Saturday, December 26, 2009


So, we are relocating to England for 3 years.  To notify everyone I had business cards printed up.  I thought it would be a nice way to keep the kids connected with their classmates.  I spent waaay too much time picking out graphics, changing fonts and uploading my creations to Vistaprint. I even paid for the expedited shipping so the kids were sure to have them to pass out before the winter break.  Thankfully they arrived in time and I was able to check one more item off my "to do" list.  I was feeling good; especially after some emotional goodbyes with classmates - at least they can keep in contact via the blog and e-mail. 

Well, leave it to me to mess it up.  It seems that I put rather than  The sad part is I looked at the card 10 times before hitting "submit".  I looked at it when it arrived and patted myself on the back.  It was not until my friend wrote and let me know that she couldn't get on the blog that I discovered what I had done (and that still took a while).  I have never been a genius, but this is really bad.  I am not going to even try to justify this one - here it is, the new blog:

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Spencer 09

He is 8 now. At least I think he is 8. Often he is 48, you know one of those kids that is wise beyond his years. That's our Spencer.

Spencer 09 03

We are so thankful our little professor was our 1st. Not only does he have a good head on his shoulders, he is so kind, tolerant, and giving to his brothers and sister.

The boys 2

My only complaint about this one...he has to be one of the pickiest eaters on the planet which was evidenced by his menu: Fillet Mignon, French bread, Fuji apple and cake. This year he chose a chocolate cake with raspberry butter cream frosting, fresh raspberries and a side of pure disaster. It was definitely a "made with love" kind of cake - good taste, but not a looker.

Spencer 09 2

I do not know what happened, but the frosting was so soft that the raspberries kept sliding off the top. Maybe if I hadn't waited until the 11th hour to make the thing I might have been a bit more successful, but I was suffering from a touch of the birthday burnout. Ugly cake aside, it was a great day.

Fall 09

We took a drive in our PJs to look at the fall color and decided to pick up some extra pumpkins from a roadside stand. Pumpkin picking in PJs - does life get much better? Only if you are an 8 year old and have a bunch of new Star Wars Lego sets waiting for you!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Happy Halloween

AJ Halloween 09_edited-1

We had a very happy Halloween and hope you did too.

trick or treating 09

We celebrated with school parties, an awesome costume party at my friend Niki's house, a whole day carving pumpkins and decorating the house (better late then never right?), trick or treating and a glass of Sam's home brew (a.k.a. Claw's Ale).

cobweb pizzas

We made these cobweb pizzas with black olive spiders for the party. The idea came from Woman's Day magazine, but I used my own pizza dough.

Pizza Dough

4 1/4 (give or take) flour
1 packet of yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)

Mix ingredients, knead, let rise, when dough has doubled in size roll into desired size, brush with olive oil, bake at 450 degrees. For a crispier crust, bake one side until light brown. Take it out, flip it over and then add sauce and toppings. The pizzas were about 6 inches and I think I got about 18. You could also do letters, shapes, numbers, etc. with the string cheese.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Laney Janey

Laney 09 2

Usually we only have face gashes and scrapes for our Christmas photos, but both Owen and Laney managed to bang themselves up for their birthday celebrations. What can you do? Normally she looks like this:

Crazy Girl 2

No joke. Interesting isn't it? Here is the full effect:

Crazy Girl_edited-1

Most kids spend their time playing with toys, but not Laney. She spends the majority of her time dressing up. The outfits are not always this outlandish, but they are always pink and accessorized. The remainder of her time is divided between ballet class, singing and playing with Barbies and ponies.

image10-1 ballet 09

2008 / 2009

She is getting so big and she grew so much as a person during year 3. She is a sweet, strong, unabashed, savvy little thing. She adds so much to our family and not just with the volume of her voice, although she really is one of the loudest children I have ever heard. She also keeps us laughing with her crazy take on the English language. We are looking forward to year 4 with this one.

Laney Lue 4

We probably will not be saying this for too many more years, but, for now, we will just enjoy the moment.

Laney Lue

October 17th was the official day and it wouldn't have been complete without a pink Barbie cake and a helpful brother or two.

IMG_0432 Laney Party 1
Laney Party 4 Laney Party 3

Pink schmink, it's a party right?

AJ Party

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Bean Boy Has A Birthday

1st Birthday boy_edited-1

Owen, lover of legumes, celebrated his 6th birthday on the 9th with a giant burrito. It was like a dream come true for him and a delight for us to watch his surprise:

surprise 2 surprise
surprise 3 buritto

Of course there were presents (and helpers):


We didn't miss the candles and birthday wishes either. Thankfully, Owen saw the light on my birthday and decided to forget the cake. Mud pie really is the way to go:

birthday 09

Good times were had by all:

grammie & AJ

Celebrating Owen is easy to do. He is a truly lovable guy who is a compassionate, athletic, animal loving, frat boy who always finds a way to make us all laugh.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Chase

It has been a while, but basically our summer was:

Chasing bugs and animals from our bounty, including AJ who swiped 4 of these tomatoes when I wasn't looking.


