Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Beat The Heat Treat

I'm a big fan of ice cream novelty treats: drumsticks, fudge pops, choco tacos, etc. One of my favorites though has always been the Pudding Pops, even though it's sometimes a hard to find treat. Heck, I even remember Bill Cosby on the commercial!

Aren't those novelties expensive though? Coupon or not, I think it's ridiculous the money we pay for a box with only six (ten if you're lucky) treats inside.

This summer, I decided to go the less expensive/homemade route and just make our own pudding pops.

I bought 5 oz. cups, wooden craft (popsicle) sticks and a variety of boxed pudding flavors. Whipped up the pudding according to package directions and filled each cup about half full. Let them set just a few minutes and then placed the sticks in. Pop 'em in the freezer for a few hours and Presto! Yummy treats.

I kept this batch simple, but did add mini chocolate chips in with the chocolate. I'm going to do some swirled flavors and I think you can mix and match to your heart's content.

So much less expensive and fun to make too!

**The store was out of plain, wooden craft sticks so I opted for the colored ones. They still work, but do bleed a little in the pudding.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fever? We've Got It!

In more ways than one.

Miss Gianna still has proven not to be 100% just yet. She's been sick since last Monday evening and although she has been up and around like normal, she has yet to get complete health.

She keeps running a low grade temp off and on most days and with spikes here and there when least expected. Her highest temp came Wednesday evening just before bed at 104.5. This is all very scary stuff for this mama whose kids are generally very healthy.

We're trying to keep her comfortable with Pedialyte when she isn't eating/snacking, Desitin for her very sore bottom and tag-teaming Ibuprofen and Tylenol.

Anyone else with Olympic fever?

Ok, so it's not exactly FEVER that we have, but we are watching. Well, the big kids and I are watching here and there. We aren't huge sports fans, but I am doing my best to catch Michael Phelps when I can.

And my kids are catching on. I guess you could say we have Michael Phelps fever.

But did you see him Saturday night after the 400 individual medley? The interview was heart-breaking afterward. After not even making it to medal, this reporter is asking what his emotions are...blah, blah, blah....and all I see is 'deer in the headlights' as Michael hasn't a clue how to respond. I could barely watch.

I know that I've heard about Michael having drama out of the pool in the last four years since Beijing, but I still kinda like the guy.

It's starting to look like American swimmer, Ryan Lochte, may find his time at London and rack up the medals this time around.

Maybe we'll catch the Lochte fever.

Thanks to the user-friendly NBC Olympic website, we're making notes in our days ahead so we don't miss either one.

I think the Phelps or Lochte fever would be MUCH better than the icky fevers Jonah and Gianna had this past week. Here's to hoping a healthier week is ahead!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rollin' Through

It's been a different kind of week here at the homestead. It all started out with Jonah out of commission and sick over the weekend. Slowly, by Monday afternoon he was better for the most part. He is still having off and on bouts, but is pretty much his usual self. With Jonah getting better, it was Gianna's turn to get hit with the nastiness and is still on the mend. She is up and around for the most part and seems to be eating normally, but still not feeling well. We are rarely hit with sickness at our house, so it is tough to see my little ones down and feeling so rotten.

If you could send a prayer or two for continued recovery and that the rest of us are spared, that sure would be appreciated.

In the midst of the sickness, we hosted part of Vocations Camp again. It's always a highlight to our summer, so when we weren't all together and feeling well, I was bummed. We made the best of it and with my parents' help with the little girls, we were able to do our best at hosting/cooking again.

This year, the camp wasn't held at several locations for three days at a time as in the past. Instead, it was a bus pilgrimage tour stopping at parishes throughout the diocese where the young men toured churches, prayed, were given tours or heard talks.

We were blessed to be a part of the tour with the bus rolling in Tuesday evening and staying overnight at the resort just down the road from us. The Knights of Columbus prepared supper that evening for 44 boys, 2 priests, 5 seminarians and a group of us that were there to volunteer and help out.

I didn't get many photos this time around since I was running around taking care of things and also tending to Gianna in the mean time. I did get one of our favorite priest and friend, Fr. Greg, along with our favorite seminarian, Joseph. Both hold a special place in my heart for many reasons. As I've shared before, I worked with Fr. Greg doing youth ministry in his parishes when I was single. As for Joseph, he happened to be one of the youth in those parishes at the time. A young, junior high boy back then, but has long since remained one of my favorites. My big kids are very fond of these two men as well.

The pilgrimage was filled with lots of fun, but lots of faith too. Mass was held late Tuesday evening at our church and our new priest, Fr. Michael, concelebrated along with Fr. Scott, the new diocesan Vocations Director. It's so wonderful to be blessed with young and faithful priests that are rising up within our diocese. Such inspiring men for the young men on pilgrimage to look up to!

After a night out camping, the bus brought the boys back to the church for breakfast. We served up an abundance of eggs, sausage and pancakes to which the boys feasted. We couldn't have done it without some amazing helpers that were willing to wake up early and lend a hand.

While the camp had a different style, many more boys on it than we're accustomed to and a bit of a whirlwind considering all that was going on at home, we were once again honored to be a part of it.

Truly, a highlight to our summer and it always brings fond memories for us and for our children as they see the beauty of the priesthood and sacredness of each vocation.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oodles Of Firsts

Who knew that when we worked on our Summer Bucket List that so many other things would easily make the list? Unexpected and fun things. Sometimes just ordinary, summer things.

But this week, it has been a number of 'Firsts' that made the list.

First haircuts for BOTH little girls on the same day!

Gianna, before:

After, looking all grown up:

Margaret's cut was just a little snip of some long ends in the back, so it's hardly noticeable. However, it's still her very first cut.

