Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Big Success!

Ruby started biting her nails last summer. I don't know what made her start but it quickly turned into a really bad habit with her nails always bit all the way to the quick. They were often sore and sometimes bleeding. We tried a few different things to get her to stop without success.

On New Years Eve I was talking to a friend whose daughter sucked her thumb. She had just bought Malva Stop to start painting on her thumbs to try to break the habit. When she ordered it she had to purchase two bottles. She graciously offered me one for Ruby. Her daughter quit sucking her thumb in under two weeks. Our success was not as quick. But as of this week Ruby has normal looking fingernails! I still paint them with the Malva Stop twice a week but the habit seems to be broken.

As a reward Ruby chose some new Playmobil mermaids over going to have a mani/pedi. They seem to be a hit and much more fun than nail biting.

A package for Ruby

Fun mermaid toys!

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

When to Celebrate?

Baron the Wonder Dog was born on 2/29/08. I can't decide if his birthday is supposed to be today or tomorrow. I know he is just a dog but it is bugging me that he technically only has a birthday once every four years. How annoying.

So is he three today or tomorrow or is he zero until he turns four next year? I'm stumped.

Happy kind of Birthday Baron!
Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

The problem with being an ostrich

I know I'm not the only one who does this or the only one who knows better than to do this. It is never a good idea, so why do I do it? You know, ignore a problem. The kind of problem that you know is a problem but since you don't know the solution to the problem you ignore it and hope it goes away? Tell me not the only one to do this.

Current problem: moldy passports, wills and birth certificates!

How it happened: I don't know!

Cause: the last two passports we received.

After receiving new passports in 2005 and 2006 we did the responsible thing and stored them in our fire proof box with our other important documents. The next time I had to get something out I noticed a little mold on the two new ones and thought it was strange but not knowing really what to do about it threw the passports in a zip top bag and put them back in the box. Then I promptly forgot all about the problem.

Last week I opened the box to look for birth certificates so I can register Ruby and Eliza Claire for kindergarten and found this mess. One I can no longer ignore.

Luckily, I have a dear friend who is an archivist. I sent her pictures and pleaded for help. Why I didn't do this when I first noticed the mold is beyond me. Thanks to her advice all the documents are now sitting in pans with kitty litter to dry out and then be cleaned. I still don't
understand why the new passports had moisture in them or how something molds in an airtight box. So annoying. Almost as annoying as realizing my "new" five year old passport has never been used. That must be rectified before it expires!

Oh, I didn't find the girls' birth certificates which means I never ordered them when they were born. Just one more thing to add to the to do list. Good thing kindergarten registration is still a month away. Oh, I need to remember to get their immunizations, too.

Does the to do list ever quit growing?
Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Feta Chicken Pie

Here at Mayhem Mania we are big fans of Chicken Pie.  Not Chicken Pot Pie, mind you.  Our favorite has always been Moravian Chicken Pie.  It is simple and delicious and five out of six of us will eat it.  It also reminds me of home which is a huge bonus.  We have now found a Chicken Pie that might actually be, dare I say it, better than Moravian Chicken Pie.  I can't believe I'm saying that.  Really, I can't.

As always my take on the recipe is below.  The original calls for the crust to be filo dough or puff pastry.  Both would be supper yummy.  In my world the filo dough is too much work and both were more expensive than the pie crust.  As you know, I'm a girl who watches the grocery budget closely.  Next time I may "splurge" and make it with puff pastry but it was really good with pie crust.

Feta Chicken Pie
2-3 lbs Skinless Chicken breast
2 cups Chicken Stock – will make when poach chicken
1 stick butter
3 whole small Onions (1 quartered, 2 finely diced)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup flour
¼ cup Milk
2 pie refrigerated crusts
8 oz container Feta Cheese, Crumbled
1 Tablespoon Chopped Dill
1 Tablespoon Chopped Chives
1 whole Egg (lightly Whisked)

In a large pot add one onion quartered and smashed 3 cloves of garlic, add the chicken, salt and pepper, and then water to almost cover it. Bring it to a boil and then simmer until chicken is cooked through.  Dice the chicken and strain the broth.  This is a good do ahead in the crock pot step.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Melt the butter and saute 2 finely diced onions for 5 minutes on a low heat. Add the flour and cook this for 30 seconds – 1 minute stirring constantly. Add two cups of stock from poaching the chicken and the milk. Keep stirring until the sauce thickens.  Remove from the heat.

