Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Propel Parenting, Again

Micheal and I have been practicing our Propel parenting again. For those of you not familiar with that approach click here and here. In a nutshell, we are cheap and mean, at least in our kids eyes.

We have recently instituted a new rule for the big kids. When we go out to eat, if the a drink is not provided as part of the cost of a kids meal, the children can choose to buy a drink with their own money or drink water. We don't feel that we need to pay for it for them. I told you we were cheap.

This week we went to one of the places my kids know they have to buy their own drinks. Both Rehm and Charlotte wanted to purchase a drink and gave me the money before we left home. When we got to the restaurant Charlotte was being slow getting out of the car. Rehm was yelling at her to get out. When that didn't work he kicked her! Yeah, that was a bad idea.

I had to come up with a consequence for him that would a) make an impression and b)be related to the offense. Since he had been mean to his sister I decided he needed to do something nice for her. Since he really wanted a sprite with dinner and was having to pay for it, I knew losing the privilege would make an impression. The consequence: he had to use his money to buy Charlotte's drink and he had to have water! Double whammy! He was not happy! In fact, he started out by refusing. When he learned that tactic would get him a seat in the car until dinner was over and then a PB&J at home he decided to hand over the cash and apologize for kicking his sister.

h the joys of parenting.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It doesn't get better than this!

I love having a kindergartner who likes to write me notes. This one
will be on my fridge for the foreseeable future. I'm glad to see she
draws birds like Ed (Emberly).

When I was Charlotte's age I had an orange and yellow typewriter that
each key was a word. I had "I", "like", "love", "mom", "dad", "you",
"we", etc. I loved typing notes for my family members on it. This note
immediately brought back fond memories of that toy.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Ruby and Eliza Claire's new bathing suits arrived today. They couldn't
wait to try them out. Given that temps are currently in the low 60s
this was our solution.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Granny's Caramel Cake

This is my most favorite cake.  I've never had a cake like this outside of my family.  I have no clue where the recipe originated. 

Growing up the grandchildren got to choose the dessert for the Sunday lunch closest to their birthday.  I always picked Caramel Cake. 

Rehm chose this as the cake he wanted for his birthday party.  I made it yesterday morning before I realized his party would be canceled due to illness.

Granny always made her cakes from scratch. I'm not that good.  I use a cake mix.  I have found that the Duncan Hines Golden Butter Recipe cake mix comes the closest to Granny's cake.  I follow the cake directions except I substitute milk for the water.

Caramel Icing (I double this recipe)
1/2 cup of butter (use the real stuff not the fake stuff)
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk

Melt butter then stir in brown sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Boil hard for two minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in the milk - stirring while pouring the milk.  It will bubble really high and completely change consistency at this step.  This is normal.  I always think I've ruined it but it always turns out perfect. Return to heat and return to full boil.  Remove from heat and cool.  Once cool, transfer to mixing bowl and beat in confectioner's sugar, until smooth.  Add milk by tablespoon full until proper spreading consistency. 

I've found that it seems to harden up as I work with it.  I suggest starting with it a little runnier than you want it otherwise you'll have to continually stop and stir in more milk to the frosting as you are working.

Granny always made two 9 inch cakes.  She split each of these in half and put frosting between each layer and then frosted the top and sides.  I am inept at frosting cakes, so I don't split my layers.  I just frost between the two cakes and then the top and sides. 

This would also be good to add crushed pecans to the cake mix or between layers or to add banana to the cake.  I'm a purist though and only want this cake in its original form.

I haven't had one of Granny's caramel cakes in probably 3+ years since Sunday dinners at her house ended.  Now if I want caramel cake, I have to make it for myself.  I'm glad to know that I have passed the love of this recipe down one more generation.


Monday, April 05, 2010

Random Sunday Morning Pictures

Eliza Claire thought I wasn't going to take her picture and was very sad.

I was trying to get a good picture of the girls together but Rehm was determined to distract them and be in the picture

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Cheese Flowers

It has been several years since we have taken bluebonnet pictures of the children. I always plan to but life gets in the way and by the time I think of it again they are no longer pretty.  This is a Texas tradition that children must experience.  It isn't necessarily fun but it is just part of being a kid in Texas.  In fact, at our house they are also known as "cheese flowers:  because every time Rehm saw them, I was asking him to say cheese and snapping his picture. 

This year we found a decent patch close by.  For a twenty minute photo shoot at bed time I thought the pictures turned out pretty good.  I confess I took over 150 pictures.  Here are some of my favorites.

So which ones are your favorites?

Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Making and Racing of the Master Bolt

Pinewood Derby time! Every year Rehm comes up with a design idea and Michael and I do our best to help in turn the idea into an actual Pinewood Derby car. This year Rehm was inspired by Greek mythology and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

When he first described his idea for the car, I did not thing it was going to be possible to implement. After a few minutes of drawing it out we figured out a way to make it happen. I think it turned out wonderfully. It raced well and he was the second fastest in his den and middle of the pack in, well, his pack.

His birthday and the Derby were the same day. The cub master had the pack sing to him.

I wonder what next year's design will be.
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Friday, April 02, 2010

The Part of the Year where I Like Texas Weather

Yes, my children were in the pool on March 30 of this year! The neighbors have a pool and the water temperature has finally gotten a balmy 68 degrees. We were invited to swim with them and my kids were chomping at the bit to go. I did not swim. They did not swim long - maybe 30-40 minutes and not all of that time did they stay in the pool. After swimming we had to come home and take a nice bath
to warm everyone up.
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Observations of Six Year Old Softball

Coach Lisa giving Charlotte a few pointers
Go ball, go!

Facing the outfield!

Playing in the dirt
Are we done yet?
Really, are we done?
Yum.  This glove is tasty.  Think I want a steak when the game is over
Pretending to look for a fly ball.
Pretending to catch
Running for the ball.  It had been thrown to her but it was overthrown and she missed it
Still running.
Trying to tag the runner out
Doesn't she look scary?  The runner seems to think so.
So how you doing? 

Charlotte is really enjoying this softball season.  She does great for the first half of the game and then she is done!  Especially with the 7:15 games.

Did you know that if you go to Target and spend $20 on sand toys your three year olds become the most popular kids to play with at the ball field and they don't bother you for an entire game?

Overall it is a good season so far.