Monthly Archives: March 2010

Easter Dresses and Muddy Messes

Yesterday was our first full day with all the children- and boy was it a day of contrasts!

Our day began with sweet little girls all decked out out in their Easter dresses complete with gloves and hair ribbons. (The gloves lasted all of 10 minutes!)

It included a trip to church, palm branches and goody bags full of Cheerios, pretzels and mini-marshmallows.

The girls really got into waving those palm branches! And even though they whacked us in the face several times – and whacked their brother’s heads in the row in front of us, I’ll still call the morning a resounding success.

The afternoon, however, was a different story.

It wasn’t the girls though – they had a wonderful time! They were finally able to go outside.

They discovered that their pretty pink boots made big splashes in the mud puddles; they fed the chickens, gathered the eggs and walked the length and depth of the yard.

Oh the happiness!

No, the girls had a very lovely adventure. It was the big boys who had a misadventure – a very muddy misadventure!

Remember my overconfident declaration – “I’m not worried about the boys, we’ll feed them when they’re hungry and make sure they wear clean underwear when they go home”?

Yeah – we might be rethinking that one.

Right after lunch they headed out to explore the ravines. I just told them to stay away from water, stick together and stay off the road.

They stuck together all right.

I’m not sure of the details, but the story goes that they were down in the ravines exploring when James stepped into the “Mud Pit of Death”. It instantly sucked him in up to the top of his boots. Of course the older cousins had to “rescue” him.Muddy Jeans

In the heroic attempts to “save” their cousin – all of the older cousins got into the “Mud Pit of Death” with him – which instantly started sucking the boots and shoes right off their feet.

Yes – just like a giant vacuum cleaner. What a sacrifice!

The final causality count was three boots, three shoes, and an untold number of socks.

Aunt Julie and I were shocked with the muddy, shoeless group who drifted back to the house.

But don’t worry – we  aunts got our revenge! There was no way those mud- encrusted jeans were setting foot in my house – so the boys had to drop their drawers outside the basement, wrap a towel around their skivvies and sheepishly walk upstairs to the showers – carefully navigating all the safety gates we have in place.

It was priceless!

Then this morning they had to go outside in their pj’s and spray off those jeans to remove the biggest chunks of mud before I could wash them. (They loved this part!)

We’ll be off to the Amish store  in a few minutes to replace some of the boots, Aunt Melinda found shoes in the shoe bucket to replace some of the ones buried in the ravine, and the jeans did come clean in the wash.

So, while the outward evidence of the misadventure are gone – the memory made will last forever!

And that’s what this week is all about.

Ready or Not…

Ready or not ….here they’ve come!

Remember my nieces Emie and Katie?!

They’re here – at my house – with their other five siblings.

Their momma asked me if the older boys could spend spring break here – I said sure – but knowing how much she needed a break – I asked her to send all seven kids.

She did.

They arrived this afternoon after a journey that was a logistical masterpiece involving 3 different legs, 3 different drivers, a stop at McDonald’s and a potty break at Wal- Mart with little girls crawling under stalls.

My sister-in-law Julie 0ffered her assistance for the week – bless her heart. She arrived yesterday with her 2 boys and lots of food.

Boy did I need her help!

Having three precious little gals with Down’s  Syndrome is a challenge.  Reality hit yesterday when their momma sent us an email with detailed instructions including an entire paragraph entitled Pee, Poop and other Potty stuff.

The big boys I’m not too worried about – we’ll feed them when they’re hungry (which is all the time!) and make sure they wearing clean underwear when they go home.

But those little girls need a constant eye and lots of loving.

So far today Annie ate only bread for supper, Katie drank bath water and Emie only made one attempt to escape.

But we had lots of giggles, played toys and watched the chickens. They were fed, went potty, bathed, and loved.

And – they were in bed within 10 minutes of bedtime!

Even though the big boys are all outside playing in the rain – I think I will still call day one a success.

Just seven days to go…

Carrot Straws

Meal times have sure been quiet this week.

My oldest three children are at Teen Pact all week – so it’s just Angel Girl and Buddy around the table with mom and dad.

Now while it may be quieter – it is no less silly.

Take last night for example – we had a simple meal of chicken noodle soup (I’m still living on the stuff!), homemade buns and carrot sticks.

Everyone was quietly eating their soup with a minimal amount of slurping when Angel Girl picked up her carrot stick and started to use it as a spoon.

I raised my eyebrows – but her daddy just laughed.

Then he said, “I bet you can make a straw out of that carrot – and suck up your soup.”

Now it was Angel Girl’s eyebrows that went up – as did Buddy’s.

