April 26, 2011

New Easter Pictures

We tried (over and over) to take pictures of the children after church on Sunday.

It just wasn't going to be successful.

Babies were tired. Boys were itching to get out of their suits. There were eggs to be hunted and candy to be eaten....

We have our family picture scheduled to be taken on Wednesday for our church directory. We'll see how those turn out!

April 23, 2011

Jell-O Beans

One of the children's most favorite things to make at Easter time is Jell-O Beans.
Just what exactly are Jell-O Beans, you ask?
They are finger jiggling goodness, which come in an assortment of colors if you have enough time to make them all...

First thing you need is a Jell-O Bean mold. Our grocery store had them for sale a few years ago, but I think you can still order them if you go to the Jell-O website.

Give your pan a healthy coating of vegetable oil. You don't want those beans to stick!

Then, you mix one large packet of Jell-O (or two small ones) with 1 1/4 cups hot water. Stir to dissolve, then pour into the mold. Each mold makes 82 Jell-O Bean jigglers.
They take about 45 minutes to set. Then, you can "pop" them out of the mold and you have cute little beans.

My children love to make them and eat them. Plus, it's a little better than eating regular jelly beans.

If you have a chance, you should try making these. They are a cinch and great finger food for the little ones!

Have a blessed Easter!!!
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!!! Alleluia! Alleluia!

April 22, 2011

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

Today is Good Friday. One of the best days in the church year.

As a little girl, I remember sitting in our church during Good Friday service as they stripped the altar, then dimmed the lights, then... WHAM! (slammed the bible)...  All for us to remember that Jesus had died on the cross. It was finished.

In Fort Wayne, the Good Friday service at the church we attended was similar, except they scattered the 40 pieces of silver on which Judas betrayed Jesus, right in front of the altar before they.... WHAM! (slammed the bible)....

At our church in Denver, the Pastor's stripped the altar bare last night, after we celebrated The Lord's Supper.
Today, we will go into church, where the altar will be laid bare, the Pastor's will wear black vestments, and we will reflect upon Jesus' brutal torture and death upon the cross for our transgressions. And, during that time, our choir will be singing Bach's Passion of St. John. It will either make you writhe in agony in your pew as you listen to me screech in the soprano section, or the words will speak to you in a beautiful way and tell you of how Christ painfully endured the cross for us. I'm hoping that it's the latter one...

Stricken, Smitten, and AfflictedBy: Thomas Kelly

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See him dying on the tree!
This is Christ, by man rejected;
Here, my soul, your Savior see.
He’s the long expected prophet,
David’s son, yet David’s Lord.
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
He’s the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, all who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like this?
Friends through fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that justice gave.

You who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the sacrifice appointed;
See who bears the awful load;
It’s the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man and son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ, the rock of our salvation,

Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on him their hope have built.

Have a blessed Good Friday.

April 21, 2011

Bird Nest Treats

The Bird's Nest 
by William Lisle Bowles

In yonder brake there is a nest;
But come not, George, too nigh,
Lest the poor mother, frightened thence,
Should leave her young, and fly!

Think with what pain, for many a day,
Soft moss and straw she brought;
And let our own dear mother's care
Be present to our thought.

And think how must her heart deplore,
And droop with grief and pain,
If those she reared, and nursed, and loved,
She ne'er should see again.

Joanna loves nature. Since the time she was a little girl, playing in the dirt and mud has fascinated her. Earthworms, roly poly's, ladybugs, fireflies, crickets.... you name the bug, she's probably had it in her bug cage (or in our house) at one time.
She also loves leaves, rocks, flowers and weeds, pine cones and bird's nests.
Rusty tin, broken glass pieces, pieces of bone (which disgust me), and empty bullet shells.
The list could probably go on and on....

The treasure this time was an old, empty bird's nest. She found it while playing during one of our Homeschool outings.
Right now, I believe it is sitting in one of our trees. Joanna was hopeful that another bird would come along and find it to be a good place to live. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if any sparrows choose it.

And, since this is Spring, and Easter is just days away, we decided to make our own edible bird nest's at home. Peter actually was the first to bring this treat home from preschool last week, and we knew that we had to make some more for the rest of us.

