Friday, July 27, 2007

Potty Time

We're potty training over here in our little neck of the woods. In fact, we really haven't hit it hard cause of the chaos that has turned out to be summer! But, typically M is interested in trying or "practicing" at least once every evening! We're discovering the trick for her is being naked. I know that concept is not the most acclaimed way to patty train you child, but it works rather well around here. Of course that's during the day while we are at home...what'd you think? I drag my kid out in public without clothes?!

Yesterday we had 4 potty successes! Each time there were 2 fairly back to back! The biggest success I would say was when M (making the I need to tee tee face) said "no tee tee ing in the bath!" So I asked if she wanted to get out and go on the potty. She actually said yes...and then went! I was pretty impressed! I know that the next logical step is potty training "panties" which will be just as effective as being naked. I must admit that I fear the #2 part of this training. M is already quite cognizant of the fact that she will be getting a My Lovely Pony the first several times she goes #2 on the potty. (That's the $1 version of My Little Pony--of which she knows no difference).

Still yesterday she pulled her diaper off without my knowing so she could practice going potty, but at some point had to go a little #2! Ooops! A smudge on the floor! Luckily she tried to hold the mess was minimal, but oh I dread it!

We'll hit this harder when there are less distractions in the house. Cuz may be vacationing at the end of the summer, so that would be perfect. He tends to get really mad when she's in the potty and he can't come in. Not to mention when we are all out and about together, he tries to flush the potty while she's still trying to go! That is a little unnerving I can imagine.

Ahhh. The fun times of potty training! More to report on that I'm sure!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

There's a Mouse in My House

Fun Book. Not so fun reality.

Never before...and hopefully never again...will I see what I saw last night while lying in bed reading. I thought I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. But when I really looked I didn't see anything. When we chose to rent this house, we knew that this was an old mill house and so the small hole in the wall behind the door didn't really bother us. Well, it does now. Last night the "movement" that caught my eye returned as I continued to read and in the dim light, I was quite certain it was a very tiny mouse. I'd guess 2 inches long or so. It was surprisingly cute, although at first I desired to speak no louder than a whisper while standing on the bed trying to "call" my husband into the room. Of course, he thought I was crazy. He even said so, thought he might need to send me to some therapy!

Then I spotted the mouse (who from henceforth will be referred to as Chester), and he was under the baby bed headed straight for me. Then Chester realized that he didn't much like me either and tried to run back to his hole (where hubby was standing). We played the game of trying to box him in, having no clue what we'd do if we were actually successful, but he "disappeared." Yes, I know. Oh so comforting as I am supposed to crawl back into bed and try to sleep. I made hubby search every crevice for Chester. Hubs turned up nothing. We had blocked under all the doors, so Chester's only hope was his hole. I assume that's where he went.
Then Hubs did one of the dumbest things I think he has ever even attempted to do!!! He gets my favorite pair of blue jeans out of the basket and heads for the hole. When I ask him what he's doing, he proceeds to tell me that he is going to plug up Chester's hole with my jeans. Uh...No! I then try to shed a little light on the insanity of that thought process, to which he then opts for the old, dirty beach towel to do the temporary plugging. Whew!

Believe it or not, I eventually did fall asleep, but I did dream about scores of tiny mice coming in the air conditioning vent! What an experience. Chester's hole is still plugged with that beach towel and you'd better believe I'm not touching it with a 10 foot pole! The exterminator is coming tomorrow, so until then I still look for Chester when I go in and out of my room. So far, no further sign of him! Whew! Bye bye Chester...and good riddance!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I have Apples?!

While playing and learning in the back yard on Monday, I discovered that we have an apple tree. It's really in sad shape though because it has been woodpecked to death. Which I assume means it has a lot of bugs. As if that tree didn't have enough problems, there appears to be some type of fungus trying to take it over. is producing new shoots and apples. The apples may not be much, but having a tree that produces anything is sort of a novelty. Hopefully I'll be able to collect enough apples to try and make something. Just sounds like fun.

And speaking of food...Look how cute M is! She got this container out of my pantry and ran off mumbling about fixing "dada" lunch in "her kitchen." This is what she came up with. She even brought it to him. He thought it was so cute he took a pic. 2 is a fun age!

Chicken for Lunch

NO. I did not have chicken for supper last night...or breakfast this A.M. However, yesterday I tried two different "recipes" at lunch yesterday. Both of which I actually enjoyed a good bit. I had the chicken "bits" sprinkled over a salad and added cheese, cucumbers, and balsamic vinaigrette. Really good combo if you ask me.

Then I had the chicken on a bun with Hellman's Mayo and Mt. Olive Dill Chips. It was quite tasty as well. Good lunch altogether. Great suggestion Lu.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Chicken Wraps and Contest Update

Nico and Rebecca suggested doing chicken wraps. Tortillas, chicken, whatever sauce you want...

