Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Looking Forward

I am constantly trying to improve myself. I frequently set goals. I always want to do more and be better. But, even with all that, I don't really like to set New Year Resolutions. I usually forget about them, or just plain-old stop doing them.

So, instead of talking about what I want to be better at this year, I thought I would just record some things that we are looking forward to happening in 2009.

  • Going to Puerto Rico in February
  • Dane and Laura's wedding in May
  • We are going to attempt a backpacking trip with all the kids in the Spring! We might be crazy!! But we are still going to try! Should be interesting!
  • Jack and Aidan will start Primary in Jan. No more kids in Nursery! I feel a little bad about it.... but I am happy they will be in Primary where I am. I love working where they are!
  • Abigail will turn 5! That seems like such a significant birthday.
  • Jack and Aidan will start preschool in the fall.
  • Possible trip to Disney to see friends and use our last ticket.
  • I will resume working at some point this year.
  • Hopefully get a family picture made.
  • Read a book or two.
  • Visit the boys' birthfamily at some point.
  • Resume some sort of quilting/crafting/creative fun.

It should be a great year! I wish the best for you all! I started this blog last January, and what started out as an easier way to keep in touch with birth families has become an amazing way to connect and re-connect with all kinds of people! Thanks for being a part of my life!

Relinquishing my crown

I have to give up my title. I have found someone more popular than me. Laura! Whenever she visits, the kids flock to her. They climb all over her, fight to talk to her, and miss her when she is gone. Dane likes her too.

The other day, we all went hiking about 2 hours from home. Laura rode in the very back next to Abigail on the way up. I felt sorry for her scrunched-up legs, so I said to Abigail "Hey, on the way home, I want to ride next to you, is that ok?"

"No, mommy, I just want Laura".
"But Abigail, I can tell you stories, and you can listen to my music, and we can play really fun games!"

"Mommy, I still love you, but I just want Laura".

Here are some great pictures from the hike.
A cute one of Jack

Me and Abigail wearing our matching hats from Christmas.

I love this one of the two of us! If we were still doing adoptions, I would put this on our profile!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008

Was awesome! It seems like every year I feel so blessed, and lucky. We have an amazing family, wonderful friends, and gorgeous children. We are (mostly) close in location, and can see each other and spend time together.
Here are a few of my favorite pics:
Kydon and I went to bed about 12:30. This girl got up at 1:00- "Mommy, is it time to get up yet?" So I made her a comfy little blanket bed on the floor next to me. She then asked the same question every 15 minutes (no, I am not kidding or exaggerating) until 6:00, when we agreed to get up. Do I look tired in this picture? There is good reason!

Sitting on the top step, waiting for 'Go'. One of my favorite moments, both when I was a child, and now! Full bliss and excitement and anticipation and joy.

The pre-opening plethora! And this year we did our darndest to cut back!

I love this picture of Jack! Santa left him his favorite drug drink- juice! He drank this sucker in about 2 days (with help from siblings and one rather large spill). But the glow is still present- every once in a while he will come up to me and say "Wow, I guess Santa know I really like juice!" Cracks me up every time.

And the yummy food at Mom's. Every time we visit, Abigail asks if we can eat dinner at Grandma's! She knows where the good stuff is found! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My hand-made Christmas

I had so much fun this year making most of our presents! Most of the things I made turned out really, really cute, and they cost me almost nothing. Bonus!

Abigail has been wanting to put on puppet shows, so I made her a couple of wooden spoon puppets. They turned out WAY better than I thought! I have more supplies, and I want to make more- I just ran out of time to do it before Christmas. But I had 2 wooden spoon puppets, plus some laminated cut-outs mounted on popsicle sticks, a $4 puppet theater from Ikea, and she was one happy camper!

Jack and Aidan each got a fishing game. I almost didn't do this one, but I had all the stuff, and so at the last minute I went for it. So easy and cute! The blog I found this on said she made it as a party favor for her son's bday party. I bet it wasn't any harder than making those bags full of cheap things, and it would be so fun to get them!

