Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Surprise balloons

Last week Hattie decided she wanted to throw a surprise party for Anna. So during her nap we decorated, complete with balloons. Here is what the party turned into once dad came home:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween 2012

You are probably wondering why I am posting about Halloween on October 29th. Well, up here in Wisconsin (at least Milwaukee) they do things differently. Every town, excepting two, does trick or treating on the Sunday before Halloween. And they do nothing on the actual Halloween night. Go figure. It makes no sense to me! Our neighborhood actually had a block party on Saturday with trick or treating beforehand, so we got to do ours really early.

Anyone know who they are before scrolling down?

Hattie wanted her braids to flip out just like Doc McStuffins, so we had fun playing with wire to make it work.

And most people thought Anna was a bunny. She was quick to correct them that she was Lamby (which she pronounces 'yammy.")

Obviously Niels isn't blue like the real Stuffy, but the costume was free.
 It was about 39 degrees halfway through trick or treating. Hattie was freezing while Anna was nice and toasty in that fluffy costume. So we stopped back by the house to get a coat and mittens, and snatch some pictures with Niels.

Paul and I meant to go as Chilly (the snowman) and Hallie (the hippo nurse) but when I lost the eBay bid on the perfect candy striper uniform, I gave up, not wanting to sew one myself. Maybe next year we will finally all coordinate our costumes.
Gratefully our ward Halloween party was right after the neighborhood block party, so we only had to get dressed up once this year :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Some people have been asking, so here’s my 100% whole wheat bread recipe, from my sister Laura:

The Sponge:
4 1/2 teaspoons Active Dry Yeast or 2 packets
3/4 cup warm Water
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
Mix warm water and yeast, then add whole Wheat Flour; mix vigorously. Let it sit for 45 minutes. It will reach a peak of expansion and then settle back down a little. That's when its time to do this:

The Dough
While mixing add:
2 1/2 cups of warm Water
2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour
Stir very well and add
1/2 cup of Wheat Gluten (Should be at most grocery stores in baking aisle)
2 1/2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1/3 cup Honey
1 1/2 Tablespoon Salt
Mix very well and add slowly:3 cups of Whole Wheat Flour or a bit more until it's a good bread consistency

Knead 10-15 minutes. Place into greased pans and let it rise in a warm place or a slightly warm oven for 1 hour if using regular yeast, or 40 min if using quick bread machine yeast. Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes depending on your loaf size and how your oven works. It should be a very light golden brown, not a dark brown like you see in stores. I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fun around the house

Since having the house under contract, the kids and I had a lot more time to enjoy together. They were thrilled not to be loaded in the van every other day and spend hours driving around Milwaukee. So here are some pictures of the last month...
 The girls have started piling pillows around Niels and calling it his house.
 Frozen custard is a big Wisconsin thing. Every restaurant makes it's own custard (either that or they brew their own beer!). Anna of course loves it, but to be honest, Sheridan's is better!
 We've started exploring some local museums.
 Nothing is quite so nice as when Anna puts herself down for a nap.
 Gratefully, Niels loves being pushed around.

 We built a lot of forts last month.
 And the girls like to have photo shoots with their stuffed animals.

 Laundry baskets make the best train cars.
And Anna is converting to a Packers fan!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How is she five?

Since we closed on our house only 2 days before Hattie's birthday, she didn't get quite as much celebration as she hoped. We were busy packing and moving, and while we still did plenty of fun stuff, she told me that "on a somone's birthday they get to do everything they want to do...not pack stuff!" The morning started with presents...knowing that Paul would likely work til 6:00, I didn't want her to wait all day to open her gifts, especially since we had packed up every single toy in the house and the girls were bored. This girl is spoiled! 

Thanks Erika, Mom, and Laura for the gifts! We did go to the park and eat at Red Robin, so the day wasn't entirely filled with work.

It's hard to believe that she is five already. Since Niels looks so much like her, I often have flashbacks to when she was a baby...when she was 10 months old we bought our house in Lubbock and now, when Niels is 8 months old, we bought our house here. It is crazy to look at her life and see how much has changed in the last 5 years.

