Friday, February 26, 2010


Thank God it's Friday.

A very common phrase for a lot of people.

Let me first tell you why I like Friday's:

1. It's typically a carefree day, and I really don't plan anything specific on Friday.

2. Evan goes to preschool on Friday - and he LOVES it.

Here is what I don't like about Friday's:

1. I take Evan to preschool at 12pm. On any other day the kids are taking at nap at 12pm, so I pray this doesn't happen...

...actually, I'm usually praying they don't fall asleep in the car, 'cause this isn't typical.

2. However, a lot of work goes into making sure Evan's Friday afternoon preschool day goes smoothly - we eat lunch early so I have enough time to get all the kids cleaned up, bundled up, in the van, and get Evan to preschool. (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE the winter-time cold weather that forces me to bundle up three small children?) Mostly the work comes in the form of making sure the girls can stay on their normal nap schedule while carting the kids around to drop off and pick up Evan from preschool.

Did ya catch that?

Poor girl was so tired she couldn't even get all the food into her mouth...

...either that, or she has already found a way to hide vegetables she doesn't like...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

1 year check up

Last week I took the girls to their 1 year check up.

Avery - birth - 7lbs 15oz, 19-1/4"
Avery - 2 mo. - 10 lbs 2oz, 22-3/4"
Avery - 4 mo. - 14lbs 10oz, 25-3/4"
Avery - 6 mo. - 17lbs 10oz, 26.5"
Avery - 9 mo. - 20lbs 7oz, 28"
Avery - 1 yr. - 23lbs, 30"

Brynn - birth - 6lbs 7oz, 19-1/4"
Brynn - 2 mo. - 9lbs 8oz, 22-1/4"
Brynn - 4 mo. - 13lbs 13oz, 25-1/4"
Brynn - 6 mo. - 17lbs, 27"
Brynn - 9 mo. - 19 lbs, 29.5"
Brynn - 1 yr. - 21lbs 7oz, 29-3/4"

Since their 1st birthday, Brynn has gotten her 5th tooth and has been doing her darnedest to start walking. She makes us laugh daily - her latest efforts are to push her siblings off of chairs she wants to sit in, or my lap. And if she isn't getting her way she has this new high pitched scream she has been experimenting with. yay for that. I can't even say enough how much she loves books - she just sits and stares at them while turning the pages, and if she wants me to read one, she brings it to me.

Avery is our little walker, all those calories she is burning she makes up with eating - she is a great eater - I think the only thing she doesn't care for is asparagus. Avery adores her siblings, and is always trying to imitate her big brother, if he is laughing, so is she. She loves to play with her dolls and give them hugs, no surprise given how cuddly she is anyway!

They have both been on one nap a day (with a few exceptions here and there) since 11 months. We stopped giving them bottles as soon as they were a year, they weren't real thrilled with it, but we never offered a bottle and we haven't looked back since! I think their absolute favorite food is sweet potato oven fries - I can't get them on their plate fast enough!

These photos were done for the girls' 1st birthday by Angie from Jungling Photography. Love her, she has done such a great job, I can't even say that enough! The butterfly wings were found at Reiman gardens in Ames, and were the inspiration for the girls' butterfly themed party (which I still plan to post pictures... eventually) - and I actually made the tutus!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look at me! Look at me!!

Brynn has needed no encouragement to try walking. She just does it on her own time, and her own way... by golly she's getting there!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

After the past year, I can't even express how happy I am that I got to celebrate with you in person last weekend with the girls!  I love you, Dad!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

seriously makes me wonder...

...why we ever need to buy toys!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh so happy!

Bringing a smile to my face, Why Men Can't Cry awarded my blog with its first award!  The "Happy 101!"  

The rules of this award are to list ten blogs and ten things that make you happy. 

The ten blogs:

This is Our Life - This is a friend from H.S., and really the first blog I ever read, I love to keep up to date on her family, and she really has a great perspective on parenting (and her husband posts as well - a great combination)!

The Larson Adventure - Another friend from H.S., they just had a baby recently and I am loving watching her baby grow!

Hannah in the Kitchen - Yet another friend from H.S., and her yummy sweets make my mouth water! 

