Monday, September 30, 2013

One year

It's completely crazy how much can change in 12 months!

Here are two pix of Evie...the most recent taken almost one year exactly from the other.

She was a little sad in the second one, because we told her it was time to go. But she's still adorable! 

Here's to many more years and hoping they don't pass as quickly as the last! 

Friday, September 27, 2013


We have big yard with lots of trees. We cut down 46 trees a few years ago, they were sick, overgrown and smooshed together and really not looking great. So we bit the bullet and cut them all down. Despite losing all those...we still have 20 other trees to take care of. A mixture of oak, ash, linden, spruce, pine, crabs and dogwood. I love mature trees and think they really help make a house a home. Both times we were house shopping, I constantly brought up trees. I like new construction...lots of perks there, but no trees. Just the sad little twigs that were recently planted in the new landscape. Pitiful. I'm sure my husband thought/thinks I'm nuts, but I can't help it! And in the end...mature trees won out. Because both of our homes have/had large lovely trees.

Now back to our backyard grove. Every year we pay to have them lifted. Because although we love the shade they provide, it can be too much and actually stunts and prohibits grass growth. There are spots in our yard where the grass is way thinned out and some spots are bare down to the dirt. We've tried shade grass seed and over seeding, and it just doesn't cut it. We had an arborist from the university come out- his advice was to keep them lifted and thin so that sunlight can reach the grass.

Well, long story short...paying to have trees lifted every year is super expensive. John and I have re-evaluated our household budget and spending. We decided to do this project ourselves. We bought a chain saw last weekend. And after cutting and thinning JUST one tree...we had already paid off the chain saw. The rest of the trees would be pure savings in comparison to paying to have them done.

We worked for two hours on Sunday- cut down a dead birch tree and trimmed branches on three ash.

At this point I'm super excited! 

This weekend we are hoping to finish our 'lifting' project and tackle the dead pine. One we lost it in the drought last year. :(

I'm excited, partly because it getting done the way we want- but mostly because its saving us money! Who doesn't love that!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Advent calendar

This is WAYYYYYYY early but you know...

So I was at the craft store the other day helping Corynn pick out some fun crafty things to add to a gift for one of her friends. And right by the checkout were a bunch of $1 bins. And in these little bins were 2 packs of burlap sachets. SCORE! You could always make these, but with the draw strings and the shedding properties of burlap...I paid the $1. I grabbed 13 packs- which gave me 26 little bags. I instantly knew what I was going to do with them. I was going to make our advent calendar. BUT they would also make cute little goodie bags or Valentine packages or for little gifts at Christmas...the list of possibilities is infinite!

NOW the advent calendar...I have always wanted one. But they can be really expensive, and the wooden ones have such tiny little compartments. And when it comes down to it...I've never found one that I love enough to spend $70 on.

So these burlaps bags were inspired and perfect! Because you know I'm really loving burlap right now!!!

I had an old frame in the basement (NEVER throw out old, scratched, dented or ugly frames!!! They always have potential!). It was scratched and kind of an ugly oak-y color. It was perfect! I grabbed our sander and roughed it up. Stretched some chicken wire across the back, tacked in some nails, strung up my bags and VOILA! 

My perfectly sweet advent calendar! And it cost under $20!

greenery scraps used to decorate bookcases and hutches for the holidays, pine cones from the yard and a little hot glue. I also used butchers twine to string the bags. 

The burlap bags are plain, I added the numbers with a black sharpie and a stencil. But you could put a red heart for Valentine's or a green Christmas tree for Christmas many possibilities! 

And Evie has already got the hang of it. While I was typing up this post, she filled each pouch with chess pieces. Funny girl!

 Can't wait to think of little things for each day! I'm all for little gifts, but I want to sprinkle in other things like a scripture or quote, a goal for the day (like Go out of your way to help someone or Share a smile with 5 people). oooooh...this is going to be so much fun! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

so fast

I can't believe how fast the kids are growing! McKynna and Kwynn are excited about homecoming this weekend, which is all kinds of girly fun! Hair, makeup, pretty dresses and sparkles. All the perks of being a girl! 

Corynn is physically growing up fast! Wowzers! We were looking at Evie's growth chart after I marked all her milestone heights, and Corynn wanted to see how tall she was. 5 foot 2 inches, folks! Can you believe it!? She will be passing her 5'4"older sisters in no time! And I think she's darned near passed up Gma Kelly! :) She is tall, thin and has the most beautiful eyes!  Not to mention she is kind, thoughtful and a wee bit sassy! She will be a heartbreaker!

