Friday, April 24, 2009


I wanted to quickly mention, for the benefit of many of you reading this who are not very familiar with blog sites, that there is a "comment" link at the bottom of each entry I post. If you would like to make a comment or leave a message for me, you can click on the word "comment" and a comment window will pop up. Type in your comment/message and click the "post" button. This allows me to see what you think of my week! Have a great weekend, everyone!

catch up

I've got a lot to catch up on. When the weather is nice, there's all of a sudden a whole bunch of things to do! We've been biking and hiking and swimming and all kinds of fun things lately.

Last Friday (I can't believe it's been a week already! Time flies!), Noah went to swim lessons with us. It was quite the juggle with two toddlers. They had a great time in the pool (sorry - I forgot my camera!) and Allison got her first pair of goggles.

Here are some pics of the kids at the playground on Thursday.

Abby wanted to "share" the bike with Noah.

Chris, blowing bubbles for the any true engineer would blow them.

Here they are eating a Blizzard...mmmmmm......

Story time before bed (yah!!).

After swimming and lunch, we headed to Portland to drop Allison off with Grandpa Cary and Grandma Andrea for the weekend. After a quick stop, we dropped Noah off with Auntie Brie and then it was just Chris and I w
ith Abby! It was a really different experience to just have Abby with us, but we had fun. We headed out to the Dalles and got some starters (tomatoes, bell peppers, green onions, strawberries), camping gear and birthday presents. The nice thing about two-year-olds is that you can take them shopping, let them play with the toys, pick out the ones they like best and....drum roll......when they open their gifts on their birthday, it's like seeing them for the first time! :)

Here are my starters! I am very excited about them. Hopefully we will get a great little crop out of my garden. I am waiting until sometime next month to plant some lettuce, cucumbers, cilantro and carrots. I have never had a garden before so this is really very fun and I am excited to see the results of all my hard work (removing dead plants and brush to make room for my veggies). On Monday, I dug up all of the ground cover over the stone pathway in the backyard. It looks fantastic! I will try to post some pictures later.

We also went for a nice 11 mile bike ride - very beautiful - very painful. I am rather out of shape. Sad, but true. I made it, but man was my rear sore! Tho
se bike seats are definitely not made for comfort! Perhaps I am not sitting on it correctly? All the same, I definitely got a good work out and could feel that I was already in better shape when we hiked up to the top of Multnomah Falls on Wednesday evening! My dad (Tom) met us there and climbed to the top with us - it was a lot of fun. Allison walked all the way to the top with just a few quick breaks (more for us adults than anything else). Chris and I were fairly impressed considering she would never have made it up there last summer. Unfortunately, I have forgotten to bring my camera with me pretty much all week, so Chris has all of the pictures on his camera. I'll try to snag some later on. My dad took a really great family shot of us.

Abby came into our room the other morning, looking like this. I had to snap a pic.

Thursday morning, Chris had an appointment in Gresham, so he decided to take the whole day off and we headed over to OMSI. There were a ton of school field trips there, but they all left about an hour or so after we arrived. We had a blast! Chris took Allison through most of the regular exhibits, while Abby and I spent most of the afternoon in the new pre-school room. The room is fabulous! There are things to climb on and through, a water play area (complete with waterproof aprons and rubber boots), a sand pit area (in retrospect, I recommend playing in the sand area and THEN playing in the water), a kitchen area with toy foods, a puppet theatre with puppets, flubber, construction crafts.....there are tons of things for toddlers. Abby could have stayed there all day. We also watch an Omnimax movie about undersea African coast. Very cool. Abby enjoyed it very much, although she was a bit antsy half way through (it was approx. an hour long). Allison, of course, thought is was "awesome!"

Today, we had swim lessons again and Allison is currently finishing up her schoolwork for the week. She and Chris finally went on their Father - Daughter date this week. They went for a picnic and bike ride and had a great time together in the outdoors! That's about it for us, this week. Whew!

PS - I found pearl sugar at IKEA. Now I just need to find my recipe for Belgian Waffles!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Alright, I'm putting a plug in for This blog site was forwarded to me by a good friend and I'm passing it along to you moms with young children. The mom who authors this site is....well....craftastic. I'm not sure if that's a real word, but I'm certain it applies to her. She comes up with daily crafts for young children (approx 2 to 5 yrs would be my guess) and often includes books and songs to go along. Each craft is actually doable by a young child (I know! It's amazing!) and uses many items you probably already have around the house or could easily get ahold of. I am amazed by this woman and feel rather embarrassed that I've never thought of most of her ideas...I mean...they are toddler crafts, you'd think they would have crossed my mind before. Anyway, I hope you enjoy....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3 kids

No, we're not pregnant. Noah, my 2 & 1/2 year old nephew, is staying with us for a couple of days this week!

