Thursday, September 30, 2010

Duck Duck - Video

Nothing like a rousing game of three man duck duck goose!
video

Complicated School - Video

Kenna, explaining to me a very complicated...thing...I really have no idea what she's talking about. Just before I grabbed my camera, she was dictating their snack-eating. "Now take 2, and add one more, now count them. Ok, now you can eat one". Sorry it's so dark. The lights were on, but my phone camera really darkens things. (And excuse that huge pile of laundry waiting to be washed!) - Right at the end she says "or else they'll both get the trophy" :-)
video

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Grandma and I

My Grandma and I, in 2003. She's always been such a wonderful Grandma to all of us, and as she's slipping from this world, I am treasuring the good memories. She has always been our "young" Grandma, being only 40 years older than I am...she always did crafts with us, took us for weekends at her place, went on vacation with us, etc. Her elaborate advent calendars will never be forgotten, that is for sure! She knew how to 'do up' any occasion and make it great (and tasty!). I love you Grandma!

My Favourite Things

I discovered this product while I was pregnant with Grey. I was trying not to gain any weight in the last trimester (no, not a diet...but believe me, I had gained PLENTY. And only gained about 5lbs in the last trimester, so I was pleased with that). Anyway, cutting out all pasta was definitely on the list of things to eliminate from my diet. But then I found this little gem, allowing me to have a bit of pasta, and still being a good source of protein.

It tastes way better than whole wheat pasta, which Brian and I both HATE. It takes slightly longer to cook, and has a more 'al dente' feel to it when done, but we like that. It is definitely palatable, and much more like 'normal pasta' than the whole wheat versions. We do not like the spaghetti though, it doesn't hold up to the regular stuff. Other than that, we don't notice a difference, and I often by Rotini or Farfalle (bowties), to eat 'as spaghetti', since it's easier for the kids to eat themselves.

Good source of protein, ALA Omega 3, and Fiber. Comparing:

If you want to eat pasta, this is the healthiest (while still tasting decent) store-bought option I have found!

Grandma Shantz

Please pray for my Grandma (Clarene Shantz). She is losing a short battle with cancer, and it won't be long until she sees her Saviours face. She is greatly loved. Praying for her peace, and strength for my Mom, Aunt & Uncle.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cow-chil'

This weekend, Kenna has continued to dress up the baby in the cowboy get-up. On Saturday, while he was all decked out she was baby-talking to him, and calling him "cow-chil'" Like child without the d, and said with a southern accent. Cow "ch-aisle". I was soooo laughing to myself! Who has ever heard of (or said!) Cow-chil' before?! She is such a trip!

Fest-uh-bulls

It was the Neptune "Fest-uh-bull" this weekend. And you know how much we love fest-uh-bulls! We spend Sunday afternoon looking at sand castles, browsing the vendors, and eating Italian ice! As we were walking along the boardwalk, I saw what looked like a dollar bill blowing across my path, so I picked it up. It was actually $10! I looked around and no one was chasing it or looking around for anything...it appeared to have been blown up from the beach. So I kept it. I have never had money blow across my path before, so I was unsure what the ethical thing to do might be, but I figured "putting it back" would only benefit someone else...so we kept it:-) And bought ice cream at Dairy Queen with our 'free money'.

This one was called Love Never Grows Old, and won first place (made by a single person)

This one was made by a single person too.

Kenna and her friend Grace, enjoying the Festival!


This one was made by two people

This was made by 2 people also. It is SOOO impressive what can be done with sand and water!

Kenna, Brooks, Libby & Gracie

My cuties

The perfect baby. He was just chilling the whole afternoon!

Noni (the kids nickname for Lauren) joined us too!

Soccer Celebrations!

