Friday, December 30, 2011


My mom got the new (unborn) baby one of those night light things that project constellations onto the ceiling. We got it out yesterday afternoon and the kids took it into Scarlet's room (closet) and I might have thought they were looking at the Grand Canyon in there. They were oooh and ahhhh-ing like crazy. So of course when bedtime came around they pleaded to all sleep in Jane's (queen size) bed so they could sleep under the stars together. I forget why I am explaining all this?? Oh, so the result of the sleepover was me hearing them laughing and talking this morning at 4 am (I only heard them because I'm up the whole night these days since I am so uncomfortable). I was hoping they'd go back to sleep but I fell asleep so who knows what happened after that. Needless to say, today was an emotional day. All four of them cried about nothing periodically and the meltdowns were constant. We learned our lesson about the sleepover thing but we do love that they love to play together so much. Tonight was an early bedtime to catch up for last night, but Jacob stayed up with me a little longer because he had been waiting to show me the game he made up. Tim put the kids to bed downstairs and he and I had some alone time in my room and I watched him play with his animals and he talked my head off. We said a prayer and then I sent him off to bed too and before he left he gave me a darling hug  (he's the least huggy of the kids so his hugs are a real treat) and said, "Mom, I can't wait for the baby, but I wish it didn't hurt you." I asked him why he was excited and he said, "Because we need more people to play with at our house." It was the sweetest moment. I wanted to keep him up with me all night after that. Then he went on about how the baby will only like milk and applesauce but that he'll teach him how to play animals so he'll like that too. Then somehow that led into why he loves Grammy and Baba's house because of Grammy's cozy bed, the hot tub, the tractor rides, waffles, Persian food, Treehouse... Seriously LOVE that kid. He's such a quiet, mature and sensitive guy for an almost 5 year old. Tim and I always muse about how we wish we could just freeze time right now in this stage of life- we're not into this growing up stuff.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Scoopy Has A Pony

A little quirk about Scarlet is how she is obsessed with mustaches. I don't know why. No matter what she is eating or drinking, she'll somehow give herself a mustache and come show me. Like she'll be eating an apple and tell me she has an "apple mustache" or a "yogurt mustache" or a "water mustache". She's a strange girlie.

Charlie was telling the others that they were allowed to watch Charlie Brown and Scarlet strongly protested, " I want Scarlet Brown."

This is Scarlet's most recent knock knock joke:

Knock knock 

Who is there?


Mary who?

Merry Christmas!

We like her most when she's sleeping...

Holy grumpy pants.

The is the Christmas afternoon nap. Look how Timmy and Jane have the same arm position.

Grammy and Baba got Scarlet a horsey. She sat on it for like an hour and a half. It was awesome.

Jared got Scarlet her first doll. She ADORES it. What is wrong with me, I've always just got her babies and never even thought to get her a doll yet. Good thing she has an Uncle Jared for these things.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Winter Love

Winter  Butterflies
By Marilyn Helmer

Lacy snowflakes
fill the skies
With dainty winter
They flit and flutter
gently down
On crystal wings
to frozen ground.

Christmas Creations

Mariah, did we seriously both add a little lacy cheer to our brown bag wrapping. What are the chances!

 I made these bath salts with my activity day girls. They are fun to make and so easy. We used sugar instead of Epsom salts and added a ton of glitter of course.

 Christmas village made out of easy craft clay:

Here's what you'll need...
• 1 box baking soda (about 2 cups)
• 1 cup cornstarch
• 1   1/2 cups water
• Sauce pan
• Bowl
• Spoon
• Plastic wrap

Here's how you make it...
1. Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently, until it is too thick to stir with a spoon.

2. Cool for 15 minutes, or until the dough is cool enough to touch. Knead it for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. Keep dough wrapped in plastic.
Once you have molded it, it will take 1-2 days for the clay to dry. This clay can be painted with either Tempera or acrylic craft paints. 

Jane spent a year on this embroidery project for Grammy. She just figured it out on her own without any guidance from me so I was really impressed with how well it turned out.
Charlie wrote this letter to Baba to give to him with the felted bee he made. He read it for all of us on Christmas day- it was really cute.

