Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gotta type it so I don't forget it!

Every year, with the Christmas season, my biggest concern is my kids being a little too honest about their opinions on gifts.  This year was no exception.  On the way to my in-law's, for the extended family gift exchange, I prepped the kids on proper responses.  It went like this:
"Children, the budget for gifts this year was only five bucks.  Now, five bucks doesn't buy much, so if you get something you don't like, I don't care.  You smile, pretend like it's gold and say, "thank you!". 
I made certain children (the ones that I was most concerned would be overly honest) repeat back to me how their response should go, regardless of the gift.  They all did well in rehearsing the script, and we proceeded on to the big event. 

Luckily all of the kids were pretty darn happy with what they got last night, and I didn't have to worry about the honest truths coming out.  Christmas morning, however, was another story...

We were back at the in-laws this morning, Christmas, and everyone is opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Roxie opens hers, and it's a box.... a Slider Burger Press Box to be exact.  Poor Roxie must have been so sad to see her sisters & brothers opening all of these fun toys, and hers was just a  boring Burger Press, for adults.  But that little smarty pants put a smile on her face, and said "thank you!" to her grandparents!   It was a proud mommy moment for sure!  Of course it turns out that her gift was inside the Burger Press box, and once she was informed of that, she seemed much more pleased with the contents! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Who Needs Real Trees Anyway!

Mother Butter! This is why I don't get real trees! #$(*)(#*$%(#

Last Friday we went on our annual tree hunt with the in-laws, except we don't usually get a real one, because I prefer fake. Well, Cade had to stay home and work, and I thought I would be all nice and get him a real tree (because he likes to complain about how I make him put up an ugly fake one). We get home, my BIL sets it near the side entrance to our house, and guess what? That's where it's sat ever since.

So today I chug down a Pepsi (to get some motivation, you know), and haul my butt out there to take care of it. First, since it's been sitting so long, I must chop the bottom off. Okay. So I started meandering around our yard/sheds looking for some tools that my husband doesn't seem to know how to put in their proper places (or maybe I just don't know where their proper places are -whatever). I find a rusty hand saw. Yep...I'm sure you can see where this is
going. So I literally saw the poop out of that sucker for at least 30 minutes. I got a good start at it, but my arm felt like it was going to detach from it's socket and fall off.   I headed over to our wood pile, and grab this huge monster ax. This thing comes up to my chest, it's so big, and it's HEAVY. I drag it over to the tree, and heft it over my shoulder (which I'm sure will be sore tomorrow from the seriously lack of previous use), and proceed to slam it down, occasionally being lucky enough to at least hit the bark. After about 8 times of this, I decided the rusty saw was good enough. I finally got that dang thing off, and drug that wretched tree in the house.

Gotta' say, the kids thought that me throwing that ax over my shoulder like a lumber jack was a good time.  I was just glad that I didn't accidentally chuck it like an Olympian throws a shot put, and hit one of them in the brains. 

THEN I tried to get the tree to stand up in the tree stand! Another reminder of why I prefer fake. The dang thing WILL NOT stay up straight. It's refusing to cooperate while I try to screw these flat headed screw knob things into the bark. Have you ever done this, people? Have you ever watched your husbands do this? Who can hold the tree perfectly erect, while screwing screws into it?!? If you know someone that can do it, you should give them a gold star! I finally got 3 of the screws in, but that last one, the last one was being a major pain in my butt.

About midway through the holding-the-tree-up/screwing-the-flat-screws-in scenario, Asher came in and said he would be glad to help me out, if only it would make me work faster in order that I might put the password into the computer for him to play it.  Despite his genuine desire to help me, him holding the trunk was not helping matters. 

I finally grabbed a couple of toys from nearby, jammed them down in the tree stand, rigging it to hold the tree upright until Cade gets home.

I give up. (Asher is happy as a clam, however, since I was then free to get him on the computer.)

Oh, and I have a flippin' blister on my thumb now.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Is the suspense killing you yet?

Okay, so I know my last post was pretty vague.  I didn't want to post anything until I was 100% certain that we would be able to start the process. 

We have hired an attorney, and we meet with him this next Monday, to start the adoption proceedings of Kelly, Tajia & Colby! 

We are so excited.  We have been working towards this point for a long time now, and we're thankful to our Heavenly Father for leading us in the directions in which he desires for us to go.  It's amazing how, when you rely upon The Lord, He will bless you.  We are truly blessed. 

We have created a blog in order to help us raise the funds required for the adoption and attorney fees.  You can read all about it at:  http://cadecampbellclan.blogspot.com/ 

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2012

Exciting things are brewing in the Campbell household, but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch.  ;)  You'll just have to stay tuned. 

And NO, I'm not pregnant! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

It was like a scene from a National Lampoon's movie

Our "vacation" was insane.  Don't ask me why two grown, mostly intelligent adults would willingly choose to take eight small children on a vacation in the first place.  Dumb idea. 

This vacation took me months of planning.  Ethen had really been wanting to go to Arches National Park, so that was the destination of choice this year.  I researched all of the possible, cheapest, ways for us to travel.  Getting a hotel room, or rooms rather, was out of the question.  Renting cabins- too expensive, staying in a comfortable campground - too expensive.  It appeared that our least expensive option was to camp on BLM land.  They have some group sites that are able to be reserved, so that's the route we went. 

Now, according to google maps, Arches is about 5 hours and 15 minutes from Hurricane.  Throw in 8 kids, a 23 year old Suburban hauling a camper older than that, and you can imagine how long the trip really took us. 

