Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Christmas Pajamas 2013 and traditions

I was at a Christmas party recently where guests were asked to share a Christmas family tradition. Since we are really still a young family we don't have many traditions yet. Only in the last few years have we done a whole Christmas Eve and Christmas day with just our little clan so we are still creating those traditions. I think I shared the tradition that you'll see in this post; the kids in their Christmas Eve pajamas.

As others were sharing I remembered a childhood tradition but I didn't have time to share it at the party so I thought I would share it here. Because it's that good.

Growing up our family had quite a few traditions. Some we loved and some we have been okay letting go of. This one falls in the middle. Our Great Grandma, or Old Old Grandma as we called her, lived in Idaho and so every year she sent presents. She would call our mom early in the fall, ask our ages and sizes, and then drive herself to Sears and buy us clearance underwear... from the women's department. Big, taupe granny panties.

Our family's tradition was to open presents from our out of state family on Christmas Eve and then presents and stockings from our parents on Christmas morning. We all have strong, humorous memories of the anticipation and dread of opening Old Old Grandma's gifts.

We anticipated finding out who got the largest most hideous pair that year, but we dreaded knowing what we were getting. Because it wasn't just a monstrous pair of granny panties that we were receiving. We also received the privilege of  returning said underwear to Sears in after-Christmas crowds, getting an in-store credit of $4.95 per child and then trying to figure out what the heck you could buy with $4.95 from Sears. Plus the humiliation of returning huge taupe granny panties.

Needless to say, we were all pleased when Old Old Grandma started sending $5 checks in individually labeled envelopes.

I've thought about hiring someone to send my kids huge taupe granny panties just because the memory is such a fun one, but for now we'll start with new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

This year I wrapped all four sets in one box and included some candy and popcorn and we had a movie night after the kids got changed into their new pj's. We watched White Christmas. It was the kids' first time and I think we'll add that to our tradition.

So, to continue on with the picture tradition (although this year we didn't have a tree).

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013
They are all so big! And wonderful! What are some of your traditions? Maybe we can borrow some. :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Krooked Kastle Nursery Rhyme - ish

There once was a young-ish mother who lived in a Krooked Kastle.
When with her handful of children people would stop to say, "I bet that's a hassle."

She'd look at her babies, smile wide, and offer:

"Oh there's laundry, and dishes, and meal times galore,
And Legos and hair barrettes litter my floor.

My clothes are rarely clean, my hair is in a permanent bun,
And most days reading the same book fifty times over is what we call fun.

There are tantrums and attitudes from both me and the kids,
At night they rarely stay tucked in their beds.

But let me tell you,these moments are few
Compared to this next list I have for you.

Kisses, snuggles, sweet smiles to greet me,
Presents of drawings completed so neatly.

Laughter and games, singing and books,
Inquisitive minds,and long loving looks.

Hearts that are tender, minds that are open,
All that they need is my love and devotion.

So, yes, my hands they are full, of the very best things.
When I'm with my children, this heart of mine sings.

Counting my blessings helps me to see
The beauty in them staring right up at me.

I love what I do, I hope that's easy to see.
Thank you, Dear Stranger, for chatting with me."

Counting my blessings today. May we all see them more clearly every day.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Recipes: Raspberry Pretzel Salad

I've been preparing this for our celebration this year and have received lots of requests for the recipe. Here it is, updated with pictures!

This is one of a few recipes that are served every year for Thanksgiving on my side of the family. I made this to bring to Hot Hubby's family's gathering a couple of years ago and now I make it for both sides every year. It's salty, sweet, and doesn't stay around for very long.

Raspberry Pretzel Salad

Mix together:
3/4 c. melted butter
3 Tbl. sugar
2&1/2 c.thin stick pretzels, broken into 1/2 inch pieces (ish)

Evenly spread out in a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Let it completely cool.

Mix together:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
8oz Cool Whip
1 c. powdered sugar
3 Tbl. milk

Spread over cooled crust sealing off sides with creamed mixture. The creamed mixture acts as a barrier between the pretzel crust and the jello.

Mix together:
1 large raspberry Jello pkg
2&1/2 c. boiling water

Stir together until Jello is dissolved.

2-12 oz bags of frozen raspberries

Stir until thickened.

Carefully pour on top of creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate until set. 2-4 hours.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mommy or Servant

Sunday morning I woke up a bit frustrated. I'm not sure what all I was upset about, but later in the day after getting every one to and from church and coming home where all my family dispersed to relax expecting me to put lunch together I realized I was fighting a bad attitude. "Every one just expects things of me. No one offers to help. What would they do if I just sat down and didn't make lunch? I'm the only one who keeps things going around here."

I am thankful that I recognized the grumbling in my heart for what it was. A war. Selfishness.  I set myself to fight against it, though it was a battle that took some time. HH came in the kitchen to ask me what was wrong. After I explained my struggle he stayed and helped me finish lunch. :)

As we sat down to eat I popped an apple pie in the oven for our dessert. Of course it wasn't done right when we finished eating and all the kids grew restless and bored of the conversation we were trying to keep going to keep them entertained. By the time it was done very few of us were left in the kitchen. Mostly just me and the occasional visit from the children asking if the pie was done

Right before I pulled it out of the oven Amelia came in sassily demanding, "Mom, I really want to taste that pie so get your booty to work."

