Friday, July 30, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.   inspired by SouleMama


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Breakout!, Birthday, and Bread

Ava is five weeks old today.  I have had a hard time pushing myself out of this house, partly because I feel like I have so much to do here, and partly because (yes, even after my fourth baby) I am sort of intimidated to run out with all of the kiddos.  It just seems overwhelming at times.  I am continually trying to be relaxed, but in my tired, emotional, usually self-defeating self, it can be hard to do that.  One day at a time, one grace at a time, I am changing and trying to become a stronger person.

Last night I took a deep breath and broke out of the house for our first big outing – church!  Everyone was excited to see us, of course, and meet our little blessing.  It was refreshing to be out, and once again, I reminded myself that it wasn't that hard!  Today, I took all of the kids to the local fruit market for some minor grocery shopping.  I put Ava in the Bjorn carrier (a continual lifesaver!) and gave the others a pre-shopping trip lecture about how things should go.  Again, a good success – phew!

Yesterday was my son’s 9th birthday.  I can’t believe he is nine… or I guess moreso, it is making me realize that he will be in the double digits next year – gulp!  I love him dearly.


For birthdays, the children get to pick what they want for meals throughout the day.  He wanted monkey bread for breakfast.  We had that with a psuedo-omelet (fried meat, cheese, and 1 egg – that’s all I had left) and some frozen blueberries.


Monkey Bread

from Martha Stewart

(Note:  I use softened butter instead of shortening and so far, have omitted the nuts for the coating)

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake

  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, plus more for pan and bowl
  • 1/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch for yeast
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast (scant tablespoon)
  • 3/4 cup warm (110 degrees to 115 degrees) milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar


  1. Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan and a medium bowl with shortening; set aside. Put the warm water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl; sprinkle yeast over top. Stir; let the yeast soften and dissolve, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place shortening, milk, sugar, salt, and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
  3. Add yeast mixture to shortening mixture, and beat to combine. Slowly add flour. Knead on medium-low, 1 minute. Transfer dough to the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place, 20 minutes.
  4. Make coating: Place melted butter in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts; sprinkle 2 tablespoons nut mixture into prepared Bundt pan.
  5. Cut dough into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll into balls. Coat in butter, then roll in nut mixture, and place in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate, and let cool 20 minutes more.
  7. Make icing: In a small bowl, combine milk and confectioners' sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over bread.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Our Garden


This year we planted a garden.  It’s been many years since we’ve had a garden, probably about 10 years, when we lived at our old house.  Many years I would think about planting one, but Brian would say, “The kids are your garden right now”.  I realized that was true.  Somehow, though, he got the itch for the garden this year and went ahead with it.  He built three raised bed garden beds, and we planted:  cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beans, marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflowers, and peppers.  We’ve had many beans, much lettuce, and a handful of cucumbers already that we have thoroughly enjoyed.  There is just nothing like fresh garden produce!

I’m hoping next year we can do even better with the garden, but for the amount we’ve done, I am happy with the results.  God and the land have been good to us.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Meals and Paprika Roast Chicken

Over the past month, my mother and my church family have provided many meals for us to enjoy, such as:

  • Creamy Crockpot Chicken with Cheesy Potatoes
  • Chicken Pasta Dish (whose name escapes me!), Bread, Brownies
  • Roasted Chicken, Garlicky Beans, Red Potatoes, Choc. Chip Cookies
  • Baked Ziti, Green Beans, Salad, and Klondike Bars
  • Veggie Tacos
  • Another Creamy Chicken Dish with Cole Slaw and Brownies
  • Roast, Salad,  Bread, Apple Pie
  • Lasagna, Bread, Salad, Berry Pie, and Choc. Chip Cookies

AND a friend came to visit me for lunch last week and brought Subway subs and chips.

Truly, I have been blessed.  All of this food has helped me tremendously.  Now, though, I am trying to get back into the routine of providing meals for my family.  A few days ago I made Paprika Roast Chicken - quite simple and quite tasty.