Abigail also got one of these dress-up skirts. I usually score a bunch of Halloween costumes on clearance for her dress-up stuff, but I didn't get any this year. This was fun, easy, and didn't require any sewing. I might go back and add some ribbons and flowers around the waist.

I also made Abigail a twirly skirt. Very easy to make, and I was able to make it a little longer, since she is tall and active, and most skirts just end up being... well... not very modest. This one turned out perfect! I might make another one for her birthday (shhh... don't tell!). Did you notice that it matches her puppet? How cute am I?? ;)

My sister and I worked together to make our mom and Kydon's mom some hand-made hot pads with family recipes printed on them, and some hand towels with the hand prints from the kids.
One of my favorite projects were these felt boards. I made one for each of my kids, and one for the local cousins that we drew names for. It took a little time to cut all the felt, but it was so worth it! Abigail pulled hers out to play with, and I also spied her cousin playing with his several times during the day.

I used my knifty knitter to make each of the kids a stocking cap. Abigail and Aidan were like 'sure, whatever'. But Jack took one look at his and said "I no like that". He wouldn't even put it on to try it. And he was the one I thought would be most excited, since it would give him one more item in orange. Oh well- you can't win them all!
These bean bags were so easy to whip out! I made about 24 (and by about I mean exactly). We had fun this morning throwing, catching, trying to toss them into pots and pans, trying to slide them closest to something without touching, and I think they were only used to pelt a sibling once.

I made the non-local cousins little notebook covers. Personalized with their initials, and filled with a blank notebook and colored pencils. I think they turned out adorable!


I was going to make 3 more and give them to my kids too, but Abigail told me they were 'boring', so I didn't finish them. Maybe one day...

I can't believe I actually did them all! Every one that I wanted to do got done! I started early, of course- back in September. I am already on the lookout for next year. I have an idea for the parents.... :) If you see anything cute, or have any good ideas, please let me know!

Food Friday: Taking advantage of opportunities

Growing up, we quite often found in our stocking a banana, an orange, and one of those small boxes of cereal. That was our Christmas morning breakfast. I loved that tradition! When I married Kydon, his family had a similar-but-a-little-different tradition of have a full size box of cereal wrapped up under the tree, and wah-lah; Christmas morning breakfast.

I liked both of those traditions, so we always have a box of cereal under the tree for each person. It is usually their favorite.... my kids are weird- they like bran flakes (as Abigail says- Raisin Bran without the raisins), Kix, Chex, and Honey Nut Cheerios. They won't eat the sugar stuff, thank goodness! :)

So this year, I am trying to squirrel away food storage. So I used some Christmas money to buy the cereal, and then for breakfast I made a yummy breakfast casserole that we ate for breakfast. Then, sneaky food storage hoarder that I am becoming, I found a distracted moment and carried all the cereal downstairs. Ha! Now we have our 3 month supply of cereal! One item on the list down, 57 thousand items to go.

Christmas Miracles

1. We put this out at the same time as our tree, first weekend in December, and it didn't get broken!
A replica of the Disney Monorail- we bought it during our trip to Orlando. I love this train! I thought it would be so cute going around our tree. It was adorable, and I am in shock that it didn't get destroyed!

2. Jack and Aidan ignored Diego cartoon to play (properly) with the nativity.

3. We actually went *under* budget.

4. I got all my Christmas projects done!
A felt board with lots of different shapes and ideas for making pictures! I was so happy when she pulled it out to play with it after opening all the presents!

5. This mysterious package arrived on Christmas Eve... dropped on our doorstep...

We spent all day shaking it, wondering what it could be, and talking ourselves out of opening it early! Good thing it said "Do not open until Dec. 25"- otherwise it would have been toast!

Inside was Kydon's leather jacket!! It has been missing for several weeks. He had figured out that he took it off to go to his graduation, he thinks he left it on the top of the car and drove away without it. The only thing we can figure out is that someone found it (in downtown), found his work badge that was in the pocket (had his full name on it), found his address and delivered it!


