Friday, May 29, 2009

Can You Solve The Mystery?

When you walk up our front walkway and get close to the steps leading up to the porch, if you glance off to the right, you might notice something. No, not the pretty yellow flowers.

You might notice this, a big, black hole:

And if you look on the other side, you might see this, a divet where something has been digging, and moving chunks of concrete.
We've noticed that something has been digging under the walkway/steps for quite a while and Dan has been trying to figure out what it is. And encouraging it to leave. By filling in the holes, pouring water down the hole, placing big rocks over the sites. Nothing has worked so far.
Last night Dan was out late in the garden and saw something scamper across the front yard. He got closer to see what it was and then quickly retreated. We learned a little more about this critter today via the internet. It is a small, nocturnal creature and eats all kinds of gross things, like grubs, mice, rotten things, and garbage. It can carry rabies and it can cause damage to the foundation of your house(yikes and yikes!). It also has a rather unique defense system.
Ooh, update! As I was typing the above, Dan said, quick, come look. I went and looked out the front window and lo, and behold, there was the little critter sticking its head out of the hole. I watched it run back and forth, scampering around, and it seemed to be saying, Ha! You can't get rid of me!
Do you know what this creature might be? Do you? Click here if you want to see.
The war has begun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

You Know You Have a Bunch of Little Ones, #15

You know you have a bunch of little ones when you have to hide certain things when you put them in the trash can (or you are sunk).

*you know, like balloons, art projects, drawings, the binoculars you made by taping two empty toilet paper rolls together...

Small Successes - 19

1) I grabbed a tick out of Catherine's hair with my bare fingers.

2) I took all the kids to the Chinese store to get rice noodles. As soon as we got in the store I gave each one a package of the noodles to carry and they proceeded to follow me around the store like 4 little ducks following Mama Duck. It worked great! No messing around and touching everything. No fighting or pulling hair. When we got to the register, the lady said, "Your kids are well behaved!" Oh, Yeah!!!

3) I saw an ad in the paper about a refrigerator recall and noticed it was on the brand that we have. There was a list of first letters of model numbers and I checked ours and it matched. So then I got online and entered all the data and sure enough, ours was in the recall. The recall was for a part that could malfunction and overheat, and possibly start a fire. Yikes! As of today, the fridge repairman has been here and replaced the part, and we are good to go! (Hmm, I guess that's why we need to register these items when we buy them. Oops.)

Go read more Small Successes at Faith and Family Live!

You Know You Live In The Country, #2

You know you live in the country when your kids like to climb up and sit on the propane tank for entertainment.
And how did they get up there?

They were pretty resourceful, actually. Catherine got down on all fours so the twins could step on her back and climb up, then she was able to grab the handle and hoist herself up.
By the way, the pictures of the garden in the background are not up-to-date. Dan has all of it planted and most everything is coming up. Hooray!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Know It Is Summer...

...when you find your first tick.

On a kid.

Yep, found one crawling in Catherine's hair.

I know, ick!

Thank goodness it had not yet attached.

When You Take Your Kids To A Birthday Party...

...and it takes place outside...

...and there is a fountain in the backyard...

...this is what your 2 year old will look like the whole time:

Can Anyone In This House Follow Directions?

A few weeks ago Dan got some pretty flowers and put them into pots for the front porch. I said to the kids, "Hey, guys, run up there and I'll take your picture by the flowers!"

This is what I got: Is it a conspiracy?

Then I said, "Turn around!"

Okay, two out of three isn't bad. They sure thought they were being funny.

Time for some fun on the front porch with our new flowers:

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joseph!!

Here he is, our big boy, now 2 years old! We had a birthday party at lunchtime today. (Can you believe I am already posting about it?)
A close up of his dinosaur cake, made by yours truly(I checked the pan out from our library, how cool is that!):
Yum, yum, eat 'em up!

I think he likes it!

Joseph is growing up fast. I remember the difficulty we had when he was born.
Now he is quite the talker. In the last few days, we would ask him how old are you going to be, Joseph? He would think hard and work his little fingers so that there were two standing up, and then grin and say, "Be two!"

He loves to go outside and "mow" the grass.

He loves to help Daddy in the garden:

And he really loves Daddy's lawnmower. He is happy as a clam to go for a ride anytime!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fun In The Morning

Wild Flowers!

