Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sticky Fun

Inspired by A Listmaker's Life we had some yummy, sticky fun with marshmallow sculptures. Nathan made a house, Topher made people and a wrestling ring and Lilly used her toothpick to eat each and every marshmallow I gave her!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Fly on the Wall

I had the unique opportunity to watch my sons at recess yesterday, unknown to them. I was in the "glass hallway" at school assisting with Vision Screening and I happened to notice my boys both out at recess.

I first noticed Nathan emerging from a circle of girls who were chasing him. His checks were bright red from chasing and being chased by many of his classmates. As I followed him with my eyes I happened to notice Topher, standing on a mound of frozen snow. What struck me is that he was alone, stomping at the snow pile. He then moved slowly to one of the play structures and then again out in to the yard. Kids ran here and there past him and occasionally someone would engage him, they would interact briefly and I would lose sight of him. Glancing around the yard I would once again find him in a new spot, alone. He seemed perfectly content to play on his own, and truthfully has been since birth.

Yet in my heart I am so convinced that it must bother him that I want to go out on the playground and insist each and everyone of those kids play with him. I want to shelter him from the pain of being left out, but I don't dare act upon this impulse because it would surely embarrass him more than help. I can't help but wonder what is it about this young man, my sensitive middle child, that pulls at my heart strings so much? He is a smart, strong and compassionate young man and I should, instead, be thankful that he is learning an important life lesson so early and doing just fine.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Whole Lotta Snow

Wordless Wednesday, brought to you by 5 Minutes for Mom

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Little Star

Never forget who you are
Little star
Never forget how to dream
God gave a present to me

Made of flesh and bones
My life, my soul
You make my spirit whole

Never forget who you are

Little Star

Shining brighter than all the stars in the sky
Never forget how to dream
Never forget where you came from
From Love

You are a treasure to me

You are my star

You breathe new life

Into my broken heart

Never forget who you are

Little Star

Never forget how to dream


There's no reason to weep

Lay your head down to sleep

Little starMay goodness surround you

My love I have found you

Little star

Flying higher than all the birds in the sky
Never forget who you are
Little star

Never forget where you come from

From love

Little star
Little star
Little star

From love

~Little Star by Madonna

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Not Yo Mamma's Meatloaf

So I had some potatoes earlier this week that were starting to grow ears... and I thought to myself "what can I make to go with smashed 'tatoes?" I cooked up a few chicken breasts simmered in Cream of Chicken soup and we were good to go... except I made way too many of those mashed po-ta-toes in an attempt to avoid being "the average family [who] throws away $269 worth of produce each year" (throw back to my Tupperware days). You might ask yourself, what is way too many? I am so glad you asked!

A few nights later, I whipped up a ground beef/cream of mushroom soup recipe I loved as a kid (thanks Angie!) to go with reheated (yup, you guessed it) smashed 'tatoes. Not only did I feed my whole family but my Mom also stopped by and had dinner too. ...and yet - we STILL had 'tatoes left! Determined to not waste food and to no longer stare at the container of leftover leftover's in the fridge I searched the Internet for a great recipe which included (yup) ~ smooshed taters.

Today I made Mashed Potato Meatloaf, which brings me to the whole reason for this post. I am not a huge meatloaf fan, at all, but I had all the right ingredients and it was the best one (i.e. easiest) to evict the leftovers for good. It turned out so great that I want to share it with the world - even my kids liked it and that sure is saying something. So, should you have left over mashed potatoes, give this recipe a whirl and let me know what you think.

Mashed Potato Meat Loaf
2 - 3 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup chopped green pepper (I did not have these on hand so I omitted this)
1/3 cup chopped onion
3/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 can (11-1/2 oz) picante V8 juice (I also didn't have this so I used juice from a can of chopped tomatoes and saved the tomatoes for a later time)
1/4 cup ketchup

In a large bowl, combine the egg, oats, green pepper, onion, pepper and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. On a piece of waxed paper, pat beef mixture in to a 12-in. x rectangle. Spoon mashed potatoes lengthwise down the center third to within 1 in. of edges. Bring long sides over potatoes to meet in center; seal seam and edges.