There was a note from Santa inside- it was found by one of the elves, and he told Kydon to take better care of it next time, because Christmas only comes once a year! He is so happy to have his wonderful jacket back!

I hope your Christmas is filled with miracles.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Baby Lions and Cupcakes

Jack and Aidan have some imaginary pets- the Baby Lions. They take great care of their Baby Lions- sleeping with them, playing with them, and feeding them. Today was Baby Lion's birthday, so they had a party.

Abigail took her play-doh time to make some super-cute cupcakes. Aren't these adorable?

I couldn't believe how cute they turned out! Don't they look just magical? I swear you could sell these in some upscale toy store! I love them!

We are so ready for Christmas! I actually got every.single.project finished!! I can't wait to post them all! It is coming!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's just another manic Monday...

Monday mornings usually look like this:
Piles of laundry waiting to be washed, dried, folded, and put away.
Piles of dishes, waiting to be scrubbed, washed, put away...

Kids a little bit sad and cranky and onery, waiting to be washed, and held, and loved...

I know it looks like he is smiling, but he isn't- he is sad! See the hand to they eye?
Is it the Christmas Spirit? I just can't feel bad about this! I love that our weekend was fun and busy and go-go-go so that we didn't even have time to clean up! I love to have Monday as a re-set day to recover from late bedtimes and weekend excitement! I love to have 3 beautiful babies to make me laugh, make me cry, and fill my house with noise. One day I'm going to miss these work filled Mondays.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Food Supply: Freezer Meals

I am happy to report that this week I made another freezer meal, and I've been trying not to use what I had in order to build up my supply a little faster. So as of today, I have completed my goal to have 30 freezer meals! Yay!


Today I made pizza rolls. They are one of our favorite things to eat! Here is how you make them:
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Pizza Rolls:
-frozen pizza dough (or make your own)
-cheese
-your favorite pizza toppings (I like pepperoni, green pepper, mushrooms and olives. Sausage is also really yummy).

Roll out the dough. I like to make a rectangle, about 8" by 14". I like to make it more of a skinny rectangle, so when I roll it up it is longer instead of fatter- that makes more rolls. If you like fatter/bigger rolls, you could make it more of a square shape.

Then just add your toppings. Don't put any sauce on these- just the pizza toppings.
Once you have your toppings on, simply start from one side and roll it up. If you have ever made cinnamon rolls, it is the same process. I like to stretch the dough a little as I roll it so that it keeps the toppings a little more snug.

Then, starting at one end, slice it in segments of about 1". Use a sharp serrated knife, since you will be cutting through a lot of your toppings. Place them with the cut side up onto a baking sheet, and bake at 450 until golden brown (usually about 10 min).

When putting them in the freezer, I like to pull them out about 10 seconds before they turn golden. I find that just slightly underbaking them makes them taste a little better when reheated. I also find that I have to get them in the freezer quick or we will eat them all! :)

To reheat, simply wrap in a paper towel and microwave until hot- 1 or 2 min, depending on how many you are doing.

Serve warm with a bowl of pizza sauce to dip them into. Also, we like to dip them in pesto sauce.

These are so easy to make in large batches, especially if you use frozen dough. I can easily make 5 pizzas worth of rolls in less than 2 hours. And they are delicious!

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Freezer meals are so awesome! It greatly reduces my dinner-time stress, and it saves us money when I can just pull things out of the freezer instead of stopping somewhere for dinner. Now that I have reached my goal, my plan is that once a week I will cook a 'freezer meal', which means that I will make something for dinner that freezes well. I will make enough for 3 meals- we eat one the night that I cook it, and I stick the other 2 into the freezer. Then 2 nights during the week we will eat food from the freezer to use and rotate what we have. It is a way to combine the cooking time while still eating a wide variety of food.

