When all else fails..."SUGAR COAT IT!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There

Went to have a Christmas celebration w/ my husband's side of the family in Springfield, MO.  Along the way I saw billboards for a Wildlife Animal Safari.  I checked online for prices and times and was able to go w/ the girls on the way back home. It was amazing!!! There is both a walking and driving section and you can feed animals in both.  The animals come right up to the car and I got some amazing pictures.  Here are some pictures I am proud of and some that show how close you get to the wildlife.
P.S. The REALLY wild animals (lions, tigers and bears OH MY!!! Are kept in individual areas just for them so they don't walk up to the car.)

Meeting Annie the Bear

 The animals walked right up to the car. It was absolutely breathtaking, quite literally. Twice I was looking at something out my passenger side window turned to drive and there was a LARGE animal with it's nose right on my window. I screamed!!!

 These are some of the pictures I got that I feel really captured the beauty and majesty of both the animals and the habitat they are provided to live in. Some of them are just downright cool shots because of how close I was able to get. These were all taken with my 7.1 mp point and shoot. I can't wait until I get the new camera my husband has told me to go ahead and invest in. It may even be worth a trip back to this wildlife park!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Help Solve the Puzzle

Autism is a, "disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior." According to the CDC an approximate 9 per 1,000 children in the United States are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. (my source)  If we really stop to think about it someone in our life is probably affected by this disorder.  Maybe it's a co-worker or a neighbor, someone at church or book club, who's child is learning day to day how to see the world through the eyes of Autism. Or maybe it hits closer to home for you. Maybe your have a sibling, a child, a spouse, perhaps even you are dealing with a diagnosis that falls on the Autism spectrum. 
Autism affects the whole family. It is a day in and day out struggle to re-define the norm and give a voice to a disorder for which very little is really known.  Right now there is no medication for autism and "proper" treatment varies from person to person sometimes even from day to day and month to month.  One of the most important things for a child or individual w/ an ASD is a loving,committed, understanding support system.
I write this post because my life is touched by an Autism Spectrum Disorder, and I watch and pray daily that, if nothing else, we can dispel the ignorance of people who don't understand how it affects individuals and the people who love them.
An early slogan asked people to "Help Solve the Puzzle." The autism community therefore adopted the puzzle piece as it's symbol of awareness. The puzzle piece also represents how we are still trying to piece together everything about the disorder and each person on the spectrum is a very integral part to solving that puzzle. (my source for this paragraph)
Tonight I wanted to make a craft with a purpose.  So I made an autism wreath. This craft is really simple to make.  I did it in under 20 minutes w/ some puzzle pieces, a hot glue gun and ribbon.  I also treated myself to a mini bowdabra bow-maker which made the finishing touches simple and professional looking for under $10.

The ribbon has the autism awareness puzzle pieces
I used the method it shows in this link for gluing the puzzle pieces together.
 basic construction concept

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Perfect Winter Appetizer

A dear friend of mine recently mentioned that she loved Family Fun magazine when her kids were younger. (Her baby will be 16 soon.) She sent me the link to their website and I have been browsing it ever since. New Years Eve I was preparing for a trip to my husband's Aunt and Uncle's house in Springfield for his side of the family's holiday gathering.  I wasn't planning on taking any food since it was going to be a 3 1/2 hour drive w/ two toddlers, but when I saw this it was too good not to take.  The recipe and assembly is fun and simple and it tastes good to boot.  :)

16 oz cream cheese softened to room temp.
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1.)Take 2/3 of Mix and roll into ball for body of snowman
2.)Take all but a small dab* of the rest of the mix and form the head
3.)Mold the head and body together
4.)Decorate (I used raisins for the eyes, mouth, and buttons, a carrot for the nose and carrot shavings to make the scarf, pretzel sticks for the arms and two different sized circle snack crackers for the hat.)
 *Use the small dab that you saved to "glue" the layers of the snowman's hat together. One little smidge of the cheese mixture btwn each cracker. If you have any extra after gluing you can use it as a snowball for the top of the hat. I did but it didn't survive transport :P

5.) Refrigerate to help the mold set

6.) ENJOY!!!!

This is how I did it. As I mentioned Family Fun is where I got the original idea. If you are interested in checking out the original recipe here is the link I used. Family Fun: Frosty the Cheese Ball

Friday, December 31, 2010

5 Items or LESS: Cheesy Tortilla Dogs

Like all truly great creations, the ice cream cone, the potato chip, the microwave, I stumbled upon this 5 Item or Less recipe by accident.  I couldn't make up my mind (a regular occurrence food wise) between a cheese tortilla and a hot dog, when I was hit w/ a stroke of brilliance, COMBINE THEM!!! This makes a virtually mess free cheesy hot dog good for on the go or just for a quick, protein rich, snack.    

What you will need:

A tortilla (I used whole wheat)
Cheese of your choice
A hot dog

1.) Lay out the tortilla and right in the center place a line of cheese. On top of the cheese place the hot dog.

2.) Microwave on a microwave safe plate for 1-1and 1/2 minutes or until cheese is melted and hot dog is hot.


3.) Wrap the tortilla around the hot dog. Start by folding the bottom of the tortilla up to form a closed bottom.

4.) ENJOY!!