Thursday, July 30, 2009

not all fun and games

Just incase you were thinking that all we do around here is play, I'll fill you in on what else we've been up to. I've been planing this coming school year, I spent at least an hour every morning for the last three weeks planing, making copies and organizing so that we will be prepared to keep up with school even through the birth of Miss C and the holidays! Each of the kids has his or her own binder with all of the work sheets he or she will need for the year (this includes directions for crafts and the pages from activity books needed for the crafts, and other activities). Mr. R took this picture of me in my corner where I did most of this work. I planned all the way through to March, I figured I should leave some open space in the spring to make up for any time lost, spring break and anything else that may come up. I also re-figured our chore list and assigned new chores, so in the next couple of weeks before we start school again we will be doing quite a bit of training on the new chores and making sure every one knows their new jobs and how I expect them to be done. I still need to schedule where and what I want everyone doing during "nap time" every day.

I've also got quite a few sewing projects I'm working on. Many of them are gifts or things for Miss C. I have a couple of "fun" things on my list of projects to, but they are at the end of the list and provide an incentive for me to keep working my way down the list! One of my projects will be to figure out a better storage solution for the girls' hair things. We were managing Miss E's fairly well, but our current system of a bin holding all of those types of things just is not working now that we have two girls in bows. I have a plan in mind, I just need to get all of the supplies and put it together. I think it will work out well and be cute, I'll post pictures once I get that one done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

rainbow cake, tie-dye shirts, and that cat again!

These are some things so rarely seen in our house that I thought I'd take a picture (though the jello pudding does show up a bit more often). You should have seen the looks on the kids' faces as I put packet after packet of kool-aid into the cart! I think its been over five years since I've purchased any. And my poor deprived children did not even know to get excited about cool whip! LOL!

Miss E mixed up the rainbow cake with very little help (I helped her mix the colors, and put it in the oven, that was it). I found the idea for it on this site and thought it would go well with the activity I had planed for the day-- tie dying t-shirts.

The kids had a great time planing out their shirts. They all chose where they wanted their rubber bands on their shirts and the older three put theirs on as we talked about the colors we would be using and how some would be brighter and/or mix better with others. Then they all helped me mix up the colors (they loved smelling the kool-aid as they did this!), and get things ready out
side. All but Mr. S took this job seriously, even Miss J inspected all of the colors (shirt in hand) before tossing her shirt in the blue! Mr. S just went bit nuts throwing his into bucket after bucket. His was the first one done. Once Mr. S and Miss J were done they entertained themselves playing with some clothes pins in the yellow bucket, had it been any other color this would have been a problem, but they only liked the yellow. Mr. M went for the simple red and blue, so he was done quickly, but he had given it quite a bit of thought and was sure this was what he wanted. Miss E and Mr. R however had grand plans for exactly what colors they would be using and where (both wanted to use all of the colors). They each took their time and gave much thought to the process. I was pleased with how well these turned out, and I'm guessing we'll do this again some time. The shirts are huge, but they will make great sleep shirts.

As for that cat. I found her sleeping with Miss J when I went to get her up from her morning nap. I think she is nesting. This is the third pregnancy I've been through with this cat,
and around this point in pregnancy she tends to want to sleep in either the crib or some other "baby space" like a bassinet, changing table, or play pen. I find her in Miss J's crib at least once a day now. She will give it up after the baby is a couple of months old. It is funny how she knows these things though, she also knows almost as soon as I do that I'm pregnant. She never sits with me unless I'm pregnant, and then she is always trying to sit on my belly!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A set for a friend

This is a set I put together for a friend. She is due a couple of weeks after me, and recently found out she is going to have a boy! As luck would have it I had picked up the cute turtle outfit in Portland "just incase", before we found out we were expecting a girl, so now it will make a great gift! I put together the blanket, three burp cloths, two bibs and a bag. I love the fabric, the soft minky is my favorite, it is more of a royal blue than the navy in the print, but it goes well enough. As I was cutting it out Miss J and Miss E were enjoying touching it and even trying to run off with some!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I have a laundry fairy!

