Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Joy!

I get to spend my days with these cuties/ragamuffins/hooligans. I love them all!
The daily crew...Brooks, Sonny, Jack, Ardyn, Kenna & Grey

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sesame Grahams - Recipe

A quick recipe the kids could all help make for snack! I did a "lazy version"...I only had about 1.5 graham cracker sleeves (a full box has 3), and only about 1/4 C sesame seeds, I didn't measure, I just dumped them in. I only measured the butter and sugar, and I halved the recipe to accommodate the amount of crackers I had! So it should probably have more almonds and seeds, but I was using up my stash!

Sesame Graham Crackers
2 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C butter
1 C slivered almonds
3/4 C sesame seeds
1 pkg graham crackers

Line cookie sheets (approx. 3) with tin foil. Heat brown sugar and butter until sugar is melted in microwave (approx. 2 min). Add almonds and sesame seeds. Pour over graham crackers and spread if necessary. Bake 10-12 min at 350 until sugar mixture is bubbling. Let cool.
Ready for the oven!

All bubbly! Now to wait for them to cool!...
Delicious! They are a tasty, fancy graham cracker:-)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Boys

Brooks' baby blues. He needs a haircut, but has been asking to grow it longer. We'll need to figure out what we can do with it!
Hanging out with Daddy! Of course he's always working (on the phone!), but he was home for dinner last night for the first time in months! Brooks commented that it was like a party b/c I put the table out to it's full size so there would be room for another body. It's been along time since we've had Daddy around for an entire evening. Yay for side work winding down!
Lil' mini Brian. See his "capital" teeth? He also needs a haircut!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Scheduling!

Well, just about the only question I ever get asked any more is: How do you do it? Of course none of the people that ask really care for the real answer which is waaaay too long, so I usually laugh it off. Wanna know how? Keep a good schedule and routine, but be very flexible! Also keep in mind, I am the oldest of 11 kids...it kinda takes a lot to phase me!

*this is a typical day - they don't get much more relaxing, but they can get much more crazy. This all depends on everyones health, moods, length of naps, and how many diapers I have to change:-)*

6:00am - Brian's alarm usually goes off around now, and it wakes up the kids who come into bed with me to snuggle/sleep.

7:15am - My alarm goes off and may or may not get snoozed several times. Get up, and get kids up and fed breakfast

7:45am - Sonny arrives, feed breakfast

8:00am - Jack and Ardyn arrive. General play time while we get Kenna, Brooks and Grey dressed.

8:45am - Sonny goes down for his first nap. Chances are Ardyn will be asleep now, and we let Grey wander/play while we start school

9:30am - Grey is ready for nap. Jack and Brooks generally get a little free time in there while I concentrate on more advanced school stuff with Kenna.

10:00am - Sonny wakes up, takes a bottle. Wanders/plays while we continue with school

10:30am - snack time and play time (outside if it's nice). Grey usually wakes around now.

10:30-11:30am - make any phone calls I need to, check emails, clean something, do laundry, etc, monitor all the kids and their play & activities. Ardyn wakes at some point for a bottle. Anything that I do chore-wise during this period, I get an assigned persons help on. We empty the dishwasher, sweep, bake, do laundry etc. They are great helpers and always want me to pick them.

11:45am - lunch for everyone except Ardyn:-) I keep it simple, pb & j's, pancakes, eggs, grilled cheese, mac & cheese, soup, cheese quesadillas etc. Baby carrots, celery, Fruit and Apple juice are also standards. Sonny & Grey still eat a combo of baby food and real food.

12:30pm - Naps! Sonny, Jack, Kenna & Brooks go to bed. Sometimes Grey is ready, sometimes not until 1. Ardyn and I hang out (she is usually sleeping at this point).

12:30 - 3pm - FREEDOM! Other than Ardyn-interruptions (she's still so little, so we just go with the flow with her), I have a little "free time". I craft and prepare for my Stampin' Up classes. I clean productively as there is no one to make a mess behind me. I blog, I facebook, I email, I run, I shower, I do my bookkeeping work. I kinda do whatever I want! It's my sanity every day!