Charlie found this real peacock feather at a pumpkin farm and he gave it to Grammy. It made for some fancy wrapping.

I put together a kit for Tim so he can teach the boys some manly stuff this next semester- like knot tying, compass stuff, starting fires, etc.  Kind of a scouts/survival class. I gathered some supplies and printed tutorials for a few activities just to give him a head start on it. One of the activities I  thought would be fun for the boys to make are these survival bracelets. They actually ended up making them on Christmas day and got pretty in to it. The best part is the fancy heart knot I tied around the gift as part of the wrapping. It's so satisfying to tie a knot right, sort of like getting the right answer at the end of a long math equation. Feel free to ask me to show you, it's super fun to do.

 The kids cut out these felt ornaments and decorated the mini school room tree. It brought some cheer to  our studies in December.

Jacob spent close to a year working on this project. He loves to tell us about his "imaginations" and when he gets started you better plan on at least an hour of listening. Finally, I started typing them out while he was talking so we can read them when he's older. I had them made into a booklet and he drew illustrations to go with each story. He worked so hard so it was rewarding for him to give his book to family (and Summer) for Christmas.

Jacob and Summer exchanging gifts. Don't you love the look of admiration in Summer's eyes. I want to pinch Kash's cheeks in the background...

This is what I got from Jane for Christmas. It doesn't get any better than this.

Please Get It Out

This is my third Christmas being "heavy laden with child" as my brother Eli would say. That must be the reason why our outside lights are put away in the garage, our tree is on the front lawn, all our decorations are carefully packed up in the Christmas rubbermaid bin and it was all done by noon on boxing day. It's quite the job and I realized today how much more fun it is to get Christmas all out, then put it away.  So Christmas is so over at our house, and the usual obsessive compulsive nesting has begun (it may have begun when I started windexing the window behind Jenny last night while we were talking...).

I can't wait for this to pregnancy to be over. I'm getting way too old for this.These are a few things I'm looking forward to:

1. Having a lap again for kids to sit on. Scarlet tries but there's no room.
2. Being able to pick the kids up again.
3. Not having to wear the same clothes (tents) every day.
4. Being able to run around with the kids outside and at the gym and on the hill by our house again.
5. Not wasting half my life napping.
6. Breaking my Tums addiction.
7. Being at rest without breathing loudly.
8. Being able to sit down long enough to read a pile of books to the kids again.
9. Not hating people with bad breath.
10. Being able to sleep on my tummy again.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cellist and Tinsel

Janey never complains about practicing and it's almost been a year now. I thought the novelty would wear off long ago but maybe she really does love it. She gets it done first thing in the morning while I am making breakfast (oatmeal or pancakes). Charlie will do his chores while she practices and then she does her chores while he practices, then we eat. Somehow cellos go with Christmas in my mind but I don't know why.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Beautiful Things

Mary and Joseph

We've been asked to be Mary and Joseph a few times, for obvious reasons. This year I could really pull it off being 9 months pregnant. This picture is from the first year we were married (nine years ago! I can't believe we are having our 10 year this summer. Holy old guys). All I remember is that I felt super weird trying to act serious with Timmy whispering funny things the whole time we were up there. Things like, "I look like Axl Rose right now, don't I?"

Our Mysterious Penguin Elf

I assume everyone in America did this because of Pinterest but whatever, it was the cause of many an exciting morning around here. I got burned out pretty fast though (not even two weeks).

Snowball fight.

Playing Go Fish with cookies.

Doodling on the family photos.


Trapped in the geoboard (My ideas were getting pretty lame by the end).

Dyed milk red.

Window graffiti.

Snow angel in flour.

I liked this one. He has a red face paint crayon in his scarf. The kids woke up with Rudolph noses.

Toilet papered our mini tree.

Underpants hanging from the ceiling.


Tim and I watched this tonight and we haven't enjoyed a movie this much since The Man From Snowy River. Don't ask me what's with the cowboy movies lately... I just love when a movie is inspiring and makes you evaluate how you can be better. We especially applied what we learned in this one to parenting. Apparently kids are just like horses? Maybe horses are just like kids? Then to top it off you get to hear Just Breathe by Pearl Jam during the credits. Good stuff.

