Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Crafts

Over Fall Break we took a little hiatus from our usual school work and studied the arts Halloween style.

The little kids each had a monster face a day to design. First we did jack-o-lantern mosaics.


Next they painted Frankenstein's monster and used buttons, stickers, and yarn to make him a face.
The boys painted their witches hat and face then glued on eyes, noses, and mouths cut from magazines (also a very fun thing to do on real pumpkins!). Very Picasso, don't you think?

For Dracula, they went freestyle and drew on faces with crayons.

The little kids worked on learning a poem together. We chose, "Five Little Pumpkins."

To help we did a craft to go along with the poem. First we gathered a few acorn and painted them orange. I made a gate out of craft sticks.

When the orange paint was dry we drew Jack-O-Lantern faces on the acorns.

Then we used our gate and acorns to act out the poem as we said it. Here Jathan is being the wind and the pumpkins are all rolling away!

One day the boys did a magazine scavenger hunt. I made a list of Halloween related pictures to find and handed them some copies of fall magazines. They flipped and flipped and snipped and snipped then glued all their finds to a paper for display.


And of course we couldn't go without decorating a pumpkin. We have a big pumpkin to carve but I got them these small pumpkins to paint to their hearts' desire.


Keeleigh got to join in the fall fun, as well. She had a haunted house to color. On the back she came up with some adjectives to describe haunted houses and some adverbs to describe how witches, monsters, and ghosts behave.

She learned the folklore behind the jack-o-lantern and carved her own original from a turnip just like Stingy Jack the original "Jack of the Lantern" carried.

She also got to choose one monster, ghost, or goblin to research. She chose the Headless Horseman and made a lapbook about him.

I also found several worksheets online for Keeleigh to complete. One worksheet had her complete grid coordinates to make a Halloween picture, and she wrote a Halloween acrostic poem.

On Thursday of Fall Break we went to the pumpkin patch where the kids all got pumpkins.

 Keeleigh carved a face in hers.

And with Ryland's we cut the top off, added soil and water, and are waiting for the pumpkin seeds to sprout! Sorry, somehow I didn't get a picture of that. Weird, I know. = P

Keeleigh's pumpkin had a TON of seeds inside which we, of course, roasted for snacking! Yum, yum!

And that's what we did for Fall Break! So much fun!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Week's Worth of Pinterest Meals!

I bounce back and forth between being an uber organized meal-planner and a fly-by-the-seat of her pants microwaver. A couple of weeks ago it felt like we'd been in a rut, scrambling to come up with last minute meals so I hit up my Invited to the Party in My Tummy board on Pinterest for inspiration. What followed was  a week of busy chopping and mixing, trying new ingredients, and chowing down! Not all of the recipes were worth the effort and there were a few I will make changes to next time. Here's what I cooked.

The Winners

In no particular order...

So, this picture looks awful but I forgot to take a pretty picture before we SCARFED it all down. If you need a pretty picture, definitely follow the link to the recipe. I really loved this recipe; it was savory and homey. The recipe called for poultry seasoning or sage but I chose to add both. I also had some mushrooms that needed using so I threw them in there, too. We ate it with biscuits and corn on the cob. This one's a keeper.

This was a super simple recipe that my mom suggested I try. All you do is mix up a can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix. I was not so sure that was going to be tasty enough so I added in some chocolate chips. I saw another recipe that suggested you smush a little Nutella in the center, and I think that would be divine. It would probably also be yummy with nuts or cranberries mixed in.

My kids were skeptical about trying these but quickly ate them up. I saw a quote earlier this week from a kid who said something along the lines of grown ups get away with eating cupcakes for breakfast by calling them muffins. I definitely thought these leaned heavily to the cupcake side but, heck, lets call them muffins!

Those white flecks? That's where I got tired of stirring because the batter was so thick, ha ha!

