Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"New" Lights

At one point these outside brass lights beckoned to us.

They seduced us with their beautiful shininess.

They should have come with warning labels.

We should have been informed that they would instantly loose their shine.

That bugs would be drawn to their beautiful luminance.

That it wouldn't take long for them to look dingy.

So, we decided to do something about that.

We took them down and were horrified and completely grossed out by the "bug debris".

Not yummy.

I have two sanders.

No, not the electric ones.

Mine are food operated kind.

Their names are Michael and Timothy.

They sanded each brassy part.

The pieces were all primed.

And then painted a beautiful oil rubbed bronze.

Now, when they are dirty, you won't be able to tell as fast.

At least, that is the plan.

I don't care if they are actually clean.

Just as long as they look that way.

And yes, that is siding.

On our house.

I know, I'm shocked too.

And so are the neighbors.

But don't pinch yourself just yet.

That is only a tiny bit of the house.

The rest is still naked.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


See all these empty dishes...

This is only about a third of my dishes.

The other stacks look just like these.


What happened?

The black hole that is my family's appetite happened, that's what.


Guess I know what I need to get busy doing again...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Old Lamp Turned Into Porch Decor

It all started with an idea.

I was hoping that it was a good one.

I bought some old brass lamps from GW for cheap.

Here is the smallest of the lot.

The runt.

And holy crap, my french doors are covered with crayon graffiti and fingerprints.


I knew that I would need something for the top so I picked up some drapery ends at Lowe's.

There were 2 in a pack and they were on clearance for $8.

I dismantled the lamp and threw the guts away.

I had picked up some Plaster of Paris to use as a weight.

I turned the base upside down and filled it up partway and then left it to dry overnight.

Because I was gluing metal parts together and they are nonporous, I needed a special kind of glue.

JB Weld is available in the automotive department of Walmart and costs less then $5.

Both tubes come in the package.

You mix together equal parts from both tubes and then spread the mixture on the surfaces that you want glued together.

It is some sticky stuff.

I glued all the parts back together and the drapery finial on top.

I left it to dry overnight.

The next day, I roughed it up with a bit o' sandpaper.

I then primed it with the cheap spray primer from Walmart.

I wanted it to look like it was made out of rock so I bought a can of American Accents Stone Spray paint.

There are other brands that are cheaper but they don't produce as chunky of paint as American Accents.

I used the Granite color but there are several other colors too.

I gave it a couple of different coats, several hours apart and then let it dry overnight.

Here is the finished product.

I have several other lamps, of various shapes and sizes that I'm working on.

Hopefully when I'm all done, my porch will actually look cute.

Until my toddlers are let loose outside, that is...
Lots of parties to link too-check them out for lots of inspiration!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Bestest Pumpkin Muffin Recipe Ever

My recipe makes 24 muffins but you can cut it in half in case you are not feeding a small army like moi.

Although they do freeze really well, so maybe you'll want to make a whole batch? I made eight batches of these the other day and after they had cooled, I put them in baggies and then out in the freezer.

I just went out and looked in the freezer and they are all gone...


4 c. whole wheat flour

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

4 t. ground cinnamon

2 t. ground ginger

1 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, either dark or light

6 T. unsulphered molasses

1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce

4 large eggs

2 cups canned pumpkin

2 t. vanilla

1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat (2) 12 muffin pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, applesauce and 2 eggs until combined. Add the other eggs and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen then and then place them on a wire rack to cool.

**I never use buttermilk but instead add 1 T. lemon juice to 1 1/2 c. non-fat milk OR I use coconut milk if I have any**

**Also great use of your frozen squash puree from the garden, I just substitute that for the canned pumpkin**

Enjoy! We all love these, with the exception of Matthew. But he is almost 6, which explains it all.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dancing Partners

These two like to dance.

I think it's super cute.

And it's pictures like this that will make for really great blackmail photos when they are in high school.

Still wishing that we could get Levi to look normal when we take his picture.

Also, the pink in Hannah's hair is not permanent. Just wanted to point that out...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

3 things that I discovered

While traveling for hours and hours and hours with kiddos...

1. My cheeks spreading to the width of the van seat was not a permanent condition. At first, I was worried. Because I sat there that long.

2. A fully charged battery on my earplugs I-pod is worth it's weight in gold. Because, if it went dead, then I would have to listen to the kids annoying each other wouldn't have my cool music to listen to.

3. After driving, clutching the steering wheel for hours, my hand resembled a claw. Thankfully that was only a temporary condition...unlike insanity. ahem...

Hopefully traveling with kids is like childbirth.

Meaning that you eventually forget the pain and just remember the good times...

Otherwise, we may not ever leave on our trip to Utah...

Spring Break

The six older kids are out on spring break and I have been trying to keep them busy and out of my hair.

Corey has been working all over the state and he needed to head down south.

I took this as the perfect opportunity to not be left alone with all the kids to have some quality family time, so we tagged along.

