Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Moving and Company

We have lots of family coming into town tomorrow through next Tuesday. My brother in law and his wife just had their fourth boy and he is being blessed on Sunday. My in-laws are coming into town along with my sister in law and her family which is wonderful as it is so hard to get up to New York to see them. My kids will be meeting two new cousins this weekend! My house has boxes tucked into every corner, a garage completely full of items to sell and I am still working full-time, but we are always excited for family to visit (just do not look too closely at my disorganized home)!

The kids are having mixed feelings about the upcoming move. I thought Sophie would have the hardest time as she has a big group of really sweet friends - and she tends to be a little emotional. However, she seems to be looking at this as a big adventure and is excited about the move and the fun visits with cousins over the summer. She has met with her friends and they have discussed sending letters, skyping and starting a blog to keep the B.U.G. club alive. Go Sophie.

Max is reacting about how I expected. He is worried and stressed. He's nervous about finding new friends and going to a new school and he is old enough that he is also worried about whether or not I will find a good job and if we will be able to get by financially in Oregon. He is a worrier and is very anxious about the whole thing.

I thought Calvin would have a hard time leaving the daycare kids, and he has already tried to convince several of them to move to Oregon and be our neighbors there. But, I assumed that he would take everything in stride much like he has with the divorce - he is sill so young to really understand. Last week he started having nightmares and he is now afraid of . . . everything. He does not like to be out of my sight, will not go upstairs or into the toy room alone - will not even go upstairs with one of his siblings. Most nights he will sleep in his room as long as Max is in there, but there are nights where he is too afraid to sleep unless he is sharing someone's bed. Yesterday we were cleaning upstairs and I kept handing him things to run downstairs to put away. When we finished, I found all of the things piled at the bottom of the stairs - he would go no further alone. So, I am not sure what is going on with little Calvin. I think part of the fear for him is losing another parent. Hopefully the road trip and cousins will help him to return to his happy go lucky personality.

I just love these photos of Max. He is growing like a weed and is pretty good at hitting a ball with a bat.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bunnies and Such

So, my camera had a meltdown on Easter and only recorded about a dozen of the two hundred or so photos I took throughout the day. Sigh.

The photo above is what the children wore to church on Easter Sunday. Please note that Maxwell is getting reeeeeeally tall. Scary. Sophie was wearing her new Target church sandals as it was actually warm (60's) on Easter Sunday and on Monday too. That nice weather did not last long (snow tonight). The sandals have a wedge heel and she teetered around all day on them. She has not mastered the art of walking in a heel. Speaking of heels, I always wear heels to church, but on Easter I wore flats for the first time in years. I felt very, very short.

As per tradition, the kids received gifts in their Easter basket - a Scooby Doo DVD for Calvin, books for Max and Tangled DVD for Sophie. The night before Calvin came tearing downstairs and told me he needed to write a note to the Easter Bunny. He proceeded to write him a letter detailing his desire to receive books 1-8 in the Pokemon graphic novel series. I think he was confusing the Easter Bunny with Santa (the Easter Bunny was unable to fulfill his request). He also set out a plate of carrots.

Are you wondering how I did on giving up sugar for Lent? I lasted about two weeks. Sigh.

After church, I made sweet potato rolls, orange rolls, lemon bars and a strawberry trifle to take to dinner. We also managed to have a quick egg hunt for the kids.

Per tradition, we had Easter dinner at the Manzella's house. We love that family. Thomas made incredible prime rib for dinner and Lori made the best cream corn, gratin potatoes, jello eggs, shrimp and cocktail sauce . . . it was delicious and frankly I wanted to go right to bed after dinner.

The best part of the day (at least for the kids) was the Manzella's cash only egg hunt for kids and adults. This year the golden egg (with $100 inside) was hidden inside a piece of sporting equipment in the garage. The eggs are really, really hard to find and the kids have a blast searching for them. This is a tradition we may have to adopt.

There you have it - Easter was lovely.

Recipe: Carrot Cake Cookies

Per request - this is a recipe I made for my Sunday School class a few weeks ago. Huge, huge hit.

The cookies will bake out thin and flat and you'll want to over bake them just a little as they are better if the cookie is a little crunchy to contrast the creamy filling. If you make these, be sure to give most of them away as they make an irresistible breakfast/snack/I'm having a bad day treat. I think I ate every one in these photos. Sigh.

