Saturday, March 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes: Take 6

Ready for an update on what's been keeping our girls busy? Let's do some Quick Takes.

1. I Week was for instruments, ice cream, Indians, insects, island, inch. We packed a lot into this week! Homemade instruments were the big hit.
Toilet paper roll kazoos. Miriam's still doing the pose.
Tissue box guitar
We only made one and sharing is tough!
We also tried out painting with a q-tip. Who knows why this is so much fun? But Miriam and Vivian both really get into it.
And some extremely inauthentic Indian (as in Native American) head dresses. We did get several books from the library about Indians and read them together so hopefully they remember those pictures more than these bedazzled strips of construction paper.

2. Game night with Mema and Nana. We love when they come to play. (Notice Miriam on the left "stacking the deck" of Candyland cards.)

3. Climbing commenced. No idea how we can keep Felicity at all safe. Keeping up with the sisters has given her some unnatural abilities.
Speaking of Felicity, it's about time she started pulling her own weight around here.

4. Vivian had an appointment with Dr. Ear. She had tubes put in her ears when she was 8 months old because of repeated, bloody ear infections. It was horrible. (Sorry if that was too much gore.) Anyways, one of them has worked its way out and we're waiting for the other one to come out naturally as well. If it doesn't, Dr. Ear has to take it out surgically. Not the preferred method and Dr. Ear is confident we won't need that. But he'll see us again in 6 months...Anyways (again), we waited a little longer than usual for Dr. Ear. Mommy came up with a fun new game to keep everyone amused called "Take a Picture of My Silly Face". Daddy even got in on it and sent a picture from where ever he was working; Viv said, "Yup, that looks like Daddy." She thought this was the best, funniest game. So keep that in your back pocket for the next time you're crammed in a 9'x9' room full of expensive medical devices with three very young children. Also bring animal crackers.

5. St. Patrick's Week was kind of a break for Mommy. We did fun little crafts and nothing exceptionally educational.

6. J Week Jewels, jump, Jack, journal, jellyfish...
Miriam worked so hard on her jeweled J. It was AMAZING how sparkly it turned out!!
Both girls truly enjoyed "journaling" too in their new notebooks. We did several different kinds; a couple really structured pages and some free thought. They did the drawing, Mommy did the writing. We've continued doing a couple pages a day and maybe we'll share some of our pictures in the future. The best one so far: Mommy handed them the Michigan travel guide, they cut out their favorite pictures, glued them into the journal, drew around them a bit, and described to Mommy what they liked best about the pictures while she wrote it down.

 6. Last weekend Mommy and Grandma went shopping for a Mother's Dress for Aunt Annette's wedding. We found a dress for Grandma to wear! And it was a GREAT bargain. While they were shopping, Daddy took the girls on a carousel ride. This is the same carousel Mommy and Daddy rode on their first date. Too sweet.

7. And finally, Mommy got her hands on a reading curriculum. Sounds so official and feels that way, too. Nana, Tim's Mom, was a grade school teacher and principal during her career. A few weeks back she was playing with the girls and said, "They are showing signs of reading readiness. Now is a great time to start teaching them to read." Mommy had no idea where to begin with that, so she contacted friends of the family who homeschool. They were extremely helpful and got us set on the right path. We're using a phonics based program. It begins with the very basics and lessons are short with lots of review each time. Miriam is picking up the rhythm of the lessons pretty quickly. Vivian also does well and Mommy can tell she gets it but Viv has hard time sitting still so we're doing our best to try to fit this with her learning style...AKA including as much movement as possible.  We have no idea how teachers do it with so many children/so many learning styles/so many IQs in one room. Teachers, you are amazing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Our Plates: Brussels Sprouts and Stuff

This saga begins on Monday. Sarah's Little Sister, Emery, and her sister, Emma, came over. It was great! These girls are 12 years old now and super helpful. All three of our girls are drawn to them because they are kind and gentle young ladies who are willing to play play play and hold a baby. (Felicity was in awe of Emery's braces. Made us laugh.)
Sarah thought it would be fun to make dinner with them and let them try something new. It's a favorite recipe in our house, originally found in a Rachael Ray magazine. But it sounds kind of disgusting at first glance. Don't pre-judge and rob yourself of these tastes. SOOO good. Emery and Emma seriously could not decide what they liked best...Brussels sprouts? Dip? Pork? Pear? All delicious.

Glazed Pork Loin with Brussels Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes
1 1/2 pounds pork loin

Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise 1 pound sweet potatoes cut into wedges 4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pear cut into chunks
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Place in the center of a roasting pan. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, vinegar, and brown sugar and brush over the pork. Scatter the Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and thyme around the pork. Sprinkle with the oil, any remaining mustard glaze, salt, and pepper; stir to coat. Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing the vegetables occasionally, until almost tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the pear and roast until the vegetables are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 150 degrees - 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the thyme. Let the roast rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice and serve with the vegetables and dip. 

