Friday, August 14, 2009

Nature's Bounty

I realized that I hadn't posted any pics of our garden veggies so here is what we harvested this afternoon.
Those are our very first cherry tomatoes and they are delicious!



And here we have our "weird, very pale, are they ever gonna get green/orange and turn round?" pumpkins. AKA spaghetti squash (after an internet search to confirm a hunch). Yeah - we have thrown many seed in the garden spot over the year to see if they would sprout. They actually did!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The latest project...




A Patio!

First Bath

Other assorted pics

Love that baby!



Megan



Made some nursing bracelets! The charm tells you when you last fed the little one, and you switch wrists as you switch sides.



Now we have two dipe cases for the diaper bag so we know whose is whose!




So bad...

Well, haven't posted since MARCH!!! I hadn't thought it was that long. So I posted a few pics for you - kept it to one per month that I missed so as not to overwhelm you! Why didn't we update for so long? Well, I was ornery and mad and couldn't think of anything nice to say. I'm done now. Plus - being super pregnant with your fourth is a lot - at least for me it was. So now I'm done with that too. Hopefully we'll be better from now on! Love these videos of the two babies!

Why we keep the door closed...

Bobbin' Love

No, not for a Bernina - just a funny Lauren giving her sib some love!

Kisses

Lauren kisses by clicking her tongue. She loves her baby sister!

April 17th - Walking! and Walking Part Deux


Meet Megan

Again, old news for you facebook folks...
Here is a link to the album with Megan's pics in it...
Hopefully it works!

And so I don't forget...
Birth Details...
Contractions started at 4AM Sunday (the 12th) morning. Just like painful (but manageable) irregular Braxton Hicks and a constant backache. Toward evening things started to become more "normal" for me - real contractions. We started to call people like crazy to line up babysitters since we were only at 38 weeks and our planned babysitter was still in Albuquerque. (That is a ridiculous word to spell). We left for the hospital and arrived just a few minutes after 2 AM Monday the 13th.I was dilated to a 4 and about 80% effaced. I labored in the tub with the jets for a while and about 4AM I was dyin' and wondering if we shouldn't just do the epi. I mean my labors have been 6, 4 and 9 hours. I should have been done by then! And I had no clue how much longer I was going to have to do this - I was exhausted! We did try to get a saline bag in (prep for epi) but it popped and I figured it was a sign and we should just grin and bear it. We held out and had my bag popped and within the hour Megan was here! I was so eager to push that girl out - I went ahead before we were even ready. The nurse said I was almost a 10 - I just had a lip of cervix. She said if I wanted to I could push with a contraction and she would try and get rid of it. Um, yes please! So we did and then we pushed (had to do a couple full pushes and a couple of half pushes for shoulders and the inevitable cord wrapped around my baby). So... she was born at 6:06AM on the 13th - she'll have Friday the 13th birthdays! Her APGARS were both 8s (knocked down from 10s for her lovely purple color - Denver only has 9s anyway since we're so high). 19", 7lb 14.3oz, 13.5" head circum. A negative blood and so we had to watch her bili levels since I'm O positive. I let Rick pick the middle name - giving him the choice between Emaline, Erika and Brigitte (my middle name). He liked Brigitte best and so there you have it! Megan Brigitte Bair!

The bunnies


If you're on facebook you'll recognize these as the babies stuck in our window well. TINY!!! Two were later found decapitated by a cat in the backyard and buried in shallow graves by the kiddos (unbeknownst to us!). Later moved to a more suitable site by Daddy.

Slip 'n' Slide Summer fun



Fourth of July




Love this last pose - they did it on their own and I had to be quick to snap it!

The yearly Rockies game - June





Locks of Love - in memory of Mara


May 2009 - in catching up I'm being lazy so you'll have to turn your head...

Making applesauce

April 2009

St. Patrick's day


And please notice the water bottle that Ashlyn is holding! The kids were amazed and astounded when the clear lemonade in the pitcher magically became green when poured into her water bottle for lunch. :) (Put a few drops of food coloring in the bottom!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Preview

This week brought a great opportunity for me to share a bit of our Spring preschool program when Nathan started telling me about the "big people" song he learned and would like to sing for me.  I shot a quick video on the camera for all of you who don't get to come see the kids perform at their preschool programs (which would be all of you!).  


