Monday, April 29, 2013

Science Project - Solar System

While I was at a training on Saturday for Royal Family Kids, a friend of mine picked up Little Sis and took her shopping for supplies for her science project. She had to create a solar system model, which was due today.

They used wooden balls, wooden discs, water colors, wood glue, hot glue, and he drilled holes so they could put the dowels in as stands.

While the sizes of the planets are not to scale, they are representative of their relative sizes (for example, Venus and Earth are about the same size, etc). The distance of each planet from the sun, however, are to scale based on their average distance and the size of the board. I eventually met up with them and helped paint a couple of the planets while Little Sis worked on painting the others. It was hard for me to let go and let her do a good portion of it.

I think it turned out great. I dropped it off at school today, and managed to get it into the school office before I knocked Pluto out of orbit. I was able to do a quick re-glue, since it only came out of the base, which was still glued to the board.



Jupiter (and the alien egg spaceship)

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (and the asteroid belt)


All finished!!!


An Open Letter to my Friends, Family, and Readers

Dear Friends, Family, and Readers:

I am writing today making a special request.

As most of my regular readers know, I volunteer for a wonderful organization called Royal Family Kids. I've been volunteering since 2009, and am scheduled to go again this year in June. Our goal is to create positive memories for children who have been abused and neglected, and are in the foster care system. We strive to give them the "best week ever" and allow them to have a "normal" childhood experience they may not otherwise have had.

We've had several fundraisers already: the dinner auction in March, the car show in April, and Change to Change lives, where we collected loose change to fill a bucket. We have two fundraisers left, and our biggest one is coming up in less than two weeks.

I'm issuing a challenge today to you all. If everyone who reads this (including all 399 friends on Facebook) and donates just $5, I will reach my goal of $600, which is the cost of one child to attend camp for a week. Everything is provided for them: 5 days/4 nights at camp; every meal and one snack each day they are there; a HUGE birthday party for everyone (because some children have never had a birthday party before, and some don't even know WHEN their birthday is!) including ice cream, cake and presents; and anything else they may need for the week: shoes, a bathing suit, towel, bedding, hair brush, tooth brush, etc. because some children come with almost nothing but the clothes they're wearing and two-sizes-too-small shoes. We put on a drama for them, they get a duffle bag full of goodies (including a brand new Bible), give them tons of activities to do each day (girls get a Beauty Shop, boys get Marshmallow Guns. Plus bug boxes, fuse beads, painting, archery, sports). It's not cheap to run our camp, and the camp site is so wonderful. They're actually updating and refurbishing a lot of the camp area, including paving walkways to the cabins, which makes the camp more easily accessible to those who may be in a wheelchair or have other disabilities.

If you've read this far, I thank you. If you're willing to take the challenge, I've included the link to our church's website where you can make a donation: Crossroads Church, Home of Royal Family Kids Temecula. Please enter your donation in the "RFK Offering/Donation" section. There is no fee to make the donation, and it's completely safe. Every donation is tax deductible (you will receive a giving statement at the end of the year from Crossroads Church if you supply your address on the site). In years past I've made this a contest to win a gift card, but I'm not going to do that this year. I want my readers to donate because they've been touched by the stories I've posted here on my blog. If you want to read more, click the Royal Family graphic on the right side, and it'll link to all my posts with the RFKC label.

If you cannot donate, I completely understand. As a single mom working part time, I get it. However, I do ask that you pray for our camp, for our campers, and for our volunteers. Every year we have something "go wrong" but God always pulls us through.

Thank you so much. Please comment to let me know you're praying for us.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

99 Things to do this Summer

Also known as "Summer 2013 Bucket List." I'll be blogging over the summer the activities we do, and will post the links in the list. 

We have 72 days of summer vacation (Phineas and Ferb live the good life), and the girls will be gone for a couple weeks with their dad, and almost a week each for summer camp. Big Sis is also going to be gone for a week for her mission trip to Bishop, California. They're putting on VBS for the kids in the community.

You can view the inspiration for my list on my Pinterest Board: Getting Ready for Summer!

