Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Final 2014 Pic Wrap Up

2015. It's going to take some time to get used to writing that!

In the meantime, here are pics capturing little moments from the final week of 2014 and the first few days of 2015.

It's also my final post on! 

Beginning this week, I'll be posting new content on my self-hosted site:

I'm excited! Learning Word Press has been a challenge, but I think I know enough of the basics now. Go ahead and check it out and see what you think. 

Have a great 2015!



Sunday, December 28

The kids received a dentist Play Dough set for Christmas and had a great time playing with it today. Even Simon got in on the action. 

Monday, December 29

I think this one should be named Billy. As in the goat. He won't stop climbing. Here he is on top of the dressers  in the boys' room. 

Tuesday, December 30

Jeffrey helping me clean out the board games. He's a worker!

Wednesday, December 32

We played tea party for Family Play Time today, and enjoyed lovely suckers from Sees Candy. (Thanks to Drew's parents for those!!!) Owen managed his quite well, I was really impressed. A great independent snack for him! 

Thursday, January 1

My Aunt Becky and cousin Sammi invited us to a New Year's Party. Little did I know it was a baby shower in disguise! What a blessing! When you are on baby seven, you really have stopped thinking about showers, and it was a joy to spend some time celebrating this new life growing inside. Thank you so much Aunt Becky, Uncle Chris and Sammi! And everyone else who was there. We love you!

While there, the kids had a great time playing, and Bryan captured a shot of Simon I just had to share. 

Friday, January 2

While in Spokane for the party yesterday, we did a little shopping with the kids so they could spend some Christmas money. Ellie was so excited to see a laundry center, complete with ironing board. Because you know, she's always wanted one. And it was on clearance for $20 so she could finally buy one. 

I thought I'd put it together easily this morning and she'd be playing away. Not so much. But we worked on it while Bryan was at work and got it done! Two pics--one process, one complete. And was I ever glad to be completed with a task! My pregnancy carpal tunnel makes screwdriver work a bit of a challenge. But Praise the Lord, He gave me strength to get it done! 

It's pretty cute and has already been played with for a few hours. 

Saturday, January 3

You know those turkeys I talked about back in November? While they are still alive and running  all over the place. They drive me crazy! My step-dad has been sick, and we haven't gotten them butchered. Until today. 

The big Tom keeps scaring the kids and running at us. He jumped on Bryan this night, and it didn't end well for the Tom. 

Warning. The pic below shows a dead turkey tied in the air off a ladder for plucking.  If you don't want to see, stop reading now please. 

After a shotgun did its work, I got my first experience with manually plucking a bird. Remember that we use a plucker for the meat chickens. 

It was easier than I thought it'd be, but I did end up skinning when I brought it inside because it was getting dark and I didn't want to be out picking pin feathers all night. There is really no good workspace for that job in the house. Next time we will start earlier in the day! 

I also had my first experience dealing with shot in a critter. Made me feel like one of those old fashioned ladies on the prairie who cooked up whatever hubby had shot that day! 

The turkey is all cut up, and I'll be making broth, pan fried turkey and a few pounds of ground turkey with him. Should be delicious!

Now to take care of those other six...

Remember my warning. Here comes the picture...I was in the middle of cutting through wing feathers when I remembered to take one. Thankfully Bryan captured a few more photos. I may have to do a turkey butchering post soon!

Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and a marvelous 2015!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cleaning Out the Games

I'm a  bit of a board game junkie.  I LOVE to play games with my family and friends. So do my kids.  And they often ask to play games together during free time.  I love it!  And I love all the new games we got for Christmas.  But...there wasn't room for the new ones with the sad state that our game collection was in. So something had to be done!

Side note:

Old houses have such character.  This space...I'm not exactly sure what the original purpose was.  It's alongside the top of our stairs, but isn't really wide enough to be entirely useful living space. My Dad remembers jumping off it onto the steps when he was a kid. And falling a lot, through the sheet rock on the stairs.  Since Bryan and I wanted to avoid that memory building opportunity for our own children, we decided to turn it a game storage area with some portable, build-able shelving. 

