Friday, October 31, 2014

Minion Cake

My friend asked my mom to make a Minion cake for her son's birthday party.  While I'm not really sure what these little characters are all about, I have seen some pictures of them, and I thought the cake turned out really cute!  Here is a picture of it.  My mom does such amazing work! 

Thursday, October 30, 2014


The kids absolutely love popsicles.  It could be 40* below, and if given the option, the kids would choose a popsicle for dessert almost every time.  (And as you can see, they get pretty excited about their mouth and tongue changing colors.)

Gettin' Cozy

Kiki loves to be comfortable.  She goes to great lengths to make sure she has a cozy place to lay down and go to sleep.  Tonight, she repositioned the couch cushion so she could lay on it.  Apparently, just laying on the couch itself wasn't soft enough!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

School day schedule

Since we are getting back into our home school routine, Anthony and I were discussing making up a chart (with pictures) for the school day.  I am finding it takes a little more organization and structure to home school 2 kids at the same time, and we want the school day to flow as smooth as possible.  Talon must have overheard our discussion, because he came up with his own schedule.
It looks like he may need to hustle a bit to get everything done that he has scheduled at 9:00am!
I love this.  It makes me chuckle every time I see it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Big girl bed

Natalie's first night in her big girl bed.  She was so excited!
She fell out of bed a couple of times, which made her very upset, so she ended up in our bed by morning.  She likes that she can get up when she wants.  That may or may not be a good thing.  
My baby is getting big way too fast!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Nasty weather

We have had quite the stormy weather this weekend.  We've even had some tornado warnings. (Mind you, they are small, but a little unusual for our part of the country!) Trees have come down all over, or at least split in half, and full neighborhoods are without power.
This is what the wind did to the grange where we have church.  It took that metal roof right off! The power line looks a little precarious to me.  Glad I'm not the one dealing with that!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Happy faces

This girl.  5 going on 15. Can't believe how fast she's growing up!  She's got her purse, and is ready to   hit the road.
Nattie and her favorite, Noni.  These two absolutely love each other!
Talon managed to dodge the camera yet again.  I tried to take a couple of pictures of him, and he kept darting away. Maybe next time.

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats

Our Friday night fun consisted of Mommy going grocery shopping, coming home and trying to find a place to put everything, then making a treat.  The request was Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats.  They turned out really good.  I found the Pumpkin Spice chips at Target.  That's the only place I found them this year, but then, I didn't look super hard either.  The original Rice Krispie Recipe was posted here, but I changed it just a tad. 

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats

5 Tbl. butter
10 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal
A pinch of salt
1 cup Nestle Pumpkin Spice chips


Melt butter in a large pan. Add 8 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows and a pinch of salt, and stir constantly until melted.  Remove from heat, and add Rice Krispie cereal.  Stir until well combined, then add additional 1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows and Pumpkin Spice chips while still hot.  Press into bottom of greased 9x13 baking dish (or 8x8 if you like them really thick).  Let cool, then ENJOY!

(Note: These have a strong pumpkin taste.  If you want it to be a little more subtle, you can reduce it to 1/2-3/4 cup of the Pumpkin Spice chips.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Garlic Bacon and Ranch Chicken

I love to make this chicken dish, so I thought I would share the recipe.  It has garlic, bacon, ranch dressing, and cream cheese. What's not to love?  It is a perfect comfort meal.  It is one of my husbands very favorite meals, and the kids love it to.  I make it in my dutch oven (usually on days that I work), so I throw the ingredients together in the morning (with the frozen chicken), put it in the oven, and go to bed.  When I get up, the house smells intoxicating, and dinner is basically ready.  Did I mention I love making this chicken dish?
I found it on a website a long time ago, and made some variations.  If I ever figure out where the original recipe came from, I will post it so they get the credit.  But for now, I'll just share my rendition.  (This is perfect for our family of six to eat dinner, and I have leftovers to take for lunch.  You may want to cut the recipe in half if your army isn't quite so large.)

