Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Learning to Add with Dice

Nash has been learning some basic addition to get ready for Kindergarten next year and the funnest and least painful thing we do is play dice.

We begin by numbering a piece of paper to twelve (one list of numbers for each player). I usually make Nash create the list because it is such good practice. Using two dice we take turns rolling and crossing off the numbers on our paper.  For example, if I roll a six and a five, I can cross off my five, six, and my eleven.  Whoever gets their numbers crossed off first is the winner. It goes pretty fast in the beginning but sometimes trying to get that twelve or eleven is a little tricky.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yummy Recipes

This weekend I tried out a few new recipes found mostly on Pinterest. Some were successes and some were failures.  Here are my favorites:

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The picture is pretty self-explanatory but just in case-put a Rollo on a pretzel topped off with a pecan and nuke for 30 seconds!

Funeral Sandwiches
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1 Package of King's Hawaiian Rolls
1/2 lb. Ham
Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 T. Mustard
2 T. Brown Sugar
Dash of Onion Powder

Cut the rolls in half and line a cake pan with the bottoms of the rolls. Layer the ham and then the cheese and place the top half back on.  Mix together the rest of the ingredients and pour it over the rolls. Cover tightly and marinade for 4-24 hours. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Fried Mozzarella Sticks
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String cheese wrapped in an egg roll or won ton wrapper and deep fried for about 1 minute. Dip in your favorite marinara sauce.  When I gave these to the boys Nash said, "Wow, mom you should work at TGIFriday's these are so good."  I think that was a compliment.

Benihana's Sauce
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You know that yummy salad/everything dressing you get at hibachi restaurants, well this is almost exactly like it. 

1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Water
1 tsp Tomato Paste
1 T Melted Butter
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 tsp Paprika
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Mix everything but the water, add it slowly and mix well. Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

From the Butler's!

I hope everyone had a great holiday.  It seems like every year it gets a little easier to completely over look Thanksgiving and head straight into Christmas and the Black FRIDAY fanaticism.  We tried our best to pause for a second and be thankful.  Unfortunately, I think it was literally only a SECOND!  Our day began with the princess walking Jersey, the puppy we are dog sitting and Harley's very best friend in the whole wide world.

Maybe it is just her age or maybe it is just really good genetics, but everything this little girl does right now is  ADORABLE!  Not that I am biased or anything.

Scott's brother and sister-in-law were planning on coming up for the week with their family, but she went ahead and gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy on Monday so all of our plans changed.  We headed to one of our favorite restaurants for their Thanksgiving buffet.  Of course, since we made our reservations so late we ended up eating Thanksgiving dinner at 10:30 AM. We managed stuffing ourselves silly just the same. It was so incredibly yummy. There was turkey, prime rib, ham, shrimp, salmon, salads, cheeses, rolls of every variety, melt-in-your-mouth mashed potatoes, green beans with candied pecans, oyster stuffing, corn bread stuffing, danishes, pies, cookies, and an enormous chocolate fountain with fruit, fritters, marshmallows and anything else you could possibly want to dip in chocolate.
Atley is my adventurous eater. He wanted to try everything even brussel sprouts and salmon with capers. Luckily, he loved everything he tried.
Nash completely lost interest in everything when he saw the chocolate fountain!
Harley, well, she ate the butter.
I think I shall never prepare Thanksgiving Dinner again as long as we live near JGilbert's. Here are the kids, full and cozy by the fireplace.
After dinner/brunch we went to the movies and saw...
We highly recommend it!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Panama Jack & His Little Sister

