Wednesday, February 28, 2007

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



Maybe she'll look something like this...











Monday, February 26, 2007

Great Expectations





So this might be a good time to let you all know (if you don't already) that we are expecting- expecting a baby that is! For those of you who have been paying attention to this blog for a while, you may be asking yourself- don't they already have four kids, and doesn't this make #5? What are these people, crazy?! Well, the answer is yes, yes, and probably a little bit, yes!
But seriously, we are all very excited, especially my middle two boys who are constantly touching and talking to my belly and telling me that I need to stay home and take it easy instead of going to meetings, taking walks, etc. Funny they don't offer to clean the whole house everyday though! My ten year old also wanted to know if I would start having "mood swings" like his teacher that just had a baby, and described her pregnant behavior in great detail which I thought was quite hilarious! They really have been very sweet about the whole thing. My teenager is maybe a little less into it all, which I'm not offended by or anything. I can understand that at that age, having a pregnant mom may be a little embarassing and not something you necessarily want to broadcast or constantly dwell on!
Later today I have an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby, but let's face it- odds are it's a boy! Since the first four are so great, another one is fine with me. I have to admit a girl would be nice for a change though, especially as a major lover of the color pink! So either way, more big news to come, but I guess it wouldn't hurt for you all to THINK PINK today!

So I have to tell you about a funny conversation I overheard yesterday morning. Two of my boys were arguing about who would take a shower first (since for them, taking a shower is akin to torture) Their dad told M to take one first, but he asked me if they could flip a coin to decide and I said fine.

N: Dada told YOU to take the first shower!
M: Well, that doesn't matter because Mama said we could flip a coin to decide and Mama has more power than Dada, so we're flipping a coin!

I HAVE THE POWER!
(Imagine that in a He-Man voice. Lately we've gone retro and are into He-Man, if any of you are old enough to remember it! My little guy dug out all of my brother's old toys and videos and now we get to be subjected to some form of He-Man everyday-lucky us)

So finally, these pictures have nothing to do with this post, except that it is snowing again today- no snow day this time though. Here's a picture of the really pretty roses I got from my honey for Valentine's day. And all I did was make him a big cookie- what a lame-o I am!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy SNOWY Valentine's











Happy Valentine's Day! This may be kind of a long post, so if you think I'm boring, stop reading now and just look at the pictures!
So this morning before 7 I looked out the window and saw that there was maybe 1/2 inch of snow on the ground and figured surely we'd have school, so I dragged myself out of bed to make our traditional Valentine's breakfast of chocolate gravy with heart shaped biscuits. So I got up and there was my oldest boy, intently watching the tv screen to see if there was a SNOW DAY. You people in the west won't know what I'm talking about. In UT and such places I don't think there is any such thing as a snow day! Out here in the east, however, there are usually at least a couple of snow days a year. I guess we are extra wimpy or something, plus the roads are narrower, etc. I don't really know the reasoning. Anyhoo, there came our town, up on the screen- SNOW DAY! I think the town officials are a bit skittish after last year when a big snow storm stranded a school bus (with my kids on it) for an hour and freaked out all the parents who sent lots of complaining emails, so they will cancel school as soon as one flake of snow hits the pavement!
So, of course I got back in bed! A couple of minutes later I heard the horns going off from the center of town. I currently live in the town where I grew up, and here there is an extremely loud horn at the center firestation. When I was little it went off at 6:45 AM, noon, and 6:45 pm. There is some old-fashioned reason for it that I don't really know- I've heard fog, ice, to wake up the farmers, etc but I don't know the true reason. But on snow days, it will go off in the early morning about 10x in a row- the best sound of childhood! My senior year of high school we only got one black ice day, and I was so mad! How lame is that?! Senior year is the only year that you don't have to make up snow days, so I felt pretty gypped, and frankly still kind of do! Yes, I take a while to get over things. Anyway, the irony is that my kids get up just as early instead of sleeping in, and by noon they will be driving me nuts!
So yesterday was our Joyschool Valentine's day party. It was so JOYful- and loud, and exhausting!! (for me, not the kids) We did have fun though, decorating Valentine's bags, frosting cookies, making Valentine's for all the parents, and exchanging Valentine's. Little kids get so excited about this stuff! My little guy was about beside himself all morning. He looked so handsome with his new haircut all dressed up in his red shirt.
So I tried a new sugar cookie recipe that I got from my friend Ashley, and they were so good! My sugar cookies always turn out hard and crunchy, but these were so soft and yummy. This is probably due to the entire cup of sour cream the recipe contains! Plus she told me that you need to underbake them, they should be rolled thick and not be brown at all, even on the bottom. So, if you haven't already made your "cutout cookies" for today, try them- you'll be happy you did! When I was growing up my parents made us each a giant heart-shaped cookie that was waiting for us when we got up in the morning, another fun Valentine tradition. I used to love to put red hots on mine. My other favorite thing was doilies, coloring in between each tiny hole with a marker and seeing the design it made on the paper. I guess this post is all about my trip down Valentine's memory lane!
My good friend EP really liked the bear that I made our other friend for her baby shower and asked me to make her one sometime. So, I thought it would be a fun to make one for a little Valentine's surprise. We wrapped it up in cellophane, holding a heart cookie and her neighborly neighbor helped me break in and leave it in her condo so it would be waiting when she came in the door last night.(It's ok, they are good friend and she has a key!) I just love surprising people! I think the fabric she picked out is so cute. I can't really take much credit for it, since it's a Martha pattern as I mentioned before. I sure am getting great mileage out of that free pattern download!
Well, snow day or no, I hope you have a very Happy Valentine's Day today, enjoying your own family's traditions!


