Monday, January 30, 2012

Science Experiments...

Last week we had three snow a row!  I was beginning to feel like the girls needed school or some sort of learning so we turned the day into a project day.  It was fun finding random things to do and spending quality time with the girls.
C recently was asking about birthday party themes and her dad being a tease sarcastically said "I think you should do a bug party"...he was obviously trying to gross her out.  It backfired though, because she gasped and said "that's perfect!! A science party!"  lol  I have to admit I think it will be fun, I already have visions of glass measuring beakers and crazy straws for the drinks.  Dry ice will be our friend too, I am sure.
An experiment that seems to be all the rage right now with kids is this "oobleck" or "blue goo"...the stuff made out of cornstarch that is both a solid and a liquid.  We watched videos of people making pools of this stuff and being able to walk across it, but the minute you stand still you start to sink.  The girls had fun with it!
Project #1:
All you need is a box of cornstarch (16oz), some colored water (food coloring added to water), aprox. 1/2 C.  Just add the water to the cornstarch until you get the consistency you want.  It should be hard in your hand when you squeeze it and then when you let go it just drips down.  Crazy stuff!

Project #2:
Fun and super easy (minimal ingredients).  Not even sure the name of this one...milk explosion??   

You basically put a bit of milk on a plate and add some drops of food coloring. 
 Take a q-tip and put it in the center...nothing happens.
Now put the other end of the q-tip in some Dawn dish soap and when the soap hits the milk the colors go crazy.  You don't even have to stir it.
 Ok, we are easily amused. Period.
Project #3:
I used to love to sew little things when I was little.  Those 90's hair scrunchies were a big thing and I do remember making those.  That and doing some cross stitching with my Grandma B. were the extent of my sewing capabilities.  I also remember a day we spent at my dad's mom's house (Grandma H.) and me and my sisters "helped" sew some dresses.  I remember we had to go to the gas station or grocery store for something and I insisted on wearing the dress.  Maybe my grandma will be able to remember this day more clearly...the details are fuzzy.  It was a fun day though I remember that!  Anywho...we scrounged up some material and decided to make some bean bags (since the girls were watching M's beloved Baby Songs and there was a song about the "Alphabet Bean Bag Toss").  They sewed the edges and then we filled them with beans (I feel like that is a "duuuh" description).  It has provided hours of entertainment over the last 48 hrs.  Bean bag toss, playing catch, whipping them at people, nearly breaking lamps...oh yeah, good times. *rolling eyes*
 I remember when I babysat seeing a neat idea for kids.  This mom had filled a big tote with beans and then put measuring scoops, spoons, utensils, etc. in the tote for the kids to play with the beans.  M really likes to pour things and it usually is liquid or spices or something that makes a complete mess.  The left over beans gave her a good hour of entertainment (priceless).   I didn't have enough to fill a tote, but it worked.
Funny stuff!
 She certainly keeps me on my toes...such a ham and very mischievous!! :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bathroom Remodel

Our upstairs girl bathroom was in desperate need of some finishing touches.  I have been "nesting" lately and for some reason this project trumped even the baby nursery!  Still waiting on the baby bedding which will determine the paint color, which will determine...anyways, we are waiting on the bedding.  I figure she'll be sleeping in our room for awhile anyways so I have been surprisingly laid back about the whole thing.
Back to the bathroom.  This is what the bathroom looked like when we purchased the house:
You can't see the patriotic red/white/blue eagle border near the ceiling...such a shame.  I mean, I love my country and all, but...

In a moment of impulse (and thinking we'd have time to get to the bathroom), we tore off the backsplash with the thought of tiling our own. *insert cricket noise*  Six months later our bathroom still looked like this:
We had painted it the same color as the girls room, which was also an attempt at a quick fix and it didn't look right.
Poor guy!  Projects never seem to go as smoothly as you think they will in your head!  We ended up doing some drywall repair, repainting the ceiling, removing light fixtures.  Everything has to be done in stages too which can be frustrating!  Such is the life of home renovations though!

The Final Product (as of 10pm tonight) ;)

Toyed with the idea of doing a really "girly" bathroom since we have all girls, but decided on a "spa" theme since what girl doesn't love a spa?!?!  It will grow with them and since it is also a guest bathroom it keeps a neutral feel.

