November 23, 2014

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Beginning of Thanksgiving Week!

  • At 3, we heard Keaton screaming for us.  I trudged up the stairs to see what she needed and she just needed me to cover her back up.  I made a mental note that tonight she should wear feetie pajamas so she wouldn't get cold if she became uncovered-I forgot that tonight though.
  • After coming down, enough time had passed for Robby and I to go back to sleep when she called us again.  This time Robby went and she needed for him to fix her baby dolls sitting at the end of her bed. These are things you never thought you would have to do when you have kids-cover up baby dolls in the middle of the night.
  • Church this morning and we had to be there early, early because Robby was helping serve the Lord's supper.  We scurried around and left in a hurry but then made it to church about 10 minutes early-we are early or late, never on time.  This did give us some time to find Nonna in the hallway, run up and down the halls, play a video game and a few rounds of air hockey before big church.
  • We sat in a different spot today so Robby could sit with us-I didn't like it at all!  Too close and on the other side of the church.  I think we were only just about 4 more rows closer than usual but it was too close for me.  The kids were fine in church and the plate of grape juice was not spilled as it passed by us (my fear!)
  • Next up was Sunday school and I was the only one in our class since Robby was serving again and the Hawkins were out of town.  Thankfully, there were only 12 kids and I managed fine-should have fed them and things would have gone ever smoother!  
  • Then we had lunch at Grannymom's house.  Anderson brought his nerf gun so that caused all kinds of excitement.  Pizza and apple cake were on the menu and after lunch, it was soon time to go home for a quick nap before heading back to church.
  • I am not sure what all the kids did during nap-I know Anderson worked on building one of his new toys, Reagan and Campbell played with Anderson's new dominoes and Graham played nerf guns along with watching a movie.  All too soon, my alarm was ringing and it was time to scurry around and get ready to leave.
  • The big 4 had choir-their last practice before caroling in 2 Sunday mornings and singing that night in big church.  Keaton knew she was going to cookie club and was excited about that-but she spent most of her time in the bathroom (3 trips-just because she could!)
  • Then it was time for church again where Campbell asked loudly 2 different times "is it over now?"  Kind of odd since this morning when the preacher stood up, she said "this is my favorite part."  Maybe she thought he was about to dismiss everyone.
  • After church, we came home for ice cream and I took a few pictures of Whitman trying to show off his craft that he made at church.  At first he would look at it and smile and then he started to grab it and throw it across the room.  I had every intention of taking a picture of the rest of the kids but didn't.  I should probably walk up the stairs and take a picture or two of their sleeping faces but we actually had a few pictures from Anderson's birthday party that we forgot to post yesterday.

