Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Krissy And Random Pix

 Scott's sister Krissy flew out to Utah for a wedding and stayed with us for a night. She brought each of the kids gifts from her recent trip to Hawaii which was a big hit! We had a nice visit.

And some random pictures: Jane loves to help out around the house. Vacuuming is high up on her list of chores she enjoys.
 Sunday morning as we were gathering kids for our weekly big breakfast, we all came back to the kitchen and found Jane sitting in her seat with four waffles stacked on her plate. She normally can eat maybe one whole one because the home-made ones are pretty filling. She thought she was pretty funny, and so did we :).
 Charles is our big melon eater. He loves all melon. Here he is with his very own half of a honeydew melon that we sliced up prettily with zigzags.
 One afternoon I walked into the living room and found this:
 Charlie's pillow pet with his belt tied around it like a leash and then tied up to the leg of our piano. Hilarious! I had a good laugh. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

First Snow

There is something magical about the first snow of the season. A blanket of white covers the earth and muffles sounds making things seem a little more clean, peaceful and less busy.

The children spent as much time as they could playing out in the snow. I got to do some extra baking while they played. We also had a lot of wet clothes and the dryer was constantly running.

Charles made a few snowmen.

And he and I had a snowball fight. The older he gets the more of a challenge it becomes for me! He's fast, good at taking cover, and has a pretty good arm!

 We went sledding.

 And we warmed up by the fire.

Now the snow has melted and it's in the high 50's once again. Snow, we hope you come again soon.

*as a side note, we hadn't used our fireplace the past 2 years because it started smoking when we turned it on so we needed to get it maintenanced. But we finally had someone come in and we got it up and running again just in time for the cold. I found a nice screen cover at Savers for $12 which I was really excited about because we needed one since the glass gets so hot and they're normally a lot more than that! It was a blessing from the Lord because that was my first trip to Savers and we went in search of carry-on luggage (which we found) and on my way from the luggage section to the register(I don't like to shop around when my kids are present, which they were) this screen caught my eye; the only one and it goes perfectly with our living room!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Army Tank Cake

 Last week I made an army tank birthday cake. Most of it was done in butter cream with a few fondant details. I made a half batch of marshmallow fondant which made the army guy on the top of the cake, stars, covered the preztel rod gun, and made the tread which went under and over the golden oreo cookie tires. I made the army guy cake topper and the pretzel gun a couple of days before I made and frosted the cakes so as to spread out the work. 

 I used three cake box mixes; they made a sheet cake and half of a ball cake.
 I found a picture of a Nato army tank on google images (thanks kelley and jericho for the tip!) and then had that picture up and tried to carve the cake accordingly. By the way, it helps if your cake has chilled a bit before you carve.

 I colored and rolled out the fondant, cut it in strips and then took a skewer stick and made indentations along the sides.
 On top of the tread I put a piece of cardboard which I cut to size and which covered most of the you can see I left a spot in the front and in the back of the cake. I covered it in frosting before I laid it down on the cake.
 I put a thin layer of frosting over the golden oreo tires and put a dab on the back so they'd stick to the sides of the cake
 You can cover the pretzel rod in fondant a day before, but don't actually stick it in the cake until an hour or two before the party because if you leave it in over night or for several hours, the end will collect moisture from the cake and the pretzel rod will bend and fall over in the middle of the night and then you'll find it that way in the morning an hour before the cake is being picked up and you'll need to quickly make another....not that that happened to me :).
The 'sand' is brown sugar. I piped an edge around the cardboard top and the base of the top part of the tank with a tip 12.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nora's 6 Month Stats

Nora had her 6 month wellness check up this past week; she's closer to 7 months now but I didn't want to schedule her appointment until Elisabeth and Charles were back in school; I didn't want to bring the whole gang.

I was surprised when the pediatrician informed me that the peanut and egg allergy restrictions  have been removed(formerly you weren't allowed to give either of the two until one year of age)! The doctor said they've been doing studies for quite some time in different parts of the world and that they think that restricting it has caused more allergies. So now you can start feeding your baby those things whenever they start solids. Of course you'd still want to be careful because peanuts could be a choking hazard for a child that young whether it's in it's whole form or in the form of peanut butter since peanut butter is thick and sticky; but small amounts should be okay.

Nora received 4 immunizations in one oral liquid form and two shots(which she hated). She checked out great, small of course, just like our other four children, but healthy. Here are her stats:

Weight: 15 lb 7 oz - 27 %
Height: 26 1/2 inches - 63%
Head Circumference: 16.5 in- 27%

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Motherly Thoughts

In my last post I mentioned the kids were off of school for three weeks and started back again this Monday. Honestly, I was sad to see them go. Before they left that morning, I hugged each one a little longer, gave each one a few extra kisses, and said "I love you" more times than usual.

