Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dime a dog, you say? Heck yes, I say.




Aron's job has perks. His company helped design Huntington Park, the new baseball stadium for the Clippers. As a fun little bonus to employees, the partners of his company bought season tickets and all employees get a turn at getting a game or two.
We took our turn at getting a night of baseball. Aron, being the great planner he is, picked dime a dog night.
I think Luke was born to be a hot dog eating champion--that kid put down 3 hotdogs. I think I saw Aron getting a little misty over his son's accomplishment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Where am I?

I've been super busy lately but am hoping to get some updates on here sometime this weekend. See you then!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Woo! Woo! Chugga Chugga!

View from the train
Hold me up so I can see!

There's the engine all the way in the back.


Do you think they'll let me blow the whistle on the train, Daddy?

L to R: Ella, Luke, Myles, and Uncle Jeffy




Not far from our campsite was a historic train station where you could take a ride on an old steam engine train up the side of a mountain. The kids thought it was great! We took one of the shorter rides which was about 2 hours.

Somebody's Mr Grumpy Pants before he gets his morning coffee...

Guess who!

Garage Sale Leftovers




So we had our garage sale a few weeks ago. I gathered some of our things to sell in our living room (yes, that's a box of it in the picture but those were our "to keep as keepsakes" pile). Luke happened upon this outfit. I told him about how when he was a baby he wore the outfit and he was sooooo cute etc, etc. I didn't think much of it and tossed it in the to sell pile (sorry Mom but I can't keep everything) and went into the kitchen to grab some water. I came back in and this is what he looked like. The outfit is a size 0-3 months. Is it sad that your 3 year old can still (somewhat) fit into a 0-3 month size outfit???

Say what?

Their perspective is unique.


I was driving in the car yesterday with Luke and Ella in the back and we proceed to have the following conversation:



Ella: I love you, Mom. I think you're great.
Me: Thanks, E. I think you're pretty awesome, too
Ella: I love Grammie even more.
Me: Really?
Ella: Yeah. But don't worry, I only love her a little bit more than you.

I love the honesty of kids (with the alternative being crawling up in the fetal position and crying).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Strawberry Jam: A Sweet Tutorial

That's right, folks. Today we will be learning about strawberry jam by way a brief tutorial.
I had never made jam before but what is that to stop me? Armed with nothing but my handy dandy Every Day Food magazine recipe and sheer guts, I embarked on a culinary adventure.
*
Aron's Granny has a bunch of strawberries in her garden every year and is kind enough to give us some (ok, so she gives us a ton and I never know what to do with them). I happened to be reading along in my Every Day Food magazine when I came upon this recipe and decided to give it a whirl.
I doubled the batch so here are 2 quarts (aka 8 cups of cut up berries)

Here's the sugar. Don't be shy, Little Berries. It's just a teesy bit of extra sweetness. Annie still loves you the best!


Who wants a little lemon juice bath?



Let's give it a little stir (it's starting to heat up)
Hey! Where did all that juice come from?

Looks like a lotta liquid...I hope that supposed to happen...
Another quick little stir...

Uh, this is getting pretty steamy...s-s-s-seems like it's getting pretty hot...

Whoa, slow down there strawberries...let's not boil too hastily, shall we? Who invited all that foam to the party?



Whoa, whoa...let's not boil over the edge there, sweetie. Annie hates to wipe down her stove.

MAYDAY! MAYDAY! I NEED A BIGGER PAN! NEED A BIGGER PAN! CODE RED! CODE RED, I SAY!

Wait a sec...seems like it's starting to go down a little and the color of the juice in the pan is darkening...

Seems like it's thickening up a bit...


I may survive this whole jam experience...

Ah! Jam, sweet jam!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Camper, Sweet Camper

I thought you were supposed to rough it when you camped....apparently not. Oh, oh, wait, I remember how we roughed it...it was driving 1/2 mile up the road to use a coin operated shower (it was 1.50 for 6 minutes, BTW, which is just enough time to wash your children, shampoo your hair, and say a cursie because you've just run out of water and you have to grope around to find more quarters before you lose your vision courtesy of the folks at Pantene and the bubbles that are running in your eyes.)











Truth be told I miss you...truth be told I'm lyin'

So we decided to go camping. There. I said it. It's out there for all the world to see.
I_went_ camping.
It was 7 of us all tucked into one Ford E-150 7 passenger van: 4 adults and 3 children age 5 and under.
The Driver

The Navigator aka GPS Jeff



The HB (or as it is known in my family The Habitual Bitcher) Seriously, I've warned you before, Aron, you make awful faces for your picture and I'll put them in the blog. It's like you're daring me to do it.


The 3 excited children (ok, so only one looks excited in this picture but trust me, they were all stoked).

The Good Sport (my glasses look a little askew but I was a good sport none-the-less).

video

If you listen closely, you can hear Aron (who moved to the Navigator position say "This sucks!" as we're listening to Willie Nelson's On The Road Again. Yes, the song truly came on the radio of its own accord.)

