November 30, 2014

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Cheesing it up!

  • Last night, after we had spent some time in the attic looking and listening for "the sound" from last night, we ended up back on the couch.  When we got up to go to bed, Robby started putting his computer up and when he did, his computer cord slithered by my leg and I as I jumped onto the edge of the couch I let out a yelp that would have woken up the neighbors.  You can probably imagine that I slept with my legs under the covers and my ears covered tightly so no animal could get me (though Robby assures me there is not an animal in this house.)
  • Church was this morning and for donuts my children will always quickly come to the bar to eat.  I think that they devoured their dozen donuts from Pops yesterday and made a good start on Robby's dozen from Shipleys. Robby did save me a chocolate filled doughnut and if you haven't had a Shipleys chocolate filled doughnut, then you should really go have one tomorrow.
  • The kids were happy to see all of the grands on the way to big church and to their classes.  My Whitman walks right into his class and Keaton does as well.  Campbell is the one lately who needs a bit of conjoling to go into her class.  
  • After Sunday school, we had BBQ at Nonna's house and the kids had time to play for a bit while Robby snoozed and I looked at the sale papers.  Nothing in those papers called out to me today but I still have 5 people to buy for and all of the kids need one more present.  No need to panic yet!-though it is probably time to start wrapping.
  • Once at home, we still did our normal Sunday afternoon schedule even though we had no Sunday night services.  I did wake up to make some more pumpkin bread and might even make some pumpkin muffins tomorrow-I am feeling very Ma Ingalls-ish.  The boys and Robby eventually went outside to throw the football around some.
  • This meant showers for all and then supper.  We did finish off those 149 rolls from Thanksgiving tonight and my Graham was pretty disappointed that they were gone.  There is always next year!  
  • The kids played their kindles some tonight while the boys watched a bit of football before bed.

November 29, 2014

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First signs of Christmas!