Before leaving we prepped everything.  We got new tires for the camper, Cade cleaned the camper all up, made sure everything was working, etc, and I took the Suburban in for a tire rotation and balance.  Previously the camper was a disaster on the road, flailing all over.  Cade thought that buying new tires would solve this problem, but when he took the camper for a drive the day before we were to leave, we found that no, it didn't solve the problem.  Cade was scurrying all over, trying to secure a sway bar and hitch at the last minute.  He was up very late trying to solve the problem. 

We were supposed to leave at 8am on Sunday, but ended up not getting out of town until about 10am.  This is when the fun really began.  We're driving along I-15 and no kidding, we had to stop at least ten times, because that stupid trailer was fish-tailing all over the place.  Cade would try to get it under control, speeding up, slowing down, whatever would work, then he would end up pulling over as fast as he could, wrenching the sway bar down as tight as he could, and then we would repeat the entire scenario over and over for the next three-ish hours.  I seriously thought we were going to die a number of times. 

We (I should say Cade, because I surely didn't do anything except tell the kids to pray) finally got that sucker wrenched down as tight as he could, and that darn trailer didn't move again, BUT the air conditioner went out.  Yep.  100 degrees outside, ten people crammed in a Suburban, on the hot asphalt pavement of the interstate and no air conditioning!  We were about a half hour outside of Richfield by this time, so using our cell phones, Cade and I called every parts store from Richfield to Green River to see if they had the part for our A/C.  No luck.  So, we settled in like we were kickin' it 1987 style, and rolled the windows down, occasionally spraying ourselves with the spray bottle I had brought with, to style the girls hair. 

Around 6pm we finally rolled into camp.  Pretty much the minute we pulled into camp, the sway bar cracked and broke right off.  Silver lining moment: we were AT camp.  Debbie Downer moment:  We still had to get home in a few days, now with a broken sway bar.  Needless to say, Cade was a super bundle of joy the entire day.  Not that I blame him.  I was only trying to keep a decent attitude in order to keep my sanity. 

The next day we ventured out to Arches, hoping for better luck.  While Cade drove, and the kids admired the pretty rocks, I tried to study the map of the park, deciding on a couple of hikes that the kids could tackle.  I settled on The Delicate Arch hike, which was 3 miles long, round-trip, and gained 400+ feet in elevation, but I swear (I SWEAR!) it said it was an easy hike. 
Before the hike to Delicate Arch

We set out on the hike, prepped with sunblock, a water bottle for each of us (plus a few spares in Cade's pack), and hats for my white boys.  We're trucking along, sweating like workhorses, and start a huge climb on slick rock.  About mid-way up, Cade makes a comment that if this hike was "easy", he wonders what the National Park Service considers "strenuous". It was so hot! 
We were maybe half way here, but had definitely just completed the hardest portion.

All along the way, people were making comments on our family.  One man wanted a picture of Cade with the baby in the pack on his back, another lady wanted to take pictures of all the kids, and many, many people made comments about the kids doing the hike and how motivating it was.  We were like the freak show at Arches! 

In this next picture it shows the drop off on the side, and this is the point where I decided that I had read the map wrong.  There was no way that this hike was an easy one, no way.
I made the kids hold onto the wall on the right, even on the way down when they technically should have moved to the other side when others were coming up.  Let the other people die, my kids aren't! 

Despite how hot and strenuous the hike was, it was well worth the work to get there.  However, if I was to do it again, I would do it sans kids and I would definitely start a little earlier in the morning, when the sun wasn't blazing like a hellish inferno. I was seriously concerned about the welfare of the kids on the descent.  Asher and Colby were especially red-faced, and dragging.  I kept pouring my little bit of water down their backs, and making them drink a swallow every five minutes.
At the top!

Word to the wise: carefully check your maps before setting out on a trek with eight small children. 

I know, this is getting long and we're only on day one.  I can't help it, I'm long winded. 

After having a picnic in the park, and doing another (easy -for real this time) hike, we went to a little place tucked away in Moab, called Mill Creek.  It was awesome, and the kids had a blast cooling off in the water. I wish I would have gotten pictures, but I'm pretty sure my brain was fried by this time. 

At camp we had our little camper that sleeps about three people snugly, so Cade, Calum and I slept in the camper while the rest of the kids slept in the tent.  Around 11 that night, the wind picked up.  And when I say, "picked up", I mean 40+ mph winds.  The tent was right behind us, and seeing as it was 80 degrees even at night, we had the windows open in the camper.  When the wind started whipping the tent around, I heard Kelly crying.  I tried to calm her, and she quieted, but I was so nervous about the rain fly flying off, and the kids being scared, I ended up grabbing a blanket and cuddling up on Ethen's single bed air mattress for most of the night.  I think I slept about 2 hours, thanks to the wind howling and the tent flapping around.  It was miserable, and it didn't stop. 

We hit Canyonlands National Park the next day, and the wind was relentless. We did one simple hike, got sandblasted, and decided that was enough for us.  The rest of that park was a drive-by tour.  If it looked really cool, a few of us would run to the ledge, I would snap a picture, and we would run back to the car. 