I took these five kiddos through the Oregon Caves.

That was super cool and very interesting!

We then drove farther down south, through the Redwood forest which contained some of the biggest trees thatyoueverdidsee.

From there we headed over to the coast, just in time to see the sun setting.

We ate dinner on the beach...a little cold but beautiful.

After dinner, we realized how far away from home we were. Ouch.

We actually didn't make it home until almost 2am. **Yawn**

Planning even a day outing like this requires so much advance prep.

We didn't buy any food at all while we were gone.

Not because I didn't feed them although that would have been easier

Instead, we brought along all our own food.

Turkey sandwiches, strawberries, granolie bars, pumpkin muffins, apples, blond brownies, burritos, dried fruit and nuts.

I cooked a turkey and made sun-dried tomato/mozzarella cheese bread for the sandwiches. I've already shared the granolie bars recipe and at some point, I'll get around to posting the pumpkin muffin recipe. They are delish and healthy. Weird, huh?

I made 150 burritos and froze most. The rest of them we took for dinner.

My teenage boys refer to the blond brownies as "a little slice of heaven". They are that good. Healthy too? I think not.

Who's ready for the next adventure?

Not me!

At least not yet.

I'm still recovering from this one...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not Me Monday

First let me say that I am a very practical person. I don't have time for silly games and endless hours playing video gaming systems. Heck, I don't even watch TV.

That being said...

My husband would have not bought me a new Wii game for my birthday.

Gaming is for kids and although I am very, very young...I am not a child.

I would never forsake my craft time at night to spend hour after hour after hour after hour assisting Mario in his endless quest to save Princess Peach from evil Bowser's clutches.

I also realize that my son, Timothy, is a gaming expert. His hand/eye coordination is legendary around these parts and could beat the game with one hand tied behind his back, his legs duck taped together, standing on his head, with a pirate's eye patch on, while playing a harmonica.

So he, obviously ,would be the one playing the game.

Not me.

I, however, stink at video games. Because I have to play each level several hundred times a bunch of times to beat it, I wouldn't waste my time trying.

Upon finding myself totally stuck at 2am, and unwilling to turn off the game and forsake all my precious, newly collected star bits, I would never, ever, go and wake up Timothy and demand ask him to come and finish the level.

I am not that kind of mom.

I know that my teenage son needs lots of sleep at night and waking him up to do such a frivolous chore you would too if you had that many extra men saved up is not something I would do.

I would not joke that he was not allowed to go back to bed until Mario obtained the last gold star.

I also would not let go with an evil laugh when he begged asked to go back to bed. I wouldn't stoop so low as to threaten suggest that he would not be allowed off the couch, even to use the bathroom, until he was done.

Because that would mean that I am obsessed.

And I'm not.


Do you even know anyone that would act like that?

Me neither.


P.S. It was not a school night. Just sayin...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baby Faces

I know that she can be a lil turd.

But she sure is cute...

I'm pretty sure that we are all ruining her.

And, someday soon? we'll pay for it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Teenage boy appetites

They are a force to be reckoned with.

Joe recently made himself a "sandwich" for lunch.

Whole wheat bun, turkey, cheese, sprouts, spinach leaves, tomatoes, pickles, mayo, was a doozey.

Apparently, a toothpick was not enough to keep it together.

I walked through the kitchen just in time to see what was holding his sandwich together.

A skewer!

I still can't believe that he ate the entire sandwich.

And that afterwards...he was still hungry...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stairstep children

Since Lily Pad just had her St. Patty's Day birthday, my youngest four kiddos are now...

5, 4, 3, and 2

We couldn't put them in age order in this photo because, even though Hannah is 4 months older then Levi she is waaaaay shorter.

Blame DNA.

I know I'm biased, because I'm the mama after all, but I sure think they are cute.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thrift store find of the week

This week's treasure is a cute little two tier table.

It needs to have a leg reattached but that is an easy peasy fix.

I was informed that it is an antique.

It still had the antique store price tag on it.

The tag read $55.

How much did I pick it up for?


I know

Sigh of bliss...

Check out the parties for lots of inspiration!

Garage Sales

I don't do much in the way of garage sales.

I am of the mindset that the best stuff goes in the early hours.

Which means that I would have to get up early.

Nuff said...

That doesn't mean that I won't stop at a sale or two, if time permits.

About 10 years ago I bought this cameo at a garage sale.

It cost me $5.

It is my most fav piece that I have ever purchased.

I rarely wear it.

Only a couple of times, actually.

I think I should probably put on my thinkin' cap and figure out a cool way to display it.

Then, I could enjoy it everyday.

Next to my most fav chapstick ever, to give example of her size.

Isn't she purdy?

Monday, March 15, 2010

When kids say something that makes you sad

I love this little guy so much.

He is so smart.

He gives the best hugs.

He tells me several times a day that I am the "best cooker in the whole world."

He also tells me that he doesn't like having brown skin.

