December 27, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I know I'm a little late posting this but Merry Christmas to you all!  We have had a wonderful couple of days and Ken is off until after the New Year.  We've enjoyed being with family celebrating the birth of Jesus and our first big snow.  We hope you all are blessed this Christmas season!

December 20, 2012

Holiday Baking.

I love baking for Christmas and New Years.  I love baking gifts to give to neighbors and friends.
Except maybe when I'm pregnant.

I do have all these wonderful helpers.  But lets be honest, they are also wonderful eaters.  And how could a Mama resist sharing some of the treats with her own sweeties?  Which means that a double batch quickly needs to be a quadruple batch.

All that is just par for the course with a big family, I think.  And it really isn't such a big deal to just make more.  But, here's the rub:  I'm a baking disaster when I'm pregnant.  I forget these things.  I spill and I drop and I forget what I was going to do next.
And then I get tired of standing.
So, I sit down and peruse Pinterest.
And burn whatever I was baking.
Really, this is just a laugh-at-myself moment.  I'm not complaining!  I just wonder if my time would be better spent snuggling on the couch with Peter instead of cleaning up my chaos! :)
However, if you managed to make it this far through this post--here is a recipe for you.  I found this on Pinterest, of course.  And it is yummy.

Getting started making the popcorn.
Cinnabun Popcorn
Original source was Our Best Bites, I think.
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels or around 1 1/2 bags of microwave popcorn for me)
1 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup karo syrup (or honey makes a good substitution)
1 stick real butter (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 squares almond bark (about 4 oz)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
Place popcorn and chopped pecans in a large bowl and set aside. Use a bigger bowl than you think you need.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a 2 liter capacity microwave safe bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into chunks and place on top of sugar mixture. Pour corn syrup over the top of everything. Microwave on high for 30 seconds and then stir to combine. Return to microwave and heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir and then microwave for 2 minutes more. *If you microwave it too much your popcorn will turn out really hard.
Remove from microwave and add in vanilla and baking soda. Stir to combine. Mixture will foam and rise. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and pecans and stir very well so everything is well coated. Stir more than you think you need to.
Spread popcorn mixture onto a foil-lined jelly roll pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and spread out on a large piece of parchment, waxed paper, or foil.
Melt almond bark according to package instructions. Drizzle over popcorn mixture. When almond bark is hardened and popcorn is cool, break into chunks and enjoy!

My finished product!

December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday Ken!

Happy Birthday to my dear husband!
The big 3-8.  Seems like a big number to you this year!
You are the best husband and father a family could ask for!
We love you so much and hope you have a blessed year filled with joy and peace!

December 17, 2012

Second Week of Advent in review.

As much as I would love to not cram all my pictures into one post, it seems that is all I can manage these days!  Better to record the days in some way than not at all, I suppose!  We had a wonderful second week of Advent and wrapped up all of our activities for the year.
We started off the week with the puzzle from St. Nicholas.
I think Ken and I are having the most fun working on this in the evenings! 
We had our first flurry of snow.
Though short lived, it was fun, fun, fun.
Notice they have on no socks and no shoes!
We celebrated the Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe with tacos.
And we watched Juan Diego: Messenger of Guadeloupe.
We worked on our pyramid practice some more.
It looks pretty good but it really doesn't work because of the size differences. 
I like this one better.
Whew! No one can fall off and get hurt! :) 
We celebrated St. Lucia day with some cinnamon rolls.
From a can, thankyouverymuch.
Elizabeth was thrilled to be Eliza-Lucia for the morning. 
Funnily enough, we came home the same day to no power overnight.
So, we unexpectedly celebrated the Feast of the Saint of Light by candlelight.
It was cozy! 
Crafting has been at an all time high this week.
These kids can't get enough!
As we lit the third candle in the Advent Wreath this past Sunday, excitement has been at an all time high.
Exclamations of "Only one week until Christmas!" everywhere.
Truly, "Rejoice" is resonating over here and hopefully, is as well with you!

December 10, 2012

First week of Advent in review.

 We started the first Sunday in Advent with going and picking out our Christmas tree at our favorite tree farm.
The hayride is part of the thrill! (And the free hot chocolate and popcorn!) 
Jacob had first crack at the tree.  He did most of it himself.
The weather was a little rainy but a moderate temperature which made it a lot of fun to just be out tromping around in the fields.
Of course, one of the highlights of putting up the tree is getting the train going around it.
This was definately Peter's favorite part! 

Celebrating St. Nicholas day.
Traditionally, the kids get a book, matchbox car, candy and an ornament.
This year, I splurged and bought flannel sheets (we've never owned any!).
I found them for a great price and I'm hoping they will bring lots of cozy sleeping.  
The excitement of stockings bright and early in the morning.
Fuzzy eyed is pretty much how I felt after only 4 hours of sleep that morning!
But that doesn't dim the joy! :)
There has been a lot of book reading and block building and crafting this week.
A novena for the Immaculate Conception has added to our devotions during the day.
Of course, the Advent wreath and Jesse Tree have been helping to guide our devotions in the evening.
I love the sight of everyone gathered around the light of the Advent wreath listening to the readings and singing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
It is a wonderful time in the liturgical year and it goes way too fast!

Fall Wall.

A collection of art and poetry, all fall related.  I meant to post this right after Thanksgiving but alas, I didn't.  The kids enjoyed displaying some of their favorite pieces from their schoolwork.

November 20, 2012

Happy Birthday Nathan!

The big TWELVE!  Happy Birthday, my oldest son!  I can't believe that you are simply that old.  It is mind-boggling.  Only one more year until you are a teenager. (Sigh). 
I also can not believe how tall you are!  You make us proud with how much you've grown mentally and physically.  We have been amazed at how much you care for your littlest siblings, how many chapter books you've consumed this year, and how helpful you are with big chores.  We love you lots and are excited to watch you make the leap into young adulthood!

