Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa Must Have Frequent Flier Miles

That Santa, he gets around. Friday morning Grandpa Mike flew up to the North Pole to pick him up. Here he is right after he landed at Grandpa Mike's airport in Clay Center:

Grandpa Mike is pointing out the 3 best little girls, so he is sure to stuff their stockings with lots of goodies:

Then the next morning, he met the girls in our town for breakfast:
That night, he was spotted again at the Holiday Light Parade:
Violet was very excited to see him again.
I hope Santa gets lots of rest during the off-season, because something tells me he is just running all the time during the Christmas Season.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quick and Easy Meal

I just got home from working at the Arts Council Holiday Sale and needed to make myself something to eat. My little slap-together meal turned out so good, I just had to share.

I started with a box of Hodgson Mill whole wheat couscous, garlic and basil flavor. While it was cooking, I sauteed zucchini, onion, garlic and spinach. Served with a strip of feta cheese to boost the flavor. I mixed it all together to eat. The flavor was incredible!

If you haven't tried whole wheat couscous, I would encourage you to do so. Each serving has almost a quarter of your daily fiber needs and 10 grams of protein. My kids think it is rice and will eat it too, which is a bonus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Annabelle and Violetisms

Today I had my bi-yearly checkup at KU Med. I came home with the hospital band on my wrist, which Violet found very interesting.

Violet: "What dat Mommy?"
Me: That's my hospital bracelet.
Violet: Good dob Mommy, you got shot!
Me: Yes, I got a shot today.
Violet: Me pwoud ob you Mommy. You not cwy get shot."
Me: Thank you Violet.

And a conversation with Annabelle. I am telling her that I bought her tickets to the Kansas Nutcracker at the Lawrence Arts Center.

Me: Annabelle, guess what?
Annabelle: What?
Me: I bought you tickets to something very special.
Annabelle: (excited look) To a movie?
Me: No, something even more special than a movie.
Annabelle: Chunky Cheeses?
Me: No, something even more special than Chunky Cheese.
Annabelle: (a very excited look) Wow, you bought me tickets to college!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Microwave went MIA

My microwave quit heating things up about a month ago. While it was comforting for it to turn on, count down, and even sound like it was running, I couldn't help but be discouraged when I got my food out and found it to be cold.

The microwave went to the repair shop and has been MIA for over a week now.

The repairman asked me if I would like a loaner while mine was being repaired. I declined, and told him that I try not to use it that much. He looked at me like I had green horns growing out of my head and said, "Well that's a first."

I don't know if it is the fact that I have had cancer, or if I am just being paranoid, but something tells me that microwaves aren't that good for us. Do they cause cancer, I don't know. Certainly there is data out there that tells you not to microwave foods in plastic. Ricky is a little like Alton Brown when it comes to food-geekiness and he tells me that microwaving alters a food's molecular composition. Or something like that.

In all reality, it really hasn't been that hard to get by without my microwave. It will be returned tomorrow and I will be glad. Glad that that gaping hole in my kitchen will be gone.

What do you think about microwaves?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Be Good, and . . .

Today our friend Abby spent the day with us while her parents went Christmas shopping. When her Dad was walking out the door, he said "Be good Abby, and don't do anything that you could hurt yourself doing." I said, "Don't worry, it's not like we will climb trees or anything."

Honestly, I was thinking about the way kids typically climb trees- getting themselves up too high and falling down, which sometimes results in broken arms. Surely, I would never allow our guest to put herself in harm's way.

Then when I get home after being gone half of the day, this is what I see: Abby getting ready to climb a tree. The safe way, Ricky style:Climbing is hard work and takes lots of concentration:
Guess who else had to get in on some tree-climbing action:"Me higher dan Daddy!"
"Weeeee- Daddy winging me!"

Stuff

Today I was reminded just how much stuff I have. And how much of it I don't need. Ever hear the old saying you don't see a hearse towing a U-Haul? That's right, you can't take any of that stuff with you when your time is up.
This is a picture of the back of my van. It contains the Northop family's earthly possessions. It will be stored in my basement while my friends pursue their calling in the mission field. They basically sold everything but the clothes on their back. Since Heather is a professional photographer and the beginning of her career was prior to digital photography, most of these bins are full of photographs. And other important keepsakes, like her daughter's first blanket.

Momentous of Ava's first few years of school:
Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-21 “Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (The Message)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Send a Soldier a Card

If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to a member of the armed services.

How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.

This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please take the time to pass it on for others to do. We can never say enough thank you's.

Thanks for taking to time to support our military!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Pizza Time!