 We didn't do anything grand or really spectacular while they were off track this past time, mostly we just hung around here. It was busier for me having them here all day, but busy in a good way.  We always began our days doing chores, practicing piano, etc, and then later in the day we'd play: sometimes it was board games, sometimes crafting, we went to the dollar movie theater one day, they played outside with neighbors sometimes, we had a snowball fight when it snowed last week, and one day the kids colored a bunch of Thanksgiving pictures, the older ones wrote notes on the back, and we brought them to a local nursing home where we gave them to some elderly folks.
 At the nursing home, the front desk gave us specific names and room numbers of people who don't come out much and/or don't get many visitors, and on our way to visit one elderly lady this sweet man, Don, stopped us in the hall and asked if we were coming to visit our Grandma. When we told him that we were coming to see anyone who might like a visitor, he turned around (he was headed to the cafeteria) and said, "come this way!" and he excitedly led us to his room where we visited with him and he shared pumpkin cookies with the kids :). We loved spending time with these good people! The kids soaked up the attention and loved that these new friends were so happy to listen to them and look at their pictures. We promised a sweet old lady, Lorraine, who taught piano for 40 years but can no longer play because her hands don't work so well, that we'd come back soon and play some Christmas songs for her on her keyboard. The nursing home was a winner and an activity we'll definitely be doing again.

The kids with Don, our new friend and a WW2 veteran
One evening during dinner last week, Nora started fussing and was not content unless I held her against my shoulder, her thumb in her mouth; she was very tired. So while the family finished dinner, I took her back into her room and rocked her and nursed her to sleep. As we rocked, I listened to my family clean up the kitchen: I heard the scuttling of feet, sink water running, chairs moving across the floor, that type of thing. And then I listened as they moved out to the living room, as is our routine. Scott played the piano, Elisabeth was singing, Charles was 'roaring' at Jane as she laughed, and Annabelle was in a fairytale land, happily talking to herself. As I listened to all these noises, which combined made the house sound a bit loud and perhaps, to some, chaotic;  I was suddenly overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude and love for this little family of mine. I am so happy to be a mother. I am so grateful I have Scott.  I am so happy we have so many little spirits in our home that make life so full of love and laughter and happiness and I'm so grateful we can be together forever, even after death. What a beautiful promise. Life is beautiful.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Halloween 2012

 Halloween day we got dressed up in our costumes and went to play group(the kids were off track; they just started back to school today, actually.) at a friends house. We ate lunch, most of us had leftovers from dinner, but Charles had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut in the shape of a pumpkin which made it taste loads better :). And we had some very yummy whole grain pumpkin bread(you can find the recipe here.)

 After eating our home-made pizza in the shape/color of candy corn, we took the kids out in the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. I know what you're thinking, but I can explain! The morning after Halloween we brought the candy into our dentists office and sold to our dentist ($1/pound) and then each of the kids took their money and bought a couple of things from the dollar store which they loved doing! We would've went out to dinner and bowling again like we did last year but we're trying to save money for a big trip coming up so we thought we'd do it this way instead. And it was still enjoyable.
 Nora and I dressed up as cheerleaders, Elisabeth a cowgirl, Annabelle a 'cute witch', Jane was Cinderella, Charles was a ninja, and Scott was himself, of course; though he did mention that he'll dress up for Halloween one year if he can grow facial hair and be Wolverine, so maybe we'll all be the X-Men one year! I am not a fan of facial hair but this sounds like a doable compromise.
 Jane and Annabelle each picked up a set of butterfly wings as one of their gifts from the dollar store. Annabelle also chose a pair of Cinderella gloves...the long, white, fancy kind.
 Elisabeth got a vase and fabric flowers to decorate her room(I'm allergic to real flowers so we can't ever have those in the house), and Charles picked out a water bottle with a neck strap and a target with sticky darts.
And that's it! Oh, and we did allow them each to pick out three candies to eat before we brought it to the dentist...see, I'm not that strict. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012 Pictures And A Crazy Day

