The Vestibal

Last night we kept the kiddos up late and after dinner walked over to a local annual Family Festival, or as Z calls it, “The Family Vestibal.” ūüôā
It was really fun! It was free, which always draws our interest, and had tons of kids carnival games where they won candy and prizes, lots of free givaways, food, music and later fireworks. We definitely didn’t stay really late, as we had a very tired baby but it was really fun and Z thinks we should go everyday:)
After we tucked the munchkins into their cozy beds, Ben and I settled down to watch “Gone with the Wind” for the first time. It started out good and we had an intermission to watch the fireworks (it was like having a fireworks show in your backyard!!) and then stayed up WAY too late to finish the movie.
What a terrible movie! Seriously. We were so bummed when we finished it and realized how it ended. Really, what was wrong with the person who wrote it? I do not like movies with lots of tragedies (more than is realistic) and crappy endings.
So, if you want my opinion (not that you do!), don’t waste your time watching it if you haven’t before!
Of course, we could be the last people on the planet to not have seen it before now…..:)

Now that we have that established…..Samuel wants to wear his t-ball shirt everyday:) Such a funny kid but I’m so glad he has (mostly) conquered his fear of going and is enjoying it!
Mr Z has ramped up the ‘tude this week and has unfortunately, spent much time in time-out lately. He has such spirit and spunk but that is coupled with impulse and passion which is not always a good thing. We are trying to help him control it:)
He said last night, “Mommy, I never ever get hot! But sometimes I do.” I love his logic!
¬†E or “Sissy Poo” has she has been called this week, is just changing so quickly. She is all over the place, getting into the boy’s toys and finding scraps on the floor and throwing little fits if we take things away from her:) (although she is easily distractable!) I have to sweep at least 3 times a day. Thankfully, she’s not too fast. Just enough to be dangerous!
Poor Ben is sick today, suffering from the miserable flu-ish virus that the rest of us had. So it’s a busy day keeping the kiddos quiet and caring for my miserable hubby.
These are the kinds of days I wish there were 2 of me….
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Tornadoes & T-Ball

Woo-ee! We had a long, sleepless night last night! Thank you to my caring MIL, we got a heads up that nasty weather was headed our way last night. I was up until probably a quarter til 12 looking for weather warnings on the internet and watching the lightening storm moving swiftly in outside.
I knew there were tornado watches in our area til 1am but finally dozed off when it seems like the storm had calmed down.
Only to be woken up by Ben at 12:30am. He usually sleeps through storms and wakes up the next day and is like, “Really? A bad storm?” or “What? The children were up 7 times? I didn’t hear a thing!”
He’s very blessed to sleep that deeply:)
Anyways, I woke up when he did and realized the storm that I thought had calmed down was waaaaaayy worse. As in, one of the scariest storms I’ve ever seen. The lightening was almost continuous, the thunder loud and cracking and the rain coming down so ferociously that you could not see a thing outside except the eery lights.
We knew it was really bad and were half-expecting the tornado sirens that went off about 2 minutes later right as the power went out. Even half-expecting them, my hands started shaking and my heart was pounding! Ben said, “Get the kids!” We both headed towards their bedrooms and snatched up our blissfully sleeping little ones plus armfuls of pillows and special lovies and herded everyone downstairs to the basement.
Thankfully, due to all the storms and power outages we’ve had lately, I was stocked with freshly batteried flashlights nearby just in case. We grabbed those, too, but thankfully and very surprisingly, the power outage was very brief and the lights came back on.
We huddled in the basement waiting with an air of excitment hovering around us. The boys were scared and fascinated. Eliana was looking around like “What in the world is going on? This is kind of fun…”
We stayed down til just after 1am when the sirens were off and the storm visably calmed down. Then we re-settled everyone in bed and prayed they would drift off again. E cried for a minute but went right back to sleep but the boys were so hyped up that it took them awhile. They were really scared of the continual lightening and thunder but finally they, too, settled down both in the same bed and fell asleep:)
I was so jumpy for awhile afterward because you know how they say a tornado sounds like a freight train? That is a very unhelpful statement when you live right next to a freight train line.
So everytime I heard a train coming for the next half hour or so, I would jump out of bed and check! I finally joined the rest of my family in slumber around 2am, only to be woken up by my chirping birdie babe at 5:30am.
I was tired today:)
We all were tired today.
But we are thankful we’re safe and it was only a middle of the night adventure to talk about! The boys played “tornado” most of the morning down in the basement. E took several naps to catch up on her lost sleep and was only slightly irritable. Even I got to take a little snooze after getting the boys to rest quietly with books.
Hopefully tonight will be quieter!
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¬†Here are some pictures of last night’s t-ball game!
 Samuel next up to bat!
Samuel practicing catching and throwing before the game started.

¬†Making sure I’m watching;)

 Running to first base!

 The after game high-fives!

 The happy player;)

¬†“Is the game almost over? I want some ice cream!” ~Z

¬†“If only I could just get…some…grass…”

¬†“I am determined to get this grass, mommy. Just try to stop me…”

“Ah! That’s better! I knew it would taste good!”

