Baseball and no-bake cookies

I’m not sure if chocolate no bake cookies (3 of them) can count for a good breakfast…they are made with mostly oatmeal (and butter, sugar, peanut butter and chocolate and more sugar). But that’s how my day began. Emotional eating is a big struggle for me and today I lost the battle before it even started. In case you’ve never indulged in this great delicacy, here is the recipe-you won’t be disappointed (and this coming from one who truly doesn’t even like chocolate):

Chocolate No Bake Cookies

* 2 cups white sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 3 cups oats

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, peanut butter and oats. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow cookies to cool for at least 1 hour. Store in an airtight container.

Our morning improved with my off the cuff large scale grocery list project. I have started shopping almost exclusively from the weekly sale ads, only buying things on sale and planning my meals around the bargains. So I thought I would have the kids look at the circulars, covered the table with butcher paper, gave them lots of pens and asked them to draw me a grocery list. My only requirement was that they choose nourishing things, no junk. They had no trouble sticking to it and had loads of fun, they drew the first letter of their items next to it, in case I had trouble deciphering what the item was. This occupied them for almost an hour and a half and spurned all kinds of great conversation about food, letters, money/budget, etc. Here are my little list makers:

Not sure what Kyler listed but he was eager to “cut cut” as he told me and quickly chopped his section of the list into pieces. The older two carefully cut out each item and made me a nice pile so I could carry it easily to the store…and you better believe I will. Rylee told someone later in the day “I ordered dog treats for Maggie on Mama’s list today”. After all they went through to make it, I won’t disappoint when Friday shopping rolls around.

As if the zoo weren’t enough yesterday, we were invited to attend a Mariner’s game with dinner included for free tonight. We decided to make a go of it although both a tad anxious with all the kids in tow. It went off without a hitch and we even won a big prize from the event’s organizer, pretty fun. Caleb asked around the 4th inning, “Mama, is Daddy ever gonna get out there and play tonight?”. I laughed and said no but one inning later he asked again “Is Daddy really not gonna play at all?”.  (note the huge crowd at the game)

Round 2-out with four

It took a couple weeks to gear myself up for trekking out again with my brood of four. But we handled to zoo today very well. More open spaces to run is what made it so much easier.

Berries? I have no idea what these berries below are but before I knew it Rylee was eating one-she won’t do that again-they stained the whole sleeve of her shirt as she quickly spit it out.

Group hug with Caleb and Rylee and our friends Thomas and Aidan-no one cried, amazing!

Are you tired of this face yet? I’m not-this is trademark Kyler…

Mental note for next time-don’t let Rylee wear light khaki pants to the zoo to climb trees in-they will never be the same…

Cousin fun

Rylee had the great privilege of feeding her baby cousin a bottle today while we watched him for a bit.

Holding hands…

Papa doing a ‘weight test’ with the babies-Isaac won!

Sleeping Isaac in his cousin’s arms.

Rylee and Isaac laying on the couch together, he slept there for a half an hour!

This is for you Steph-isn’t he cute?

Shaving cream

Since our sunny days are numbered, we ventured outside for our ‘sensory’ experience of the day-good, old fashioned shaving cream on the table. After exploring it’s texture and smell and ‘drawing’ things in it, what followed was the downward progression that I happily watched unfold:

Exploring with the cream…

Cream in the hair…

Cream in the toes…

Getting all the cream hosed off…

Ups and downs

After two great days of school and lots of school excitement, we struggled through two days of a sick daddy at home and didn’t get much of anything done. Here are some pictures of our ‘ups’ this week:

Caleb in his groove during our music time

Artist number 1

Artist number 2

Artist number 3

This picture sums up all of our time spent homeschooling so far…Kyler wanting to be right in the middle of anything and everything his older brother and sister are doing. This will be one of my greatest challenges of the year. Learning to embrace his curiosity and intense desire to be included and allow him to soak up what I am doing with Rylee and Caleb. He already, in the past few days has learned to identify 4 colors, count things (one, two, three) along with dozens of new words from mimicking his siblings and me. I am amazed.

Lastly, my brave sister who after already undergoing a 26 hour labor that ended in a c-section, had to have gallbladder surgery this week as well. The fruit of her labor?

As if he’s not cute enough all by himself, here is him AND his darling cousin Audrey on our grass this evening:

My fav of Audrey from tonight…

Okay, so I lied when I said ‘lastly’ earlier. If you wonder why we have so very many pictures up on our blog, it’s mostly because my little sister Stephanie is in school in Nashville and I know seeing pictures helps her feels more ‘in the loop’ and if I were her, I would want to see lots of pictures too. Posting them here is easier than me mailing them to her….plus, rumor has it my grandma reads our blog in Virginia too (but she’ll be here soon to see her “great-grands” as she calls them, in person in just a few weeks!). This last pic is as close as we’ve been to capturing the 4 together, note Caleb’s hand moving so fast it’s blurry-he’s got a fist full of grass and just after I snapped this, he covered Audrey’s nearly bald little head with it.

Northwest Natives

There is no doubt about it, we are raising full blooded, native to the Northwest children. Friday we went down the local market for the last in a series of BBQ dinners and live music. It poured rain into Rylee’s hood as we huddled under the too-small tent meant to provide shade from the blazing sun not a downpour.

Today, we set out for a free ferry that transports people to a tiny, man made island where we spent the morning enjoying the cloudy, dark day.

Where is Caleb?

Much awaited fun with Nana and Papa

Rylee enjoyed building a princess castle and playing with the horses and knights while Caleb and Kyler enjoyed stomping on her moat, knocking the horses over, trying to run away with the knight and crashing into the castle with a giant monster truck. Poor girl! Thank goodness God gave Audrey to her, they will delight together in all things girl before I know it.

You know you have a few kids when…

You buy a 20 pound box of peaches to can them for winter….and you don’t can them immediately and all the sudden they are almost gone, in 2 days. Kyler kept opening the front door today to ask me for another ‘ball, no peel, please’. Four times over, this happened in the course of just a few hours:

Peach eating, serious business. He never cracked a smile. Just focused on loving the peach and smashing his face into it.

“It’s amazing!”

I was in the driveway and heard the kids screaming, at the top of their little lungs-“It’s amazing, it’s amazing mom, come look!” They came running towards me, to show me the amazing thing.

Caleb ‘caught’ this bee in our lavender in the front yard. He was so proud. It was amazing how beautiful this little creature was and that Caleb held it on his finger for 15 minutes.

He won’t look up at me for the picture, too engaged with the bee!

Last week’s getaway

Super fun, giant fort built from driftwood

Audrey and her cousin Isaac-they are just 6 weeks apart in age!

A lot of love…

Kyler in the fort

When in doubt, grab the hood (and mind the newborn baby in the front pack too)!

Dress up fun

Any guess at what we are so intently watching?

In the undeveloped lot next door to the house we stayed at there was a deer grazing in the morning. We watched her with delight as she nibbled on leaves right outside the kitchen window. We squealed when we discovered her baby was nestled in the grass nearby. They spent all morning sleeping, eating and licking each other while we enjoyed every minute of watching them.

Got Gentian Violet?

Well, as strange as she may look, Audrey is not bothered by her joker-like purple mouth. Gentian violet is an age old remedy for many things and in Audrey’s case is treating the thrush (yeast overgrowth) in her mouth. The alternative was heavy duty anti-fungal prescription drugs given orally for 14 day-yikes! We are happy to deal with the purple mess for 3 days instead. The kids think it is paint and can’t quite grasp why their darling sister is ‘painted’ today.