Month: October 2007

Reminder: Tomorrow is the Recipe Round Up!

Tomorrow is the link up day for the monthly recipe round up. This month’s round up is all about make-ahead freezer foods. If you have anything to share, post it on your blog and then head on over to Motherhood Apologia and link up tomorrow! Help us spread the word on your blog, too! The holidays are coming (and that means unexpected company) and it would be great to have a few items in the freezer just in case, don’t ya think?

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Winter Bazaar – Silly Popcorn Treats Recipe

I made these last year with my kids and were they ever a hit! I haven’t made them yet this year, so I don’t have a “real” photo…only the photo from the craft book I found the recipe in. Incidentally, I have all of these books and I wouldn’t want to be without them. If you are a crafty sort, get thee to a book store and check them out!

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Silly Popcorn Treats Recipe

18 cups popped popcorn
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup light-colored corn syrup
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
*gummy worms, candy corn, and other Halloween candies

Removed all unpopped kernals from popped popcorn. Put popcorn in a greased 17 x 12 x 2 inch baking or roasting dish (or whatever’s close). Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree oven while making syrup.

For syrup mixture, butter the sides of a heavy 2 quart saucepan. In saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar, and salt. cok and stir over medium-high heat till mixture boils, stirring to dissolve sugar (about 6 minutes). Clip a candy thermometer to the side of pan. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring occasionally, till thermometer registers 250 degrees, hard-ball stage (about 20 minutes).

Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Stir in vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over the hot popcorn and stir gently to coat, adding candies. (I divide mine up into thirds and use different candies for each batch). Cool until the popcorn mixture can be handled easily. WIth buttered hands, quickly shape the mixture into 2-1/2 inch diameter balls. Wrap each popcorn ball in plastic wrap. Makes about 20 popcorn balls.

It’s a great treat for a classroom or for your kids to hand out to their church buds.

Visit Scribbit’s page for more October themed Winter Bazaar ideas!

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WFMW – Have Your Blog Graded for Free!

If you are anything like me, you check your blog stats once or twenty times a day…it’s a sickness, I know. Even if you don’t, this tip is probably something you could use, because if you blog, you do want people to be able to find you, right? (Maybe I’m a mutant, I don’t know…)

I recently discovered a website grader (don’t worry – it works on blogs too) where you simply enter in your blog URL and after a minute of calculating, it will spit out your score, along with a detailed explanation of why you scored the way you did.

I had a score of a measly “3” when I first ran the test, and now I have a whopping “65”, which simply means that my blog scores higher than 65% of other websites in terms of “marketing effectiveness. Just for fun, I ran a comparison (you can do that too) with Rocks In My Dryer to see…well, how I compared. Not pretty, y’all. But I don’t have nearly as many links or visits, either. (click on example below to enlarge)

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All in all, it was a fun project, and I highly recommend you visit the Website SEO Score Tool at Website Grader…it works for me. For more WFMW tips, head on over to Shannon’s @ Rocks in My Dryer — you’ll be glad you did.

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Lately, I’ve been doing more thinking than writing. I’ve watched my kids at work and at play and I have noticed that they tend to emulate the way my husband and I work and play. I’ve watched other kids at play and made mental notes of how their parents have interacted with them. I’ve checked out books from the library on how to get siblings to get along, how to get your kids to listen, raising motivated learners…and a plethora of other subjects. I’ve read my Bible more…oh, and I’ve been praying…probably more of that than anything else.

See, I want to be a better parent. I need to understand things. I have an appetite for knowledge in this area that can’t be satiated. I am just now after 10 years of motherhood realizing that to truly be a better parent, you can’t just WISH you were. You can’t just STOP doing something you’ve always done (like raising your voice when frustrated at your kids) if you don’t replace it with something BETTER to do. Your kids will not “automatically” get along with each other just because you say it’s the right thing to do. Your kids will not suddenly become little neat freaks who tidy up after themselves and wash their dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. It’s all about training, people.

Which brings me to my point. Last night I took Katie (age 10) to softball practice and was watching how the coach interacted with the kids. He’s fighting a losing battle, as this is the first year many of these girls have ever played…but he brings out the best in them anyway. They try harder for him, they long for his approval, they do anything he asks them to do. I had to ask myself “why?” So I watched. Every time a girl would miss the ball when at bat, or a grounder would roll past her glove, or someone was tagged out, he’d call out, “It’s okay…you’ll get it the next time!” Then he would gently walk her through how to properly hold the bat, or how she should crouch with her gloved hand between her ankles, or how she should actually touch the base as she’s rounding it. He didn’t raise his voice – he didn’t get upset – he didn’t raise his hands in disgust and say, “I give up!” He coached – he encouraged, he led by example, he breathed belief into them that they really were good enough.

It was at that moment I had an epiphany. Motherhood is the most important game I’ll ever play and I’m the coach. I am the biggest influence on my kid’s behavior – if I want my team to win, I must constantly encourage and inspire them to do more than they’ve ever done. Leadership is something I have been teaching people for years, but I’m just beginning to understand how it applies to me as a mother. I don’t need to pour myself into them…I just need to learn how to pull out of them what is already there.

****This post was originally published 4/20/2007. I will be taking tomorrow off to catch up on some housework, so here’s a little something from the archives for you****

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