Tuesday, May 29, 2012

There's an ORANGE BELT in my House!!!!!

Last night T had his belt testing for Karate.  I think I was more nervous than he was.  I don't know why because he knew his stuff but still, I was nervous.   Well I had no need because he did excellent!  I'm gonna try to upload a video of him doing his Kata.  He did really good. Only one mistake because he got distracted when the sensei corrected another student.

Even with his one mistake, he recovered and got back into position pretty smoothly I thought.  Anyway, he passed his belt testing and got his orange belt!!!!

Look how high he can do a side kick!

Getting his new belt!
 Getting ready to bow to the Sensei.
 And bow... dirty feet and all....
 Class picture!
 Picture with his Sensei... he wants it framed and on his wall.
 Doing a punch!
His certificate in a frame and ready to go on his wall.

In other news, I love to build stuff.  Luckily for me, my dad is a jack of all trades and has a fantastic wood worshop at his house.  And he's patient enough to help me with all my projects.  He's a great guy!  So 2 weekends ago after having a hard two weeks, Jeff told me to go have some fun.  Little did I know that I was heading into a week of stomach bug hell so in hindsight, I'm glad I listened to my wise husband!

Dad and I always have a few projects on the go.  Right now we are building a kitchen cabinet for my kitchen.  That one is slow going and next time I go over there I'll try to take some pictures of it.  I'm very excited about it.  But last saturday I had a different project in mind.  I needed something to organize my laundry room and I found some simple plans for an organizer here on THIS BLOG . It turned out perfect!  It fits perfectly between my washer and dryer.  It's so great, I'm thinking of building more of them for the kids rooms!

Well, the kids are starting to slack off in their schoolwork  so it's time to go crack the whip again.  
I'm a slave driver....

Monday, May 28, 2012

Feeling better and our weekend.

Well turns out that on thursday when I posted last, it was just the eye of the storm in regards to our sick household.  Unfortunately T got sick again that night as well as myself.  Sweet Pea and Jeff got sick on saturday.  It ran through our entire household which is believe it or not very rare.

So yesterday we decided we would stay home from church in efforts not to expose anyone else to our germs.  We were feeling better though so we ended up having a family day.   We spent the morning trying to get the germs out of our house.  Rooms were cleaned, laundry was done, floors were scrubbed with bleach.

After the house was done, we went outside!  Here's what J did....

I got some weeding done in the front and when I came around to the back to tackle my very over grown garden, I found this!

T  and our neighbor boy had already weeded 4 of the boxes and finished the last one too.  I was sooo grateful.. I had actually contemplated not planting a garden this year just because of the vast amount of weeds in the garden as you can tell by the over grown herb garden to the right. 

After that was done we set out on an adventure... 

 We walked through the woods......

Sat on logs......

Fanned ourselves with fern leaves....

Waved at camera welding moms.....

 Overcame obstacles in our paths.....

And most of all ran the heck out of that woods swatting the mosquitoes away as we ran.  Seriously... We only lasted about 5 minutes on our nature walk before we bolted.  The mosquitoes were unreal and being crazy spontaneous parents that we are, we forgot about bug spray.  So our walk was postponed until we can remember bug spray....

We decided to go get Mr Freezes from a convenience store and went to the park that was in full sun and therefore scary for mosquitoes.  Then we headed home where we had planned on some pasta salad and barbequed pork chops for supper.  Unfortunately our barbeque is really on it's last legs and would not work for us so we had to improvise.  We did have a fire pit however and a steel grate that we could put our barbeque grates down on.  It worked rather well.

As always whenever we are home, we had a slew of neighborhood children in our yard.  I love that my kids have so many friends close by to play with.  I have a feeling this summer is going to be a fun one for them.  Adding a campfire to the magic of our yard only enhanced the attraction.  It was like I was pied piper or something.  

One of our neighbor girls wanted to take pictures with my camera so the following pictures are just some of the things that went on in our yard last night....

With the campfire going, the kids wanted to eat outside.

