Sunday, December 26, 2010

as i recap i turn my thoughts to next year...

after looking back at our wonderful christmas and thinking about christmases past, i'm thinking i should make next year the year i make all (or almost all) of our gifts to other people, homemade. my seester and i are great bakers and pretty crafty so this year we made some monogrammed bags for her team and my managers and a few family members and they were very well received. maybe they were well received because they had homemade cookies, kiflis, cereal snack and chocolates in them and maybe it was just because we put time and love into them. either way they weren't that complicated (except the 21 dozen kiflis but its not like you can only make one or two dozen anyway). i know i said i'd blog a combined list of what we made, maybe more for us to have a bit of a memory of these things but if you want some ideas of what works for us in the mean time, here it is:

21 dozen kiflis (the only thing we bother to count)
oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
oreo truffles
white trash (white chocolate and peanut butter covered pretzels and cheerios)
peppermint bark
spritz cookies
peanut butter blossoms
chocolate crackle tops
cereal snack (modified chex mix)

the only thing i haven't made yet is the round pretzel with either a kiss or rolo smushed down by an m&m and chocolate covered peanut butter cracker sandwiches but those will get made for my new year's cocoa party. i've also made home made marshmallos for the cocoa party but i'll blog about that next week.

as for a handcrafted christmas next year i'm not thinking that i'll just bake, i'm thinking that in the coming months i should plan a craft project or two to give as gifts. since i generally shop for everyone all year long anyway, maybe crafting all year long is the way to go. i've seen a few projects that might be just right so hopefully i can keep you posted as i handcraft my christmas :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

an amazing christmas...

first we had lunch and presents with my husband's family but i didn't take pictures so you'll get the pics from dinner at my grandma's. i got a really good picture of the girls with grandma, perfect for her calendar next year
and the hubs and i looked adorable, hopefully next year he won't be in this old navy fleece, it's made an apperance two years in a row in photos and that's a big no no for methe girls looked adorable in their sweater dressesand grandma's tree (decorated by me) looked great with all of our presents underneath, i'm pretty sure everyone got most of what they wanted and, best of all, we got to spend a great day with each other, and we didn't have to fight the snow because the streets are clear clear clearrockne even got what she wanted, something to chew on that she wasn't going to get in trouble for eating merry christmas everyone, i'll be posting a post-holiday baking list and some photos just to show ya'll what fun we've been having but for now, i'm going to relax with the hubs and watch some tv - we've become highly addicted to 'white collar' and can't get enough, looks like a white collar marathon will be happening every evening until we're caught up!

Monday, November 22, 2010

update for paige's class...

tonight we finished the crayons for paige's kindergarten class. you can see my tutorial here or read the original from Diary of a Preppy Mom here. from 5 boxes of 64 crayons acquired at the dollar store we ended up with enough crayons so that each of the 25 students could have 4 crayons and there were 6 or 7 left over. we sorted the crayons by color so that there wouldn't be duplicates in each package and then put them in favor bags found in the dollar section at target (love the target!)

i cut pieces of carstock just a bit larger than a couple of my christmas stamps, wrote each child's name on the front under the stamp and then had paige write 'from paige' on the backs of the cards at 5 years old she's not really used to writing that much and, being in kindergarten she's still figuring out how to write in a straight line and making the letters the right direction (as you can see, the 'g' in paige is backwards but that's what makes it adorable) then we punched a hole in the card, put a ribbon through it and tied it around the bag. even though there was quite a bit of time involved, around 45 minutes per dozen including peeling wrappers, baking and cooling which had to be completed before the next batch could start, they end up pretty easy and give a lot of bang for the buck. Here's the final break down on cost (so crazy cheap)

5 boxes of 64 crayons from dollar tree - $5
one wilton silicone mini tree pan from michaels - $6 ($10-40% off with coupon)
2 bags of 20 celophane favor bags from target's dollar section -$2
ribbon left over from presents last christmas -$0
stamped gift tags from cardstock on hand - $0

