Friday, December 31, 2010

A Favorite Birthday Meal

Last night we celebrated Silas' 12th Birthday meal.  A tradition in our home is the Birthday person picks the meal and dessert. 

Silas' Bday was the 28th but we weren't home for supper that night, so we had it last night.

(This is one regret I'll always have, I should not have let the doctor induce me on that day.  I was only 6 days late by the 28th and wish I had waited until after the New Year.  I always feel like Silas is a bit "jipped" because we've been busy many years on his official day and he has to wait.  He never complains or even has commented about it but it's one thing in life I wish I had done differently.  The doctor was going away on New Year's and said she wanted the delivery done so she could relax.  Oh well,, just a thought that felt good to get off my chest).  :)

The top three meals picked are pizza, shepherd's pie and spaghetti with clam sauce. 
Silas picked the last one so I thought I'd share how I make it.

My Mom made it for us growing up and we always LOVED it when she made it!

First I take about 5-6 garlic cloves (not a whole garlic but the pieces off a garlic) and mince them in my garlic press into a large sauce pan.  The garlic is lightly fried in about 4 table spoons of butter.

Once that's all cooked, add 5 cans chopped clams.  I add one can of water for each can of clams.

Add 1/4 cup dried parsley and a few dashes of salt.

Let come to a soft boil.  I add about 3 tbs flour mixed with 3/4 C water to thicken a bit.

Heat and serve over spaghetti or your favorite kind of noodle.  It's great with parmesan cheese sprinkled on it.

Silas picked a trifle for his dessert.  I'll share another time that recipe.  It's another favorite (especially of my friend Jaime!)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Two Tests Today

Last week were in Maine for Christmas.  It was a super time with Mark's family.  Such great memories were made together.
Sunday night, we got a huge snow storm while we were there.  The snow came down for 20 hours straight and there were HUGE wind gusts.  It was so cozy and made for some added memories.

It also made us wonder, would we have to stay another day.
Jordan has a driver's test scheduled the end of the week we were to get home. We "needed" to get home.

We live in a very rural area.  The one location for our area is an hour away and it has to be scheduled in advance.  It takes 6 weeks to get an appointment, and they're only open on Thursdays, so I didn't want to miss it.
Brendan was also going to take his learner's permit test today.

We ended up leaving ME as scheduled (just not as early in the day due to digging out). 

Today was the test day for the boys.  Man, I think my nerves were more shot than their's.
We picked them up from work and we headed to the DMV building. 
Mark took Jordan to the driving part and I was with Brendan for the learner test part.

Brendan handed the lady all the needed paper work and he started with the vision test.
I sat behind Brendan and he leaned into the machine to read the letters.
I heard him say a couple letters and the lady say they weren't correct.
My heart instantly went out to him. 

Jordan recently got glasses.  He had all the tell-tale signs.  Brendan has never shown signs of needing them.  So this was a surprise.
Poor guy.  He couldn't tell most of the letters.

So his next test tomorrow is at the eye doctor at 11am. 

So we all went back to the waiting area to see how Jordan did.  He came into the room with a serious face.

Ut- oh,, he failed too!?!?!

I wanted to run up and ask him but too many people were sitting there and I didn't to embarrass my poor guy.  So I had to sit there and patiently waitrd the minute for him to come tell us.

Yeah, he passed!  I was so relieved.

Yippee!  Now I can sleep in and he can drive them to work.... although I think I'll be more nervous with that!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yarn Along

I'm with Ginny again today,, posting on the work of the doll.  I've completed all the knitting part and some of the stitching of the seams.  I just need to stuff it and form the head.  I'm having a hard time deciding whether or not to give the doll a face.  What do you think?

I've started the next doll.  Titus said it's the Mom doll.

Last night we opened our Christmas gifts together as a family.  What a great time together!
The boys draw names and get eachother a gift.
My fella and I help the younger guys and get the older guys something they may need (Hunter needed sneakers so we got him a pair as did Jordan). 

My fella went all out!
I gave him a list of books I would enjoy, listed in the order of preference.  He got them all!
I enjoy reading cookbooks and craft books like novels.  I read a few pages before I drift off to sleep.
These will keep me busy for some time.

