Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

This year we all dressed up as old time circus performers. Mommy was the gypsy. Daddy was a clown. Viv was the bearded lady. Felicity was our white tiger. Miriam was a strong man.
The girls were cracking us up in their costumes when they dressed up for story time at the library last week. Tonight they search out the sweet stuff for hours with their Daddy. And then their parents will put them to bed and try not to eat it all.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

And then there were Themes

We've been going strong on the theme weeks. And the big girls really enjoy it. When Felicity goes down for her morning nap, they're quick to ask, "What activity are we going to do now??" Mommy loves hearing those words. Here is your quick overview of the favorites from the last several weeks.

Pumpkin Week
Mommy bought a huge pumpkin from the "reject" pile at a roadside stand near our new land. Took it home and cut the top right off.
They stuck their hands in, mashed the pumpkin guts between their fingers, pretended to make pumpkin soup in the water table, even tasted the pumpkin seeds.
Then a little lightbulb went off in Miriam's head. She flung open the lid to the outside toy box, dug out her little shovel, and rushed to the garden with a handful of pumpkin seeds. We'll see what comes up in the spring.
Felicity watched everything from the safety of her blanket. No, that's not true. She actually tried to eat lots and lots of grass while Mommy was distracted. A very clever little goat.

Pizza and Pasta Week
This entire week of activities was a hit. Mommy might do a Part II on this theme because they liked everything about it and there was so much we didn't have time to do! But they really enjoyed these make-your-own pizzas Mommy cut out from her felt stash. (See! Mommy does need all that fabric!)
They worked hard throughout the week trying to create the perfect pizzas. Miriam loved putting the same number of everything on hers. Three olives, three peppers, three pineapples, three of each kind of meat.
Vivian liked PILING on the toppings. Then sorting them back out. Then piling them on again. Sometimes it is so difficult to keep her attention for even twenty minutes, but these do-it-yourself pizza creations were right up her alley. She came back to them over and over again during the week.
Also during the week, we played with pasta and play dough together. It surprised the girls a little big at first - they didn't seem to know what to do. But after a few minutes they really got into experimenting and building.
Miriam even "fixed" a broken lasagna noodle. Her brain is really working hard now and making big connections. It's almost like having a baby who is learning and learning and learning so quickly. Her brain is in sponge mode again.

Commercial Interruption
A few unrelated developments. Felicity is super into the newspaper. The solids she wishes her parents would offer on her high chair include the Sports Page and the Walmart Ad. 
The girls are starting to play together! Felicity wants to be with her sisters (she's already getting very good at letting us know exactly what she wants). She squeals to get their attention and laughs at their antics. Last week, the big girls got out some of Mommy's cooking utensils and Felicity arched her back and wailed until we set her down with them to "make cake". Then all three of them played together for at least fifteen minutes. It was beyond adorable.

Spider Week
This week was all about spiders. Vivian is actually pretty afraid of them. And she's NOT afraid of ANYTHING. But spiders seem to be her weakness. (Side story: one afternoon about a month ago, Mommy heard her screaming in the backyard and rushed out to see what was wrong, thinking Vivian must have fallen and broke a bone or was bleeding and needed stitches. It was that desperate of a scream. But Mommy couldn't find a thing wrong with the Vivimouse. Turns out Viv had walked through a spider web.) We're talking about them so that she'll hopefully be a little more comfortable. (And Mommy won't have to have anymore unnecessary heart attacks.)
 We did lots of fun spider activities but the one they loved the most...
 ...making spider oreos.
And eating them.
The end.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

6 Months

Felicity is 6 months old now. Practically 7...but here's the update. From memory. Really need to write things down...
Between five and six months, Felicity started cutting teeth. If you've read this at all in the last month, you know that she was miserable about it. She must have her Mother's pain tolerance. Poor thing. We still got to see lots of pretty smiles, but also heard more wailing than we'd heard in a long time. Teething also ruined any hope of sleeping through the night. Living on a diet of baby pain reliever and homemade baby food. She was doing the army crawl and scaring her parents who know it won't be long until we get the real mobility. Plus the thumb is still a big hit.
The seven month milestone is certain to be much, much happier. Trust us, we know.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