Unroll one pie crust and place in the bottom of a deep dish pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Add the chicken, feta, dill, chives, and the egg to the sauce and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into pie crust. Top with second pie crust.  Trim to fit and crimp edges.  Cut a couple of slits in the top.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until crust is browned and filling is bubbling at vent slits.

I had a little more filling than would fit in my pie plate.  I put it in a small casserole dish (2 cup) and topped it with the left over crust from trimming the pie.  
Use the left over chicken stock to make extra gravy to serve with the pie.
I serve the pie with gravy over top of each slice, mashed potatoes, and a green vegetable.  

Eliza Claire always gets very excited when there are mashed potatoes on the menu and always requests them "with a pool."  By that she means topped with gravy but with a nice depression in the potatoes to hold all the gravy.  That girl could eat her weight in mashed potatoes with gravy.  


Thursday, February 24, 2011

What could it be?

A really big box for a maniac accidentally got delivered to a neighbors house. After going to fetch it the littles wondered what could possibly be in such a big box.

So we opened it up found...

But what could be in all those peanuts?

Just the cutest little pig you ever did see.

But you would think he could have fit in a smaller box.

This is a replacement piggy bank for Rehm as he accidentally broke his while dusting in his room (shocking that he was dusting, I know). Cici has given all the grandkids and nieces and nephews one of these personalized banks at birth. They are hand made at a pottery place in East Texas, the name of which is escaping me at the moment. Each is personalized with the child's name and birth date. And each has it's very own personality. Rehm won the title for first child to break the bank. He was not happy to call Cici and tell her he had done so. Luckily his Cici loves him very much and was happy to replace his pig.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Eliza Claire has picked up the phrase "oh, darn" somewhere this week and is using it with alarming frequency. Call me old fashioned, a prude, a good mom, whatever, but I don't think it is appropriate for my 4.5 year old to be walking around saying "oh, darn."

It happened twice yesterday and we talked about other things she could say instead, like "guts," "oh, bummer," and "oh, my." She didn't seem to like any of these. She didn't argue with us but she also didn't agree with us either. In Eliza Claire terms that means in her stubbornness she isn't going to argue but she's also not going to change anything.

Tonight something frustrated her and she said, "darn!" I reminded her that "we don't say that." Her response, "well, I only said half!" Yeah, Sweetie, you did. Next time, could you say the other half?

So we once again had the discussion about "darn" not being an appropriate word and that she needed to find something else to say when she was frustrated. Once again, she listened quietly and walked off meaning she's not done saying "darn."

I apologize now if you hear her. Just know, her father and I don't approve and are working on a solution to curb the usage of said term.

This reminded me of a funny Ruby story. Last summer, Ruby needed a word for when she was frustrated and after seeing the Ramona and Beezus movie she and I decided that "guts!" was the perfect word for her. Later that afternoon I asked her to tell her dad her new word for when she was upset. She yelled "butts!" at the top of her lungs. Yeah, we aren't big on that word in our family either.

Jenn - posted from my iPhone

Tree Climbing

Right now tree climbing is very popular at my house. I know it is good for the kids to challenge their bodies and learn their physical limitations as well as their comfort levels with danger. But I cringe every time someone starts climbing. So far we have only had a few scrapes and someone getting too high and getting scared about coming down. Yep, I have a couple over over-committers. They commit to
situations before thinking about the consequences. Then being the drama queens they are major theatrics ensue. I'm sure you can figure out which children I'm referring to.

Anyway, back to tree climbing, it looks like it might be time to advise against climbing in a dress and probably against crocs as well. Though I doubt anyone will listen.

For now I'll continue to hold my breath and let them climb. Which means at some point in the future you'll probably get to read a post about someone breaking something in a tree climbing incident. Yeah, I might just be a tad pessimistic...

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cutest Card Ever

Rehm made this card for his dad and the promptly lost it in the van. It was supposed to be for Valentine's Day. It's a shame he'll misplace it again before Father's Day. I guess he'll have to give it to his dad as just a random card. But could it be any cuter?

Jenn - posted from my iPhone

The fashion dilemma that "winter" in Texas presents

This is how the girls dressed for church today. Both are appropriate to the temperature. But they both look seasonally inappropriate. One too summery and one too wintery. And we won't even get into the fact that one is much too casual or the state of their hair. Luckily God doesn't care how we loom, He's just glad we are worshipping Him.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today I'm a Builder

A pillow house builder.

