Oct 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Alex!

Our little man is 9 as of yesterday. How time flies! He spent his day going to pottery class, eating lunch at McDonalds, spending his birthday money at Toys R Us, and going to the video game store to get his gift from us, a Playstation 2. He was happy above happy and I think it was a great way to spend his day. Tomorrow we are going to ZapZone, a local lazer tag place to have fun with two of his friends and his brother. Good times! Here is a photo he had me take of him enjoying his "birthday burger" :)

Sep 20, 2011

Camping Horrors

We went camping on Wednesday, a day later than we had planned and boy howdy, was it cold! We went up to Hayes State park in Irish Hills, which is just beautiful by the way, and had a great drive up. We took some photos, saw some deer, went on a nature walk and started a fire. Then it rained. And rained. And rained some more. It started about 5:30, just are we were roasting our weenies and didn't end until about 11pm. That wouldn't have been bad, except the temperature plunged down into the low 40's high 30's overnight. Despite the huddling, the extra blankets and the jammies, we were all popsicles by the time dawn came. Did I mention that Carl was sniffling and fighting a sore throat this whole time? So we did what any sensible American would do. We went out to breakfast, warmed up and packed to go. We were home by noon and we regret nothing! Here are some of the shots we got during our short trip.

 These deer were only about 10 feet from us. So beautiful!
 You should be able to click on these to make them bigger. If you do, you may notice that these enormous birds are indeed vultures. They were rright above us in the abandoned twin towers as we shot our new blog family photo. They were enormous! You could hear them walking around on the railing 50 ft. over our heads. Added nicely to the creepiness of the building.
 This trail was behind our campsite. Made for a great nature walk!
 Some fungi growing on a log.
This was the little screened in space in front of our tent . By the time morning came, it was full of water.

Sep 11, 2011

Vacation Adventures!

Today we went to the Henry Ford Village as part one of our vacation. Carl is off work for the next 8 days so we are making the most of it by going and doing something each day. Especially since we helped his Aunt move yesterday, the first day of his vacation and we are helping again tomorrow. Today there was a classic car show. It was one of the neatest I have been to because all of the cars were pre-1940. There were wooden motorcycles, old bicycles and this cool car which was my personal favorite!
 Alex took that shot with his new camera, along with this one of a "huge" turtle that was in one of the ponds. He thought it was funny that he caught a picture of the turtle and a hot girl at the same time. A fabulous mix of the child he still is and the man he is trying to become!

Sep 9, 2011

Homeschooling 2011

Hooray for homeschooling! Both boys are staying home with us this year. (We have had Alex home since February) We are excited to start this new year with some new ideas and a bit of experience under out belt. We figured out what works, and what doesn't, but I am sure there will be many things we will be adding to that list as time goes on. At this moment, the boys are outside on a photo scavenger hunt. They each received a camera at the beginning of this year and are going to complete a few photo projects over the year. Today we decided to let them do some practicing by finding objects around our neighborhood they could photograph. Some things on their lists are two trees together, the left one shorter than the right, a bench, a purple flower and a mushroom. I am excited to see what their creative minds come up with. They may find a mushroom growing, or find one on a garden sign. Their possibilities are endless and that is what we love most about homeschooling our boys. There is a whole world for them to explore and we are excited to be part of the tour!

Some upcoming activities we will be posting about are the camping trip we leave for on Tuesday, projects from their upcoming pottery class and our trip down to Ohio next weekend. Also in the future, our Homeschooling Halloween Party we are hosting, A homeschool adventure at the Toledo zoo and once we find the right studio, martial art lessons.

May 23, 2011

Trip today!

Jacob and I start our 4 day long trip to the U.P. today! (Upper Peninsula for you non-Michiganders) He is super excited and so am I now that I am done packing and am pretty sure I haven't forgotten anything. I had my birthday party last night with Carl's family and I got pretty stocked up for today. Some new shirts, a new wallet, sunglasses, a hat and some spending cash to buy fudge in Mackinac. Yum! Tell y'all about it when we get back!