Have you started a summer bucket list? Feel free to borrow some ideas for your own!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vegetarian Chili for the Chili Cook-off!

Well, the chili is in the crock pot for tomorrow's Royal Family Kids Temecula Car Show and Chili Cook Off! I bought the ingredients last week when Von's had a great deal on canned beans and tomatoes.

My recipe (which isn't really a recipe, but more of "hey, that sounds good in chili"):

1 can of Chili Beans
2 cans of Kidney Beans 
1 can of Black Beans (not shown because I threw the can away before I took pics. I really need to get back in the habit of picture taking for blogging purposes!)
2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes 
1 can of tomato sauce
4 jalapenos (I only put the seeds of one pepper, but if you like yours spicy, by all means, add more!)
4 sweet mini peppers (I had a mixed bag, so I put in two yellow and two red)
1 medium white onion
Sea Salt 
Chili Powder

I started by draining the beans. I wasn't sure how wet the tomatoes and sauce was going to make the chili. I like mine on the thicker side, so I just poured the liquid in a bowl (I ended up using it anyway). I added the beans, the tomatoes, and the tomato sauce in the crock pot. I then diced the onions and chopped the peppers. I added everything, and saw that it was going to be too thick, so I added the "bean juice." I have to be able to put out 150-200 samples from this batch. (I am tempted to throw in another couple cans of beans and tomatoes and in the morning, put some in a storage container so it's not so full upon transport. I will then add it back to the crock pot when I get to the show. I will have electricity to keep the chili hot.)

Since this is just a concoction I threw together, you are more than welcome to add or change things. I won't be able to taste it until tomorrow, and I'll add more seasoning if I think it needs it. it looks good, and the pop of color from the peppers is pretty.

I will let you all know tomorrow how the judging goes. It's a "People's Choice" judging, so if you're near Temecula, California, come on by. The show is from 9am-1pm and is at 26090 Ynez Road, Temecula, California, right off the 15 Freeway (so if you're in Vegas or San Diego, come on by!)

Edited to Add: I did add the extra cans of beans (chili and kidney). It filled up the crock pot, so I have a container ready for tomorrow morning to dish out some so it doesn't spill. I also have the iced tea brewing at double strength to get me through the day, too!!

I'm so excited!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't Forget - This weekend in Temecula, CA!

This Saturday is Royal Family Kids Inaugural Car and Motorcycle Show. We're also having a Chili Cook-off! If you're in Southern California and have the "BOMB" chili recipe, you are welcome to join in the fun! Whether it's a family recipe, something you found on Pinterest, vegetarian or meaty, spicy or mild, white or traditional, we want it!

Here's how it works:

You make a large amount of chili. I will personally make mine in a large crock pot. You'll only have to fill a small 2-ish ounce cup (think salsa from a take-out restaurant) about half way (we're only giving a taste), and we're making 150 ballots.

Our guests will buy a Judging bag (paper bag with a spoon, a ballot, and a pencil) for $3. This is one way we're raising money for our event. The judges will then check off the number of their favorite chili and turn it in so they can be counted. There will be an award, and you'll have full bragging rights. If any of my readers enter and win, you'll get a congratulatory post right here, too!!

We're also selling 50/50 tickets (we get 50% of the funds raised, and a winner will get 50%), as well as raffle tickets for goodies.

For kids, we'll be having a bounce house, too!

There will be food available to purchase, as well: donuts and coffee in the AM, hot dogs and burgers (with chips and a drink) in the PM. Also, Kona Ice will be there from 11am to 1pm with their shaved ice truck! We'll get part of their proceeds, too. And KSDW (88.9 in San Diego) morning show host, Jerry Langford will also be there to MC our event. He'll give away t-shirts to the first 20 people who visit his booth on Saturday morning!

This is a way for us to raise money towards our goal of $50,000 for this year. Royal Family Kids is a non-profit organization that give abused and neglected foster kids positive memories through summer camp. We're also launching our Mentor Program this year, as well. After camp is over, our volunteers will partner with a child and spend time with them throughout the year. Our heart's desire is to show these wonderful children that (1) adults can be trusted and (2) they are loved, no matter what.