November 22, 2014-Happy Birthday (party) Anderson!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • First, it is kind of a sad day around here. This is the last blog I will write on my current computer.  I have had to open and close it 50 times each time I turn it on to get it to work and then constantly readjust the screen but now the plugin has broken so it can no longer charge, so once the battery is gone, this computer will be no more. Not really the Christmas gift that I wanted for Christmas or the one that Robby wanted to buy (hints: dutch oven, the stand from pottery barn, a message Bible or portable carbon monoxide detector) but the blog must go on!
  • This morning we heard someone on the monitor.  It was Anderson but his muffled voice sounded like someone on a speaker at McDonalds and it took Robby about 5 tries to understand what the boy was asking.  Finally, I had to tell him that he was asking to get up. Robby leaned up to look at the clock and since it was 6:30 we let them get up.  Those 3 boys (Anderson, Cash and Graham) were the loudest people ever-maybe because they were right up against our bedroom wall playing their kindles.  I guess they weren't too loud since we did sleep for over an hour longer.
  • Eventually, Campbell came downstairs and when she realized that Keaton was still upstairs sleeping she ran to wake her up.  We were able to keep those 2 snuggly girls in our bed a bit longer before we had to get up and start the day and what a day it was!
  • First Robby made cinnamon rolls for the crew.  Reagan was here but we did have Cash in her place and I guess that we are now officially a 3 can cinnamon roll family.  I just had to lick the icing out of the pan but that was fine with me.
  • Everyone quickly put on their clothes and they were all ready to leave-the little 3 were going to Nonna's house to play while I stayed here and worked and the big 3 were going to Mario and Music at church.  
  • Robby had offered to stay and help and yesterday Anderson told me "I am a little bit excited that Daddy is going to help at Mario and Music and a little bit worried."  I asked why he was excited and he said that Robby could help serve the pizza.  And then I asked what I really wanted to know "why are you a bit worried about your Daddy helping?"  And Anderson said "I don't want him to embarrass me."  Yep! It has started already. I asked him if Robby embarrasses him on Sunday mornings when we are upstairs with him teaching but he said no. When Robby found out about this, he told Anderson exactly what he was going to do on the stage (I don't think he really showed his belly to everyone as he told Anderson he would) and Anderson shook his head!
  • While they were all gone, I stayed here and worked like a dog.  Maybe because Anderson had asked for a kickball party like Graham had this summer and we had to talk him out of that (weather, leaves, just can't duplicate a pretty perfect party) or maybe because he had to share a last minute party last year with his little sister, this party turned into a big deal.  Just about everyone we invited could come which was surprising since we are used to most people not being able to come for his usual December birthday parties.  And then pinterest does make planning for a party so easy these days-but it is still a lot of work....but I think Anderson would agree that it was sure worth it!
  • The kids had a blast at Mario and Music-pizza, music, lots of Mario talk and a bit before 1, everyone started pouring in.  Pops, Nonna, the little girls and Whitman were the first ones to arrive.  The Cortez' followed Robby here and they arrived right after the Penningtons.  Soon the Kamps pulled up from church too and Grannymom and Grandpa.  Dana, Lilli and Reagan arrived some time along with Jason and then Andrew also came.  
  • Since most folks were all coming from the same place, it was crazy when everyone showed up and it didn't help any that I didn't let them go outside since clues were hidden everywhere. The first order of business was the get everyone's proper spy badges.  They had to draw their spy name and then do some fingerprinting.  
  • Next up was memory training-I had about 14 items on a tray and they had to write down what all was on the tray after memorizing the items for 60 seconds.  Lilli and Reagan won that game and each one a dollar bill.  Next up was bomb deactivating-otherwise known as balloon popping.  
  • After that we brought everyone in the living room to open presents but only one present was in the living room-a bag filled with toilet paper and the first of the clues.  The first clue took the kids to "the little man" and Whitman had a clue taped to his shirt so they all crowded around him as they read the next clue-he was not too pleased with all of this extra attention.  The clues took the kids from room to room in the house and then all through out the yard.  It was quite entertaining to watch-imagine 18 kids running full speed toward you.  After walking through laser beams and solving a code written in invisible ink, they finally found Anderson's presents in the box by the back door.  
  • We brought the presents to the picnic table and let Anderson open them.  He was delighted with his loot-dominoes, rockets, nerf guns, a catapult, sand, bow and arrow, legos, gift cards and a building set.  He was quite pleased and then we came inside to eat some food and then blow out his candles. 
  • Soon the ballgame was turned on and the party guests mostly stayed until halftime.  It was a pretty pleasant day that everyone felt they could just hang out-the kids mostly played outside while the adults hung out inside.  At one point, Keaton asked Grannymom "don't these people know it is a time to leave?"  
  • Grannymom, Grandpa and Jason all stayed with us until the end of the ballgame and helped us finish off our stone soup.  When they all left, it was soon shower time for my crew and while one set was in the shower, the other helped us pick up.  After showers, Whitman finally went to bed (he hadn't been to sleep all day long) and the others watched a movie upstairs while Robby and I cleaned the kitchen floor.  
  • Then it was bedtime for everyone-the kids were tired but so were we.  Six birthday parties a year is all that I can handle!

November 21, 2014

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Cash comes to spend the night!

