Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hadley is 6!

Another birthday post. I need to get these in before Christmas hits!

Hadley turned 6 a couple weeks ago.On he birthday we went shopping with the money from Grandma Freeze and Great-Grandma Ellingson. Hadley had fun picking out clothes and shoes and then we went to the food court to eat. Hadley's choice was Chinese food.

After hearing about a "Hadley" Barbie (that she got for her birthday) and playing on the Barbie website, Hadley decided she wanted to have a Barbie party. Other than the invitation having the Barbie logo on it, the party was not much different than any girl birthday party.

We started off colouring Barbie colouring pages - I think they would have been happy doing this for the whole 2 hours, then we did a little dress-up relay race. Next up was making bracelets with my vast bead collection from the days of "Cute Like Me." While I finished up the bracelets, my Mom helped the girls play a little game with nail polish. Next was cake, then presents, then home time. Fun.

- informed me that she doesn't really like toys, so she just wants clothes for Christmas
- doesn't like Barbies, but does like the ones named Hadley
- likes to be in control and gets upset when things don't go how she wants.
- does not like getting her hair brushed.
- loves to make "crafts" - that she thinks up and makes
- doesn't like to clean up messes from her creations
- loves to colour and paint
- loves to read and does it well.
- loves to sing and perform on stage. She is going to be Gretyl in the upcoming town play of  "The Sound of Music"
- is very cautious - she takes her time learning new things. John talked her into riding a two-wheeler this summer and she can do it, but is scared - especially after taking a nasty fall.
- is very social and loves talking to people
- enjoys being involved and in the center of what's going on.
- gets excited about the simplest things - like learning something new at school and telling me about it.
- is in skating and can now skate on her own and get up on her own.
- is kind and good at solving problems that arise with having siblings.
- loves wearing make-up - but I only let her when she needs it on stage.
- tries to be nice and help others be happy.

Happy Birthday Hadley! I love you!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Brian and Elijah are 4!

Wow. I can't believe Brian and Elijah are 4 now. They are so fun and have so much fun playing with each other every day. So much so, that I hardly see them it seems - they just go downstairs and play play play.

They had their birthday just 5 days after Sam. Show Choir choreography was in full swing, and John had to work all day, so we had a little "party" during the High School football game break. We had hot dogs and chips (by request) and I attempted to make them a cake to their specifications. They wanted a white cake with strawberries on it. Luckily they were thrilled with their little party and had a great day. It might have helped that they had Uncle Michael to play with that morning.

- loves Spiderman - he'll dress up as him almost daily.
- still loves Diego
- is super sweet and loves to share.
- loves dark blue and has to use the dark blue ikea plastic dishes if they are clean.
- dresses himself everyday. His favourite outfit is his "motorcycle pants" (dark blue jeans with a motorcycle on the pocket - they have humoungous holes in the knees now but I don't have the heart to chuck them quite yet) and spiderman shirt
- also prefers to wear his cream colored wind-breaker "white jacket". I'll let him if it's not too cold.
- has a favourite pair of shoes too - black pumas that I got from a friend. I guess he's quite particular about his attire!
- loves macaroni and frequently asks for it for breakfast - I make him wait till lunch
- loves hockey and can now skate well enough to hit a puck with his stick.
- loves motorcycles and asked for one for Christmas - "a real one that kids can ride"
- likes coloring and cutting anything with scissors.
- has an infectious laugh and likes to make people laugh
- has a special stuffed cat and blankie

- loves cars - anything to do with cars.  He loves the Cars movies and anything to do with them too.
- loves playing car racing games on the xbox and usually beats me.
- often will let Brian win a race on the xbox without telling him. 
- loves the color yellow and uses the yellow ikea dishes to eat as often as possible.
- learned how to ride a two-wheeler this summer and loves it.
- loves chips and could easily eat a whole bag on his own.
- loves his blankie
- has a loud cry and a tender heart
- loves babies - especially Sam
- loves Ironman and Spiderman - but because Spiderman is more of Brian's domain, Elijah has claimed Ironman as his "thing"
- loves hockey and was excited to skate on his own.
- asked Santa for a yellow Ferrari race car for Christmas
- can recognize most makes of cars - at least most of the "cool" ones.

I love these boys so much and am so happy that I was blessed with twins. Now that they sleep through the night and are potty-trained, I would say twins are easier than a single because they just entertain themselves - there are probably more fights to break up though......

Happy 4th Birthday to you boys!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Sam is 1!

It's been birthday central over here. All of our kids were born in November and December. Kind of crazy.

I'll start with Sam's cause he was first at the beginning of November. We let him open his present the day before his birthday cause we were at John's parents house and weren't sure what kind of "party" Sam would be getting on his birthday because of Show Choir choreo. He loved his little train. One-year-old's are sure easy to please.

On his birthday, I must have gotten a wave of ambition (or guilt from being busy with Show Choir), so I found a printable banner and cupcake toppers and had some fun. No one was coming for the celebration, but it was still fun to make it special for Sam - even though he has no clue what a birthday is.

My parents did come over before bedtime to give Sam his present.

