Neighborhood Playdate and a hike!

Ruth is just so cool. I'm going to pack her up and ship her back to Tucson when we move back. She says she is going to persuade us to stay. :) I bet I win!

She put this whole thing together and invited the entire neighborhood to come play and meet the new neighbors, and kids.

We started out with a potluck brunch and it was outstanding. So many delicious foods were brought and I was so hungry! Very hard to behave myself on WW, but I did it! We brought over pumpkin muffins and the stuff to make an iced vanilla chai tea that is to die for! (I'll post the recipe for that later).

Here is the spread.

And here are some of the kids enjoying it!

The moms all got to know each other inside (it was chilly, only about 50*F outside in the a.m.) and the kids played and played outside. They didn't mind at all.

We made up a neighborhood directory too and then Ruth is going to type it all up. After we ate, had tea and coffee and cleaned up a little we took the kids hiking. I never did a headcount of the mob of children this morning, but you'll see in the pics there were a lot!

We hiked down by the Des Plaines and there is lots of Beaver activity down there. We didn't see any beavers, (I can only imagine they were slightly horrified by our large number of rowdy kids and were hiding) but we saw lots of signs of them, the kids were thrilled!

Catching bugs was a part of the day too. Evan caught a grasshopper right at the start of the hike, then was very jealous of the green worm some of the girls caught later in the hike.

Then we managed to get a group shot on a tree that the beavers had knocked over but not taken yet, the kids loved that idea.

We also found a vine to swing on, and then I just added some additional photos for fun. Thanks for reading about our fun day!

Do you see all the leaves on the ground?

Well look at how many are still on the trees! Isn't that crazy?

Family Movie Night

What can I say? This movie is just a treat. We have chosen it more than once for our family movie night, and I never grow tired of it. It has such a beautiful message.

Snuggles are the best part.

“Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” Mr. Magorium

Here is a before shot.

My sisters and I are on track to being thin. ;) Well at least that is the goal. I for one am carrying about 40lbs extra. That is a problem. I have started to notice headaches, body aches and general fatigue continue to be a problem for me, and I'm tired of being out of energy and achey all the damn time.

I started back on Weight Watchers, which worked for me remarkably well before and after I had Kira. What I've been doing with myself for the last nearly 6 years though is not good. And it shows. I printed this picture to show the yard. I forgot to switch it over to photo paper, so I got a ginormous shot on 8X10. What I didn't know prior to printing was that I was in it on the edge. I was really disappointed in myself and embarrassed by this picture of me. This is me, not posing, not knowing I'm in the shot, turned to the side. And I couldn't believe how large I look. I am ashamed when I see this picture. I really struggled with posting it at all. But I think that if I'm going to be honest with myself on this journey to get well and lose this weight, I had to start by being honest about what other people see when they look at me.

I'll be posting "after" pics with my sister once a month. Hopefully in a few short months we'll all be seeing much better shots of me!

Diet Downfall!

Shawn received a package today. He gets things from here and there on occasion so I put it in his office. (Well I sort of shuffled it in there with my foot...)

Anyway when he got home he wanted to know what it was. I told him I had no idea, it had his name on it. He said he didn't buy anything.

When we opened it, we found this:

What is that you say? Well as it turns out that is a box of brownies. Little pieces of chocolatey heaven. Stuart and Ana sent them (Shawn's Uncle and Aunt).

They aren't very big. So I felt certain that they must be very, very bad for me.
I am doing Weight Watchers again, and so I went ahead and calculated the points.

That says 6, if it's a little hard to read.

Six points in a little 2X3 in square of heaven.

That's not bad! wait. It is terrible! I only get 21 points per day. Luckily I *do* get extra points each week so I can enjoy treats now and then. I think one of those brownies is going to be how I spend them!

Don't they look wonderful!

Thanks Stuart and Ana! We love and miss you too!

Shopping with the kids.

Not sure why I torture myself. Grocery shopping with my children has always been one of my parenting downfalls. It has been an issue since Evan was born. It is always a battle, someone acts up, I leave mad, things get forgotten, and I wind up with half a recipe cooked only to realize that *THAT* is what I missed while fighting with them in aisle 12.


Yesterday was no exception.

This was the only fun part of the whole trip.

You see that look in Kira's eye? It went downhill from there. I should have seen it coming. Oy.

A little treat for Halloween.

I have a lovely neighbor across the street and Monday we are having a neighborhood play date so she could introduce us to everyone she knows with kids the same age as my own. She is just too sweet. So I decided to make her a little treat jar for the fun month of October!

Here is what I started out with: (This tube held my new booklight. I found it at staples it's called Wink, and it is without a doubt! If you are in the market, this thing is so cool!)

First I wrapped it in some fun spiderweb paper:

Then I added some scraps I had left over around the middle.:

Then I made a tag, decorated the top with a couple of buttons, some ribbon and more scraps and filled it up with chocolate! Voila'! Fun little hostess gift!:


When I was a little girl my grandma would say "Stop the truck!" to my grandpa and he would pull over in his big truck (first a big red four door ford then a big brown ford) that was pulling a 5th wheel trailer behind it so we could get out and cut down cat tails on the way to the camp ground.

We did this often. I'm not sure how many times we stopped that truck and Grandma would drop her trusty little step stool out the door and climb out, and we were right behind her. (That thing was so high that to get in and out she really did have a step stool in the truck).

Then when we got to the campground she would say "Get your paints out" and we would say "You mean Crayons!" and giggling would run for the crayon tin. Crayons smell better in a metal tin. (Not sure if you know that.)

Then we would color the cat tails in all sorts of designs and colors. We would get to keep them until they puffed up and started to explode if we managed to not "forget" them at the campground. Man, Grandma was sure forgetful. ;)

Anyway. I was so excited to see all the cat tails all over around here! So finally over the weekend I pulled over on a whim and grabbed my pocket knife and crossed the street to cut some down. I lost a shoe, but that was minor and I did manage to find it again. ;)

The kids didn't seem to get as much enjoyment out of the actual coloring of them as I did, it lasted about 3 minutes, but the sword fights they have been having in the basement are sure to leave them with lasting memories of their own.

Feeling Crafty

So Evan is really into Halloween, he likes the spooky scary stuff. He thinks the cutsie stuff I like is ugly. Fine. His dad agrees so we will never be the cute little pumpkin house with smiling jack o'lanterns or happy little scarecrows. No, we will be the blood, guts and gore house, with skeletons, and zombies. Sometimes you have to choose a hill to die on and this isn't it for me. ;)

So since we didn't have room to bring any decorations for any of the holidays, and I'm just not interested in spending money on new when we have to toss them or give them away after one use, we decided (I decided) that making stuff would be fun.

So our first project was making spiders.

We started out with egg cartons, some paint, some pipe cleaners and a hole punch.

I let each kid decide how many they wanted to make, and then I made a bunch more. Evan wanted to do 3 and Kira did 4. Then Evan changed his mind half a dozen times or so. I'm not exactly sure how many he actually made.

He grew impatient with the painting and declared that his spiders were spotted and they were even more scary that way than if they were all black. Then he said "We have to wait for them to dry?" and when I said yes he said "I think we need to let them dry for a very long time". Something tells me crafting isn't his thing.

Kira was meticulous. My little crafty clone. :)

After the black paint dried it was time to add legs and then red paint to make them scary. I just stood by and enjoyed them doing it.

Adding legs:

Painting with red:

Here are the results! Warning, scary spider pic ahead. Well, all except for the clown spider. "He's not scary, he's just funny!" (Kira) (BTW, I have no idea which of these is the funny guy. Sorry)