Thursday, December 30, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Arileigh – Nearly 2 now this whirlwind of a child has lived up to all my fears of being the busiest of the bunch. While I was voraciously anticipating the day that our youngest would be independent enough not to need Chantelle or myself for her every need, now that that has begun to happen I question the cruel irony of my circumstances. What I found as we closed the door of infant dependency was a much more daunting door opening in front of us. The constant infant dependence has been replaced with the constant toddler independence. Even in the time it has taken to write this paragraph I have needed to stop and remove pencil crayons from the one writing on the couch, clean up brown sugar, pancake mix and cheese whiz from the one who had removed it from the cupboard and fridge and was preparing to mix it all in the living, and remove a pen from the hand of the one who was poking another in the face with it. And all of this from the same whirlwind of a child! She has also shown a great aptitude for “talking”, the quantity of which can only be rivaled by her mother! Despite the dizzying challenges we encounter, we cannot imagine life without her and imagine that all this energy will likely benefit her in her newly found TV commercial stardom.
Aliyah – Psalm 56:8 is translated in the New Living Translation as “You (God) have collected all my tears in your bottle”. We believe God actually has a bathtub for Aliyah. She is definitely our most sensitive child crying for reasons from great injustices to just because the sun rose. Besides crying she enjoys babies, books and just sitting around and snuggling. During home school hours Aliyah feels it is just as important that she be doing school as well and can be found deep in thought in her preschool workbook. When the tears do dry for a while and a smile erupts on her face, what a beautiful little 3 year old girl she is, trying so hard to be and do all that her big sister is and does.
RhÉanna – Our fearless leader continues to amaze us in her outgoingness and willingness to try just about anything. Although only 4 she was insistent that it was time for her to start school and is now excelling at kindergarten. She is almost always the first one done her schoolwork and is usually disappointed that there isn’t more for her to do. Although we have tried, somehow she has not received the memo that she is not in charge. We have caught she several times telling her siblings what sort of punishment they will receive for the wrong things she has caught them doing including telling them to go to their room. This doesn’t go over well with the younger siblings, never mind her 2 older brothers who receive this corrective action with about as much enthusiasm as a mosquito bite. No doubt though, the highlight of our year with Rheanna is that this year she made Jesus her forever friend! Just as with the boys, we are thrilled that she has understood His love for her and her need for His help in all she does. We anticipate greatly the things God can do through her.
Adlai – At 6, Adlai has now gotten over the novelty of school and has begun to show his true colors. His comedic and restless character pulls him away from the table any time he can get away with it, and you can find him much more likely building Lego, drawing pictures or just making his brother and sisters laugh. While school may not be the highlight of his day he is certainly showing that he has a great mind for math. Time and time again, this creative boy can be found playing alone creating some great masterpiece out of Lego (then leaving said Lego lying around his room!).
Payton – Our 7 year old gentle giant continues to live up to the firstborn stereotype of being cautious, responsible and a great caregiver. His outstanding ability to read, matched by his remarkable memory leaves him spouting out facts both useful and useless that make me wonder if he was smaller for his age and was in the public school if he would get beat up a lot. As this is not the case, my questions turn inward as I ponder how long it will take him to figure out he is smarter than his dad. His heart is a generous one and often piles of seemingly useless recyclables end up in his bed as he creates treasures out of trash for those he loves. His desire to help in any and all areas has made him quite proficient in the kitchen – he is already making Macaroni and Cheese and Quick Cheese Biscuits with little to no help from mom!
Chantelle – continues to have far more interests than any human can possibly participate in. However, having not yet come to the realization that she is human, she continues to teach, work, and create, in ways that make Martha Stewart appear to be incompetent. I also introduced her to the chainsaw this year (Lord only knows why!), which she handled very well and can now add to her nearly exhaustive list of skills. She continues to home school the kids and does a remarkable job at it although she finds it much more challenging than it may appear to be at the surface. (This may in fact be the thing that breaks her and reveals her humanness) All kidding aside, she certainly feels that the Holy Spirit is using this endeavor to develop a deep character inside of her. Somewhat related to home schooling (so I thought), I heard her say to me that she had successfully gotten through the year without shooting a kid. I told her that was fantastic and I was glad she hadn’t shot a kid either. She gave me that “you’re an idiot look” and repeated what she had actually said “I have successfully gotten through a year without sugar.” Looking back that did make more sense to me and goes along well with the idea that she may not be human after all.
Jason – as for me, it is now been 13 days since I began this family newsletter. I had great hopes of FINALLY getting one of these out before Christmas. Perhaps I should stop setting such ambitions goals. Between work, church, and home, my life is looking more and more like a hamster wheel. That probably explains the shredded up paper lying all over the floor. Now if someone would please come and clean up the turds that we seem to find from time to time that would be great! On a completely different note, after nearly 12 years I am transitioning out of the hog barns and back into the grain farm. It is a slow and ambiguous evolution that leaves me wondering am I really switching directions or will I just be left with 2 full-time jobs. I guess I’m not a real farmer anyway until I am working 80 hours a week. We did, however, manage to get away for a wonderful week with family this summer in Minneapolis. We had such a good time I am already planning our vacation for next decade whether we need it or not.
Kids Say the Funniest Things:
Adlai: “Marshmallows won’t kill you.”
While Payton & Adlai were playing chess, Payton told Chantelle, “I got Adlai’s queen but Adlai got all mad so I gave it back.”
Rhéanna: “When am I going to grow up?”
Payton: “Can someone turn off the angel? It’s making me have bad looks in my eye balls.”
