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Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

This year is going to be very different for New Year's Eve.

I must admit that I have grown quite tired of the new, new, new.
Not that I am ready to be done with our adventure, just that I could really use some good old normal. You know, like not having any plans and just hanging out at home with my people and enjoying them.
Soon I am told, soon.

And so, my little-ish people and I have been planning and planning for our New Year's celebration. Everyone chose a favorite food of the year and we will have those things banquet style tonight. I wanted to try playing every game in the house before midnight, but the kids are a little too intimidated to do that. We will still play some games and make lists of goals for the next year and memories from the past year. We will probably watch a movie and then watch the ball drop, toast with our yummy sparkling cider to a wonderful and adventurous new year, and snuggle til morning in a tent in the living room... :-) Bliss... well, almost... I will miss my honey... but he will be home soon from the sand dunes. He and Peanut Butter are there with my brother and his friends riding quads and sand rails... boy stuff.
Hope you have wonderful plans or a sweet lack thereof.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sooo Blessed!

Oh My! We are soo blessed in so many ways!

This time I am talking about a couple of packages that have arrived...
For our classroom we have received a VERY generous and VERY wonderful and VERY spectacular gift!

Well, several of them actually...

Four Microscopes

Four Magic Rocks

and Four Giant Volcanoes!

Can you stand it!! Even the teacher gets to participate first hand!

We love Science around here (and History and Reading and Math and... come to think of it, we love all subjects, even Spelling... Homeschool is the BEST!!)

Oh My!
What blessings!

Thank you! Thank you! To our wonderful blesser! Thank you!


P.S. We found scorpion #14 on the master bedroom wall this morning around 5am. Please keep us in your prayers that no one is hurt by them and that our efforts to safeguard our home and family from them are successful soon. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HE'S HERE!! :-)

Our big boy...
...has arrived!
:-)   :-)   :-)   ;-)   :-)   :-)   :-)

Back to School...

This is how we started the day.
Love It!!
(That doll and her hair in there represents where I was :-))
We had such an exciting day scheduled.
First, we went back to school in earnest today...
 They worked so hard and were so attentive...
I could tell they were happy to be back too.
And later we had a wonderful surprise arrive...
After he arrived, we went to Claim Jumpers for supper and a HUGE slice of their Overload Chocolate cake to share. Mmmm chocolate dreams...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Returning to normal...

Today we are working on getting back to a normal routine. For me the 'by the seat of your pants' way of life is ideal (at least in theory LOL!). However, not for my children. And not if I want to have anything really get done. This morning with tears in her eyes, Chocolate Chip asked if we could please go back to school. What could I say. There is something about routine and structure that humans thrive on... especially little humans.
Cleaning our classroom and reorganizing is a must before we can actually start learning. After some cleaning, the children went outside to run off some energy and just play and be kids that are not in a car driving somewhere. They played soccer with a volleyball. :-)
 I picked the weeds from the rocks and started making rolls for supper. My husband loves bread and I have been trying forever to figure it out. I got rustic bread down, well almost. Now I am trying yet another recipe for regular bread. One of these times I am going to get it. Yesterday was not it... today is still hopeful. :-) I'll let you know how it goes.
 This afternoon we played some math games and laughed together... :-)
 We tried a new recipe for Hamburger Stroganoff for supper with those rolls. It was really good but a little salty. The rolls were pretty good, but the Roll Man wasn't here when they came out of the oven, so, we will have to try again. Good thing I shaped and froze half of the recipe... :-)

Peanut Butter Cookie arrives here tomorrow! YEAH!! We are sooo excited to see him!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HELLO!! :-) It's Me! I'm back!

Hi! I am back from our adventures. I am amazed at how fast time goes. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to visit Minnesota and this morning I find myself both happy and sad. So, I will make a list... that ALWAYS helps me! :-)

I am SAD because:
1. I miss everyone in Minnesota.
2. I feel that I belong in Minnesota and am missing out by not being there.
3. Our trip 'home' is over.
4. Some of you made homemade chicken noodle soup and chili too and I missed it. :-(
5. I miss my husband, and he is at work early this morning
6. The 'return home adjustment period' sucks!
7. I ordered up a WHOLE bunch of snow and had to leave it with you guys.

