Monday, November 6, 2017

Within Reach: Reflections 2017

The kids rocked Reflections this year!  I'm on the committee, so I usually see a list of the winners before the assembly and have an idea of who is winning what.  But this year, I only happened to see a list of the photography and literary arts winners before arriving at the school.  So I was utterly surprised that all our children won an award.  I was so happy for them; they were so excited!  And if you can't tell from the pictures, it was crazy hair day at school, haha!

Palmer won an Award of Merit in Music for a song he composed entitled "Happy," and an Award of Merit in Photography for a picture he took, "Night at the Fair."

"Night at the Fair" by Palmer Hess

Brody won an Award of Excellence in Film for his short film "Playing with My Baby Sister" and an Award of Excellence in Photography for his photo "Playing Piano."

 "Playing Piano" by Brody Hess

Archer won an Award of Merit in Visual Arts for his painting "My Rainbow Hand."

"My Rainbow Hand" by Archer Hess

Avonlea won an Award of Excellence in Visual Arts for her drawing "Ballerinas and Flowers Dancing."

 "Ballerinas and Flowers Dancing" by Avonlea Hess

For sure we have talented and creative kids.  However, I am even more proud of the thought, time and effort they put into their projects each year.  They are pretty cool kids!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween 2017

The kids were all on board to be Ghostbusters (and Violet as Slimer) this year.  I had the idea, but wasn't sure Avonlea would go for it; she is so girlie and loves all things princess.  I had asked her first so that if she wasn't interested, I wouldn't get the boys all excited about it for no reason.  She asked if she could be the girl version, and I said of course, and so she excitedly agreed.  They all looked so cute running around with their matching jumpsuits and proton packs!  The kids wore their costumes to the school's Monster Ball, the ward's Fall Festival, the school's Halloween parade and trick or treating. We got a lot of compliments this year on the costumes.

This was the first year that Archer and Avonlea trick or treated for more than a couple streets.  They were getting cold and tired of walking, but they insisted that they wanted to keep going.  They are getting the idea that a little discomfort is worth more candy!  Violet went around with us for a couple streets but then went back home to keep warm.  Greg and I took turns walking the kids around and passing out candy at the house.  The kids trick or treated for a couple hours and gathered A LOT of candy!  It was a very fun, successful Halloween night!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Recipe - Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cookies

Our kids like to take turns helping me make our Family Home Evening treat.  It's a great little one on one activity we can do (something that doesn't happen enough in a family with five children), and they take such pride in their finished product.  I really enjoy baking with them.

Avonlea had been asking to make Mickey and Minnie Mouse cookies for months, and I finally got around to getting the supplies to do so.   My favorite part of making these cookies was listening to Avonlea talk and talk!  Some of the comments I enjoyed most include:
"I'm a Goofy!  Goofy is funny."
"I love making stuff.  I want to make everything."
"Why does Mickey always wear red short?  I know, because they look good on him! ... I wish he wore pink."
"Mickey looks awesome.  He is awesome because he's the boss of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Because he says the magic words. I wish Minnie were the boss."

These little tidbits of conversation here might give you an idea of the type of girl we are raising.  I have no doubt that our spunky, girlie-girl daughter is going to this world by storm, wearing pink and being a boss!   

If you happen to have your own sassy little one who'd like making Mickey and Minnie Mouse cookies, here's how we did it.  They were simple to put together, and they turned out so cute.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Cookies

Double Stuffed Oreos
Mini Oreos
Chocolate Melts, red and pink
White chocolate chips
White nonpareil sprinkles
Bow chocolate mold (I used this one)

Remove cream from mini Oreos and place one side of each cookie inbetween the outer cookies of the Double Stuffed Oreos.  Dip bottom half of each cookie in corresponding colored melted chocolate.  Decorate Mickey cookies with white chocolate chips, decorate Minnie cookies with sprinkles and molded chocolate bow (use melted chocolate as glue to adhere the bow to the Oreo).

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

First Day of School 2017

Palmer - 4th grade

 Brody - 2nd grade

 Archer - Kindergarten

Avonlea - Kindergarten

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Solar Eclipse

We saw the eclipse at 90% from our Utah home.  The twins, their friend Gavin and I all watched at home.  Greg took his eclipse glasses to work with him to watch.  Palmer and Brody viewed with their classmates on their first day of school.  We all thought it was a really neat experience.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Violet's First Birthday - Mermaid Theme

We decided to do a mermaid theme for Violet's first birthday since she loves to play in water so much.  We invited both family and family friends to join us in celebrating.  We had our blow up water slide and a wading pool (the pool was Violet's birthday gift) inflated in the backyard for the kids.

We served lunch: chicken salad sandwiches, Uncrustables, grapes, pretzels, goldfish, chips and water. All food items had a mermaid themed twist.  Violet opened her presents with the help of her siblings.  We sang happy birthday to her.  And then we let her have at it with her own cake.  I made the cake and cupcakes.  I am much better at making cupcakes than whole cakes.  She didn't go too crazy with her smash cake, and was done fairly quickly, but she did enjoy the part she ate.

Happy first birthday to our sweet baby Violet!  We all love and adore her so much and are so happy to have her in our lives!

