Sunday, February 28, 2010

Good bread

Did I mention Tim is much better at forming loaves than I am?

I am up late tonight waiting for the bread to bake and cool. I remembered at 7:30 tonight that we didn't have enough bread for sandwiches for the kids tomorrow. I whipped up the dough in about 10 minutes. Thank God for flour, water and yeast!
And Thank you Jesus for bringing Tim home safely Friday night so he could roll out the bread dough tonight!

Chuck E. Cheese headache

This weekend we had just the twins at home. It was amazingly quiet. They kept themselves entertained with Bendaroos in the morning. Then, Tim and I asked them what they wanted to do with just Mommy and Daddy. Tim kept trying to steer them towards bowling, but they weren't interested in that at all. I suggested Chuck E. Cheese, and they were all over that. Even though we vowed the first time in 1983, when we took my nephew Josh to Chuck E. Cheese, we would never, ever, ever, enter another CEC as long as we lived, I opened my big mouth and suggested it, being the self-sacrificing mother I am.

We first took them to Chick Fil A with the strict instructions that they would not be playing in the contaminated, germ infested play area. Then, we took them to the germ infested, H1N1 swarming, rat trap of the Chuck E.Cheese entertainment wasteland, so they could touch every nasty surface and waste our good money for an hour and a half of nightmarish kiddie pleasures.

We had a coupon for 100 tokens for 15.00. Tim, not thinking, tried to get them to conserve their tokens by doling them out 10 at a time. He tried to steer them away from the token grabbing, ticket stingy games and to the ones that would give as many tickets for the 1 token they squandered. I watched this for about 20 minutes, and then I grabbed handfuls of tokens from the cup and gave them to the twins and told them to play whatever they wanted. Why would we want to prolong this agony any longer than we had to? Let them feed the tokens in to the games as fast as possible, so we could leave! And, they did. We still managed to get 214 tickets between the two of them and the few games Tim and I played. So, we probably spent as much time waiting in line to redeem our 214 tickets for junk as we did actually playing the games. Abby came away with 3 tootsie rolls (60 points) and High School Musical mini playing cards(40 pts.) which were dropped randomly throughout Costco later. Gabe got some sort of fake Nerf/cardboard shooting thing and one tootsie roll. Tim got a whopping headache which he termed the" Chuck E. Cheese headache", and we both said at the same time, "all I can think about is finding some hand sanitizer!" As we left the building, staring at the long line which had formed snaking outside the building. I wanted to yell, "save yourselves!" but I didn't.

After that, we went to the Palmer Park playground, which was very cold, but the twins didn't care. Tim wandered around while they played, keeping an eye on them, watching them jump, swing, slide, etc, while I sat in the warm van and listened to a book on tape.

We ended the day with some wonderful fluffy omelettes made by Tim and then the horrible movie, "Goonies", which I managed to escape in 1985 when it came out. The language was pretty bad, but the pre-teen Indiana Jonesesque plot entertained the twins quite a bit. It was rated PG, by '80's standards, which we forgot is now PG13. The twins didn't seem to notice the words. Abby thought they said,"shame" when they said,"sh**", and later, when they heard someone say,"dummy", she said, "Mom we promise we won't repeat that bad word". We'll see if that's really all they heard if we hear anything back from their teachers in the next few days.

Fridays and friends

What began as just babysitting the neighbor girls for a couple of hours on Friday, turned out to be 6 kids over for a playdate and pizza. All the kids ran around outside in the balmy 45 degree weather, screaming, playing tag (I think), rolling around in the dead grass and one kid blowing a whistle, which was confiscated. At one point, I looked out the window and saw all the kids running around with long portions of PVC pipe, and the neighbor boy swinging a fence post around. Thankfully, no one was skewered, and all the pipes/fence posts were also confiscated.

The kids came inside for little calzones and then the boys went downstairs to watch a movie, while the girls played with Bendaroos and watched "Cinderella". I was a little worried about what I had gotten myself into, being the only one over 6, watching all these kids, but all in all, everything was fine, and the kids were all picked up on time.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Abby's hives

