Friday, August 29, 2008

Butler Look-alike Meter

So I thought this was interesting and pretty funny, since I don't think my kids look a thing like me, but rather like their daddy. Imagine my surprise (and I must admit, my pleasure) to see that they both look MORE like me (okay, so a minute amount more, but it's still MORE - hee hee!)

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Family tree template - Pedigree

Butler Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Look-alike Meter - Finding relatives - Vintage photos

Monday, August 25, 2008

All Aboard the Birthday Train!

We celebrated Clayton's birthday on Sunday (even though he officially turned a year old on Thursday, we waited until everyone was home from their travels this week to really celebrate.) He had no clue about presents. But Caroline did, and boy was she excited to open them for him! Particularly the one she picked out and payed for herself at the Dollar Store with money from her very own piggy bank. She was a little too possessive, though and we are still having to explain that they are Clayton's toys for His birthday. She gets her own birthday party and presents in another month. She's beyond excited for September 27th to arrive.
The cake (from a darling cupcake mold my mom gave me - the cake pulls apart into smaller individual pieces that kindof fit together like a puzzle to make the train.)
Caroline & Clayton playing with the dinosaurs Caroline picked out to give him.
Showing Aunt CindyLee & Megan his dinosaur.
Caroline coloring the new dinosaur coloring book with the new crayons that she also picked out for Clayton.
Clayton stripped down to his onesie for the cake, and modeling his new boots from Daddy with help from Grandpa.
Not a big fan of the birthday hat (couldn't find any at the store, so I made one last minute.)
New darling cowboy jammies from Aunt Lucinda and an origami frog from Aunt Nannie.
More of the cute jammies.
The PJ's I made for Clayton from vintage fabric my mom gave me a couple of years ago. One with cowboys & horses and one with rocketships and astronauts.
I haven't gotten a picture yet of the load of clothes from Clayton's Mona & Papa (my folks) but my favorite is a "Rocket Scientist" t-shirt.

New Favorite Recipe

So I've been looking and trying and looking and trying out whole/multigrain bread recipes without much success. I mean, they turn out okay, and look beautiful. They're nice for a slice of bread with dinner - but as far as sandwiches go the textures of all the ones I've tried are just way too crumbly and dry. I found this recipe online and tweaked it a bit (added 6 grain cereal and ran out of whole wheat flour - substituting white) and the result was AMAZING! Chewy and hearty, but holds together beautifully for sandwiches! If you want to try it out, here's the recipe:

THE Bread Recipe

3 C. Whole Wheat Flour

1/3 C. Vital Wheat Gluten

1 1/2 T. Instant Yeast

2 1/2 C Hot Water

1 T. Salt

1/3 C. Oil

1/3 C. Honey

1 1/2 T. Lemon Juice

1 C. 6-Grain Cereal

2 T. Ground Flax Seed

3-4 C. White Flour

Mix together first 3 ingredients in a mixer wiht a dough hook. Add water all a once and mix for one minute. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Add salt, oil, honey and lemon juice and beat for one minute. Add cereal, flax and last flour one cup at a time, beating between each cup. Beat for about 10 more minutes until dough pulls away from side of bowl. This makes a very soft dough.

Turn dough onto an oiled counter top. Divide into 2 loaves and place into 2 4X8 bread pans, previously sprayed with non-stick spray. Let rise covered in a warm place until dough reaches about 1/2 inc above top of pan. Turn oven on toe 350 degrees and place pans immediately in oven. Do not wait to preheat. Bake for 30 minutes from the time you turn on the oven. Remove from pans and cool on rack. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