Place seam side up in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; drain. Pour V8 juice over loaf. Top with ketchup. Bake 18-22 minutes longer or until meat is no longer pink and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Yield: 4-6 servings.

We have spirit, yes we do

Spirit night at the Reeths-Puffer Rockets Varsity Basketball game proved to be a fun family night. I am always looking for inexpensive, i.e. free, things for us to do as a family. When school offered free tickets for Spirit night at the high school basketball game I jumped on the chance. The boys followed the whole game, cheering on the Rockets and were the recipients of a lesson in good sportsmanship when they insisted on booing the winning visiting team. Principal's from each Reeths-Puffer school threw shirts and balls in to the crowd at the end of each quarter. Thankfully Patrick managed to catch 3 before the end of the game which put to rest any fights over the tiny plastic basketballs. The best part of the night was when the boys school, Central Elementary, won the Spirit Award for having the most families in attendance.

We have spirit, yes we do, we have spirit, how 'bout you?!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tooth on the Loose

My Tooth
My tooth fell out and left a space

So big my tongue can touch my face,

and every time I smile I show

The place where something used to grow.

I miss my tooth as you can guess

But now I have to brush one less!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Walking with Confidence

Tonight the boys achieved "Senior Black Belt" in Karate. Watching these two very independent young men was very surreal, weren't they just babies barely able to walk? Both demonstrated their favorite moves and how to "walk with confidence." After an initial hesitation they were quick to volunteer and facing the sea of proud parents showed their amazing skills. Surely each parent and grandparent's heart swelled with pride, but none as much as mine.

31 Random Things

I will not eat the end of a pickle though I do not always know which is the top or the bottom

I am a bread and peanut butter snob and will not buy the store-brand

I can not stand the sensation of filing my nails and will clip them short instead

I am not an affectionate person but am very appreciative of others

I will not eat lamb or veal because they are cute animals

I refuse to let any of my husband or children wear underwear right out of the package, it must be washed first

I do not like to be wrong or look stupid and will go to great lengths to avoid both

I have a daily struggle over whether I should go back to work or stay home with my babies

My bed is my absolute most favorite place in the whole world

After high school I spent 3 weeks in Mexico, drank the water and was sorry for a week after

I tried out for CMU's color guard and was asked to leave

I originally went to college for a PhD in Psychology but was scared off by the amount of years it required

I love my children so much that I fear losing them

I do not like to ask for help and feel guilty for a long time whenever I do

I still tear up when I think of my Nana despite the fact that she has been gone for 10 years, she missed my wedding by 6 months and has never known my wonderful children (I am blubbering writing this)

In my mind I replay every conversation I have with people right after the fact and look for things I could have said differently or forgot to tell them

I wish I was more hands on like other Mom's and did more with my kids and their enrichment

I really want to be in Times Square on New Years Eve to experience the ball dropping in person

I want to be the kind of person my GrandDad is

I love the smell of a baby's head

I obsess (despite my best efforts) over finding a way to move back to Holland to be near my friends and participate in community events/activities

I will not drink milk that is a day past the expiration printed on the carton, even if it smells fine

I freeze overly ripe banana's but never make time to turn them in to banana bread

When I sleep I need to have the sheets and blankets tucked in all the way around my body

I no longer watch scary movies as I did in my youth, I can't stand to be frightened and often jump at the sight/sound my own family members in my own house who are supposed to be there

I am afraid of my pits being stinky and will often "itch" my nose on my shoulder and do a covert smell test

I do not enjoy the spotlight, even when an event is for me. My wedding and baby showers were lovely but stressful

I was born on Labor Day and my Dad's long weekend from the State Police, I aim to please!

Between Kindergarten and 12th grade I attended school in 6 different districts from the middle to the west side of Michigan

I peed my pants while in the 2nd grade because I would not raise my hand to ask for a bathroom pass and was found crying in the bathroom by middle school girls, I had to borrow a rain coat from a teacher and then sit on a long bus ride home. Just a few months ago I happened to be checking out at the school office after volunteering and I noticed my son who had just had the same thing happen. Unlike my experience he did not have to wait in yucky pants and his classmates never found out. We made up a fantastic story for him to tell any one who asked where he was while he was at home showering and not only did they believe him but they wanted to know more about his adventure. Perhaps my experience was simply preparing me for this moment...

