Big Bear Camping, day 3

Our final day of camping was really mostly packing-up.  Thankfully, this little guy was so tired that he took a morning snoozer in the front seat of the car while we packed!  (After several shoulder rides around the campgrounds, I might add!)

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To finish off an awesome trip, we headed to the alpine slides for a picnic lunch and some fun.

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By the time we finished lunch, Malachi was done.  Poor little guy was plain exhausted.  Up until this point, I had a blast.  Sure, the nights were tough and camping involves work; but we were together as a family in God’s amazing creation with good friends, and I truly felt joy.  At this point, however, the exhaustion caught up with me as well and I found myself yelling, “Hurry up and have fun so we can go home!”

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The kids loved the slides.  We made some great memories.  Luckily, there was an indoor arcade with a game with a gun.  Yup, that kept Malachi happy for a little bit.  As predicted, he fell asleep about 90 seconds into the car ride.

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And so ends our first family camping trip as a family of 6.  In case you were wondering, I would say 3 days is perfect.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  In fact, we are heading out again later this week for another 3 day camping trip — this time at the beach.  Bring on the camping!

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The Boy: 19 Months!

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I interrupt our camping trip special to bring you breaking news: this boy turned 19 months yesterday! I know I say this every time, but I reeeeaaalllly love this stage!  Oh, the things he says and does.  You can skip over the comments for the cute pictures, but for my memory’s sake I need to record some of the Malachiisms going on right now!  For instance, this boy loves wearing glasses, whether they are sunglasses, swim goggles, or even Mr. Potato head!  No need to rush for the camera; he’ll keep them on a long time!

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For another thing, he is obsessed with making coffee.  Heaven forbid should I forget to have him make it for me.  He even pulls up the stool himself and then yells, “Coff, coff!”

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Anytime he is asked, “How is it?”  he responds “Goot!”  He also refers to muffins as “muffeens,” as well as elephants being “elefeens,” etc.

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When asked if he went poop, he readily admits it.  When asked if he needs his diaper changed, he then runs away and gives an adamant “NO!”

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I love how people always comment on his thick head of hair.  Truth-be-told, his hair is super thin and already receeding.  (Sorry, dude — it’s your grandpa’s fault.  Enjoy these comments while they last!)

He now calls all his sisters by name: “Natie, A-son, and Seesy.”

Whenever he gets hurt, he says “Sorry.”  Breaks my heart… it is so precious!

Climbing is his middle name.  “Cime, cime!”

He also loves balls.  “Kick” and “Trow” he exclaims as he moves to action.

He still loves guns and runs around yelling “shoo shoo.” (Shoot shoot)

He loves water, but is not a fan of the pool — just like Sierra at this age!

He will mimic almost any word you ask him to say.  One of his favorite spots is on my shoulders.  (It’s just painful on my hair trying to get him down!)

Messes this month include falling into the bath right after I had finished getting him dried, diaper cream and jammies on, and was just about in bed.  Dumped milk — almost daily.  Coloring on tables with markers left out by sisters — happens often!  And, truly more messes than I can recall.

Still a cuddle bug; I will be heart-broken if that ever changes.

He loves to try to sing, and will tell you what song he wants by name, such as “E-i-yo!”  He also asks for videos by name: “Songs” or “Mommy” or Wa-wa.”

He shoves food in my face and won’t quit until I take a bite.

“Blankie” and “Puzzy” are dear friends.  He is officially attached.  Thankfully, when he wakes up he says, “Back,” and puts his Puzzy in the basket and his blankie in the crib until the next sleepy time — or for comfort when changing his diaper!

Hmmm… I know there’s so much more, but hopefully I’ve captured it for now!  I’ll leave you with one last shot, which includes the beloved blankie and puzzy:

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Big Bear Camping, day 2

Good morning!  I don’t care how rough the night was, there is just something about an early morning campfire that is completely peaceful.  There is just no way to be upset with a little cutie in footie jammies sipping his juice box next to the campfire, no matter how fussy he was the night before.

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And, watching your husband and daughter cook breakfast while you sip your morning cup of coffee; priceless!

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Puzzles.

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Wildflowers.

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Oh, the fountain… I was so thankful that we had the one and only pump that did not drain.  That way whenever tired boy got a little too clingy, we could head to the “wa-wa.”

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Mountain skies need no comment.

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After breakfast, we headed to the lake to rent a pontoon boat.

Best.

Decision.

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We should have brought our fishing gear!

pontoon sisters

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It was so awesome to have the dog come with us, too!  He was just dying to jump out and chase some ducks.  And, this is how current attempts at a family picture go. **sigh **

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We stopped for a while and let the kids dip their feet in.  If we had thought ahead, we would have had them wear swimsuits to jump in for a quick dip.  Next time.

