Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Peeps!

Let the Cutlip farm begin. We have six baby chicks, two Ameraucanas, two Buff Orpington, one Silver-laced Cochin, and one Blue Cochin. We want a total of 11-12 chicks so we'll go back to Olsen's Grain later this week or next week when they have the other breeds that we want available. We've been doing lots of research on which breeds we want, ones that are good egg layers, ones that are good with families...did you know that some chickens are actually described as "cuddly"? Who knew.

The kids had so much fun picking them out and then playing with them when we got home. So far only two have been dropped...no severe casualties as of yet.

Here's the Silver-laced Cochin.

Sammy with the Silver-laced Cochin and Livvy with the Blue Cochin.

All the peeps lined up.
Livvy said, "Go, peeps. Go! Mom, why aren't they listening to me?"

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Back to Work

Well, since Dad C is coming back next week we thought that we should get some work done around the house...you know, to show him we're doing our part (hi Dad, we're so glad you're coming back). My parents came up on Friday to spend some time with us and help out with the house.


My mom and I tackled a big pile of scrap lumber that was under the clothesline. We moved it all to the bigger pile of scrap lumber by the side of the house. It looks so much nicer now and once the wind stops, I'll be able to use the clothesline for its intended purpose.

Sammy "helping" me with the wheelbarrow.

Tom and my dad got started on the electrical phase of the project. My dad placed all the electrical boxes for the outlets and some for the switches while Tom drilled holes for the wiring.

Livvy helping Opa review the electrical plans.

Tom and Dad discussing the plan of attack.

Tom putting holes in things already.

It's exciting to start seeing some progress on the house again. Could we really live there someday? :-) Very fun stuff. Can't wait for more.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Weekend Catch-Up

Last weekend we took the kids down to the parentals' (my parents, Oma and Opa). We enjoyed the warm weather and the air show at Luke AFB on Saturday. Well...Tom and I enjoyed what we saw of the air show. By the time we got to base, the kids were hot, tired and thought that the Thunderbirds were entirely way too loud (they sat under one of the parked F-16's to be in the shade with their hands over their ears)...we won't be taking them again for anther 4-6 years.
I really enjoyed seeing the Thunderbirds perform again. When I was little living in Germany we used to go all the time. I love the sound of them flying over! I have such great memories associated with the sound of fighter jets flying overhead. In Germany, my dad would buzz our house when he was flying home from a mission (we would all run outside and wave to him...it was so cool - he was so close you could see him waving back); and in high school I would drive out to base and park at the end of the runway (right near the sign that says, "No Flying Low Flying Aircraft") to watch the planes taking off.

My Uncle Thom took this great shot of the T-birds.



On Sunday, the parentals heated up the spa! We all got in and had a great time. Livvy had fun "swimming" (I'm sure this is the summer that she really starts swimming). Sammy had fun "jumping" (with help) across the spa. And Ben seemed to really enjoy splashing around, floating on his back, and just taking it easy.



Ben is 8 months old! Go Ben, go...well, the more I think about it, maybe it's good that he's not crawling yet, he's bound to be under foot and after all the paper he can get to.


And here are my three favorite little people coming back from a wagon ride around our neighborhood. Aren't they so cute? Well, they'd be cuter if they were all smiling, but...hey, it's better than all the pictures that I took with one or two of them falling apart.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Homemade

Many of the websites/blogs that I visit or people in the real world have inspired me lately. They're talking about how they make their own bread, jams, pie crusts, laundry soap, etc. Sooo, I decided to give it a try - can't say that it's too hard until you try it, right? It's what I tell my kiddos anyway.

A couple of weeks ago after a neighborhood friend shared a not-so-secret-secret for how to make the crust really flaky (I'm sure those of you out there who are used to making your own crust already know it, but I didn't). I gave it a try. It turned out really well...and it wasn't too hard to make.


This week I made my own french bread (not in the bread machine) and laundry soap - I got the recipe from the Duggar's website. The bread is delicious and for as much as you can tell that laundry soap works, I think it'll do the job (and I have 5 gals of it, so I'll use it anyway).


Next in my mind's list of things I want to make are some mini meatlaoves, pizza dough and pop-up pancakes to freeze. I also need to make some more baby food for Ben. I've got some sweet potatoes and the mixings for super porridge (oat floor, brown rice, avocado and egg yolk) all ready to go; I just need to make the time and do it before he runs out of what he has in the freezer. Oh! My best friend Mandy just gave me Once-a-Month Cooking so I'm very excited to read up on that and put my freezer to work - Thanks Mandy!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

West Fork

Last Monday the kids and I met my mom (Oma) and Uncle Thom in Sedona to do some hiking. The weather was absolutely beautiful and we all had a wonderful time being outside.

