Monday, January 25, 2010

Banana Muffins



We were overrun with over ripe bananas - so we decided to get to it and do some baking! We made 2 loaves of bread, and these banana muffins (which we doubled), which were a big hit with my girls!

Each weekday, I have time in my schedule to do something individually with each of my girls...it is a way for me to connect with each of them, focus on their strengths, and make see if there is anything they would like to talk about. I look forward to these times, and am glad they are set up on a regular basis, otherwise, we tend to not get to them. Today was Bailey's turn, and she choose to bake something with me - the abundance of bananas was a perfect place to start!

Banana Muffins
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2.Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
3.Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 new recipes I tried this week!

We really enjoyed both of these! They were a little different from what I normally do, but lots of fun to make, and everyone seemed to enjoy them!

Hamburger Soup

Ingredients

1 pound extra lean ground beef(or use ground turkey)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
2 envelope dry onion soup mix
6 cups hot water
15 1/2 ounce can tomato sauce
2 TBSP. low sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup celery, sliced
3 cup macaroni, cooked

Brown ground beef. Combine all ingredients except macaroni and Parmesan cheese in slow cooker. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Turn to high. Add macaroni and Parmesan cheese. Cook for another 15-20 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

Mile High Enchilada pie
24 tostadas
3-4 cups salsa
2 (15 1/2 oz) cans of kidney beans
1 (15 1/2 oz) can black beans (the recipe called for all kidney, but this is what I had! I would probably switch to 2 cans black beans and 1 can of kidney beans next time to make it healthier!) Warmed, drained and rinsed
2 large onions diced and sauteed
2 bell peppers diced and sauteed (with the onions)
4 cups cooked shredded chicken
4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

then you layer it on top of a cookie tray. 1 tostada, salsa, beans, onions/peppers, chicken, cheese, then repeat. Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese melts. The recipe called for one large one using I think 8 tostadas but I chose to make individual ones since I needed so many for home church. I think for my family, I would also choose to make individual ones...not sure if I would ever actually make that 1 huge one they call for...no need! Just makes serving it harder, lol!

Serve with sour cream and/or guacomole.

I wouldn't call this a fast recipe, but it was one my girls and I had a lot of fun putting together! My girls love anything layered though that I can just tell them the order and they can do themselves, lol! They also really enjoy cutting up veggies!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Children's Museum!

Here are pictures from today's trip to the Everett Children's Museum. Everyone had a great time!

The girls made a giant igloo with the ice blocks...it was fun to watch them knock it over! Callie loves to share everything with her little brother. While playing with these blocks, Callie decided to sit herself down on one (not an easy task for her to get herself situated on a not so stable surface, but she did it!), then she stood up, all by herself, and just stood there for 17 seconds! That is the longest she has been able to stand unassisted ever!!! Once she is able to stand for 20 seconds at a time, she has the balance to take unassisted steps!

Ashley riding side saddle was really cute and funny! She is such a princess, lol!

All my girls, sitting on a bench taking a rest! (Ok, they were not really taking a rest as much as they were waiting for me to finish feeding Justice!)

At the end, after walking all over the Children's Museum, Callie was ready to be DONE walkering! She asked to be picked up and fell promptly to sleep in the van.









Monday, January 18, 2010

Great Find on Freecycle!

I found this wagon on Freecycle, along with a couple of chairs that (we think - they are still in the van and yet to be tested!) Callie can climb on by herself, and a table that we will use as a coffee table downstairs.





Here's a couple of pictures of the girls playing with the wagon. (Breezy is sleeping.) Callie instantly wanted inside the wagon. I made the girls let her stand at it and see it before they threw her inside and took off for a ride...she looked at it and said "I get inside. Knee up. You help me in?" as she tried to climb inside. I let the girls take it from there!

They went to show Dad their new wagon. What a blessing that he is able to work from home to see these little moments he would otherwise miss!

Callie has now been all over the property, for the first time ever. She loves going over the bumps in the pasture! Admittedly, I have to turn a bit of a blind eye to them running around with Callie in the back...but as my husband reminded me, she is 2 years old, her sisters will watch out for her and we don't want them to treat her like she is fragile...

What a blessing that we get to benefit and enjoy things someone else was getting rid of! And what a beautiful day God has blessed us with to take the new wagon out for a test spin!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Precious moment


I love watching my older girls with Justice. Seeing them being so sweet, and gentle and kind...here is a picture of such a moment with Ashley and Justice. The only thing more precious than a sleeping baby is seeing one of my older ones tenderly and lovingly rock a baby to sleep!

As for the rest of the week - it has been a great week! We got lots and lots done. We enjoyed being back at choir, and having messianic dance.