Chasing Kids

Chasing AJ

Chasing Milestones

Spencer's Teeth 2

Chasing Time...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Topsy Turvy Evening

capoeria 5

This evening, like every other Tuesday evening this summer, I prepared the kids for our 1/2 hour trip to the boy's Capoeira class. You know when I say prepared what I mean is I rushed the kids through dinner, forced them all to "make a trickle", filled up water bottles, gathered enough snacks and toys to keep Laney and AJ occupied for one hour, and shoved them all in the car and hoped that we might only be 5 minutes late tonight. We have all been there right?

I invited my mother to come watch, so she too joined in the chaos. We made it there in record time, but when we got there the instructor was no where to be found. During the last class there had been some confusion as to whether or not class would be held this evening, but the teacher said he would check with the office. I did not hear from him, so I called the Rec & Ed office and the coordinator confirmed that there was in fact class this evening. So, there we were on time with our water bottles, snacks and toys and nothing. What can you do?
So Grammie, here are the boys (a.k.a. Bala/Bullet/Owen and Pulse/Pulse/Spencer) in action:

Warming Up:

capoeria 2

The boys getting ready to play the Berimbau:

capoeria 4

Playing (a match):

capoeria 3

capoeria 1

Maybe next time Grammie... There will definitely be a next time because our capoeiristas love being topsy turvy too much to not continue. Thankfully the next session is just in town which makes my life just a bit less topsy turvy.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tummy Aches

blueberry 1

It's that time of year again - time for the annual self induced stomach ache. No matter how hard they try, they just can't resist the bounty before them.

Blueberries 09_edited-1

Can you guess which two had the biggest belly pains of all? I couldn't even distract Sam and Laney for a minute to take a photo.

Mr Blueberry

After picking 14 pounds of blueberries, they understandably can't stand the sight of them. Spencer thought he was going to see blueberries for the rest of his life. Most will go into the freezer, but some will be disguised:

Blueberry Bars

Blueberry Crumb Bars
adapted from

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon (optional)
4 cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, 3 cups flour, and baking powder, salt and cinnamon (if desired). Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.
In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries and lemon juice. Pour the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the blueberry layer.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Through The Eyes Of A 5 Year Old

Sir Owen

As he gets older his Owenisims are getting a bit more sophisticated. A conversation as recounted by Sam:

Sam: I love you Owen
Owen: I love you God
Sam: Did you say "God"?
Owen: No, I said, I love you Dad
Sam: Oh, I though you said God; it's OK to say you love God. Do you talk to God?
Owen: Yes
Sam: What do you say?
Owen: I ask for things, but he doesn't give them to me. I think there's a way you have to say it.
Sam: Yes, but it's also important what you ask for. You can't just ask for toys -- you need to ask for things that make you a better person. You say, "Dear God" and then end it by saying "Amen"

Owen: OK...dear God..and then Amen.
Sam: Right.
Owen: Dear God, I want to learn statistics. Amen.

Yo Owen

Well he is just 5.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Clean Economical Fun

Salt Dough Project 1

Well, maybe not so clean, but it is fun. I'm sure you remember making salt dough - it doesn't get more economical than this:

Salt Dough

2 cups flour
1 cup regular salt
Approximately 1 cup water

Mix the flour and salt together and add enough water so the dough is neither too wet or too dry - it should be smooth. Knead for 10 minutes. Garlic presses, cookie cutters, toothpicks, etc. are fun for shaping. If needed, use crumpled aluminum foil to prop up the masterpieces. When ready, you can let your creations air dry or you can bake them in a 200 degree oven for 1 - 4 hours.

I know, I know, not too wet or too dry, 1 - 4 hours...those kinds of directions drive me nuts, but the amount of water really depends on the humidity and the baking time on the size and thickness of your creation. When baking, take care to not get them too brown (they will crack) and if a bubble pops up you can use a pin to deflate it.

Salt Dough Project 3

After baked, they can be painted with acrylic paint. If it is a real "keeper" you can apply a coat of finish. You can make your own economical version by mixing 1 tablespoon of water with 1 tablespoon of Elmer's glue. I happen to have a container of Minwax Polycrylic that I picked up at our grocery super-store. It is not so economical at $5.99 for 8 oz, but is really great for other projects too - it dries quickly, doesn't smell too bad and is easy to clean up.

Salt Dough Project 2

So, there you have it - an inexpensive project that will keep the little guys busy (okay, I may have kept myself busy making a few) for quite some time. So go make some magnets, beads, ornaments, pins...