  • This morning the boys were a bit on the anxious side. They came downstairs right after 7 and all they could think about was doing 2 school boxes so they could start playing on their kindles.  Last night, we put a few new games on their kindles and I am surprised that they were able to sleep thinking about those new games (probably should have saved that for Christmas morning).  
  • We wouldn't let them go and wake up Whitman so they could start on school, so they laid with us, paced around our room and even stared at us-for over an hour! Seriously, it was the oddest thing ever.  It was almost like they were caged animals-one standing on one side of our bed and the other on the other side.  As soon as they heard poor Whitman, they were in his room scribbling out their school work as fast as they could.  
  • Soon breakfast was served and then I climbed in the shower.  My Keaton was a bit lost with Campbell spending the night at Nonna and Pops' house but she managed just fine and took Whitman under her wing.  As I was in the shower, I heard her and Whitman walk by and she called to me "we are going on an adventure."  She didn't really say "adventure" but did say some form of the work that took me about 3 minutes to understand.  Then I heard her shout "there's an elephant."  I was about to be highly offended but they had already left the bathroom and were in my closet so they couldn't have been taking about me.
  • We didn't really do much this morning-the boys mostly played on their kindles.  Reagan did this too but she has really been into her doll house lately.  Which is great except that her 1 year old brother also loves her dollhouse.  So she spends a lot of her time going upstairs after him to arrange all of the pieces in their proper places again.
  • Things were pretty calm this morning and we were getting ready to leave when Whitman walked into the kitchen.  I scooped him up to take him to put on his clothes but I must not have realized that he was coming to tell me something-at least I hope that he was.  I walked into the living room and saw a 2 liter of coke exploding (right behind my 4 other children sitting on the couch-seriously, their hair was probably getting wet.)  I dropped Whitman, picked up the coke and ran to the sink spraying Robby on the way.  
  • I guess the coke hit at the perfect spot and there was a tiny puncture that started spraying out. Thankfully, it was only leaking while laying on the floor but once I grabbed it up and ran it to the sink, it really started spewing.  We were able to contain the mess to the floor and not on the ceiling.  That would have been a real mess!  
  • We cleaned all of that up and then my little angel was squirting lotion on the floor.  Gotta love him!  We then put him in the safest spot-his car seat and headed on our errands.  Our first stop was to pick up Campbell-she had a big evening and morning.  She even brought us a dozen donuts for breakfast tomorrow.
  • Our next stop though was still for donuts-since today was small business Saturday, one of Robby's credit cards was giving you money to shop at small business (up to 60 bucks on our two cards-10 dollars a place).  So he bought himself a few chocolate filled donuts which we snacked on all day long.  
  • Then we grabbed a pizza and went to Grandpa's house to eat it.  After our small business pizza, we ran to another pizza place to buy a few gift cards to help offset the cost of Campbell's party.  Then it was to Sams to order cupcakes for Campbell's party (Hello Kitty-of course) and we also ate a few samples.  
  • Next up, Robby and the kids went back to Grandpa's house to take their Christmas card picture while I ran to one more store to use our small business money and then to Kroger to spend all of the money that we got for free today.  Once I picked the crew up, we headed home for some speed Christmas decorating.
  • We were working fast because Whitman was napping and we wanted to finish as much as we could while he was asleep.  The kids still love decorating their Christmas tree in their room.  It was a highlight for them and they worked and worked.  My poor tree has lights and about 15 ornaments (my new ones from this year were in another spot-I love my new ornaments (bag of flour, can of Spam, model T)
  • We heated up some rolls and put meat and cheese in them-we are still working on the 74 rolls for Thanksgiving and will be finished with them in just a few days.  The kids stayed up a bit later watching us work and then we worked a bit more after they went to bed so the night as flown by!
  • Blog update (evening adventure): Robby was walking through the mudroom and he called "come here."  Yep, an animal sound somewhere in or too near this house.  Eeek!  We listened there and then crept to the attic nearest the sound with broom and flashlight in hand.  Robby warned me that if he screamed like a girl, I would know he found something-I stayed near the attic door just in case.  He found no evidence of an animal so then he went outside to start looking.  No luck so crossing our fingers it was nothing but more investigating will have to be done in the daylight.
  • Blog update (something I forgot): I am usually pretty easy going and hardly ever cross (for real) but Robby said that I gave him the dirtiest look ever today.  I will agree that I did probably shoot him a nasty glance when he put a stranger in my car.  Seriously, we were at the gas station and some man in pajama pants started talking to Robby. The next thing I know, the man was getting in the row with the boys.  I am pretty sure they were giving their father the "what in the world" look too.  The man had locked his keys in his car at the gas station and asked for a ride to Knollwood to get his keys (since my Dad had just been ran home to get jumper cables from a gas station, Robby thought he would pay it forward.)  I wasn't too sure of this idea but Robby did say that there wasn't anywhere for him to put a weapon since he did have on pajama pants.  I did what any good lady would do when a strange man gets in your car, picked up my phone and got it ready to dial-just one more 1 and I would have completed my phone call!  Actually, he was a nice Mormon man and even knew our neighbors.  Oddest thing about the whole incident, is that the kids never asked why the man was in the car nor did they mention it ever again throughout the day.  

November 28, 2014

"Sis, let me show you how it works!"
(click here for today's pictures)
  • It was a pretty restful morning around here-as in we didn't do anything at all.  I did do a few loads of laundry (halfway), emptied the dishwasher and baked a few pumpkins (to make pumpkin bread soon-tomorrow maybe)
  • The kids didn't do a whole lot either-lots of kindle playing, lots of running, lots of playing upstairs and lots of fun.  Oh, we even did a bit of school work too-all of that instead of Black Friday shopping.  I did do a bit of shopping last night on the internet before going to bed-I remember those days when Robby and I would wake up and go to just watch the crowds shove into Walmart.  Now most of our shopping is done right here sitting on our couch.  
  • At lunch time, Robby took Whitman, Keaton, Campbell and Reagan to pick up a Papa Murphy's pizza.  We had an old gift card that he wanted to go ahead and use so that was the outing today.
  • When they returned home we cooked those pizzas and did a little math lesson.  The talk turned to going to a razorback and football game.  Reagan used her multiplication skills to figure up how much tickets would cost for all of us.  After hearing this figure, Graham sweetly said "we will never get to go to a football game, will we?"  
  • After lunch, it was soon time to watch the Razorbacks.  The boys were pretty excited to watch the game some-they did take a few breaks to play outside, play on their kindles and watch a bit of a movie with Reagan.  That girl doesn't care a thing about the football game unlike her mother.  (Don't tell anyone but actually, I snoozed during some of the ballgame-I think that they did better while I was asleep so I probably should have went back to sleep)
  • Campbell didn't stick around for too much of the ballgame because Nonna and Pops came over to pick her up.  That girl was so excited to spend the night at their house-she started packing first thing this morning.  Keaton was her helper and a pretty dependable helper if you ask me.  When they came downstairs, I started asking if she remembered pajamas, socks, underwear, toothbrush and my Keaton was the one who told me exactly what was packed.  
  • At Nonna's house, Campbell helped put the ornaments on her tree and then they went to IHOP to eat.  Campbell pushed hard for supper at Larry's pizza but she told me that Pops wouldn't let her go there.  (He wanted to save it for her birthday party next week.)  She didn't care because she was so excited to spend the night away from here!
  • After the game, it was soon time for supper.  We worked on some of our leftovers and then the kids watched a Duck Dynasty or two while Keaton and Whitman had showers.  Robby had checked on them a few times and a bit later, we heard them but they sounded like they weren't in the shower any longer-and they weren't.  Keaton had helped Whitman get out of the shower, got herself a towel and was working on finding her underwear when I found them.  Whitman was running through the mudroom wet and naked though-I guess she was going to help dry him off when she had finished getting ready.  It is good to know that they are becoming self-sufficient.