It's the little things...I really love how the tile turned out!

The fixtures are the hardest thing to work around because they are not in bad shape, but the previous owners used every different metal you can think of, brass/chrome/white.  I really loved the "hot"/"cold" lettering on the knobs so we worked with these guys in mind. 

This tiling was a bonus!  Weren't planning on it, but it really tied the bathroom together...Thanks babe!!  (He is a man of many talents!)

The light fixture was brass...nothing a little silver spray paint couldn't fix! ;)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Project Girls Room

I have had an idea for the girls room since we moved and had yet to finish it until TODAY!!  I was looking for a pair of vintage/antique frames whenever I had the chance to hit up a Goodwill or a garage sale, but had no such luck.  I finally bit the bullet and bought some at Hobby Lobby.  It bugs me that I had to pay for something I was going to go home and paint/distress, but time was a factor. 
The project started like this:
 Primed (I wish I had used white primer...the gray made it turn out darker, but I had the gray on hand and used it).
 Painting raspberry red.  Two days later and four coats of paint later we got a reasonable result!

Their room is finished for now!  Woot!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Energy Bites - After School Snack

Just thought I would share my favorite after-school snack.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and it packs in protein as well as fun (chocolate, cough, cough).  It is a very healthy alternative to granola bars and I like having control of what I put into them!

1 C oatmeal
1/2 C peanut butter
1/3 C honey
1 C coconut flakes
1/2 C ground flax seed (high in omega-3's for those of you that are like me and are not the biggest fish fan! Also good fiber/protein)
1/2 C mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla

Mix everything together until incorporated.  Let chill for half an hour and then roll into balls and enjoy!

*I have rolled them before chilling and eaten them that way and both ways taste great; however, I've been known to not have the patience to wait for no-bake cookies either...that chilling part is hard for me! 

This will make aprox. 12 balls, I usually double the recipe.  You could also substitute raisins or dried cranberries for the chocolate chips to make it even more healthy, but if you did that don't invite me over...I wouldn't eat them.  The choc/peanut butter combo is what makes these so appealing to me! :) 

OH!! Here is a picture using the art filter on my new camera:
 I love this camera...just got it the week after Christmas (Merry Christmas to me thanks to some Christmas gifts we received!!!).  I have been deliberating over a camera for several months now and finally just bit the bullet.  I was scared about going to a D-SLR because I thought I was going to be paying for more technology than I needed and the big size really bothered me.  Found this Olympus PEN (its an in-between version with lens options that is still smallish and so far I am very happy).  It had great reviews and Costco had a kit that came with extra lenses for an awesome price.  Still have a lot to learn about the camera head was spinning after reading the manual. 

Anyways, I got it the day before my nephews 1st birthday party:
He is one happy guy!
Mom and Dad with the birthday boy

 Some snow day pictures....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Year 2011 - Rewind

Last night we were reminiscing and thanking the Lord for the past year.  For SO many blessings, milestones, protection and memories.  The more we talked the more I realized that I should be, as my mother would say, "writing these things down".  So while typically January is a time of looking forward and setting new goals, I am going to pause and look back.  I think there are positive reasons to sometimes look back and reflect, but the strongest emotion that comes to my heart is an overall gratefulness.

Three major, tragic situations that occurred in friends' lives are sticking out to me as I type this:
#1.  A friend nearly lost their little boy in a drowning accident.
#2.  Dear friends lost not one, but two children this year during pregnancy.  One of which we nearly shared the same due date.
#3.  Another friend lost her husband and nearly lost a child in a horrible car accident.

The first really struck home because we moved into a house this spring that has a pool.  While a huge bonus and blessing, it is also a huge liability and I can't count how many nights I'd lay awake praying that God would not let someone get hurt or drown at our home. I am sure I will be praying this way every summer, but the fact that He protected us in that specific way makes me grateful.

