Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!



Wishing you a very 
MERRY CHRISTMAS
from our family to yours!

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

- Luke 2:10-11

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crime and Punishment


Yesterday I heard the familiar sound of water hitting my sliding glass door and walked over to discover water pouring off the roof of the house and shooting over the fence.  My boys, despite distinctly being told not to, were playing with the hose once again.

I suppose I could unhook the hose and store it in the garage, but I've chosen to leave it where I need it because I keep hoping my kids will have the sense to listen to me when I tell them not to play with it.

They don't. 

The message still hasn't set in despite multiple time-outs and revoked privileges.

So, yesterday, I tried a new consequence.

They wrote sentences.  Over and over and over again.

"I will not turn on the hose without permission."

(Cruel perhaps, but report cards recently came out and they could both totally use the handwriting practice...)

The boredom of repetition lead to heavy sighing, and whining, and crying.  At one point, one kid blurted out that he was "gonna die!" and the other child wound up in his room to complete his sentences after writing a few things OTHER than the assigned text.

When Nate arrived home from work, the now weary kids were still scrawling away and it became apparent that it was going to take more time to complete the assigned number of sentences than the short time we had left before bed.

Nate had a suggestion.  He knew the punishment had been set and needed to be met, but wondered if he could help bridge the difference by writing some of the sentences himself.  We discussed how it might make a good object lesson and agreed.

Nate got out his own paper and pencil and sat with the kids at the kitchen table writing sentences, trying to explain how, like the Savior, he would pay the price for a mistake he didn't make and help them make up the difference.


Did they truly understand the deep symbolism of the lesson we were trying to teach them?

I don't know; I hope so.

But I moved the hose just in case.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Better late than never...I guess.

I first checked this out from the library years ago after hearing how great it was.

It wasn't.

So, I only ended up  reading a few chapters before returning the book.

Soon it seemed like everyone I met was gushing over how AWESOME it was, so I figured it must get better further into the book, and checked it out again.

It didn't.

Then, seemingly everyone on earth was completely stoked over the fact that it was being turned into a movie and practically begged me to read it.

So, during a long flight layover two summers ago, I bought my very own copy of the book from the airport bookstore and tried to once again read what many considered to be 'the best book ever'.

A few more chapters into to it this time, and I realized...

it wasn't.

So after my trip, I put that book up on Craig's List and recouped some of the dough I'd shelled out for it.

Soon, everywhere I looked there were references to vampires.  People were siding with Team Jacob or Team Edward.  I learned who that pale, hairy guy is that everyone loved so much.

Once again, I dragged myself to the library to check out the dopey book everyone was now obsessed with.

I wasn't.

And once the movies made it into the theatre, I was invited to go see them with groups of girlfriends.  Turning them down because I didn't know anything about the series made me a real buzz kill.  I finally accepted the offer of my friend to borrow her DVD of the first book and watched what everyone on earth seemed to now be infatuated with.

I wasn't.

I went to see the second movie in the theater with those friends. And the third.  And I marveled that not just teen girls, but actual grown women were mesmerized by the whole thing.

I wasn't.

So, one last time I gritted my teeth, and with great determination (and about a million renewals!) I finally sucked it up and read the damn thing, finishing just this morning, actually.  I think I may qualify as the last person on earth to read the book.

And was it worth it?

Sorry, folks.  It wasn't.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Noah!

 Seven years ago today, this little guy came to live with us:



And here's how he looks today:





Happy Birthday, Noah!  
We love you so much!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our favorite peanut butter cookies


This is the recipe I always use to make peanut butter cookies, and has been since before I got married, so when I lost my copy of it, I panicked.  I called each of my sisters asking for it.  Apparently, I'm the only one who finds it to be THE golden standard by which all peanut butter cookies should be measured, because when I begged for it, one of them asked why I didn't just look for a different recipe.

Look for a different recipe?!  (Surely she was joking!)

(Besides, I already had, and they'd turned out gross.  Thanks A LOT, Martha Stewart!)

Since I keep losing my copy of the recipe, even after getting it repeatedly from my sisters, I decided to immortalize it forever here on the blog.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 - 3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugars together, add eggs, and vanilla. Stir in peanut butter, then flour, baking soda, and salt.  

Shape into small balls and place on baking sheet.  Press a criss cross pattern into the top of each cookie using a floured fork, or cookie press, if you're super crafty like me.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh blessed day!


Yes, it's my favorite time of year, 
for once again...

 SCHOOL is in session!


How can any mother be so cruel, so calloused, you may ask?

Perhaps it's because the following is a prime example of how things have been around here lately:





(Thelma seems quite relieved as well!)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Our trip to San Diego





















When 'teaching responsiblity' bites you in the butt...

 The other day I walked into the kitchen to find this:


What exactly is going on here?  Our dog, Thelma, is eating dirt covered popcorn kernels off my kitchen floor.

And just how did that come to be?



I'll tell you!

Noah made himself some popcorn, (he's so independent, that kid), even remembering to dispose of the bag in the trash can without being told.  (See the evidence?) After spilling a good portion of the popcorn on the family room floor, I asked him to clean it up.


