rice mosiacs

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If you want to really go nuts with this, you could use different grains or rice (vermicelli, couscous, really anything!) If you were doing different grains, it would look great to just leave them naturally colored. You could also paint over the top to give it a different look.

Materials:

Bag of white rice

Ziplock bags

Food coloring

Construction paper or tag board

White glue

Pencil

Directions:

1. Pour the rice into plastic bags and drip several drops of food coloring onto the rice. Close the bag and shake (Be a little careful or you’ll be sweeping up pounds of blue rice–like me.) If you didn’t use a ton coloring, you can just leave the bag out and open for a while. If your rice is really wet, you’ll want to pour it onto paper towels to dry out.

2. Sketch out your design onto the cardboard. Keep it fairly simple with larger spaces for best results.

3. Spread glue over a section and cover with rice. It is easiest if you start with the smaller design sections, then fill in the background color. (Actually, it looks great without a background too. The design stands out really well this way.) You can pour the rice onto the glue, then dump the excess rice off onto a sheet of construction and then bend the paper into a funnel and pour it back into the bag. You can also apply smaller amounts then press the rice into the picture. (This is the method I liked best.)

4. Repeat until all of your picture is filled in with colored rice.

5. You may want to dot a little extra glue over the top of any areas that don’t look well glued. It will seep into the rice and dry clear.

6. If you used tag board, cardstock, or cardboard, you can keep it from curling by laying a book (preferably with a laminated or glossy cover.) Then top with something heavy (such as more books stacked on top). Let it dry like this overnight.

ablation success!

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This is Michael just posting a quick note to let everyone know that Keersten is doing fine and is now home (and resting.)  The Dr. said it went “extremely well.”

Thank you to everyone for your thoughts/prayers/well wishes.  We have the best family and friends anyone could ask for.

my blog’s new name is the catch-up blog

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…Yeah that is pretty much all I do now.  Oh well. I wanted to share a few of the fun things from these past crazy weeks. I have been super tired pretty much all the time (due to the heart meds I have been on.) Yet, when I look back, we have been up to some fun stuff. Megan started school, soccer and dance. All of these things are just too cute. She loves to stay in her dance and soccer clothes all day long. I think she knows she is adorable.

Meanwhile, I have been busy canning like a domestic crazy woman. Check out all of the peaches we got from our little 2 1/2 year old tree. That’s right, our little toddler tree gave us this table-full! Mmm. We ate a bunch, shared some, canned lots and even made some kick-butt peach applesauce.

I also put up apricots and have been doing batches of salsa every few weeks. Mike came up with ingenious summertime use for our sled. It is the perfect vehicle for carrying fruits and veggies, since it is long and shallow there is plenty of room to load everything in without stacking them up (which leads to bruising.)

Another idea worth sharing is how much kids love fondue. This seems so obvious now, but I just have to share that the girls had such a ball dipping bread, potatoes and carrots into some cheesy goodness. It was pretty quick and easy to steam the veggies and saute a little beef. It is going to be on the menu at our house a lot more frequently. Here is an easy alcohol-free recipe for you to try:

Cider Fondue

1 lb. Jarlsburg, Guyere, or Swiss cheese, shredded

1 1/2 Tbs. flour

Salt and pepper

~1/4 tsp. garlic powder

*Toss all ingredients together; then slowly add to:

~1 c. Heated apple cider (I actually used Martinelli’s, which was good–I figured it could use the kick.)

1 Tbs. Lemon Juice (if you use plain apple juice or cider.)

Stir cheese into heated apple cider mix and stir, if it is too thick add a little cider. (Too thin? Add some cheese; this isn’t rocket science… but it is delicious!)

Enjoy! We sure did. BTW, I have to plug our great Kitchenaid fodue pot, which is electric, so you can cook right in it. It is also non-stick and super quick to clean. (On a related note: Thanks Pamela, for the rockin’ fondue pot for Christmas! You are the best!)

And finally, for a little random cuteness:

Mike and Meg “working”

Meg in her “Bucket hat” playing the piano

The girls have been falling asleep together a lot lately, it is pretty sweet.