November 1, 2012


round button chicken

Liz and Nick spent the last days of August collecting anything they thought would be a chrysalis or cocoon.
This one hatched last week and they were so excited.
We've been keeping this pet alive with strawberry slices and wet napkins.
We figure there is no point in letting it go as it is too cold outside anyway and will just die.
So, we will enjoy it while it lives and put it in our "bug box" when it has died.
There is always a competition going on over here for Peter's affections.
(He is a lucky boy).
Today, Elizabeth was thrilled to have his snuggly love for the better part of an hour.
I think that since the older boys were busy with schoolwork, she benefited by being an available book companion.
Happy memories!
My dear husband thought it would be a good idea to make a human pyramid.
It isn't as easy as it looks.
Especially when the 3 year old thinks the best way to get on top is to make a running jump.
Everyone's expressions crack me up.
And yes, my husband is grimacing from pain!
One year olds have "real" work to do too!
Just like their big brothers!

Trick or Treat!

We had a great All Hallow's Eve celebrated with cousins and grandparents!  And thankfully, all treats and no tricks.  :)
Our little engineer and duck waiting to go.
The duck was not happy about his costume unless he had some candy in his hands! 
The group as we were heading out.
As usual, three jedis and a princess (Rapunzel) to accompany our duck and engineer.
Dad and Peter "faux" trick-or-treating.
Peter never went up to the door.
He really wasn't sure about all these strangely dressed people everywhere!
The weather was cold and wet anyway so after a short jaunt around the neighborhood Nicholas, Peter, and I were very happy to go be cozy next to the fireplace and visit while the bigger ones carried on the quest for more candy!


October 27, 2012

All My Saints.

From left to right: St. Joseph, St. Anthony, a cowboy, St. Lucy, and St. Francis.
We had our annual All Saints party at our homeschool co-op on Friday.
The kids were actually happy about it the smiles had just begun to fade!
This was the fifth picture and the only one where someone wasn't blurry from wiggling!
(St. Joseph didn't have his props, St. Anthony has some "lost" keys on his belt, and well, the cowboy just picked that! I didn't dress Peter up because mainly it would have been more effort for me to try and keep something on him for the whole day than it was worth!)

October 24, 2012

Love is...

a potted Maple given to you by your boys.
With "M" for Mom.

October 20, 2012

Baptismal Birthday.

Happy Baptismal Birthday, Patrick!
We loved renewing our baptismal vows with you!
And, you made your own dessert!
Yummy brownies!

Field trip to Connor Prairie.

We took another field trip this week (and can I say....I have nothing planned for next week and I'm really relieved!).  This time we made a bit of a trek to Connor Prairie Historical Park to meet up with some friends who were on their fall break from school.  I, of course, took way too many pictures to share here but I'm posting a few of my favorite.  In the collage above, I have some of the more scenic images from the park.
When I told my boys where we were going, they groaned.  They didn't think doing something "educational" sounded like much fun.  But, I will tell you, they had a blast.  We were there all of their open hours--10am to 5pm and we enjoyed every bit of it and didn't get to quite "do it all."

Most of the kids---Peter is hiding back there in the stroller, and our friends had two little ones also in a stroller, not in the picture.
Some of our little Indians in the Lenape village.
We had a lot of fun here and learned about the Delaware Indians. 
One of the thrills of the day was learning how to throw a tomahawk.
Nathan is just about to release his throw here. 
And here, if you look close, you can see what a great hit he had! 
Here is one of Patrick's throws, you can see the ax in mid-air.
It didn't stick, the butt end of the ax hit the wood, but he still managed to hit the mark.
It is harder than it looks! 
The other big thrill of the day was basket-making.
My kids have been trying to make baskets out of goldenrod (it doesn't work but still they try) so they were extra excited to have a finished basket.
Among the other exciting things we enjoyed a "party" at the Dr.'s house (refreshments and dancing included).  Completing tasks in Prairietown--half the kids worked to be a "cook" and the other half a "farmhand".  During which they got to set a table, wash dishes, and milk a cow.  We also dipped candles and watched some pewter jewelry being made.  All in all, it was quite the fun AND educational day.  Made all the better by getting to enjoy it with friends.

October 19, 2012

Fall Fun with the littles.

The "littles" and I had a fun fall walk the other day.  (The "littles" being the littlest half of my kids: Liz,  Nick, and Peter).  We set out to find some pretty leaves for a quick project and to enjoy the fresh air.  We were lucky to find lots of beauty and quite a few wildflowers still showing their pretty faces. 
Elizabeth was enraptured by the giant Sycamore leaves. 
The best thing about a walk with little ones is the way they are captivated by the smallest of details.
Here, Peter found a patch of moss and we spent at least five minutes trying to pet it, pluck it, and squash it.  All in the name of science, of course. 
Elizabeth found a bouncy branch and they all had to give wiggling it a try. 
Peter, too, of course. 
Elizabeth accumulated the most leaves for sure. 
Peter accumulated a frisbee and a shovel.
And gave me a funny, shruggy pose for the camera. 
Nicholas discovered a batch of hedgeapples.
Or monkey brains.
Or Osage Orange.
Call them what you want. 
Peter called them balls, found they were quite worthy of being thrown, and carried a supply back to the house.
After our walk, we enjoyed making the standard leaf rubbings.
They were most amazed that the rubbing "matched" their leaves exactly!
We also made leaf "suncatchers" with wax paper and Elizabeth took crafting to the next level by gluing all of her remaining leaves onto paper.