Tuesday, April 30, 2013


H3 likes bugs for the most part. She's got a phobia of flying ones though, except for butterflies of course. (Seriously, she gives a shrill squeal and runs not only from bees, but from dragonflies and even your basic housefly. No clue why she gets so worked up about them!)  Seeing as she likes to point out every butterfly and caterpillar in sight during our walks, I asked H1 to indulge me and purchase a butterfly habitat and accompanying caterpillars (H3 calls them pattikillers....I've never stopped because I think it's hilarious, and yes, she does know they really are caterpillars).

When they first arrived, they were too small for me to photograph. Here is after a week and they grew quite quickly! They arrive in this cup, which is their home and food for the first 7-10 days. We had 5 of them in there!

At the end of 10 or so, they all crawled to the top and assumed a "J" shape, and eventually formed chrysalides.

Here I've relocated them to their new habitat

And this is one of our painted lady butterflies that emerged!

It's a little hard to see, but there's two of them here, along with 4 empty  shells on the left. #5 is still in the chrysalis and he hatched a day later.

I didn't get any pictures of when we released them. It was a windy day and they took off quickly! I've kept the habitat because apparently I can order more caterpillars. I may do so next year. H3 really enjoyed the experience and loved checking on the daily progress. We had them for a little over 2 weeks, from arrival until releasing. In the meantime, we did lots of butterfly crafts and read butterfly books.  I think she has a pretty good grasp on the idea! If you get a chance to order one of these, I'd highly recommend it. It's a good visual for little ones!  We got ours from Insect Lore and it was $19.99 for their butterfly garden, including having the caterpillars shipped to us at the same time (it costs more if you opt to have your caterpillars shipped later). They also offer other insect kits, if your child happens to love bugs!


Monday, April 29, 2013

Mom's Cowboy Cookie Recipe

I was in the mood for some cookies today and realized I hadn't made my mom's cowboy cookies in a while. Here's the recipe!

1 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda

Combine these ingredients and mix well. Then add:

2 and 1/2 cup flour
2 cup oats
1 cup flaked coconut
12 oz chocolate chips ( or 6 oz of butterscotch and 6 oz chocolate)

Mix well and drop by ice cream scoopfuls onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 14-15 minutes.

I'd recommend a tall glass of milk to go with them!



A dreary wet day.....

And two cups of hot cocoa to go with school!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fruit Salad Recipe

A week ago I was brainstorming for some desert ideas and realized that in the nearly 8 years I've been married to H1, not once have I made my family's favorite fruit salad.  Last night we were having salmon burgers (one of the few random foods that H3 actually likes to eat) and veggies, and I thought the fruit salad would be a nice addition.

Look yummy?  Well, here's the recipe!

~Family Favorite Fruit Salad~

4 small apples, chopped into bite-sized pieces (we like red delicious)
1 large can of pineapple chunks, drained
1 large can mandarin oranges, drained
1 large can fruit cocktail, drained
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 tub whipped topping (I use lite)

6-7 large strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, cut into chunks

Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to eat.  Yummy and easy! I usually sprinkle some lemon juice on the apples before mixing everything together to help them keep better (same for bananas). Also, I used the no-sugar added canned fruit.

This is after we've eaten some. The recipe should make at least 8 servings!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I See You

This morning I loaded up the girls in the van and headed to the bi-monthly MOPS group I attend.  While I always enjoy my time with this group of ladies, today I feel like I received a bonus from my Heavenly Father in the form of a reminder of what's important.  The last few days have been really tough for us. H3 has had a lot of....emotional drama....for a lack of a better word for it.  H1 has been under a lot of pressure at work, and the combination of multiple events going on has left me feeling a bit frazzled, to say the least.

At the beginning of our meeting, a mom who has three little ones (one brand new, the others still at the pre-school age) opened up with a word of prayer and a few stories from her life this week. One of the things she reminded us about is that even on the worst days, we can find something good that happened. Something beautiful in the middle of chaos. Friday was one of the worst displays of temper I have ever witnessed in my older daughter (and it was pretty much an all-day event), but I can say that I did witness one thing beautiful. Sitting at the health department, I saw my little girl willingly share her toys with another child. The other girl walked in, and H3 turned and asked me if she could share her toys and play with the girl. The little girl's aunt and I were both grateful as our kids played happily during the long wait. I was so proud of my daughter's desire to share. It was a sweet moment in the midst of a not-so-pleasant day.