 T doesn't like getting his picture taken by neighbor girls....
 Rhino loves this neighbor girl (and her ipod) and she is very sweet to him....
 Apparently we were trying to BBQ one neighbor boy...
mmmm supper!

All in all, we had a wonderful family day.  The kids went to bed late but they went to bed happy.  Since we homeschool, we don't have to be up early for any reason so late bedtimes can happen without consequences... most of the time....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Okay I lied

I know I know.. the last post from me was on Mother's day where I promised a post the next day about our craft day but that post never came... I swear I have a really good reason.  Sadly, early last monday morning, my aunt Esther passed away.  Needless to say I was a little preoccupied last week.  Then starting on the weekend Sweet Pea and I came down with massive colds that put me in bed for a few days and just when I started to feel better, the other three came down with a stomach bug.... at night.... At one point, they were alternating throwing up every 20 minutes... that meant that I'd just get settled back to bed and almost asleep when another would start.  It was a long night.  My husband was soo sweet to me though.  He had to go to work the next mornng but he took a two hour lunch so I could get a nap in.  I dare say that nap saved my children from my insanity.

ANYWAYS!!!  Here are some fun pictures of our mother's day craft day.  J and I came up with the idea a couple months ago.  J has a lot of friends and we thought it would be fun to bless their mothers by getting everyone together to make mother's day presents for them.  Plus we had a lot of fun doing it.  Because of the sheer size of the group, there was no way I could do this at my own house so we set up shop at our church's ministry center which has a lovely big room downstairs for these kinds of things.

I roped my friend Cassandra into helping me out with it because well the thought of 11 girls doing crafts seemed a bit daunting.  We also recruited 3 teenage girls to help us out.  I have to say, though it was a lot of work, I really had a lot of fun.  All these girls are just wonderful little girls and I love each and every one of them!

Okay so in order to get all the girls there without their mom's knowing the reason, we disguised it as a tea party with no parents allowed!  It worked... Most of the parents were happy to have a couple hours to themselves and for some mom's I'm sure that was enough of a mother's day present.  But in order to make it sort of tea partyish I made these babies:

Little pound cake squares with boiled icing!

After we had cake and juice the girls all set to work.  We had 4-5 tables set up with different projects on each one.  One was making queen for the day chair covers.  Who wouldn't have fun with pillowcases, pom poms and fabric paint?

Next table required a bit of work on my part.  The week before I ran to my dad's and used his scroll saw.  I wanted the girls to have a word to paint for their moms.  I picked JOY because that's what my children give me.  What I didn't think about was that the paint would have to dry.  I ended up having to leave the pillowcases and the wood words at the ministry center for several days just for the paint to dry.  There were puddles of paint on some of those words!  hehe.

The girls did a wonderful job painting them though.. so creative!

On the other two tables, the girls were making mother's day cards and bookmarks.  I was amazed at the creativity in these girls!

All in all, everyone had a blast and all the mom's loved their gifts.  It was so fun to bless people this way.

There you have it, our fun craft day.  I'd love to do it again.. only this time involve the moms!  Now it's time to get off the computer and make some lunch for my kiddos.  After not eating all day yesterday, they are just starving today!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's day!

A lovely centerpiece "J" made
I had a wonderful day.  I woke up in the middle of the night to my littlest climbing into our bed.  She NEVER does that.  She usually stays in her bed and yells for someone if she wakes up in the middle of the night.  T used to sneak in our bed every night and secretly I loved it because he was such a little cuddlier.    Anyway, I woke up later to her tickling herself while she patiently waited for someone to wake up.  Then my wonderful husband got up with her and let me sleep til 9 when my oldest beauty came in wanting to give me presents!

A week ago, J and I threw together a party for all her friends. I so wanted to post about it because we had so much fun but it was a secret.  But now I can unveil the secret.  The purpose of the party was to make mother's day gifts for her friend's moms.    I'll write more about that tomorrow because i have a ton of pictures from it.  Anyway, J also made presents for me although it was hard for me not to see because I was there when she made them but she tried to keep them a secret.  Here they are!

 I used my dad's scroll saw to carve these words out of wood for the kids to paint.. I loved J's!

