Friday, January 30, 2009

Week of Updates

My freezer did get defrosted, scary things were found, and it is now neat and orderly. I have a much better inventory now, and will not run out of chicken nuggets again.




Dan finally finished his classes for his Mate's license and received his certificate today....who hoo!!




Mom's chocolate class went well, and here is a picture of the chocolate madness.





Wow, what a week. This weekend I have big plans to do homework, lab homework, listening to baroque period music homework, presentation homework, did I mention homework? Yah, fun stuff.

You're So Vain

Today the kids had PJ day at school. I didn't have to go anywhere right away this morning, so I slept in a bit, and walked the kids to school in my PJ's. This is no big deal because my PJ's are just lounge pants and a shirt. I did however put on makeup, just to walk two blocks away and back. My sister in law Tiffani laughs at me because I will not leave the house without makeup. To be fair, I counted this morning how many people recognize me in the morning. I waved at 4 cars, talked to the crossing guard, and waved at the police officer on the corner. Yes, I'm vain, but I just can't let myself walk out of the house without makeup, when I know that I will see many people I know. Really, walking today in my PJ's was a big step for me. Maybe by next year I won't care anymore........by then the kids will be old enough to walk without me!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chocolate Madness

I helped my Mom last night with her chocolate class for the Community College. It was a fun night, chocolates were made and eaten by all. During her talk about chocolate, we kept thinking of little things Mom does that are a bit quirky, but it's only because of her love for chocolate (and everything color coordinated!). Here are a few examples.
  • Mom once scarificed a chocolate easter bunny at my house because she wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, and couldn't find my chocolate chips. Sad part about that is I am my mother's daughter and I had about 20 pounds of chocolate chips on hand!
  • Mom buys holiday M&M's after each holiday,when they are 50% off, then separates the colors. Christmas ones are saved for Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's day. Easter candies are pastel and saved for baby showers......and the possibilities go on.
  • For my wedding she made about 20 pounds of periwinkle chocolates, yes periwinkle!
  • Mom knows what meat departments carry pink trays to match her pink and brown themed ribbons.
  • Mom can be counted on for fudge at every Christmas gathering......Yep, Mom is here, I see her fudge.
  • Mom loves a theme. She found a cute mug with dogs, then bought Scooby Doo crackers (shaped like dog bones) to dip in chocolate.
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. A few of you were interested in her chocolate class, but couldn't make it. She is willing to do a class for my friends if anyone wants to try to get together before Valentine's Day. Drop me a line and let me know if this sounds like fun.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Marble and the Middle Ages

My day of homework has been working on posts for my Geology class and my Music class. So research today has been about marble (I never want marble counter tops, they stain and scratch) and music in the Middle Ages. I have to say I am not a fan of Gregorian Chants. Sorry, nothing interesting or fun.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nate and the not so great eyes

A couple months ago I had a little feeling that Nate might need glasses sooner than later. I had my first pair of glasses in the 6th grade, and truly thought that we might get by until then. Soon after my little feeling, the school sent home a letter saying that Nate needed to get his eyes checked. Today was a teacher work day, no school for the kids, so Nate had his first eye doctor visit. He sat in the chair with the chart on the wall and the doctor asked Nate to read the smallest line. Nate says, "What lines?". Oh boy, the poor kid has eyes like mine! With one eye shut, he couldn't even read the biggest E. So, you can tell that we had to pick out glasses today. Nate got final say and picked out black spider man glasses, pretty cool. I just hope that he doesn't break or lose them. We are in for yearly appointments, knowing that his eyesight will just get worse. He will have his glasses in about 10 days, so I'll post pictures then.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Cold Northeaster

Here in the Pacific Northwest, specifically northern Whatcom County, we get these really cold winds from the Northeast. Anytime we get an arctic blast that comes from the Frasier Valley in Canada, we are in for a chilly one. Since we have had more than our fair share of cold weather so far this winter, I am doing fine. My hubby has spent too much time in Southern California, and thinks he's freezing his tail off. For the first time in our marriage of 10 years, he turned the heat up in the bedroom because he was cold. I was nice and cozy under my down comforter, and had to kick it off once the heater came on! I had to laugh at how backwards this was. I am always cold. I must have my slippers on while at home, and even have a spare pair at my friend Tracie's when I go visit her house. I always have a warm drink in my hand all winter long. I have even made my dear hubby warm his hands up before coming to bed! So while he's ready to jet off to Maui for some sun, I'm toasty warm......as long as I don't have to go outside!