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Exhausted from the night before.

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So, every time Tricia and I have gone camping together, lunch has always been quesadillas and spanish rice.  We couldn’t break tradition, of course!

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After lunch, we walked back across the street to the lake.

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This dog was sooo happy… even if he couldn’t catch a duck, he sure had fun trying!

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Brave little monkey had to swim!

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For dessert, Tricia brought all the fixins’ for campfire cones.  They were a huge hit with the kiddos!

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Day 3 coming soon…

Big Bear Camping, day 1

We did it!  “We” meaning my friend Tricia and I.  You see, we’ve been friends since before we were even dating our current husbands.  Back then we had many-a-camping-trip together.  They were awesome, and somehow we would always discuss, “Just think… some day we will be doing this with all our kiddos running around.”  That some day has finally come.

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And, here are all the kiddos:  (Of course, we never considered that mine would be brown heads and hers would be blondies.)

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I found a fun list on Pinterest of activities to do while camping.  The kids didn’t seem too interested, but they did enjoy decorating their cups with camping stickers!

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This little dude was enamored with the tree stump.  I heard “tump” often, and we would make our little visit.

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We didn’t find a dog-sitter, so we brought old Triscuit with us.  It turned out to be a blessing; he had a blast!

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Malachi was a little under the weather, so I had the job of hanging out with kiddos while tents were going up and dinner was being cooked.  It was a rough job, but someone had to do it!  Ha!

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Teriyaki grilled chicken, grilled asparagus, and foil wrapped bacon potato packs.  Num!  Of course, this little dude below is so cute I could have eaten him for dessert!

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In preparation for our trip, we headed to the local Ghiradelli store and let the kids each pick out a chocolate bag for s’mores.  Sierra picked raspberry.  (They were pink; duh!) Natalie went mint.  Allison chose cookies and cream.  And, I went with the dark chocolate sea salt caramel.  Best. S’mores. Ever.

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The night ended with the girls in a tent by themselves with the dog.  Wait — let me rephrase that.  After s’mores, the kids went to their beds.  The night never did end.  The two little ones had a rough go and were up most of the night.  It truly was freezing cold, but Sierra just hates covers.  Poor Malachi just couldn’t stay asleep.  Yeah, it was rough.  But, just a minor glitch in an overall wonderful day!

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Day 2 coming soon…

Homemade Poptarts

I almost entitled this post “healthy pop tarts,” because the recipe uses no sugar.  Then it hit me.  Two sticks of butter can’t exactly be called healthy — but they are whole wheat, no preservatives, and definitely healthier than the store bought kind!

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I found the recipe on Pinterest.  (duh — of course!)  It’s from that 100 Days of Real Food site.  I have a love-hate relationship with that site.  (Kind of like Ikea, but totally different – ha!)  Anyway, we’ll just call it conviction.  It’s a great site, though.  You should check it out!

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This recipe was truly simple.  It’s one of the easiest breakfasts I’ve made.  The butterflies did leak quite a bit; I don’t know if it was the shape, the jelly, or both!  I have one kid who loves strawberry jelly, so she was a tulip girl.  One likes apricot, so she got the hearts.  And, the third likes black raspberry, so he got the butterflies.  The boy got whatever was left!

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I chose apricot, and was delighted with how good these were!  Again, they contain an entire cup of butter, so you really can’t go wrong!  Here is the recipe:

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 ¼ cup whole-wheat flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold, unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • ½ cup water plus ice
  • 1 egg beaten with a splash of water
  • 7 – 8 tablespoons
  • jam or jelly (we prefer either homemade jam or an all-fruit spread that’s sweetened with fruit juice concentrate as opposed to sugar or high-fructose corn syrup)
INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  1. Put the flour and salt in a food processor with the dough blade and pulse it together briefly.
  2. Meanwhile fill a glass measuring cup with ½ cup water and add a few ice cubes to it.
  3. Take the cold butter straight out of the fridge and cut it into ½ inch chunks. Sprinkle the pieces of butter on top of the flour in the food processor. Be careful to spread out the butter as opposed to letting it all clump together in one piece.
  4. Turn on the food processor and blend until the mixture resembles a crumbly meal. While the food processor is still running add ⅓ cup water through the top. Watch the dough come together and add 2 – 3 more teaspoons of water as needed so a dough ball will form. If some of the dough is in a ball and some is stuck to the sides that is okay…you can fix it with your hands. At this point the dough could be stored in the fridge in plastic wrap for up to 3 days or in the freezer (in a freezer safe container) for up to 6 months.
  5. Remove the dough from the food processor and put it on a lightly floured counter or large cutting board. With a rolling pin (and another sprinkling of flour) flatten out the dough to one big rectangle or square that’s no more than a quarter inch thick. Trim any uneven ends and use those to patch other edges as necessary.
  6. Using a knife cut out 14 to 16 rectangles of dough. Actually you could make them any shape or size that you want at this point. Lay half of your dough shapes onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Spoon about a tablespoon of jam down the middle of those bottom dough pieces.
  7. Top them with matching dough shapes and seal around the edges by pushing down with a fork. Make a few holes in the top with the fork as well. Lastly, brush the tops of the uncooked toaster pastries with the egg wash.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F for 18 – 24 minutes or until golden brown. Cool the cooked pastries on a cooling rack (if you have one) then either eat them right away or store them in the fridge for 3 days or the freezer for several months. They can be eaten cold or reheated. Enjoy!