I am not where I expected to be in life when I turned 30

So there you have it, now you know more about me than before. :) Take a moment and share with others to help them see the "random" side of you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3 Year Old Marker Trouble

Wordless Wednesdays, hosted by 5 Minutes for Mom. You can play along, post a picture on your blog.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Feelin' Lucky?

Fun giveaways! Check out the Crafty Crow & Make and Takes for your chance to win some very neat and crafty items. It is well worth a look!
Make and Takes

Say "Uncle"

Today we were blessed by a visit from Ryan (my brother) and his fiance Claudia. I always enjoy talking and catching up with them and sharing funny stories about our crazy family. Without a doubt the highlight of Ryan's visits are watching him play with the kids and they just can't get enough of their Uncle. I am certain that this world would not be as bright without him in it and I thank God everyday for being so lucky to have him, and now Claudia, in my life.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Space Rocket Derby

Saturday, January 17th Nathan and Topher participated in their Cub Scout Pack Space Derby. Each boy made a rocket from a little kit which contained two balsa wood halves, plastic fins, rubber bands, numerical stickers and a bunch of tiny pieces easily lost by an eager child opening the box too quickly. Topher painted his blue with orange tiger stripes and Nathan went with green as a base coat and camo markings (as to confuse his competitors... "did you see something?"). Patrick did a great job working with each boy to create the rocket exactly as they instructed despite his inner voice telling him otherwise.

Each boy had 5 runs which consisted of an adult using an electric winder to turn the inner rubber band as tight as possible. After the rocket was very tightly wound it was then handed back to the boy who had to stand in line and hold it while waiting for his turn to race. Side note: an announcement was made, many times, of where to find band-aids for those boys who let go of their wound rocket and were cut by the propeller - uh, ya, this seems safe. Once at the starting line the top fin was attached to a small piece of plastic suspended on thin string which was hung between large wooden frames reaching from one end of the gym to the other. Two rockets raced and their distance was then measured and recorded.

While neither boy placed in the top 3 spots they were both great sports and had fun (flash back to the Pinewood Derby last year when Dad gave Nathan the "winning isn't everything" talk when his car placed last each run).

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Let's Go Jacks, Let's Go!

Friday, January 9th we attended Scouting Night at the L.C. Walker Arena to watch the Muskegon Lumberjacks take on the Port Huron Ice Hawks. We cheered the team on as they narrowly lost in an OT shoot out. At the first intermission the kids also discovered a new treat: The Concession Stand.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Top 10 Photos to Take This Christmas!

Early in December my friend Katie posted to her blog the "Top 10 Photos to Take This Christmas!" I am happy to say I achieved most of these and want to share my joy with the world. Let us conveniently ignore the fact that it is now mid-January, shall we?

10. Outside of our home with the porch lights on: the lights are on, I swear!

9. Close up of my favorite ornament: Barbie & Ken ornaments we used as our wedding cake topper

8. An action shot of our family participating in a special tradition: the boys decorated cookies for Santa

7. Favorite family recipe(s) all baked up: all of my favorites from a very Ballard Christmas

6. A Christmas Collection: Patrick's Opus 'n Bill ornament collection

5. Kids holding all of their gifts at once: this is the first year we were in our own home on Christmas morning

4. Something special we did this season to keep the focus on giving to others: Topher bought and donated a board game to the woman's shelter and Nathan brought cleaning and bathroom supplies to class for their adopt-a-family

3. Group Photo on Christmas Morning

2. Dining table all dressed up for our Christmas meal: Morrison/Marx January Christmas at Mom's

1. That which symbolizes the real reason for Christmas: Christmas Eve service and a special story

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Random Thoughts to Get Started

"Everybody's doing it!" isn't that what every kid exclaims to their parent when they really want to do something? Starting my own blog is certainly no different, especially when I see the fun blogs my friends have made. Those were the words I expressed to Patrick in the hopes he would be just as excited about a Schweri Family blog as me. The verdict is still out but I will do my best to bring him around.

I hope to keep far away family and friends up to date on our variety of fun adventures, stories and super naughty 3 year old antics. Stay tuned!