Oh, and because it's only 20 degrees outside, I talked my freezing hubby into unloading the freezer in the house so that we can defrost it. He just boxed everything up and put it in the garage!

Friday, January 23, 2009

What's in your wallet?

Dear Capital One,

How can I say this nicely? Leave me alone! I no longer want your credit card, and have made multiple attempts to cancel my card for the last two years! Letters have been returned to me saying I sent them to the wrong department. When I sent them to the correct department, I received a letter saying my account is closed. Yet, I am still receiving monthly statements. Don't you realize how much postage you are wasting, how many trees you are killing? Do you realize that your employees can't process a simple request? Do you realize that your commercials are scary? Please stop sending me monthly statements, and take me off your mailing list, e-mail list, and phone list.

Holly Snow


Really, I would send this, but they would problably send it back because I didn't send it to the right department. Seriously!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mood and Weather

Yes, I should be doing homework right now. I wanted to share with everyone a little quote that I found while doing my assigned reading for my Behavior Management class.

"It is my daily mood that makes the weather."
Haim Ginott

As parents we hold a lot of power and control over our house hold. When we are in a foul mood, you can bet that the rest of the house will be in one too. We have to make a daily choice to have a positive attitude. It can be the same with our spouses. My foul mood will be contagious, and then it's down hill from there. I wrote this quote on a card and now have it on my fridge. I hope it will remind me to watch my attitude.

I told you I would drag you along with me on my school journey......now put on your big girl panties and deal with it!

You Go Girl!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicken Nuggets

I still can't believe it! I ran out of chicken nuggets. Me with the two big freezers that are full of meat. Me with the weekly trips to Costco. Me with the stockpile of groceries that would last me until the next President! I went to both my freezers the other night to pull out chicken nuggets for the kids for dinner, and I didn't find any. I'm still in shock. Not only do I have two big upright freezers, there is also the freezer on my fridge, then the little freezer on the little fridge in the garage (that freezer is full of berries). I need to do some major cleaning out of my freezers so that I can do a better inventory of what I have. My big freezer in the house has been having issues (I don't' even know how old that thing is, and it's held closed by a bungee cord). I really need to defrost it, but don't have room to put everything while I do that. Just to show how bad it is, I'll put up pictures. And then I will be off to Costco to buy chicken nuggets!






Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wonka Factory

My Mom loves chocolate. She is very talented in making all kinds of chocolates, from fudge to candies. Her kitchen has been turned into a Wonka Factory while making chocolates. She is teaching a chocolate class through Whatcom Community College Community Education. The class is January 28th and you can sign up at www.whatcomcommunityed.com. Not only will you learn how to make chocolate valentines, but also goodies for baby showers, birthday parties, and many other occations. Gather your friends and make a night of her class.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Video?

video

Let's see if my new computer can actually post a video. Last time I tried, it timed out before it could upload the whole thing. This is Nate and Lily dancing. They are goof balls, and I plan on using this video as blackmail when they start dating.

My Frustrations!

My hubby came home on Friday from his classes in Astoria. He brought home a new computer that he bought for me. While I am thrilled that I have a new updated computer (with a beautiful big screen) this thing has been my frustration all weekend. I am not a fan of Window's Vista, and these new programs are not compatible with my old ones. I have been downloading programs all day so that I can watch my videos, write on my online classes and all the other things that I need to do. Dan has the computer brains of the family, and has been frustrated with my lack of technical jargon. I am stuck in my ways of how I do things, like upload pictures from my camera. When it's not the same, I'm lost. I'll be happy when all my old stuff is transferred onto the new computer, and I actually know how to run it all. Dan suggested that I get the Window's for beginners program (training wheels as he called them). Thanks honey!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Salt

Today is my first day of this quarter that I am home the whole day without any kids. The quiet house is a bit unnerving after the loud and crazy last couple of weeks, but I am enjoying the time to myself. I am determined to get a bunch of homework done, and so far so good. I worked on an essay for Geology today and did research on salt. Did you know that in Roman days, soldiers were paid partly in salt because of it being a hot commodity. The word salary comes from the Latin word salaruim, meaning salt money. So now you know! Hey, if I have to learn all these things, I may as well share the knowledge!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Secret Shopping

Top Secret and Confidential!!!

