Imagine what you could do if you knew you could not fail.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day 2011!!

I've started a new tradition in our home because for our 2nd year now, I decided to put together a "fancy" candlelight dinner for the whole family.

I put together an easy menu that I knew the kids would eat, bought some fabric rose petals and candles, and decorated the table all special for everyone. When I called everyone to come and eat they were all so excited! I told them to be careful because there was REAL fire on the table, so all the kids (even Nathan) pulled out their chairs so carefully and sat down all nice.

I wanted to make this a fun dining experience for our kids because they don't get that very often. So, while I finished up work in the kitchen and got all the plates ready to serve, Jeremy sat at the table with the kids and gave them some lessons in etiquette.

It was so cute to watch them all nicely place their napkins in the laps and have nice conversation until their meals arrived.

We had prayer and then I served their plates 2 at a time. Jeremy instructed them not to eat until everyone had been served. Here is Nathan checking out his plate of food.

After everyone had their food, I went around the table and offered ground pepper to those who wanted it. It's amazing what good manners children can have when they try! I heard a lot of "Yes, please", "Thank you", and "No thank you" (said with a polite smile).

Samantha looks quite pleased. :)

Candlelight dinner with camera flash.

Without the flash.

Finally, after serving, offering pepper, and taking pictures, it was finally my turn to sit down and eat. This is what we had - spaghetti with Wacky Mac noodles and cauliflour with Crystal Lite to drink.

The dinner conversation was delightful and we didn't have to break up ANY fights! Imagine that!!!

When everyone was finished eating, I cleared away their dishes and had the kids sit at the table and continue their conversations. Time to move on to dessert! For our Valentine's dessert I homemade a New York Style white chocolate cheesecake and garnished it with fresh strawberries and chocolate chips. WOW! It was so much better than it looks in the picture! Super creamy and rich. A definite success! The kids gobbled it up and they thought it was so neat that they got their dessert right after dinner. Funny. :)

So, I actually did all of that dinner on Sunday - the 13th. Then, on Monday morning (truly Valentine's day) I got up and made these for the kids. My attempt at heart-shaped pancakes. Thankfully the kids aren't too picky about them being perfect and were so excited again.

The past several years I've left a special Valentine's gift for each of the kids either on their bedside table or right outside their doors so they can find it when they wake up. I didn't do that this year because I decided to do it differently. Athena was so disappointed that there was no surprise! I didn't know she looked forward to it so much. She didn't know I already had a plan, so I told her that she would have to wait until after school for her surprise. Then, when I picked up Athena, Samantha, and Nathan from school they found this waiting for them on the kitchen table.

The wonderful thing about Valentine's Day is that you can do everything in the name of "I love you" and your family knows that I gave it to them because I love them. I don't have to pretend like the tooth fairy came by, not Santa, there is no Valentine's bunny. It's just ME doing something for THEM because I love them!

During the day I had to go to the foot doctor because I had a very sudden and extremely painful problem crop up with my right foot over the weekend. My nerve that runs right through my arch and up my ankle was completely inflamed and I could hardly walk on it. The doctor ended up giving me a shot of cortisone right into my nerve and main artery that runs under my arch. Talk about PAIN!!!! I wouldn't recommend that to ANYONE! Anyway . . . so while I was up that way (LOL, "since I'm there") I stopped at the store and picked up some of Jeremy's favorite candy, a Diet DP, and a balloon bouquet for him. Alexandra and I stopped by his office and surprised him with it. :)

Then, he surprised me by coming home with a beautiful gift. HE LOVES ME!!! These beautiful roses and a balloon bouquet for me! :)

I am blessed to have a wonderful family who I can share these experiences with while I am on this earth. Other than the lame shot to the foot (and me having to teach aerobics that night with the feeling of jumping on needles), it turned out to be 2 days of wonderful Valentine LOVE!! :)

I love you kids!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Beloved Nathan

Isn't Nathan so cute? I love looking at these pictures because they remind me to look at Nathan more as a little personality trying to emerge instead of a little boy who likes to bug his sisters. :) He is such a little clown and has so much energy, but at the same time he is very loving and kind. I enjoy having him in our home.

Nathan turned six on Halloween - October 31, 2010.

His birthday was on a Sunday and followed an extremely busy week/weekend. We invited grandmas and grandpas over to help celebrate his birthday. So, from the time church ended until dinner time I raced like mad to get everything done. First thing on the list - decorate a cake! For the 3rd year in a row, Nathan wanted a pirate ship cake. He picked to have a "Ghost Ship" cake so I got to work and tried my best to fill the order. The Dr. Pepper sitting there is for my sanity. :)

While I worked feverishly, Jeremy took the birthday boy out to play ball.

