Saturday, December 27, 2008

Third Night through Sixth Night and Christmas Too!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We are busy, busy busy and the posting is irregular at best.

So here is a medley of pictures from the past few nights.

On the third night of Hanukkah we have featured the menorah at my mother's house. She is not Jewish, but we have one for when Hanukkah overlaps with our time up north. If I remember correctly this menorah was given to Larry and I shortly after we had children by his paternal grandmother. It was after one of our visits to Florida when she gave it to us.We already had at least one at that point and decided it would be nice to have this one up at my mother's house.

I like how you can see the reflection of my mother's Christmas tree in the window behind the menorah. It looks pretty and captures the two holidays in one picture.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Any way back to Hanukkah, each night we have had different children place and light the candles. On the fourth night Nate got the honor of lighting them up. I like how you can just get a hint of his profile in the picture. The warm glow of the candles' light on his skin is nicely captured by the natural lighting setting. I did not have to doctor this photo except for rotating it from the horizontal.

The candle in the candelabra behind the menorah has wonky candles, they really do lean at all sorts of crazy angles. They got softened by the sun during the summer and ended up bending all over the place. I try to twist them around when I take pictures of our menorah, but I forgot to here.

After the candles burnt down for a bit we noticed something interesting about our menorah's candles.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
They had burnt down on a staggered fashion irrespective for the order in which we lit them. The shamash (the central candle) really should be the shortest, but oddly the one on the far right is with the flames describing a perfect line ascending upwards from right to left. Rebecca looked very cute and we thought we would share this bonus picture of the fourth night. I think she is very excited over the prospect of sledding, yet more Hanukkah and Christmas the following day. We spent the day sledding and decorating my mother's tree and it was great fun for all. When we arrived there was well over a foot of snow and the sledding hill is nicely covered.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The fifth night Jake got the honor of lighting things up, but his picture didn't come out as nearly as well. So we will just have to be satisfied with a shot of just the candles. He enjoyed reciting he blessings ans carefully lighting each candle.

This brings us to the sixth night. Rebecca got to lite the candles and things got a bit crazy. Nate had a hard time fitting in the candles, so they have some of the same crazy angles of the candelabra in behind. I think they all fit together.

And of course here is a picture of my mother's christmas tree.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Second Night

Second night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is my mother in law's menorah.

I've gotten a bit more into the swing of things and took the picture before the candles all became nubs.

Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Night

first night
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Last night was the first night of Hanukkah. We went to temple for the annual party, ate far too much, had a rousing game of dreidel and then headed back home to light our candles.

I just barely got this photo in time. This is my favorite of all our menorahs and if you go here you'll learn all about it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brand New and Cute

clear red boy
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
John's half sister and Dell's litter mate, Trudy, just had a litter of puppies on Friday.

Things were a bit dicey, but in the end she bore six beautiful puppies, 3 boys and 3 girls. The one pictured here is the clear red boy. He is just too cute for words. I love the little paw sticking out under his chin. His coloring is called clear red, because of the absence of dark shading that can be seen in the other four red puppies (the remaining puppy is black and tan).

To give you an idea of what I mean by shaded red think of John and Dell, or better yet these three cuties. The two with collars are girls and the third is the shaded red boy.

three puppies
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The boys don't need collars, they are readily identifiable by their colors, clear red, shaded red and black and tan. The girls look so very similar that the colored rickrack is needed to keep track of who is who (ie tracking weight gain).

Dianne will be sending me more photos as the puppies grow and we might just get to see them in a couple of weeks.

Friday, December 19, 2008


cookie cutters
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As I mentioned yesterday I have a fairly decent gingerbread recipe. It is courtesy of Martha Stewart, you can see it over here, or just read on.

I had gotten some cookie cutters from the Martha Stewart catalog a few years ago. Included in the package was a wee little book filled with suggested recipes and tips on how to decorate the resultant cookies. I haven't tried the sugar or the chocolate cookies, but I can tell you the gingerbread is worth trying out. the only hard part is judging when the cookies are done. I mostly relied on my nose. If I could smell the cookies they had to be done.

ready to bake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Makes about 16 large cookies
(I got just under 5 dozen)

* 6 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 1 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
* 4 teaspoons ground ginger
* 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground clove
* 1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup unsulfured molasses


1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
2. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Add flour mixture; combine on low speed. Divide dough in thirds; wrap in plastic. Chill for at least 1 hour.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured work surface, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to ungreased baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Bake until crisp but not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on wire racks, then decorate as desired.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The dough was very stiff and smelt fantastic. I chilled it overnight, I prefer that as opposed to hanging around for an hour. AS for the chilling on the sheet, at most they got was 10 minutes outside on the deck. (It was about 40-45 degrees out, this time of year I view my deck as the world's largest walk-in cooler.)

