Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cookie Decorating Party

Since I had the week off from work, my running friends and I wanted to get our kids together! We have nine kids between us and that limits where we can go. We were also worried about the crowds because it was only a few days before Thanksgiving. I decided to host a cookie decorating playdate! I have had that on my to-do list for some time now and I finally got to do it! I'm definitely going to make this an annual thing! After last year's disaster of inedible cookies on Christmas Eve, a friend of mine sent me her sugar cookie recipe and it was SO delicious.

 I was trying to think about how to make the sprinkles accessible to everyone and decided on muffin tins. I let the kids use spoons or their fingers to decorate them.
 I also served peppermint hot chocolate with small marshmallow toppings. It was a hit! I used this recipe from Jelly Toast Blog. I'm pretty sure Connor's favorite part was the "coffee cups" that made him feel like a grownup!
 I wasn't sure how many cookies to make and so I just went ahead and figured I'd just make as many as I could from the recipe. I knew I'd have a lot left over.
 For the frosting, I debated using pastry bags with tips, but the kids' ages were 2, 3, 4 and 5 and I figured they were still pretty little to figure out how to squeeze them appropriately. So I went with plastic knives and bowls of colored homemade frosting (red, candy apple green, Christmas green, and purple).
 I actually would like to do an adult cookie decorating party. Is that weird? It really was so much fun thinking of fun designs. Seriously, though.
Have you ever done a Cookie Decorating Party? Anything you loved that I should do next time?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

12 Excuses Not to Date Your Husband

My husband and I lead a crazy life. We have three children, who are all less than two years apart. We are members of a Mothers of Multiples Group. We have preschool activities to support and contribute to, and a kindergartner with homework, parent conference, PTA meetings, and events! We both work full time jobs. We have a house to take care of, relationships with friends to nurture, and family to spend time with. I run four days a week and do races several times a year. It is an understatement to say that we are busy, busy, busy. By my count, we probably have at least 12 viable excuses for why we don't have time to nurture our marriage. 12 excuses. That's a lot.

But we also know that we NEED to nurture our relationship. Just google the statistics of how many marriages survive. Seriously. It was just me and Mr. Howard when we first got married, and it'll just be the two of us long after the kids move out. It isn't always easy to put our marriage first and, honestly, sometimes we aren't great at it. But we have a deal that we have at least one date a week. Most of those dates are at-home dates, but we were lucky enough to sneak in an Out of the House Date Night a few days ago! 

My mom asked if she could hang out with Connor one day this past week and he was so excited! My darling husband asked me if I wanted to go see Hunger Games MOCKINGJAY Part 1 that night and we decided to go! My amazing brother and sister-in-law watched the kids.

Beforehand we went out to Wingstop and met my brother and sister-in-law for dinner!
Then, afterwards, hubby and I headed off to the theater while the kids went home to bed.
Despite the long list of excuses I could give to you as to why it's impossible to Date Your Husband when you have three children and busy lives, we choose to find a way to make it work. We choose a happy marriage over excuses.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In this family, we dance; we play; we build forts; we make messes...

My job outside of the home, as a teacher, is hard. So very hard. I could fill a book with the stories I have heard from students and the experiences I've had. But there are some amazing parts about being a teacher, too. I do think it was what I was completely meant to be. But, honestly, now that I am a mom - the most special thing is that I get to spend holidays with my family. Having a husband who works in the retail world, I can tell you, I do not take time off for the holidays for granted. At all.
I am beyond thankful that I am a Mommy. I prayed for this for a year. I wasn't sure my prayers would come true. And when I look at the faces of these three littles who often make me feel like I need to be in a padded room, I remind myself how blessed I am. I think losing a child gives you perspective. Perspective about what noise means. It means your kids are here. Perspective about silliness. It means your kids are growing. Perspective about wiggly bodies. It means your kids are learning. My philosophy? Let them be little. Behaved, of course. Polite, of course. But little. Which is why in this family, we dance; we play; we build forts; we make messes; we giggle; we wiggle; we give kisses; and we ask for forgiveness A LOT (usually about 1,000 times a day!).
This holiday break is especially amazing because my kids are old enough to understand the excitement of time off from school! We kicked off our holiday break on Friday night with roasted marshmallows with Uncle Colin and Aunt Becca! Oh and with Nova Pup. ;-)
The kids are enthralled with real fireplaces, since in California any new homes that are built have to have electric fireplaces (and since we built our house last year, we do not have a real one!)
Aunt Becca snapped this one of me and the kids. Obviously marshmallow sticks double as swords. Duh.
 On Saturday hubby had to work and I had one less kid (Isabella spent the night at my brother's) and so I took advantage of only having two kids and went grocery shopping!
 I do think I get the best of both worlds. I get to work in my dream job (most days it's a dream) and then I get long breaks doing the most noble of jobs as a stay-at-home mom.
 My favorite parts of being a stay-at-home Mom are all the mundane, normal things I get to do with them. Snuggling on the couch...letting them use my legs as a race car track...making pies with them...going to the park...taking them on walks...making them pancakes for breakfast (not very well, I should add)...and watching How to Train Your Dragon 2 for the hundredth time (it's replaced Frozen, in our house).
I am blessed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

