Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A friend of mine just recently found out she was expecting her third son is a row (she has 2 daughters and now this will be her 3rd son) and asked me for whatever words of wisdom I might have for someone with 3 boys in a row like my Grant, Jake and Cade. I really couldn't come up with any advise or pearls of wisdom, just some random thought:

1) Resign yourself now to NEVER having a clean bathroom. Yes, girls are bad with their hairbrushes and bows and assorted lotions and potions, but that is CLUTTER.....what I am referring to is the fact that no matter how much you beg and plead, little boys (and big boys as a matter of fact) just can't seem to pee without getting it on the seat or on the floor! How hard can it possibly be to get that stream in the toilet???? Probably a good idea to invest in Clorox stock immediately!

2) Don't plan on hand me downs with the exception of church clothes. No pair of jeans or play outfit or gym shoes will withstand the wear and tear of 3 very active boys. What few outfits actually do survive will be so horribly stained that they will not even surfice for playclothes. Wise investiment choices would be Levi, Nike, and Reebok stock.

3) Consider purchasing a farm so that you can raise cattle, chickens and pigs. Do you have an idea what feeding 3 boys as the grow costs? I look at my 14 year old son and see his food budget tripled when I look at my 3 little ones. Funny, none of the boys have ever expressed a desire to become a vegeterain like Emily!

4) Although football seems like a very ROUGH sport, it is by far the GENTLEST on mom. Football programs tend to run all of their practices at the same time on the same day in the same place. Same for the games, they tend to follow one another each Saturday. This differs vastly from sports like baseball, basketball and soccer which will have all three of your boys playing games at the same time in the three places that are the furthest apart. OK so they will spend an entire week CRYING because it is too hot when they first wear their equipment in the 90 degree summer heat, but remember it will toughen them up! So let them slap on a helmet and some shoulder pads and just take your lawn chair and set up camp on the are going to be there all day!

5) The next time you happen to drive by your local hospital and happen to have a couple of extra minutes on your hands, stop by the emergency room and see if the wonderful people at the triage desk are willing to open a file on your family to save you time on what is sure to be numerous visits to their facility. The file should include your children's names (you can skip your daughters names if they are the dainty type!), birthdates, contact information, and insurance numbers. If you happen to be an unfortunate soul who has poor insurance coverage or worse yet, no insurance, consider enrolling yourself in medical school. Mind you, you won't have to stick it out through that whole residency thing, you just have to stick with it long enough to learn how to sucture a gaping wound, set a broken bone and diagnosis a concusion. Of course, there are those mothers amongst us that would say there is nothing superglue and duct tape can't fix.

Those are just a few pointers that come to mind....and in case you are wondering, given my choice, I would take a houseful of boys over girls anday.....I can handle high energy over high drama!

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Bible in 50 Words

A friend of mine sent this to me a while ago. I had saved it in a mail folder and forgot about it, but when I found it today, I thought I would post it here. I don't know who wrote it, but I like the point it makes......

God made, Adam bit, Noah arked, Abraham split, Joseph ruled, Jacob fooled, bush talked,Moses balked, Pharaoh plagued,people walked, sea divided,tablets guided, promise landed, Saul freaked, David peeked, prophets warned, Jesus born, God walked, love talked, anger crucified, hope died, Love rose ,Spirit flamed, Word spread, God remained.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas!

What a wonderful day! Well, that is if you discount the fact that it is a mere 52 degrees in my house at this moment!

Santa was more than generous with everyone! The kids were kind enough to wait until after 7:30 AM to wake me up to open presents. Grant cracked me up, he opened up his Gameboy SP and clutched it in his hands and held it up over his head and I could see him mouth "Thank you, Santa!", it was so sweet. He was thrilled with the Pokemon Fire Red game for it (thankfully his stupid mother realized she made a mistake and originally bought Pokemon Ruby but returned it for the correct game).

So the big gifts...well, they ranged from Brett's MP3/WAV Player thing (similar to an iPod) to Hannah's cell phone (definitely PAY AS YOU GO!) to Emily's Polly Pocket Hotel...the little boys got wrestling figures and Sophie got her Princess Baby Doll (Cinderella)....Will was simple, just board books and baby Einstein toys.

Jay and the kids got me some pj's, a Mickey Mouse purse, a robe, socks, and bras and panties...a pretty good haul! We got Jay a putter, a book ("Let Me Tell You a Story"), a chair massager, a "retro" baseball hand held game (like the ones from the 1970s) and some t-shirts. We try to stay low budget with our gifts to each other! Heck with having to buy for 8 kids plus our famlies, christmas can quickly get out of hand!

We had a big breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls, toast, orange juice) once the gifts were open and the mess somewhat cleaned up!

Now to get the damn turkey cooked (how the hell can a turkey still be half frozen after being in the fridge for a week????) and a late lunch/early dinner on the table!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Despite the fact that it took almost 40 minutes to get the van out of the driveway, today was a WONDERFUL DAY! Might have seemed even more so that way because we has been stuck at home for 2 1/2 days!

Jay and I ran some last minute errands and then came home and started getting everyone ready for church. Getting the LAST SHOWER after 9 other people have bathed is certainly an "awakening" experience! I usually try to get the first shower, but was so busy getting stuff together that I realized too late that I was in for the cold shower!

We headed out the door at 2:40 to make 3:30 Christmas services. The roads were a bit tricky but luckily it is only a few miles from the house. The service was PACKED, we lucked into one of the last remaining pews and within minutes of our arrivial it was standing room only!

Once we were finished, we headed to my parents for Christmas Eve dinner and presents. My brother Steve and his wife Carolyn were there (they arrived about 30 minutes after we got there). My mom and dad "slow cooked" a roast, it probably was a bit overcooked, but was still really good! My dad made this horseradish suace to go with it that was YUMMY! Cranberry Relish, 24 hour salad, green beans, brocolli casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and rolls finished off the meal!

After dinner, we gathered to open presents. My mom and dad got each of the kids 4 gifts and my brother and his wife gave them each giftcards to Target (and Jacob was bugging me on the ride home to tell him when I would take him there to spend it)!

As for me.....Steve and Carolyn gave Jay and I giftcards to Ruby Tuesday's (now to decide if the kids get to go with us or not!). My parents gave me a beautiful necklace with a mother and child pendant (it is silver and kind of new age looking, really cool) and a pair of earrings, a pair of gym shoes, bath and body stuff, and for Jay and I to share a set of bed sheets (wondering if my mother had been peeking in my bedroom to see how GROSS and OLD my sheets were!), some cookie sheets, and a toaster. Jay got a golf club and a pair of gym shoes. It is so nice that they are so generous with us and the kids, really takes some of the burden off of us for Christmas spending!

Jay and I were a bit surprised to find out that my brother has had a book published. It is only available from Amazon. I am going to have to get my hands on a copy and give it a read!

All in all a VERY GOOD HAUL! The only thing missing??? A bottle of Asti Spumante for the New Year! My mom always gets one for both my brother and me but the bad weather kept her from getting out and buying it this year! I am holding out hope that she might show up with it later this week! If not I guess for the first time ever I will have to buy my own New Year's Eve bubbly!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Homes for the kittens....

The first of the kittens have found a loving home. A woman and her son came to pick up one kitten, and left with two of them. Emily was hearbroken and I wished we could have kept them all, but we don't have the money or the room for 9 kittens (did I ever mention that after Bella had her 6 kittens that Tinkerbell had 3 kittens???)!

Another woman called wanting one of the remaining 3 that are ready for a home. She is going to pick it up Friday morning to surprise her daughter for Christmas. Hopefully Emily will take it better this time.

So once she picks up her kitten, two little boys still need a home. I told the girls they could keep Emma, the other female and our absolute favorite. They hid her upstairs when the woman and her son were here so they wouldn't see her!

The kittens are adorable and playful, getting into everything. It does seem much quiter with two of them gone! I hope they love their new home!
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.....

OK I wish that was my sentiment, but I was far from happy to hear that a huge winter storm was heading out way. The furnace was on it last legs and we FINALLY had an appointment to get it replaced...then of course this darn snow storm decides to dump 6" this morning with more on the way...the furnace guy can't even get off his street! So we sit here with no heat....maybe I should pull out some books on the pioneers and we can pretend to be re-enacting the 1800's...of course they didn't live in 2000 sqaure foot houses now did they??

The kids on the other hand are LOVING our winter storm. They were out playing in it for hours...having snowball fights, making snow angles and playing football. They were so excited, we didn't get a decent snow last year so this is a HUGE deal!