Callie had a great therapy session this week, too. Every so often, something really 'clicks' or just starts to work for Callie. The last couple of weeks have been like that! She is now able to turn her walker totally unassisted. She is also doing a lot more 'balance challenging' activities, like squatting, standing and walking while holding a hula hoop (being held by someone on the other side). She is also showing great improvement in her trunk control. Her therapist this week made the comment that Callie is getting closer and closer to the 'mild' marker on the cerebral palsy scale! (When we first started with this therapist at the end of November, Callie was considered moderate.)

We also got back to horse riding lessons. Anna is so excited that her riding instructor told her she is a 'real cowgirl' now...it is all Anna talks about!

Monday, January 11, 2010

signing off for a bit

We have used too much bandwidth already this month, so I will be offline for about 2 weeks...if you need to contact me, please call.

Change of plans - I will have limited internet for the next 2 weeks. Please still call if something important is going on as I won't be checking things every day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Playing dress up with my boy

I am having so much fun with boy clothes! Justice got a package in the mail last week...a box of very nice baby clothes. Thank you so much to the one who sent it! They are sooo cute!

Here are pictures of him in his new clothes! The girls really enjoyed oohing and ahhing over the new clothes, and Justice was very tolerant to us playing dress up with him, lol! He is such a happy baby!





Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday








What a great day! We got to get up leisurely (which was especially nice after getting up early all week!), the girls came in bed with us to play, and we just hung out together. The girls used to come into our bed each and every morning and play, but as they have gotten older, they have done this less and less...and because the twins don't do it, the younger ones don't do it either! In fact, Breezy and Ashley will sometimes climb in bed with the twins in the morning to play! It will be something I really miss when they no longer want to come play with us in the morning.

While we were playing, I did Callie's pt with her. We read lots of books, played games, and laughed together. Then I got the babies bathed, dried, dressed and their hair done.

We got chili put together for the Everett Street Feed while Chris was working on his car. I try to make a point to have the girls help make the meal we are serving for the Street Feed. The girls all played outside together for a bit while I got set up for our family night tonight.

Then the girls came in to make cookies* (again for the street feed and family night).

The street feed was a success. I think we had more people to serve than we had at any other time! The girls always enjoy serving dinner to the homeless. While we were making cookies, Ashley said "I am going to make the most perfect cookies for the homeless because it is for Jesus." It warmed my heart that she remembered the lesson we had talked about (For what you do for the least of these, you do unto me.)

Back at home, it was time for our Family Night. We are back to these on Saturday nights now that Christmas and New Year are done. Tonight we talked about respect and how to show respect. We washed eachother's feet as a show of respect and putting someone else first.









*No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal cookies

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
Waxed paper
Directions
In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.
Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal.
On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened.

The end of our week

Today started as a 'slower day'...which was actually kind of nice. I think I might build that into our schedule at this point! We get up at 6:15, so that we can be dressed and ready for Breakfast by 7. That means Chris can be here for breakfast and read the 1 year Bible aloud to us while we eat. He has an 8:00 call most mornings, so he has to be ready for them. On Fridays, he doesn't have a call until 9...so I think we will shift our schedule 1 hour later on Fridays! I spent time on the computer this morning (which I should not have done as we were late to start school because of it!)...and let the girls play for about an hour instead of getting school done.

We kind of went from one disaster to another...like having over tired baby, toddler and preschooler...I put the babies to bed, they fell right to sleep. Brianna went up there, and didn't WANT to take an early nap, so instead woke all of them up...

Or Callie, having a blow out diaper, trying to get her cleaned up in the sink, accidentally kicked over the griddle (which was left out from breakfast to cool!), which someone had stacked the oatmeal bowls on top of (of course we used the glass bowls today, lol!), and all of it cascaded onto the floor in a big heap of plastic shards and broken glass...Breezy didn't like the noise, so she was crying (at the top of her lungs - which made her the loudest thing in the house, lol!) "It's too loud for my ears!"...all the commotion made Justice cry. The twins did an awesome job getting Brianna's bare feet out of the broken glass and calming Brianna and Justice while I cleaned up the mess. I thank God that no one was hurt! It could have been much worse, and God protected us from that!

We got that cleaned up about the time Chris called to say he needed us to go get him from his car breaking down...then it was back home for a tow rope, and back out to get his car.

At this point, I decided that things just were not working out, so we would get our errands done, cranky littles and all! Costco was the first stop, it went very well. We were in and out in less than 1 hour, which for us, is pretty good! Everyone was relatively good, and we even got some great comments from people on how well behaved the girls were.

Then we went to the mall to exchange some clothes sizes for Justice...THAT took 1 1/2 hours! They didn't have the right sizes to do straight across exchanges, so we had to find other things that would work, etc. Then the woman at the register, just wasn't sure how to do this...but we made it! And the clothes are OH SO CUTE! I absolutely LOVE them! I will have to play dress up with him in a little bit!

