Friday, March 27, 2015

Snippets of Life Lately

I think it's safe to say that spring is pretty much here...although spring at our house sure doesn't start out pretty! Right now I'm fighting (and losing) a never ending battle of muddy boots and floors. And clothes. And jackets. And hair. I don't even know why I call "don't get muddy!" After the girls as they head outside. Habit, I suppose.
We have lots to look forward to in the coming month(s) of spring though...my sister is having her first baby, and the girls are so excited for their new cousin! We are also going to Phoenix next week to visit Grandma and Grandpa. Sunshine and pool, here we come! Another thing we are all really looking forward to is planting a garden this year. It will be little, because I am still working on my green thumb, and don't want to crash and burn by planting a gigantic garden. We plan on getting chicks next month too...so brace yourselves for loads of cute "chicky and the girls" photos!

In the meantime, the last two weeks have been spring break, and we planned very little for it. I have to say, it's been a great two weeks. We've stayed home and played, baked cookies and hung out with friends. It's been dreary outside, but still pretty nice, and the girls have kept their evening hours busy playing cops and robbers out there.

It's been so fun watching them use their imaginations. The other day Myka and Danica were playing pretend and doing the usual "pretend you said..." And "and then you did...."
It was pretty quiet until Myka spoke up. "Danica, pretend you said, 'Sweet Mother of Mercy!"
Danica has also started responding with "you got it dude."
Have I mentioned that I introduced the girls to Full House? Lol

Sadie has turned into a little whirlwind, hitting a full fledged toddler stage at the tender age of 9 months. She has become much more confident in her walking abilities the last couple of weeks, and can be seen doing laps around the kitchen island, while shrieking and trying to open drawers. She's so busy with all of that that she can't be bothered to stay still for a diaper change. That girls gets MAD when I try to hold her down for one, yikes!
I don't mind her toddling sometimes though....I like when she follows her sisters down the hall to play with them. They are pretty darn adorable together!

Addison and Tegan have really gotten independent in the past few months. They regularly bake now, although we are still working on them finishing baking all the cookies without trying to pass that job off to me :) they can bake some pretty delicious cookies though!
They like to take the quad out to our field to visit the horse lots. Addison is determined to train him, and from the little I know about horses, she seems to be doing a pretty good job. The other day she came into the house all excited because he finally lifted his hoof for her.

Well, I'm off to finish making dinner. Next to fighting mud, making food for the girls' ever growing appetites seems to be taking up a huge chunk of my time :)
Happy spring break!!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Just A Little Post

A long time ago on the blog I talked about different moments we have as parents. Most time seems to slip away in the routine of the day....some happy, some stressful, some sad. Then there are the tiny moments, sometimes even just a few seconds, that seem to slow time to a crawl and etch themselves as memories onto our hearts. You know the ones; when you see one child give another a hug, or see them laughing together, or when you see your husband give the baby a kiss out of the corner of your eye :) Some moments are just quick and so precious.

That being said, today was a pretty ordinary, yet crazy-as-always Friday. It's spring break, which means that there was noise all. Day. Long. I cooked, we baked cookies, I rocked Sadie to sleep, Danica fell and bonked her head, I did laundry, we watched a show.
After supper, things finally slowed down a bit and I  got the girls ready for bed. I tucked Myka and Danica in, said goodnight to Addison and Tegan, then brought Sadie out to the living room to read a book.
No sooner had I sat down, that Sadie started squirming to get off my lap. She looked around the living room and said, "Da! Daa!"
She crawled to the edge of the living room and called it again.
"Are you looking for the girls Sadie? They went to bed!"
She then proceeded to crawl down the hall and smacked Addison and Tegan's door with her hand!
It was a little longer than one of those momenta I talked about above, but still....so precious and one that I won't soon forget! Needless to say, Addison and Tegan are now rolling around on the living room floor with a VERY happy Sadie baby :)

Enjoying this almost makes up for the fact that I have a mountain of laundry to fold once my little tornado goes to bed
Happy Friday :)