I think Abby has had hives for the past 3 days. I have been trying to find the culprit to this reaction. I'm pretty sure it's the Hannah Montana conditioner she found and used. I thought I had confiscated that when we went on the Feingold diet. Anyway, it started about 24 hours after she used it, and she probably didn't rinse her hair very well. She broke out in hives, I think after her American Heritage Girl meeting. By the next morning she had a huge red circle on her abdomen, and then red welts on her shoulders, down her ribs, and on the top of her feet. I gave her Benadryl and about an hour later, they were almost completely gone. They returned as the medicine wore off. Yesterday, she was still breaking out in random places, so I thought I would call the dr. to confirm that it was hives. The nurse was pretty sure that it was. She can't go to school if she has a rash, so she stayed home again. She had a very enjoyable day doing crafts, painting, watching "Little House on the Prairie" with me. I told her I used to watch it when I was a little girl, and she said,"you were alive then?" I told her yes, that I watched the show when I was 10 or 11. It wasn't until later that I realized she thought I was alive during the pioneer days, assuming it was filmed when it was set. I tried to explain it, but telling her that it was on in the 1970's, but was showing the 1800's, didn't make much sense. To her the 1970's might as well be pioneer days!

So, tonight, I gave Abby an oatmeal bath to soothe her skin,even though she hasn't had hives since this morning, and Gabe read his book to her while she was in the bathtub. Pretty cute. After the bath, her hives returned. Now, I'm really confused. We changed the sheets on her bed, took off some of the quilts in case excess heat is causing the hives. I'm just trying anything. I sure hope she can go to school tomorrow.

Ben's bloody eyeballs

Ben made these for his "King Lear" project to give to his Senior English class.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oh bother!~Pooh

So, about 2 wks. ago, I re-injured my knee 4 years out from my meniscus repair. I think I was squatting, and I felt my knee lock. It hurt to straighten it. So, after moving it around for awhile, I could finally walk without horrible pain. Since then, I have been babying it, not bending it more than 90 degrees, and it hasn't been too bad, not much pain. Well, today I pulled my feet under my chair and that was all it took. It hurt pretty badly, and after trying to put weight on it unsuccessfully, I just sat down again. It took awhile, but I think I maneuvered it back in place, and somehow I could walk again. I went to Target, took Nate to the eye dr. and then to a late lunch, picked up the kids at the bus, and made dinner. By 5:30, it was really hurting, so I have kept it elevated and iced since then. I had Ben dig out the crutches (or as Gabe used to call them,"wretchers"), just in case.

It hurts like the Dickens as Mom would say. It hurts behind the knee, on the side of the knee and under the kneecap. I don't think I'm going to just rest up and it will heal.

We don't seem to get sick in this house. No one has been sick since the fall, except for some coughs and sniffles, and even that didn't keep anyone out of school. No, we just get majorly injured.

It's going to be interesting making this doctor's appt. I will call the orthopedic group and tell them I'm a patient of Dr. O'Brien's but this is a new problem, one he can't help with since he's only an ankle and elbow doctor. Why do they have to be so specialized? Oh bother!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Caught up

Tonight, youth group dinner. While the big kids were upstairs hearing some fabulous talk from Anna, I'm sure, I was cleaning up, and Tim and the twins played in the gym. What kids wouldn't want to have an entire gym to themselves!

New smoke alarms

Tim bought 12 new smoke alarms last week to replace our 10 yr. old ones in the house. Sat. was the day to replace them. This was precipitated by his fire safety talk to the Boy Scouts 2 wks. ago. Being Tim, he really got in to it, giving them all sorts of fire safety paraphernalia to take home.

So, finding yet another excuse to wear his headlamp, he climbed the tall ladder in our living room to reach the smoke alarm at the peak of ceiling. What did the rest of us do? We all gathered in the living room to watch, of course!

He and Ben replaced 10 smoke alarms, and had to test each one. They are wired into the electrical system, so the power had to be shut off, (on the coldest day yet, 15 degrees), and then as they tested each one, because they are wired together, they ALL went off. We had an hour of dark silence intermittently interrupted by screaming sirens. Fun! For some reason, (Murphy's Law, Woodroof's Law) one of the alarms, in Abby's room went off at 2 a.m. this morning. Yea! Never a dull moment around here! That better not happen again! I'm just sayin'...

Friday night: Pizza night!

I made whole wheat pizza dough on Friday, and it turned out delicious. I had also bought some fresh mozzarella, which I find irresistible, and some basil. I had some "simple sauce" that I had made in the freezer, courtesy of Giada (bighead) DiLaurentis, and some shrimp: all the fixin's for great pizza. Tim is the expert pizza dough former, as he is the expert sugar cookie cutter, cake decorator, bread dough roller, blah, blah, yeah, whatever, I'm not good at those things.

So, when he got home, he rolled out my most excellent dough, and the twins got their own pizzas to create.

Lost camera: found!

