Monday, February 23, 2015

Counting the Happy Stuff This Week

Today I sent the kids off to school with hugs and kisses and picked them up later with smiles and "how was your day?"
I ran four miles and it felt really good.
I took frequent breaks from my work to chase E around and we laughed until our tummies hurt. 
We had leftovers for supper so I didn't have to cook and barely had to clean up.
There was no homework. 
Archer and I played two games of chess, we each won once. 
Elijah Graham and I played checkers and he made up a rule and claimed, "That's Bampa's rule!" That means the end of any debate over whether or not its a real rule.

Grocery store trip where I told the kids they could each pick one thing for supper. We came home with fizzy grapefruit juice, cheesy potato chips, and watermelon. No one complained about not liking supper.
Bedtime, finally, after a long stressful day and I'm instructing the kids to brush teeth, change into jammies, pick up their toys and "Eli you're getting on my last nerve!" "I want to TEAL your last nerb!" That was it, the icing on the cake, I told him he's a nerb, he called me a nerb, everyone went to bed laughing.

Lunch at the office and catching up on whose kids are doing what now (talking? almost crawling?). A visit to HC.
A nice chat with the other moms as I waited through Shelly's ballet lesson.

A quick run when there was a lull in the activity.
A beautiful painting of Flower Forks to remind us that warmer weather is not too far off.
Our last Cub Scout meeting, casual, getting ready for the ceremony next week, a sense of things closing and new things opening. All of the boys had to have an interview with the Cub Master to make sure they know everything they're supposed to know. There were lots of high fives and Scout handshakes as each Scout passed the test.

A strange game with E where we played with chess pieces some game with no rules where he jumped over my pieces then knocked them off the board. Lots of talk of attacking and capturing.

First thing - a run with Dad, OUTSIDE, because we're having a heat wave and its 25 out there! (Yes, I got too hot during the run.)
Archer had a friend over and it was a pleasure to listen to them as they played game after game on the Wii. I know video games are bad, I know the kids should get outside more and have more physical activity. But those two boys were having fun, lauging together and just generally being friends. And that was nice.
Shelly helped me make a bulletin board for motivation while I run, she's so creative and it was great to see her at work. Then we went to the library together where she checked out 10 books and finished the first book within two hours of getting home. Way to go, girl!
Mashed potatoes - we spent four hours in the kitchen turning 24 pounds of potatoes into mashed potatoes, everyone chipped in and we all had a good time in the process. Now movie night, cause we missed it last night. And maybe we'll even sleep in late tomorrow morning. (Yeah right, who am I kidding?)

Six miles on the treadmill, felt good to do it but I'd wanted to do more...
Clean up everything cause we're expecting guests, felt good to get the house in order.
Tea time with Mom and Dad while we watched E entertain himself with the plastic food from the plastic kitchen.
Wonderful family meal thanks to David's superior cooking skills, yum!

I did this little experiment over the last week to see how much I could come up with to be happy about. I have this bad habit of complaining about all the annoying things that happen in my day, but thinking about what I was going to list here did help me change my focus and feel better about the passing time. Yeah there were still those tough things, work, housework, squabbles between the kids. But my focus was different, and that was nice. Perhaps I'll try it again this week...

Monday, the sun is shining, I have a loving family, I have lots of things I'm looking forward to this week!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Horticulture Lesson

E and I were taking a close look at this blossom, I asked if he could see the bumps on the petals 

"Yeah. That means when the bugs go in there that just CLOSES UP and the plant EATS them." He's clenching his hand in a fist.

How does it eat them, does it squish them? "Yeah it just quishes them and then they go in there and they're the food. ALL plants eat bugs. They just do that!"

He's now discussing spider aliens with Archer. I asked him about this when he came running past me. "The aliens are in the game, but one climbed up and he got close to Archer's person and Archer killed him when he climbed up. (And he runs off to Archer.) I telled Mom the aliens are in the game." Ahh how little I know. I'm so glad I've got E to explain the world to me.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Did I Tell You About the Greatest Vacation EVER??

