Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Eve

Last night we had our annual Halloween party at the church.  The kids really enjoyed dressing up.  A few weeks ago, the boys decided they wanted to be Spiderman vs Spiderman, Good vs Evil.  They were spiderman and venom.


Kolby loved being the evil villain!  Likewise, Keaton never once thought of being anything but good.  I love my boys.  They are the best of friends, but so different in so many ways.


Georgie, who is such a pixie as it is, wanted to be Tinkerbell.  I pulled her hair up and she got pretty makeup put on her...she was in heaven.  She is so girly and cute.

Kamy is really into books that tell about young girls who lived a long long time ago.  She decided she wanted to be Cleopatra.  She loved wearing her white gown, and having lots of eye makeup on.
 Kamy decided she didn't want to wear her black wig because it wouldn't lay down straight (like Cleopatra's hair) and it was hot and itchy.  Instead, The Husband decided to wear it.  He became a pirate, from the neck up.  However, he couldn't find any pirate-y clothing, so instead, he chose a few summer items, and became "A Pirate on  Vacation".  He looked great.



I was  going to be a witch, and had borrowed a cape, hat, and gloves from a friend, but when I tried to coordinate the rest of the outfit, it didn't work together. So instead, I pulled out an old uniform of The Husband's, and became an Airman for the evening.  Is it sad that I fit perfectly into his military uniform?

Oh, and let's not forget Mr. Kimble.  He was simply adorable in his little Lion outfit.  I just wanted to squeeze him all night!


Here is the whole family.  It was fun to dress up together.

I had forgotten to draw whiskers and a little black nose on Kimble, so when we got to the church, I drew some in...however, he was not happy, and he wiggled and complained the entire time.  So, they aren't perfect whiskers, but they did just fine.

After some chili eating and costume parading, the kids went off to play carnival games.  Georgie came back with stickers all over her face, and a set of vampire teeth in her mouth.  With the leftover orange frosting from a half-eaten cupcake all over her lips, she suddenly turned into a psycho fairy!  Watch out for Georgie!
After trunk-or-treating, where the kids' Halloween bags were filled with candy, and someone had actually passed out full-size bags of skittles and mm's, we all went home to shower and go to bed, with our tummies filled with sugar and smiles on our faces.  It was a great night!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pomegranates!

Yesterday I told Georgie to get dressed so that we could go to the store.  This is the result of her efforts.   Hmmm.  Doesn't quite endorse Mother of the Year, now does it?  As a compromise, we put on a skirt over her shorts, and she looked better.

We were on our way to get some pomegranates.  I saw This Recipe at least nine months ago, and have been waiting until there were pomegranates at the store, so that I could make it, and you know what?  It was worth the wait.  I have fond childhood memories of eating pomegranate seeds with my sister, as we sat on the fence overlooking the pig pen.  Pomegranate seeds are extremely flavorful and tart, and they burst in your mouth when you eat them.  They are also very good for you...here are 11 reasons why they are good for you.  So go get some, and make this delicious dish!


Pomegranate and Strawberry Dessert

1 cup Pomegranate juice
2 cups  half & half
1 lb pkg fresh strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup OJ concentrate
1/2 cup sour cream
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 fresh mint leaves, chopped

Mix everything in a blender until it is thoroughly processed.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.  Pour into small bowls, garnish with a mint leaf and pomegranate arils, and serve as a chilled soup.

NOTE:  If you go to the site where I got the Original Recipe, she shows a great video that helps you "de-seed" your pomegranate.  Also, I bought a small (2 cup) container of pomegranate juice (POM) found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store, where the other juices are.  I found that was much easier than trying to juice the pomegranate.  Plus, I didn't buy enough pomegranates to get enough juice from.  That being said, you can make this any time of year, by using the POM juice, as long as you don't mind the lack of arils to garnish.
I made a double batch, and put half of it in the freezer to have as ice cream!  Alternatively, you can simply add a cup of ice to your blender, and make a smoothie out of it!  There are many ways to serve this dish, and any way you do, it comes out a winner.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Alfalfa

We were up at The Children's Hospital today.  Kimble had two followup appointments (Cleft Lip and Cardiology).  Kimble's lip is doing great, and there are no concerns at this time.  Next followup isn't for another year!  With Cardiology, Kimble is doing well, and is developmentally progressing.  He tested between 9-10 months, which considering all his surgeries, I think he's doing brilliantly.

