Saturday, July 31, 2010

All by Herself

Charlotte tied her shoes for the very first time this morning. She also fixed her hair. She is definitely Miss Independent.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Ruby just came running up and asked, "what does t-t-i-i spell"

I responded, "nothing."

She ran off yelling, "I know how to spell 'nothing!'"

She is so proud to know how to spell a word I didn't have the heart to correct the misunderstanding.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nice Mommy, Mean Mommy

Yesterday the girls wanted to play Pillow and Blanket City.  You know the dreaded game where they get out every blanket and pillow in the house and try to build something to play in.  Having played this in the past, I know that while they have a blast playing that the mess and clean up theatrics are so not worth it.

Being a Nice Mommy, I told them they could play Pillow and Blanket City but I expected them to clean up their mess when they were done without me having to become Grumpy Mommy.  You know the yelling, annoyed, taking away privilege mom we all become when our whiny children are too tired or incapable to actually clean something up though they have plenty of energy for any other activity and were perfectly capable of getting all the stuff out in the first place.  I told them their future chances to play this game were completely dependent on the clean up.  But, wanting to be Nice Mommy for a change I let them play.

They had a blast.  They occupied themselves for several hours.  Of course, in addition to the pillows and blankets, they dumped all of their legos in the "house," used My Little Pony Memory cards for some purpose, made a path out of a 50 piece puzzle, and had several dolls and stuffed animals to take care of. My front room was a completely inaccessible crazy mess.  You literally could not get in and out of the front door, nor could you walk from one side of the room to the other.

When it was time to clean up I even sweetened the pot and told them if they could get it done in a certain amount of time without Mommy getting grumpy I would reward them and paint their toes.

You guessed it, Nice Mommy that let them play turned into Mean Mommy because no one would do a single thing to clean up.  Argh!  I did not expect perfection, but I did expect just a bit of actual effort.  I mean, I couldn't even nicely get them to put the pillows back in their room.  Ugh!  And Eliza Claire would come in the kitchen about every five minutes, look at me and state, "You are mean, Mom!" Yes I am, and you know what, my kids are all lazy!


Bread in the Crock Pot

This week I happened upon a comment about baking bread in the crock pot.  I was intrigued.  While I didn't really have a recipe, just a basic understanding of the mechanics, I did have some bread dough in the fridge so I decided to give it a try.

I ended up doing two different loaves with slightly different methods and results.

The dough I used was from my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book.  I love this book try to keep at least one type of dough in the fridge at all times.  Sometimes I have two.

With the first loaf I let the dough rise for 30 minutes - 1 hour before putting it in the crock pot.  I preheated the crock pot with about 2 cups of water in the bottom.  I crumpled a piece of foil and placed it in the bottom.  Then I put my dough in a greased loaf pan and placed it on top of the foil.  I placed a folded dish towel over the crock and then placed the lid on top of that.  I cooked on high for 3-4 hours.  When I took the bread out the top and bottom were almost soggy, it was very moist - not at all crusty.  I turned it out on a cooling rack for a couple of hours it had dried out enough to just be soft but not soggy. The end result reminded me more of the consistency and crust as a loaf of store bought bread.  I'm sure at this point I could have put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes to crisp it up a bit.  The bread was good, just not crusty.

The second loaf I did not let rise as I figured the first hour or so in the crock would basically allow that.  I also did not put the water in the crock.  Everything else I did the same.  The result was a crustier crust and the loaf was not as tall due to the lack of rising time. 

I will definitely be using the crock pot method again, especially in the summer.  Much better than having the oven on 450 for 40 minutes or more.  When I do bake in the crock pot again, I will let the dough rise for about one hour prior to putting in the crock and I will use the no water method as I liked the crust better.

Definitely an experiment that was worth the time and effort.  Now, to get the family to eat two loaves of wheat-oat bread. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Milestones for the Big Guy

The last few weeks have held a few unexpected but much anticipated milestones for Rehm.  For the most part I think he is completely unaware of these milestones but they have been big deals for his parents.