The cookies are very tasty, Max's class loved decorating them and eating them. I don't think anybody rejected the cookies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


cookie tins 1
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
So here is what I've been doing this week.

I like to give out cookies, award wining chocolate chip cookies. For me, it is an easy gift and on the whole everybody seems to enjoy them.

Originally the amount of baking I did was fairly low key. When Jake and Nate were both in elementary school all I had to do was three tins of cookies: one for each teacher and one for the school bus driver. I could easily do it all in about a batch and a half of cookies. Those days are long gone. Now it takes 11, yes that's right 11, tins to encompass all of the teachers (Jake has 5) and the three different bus drivers. Each tin holds approximately a 1/4 of a batch of cookies. So in this picture you are looking at three batches of chocolate chip cookies (the twelfth went to the piano teacher). That was /Tuesday's baking extravaganza.

cookie tins 2
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Wednesday I knocked out another batch for our mail carrier, the nice ladies at the school's office (they positively dote on Max and make sure that he gets his enzymes), and a small one for Meryl (the piano teacher's tin accidentally ended up in this photo). All I have left to do is a tin for the kennel where we board our dogs and one other present for family. I'll probably will end up making that batch on Sunday.

That that's not all.

I got a phone call last week asking if I could possibly make gingerbread men for Max's class. The room mom was very nice and said she was asking me because a) rumor had it i liked to bake (duh!) and b) she knew she could count on me to deliver. She has been having problems we people flaking out on her and she remembered me from last year. She was in charge of Rebecca'[s class last year and I always would do as I promised.

gingerbread men
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Of course, I said yes.

I had made them before and I had a good recipe for them. All I had to do was mix them up the day before and let the dough chill overnight. The only snag was that I did not have the traditional cutters. But that was not a problem, a couple were found and sent home with Max on Monday.

Don't they look yummy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Artist of the Week: Diorama

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate.

I got this picture of him a few weeks ago during our annual holiday card photo session. He looks so cute and so very confident in this shot. His hair has gotten quite long, but he is adamant that I not cut it. We compromise with a very slight trim to neaten it up. I tease him that he is not Samson and he'll be fine if I do cut shorter. But it is what he wants and it is a battle not worth fighting. However he is not allowed to fuss when I comb out his hair. That is the price you pay for long hair.

Anyway about a month or so ago Nate had a big book report and project to do. For the report he picked out "The Burning" by Kathryn Lasky. The book is the sixth from a fairly neat series of books called the "Guardians of Ga'Hoole." The whole series is about a society of owls and is a good read, I highly recommend it.

The Burning
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
For the book report Nate had a choice of projects. He decided on making a diorama, specifically of an aerial battle near the end of the book. Originally he was going to use clay to form the canyon walls, but it kept breaking up and flaking off the cardboard supports. I suggested that he try paper mache, he had plenty of time and it would be lightweight and sturdy. The clay would be used to make the owls.

He had great fun laying out the strips and forming the canyon. It took us about four days to make the whole thing. The end result turned out very nice after Nate painted the canyon and decorated it with moss and crumpled paper "fire." (I found the red canyon back drop.)

The owls were a bit tricky. Nate had no problem making the bodies and painting them, but the wings had him stumped. The clay would not stay in place and, again, it was far too brittle once it dried. I suggested paper and the end result pleased Nate. Using fishing line and skewers we were able to suspend the owls in a great swirling battle. My main contribution there was in knot tying.

The whole thing looked great and he ended up with an A.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Baking, Baking, Baking

It's baking-palooza here, so I've not much to say. I'll take a picture and put it up after it's all said and done.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Best Car Review... Ever!

Sadly I'm not able to embed this particular video, so go over to here and enjoy the madness.

Courtesy of those fine folks over at AMCGLTD.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bath Time

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I have lived with dogs all my life.

When I was young our dogs were very much against the whole concept of bath time. It was something akin to pig wrestling when it was time to clean them up. You would have drag them into the bathroom, manhandle the dog into the tub, shut the shower doors and stay in with the now miserable beast. As soon as there was an opening they would be gone.

The dogs Larry and I had when we were first married, Crunch and Rally, were a bit better behaved. They didn't like baths, but would stoically stand in the tub. There good behavior was the result of a liberal distribution of treats or as I liked to call it, chumming. Since Crunch was a show dog, frequent baths were a fact of life and I wanted him to be as cooperative as possible.

Now we have John and Dell.

John seems to actually want to take baths. Whenever I bathe the children he is soon in the bathroom checking things out. He happily trots through the doorway and stations himself right next to the tub. This delights the kids and sometimes they'll even request that John joins them. I'll plop him in the tub and he'll calmly stand there for as long as we want.

