Monday, December 31, 2012

She's my mini

My princess watches everything I do mostly from my arms but if not she standing close by.  She is as fascinated by me as I am taken by her.  She is my everything.

The boys got markers for Christmas and for a moment when the girls were out of my sight Faith though she would put on eyeliner too.  On herself and her sister.



Poor little girl Grace, she did not even know what was coming at her.


She is so pretty.  Her eyes have been changing since birth but I think this brown is where they will stay.  All of my kids have different shedes of brown except my oldest Gregory who ha he most fascinating green eyes.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crock Pot Ham and Potato Soup

I woke up today just not feeling the best.  I did not make it out of the house not to my brothers party nor to church.  So it was nice to be able to through together this hearty soup from ingredients you most likely have in the pantry.

  • 3-1/2 cups peeled, diced potatoes
  • 2 sticks of celery sliced
  • 1 or 2 carrots sliced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cup diced ham
  • 3-1/4 chicken broth
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1 t. pepper
  • 5 T. flour
  • 5 T. butter
  • 2 cups milk


Combine all ingredients except for the last three into the crock pot.


You can change or add to it what you like.  I love celery so I always include it.  I added carrots because there were some sitting in the fridge.  It depends on your family what they will like best.

Set your crock pot on  high for 1 hour.  The switch to low low the next 5.  Continue cooking checking the tenderness of the potatoes.

When the potatoes are nice and soft melt butter in a sauce pan adding milk and flour rotating while continually stirring until thickened.  Just a few minutes.

Gently add the flour mixture to the crock  pot and let marry 15 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Add your favorite topping sour cream, red pepper flakes, I chose cheese and green onions.


It was delicious!

Soon to Crawl

She wants to crawl so bad.  She either want to chase after her brothers and sister or run from them.  There is a good argument for both.  Either way she is determined and it is so funny.  She perches up on her belly and just kicks  failing her arms.   I had to capture it so I can remember it.



Saturday, December 29, 2012

Creamy Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

I have a ton of potatoes that need to be used up quick.  They are past baked potato stage so I started looking around for other recipes.   I was reading a crock pot mashed potato recipe that sounded pretty so I figured I would give it a try.  I started making it but from the beginning I started changing it combining a little of their recipe and how I make mine.

5 pounds potatoes, cut into chunks
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste
3 cubes chicken bouillon
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream 
1 (8 ounce) package nechatel - a reduced fat cream cheese with a fancy foreign name
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cream of chicken soup
salt and pepper to taste

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks or thick slices how ever you normally do and boil the potatoes covered in  one inch of water with the bullion and bay leaves.  Cook till they are a little firmer then you would normally make for mashed potatoes because they are going to keep cooking in the crock pot.

Once fork tender but still firm drain and then return them to the cooking pot.  Add the minced garlic and start mashing away.  Mash until nice and fluffy.

Add the sour cream and mash till mixed.  Then add the neufchatel and get your work out in trying to mash that till it is a nice creamy consistency   If it is to hard to mash or is dry add milk until you get the nice mashed potato look and texture.


Transfer to a crock pot and put on low.  Let it sit for about an hour.  Stir occasionally   After that hour add the cream of chicken soup and mix.  Let sit for 15 minutes.  

Stir and add the butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Turn it to keep warm and you have creamy crock pot mashed potatoes.

Now this makes a lot of potatoes.  When you start with 5 pounds it is enough to make for  large family.  Not many people here eat mashed potatoes so it made a bit more than we need.  You could do one of a few things 1 have left overs, 2 make less to begin with or 3 and what I am going to do use what we don't eat today and make PEROGIES!  Yea!   Stay tuned.

Monkey Joe's

They are calling for another snow storm tonight.  That's good because I could use the day inside.  Today was busy and sometimes difficult.  But we had fun me and all 7 kids.

I took my 5 down to Monkey Joe's to beat the cabin fever.  They have not gone any where since school let out and because of all this snow probably won't till they go back.  They needed to go have some fun and more than just throwing snow ball at each other in the back yard.