"Hey!" I said, "You sure are being rude, missy."

Hazel had come in at the same time and agreed with me, "Yeah. Don't be rude to the servant."

I just had to stop. I stood there for a moment. One, I didn't even know how to respond. These kids leave me speechless  on a daily basis. Laugh? Correct? I don't know anymore.

Two, I knew internally I was standing at a cross-road. I could choose to let my six-year-old's innocent comment feed into the lies that I was already fighting in my head or I could see her remark for what it was. An imaginative child playing her fairy tale out in my kitchen.

The lies say my kids don't appreciate me; they don't see all the things I do for them. The truth is they see me for who I am: the one who takes care of them.Their Mom.

HH had missed the conversation so I told him about it. Hazel chimed in, "Yeah, because mommy is the servant."

"Yes," HH replied, "She is a servant. Jesus is a servant, too. Mommy is like Jesus."

Gah! So many things happened in my heart at that moment. Conviction. Encouragement. A re-girding of the truth. I can't tell you what it does to this heart that thrives on words of affirmation when my man-of-few-words talks like that!

 I love my job. I love my life. I love my husband. I love my kids. I love homeschooling. I love cooking for my family. I love caring for them. I love training them. I love being with them. I live to enjoy them. That, my friends, is my truth.

May you be encouraged to see your truth today.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

This Week on Instagram

This is from last Friday. Friday is cleaning day at the Krooked Kastle. The kids love it. For reals. Especially the girls. 
Last Friday we had some friends over for Indian food. We are learning about India in school and so we had a little cultural learning night. 

The girl's with their Sassy. Photo bombed.

My Dahling friend, Laura came to share a few of her trinkets from India.

My dad, Grandfather Sir, enjoying the festivities. 

Snuggles, good books, chubby cheeks and toes. That's what good mornings are made of.

Every week it's interesting to see what treasures will come through the wash. Never had a walnut shell before.

This week in the adventures of Jackson...

And moments later he was in the fridge.


During school one day Abiah asks, "Mom, is a donkey called an ass?" Never a dull moment.

Spring has sprung in Oregon bringing snow, hail, rain, wind, and bright sun shine all in one hours time. Snack time and art class are the perfect way to enjoy this kind of weather.

This Friday's cleaning day photo op. Never to young to start.

This weekend we have three extras. These two are not usually very good playmates. This lasted a few minutes. We're making slow improvement.

My favorite picture from this week. I started baby sitting this guy when he was around Jackson's age. It was a sweet moment.

Linking up with Life Rearranged! life rearranged

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Til My Sides Hurt: All Four Kids Edition

Growing up homeschooled led to many cultural experiences. Some of the most often and most interesting were the daily episodes of the mid morning "talk shows" that were all drama and people yelling and fighting. And since we were a house of teenage girls, the drama was what we were in for. And he laughs. Why we found people humiliating themselves in such a trashy way to be funny, I don't know. I blame it on being a teenager.

Anyway, I think all three of my sisters would agree that the most memorable and quoted episode was of some drama between two female cousins where the one being offended dramatically responded with, "I can't believe you did this too me! We've like... known each other whole lives!"

To recap: cousins...who've known each other...for their whole lives...Bahaha!
It still makes me bust up. Anytime my sisters and I feel a need for an over-dramatized response this is our go to.

So it was pretty hilarious to me the other day when I wanted my girls to wear pants with their dresses because it was cold and, as an argument against my decision,  Hazel exclaimed, "But Mom! We're like sisters!"


In school Abiah recently learned the why behind the title Mrs. In case you don't know, Mrs. stands for Mistress, as in Mistress of the house.

But now when he calls for me, sometimes instead of calling for Mom, he calls, "Mistress! Mistress!" Or he responds to my requests with, "Yes, Mistress?"

It's a little disturbing due to the more current use of that word. But I don't want to tell him what it means now days. Basically I'm avoiding an awkward conversation with my son but possibly setting myself up for an even more awkward social situation should he call me that in public.

It did make me ten kinds of happy to see the look on HH's face when I told him what his son calls me.


Jackson, Amelia and I were getting ready to read a book while sitting on the couch. I had been working on my laptop so I told Amelia she'd have to sit on the other side of me. I pointed to the spot next to Jackson who was already sitting next to me. When Jackson saw that I was pointing to where Amelia should sit, he quickly scootched over into that spot and victoriously declared, "Ha! Ha!"

So Amelia quickly grabbed his abandoned spot, the one right next to me, and Jackson let out a frustrated, "Sis Sis!"

He thought he'd out smarted her. I bet he doesn't make that mistake again. Ornery little fella.


We all know the popular rhyme children use when choosing who goes first: Eeney, Meanie, Minee, Mo.