Texas Size Hull - A friend of my family in AZ, I get to see pics of my extended family, and she has a lot of fun, creative ideas on her site - most recently her son's Thomas birthday party! 

Black Lung Crayola - Another friend who is on a brave mission to quit smoking after I-don't-remember-how-many-years!   It's a neat concept for a blog, and I think it has great potential to inspire others to quit smoking.

Everything That is Nice - I found this blog from a friend, and she has such *nice* projects (one of which I am attempting right now). 

Pioneer Woman - This is just a great blog, she has no idea I exist, but I love her photography, recipes, and the giveaways (I haven't won anything yet, but I'll sure keep trying) ~ and it's just a beautiful blog.   

A Year of Slow Cooking -Perhaps the most influential blog I've read - I started cooking with her recipes, and that really sparked a true love of cooking!

Knock Off Wood - This is a newly found blog (actually, I think I found the link from Everything That is Nice) - and it inspires me to want to start building things!  I haven't yet, mostly because it's too cold to go out in the garage and start working (and I'm a wimp) (and I have too many other "projects" to do), but I may try to build a simple shelf sometime this summer... we'll see!

Heaps of Laundry - Last, but certainly not least ~ this is another blog I recently found through a friend on facebook - they post projects for little kids - which is perfect, I am horrible at thinking of projects for the kids (well, just Evan right now), and this blog has some great ideas!

And the ten things that make me happy:

~Being with my family and friends
~Reading to my children 
~Beautiful photography
~Baking cookies
~Licking the spoon after baking cookies... totally.  after.  not during.  (that would be gross)
~Fixing a problem
~Finishing a project
~Unexpected kindness

Thanks for making me smile!  It really wasn't my intent to take two weeks to finish this post, but my brain has been consumed with planning Avery & Brynn's birthday party - pictures to-be posted soon eventually! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My new favorite

This picture may just be my favorite of all time.

My kids love books.  And this little "nook" in our house is where I find them... A LOT.  Sometimes I grumble when I have to put all the books back on the shelves - but then I realize how happy I am that they all take such an interest in books, whether it's turning the pages, looking at the pictures, pretending to read, reciting the words of a well-known book, or just pulling them off the shelves.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Houston, we have a toddler!

It's official.  I'm calling it.  Avery is a toddler now.

She hasn't been feeling 100%, and last night when she started to fuss - instead of crawling over to me for the mandatory hugs, kisses and cuddles - she stood up and walked over.

That's when it became official, for me.  Preferring to walk vs. crawl - especially when fussy!

This girl cracks me up...

 ...every day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Letter to Brynn

To My Angel, Brynn ~
At 12:40pm, on February 2nd, 2009 - you joined our family. I call you my angel because of the amount of patience you have ~ I am given opportunities to learn patience from your siblings, but you are showing me how to do it.

The games you love to play are opening and closing cabinets or drawers (fortunately I think you finally got the hang of NOT closing them on your fingers anymore), and pulling everything out.  You also love to look at books and turn the pages.  You have 4 teeth, and are very proficient at using them to bite everything (sometimes your sister... and me).  You smiled and laughed very early on, and you still love to laugh ~ it is possibly the most infectious laugh I've heard, and I can't help but laugh with you!  You have been trying very hard to walk lately, but at times your left foot turns in and makes you kinda flop to the floor, although the last couple days you have been taking 4-5 steps at a time!

You have such a beautiful personality, like your sister, it was obvious since birth.  You have always been a little more introverted - sometimes preferring to play by yourself, and more comforted by being alone.  You have always kind of been Mommy's little girl, which is quite alright by me.  The amount of patience you exhibit amazes me.  (Mostly because I have very little)  Each new milestone you have mastered has never frustrated you ~ you just keep trying until you have it down.  And you are SO curious.  Every new thing you see requires a lot of observation.  You seem to be drawn to the smallest details (like a tiny piece of fuzz on the carpet, that inevitably ends up in your mouth).   

Some of the words you say are mama, dada, hi, all done (ah duh - and you can sign it).  You have also signed more.  Mostly you are pretty quiet, and just observe your surroundings.  You are a lot like your Daddy, though, when you have something to say - you will say it! 