Nothing tastes better after a hot game than a vanilla ice cream cone:)

Here’s to some uninterrupted sleep tonight!!

A little Wisdom

Well, I survived today! I get so nervous before I go to dr’s appointments. I don’t know what in the world I expect….probably that they’ll tell me I’m dying of a rare disease they’ve never heard of…but it usually turns out fine;) I may or may not suffer from slight hypochondriacism.
May or may not, I said.
Anyhoo, I do have to have my wisdom teeth removed. Or two of them to be specific. I only have three and the only bottom one is completely sideways and will never come in but apparently I am too old to have it removed.
I told you I was old!!!
You have more chances of complications if you are 30 and up like nerve damage to your chin and mouth. Fun stuff like that. So, the dentist said we will leave that one alone unless absolutely necessary and remove the top two that are partially through. The one that is causing me to feel like I got punched in the jaw is growing into my cheek muscles/jaw bone and causing an ulcer…hence the discomfort! I have an antibiotic and special rinse to use til surgery.
Now we try to figure out how to make this work…
The night ended well though. The whole family went to Samuel’s t-ball game tonight! He was SO excited for the game (a complete turn around from last week) and proud to have us with him. He started out a little slow and hung back but then he warmed up and it was so cute to see how seriously he takes it!
He hit the ball the first time every time (they’ve been doing it with a T but will try coach’s pitch next week) and caught some grounders (look at me with all my baseball lingo!!) and threw them really well!
He really has a good arm and has improved so much in the past few weeks! I got some really cute pictures that I’ll share tomorrow.
While he was playing and Ben was helping to coach, Zakkai, Eliana and I sat in the grass and watched. Actually I did most of the watching. Zakkai was trying to alternately pick-up and squish ants and Eliana was trying to eat grass:)
We celebrated with some McD’s ice cream cones afterwards! I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason Zakkai came along…..

I ended the night with a workout at the Y! I really have to push myself to go because I.do.not.like.to.exercise.

But I always feel soooo much better after I do:) This is really my first time going into an actual gym with real machines and real people instead of hiding away with my dvd’s at home. I like hiding. It’s much less scary!

And now I leave you with an adorable glimpse into the world of Zakkai. Enjoy this little clip of him playing his guitar and singing a song. He was downstairs by himself and when I heard him singing, I snuck downstairs to capture him on video:)
So cute!!

Party Pics

¬†Boy, today has felt like a LONG day! I don’t know what it is but I’m ready to crawl into bed like my 3 little munchkins:)
The past two days our landlords have been using our apartment to “show” to prospective tenants as the apartment for rent is inhabited by 4 men in their 20s and 30s….need I say more? We’ve had 5-6 couples/families walk through. The nice part about it is a)our place is clean! and b) our landlords paid us a little money for being willing to help them!
Part of the reason that I think today was so long is I’ve been having terrible wisdom tooth pain. I know, I know, I still have my wisdom teeth~all 3 of them! Two are partially erupted and have caused little discomfort……until the past 3 days. Now the right side of my jaw, neck and throat are swollen and I can barely open my mouth to chew. I have been terrified of having any surgery period but especially wisdom tooth extraction and now it looks like I’ll probably have to do it.
How, I have no idea….Don’t have the money or the time to do it but I can’t have a bum mouth! I’d just have to start drinking milkshakes all the time. Which wouldn’t be too bad all things considered…..well, except for the terrible pain!! I have a consultation with an oral surgeon tomorrow afternoon which I am equally dreading and anticipating. Wish me luck…..
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Since Samuel looked forward to his birthday for so many weeks, it seems fitting that I’m still posting pics weeks later, right? Promise, the never-ending birthday will end! But for now, here’s pics of his fun party we had. He flipped a million times through a cupcake book that I have and finally settled on “Ants on a Picnic” cupcakes which feuled my “Picnic Party” theme:)
I thought they turned out pretty cute!

¬†An “S” for Samuel:)

 The picnic party food~sandwiches, fresh fruit and veggies, lemonade and bottled water, chips, cookies and cupcakes!

 My Grandpa greeting a friend;)

 A centerpiece:)

¬†The “Centerpiece” being happily oogled over by her Grandma and Grandma-Great!

 Even Winston got to come to the party!

 E and her Aunt C.

 Some of the party kids (and Mugga) enjoying lunch!

The anxiously awaited cake lighting moment..

¬†I’m pretty sure he enjoyed the cupcake:)

 My little man growing up so fast!

 My friend Sarah and I

 I got to steal a moment with the very tired Little Missy

 Who is always fascinated with jewelry:)

¬†Samuel’s face when he got surprised with his new bike!

He got too nervous to ride it in front of everyone but he’s a pro now! He wants to ride day and night! We also had bubbles and sidewalk chalk for the kids, a jumprope, and even a kite which quickly captured the attention of Ben and all the kids:)

It was a really great party and thanks to the help of Ben and my mom, I didn’t even get stressed out!