“You hope you say the right things to plant a seed and 
hope that they find the answers in their life.”

~ Buck Brannaman

Monday, December 5, 2011

Friends, Beavers, and Bubbles

Jane and Charlie got to ride the bus with their friends, up to the Calgary Zoo in October. When you are a homeschool kid, riding the bus is quite the novelty. We had a good time, other than when we lost Jacob. Security found him watching the gorillas. That's where I would want to go sit too. 

Another fun time with friends was a visit to this huge beaver dam in town. I didn't get to go this time but Tim said it was the coolest thing ever. The kids were all fired up about it when they got home and they talked about it so much that it almost feels as if I had been there.

Apparently the Walters are our field trip friends. It's nice to have good friends to learn and play with. They planned this fun idea to visit our local bakery. We got to go in the back and bake pretty much whatever we wanted which turned out to be a zillion cinnamon buns, donuts, and elephant ears the size of America.

These guys have done a lot of bread making lately. We made homemade soft pretzels the other day too. They were amazing. They tasted exactly like the real kind. EXACTLY. Here is the recipe:

Homemade Soft Pretzels
adapted from Alton Brown
(makes 8 large pretzels)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1/2 stick)
olive oil, for oiling bowl
For Dunking:
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Topping (optional):
1 cup shredded cheese (I used provolone)
minced garlic, to taste
Oven Temperature: 450 F
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, sugar, and salt. Sprinkle the yeast over this mixture and let sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to foam at the top.
2. Add the flour and melted butter and mix in on low speed using the dough hook attachment. Once the ingredients have combined, change to medium speed and let the dough hook knead for about 4-5 minutes, at which time the dough should form a smooth ball around the hook and no longer stick to the sides of the bowl (see photo).
3. Remove the dough from the bowl and using olive oil, oil either the same bowl or another large bowl. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rise in a relatively warm place for 50 to 55 minutes. At this point, the dough should be approximately doubled in size.
4. Preheat the oven to 450 F. Bring the water and baking soda (for dunking) to a boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, cover 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil sprayed with a non-stick baking spray. Set aside two sheets for baking, using the third for prep. Place the dough onto the third baking sheet and divide into 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece over a flat surface into a 2 ft long rope. Make a U with the rope and cross the ends over each other and toward the bottom of the U to make a pretzel shape, slightly pressing the ends into the U to stick.  Return to the third baking sheet.
5. Once all of the pretzels have been formed, place one-by-one into the boiling water for about 30 seconds and remove using a spatula. Place on the other two baking sheets designated for baking. Prepare the glaze by beating together the egg yolk and water and brush over the tops of the pretzels. Add any toppings you wish to the pretzels. If using the cheese and garlic, simply sprinkle over the shredded cheese and then the minced garlic.
6. Bake the pretzels in the preheated oven for 12-14 minutes, until the tops turn golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving. Pretzels can be stored in a ziploc in the fridge and warmed up in the microwave; they will still taste delicious!

I am loving the Christmas-y simmer pot recipes. My kids eat a whole box of mandarin oranges in one afternoon so I started saving their peels so we could use them to simmer with cloves and cinnamon sticks. It smells so so good.

On Saturday we strung popcorn for our first real tree. Even Tim got it on this craft. As you can see, we only made enough to get half way down the tree but it worked out fine because I think Scarlet would have eaten the lower strings anyway. She loves popcorn.

As of Dec. 4th, all of our presents were wrapped and under the tree. This may be a world record. I wrapped while I listened to the Church Christmas Devotional- I think I might make that a yearly tradition. This year we saved a few trees and wrapped our presents with my fabric scraps and tied yarn around them to hold the fabric together. I love how it looks so organic. No tape, no wrapping paper. 

For FHE tonight the kids delivered these Christmas bubbles to some friends. We painted the jar lids with chalk paint so we could label them and the cool part is that the dish soap we used is green so it looked so Christmas-y. We tied ribbon and gift tags onto the jars with a bubble wand made out of a pipe cleaner.  We just made circle wands but you can see in the picture below that you could make fun shapes for the wands if you felt like it. The kids had so much fun going door to door with their bubble jars. Christmas is so delightful.