Okay, so I lost my camera for about a week. Now, I'm playing catch up with the blog, and didn't take pictures every day.

One day, I was reading abcnews online and saw a headline called,"Tom Selleck, sandwiches and waterfalls" I, of course, being a HUGE fan of Tom Selleck in the 80s looked at the file of pictures, and I must say they are weird. But, Tom Selleck is still hot in his Hawaiian shirts with his hairy chest and short shorts. Why did we ever think that was sexy? So, I'm in my kitchen looking at the beautiful roses that Tim gave me, and there is the decapitated head of Ken, sitting on the counter. I thought,"hey, if Tom Selleck can be superimposed in a waterfall with a sandwich, why can't Ken's head be put in the vase with the roses...." It wasn't quite the same effect, whatever the "artist" was going for with Tom, but it entertained me for a few minutes. I really do think I have ADD.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dinner by Abby

Last night Ben made the buffaloaf, and Abby asked if she could make dinner tonight. I found some turkey thighs on sale at the store today, so when she got home, we found a recipe online for Herb roasted turkey thighs. It consisted of softened butter, thyme, rosemary, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Abby put all the ingredients in a bowl, and then I told her she was going to have to mix and mash it together with her hands. She said,"Mom, my hands are going to get all dirty" and I told her that they would but then she would be rubbing the mixture under the turkey skin. She was pretty grossed out, but she did it. She mixed up some chicken broth to pour over the chicken and we put it in the oven. They came out great. She wanted me to tell everyone that she made dinner. She also made rice pilaf out of the box. I foresee her making dinner often. She was so proud of herself!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bath time

Today, the twins got their hair cut as well as Nate. When we got home, it was after 5, and although Ben had made our Buffaloaf, I still needed to finish dinner and the banana bread I wanted to make. So, I told the twins they could play in the tub, rinse off the stray hairs and take a bath. They ran to their rooms to get all the toys they could find that were tubworthy. I heard Abby say,"If you want to play with G.I.Joe, you will have to take your bath alone". I thought that was pretty funny. I tried to convince Abby that G.I Joe wouldn't look much different from Ken (yeah right) in the tub, but she absolutely would not allow him in there with her Barbies (probably with good reason). Gabe conceded and agreed to bring a Ken doll he found, but who had been decapitated. As you can see in the picture, his head isn't sitting right on his neck.

Anyway, they went off to play, and I went off to make my banana bread. I am pretty confidant that they won't drown, since I can hear them clearly talking, playing with each other, and I know they would (hopefully) tell me if one of them was under the water and not moving.
As I was making my batter, I heard Abby say,"No, don't put Ken in the tub, he's the lifeguard!" They had the Barbie pool, which is really more of a hot tub, in the water, with lots of Barbies and Ken. It looked like a scene from "The Bachelor", not that I watch that show.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's dinner

I'm not sure who took this picture today, but we were in the throes of our Valentine's dinner, eating chocolate fondue. Yum! I made a bison roast, which I have never made before. It was so tender, so flavorful, and so low fat, only 7 g. per serving! I cooked it like a real Sunday dinner, which I never so, putting it in the oven before church. Tim put a dry rub on it first and seared it in hot olive oil, then I put water, sherry, tomatoes, potatoes, onions and beef bouillon in the pan and covered it. It was so delicious! I am definitely making it again.
We had fun making a candy bouquet for Nate out of his favorite candy bars, Ben got his favorite Ferrero Roche dark chocolate candy and the regular hazelnut ones, plus a large Reese's candy heart. I bought Tim a very large 10+ inch milk chocolate candy bar with whole hazelnuts, and the Ritter Sport dark and milk chocolate candy with hazelnuts he likes. Gabe got a stuffed gorilla and a little lego set, and Abby got a stuffed dog and ballerina Barbie doll. Tim gave me a dozen red roses, and I requested no chocolate, because I knew I would be eating it all week, which I did. We made dinner for the Youth group tonight and made heavenly hot fudge and served hot fudge sundaes. Mark Bates talked about love to the kids, and they also played the pass the lifesaver with the toothpick game. It was a great day. I still have to send off Julianne's gifts to her better late than never I guess.