We also got to have a super fun picnic with our preschool friends. Our neighbor firefighters are so awesome! They came over with hats and dalmatian pins for the kids. Then they had us come take a tour of the fire engine. Here are a couple of pictures:

Emily was enthralled with the dials and hoses, etc.

I really am going to get back on top of things soon. I promise to post a project next week. I am actually going to have an ablation on Tuesday to take care of the heart problems I have been having lately. (They will go in through my legs and neck with scopes and burn off a little section of my heart that is causing that wrong heartbeat.) So, hopefully, I will be feeling good and happy in a week or two. Here’s to the miracle of modern technology! Thanks for all of your support, you great friends!

just have to share

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I received a request from an agency that I am really excited about today. Jeff Herman wrote the books that made this process doable to me. So, not only would I love to work with him, but I also have some (slightly weird) desire to impress him in a strangely paternal way. hehe. I also have a request from Sarah Jane Freymann who looks like someone I would really like to have as a friend, let alone agent. I am so anxious to get my proposal back from an editor friend and off to these two. I have really needed a optimism refresher for this whole book process and here it is. Hooray!

(ah crap) another giant catch-up post

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This month was even crazier than last month. (And with even more exciting stuff.) I’ll start with the biggest event first: (yay!)

Brent & Katie

(Oh, it is so sad. This really deserves its own post. I am a blogging looser.) My little brother in law got hitched. (I just have to say I feel free to gush like this because I know the Jensens don’t tend to read my blog. Anyway,) Brent is pretty much the greatest guy ever. Not only is he a hunky soccer star, but he is a wicked smart actuary in training (that’s some serious math, people), plus he is just super sweet and cute. Okay, I will stop. Anyway, we wondered if there really could be a girl out there who is worthy of Mr. All-Around-Wonderful and (drumroll) there is! Katie is AWESOME! There just isn’t a better word to describe her. She is this super sweet, very funny, crepe makin’, soccer-playin’, girl with a plethera of kick-butt hobbies and skills. Not to mention, totally gorgeous. For the few that have made it this far in this post, I will just finish by saying: I am so excited that I am going to get to hang out with her for-well, basically- ever. My favorite moments in the wedding festivities were the great advice from P. Christensen at the wedding and seeing the dozen little girls in their darling dresses. Mmm, and Teressa’s excellent cakes. (Wish I had gotten a picture of those. The grooms cake was choc. with cherries piled up on each tier and the wedding cake was darling white with limes and kiwis ringing the tiers. You Flegal women are seriously creative!)

We went to Idaho to play with the Schwendimans again…so fun! What more can I say? We had our first four-wheeler outing. We could easily see being addicted. Actually, we could even see moving to Idaho. I know. We can’t spend any more weekends up there until we are firmly planted down here and past the temptation. (;-D)

We also went camping the weekends before and after the wedding. I have to say Jensen camping trips are one of the things we really look forward to each summer. These 2 certainly didn’t dissapoint. The bonus this year was that the girls are old enough that they could play with less supervision, which made it easy for me to kick back and enjoy too. Look at these pictures, you can see how fun it is! (For some reason, I can’t seem to get these 2 images to post full size. So click on them if you are interested in seeing our camping bliss.)



Finally, last Sunday was Megan’s Birthday! We had a princess party on Saturday with Megan’s darling little friends. It was so fun to watch all of the little princesses making crowns and bracelets and just being girly together. We have sort of been celebrating the rest of the week to make up for the cancelled family party on Sunday. We decided to take a little trip to the ER instead. (Oh joy of joys.) Well, I guess I could more acurately say that my heart decided we should take an ER trip. Everything is okay, I am on a medication to slow my heart down until we can get things taken care of. It leaves me very tired; which means I am not gettign as much done as I’d like to lately. However, life goes on. This blog post will have to end though. So here are a few more pictures. (Notice no empty promises about blogging more often. As it is almost midnight, I am more interested in sleep than keeping up with online buddies. At this point, I am not even guaranteeing that this will make sense. hehe.)