I am HAPPY because:
1. We had safe travels.
2. We are all home and safe and wonderfully exhausted. (And the children are sleeping all snug in their beds... :-)
3. Mr. Cookie picked us up from the airport and was sooo happy to see us.
4. We are still on our wonderful adventure to Arizona.
5. The 'return home adjustment period' will not last forever, has already begun, and will end soon. :-)
6. God sent all of that SNOW I ordered (Isn't He Awesome!). I LOVE snow!!
7. We get to learn how to build a tumbleweed snowman... hmmm! :-)
8. I started a batch of chicken noodle soup yesterday and a poolish for homemade rustic italian bread to go with it for supper tonight! YUM!!
9. Tonight we get to put up our nativity, decorate our tree, CHRISTmas music, CHRISTmas movies... :-)
10. It is always good to be home no matter what 'state' you are in.

YUP! I do feel better! Going to make some more lists...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Adventure Break...

The good news:
We have been on and are still going on adventures!

The bad news:
I can't tell you about them right now.

I'll keep you posted as soon as I can!


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bountiful Baskets and Trying New Stuff

Have you tried some new kind of food lately?
We have! Lots actually!
Since becoming part of Bountiful Baskets here, we have enjoyed trying some new things that we would most likely never have tried otherwise. It is interesting to find out what new thing we might be exposing ourselves to each week we pick up our basket. Things like parsnips, Asian pears, persimmon, collard greens... these would never have hit my dining room table. Some simply because I didn't know about them, some I have eyed up in the grocery store, but honestly, I probably never would have spent the money. We have also learned that we love California oranges right now! I didn't even know oranges  grew anywhere except Florida!

And so, I challenge you to try something new this week. Something that has caught your eye and may be interesting to you! Tell me about what you try. Maybe we will try it too!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trimming and Gallup

I had to do a little trimming of the bushes here...
who knew stuff GREW in the desert!
Well, let me just tell you that it does! And at alarming rates no less!
 We took a trip to Gallup, New Mexico with Mr. Cookie.
Here is some of the breath-taking view we enjoyed during the trip:

 The pictures cannot take the place of the real thing,
but they are still beautiful!

 This one is Mr. Cookies favorite:
How did that form!? On a curve with all of it's layers!
Crazy I tell you!!
 We had a great time at the hotel of course! We met lots of Grandma's and Grandpa's and watched "Dancing with the Stars" for the first time. It was GREAT! I think we are going to try to remember to watch it...
 We were fascinated by the mirror on the ceiling of the elevator!
LOL!! Fun, fun!
 The girls LOVE swimming! Great excercise too!
The elevation in Phoenix is 1,072 feet.
 The elevation in Window Rock (our actual destination)
was 8,546 feet.
 Talk about a climb!
That's 7,474 feet UP!!
There is 5,280 feet in a mile, so, we went up 1-1/2 miles!
And ear-popping!! LOL!
 On another note, my sweet sister sent me this gift:
 It goes perfectly with the decor here in the kitchen.
And what is says goes perfectly with my life!
Thanks Sister!
We got home late on Wednesday, brought the kids to AWANA,
and went to bed.
Thursday morning I dropped Mr. Cookie off at the airport to come see all of you.
Wish we were all coming home to visit too!

Love and Miss Everyone,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Oreo Cookie made an egg white omelet for breakfast - yum!
She really likes to cook eggs and is trying new stuff with them now. :-)
I was nervous about trick-or-treating here and I am trying to celebrate less Halloween and more Fall Harvest, so, we found a trunk-or-treat at a local church here. Here is our trunk:
We enjoyed walking around and seeing the other trunks and placing our votes for our favorite one.
The girls and I dressed up. Butterscotch Chip was Cleopatra (someone she has studied in school), Oreo was a beautiful princess vampire, Chocolate Chip was a fabulous blue princess (she came up with the costume herself), I was an old time maiden, and Mini Chip was a sugar snap pea!! CUTE!!!
We met lots of wonderful people!
We then went to my brother Nate's for pizza and cheesecake. It was great fun!
Nate and his friend played the girls in pool and in foosball, which they LOVED!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hey Big Brother!

Hi, Bubba!!!
 We love you!!
We miss you!!