 The older two each brought a friend which left me with 7.  Seven little kids 9 and under 9,8,7,6,3,1,and 5 months.  I felt like I should be making a Von Trap movie.  But it is not adding older ones that is hard it is the 3 babies they always give me a challenge.  A large group of friends and I had arrange to meet there.  I thought this would be helpful but in reality they were all watching their kids and really were of no help to me, but it was nice to see them all.  And remember how I say my 5 is not really a big family out here, the majority of these families were showing up with between 4-6 kids in tow.  They had to bring in extra staff to help accommodate our large group.

Monkey Joe's is another bouncy house type of place they have 10-15? big bouncy things for kids to jump on for as long as you can stand being there.  For me it was only 2.5 hours.  Then the tired hungry melt downs started and not just from my tiny team but from my additional 6 year old too.  So we had to leave for everyone sake.

But before we left the kids bounced!



and played


they had a great time with a few questionable points


The big kids were hard to get pictures of because they were so fast not to mention the only time they came to me was for drinks or money.


They are almost to old for these types of places.  They had fun racing and jumping but what they all like the best was playing the arcade games.  Standing in hurricane winds and trying to get penny prizes.  They bled me dry of cash but could no understand that.  They were just upset they could not play more games.

The $15 in soda and water I paid while they jumped cemented my decision we would not have lunch there but go out.  On the way home we stopped at Franks for pizza.  It was fun to eat with these little chatterboxes as they all were telling about their favorite gifts from Christmas.  I do love them, it was so much less stressful and I got to enjoy all of them.  Plus when you have to feed 5 hungry boys $40 for pizza is an easy way out.  My oldest ate 6 slices alone!

I love to play and have fun with the kids but I love when I do not have to be a taxi also. I am looking forward to snuggling with my tiny team and playing at our place.  We only have a few more days of break and I am going to take advantage of another snow day.

He are a few shots from around town as I went out to get groceries before the next snow.


I hope that is not distorted.  So often when I put pictures up here they get all funny not at all how they look on my end I just can't seem to be able to fix it.  Like the Santa one, I hate that it does not show up.  It was so cute!




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dancy Dance

Well in the interest of getting the videos and photos edited and uploaded I am just throwing stuff out here until it is done.  This was one of my favorite time of Christmas and today too.  Watching the kids play Just Dance 4.  They love it.


They are so entertaining to watch.


Waiting, waiting, and DANCE!




He wore that snuggy all day and with his tie I kept telling him he looked like a camo Harry Potter


And then Evan and Faithy joined in.  And oh she is the BEST to watch I just love her and her little wiggly butt.


Yea there is a lot of crap on the ground but it was Christmas morning, you should see the rest of the house, well really you shouldn't I am still cleaning up.

I had a pretty bow in her hair that lasted a minute.  I dressed her and Smiley the same in Gregory and Evan old shirts.  It made me think to boyish so I added the boy plus I love them but she was not having the bow.



Gregory is so funny he says yea mom I got three stars on that one!

A little piano playing while I clean

Oh what a mess we are burred in.  The Christmas clean up, snow, extra laundry form all the 5 minute trips outside before they realize they are cold and wet.  I have pictures to upload but I have got some other things to do first.

In the meantime here are two quick videos of my mini Mozart.


Sometimes she does not want to play

And sometimes she will hit a key to make mommy happy

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What is your Elf name?

We have been having fun with this.


We have 2:  Merry Sugar plums and 4: _____ Plum pants but Smiley is our only: Nipper Toe Bells! Hahaha

Christmas Eve Eve

Trust me when I tell you the kids are excited   They keep running around yelling it is Christmas Eve Eve!!  I hope I can get some sleep to keep up with them over these next couple days.  Well the rest of the year too I guess as they will be home till 2013.  I love it but it can be a lot.

As far as Christmas Eve Eve goes we are getting ready for the big day.  I am running around town grocery shopping picking up the last few items.  Yum we do have another delicious meal ahead!  I took two helpers with me and some how have 2 karts more than what was on my short list.

But minus 3 things we are ready.  I will make do.  Well except for the cat food I forgot I will have to go out tomorrow and get that or she will have to dive in to the emergency dog food.  I wanted to make sure I would be able to stay home Monday and Tuesday and just enjoys the days with the kids.

Tomorrow is also Jim last day with us this year and then Santa will come pick him up and he will stay at the north pole till next year.


It has been fun.  Here he is hanging out with an angel my mom made when I was kid.

Even Wyatt is ready.