Well, mostly….

Recipes!!

I’ve got some goodies to share with you! Well, maybe not the actual goodies, since we ate them all, but at least I have some recipes!

Ben and I stumbled upon the most ingenious idea last night as we were scoping for a new breakfast-for-dinner recipe. The boys and I found a few treasures at a garage sale on Saturday (their very first garage sale~sniff!), including an old, ugly box full of betty crocker recipe cards! Inside the ugly avocado-shag colored box are hundreds of good ideas, divided into categories.

How does this sound? Pancake Batter Dipped Apple Slices! Oh yes. The recipe called for Bisquick batter but I have scorned Bisquick batter since discovering the best pancake batter recipe ever. You can find that here.

All you do is peel and core 2 medium sized apples, slice them into thin (not too thin or they will break) ring slices and dip the apple slices into the pancake batter and cook on a griddle.

We served them with real maple syrup, and some maple sausage links. SO good! Why didn’t we think of it before??!!

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Next up is a vegetable pasta dish that got rave reviews from all members of our family~except E, of course:)

Vegetable Medley (although I think it could use a snazzier name, personally)

1 box (16oz) medium shell pasta
1/2 bag of frozen green beans
1/2 diced red pepper
1-2 TB cornstarch
1 cup chicken broth
3 TB butter
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preparation:
1) Cook pasta according to package directions. Add green beans to noodles during last 5 minutes of cooking.

2) Meanwhile, combine the cornstarch and broth until smooth; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add diced peppers, mustard, basil and garlic powder. Saute until peppers are tender. Gradually stir in broth mixture. Bring to a boil and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

3) Drain pasta and green beans; return to pan and add mustard sauce. Toss to coat.

*Last time I made it, I added sauteed shrimp! Yummy:) Could also add chicken…

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And something sweet to end with:) Because my enormous sweet tooth loves to share! This is a great dessert after a light, healthy meal like a salad…

Chocolate Chip Strawberry Shortcakes

3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 TB sugar, divided
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, melted, divided
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (or I often use milk chocolate chips!

Preparation:
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

2)In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 TB sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine cream and butter (reserve about 1 TB of the butter); stir into dry ingredients until a thick batter forms. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

3)Drop by 1/3 cupfuls onto a greased baking sheet. Brush with reserved butter and sprinkle remaining sugar over tops. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool and then split in half horizontally. Top with fruit and whipped cream.

4) Enjoy amazing strawberry shortcake¬†! We didn’t have strawberries last weekend and even enjoyed them with fresh blueberries!

I never said they were healthy, only delicious!

Samuel’s Bday Catch-up!

¬†I never got a chance to finish posting pics from our trip to Ohio, esp Samuel’s bday and party! Samuel was soooooo excited to turn 6, especially since apparently you know everything by the time you turn 6! Didn’t you know that?
The other day during a conversation, I told Samuel that when Eliana is 6, he will be 11 years old (bestill my heart!!). In a very superior attitude, replied, “I know that. Because 6+6 is 11.”
Okay, so maybe they don’t know quite everything……
His new thing has been to tell me allllll the things he’s going to do when he grows up and has a house of his own.
Right next door to mine.
He’s going to have lots of money somehow and buy a really nice couch so he can jump on it. He’s going to eat green and yellow noodle (tortellini) every single day for the rest of his life. Or until he reaches 100, whichever comes first:) We calculated out that if he ate 1/2 a pack every day starting from the age of 13 (because that’s when he’s grown up, I guess!) until 100, he would need over $121,000 to pay for his noodles.
Not a problem, apparently! He’s also going to have at least 100 popsicles a day, treats all the time, never get a haircut or take baths.
And he’ll be riiiiiiigghhhht next door to me:)
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Opening a couple presents! Oooh, this ones a toughie….(a soccer ball:)

 And a razor scooter! He adores this thing!

Having lots of watermelon with Gma on bday afternoon. The boys seriously ate practically 1/2 the watermelon themselves!!


 Samuel was much too busy riding a bike around and around, showing off his new skills, for me to get pictures. So I got pictures of pretty girl instead:)

¬†It got a little hot so we got her all naked and Gma got to be the lucky one to hold her! I’m pretty sure they have a mutual admiration society going:)

 We came back and the cousins came over to spend the night! After dinner, the boys decided to help Papa work on his fence. A good boy activity!

 Some good male bonding time:)

 And we had a lovely ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins to celebrate!

 Computer buddies:)

¬†Make a wish! (Probably that he can buy a house next door….that is, if we ever have a house!!:)

The birthday boy’s tired mommy and Mugga:)

Happy Saturday!

Li’l Ice Cream Boys:)

Brothers and Best Friends:)
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I want to send out my most heart-felt sympathies and prayers to my sister, who had to put her sweet puppy of 12 years to sleep tonight:( It’s not been a good week for pets in our family. Please keep my sister and her husband in your prayers as they are broken-hearted over this!