I am a secret shopper. My Mom does it as a part time job, and told me to sign up. You have to take their tests to make sure you are competent to follow rules and procedures. I found that the time it takes to do the shop really isn't worth it, unless I am already in town that day, without kids. I scheduled myself for a shop today because I was already in town for school. My shop was in the mall, I won't tell you what business, but it did involve buying a yummy pretzel. Of course I had to walk through JC Penny's to get there and back. And of course JC Penny's has a great clearance sale right now. There are a bunch of 70% off racks. I had to take a look at these racks, and of course found some great bargains! Like a winter coat for Nate (for next winter) for only $14.99. And jeans for Nate that were only $2.49!! How can you pass those up? I spent a total of $58.51 and the receipt said I saved $170.04. I am so proud of myself. But then on the way home I got to thinking. Did I really save money or did I spend over $58 doing a secret shop that I will get paid $11.10 for?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baby Smiles



Here is baby Drew in his "bassinet". He is tucked safely behind a baby gate so that he won't be smothered by his loving older siblings. I got my baby snuggles this morning and he even smiled for me. Yes I know it was probably gas.

On a side note I brought my Grandparent's their bread of the month for January today. I was glad to get the chance to chat with each set, and show them pictures of Drew. Grandma Stauffer said that Drew looks like a Stauffer boy (well I would hope so!).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Baby Andrew is Home!

Thank you everyone for your prayers. Baby Andrew got to go home today! We are all thrilled that he is healthy and can now join the chaos of the Stauffer clan. I get to go smooch on him tomorrow, so I'll post new pictures tomorrow night.

Double Trouble

My nephews, the twins, just turned two. They are a kick to play with, but I learned a few things this past week. Really, some of it was re-learned, and some was just the difference of having two two years olds around.

Things I learned from 2 two year olds.......

If you give them cereal, they will spill it on the floor then crush it into the carpet. Doesn't matter if you put the cereal in a cup or bowl (didn't work Mom!) they will spill it!

If you expose bare skin, you will get a zerbert. (A zerbert is when you blow on someones belly and it makes loud farting noises).

If you give all the kids paper crowns so that they won't fight over the one that Lily made at church, they will rip them off because they aren't the same as Lily's.

If you don't double check that the twins are actually asleep at nap time, then they won't actually be napping.

If you make oatmeal raisin cookies, no kids in this house will eat them.....more for me!!!

If you put the twins too close to each other at meal time, they will steal food from each other, then start throwing food at each other.

If you only bring 9 diapers for the twins for 24 hours, they will need 10.

If you run out of diapers, call a friend who is already going to the store and beg her to pick up diapers for you!

If you catch the twins on the computer, you can bet that they already caused problems.....like why is the printer/fax machine picking up every phone call?

If you catch the twins with the empty marble tin, you can bet that there are 212 marbles on the office floor.

If Nate has spent hours working on a lego creation, that will be the one that the twins will destroy first.

I could go on all day, but you get the idea. Tiff you are my hero for dealing with this everyday!

Monday, January 12, 2009

What is Normal Anyways?

I figured January would be a boring, normal month. The kids would be back in school, I would be adjusting to my school schedule, and life would be back in the groove of things. Well, I have come to realize that there is no normal. January started with more snow, then the big melt with flooding. Andrew was born last Monday, and everyone has been juggling life since. My school schedule has been harder to adjust too, being that my online classes are not as clear as I would like them to be. And the kids had school canceled on Thursday and Friday because of the flooding. Poor Lily who loves school, has only had one day since December 17th. Dan came home late Friday night, and then had to leave yesterday morning to go to Astoria (Oregon) for a week of classes. He will be home this weekend, then back next week for his final week of class. It's been harder than I thought to balance everything without him. Me being the control freak has just had to throw my hands in the air and give up any sense of schedule. We have been taking this day by day. I had Marty and Tiff's kids overnight again last night, and so far they are doing good. We are all praying that baby Andrew will get to come home tomorrow. For updates on Andrew, check out Tiff's blog at Stillseekingsanity.blogspot.com. They haven't asked for outside help, but I would encourage anyone who wants to help them to make a meal, or pick up diapers for them. Once they go home, I am sure that they won't want to expose Andrew to any germs, so they may be home bound for awhile. Please keep them in your prayers and hope that Andrew will come home soon.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Proud Aunty


I'm so excited that I got to finally hold baby Drew. His lung issues have fixed themselves (thank you everyone for your prayers) and although he still has a little fluid in one lung, he is doing much better. Tiffani is now trying to get him to nurse. Once he nurses a full feeding for 24 hours, he can go home. Please keep praying that he will go home soon. He is just too cute and I had a hard time giving him back.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Emma "Isms"

I had to write down a few Emma "Isms" that she said while she was here. Emma (my niece) started talking very early and has always had an opinion about everything. Now at 4 years old, she cracks me up. Here are just a few from this week.

