Monday, October 28, 2013

A Weekend "Doing All The Hard Work"

The last few days around here have been pretty eventful. It's made for some pretty long days. But let me rewind and tell a little story first. I think it starts back when we were in Whitefish taking out the pond at the house. 
Maybe it was Grandpa or maybe it was Grandma, maybe even dad? Someone had told Hunter and JP there was going to be "a lot of hard work" and it was going to make for a long day. Since then they've been throwing around the phrase "doing all the hard work" or something similar. 
For example, JP and I drove past a construction site and he exclaimed, "Look Mom! They're doing all the hard work!" Or while cleaning up toys in the playroom, Hunter will nonchalantly say, "Yeah, well I'm doing all the hard work." But lately everything has been tagged as "hard work." Taking their laundry to the laundry room just down the hall, bringing their towels back to the bathroom, putting their socks on...Needless to say, we did a lot of hard work this weekend.

Saturday morning Perry took Hunter and JP to the cabin to start clearing trees, which they fell a few weeks ago. Charlotte and I, however, joined Papa Craig for a Griz football game. I hadn't been to one since Hunter was maybe 11 months old? Basically 4 years. 
 We had decent seats. I missed getting seats in the North End Zone by about a minute. But, I think these were better because we didn't have to look into the sun, and since we were sitting in the sun, we weren't cold at all. Yay!
Charlotte attended her first Griz football game, and slept through half of it. Though I thought she would sleep more. But she was still a good little girl and hardly fussed at all. The outcome of the game was irrelevant.

After the game, Charlotte and I met up with the rest of the family for a hot dog roast at the cabin with Grandma while Papa Craig headed home. After breakfast Sunday morning, everyone started on "all the hard work" while I fussed about with Charli. Still trying to get rid of her diaper rash so she was a little fussy. But as soon as she was napping, I jumped in and helped haul wood around the yard. 
 We gathered branched and sticks and hauled them off to the burn pile. (Here's JP doing hard work.)
 We made trip after trip hauling logs.
 Again, see boys "doing all the hard work."
Here's what we accomplished in a day's work. For the most part there was nothing here to begin the day with. The first part of the afternoon we hauled the logs here and unloaded them. We filled the left section up between the two trees, and then added a few rows in front. In the later afternoon, Perry split wood with his ax, I picked it up and loaded it into the trailer, then unloaded it into the right section between the trees. Other than one layer of logs on the ground, that's all the split wood I loaded and stacked. I felt like I was doing all the hard work, but it was Perry swinging the ax to chop all that wood...That's a lot of chopping for a day's work! And a lot of hard work done by all! 
You can't hear them very well, but the boys were back there cheering. "Yeah! Good one!" That video was taken when he began chopping. When we stopped for dinner, the wood pile was down from two piles to one pile about 2-3 logs high I believe. Lots of chopping!
I'm feeling it today too! While carrying some logs in my arms, one rolled and a limb from it scratched my neck up and later while loading wood, I dropped one, somehow, onto the back of my calve. It scratched it up nicely too and as of a day later, the entire back of my leg is black and blue. I'll spare you a picture, but it makes squatting very painful!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Monster Hot Chocolate

In lieu of Halloween, I made the kiddos a special treat for dinner instead of their usual cup of milk.
 These were SO much fun to make! If I wasn't surprising the boys, they probably would have eaten all of the marshmallows and all the mini chocolate chips. 
 Who wouldn't want eyeballs in the hot chocolate?!

Fall: The Most Wonderful Season of All

I love fall. Period. I love carving pumpkins. I love that it isn't smoldering hot out. I love staring at the trees hoping to see a leaf detach itself and fall. Haven't seen it yet, but I also love the sound of leaves falling. I don't so much like raking leaves, but I like seeing kids play in them. I also love walking out of my way to step on that crunchy looking leaf. I could go on...but I'll save you. 
 This past week has been fabulous for playing outside. It's been about 60 degrees out and simply perfect. 
 But despite the weather, we didn't have many leaves on the ground until today. Charlotte was introduced to fall with the help of her oh-so-helpful brothers.
 Where's the baby?!
 WHY is it so hard to get a nice picture of the 3 of them. Again, there's always that one kid that looks a little off. It's usually JP. 
 Even though we had a *very* trying morning, Hunter became an angel after preschool. 
I love watching little ones discover stuff. Especially leaves. I wanted to post a picture of JP playing in the leaves for the first time, but it's on my external hard drive that crashed. BUT!! They have recovered 93% of my photos and 87% of my videos. WooHoo! But Perry hasn't called them back to retrieve it... Anyways. While I shot a few photos of Charlotte in the leaves, the boys covered her carseat in leaves. Between her carseat and submerging her in leaves, I have leaf pieces all over my house now. I still love fall. 