A couple of months ago we found out that Scott's company was awarded another five year contract with the Smithsonian.  We were very excited when we found out. In addition, to that contract they were also given a tropical research center assignment in Panama City, Panama.  We weren't exactly sure how we felt about that, but now that we have some more information we are super excited to announce that we will be spending some time in Panama this year.  Scott just returned from a week long visit where he made plans to return for several months this winter. 
My English teacher in highschool told me before I left for college, "Never let your school work get in the way of your education!" I certainly took her advice to heart my freshman year of college and I am applying the same advice again when I take Atley out of school and attempt to home school him in Central America for a time. 
We are making big plans and practicing our Spanish.  Scott brought the kids back a hammock from his last trip and they are all practicing lounging on the beach.  I am sure that Panama Atley and his little sister will have the art perfected before we leave. We find ourselves swinging Harley back and forth for what seems like hours each night.  Undoubtedly, this will be a grand adventure for our family and I am sure I will have lots of stories to write!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Adventures in Shopping

If any of you pray for patience you should stop right now. I used to pray for patience and then I got Atley and Nash.  Plus, I already have a sure fire way for you to acquire some major patience, just go shopping with my children.  Since you are in public, you will have no other choice but to be patient because if you are not you will be arrested for child abuse.  I was almost arrested today when I dragged my son out of a store by his ear!  The ugly incident has been approaching for weeks.  Let me start at the beginning.

Nash wanders, really wanders. I lose him almost everywhere I go, church, the school, the store, our house, and he never answers when I call. I lost both him and Atley at the New Orleans airport this summer.  I finally heard their noises coming from the men's room.  Nash came out and told me that some weird man was talking to Atley in one of the stalls. I freaked out and ran in to find Atley alone and laughing hysterically at their fake pervert joke. Nash especially,  finds it funny to hide from me until I am completely panicked.  Then he jumps out and says BOO! I used to panic a lot quicker, not anymore. It takes a long absence for me to get really nervous.   I lost him for about 20 minutes at Target a few weeks ago.  I found him when I heard an older gentleman let out a very un-masculine scream while looking through a rack of clothes.  I was about 30 seconds away from calling the police.  UGH!!!

Two weeks later we were shopping at Costco.  I love Costco but it seems to bring out the very worst behavior in my family, Scott included.  Without fail, when we go to Costco, Nash has to pee and it is always a fight because he refuses to go in the women's bathroom, but he has no choice because I don't want him to run into any fake or real-life perverts in the men's room.  I ended up dragging Nash kicking and screaming into the women's restroom. I didn't have enough hands to force Atley to come with us so he waited outside the restroom. About mid-stream the fire alarm goes off at the store. Women were rushing to finish their business and get out quickly.  I wasn't a bit concerned.  Nash and I both figured it was Atley. We were right. He pulled the fire alarm, not only that, but he got busted by one of the workers doing it.  UGH! UGH!

Just a few short days after the Costco fiasco, we were at Safeway.  I had become completely numb to their antics and decided just to let them run wild while I picked up the one or two items that I needed and then try to find them.  Well, about 2 minutes into my shopping  excursion, I heard a crash followed by another crash, followed by the elephant feet of my two sons racing through the store trying to find me.  You will never know how much I wanted to hide from them, but they found me anyway.  "Boys, what was that sound?"  Nash replied, "Mom, I think we should just leave fast!"  Me, "Show me what you did!"  With my head held down in shame  I followed them to the floral department where I saw two extra large vases of roses shattered and lying on the ground amidst 3 dozen roses and at least 2 gallons of water.  UGH! UGH! UGH!

