Friday, September 26, 2008

Getting to know Ari

Last night was Pack Meeting for our ward. The activity part of the evening was getting to know the leaders and the boys as there have been major changes in the past few months. They sent home a questionnaire to be filled out. We decided to fill it out as a family. Here is what can be learned about him:

My cub scout's name is: Ari S.
He has 7 siblings (6 sisters and 1 brother)
He was born July 4th
His special talents and qualities I admire are: he's a great speller, he sews, draws, and is an excellent reader.
One of his favorite things to do is: read.
One of the funniest things that ever happened when he was involved was: Well yesterday he put on his Care Bear costume that he wore in 1st grade. He says that lunch recess is always funny. And when he was 5 we went tubing and he went down the hill on the disk, hit a bump, and did a flip. It scared me, but he thought it was great.
His goals for the future are: to go on a mission, go to college and become a teacher, and to invent a transportation device. This is to cut down on driving time going to visit family (he gets car sick sometimes) and to cut down on costs.
He is special to our family because: he loves the little kids and is always willing to help take care of them.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

72 hour kits

As General Conference is approching, we are getting ready to go through our stuff for 72 hour kits. As I was looking for a few lists to make sure we are on the right track, I discovered a web site with some interesting information. I also got some feed back from some others out there that I hope will help us all out. Thanks to all for sharing these ideas and things with us.

My brother and I have both had problems with mice getting into 72 hour kits in the last year. I found out that mice have no trouble chewing through juice boxes, in spite of the tinfoil layer. Couldn't figure out where all that liquid dripping down my shelves came from! They also like trail mix quite a bit. We revamped our 72 hour kits, putting everything not in cans into plastic gladware type containers to keep the vermin out. We are having to plan for new allergies also, so most of our old 72 hours kits (and much of our year supply - sigh - all that wheat) is now useless to us, except for barter. My brother's experience with mice was far more amusing. They got into the m&m's in his 72 hour kit in the garage, and painstakingly carried them all into a stash in the oil pan of his car. Next time he took his car in for an oil change, they paged him and made him come back so that he could see the oil pan full of m&m's!

We use the pop-top fruit cans and have never had a problem. I don't think those cans of fruit are supposed to be stored that long (more than 2.5 years), and it's possible that they were stored in some extreme temperatures. I have had candy melt before and not just Jolley Ranchers. I think any hard candy that is a bit translucent will melt. I've learned to just stick to hard peppermint candies. We rotate our 72 hour kits (they are in 2.5 gallon paint buckets) every General Conference, though sometimes we leave some things untouched (i.e. MREs and water bottles) if they haven't been stored very long. I do recommend replacing tuna fish, or similar every 6 months at the longest! And always store something in the original packaging. Trying to buy a big bag of pretzels and separating them into smaller packages (even with vacuum-sealed bags) is asking for a yucky snack later! We learned that the hard way.


I put my 72 hour kit into a large heavy duty plastic container with cover and handles. I keep in in our closet under the stairs, so we can grab it quickly. No bugs have ever gotten into it (but then again we do have pest control). Every so often I open it up to update the items and take out things my kids no longer would find "fun" to do or eat. I usually put food items that will last a year into it. I check the dates on the cans at the supermarket to make sure items will last. I have spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital lately and haven't been able to check my kit which makes one feel uneasy during hurricane season here. Luckily my Mom (non-member) came to help and checked things for me. I do have friends that keep their kit in the same plastic containers in their garage with no problems. Of course since we live in Florida we don't put things likc chocolate or items that will melt in the garage. You can keep a goody storage container inside the house but make sure it is out of sight. :) In Florida we don't have basements either so we have to make good use of space. We have to get pretty creative. Like putting plastic containers with food storage under the bed. One can even decorate boxes or baskets with storage items inside and place a little plant by it. I also keep all important papers in a zip lock plastic bag. All family photos are stored in my closet in a ready to go plastic container.
P.S. I also keep dog food and toy in our 72 hour kit for our dog

Something that was told to me a long time ago about 72 hour kits is that you want to put them in some type of backpack.
The reasoning behind that is if you have to walk because roads are blocked and you can't drive anywhere, carrying something
in your hands can be very tiresome. I don't know if you have gone hiking holding on to something and about 30 minutes in
you wish you had put it into a backpack, but I have and frankly, I don't know if I would want to carry a big plastic bucket full
of cans. We use MREs, which I must admit aren't the most tasty, but they are nurtritious and store very very well.