Luckily the Christmas shopping is finished except for some baseball cards for the boys and a game I forgot to pick up for Hannah (and she will survive without!). I figure if the roads don't clear by Christmas Eve, Santa will just have to write a note to the boys with $10 in each note saying his elves don't know how to make baseball cards but to use the money to go to the baseball card store on Monday and pick some up!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Teen Christmas Party
Saturday Decenber 18th
7pm - 10pm

Cindy wrote: The holidays are almost exciting!! This is a reminder that we are hosting a teen Christmas party tomorrow night (Saturday, the 18th) from 7pm - 10pm. For fun, wear red and green (if you have something those colors) Bring a 2-litre drink (please avoid the high caffeine drinks like Mountain Dew) and a holiday snack (or any other snack if you aren't creative, like me!)
Parents are invited to stay and relax upstairs with my husband and myself (although I'll be downstairs to run games and things). He and I rarely sit and catch our breaths and this sounded like a good opportunity.

Brett and Hannah were thrilled to have their own holiday party to attend. Brett even "dressed up" in his Christmas shirt (I wonder what girl he was hoping to impress??). They said they had a great time at the party and loved playing the games. It is so nice that they have a group of friends to hang out with that I don't have to constantly worry about what is going on or if they are being well supervised!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Friday, December 17
1 PM

An activity opportunity came through on our homeschooling list to make soy candles. I had never heard of soy candles and thought it sounds like fun. I did a little research on the internet about soy candles (I didn't want to seem ignorant at the event) and it seems that soy is a wonderful alternative to the typical wax candles we ususally use. They burn cleaner and emit a purer scent.

So we got directions and headed over to Melodie's (our hostess) house. Jacob and Cade played basketball outside and the girls and I made candles. The activity was geared to those 8 and up since you have to use a stove, so most of the little kids just played and the older kids hung out when they weren't making a candle. It was so simple and fun. We made two candles in mason jars, one for my mom and dad and one for my brother and his wife for Christmas and then Emily made one for me in a teacup, it is so cute! It was really neat to be able to pick and custom mix your candle scent and to chose your own we ended up with a pink pina coloda scented candle, a green sugar cookie scented candle, and a yellow cinnamon scented candle. I am thinking that I am going to buy some soy wax and scent oil and make more candles as gifts next year for Christmas....might even do them with the girlscout troop. I am going to scour thrift shops and yard sales for cool containers like tea cups to make them in (you can make the candle in any heatproof container!).

A couple of interesting side notes to our day:

1) Melodie's 15 year old nephew was visiting from out of town. He and Hannah took to each other right away. They spend some time hanging out together (with other kids around) and then he asked Hannah if she wanted to "kiss" him. She looked at him and LAUGHED and told him "No!" and then he replied, "you are the only girl who has ever told me no" to which Hannah said "Well, I guess that means I am smarter than the rest of them.". Now you just have to LOVE the fact that my very soon to be 13 year old daughter came and told me this story! I would have NEVER told my mother! Oh, and by the way, if you are WONDERING....NO THE NEPHEW ISN'T HOMESCHOOLED!

2) A mom that I hadn't met before came to this event. She was certainly a bit different, and given my own "different-ness" (like that is even a word!) that is certainly saying a lot. First off, Emily said that when she and Sophie and a couple other of the younger kids were sitting in the living room the woman came it, took her top off and changed into a different top...OK so this would be no big deal, but she had NO BRA ON.....Emily said "we tried not to look mom but it was really hard!". Then, about 4 PM she went up to Melodie and said "I am hungry, I am going to get some lunch but I think my 6 year old wants to stay here and play"....Now this woman had never met any of us before, we didn't even know her last name, and she goes and leaves her kid there. I think that qualifies as DIFFERENT!

3) Melodie lives about 5 minutes for the GAP OUTLET....a true distribution center/warehouse. We stopped on the way to her house and got Will some of the most ADORABLE outfits for less than $4 was nice because you could mix and match pieces and he needs a 6-9 month top but only 3-6 month bottoms. We also lucked into some cute t-shirts for Hannah (and some for her to give as a gift to her friend Chrishauna) for $1.99 each and we got a ton of panties for $.25 each! What a deal!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

'Tis the season....

The holidays can be so overwhelming. I am so grateful that I don't have tons of family to buy for outside of the kids. We buy for my mom and dad, my brother and his wife and my mother-in-law. But getting everything together for the kids is enough to drive me NUTS!

I went to Meijer's today and got what few items I had put in layaway out. Not much, some Polly Pocket Stuff for Emily, a doll, dvd and Dora item for Sophie , a book for the baby and some wrestling guys for the boys. It was mostly just stuff I saw one day while walking around and didn't feel like hauling home with me. There was NO LINE when I got to layaway, but it was 6 people deep by the time I left. Nothing will ever compare to the line I waited in last year at Walmart (2 1/2 hours long) with a screaming kid in the cart behind mine. If I hadn't have had just about everything I needed for the kids in that layaway I would have walked away. I will never make the mistake of putting a holiday layaway in at Walmart ever again.

Jay and I need to sit down and figure out what we have for everyone and what we still need. We try to make sure all of the kids get the same number of presents to open, but we don't nessecarily spend the same amount on them. Obviously, the little boys are happy with cheaper plastic wrestling guys while Brett wants video games and Hannah clothes.

I have to figure out what to get my brother and his wife. They are probably the hardest people on my list. They have no children and don't really go out and do much, so it makes it hard. Maybe something with come to me!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Today we had a girlscout meeting at Sarah's house. Kas and her girls made it and it was WONDERFUL to see them again! I can't believe that it has been a MONTH since we saw them last!

The girls all painted christmas tree ornaments and socialized! It seemed like they all had tons of "talking" to get out of their system. It is nice that they are able to get together with the same group of girls a couple of times a month!

Rita, another mom of a girl in the troop, was wonderful. She saw that Sophie had a snotty nose and cough and went out and got her a homeopathic remedy to help with it. It was amazing to see how quickly it started to work and how much better Sophie looked after taking it!

Of course by the end of the meeting Tabby and Emily and Mandy and Hannah were scheming to spend the night together. We decided to wait until Thursday night, the girls can't wait! I am hoping Jay is around so I can go and hang out with Kas for a couple of hours....too bad I am too big for sleepovers!

Sarah's house is just beautiful...not in the sense that it is some HUGE HOUSE, but that the things in it are well chosen and make one feel comfortable. Her husband is an artist and a lot of his pieces decorate their home. They also have some other gorgeous pieces sitting around. I made the comment that Sarah's home is an extension of her, a reflection of who she is, warm and comfortable. Kas looked at me at said "so is my house a reflection of me?" I busted out laughing and said "Yes, cluttered, eclectic and interesting, and there is never a dull moment!". I have to wonder how well my house reflects who I am!

Monday, December 06, 2004

"That other magic guy came!"

Those were the words my 4 year old uttered to his brother this morning when he saw his stocking brimming with goodies! That "other" magic guy would be St. Nick, not to be confused in any way with "the" magic guy, Santa Claus!

As part of our German Catholic heritage, we celebrate the feast of St. Nicholas by hanging our stockings on December 5th for St. Nick to fill by morning. The filling is usually something simple, some candy, maybe a CD or some baseball cards or small toy, nothing too elaborate. For us it is a nice way to start the holiday season, kind of a kick off for the big day. The kids seem to appreciate the stocking "stuff" more in early December than in the midst of bigger gifts on Christmas day.

Cade was quite happy with the stuff the other magic guy brought him. Candy, baseball cards, a racecar, football and a tube of plastic animals. Of course he is counting the minutes until "the" magic guy shows up, and even corrected me today saying there are only 19 days left until the big day (I mistakenly said 20)!

Happy St. Nicholas Day to all!
Wild Child Open Gym
Mondays (starting December 6)
12 PM to 3 PM
Union Township Civic Center (Eastgate Area)

Submitted by Laura Riesenberg: Quite by accident, I found out that the new Civic Center in Eastgate has a gym available for community use. Although the gym is booked every evening and the majority of the weekend, it gets very little use during school year daytime hours so the coordinator was thrilled to have a group interested in using the space. We have been given a time slot from noon until 3 PM every Monday (except the one after Christmas) for the remainder of the school year. Best of all, the space is available for FREE!

There are a few rules we will have to follow in order to use the space:

1) We will have to bring our own balls/equipment. I have plenty of basketballs/playground balls and a parachute....Michelle Vaske said she has 3 bouncy balls (the kind a child sits on and bounces around on) and also a parachute...I figure if we all pitch in there will be plenty to play with (I am thinking things like hula hoops, jump ropes)...There are basketball hoops for playing basketball. If all else fails they can just run around like wild children and exhaust some of that winter energy!

2) NO KICKING of balls, NO HITTING of baseballs, NO BASEBALL BATS, NO TENNIS RACKETS OR TENNIS BALLS, NO CLIMBING ON BLEACHERS WHEN THEY ARE CLOSED). No roller skates, ride on toys, skateboards, etc.

3) Gyms shoes or non-marking shoes only

4) No jeans (they don't want the rivets rubbing the gym floor)...windpants or sweats work best.

5) There is a concession area with a frig that we are welcome to use and put snacks/drinks/ice in and a sink...I also believe a microwave...they would like snacks kept off the gym floor (for obvious reasons). I don't know that we would be bringing in food, but it is nice to know we can!

