Thursday, December 31, 2009

Let it Snow!

Yay, it finally snowed! We played to the background music of giggles and squeals and calls of "I got you!" and "Ha ha, you missed me!". And to think I was going to stay inside and enjoy some quiet, "me time". What I would have missed!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life from a Four Year Old's Perspective

A few days before Christmas I let Zach get snap happy with my camera. This is life in our house through his eyes:

Dad and Noelle's Mario Kart Wii tournament

Our Nativity Set

His Really Really Big Present!

His messy room.

His mommy knitting desperately to get done in time for Christmas.

His quickly growing feet.


His charming personality. ;o)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Christmas Kitten

Those of you who know us well may be surprised that we have acquired our very own Christmas kitten (well, day-after-Christmas-kitten, close enough). We were surprised too by our forlorn, shivering and very skinny visitor. Such a pathetic little creature as this was bound to find a place in our hearts despite Joel's quite vocal opinions about cats. To be fair, I have not been much of a cat person myself in recent years but this little one captured my heart and I knew with absolute certainty that if I did not bring it inside immediately it was going to die. If not from starvation or the freezing cold, then from the coyotes who have been frequenting the area. After my mom and I attempted to grab the cat it ran and crammed itself into the corner of our trash can enclosure. I ran inside to ask Joel (my hero) to help me get the poor thing out and the rest is history!

Our last cat, Coal, lost his place in our family when in a completely overwhelming period of my life I made the declaration, "If one more living creature demands something from me or causes me to clean up another bodily fluid I am going postal!!! Someone has to go!". I gave Joel the ultimatum, either the dog or the cat must go, so, the cat went. Now before I get hate mail from the cat people out there, I would like to explain that Coal was sent to live with my brother who is the ultimate and most awesome of animal lovers! He could appreciate every nuance of Coal's quirky (to put it mildly) behavior. When my brother had to move, Coal was granted a temporary home with my parents and has quite happily lived there ever since. I was wonderfully granted some measure of peace. In my defense, at that time I had become the mother of a 2 year old and a new born and gone through our 2 year old daughter's open heart surgery within the space of three months. Pets were very low on my priority list.

Anyway, fast-forward to December 26th, 2009. I was in a much better place to take on another cat. In fact, with my children growing up before my very eyes, I am enjoying the chance to nurture another "baby" (he/she--we still have not made a positive identification of the furry nether regions-- is approximately 8 weeks old). Of course the kids are over the moon about our new kitty and there was much celebration when none of our neighbors claimed him/her. So our last few days have been filled with they joys of litter box training, cat/dog/kid introductions and lots of scratches on my hands, ouch! We are trying to come up with names for the cat now. Zach wants to call it Cutie, Noelle wants Butterfly or Sparkles, and I am partial to Socks. Joel's name ideas shall not be mentioned, this is a family friendly blog after all.
I am open to suggestions... any brilliant ideas out there?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New (to us) Piano

Recently my MIL generously bought us a piano on Craig's List! She is a piano teacher so she had the expertise to know a good deal when she saw one! We are so thankful and I am looking forward to years of making music in our home.
Joel claims to be forever mentally scarred from being forced to listen to his mom's students play piano all day, every day (poor baby!) but I feel so blessed to be able to provide this opportunity for my own children. I was able to take piano lessons for only a few months as a child and then because of my family's financial difficulties and a move to a new town, I was not able to take lessons again. My eight year old little heart was terribly sad but I tried not to let on since things were so hard for my parents already. I know that they both worked very hard to provide a home and our basic necessities and I am grateful for that. My childhood experiences make the addition of this piano to our home that much sweeter! What a joy it is to know that our children will have a chance to learn music at such a young age.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ahhhh, Christmas Vacation

