Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Low budget ice cream cake

Just wanted to share a quickie summer dessert. This is a lot of fun for kids to make. We made this one for Henry's name day a few weeks ago.

From walmart- $15

Homemade with this Duggar recipe- about $3

Now, the Duggar recipe is supersized, of course! We didn't need one that big. I made ours in a 9 inch square glass pan. I used five 1/2 ice cream sandwiches, about 2/3 of a tub of cool whip (probably just woulda used the whole thing, but I needed a bit for another recipe), the rest of a bottle of chocolate syrup that's been kicking around the fridge, and a couple of bags of ancient M&M's in my baking stash. This recipe was really easy to make and would be fun to mess around with using different flavors of syrup, candies, nuts, fruit even...I'd love to make one with blueberries, or maybe some nuts and caramel syrup....yum!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Catch-up- Dad

Update number 7, on the only one of us 7 left, of course, John! Seen here playing peek-a-boo with Mary Claire...

Peek-a-boo! She loves Daddy.

John, Mower of Lawns, Singer of Bedtime Songs, what can I update about him. Well, our biggest update right now is our biggest cross. John (a nurse) lost his job about over a month ago. Sheesh, I can't believe it's been that long already. And what I've learned from that is....

...I can be just as protective of my husband as my children. I have literally lain awake at stewing over the people that have unjustly treated my good and diligent John. But I've given it to God. Why, I hardly ever fantasize about driving my giant, giant van through the front door anymore.

So, if you could offer a prayer for a quick and good placement. We have left the place of, "Hell with them, you can find something better anyway" and reached the point of, "Ok, seriously, any nursing job, any at all?" Please pray something turns up before we reach the point of, "Would you like fries with that?"

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Catch-up- Mom

Ok, so it's hard to get good picture together of the grown ups too. I mean, we are the ones behind the camera, right? When we are in a picture, it's as a prop for children, this...
See? I'm just holding up the baby, really.

Or, I'm in the picture, part of the picture, but I'm sweaty and gross and making a weird face...

Right?! What was going on here?! Well, I'll tell you, this was taken at Familyland last year when we were camping for a week. That's right! Camping for a week with five children! haha!...I was hot, tired, and pretty freshly postpartum as you can see by the wee babe I'm nursing there. That, my friends, is the cheesy grin of someone on the edge of hysteria. Give that woman a beer and a nap, please.

Here's a sad attempt at getting my *own* durn photo. Also at Familyland.
Those always turn out so well. Look at those bags. Concealer, please?
Sigh. Anyway... So, an update for me. Well, an updates for the kids pretty much *feels* like an update for me. I mean, what else is there? I realize that's all very un-politically correct, but there it is,,,when you have this many little kids, it pretty much defines your days, you know? And in a good way. A very good way. :)

Ok, well let me dig a little. There's the homeschooling thing. Still doing that. What else? Um..ooh, I got something. In a stroke of pure craziness I signed up to teach PSR again at our parish. I will be teaching Jack's third grade class. I have taught third grade before. My first year teaching was a third/fourth grade combination class. It didn't go very well. They are old enough to be pretty attitude-y, and I didn't know how to handle that back then when my oldest was only three. I do now. Still, I do prefer to teach the littler grades. It's just what I enjoy. But Jack had a hard time with some things last much so that we decided not to put him in PSR at all. I mean, we do use a Catholic curriculum. For us, it's mostly about socializing. The people that teach are wonderful, really, but Jack is know. Jack. So, I was going to drop it for Jack, and then he surprised me by saying he wanted to go back! And we decided the best way to make that experience best for him was to have one of us there for the ride. I will probably be involved for as many years as Jack wants to attend PSR. Our classes are only once every other week, and I will be teaching with someone else, so hopefully it won't be too intensive for me. Honestly, the hardest part for me last time was that I had to keep missing when one of my own kids was sick. Some years, you know how it is, it seems like many weeks go by when *someone* is sick, and that combined with a husband that works weird shifts meant that I was relying too much on the other teacher to cover for me. I felt guilty about that and just decided this wasn't a good time in my life to volunteer for these things. But here I am again, and we will see how it goes. I have Maria for help, and sometimes John will be home too. They do have a nursery for the younger kids...if they are well!