6) There is a nice area by the concession stand were toddlers (or anyone else) could play with building blocks (I have a huge bucket I am willing to bring) or race cars and be out of the way of the kids running in the gym. Toys (like blocks, trucks, etc) must be kept off the gym floor.

7) Restrooms are right by the concession area so it means we won't need to go into the building to find restrooms.

8) Absolutely no chewing gum

9) Trash needs to be put in receptibles. Scuffs on floor should be wiped up with a damp paper towel. Wet spills need to be cleaned up as soon as possible (mop available)

Children must be supervised by an adult (this isn't someplace to come and drop off your kids). This will be a drop-in program, you don't need to commit to being there each week, you may come when you chose.

Directions to the Civic Center:

The Civic Center is located on Aicholtz Rd. behind Biggs.

To get to the Civic Center take I-275 to exit #63/ Rt. 32 east/Batavia and stay in the right hand lane as you get onto Rt. 32. You will exit almost immediately onto the ramp for Eastgate Blvd. At the top of the exit ramp turn LEFT onto Eastgate Blvd. At the second traffic light turn LEFT onto Aicholtz Rd. The Civic Center will be on your left hand side. The is plenty of parking.

Once you are at the Civic Center you should see a sign pointing to the gym entrance (if you are standing looking at the front of the building, it will be the doors on your left). The gym is located on the lower level of the building.

What an ABSOLUTE BLAST...the kids ran around like wild children and I got to talk to other adults, adults that actually have children that are as wild and wonderful as mine. Of course there were a couple of squabbles over balls and the rules of the game, but things seemed to work out OK.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Simple Mix Recipes:

These jar recipes came across one of the many list I am on. They would make wonderful Christmas gifts!

Hot Chocolate Mix

One is never too old to enjoy hot chocolate, and this is a special way to share it with a friend.

3 cups powdered milk
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt

Sift the ingredients into a large bowl. Pack the mix into an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar: Hot Chocolate Serves 1

Place 4 tbsp. of Hot Chocolate Mix into a mug. Pour in 8 oz boiling water. Stir until the Chocolate mix is dissolved. Garnish with marshmallows or whipped cream.

Spiced Cranberry Cider Mix

This spicy cider tastes delicious after winter sports, so here's just the gift for a hostess on a ski vacation.

1/2 cup dried cranberries
12 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. crushed whole cloves
2 Tbsp. whole allspice

In a small bowl, stir the cranberries and spices together. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Spiced Cranberry Cider Mix
Serves 12 to 14

2 quarts apple cider
1 quart water
1 package Spiced Cranberry Cider Mix
2 oranges, sliced

In a large saucepan combine the cider, water, and Spiced Cranberry Cider Mix. Heat through but do not boil. Add most of the orange slices. Serve warm, garnished with the remaining orange slices.

White Hot Chocolate Mix

A great idea for a major chocoholic.

1 tsp. vanilla powder
1 tsp. dried orange peel
1/2 cup grated white chocolate or white chocolate chips

Combine and blend the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
White Hot Chocolate
Serves 2

1 and 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup White Hot Chocolate Mix

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until bubbles form around the outside. Add the White Hot Chocolate Mix and whisk until the chocolate is melted. Continue to whisk until the mixture is hot.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix

1/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. powdered vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered milk

Combine and blend ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Serves 6

3 cups water
Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix (to taste)
Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Heat the water to boiling and add the Mexican Hot Chocolate Mix. Stir with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Garnish with cinnamon sticks. For a frothier hot chocolate, mix in a blender.

Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix

This is an unusual Southwestern dip mix that can be given in a small sombrero.

1/2 cup dried parsley
1/3 cup minced onion
1/4 cup dried chives
1/3 cup chili powder
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup salt

In a large bowl, combine the spices and store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Mexican Fiesta Dip
Makes 2 cups

3 Tbsp. Mexican Fiesta Dip Mix
1 cup mayonnaise or low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream or low-fat yogurt

In a medium mixing bowl combine the Dip Mix with the mayonnaise and sour cream. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours. Serve with tortilla chips or fresh vegetables.

Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix

This versatile mix can be used to make a dressing for salads, a dip for fresh veggies, or topping for baked potatoes.

1 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
1/2 Tbsp. dried chives
1/4 Tbsp. dried tarragon
1/2 Tbsp. lemon pepper1 Tbsp. salt
1/4 Tbsp. oregano
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Ranch Dressing
Makes 1 cup

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. Ranch Dressing & Dip Mix

In a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk and dressing & dip mix. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Ranch Dip
Makes 2 cups

2 Tbsp. Ranch Dressing & Dip Mix
1 cup mayonnaise or low-fat mayo
1 cup sour cream or low-fat yogurt

Combine the Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix with mayonnaise and sour cream. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving with raw vegetables, or as a topping for baked potatoes.

Turkey Noodle Soup Mix

This is a great way to use leftover turkey.

1 cup uncooked fine egg noodles
1 1/2 Tbsp. chicken-flavored bouillon
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried whole thyme
1/8 tsp. celery seeds
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Turkey Noodle Soup

1 package Turkey Noodle Soup Mix
8 cups water
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup minced onion
3 cups cooked diced turkey

Combine the Turkey Noodle Soup Mix and the water in a large stockpot. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and bring to a boil. Cover the soup and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the turkey and simmer an additional 5 minutes.


Curried Rice Mix

This curried rice mix is an interesting complement for plain chicken or pork.

1 cup long-grain rice
1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
2 Tbsp. dried minced onion
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 tsp. curry powder

Layer the ingredients in the order given in a 1 & 1/2-cup jar.

Attach this to the Jar:
Curried Rice
Serves 6

2 1/2 cups water
1 package Curried Rice Mix

In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the rice mix. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Lemon Pepper Seasoning Mix

Lemon pepper adds a piquant flavor when used on grilled meats.

1 cup ground black pepper
1/3 cup dried lemon peel
Tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup dried thyme leaves

Stir all the ingredients together and store in airtight jars.

Attach this to the Jar:
Grilled Lemon Chicken
Serves 4

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Lemon Pepper Seasoning Mix
6 chicken cutlets

Preheat the broiler or BBQ grill. In a low, flat dish stir together the lemon juice, oil and Lemon Pepper Seasoning Mix. Add the chicken breasts, and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes. Grill over hot coals or broil for 4 minutes on each side, or until done. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Pizza Dough Mix

This is a gift for friends of all ages, whether a starving college student or a senior citizen--everyone loves pizza.

2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 package (1 Tbsp.) active dry yeast
2 tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients. Place the mix in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Makes 2 12-inch pizzas

1 package Pizza Dough Mix
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup warm water
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp. crushed oregano

Place the Pizza Dough Mix in a large bowl & add the oil and water. Beat with a wooden spoon or dough hook until mixture forms a ball. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for 5 minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl and let the dough rise for 90 minutes. Divide the dough in half and pat into two 12-inch circles. For thin crust, fill and bake the pizzas now. For thicker crust, let pizzas rise 30 to 45 minutes. Top the pizza dough with tomato sauce, cheeses of your choice, crushed oregano, and olive oil drizzled over the pizzas. Preheat the oven and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

California Corn Bread Mix

This is a sweet, cake-like corn bread that is delicious with honey butter.

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder

In a large glass or ceramic bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
California Corn Bread
Serves 4 to 6

1 package California Corn Bread Mix
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the corn bread mix in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, milk and butter. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Poor into a greased 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Ginger Spice Muffin Mix

A great gift for people on the go!!

1 3/4 cups flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Store the mixture in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Ginger Spice Muffins
Makes 1 dozen

1 pkg. Ginger Spice Muffin Mix
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and grease 12 muffin tins. In a large bowl, combine the muffin mix with the butter, egg, vanilla and milk Stir the mixture until the ingredients are blended. Do not overmix. The batter will be lumpy. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full, and bake for 15 minutes.

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake Mix

This cake is delightful with its lemony flavor and the added crunch of poppy seeds.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup poppy seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a wire whisk. Store the mix in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake
Serves 8

3/4 cup butter
6 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract (not lemon juice)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 pkg. Lemon Poppy-Seed Cake Mix

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8- to 9-cup Bundt pan. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the milk, extracts, and lemon zest. The mixture will look curdled. Add the Cake Mix, and continue to beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes until mixture is smooth. Pour the batter into greased pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes.Glaze: Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, and bring to boil for 3 minutes. When cake is removed from oven, poke cake all over with a wooden skewer and brush glaze over cake. Let the cake stand for 1 hour and remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap.


Spiced Apple Cake Mix

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. powdered vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Combine and blend ingredients in a medium bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Spiced Apple Cake
Serves 8 to 10
1 package Spiced Apple Cake Mix
1 1/2 cups canola oil
3 large eggs
3 cups chopped apples

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F & grease a tube or Bundt pan. Place the Spiced Apple Cake Mix into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the Mix; add the oil, eggs, and apples. Stir until mixture is smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour & 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool; remove from the cake pan.

