Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 45

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week!  Ours was good, crazy and filled, but good!  Here is a look at our past week with so many things to be thankful for!!

Sunday:  I am thankful that I have a little boy.  We didn't ever find out the gender of our kids before they were born (except the first Miss A) and after 3 girls I told Ben he had one more chance to get a boy.  When he was born and the Dr. said, "It's a boy!"  I cried, Ben cried, even the nurses cried!  We got a boy!  Finally!  And what a fun boy he is!  He is addicted to his Dad's I-Touch and will sit down anywhere to play it.  Love my boy!

Monday:  I am thankful for good books!  You can see the previous post to find out more about this picture, but we love books in our family and reading, and today we got to meet and listen to author Christopher Paolini.  Miss E was so excited!  He is signing her new Inheritance book for her.

Tuesday:  I am thankful for the beauty of the earth and that we can enjoy the beauties of it.  There are so many large and small that we need to take the time and notice.  Today Miss A and my mom enjoyed the beauties of the earth as they walked a local trail near our town.

Wednesday:  I am thankful for a thoughtful daughter.  Today Miss A got over 10 inches cut off her hair to donate to Locks of Love.  I was very proud of her, and her new cut looks super cute on her!

Thursday:  I am thankful for the "youngest" table members at our feast. 
Thursday #2:  I am thankful for the "younger" table members at our feast.

Thursday #3:  And last but not least I am so thankful for the "young" table members at our feast.  We had 30 for Thanksgiving dinner at our house.  It was lots of fun.  Had lots of food--more pies that I have ever seen before, played lots of football after to run off all that pie, then enjoyed Cars 2 to re-cooperate from all that football.  It was a blessed day!

Friday:  We are thankful for many things, and one Thanksgiving tradition we have is our "Thankful Tree" which Miss O, Miss E, and a friend helped make.  Everyone at our feast was to take a leaf and write on it some things they were thankful for.  Mr J and his friend helped show it off Friday morning.  We have much to be thankful for.

Saturday:  I am so thankful for friends!  We had some of our dear friends who used to live in our town, but sadly moved away, with us over the Thanksgiving weekend.  The kids had so much fun!  Got no sleep, and played all day long.  Life is good when you have friends!

Hope you had a great week.  I decided I am going to try the "Daily December" blogging, so be sure and stop by daily each day in December for something new! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

We met Christopher Paolini!

I don't normally do more than one post a day, but I just had to share what we did last night. . .
Way back in August, we heard that Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon and the Inheritance Saga, would be coming out with the last book in the series in November and would also be doing a book tour.  We found out he would be presenting in the city 2 hours from us.  Now you have to understand how much my 9 year old daughter Miss E loves this series.  She has read all the books, but most importantly she has listed to the audio books like 4 times each--seriously.  So, when she heard he was coming, we decided we had to go, and she was ecstatic!  So last night Miss A, my mom, Miss E, Miss O, Ben, and I all went up to the city.  Mr J stayed home with Grandpa :) 
Christopher was presenting at a church.  He talked, fenced, did a cartwheel, and read a short excerpt from each of the four books.  He was very good, entertaining, and lots of fun to listen to. 

 He took questions, and then you got to have your books signed.  Here he is with Miss E.  I think he was surprised someone that young was there.  He asked her if she had read the books.  She said yes.  He said, "All of them?" in a surprised voice, "yes" she replied.  Then he questioned her, "How old are you?"  "Nine,"  she said.  "Wow," he said, "I am very impressed."  Miss E felt very special, let me tell you.

My mom and Christopher with Miss A behind her

And Christopher signing Miss O's book.  It was a really fun night that we will all remember.  It always means so much when you can read a book and say, "I met this author."  Makes it so much more personal.  If you haven't read his books yet, you should check them out.  Great fantasy reads!   And if his book tour is stopping near you, go hear him and buy a book!

Blue Jeans Week 44

Giving thanks this past week and coming week for all our many blessings.

Sunday:  I am thankful for my mom and that she lives close so she can teach and share with my kids her joy and love of reading.  She is my kids' librarian at their elementary school.  Mr J is reading to her after Sunday dinner.

Monday:  I am thankful for my kids' schools and their teachers.  What does a popcorn machine have to do with that?  This popcorn machine is at the kids' school, and I got to make popcorn for Mr J's class at school today (and I got a bag for myself--yum!)

Tuesday:  I am thankful for laundry and my mountains of mis-matched socks because it means I have people I love in my house that get clothes and socks dirty.    
Wednesday:  I am thankful for good food!  Today Miss E and I made some pumpkin whoopie pies (Thanks for the recipe Patty H!)  I am thankful for kids that like to help.  I am thankful to be able to teach my kids how to cook and the joy of good food!