And for me I got an early Christmas present the other day.  My fall grades cam in.  And that Spanish test I struggled with, ugh it was so very very hard.  I must have done okay.  because I got an A!!!  Yes a 4.0 A!


That brings my fall GPA to a 3.85  and cumulative to 3.54 !!!  I have been working so hard though.  I will continue to enjoy my break for a few more day because I start back up at the beginning of January with much heavier and harder classes.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Party Pooped Out

Not unlike anyone else we have been busy in a whirl of Christmas activities.  And we are exhausted.  I tried waking the boys up earlier this week saying its time to get up only to have them reply "mom I just don't want to".  I was so tired I almost went for it...almost.  I am  still up late with Faith and her new bed and I am so tired.  My other kids are great at bed time you say go to bed and they brush their teeth and go to bed staying put and quickly falling asleep.  They don't even need help but Evan still wants to be tucked in, I never had trouble with them.  So I suppose I was due for a tough one.  I used to laugh at those Nanny shows where they would call in the Nanny for help because their kids would not go to bed.  Between 8-9  I would say goodnight and be done.  With Faith in her crib it was still like that.  But it has been a difficult transition and will hopefully get better soon.

Wednesday night the kids had their AWANAS Christmas party at church.  They had a great time.  I was hoping it would wear them out but thanks to the plethora of candy canes they were wired.  It also did not hurt they took power naps before we left.



After everyone settled down and Faith was left awake we watched a cheer leader show and she loved it.  As the girls jumped and twirled she would climb up me and make me twirl her.  When they lifted their legs she grabbed the chair and lifted her too she was so taken by the cheerleaders.  I can see cheer leading  dance, gymnastics in her future.  I am so happy to have girls!

Smiley well he has been making sure he stays on the naughty list.  Just a bit more than a handful.


Still love the cute kiddo, always will.

Gracie got her first taste of sugary goodness.


Thanks to Faith who gave her a cinimon toast ceral bar.  At first she was not sure what to think.


But as soon as Faith tried to take it back oh no, I have never heard this little girl scream like that.


She was in yummy heaven.  Oh just wait little girl Grace till Pepa gets his hands on you.  He will give you every treat you could want and more.  We have a Pepa rule at our house all the big kids know.  It is simple....Don't let Pepa feed the baby!!!  We have had to enact it 5 times.  At least they grow up to a point where he is no longer a danger.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Christmas Tea

It went well.  The boys did a fantastic job.

Evan was so excited to have us there.  He was full of smiles.



He did a great job singing, they both did.


But Gregory had a bit more to do this year than Evan.  as a matter of fact I think Gregory's name appeared most in the program.  He played bells.  He read his haiku about Jack Frost.


But his big event and why his grandparents came was for his paino preformance.  It is the first time he has played for anything and he opened the whole program.

He was not scared, he did great and he wore the tie.

His brother and sisters were so proud of him.  Smiley kept calling his name through the performance.


Me and my Christmas posse.  We roll in red.


Now they are out of school till the new year and I am so happy to have them home with me!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jolly old Saint Nicholas

Last year (this time) when I bought the keyboard I had hoped for a house full of beautiful background music.  This year the older boys started piano lessons.  And the house is filled with kids practicing   In all different sounds.  You would not believe the options you can have for sounds on a keyboard we are constantly in a car wreck while being bombed and watching fireworks at the ballgame, not quite my vision.  Wow.

Faith is the one who probably plays the most.


The headphones are because dad is sleeping.


Gregory has been doing remarkable.  He is picking it up rather well and has completed his first book.  Tomorrow at the Christmas tea he will be playing Jolly Old Saint Nicholas for the school and their families.  I can't wait to see him I hope he does well.  I wish he would practice a little more.  Maybe I am more nervous than him.  He is not at all.  We will see tomorrow.


He just reminded me to bring my camera but use no flash photography?  My super  star.


I could not talk him into a haircut but am trying on talking him into a tie.  He will look SO cute!  But I can't tell him that or it will be a definite no go.

With tomorrow being the big day do you think my man is practicing?

Nope.  Watching Charlie Brown again.


But they do have a lot of piano playing so maybe he is learning by osmosis?  Maybe?


Well if he gets cold feet or changes his mind at least Faith will be waiting in the wings.


We are trying to teach her just one finger right now.



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