Between appointments, we were waiting for Georgie to go to the bathroom.  I took advantage of the time to take a few pictures of Kimble.  I wanted to show you his Alfalfa hair.  About three weeks ago, Kimble's hair decided to stand on end.  Not all of it, mind you.  Just the "Alfalfa Patch".  It's so cute, and believe me, it won't lie down flat!  However, I don't mind.  Just adorable.


 We'll be back at the hospital next week to deliver all the blankets, and have a big birthday celebration with all three cardiac babies.  I'm so excited!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tots!

This is a twist on one of our old favorites.  Tater Tot Casserole.  It's simple.  It's good.  Kids normally love it...it has tots in it after all!  We love tots around here, but I always have to tell the kids that they can't store them in the pockets of their jammer pants. Just one of those things.  (If you don't get the reference to Napoleon Dynamite..go rent the movie!)  My original recipe can be found in my cookbook.  This recipe uses some different ingredients, and the outcome is delicious.

Broccoli and Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

1 can (10.5 oz) of cream of chicken soup
1 can (10.5 oz) of cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp dehydrated onions
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 cups chicken, seasoned, cooked and diced
1 bag frozen broccoli florets
1 bag frozen tater tots
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Cook chicken, then dice it up.  I like browning it, in the pan, a bit, just to give it some flavor.  Next, in a microwave-safe bowl, pour in your frozen broccoli, cover top with saran wrap, and microwave for 4-5 minutes.  Then, drain the liquid out and rough-chop your broccoli.  (If you just add your frozen broccoli to your mixture, it will get watery. This way, the water is steamed out, and doesn't liquefy your food!)  Alternatively, you can add fresh, chopped broccoli, and forget this step all together!)

Then, in a large bowl, combine everything except the tater tots and shredded cheese.  Mix well.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish.  Top with the tater tots.  Bake at 425 for about 45 minutes, until your tater tots are nicely browned and crispy.  Remove from oven and sprinkle the top with cheese.  The heat from the pan will melt the cheese.  Then, serve!

Enjoy.

Standing Room Only

Mr. Kimble is still doing the belly crawl.  He scoots across all our rooms and finds lots of treasures to be had.  He opens up cupboards and helps himself to what's inside.  He even manages to scoot himself up a few steps, to get into another room.   He is mobile, even if he's not crawling.

Yesterday he found a new skill.  He started pulling himself up to a standing position.  However, there is one big problem that he failed to think about.  He gets stuck.  He hasn't learned how to pick up one foot and balance himself, and he doesn't know how to get back down.

I'm sure he'll get the hang of it soon, and be walking along furniture, but for now, I need to be The Rescuer, and stay close-by, just in case I'm needed. This is true for the middle of the night last night.  I think I got up no less than six times, when I heard Kimble screaming in his room, and discovered him standing along the edge of his crib, holding on for dear life, and wanting desperately to get down.

In other news, Kimble looked on as his little friend Tommy celebrated his first birthday.  In this picture, I think Kimble is having some birthday envy.  So cute.  Happy Birthday Tommy!  Kimble is right behind ya!

For my family members, doesn't Kimble's profile look like a Weber??  He might just have some of me in him after all!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Scoop

We went about finding our house a bit out of the ordinary.  As I mentioned before, we were driving through neighborhoods, much dejected, and feeling the lateness of the hour, so to speak.  In other words, we were at the end of all available houses, and were pretty much convinced that we would have to wait until spring to find a house.  It was getting hard to accept this,  because we really felt that NOW was the time to move.

Anyway, as I was waiting for The Husband to catch up (we were driving two vehicles...me with all the kids in the van, and Heath casually driving along behind, having come from work) I pulled to a stop just to the side of this house that we had previously seen in our prior exploration.  It was obviously vacant and had a big dumpster in the driveway which signaled to us that it was being renovated.  When Heath caught up, I started driving again.  A few blocks later, he told me to drive back to that house so that we could find out more info about it.