Just an idea,


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Kids Say III

Ok, so last night we were discussing about the medical field being sued for all kinds of malpractice stuff, including people who are diagnosed with cancer and given 6 months to live and then end up not dying at all (well, until it's their time to go of course). The reason someone would sue medical personnel for this type of misdiagnosis is because they have given away all their stuff to friends and family, and now are left with out some things they need.
Julia's comment on this was the best.
This person would be in the kitchen wanting a great snack and would say, "Hey, I think I'll make a ...smoothie....Oh, yeah, gave my blender away to Bronson."
When I asked her if I could share this comment, she said I could if I would share Jayden's new phrase.
This past summer, Jayden (being the boy he is) was making the ppfffttt sound and saying, "That came out of my butt." One day when we told him for the millionth time to not use that word, he said, "It's not that kind of butt, it's the other kind." We told him that other word was used like however. So a few minutes later he made the pfffttt sound again and said, "That came out of my however." Pin It

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We Be Jammin' (plums, apples, and babies, Oh My!)

It is fall as of yesterday, so of course this means harvest time. Now I love to can, so of course I had to make jam, ..... and apple butter, ..... and dehydrated apples (but no salsa this year).
Last week I did one batch of jam and one of apple butter. Yesterday my mom came and we were able to get through 5 batches of jam and one of apple butter. We also dehydrated 2 batches of apples.
The thing I learned about canning is that helping hands make light work. I had the kids pick apples and plums last week. My mom arrived Sunday night and we started working Monday morning after getting everyone off to school. Jayden and Katia were in charge of keeping Emma and Delta happy. I also let Jayden help with some other things. He ran the food processor (while wearing earmuffs), laid apples on the dehydrator, and helped run things here and there.
It was a tiring day, but I kept telling myself, "Clay loves my jam." "My jam is Clay's favorite." (Clay is my nephew who loves the plum jam.) This made the fruity hands, hours standing, and sticky floor worth it.
The plums were the hardest to process. They don't release their pit as easily as cherries and apricots. You have to either cut around it and lose some of the fruit, or squish the meat off the stone. This means that your hands are stained for a few days. I figured that someone would have found an easy way to do this process, but after doing a search online, everyone was just complaining about the same thing I was. Oh well.
I am glad to say that I have only 3 more batches of jam to do.

Katia was very good at playing with the babies. She got so tired that she fell asleep in the baby swing. Don't ask me how she climbed into it.
Emma was feeling abandoned by the end of the day. She finally fell asleep about 10:00 after I held and played with her for about 2 hours straight. Pin It

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kids say II

Okay, so Katia is on a roll. Tonight she has a sore bum and after a diaper change said, "I want a pink band-aid on my bum."

We also got Elyse's school picts today. Here is a preview. Watch for a copy around Christmas.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kids say the darnedest things.

Today Katia is sick. When she got up this morning after coughing all night, I asked her how she felt. This is what she said, "My ears are turned off."
Poor thing.
At the doctor, he said that is the first time he's put that symptom in his computer. She also had an eye glued shut and her nose hurts. But the pink medicine should help. Pin It

Monday, September 15, 2008

Practicing the MOVES

This past week was such fun. Many things happened. But the one thing that was quite a blast, was watching Delta get up on her knees and try to go forward.

Emma is rolling everywhere, but her major milestone is being the eating pro. She will eat twice what Delta does. She also is more patient.

Yes, with all these things going on, life is a lot busier than before. I have to always keep the house picked up, and meals are more consuming. The thing that helps me keep on top of it, is getting up and moving early so that things are done when the kids get up. If dishes are put away, laundry started, me dressed, and breakfast done, then when they get up I can focus on them.
After Elyse and Julia leave, Jayden and Ari usually get up first, then Delta and Emma Beth, then Katia. This trickle is easy to deal with. Pin It

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Preschool Co-op

Last school year I started a co-op for preschool. It consisted of 6 families. We chose a curriculum to follow (The Complete Daily Curriculum for Early Childhood and the letter books from and then traded off the home to have it at each week. We met twice a week and a helper mom would stay to help with crowd control.
This year we are doing somewhat the same thing. We are integrating a workbook and phonics and using the activities not used last year in the lesson plans. We are also not having the helper mom stay at the home, but she will help with the younger children. Yes, this is mainly for me. Today I taught for one of the sick moms and my helper mom took all three of the little girls to her house. This was quite nice of her. She has one little girl at home who is 1 yo. Her and Katia played together while Emma and Delta were bounced.
My main reason for starting a co-op was to help Jayden get out of his comfort zone and go to other places without me. I was quite worried this year as Jeanette won't be there any of the times. But he did great the first day and even let another mom help him get to the house so I didn't have to take him the whole way. I was excited.
The other reason was the cost. Other than supplies needed, it is free. It costs time and art supplies. This is a great deal compared to $60-$85 a month.
I have enjoyed this and it has helped me not miss teaching school the last 2 start of school seasons. Maybe it's because I get to use the new crayons. Pin It

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Breakfast Dinners

Breakfast is my favorite meal. I love pancakes, french toast, waffles, and, especially, EGGS! I love it so much that once a week we have breakfast for dinner.
But sometimes the sweetness can get to me. So there are a few things that I like to make to switch things around.