Before you start getting jealous of me, wishing that you had a laundry fairy, remember there are good fairies and there are those naughty little fairies that seem to cause trouble wherever
they go. While I know ours is a good fairy at heart, she needs some training, and in the meantime she comes off as more of a naughty little sprite! When she sees a basket of laundry she just can't help but empty it out (her favorites are the baskets of FOLDED laundry, that are waiting to be put away), or if she sees someone folding laundry she loves to "help" by grabbing all the items she can and transfers them back into the laundry basket. A pile of unmatched socks is pure joy to her; she loves to grab them to "sort" them and "put them away", usually while Miss E and Mr. R are frantically working to match them up before the laundry fairy gets to them and spreads them all over the living room.
There is one job that she has mastered and truly is helpful with: she LOVES to take clean clothes out of the dryer and then push the laundry basket into the living room to be folded. She has been watching the big kids do this for quite some time, and seems to have mastered the skill, though she does still need some supervision.

Friday, July 24, 2009

zucchini pancakes

Yep, I put veggies in my kids pancakes this morning, and they were so excited! The kids all loved them. I had about a cup of left over shredded zucchini, so I just used my regular pancake recipe that I double for our family, with the zucchini and some added cinnamon and nutmeg. I left out the sugar in the recipe and I did use half whole wheat flour. These were a hit with everyone!

When it was time to put Miss J down for her morning nap today we found two cats in her crib enjoying their quiet morning naps. I thought that maybe putting her in the crib with them would persuade them to leave, but they were determined to stay. I had to remove them from the crib, since I guess they did not seem to think that a nap with a toddler was such a bad idea. Hmmm, these are not very smart cats.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A little loopy

I had a great activity planned for yesterday, but it involved the kids getting into swim suits in the morning. It was foggy all morning and the sun just did not look like it was going to come out for a while so I had to use my back up plan, wouldn't you know about five minutes after starting this activity the sun was out and it was nice and warm. Oh well!
This seemed like such a simple activity and way below Miss E and Mr. R, but they had a great time too. I picked up a bag of "fruit loops" the generic kind in a bag (I could see that they had holes, in the last few years I've picked up a couple of boxes of the "real" thing and most of the loops had little to no holes!), and had them string the loops on ribbon. Before I let them do that though Miss E and Mr R had to make up a chart showing what colors and how many they were going to be using, while Mr. M and Mr. S sorted the BIG bowl of loops into smaller bowls of loops by color. Miss J just did a bunch of grabbing and eating, though she did make a small effort to string some. After they were all sorted and charts were made (Mr. M made one too) then they got to string the loops. I was surprised that they were happily occupied for about an hour doing this! I was able to shred a bunch of zucchini (from a friend's garden) in the kitchen while watching the kids and talking with them. Next week we'll try for the other activity.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just like Uncle Dan please!

Mr. M wants to be a soldier, Uncle Dane IS a soldier(army). Uncle Dan is cool. He brings MREs and light sticks when he visits. He talks about shooting things and blowing things up. Mr. M LOVES Uncle Dan and wants to be just like him, so when it was time for a hair cut yesterday Mr. M asked that I cut it "short, just like Uncle Dan". Since it is sumer and we have no big plans for pictures or anything else he needed to look "good" for, I figured we may as well. Not that Crazy Uncle Dan looks silly or anything, its just that he has an "army" haircut, we tend to go more for the "Air Force" look!



He looks cute (how could he not), but I don't think this will be his regular "do". It was fun to try though

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pastry and rolls

This last Sunday was my day to take breakfast for our Sunday School class at church, I made Benedict eggs in pastry and Cappuccino cinnamon rolls. I'd been looking at these recipes for a while. I'd seen them in the April/May issue of Taste of Home, and I was happy to have a good excuse to make them! The Cappuccino Rolls were fun to try, and turned out well, but I don't think I'll make them again, most of the kids were not fond of them (though Mr. M, our coffee drinker, LOVED them). The Benedict eggs were wonderful, and quite the hit, I'm sure I'll make them again.!