  • Fridays are mom's choice for our breakfast menu and it is hard to come up with something that will please everyone. Robby suggested cinnamon rolls but after checking the fridges, I found that we were all out of those.  So I did make blueberry muffins which caused Keaton to lay in the floor and start her first fit of the day.  
  • Surprisingly though everyone, including Keaton, ate their muffins.  Well, I don't know if Whitman really ate his-sometimes he pitches his food off of his high chair tray and he has a pretty good arm so sometimes his food is found far, far away and much later!
  • Today for school, I had only asked the kids to do 5 of their boxes-things were going splendidly until Anderson's spelling added a new twist.  Usually he just has word after word to spell and then multiple sentences to spell.  But now each lesson has 5 words to spell and then to use in sentences that he makes up.  This caused tears and gnashing of teeth.  Seriously, that boy can not think outside of the box at all and on the other side of the room, we have Reagan who is doing the same thing with her spelling words and says that this is her favorite thing ever.
  • When everyone did finish school, we watched a video on Degas and did our artist of the month.  The boys were the only ones who hadn't painted on a canvas so it was one of their turns-I picked Anderson but unfortunately, our pictures of Degas was of a ballerina since Degas loved painting ballerinas.  Anderson was not too pleased with this at all.
  • Soon it was lunch and then time to do a bit of reading.  I am trying to finish the last of the Sarah, Plain and Tall books and maybe even another one before December.  Then the kids had some time to play on their kindles before movie time.  Whitman didn't care at all about taking his nap but Keaton wasn't too thrilled but she did eventually comply.  
  • After movies, Robby was home and we had supper-leftovers for everyone.  Not just leftovers but practically everyone had different leftovers-it was pretty complicated to fix everyone's plates but at least the fridge was clean when we were finished.  Right after supper, Dana text and asked if Reagan wanted to spend the night and we asked Cash if he wanted to.  This caused much excitement around our house-Reagan quickly packed up and then Robby loaded everyone up to go and meet Dana for the kid switch.
  • Cash and the boys played their kindles, played remote control cars, played Duck Dynasty, played tag and played until bedtime-no one was tired but it was still bedtime.  Tomorrow is a big day around here and I have lots of work to do to pull it all off!

November 20, 2014

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Cook something from a story day!
  • Such a busy day today-the first item on the list was getting the big van to start and Campbell off to school.  The van's battery charged all night long and started nicely this morning and Campbell was ready to head to school because today was the day of their Thanksgiving feast.  She brought the drink of the pilgrims-orange punch.  We did pick orange because it looked Thanksgiving-y.
  • Robby dropped her off and headed off to get a new battery-not an easy job for our big old van.  They just don't have those batteries in stock but he quickly got the job done (costing me the rest of my Christmas money) and then headed to pick up Campbell-it was early, but she was ready to get home because a party was happening at our house.
  • Meanwhile at home as soon as Robby and Campbell left, Nonna and Pops showed up to help make Anderson's mashed potatoes.  He was all about helping but as soon as Nonna and Pops left, he whispered to me that he wasn't thinking about those potatoes.  After playing 20 questions trying to figure out what potatoes he had mistakenly called mashed potatoes, I discovered that he was talking about au gratin potatoes.  He was still pleased with his potatoes but Robby did tell him tonight that we would make some of his au gratin potatoes possibly tomorrow.  I know how Nonna and Grannymom make their au gratin potatoes-I have that recipe (a box) and I plan on becoming his favorite cook tomorrow!  (Can you tell that I am not the least bit bitter about being called his 5th or 6th favorite cook?)
  • After they left, we scurried around cleaning the house and then had plenty of time to sit and read before our crew stated arriving.  Today was cook something from a story day and everyone had food.  It was lots of fun!  Reagan read a Nancy Clancy book where they ate pizza, so she made pizza. Anderson read One Potato, Two Potato and had his mashed potatoes (which he still liked).  Graham read a Nate the Great book about a Tardy Tortoise and made turtle candy.  Keaton and Campbell worked together and made vegetable soup after reading Stone Soup.  That was just our food.  But our friends brought dirt pudding, gingerbread cookies, chocolate pie, homemade bread, chocolate chip cookies, spaghetti and meatballs (enough to feed us all 4 meals) and cupcakes.  It was a Thanksgiving feast for sure.
  • The kids told about their food and then they dug in but before and after the kids played.  They were inside and they were outside but it was fine because the moms had plenty of time to talk-one of my favorite parts of homeschool day.  When all of our buddies left, we kicked things into high gear cleaning the house and showering the kids and then we were loaded up heading out of the house.
  • We met the Hawkins and delivered a box of food that Reagan's Sunday school class had donated to the Shack.  We weren't there very long but long enough to drop of the food and look around some.  My Whitman was so tired that he slept through the Shack visit.
  • But he did wake up when we stopped at the Mexican bakery down the street.  We had heard about it-heard they didn't speak much English, heard that you use a tray and fill it yourself with food and then everything is pretty cheap-all of those things were true.  Nada English, big pizza pan and tongs and about 7 bucks for 9 bakery items.  
  • After that, we had supper at Chick Fil A and then it was time to sample our bakery items.  The Hawkins boys and some of mine had the doughnuts which were really good but the best item was the cinnamon rolls.  Next time I am out that way, I am going to load up at the bakery again.  I told the kids that going there had been on my bucket list for a while (I might should set my bucket list sights a bit higher!)
  • When we made it home, it was pajama time and then a bit more straightening of the house before some down time for the kids....and us.

