Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Face Painting

This weekend, we went to the Greene. (an outdoor shopping mall) There was a huge puppet show going on and lots of FREE stuff for kids to do. We stood in line for the face painting and here are the results. Rachel acted like a puppy for the rest of the day! We also made a stop at Cold Stone Creamery. If you have not tried the Cocoa Banana Cabana, beware! It is delicious. I can't imagine working there; too much temptation.
Kate went to a Club Live event this weekend. Her youth group is Club 180* and the youth pastor here helped organize a huge outreach to the local youth. They had a live band called eleventyseven, skits and comedy... She had a great time. She came home so excited. She got to go on stage and she thought that was the greatest thing, ever! She has a choir performance tonight and a school wide talent show on Thursday. She and a friend are singing "Jesus take the wheel".

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hayden learns to RIDE...

Wow, having a boy is different! I remember teaching the girls to ride their bikes without training wheels, it was hard work. They were not really sure they wanted to do it, they tried to give us instructions like-don't let go and they whined until they actually got it. Well, at least that's how it was with Kate and Sarah. Rachel, on the other hand, had the same little short bike for a long time, so she could at least catch herself if she started to fall, but she was still scared.
Well, today, Hayden learned to ride. He has been begging me for weeks to take his training wheels off of his bike. Finally, I was able to do it. John and I took him up to the basketball court to use a flat surface to teach him on. We live on a hill and have the steepest drive way in the neighborhood. Come to think of it, we did in Albuquerque too. But here, we don't live in a cul-de-sac. Hayden was ready to go, he didn't whine, he didn't complain, he started trying to get it going all by himself without instruction. He didn't even seem too concerned about the possibility of falling and scraping his knees. We never knew having a boy could be so different. He can teach himself to ride a bike and he doesn't use much toilet paper! What more lies in store for us? Don't tell us, it will ruin the surprise.

Time for Tea

Rachel tasting her tea.
Hallie tasting her marshmallow.

Jesica just having fun!

My neighbor Dawn and I took our daughters to a Mother Daughter tea recently. Dawn won a miniature tea set and ever since then, Rachel and Hallie have been bugging her to have a tea party. They have even saved cookies to share at the tea party. Finally, we did it. We did make real tea and invited the webkins to come for a miniature version of their own tea party. They thought it was great fun!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Prince Charming?

Sarah's friend Marissa came over today and brought her pet toad. Marissa had cleverly put her toad in a backpack and was found out just before she entered our home. Her mom said, "stop right there and show me what is in your backpack." To my surprise, but not hers, it was a toad! "In the back yard only", said Marissa's mom. Okay, I thought... I have never let my kids play with toads before...can't they get warts? They were not worried. They had so much fun! They played ring around the toad as they sang Jesus love the little children. They pretended to kiss the toad, wear the toad on their heads, and dance around the yard with the toad. It was 'toad'ally cool!

Rachel has decided that she wants to save her money to buy a toad. I'm not so sure that is going to happen.

By the way, Sarah did not really 'kiss' the frog, she just held him up real close and pretended. You can bet that she will have a scrapbook page with these pictures on it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Beautiful story of Motherhood...

Happy Mother's Day to you.

Jack was a great cat and the kids would carry him around and sit on him and nothing ever bothered him. He used to hang out and nap all day long on this mat in our bathroom.

Well we have 3 kids and at the time of this story they were 4 years old, 3 years old and 1 year old. The middle one is Eli. Eli really loves chapstick. LOVES it! He kept asking to use my chapstick and then losing it. So finally one day I showed him where in the bathroom I keep my chapstick and how he could use it whenever he wanted to but he needed to put it right back in the drawer when he was done.

Last year on Mother's Day, we were having the typical rush around and try to get ready for Church with everyone crying and carrying on. My two boys are fighting over the toy in the cereal box. I am trying to nurse my little one at the same time I am putting on my make-up. Everything is a mess and everyone has long forgotten that this is a wonderful day to honor me and the amazing job that is motherhood. We finally have the older one and the baby loaded in the car and I am looking for Eli. I have searched everywhere and I finally round the corner to go into the bathroom. And there was Eli. He was applying my chapstick very carefully to Jack's . . . rear end. Eli looked right into my eyes and said "chapped." Now if you have a cat, you know that he is right -- their little bottoms do look pretty chapped. And, frankly, Jack didn't seem to mind. And the only question to really ask at that point was whether it was the FIRST time Eli had done that to the cat's behind or the hundredth.

And THAT is my favorite Mother's Day moment ever because it reminds us that no matter how hard we try to civilize these glorious little creatures, there will always be that day when you realize they've been using your chapstick on the cat's butt.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


I realized on our way home that this was the first and last year that I was a leader and each of our children were in AWANA. It was definitely picture worthy. For those of you that don't know, AWANA is Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed. It is a bible based program that teaches children to memorize bible verses. These are not little slimmed down versions of the actual verse. They have learned passages in some sections of their books. This was Kate's last year of being in club. She could be a leader next year, but they are starting a new Jr. High mid-week meeting called BOOST. I think she will probably go to that. Kate is wearing a ribbon for her book award. Sarah was also in T&T this year and will have one more year of club. Rachel is in Sparks and Hayden had his first year of Cubbies. Every Wednesday, we would go to the church for a simple supper at 5:30 and then stay for AWANA until 8:30. The kids have had a great year and are ready to take a break for the summer.