 The ingredient list is pretty simple. Chow mein noodles, butterscotch chips, jelly beans and peeps (if you want to put a chick on instead of jelly beans).
Melt your butterscotch chips (I put in about 1 T. of Crisco, just to thin it a little), stir in your chow mein noodles, and form them into little bird nest's on a greased baking sheet. Plop your jelly beans in the middle to look like eggs, or your peeps, or both if you make them big enough.
Let them cool and harden, then slide them off the cookie sheet!

Here you have it.... a bird nest that isn't full of dirt and bugs! An edible spring treat that is so easy your two year old can help make them.
Have a blessed Maundy Thursday.

April 20, 2011

Put Me In The Zoo

Since the Gayheart's were visiting us, we decided it was a good week for field trips!

One of the first places we went to was the Denver Zoo.
I love the zoo. I could go anytime. Just ask me, and I'll go with you. It's always been one of my favorite places to go. I drag my children there, just so I have an excuse to go...

Did I hear you say that you'd like a "virtual tour" of the Denver Zoo?!? Great!  Here we go...

Here we have the kangaroos. They usually lay around and do nothing. However, they were up and hopping around this morning, so I tried to get them in action.

The elephants are one of the best animals to view. The zoo keeper had just given them hay to eat, so we stood around, watching the elephant use her trunk to scoop the hay in her mouth.
It was reminiscent of toddlers trying to eat by themselves.

With the penguins, you never know what you're going to get. Either they sit in their little caves and hide from you, or they put on a swimming extravaganza. We were fortunate enough to see them swimming.
Don't let the water fool you... it smelled like fish-o-rama. But, still fun to watch the penguins.

Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? I see a rock staring at me.....
I think all of the bears were napping this particular morning.

Here is Peter, wrangling a rattler. Good thing it's just a bronze replica of a rattler, or that snake would be in big trouble.

Sam, and his friend, the orangutan. For whatever reason, this fella just kept laying by the window looking up at us. Perhaps he was staring at all the kids on the other side of the glass and thinking, "I'm in a cage, but they let all those kids run free?"

Nathanael and his gorilla buddy. The kids love to climb all over those bronze statues at the zoo.

Sherm and Brittney pose with my own set of little monkeys. Think I'm kidding? You just need to come over and see those two in action....

Time to take a carousel ride! I'm glad that Brittney was along, because I'm not a big fan of the carousel, but the kids love it.

Finally, it was time to eat lunch. We find a semi-shady spot behind the carousel, where there was a bench and a rope fence to sit on. Unfortunately, the fence wasn't strong enough to hold Joanna and Sam at the same time....

The day was sunny and hot and the kids were exhausted by the time we left. But, I think we all had a fun time! Thanks for coming with us Gayheart's!

April 19, 2011

My Birthday

My birthday was the next to come.
All I can say is that it's not so fun to count how old I am anymore.

It was a great day. In fact, it was a great week, because our old friends from Indiana flew out to be with us for a whole week! And, it just so happened, that the morning they flew in was my birthday!

Can you see what that is in the middle of the table? If you guessed Danish bakery, you are correct! My most favorite danish of all... the apricot strudel. Mmmmm.....

The Gayheart's were good sports. They all had smiles on their faces, even though they had been awake since 3:30am that morning!!!

I received so many wonderful gifts. A new lemonade pitcher, a fancy cribbage board ( I haven't won a single game yet), and perhaps the best birthday gift an old farm girl who now lives in the city could get.... A NEW COMPOSTER!!!!

Here the guys are, putting it together for me. I was so excited that I started peeling carrots that very moment!

The only trouble was, they couldn't quite squeeze it out the door. Not like Carla or I didn't try to tell them that as they were putting it together. We were reassured that it would fit no problem....
Eventually, it made it's way out the sliding doors. I think they had to lift one of the doors out. The important thing is, I don't still have a composter sitting in the living room.

We had "Surf and Turf" for supper. It was amazing. I've never eaten so much food at one sitting in a long, long time...