He looks a bit put out in the picture because he wanted to be in my lap or in the tub. Rebecca was delighted with his appearance, but she did not want him to join her.

Dell meanwhile has the far more classic reaction to bath time. He once came up, poked his nose into the bathroom and you could literally see him think "Oh no! It's bath time! I've gotta get outta here!" and he whipped back down the stairs.

Silly red boys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hot Date

We have successfully offloaded the kids tonight. Meryl very generously offered to take the crew for one night as a birthday present for Larry and I. Originally it was for all four, but Nate has a birthday party to attend and we are sending him home with one of the other guests. Either way they are out of the house.

I'm looking forward to going out with my man and being able to enjoy a dinner and a movie without having the ticking clock of a babysitter in the background.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Magna Carta

I have just finished reading the latest Dick Francis, Silks. He now writes with his son Felix and the resultant book is similar to Dick's solo works, but you can sense a bit of a difference. All in all it was a good read, but the actual book is not my focus here. Instead it was a little bit I learned about the Magna Carta, one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy.

In Runnymede England, the site of the signing of this momentous document, there is a memorial dedicated to the Magna Carta. It's a pretty little structure, built in 1957 it has slim columns supporting a classical dome at the foot of a hill. The most striking thing about the memorial is who funded the memorial. I'll quote the website:
1957: Magna Carta Memorial
Standing at the foot of the Cooper's Hill Slopes is a memorial to the Magna Carta in the form of a domed classical temple containing a pillar of English granite on which is inscribed: 'To commemorate Magna Carta, symbol of Freedom Under Law.' This was built by the American Bar Association on land leased by the Magna Carta Trust. It was paid for by voluntary contributions of some 9,000 American lawyers. The memorial was designed by Sir Edward Maufe R.A. and unveiled on 18 July 1957 at a ceremony attended by American and English lawyers.

Yes, that's right the American Bar Association. That's your surprising fact of the day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Artist of the Week: Cake

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
So hey, it's my turn to be artist of the week. I'm pretty proud of the cakes I made for the football banquet and I thought I'd share them (or at least the pictures).

Originally I volunteered to make a team cake, but the next day I was asked if I could make more, as in enough for the banquet. After a bit of consideration I figured what the hey, it'll be easier than the last big cake I made. At the very least it's all local driving and not the massive multi-state trek it was for my brother's wedding.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The first order of business was figuring out how much cake was needed. I consulted with the guy catering and he said it was a bit of a crap shoot. It could be 120, 150 maybe even 200. Four sheet cakes (technically they were half sheets) would fill the bill. The rule of thumb I heard said 100 servings per cake, but that's a load of crock. At most I could see 75 servings per cake and those would be pretty mingy. Since there were four teams (Flag, Minor, Junior and Senior) there should be four cakes. Since this would be a boatload of batter I requested that I not foot the bill for all the ingredients (pictured to the right). The caterer arranged for the athletic association to pay the tab and he would drop off the stuff.getting the ingredients.

dining room
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

The party was on December 1st and I got the stuff a couple days before Thanksgiving. This gave me plenty of time. I decided I would bake the cakes on Saturday and Sunday. Start assembling them Sunday night and finish them up on Monday when the kids were at school.

For once i was able to pretty much stick to my schedule and I had all the cakes done early Monday afternoon. Jake came home from school just as I was piping the final borders. I had a little assembly line going on the dining room table. I would do one particular aspect of the cakes and shuffle through them before moving onto the next element. I free handed the G logo on the cake and I was very pleased how all four turned out. All I had left to do was to get the cakes to their final destination.

car full of cake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I gave the caterer a call and I arranged to meet him at the venue at about 4:30-4:45. This would give me enough time to drop off the cakes and get back home to get the kids and return for the banquet. It had to be done in two trips because I could not realistically fit four cakes and four kids in the van at the same time. And no, having each kid balance a cake in their lap was not an option. In fact you can see here I folded down the rear seat and slid the cakes in on a clean table cloth.

The caterer was impressed with the cakes and I got a ton of compliments at the banquet. All of the cake was gone and it looked like we had well over 200 people in attendance. Not a bad weekend's worth of work.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Going Old School

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This weekend we rediscovered the joys of an old fashioned cooktop popcorn popper.

Our counter top microwave (aka the good one) died a few months ago. In the meantime we have been using the built in that came with the house (aka the bad one).

The good one did a great job with popcorn, the bad one ... well it earned its name. Usually the first bag would not pop it would just burn it instead. Then sometimes (I being an optimist at heart) it would pop the second bag. But there would always be a ton of old maids and there was a slight smokey cast to the flavor. Blech, burnt popcorn.

So, since we were having a hoard of small boys coming over we thought it would be a good idea to come up with a better way to do popcorn.