 There are other spaces in the house where I just wish I could see what the original builder had in mind...

End side note!

Since we aren't doing school right now, it's the perfect time of year for more in-depth organization and cleaning.  However, since I am very pregnant, I'm trying to make sure I don't over do it.  I've been picking one or two projects a day to work on, and then make sure and spend time with my feet up relaxing and resting with the family.  The games were the goal for the day!

Ellie and Sydney were visiting with my Mom and helping her undecorate her Christmas tree. The rest of us jumped to work. Jayme was assigned keeping track of Owen and Simon so they couldn't track pieces all over the house.

Jeffrey helped to pull everything off the shelves.

I had forgotten how many games we had. Jeffrey and I stacked everything up in the girls' room or in the hallway area outside.

We started by putting all loose pieces in a tub.  That way when we found a game with a missing piece, we'd have one spot to look.  We went through the games and made sure there were enough pieces that it was still playable (some are still missing a piece or two, but nothing that affects game play greatly).  Game boxes that were broken had their contents dumped into Ziploc bags to avoid losing more.  Games that were unplayable due to missing pieces were either kept in one pile to be used for play by our younger kids (who just want to play with the pieces and don't really care if they play "correctly") or thrown away, depending on their state.

As part of the process, we straightened up the money and cards in games.  Rubber bands and small baggies were big helpers for this task!  Now when we decide to play a game, we can jump right into play instead of having to organize everything first and then play.  I'm excited about that part!

We put puzzles in bags, and now just have a small pile of pieces leftover that I'm not sure where they go.  That's Jayme's project over the next few days--put together puzzles and toss the ones missing pieces and add the correct pieces to the right puzzles.  We also have a few cards left to be organized.  We have three sets of Skip Bo, but I know that the sets as they are aren't complete right now. So cards and puzzles need a bit of work, but everything else got finished up.

It looks so much nicer, and all of our new games have a home. The card games (Monopoly Deal, Skip Bo, Life Adventures, and so many more) are now stored in plastic bags in the baskets.  No more digging for them. The white basket in the corner is for any pieces we find as we clean out other rooms in the house.  I'm sure they're there somewhere...

Another plus?  Since we've really been decluttering lately, it felt good to fill another bag.

And now our games are ready to play.  I'm feeling a game night coming on!

Do you have any tricks for keeping them organized?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

From everyone here on the farm, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Enjoy celebrating our Savior's birth with your friends and family.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pictures for the Week (12/20 ending)

Ok...blogging on the computer this evening instead of the phone app.  Hopefully the post will actually publish!  Sorry about the confusion with two picture wrap-ups in a row.

This is for the current week (12/14-12/20).  Let's get started, shall we?

Sunday, December 14

No pictures.

Monday, December 15

Jeffrey made a catapult from some scrap wood on the porch.  I actually managed to catch a shot with the rock in the air!  Never a dull moment around here...

Tuesday, December 16

Sometimes when something crazy happens, you have to stop to take a picture first.  Those few seconds allow you to breath and calm down. of THOSE moments happened on Tuesday.  Simon grabbed the bottom of the roll of toilet paper off the wall and started running.  He made it through the gate into the living room before I caught up to him.

Wednesday, December 17

Shopping Day.  Five of the kids had dental appointments, so we hung out in the waiting room for a while.  Jeffrey gave Simon a ride on a toy they have there, and both boys were really enjoying themselves!

Thursday, December 18

We made Christmas tree Rice Krispie treats as our first Christmas goodies of the season.  Everyone got to sample one, and the rest went into the freezer to share with family and friends later on in the Christmas season.  Two pictures for your viewing pleasure--one of the process, one of the product!

Friday, December 19

Addressing Christmas cards.  The kids decorated most of the envelopes for me.  Sydney had to be reminded a few times to stick to the back so I had room to write!  We made it to the Post Office with just a few minutes to spare, and thankfully--they are mailed!  Then we came home, and built gingerbread houses with Daddy!

