Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's up, Rudolph?

This picture just cracks me up!!! It was taken up in Oak Glen at Los Rios Rancho, the day we went up to see the ice. Isn't there something strangely similar between Anthony's eyes and the reindeer's eyes?!

Does Lysol come in bomb form?

I do realize that these Vegas pics are long overdue! I don't have any new excuses - just the same old ones. Sick kids, sick visitors, busy making gifts...holidays...what else is new?

My friends and I have been wondering if Lysol could start selling Lysol bombs - you know, kind of like bug bombs, but with disinfectant in them instead of bug killer? I think my house could use a good germ-bombing right about now. I'm not a germ-a-phobe at all, but even I don't think I'd want to bring my own kids to my house right about now, after all the sickies we've been having! Everyone got better in time for the girls' first birthday party, and then two days later, my sister got sick again.


This would have made a fabulous family Christmas photo, don't you think? If only the kids had looked at the camera. Bummer.

Don't the girls just look thrilled about our walk?

Love this head of curls!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all of you!

I pray that you are well, that you are surrounded by friends and family today, that you are reminded that the best gift of all time cannot be wrapped and placed beneath a tree, and that your day is filled with magic.

Here, we are still waiting for two of the little ones to wake up, as we big ones sit around the tree sipping our coffee. The monkey bread is rising and is almost ready to go into the oven. Baby Jesus is hidden and awaiting a certain 3-year old to find him before any gifts are opened.

We are thankful that finally, everyone in the house is well!! Just in time for Christmas!

Magic and blessings to all of you!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Monster spray, sign language and "WHAT'S growing in my daughter's ear???"

A few posts ago, I made brief mention of monster spray, but I realized I never got back to it. I have to share, because it's worked SO well!! We'd been having problems with Anthony (3 yrs, 9 months) not wanting to go to sleep at night and waking during the night crying. He hadn't used the word "monster," though - just said he was scared. He never could really identify WHAT he was scared of. But the nightly routine was getting really old.

I happened to scan an article on monsters and night scares in Family Fun magazine for ideas, thinking there might be something useful for the future - not really thinking I'd find anything particularly relevant for the immediate problem, since the article was specifically about monsters. Lo and behold, about a week after I read the article, during the nightly crying, I heard Darrell trying to get Anthony to go to sleep and I overheard the word "monsters" come out of Anthony's mouth. I sprung into action!!

I grabbed a small, empty spray bottle, filled it with mostly water, a little bit of rubbing alcohol (to help the water evaporate better), and a few drops of lavender and sweet orange essential oils. I took the bottle to Anthony and told him I had something special for him - "Monster Spray." He was THRILLED. Seriously - so excited he leaped out of our bed, took the bottle, and ran to his room to spray all the monsters away!! He happily climbed back into his bed, asked if he could keep the bottle on his bedside in case the monsters came back during the night, and we didn't hear another peep from him the rest of the night!!

It has continued to work, and as an added bonus - his room smells awesome!! I did find that the trigger-style spray bottle works better than a fingertip pump-style - he couldn't spray that kind.

In other news, Mackenzie has astounded both her early intervention teacher and us in the last week with how quickly she's beginning to mimic the signs we're teaching her. She did "more" for me in Target on Monday when she wanted more crackers. With her teacher Monday afternoon, she did "dog," "bear," and "bus." Maybe some others - I can't remember. She's a smart little cookie, that one!

Makayla took her first couple steps last night, not wanting to be outdone. She's also finally making some consonant sounds - ra ra ra and da da da, and the occasional ma ma ma. :)

And finally, I got a call from Mackenzie's ear, nose and throat doc this week. She had taken cultures from her ear the last time I took her in, because of the constant ear infections. We hadn't been able to stay off ear drops for more than 10 days at a time. Guess what? She didn't have bacteria in her ear. She had a yeast infection. In her ear. ?????? Have you ever heard of such a thing??? I actually had started suspecting that, when it got a whole lot worse the day AFTER I started giving her oral antibiotics this last time - antibiotics tend to make yeast worse. So my theory is that whenever I feed her pureed fruit - because that seems to be when it flares up - the sugar from the fruit feeds the yeast maybe, because it gets into her ear canal through her open palate??? Don't know. Anyway, she's not draining right now, but we're supposed to get some liquid Lamisil to use when it does. The doc had told me, when she took the culture, "I'll go ahead and check for yeast, but that's really rare." I should've known - we're a family of "really rare."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family day

While our autumn - er, summer - seemed to last f-o-r-e-v-e-r around here, I think we've finally seen the end of our 80 and 90 degree days. Sunday morning I awoke to ice - yes, ice, on my windshield. I've lived in southern California for 9 years and not once have I had ice on my windshield! It was actually kind of a pleasant treat.