November 27, 2014-Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 2014

  • Thanksgiving morning and pretty much as soon as the kids were up, we were out of bed and started working.  The food that we were making was pretty much made and the house was pretty much cleaned but there was still plenty to do. Graham's first questions was "how many chores do we need to do?" Fortunately for him, there was really nothing left for him to do except get ready and anxiously await the arrival of our Thanksgiving guests.
  • The kids watched a movie after breakfast and then Robby turned the parade on.  This caused quite a stir and everyone was excited to watch the parade.  Robby and I even sat down to watch the parade some-I told Reagan that was on my bucket list to see the parade and she said "you have a bucket list?" like this surprised her.  
  • In the middle of our parade watching, I called the girls to make their fruit turkey.  This is at least our 3rd year to have a fruit turkey with the girls making one and the boys making the other. The girls really worked well together this year making it-they are all big enough to follow Reagan's instructions on how to make it her way.  I guess that is what big sisters are for!
  • Now Graham was more than ready to work on his fruit turkey but since Anderson was at Grannymom's house, he had to wait.  He asked me about 7 times when Anderson would show up and as soon as Anderson walked in the door, Graham told him it was turkey time. Anderson hadn't planned on making the turkey so he was not too pleased about this but he did graciously go and help his brother.  In hind sight, I guess that I should have had Whitman help them some but he was upstairs napping (though he wasn't really napping-I just gave him some milk and put him upstairs for a few minutes so he would stop pulling stuff out of my cabinets).  The boys turkey looked much different than the girls-the girls took their time and discussed what to do next while the boys just threw some fruit on the plate and called it done-my little men!
  • Soon everyone started arriving-Les, Shelley, Josh, Zach, Dana, Lilli, Jenna, Cash, Grannymom, Grandpa, Nonna, Pops and Jason.  Twenty one folks all together which might seem like a lot to some but to us that isn't that many.  Some day if all of these kids that were here today (11) all have one spouse and 2 kids that would be over 50 of us-sweet! I am going to need a few more tables!
  • All of our food was delicious (my favorites were the dressing, snickerdoodle bars, cranberry sauce (I liked it on top of the dressing) and the turkey (can't beat a good turkey).  The kids had a puzzle to complete and the winner won a prize (provided by Grannymom).  Keaton was the winner and she won movie tickets for everyone-woohoo!  The kids were excited but not as excited as their momma and daddys were!  
  • The boys had a bit of time to play outside and the girls worked on making some bracelets.  I had suggested them making bracelets today-what was I thinking since I had to do a lot of the bracelet work myself but if anyone would like a friendship bracelet, I would be the girl to ask!
  • Soon we were all loading up (except Nonna, Pops, Les, Josh, Grannymom, Grandpa and Whitman) to go the movies.  We saw Big Hero 6 and it was pretty good.  Or maybe I should say, what I saw of it was pretty good.  Campbell and Keaton were pretty wiggly until our potty trip and then Keaton climbed in my lap and we dozed through the rest of the movie.  I don't think that Shelley had to elbow me to get me to stop snoring.
  • Once we made it back home, it was already time to eat again.  I pretty much just let the kids eat desserts and rolls for supper-it is a holiday after all.  And then all too soon after supper, everyone started leaving.  I think that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday but how did the day pass so quickly.  Makes me kind of sad thinking about how quick the day was over.  
  • We looked through the ads today but never really saw anything that we had to have.  I don't even know what I am going to buy the kids for Christmas this year-they haven't asked for too much and we need nothing at all (except maybe for a cookbook, towels, pillows and some sweater boxes-notice how I mentioned a different list than the other day?)  Seriously, we do need nothing.  If I believed in hashtags, I would say #blessedbeyondmeasure
  • Pretty perfect day around here and the kids hung out into the living room until way too late so hopefully, everyone will sleep in tomorrow.