Aliah has been learning how to tell time so today we made a clock pizza. We started by making the dough. I taught Aliah how to knead. She did great, but was a little bothered by how sticky her hands got:
Annabelle's job was to roll out the dough for our clock:
I concocted a sweet frosting from cream cheese, powdered sugar and whip cream. Then the girls placed the numbers on the clock with mini M&M's. The clock's hands were Twizzlers. Aliah's friend Emma was over for a play date while we made the clock.
Isn't she a cutie? She became very curious about homeschooling and asked Aliah a lot of questions after this activity, like: "Do you do fun stuff like this every day? We just do boring stuff at school. Do you like doing school at home?"
Guess what? Aliah's answers to Emma's inquiries were positive and affirming for me as her teacher (and all of the other hats I wear since we homeschool: janitor, cafeteria staff, secretary, nurse, principal, bus driver, curriculum director, ect). Some things are so worth the effort.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Celebrating the Sabbath

As part of Aliah's curriculum, we celebrated the Sabbath this weekend. If God needed a day of rest, then we have a perfect reason to follow suit. I baked a braided bread (challah) and bought a bottle of sparkling grape juice (wine).
We turned the lights down and lit some candles. Daddy blessed each of us, which was quite sweet. Then he blessed the bread and the wine. The big girls really enjoyed drinking from my special wine glasses that they are usually not allowed to touch. Violet yelled because the sippy cup lids didn't fit on the wine glasses so she was excluded.
We aren't quite sure what the people back in the Bible Times did to relax, but our version included playing multiple rounds of Twister, Barnyard Bingo, and Froggie Boogie. I am pretty sure in spirit we did what they did, just relaxing and enjoying time together as a family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pop Muffins

Daddy LOVES Popovers. Even with his newly-revised healthy eating habits, he would never turn down a steaming hot popover. So when I saw the recipe in the kids' cookbook Pretend Soup, I knew the girls would have to indulge their father. They followed the simplified instructions from the book to make these on their own. I only helped with the parts that required heat.

Popovers (a.k.a. "Pop Muffins" as termed by Aliah)

2 Tablespoons butter
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 375, melt butter
2. "Paint" the insides of the 12 muffin cups with butter
3. Break eggs into the mixing bowl.
4. Add milk, beat well.
5. Ad four and salt, whisk.
6. Pour batter into each muffin cup
7. Bake 30 minutes without opening the oven. (Be sure to keep the kids on the look out for when the muffins start to pop.)
8. Remove muffins from pan and eat.

Annabelle whisking with her tongue in just the right spot:
Violet helping by licking out the muffin pan that has been "painted" with butter.
Yum!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pretend Soup

Aliah went out to breakfast with Daddy, so I planned something special for Annabelle. We made pretend soup!
This book was recommended by Aliah's curriculum while we were studying measurement. It has fun recipes for kids that are laid out in step-by-step directions. I would highly recommend it for that preschooler or early elementary kiddo on your Christmas list. (I will be giving it to my niece and nephew, complete with aprons that I will embroider their names on and decorate).

The ingredients for Pretend Soup: orange juice, yogurt, honey, lemon juice, banana slices, and blueberries.
Annabelle "cooked" the soup all by herself!A proud chef:
Mommy and Violet gave it 2 thumbs up!click to go look at the book:

It's a Wonder

It's a wonder why I haven't completed the mural project in Violet's room with as much help as she is giving me. . .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tasteless Humor

My 1.5 year post cancer treatment workup at KU Med is coming up in a couple of weeks. Isn't it great that I don't even think about the "Big C" until my bi-yearly appointment rolls around? Thank you God for allowing my doctors find and cure my cancer. I am so blessed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day Daddy!

Last week we had a small group dinner at church. As an ice breaker, there were some questions for each of us to answer about ourselves. One of the questions was, "When was the first time you ever flew in a plane?"

When Ricky shared, he gave an answer that surprised me. He said the first time he had ever flown was the day he entered the Army. It pulls on my heartstrings to think about him boarding a plane, just 17 years old, not knowing what to expect. Basic training sounds a little scary to me, but I am sure that was small beans compared to serving in a war.

We are proud of Daddy for his service to our country. There are things that happened while he was in the Persian Gulf that he still does not like to talk about. He and thousands of others have endured such things in the name of freedom for our great country. Thank you.

Monday, November 9, 2009

An Adventure at the Haigh House

Meet the rest of my best friend (and photographer) Heather's beautiful family:
This family is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime as they move away to become missionaries for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. As parents of two young girls, they are trying to give their two daughters as many memorable experiences as possible before the leave the country.

For example, they hosted their daughters first sleep over last month when she celebrated her 7th birthday. With her entire 2nd grade class. Talk about a lot of drama.

Well, they felt their daughter's childhood would be incomplete without spending the afternoon at our house climbing a tree. Yeah, that's right, climbing trees at the Haigh house was on their list of things to be sure and do before you even think about leaving the country.
Aliah loves Ava soooo much, can you tell?

Saturday, November 7, 2009