Yet knowing our track record I decided to take them to the mall this morning.  I had a coupon at the Children's Place that was about to expire and while I would have loved to leave them home with their daddy, he has been in Panama City all week and by Panama City I am not talking Florida, I am talking about the one with the canal.  I must admit I was a little tired, maybe even a little grouchy.  It definitely didn't help matters when I noticed a life sized photograph of an Oompa Loompa at the mall and then I realized it was actually my reflection in a giant mirror.  I will never figure out why my mirror at home tells such humiliating lies.  But, I digress.  We were at the Children's Place and the boys were completely out of control. I talked to them about good behavior in the car driving to the mall. I promised rewards if they could be nice, but no, they were beyond naughty.  It was like they had both drank a few Red Bulls before we went to the mall. They were running through the store knocking over clothes and shoes, screaming, and being so obnoxious that I don't even have the vocabulary to describe it. I was tempted to just walk out of the store and leave them there, but I opted for grabbing the closest child by whatever I could catch as he ran by. It happened to be Atley's ear and with the speed with which he was moving I thought for a second that the ear actually came off in my hand.  Everyone was staring at me, as I threw down my armful of kids clothes, screamed at Nash to get off his butt and follow me or else, and literally dragged my seven year old by the ear out of the store, while he yelled, "You're killing me!" As I walked past the people in the store I was so annoyed because, you know what they were thinking, "That is the worst mom EVER!"  Why don't people ever think, "Those are the worst children ever. I hope she spanks the heck out of them!"  Would it have hurt any one to give me a littler cheer, maybe say, "You go MOM!" So, maybe I snapped but I think I was due to snap. In fact, maybe I should have snapped a long time ago and then my snapping wouldn't have had to happen in a store that I actually like and can now never return to! UGH! UGH! UGH! UGH!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Soccer Season

Another soccer season has come to an end and frankly, I am a little relieved.  It is getting really cold out side and I am just tired.  It has been fun watching the boys play and we learned a lot about each of them.  We are convinced that if Atley could only run as fast as he talks trash he would be a super star and Nash needs a course in anger management. What are you gonna do? We love them and they are ours.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick-or-Treating on Embassy Row

'Twas the day after Halloween and all through the house,
The kids were on a sugar hangover even Harley the mouse!
Mamma is very sleepy and Nash is a little weepy!
Atley is at school for the teacher to handle
No longer dressed up like a Jedi Vandal!

Okay, enough bad poetry. Yesterday was full of Halloween fun and I really am exhausted today. First, stop Atley's school party.  Then in the early afternoon we went into the city to Trick-or-Treat on Embassy Row with some friends, followed by Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood after dark. Embassy Row in Washington D.C. is pretty much what it's name states-a long street where all of the the embassy's to the U.S. are located. Some of them pass out Halloween candy and some don't but the atmosphere is very exciting and some times a little scary, like when a homeless woman chased the Superman of our group yelling weird things about his candy or when Nash stepped into oncoming traffic. All in all, it is such a uniquely fun D.C. experience we couldn't resist but to try it at least once. I think it will become an annual tradition.

Our first stop was the Moroccan Embassy. We were novices at this so when the guards out front told the kids that they had no candy, the audible whine from all the children inspired the guards to let them into the embassy to wave at the Ambassador.  He was sitting behind this weird glass wall and seemed none too happy about a group of kids and their overzealous mom's encroaching on his workplace. I'm pretty sure the guards are without jobs this morning. Sorry!!!

After that experience, we pretty much just sent the kids to the door alone.  Nash even managed to break into the Guatemalan Embassy. But, it got him some candy so we continued to encourage the breaking and entering!

When an embassy wouldn't open for us we started shouting things about their country like "We really love leprechauns!" at the Irish Embassy or "Pele` is our hero!" at the Brazilian Embassy. They still didn't let us in, surprise, surprise!

We felt a little sad for the Pakistanis' since their embassy was under foreclosure!

There were lots of Georgetown University students out and one girl in particular was dressed like a very permiscuous Pocahontas.  We were cracking up when Nash approached her and said, "Wow, I really like Indians!"  Atley noticed her about the same time and quickly approached and added, "Your costume is AWESOME!"  I wish I had taken a picture of my flirtatious little boys!

The Egyptians were very welcoming and wanted to take lots of pictures with our children. 

If I were giving an award, the South Korean's would take the cake. They gave us a tour and let us sample all kinds of Korean treats!

One observation about the day, the countries that were probably in the worst shape financially were by far the most generous with their candy. Almost every African country was open and sharing-well with the exception of Morocco but Sudan, Niger, Burkina Faso, were all very welcoming and generous. Interesting!