I drove back, and we saw that there was someone inside working on it.  Keep in mind, this house was not listed for sale. It gave no indication that it was up for sale, or would be.  We just hoped that it was in the process of renovation, and would be listed soon.  Anyway, Heath talked with the worker inside, who spoke very little English but was very friendly.  He gave us the owner's name and number.   We called.  He said he could meet us at the house in an hour.

He came down, and walked us through the house.  During our conversation, we were open with him, and told him what we were approved for, and that we could go no higher.  We talked about our family size, and that it had been difficult thus far, to find something that fit our needs.  We told him that we had just come from a house that we had wanted to offer on, but discovered that it was already taken.  We told him when we wanted to buy a house, and that we were serious buyers.

He liked us.  He wanted to work with us.  Since he was still in renovation (the house had no flooring, bathroom fixtures or bathtubs or toilets...no kitchen cupboards or appliances or counter tops...) he could make some changes so that the ultimate result would both fit in with our price range, and still give him a (tiny bit) profit.  Basically, he believes in Karma.  He wants to help us.  We were more than willing to let him do so.

So, the next week, we had another walk-through with our Realtors (his and ours) and we discussed everything about the house that we expected, and everything that would be done to it.  Coming to an agreement, we put in an offer the next day.  It was immediately approved.

We bought a house that isn't even complete (but will be) and wasn't even listed (and won't be) and it was in our price range, in an area that we decided was right for us to be.  It must be a good thing.

Other good things:  It comes with a pool table in the basement.  Fun.  We also get to pick out our carpet and counter tops.  Yay!  Oh, and it's SUPER close to schools.   Super close.

Bad things:  I cry every time I think of moving away from my friends.  But don't despair!  I will be exactly 30 minutes away, door to door.  A freshly made loaf of bread doesn't even have time to cool, in that short of a drive.  So friends, don't think you've gotten rid of me.  I plan on making my presence known...indefinitely!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update!

They signed the contract. We bought the house!  Inspection is right before Thanksgiving, and closing is right before Christmas.  Hope it all goes smoothly!

Next week, I'll tell you all about the house, and the process we took to come to an agreement on it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Caramel Apple Spiced Cider

You might just want to have this drink simmering on the stove, when you've come home from Trick-or-Treating.  It is simply delightful.  The apple cider is simmered with oranges, cloves, cinnamon and caramel.  It warms you to your toes, and makes you feel saturated with goodness.  Not only that, it makes your house smell just lovely.  So pull up a mug, and let's get drinkin'.

Caramel Apple Spiced Cider

8 cups Apple Cider
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1/2  cup water
1 orange
8 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp allspice
1/3 cup caramel sauce
whipped cream  (make your own or buy it)

In a soup pot, combine your cider, orange juice concentrate, and water.  Poke your cloves into the skin of your orange, then drop the whole orange into the pot.  Add in your cinnamon sticks and allspice.

Bring cider to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, and let simmer for 1 hour (stirring occasionally, preventing the orange from touching the bottom of the pot for too long).  After an hour, stir in your caramel sauce.

Ladle cider into a mug. Top with a dollup of whip cream, a drizzle of caramel, and a sprinkling of cinnamon.  Drink and enjoy.

I stored leftover spiced cider in the same container I bought the original cider, and kept it in the fridge.  I simply heated up individual servings whenever I wanted more.

Not to be forgotten, I found this recipe at  Our Best Bites.  They have some really great recipes over there. Go check them out!

Teriyaki Chicken

I made some amazing teriyaki chicken last night.  It was so moist and flavorful.  I paired it with my amazing fried rice (recipe found in my cookbook) and it was a great dinner.  I'm looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch!  The original recipe came from This Site, but here is how I made it.

Teriyaki Chicken

2/3 cup chicken broth
1 cup soy sauce
4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp ginger (you can use fresh ginger, if you have it)
1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 shakes of red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

In a pot, combine everything.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then pour in a bowl, or a ziploc bag.  Add 2-3 pounds of chicken tenderloins.  Let marinate for 4 hours.

Separate the chicken from the marinade (reserving the marinade).  In a frying pan, add 2-3 Tbsp of oil.  In a single layer, cook chicken on both sides, until done (about 4-5 minutes on both side).   I cooked mine in two batches.  Now, you can either leave the tenderloins whole, or you can chop them up, which is what I did.

Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, bring your marinade to a boil for one minute.  Then, reduce heat to a simmer, and let it continue to softly boil for about 10 minutes.   (This allows all the raw chicken juices to be cooked away, making it safe to eat!)  Then, combine 1 Tbsp of corn starch with 2 Tbsp of cold water in a small bowl.  Add to marinade.  It should only take about a minute for your marinade to thicken up. Remove from heat.

Let everyone add their own amount of marinade (which is now the teriyaki sauce) over their chicken.  The more you add, the more salty your food is. I found that just a tablespoon of sauce was all I needed to go with my chicken, but it was very flavorful without the added sauce.  As an additional note, do not season your chicken with any salt, prior to marinading.  The teriyaki sauce has enough salt coming from the soy sauce.

If you have leftover teriyaki sauce, feel free to keep it in the fridge for a week or two, and you will be one step ahead of the game next time you make this!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

House

We signed the contract, to buy this house. 

Although I'm not completely in love with it, and didn't get the warm-happy-overwhelming-this-is-your-house feeling, it fits our needs, and I'm sure it will be great.   We should close in December, so we can move in right before Christmas.  Of course, that is if everything goes well, with the offer, and the contract.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Keaton's Letter


Sometimes we all need to feel like we are doing a good job.

Perspective

A few weeks ago, I discovered this picture, leftover on the kitchen table along with the normal debris of apple cores and chip bags.  It was drawn by Kamy.  Now, it's not unusual for me to find her drawings throughout the house.  She loves to draw different  things (mostly people), and I enjoy seeing her drawings.  I don't have a whole lot of talent, in the drawing area, so I am glad to see that someone in our family does.  However, the picture she drew gave me pause.  I couldn't figure out why she would draw a picture like this:


Most of her pictures show people dressed very modestly, and usually in long flowing dresses or the like.  This lady had hardly anything on, and she was obviously very voluptuous.  I showed the drawing to The Husband, and he couldn't figure it out either.  I don't want to say that it caused us concern, but we were anxious to ask Kamy the context.

So we did.  "Kamy...this is a very interesting picture that you drew.  What is it about?"  She replied "It's princess Leia, after she was captured by Jabba The Hut, and turned into a slave.

Oh!  Now it all made sense.  I just needed some perspective.  Then, I suggested she complete the drawing, by including Jabba The Hut.  She got right on that, and now, the picture is complete.
Sometimes, we all need a little perspective.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Giraffe...Or Two

So my sister Sharon sent me a link to make a cute little Giraffe.  A crochet giraffe.  She said it was super easy.  "Beginning Level!"  So, I looked at the pattern.  I didn't understand a word of it.  Besides, my crochet skills are sadly lacking.   I know what you are going to say.  "Hey, what about that fabulously cute dollie that you crocheted a year or so ago..."  Yes.  I made her. However, Sharon was right by my side, the entire time that I made her, while I was sitting in my old ugly bathrobe on the couch, every hook and loop of the way.  I had no idea what the stitches were called, and I was pretty sure I had forgotten most of them.

Anyway, I was encouraged, because she made the cute little giraffe, and posted about it on her blog.  I was swayed.  I decided to make the giraffe, and looked up on youtube the different stitches I would be using.  (Do you even call it stitches?  Probably not.)

I started making the giraffe, and the next day, I received a package in the mail.  It was filled with blankets for my blanket drive, as well as the cute birthday shirts she made Kimble and his two cardiac baby friends, and...a surprise.  Out popped the little giraffe she made!!  She intended it to be for Kimble, for his birthday.  Since I was already making one, it looked like Kimble would have two giraffes!

I finally finished mine. It took a bit longer than it took Sharon (who is super speedy at everything crafty), and they look just a bit different (besides the difference in color) but I love them.  What do you think?

They are so cute, and are the best of friends already.

I posed them with Kimble, so you could see the size ratio, but since they are for his birthday, I told him not to look!  He obeyed.

If you are interested in making one of these cutie giraffes, just go HERE.  You have to create a username and password, but that is it, and then you can enjoy free patterns.

