Halloween 2009 Fifties Style

Family picture halloween 2009 blog

We were so excited this year to have a theme again for Halloween. I have been lax the last couple of years, so this is the first in a while that the whole family has participated. Brianna started it out with her poodle skirt from her daddy daughter dance, and it spun off from there. Aaron, Austin, and Scott were perfect fifties greasers, complete with this cute little leather jacket for Scotty. He looked so adorable. The girls all wore different colored matching poodle skirts. Brianna’s was black, Brooke’s was dark pink, Erika’s was blue, and Abby’s was light pink. I think the funnest part was watching the girls be so excited about their costumes. They would ask me everyday for weeks before if I had made their skirt yet. When I did finally have them all done they would wear them all day twirling around and dancing in the front room. We even found these cool cat eye glasses at JoAnna’ on clearance for 70 cents, and a cool fold out pocket knife comb for Austin! We were a stylin’ crew!

Scott black and white halloween blog Abby black and white halloween blog Erika black and white halloween blog Brooke black and white halloween blog Austin black and white halloween blog Brianna sock hop eyes blog tint

Scott decided that Halloween was as perfect day as any to make his walking debut. He has been taking steps here and there for awhile, but is finally getting to hang of walking without help more and more. This picture of Aaron helping him walk is one of my favorites. The rest of Halloween for Scott was mostly spent cuddled up trying to stay dry and warm while the rest of the group trick or treated. I don’t think he even tasted a piece of candy. By next year I’m sure he will understand the fun costumes=candy.Scott holding Aaron's hand black and white blog

A picture of the proud fifties parents. Don’t die of shock that I actually put a picture of myself on here. I love to take pictures for a reason-so I can be behind the camera and not in the pictures. With that said, I do love this picture of Aaron and I.Aaron and monae black and white halloween blog

My tough guys. And yes, we planned that black eye on Austin perfectly just for Halloween. Not really, but the little “baseball mishap” happened to come in handy. Austin liked his tough guy imagine, and more than anything his low maintenance costume. He loves Halloween, just not the costumes all the time. When we explained that all he would have to wear was his normal pants, normal shirt, and shoes-he was in.

Tough guys blog

Group shot halloween blog

The weather the week working up to Halloween was not good. We had had rain almost all week, and after getting poured on at Austin’s soccer game that morning, we prepped the kids that trick or treating may have to take a bit of a creative twist. We were prepared with a movie, a log for the fire, and bags of candy from the store to have our own trick or treating from our bedroom doors. The rain held off for us to take pictures and we thought we would be in the clear. After driving to our friends neighborhood and unloading everyone, the rain started. It was just drizzling, but after a few minutes it turned cold and the kids were wet. Scott was tied up warm in our friend Becky’s karate costume, Abby was on Aaron’s back under his coat, and I had the stroller for back up of weary trick or treaters. It wasn’t long before we were about to stop when we saw our friends the Johnson’s show up. The kids suddenly got a second wind and finished out the streets. Aaron went back for the car and the little ones loaded up to stay warm while waiting for the older kids.  After we were all wet and had had enough, we went home, put a nice fire in, watched a movie, and enjoyed the treats. It was a very wet, but very fun night.


Erika turns 5


Erika smiling black and white blog

Things we love about Erika at 5:

  • She still has a love for milk. She is down from about half a gallon a day to about a fourth a gallon. This girl loves milk! She still loves to have her hair in a “hair thing” when she drinks it.  She plays with her hair rubberband - flicking and snapping it with her finger until she’s done drinking, then pulls it out, throws it on the floor, and then drifts off to sleep. She still prefers to have her milk in a sippy cup as well. I know five is pretty old, but I am weak in this area. I am pretty confident that she will be able to kick the habit before she packs her bags for college though.
  • Her long curly blond hair. She lets me brush it more now and actually put bows in it. She likes to do her own hair in the bathroom-usually getting it soaking wet from the sink and placing a clip right in front.
  • She chubby little cheeks. Erika has the softest cheeks I have ever felt! They are as soft as newborn skin. I think her secret must be all that milk. She humors us as we all kiss on them everyday.
  • Her love of pasta.  She would eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner….and sometimes she does! She likes it with alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese on it. She also likes chicken tenders, milk, fruit snacks, strawberries, pepperoni, bananas, macaroni and cheese, sausage, and toast.
  • She loves to practice her reading.
  • She LOVES to write. She can write her name and everyone else in the family’s name as well. She can recognize almost all the letters, and does really good at writing if I spell the word for her.
  • She loves to play babies with Abby. They spend hours pushing their dolls around in strollers, carrying them, and feeding them with their little kitchen stuff. Their most recent twist involves taking all of their baby stuff into Aaron and my room and dumping it in big piles. I don’t exactly understand the playing part of it, but it keeps them quite occupied for a long time. Definitely worth the mess.
  • Abby and her also love to play doggies. They get bowls of water and lick out of them, and throw goldfish crackers to each other to fetch. It usually works well until Scott grabs the goldfish bowl and spills them everywhere. They then bark mean barks at him until he either bites them or just laughs.
  • She loves to cuddle with mommy at naptime in mommy’s bed. “It’s just so cozy!” she tells me everyday.
  • She loves her brothers! Her and Austin are outside playing buddies everyday! She waits for him to come home from school so they can ride scooters together and climb trees. She loves to try to carry Scott around and tackle him to the ground and hug him.
  • She loves to watch home videos.
  • She takes ballet once a week, and loves to play ballet class with Abby. They both get on their ballet leotards and then Erika teaches Abby everything she learned from the week before.
  • She learned to ride a two wheeler bike this last year, and loves to ride with the big kids on bike rides.
  • Her testimony. It has been fun to see her testimony develop throughout this year. On fast Sundays she will bear it at home with us. She now has added that she has a testimony of Joseph Smith and the church.  She is in the CTR 5 class at church and loves to sing.