No Bake Pumpkin Pies That Even your Three-Year-Old Twins can Make on Their Own

Do you want to do something fun with your littles? How about mini no-bake pumpkin pies?
Every year for Thanksgiving, my amazing kindergarten teacher friend and I make these with our classes as a Buddy Activity (7th graders and Kinders). She always has the best ideas and I am ridiculously lucky to have her as my buddy class partner. This was the first year, however, I thought my own littles could actually do this together! My Thanksgiving break was the perfect opportunity to do a little "cooking"!

All you need is:
Milk - 1 spoonfull
Pumpkin Puree - 3 spoonfulls
Vanilla pudding mik - 1 spoonfull
A couple shakes of cinnamon
Cool Whip - 2 spoonfulls
Mini Pie Crusts (I've also handmade these before and they're ridiculously easy!)

There are about a million variations of this recipe and I sort of tweaked it even from the original one I started with - because my three-year-olds don't understand tablespoons and teaspoons and I really wanted this activity to be kid-centered. There will come a time when they will need to learn how to measure all their ingredients - but this was not the time. I can vouch that these turn out great without exact measurements. Seriously, there's really no wrong way to make these!
All they do is spoon each of the ingredients one-at-a-time into a little bowl, stir, and then dump their stirred concoction into their pie crusts. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. I even made them a quick little recipe on a 3x5 index card that they could follow, without having to read (since I've got a five-year-old - who can read a little bit - and two three-year-olds who can't read at all).
Oh and then, of course, they eat it! My kids love cool whip, so I let them put a dollop of cool whip on top too, but if you have whip cream, you can put that on top too!
It's best if you eat the little mini pie crusts with each bite. Delicious! Even my hubby ate one!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Drink a sip of wine for every pair of underwear you fold...

Bet you're curious about that blog title, huh? An explanation is coming...What is with my post titles lately involving alcohol? Eek. Can you tell what kind of weeks I've been having?

I am still catching up from my week, but don't want to miss a couple recaps!

Hubby thought he was being quite funny at sushi, acting like he was impaired. But the joke is on him - because I'm posting this! :-) My brother and sister-in-law came out to sushi with us and we had such yummy food!

 Last week we had a little tummy bug hit our house! I was sick and then Connor threw up a couple times. I did a bit of research and one of the things they suggested was cleaning all your clothes out the hamper, because clothes can spread the illness (especially my kids - they'll throw a sweater they haven't worn in the top of the pile and I'll take it out because it's clean...but now it's already touched the dirty clothes). I stripped every kids' bedding and did about four loads of laundry just with bedding. Then, I did 8 loads of clothing laundry on Monday and Tuesday and washed about 40 pairs of underpants. Holy Moly Zoly.

I joked on instagram that I played the game "take a sip of wine for every pair of underwear I fold." I didn't exactly do a 1:1 correlation with sips of wine, but I will tell you that I got drunk after 40 pairs of underpants. Drunk. On a Tuesday night. Ridiculous. Eeek. Perhaps I'll keep the drinking games to weekends.
 Also last week, I went and got my hair done. I am not sure very many people will be able to relate to this, but I just always feel so much better after re-entering the world of blondes. Blondes do really have more fun, you know?
 People are always surprised to find out I'm not a real blonde. I think I was supposed to be, but somehow I got brunette hair - dark brunette hair. Funny story...I actually wore a blonde wig for a play I was in in high school and EVERYONE (and I really mean EVERYONE) told me I looked good as a blonde - teachers, classmates, friends' parents. I have never in my life gotten more compliments than when I wore that blonde wig. At that point, I started going lighter and lighter. I've been dying my hair for 15 years now, so most people who know me, have only ever known me as a blonde.
 My mother-in-law always sends the kids adorable clothes that she's handmade or appliqued. She sent us these adorable chipmunk outfits and the kids are obsessed. Don't tell anyone, but they've actually worn them two days in a row (without being washed! Gasp!). I can't pry them off their bodies.
 Last week, hubby and I put the kids to bed and watched Begin Again. Such a cute movie. I was impressed.
At the beginning of the week, I had a few rough days. My students were giving me a run for my money. My kids were trying every ounce of patience I had. And I felt like I wanted to stomp my feet and throw a temper tantrum to get anyone and everyone to listen to me. I recorded this in the car on Tuesday and posted it to Instagram (@thehowardbunch) with the caption, "Stupid Tuesday." Pretty much sums it up.
Connor had his very first parent conference on Monday and it went great! It was fun (and weird) to be on the other end of the table. I am SO ridiculously thankful for his amazing teacher and all the teachers at my kids' school who watch and care for my littles while they're away from me. Before I became a teacher myself, I'm not sure I completely appreciated how difficult a job it is and I know that with a village of professionals, he will get so much more than I could ever give to him by myself. I am so thankful.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mimosas, Beer Pong, and a Week that Never Ends. I'm tired.