I am making a lot of progress on my goals overall. I purchased some cereal to work toward my 3 month supply of food this week also. It is such a good feeling to set a goal and see continual progress! What are you all working on? Any progress this week? Are you doing anything over the Christmas holiday? I am going to try and make some shelves! We'll see if it really happens!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And then the universe laughed in my face.

Ha, Ha, Ha. Remember, like 10 minutes ago, when I was all 'oh- things are fine! 3 year old twins are great! Nothing to blog about!'.

Yea. That didn't last long.
This would be Jack and Aidan finding the last bit of dip that got accidentally left out, and they collectively decided to make a racing track. Because the only thing more fun than driving little cars around is driving little cars around through dip. Yum. Or yuck. Whatever.

A whole lotta nothin'

The past couple of days have just been busy, but just with normal things, and nothing has really hit me to blog about!

I thought about writing about how awesome it is to have twins who are 3! I am totally loving this age. People were right when they said having 3 year old twins is easier than just having 1!

I have been doing a lot of crafting. Of course, I can't post any of my ideas or projects, because we have to keep them *secret*! But can I just say I am about to die from ca-ute-ness? I made something today and I just about posted it anyway, it turned out so good! But I am trying to resist!

Our Christmas shopping is done... what a relief! And I dropped a few things at the post office today, so now it is just finishing up a few more projects, and then wrap!

Like I said, not anything really interesting or fun to write about, just a whole lot of normal! Isn't that nice? :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do you ever...

Look at the clock, see 3:30 and think "Oh good- only 2 more hours until bedtime"!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

What do you want for Christmas?

Last night was the Church Christmas party, complete with a visit from Santa Claus!

Abigail, true to form, requested "princess stuff".

Aidan kept his request simple, only asking for "a canny cane" (candy cane).

Jack wanted a bit more. "A Toro Loco (his favorite monster truck) that is big and huge and I can ride in it".

Uhhh......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Exciting Milestones


The great thing about the oldest child is they are always doing things first! I know you are thinking "duh", but it is so cool that my first everything is with Abigail! I love it! Thursday night we attended our first Christmas program as parents of a kid in the program. I was SO excited! It was actually pretty funny to sit there waiting for it to start and feel how excited I was for something so silly! My girl is getting so big!
She was an illustrious pine tree. She and two other cuties stood up at the front and said this:

"I'm a little pine tree tall and straight.
Here are my branches for you to decorate.
Don't forget to put the star on top,
please make sure that the balls don't chop."

Now, you may be reading that and thinking hmm... that last word should probably be *drop*, not *chop*, and you might be thinking that I had a little typo. But I will reassure you that Abigail was very adamant that they wanted her to say that the balls don't CHOP, and they most definately do NOT want her to say that they might drop. Because after all, the word 'drop' would not at all match the chopping motion she made with her arms at the end.

That is what I love about the 4 year old programs. Full of cuteness and laughs!
My only complaint was that they had it so late! The program started at 7! At first I thought it was just another sign that we are out of touch with reality by putting our kids to bed at 6 or 6:30, but there were a lot of kids up there drooping and yawning and looking really tired. Abigail had spent the whole day singing cute little songs and talking about balls chopping, but she spent a lot of the program with her head resting on her knees looking a little sleepy. At least she wasn't as bad as the little girl in the front row who actually did fall asleep. Straight out, right there on stage. It was hilarious.

And then last night was our other milestone- Kydon's graduation!


It was one of those days when everything that went wrong. The kids (and I) were tired from the night before. I tried for almost 2! hours! to get them to take naps. With zero luck. So, since nobody would sleep, I got the brilliant idea to take them to the mall so we could shop for some clothes to wear to the graduation. Hey! Kids tired and cranky? Won't take their naps? Why not take them to the mall where they have no restricting shopping carts and big holiday crowds and try to find cute clothes! It will be great!

Or not.