Chocolate Gravy and Buttermilk Biscuits:

Biscuits-
2 c flour
2 & 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t soda
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 C buttermilk (sub regular milk with a little vinegar or lemon juice)
4-5 T cooking oil

Mix ingredients well, dough will be sticky. Roll our on floured surface. Cut into circles (or hearts for Valentine's) and place on greased pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Butter and top with chocolate gravy.

Chocolate Gravy-
2 T flour
2 T cocoa
1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 C milk
1 T butter
1 t vanilla

In saucepan mix flour, sugar, and cocoa and mild and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened. (consistency will be like thin pudding) Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Pour over hot buttered biscuits. Yum!

Sugar Cookies:

1 C butter softened
2 C sugar
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
4 t baking powder
4 1/2- 5 C flour

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, then sour cream. Add dry ingredients until dough is no longer sticky. Chill dough for an hour in the freezer for one hour, or fridge for 3-4 hours. Roll dough out about 1/4 inch thick on floured surface, and bake for about 8 minutes at 400 degrees. Cookies should not be brown at all on top or bottom. Cool on baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

Frosting:

1 stick butter, softened
2 C powdered sugar
1 t vanilla
1-2 T milk
pinch salt
food coloring

Mix with beaters adding milk until frosting gets smooth and creamy but not too thin. (For chocolate frosting, also add 6 T powdered cocoa) Spread on cooled cookies.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Miss Potter and the Shrew is Back


So last night I went with my sister and my mom to see this movie about Beatrix Potter and I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely loved it, one of the best movies I've seen in a long time and I highly recommend it to you! Hers is such a sweet story, and it was so interesting learning more about her life and how her adorable little books came to be. Did you know that she is the best-selling children's author of all time? I didn't know that. I loved her personality and the fact that she was a strong woman with goals in a time where women weren't always encouraged to pursue their talents. The movie was shot in England and Scotland and the scenery is gorgeous. It is also a beautiful love story, which I wasn't really expecting.
I thought it was so well done overall, and I loved the fact that there was not one iota of bad language or instance of violence. What a relief to watch a movie and be able to enjoy it without cringing at those things! This is a movie you could take your kids or your Grandma to. Older little girls would like it especially I think.
One reason I think I loved it is because I have always loved little furry animals like bunnies, hedgehogs, squirrels, etc. Growing up I had a bunny, a gerbil, and lots of fish and occasionally tadpoles that turned to frogs. My son had an adorable little lop-eared brown bunny a few years ago named Speedy, who sadly passed away while we were at Disneyland two summers ago. But we sure had fun with him for a couple of years, letting him hop around in the grass while the kids played out in the back yard.
You may be surprised to learn of my love of rodents considering our recent experiences. And, you're not going to believe this but THERE IS ANOTHER SHREW in our house! After all the drama last week we thought we were finally done dealing with shrews because we hadn't seen/heard anything for two days. Until Monday when my little guy saw the second culprit go scurrying by. The whole week before, I had been assuring him that if he sat on the couch, the shrew couldn't reach him, etc. Then, Monday night I was laying on the couch and felt a little poke, poke, poke on the back of my sweater. I jumped up and pulled the cushion away and there was the little bugger, poking at me with his nose, as if I was the one in HIS way!! The audacity! So now we are back to shrew-catching square one, and this one doesn't seem to be coming out as much and may prove harder to catch. Too bad there is no Beatrix Potter story about a shrew- maybe we'll have to write our own! Hopefully there will be a happy ending of all shrews going back to the wild, never to be seen here again!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Shower Gifts