I watched them from the window for a little while in between decorating the cake and Nathan seemed to be having the time of his life!

I finished the cake in about 2 hours. TA DA!!! This is the finished product.

No sooner had I finished, our guests began to arrive. I hadn't even started on dinner, but I wasn't too worried. For Nathan's birthday dinner request he picked Macaroni 'n Cheese, Beans, and Hot Dogs. Wow! Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen! But, what the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets. We all managed to get the dinner down . . . well, all of us except Nathan. He didn't even eat it!

Next: PRESENT TIME! Here is Nathan showing how old he is.

Nathan has been really "into" Star Wars, so I got him this cute little Star Wars Lego set. He opened it and threw it aside. Samantha, however, was very excited about the set. With his permission she quickly opened it and got to work. :)

He also received this unexciting gift of clothing. It does look really cute on him.

Then the good stuff. AIRPLANES!

He also received an aircraft carrier that had more airplanes and accessories - PLUS this super sweet movie! He popped it in and we all enjoyed/endured his new Imaginext movie while he buzzed his airplanes around the room.

I figured I'd better also include a picture of some of the people who came. This was a nicer picture than the 2 pictures I got of both grandpas dozing off and missing most of the party. Looks like a rocking good time, right?

All good things must come to an end. We finished off with the birthday cake. I did a great job on the cake because it would have tasted divine if I liked cake. But those who do like cake said it was tasty and mine wasn't so bad either.

I am pretty sure Nathan had a wonderful 6th birthday and with all of my complaining about noisy boy stuff, I really do love having him in our family. We most certainly wouldn't be the same without him.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Nathan's birthday is on Halloween, but this past year it fell on a Sunday - which was so nice! All the celebrating was done before the actual day and we got to have a real birthday party for him. I'll post all of our Halloween stuff on this post.

We ended up dressing up several different times this year because of Halloween being on Sunday. I dressed up for my Zumba class. Then the kids dressed up for school, and the next day we all dressed up to go trick or treating.

Here I am in my Zumba costume. :) We had a dress-up party on Tuesday and all danced in our costumes.

On Thursday I took Nathan and his friend, Alex to school. It turns out they had they the same costume and when Alex got in the car, they were both SO EXCITED. When they got out of the car they wanted to "fly" for their picture. Notice their hands? That's the position Iron Man stands in when he flies.

I dropped off the boys and Alexandra and I headed into the school for the annual Halloween Costume Parade. She was so happy because she got to wear her costume too. She is a fairy.

Once inside, the parade moved quickly through the gym. I almost missed all 3 pictures! Luckily I DID get them though. Here is Nathan in the parade. He couldn't wear the mask at school, so he is just the muscle Iron Man. It was fun to see him being such a big school kid!

Samantha dressed up as an 80's workout girl. Wow! Do I feel old or what? She made up her mind several weeks before Halloween and I managed to put this costume together. She was so proud! She was also proud of the fact that nobody else at school had her costume on.

Athena has been into the "scary" costumes for the past couple of years. In case you can't tell, she was a vampire. I put white makeup on her face and did her eyes all dark. She loved her costume too.

On Friday we got to celebrate once again! The kids were out of school and we finally got around to decorating our pumpkins that had been sitting around for almost a month.

This is the finished product. SCARY!!! Can you guess which one belongs to who?

Finally Saturday arrived and it was time to go trick or treating. The kids waited all day long and kept asking how much longer until we could start trick or treating. I kept telling them "after dinner". So, we ate dinner, started getting ready in our costumes, and then watched and waited for dusk and for other kids on our street to be out. Just about the time we deemed it would be OK to go out, a wild, windy storm front smacked our neighborhood. The sky got black, we heard thunder, and then an explosion of hail mixed with rain. Luckily, after about 1/2 hour the storm passed and left us with nothing but wet roads! This is how it looked when we decided it was safe to venture out.

Here we are at our first house to get candy. We like to go out as a family instead of leaving someone home to hand out the candy. Last year I left a bowl of candy on the porch and one single kid came and emptied the whole bowl into his sack. We knew who the kid was and I was very disappointed. So this year, I just carried my bowl of candy around and handed it out to the trick-or-treating kids as we passed them! It worked very well.

Thank you to our neighbor for taking a picture of our family!

After we finished in our neighborhood we came home and got ready to head north to the relative's houses. I hurried and snapped some pictures of the kids in their Halloween night costumes.

And one last picture of our pumpkins in the daylight.

We all really enjoyed Halloween this year. Our kids are the perfect ages where they have lots of fun and we don't end up having to carry anyone. Even though it got a little chilly later in the evening, no one wanted to stop knocking on doors so we ended up with way more candy than we needed, but also a lot of fun memories. :)
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