Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Katie's Cupcakes

One of Katie's Christmas presents was a cupcake making kit. It came with the mix, frosting, sprinkles, a 6 cupcake pan and a wooden spoon. Being a child in a growing family, Katie's first comment when she saw the cupcake pan was "Where is the rest of it? It's too small." She has decided that the cupcake pan and wooden spoon make a perfect addition to her kitchen in the playroom because they are surely too small for real kitchen use.Katie decided it was ok if her buddy Liam helped her with the cupcakes.
And here is the finished product. Perfect for dessert tonight.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Dishwasher

Alan installed the new dishwasher today. Fun times had by all. Turns out that the shut off valve for the water line running to the dishwasher is hidden behind the ceiling in the basement bedroom now so we had to shut off the water to the entire house instead. And when you think the water is shut off but it's not really, well, the kitchen ends up covered in quite a bit of super hot water because the dishwasher is hooked up to hot water. And there has to be something about Hitchings' men and instruction manuals. Some of you may know what I am alluding to. Sneaky instruction manuals always seem to cause problems for us. But it is installed and running super quietly now. I am happy and thankful that Alan was able to install it himself.

Monday, December 29, 2008


So who is the patron saint for such requests as "please, please, please don't let all of the major appliances in the house break down at once." The dishwasher is no longer washing dishes. Apparently most dishwashers on the market today are not built to withstand the use they get in a large family. You are only supposed to use them on average 5 times a week. Well, around here that would get us part way through Wednesday maybe. Ours runs at least twice a day since we are all always home and we cook/bake almost everything ourselves. Which means lots of dishes. And the old dishwasher was only 2 years old.

The washing machine has been making very sad and scary noises over the past few weeks/months. Now it is sometimes not spinning when it should. Just hoping it does not die soon. And please don't die with a load of diapers inside.

Just a tad sad, the appliances that are working fine are not quite big enough anymore to meet our current needs and the ones that are dying, well, we need. The Kitchen Aid mixer is sometimes having trouble keeping up with us (guess when we upgrade, we'll buy a commercial grade model), the griddle is getting too small for us and is starting to not heat evenly anymore, the popcorn popper lost it's top somewhere so you can still use it if you like to see popcorn flying all over the kitchen.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Alan!

We decided to celebrate Alan's birthday a few days late this year since we had way too many cakes and pies and assorted cookies and candy laying around from Christmas. So we celebrated today.His favorite pistachio cake. Can you see how green it is? Apparently there is an actual recipe that you are supposed to use to make a different version of this treat but the first year he told me he wanted a pistachio cake, I couldn't imagine there would be a recipe and made up one of my own. He was very nice and did not tell me "That's not how my Mother used to make it" so we've continued to make my version each year because it is much easier than the recipe that I have now actually seen.

If You are Waiting. . .

. . . for the pictures from Christmas, well, there won't be any. We have adopted the idea that it is much, much more fun for everyone involved to experience things with the kids by actually being in the action rather than standing/sitting behind a camera. So we may have fewer pictures but can remember the day that much better. Besides, in 3 years when you pull out all the staged pictures of a kid holding up yet another present, are you really going to remember who it was from or if the child enjoyed playing with it? And while you were staging that picture, you missed out on seeing the one-year-old light up at the sight of something new.

The Best Part of Making a Cake

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! We woke up to find baby Jesus in the manger. Can you see who is missing from this picture?
The Wisemen are just now starting their journey from the East to find their King. We are expecting them to arrive on Epiphany.

It's Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve around here means getting the creche ready for baby Jesus.
Decorating Christmas cookies.Opening up new pajamas for everyone.
These two can expect to wear their new pj's for two years.
And decorating the Christmas tree.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Least Favorite Christmas Present

Hidden somewhere in a box in our bedroom is a wrapped present for one of the children. I have no clue what this contraption is but it has an alarm on it that is set to go off at 12:30 every night. Yup, talk about fun. Thankfully it is a somewhat short lived alarm and stops its' racket shortly after waking you up. Otherwise said box would have been flung out a window by now.

Let it Snow - part 2

Hello all. This is Alan. I could not resist taking more pictures of the snow. If you didn't already know, I love winter. I don't even mind that I could not get the snow blower started and I had to shovel the drive way three times. I really love the snow. And we have had a lot of it. Liam found a drift that was well over his head and managed to get stuck. Dad to the rescue. Enough talk more pictures.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Loved This One, Too.

Let It Snow

It's been snowing for a few days now. Looks rather pretty. Sadly the snowblower seems to be on the fritz but Bryan and Sean are much better at shoveling than they were when we first moved here so the guys are managing to keep the driveway clear.

