Sunday, December 26, 2010

A new sheriff in town?

Look who borrowed big brother's sheriff outfit!

A merry Christmas

We had a great Christmas at our house this year, with the extra special blessing of Grandma visiting. We started off the morning with present opening-quite a task with 10 kids and 3 adults! The kids received many things they wanted, like an American Girl doll...

A ball (quite the cool gift when you're 2!)

Baby dolls...

And the highlight of the morning was our 6 year old new little sheriff, complete with guns, hat, and boots!

After present opening and playing, we watched a run of the Christmas story and then sat down to a huge turkey meal, cooked lovingly by my sweet husband. It was delicious! We topped it off with a dessert of apple pie and carrot cake. I found this cool edible image to put on top of the cake to celebrate Jesus' birthday! Yum! I hope you had a blessed Christmas, too!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My little girl is 5!

My little Christmas Eve baby is turning 5 tomorrow! Wow..i can hardly believe it. I went into labor on that day 5 years ago in., of all places, Walmart. I don't know what was more amazing-that she was actually 2 days early (not a typical thing for me at all) or that I was actually in Walmart on Christmas Eve-what was I thinking? The past 5 years with her have been a joy-she has such a sweet heart and is my little blessing. She is truly on her way to becoming a little mommy. We decided to celebrate this past weekend. Her birthday request was not a party, but a dinner out at Wendy's . I can't remember the last time we ate there, so I'm certain that she never had. She was pretty much looking forward to having a giant frosty. With another child sick, we weren't able to actually go to the restaurant, but instead, went and picked it up and brought it home-just as good-and yes, she loooooved that Frosty! She then opened her gifts and got several things, like this cute little dress..

A princess doll....

And a tinkerbell watch...

Finally, we ended the party with cake and ice cream. What cake could be more fitting for my princess than a crown cake?

Happy birthday little munchkin!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A busy month!

December is super busy, which is why you haven't seen much activity on here! It seems like we've been running from one thing to the next, or just so busy doing things here, there's hardly a minute to rest-not how I want to spend such a special month, but this week will start a gradual slow down for us, so we can focus on the true reason for the holiday. To give you a small recap of some things going on the last couple weeks, my 9 yo daughter had her band recital. She has been playing the flute the past few months. Though she found it wasn't something she was too interested in, she did enjoy learning it and improved greatly! Sorry for the sideways picture, too, it just will not let me post it straight!

The kiddos did some cardmaking with a friend...lots of fun, since girls love crafty stuff! They were very creative and ended up with some nice cards to bless others.

This week, the kiddos made Christmas cookies and churned out a bunch of them! We had tons of frosting and sprinkles, and some very artistic minds!

The final product...yum! And they didn't mind sampling them either! :-)

So there's a recap of the last couple weeks. Throw in our regular homeschooling, activities, tending the house, mailing off christmas gifts, christmas cards, and wrapping presents, and you've pretty much got the idea! I will enjoy every minute of our 2 week break. I think I need a nap!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Birthday girls

It's December...our officially crazy birthday month (3 of our kids, 2 relatives, and Christmas!) My 11 and 8 yo decided to celebrate together, but this year they chose to forgo the party and use the money they would have spent on the party to buy some things. We give our kids a strict birthday budget to use how they choose, whether it be a party, going out to eat, or in this case, just taking the cash! Well, the big gift this year was an American Girl doll from Grandma for each of them. They have been drooling over these for months and were absolutely shocked when they opened them! Sorry for the sideways pictures-they just won't come up right side up for some reason...

They had a castle cake (for my 2 princesses of course!). After making the cake, my daughter requested I put their ages one it. no problem, except I piped on a 7, instead of an 8. I was thinking 7-11 in my mind, which I thought was pretty cool. Yep, except she was turning 8. So I scraped it off and managed to get a somewhat crooked 8 on there!

Here they are blowing out the candles after a happy birthday song!

