Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tuesday Top Ten...Quesadillas

Three things inspired this post.

1. My kids really hate sandwiches. They like toast or the occasional bun, but that's where there tolerance for bread stops. At first it annoyed me because I had to get more creative packing their school lunches, but I'm ok with it now. Mostly because;

2. They love tortillas! And we go through a lot of them in this house. I can put almost any sandwich topping on a tortilla, roll it up or fry it, and they love it.

3. We eat a lot of quesadillas. I love being creative with them. There are hundreds of combinations of toppings you can stick between those two tortillas, and these are our family's favourites. Most of them I served with a dollop of sour cream for dipping :) Excuse my lame names for them...none of this is really "official" LOL.

1. The Simple: This one is great as a snack or as a side with soup for lunch. It's simple...cheddar cheese or refried beans with cheddar cheese. Classic and yummy.

2. The Spicy Chicken: Cheese, cubed or shredded leftover chicken, Frank's red hot sauce, cheese, onion, pepper and tomato! Extra points for adding banana peppers! The kids don't love this one as much, but before I was pregnant and sick with this baby, it was one of my favs :)

3. The Greek: Black beans (our favourite!), red pepper, spinach, tomato, feta and a bit of cheddar to hold it together. A friend of mine invented this one while I was at her house for lunch one day and it quickly became my favourite lunch!

4. The Monkey: Peanut butter, sliced bananas and a few chocolate chips. Dessert, Breakfast, After school snack...this one is versatile and delicious!

5. The Taco: We have this one for lunch to use up taco leftovers from the night before! Taco meat, cheese, and whatever other leftover toppings we have!

6. The Cheesecake: A quesadilla for dessert? Why not? Cream cheese, sliced strawberries and cinnamon sugar...try and stop me!

7. The White Chicken: I can't think of a better name. For this one, you make a white sauce and mix it with cooked cubed or shredded chicken, canellini beans (white, creamy textured bean), spinach and a bit of mozza cheese. These ones are super filling!

8. The Bacon n' Egg: Pretty self explanatory...if you would rather a savoury quesadilla for breakfast as opposed to the Monkey one I listed above, this one is awesome. Bacon, scrambled eggs, cheese....peppers, avocado, or tomato if you like. It's like a breakfast burrito, but toasted and melty! Mmmm.

9. The Pizza: The ultimate kid approved lunch in our house! Pepperoni slices and cheese, served with pizza sauce for dipping. Perfecto!

10. The Luau: Bbq sauce, shredded chicken, pineapple, and cheese. Preferably served with a side of kid friendly pina coladas! Aloha quesadilla!

These are of course, just a few ideas. I'd love to hear what your family enjoys in their quesadillas...we love trying new ones!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Mom Truths...From My Point Of View


Where every tall, refreshing drink you pour for yourself will be immediately thieved, shared among all the kids and handed back to you only when there is an inch of preschooler slobber and backwash left in the bottom. Enjoy!

Where every banana you peel to enjoy as a midmorning snack will disappear before your eyes into tiny, yet skillful hands....while the one you peeled for them lays in a mushy pile on the table. And yours was the last one in the house.

Where every time you take them to the bathroom they insist that you "get out" because they "can do it themselves".... But when you are sitting down relaxing for the first time all day and let them go by themselves, they will suddenly need help and call " Mom! Mommy! Mom!" From the bathroom until you get up.

Motherhood...where 2 out of 3 relaxing baths will be hijacked by a 3 year old.

Where, at almost 8 months pregnant, it's perfectly acceptable to ask "ok, who's going to put mommy's socks on her today?" It's also acceptable to bring a bowl of lucky charms with you to your relaxing bath...the one you wisely waited until an hour after bedtime to take.

Where the best thing about Friday nights is that your 8 year old can pour her sisters' cereal in the morning and you can sleep in (and by "sleep in" I really mean "we all know it's not actually going to work out that way, but we try to convince ourselves that it will")

Where no matter what kind of a day you have with your kids...today it was some serious invasion of my personal bubble by some very squirmy and clingy preschoolers...going into their room after they are asleep and just looking at them instantly melts away any lingering frustrations. It reminds me of that card I saw one time that said "the sound of my children's laughter is the best sound in the world, next to the sound of their deep breathing when I know they are asleep"LOL. 
But seriously, I fall in love with them all over again when I see their peaceful sleeping faces :)

Where this picture that Myka drew of me holding her hand while a balloon is making her float away makes me emotional every time I look at it....and there's no explainable reason why, but that's ok, because it will always make me smile :)

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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Sweet Sisters

