Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crafty Kids ~ Melted Crayon Art

We had accumulated quite a collection of dull, broken crayons that I was ready to toss in the trash. Just as I was about to throw them out, I remembered a fun craft that I use to do as a kid ~ melted crayon art!
I put all the crayon pieces in a plastic zipper bag and let the kids hammer, stomp and dance on them until they were all broken up into little pieces. It actually works best if you make crayon shavings with a pencil sharpener or grater, but ours were too far gone to use either method.

Once we had our crayons crushed, I gave each little Knucklehead a piece of wax paper folded in half and let them sprinkle on the crayons pieces. I then sandwiched the waxpaper between two paper towels and ran a hot iron over it to melt the crayons.Once the melted crayons cooled, I helped the kids cut out some fun shapes and then they added colorful pipecleaners for extra decoration.

The kids LOVED this quick little project! It kept them occupied for an hour and I managed to score a few coolness points.

~Gridiron Girl

Good morning, Sunshine!

What a way to start our day!

Before the gang left for school, we all went outside to enjoy the cool morning and watch for our geese that fly over promptly at 7:20am everyday.

When we stepped out on the porch, everything was glowing with the most beautiful golden light from one of the most amazing sunrises I've ever seen. The pictures just don't do it justice! We all just stood there taking it in, until it finally disappeared behind the clouds. Then just like clockwork, our geese flew over the willow tree and it was time to get back to reality.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Fall, Y'all!

I know I'm a few days late, but I just couldn't bring myself to post it when it was still 90 degrees outside. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a chilly 59. Finally, Autumn has arrived in East Texas! Being that we live in the South, there's a good chance we'll be sweating and jumping in the pool again before the weekend arrives. So, I fully intend to embrace these beautiful Fall days while they're here.

I've flung open all the windows, hauled my Fall decorations down from the attic and put a big pot of homemade chili on to cook. Now I'm going to go pour myself a glass of apple cider, grab the lastest issue of Southern Living and have a little hammock time under the willow tree before the Knuckleheads get home from school.

 ~Gridiron Girl

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Kids in the Kitchen ~ Basil Pecan Pesto

Well, the ball didn't exactly bounce our way yesterday, so it looks like I won't be leaving the house on this beautiful Sunday. We really did plan to go to church this morning, win or lose, but we didn't get home until 2:30am. I knew God would understand if we slept in.

Coach is in for a long day at the office, so I figured now was a good time to tackle the garden that just won't quit. I picked a ton of basil this morning, surveyed the pantry to see what ingredients we had on hand, and proclaimed that today we would make Basil Pecan Pesto in mass quanities. The kids were thrilled because they know pesto making = lime squeezing/tasting and loud appliance usage, two things they love to hate.                                                                                 
I don't really have a tried and true pesto recipe. As with most things I make, it's a pinch of this and handful of that. Pesto is incredibly easy to make and almost impossible to mess up. You can easily change things up and still create something super yummy. Sometimes I use basil, sometimes I use baby spinach, sometimes I use both. Pecans are usually my nut of choice, but I've also used the traditional pinenuts, walnuts, almonds and even sunflower seeds.

Here's what we used today...

Basil Pecan Pesto

4 handfuls of basil leaves (rinse well and dry)
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup toasted pecans
juice of one lime
black pepper
red pepper flakes
olive oil
    Toss basil, garlic, cheese, pecans and lime juice into a food processor or blender. Begin to process and slowly add olive oil to desired consistancy. Add salt, black pepper and red pepper to taste. Store pesto in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for future use.

     *To freeze: I put pesto in quart freezer bags, press out any air bubbles and freeze flat. It's easy to break off however much I need and toss the rest back into the freezer. Freezing in ice cube trays also works well.

     Now what do I do with all those cucumbers?!

     ~Gridiron Girl

    Saturday, September 26, 2009

    Game Day!!!

    The Gridiron Gang is on the road today. We're headed out west to play a very important conference game. We're currently undefeated and ranked #7 in the nation! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for another big win...because I really need to buy groceries tomorrow! I can't buy groceries if we lose, we can't go out to eat if we lose, we can't even count on getting a pinch of bread and a shot of juice...because we can't even go to church if we lose! You see, this is Texas and what you've heard about Texans and their football is true. It's also true that everything in Texas is bigger, especially people's mouths the day after you lose a football game. I used to grin and bear it, now I stay in my pajamas and hide from it.

    Hopefully we'll be eating like winners tomorrow!

    I'll be on the road for about 7 hours with 2 tired little Knuckleheads, the mom-mobile needs an oil change and I can't find my GPS. I could use some good mojo for a safe trip, a big win and to arrive back home with my sanity intact.

    Go Cards!
    ~Gridiron Girl

    Friday, September 25, 2009

    Yesterday I blinked...

    and my baby grew up. How did she go from diapers to size 5 slims overnight? How did she get hair down to there? Is that a mouthful of teeth I see? Did she just roll her eyes at me?!

    Books We Love

    I am beyond thrilled that my 1st Grade Knucklehead has become such a strong reader and I simply must brag that my Pre-K Punkette is not far behind. I'm a total bookworm and have been reading to my kids since well before they were born. I used to curl up in my rocking chair, balance a bowl of ice cream on my belly and read them nursery rhymes. I also had those little speakers to strap around my belly to play them classical music, but I played more Percy Sledge than Mozart. The speakers also had a tiny microphone so I could randomly whisper "Always love your mama" and "Don't do drugs", but that's a story for another time.