I cannot tell you how much I loved this meal. It was completely and totally delicious, and you need to try it. It really only serves about 4 so if you have a big family (or want leftovers for lunch!), definitely double the recipe. 

This chicken salad made a delicious lunch! I omitted the avocado and cilantro simply because I don't like them but think I might leave in the avocado next time because even though this had a lot of tasty ingredients, no single thing had an overpowering taste. We used flour tortillas to turn this salad into a wrap, crunching the chips up over the top before wrapping up (crunchy tortilla strips would be great for this). 

These were a delicious side item! I probably added more cheese than what the recipe called for because I like them really cheesy. I think they would also be yummy with some wild rice instead of all white rice. 


Loved this but would definitely make one change next time: all that brown rice was a little too much for me. If you're used to eating brown rice, I'm sure you'd love it. If you're used to white rice, it's going to taste a little too "healthy" for you, ha ha. Next time I'll probably do half brown, half white. Other than that, we loved it! Oh, but I did add more cheese than it called for. Because we like cheese. = ) It was delicious served with a dollop of sour cream on top and scooped up with tortilla chips. 

A while back we got some baked potato soup at Outback and loved it. So, the girl who posted this recipe said, "Outback ain't got nothin' on me!" I'll try it, I thought. Outback, it ain't, but it was still really easy and pretty good. I think it would be good with chunked up red potatoes instead of simply frozen hashbrowns but dumping a bag of hashbrowns in there was pretty easy. = ) Serve it with your favorite baked potato toppings and mmmmmmmm. Jackie did mention that it wasn't all that filling. It might make a better appetizer or side rather than the entree. We liked it, though!

Sorry, no picture for this one (check the link, though). Another two ingredient sweet treat! This was totally easy and totally delicious. I loved the pineapple flavor and was delighted to see that you can also mix it with other fruits; I'm trying blueberry today! Just put a dollop of whipped cream on the top and it's perfect.

The Loser

This was a Martha Stewart recipe so I really would have expected better. The meat wasn't bad but it had a lot of ingredients and took a good bit of time to prepare. Apparently, I pressed my patties out too thick so it took forever to cook, and we were all starving by the time I finally got it on the table. The onion gravy never thickened for me, and it was VERY onion-y. Overall, I just didn't think it was worth the effort. Perhaps if I toned down the onions in the gravy and got it to thicken, this would be a good freezer meal but don't make this unless you have a good hour to prep this one item. 

We served it with the broccoli cups and baked potatoes so the night wasn't a total loss. And, hey, with a week's worth of new recipes one loser is pretty good in my book.

The Jury is Still Out

This spaghetti sauce is in the crock pot for tonight. I haven't tasted it yet but, let me tell you, it smells heavenly! I found myself wishing that I had more veggies to put into it, though. It would be great with zucchini or eggplant or mushrooms or all of the above tossed in. I can't wait to try it tonight!

What Pinterest (or otherwise) recipes have you tried lately? Do share!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

16 Weeks!

Wednesday marked 16 weeks into my pregnancy. I'm happy to be fitting into maternity clothes now instead of being at that weird in-between stage. At around 12 weeks, I was certain that I was feeling some movement but then they were few and far between until this week. Then I had one day when I felt a lot of little flutters but only on one side. I know that one placenta is anterior and one is posterior so I wonder if this has something to do with that.

After a two-week wait and calling to see what was up, I finally got a call back from my nurse setting up my BIG ultrasound appointment. Sadly, it's not until November 13th! I will be one day shy of 20 weeks so hopefully we will get a nice view of them and find out their genders. I hate the wait, though.

