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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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas!!!

A little re-cap of our Steckly Christmas 2014 :)
We headed down to Carstairs on Christmas eve eve, and the past few days have been gilled with food, family and lots of fun. Grandpa and Grandma handmade wooden chestd and a baby doll cradle for the girls...they are gorgeous, and the girls'  favorite part is that grandpa has taken them to the wood shop to learn how to build things :)
On Christmas eve, right after dinner, there was a commotion on the deck. The kids quickly figured out that Santa had made a stop on his way around the world! I loved seeing them so excited yo sit on his lap and tell then what they were hoping for!
Sadie's first Christmas didn't disappoint....she ate just as much wrapping paper as you would expect a 6 month old to eat at Christmas :) it sure kept me on my toes, picking tiny bits of paper and tape up as the kids were unwrapping gifts, lol.
My favorite part has been spending time with all of our families together, drinking coffee and visiting. I love the slower pace of  the season...and let's face it, the food :)

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!!


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas So Far...And a Journey Back





It's my favorite time of the year! And also the time of year where I feel the most disorganized and NOT on top of things. I didn't get Christmas cards done again this year....and even if I had, I lost my address book in our move last year, so I have the process of re-collecting addresses ahead of me. We didn't get lights up outside because of reno's, and the inside is only partially decorated. I've done no Christmas crafts with the girls yet, and no baking for ourselves or to share with the neighbors. Needless to say, my decorating skills leave lots to be desired.
All of that aside, the Christmas season is alive and well in our home. The girls are good at making sure that Christmas music is pretty much always on, and that sets the mood well!

This year we bought our tree in town. I let Danica pick it out, and I think it's probably the most perfect tree we've ever had. Seriously. That girl has a good eye!



And since this season is all about the "spirit of Christmas" anyways, I think we've nailed it :) besides, my favorite part of Christmas is the people.





We've also done gingerbread decorating...so I suppose that could count as a "craft" lol.







I wrote a small article for the paper from the town I grew up in, Tumbler Ridge. I'd like to share the article here....it covers my favorite memories of Christmas.
All I want for Christmas is for our girls to lock some of their own precious moments into their hearts, so they can share them with their children!

Merry Christmas, everyone!


"In 1986, our family moved from Faro, Yukon to the brand new town of Tumbler Ridge so my dad could work at the mine. I was only 3 years old, but there are some things that I remember so vividly. I can still remember my first day of kindergarten at TRE, going for picnics at flatbed, and eating burgers with my family at D&G Burgers.
Now that I've grown up, I didn't go very far. I married a man from Carstairs, Alberta, and we live on a quarter section of land on the Tumbler Highway outside of Dawson Creek with our five daughters.
One of my favorite things about living here is that I'm still close to Tumbler. My mom still lives there, and we get to come visit her lots. On any given drive to Tumbler, I can be seen turning down the radio and telling my girls stories of what it was like to grow up there. "When I was a little girl here, it was so quiet that we could ride our bikes down the streets and not see more than one or two cars!" Or "if you take this trail, you can walk up the mountain to the bald spot. My friends and I used to go often when we were teenagers." They love when I tell them about Grizzly Valley Days, and the parades we used to have.
And at this time of year, I tell them about the Christmas Eve Service growing up, and how we always had an open house at my mom's after.
I have always appreciated that my mom is a warm, kind person, but it's because of that, combined with her extreme hospitality, that my childhood memories are as cheerful as they are.
Our home was open to everyone. We had a small, cozy house, but the size didn't stop mom. I remember years where we were all standing shoulder to shoulder visiting, laughing, and eating....and those memories are some of the happiest! We always had such a family-like closeness with our friends there, and I'll never forget those relationships.
Christmas looks different now, but I cherish the years that Daniel and I can bring our girls to Tumbler for Christmas. I love being able to recreate some of that Christmas magic I felt as a girl there.
Merry Christmas to my mom, and all of the other extraordinary residents who make Tumbler Ridge what it is!"

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Saturday, December 06, 2014

Happy Half Year, Sadie!




You've been here for six months now. In some ways it feels like the blink of an eye, while at the same time I can barely remember what life was like without you!
You have brought an immense amount of pure joy to our home. I knew your sisters would be excited when you were first born, but after six months, they still get excited whenever I ask them to help with you. Just tonight Addison tried to rock you to sleep at bedtime, but you were more interested in playing still.
People have been commenting on how early you have started doing things (like sitting), and how alert you are. I always tell them that it's mostly because of your awesome sisters! They love to play with you in the living room and have taught you to sit, roll, and now they are working on crawling. "Mom look! Sadie is in the crawling position!" Is a sentence I hear often. I always look over to an excited girl, and you, looking up with a big proud smile on your face. 
You started solid food last week. Watching you was entertaining enough, but your sisters added to it. Every time you get into the highchair, your own little cheering squad gathers around for moral support and plenty of "oh she's so cute!" So far your favorites are. ..everything you have put in your mouth. You love food, especially when you get to feed yourself. You've tried yogurt, chicken, brocolli, pasta, banana, avocado and applesauce so far. Oh, and mashed potatoes, which you love!
You are one loved little girl, and you totally know it. We all love your personality...you are content and happy almost all of the time. Whenever someone smiles at you, you reward them with a huge toothless grin, and usually a wave of your arm. You don't play strange yet (and I hope it stays that way!). 
You love to snuggle with me, but if I can't hold you at the time, you'll happy snuggle with your sisters or your dad. You are happy to sit beside your sisters on the couch and watch them read or play video games. Your favorite activity is when one of us lays on the floor to play with you. You are really starting to get around when you play. You're not crawling yet, but you've got a combo of rolling and inching around like a caterpillar that seems to be working for you.
In just a few short weeks, we get to spend our first Christmas with you, as a family of 7, and I can't wait. You are going to love Christmas. The lights, the fun, and the crinkly wrapping paper :) I have always loved the first of all my girls' Christmases. 
OK, I'm going to try and get some sleep now. You'll be up in a couple hours for your .middle of the night feeding :)
Happy 6 months, little girl. I love you!


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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Another Week

It's Saturday, and our house is complete with all the shenanigans that go along with it. The remnants of breakfast are still on the kitchen counter waiting to be put away. On Saturdays I don't worry about making a breakfast that will sustain them and help them concentrate in school, so it's our "fun cereal" day. Today they chose Christmas colored rice krispies with a bit of brown sugar on them.
And now I've got two girls reading in their room, two playing Mario, and Sadie is rolling around on the floor playing with her toys.
This type of morning is much needed after this week. It was a good week, but with not a moment to spare.
Last week at this time, Daniel and I were in Phoenix and my sister was watching the four older girls here at our house.
We flew down so that I could take a course for my embroidery machine for the embroidery business we are just starting.
It was a good trip :) we got home Tuesday, which also happened to be my 31st birthday.
So far, being 31 has been the busiest year of my life :) this week we've had meetings, volleyball games, big grocery shopping to do, and lots of orders to fill.
I'm so thankful for how busy Little Lily has been lately...and even more thankful for a content baby! She definitely needs lots of cuddles and playtime during the day, which I am happy to give....but she has also been napping well and goes down for the night around 8:30, which gives me time to work in the evenings.
So, after a crazy week, this weekend's agenda is as lazy as possible, while still finishing orders and taking care of the girls.  So pretty much the only difference is that Daniel and I are going to try to catch up on the Big Bang Theory episodes we have missed :)
But this morning is sure welcome! Now where's that second cup of coffee?

P.S. it's so hard to take "even" amounts of pictures of each kid...sorry Addison!!





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