Things I love about Hattie:
- She loves to sing. She is always singing a song as she plays or wanders around the house.
- She inherited my curly hair.
- She is very good at saying 'excuse me' before is now to the point that she says excuse me before saying anything to anyone!
- She can make the cheesiest grin.
- She has an amazing memory. She will remember details of events that happened over a year ago - things that I don't necessarily remind her of.
- Recently she has been asking me what everything means...words like uncouth, insulting, and divert...words that she hears from Paul and me or from television.
- She is very tenderhearted. She doesn't like to see anyone upset. And whenever she sees me crying, she tears up too!
- She is a socialite. She is always asking me when her friends can come over. Now that we are in Milwaukee, she is always asking me when we are going to see our friends in Texas. She truly misses them and remembers them.
- Whenever she comes to ask me for something and forgets what it was that she wanted, she'll just say, "Mom, I love you!" and run off again.
- She could eat bean burritos for every meal if I let her. And eat 10 Smarties per day.
- When I ask her if she wants to go to school, she says no, because she loves me so much that she would rather be with me all day.
- She is very helpful with Niels, playing peek-a-boo with him or singing to him whenever he cries.
- She loves taking pictures of herself.

Happy birthday Hatters!

Our recent adventures: Ontario

No summer is complete without a few weeks at Grandma's house, full of cousins from all over. I am grateful that many of my siblings live close to my parents, and that those of us who live farther away arrange to be in Ontario for at least a few days at the same time every summer. It is always the highlight of the summer for my kids.

I think we have spent the last 4 Fourth of Julys at my parents. Having that many sparklers among 26 grandkids can be a little scary.
Sophie is right in between Hattie and Anna, making her the perfect playmate for both of them

My mom has a great selection of Berenstein Bear books, which get strewn about the house all summer. She is great at reading to them every day.
We drove up to McCall, and while I was packing the car and getting ready to go, Hattie made this treat for me. Notice the Ritz cracker hoisted on the cup of craisens like a lemon wedge. Apparently she has picked up bits and pieces of the Food Network shows that we love! Presentation is key!

Of course, Grandpa's chickens are always a highlight and chicken races are the most fun. Each kid grabbed a chicken, then they chased them all over the lawn while trying to get their chicken back in the coop.

Niels was 4 months old here...crazy to see how he changes so fast!
Paul spent the first 2 weeks with us in Ontario, but then he had to start work mid-June. So Niels and I drove 27 hours with him across the country. This was the GPS when we got on I-80 outside of Odgen, Utah...depressing to be on the same road for 875, only to veer to the left and stay on I-80!
We drove 17 hours the first day, stopping in Lincoln, NE so that I could see one of my best friends, Melissa, before she headed off to work. It was a quick visit, but I was so glad to see her. We also detoured in Iowa and stopped to see Laura and Aaron for a few hours. After arriving in Milwaukee, Niels and I stayed for 1 day before flying back to the girls in Ontario.

We were able to complete a session of swimming lessons while we were there...both girls loved it! I did notice that Hattie performs better for another teacher than for me - when I asked her to show me what she learned when we were home in Mom's pool, she would suddenly be scared and not do anything.
My mom and I sang a musical number in church one day...this is Hattie's portrayal!

She must be really tired to fall asleep like that.
And sitting at the pool a bird landed on my dad's head! He was even able to snatch it in his hands and let the kids pet it.
We also held a sawdust dig - we threw in a bunch of coins and let the kids search for them. They loved the mess and trying to find their own money :)

Paul's side of the family had an Iverson reunion over in Preston, Idaho while we were in Ontario. Not excited to drive 5 hours alone with my kids to only attend the reunion for 24 hours (I had other commitments in Ontario preventing me staying longer) my dad offered to fly us over, since he had some business to do on that side of the state. My girls loved it! I was worried the small plane might be a bit scary for them, but they loved being able to change seats and wear the earphones to talk with Grandpa.

The reunion was "Angry Bird" themed, so each team build their own fortress and the other teams had a bunch of catapults and trebuchets, scoring points for the number of pieces you knocked down.
Hattie didn't want to get out of the big hamster ball at the lake.
It was a great summer...too fast. The kids and I finally left mid-July, happy to be reunited with Paul after 4 weeks apart.