It was the kids first soccer game this Saturday. We played at 9:30am, and at almost 100 degrees out, we were dying! The kids did really well! Kenna scored a goal, and was more than pleased with herself. Brooks spent a little time in goal, and he stopped 2 goals, and he was also very happy. Randomly, the rest of the day, Kenna would say "I'm just so glad I got a goal, aren't you?". She suggested we celebrate with ice cream at home:-) I'm glad they are loving it (so far!) this season. A year has made all the difference with Brooks, no crying or meltdowns over his lack of 'getting chances'. Next year we'll be a REAL soccer family, with 2 kids on 2 different teams...we luck out now, but next year we'll be spending much more time at the soccer fields on Saturdays!



Friday, September 24, 2010

Cowboy

The kids are steadfast in their dedication to making all participants of an imaginary game dress the part.
Cowboy, complete with vest and canteen

They even got the chaps on him! No small feat with a continually bouncing boy:-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Celebrate Fall!!

We decided to celebrate the first day of fall by making candy apples! Everyone was very excited!
Preparing the apples
After! They were thrilled, until it actually came to eating them. Too hard, too sticky...they didn't like them. They ended up eating regular apples for snack. Ha! I suppose candy apples are for older children. oh well.
From yesterday. They love to jump rope. In their own weird ways. They do have actual jump ropes, but this is a tie to one of our house coats/robes

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Performer - Video

She's not exactly known for being in tune or on key:-) But she loves singing and isn't shy at all! She wants to be a singer like her Mommy, she says. She sure is cute, and that's enough for me!:-) Brooks is actually quite a good singer, but he's painfully shy, even in front of a camera phone.
videoDarla

Baby Greyson, Gave Him a Shirt, Us

What should I call this picture? Kenna's title is above, and Brooks' title is "Brooksie, Baby Greyson, Kenna". I ran to the bedroom and grabbed the babies orange onesie from the folded laundry basket. Upon returning to the living room I discovered it was actually Brooks' shirt! We decided he could wear it anyway. And we decided to take a picture. And we decided to show off our hat and crafts too, in this wonderful photo op. :-)
Baby looks less than thrilled. And the shirt is not swimming on him, and it's a 3T. Wow!

Can we get 85? Anybody bidding?

Last night was an experience! To say the least. Brian has a casual friend (more of a friend of a friend) who works in the auction business for foreclosed homes (that eventually go to auction). Brian volunteered us to work at the auction that was here last night. They travel around from city to city and do auctions, selling off the homes in the area that have been foreclosed on, for dirt cheap. Brian would love to buy & flip a foreclosed house someday, so this was a way to see how that aspect of things would work (buying at auction). Of course we had no idea what to expect. And we had to buy new dress shirts to meet the dress code (we don't dress up that often! We had no plain white at all!!). Kenna commented on how we matched as we left in our black dress pants and white shirts:-)

Upon arrival we found out we would be doing (I) registration & escort, and (Brian) registration & runner. I don't really know what the runner job was, but it seemed extremely easy - well, let me start at the beginning.

Registration is easy. Money orders, blank cheques, verify funds, check ID, assign a bidder card/number. No big deal. And supposedly that was the hard part.

Not so. Have you ever heard an auctioneer? Have you ever tried to understand what he is saying? Have you ever had to decipher the hand signals they give each other (there are 3 auctioneers). It is a far cry from easy, when you have never done it before!!

My job as escort sounded easy. Stand here. Hold the appropriately numbered file. When someone wins, take the file to them, hold up their number, bring them forward, verify their info, and hand them off to the gatekeeper (yes, these were the names of the jobs! lol). Simple.

Until you throw someone talking athousandmilesanhourintotheequation. And using hand signals. So basically, this is the jist of it. They run every auction the same, whether people are actually bidding or not. So they start it out and run it up, and make every house seem as if it was sold, but half the time they are faking. There was no real bidder. So you have to rely on third-base-coach-style hand signals to know what on earth is going on. And of course, it's incredibly fast paced. This means "it's going to go". This means "we're saying it will go, but it won't". This means "closed". This means "bluffing". There are single hand signals for numbers 6-10. I have 7 and 8 figured out. I am a little lost on the others...

Then when someone actually does win, who is it? Finding them in the crowd is less than easy. When people bid, they don't stand up, wave their bidding card, or use any easy and obvious method (as seen on tv). They usually just raise an eyebrow it seems. "SOLD" Ok great. To who?