grand total -$13 or just under 50 cents per kid

here are some tips and ideas in closing:
  • you could easily use the same amount of supplies but only give each child 2 crayons and give twice as many kids presents if your child has a bigger class.
  • i made a couple of crayons from only two crayons instead of 3 and they turned out a bit thinner than i wanted but still thick enough to be usable and i would imagine that your kid's crayon box/bucket/can/etc has enough broken and partial crayons that you may not have to purchase as many but i wouldn't mix brands within each tree just in case for some reason they don't reharden consistently
  • i would highly reccomend two silicone pans if you're going to be making a bigger batch but if you're doing things around the house it's pretty easy to switch them around and get it taken care of
  • make sure you have two cookie sheets so that when you take the melted crayons out of the oven you can transfer them to a different pan and put them in the fridge to lessen the cooling time
  • you could easily print some coloring pages, even resize them to 1/2 or quarter page in something easy like ms word and give them with the crayons (i think they'd be super cute with full size coloring sheets rolled into a tube (like a diploma), tied with the ribbon before it's tied around the bag of crayons, it could be a super cute stocking stuffer too
  • peeling wrappers off of cheap crayons is super easy if you loosen the whole seam of the wrapper before trying to peel the rest off
  • little bits of crayon wax flake when breaking crayons, be sure to clean your cookie sheets really weel and if you wipe it off the top of the stove before it has a chance to cool it's not messy

that's all for tonight, happy crafting!!

christmas cards and calendars...

so, shutterfly is doing this awesome promotion for bloggers that want to write about shutterfly. they’re giving away 50 free holiday cards to bloggers just for writing 150+ little words. this is almost too easy for me since, as i’m sure you know, i use shutterfly every year for my christmas cards and to make an awesome calendar for my grandmother with the past year’s photos and everyone’s birthdays listed to make things easier for her. i usually start my cards and calendar way in advance and, thanks to shutterfly, I can save my work, go back to it, change layouts 100 times, adjust the size of the photos as many times as I want. I’m trying to decide between these cards, anyone have a preference?

the white bar between the two photos will have our names and the year

grandma's calendar is still in progress but you can check out their calendars here and get ideas for your own christmas cards here. i hope you get some great ideas for your holiday gift-giving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's gonna be a crafty Christmas...

today's craft was inspired (totaly got the idea from) Diary of a Preppy Mom . after seeing her blog post about these adorable crayons i sent the link to my sister who, instead of saying 'sure, let's make some for my kids' said, 'those would be super cute for paige's class'. so, here i am at 11:30 at night taking crayons out of my oven... we started by getting 64pks of crayons at the Dollar Tree ($1 each) and a mini tree silicone mold from Michaels ($9.99- 40% coupon). Then I separated the crayons into groups of 3s that would make pretty looking crayons.then i broke the groups of 3s into each mold shapeand then you put them in the oven to 'bake' for 15-20 minutes at 250F or until they're all melty.then i put mine in the fridge because i was so impatient. After 20-30 minutes they reharden and are super easy to pop-out

as soon as they're finished and in favor bags for each kid i'll post more pics. until then, what are ya'll planning for your kiddos' classes/teachers?

Monday, November 15, 2010

i'm one crafty bennett...

here's a quick update. i've decided not to use my blog to complain or comment on the misfortune of others or anything that wouldn't inspire others, which means that FAF has come to an end and you probably won't hear about my uninspiring part-time retail job anymore. i may, at some point comment on a difficulty i'm having with a project but i promise not to whine and complain too much :) i'm thinking that i'll mainly show you (brag about) projects and tell you about fun things with the family, share pics, etc.

so, back to the title... i made these two awesome projects out of the majority of three old books (paperback books from my childhood that i have no interest in reading or saving to let my children read), two floral forms i got for $1 each and a decent amount of hot glue. the tree will look much better when grouped with many more trees all made of different materials, (i hope) i love love love this wreath and can't believe how easy it was to make. i would guess that it took around 2 hours but i'm really not sure because i did it while sitting on the sofa watching tv this afternoon.

anywho, i'm feeling craft and i'm hopingi can find a few more books to try a different technique on another wreath and maybe even find a few new tree ideas :) i'm so excited about holiday decorating (even though i'm still waiting for after thanksgiving to put up my trees)!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a post for sara & rachelle...

just a quick update on what's been going on around here while sara & rachelle are just a couple hours away from waking up on what is, their much awaited court date in uganda!! since they left on monday we have:

played peek-a-book with lex (not really, he had rolled over and just looked really silly so i thought fiona might think it's funny)made a wreath from paper leaves (a premade kit from martha stewart crafts found at big lots!)my dad and i took a trip to shipshewana and watched the storm clouds roll in and out while shoppingwe shopped for fabrics for my soon-to-be aprons and for a quilt he's working onand got some inspiration (although dad says this is super tricky)oh yea, and before that shopping trip, i got a haircut! this is definitely the shortest it's been since i was an infant but i love it
well, that's all that i've been up to but tomorrow i'm going to a football game to watch casi & paige cheer so i'll put up some pics of that. miss you both!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

one final faf...

so i've been trying to be a better person and improve myself (be the salt and the light as one might say) but sometimes its impossible to ignore what i see (or are forced to see because someone else saw it and emailed me the photo in this case) so, here you go

so i would hope that this is my last faf post but this new path for me is just like going on a diet, someone somewhere right now is baking cookies that will jump in my path and i'm going to have to post the pics as evidence!

