Saturday, January 31, 2009

Crockpot Challenge!

I stumbled across this blog a bit ago, A Year of Crockpotting. I love my crockpot, but I don't use this valuable resource near enough.

So, I'm going to challenge myself!


Crazy, you say?

It can't be done?

Well, we'll just see. Anyone want to join me in my crazy venture? Oh, come on, you know you want to....please? Anyone??

I'm planning on posting my results. Well, at least, the good ones. Hopefully there are a few of those to speak of.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Chaos Tip #3: Make Homemade Pretzels!

Mmmmm, mmmmm, homemade pretzels! The kids had all sorts of fun forming the pretzel dough into loads of different shapes...

This is what Zoe does lately when we point the camera at her!

Check out Emmett's toothless grin!

Ian, your pretzel kinda looks like a cow pie!

Although I must say, the recipe we tried didn't turn out tooooo good. The kids still enjoyed them, but Ryan and so much. Luckily, my most awesome and wonderful, sis-in-law, Shelly shared her tried and true recipe...

Amish Soft Pretzels
(makes 15)
Mix: 1 1/2 C. Very Warm Water
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
1 1/2 TBS Yeast
Let it sit to soften yeast then add:
3/4 tsp. Salt
4 C. Flour
Mix, then knead together and let sit for 15 min.
Form pretzels by taking a small piece of dough (size of lemon) and roll into a "rope."
Form into knot and dip into solution of
1/2 C Hot Water
2 TBSP Baking Soda
Place on GREASED baking sheet and sprinkle with pretzel salt (or you can use Margarita Salt or leave plain). Bake at 550 degrees until browned- bakes very fast. WATCH!!! Remove from oven and dip tops in melted butter (or brush butter on tops) May sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar at this point if you haven't used salt.

Don't those sound yummy?? Thanks Shelly!

Happy Chaos Tip #2: Welcome an extra child into the chaos!

When you're asked if you want an extra kid hanging around for a few days, say......

"You bet!"

Ryan's sister, Shelly and her husband Brian wanted to take a trip to Las Vegas so, we were lucky enough to get to hang out with their wee boy, Ian, while they had a super time together.

They brought him by Sunday morning and he got to go to church with us. On the way there Ryan and I realized Ian could teach our boys an important lesson. HOW TO WHISPER.

The conversation went something like this...

Ryan: "Everyone needs to be quiet."
Ian: whispers something in an extra good and quiet whisper voice
Our boys continued to not be so very quiet.
Ryan: "Boys, it looks like Ian could teach you all how to whisper."
Emmett, now whispering: "I can whisper!"
Sam, now whispering: "I can whisper, too!"
Weston, now kind of whispering: "I can whisper!"
Me: Weston, that's not really whispering.
Weston, NOW whispering: "I can talk in a whisper...see! I can whisper..."

Finally, we arrive at church.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I am freaking out!!!!

So, I'm trying to get my scholarship application for this super duper most amazing conference in New York ready. And there's so much to do! I thought I was done pulling it all together. But, NO, I was wrong.

There's still loads of financial info I need to track down. How much is our home worth now? How much in savings? Estimated dental and medical costs for dependant children in the last year?

bah. I'm going to bed...

Edited to add: Okay. I popped it in the mail today after trying to get Sam to give it a good luck kiss. He basically just let me push it against his lips. Grrrr. I needed more luck than that!!! Okay. I should know sometime in March ( I think).

Let the wishing, dreaming, hoping and worrying commence!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Like mother, like daughter

We were getting ready to go to the library. I put my coat and scarf on and Zoe ran off.....
She had to find this funny little scarf that used to be wrapped around the neck of a stuffed Christmas bear.
Pretty darn cute, eh?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy Chaos Tip #1: Silly Robot Fun

Who doesn't want more chaos in their life, right? Starting today we'll be offering our exciting, fabulous tried and true Chaos Tips. You'll soon be learning all you need to know to begin filling your lives with more Happy Chaos!

Alrightee-o, let's get groovin'...

Happy Chaos Tip #1: Make a robot (or whatever your child LOVES)

What does your little one adore? Space? Dinosaurs? Princesses? Asparagus?

Our Sam LOVES robots. He is completly fascinated by them. He got this super great robot book for Christmas. It had a great craft idea in the back so...

We found some boxes, pipe cleaners and paint and got busy!

Sam named him LockerBot.

His head and body are shoe boxes so Sam can store treasure in them! Very cool, eh?

So, go on. Find out what interests your child, ignore the dirty dishes and clothes, check out some books about what they love or find some stuff on-line, find a craft or activity to do and then...

Make some Happy Chaos!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ice Fishing Fun

Ryan took the boys ice fishing with his dad on Monday. They had an amazingly super fantastic day. The boys couldn't stop talking about the great time they had!

Sam caught one fish. Weston helped Grandpa bring in a trout. And Emmett caught THREE fish!

Zoe and I stayed home since I figured she'd get pretty cold and bored out there all day, but now I wish we would have gone! I would have loved to have been there to see the joy on their faces as they reeled in their catches.
They only had a few small problems. Emmett dropped one of Grandpa's tools down the hole after his dad said, "Don't drop that down the hole."
Luckily, Grandpa Franz had a camera and Ryan used it to locate the tool and fish it out.
The only other problem made its appearance later...

