Friday, December 31, 2010

Random Thoughts

Wanted to post some random thoughts and happenings.  I was thinking about the name of our family blog.  One Crazy Household.  It truly does seem to fit us.  There is always some excitement going on; rarely a dull moment, and I cherish those dull moments so.
What will the new year bring for us?  Hmmm.  Well Isaac will officially be a teenager in February.  We should have four bedrooms + office in our house shortly.  Repaint the family room.  Ammon will be in first grade in the fall, opening up a world of more options for me.  Our home loan (7 year ARM) is due to run out this spring.  Going to try the gluten free diet crap again.  Oh wait, that's not new, but I've been off for quite some time.  Waaaa.  I love ice cream and carbs so.  Hopefully Justin and I will get away together again this year.
Looking at this list, there is nothing big coming up.  All normal-o family things that keep our house rolling. 
Other randomness:
We got lots of new games for Christmas and it has be sooooo much fun spending the week with the family. We usually go to Oklahoma for the break, which we love love love and have noticeably missed, but due to many reasons we stayed home.  This opened up the option of more personal family time which is rare and precious to me.  Albeit, there have been moments I either wanted to lock the kids in the bathroom, or leave the house for an indefinite amount of time.  
We have played a game called Smallworld several times and it is finally sinking in.  Wow that game has lots to learn, and I'm not sure that it's all that great yet, but for what it cost, we're going to love it.  We also have been playing nertz/oh heck/dutch blitz and a term coined by Isaac, doink.  We had a huge game tonight with everyone plus two of Jacob's friends. Those boys love to talk.  I finally had to initiate a new rule of no talking while playing.  Then the next round only one syllable words allowed when you play a card.  "dinosaur"  giggle giggle.
Also got Despicable Me which is a fantastic movie and is one of my all time favorites; the family has been walking around speaking in a German? accent and quoting the evil villain.
More thoughts:
I enjoy Ammon so much.  He has something special about him that makes me smile even at the blackest of times.  Not to say all of my children aren't special, I've just been thinking about him.  He has a great sense of humor and is constantly making jokes.  His latest thing is to rhyme.  You might ask him to go get a cup and he'd say go get a pup?  It's usually a letter p he uses.  
We went cross county skiing the other day and he went over a mile and did awesome.  
He said to me one day, I'm thinking about my love for you.  so sweet.  
One of my favorite things about my day is seeing Ammon walking home from the bus, with is blue Mario backpack slung sideways on him as he tromps through the snow.  If I go to meet him he usually comes up to me with a full out run (with back pack) and jumps into my arms with a huge hug and kiss.  And of course, chicken nuggets with honey for lunch.  Every day.  
He got Goosebumps for the Wii for Christmas and can't get enough of it.  
He is so eager to please and loves to copy me or Justin.  Oh, he is a stinker at prayers.  He is just finally saying them, and they are beautiful.  He is thankful for everything and asks for nothing.  It's just hard to get him to say them at other times than bed time.  And at any other prayer time, he is open eyed, rolling around on the floor, eating his food etc.  Then Jacob feels like he's the dictator making sure everyone is proper during prayer, so I'm always eyes open making gestures at both of them.  I hope Heavenly Father is looking down and laughing at us occasionally.  It must be a humorous sight on occasion. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Let's Talk...

I was at my friends house the other day and saw this gorgeously cut up cubed caramels.  I thought to myself, "I should make those, mmmmm, and dip them in chocolate."
On the way home I bought some heavy whipping cream, called my mom for advice and got to it.  
I've always heard that candy making is a tough business, but hoped it would just happen to work perfectly for me.  ha ha. ha hahaha.  
Burned caramel.  Make that burned toffee.
Let's try that again.  
I had to pick Isaac up from a friends house, or I wouldn't have gone out in the snow (4+ inches on top of the 17" from last week).  I dragged/drug him to Rainbow foods and bought my second set of cream.  At least it was on sale for $2.  
So I called my Mom and found out that you should never use a stainless steal pan for making candy because it gets hot spots.  Okie dokie then.
After I (supposedly) got the kiddos in bed, I set out on making caramel round #2.  
See where this is going?
Oh my goodness!  It didn't burn!  The color was a rich....caramel color and looked fantastic!  Got the temperature up to soft ball and everything.  I'm such a big girl!  It only took two tries and I'm awesome.  I can't wait to dip these babies in some chocolate!
haha. hahahahaha.
Next morning, my caramel, upon inspection is toffee yet again, but at least not burned.
I called my mom feeling like a huge disappointment, but she had a remedy.
Once I get the caramel out of the pan, warm it back up with 1/2 cup milk until it gets to soft ball.  Oh wait a minute.  What is this about your thermometer?  
We do a boiling water test and find out that my two thermometers read waayyyy different.  So, I learned another lesson:   do not trust thermometers.
I set out to fix my second batch, which was nice because I had forgotten to put in vanilla and salt :)
I thought it would be interesting to use both of my thermometers to see what the difference was.  Twenty to 30 degrees.  That's why I had toffee.  
So now, I have soft caramels waiting to be cut and dipped.  
This story might not be over since I haven't even tasted the stuff yet.
Anyone have some more advice or fun stories to share?