We were supposed to go back to camp to grill hot dogs for lunch, but the stupid wind prevented that, so instead we headed into Moab to grab some Wendy's and hopefully find someone that could weld our sway bar back together.  We were successful in finding a mechanic to weld the sway bar.  He said that he would do it for $20, but his good welder was at his home, so we had to pick it up at 6pm.  In the meantime, because of the lovely wind, we headed over to the Moab Aquatic Center.  The kids had a great time playing in the swimming pool, going down the water slide, and even a few of them braved the low diving board! 

For dinner we had to build a stinking shelter.  Lucky for us, we had a nice covered eating area, so we just hung a tarp on one side, and we parked the suburban on another side, and that helped prevent the wind from blowing out the flame on our camp stoves.  Cade made us some fantastic fried chicken and dutch oven potatoes.  Who cares if it was 8:30 before we got to eat it! 

The wind was still blowing at bedtime, and I was not looking forward to no sleep again.  We ended up clearing everything out of the Suburban and throwing the kids in there to sleep.  I should have taken a picture.  They were like little sardines.  Ethen slept on the front bench seat, I made a comfy bed for Kelly on the floor between the front bench and the middle bench using some blankets and a thick memory foam pad, Cailin slept on the middle bench, and Asher, Tajia and Colby slept in the far back (where the back seat was removed from).  Roxie ended up sleeping with Cade and I in the camper.  They were cozy and slept like rocks. 

The next morning we were homeward bound.  I forgot to mention that the day previous, Cade had the inclination to check the air pressure in the tires.  They were considerably lower than they should have been!  So on the morning of our departure, we pumped those suckers up to the appropriate weight, and who woulda' thunk it, but that darn camp trailer didn't fish-tail once on the way home!  The horrible Russian roulette ride up there could have been prevented had Discount Tire properly inflated our tires!  We weren't even too hot on the ride home, because we have this very odd little swamp cooler that plugs into an AC plug in the car (don't ask me why we possess this, but it came in very handy).  We just plugged that little thing in, situated it between a couple of kids, and it kept the car moderately cool.  It was no air conditioning, but at least we didn't have to have all of the windows down, and the hot air blasting us. 

I gotta' say, I know this will be a "memorable" vacation for all of us, but it is surely not one that I wish to recreate.  I think next time we will stick to something a little closer to home, not so hot, and not windy.  Cade says there won't be a next time.  We'll see about that...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

April Fools!

Isn't this one of the weirdest holidays celebrated?  I do think so.  It's also one of the funnest.  
When I was young, my mom would get us good, and she has passed on the pranking gene to me.  I've done quite a few jokes, or pranks, for my kids the last few years and thought I would compile those into one nice little blog.  :)  
First off, the things my mom did that stand out clearly in my mind:
  • One year my mom was painting the interior of our house.  On the front door she posted a sign that read: Wet Paint!  Use the back door.  When you got to the back door you saw a sign that read:  April Fools!  Go back to the front door!   Now this may not have been the most creative prank, but as a kid I sure thought it was funny!
  • Little tiny styrofoam balls coated in chocolate pass off as really good Whoppers!   
  • Divinity candy with cotton balls inside.
  • Vaseline on the door handles
  • saran wrap on the toilet
  • Kool-aid made without the sugar
I have done many tricks to my kids, but I can't take all the credit.  I've got most of my ideas through the worldwide web.  :) 
  • Muffins with cotton balls cooked inside
  • sour cream dyed pink with food coloring to resemble strawberry yogurt
  • "apple juice" made with water and red & yellow food coloring
  • "grilled cheese sandwiches" made with pound cake, sliced & toasted, and cheese colored frosting
  • a meatloaf layer cake frosted with mashed potatoes
  • a 1 serving size chip bag, emptied and then filled with baby carrots and resealed
  • oreos with the centers scraped out and replaced with mint toothpaste (don't do this if your kid likes toothpaste like mine do - not so effective. lol)
  • frozen cereal.  The night before April Fools Day, partially fill a bowl with milk and put in the freezer.  (You can also put the spoon in before freezing for an even more dramatic effect.)  In the morning, at breakfast time, pour some cereal over the top of the frozen milk with just a little bit more milk added, so that the frozen milk can't be seen, and serve! 
  • colored cereal.  Put a little food coloring in the bottom of the bowl, add the cereal of your childs choice, place in front of child at the table, and pour milk.  Milk will "magically" turn another color! 
  • The kids love the apple with a small hole cut out and a gummy worm stuck in it.  Completely silly, but the kids like it!  :) 
  • toilet paper stuffed in the end of their shoes so that their shoes don't fit quite right.
  • carameled onions.  kind of like carameled apples, but not.  Get the idea?  ;) 
  • a bunch of blown up balloons stuffed into a car.
  • A screen shot of the desktop, and then used as the wallpaper.  Then hide all of the actual shortcuts, so that only the screen shot shortcuts (which don't actually work) show.  When the person goes to click on the shortcut, it won't take them anywhere. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Cutest!

I'm pretty sure that as his mother, I can claim Calum as the cutest baby ever!  Not only is he the cutest, but he is the best.  He is so well-natured.  He rarely complains, or cries, he loves to eat almost all foods, he's not demanding.  My only complaint about this baby is that he doesn't care much for sleeping. 

 Look at this guy! Is he not the cutest?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Farmer Cade

Who knew that our abode was going to turn into not only a large collection of children, but also a collection of animals? 

Cade has been on some sort of farm animal kick lately.  Last fall he had one of his co-workers drop four chickens off (it was convenient that I was at school at the time) on our front porch.  One of those chickens was eaten by a stray cat, so we were left with one rooster, and two little chicks.  One of those remaining chicks turned out to be a rooster, which was getting attacked by the bigger rooster, so we ended up giving him away.  We were then left with one noisy rooster (that isn't aware that 5am is not morning!), and one hen. 