My Baby Girl is Growing Up!

I feel like I have been leaving my little Kiki out. Occasionally I'll post updates on Facebook, but I don't like to overload everyone with baby pictures after all that's why I have a blog right?! So here it goes! Nothing but little Charlotte!
 How cute is this little mad face? She clearly was over sitting in her bumbo and just wanted to eat.
 And most frequently, when she's not eating off of me, she eating her fingers. She's sucked them raw! They have been her built in binky ever since she found them. It looks like I caught her the one week she was in disposable diapers too. For the record, she hates them. Rather, I hate them because she wouldn't sleep through the night with them on. Could have been the thrush, but either way. Since I hate them, she hates them. :)
 It makes for eating solids a little tricky. Okay...well, the one time she ate rice cereal anyways. After that she broke out in bumps so we're waiting for her to clear up to try it again...Hopefully she's not allergic!
 After getting a nice belly full, she wiggled herself right out of the swing. This is how I found her when I came in from our campfire. Still content. *Inserts fingers*
 She's mastered rolling over now. Which makes diaper changes a bit of a struggle at times when all she wants to do is roll. 
 This is my absolute favorite picture of my little girl. Ahhh so sweet! 
 Hi photobomber! 
 But check this girl out!! SITTING ON HER OWN!!! Not only did she wait to show dad how she could roll, but she waited to show her dad how she could sit too. (For more than a few seconds) In fact she sat for nearly 5 minutes before she tipped....which just so happened to be at the same time daddy was yawning so we nearly witnessed a back somersault from her. 
Clearly, she wasn't a huge fan of the flash on the camera. I just love this little sweetie pie!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Little Pumpkin

Since attempt #1 didn't work out quite like I had wanted, made Charlotte sit in her pumpkin again. Actually twice, yesterday and today. 
Yesterday was super nice out so I didn't feel guilty about having a naked baby outside. I was going to do her little "shoot" in the back yard, but it was dark and shadowy and overall just not very pretty. But my front yard was nice and bright and full of fall colors. 

And a neighbor who I'm pretty sure thinks I'm looney. He watched me set the whole thing up and I saw him chuckle when I proceeded to get Charli into her pumpkin, then leave her there while going to get two unnamed boys to stop showing him the "monkey bar" tree. I know he didn't really have to clean his car out, he just wanted to watch this whole thing go down. So now that these "boys" are not hanging from a tree, they are running around the yard and hanging out by my pumpkin "set" casting shadows galore. Meanwhile Charli was more entertain by them than the crazy lady snapping her fingers and making funny noises behind the camera. All while trying to not loose her cool and snap in front of the neighbor. So photo above is how a lot turned out. Charlotte not looking. 
Or she was grouchy. 
This was about the best one I got from our 1st shoot at home. Kind of cute, but not quite what I wanted. And by that point I was over it anyways.
Before calling it quits, the boys came over, and JP attempted to get in his pumpkin to. I thought Hunter's was going to collapse when he sat on his...
I called it quits after this one. Cleaned up our pumpkins and threw the towel in for the day. 

Today's shoot with Charlotte went a lot better. First there was no neighbor watching me and even more importantly, there were no boys running a muck around her. (I sent them to play with the kids next door.)
I think I captured what I needed. And in half the time! 
I'm so glad I have a little girl I can make headbands for! :)
Since I didn't get around to carving a pumpkin for Charli (other than leg holes), Hunter and I made her some non-carved pumpkins. (Hunter's is on the left!)
Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sing & Dance ft. Hunter and Kiki

He sure does love his sister!

Monkey Shiner Babblings

A few months ago, our family went out to dinner with "uncle" Wayne, who now has a beard. I don't recall the last time JP saw him, but at dinner, he had to sit by him. JP didn't say a word the entire time, nor did he even glance at Wayne. As soon as Wayne got up to pay, JP started talking up a storm and stopped talking again as soon as Wayne sat back down....Fast forward a few months to the beginning of October when we were in Whitefish. Wayne came to the memorial service for Perry's dad, and afterwards he sat with us as we all ate lunch, except for JP. He scowled at him quite a bit but never said a word. Eventually my mom took JP over to the kids table where he actually ate his lunch. After the service, we went back to the house, and Wayne followed and parked right next to us.
M - Jim look out your window.
J - Ugh! It's that bearded guy again!
M - That's Wayne.
J - I didn't want him to come!
M - How come?
J - I don't like his teases! And I don't like his beard. You tell him that mommy! I don't like his teases of me!

