DPP 2008: 16

I bought a TUBE of sugar cookie dough and let the kids go to town.

Pete said that it was the best day of his life.

My job just got a whole lot easier!

December Photo Project '08

DPP 2008: 14

The Christmas Program went off without a hitch.

Thanks to everyone who helped me. Couldn’t have done it without you!

Pete loved being on stage. He did a great job. You know that kid that stands in the front row and sings obnoxiously loud? That was Pete. He knew those songs and he wanted everyone else to know it, too!

December Photo Project '08

DPP 2008: 13

Mike’s mom took us, his brothers, his brother’s wife, and the older two to a fancy dinner in Omaha and then to the Air Force Band concert at the Holland Center.

Dinner was so delicious (The Cheesecake Factory), and the concert was incredible. We had an excellent babysitter. I didn’t worry about Tess in the slightest. All in all, a great evening!

When Santa came in during “Zat You, Santa Claus”, he walked right by us and patted Elsie on the head. So, with a spotlight and all eyes on her, she scrunched up her nose and cocked her head to the side. Her eyes then got wide and her mouth gaped open at all of us. She was a riot.

Mrs. Claus invited all the children up on stage to listen to a story, and Elsie ran up there, found an elf, stole the elf’s candy cane and sat on her lap. Then Pete went up once his sister had blazed a trail. They sat on Santa’s lap afterwards and told him that they would be in Dallas for Christmas. He said that he knew where that was so he would be happy to drop off their presents there. Pete asked for Hot Wheels and Elsie for baby dolls – in case you have some last minute shopping to do! :o )

December Photo Project '08

Get out(to) Dodge

Two weekends ago we visited Mike’s Uncle Doug and Aunt Scherry in “the country”. We left bright and early in the morning and didn’t come home until late at night. We picked fruit off of fruit trees and vegetables out of the garden. We rode on of their 24 horses, visited a farm house that they purchased in foreclosure a few years back. I’m in love with that property, by the way. It’s 14 acres of the most beautiful land I’ve ever seen. It’s got 4 or 5 out buildings/barns, a large garden, a place where a Summer Kitchen once stood, a 2 stall garage, a creek, a miniature forest, it’s all fenced in and it has a 5 bedroom two story farm house to boot. I’m in LOVE, I tell you!

Here’s some pictures from our adventure. Enjoy!

Elsie was the first to ride. Nobody’s surprised, I’m sure.

Elsie like being up there but didn’t like that Daddy and Uncle Doug had to be there, too.

Pete was way less scared than I thought that he would be. He really liked being on the horse.

This is Pete asking Uncle Doug if Chester knew how to go fast. You can see a video of Chester going fast here.

Elsie was taking pictures just like Mommy.

Mike did a great job riding Chester.

Like Father, like Son…Mike had to go “fast”, too.

I look a bit like a Narnian warrior. I have on a Moby Wrap which Tess was in until I got on the horse. I decided it wasn’t best to ride a horse while having a baby strapped to you. I should get an award.

Pete at the end of the day.

And Elsie at the end of the day.

Let the Games Begin

It’s official…we are a home schooling family. This past Monday we started a very loose preschool program with Pete.

I have some workbooks that build on each other, 6 in all, that we got at the home school curriculum fair back in August. The first book is learning how to follow directions and take your time, then we’ll move on to cutting and pasting, left and right, opposites, big bigger biggest, etc. Pete had nothing but good things to say about it to Mike that evening at dinner.

We have school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons while the girls are sleeping. It works for our schedule. It take about 30 minutes or so, which is just right.

Mike hung our chalkboard and did a fantastic job.

Here are some pictures from our first day. Enjoy!

Photo Friday, July 25 edition

Here’s another round of Photo Friday!

The infamous Mine Piper.

My sweet Tess in the bathtub, the surefire way to calm her down. She splashes and “swims” all over the tub. Prepare to be soaked!

Tess is standing in her crib all the time now. I love the way she has her leg pointed out like a dancer. Follow this link to see a video of her standing in her crib.

Tess’s look is starting to be more of a toddler than a baby these days. She’s getting a bit of chubby on her, which means she’s getting ready to grow tall again. She’s saying, “Let me get this straight…” here. She is also signing “all done” and “bye-bye”. She waved to me, while standing in her crib, when I laid her down for her afternoon nap.

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We’ve been doing chores this week. I made up a chart for Peter and Elsie that has pictures down the left hand side and the days of the week across the top. Each chore that is completed gets a sticker, and each day with all chores completed gets a piece of candy – hershey’s kiss, licorice, etc.

Here’s a picture of what Elsie’s bed looks like after she’s made it. I think it’s a woman thing. She can make her bed so well!

I promise that I didn’t help her at all with it! She’s just good!

This Saturday evening, if Pete does the rest of his chores (teeth brushed, toys picked up, help set table for dinner) for the rest of the day and all of his chores tomorrow, then he gets $2. He is stoked. I’m not sure if we will give Elsie an allowance or not. Maybe 50 cents or so. She doesn’t have a concept of money yet.

It sure has been easier on me this week with them doing a lot of their own picking up. It’s also made me clean up better after myself. Pete asked me why there was stuff in the bottom of my closet…OUCH!

Elsie has been way less of a monster since Tuesday. No more bologna, thank goodness. I told her to show me her sweet smile.

Pete sometimes just looks at me like this, and it sort of freaks me out. It usually takes me a moment or two, but I finally realized the other day that this is him showing me that he has a happy heart, as evidenced through his smile. He’s such a good boy!

My Little Monster

Everyone who knows me knows that Elsie is just more than a handful.