Carrot Cake Mix

2 cups sugar
2 tsp. powdered vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine and blend ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Carrot Cake
Makes 1 13x9-inch cake

1 package Carrot Cake Mix
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & grease 13x9 inch pan. Place Carrot Cake Mix in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the mix & add the oil, eggs, carrots & pineapple. Blend until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan & bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool the cake and frost if desired or dust with powdered sugar.


8 cups Flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cloves1 tsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2 cups shortening

Sift dry ingredients and cut shortening into it with a pastry blender. Measure 3 cups into 4 jars. Decorate jars with raffia or ribbon.

Attach gingerbread cutter and the following recipe:
Gingerbread Boys

3 cups gingerbread mix
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup flour
1 slightly beaten egg

Combine gingerbread mix, molasses, egg and flour. Blend well. Roll to 1/4" thickness on lightly floured surface. Cut into gingerbread shapes. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool. Can be decorated with cinnamon candies. Recipe to be used within 3 months.



Carrot-Raisin Jar Bread

2 2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup shortening
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups shredded carrots
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda1 tsp. salt
2/3 to 1 cup raisins

You'll need 6 wide-mouth pint-size canning jars, metal rings and lids. Don't use any other jars. Sterilize jars, lids and rings according to manufacturer's directions. Grease inside, but not the rim of jars. Cream sugar and shortening, beat in eggs and water, add carrots. Sift together flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to batter. Add raisins and mix. Pour one cup of batter into prepared jars. Do not use more than one cup or batter will overflow and jar will not seal. Place jars evenly spaced on a cookie sheet. Place in a pre-heated 325-degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove jars from oven one at a time keeping remaining jars in oven. Working quickly, wipe rim, place lid and ring on jar and secure. Jars will seal quickly. Repeat with remaining jars. When ready to serve, bread will slide out. A properly sealed quick bread will stay fresh for one year.

Chocolate Jar Cakes

8 pint-sized wide mouth canning jars
1 stick plus 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
3 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt

Pre-wash canning jars (be sure to use the kind that have no shoulders) in hot, soapy water. Rinse well, dry and let them come to room temperature. Grease insides of jar well. Beat together butter and half of sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and remaining sugar, vanilla and applesauce. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the applesauce mixture a little at a time: beat well after each addition. Pour one cup of batter into each jar and carefully remove any batter from the rims. Place jars in a preheated 325-degree oven and bake for 40 minutes. While cakes are baking, bring a saucepan of water to a boil and carefully add jar lids. Remove pan from heat and keep lids hot until ready to use. When the cakes have finished baking, remove jars from oven. Make sure jar rims are clean. (If they're not, jars will not seal correctly) Place lids on jars, and screw rings on tightly. Jars will seal as they cool. Cakes will slide right out when ready to serve. Unsealed jars should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within 2 weeks. Sealed jars may be stored with other canned food or placed in a freezer. The cake is safe to eat as long as the jar remains vacuum-sealed and free from mold. To enjoy the best flavor, try to eat all canned cakes within 6 months.
More Jar Recipes:

Cobbler Mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. powdered vanilla

Combine and blend the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Berry CobblerServes 8 to 10

4 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries or boysenberries)
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 package Cobbler Mix

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In large mixing bowl combine berries, juice, sugar and cinnamon. Place berries in a 13x9-inch pan. In small mixing bowl blend the butter with the egg. Add the Cobbler Mix & stir until the mixture sticks together. Drop the cobbler topping by tablespoonfuls on top of the berry filling. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.


Double-Fudge Brownie Mix

Dense and fudgy, these are the best brownies in the world.

2 cups sugar1 cup cocoa (not Dutch process)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Double-Fudge Brownies
Makes 24

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
4 eggs
1 package Double-Fudge Brownie Mix

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 12 by 9 inch pan. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the Double-Fudge Brownie Mix & continue to beat the mixture until it is smooth. Spread the mixture into the greased pan, & bake for 40 to 50 minutes.

Snickerdoodle Mix

Snickerdoodles are soft sugar cookies dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar

In a large bowl, combine the ingredients with a whisk. Store the mix in an airtight container.

Attach this to the Jar:
Makes about 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs
1 package Snickerdoodle Mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until light; add the eggs & beat on low speed until the mixture is smooth. Add the Snickerdoodle Mix & continue to beat on low speed until the dough begins to form. Combine the sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls & roll in the cinnamon-sugar blend. Arrange on ungreased baking sheets 2 inches apart & bake for 16 to 19 minutes, or until light tan. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Friday, November 26, 2004

So how did those of you that like to shop Black Friday do today? What times did you leave to go shopping?

Jay and I headed to Meijer's at 4:30 AM to get Gameboy SP with 3 free games for Brett and Grant. The place was MOBBED and there were cops there because they had $17 DVD players. I walked right up to the Gameboys and got them, no hassles at all (obviously not that hot of an item) but we watched fist fights break out over the DVD players as we were heading to the register. Jay (my 6' 4" 220 lb hunk) helped an old lady out of the maylay, people had shoved her to the ground. He made sure she kept hold of her DVD player and got to the front of the store. He was APPAULDED that people acted the way they did.

After Meijer's we came home (it wasn't even 6 AM yet) and I nursed Will then headed over to my mom's for more shopping. We got to Kohl's by 7 AM. What great deals we got.....all of the toys we picked up were at least 50% off plus all the kids clothes were at least 50% off and we got some items that were originally $40 for $14.99 (like one of those chair massage things for Jay) and also some clearance items at an additional 50% off.....then to make the deals even SWEETER, my mom had a 15% off total purchase and you got a $10 gift card for every $50 you spent.....all said we ended up with $1029 worth of stuff for $385.72, plus we have $70 in gift cards to go back and use (my mom gave me $40 worth of the giftcards)! So we will end up with almost $1100 worth of stuff for our $385.72! We ran into my friend Venita (she is Hannah's former duet partner's mom and a dear sweet friend) who commandeered a huge cart from the shoe department (one of those carts they would use to transport large quantities of merchandise) for us to put our purchases on. We would have NEVER made it through the line, which snaked around the store, without the cart! The store was crowded but we only waited in line 1 hour and we took turn shopping when we were in line. I was still walking back and grabbing stuff when we were only 1 person from the register because I would see something in someone else's stack and have to have it! We were heading home by 9:45 AM.

We went back to my mom's house and sorted stuff and had left-overs for lunch. Then we came and got Hannah and the baby (my boobs ACHED, I had to have my baby!) and headed to Old Navy....againwe found great deals and I got Will the cutest Christmas outfit (a velour 2 piece with santa on the front) even though it wasn't on sale. They were giving out $10 gift cards with any purchase of $50 or mom spend $80 and got one and I spent $53 and got mom gave her card to me since she never goes to Old Navy unless I make her go I have $20 to spend there anytime between Dec 1-24!

We then went to Target and got a couple odds and this time it was 2 PM...the place was rather empty. They had stacks of DVD players for $ is hard to believe people were fist fighting and shoving old ladies to save $11!

We then headed up to Papa Murphy's and grab pizzas for dinner (it is a local place that makes the pizzas and you take them home and bake them)...I got 1 family size and 2 larges for $19.97...what a deal! Hannah, Will and I then came home and walked in the door right before 4 PM, made pizzas and had an early (for us) dinner!

After dinner and relaxing for a bit, then about 7:30 PM I ran out to Toys R Us and got a couple items from their 2 day sale, ran to Biggs (a local grocery store/retail store) and got a video game for Brett and some cool Xavier shorts (my husband's alma mater and our favorite college basketball team) for Brett, Grant and Jacob. Then it was HOME to rest my weary feet!

Hope everyone else had a great shopping day! I made a great dent in my shopping!

Monday, November 22, 2004

Thanksgiving Recipes:


Mix ingredients together well and smooth into 1 1/2 quart baking dish.


Mix ingredients together and sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture.



Boston Chicken Cranberry Sauce
Serves/Makes: 6
Ready in: <>

1 pound Can jellied cranberry sauce
1 Jar Smucker's Simply Fruit (10 ounces) Orange Marmalade
1/4 teaspoon Ground ginger
2 cups Fresh cranberries -- sliced
1/3 cup Walnuts -- chop fine

In 2-quart saucepan, over medium-to-low heat, use rubber bowl scraper to stir together jellied sauce, marmalade and ginger until melted, about 6-8 minutes. Add the sliced cranberries, keeping sauce on low. Stir often. Continue cooking and stirring often until cranberries are no longer white and taste tender to the bite (not soft, but not too crisp). Stir in walnuts. When cooled to lukewarm, refrigerate, covered and use with a week to 10 days. Should freeze well to be used within 4 months.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

We are the Champions! We are the Champions!....

We are the Champions....of CCYFL FOOTBALL!

Grant's team played in the Superbowl on Saturday, November 20 at 11 AM. Grant had a couple of impressive tackles in the first half and ended the half with an nice run, but when he was tackled his knee went one way and his ankle went the other so he ended up having to sit out the entire second half with an injury because he couldn't put weight on his foot.

