Monday, December 29, 2014

Hot Chocolate Party

Amidst the constant chaos of raising children of multiple ages, I find it is necessary to take time to create intentional memories. Nothing expensive in most cases since simple is almost always best. Things that you can easily recreate year after year no matter what your circumstances or budget demands happen to be.
One of these intentional memories in recent years has been what I have come to call our yearly hot chocolate party. Yes, the kids get hot chocolate fairly regularly in the winter around here. In fact, I think I have a few kids who only go outside to play in the snow because they are hoping for hot chocolate when they come back in. 5 minutes later.  Sigh. But once or twice during the winter I try to add something a little special to it. Whipped cream, sprinkles, something. And just pull it all out for no reason. Just because is often the best reason out there.
This year we had whipped cream and marshmallow topped peppermint sticks. And 9 happy kids. And the hope that just maybe my older kids and my younger kids will grow up with common memories to bond them together over the years.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Meal Plan

M: eggs (b), bbq chicken, salad (d)
T: oatmeal (b), broccoli beef (d)
W: yogurt and granola (b), family NYE party (d)
T: cereal (b), chili (d)
F: eggs (b), ground pork and apple sliders (d)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Random Christmas Decorations

We keep decorations fairly low key around here. Even more so the past few years because I just don't have it in me to do much else. But here's what we have hanging around the house this year.
 This is probably the best Christmas gift we received the first year we were married. A nativity scene made by my Grandmother. For the past few years I couldn't find a place to set it up but a few of the kids got it down this year and found a safe place to set it up away from prying hands.  I used to always have a child friendly set out each year as well but parts have gone missing to those and this is one set I just don't want to get broken.
 The kids decided the stockings needed to be hung up this year. Admittedly, I am not happy about this one because she who is responsible for filling the stockings was planning on not filling them this year because, well, there are budgetary issues and I'm tired of the junk that usually fills them and then gets tossed a few days later. Seriously, why do we do that? Buy cheap stuff only to have it end up in the garbage a few days later? Sigh. But the kids wanted them up so they are up.  Maybe they won't eat all the fruit today and I can stash an orange in them or something.
Our friendly kitchen snowman. A new addition this year but something I saw on-line and decided it was just too cute and easy not to attempt.
This is an awesome Christmas poster I ordered from Illuminated Ink. I seriously love that store. The kids are enjoying coloring this door sized poster in a bit at a time.  The first day it went up, there was a small cry fest as someone else colored Mary in before Ellie got a chance to and she was a wee bit miffed.
 The lights on our pre-lit tree died while in storage so while digging for new ones to put on the tree, they found some actual working outdoor lights and hung them up outside.
Right now the kids are downstairs making a few ornaments for when we decorate the tree tonight.
 Ok, just some of the kids. Today we are having an all day movie fest so some kids are vegging in front of the tv. And, yes, I am totally ok with that.
 These ornaments came from two no glue needed kits I found at Target a few days ago. Already on clearance and perfect for keeping the younger ones busy.

 These five were in a Christmas play at church. Ok, the guy running it desperately asked me to let the kids participate. I said we just couldn't afford the tickets when you did the math (yes, they charged for it as a breakfast fund raiser type thing, don't ask). So he said I'll give you a really great family deal because we really needs kids to participate, and, well, you have a lot of kids. They made up  half the cast. Seriously.
 Ellie made it through rehearsals and then decided she'd had enough and just was not up to playing the sheep part during the play even if she did get to do it with Robert.
 And, of course, St. Nicholas came to visit. I have so many kids that their shoes don't all fit in one picture. And, yes, the kids dug out shoes for Seamus for some reason. Just please ignore the mess by the pellet stove because, well, I was not in the mood to clean it all out before taking the pictures.
Here's hoping your Advent has been a fruitful one.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Meal Plan

M: oatmeal (B), creamy salsa chicken (D)
T: pumpkin bread, fruit (B), beef teriyaki over rice (D)
W: breakfast bowls, fruit (B), Boy Scout Christmas Party-we are bringing rolls (D)
T: breakfast sandwiches (B), spicy chicken soup, cheddar muffins (D)
F: yogurt, granola (B), karate Christmas party-we are bring chips/dip (D)

Gabe's First Communion

Our parish gave the opportunity to have First Communion in December this year as well as May and I jumped at the chance. Something told me it would be a much smaller, more intimate experience this way. After doing everything from just 1 kid alone due to schedule issues to small groups of kids to medium groups to one year with every kid in a large parish (total chaos), I knew that for our family the smaller celebrations are much better.

Gabe was joined by 3 other kids, including one of his close friends. Our new priest did a great job of relating to the kids (seriously, he's awesome at explaining things to the kids) and we took the opportunity to get a few new pictures of the whole gang.

Congratulations Gabe.

Cookie Party

We hosted a cookie decorating party on Wednesday. This is a simple tradition we started the year Isabel died in an effort to start giving the kids something normal in their lives and something to look forward to it. Since then, the kids really look forward to it. If not for a reason to invite friends over during this often hectic season, then for an excuse to eat tons sugar.

This year most folks were not able to join us due to schedule conflicts and weather issues but we still had a blast.

The party was a bit too much excitement for Seamus but everyone else had a blast.

Happy Birthday Kieran!

We now officially have 3 teenagers in the house. Exciting times watching these boys grow into young, responsible men.
This post is a bit late since Kieran was sick on his actual birthday and that kind of set me off schedule a bit. But I think he had a good time and later this month he will be going to see the new Hobbit movie with his Dad. Still deciding if he wants time alone of it he'll bring along a few siblings.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Advent Candles

The favorite Advent activity has finally been completed. Just a few days late but that seems to be the way things work around here lately. The candles have been made.
I love this kit by Illuminated Ink. It comes with easy to follow instructions, prayer sheets, and everything you need to make 4 beeswax candles.  They can be a little hard to make if you are working in a cold room but thankfully things have stayed a warmer so far this year so the dining room had not yet reached it's normal frozen winter state.

We had some candles left from last year so we only made one new set this year.
They look great and we will hopefully remember to light them every day this year. Yup, some years work out better than others on that score.

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Ellie turned 4 yesterday. It is very hard to believe she is getting quite that big. We spent the morning at Chuck E Cheese with her and celebrated with a Frozen cake that evening.

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Meal Plan

We have 2 birthdays this week and a busy schedule. Dishwasher repair scheduled and fireplace repair scheduled this week as well.  This will keep us hopping so hopefully we will be successful in sticking to the meal plan.

M: eggs (B), pulled pork (D)
T: monkey bread (B), hot dogs for Ellie's birthday (D)
W: pumpkin baked oatmeal (B), cabbage casserole (D)
T: yogurt (B), chicken and dumpling soup (D)
F: breakfast pizza (B), Kieran's choice for his birthday (D)

Been Busy

I've been gone for the past few weeks just busy keeping up with life. Halloween came and went with Seamus spending time in the hospital. So while the two of us were hanging out doing not much of anything, the kids dressed up at home and watched movies at home with Dad.
On Veteran's Day, we attended a flag pole dedication ceremony for a Boy Scout Eagle project.

Robert started karate lessons recently. He's in the Pee Wee level classes so he only attends class once a week and they focus mostly games and such. He's loving it.
Seamus is growing a bit and is loved by everyone. Poor kid really does not like formula at all but with all the medical intervention my milk supply has plummeted. It's quite annoying honestly since he loves breastmilk but I can't keep up with his needs. Hoping to find a way to improve this situation soon. Seamus not only does not care for the formula too much, it is making him miserable. Quite annoying all around.

Fall Pictures