Summer Scenes and Some Thoughts.

I alluded to this yesterday, but it’s been quite an emotional week.  The death of a dear old friend.  Seeing precious old friends at the funeral.  Hearing prayer requests from other friends and Bible study ladies.  Getting little sleep and knowing my children are tired, as well.  Sometimes it just feels a bit heavy.

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But, it’s crazy how joy comes sneaking in amidst the heavy.  I am more aware of God’s presence.  I am more aware of how precious my friends and family are.  I am more aware of how much He loves me and wants to carry my burdens for me.  In fact, I am even overcome with just how blessed I am.  Sometimes I almost feel guilty for the joy — but then I remember it is a gift from God.

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The other night I was exhausted.  I finally went to bed, only to be woken up an hour later by a very sweet girl who was just having trouble sleeping.  Somehow, I wasn’t so sweet… in fact, I am quite certain I made things worse before we finally all calmed down and felt better.  I crawled back into bed so mad at myself.  I thought I was beyond that.  I thought God had delivered me from letting this night time monster come out!  But, it happened again.

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Two things came to mind.  1)  I am not fighting against flesh and blood.  This is a spiritual battle, and I need to be armed and ready.  2)  James 5:16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  Ok, ok… I got it.  I went to sleep knowing I would have to confess my sins to my Bible study group… (and apparently now to you, too! 🙂 )

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The devil wants us to wallow in our sin and guilt and shame.  He wants us to believe we can never change.  He wants us to hide our secrets and pretend we’re better than we are.  Sure, we can confess to God — he already knows, anyway.  But God tells us to confess to one another to be healed — yikes!

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The Lord gently convicts us.  He carries us and gives us joy — unbelievable joy amidst the gray times.  He blesses us with a new day every day.

The pictures I chose were just a few of the many blessings from this week.  I want to remember these blessings, and so I take the pictures.  But, I want to remember the hard times, too… and the joy that is there despite the circumstances… and the peace that surpasses understanding.  I want to remember the struggle; but the knowledge gained that comes along with it!  I want to remember the simple things… the cup of coffee with my new favorite blueberry muffin recipe and  the crisp morning air, the kids enjoying their first popsicles of the summer, playing with glitter paints that I found on clearance at Target, teaching the dog how to surf, and still having fun with dress-up at 8 years old; love it all!

Stuffed Focaccia -or- Focamburgers

Oh boy, oh boy… lots on my mind, lately.  If I had the time, I would sit and write a deep, processing post about it tonight.  But, I don’t.  Sooooo… you get a recipe!

The other night as I was cooking dinner, my 6-yd-old said, “Mmmmm… it smells like focaccia!”  (I was stir-frying green beans). Well, my 3 year old got the notion that indeed it MUST be focaccia if sister said it smelled like focaccia, and thus told me I was making focaccia.  She insisted that I stop teasing her.  (Gulp; I guess I do tease; just a little!)  I have a focaccia recipe that my girls just love and I can practically make it in my sleep.  All that to say, the next night I decided to make focaccia to make up for it; only with a twist.

stuffed focaccia

Seeing that we were low on groceries, I used what we had to make a stuffing:  hamburger, kale, carrots, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.  Stir-fry is amazing!  When I was done, I added grated cheese.  Once I stuffed it into the dough, I added a little parmesan and a little more grated cheese to the top and then baked them until they turned golden brown.  The kids told me not only do I have to blog about these gourmet goodies, but I had to call them “focamburgers.”  They are now being added to my list of “Fairly simple dinners that the kids will eat without complaint.”  If you have any more of those dishes, please let me know!  🙂