Friday, December 19, 2014

December 2014 - Week 2

I love this time of year so much!  Even if there isn't any snow, even if I haven't got everything I planned done,
                   or baked,
                               or wrapped!

I am still so happy and content to just enjoy the lights,
                                                                           the sounds,
                                                                                     the feeling of Christmas!

So here was our 2nd week of the Best. Month. Ever!

Hanging out in a laundry basket, must be so cool when you are 2!  
Must be even cooler when there are 2 of you! 

On Friday night we hosted a Christmas Party for the girls enrichment program.  We had about 20 kids show up, from the 8th, 9th and 10th grades.  It was a really fun night!  Everyone brought goodies to share and pairs of brand new Christmas socks to donate to Children's Mercy Hospital!

The girls were so excited and really worked hard to create a beautiful evening.

I ordered pizzas and provided the drinks!  Everyone brought goodies to share...
but I forgot to take pictures of them!

The boys enjoyed the pizza before the guests arrived!

Unfortunately I got so busy talking with the other parents and also just enjoying all the wonderful friends my girls have, that I never took another picture!  So sad, but then we all had a great time just being in the moment!

Saturday morning, after Ava Marie's rehearsal and between errands, I tried to get some work done in my office.  I was working away and kept hearing the doorbell ring.  I finally got up to answer it because NO ONE else was getting the door!

Here is what I found as I was opening the door!

They thought they were so funny!  RING-RING!  GIGGLE-GIGGLE!

They are so lucky that they are so cute!!

Sunday was Ava Marie's 7th Birthday!  All of the girls had a dance show at Union Station!  Wow!  It is so beautiful there!  The whole place is decked out with the best decorations around!  And there is a great big stage in the Grand Hall and all of their dance troupes performed there!  It was spectacular!

Afterward we handed out cupcakes to the girls in Ava Marie's TiniTainers dance troupe!  Mackenzie made them and they were sooo yummy!

We also took a couple of photos in the extra large Santa Sleigh!  Beckham had enough by then, we had been there almost 3 hours!

After Ava Marie's special dinner of Chipotle Chicken Burritos, Ceasar Salad and Ice Cream she opened her gifts.  I think she is looking so grown up now!  She wears the same size as Madyson Claire!  But she is still my baby girl!

I said, sit down on the fireplace so Mommy can take a picture of you, 
and both boys did the same thing!

She was so excited about a package of pencils!

And lastly, I just love how my fireplace looks with everyone's stocking hung!  It makes me so happy to see all their names up there!  

Mackenzie announced that we can not add any more children to our family because we can't fit anymore stockings across the mantle!  But then Katy and Madyson said, Oh yes we can!  And they proceeded to take them down and show how they could move them closer and also hang them staggered and even hang some on the upper part of the fireplace...

I just love how my girls can find room, not only in their hearts, but literally in our home for more!

Well, you never know...I see some spaces that might need filling too....

                                                              to be continued....................................................

Monday, December 1, 2014

Thanksgiving Preparations

At our house we have a special way that we prepare for Thanksgiving.  We like to plan it all out and make it last a few days...not the food, the preparations!  My Mom flies out from San Diego, usually about a week in advance, but this year she didn't arrive until Monday we had to start without her!

We start on Monday, or as we refer to it , Potato Day!

Everybody peels potatoes!  We peeled and cooked 20 lbs!

Then we make mashed potatoes and put half in plastic gallon bags to freeze for later!

Tuesday is Pie Day!

This is only pie picture, I am not sure how I missed the pies.  And they were really good!  These are Homemade Apple Pies, with little hearts cut out of them!

Wednesday is Turkey Day when we cook the turkey!

Grandma is the Turkey expert!  And she even brought her own sewing kit to sew up the turkey after they stuffed it!

Sewed it right up!  And I have pictures!

Grandma was a great supervisor!  And Katy is really good at stuffing a turkey!  I am so happy that my girls are learning these things at such a young age.  I didn't learn to cook a turkey until I was 35 years old!!

Even Ava Marie was learning how to stuff the turkey!

Almost done!

Ava Marie is so proud of herself!

And who can resist a kiss from this fella?!  No he didn't get to stuff the turkey this year...but he is my little turkey!!  Kiss-kiss!

And here is the finished Turkey!  Wow!  This was such a juicy, moist turkey!  We removed the stuffing, carved the meat and put it all away for the next day!  Then I just put the meat in a 9 X 13 pan and fill it with broth and then cover with foil and put in a low heat oven for an hour, then it is ready to serve!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Banana Splits!

I don't know about you but I have always loved a good Banana Split!

The other day the kids and I were watching a movie and the family on the movie was making Banana Splits and my daughters said, "Hey, what is that?"

WAIT!  Did you just say, "What is that?"

Okay, big time Mom FAIL here!  I have to admit, I have never made nor ordered Banana Splits for my kiddos!!

Time to rectify that situation!  And there's no time like the present! Hahaha!!

What Time is it?  It's Banana Split Time!! (Cue some circus music here!!)

So we went to the store and bought all of the ingredients...yes, I did get ice cream too, just forgot to put them in the picture!

Look at those excited faces!!  They don't even have a clue how great this will be!!

And if you have never assembled one of these, here are the steps.

Step #1 SPLIT your Banana...oooohhhhh, see that is where the name comes from!!