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

My Thoughts On Recent Marriage Articles

There is no shortage of marriage and relationship articles online. I've only read a handful of them, but for the most part they have pretty good advice. The articles themselves speak to both husbands and wives, but I've noticed something that makes me wonder a bit....
Last week I saw an article titled "5 Ways You are Unknowingly Destroying Your Husband and Killing Your Marriage"
I really enjoyed the article and agreed with all of the points, which included things like "Constant Negativity", "Putting Everything Else First" and "With holding Physical Affection". It's not always easy to admit that we as wives do these things. We want to believe that we have a good balance going on, and we also want to believe that our husband is a "big boy" and should be able to take care of himself, while treating us well, despite what we do or say to him. That was no clearer than it was when I read the comments on that article.
"clearly this was written by a man" and many, many other similar disgusted comments filled the comment section.
The article was quickly counteracted with a similar one for husbands, and the comments for that one showed that it was much more happily accepted by the women of the internet.

Then today on my newsfeed, "Why Women Leave the Men They Love" popped up. Many people have shared it, and with good reason. It's a very well written article that touches on a woman's greatest need. It had women everywhere saying, "yes! That's all I want him to see...just a little bit of tenderness and love is what I'm looking for." The article encourages husbands to "touch her with your full attention" and " notice how she reacts when you make contact". It says to take just 5 minutes a day to really notice her, to give her your full attention. The article goes even deeper, saying that many women admit that when they don't feel that emotional connection with their husband, when they feel like he doesn't care, or doesn't see her, it would be easier than she would like to admit for another man to sweep her off her feet.

At last glance, the article had been shared 16020 times, many of which had women tagging their husbands in it.

It made me wonder. What if the opposite version of the article was out? "Why men leave their wives-what every woman needs to know." Women would immediately bristle. Then imagine if your husband shared the article and tagged you in it. If you started reading the article and it said something like this:
"While many situations are complex, there's one profoundly simple truth that women need to know- men leave the women they love. They feel terrible about it, but they do it. They rally their courage and they leave. Men leave women with whom they have children, homes and lives. Men leave for many reasons, but there's one reason in particular that haunts me, one I want women to understand:
Men leave because their woman is not present. She's taking care of the house, the kids, she's volunteering for PTA meetings and events, she's at coffee with other moms, and out for "mom's night out". These aren't bad women. They are good women and mothers. They take care of their family well. They are nice, likeable, and they take their husband for granted."

I won't write out the entire article from the opposite point of view, but you get the picture. If we as women saw that our husband's tagged us in the above article, how would we feel? What would our fellow girl friends comment on such a post?

This article has taken me a couple of weeks to write, just because I keep setting it aside to come back to. I'm still not 100% sure I'm confident enough to publish it! But in that two weeks I have seen more on Facebook.
I saw an article talking about "making the first move" when it comes to reconciling a marriage. It spoke to both parties and applied to the person reading it, not wives in particular, yet the comment section was still full of comments such as "here we go again. The WIFE is always expected to fix everything."
As people, both husband's and wives, we can really let our pride get in the way of seeing the underlying issues.
I know that so far in this article, I'm really risking sounding like I'm on my pedestal. That may be true, but it's something I feel like I need to say to my fellow wives and moms. I'm saying it because I have been humbled in the past. I have experienced my marriage going through some really tough spots, and I've experienced my marriage crumbling. It is only by the grace of God that it was rebuilt stronger than it had been before. And by that I don't mean that God came down and magically fixed the problems we were going through.
I mean that when things were at their worst in my marriage, when I thought that maybe Daniel just didn't love me anymore, God showed me some things. It was really hard to see those things, and harder to do them at the time. I've learned that all the bad days and the feelings I have....he probably has them too. We are both human and both broken in our own ways, and depending on the situation, we both need to "go first" when it comes to reconciling.
I'm not going to write out a bunch more...I've said what I came to say, but lots of what I learned can be summed up in this quote: "A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected."
Whether you are a husband or a wife, making an effort to make your other half feel appreciated goes a loooooong way.
Everybody wants to feel loved, respected, cherished, and appreciated. When those things come from our spouse, it is a powerful medicine!
OK really. I'm done now, lol.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Danica's New Favorite Book