Happy Birthday my 2 sweeties! You are growing into two beautiful young ladies!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little colonial kid

We're studying the Revolutionary War in homeschool right now-a great period of history, with so much to learn and so many great leaders to learn about. I love it. We read over the Yankee Doodle song, very fitting for the time period, and came across a phrase about hasty pudding. Hasty pudding? What's that? Well, it turns out it's a meal eaten quite often during that time, especially by the poor, as it was very cheap! It's pretty much like a porridge, cooked slow over the heat. We decided to make it and cooked up a great cornmeal hasty pudding! I didn't know what the kids would think, but most of them just loved it. My little guy just kept gobbling it down. See how excited he is in the picture! He would have done great during that time period, I'm sure. My little colonial kid!

Friday, November 26, 2010

A time of thanks..

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for all that the Lord has done in our lives. I have a lot to be thankful for this year-my husband having a job in an otherwise tough economy, having the freedom to homeschool, my son's amazing recovery from his accident a few months ago, and so many more things. I could fill up this entire blog and still have more to say! Unfortunately, I find that I often take these things for granted and don't remember to give thanks to God as much as I should. To help my kids remember all that God has done for them, they each made a tree of thanks. They write down what they are thankful for on each leaf and then stick them on the tree. Each one holds about 25 leaves, so they had plenty to write down. It was great to read all the different leaves after they were done, listing both little and big things. We displayed them so everyone could have a chance to see!
In getting in gear for Thanksgiving, we decided to make some yummy pumpkin muffins. These were a big hit, even to those who think they didn't really like pumpkin!

Each of the kids also decorated their own Thanksgiving cookie, complete with frosting and fall-colored sprinkles. Very creative they were!

On Thanksgiving morning, as tradition would have it, the kids decorated the Christmas tree while watching the Thanksgiving Day parade.

The kids also played pin the hat on the turkey during some down time.

We had a wonderfully yummy Thanksgiving feast, which I failed to get a picture of. But it was tasty! Unfortunately, we had a sick child this year, so were unable to share the great meal with any guests. After the meal, when all the food was settled, we had a dessert of caramel apple pie, made by my 10 yo daughter and me, and this turkey.... Okay, it's not an actual turkey, but a carrot cake with cream cheese icing, in the shape of a turkey! It was my first time making a turkey cake and it was pretty fun!

We had a very blessed Thanksgiving. I hope yours was, too!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Little dude's birthday my little guy turns 2. My baby! I can't believe I'm saying that, as we always seem to have another baby in our house by this point. But as it is, we don't, so he has to stay a baby for a while longer for me, and this whole birthday thing is just messing that all up! I let each of my kiddos pick their birthday theme. His choice? Puppies! He loves, loves, loves puppies. The kids and I did a search for a cake that most resembled what he wanted and came up with 101 dalmatians. It was a little more involved in making it than I thought, but I think it came out pretty well. He loved it, which made me smile..makes it all worth it!

He got lots of presents from family, which he was a little unsure of how to open at first.

But once he got the hang of it, he was on a roll!

Of course, he needed to take a little snack break with some M&Ms

Then finally onto the cake. He needed some help from Dad blowing out the candle, but it's official.....hes's 2!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grandma's visit

We had the wonderful blessing of my mom visiting from Arizona last week for 4 days. It had been over 6 months since we had seen her last, so everyone was looking forward to it! Being that it wasn't a very long visit, my kids took it upon themselves to pack as much as they could into those 4 days! Of course, Grandma arrived with a bag full of of which was personalized little purses for all the girls (they love 'em!)

They spent some down time looking through photo albums and remembering all the fun times they spent together!

The visit wouldn't be complete without baking some yummy cookies with Grandma. They actually were very yummy-I had to sample one...or two...okay, maybe three!

Oops..this one is sideways, but you can see that they put Grandma to work giving hairdos! They also like to take their turn fixing Grandma's hair, though we just make sure it's not right before we plan on going anywhere. :-)

Here's the final group picture of everyone together--please don't ask me why the big kid in the back just couldn't brush his hair.