I sure do love my family!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentine's gifts

Tim and I made these candy bouquets for some friends today.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gabe's Valentine's Day party

Today, I "helped" out at Gabe's party. I really didn't do much of anything except stand around and talk to the teachers and some of the other parent volunteers. There are always too many volunteers and way too much food. It was at 10 in the morning, and there were 3 types of cookies, mini cupcakes, cheese and crackers, snack mix and a chocolate fountain! Yes, a chocolate fountain for first graders. I remember one cookie and koolaid when I was in grade school. Everything has to be so over the top now days, like spending more on the goody bags for the party guests than you do on the birthday child. We were lucky if we got a balloon. Back when I was a kid, you were just happy to get to go to a birthday party. It was a big event. But speaking of valentines, Tim and I were talking with the kids about our school Valentine's parties. We made our Valentine's out of construction paper and put them into decorated tissue boxes. There were no lollipops attached to the cards, no snack bags, no fun sized candy, no ice cream coupons. We maybe had a coloring page. Now, we send in money so that the room mothers can order large quantities of crafts that no first grader can do without adult supervision, from Oriental Trading Company. I actually witnessed several moms going to different classrooms carrying large boxes from Oriental Trading Company, so you know they are all doing the same thing.
Nowadays, you don't dare just send in the card. No way! In fact, I remember Ben and Nate just throwing out the bare cards without candy attached, not even looking to see what kind of character was on the card or who it was from. It's really sad.
I don't know how to fix it, but I think it's a big problem. We're just perpetuating over-indulged, materialistic kids. My kids don't expect that kind of extravagance at home, but they know what to expect at a party, even a classroom party. Maybe, our kids' experience is not so different from most of the young 30 something parents that are giving the parties. I don't know when things changed from the simple to the over the top, but somewhere, in the past 30-40 years, it did change.

Oh yes, and right after the party, it was lunchtime. As one mother commented, whatever happened to parties at the end of the day right before the students were dismissed?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

valentine's sugar cookies

Tonight, after a long day at work and a meeting until 9:30, Tim came home and dutifully cut out the heart cookies for Gabe's class. He's such a good guy, and he is so much better at cutting out cookies than I am.

Gabe was so cute today when he and Abby were making their valentines for school. He wanted to write a personal note on each one, like, "I like sitting at the table with you" I like to play with you", "You are nice." Or, my favorite,"Catherine, you are good at riting" Oh, the irony! What a change from last year in kindergarten when it took them a couple of days to complete signing their names on the 22 valentines they had to do. Today, they went through the class list and checked off the names as they addressed their valentines and signed them in under an hour. Finally, Gabe prayed tonight for the kids who were sick and were going to miss the party tomorrow. Such a sweet kid.


Last night (really yesterday's post) we had the Brown twins and 2 of their siblings, Grace and Luke over for dinner. Gabe and Abby had so much fun playing with them. They are the most polite, well behaved children, and they have only been in this country a year! I think we need to switch kids and have Mrs. Brown give our kids some lessons in manners. As before, the little twins were perfect, so cute, and eat without making a mess. I have never seen toddlers eat so neatly! They also don't get into anything (except for dropping Abby's wand in the toilet), or touch breakables. Amazing! I guess I thought all twins would be little troublemakers like mine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Julianne's quilt

This is the quilt I made for Julianne for her high school graduation. It represents all the dresses and outfits I made for her over the years, including first day of school dresses, her curtains, which she cut holes in to see the trees out the window she was afraid of, a princess costume, mother/daughter dresses and even her graduation dress. It has never made it to college, so I'm using it. I am not a quilter. It's not very even and will probably be one of those quilts she throws on a spare bed someday, but I love looking at the squares and remembering the first 18 years of her life. Lots of good memories...

Monday, February 8, 2010

homework and bedtime

It sure is cute to see Abby reading to Gabe while he has his nebulizer. Abby is becoming such a good reader. Math is another issue. It will be a miracle if that girl learns her math facts, even just addition up to 10 is a mystery to her. We used lots of pennies to make it more tangible. But, I know that she will get it. Gabe seems to have no problem with math, and much more of a problem with spelling and his phonograms. Boys and girls really are different no matter what we used to be led to believe.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dinner and a concert

Tonight, Tim and I got to go experience some culture thanks to our great kids. Julianne, Ben and Nate gave us tickets to the Vivaldi concert for Christmas. We went to Nosh, a great restaurant first. They serve only tapas, or little plates of food, so we started with rosemary potato chips and dip. Then, we had a huge scallop with pickled apples and garlic spun sugar-so good! Then, we had spicy shrimp with creme fraiche and jalapenos, and roasted chicken in a scallion sauce, very tender and succulent! For dessert, Tim ordered a mini Black Forest Cake-one of my favorites that will always remind me of the best trip I ever took with my parents and Daphne to Great Britain, where we spent 3 wks. eating After Eight mints and trying every pub we could to sample the best Black Forest Gateau in each one. Anyway, Tim also though we needed a triple berry walnut bar and 2 chocolate chip cookies (who orders those at a restaurant when you can make them at home?) I ate half the cake and left the rest to him.