"Aunty, I normally have a shower by now". It was 10 am and I hadn't showered the kids. That's because we do bath time at night at my house. But Emma thought I was slacking.

"If you hear a bump, you need to run". One of the twins had fallen, but we didn't "run" fast enough for Emma.

"When are you going to take me to see Mom at the dentist?". Somehow she got it in her little head that Mom was at the dentist and not the hospital.

"Aunty, you haven't given me any juice yet." Nope I hadn't. But she also hadn't asked for any yet.
Love ya Emma!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flying Monkeys and a Sleep Deprived Aunty

Hi my name is Holly and I am sleep deprived. It's been a tough week, and any attempts to make plans always fly out the window. Marty and Tiffani dropped their three kids off here on Sunday night. Tiff was induced on Monday, and my Mom was wonderful enough to stay with all 5 kids while I went to the hospital to see baby Andrew be born. Tuesday I started college classes again. Yesterday I had a doctors appointment in the morning, and then my kids school called to say they were sending everyone home early because of flooding. Today I have class again and school was canceled for my kids. Through all this we have been juggling kids around between me and Mom and my sister Amy. As a birthday present to me, the twins woke up at 6am. They just love their aunty!
I wanted to share some of the funny moments of this week because if you can't laugh about it, what's the point? I already blogged about driving Nate to school on Monday. In my sleep deprived mind I thought that walking Nate to school (with 4 others in tow) on Tuesday would be faster. I forgot that our sidewalks still had a foot of slush and snow. The walk wasn't faster, and the poor twins had a hard time staying on their feet. That day in class my instructor asked us to write our name on an index card and I started to write Name instead of Holly. Later that day I was folding laundry when Grant came down the hall pushing a Christmas present. I needed to distract him while I took away the present, so I grabbed the first thing I saw, a flying screeching monkey. For the next half hour, Grant followed me around with that stupid monkey screeching in my ear. If I wasn't sleep deprived, I would have known better!
Tonight I'm going out to dinner for my birthday, and lets hope I can stay awake to enjoy it. I might end up like those home video's of little kids falling asleep in their birthday cake. "Happy birthday to you.... splat!".

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Please Pray for Baby Drew

Here he is! Isn't he adorable! I just love those cheeks! Please keep baby Drew in your prayers, he is still in the special needs nursery, and if he doesn't get better they may have to send him to Children's Hospital in Seattle. Congrats to Marty and Tiff, you make cute babies!

Baby Time!

We have a new member of the family! Last night at 11:38pm we welcomed my nephew Andrew Martin Stauffer into the world. He's a cute 8 pounds 7 oz. He's got chubby cheeks and Marty's dimple in his chin, and he pouts like big brother Grant. He's having some issues right now and is in the special care nursery. He has an air pocket in one lung and fluid in the other. Please keep baby Andrew in your prayers today. He is on oxygen and they are hoping that it will all work itself out by afternoon. I was blessed to see him born, and I'll post pictures later. I'm running off to my first day back to school!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Save Me From The Little People

My brother Marty and his wife Tiffani dropped off their three kids last night. Tiff is scheduled to be induced today with kiddo number four. Their oldest, Emma is 4, and the twins just turned 2. My morning so far has been changing diapers, picking up cheerios (that's my own fault for letting them walk around with cups of cereal) and taking away presents that Ben started unwrapping. My biggest challenge though was getting Nate to school. Normally we walk him to school, and I have done that before with all the kids. Today though, we had all the gifts for the teachers and staff at the school that didn't get to them before Christmas because of snow days. So I loaded all 5 kids into the van, and drove Nate to school. When we got there he took one load of gifts to his class, then ran back for the second load. So far so good. Then I tried to get out of the parking lot. There is still snow, ice and slush on the ground, and I was stuck trying to pull out of the parking lot. There were cars behind me waiting to get out, but I couldn't go anywhere. The tires were spinning, and smoke was flying. (Oh, did I mention that I was driving Marty and Tiff's van?). Sorry guys! The cars behind me finally went around, and I was able to back up and make a run at it. So we are home, and just hanging out, waiting for baby!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Boys and Their Toys

My Dad loves to buy toys for Christmas. He found these air guns and bought one for each "boy" in the family (ok, they were for the big boys, but Dad gave his to Nate). I think that if he is to do this again next year, he will have to buy them for the "girls" too, because he left us helpless against the war going on.

I tried to upload video, but after 12 hours it failed. Too bad because you had to be there to see how crazy it was with all the balls flying. Amazingly they didn't break anything (that I know of yet).