Also, all around the country is a movie called "CAMP" playing in select theaters. If you happen to have it near you, I recommend seeing it, since ticket sales help fund a local camp. If you have a camp near you, and you have a heart for children, volunteering is something you can do, too. If you would like to make a contribution to our camp, you can click on the "DONATE" button on the sidebar. Just mention it's for Royal Family Kids and leave your address. You'll get a receipt for your donation at the end of the year from the organization.


Monday, April 8, 2013

My Baby's Not a Baby Anymore!

So you really want to know why I've been driven crazy? I'll show you.

My dear readers, this is Little Sis. My EIGHT-YEAR-OLD. Last night, she spent the night at grandma's and put her hair in curlers. All by herself. Usually, her hair won't hold curls, but when I saw her this afternoon, it looked like this.

She is growing up way too fast for me. She's my baby! Wasn't it just yesterday that she was three and just starting preschool? (In this picture, her sister was 6 and starting 2nd grade.)
 photo AlexandAlandrapic.jpg
Little Sis at 2 1/2

Nobody warned me about this!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring Break is Coming to a Close

All this week, the girls and I have been on Spring Break. It's been nice not having to go anywhere, be anywhere at a certain time, or drive around like a taxi driver wasting gas.

I had originally planned for us to go to the San Diego Zoo this week. But the thought of getting up early and driving two hours to deal with the crowd and heat made me want to curl up under my brand new, hot pink sheets and hide. The girls didn't seem to mind not going anywhere. I think they enjoyed sleeping in, as well.

The only thing we've done this week that was planned was the Lake Elsinore Storm Fan Fest. Baseball season is among us again! I participated in a scavenger hunt, the girls played in the free kids zone (usually $4 a child to jump in the bounce houses and play the games), and we met the players and got their autographs. I didn't win the scavenger hunt (which was done on Twitter), but because I participated  I got a voucher for two opening night tickets, which is next Thursday.

Even though the team is an affiliate of the San Diego Padres and I'm a San Francisco Giants fan, I really enjoy going to the Diamond and watching the games. It's a short 17 miles to the stadium and their promotions are pretty great (free hot dogs on Wednesdays, for instance).

Tomorrow's our last day of vacation (I'm not counting the weekend, since we have those off anyway). Not much planned, except laundry (have to take it somewhere, since someone vandalized our laundry room and broke one of the fire sprinklers) and Bible Study. We're reading "Sticky Faith" by Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Homemade Coffee Creamer

I've been on a label-reading kick lately. I've been trying to cut down significantly on the amount of artifical sugars and high fructose corn syrup the girls and I consume.

I made the "mistake" of looking at the label of the one thing I have to have in the house - my coffee creamer. I love my coffee, and while I can drink it with plain half and half, I much prefer a flavored coffee. Even at Starbucks, I get cinnamon dolce in my iced coffee (cheaper than an iced latte and I get free refills).

I was browsing Pinterest today (like I do every day), and saw a pin about homemade coffee creamer. The pin lead to Mrs. Happy Homemaker's post on Homemade Coffee Creamer. It seemed easy enough, and she has recipes on how to make different flavors (because while I like Vanilla, I like variety).

Tonight, I made the vanilla flavor. I mixed the 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 3/4 cup half-and-half. I then used a little over 1 tablespoon of vanilla (I like strong flavors). I started to put everything in a mason jar, but my jar was going to be too small. I had finished the last of the creamer I had (CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha found at Grocery Outlet) this morning and washed out the container, so I put everthing into that and shook it like a Polaroid picture (not really, but I sang that song and Little Sis got a kick out of that).

Of course, after making the creamer I had to test it. So I made a cup of Starbucks Veranda Blend in my Keurig. The creamer smelled good (I could smell the sweetened condensed milk, though), and it actually tastes pretty good! I can't wait to try some other flavors.

I need to get into the habit of taking more pictures when I do my Pinterest finds. The only picture I have is the one of my coffee in my hand-painted mug.

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