Then I remember the old popper my family used to use that my mother passed on to me. I bought popcorn kernels and flavored oil and even splurged on butter flavored seasoning. We fired it up Friday and it was a success!

Pretty much every kernel popped with the added bonus of the whole process being highly entertaining to watch.

popcorn popper
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The only negative was the tendency of the oil in the pan to spatter a bit through the mesh.

And here is what the old workhorse looks like sans popcorn.

The top has two metal tabs that fit through slots just above the handle. A sleeve with a ridge slides down the handle with the ridge locking the top in place. It is very elegant in its simplicity. I had fun shaking the pan back and forth watching the kernels explode. A far more satisfying experience than the microwave.

Sometimes going old school is the best way to go.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Quite an Experience

I can safely say that we will not be having any more sleepovers on the grand scale.

Nobody was hurt and nothing was broken, but...

When 10 little boys are thrown together over night there is precious little sleep and a whole lot of noise. They spent the bulk of the evening running around and yelling. They were so boisterous that they set the dogs off. Poor John was in his crate howling to be let out.

I came out and threatened to drive each and every one back to their respective homes. This caused a brief lull, but soon they were back to being loud. Luckily it was daybreak and they picked up a few hours later. All were tired, a few were grumpy and I think they all had a good time.

Poor Nate was utterly exhausted and I spooned him back to bed. Unfortunately he had a party at Laser Quest to go to in few very short hours. He was still wiped out, yet he was able to rally and come in second place (out of 20 odd kids). It took the boy two days to fully recover from his wild all nighter.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

It's My Birthday

And just for the heck of it,

The Wiener Dog Song

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Big Sleep Over

Right now I have 10 extra boys in my house. Yes that's right 10 more boys, tonight is Nate's big birthday sleepover party.

They are a very nice group of boys, but as you can expect I'm just a wee bit busy. I'll write more on Sunday.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Silly Delly

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As I have mentioned before Dell often brings a toy to bed with him.

Its a funny little quirk of his and we have learned to check his crate most nights. If it weren't for his destructive tendencies we would let him have his lovie, but with a fifty percent kill rate on toys, it is not going to happen anytime soon.

Just now I have pulled out a manatee from Dell's crate. It still has its eyes (those are always the first to go) so it probably was tonight's intended crate mate. Then again he might have been saving it for a good chew session. I'll never know.

And this brings us to the second photo in this post. It's just a regular bottle of glue. Nothing is particularly special about it. I've used it to glue back eyes and it was out last night for a school project.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Except... it is special to Dell.

Yes last night's lovie was a bottle of glue.

As you can see it emerged unscathed from Dell's crate. I'm not particularly happy he had glue in his crate. At least it only had a little left in the bottle and it is a type, as Larry observed, has been eaten by scores of children with no ill effects.

In fact this is precisely the reason why we don't have Gorilla glue in the house. To quote one web site:
"After being exposed to moisture, this product is able to expand to many times its original volume. If ingested in its liquid form (e.g., by licking up a spill, a towel, or item being glued) it can form a hard "foam-like" foreign body, generally in the stomach. An obstruction of the digestive tract can then occur. "

Yikes! I've heard it is an excellent glue, but I won't have it in my house. I have a couple of very silly dogs that'll chew anything left out and with four kids, it'll get left out. And if Dell did get the glue, it probably would not be a lovie.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Larry

Well I just got this one in under the line.

Originally I wanted to make him artist of the week, he used to make absolutely beautiful mazes. Unfortunately we just can't seem to find them. I've looked everywhere for the book he tucked them in, from the garage to the attic. Someday they'll show up.

Anyhoo, today is my sweetie's birthday. It wasn't terribly exciting, but sometimes that is just what you need. We'll do our big night out on the town later. Meryl has magnanimously offered to take on all four kids overnight at her place. They are all very excited over the prospect of staying over at Aunt Meryl's house and playing with her Wii.

So happy birthday Larry.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Blanket Statements

I really can't stand blanket statements and I find myself battling them all the time.

In health class the kids are all told that they should be drinking only 1% or 2% milk. They come home and breathlessly announce to me that they can't have whole milk anymore.

Well that's not true.

Jake has moved onto 2%, mostly because he is concentrating on his Hebrew studies and will not be doing any extra curricular sports until next summer. Nate and Max however need all the extra calories they can pack in.

Nate is a very active boy. He practically vibrates with energy. School days without recess are a very bad thing, he'll be literally bouncing off the walls. He doesn't eat very much and as a result he is extremely lean. The boy has minimal body fat. Whole milk is very much called for.

Max, courtesy of CF, has nutritional needs that run counter to most dietary advice. He needs to take in significantly more calories, 2,900 to 4,500 calories versus active teenage boys who require about 2800 calories. He also needs far more salt, especially during hot weather. I literally had a dietitian tell me that it would be great if Max could eat a half a stick of butter a day. So in a way MacDonalds is health food for Max.

