Sunday, April 12, 2015

Phoebe is 9

This year the kids get a friend/activity birthday. I'm working on getting it down to where we have fewer large birthday parties. I really don't enjoy giving them and some of our kids really would want a large party every year. So we've slowly set up some rules to cut down on those. Last year the kids had family parties. This year they can invite one friend and do a fun activity. Next year I'll brave a house full of crazies.

Elizabeth found this idea. She covered a cake in white fondant, 
and Sophie and Phoebe decorated it using edible markers.

She wanted fruit salad and stromboli for her birthday meal.

The chosen activity was painting pottery at Clay Casa. Phoebe chose a hanging lantern and Sophie chose a cupcake dish. Thank you, Sophie, for celebrating with us!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Flying Turtle

 This is the third or fourth year Elizabeth has tried her hand at making a raft. This one was the best yet! The Flying Turtle had its debut voyage at Cibolo Creek Nature Center last Saturday.

It was made of water bottles again, but this time they were glued down onto cardboard so that they stood upright. Then she wrapped the sides in duct tape, took off the cardboard and wrapped duct tape around the whole thing leaving some gaps for water to escape from.

Elizabeth has always lamented the fact that she didn't have a paddle. She's been using an old mop handle instead. But we found paddles at Walmart for $10, so we bought one and will try it out next time it's warm outside.

The previous raft journeys are here and here.

This was an April Fool's joke Elizabeth played on Phoebe. She covered Jonathan's door with post-it notes too, but he woke up before she could cover it in plastic.

Phoebe being Phoebe.

And Harrison is showing some signs of perfectionism. He discovered the ruler and he practically won't draw without it now. He wants his drawing to be "perfect" (I swear I didn't teach him this). 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Uncle James and Aunt Dolores

Aunt Dolores is my Mom's sister. She and her husband called unexpectedly over the weekend to let us know they'd be close to San Antonio, and would we like to meet them for supper? 

So, of course, yes! I love seeing family, especially family we don't see very often.

 I took these pictures of Phoebe eating cotton candy just for Nana. Uncle James remembers stopping at the store to buy me and my siblings a bag of candy because, "kids should have candy." And my mom did not allow a lot of sugar in the house. :-) Which was not in the least detrimental to our health and possibly the reason none of us had cavities as kids. Anyway, this picture was just to make Nana say something like, "I ca-an't believe you let those kids have that!" 

 Uncle James and Aunt Dolores were always fun to be around growing up. They had horses and Uncle James would show at horse cutting competitions. We got to watch him anytime he was in Crowley for one. I just learned that their daughter Darlene (my cousin; I don't know her well because she's a bit older than me) was the Youth Reserve World Champion in 1981 for cutting horses. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Mostly Swimming

 Harrison enjoys going outside now that it's getting warmer. He's been asking me to go with him lately though. Good excuse to get me outside too. This is a Mimi idea that I like to use when I don't want the little kids to paint with real paints - glass of water, paint brush and sidewalk with the sun to dry your canvas so you can paint a new piece.

 This just says itself.

 We weren't going to take a break for spring break. I didn't even know it was spring break till the last minute. But Elizabeth found free week-long swim activities going on at an indoor pool, so we decided to take Spring Break. The kids got swim lessons and lots of free time to play in the water. The older three do so well at swimming and I'm glad. They're better than I am. One of my worst fears used to be driving over bridges because I can't swim very well and I was afraid I couldn't save the kids. They might be the ones saving me! 

 Harrison did not like the water, however. I tried to get him in on two different days, but he was pretty terrified. Or cold. It's supposed to be a heated pool, but it was still pretty cold. So he and I sat at the benches. I read or memorized or texted or watched the kids. He made up stories or snuggled on my lap.

 This is a bakery near the Natatorium. (New word for me) 
The kids loved it. 

 A family was having a late lunch and shared some juice and mandarin oranges with Harrison. 

 During free swimming, the older three always stuck together. Funny how that works. A crowd full of strangers brings them together. 

 This is Harrison's "Rocket-feller" costume. 
He watched "The Men Who Built America" recently and really took to Rockefeller. He's trying to do his eyes the same way as the actor from the show.

He is moving dirt to build a mound which is supposed to be an oil derrick, I think. He's going to be an oil man apparently.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kid Sweetness

Just a few things we've been doing lately. I feel the need to post what pictures we've got since we like to go through the blog and remember. And I think we may have lost a bunch of baby pictures when our hard drive crashed, so the blog is seeming more and more precious. 

Jonathan picked this lovely rose for me. 

And Jonathan put this Lego Technic set together that he purchased. He had to redo some parts at different times. It was a more difficult set to put together which was really good for stretching him.  

I made a Jayne hat and Elizabeth took a picture using her homemade lightbox. We didn't have great lighting at this point in the evening, but I thought the lightbox was pretty cool.

The adorable Best Beloved.

And Phillip commissioned Elizabeth to make some chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's Day. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Recipe

Okay, ya'll. I'm not great at coming up with creative dishes. When cooking,  I'm inspired by recipes I see. I buy the ingredients needed and work from there. Some people look at the ingredients in their cupboard and refrigerator and are inspired to make something from what they already have. I was granted a little taste of that this week and I love it!

My parents sent us some homemade butters (fruit butters) and jams. The kids were thrilled! Peeking in the fridge, I decided to try some pear butter on a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Pears or apples are often paired with pork, so I figured it would at least taste good. Someone had given us their leftover Pepper Jack cheese slices from the Super Bowl party we went to; I used that instead of the shredded cheddar or Velveeta that was our usual availability. I had minced some shallots for our lunch meal that day, and they were also calling my name.

This is the best toasted sandwich I've ever eaten! Seriously the best. I've had one the last three evening meals. And I gave some to Phillip who is also sufficiently impressed. I would eat another right now except we're out of ham.

Thank you, Dad, for the pear butter which inspired this most delicious sandwich!


2 slices Bread (we use honey-wheat bread ~ not the 100% wheat)
A bit of regular yellow Mustard (I'm sure Dijon mustard would be good too)
1 slice Pepper Jack Cheese
3? slices thin-sliced Ham (We used very little ham since I wanted to stretch it out to last as many sandwiches as possible)
1 tsp minced Shallots (we also used chopped onion when we ran out of shallots, but I liked the shallots best)
Aupa's Pear Butter (I don't know this recipe; store-bought apple butter might work okay)

Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat. Once heated, melt some butter in the pan. Lay a slice of bread down on the melted goodness. Squirt a little mustard on the bread. Lay a slice of cheese down, then ham, sprinkle with shallots. Spread pear butter on the other slice of bread and lay (pear side down) on the sandwich. Pick up the sandwich with a spatula and butter the pan again ~ flip the sandwich over and toast long enough to allow the cheese to melt and the pear butter to heat up. You might need to lower the temp for a longer cook time.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Harrison Alone

Harrison wanted to go with me to drop Elizabeth off at a youth event at church. He said he wanted to play by himself at the playground, and "You don't have to come with me, Mom; I know how to do it by myself."

I did end up sitting in the play area listening to a podcast while he played alone. He had a story going on in his head and was running from one playscape to another making spaceship noises. A couple of girls eventually showed up and one of them told him hi. He ran up to me smiling ~

"Mom, that wittle gul just told me 'hi'! (chuckle, chuckle) I can't beweive it!"

"Did you tell her 'hi' back?"

"No, I fohgot. (chuckle, chuckle) I usually do."

And he ran off to play by himself.