Monday, August 16, 2010

great article i had to pass on...

from: This Is What I Think:

Monday, November 03, 2008

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage

A brilliant playwright (and close personal friend of mine) recently sent this editorial out regarding Prop 8. I thought I'd share.

Traditional Marriage Perverts the Tradition of Marriage
by Jeff Goode (Californian)

About a decade ago, as a young playwright, I was hired to write a script for the Renaissance Festival of Kansas City. It was a period piece about knights and jousts and intrigues of the court, building up to a lavish royal wedding between a prince and a princess, restoring peace to the troubled land.

This was one of my first professional writing assignments, so I was really excited about doing all the research and making sure that everything was historically accurate, especially the royal wedding which needed to follow all the traditions exactly.

Over a summer of research, I learned a lot of surprising facts about the history of marriage and weddings, but by far the most shocking discovery of all was that the tradition of marriage-as-we-know-it simply did not exist in those days. Almost everything we have come to associate with marriage and weddings -- the white dress, the holy vows, the fancy cake and the birdseed -- dates back a mere 50 or 100 years at the most. In many cases less.

And the handful of traditions that do go back farther than that are, frankly, horrifying. The tossing of the garter, for example, evolved from a 14th Century tradition of ripping the clothing off of the bride's body as she left the ceremony in order to "loosen her up" for the wedding night. Wedding guests fought over the choicest bits of undergarment, with the garter being the greatest prize.

Savvy brides got in the habit of carrying extra garters in their bodice to throw to the male guests in hopes of escaping the ceremony with some shred of modesty intact!

It turns out that marriage, in days of old, was a barbaric custom which was little more than a crude exchange of livestock at its most civilized, and a little less than ritualized abduction at its worst. That's why you'll find no reference to white weddings in the Bible, or the union of one man and one woman. Because up until fairly recently, there was nothing religious about it.

You will of course find plenty of biblical bigamy, practiced by even the most godly of heroes-- Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon -- because that's what marriage was in those days. Even in more enlightened New Testament times, the only wedding worth mentioning (the one at Cana) is notable only for the miraculous amount of wine consumed.

In the 21st Century, we've heard a lot about the sanctity of marriage, as if that were something that has been around forever, but in reality the phrase was invented in 2004. Google it for yourself and see if you can find a single reference to the "sanctity of marriage" before the Massachusetts Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in that state. The proverbial Sanctity of Marriage sprang into being because opponents of gay marriage needed a logical reason to overturn an established legal precedent. And the only thing that trumps the Constitution is God himself.

Unfortunately, God is still pretty new to the whole marriage game (or he might have made an honest woman out of the Virgin Mary, am I right? Try the veal!)

The truth is that marriage has always been more a secular tradition rather than a religious one. Up until the early Renaissance, in fact, couples were traditionally married on the church's front doorstep, because wedding ceremonies were considered too vulgar to be performed inside the building: After all, there was implied sex in the vows and shameless public displays of affection. No clergyman in his right mind would have allowed such an unholy abomination on the premises.

But as times changed, ideas and attitudes about marriage also changed. So when people became religious, matrimony became holy. When people became nudists, clothing became optional. And so on throughout history.

And the wonderful thing about the institution of marriage -- the reason it has remained strong and relevant through thousands of years of ever-changing times -- is its unique ability to change with those times.

Marriage is, and always has been, a constantly evolving tradition that never fails to incorporate the latest shifts in culture and climate, changing social habits, fashions and even fads. (Because, seriously, that chicken dance is not in the Bible.)

Thus, in the 1800s when the sole purpose of marriage was procreation and housekeeping, marriage between an older man and a hard-working tween girl was considered perfectly normal. Today we call it pedophilia.

For thousands of years marriage was essentially a business transaction between the parents of the bride and groom. But in the last century or so, we've finally seen the triumph of this new-fangled notion that marriage should be about a loving relationship between two consenting adults.

Followers of the Mormon faith can tell you that the traditions of their forefathers included a devout belief that polygamy was appropriate and sanctified. But modern Mormons generally don't support that vision of happiness for their daughters.