It was a fun and fast paced evening. We really had a good time. Brian's job as runner entailed taking people from the gatekeeper to the appropriate bankers table I believe. He was not nearly as busy as I was, that's for sure! By the end of the night I had a pretty good idea of what was going on with the bidding and stuff, and that's the hardest part to figure out. Next time an auction comes to town, I'll be ready!!

Crazy Days!

Our schedule is really settling in nicely, with Jack and Sonny here everyday. There are random crazy moments when both babies start fussing at the same time, but generally they are both happy...and it will get better too, as they age (Sonny is 8 months, Grey is 6 months today!). Sonny can crawl and pull up...Grey can sit and roll over. They are both learning to hold their own bottles now...So as they reach new milestones, my job will get easier and easier:-) We have figured out school around naptimes. Kenna does more school and gets more attention there than Brooks and Jack. She is just *that much* more ready. She can read her at words, an words, and is starting ap words next (tomorrow). The boys are still on at words, Brooks is almost ready to progress on to an words. Jack is still working on how blending works, but he's getting it! He definitely knows all the letters and their sounds, so its just that next step. They are only 3, they have no pressure at all! Kenna can write her own name "Kenna Bolger", by herself, and is quite crafty and artsy. She loves to draw and create. The boys love to run and play!! I'm really happy with how daily life is coming together so nicely. We have fun everyday, and they don't drive me nuts. Mission accomplished!

Two boys, playing! And stationary at the moment, so I don't have to worry about them during lunch.
Playing Playmobil. Kenna loves to make setups and has the boys play along too.
What happens when you're all jumped out. Cute little Sonny!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Movie Fee-tee-or

Yesterday, Lauren took the kids to the "movie fee-tee-or" to see "De-stick-able Me". They had a great special day, and even got soda and popcorn! Today, they had to reenact the situation here at home.
Here are the all the other people at the theatre, enjoying the show:-)
Popcorn! By the way, Brooks is in a "no shirt like my Dad" phase for relaxing at home:-)

Swinging in a Cloud

Grey's first time in the indoor swing - we've had the rings up for awhile and just put the swing back up.
He's a mini Brian!
The "gentle" pushers helping him

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Random Kids & Cubbies

Just a few pictures from yesterday!
What a smile! This kid is soooo happy and content. Either Brian or I will comment on his exceptional disposition at least once a day. He's the best baby!
No crawling yet, but he scooches on his bum!

Be careful when laying on floor to snap some pics! Sonny is mobile, and he wouldn't leave me alone:-) Notice in the background, Grey got Brooks' hat!

Working at the computer with Dad. And don't you love his adorable "K-e-n-n-a" bracelet.

It's Baby Ruth! He was so cute dressed up for church

This outfit was given to Brooks, and I just now took the tags off it. Brooks was the wrong size in the wrong season. Glad we have a big boy to make use of it now, it's too cute.

Last night was the second week of Cubbies. Of course they had a blast! On the way home I was asking them all the questions Moms ask...-this is to Brooks -What snack did you have? "letter cookies" what letter? "A and C" oh, what does that stand for? "I don't benember"...later on he tells me the story of "Naughty, naughty Canaan Cable" I think it might be safe to assume he was talking about Cain and Abel, haha!! I suggested as much to him, but he was pretty insistent that those were not their names. We must be talking about different people, of course :-)
Here's my Cubbie Bears! They were all ready with their books, dues, and verses!

No school

Jack's Dad was sick yesterday, and home from work. So since Jack wasn't going to be there, I decided to skip school with the other two, and do something almost as educational. Clean:-) And organize. We tackled the game closet, which has been a big need for awhile, but easy to put off, since you can shut the door on it.
I had the kids use their matching and number skills...by sorting cards.
They sorted SEVEN decks of cards. Guess how many we threw out? 5 decks!! Only 2 were complete.
The jam packed game shelf! I wasn't completely done when I took this pic, but it's the general idea anyway! We made sure we had all the pieces, and stacked the boxes by size.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ruined Days

On Saturday we got to go shopping with our dear Daddy! Since he usually works on Saturday (er, really, every day), that is a very rare treat for us! After that we headed to the library to pick up some things for school...and Brooks had an accident, so we had to leave immediately and forsake the rest of the plans. Kenna, later that night...