This afternoon at lunch she hit a new low.

She was picking her nose, as usual, and I told her to stop, as usual, and she told me that she had to get the bologna out.

THE BOLOGNA. OUT OF HER NOSE.

I went and got the tweezers and it took me a good 3 minutes to get it all out. I probably gagged a good 3 times as well. When it finally came out,gradinita privata cluj it was 1 inch long. I flipped it off of the tweezers onto her plate where Elsie proceeded to eat it.

The bologna that was in her nose was now in her mouth.

Here’s a picture of our little monster. Her brother wrote her name on the chalkboard and she drew a picture of herself in the middle of her name.

Sweet Retreat

I love this time of day. About 1:30 in the afternoon.

I grab some reheated something, or maybe if I’m feeling feisty some Pizza Rolls and a Mountain Dew.

And I sit. I give myself the time that it takes me to eat my lunch to just sit.

I can blog (you know, now that I’m so cool and I have a blog)

I can read blogs

I read people.com (a guilty pleasure)

Really, I can do anything I want as long as it’s not work – like paying bills, researching a recipe.

I enjoy this time. Elsie is down. She’s been putting herself to bed for her nap recently. I have the kids wait until everybody is done eating before they get down from the table, so Elsie has taken the option of just going to bed several times. She heads to the potty, washes her hands and crawls into bed. Two hours later she comes bounding down the stairs saying something like, “Good morning, Mommy. Peez have gummies? Where Peeyer [Peter]?”

Tess goes down at the same time. Although she doesn’t put herself down quite yet, she really isn’t any trouble. The way we do things for Tess around here is when she first wakes up (morning, naps) she gets nursed. Then she plays around until the next meal is ready. She eats with the family, plays for a bit more and then goes down. I don’t rock her to sleep, though I do rock her and sing a sweet song and give her her blankie. Done. Off to Sleepy Town.

I let Pete watch a movie and drink a little bit of something sweet – juice, tea, Sprite – which is a real treat. He’s pretty easy going. He just doesn’t need a nap and it’s more trouble than it’s worth to make him lay down.

Then I sit. For a good 30 minutes. Then it’s back to the field.

Mexican Lasagna

On for tonight, Mexican Lasagna. I’ve been going through our pantry and freezer to see what’s lurking in there. Voila! Mexican Lasagna!

First, gather your ingredients:

    Mexican Lasagna

    • 1 lb. lasagna noodles (you’ll only need 1/2 of this box)
    • 2 lbs. ground beef (not pictured because, ew, gross! Who wants to see bloody defrosting meat?!)
    • Onion
    • 15-ish ounce can black beans, aka FRIJOLES NEGROS
    • 4 1/2 cups salsa – use mild, because cooking the salsa somehow makes it hotter
    • 8 oz. block cream cheese (because I like to make LOW FAT meals. Ha!)
    • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    • Salt
    • 1/4 t cumin

    Bring water to a boil for noodles and cook for 6 or 7 minutes, drain. Meanwhile, brown beef and onion, drain, return to skillet. Add cream cheese and mix until cream cheese is melted into the meat. Add cumin, more or less to taste. Drain black beans. Layer noodles, meat mixture, beans, 1/3 cheese and 1/3 salsa. Repeat twice. Bake for 30 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes for juices to absorb.

    Bring a good amount of salted water to a boil in your large stock pot. While your water is heating up, put your beef and your shopped onion in a skillet and brown. If your meat has been in the freezer for an unknown amount of time, you might want to get it extra brown. Yikes. Boil your lasagna noodles for 6 or 7 minutes. Too much longer and they will be hard to handle for layering purposes.

    Get some good help, if you can find it!


    Drain meat and onions, return to skillet. Add cream cheese and mix until cream cheese is melted into the meat. Add cumin, more or less to taste. It should look like this:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Add about 1/8 c oil to noodles, which prevents noodles from sticking together, then stir, drain and rinse. Set aside to cool.

    Drain black beans.

    Layer three-ish noodles, 1/3 of meat,

    1/3 of beans, 1/2 c cheese,

    and 1 1/2 cups of salsa.

    Repeat twice, throwing the rest of the cheddar cheese on, because at this point, will an extra cup of cheese really make that much of a difference?

    Bake for about 30 minutes in the preheated 350 degree oven. Do your (gulp) dishes from cooking. Have your kids clean off the table and freshen up for your husband’s arrival!

    Let lasagna sit for about 10 minutes to let the liquid absorb.

    DISCLAIMER: Do as I say, not as I do.

Fun at the Pool

Our next door neighbor had their daughter’s 4th birthday party at the Spray Grounds at Woods Park Pool this morning. The whole thing is fenced in and no more than 6 inches deep. Plus, it was 79 degrees on our way there at 10:15 on only 86 when we got done at noon. It was just so much fun!

This is Tess right after she got a big splash in the face. She crawled all over the pool!

Guess how many times the lifeguards told Pete to walk?

Elsie down the yellow slide.

This was really the first time Tess enjoyed being at the pool.

Pete down the yellow slide

Elsie “swimming”.

Tess with her goofy two-toothed grin.

Pete fighting with the sprinkler. He punches everything these days.

Elsie down the green slide.

Look at my strong man. This kid’s got some muscles.

Elsie’s shadow.

Pete’s ball that he had been playing with landed under the water bubble. If you know Pete at all you know that he just hates to get his face wet. Problem. But he did it! I was so proud.

Finally his little sister held her hand over the top of water so it stopped in a large enough area for Pete to get underneath.

End of the day. What a fun time. Plus, Mommy got a suntan.