2:30 - 3pm - Kenna usually does not sleep but has reading/quiet play in her bedroom time while the other kids are down. Sometimes I let her get up early and come craft with me, or help me do whatever.

3:00pm - Jack wakes up and gets picked up. Kenna and Brooks get up and we do art, experiments, etc. Ardyn gets another bottle.

4:00pm - Sonny and Grey wake up and get a bottle each. We just have random learning/play/tv/movie time at this point while I start to prepare dinner

4:45-5:00pm - Sonny and Ardyn get picked up. Dinner is on. If we need anything at the store before the next day, we leave immediately and head out to shop quickly for said items (I do my big-time shop every Saturday morning).

5:30 - 6:00pm - Brian comes home (unless he has side jobs going on), and we eat dinner.

7:00pm - Bed time!

7:00-11:00pm - tv, chores, cleaning, bookkeeping work, etc. Whatever needs doing that I didn't have a chance to do during the day!

It's a crazy life! It's really a little more in depth than I am portraying here, but you can get the general idea. With 6 kids 5 and under (for 2 weeks, it was 4 and under!!)...My house is not very big, so we have everything figured out (who sleeps in what room with who) to a science. It's also always pretty messy with toys, forts, etc etc etc. all over the place. Oh well. I can live with it.

A have a few little things that help keep me sane during the craziest parts of the day like music on that I love, coffee with my fave creamers...and sending the older ones outside to the trampoline! haha:-).

Here it is at 12:47, all 5 kids are in bed and silent, and Ardyn is starting to doze off here in the livingroom with me. Sweet. I did 5 loads of laundry this morning. Now I have to fold them. *Joy*. I need to find my now-cold cup of Earl Grey tea. I made it with honey to be healthier, but then I ate a rice krispie square. Then the laundry. Then that paperwork I need to get in the mail. Then more prep for our taxes. Then the little people will be up... :-)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Brotherly Love

Look how cute Grey is, hanging onto Brooksie's neck:-) He stayed like that, with his arm around brother, almost the whole time at Kroger. Those two boys are such sweeties. And notice Kenna's antics in the background. Oh you're taking a picture? Let me strike a crazy pose. Can you tell that Grey's hair is getting a little lighter? It's still brown, but definitely the lightest of the 3 of them!...I don't hold out much hope however, that he will have anything other than dark brown hair in the end, given his gene pool. And I reeeeeaally hope someones hair gets even darker, like Brian's black/brown colour. It's my fave, and a pretty unique look (such dark hair with blue eyes) so I hope it gets passed on to at least one of them!
Picture taken on my phone:-)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Grey's Words - Video

It seems like overnight, his vocabulary is expanding. He tries to copy you on so much!

"Ba ba" - Bottle
"cuh cuh" - Cookie
"ickkkkkk" - yuck (usually when poopy)
"uh oh" - when he drops something
"Da da"
"Hhhhiiiiii" - hi
"Ba ba" - bye bye with a backwards wave to go with
"Ma ma"
"Ny Ny" - night night
"oh wow/woah" - his go-to phrase for everything!
"oowww" - when hurt
He's said "Na na" a few times, and I believe he was trying to say Kenna
"whaa deh" what's this

He knows (points to) tummy, nose, eyes and pretty pretty (hair)...It's really hard to catch his words on video, as he will say them, but when it "counts" (ie: on video), he just stares at you like he has no clue:-) Here he is showing off his "tummy" skills.
video

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wii Boxing - Video

A little shout out to "little Josh D". Josh is one of Brian's best friends (they met as young teens). Josh and his family currently live in Missouri. Brooks, having only met Josh about 3 times I think, is completely enamored with him...we really don't know why, other than he loves what Daddy loves. And of course, Josh is pretty great too, who doesn't love him? haha.

"Who are you being?" - Josh.
video
In case you wondered how the pointage works with Wii...it's something like fifty fousand
video

My Favourite Things

Ever tried these? We love them! I started with giving the kids the Gummy Vites (middle), but Brian (who will not take a regular adult multivitamin for anything), would eat them...but then they'd be gone too fast, as the adult dosage on those is 4 gummies per day! I was always fussing at him to stop eating the kids vitamins.