Check out some photos of the exciting game:

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Gym timeCampbell County YMCA
Thursdays starting Nov. 4th
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Laura P. writes: Okay, I finally have coordinated a gym day with the Campbell County YMCA. It will be on Thursdays, from 2 to 3 pm, beginning on November 4. It will be $2 per child up to a max of $5 per family. We will have access to all of the Y's sports equipment, including balls of various types, hockey stuff, parachute, mats, bats, flags, jumpropes, hoops and cones. This is a great way to let the kids use up some energy in the cold, wet months we have ahead, as well as a great opportunity for homeschool parents to get to know each other. If anyone is interested in organized games and wants to take the lead, that would be welcome as well. Another thought might be the Presidential Fitness Program. All of theses ideas (and more) can be discussed at will during the Thursday gym time.

The Campbell County Y is located in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky (right across the river on I-471). Take I-471 South to the Ft. Thomas/Southgate exit. Turn left at the end of the exit ramp (if you are coming from somewhere in Kentucky and are on I-471 North you will need to turn right at the end of the ramp). Turn left on Grandview (it will be the 3rd stoplight - ??) When you get to the stop sign, turn right onto Ft. Thomas Blvd/Ave. The Y will be about 1/4 mile down on your right. Feel free to call me if you have any questions: Laura P. or Julieanne

After we attended the program at Woodland Mound, we grabbed lunch at Frisch's and then decided (or I should say the boys decided) that we would join our friends at the Campbell County YMCA for gym time. The boys had wanted to play with their friends at the park, but it was too wet so this was the perfect alternate activity.

The kids ran around like the wild children that they are, playing basketball, using hula hoops and just goofing around while the moms (Julieanne, Michelle and me) sat around and talked. It is so nice to spend time with other homeschooling moms while the kids are busy playing and entertaining themselves!

The boys and Sophie really enjoyed themselves so we will probably be heading back in a few weeks (since they won't meet next week because of Thanksgiving).
Park Program:
Pioneers/Native Americans
Thursday, November 18 10 AM and 11 AM
Woodland Mound Park

From Laura Riesenberg – We’ll meet at the Seasongood Nature Center and learn about the Native Americans and Pioneers that lived in this region. Hands on activites and games are sure to make this a wonderful program. Program held rain or shine.

RSVPs: (with number of children participating)
10 AM: Faulk (2), Fetters (5), Fite (2), Sebastian(2), Alpers(1)
11 AM: Riesenberg (4), Vaske (3), Malott (4), Hensley (2), Campbell (2)

What a great program! We were thrilled that our favorite of the Hamilton County naturalists, Trina, led the program for us. We learned about the Ohio landscape in the 1700's, a bit about how the Native American's lived, about farming in pioneer times, and about Native American and Pioneer games. The program was very hands on, the kids got to touch everything, and we played a could of games. Once the program concluded, there was time to play with everything and the kids had a great time. Cade's favorite thing was the drum, but he just couldn't get the concept that he needed to bang on it gently!

Check out some photos:

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Will's 4 month check-up

We took Will in for his 4 month check-up. He weighs 13 lb 8 oz and is 24 3/4 inches long at 4 1/2 months old! He is such a SHRIMP (25% for both height and weight).

The ped seemed happy with his growth (slow but steady) and was thrilled with him rolling both ways, trying to sit, trying to scoot, holding and mouthing toys, cooing, laughing and babbling. She was absolutely SHOCKED to look in his mouth and see his two teeth (given my other kids were very late teethers). We are both a bit concerned about his hearing (he doesn't seem to respond to the extremes...very soft or very loud/high pitched) but we are both willing to wait another 2 months since he passed his newborn hearing test.

He has a bit of a yeast rash so she prescribed nystatin for it, but other than that he got a clean bill of health!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Dinner Conversations....

Monday night was rather unusual. Since Brett has Biology until 7PM he gets dropped off at the dance studio so that we can pick him up. Today, Jay had to take Grant to a basketball try-out and agreed to take the younger kids with him if I would keep Will and pick up Brett and the girls at the dance studio. He handed me money and told me to get them dinner on the way home.

I rarely get to spend time with the 3 older kids without the little ones in tow. I get to spend time with Hannah and Emily, but Brett usually opts out or has basketball so it was a rare treat. I ended up laughing through most of dinner because of the conversations.....

Me: Oh, I forgot to stop at Dairy Queen. They had cakes on sale half price.
Brett: Just get me some icecream, some fudge, some cookies and a square round pan and I will make you a cake
Me: A square round pan?
Hannah: (Laughing) yeah it would look like this (holds up a piece of paper with an odd shape on it)

Brett: I'll be back (stands up and walks into the bar area so he can see the score to the basketball game on tv)
Me: (looking at girls) He definately is your father's son!
Hannah: What? You just figured out dad is his father?

Brett: Emily, why are you a vegetarian?
Emily: I had a dream.
Brett: see that is the stupid stuff that happens when you dream.

On top of our dinner conversation (there was so much) we had a WONDERFUL waitress who really seemed to enjoy us and share some of her waitressing stories with us!

There is nothing better than family, good food and great conversation!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

We're goin' to the 'ship!

One of our favorite sports movies is Hardball a movie about a group of innercity kids that play on a rag-tag baseball team. The boys pull off an incredible season and make the championship game and they start chanting "we're goin' to the 'ship! we're goin' to the 'ship!" Ever since we watched the movie, our family chants this same line when one of the kids makes it to the championship game!

So know that you know the story behind the title.....let me tell you the story!

Grant's football team made it to the play-offs. He was so excited and he hugged me this morning and said "would it be a good birthday present if I won today's game for you mom?". I smiled and answered "It would be the best present you could give me!".

When we got to the game, my friend Cathy had them announce over the PA that it was my birthday! Gotta LOVE when that happens!

The game was close and was scoreless at the end of regulation! Once again our game was heading to overtime! And as usual, the other team got the football first! Fortunately they didn't score and we managed to sneak it into the endzone on our next possession!

So we are heading to the "Superbowl", the championship of youth football! Grant is really excited!

Friday, November 12, 2004

King Pin Lanes/Beechmont
12 noon to 2 pm
$6 per bowler/includes shoes and unlimited bowling

The kids were excited that it was time to bowl again. It is usually a great activity for our family. The older kids hang out with the "teen" crowd, the middles hang out with their friends, and the little ones end up on a lane with other young kids and I get to hang out and talk!

Little did we know what was in store for us this trip. Jay dropped us off at the bowling alley so that he could take the van to get it e-checked and get new tags for it (only 6 weeks LATER than when they were due!). When we got into the bowling alley, Sophie decided that she wanted to bowl and Emily went and got her a pair of shoes. She looked so cute in her tiny little shoes. She bowled on the lane with the little boys. She bowled her first frame and actually managed to knock down some pins she was so excited! But then, when she went to bowl the second time, she fell forward on top of the bowling ball. She SCREAMED. I ran up to her and yanked her mouth open, praying she hadn't busted out any of her teeth. As I checked, I was relieved to see that all of her teeth were still in place and she hadn't bitten her tongue. As I closed up her mouth and was telling her everything was OK, I looked at my was full of blood. She had busted her chin wide open and it was gaping! I put pressure on it with my hand and sent a mom for a towel. The manager brought out ice. One of the moms went to her car and got her first aid kit. We got the bleeding to slow down and she quit crying. We got a closer look at it.

It was gaping pretty bad, but knowing what a pain going down to the ER would be, I opted to just put some gauze and tape on it and see if it would hold. I also knew no matter what it would scar (every kid/adult I have ever known with chin stitches ends up with a scar). We gave her some tylenol and some french fries for being so good! Within about 20 minutes she was back up and bowling again! Kids are so resilient!

When Jay picked us up he wasn't too happy that I hadn't taken her to the ER. We tried some butterfly bandaids on it but she kept pulling them off. We ended up going up to Kroger's and getting some special bandages that help make a "blister" out of your body fluids to help heal your wound! At least she seemed to leave that alone!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Return to the Art Museum
Thursday November 11, 2004
1:30 PM

Korin wrote: Group 1 K-3 Stories in ArtThe docent in charge of this group called and we talked about what we would cover....DAVID & GOLIATH, Bernardo Strozzi - oil on canvas(Story of David and Goliath)WINTER LANDSCAPE - Aert Van der Neer - oil on canvas(Story of Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates)PORTRAIT OF A MAN IN ARMOR - Anthony Van Dyck - oil on canvasand TOMB EFFIGY OF DON SANCHO CORRELLO - wood, tempera and gilt(Possibly a reference to or short story about Sir Gallahad and King Arthur)THE PAINTING THAT MOM MADE (Don't recall the author but I've used this bookmany times and it is very good for the children to learn the steps involvedin making a painting.)These are the pieces that I have in mind for the tour. If time permitsother pieces could be added. Every once in a while the Museum staff willmove or replace pieces so flexibility is always the key.

