Thursday, October 29, 2009

And boy did we work hard today! Rendi and I decided to cram some cooking in today to fill up our freezers with dinners. If you haven't ever "freezer cooked", it is worth your time. I have done it on my own and am VERY happy to have some casseroles, muffins, cookies, etc in my freezer to pull when I just don't have time to cook. It's much easier to do it with someone!

Here is a list of our frantic cooking endeavors. We started around 10am and ended up at 5pm, with a lunch break in there to feed the kids. They were great and Kartsen was a good boy and took some lllllllloooooooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggg naps in there!

-1 9x 13 pan of lasagna (we ate this for dinner all of us)
-70 meatballs (!)
-6 (8x8) pans of lasagna roll-ups (like lasagna)
40 chicken canneloni's
-20 burritos
-4 (8x8) pans of chicken tetrazzini
-8 c. cooked chicken (good to have on hand to add to soups, casseroles, tacos)
-14 + half pints of that yummy apple butter

We figure that gives us about 10 meals each, or 20 meals altogether plus the cooked chicken. Not to bad for a little cooking.

So we decided that it is fall and what would fall be without some fresh apple butter? My Grandma has a recipe she has used for years and growing as kids, we enjoyed that apple butter every fall with a fresh scoop on some hot sourdough pancakes. We loved it and try to keep up that tradition. However, Rendi and I are both a little disappointed that both our spouses AND our children just don't feel that excitement over apple butter and sour doughs. *Sigh.*

apple butter to start with...what is that weird lump in the corner you ask? Just the 'spice pouch', it holds all the flavor for the apple butter

apple butter all done cooking after 24 hours-look how thick and dark colored it is

in jars-this might last us through the winter depending on how much we give away

On to other fall news, I know you are asleep with all of my apple butter talk. Here is other fun we had with fruits and veggies-PUMPKIN CARVING! The kids picked this for family time night and after a intermission by Hannah (picking a design AND wanting to do it all when you are six is just not possible, she gets so frustrated with herself if she has to ask for help so we stopped and finished her pumpkin when she was happy in the morning), we were done.

Taylor was done in record time!

Do you see the capri's on that child's legs? It's OCTOBER!

mine is the one with the 'C'

Mike is the best carver in the family

Just a note of my little Hannah. She LOVES to help in the kitchen and wants to do something by herself (independent fervor mentioned above with pumpkins), so she figured out on her own, that she can make a fruit salad without help. We have had lots of fruit salad and she is so excited to share it, we took it church lunch on Sunday. She really wants to do things by herself and was pretty pleased to discover this was something she could do on her own. I really need to incorporate her more when I cook-there is plenty she can do. I just need to NOT be in such a hurry!

here she is adding her signature to our Saturday morning plates last week-after all fruit salad goes with everything, especially pancakes!

oh, how I love this little girl, head strong and all...I can't wait to see where she takes all this passion for life

Monday, October 26, 2009

Let's see,
what HAVE we been up to??

Besides cramming a 50 hour week into 4 days (my brain is now dead after a 68 page magazine & 16 ads), I did a little pumpkin baking. "They" say there will be a canned pumpkin shortage this fall so I'm cooking and freezing pie pumpkins, which is really easy to do. I even wrote an article in the magazine about it and used my own pics. I made a pumpkin cobbler yesterday. Yum.

I got my hair cut. After being in that in-between stage with grown out bangs for 2 months, I decided to chop it off..I couldn't believe how much hair was on the floor. I love the cut, but more exciting..i have FINALLY found someone I trust my hair with. Thanks to Heather for referral.

It must be getting cold-these sillies are looking for a warm place! Ginger didn't really like her place on the bottom for long.

We said goodbye to my brother Rob, and his girlfriend Trina and their new baby Kiera. They surprised us with a visit from Alaska 3 weeks ago. It was fun getting to know this little red head.
Kiera skyping uncle sean

So that about rounds up our last 2 weeks. We carved pumpkins on Saturday and the kids raked leaves yesterday. Fall has definitely arrived.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I need some other opinions on this matter so I thought I'd write a post about it.
I have been very fortunate in my children's public education foundation to have great teachers, involved PTA's and overall a good experience. They are both smart and are above their grade level in most areas and I attribute that to teachers that are doing their job well.
I love both their teachers this year, they are young and very enthusiastic and have lots of attention for their students.