May 19, 2011

Talent Show!

Jacob is participating in his school's talent show again today. He is doing a violin duet with his violin teacher. We are super excited. I am going to take some video with his new camcorder, so when I get the video uploaded I will post it here. :) Show starts at 12:15 if anyone is looking to go to the most wonderful, awesome and humbling talent show ever known! Watching these kids get up and perform their hearts out with no fear or pride brings a tear to my eye every time. Getting me a little choked up right now to be honest! So, Burger School, Garden City, on Maplewood, East of Merriman, North of Ford. Be there or be square!

May 15, 2011

A general update

Things have never been so crazy at our house! We are homeschooling Alex, Carl has a really unpredictable schedule for half the week, Jacob is taking violin and soccer, Alex is taking guitar, all three men have scouts on Tuesdays. I am starting school soon, just started a new blog chronicling my efforts to lose weight, volunteering all this week setting up Jake's talent show at school, then the next week going on a four day trip around Michigan with him. Park days, field trips, shopping, teaching...Let's face it, these past two months have just been hectic! I don't really see an end to the craziness until school is out in June. Then we may get some peace, but not likely! Once, Carl's sister Mandy came over and said that there were only a few days on my calendar that were empty. She should see it now! So, I will try to be more vigilant about keeping this blog up to date, especially since I have not been on facebook more than a handful of times in the past two months. Wish me luck!

May 11, 2011


I know, I have been less than blog like as of late, especially after my vow to blog more regularly. But with Homeschooling and soccer and music lessons we have been swamped with little spare time for me to blog. So, I will try to be more vigilant in the future and we'll see what happens! ha

So far everyone is alive and kicking in the homeschooling front. We have joined up with a great online group that gets together for field trips and fairs often. Infact, we are going to a homeschool chess meet in an hour that is every other week at the Novi library. We are really having such a good time! Our main concerns so far seem to be getting Alex to focus and be more self motivated. But we have a lot of hope for our future. After all we are all still de-schooling!

Jan 26, 2011

Mommy N' Me

I thought I would do my next shout out to my sister Jill and her awesome store, Mommy N' Me. It is located in Rexburg, ID and is a consignment kids shop. She runs it with the help of her daughters, Ashley and Chelsea. I had the pleasure of working in her shop a few days over the summer and let me tell you, she has got a great place! The shop is located in a lovely house with the most amazing woodwork! She has all the rooms set up for different age groups and sexes. The best part as far as I am concerned is that it is not just consignment, but new and handcrafted items also. After working in her shop a few days I can testify to her high used clothes standards! If there is even a tiny hole or stain, it is rejected. Those items that are left behind if they can't be sold are then put in to the largest 25 cent sale you have ever seen my friends! Boxes and boxes of clothes, blankets, shoes and maternity wear, all for a quarter each! Again, the highest standards. You would be hard pressed to find the stain on these items. She does it during the warm months, so save up your loose change! 
I have added some pictures, although not the best ever, the first shows you a bit of the shop, and the second shows you the faces that were not captured well in the first shot. This is my sister, and her grandson Broxton. Such a cutie!!! He sits in his little chair right up at the register and checks everone out. That is when he is not playing in the toy room. It's good to have connections, right Broc?!

Jan 21, 2011

Moving update, plus our week in general

Ok, I have realized that a goal of everyday blogging just doesn't fit in with my lifestyle, so...I am going to do it as often as I can. Especially since we now have even MORE family away from us...way to go Mandy...lol

Ok, so here is an update on the whole moving story. Last time we left off on Monday when everything was supposed to be fixed. The early morning swap that they were promised never happened. In fact, it was quite late in the day before they got their stuff moved over at all. I believe Mandy and Franchot finally were able to get ahold of someone about 9 am, but after that it became a game of phone tag, a new person always answering the phone and no one knowing what was going on. Finally the truck company decided that they would tow the truck to a nearby facility so that they would not have to have all their personal affects drug out in the middle of a motel parking lot. Seems thought, that their idea of close was Southfield, which is about 40 minutes from the hotel they were at in Romulus.