I must be a glutton for punishment, because I decided to venture back to the Art Museum, this time with only Grant, Jacob, Cade and Sophie. We were set up to go on a tour with our homeschooling group and I promised them that it would be better this time! I thought that there would be a hands on project as part of the tour, but I was wrong, so they were disappointed!

We got to the museum about 40 minutes early (I thought the tour was at 1 PM) so we wandered around a bit, taking in the Cincinnati Wing which the kids thought was really interesting. Then we went and met our tour group.

Our tour guide was a wonder old lady who just so happened to be hard of hearing. Everytime the kids answered one of her questions, the other mom or I had to "yell" it at her, certainly not the inside voice one is supposed to be using in the art museum. The tour started with her reading a book about the elements of art (color, shape, form, lines, etc) and then we walked around and looked at a number of pictures and we talked about the elements. Dispite the fact that there was no hands on activity, the kids seemed to enjoy themselves (and except for Grant "skating" across the museum floors on his knees behaved themselves very well!).

The next tour is next month, so we will see if they want to go back when the time rolls around!

I was really glad Brett stayed home and kept William, it was one less distraction to deal with!
Football play-in
Sunday, November 7

Jacob's football team is young and didn't win enough games to be auntomatically given a playoff spot. So on Sunday we had to have a "play-in" with 2 other teams (Milford and Bethel) to see who would be given the last playoff spot. The coach asked that eveyone be there at 12 noon and we busted butt to make it there (switching around our whole Sunday schedule to be on time). I was a bit miffed when we got there at noon and only 2 other kids (out of 17) were there. Eventually the rest of the team trickled in. The play-in was set up as a two and out event. It was an alternate possession format, with each team getting the ball on the 25 yard line. The two teams that lost 2 games would be eliminated.

Our first game was against Milford. They had the ball first and didn't score. On our possession our "star" player ran it in for a touchdown. I was honestly surprised that he was even playing in the game becasue in Saturday's game he had hurt his foot (my thought was he had broken it since it had brusied pretty bad but didn't swell at all). We won the first game. Next Milford played Bethel and Milford won, so we had to face Bethel (if they lost they would be out of it). They managed to score so we had to get the ball in. Our "star" went to carry the ball and was tackled at the 1 yard line. The scream he let out echoed through the stands. He just kept SCREAMING and SCREAMING. His jerk of a dad (better known as our head coach) actually tired to get him up and WALKING on it with him SCREAMING. At one point when he was checking him out, he pushed the kid into the ground...the fans in the stands were furious......all of a sudden the paramedics showed up...apparently someone with a cell phone called 911. Despite coach and his wife saying they wanted to take him home, they insisted that the child be taken to the hospital via ambulance.

I HATE parents who feel the need to live vicariously through their children!

Our boys lost the game that they were playing when the "star" got hurt. They lost the next game too. They were all upset because they team mate was hurt, but probably lost because the coach NEVER bothered to develp any player but his son. Have you ever seen the Hey Arnold!
episode when Arnold is playing on the basketball team and the whole strategy is "Get the ball to Tucker!"....well our whole season was "Get the ball to "Star child". I am sad Jake won't get to play in the playoffs like his big brother, but I am so GLAD that that jerk of a coach will never coach my son again!

BTW, we don't know what happened at the hospital. A friend reported "star child" was walking around school Wednesday on crutches with a cast on!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Home Depot Tour
Milford Home Depot
10 AM to 12 PM

I set up a tour of Home Depot for the girlscout troop a couple of weeks ago and had firmed all the details up with a woman named Stephanie. Things had been rather busy here so I never bothered to call back and reconfirm. BIG MISTAKE! When the girls and I got there, we found out that Stephanie had been terminated and that there was no record of the tour being scheduled! The girl at the service desk was wonderfully helpful and found us a "substitute" tour guide, a wonderful woman named Mary!

Mary had been with Home Depot for 6 1/2 years and had spent most of that time in the garden center so she centered our tour around the plants and plant care. I was AMAZED to learn that a whole 2/3 of Home Depot's business is their garden center which takes up just a small corner of the store and some outside patio space! We learned how to tell healthy plants from unhealthy ones, how to salvage a plant, how to detect root rot (and how BAD it smells) the signs of underwatering, that most plants prefer NOT to be placed in a window, the need to feed plants and also a bit about christmas trees (the balled and burlaped trees were out on the patio). It was amazingly informative and fun. Hannah even commented after we were back in the car that it was "way better" than she thought it would be, because all she thought we would do was look at "boring tools" not "cool plants".

As the finale to the tour, Mary let the girls pick a plant to divide and repot so they could each take on home. We decided to have a "contest" to see who can keep their plant alive and who can make it grow the best. Anyone with a still living plant in March with bring it to a meeting and the winner will get a small prize! Hannah and Emily also picked out a couple of plants to bring home (an aloe vera plant and some hen and chicks) to see if they can get them to grow!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Brett turns 14!

It is hard to believe that my baby is 14 years old already. It seems like only yesterday my first child. We were a little shocked when our firstborn decided to make his appearance 10 weeks early, but were surprisingly fortunate that he had as few complications as he did! I went into labor with him shortly before midnight on November 7, 1990 and when we got to the hospital at 3 AM (it took me that long to get Jay out of bed, stop at the ATM for money, stop and get gas and FINALLY get to the hospital) they weren't able to stop labor. At 7:35 PM on November 8, 1990, Brett made his appearance, bruised, limp and not breathing. It had never occurred to me until that moment that things could go so horrible wrong.

This year we celebrated with a turkey dinner, complete with mashed pototoes, green beans, corn, gravy and rolls! We had cake for dessert! Unfortunately I had the worst headache and I didn't get to have cake or join the family in singing "happy birthday" to Brett. It made me sad to miss the "finale" to his birthday, but I felt miserable!
3rd grade basketball

Jay is the head coach for Grant's basketball team and I somehow end up as team mom. Since my mind often wanders and I forget things, I decided to post the schedule here, so it would be in a "safe" place.

Tuesday November 9: 3:30-4:45 PM at Seton
Sunday November 14: 5:00-6:30 PM at St. Andrew
Tuesday November 16: 3:30-4:45 PM at Seton
Wednesday November 17: 5:00-6:00 PM at St. Andrew
Monday November 22: 3:30-4:45 PM at Seton
Sunday November 28: 5:00-6:30 at St. Andrew
Monday November 29: 3:30-4:45 at St. Andrew
Friday December 3: 3:30-4:45 at Seton

Starting in December, our regular practice time will be on Monday from 3:30-4:45 PM at St. Andrew and Friday from 3:30-4:45 at Seton.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Friday, November 5
8:00 PM
The Ridimans' Home

Kas wrote: We have formed a homeschoolers writer's group that will meet monthly at my home in the Historic District of Newport (close to the Levee). The kids plan to meet monthly on Friday evenings. Girls are welcome to spend the night afterwards. The suggested age range is ten through teens--but be aware the teens' writing will be uncensored and may not be appropriate for younger children. (For example, Mandy has been writing a story about a serial killer). We plan to meet on November 5, 2004 8:00 PM-11:00 PM. In the grand old tradition of the HSN writers group, bring something sweet or salty to share. We were thinking that since it falls close to the Mexican Day of the Dead it might be fun to have a Mexican theme....drinks will be provided, as will a roaring fire in the fireplace and a safe atmosphere to share your writing. Former homeschoolers--now freshmen in college--Rachael and Elyse H. will be joining us.

Emily, Sophie, Will and I picked Hannah up from dance and we headed over to the Ridiman's house for writers group. Hannah and Emily were excited about spending time with their friends. We got there and the girls gathered in the dining room and some of them shared what they had written. After a while they started a collabrative writing project. At that point Emily and Tabby decided to make an exit and slipped out to the hot tub (they later came in and got Sophie and Shelby and took them out with them). The other girls went upstairs (claiming Kas and I were too LOUD...imagine!). Sophie and Shelby played on the rocking horses (Kas snapped some ADORABLE shots of the girls, bare butts, on the horses). Will pretty much NURSED the whole time we were there (and of course Kas got a picture of him eating!). We ended up leaving right before midnight, the girls were tired from being up with the kittens the night before, plus we had an early and busy day ahead of us for Saturday. Hannah seemed to have a good time but said she was a little overwhelmed since she was the youngest in the group although she said she wants to go again, so she must not have been too overwhelmed!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Friday, Nov. 5th 12 PM
Craft Day
Hosted by Julieanne

Julieanne writes: I thought we could get together and just make fun stuff. We could bring crayon bits, fallen leaves and wax paper, and iron them to make leaf "stained glass." We could make pet rocks. Anything sufficiently messy, especially involving glitter or glue is fair game. : ).