Here's a little Sam update:
- he is such a goof. He loves to laugh and has a super fun personality.
- he now walks - he took a few steps here and there when he was 12 months, but now at 13 months he is walking about 50% of the time.
- he is still nursing just for bedtime and naptime .....and whenever he wakes up at night. I tried weaning around Show Choir performance time, he was doing well, but then revolted. We'll try again sometime.....maybe after Christmas......
- he "says" - "hi Dad", "bye", "mom mom", "dad da", and signs "more" - he might be saying more things, but I'm always slow to agree that what he's saying are actual words. I'm a skeptic I guess.
- he does not like to sit still at church - or anywhere really. Sacrament meeting is in the challenging - how can we distract Sam for one hour - stage.
- Sam loves sweets. He can down a pack of fruit snacks in about 30 seconds. He must be my son.
- he can go down and up stairs with no problems. Yeah!
- he loves animals and likes to give Oma's dog kisses. Cute, but kind of gross.
- he loves to be outside and cries whenever he sees someone leave without him.
- he loves playing with cars and pushes them around making a noise.
- he has 7 teeth. 4 on top and 3 on the bottom. Not sure where the 4th bottom one is.....
- he loves his Dad and loves to greet him when he comes home from work.
- he has one 1-2 hour nap in the middle of the day and goes to bed between 7 and 8.
- he is very easy going and happy most of the time - unless he's tired, poopy, or hungry.

I sure love Sam and have been way more relaxed with child #4. I think the more kids you have, the more rules and expectations you throw out the window.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Sam! (over a month ago).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas/New Year's Card

I just made our yearly "card". I made it a New Year's card in case I don't get them sent out in time for Christmas. I love it and Shutterfly had LOTS of different templates to choose from. I love it.

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas printable

I've been trying to use/print/create things that I've found on pinterest. That way I don't feel like I'm wasting my time as much.

I found this the other day and tried to go to the link, but it was to a blog that was private. Bummer.

So, I decided to make my own.

And then I even printed it off and framed it. I love it.

If you love it too, click here to download your own to print

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Halloween......a little late

I'm going to attempt to catch up a bit's our Halloween!

Brian loves Spiderman and wanted to be him for Halloween. Elijah wanted to be a car. We were going to make them costumes, but John found costumes on sale, so he just bought some. Luckily Elijah was happy to be Ironman. Hadley changed her mind several times for what she wanted to be. She dressed up as a Mom for school, and then a giraffe for trick-or-treating. Sam was a dragon. He loved it I'm sure.

We let the kids go trick-or-treating by themselves on our street, but soon John followed them around to take pictures. They loved it.

After going up and down our street, we stopped at my parent's house and then went to Stirling to John's parents. The kids had a great Halloween and all the candy is finally gone!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

ten on tuesday

1. Oh my heck! Life has been a little crazy around here. Show Choir practice is in full force with choreo every day. I taught my first song and it went a lot better than I expected. Just one more to teach on Friday - hopefully it turns out ok.

2. Hadley has decided that she would like to shower every morning. Fine by me. She does it all herself, I just have to get the temperature right. It's fun seeing her growing up and becoming more independent.

3. Sam turned 1 yesterday. I will post that sometime soon with an update about him. I'm weaning him and it is going a lot better than I thought. Yeah!

4. It is Brian and Elijah's birthday on Saturday. Luckily there is a show choir break for the football game, so we should be able to squeeze a little party in there somewhere.

5. Last week I got an email about a buy 1 get 2 photobooks free code. So, I decided to finally take advantage of one of these deals. I just did the last year for all the boys, then I'm going to do Hadley's last year with a coupon for Shutterfly from my sister. Thanks Jo! The books came together relatively quickly, and I had to try to curb my perfectionism so I could actually get it done before the code expired, but I think they turned out cute.

6. We finally did family pictures. We hadn't done them for 3 years, so we desperately needed an update. Luckily we made friends with a new family in our ward who has a nice camera and we took each other's pictures. Unfortunately it was a very windy chilly day, so it didn't go as well as hoped. We didn't get individuals of the kids done there because the kids were all crying from coldness, so after a little break at home I snapped a few with our not-as-fancy camera - I just had to bribe the kids with chocolate milk. I knew that if I didn't take the pictures right then when they were all dressed up for it, the picture-less frames on our wall would remain picture-less for who knows how long - and they actually turned out ok.

7. I'm tired.

8. life is crazy.

9. I'm going to go to bed soon

10. just after I watch some "Modern Family" and chillax.......good night!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

thrifty clothes

I am extremely frugal when it comes to clothing. It is so easy to find inexpensive clothes, that I can't bring myself to spend more than $10 on any one item. Just for fun (and because I was curious.....and a nerd), I calculated how much my entire wardrobe cost. I didn't add in my pjs, underwear, or my 2 grad dresses and wedding dress (although I was pretty cheap there too). I also didn't add in one skirt and shirt and one hoodie because John bought me them and I don't know how much they cost (more than I would spend of course).

The grand total was........$350.

35 shirts
6 jeans
1 dress pants
3 shorts

Now, I had to guess on some of the stuff, but knowing myself and that everything was either on sale or free, I pretty much knew how much everything was.