The other day we got a book in the mail, and it quickly became Danica's favorite bedtime story. The book is called "This House Needs A Mouse". It's the story of a family who finds a special mouse for their house. The mouse is special because he cleans up all the crumbs left behind by their cracker eating toddler and leaves their floors sparkling. While that's not normally the case in real life (or at least I've never had that positive of an experience with a mouse! Lol), the story is sweet and entertaining. It is beautifully illustrated as well. On one page there is a family standing in front of their house. The front of the house is removed to show the layout of the rooms. While we were reading it, Myka asked, " mom, is that their doll house?"
"No, it's just their house. They did that to show the layout of the rooms."
"Oh, but they look like they wouldn't even fit in the house! Except the baby..."
And so she learned about field of depth while reading her bedtime story :)

The author, C. Jeffrey Nunnally, is a psychotherapist, professor, and a very talented writer. His goal of " exposing readers to the powerful and playful potential of language" is demonstrated perfectly in this book, with it's delightful alliteration and creative verbs that make it anything but boring to read!

Every night our girls get three bedtime stories of their choice. Since this one came in the mail, it has made the list every single night!

If you want to know more about the book, or purchase your own copy (or a few as gifts!) It's available at http://www.thishouseneedsamouse.com/
And also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and big Tent Books.


The views and opinions expressed in this post are my own. I received the book as a gift from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Story About (fake)Snow


Dear Jael
I know it is really hot in Australia right now, and while that sounds awesome, I thought you might be missing snow.
While I was in Carstairs over christmas, I found something really cool...fake snow! The package said that is the type of fake snow that they use on movie sets and in winter decorating at malls, plus it said that it's moldable! You only need a little...one teaspoon in a cup of water made quite a bit it said. I pictured it being a similar consistency to that new magnetic sand, and thought it would be fun for your kids. I even wrote a cute (if I do say so myself)note challenging the kids to a cross-continental snowball fight!
While I was checking out at the store, the cashier made a joke about it not making it to you because it was white powder. Lol.
Anyways, I went to send it last week, and found out it was going to cost $40 because of the weight! Sue, my awesome postal lady said that if I could get it under 500 grams it would be cheaper.
"Ok, so I'll just go home and put 499 grams of this white powder into a baggie to ship to Australia. Maybe I'll cut the front of the original packaging off and include it juuuuuust in case"
So today I finally got around to repackaging it. After I opened it I thought maybe I would try some out to see what it's actually like. I stirred a teaspoon of it into a measuring cup of water for 20 seconds like it said to.
Oh! I also learned today what they put in disposable diapers to absorb all that moisture.
Have you ever had a kid's diaper burst and get those little beads everywhere? The ones you can't clean up because they are made of pure evil? Yeah. That's what this "snow" is. I would bet money that it's the exact same product. The girls thought it looked so pretty and kept asking to play with it. Can you imagine? *twitch*
So sister, I thought a cross-continental  snowball fight would be super fun. But I love you enough to not send this to your house. You. Are. Welcome.

As I was throwing it in the garbage, Daniel had second thoughts. We stood laughing in the kitchen for a good 5 minutes at the thought of tossing half a cup of it in someone's toilet.
Don't worry, we probably wouldn't do that :)

Creamy Crockpot Chicken and Broccoli


I found a recipe online that I thought looked great for dinner last night, but I was missing a couple of key ingredients; like dry Italian seasoning mix Do we even have that in Canada? I can't find it anywhere!!
Anyways, I decided to use what I had on hand and make my own version. It turned out pretty good too...good enough that I thought I'd share the recipe here :)
Also, all the girls and Daniel ate it without complaining, so that says something!

Like the cake the other day, I wasn't planning on writing this here, so there is only a finished product photo.
As you read, remember that I'm cooking for 6 and adjust as you need to :)
Here's what I did:

Put 3 large chicken breasts in the bottom of the crockpot.
Add 3 cups of chicken broth
Let it cook for 4 hours on high or 7-8 on low.
At this point I transfered the chicken to a cutting board and trimmed any of the fat off, then shredded it with two forks. I also strained the broth, but put it back in the crock pot after it's strained.
Add the chicken back in
At this point I added the broccoli and let it cook for another 30 minutes or so
Then I added the sauce. The recipe I had wanted to make called for cream cheese. I added half a block of it, cut into chunks. I also added 3/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt and a package of Knorr leek soup mix. I have never used that in something like this before, but my friend makes her spinach dip with it, and it's to die for, so I figured it would be good in this recipe!
I let it all simmer for another half hour or so on low, until we were ready to eat.
We ate it on rice, but it would be great on potatoes, quinoa or pasta too...or even by itself I'm sure!