The cappuccino rolls were made like any other cinnamon rolls, but 4 tsp. of instant coffee granules were added to the brown sugar and cinnamon for the filling. The icing also had some espresso in it.

Benedict eggs in pastry
2 eggs yolks 7 eggs. divided
2 Tbsp. lemon juice 2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Dash cayenne pepper 1 Tbsp. water
2 cups cubed fully cooked ham Minced fresh tarragon, optional
2 green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter

In a double boiler over simmering water or a small heavy saucepan, constantly whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard until mixture begins to thicken and reaches 160. Reduce heat to low. Slowly drizzle in warm melted butter, whisking constantly. Whisk in cayenne.

Transfer to a small bowl if necessary. Place bowl in a larger bowl of warm water. Keep warm, stirring occasionally, until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir ham and onions in butter until onions are tender. in a large bowl, whisk six eggs and milk. Add egg mixture to the pan; cook and stir until set. Remove from the heat; stir in 1/3 cup reserved hollandaise sauce. Set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, unfold puff pastry. Roll each sheet into a 12-in. x 9-1/2-in. rectangle; cut each in half widthwise. place 1 cup egg mixture on half of each rectangle; sprinkle with cheese.

Beat water and remaining egg; brush over pastry edges. Bring an opposite corner of pastry over the egg mixture; pinch seams to seal. With a small sharp knife, cut several slits on the top.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet; brush with remaining egg mixture. Bake at 400 for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with remaining hollandaise sauce. Sprinkle with tarragon if desired.

*the above instructions will leave you with servings for four. However, I did a double batch and made them much smaller (six servings from each pastry sheet). They were a great size for picking up and eating without a fork, but still plenty big.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Miss J and a baby

Some dear friends of ours came over this last Friday for dinner. We always love getting together with them and our kids always have a great time together! Their baby boy is four months old and Miss J was so excited to see a baby (she LOVES babies) and wanted to hold baby Luke. Now, Miss J is on the small side and Mr. Luke is on the bigger side, so they are just about the same size. It was so funny to see Miss J holding him and loving on him and he seemed to enjoy himself too, she was so kind and gentle with him. She asked to hold him a few times and each time she was just so excited, patting her lap as she waited for me to put him down. I think she will do okay with Miss C!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Miss J has been in need of some new bibs for a while now, and Miss C will need some too, so I made some. I went a bit crazy while I was up in Portland shopping at the Mill End Store, and I may have picked up a bit too much fabric for bibs, but I'm thinking we will use them all! I did make two practice bibs before cutting all of these out to make sure they would work. Miss J was so happy to have her banana bibs, as she had been trying to run off with the fabric for about a week! Bananas are one of her favorite foods!

This is what 24 bibs that are cut out and waiting for me to sew them look like, its quite the stack! I've been working on these bibs for about two weeks now, as I have time. They have been going together very quickly and I like how they turned out. For my birthday I asked Rob to please get me a set of snap pliers and plastic snaps to match the bibs (and some other projects), and I've had fun using my new toy! The snaps go in so nicely and really give the bibs and nice finished look.

Here are all of the bibs done and ready to be used. I love how they turned out! I made them in two sizes, the smaller ones will be set aside for Miss C, as well as a couple of the larger ones, so that she can have some nice new bibs too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More cookies!

I received a set of 3D cookie cutters for Christmas and I'm finally getting around to trying them out. I made up the cookies last night after the kids went to bed, so this was a surprise for them. They had fun decorating the cookies and were excited to see how they would turn out, its always fun when your food will stand up on its own!

Miss J was in on the fun, but once she realized I had served up cookies and "sugar soup" she
was not interested in decorating! I figured this would happen so I just gave her her own bowl
with a little bit of light pink icing in it, she had a great time and even managed to get a bit of icing on her cookie!