So the truck was towed to Southfield, everything was shifted over, they drove back here, got Trey, Lauren and my in-laws and finally left out about 4 I believe. By the time they all got to Ohio, it was so late that they all collapsed, without moving a single thing but blankets, a few top mattresses and pillows. Of course the standard run to Wal-Mart was in order since all the toilet paper was packed, and food needed to be purchased. The next day was no better since they had to off-load the whole truck and then drive back to Michigan. (Mandy had an appointment for the kids. Shots and stuff for school.)

We spent Monday night at Jacki and Carl's to watch the pooch, so we decided that they would appreciate some dinner when they got back in town the next day. So we made what I would call a "vat" of spaghetti and some garlic bread. You would have thought I had made something better than that the way it was praised. Hungry tired bellies will eat anything! And so the next day, the Washingtons made their final trip back to Ohio and there they have stayed! They will be back up next weekend to get the rest of their belongings and then it will be final. I am sad they are gone, but I am so glad that this moving experience is almost over! I think everyone's nerves were frazzled!

In other news of the week, Jacob got to go on a field trip to McDonalds (I know right?), we spent a day doing our taxes (whew!), and Carl and I discovered an awesomely terrible game called Trailer Park Zombies! You just have to play it, there is no description...ha! Today is a half-day for Alex. A friend of mine has a daughter that goes to the same school so I am getting them both off the bus and watching her this afternoon. Should be interesting since most times they just don't get along, but it's been a while since they have spent a lot of time together so...

And this weekend is the Plymouth Ice Festival! We are going sometime this weekend and highly recommend it to anyone in the area. But dress warm!!! They do ice sculpting demos in the park and serve things like hot cocoa and roasted nuts. Yum. Every day of the festival is something different. We try to go every year. I will post some pictures when we go.

Jan 16, 2011

Moving Delay

My Sister- in-law and her whole family were planning to move to Columbus yesterday. They packed up the truck, emptied the house as much as they could in one trip and off they went. Only they never made it any farther than I-94 and Merriman Rd.! The transmission on the truck went out right on the freeway. So, instead of the original plans, which were them driving down with my in-laws, doing the happy dance in their new living-room, all spending the night, then coming back up the next day to finish up last minute business, they got this instead: A pad lock to lock up the truck so nothing would get stolen, a tow truck to get the truck to the hotel they were being furnished with, small beds in the tiny hotel, and a dinner stipend generously given by the truck company of $22. Really? Who can feed a family of 4 at a restaurant for $22?! Barely can do that at McDonalds!
So Trey, our nephew, came to our house for dinner and to spend the night. Lauren, our niece, crashed at my in-laws and Mandy and Franchot got the tiny beds at the hotel! To make it worse, no one packed a day bag, since they were just going 3 hours then unloading. So no one had toiletries or pajamas. Luckily we are all family! ha
Today the truck company is sending a new truck and professional movers to move all their stuff from one truck to another, and then they can attempt to hit the road. That should be interesting in the middle of a hotel parking lot! Funnest part is the truck they got was not quite big enough, so now they have to do this all again next weekend. Sigh. Good luck guys, I hope that this day is the day for your happy dance!

Jan 14, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Ok, now I have gone and done it, 2 whole days skipped! Well, no one is perfect, least of all me. :) We have been pretty busy this week. Wednesday Carl worked the late shift, so the boys and I had tacos and watched Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. If you haven't read the story book that inspired this movie, they boys and I recommend it. So that was super fun. I also watched Sweet Home Alabama for the first time ever. :)
Yesterday we had the missionaries over for a lasagna dinner. These 19 year old boys donate two years of their "prime of life" stage to serve the church, so the least I can do is feed them and let our crazy kids entertain them with dinner questions! After that, I had dinner AGAIN! Went out to Logans with my friends Kristi and Senta. It was a great girls night out! :D But needless to say, my belly was uber full and I don't think I will be seeing a downward trend on the scale this week!
Last but now least, tonight we are going back over to my Sis-in-law Mandy's house to help them pack up. They are moving tomorrow to Columbus Ohio. We are so happy for them, that they get to move to a new place, and have an even larger house and new friends, but we are going to miss them so much. The boys are not happy about it, but they do like the idea of going down to Ohio once a month to visit and spend the night in their super sweet basement. So, here is to new beginnings. Good luck Mandy, Franchot, Lauren and Trey!