"Egg"streme Disappointment

We have a California Grey hen (among 12 other hens of different varieties and a loud, obnoxious, cranky Buff Orfington rooster). Well, a few weeks ago, she decided that she was going to be broody. That means she wanted to sit on her eggs and peck at anyone who decided to gather them. Curious as to whether we could actually hatch our own baby chicks, (I'm thinking - rotate the flock, always have fresh chicken to eat as well as the eggs...) I decided to leave her alone. We were coming up on the 21 day incubation period and I've been watching to see if there has been any sign of hatching when I went out a couple of days ago and noticed that there were 25 eggs unattended. No biggie, I think. She just needed to stretch and get some fresh air, water, food, whatever. So I go out the next day, eggs - all alone - again. A little nervous, but thinking she's just taking a break, I don't worry about it. So today was the third day and when I checked this morning, same deal. So I touched the eggs to see how they felt. Stone cold. No residual warmth at all. They've been sitting there, no mama, for 3 days and whatever was growing inside them isn't growing anymore. Ugh. How frustrating. I don't know if I'm more disappointed not to have baby chicks for the meat & eggs or because I was really looking forward to Caroline seeing how baby chicks are made. Oh well. Maybe we'll try again later. Maybe not. But yeah, just because I'm gross and totally morbidly curious, I had to crack some of the eggs just to see. Yup. Lifeless almost fully grown chicks. So depressing.

Fabulous letter "F"

Well, we started our home preschool back up again this week after taking an unintentional break for the summer. (I fully intended to stay organized and do all sorts of educational things all summer - ha!) So we eased back into school with the subject of Farms (always an attention grabber for my little country girl) and the letter F. I chose the letter F because our school district is using the "Handwriting Without Tears" program ( and that's the letter they start with. I wanted to have Caroline as much in line with their curriculum as possible. Plus, I liked the way they have their handwriting program set up and the teaching tools they use. Anyhoo, back to the subject. We started out on Monday looking for things around our house and yard that start with the letter F. Of course, we found FLOWERS! So we picked a bunch and after I arranged the sunflowers, I let Caroline stick the rest in. I was pretty impressed with her finished arrangement.
On Wednesday, we started working on our Family Home Evening chart (I've been meaning to make this for ages, but couldn't find my pattern and stumbled across it the other day while organizing my craft room.) How perfect that the chart is actually a "Farm"ly Home Evening chart with a barn & animals. I let Caroline do the base coat for each of the animals. She loved it!
Here's our Finished Farm project!

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!!

Garden Party Frock GIVEAWAY!!!! Okay, so I have found a new FAVORITE site! I could spend all day on here and not get bored! She has seriously inspired me to sew (okay, even more than I have been lately!) Check out this latest creation - a dress I can only hope she picks me to win! I think it would be the most adorable thing EVER on Caroline!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"I know a little German - He's sitting over there!"

Since Jake served a mission for our church in Germany, we look for opportunities to share German culture with our children when we can. However, this isn't quite what we had in mind:
And the salute:

When the fudgesicle missed it's mark, the resulting mustache just tickled our funnybones! And then he REACHED for the chocolatey mess and it looked like a salute. We couldn't resist the pictures.

Mr. Smarty Pants

I have this cupboard that my nephew accidentally pulled the child lock off of last summer. I never got around to fixing it and decided to make it a snack storage area that Caroline can get her own snacks out of when it is snack time. It's been great and she's really good about waiting until snack time to ask if she can choose a goody. I had some single serve fruit cups and applesauces in there (gotta keep it healthy!). Clayton recently figured out that he can also open the cupboard by himself and has discovered exactly what's in there. Most days, though, he just pulls out the fruit cups and plays with/stacks them. So it wasn't a big deal yesterday when he did that like usual. Until I looked down and noticed red stuff all over his face. He had used his razor sharp new teeth to bite a hole in the aluminum lid over the raspberry-applesauce and was sucking it out the top and shaking the cup, sending splatters of reddish mush all over the kitchen floor and cabinets. I figured I may as well make the best of the situation, so we had the applesauce for lunch. Just for kicks, I put a spoonful of it in a bowl and handed both the bowl and the applesauce to him to see what he would do with it. Well, he impressed me - he looked like he's been using a spoon to feed himself for months. (I actually tried to post a video here, but it didn't work.)