Isn't he cute?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Checkups

Time for shots and checkups!  We took Nathan in for his 4 y.o. appt. and Lauren in for her 1 year.
Here's the breakdown:

Lauren (cuz I know you are as anxious to see how she's doing as I was!)
Weight:  19lb 13.2 oz,   25%  Woo-hoo!  Nice comeback from 3%, huh?
Height: 76.5 cm (not sure we're in metric here? ~30in for those stateside),   100%  Ha!  Take that!
Head:  45 cm, 44%
Temp: 98.6F
BMI: 2.38
Pulse: 132
Oxygen: 93
:)  I know you want it all!

Nathan
Weight:  40lb,   74%
Height: 44.5in,   98%
Blood Pressure:  102/52
Temp: 98.6F
BMI: 14.20, 8%
Pulse: 108
Oxygen: 100
The doctor also mentioned that though Nathan looks slim, not to worry!  His weight is all muscle.  Well, I can't say that I've ever worried about these kids (barring L) being too slim, but it's nice to know he's nice and healthy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And about the recipes...

And about the recipe blog - I'm working on it slowly so be patient with me.  It's a lot to type!  It's not exhaustive, just my absolute favorites.  :)
Quickies:
You can check my Coverwear site to find the new March sale info - Black is on sale for $10!

If you and I are Facebook buddies you already know... but I made a new blog just for me to keep track of my recipes.  You are obviously more than welcome to pop over and take a peek.  Currently it's not a cooking blog with photos and such - just a way for me to categorize and keep track of my favorites!  My dream is to have a laptop in the kitchen and then just open it to the blog, find the recipe I need and not have to find a recipe card, jot anything down or print anything out.  :)  
You should be able to see it in my profile - but it's at erikascookbook.blogspot.com.

And I'm considering getting into freezer meals.  I was thinking about doing a swap but then again I'm picky so I'm not sure if I shouldn't just go crazy on my own.  We have some nice meat prices this week and I've picked up quite a few books from the library with recipes - we'll see how it goes.  The problems are:
  • many of the recipes are SO bad for you that I'm not sure I would be doing my family a favor by making them
  • my freezer is already full
  • I'm not sure if I can round up enough pans to put these in!  Some just can't be done in a freezer bag.

Anyway - we shall see!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 6th - a week or so later!

Today we finally made Lauren her "cake" and opened presents!  
I thought cupcakes would be the way to go with our little gal so we just arranged them into the number "1" and made some mini cupcakes out of the rest of the batter.
The candles spell out "The Big 1"

Yay Lauren - we made it!


March 6th - part 2

For dinner we went to Red Robin and gave Lauren our family's favorite ice cream and balloon bonanza!

 
Here is Lauren showing off her signing prowess - "More!"
 


And here is our favorite take-away - Red Robin balloons!  And, yes, it popped that same night!

March 6th Part 1

Since this Friday was Rick's off-Friday we had two appts in the morning, Lauren's 1st birthday dinner and a school event for Ashlyn.  Busy day! 
So for our first update of the day, we have Ashlyn's school art show (sorry - no pics of the dr. appt or my haircut!).  Ashlyn was chosen as one of a dozen or so Art students from her elementary school to participate in a district art fair this year.  The artist appreciation evening started at 5 so we headed over before Lauren's dinner to see Ashlyn's artwork! 
This was Ashlyn's "Forest Drawing".
Yay for our artist!
  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yup - that kind of mom


Today is the last day of school before Valentine's Day - and Ashlyn's class is having a party (their last of the year).  I'm sure I will inevitably embarass her one day - but I love her and I think - at least in 1st grade - it'll make her day.  So we have some Valentine's M&Ms and Nerds and pb&j cut into 3 hearts and 2 luscious lips!  Along with a raisin/Craisin mix.

And to impress all the other parents we have concocted a heart-do.  :)  Cute eh?
  

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hey, hey, hey

Well, here's some good news!  Rick heard last week that the first round of layoffs occured last week.  And since we knew nothing about it that means we still have a job!  At least until the fall when we have Round #2.  Yay.

On the family front:
Miss Patti is now approved for the new zoning for her preschool (Nathan has been on hiatus due to these issues) and will be meeting soon to figure out if she needs any updates or changes to her school in order to start up again.  Maybe we'll have preschool again by March?  Nathan has also been having more playdates with his buddies and just loving it!