My good friend is having a baby girl next month and I am so excited for her! She is the one who has pretty much taught me everything I know about quilting and she is a great teacher. So, I wanted to make her something special to match her nursery. She picked this adorable pink and brown fabric for the baby's room- I guess those are the in colors! The fabric is designed by Buggy Barn and I absolutely love it. She's making her quilt with this Buggy Barn star pattern, I think the book is called Star Crossing, so I thought it would be fun to make a something decorative to match it. It's especially cute because the fabric has a lot of stars in it.
Once again I used the "Tooth Bear" sewing project from the Martha Stewart website I altered it a little by enlarging the pattern to make it bigger than the original. I also machine sewed it right sides together and then flipped it out and stuffed it instead of handsewing the edge like their felt version on the website. The legs and arms are really skinny and kind of hard to stuff, so the legs are filled with plastic pellets and the rest is stuffed with polyfil. It's a quick and easy project which is the kind I like. Her shower was today and it was lots of fun. She got so many cute dresses and little girl outfits and things I could hardly stand it! This will be one well-dressed little girl. I can't wait to meet the new arrival!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Taming of the Shrew








We have a shrew loose in our house. Yes- you heard me right I said a SHREW loose not a SCREW loose, which in this house would make a lot more sense! Or I should say we had a shrew loose. It all started last week when I walked into the bathroom one day and heard a scratching sound and thought uh-oh, a mouse. Then I looked out and screamed, "There's a MOLE in the bathroom!" It looked like a mole with non-visible eyes and a pointy snout, but was the size of a large mouse. My husband and little guy came running to check it out, and then much to all of our amazement it ran across the floor and squeezed head first down a teeny tiny hole in the corner of the room! It was very exciting, but my little guy wouldn't go into the bathroom alone after that. We did some internet research and found out that although it looked like a mole, it was actually a Northern Short-tailed Shrew.
A couple of nights later we were all in the living room and one of the older boys saw the shrew in the living room. It ran under the couch and we could hear it munching on a little crust of bread it found under there (have I mentioned that I'm not the best housekeeper in the world?) So naturally the kids also fed it a graham cracker, and named it George. This time my little guy wouldn't get off the couch for a couple of hours after the shrew sighting!
The next morning it was in the entertainment cabinet and we tried in vain to catch it, but it was so little and fast. Later that day, we saw it drag it's cracker into the hole in the wall it was coming in and out of. Apparently they can eat half of their own weight every day! At this point, we were starting to get a little annoyed with the shrew, cute as it was. We also found out that it has poisinous saliva, is one of the only mammals with that characteristic, and that they can be viscious carnivores! This coupled with the fact that we didn't want our tv wires to get chewed, not to mention that my 3 year old wouldn't go in the bathroom alone and was constantly talking about being scared of the shrew, we decided that it had to go. Not to mention that I didn't exactly relish the thought of a house filled with shrew poop! So that night my husband brought home some no kill traps. Our plan was to catch it and let it go in the park. Well, the traps were more like a revolving door shrew diner, they didn't work at all!! I actually saw it in the so called "trap" eat it's bait and run right back out! I started to think, as guilty as I would be, we may just have to get a non no-kill trap if we don't get rid of this dumb rodent soon!
So very late last night my husband comes into our room and says, "Honey, I caught the shrew!" He had put food in a bucket and attached a rope to it and when George went in to eat it, he got caught. I went out to see him this morning, and there he was in the bucket, with a sign on it that said, "Do not touch, shrew trapped inside!" George did not enjoy his plastic bucket captivity much at all and jumped up and down scratching to get out for several hours. This morning we trekked to the park to let him back into the wild- to find some more shrew friends as my little guy put it. He seemed to enjoy his new leafy home in the woods. All in all, it was quite an adventure but hopefully the adventure is over and there aren't more little shrew friends hiding in the wall, esp a pregnant Mrs. Shrew! My little guy actually became less afraid of him and started to make up stories about what he was doing so we made a little stuffed fleece shrew so we wouldn't miss George. The fun just never stops at our house!