Thursday, May 31, 2012

Preschool Graduation

Palmer attended his first year of preschool during the past school year, and has absolutely loved it! He went to the preschool at our local fitness center (quite often during my work shift there). He was in good company among many of his daycare friends, and some neighborhood friends.

He really loved his teacher, Ms. Mele and she made sure to let me know many times how much she loved him and his big, enthusiastic personality. They had their graduation last week. The theme was shooting stars. They all sang some cute songs, and then each student told the audience what they wanted to be when they grew up (Palmer wants to be a fireman) and they received a little gift bag full of star paraphernalia.  We all watched a DVD with a recap of the year in pictures, had refreshments and then said goodbye to our teachers and friends.

I made these little thank you gifts for Palmer's teachers.  The sign on the water bottles reads, "Thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge!"  We included some individual flavored water packets in the bottles as well. Palmer will be going on to a different, more academic, preschool that meets more often next year.  We know the new preschool will be great for him, but we are both a bit saddened to move on from the great teachers and fun friends he has made during preschool this year.

Visiting Grandpa and Backyard Camping

Greg took the boys to visit his Dad in Ely a couple weekends ago.  I stayed behind, since I'm super pregnant (not supposed to travel far at this stage with multiples), wouldn't be able to camp or go fourwheeling with them, and had a bunch of chores to get caught up on.

Greg says the boys were pretty good over the weekend, which is quite a miracle, because they were out of control the couple weeks before.  Grandpa, Greg and the boys visited the park, went fourwheeling, roasted marshmallows, and spent an evening camping out in Grandpa's backyard.  They returned from the trip very tired, but very happy and much better behaved than they were before.  I think the break was good for everyone.  Thanks for the fun Grandpa Kelly!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Palmer's Four Year Old Photo Shoot

We took Palmer to JC Penney for his four year old photo shoot.  I had to cancel the appointment twice because the day before the original scheduled session, he biffed it hard at the daycare which resulted in a bad case of carpet burn all over his face.  I rescheduled for a week later, and had to cancel again because it still hadn't healed.  After a week and a half, you can still see some remnants of the injury on his nose, but I wasn't going to cancel on them a third time.  As always, he smiled well for the camera.  He was pulling some funny faces and funny smiles, and had to be prompted to give us his real smile a few times.  I thought the pictures came out great.  I especially love the last two.  What a handsome little boy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day

I awoke this Mother's Day to breakfast in bed.  Greg had made belgain waffles with peaches and whipped cream on top and sausage links.  It didn't take me long to realize there was no way I could eat that delicious breakfast in bed with a 6 month pregnant belly of twin babies without making a gigantic mess, so I told the family I would eat with them at the kitchen table.

I got a bouquet of flowers from Palmer and Brody (with Greg's help) and Greg wrote me a super sweet letter and gave me some money to pick out something for myself.  I think I will get a pedicure with it, since I can't reach my feet, and sandal weather is now upon us.

Greg and I gave Grandma Nancy and Grandma Betty Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory caramel apples and a handmade card to thank them for all they do for our family.

We celebrated my sister London's birthday at my dad and Betty's house.  I made peanut butter silk cake upon my sister's request, who has been strictly dieting for the past three months (and has lost about 60 pounds, way to go London!).  Pappy took all the boys to the park and us moms got a nice break.

Greg put the boys to bed while my sister Sariah and I went to visit my mom at the cemetery.  I miss her so.  She was such an amazing mom and I am thankful everyday for the example she was to me!

I got a few pictures of me and the kids on Mother's Day.  It was pretty late in the day by this point, so we are lookinga bit rough around the edges, but honestly that's more than likely how we usually look these days. :)

Palmer, Brody and I smiling big for the camera.

Palmer, Brody and I being goofy.

Me, six months pregnant with the twins, and looking and feeling about nine months pregnant.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dream House

I did a whole lot of baking during the week of the Relief Society Auction and Palmer's birthday party.  To be exact, throughout the week I made: three dozen funfetti cookies, four batches of lemon bars, a chocolate caramel praline torte and a variety of 72 cupcakes.  I also cooked dinner for my family every night and made three varieties of icing; so basically, I spent the majority of the week in the kitchen.  I could not help but reflect upon how much easier my life would be if I had double ovens.

Double ovens is in my top requirements of what I will be looking for when the time comes for us to move on and buy a new home.  Last year, we were thinking this year would be the year for us to move.  But as the year came, we both had the feeling that we were supposed to stay put.  We then found out that my sister would be moving in with us, that we were having twins, and that I would soon need to quit my job... definitely a lot of change to deal with already during this year.  And with these changes, we surely will not have any extra money to use to upgrade our home. Not moving was a good choice in retrospect.