Thursday:  I am thankful for good kids.  Today I went and had lunch with Miss O at the middle school.  It was fun to be able to eat outside with her and her friends.  She is a good girl.

Friday:  I am thankful I have a home, a roof over my head, A/C in the summer, heat in the winter, indoor plumbing, a warm bed, and a kitchen so when I want to cook and make a mess I can. 

Saturday:  I am thankful for friends.  I went to a craft fair about an hour way with friends today and had a wonderful time.  I am thankful I live in a country where I can go wherever I want whenever I want with whomever I choose.  I am thankful for my free country, my liberties, and I am especially grateful for the men and women (and their families) who serve each day in harm's way to keep it that way for me and my family. 

May we realize how blessed we are and be more grateful!  Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Our favortie Pumpkin recipes

Making a huge mess in my kitchen today.  I wanted to get some baking done before next week when cooking and baking are not optional activities.  About once a month I like to make big batches of pancakes, waffles, and muffins to put in the freezer for breakfasts during the weekdays because with getting 4 kids and a husband out the door on time, there is not a lot of time for breakfast.  It is so nice and easy to grab a pancake, waffle, or muffin out of the freezer and quickly heat it up.  What would we ever do without microwaves??  Anyone, some of our favorite breakfast foods have pumpkin in them.

Oh my.  Pumpkin.  Love it!  Love pumpkin pies, cake, bread, pumpkin pie blizzards, ice cream, waffles, pancakes, etc.  So, obviously I am a big pumpkin fan.  I love the following recipes because when I open up a big can of pumpkin (the 29 oz) I can make a double batch of chocolate chip muffins, a double batch of pancakes and one batch of waffles with no pumpkin left over.  That is nice.  Having little bits of leftovers in my fridge is just a recipe for being thrown out in a week, so I like no left overs.

So here we have pumpkin waffles, pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I have had these recipes for years.  My mom sent me the waffle one in college even though I had no waffle iron to make them until I was married.  My pancake one came from a Family Fun magazine years ago, and the muffin one I found somewhere also years ago.  They all freeze really well as I mentioned before.  Enjoy!  We hope your family likes them as much as our family!!!

Pumpkin Waffles

2 cups flour (the recipe specifically says don't use whole wheat flour, why? don't know)
2 tes baking powder
1/4 tes cinnamon
1/4 tes ground ginger
1/4 tes nutmeg
1/2 tes salt
1 Tbl sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups milk
3/4 cup canned mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup oil

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and sugar.
In another bowl mix the eggs, milk, pumpkin and cooking oil.  Combine the egg mix with the flour and mix well.  Cook in a hot waffle iron.  Yum!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned mashed pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour (I use half whole wheat, half white)
3/4 tes baking powder
1/2 tes baking soda
1/4 tes ground cloves
1/2 tes cinnamon
1/4 tes salt
1/4 tes ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I always use mini because I make them mini-muffins)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease muffin pan with Pam or paper liners. 
Mix sugar, oil, eggs.  Add pumpkin and water and mix well.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt.  Add wet mix to dry, mix well, and stir in chocolate chips. 

Fill muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular sized muffins, 11-13 minutes for mini-muffins.

Pumpkin Pancakes
2 cups flour (I use half whole wheat, half white)
2 Tbl packed brown sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
1 1/4 tes pumpkin pie spice
1 tes salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
2 Tbl oil

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl.  Next, combine milk, pumpkin, egg and oil in a medium bowl mixing well.  Add the wet ingredients to dry and stir just until moistened.  The batter will be lumpy and if you prefer a thinner batter, add more milk.  Pour batter using 1/4 cup onto hot griddle.  Turn when bubbles being to burst.  Turn and cook on other side until done. 

Happy Pumpkin cooking!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 43

Sunday:  This was actually from Sunday a few weeks ago, but the picture got "lost" somewhere between the computer and camera.  Does that every happen to you?  Anyway, once a year the kids in our church do the program at church.  The kids sing, do all the talks, and it is always a highlight for everyone.  It is the Primary Sacrament Meeting program.  This was Miss O's last year, and she wasn't too excited about doing it.  She wishes she didn't have to do it at all :)  Miss E and Mr J had no problem, though, and they all 3 did a good job.  
Monday:  Miss E and Mr J wanted to play Candy Land, but, believe it or not, we didn't have the game.  I must have gotten rid of it accidentally several years ago :), but that didn't detour them.  They just made their own game board and cards.  It is really cute.  We played it tonight. 