Settling in for a long winter's nap.
It doesn't get much better than this! Joel is baking his famous bread and watching his beloved Cougs play basketball, I'm knitting a new project and the kids are fast asleep after snuggles, Christmas stories and carols. I love nothing more than being home with my family. I feel grateful and content. We are blessed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Cold Out on the Farm!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful! Really! It has only been getting up to the 20s during the day and in the single digits at night. Brrrrr. Unfortunately we still have the same heating situation as last year. Our system switches to "auxiliary heat" when it gets below 36 degrees or so and that extra heat source is the expensive oil tank that we decided not to fill this year. So we are operating with space heaters and a nice infrared heater that Joel's mom helped us buy. Even with all that we have to live with the fact that this is a drafty, old farmhouse! Our choice, I know, but the realization doesn't make it any warmer! ;0)
I'm looking forward to a balmy 40 degrees on Saturday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon Mania

Matinee movie ticket... $7.00.
Popcorn & licorice... $0.00 (mooched off my friends).
Hearing the collective female intake of breath upon the shirtless state of a certain werewolf...

Loved the movie and was NOT disappointed! ;0)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I couldn't be more excited!

It's silly really, but I cannot wait to see New Moon with my best pal and her mom this Saturday! What a great way to reward myself after a really stressful and busy week at work!

What's even sillier is how many times I have now read the entire Twilight series. I think it's too embarrassing to admit! Then you will all know that I really don't have a life!

So, what are you looking forward to this week?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Artisan Bread

A couple of years ago Joel found a fantastic recipe for artisan bread in Mother Earth News magazine. I don't know about you but I'm a bread lover and it doesn't get much better than a piping hot loaf of crusty goodness! Fortunately, I have this great husband who loves to bake bread since I am baking impaired (well, to be truthful, I don't really apply myself to baking; too much mess to deal with).
I'm also not a good "how to" blogger so I'll give you a little visual tour of the process and then you can check out the specifics here!

The ingredients are pretty basic.

You let the dough rise in dutch ovens with plastic wrap on them for at least 8 hours, preferably 12 hours until it's all sticky and bubbly on top.
Dust with flour, cover with towel and let rise 1-2 hours. NO kneading required!
Cover and bake.
Mmmmm... go ahead, you know what to do next!

Friday, November 6, 2009

R U Ready to ROCK!!!!

We went to the Skillet concert for Joel's birthday and they were amazing. Skillet puts on such a good show! Inspiring, passionate music that freakin' ROCKS! The only downside was putting up with the obnoxious moshers on the floor. Perhaps I'm a bit too old for the mosh pit you say? Nah, it was totally worth it to get up close!

And thanks to our dear friend Becky, we had an awesome, kid-free date night!

Because we are super special (and paid lots of extra money) we earned the dubious title of "VIP" and as such were herded like cattle onto the floor to participate in the Q&A session. Interesting, but hardly worth the extra cash, not to mention the 45 minute loooong wait outside in the cold. I felt a bit like a NSVIP (not so very important person)! Joel and Zach actually got some face time with the band on Friday morning at a meet n' greet at the Red Letter Book and Cafe. Zach got a t-shirt signed by the band and Joel said they were quite impressed with Z's curly locks. I just asked Z what he liked most about meeting Skillet and after a thoughtful pause, his response was, "They gave me a high-five!".
This girl was an incredible drummer!
And this guy rocked the violin!
Who are these crazed Skillet fans???? Our friends, Rhonda & Rob! Rob is a maniac when it comes to getting the best seat in the house! They were right up front and center against the rail. You crazy kids! Thanks for all the great pictures guys!
Here's a little taste of what's cookin' in the Skillet!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Catching up on fall...

I'm a bit behind on my family updates! We've had a lot of fun!

Squash Harvest

Corn Maze (See our fearless leaders! I of course was hopelessly lost!)

Happy Halloween!

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye!

When we went costume shopping Noelle told me "I'm so tired of fairies and princesses! Can I have a transformers costume like Zach?". How could I say no? ;0) She was so proud of her tough girl costume!

Zach's preschool party! I was so glad to be able to get away from work for a few minutes to surprise Zach at his party. Here he is telling his beloved Miss Robin about his costume!

Preschool Pumpkin Patch (still fun even though he has dozens of pumpkins at home!).

Our fun trick or treating group in the Quinn's neighborhood. We had a great time!

And last, but certainly not least... we had an Elvis sighting! He was a bit shorter than expected.