The carrots flew out off the plate as they first tried their knives – then some toothpicks to pick out the soft center of the carrot stick.

I was the hero of the hour when I suggested a nut pick.

Soon both Buddy and Angel Girl were sucking up their soup through a carrot stick straw.

It was a little messy – and a little slurpy – but I can’t complain – they sure consumed a lot of veggies!

And while it may not be a socially correct  form of soup consumption – it sure was fun!

Hmmm… I wonder what other veggies can be hollowed out into straws?

Stay tuned!

Cinnamon Rolls – both Freezer and Overnight

Cinnamon Rolls After my last “woe-is-me-I am-sick-and-discouraged” post, I will endeavor to stop coughing long enough to write something a little more encouraging! 🙂

(And a special thank you for all the kind words and offers to take my children! They are good kids – but they do eat a lot!)

Okay – on to something encouraging – what about comfort food? And what’s more comforting than fresh hot cinnamon rolls!

My family loves these for Sunday breakfast – but I don’t love getting up before dawn to make them fresh.

I figured if  you could buy frozen cinnamon  rolls and thaw them to bake – surely there was a way to make them homemade? So we experimented.

First – here’s the basic recipe:

Cinnamon Rolls

2 cup lukewarm water
2 packages dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons salt
7 cups flour
softened butter or margarine
brown sugar

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes. The yeast should be bubbly.  Add the sugar, oil, and salt. Mix well.

Mix in the flour until a soft dough forms. Knead 4-6minutes. (I absolutely LOVE my Bosch Mixer for this – and all yeast breads. It’s paid for itself many times over!)

Put the dough in a large lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise one hour.

Divide the dough into half and roll each half into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Spread with softened butter, layer thickly with brown sugar and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon. (I don’t have exact measurements for these – just pile on to taste!)

Roll the dough from the long side and cut into 1 inch rolls with a serrated knife.

Place the rolls in a greased baking dish. Each of the dough halves should fill one 9 x 13 inch pan – or 2 – 9 inch rounds. (So the recipe will make 2 – 9 x 13 pans or 4 – 9 inch rounds). Cover with a clean dry towel and let rise till double – about 1 hour.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20- 25 minutes or until lightly browned.

Let the rolls cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Invert the hot rolls onto a serving plate and smother with frosting!

Overnight Version:

Make the rolls out and put in the baking dish the night before.  Do not let them rise! Just cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, let them sit at room temperature while you preheat the oven. Bake them and serve as usual.

Freezer version:

Make the rolls up and put them in a baking dish (metal cake pans or aluminum foil pans work very well). Do not let them rise! Just cover and freeze for up to one month. Remove from the freezer the night before and let thaw and raise on the counter. In the morning, preheat the oven and bake as normal.

The longer the rolls are in the freezer, the less the yeast works. Ideally – we try to use them up within 2 weeks. The ones we kept in the freezer for 3 months were hard and flat when we finally baked them!


I’ve linked this post up over at Beauty and Bedlam for Tasty Tuesday and Blessed With Grace’s Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!


Things just didn’t go as planned.

Every spring my amazing sister-in-law takes all five of my children for a long weekend so my husband Jan and I can get away.

One week-end.

I look forward to it all year.

I check hotels, research restaurants, and make plans for it all year.To say it is the highlight of my spring is an understatement.

But this year – I got sick.

The kids left on Wednesday and I went to the couch – down for the count, exhausted with no voice, a deep racking cough, and achy all over.

I was still there on Thursday.

And Friday.

And Saturday.

Instead of a gorgeous hotel room with my wonderful husband – I got my couch surrounded by empty tea cups and dirty Kleenex.

Instead of wandering around old antique stores and specialty shops – I watched hours of Little House on the Prairie and cooking shows.

Instead of eating out at different restaurants every meal – I limped to the kitchen and heated more chicken noodle soup.

Disappointment is too mild of a word.

And as if that wasn’t enough – on Friday night it started to snow. Not just light flurries – but heavy snow. Seven inches of heavy snow.

Even if I felt good – we still couldn’t get out until somebody went out to shovel.

Talk about salt in an open wound.

I cried – but that just made my nose run more.

Heavy sigh.

Can I have a “do-over”?

The sun did come out today and I  got off the couch long enough today to ride with Jan to pick up the kids. He even took me out to me eat. 🙂

And he promised me another weekend away – when I felt better – maybe in August for our 20th anniversary (surely it wouldn’t snow then – would it?!)

So as we come to the end of this rather disappointing weekend, I’m exhausted from my foray into the real world. I’m back on the couch with a cup of hot tea.

But this time the tears are gone and I’m busy planning my big anniversary weekend- sometime in August.

Life is looking up again.

Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life…”