Jan 11, 2011

Our favorite movie

Carl and I watched one of our ultimate favorite movies today, The Fifth Element, starring Mila Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker and the ever awesome Bruce Willis! This movie is quoted quite frequently at our house, some of our favorites being, "mmmmmmm, chicken!" and "multi-pass". If you are wondering why in the world these odd statements would be humorous, well then you will just have to watch it! It's on tv pretty frequently and since it is older you can usually find it in the $5 bargain bin at Wal-mart. We highly recommend it! Click here for a link to the trailer :)

Jan 10, 2011

Texting Madness!

Every month I like to go through our wireless bill with a fine tooth comb. Our first cell phone experience was less that pleasant, with our first bill topping over $1,000.00, so we are especially careful now that everything we ordered is as it should be! As I was going through, I noticed something that was very humorous to me! Here is the back story...

About a year ago, Carl and I decided to get Jackie, Carl's mom, a line on our account. She had a pay-by-the-minute phone, but it was never on and we couldn't get a hold of her. We got her the same model as mine so I could teach her the ropes of texting and general usage. We didn't even ask her, just got it and hoped for the best. Now let me make this clear, my mother-in-law is no dummy! She's a great lady, super smart, really funny. But neither of us thought that she would take to texting. We figured that we could at least get her a message if it was an emergency, or she could call us if there was a car problem. We have since then been pleasantly surprised that she is a top notch texter and uses that ability to keep in touch with Carl's sister who lives out of state.

Now, back to the part that tickles me. I am a texting fiend in my opinion. I text Carl all the time at work, I have numerous friends and family members who I text as well. I average about 700 outbound texts a month, which works out to be about 23 texts a day on average. (all you teenagers like my nieces, mock me not, I know that is lame to you, but to a 30 year old mom, that is a lot!) So imagine my surprise when this month I open up my bill to see that my Mother-in-law has surpassed me with 871 out-bound texts to my 862! Now I know that is not a wide margin, but what is even better is that I received 595 texts and she got a whopping 873! No wonder my Father-in-law hates "the stupid thing"!! So I called her and congratulated her on her arrival into my level of crazy. I guess I am going to have to join in her circle of acquaintances if I hope to pass her up again! Love ya Mom, welcome to the crazy club!

Jan 9, 2011

Parmesan Fries

Missed it again! Well, here is my post for today, the one about yesterday is below. Ha!

Tonight I made these awesome parmesan fries to go withour dinner and I thought I would share the recipe with you all so you could try. They are super simple! This is from Kraft Food and Family and it suggests you make this along side a pork roast, but I just made it on it's own. :) Enjoy!

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt, divided
1-1/4 lb. Yukon gold or russet potatoes (about 4), cut into thin wedges

1 pork tenderloin (1 lb.)
2 Tbsp. KRAFT Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
1 Tbsp. honey

HEAT oven to 425ºF.

MIX egg white, cheese and 3/4 tsp. garlic salt in large bowl. Add potatoes; toss to coat. Spread onto large greased baking sheet.

BAKE 15 min. Add meat to baking sheet with potatoes; sprinkle with remaining garlic salt. Bake 20 min.

MIX dressing and honey; brush onto meat. Bake 10 to 15 min. or until meat is done (160ºF) and potatoes are tender, brushing meat occasionally with any remaining dressing mixture.

Canton International Festival

Saturday the boys and I went to the Canton International Festival at the Village Theater on Cherry Hill Road. We have always wanted to go into this theatre because it is in such an interesting part of Canton. All the houses are painted unique colors and there is just a little shopping center with this theater at it's center. I read about the festival in MetroParent magazine and I am glad we did! The program was a mix of information, taste-testing, and singing/dancing performances. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera so there are no photos for this post, other than two shots I got online of an act we missed because we had to leave to get Carl, ha!

