Thursday, June 22, 2017

A new idea for a hot day

Megan and I like to peruse Pinterest and Facebook for new crafts. 

Doable crafts.

And we found this one. It takes rocks and old crayons. We have both of those in abundance. That will save me from going back to the store for the 5th day in a row. (Why can't I manage to buy all the things at once?) (I really should learn that nice cashier lady's name. I spend more time with her than anyone else.) the rocks.

You just pick them out, wash them off and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes on 350.

Then you just pick a color and let the melting begin! It is so lovely.

You can do layer upon layer and it all looks cool and swirly.

And if it doesn't turn out, you just wipe it off before it cools and start melting again. The girls were great about not touching the hot rocks. We ended up with a few that cooled before we could get to them, so we just popped them back in the oven and we were back to it. 

So fun!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mathew turns 14...All day!

I cannot tell you how many times Mathew has surprised me with breakfast in bed. He is the sweetest of the sweet. So I figured it was time for him to experience the joy! 

He selected cocoa, sausage, pancakes and scrambled eggs. I added the ketchup on top because I know him. And eggs are awesome with ketchup, I don't care what people say.

He loved it! He told me a couple of times that day, "That was AWESOME!"

Even with a long day of partying ahead of us, I got side tracked and weeded the flower gardens in the back yard. I had to smile when the garden sprinklers came on...I love they way they look in the morning sunshine!

Since it's a "friend year", Mat decided he'd like to have his church buddies over for a wii battle and snacks. We made some pizzas and provided multiple sources of sugar.

While the party was going on downstairs, we set up the bike wash in the front yard. I love watching them run through and squeal when the cold water hits their shoulders...then they love to lay on their towels and "bask" in the sun. Reminds me so much of spending entire days in my swimsuit when I was a kid.

Mathew asked for a chocolate cake with whipped vanilla frosting. And because he is a 14 year old boy, he wanted to handle the FIRE.

Riley Horspool, McKenzie Clarke, Christopher Tayler, Dax Hurst and Owen NeSmith help him celebrate :)

I love teenager parties!!

Later that night we had Mathew's family birthday dinner: roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, hot rolls and corn.

And a cherry cake. He decided against my favorite marachino cherry icing. Someday he'll understand what he's missing!

He got some spending money from his Grandmas (his FAVORITE. This boy values the power to buy treats at will), a cubs hat with his initials embroidered on the side (from Dad), 3 new video games and tickets to go see Jim Gaffigan with mom and dad on July 20th.

His friend, Riley, gave him the game "Snake Oil", so we played it as a family and it was hilarious! You have to convince each other to buy your product in a 30 second sales pitch. I was amazed at how creative the kids can be and how well they think on their feet.

We were all laughing!

Mark trying to sell Megan his babysitter pill. And none of us with forget Megan's Gangster Fish...."You gotta WHACK EM! WHACK EM HARD!"

It was a great birthday and we are so glad Mathew is a part of our family. He's smart and funny and helps balance us all out. Love you, Mathew!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Anna time and wading at Gezer Park

Last night, right after I started filling up the tub for bathtime, Anna told me she needed to "show me something real quick". I have being trying really hard to say "yes" when I can even though I really want to say, "not right now". So....I followed her downstairs and she started filling up a water bottle. 

I began to think perhaps this wasn't going to be "real quick". 

We got out the back gate before she confessed that she'd like to walk to the waterfall. It's about a mile away and I really think the tub would have overflowed before we could make it back. So  I promised her that we would walk to the waterfall the very next day while Laney and Everly are at Kate's summer preschool.

So we did. 

I've been trying to keep my promises, too.

We saw this young dove on the fence when we went through the gate. It's momma was trying to get it to fly, but it was perfectly happy just running along the boards.

We also got another squawking from the bird that is convinced that we mean to destroy her nest and all her little babies.

We played "guess which color the next car will be" all the way there and we laughed so hard when one of us actually got it right. She won! 5-3.