Saturday, December 20

Decoration Day for our houses! Sydney, Ellie, Jeff and Jayme were all able to use the frosting "guns" independently this year, so I just helped open candies and refill things when needed.  (I thought Sydney would need help, but she is a very independent girl and determined not to need help when Ellie and Jeffrey didn't!)

Since he's not usually in my weekly picture wrap-up, here's one of Bryan decorating the house he built for Owen and Simon to share.  Owen enjoyed sampling all of the goodies, and Simon was down for a nap during this project. I think they'll both love eating the house Daddy decorated!

Christmas excitement is brewing here at Grouse Creek.  How about where you are?

Pictures for the Week

Appearently I can't count on my Blogger app to actually publish these posts all the time, since this post from LAST Saturday is still sitting in my drafts. Oops! It wasn't showing as a draft on the computer.

 I'll have to remember to start double checking that they actually make it to the web!

In the meantime, you get two weeks for the price of one!

The current week will be published shortly!
It's been a hectic week! We finished up school until January, and got the room emptied out for my Dad that we needed to. I'm sure looking forward to a lower key week next week (hopefully!)


I got an awesome deal on onions last week, and also...avacados! Bryan stopped after work last Friday to purchase these beauties.

 About $0.50 each for 70 of them at Cash and Carry. We are a lot of guacamole, had avacados in smoothies, and froze the rest--mashed up with lemon juice. Yum!


Ellie helping to empty Jeff's room upstairs  so we could turn it into the new playroom/library. The cradle also got moved to Mom and Dad's room in anticipation of new baby. 


A tub full of books for Goodwill. Purging feels great! 


It's been super rainy, and a couple of great puddles formed in the neighbor's driveway. Jeff eagerly explored the "bridge" that was on this "lake" sized one. 


Oh goodie--this one is sideways! I'm blogging from my phone in bed, and can't get it to turn. Maybe I'll work on that next week if I remember.

I was trying to catch the wind--see the trees bending? Amazing how fall like our December weather has been this year. In the 50s some days! 

Of course just a few weeks ago it was single temperature highs, so I'm enjoying the heat wave!


Jayme got Simon back to sleep after he woke up too early from a nap. Isn't this precious? 


I absolutely love watching the kids play spontaneously! Jeff and Ellie have really been trying hard to incorporate Sydney and Simon into their free play. They were all chasing each other all over the house. They even taught Simon to crawl under the table today.

Jeff had just caught Simon  in this picture. Ellie decided to take advantage of Jeff being on the ground to do her own tackling!

I love the joy our blessings bring into our lives. All of them! I'm going to make it a point to really enjoy the days with them while we take a break from school, and build some memories together! 

Any plans for your Chriatmas break? 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gingerbread Houses from Graham Crackers

Today was the day...or rather tonight was the night. We had bought all of the supplies and had an easy dinner of pizza and salad on the menu. The Christmas countdown selection was "Charlie Brown Christmas."

And one at a time after dinner, Daddy helped each of the kids construct a cracker gingerbread house. They need to dry overnight so they will hold up to loads of decorations tomorrow. 

Everyone was so excited as they watched the movie, eagerly awaiting their turn. Here are a few pics of the process:

Jeffrey and Daddy get the evening started. 

The final gingerbread house, for Owen and Simon to share, is a double!

Sydney loved looking at the ideas in the cookbook!

After five houses were standing, we moved them to the utility room to dry (it's cold in there...)

Then there was more fun. Leftover cut graham crackers and frosting needed to be used. The kids got to use the "glue gun" of frosting on their own and build little creations to eat. 

Ellie made a tower.

Sydney decorated the whole bowl. 

And Jeffrey perfected his J writing skills. 

It was a wonderful evening! And I'm so thankful that Bryan took the lead on building these things. I can decorate. But making a house that actually looks straight while standing? Not really my strong area. I love how we compliment each other as a couple! 

Have you ever decorated graham cracker houses? This is our second year, and I imagine it'll be a lasting tradition. Maybe someday we'll get brave and use real gingerbread!