Thursday, December 31, 2009

the last of 2009

I have to post the last of 2009's Christmas before we welcome 2010. McKay has wanted (and waited patiently) for a DS for a little over a year now. I wouldn't ever buy one but she finally got one for Christmas. That wasn't all. McKay has a fascination for otters. She absolutely LOVES them. On her list was a build-a-bear otter so that is what we got her. So while she is trying to beat Kirby, she is loving Molly.

P.S. I've got a New Year's Resolution list going in my head. I've also got a bet going with Jacob on one thing (if I accept). We'll see come midnight!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a chalk board and a white board!

Katanya was so excited all Christmas season. Each day she asked when Christmas was coming. She also grasped the concept of Santa and being good. In fact, one evening a friend stopped by as Santa and he asked if she had been good and if he should bring presents. She answered, "No, not today. (She had just thrown her controller at Cruz's head. Gotta give her points for being honest.) She has loved her "chalk board and white board. (I just realized that Santa has followed Hazel's gifting patterns.) Katanya is also always toting her Tinkerbell doll from her aunt with the movie from grandma. She must be a pixie girl!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kirsten and Eva

One of Kirsten's present was a (target made) American Doll. She had to make her a name necklace to go with the one she made at the beach. When she gets busy and has something to do, she makes sure that either Dad or I are watching her and holding her. It was funny and I even did a double take when I saw Jacob carry a doll around last night. I love the fact that the kids are still playing and being nice today.

final product

We have had a GREAT and Merry Christmas this year at home. The kids played from a little past 8 this morning to almost midnight tonight. I'll bring a few highlights over the next couple days.
Jacob and I finished Cruz's "Idaho Falls City Map" late last night. We sprayed the acrylic coating on a little before midnight. I got up at 6 am and quickly wrapped it and put it under the tree. It was from Jacob and I but he had been waiting so patiently to see his presents under the tree. This was a week long project and I don't think that you could pay me to do another one, (at least anytime soon.) We drove around the town earlier in the week and took pictures of the buildings I wanted on the map. I wanted it as personal as we could get. Cruz loved it with all the "match box" cars that he got with it to go with the city. We even added our "pit" and equipment to the fun as well.

Friday, December 25, 2009

not a creature was stirring ...

... not even a mouse

... not even the one with a pierced ear.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sneak Peak

Here is a sneak peak when we started on Sunday evening with Cruz's present. I knew what I wanted but I have a hard time putting it to paper but luckily I have a talented and "visionary" husband. Together we have stayed up late the past three nights and worked on this (as well as I have shut myself in my room and worked on it yesterday.) If you look at the time stamp, that is correct and not fixed. One more night and it will be done. Hopefully I can just make it that far.

I'm so excited to see Cruz's face when he opens it. Although, I don't know which kid will like it more. As I sat in my room tonight drawing, McKay ran to Cruz's toys and started playing with it. I guess I know what to get her for her birthday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

kitchen completion

Jacob finally finished the bar stools yesterday. Or rather, started and completed this project yesterday. It was a lot simpler than he had planned on it being. Just to give you a little hint on how long we've been waiting, the color of the chairs was the whole reason I repainted my kitchen back in January of 2008. I love my house!
So now that we have extra seats for eating and plenty of extra beds, there is always room for holiday visitors!?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

McKay's first Christmas....

at home. McKay is excited this year to finally be able to spend Christmas at home (the first for this home.) The last time she spent Christmas at home was in 2003 (below). Every other year she goes to her other dad's.In 2005 we were in Hawaii (no complaints) a couple weeks before and with Betsy for Christmas.
In 2007 we spent Christmas and New Year's with Betsy again!
This year we have decided to stay at home and the kids can't wait.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Best Minestrone Soup

I should have gotten a picture. This soup was THAT good. It's my new favorite (and it's rather simple). It's from McKay's grandma, Merilyn. Here recipes have always been favorites such as Linda Brown Tacos (which Nate renamed to Amy's Famous Tacos). She tried to recreate Olive Garden's version and I think she beat it. Anyway she gave me permission to share so ENJOY!