I thought I'd explain why we opened our gifts.  Tomorrow we head to Maine to be with my in-laws for Christmas.  So we could all fit, we decided not to bring all the gifts there and back.  So the boys will just do their stockings in Maine.  Yippee, I can't wait!  It's my favoritest place to be for Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Some Extra Protein

Sunday after church, we had two of our home grown chickens for lunch.
Once the meat was picked, I put the bones into the crock pot, filled it with water and let it simmer.

Yesterday the yummy, healthy broth was ready.
I made chicken, vegetable soup with it.
I also grabbed the huge, camp sized bag of egg noodles and added 4 handfuls to the soup.

Meals together are always fun and some times too loud.  A certain son is always told to be quiet.  Can you guess which one?  He just can't seem to keep quiet for more than two seconds! 

Brendan said to me, while enjoying his third bowl of soup (soup is his favorite meal!), "Mom, what are these little white things?"
I looked and said they must be part of the noodles.

This sparked too much curiosity for the boys. 
The microscope was brought out and the "little noodle parts" ended up being creatures that were eating the noodles.
The soup was loaded with tasty worms floating dead in my healthy, yummy broth! 
My pride was dashed in seconds!
I fed our boys worms!
Oh well, they didn't seem to mind.  A few were grossed out and didn't finish their second bowl.  My fella brought his soup to school today and will enjoy his protein filled soup.  What a man!

Thanks Dad for all the bags of egg noodles you gave us that will now feed our CHICKENS instead of us!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Family Ties That Help Bind

Christmas has lots of traditions and memories for our family.

As a child, Christmas was always at our home.  My parents were always great host/hostesses. 
I remember our home always bustling with family and friends on holidays.
Oh, the memories of those wonderful tmes together.

I want the same for our family.  Memories of times together and building ties that bind.

I saw on Trina's blog this idea:

I printed them and out gave the first page for the boys.
The first day, each of them did the page.

Soon, it fizzled with most of the boys.  Tim found it too hard, "Mom, I can't draw, it's too hard!"
Jordan and Brendan are too busy with school, the college course and now work.  So they stopped too.

Silas and Luke are the two that kept it up.   Each day they'd ask me for the next page.

We'll be in Maine for Christmas with my fella's parents.  I hope to have them made into a book and we can look at them together on Christmas Eve.

My sisters and I are super close.  I can call my sister and it's as if no time has passed and we pick up right where we left off.
I love every second spent with my sisters.
There's no girl friend like a sister!! (ok,, and Mom too!!!)

I want that for our boys.  I want them to be so close and always love eachother.  I can see bonds that are already formed.

Jordan and Brendan have always been close!  Think it was just natural as they were the first two.

Silas and Luke are the same way.  Always together!

My fella is like that with his little brother.  As soon as they're together, I can hear the banter start and laughter fill the air.  It's the type that makes you start to join in and you have no idea what's going on but their laughter is contagious.

There's no other friends like siblings!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jangled Nerves

I just took the oldest two to work. 
The ride is all dirt roads and is so peaceful.  I actually enjoy the quiet ride.

This morning was especially peaceful with the snow falling all around me.  One part is all pine trees and it was so gorgeous with the snow laying on the branches.  I wished I had my camera.  Instead the picture remains in my memory.

I got home and quickly started looking at my lists and adding to my lists.
Tonight we're having a teen Christmas party at church.

I'm so horrible with things like this.

I lose sleep.
My nails get chewed down to nothing.
My heart pumps wildly.
And my nerves get jangled.

I love it!  I simply love planning and being so excited about this!

Game after game has been researched, testing some on the crowd here. 

 I've jumped up and down many times, dancing around whichever poor fella will listen!  (None of them seem to join my dance with me, they just stand looking at me like I'm weird,, I don't know why!)

Piles have been placed in every spare corner, ready to be loaded into the car later.

All in hopes of making some great memories with the people I love most!

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yarn Along

Today I decided to post on Ginny's Yarn Along.

I've been working on this doll.  This is a first for me, we don't have any dolls in our house and I've never made one before.  I find it exciting to see the little legs appearing and now the head.

