This morning was very laid back. We have no commitments - no soccer - no parties - just relax together. I decided to make a special breakfast for us. It's not fancy, but encompasses all the things the kids and us adults like. Behold:
Mickey Mouse Waffles
made with our waffle maker that was given to us as a wedding gift. Bacon - both crispy and not
Pineapple and Mandarin Oranges
Truffle-Filled Orange Thumbprint Cookies These are delicious cookies from a new recipes that we tried out last night from the little magazine below from the checkout lane of the grocery store
Finally! All the bears for all the neices and nephews are complete! I can't wait to hand them all out - I hope the kids like them :o)
These are for 2 sisters who live in New York For my neice in Utah
For my sister's boys
For my nephew in Canada
This picture would NOT cooperate - so it has to be sideways :o(
For my husband's older brother's girlfriend's girls (say that 10 times fast!)
The whole gang! What a herd! My things 2 and 4 still want one of the mini-bears. I let them know that I need a break from bears for awhile - maybe I will make them for next year..... This year we are having the whole gang of our family here for the holidays. I can't wait to have all the cousins running around and all the fun and cooking and good conversation between all of us. It can't get any better than this for the holidays :o)
I won a contest over at Want What You Have. Heather had a game give away that I entered for this Cat In The Hat interactive game. I am so excited!!! I can't wait to share it with the kids - I think they will have a great time. Heather's blog is a really helpful blog about family, kids, organization (she is a master!!) and just enjoying the things that you already have. The title of her blog says it all, "Want What You Have". In these economic times that is an especially important message, but in my opinion it is an important message for all times. We have been trying to live our lives more frugally and her posts have been incredibly helpful, insightful, and inspiring. Her tips and posts have helped me to value more my role as wife, mother and homemaker in a time where these same roles can sometimes be undervalued. Thanks, Heather for all you do and thanks for letting me enter the contest!
So....I have been doing a fair amount of cooking lately. In an effort to "conserve" cash we cut out all take-out and all restaurant dining (no fast food either)-this has been since September. Even though I really like to cook, things have been getting a little boring around here. Sure the kids are happy with the 6 main menus I have been putting forth, but my husband and I, not so much. Enter Mom2my9 over at 11th Heaven's Homemaker Haven. I have been reading her blog for awhile now and am so-o-o impressed. She makes everything seem so easy and she has 9 kids. I have 5 and sometimes I feel so out of control!!! Anyway, she posted an entry over the weekend about planning and starting the prep for meals ahead of time. She even posted her menu - crockpot teriyaki chicken, rice, 'Chinese Buffet' green beans and Asian Salad. I decided right then and there to try it - I had almost all of the ingredients anyway, so I gave it a go. It was delicious and an unqualified success!! Everyone ate and had seconds of all of it - ALL OF IT - EACH KID - I still can't believe it! So I decided to make another dinner tonight:
Fresh Cut Veges
Again - they all loved it. I'm not sure what has changed??
Recipe for Tortellini Soup:
4 cloves of garlic, minced
9 cubes of vegetable boullion
9 cups hot water
19 oz pkg cheese tortellini
1-14oz can stewed tomatoes Italian style
1-small box chopped spinach
Grated parmesan cheese
*Melt butter and saute garlic for 2 minutes
*Stir in hot water and vegetable cubes
*Bring to a boil and reduce heat
*Add tortellini and cook until just tender
*Add remaining ingredients and simmer 2 minutes
*Serve with sprinkled parmesan
Along with the cookin' comes the knittin'. Always knitting at the end of the day :o) The bear above is for our new baby cousin who is almost 4 months old.
Knitting Finished: 11/18/08
Rest Finished: 12/6/08 - I hate finishing!
Yarn: Bear: Vana's Choice - Color #130 Honey
Jammies: Knit One Crochet Too Fleece - Color #1293
Mini Bear for another cousin - this one has a keychain clip attached at the top
Needles: US00 for bear - US1 for scarf
All of the thread is Royale Classic Size 10 Crochet Thread that was laying around. A long time ago a friend's mom gave me a whole bunch of this thread in all different colors and being the pack rat that I am, I kept it even though I didn't have any plans for it. Well - now I'm glad I did keep it!!
Another mini bear for above cousin's sister - also a keychain bear.
Needles: US00 for bear, US1 for scarf
Same random batches of thread as listed above.
I still have a few more bears to sew together and embroider faces on. I am kind of all "bear'd" out now though and it is very tough to make myself finish these. It took me more than an hour to sew one bear together last night and I didn't even get to the face - I am unmotivated!!