Cute Video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

More Sweaters

Look What Grandma Sent

Not the adorable tyke, the sweater he is wearing. And I would like to point out that this kid has been a gigantic sick grump for the past few days doing nothing other than laying around until Dad put the sweater on him and I picked up the camera. Then we suddenly get an animated child and a big smile. I think he approves of Grandma's hard work.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pick-Up Sticks

Do you remember playing this game? I used to love it and now my kids seem to love it as well. I picked up an all wood version the last time we visited the Genesee Country Village. It is supposed to be an authentic version from the 1900's so some of the sticks are round, some are square and there is one black stick that is worth more points. The older 3 boys took to the game right away and now they are trying to teach it to the younger kids. Always interesting to see how that works out. I'm not sure Abby has quite figured the game out yet but she loves getting into the circle and doing whatever the other kids are doing.
I love these sorts of games. No batteries, no flashing lights, no noises other than from the kids. It's amazing how long something so simple can keep the kids occupied. And did I mention no batteries? So nothing to run out and have to be replaced when you don't have any left in the house. Simple keeps me happy.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Kind of a busy today but we did get some chocolate covered pretzels made. Lessons learned this year are to buy smaller pretzels and a bit more chocolate next year.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gabe Loves His Dinner

Gabe really likes taco soup. He tends to take dinner rather seriously.
See, he can't stand to let even one little bit of his dinner go uneaten. Seriously, his whole head fits inside that bowl.


Would someone please tell me why I found pine cones and pine branches in a drawer in the bathroom today? This one baffles me since I can think of at least a dozen other places where such treasures could have been stashed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snack Time

We are in that season of cookies and fudge and candy and sugar highs. I'm doing my best to make sure that the children are involved as much as possible in the making of such treats around here. It's much more fun for them when they get to do all or most of the work. A bit more mess but life with kids is life with a mess. Let them help make the mess, then have them help clean it up.Today we made a super easy treat for snack time. All you need is square shaped pretzels, an ample supply of Hershey's Hugs or Kisses (or a similar sized chocolate would work) and M&M's.
Put a Hug or Kiss on the top of each pretzel. We used candy cane flavored Kisses and regular flavored Hugs but this time of year you can find all sorts of different flavors out there. Then pop them in the oven at 250 degrees for about 3 to 4 minutes.
When they come out, put an M&M on the top of each one. Let them sit a bit to harden again.
End result is pure chocolate overload. And a bunch of kids who are very happy to have done it all themselves.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Yes, I know the feast day was on Friday but we are still working on a few of our projects around here. The children watched the CCC movie about Juan Diego and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Friday and colored a wonderful picture I found here. I had plans to make a bit of a Mexican themed meal for dinner but sickness derailed that plan. Maybe next year.The older boys colored the scenes for this wonderful book from Illuminated Ink and Alan helped me with all the cutting so we could put it together. I'm already looking forward to working on the similar project from Illuminated Ink for Holy Week. I know I've said it before but it's so much more fun to learn about your faith when it becomes hands-on. Everyone in our home is enjoying learning more about the Catholic faith and traditions that have sadly fallen by the wayside in recent years as we attempt to celebrate more feast days during the liturgical year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Gingerbread Men

I've been feeling rather unmotivated the past few weeks so I was really hoping to find something quick, easy and fun for the kids to do. Today they decorated gingerbread men. Sadly, this activity did not take up as much time as I was hoping but they enjoyed it anyway and I think for the most part kept the mess to a minimum. Nothing high on the artistic scale , just high on the fun scale .

Bowling is Over

The bowling session is over. The kids all ended up with a small trophy and a pizza party. Katie even made the high score list for bumper bowlers.

Christmas Play Pictures

We don't have any pictures of the actual play since they were all blurry. Tends to happen when you are sitting way in back. But the play went rather well and the kids loaded up on cookies and punch and came home totally wired. Most importantly, no more practices to deal with.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Been Away

One small child plus one large glass of lemonade vs one computer keyboard. End result is just not good. That's all I can say. Will be back later with more once Alan brings home a keyboard that will work with my computer. The negative to switching to a MAC is that all the spare parts he has stored in the basement are for PC's.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What You Don't Want to Hear From the Kitchen

"Dad, you are on fire."

But everything was dealt with rapidly and the kids learned a wee bit of kitchen safety.

**** Alan says this needs a bit of an explanation. He was making popcorn on the stove and wearing a super old sweater that has sleeves that are beginning to fray. One of the sleeves caught on fire. Nothing major other than a reminder of why you do not cook while wearing certain attire.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering. . .

. . .this blog was never intended to be just about my kids. It was meant to be about me, my life, my opinions, my feelings, my thoughts. This is not simply a place to showcase pictures of the kids. Sorry to the folks who thought that was what they were getting when they started reading. Yes, you will see my opinions on matters. Perhaps even thoughts on where my opinions came from. I am a person with a life outside of my children. And when my children grow up, they will be people with lives of their own, too. I'm not attempting to raise little carbon copies of myself or my husband (even though in some cases the physical resemblance is almost freakish) nor am I hoping to raise children to simply be a showcase to make our family look good. They are people, too. Real people going through life learning and living, with faults and gifts of their own. They were given to me by God not so they could make me look good to others, but so that in raising them and teaching them, I will be given the chance to grow myself. Like I said, it was never meant to be just about the kids. If that is what you are looking for, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas Came for a Visit

The kids woke up this morning to find their boots and shoes filled with chocolate. The older child was sleeping in so he's not in the pictures but I promise he was there.