Lately though, Hannah has been bringing home mountains of homework. She is in the first grade....does anybody out there remember homework at 6 years old?
I have always thought it important to be involved in what they are learning and practice it at home, especially reading. But I am wondering if it is a bit excessive when she has to spend an hour every night and then do her reading.

This week, here is a list of her week's worth of homework due on Friday:

  • 12 pages front and back of a math packet given last week (so they had longer to do it)
  • A list of 300 sight words to practice daily
  • 4 sheets of short stories to read out loud
  • A spelling worksheet front and back to practice writing the words and sentances to prepare her for her test every Friday
  • A "Book Buddy" packet of two books for her to read, plus 4 double sided worksheets on phonics

Does that seem like a lot? I know all teachers are different and Taylor never got that much homework in first grade. He is in the 4th grade and brings home one worksheet that reviews math, spelling words and reading-takes him 25 minutes. I think the book buddy and spelling should be enough, but what is happening is all that math is taking away from reading. First grade is a crucial point for reading, I believe. Not just to learn how to do it but to actually develop an interest and liking for it.

So I wonder if I am just being a little critical. Hannah is really frustrated and it's hard to keep her attention, especially the math sheets they are working on. They confuse me-they are learning story problems and breaking it down with counters, but it is worded really strange. Mike and her worked on ONE PROBLEM for 10 minutes (that's an eternity for a first grader).

Do I suck it up and expect more out of Hannah, or do I write the teacher an e-mail and voice my concerns over homework?

To be honest, i don't want to spend an hour a night to do homework. I would rather engage in other activities with my kids than doing homework for that long, when she isn't getting it.

So come on people, I know you are out there reading-leave me a comment!!

one from the archives of Hannah in pre-school

Friday, October 9, 2009

Mike and I did this 10 years ago.

Who would have thought I could get all our family and a few friends to drive down a dirt road for 2 hours in the middle of the wilderness to take part in our little celebration? Mom worked really hard and made it all come together (we were going to get eloped in Vegas), and I didn't have to lift a finger. By the way, can you tell I'm almost 6 months pregnant in these photos?? The bouquet hid it really well.
See all those candles everywhere? I made them. Yep, definitely had lots more time on my hands back then.

It has been a busy 10 years, some rough spots but lots of laughs. I am happy to say I really did marry my best friend, and that means for better and for worse.....especially when you've been married 4 months and then have a baby! That's a real tester!

We're both a little fatter and less sassier than we were 10 years ago!
Okay I take that back-I am LOTS more sassy!

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We left last Wednesday to attend Mitch (Mike's brother) and Cora's wedding on Saturday. The kids were SOOO excited to see their cousins and grandma and grandpa, so we left after Mike got home from work on Wednesday. The drive is long and not too scenic, and we are so thankful for a portable DVD player and iPods.

We had fun at the rehearsal and dinner-thanks Laura for watching the kids!

The wedding was in Virginia city-an old, historic mining town that had it's "boom" back in the 1860's. They mined lots of gold and silver. The wedding venue was Piper's Opera House, a building that had burnt down twice and re-built. The stage has hosted Mark Twain and President Grant to name a few.

The inside was very pretty, didn't get many good shots because it was so dark! Thanks Sheila for giving me copies of your photos-my camera didn't do well in the dark! I wished they would have turned on some lights after the ceremony! Randy played beautifully on the piano before the bride entered.

The bride and groom looked so happy...who doesn't like weddings? It was decorated beautifully, we had BBQ to eat and while pictures were being taken, the guests were sent out on a scavenger hunt around the town (what a great idea!).

Cora tricked Mitch when he was going to get the garter off her leg blindfolded, and had her brother sit down instead-Mitch was a little surprised at the hairy legs!

Taylor had stayed up the night before at Aunt Laura's until 3 am so slept for part of the reception.

Mike was a dancing maniac, there was great music and we all had a great time. What's a wedding without the macharena and the robot? Good job Jacob!

Don't all the kids look so cute? Everyone looked great all dressed up! Mike looked awesome in his tux.
We enjoyed getting to see all of Mike's family and spend some time with them.

We took a family day on Monday and explored Virginia City and Reno and went to the lookout spot-about 7,000 feet elevation.

The drive back was even longer and I think we got sick of each other but passed some time playing numerous rounds of 20 questions, and the color car game....but still..

Now it is back to the real world! I feel as lost as I look in this picture!