And during the Civil Rights era, when opponents of interracial marriage tried to pass laws making such couples illegal, we came to realize that they, too, were wrong in trying to redefine marriage to prevent those newfound relationships.

Always marriage has triumphed by becoming a timely celebration of our society, rather than a backlash against it. It's strange, then, to see "tradition" used as a weapon against change, when change is the source of all its greatest traditions.

Just ask the white dress: In 1840, Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert wearing a beautiful white lace dress -- in defiance of tradition -- in order to promote the sale of English lace! The image was so powerful that practically overnight the white wedding gown became de rigueur for the well-heeled bride. And then it became de rigueur for every bride.

By the dawn of the 20th Century, the white dress had also inexplicably come to symbolize chastity. (Even though blue was traditionally the color of virginity --"something borrowed, something blue...")

And the new equation of white with virginity eventually achieved such a rigid orthodoxy that older readers may remember a time when wedding guests who happened to know that the bride was not perfectly pure would have felt a moral obligation to demand that she change into something off-white before walking down the aisle.

Fortunately, as cultural norms eased during the Sexual Revolution, a sort of "don't ask, don't tell" policy took hold where all brides were required to wear white regardless of their virtue and the less said about it the better.

In recent years, as a generation of divorcees have remarried and a generation of young people have entered wedlock with some degree of "experience", the pretense of a connection between literal virginity and the bridal gown has become entirely obsolete. A colorful journey for a custom which has always seemed iron clad, even as it was evolving over time.

And not all traditions have to do with changing sexual standards. The long-time custom of pelting the newlyweds with birdseed did not exist before the 1970s when animal-lovers realized that songbirds were bloating on dried rice that they found on the ground after the former custom.

Economic times have caused families to rethink the age-old convention of the bride's father paying for the entire ceremony -- a last vestige of the days of dowries when a young man had to be bribed to take a free-loading daughter off her parents' hands -- that well-established custom has gradually given way to a more humane approach to sharing the financial burden.

Even religious traditions of marriage have experienced constant metamorphosis over the years. As more interfaith couples have wed, we have seen the emergence of multi-disciplinary ceremonies where couples have chosen not to follow the out-dated tradition of rejecting one or both of their faiths as a prerequisite of holy matrimony.

One of the most beautiful weddings I ever attended was between a young Jewish fellow and his Catholic fiancé, whose mother was born in France. The ceremony was performed by both a rabbi and a priest with intertwining vows in English, Latin, Hebrew and French. A perfect expression of the union of their two families, yet one which would have been unthinkable just a generation before.

But, again, marriage has such a long history of changing with the ever-changing times, that the last thing we should expect from it is to stop growing and changing. We know today that marriage is not a rote ritual handed down by God to Adam & Eve and preserved verbatim for thousands of years. It is, rather, an expression of how each community, each culture, and each faith, chooses to celebrate the joining of loved ones who have decided to make a life together.

Christians do not expect Jesus to be central to a Buddhist wedding, nor do Jews refuse to acknowledge Lutheran unions because they didn't include a reading from the Torah. Marriage is what we each make of it. And that's the way it always should be.

Perhaps the greatest irony of the traditional marriage argument is that it seeks to preserve a singular tradition that has, in fact, never existed at any point in history.

Because, honestly, which traditional definition of marriage do we want our Constitution to protect?

...The one from Book of Genesis when family values meant multiple wives and concubines?
...Or the marriages of the Middle Ages when women were traded like cattle and weddings were too bawdy for church?
...Since this is America, should we preserve marriage as it existed in 1776 when arranged marriages were still commonplace?
...Or the traditions of 1850 when California became a state and marriage was customarily between one man and one woman-or-girl of age 11 and up?
...Or are we really seeking to protect a more modern vision of traditional marriage, say from the 1950s when it was illegal for whites to wed blacks or Hispanics?
...Or the traditional marriage of the late 1960s when couples were routinely excommunicated for marrying outside their faith?

No, the truth of the matter is, that we're trying to preserve traditional marriage the way it "was and always has been" during a very narrow period in the late 70s / early 80s - just before most of us found out that gays even existed: Between one man and one woman of legal age and willing consent. Regardless of race or religion (within reason). Plus the chicken dance and the birdseed. Those are okay.