Yes, I understand that for all of you who live in normal parts of the world where there are truly 4 seasons, you think I am crazy - especially my sister Karen, who is currently on day, um, 6, I believe, of no power, no heat, and no running water, thanks to the ice storm in New Hampshire. (I am writing this on Tuesday - don't believe Blogger when it tells you I posted this on Monday! Darn Blogger - I email the photos from Picasa to Blogger, and they sit there as a "draft" waiting for me to write something and post them, but then Blogger dates the post whenever I sent the photos, not when I actually write the post. Grr...) Anyway...apparently, according to my sister, there are some people who are not going to have electricity even by Christmas!! I cannot even imagine....

Back to our fun cool weather here. It was in the 20's here on Sunday morning! Awesome! In the afternoon, we drove up to Oak Glen, which is at about 5000 feet and about 25 minutes from us, in the hopes of seeing some snow. We met our friends, Dan and Gloria, up there. There were only small bits of snow left by then, but we did see some fun ice in the apple orchards. I think the sprinklers must have been left on or something - I've never seen anything like it. The ice on the ground was so incredible.

We enjoyed some hot cocoa, hot apple cider, and coffee, with apple pie and ice cream in the little restaurant there at the orchard. Yum! They had a nice wood-burning stove going, so we were able to warm up inside.

We missed the real snow, because yesterday it POURED rain all day here, so I'm sure it left plenty of snow up in Oak Glen for them!

I just, this afternoon, figured out how to work our gas fireplace. I was thrilled to find out that the pilot was already lit and that there is a wall switch hiding behind the television set in the family room! I need to vacuum out the cobwebs and dead bugs before I can really use it, but I'll be taking care of that this afternoon so we can enjoy a fire tonight! There are lots of cold, rainy days forecast in the next week or two here, so I'm sure we'll be getting a lot of use out of the fireplace. That makes mama happy!

Monday, December 15, 2008

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Well, after a LONG absence...I'm back! It has been pure craziness around here, between our trip to Vegas, snotty noses and ear infections and pink eyes and coughing, Christmas decorations, gift-making...well, you know - it's that time of year!!

So here's a bit of what we've been up to around here...

The tree - as you can see, it's up on a small table. To protect it from small hands. I didn't put the breakables on it this year anyway, and Anthony and I made a good-old-fashioned paper chain to adorn its branches with color. The Dollar Tree has some great non-breakable snowflake ornaments this year, so some of those are on the branches as well. It's a totally different color theme than we've ever had before, but since I used paper and dollar store ornaments, I spent a total of about $5 on new stuff and got a whole new look!

The mantel - it's really shallow in this house - and with our frequent earthquakes, I can't really put anything breakable or big up there. My original thought was something fabric-covered. Running low on time, I ended up using wrapping paper!! I simply cut out three different sized triangles from a big cardboard box (we have PLENTY of those sitting in our garage - remember, we moved this year?) and covered them in wrapping paper. I just propped them against the wall, and laid a beaded garland in front of them. Simple. I like it. It added just the pop of color I was looking for, and since I already had everything on hand, it didn't cost me a dime.

The stockings - I wanted to make new stockings for all of us this year. I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I went out to the www to look for inspiration, and found some beautiful stuff here and here and here. The weekend after Thanksgiving, Jo-Ann's had their Eco-Spun felt on sale for $1.99/yard - this is REALLY cool felt - it's acrylic, and it's made from recycled plastic bottles! How awesome is that?! At 60 inches wide, that's a LOT of felt for a little bit of dough!! Anyway, Anthony got his stocking with a train and his initial; the girls got matching stockings with "m" on an ornament, for now. Darrell got a football, and I got a bird on a branch. The pink and brown one is for my litle sister, and the tree and "snow flower," as my son calls it, are for my mom and grandma - they will all be spending Christmas with us. I finished them all last night.

The top of the bookshelf in my craft room - I love the beads in the vase - so simple and a nice pop of color.

My dollar store garlands - I got 2 snowflake garlands for a dollar each and cut them into 3 pieces each, and used double stick tape to hang them from the top of the cut-outs between my craft room and the family room. Then I took one pack of dollar store snowflake ornaments and one string of turqoise beads I got on clearance at Jo-Ann's for about 80 cents, and made some additional garland - and now I have a lovely snowflake mobile of sorts hanging down when I sit in my craft room and look towards the family room!

What frugal decorating ideas have you come up with this year? It's been a fun challenge to decorate on a budget!!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

My apologies!

I'm so sorry...I have so much to update you on...ear infections, monster spray, fun decorations...but, alas, we are heading out the door right this minute for a much needed 3-day trip to Vegas!! My first!!! How can I be 34 years old, and live 4 hours away, and NEVER have been to Vegas??

We'll see how travelling with a 3.5 year old and 11-month old twins goes!! See you soon!

Monday, December 01, 2008


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