Ok, well, it's complete bedlam here and getting this posted has been very frustrating, so I'm going to stop here! One last day in this 7 posts in 7 days! Guess who's left?

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Catch-up- Maria's almost as difficult to get a picture of Maria as it is of Jack. Combined with this is the teenager issue. She is old enough to be opinionated about what pictures she likes, and those pictures aren't always the ones *I* like. She likes pictures like these....

...the mole is fake. And she doesn't wear this much make-up in real life. She was playing around with a girlfriend. Gorgeous, she is, but posed and unnatural. And too much damned make up.

I prefer these...these look like Maria. Natural, beautiful, and showing her crazy personality. She comes by it honestly, the crazy I mean. ;)

Maria is going into 11th grade this year. BIG.BIG.SIGH. It's very weird to have a child this old. We are starting to have conversations about "when Maria is gone" or "when Maria moves out", even though we don't really know when that will be. We talk about going to a four year college, and we also talk about going to the junior college up the street, and I don't know where that will all land. I just know that the day looms near when my first baby will be out in the world. That makes me feel all at once proud and horrified.

So, Maria---Maria loves her room, facebook, make up and jewelry and clothes and all manner of sparkly objects, organizing stuff, Life Teen, music, funny movies, animals of all sorts, ice cream, and, well, she might not always *love* small children but she definitely has a *way* with them, and they definitely love *her*. She must love them more than she's willing to admit, because she is wanting, at least at the moment, to major in early education.

Maria hates--onions, history, algebra, crickets and spiders, cleaning, and boys that flirt with her. Oh, wait...that last part is just me.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Catch Up- Jack

Jack is going into third grade this year. That is just MIND BLOWING to me. He was two years old when I started this blog, did you know that? TWO. So, Jack, for those who have traveled to this blog for the first time via the 7 posts in 7 days link up, is autistic...see links to the left to read more about that.

Jack loves...playing baseball, jumping on the trampoline, trains, maps, comic books, string cheese and grapes and goldfish crackers (like, twice a day, ya'll), McDonald's, pizza, and wii.

Jack DOES NOT love...schoolwork. Especially phonics, or anything else that involves much writing, eating anything but the aforementioned foods, people that sit too close to him, and thunderstorms.

He is really doing much better in school. But his attention is terrible,,,I have to sit right next to him to keep him on task,,,and his reading comprehension, although improving, is very poor. This is likely related to the attention thing, and we are on a waiting list to get back into the developmental clinic to see what we can do about that. But you know, we enjoy Jack. He is an enjoyable kid.

I was browsing my photos to find some good shots of Jack to share, and you know what? I don't have any. Well, hardly any. It is crazy nonsense to try and get a good picture of Jack. Look, I'll show you. He received his first communion this past spring. Big occasion, yes? Begs for a nice picture, don't you think? So I dressed him up and before he could get all dirty and rumpled I posed him outside in front of the dogwood. And he's all distracted and picking leaves and so I say brightly, "Jack, look at me and say 'First Communion'!" And he does.

Eh. Weird face. Yard looks messy too. Let's move in a little. One more time, "Jack, look at me and say 'First Communion'!"

What is with the face? Why won't he look at me? "Jack, LOOK at ME and say 'First Communion'!"

Sigh. Having him say something is clearly making the weird face. Never mind. I'll try again at the church.

"Ok, just smile Jack!"

"Ok, not so much. Put your chin down."

(sigh) "Ok, great, thanks Jack."

"Ok, let's try again, and keep your chin down and smile!"

Really? WTH? "Ok, Jack, forget the chin, just look at me."

"Ok, but SMILE, ok? Look at me and smile!"

(Sigh)"Ok, great!"
And then, a last ditch attempt when they are lining up for the group shot...

You know what? That first picture wasn't so bad after all. A little cropping will fix it up...

Yep. That's just fine. You're just fine Jack. I love you, to the moon and back.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Catch up- Tess

Tess....Tessie is five years old, just turned so, in fact. She had a rainbow birthday. Very fitting, if you know Tess. She's very rainbow-ish.

Until the last few months, I would have called Tess my most challenging child. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm crazy about this little girl. She is a little flitty bird, singing and chirping around the house, spinning in tutus and hunting for treasures....

literally, she's drawn a treasure map here and begged me to come hunting with her. We finally found it. It was a "sparkly rock".