And he did.  He even  independently operated the vacuum cleaner.

And after vacuuming up the popcorn, he decided it would be helpful to empty the canister of the vacuum cleaner into the already overflowing trashcan, popcorn, dirt, dog hair and all.

And this is how he left it.

So Thelma was pleased.

And I just keep on counting down the days until school starts...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Snickerdoodles on Sunday


I dug out my old family recipe for Snickerdoodles to make with the kids today.
 
Snickerdoodles

1 cup margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Cream margarine and sugar.  Add next 6 ingredients and mix well.  In a separate small bowl combine 2 tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon.  Shape dough into small balls and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It's National Macaroni Day!

And in celebration, we followed the directions HERE on Skip To My Lou to make our very own colored macaroni!
 

Once the macaroni had dried, Noah made this delightful self portrait:


And his second project he called "Macaroni USA":


Incredible, isn't it?
Can you believe he didn't even have to consult a map for reference?!


I made this enchanting butterfly and floral design.

And Zach, who didn't seem to want to play along, made this:


It's entitled, "The Macaroni"

How clever of him.


Our holiday festivities continued when we had "Handy Casserole" for dinner.

Handy Casserole gets its name from the fact that the ingredients are usually already in the kitchen.  It's an old family recipe that I avoided making for the first 10 years of our marriage thinking Nate would think it was gross.  Turns out, he totally loves it.  And, I guess a lot of families have their own versions with different ingredients and names for it.


Handy Casserole

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 can tomato soup
1 cup macaroni, cooked
1 cup shredded cheese
1 can corn, drained

Brown ground beef with onion.  Mix soup, cooked macaroni, half of the cheese, and corn in an 8"x8" square dish or small casserole pan.  Add ground beef and onion.  Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.



So, how did YOU celebrate 
National Macaroni Day with your family?



Oh, you didn't?

Well, that's a shame.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

He gets by with a little help from his friends...

I think this summer break has been really hard on Noah's social life.  He's used to being the life of the party, surrounded by a group of friends waiting to hear his stories and laugh at his jokes.

He's resorted to hanging out with these guys:



And from what I hear, it's a tough crowd.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Three weeks of summer vacation down...


Six more to go.

(Yes, I am totally counting.)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hey, I totally get it.



The very thought of cleaning does that to me too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Feelin' Fancy!

We've moved up in the world.

Nate installed these recently:



It doesn't take much to amuse me, does it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Noah lost his first tooth


Man, this little guy has had a lot going on lately. 

Yesterday Noah finally lost his first tooth!  He's been working on it for a while now, and even bravely tried the whole doorknob trick, but it just wasn't coming out. 

All it ended up taking was a punch in the mouth from his older brother. 

Imagine that.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dear Stupid Pet Owner,

Earlier this morning, your mangy mutt decided to join me, and my well groomed and properly leashed dog, Thelma, during the first mile of our run.  I assure you as someone with previous dog bite experience - it is quite terrifying to see a large, loose canine lumbering toward you while out in a public area. 

Once the dog had arrived and made his amicable intentions known, I paused my running and looked around to see if the owner (THAT'S YOU, DUMMY!) was anywhere in sight to retrieve this crossbreed.

When a responsible party was not to be found, Thelma and I proceeded along on our run, now ambitiously pursued by your foul beast.

Feeling somewhat responsible for unintentionally luring your dumb dog away from his familiar surroundings by my obviously friendly manner and the beautiful, buxom, blond bombshell of a dog that accompanied me, I hoped your dog would eventually grow tired and turn back home.

He did not.

In fact, he followed us.

For the next four miles.

And during those four miles, several people wrongfully assumed that the mangy mongrel shadowing me so closely was indeed mine and gave ME dirty looks for my utter irresponsibility as YOUR DOG dodged in front of their cars and defaced their yards.

Upon returning home, I had to shoo your degenerate mutt out of my garage to allow my own pet to enter my home.  Because your dog appeared to have had quite a workout, I showed courtesy by offering him a bowl of cold water as he sat on my front porch panting for quite some time.


Hopefully, your scruffy pal found his way back to your residence and has been properly confined within an adequate enclosure that will prevent a repeat occurrence of the aforementioned event. 

But I highly doubt this, since it's actually the second time this flea bag of yours has stalked us while out on one of our runs.

The purpose of this letter, besides pointing our your complete lack of responsibility in your stewardship of one of God's creatures, is to inform you that you owe me $20 for today's dog walking services.

Please remit payment in the form of  cash, money order, or a QuikTrip gift card.


Sincerely,

Natalie
(of Natalie's Professional Pet Walking Services, LLC)


(P.S.  Please feed your poor dog more.  He's ridiculously skinny.  And a bath would totally help.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Zach is 9 today!


It's hard to believe that it was nine years ago that we brought home this cute little guy:

(Zachary, 2 days old. 
Yes, seriously. 
What newborn is this alert?)

And he turned into this cute little guy:


Happy Birthday, Zachary!
We love you so much!