Happy Birthday Angel,

A Letter to Avery

To My Sweetheart, Avery ~
At 12:39pm, on February 2nd, 2009 - you joined our family. I call you my sweetheart because of all the love you have to give ~ there is no doubt your 'love language' is Touch. You are completely comforted by hugs and kisses, and your favorite thing to do is cuddle. I know there will be a time when cuddling isn't cool - so I'll take it while I can get it!

The games you love to play are 'peek-a-boo', and 'I'm gonna get you!' You have 6 teeth, can be considered a speed crawler, and you just recently started walking.  You LOVE your siblings and laughing and playing with them, if there is ever a time I'm not sure where you crawled off to - I look in your brothers' room and that's where I find you.

Your personality was there from the start - a total people-person, you like to be around others, you have an opinion and have no problem sharing it (pretty loudly, I might add).  You are by far the most determined child I have ever encountered.  If you see something you want, you don't stop until you get it.  It's usually shoes, and if we are successful in keeping you away, you wait until we aren't paying attention, and you go for it again.
You are so much like your brother in regards to food.  If you see food and it isn't readily available for your consumption, you scream until it's in your mouth.  A lot like when Evan was a baby, we have had to hide the fact we are making a bottle, or just listen to you scream.  You have enjoyed every new food we have given you, but we are still working on figuring out if your eczema is related to a food allergy - we have been avoiding bananas for a couple months - but we think there must be something else.  We haven't found a rhyme or reason to it so far...

Some of the words you say are mama, dada, hi, all done (ah duh - and you can sign it).  We keep trying to teach you to sign "more" but you seem pretty content with yelling!  You just started to roar like a lion - although I can't seem to get you to do it on camera...  You "talk" all the time, and seem to have so much to say - it's almost like you are babbling full sentences.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Recipe #7

My latest method of selecting a new recipe to try was to ask Dan what he wants to eat, then go search for a recipe in one of my many cook books.

He wanted chicken fingers.

And this is where I went to find them:

I actually tried one of her online recipes for chicken fingers some time last year, but I wasn't wowed.  Now these...

Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce*
Vegetable oil, for frying**
1-1/2 lbs chicken tenders***
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbls ground dry mustard
2 eggs
2 cups plain bread crumbs

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup grainy Dijon mustard
3 Tbls honey (3 gobs)

1. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1-1/2 inches vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
2. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper.  Set out 3 shallow dishes: Mix the flour and dry mustard in one.  Beat the eggs with a splash of water or milk in a second; and place the bread crumbs in the third dish. 
3. Coat the tenders in batches in the flour, then the eggs, and then the bread crumbs.  Fry the tenders in small batches, 6 to 7 minutes.  Drain on paper towels.
4. While the chicken is frying, in a bowl mix together the mayonnaise, grainy mustard, and honey to taste.

*I didn't actually make the dipping sauce, in fact, the recipe even included a salad to "throw" together - however, the list of ingredients didn't look like something I wanted to mess with... so I didn't... and we already had some yummy sauces we wanted to dip the chicken fingers in, so I didn't bother making an additional sauce.  Plus... grainy Dijon mustard?  What is that?  I figured if you knew what grainy Dijon mustard was, and wanted to make it, I may as well include that part of the recipe...
**The directions say to heat 1-1/2 inches of oil - well I had no idea what 1-1/2 inches of oil looked like, and I don't think I got it right, but I just ended up having to flip the chicken over about half way through the cooking time - I'd also recommend cutting into the chicken just to be sure it's not pink in the middle - one of mine was, so I just plopped gently set**** it in a little longer...
***I have no idea if you can buy "chicken tenders", but I just cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts so they were shaped like a chicken finger.

I was happy with this recipe because the breading didn't fall apart.  The other recipe I tried did, and we didn't like it.  Dan even suggested using the breading part to coat some of the tilapia I have in the freezer - I may just have to try that!

****Final side note - if you have never cooked with vegetable oil in a fryer - don't pick up what you are frying and "plop" it back in.  You end up with hot oil splashing all over.  Not necessarily saying that I learned from experience...

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