Sunday, October 28, 2007

Finished pumkins

Here is the final product. They look great huh? My kids did these in a few hours. I used a few websites to help but the most useful were from Publix and one with free pumkin stencils. The Publix website was where we got the ideas for the Cat Stencil. I got the others from this website . I just hit Google and did a search for "Free pumpkin Stencils" and got a ton of hits.
These pumpkins were completed by my 9, 10 and 11 yr old kids. The process is pretty basic. Wash the pumpkin, dry it well. Cut open the lid and scoop out the insides. (Save the seeds for baking later) Print your Stencil from the PDF and then pin it to the best side of the pumpkin. Make sure it is the lightest side so you can see the pattern on the pumpkins skin. You then pin the stencil with straight pins (Like you use when you sew) and then take one straight pin and trace the stencil outline in very close pin pricks to make a dot-to-dot pattern on the pumpkin. This will take 5-10 minutes on the easy ones and 30 minutes on the harder ones... so be patient!!. After you are done remove the stencil and use the pumpkin carving tool to cut out the stencil and you are done. I then save the pumpkin seeds and make baked pumpkin seed snacks from them. They are great and delicious snacks the kids really like them too!!. They look forward to the seed snacks every year.

Punching in the downloaded templates onto the pumpkins

The jack-o-lantern factory

Perfect scrambled eggs!

Michael made scrambled eggs this morning. My 10 yr old is very proficient in the kitchen just like his dad when he was that age. Chris and Katie do an awesome job also.. and can hold their own in the kitchen. Morgan prefers cold cereal and Chocolate Milk... Chocolate anything actually... She's not into eggs at all. Michael likes cracking the eggs and I think he enjoys this more than eating them. I'm working on getting him to crack two at a time one in each hand like Dad did back in his Chef days. Special thanks to Grams for the super cool and handy spatula from LeCreuset! It's the bomb and she got it for me last July 4th when we were in Hilton Head. It's the medium silicon spatula with a wooden handle.

Here is the recipe. 6 eggs cracked and scrambled with a whisk. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste (Small dash of each). Really whip the eggs until you get a frothy foam. This will make them light and fluffy. If you don't have a whisk use a dinner fork.Place a saute pan on medium heat like a six.. I prefer to get the hot plate hot on high then back off to 6 and then place the pan on the hot plate and let it absorb heat for about 3 minutes. Then place a small amount of butter or oil or pam spray in the pan and while whisking the eggs in your mixing bowl.. again.. pour them into the pan. You should hear a slight singe sound as the eggs hit the pan if the temp is right. Then use a spatula to constantly stir the eggs to keep them from scorching. We then add a hand full of shredded cheddar cheese and a hand full or shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir till no longer wet. Serve right away. Yum! Great with a little salsa or salsa verde sauce also.

I have been doing a lot of cooking from scratch this week and some of the recipes will appear later in my posts. Have a fun Sunday with your Kids!

The kids made suncatchers

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Dad? How many skulls is this Haunted House Rated??

The Crabby Daddy takes the yung uns to Howl-O-Scream! Saturday was a great dad day for
The CD... (Crabby Daddy) The day started early with baseball games down in Brandon. I woke Morgan up at 7:45 and we took the Expedition down to Brandon and caught Michael and Katie's games. They were both at 9:00am. Thank you Lord!!

Both Katie and Michael pitched today. I watched Katie pitch for awhile and she was doing really well and throwing some strikes in there... I then went and watched Michael's game. Michael played catcher for 2 innings, Short stop for one and pitcher for the 4th inning. He struck out 2 batters and walked 3 batters in the final inning. Two runns Scored and the third runner was on third base and went half way from 3rd base to home plate. The third base coach had been sending his kids half way the whole game.. I kept telling Michael to run them back to 3rd as his coach just stood there the whole time and watched kids steal home. This inning Michael was the pitcher and Tommy the catcher. I had told Michael a few innings earlier that this play from home to third base was here all day for the catcher or the pitcher to run the 3rd base runner back up the 3rd base line and a fast kid could catch that runner and tag him out or get him in a run down... Michael whispered this to the catcher and the catcher soft tossed the ball to Michael and he ran the 3rd base runner back to 3rd base and about 2 feet from the 3rd base bag Michael Lunged at the kid and tagged him on the back for the Final out!!. It was more like a pile drive into the ground than a tag. The kid got drilled into the ground and Michael Landed right in top of him... Man that had to hurt... The poor runner laid on the ground for about 2 minutes before he got up and jogged off. These are ten year olds so every little touch or scratch is a MAJOR injury.... So we had 2 games down and time to head home to the WC.

Back to the House in the WC (Wesley Chapel) I had bought suncatchers from Michael's a few weeks ago when I was in getting supplies for Chistopher's homwork project and thought these would be good for a rainy day. They are the type that you place the platic colored beads in the metal outline and then bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 25 mins. They turned out Great!!. Michael did a sports theme one with a collage of sports balls... basketball, baseball football, soccer ball, and hokey stick and basball bat... etc. Katie did one with three kittens and Morgan did one with a little dog. So the Crabby Daddy breaks down and gets Morgan that dog she always wanted!!.