My heart broke for him! His words were so cute, but I felt so bad! And so proud that he could express his feelings like that! After all he's only 3 1/2!

H - Jim! Hurry! I have to show you something before I pee my pants!!
M - Hunter go pee and then come back and show him.
H - No mom, it's super important!

J - What happens when Spiderman shoots out his "weps"?
M - They're called webs Jim. But they attach to buildings and stuff so he can swing around.
J - Does he save people?
M - Yep he sure does. He can hear people yelling for help. Same with Batman and Superman.
J - So I can yell for help and they'll come save me?
M - Maybe
J - DDDAAAADDD! Mom, I'm yelling for dad so he can come save me too.

You can't see anything in this video, but you can hear Hunter singing "Go Tell It On The Mountain" while having hiccups. We listen to this song just about every time we're in the car...since Bible school in June. I just wish I would have recorded the first verse. Next time...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ghostly Bananas and Caterpillars

Recently JP had his turn to be the line leader and snack bringer at school. He had been waiting and waiting and waiting for his turn. Because he goes to school twice a week, instead of three times, he gets to lead his classmates around and bring snacks both days. 

Since Halloween is nearing (and costumes are still in progress...) I sent him to school with some Halloween themed treats.  On Tuesday he brought Ghostly Bananas. They were so easy to make that JP helped with them. 
Slice a banana in half, add some mini chocolate chips for the eyes, and a large chocolate chip for the mouth. I'm just glad there is only 11 in his class otherwise I would have had to find a bigger container! We had no problem with them browning either since they were cover as soon as they were finished. They were a huge hit with all the kiddos. And the teacher too, since they were a healthy snack!
On Thursday he brought these little cuties. Caterpillars made from grapes. These were a huge hit too! Again, easiest enough to make that JP was able to help. (The top one is his.) I used some sucker sticker that I had in my cake stash and threaded the grapes on. Then I whipped up a little bit of frosting from scratch and piped on two dots for the mini chocolate chips to stick to. And wah-la! If I were to make them again, I would use wooden sticks as the sucker stick became a little flimsy, but despite that, they were probably safer than wooden spears...!

Steak and Potato Soup

It's time for Soupy Sundays! My mom gave us a bunch of potatoes the other week and they needed to be eaten, and fast! I made a batch and froze the half we didn't eat for a few weeks down the road when I'm not feeling up to making soup. I love freezer meals...if only I had space for more!
Steak and Potato Soup

2 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak (1 inch thick)
1 tbs oil
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions (3 medium)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb. small potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
3 cups fresh baby carrots, halved lengthwise
1 (1-lb.) pkg. green beans
2 tbs chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
6 (14-oz.) cans beef broth
3 tbs bbq sauce


1. Cut beef steak into 1/4-inch-thick strips; cut each strip into 1-inch pieces.
2. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes.
3. Add all remaining ingredients; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.
Mmm Mmm Good!

Carving Pumpkins

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is carve pumpkins. We ran out of time last year, so I made it a point to do it this year. Plus, we just went pumpkin shopping this past weekend.
 As soon as Perry cut the lids off, I set to work on helping the boys clean out their pumpkins.
 JP was not having it. Though he did help a little. 
 Leave it to JP to have a green pumpkin....must be his favorite color?
 Hunter enjoyed it so much, he even helped JP clean out his pumpkin.
 My hands were too gooey to take picture while we were carving them, but Perry carved out Hunter's and I did my best to get JP a scary pumpkin. He loved it!
All my kids with their pumpkins. I'm not done with Charlotte's. I think I'm going to cut her some leg hole and redo these pictures. Then I'll fill the holes and carve something for her on the other side. This little graphic shows how hard it is to take a decent picture...there's always that one kid...

Pumpkin Babies

After our visit to Greenbluffs to pick out pumpkins, Kile and I had a little fun with our little pumpkins. Not sure the feelings were mutual though... 
 The pumpkin Casey is in, Kile actually grew in her garden. He had some issues sitting in it though, partially because he's too little to sit on his own and partially because he just got back from the doctor and wasn't too impressed by sitting in a pumpkin.
 Charlotte was a little indifferent, but pouted a little when they traded pumpkins.
Once Kile started jumping up and down making obnoxious noises, Casey called down a bit so I was able to get a couple of him not freaking out. 

If only she could keep her fingers out of her mouth...