And that makes me the hero of two 4.5 year old girls.

Today it is a good day to be the Mommy.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Poor Girl

Eliza Claire has strep throat and it is all my fault. You see, the housekeeper was coming Tuesday. In preparation I put away the thermometer and medicines that were sitting on my bathroom counter from Charlotte's bout with strep throat a week and a half ago. I'm very superstitious about putting them away as illness always seems to follow doing so. Thus, it is all my fault she got sick.

She was very pitiful all day yesterday and all morning today. She only wanted to sit on my lap and refused to eat. Her throat looked so bad and she was so miserable at the doctor's office that he didn't even bother to culture her. Poor girl had to get an antibiotic shot to boot.

Waiting for the doctor.

I can say that she is definitely feeling better since leave the doctor. She asked for and ate an entire hotdog for lunch and hasn't made me hold her since we got home. She is currently enjoying playing games on the iTouch.

Three and a half hours after receiving her shot.  She is a much happier girl!

I am off to throw away toothpaste and tooth brushes, again. And then I'm going to search out all the girls lip gloss and toss it, too. Oh, and I'm going to Lysol everything that doesn't move in this house.

Unfortunately I'm not feeling great this afternoon. I'm not sure, at this point, if I am coming down with strep throat or if I'm just having typical mom sympathy symptoms coupled with sleep deprivation from caring for the patient last night. I guess time will tell, but man, I could really use a nap!

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Note to Self

When Eliza Claire wakes multiple times upset about weird things be prepared for illness to follow.

Last night when I went to take her to the potty she kept asking where her placemat was. Then in the middle of the night I heard her crying. I went to check on her and she was upset because she " didn't want the toaster to leave." I didn't know she had such a close relationship with the toaster. I assured her it wasn't going anywhere and tucked her back in. Today she is complaining of a sore throat and a tummy ache and has a fever. Wonder which of the illnesses going around she has.

Jenn - Posted from my iPhone

Valentine's Day in Pictures

I didn't take quite as many photos as I thought I did. But I think it will be enough to tell the story of our Valentine's Day.

I guess this is a good time to admit that I don't like this holiday but I do force myself to at least do something for the kids. In fact, in college I would usually make a point to wear black on this day. One year, I went as far as wearing a tie with skeletons on it to mark the day - you know for the five seconds girls wearing ties was cool.

Anyway, we started the day with heart shaped cinnamon brown sugar muffins. Then I got to play the part of stylist.

Charlotte wanted stand up hearts in her hair. It made her look like Cindy Loo Who. So adorable.

Rehm had a 50s themed party. You can tell in this picture that he really didn't believe me when i told him this is what he needed to wear. Doesn't he look handsome?

I did go to both of the big kids' parties at school.  Grandma was nice enough to come out and watch the girls for me.  Both kids were very glad to have Mom

Ruby and Eliza Claire both requested the same hairstyle heart on top of the head. Both girls got two days out of this style which was great since their party was the day after Valentine's Day.

Dinner was heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy's. I forgot to take a picture but it was yummy and only $5 per pizza.

For the dessert I dipped strawberries since they are a favorite of Michael's. The kids had ice cream Sunday's with a chocolate covered strawberry on top.

My present was Prosecco with pomegranate Italian soda. So yummy and festive.

I think everyone enjoyed the day.

- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Passes for Entertainment at our House

The house across the street had a waste water pipe that was damaged.  The city had been out a couple of times to diagnose the problem and yesterday came out to fix it.  After the bigs got home from school I looked around and realized none of my children were in the house.  I opened the front door and this is what I found.

I grabbed something to drink and went to join them on the curb.  We stayed there for about 45 minutes watching them finish up.  While we were watching a dump truck came and proceeded to dump sand in the hole.  You would have thought Eliza Claire had won the lottery she was so excited.  She told me, "Mom, I've never seen a dump truck dump before!"  Then she asked at least three times if girls could do this when they grew up.  I assured her that she could.  It made her day.  Her new goal in life is to be a City Water employee, fix broken pipes, and drive a bulldozer or dump truck.

The crew was so nice!  They were joking with the kids and answering their questions, ok, and even my questions.  They seemed to like having an audience.  When they left, one crew member motioned to another to blow the horn on the dump truck.  The one driving the dump truck motioned that he wasn't supposed to and the first one motioned back to tell him to do it anyway.  He proceeded to blow the horn three or four times and solidify Eliza Claire's career choice.  She was so delighted by the whole experience.