This is Sammy hiking along ahead of everybody. I had told him to hike just a little bit farther and so off he went...grumbling and complaing the whole way, "Too hard... Too far... Legs hurt." What a crack-up.


Here's Livvy-girl...my little granola. She has some sense of style doesn't she?

The little munchkins having fun splashing in the very cold water and throwing rocks.

Sammy getting a ride from Uncle Thom.


Me and my little hiking Bubba.



Oma and Livvy, two peas in a pod.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Organized and Laundry

Recently I've gotten really organized with life as mom - or at least it's all down on paper. I have a binder for "school" which has our daily schedule on the front (did it all fancy in Excel) and a whole bunch of kids stuff inside like memory verses, kids songs, activity ideas - it could still use some updating and more stuff added to it, but that'll be for the next project. Then I have a recipe binder that I print up the current month, plan out all the meals for the month and stick that in the front.
I feel like I could have it all together...except that it's me. I really like organizing things but I don't usually keep things organized. I love that I have the foundation in place to help me and the kids have a fun and productive day. Usually our "schedule" is more of a fall back position...it gives me something to do next when things start running a muck.

One of the really nice things about our schedule is that I have specific days to do the chores. Mondays and Thursdays we do laundry, Tuesdays we dust and water the plants, Wednesdays we clean the bathroom, etc. Having chores assigned to certain days frees me up from wondering when the last time I cleaned the bathroom, or not feeling like I have enough time to do laundry today, etc.

So, onto laundry... I saw on a forum friend's blog site where her son (Livvy's age) was doing laundry...not just folding it, but actually putting in the soap and taking the clothes out of the washer and putting them in the dryer. I was so impressed. Why hadn't I had Livvy and Sammy doing that? Well, on Thursday I put them to work - they loved it. Livvy got to be a helper and Sammy was so proud of himself being a "big boy". Way to go kiddos! Sammy really wanting Livvy's job of getting the clothes out of the washer, but he's not quite tall enough for that yet, maybe next year. Now I just have to keep up with allowing them to help, because it is so much quicker when I do it myself, but then they're never trained to be a functioning part of the family...and they actually loved doing it, wha da ya know.




Sunday, March 1, 2009

Oh and...

Ben turned 7 months old. He's still not crawling but is pretty impressive with his "plank" or pre-bear-walk thing that he does. He can get his knees moving forward but hasn't quite figured out how to move his hands also...which has resulted in some face plants, poor baby.

The Good Life

Have you ever had one of those days that you didn’t really do anything special, but what you did do just warmed your heart and put a smile on your face? Yesterday was that kind of day around here.

We woke up to kids coming in and snuggling us in our bed. Eventually we all got up and ate some breakfast, played a little, talked a little, and then started our chore day. We started by picking up the scraps of wood and siding scattered over the yard…when I say “we”, I really mean me. The kids helped for a little bit and then they got caught up in their own adventures; they said “hi” to our rear neighbors Fox and Tony, and then headed over to our side neighbors to jump on their trampoline with Andrew and Morgan (15 and 13).

Ben mainly just supervised.

Tom stayed mostly in the garage trying to get all the different tools, fasteners, etc organized – quite a task. After getting the yard looking good (if you can call dirt and dead weeds “good”), I went in to help him. It was fun to work along side each other – it feels so good to work together on something that allows us to compliment one another.

Here's the progress so far:






Every now and then, usually after hearing some loud screaming, I’d peek my head out the door and see that no, no one was dying, just the kids happily engaged in a roaring game of “monster”. They had such a good time playing and I knew that they were close and in good hands (Andrew and Morgan are so wonderful with the kids!).

After naps and more organizing, we ended the day by going to Quizno’s for some free subs. The kids ate one of the free ones, and Tom and I shared a spicy chicken something with Chipotle sauce – mmm, it was delicious!

Maybe it was the warm weather, all the neighbors outside working on their yards or house, the happy screaming of the kids, or maybe it was getting a good portion of the garage organized and ready for the work to come…I don’t know. I just know that it all felt so good. I feel so blessed to be married to this wonderful man, have these three beautiful kids, live in this great neighborhood, and in this soon-to-be-perfect-for-us house. God is so good!