2-3 TBSP Olive Oil
1 small onion, minced
1/2 cup zucchini, julienne sliced
1 stalk celery, minced
2 tsp. crushed garlic (jar in produce section)
4 Cans of Vegetable or Chicken Broth (2 boxes)
1 (14.5 oz.) can of Italian Green Beans, drained and rinsed
2 (15 oz.) cans of Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can of Great Northern or White Beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz.) can of Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can of Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup shredded carrots (you can buy a bag of shredded carrots in the produce section too)
1/2 - 1 tsp. Parsley
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. Black pepper
1/2 - 1 tsp. Basil
4 Cups of Hot water
2 Cups Chopped Cabbage
1/2 Cup small Seashell Pasta (it doesn't seem like a lot but....Don't put more!)
****you can also add spinach if desired.

Heat Olive Oil in 10qt. stock pot. Saute onion, zucchini, celery, and garlic in the oil until the onions begin to turn translucent. (I threw my onion and celery in the food processor to mince them. My kids couldn't even tell they were in it.) Add broth, beans, tomatoes, carrots, spices and water. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Add cabbage and pasta and cook for another 20 minutes or until desired soupy thickness. Serve with real grated Parmesan cheese on top. (She sometimes add stew meat to this. Brow and cook (braise) for about 1 hour before adding.

***BONUS****Today I cooked a roast during church and then when I got home I shredded it and added it on the last step.

It was simply DELICIOUS! Katanya and Cruz loved it and ate every bite in their bowl. McKay asked to take some for her lunch at school and I'm already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 ornament

This year for our "yearly traditional" ornament we decided to go with our visit to Betsy's house in Texas. Near the end of June we traveled out there for a month and stayed with her and her family. It was a fun and memorable experience. We always love spending time with family. (I'm also wishing that we were in Texas right about now out of the cold and snow.)

I still have yet to do a family picture, but I have everything ready. Now that Jake is out of school for the year (2 weeks) I just need snow and one good weathered day. I won't go a year without one so here's crossing my fingers.

P.S. I never cleared the confusion from last year. I only pictured the ornament with the family picture and no description. Since it was a secret until the year was up, I couldn't say anything. It was a glass diamond with a book on it to celebrate Jacob going back to college.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


It is so nice to get out of bed on a cold morning and open the fireplace.

Monday, December 07, 2009

christmas decorations

As I got out the Christmas decorations I noticed something odd in Cruz's bedroom. Does any other kids out there do this? And yes, the bag is almost half full still.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

under lock and key

Kirsten and McKay share a huge bedroom. In that bedroom they share a TV that they got for Christmas last year. Last Tuesday night, McKay came up asking if I had seen the remote. Nope. Later in the evening Kirsten was watching a Christmas show when I asked her to go shower. McKay came up 5 minutes later and asked again where the remote was. She then accused Kirsten of locking it in her safe.

I went downstairs and checked and sure enough she had tucked it in a safe place. What a smart girl. She was in the middle of her show, paused it, and didn't want anyone else to start it without her. (We love our DVR.) I chuckled, snapped a pic, and left it locked up.

I love Kirsten's thinking sometimes. Besides, sisters do this all the time right?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Back from vacation

(I'm behind on blogging. Actually not behind but more like unmotivated. Being sick and being in freezing single digits can bring one down. Hopefully, I can update my header very soon. I am still also in dire need of a family picture as it goes with my Christmas tree tradition. )

For Thanksgiving we ended up spending it with my family. We had lots of options and we honestly didn't decide our plans for certain until the weekend before. I hadn't been there for my dad's birthday since the year we got married so that played heavily into the planning. And while loved seeing Erika (and fam), Karl, and Maddy, we missed Betsy in Vegas.Whenever someone in my family has a baby, my dad says he won't hold or play with them until their two. I guess I'm just more pushy than my brother because I have pictures within 2 days to 2 months of him holding all of my babies. With Olivia, it took almost 5 months. Maybe my dad is just getting more stubborn in his age.