Why didn't you tell me that when you are not quite 5 months old...
...a Baby Einstein movie is very suspenseful!!!
Mini Chip

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Week

Monday we took school pictures, carved pumpkins, and roasted seeds.
I know it's hard to believe, but I forgot to take pictures of their finished pumpkins! :-} Butterscotch Chip's has a castle, Oreo's has a funny face with hello in the mouth, and Chocolate Chip's was BOO with a ghost in the second O. They were pretty cute. And the SEEDS, oh my!! Love them! We saved Mini Chips pumpkin and the pie pumpkins to carve later, maybe next week, so we can roast more seeds! LOL! They really are that good! I think the secret is to not rinse them. The pumpkin juices, strings, and pulp give such a nice flavor. Here's my recipe, if you think you don't like roasted pumpkin seeds, I dare you to give this recipe a shot!

Spread the seeds (About 1-1/2 cups) in a single layer on a cookie sheet. (Do not rinse the seeds and it's okay to leave some strings and pulp; they add flavor.)
Drizzle with 1/2 Tablespoon melted butter
Sprinkle with salt or other seasoning
Bake at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally for 45 minutes or until the seeds are golden brown. You really want to roast them until they are REALLY crispy, maybe even a little on the darker side, but not burnt.

Tuesday we went on a field trip to Chino Valley. The kids got to experience ear popping while driving up the mountain. The first elevation sign we pointed out was 2000 feet and we had already been driving for a while.
Chino Valley is at 5200 feet.
It was fun to be able to live the lesson, not just teach the lesson. :-)
This is a work trip for Mr. Cookie, so, this is how we often find him. He is the hardest working man I have ever known. He is very thorough, knowledgeable, problem solver, and he has this wisdom about him that is hard to explain. He is truly amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to accompany him on these trips where the kids and I can learn so much and be able to enjoy more time together too. We are so lucky to have him! And he's SOOO handsome too! I'm a lucky, lucky lady!
You may recall a picture like this one from a previous post. You may or may not know that I have had a thing for crosses since having found Him. This one in particular seems to draw me to it. I think of it often and strangely couldn't wait to see it again. Jim surprised me by pulling off the road on the exit ramp to look at it and take a good photo. He told me that one day he would make me one like it, on a smaller scale, for our yard. He said he used to really like welding and this would give him a project ~ so exciting!
This is the project that he had to visit and what brought him up the mountain.

The thing that brought me and the girls up the mountain was closed ~ very sucky! I was very sad! I really wanted to see my friend from the Old Farmstead. And I really wanted to show the girls the awesome bookstore ~ also closed on Tuesdays. :-(
Instead, we went to a thrift store called Oohlala that we had seen on our way into town. It really looked like a fun place to check out. When we walked in the front door, I couldn't believe it, but that voice was unmistakable! My friend, Natalie, was checking out! Thanks God! Anyway, we had a wonderful visit with her and then had to head home. We stopped for a late supper in Prescott and headed back home. We had to drive separate on the way back because we had to transport another vehicle back. It worked out okay though because Mini Chip and Chocolate Chip fell asleep and The older girls and I laughed ~ ALL the way home!! TeeHee! Still funny too! Something about Beethoven... I think you had to be there!

Wednesday night the girls went to AWANA. It was Calamity Night. The kids dressed up in bandages and slings like they had been hurt in an accident... kind of goofy, but the kids loved it!
Thursday we had well doctor visits for all of the kids. I searched and found a doctor who is willing to do a well baby visit without pestering me about no shots for the little guy. It is a 30 minute drive to get there but we will be using it as a reason to go on a field trip across town every couple of months. :-)

Here are the stats:
Butterscotch Chip - 13 years and 8 months old, 92.4 lbs (21%), 62.2 inches tall (40%), with a BMI of 16.78 (16%).
Oreo - 11 years and 7 months old, 67.7 lbs (7%), 55.1 inches tall (13%), with a BMI of 15.66 (15.8%)
Chocolate Chip - 7 years and 8 months old, 52.9 lbs (43%), 48.8 inches tall (38%), with a BMI of 15.61 (48%)
Mini Chip - 4 months and 19 days old, 16 lbs 12 ozs (71 %), 26 inches long/tall (71%), 17 in. head circumference (81%), and healthy as can be.
Yup! That foot is good! MmmMmm!!  
Friday was a normal day, plus catch-up, plus get ready for the Chili cook-off and trunk-or-treat on Saturday. Also, I have decided to try baking Artisan bread (aka French, Italian, etc.). My first batch was started on Thursday and will be ready to eat on Saturday... can't wait!