First organized run (1K) for my big kids:

They ran their first run in my hometown last Saturday, despite the already humid and hot conditions. I may have some runners on my hands, especially Jonah. They had a blast running it with their cousins.

First parade for Margaret:

She enjoyed it and was happy just hanging out in the stroller while it all passed by.

First cereal:

Additionally, Miss Margaret's first tooth has broke through. It's not evident enough yet to get a photo.

With all of these strides my family is making this summer, it's hard to keep up. Growing, growing, growing and not much time for a whole lot of other things.

How's your summer going?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Scenes From The Weekend

I went back to my hometown this weekend for their city celebration. I really don't go back to hang out with classmates or spend a whole lot of time wandering the streets, we go for the family time and the parade. I'm from small town USA, so the parade isn't ginormous but more than sufficient.

Trust me, the bags of candy my kids brought home would tell you so.

We escaped the heat and sun as much as we could with the little girls and even scored some shade for parade viewing. We were unsure how Gianna would handle the loud sirens at the parade after she did not fare well with the ships a few weeks ago.

Some time on grandpa's lap, some time with grandma and then back to daddy proved to do the trick and she ended up loving the parade.

Again, we're talking small town Minnesota here, so tractors are a given. Even better, this year's theme was 'Down On The Farm', so there was an abundance of farm gear as far as the eye could see.

A priest driving a tractor? You betcha! My parents parishes just had a priest change and are now blessed with Fr. JP (pictured here) and Fr. G (our friend who I've mentioned here on my blog in the past)

Don't forget the horses! There are a few local families who have teams of gorgeous horses in the parade and are definitely Lily's favorites.

Following the parade we had a cookout with my uncle's family, my brother's family and my parents. Afterward, my kids tried to beat the heat with a little time in the sprinkler before heading back in to the AC.

This morning after Mass and brunch, we had cake to celebrate my brother's birthday this week and Lily's name day (yesterday). Here he is with one of my nephews, his son.

Before final good-byes, a few more photos were caught outside.

The Four Firecrackers:

Happy Buddies:

Mother and Child:

Peek-a-boo Baby:

I hope you had a wonderful weekend filled with home, family and fun!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

100 Degrees...In The Shade

Our act of Independence on the Fourth of July was avoiding any over-exposure outside and staying cool.

Well, actually, we started the day off by celebrating our freedom of religion by attending Mass as a family and praying for our country. While we are an early-rising family, it's still tricky to actually get out of the house early enough to make it to 8am Mass, but we did it!

Upon leaving church we discovered that it was already sweltering hot and clearly wasn't going to let up. With no plans made for the holiday, we knew we were destined for the AC indoors or something water related outside for the day.

The other day, my children eagerly sat and waited by the thermometer to see this:

But today and yesterday, we saw this:

This houseful of Minnesotans are clearly only cold-hearty and not heat-hearty. Yowzers! Too hot for us.

A trip to the lake was in order, so I headed out with the three oldest kiddos. We slathered on the sunscreen, drank plenty of water and had fun.

I tried to stay patriotic despite the heat and created a flag in the sand, complete with 50 shells for the stars. My kids seemed to be impressed.

Can anyone guess whose mom has forgotten to buy swim diapers at the store?

See that rounded tush full of lake water? If only you could've seen it in person and how big it was! I'm positive that it added a good 3 lbs. to Gianna. Poor child #3.

Reed brought Margaret out in the heat for a bit, but she was not impressed.

Putting her little chubbers in the lake for the first time did help, a little.

We headed for home and stayed hunkered down indoors like a bunch of Minnesotans caught in blizzard weather in January. Such extremists we are here.

After supper we enjoyed an American trifle (of sorts) or otherwise known as a Red, White & Blue-layered-dessert-that-mommy-randomly-threw-together. It was our last act of independence for the day and my family used their freedom to devour the entire thing.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!

God Bless America!

Wordless Wednesday: Five Months

Monday, July 2, 2012

Finding A Place


My son seems to be at an awkward place, that in between place. Since turning seven two months ago, I have noticed a change in him. He went from little boy to young boy. He also became more boy-like and has found fascination (and laughability) at bodily functions. Yes, THAT age.

But while he reaches for further independence and time alone, he also still needs the approval of his big sister and thrives on spending time with her. She's going through her own growing phase and seeks her own space and time alone.

I think some of this searching for Jonah stems from being the only boy within the three girls. Upon further investigation and thought I think the arrival of back-to-back baby girls after him being my 'baby', has perhaps contributed.

I find my boy spending time alone and sometimes creating a play place in the oddest places (see photo above, that's my pantry and that is his 'hotel' he created). I try my hardest to include him and ask for his help throughout the day, for fear that he does not feel loved or included in a busy household that demands so much of my time.

He yearns for friends that he has everything in common with and are his exact same age. And he also wants them to share his precise and in-depth love for Thomas trains. Lily has moved on and doesn't always want to do everything he does, much to his dismay. It's hard to explain to him and help him understand. I wish it were simple.

This is a tough age. For him and for me. As I watch him grow and change, I'm reminded how we all go through the growing pains of life. How there are times we all search for our place to belong and our place to be. How do I gently lead, guide and love him while attentively caring for the needs of the rest of the family?

I cannot help but wonder if this is a little how God feels. I watch my son and my heart swells as tears fill my eyes. I deeply love my son and ache for him, with the same love that Christ must feel for me. Yet still I have only felt a glimpse of that overwhelming love that He has for me.

He has a place for us and He gently watches over us and helps us find it. I hope that I can gracefully do the same for my son.

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