November 19, 2014

Perler Beads and More Perler Beads!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Bible study morning here so we were up and ready pretty early.  Grahammy was the one who cleaned all of the potties last week before even being asked so I was a bit worried today about how I was going to get our chores done without my hardworking boy.  I did end up cleaning the potties since they had gotten a bit bad-that is what happens when you let 4, 6, 7 and 9 year olds clean them on a regular basis.  The kids did take care of all of our other chores.
  • Things were going splendidly this morning-Robby fed the kids breakfast and then he left and about 20 minutes later, we loaded up to head too Bible study.  Everyone was buckled, I ran to get my coke and climbed in my seat and turned the key-nothing!  Argh!  I sat there for a few minutes trying to decide what to do-so I called Robby and he came home from almost work to help out.  Nonna was waiting on us to hand off Graham so she just came on to our house.  
  • I thought about us just sitting in the car until Robby came back but I did let the kids get out so of course they ran around the house a few times before coming back inside.  Before too long, Robby was home and managed to jump the car with his car and then we were off.  Thankfully, I leave pretty early so we were only a few minutes late to Bible study.  Campbell kept saying that she would tell her teachers that our car was broke and that is why we were late.  I tried to explain that others would still be later than we were.
  • After Bible study, the car started perfectly and we went straight home.  Beebee had spent the night in the hospital last night but is back at her place so we will have to make sure we go and see her next week-I am sure she is ready to pass out her candy.  
  • Since we were home so early, we had a pretty restful afternoon.  Chicken spaghetti for lunch and then we picked up a bit.  Then Campbell, Keaton and Graham helped make Graham's food for tomorrow-turtle candy.  I actually made most of his candy since they quickly abandoned me for something else.
  • Next up was rest time for Whitman and science time for the rest of us.  It didn't take too long since one of our worksheets didn't copy so we just did it out loud and flew through that.  Then it was rest time for Keaton-she doesn't want to take a nap these days but she sure needs one.  I am just lucky that she really still loves to drink her milk at nap or she wouldn't lay down at all.  
  • The rest of us then played a few games of Uno followed by some massive perler bead making. Anderson made a huge firetruck to give away to his 3:16 Live teacher who is a fireman. Reagan made a few butterflies and Campbell finished one-Hallelujah!  She usually gives up, spills hers or only makes half of something so today was quite special.
  • I didn't get any pictures of crazy hat night at church tonight.  We were already running a bit late when the car didn't start again.  Robby tried and tried to jump it this time but it didn't work-until I had loaded everyone up in his car!  So we did take 2 cars to church tonight but that was fine since I had to run into the library (making us even later but still not that late) and then those 2 cars were needed since the big van had to be jumped again.  We all made it home safe and then it was bedtime for the crew!  