Evie is changing everyday! She just started talking- which is late I know! But hey, Einstein didn't talk until he was 3... just saying! She is daring, dramatic and a little stinker at times. But then in a blink of an eye, she will snuggle, put her hands on your face, lean in real close and smile, kiss you or say 'hi'. She is a doll! There are days I want a dozen more and days I would hate a dozen more. I think she is a good bookend to the family! She will definitely be keeping us busy! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Monkey bread

When I was younger, it was always a treat when my mom would make monkey bread! The smell would fill the house and literally wake you up!

I made some for my family on Sunday. And magically by the time it was done at 8:30- everyone was up! In fact they weren't just up, they were standing in the kitchen, circling, waiting for the timer to go off! Everyone moved in closer once the pan came out. With monkey bread- you have to wait about five minutes for the melted sugar to cool. But I'm pretty sure some of my family risked burning their tongues and snuck a few nibbles.

It was enjoyed by all! Evie pointed at it with her mouth full and shook her head up and down in approval! Definitely a yummy treat and perfect for a fall morning!

Here's the recipe:

4 cans of buttermilk biscuits (any brand- the small tubes)
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1-2tbsp cinnamon (depending on cinnamon-y you like things)
3/4 brown sugar

Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Preheat oven to 350. Add butter and brown sugar to a sauce pan and simmer until you get a smooth consistancy. While the butter and sugar are melting - cut up each biscuit into 4-6 pieces. Great job for the kids to help! I use my kitchen shears and it goes super quick. Place biscuit pieces in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, roll them around until well coated. Do this in batches- it will make it easier to coat everything. Then place the pieces in a greased round bundt pan. Once all the biscuits are cut up, coated and in the pan- pour the melted sugar mixture over the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. The take out and let cool for 5 minutes! Super important!!! Then place a plate or platter on top of the pan and flip. Lift the pan, admire the tower of ooey-gooey goodness and dive in!

Monday, September 23, 2013

busy busy bees

This past weekend was packed full of stuff. Corynn had a few friends stay over Friday night, and then had a school volunteer project Saturday morning. I spent the morning and part of the afternoon painting and changing out kitchen hardware at a friend's house. Then the game was on (WE WON!!!).

And I finished up a project. Evie's growth chart! Thank goodness for 6 month well child check-ups...I can add in all her recorded heights and get it up to date! I'm going add velcro command strips to the back and just attached it to the wall in her room. I wanted to add the other girls to it too, but haven't decided. I have all their recorded heights as well. hmmmm...still thinking that one over. But's cute, huh! And I made it for less than $5! Pretty sweet! 

Sunday John and I worked in the yard- mowing and pulling weeds. Corynn had a birthday party. The twins spent a few hours doing homework. John and I cut down a dead tree on our property. A beautiful birch tree! Look at all this love birch!

Can't wait to make candle holders and other winter decorations with them! 

We also cut down some other large branches from other trees. We cut up the branches into firewood size so once they dry out a bit we can use them in our chimenea. Can't wait to cozy up on the patio with it this fall! Corynn and Evie spent the cool perfect evening playing outside. Aren't they adorable!? 

 Then after I put Evie to bed, I went out to meet some girlfriends. And was able to snuggle a sweet newborn for awhile! A nice way to end a busy, hard working weekend. 

And now it's Monday and this mama is tired. Today I shall spend the day with my little buddy. Playing with her 'beebees' and working on shapes and colors. Happy Monday, everyone! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fun times

This past weekend was super fun! Why you ask!? Because my brother, his girlfriend and our mom came up! YAY!!!

Everyone arrived Friday afternoon. That night, all the adults went out to eat to celebrate Maranda's birthday (which was earlier in the week). We went to a greek restaurant and tried new things. My mom tried calamari. Trevor and John ate goat. I was perfectly content with my chicken and pita. I'm such a daredevil! 

We brought home a wide selection of desserts- all were so delicious!

Then we played ten point pitch! My family has been playing pitch for as long as I can remember. In fact some of my earliest memories were of spending evenings at my grandparents, playing on the kitchen floor with my brothers while the adults played pitch. We would hear the excitement and fun coming from the game and always want to join in. When we were about 8, our great grandparents started teaching us how to play. It was like a rite of passage. Finally, we could sit at the table and play cards with the adults!! Anyway, I love that game and its always exciting and fun to play with the family! Especially since Trevor was my partner. We are both a little daring and risky with our bids...but it turned out well- we won!

We called it an early night on Friday, because the football game was an early one. We had to leave for stadium at 9:30 to make the 11am kick off.