              Erika sitting up smiling blog      Erika with hands on chin blog      Erika with five fingers up blog


Erika by window blog

For Erika’s birthday she decided to have a cookie cake. She loved to wear her new “Hootie Hoo shirt” that mommy made for her. It has an owl on it and says, Look HOOOs five. She got “Click, Clack Moo, Cows That Type” for her birthday book, a Barbie scooter, a Leap Frog keyboard game for the TV, a stuffed cow and cute milk card from Aunt Michelle and Uncle Bill, a drawing pad and new pens from Becky,  and lots of cards and love from grandparents and other family members far away. She loved her little cow and it soon had a prominent new spot on her bed right next to her cow birthday book. 

We Love you Erika!

Erika's birthday book blog

Erika's gift from Aunt Michelle blog


Best Friend Visits

Last month one of my best friends came to visit and I got to take some pictures of her family. I love that she lives closer now so we can hang out more. Here are a few of my favorites for her to preview. Hope you enjoy Amy!!

Libby blog


Libby laughing blog


Ben blog


Ben blog 2


Ben family pic blog


Mike and Amy blog 1

 Mike and Amy  blog 2

Ritter family pic blog


Turtle Time

The kids have this cute book they got from Grandma called Turtle Time. I think of it every time I see a turtle, and it came to mind when the kids caught their latest creature. In the book the girl tries to make a house for the turtle, and give him her kind of food to eat, and dress him up. Imagine all that times 5 kids. This poor little turtle had the patience of a saint. We actually had two turtle, but this picture is of turtle#2.

turtle 1

Erika found turtle#1 out in the road, and it was quickly captured and made at home in our little red wagon. Complete with sand, leaves, sticks, water, and some carrots-the turtle’s new home was ready for him to move in. He wasn’t too excited to be here, and after unsuccessfully getting him to eat we decided we should let him go. When we came back from church though, he had escaped and found his way to freedom.

The next day on the way to school we were driving down our street and Austin spots another turtle-turtle#2. He jumps out of the van, grabs it and runs it back to the house for safe keeping. This one was a little smaller then the other one, and much more active. We decided that the other one was a grandpa turtle, and this one must have surely been a teenager turtle. It may have had something to do with the fact that the girls flooded the wagon and maybe he was just swimming around wildly to get afloat. He would perch himself up on the edge of the wagon and hang out to watch us. turtle 2

The kids babied their new turtle, but after multiple attempts to get him to eat, he wouldn’t. So we said our good-byes and sent him on his way to enjoy the world in his own way and time-turtle time that is.


Date with Erika

Tonight was Erika’s special night to have a date with mom, and we had such a blast. We went out to eat at Red Robin, and she was taking it all in. We got to have a small booth all to ourselves, right by the kitchen. She watched the cooks make the food, and yell out orders that were up. She watched Red Robin make the rounds, but got a little shy when he came to talk to her. She order macaroni and cheese to eat and milk to drink (always her drink of choice). I had a yummy quesadilla and tortilla soup. She got a balloon for a souvenir and had one on one time with me to play all the games on her placemat. After we ate we went to Joann fabrics to get some stuff to finish her Halloween costume, and then on to Old Navy for some shopping.

We found some cute t-shirts for her, and were about to go check out when she insisted she try them on. We had a little fashion show and she was giddy with excitement that she was a big girl trying on clothes just like her big sisters. When we went outside from Old Navy the windows of the store were all foggy from the humidity, so she wrote her name all over the windows. So cute. She saw how dark it was out and said, “Wow, this is really a ‘late night’ (out little term for getting to stay up extra late) isn’t it mom?” Thank you fall weather for making the days shorter and bringing a little extra joy to a four year old.

Next stop-Barnes and Noble for the best deserts in town we have found. They have great double chocolate cookies, the most amazing brownies,and small chocolate mouse cakes. Yummy!! We picked up our deserts and then went outside to the gazebo next door to enjoy our treats.

All the way home she kept saying how much fun she had. Me too Erika-babe. Me too.


After school snack anyone?