I guess the good thing is that I'm teaching our children to think for themselves.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Really and Truly the End of Football

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
For now at least.

Tonight was the big end of season football banquet. There was much speechifying (one group of coaches kept going on and on about each player, I started to get snarky with a fellow parent. We both wanted this to wrap up quickly), good bbq and of course the ubiquitous trophies.

Nate is sitting on the edge of the stage with his team. They are all such nice kids. In fact the two other boys in the picture are coming over to our house this weekend for Nate's slumber party-birthday spectacular. He had a fabulous time tonight.

It is interesting to note that Nate is starting to appreciate the relative value of trophies. The two he received this year (one for baseball and tonight's football) were well earned, both of his teams won the championship. He now sees his numerous soccer trophies as just meaningless end of the season trinkets. His two championship trophies and his piano judging trophies now have an added value.

He told me just the other day that he only likes the trophies he actually earned. I picked out a busted soccer trophy in his room and asked him if that meant I could now chuck it. He happily said yes.

My boy is growing up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Yet Another Silly Test

Click to view my Personality Profile page

I think that's not too far off.

Courtesy of Diane and Janis.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Roomba Driver

Just too cute.

I don't think my dogs would be so nice, I think they would kill the Roomba instead.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey in the oven... check
bread dough rising... check
pumpkin pie in the fridge... check
cranberry sauce doing its thing in the fridge... check

Count down to turkey time, all systems go... check

Have a healthy and happy thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Artist of the Week: CF Patients

Axcan November
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week the artist of the week is actually a group, Cystic Fibrosis patients. Namely those featured in calendars we've acquired this past year from two of the big drug companies, Axcan and Novartis. Both put out CF themed calendars that are distributed for free at CF clinics.

Axcan's calendar is the result of an annual calendar art contest open to all CF patients. I forgot about the deadline this year, but we'll give it a shot next year.

Anyway the end result is a fairly nice calendar that features art work from kids as young as five all the way up to twenty two. I picked the turkey featured on November because he is so utterly appropriate for today. If you click on the turkey he will take you to a complete photo set of the calendar.

The other company, Novartis, has a different take on CF, a CF patient is profiled each month. The photographs are stunning and the bios give a little peek into each person's life. There is a grandma, a firefighter, a set of twins, and so on. People of all ages and types. As a parent of a child with CF it is so very heartening to see people in their 50's and up.

And here is where I get on my soapbox.

CF affects ALL populations, male and female, black and white. It is slightly more prevalent in Caucasians, but if you click through the pictures (I made a picture set out of the entire calendar) it is not the only group. I was appalled at the ridiculous decision by the Carleton University student association. It was an idiotic vote based on incomplete and erroneous information.

Quite a firestorm of controversy was stirred up and according to the latest press releases from the University's President and the Student Association's President the decision will in all likelihood be reversed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Luxury of Time

It has all ended.

The soccer and football seasons have all come to a close. No more practices and no more games. No more rushing around after school trying to cram in homework.

We now get to eat dinner together without somebody having to rush off.

Mind you I have nothing against sports, in fact I think it is important that our children keep active. But... it really is a huge time commitment. From driving around and the actual time spent on the field the days just disappear.

The kids are happy that it is over, however they are all looking forward to spring and when it all starts up again.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have You...

1. Started your own blog (Well duh, you're reading it.)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I quit flute when I found out I had to perform)
4. Visited Hawaii (would love to go)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (not gonna happen)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (from the beach)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (I view baking an art and I'm self taught)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (Twice, the second time I was pregnant and it was awful)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (on my list)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (It was on a Sunday, we stopped in to use the bathroom and then did a quick tour of the Louvre)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (only partial of the sun, but total of the moon)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (lived in Pennsylvania right next to Lancaster county)
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (badly)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (I love the beach at night)
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (does flounder count?)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (training video for the county, I was the cardboard recycler)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China (love to)
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (It was USSR at the time)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (Sadly I'm not allowed anymore because I was in England for six months during the 1980's)
65. Gone sky diving (No way, no how)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem (Want to)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (but I have been interviewed on TV twice)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (fish)
88. Had chickenpox (in high school and it was horrible)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (Joan Jett, she's very cool)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

From Diane over at Ginosko.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Perfect Season

cheering section
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It was the championship game on Saturday. The skies were clear, but (for here) it was bitterly cold. The temps struggled to reach the low 40's and a sharp, damp wind cut across the field. It was not the pleasantest of days, but that's football. We were all bundled up and Meryl brought a nice fleece blanket to insulate our bottoms from the metal bleachers.