(Can you believe how educational this blog has become?!)

Step #2 Add your ice cream!

I bought 2 kinds, Neopolitan and Vanilla!

I know, Vanilla is kind of boring, but Katy will only eat Vanilla, so sad!

Step #3 Drizzle with your toppings!!

I used Chocolate Fudge, Caramel and Strawberry!!  

Very old school!

Step #4 My personal favorite...Whipped Cream!!!!

Yes, it is out of a else can you get it to look like that?!

Step#5 Sprinkle with nuts and top with a Marachino Cherry!

Do NOT skip this step!  The Cherry is very important!!  (You can skip the nuts if you need to, but NOT the Cherry!!)

Step #6  EAT!

This was so fun for the girls!  
We will have to repeat it for the boys when they are a little older.

This is the, "When are you going to be done taking pictures so I can eat my melting ice cream?" picture!  Notice big sister is already going to sleep while waiting!  She woke up fast when I said I was done and she could eat!

And a Mini one in a cup for Mom!!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sewing Therapy and A New/Used Skirt for Katy

I love to sew!  I don't have a lot of time to sew anymore, but when I do it really makes me feel good.

Before we left for camp we went to a local thrift store called Savers and picked up some Denim Skirts to renew!  We look for really short skirts, but we also can use skirts of any length and then cut them off if needed.

After picking up some great skirts for everyone we went to the fabric store to look at some cute fabric!  Disclaimer:  If you know me, you are probably appalled at this last statement, because you know I already own every piece of fabric on the earth already!!  Unfortunately, my children feed my habit by saying they need to see if there is something at the fabric store that is new and prettier than what we already have....oohhhh shiny!

We found some really pretty coordinating fabrics and everyone agreed they wanted to use them, so the idea was that I would use the same fabrics but add them in different ways.

Katy's skirt was first since I usually start with the little girls first.  We decided to put 2 ruffles on it.

Finishing the bottom of the second ruffle.

We only got the one finished before we left.  Katy loved it and has worn it several times.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Homeschool Family Camp 2014 - Part 4

I promise this is the last post I will do...for now...on the Homeschool Family Camp!  But really, I can't help it!  It really had an impact on us.  And that is what I want to tell you about now.

I have this theory.  Well, it isn't a new one.  Most will probably agree with it.  But to see it in action, that is another thing!

When you surround your children with adults and other children of exceptional character, and block out all other influences, your children will start to emulate those around them and become exceptional themselves.  Don't you agree?

Well I have proof!

Now, I love my daughters.  They are sweet and smart, creative and kind, friendly and sometimes kind of selfish.  Aren't all kids that way?  We work a lot on trying to have a servant's heart.  But it is a long road....

Most of the time I get a lot of this...

I walk into the kitchen, there are dirty plates and cups and utensils all over the sink.  Someone left a knife with jelly and peanut butter laying on the counter...lots of crumbs on the floor!

So I ask, "Who made lunch and left everything on the counter?"

And what do you think the response is?  If you answered, "Not me!"  about 4 times, then, Ring, Ring, Ring, you are a winner!

So what do you do with children that not only won't clean up after themselves, they feel like you are torturing them if you ask them to clean up after each other?!

I will tell you...take them to Family Homeschool Camp!!!  Yes, folks, I now have girls who can see the beauty of serving each other!!  WOW!!  I even have pictures!

Ava Marie was sitting with me, watching the young woman in the white shirt go from table to table picking up people's empty plates and wiping their tables for them.  She was being of service to many different families.  At some point Ava just got up and started following her and doing the same thing.  She never said a word, just went from table to table and picked up dishes and cups and put them in the tub on the side.

I sat there for about 20 minutes watching them.  They worked side by side, never speaking to each other, just joyfully serving others.

Then she caught me watching her!  I was so proud of her!

So there is your secret!  Surround your children with the kind of people you hope they grow up to be!  Then let them soak it up, God's transforms.  Amen!

Homeschool Family Camp 2014 - Part 3

The best part of Homeschool Family Camp is meeting all of the wonderful people!  I did not take enough pictures of everyone, I wish I had a picture of each Mom there and many of the young women who I met.  They were all so sincere and gracious.

The host families at the camp were the Bontragers and the Wissmans.  Becky Bontrager and Gloria Wissman were beyond gracious and filled with hospitality!  They both took turns leading the Mothers and Daughters time together, which was filled with fellowship and learning and lots of laughter!

I did get a few pictures of some of our favorite people:

These two little girls and their sweet family are one of our favorites!  Big sister Isabella and little sister Michaela became fast friends with Ava Marie and Madyson!

Mackenzie had a great time getting to know Christiana!

All of us loved the Mayo family!!  They are raising young women of such high integrity and strong faith!  I am so impressed and encouraged as a mother.  I am so thankful that the Lord introduced us and look forward to getting to know them more and seeing them again!

Beckham and Hudson especially loved Anna Marie!  
Or as our family calls her "The Baby Whisperer!"
She was so ready to help and hold babies and help all of the families!

Madyson and Ava Marie especially loved being included at the "Girls Table!"

Such sweetness!

And when they finished their meals, most of these little and big girls would go over to the tables and ask if they could clear your dishes for you!  Service with a smile and a servant's heart!  Praise God for such unselfish young women!