Makes about 3 dozen
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, (about 3 large carrots)
  • 1 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugars and butter; beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until well combined.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; stir to combine. Gradually add flour to butter mixture; mix on a low speed until just blended. Mix in oats, carrots, and raisins. Chill dough in refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour.

  3. Using a 1/2-ounce ice-cream scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Transfer to oven, and bake until browned and crisped, rotating pan halfway through baking to ensure even color, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat baking process with remaining dough. Once cooled completely, use an offset spatula to spread about 2 teaspoons of cream-cheese filling onto a cookie. Sandwich together with a second cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

For the cream cheese filling, I just beat together a room temperature 8oz block of cream cheese, a stick of room temperature unsalted butter, the zest of one lemon and a teaspoon of vanilla. Once that was smooth, I started adding powdered sugar until I had the consistency I wanted (about 4 cups). You can also add some lemon juice if it is too thick.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Nest Craft

A simple little Easter craft using things you already have in your home. Start by mixing up some pastel colors of paint. We used blue and green. I gave each child a piece of wood (leftover from a boy scout birdhouse project). Make sure the kids paint the edges.

While the paint dried, I took the kids outside, gave them each a bucket and had them gather small sticks from the yard. Snap the sticks to fit and glue them to the bottom of each board to form a nest. Regular glue works fine - just use a lot and allow for drying time.

Use a glue gun to adhere plastic easter eggs to your nest. I wielded the glue gun and the kids stuck them down.

Messy. Every single time.

The end.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Views From My Window - Today

Things you should know:

  • Max is currently on a camp out with the Boy Scouts.
  • I bet they are cold this morning.
  • I should bake some cookies for his Boy Scout leaders.
  • I did manage to find some hand warmers and tucked them into his backpack.
  • I also sent a huge bag of giant colored bunny marshmallows for them to toast over the fire - but that has nothing to do with the snow.
  • Sophie and Calvin both have a track meet today.
  • I am supposed to be cheering them on from the bleachers from 9-3.
  • I threw away all of the sleds two weeks ago.
  • I refuse to shovel this crap.
  • Waking up to several inches of snow in mid April makes me look forward to Oregon weather.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Are Taking This Show on the Road

We are moving to Portland, Oregon.

I've known for a long time that we would not be able to stay in this house long term. In the divorce, the house went to my ex (and no, I did not want the house - I knew I could not afford it and the bank recently re-confirmed this assumption of mine) and at some point we were going to need to leave. That point has arrived and we must vacate the house at the end of the school year - June. If you do the math, that means I have to end my business, pack up this house and be on the road in two months.

Knowing I would be jobless and homeless soon, I have been struggling with the decision on where to move my little family. We love Minnesota, our church family, our neighborhood, our school and our many, many friends. The one big drawback? No family. The events of the last few years and especially the last year have made me recognize that the greatest gift I could give my children right now is more family in their lives. I alone am not enough, and right now all of my family is in Northwest and all of our family on Bryan's side are in the Northeast and here we sit, right smack in the middle, not close enough for anyone to really be a significant presence in my children's lives.

So, we are moving. Why Portland? Both of my sisters will be living there by June, I have a brother in Eugene, my parents are in Idaho which is only a days drive away and it is just a pretty place to live. One of my sisters will be a stay at home Mom and will be able to help me with before and after school care issues and we are moving in with my single sister while I search for a job . . . and a place to live . . . and schools for the kids. Wish me luck. If my posts become increasingly manic the next few weeks - you now know why.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Baby Time at the Zoo

Thursday's Field Trip to the zoo - it's baby season!

You should know: the kids all wanted to feed the goats (of course) but I had not planned ahead and only had a nickel and a $20 bill. I ended up finding a change machine which gave me $20 in quarters. My purse is very heavy.

Craft: Recycled Spring Flowers

Think spring! All of the snow is gone from our yards and we are ready for spring! This is one of those "use up some of the recycling materials I cannot seem to throw away" kind of crafts.

Give each child some cardboard - a shoe box lid or something along those lines. Cut up a whole bunch of egg cartons to make different kinds of flower shapes.

I had some kids start painting their backdrops green and blue while others started painting the flowers.

This way, every kid has something to do while they wait to paint their backdrop. It also meant that I only needed one plate of each color as we passed them around.

Um, the kids will get messy - fyi.

Set aside the backdrops and the flowers to dry. Once dry, glue the flowers to the green portion of the backdrops.

Still messy.

They should not look something like this:

Next, pull out some pom poms and let the kids glue them to the insides of their flowers.

Cute craft and very messy kids.