Ingredient List:
3 large chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
1 head of broccoli
1/2 block of cream cheese
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 package Knorr leek soup mix
Side dish of your choice

Enjoy!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Birthday Cake, in Ten Easy Steps


I've had quite a few people ask me today how I made Danica's birthday cake, so I figured I would just write how answer here :)
I can't really take the credit for it. I found the idea online somewhere, although I can't remember where exactly. It's called a pinata cake.
I made one for Myka's birthday in July. Compared to how I pictured it turning out in my mind, it turned out terribly. However, it was a hit with the kids and it tasted great. Seeing as I am nowhere near a professional cake decorator, I will take it!
After the experience in July, I figured I would never make one again....until Danica requested the Pinkie Pie version for her birthday (Myka's was Rainbow Dash).
Why do I do this to myself? Lol

Anyways, I wasn't planning in writing a tutorial, so I only have a couple pictures of the finished cake...none of the process. I'll put the process in point form though, and if your are looking for a more detailed tutorial, I'm sure a Google or pinterest search will work :)

How I made the piñata cake: mixed up two white cake mixes.
2. I separated those into four bowls (6 for myka's). I actually just used the same bowl and washed it out as I baked each layer.
3. I used professional food coloring to get vibrant colors for each cake layer
4. I used an 8 inch round cake pan to bake each layer, then carefully take it out if the pan to cool on wax paper. Oiling and flouring of the pan is a must for easy removal!
5. I leveled each cooled layer, then stacked them together, except the top layer, using buttercream between each layer. 
6.I scooped the center out. All the way to the bottom, and about 3 inches across. Getting rid of the scooped out middle was my favorite part :) you don't have to share it with the kids if you don't want to.
7. I poured the skittles in. I used two of the bigger bags. For Myka's I used regular, and for Danica's I used the dessert skittles.
8.I put frosting on the top, then put the top layer on.
9. Frost and decorate the cake however you wish! I used buttercream on both because fondant hates me.
10. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 08, 2015

5 Essentials For Running a Home With 5 Kids

I'm sure these aren't technically the five most important things, but in our home, they are pretty high up there on the list!

1. A large couch. Where else are you going to keep the 6 loads of clean laundry?
Also great for family movie nights. And for lining up all the kids and putting a Wii remote in their hands because you just can't take another second of the noise! Wait. Did I say that out loud?
A large bed is useful to, so that when all the kids pile in for a snuggle session, mom doesn't get squeezed out.

2. A large island in the kitchen. When we were dreaming up the layout of our house, it was always the first thing I thought of. "I don't care where the bathroom goes, as long as there's room for the island!"
It hasn't disappointed either. The kids eat pretty much all their meals there, it makes it easier for them to help me cook, they use it for homework and drawing, AND it's a perfect landing spot for papers (permission forms, newsletters, etc). It's just a bonus that the dangerously high paper piles are the first thing people see when they walk into the house!

3. A Tassimo or Keurig. Because sometimes there's just not time to wait for an entire pot of coffee to brew. When the baby has been up all night and you have to be up at 6:45 to make lunches and get the kids on the bus, you need caffeine STAT. I love you, coffee.

4. Good Organizational Skills. Well shoot. I suppose in theory a mother of five children should be well organized. Unfortunately, it's not a natural talent for me and it constantly a work in progress.
I remember one glorious day this past summer when I humorously mentioned to an older lady that I wasn't an organized person. She immediately got serious and said, "well, with five kids you would HAVE to be organized!" Yes, I suppose you would. Like I said, a work in progress.

5. A good babysitter. As well as having five children, I also have a husband, and we kind of like each other (wink wink). As I type this, he and I are counting down the hours until Saturday. We have booked a babysitter for our first date since September. For the sake of everyone's sanity, it can't come fast enough!
I do think that in any family, no matter how many kids there are, when mom and dad get regular time out together, everyone is happier!

Bonus: a sense of humor. Sometimes you are going to have one kid hula hooping, two racing cars down the hallway, one laying on your clean laundry reading a book, and a baby fussing on the floor while you try and sip your coffee oblivious. And you just have to be ok with that, because it's a crazy, wonderful life to have!

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