Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A little thing that I like to do...

I have seen these really cool letter photos in houses of friends and in stores around town.  Me...being a cheapskate...decided I would try to recreate similar photos with images from around town.  Still working on our last name....but here is what I have so far.  Some are not the best...I am still in search of some letters, but what I have will do for now.
"Faith" (a little tricky to tell...the t didn't turn out well)
"hope"  Still looking for the perfect "p"

Monday, August 29, 2011

What is this!? Is it edible?

Weston is in this stage where he put's everything in his mouth.  All four of our kids have been like this.  I am used to it...it keeps our floors a lot cleaner with live-in vacuum cleaners.  Only joking...it is kind of annoying, but just motivation to sweep and vacuum more often.  The other day I caught him studying this bit of sunlight coming in on the floor.  I think he was trying to decide if could cross over it...or if he could eat it.  It was funny just watching him...wondering what his little brain was thinking.  Love this little boy!
"What is this?"
"Maybe I can eat it!?"
"Can I cross it?"
"Looking good so far!"
"Mom's there...snapping pictures as usual..it is all good!"

Saturday, August 27, 2011

If only he could talk...

Weston was going through...as mom's call it..."a stage"....where he no longer wanted to lie down peacefully for naptime or bedtime.  He used to just snuggle in and go right to sleep.  Then he hit a stage where he would scream for a while and then go to sleep.  It drove me crazy...was he that attached to me that he couldn't be by himself for a few hours to take a nap?  One day it hit me...he loves the other kids' pillow pets....he will literally fight them for just a little bit of snuggle time with those little creatures...so Jocelyn and I headed to Wal-mart and picked him out this....
and now we get this....aaaahhhh.....quiet little snuggle time...without me!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kid's in the Kitchen: Apples, apples, and other things

Some of my friends have expressed that they are hesitant about having their kids in the kitchen.  I hear: Things just go faster without kids.  The kitchen stays a lot cleaner.  What if they screw up a recipe?  My thought is...how are they going to learn if they aren't given a chance? 

I remember back when I was taking a cooking class in 8th grade and I was learning how use a potato peeler.  I sliced my thumb skin right off!  Ouch it hurt...and whatever we were making was ruined...but since then I have been extra careful when I am peeling potatoes.  I always think about that one incident and how if I would have given up forever...my husband would be out of luck because we have homemade mashed potatoes at least once or twice a week!!

Looking back at these past few years, Jocelyn has shown an extreme interest with helping out in the kitchen.  Katelyn and Easton too...but more so Jocelyn.  She started off by showing me how she can crack eggs...and then spill the entire bowl on the floor.  She showed me how she can stick her finger in the batter while we are making something...yuck.  Katelyn showed me just last week that she can open a bag of pudding mix and spill it all over my rug or measure a cup of flour and then miss the bowl and again spill it on my kitchen rug.  Easton has shown me that he can take a bite of something and set it back in my pile of whatever I am making...so I can not figure out which one has a nice little bite.  I just have to remain calm and keep in mind...they won't learn unless they are given a chance...and another chance...and another chance. 

So I challenge you...If you haven't given your kids a chance...try...try again...and then try again some more.  Here are a few things that I worked on with my kids in the kitchen!

Apple Cupcakes:  Recipe Here
These were soooo good!  I ate probably 10 of them...well ok..maybe 6. 
The little ones love doing this job! Can't really mess it up!
We went out and picked some apples from our apple tree!
I peeled and sliced them and then boiled them...just like my applesauce from last week.
The kids put the rest of the ingredients together
and then they put them in the cupcake holders...we made 16 total.
and here is our final product..I sprinkled some brown sugar on them about half way through the cooking cycle.

Apple Butter:  Recipe Here
This was an all day thing.  So if you are making it, you need to start early in the day or let it cook over night...except it requires some stirring through out the day...so during the day is the best.  We gathered apples and then I cut them up into little pieces. 
The kids threw the apples in the crockpot along with the other ingredients.

This is what it looked like about 6 hours into the cooking process.
After it cooked for 9 hours...this is all that we ended up with.  We let it cool in the refrigerator overnight.
and then Jocelyn whipped up some eggs in the morning...I made some biscuits and sliced up a pineapple and we enjoyed a nice brunch.

Other things that we made through out the week...I didn't take pictures of the process, but you can see what we worked on...this first one was delicious and easy...3 packs of (4 oz size) chocolate instant pudding (about 1/2 of our's ended up on the ground due to Katelyn learning:)), cool whip, and milk.  It was sooooo good!

We also made some more applesauce, but this time added cherries.  The kids liked the strawberries from last week better!
and last but not least Jocelyn made one her favorites...meatloaf.  This picture shows her putting the bacon on top.  We tried something new...after it baked in the oven, I sliced it up and grilled the meatloaf.  It was really good!