And then we made it. She is so fun to be with...she has lots to say and she isn't shy about telling me that she is thrilled to have some alone time...just us two. Because "it hardly ever happens!"

She's not kidding!

We had to hustle home because it was time to pick up the girls. We tossed the pork barbacoa into the crockpot and had mac n cheese for lunch (yet again).

Then we were off to check out Gezer Park with the Guenthers.

It's in the hoity toity park of Overland Park, so we were on our best behavior.  We only jumped into the "no swimming" area 2 or 3 times.

The kids complained a bit about feeling bored and wanting to go swimming at a "real pool"....

But soon they were creating soups and stews out of flower petals (I didn't ask), pine needles and grass clippings.

Megan and Ryan had a couple of good water fights and then Mathew found a couple rubber duckies and they started racing them down the waterway. There must have been a rubber ducky derby recently, because #247 and #344 were left behind. Yay for us!

Tomorrow is Mathew's birthday and he will be 14, so he gets to go to the teacher/priest activity tonight. This matters mainly because the activity is only a couple blocks away at the Flynns house...and THIS matters only because Megan's YW activity is at the Sirois' house about a mile down the road....and THAT matters only because it isn't Mark's night to be the Bishopric member at the church in LENEXA...which is 20 minutes down the freeway.  Nobody is going to Lenexa!

It's the little stuff.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Megan turns 12 on a Youth Night.

She was really starting to get nervous. On Monday afternoon, there had been little indication that there were any birthday preparations going on in her honor. She had done her part. Multiple color-coded lists had been handed over. Revisions had been submitted. Illustrations and footnotes addressed. 

Did anyone care that she was going to turn another year older in less than 24 hours?

Oh yes. 

But truth be told, when all the kids are home, momma aint going shoppin till everyone is asleep. 

Tuesday morning arrived with fresh groceries in the fridge, the beautiful sun shining and a nice cool breeze. It seemed the perfect time to eat outside on our new table. 

Megan obliged by not coming downstairs to sneak a peek and was rewarded with an outdoor birthday breakfast. She had carefully chosen the menu: Blueberry muffins (from the box, please), sausage (turkey is acceptable), scrambled eggs and apple juice....lots and lots of apple juice. We added the cantaloupe for color. 

And because it's Tuesday, we decided to go over to the Arboretum to see the fairy houses in the "Enchanted Forest".  They were cool! And would have been even cooler if we hadn't been speed walking through them in an effort to keep the mosquitos from sucking our blood. 

*note to self: bring bug spray to Arboretum

But we had fun anyway and we checked another outdoor activity off our bucket list before the temperature and humidity become unbearable.

We thought about buying mosquito repellent from the gift shop, but at 10 bucks a bottle we decided we'd come back some other time.

Besides, Megan and I had a Chick-fil-a lunchdate we needed to get to! She's 12 now, so we sprung for an adult meal AND a frosted lemonade. No more kiddie meals for this girl!

When we got home, we were greeted by the traditional "run through the streamers" all done by Mathew.  How cool is he?  It was a very "awesome-brother" move.

We picked up Laney and ran back out the door to get her to her summer basketball camp and then Megan and I went on the hunt for a new watch and alarm clock for her to take to girls camp. Gone are the days when I can just pick that stuff out. She has "ideas" now.

We also picked up the ingredients we needed to make homemade slime and floam. We had sworn upon our lives and the lives of our revered ancestors to wait for Laney to get home before we made it.

We had no desire to face her wrath... (and we also didn't have a chance to do it it till then anyway.)

Homemade floam is cool, by the way. It's like slime but without the weird smell and the power to make me want to vomit.

Since Megan's birthday fell on a Tuesday, she didn't have time to have her chosen birthday dinner. It was her first ever Youth Activity!!! Even better, it was a combined youth trip to Liberty Jail.

So, instead of a birthday feast, Anna helped prepare dinner (SBL!) and we had a fruit salad with pork chops and cous cous. Is six years old a good time to introduce sharp knives?