When we do move (hopefully not far, I love our ward and love living in West Valley) there are a few attributes I greatly want to see in our new home.  As I mentioned before, double ovens are a big plus.  I will NEED a great room for sure.  Our home is not a good party hosting house, and I love and very much desire to party more.  I really want a master bathroom.  I want the now considered luxury to pee and shower in peace.  I want a fully landscaped yard with a fully functional sprinkler system, because Greg and I have come to realize we stink at yard work.  I want a double car garage; one that opens into our home.

If I am adding on the real luxuries of my dream home, I would also want: a hot tub, a gym, a huge kitchen with a kitchen table that sets 10 people, a theater, central vacuuming, textured walls with a variety of paint color on them, and a slew of bedrooms that I can turn into a playroom, a craft room, a guest room, etc.

I am very grateful for the home we do have.  It shelters us well and meets our needs.  It has a lot of storage space, which I like and definitely take advantage of, it is in an area that is close to people I love and most restaurants/store I frequent, and it is large enough for our family (who this year will grow from a household of four to a household of seven!).  However, it is always nice to dream. 

What would you look for in your next home, or even your dream home?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Palmer's Candy Birthday Party

We threw Palmer a big birthday party on Saturday May 5 for his forth birthday.  We usually keep birthday parties relatively simple in our home.  We are always sure to celebrate well, but usually we don't invite a whole lot of friends and don't spend a bunch of money on decorations and activities.  This is a little odd coming from the family I grew up in; we are big partiers.  Greg and I have friends who throw a big birthday party for their children every four years (my parents did something similar with birthdays one, five, eight, and sixteen), and we have decided to follow suite.  So, Palmer turning four this year, earned him a BIG celebration with lots of friends.

We held the party at the local fitness center so we would have plenty of room.  The party was candy themed; candy is probably Palmer's most favorite thing.  I made 25 of these cute lollipop invitations for Palmer to pass out. We invited friends from church, the neighborhood, preschool, and the daycare I work at, and of course grandmas, grandpas, aunties, uncles and cousins.  There were about 40 people in attendance.

We made homemade candy necklaces, had a candy toss (I wrapped balls in cellophane to make them look like big gumballs), a cupcake and candy bar, a pinata, and opened presents.  Unfortunately, my camera was on manual focus instead of auto focus, as I thought, and almost all the pictures came out very blurry.  :(  I will still post them so you can get an idea of all the fun we had.  Palmer has an absolutely fabulous time!

Recipe - Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I made three different kinds of cupcakes (yellow, funfetti and devils food) for Palmer's candy themed birthday party and three different types of frosting (vanilla buttercream, strawberry buttercream, and milk chocolate buttercream).  We had a cupcake and candy bar at the party, where the kids could frost and decorate their cupcakes with a variety of candy.  It was great fun.  I've already posted the strawberry and milk chocolate frosting recipe.  Here is recipe for the vanilla buttercream frosting.  It, like the other frostings, comes from my sister London, queen of cupcakes.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened
1 (32 oz.) package powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Recipes - Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker and Lime Cilantro Rice with Pineapple

My committee and I put together a Relief Society Service Auction Thursday, May 3.  We titled the activity, "Reveal Your Hidden Treasure," and it was pirate themed.  So we had treasure chest centerpieces, a cutout of Captain Jack Sparrow, an auctioneer dressed up as a pirate qho told pirate jokes and other cute pirate decorations.  I donated homemade cards, scrapbooking supplies, a four week aerobics pass to the local fitness center and a homemade specialty cake to be made in the future.  I actually had prepared one of my favorite cakes, chocolate caramel praline torte, for the occasion, but due to a hard slam of the refrigerator door, and a ketchup bottle sticking out of the side of that said door, the cake was demolished 10 minutes before I left for the activity to set up.  I did win some awesome services that night: an eyebrow wax, babysitting and a super cute handmade pea pod necklace (complete with four peas for our soon to be four children).

I was in charge of the food for the evening and made (with my neighbor's help with the rice and salad) salsa chicken burritos, cilantro lime rice with pineapple, salad and lemon bars.  It was a yummy meal.  The salsa chicken is a recipe I got off my friend Adrienne's blog, which has become a regular favorite at our home.  The cilantro lime rice with pineapple is from my favorite food blog  Hope you all enjoy the recipes as much as my family does and the Relief Society did last Thursday.

Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker

3 chicken breasts
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 bag frozen white corn
1 can black beans
1 cup salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, and cook throughout the day. Before serving, shred chicken. Serve with shredded lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, in flour tortillas for great burritos.
Lime Cilantro Rice with Pineapple

1 cup dry white rice, cooked in 2 cups water
2 tablespoons real butter
Juice from 1 large lime, or two smaller ones (taste as you go, I like a lot of lime)
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 - 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rice. As soon as it’s done, toss in the butter and stir to melt. Add lime juice, pineapple, and cilantro. Stir to combine, and then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sariah's Back Sugery

My sister Sariah had spinal surgery last Monday.  She has been having some serious medical issues due to herniated discs in her back.  Last month's MRI revealed that she now has six herniated discs in her lower spine and three bulging discs in her middle spine. Recently, severe nerve damage from her herniated discs(paralysis of her left leg and left arm) made it so she could no longer work, or do much else.  After a lot of tests and a lot of effort and working around her insurance, she was able to see a good spinal surgeon who immediately set up a surgery date to shave her herniated discs, which will relieve a lot of her pain and hopefully give her nerves a chance to heal.

The surgery went well.  She is in a lot of pain and pretty much bedridden at this point.  She is on some heavy medication and spends most of the day sleeping as a result.  Her predicted recovery time is eight to ten weeks.  Right now, she is staying with my dad and his wife (who is home all day and a registered nurse).  They have no stairs and a walk-in shower, so the set up works well for Sariah's recovery.  She should be coming home with us soon when she can get around a little better.

For our past Family Home Evening, Greg and I helped the boys make Sariah some paper flowers and put them in a vase with jelly beans as a get well wish to brighten her day.  The students from my special ed class did the same thing for me when my mother passed away.  It was my favorite flower arrangement at my mother's funeral.  Sariah, likewise, enjoyed the colorful bouquet.

We are so glad that Sariah was finally able to get some action taken in regards to the medical problems that have been plaguing her for the past two years.  And we wish her a very speedy recovery!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Four Years Old

Palmer turned four years old today.  He is such a big boy, literally!  He is as tall or taller than most five year olds.  He is also one smart cookie.  He amazes us daily with what he catches onto.  He is very hyper, as he has always been.  His preschool teachers always comment on how animated he is when he talks.  Although he is very energetic, he has learned to sit still and listen when needed.  He is very friendly and makes friends wherever we go.  We just absolutely love our big boy Palmer!  Most of the time he is a very good big brother.  I know he will be a big help with the arrival of this twins in the next few months. This is what is going on with Palmer at four years of age.

Stats: Height - 43 1/2" (95th percentile), Weight - 39 lbs. (70th percentile), Height to Weight Ratio - 17th percentile

He has learned: to tell and create stories, to read a few sight words, to write some letters and numbers, to do a cartwheel, to color in the lines, to recognize his name, to brush his teeth, to get dressed, and to play games on the computer, LeapFrog, Wii and Xbox Kinect.

He likes: crafting and scrapbooking, playing with friends, playing outside, going to the park or playplaces, preschool, primary. fruit, toast, candy, Go Diego Do, Dora the Explorer, swimming, riding his bike, snails, cats, and playing computer and video games

He dislikes: going to bed at night, being home all day, and meat (he will eat it if that's all there is, but eats everything else on his plate first)

Things he does that makes us laugh: makes up words and stories, uses his hands and has big wide eyes when talking about something he is excited about, pretends to read adult books, says funny things everyday, silly giggles and cheesy smiles 

Palmer celebrated his birthday today at preschool.  He and I put together this poster yesterday for the occasion.  His teacher told me that he reported everything on the paper to his teachers and the other children well.  He said in his family he has: Dad, Mom, Palmer, Brody and two babies in his Mom's tummy.  He said that in his picture of himself he is holding a juice box and winking (which he also demonstrated).  He told of all his friends, said he wants to be a firefighter when he grew up, said he likes all the colors, that his favorite food is oranges, and that his favorite book is Llama, Llama, Red Pajama.  He calls his stuffed monster that he got from Grandma a couple months ago his "pet," so we went with that for his poster.  He also made sure to let his class, and everyone else he ran into today know that he is now four years old.  We brought a treat (specialty rice crispy treats that Palmer picked out) for him to share with the class, and his teachers gave him a little gift bag with goodies and small toys.  He will be having a big candy themed birthday party this coming Saturday with family and friends.