Thanks for the giraffe Sharon!!  You are the best.

Friday, October 15, 2010

With Kids In Tow


Searching for a house to buy, with kids in tow, isn't always the easiest thing to do. In fact, I can think of a lot of things that are easier to do.  I think showering, would be easier to do with five kids in the stall with you, than house hunting.  I think that riding a bike, with five kids on your back, would be easier to do, than house hunting with them.  I think that blowing glass, over 700 degree heat, with five kids managing the fire, would be easier to do, than with five kids running around a possible house.  I think breastfeeding five babies at the same time, might just be easier, than house hunting with them.

I have spent a lot of time looking at houses, with all combinations of our kids.  Even with The Husband, helping manage the kids, it is still hard.  Anyhow, that is the way things go.  So, we have the kids with us most of the time.  They can't contain their excitement over looking at houses, and I can't contain my frustration over them "looking at houses" (translation: touching everything, running through rooms, touching everything, screaming, yelling, chasing, whining, touching everything....).

Today, we saw a great house.  Perfect street.  Perfect area.  Enough square footage.  Great price.  After we looked at it, we told our realtor it was great, and we wanted to put an offer on. He happily called the listing agent, then discovered one little fact.  "Oh, yeah, this house is under contract already."

Darn it all.  Then why is it still listed as active?  Needless to say, our realtor was a bit put off by the listing agent.  Do your job already, he wanted to say.  If it's not available anymore, don't list it as such!

Anyway, dejected, we went our separate ways.  Instead of going home, though, The Husband and I decided to drive around a few choice neighborhoods, to see what we could see.  Maybe there was a house we had missed.

We drove.  We saw a house we had driven by last week.  It was being worked on; fixed up.  Last week, nobody was there. This week, we saw someone working inside the house.  The Husband decided to question the worker.  The conversation proved successful.  We got the number of the owner, who then came down and met with us.  He walked us through his house, talked about all the upgrades and improvements he was doing, and said we might be able to strike a deal.  Our realtor talks with his realtor, and we "crunch the numbers".  Could this house be the one?  We will see.  Next week we will talk more.

House Hunting Update

Last week, I discussed, in detail, three houses that were on our list.  Guess what?  We aren't buying any of them.
(insert big sigh of frustration)

We ruled out the first one because we couldn't get past the area, and the school district we were in.   Just didn't feel right, even though we loved the house.

We ruled out the third one because it could be FOREVER until we could finish the basement, and we really need more than two bathrooms now.

We ruled out the second house.  Then we changed our mind and said, yes...second house it is.  Then two minutes later, we changed our mind again.  This went on for days.  Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.  What is it about this house that causes us such uncertainty?  It really has everything we were looking for, except for a few small picky things...like the backyard and the small living room space.  However, those are things we just couldn't get past. 

Too picky? Maybe.  However, The Husband and I both feel that if we are supposed to buy a house, we shouldn't struggle with the decision.  We will know!

So we are holding out on getting that feeling.  We hope to get it quick, because houses are being sold right and left, and we have seen all the houses that are on the market, and in  our price range.  That means we have to wait until someone is desperate enough to drop their price, or someone else actually lists their house to sell in the "off season", or we don't buy right now, and try again in the spring.

We are hoping to buy sooner, rather than later.  We actually have a house to see today.  One we haven't seen before, and it is actually in our price range, AND in the area we want to buy.  We will see what becomes of it. The husband has high hopes.  I have been burned by "high hopes" before, so I am reserving any excitement for later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

"Cautiously Optimistic."  That's what Kimble's Cardiologist said about three times during today's followup.  Normally, he says he is just plain "optimistic" about Kimble, but today, he included the word "cautiously".  Although he says Kimble's right ventricle seems to be growing (ever so slightly) and that his pulmonary artery is showing more "pulses" (meaning more blood flow is going through it), he still seemed, well, cautious.

For now, Kimble is doing great. He really is.  However, it's not a lifelong adjective to describe him.  It could change, and it could change drastically.

Kimble is high risk for RSV and other bronchial problems.  We need to be cautious with him this winter, as illnesses abound. 