Here are all three bears together to show the size of the mini bears. They really are fun to make :o)
These purses have turned out to be the best thing since sliced bread. They are easy to make (less than an hour each) and they have great "bang for the buck" so to speak. The pouches are mostly donated to me by my next door neighbor and some other friends because we don't purchase them all that often. I like them because they are a recycled gift and the cost to me is next to nothing - just a little bit of time - which I thoroughly enjoy!!
The one above is for young 3 1/2 yr old son. He wanted it to be just like the first one I made - so I happily obliged. This is dragged hither and yon. It holds his legos quite nicely :o)
I didn't have too many of these colorful pouches so I decided that I would use different ones for the bottom....
and the front. This one was a big hit.
For the girl who loves pink (although since this picture was taken, the new favorite color is green-go figure) one all in pink lemonade pouches.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving!! Here at our home this year was, I think, the best and most relaxing Thanksgiving we have had since the arrival of our kids. Simple was the theme this year, so all the dishes were made in the morning (and only a choice few) and then reheated for dinner. This gave us the afternoon to just kind of hang out as a family. It was also Thing 4's "real" birthday date. Grandpa and Grandma came over early to share family gifts with her and the dessert this year was birthday cake. It was so much fun to have the family together - and because all that was needed was a reheat of the food I got to just enjoy the festivities. NICE!!
These photos from Thanksgiving uploaded in the wrong order, but hopefully that's ok. This is what happens when family stays until past midnight. The three year old falls asleep - he was all tuckered out and when he sat down he asked the 8year old to "keep him company" - then promptly fell asleep on his shoulder. The 8year old stayed like that for almost an hour until he agreed to let us put the youngest to bed.
Loose teeth fall out!
New babies are enjoyed! Here is my Thing 1 with the newest addition to our family. Her 3 1/2 month old cousin. So yummy and adorable!
These next photos are from a few days ago at Thing 4's birthday party. Lots of fun things happened. Face painting (done by the oldest daughters) - duck, duck, goose - pin the crown on the birthday girl (we hung a princess dress on the garage door and printed an enlarged picture of my daughter to attach above it-then the kids each tried to pin a crown onto her head after being blindfolded and spinned) - pinata breaking - cake and ice cream
Fleece, knotted pillows
Completed by a 7yo
Prep for notebooks for the kids to make from an idea I found on spoon full of sugar blog. I made it a little simpler so that the kids could do it themselves.
Front of my daughter's notebook.
Inside of the notebook
She had a great time and I think so did her friends. It was so much fun for us as well.
When thing 4 wanted a castle cake for her birthday, I had all kinds of ideas. I was going to do so many things - it was going to be fantastic - because I wanted it to be perfect for her on her birthday.
She had ideas of her own. She made the cake - with help - "We only need a rectangle and a square mom." She helped make the frosting and frosted the cake, with help. Then wanted ice cream cones, colored sugar and sprinkles. We always have these on hand being the incredibly health conscious household that we are :o). She proceeded to frost the cones and add the decorations.
Thing 5 was allowed to help out.
The finished cake. All her doing. I wrote on it - she dictated - I got it wrong. It was supposed to read "Happy 7th Birthday Emma". After completion it was pronounced that this was a "Perfect Birthday Cake"! What a gem she is and I have learned that if they can do it themselves it is ever so much better than something I just do for them.
I'm not sure what I expected from our daughter in terms of the finished product, but this was a surprise to me. She just kept asking for different things. Paint, glitter and feathers. Kind of cool! Painting - this part only took one day to do and one day to dry. Very free form.
Addition of glitter. Feathers followed soon afterward :o). There is still glitter on the floor from this and we have swept and mopped several times. I have even found glitter on some of the towels that are in the linen closet - how did this happen?
The finished product in action. I had the older girls add colored masking tape at the top to reinforce where the strings were placed. It turns out that this was totally unneccesary!! We had 23 children at the party - 5 were mine - and they all got to go through the line twice. I let my older son "bring it down"!
We only used 5 layers of newspaper and liquid starch. I was warned by Shan that too many layers would prove to create an unbreakable pinata. Boy was she right! If we had done the 7 or 8 layers that I thought were needed, I think we would STILL be whaling away at it!! All in all a huge success. Daughter was completely happy with the end result and all the others want one on their birthdays. AHHHH......so much for a day of rest :o)