That he wishes that he had white skin.

We tell him that his brown skin looks like chocolate.

And everyone loves chocolate.

That lots of really great people have brown skin.

That people go out in the sun to make their skin brown like his.

He has taught me a valuable lesson.

That just because Corey and I don't care what color a person's skin is doesn't mean that they won't care.

I just wish I knew what to tell him to make him proud of who he is.

We love him just the way he is.

I just want him to feel the same.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Teenagers Everywhere!

The twins are both in student government this year.

The freshman were assigned the "Spring Fling" dance.

Usually the freshman assigned dances never come to fruition.

The last time a freshman class actually had a dance, they came in $280 in the hole.

But this year's freshman are not an ordinary class.

As a group, they are motivated, organized, thrifty and smart.

They needed to hire a DJ, plan refreshments, make/buy decorations and advertise.

They had a "work party" at our house to make the cutest lil' Shamrocks with glitter edging.

I came downstairs to find my foyer full of teenager gear.

I went in my dining room to see teenagers...everywhere...

I went into my kitchen to find a couple of teenage boys eating my peach cobbler out of the pan.

Ummm...make yourselves right at home?

I helped the kids with the refreshments and was asked to chaperone.

How did the dance turn out?



Oh, sorry.

I didn't realize that I was yelling.

You see, my eardrums are still bleeding from the loud music.

And, b...b...bones are vi...bra...ting...from the boom boom boom.

And, I'm pretty sure that is a good indicator that I am old.

The dance wasn't heavily attended (which is par for a freshman organized dance).

The upperclassmen are too cool to attend.

But they still made money.

And they had fun.

And it was a good experience for them to plan an event.

They are already talking about planning one next year.

Hopefully my eardrums have recovered by then...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Question of the day...

How many kids can fit on a 3 person couch?

A lot, apparently...

Life is officially kicking my bum.

I thought we would have a small break in between winter and springs sports.

I was wrong.

I still haven't recovered from the grueling high school winter sports.

Joseph had his last swim meet on Sunday and started track on Monday.

Michael has his last swim meet this weekend and spring soccer starts the day after.

Both Joshua and Timothy start soccer next week.

And, then Liz asked to play softball.

In case you are keeping track, that is five different teams.

I'm thinking about waving the white flag.

Just not sure if anyone would notice...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well, this is a new recipe...

Take 1 cube of chalk from the pool table...

Add one mischievous, almost 2 year old...

And you get...

Never a dull moment...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Back from Boise

What a fun weekend we had!

I'm not sure who had the most fun...

Joseph who got to swim in a regional meet against really great swimmers

Me and Corey who got to hang out with our fav peeps that drove up from Utah

Levi who got to play with his cousins all weekend

Hannah who got to hang out at my parents house

Lily, Matthew, Joshua and Liz who stayed at the house of some wonderful friends of ours

Or, Michael and Timothy who stayed at home with an Oregon Duck football player and his wife

Everyone had a blast!

These are the memories that will last a lifetime.

As far as Joseph's swimming, he had only been 15 for 10 days going into this meet.

He was in the 15-21 category. So, basically, he was the low man on the totem pole.

He held his own and we were so proud of him.

The specifics on where he placed?

To be honest, I don't really know. I think the highest he placed was 10th and I'm not sure about the lowest, 16th? I don't keep very good track of placement, his time is more important to us.

I think the best race that he had was when he anchored the 200 free relay. That relay team took 4th place and was very fun to watch.

I guess I take Joe's physique for granted. At meets like this one, all the swimmers look like Joe.

But at school he sticks out. He is very humble about how he looks and seems even a little embarrassed about it. He never walks around with his shirt off, which I think would be rather arrogant.

He did say at school, after PE class, when he is getting dressed, people stare at him. He said that even the older kids do double takes.

I guess not many kids his age have six pack abs. I don't even want to think about how many hours he spent in the pool in order to look like that.

There was a little 8 year old boy at the swim meet that kept calling Joe, "The Ab Master". It was very cute. It made Joe smile, which is nice to see.

I told Joe that he had better enjoy his abs now, while he is young.

Because things change.

For normal people anyway.

Corey's brother and wife drove up from Utah to hang out with us all weekend.

While Joe was with his team, after the meet, us adults went to the movies and bowling.

It was so much fun! We sure do love those guys!

It was fun to go, but it sure is nice to be back.

I guess there really is "No place like home."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Matthew and "As-Cool"

One of the twin's best friends was here the other day and when Matthew hopped up on his lap, I grabbed the camera for a quick picture.

"Look at the camera! Say cheese!"

Ummmmm...Matthew, you are covering up Alex's face

Are you kidding me?

You can't peel your eyes off of the TV for two seconds so I can get a decent picture?

When I said "with your eyes open", I didn't mean manually!

For the love of all things holy and good in this world and before I give in to my urge to beat you just look at me.

At least fake looking normal!

That's better.

Thank you.