November 18, 2014

"Mom, is it okay if I don't wear my shirt during school?"
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Another day of us sleeping as late as we could.  I really don't even remember who climbed into our bed this morning but do know that I could have slept another hour or two.  But we again jumped up and scurried around to get Campbell ready for school.  Not only did we have to get her clothes on but we had to have time for at least to eat her yogurt.  She was able to take her toast and eat it on the way to school.
  • The rest of us worked on school.  One day the kids finish late and the next day they finish early-I will just never understand it.  We did have less together work today (because I am out of read aloud books-don't worry, library day is tomorrow) Graham was probably in a hurry to get finished with school because he was headed to Nonna's house for the evening.  If he asked me once during the day when Nonna would come, he asked me 50 times. 
  • Before lunch, I quickly made the soup for supper and then I cooked up what I am best known for-sandwiches. The kids have taken to telling people who their favorite cooks are.  Both boys agreed that their Great Aunt Sonia is their favorite, followed by Grannymom and Nonna (their number 2 and number 3 spots switch around), then their Daddy is the next favorite cook and sometimes Pops even makes the list before me.  I have asked why I am so low down on the list and they always say "all you can make are sandwiches."  (I did make their supper tonight-soup and not a sandwich.)
  • This afternoon we straightened the house some and before too long, Campbell and Nonna were over.  Campbell had good day at school and lots of fun at Nonna's house.  When Graham saw Nonna, he went to get his back pack and was ready to leave.  But she couldn't go just yet-she had to help us make a few things.  First, Nonna gave me a lesson on how to make veggie soup.  The girls helped some (Campbell did slice her finger pretty good while peeling a potato).  And then we worked on getting Anderson's potatoes ready for Thursday. (Remember, since I am the 6th best cook they know, Anderson picked Nonna's mashed potatoes to make for Thursday.)
  • When Graham and Nonna did leave, Whitman had a nap and so did I.  Actually, I don't think laying on the couch for 15 minutes with people talking to you the entire time can actually count as a nap.  When my timer rang, I jumped up and started working to get things ready for supper. Grannymom and Grandpa came over for supper and we had delicious new crock pot recipe (which I, the 6th best cook, made.)
  • After supper the kids played a few games-including Happy and you know it, Simon Says, Mastermind and Uno.  Whitman was a bit distraught when Grannymom and Grandpa left-he stood at the front door for the longest trying to open it.  He did give us quite a scare when he reached up and tried to turn the lock-we sure don't need for him to know how to get out of this place.  
  • And then it was bedtime for the crew.  We didn't read our Bible story tonight since Grahammy was gone.  Tomorrow is a busy day so the crew needs their sleep.

Crock Pot Sausage & Cheese Tortellini

A few days ago a popular link going around Facebook was 25 of the Best Crockpot Recipes.  I picked out a few and decided to make this one tonight.  Everyone enjoyed it and we'll be making it again.  I'll list the original recipe taken from Recipe Mothers below but I think I'd tweak a few things.  I'll list those below the original instructions.
  • Slow cooker
  • 1 package of chicken broth (32 oz)
  • 1 package of your favorite tortellini (20 oz, we used three cheese)
  • 1 lb spicy (hot) Italian sausage
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes (seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano)
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese for toppings
  1. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge, and let it sit while you quickly brown your meat.
  2. Add the sausage and tortellini to your Crock Pot. Pour the tomatoes, liquid and all, and broth over the top. Add your cream cheese to the Pot in chunks.
  3. Give your Crock Pot a good stir to get everything evenly distributed, making sure the liquids are adequately covering the tortellini.
  4. Cook on LOW for a total of 4 1/2 hours. Stir at 2 hours, and again at 4 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking. This will give the sauce some time to thicken up.
Possible modifications:
  1. Switch from hot Italian sausage to mild. (I like spicy but there was a definite kick and might have been a bit too spicy for the kids.  But they all cleaned their bowls.
  2. They never called this a soup recipe but I think it might be good to have a bit more liquid. Think I'll try adding another package of chicken broth.  (I'm no Martha Stewart so their might be a better option.)  
11/18/2014 - First time to make