A few moments later, our pastor's wife shared a devotion and then a video. When it started, I was interested, but it wasn't until a couple minutes in that I started to feel a few tears threatening. I noticed other moms with the same teary-eyed look. I want to share it with you as well. It's just shy of 6 minutes, but it's very encouraging to a mother's heart. I hope you are touched through this.

Nicole Johnson - The Invisible Woman


Monday, April 15, 2013

Egg Muffin Recipe

I love Pinterest. I spend way too much time on there. I really do. But at the same time, I get lots of ideas for crafts and food. Below is one of them. I saw a recipe for some breakfast muffins and thought that the recipe sounded great for our family, especially for H1's enjoyment of hot breakfasts on his way to work. The original recipe looked yummy, but I adapted it to our family's preference. My recipe made 12 muffins, though I only took a picture of 9 since we'd eaten the other 3 before I took out my camera!

10 eggs
3 tbsp milk
dash of salt
dash of garlic powder 
dash of onion powder 
1/4 lb cooked sausage, crumbled
1/2 small can of mushrooms
1/3 - 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

The spices really are to taste. My family likes a little flavor, but not too much, thus the dash, and it's probably around 1/8 - 1/4 tsp.

Anyways.  Bake in greased muffin cups (or use liners) for 15-20 minutes at 375, until eggs are set. Enjoy!

Spring Break Post

I suppose it's better late than never! We packed our Spring Break week, keeping it pretty even between family time and some projects that needed to be done. I didn't really take any pictures of the projects. I should have, but since was knee-deep in a few of them, I just plain forgot about my camera. H1 and I cleaned out the garage, which took two days. It was a lot of organizing, throwing out, and giving away. It's mostly done now and we can finally walk inside!  H1 also took a day to pour a cement pad, and then a couple days later I assisted him in putting up a shed on that pad. We did some miscellaneous landscaping and also re-arranged the attic. While he and I are enjoying the benefits of our work, I can't say the kids were loving it, other than all the time playing outside while we were working!

Like I said, we tried to split our time evenly, so here are some of our more relaxing moments.

H4 loves it when Daddy brings out the guitar, just like her big sister.

Tea parties....in my kitchen

H1 and H3 building a bat house for the backyard. Did you know that bats can eat  between 600 and 1,000 bugs in an hour?

Almost done!

H4's first time in a swing...she's not sure what to think

I'm not sure if the park is for kids or their dads!

Taking a short nature walk

Pretty view!

On a drive through the countryside (a.k.a. driving near home)

We went to Bush Gardens several times, and once caught up with a friend and her daughter. H3 and Maddie had a great time playing together.

It was one of those vacations where you don't go anywhere, and you don't do much of anything, and yet you find yourself immensely satisfied with your week. I confess in the beginning I was bummed about not having any "exciting" plans, but it turned out to be a wonderful week. The girls really loved having time with their daddy and taking our short day trips.

Last Monday we hit the ground running again and it's been a really good time with school for H3 and I.  We may have some changes coming up in that area, and H1 and I are just praying for clear direction right now in regards to what is best for H3.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Easter Pictures

Yes, they are slightly late, but Spring Break got in the way of me posting anything. We were having too much fun!  On Easter Sunday, we awoke to a downpour, thus there are no pictures outside!

I'm trying to get a good shot of H3's hair.  Basically, it's two french braids (a larger one on the right side of her head) drawn back into a ponytail-turned messy bun.
Back of H3's hair

H3 and Auntie Amber putting dye tablets in mugs

Dipping the first egg

Amber is getting fancy

H4 checking out the egg dying

Amber's artwork

I just had to include this face because it cracked me up. I've mentioned before that H3 is EXTREMELY picky about what she will eat and fruit is out (except applesauce and raisins). I held some chocolate hostage in exchange for her eating ONE TINY section of a clementine. After a long, drawn out ordeal, she finally ate it and this was the face I got!
We went to church on Easter morning and spent the rest of the day together, just enjoying each other's company. I love having everyone together, and having Amber there made the day extra special!

More pictures of Spring Break to come, once I get them off my camera and get my brain in gear for another post.

On a side note, I have caterpillars on my kitchen counter. Yes, on purpose.