3 tbsp. each mayo, grainy mustard, and chopped pickles. Mix. (BEST PART.)

Right. So the story continues Tuesday night when Mommy came home from church. Daddy presented her with a box of TWENTY pounds of fresh Brussels sprouts that the neighbor brought over. (Side note: we love our neighbors. Dread leaving them when we build the new house.) We like Brussels sprouts in this house so accepting free sprouts was a good idea. Twenty pounds was a biiiiiiit more than we could possibly hope to eat before they spoil. Mommy had to learn how to preserve them. Pinterest helped.

Wednesday (today) Mommy and the girls spent the morning getting 16 lbs of Brussels sprouts into the freezer. Felicity was mostly mad that her playmates were unavailable. Miriam and Vivian were both super helpers as we trimmed, blanched, and got them into bags. Miriam asked, "Mommy, am I being like a Mommy right now? Do you think I can learn how to do this all by myself when I grow up?" Such a sweetheart.

The Brussels sprouts story is over now. If you're craving them, you know where to come.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Speaking of...

Mommy and Daddy have been in mourning since the end of The Office. We loved it. And then it was over. Since then we've been searching for a new show to make us laugh. And finally something has emerged. Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Funny cop show. If The Office ever made you laugh then enjoy. If not, they ignore this tip.

Speaking of cops...

Amazing Race
Mommy and Daddy did a DeKalb County version of the Amazing Race when a friend turned 31 last weekend. It was so much fun! We had to RUN all around downtown Auburn, fold a dollar bill into an elephant, buy donuts and take them to the police station, twirl at the park, play Wii, do a puzzle, eat the hottest wing at Buffalo Wild Wings, etc. It was so well thought out from each team being assigned a color to each clue having something to do with the birthday boy...his wife did an amazing job and we can't wait to do it again! Pictures below for proof:

Speaking of fun...

Sarah's sister, Bridget, got engaged this week! Her boyfriend is a super nice guy who is in the process of converting this Easter. We cannot express how excited we are about ALL of that!! (Sorry, don't seem to have an updated picture of the lovebirds, but you can spot them here.)

Speaking of Sarah's siblings...

Uncle John
He turned 19 this week. Insane. 

Speaking of getting older...

Carseat Upgrade
Miriam moved up to a big girl booster seat. She is very, very excited about this. Everywhere we go, she lets it be known that she only has ONE buckle now. All the people at the grocery know, our friendly librarians know, everyone in Chick-fil-a, the employee in the children's department at Barnes and Noble, the post mistresses (pretty sure that's her official name) at the Post Office, any of the neighbors, family members, and fellow parishoners she's seen since Sunday have certainly been informed. And the fact that she can unbuckle herself and get out of the car without assistance is so very nice. It seems like that would be a nothing on the radar, but it somehow makes a huge difference.

Speaking of...

The Post Office
Uncle Michael sent a package from Bahrain last week. Inside were two little dresses for two spoiled little girls. 

Speaking of...

Uncle Michael
He bought a lake house and we got to check it out this week. It's a "project", if you will. So when he gets back for good next winter he's got himself a new hobby/Extreme Home Makeover. Everything in the home at closing is his to keep including these treasures:
LOTS of toys!
A singing fish
VHS tapes
And SOOOOO much more! It's gonna be great! That's it. No more talking. Have a gooooood weekend. And HAPPY SPRING!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Weather (as promised)

We've had maybe three days above 50 degrees in the last two weeks. And several others above 40. Pretty much fabulous. We're back outside and Spring will come, despite Miriam's dire predictions that it will stay winter FOOOORRRREVEEEEEEER. (The cabin fever gets a bit extreme. She gets it from her Mama.)
Pretty in paisley. (That's a thing, right?)
Felicity probably doesn't actually remember weather before the multiple polar vortexes that tried to eat our portion of the country. So these days out have been especially meaningful for her. 
 Attempting to walk out in the elements... big girl shoes...
...navigating the harsh terrain...
...not always successfully.
But she seems pleased not to end up with a face full of snow when she crashes.
And she's got sisters to keep up with.
Keeps her plenty distracted from the dangers of roaming freely in the wild.
She did notice the grass last week and literally stared at it in wonder for a moment before trying to eat it.
When she's not curating grass, Felicity is the Queen of the Chalk Box. Don't even think about touching her treasures.
The thawing means water, water every where.
And puddles perfect for splashing - best time to be a kid.