Then I saw that they made Multi Vites for adults (2 per day - on the left). Problem solved!

And have you ever tried to take fish oil? I know we're supposed to, yadda yadda yadda. But even the "no flavour, no burp" ones would make me burp this horrible fish oil, and it's disgusting. So I don't take it, let alone force anyone else to. Enter these little gummy gems (on the right). They taste like lemonade with no fish oil burp issues.

So now we're all being healthy taking our vitamins every day, thanks to the gummy bear! Each of these large containers is 9.99 at Costco (but sometimes they go on sale for $2 off and I stock up!). Adult vites = 200 count, kids vites = 220 count, fish oil = 180 count.
You can also buy gummy vitamin C (never tried it), and a gummy calcium/bone development vitamin (I get these off and on for the kids, they go through phases of drinking more or less milk/yogurt/cheese, so I'll dole those out if I feel they are lacking in the calcium department. Don't have any right now to show you:-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kayla Grace is here!

Congratulations to my wonderful sister Lauryn, Mark, and little Mattea on the arrival of Kayla! She was born on March 19th, at 11:05am, and was 8lbs 1oz, 20in long. She is the cutest thing! I really see both Mark & Lauryn in her from the pics I've been sent. A neat little thing too...she was born on her Uncle Lehman's 13th birthday! That's kind of cool right? Uncle and Niece, 13 years apart, exactly. (She was due on Grey's birthday, and that would have been cool too!). We hope we get to meet our niece & cousin someday soon! We keep trying to convince them that a beach vacation is pretty nice (hint hint:-). We are very grateful for a new family member to love, and for her (& Lauryn's) health and safety during delivery!

Lately...

I've been pretty busy recently and not taking as many pictures of day to day life as I should!! So these posts are like an eclectic smattering of life:-)
Someone took a cake pop, and left it on the table...guess who can reach onto the table now? (Both Grey and Sonny can, actually, so we're doomed). Things need to be left WELL back from the edge, or you get this little guy walking around drooling red velvet everywhere:-)

Our very well used toaster oven of 6 years died recently. On the plus side, look at how much more (lovely yellow) counter space I now have?
On the down side we are trying to master the broil function of the oven, and using the burners to make certain things, like grilled cheese. That toaster got more-than-daily use. We can't wait to replace it!..all I need is time to get out shopping, and time is kinda hard to come by these days! Somehow we'll survive, lol:-)
Cute little thank you's from Kenna for her birthday gifts. Perfect for practicing writing "big words" in a small space! It's a stamp from Stampin' Up (of course!)
It's Darth Maul!...On Friday (the birthday party day), Kenna (who has had a cold for about 10 days now), woke up with a BLOOD shot eye. The entire white was sooooo red. It looks as though they were actually bleeding. I thought maybe she had a weird pink eye (I'd heard it was going around the church), or something. So on Friday, thankfully, Auntie Lauren was not working, so she came and watched all the kids, while I took Kenna and Ardyn (didn't want to leave her with sooo many kids, and infants can be picky if they get cranky) to the Dr's. I warned Kenna we may have to cancel the party. I thought for sure she would need drops of some kind, despite her claims that they didn't burn, itch etc. They tested her for strep and the flu. Negative. It's just a cold, and either sneezing or coughing (neither of which was she doing a lot of) caused a conjunctival hemorrhage. The Dr said it was impressive!
I forgot to take a pic Friday (busy day!), and took this last night (Tues), so it's had 5 days of healing. It was 100x worse than this on Friday! She looked like a horror movie candidate or something:-)
MUCH smaller than it was on Friday. The Dr said it would take awhile to heal, but every day its getting less red (more yellow), and much smaller. They don't give you drops or anything for this, so it was kind of a wasted Dr's apt. Now I know!
And lastly. This is mostly to document something in a place I KNOW I'll be able to find it again...Inspiration! Our bedroom is completely not done. Drywall is hung, and thats it...I have been thinking, once I am afforded the time (and the money), that I would like to do it in black and white. Simple, elegant, and I want to do lots of family pics on the walls all in black frames. This came in a flier, and I really loved it's look. I want to save this pic, so that when I am ready to do the room, I can look for something similar. White walls. Perhaps a black crown molding (non-conventional, but cool?), Paint my furniture black and distress, and then a black & white bedding. With black frames on the walls, with some of our best pics throughout the years. I have a vision and it seems like it will work (and look decent). We'll find out someday when we ever get around to it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rock Beats All

I must have a warped sense of humour! I saw this posted on facebook by a friend (no idea where it came from, or if he took the original pic). I laughed, out loud, so hard. It actually disturbed Ardyn sleeping on the couch beside me! I can't figure out if it's not that funny and I'm in a weird mood, or if it is indeed *that* funny. I guess you can be the judge!