After the suncatchers were done... I rallied Katie, Michael and Morgan and we decided to go to Howl-O-Scream.. So I went online and got the tickets with the platinum pass discount. We had about an hour to get there as they closed the regular park hours at 5:00pm today for Howl-O-Scream. We got there in time to get in with our platinum pass. About 4:45pm. I went and bought tickets to the Fright Feast which is a dinner buffet and a show called Sweet Dreams. It's a Busch Gardens Tampa Halloween tradition now, that we go to Howl-O-Scream and do the buffet and dinner show from 6:00-7:00. The cool thing about it is, it lets' you get into the park 45 minutes before the rest of the crowd comes in from general admission tickets. Thanks Amy for recommending it last year!! Props to Amy as always.

We got to the Dessert Grill early and got our wrist bands that got us into the dinner buffet and haunted houses early. We ate dinner and saw the show and the food was yah.. you know that catered stuff you get at theme parks.... the show was good. We then left the show at 7:00pm and the plan was to promptly hit the first haunted house Called Trapped. The kids talked me into riding cheetah chase first and then we hit the haunted house Trapped which was right next to the Cheetah chase ride... This one was good. It was rated 4 skulls. The rating go from 3 skulls for the light ones and 5 skulls for the really intensely scary ones... they have 6 haunted houses in total. 3 rated 5 Skulls 2 rated 4 skulls and 1 rated 3 skulls. I kept giving the kids the advice of laugh at the people when they jump at you and wave at them and smile.... Remember they are only people hired as employees to work these haunted houses as a job... They are actors...
They of course all grabbed the back of my shirt and buried their faces in the back of my shirt. And hung on for dear life as they were the soon to be target of every ghost and ghoul in the haunted house...Katie and Morgan were both hanging on to me as I'm dragging them from room to room in the Haunted houses... No one wanted to be last... which was funny as you are so packed into the walkways that you can't tell where one group ends and another begins they all morph together in one big conga line of fear and screaming...

This went on for 3 houses by 7:30... We were having a great time... We then went to the scariest one Called After Hours Club Muse. Morgan kept asking me how many skulls this one was.. I told her 3... (It was a five... so I lied)... She had said she did not want to do any more 5 skulls tonight... so I HAD to lie come on... now... Besides a 5 skull with your face buried into the back of your Dad's shirt nets you a 3 skull haunted house anyway.

We got that one done and Morgan of course finds out it was a five skull.. and she's mad I tricked her... so she keeps grabbing the map from me to make sure of the skull rating for the remaining 2 houses. The Bummer was when we went to Montu to ride and I did child swap while Michael and Katie went through the line... Morgan's not tall enough to ride Montu yet. Michael and Katie got all the way through the queue and were 2 spots away from riding Montu when the ride broke down and maintenance had to come and fix it. It was about a 30 min delay and we waited it out. This of course gave everyone a headache and after we rode Montu twice (Platinum pass ) privilege... We limped over to the one place I knew where we could get both Liquid and Tablet pain reliever. Morgan needs liquid but Katie and Michael can swallow pills... The one place I knew would have them was the first aid stations in the park that Busch Gradens refers to on the Map as Medical Stations. They have 2 in the park and we were near the one on our side of the park... As a parent you learn these things over time trust me....

The EMT's that staff the medical centers were glad to see us I think anyone as they seem to get lonely in their little closet of a Medical Center. I asked for Motrin and they only had Tylenol... Which was ok with me.. I got some for everyone and 4 headaches were now on their way to being gone... We did one final haunted house rated a 5 skull called Catch your breath. This one was full of chain saws and motorcycles and then headed home. Everyone decided we had to stop and eat the leave the park ritual meal of dip'in dots for Katie and Michael and the "Large bag of pink Cotton Candy for Morgan... (And a sugar free Lemonade from Tropicana for The CD...) It was a quiet ride home as all three fell asleep and we got home at 11:15pm... It was a great day.. I'm looking forward to the Pumpkin carving contest ... tomorrow.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Normal never sounded so good

I received the results of my Bone Marrow Biopsy this week. This is not one of those tests where you want to do your best and get a 100%. This is one of those tests where the results are somewhat murky and hard to discerne. The results are full of complicated phrases and long multi-syllable words like Lymphoproliferative Disorder. There was no multiple choice or all of the above option, and the answer was not one word or sentence but a paragraph that when read at once with proper pornunciation means.... "Normal" ... results are Normal.... Within normal limits. Here is how we got to that answer.

-Normcellular Bone Marrow with trilinear hematopiesis.
-No Evidence of a Lymphoproliferative Disorder or increased myeloblast Population.
-Decreased Storage of Iron.

Which is how you say normal in clinical speak. So one bullet dodged for now anyway.

I started jogging this week. I noticed Amy is doing some exercising and she asked me to go jogging . She is using the "Couch to 5k" program. I looked it up and it seems like a good program. The podcasts are at this site or go on Itunes and search for artist Robert Ullrey and download the free podcasts. This Robert guy created a few podcasts one for each of the 9 weeks. I downloaded them from I-tunes and it walks you through the 30 min work out with a 5 minute brisk walk and then 8 sessions of jog 60 seconds walk 90 seconds. Then finish with a 5 minute cool off walk. I 've completed the first week and I'm on to week 2 which is more jogging and less walking each week until at week 9 you are running / jogging 3 miles straight. Now that's going to be impressive. I will enjoy seeing this progession and seeing if I can stick to it.

Boise State and San Jose state game is on so I'm going to watch these guys score 60 points on each other.