The picture is a little dark and hard to see, but the story behind it is pretty sweet :) about half an hour ago Danica fell and hit her head on a hard part of the couch. Right away, myka went over to see if she was OK. She lifted Danica's bangs and said, see mom? Danica's forehead is red! I should take her to bed." She then piggy backed her to her room and tucked her into bed. The only time she has left her side was to come to the kitchen to get her an ice pack and a glass of water. She even said she didnt want to go outside because she needed to take care of her. Danica is totally milking it for all it's worth too! Lol. When these two are getting along, it's the sweetest thing :)

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

5 Girls...The Top 5 Comments

Over the past few years, I've had my share of good laughs while reading blog posts written by parents of big families. It seems like as soon as you have four children or more, people start noticing when you take them all in public together :)
Disclaimer...I love when people talk to me about our girls. Sometimes I feel like we get too much attention, but for the most part, I'm a social person and don't mind at all. I mean, come on, who doesn't like talking about their kids? I know that it's hard not to notice us, especially when everyone is chattering like adorable monkeys...so I've come to expect a certain level of questions and comments. Most people are pretty awesome have a conversation with about it. Daniel even had a lady stop him on his way to the bathroom at the airport just to tell him that she noticed how well behaved our girls were at the gate! We get lots of encouragement, from friends and strangers alike.


Occasionally a stranger will shock the socks off me by what they are willing to say....eeep!

And so I compile the top 5 crazy, actual comments we received while traveling with our four girls. By crazy I mean everything from "not as witty as they may think" to "actually kind of offensive".
It's crazy what strangers will say, especially right in front of the girls. Everything from the classic " are they all yours?" to "were they all planned?" We even got a "no wonder you have so Tmany, you live in a place where it's almost always winter!"

The Top 5:

1. Stranger: "are you going to try again for a boy?
Daniel: " haha, no."
Stranger: "well that's good, because he'd be gay anyways."

2. Security officer to Daniel: "You know it's all your fault, right?" (Flashes huge smile like she's come up with the wittiest, most original comment we've ever heard).

3. You might as well buy stock in Tampax now!

4. As I was checking out at Victoria's secret, the cashier and I were chatting about being pregnant with my fifth girl, and as I turned to leave she says, "have a nice day! I hope you get a boy eventually!"

5. From an older lady after hearing I was having my fifth girl, "time to bring in the milk man!"
Thankfully I was alone when she said that!!

On the way home while discussing the comments we had heard, Daniel made a very good point...no matter what is said about them or in front of them, our girls are so loved by so many people that it covers any thoughtless comments that a stranger could make :)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vacations Look A Little Different Now

Daniel and I have travelled many times with all four of our girls, but almost all the trips have been to Calgary to see his family or to camp at a lake. This spring break is the first full on, hot weather family vacation that we've taken with all of our girls. It's an experience! It's also super fun and something that none of us will ever forget. Sure, the vacation was still to see the grandparents, but it is at their condo in Phoenix, so it counts :)

The fun started at the airport. I felt like an attention grabbing drama queen the whole day, and I can't imagine Daniel felt any different. Just so all the men out their know...if you want attention, bring your four daughters and visibly pregnant wife to an airport. It's something people notice.
In the title when i said that vacations look different, the airport was the main thing I was talking about. I've only ever been on an airplane when it was just me, just Daniel and I, or with one child. Taking four children means that everyone had their own carry on luggage that we needed to keep track of,  and four different hunger, thirst, and bathroom schedules to try and coordinate. With a little organization and a little "I don't care if you have to go to the bathroom, I need you to try because there is one right here", we made it through with no major incidents. Thankfully, the "tons of kids" comments was the craziest it got that day. I was expecting at least one melt down from one of the girls, but surprisingly, good behavior won out, and I barely even had to bribe any of them! Well, maybe I bribed Daniel once or twice with a Starbucks :p

There are so many things to do in Phoenix, including a zoo, butterfly atrium, hiking, shopping, and waterparks. Pretty much none of that matters to these girls though, because there is a pool at Grandma and Grandpa's condo. We have ventured out a few times, but a good chunk of our days are spent at the pool, swimming and suntanning! The best part is that Myka and Danica have found their  confidence in life jackets and they just paddle all around the pool playing with their sisters. I have been lounging in a poolside chair, working on my tan and keeping a close eye on my little fishies (and incidently, working in this post for almost a week...the sun has caused some serious writer's block!). I have been so grateful for their recent independence, and as much as I am looking forward to meeting our new little princess (in 9 weeks!), I am enjoying not holding a child, changing any diapers, or worrying about sleeping through the night for the next two months, and especially on this trip!

