Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brooke & Jake are having TWINS!!!!

Brooke was measuring a little big at her last appointment, so the midwives sent her in for an ultrasound to confirm her due date and peek at the baby. Well, it turns out it's not just one baby.... the Wells are having TWINS!!!! This was a total shock, they had NO idea there were expecting twins, as Brooke does not have twins in her family. She's almost 18 weeks now, due Sept 1, but since most twins are early, they're expecting them sometime around August 11 or so. She called me to tell me the big news right after her appointment around lunch on Friday. I could NOT concentrate for the REST of the day! I am so excited! If anyone will be an awesome mom to twins, it has to be Brooke!I couldn't contain my excitement, so I decided to make a little set of onsies for the babies. Brooke still wants to wait to find out the sex until birth (although Jake does NOT agree!), so I went with green. The whole time I worked on these tiny little shirts, I kept imagining that one day not too long from now tiny little newborn bodies will be filling them! I can't wait to meet this perfect little pair!!!


Owen had a big bonk at Kristin's this week! He likes to swing on his tummy, but he was going too high and he took a header, resulting in a bloody nose (which ruined Kristin's shirt!) and a big bump on his head! This guy needs a helmet! James actually took a big fall just a few minutes before Owen had his big crash. Typical boys!

Heidi's 1st Birthday Party

Heidi is one! My cousins, Matthew & Mary, had a big party for Heidi at their house- complete with a bounce house and all! We were all hoping to have the party at the park, but it was windy & cold. The party ended up being a great time and it was so nice to see some of my family. I haven't been able to see them all much lately and I miss them!!!

Sweet Aiden- age 1

The birthday girl in her pretty dress.

Heidi is a very social little girl and did not hesitate to climb all over her older cousins! Julian didn't mind too much though.

Such a pretty little one-year-old!
Heidi climbing on James.

Heidi climbing on her beautiful little friend.

Climbing on James some more...

My Aunt Susan, Uncle Pat, and my mom with our newest family member-
Dane Clark, 6 weeks old.
Yummy cake! No pink frosting for Owen though, he's allergic.
Kristin made this adorable pixie skirt for Heidi. She loved it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy "Pi Day"!!

Let's start by saying, yes, I am a nerd, and proud of it. No need to tease, I embrace my nerd-ness.

Saturday was officially "Pi Day 2009." A day to celebrate the number Pi. Pi, Greek letter, is the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. Pi = 3.1415926535... Pi Day is celebrated by math enthusiasts around the world on March 14th. You know, like the start of the number: 3.14.... March 14..... 3/14.... get it?? If you're really into it, you can stop and celebrate at 1:59 p.m. on March 14- 3.14159 is the start of Pi. It is a pretty interesting number- With the use of computers, Pi has been calculated to over 3 trillion digits past the decimal. Pi is an irrational number meaning it will continue infinitely without repeating. Another interesting coincidence, Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day in 1879.
Since Pi Day was on a Saturday this year, we celebrated at school on Friday. After lunch we had a rotation of activities teaching the kids about how to find Pi and some interesting facts about the number. The student all brought pies to bake in our solar ovens and we couldn't resist making a Pi symbol from some of the pies.I had the kids make a paper-chain of Pi as far as we could. I used a different color of paper for each digit (0-9) so the kids could see that there really is no repetition in Pi, it is totally random. We got to 880 digits and the paper chain looks really cute hanging on the wall all around my classroom now! The photo below shows the last half of the chain. It is very long!We also wore cute Pi t-shirts I made with iron-on transfers with these comics on the back. It was a blast, I hope my students learned something, and if not, it is a day they will remember and the pie sure was yummy!

I'll leave you with some Pi humor:

A Yummy Meal on a Cool, Rainy Day

After a very busy Friday and Saturday, we are having a cozy, quiet at-home day today. Both boys are coughing and we're all exhausted from all the fun we had earlier in the weekend, so a nice quiet Sunday is just what we needed.

The weather is cool and gray today, so I decided a nice big pot of soup & homemade bread would make a perfect dinner. There's something about freshly baking bread that just makes your house feel so cozy! And my beer bread recipe is so super-simple, I make it every time I'm looking for that home-y taste and smell with hardly any effort.

Here's my potato soup recipe for the slow cooker. I've never made it before, but it's smelling really yummy!

Cheesy-Potato Soup in the Slow Cooker

1/4 cup butter
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can chicken broth
1 cup warm water
2 large carrots, diced finely
3/4 cups cauliflower, diced finely OR 4 stalks celery, diced finely (Jason HATES celery, so I used cauliflower for a little extra flavor & nutrition too!)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 cup milk
5 pounds russett potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until translucent. Stir in flour until smooth, then gradually stir in broth, water, carrots, celery or cauliflower, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat through, then stir in milk. Place potatoes in slow cooker, and sprinkle with salt & pepper, mix. Pour heated vegetable mixture into potatoes. Place bay leaf in pot. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.Remove bay leaf. Puree about 4 cups of the soup in a blender or food processor, and them stir pureed soup into contents of slow cooker. Stir in cheese and bacon until cheese is melted. Serve hot topped with shredded cheddar cheese and a little crumbled bacon.

Beer Bread

You can use any carbonated beverage to make this bread. We like either Sierra Nevada Summerfest or Wheat usually. Today I'm using Bud Light with lime and I'm adding 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning for an herbed-cheese bread to go with my soup.

3 c. self-rising flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 can beer
2 tbsp. butter

Combine ingredients in order listed above and mix well. Put in well-greased loaf pan and top loaf with butter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes. When cool, remove from pan and enjoy!

