Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Prickly Pear Jelly making

Our yard is filled with Prickly Pear Cactus which has fruit that is good for making jelly (among other things).  We were so excited to hear that some friends of ours make the jelly every year.  They were willing to change their plans a bit and come to our house to pick our fruit and make jelly at our house!

It was great to look out and see all of the kids and dads picking fruit.  They got it all picked, sorted and washed.

Overall we had very few cactus injuries considering the number of children (17) and the large amount of cactus they were interacting with.  However there were a few incidents and it seems that Mr. Harder was the go-to-guy when the kids could not get them out themselves.

Once we got the fruit inside we got into a good routine for juicing and cooking it up.  Mr. M was thrilled to get to smash, squish and juice the fruit along side one of the dads.  Miss E came in to help a bit with the cooking too.

This was an all day job.  The bigger kids had a blast playing outside for most of the morning.
*These two are quite the pair.  I think they would have stayed outside all day if we would have let them.


The younger ones stayed inside and played.

After lunch we set up the big screen to give the kids some down time and keep them out of the heat of the day.

*Why yes, the boys are interacting with the movie!  Swiss Family Robinson was chosen and the boys were contented to sit for a bit since they were able to do some target practice with the animals in the movie.

Babies slept, munched on nums, and hung out.


It was a long but fun day.  By the end of the day we had had a couple boil overs and spills.  Those led to very small flames and some smoke.  Since it was really just smoke we had some fun with it and the resident fireman.


The fruits of our labors.

Thank you to the "B" and "W" families for coming over, doing all of the hard work, and teaching us how to do this!  We had a great time!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Baby's first hair cut

I like my babies to look like babies.  I generally do not give my boys hair cuts until they are AT LEAST one year old.  I wait longer if I can.  Mr. K had great curls all over his sweet little head, making it even harder to want to cut it.

However he had been running into many bad hair days where the curls were not curling so well.  He was being mistaken for a girl regularly when out and about.  His brothers were lovingly saying things like "girly" and "sissy."  When the big boys were getting their hair cuts last week they ganged up on me and told me what I already knew.  It was time.


He still looks sweet, but older.  I do have some hope that he will be the first of our children to hold his curls, but right now it is too short to show if they are still there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still on vacation...Homeschool convention

When we picked the dates for Rob's week off we had no idea that it was the week of the homeschool convention in Phoenix.  Since this convention allows kids to come too we figured it would be fun to bring them with us.

We only made it to three of the workshops.  We made it to the two Key Note morning workshops, one each morning.  The kids did great through those.  I had packed some quiet activities for the little kids and lots of snacks for them as well.  Clip boards with paper came in handy for all of the kids.  As for Mr. K....Did you know that a double stroller makes a handy little activity center for babies?  He was quite content for most of the hour and a half to just cruise around the stroller checking out the basket from time to time to see if there may be a new toy, heading to the tray for a snack, and making a transfer from time to time to my legs.

I took all of the little ones and Miss E to a second workshop the first morning.  It was about what is needed during Jr. High (yea, we're there!).  Miss J and Mr. K fell asleep.  Miss E was my right left hand gal by taking care of Miss C for me.  The Ipad really came in handy there.


*This was the ONLY time I remembered to take ANY pictures.  We were way too busy spending all of our money researching curriculum for the next year and enjoying the time to take pictures.

The rest of the convention was spent in the exhibit hall.  We were looking for a few things and really needed to be able to look with our eyes at the real thing, and touch/flip through them.  The kids had NO complaints about this turn of events (we had warned them that they would be sitting in workshop after workshop).  Most of the vendors had bowls/buckets/jars of candy setting out.  It seemed that the rest had some sort of craft, toy, or activity sitting out for the kids to try out.

We came home with way too much great stuff for this school year.  We also came back better prepared and encouraged for the coming year.  It was a good time for the whole family and I'm really glad we all got to go.

Monday, July 23, 2012

We're on Vacation! Mt. Lemmon

Rob took this past week off of work.  We didn't take a big trip.  We didn't get any major work done.  We did have a good time though!  We did take the time to chip away at a couple of projects around here.

A few months ago Rob had taken four of the older kids up to Mt. Lemon to hike and play around in the woods.  We've been meaning to go up as a family since then.  We set aside one day for playing up there.