"I just wish we could have a special day. Well, we did have a special day, this orning (morning), but then Brooksie ruined it"

She doesn't hold grudges. Not at all.

Funny Money

I love Canadian money. It's beautiful, it's durable (much more so than US Currency. Whatever it's made from can handle the washing machine:-) and easily identifiable. They've changed the picture of the Queen since I left. They do this periodically, so as she ages, it still looks like her. Since Canada is a British Commonwealth, she is our Monarch. Of course when she passes, we'll get the new King's picture (presumably Prince Charles). If you can find an old coin, you will find Queen Elizabeth's father, King George the 6th on there. So cool. I googled something to see when they changed her picture last, and found this...

"Canadian bills are brightly coloured, making them easy to distinguish from one another. All American bills, on the other hand, are green. (Along with better beer, the fact that we have introduced colour to our money is a point of cultural pride for Canadians.)" Haha! But, it is superior money, if never (rarely) in value, than in looks!! (and hey, looks DO count for something!) Now to introduce a two dollar coin in the US too!

Cleaning out my diaper bag, and finding all the Canadian money I have to get to the bank. 50's are red, and 100's are brown, but I didn't have any of those in my possession this trip:-).

On the $5, the little quote says, "The winters of my childhood were long, long seasons. We lived in three places - the school, the church, and the skating-rink - but our real life was on the skating-rink" Roch Carrier
The $10 has a portion of "In Flanders Fields" on it. The one on the $20 is something about the arts...it's not as good in my opinion



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mexican Bean & Beef - Recipe

This recipe saves my not-planning-ahead last minute butt about once a month. It's very tasty, and I always have all the ingredients on hand (luckily), you can also make it in about 40 minutes total - to shorten the cook time, mix everything up, put it in the oven to bake while you brown the meat, and then add the meat right away when its done and stir (and cook for remaining time). Throw this on a plate with a salad and my kids devour it!

Mexican Bean & Beef Casserole - (I call it Lazy Chili)

From: Betty Crockers Bridal Edition Cookbook; Prep: 10 min; Cook: 10 min; Bake 50 min

1 lb lean ground beef
2 cans (15 to 16 oz each) pinto or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce (I often use a 'regular' spaghetti sauce)
1/2 C thick-and-chunky salsa
1 t chili powder
1 C shredded Monterey Jack cheese (4 oz) (I use mozzarella if I don't have this)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook beef in skillet over medium heat until brown; drain
  3. Mix beef, beans, tomato sauce, salsa and chili powder in ungreased 2-qt casserole dish
  4. Cover and bake for 40 - 45 min, stirring once or twice, until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered about 5 min or until cheese is melted.
To see all the recipes I've posted to this blog, click here

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Soccer Season!

    Soccer season begins!! The kids were sooo excited for today's practice. I still don't know what colour their team will be this year. This is the most enjoyable age to watch though, it's so cute!

    We watch
    Ain't he the cutest!!

    Trying to do something

    One thing you need to know about Brooks: he is all about his hats

    Getting some instruction from Coach Butcher

    No hands! Kenna made it in this one. Most of the time she was with the girls, behind adults from my vantage point, that's why there are fewer pics of her, I am not playing favourites:-)

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Short Story

    The Woodcutter's Wisdom
    an excerpt from In the Eye of the Storm, by Max Lucado


    Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.


    People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. "This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. "It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?" The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.


    One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. "You old fool," they scoffed, "we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed with misfortune."


    The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I've been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?" The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse."


    The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don't know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can't say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?"


    The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.


    After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn't been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."


    The man responded, "Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don't judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?


    "Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don't say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don't."


