Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring is here!

We've seen tulips poking through the dirt.
We've seen our first robin (thanks to Caroline).
And in honor of those spring sightings, my dad took his grandkids (and my mom and me) to Seven Dwarves Restaurant for an ice cream treat.

Just like he did when my sisters and I were little girls.
Yup, spring has arrived.
It's official in my book. :) Thanks, Dad!

Oh my word...

Could these two be any cuter?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A good day at home

Dave styled Evan's hair after his bath tonight. You like? Evan loved it, and made me take a picture. OK, twist my arm, Evan. ;)
Henry spent the day with one of his best friends, Alex. Alex has been taking piano lessons for a while now, and was trying to teach Henry a little of what he knows. Alex's mom, Kathy, gave me the number for their piano teacher, so I used this little moment between Alex and Henry to inspire me to give him a call. It turns out that he tunes pianos too! So we should be in good shape to start our lessons soon.
It was a great day. We put away all of our vacation stuff, caught up on laundry, and Seth and Caroline put it all away (with a little help from Evan). The kids all cleaned their rooms, the kids' bathroom, and the playroom. Henry was on kitchen duty today, so at breakfast he helped unload and load the dishwasher, put away cereals and milk, and wiped off the table and counters.

But what topped it all off was this:
After dinner, Dave gave Caroline and Evan a bath. Seth was reading. I was finishing my dinner, and Henry stayed to talk with me a little bit. On his own, Henry remembered his job today and said, "Wait, aren't I on kitchen duty?" He remembered, and he didn't complain.

The angels sang. And I smiled. And I told him I was very proud of him. :)

Thank you for inspiring me, Mom!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dells!

This weekend, we went to the Dells with Dave's family, and had such a blast! We (Dave's parents, two of Dave's brothers, their wives and kids, and our family) all stayed in this beautiful lodge. Even though we were in a resort amongst MANY things to do, and tons o' waterslides, when we were back at the lodge, it felt like we were away from it ALL! (Thanks, Mark, for all of these pictures!)
There were deer everywhere! Here's a group of them greeting us when we checked in on Friday.
Sooooo excited to be here!
Of course, as soon as possible, it was off to the waterpark, where the kids were drenched by a HUGE bucket of water.
Nadia and Caroline had fun operating one of the fountains.
The two oldest cousins, Henry and Anabel
These two, Nadia and Caroline, are inseparable!
Evan and Dave explored everywhere!
Ahhhh...the lazy river
And, of course, the wave pool! (Uncle Drew and Anabel)
Aunt Tanya (pregnant with the newest cousin!), Anabel and Uncle Drew
Seth :)
Uncle Dave holding on tight to Anabel, who's holding onto Henry, Uncle Drew and Aunt Tanya in the background

Hold on!
A big wave hits Henry!
Henry and Anabel face the waves together

They survived!
Afterward, a little downtime...I taught the kids how to make Duct Tape wallets. (Thanks for teaching me, Lisa!) I think that Anabel might be starting her own business with them. ;) Soon she's going to teach us how to make Duct Tape flowers. (You can see one of them in the picture.)
This is the back of the lodge. Back there was a great area to explore, which all of the kids enjoyed.

Here's the kids piled in the van for more waterpark fun!
Evan posing with a big the expression on his face :)
Caroline watching movies with snuggling with Grandpa in the media room
The kids spent the last night in the lodge enjoying the hot tub and watching a movie in the media room.
Here's our crew!
After we checked out on the last morning, we spent a couple more hours at the waterpark.

And then it was time to bring these tired, happy kids home!
Thanks for a wonderful weekend, family! And thank you to my mom and dad for watching our spoiled puppy, Moxie, for us! :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some of my favorite things on the Eat Clean Diet

At the request of my sister, brother-in-law, and a couple of my friends who are starting the Eat Clean diet, I am writing a shopping list of my favorite foods.