At this point, we were too late to make it back home before we needed to leave for homechurch...we also didn't have any pot luck item to bring. We went to the store to get some chips and dip instead of the cheesy potato dish I had planned to bring.

What a blessing it is that I homeschool, and even though we didn't make it all the way through our 'planned' lessons, it doesn't matter! We pick up where we left off on Monday. We had other things that were more important to do, like seeing to the safety of the babies, and getting Chris when he was stranded. God is good all the time! What a blessing that He is here to help us when things are good as well as when things don't quite go to plan!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Little girls playing together



Today was a busy day. All Thursdays are for us. It starts with Physical Therapy at 9 am. Which means everyone must be up, dressed, have school assignments ready to work on, and morning chores done by then.

After PT, we get some school done, some chores completed, lunch finished, and it is off to choir.

Next week, we will then go to horse back riding lessons for Anna after all of that is done...we will need dinner to be in the crock pot on Thursdays at that point!

Even with the chaos and business of Thursdays, my little girls were able to find some time to play a game this evening. Here is a picture of them playing Candy Land together. It was such a sweet and precious thing to see them playing so well together. I have been working on their relationship for about 2 months now. Brianna LOVED her baby sister from the very beginning. So much so, that with Callie's lack of orientation the first year of her life, she became afraid of Brianna. Callie is now unkind to Breezy frequently. Telling her to "back up, stay back, I got it, go over there." too often. Brianna has been very gentle and very sweet to Callie for a really long time...working on their relationship has meant that I sit down with them, and scold Brianna for not listening to and respecting Callie's wishes, and stopping Callie from scratching, swinging at, and speaking unkindly to Brianna.

It is just nice to see that it is paying off in them being capable of sitting down together playing a game nicely for 1/2 an hour!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chris' office, Callie's 1 month post op & today's happenings






Chris has moved his office from the downstairs of the shop to the upstairs. It gives him more space, a new perspective and a place to really set up his drum set! All the girls enjoy going up to see him in his office...especially Breezy! She absolutely LOVES to go play the drums. She has a new rule now though...she has to TELL me when she wants to go and we will CALL Chris to see if he is busy or if it is a good time for her to go visit during the day...

Callie had a wonderful post op! Dr. Epley said her vision is stronger than he has ever seen it. Both of her eyes are working together very well. She is testing "almost normal" for her age, and he thinks another year, and she WILL be normal for age! She has 20/89 vision and for her age she should have 20/80 vision. She does not need glasses or eye drops and he said his best guess is that with as good as she looks right now, she *probably* will not need another surgery! YAY! She does have some activities to work on, such as opening and closing markers, putting beads on pipe cleaners and playing with bubbles to challenge her vision, keep her focusing on things, and making her eyes work together with depth perception.

Today was day 2 of back to school. The girls are really enjoying their new classroom! It has been almost 1 1/2 years since we had a classroom, and it is so nice to have a space to make a mess that doesn't have to be cleaned up before we can eat lunch!

The twins did a craft project that they got for their birthday.

About a week ago, I was holding Justice in one arm, while eating a piece of banana bread...before I was able to stop him, or get it from him, he grabbed it, and had it in his mouth. Ever since, he SQUEALS each time he sees anyone eating. So, we decided to try him on real food. He has tried carrots and applesauce, and so far, likes both of them! He has also tried kefir, and is not so sure about that one, lol.

Being on a schedule helps us get so much more done during the day. It really is amazing! Today, not only were we able to catch up on house work, get laundry done and put away, put away the bins for Christmas stuff, and get school done, but I had time to groom the dog (no picture because she is now running away when she sees me - I am not nearly as good as a real groomer, but I do cost less!) and get a workout in. There is definitely something to be said for being a good steward of my time...I think this is what I will work on for this year, not being so easily side tracked from what I know I need to do. It seems that once we get off schedule, it can take me months to reinstitute it.

Our school time is also much more productive with a schedule...knowing what to do next, and about how long it will take really makes lesson planning easy!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to school!








After a very long (too long!) of a break from school, we are back at it...

It has taken me 3 months worth of spare time (+ 3 full days last week) of letting other things slide to just get it done, but our new classroom is all set up! Here are some pictures of everyone at school today!

Anna talking on the phone with her grandpa for geography, finding out where they are and where they are going. (we got most of the info off their blog.)

We have a sensory table, mainly set up for the preschoolers, but the twins also enjoy playing in it! Right now there are 3 different types of dry beans in it (black, pinto and kidney).

We have an easel, that Brianna got for Christmas, again, that everyone enjoys playing with.

We have lots of activities for the girls to choose from when they have finished with a subject and are waiting for our next thing to start.

We are all so excited to have enough living space to make a classroom! God is so good, all the time!

Now we are off to Callie's 1 month post op for her eye surgery. I will update about the appointment sometime soon...