Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

RFF update

We have been so busy lately, imagine that?  This past weekend we went to Kerrville to visit family.  We were able to visit Mr. House, my parent's 102 yr-old neighbor.  The girls each spent a night with Granny (my grandmother) and I got my fix of Mamacita's green sauce.
This past week, our what I thought was a big screen tv went out and we finally broke down and bought a new tv.  Ben asked me if we could get a 60 inch one to replace it; sure, thinking ours was something a long that line.  Needless to say our neighbor came over last night to help Ben mount the movie screen on our living room wall.  And, of course we had to get all of the accessories that go with a new tv (notice the hint of sarcasm in my typing).  Who am I kidding, I am excited and I know he is VERY excited.  We have not replaced our tv in over 8 years and we literally used it till the picture went out.  We are spending the day in jammies watching Wizard of Oz b/c LE, Mommy and R2 have allergies today.
We have also met a new homeschooling friend and this past week, the kids came over so their parents could have a night out.  Once a month (or as needed) we will do a kid swap and we are up for our date night.
R2 has really gotten the knack for walking and he is all over the house now.
So, that is what it is going on in our neck of the woods.  I am signing off to read your blogs now.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

dream come true

The day finally has arrived, Ben got to share Star Wars with his girls and they liked it.  The first 20 minutes was treacherous.  Ben was so stressed and kept having to pause it to answer questions.  I just sat on the other couch and giggled.  I had to remind him he had seen it hundreds of times and this was their first time.  Finally, they got into it and watched it with limited interruptions.  I am sure next go round with boys will come earlier and with less confusion.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

fun blog post

Oh my, just read Jessica's blog post about V-Day.  This is exactly how I feel about Valentine's Day, but didn't know it until I read her post.  Very Witty friend who is obsessed with her coffee.

Valentine's 2012

We don't make a deal out of Valentine's Day.  We don't do gifts for each other or the kids.  I try to make a special dinner to commemorate, but other than that, I am not a fan of the hoopla.  I ended up teaching 4 classes  yesterday and had to do grocery shopping a day early, so Ben made me the best dinner; garlic lemon grilled shrimp, roasted/smashed new potatoes and steamed artichoke hearts.  I told him to pick anything off of my dessert pinterest board and he picked the one dessert that required a spring form pan, which I do not have.  I made chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake bars instead.  Afterwards we watched UP, put the kids to bed and then we enjoyed our new splurge, Hulu Plus.  I think I am in trouble.  It is all of this season's shows.  I discovered Once Upon A Time last night.  It is a little hokie, but it was something Ben and I could watch together.  I gave up Biggest Loser this season for The Voice and Smash, but now I may try to catch up after the kids go to bed.
On a side note, I gave up 6 classes starting next week.  I have been teaching 12 classes a week since January.  I signed up to teach 4 new zumbatomic classes before I found out I was pregnant, so they were dropped.  I also dropped my 2 aqua classes at the Y.  I was teaching aqua 6 times a week and I was beginning to look like a wrinkled prune, kidding.  Something had to give before my body did, and the Y is farther from the house so it was an obvious choice.
Happy Day after Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

bread braids

I have finally learned to make my own bread.  I found this recipe on pinterest, but tweaked it.  I cannot believe how easy it is to make bread.  I have always been so intimidated by making it.  My mom gave me a KitchenAid mixer and b/c I am not a baker it rarely gets used.  I was so glad I had it for this recipe.  I dumped all ingredients in the mixer and it was good to go except for the rising.  The entire family LOVED this recipe, super easy midweek meal.  Next time, I am going to experiment and try to make calzones or the peanut butter and jelly braid.  
Taco Braid Filling
4 oz of Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Salsa
1/2 lb ground turkey, seasoned and cooked with a Taco seasoning mix
1 pkg refried beans (cooked) we like the refried black beans
1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
olive oil
garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray counter and hands with cooking spray and knead for a few seconds to form smooth ball.
2. Roll dough into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Place on a greased cookie sheet. It's very important to place the dough on the cookie sheet before you fill it because once you fill it, it will be too heavy to move onto the cookie sheet. Mix salsa and cream cheese in a small bowl. Spread cream cheese mixture lengthwise down center third of rectangle, salsa, then seasoned meat and beans. Sprinkle with cheese. 
3. On each long side, cut 1 inch wide strips about 2-1/2-inches into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. 
4. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.

Fast Easy Bread Dough Recipe
2 and 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 Tbsp sugar 
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Fleischmann's Active Dry yeast
1 cup hot/warm water

1.Mix dry ingredients.
2.Add water slowly, add 3/4 cups and then the remaining 1/4 cup. Mix for 1 minute and check consistency. The dough mixer should be sticky and pull itself off bowl. 
4.Mix/knead in mixer on medium setting for 5 minutes or knead for 5 minutes by hand.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thank You Daddy!

Thank you Daddy for an amazing date night.  We had so much fun eating cupcakes, dancing and drinking punch.  We love you.  We think you are the best Daddy.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Homeschool Valentine's Party

We went to our homeschool Valentine's Party on Friday and had a great time with some of our little friends.  We made valentines for a local nursing home that we are supposed to deliver this next week.  We had sugar overload, played games and swapped valentines with 28 other families.  The girls had a blast.  Read discovered strawberries, cupcakes, lemonade and peanut butter.
Each month there are a group of moms who plan all of the activities for the month.  I drew July.  I will be helping to plan weekly parkdays, field trip, mom's night out, and a Mom's Monthly Meeting all while 9 months pregnant.  Praying for a cool summer!