These are the Hoaloha Hula Dancers. We missed the by about 15 minutes, but it shows you what kind of performances were there. We did get to enjoy a selection of American dancers, Chinese singing and dancing, music and dancing from Sri Lanka, Italian Opera and an interesting Christian performance from New Hope church which consisted of miming and stepping. We also enjoyed treats from Israel, Mexico and Germany. The best part was that it only cost one dollar per person! We are making sure ALL of us get to go next year, and for the full time. What a great experience for our family!

Jan 7, 2011

Gator Jacks

Not much going on at our end today, so I thought I would give a shout out to my brother James (Jimmy to me) and his AMAZING sandwich shop Gator Jacks! He has two locations now, one in Rigby, Idaho and a new one in Rexburg, Idaho.

I have to tell you that during our trip out to see my family last summer, I couldn't get enough of his sandwiches! I didn't get to go half as often as I wanted to, and to be honest that is probably a god thing since he lets me eat for free and I would have eaten up all his inventory! ha ha My favorite is the Cluckin' Nuts, both for it's hilarious name and that it has to be the best chicken salad ever! Top it with some potato chips and you are going to be in heaven! An extra bonus? Chocolate chip cookie with every meal! Who wouldn't want that? His most popular is De' Muder in Law, which is turkey, bacon, and avocado.

Here are some pictures that we took on our trip out. This is the Rigby location.

And here is a shot of Gator Jack himself in front of the new Rexburg location. He built this up from an empty space, adding all the equipment and seating. He even had an enormous concrete cypress tree made to complete the bayou theme!

So to all you Idahoans, if you haven't eaten here yet, do it! To all my Michiganders who are occasionally dropping their kids off at BYU-I, get one for yourself, and pack four to bring home to us! Tell James I sent you!

Jan 6, 2011

Ten Things I Love About My Husband Carl

1. He encourages me to go to Ikea for breakfast with my friends because he wants me to be happy and social.

2. He has this amazing smile and giggle when I manage to reach his tickle spot when we're being silly.

3. He is knowledgeable about almost everything and keeps me up to date on all the latest news and happenings since I can't really watch the news anymore.

4. He has the BEST plans for the future, any you can think of.

5. I can tell Carl about anything and he will still love me and think I am awesome.

6. His eyes crinkle up when he smiles and he gets a crease across his forehead when he is frustrated.

7. He volunteers his Tuesday nights to work with the Webelos.

8. He doesn't think like an "American" and rants about those that do.

9. He is always willing to throw down with a good board game.

10. He still chooses to share all his awesomeness with me.

Jan 5, 2011

Already slipped up!

When I said I would blog everyday, I was serious! Suprised me that it only took 4 days to slip up! So to make up for it I am doing two posts today, the one I should have done yesterday, and the one from today. So, here is the first:

Chicken Enchiladas!
Yum, yum, yum! Carl has to work late every Wednesday night and so the boys and I try to have something that he doesn't particularly enjoy or won't miss eating. So tonight we made enchiladas. I wish there was a recipe to share, but it's really just a combo of a few different things. I add diced, cooked chicken, any kind of salsa you like and green peppers sauteed in butter. Roll those up in tortillas and top with enchilada sauce and cheese :) You'll just have to figure out the proportions yourself if you are interested in making it up for your family. You can even omit the enchilada sauce. Enjoy :)

Bram Stokers Dracula

Since I was a teenager I have been interested in reading all of the classics. My latest jump into classical fiction is Dracula by Bram Stoker. I was able to download it for free on to the iPad, so I thought I would give it a try. All I can say, is wow! If you haven't read this, I would highly suggest you do it, but in a well lit room, with company! You may think that because it is old, it is boring, but that is not the case! I have found myself many times looking over my shoulder as I stand in a room alone. :) I have only seen a few movie versions of Dracula, but what I find most amusing is that the closest version I have seen happens to be Mel Brooks Dracula Dead and Loving It. Ha ha

Jan 3, 2011

Babysitting, and why it reminds me I am already too old for another baby...