Her card for me!  I love her like crazy too!  She also made a bookmark which I laminated but I must have forgotten to take a picture of it.

"I" also said he had a present.  I asked him where it was and he said I'd have to search for it! Haha.. then he ran out of the room saying, I'll make a map!  Silly boy.  Here is his map. 

First look at it, I said okay buddy you are going to have to help me decipher your map.  Finally we found my present in thecabinet under the bathroom sink.  

He's been working on this for quite a few days and I was so impressed that he thought of it all on his own and even enlisted his big sister for a bit of help.  J said at first he tried to give me her lip gloss but she told him it was hers and he cried.  What a boy.  I'm glad he thinks I'm a winner.  

T had a present too but he had left it at Nanny's house because he said it was too big to wrap.  He had convinced his daddy to take him shopping for a present.  After church we went out to my mom's cottage to have a bbq. It was yummy and too much food.

Sweet Pea got to play with her cousin Gemma whom she absolutely adores! And the kids had a blast playing outside. 

Here's my mom loving on the newest grandson Griffin!  It was great to have her home for Mother's Day.  It's the first Mother's Day she's been home in quite a few years.

 After that we went to Jeff's mom where I got T's present!  It was a DRILL!  I was very excited!  I am constantly borrowing my dad's drill.  Yay!  My mother in law invited us to stay for lobster so that was exciting too!  Tools and Lobster in one day! yay! Now I'm back home, the kids are bathed and half of them in bed. 

Here's one more picture... Yesterday we took a drive to Charlottetown to a homeschool book fair.  Poor "I" couldn't stay awake during the drive home.  He was too cute not to take a picture of him.  

Now I'm getting ready to head to the hospital.    If you could be praying for my family, my aunt Esther is very sick with cancer and they aren't expecting her to make it much further.  She's in a lot of pain.  Please be praying for her.  Thank you....

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Review for Tyndale Publishing

We got a dvd in the mail the other day from Tyndale publishing!  It was Chuck Swindoll's Paws & Tales: Being Kind & Caring.

There were two episodes on this dvd.  The first episode (The Hullabaloo at Hunker Hill) begins with CJ and Staci talking about a lesson they had learned in sunday school.  About forgiveness.  In comes Hugh who seems like a bully.  Hugh dares Staci to test drive his soap box derby car.  Unfortunately, that ride ends in disaster.  Staci crashes.  After an altercation with Hugh at the hospital, CJ gets together their friends to discuss the incident.  It is up to them to decide whether to forgive Hugh or seek revenge.

The second episode (The Great Go-Kart Race) starts with Chuck Swindoll speaking about looking out for others. He spoke for the first 2 minutes and  unfortunately he lost Kaia and Isaac's attention after the first 30 minutes.  Julianna said, this guy is a good speaker but he needs to stop talking!  Anyway, back to the episode,  Staci finds a poster advertising a go kart race and brings it to the clubhouse to show the gang.  They immediately start working on building a go kart for the race.   Unfortunately they can't seem to work together.  Will they learn to work together to win the race?

I liked these episodes.  They kept the kids attention through the whole movie, even the two year old.  They had really good messages in them as well.  I love that they are only 20-25 min long so I can put one on when I am short on time and the kids want to watch something.

This complimentary dvd was sent to me for review by Tyndale Publishing.  I'm not required to provide a positive review.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes... A yummy Treat!

Today I'm going to share with you a treat.  This one is healthy but a yummy treat none the less.  And because I love you, I'll share the recipe and even some pictures!   I found this recipe a couple weeks ago and tried it out.  Loved it.  It's not something my family would like though so I get to have it all to myself.  I decided to make it again (with a few modifications to make it my own) just to see how well they freeze.  If they freeze well, then I'll make a huge bunch of them and freeze them for my lunches!  Anyways... I documented my recipe in pictures just so that I could write down the recipe later.  If you like twice baked potatoes and you like sweet potato then this recipe is for you!!!