On our way up we checked out a couple of the campgrounds to see if any of them would work for our trailer.  We hope to head up there some time in the not-too-distant-future.  We were a bit puzzled by this sign and just couldn't figure out how they go about measuring that.... ;)


It turns out that Miss C isn't an "outdoorsy" girl, or much of a hiker either.  Since the trails were not cut out for jogging strollers we decided to set up at the trail head and let the kids play there.  Miss C warmed up to the dirt, bugs, leaves and all of that a bit and managed to have some fun.  Mr. K seemed to feel right at home in the dirt and sticks on the ground there.  I supervised their fun and snacking (No, don't eat the stick!  Here have a cheerio!).


Miss J is our little adventurer.  Rob took her out on a couple of her own little hikes while the big kids played in the little stream.  I'm not quite sure what all they were doing but I could see them from where I was stationed with the little ones and heard about a frog, bugs, a little town that was built and I saw some wet pants, muddy toes and was glad no one lost their shoes and socks!

Mr. R came prepared for an adventure that would hopefully involve needing to cook a meal for his poor lost and hungry family.  Since we didn't get lost and the pizza place 5 minutes down the road looked GREAT to me he set up his little sterno stove and made up a snack for himself and anyone else that was interested in ramen noodles.  It was great too see how well prepared he was and that he was able to get it all packed, unpacked, made up, AND cleaned up on his own!

The next morning was spent with some friends making shampoo bars!  The dads had a good time in the morning doing a bit of target practice and then they helped out with the kids and lunch while we made the soap.  It was so much fun to try making something new with friends, and the kids enjoyed the time with their friends.  So far its been a great vacation....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! Dessert with every meal!

After watching way too much Cake Boss while Mr. K was sick I've been wanting desserts, so I asked for extras on my birthday.  When Miss J heard about this I was given a BIG hug and told "Oh Mommy!  I LOVE you!"  There was much excitement and anticipation over my birthday this year.

In the morning I came out to the living room to find that the kids had decorated the living room with a sweet birthday sign and paper chains.  They had sent me to bed early the night before so they could get it all done.  What sweet children!  As everyone got up they all brought me hand made cards and Rob gave me my gifts a new cupcake calendar and book!  Everyone was as excited as I was about my gifts!

My breakfast was dessert; crepes.  Served with bananas, strawberries, chocolate syrup, nutella, and whipped cream there was no need to make up dessert to serve after this meal!  Once we finished off all of the crepes we started spraying whipped cream into mouths, and had lots of fun with that.  Mr. K seemed to approve of the meal too.


Miss E and the little girls had made up a birthday cake for me the day before.  I love that Miss E not only is able to bake like this, but that she loves to and is teaching her little sisters.  They had so much fun decorating the cake too.

*Mr. M did a great job lighting a few candles for my cake!


After looking through my birthday present together Miss E and I decided that the dinner dessert plans should change.  She made "nachos" for me!  It was a cheesecake with pie crust cookies and various candies.  Yea, my newest cupcake book has more than just cupcakes!  What fun!

 By dinner I was beginning to wonder what I was thinking by asking for dessert with every meal.  Too much sugar for one day, but it sure was fun and my kids had a great time.

Oh, you are wondering how old I am?  I'm 35 this year!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Princesses visit the castle (Glen Eyrie Colorado Springs)

Miss J has been asking me to take her to a castle for over a year now.  I promised that when we move back to Colorado I would take her to Glen Eyrie, but when our visit came up the kids reminded me that this would be a good chance to visit the castle.  You can't even imagine the excitement.


I signed us up for the tour and tea.  All of the kids looked like sweet little princes and princesses (yes, the boys were excited to go too).  Better yet, they all behaved wonderfully!
*Here they are waiting for to hear the background about the castle before heading out on the tour.

Mr. S was especially excited to find that there was a secret tunnel (though it had caved in down the way and could no longer be explored).


Miss J was sure there would be a knight there, and she was not disappointed.
*Sorry about the bad picture, you can only do so well with a baby on your back, a toddler on your leg, a crowd around you, and using a cell phone to take the picture.

I was a bit unsure about taking 7 kids to tea at a castle all by myself, but they all did great and we had a wonderful time.  Everyone enjoyed the fun treats and it was fun to taste some new teas too.

Shortly after we got home fires came very close to Glen Eyrie and threatened to burn the castle down, I was so glad I had gone ahead and taken the kids for this special experience and even happier that the castle survived!  Maybe we will go again in a couple of years?