In the background is a rug I'm crocheting for a  dear friend.  No pressure, but I need to get it done by Sunday :)

Every night, before sleep over takes me, I try to relax and read one chapter of a book.  This is the book I just started.  I haven't gotten too far because sleep has been coming much quicker than the end of the chapters. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Warm Bellies

It's the time of year of rosey cheeks, runny-cold noses and hot chocolate!

The boys have been skating/sliding on the pond every afternoon after school.

Today it's VERY cold out.  The thermometer in the kitchen didn't show it getting above 20 degrees and it's super windy.  There's been a constant roar outside from the wind. 

They came asking for some hot chocolate to warm their little bellies.

We got the pot, milk, cocoa powder out and started making some.

I filled six mugs and brought them down to the ice players.
As I got close to them with the steaming mugs, I heard, "She has hot chocolate!"

Such fun winter days!

Here's the yummy recipe I got from a friend.  Home made is so much yummier and I know what all the ingredients are.

1/2 C sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder (I used natural cocoa powder)
dash of salt
1/3 C water
4 C milk
3/4 Tsp vanilla

Mix cocoa, sugar and salt in a large pot.  Add water and stir.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Add milk and warm.  Add vanilla.  Whisk until frothy.
Serve with marshmallows, whipping cream or fluff. 

I added whipping cream with little Andes candies sprinkled on top.

I doubled it but learned today I need to triple it!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Warming Rocks

This morning after Titus got up, he handed me this rock. 

I asked what to do with it and he said to put it back on the stove.  "It's me and Jordan's warm rock."

Titus and Jordan have always been close.  Jordan is our oldest and Titus is the youngest.  My fella calls them the book ends.

Titus reminds me alot of Jordan. 

Jordan was very quick to learn things, so is Titus.
Jordan was very athletic and coordinated, so is Titus.
Jordan was/is a diddler (is that a word, or just another "Philbrick" word?) and so it Titus.

Jordan and Titus share a room.  It was the easiest transition from being with Mom during the night.  Poor Jordan had to be the one to help Titus adjust.  I'm sure this helped with the bond that was formed between the two.

When Titus gets up, he asks where Jordan is.
If Titus falls and my arms just aren't enough, he asks where Jordan is.
If a project is too hard for him or requires tools, he asks for Jordan.

Jordan is Titus' hero and best buddy!

It's so neat to see as a parent. 

Since it's very cold now, and Jordan and Titus' room is downstairs where the woodstove is, they have started a fun thing together.

Jordan wraps his hands in some socks and grabs a few heated rocks off the woodstove.  The rocks are all my fun rocks I've collected on our trips to Maine.  I love the round, soft rocks from the ocean.
They put these warm rocks at the foot of their bed.  This helps keep their feet warm.
Titus explained all this to me with an excited tone in his voice.

What fun memories they're making.  I can imagine them sharing the fun thoughts with their own families  some day. 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Handprint Memories

I teach a 2 and 3 year old's Sunday School class at our church.  A couple Christmases ago I wanted to make a craft for the kids to remember the class by.  I came up with this.

This year our Addan was in my class so I got to keep one.

They are quite simple to make and will last longer than some chocolate I could of given (although, I think some candy would have had more of a reaction from the kids!) :)

A Sunday morning early in Decemeber, I got the kids handprints.  I painted right onto their hands and wiped it off as soon as we got the print on fabric.  The kids laugh and giggle saying it tickles.

I had some old grain sacks.  I cut them up into squares before class.  You could use any plain colored fabric but I liked this because it was thick and sturdy fabric.  The paint didn't seep through either.

Once I had the painted fabric squares at home, I wrote the child's name and the year with washable marker (used for sewing and quilting).

I love to do the stitching.  It's very relaxing.

After the names were stitched, I cut pieces of jute for hangers.  I placed them on the painted side of the square and sewed the square together with another piece of sack fabric.  I left the bottom side open, carefully stuffed it and then sewed the square closed.

I took a piece of homespun fabric and made a tie for one side. 

Enjoy your child's handprint hanging.
  Cherish your time with your young children, they grow up so quickly!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From Sapling to the Living Room

Another venture we tried with our land was Christmas trees. 
We heard of many ideas to try on our land to make extra money when the boys were older.  Having 30 acres to work with, we tried many things.