Everyone but Brett decided to head over to Julieanne's for some crafty fun! Emily and Grant were extremely excited because they knew that Julieanne had SNAKES and that they would get to see them. We only got "lost" twice trying to get to her house, I missed one street and turned the wrong way on another, but we finally made it! Julieanne, True and Liam gave us a tour and introduced us to their "zoo". First we met a beautiful snake that had just "wandered" into their yard. He was just beautiful! Emily just had to hold him. We saw two baby turtles that all the kids held and met the 6 dogs, including the newest, a retired champion French Bulldog. We then saw the ferrets and then ventured to the basement to meet 2 more snakes (which of course Emily had to hold) and the 6 cats!

We then started "crafting"....first we made pet rocks (which turned out so cute) and then we made the "stained glass" leafs. We had to leave by 2 PM to get Grant to basketball. It was great fun!

Check out some pictures....

We have kittens!

We were fairly certain that Bella, one of our two indoor cats, was pregnant, but she had fooled us once before. She began waddling early this week and she had six very prominent nipples exposed, but we had no idea WHEN we would have kittens.

Thursday night, once everyone was home from football and basketball, she started getting really restless and she kept meowing for Emily to follow her upstairs. She insisted on getting into a drawer in Brett's bedroom (Brett isn't all that fond of the cat, so it was quite funny she picked his dresser drawer). Jay and Emily sat with her and about 30 minutes later the first little kitten was born. It didn't do anything at first and both Jay and Emily started crying! Then all of a sudden, Bella seemed to understand she needed to do something and she started licking it and cleaning it. All of a sudden we heard the fainted meow. Bella nudged it and pushed it to a nipple and it started nursing. Cade, who had also been standing watch, donned a pair of nonlatex hospital gloves because he said he was going to help her with the next one! About an hour later the second kitten was born. Bella reacted quicker and got it breathing, moving, clean up and nursing quite quickly. 20 minutes later the next kitten appeared. Things seemed to slow down a bit and about 45 mintues later kitten #4 made its appearance. The girls were thrilled and sat watch. Nothing happened over the next 1 1/2 hours so they decided to go to bed. Emily woke up at about 4 AM to find 6----yes 6----kittens nuzzled up next to Bella!

I won't say the kittens are cute, they are scrawny and their eyes are closed, they are about the size of gerbils, but they are "cute" in their own way! So we now have kittens that will be ready for a forever home come Christmas time, hopefully that will be in my favor when I need to find them families!

Check out some pictures snapped when they were just hours old....

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Cincinnati Art Museum
Wednesday 11/03/2004 9am

Korin writes: PLEASE try to get there at least 10 minutes early!!!Petra:!! that means 8:50!! AM!! eek!We will be the first group of the day, and I have a feeling they will not APPRECIATE too much chaos or lateness. As we are all arriving separately from different places near rush hour, too early, and the morning after the election.... please try to take all that into consideration and plan accordingly. If you have rethought it, and think you have NO CHANCE of making it... call me the night before, and if you figure it out in the morning (too many crabby kiddies) please call me on my cell phone. That way I can have an idea of what is going on that morning. (I really wish I could've planned this for later in the day.... believe me!.... but this was the best I could do. And remember.. if you're thinking of chickening out... it's the only way you can see this for free.)

Directions here-

Museum does NOT allow any of the following....cameras, giant purses, backpacks, tote bags etc., umbrellas, paper and pencils (seriously!), the obvious food, drink and gum. I have heard that they are really adamant about the big purse thing... so, try to keep to a reasonably sized bag.... not big enough to stuff the bust of pisces into, ok? They do allow strollers (as I've used them there before....) so any supplies you need can be stowed there...I guess.

If you would like some idea of the exhibit or some study guides go here There are a few PDF files of various grade levels and worth.

Also, the Cincinnati library happens to have several Petra related programs at many different branches going on all month.

Hands-On ArchaeologyW 11/3 3:00 Oakley branch ages 6-12Th 11/4 3:30 Pleasant Ridge ages 6-12W 11/10 3:00 West End ages 7-12Th 11/11 3:30 Reading ages5-9Th 11/11 4:00 Hyde Park ages 7-12W 11/17 4:00 Northside ages 7-12Th 11/18 4:00 Corryville K-6Th 11/18 4:00 Wyoming grades 4-8T 11/30 3:45 Groesbeck ages 6-12

Petra Mosaic CraftsW 11/3 3:30 West End K-2T 11/9 3:00 Madisonville ages 6-12T 11/9 7:00 Miami Township ages 6-12W 11/10 10:30 & 1:00 Cheviot ages 3 and upW 11/10 3:00 Westwood ages 6-10F 11/12 2:00 Norwood K-5Sat 11/13 Madiera Ages 6 and upSat 11/13 2:00 Main library ages 3-12Sat 11/20 2:00 Corryville all ages

Previous experiences at the Art Museum should have prepared me for what was in store for us today! We got there in a timely manner, amazing with 7 of the 8 kids in tow (Hannah had to assist at the dance studio). Brett and Emily were put in a group with the older kids and the younger ones and I were in a seperate group. Our docent, although a sweet woman, was adamant about the rules and made the children stand 2 feet from each exhibit and wouldn't even permit them to touch the plastic cases that displayed most of the pieces. The hour that the tour lasted was a bit too long for the little ones! When we finally got back down to the great hall (a large open area leading into the exhibits) the boys were really wound up. Grant started doing cartwheels. Cade and Jake were running after each other. A few of the other boys on the tour tired climbing up some columns. Hopefully our next visit will go a bit more smoothly. I think I may take mine to the park BEFOREHAND to run off some energy!

Once we were finished at the Art Museum, we headed to Frisch's for lunch and took advantage of our Halloween coupons to get lunch for everyone 10 and under free. From Frisch's we headed over to Rookwood to kill the two hours we had before we needed to be at Children's hospital for a doctor's appointment. I LUCKED into a sale at Old Navy, anything halloween was $.97 so I walked out of the store with 23 pieces of clothing (3 items were 2 piece sets) for just over $20! We then went to the bookstore and hung out, read some books (the kids found a children's book written by a WWE wrestler, Mick Foley and sat and read it to each other) and played with the trains until we needed to head out to doctor's.

While in the van, Grant discovered he knew how to spell the word "poop" (Grant really stuggles with reading/spelling/phonics) and was excited to discover it was spelled poop both forwards and backwards. I don't know what got into me but I chimed in with "well if you flip it over, it spells boob!" Brett busted out laughing. Grant added that he also knew how to spell "ass"...what more does a 8 year old boy need to know....poop, boob and ass! Somedays I really wonder just how warped my kids are going to be!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

We interupt this blog for a very important message...we don't care who you vote for, just get out there and vote! Posted by Hello
Jay went out to vote first thing this morning, he was in line before the polling place even opened. He waited about 30 minutes. When I got there at 11:15 AM, it was packed! I had to wait about 45 minutes to vote. I can't complain too much though. Our polling place houses 2 seperate precincts and the other precinct had a 2 1/2 hour wait. I couldn't believe the turn out!

I made the mistake of taking Will with me without anyone to help me out. The girls decided that they wanted to go to a movie with their friends (who were off school today for an inservice, I assume because all the schools in that district serve as polling places). Of course, as usual, he was fine as long as he had a boob in his mouth, but when I decided to unlatch him so I could color in the stupid little ovals on the ballot, he started screaming. Luckily a mom I knew through a local homeschooling group happened to have just finished voting and I asked her to hold him for 5 minutes while I filled in the circles. I had done all my research ahead of time so I knew who I was voting for and where I stood on each issue.

Quite a few people got a kick out of Will's shirt!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Trick or Treating, twice the fun!

On Saturday, when Brett and Hannah were at the teen party, we decided to go out to our friend's (Cathy and Curt Alldred) house in Batavia and go trick or treating. It was so nice of the Alldred's to invite us over and the weather was perfect.

Emily wore her pioneer costume (although a couple people thought she was Amish), Grant was a nerd (complete with a hat with a spinner on top), Jacob was a slice of pizza, Cade a crocodile and Sophie an elephant. Will didn't wear his costume but we put him in a cute halloween turtleneck and he hung out in his Baby Bjorn.

The subdivision the Alldred's live in is HUGE, I don't doubt that we probably walked 4 miles. There were even two haunted houses set up that the kids loved going through. It was really nice, since the time hadn't changed yet, that we got to trick or treat for the first hour in the daylight. Cade is immensely afraid of being outside in the dark and as I predicted, he said he was done as soon as the sun went down. There are days that I am sure that those 8 minutes that kid spent without oxygen during labor warped him! Sophie was so cute. She would go up and say "trick or treat" (which sounded more like "twik or tweet") and then she would say "thank you" (which sounded like "dank u") without anyone having to remind her! This one woman got such a kick out of her that she kept dropping candy into her basket just to hear her say "thank you"! She must have given her 6 pieces of candy!

At one point when we were trick or treating I asked Cade to give me his pumpkin with candy in it because it was full to the top. I told him I would put the candy in a pillowcase for him. He absolutely REFUSED to let me carry the pillow case with his candy in it, he insisted on carrying it himself and it was so heavy! As darkness fell, Cathy and I went back to her house with the little ones and Curt took Emily and the older boys out to hit more of the subdivision.

