Monday, December 21, 2009

Spencer's 6!

December is a busy month for most of us, but you add a birthday (or two) into the mix, and things get even crazier. Despite the busyness, we're determined to make our near-Christmas baby feel special (mostly because I am a near-Christmas baby too and I know how it is). We gave Spencer the reigns and let him dictate our day, which he loved. Our agenda included pumpkin waffles, bowling, Taco Bell, a movie, and macaroni and cheese dinner (we talked him into a little broccoli too).

A huge part of me can't believe out little guy is 6, but at times and in a good way, it feels like he's been here for so much longer. I can hardly remember life without him. He's certainly loved.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Spencer the Elf

Spencer's kindergarten class performed the Gingerbreadman play. So cute! Spencer actually sang some, which is a far cry from his preschool performance (which I put in the "agonizingly painful" category). I kept his costume simple using khaki pants he already had, a green t-shirt, felt elf shoes, and an elf hat another mom in the class picked up for him. The rest was all Spencer. What a goof!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I had this recipe for "snowballs" in a neat book filled with things to make with kids. I received the book when Spencer was really young, so I had planned to make the snowballs when the threat of soap eating had passed. In the meantime, I forgot about the recipe until a friend made it with her kids and triggered my memory. So glad that happens sometimes!

The recipe is simple and includes: grated ivory soap, water and little trinkets to hide inside the snowball. The balls are left to harden for a day or so and then become bath worthy.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The best pumpkin bread recipe. Yummy!

I found this recipe on the web on the Organic Valley site (too lazy to post link). Its the best!

Spiced Maple Pecan Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter
1 cup pure maple syrup (the real deal, not the fake stuff!)
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I use white whole wheat flour and its turned out fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup chopped pecan

Frosting: (I actually cute this in half. The full recipe as listed below is too much for us)

2, 8 oz. bars cream cheese
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup agave nectar


For the bread:
In a large bowl, cream the butter, maple syrup, eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, with a wire wisk, mix together the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt. Then, stir in the pecans.

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until just fully incorporated. Do not over mix. Spoon into a well greased loaf pan (I've done cupcakes instead and cut time). Bake at 350 for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the frosting:

Cream all of the ingredients together well. Frost loaf after its cooled, or frost by the slice.

I think I've made this recipe at least 10 times now....just this season. Its that good!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Seeing green!

I looked for a cute, but not scary cupcake for Spencer's Halloween party at school. I found this idea on Martha Stewart's site and made a few changes to the original design. I had intended to involve the kids in the decorating process, but I hit a snag in the frosting phase and quickly shooed them out of the kitchen. I felt bad about it, but I quickly realized they were just there to eat any scraps I might happen to offer. Once I got a handle on things, I pumped out the cupcakes pretty quickly. Although I hate to encourage too much sugar consumption, these were a BIG hit and made for a good Halloween themed treat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spider shirts

I thought this shirts came out so cute! Two handprints per spider minus the thumbs. Spencer got creative and made a detailed web for his spiders to enjoy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fingerpainting without the mess

Mia loves crafting, creating, making etc. She will sit, and sit, until she's forced to move on. This is about the only time she sits still day or night (really), so I relish it. She's not a fan of messy hands, which is why I trust her to fingerpaint over carpet. Be jealous :).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Star student

Spencer was Star student in his class last week. He filled out a poster full of information all about him and presented it in class. He loved the attention (got a little Daddy in him) and had an extra special week to fill the Star student role as Halloween is a BIG deal in kindergarten.

In his own (filled-in) words:

My favorite color is blue
My favorite food is nacho (that's what he wrote, which is our fault, I guess)
My favorite animal is a warthog (I was seriously surprised and puzzled by this)
Safari West is my favorite place
When I grow up I want to be a Ghostbuster (when Spencer sounds out and spells this himself it looks like Gosbsdr)
My favorite thing to do is to play with my dogs (if he was being honest, I think the word torture would be included somewhere in this statement)
If I had one wish, I would wish for my tooth to fall out (two loose teeth)

Monday, October 19, 2009

One wet kiddo

And this is what Mia looks like after spending a little time under a downspout and before she decided that was a plain bad idea (the girl got cold).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We did not/will not be carving pumpkins this year

I'm not a fan of breaking tradition, but this was still fun though it didn't result in any yummy toasted pumpkin seeds. The kids had a blast rifling through their Mr. Potato Head stash and this is what they came up with. Random, yes, but still cute.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Apple Hill

I braved the trek and took the kids to Apple Hill by myself. I was facing an entire weekend, plus a day on either side, all alone and I just needed to have a trip to look forward to. We had so much fun! If done right, Apple Hill can be a fairly inexpensive venture. Of course, it can be done wrong too.

We bought lots of apples, picked our own pumpkins from the vine, harassed pet a dog, went in a paddle boat, made candy monsters, feed farm animals until a finger was mistaken for food, and went through a hay maze until we were covered in the stuff. I would absolutely go again!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


The house now has a floor. Very exciting stuff!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Surprise, surprise!

Our Disneyland trip wasn't a complete surprise; the kids knew we were going sometime, just not exactly when. We readied ourselves for church, got in the car, and then let the cat out the bag. We did this by getting in the car with the kiddos' Disney hats on. Spencer figured it our right away, but poor very three year-old Mia, was completely consumed by the fact that I was wearing her hat. She kept exclaiming with a scowl on her face no less, "Hey, my hat! That my hat!" She cheered up quickly!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Toolbench work

The kids (especially Spencer) are really enjoying my Grandpa's old work bench we have in our garage. There's not much to destroy, which is good for everyone.
Hard work takes lots and lots of concentration. Notice the gaping mouth; that's a tell-tale sign.
Mia tags along too. She's not quite as interested as Spencer, but she stops and smiles for pictures, which I like.
Here she is shining up a garage find.
Did I mention the extreme concentration involved in this sort of work? Spencer's squeezing a rock. Good luck!
Mia's wrapping rocks and tying bows because she's my daughter. Enough said.

Monday, September 7, 2009

And the work begins...

We're ("we" being a term I use very loosely) building a playhouse for the kids for Christmas. After taking more than a few moments to think about our plan, we knew we'd have to spill the beans; we just don't have enough alone time to get the project completed without their knowing.

Work began with a full day clean-up. It took us more than seven hours to clean-up 10 years worth of pine needles, over-grown ivy, and because my Grandpa was green before it was popular, some (badly) repurposed concrete. We still have approximately seven years of our clean-up efforts still piled in the backyard.

The playhouse will be built in the very same spot my Grandpa built a playhouse for his granddaughters. So neat. I found a few traces of our playhouse while we picked up. One worth keeping is this old glass spice bottle. I remember my Grandma gave it to us to use in the playhouse for our meal "cooking". I have it sitting on my kitchen windowsill and we have plans to place it somewhere in our playhouse. I just love living in a home that has "fingerprints" of my loved ones.