The spring we planted the trees, I was pregnant for Addan.  Jordan and Brendan helped me plant them. 

Each little mulch pile is safely holding in a baby Christmas tree.

I had a piece of twine to measure how far apart to plant them.  We also had a long piece to keep our rows straight.  I'd dig the hole, Jordan would put the tree in and we'd cover it up.  I'd crawl to the next spot and we'd do it again.  Brendan watered after our work.  Together we planted over 100 little trees.  They were real little.  Some were only a couple inches big.  Some were a foot tall. 

We diligently watered them in the beginning to help them get established.  The boys would take the 4 wheeler down to the pond, fill 5 gallon buckets and we'd hand water each tree.  It was alot of work but the memories of working together are priceless!

That was a bit more than 6 years ago.  The Scotch pines are the fastest growers and we've started using them ourselves.  Last year was our first time. 

The boys got our tree last night.  With it getting so dark so early, they had to work in the dark.  It was also VERY cold and windy!  What fun memories.

Titus was so excited.  Addan was jumping around.  Jordan was untangling lights.  Brendan was offering suggestions to get it straight.  Hunter was commenting with his funny one-liners.  Silas and Luke were reminiscing about the ornament's origins.  Tim was playing with the cat.  My fella was helping me hang the lights.

Many of the ornaments hold dear memories.

This one I stiched as a teenager and put it in my hope chest.  I stitched dreaming of hanging it one day with my family. 

This was my baby shoe.  I love the worn out toe spot from where I crawled.

While Mark was a youth pastor in Michigan, my parents came to visit us after the birth of Hunter.  We took them to a town called Frankenmuth.  It's a huge Christmas town.  The shops are decorated like gingerbread style houses.  There's a huge Christmas store.  Mark got me these bulbs there.

Many were hand made by my sister.  She's super crafty and a talented painter.  I have one cross stiched by my Mom too.

Christmas is such a sweet time of year as remember the birth of our loving Savior!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dickens Festival Fun

Today was one of those "Oh SO fun days!!!". 

My fella  and the older boys went out this morning, while I baked the dessert for Brendan's 16th Birthday tomorrow.  (Where does the time go?  I remember our little Bay-boo, he was such a busy handful!)

The guys got home, we ate a quick lunch and bundled up.  We were headed to Wellsboro to the festival.  I've wanted to go there since I heard about it from a friend.  This year we decided to try it.

It's a nice ride and not too long.

As we approached the town,  we decided to take a shuttle provided to avoid parking our big van.  The younger guys were quite excited about that part.

The vendors are all dressed in the Dicken's era.  I love it!  It was sooo fun.

Kettle corn, yarn crafts, funnel cake, wooden crafts, jewlery, pottery, hats and mittens, photography,  walking sticks, Christmas greenery and lots more food!  There was just about every hand made craft there. 

It was so cold.  It actually added to the fun.  Big fluffy hats, stylish rimmed hats, fluffy scarves, capes, muffs, thick warm mittens, and lots of layers were there.

My fella wore a hat my sister crochetted for Jordan.  I noticed people staring at us.  I would follow their eyes and it was his hat!  It distracted from the normal question we're asked, "Are they ALLLLL your's?"

One vendor got me so excited.  The first couple years here, we went to a local high school that held a craft sale the day after Thanksgiving.  My Mom, Aunt, Sister and I enjoyed our outing together.  The sale was just ok but the outing was fun. 
My Aunt got me a cute little hand-carved pine tree there.  I was bummed the crafter wasn't at the sale the next year. 
Today I spotted her and was so thrilled.  I hinted to the boys that would be a GREAT Christmas gift for me.  They all chipped in and got me one.  I love it.  She makes them from a hunk of wood and carves it all herself!

I set it up as soon as we got home.  Isn't it great!?!?
The boys got me the middle sized one, my Aunt the small, tilted one and I got the tallest one.

My Mom got me these cute Christmas girls.  They remind me of my Grandmother.  She gave me one before she died.  That one is on a shelf in my bedroom.

What a fun day that I hope will become another tradition with my men.