The Nadel family- Enjoy reading our everyday adventures!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review- The Help

I love to read when I can, and it is not often enough. My mom loves to give me books, and I read them when I can. With four kids and a busy house, homeschooling, being involved in MOPS and church, teaching co-op classes, etc., I just don't get a lot of time to read. So when I do, I savor it a little bit... I read more in the summer and on our school breaks. It also helps that I can read in the car, I get a bunch of reading done then, just not when we're on really curvy roads! :-D

One such book that I read recently over our Christmas/ New Year's break, called The Help by Kathryn Stockett. My mom loaned me this book, and I really enjoyed it.

The Help takes place in the early 1960's in the heart of the South, Mississippi. It is mostly about a girl and her family, and their maid. The main character, Skeeter, decides she wants to learn more about the "colored" maids, and writes a book with them to tell their story. I loved hearing the maids' side of things, how they loved the white babies as their own, and how they taught them things that they thought were important.

Here is a part of what the jacket cover says about the book...

"Twenty-two year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy until Skeeter gets a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

These three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women- mothers, daughter, caregivers, friends- view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope..."

This book has great writing, a funny climax that kept me on the edge of my seat, and parts that made me laugh out loud, and a few parts that had me crying. The characters were described in a vivid, memorable fashion, and you can almost see them, and hear them speak in their southern tones. It gives a fresh view into a part of history that has been somewhat forgotten-- when women were not so equal and when blacks were discriminated upon. I really enjoyed this book, and was really glad that I took the time to read it. I heartily recommend you find a copy and read it too!

Let me know if you've read it, I'd love to hear your comments!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cock-Eyed Cake recipe

"Dad is great, for giving us chocolate cake..." Does anybody else sing this Bill Cosby song/ sketch when they eat chocolate cake like I do? Well, here is a super easy and delicious recipe for homemade chocolate cake- which also happens to be dairy-free (and no eggs, too!). This was a favorite of mine when I couldn't have any dairy last year, when I was nursing Bethany. (Sorry, Neen, you can bake it in another 5 weeks, k?)  But you CANNOT have it for breakfast!!
Mixed up and ready to go in the oven...

This is another one of my mom-in-law's recipes, and we love it! (Thanks, Mom!)

Cock-Eyed Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cold water

Put first five ingredients in a medium bowl and blend together. Add last 4 ingredients and blend well. Pour into greased 8" X 8" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Top with genache.

I did a 7 X 11" pan, since I broke my 8 X 8' square one...

It is a little over-done, but still delicious! 
I usually top it with ice cream, or whipped cream. You can't go wrong with a topping for chocolate cake!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Girl class- Kaya week 2

We had lots of fun again this week in our American Girl class. We discussed "Kaya's Escape" (book 2 in the Kaya series) and ate snack, which was Leaf Bread. The recipe is from here. It was different, some of the girls liked it, some didn't, but I was glad that they all tried it!

Then we made Corn Husk dolls. It was kinda crazy with 13 girls making them at the same time, but they turned out pretty well. The moms were a huge help (and the little brothers that were there too!) I bought the corn husks at Wal-mart, and I bought too many. They came in a big package of about 50-60. I tried to count them in the store, but... well, I figured it was better to have too many than not enough!

The corn husk doll that my daughter made...
The directions for the corn husk dolls can be found here. They were pretty good directions, and I printed extra copies for the moms that helped me.  I was glad I came prepared with lots of hemp string, we used lots of it! The girls really seemed to enjoy the craft, even if it was kinda difficult for some of them, and even if the dolls didn't turn out perfect!

When they were almost done with the dolls, I read the "Legend of the No-Faced Doll", which can be found here. I nearly forgot to take pictures again, since I am so busy during the class! So I gave the camera to one mom and she took these:

I love that you can see a Corn Husk doll in the right of this picture!

I was going to talk about string games too, but I ran out of time. So maybe next time, if we have extra time! It's tough to fit everything in to one hour...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

WFMW-Organizing extra kids' clothes

Instead of doing a Wordless Wednesday, I decided to post a Works for Me Wednesday. I posted lots of pictures already this week, and I've been wanting to post this for a while- something new! Let me know which one you like better Works for Me Wednesday OR Wordless Wednesday! We'll see what I do again next week! :-D

I like being organized, I think it contributes somewhat to my sanity each day. So here is one way that I organize something in our house, and it works for me! 

I remember when I was a kid, and we'd get handed-down clothes from my cousins in Colorado, we LOVED them! I remember some great dresses and shirts that were from my cousins, and they were totally different than what anyone wore in my school! Another time I remember my little brother got a pair of cowboy boots from our cousins and he wore them all the time, even to bed! :-D

So Moms, how do your organize your kids extra clothes- ones that they have grown out of, and you are saving for a younger child? Or ones that you've been given that they will grow into next year? Here are a few ideas of what we do, and how it has worked for us!