November 26, 2014

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Something happened to my teeth!

  • Oh these children keep waking up earlier and earlier or maybe they just keep getting louder and louder.  This morning, my sweet Keaton did come down the stairs and to our bed showing us a lego masterpiece that she had built.  I encouraged her to go back and add more to it since it was so pretty.  That worked and bought us a few more minutes to hang out in bed. 
  • (Goodness, I think every morning I mention us trying to sleep while the kids are up-no, we are not ill nor do we need any plexus or advocare or anything else you would like to sell us. We just need to go to bed before 1 each night.)
  • We did get Whitman since he was talking and he climbed around on top of us for a good 10 minutes before leaving to play with the others.  Soon, it was breakfast time and I served up waffles.  My freezer checker said that we were out of pancakes (though I probably should have looked myself).  Pretty much every time we eat, I have to have someone go to the garage fridge to gather something-usually another gallon of milk.  We are down to less than 1 a day so maybe we can hold off on buying that cow!
  • I did have the kids do a few school boxes today.  I think that I am going to be pushing it to finish all of the work that I planned on them doing before Christmas so every little bit helps.  I might even have them do one tomorrow-I'm so sneaky like that!  Oh, they would rather do school than have me pick up the house again.  Really, there is no reason to straighten this place until the kids go to bed or really, maybe even until they go to college.  
  • The day just kind of flew by and I guess it does when you really don't do a whole lot.  Campbell and I did run to the library and to the grocery store (told you we would go today).  As we were driving home, we were right in front of a tornado siren at noon and since it is Wednesday that thing went off.  It was so loud that I jumped so I know that it really startled her too.  
  • Once at home, we cooked a quick lunch and soon Grannymom and Grandpa came over to pick up Anderson.  This was his night to spend the night and that boy was so excited-though he did ask me to pack his bag which everyone usually does love doing themselves.  No telling what all he did this afternoon and evening but I am sure that he had a good time.
  • This afternoon was spent working around the house and making a few goodies for tomorrow-all I have made is desert so I hope some other people are bringing some real food.  The afternoon flew by as well (maybe because I had myself a nap today) and then we ate supper. 
  • After supper, everyone had showers and baths.  Campbell and Keaton can play in the bath or shower (bath tonight) forever unless you get busy and then when I get busy they are immediately ready to get out.  That is how it was tonight so I made them stay longer than they would have liked while I finished sweeping.
  • During all of this time, Whitman was sitting not so contently in his highchair while Robby worked in the kitchen.  The girls were out of the bath and had been playing for a few minutes when we did let Whitman down and he immediately started getting into trouble.  So Robby asked Campbell and Keaton to go and take a shower with him.  Campbell wasn't too happy about the idea so I told her that just Keaton could take a shower with Whitman but she wouldn't have that.
  • So both girls showered again with Whitman and they played happily until Robby and I became busy working with adding another table to the kitchen.  That is when those girls started screaming to get out of the shower-somehow during this screaming, Whitman became upset and started crying himself.  So Whitman was the first one I pulled out and this caused Campbell to tell me over and over again "I have had enough wetness."  
  • Of course, one the girls were out and re-pajamad Robby told Campbell that he didn't think her hair was properly washed and that she would need to get back in the bath to wash her hair.  He was only kidding but she didn't think this was nearly as funny as the rest of us did!
  • Soon it was time for bed after watching a Duck Dynasty-usually the kids watch Duck Dynasty in the car so I have never seen it, I have only heard them.  Really, I guess anyone can get a tv show these days!