Here's how we did it. M ate the nuggets dipped in honey mustard. I had tortilla with chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and honey mustard. Hubby had the same but plain once and with ranch the second time. He actually commented that he liked the ranch one. M gobbled up the chicken and honey mustard. Here is a pic. M took a bite of the tortilla first...and don't be offended by my "china".

Tomorrow at lunch I'm having it on a salad as Nico also suggested. Then for dinner (maybe) I think I'm going to try Chicken Parmesan suggested by Kendra. That's if I don't need a chicken break! Keep the suggestions coming!

BTW: I'm hoping to close out the contest by the end of the month instead. I hope to be completely out of nuggets/fingers and breaded chicken in general by then. So Comment until the 31st of July then come the prizes!

Belated Birthday

I'm so late on this. Summer really gets away from me. But...My little one turned 2 on the 6th and we had her lovely last minute party on the 7th. I will be getting more pics from my parents as they were more at ease to take them while I was in take charge mode. For now, I'm sending you to my SIL's website to see her slide show of the party. And BTW, she made the two fabulous cakes you see there, so if you live in the area and need a cake for any occasion contact Aunt Shebby's Cakes.

Chicken Fingers Contest!

It's my first CONTEST to host! Those of you who've already given your input in the previous posts comments section have been entered! I decided this will make a great contest. I will try all of your "recipes" and take pics. I'll post the pics and a review of each result. On Aug 15th I will announce the winner. This will be judged simply on ease and "family taste test!"

  1. Go to the comments and post your suggestion and/or recipe for what I can do with the loads of breaded chicken nuggets and fingers I have acquired from Angel Food Ministries boxes.
  2. When you post your comment make sure you leave your contact info (blog site and/or email info) If it makes you feel more comfortable, just email me the info.
  3. Last possible day to enter is July 31st! I will try each recipe for lunch or dinner, and use my family for help in judging. I will post the winner shortly thereafter and contact him or her for prize delivery.
  4. WHAT DO I WIN?! A Homemade collection of various items. Homemade Jams for sure, and definitely something from the sewing center; a taggie security blanket maybe (If you have children, I would love to tailor it to your child, grandchild and such)a John-John, a pillowcase dress or outfit with top and pantaloons (monogrammed if you so desire).
  5. Get to commenting!

Monday, July 16, 2007

What to do with Chicken fingers?

Periodically I do Angel Food. It is a once a month box of food for $25.00 The amount of meat and such makes this a good value if you actually eat and use the items. However, I have quite a bit of breaded chicken nuggets/fingers that we almost never eat. And I'm not one to waste, so I was just curious if anyone has any good ideas for how I can use this chicken in unique ways. I'm up for any idea...Seriously!

Baby Wipes Recipe

Here is the wipes recipe that many of the comments were directed at. I haven't perfected it yet, but even the first attempt was satisfactory. The container I used was a bit smaller than regular wipe containers, so I measured it so that I could cut the paper towel roll accurately. That part was the hardest! I need to perfect the art of cutting the paper towel. I used a knife cause the scissors couldn't do it. The instructions say to pull from the middle of the roll. In that case, I would think that saving an old lysol wipes container would probably work better. I'm trying that next.

This recipe is for an entire roll, so two "batches" of wipes (at least). I did half a batch...that's all that would fit in my container. You have to use high quality paper towel. Tightwad Gazette suggests Bounty or Brawny, but my fave is Viva! I buy those anyway. One of my "splurges".
Cut the roll accordingly (in half or less depending on size and style of your container). Then remove the cardboard center.

2 1/4 Cups of water
1 Tbsp of baby oil
2 Tbsp of baby shampoo/soap

"Marinate" the cut portion of the paper towels in the mixture (ziploc bag worked well for me). turn it over so that the whole thing gets soaked. Then squeeze out a bit of the solution before transferring the wipes to your container. if you have them in a lysol type container, then pull from the middle. Otherwise, good luck!

O.K. The List

Stars indicate those items that were on my grocery list already. So here is the list of items I got at the sidewalk sale:

*28 oz. Kraft Minute Rice
*2 boxes of Hickory Farms Cracker (like ritz)
Brownie Mix
Magnetic ABC's for the fridge
* 4 small cans of spaghettios
1 can of peas and carrots
*Lipton Decalf tea (48 bags)
*4 6packs of Tropicana Apple Juice
* 4 Ocean Spray Cranberry Rasberry Juice (32 oz)
* 5 packets of Capri Sun
* 3 boxes of Fruit snacks-Kelloggs
* can of Kidney beans
*2 cans of Pinto beans
* XL can of black beans
2 soups at hand (campbells)
*3 boxes of poptarts
3 pack of Orbit gum
1 pack of Latex kitchen gloves
*3 cans of green beans (green giant and del monte)
*2 cans of canola oil spray
1 chicken boullion
1 pickles
1 big tin of Altoids
*2 boxes of cheese crackers (1 gerber graduates)
*Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
*4 cans stewed tomatoes
1 Campbells Select Soup (on the go)
*1 bag of tortilla chips
*1 bag of animal crackers
*One-A-Day Multi-vitamins (plus cholesterol)
1 box of Cheerios
1 gerber graduates veggie crackers
1 Smuckers Magic Shell (Twix)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Frugal and Creative