After I finally got the caramel out of the pan, I had a taste and it was yummy.
I dipped all of it tonight, as you can see.
My lovely little army of caramels.


Merry Christmas friends and family!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

15 Years *Warning - Gooshy post*

It's hard to believe 15 years have passed since I became a Dittmer.  I know I shouldn't say this, but the going hasn't been that rough.  Maybe it's because I married such an exceptional man that puts up with my controlling nature.  Or how he is so patient with the children.  Or how he is one of the most giving people I've even known. I know Heavenly Father has had a huge part in it as well, obviously.  I think my marriage rocks.  
  Justin is amazing.  He's the most perfect guy for me.  I love how my heart quickens when I hear the garage door open and then a "Hey baby!" as he walks in the door.  
I am still in love with Justin and plan on keeping him forever.  
I think he even loves me too : )

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Como Zoo

The kids had a day off of school so we went to Como Zoo on our way home from dentist appointments.  Dad was able to meet us for lunch as well :)

Random Falls Photos

I've been slow getting around to editing some fall walks I had with Justin and Ammon.  Here's some of my favorites:

 "Giant Justin"

 What kind of seed pod is this?

 These were all taken in Rice Creek trails on Cty I and 35W

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Family Favorite Cookie Recipes

These are two of the most requested recipes I have.  In fact, the sugar cookie one is THE MOST requested.  But mostly by Meggin because either it's lost or packed away.  

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies
1 1/4 C sugar
1/2 C Margerine
1/2 C sour cream
1 t vanilla
1 egg
cream these ingredients.
In another bowl, mix the following:
3 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
mix together.
Refrigerate at least one hour. C
Bake at 400 degrees 5-7 minutes.

Gingerbread Cookies
Cream the following three ingredients:
1 C shortening
1 C Sugar
2 eggs
In a separate bowl add
1/2 C cold water
2 t baking soda
1 C molasses
In another bowl (yes three bowls are involved) add
4-6 C flour
1 t ginger
1t cinnamon
1t salt
Combine all three bowls together.  
Refrigerate at least one hour.
Bake at 350 degrees 8-12 minutes.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Isaac has been working on the new Duty to God program, the latest being to study four different gospel topics.  He wrote this paper for our family home evening tonight.  

Definition: believing something that you can’t see.
Teachings and Examples: Nephi built a boat as commanded by God even though he didn’t know why. King Darius had faith that Daniel would not get eaten by the lions in the lion’s den and Daniel wasn’t eaten by lions. I had faith-and still do- that my grandma’s knee would heal. Now she is mostly healed, but is still having trouble with it.
Thoughts about why this topic is important: faith is an important topic to me because it is believing and believing in Christ is very important. Without faith, the world would be careless and dull. Having faith is also important because maybe your relatives are dying and you hope they get better. Having hope is about the same thing as faith, so you’re not acting careless, your acting faithful and hopeful for a relative. I believe in Jesus Christ and all that the scriptures tell me and you should believe in them too. I think that if you have faith, then you will live a great life. Having faith for learning is pretty important because, if you didn’t have faith that you can learn well, then you probably won’t. You might also stop believing in what you are supposed to believe in and have a careless and clumsy life-and afterlife. I would like to bear my testimony that I know that faith is very important to use a lot of the time, and I also believe in Christ, the eternal father, and I believe in the holy temple and churches for these are what we all should believe in and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Whoop Whoop!