Click pic to enlarge if you can't read it!...and have a laugh!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Happy Birthday LG!

Happy First Birthday to our Grey Grey! It's hard to believe that this little guy entered the world a whole year ago! I remember during his traumatic birth actually telling myself (in my head) not to freak out, because I thought he would not live. I'm so glad God had other plans for his little life, and we get to be blessed everyday with his sweet smile and personality. I especially love that he is a "Momma's Boy", since every one else around here loves Daddydaddydaddy. It's about time Mommy got some attention! He lets big sister baby him, and big brother beat on him, almost always without complaint (well...a little bit of complaints when hit in the face with an incoming baseball. What else are brothers good for?!).

Eating his first birthday cake...with that winning smile!


Lleyton Grey,

You light up our lives!

Love, Your Forever Fan Club (Daddy, Mommy, Kenna & Brooks)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Party like it's 2011! - Video

Warning to all those not related to me: These might be a bit boring (hah!). They are all very short (around 30 seconds each). Enjoy!

To celebrate the BIG milestones, of turning 5 and 1, we had a few friends over, our "Aunt & Uncle", Sam & Heather, with their little girls (and Kenna's best friends) Gracie & Libby. They brought over some of their friends, and their little son Ray, who were in town for the weekend, and then of course Auntie Lauren, and then Ryan & Mary and their little girl Ivana. It was a full house, for sure! Sam & Heather have been "complaining" that we never invite them over for our homemade pizza, so we decided to have everyone over for our traditional friday night pizza night!

I made 4 recipes of dough! Which makes 8 pizzas! Lots of mouths to feed around here. We had fun playing Wii, cornhole, and visiting. Of course the pizza was great, and so were the cakes! Here are few little peeks at our night!

Grey, as with all one year olds, didn't know what was going on, and could have cared less. LOL. Don't waste your money on a big party for a one year old folks. It's just like every other day for them! Except they get to eat cake of course. He wasn't really into that either, as you will see!

Here's his very first happy birthday song ever!!
video
And Kenna turns 5 year old, which astonishes us...time FLIES! Here's her birthday song!
video
Trying to get Grey to eat his cake! He didn't really seem to want it.
video
If you leave him with it for awhile, he'll make a little dent in it! He's just the sweetest kid ever, we are so blessed with him!
video
Some present opening. Mostly just watching Grey because he's so cute!! (btw: Brian's comment about Orange and Drew...Drew's Dad, Tom is our good friend, and he loves the Broncos and all things orange. Brooks gets lots of hand me downs from Drew, and lots of them are orange!)
video
Ok - even if you aren't related to me, you'll like this one. He kisses his birthday card y'all, he's just so cute!
video
And finally, here's Grey with his "woah woah woah" rant. His favourite word!
video

And that was our party folks! We wish we had a bigger house so we could have had more friends and kids over!!

My First 8K!

Can I run 8k? Ummmm, no. But I walked when I needed to, and took it slow, and made it in 1 hour and 3 minutes (according to the time tracker thing on my bib!). It feels good to have done it! Here are my friends from church! Amy and I ran together, and Lori & Molly ran together (they finished before us). Fun experience! - Glad it's over!! Now I need to just keep running, maybe next year I can actually run the whole time without walking at all! Good job to the other 3, they ran the whole time without stopping!!!
Me, Amy, Molly & Lori! After we finished running and look gross great!

Kenna's Cake

Request: A jewelry box cake. The inner cake boss in me comes out I suppose. Ha!! Take a look...