It was a looooong drive. Seriously long. Like it was supposed to take 6 hours IF you didn't stop every two minutes to take a bathroom break and IF you didn't have 66.6% of the children throwing up in the back of the van and IF you didn't get stuck in hellacious (can I say that on TV? did I even spell that right?) rainstorms and IF you didn't try to leave one of the children at, say, a Starbucks somewhere in West Virginia.

We left at 10 AM and got there about 6 PM at the Seneca State Forest!

I'd like to say I miss you Seneca State Forest but, well, I think the title speaks for itself.

All things considered...not too shabby of a job on my part

Does she look 10 feet tall in this picture or is it just me?

Some days you hit a foul ball and some days you knock one out of the park. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for this in relation to my children but the other day, I hit one out of the park.
Yesterday, I asked Ella to clean her craft area in the office while Luke was taking his nap. She didn't really want to an expressed her pleasure (read into that she said "Seriously? I don't feel like it."). I reasoned with her that she is the Almighty Crafty One that she made the mess and that she should clean it up cause I didn't do it. She started in and I told her that I would do a little something special for her if she did it without cranking about it. She said ok.
*
Now, I had no idea what I was going to do special for her when I said it (I'm a wing it kinda gal in case you haven't picked up on it). So I looked around the house for something to catch my eye that I could reward her with. I saw a lonely little packet of wildflowers sitting on my counter that never got planted. Aha! I could have her plant those outside in a section of the flower bed that never got flowers...she would be happy...I would be happy...we'd all call it a day.
Time rolls on...I forgot about having her plant the seeds...she finished picking up...Luke woke up...I fixed dinner. Ella asked me what we were having for dinner. I told her Baked Oatmeal. She immediately gave me a bear hug and said "Is that my reward for cleaning up? Oh Mommy, thank you!
Ilovebakedoatmealitsmyfavoriteandyouknewthatsoyoufixeditfordinneryou'rethebestmommyever!"
*
Huh? What? Whose child is this that gets that excited about baked oatmeal?? Is she really that deprived that she thinks that Baked Oatmeal is a reward?!?! Oh well, I'll just toss those seeds in the drawer for another day!
*
Baked Oatmeal
2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/3 c brown sugar
1-2 t cinnamon
salt
1/4 c craisens, dried blueberries, apricots, or whatever dried fruit you have on hand
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 c milk
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 T butter, melted
1 egg
1 t maple extract or vanilla butternut extract or vanilla (whatever floats your boat)
Combine the wet ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients. Combine wet and dry and pour into an 8x8 pan to cook in a 375 degree oven for 20 min or until firm.
*
I've also been known to dice up a couple apples to put in place of the dried fruit. As long as your wet to dry ratio remains the same, you're fine to mix it up however you like. The kids like it with maple syrup drizzled on top.

Friday, June 05, 2009

What do these things add up to?

Hmm...I see a harness...


...some heavy duty gloves...


...me in a helmet...

...and my friend, Connie, modeling a bunch of tough looking equipment.
What could this all possibly mean?? Click the video to find out.


video

(WE WENT ZIPLINING! YEEEEEEEEE-HA!)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I think you know this already but...

I find relationships and personal motivations interesting. This time I'm interested in the amount of "extras" kids do and what makes them do it.

Ella does one ballet class each year which is 30 minutes a week. We originally signed her up as a way to get her interacting with other kids her age and help develop her motor skills. She really seems to enjoy it so we've kept doing it.

Some of the girls in Ella's ballet class were in more than one class. There was one girl in her class that did (that I know of) 5 different classes. To me, it's seems like a lot to have a 6 year old child involved in. I understand that you have to start young if you want to be competitive when you're older but at what point is it too much? Is this girl really interested in doing all of these classes or is there pressure from a parent to participate? Am I holding Ella back by only having her do one class? She's never asked to do more than this but I've never pointed out to her that she could do more. Will I be pushing her to do too much if I have her participate in soccer in the fall in addition to the ballet class? Am I not pushing her enough? When I was in school, I was in many extracurricular programs: volleyball, softball, choir, show choir, concert band, marching band, school musicals, etc. I feel like it helped me become a well-rounded person. However, I didn't start doing all these things until I became older. Would I have still wanted to do all of these things if I started at a younger age?

It's time to vote, people (not that I'm going to listen to what you have to say but I'm interested in the results none-the-less)

Luke


Luke got a little bored with all the girly goings-on at the recital so he decided to play dress up with Stevie. Here he is wearing Stevie's glasses.

Recital 2009

Daddy and the Star before the show (with Lindy and Luke in the background)

The Star (with Grammie in the background)

This was during the dress rehearsal. She's the one in the middle.

TGID: Thank goodness it's done!

I must issue an apology to all my blog readers. I did not get a video of her performance this year. I meant to take one during the rehearsal and didn't. Then I meant to get one during the recital and didn't. I meant to do a lot of things (and didn't) : ( The pictures of the actual recital turned out really bad--they're fuzzy and out of focus because the camera decided to hone in on background elements instead of the performers.