On Our Plates: Cilantro Lime Chicken

Prepare yourselves for another go 'round of the delicious freezer to crockpot movement. (It's similar to farm to fork.) The Benefits: This recipe makes SO much food. Each bag - the one recipe makes two of them - serves us for probably 4 meals. And it's super versatile and healthy. The flavors are good and mellow and not at all spicy (which isn't a benefit AT ALL in Tim's book). Serve on warmed tortillas the first day. Leftovers are great in quesadillas or nachos, added to a good casserole, and mixed into your favorite soup recipe. Even more exciting for us, Felicity was pretty into this one! She liked the black beans and corn a lot. When she is more into finger food, we're sure she'll LOVE this one.
Feeding herself surfboards
Cilantro Lime Chicken
6 chicken breasts
3 Tbs olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
1 large bag of frozen corn (or two smaller bags)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped red onion
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 tsp cumin
salt/pepper to taste

Split everything into two labelled freezer bags and put in the freezer. Instructions for bags: cook on low 8 hours, serve with warm tortillas. Dress with sour cream, guacamole, and/or cheese.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


This weekend our big girls had so much fun. (And Felicity has taken a break from teething so her life is pretty golden, too.) We spent lots of time with both of our families. In fact, Saturday morning, Miriam turned to Mommy and said, "Yesterday was the best day, Mommy. I got to see Lydia (Tim's niece), Aunt Maria (Sarah's sister), and Stella (Uncle Michael's massive dog)!!!" This is the tri-fecta of sugar and spice and everything nice for Miriam.
October and November are full full full of birthdays for both sides of the family. Lots of candles and cake. Saturday afternoon, Nana asked Miriam, Vivian, and Lydia to icing a nine piece train cake.
They all worked very hard.
And ate their body weight in icing.
The cake didn't turn out exactly like the box...
...but as their parents we thought it was lovely.
Nobody was sad to eat it either.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Old Lady and the Land

Mommy turned 30!!! on Tuesday. Big Day. And not just because she's a decade older.
Although, that was pretty special. Daddy surprised Mommy with Mexican food and good friends. And the obligatory sombrero. Cha cha cha.
The bartender sent out a "Mexican Flag". Grenadine, cream of coconut (or something), minty liquor, and...oh yes, Bacardi 151 on top. It was quite the combo.
But let's back up 12 hours. That morning we FINALLY closed on the land south of town. FINALLY. We'd had a signed contract since August.
 In fact, back in August, we met Tim's parents at the land to check out our new digs.
 It's 1.2 acres, partially wooded, on a cul-de-sac. Just what we'd been looking for.
We've measured it all out, explored the woods, poked at bugs. And now it's ours. Just need to put a house on it. Which we hope to do sometime in the second half of next year. Tim looooves designing and redesigning our new home. It will be perfect for us.
Keep you posted as things progress out there. But until then, dream that there's a perfect new home positioned behind these pretty little girls with a big back yard to run and play in. We'll invite you over as soon as it's done. Someone needs to unpack allllllll those boxes.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Coffee Break

Saturday morning, while Mommy ran some errands and Felicity took her morning nap, Daddy and the big girls had a "coffee break" on the back deck. We've had some beautiful weather this fall so they got to take advantage of it.
Daddy made them hot chocolate garnished with extra, extra, extra marshmallows and curly straws. Dreams coming true.
 After slurping down every last bit and making quite the mess...
...they were begging for more.
And are even more in love with their Daddy, if that's even possible.

Friday, October 11, 2013

On Our Plates: Sausage and White Bean Soup + Avocado Fudge

Because we know you have been waiting anxiously to hear what we're eating out of a crockpot these days, we share this little gem. It's yummy. It has pork (which has so much flavor). It is pretty darn easy to throw together. And it's Nursing-Mom-Friendly - a good one to share with a family welcoming a new little one.

Sausage and White Bean Soup

1 lb sausage
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
3 cans (any kind) white beans, rinsed and drained
1 large can (798 mLs) of Italian style diced tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes with half a tablespoon of Italian seasoning)

3/4 tsp rosemary
1 box chicken broth

Sauté sausage until browned. Throw the sausage and everything else EXCEPT the box of chicken stock into a labeled freezer bag. (Note on the freezer bag to add the box of stock for cooking.) Dump into slow cooker, add box of stock, and cook all day on low.