We have several bins in the garage, (mostly) clearly labeled with size and gender so we can easily access and utilize them! This year we took some that we are saving for our younger girls and put them under the house in the crawlspace, since we don't need size 5 or 6 clothes (or 7-8) for a while. I found when the kids are babies that it is easier to have the bins in the garage where you can grab them and find something that fits. It seems like they change clothing sizes about once a month when they're tiny! I really like the same size bins, but sometimes they are hard to find. It helps if you can buy six or so at a time, then fill each of them eventually. January is a good time to buy bins when they are on sale...(hint, hint)

Most of the clothes that we have gotten are from our old neighbors that had kids stair-stepped older in age than our kids. We liked that especially since their kids were born similar season to ours, and they have similar  tastes in clothing. Their son is a sports nut like Caleb, and their girl is a girly-girl like Rebekah! We've had other people give us clothes too, and if we don't need them, we pass them on! It is great to have a wide variety and go shopping in the garage before we head to the store! I don't know how I could have kept them clothed if it wasn't for the generosity of others... I do buy clothes for the kids occasionally, but not too often! And when I do it is mostly socks and underwear...

Another benefit of this is that if their dresser is full, you don't have to keep all of the off-season clothes in their dresser, you can keep them in the bin until you need them! The kids LOVE getting out a new bin (or bag, which is how we get them...) and looking at all of the clothes- it is so exciting- just like Christmas. "Dad, look at this shirt, it's so cool!" "Oh, I can't wait to wear this tomorrow!" I wish I could change my whole wardrobe every year! :-D

Other than clothes in different sizes, we also have a bin of winter coats/ snowpants/ mittens/ hats/ scarves. We keep it in the garage and pull it out when we need it- before the parade of lights, in the beginning of winter, and when it snows! It is nice to keep them this way, since we rarely need snow-pants here, and it's handy to not have them clutter the hall closet year 'round! Then when we don't need the winter outdoor gear anymore, we load up the bin and put it back in the crawlspace under the house! (And hope for no more spring snows!)

I hope this helps some of you moms out there be more organized. It works for me, for us! :-D
What do you do? Do you store your extra clothes this way?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

American Girl store in Denver!

When we went to Denver this past weekend, we had some extra time so we went to Park Meadows Mall to the American Girl store! It was lots of fun since I am teaching a new class about American Girls. We took lots of pictures, and so I will post some here for you to see.

My daughter Rebekah brought her doll Rebecca, and we took pictures of her with her doll and some of the Rebecca displays. I also took pictures of the displays of other dolls too, especially Kaya and Felicity for my AG class. Since Felicity is retired from American Girl, there was only one display of her. :-(

It was a pretty big store and they had lots of dolls, doll clothes and accessories for sale. My daughter bought stick-on earrings for her doll. They also had a hair-styling place (cost $) and a little craft area. My poor son didn't like it, but he got to play in the Apple store later with his dad. :-D

Here are the pics of our fun time there...
My three girls outside the store... 
Rebekah and her doll Rebecca by the Rebecca display case.
Kaya display, pretty blue dress...
"Just like me" dolls, "This one looks like me, Mom..."
Rebekah in the new AG of the year Kanani photo booth...
Mallory and her doll (not AG) with Kanani display...
In the bathroom there was this cute doll holder!
Kaya teepee display... cool!
me by one of the  Kaya displays...
Rebekah by another Rebecca display...
The Felicity and her friend Elizabeth display...
LOVED this Kaya display- I have more close-up pics too...
They had lots of displays- this one had a little guitar and flute! :-D
It was lots of fun-such a girly place! It kinda made me want a doll... lol!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Nina's baby shower

So this past weekend our family went to Denver for my youngest sister's baby shower. We had a quick trip, and drove through some snow, but it was worth it! I loved getting to see my sister Nina pregnant, and getting to see my brother Chris & his girlfriend, Jenn who also live in Denver. My Mom and Dad came up to Denver too.

The baby shower was at Nina's husband Nate's parents' house. Since Nate's family lives nearby, that was the easiest place for us to hold the shower. Nate's mom and sisters helped with the food, and my mom and I made the sweets- cake and cookies, planned the games, and bought prizes & favors. There were several gals there pregnant besides Nina, and one of Nina's friends had just had her baby one month ago (he was the only boy there!) So there was lots of talk about pregnancy, birth and babies!

It was really fun and I was so glad that I got to be there! Here are some photo highlights...
Enjoying the brunch in the Reeder's front room...

Jenn made this cute diaper cake!

My mom and daughter holding the new baby (Nina's friend's)
Opening gifts- my brother & girlfriend gave her a little black hoodie!

"Mommy little man" the onesie says... :-D

One of the books I gave her... "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer"...good one!

Nina opened the bouncy seat from my mom and I...

A cute dog print blanket from her sister-in-law...

Nina enjoying her sugar-free, low-carb
(pretty much!) cake...