This brings us to today. It is our last day here, and my emotions are ranging from "I do NOT want to leave ever!" To "nesting is starting to kick in, and I have nothing ready for baby yet. I need to go home now!" The girls are a little more clear in what they are feeling. Last night Myka let out a huge sigh with a "I don't want to go back to winter time!" Before bed. If they could have their way, we would just move all of their friends down here and stay forever.
For now though, I'm going to enjoy one last cup of coffee on the patio before organizing and packing all of our stuff for the flight tomorrow...while praying that the flight home goes as smoothly as the one here did. We have been so blessed for this opportunity, and I think I can say that cabin fever has been officially cured.
See you tomorrow, snow...please don't stick around much longer, OK?

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Right at this very second, the thing I'm most thankful for is the quiet. We have been so busy lately. It's been good though, and as a family we have been productive and gotten so many things done...but I'm tired. Last night Daniel and I were both having a hard time staying awake through Bible study, even though it was pretty awesome! And tonight, well that was kind of the cherry on top of the craziness. I'm not sure why all the girls were so loud, but they were. Between 4 and 7pm it was a crazy madhouse in here and this house really lived up to the title of my blog! So many questions, so many squabbles, and mom ran out of patience before bedtime unfortunately. Even the baby in my tummy has been crazy and is still kicking up a painful storm with some sharp part of her body! So now, I have no music on, no tv, and no one else around. Daniel is still at work (poor guy), and I am sitting in the quiet, just typing out my thoughts.

A few more things I'm thankful for this week:

1. Speaking of being busy, we are taking the girls to Phoenix Saturday for spring break. We have all been looking forward to the trip for a long time now and I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to take them! They are just so excited to spend time with their grandparents in the sunshine...in fact, that's pretty much what all the loud chatter was about here tonight as we started sorting clothes and stuffies to take :)

2. Our new bed frame. About 7 months ago, Daniel and I got a new king sized mattress...we just didn't get a frame with it. Neither of us really cared much about getting one either...until my belly got huge and I got winded every time I had to get up from bed! Last weekend we bought a frame from ikea, and things are so much better! I am SO thankful to be able to get out of bed easily!

3. Having Daniel's grandparents stop by for a visit yesterday. We haven't seen them since Christmas and the girls loved having them here!

4. Baby kicks. Tonight she's kind of hurting me, but most of the time it's so awesome to feel her. Even more awesome is letting the girls feel her! They all love "playing" with the baby through my belly :)

5. The sweetness of my girls. They all have their incredibly sweet moments, but yesterday morning sticks out in my mind right now. Before my alarm went off at 6:45 I could here Myka and Danica talking in their room. About half an hour later I had gotten up and was feeding the older two breakfast when I realized the younger two hadn't come out of their room yet. They did a few minutes later and Myka started talking, " mom, it wasn't morning yet, so I came to the pantry and got Danica and me a granola bar. While I was in the pantry I had the thought that I would like to cuddle with her, so I went to our room and we cuddled in her bed." When I said, "awe, that's sweet of you Myka!" she said, "yeah, I told her that I love her too."
It's moments like that that make the fights where they end up biting each other seem not quite as serious, LOL. Sisters.

6. How self motivated the girls are. Over the past month Addison and Tegan have developed an interest in snowboarding, finger knitting, arm knitting, crochet, and needle knitting! The finger knitting they learned at school, but the other types they watch youtube videos to learn. I know how to knit, but both of them said they would rather watch the video to learn, lol. They have been doing it in almost all of their spare time. It's so neat to watch them learning new skills!

7. For getting to spend all of last weekend with my sister. Daniel was gone for four days, and she just happened to have four days off. We visited, we cooked, we watched our favourite movies, she helped my build my bed AND clean my suburban, and she did it all so happily. I told her that all I wanted was her company, but she got right in there and worked with  me all weekend. I love you Dakota! You're a pretty awesome little sis!

8. That God wants a relationship with me. Lately I've been learning a lot about why God created us (because He wanted a friendship with us) and  what my relationship with him should look more like. A long time ago I read a book called "The Hidden Power of Praising God" and I learned a lot from it. I found that I felt closest to God when I was driving and singing worship songs.  There really is something just POWERFUL about it...it's hard to describe. But lately I've been making more of an effort to do it more often....to just praise him, or to sit quietly and just BE with him. Let me tell you, if it weren't for the peace I experience during those times, I can't imagine the emotional wreck I would be during this pregnancy. I can't believe the range of emotions and anxiety I have experienced that are new(ish) to me! I am so thankful that God is a peaceful cleft in the middle of the emotional storms that have been wracking me. I am pretty sure my family is thankful for that too!