November 25, 2014

Project Complete!
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  • My little girls may not have been ready to wake up this morning but they sure were ready to get their clothes on. They knew they were heading to Grannymom's house for the day along with Whitman.  
  • As soon as they left the house, the rest of us quickly ate our breakfast and then stared organizing the toy room. Some of my helpers were very helpful (Reagan) and others were not as helpful (Anderson and Graham).  In their defense, I did make them work all morning long-and I would not let them play with their toys, I only made them work (gasp!) 
  • Seriously, they really did well.  I made them go through each and every box in the toy room-dumping them out and then refilling them to make sure that only things that were supposed to be in the boxes were in there.  My boys are bad about just stuffing something in a box and the little girls do it without realizing they are doing this.  
  • We finished the toy room and then moved on to the toy room closet, their bedroom, their bedroom closet (a little more challenging because their light bulb is out in the closet) and then to the school room. While they worked on the school room, I worked on the school room closet.  We generated enough trash that Robby had to take a load elsewhere so our trashcan could survive the weekend.
  • Robby text and said that he could pick up the little people, so I served my people lunch and went back to that school room closet.  If it was just me here, I think that I could keep things neat but it is all of these other people.  I know that someday, I will just be straightening Robby's messes and will be bored out of my mind so I am not really complaining about the mess now!
  • Keaton, Campbell and Whitman had a big time at Grannymom's house-here is the rundown I received from the girls (may or may not be accurate since information was obtained from a 3 and 5 year old): playing outside, watching a brown tree trimming man, he asked if Grannymom needed any trees cut and she said that she only has one tree, grilled cheese was for lunch for the girls, never heard what Whitman ate, Keaton didn't eat her lunch when told, Cash spent the night there yet he only stayed for 5 minutes.
  • Robby took the little 3 to Sams to pick up some last minute things for Thursday and yes, we plan on going to the store tomorrow too along with Thursday.  Kidding there-at least I hope that I am!  We have 72 rolls for Thanksgiving and 400 paper plates and 500 paper bowls so we should be ready enough!
  • Once they made it home, it was soon movie watching time-my little people mostly watched me pull out school and then it was supper time.  By supper, they were wound up so we sent them upstairs to play for a while.
  • Even after supper, Reagan, Anderson and Graham ran back upstairs to finish what they were playing. The little 3 had showers and then the kids had a bit of time for the kindles before time for bed!

November 24, 2014

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At least they are smiling...

  • We didn't have to cover up any baby dolls in the middle of the night so I guess that we all slept well.  Robby did mention his dream about being trapped in a parking deck while on a bicycle.  I am not too sure but I think that dream has some type of significant meaning-just not sure what it is. 
  • The kids were up early this morning and since Anderson's new presents are still in the living room, they were building domino races, shooting nerf guns and working on Anderson's screw/bolt project.  (And speaking of that, goodness gracious!  That will take him forever to accomplish-I even think Graham is going to get one similar for Christmas)
  • Once Robby left, we started our morning.  The kids just had a few things to do school wise-phonics, computer math, reading and Bible study.  Then they had quite a list of other things to do.  I do have a long list of things to do before Thanksgiving but they are pretty random and not really related to Thanksgiving-like clean their school desks, organize the toy room and wipe down the trim.  I am pretty sure our Thanksgiving guests will have no idea if our trim is wiped down nor will they care if it was cleaned or not.  But for some odd reason, I will sleep better tonight.
  • At 11:30, we loaded up for the kids dentist appointment.  I was a little apprehensive about their appointments since my teeth are not stellar at all.  But all of them received a good report.  I even asked about our future with braces and he said we were good right now.  Nice to go to a dentist that you trust.
  • Robby met us there and everyone was very well behaved-well, I did sit in the waiting room so I figure they were good.  They did mention that they could tell Campbell was a mess and goodness, she sure is.  Whitman sat in his stroller the entire time and watched the fish and the movie and Keaton sat near me making sure that she didn't have to go to the dentist this time. 
  • After the dentist, we zoomed over to  Beebee's place to see her.  We couldn't find her but she was in the dining room finishing her lunch.  Campbell told her that she was ready to go to her room so we pushed her to her room.  Her friend showed up so we had plenty of people to talk to and the kids were better behaved today than they had been in a while.
  • When it was time to go, the other kids started giving Beebee hugs and Whitman started smacking his lips.  So, of course, I had to get him out of the stroller so he could smooch all over Beebee.  This, I am sure, made her day. 
  • Once at home, Anderson made his way outside to play nerf guns with the neighbor boys-of course, my sweet Anderson took out all of his nerf guns and new nerf gun bullets outside.  I felt like I had to stay on top of those boys since they do not treat their toys nicely so I sure didn't want for them to lose, break, steal Anderson's new stuff.  They didn't and I do think he came back in with all of his nerf bullets.  My boy had fun though and that is all that matters.
  • Campbell and Keaton were outside some and helped Robby with some leaves.  Graham and Reagan were in and out but did manage to watch a few movies.  When Anderson came in from playing outside, he climbed on in my bed and watched his moving.  He didn't change clothes first, he didn't take a shower first-Robby had to light candles since the boy was so stinky and of course, we had to wash our sheets.
  • I ran to my doctor's appointment and was quickly at the grocery store picking up a few items before heading home for supper.  Robby had fixed jambalaya for supper and it was spicy yet delicious.  He told the kids that the person with the cleanest dining area could earn a piece of candy so even though rice is usually a mess, tonight the floor/kitchen was pretty clean.  
  • They all received some candy and we played a game of Uno-Campbell won and then Keaton. The rest of us played and played trying to finish our cards but we finally had to stop since we ran out of time.  
  • After the game, we watched a Duck Dynasty (which I slept through) and then it was bedtime for the kids. 