It was fun to spend Thanksgiving and his 69th birthday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Night of the Noteables

McKay had her GATE research presentation tonight. She chose a Greek Goddess. So for those of you up on your Greek Mythology.....any guesses? (without the help of google) Here are some clues: She is the goddess of forest and hills, hunting, virginity and fertility. (How does all of that go together?) She was the daughter of Zeus and the twin of Apollo. For any of you that know Roman mythology, she identified with the Goddess Diana.
She was often depicted with a bow and arrow and also with the crescent of a moon above her forehead. McKay told me Monday evening that a costume was mandatory. So Wednesday evening we put this together. With the help of a few Internet ideas and a few of my own (I actually had another creative light go on) we put together a Goddess outfit. (Total cost of materials was under $15. We had a lot already in the craft and fabric containers.)
Now according to McKay, she is set for next Halloween. I told you I would start early.

Monday, November 09, 2009

double trouble

These two play really good together (most of the time). They have a close bond, and even though it wasn't planned, I am glad they ended up as close together as they did. Often, I get asked the questions if they are twins. While I shake my head and wonder if people really think that, I will say that they do look a lot alike.
I know Katanya will be heart broken when Cruz goes to school next year and she won't. Although it will be nice to have a big brother always there for her.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

many expressions

Katanya is a fun and energetic toddler. This was passed on through her photo shoot. I had so many different favorites because many of her personalities came through in different expressions. So sorry ahead of time that there are a lot of pictures.

The day before, I wasn't really satisfied about anything that I wanted her to wear. I went to five different stores looking for options but wasn't happy with anything. Finally that night, I ran to Walmart and was browsing the fabric section. I loved the butterflies and the colors. For $2 in fabric, $2 in seam binding and $1.50 in thread, we had a new skirt that evening. If you add her entire out fit together, (I got the shirt while shopping with Betsy at Kohl's for $1.60) it is $7.10. I love good deals!

Saturday, November 07, 2009


Cruz has graduated from the Kerksiek (Jacob) smile! That and I fell in love with my camera all over again. My friend Loni, let me come use her studio (and knowledge and lenses) and photograph my two youngest yesterday morning. She has a camera just like mine so she was able to help me with the aperture and all the different settings. I think this time the explanations have stuck. I just need to get out and practice everyday.

He was happy, easy, giggly, and fun to work with. The first picture was my favorite. I have to say, this is definitely the way to go!

P.S. For those that are interested, my little brother finally joined the blogging world. My family is just a little sllllllooooowww. His blog is

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Do you have ...

I showed this to Amy this evening and she asked me why it was so funny. I guess the fact that I can't explain why it is (or isn't) funny proves one thing ... I have "THE KNACK"!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

another project finished and another item crossed off my list

A few extra minutes before church due to daylight savings time. Sometimes (okay....often) I still like dressing the kids somewhat alike.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Trick - or - Treat

This year Halloween was low key in our family. It's like an every other year kind of thing for us. We did the school carnival on Friday night and trick-or-treating last night. I had been thinking the past couple days that I wanted to show our kids what trick-or-treating was like for me as a kid. It's hard being out in the country and having the houses spaced so far apart. But then as we went the rounds, I realized that because we are out in the country, people give A LOT MORE (and better) candy than those in a subdivision. Also the kids (and you) stay warm because the only way to get around is to drive. We went to 15 houses and the kids came back with a little more than half a bag of candy. Three times as much as the number we went too. So in the end, it was easier, faster, and better. I better stop thinking that the grass is greener in the other field.

P.S. I am going to start early on next year and it will be fabulous!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another visit, another bear

She managed to stay healthy for the two weeks that it went through the other kids. But when it hit her, it hit her hard....Katanya is three and it's her 7th ER / hospital visit. Early Thursday morning she woke up with the croup. Over the span of an hour and a half, I tried taking her outside twice to get her to loosen up. It kept getting worse so at 5a.m. we headed to the ER. After a round of steroids and a dose of the epinephrine mist we were ready to go back home. At this point she was bouncing off the bed (literally as she thought it was funny.) We made it home just in time to get the girls ready in their costumes and their hair done and on the bus. We are out of school on Friday so I am looking forward to sleeping in. It was a long day with little sleep the night before.

This brings our total (ER / visits) to 16 since being married.
Katanya is learning (is it learned or inherited?) Jacob's smile. When I told her to smile in the hospital her response was, "I am, like dad. See?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

3 Simple Rules

In FHE Monday night we talked to the kids about being nice and saying nice things. Lately we ALL have been guilty of snapping, teasing, or something to that effect. We told them there were three simple rules we wanted them (and us) to obey and to remember before speaking:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it nice?
3. Is it helpful?
If you can't answer yes to all of these things then it shouldn't be said.