More Memorable Moments:
- Payton had surgery for T-tubes…again
- Adlai has a new found need for glasses
- In classic Rhéanna style she learned to ride her bike much younger than the boys did
- Arileigh learned to walk way back in March
- We spent many hours in the country cutting down trees and pushing over buildings and making wiener roasts
- Payton learned to mow the lawn
If you have ever wondered what Chantelle and I do with ALL our free time here is a statistical snapshot of a few of the major things.
15330 – items of clothing washed in one year
28470 – number of plates, utensils, etc washed in one year
3285 – number of diapers changed in a year (last year’s stat)
22 – the number of children Rhéanna thinks we should have
1/2 - the amount of food that makes it into Arileigh’s mouth
1/2 - the amount of food that ends up on the floor under Arileigh
1095 – the number of times in a year that the dining room floor needs to get swept
3650 – number of toys that get cleaned up in a year
32850 – number of toys or toy pieces that would be cleaned up in a year if they were cleaned up each day
365 – number of days in a year that Jason ponders throwing all the toys away.
600 – number of liters of milk we buy in a year
365ish – number of days in a year we feel incredibly blessed by the life and family the Lord has entrusted to us :)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Free Sewing Pattern for 18" Build-A-Bear - Halter SundressSupplies Needed:
1 - 18"x4" rectangle of fabric
1 - 36"x6" rectangle of fabric
2 - 9"x2" rectangles of fabric
36" piece of lace
1" piece of Velcro
pins, scissors, etc.
1. Take your 18"x4" rectangle and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press. You now have an 18"x2" rectangle. Open the folds you just made. Take the raw lengthwise edges (the 18" sides) and fold them in 3/4"; press.
On the ends (the 4" ends) fold in 1/2"; press. Fold your rectangle in the middle again (the very first fold you made) and you now have a rectangle about 1 1/4" wide by 17" long; press well. We will refer to this piece as the band. Set it aside.
2. Take your 36"x6" piece and turn under a 1/4" on the bottom 36" edge. Press. Turn under 1/4" again; press. Stitch. You have just made the hem at the bottom of the dress. We will refer to this piece as the skirt. On each of the 6" sides, fold under 1/2"; press. Fold under 1/2" again; press again. Stitch.
On the raw top 36" edge, sew a gathering stitch along the top of the piece, close to the edge. If you don't have a gathering stitch, set your stitch length to long then make two rows of stitching close to the edge. Make sure the rows do not cross over each other. Gently pull up the bobbin thread on these two stitch lines you just made. You will gather this edge of the skirt. Gather until it matches the length of the band you previously made.
You are getting close to being done! Take the 36" piece of lace and attach it to the bottom of the skirt. If you do not want to use lace, I would make the skirt about 1" longer.
Take the short 2" ends and fold in 1/2"; press. Fold the rectangle in the middle again so that your finished size is 8"x1". These are your straps.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I am also planning to make some notepads with something like "From the Heart of RJ" on the top and putting it on the clipboard for them to have some doodle paper. You could also use these boards as picture holders. They would easily hold a 4"x6" or 5"x7" photo and you could just hang it from the clamp already on the board.
I found these clipboards at a dollar store for $1.29 each and picked up a bunch of coordinating paper and ribbon. The backs of the boards I just painted black. If you need instructions on how to make these, just let me know. I found a couple of suggestions online and then just had at it! I love how they turned out and my girls cannot wait to get theirs (they are 2 of those 6 little ladies)!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Double Drizzled Chocolate Shortbread
Have you found any great recipes that you love to make? Some holiday baking favorites? Please do share - I do love trying new recipes!
Friday, December 3, 2010
Yesterday we had our first meeting with our draftsman to start drawing up plans of our next home, our dream home, Project 2012! Do I hear a squeal out there? There is a lot of those happening here. So very exciting! He even told us we will probably have preliminaries in our hand by the weekend! So with all this talk of drawing up plans, the kitchen is front and center in my brain, right where it usually is. There is probably not a day that goes by when I don't think about that part of the home, that kitchen. So much of our time is spent in that place it needs to be well thought out and functioning perfectly. It must be spacious enough for all 7 of us to work and move around without always stepping on someone's toes or squishing each other together. There must be a larger than a 3' piece of unbroken counter. Other priorities are (and I am only mentioning those I don't currently have):
- full fridge/full freezer
- 5 burner (minimum) gas range
- double electric wall oven
- prep sink
- bar counter with seating for 5 (minimum)
- lots of counter space
- upper cabinets to the ceiling
- window in the kitchen
- no deck/patio door in the kitchen
- a pot filler by the stove
With that said, here are some inspiring photos I have found through the last number of years and stored on my computer. I don't know where they all came from but will try to give credit where I can.
I like the color of the cabinets above but would probably lean a little lighter yet. I love the glass doors on the very upper cabinets. Photo from Decor Cabinets
I love this range hood!
This photo above is my favorite as the layout is pretty much identical to what we have in mind. I love the square "box" above the island that sets apart the light fixture and makes it stand out! Really want to do that. And I have the light fixture already! See?(PS: This was a great clearance deal for $69.93 at Canadian Tire in Steinbach. In Winnipeg, they are still selling them at the regular price of $249.99!)
Same kitchen as last photo. I love how the range is centered behind the island. I wouldn't go with all solid doors or this color but I really like the layout of this kitchen because it feels so right.
These cabinets are closer in color to what I want, complete with black island cabinets. I also love the beadboard.
I tend to like the French Country look but know that that ornate is not going to happen. But I like the look anyway!
As you can tell, I am a traditional girl when it comes to my kitchen. How about you? What style of kitchen would fit in your dream home?