Today was trick or treating in our subdivision. We spent the early afternoon having dinner with my mom and dad and then everyone got ready to trick or treat. Cade only went to a couple houses, he hated the dark, so I was so glad I had taken him out the night before so he could enjoy the fun! Hannah invited 3 friends to come trick or treat with her and they went off with Emily and Grant, so Jacob and I walked together. He was so sweet when we were walking he hugged me and said "thank you for making my costume". Bret, dressed up as a farmer and ended up staying home and passing out candy and kept Will (the cow) with him.

I was suprised by how many houses in our subdivision didn't have their lights on to hand out candy. It used to be when we first moved here, every house was light up. Tonight, I would say almost half the houses were dark! Despite the lack of participating houses, the kids brought home quite a haul! It is candy heaven in the Riesenberg house!

Check out some pictures....

Isn't my pumpkin so cute? Will wasn't exactly thrilled with mom's idea of the perfect photo opt! Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Bonfire/Hot Dog & Marshmallow Roast/Pumpkin Carving/Movie Night!!!
Saturday, October 30 ; 6pm to 10 pm
Ages: 12 and up
Hosted by The Freson Family at their home just outside of Fayetteville

Attention, homeschoolers ages 12 an d up!! You will not want to miss out on this incredible evening. Here's what's planned. First, we'll cook hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire (yum) Then, we'll be carving pumpkins and awarding the most creative, the scariest, and the funniest. After we set them out for display with candles and all, we'll go in and watch a movie. We're hoping to see The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (or something that is supposed to be scary but is really quite funny)

This event IS far. But it will be worth the trip. For those that don't want to drive that far, we have a plan. Andrea Hall and myself will take 2 vanloads of teens to the party if you have them to Dance Etc. (on Meijer Drive in Milford, right off the expressway) by 5pm. We will bring them back there afterwards. So, PLEASE come!

Here's what to bring: The Fresons are nicely providing the food, plates, etc. Each family needs to bring a 2-litre drink and a snack or festive treat. Each person needs to bring a pumpkin (one per person).

To RSVP: Please contact Cindy and let her know if you are going directly to the Fresons or are planning to meet us at Dance Etc. in Milford.

When we first started homeschooling people WARNED us of all the things our kids would miss out on by not being "in" school. What is so funny about this is that there are actually often "too many" actvities to chose from. The wonderful thing is that the events are always well supervised by other parents that we know and trust. And the groups, though of mixed sexes and ages, aren't pairing off and "coupling".

Brett and Hannah had a wonderful time at the party. Hannah's pumpkin took second place in the pumpkin carving contest. Brett's pumpkin didn't fair nearly as well but he said he had fun carving it. They really seem to enjoy hanging out with their electic group of friends!

Friday, October 29, 2004

The Maize at Turpin Farms
Organized by Laura Riesenberg
Cost: $3.50 for kids 5 - 12; $5.00 for adults

This activity is for ALL ages, although it probably doesn’t seem like it. Teens, you will LOVE the huge corn maze that can take up to 2 hours to go through. For other ages, there is a petting zoo, hayride, cow train, pumpkin patch, hay jump, and tube slide. We plan to pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it as there are plenty of tables for picnicking. Bring a water bottle (plowing through the maize is hard work!) and a picnic lunch. Dress for the weather.

Turpin Farms is located at 3295 Turpin Lane in Newtown, Ohio on the east side of Cincinnati. Here are directions and a website. You can actually see an aerial view of the corn maze on the website. It is:

Directions:From the north, take I-275 east to Rt. 32 West (exit 63A) towards Newtown. Follow Rt. 32 west for about 5.5 miles. Go through Newtown and turn left on Turpin Lane.From downtown Cincinnati (and KY) take Columbia Parkway (OH 50) east to the Beechmont Levee (OH 125) and go east. Go across the levee to the Rt. 32 exit. Follow Rt. 32 east for about 1.5 miles and turn right on Turpin Lane.

What an absolutely wonderful day. It was a bit overcast and I was worried it might rain (the weatherman said we had a 30% chance) but it turned out absolutely wonderful. It was overcast and in the low 70's.

We were the first family to get to Turpin Farms (probably a good thing since we were the ones organizing the event) and slowly our friends began to show up. It was a tremendous crowd we ended up with 20 teens/adults and 27 children aged 5-12 participating, plus about 7 moms and numerous toddlers who just ended up hanging out while the rest of the group plodded through the maze.

Will was a bit hungry (and my boobs a bit FULL since he had only nursed once since 10 PM last night) so we opted to hang out and nurse. Sophie and Cade played on the playgound equipment and in the haydive while the older kids were off doing their thing in the maze. It was great because Kas and I got to talk while the kids played. We even had the opportunity to enjoy the company of some other homeschooling moms.

It took the kid about 1 1/2 hours to complete the maze and then they came and found us, hungry and tired ready for lunch. Amazing as it might be, Brett and Grant didn't get LOST in the maze this year (last year the two of them and another boy, Michael took about 1 1/2 LONGER than everyone else to emerge from the maze). The yellow jackets were everywhere, one of the pitfalls of fall picnicing! It made it really hard for the little ones to drink the soft drinks we brought with us!

The farm was peppered with adorable farm cats, one of which was so friendly it would cuddle up with anyone and let them hold and pet it. It even decided to take a nap in the Ridiman's stroller. There were also numerous chickens waddling around the farm.

We were really thrilled when the woman in charge of the farm came over and apologized, saying they were out of the small "pie" pumpkins we were supposed to get as part of the tour (we hadn't known about getting pumkins) and said that the kids could pick out ANY pumpkin they could CARRY as their "free" pumpkin. The kids were THRILLED as I think most of the pumpkins they picked would have cost more than the $3.50 admission they paid to get in. So for less than the cost of the pumpkin, they got to go through the maze, go on a hayride, ride the cowtrain, sit around a huge bonfire, and enjoy the fellowship of their homeschooling buddies!

Check out some of the pictures taken at the farm...

Thursday, October 28, 2004

4 months old!

Where has the time gone?

I took Will to JC Penney's today to have his 4 month picture taken. We got there early so I would have time to nurse him and get him dresses. Once he had finsihed nursing I put his cute little pumpkin one piece outfit on him. Orange is definitely a good color on him!

After he was dressed, i was holding him in my lap with his face supported by my hand. He managed to get my thumb into his mouth and bit down.....lo and behold I felt something HARD push against my skin. My sweet Will had cut his first tooth! I can't BELIEVE that he has a tooth! I haven't had a chance to look in eveyone's baby books, but I think he is my earliest teether (and is DEFINATELY the earliest if you adjust his age since he was a preemie). Brett didn't get a tooth until he was 11 months old! I looked at him and said "CONGRATULATIONS!" and he got this HUGE smile on his little face!

We finally got in to get the pictures taken. Only 30 minutes behind schedule, but no big deal since he was in a good mood and the other kids were at home! Can't say I was all that happy with the photographer, she seemed to snap every photo just a second too late, I really like the other photographer much better! But we got one REALLY good picture, so I can't complain!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Just out of reach......

After changing Will's diaper, he seemed to be in an unusually good mood, so I decided to leave him to play on the living room floor. Maybe, just maybe, I could check my emails without holding him! He was laying on this back enjoying the sights and sounds (Cade was talking to him), the next thing I know he is laying on his stomach! The little turkey managed to roll over from back to tummy, just one day shy of being 4 months old!

Once he was on his stomach, I decided to put some toys on the floor with him so he would have something to look at. If the floor was the face of a watch, I placed a baby mirror at 9 o'clock, a stuffed activity octopus at 12 o'clack and a little bug rattle at 3 o'clock. He was all excited and was kicking his legs and looking around. He spotted the bug and managed to turn his body to it was directly in front of him (he had been pointing at the octopus) then he started moving his arms like CRAZY trying to reach the bug rattle. He had never purposefully reached for anything. After about 10 minutes of trying (and a little scootch of the toy by mom) it was within fingers reach, he grabbed it, got this HUGE smile on his mouth, and shoved it into his mouth!

How quickly they go from BLOB BABY to an ACTIVE CURIOUS baby is growing up, a bit too fast for mom's liking!

Sunday, October 24, 2004


As part of the requirements for doing a solo, the dancers at our studio are required to have their routines critiqued by a master teacher. Sunday at 12:30 PM was Hannah's first critic session.

Miss Becky's fist comment to Hannah was "this certainly isn't the little girl dances I have seen the last couple of years." Both Hannah and I figured that was a huge compliment. She seemed to really like the routine, of course she kept telling Hannah to work on technique and to watch her thumbs (Hannah has a tendency to point her thumbs up...think the Fonz from Happy Days minus the fist....instead of keeping them tucked in).

It was the first time I had seen the whole routine, beginning to end, with music. I really like it. Of course I am probably prejudice, after all it is my child up there dancing! I can't wait until Feb. to see how well it scores in front of the judges!