I worked with the 3rd and 4th grade T&T group this year. I do have the retro AWANA uniform. I have been doing it for 6 years, so they have changed the books and the uniforms since I started. All the other leaders at our church wear the polo shirts in the color of the group they work with. One little girl asked me one week if I was a doctor. No, but funny that she thought that. I have volunteered in every group and I really love working with them all. I do have to say that the T&T group is probably my favorite. Next year, they are splitting the T&T group into boys and girls. They have asked me to be the T&T girls director. Sarah will be in my group. I'm sure she won't mind.

Whose Child is this?

You're not going to believe this...Rachel had another performance this week. Tuesday night, Rachel had a performance at the school. Her class was selected to participate in a "Muse Machine" presentation. (a local children's theater company) John had something that evening, so it would be just me to take all the kids and tackle trying to get Rachel through the sea of people in the auditorium to the gym, while Kate, Sarah and Hayden tagged along... I asked Rachel if she really wanted to go and if she thought she might actually do the motions and sing. She assured me that she would. I told her that if she threw a fit, we would have to come home and she would be in trouble. She told me that she would really do it this time. I asked why she didn't sing last time and she said it was because she didn't want to sing those songs. Okay, we'll see, I thought. Off we went to the school. I didn't have time to write a note this time. I was flying solo. I reminded Rachel on the way that she needed to not cry and try to smile this time. We got to the school and Rachel skipped into the auditorium, made her way through the sea of people and hopped all the way into the gym. When her teacher saw her, she was puzzled. Yes, she had been there for the previous performance and did not expect to see Rachel hopping. We left Rachel backstage and went to join the audience and find a seat. We waited and even talked about whether or not Rachel would sing a word. Hayden was sure she would. Kate and Sarah weren't so sure. Honestly, me neither. I thought for sure we'd see a repeat of the 1st grade musical performance. Just then, this short little mostly bald, grandpa aged man walked out onto the stage. He had a group of about 15-20 preschoolers following him. They were first to perform and did a funny little song they had made up about a flag. Then, it was time for the first graders. Here we go... Whose child is this? The one with the smile on her face, standing on the front row(far left)? That could not be my daughter. She sang, she did motions, she performed and did her very best and even took a bow at the end! We waved, we cheered, we were so excited. Hayden said, "momma, Rachel is doing all the stuff". Kate and Sarah couldn't believe it either. That was it. One song and they were done. Ironically, we did not go to Wendy's this time. But we all told Rachel how proud of her we were and how fun it was to watch her. Just before bed, Hayden asked her why she didn't wave at him. She said, "I was in neutral". "What, I asked from the kitchen?" This was her answer..."you know, when an actor is not acting, but waiting their turn." Neutral, who knew?

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Spicy Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Weight Watchers New Complete cookbook

2T dry sherry
2T dark soy sauce
1 T grated peeled fresh ginger
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 t Asian dark sesame oil
¼ t crushed red pepper
½ lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed of all fat and cut into thin strips
1 t cornstarch
1 T veg. oil
4 cups broccoli florets- cut into bite size pieces
3 scallions thinly sliced.

To prepare the marinade, in a gallon size zip lock bag, combine sherry, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and red pepper, add the beef. Seal the bag, squeezing out the air, turn to coat the beef. Refrigerate, turning the bag to coat the beef. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, about 1 hour.
Drain the marinade into a measuring cup; add enough water to make 1/3 cup liquid. Add the cornstarch until it dissolves.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok with a lid over a high heat. Add the vegetable oil and beef; stir-fry until the beef loses its red color, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat slightly and add the broccoli; stir-fry 3 minutes, then cover and steam 1 minute. Return the beef to the skillet and add the marinade; increase the heat to high and stir-fry until the sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes. Serve, sprinkled with scallions.

Serve over rice

Per serving: (¼ of stir-fry only) 207 cal., 11g fat, 3 g fiber,573mg sodium, 8g Carb., 18g protein. Point value:4

Monday, May 7, 2007

Just another day...

Sometimes, I am amazed at how much you can fit into a day. A friend's blog just inspired me to share the events of my 'normal' day.