Figuring it all out...the lid was chipboard (a la Stampin' Up!), since I couldn't think of what else to use, so it was the only non-edible part. The drawer/tray area was done with graham crackers!

Stacked, filled, cut, iced, and level (for the most part anyway!!)
At this point I coloured and rolled out fondant and went to town!!
Voila! She's done!! Filled with lipsticks, necklaces and ring pops!

I asked her what name she wanted on the cake, Kenna or Kennedy. She chose Kennedy:-)
In the end it wasn't as perfect as I pictured it in my minds eye, however, it was by FAR good enough to make a newly five year old girl ecstatic!
It was fun, and tasted great too!

Cookie Monsters! - Recipes

It's birthday time! You know what that means! CAKE! I decided since the only word Grey will say on command is "cuh cuh" for cookie, that I would make his cake a cookie monster one. So I googled cookie monster cake for inspiration. One of the sites that popped up was this one. I had never heard of Bakerella before, or a cake pop (yes, I do realize I don't get out much). I also made cupcakes, so sorry this is a little long, but it's a bit of a picture tutorial:-)

Bakerella's site has recipes and instructions for various kinds of cake pops. I decided on a red velvet with while icing. Bake a Duncan Hines cake mix 9x13 cake as per instructions on the box. Let cool completely. Crumble the cake into a large bowl. Take a 16oz tub of Duncan Hines (or similar) pre-made icing, and mix together (you don't need quuuuite the whole thing). It's very messy, and it looks like this:
Form the "dough" into little balls. Dip your lollipop sticks in a bit of melted chocolate, and stick them into the cake balls. Then freeze for a little while until they firm up.
Decorate as desired. I melted blue Wilton chocolate wafers, and coated the cake pop. Let dry. Then attach another Wilton chocolate wafer (cut in half), for his mouth (stick on with a bit of melted chocolate). Then dip again in the blue, and swirl around with a tooth pick to give him a scruffy/hairy look. I stuck on a teeny chocolate chip cookie (Keebler Gripz brand). He would not be cookie monster without a cookie!!!
Almost done!!
I couldn't find the perfect size of candy for his eyeballs. (all white gumballs maybe?), I didn't have the time to search every store, so I made mine out of fondant with black icing. Easy, and simple, since I had it all here anyway!
Cute, simple, DONE! I loooove them, don't you? Cutest ever.

Cupcake time!! I really really really wanted to make this recipe. Of course I am in love with Buddy (the Cake Boss on TLC) and his cakes! And his cooking show is amazing too. He's the best. I was attracted to this recipe because it doesn't "dome", and I needed a flat top to work with for my cupcakes. I also was curious as to the taste, seeing as it's something he makes. I still will make them someday! With the 6 rugrats running around and the time constraints I was faced with, it was just easy to make a cake mix from a box (I did a butter recipe one). So sad! Anyway, they tasted fine, as box mixes always do!

Coconut "fur". Coconut, blue food colouring and a ziploc. I probably put in 20 drops of colour, and just mashed it around until it was all blue!
Fur, ready to go!
I made some icing, dyed it blue, and put it in the fridge to get hard. I then formed them into little round "patties" almost. As you play with it in your hand to get the shape, it softens enough to take the coconut and stick to the cupcake, but will still keep its form. Dip in coconut. Take a sharp knife and remove a little portion and set half of a Chips Ahoy Chewy cookie on there. (Or make your own. I didn't have the time to play around with getting the size perfect, and I knew those were small enough to be just perfect, so I took the easy way out!). Then make and attach eyes (mine are fondant balls with black icing). Done.
Cutest. Ever. Ever. Ever. Loooove how they turned out!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Ides of March

We celebrated Kenna's actual birthday in a quiet way yesterday! Brian was out the door for work at 5:30am (!), so that made breakfast together an impossibility. (We been struggling with congestion and colds, we need our sleep!). So we had Apple Jacks, her chosen birthday cereal without Daddy. She has been dying to see a certain Barbie movie, so we got that on redbox to watch during her birthday dinner - her favourite meal - "desghetti's". Daddy stopped home briefly to eat with us and open her gift (a summer dress), and then he was off to work again, and we finished our Barbie movie and went to bed! She is more than excited about her little party on Friday night, and her jewelry box cake! We will have LOTS of pictures of the cake(s) and festivities on Friday. Since Grey's 1st birthday is on Monday, we are having a combo celebration on Friday. There will be LOTS of cake! Can't wait to share it all with you!