Michael is so thrilled that Rehm can physically mow the lawn.  It is not easy for him but he did a great job helping with the mowing while Michael worked on the edging and weed eating.  I think Michael is having visions of sitting with a cold drink while watching the boy do all the lawn work.  Unfortunately for Michael, I still think that day is a few years away.  In the meantime having some help is a nice bonus.

Recently I took the kids to the grocery store with me.  We only needed to picu up three items - the most important being stamps.  When we got to the car and I had the girls strapped in their car seats I realized we had forgotten to buy them!  Ugh!  I did not want to get everyone back out of the van nor take them all back in the store.  That would have mean another 15 minute or more undertaking. 

So, I handed Rehm some cash and asked him to go back in and buy stamps.  He asked me a few questions, and then ran off to do the task.  Less than five minutes later he was back in the car with stamps and the proper change! 

Having a child who can read and spell is very helpful, too.  This week I was driving but needed to send Michael a text.  I couldn't do it so I handed the phone to Rehm and told him what to type.  Not only did it help me but Rehm thought it was a great treat to get to use my phone. 

It is so nice that Rehm is getting bigger and able to do more big kid things.  I wonder what will be next.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Ruby and Eliza Claire's Birthday Celebration

Ruby and Eliza Claire's birthday actually fell on a Saturday this year so they got the rare treat of having their party on their birthday.

They woke up and opened presents from the family.  The most played with item seems to be the Crayola dry erase boards.  They play with them daily. 

Someone didn't get enough sleep

Before the party all four children were enlisted to help stuff the party favor bags.  We had quite the assembly line going.  It worked great and only took a few minutes to get them done.

The party was held at a new inflatable place near us.  Everyone had a great time.  Ruby got to invite her preschool class to her party and Eliza Claire did the same.  It was so nice for them to each get to have guests there for them but to still be able to do one party.  They also for the first time got to pick out their own cakes.  Ruby chose Hello Kitty and Eliza Clair chose Cars. 
Eliza Claire has decided this is her birthday party shirt - this is the second party she has worn it to.

How old did you say you were?

Ruby fully enjoying her cake

Love the different personalities shining through

I think they both had an awesome day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heard around Mayhem Mania

If you are a facebook friend you have probably read all of these already.  But I needed to record them here so they end up in the blog book.

Super Girl doing somefing for Angry Mommy ~Ruby when asked to do a favor for me

Root Beer: The beer for kids! ~Rehm at a play date

I'm the Mommy and that trumps any jinx, rainbow, no reverse, sherbet, sticky glue you've got! ~Me, said with quite a bit of attitude to Rehm


Something you shouldn't have to tell your kids but I just heard hubby say, "no, we don't eat things that have been on the bottom of a shoe!"  It was Ruby. She dropped her gummy vitamin and Michael accidentally stepped on it before she could pick it up. A fit ensued. Well, Ruby was the one trying to eat it after Michael scraped it off of his shoe...


 Just heard a child's voice say "Mom, ...(something I couldn't make out)...FIRE!". It sounded like Ruby. I ran to her room to find her sound asleep. It was the next door neighbor's kids excited about their sparklers. Nearly gave me a heart attack!


Driving through the country on the way to dinner, Charlotte exclaims, "I just saw a horse!...or a deer...or a baby cow!"  Who is this city girl?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Baron: The Newest Maniac

Baron is the newest maniac.  He is a smooth coat tri-color collie that we got through Houston Collie Rescue.  He is almost 2.5 years old.  He is very well behaved and a little timid.

He spent his first year of life in a small outdoor kennel. Then a wonderful lady named Kim, from the Houston area added him to her family.  While he was a great dog and she loved him very much, it no longer worked for her and her other dogs for Baron to continue living with them.  I can not thank Kim enough for letting us be Baron's new family.  She did such a great job training him, he is a dream dog.  We feel very lucky to have him.