-For apple cinnamon bread, use Sprite instead of beer and add 4 Tbsp. applesauce, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. vanilla
-Substitute a berry flavored wine cooler for the beer for a cool, fruity bread.
-Add 2 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1/2 cup sliced black or kalamata olives, 1 cup shredded cheese

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sandy Backyard Hand Mosaics

The boys and I took advantage of the beautiful spring-like weather today and did a fun little outdoor craft in our back yard. I got this idea from Family Fun magazine a while ago and will probably include it in the crafts section of the summer issue of Community Seeds.
First, sprinkle a little water in the sand to make it slightly damp. You don't want it soaking wet, just damp enough to make a good, deep impression. Have your child press their hand into the sand, making sure the make a fairly deep hand print.
When they remove their hand, use your fingers to make sure the impression is deep and that the sides of the hand print are fairly high.
Next, collect natural treasures from your yard. My boys enjoyed collecting small rocks, acorns, sticks, leaves, and even a small pine cone to decorate their hand prints with. Press the nice-looking side of each object down into the sand filling the hand print with as many items as you like.
ix 1 1/2 cups of Plaster of Paris with 1 cup of water well. Pour the mixture into the palm of the hand print and use a chopstick to fill the fingers with the plaster. Make sure not to over-fill the hand print, keeping all of the fingers separate. Place a wooden chopstick into the hand print so it is at least 2 inches up into the palm and about in the middle of the plaster. Leave the hand prints to dry for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the sand and clean off the front of the mosaic to reveal the treasures by dusting the loose sand with your hand. Be very gentle with cleaning and transporting, as these plaster hands are very delicate. We ended up breaking off a few fingers accidentally, which we reattached with hot glue.
This summer, our hand prints will decorate our garden as planter steaks. The next time we visit the beach, I'm bringing a gallon Ziploc bag with the dry plaster inside so we can make these right in the sand as a memory of a fun summer day!

I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people who love me in my life!

This has been a difficult few weeks for me.
Jason's working nights, which is a little hard on our family time together.
I also was notified that I will be receiving a lay-off notice this year for the very first time in the 9-years I've been teaching in this district.
After several days of worrying, I have finally come to believe that I will most likely not lose my job, but it did really freak me out initially. Teaching is more than a job for me, it's what I do, it's who I am in a lot of ways, and despite the stress and challenges that come up every day, I really do love teaching. I hope I am right and things all work out...

Through this stressful time, my friends and family have really been coming through for me. Their support is what has pulled me through this so far. Many conversations and reassuring words have been so, so helpful. Last night as I sat with my girlfriends talking, laughing and sharing, I felt myself finally letting go and allowing my worries to go away. I feel so much better today after this great weekend!

I received two really awesome and meaningful gifts this week as well! My mom made a beautiful and fun quilt for me that I absolutely love! I love sock monkeys, as most people know, so she used the same line of fabric from Moda featuring colorful sock monkeys that I used to make my purse. This line was "Five Funky Monkeys" and has the monkeys jumping on the bed as well one fabric with band-aids all over it. So adorable! My mom told me that every time I wrap myself up in the quilt, I should imagine it's her arms around me, giving me a big hug. I love this quilt!
The boys have been enjoying my Funky Monkey quilt too. Owen totally checked it out the day it came in the mail. He laughed out loud at the pictures and loves to crawl around on it looking at all of the funny monkeys!
I caught James snuggling on the floor with my quilt today while he was watching a movie.
My second gift came from Kristin. This was totally unexpected, I had no idea she had been working on this for me. The gift is so creative and meaningful, I am so touched that she put so much time and energy into something for me.

The gift consisted of four bags, each labeled with an individual tag.
The first bag was labeled, "To Inspire" and inside was a card explaining the gift.
The main card reads:
I have been stewing on this idea for a little while now, and wanted the perfect time to share. With everything that is going on in your life right now, i thought now is the perfect time. I hope you find great enjoyment in what I have put together for you!
Our friendship has lasted 12 years! Can you believe that? You and I have grown so much in the friendship that we have created. From the college years, to our wedding, to being pregnant together, to now raising our children together. I really cherish our friendship that you and I have, and I can't wait to see what else is to come!
Love, Kristin"
Inside the bag was a card that reads:
"To Inspire:
Inside this bag you will fins: a journal and scrapbooking supplies. You can take this journal and use it however you please. I have taken up journaling and it has been a great release. Also enjoy your new scrapbooking supplies, you can't have enough!"
The next bag was "To Renew" and this card read:
"To Renew:
In this bag you will find: a good smelling candle, bath products and nail polish. I am sure you can't remember the last time you took a nice relaxing bath, but maybe some night after the boys go to bed, you can run a nice hot bath and just enjoy!"
The third bag was labeled, "To Remember" and this card read:
"To Remember:
In this bag you will find 2 picture frames. Take a couple of pictures of your life currently. Anything you want, maybe of the boys building with blocks, or making muffins, etc... Place the pictures in the frames. Reflect upon the pictures now and then."The gift in the last bag was my favorite- this bag was labeled "To Let Go" and the card inside read:
"To Let Go
In this bag, you will find: 2 plates, markers, a plastic bag.
I want you to take the markers and write on the plates all your current fears, frustrations, stresses, negative feelings that you are holding onto in your life currently. Once you are done, place the plates in the plastic bag, close it up and smash the plates with a hammer.
One idea: You could take the smashed up plates and put them in a mosaic stepping stone for your yard."

No matter what is going on in my life as far as stress, difficult situations or worries, I still always consider myself so lucky. I am surrounded by so many amazing people who love me, and that is the most important thing in my life.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I made robes for the boys. Transformers for James & Mickey Mouse for Owen.
P.J. pants are the next on my sewing list!