I haven't taken the time to put it down on paper, but I've been thinking about it ever since it happened. Long, long ago, all the way last year, we went on the greatest vacation ever. It started with the guessing game, the map, the road trip. It landed us at Mt. Olympus in the Dells. This is the kind of vacation that I've always looked forward to doing with our kids. The kind where we enjoy a waterpark and a thousand trips down the water slides. Where we negotiate about which roller coaster is next, and get more nervous the closer we get to the front of the line. Where the clock doesn't matter, there's no schedule and we just do the next fun thing that pops into sight. We raced go-carts, flew airplanes, ate at Sprecher's restaurant two nights in a row because we loved the food so much that we just HAD to go back for more.

On our  last day, we took a boat tour on the Wisconsin River. It was educational, beautiful, exciting all in one.

It was an awesome way to end our summer, and great memories to keep us warm through the frosty winter. Now, when can we start planning a return trip?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Facts About Owls

Males are a little smaller. 
At night owls pepels get bigger.
On most owls one ear is higher then the other.
~ Shelly 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Little Cooped Up

Last night we got the call, no school on Thursday because of expected temps at 30 below. There was noisy cheering from all of the students in the house. I came up with a simple plan and it mostly worked. I promised the three amigos that we'd make s'mores AND brownies. I may have lost my mind. Fill them up with sugar on a day when we can't get outside to burn off the energy? Well...

The lure of the treat and a few hours of TV kept things mostly civil among the natives, until I got my work done. Then we made some midnight brownies. And then the s'mores, marshmallows roasted over a flame and smushed between some crackers. Yummy!

Archer very kindly spent the next hour making a batch of marvelous chicken gnocchi soup. It was definitely better than I've ever made, and I'm not just saying that to make him feel good. It really was the best ever!

We've finally settled down for the night, enjoyed our brownies, and I'm hoping they fall asleep while watching the last movie of the day.

The only question I have now is, what am I going to do with them tomorrow, when they're off of school again?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


The super-cold has finally set in and the troops may be going slightly stir crazy. What do you think?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

First Run of the Year!

What a great way to start 2015! We held the first ever January One H. C. Fun Run, starting at Mamaw and Bampa's driveway. Distance is your choice, 40 feet or 4 miles. Shirts for all participants - yellow because that's our family color, and also because we could use some sunshine in the middle of the cold grey winter. I'd say it was a success, and I can't wait for our next fun run with this fun crowd!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Creamy Potato Soup

The Fortiers have, over the last few years, begun the tradition of "soup for Christmas" and we all enjoy sharing each other's recipes for this wonderful dish. My favorite one to make for this even is potato soup. This is one of the rare occasions where I allow the kids to lick their bowls (and I might do it too!)

Creamy Potato Soup


5 lbs potatoes, peeled and diced into 2 inch chunks
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (optional - don't use if you're sensitive to pepper!)
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken broth
2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese
Garnish (optional) - crumbled bacon, chopped green onion or chives, shredded cheese, sour cream


1. If using bacon for garnish... cook bacon
2. Peel and dice potatoes, put into large pot
3. Add onion and garlic, add seasonings
4. Pour in broth
5. Cover and cook on high until potatoes are tender

6. In batches, put soup into blender and blend until smooth. When 1 batch is done, pour into large bowl, then do another batch. Proceed until all soup has been blended.
7. In batches (again), put some of the soup into blender, add a few chunks of cream cheese, blend until smooth again. When smooth, pour back into large pot (that you used for cooking the soup). Continue until all cream cheese has been blended into the soup, and all soup is back in the original pot.

8. Cook on low/medium about 30 minutes, stirring frequently - soup easily burns and sticks to the bottom of the pan so be careful!


Why we love it

Creamy, warm deliciousness... what's not to love??