But there's something profoundly disturbing about amending the Constitution to define anything about the 1970s as "the way God intended it."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

toying with my heartstrings...

from snipped & ink's daily wedding inspiation i feel like rachel zoe, as in, i die for these shoes...and these clutchesso i went to the valentino site to try and find the shoes, which of course are no longer on their site, and then i stumble upon these, which i'm sure are the same only in lace and red leather instead of the soft pastel print but, as you know, i do love me some black lace, and even better than lace is bows...

and then, of course, being valentino, they're $850 a pair which means that i will never have them... not to say that at some point i couldn't afford them but i know i won't ever spend that much on shoes for fear that i may never wear them because i'm afraid to get them dirty or snag the lace or something equally horrifying... so for now, i die, and then i move on

Monday, July 26, 2010

more for my birthday list...

i just watched today's rachael ray and it was about germ killing and, yowza, i'm afraid for my toothbrush. i'd like to add this sanitizer to my birthday list:

Zapi Hi-Ya Sanitizer

it doesn't have to be the ninja one, i would easily accept a solid color as well, but the ninja is so cute!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It's VBS Week Again...

and this year, it's a rainforest theme!we have tiki torches along the aisle a room set up to tell the storyand even a waterfalland really tall trees

it's going to be an awesome week for the harris prairie family and an even better week as we spread joy and fellowship in our community :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Friday...

and the aneurysms are plentiful...

visible bra straps and jeans tucked INTO the sandals
a white skirt that's too short and too whiteokay, i realize that this looks like a great picture of a tree but if you lok all the way to the left you'll get a glimpse of more too short shorts and a bad braand this is just too wrong for words. if you don't feel comfortable enough in the backless shirt, DON'T put another shirt underneath it to cover the skin you're uncomfortable with, and cropped wide leg pants only make the legs lok wider...btw, her hair is super cuteokay, it's hard to see the lady in the green shirt and short cutoffs but that 'light spot' you see on the shorts, not a spot at all, it's the POCKETS hanging out... even in a sports bar this is wrong!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

busy busy busy...

it has been the week of projects around the bennett house! with a few less hours at work this week and projects for other people on my schedule i figured it was time to get some of our projects done too! josh had his own list, mainly getting our fascia fixed so we can get new gutters. josh, pat and bruce (josh's dad) worked very hard this weekend, ripped off the gutters and fascia, replaced a lot of boards, new fascia and now we're ready for gutters!!!my projects included cleaning out and organizing our bedroom and bathroom closets and cabinets... my nail polish drawer was a wreck, i took out about 2/3 of the bottles of polish and put everything i ususally hunt everywhere for in the drawer
for anyone that knows me, you know that i love my shoes, the high heels, the low heels the tennis shoes and the sandals, all my favs! my poor husband on the other hand, is not a shoe person and, unfortunately for him, doesn't have enough pairs to necessitate that my shoes stay on my side of the closet, until today that is. i got two new shoe racks (adjustable and sturdy, thank you walmart!) and organized and (shockingly enough) even got rid of a few pairs, donation style. here's josh's side:

and even though my side starts just left of the middle as you can tell, and goes onto the floor under the rack, everything except barely worn work boots are in the closet and out of a pile
paige is very happy to model my shoes as we cleaned them out of the closet
i'll post more projects once they're finished, i'm off to clean off some shelves while watching agt (america's got talent)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

it's not exactly friday...

but i'm cleaning pictures off my phone and realized that i have some real jems for you so fashion aneurysm thursday it is!sorry she's turned but i can't get it to rotate and you can see the damage even though she's sidewaysand this is a dual post, first about the too-short shirt and secondly about the wallpaper they are trying to color match with paint. NO MORE FLORAL WALLPAPER PEOPLE!!!again with the rotation problem, but you can see the socks with HOUSESLIPPERS clearly enough, just plain wrong!papa mullet and momma on her way to a mullet...

Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Dave!!!

even though dave and sara won't be home from uganda for a week we decided to celebrate dave's birthday the way we would if he was home, an awesome dinner at hacienda. we started with chips and salsaand quickly our margaritas came. we had to have strawberry because that's dave's favoritetyler didn't actually have any margarita but i thought it would be funny!lisa and i had ours and casi and paige posed nicely... well, they were there. after a long wait they were just happy to have some chips and drinks. bruce was happy to have his margarita as well, not strawberry i had the small wet burrito with sour cream and guacamole... sooo good!lisa had a beef and cheese burrito with ricesue had a fajita quesadillabruce had a chimichangabarb had a wet burritodave had fettucinityler, of course, had the chicken fingers and fries and casi did toopaige had the baby burgerslisa and i finished "dave's" liter and then started oursand of course, lisa had to give ty some kisses from dave and sara...

we had an awesome time and can't wait to have dinner with all of them when they get home next week!