Rick is trying to find a certified welder to stitch-weld our support beams together downstairs.  We had a bunch of burly men over, was it last Saturday?, who helped lift 550 lb of steel overhead where it now is bolted on to our old I-beam.  We were amazingly grateful to have so much help.  When the guys at church are asked to come out for a move it seems as if you are lucky to get five guys out.  Lifting a beam is not like a move - it won't take longer with less help, it just won't happen.  We figured we needed at least 10 people to come over or they wouldn't be able to lift it.  Rick had 2 co-workers come by (who don't live even remotely close to us - thanks Dave and Matt!) and had so many other guys come by to help that we literally had it up in seconds.  They were so fast that there were a handful of guys who showed up late and missed th show!  But they did come just in time for cinnamon rolls.  :)  As soon as the beams have been welded together we can remove the supports and Rick's hated lally column and we can continue working on the main area of the basement.  I think Rick plans on trying to finish up the back bedroom while he waits on welding.

Rick has been super fabuloso about getting to work by 7 so he can be home at 4:30.  I can't tell you how much that helps out my day!  If he's home after 5 it seems the evening is just shot.  (What would I do with a normal workweek?)  It's nonstop craziness from the time Ashlyn gets home and it seems if we don't eat by 5  then we don't get baths, family time, scriptures, prayers and such done without tears and frustration on all sides.  I really appreciate that he has been so good about getting up and out of here on time.

And on that note - I have been working to get this household running the way I would like.  We are making monthly trips to the thrift shop to donate our purged items and I'm organizing away trying to make things easier to find and use.  I am trying to find a nice schedule for kids/cooking/cleaning/etc that will let me do all the things I would like to do for my family.  I know it is possible and I like being able to work on this now and hope to be in a pretty good position by summer.

We've been trying to get out of homebody mode and have people over for dinner and games about every other weekend.  So far it's been really fun!  We really have been itching to break out Settlers of Catan.  Last week Carla and Mike creamed us (beginner's luck?) but the time before that I actually won!  This happens so rarely that I didn't even notice.  :)  Rick had to tell me that I'd collected enough points and the game was over.

Big plans for Valentine's Day - none.  :)  But Rick does have a meeting about 20-30 min away that morning for church.  What the Sunday School presidency needs regional meetings for I don't know.  And on Valentine's Day?

Ashlyn is a spelling genius.  She now has a pretest each Monday where they give her 10 words to spell sight unseen.  Friday is the post-test and she hasn't missed a Friday word yet!  Last week she was the only one in her class to do it!  Yay!  This week she missed "always" on the pretest - she used 2 "l"s.  And I think I'm over hating her school.  She has shown me that she is really doing well, choosing good things and making good decisions.  I couldn't ask for more.  She really is fabulous.

Lauren is still a mystery wrapped in an enigma.  We haven't had a weight check since 6 months (since her percentile went back up to 10 from 3) so I'm not sure how she's doing.  She is still having a bottle at night when she goes to bed, another around 11ish (at night) and sometimes one more early in the morning.  She doesn't like to drink much during the day.  She should be sleeping through the night  by this point but because of her weight issues in the past I am nervous to cut back her calories - no matter when she's taking them.  I realize that she will most likely start eating more in the day if we do cut her off at night, but I'm too scared that she won't and I am not brave.  In a month she has her 12 month check-up and I will need to see some good percentile numbers there before I think I will have the confidence to do it.  Or maybe the doc can just tell me it will be fine and then I can blame someone besides me if it doesn't work.  She's not walking, or cruising, or talking at this point.  She does love to stand and will walk holding your hands as long as you let her.  And then she will refuse to let go or sit down.   She can make a "number one" with her pointer finger (I love having that picture on their first birthdays) and she claps and will occasionally wave.  She loves to wiggle to music and turn pages in books (but not necessarily when you are finished with that page).  She is such a happy girl and loves her family so much.  She just lights up when she sees Daddy or Ashlyn come home and she loves to play with everyone.

That's it for us!  Hope you're well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tricky

video
Here we have, for your viewing pleasure....

Clapping! (or the sign for "more" - depending on if she is hungry or not)

Crawling? Well, not really.

video
But she is moving! I think this is what's called scooting, and she can do it at various speeds depending on how much she wants something.