 We had our family pictures taken a couple of weeks ago.  The day we took the pictures was a bit hectic. It was a weekday so Scott was at work, but all the kids were out of school. I had to do an emergency run to Costco (read: I ran out of spinach, amongst other things:)), I needed to take back a shirt and find a new one for Nora in a bigger size that she'd be wearing in the pictures, and the night before, we discovered that the only jeans that fit Elisabeth had holes in them, so we needed to pick up a pair of jeans for her as well. But have you ever taken 5 kids (including one baby and a 2 year old) shopping in a small clothing store? No, you say? Allow me to paint you a picture: 8 year old Elisabeth needs help finding jeans that fit. I'm walking around with a baby in my arms that's seemingly growing heavier by the second because I've already been carrying her for the past 30 minutes while we were making a return at another store. While I'm pulling a couple different pairs of jeans off the shelves, so is Annabelle, and Jane and they're holding them up and twirling around, while knocking items off other shelves. I stop what I'm doing and quietly ask them to put those down and not touch anything. They do as they are told because they're obedient little children(ha!) and then they begin to run around the store in circles, running in and out of clothing racks, crawling on the floor, bumping into get the picture. Elisabeth is in the changing room calling me to come look at another pair. Which didn't fit! So I have to go back and bring her more choices. I pull Charlie aside on my way to the jeans section and ask him to please watch Jane and keep her from taking things off shelves and from running everywhere. He obeys and runs off(literally runs) to find Jane which makes her squeal and laugh and she takes off running even faster and now I have three of my children running around this store, in and out of people and under clothing racks and I've got a baby in my arms and feel quite helpless and a bit overwhelmed and frustrated. I apologized to the employees who were eyeing my children and a couple of them came over and helped Elisabeth find what she needed so they could get us out fast, I'm sure. And I am grateful.

But we're not done. After clothing shopping, I still needed to stop at Costco. I shouldn't have, I knew my kids were hungry and tired, but Costco was so close and I really needed some things because I'd been avoiding this all week, and so we went. My arm was killing me from holding Nora for so long so I brought in her car seat and put it in the shopping cart, which was not okay with her. She screamed while I quickly ran around the store, three of my other children either in the cart or hanging on the sides, Elisabeth walking beside us, and I'm trying to grab everything off of my list while not running into anyone, and because it's Friday, that's not an easy task. About halfway through our list, I took Nora out and held her while we finished shopping so she wouldn't scream, and Elisabeth helped me push the cart around(she's a gem!). I got more, "your hands are full, aren't they?" comments, than usual. Probably 5 during that one trip to Costco. But that really doesn't matter. Anyway,  we made it and got screaming Nora back in the van and we took off for home.

When we got home I asked all the kids to help bring groceries in while I changed Nora's diaper and nursed her to sleep because she desperately needed it. We had bought a couple of the large containers of Adams peanut butter and I asked Elisabeth and Charles to each take one downstairs to the storage room. While I was nursing Nora in her room, I heard what sounded like someone crashing into the storage room door and then Elisabeth yelled, "Charles! I'm telling Mom!" A moment later, Elisabeth quietly opens the door and whispers, "Mom, Charles was running around with the peanut butter and purposely crashed into the door and it fell out of his hands and dropped on the floor and it opened and there's a lot of peanut butter on the floor." I quietly thanked her for the information and asked her to wait downstairs and that I'd be down in a minute. When she shut the door and I was alone with my thoughts, initially I was mad and tired. Mad that Charles wasn't being careful and probably did that to make the girls laugh. But then another feeling washed over me. Peace. Almost instantly I felt the stress that was building inside begin to melt away.  I let that peace come over my body and I saw, in my  mind, me, walking down the stairs calmly, cleaning up the mess with Charles while talking to him about it, kindly and in a loving way. I felt comforted and warm inside and I knew that if I followed that prompting all would be well. So I said a quick prayer of thanks, laid down baby Nora to sleep and walked downstairs to assess the damage. There was about three cups of peanut butter and oil on the carpet near the door to the storage room; at least someone had thought to pick up the container and set it upright on a higher surface. I went back upstairs and grabbed a wide spatula, a cookie sheet with no rim, carpet cleaner and a rag. I went back downstairs to where the kids eyes were fixed on the puddle of peanut butter, and I scooped what I could up onto the cookie sheet, sprayed the carpet and asked Charlie to help me scrub. As we scrubbed together we talked. We talked about why this happened and how something like this could be avoided in the future. I then told him that the amount of peanut butter on the floor was probably worth about $2-3, and that in order to make up for that loss, I'd like him to earn that money by doing some extra chores for me later that day, which he agreed to. Whew! Thank goodness the rest of our day was fairly uneventful, besides the pictures of course :). Lindsay, our photographer, did a great job! It's hard doing pictures with young children, trying to get them to look at the camera and if possible, smile, but she did it! 

 I love this one:

We are so blessed! I am so grateful I have Scott, and I am so grateful we have these five wonderful children who make life so full and enjoyable.