It has been fun enjoying all the little wild flowers around here this spring. From these pretty little purple these beautiful yellow flowers that the girls brought in from the little middle field... these dainty blue flowers.
It is so nice to live out in the country where you can let the wildflowers grow (at least until Dan mows the next time!). In the city you are supposed to have a "perfect" lawn, which doesn't leave room for these little beauties. The girls love to go pick any wildflowers they can find. I always have at least one little vase filled with them!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tasty Stuff!

I have to say, this is one of the best dinners I have ever made. It was so yummy that there was hardly any left. And of course I forgot to take a picture beforehand, so this is all that was left:

I got the recipe out of a magazine, I think it was Woman's Day, not sure which issue, since I had ripped the page out. I have learned that if there is something in a magazine I want to save, I have to rip it out right away, otherwise I will never go back and do it!

Anyway, if your family likes Asian food, this recipe is a must!

Szechuan Noodles With Pork (serves 4)

12 oz linguine (I used 16 oz fettuccine)

1 cup chicken broth or water

2 Tbsp lite soy sauce (I used regular)

12 oz ground pork (I used cut up boneless, skinless chicken breast)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper)

6 scallions, cut in 1-2 inch pieces (I chopped up green onions into little round pieces)

1 large carrot, shredded

1 Tbsp each minced garlic and ginger

3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

Garnish: chopped cilantro

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, stir broth and soy sauce together and set aside. Heat skillet to med-high heat. Add pork (if using chicken, you'll need a little olive oil) and saute until done. Add scallions, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook 3 minutes. Stir broth mixture and peanut butter into the skillet and cook until peanut butter is melted and blended. Reserving 1 cup pasta water (or the other half of your can of broth!), drain the pasta and add to skillet. Toss to coat with sauce. Stir in water/broth as needed to keep mixture creamy. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Enjoy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Murphy's Law for Moms, #22

Just when you start to rejoice that it has dried up outside and you don't have to worry about the kids bringing mud into the house anymore, they discover that there is sand in one of the unused horse stalls, and suddenly you find yourself battling sand in the shoes, sand in the clothes, sand in the diapers, sand in the hair.

Sonja Likes You!

One of the neighbor's cats loves to come over and play with the kids. Joseph especially loves her and she seems to love him too. Her name is Sonja and she'll lie down when she sees him so he can pet her. He loves to follow her around the yard. Here she is relaxing in the comfy Minnie Mouse chair with two devoted petters. Joseph is fond of saying, "Sonja likes you." Translated, "Sonja likes me."
Don't you love the cute little bare toddler feet?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Small Successes - 17

1) I bravely (or foolishly) took all the kids to the dentist by myself so Dominic and Catherine could get their teeth cleaned and examined. Not only that but we went at 8:00 in the morning, after an early morning severe thunderstorm/electricity out/kids scared/tornado scare. Read about that here! Oh, and by the way, I was rewarded by all the kids behaving perfectly at the dentist. Even 3 yr old Dominic, who had never been to the dentist before, went back by himself with the dental hygienist and never fussed or cried or got scared one bit. Wow!

2) I got the little vacuum attachment out and vacuumed in the all the edges in the carpet, you know where it sits against the walls and the furniture. Okay, so I only got that done in the master bedroom, but it is clean!

3) For the last, well, probably since we've been married and had a joint email account, our inbox routinely has about 200-400 messages in it. Needless to say, many an email has gotten lost in all of that. Every once in a while, I'd go through and clean out a hundred or so, but I could never get it down very far. Well, the other day, Dan went through it and got it down to about 100 messages. So being inspired, I finished the work and for the first time I could see all the messages in one screen! This one was definitely a joint success. Now if I can only keep the inbox cleaned out!

Go to Faith and Family Live to read more Small Successes!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Is What Happens...

...when your mom puts sunscreen on you, and then you go outside and play in the dirt.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Go Figure!

Earlier this week, the dentist's office called and said they had a cancellation and could one of us come in on Friday at 9:00am (the kids and I have been on a waiting list). I said sure and planned to take Catherine. Which meant take all the kids. Then yesterday, they called back and said they had a cancellation at the 8:00 slot, did I want to bring another one. I hesitated a little, because it is difficult to get anywhere by then, and the dentist's office is 20 min. away, but I agreed. So it was going to be Dominic and Catherine, starting at 8:00am.