I bought studio equipment!
Don't mind the nasty clothes.  I'm not sure how I feel about this back drop, but for the price, it's fantastic.  Everything set up easily, although I don't think it's something I want to do on a daily basis.  I'm excited to be able to shoot in the winter months!!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wood Peckers

We have a bit of a woodpecker issue, and have had for several years.  Now that I've put it out there for the world to read, maybe Justin will get around to taking care of it.  
They have put dozens of golf ball sized holes in the wall behind my bed.  If you're following, that means that during any time that the sun is up, mostly during nap times, there will be pecking (mostly during my nap time). 
A fake owl and cd's haven't done diddly.  
I usually yell for someone to go scare them away and Jacob is the usual runner.  Today he went into Allison's room and opened the window.  I could hear him saying,
"This town ain't big enough for the two of us."  
"Go peck a tree"  
"Why don't you peck on someone your own size."


This guy loves and I mean loves Halloween.  He said he wants to have a "smooky" party for his birthday next year.  I made this costume for Jacob about this same age, and Isaac also wore it.  Ammon isn't keen on it, so I think it has seen it's day, but we have had the most usage out of the costumes I've sewn vs the ones we've bought in the store.  Not that I'd ever do it again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The World As Seen By Ammon

 "I like this dirt"

"Stand in a Line"

Blue Mound State Park

The kids had a five day weekend so we decided a family camp out was in order.  I must say, the execution wasn't great for a birthday, but the actual camping was fun.  We spent the bulk of the 21st packing and driving four hours to south west Minnesota.  Justin did buy me a couple of awesome birthday presents:  a new cordless mouse for my laptop and some Chaco shoes (which don't fit right, but the thought was perfect).  We sat around the kitchen table and watched as Justin lit 35 candles on a chocolate cake.  Ouch.  That's a lot of flames.  
We arrived at the state park at 7 pm, which means it was already dark.  We had the entire walk in camp ground to ourselves, and being the weirdos that we are, walked to every single campsite to make sure we got the best one.  
I don't know how cold it was, but definitely in the 30's that night.  So cold!
We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning and set off for a leisurely stroll around the dam.
Proof that I was really on this camp out.
 Isaac was beyond excited to find a late bloomer of a monarch butterfly.  It must have "hatched" recently.  It's wings looked new.

 Ammon learned to somersault and you get to see his first one here!  Even on an uphill!

 Jacob took this cool picture of an army green grasshopper.
 We played a family game of Skip Bo (minus Jacob whom was reading) on top of a rock in our camp site.
 View from the rock.
 Jacob reading.  He moved here because the bugs were bugging him by the fire.
 Yes we did bring bikes on this trip.  It makes for fun times, but a lot of extra planning.  We rode a 6 mile track and walnuts!  I loaded up the bike trailer, you better believe it.  Drools.  Justin went for a mountain bike ride by himself and got a flat at the very farthest place possible so had to walk back. 
The weather, I must say, could not have been better.  Short sleeves felt perfect and the sun was just right.  Perfect Perfect Day.
And even the night was nice and not too cold.  
But, it did rain a small amount during the night and was overcast in the morning.
 We got the geo caching gps coordinates and first went to one and found out it was only for the bison viewing platform.  Lame.  We then went on to find the critter cache, which the kids loved.  Allison traded a pass-along card for a little cupcake thing to put on her shoe.
 Isaac found a baby wooly bear caterpillar. 

 We borrowed horse shoes from the office. 
 Isaac got a 3 pointer!

 Allison had a tummy ache and sat on the swings during our horse shoe game.
 The boys found this awesome frog on their walk back to the camp site.
 Allison eating shells n cheese in a cart.  We decided to pack up before it rained again and head home early. But still had one hike left before we left Blue Mound, bur oak trail and the quarry.

 Allison found a feather and was pretending to write.
 If you look to the right of Isaac, we hiked up that side of the quarry up and over large rocks.  It was fun!  It reminded me of the good old days going through Logan Cave.

 Ammon got into taking pictures.  It was adorable.  I'll put up some of those in another post.
  We tried to find another geo cache at Kilen State Park, but after hill and dale we ended up at an overlook...not the critter cache.  Dumb signs at the ranger station. It looks light in this picture.  Don't let it fool you.  It was beyond dusk.  We hiked back in the dark with flashlights.   It was one of my most favorite hikes though.  I'd like to enjoy it with more sunlight.  Beautiful oaks everywhere, and small brooklets.  Going off track because that's the way the gps says to go was NOT fun.  Stickery plants everywhere!