We had a great time with her-it went too fast, but all the kids got some great bonding time with Grandma, creating some wonderful memories, which is how it should be!

Monday, October 25, 2010

He did it!

My 17 year old-my eldest-received something wonderful in the mail today-his official GED certificate! He is officially graduated from high school and ready to move on to bigger and better things in life. He took the test about 3 weeks ago and was uncertain as to how he did, especially on the math portion (nope..not a math lover!). He was pleasantly surprised to see his results-97 on the lang arts/reading portion and 90 on the science. Yay! The math? Well, not out of sight, but definitely above passing! He was delighted. I am so proud of him for this accomplishment, as I know it wasn't easy. I am looking forward, with a bit of sadness also, to the next phase in his life-I do know that God has many wonderful experiences in store for his future!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pie making

My girls have been asking to make some pies for quite some time, so this week we made a date to do it! They invited a friend over and got busy baking! I premade the pie dough and they rolled it out...

Peeled and cored a whole bunch of apples!

Mixed them with the filling, put on a pretty lattice crust, and after baking for quite some time, they had 2 freshly baked apple pies-yum! Dad even declared they were better than storebought! I see more pie baking in our future!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Worms, worms everywhere!

For science this week, we learned about worms-a great creature to learn about when you have kids! In order to get an up close look, I bought a container of night-crawlers from Walmart. First, we discovered which end was the head and which was the tail (they look nearly the same). After that, we tried touching their head gently with a cotton swab, determining that they are sensitive to touch. Next, we dipped the cotton swab in nail polish remover and then held it close to its head. It didn't like that odor at all and coiled back quickly. Even more neat was when we held the swab up to its tail or any other part of its body, it had the same reaction. You see, God designed a worm's body to sense odor all over, not just in one part. Cool, huh? After we were done, I let the kids each take a worm outside to look at it and hold it (nicely). Here's a big one..

And my 7 yo with hers. It's funny how the girls all had names for theirs!

For something fun, we made a dirt cake, complete with oreo crumbs to look like dirt and gummy worms on the top. It was super yummy and they loved both making it and eating it!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2 years....

Today marked the 2nd anniversary since my Dad's death. Over the last 2 years, I've come to realize that grief is a journey. Just like a physical wound, time does help healing, but a scar will still be left behind. I don't miss my Dad any less than I did 2 years ago, certainly not. But life, as it does, goes on for those left behind. At this point, it's important for me to keep the memory of my father alive both for me and my kids. Last year, we set off balloons to celebrate his life. This year, the kids each wrote (or drew) about a special time they had with Grandpa. With kids, you'd think their best memories would be about the big stuff they did with him. No, it wasn't like that at all. They remember the little stuff-when he pushed them on the swing, played with them, or just listened to them. Isn't that what life is all about anyway-the little stuff? The past two years have changed me tremendously-in some ways positively, and others I am not so happy with. In all honesty, they've made changes in all of us. I know that the Lord brings good from every situation, and even in the midst of grieving, I have seen it. I don't know how I could have made it through such a tough time without the Lord by my side. When I have needed someone to cry to, He has been there. The most special time of each day now is the time early in the morning when I spend with Him, pouring out my heart and feeling His love toward me. With each passing day, I'm able to think back more positively on the memory of my Dad. I have come to see just how much I was like him, which makes me appreciate him even more. Though it saddens me to think of the rest of my life without him, the time I did have with him here will be forever treasured in my heart. I love you, Dad.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fire festival

Today we had the opportunity to go to the Houston Fire Fest for the first time. A festival all about firefighters? My 6 yo was thrilled! Here he is, dressed up in the 1700's firefighting garb....

And his little sister, too! Hmmm...maybe the moustache doesn't quite belong?!

They saw all kinds of old firefighting trucks.

And even got to see a fire!

Everyone had a great time. Unfortunately, my camera battery died halfway thru, so that's it for the pictures!