And you know what else...because we know you need a treat ASAP...we're going to share a recipe we discovered last weekend. It is absolutely fabulous and barely adapted from this site. We know, Avocado Fudge sounds nasty. Really REALLY gross. It's not. If you like to eat chocolate icing then you like Avocado Fudge. Mommy made it for her extended family last weekend when we had an Avocado Cookoff. EVERYONE was gee-roooossssed out by the idea. But then they couldn't stop eating it by the spoonful. Yet somehow Mommy didn't win...HUH. Clearly the judging was rigged. So. Just go buy an avocado. You've probably got the rest of the ingredients in your home. And we're aware that this is in no way a health food BUT it has a veggie in it. That has to count for something.

Avocado Fudge

1 avocado, ripened
1 stick butter
1 t. vanilla
1 C. cocoa
3 C. powdered sugar

In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Once butter is melted, puree with avocado in food processor or blender until perfectly smooth. Return mixture to saucepan over very low heat and add the rest of the ingredients. When you add the powdered sugar, just add a cup and mix it in, then the next cup and mix it in, then the last cup and mix it in. Once all the sugar has been added, the mixture should be thick. Transfer to a loaf pan. Refrigerate until firm. At least a couple of hours. Then hide it from everyone and eat it.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fighting Fires

It's Fire Awareness Month. Or last week was Fire Safety Week. Or something. In honor of that something, our storytime group went to the Auburn Fire Station. We learned about Stop Drop and Roll (and cover your's what the new cool kids do). THEN we got to check out the fire trucks. Daddy joined us for storytime at the fire station because we were aware of what was coming and Mommy didn't feel entire up to the task of corralling three little people around that much heavy equipment. But the girls were all well behaved and even got to spray the big hose.
Miriam's turn!
Now Viv!
Cutest Firefighter EVER.
Family and the Fire Truck...Viv pinned in place.
Notice that we left with all kinds of loot. Coloring books and hats and stickers. It was a pretty great day. Add firefighters to the list of people we love in this town.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Here we go around again

The last week and a half has been full of family time. Sarah's sister, Bridget, Bridget's bf, Ryan, and Sarah's brother, Michael, have all been home. Michael's doing some deer hunting before her ships overseas for a year. We miss him already!!!
In partial deer hunting makeup.
Lots of playing and eating. And zooing (of course). Not enough sleeping. Or trying to keep Felicity on any kind of a schedule.
P.S. Felicity is STILL teething. Weeks of ugly teething. That darn other bottom tooth looks like it will break through any second. Maybe tomorrow will be the day!!! Pray that it will be.
We've also tried to go on family walks and get the girls to the park. They looooove any opportunity to play at a park and the adults in this house could use the exercise. Win-Win.
Finally got some rain this past week, too. So we'll have to start mowing the grass again. We let the ladies play in the rain pretty often. Our parish priest grew up in India and said that rain doesn't really stop life there like it seems to here. Everyone does their normal thing...just wetter. Good idea. If it's pouring or lightning, we go in. But if we're already planning on being outside, why should water stop us? It's not like it's hurting us. Or we don't have dry clothes to change into. Or they don't actually think it's more fun to play in the rain.
In other news, Miriam is working on her cutting. She thinks its the best. She's also doing "Mommy's Preschool." For lots of reasons, we're not sending her to Preschool. So we've got a big ol' workbook that we do several times a week in addition to our weekly theme activities. The workbook isn't too challenging so far and we're just less than two years from her starting kindergarten. Moral of the story: we're feeling comfortable that she'll be ready!
We've had several theme weeks, too. There was fruit week. One evening we made of HUGE try of fruit up for a little family taste test. Miriam liked everything...even the grapefruit. And Viv found out the her favorite fruit is mango! Gonna have to watch for those to go on sale. 
We also did a five senses week. It worked out nicely...five weekdays + five senses = a really organized week. Above Viv is learning about the sense of taste...lemons are sour and if the picture had been taken one second later you'd be seeing a serious pucker face.
Mommy also found this list of daily "Montessori" activities for the girls do. If there is ever a whine that sounds like a bored little girl, we turn to the list. Hence, them washing windows. They liked it for the record. Another thing to file away for the teenage years. "You enjoy washing windows. See, I even have proof."
Last week was ball week. Favorite activity: We read the book Beach Ball together. Mommy cut circles into wedges and the girls reassembled them like little beach ball puzzles. Then decorated them with stickers. Princess stickers, because that's pretty much how everything is around here. We also had leaf week. But didn't take any pictures of our activities. Hard to believe, we know. But true. And there you have it. Weeks of go-go-go-go-go-little-girls crammed into 10 minutes of reading!