Fast forward to my birthday last month, and Cade buys me three ducklings. Don't ask me why. All I said to Roxie was that ducklings were much cuter than chicks. I never, ever said that I wanted ducklings. So, for the last three weeks we've been learning how to tend to ducks. According to Cade, it's too cold to keep them outside, so not only do we have a small farm, but our small farm is inside of our house. Not too thrilled about this information. At first the ducks didn't stink, but now they're like teenagers, and we all know how teenagers smell! 

I took these pictures of the ducks yesterday.
  I think they're about 2 1/2 weeks old...maybe.  I've sort of lost track.
Their names are Heloise.  All of them.
 You can't tell them apart, so for now they share the same name.

Guess what we're getting today?  MORE CHICKS!  yay.  Cade is currently picking up 25 more chicks, and I think, 5 turkeys (not sure what baby turkeys are called).  Now, don't get too excited!  We're selling 10 of the chicks, and all of the turkeys to Cade's uncle, so we won't have quite that many (much to my relief). 

I'm almost excited to see the chicks.  They're so cute, and soft when they're babies.  Then, in only a few weeks time, they turn into nasty, ugly chickens.  Okay, not really.  Our chickens are actually quite pretty, especially the rooster.  Too bad the beauty of our rooster is far outweighed by the annoying sound of his crow in the wee morning hours.

 The yellow ones are the turkeys.  They're uglier than sin, and so gawky and awkward!
 All of the chicks & poults together.
We had to separate them. The poults seem to be a bit bully-like.
 These two were leaning on each while they slept.  I moved one, and the other tipped right over!
  I shall name this one Cleopatra.
Calum really loves them!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Few Little Somethings

Finally, everyone is done with the flu!  With the exception of some lingering coughs & congestion, we're all feeling so much better.  It's nice to have that crap out of the way for another year! 

Not much has been going on (thanks to the lovely sickness, I've been a bit busy tending to sick kids), but I thought I would show ya'll the headband & bracelet that I made my for my sister-in-law.   

These are so simple to make, and I think they turn out so adorable!  I originally got the idea from here: http://bubblynaturecreations.com/2011/02/tuesday-tutorial-petals-and-pearls.html .  I expounded on the idea to make the bracelet. 

I used an old pleather purse (thanks for the donation, Marisa!), a hot glue gun, a headband, and some small metallic beads.  All of my items, except for the headband, were things that I had on-hand! :) 

I pretty much followed the tutorial step-by-step for the headband.  The first one that I made (back at Christmas time) took me about 4 hours.   Trust me, the petals DON'T have to be perfectly symmetrical, perfectly square, or perfectly glued!  Also, if you don't want to have a HUGE flower, adjust the petals accordingly.  I've made a couple of these big ones, and I made one that was a bit smaller.  For the bracelet, I made the petals considerably smaller.  In the tutorial, she uses elastic for the headband, but I just used a headband covered in some of the leftover purse material, which I hot glued onto it. 


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Anxiety, bleeding hands, and fevers

The title pretty much sums up what is going on in our house right now.  It's like my worst nightmare, and apparently, I'm destined to have this same nightmare once a year.  It's weeks like this when I question my sanity, and my choice on not to vaccinate my kids with the flu shot. 

If you know me, you know I have an extreme aversion to germs.  Even on a "normal" day, I wash my hands 50+ times a day.  This past week I've gone through two bottles of hand soap, and these are by no means small bottles!  My hands are a disaster.  They look like they belong to a 70 year old woman -all wrinkled, cracked, scaly.  They could also be compared to turtle skin (turtle skin? do turtles have skin?).  Every night, before bed, I have to lather them up with a little lot of Burt's Bee's Hand Creme (best stuff ever for people like me!), so that my skin can regenerate before I wake up in the morning. 

Because of my germaphobia, my anxiety has been through the roof.  I'm pretty proud of myself though, I've dealt really well.  I haven't even had a single crying episode, although for one tiny moment in time I was yelling and kicking crap around, throwing a tiny little tantrum.  Then I got over it.  Last year I tried quarantining all of the sick kids to one room, and the healthy kids to another, but all that did was prolong the sickness for a month (see last years blog post).  This year I just let them all sleep in their regular rooms, in their regular beds.  I didn't freak out, washing toys & clothes that the sick kids had touched.  I figured that it was here, let them get it, and get it out of this house.

 Today is the tenth day since the flu presented itself here, and we only have 1 kid that is sick today, and 1 kid that hasn't gotten it.  Ethen was the first kid to get it.  I knew what it was the minute he came home from school with a cough, congestion & high fever.  He was fine when he left for school, not even a trace of a cough.  I took him to the urgent care that night to get a diagnosis and hopefully a prescription for some tamiflu (thinking that it would cure him faster).  We got the prescription, but after finding out it was $60 for one prescription, and that insurance wouldn't cover it, and that it only takes ONE day off the flu, I said "forget that!"  Can you imagine paying $60 x 8 kids just to lessen the flu by one day?! pffft.  Instead, I went to the health food store and bought Oscillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy.  It has worked fantastically, and I've probably spent close to $60 on it, but it's treated everyone

We were pretty disappointed that our Spring Break vacation from school was ruined by everyone having the flu, but at least the kids didn't have to miss school, and thanks to the Oscilloccinum, it's been pretty mild.   We had great plans to go camping and work on our yard, but I guess we will just have to go camping later in the season, and Cade & I can probably get more accomplished without the kids in the yard, than we can with them helping! ;)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

33 years and counting!