6:45, my alarm goes off- I hit the snooze; 6:50, alarm again- One more snooze; 6:55- okay last one for real this time; 7:00- I'm up, I'm up already! Run downstairs to make sure that Kate has got her things ready for school and had a real breakfast; see her off to school at 7:10; Sarah is on her way downstairs; breakfast for Sarah is usually a tortilla wrap of some kind. I grab a bite to eat and my morning cup of coffee, with cream and splenda... while she finishes, I run upstairs to get dressed for the gym. Back downstairs to see her off; here comes John, ready for school as well. 7:45, on the nose, Sarah is out the door with her little run a bit, walk a bit to the bus stop. Back inside to wake the others. Rachel is up and on her way to getting ready. Hayden, well, Hayden can sometimes be found in our bed because he came in at 5am and crawled into the middle without a peep. Most of the time, he stays in his bed. 8:30, "Rachel, hurry, here comes the bus; it's at the top of the hill." (The bus comes around the street. We can see it at the top of the hill and know that it makes 2 more stops before ours.) 8:45, back home just in time to leave for the gym. 9-10am stability ball and weights class. We run home and grab a quick bite to eat and then it's off to errands! We run over to the base today for a Chapel funds request that is due today, then a quick trip to the post office to mail 5 packages for Mother's day. A quick stop at the BX for poster board (Kate has a project due tomorrow), don't forget another stop at the garden center for weed killer and finally it is back home again. Of course it is supposed to rain sometime this week, so maybe I should mow the lawn. That does mean I have to scoop the poop first, ugh! Oh well, just an hour to get it done. I sit down to shuck a few ears of corn just as Kate and Sarah are getting home from school. I really need a shower...just as Rachel gets off the bus I jump in the shower. Ahhh, much better, a quick blow dry and we can go outside to play. After about an hour of play time, we all go in at 5:30 so I can get dinner ready. Spicy Broccoli Beef stir fry (a Weight Watchers recipe-I'll post later) If I can get my kids to eat broccoli tonight, it will be a miracle. 6:30, dinner is served...Sarah had a friend over and every single kid at the table (that's 5 total) ate the BROCCOLI! They even asked for more; good thing I doubled the recipe. Oh yeah, tomorrow is National Teacher's Day; I meant to have teacher's gifts ready and in bags so all the girls had to do was write a note. Have you ever let three girls choose the gift, bag, tissue paper and note card? Don't, it takes entirely too long. Just kidding, they had a lot of fun making sure everything was special for their teachers. We are running a little late tonight. 8:45- It's off to bed for Rachel and Hayden and Sarah...Kate has a project to complete. She has to make a wanted poster for a famous scientist. She has everything ready, and just needs some scrap booking tools to complete the poster. I never noticed her eye for getting things straight. She is a budding Martha Stewart. Finally at 9:50, Kate is off to bed. Now, I can finally sit down. What may you ask is my sweet husband doing? He has had his own eventful day and is now playing with his new toy. He just bought a Wii. Wii are having too much fun. He is playing tennis right now. During my cooking time, the kids all took their turn playing. Just think, if they made a step class for the Wii with a little instructor girl making you move faster and work harder, I could skip the gym.

Please know that I love being a wife, mother, sister, friend... I am just sometimes amazed at what can actually be done in a day. Tomorrow will be much less eventful I'm sure.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Rachel's 1st grade Musical

Rachel always keeps us on our toes. If she does not want to do something, it is almost impossible to convince her to do it anyway. Once she makes up her mind, she does not budge easily. At least we know this...

Rachel had her First grade musical on Thursday evening. She got ready and seemed fine. Just before time to go, she started saying her tummy hurt and she didn't want to go. I told her she would be fine and we should put on some special pink lip gloss for her special day. She was very excited! On the way to the school, I grabbed a note pad from my purse and quickly jotted a note for our not so eager to perform daughter. I folded it in half and drew a horse on the front. As we got to the school, Rachel said she wasn't going. Finally, I convinced her to walk inside the auditorium and make our way to the gym to line up with her friends and her teacher. She had the best little friends. As we walked into the gym, they saw her crying and ran over to her and started stroking her arm and telling her that they were nervous sometimes too, but she would do fine. I thought this was so funny. God has definitely given these girls the gift of mercy. I told Rachel that if she went on stage with her friends that maybe she could have a special treat after the show. I handed her the special note I had written on the way to the school and told her to hold it in her hand and that when she felt really sad to look at it and read it. She smiled and clutched it in her hand. I showed her the horse and read her the note. She gave me about 50 kisses and finally walked away from me with her friends to line up. And so...

She got through the entire performance without a single tear, single smile, single word, single hand motion. Every once in a while, you'd see her look down and open her special note and then she would look up again. We said that if she made it through without throwing up on the boy in front of her, it was a success! (In the group shot, she is on the right side, second row down and the only one with her hands not up.)

When the performance was over, she smiled and was so excited. We took her to Wendy's and she enjoyed a chocolate frosty.

Got Vera?

Vera Bradley has an annual outlet sale in Fort Wayne, Indiana and the first day of shopping is by ticket only. Well, after hearing about this event, I logged onto the website and found that the only way to find out about it would be to sign up for their email newsletter. I signed up and a week later, got an email that tickets would be on sale February 15. I bought tickets to the 1-5pm sale. (There were 3 different times) I later found out that the morning session sold out and tickets were selling on e-bay for $200 and up. Needless to say, this made me very excited to attend this sale!

My neighbor Dawn and I drove up to Fort Wayne on Wednesday and went to this sale. I have never seen so many purses in my life, EVER! It was so much fun. I had a list, checked it twice and now to see whose naughty or nice... Just kidding, I got about 1/2 of my Christmas shopping done in 4 hours; I think that is a record. Don't look too closely, you may see your Christmas gift.