He loooooves the stick horse!

So far, so good! My biggest concern was this morning. Tomorrow is a free day, but Allison still had school today. We managed to get it all done this morning!

Abby and Noah played with play-doh and toys, while Allison did her schoolwork.

Allison made a collage for Bible time .

Here they are, enjoying a nice "quiet" lunch together.

The excitement kept the kids awake until about 9 last night and they were up at 7 this morning (late and early for my girls), so nap time has been a breeze so far.

Abby was having a lot of fun at the beginning of the morning, but by lunch time she was fading fast and found she didn't like sharing her toys after all :) Thankfully, Noah kept on enjoying himself inspite of her.

Last night was Allison's last AWANA night until September. She got her "First Book Award" for completing the whole first Sparks book this year. Chris and I are really proud of her.

Tomorrow morning, we're off to swim lessons! Now that should be interesting with three kids!

Monday, April 13, 2009


What an eventful weekend! I am so thankful that our girls do as well as they do in the car. Chris and I are always driving places and they are both so good.

Sometimes, you just need something a little extra to get you through the day. Thanks to Chris, my wonderful husband, for this treat.

Here is our flower box. I am hoping that I didn't kill the flowers. They seem to be doing alright, so far, but I am not good with these things so we will see.

The girls really enjoyed the sunshine we got last week. We all did, actually. It was so nice to have our daily activity options tripled because of the nice weather!

Friday, we hiked up Beacon Rock, which was beautiful. Th
e girls had a great time, although Abby was rather upset that we wouldn't let her out of the pack once we reached the top (not exactly small childproof, what with the jagged cliffs on all sides).

Saturday, we did our Resurrection egg hunt. The girls had a great time hunting for the eggs. Abby's were all out in the open, but Allison had to hunt for hers. After collecting them, we went inside and went through them one by one. Each egg is numbered and contains an object relating to the resurrection story. We opened each egg and read the corresponding Bible verses. It was so wonderful to share it with the girls.

Here they are hunting...

Abby found one!

Here's one for Allison.

Abby was so proud of herself each time she found an egg.

So was Allison :)

I started the resurrection rolls and we were all disappointed to find that my yeast had gone bad and the dough did not rise. I guess we will have
to try all over again next year!

Sunday, we surprised my parents by attending Easter service at their church. I love surprising people :) After service, we headed over to Chris' parents' house. Lots of relatives were there and we enjoyed a nice afternoon and delicious lunch. It was my first experience with "Easter baskets." I grew up with a First Day of Spring party and Easter was celebrated with church and family. The girls each received three baskets!! I was so afraid they would get carried away with all of it, but right in the middle of all the talk about easter bunnies, Allison got frustrated and announced loudly "Easter is not about the easter bunny! It is about Jesus and how He died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead three days later. That's what Easter is all about!" I was so proud. As long as the true importance and value is ingrained in her heart and mind like that, I could care less about the candy and toys.

Allison started first grade on Monday and, so far, things are going great! She is really enjoying the material and we haven't even gotten into most of the really good stuff. The programs I got all flow really nicely together and
I think we're going to have a great year!

Abby finds all kinds of things to "get into" while Allison does schoolwork :)

I finally emailed the local homeschool group with a few questions and have gotten numerous replies. Two of the moms in particular would like to get their 1st/2nd grade daughters together with Allison for playdates! Allison knows both of them from AWANA and swimming and is very excited. The group is also organizing a homeschool coop to meet once a week beginning this
next school year - something I am very eager to be a part of and have Allison participate in. Praise the Lord!

We found out, today, that we will not be able to get our little black and white ShihPoo puppy. The other couple decided they preferred his coloring over the solid black females. Although we are disappointed, we trust in t
he Lord's will. Jennifer, the breeder, has a number of other Shitzus that will be having puppies this year and we are on the list for first pick of the next litter of ShihPoos. The dog, whose puppy we did not get, always has very small puppies (approx. 6lbs full grown), whereas the other dogs all have puppies that grow to be a bit larger (up to 10/11 lbs). This is a better size for our family anyway. Having first choice of the next litter, the girls will really be able to watch our puppy grow and we will be able to visit before pick-up. All in all, I think this has worked out for the best.