I had my friends son today for about eight hours. I've done this a few times now and I am grateful for each new time because it makes me feel just a little less bad about not having more kids! Let me tell you, going from having and eleven and eight year old in the morning, then moving onto an almost one year old is a vast difference! The highest form of communication is pointing and crying, the walking is unstable at best and he makes a terrible mess and I can't even force him clean up after himself! Ha Really though, he is a super cutie, and I really enjoy having him. Even though I don't think I would be able to handle one of my own so well, it is nice to have a loaner every so often. So thanks Jen :)

P.S. Tried to upload a picture of the two of us from this afternoon, but it just won't work on the iPad, so if you feel the need, it is on my Facebook page, in the folder mobile uploads. Enjoy!

Jan 2, 2011

This time last year!

Found these shots in the computer files and I thought I would share them. Not sure that they ever got on here before. My how the kids grow!

Jan 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

A very happy new year from us to you! One of my resolutions for this year is to do a blog a day. That will include humorous stories from the kids, news on our daily lives, photos and just general complaining I am sure. :)

I thought I would use this first day to wrap up our 2010 and our goals/plans for 2011.

Carl hit his 5 year anniversary for the Hope Depot this last year. He is team captain for several groups at the Depot. He also switched positions and is not the Opening Freight Team Department Head, but Department Head of the paint department. Yay Carl! This means he doesn't have to go in at 4 am each work day, but he does have a rotating schedule and that has been hard to get used to again.  Every Tuesday night, Carl is the Webelos Den leader for our ward. He has found a lot of enjoyment working with the boys on camping skills, athletics and communication.  He was sad to see Jake move up in November, but he still has a lot of great boys to work with.  Carl's goal for the new year is to go back to school to get his associates degree finished up. Good luck Carl, we know you can do it!

Christina was released from her Secretary of the Young Women calling at the end of 2010. Starting tomorrow she is the latest 12/13 year old Sunday School teacher. This is a great calling because it will allow her to still interact with the vast majority of her YW. In fact, there are no boys in this class till July, so it will be more like her own personal YW! :) Christina has also been working on Carl's family history and has made some huge finds. We are now back 4 to 5 generations, and believe us, that is huge! She is going to continue 2011 being a stay-at-home mom to Jacob and Alex. Her goals for this year also include going back to school for her bachelors in...well..something!

Jake entered 6th grade this 2010 at Burger School for Children with Autism. He has made new friends and has even met some cute girls! He is currently 5'4" which makes his mother wish he was still a dirty-faced tiny boy carrying around a fistful of pencils. Jacob has discovered that he really likes building and has taken a great interest in legos, previously only his brothers domain. He is also a budding author, writing his first short story, The Avatar Wars. He was on his schools basketball and soccer teams in 2010 and starting next week he will be heading back into basketball season. Jake has officially moved up in scouting and is now an 11 year old scout in Boy Scouts. No more cubs for him! Jake's goal for 2011 is to use his new video camera he got for Christmas to become a major film producer/director before the age of 12. Good luck Jake!

Alex (or Al or Bert, whichever you choose) became a 3rd grader this 2010. He also moved schools when his was closed due to budget issues. He has done well at Hoover and really enjoys going there. It has been difficult at times making new friends, but Alex is so friendly that he is winning them over one by one. Alex has spent the majority of his year obsessing over Pokemon. He has memorized all their evolves and attacks...I wish times tables were so interesting!  He has strengthened his love of reading and his favorites are Charlie Brown and the Magic Tree House series. He also loves Video games and can often be found trying to sneak a bit more time in on his DS or the 360. Alex's goals for the year are the same as every year...become a scientist and invent a machine that can take him into video games, cartoons, books and movies. (Imagine a holodeck on steroids) We know you can do it Al!