I had a very long to do list yesterday, but I am so glad I blew off folding laundry to sit with my kids and give them this fun memory.  They will appreciate Mom sitting with them applauding the dump truck much more than folded laundry I'm sure.

Yeah, apparently life in our part of Texas isn't very exciting...

PS We just got home from preschool.  The Street Crew is out front today to replace the piece of sidewalk that got dug up.  I know where we'll be after getting the bigs from school.  Snack will be curbside today.

Things said during the Children's Sermon

The children's sermon was always my favorite part of worship until my kids got old enough to participate.  I always thought the children were so adorable and precocious.  It is amazing how your perspective changes when it is your child up there and you have no clue what might come out of their mouths.  It doesn't help my anxiety during the children's sermon that all four of my children are very comfortable at our church (a good thing) and very comfortable sharing in a large group (also a good thing) and very opinionated (mostly a good thing).

The service we normally attend does not have a children's sermon, but this past Sunday we went to a different service that did have a children's sermon.  All four Maniacs went up to participate.

The topic this week was the permanence of God.  The Director of Children's Ministry started off asking what everyone got for Christmas and writing those things on a white board.  Given the amount of time and effort that Santa put into finding a Ladybug monster truck for Ruby I was glad it made the list of "things the kids got for Christmas two months ago and still remember."  Of course, after listing all the stuff for a couple of minutes the leader then erased it all and talked about how that all those things are just stuff and won't last.  Then she asked what kinds of things they wanted for their birthday.  The list included things like bikes, new toys, ponies, a pool, a trampoline, etc.  She then asked, "Will this stuff stay around forever?" and started erasing the list.  At that point, Charlotte piped up with "Well, the pool might!"

The Director finished the sermon by talking about how Jesus was the only thing that lasted forever and that He could not be erased (complete with Jesus written permanent marker for illustration).  I'm glad now when my kids see a dry erase marker they will think "stuff" and when they see a sharpie they will think "Jesus."

We dodged the embarrassing your parents by what you said during the children's sermon bullet this week. Unfortunately, there is always next week and knowing the Maniacs we won't always dodge it.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Snow Day - Central Texas Style

Front Yard
All of my Facebook friend laughed heartily when I posted pictures of our snow day last Friday.  They could not believe we got a day off school for so little snow.  What they forget is this is Central Texas and it doesn't snow often and when it does it doesn't matter if it is just a few flakes, it's a big deal.  We did have a little ice proceeding the snow, thus the need for the snow day.  And honestly, if they hadn't canceled school so many families would have kept their kids home to enjoy the rare snow that school would have been a waste for those who did go.

Baron checking out the snow
I think he likes it
He's such a beautiful dog

Howdy.  He's not nearly as impressed by the white stuff
We had been below freezing for three days before the snow but of course as soon as the white stuff arrived the temps went back up well above freezing.  By lunch time the snow was almost completely gone.


Guess who kept het pants dry for night number five! Not only that, I was late going to bed and she even woke up and went to potty in the middle of the night all by herself.
She was one happy girl this morning. Her siblings all cheered for her when she came downstairs. It was so adorable.
It only took me an hour to get her ship put together.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Winter Break

Our school district has a winter break in early February every year.  The kids get Monday through Wednesday off school.  Many families take advantage of this break to do their spring break travel at off season prices.  It always seems that for some reason travel isn't a choice for us.

This year, I had planned to take the kids to the Texas Memorial Museum one day and to a local toy store one day to spend some of their allowance and the third day I figured we would catch up on random stuff.  Not big plans, but fun things to occupy us none the less.  Unfortunately, Charlotte spiked a fever Sunday afternoon.  She has strep throat.  Tomorrow she will finally no longer be contagious and it is our last day of our break.  We've spent the last two days, pretty much watching TV, playing video games and just vegging on the couch.  Oh, we did do one science experiment that was sparked by the "beautiful" flowers we bought last week. 

I should have moved the drying launder before snapping this, oh well.  I guess I'm just keeping it real.

Purple water turned the celery brown, red made it kind of yellowish, and blue turned it really bright green. 

I keep seeing all of our friends posting pictures from Disney World and skiing and am feeling a bit envious.  I guess the silver lining is that Charlotte's illness didn't ruin a big family trip.  It would be much more frustrating and disappointing if she were suffering through strep throat at Disney or some other equally cool spot.  Charlotte always gets sick on holidays or trips, its just the way she rolls.