The second, while guilt has been a common feeling during this pregnancy I can't help but be grateful for the life that is growing inside of me and for the seemingly healthy baby girl we are expecting in just six short weeks!  It seems that this year I've heard of several miscarriages and while I do not understand this tragedy (especially in a world of abundant abortions of "unwanted" children) it makes makes me all the more grateful for the children we have and the blessing of carrying them.  With this in mind, I will try to moan and groan less, because these past couple weeks I have been extremely uncomfortable and prone to whining.  :P

Lastly, last night as I laid in bed next to my husband I was moved to tears because I had just read the  Facebook post of my friend who lost her husband.  It read, "It is not so Happy a New Year here. We are all missing Donovan a lot today. It will be the first time in 15 years that I will not receive a New Year's kiss from my love. :'(" I can't even wrap my mind around that kind of loss.  It is heartbreaking.  My heart was more thankful than ever...

January/February:   Was looking like a quiet year when we started and then the hubs started looking at real estate online.  On a whim we walked through a house that was for sale...LONG story short our house went up on the market the second week of February.  Anyone who has sold a house knows that this process will immediately turn your life upside down.  Showings, decluttering, house repairs, inspections...bottom line...stress.  ;)

C lost a lot of teeth the beginning of the year!
All ready to play outside...we had a ton of snow in February!

Our little ham!

Disney on Ice with friends!

Daddy's date with the girls to see "monster trucks"...gotta make them well rounded I suppose! lol

The girls checking out their soon to be new room!

March/April:  These two months were hectic with actually moving/closing, spring break, birthdays, Easter and a quick trip for Eric and I to Cancun!  It seems crazy to me that we were able to pull off going away, but it was actually perfect to get away amidst the craziness and have a little fun in the sun and "alone" time.  We read a couple books together, one was "Bringing Up Girls" by Dobson and we really loved the insight into the female brain. :)  The Lord knew what was coming up in our year...little did we know that baby girl #4 was to be part of our plan for 2011!  I suppose I am getting ahead of myself though...
My cousin was in a play (no she did not REALLY get married). ;)  The girls loved it!

O. my little Kitchen Aid waiting for her sisters birthday cupcakes to come out of the oven...
We took lunch to C for her birthday!

Ice skating with her BFF

Easter 2011

Is it possible??? 8 yrs old!
Cancun - *sigh* I want to go back it looks so nice right now...


I must insert a disclaimer here...while Eric getting a John Deere was epic and a little hilarious to this wife (seeing he is from California) I am ever thankful for God's protection with this piece of equipment!  The girls love riding with their daddy and just being with him wherever he is in general, but we have stopped this practice!  We had a near "incident" where O had to be thrown off and it nearly rolled.  I was watching from the porch and nearly had a heart attack.  We had a little praise service right there on our front lawn praying and thanking God that it wasn't any worse.  Definitely a safety lesson.  In the meantime, I have the sweet pictures of happy times with daddy and remembrance that even the littlest things bring such joy to a little girls life! :)

May/June/July/August: Pretty sure I could insert a book right here, but I did do a pretty lengthy post about our summer that you can read here if you're interested.  May 6th (the same day my sister came in from Montana) we found out baby #4 was on the way!  That was the big news and outside of that it was basically lots of home renovations, lots of pool time, family from California visited, NBT (our weekly Bible school), my first 5K, Eric ran a 25K!, little M turned #2, and in August Eric and I celebrated 10 years of marriage (to be celebrated in October in Hawaii!).

Eric ran the 25K Fifth Third Run

The Alma Highland Festival - 5K (Paul and Eric ran the 8 miler)

Cousins = Fun & Love!

Saturday mornings are the best!

I am sure these pictures will not be appreciated during those teen years. ;)

The DIY-ers :)

Lots of ribbons this year at NBT!

Matching PJ's

M and C's favorite pool game got dubbed "hop hop" was hilarious.
The improvised "slide"
White Caps game with family

We picked LOTS of blueberries!!
Eric was able to use Carl Edwards Nascar (Aflac) car for an event at one of his groups - Grand Rapids Ophthalmology
September/October:  Miss O turned 6!, school days and piano lessons begin, I have looked forward to this quiet month and it is bliss.  Just normal everyday things and loving the routine.  We had our ultrasound done and planned a "gender reveal" party to discover the gender with our family and friends, it was a hoot!  I did a post on this also if you want to read click here. I was able to end September with a ladies retreat at Camp CoBeAc.  October was a little more busy with renovations we had to do on our rental property.  I reaaaally wish I had "after" pictures of all the work that Eric was able to do.  He gutted the kitchen, put in new cupboards, painted, tiled a shower/bath, installed a new window, and we had new carpet laid.  I also need to give a shout out to my dear mom who spent a good day with me "cleaning"...she is a window washing machine!  It was very rewarding seeing the end result and we have a great renter now!  He literally finished the night before we were to leave for our trip to Hawaii (his annual work convention that we used as an excuse to celebrate).