Sorry about not posting those last Valentine's.  It's been horribly, crazy around here, as usual.  Last week was midterms, and that combined with "mom" duties, well, time just got away from me.  I will get around to it.

The 27th was my birthday -33 years old!  Cade asked me if I felt old.  pfft.  Old! Heck, it's only been 3 years since I turned 30, and I didn't feel old then.  Why should I feel old now?  Couldn't be because I've started college in those 3 years, or the fact that we've added four additional children to our family in those 3 years, or that we're all packed in this house like a bunch of sardines.  Nope, don't feel old at all!

We had a little celebration, in my honor, at the in-laws on Sunday evening.  Cade roasted a big prime rib ($100 sucker -that's how big!) for dinner.  I must say, it was divine.  Sitting around the dinner table, everyone was trying to convince me that I was really turning 34!  How rude -adding a year on.  As if 33 isn't old enough! 

If anyone knows anything about me, it's that I don't like cake.   I don't care what my birthday dessert is, but it better not be cake.  My sweet mother-in-law made me two pies (one peach, one apple), and she was so kind, and only stuck 5 candles in it (that almost made up for her accusing me of being 34). 

We celebrated my birthday on Monday evening, at my parents house.  Mom made me her home-made fried chicken and mashed potatoes, just as I had requested.  She also made me pie for dessert!  See, my family knows me. 

Presents consisted of $$$ (which I had asked for -have some things in mind that I would like to buy), and ducklings.  Yes, ducklings.  Cade said he was "listening", and heard me say that ducklings were cute.  Being the thoughtful husband that he is, he went and bought three of them.  Now, let me tell you, I was only telling Roxie that ducklings were much cuter than chicks.  Not that I, in anyway, desired to own ducks.  The ducklings will be here March 9th, so we have approximately 9 days to figure out a pond situation, and how to keep ducklings warm, and in our yard. 

The girls were overzealous (the word "excited" just didn't quite explain their emotions) to give me the gifts that they had made for me.  You have to love the creativity of kids.  They had made these gifts about a month ago, anticipating my birthday.  Every few days they would say to me, "Mom, how many more days until your birthday?", and I would tell them.  They had these things made, and wrapped in gift bags awaiting the day that I could open them. 

The first item I pulled out was a popsicle stick wrapped in yarn.  That's it.  I don't know what it was, and no one else seemed to know either!  The next item was a popsicle stick with blue flat marbles glued in a line down it.  Cade suggested that maybe it was a back massager, and Roxie (who had made the stick with marbles) ran with the idea.  She even started giving me a massage with the marbles on a stick!  Roxie had also made me a necklace that was made from a piece of ribbon with each end glued to a single circle of green paper.  On the green paper were little buttons, which she had also glued on.  It was beautiful!  I also got a bouquet of flowers, which was made from pipe cleaner and pieces of artificial flower.  I was honored to wear the matching bracelet, also made out of a pipe cleaner and artificial flower.  Kelly made me two books marks using two popsicle sticks and markers.  The last item was a friendship bracelet (although Ethen says I can't call them that, because it sounds too girly) in my favorite colors, from Ethen.  As you can see, I made out!  Who could possibly ask for more?  Not I. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

It's Saturday. My Valentine week is coming to a close.

I still have Roxie & Colby's Valentine's to show you, but first, you get to see mine! Yes, even I had a Valentine, or two, to hand out.  I did a Valentine exchange with a group of friends, and remember those marble magnets that I made a few weeks ago?  I found a good use for them!

I ended up ripping off the lace on the edge of the tin.  Cade said that it looked "90's", so to the trash it went!  Unfortunately, I forgot to take new pictures with no lace on it.

Materials used:
Marble Magnets
Empty Altoids tin
Spray Adhesive
Scrapbook paper
hot glue gun

For the top of the tin, I traced around the tin on the red scrapbook paper, and cut it out.  After I made sure that the edges lined up nicely, I took the tin outside and sprayed the top with some spray adhesive (be careful! This stuff is sticky!), and stuck the red paper on.  I had some scrapbook paper that had the hearts already printed on it, and that is what I used for the To & From tags.  I applied them to the top using hot glue. 

For the inside of the tin I used more scrapbook paper, which I had printed the words on, and again, traced the lid of the altoids tin, and then cut it out.  I used a few dots of hot glue to keep the paper in the top of the lid. 

Then I placed the three magnets in and it was ready for it's recipient!

I made something similar for my sister-in-law's, and the kids teachers, but I used this template that I made:

I printed the template on red card stock, cut out the heart shape, and using a glue dot, I attached a magnet to each one. 

Stay tuned tomorrow to see my final Valentine's for the year!

Friday, February 17, 2012

You are the CREME of the crop!

Ethen handed these out in his class for V-day.  I figured that since this would be his last year *tear*, that we would go all out.  I was going to do those little cans of soda, but holy crap, they're pricey in comparison to the regular sized cans!  I ended up buying two twelve packs for around $5 -not too much more than I would have spent had I bought the paper valentine's from the big-box store and some candy to go with it. 

