Friday, August 26, 2011


I have had a grumpy, sad, blah-feeling last couple weeks. Time to focus on my blessings.

~I'm thankful that my husband has a job he loves.  Heck, in these times I'm glad he has a job at all.

~I'm thankful for his constant help with bath time, bed times, sick kids, remembering medication schedules, etc.  He is the other part of my brain.

~I'm thankful that my boys are into scouting and that it gives them worthy, attainable goals in their busy lives.

~I'm thankful for food in the house.

~I'm thankful for internet/twitter that keep me a tiny bit in touch with my sister, whose phone doesn't work in Omaha :(

~I'm thankful that the strep that has run through half the family hasn't hit me full blown.  My body keeps threatening to get feverish and I'm achy some of the time, but there's not much of a bite when I swallow.  I'm staying hopeful.

~I'm thankful for a couple football practice games this weekend.

~I'm thankful to get Princess into the Asthma Clinic at Primary Children's.  They decided to put her on daily meds and I hope she will feel a lot better now overall.  This is a picture before school today.  She got dressed and said, "Mom, I look so cute; can we take a picture". 

~I'm thankful that Rosebud is fully, completely potty trained.  Including night.  I have never ever had a kid potty train day and night together.  We have always needed pull-ups at night for a couple years with the others.  This is a huge, huge blessing!

~I'm thankful for the box of Tasykakes my mom brought from PA for me when I gave her a ride home from the airport last week. I am savoring them.

Speaking of food...
THIS post on I Heart Naptime called Delicious Desserts just about made me pass out after reading it.  Really, go read it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8th grade

All the kiddos have officially started back now. How did this one get so old right before my eyes?

With shoes the same size as his dad's (11!) and pants just one size smaller, I am dealing with a boy/man/child hybrid.  What an interesting age!  I hope we have a great year.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State of the Family

State of the Union Family, especially for my siblings who just moved away to college...

The biggest news is that Potter prepares to enter eighth grade on Monday.  We took a walk around the school a couple days ago to make sure he knew where all the classrooms were and I made him show me that he could do the locker combo.

Three tries and he got it.

He is locker-neighbor to the drama room, which is pretty cool. He also ran into the drama teacher in the hall and she greeted him with a big smile and hug. She reminded him that musical tryouts are soon. Here we go again!

The other main happening is that Bugs is in football this fall.  After wrestling with the idea and talking to him and discussing it as a couple we decided to go for it.  It is the hardest thing he has ever experienced, and watching him struggle/suffer/endure is the toughest thing I've had to watch my children go through. 

It is very vigorous and physically demanding.  The coaches are intense and expect nothing less than their best, which I am thankful for.  But man, it's HARD.  Especially for a lineman. 

He is the one in the green jersey at center.

There are tears almost every day. He begs me to let him quit. He gets to the field grumpy every day. He is proud of himself by the end of the 2.5 hours. Then by the next day he forgets how euphoric it is to complete a good hard practice and we go through the cycle again. 

I love this picture.  My favorite part is his cute little left hand, up and ready to spring.

The whole experience really wears on a parent, ya know? And yet, we see how he is getting stronger. He is getting leaner. He is doing really quite well for his first time. He is asked to push himself to his absolute limit.  Even when he can't keep up completely he tries and that's all I can ask.  I know once games begin in two weeks that he will understand how training translates to skill.  Or at least I hope so.

Rosebud has a bit of a fever today.  I knew something was up when I came downstairs and my shadow didn't follow me.  I found her in my room.  It turns out she had gotten her blanket and put herself down for a nap in my bed at 11:00 am. 

Princess had the same fever on Sunday which caused her an asthma flare up again.  She needed steroids along with the rescue inhaler to get through it.

  I can tell most of the kids are back in school because I can clean the living room and it stays clean.  For a while, anyway.

Strider's school is opening up a third location and he will be teaching there.  School starts in 10 days, though, and it's not ready yet.  So in between trainings and meetings he is helping with the new school. 

I am slowly getting a handle on everyone's schedule.  Bugs has practice daily at 5:30 which means we have to eat at 5pm on the dot.  He is having a hard time getting his homework done since he doesn't get home till after 8pm.  So I am trying to teach him balance and time management.  Jedi also gets really distracted and his homework takes about three times as long to do as it should.  And Princess loves school so much that she looks for extra homework papers to do.  Go figure.