Tuesday:  We were singing some songs and Mr J and Miss E decided they wanted to play the drums along with us while we sang.  The kids made these drums at a workshop several years ago, and we have used them a lot over the years. 
Wednesday:  Working on my Countdown to Christmas stuff, and today I started on getting our Christmas letters done.  Doing a little bit at a time each week gets them done easily, and my hands don't hurt from all that writing at one time :) 
Thursday:  We have some really good friends that moved here a year ago from Mexico.  She makes the most delicious food, and we have been over several times to eat it.  One of the best things she makes is black beans, and so today I went over, and she taught me how to make her black beans.  So yum!  Mine don't taste quite as good as hers, but I am learning. 
Friday:  Took a picture of a receipt from today.  Won't see this date again in my lifetime :)

Saturday:  We went to the city today and got to go to Trader's Joe's with a friend and her family.  We had 8 kids between the two of us ages 2 to 13.  It was kind of crazy!  But the store was cool, and we got some yummy stuff.  Know I know what everyone is talking about when they say Trader Joe's!  Can't wait to go back!

Hope you all have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Remember your blessings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 42

Slowly getting caught up.  Made it through Halloween parties and dances and projects.  Looking forward to a slower (hopefully) November.  Here is last week's pictures.

Sunday:  The results of our pumpkin carving party.  From left to right Mr J's, Miss A's Miss E (she decided to do a face on both sides?) and Miss O's (which also has faces on both sides)

Monday:  Happy Halloween!  Miss E is a detective,  Miss A a Hawaiian girl, Mr J Darth Vader, and Miss O is Amelia Earhart.  Miss A only went to one house dressed up, then she decided a 13 year old didn't need to go trick-or-treating---sigh, she could have at least gone and given her candy to her dad and me.  Kids grow up too fast.

Tuesday:  I was the elementary school secretary today.  It was kind of fun except for the girl that threw up and the boy who got a goose egg bump on his head and 2 kids with fevers and the phone that rang 100 times.  I was very happy to go home to my quiet house with only 4 kids instead of a school of 200.  I have so much more respect for the school secretary now, and I hope she never gets sick or has to be gone again!

Wednesday:  This is our "before" picture of our trees.

Thursday:  This is the sad "after."  When I brought the kids home from school and Mr J saw it he just cried and cried.  I held him while he cried for a while and then he got up and went in the front yard and walked around where the trees were and started crying again.  Made my heart just ache.

Friday:  But when life gives you lemons, made lemonade, so the kids made a tree fort in the front yard from the wood, and they have enjoyed it--Mr J doesn't cry every time he sees the front yard now.  They will get to keep the tree fort for a few weeks until they come back to split the wood and stack it in the back.

Saturday:  One of the kids took this picture of Ben.  It is always interesting to see the pictures on the camera that I didn't take :)  I think he was sorting cards for a game to play tonight.

Hope you all had a fun Halloween and that you have a great week!

Blue Jeans Week 41

Yeah!  Our computer is fixed.  Our house is whole again :)  Sad how dependent we are upon technology, huh?  So I am catching up--these are from our week of Oct 23-Oct 29.  Enjoy!

Sunday:  This is detective E.  It was for part of her Halloween costume, and she needed a picture for her wallet with her badge.  She looks pretty authentic to me.

Monday:  Had some friends over for a make-your-own pizza party. Yum!  For an adult pizza :)  (my kids wouldn't touch it) my friend used the Philadelphia Cooking Creme Italian cheese and herb for the sauce, then put bacon pieces, sauteed mushrooms and cheese on it--divine! 

Tuesday:  A Halloween tradition at our house--decorating pumpkin shaped sugar cookies.  Mr J does a good job with those sprinkles, but when he is done there are more sprinkles than cookie :)  When mine is done there is more frosting than cookie--to each their own :)

Wednesday:  Our church had a fun Halloween activity night for the kids.  They had some carnival type games, and one of them was a "Chicken fling."  That was so awesome!  The kids loved it!  Here Mr J (aka Dragon) gets read to fling his rubber chicken--too much fun! 

Thursday:  I had lunch with Miss E today at school.  It was crazy hat/twin day, so she and her friends wore these awesome matching viking hats :)  We enjoyed chicken and noodles for school lunch--yum!

Friday:  Awards assembly at school for 1st nine weeks.  Miss E got all A's and Mr J got the STAR award which is the top award in 1st grade!  Way to go!!

Saturday:  Ben and Mr J work on carving his Halloween pumpkin.  My sister and brother-in-law were in town and came to help us carve.  Lots of fun!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Our computer crashed late last week.  Right after my last blog post, I think.  Having a guy come look at it tonight, and praying he can fix it.  It is amazing how much you rely on, count on, and use your computer.  You take it for granted, but then it is sort of nice in a way--we don't have that distraction, no fighting over the computer--no need to waste time :)  but I think we will be glad when it is fixed.  I can't make it to the library too often to check e-mail or blog, so if you e-mail me and get no response, you know why.  So pictures and more updates hopefully later in the week when the computer is fixed :)