Garlic Bacon and Ranch Chicken

4-5 raw chicken breasts
1 lb. bacon, uncooked and chopped
1 heaping Tbl. minced garlic
2 pkg. dry ranch dressing mix
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
6 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1 1/2 cups water


Place chicken breasts in bottom of dutch oven (or crock pot).  Combine bacon, garlic, ranch dressing mix, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, cream cheese, and water in a large bowl.  Mix well. (Cream cheese may still be lumpy, but it will melt together as it cooks).  Pour mixture over chicken, move chicken around slightly to coat pieces on the bottom.  
For the crock pot: Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or until chicken is tender and cooked through.  It may take slightly longer if the chicken is frozen.  
For the dutch oven: Cook in the oven on 225*.  Check it at 3 hours.  It may take up to 4 hours, depending on how frozen the chicken is and your oven.
With frozen chicken, and not preheating the oven, mine is usually done in just under 4 hours.

After about 2 hours of cooking, you can stir it to mix in the cream cheese, and make sure all of the chicken is evenly coated, but you don't have to.  Stirring it together when it is finished cooking works great as well.  
Usually, I use light sour cream and light cream cheese, and you can't even tell the difference.

I serve this over white rice (I make about 3 cups of dry rice).  Yum!


As I was making breakfast this morning, I looked into the living room, and found Nolan sitting on the floor with Kaitlyn's doll.  It was so sweet.  He was in his own little world- just talking to the baby and feeding it a bottle.
He's gonna be a good daddy some day!

Conversation with Kids

Leaving for work tonight, I asked where Kaitlyn was so I could kiss her goodbye.  She pops up from behind the kitchen counter.  I asked her what she was doing, she said, "Cleaning the dirty dog prints off of the floor.  I just can't stand to have a dirty house!"
Music to my ears.  I love that girl!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Royal Treatment

The girls beg constantly to put lotion on daddy's feet and massage them. (And boy, do they use lots of lotion! We've actually had to ban Natalie from the lotion bottle and only let her rub it in after Kaitlyn puts it on.  Things get messy in a hurry!) 
They love to spoil, er, I mean, take care of their daddy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Pway and Pat

When we went and stayed at the beach, we took the Play and Pack for Natalie to sleep in (like usual).  When we all got sick last week, she woke up constantly from being congested and coughing.  So, I put her in our room for a couple of nights, so I didn't have to go traipsing up the stairs every time she woke up in the night.  Well, even after she got better, she still wanted to sleep in our room.  She would wake up screaming, late into the night.  I ran upstairs a couple of times the first night to make sure she was okay.  When I asked her what was wrong, she said, "I pweep my pway and pat."  I tried telling her she had to sleep in her crib, but she wouldn't hear of it.  I caved.  I let her sleep in our room.  Then, since we have darkening shades on our bedroom window, I let her sleep in our room to take a nap.  Oops.  That night, more screaming and little sleeping.  I tried to be strong.  Anthony said,  "You might as well let her sleep in our room, or we will never get any sleep".  She won.
The next day, I took her into our room before nap time, and she helped me take down the play and pack and put it away.  I told her she could sleep in it the next time we go to the beach.  She was fine with that.  At bedtime that night, she didn't even raise a fuss.  She went to sleep in her crib and we didn't hear a peep.  Every once in a while she will go in my room and say, "Pway and pat put away?".  Today she started asking, "Mama, we go to the beach?".  Man, kids are relentless, and so stinkin' smart!

I couldn't really be irritated with her.  She's pretty cute!
(It probably won't be until next year that we stay at the beach.  By that time, she may not even fit in it. She's already so tall she can hardly even stretch out all the way.)

Shrooms anyone?

We have these huge mushrooms growing in our front yard.  They started out just a couple of days ago to be normal-sized mushrooms. (You know, like the size you find at the grocery store?)  These things grow exponentially by the day!  I put my foot next to them to show how big they are.  I guess when they grow to be the size of a small table, we might take them out.  Kinda fun to watch!  Not sure what kind they are, but I HATE mushrooms, so it wouldn't matter if they were edible, I still would not eat them.  Maybe we could sell them?  Naaaah.  I wish I could grow plants and vegetables this well.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My brave attempt

Today, I attempted something I said I would never do...  I cut my boys' hair.  Driven mostly by the fact that I refuse to pay $12.99 each for a 5 minute session, I jumped in with both feet.  I actually tapered it with 3 different shields, but I didn't want to do anything too drastic.  They both have such different shaped heads and hair lines, that it's difficult to do the same thing on both of them.  They were very patient with me, for which I am very grateful.   Anthony suggested that next time I keep Talon's hair longer on top by using scissors.  Hmmm... we'll see.  Not sure that I'm that brave yet.