We used Shasta Raspberry Creme Soda and Shasta Creme Soda.  I printed the tags on card stock using the computer.  They say, "You are the CREME of the crop! Happy Valentine's Day!  From: Ethen".  He wouldn't let me say "love".  Silly boys that think they're too cool. 

Ethen & I cut the circles out, I attached them with glue stick to bigger circles of some red scrapbook paper that I had on-hand, and then Ethen punched holes to stick the twine through.  We strung the twine through the pop tab on the top of the soda can, stuck the twine through the hole on the tag, tied a double knot, and then a bow, and called it good!

Only downfall to this Valentine?  His sisters had to help him carry all of the soda cans to his classroom that morning. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cade's belated Valentine gift to me...

I won't go into the gory details of why his gift to me was belated, but I finally got my gift today.  He is such a good man.  I love him. 

I woke up this morning to a card and a whole pile full of Cadbury eggs -creme eggs, caramel filled eggs, the mini versions of both of the previous mentioned eggs, plus the mini-mini chocolate cadbury eggs (There goes that diet I've been working on!).   Plus there were donuts and chocolate milk for the kids for breakfast, so that I didn't have to make them anything (not that cold cereal is hard to make, but still...). 

Cade took all of the kids and dumped them off at school, and the one's that aren't in school went to his parents house (don't worry, they survived).  Cade and I went to breakfast at TJ's, a local cafe.  Then, to burn off our 320,303 calories from breakfast, we went gallivanting around the county.  Oh yes, the gallivanting definitely led to some calorie burning, read on. 

So we're driving "The Beast", aka our '87 2-wheel-drive Suburban, around in the desert, and we come upon a patch of sand.  I guess "The Beast" doesn't much care for sand, because he wasn't going to go through it.  We got stuck.  We got stuck for precisely 1 hour and 20 minutes. 

My man is so resourceful.  While I sat in the Suburban (perusing Facebook on my phone), he went trucking down the dirt road looking for something, anything, that could be shoved under the tire to get some traction.  What does he come back with?  He shows up with some logs, then some rocks, and lastly, a big water man-hole cover...yes, you read that right.  A man-hole cover.  Did I mention that we were in the middle of nowhere?  Hey, don't ask me! 

At this point I was starting to feel like this was something out of "Survivor Man".  I needed to see first-hand how a man-hole cover could be used to get out of rut like we were in!  Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I was starting to think of how we could survive the night in this place.  We could use pieces of the nearby yucca plant to weave a blanket, and then we could sleep under that big bush over there for shelter, and I wasn't too worried about food.  We had water, jerky, and Cade had brought his gun, so we could just track down that Mountain Lion that we knew existed from the evidence of it's giant paw prints scattered around the area. 
Okay, so we weren't really that far off the beaten path.  We still had cell service, and the highway was maybe 3 miles, if that.  But we really were stuck.   We dug (well, mostly Cade dug), we hunted for rocks, or wood (which is hard to come by in this part of the desert, believe it or not), or anything that could be shoved under the tire really.  Then Cade would shove that stuff under the tire, get in and rock the Suburban back and forth trying to get it to move, while Jen (yes, that's me) is jumping on the back bumper, trying to help it get some traction.  Ahhh, I can only imagine how ridiculous we looked.  Finally, finally we got it out!  I had faith. 

We spent the rest of the remainder of the day trekking around, exploring old decrepit houses (found a treasure that we brought home, too), shooting Cade's gun, eating lunch, and checking out some mine's around Silver Reef.  It was nice. 

A few more pictures from our day:

 *Did I mention that the man-hole cover did not work for getting un-stuck.  If you ever come across one, and you're stuck in some sand, don't bother hauling it back to the truck.  It won't do you any good. 
**I was also going to mention that I think Cade rather likes getting stuck.  He did say something, approximately 5 minutes before we got stuck, that led me to believe he enjoys a little hard labor, a challenge so to speak.

dun, dun, du-dun, Valentine of the Day!

This was Tajia's Valentine!  I was pretty stoked to find these pens on clearance at Walgreen's, 10 for .50 cents!!  I was looking for pencils, but I couldn't pass up the price of the pens (which were cheaper than the pencils), plus they were red -perfect!
I found a heart template online, saved it to my hard drive, uploaded it to Picnik and added the text, and saved it to the hard drive again.  After that I inserted the picture into a Word document, adjusted it to the size I wanted them, and printed them on red cardstock.
Once the hearts were all cut out, I used my handy-dandy X-acto knife to cut a couple of small slits to slide the pen through. eeeeeeeeeasy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine Cards -Day 3

According to Asher, his Valentine's were a huge hit.  He said that all of his friends were thanking him for the bouncy balls (I'm sure his teacher appreciated the balls much more than Kelly & Cailin's teachers appreciated the chewing gum!). 

Of course, I got the initial idea from pinterest.  I love, love, love pinterest, and could waste half of my day on there if given the chance.  It's a good thing I have so many kids (and college deadlines) to keep me in line!  Here is the link that pinterest lead me to for the creating of this card:  http://zakkalife.blogspot.com/2012/01/out-of-this-world-valentine.html

Materials Required:
bouncy balls
black cardstock
silver marker
scissors and/or X-acto knife

The first thing that I did was cut out (way too many) hearts, using the black cardstock. 
Then I wrote the words "You're out of this world!" with the marker (I actually have about 6 different colors of metallic markers, so we had a variety of colors going on).  I let Asher draw all the dots (stars) and small planets (circles -or in Asher's case, oblong shapes), and his name. 
While Asher was drawing stars & planets, I used an X-acto knife to cut a circle out of the middle of one of the black hearts.  My goal was to make the circle just big enough to shove a ball in there, and have it remain there without falling out.  I'm proud to say that I only made one too big!  Once I had the circle size that I wanted, I used that as a template for all of the others.  I placed the original on top of the others, traced the circle with a pencil, and then used the X-acto knife to cut out the circles on each one. 
Once the holes were cut, we were ready to put the balls in, and they were done! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! For real this time!