As for me, I am still reading a lot, about a book a week.  I finished one last night and I'm in that strange limbo period when you're mourning the end of one and haven't gotten into another.  I have been a crazy laundry fool this week and I'm as caught up as possible for having 7 people around.  I am addicted to word games on my ipod.  I am trying to get really creative with zucchini recipes.  And I am itching to make good on my goal of getting back into college classes.  No money to do that yet, though; hopefully sooner than later.  I feel the pull stronger than ever.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


My poor children finally got to go camping.  We spent three days in the mountains and had a great time.  Sadly, unbeknownst to me, my camera battery was just about dead and I only got these three shots.

Princess was begging to get in the water the minute we got to camp.  It was freezing, but I don't think it bothers kids nearly like the adults.

Jedi and Strider

Rosebud watching the ducks that kept swimming very near to us.

For beautiful shots of this area, check out my sister's blog from earlier this summer: Payson Lakes

My husband's family came to this lake for years and years as they were growing up.  He has fond memories of adventures with his brothers and cousins, of bonding with his maternal grandparents, aunts and uncles. 

His extended family is now too large so that tradition has ended.  We decided to plan a few days together and continue with our branch of that tree - with his parents and brothers and their families.  It was so much fun.  I figure we can give our kids the same chance to make those memories as well. 

I am not a real camping enthusiast, but I do love the mountain views and cool air and getting away from regular life.  I was totally unplugged the whole time - no cell service up there.  But I didn't miss it and it helped me to focus on the kids 100%.  Nothing is more important than family.  Nothing.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wedding gift

Maybe it's just my little corner over here, but we have been SWAMPED with wedding and shower invitations this summer. I saw The Dating Divas feature this Can 'O Dates gift and I knew I had to give it a try.

You start with a gallon size craft pail like this:

I got mine at Michaels and it was a little less than $4 with my 40% off coupon.

The original idea has files for you to print out to decorate the cans.  My printer ink is about a billion dollars, so I decided to use my scrapbook paper stash instead.  I measured the inside height of the can and cut paper to fit the inside.  This was easy since the can is clear.  If you had a solid can, you could just adhere your paper to the outside.

Since I used my own paper and color scheme, I also had to design my own title for the can and lid.

Next you need to cut out the ideas to fill the can with.

Here is the file of dating ideas to print out.

I didn't use all of them.  I stopped printing at 50, and then put that on the lid.

Then I went to town using up ribbon scraps for the handle

At this particular shower, I was going with my mother in law and helping her present a gift card.

I made a gift card holder out of the excess paper I cut off.

Isn't it cute?!

I think it's the perfect wedding or bridal shower gift - with or without a gift card.  It's basically enough ideas to help newlyweds with their first year of weekly date nights. 
Even if you don't use this idea for a gift, look at the file of dating ideas.  There are several fun things I want to plan with Strider!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The August garden

My counter looks like this

because my garden looks like this.

In honor of the zucchini growing faster than I can keep up, here are some recipes I'm interested in trying.

This is the main quick bread recipe I use all the time:

My kids inhale it and it's currently the only way they eat their zucchini.

I leave you with one of my favorite things about the summer garden - the sunflowers :)

I love how there is a busy bee at work on this one.

Here's to a plentiful August!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New(ish) look

First item:  We have been thinking of refinishing our table for a long time.  It's sturdy and has served us well, but the mid 90's honey pine was really getting to me.   

Strider bought some ebony stain and glossy white paint for the legs.

Then we sanded our little hearts out. Well, I sanded about 5 min for every hour he sanded. 

He worked so meticulously and the finish is gorgeous. It's a light black, if that makes sense.  Maybe charcoal.  


And after:

Obviously making the chairs & bench match is next on the agenda.  All the spindles and crevices have us dreading the task.  We are thinking of just priming all of them but instead of staining the seats black, just using black paint on that part.  Then the wood won't have to be completely sanded perfectly.  Hmmm.  Jury's still out on that.

Second item:  We weren't searching for a new range, but my sister's inlaws are doing a kitchen remodeling, including their range that is nice and not very old.  They offered it to us, and even delivered it from Bountiful! 

I didn't think I was a black appliance person, but it looks pretty spiffy with our black cabinet hardware and new ebony table.

I am trying to get used to the flat top.  I have to clean it a lot, but when it's clean it looks way better than the always nasty coil + drip pan look I had with the white stove.

Bonus is that we were able to give away our other one (that still works great) to a neighbor who really needed it.  Yay for new-ish stuff!

(Check out more crafts and projects at TCB).