I'll leave you with this picture of Chris goofing around with the girls. With two daughters and a bazillion stickers, you just never know when you'll get stickered!

Friday, April 10, 2009

spring break

You might be wondering why I haven't posted much this week - spring break. We've been taking it easy and relaxing this week. I put together my lesson plans for the next few weeks and re-organized our school supplies. We've been able to get outside a few times with some nicer weather (yah!). The girls and I went swimming again today. What a great activity and, I have to tell ya, it makes for great naps! The exhaustion factor is key. There were a few more kids in the tot pool today, but the moms sat on the sidelines. One of these days I will actually connect with other homeschool moms and be able to ask my bazillion questions. For now, I'll just have to be content to figure things out with the Lord's help :)

Easter is fast approaching! Tomorrow, we will be making Resurrection rolls and doing a special Easter egg hunt (no candy involved!) to remind us of what Easter is
really about. Sunday, we're off to the grandparents' after church! I'll be posting photos later on :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Well, Spring is definitely here. As soon as the temperature starts rising, our family gets into high gear and we barely have a chance to catch our breath until October!

Allison got Marble (her stuffed monkey) back from the bear hospital. I had contacted Build-A-Bear because the battery seemed to be dying on the sound mechanism. This toy is so special to Allison and she was quite tearful about not being able to hear mommy and daddy say "I love you." They sent a pre-paid mailing label! When we got Marble back, she came with a bear hospital t-shirt, a special bow around her neck and tail, a coloring book, stickers, and a prescription for lots of hugs. Excellent customer service, in my opinion. The sound is back to normal and they even repaired a small hole. I was impressed.

Along with our new school books, came a huge sheet of packing paper...which turned into an afternoon activity - snow!

Saturday, we headed out to Gresham where Chris helped his
dad with chores and the girls and I attended my mother-in-law's fabulous cupcake party! Thank you so much, Andrea - we had a great time!

There were so many pretty details. Andrea even had cupcake aprons tied around each chair for us to wear and keep!

The kids did crafts.

Andrea showed them how to make fancy cupcake pictures. Even Abby got to play with glue and glitter (a very brave grandma - I tell ya!).

After a delicious lunch, we got down to the decorating!

Allison couldn't be happier!

Everyone had fun with their creations.

Abby didn't decorate - she just ate! "Ummm....cake, mom. Ummmmmy."

Here are my 9 cupcakes (Andrea made 75 cupcakes, so I tried to do my part to decorate as many as I could!).

Allison and Tatum had lots of fun playing together.

The big girls each got a cupcake shirt to take home and Abby got a cupcake sweater - so cute!

After the party, I went to WinCo (best grocery store. ever.) for my big April grocery trip. I had guesstimated my total cost, based on my grocery list and managed to cut $40 off that! I am eager to see what my month-end total is.

Yesterday, after church, Chris and I did yardwork! Can you believe it?! We actually haven't ever had much of a yard to care for before (mowing and weeding, mainly). Yesterday, I weeded and pulled out all the dead foliage. Chris pruned and went to Home Depot. He got new flowers for the flower box on the front of the house (sorry, Amy - the old ones died last summer!) and grass seed. I am hoping to grow a few vegetables this year, we will see how it goes. I don't have much room, but am considering getting a large planter to help with space. I wanted to take a picture, but I think I'll wait until Allison and I plant the flower box.

Friday, April 3, 2009 sunday in some countries

We had our first swim lesson today! The girls had a great time getting water logged. There were a lot of kids there (yah!), all homeschoolers. Allison's class (beginner/intermediate) had about seven kids in it. Her class has a free swim time for 1/2 an hour and then a 1/2 hour lesson. Abby and I hung out in the kiddie pool. It is quite large and has water spouts and many water toys to play with. Abby probably would have stayed in there all day if I'd let her. The only disappointing thing was that Abby and I were the only ones in the kiddie pool! All of the other kids were old enough for classes, so their moms all congregated near the bleachers and visited. This was rather disappointing for me as I was hoping this would be an opportunity to meet some of the other home school mothers in the area. Ah well, this seems to be a trend for me...doing it on my own. Chris gave me a big hug, which made me feel a bit better :) Also, it's SUNNY outside and who can stay mopey with sunshine?!! God is good!

