Goodnight Goon

Halloween is just around the corner and this really cute parody on the classic Goodnight Moon is a spooktacular book to get you in the spirit. Hank loves Goodnight Moon so much that the book looks as though it has endured all four kids. However, each of the kids have adored this bedtime story as toddlers so much that we have had to buy a new one for each of them. Max and I have read it before bed so often that it has created a Pavlov response in us, that no matter when we read it, we begin to yawn and grow sleepy. We are having fun changing it up and reading Goodnight Goon. Even the big kids want to listen in and compare it to the original. We are still searching for the creature that is in every page. MKHKKH highly recommends Goodnight Goon for your little ghouls this Halloween season!

Hank's Day Out With Thomas

On Saturday Max and I took Hank to a Day Out with Thomas at our Railroad museum. We went with Hailey when she about his age because she loved trains too. However the K buddies were never really into them so we had a 6 year hiatus from the overly expensive day with Thomas. I knew as soon as he saw the ad on Sesame Street, we would have to go. Sure enough, Hank talked about going to see Thomas for weeks. Saturday morning when I told him today was the day, he began to skip around the house singing "I get to ride on Thomas!"
He really enjoyed climbing on and seeing all the old engines and box cars.
They have tents all over with different activities such as a tattoo station, a giant room to play with all thing Thomas, a petting zoo, a story time, movie stations and of course you exit through a giant gift shop intended to ignite a 2 year old temper tantrum because you don't want to buy the forty dollar train engine.
Proud as a sailor with a fresh tattoo.
There was a fire truck the kids could climb in and fire men to show them all about the truck. A boys dream.
After exploring all the different stations, it was time for the big moment. Time to ride on Thomas!!
Hank was not pleased. See, you don't get to actually ride in Thomas. Thomas pulls the train cars. Hank kept asking when he got to ride on Thomas. We would show him Thomas was pulling us and he was not impressed. While the train ride was fun, when was he going to get to go on Thomas? As we got off the ride, he said, "Now it my turn to ride on Thomas?!" He still thinks there is more to this trip and that at some point he is going to ride Thomas. Maybe next year buddy.

Bronco Buddies

Hank and Kaitlin are the best of buds. Hank misses her so much when she is at school in the morning. They love playing together and have a very strong bond. Kaitlin directs their play and Hank usually follows along as happy has a puppy. Today they were thrilled that they could match for once. Maybe it will give our Broncos a little luck today! GO BRONCOS!!

We Have a Diva in the House

Karile is my fashionista. She loves clothes and shoes as much as I do and has a style all her own. To this day Hailey could care less what she wears. She is happy if it has horses on it and if it is comfortable. Some mornings she still wants me to pick out her outfit because it is just too much trouble.

Karlie on the other hand has had an opinion about her clothes since she was two. This morning she begged to where her clip on earrings and wanted a high pony tail with a chunk of hair hanging down the front. Add her "high heels" and a skirt and she was ready to go. Oh how fun the teenage years are going to be with this one. Diva central!

The Star Wars Moment

Tonight the Star Wars moment happened. Max has been a Star Wars fan since he was a little boy and tonight the torch was passed. All afternoon Hank had been saying he wanted to watch "Dar Wars" when Daddy got home. This was music to Max's ears. Father and son unite with father grinning ear to ear. While Karlie wanted in on it too, she brought a book just in case she got bored. However Hank and Max were thrilled. One with the movie, the other with his mini.

Fall Leaves Eggless Sugar Cookies

Today Kaitlin had a play date with her best friend and we made sugar cookies. We are trying our best to get into the spirit of fall around here so we made them festive fall leaves. The nutmeg gives these cookies a fall flavor and best of all they are Hank OK!
They are non-egg allergic kid approved too. The girls devoured them during the play date and the big girls ate their fair share after school. I am glad I got a picture before they got to them.

2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg together.

Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy then mix in the sour cream. Blend in the dry mixture.

Divide the batter into three balls and add yellow, orange and red food coloring to each ball. Knead until uniform in color.

Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Roll out dough on a floured surface and cut with leaf cookie cutters. I added veins to some for fun and did a pumpkin.

Bake for 7-9 minutes.