Paprika Roast Chicken

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), giblets and liver discarded, patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, mix paprika, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and teaspoon pepper. Season chicken cavity with about 1/4 of paprika mixture. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Using kitchen twine, tie legs together; tuck wing tips under.
  2. Rub chicken with oil; sprinkle all over with remaining paprika mixture. Roast until very dark, 15 to 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a platter, and cover loosely with foil; let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

From Everyday Food, April 2007

Friday, July 23, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today I wish my mom a VERY happy birthday!  Mom, you mean the world to  your family.  You are ever serving and blessing us.  Thank you for your continual thoughtfulness and kindness towards all of us.  We love you and wish you a spectacular year ahead!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Camp at Home – the Finale

Well, we made it through the week!  Camp at home was fun, and I’m sure it will be a little easier next year without a newborn.  :-)  However, then I might have a walking toddler…. Hmmm… 

Friday was supposed to be our final day, but we’re sort of stretching it a bit.  I felt like my pace got slower throughout the week as I realized, once again, that I am only 3 weeks postpartum and actually feeling quite exhausted.  It’s taking me some time to get back into the swing of things.  I am not one of those moms who can just BOUNCE right back into life at warp speed.

On Friday the kids wanted to play outside quite a bit, and we did some water activities.  We made Sponge Balls.

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The kids played a couple different games with them.

  • They set up buckets of water.  A person would dunk the ball into the water and then throw it at the other person to catch who would, obviously, then get quite wet.  The game would continue as the children moved back a little bit each time, trying to catch the sponge ball.
  • Each child had a bucket set up for himself – oldest child’s bucket was furthest away and the younger children’s were closer to the starting point.  Using the sponge balls and a couple water-filled buckets, the children would dip the sponge into the water, run to their buckets, and SQUEEZE out as much as possible.  The winner was the person to fill his bucket first. 


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I can not remember if and when I made a tie dyed shirt last!  On Saturday we tackled it!  I was glad to have Brian home to help me with this somewhat tedious project, mainly because the dye is so messy.  We made a spiral pattern for the boys and a double spiral pattern for my daughter, per their request.  It went so well, we are thinking about dyeing some shirts for the rest of the household soon.  I am anxious to see how the shirts fare through the washer and dryer – GULP!

The last activity I have planned is to make some homemade (Rocky Road?) ice cream in our ice cream maker.  We only usually pull out the ice cream maker about once a year, so this would be its big debut.

Some of you might want to know what the baby did during camp.  Besides being held, she did

Some of this…


and some of this…

IMG_5791  Back to normal life!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Camp at Home – Day Four

After breakfast we started the day with a scavenger hunt.  I made 10 clues total – 3 per child, and then 1 final clue for them to figure out together that led them to the prize – bird and animal puppets.  I’m hoping (and planning) they will put on a show for us.


Gloria’s Perfect Jello Squares













Kool-Aid Playdoh

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The recipe says to use unsweetened Kool-aid.  I only had sweetened, Target brand, “bulk” drink mix, and it worked fine.  I did dust the Playdoh with flour when I kneaded it because it was too moist otherwise.

My daughter and I wrote tomorrow’s items on the board, and she left a surprise message for me that touched my heart.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Camp at Home – Day Three

Well, I did simplify today.  We only did a couple “special” things.  By the time afternoon came, again my mind was thinking, “What have I gotten done today?”  Again, it is the same answer… mostly cared for my children and nursed/soothed/held the baby.  I have a lot of cleaning, organizing, planning, etc. to do, but I can not get to a lot of it.  As a friend said the other day, many times life as a mom consists of  looking at your “To Do” list and tackling the most necessary tasks for that day – so true!  Another friend said, in response to me telling her that I am not getting much done and am just nursing and holding the baby, “That’s what you are supposed to be doing”, and you know what – she is right!  When we have babies, we want life to be “normal” again, but it isn’t.  There is a new person in the home.  There is someone new to welcome and warm, someone new to work her way into everyone’s hearts.  She is adjusting and so are we!  This time with my new baby is so special.  I definitely should not be wishing it away!  I should be relishing in it!  Housework and life will always be waiting for me, but my newborn will grow up so fast!

With these words said, this is what we did today…

Face Painting


My son painted a shield, bow, and sword on my younger son’s face.  I painted the soccer ball and heart on the other two children’s faces, per their request!

Made and Flew Kites


We made this kite from “Family Fun” magazine.

We used streamers for our tails and sewing thread for the string.  It worked out just fine, and the kids had fun!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Camp at Home – Day 2

Day Two of “Camp” was fun, but I am realizing how my time and energy is limited.  I am not getting to much else except trying to have a little fun with my kids and nursing/soothing/holding a newborn.  Brian told me today he thinks I should minimize a bit.  I may need to do that.  I will say that I have had to do some of the activities in the evening when Brian is home.  Of course tomorrow is church night, so I will not have that luxury.