    "Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.


    The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.
     

    "You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."


    The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don't go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."


    It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.


    "You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son's accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever."


    The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows."


    The old man was right. We only have a fragment. Life's mishaps and horrors are only a page out of a grand book. We must be slow about drawing conclusions. We must reserve judgment on life's storms until we know the whole story.


    I don't know where the woodcutter learned his patience. Perhaps from another woodcutter in Galilee. For it was the Carpenter who said it best: "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." (Mt. 6:34)


    He should know. He is the Author of our story. And he has already written the final chapter.

    Two Peas

    We love our happy boys!! They already love to play together, but I can't wait until #2 is old enough to really play with big brother. Oh the trouble they will cause!

    The little big boy. Looking out the window like he has places to go:-)

    Silent E is an Injure - Video

    Kenna and Brooks can read their first word, at. And working on blending it with s, m, h, etc. They say "huh huh-at" Ok, so what is the word? "huh-at" Say it quicker "huh-at" hhhhhhat "oh! hat!" Yes....now this one "muh-at, muh-at" Ok, so blend it together "muh-muh-at" mmmmmmat "oh mat!" Oh brother. For some reason they know all the sounds of the letters, but when actually putting them together, they are a little lost. It'll come. They are in love with all the PBS tv shows that are reading related. Like Between the Lions, Reading Rainbow and the Electric Company. Thanks to these shows (teaching more advanced reading and grammar rules), they have all kinds of random knowledge they don't need yet. BUT, they have it memorized (because it's in song or poem form). Even when they don't know what they are talking about.

    Like they sing "Silent E is an Injure" - it's supposed to be Silent E is a Ninja (turning plan into plane, etc). I tried to explain what a Ninja is, and why that makes more sense, but alas, Silent E is an Injure at our house.

    And then there's Bossy Letter R - she changes sounds of vowels (fat to far, hen to her etc). They don't know specifically about vowels yet, but they recite the entire Bossy Letter R speech.

    And Kenna informs me that if a hard G is followed by an e, i, y it makes the juh, juh sound. I actually don't know if I ever knew that rule before...(yes, yes, I KNOW that, but I guess I haven't thought about what makes a hard or soft sound in AGES). So we are all learning around here:-)

    Silent E is a Ninja...or Injure, just depending on who you are:-)

    video

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Labour Day Weekend

    We've had a fun weekend, and it's not quite over yet! Yesterday, we were invited to go for lunch and swimming at some people's house in the area...Brian has done some work for them, and struck up a friendship, so the kids and I went along to meet them and have some fun by the pool. What a great day! Kenna was quite fearless and immediately took to swimming around with the help of floating wings and/or tubes (they got for Christmas and were quite excited to use). Brooks spent most of the time in his comfort zone - the edge. He did swim around for a few minutes and did totally fine, but then got out and didn't want to anymore. He liked throwing in things for the older kids to retrieve, and actually fell in once by accident (skinned his chin and arm too). I think he just stepped back and forgot where he was. He popped up to the surface and started swimming, and we all cheered, but then he panicked and you could see it in his face, so we fished him out (he was right next to the edge). It was a very fun day!

    Today we went to the beach. Trying to find parking Brooks says "this is exhaust-erating":-) It was really fun and relaxing. Grey got to sit at the waters edge and splash around for the first time. He's at that hand-to-mouth stage for everything he touches, and it was really funny to see his face while eating sand and salt water.

    Something gross that washed up. Kenna thought it was coral. I didn't, it was all slimy.

    Brian scooped up Brooks and ran to throw him in. I didn't realize Kenna was "posing" there in front of me:-) We went to Chicks Beach, and I love it, because it reminds me more of one of the Great Lakes - only a lot warmer! The surf is never too strong, and you can go far out, and play really nicely, without a fear of being pulled out or knocked over by a wave. Perfect for little kids, but a tad more boring for older ones (no boogie boards or body surfing). The kids had a blast!

    After we got home and cleaned up from the sandy beach! It's his "Blue Steel" look :-)