Do you remember how cool Valentine's were when we were little kids?  The cards that you can buy at wal-mart today don't even compare.  I've seen a couple of unique ones, but most of them are so dumb

The kidlets all had a fantastic day, complete with bags of candy.  They're currently running around outside, wearing off their sugar high. When they got home from school today, and asked what snack was, I pretty much gave them permission to eat as much of their candy as they wanted.  It seemed like the best option in my eyes.   Let them eat it all at once, and for tomorrows snack we can have carrot sticks and apple slices! 

As promised, more Valentines:

Please forgive my crappy pictures of pictures.  These are the cards that Cailin & Kelly handed out to their mates today.  I took their pictures, uploaded them to my computer and then did a bit of editing and added some text on picnik (r.i.p. -so sad to see picnik is closing).  I had them printed at Walgreen's (even found a coupon code for buy 25, get 25 free. woo-hoo!), and then we stuck the cheap packs of gum (20 in a pack for $4 and some change at Wal-mart) on with a glue dot.

Monday, February 13, 2012


Okay, so I'm a day early!  Sorry!  I need to get a head start.  Having 8 kids, 7 of which will hand out cards at school, I made a lot of Valentine's this year!  Yes, I did say "made".  What can I say? I was feeling ambitious!

Every night (hopefully every night) this week I will post at least one of the Valentine's that we made.  And by "we", I mean me. 

These are our neighbor and grandparent Valentine's.
In case you are blind, the tag says, "Our Grandparent's are dynamite!", and the other says "our neighbors..."  I hijacked the idea from  http://www.make-it-do.com/celebrate-it/valentine-doings/, isn't it great?  I'm so glad other people are more crafty than I am, and come up with swell ideas for me to copy. 

Materials Needed: 
as many rolls of SweeTarts that you desire
red paper
black pipe cleaner
hot glue gun

I started by cutting the paper the length & width that I needed.  Sorry, I can't remember the size.  I just measured length, cut, then rolled it around the sweetarts to measure how wide, marked it and cut again. 

Then I rolled the paper around the sweetarts, hot gluing the seam down.  (I first tried to use double sided tape, but they were all coming undone, so don't use double sided tape!)  If I was giving only a single dynamite, I inserted an entire pipe cleaner along the length of the sweetart before hot gluing the seam down.  For our neighbors that have many kids, I used three rolls of sweetarts, and only inserted a pipe cleaner in one of the dynamite. 

Once I had the dynamite assembled, I trimmed the pipe cleaner to the length that looked appropriate.  If you wanted to use a little less pipe cleaner, you could probably cut each pipe cleaner in half (or maybe even thirds) and only stick one half in the paper before hot gluing it down. 

Wrap a piece of twine around the dynamite, string a tag on, tie in a knot, and you're done!  If you do three of them together, wrap the twine around all three, string a tag on, tie the knot. 
(Cade doesn't want you to notice our nasty, ugly, overly dated wallpaper, so please ignore it!)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Busy, busy week!

I don't care for weeks like this one.  Too much stuff going on, and not enough time to do what I want...which would involve laying around, watching tv, playing with my baby, wasting time on pinterest...eh, being lazy is overrated anyway, right?! 
I took Calum to the pediatrican today for his 1 year checkup.  *sobbing* The little dude is only in the 9th percentile for weight and the 33rd percentile for height, but get this, my kid is SMART!  His head is in the 93rd percentile!  lol  Poor little kid with a big head.  So ya, I'm pretty sure his head has to be so big to hold his giant brain.  ;)  That's what I'm going to tell myself anyway.  I don't think his head looks disproportionate, but I could be biased. 

In other news, I realized that tomorrow is my sisters birthday.  She's going to be the big 2-0!  Lucky girl!  No other time in your life like the twenties!  Unfortunately for her, I kind of forgot that it was her birthday.  WHOOPS.  Blame the lack of memory on having too many children.  Today I pulled out the craft box and whipped together a little something for her. 

The lovely model is my daughter, Cailin.

I made one of these for my neice for Christmas, and it took me about 4 hours.  The one today only took about 1 hour -not bad.  I stole the idea from http://www.bubblynaturecreations.com/2011/02/tuesday-tutorial-petals-and-pearls.html .  Today I didn't follow the instructions quite as closely as I did the first time (hence part of the reason why it didn't take me 4 hours).  The first one that I made did turn out a little bigger & fuller, but I actually wanted this one to be a tad smaller. 
Now hopefully my sister chooses not to read this blog before she gets it...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You Magnetize Me

I've been wanting to make these marble magnets, and when I was visiting Dollar Tree last week, I found these big honkin' flat marble things, and grabbed a bag of them with the specific intention of doing so.  I've seen tutorials all over the internet & pinterest, but took some pretty specific instructions from this blog: http://thefrugalgirls.com/2010/10/marble-magnets-tutorial.html 

These were so stinkin' easy!  Roxie and I did about 14 of them in one hours time (and that's something, considering a 5 year old was helping!)