Kirsten was definitely paying attention. We played Uno for our game and she advised me when she got Uno called on her for having one card left that you couldn't say that. (One) It wasn't helpful and (two) it wasn't nice.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

50's style

Daddy - Daughter Date
I still can't get over the pegged suit pants (or the Vaselined hair).
Besides Jacob learning how to do her hair and paint her fingernails, the most exciting event of the night was when they took FIRST in the dance competition.

Monday, October 26, 2009

mommy pre-school

Actually Cruz call it his "school" but you can figure out who the teacher is.After our lives finally settled down and we were able to get into a schedule, we finally started preschool. I've always been one to do it myself because of our crazy lives. This year we are working with a program called Frontline Phonics. Since Cruz missed the deadline by 10 days this year, I am hoping that he is reading (or close to) by the time Kindergarten starts next year. He has a love for learning and has loved doing his pages everyday. I originally started out only going to do preschool 3 days a week but since we started last Monday, it has been every day (as begged by the kids).
Katanya is in his class as well. I'm not focused on her writing or reading like Cruz but rather the letter recognition along with the sounds. She will follow Cruz in Kindergarten the following year. Wow, what a reality check when I realize that all my kids will be in school by 2011.

***The day we started pre-school, McKay and Kirsten were home sick. They felt left out and had to be included by doing the M page and coloring also. "They never get the fun stuff."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

free time?

What a crazy week. In the last three days I have:

  • helped two mornings at the school. (this is normal)
  • made desert for dinner and FHE at a friend's house.
  • 9 loads of laundry. (this is normal)
  • made funeral potatoes for a funeral.
  • 3 dinners for a friend who had a c-section and no one brought dinners in. (I don't get some people.)
  • took Jacob lunch and his books that he forgot on the counter. (this happens somewhat regularly)
  • run to different grocery stores 5 times. (more dinners and potatoes on short notice.)
  • picked up a sick daughter from school while I was in Rexburg. I need to make note that every time I am in Rexburg the school will call.
  • clean the entire upstairs thoroughly.
  • helped and corrected homework.
  • traced 6 feet and carved 6 pumpkins to update header.
  • endless amounts of dishes (four loads just today and my sink is full again).
  • visiting teaching.
  • cleaned out the winter gear and organized it in tubs and put in on the shelves.

What's left of this week:

  • dentist appointments for three of the kids tomorrow.
  • cleaning the downstairs thoroughly.
  • babysitting my friend's kids tomorrow.
  • sew one (just one) Halloween costume.
  • more laundry.
  • more dishes.
  • more errands I'm sure.

Jacob asked me on Monday how I accounted for all my time (and free time.) At that moment, I couldn't explain, I just knew I stayed busy almost all day long. Now it's documented.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Fiestaware's new color is lemongrass.
It's my new favorite (I love this green)!
Now my set is up to 15.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

a fish story

This past weekend my grandpa took the kids fishing. It is something he has been doing the past 7 years. My kids still ask him every time when are they going to go.
This was the first year that Katanya really enjoyed it. She would throw the line in and wait for the fish. When one bit the hook she hollered with delight. She needed a little help at the end getting it out of the water. She wasn't sure if she wanted to get too close while it was still wiggling.
Cruz was the serious one. His faces were priceless.This was the first year he wasn't afraid of them. It always amazes me how much he looks like Jacob (from what I have seen through pictures).
This picture was just too priceless not to post, although it didn't resemble anything about Kirsten's fishing trip.
She went around wanting to pet every fish that was caught. I think she was trying to show me that fish aren't that gross. (I hate (HATE) touching fish.)She even played with the worms. And her very last fish she carried it with her finger through the gill to go get cleaned. Jacob promised her something if she would do this. I still think he hasn't paid up. Kirsten is my counter and I'm sure she won't forget.
McKay's the pro. This was her first year of holding a fish as well. My girls are tough!
I think next year I am going to made her bait and hook (and de-hook) her own fish.