After that fun, I tried to clean the house. That didn't happen either, and I think it was actually messier when I was finished than it was when I started. Add in a family crisis that I was utterly useless for, and trying to please everyone with meeting and leaving, and not being able to do what anyone wanted.... well, by the time I got everyone ready and in the car, I was thinking to myself that it was a terrible idea to take all of us downtown to the ceremony, and what was I thinking, and I should just stay home and put everyone to bed.
But we went- see?
Me, Dane, Aidan, Jack, Abigail, Mom and Dad. Kydon had a pretty good cheering section!

And I was SO glad I went! There was such a rush of pride for Kydon, and relief that it was over, and just a huge feeling of celebration that he had reached this point and done what he set out to do! It was awesome. I am really proud that he did this!

And, actually, the kids were surprisingly well behaved considering! It was actually pretty enjoyable.

See him there? The 4th blur from the right.

The graduating class- just the graduate degrees, thank goodness. :)

The kids were so enthralled with Buzz! They spent about 5-10 minutes chasing him around, giving him high 5's, and generally just thinking he was awesome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food Friday: Thank goodness for Mom


My progress this week? I used some of my wheat! Yes, this depletes my supply rather than enhances it, but I count this as progress, because I absolutely refuse to have massive amounts of food in my house that I don't (or won't) use. I had 10 cans of wheat, so in order to complete my goal of 'food supply' and not 'food storage', I figured I better find ways to use it! Eventually, when I have my 1,000 lbs (!) of wheat, I will need to use about 100 lbs a year to rotate it every 10 years. It shouldn't be a problem, but all the same, I need to know how to use it.


So, thank goodness for my Mom! She is really the best. I went to her house (unannounced of course. If I call ahead, she has the opportunity to say no. On a rainy Wednesday afternoon, I don't like to give her the option). :) Anyway, I went over and *just happened* to have one of my cans of wheat with me. How convienient! She was nice enough to pull out her wheat grinder and fire it up. See- told you she was great! Always so supportive of anything I'm trying to do! And she lives close. Even better!


She has this one:
The K-Tec Kitchen Mill


Which I had seen and read about (now that I am into this type of thing), and it worked great. And was pretty small and easy to use, and didn't make a mess (of course, I left before she cleaned it *how convienient*. Mom- leave a comment and tell if it is easy to clean or not).


So now I have wheat flour! She told me to keep it in the freezer, because it loses nutrients really fast. And I believe her, because she has been doing this WAY longer than I have! She knows these things. She also gave me "dough enhancer" to try to make some bread with. Sounds fancy, right? I'm not sure what to do with it, but I will give it a try! The instructions say things like 'jog the machine'. I don't have a machine, and I'm not sure what I would do to jog one. But I will just pull out my wooden spoon and clean hands and give it a try.


Bread making is on the agenda for next week. This week with our new FRESH ground wheat flour, we made:


Baking powder biscuits. The recipe called for 2 c of flour, so I used 1.5 c white and .5 c wheat. I could taste a slight difference, but I think they tasted just fine. Not different bad, just different.


And we tried Blender Wheat Pancakes:


This recipe is kind of cool because you use your wheat berries (see how much I am learning? I now know the little kernals are called berries!) whole- they don't need to be ground ahead of time. You basically just put some wheat berries and milk (powdered, of course) in the blender for about 5 minutes, add a few more ingredients, then cook.

They were surprisingly good! Both Kydon and I were skeptical, to say the least, but they were yummy! (And would have probably been even better if I had remembered to add the salt- oops.) It wasn't any harder to make than normal pancakes. Also, normally Jack and Aidan eat 5-6 pancakes each. It normally requires a triple batch to fill everyone up, but we only made a single batch of these, and they were all full after just 2! That is a good thing!


Then we topped off the healthy, nutritious breakfast with some fast-acting sugar in the form of candy canes. But look at the smiles!! Remind me to include sweets into my food supply!


I'm a little scared, because I found a lot of information about how sick you will get when you first start eating wheat! I really don't want to live in a house where 5 people have digestive issues!! My mom reassured me that it wouldn't be too much of a problem, and I do believe her. But I am going to go a little slow on the wheat, especially at first.