Last night, while Dan and the kids were outside digging holes and planting the last two fruit trees that we had ordered (they came on Tues. during the last rain, just like always, if we ever need rain, all I have to do is order trees!), I was inside trying to prepare for this morning. I knew it would be a stretch to get all the kids up and ready in time.

The best laid plans of men (and women) often go awry. During the night it started to thunderstorm and of course, Joseph got scared. It seemed to settle down and we went back to sleep. Then, we awoke with a jolt at about 5:00am. I have never heard such wild, ferocious wind. It sounded like it was going to tear the house apart. Right away, we realized the electricity was out and almost immediately the girls started crying because it was dark. I rushed in there and turned on the battery candle and they calmed down. The wind seemed to be getting worse and worse, and all I could think of was we are going to have a tornado! We rushed everyone downstairs, then I went back up and grabbed all the flashlights, then Dan went back up and found the radio and our cellphones. It was scary!

We snuggled on the couches and listened to the Storm Watch on the radio and just waited to see what would happen. It raged for a while and there was lots of noises around the house, banging and slamming noises. Finally after a while, it eased up and the kids dozed off. Then, about 6:30, the electricity came back on, and I realized that I was already running behind.

I hustled and I bustled and I managed to get all the kids in the car, and we set off for the dentist's office. You know that we live on dirt roads, right? Well today it was all mud and water. On our drive I saw new ponds in the landscape, water on the road, big trees knocked down, and on one section of the road the power lines were down, as in poles lying in the ditch. Don't worry, I didn't drive anywhere unsafe. Although, we now are driving a brown mini-van (original color white!).

We got back home (by the way, they did great at the dentist, much better than I had hoped!) and I got the kids all fed and in their beds for an early nap. I went outside to a bright, sunny beautiful day. This little guy was just singing his heart out:
Not a cloud in the sky!

This is what greeted me on the deck: See the storm door? I don't have it propped open. It must have been open a little last night, because the strong winds just bent it all out of whack. That was the cause of a lot of the banging we heard during the storm. When we first looked out this morning the swing set was blown over, but not damaged, thank goodness.

Here is the puddle laden garden that Dan hasn't been able to plant because it has just been too wet! Now he'll have to wait even longer. He was hoping to do that this weekend, but not anymore. We got almost 2 inches of rain in that short time this morning. See the little baby trees in the back? They are part of our new little orchard (11 trees altogether). They survived just fine.

Puddles, puddles everywhere. It was much worse when I left this morning, though.

I don't know how well you can see this, but this is our beautiful peony bush. I should say was. It doesn't look so good now. The budding flowers are bowed down almost to the ground. I hope it can recover. I was anticipating some beautiful flowers.
In case you are wondering about the tomato plants that Dan started from seed and has been diligently caring for, feeding, watering, repotting as needed, yes, they were outside last night. Yes, they were flattened, hanging sideways in their pots (Dan was going to plant them when he could get in the garden.). But there is good news! When I went out a little bit ago, they were all standing straight up! Hooray! Dan will be happy.
And remind me, somebody, not to schedule any more 8:00am appointments!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's Pretty Bad...

...when you don't notice that you have on mismatched socks, one white and one off-white, all afternoon at your nephew's First Holy Communion party...

...until you are doing laundry the next day.

Dominic The Gymnast

Look at that talent. And a look and smile for the camera, too! Nice try, but it's just not quite up there with Dom.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Idea Of A Great Time

Catherine and I went to the library book sale last weekend and browsed for an hour. Of course we found a few things.

Okay, okay, we got three boxes full.

But it was only $9.75! Woo-hoo!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Feeding The Goats

A couple of weeks ago, my neighbor called and asked if the kids wanted to come down and feed the goats. So, as soon as they got up from their nap, we loaded Joseph up in the wagon and went on down. An area grocery store had given her a bunch of produce that was no longer sellable (is that a word?). Catherine, Dominic, and Anne were more than happy to help out. They fed the goats lettuce, onions, cabbage, and asparagus. They loved it (goats and kids, ha ha). In fact, they spent an hour emptying out several boxes, hand feeding the goats.
Joseph was a little scared at first. He finally warmed up to the goats and here he is, checking them out. Or are they checking him out?

They all told me that we need to get a goat to feed. Hmm. Don't know about that!

Here Joseph is carefully placing a long strand of green onion on the fence. He did this over and over and as he did so, he would say, "Here go. Here go," until the goat ate it.
He had better watch out, though. That goat might think his hair looks tasty, too!