So after a homestyle breakfast, we headed off for the game. Trevor, Maranda, John, Kwynn, McKynna and I all were wearing our black- ready to cheer on the HUSKERS! It was a lot of fun! Just so you know (as if you didn't) we lost that game. BAD! We were winning going into half time and then fell apart in the third. It was really hard to watch. But in Nebraska fans stay and support the team no matter the score. We played UCLA, who lost a football player the previous weekend in a car accident. The class and support for UCLA and their athlete was amazing to see. The student section held up two banners- "One game-One team" and the other was a Nebraska "N" painted half blue/yellow and half red with number 36. There was a moment of silence for the could have heard a pin drop in that stadium of 90,000 fans. It was incredible. The student section also released 200 yellow and blue balloons in honor of #36. We had some UCLA fans sitting in front of us. They were so nice and fun to talk with.


Like I said- we lost. And it hurt. But football isn't everything. We came home and hung out. Grilled up some steak for dinner, Trevor and John finished a couple of house projects for me, the twins and I helped Maranda with college homework and had a great evening. We sang Happy Birthday to Maranda and celebrated with strawberry cheesecake! YUM!

We hadn't all been together since Easter- so this was lots of fun! We are getting together again in October- mom rented a huge cabin for the weekend. Should be memorable! Last time I slipped and fell in the lake fully dressed and that was just in the first hour of being there! :) FUN TIMES!

Love my family!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

stolen phone

Well, today was interesting. Kynna came to the car after school looking upset. Come to find out- someone stole her phone from inside her backpack. We used my phone to put it into Lost mode, it indicated that the phone was still at the school so we headed home.

Once home, alert messages started coming in telling us that the phone was on the move. We went back to the school and had the lost phone make noise so we could look for it. But who ever had it - turned it off ...apparently so it would quit making noise. At that point we knew it was stolen.

I sent the phone a text pretty much quoting Liam Neeson from the movie Taken...this is what it said. "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for a reward, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you return my daughter's phone now, that'll be the end of it. I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.  HA! K- not the kill part. 

She turned it back on while I was out picking up Corynn from school. The GPS indicated it was just a mile or so away- so Corynn, Evie and I went to investigate. We looked along the sidewalk, in an open lot and a side yard. But another alert message came in saying that someone was trying to use the phone. And GPS gave me the address to the house of the yard I was standing in. So I told Corynn to go back to the car and sit with Evie.

 I went up to the door and knocked. A teenage girl answered the door with a LSE badge I knew this was it. I pointed to the app on my phone and said "This dot tells me that you have my daughter's phone. I need it back." She looked absolutely dumbfounded and in shock that I was at her front door. She immediately started fumbling out stupid excuses and a story about how she found it and was going to call and ....

I gave her the ya-sure-right-uh huh- I sooo believe you- face, and replied with "Whatever- just get the phone." She comes back with the phone, stripped of it's otterbox case. I asked where the case was. Her reply set me off. She said that's how she found it. At that point I went off on her. Asking her if she found it at school- then why didn't she turn it into the office. And why didn't you call the phone number on the lock screen...a screen that said "LOST PHONE- CALL xxx-xxx-xxxx". And don't you know smart phones are traceable? And why did you steal it anyway?  And...and...and...

Of course I didn't wait for her to answer any of those questions before I went into the parental part of my verbal bashing. Saying how I'm so sick of stupid teenagers today, and their lack of morals. They think they can just do whatever they want. And did you really think you could just steal something?

The only thing she said was Sorry... about 50 times. I asked to talk to her mom, but she wasn't home. I left telling her to grow up and be a better person. Then got into my mini van and left.

Damn kids anyway!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday blah

Today has been chilly with temps in the upper 60s and a northern breeze.

Evie and I needed our jackets to play outside.

We are having crockpot beef (stroganoff) for dinner.

It's been dark and dreary today with spitting rain.

The girls came home from school with attitudes.

The twins are fighting with each other.

Evie wants to play with Corynn.

Corynn doesn't want to play with Evie.

We had house guests this past weekend- so I've been up to my armpits in laundry.

Wish 5:30 would quickly get here so John could save me.

I'm going to bed early tonight.

p.s. I started writing this post in jest of blogging critics. The ones who say bloggers never blog the real stuff- they only post about their happy perfect lives and talented smart children. Well, the above post is true, but it was't fun to write and is not fun to read (I'm sure!) But since my blog is mostly for posterity sake - I'm going to leave this post. So my grandchildren know that there were BLAH days too! :)

p.s.s. I couldn't hit publish without a picture of this cutie! She makes me smile- even on blah days!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

cutting grass

We have a big yard, and as I've mentioned before I really don't mind mowing it. Mowing gives me a little alone time. I also like to get it done while John is at less thing for him to do when he gets home. Which equals more time with the family. But that doesn't always happen...especially lately when its been 95 degrees with high humidity! Mowing in the evenings is the only tolerable time! Even then the potential for melting is up there!