Right after Mark and the big kids left for their activity, we had a freak hail storm pop up and pummel our flowers. I'm pretty sure it was in the upper 70's.

Weird. But also cool...because the rain that came with it took care of my garden watering duties for a vacationing friend. check!

Just for fun, since the biggies were out for their activities, we decided to blow up the air mattress and have a movie night campout with popcorn.

A pretty great day! We got a good start on Megan's celebrations and checked off FOUR items off our SBL (Summer Bucket List)....Breakfast Feast, Arboretum, slime and Anna's turn to cook.

And we are only 1 week in!

Monday, May 29, 2017


Our friends, the Guenthers, went out of town for the week and brought us a jar with a stick in it. We promised we would put it in a safe place and make sure that it was returned to them when they were all done having fun in Utah. I was positive we wouldn't be seeing anything hatch. They had been watching it since LAST FALL.  

And then, Monday morning, I was walking by the jar and realized that there was more than just a stick in there!

The Guenther's Giant Silk Moth just couldn't wait a few more days to hatch. I felt so bad! 

So we took it outside for a photo shoot. Those sweet kids at least needed to see some pictures of their amazing creature...

Here he is with his stick and chrysalis:

He had the coolest furry red legs! And look at his amazing antennae!

And big, shiny black eyes!

He was so BIG!


We've been keeping our bird feeder full for most of the spring, so we had quite a collection of birds sitting on the rooftops and drooling over our moth.

Laney was standing guard with a stick. Ready to chase away any bird that came too near. 

We brought him back inside and then drove him out to Lone Elm Park to let him free. He had a better chance of survival out there than at the Hufford Bird Buffet.

I still feel bad that we enjoyed the reward of the Guenther's patient waiting, but it really was pretty spectacular!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Garden 2017.. an abundance of onions

It feels like I'm a little late getting my garden in. I usually run out in February and poke a few peas into the frozen dirt just to make sure I get full advantage of any early sunshine. 

Not this year. I waited till a few weeks ago to get the peas/lettuce/kale/basil/parsley in the ground. And I've been a nervous wreck ever since. I just know those nasty bunnies are going to sniff them out one night and eat all those tender shoots down to the ground. 

I went out today...ready for the worst...and to my surprise, they haven't eaten a thing! Except every single strawberry plant. I decided we better take advantage of our bunny reprieve and spend the day putting in the rest of our plants and seeds and then putting up the fencing around the gardens. 

Not my favorite task in the world. But a couple of cute helpers and John Mayer on shuffle made it doable.

I only have enough fencing for 5 of the beds and since I ripped all the raspberries out this year, that leaves one vulnerable to those repellent rabbits. Curse you, bunnies! You horrible hares!

Luckily we have an entire bed of volunteer green onions that don't seen to tempt them.  

I let Everly dig around and smash all the onion stalks because I knew I'd need to remove all the old crusty ones anyway. 

Not before we got a picture of our Dr. Seuss onion.


My new experiment....hopefully  the peas will be ready to rip out about the time the bell pepper is in need of the old-bean-tower-turned-tomato-cage-turned-pepper-support.


The peas will completely shut out the light and and kill the the pepper plant, then succumb to the mysterious powdery mildew that strangles the life out of them every single year.

On the bright side, I discovered a good use for the large shells that the kids drag home from every camping trip we take. One of these guys makes an awesome shovel and hoe all rolled up into one handy tool.

It's caveman agriculture. And it's the next big thing.

Common ground

Ethan has caught the bug. Guitar is his new thing and he takes it everywhere he goes. He even managed to convince his early morning seminary teacher to let him practice his chords throughout the entire class. 

That strikes me as a very "Mark" move. You wouldn't believe the stuff he gets away with, just because he has the guts to ask. 

And I love it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A smokey eye

She is the only girl I know that can get hit in the eye with a baseball and her injuries result in better eye makeup that I have ever achieved.