Ryan forgot about the sun reflecting off the snow and so the boys look like they had some massive allergic reaction! But they would tell you it was totally worth it. In fact, why don't I ask them about it....
Me: "Weston what was your favorite part about ice fishing?"
Weston: "Catching the fish with Grandpa."
Me: "Emmett, how about you?"
Emmett: "Catching all three of my fish."
Me: "Sam, what was your favorite part about ice fishing?"
Sam: "That I caught a fish!"
Tonight Ryan will be cooking up some of the mean...YUMMY fish. Mmmmm! Sounds good, right?
Edited to add: The fish was surprisingly very very good. In the dinner prayer Sam said, "...Please help us not to cry if we don't like the food."
After they dug in and decided they quite liked it, Emmett said, "I thought this was going to be bad.'s not that bad. It's good!"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Christmas Chaos

(ahhhhh!) I can't get my pics where I want them! okay...moving on....)

So, because we're slightly nuts, we decided to do a mostly handmade Christmas. Here are some of the highlights...
That first pic of Sam and his super cool monster beanbag game that Weston had a blast making for him!
And then there's Zoe holding the funky mouse I made for her. I had such fun making it! But she's hardly played with it since she opened it. So sad!
I made Ryan a magnetic scrabble board so we can always be playing a game together!

Weston has been playing with us, too. It's really fun.

I had really been wanting something to help organize my dangly earrings, so Ryan came up with this cool thing. It's just what I wanted (he left it unfinished because he wasn't sure if I wanted it stained or painted. I think I'll paint it black and hang it in my bathroom)....

Ryan also spoiled me with a gift card to Jo-Ann's and a pasta machine! Okay. That sounds strange, eh? Well, I really wanted the pasta machine so I could try a new craft....polymer clay pendants! Hmmmm....they're much cooler than they sound.
That "handy" board there in the corner is a wood hot pad that Ryan helped Sam make. Now Sam will always be holding my pots! (He's our little helper...he LOVES to help us)
Weston helped Ryan make me a wood knife holder to sit on the kitchen counter. Very cool! When Ryan asked Emmett what he wanted to make for me, he said, "A notebook!" :) Ryan got a binder and Emmett filled it with paper. Then he drew a picture for the front of the binder and wrote a sweet letter for the back. Unfortunatly I misplaced it! I wanted to share his letter....I'll have to edit this when I find it.

One of the best gifts our family recieved was from my mom. She made us this gorgeous flannel quilt. It's so soft and perfect for snuggling up with the family and watching Spongebob (that was how we first used it anyways!)....

Sam, our little hero, was happy to open this gift that I whipped up for him just a couple days before Christmas...

Weston LOVES playing chess and he's in a chess club at school. So, I stenciled him a chess shirt. He LOVED LOVED LOVED it! I was so surprised at the reaction it got. He promptly put it on and proclaimed he would wear it every Wednesday to school since that is chess club day. This made me quite happy.
Also, for one of his gifts, I put together a beginning sewing kit for him in a manly tool box. I put in supplies (scissors, measuring tape, pins, felt, etc.) and a beginning sewing project book. Christmas day he made a little felt mouse. He's so good!
Emmett had been wishing for a dinosaur shirt. This is what I came up with....

Emmett modge podged this board for Weston to hang in his bedroom. He picked out photos he thought Weston would like, like shots from his baptism, a silly pic of him and his cousin, Natassha and other fun pictures.....

The boys helped make this bow holder for Zoe...

And then here's the whole gang proudly displaying some of our favorite gifts (I was so concerned with getting all the kids situated that I didn't think about holding up MY favorite gifts, but if I had remembered to grab them, I would have been holding the earring board Ryan gave me and the quilt from my mom)...

Zoe got that sweet little rocking chair from Santa. She loves it. When she finds Sam sitting in it, she screams and pushes him until he gets up. Ryan is wearing his wicked cool tye-dyed shirt that Sam made for him (Weston and Emmett tye-dyed him some socks to match :). Oh, and I also stenciled him a couple of funny shirts. One said, "Never trust a man with a mustache." And the other was a picture of a man with furry arms and it simply said "The Second Amendment" ha!
Originally we were all wearing the jammies with monster snowmen on the front that I made for us, but Ryan and the boys put their new shirts on. Oh, and Zoe is sporting the little corduroy coat she got with a new outfit. She loves that coat and insists on wearing it with many many outfits that don't possibly match! velvet! ha!
Oh! One of the best things we ever bought was our gift to the whole family. We bought a 9-in-1 game table. It has pool, foosball, air hockey, baseball, chess....and many others. WE'VE LOVED IT! It's been such a great thing for our family.

We had a really great Christmas! The boys many other gifts, but I was so happy to see their joy over the handmade gifts. And they loved making them for each other even more.
We had such a great Christmas break. We went sledding and played games and laughed and ate too much. We read books and watched home videos and drank hot cocoa and had candlelit dinners. I was sad to see the boys go back to school and Ryan go back to work, but very grateful for the wonderful memories we made.
OH, and I must say....we opened so many great gifts that I couldn't mention them all, so, thank you to our friends and family for spoiling us. You all always do too much....
especially the cheese grater from my brother. ha!
(okay...actually he gave us a COMPUTER he built. Can you believe it?? He gave us a COMPUTER! very cool. BUT he wrapped up a fancy shmancy cheese grater for us since the last time he was in our kitchen he saw that our's was woefully inadequate.)



I'm starting another blog. This one is going to be our family blog and my other one will focus mainly on writing (Shakespear's Stage..... I've been wanting to start this one for a LONG time.

It's going to be chock full of all the fun and craziness that us silly Shakespears get up to. There might be some craft ideas or sewing projects. Maybe a few recipes. And ya never know...maybe even some song and dance.

But I guarantee there will be a whole lot of mean...uh...TALKING about my kids , husband and our great times. So.....

Buckle up, it's going to be a Ka-RAZY ride!