Christmas With The Stauffer Clan

When the Stauffers get together, it's a clan. My Dad remarried when I was in high school, which added two stepbrothers to the mix. When I was 19, my Dad and Marsha took all 6 of us kids (all teenagers at the time) to California to visit Disneyland and all the other attractions. Dad was the first one up on the morning that we were going to Disney, acting like a child on Christmas morning. "Get up, Get up, we're going to Disneyland!". The trip was insane, but we all had a blast, and Dad wants to do it again. So today is Christmas with Dad and Marsha. There will be 22 people here for lunch. I have the ham in the oven, (smothered with apricot-pineapple jam) and my 18 quart roaster is filled with cheesy potatoes. It will be loud today, there will be wrestling, and I'm doubtful that we will have any leftovers. I hoping we can get away without anything getting broken, but as I said before, it's not a party at my house unless something gets broken. Add my Dad and brother together, and I'll be lucky if only one thing gets broken. My friend Amy keeps bugging me for my cheesy potato recipe. I'll give in, being that it's been a family favorite for 30 years. Cobbie was a family friend that passed away when I was young. Her potato dish was famous at church, and has lived on through many people. My mom always adds the chili's, and I switched the soup to cream of mushroom to make it vegetarian for my brother. When my Aunt Paulina makes this for Stauffer Sunday, she triples it and cooks it in her big roaster, and she always takes it home empty.

Cobbie's Cheesy Potatoes, Holly's version

16 oz bag frozen O'Brien potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 0z sour cream
1 tbsp Johnny's seasoning
4oz can mild green chili's
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Mix all ingredients together, place in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake, covered at 400 degrees for 1 hour.
To use as a main dish, omit the chili's and add two cups diced, cooked ham.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Disclaimer on the crayons


Ok, so I have a disclaimer on the crayon craft I just posted. Don't put the crayons in a metal tin. You must put them in an aluminum tin, then on an aluminum tray. I put the stars on a metal tray, and they spilled. Then I tried to put the tray back in the oven to melt the crayons for easy clean up, and smoked up the kitchen. The stars turned out great, but the kids like them so much that they don't want to use them. Oh, well!

Snow Day Crafts

It's snowing, again. Seriously, this is the longest I ever remember having snow stick around. Awhile ago when I was complaining (who me?) about being bored, my cousin Shari suggested I write a book about kids crafts. (Isn't she sweet?) I don't have enough ideas for a book, but I will share a few things that have been keeping my kids busy.

Paper Lunch Sacks
  • I have white and brown lunch sacks and Lily made puppets one day, then did a puppet show from behind the couch.
  • Gift bags. Let the kids decorate the sacks, then use them for gift bags. Use stickers, markers, colored paper, stamps....whatever you have.

Printable Pages, kids websites have a ton of printable pages that the kids can color. My kids found a book on Playhouse Disney that they could personalize, then print, then color.

Christmas Cards- I took old Christmas cards and let the kids cut them up to make new cards. Today I'm going to have them make a few for thank you notes for their gifts.

Go through the crayon box and find all the broken crayons. Take the wrappers off, then put a mixture of different colored crayons in a small tin or aluminum cupcake tin. Put them in the oven until melted, let cool, then the kids have a big multicolored crayon. I do this in star shaped tins (I have hearts for Valentine's day too).

Foam stickers- I stock up on these when they are on sale. They can be used to make a story, or just a fun card.

Happy Snow Day!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Party Must Haves

It isn't a party at my house unless:

  • The kids destroy the play room.
  • There are kids running around the house screaming.
  • My brother Marty makes a kid cry.
  • Something gets broken. (Most of the time it's Marty's fault)
  • Juice gets spilled.
  • My garbage can overflows.
  • Someone finds my candy stash (get out of my gummy bears!!!!)
  • A kiddo has a poopy diaper.
  • The twins want cookies (and Aunty always gives them cookies!).
  • Kids fight over toys.
  • Something gets lost......we can't find the DVD remote today, and I'm getting scarred.
  • Kids cry when it's time to go home.
  • Somebody forgets something here......last night we got to dig through a purse to see who it belonged to!
  • Sierra has a cupcake......Seriously, here are just a few examples!




Last night.





Lily's birthday last May.


Lily's birthday May 2006.

Happy Birthday Stephana!


My favorite hair dresser, and good friend that I've known for 20 years (yikes!) is a New Years Baby. So I want to give a great big Happy Birthday to Stephana!!! I hope we tired out the kids enough that they let you sleep in! And to the whole Neff clan, Congrats on your sister/daughter's birthday. Kevin, congrats on your hot wife's birthday. Stephana, you don't look a day over 25!!!