Pet Pals

We love to be outside, especially this last week since it has cooled off some. When we're out there, there's one thing both kids love to do: play with the animals. Our cat, Tippy, is so patient with both of them. A month or so ago, Caroline decided that Tippy needed to be on the deck with her - not by the shed which is her usual hangout. She picked the poor cat up and carried her underneath the armpits to the house. Hind paws and tail dragging, Caroline walked her to the deck, tripping and stepping on Tippy's appendages as she went. That cat just took it. Then she sat on the deck and let Caroline love on her and play with her. So about 10 minutes go by and Caroline decides they should head back to the shed. So she picks kitty up - this time catching her under the hips and makes the trek back, this time with front paws and head hitting the ground and being kicked and stepped on (accidentally) with every step. Again, she just lets herself be hauled wherever. The only thing she wouldn't put up with was being shoved into the little cat house my nephew made for her last summer. Other than that, she was happy to let Caroline do whatever. She's the same with Clayton. He can stick his fingers in her nose and pull her tail and ears and she doesn't do anything. The only time we had a tiny problem was the first time Clayton tried to pat her. He had just figured out the movement and she thought his "pat, pat, pat" was an invitation to play. She tried to "pat, pat, pat" back - with claws. She got in trouble, but not too bad since we could tell she just wanted to play and thought he did, too (which he did - but at 8 months was too little to know claws are ouchy.)

Our other favorite pal is Jasper, Uncle Pete & Aunt Sarah's dog. When Sarah's mom was here she was so impressed that Caroline wasn't scared of this big dog practically running her over. We had to explain that they got the dog as a tiny puppy the same time we had Clayton, so he'd just grown up with her and she was used to him. They're best buddies. When Sarah watched Clayton for me a couple of times (before he was mobile), she said Jasper would just sit next to him or with his paws on either side of him and watch him and act very protective of him. Good training for baby Sophie. Pete gave me this CD last week of pictures from last year so you can see how much both Caroline & Jasper have grown.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sweet little Sophie

Caroline is discovering her maternal instincts, with thanks to and the help of her brand new tiny cousin. She has dolls - we gave her one when Clayton was born and she got some "twins" from Mona and Papa for Christmas. She plays with them occasionally. But if she's going to feed or diaper something, it's usually a stuffed animal and most often, one of the equine variety. (Think: "My Little Pony" with poopy pants and being burped by a 2 year old.) But since Sophie came home and we've had the opportunity to hold, play with and even babysit for a couple of hours, baby dolls have suddenly opened up a new world for my little girl. It's fun to see her interact with a real baby, too. She was darling when Clayton was born, but a year ago at barely two year old, I don't think she quite "got it". She can't keep her hands or lips (constantly giving sweet little kisses) off of the baby. And last night, Aunt Sarah even let her help give Sophie a bottle! Too bad the only camera available was Pete's - so he has the cute pictures.

Where, oh where has my Clayton gone?

I can't turn my back for a second these days, without my little "Turbo" disappearing on me or getting into some kind of mischief. (Case in point - as I type, he is pulling apart a stack of post-it-notes, one at a time - now he's pulling his sister's hair.) The last couple of days, the second I pop my head in the laundry room to unload the dryer or some other task I try to accomplish during the day, he's off. But I've been able to locate him rather easily. His new favorite thing is to crawl as fast as he can to the room he shares with his sister, where he can have all the books on the shelf by Caroline's bed all to himself. He'll sit there for 5 or 10 minutes "reading" to himself. I could sit by the door and quietly watch him for hours. It's so cute to see him choose a book and turn the pages himself.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Caroline's First Campout!

Jake & I, remembering the good ol' days of sleeping under the stars as kids, thought it would be fun to give Caroline the experience. So we dug out the sleeping bag and a foam mattress for Caroline and then hauled the mattress off our hide-a-bed along with every blanket in the house out to the deck. Clayton was cozy and snoozing in his crib and we had the monitor outside, so nobody was left alone or neglected. It took Caroline about 20 minutes to really calm down and snuggle into her sleeping bag (after being in & out and in our "bed" about 5 times). Then she lay still and gazed at the stars for a while and favored us with her sweet little rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." And then she was OUT. She slept like a log the entire night. Not so for her parents. I don't know if it's because we were uncomfortable or because we were worried about Caroline (I kept checking to make sure she was warm enough and pulling a blanket up around her head which she would promptly pull down in her sleep). But both of us kept waking up every 30 minutes to an hour. We were stiff and tired in the morning but discovered that we both slept deeply enough in the early morning hours to miss the excitement and sound of the truck when Jake's brother & his wife left the house at 4:30 on their way to the hospital in labor 5 weeks early. (By the way, everything is fine. Sophie Elisabeth arrived on Wednesday at 2:29 p.m. after all attempts to stop labor failed. But at 5 lbs 9 oz and breathing on her own, they figured she was actually three weeks early, not five.)