Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Treatment Day

This morning was a bit busy trying to get all my little ducks in a row.  I'm so grateful for all our friends who are able to help us on treatment days.  Getting the kids on the bus, the little two to a sitter for the 4 hr appointment and then getting back home can sometimes be a logistics nightmare.  Especially when the traffic looks like this.
Today there was an extra stop to make since Madi prefers to be accessed at the Pratt Center office instead of Test and Treatment at the hospital.  Not a problem - we want her to be as comfortable in any situation as we can make her.  I just have to remember to allow an extra 45 minutes to our commute even though the buildings are right next to each other.

The staff in Test and Treatment are amazing with the kids.  They try to have the same nurse take care of Madi each time we go in to make it easier on her.  The Child Life Specialist comes by as soon as we get in the room to see what craft, activity, toy or movie Madi wants.  Today she decided to do a craft.

 After getting checked in, hooked up to fluids for an hour, and getting a good dose of Zofran, the doctors take Madi back for her 15 minute procedure.  I have just enough time to grab a coffee before they bring her back to the room.
We head home after she has time to wake up and have a quick snack since she has to fast on these mornings.  She's just a bit tired the rest of the day, but she'll typically stay up playing or watching a little television until bedtime.  It's absolutely amazing how all the little ones adjust so well to the new normal of their lives.

Please keep mentioning her in your prayers.  She does such a good job that sometimes even we forget that she really isn't at 100% and won't be for several months yet.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My Baby Turns 4

Our 'baby' of the family turned 4 this past Saturday.  So hard to believe!  He's fun loving and full of energy - and all boy.  Having a little boy after 4 girls is a very different experience, but a lot of fun at the same time.  He will definitely be giving us some gray hairs down the road.

Instead of princesses and glitter, this birthday was dominated by super heros.  Spiderman being the main hero of the day.  Lots of fun!
The cupcakes were really easy to do.

The strawberry idea I found just by doing a quick Google search.  I didn't want to have a bunch of icing left over, so I picked up some of the Betty Crocker decorating icing in the tubes.  I was a bit disappointed in how stiff the white icing was, but the black worked like a dream.  I'll probably pick up the gel icing if I ever do anything like this again.  Placing the strawberries in an egg holder made decorating all the strawberries at once really easy!
For the remaining cupcakes, I just put simple spiderwebs on them with the white icing.  This is where the stiff icing really made things difficult.  My hands were so sore when I got finished.  Fortunately, a four year old boy doesn't critique too harshly.
A very simple cake that made a little boy's day!

What kind of birthday parties have you had lately?  Do you keep it simple or are you someone who is able to pull an over-the-top birthday together?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I've started a bit of Spring cleaning around our home, but it's coming along in baby steps.  The little ones are still home to 'help' me in any project.  Since the weather has been warming up, finding things to do while the kids are playing outside has been a good compromise for us.

So, the garage has been swept out and organized - done while the kids rode bikes in the driveway.  The muddy shoes in the corner will soon be cleaned up and put away.
There are several things in here that need to be removed still:  we are getting closer and closer to being done with car seats,  strollers are soon to be a thing of the past, and a couple of our smaller bikes are needing to find a new home to make some other little girl or boy happy.  

If you look closely, you can see some of our left over deck materials that need to go, too.  Railing and some hardware that have just been taking up space for the past several years need to be removed, sold or trashed.  I'll be recruiting my husband to help with some of the heavy lifting.
Since we've had some high 60*/ low 70* weather, shorts were a must for the kids - it didn't make a difference to anyone that we had snow the following day.  Looking for shorts started a domino effect that caused some minor closet clean out.  We'll have to go back into the battle arena and do a more thorough job later, though.  Below is just a small bit of the carnage created.  Most of these clothes will go to others we know who can use the clothes and some of it will just be donated.  I've started getting some hand-me-downs from others, and that really helps our budget and rounds out the kids' wardrobes.
We'll soon be putting the winter gloves, hats and scarves away, too.  Five kids should mean 5 pairs of gloves, 5 scarves and 5 hats.  For our family, it seems like those numbers are tripled!  I'm so ready to put all the winter accessories in a bin and back in the basement storage. 
Has anyone else started Spring cleaning?  (I was hoping to get ours done before nice weather really set in, but it may be here before I'm ready.)  What are some of your real 'problem areas'?  What is the one area you feel has be cleaned/straightened before you can be officially finished?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two Bean Chicken Chili

Our weather is doing the typical Midwest spring roller coaster.  The past two days have been beautiful and in the high 60's or low 70's.  I might have even gotten a touch of sunburn from being out most of the afternoon on Monday.  Then today our high is suppose to be wet and 41 degrees.  Blah!  The cooler weather put me in the mood for some warm comfort food.  Here is a recipe my SIL has shared with all the family and become a favorite for us.

2 Bean Chicken Chili


1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)

1 can Pinto Beans (rinsed and drained)

2 cans chicken broth

8 oz. corn

1 T chili powder

1 clove of garlic

1 jar chunky mild salsa

3 cups cooked chicken

8 oz tomato sauce (Mexican hot if available)

1 chopped zucchini


Place all ingredients in a large soup pot on stove top.  Mix and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 30 minutes.

That's it.  Seriously.

Want to add a little extra to it?  Our family likes to put a dollop of sour cream on top, a good sprinkle of shredded cheese and then scoop it all up with Fritos or Tostitos.

Before too long, I'm sure we will all be complaining about how hot it is.  However, I can't wait for warm weather, sun and some fun in the pool.  Can't get here soon enough for me!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Apple-Strawberry Smoothee Recipe

This week has been extremely busy!  Several things were already planned and several unexpected things got tossed in to my schedule - just to keep me on my toes, I'm sure.  Like dropping our 5 yr old off at preschool and the van not wanting to start again when I was ready to leave.  Yep.  Morning plans were changed from grocery shopping to getting a new battery put in our vehicle.  At least now I have no worries about whether or not I have the Black & Decker jump starter in the van.

So, during our abnormal week, I finally made it the the local gym.  I never want to go, but I always feel so good afterward.  The kids get to play in the kid room while I workout and then I'll take them to the gymnasium area afterward.
Then we all go home and have a reward for all our exercise.

Apple-Strawberry Smoothee

1/2 C frozen strawberries
1 package apple sauce
2 scoops Vanilla Smoothee mix
1 C milk or water

 Put them all together and mix.
My kids love helping make our smoothees.

Our weekend weather is looking to be much warmer than we've had lately.  60* and sunny is nothing to take for granted in the midwest this time of year!  Hope all of you have some nice weather where you are, too, to enjoy!  
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