Today's Treasure ~ REI's Nesting Wineglasses

Before we went to Paris I bought these wine glasses from REI. The stems unscrew and nest into the glass so that you have an easy, portable, and nonbreakable wineglass. We used these a lot while in Paris. They are great to take along on any trip. You can grab a bottle of wine and have a nice glass to drink out of instead of the hotel room water glass. They are also great for picnics and on those special occasion meals when the kids get sparkling cider, you don't have to worry about them breaking a wineglass. Now if I can just find one that is spill proof too!


US Tank Cake

My nephew, R.J., turned 6 this last week and wanted an army cake for his birthday party. I knew I wanted to do a tank.
This cake was made out of two 9X12 cakes stacked on top of each other and then carved to the shape of a tank. With the corners of an additional 9X12 I made the top. The canon is a Pirouette Rolled Wafer wrapped in fondant.
I would like to take credit for the cake but Max did all the detail. We tried a new technique this time of making a paint out of Wilton food coloring, water and powder sugar. Max said it was like building a model toy. The wheels and all the black are painted. The mud is buttercream icing with chocolate chips that were in chopped up in the food processor.
The army men are from Target and the flag is from the girls' doll house. This was a super fun cake to make. Max's only regret was that it wasn't for Hank the Tank. :0)

Farewell Summer

Labor Day weekend marks the official end of summer here. We had two 94 degree days before fall showed up on Monday and dropped to 75 degrees. We soaked up the last of the sun in the hot tub (which has become the mini swimming pool) and the slip n slide.

We feasted on one of our most favorite summer meals: Max's special ribs, sweet corn and the kids' favorite pasta- oh and chocolate milk of course.
Finger lickin good!
Even Daisy got to enjoy the last taste of summer. :0)
We rang in fall with a wine and cheese party. We had a blind taste test of 7 bottles priced from $3.99 to $23.00 and tried to rank them. Apparently our trip to Paris didn't refine our pallets much. The cheaper bottles were by far the favorites. The food was unspeakably good and the good times even better. The kids got to have a sleep over too! Nothing like a 3 day weekend.
Fall does bring a few favorite things... FOOTBALL! Max and I went to Colorado's deep seeded rival between CSU and CU. We went to CSU for undergrad and CU for medical and nursing school. People often ask where our allegiance lie. We are CSU RAM fans all the way! Unfortunately it was a total blow out in 95 degree blazing sun and we were sitting in the CU alum section. We left early and grabbed a drink to dull the pain.
Max partook in our long time friend Brad's (also a CSU alum) fantasy football draft. These two have been doing the Labor Day weekend draft for 9 years. Hopefully Max's team will do better than the Rams (and his last 8 years in fantasy) this season.
Another Labor Day tradition is planting trees. Our local tree farm has a buy one get one sale that we try to take advantage of each Labor Day. A new development has many advantages however trees are not one of them. Here is the before.

After the two of us hauling four 50 gallon trees all over the yard, digging holes big enough for each of them and getting them in their holes, we were wiped out. Max told me this was the end of this tradition. I am sure he will forgive me by next Labor Day when he sees the bounty of all his hard work.

We packed as much sun and fun as we could into our final weekend of summer. We will miss our fun and carefree days but are looking forward to the festivities, food and football that fall brings!

Big Boy Bed

For the first time in nearly a decade I do not have a crib set up in my house. :( We were so excited with Hailey's pregnancy that as soon as I got past 12 weeks, we put the crib and nursery together. So it was with sadness and joy that we took the crib down this week.
The girls never jumped out of the crib. Around the 8 month of pregnancy I would get too big to rock them and gently place them in the crib. It was at this time, a little before 2, that each of them had to learn to fall asleep by themselves. Then after the baby was born, we needed the crib so they would get their big girl bed. Since there was not another baby on the way, Hank has truly been babied and still gets rocked to sleep at nap and bedtime. However, he is no longer willing to stay in the crib.