I have no idea why it's tilted, so tilt your head to your left.

On to brighter things...


Lauren is actually now wearing outfits that I remember Ashlyn wearing (except Ashlyn walked in them and Lauren scoots in them.)


Nathan is showing you the wall where we will soon have coat/backpack hooks! Yay! We have some in the kids' room but it is much easier with school in session to have something right by the door. And, they seem to fill the pegs in their bedroom very quickly with many, many hang-able things. The things on the wall are Post-It flags to mark the studs so we know where we're headed!


The hook dealy isn't put together yet, I just painted and sealed it last night, but it's being assembled (hopefully) today! The hooks were just $2.50 in the Dollar Spot at Target - the board is just a 1"x4" from Home Depot cut to 24". Rick was going to run it through the router but I think plain looks lovely so that is what we're doing. Oh, and after finally finding out how boards can look so beautiful and rough around the edge - please add belt sander to my covet list.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And speaking of soup...

...that's what I'm making tonight. I'm also making bread bowls (why didn't it occur to me that you could make your own before I saw it on a blog?). I'm jumping the gun a little here but assuming that it will be so yummy that I'll need to share recipes with you.

The bread bowls are from mykitchencafe and the soup is from Lynette in my ward. Some of you know Lynette and if you do I'm sure you just ran off to find a pen and a recipe card. With only the information that it came from Lynette you know it will be splendiferous! And if you don't know her, I promise you'll love everything that she makes!

Now, I will probably crack open a can of chili or veggie soup for the unadventurous in our family (read "the boys") because the last time I made this only Ashlyn and I enjoyed it. Well, I'm not even sure if enjoyed was the right word - "were enraptured by" perhaps. Some moms only make things that their families like but that is not me. What kid would choose to try spinach or salmon unless it was pushed on them a few times? I figure I'm cooking so I'm going to make the things that I like. The same applies to the rest of the family though. I mean if I know that they like something I will make it for them even if I'm not the biggest fan. Things in that category would include boxed mac and cheese, and biscuits and gravy. Anyway.... here's the yummy stuff:

Mushroom Soup
2 lbs. sliced mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
1 tsp dill weed
3 tsp butter (I think this means 3 Tb - since a Tb is 3 tsp why wouldn't it just say 1 TB?)
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/4 cup flour
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup cream, warmed
salt & pepper to taste

Saute 1 lb mushrooms and chopped onion in butter. Add flour, and chicken broth - stirring constantly. Add dill, bouillon cubes and salt and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Blend in blender until thick liquid. Return to heat, add warmed cream, and remaining 1 lb mushrooms that have been sauteed or steamed. Serve with a sprinkle of jack and Parmesan cheese and dill weed.

Hope the bowls turn out!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why oh why...

...have I never blogged about my Minestrone Soup? I now cannot find the recipe ANYWHERE!!! Did I ever give it to you? Oh, I'm craving it!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Welcome Welcome!

So now we're all cozy and private.  :)  And it looks like the invite process is working!  For 14 of you anyway.  :)  Oh well, I am blessed to have 14 people who care what we are up to.
Not much is new - I still need to get to it and post pictures of the lovely laundry room for you.  I just go down there and well, there's laundry drying on the rack, more folded on the counter, bunches thrown in the sorting bins (I know, so weird, there's laundry in my laundry room!) and I think I need to tidy it up before I take the pictures.  :)  Silly Erika.  
I swear, this house is such a slow-moving project.  I would love a few thousand dollars to just fall from the sky and then I wouldn't feel a bit bad about paying someone to finish this puppy off!  Then I could go to Costco and blow lots of money on the beautiful chaise sectional that I covet so...
And for you, dear family, who are anxiously awaiting your holiday "Thank You" cards - I just need to find my stamps!  Besides it being nigh to impossible to coordinate my kids' schedules enough to go to the store it really bothers me to go and buy something that I KNOW I already have.  Ugh.
Let's see...  Rick took a vacation day (well, part of one - the rest of the hours he made up on a Saturday) to go and work a shift canning tomato soup at the church cannery.  How nice, huh?  I can't imagine how they expect working dads to do that, but "if not me, then who" I suppose.  And it allowed us to go and see how the process works.  Yes, that's "us".  We all ended up making the 45 minute drive (one-way).  (For those who don't know the cannery is out by the airport.)  I had planned on buying some wheat and powdered milk, so I thought Rick would be able to go and can it after his shift.  Well, he could, and he did.  But he didn't know they only took checks or cash.  He still doesn't own an ATM card so I drove out there with my 2 youngest to deliver the check book.  Fun fun.  No naps for anyone that day.  But now we have wheat, milk, powdered juice mix and Potato Pearls.  I keep hearing how fabulous those things are so I had to try some.  Hope they're good!  
While there I ran into a lady from Highlands Ranch who said she makes chocolate chip cookies with oatmeal, whole wheat flour and white flour.  I found some recipes online but I really want to know hers!  She made it sound so good!  2 cups oats is all I remember - I think 1 cup wheat flour.  So someone out in HR find her for me.  It should be easy.  Cute, teenage boys, blonde, drove an Audi, nicely dressed...   Can't be that many right?  (My WA friends - tongue in cheek.  This describes a large portion of the lovely Highlands Ranch.)
Oh, and I am now on the hunt for a pressure cooker!  Did you know you can can beans!?  I'm so excited.  We go through tons and I hate the planning involved with dry beans.  You stick dry beans in the jar with water and seasonings and can it!  I'm giddy!  All right.  Off to bed.  Enjoy your day!  And thanks for signing up!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

