Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cookies, cookies, and more cookies..

A couple days before Christmas, for the 3rd year in a row, we joined forces with some good friends to make cookies. Thankfully, each year we two moms seems to get a little more organized and we are enjoying the time as much as the kids.
For stage 1 we work in shifts. It works well to let a couple of kids cut their cookies at a time and then have them go off and play while they are baking and cooling. We started off with the younger boys as they have a harder time waiting. James joined in with them so he could take over the camera (He took a lot of pictures and did a great job).

Then came the girls.

Stage 2 While the cookies where cooling, the children watched "Horton Hears a Who" and we moms took a small break prior to making some oreos truffles. My thanks to you, Meredith! The wine was very good and it went so well with those oreo truffles (not that we ate very many, but, as all good cooks know... you have to at least sample the goods as you go)

Now came stage 3 The Frosting!

For this part of the day we have all the kids sit around the table and go at it! Every year I am amazed at how well they work together and take turns. And they are such a creative bunch. It is so much fun to watch them.

Stage 4 is the attempt at a group photo.

As you can see.... the kids are pretty spent after the day. What you don't see is: so are the moms. But, with results like this it's all worth it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finger paint

I had a request for the finger paint recipe. I'll give you two. The first one is REAL simple and the one we used yesterday. It's not as nice, but, it is quick to make and just as fun.

2 cups water
2 cups white flour

Mix well, divide out and add food coloring.

The next one is a little more involed.
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cold water
food coloring

Mix everything except the food coloring into a pan and cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes, stirring continuously until thick. Allow to cool, divide out and add food coloring.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Blizzard fun

When the weather outside is described with words like "blizzard conditions", it seems prudent to hunker down and find something fun to indoors. So, I decided to make a simple homemade fingerpaint. The colors aren't the greatest. I seem to be out of food coloring so I had to improvise with some paint from bingo paint daubers.... hey, whatever works, right? And the kids sure didn't mind. Magdalene, Lawrence and I had lots of fun. Yes, I got into too. I had to keep washing my hands so I could snap a few photos.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Advent thoughts

I have been doing a lot of praying as I try to refocus our advent season and prepare us for our first Christmas without Paul. We have had some hard days and we have really pared down some of our traditions to keep things simple. Unfortounatly, last week found us all sharing a flu bug. It did; however, allow me the chance to do a little devotional reading as I cuddled with the younger two. I found a great book by Joseph Ratzinger (now our current Pope Benedict XVI) called The Blessing Of Christmas. I'd like to share with you a few words that have touched me deeply this advent.
"I am obliged to be still. I am obliged to wait. I am obliged to reflect on myself: I am obliged to bear being alone. I am obliged to bear pain, and I am obliged to accept the burden of my own self. All this is hard. But may it not be the case that God is waiting for me in this stillness? May it not be the case that he is doing here what Jesus says in the parable of the vine: "Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." (John 15:2) If I learn to accept myself in these days of stillness, if I accept the pain, because the Lord is using it to purify me - does this not make me richer that if I had earned a lot of money? Has not something happened to me that is more durable and fruitful than all those things that can be counted and calculated? A visit by the Lord can present itself in a new light when we see it as part of Advent. For when we rebel against it, this is not only because it is painful or because it is hard to be still and alone: we rebel against it because it seems so meaningless. But it is not in the least meaningless! In the structure of human life as a whole, it is profoundly meaningful. It can be a moment in our life that belongs to God, a time when we are open to him and thus learn to rediscover our own selves."

I know I'll still have difficult days to face ahead and I still have a long way to go on this journey of grief; but, these words do bring peace. As the book goes on to say:
"He [Christ] is already present in a hidden manner.... Every moment has its value, even if all I can do is to endure in silence. If God exsists, then there is always something to hope for, even where no human voice can any longer summen me to hope..... Ultimately, all this finds its unity in the joy that God has become a child who encourages us to trust as children trust."

I am learning to trust!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our last few days....

And what a crazy few days it has been. Let's back up to Thursday evening. Tha kids and I spent the time decorating small christmas trees to sell Friday at our home school group craft and bake sale. They were a hit... we sold out. Myriah and Madison each had other items they made on their own (jewelery, sacrifice beads, scarves...) They did pretty well themselves as well.

Then we went to the Holidazzle Parade that evening with some friends of ours. Even with the snow coming down and the cold temps of the night, we had fun. The kids did talk me into going inside and watching the tail end from the skyway.

Saturday was the Feast of St. Nicholas. We put out our stockings on the eve of Dec. 6th and in the past we have always gone to a tree farm to cut down our tree. This year we still hung our stockings, but, since I am allergic to pine trees, we figured this year we should go artificial. In the aftrenoon we headed to the indoor "Target Tree Farm" and searched for our tree. (Yes... we did get a few odd looks from others shopping that day, as we posed for our pictures. But, it just wouldn't be St. Nick's day without pictures of us getting our tree.)

This is where our fun took a drastic turn. After finishing our shopping, we put everyone in the van and low and behold.... Lawrence got sick. I headed back into the store to purchase paper towels, disenfectant wipes, air freshener, and some liquid cleaner. We cleaned everything up as best we could, and headed home. Once home, Lawrence was put in the tub and I started the laundry load from the van and cleaned the car seat. Even with him spending the rest of the day with his head frequently in a bucket, we managed to get the tree up. We went much smaller than we normally do, so the tree fit nicely in the bay window.

Sunday was then spent at home with sick children. Unfortunately, it was also Magdalene's birthday. We had been invited to her Godparent's home for dinner and cake; but, plans had to be altered. Thankfully her Godmother still made the cake and delivered it to us in the afternoon. Even with the disappointment of no special dinner (we had oatmeal.. had to keep it bland for those tummies) and not being able to go to her Godparent's, Magdalene still wore a smile all day. I am so proud of her. We opened gifts and a few of us even had a little bit cake.

Magdalene... you are truly one special kid! You have such a warm and gentle heart. May God bless this next year of your life. We love you!

Last night another one of the kids took over use of the bucket. I was up a few times through the night with her. Today I have gotten some more of the "sick" laundry through the wash, cuddled on the couch, tried to clean up the kitchen, and tended to a couple still sick kiddoes. Hopefully it will pass through them quickly!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Some fun....

This is the lego tower my 5 year old and I made the other day. It is actually wedged between the floor and the ceiling and standing without anything bracing it. It remained standing for quite awhile that afternoon until my 15 year old (who shall remain nameless :) knocked it over by accident. Lawrence was pretty proud of the accomplishment and the other kids were amazed.


I have 2 new nieces! The adoption is final and they are forever more a part of the family. And what a blessing they are!

My brother-in-law, his wife, and the two girls awaiting the big moment!

The gang that gathered to welcome the girls to the family!

The first "FAMILY" photo!

Congratulations!!! Thank you for letting us share your special day. No matter how God chooses to do it, the creation of a family is such a beautiful thing. Welcome to the family girls... we love you!