But she has a real stubborn streak, this one. She is often disobedient just because. Not always...many times she is easy and sweet. But other, if you told her to she had to breathe air, she'd refuse to do it just to spite you. That kind of thing.

But, she's getting easier. The frantic need to assert her will seems to have mellowed now that she is moving out of those intense preschool years. She still has her moments, but overall she is easier and happier. She is a girly, girly, girly girl. Loves pretty things and sparkly dresses and the like. She totes her favorite things around in scrounged bags and baskets and arranges little displays all over the house. She calls these her "lections" (collections). She loves to color and has excellent fine motor skills.

A couple of "lections"....above, on a table in the playroom, a picture frame she scrounged from junk in the garage, and a couple of condiment cups filled with an assortment of beads, some gold doubloons, and a fake leaf from somewhere.

Below, inside her, ahem, "jewelry" box, an aquarium plant (aha, the source of the fake leaf!), some fairy food she made with Maria, and one of the munchkin baby feeders you can put fresh fruit in...Mary used that briefly months ago. She has been carrying that feeder around by the handle like a little purse. If you open it up, there is a bottle cap inside along with a few seeds from the trees in the backyard.

She is an extrovert, like her big sis, and loves to go meet with friends and family. She is always trying to talk one of her brothers into some game or another, and we laugh to hear her directing Henry in their pretend games. But she is also very contented to be left to play her own imaginary games. She has claimed the far back corner, which is nicely shaded by two pear trees, as "Tess-land". When she wants Henry to play with her, she will tell him it is "Tess-and-Henry-Land".

(Tess-land. Or, Tess-and-Henry-Land.)
She is starting kindergarten this fall, and we are both excited about that. I'm sure she'll enjoy it, and I'm looking forward to it myself. She is my most unschooled preschooler. Maria went to formal preschool and kindergarten. Kain did too. Jack taught himself to read and we mostly worked on therapeutic activities in kindergarten. Tess is raw. She has picked up counting, shapes, colors, a handful of letters, but we really haven't done any formal preschool, just fun activities when time allows and lots of reading aloud. And she has blossomed with plenty of free play, good toys, and lots of time outdoors.

Most days now, she's not as challenging. She is a sweet soul, a little fairy bird, my little rainbow girl.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Catch up - Henry

Linking up with Jen's 7 posts in 7 days project....

Ok, next up in our catch up...we will go in age order and keep it easy, huh? So, that would be Henry. Henry turned 3 in April and had a truck birthday...

a "road" table and balloons, made by Maria....

Truck cake....

Excuse the crappy pictures, this camera has since been replaced.

Breakfast donuts....

And a birthday sign colored by everyone, both family traditions.

Henry has always been my sweet and easy boy. If I were to pick an adjective to describe Henry, it would be "joyful". He is a joy. Happy and easy-going, this one. Still, he is now three, and it is showing. He is definitely become more stubborn and willful in the recent months.

Loves- playing outside, going places, any place will do...trucks, planes, trains, all that boyish stuff. Swimming, but only the kiddie pool, clings to me like a burr in the big pool. He is a skinny thing. You wouldn't know it by most pictures because he has chubby cheeks still, but he's skinny. And yet, he loves to eat and is the least picky of all the kids. Every evening he comes into the kitchen and asks me what's for dinner, and no matter what my answer is he says, "Yum! That's my fwav-wit!"

Love, love, love my Henry.

The catch up- Mary Claire

Hi, I'm here, I'm here!
I'm joining up with Jen at conversion diary. I want to start blogging regularly again and maybe this will get the ball rolling. I'm to do seven posts in seven days, and today is the first day. Quick, I have 15 minutes!! Seven days. We have seven people in this house. How about an update on everyone? Yes? Okey dokey. Let's see...tonight's update will be whomever I have a ready and recent picture of quickly available.

The baby, of course! Mary Claire is almost 14 months old now. She is starting to walk, just barely, little tentative steps before dropping to the ground. She is opinionated and busy and trying to climb the coffee table. The cutest parts of the day are watching her with the other kids. Henry *adores* her, especially, and she wants so badly to be one of the big kids. She tries so hard to get out the backdoor when they leave it open, to get into whatever they are doing in the play room. Be patient, little girly! This time next year you will be right in the thick of it.

I made it! Not midnight!