I'm discovering that these two concepts go hand in hand. To be truly frugal does not mean being too cheap, but rather make the best use of what you've been blessed with. In "the church" we call this good stewardship...No, not tithing, but still within a similar context. Dr. Harvey talked on the parable of the talents and being frugal is one of the ways that I take the fishes and loaves and make them feed more than they seemingly should. This could get really heady and philosophical quickly, so I'm going to stop there and just show you some of what I've been up to in the last few days (and one pic from VBS that I wanted to share).

For (VBS) Summer Spectacular, I teamed up with fellow friend and blogger in the K-5 Music and Missions room. The last day we were playing Dr. related games because we were discussing a missionary who was a pediatrician. I went out and priced toy Dr. Kits and similar things and couldn't bring myself to buy one even if it would end up being a toy for my daughter. So I really had to be creative and "make" a toy stethascope from items I already had. I usually shower at night to make getting ready quicker in the A.M. As I was in the shower I noticed a fairly large suction cup that kept the shower organizer in place. It had a slit in it so that it could be removed and relocated if necessary, so I just removed it. I attached it to the plug in portion of my headphones and voila! Just for aesthetics, I covered the suction cup with foil to give it the silver look. For K-5 this worked perfectly. No additional cost, no wasting money, no cluttering my daughters room with more toys she will likely not play with, and recycling/repurposing materials I already have. Good stewardship.

I am almost out of baby wipes. I don't like the particular ones that I am given off and on simply because they smell strongly of vinegar, but they are freely given and so we use them (good stewardship). I remember reading on how to make your own baby wipes a while ago and kept those various items on hand after the baby showers in the event that I would indeed try this recipe. Today I had my chance. I cut part of the roll of Viva paper towels so it would fit in the container I had saved after the Q-tips were used up. I got out the baby oil that I recieved at a shower but never used (I'd saved it for just this purpose). And took out the baby soap. I read the recipe and used my TBSP measurement and a big ziploc bag and basically marinated my babywipes. The remaining portion of the paper towels are plenty big enough for everyday use, so I just put them back on the holder. Now, in this case I didn't waste or get rid of the baby oil I was given so it would help me later (I'm not advocating saving things just in case you need them later...simplicity is better, but I knew what purpose it would serve before saving it). I reused a container that would have simply gotten thrown away. And saved money and time by not having to make a store run just for wipes. And as a bonus, they smell great!

Lastly, but certainly not least, my friend told me about a "sidewalk sale" that happens once a month at the Sav More in this area. It is the way I like to shop. Some portions of my stockpile have been running low and I had started a list so this came at the most opportune time. Sav More makes rows of boxes on the ground in the parking lot of dented cans/boxes, out of season (valentines, christmas, etc) decorations and such, and expired or nearly expired items. You arrive early for the sale to get a place near an item that you spot, and get a box. When the rules are given and the fellow says, "go"...everyone goes and quickly. Here's the best only (no tax) $6 a box...anything you can fit in it. I filled 2 boxes this Saturday, my brother filled 3, and my friend filled one. You've got to know where an expiration date is/is not that important, and the concept of the outer packaging being open or in disarray, but the inner packaging completely in tact. I racked up. Brother estimated saving at least $150.00, and I estimated saving about $120.00! The list would be too long, so I'll show you a pic. If I get any requests for the list, I'll post it next.

(including the magnetic letters for the fridge which M opened immediately)

Being a Good Steward is being frugal and creative. Use what you have. Don't waste money and/or resources you may already have that aren't being used. Spend a little time instead of money. Then you are using your brain as well.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hallquist Family Reunion

Time to Play Catch-up

I never knew that summer was the busier time of year for parents! I'm finding it hard to keep up with blogging so the next several posts are intended to be for catching up.

So the last post was me informing you all that we've been away unexpectedly on "vacation". M and I went to San Antonio to the SBC so that I could sing in the choir. There were a lot of last minute cancellations, so I was able to go for next to nothing! It was a lovely trip in which Dad, M and I all got to spend more time together than we ever would have planned on our own! We had a blast reconnecting with my Aunt and cousins! I, too, wished that we lived closer. I love San Antonio too! I had so much fun and ate some fab mexican! Here is a slide show with the pics I have so far. Not too many, but there is a pic of our waitress one evening that also had M's name.

Unexpected Vacation