Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Apples? Or....

Bulbs!
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I've been wanting to get out and work in the yard for a while. Today, Tim and I finally did. First we planted our garden (about 2 months late) and then the boys helped us dig up a load of bulbs. In the spring, we had daffodils bloom on the south side of our house...what a nice surprise! In a couple other spots, there were plants that came up at the same time that I suspect were daffodils, but they didn't flower. Today we went out and dug up the dud bulbs, so we can move them to a better spot.  It was easy to get the kids to help when Tim told them they had to in order to play Wii today. :) I expected to get 20 or so bulbs...but I bet we found over a hundred.

It's really fun to do stuff with the boys right now. I think I thought I would never be able to say that. All those people that said it will get easier were right. Of course there's still hard stuff, but the good far outweighs the bad...most days. :)

We started school this week! I enjoyed it so much. We wanted to get a head start on the school year, since no one is going out to school and we didn't have any outside schedules to work around.

Day 1 Trevor wasn't here. He had spent the night at Grandmother's, and I had sent his work with him. So we started out with just Samuel, William and me. That actually turned out nice, since it was Samuel's first day, and I'm still feeling my way along.

Day 2 we had our friend, Jason, come and teach the boys about China. I knew he was bringing the boys some chopsticks, so we made Chinese food for lunch. It was so much fun.

The boys loved their chopsticks.
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Jason recommended Ramen noodles to practice on, and it was a huge hit.
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The chopsticks were "training" sticks, with a removable training dude.
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The boys helped me make almond cookies, too, because on Kung Fu Panda (one of our boys' most frequently quoted movies) Monkey has a jar of Almond Cookies.
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The boys loved the cookies, too. I got the recipe HERE. They were delicious.

Days 3-5 we were all here, and did regular school. It was great.
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Samuel is thrilled to be doing 1st Grade. So sweet. Indi is not thrilled to have lost her seat--she used to lay in Samuel's empty chair.

I think Samuel's favorite is Math. He gets to use markers in his workbook. Awesome.
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Here, William is doing his Spelling.  I used to make my own Spelling program, but that gave way to workbooks in anticipation of Samuel coming home. With Samuel home, I have to give him my full attention about 90% of the time, and when Baby gets here...who knows how it will work. Yay workbooks.
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I give Trevor real books to read, and it is fun when he gets really into them.
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So, we do school in the mornings, and go swimming most afternoons at Grandmother Beth's house. It's a nice summer plan for us.

Today is Saturday, and this is what is going on right behind me...
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Tim is helping the boys make mazes. They have each had a turn to design a maze, while the other 2 boys stay out of the room. They hide flags--little plastic ones from their army men set-- in the maze, which the brothers have to find by crawling around the maze. It is precious.  Here's a little video--this is William's maze, so he's a "minotaur", and if he catches a brother, they have to go back to the beginning.  What a good daddy, and how fun to watch them all enjoying one another.  Wonder if they're going to expect me to do that for them this week??

video

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Doubled" Eggs, etc.

These boys make me laugh. Sure, my life before kids was way more quiet, way more relaxing...but also way less funny.

Lately I've been eating a lot of eggs for the baby. My birthing instructor gave me an "intake plan" that includes 2 eggs a day. Scrambled eggs got real old real fast. I'm always trying to think of some new way to eat them--often with no luck. But, last week I hit on a favorite. It's one the kids (especially Samuel) like too, and keep asking for...

Samuel: Can we have some more doubled eggs?

Me: Some more what?

Samuel: Dou--bled? Eggs?

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Also, Happy Memorial Day!
We celebrated by heading over to Grandmother Beth's house.

The "men" celebrated like this:
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The women celebrated like this:
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It was a good time!

Man, there are so many great things about summer. We have been enjoying one aspect in particular around here lately: Cake.

I'm not sure what made Tim think of it, but when I asked if he had an opinion about what dessert I should make for a recent Bible Study at our house, he suggested Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake. He knows it's one of my favorites, but it's not really one of my standbys...

Well, after bible study there was about enough cake left for each of the kids to have one piece, and they loved it. I was thrilled that they loved one of my favorites. Then last week, Sharon brought by some zucchini from Chrysta and Beth's garden so I whipped up some more cake. It lasted 2 days, and we were all sorry when it was gone. So I made another yesterday. :) I wanted to take pictures for the blog, and as with my pound cake, I just kept forgetting to take that last picture.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup veg. oil
2 eggs
1-3/4 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1/2 T. vinegar
2-1/2 cups flour
4 T. cocoa
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground cloves (mmmm!)
2 cups grated Zucchini
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Beat the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside. Make sour milk by adding the vinegar to the milk in a separate dish. Let that stand about 5 mins, or until you are ready for it. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the sour milk and the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix until smooth. Fold in the grated zucchini. Spread in a greased 9 x 13 pan, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 mins, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Repeat as necessary. :)

I had a helper, which is always nice. My helpers are actually getting big enough that they really are a help, instead of a hindrance. William did a good bit of grating on the zucchini, and Sam loves to help with the mixer.
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An expert helper will always wear pajamas while mixing...
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A really good day for the boys is one where they don't have to put on pjs at bedtime, because they are still wearing them from the night before. I can sympathize. Tim cannot.

I actually have been getting out of my pjs in the morning, even though it is summer break. I may have mentioned that Tim and I go walking early in the mornings...just a 10-15 minute walk, to keep my pregnant body active. It is a very pleasant part of my day. When we are done I water my plants which, to my surprise, I enjoy.

I tried taking pictures to show you why I enjoy watering my plants. I took maybe 50 pictures...and less than 10 came out. I was using that big zoom/micro lens that Tim has, and I guess I just wiggle the camera too much. I gotta learn some tricks to get better pictures with that thing.

Here's some of what I did get, though. These are a hallmark of my obsession with the minutia in my life. The littlest details sometimes thrill me the most.

For starters, here's a certain spider (I H-A-T-E spiders) that I see on a different leaf every day. He's about the size of a dime--legs included.
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And look at this...some sort of egg about a millimeter big.
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There were maybe a dozen of of them scattered one by one on each of my pepper plants.

Or, how about these?
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They are about the size of a peppercorn, and are on my asparagus plants. Apparently that one is a female plant?

I think they are so beautiful...
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Also, our miniature Venus Fly Traps have sent up some new healthy shoots that are very intricate. They are about the size of a lima bean.
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It all delights me. I took those pictures Saturday, and then today I noticed this little guy chillin' out on the trellis Tim made...
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He was there for hours. Once when I looked out the kitchen window, I saw him showing off...flaring his little chin frill and bobbing. I hurried outside, followed by William, and waited. After a long time of waiting, William noticed another little lizard just inches away from us...a little chica lizard? Hope Mr. Lizard is not bothered that Chica's tail is falling off!
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No wonder he quit showing off...we were right in the way. After we moved, he started up again.
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Do things like that give you a thrill?

Well, this post has taken 4 days for me to finish. Start...stop...start... If it feels like a run-on post, it is. Oh well!