Friday, March 23, 2012

This Week: 14 people in the basement and a birthday preview

Have I ever mentioned the fabulous and generous friends that we have? Without family in town, we have to depend on friends to help us out with various things, and we are so fortunate that the guys in our group are willing and able to help each other with DIY projects. They've taken turns at each other's houses doing projects from time to time, although I always worry that they help us more than we help them. Seriously, guys! Get a project going soon so we can help!

So I owe a great big THANK YOU to Jason, Dave, and JT for spending their ENTIRE Sunday here at our house last week, helping Brian replace our patio door. (And to their wives, for giving up their husbands for the day)

To explain the need for a new door (besides the wood rotting via carpenter ants), I thought a video was necessary to see how difficult it was for the kids to come in and out of it: (also, I would NOT recommend one of these roll-up screen doors. They are very difficult to operate, especially for the kids)

They worked all day to evict the ants and get the new door installed. I made dinner for their families, and just as they were finishing eating and would finally be able to return to their comfy homes? The tornado siren started blaring. We turned on the TV to see a really nasty storm, with rotating clouds, headed right toward us. So we took our pan of brownies and all the kids and shoved 14 people into our basement. It also happened to be a slow moving storm, so we got hang out there for a good 30 minutes before the TV down there (that my sister is conveniently storing along with some of her other stuff) told us we were in the clear. Good thing there were toys! And chocolate! Beth was singing, "It's the end of the world at the [last name]'s", so we were able to stay distracted. I think those people deserve more than brownies for all that!

But thanks to them, (and Brian taking a day off this week to finish it and some other odds and ends around the house), our new door looks like this:

With internal blinds down!

And WORKS like this:

So I'm very grateful to all who made this happen.

We're also gearing up for David's birthday next week. Because both of the kids are on spring break after today, David's class celebrated his birthday yesterday. I wanted to make something fun for his "birthday snack" but not TOO complicated. I happened to be in JoAnn's and saw these chocolate pretzel rod molds in the shape of race cars, and voila! It wasn't very difficult at all.

You just melt chocolate, put some in the mold, and stick a pretzel in. Refrigerate. Done.

And the mold was $2 - or $1.25 if you have a coupon (in the paper every Sunday!)

I even splurged on another dollar to get the little bags to serve them up.
A few things that I learned and I'd like to remember for next time:

1) It takes longer than you think because you have to wait for one set to be done in the refrigerator before you can pour another set.

2) Re-melt the chocolate each time before you pour a new set, even if you think it still seems pretty smooth.

3) Also, wash the mold between each set. If there's any leftover from the last batch it can cause the next one to stick, and therefore break.

4) Start out with less chocolate than you think you need, because if you have extra, it spills over the mold like the bottom one in the picture.

Spring break/birthday week is here! We've got lots of fun stuff planned, and I'll be sure to share some photos. I know SO many people traveling right now, so be safe, everyone!

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