What kind of things do your kids like to do in the kitchen?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wanted....Nice, new neighbors!

Sometimes I live in this fantasy world ...I think.  I have a dream that one day we will have neighbors that have kids the same ages as ours.  We will have neighbors that we can sit back and relax together, sip lemonade on our porches, watch our kids run around in the woods together.  We will have neighbors that don't destroy our personal property.  We will have neighbors that won't call our kids bad names and teach them horrible things.  One day...I pray this will come true.  If you are reading this and have a nice family...or know someone who does...I am inviting you/them to take a look at our neighbors' houses.  We live at the south edge of a little village called Pleasant Dale.  The sign for our village says 245 residents.  Not sure if that is true, but we will go with that for now.  There are 4 houses on our little street and 2 of them are on the market.  I don't know the exact situation, but one is a marital situation and the other is possibly the same, but I am not sure.  These houses are really nice and are suitable for families with several kids.  Plus...an added bonus you could have us as your neighbors!!
The shared commons area for our three houses...before spring...nice place for a weanie roast!
If you look behind the girls...you can see the commons area in the springtime..pretty!
What are the other benefits of living in Pleasant Dale you must ask?
**We have two parks!  Yes two!
**There is a bar/restaurant just footsteps away...they have really good pizza!
**We live 10 minutes from the beach...ok...not the ocean beach, but a lake beach.
**We have REALLY low taxes compared to Lancaster county.  Really low.
**We are just 2 miles from a major interstate (well ok...we aren't right this second, but should be in the fall)
**You can visit our wonderful postmaster everyday to get your mail!
**It is REALLY quiet here...REALLY, REALLY quiet.
**You can share a wooded commons area with us...perfect for weanie roasts, archery, killing rodents etc.
**You could have a third garage for your junk/toys.
**You are only 12 miles from the nearest Super Wal-mart and the BEST Chinese Buffet in the United States...seriously...best.
**You are only 15 minutes away from South Lincoln.
***Oh and did I mention the nice neighbors...us??**
So spread the word...tell your friends...share these links...your new house (and neighbors) is/are waiting...
(in my opinion they will probably take a decent offer below their asking price...even though they are already priced way below what they should be really asking.)
Click "here" for the neighbor's directly next door to us.
Click "here" for the neighbor's house 2 doors down from us.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Impromptu photo session with the kids!

We were heading out the children's museum last week and our friend canceled at the last minute because she was sick...so instead of going to the museum, I decided it would be a lot more fun to have an impromptu photo session at a local garden.  I didn't realize it was a blazing hot 91 degrees outside...but my kids were troopers and allowed me to snap a few photos of them...sweaty and all.  As you can probably tell by my blog I have either my camera photo, my travel size camera, or our real camera handy pretty much all of the time.  I love taking pictures!  I decided the other day that I should probably learn to use our camera, so I ordered a book to help me learn about the different features.  I guess the camera will snap some really good photos...if only I knew how:)  I also decided, I should probably figure out our Photoshop program.  I thought it would be a really easy..user friendly program...well it isn't.  So hopefully my new books will help me learn how to take and edit better pictures.  So enjoy what I snapped last week...and yes bribery works...we went out for ice cream afterwards! 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Making applesauce with the kiddos!

 My girls love to help out in the kitchen.  During this next school year I am going to put them in charge more with making dinners, lunches, and snacks.  I thought it would be fun to post different things that we are doing in the kitchen.  What about their school work?  Have no fear...we are doing it...in the kitchen! They are reading and following directions.  They are working on team work (fighting basically right now over who does what...so we are working on that!).  We talk a little bit about basic chemistry.  We are doing math...fractions, adding etc.  Most of all...we are having fun!  So put on your apron with my little girls and I (oh and Easton too...he likes to be right in the middle of everything) and come join our journey of Kids in the Kitchen!!

We have an apple tree in our front yard and the kids love picking apples from it every year.  Two years ago we lost it in a storm...well we thought we did.  Ever since the storm, Sean has propped it up with a rope to help keep it alive.  
 Last year, we didn't get a very big crop...but this year it seems as if we are going to have quiet a few apples.  We went out this morning and picked a few ripe ones and made some strawberry applesauce.  Here are a few pictures of our morning! The kids and I can't wait to go the real apple orchard in a few weeks!  Enjoy!

We picked a few ripe ones...and a few that weren't ripe and a few covered with ants...yuck!  I peeled and cut them up.
We then boiled them in a pot for about 10 minutes until they were soft.
We threw them in the food processor along with some frozen strawberries (that we picked this summer at the strawberry patch), sugar, and cinnamon. 
Then we served it up...and got three thumbs up!