I probably shouldn't be proud of this number, but I am. I love finding good deals and seeing how much I've saved makes me happy.

We live on a pretty tight budget, so I need to be like this out of necessity, but it is also the way I was raised. My mom always shopped at the thrift stores for clothes. When asked where she got something that she was wearing, she would say, "from my store." She still shops there for clothes even though her budget can afford otherwise.

I may not be the most stylish person around, but I don't care much about being fashionable.....hence, I am happy about having a $350 wardrobe.....

Anyway, here are some things I do to cut costs of dressing me and my family:

1. I buy all my jeans used (unless they are on sale for a reasonable (<$10) price). They are usually between $4 and $7 a pair and if I think to shop on the 50% off days, I could save even more. I don't usually buy other clothes at thrift stores unless it is a 50% off day because I find that I can get stuff new for close to the same prices.

2. I watch for sales at Old Navy and anywhere else online. Shipping is free if you spend over $50 and you can get stuff for pretty cheap.

3. Sometimes when I'm in Calgary I check Old Navy (now we have on here too, yipee!) and H&M, cause they both have cute cheap clothes. I also check Children's Place in the mall sometimes too - they have good end of season sales.

4. I check the sales racks at superstore whenever I get groceries (if I have time and the kids are happy.) Superstore often has clothes on sale and at really good prices (<$10 - I wait until t-shirts are under $5) and their kids' stuff is super cute.

5. I check garage sales/used clothing sales/community clothing exchanges/kijiji/freecycle for free or super cheap cute clothes.

This weekend there is a used clothing/toys sale put on by the Twins and Triplets Club in Lethbridge. I have always found great deals there and love that everything is organized together instead of separate tables for each vendor. It's from 9-1 on Sat at the Boys and Girls Club in Lethbridge.

Do you have any other tips?

Monday, October 10, 2011

mock raspberry green tomato jam

I found this recipe a while ago and was very curious about it. We have a slew of green tomatoes, so there wasn't much to lose. Here is the recipe I found from this blog:
2 1/2 cups green tomatoes, grated or chopped well in a blender
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 (3 oz.) package of raspberry or strawberry Jello
 Cook tomatoes and sugar on medium heat for 20 minutes uncovered. Turn down heat. Add Jello and cook until Jello is dissolved. Pour in sterilized jars or freezer containers. Stores in the fridge a couple of weeks and in the freezer about 6 months. Makes 2-3 pints.
Here's my documentation of my jam production.....

cast of characters (I'm feeling very Pioneer Woman-ish today).....very complex, I know... 
blend/chop some green tomatoes - I did around 2.5 cups

then it looks like this:


heat on medium heat for 20 min

I heated it for 20 min, but then it started boiling, so I cooked it for about 2 more min....just in case it was supposed to boil....but I don't know if that's necessary....

It smelled kind of weird, and looked very gross...

pour in the jello packet and stir until dissolved.

now it's looking (and smelling) a little better...

pour into sterilized jars

and enjoy

I tried really hard to like this jam. I just couldn't do it. I think that if I didn't make it, I could eat it though. I could taste the smell of what it smelled like when it was green mushy stuff boiling on the stove. Nasty. It was a minor aftertaste, but there was enough of it that it almost made me gag.

John and all of the kids thought it was yummy though, and Hadley now asks for "the jam that you made" on her toast.

I won't ever make it again just cause we don't eat a ton of jam and I don't like it....but if you are not a picky jam eater and have a bunch of green tomatoes, it's worth a shot!

Friday, October 7, 2011

fake ideals

My brother posted a link to this video on our family facebook group and asked us for our thoughts. It's about the portrayal of women in the media and how it affects us. I thought it was very interesting and made me think a lot about how I feel about myself and my appearance. There are two parts to the video and it's about 40min total - definitely worth the watch.

This portrayal of women is everywhere. It really is impossible to escape. While watching this, I was reminded how happy I am that we don't have tv - we just have netflix. I'm by no means anti-tv, but I am grateful that we don't have commercials playing in our home every day. Too bad we can't just live in a bubble.  

I might write more about my thoughts on this's late and my brain isn't working.

For those of you with working brains, what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

zoo day

John had another follow-up appointment in Calgary with his shoulder surgeon. He's back to full-time work and everything looks good. Yeah!

We decided to take advantage of him getting a day off and mileage paid for, so we hit up the zoo. We cashed in some airmiles to get the tickets, so the expedition was almost free.....except for the overpriced food at the zoo.

It was super cold

So we went to the butterfly conservatory and rainforest first

the lens kept fogging up

 The kids were getting tired, so John led them on a dinosaur hunt.

explaining that she was just pretending to get bitten by the dinosaur

luckily we found this cart - we wouldn't have seen everything if we didn't

John enjoyed the cart a little too much maybe - he rode it down a few hills (with 3 kids in there somewhere too)

back to looking at animals...



looking down at gorillas


park pit-stops...

look Mom - no hands! - haha

she's got her hands mean pouch

Sadly, this is the only photo graphical evidence of my existence on this zoo trip......