Look who's 5 years old! Time is flying by so fast we can't believe it!

Talking on the phone with the Kennedy's! She whispered to me at one point "There are a lot of people to talk to!"

Life!

We've been busy around here! Quick update: Brian has 2 side jobs right now (essentially kitchen remodels). One of them in particular is not going especially well, and he's pretty much swearing off all future side work. So much hassle, and in the end we don't end up coming out ahead financially. We'll see! Anyway, he works all day, and then works on his side jobs at night (& weekends), so he's usually not home until after 10pm, and also, he hasn't had a day off in over 5 weeks. No Saturdays. No Sundays (or church). Crazy! He's a hard worker, but we can't wait until we have him home a little more! He is being forced to stay home on Saturday morning, as I will be running an 8k marathon. We'll see how THAT goes! I am really not ready at all, I feel. Oh well! Might take me an eternity, but I'll finish (I hope!)

We've adjusted to our schedule with Sonny, Jack & baby Ardyn nicely. She's such a good baby, so that seems to be the key!

I am doing bookkeeping for 2 companies right now, just in a small capacity, that it only takes me about 3 or so hours per week. - Also trying to get our own taxes and such organized, and keep on top of the money for these sides jobs, no small task!

I am also trying to squeeze in some running where ever I can, to prepare for this 8k, but for lack of time, I am woefully unprepared for that kind of distance.

And then...BIRTHDAYS! We have lots of partying coming up around here! We celebrated Kenna's actual birthday yesterday, and will have another family over on Friday for cake and all that! She can't wait!

Enough babbling...here are some pics!

You can see his capitals! We've taken to calling the "big teeth" capitals, ever since Kenna coined the phrase. He also hates to be fed, and only likes to feed himself. Messy Bessy, as Kenna says:-)
The "bling your eyes out" comment in the Kids Kwotes was about this. She picked these flowers from our bush and decorated the table...
After a bothersome brother "ruined it up" she had to pick more flowers and rearrange it a little
The spoils of cleaning house. Look what was under the couches (2 couches, 1 loveseat & 1 large chair). I promise you, I move them and sweep once a month. Perhaps it should be more often! Although, when you consider the amount of furniture, I suppose it isn't that bad.
Kenna likes to line up all her people and say "this is my family, Josh, Jana, John David..." etc. She likes to pretend they are the Duggars from TLC's 19 kids and counting, and names them all J names like the Duggars.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Merry Go 'Round

Auntie Noni (Lauren) took the kids to the mall for a ride on the carousel!
They only have horses to ride, not other animals, Brooks told me
Wow, it's so pretty! They rode on "the upstairs"!
Ice cream for a treat! Thank you Auntie Noni!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Short Story

This little story is written by...me! It's from a grade 5 project I did with 2 friends, Sonia and Krista about Japan. I was in a French Immersion school since kindergarten (all french, no english). I was looking through school papers recently and amusing myself at my old work! The original is typed out here, with none of the teachers edits (see pics), or the accents, since I don't know all the keycodes to type french on my computer quickly:-). The translation I just did now. Hilarious. I was only 10 years old, yet somehow it seems really "young" to me. Perhaps something was lost in translation:-)


Importance of the Family
Most of the families live three or two generations in one house. All the people in the family do their part to help with the housework, like setting the table, etc...There are activities that are familiar to everyone, that all the members of the family participate in. After diner, in most of the families, the grand parents watch the television, and the parents organize all the children and make sure they are prepared for bed. There is lots of love in each family.
******
L'importance de la famille
Plus part des familles ont trois ou deux generations dans la maison. Toutes les gents de la famille ont leur partie a faire pour aider dans la maison, comme metre la table ect...Il y a des ativite familliers que tout les gents de la familles participe. Apres le diner dans plus part des familles les grand parents regards le tele, les parents range tout et les enfants se prepare pour aller au lit. Il y a beaucoup d'amour dans chaque famille.