 Okay first step... Take your sweet potatoes and bake them at 350 for about an hour or so.  It really depends on the size of your potatoes.   Last time I made these, I baked them for 60 minutes and some parts were still a bit undercooked.  This time I baked them for 70 minutes and they were a little too soft to cut so there is a fine line.  I did not get a picture of my baked sweet potatoes but I'm sure you can picture them.   Next you scoop out the sweet potato and put it in a bowl.  You want to leave a nice rim of potato still attached to the skin to give it some support.  Drizzle some olive oil over the skins and throw them back in the oven to crisp them up.  I'd say leave them in for about 5-10 minutes but watch them close.. If you have scraped a bit to vigorously like moi and have too much skin showing, it will burn the skin.  And yes it may look like I need a new cookie sheet but the truth is, I did get new cookie sheets for Christmas and for some reason I still grab this old one to use.  I say it's well loved and seasoned.

Next step!  BACON!!  Cut up some bacon and throw it in a pan to get crispy and yummy! When bacon is in a recipe, you know it's gonna be a good one!

After the bacon is cooked, pull it out and put it on some paper towels.  Drain most of the bacon grease out of your pan but leave a bit in because you are going to be sauteing some onions in that very pan.  
 Now after these have cooked down a bit, normally I would put in some fresh spinach.  Unfortunately today I didn't have any.  Fortunately though, I keep frozen spinach nuggets in my freezer for just these sorts of occasions.  So throw in some frozen chopped spinach (I used 2 nuggets) or some fresh spinach and let it wilt.
 When the spinach is cooked down, add your bacon back in and set aside!  

Isn't that starting to look deeeee licious?????

Now back to the bowl of sweet potato innards....  Add to it some cream cheese, sour cream and salt and pepper.    This is where you could experiment with different flavors.  Honestly though, simple is great too!
Mash it all up with a fork.  Make sure that you don't make the same mistake I made and pick a flimsy fork for your mashing..  It will end up bent like mine did.  
Add in your bacon, onion, spinach mixture..... It's really starting to come together now!
But what recipe would be complete without more cheese?  I say be creative with what cheese you use.  Last time I made this I used mozzarella and Parmesan.   This time I had no mozza but I did have this wonderful cheese baby. 
Asiago cheese... a wonder in the cheese world!
  I also had some of this Parmesan as well. 
Make a beautiful snow mountain of cheese in your sweet potato mixture and stir it up.
Fill your skins with that mixture and add some more of that wonderful cheese on top. Bake it again for about 10 minutes just to melt that cheese and get it nice and toasty.
Serve up in a cute bowl or plate!
And take a wonderful bite!
Now it appears to me that I lied when I said it was something that none of my family would like .. I was wrong.. As the smells swirled around our house, it's beauty enticed my oldest girl.  A girl who is always willing to try something once.   She loved it and proceeded to ask for a whole one for herself.  I said no.  How can my experiment of freezing them work if there are none left to freeze?   Now when it comes to someone getting a bite of food from mom, it wouldn't be fair if they didn't all got a bite.  Toby tried some... I didn't take a picture of him gagging... no surprise there.  I liked it but he shovels food in so quickly that I can never get a picture.  Sweet Pea wanted to try some too!

She's looking pretty optimistic here.
Now she's not quite sure.....
Nope... it's not a winner for her.

And there you go.. Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes!

Here's the recipe.

2 sweet potatoes
3-4 slices of bacon
1 half red onion, diced
2 nuggets frozen spinach or 2 cups fresh spinach
2 oz cream cheese
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 cup cheese

1. Bake potatoes at 350 for 60-70 min or until fork tender.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Cut potatoes in half, and scoop out the potato leaving a small rim still on the skin.  Drizzle the skin with olive oil and pop back into the oven to crisp up.
2. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry.  Scoop out cooked bacon and set aside on paper towels.  Drain most of the bacon grease and add onions to the pan.  Saute until transparent and add spinach.  When spinach has cooked down, add bacon back and set aside.
3. Add cream cheese, sour cream salt and pepper to the sweet potato and mash. Add bacon mixture and mix.  Add grated cheese.
4. Fill the skins with the sweet potato mixture and top with cheese.  Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
5. EAT!