Breakfast--7:00 AM
Irish or Steel Cut Oats (for oatmeal)
Blueberries (one handful)
Almond Milk (because I like a creamier oatmeal)
Ground Flax Seed (2 tbsp.)
Wheat Germ (1 tbsp.)
Bee Pollen (can find in Health Food Store, gives extra sweetness, but not necessary)
4 egg whites, either with one egg yolk or topped with salsa
Smoothie recipe found in book

Mid-Morning and Mid-Afternoon Snack--10:00 AM and 3:30 PM
Handful each of cashews and banana chips
Apple with a handful of Almonds
Apple with 2 tbsp. or almond butter
Melon with handful sized scoop of low-fat cottage cheese

Lunch and Dinner--1:00 PM and 6:30 PM
Grilled Chicken Breast (I do marinate mine.)
on spinach salad with tomatoes, grated carrot, a few chunks of avocado or a few crumbles of feta cheese, topped with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil
Grilled Chicken Breast
Brown Rice
Broiled Broccoli (Sometimes I microwave too!)
Grilled Portabella Mushroom
on Ezekiel Bread toast with spinach, tomatoes and avocado topped with Balsamic and Olive Oil
Grilled Salmon (I have a great recipe that I'll post)
Quinoa (handful)
Broiled Asparagus
Almond Butter on Toasted Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel Bread
Handful of Strawberries or Carrots and Hummus
Brown rice with seasoned goat cheese mixed in, on top of a bed of spinach or 50/50 blend

I drink a tall glass of water at every snack and meal, and a cup of Bigelow Green Tea with Pomegranate at lunch and dinner. If I'm hungry, I'll have a bedtime snack at 9:00 or so. I did this more at the beginning of my diet but I'm generally not hungry anymore around that time.

Grilled Salmon Recipe (from Better Homes and Gardens)
for two portions
1/2 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel or lime peel
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme, crushed
1 clove of garlic, minced (I use Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic, 1 tsp.)
Thaw fish, if frozen. For marinade, in a shallow dish combine lemon or lime peel, lemon or lime juice, oil, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary or thyme,garlic and 1 tablespoon water. Add fish, turn to coat with marinade. Cover and marinate at room temp for 30 minutes.
Drain fish. Place in tin foil wrap with a couple of spoonfuls of marinade on top. Grill directly over medium hot coals for 5 minutes. Turn over and grill 3-7 minutes more until fish flakes easily with a fork. Yum!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Big Night

Tonight we had two big family events: Caroline's Spring Sing and Henry's Boy Scout Court of Honor. So we divided and conquered. Dave took Henry, Seth and Evan to Henry's event, and I took Caroline to hers. Seems fair, doesn't it? I get one, he gets three. :) The boys were able to eat at Henry's function, so it was an easy decision for them to go there, lol.

Sweet Caroline loves her crazy friends!
I think that her favorite part of the night was that Grandma and Grandpa Orton were able to come see her perform!
Here she is with her 1st Grade group! Can you spot her? She's right in the middle.
I was able to dance with her in one part of the performance. (They each got to chose someone to join them!)
At the end of the performance my sweet parents gave Caroline a rose. She was so happy!
Good job, Peanut!

Our Boy Scout

had his first Court of Honor tonight, where families gathered over dinner to honor their boy scouts. Henry has already has earned a couple of chips and a badge.
Here he is with his fellow first years being honored. He's the one on the far right.
Henry got to sit with some of his best friends at dinner. I'm so happy that he has these boys in his life. They are good kids!
We're proud of you, Henry!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Nosek Pizzeria

There was a lot of pizza (dough) pounding,
sauce spreading,
pizza posing,
and pepperoni placing going on at our house tonight.
Here's the finished product! Yummmm...the kids LOVED it.
Like what you see? Ask the kids...we might take orders. ;)

Who says...

...Henry and Dave get to have all of the outdoor fun this weekend? ;)

I took the younger three (and Miss Moxie) on a hike at our local forest preserve this afternoon.
They selected walking sticks...
Seth's seemed a little more reasonable than Evan's.
Seth was a sport, humoring me by posing for some pictures before we started.
The lighting's all wrong, but the subject was perfect!
And then we were off, with Evan leading the way, and Moxie and I bringing up the end.
They climbed,
and posed,
ran through a "magical forest",
and generally had a great time "adventuring". :)
Evan did a fair amount of climbing himself.
Thankfully, his brother and sister were there to rescue him when he got in a bind.
Moxie had a wonderful time. She wore herself out, as evidenced by her tongue...
which grew longer as the hike progressed. ;)
They walked "tight ropes",
talked a lot,
and bonded.
Sweet, sweet children!
I love them!
Look what Seth and Caroline found...
Here's a's a tree root that looks like an alien head!
They ran down the huge sledding hill,
and then they ran up it. These kiddos have boundless energy!
But I do think that they will sleep well tonight!
Finally, Seth finishes this post with a little joke. See the face in the tree? Notice what his hiking stick is doing to its poor nose? Ha ha, Seth!