Happy Birthday, Noni!

My little Nolan-bug ("Noni" to Natalie) turned 4 today.  It seems impossible!  He is such a loving, happy, fun, spunky, crazy kid.  Our family just wouldn't be the same without him.

He requested pancakes with peanut butter for breakfast.
 Our entire family got sick this week, so in an effort to not share the wealth, we celebrated with just the six of us.  We had a great time, and enjoyed spending the day together.  We went to Dutch Bros for coffee and smoothies, then went for a drive up to Mt. Angel for tots at The Burger Inn, and to do a little more touring of the town.  I put a roast in the dutch oven before we left, so we came home and had dinner. I made a chocolate chunk cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting (by his request). Actually, he said he just wanted popsicles, but when he found out he couldn't blow out candles in a popsicle, he chose cake.  Then, when all was said and done, all the kids just wanted a popsicle.  So, Daddy and I enjoyed some chocolate cake.
Next came the presents.  He was so excited!
In case you can't tell, he is very happy to FINALLY be four.  Although, I must take this opportunity to tell this...
The kids fall in the same line as Shade and Beth's kids (boy, girl, boy, girl).  I hear, at least ten times a day, "Talon, you're Caleb.  I'm Chantry, and I'm twelve!".  Any way he can work it in, he does.  He will tell the kids, "Let's play that we're grown ups, and I'm Chantry, and I'm twelve."  He's such a crazy kid!
 He got a remote control Mustang.  He was so excited to play with it.  We put the batteries in, and it didn't work.  We tried a whole new set of batteries, and still couldn't get it to work.  So, we jumped in the car, having only 20 minutes to make it to Costco, and returned it.  We then went to Target and got a new Remote Control Car.  Once again, he was a very happy boy!  Tomorrow, they are having a huge sale at Coastal Farms, and we are going to pick out some rain boots.  He is pretty sure that, after he gets his rain boots, he will get to play outside any time it rains.  Hmmmm.... probably not, but they will come in handy, seeing that it rains about 9 months out of the year here!
 Sporting his new pajamas.
 Nolan and Mommy.  Love this little monkey!
 These two absolutely adore each other.
Happy Birthday, Nolan James.  Praying God's blessings on you this coming year.  You are such a bright spot in our lives, and we love you to pieces!

Friday, October 17, 2014

More biking

Yes, here are more bike riding photos.
Talon 'fixing' his bike.  The reflector fell off of the tire, and he just couldn't ride until he got it back on.
Natalie going to check out the catastrophe.
Phew...  All fixed!
Taking her jacket for a ride in her car

Sick Days

Our family so generously passed around a respiratory bug this week.  It started with the kids, then Anthony.  I thought I was doing pretty good because I was working, and I didn't get it for a couple of days.  Then it hit me really hard.  It's not exactly how I had planned to use my vacation time from work this year, but thankfully I did have some days saved up.  It's been miserable... many sleepless nights. Lots of vitamin C and other medicinal remedies (natural and not-so-natural), have been used to try and combat this fever and mucous plague.

Natalie loves medicine.  Good thing, because she got a lot of it this week.  I gave her some juice with Vitamin C powder in her sippy cup.  She was not pleased.  She wanted to drink it from a big girl cup like the rest of the kids.
The kids are always hugging on each other and being goofy.  I'm glad they get along so well, but it's probably why so many germs get passed around!
Group hugs
Natalie wanted to play hide and seek.  She was in the corner and couldn't see anyone else, so in her mind, she was well hidden.  Kids are so funny!
More goofing off before bed.
The boys picked out their own pajamas.  I don't know if I could sleep if I clashed that bad, but they clearly don't mind.
Nolan's sad face about going to bed.
We got cabin fever, so we got out of the house a few times and drove around, but the kids got along considerably well for as much time as we spent trapped in the house together and not feeling well. And they did seem happy to have a couple of days off of school.  
We went through a considerable amount of tissue and Ibuprofen this week, but thank God we are all getting better and only have some nasty sounding coughs remaining.  This weekend, the house is getting sanitized from top to bottom, Mommy goes back to work Monday, and school is back in session.  It will be nice to feel like we are in the land of the living again, though!