My new fave site

http://grocerycartchallenge.blogspot.com/
This gal feeds her family of 6 for $60 a week.  She posts her menu plans/recipes for breakfast and dinner each week along with her grocery receipts.  I love her!  
She actually lives in Longview, WA just by my uncle.  She shares really great ideas and she was the inspiration for my buying a whole chicken this week (cooking in the crock pot, picking off the meat and using the bones to make more broth - yeah I'm all domesticated now), along with these great rolls you see in the picture.
You can find the roll recipe here.  So nice to not have to worry about the dough - just use the dough cycle on your bread maker!  If you don't have one you can always pick one up at your Goodwill for $5.  Lots of people have good intentions and then never use them.  
FYI:  My dough cycle takes an hour and a half, then the dough needs to be shaped into rolls (I found you do this by stretching the middle smooth and tucking the ends underneath - so it looks like a wad of bubble gum with which you blew a bubble and then took it out of your mouth to show your friend that you're totally cool and yours is TOO bigger) and then let the rolls sit in a greased pan for 15 min.  They take 13 min. to cook.  Very doable if you start these 2 hours before dinner.
I have made these twice and the first time I let them sit for quite a while longer thinking that they needed to rise as large as I wanted my rolls to be before baking.  Not so!  Tonight I didn't have time for more than a 20 min. resting period and they still turned out big and fluffy - they were much smaller when I put them in the oven.  I also brushed with melted butter when I took them out this time as the tops were harder than I liked last time.
If you're curious about the soup - chop up a bunch of celery (I think I used 6 ribs this time) and throw it in your pot, chop up carrots and add until the ratio of green to orange looks good.  Then add some foul - turkey, chicken - again until it looks good.  I added onion as well.  Then add a bunch of water/stock.  I use a half and half ratio.  I add all water and then just add the appropriate amount of bouillion.  Again, add the liquid until it looks good.  If you are adding noodles add a little extra liquid.  I think I added 6-8 cups or so here.  Three generous cups dry eggs noodles then were dumped in.  Season as you like.  Salt and pepper is fine - I also dumped in Herbs de Provence and onion salt, poultry seasoning, parsley and celery salt.  Boil 20 min - or til your carrots are tender.  Done!

Historical Museum

Ma and Pa rustling up some supper. Ash made "healthy snacks" for the kids on the plates on the counter. Nathan cooked up some fish on the stove.

Blacksmith's shop

Running around on their horses outside the 1880s blacksmith shop. Ashlyn's was named "Jackson" and Nathan's varied between "John" and "Max".

Nathan asked "How do you turn this thing on?" so I told him he needed to hitch up his horse. Ashlyn obliged.


So embarrassing! Just as the farm worker walked past he heard this.
Mom: "What animal is that?"
Nathan/Ashlyn: "I don't know."
Nathan: "A no-lump camel?"
Seriously - my kids do know what a cow is. I think they like making me look like a bad mom in front of strangers. : )
(Worker walks off grinning to himself.)
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