Besides all this, Kimble is responding well to the rerouting of his heart.  His pulse/oxygen saturation is at a high 97%.  He is growing and moving and eating and responding well to every developmental challenge he faces.  He is doing well for now, even if we have to be "cautiously optimistic" about what the future holds.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall


Fall has come.  It's in the 40's and chilly.  We've had foggy mists and scattered showers.  Socks are on and sleeves are pushed down.  Ovens are in use again.  Soup is on the stove.  An extra blanket covers the beds.  Now, if only the husband will re-ignite our heater, we can turn it on again!  I'm contemplating starting a fire in our fireplace....

Oh, Kimble had a doctor's appointment this morning.  He is one ounce shy of 19 pounds!  I'm sure if I had fed him before he was weighed, verses after, he would be 19 pounds, so that's what we are calling it.  One pound and three weeks to go, before he can officially face forward in his carseat!  He is in the 10th percentile on everything, which hasn't changed since he was born.  Although, I am a bit surprised.  He seems very average in height and weight to me!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Caught In The Middle

Yesterday was a successful day house hunting.  I didn't think it would ever happen.  We saw three houses yesterday, and all of them would work great for our family.  I normally get sick to my stomach, after looking at houses, but this time, I didn't.  I could actually see our family living in any of the houses.  So, as I sort through things, feel free to tag along.  I'd love some perspective.

The first house (2700 sq feet, finished).  Our realtor found this house for us.  It wasn't in any of our "designated" places that we were looking to buy.  It is in a different school district; a school district that we had always heard "stay away from that district.  It's terrible".  So, we stayed away.  However, this house came up, and since we were desperately at the end of  our list of available houses, we decided to take a look.

I can't say that I really like the area it's in, although it isn't bad.  It feels like an older neighborhood, with lots of mature trees, and lots of mature houses, so to speak.  The outside of the house is very unassuming.  It looks old.  It doesn't look fancy by any means.  But then you walk in.  It's OPEN!  What I mean by that, is that there aren't a ton of walls dividing up space.  It has a huge living room that is open to the kitchen.  It has a great backyard, with garden planter boxes already established.  It has a big tree with perfect branches to climb on.  It has five bedrooms and three bathrooms.  It also has a laundry room, that is just as big as one of the bedrooms.  When you go downstairs, it opens up into an even bigger family room, and it boasts a lovely wood stove.  The downstairs level is completely finished.  In essence, this house is really perfect for our family.

It has a few drawbacks, though.  I already mentioned the area.  Not too sold on it.  The schools are in the district I heard wasn't great, but now I'm hearing that they are just fine.  Anyway, the elementary school is too far away for the kids to walk, so I'd have to drive them, which I find a huge bummer.  The master bedroom is pretty small, as well as the adjoining master bathroom, which only has a shower and one sink, but neither of those things is a deal breaker, just not the greatest.

House number two (2543 sqft, finished).  This house we have walked through before.  The first time we walked through, we had just come from visiting a house that I fell in love with.  Any other house just wasn't good enough. So, I didn't give it a chance.  However, the house I loved isn't available for us to buy, so we have moved on.  This house is also another "rancher" type house.  It has beautiful tile in the entryway, and tile granite on the countertops in the kitchen.  It also has five bedrooms, two of which are in the finished lower level.  It has three full bathrooms, a laundry room (which is small, but fine) and another room that is a storage room.  It has a three car garage also.

The downside, is that I don't like the upstairs living room.  It's small, and shares it's space with the dining area, which is carpeted, and I hate that.  So if we had a party, we'd all have to be in the downstairs living area, which is plenty big enough, but I feel like the small living room upstairs is just a wasted space.  Also, this house has a tiered backyard, which is almost unusable.  It backs up to an open space, with a great view of the mountains...and the train tracks.  However, the upside is that it is in a beautiful neighborhood, with lots of huge, well-kept houses, and it's just down the street from the elementary school.

The Third House (1460 sqft finished, 2900 total).  I'm seeing a theme, now, because this house is also a rancher.  It has a nice open floor plan, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It is very well kept up.  The yard has planter boxes for gardens, and already had a huge space, filled with strawberry plants.  It had a swingset for the kids, and nice thick grass.  It was a corner lot, and even though it wasn't a huge lot, it was designed well.  It was also near all new schools, which would be great for the kids. We liked the open, farm-like feel of the area, and that it's a close drive to Heath's work.