Here’s what we were able to do today:

Crafts:   Spin Art and Flip Flop Decorating (for my daughter)


For the flip flops, my daughter painted the straps with green glitter glue.  Then we affixed some beads to the straps with Tacky Glue.

Special Food:  Chocolate Peanut Butter Munchies

Photo courtesy of

I usually use semi-sweet chocolate chips (because that is what I have on hand), and usually omit the candies.  It’s still a great treat!

Game:  Cranium Cadoo


My kids really enjoy this game.  It involves acting, drawing, trivia, and sculpting.

Until tomorrow…

Monday, July 12, 2010

Camp at Home

This week my niece is camping at The Wilds with our church youth group.  Being the postpartum, busy mom that I am, I have a hard time keeping up with all the fun my teen niece has, but I am TRYING this week.  We are having “Camp at Home”.  I am trying to schedule fun things for each day:  a craft, a special food, a game, and an activity.  I may not be able to keep up with it all, but I will do my best to have a fun week with my kids.  Here is what happened today.

I welcomed them to camp with a note on the whiteboard of my hopes for the day.


I did have to make a couple adjustments to the day.  We ended up playing Yahtzee for our game, since my uncle came to see our new baby and wanted to play Yahtzee.  Also, for dinner, we ordered out.  Brian and I were feeling spent come dinner time and just decided to order out from Kerby’s Koney Island.  The kids didn’t mind too much.  :-)

We made a beach diorama.  If you are not familiar with a diorama, it is basically a mini version of a scene. 

IMG_5715 IMG_5716

I started with some ideas for the kids, and then they added their own – like the pizza stand, the wave with the surfer on it, and the flip flops near the beach towels that each of the kids decorated.

After dinner we made Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag

The ice cream was quite tasty by itself, and the kids had a lot of fun shaking it up in the bags!  The bags did get VERY COLD, though, and they ended up wrapping them in towels after a few minutes so they could finish the necessary shaking.

IMG_5696 IMG_5697

Before bedtime, we were able to squeeze in one of the games from Bucket BlastThe kids had to balance one bean bag on a body part and take it to the finish line.  If they succeeded, they played the next round with two bean bags and increased a bean bag for each round.  My oldest son made it through five bean bags, but then we called it quits.

IMG_5725   IMG_5717

The kids had fun today.  I am hoping to post something each day about what we are doing.  Wish me well!

Friday, July 9, 2010

And another giveaway – a dehydrator!!

Photo courtesy of Passionate Homemaking.

Passionate Homemaking is giving away a dehydrator!  Check out their post for more details.  The giveaway ends Tuesday, July 13 at 5 p.m. (PST).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

CSN Gift Card Giveaway

Nikki, from Nikki’s Nacs, is giving away a $40 gift card to CSN.  The winner will be drawn on Monday, July 12, so check out her blog to enter!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Marriage Getaways


I was so excited for my friend this past weekend!  She and her hubby of 10 years were getting away alone, without her four children, for multiple days.  My friend turned 30 years old in June, so as a birthday present, her friends chipped in and helped send her and her husband away for a weekend.  Hopefully they had a marvelous time!

When Brian and I celebrated 10 years of marriage a few years ago, we went away for almost a week, and it was so nice…. so nice that we decided to keep doing it each year thereafter.  ~smile~  This year is a little different with Baby arriving, so we will have to postpone our getaway until next year or so. 


I encourage all married couples to get away from the hustle and bustle of life and just focus on each other.  It’s such a wonderful time.  You really do need multiple days, too.  I remember someone telling me that it would take a couple days for me to adjust to vacation mode and not be in hurry, mommy mode.  She was right! 

Make it a goal soon, hopefully, to get away with your spouse if you haven’t recently.  You won’t regret it.  You WILL miss your kids terribly, but the reunion is sweet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Crafty Bag


My friend, Candice, made me this neat bag!  (This photo does not do it justice!)  I will probably use it as a diaper bag.  It is actually a no-sew bag that is lined with, believe it or not!, duct tape – not the gray color you are thinking of though.  No, this bag is lined with pretty, white duct tape, to match the bag itself.  It doesn’t even look like duct tape.  It just looks waterproof inside.  Candice made a couple other beautiful bags for her mom and sister too.  If you leave a comment here, maybe she will get around to that blog post I’ve been bugging her to write about them.  ~wink~  So, who wants to see the pics and maybe directions(?) for the other bags?  ME!!  {SMILE}