Friday, February 10, 2012

reason #76 why my kids are awesome

My kids are awesome, AWESOME.  Tonight is the annual Daddy-Daughter Dance at the gym.  A couple of weeks ago, I asked them if they wanted to go dress shopping and they asked, "Why?  We love the dresses you got us last year."  Even tonight when we were getting ready, LE kept saying how special and beautiful it was.  (I'm glad it still fit!)  I'm so grateful for my kids who appreciate the little things in life.  I need to learn from them and their grateful attitude.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Valentine's Crafts

Tomorrow is our Valentine's Party with our homeschool group.  We worked in an assembly line to create our cards.  We had fun brainstorming things that might be made by assembly lines.  I was really surprised at how well the girls took turns and they did not give up until all 32 cards were made (one per family).
We also went old school with a shoebox covered in home made hearts.

Monday, February 06, 2012

coffee filter ideas - who knew?

(my fave in bold)
1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.  
2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome...  Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
3.  Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.
4.  Filter broken cork from wine.  If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.   
5.  Protect a cast-iron skillet.  Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
6.  Apply shoe polish.  Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
7.  Recycle frying oil.  After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
8.  Weigh chopped foods.  Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
9.  Hold tacos.  Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
10.  Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot.  Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
11.  Prevent a Popsicle from dripping.  Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter. 
12.  Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?  Use strips of coffee filters..
13.  Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them..  It soaks out all the grease.  
14.  Keep in the bathroom.  They make great "razor nick fixers."
15.  As a sewing backing.  Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.
16.  Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.
17.  Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs in to put in soups and stews.
 .  Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.
19.  Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.
20.  Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.  Saves on having extra bowls to wash. 
21.  Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.
22.  Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.
23.  Use them to sprout seeds.  Simply dampen the coffee filter, place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a zip-lock plastic bag until they sprout.
24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.  Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book.
25.  Use as a disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.


Saturday, February 04, 2012

baby news

Yes, we were totally surprised by baby #4.  Almost immediately after Read was born, I was having feelings that he needed a sibling close to his age and things just did not seem complete.  I love seeing the bond the girls have and it made me a little sad he wasn't going to have that relationship with his siblings.  I tried putting those feelings out of my head b/c if you have ever spent 5 minutes around me when I am pregnant, you know I don't do pregnancy well.  A few months back,  I told Ben I didn't think our family was complete, but seriously I was thinking adoption.
Then, on our anniversary I realized something was different and the next morning we got a positive pregnancy test.  I decided to not go to the doctor right away b/c I would have to find a new doctor since my doctor with the other kids had moved to Seattle.
I finally went in Friday, and saw the doctor who actually delivered LE and R2 b/c she was the on-call doctor (she was Dr. Barbour's partner).  I fell in love with her (not her office staff yet).  She took 10 pics of baby, and was so giddy with me when Baby 4 posed so well for us, not once but three times.  Of course, she said at my next sonogram, we will be able to get a better confirmation, so there is room for error that He may be a She.  It is so different having a female doctor vs. having a male doctor and you have to understand I love Dr. Barbour.  He is a believer and that gave me great peace knowing he was praying and believing with me through my pregnancies.  I had total confirmation that we made the right decision in choosing her within minutes of being with her.
From the sonograms, she is saying August 7th due date and I am 13 weeks and 4 days.  When she turned the screen around for me to see, his hand was fully extended as if he was waving at me.  We could easily see all 5 fingers and his little toes.  His foot measured 1.3 cm and he was 7.7 cm long.  Yes, it is crazy that we were able to see the sex so early, but she said it was b/c he was posed for it (multiple times).  He had the hiccups and kept jumping, it was the most surreal moment.  I walked into the doctor office wondering if we would hear a heart beat, needing confirmation I was pregnant so I could share my news and I walked out seeing a baby in full view.
And for those wondering, yes, I was taken back when we found out we were having Read, but we are at total peace with this baby. God knew what He was doing by bringing Read into our lives and we know this baby is going to have his or even her role in our lives and our family would not be complete without him.

so it begins...

"Landry, please can you not come in my room."

Friday, February 03, 2012

Richards Family Six

Our family is growing, again.  We will welcome Baby #4 in early August and because Baby is not the shy type, IT'S A BOY!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I'm 14 months old

...and look what I can do.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

sewing badge

The girls are now working on their sewing badges.  They have to collect the items for a sewing basket, learn to sew on a button, sew a snap, a simple stitch, and thread a needle.  I am little apprehensive about this one, but I figure with a Gigi and a Mimi who are exceptional sewers we might get this one done before age 9.  We made mittens to go with one of my favorite children's book, The Mitten by Jan Brett.  We used felt and embroidery thread and it seemed a whole lot easier for them to manipulate.  LE got the idea of threading the needle, but the embroidery floss did keep coming apart, so will probably let her try her with real thread and the bigger needle.  After their mittens were sewn, we colored pictures of each of the animals that were in the story and put them in our mittens.  They both said they wished I had white felt, so it could be like Nikki's mittens.