Before we left for the game Rebecca made a sign to show her support. It was completely her own idea, all I did was help her with spelling. She looked incredibly cute waving her sign and had a great time cheering her brother on. I guess she really will be a cheerleader next year.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Any way the game was fun to watch and Nate got a fair amount of time on the field. He was fairly confident going in, his team had already played their opponents during the regular season and had beaten them.

His confidence was not misplaced.

It was not a cake walk, but our team slowly racked up the points. The other team played a good game and was able to score, they even got the extra point. However, it was not enough, our team kept on rolling. When the clock ran down and the ball was in our possession, our side went wild.

Happy Nate
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
12-0, that was Nate's team record at the end of the season.

What an introduction to the sport, a championship season his first time playing. That'll be a tough act to follow next year and there will be a next year. The coaching is bit too serious for my tastes (football is a very, very serious thing down here in the south), but Nate had a great time.

I think he'll be smiling for quite some time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Babe Lives

I saw this over at Tightly Wound and I just had to share.

All the pig needs are some sheep and it really would be Babe in the flesh.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's Official

I'm crazy.

I volunteered to make a cake for Nate's team for the end of the season party. That in itself is not crazy. With thirty kids on the roster it would be a big cake, but I can do it.

No the crazy starts when the team mom came back later and wanted to know if I could make more cakes. More as in enough for all four teams for the school (the school's athletic assoc. fields four teams, flag, minor, junior and senior) at the end of season banquet. I thought it over for a moment and agreed. My one caveat was that I was not going to pay for all the ingredients. The mom kind of wigged out (she's a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff she's got going on for the team) when my husband showed her the list I worked up.

So our game plan was for us to directly solicit help from the other parents. I was just about to do a mass email when I got a call from Jerry, my guardian angel. He is a friend of ours who is one of the junior team's coaches and just happens to be the guy catering the banquet.

Right off the bat he told me the athletic association would pay for the ingredients. All he needed was a shopping list. Then he wanted to be sure that I was really up for the job. He was afraid that I had gotten accidentally roped in and that I was too polite to say no. I assured him that I really could do it and it would be my pleasure. We talked about what I was going to do and what my time line was.

By the end of our conversation he was reassured that it was something I wanted to do, but he told me if I had a change of heart he could always pick up some cakes elsewhere.

But I'm too crazy to do that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Artist of the Week: At the Beach

Rebecca Raccoon
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is a raccoon, specifically Rebecca the Raccoon.

She looks so unbelievably cute in that costume, her bright little smile peeking out and lighting up the dark Halloween night. I really didn't expect her to wear it this year. Sadly, I think it will be the last year she'll be able to cram herself inside.

Anyway, this is about her art and not her costume.

A few weeks ago Meryl had dropped off a large amount of paper she didn't need anymore. I didn't immediately tell the kids about our windfall, because we still had a fair amount of scrap paper in the house.

Crabby Beach
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
But the cat is out of the bag now and we have a whole slew of new artworks floating about the house.

Rebecca drew this beach scene yesterday. It features a crab family at the beach. I love the little details like the beach umbrellas and the beach towel. However what really impresses me are the little crabs in the background. She gave them an umbrella and did an excellent job on perspective. She already grasps the fact that distant objects appear smaller than the same item in the foreground.

She constantly amazes me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Snow

first snow
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This morning we were greeted with a light dusting of snow on the deck. An hour later we got an actual snow flurry.

The kids were completely jazzed up by the snow. Nate went outside and gleefully announced "It's sticking! It's sticking!"

Sadly it ended after a few minutes.

For the rest of the day we would get little flurries of snow, but none of it lasted for any appreciable length of time. By night fall all traces of our little snowfall were completely gone. Melted away by the bright sunshine between flurries.

I think we are ready for winter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One Tasty Car

I found out about this luscious car cake over at Cake Wrecks.

To get the full story here is a much longer video with the back story of the ad.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Super Bowl Bound

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Saturday Nate's football team played for the Southern Division championship. The team they were up against had also been undefeated in the regular season, this would not be a cake walk.

It was an incredible game.

The teams were evenly matched. Both teams had one blazingly fast player. Our team had a slight edge in defense, but not by much. The teams remained scoreless for most of the game. There were a few almost touchdowns, two called back because a flag was thrown before hand and one in which the kid almost made it after a huge run only to be tackled a few yards short of the goal line.

With two minutes to go our team scored. As the clock wound down we thought we had the win when suddenly, the other team scored. The game was tied and thus forced an overtime.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Our boys were up first and they were able to make a touchdown and get the extra point. Then it was the other teams turn. They came mighty close, but in the end they just couldn't get through our boys.

It was a real nail biter of a game and our team won. So we have one more week of practice and next Saturady is the big game. Then I can toss those awful white practice pants.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Well I'm Just Special
LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

A fun little site.