Well, Amelia has hear it recently but has her own version that she walks around singing:

"Eeney, Meanie, catch a tiny when your Tony moose backup!"


One night Amelia drops her pants and her unders to her knees and, before I can respond, asks, "Mom, does it look like my pants is falling off?"

Gah! To laugh or not to laugh! That, sirs, is the question.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Absentminded Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

Last week Abiah started complaining about a loose tooth that was bothering him. I promptly directed him to the floss and a door to slam and left him to his own devises. I don't do teeth pulling. It's a job I gladly leave to anyone else.

Though Abiah was unsuccessful that time, he did find relief late Saturday night. It was after we had told him to go to bed and I'm half convinced he sat in his bed and wriggled his darn tooth loose just to stay up longer. When he came out to let us know "it was close" HH escorted him to the bathroom where the tooth finally came out.

Abiah came out proudly displaying his hole-y mouth and a tooth held between his fingers. Having become accustomed to our Tooth Fairy's preferences, he put his tooth in a ziplock bag and asked me if he should place it under his pillow. I answer yes and whispered to HH that we had to remember this time. And we went back to our episode of Once.

But we didn't remember.

I went in to Abiah's room Sunday morning to wake him and the first thing he said, "The Tooth Fairy didn't come." Thankfully his back was to me so he missed the look of dread that passed over my face. I mumbled something about it being the weekend so maybe she was off and hoped he'd let it go.

The thing is, the kid is almost ten. He knows who the Tooth Fairy is, but he still likes to play the game.

In the car on Sunday we hear Abiah telling his sisters about his lost tooth along with his theory that "the Tooth Fairy was just up too late the night before watching too many movies." Busted.

Fast forward to Sunday night. It's late. I'm getting ready for bed. I go into the bathroom and this is on the door:

So, he's still willing to play along, but he doesn't want to wait half the week for his dollar in quarters to magically appear under his pillow. I was thankful for his note, though, because I had, of course, forgotten.

Monday morning he asked, "So did the note help you?"

For the fun of the game I pretended not to know what he was talking about.

Friday, March 15, 2013


I missed a week or two of pictures so this week is a little long. I'll try to keep the commentary to a minimum. Also, some of these pictures didn't make it to Instagram so you get a mixture.

My nephew spent the weekend with us and this is what he and Abiah did for two straight days. So much wrestling. 

My talented nephew.

How Miss Hazel does the dishes.

These two. Let me tell ya. They can be the sweetest together and then turn around and beat the crap out of each other. This was a good moment. So I needed to capture it. For my sanity.

Hazel came up with this hair style "all by herself". :)

Tomato soup. Yum!

How do you capture a Jackson?

This picture melts my heart. 

This is taken moments after the one above. Notice the socks and shoes are missing. Rascal. He sure is cute though.

When you rush through a recipe for rolls and think it says divide into two instead of noticing it actually says three you get rolls the size of your palm. And a happy HH.

The never ending trail of hair bands. Grrrr.

They have no idea who Punky Brewster is and yet they match her quite well.

Movie/coloring time. We strap Jackson into his booster seat so he doesn't get into things while he's watching a movie since the tv is on the side of the house that is gated off from him.

School time! We are waiting until the second week of April for Spring Break and we are soooo ready.

Seriously. This child. All. day. long. This time he mutilated the butter and a package of mentos. All within a few minutes time. 

The afore mentioned mentos.

Crawling across the table to beg for a "nat." Pay no heed to the calendar in the background that hasn't been updated since last December. Homeschool fail.

This cutie and I went in for her eye check-up. She's doing really good. We still patch everyday for a few hours but her eyes are getting stronger.

The little man taking a walk at Noni and Poppi's. He had a blast playing in their gated yard. Especially since he got to be with his Poppa. He's pretty fond of his Poppa.

Ah. The Home Depot and the long waits that one is forced to endure when accompanying a loved one who has a project to do. We found ways to entertain ourselves. This girl cracks me up. She has always, since birth, been my most serious child. Getting her to laugh as a baby was so hard. But every once in a while she gets all goofy. I love it. She's the best.

This one has been a huge fan of the word "cozy" lately. When she wants to lay on us it's because we are cozy. If she doesn't want to get up to do her chores it's because she want's to be cozy. This morning she was in bed with me and she wanted me to get her a drink. I grabbed her and snuggled into her neck and told her I didn't want to because she was so cozy. She didn't like that. Apparently cozy only works when she uses it.

This is the house I lived in for 11 years of my life. When we owned it it was painted a lovely slate blueish gray and had a white picket fence. I drove by with my kids the other day and was so sad when I saw they've painted it pistachio. Ugh. Sad day.

In the evenings I've been working out on my new death trap. This Big Guy is my exercise partner encouraging me the whole way through the 15 minutes of pure torture.
Side note: My neighbors slowed way down the other night as they drove by during my exercise. Talk about awkward. At least it was dark out so we didn't make eye contact. Also, we need to get curtains.


I leave you with this treasure. She did this to herself. I'm not sure how but it was certainly funny.

I'm linking up over at Life Rearranged.