O with her "birthday Build-A-Bear" from Grandma Sue.  My mom made a tradition of taking the girls on their sixth birthday to get a bear and doing lunch.  It is such a special day for them...they love it!
The birthday morning pancake!
She is an absolute joy...
Sweet and Six

First missing tooth!  This was just after a long battle with the flu...she was one sick little girl :(
Our Labor Day Stay-cation...we (I should say Eric and the girls...M and I kept the beds inside warm) camped in the backyard, cooked out, watched the stars, and went swimming.  Ok, I am reaaaaallly missing summertime!
Kan Jam - family favorite Frisbee game

Happy Fall!!

First Day of School

9/11 Memorial

Girl or Boy???

The frosting color inside would tell!!

Field trip to Andersen & Girls Orchard

Megan loved feeding the goats!

A picnic with friends before heading to Art Prize downtown Grand Rapids

Happy Birthday Mom!  The best mom a girl could ask for!!

This girl LOVES her daddy!!
Soaking up some love before we leave for Hawaii...

Coffee, sunrise, warm air...enough said??

Our welcome dinner

Getting ready to swim/snorkel with the dolphins
6 months pregnant + a beautiful sunset

Part of Eric's Aflac team

 By FAR the funnest day of our trip was our scooter day.  Not sure renting a scooter while pregnant was the safest thing, but #1 I did wear the ugly helmet and #2 I am pretty sure I haven't laughed so much in one day.  I was seriously giggly.  It is such a free feeling tooting around on these things and I really do understand why bikers are the way they are!  We drove these puppies up the coast which was absolutely beautiful, and then made a snorkeling pit stop in Hanauma Bay.  It was perfect.  There was a group of about 20 of us and we named ourselves the "Hog Riders"...if you could only hear the zippy hum of the motors this name would make you laugh.  Besides almost accidentally entering the freeway and running up a sidewalk on my test ride it was a fabulous time. :)

Formal night at the Hawaii Convention Center

The sunsets were absolutely gorgeous!

Eric actually won this guitar!  The airport security loved the 1,000+ guitars that came through their airport the next day!
Being silly...

Getting ready to hike up Diamond Head

It was worth the view at the top!

 That concluded our trip and it was back to reality....
Megan decided to empty my spices...she was even trying to get her mess in the dust pan, isn't that thoughtful of her?!?! :P
November/December:  We started November off with a week of special meetings at our church (Mike Manor).  It was a busy, but extremely beneficial week of growth! We also had my sister's baby shower and arrival of a new niece, and Thanksgiving.  By far the highlight of November was that O asked Jesus into her heart and life!  December started off with a trip to Chicago with our youth group, Christmas parties, and the regular "get ready for Christmas" activities. December was also the month that C got baptized...these two months marked great spiritual milestones and have given joy that is not found in anything else.  Living for God and seeking to honor Him in all of our life's choices is the goal.
My beautiful grandmother and best life teacher of "How to do Thanksgiving" :)

Thanksgiving...there were 22 of us!
Aunt Allie's Baby Shower

Mom and daughter

Pregnant Sistas - 7 mos and 9 mos


 Famous Chicago Giordano's Pizza!!!


My sweet new niece (and her awesome parents)!

Chloe's Baptism

Pre-Christmas mani/pedi with my friend

Christmas cookies...

Thank you Aunt Heidi & Uncle Seth!!!

Christmas Eve!!!

All ready for church...Christmas Day

I don't think she got the memo that this set was for her baby doll...
Opening presents...

Great Grandma Hudson with her newest granddaughter

Proud big cousin!

The Christmas festivities tuckered this little guy right out!
 Whew!  If you made it through this congratulations...this really was more for my documenting sake.  That is one thing I want to be better at this year, I know I've already forgotten so many cute things the girls say or do.  I wish you all a very Happy 2012 Year!!