Egg Burritos
I scramble up some eggs and add some meat (sausage or such), tomatoes, green chillies, and some spices (salt, pepper, chili powder, ans sometimes garlic salt). Then I cook them in the pan until cooked to the desired consistency. Then I warm up some tortillas, get out the salsa, sour cream, onions, and cheese. Then I let everyone put their burritos together, and we chow down.

A new recipe we have tried special for Julia, the German fan, is German Pancakes. They are quite simple.

German Pancakes

I use a 9x13 glass baking pan. Put 3 TBLS of butter in the pan and put the pan in the oven. Preheat to 450. In the mixer ---- 6 eggs, 1 cup of flour, a handful of sugar, 1 cup of milk and 1/2 tsp. salt. Mix until well mixed and fluffy. Pour into the preheated pan and bake for 20 minutes. This will puff up around the edges. Serve with fruit or your favorite syrup.

And the other great favorite, but a longer prep dish, is Country Brunch Skillet. It is a one dish meal with all the jazz.

Country Brunch Skillet

1 lb bacon
6 plus cups frozen hash browns ( I like the one with all the peppers and stuff, other wise I add green pepper and onion).
salt and pepper
6 plus eggs
1/2 plus cheese

In a large skillet over med heat, cook the bacon. remove and crumble, then set aside. Drain all but a bit of the grease. Add the hash browns and salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, the cover and cook stirring occasionally until the hash browns are browned. (about 15 minutes) Make wells in the hash browns for the eggs. Break an egg in each well. Cover and cook on low heat for about 8 minutes, until the eggs are done. Sprinkle with cheese and bacon.

Not all of the kids like this meal, but it adds variety.

Happy Cooking!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Manners FHE

Last night we had a fun Family Home Evening. I recently purchased a book for Katia titled Polite as a Princess.

While reading it I noticed that there are a few things that our family doesn't do very well. So I decided that we should have a FHE on the subject.
I started by reading the book to them. Then we did a quiz I found in the New Era called How to Pass the Pass the Potatoes Test.

Then we did a crossword puzzle.

Here are some other links that I used for this lesson.

Mind Your manners

Idea List Pin It

Monday, September 1, 2008

Laundry Chaos

There are a few home management items that have to be done on a regular basis. One of these is laundry. It can be all consuming. It can pile up. It can make us crazy. The one thing I hate is to want to wear something, only to have it missing. Where could it be? Under the bed? In a drawer? On the chair? In the laundry?
As our family has grown and I have gone from working mom to stay at home mom, the way to deal with laundry has changed.
When I was working and there were only 3 children, I would do a load of laundry in the morning, change it at lunch, and fold it at night. I would do this three days a week and was able to keep up.
Then when I was at home taking care of the family, I had a wash day. I would gather all the laundry and sort, wash, dry, and fold it all in one day. It would be done and not worried about until the next week.
This worked until we had Katia. Then I was doing laundry until until 9:00 one night and decided that we needed 2 wash days. While I was pregnant with Emma and Delta I only had until about 2pm until I couldn't do anymore. I switched to doing the wash every day. This has worked out great and doesn't overwhelm me any more.
What I do is every morning I sort the laundry until I have a full load. I purchased the spring laundry baskets and sort them in red, blues, towels, and lights. The little girls things go in one load along with gentle cycle items. These clothes get put in a hamper in their bedroom. I also purchased a laundry hamper to go in each bedroom and in the bathroom down stairs. Then I wash it and see if there is another load that is full enough to be washed that day.
Now laundry is one of the first things I do each day. While it is washing, I will do my other morning routine items and then it is ready to be switched. One thing I have decided is that I will not start a load after 12:00 noon. If I do then laundry takes to much of the afternoon. I like this time to read to Jayden and Katia, or watch a movie or play a game with them.
Folding the clothes is one thing that has been a trial. I like to watch movies. So I would bring the basket of clothes up stairs and fold them in front of the TV. This worked well with 4 kids and I was rewarded for my efforts by a fun movie (like Pride and Prejudice). Now that there are 3 more, the couches and floor would be covered and it would take forever to put away. I now fold the laundry in the laundry room. I have a place that I hang everyones clothes and piles for each person's items. Then they are in charge of putting their own things away. I do put away Tony's and my things, along with the little girls things and whatever Jayden can't put away him self.
If I still have laundry needing folded after the kids come home, then I have them help to fold them.
I also have the kids help keep the laundry moving along. Before Delta and Emma were born, everyone learned to do laundry so that they could help our family in this way. Pin It


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