Baron, like all the other maniacs in our house has his own quirks.  He does not like small spaces.  He will not walk into the kitchen, he won't walk between an armchair and coffee table to come to the couch to get petted.  He will only come upstairs when you tell him to come.   He will not go in the kids bedrooms.  He will not eat unless you sit in the room with him.  This is a habit he developed since living with us.  We have to feed him separately from  Howdy due to Howdy's special diet.  For the first week he was here he didn't care and just ate.  Now, he will only eat if someone sits with him.  Baron is a very messy drinker.  I swear he bites the water with his whole snout stuck down in the bowl instead of using just his tongue to lap the water.

Baron is definitely an indoor dog.  He is happy to go out every couple of hours, run a lap or two around the back yard and then he wants back in.  If you don't let him in immediately, he will stand at the back door and whine until you do.  He will not go hang out in the yard.  When in the house he is very calm.  I have only seen him eat something the kids dropped on the floor twice in the two weeks he has been here.  One night Michael had a few people here for a meeting and put a plate of brownies on the coffee table, both dogs completely ignored it!  Crazy!  He doesn't seem overly interested in any toys.  He loves to be petted and to go on walks.

For those of you who know Howdy, Baron is a shorter, thinner, younger version in looks and personality.


I was expecting a much more difficult transition and to have to do a lot of work with Baron, but he has just completely made himself at home in no time.

I'm so glad he is part of our family now!

PS.  I am so glad we found Houston Collie Rescue.  It was easy to work with them and it was obvious that their goal was to find these animals forever homes.  Even though I had not met Baron until the day I met Kim in La Grange to pick him up I was confident that he was going to be a good fit for our family.  HCR knew his personality and had taken time to find out enough about our family to make sure we would be a good fit for each other.  If/when we are ever ready to add to our four-legged family again, HRC will be the first place I look.

Out of this World Father's Day

My kids are so blessed to have such an awesome Dad!  He is the most loving, engaged, caring Dad.  I love how involved he is in their daily life.  He is home for dinner almost every night. He always does story time.  During the school year he walks the big kids to school everyday.  They are so lucky to have a dad who can and will do these things with them.  Of course, as I type this I realize how blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband.  We are all so lucky.

Unfortunately, Father's Day occurs either the week before or the week after VBS.  For the last several years that has meant that Father's Day was not on my radar screen at all.  So Michael has been a very under appreciated wonderful Dad.  This year was no exception.  Not only did I/the kids not get him a gift, he got the pleasure of spending the night sleeping on the floor with 250 other people at Space Center Houston for a scouting event.  
Rehm's Cub Scout Pack had a sleep over at the Space Center where they got to do all kinds of experiments and learned so much.  The girls and I got to spend the night with a good friend of mine and her two daughters.  We all had a great time as well.

The next morning I took the girls over and we joined the boys for a tour of Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston.  Everyone had a fun time.  And over all I hope it was a good Father's Day for one great dad! 

Rehm telling me Newton's Second Law of Motion

Michael and the kids at the Saturn V

Astronaut Rehm

Astronaut Ruby

Astronaut Eliza Claire

Ruby and Eliza Claire hanging out in the Space Shuttle

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Nail Biting

Ruby has developed a nasty nail biting habit in the month. She seems to be most likely to bite her nails when she is anxious or bored. This is our new solution. It is a teething ring attached to a cheap necklace. It gives her something to put in her mouth. It is safe for chewing. And it is washable. I'll let you know how it works.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Punch Bug

A few weeks ago I introduced the children to the game of punch bug. It
has really caught on and they play almost every time we are in the car.

We also play Tweeter, which is where you say "Tweeter" any time you
see an yellow mode of transportation. You are supposed yo assign point
values so more rare things have more points. The game is supposed to
be over when someone sees a yellow hummer. We don't follow all the
rules but they love spotting yellow things and are much more
entertained when in the car thanks to these two games.

Today, I was in the car by myself. A very rare occurence. I saw a red
punch bug. I got a bit sad that I had no one to share it with. So I
pulled out my phone and called home. I knew Charlotte would answer the
phone. As soon as I was sure she knew it wasme calling I said, "punch
bug, red!" she squealed and started laughing her head off. It was
perfect. I can always count on her for a big reaction to any
circumstance or situation.