Interestingly, according to the site there are 18 people with my maiden name. Which I find to be a bit high, but I do have an obscure cousin with the same name. I only found out about her because she and I got married at about the same time and I accidental got one of her wedding presents. Macy's got our registries switched. I figured out it wasn't mine because it was an extremely expensive flatware set that we had not registered for and it was from "Dad." Since my father had passed away long before hand and Larry's dad was giving us something else, I knew it was wrong. It got all straightened out in the end, but it was all very spooky and weird.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As I was driving up to the garage yesterday I got to see the deer in action.

I slowed down to a crawl and then stopped the car so as to watch four does daintily pick their way among the plantings and enjoy the pumpkin buffet I had so thoughtfully laid out.

Luckily I had my camera in the car and I was able to capture one of the does just before she nibbled on a pumpkin. I missed one really great shot of a deer clearly licking a pumpkin as I fumbled with the camera case.

The picture quality isn't that great, but that's what you get when shooting through a grubby windshield.

who me
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The second picture came out much better. It is of a doe mucking about in the bushes in front of our house. She really wasn't at all bothered by the car or the sound of the garage door. She looked up when I peeked around the corner to take the picture. I think the only reason she left was because the others had already moved into the woods.

Shortly thereafter I carted all the pumpkins down to the far edge of the woods. The deer can now enjoy their buffet without having to go near the house, not that it stopped them.

This why I call them tall rats. They are cute, but they are pests.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Artist of the Week: Sir Knight

Sir Knight
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is my blog so every now and then I get to toot my own horn. Everybody that saw Max's costume from the fairytale parade and Halloween were very impressed, therefore I am the artist of the week.

Last week the first grade at our local school had a Fairy Tale Parade. I wrote all about it here. As I mentioned in the post I made Max's costume. My inspiration for the costume was from some tunics whipped up by Jessica's Mom over at Balancing Everything (Warning: Jessica has a tendency to periodically tear down her website, so I don't know how long the link will last. However, she is always worth seeking out for her writing, extremely cute kids and neat crafts.) There is no tutorial, but from the pictures I was able to get a fairly good idea of what I needed to do.

Like any good do-it-yourself project, duct tape was my friend. I did give Max the aluminum foil option, but he wanted the duct tape.

What a guy.

inside helmet
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The hardest part of the whole outfit was the helmet. We wanted something that actually covered his head and was not to complicated. While staring at a small Amazon box I got inspired. I carefully pulled the box apart, keeping it all in one piece. I then rolled it up and cut the flaps so that I could staple then together in a conical shape. If you look inside the helmet you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.

I was aiming for something along the lines of a bucket or great helm. I preserved the slit form between the lower flaps and adding an ocular slit perpendicular to the nasal slit. It is not completely accurate (there should be a nasal guard), but the end result is pretty convincing. Especially considering I did it all off the cuff with no help from my friend Google. I didn't find the above link until now. Then the whole thing got wrapped in duct tape, thus strengthening the construction and giving it a nifty metallic look.

the costume
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The tunic was fairly easy. I hemmed the long sides of the fabric and then cut a slit for Max's head and "hemmed" the slit with a bit of dark blue press-on felt. The shoulder decoration and bottom hem were also made with the press on felt. For those parts I double over the felt and cut out the teeth before sticking the felt on. That gave a bit more body to the felt and it was then stuck to both sides of the fabric. I asked Max what heraldic beast he wanted on the tunic and he picked out a dragon. I did a freehand drawing on a piece of paper and used it as a pattern for cutting the press-on felt.

The sword was a piece of cake after the helmet and all I used was doubled over cardboard, yet more duct tape, glue and tape. Max was very pleased with the end result.

To get a full appreciation of the final result you should really check out the Fairy Tale Parade video I shot. During the first half Max is having a glorious time hacking away as he marchers along. I like the large space his classmates keep around him when they are outside.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Double Digits

birthday boy
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Happy birthday to my middle boy.

Nate turned ten today and he got to enjoy a cup cake for breakfast and open up his presents. We decided he could do it this morning because he has football practice tonight and he would get almost no time to enjoy his gifts if we waited until after practice. As for his official party, it won't be until December. With football playoffs and a silly holiday called Thanksgiving, we're booked until then.

As you can see he is very pleased with the iPod. He has being bugging us for quite some time about getting his own MP3 player. He has quite a collection of tunes on Larry's computer and was severely limited on when he could listen to his music. Now he is free to listen all the time.

Hopefully he won't lose it like his water bottles (I've lost count and now I refuse to get him another. He is stuck with the huge jug that Larry brings to practice for him.) and his coat.