Then after the shower, we had a little family time before we left... Here are a few pics of that...
We couldn't get Bethany to smile... a rare thing...
Bethany with Grandpa Mulder.

Me, my sister and my mom...

Nina and her husband Nate... soon to be three!

I can hardly believe that my sister is going to be a mom soon! We are looking forward to meeting our new nephew in early March!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Another menu planner

This is for the MOPS moms from our discussion this past week. I tried to post it on Friday, but it didn't work, I don't know why... And it is being kind of weird, anyway, here it is!

I made some of my own magnets that have my own pictures of foods I've made on them, and food pictures that I found on the web. If you're interested, I could email you the photo magnets that I made. I think it is a great idea and I'll use it a while!

You can find them on Robin's blog here:


Thursday, January 20, 2011

American Girl class- Kaya Week 1

Our homeschool co-op here is giving me a time and space to offer an American Girl class. I am excited to learn more about history, geography and crafts with 15 girls! We will begin our class with Kaya, who is the "first" American girl, since she is Native American from the Nez Perce tribe. Her story takes place in 1764, and that is the first girl in the history timeline for the American Girls. After we spend 6 weeks on Kaya, we will spend 6 weeks talking about Felicity, and her period of history.

Here are some pictures from our first class this week. A lot of ideas came from my homeschooling online friend Jamin. You can find out about her classes here.

It was a busy hour and I only took four pictures since I was so busy- but it was very fun!

We discussed the first book in the Kaya series, called Meet Kaya. After I asked them some questions and we discussed the book, we made two fun crafts!
Some of the girls after they finished their "totem poles"...

Girls working on their Geography notebooks and totem poles...

Girls chatting and working on their "dream catchers"...

Girls working on their "dream catchers".

The directions for the totem poles are here:

Info on totem poles: (I forgot to read this!)

The directions for the dream catchers are here:

Info page about dream catchers:

We had cranberry fritters for snack, the recipe is here:
They tasted really good!

What a fun day! I am looking forward to next week talking about Kaya's Escape (book 2) and doing more crafts/ snack!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday!

Well, almost wordless!

Mallory drew a picture of Kellums/ Nana/ Auntie Allie's doggies!

From left to right they are: Willie, Amos, Gimli and Ozzie. Cute!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tim's pancakes

Several years ago, we used to make pancakes with Bisquick or Krusteaz baking mix. In an effort to save money, we started trying home-made recipes for pancakes. Our favorite recipe is from my brother Tim's website, found here:

A batch of baking, browning pancakes
Caleb digging in...
Yum... syrup-covered pancake deliciousness!
So here is the recipe:


2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten lightly
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tbsp vegetable oil

1. Preheat griddle to 375.
2. Beat egg, add sugar, milk, then other ingredients.
3. Pour by 1/4 cup measures onto griddle.

Let me know if you try them and how you like them! We have them weekly in our house...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr. lapbook

This is another lapbook that Rebekah and I made in 2008, with inspiration from Jamin, my lapbooking friend! Here is the link to her MLK Jr. lapbook:

We usually listen to the "I Have a Dream" speech online and do a coloring page, as well as read a book or two about Martin Luther King Jr.  Now we can also review this lapbook!

On the cover is a small part of the speech with a picture of MLK Jr.  Below that is a summary of his life.
 On the inside, there is a "teeny tiny book" about Martin Luther King Jr., and then Vocabulary words and "What I Learned" booklet.

The vocabulary words are:
civil rights

Here is what Rebekah wrote on the "What I learned" booklet:
I learned: that he was shot and killed in 1968 and that his "I Have A Dream" speech was a very good speech. He was African-American and he helped other African-Americans.

Inside folder #1

Open vocabulary mini-book and Me and Martin mini-book

The "Me and Martin"mini-book is a worksheet that compares her life with Martin Luther King Jr.

Included were:
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Brothers and Sisters
Activities Enjoyed
Father's Occupation
Mother's Occupation
Goal in life

We learned that they had their mother and father's occupations in common: His mother was a teacher like me, and his father was a minister, and Joshua is a worship Pastor! Cool!

(At this point, her goal was "to be a pro ice skater and skate REALLY fast!") LOL
Inside timeline and Q & A
Here is her acrostic poem that she wrote:
Did great things
Really helped the black people
Kind to the black people
I have a dream was his great speech
Non voilent
Georgia was where he was born and lived

Inside folder #2
 Above, she wrote that her dream is: that one day I would be a professional ice skater. 
I can help my dream come true by: taking lessons at the Glacier Ice Arena and geting good at it. ;-D
 And on the back is a coloring page that she colored, trimmed  and the date that we finished the lapbook.
Here are the sources for the worksheets and mini-books:

Enjoy and let me know if you do this lapbook, I'd love to hear how you liked it!

P.S. Here is another coloring page from Michael's the Knack. (for teachers and parents) A great printable coloring page!
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