I have a lot to catch up on. I have had the week that never ends. I've come home with a headache almost daily. It's that time of year. I'm fairly certain every Thanksgiving and Christmas season, I start to question why on earth I am a teacher. Usually, that goes away after the holidays and then comes back full force in May. Ha!

Thankfully, running has been my sanity! I got new shoes (Ravenna 5's) last week and I've already put 18.1 miles on them. On Saturday, I laced up and went out with my group for an easy four miles!

After our weekend run, we went out for breakfast and mimosas. I had the Naughty Cupid, which cracks me up every time I order it, but Mmmm it is delicious!!!
Hubby and I picked up his Christmas present on Saturday and he was over the moon about it! It's a home tap system for beer, so that we can have beer on tap in our fridge!
That day we went to my sister-in-law and brother's house, where my mom and brother beat my little sister and our friend in beer pong. Yep. Clearly they know how to party. What? You don't play beer pong at your family dinners?
Sunday morning, I woke up bright and early for another 6 mile run with friends (I'm the one taking the picture). The trail was absolutely beautiful!
Then, we spent the morning offroading. We are having major problems with Mr. Howard's car and we may need to sell our land rover, so we're trying to enjoy it while we can.
So much fun!
Lately I've been on this kick lately about trying to think about gifts that won't go to waste. I've mentioned in posts before that I'm so not a fan of all the stuff kids get. I might feel better about it if my kids actually played with toys for longer than 5 minutes, but they don't. We had a birthday party to go to Sunday evening and I was trying to think of a gift we could get a five-year-old that would be fun and memorable. We came up with a movie themed present! We got him popcorn, a popcorn tub, and movie tickets for a movie outing with his mom or dad. Hopefully he gets to pick out a fun movie and enjoys it!
We spent that evening at Wacky Tacky, which is an indoor bounce house, playhouse place that was amazing. The kids had SUCH a great time! Even Miss Isabella Lynn, who actually went up to the man at the face-painting station and asked for her face to be painted. Whoa Nelly, friends. I'd call that progress.
It was a great weekend spent together as a family!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween Recap and the Mean Mama Award Goes to Me

This year Halloween fell on a Friday. I was so thankful for that because (a) I didn't have to try to teach middle schoolers the day after Halloween and (b) I didn't have to worry about Connor's behavior at school the day after Halloween. I never really liked Halloween as an adult, until I had kids. And now I love it.

 My mom has this big inflatable cat that lights up and moves its head back and forth. It freaks the kids out, which makes me laugh every time. Mean Mama Award goes to me, of course.
 When we moved up North near my parents so that I could get my master's degree 10 years ago, I never dreamed that my brother would move up here years later...or that my sister and I would stay living up here. I don't think it's very common that a set of parents do a cross-state move and have all of their adult children follow them and all live in the same city. Miraculous, really. Halloween night, my mom makes a family dinner and then my siblings, hubby, and I take the little ones trick-or-treating in my parents' neighborhood.
 10 bonus points if you can spot Batman in this photo! My sister, hubby, kids, and me:
 Isabella fits in perfectly with my mom's Pumpkin decorations!
 Showing off our Superhero Capes. I was Super Mom (you know, pretty much just my normal costume!).
 I forgot my nice camera at home, so I didn't get any trick-or-treating photos. But I do love this snapshot from my iPhone, taken before we left the house!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Superhero Family

Every year my Mothers of Multiples Group has a Halloween Parade and it's the perfect opportunity to dress my kids in their costumes in the daylight and get photos!

Every Halloween we go with a theme and this year we chose Superheroes! I just picked out a few themes I thought Connor would like and then let him pick his costume first. Based on what he chose, I gave the catalog to the twins and let them pick out whichever superhero costume they wanted. I don't know if I will be able to get another year of themes out of them or if I'll have to let the themes go, but I'll play it by ear next year! The babies' first year they dressed as sushi and soy sauce. The second year they were a Flintstone Family. And then this year superheroes!

 My little Superhero Twins
This is the first year they haven't worn handmade costumes since the babies were born. Isabella's costume was from Chasing Fireflies.
 Aiden's costume was from Amazon.
 And Connor's was from Amazon too!
 They were all most excited about their capes.
They kill me with their cuteness!
 It was pretty cold at the park. And all the kids wanted to do was cling to our legs and cry. Poor babes. It was probably in the 40's with a LOT of wind. Boo!
 All the kids are always SO adorable! For the parade part, we walk around the park and there are people passing out candy at different spots along the path.
 My kids were pretty darn excited about the candy this year.
 Despite the cold weather, it was worth it! I don't get to go to enough Mothers of Multiples Events, but it's nice chatting with Mamas like me - even if only for a couple minutes!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...