In honor of Valentine's Day, I printed off a bunch of random vintage-y looking  Valentine clip art on white card stock, using my regular, old, crappy printer. 

I then took my marbles and traced a circle around the image, and using scissors, I cut just inside the circle.  This ensured that there wasn't much overhang around the marble. 

Next I had Roxie paint a little Mod Podge on the flat side of the marble.  Then I pressed the card stock image onto the Mod Podge.  We set them to the side for a bit, so that they could dry. 

After the Mod Podge was dry, I used some peel & stick magnetic strips that I had, and applied them to the back.  I used the stick & peel magnet because that's what I had on hand, however they don't hold the magnets real well.  I would suggest picking up some of the stronger round magnets that you have to attach with Gorilla Glue (or something equally strong).  I've bought the round magnets since we made the marbles, but haven't had a chance to attach them yet. 

I took a few pictures, but they all turned out like crap.  I'll show you one anyway, but check out the link above - they have way better pictures and tutorial!  ;)

Told you the picture sucks.
  I don't know why my camera wouldn't cooperate.
I tried it with flash, without flash, outside, inside. 
 Nothing was working for me. lol

So what do you think, good enough to give to some friends for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Handy-dandy Sock Bags

Yes, sock bags.  What, never heard of them?  They're pretty similar to a lingerie bag.  In fact, they're pretty much identical.  In this house, they're called sock bags, and each child has one with their name on it. 

We were having some serious issues with socks here, and a solution was a must.  I literally had a big laundry basket full of socks without mates.  I'm sure their mates were somewhere in there, but who wants to dig through ten peoples worth of socks just to find two that match.  I knew it was bad when I saw my daughter wearing two mis-matched socks to school. 
The kids and I finally sat down one night, for two hours, and had a sock matching/folding session.  It sucked!  Who wants to match socks? NOT ME.  After that night I came up with an idea...

I bought cheap lingerie bags, and using a permanent marker, wrote each of the kids names on their own lingerie bag.  (I bought my lingerie bags at Ikea.  They were like $2 for 2 of them, or something.  I also saw them last week at Dollar Tree for a buck each.)

I sat all eight of my kids down at the dinner table, and did a demonstration, while instructing each of my kids on how to use these "sock bags".  I used pretty simple four-year-old terms, so that they could each completely understand how to use the "sock bag" system that I developed. 

#1: Take your socks off of your body.
#2: Take your sock bag out of your dirty hamper.
#3: Unzip the zipper on your sock bag.
#4: Place dirty socks IN the sock bag.
#5: Zip the zipper on your sock bag.
#6: Place the zipped sock bag on top of the dirty clothes in your dirty hamper

That's it!  Easy right?  Some of you may be doubting the usefulness, or the ability of my children to follow these instructions...I'm happy to report that we've been doing this for a couple of months now, and for the most part, we've had no issues! 

On laundry day, I have the kids empty their hampers into my big hamper in the laundry room.  When I wash my load of whites, I just throw the bags (still zipped, with socks in it) into the washing machine, and then the dryer.  When they're done drying, I pull out the bags one by one, fold the socks inside and put them into the appropriate child's bin to be put away.  I also place the sock bag in their bin, so that they can put it back in their hamper.  Easy-peasy, and the best part is that now my kids are usually wearing matching socks!

*I found out after the first couple of times of washing the sock bags, that certain kids take their socks off in little munched up balls -they don't get clean that way (obviously, lol), so they were later instructed to make sure there are no "sock balls" in the sock bag. 
**If, for some reason, socks don't make it into the sock bag, they don't get washed.  I leave them on the laundry room floor and tell my child to come collect them, and put them into their sock bag.  If I don't know who it belongs to, I make them all come figure it out.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On a Winters day

Cade & I got out of the house yesterday for a little "date". *insert angels singing from the heavens here*   "MIRACLE!"  (A big shout out to my father-in-law & mother-in-law for tending the kids for a few hours.)  We went up past Apple Valley and tried to traverse some muddy dirt roads in our 2wd Suburban -not such a good idea.  Luckily we didn't get stuck (this time), but we had to turn around at one point, and we weren't able to go the exact location that Cade had in mind.  It was still a nice time though, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous!

We were attempting to go up by Dutton Pass (don't ask me - no idea where it is, or why we were trying to go there), but ended up somewhere west of it by maybe 3 miles.  Cade was having a grand time thinking that we were in a small Jeep.  I think that he thinks that "the beast" can do anything a small four wheel drive vehicle can do. Not so.  We were skidding all over the place, sliding in the mud & snow.  It was nuts.  So what does he do when we start getting stuck in some mud?  He reverses, making me think that we are going to turn around and head back, but no, we're not turning around!  He guns it, and we go flying through the mud, sending showers of the red stuff everywhere!  (Ethen had a good time kicking the mud off of the mud flaps this afternoon. lol!)  It's a small miracle that we didn't get stuck...and it would not have been the first time that we had done so. 

We hiked around, saw a lot of rocks, some footprints of a little bobcat maybe, and even spotted a few arrowheads.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous!  There was a bit of snow on the ground (mostly on the north side of the hills, or behind the shadows of brush), but it was probably close to 60 degrees.  I only wore a t-shirt & a jacket, and actually ended up taking my jacket off, because I was too warm. 

I'm so lucky that I have an awesome husband that thinks of cool places to go explore!  I love hiking around our beautiful part of the country with him.  <3 
 Cade & Calum