    I believe my original point was going to be that we love to read and now that my kids are active participants, it's more fun than ever. We've built quite a nice book collection at our house, we go to the library once a week and the day that the Scholastic book order forms come home from school is always a great day!

    We love to discover new characters, new places and new adventures, but we also love coming back to our old favorites.  Currently at the top of our list.... Where The Wild Things Are, A Bad Case of Stripes, The Hello, Goodbye Window, Diary of a Worm and The Boxcar Children.

    The Boxcar Children was my favorite book when I was little and I love that my kids have discovered it! And who doesn't adore Where The Wild Things Are? We're very excited for the movie, I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it's not a big disappointment. I think I would pick A Bad Case of Stripes as my favorite children's book to read as an adult. I really want my little girl to go as Camilla Cream for Halloween, but so far she's not going for it.

    I'm constantly adding books to our must-read list, so the question of the day is....

    What's your all-time favorite children's book and why?

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Garden Gone Wild

    This is the first year I’ve ever planted a real garden and honestly I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Coach built me a raised garden bed, I filled it with soil and I sprinkled in some seeds. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I visualized myself picking a few fresh tomatoes every once in awhile, and maybe having a little basil to toss with my pasta and hopefully I would get a cucumber or two. Well, all those things happened and I was a very happy little gardener, but then things started to change. The garden started to grow and grow and grow. Before I knew it, I was picking baskets full of cucumbers, and corn and peppers and peas every other day. At first I was thrilled, but they just kept growing and growing and growing! The cucumber vines crawled out of the garden bed, up the fence and across the yard! Then the peas and beans crawled up the cucumber vines and my neighbors became quite curious about the corn stalks towering above my fence. I made basil pesto, spinach pesto, jalapeno pesto, cilantro chimichurri, dill pickles, sweet pickles, bread and butter pickles, and many other tasty things. We ate loads of veggies straight from the garden and gave away some too. With all my efforts, I still had vegetables shriveling on the vine because we couldn’t use them up fast enough. I think I overdid it just a wee bit.

    I’m looking out the window right now and seeing that my basil, after being harvested many times this summer, is over two foot tall again! I guess it’s time to make more pesto!

    ~Gridiron Girl

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Rainy Day Dinner ~ Bean Soup and Cilantro Corn Muffins

    Bean Soup

    1 lb pinto beans
    1 lb smoked sausage
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 small bell pepper, chopped
    1/2 cup celery, chopped
    1/2 cup parsley, chopped
    3 cloves of garlic
    salt, pepper and creole seasoning to taste

    In a large pot over medium heat, add sausage, onion, bell pepper, celery, parsley and garlic. Wash and rinse beans and add to the pot. Cover beans with water and bring to a rapid boil. Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 1 hour. After soaking, return beans to medium heat and bring to a low boil. Add more water as needed, stir often to keep from scorching and cook for 4 to 5 hours. Near the end of cooking, add salt, pepper and creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's) to taste.

    Cilantro Corn Muffins

    2 boxes Jiffy corn muffin mix
    2 eggs
    2/3 cup milk
    1 small can of corn
    1 small jalepeno pepper, chopped
    1 cup cilantro, chopped fine
    2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

    Mix all ingredients and pour into greased muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees about 12-15 minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.


    My Super Fly Guy


    For those of you who know me well, it's no shocker that I love a good costume. Just a few months ago I was parading around New Orleans as Hizzoner Ray Nagin. I have boxes full of boas, masks, wigs and all kinds of crazy get-ups. On any given day of the year you can find glitter in my carpet. I'm a Mardi Gras girl and costuming is in my blood.

    Since moving to Small Town, Texas I don't get many opportunies to wear or design costumes, so I was thrilled when my boy child came home from school and informed me he needed a fly outfit for a class performance of "Down by the Bay".

    I was a mom with a mission. A glue gun, and glitter, and pipecleaners...Oh my! I was determined to make my boy a super fly guy! I didn't have much time and my supplies were limited, but with a wire hanger, a pair of pantyhose and a couple of mesh drain covers, I managed to work a little magic.

    I've got my glue gun reloaded and my glitter restocked...bring on Halloween!!!

    ~Gridiron Girl

    Oh, the pressure!

    I'm really too much of a perfectionist for all this blogging business. I know it's going to drive me crazy. I need it to be just right, and these days I don't have time for just right. I only have time for it will have to do for now. I'm married to a college football coach, we have two wonderfully wild little knuckleheads, I'm trying to get a new photography business off the ground, I can't see over the stacks of laundry that have piled up, my garden is overgrown and I have a problem with volunteering too much. We live a crazy life! It's the good kind of crazy, but still....

    I've set up this new little blog as a landing spot for all the photos I never get around to printing, the recipes I never get around to sharing, the craft projects that all seem to be half-finished, and the Monday morning quarterbacking that my dear husband would rather me share with the world than with him. He already knows that I can't stand it when they run the ball up the middle, now you're lucky enough to know it too!

    If I ever manage to get my act together, I plan to post lots of yummy recipes, fun photos and Knucklehead updates in the coming days. For now I'm off in a mad dash to be one of the first in line for after-school kid collection. I'm all about the little victories.

    ~Gridiron Girl
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