We got to the Pike's Peak Center as it started and found our seats 3 rows from the top-did I mention I am terrified of heights? . It was a wonderful experience, and because I am so immature, I have to say, the evening ended perfectly getting stuck in an elevator. No, it wasn't scary, and I didn't even panic. I was having too much fun laughing at the old couple trying to get us unstuck. They were at opposite ends of the elevator. The old gentleman was right in front of me facing the buttons which he repeatedly pushed in random order. Then, he decided to push the alarm button non stop for about 10 min. all the while his wife was asking, "is the elevator moving?" I then pointed out that there was a phone behind her, so she called whoever it is you get when you pick up the phone. The nice woman on the other end was trying to hear her asking for help over the man pushing the emergency fire call button. While this was going on, another older lady was talking to her friends on her cell phone asking them to get a security person. Her response was priceless,"oh, is someone coming to get us out of the elevator? Yes, we'll wait right here!" Haha! I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Finally, Tim grabbed the old man's coat and told him to stop pushing the button, and the Security guard did indeed, get us out of the elevator in about 20 min.

The whole thing reminded me of my parents. Good times!

Friday, February 5, 2010

an elementary school dance

Tonight, Gabe and Abby came home from school begging us to take them to the Family dance at school. I was hoping if I didn't mention it, and instead, focused on the Superbowl party we are having on Sunday, maybe, just maybe they wouldn't remember. Unfortunately, they already conspired with their friends on the bus and had it all planned out to meet at the dance. Abby came into the house telling me that she was meeting Ethan at the dance and was going to dance with him the whole time. I said she was NOT going to dance with him the whole time, and she said,"Mom, we won't hold hands while we dance, we will just dance together and maybe hold hands if we walk around". Oh brother. Gabe wanted to wear his velvet blazer and a tie. Abby wanted to wear "a dress, no, a fancy dress, no, not those shoes, they're ugly, okay, just a skirt, but with a short sleeved shirt, it has to be black, no pink, with tights, no, just shoes." Man, isn't she too young for this?

So, we went to the dance. It was like a jr. high school dance: disco ball, loud music, lots and lots and lots of kids running around, girls finding each other and holding hands with their friends. Gabe busted his usual groovy moves, and Abby chased a poor little boy named Ian (Ethan apparently didn't show) the entire time. The parents for the most part watched, and sat in the cafeteria talking over the music. All in all the kids had a good time, and we survived it until next year.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pack 55 Tiger Cubs visit the fire station

Tonight, Gabe's den visited the Firestation. There were a lot of excited little boys asking questions, looking at a lot of cool stuff, and even got to see how the firemen respond to a call. Gabe was convinced it was a real emergency even though the firemen didn't suit up or move very quickly. I guess they are good actors too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Our Abigirl

I diverted a tantrum tonight by asking Abby to help me make quiche. She got to sprinkle the bacon, red peppers and cheese in the crusts. She is becoming quite knowledgeable about all the cooking utensils and even some cooking terms. We have been working on her cooking badge for American Heritage Girls for awhile.

The other day she called tongs "tonsils". Cute.

One thing I have been noticing about Abby is her need for attention. The more I include her in what I'm doing, the more content she seems to be. This past week we worked on her "Star Student" poster, looked at her baby pictures, and spent a lot of time reading together. She hasn't thrown a tantrum in 5 days I think. That's pretty much a record for her. She still has her moments, but I see her able to control herself so much more when she starts to escalate. We are making progress, and I am so happy for all of us. This Sat., she cleaned her room, with a little help from me. She reminded me so much of myself as a teenager (kind of scary). She really got in to organizing her things, had her boom box blaring "America's Top 40 (that's what reminded me of being a teenager) and was humming along cleaning and just enjoying straightening up her room for a couple of hours.

My outlook for Abby has changed so much over the last 4 months. This summer, we were really at our wit's end, very discouraged, and I definitely was feeling desperate about our ability to help Abby. Now, we see HUGE improvements in her behavior. We don't know if she is just maturing or if it's the play therapy or if it is in part, the Feingold Diet, or the routine of school, or the confidence she now has in her reading fluency, or just simply God is working a miracle in our little girl. But, whatever the change, we praise God for it. We aren't naive. We know there is more to come with her, but we know she is capable of change and for that WE HAVE HOPE!