The downside of this house, is that it only had three bedrooms and two baths, but once you went downstairs, it was HUGE.  It was the entire square footage of the upper level, but it was completely unfinished.  Although it has great potential, we need to be able to use that space for a few years until we could finish the basement.  We could make a playroom down there, as well as section off some bedrooms, but it isn't as ideal as having it finished.

This house was also pretty far south, in a different city.  Although it is minutes from Heath's work (as well as the second house) it would feel like we were starting new, in a different city and a different area than where we have lived these past two years.  Then again, any of these houses is in a new area.  Which ever one we pick, we will be starting new.

So, that is our dilemma.  What do you think?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christmas Wish Lists

A few days ago, the kids were running wild in the house.  In an effort to have a quiet and peaceful evening, I asked them all to sit down at the table and write out their Christmas wish list.  I informed them that this didn't mean that whatever they wrote down, they would get, but only that I was interested in what they were wanting for Christmas.  Here is Kamy's list.

I liked her list.  I was a bit surprised that she requested the Star Wars movies, but apparently she likes them.  We used to have the trilogy on VHS, but I have no idea what happened to it. It's been years since they've watched them, but they still remember the movies with fondness, I guess.

Next up, Keaton's list.

I obviously need to work on his spelling.  He wants 1. A bow and arrow.  2. A BB Gun.  3. A soccer ball.  4. A Karate Suit.  5. A punching bag.  6. A weight bench ("Make sure it's not too heavy of weights, momma, but then again, I AM super strong.")

Kolby's list.
Kolby just wants Star Wars Light Sabers, and figurines.  I tried to prod more things out of him, but his heightened desire for all things Star Wars, and his lack of enthusiasm for drawing and writing, led to a simple list.

I'm not so shocked by their love of Star Wars.  I see drawings like this next picture, around the house all day long.  I definitely know what they want.


Georgie was next.  She drew some purple clouds, and then a purple flute with flowers on it.  She drew Kamy holding on to the flute, and then she drew herself, with as sad face, because she didn't have a flute, and apparently, Kamy does.

I guess I'll be getting Georgie a toy flute for Christmas!  By the way, this was the first drawing Georgie did where she drew emotions.  Love it.

It's fun to see what the kids are interested in.  If you have a free evening, I encourage you to ask  your kids to draw/write their Christmas list.  I found it very entertaining.

The Fabulous Girl's Night

Ah, Girl's Night.  I've really missed having a Girl's Night.  I think it's been six or eight months since I hosted one of these parties, and boy did I need a night of laughing.  It was rejuvenating.

We started off the night by eating the delicious and fattening food that everyone brought.  Of course, that's a great time to mingle and laugh and carry on three conversations at once, all the while listening to everyone else's conversations too.  Then, once we got a good group of people there, we made sure everyone knew everyone's names by playing a Name Game.  After we were all comfortable screaming out someone's name before you were whacked with a newspaper roll, we moved on to The Garbage Bag Game.  I've explained how to play this game HERE, and it sure is fun. 

You get people stealing blindfolds and gloves right and left.


Eventually, you get a prize, and Marcia was very happy with her hundreds of straws...

 Until she saw Ashley win an 8 pack of Reeses...In which case she became so excited for such a treasured gift, event though it was somebody elses, that in her excitement, she busted through her package of straws and they went flying around the room in a straw-like rainshower.

Of course, you always get someone who cheats a bit.  Lydia had her blindfold tucked into her glasses, so as not to waste any time tying it.  There were presents to be found, and she dumped the entire garbage bag out, so she could search for the wrapped gifts more quickly.


 I love sitting back and watching people laugh during this game.  Jenn obviously found something hilarious.

And so did Jennifer.

Here is a group picture (minus me, the photographer) of everyone showing off their dollar store prizes.

Afterwards, we played many more games, ate many more treats, and laughed so much and so hard that I'm sure some of us could have used some depends.  It was so much fun, and the party went into the a.m.  Thanks for such a good time, girls.  We have to have another party sooner, rather than later.  It is the best medicine ever.