Abby was thrilled to receive her hand-me-down backpack yesterday. She kept putting it on and then taking it off, over and over again. Then, she would march around the house and start all over again. It was very charming.

While looking on Craigslist yesterday, I ran across an add for a bunkbed - $75. Upon opening the add, I found that they were actually hoping to trade the bunkbed for a full size bed. YAH! We have a full size bed taking up space in the garage and have been thinking about getting (Chris was thinking about building) a bunkbed for the girls this year. I responded to the add and so far so good. We haven't said anything to the girls yet, so we'll see! They would both be thrilled. Allison has been begging, very nicely, for a bunkbed ever since she found out I was pregnant with Abby.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

first day of school

I ordered a new backpack for Allison and it arrived today. Regular packs are so large on kids her age, but the Dr. Suess one that we picked up for free last year (yah MOPS!) is way too small. She's been needing something to put her school books in when we're on the go and I found this one that is smaller than the average pack, but still just large enough to hold a typical notebook.

She is very excited to have a "big girl" backpack. The school supplies I ordered should begin arriving tomorrow. We're starting to feel like we're gearing up for the first day of school! It's kind of an odd feeling, considering we still had lessons today. I think it's just the eagerness for something new and out of the ordinary. Besides, it is first grade!

Allison and I made three loaves of zucchini bread, today. I meant to only bake one large loaf, so I took some shredded zucchini out of the freezer. I went to get it out of the refridgerator today and discovered that I had a couple old zucchinis in the bottom drawer. We made 1 & 1/2 batch (nice math lesson, I thought) and they came out great. Allison wanted to crack all of the eggs, but I managed to convince her it might be quicker if mommy broke all six eggs! She had lots of fun pouring in flour, however.

Here they are! Sometimes my loaves get a little dark on top, mainly the large ones that stay in the oven longer. This time, I put a piece of foil over it, after I pulled out the smaller loaves. Worked like a charm.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

top of the hill

Whew! It's Wednesday night! I love Wednesday nights because they mean only one more day of school for the week and it's all down hill from here.

did make it to the library yesterday and Allison got her first library card - she couldn't be prouder (I am pretty proud myself). She helped fill out the application and they asked her all of the questions when entering her into the system. It was a very "grown up" experience.

I hadn't talked to Sandy or Becky (my two closest friends) in quite a while, but managed to talk with both on the phone yesterday! I am very content in being at home with Chris and the girls, but it's amazing how refreshing it is to visit with my girl friends! What a blessing...

I am planning my big April grocery trip for Saturday so am running a bit low on food supplies. Tonight, we ate grilled cheese sandwiches and spaghetti O's (Becky - I had a veggie patty w/ tomato on whole wheat bread...less points). Last night, I made Swedish pancakes (more points). This was only my second time making them, but they are fairly easy. For those of you who have never had Swedish pancakes - these are not typical pancakes. They are thin, buttery, delights. No syrup here! Only toppings such as jam, cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar. It was a very
healthy meal, as you can see. For the first time in a while, Abby had no complaints. Our family mood went from rather mopey to bright and sunshiny! Everyone thanked me, even Abby: "ah dun. tank oo mom."

I've been trying to make make a new "heritage" recipe every year. A couple of years ago I tried a recipe for Speculaas, a Dutch cookie (similar to gingerbread) made in December for St. Nicholas Day (a holiday our family celebrates). They turned out pretty well, but none of us really liked them all that much. Last year, my goal was to try Swedish pancakes. For some reason, I had it in my mind that they were very difficult to make so I put it off until the end of the year. I'm ashamed at how simple they are....although, considering the amount of sugar involved in the toppings, it's probably for the best! This year, my goal is to make traditional Belgian waffles (not the American ones that are basically bloated pancakes). I lived in Belgium for a year when I was a child and these were my favorite! They require pearl sugar, which I think IKEA sells and I also found a website specializing in Dutch goods that sells it within the US. We'll see how they turn out. After the swedish pancakes, the whole family is eager for my next experiment!

Today was another busy day where I got a lot accomplished, although I can't quite remember most of it. All I can think of is school and laundry, but I know there's more :) We got more pictures of the puppies. They will be four weeks old tomorrow. We will find out this next week if we will be able to get the black and white male or will have to wait for another litter.

I'll leave you with this picture of Abby. Some days, when you're in the mood for tearing through a good magazine, a chair just won't do.