Tuesday night was one of these nights. I went out to mow and my little buddy decided to join me. She doesn't get to help/ride for very long. Only about ten minutes before a big sister comes to get her. But it's still sweet!

She is so good - just sits there an enjoys the ride. We go slow and easy and of course she wears ear protection. 

On this particular night a storm was coming in and the sky was so pretty. The sun rays split the sky into light and dark and there was a thin golden outline to the frontal clouds. So pretty!

And just when I thought we were going to get missed...the skies opened up and poured down over an inch of rain, some much needed rain! My trees and grass are thankful! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday mornings

What are you doing this morning? We are blowing bubbles! 

And she only got her hair tangled in the bubble gun once!!! woohoo! :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nebraska Sunsets

One night last week we were running errands and I noticed one of the most beautiful skies I've seen in a long time. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture. We were making copies at the copy store for a school project and I just left Kynna inside so I could admire the evening sky. John was in the car, probably thinking I had lost my mind. It was spitting rain from a sunny that!

We had one more errand to run before heading home. Lucky for me there was a huge empty field nearby. So while John was inside the store, I ran across to the field so I could snap some pix.

Pretty amazing! Wish I would have had my real camera instead of just the iphone...but at least I captured it! On a positive note...I've found my new 'go to' place to snap sunset shots! Completely unobstructed and only a few blocks from my house! Sweet!!!!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Husker Game walk through

I took the girls to the Husker game this weekend! John stayed home with Evie. On the way to the game I was thinking how awesome it is to go to a Husker game. Every Nebraskan, college football fan or sports fan in general should really least once! The tradition, the energy, the masses- it's all so...well it's hard to explain because it's so magical. My girls aren't all that into football, but they still like going to a game or two every season just for the experience. And once they are there, in the middle of it all...they get into it. Cheering, yelling, doing the wave and giving touchdown high fives to those sitting around us. It is pretty sweet to watch. We take our college football pretty serious 'round these parts.

To give you a little taste of the Husker magic...I'm going to give you a little walk through.

First off, you navigate the masses...100,000 fans all congregating to cheer on the Huskers. Our stadium now holds 92,000, but tailgating has a crowd all its own. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of people just come down near the stadium to tailgate and soak it all in. They bring their tvs, radios, satellites and party/watch in the parking lots. And our new arena (which is 2 blocks from the stadium) has been showing the hundreds of people gather there as well.  LOTS of people...these photos were taken just outside the stadium 90 minutes prior to kickoff.

Next, is entering the stadium.

I'm not an expert of stadiums, but I think ours is pretty darn cool. Why? Because they built the new facade on the outside of the old stadium walls. So when you walk in, you can still see the old stadium, its architecture, windows and moldings. Our Huskers have been around well over 100 years, giving it a rich history!

Once inside the stadium, walk up the tunnel to your ticket section...

The light at the end of the tunnel is pure Husker energy!!!

First off, you have to admire our new East stadium. They added the top few tiers this past spring...and its pretty amazing! Can't imagine the views from way way up there! But I bet they are amazing! 

Then you take a bunch of selfies and the standard group commemoration photo. 

At this point you have time to get a drink or popcorn- or both. We are quite partial to the popcorn. YUM! 

This is also when the teams warm up, starting lineup introductions are on the jumbo tron, the dance squad performs and the band energizes the crowd! 

Then comes the tunnel walk! So cool! I've seen it and experienced it 20+ times and it still gets me every time! 

Balloons are released after the Huskers score! We scored within the first minute and half on Saturday! 

If you look really close you can see the Weiner schlinger. Its a crazy contraption that shoots hotdogs to fans. We sit 19 rows up and they always launch way past us. 

We usually try to get out of the game just a smidge early- especially if it's just me and the kids. Navigating post game traffic (pedestrian and car) can be kind of crazy!!! 

It was a fun game and a great time with my girlies! 

Friday, September 06, 2013


Evie is still checking in on her froggers! Just about everyday, we wonder on down and peek into the culvert. Sure enough, there's still about 10 living in there. They venture up to the house too. The other night when it was cool, one of them found a nice warm spot under a light. Kind of freaky seeing frogs sticking to the side of the house!

        Here's Little Bit checking out her pets! Love her face and the pure enjoyment she gets!

Remember to enjoy and acknowledge the little things in life! Small things, happy things, lovely things happen everyday! And some days those 'little things' are slimy green frogs!