You are such a fun kid to be around, happy birthday Nate.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thank You

George Washington
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I would like to thank all that have served this great nation. Protecting us and helping to preserve the ideals we hold dear.

I'm a bit early, but with my late night posting schedule and plans for tomorrow's post, I thought it was best to do it now.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Deer Food

deer food
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is why I carve our pumpkins at most the day before Halloween.

I noticed on Sunday that Max's sea turtle pumpkin had been munched. This was less than two days after I had carved the pumpkin. Another pumpkin had lost its lid the day before.

At this point I wasn't entirely sure what had nailed the pumpkin. It could be the dogs (unlikely due to the absence of doggy teeth marks and the that the pumpkin was otherwise undisturbed), squirrels or deer. All I could see were little nibble marks in the rind around where the design used to be.

It was an annoying sight, but oddly satisfying. Here was concrete proof that I can not do any early pumpkin carving unless I'm willing to keep the finished pumpkins inside.

munched pumpkin
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
A few days later the same pumpkin got dragged off the steps and onto the lawn near the woods. At this point I'm fairly certain that the deer are to blame. Last year I got to see them drag a pumpkin to the very same spot on the lawn. I frequently see them in the woods around there, picking their way through the low scrubby brush.

Tomorrow we'll chuck the pumpkins into the woods. I don't want to wait too much longer, they'll soon start to turn to mush. They are already fairly moldy inside, but they are fun to carve and I'll be doing it again next year.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Food Fight

This is a really neat short film about war, from the American perspective, WWII to the present day.

For the full web site go to Food Fight,

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Kathy Klimkiewicz

Today I just found out that one of my dachshund friends had passed away.

Kathy and I were not the closest of friends, but I did enjoy her company and I was always happy to take her calls. We were brought together by Dell. She had used him at stud and had kept one of the puppies, a little female called Indigo.

Kathy was very proud of Indigo and rightly so. At a young age Indigo got a Group 1 (AKC has dog breeds categorized into seven groups: hound, herding, sporting, non-sporting, toys, terriers and working. At a dog show after the best of each breed is determined, the winners go back into the ring in their respective groups. The top four dogs are selected with the winner, ie Group 1, going back in for best in show. Hence, a Group 1 is a very big deal.) Indigo had just completed her show championship and had just started in field trials, tracking rabbits, with a first placement. In order for a dog to become a field champion a dachshund must accumulate at least 35 points, with a minimum of three placements including one 1st place. Kathy had high hopes that Indigo would be her first dual champion.

I called my dear friend Dianne when I got the news. I knew she would have the full story and could tell me how I could help. We chatted for a bit and she told me that Indigo needed a home. Indigo's co-ower wasn't interested (she had enough standard smooth females already) and Dianne felt strongly that the dog be field trialed, and I agreed, we both want Kathy's dream to be realized. So a normal pet home was out of the question.

I was tempted, but I can not take on another dog. My hands are too full as is and I wouldn't be able to do the things neccessary for Indigo to earn her dual championship. She is a sweet and happy dog, just like her daddy Dell and her grandsire Crunch. She deserves better than what I can do and Dianne and I will do whatever it takes to make it happen for Indigo and for Kathy.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Artist of the Week: Pumpkins

Jake pinata
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is the very silly Jake.

That's the head of the pinata from Max and Rebecca's birthday party. It was dangling for the shelter we suspend it from for the actual pinata bashing. I thought it looked funny and started taking pictures. Jake came over and promptly stuck it on his head, thus inspiring everyone else to try it as well.

Anyway this post is not about how silly Jake can be, but about carving pumpkins.

Every year I get a boat load of pumpkins. I wait until the last minute to buy them, just when the stores start cutting the price. I save money and then I don't have to worry about marauding creatures (deer, dogs, squirrels and heaven knows what else) eating the pumpkins before the big day.

Jake happy lit
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Normally I do all the carving. The kids either draw their desired design on the pumpkin or request something like a bat, spider or even a sea turtle. This year I let Jake carve his own without my direct supervision. All I did was hollow it out and hand him a knife. He had three pumpkins to carve.

He did a great job on two of the pumpkins. One (the lit one pictured here) had a rather happy expression and looked wonderful at nightfall with a candle inside burning brightly. The second one was also terrific all lit up, but during the daylight hours you get a bit more detail.

Jake deliberately carved the pumpkin on it's dirty side. He thought it would look far more interesting than if he used the "pretty" side.

Jake uncomfortable
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And he was right.

I've always been a big fan of lumpy bumpy pumpkins and I'm so pleased that Jake has picked up on the joys of the off kilter carving. His pumpkin is far better for being carved on the dirty side.

As for his third, well he was tired of carving and requested that I make a wolf. If you click on the pumpkin pictures you can reach the two sets, lit and unlit, of all the pumpkins we carved this year.