I think Miss E, Mr. R, and Mr. S shared the common goal of getting the most icing their cookies could hold on them, while Mr. M paid more attention to the details of the cookie, carefully coloring each area of his airplane. They always surprise me, he is not normally one for details. We had to let them dry a bit before we could make them stand up, so we all went outside to
play for the rest of the morning. After lunch we set them up and then they got to eat them. There were a few extras so Rob got to see some of them when he got home.

Oh and yes, that is Miss J's one legged bear you see there with a tiny bit of pink icing on it. I guess she thought the other leg went well with her "sugar soup".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A gift for a friend

A dear friend of mine in town here is due any day with her second boy (actually she was due a few days ago). I made up this little set for her new little guy, its a burp cloth and two bibs. Her husband works with Rob and flies, so this print was perfect for their family. I love the backing for these, its minky, it is so soft and the raised dots add texture. All of the kids agree that Miss C will need a blanket/la la made from some of this (only pink, of course!). I've been doing quite a bit of sewing this week and I'm almost done with the bibs I've been working on for Miss J and Miss C, but I just realized I don't have any lime green thread, and that is what I need to finish the last few. I should be able to get them all done this week-end and then I'll post pictures.

Cookies and a bike

Mr. R has been asking for months to make cookies to take to his friends (neighbors), he is such a sweet boy and loves to do things like this for others. Now that I'm feeling better and our trip is over we were able to do this today! He did a great job helping to mix up a triple batch of snickerdoodles. Most impressive was that he stuck to shaping ALL of them into balls and rolling them in the cinnamon sugar, let me know when they were ready to go in the oven/or the timer went off (I was outside with the other kids), and then arranged them on plates to take to his friends, and he never once asked to eat any! (don't worry, he has had plenty both before and after eating all of his dinner!) He was so happy to be able to serve his friends and family in this way, and he was so diligent in his work!

In the mean time all of the other kids were playing outside. Miss J asked Miss E to help her get
the helmet on and then help her get on the bike. Miss E took her up and down the sidewalk a few times and made Miss J quite the happy "big girl"! Miss E sure is enjoying having a little sister, and is so good with her.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My sweet kids!

My birthday is this week. The kids asked that I not look at what they were working on today after lunch, so I put Miss J down for a nap and went into the study to do some sewing. When I came out I found these sweet notes and many others all over the house! What sweet kids!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pizza Braid

I saw the recipe for this on another blog about a month or so ago and gave it a try, it turned out so well I made it again, this time it was even better! Most of the kids liked it, though it did have more "adult" fillings in it like sausage, onions, and peppers, but Miss J LOVED it! She had four helpings, though she left much of the crust, she was after the fillings!

Bounce house

Yes, we own a bounce house! Mr. M asked us to rent one for him as his birthday gift this year, but we soon realized that for about twice the cost we could just buy a small one (and lets face it, with six kids this request was bound to be made again!). Mr. M got to enjoy it on his birthday as "his" just as if we (and Nana, who helped buy it) had rented it for him, and now we get it out from time to time for a fun treat. Rob set it up yesterday (Friday) before heading off to work and the kids were able to inflate it during the day when they wanted to jump in it (it goes up in about 10 seconds, and down in a minute). They all enjoy it except Miss J, she is scared of it, she would not leave the porch unless in my arms while it was set up. The neighborhood kids also enjoy it, one of the girls from across the street is in the picture.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finger painting fun

We're on "summer break" for the next month or so, just using the time to rest, enjoy time together, work on projects, and get ready for the new school year, but I've planned some fun activities for the kids and this was the first one...

I made up some finger paint using flour, salt, water and food coloring. The kids helped to mix up the colors and then they spent quite a bit of time "painting" while I cut out bibs for Miss J and Miss C at the kitchen counter. They all had so much fun, but there was really very little mess to clean up (except the light switch and bathroom sink that Mr. S also managed to paint!), but any messes were easy enough for the kids to handle (again, except for Mr. S who had paint up to his elbows!).