9. Strong Start. It's such a great place to go twice a week. The girls absolutely love it, and I really like seeing my other mom friends in such a great setting. It's at our small school, so it's not really busy, but there are always friends for Myka and Danica to play with, and that is awesome!

10. I'm also thankful that it's no longer -40 outside! That drug on for awhile!

Have a great week!!

P.S. Thank you to Alison and Sarah for keeping up with Thankful Thursday on Facebook and reminding me how important it is :)

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

How Tuesday Went...

This is my favourite time of day. It's 8:00 here and all of the girls just went to bed. Daniel isn't home from work quite yet, and I am sitting in the living room by the cozy fire.
I have calmed down from the slight emotional mess I was late this afternoon....it always seems to happen right before dinner that my brain get overloaded, the girls go a little crazy and I wish I could fast forward to bedtime; not just theirs, but mine too :)
Other than that hour or so, it was a really good day.
It started at 6:45, like every weekday. As the girls were getting ready for school, I got up to make their lunches. Daniel's fleece pj pants just happened to be laying out and they looked really cozy, so on a whim, I put those on. I haven't taken them off since :) They may be my new pant of choice for the rest of the pregnancy!
The morning was super productive. I babysat our tenant's one year old boy, and he and the younger two girls played so well all morning. The girls were acting like puppies and barking, and he just followed them around giggling at them. It gave me a chance to scrub my kitchen clean (which felt amazing to get done!), and to sew a bunch for Little Lily.
By the time the girls got home from school at 2:45, I had hit my wall. Energy, gone. I made them a strawberry smoothie as a snack, we went outside for 20 minutes, then did pretty much nothing until supper time. In fact, I had so little energy that I didn't even want to make supper...so I made a frozen pizza and cut up a cucumber instead.
About half an hour before bedtime, Myka decided that she wanted to make a "surprise" for me in her room. I didn't mind because I know when she says that it means that she is going to clean it...which she did :) Danica came running out about 20 minutes later saying, "mom, you can come in now!" I walked in and Myka jumped out and yelled "surprise"! and then...."how do you like it mom? I thought you would be proud."
It was awesome. And as a result of being so proud of her room, she and Danica went to bed amazingly! I wish every night could be like that, but I'll take the occasional one quite happily :) It's like she's making up for the three years or so that bedtime was a very unhappy struggle each night.

There was really no huge point to this post...just writing down some moments to keep as memories really....and enjoying the quiet moment to write :)

And just a touch of humour to end Tuesday with!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cabin Fever

Is cabin fever hitting anyone else's house hard? We live in the north, we know that every February this will happen, and yet the feeling still hits every single year. We are tired of making comfort food and eating the "in season" apples, oranges and bananas. We are ready to BBQ and eat watermelon now! We are tired of bundling up to go outside, we are ready for flip flops. Most of all, we are ready to kick the kids outside so they stop sinking into the cycle of whining and fighting with each other, and quit "hurricaning" their rooms every day!
Despite the slow descent into insanity, there have been some pretty cute moments around here lately.
Just this morning I decided to take the kids out one more time before the forecasted sub zero weekend hits. I took the younger two to the pool while the older two were at school. It ended up being so much fun! It was really quiet there, which was nice. I put a life jacket on them and handed them each a pool noodle, and we kicked around the pool for almost two hours. The warm water also took away some of the soreness I'm starting to get with the pregnancy.

Last night I had a sweet moment with Tegan. I was dealing with morning sickness, and she came in to check on me. After a few minutes of looking concerned, she said, "when you were pregnant with me, did I make you this sick mom?"
I told her that no, I was only sick for about 14 weeks with her, but I would have been sick every day of my pregnancy if it meant I still got to meet her. It wouldn't have mattered. She got the biggest smile on her face and looked so relieved as she hugged me. I often forget just how tender her little heart is...we are so blessed by her :)

Daniel decided to make the most of the rest of the winter with the girls and introduce them to one of his favorite pastimes...snowboarding. He found board and gear for the older three girls and they have had so much fun learning about it this week! I absolutely love watching them out in the yard. There have been a couple nights this week where I'm lucky that they came in for dinner at all I'm sure!

Addison and Tegan are venturing into the creative world this winter as well. Thanks to some friends at school, they have taken up finger knitting recently and they both love it! Grandma Steckly also recently sent them a rainbow loom to make bracelets. Limiting video game time is always a struggle around here, but between the crafts and the snowboarding, those two have been keeping nice and busy lately, and I love that!

On that note, I hope everyone else is coping alright with the inevitable cabin fever...and if anyone has any other suggestions to make it through the next three months with a shred of sanity in tact, I am always open to suggestions!

Happy Thursday!!

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