottom and fill it with gravy ...and eat it with your roast.  The roll itself doesn't really taste like much so you better have some good gravy to go with it.  :)  Luckily I've gotten good at making gravy... I've yet to try to make these yorkshires on my own, but I'll have to try soon as per mUm's request/demand.  :)




Here is our Triangle Tree.  Paul's dad couldn't make it to our Christmas this year, but Paul made this tree just for him.  Paul's dad had made a similar tree and it was something that made Happy happy so we needed one for our kids too.  It's huge...  25 feet tall!  Now I just tell people we live at the house with the Giant Green Triangle Tree.  :)  It's much bigger in real life.  :)

My favorite part was watching Happy and his friend Sam put it up.  The Triangle Tree is surprisingly heavy ...as I learned while I supported the top half by a rope tied to the star by leaning away from it with all my weight so it didn't crack in half as Paul was desperately trying to figure out why a portion of green lights (on the very top of course) wasn't lit up...   :)

I'm not quite sure where the Triangle Tree is going to live in his off season.  I really wish Paul's dad could have seen it.  Next year I hope!



Oh and did I forget to mention Happy is mega old now?  He had a birthday party with a couple friends and it involved a "Birthday Bonfire" so I made him a "Fire Cake".  It had 43 candles carefully placed in the middle of his cake.  Let's just say the middle of the cake was covered in a giant blob of candle wax.  :)  Happy Birthday Happy.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Brrrrr!!!!

SNOW!




The kids thought the snow was great fun ...and truth be told, I kinda think Happy enjoyed putting his plow thingy on the front of his tractor shoving snow around!  I think that saying he plowed the driveway is a little deceiving...  see the long fence in the above picture?  That is a third of the "shared drive".  :)

Lets just say it took Happy four straight hours for his first plowing experience.  He did cut that time in half for  the second storm.  :)  AND.... just for the occasion he put on pants, but they were quickly replaced with his trusty shorts when it was snowball throwing time.






Then came sledding time.  I found a nice gentle slope by the trampoline, but the kids quickly found the "front" yard, which is a much steeper hill.  :)





It's cold in New Hampshire.  When it comes to temperatures my brain still works in Celsius because in Europe I only had cold temperatures. :) In the summer, when it got warmer, we would migrate to the land of Fahrenheit.  I know warm Fahrenheit measurements and cold Celsius ones...

This morning when my two oldest daughters left the house at 6:40am for the three minute walk to the end of the driveway it was -12C.  HOLY COLD!!!  Sierra said her eyelashes froze.  Then I had to tell her about Nana's frozen nose hairs and to quit complaining.  :)  Easy for me to say as I shut the door behind them and went back to lay in front of the fire.  :)

HA!  It seems they were lucky this morning.  I just checked and tomorrow morning it's going to be -18C for their bus stop walk!!!!!  I'm pretty sure a polar bear would freeze to death out there, maybe some penguins will move into the pond.  I bet penguins would have already moved into the pond, but it's frozen enough for the deer to walk across it.  :) Seriously, though... there is no reason for it to be that cold.  It was NEVER this cold in Denmark or Germany!  The only upside to the weather here is that it's at least bright and sunny.  :)  Sun is good.





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