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

(click here for today's pictures)
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

(click here for today's pictures)
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 there might be a better option.)  
11/18/2014 - First time to make

November 17, 2014

Strike a pose...
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Monday's are hard around here.  No one was really stirring until after 7:30 and the only people that came in our room were quiet and cuddly.  Since the loud people stayed away, it was nearly 7:50 before we finally jumped up to work on getting Campbell to school and Robby to work.  
  • This was a big day for Campbell because she brought the snack and was the snack helper.  When she left with her packages of stick pretzels to dip in the cheese, Graham was very disappointed to see those go.  He kept asking if we could buy some of those just for home.  I told him maybe we could get some for a trip!
  • By the time that they left, the rest of us were about 20 minutes behind in school and we never really caught up.  It did help everyone's mood since we had leftover doughnuts from Sunday to eat.  Everyone had a whole doughnut, a half and then a fourth (poor Campbell only got in on the whole doughnut because she had to leave before I divided up the others.)  
  • There was only one melt down during school-Graham.  He recovered after a few minutes and thankfully didn't fall apart again when I told him that he lost his kindle for the day.  Tonight his daddy told him that if that happens tomorrow, he will lose his kindle for 3 days-that will be a little harder to swallow for him.  Sometimes he just falls apart over tiny things.  Today it was working on his writing but if he misses too many math problems, he will just lose it-almost like he can miss 3 or 4 fine but if it is more than that, I have to tell him about them at different times.
  • Whitman had a great morning nap-I think that he was tired from yesterday.  I wished that I could have taken a morning nap with him.  But after a phone call or two, we were even further behind in school.  I did some speed reading and did finish in time for a later than normal lunch.  
  • After lunch, everyone helped me clean up some and then it was free time.  I ran around doing some extra chores (getting my Christmas ornaments ready-when you buy a can of spam and a sack of flour to hang on your tree, you have to start early deciding how to properly hang these things)  Then it was nap time for the crew-Whitman went right down which was surprising because of his morning nap.  But he does had a yucky nose right now so he probably has or is getting over a cold.  
  • My Keaton also had a good afternoon nap.  I mentioned Whitman's ailments, now to Keatons: After her shower tonight, her bottom is bright red.  Same pjs, same diaper, same panties, same everything so I have to figure it is excema.  And then her little face has excema all over it.  It wasn't too bad this morning but was really bad tonight.  I am going to have to be diligent about doctoring her up because right now she is excema girl.  (Whitman has it a some too but not nearly as bad at Kea.  I probably should check Anderson's legs since he never tells me if he is itchy)
  • When they woke up, we had time for snacks and soon Campbell and Robby were home.  Keaton and I were just finishing up making some rolls for supper-I don't think they rose enough and were pretty heavy (but still good.)  Then we all chowed down on some chicken spaghetti.  That is our current favorite meal-any meal that 8 people all like is a winner! 
  • After supper, the big kids did a bit of perler beading and the littles had a shower and then played in the toy room some.  Keaton and Campbell played kitchen "very well together"-Campbell's words.  And Whitman loves the toy room these days-it is like his own personal Toys R Us-he could stay up there for hours as long as he sees someone every few minutes.  
  • Next up was a few movies-we are loving the Right Now Media from church.  Robby usually can find us some kiddie movie about the Bible stories that we are reading about.  And then it was bedtime for the kids, blog time for me and Kroger time for Robby.