At almost 3 Hailey was completely content sleeping in the crib and even after she was moved into her big girl bed she would call for me to come get her. Never would she dreamed of climbing out of the crib. Boys are different.
One night Hank decided this crib thing is for babies and he jumped out. And he jumped out again, and again, and again. I stood by his door and put him back in his crib for over and hour. I kept thinking of the Super Nanny as I tried not to ring his neck. :) It was time for me to stop rocking him and to get a big bed boy bed. Even if I was clinging to his babyhood with everything I had, he was ready.
Hank was thrilled with his new bed. He slept all night the first two nights and last night woke up crying but ended up getting back in his bed and going to sleep on his own. We are still working on teaching him to fall asleep on his own but we both need baby steps. One of us sits in the bean bag and hold his hand as he requests. He is a very loving little guy that thrives off physical contact. I can't complain. The first night took 40 minutes, the next 30, and last night was 20. If the Super Nanny method works, soon we will be tucking him and closing the door on babyhood. He is ready to be a big boy.
I think I need a puppy.

Super Nana

This the advent calendar Nana made so the kids could visualize when I would be coming home. Each space had a rice crispy treat.
There is only one way to describe Jeannette (Max's mom). SUPER NANA. She agreed to come out and watch the kids for us while we were in Paris. Without her, I would not have been able to go. I was very nervous about leaving her alone with four kids (I only broke out in hives a couple times). I know when Max is gone on a business trip for a week I am near my wits end. How was Jeanette going to survive? She is an empty nester. She is use to quiet and calm evenings, not use to changing poopy butts about 10 times a day nor being woke up at the crack of dawn by a hungry baby. No time to sip your coffee here.

I had friends and family all set up as back-ups in case she just couldn't hang the whole time. I had my mom ready to come relieve her every afternoon. I had friends to call and take some of the kids to lessen her burden. I imagined her going three days with no shower and having to order pizza every night due to the constant chaos. Boy was I wrong.
We all know Jeanette cooks but I thought maybe a dose of 4 kids would dampen it just a bit.
Oh, no. There was cooking every day and I am not talking Kraft Macaroni and Cheese cooking.The kind of cooking kids love and moms hate... Messy times 3!
The kids had so much fun cooking with her!
I thought I was eating well in Paris.
She even invited the neighbor kids to cook too.
I was mostly worried about my little man. He is one of the biggest Mama's boys out there. Jeanette rolled up her sleeves and became Mom #2.
He was treated like royalty. Here he is King Henry the 4th. If he wanted to be held, he was held. If he wanted chocolate milk, he got chocolate milk. In fact Nana did not have one discipline issue with him. How is that I have about 20 time outs a day and she had none all week?
One day a friend of mine took the girls for a play date. Did Super Nana use it as a time to relax with just one kid? Nope, she was off to Hank's favorite train. This sealed the deal in Hank's book. Nana will forever have her name engraved in his heart. Every time we go near the train he says "Nana fun train!"
There were gymnastics lessons, school time, legos and trains.
To help the little girls fall asleep and not miss us so much, she let them fall asleep in our bed and then carried them to their beds each night. Awwww.

She even had the neighborhood kids over - a lot!
Once it was 5 extra kids. No sweat for Super Nana.
She held a tea party while Pops was out for the weekend. Did I mention cooking? They had homemade biscuits and whipped cream!
She hosted a grandparents dinner with a French theme and even sent inviations. They had homemade crepes with chicken and asparagus, crepes with fruit and whipped cream and chocolate truffles. All made with the kids. Amazing!
As though she hadn't out done herself already, we came home to find a diorama of Paris. Nana read the entire book of Madeline to them too. They really learned a lot about the landmarks of Paris. When we were showing the slide show of our trip to the kids Hank screamed, "I-Fell-Tower!" when the pictures of the Eiffel tower came up. I am not sure how many American two year olds know the Eiffel tower when they see it. It was kick to hear the kids naming the places before we even had a chance to.
Super Nana was truly amazing and we are eternally grateful for the fabulous job she did. Every day she sent us texts and e-mails keeping us in touch with the kids. One day Phillipe saw the emails and asked me in an accusatory tone if, "You make her do this?" I explained that she was just super woman and did this all on her own. I can't tell you how happy it made me to see them all thriving while we were gone. I think they handled it better than I did thanks to Nana.

It was so wonderful for the kids to get to develop such a strong bond with Nana. I would hedge that she is happy about their closer relationship too. But she kinda messed up. Now that we know how super she is, we will all be wanting her back for more! :0)