Monday, August 14, 2017

One Year Old Violet

Violet turned one year old today.  We went out as a family to Leatherby's to celebrate the occasion.  We chose Leatherby's because Violet's two favorite foods are french fries and ice cream; they are about the only two foods of which she will eat a lot.  We all have loved having Violet around this past year!  It's been so fun to have a baby in the house again.  We all dote on her and spoil her, and she definitely knows she is a well loved.  This is what is going on with Violet at a year of age.

Stats: weight - 16 lbs. 13.5 oz. (8%), height - 29 5/8" (60%), head circumference (32%)

She's learned: to pull herself up, to say ma ma, peek a boo and high fives

She likes: Her immediate family and not too many other people (although she's not scared of others anymore and sometimes will even smile at strangers now), being held, wrestling on the ground with her Dad, binkies, her two favorite blankies, baths, french fries, ice cream, yogurt, and bananas

She dislikes: being alone, hairbows and socks (she takes both off frequently)

Things about her/she does that makes us laugh: makes a noise that sounds like the an old man's wheeze, sits on you if your lying on the floor to wrestle with you, likes to crawl with her back legs straight like Mowgli from The Jungle Book, big toothy smiles and hearty laughs

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Visitors from Florida

Pappy, Grandma Betty and Katie came to visit us from Florida for a few weeks.  It was so very wonderful to have them here.  We have missed them so much!

They stayed in our home for the visit, which was great because we were able to spend a lot of time with them.  Betty spoiled the kids royally!  She arrived with a large suitcase full of presents and told them to pick a couple each day.  She continued to buy them toys. art supplies, treats, new backpacks for school, and clothing through out her visit.  She also treated them to Chuck E. Cheese's for the twins' birthday.  Betty helped me clean the house daily.  Dad fixed things around the house we hadn't been able to get to.  They both babysat the kids.  They were the best house guests ever!

Katie struggled throughout the visit.  She was very agitated and was hyperventilating often.  She also was having stomach issues.  Dad and Betty said the one thing they wanted to do while they were here was go to the temple together.  I was worried that wasn't going to be able to happen because Katie was having so many problems.  But all aligned one day and I was able to watch her without incident while they went to the temple to do work with family names.

During the three weeks of their stay there were able to join in a lot of family get togethers and events.  We held family dinner every Sunday with Sariah, London and her boys.  There were here for the twins' birthday, Sariah's birthday and to see Palmer's and Brody's play.  On their last day in town, Betty asked if we could throw and impomptu birthday party for Violet, so they could celebrate her first birthday with her before they headed home.  We were happy to oblige; our family is always good for a party!

We all loved having them here and were sad to see them go.  I found Brody sobbing in his bed after he had gone to bed for the night, a couple days before they were scheduled to leave.  He was so sad that Pappy and Grandma were going back to Florida and that he would not see them again for a long time.  It took me quite a while to calm him down and comfort him.  Violet even took to Dad and Betty, from day one.  Which was very surprising.  She is very timid and nervous, and even scared of adults she is not familiar with.  But Violet, Dad and Betty were buddies from the get go.  She went to them to be held and for cuddles and played peek a boo for her first time with Betty.  The visit was just wonderful, and we all miss them so much now that they are gone!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Five Year Old Twins

Archer and Avonlea chose to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for their family meal out.  Grandma Betty joined us for the fun and very kindly offered to treat us all.  The Smiths joined in on the fun too.  Not a lot of food was eaten, but the kids sure had a good time!

Archer and Avonlea are so excited to be starting Kindergarten this year!  They are going to be in the same class, which I requested.  They have always been with each other, and I thought having their best buddy by their side as they start school would help them feel more secure.  They still play together often and well, but they are starting to have different interests and different friends.  They choose to play separately a lot of the time now too.  I asked them the following questions as newly turned five year olds.  Here are their responses.

What is your favorite color?  - Orange
What is your favorite food?  - Macaroni and Cheese
Where is your favorite place to go? - Chuck E. Cheese's

What is your favorite TV show?  - Puppy Dog Pals
What is your favorite movie?  - Sing
What is your favorite book?  - Everybody Poops
What is your favorite thing to do?  - Play Animal Jam
Who is your best friend?  - Gavin

What is your favorite color?   - Pink and Purple
What is your favorite food?  - chips, fruit snacks
Where is your favorite place to go?  - Jump Around Utah
What is your favorite TV show?  - Bo on the Go
What is your favorite movie?  - Trolls
What is your favorite book?  - Pinkalicious
What is your favorite thing to do?  - Play Barbies, color, play dress up, Play Doh

Who is your best friend?  - Hope

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pj Masks Birthday Party

Archer and Avonlea chose to have a PJ Masks themed birthday party for their fifth birthday.  There were about 10 friends who joined us for the celebration, along with Auntie Rie, and Pappy and Grandma Betty.

All the kids were told to come in their pajamas.  We provided the masks and bracelets to complete the costumes.  They could pick from Catboy, Gecko or Owlet.

We did some super hero training where the kids went through an obstacle course to perfect their PJ Masks skills.  They jumped and run fast like Catboy, to use their super strength like Gecho and to fly like Owlet.  Then we played duck, duck, goose, but with hero and villain names from the show.

We had fruit, Kool Aid and cupcakes for refreshments.  Then we opened presents and each kid was sent home with some chocolate popcorn and a PJ Masks blower.

Thanks family and friends who joined us for the fun!