I'm contemplating having a gender-reveal party. I think it's such a fun idea. I really, really don't want to wait myself, though. Would it be bad if Jackie and I found out then had a party to tell everyone else? Who wouldn't like an excuse to get together and eat cake?!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

15 Weeks---Thinking About Baby Names

Today I am 15 weeks pregnant! According to BabyCenter, the babies are each about 4 inches long (from head to rump). They can sense light through their still-fused eyelids and are peeing out the amniotic fluid they've been swallowing. Ah, they grow up so fast! = )

Their sex organs should be visible on an ultrasound. I'm still anxiously awaiting a call from Dr. Perret's nurse to schedule that all-important one. I can't wait! We are one of those families that finds out the genders before birth. I think it would be so much fun to wait and have a birth surprise but I just can't bring myself to do it. One of the main reasons I like to find out is to feel more connected to the babies before they are born. Then you can pick out special bedding and clothing and know their names. I just think it's a wonderful privilege. 

I'm most excited at the moment to choose baby names! Although Jackie likes to wait until we know the gender, I love perusing name books from the moment the lines pop up on the stick. I have a long list going already but Jackie has laughed at vetoed pretty much all of them. 

Some families (ahem, Duggars) choose names which all begin with the same letter. I think it's cute but personally, I mix up my kids' names so much that if they all started with the same letter, I'd be stuttering all the time. I read a blog post (cannot remember where! Raising Arrows?) a while back about their naming tradition. They have chosen Hebrew names with an "i" in them. I didn't actually realize that our kids' names had any sort of rhyme or reason to them until after I'd named Piper. For one, they all begin with a DIFFERENT letter and, for another, they all have one a different vowel as the second letter/first vowel AND they all have only two syllables. Would anyone in the world have noticed that besides me? Probably not. But now I have so I'm like, "We need an 'o' and a 'u'!" One that doesn't begin with a K, J, R, or P, of course. That narrows things down greatly! 

Another thing I've considered is that many twin names sort of match. According to the list of most popular twin names, most of them begin with the same letter. At first I was totally opposed to that. I didn't want them to be too matchy but it just so happens that two of the names that I love (one for a boy, one for a girl) begin with the same letter! So if I throw caution to the wind, I may end up with two children whose names begin with the same letter, one of which DOES NOT follow the vowel pattern. Gasp, I know! 

Thank goodness I have 25 (or so) more weeks to contemplate this massive decision.

What about you guys? Is there a connection between your children's names? Have you heard any great two syllable "o" or "u" names for me? = )

Thursday, October 4, 2012

14 Week OB Appointment

Yesterday I celebrated being 14 weeks pregnant!

Today I had my OB appointment. I was so happy when, after a very long wait, the doctor said, "I'll be right in. We're going to get the ultrasound machine." 

She said that at 14 weeks it would be difficult to distinguish between heartbeats simply using the doppler. Plus I think she just wanted to see them which was totally okay with me! 

Jathan came with me today and the doctor gave him the first peek. She pointed out their heads and "frog legs." Then I got a looksie. 

This is a picture of the twin that is on the right. It was in a good position and the doctor try to determine its gender but felt it was still too early to tell. At 14 weeks boys are easier to spot than girls and this baby didn't have any obvious, um, protrusions, shall we say, but we just couldn't tell for sure. I'm betting on girl, though! 

The baby on the left was not feeling so photogenic today. It was impossible to see between its legs but you can see them nicely in this profile shot. For the ultrasound illiterate, the baby's head is to the left, torso in the middle (see the curve of its back bone?), and bend leg and little foot to the right. 

Thankfully both babies were the same size which is a good sign that they're both healthy. The doctor said my risk of miscarriage was very low at this point and would be even lower after 20 weeks. She showed me the division between the twins' sacks which is also good and told me which placenta is posterior and anterior. Everything looked just perfect!

My weight and blood pressure was also great today which is a blessing that I pray will continue (I've experienced pre-eclampsia during 3 out of 4 of my previous pregnancies).

Now I'm just waiting on a call from the nurse to set up an appointment for my "big" ultrasound...the one with a real technician using more high tech equipment instead of the doctor just poking around with the one on wheels. = ) Hopefully during that ultrasound the babies will reveal their genders to us. I can't wait to find out!