My kids are always begging me to make them an after school snack. I usually forget to have one out and ready when they get home, so I end up struggling to find something to appease them that is also somewhat healthy. I found this cute idea a while back in the Family Fun magazine (LOVE that magazine). A fun way to end out the school day.

pencil afterschool snack blog

  • Cheddar cheese cut into  long square chunks. String cheese is what the magazine recommended, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I just worked with what I had.
  • Bugle snack chips for the top
  • Chocolate or small raisin pieces for the lead. I dipped the bugles in Nutella for ours.
  • Small pieces of gum for the erasers. The article used small pieces of bologna, but we aren’t big bologna eaters here, so we went for anything pink we had on hand. Gum was the choice this time.

Assemble all pieces together, add a sweet note, and listen intently for joyous shouts of, “Mom, these are awesome!”


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

sI have looked for years for a great pumpkin cookie recipe. Last year I finally found one. Thank you Tami for posting it on your blog and sharing such a yummy recipe! We love it. The first week we made it three times it was so good. This year I couldn't wait for October to roll around so I would have an excuse to start making all my pumpkin recipes again. This is the recipe we used for our General Conference FHE. Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 box of Spice cake

1 small can of pumpkin (About 15oz)

1 bag of chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together and drop in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!

General Conference Week

This last week working up to General Conference has been one of the funnest weeks at our house. The excitement was so high, you would have thought Christmas was coming! My kids, Erika especially, would get this giddy little look on her face and say, "I just can't wait until Conference!!"
We started out the week with a Conference kickoff during FHE. As Erika put it, "It is the night yet when we get really excited about General Conference?" Yes, Monday was the night. Austin constructed a conference center model out of legos, complete with the twelve apostles and First Presidency out of lego men, the choir conductor, the organ pipes, and flowers around the big podium. He gave a great lesson about how we receive the words from Heavenly Father at conference. We turned out the lights and he shined a flashlight down on thelego men showing that they receive the light from Heavenly Father. He then had a mirror that he placed by the men that reflected the light, or words of our Father in Heaven onto us. It was a great example showing that the words they speak are truly from the Lord.
We passed out our Conference Packets so they could get a sneak peek of the fun ahead, and reviewed some of the General Authorities that we would be seeing. Brianna and Becky made up an awesome song  to the tune of Gilligans Island about all the past latter day prophets, and then we ate our favorite pumpkin cookie treats for refreshments.
Everyday after that Erika would ask multiple times, "How many more days until General Conference?" The excitement was high at our house for the talks and traditions that surround this time of year.
Saturday finally came and we surrounded ourselves around the computer to relish in the Spirit. The kids set up their small table in front of the couch, had all the treats lined up, crayons and markers ready, all eager to start filling out their packets. I loved Saturday morning session. I kept listening to each talk and thinking, this is the best talk, only to hear the next one and say the same thing. I felt like I came away with a grateful and very full heart. The two hours seemed to fly by, and before we knew it, a fourth of conference was already over. The kids took a break to play outside, have a lunch picnic from Subway and play at the park, while I was able to get a short nap. The afternoon session was filled with just as much excitement as we continued to be spiritually fed.
Sunday morning Aaron let me sleep in for awhile, and then took the kids for a walk while I prepared our special traditional Conference Breakfast. Muffins, orange juice, fancy bowls of fruit, cute place setting cards for everyone, and questions about the conference sessions from Saturday  decorated the table. The kids came in from their walk and were so excited!! Cheers of, "Mom, this is the best! I love conference! I could smell the yummy breakfast all the way from outside!"filled the air. It was a wonderful morning to review what we had learned the day before, and enjoy the spirit that it brought to our home. Our special treat this year for answering the questions was cinnamon rolls, hidden in the oven again.
For the morning session the kids drew on large pieces of poster board the things they had learned from conference, and continued to write in their packets. Austin drew an awesome picture of the Savior and hung it up for us to look at during the rest of conference. During the break we got out the legos to all play with, me included, while daddy took a nap. We finished out the afternoon session, and were able to end the day with a nice family dinner and night of playing charades.

Austin drawing of Jesus_edited-1
I am so grateful for honorable priesthood holders who are in tune with the Spirit to bring us these talks. The humble feelings of their hearts is so apparent as they share their testimonies with us. I love that my children are able to feel that same spirit. There is no place I would rather have been this last weekend then listening to their words. The countdown now starts again Erika. Only 5 months, 3 weeks, and six more days to go until the next conference! We cant wait!


Mom and Daughter Date

Tonight Brianna and I got to go out and have a one on one date-just the two of us. We planned it go get our nails and toes done, have dinner, and do a little shopping. Neither of us have ever went to have manicure or pedicures done before, and it was a ton of fun. While they did our toes we got a foot massage, tried not to laugh when they were kind of tickling our feet, and talked the whole time. It was so much fun to talk about girl stuff and have each others undivided attention.
After getting french manicures, we went to eat at KFC, Brianna choice, and then went to shop for some clothes. We tried on clothes, laughed, had fun telling middle school secrets, and loved being together. Thank you Brianna for a fun night.