These were huge crab legs. And tasty crab legs. I now have a deeper appreciation for the men on the show, Deadliest Catch.

The steak was just as wonderful tasting. And, of course, I couldn't pass it up either.

Grilled asparagus, because you should always have a vegetable when you gorge yourself with meat.

My new lemonade pitcher. You didn't think it was a dinky, little thing, did you? Cause this lemonade pitcher can hold 3 gallons of lemonade!

My birthday was fun. The company was great and the food was wonderful.

We did have cheesecake and carrot cake for dessert, but somehow I missed getting a picture of those. Probably because I was passed out on the couch from eating too much!


Our big boy, Sam, was the next to celebrate a birthday in March.

"Birthday Season", as I've come to refer to it, at our house can be maddening. It's balloons, cake, wrapping paper, gifts... Then, a week later, you do it all over again.

However, when you are turning 10 years old it's a lot different than a birthday party for a one year old.
You already know what gifts they would like because they've been telling you since Christmas...
Also, you know that the second their eyes open in the morning, you had better be ready to start singing and celebrating. It's expected of you.

So, this is how Sam's birthday started out.

Sam is dressed. Maybe all the boys are, but the girls are still in their pajamas. With messy hair. And scowls on their faces. But, hey, there is a birthday to be celebrated! No time for sleeping!!!
I think the "fog" in this picture is mostly due to the cooking of bacon. And the sun streaming through our window in the morning is intense.

We started a tradition in our house a few years ago which we call "Birthday Breakfast". The kids get to pick out what they would like for their special breakfast, then they get to open their gifts right away.
It's worked out great because.... 1. We are always together at breakfast time, but who knows about the rest of the day. 2. The kids get to open their presents and aren't harassing you about it all day long 3. You get to see if their toys actually survive the first 24 hours....

Sam is a baseball player. And, this year his big gifts were new baseball cleats to fit his huge, gorilla-sized feet and a bat bag. I was hopeful that the bag would help him keep his baseball gear in one place. Not so sure it's worked how I thought it would...

The girls also made him a card with some little pom-pom creatures inside. They were cute until Annie decided to destroy them.

Later that night, our friends Minna, Dwayne and their kids (who are also our neighbors), came over to celebrate with Sam.
Minna made this beautiful salad, complete with carrot roses. It was so pretty and so delicious that it deserved a spot in this post...

Happy Birthday Sam! I can hardly believe my little baby boy is ten years old. And has giant feet. And a giant stomach. I'm afraid you're going to grow into them.....


I was going through my pictures tonight and realized that the whole month of March was a blur.
Lots of things happened. Mostly the celebrating of birthdays and the eating of cake. And, it went by unmentioned by me. Because, as you read in my earlier post, I was gagging for the whole month of March.
Thankfully, no more gagging and now I can fill you in on all the birthday excitement.

Anastasia, "Annie", was the first to have a birthday in March. She turned one year old! So exciting!

Actually, she didn't really know what was going on. Every time we sang to her she had a look of pain on her face. I don't really think we are that bad of singers....

What do you get a one year old for their birthday? We didn't know either. So, daddy went shopping and came home with a penguin humidifier, a monkey laundry basket, baby lotion and some cereal treats.
The penguin humidifier is pretty awesome.....

Oh yeah! There were cupcakes too... and finger jello if I remember correctly....

Happy birthday to my sweet, chubby, one year old!

April 13, 2011

The Big Announcement....

Yes, I'm still alive.

It's been a few weeks since I've been able to get back to this blogging thing. I didn't mean for it to be that long. Truth is, I've felt crummy. Terribly crummy.

Gagging in the morning, gagging in the noontime, gagging at dinner time....

The cause of this gagging sensation is below.

This ultrasound picture is from my 10 week appointment. Although the baby looks alienesque, I still find it adorable. Especially since baby is doing the hula (can you see the hands both to the side?).

So, yes, the big announcement to be made is that I am pregnant. The baby is due to come in early October, which means a new birthday month at our house. How exciting!

Thankfully, the gagging has subsided and I'm feeling much, much better. And, that means back to life as normal, complete with a blog here and there.