Tag Archive | banana bread

Happy 7th Birthday Miss Echo!

Our youngest is a full on school age kid now! Where has the time gone? Yup, Miss Echo is officially 7 as of Sunday, August 13th. My Friday the 13th baby.IMG_20170813_113027_197

We actually had a rather fun weekend for her. Saturday was a trip to the Science Museum to see the Pixar exhibit (not that she enjoyed that all that much, so many other things to see). We went with our homeschool buds. It was fun. Expensive (the exhibit was an add on, which was annoying since we got memberships to AVOID that), but there was things to see and do that we hadn’t seen or done before.IMG_20170812_145552_758

IMG_20170812_145759_531IMG_20170812_145904_04920170812_133616_HDRIt was nice to get out and run around and enjoy ourselves before heading back.IMG_20170812_145701_948

20170812_132444Before that we had spent an hour at the YMCA to swim and play.

Saturday NIGHT we had cousin Robbie over. Which is always exciting for the whole family. He is a family favourite after all.

Sunday morning we slept in a little… well some of us did. Before packing up Echo and going to take pictures out by the local library. We were going to do it at the flower beds but people were busy weeding so we improvised.20170813_105134

20170813_10534020170813_10522720170813_105418After pictures it was picking up the much anticipated cake! Then preparing everyone to head out the the birthday girl’s restaurant of choice – a McDonald’s with a play area. This was a total homeschool buds weekend as they joined us too.20170813_121629

Since it was a rainy day we had to table the beach plan and instead head over to our house for cake and presents.20170813_134846IMG_20170813_140407_539

20170813_13155720170813_13110720170813_131545After all that fun it was off to the YMCA for her swim lesson. Add in calls from Grandma and Nana and Baba and I think little miss had an absolute blast.20170813_103756

To top it off – she lost her first tooth!!! It was quite the milestone weekend!!!20170813_210156



Now sit back and enjoy the science museum images!20170812_130446

Echo and Nate

Echo and Nate













This entry was posted on 18/08/2017, in Uncategorized. 3 Comments

Camping, Crafting, Company and Conversation… 4 of the Best C’s Out There

…and I drop off the face of the planet for a few days… but in a GOOD way…

Friday was a bit of a slow start as Ken had to finish something for work before we could get out the door (which inevitably took longer than expected) BUT around noon we were packed up and out the door to go CAMPING! This is the first REAL camping trip for all 5 of our kids… and a REAL adventure. Destination Tolman Bridge campgrounds… but with a stop off to pick up the map with my Aunty Lorraine in Trochu. Did  you know that Trochu has a few claims to fame? The ones I do NOT have pictures of are – they are the Pinkest Little Town in the West (2010) for breastcancer… you can still see the remnants of their pink claim to fame all over the town and the world’s largest golf tee – Veronika took me, Echo and Trinity past it and I can verify – it is a massively large golf tee! 

After sending me in to get the map and added instructions we headed back to the highway and promptly turned back so KEN could go get better instructions… I tell him EACH TIME that I am horrible with handdrawn maps and verbal directions and each time he sends me in. Thankfully Aunty Lorraine was busy so he talked to a cashier in the bank (slightly less embarrassing for yours truly) and THEN we were finally off… The camp site was another 15 min out of Trochu in some lovely country! Lots of hills and trees and interesting landscape. 

Entering the valley

We got into the camp late in the afternoon. Adam was already there with Holli and Combyne (the dogs) with two tents set up and the rv parked and ready to be used… and most importantly to the kids – a fire going!

You can see a good portion of the campsite here... apparently we got the good one! It is a nice size and down a little bit is the outhouse

Resting for a moment

We had been texting with Veronika before we got into the valley and the super spotty to NO cell phone signal area and knew she was on her way. So while we were waiting for her (she was coming from her orientation at her new job at Indigo!!) we walked kids and dogs to the river to play in the water. 

Checking out the river... the boys were excited as this river also goes through the city we live in!

It was so hot out so the water was welcoming but FREEZING cold! We played there until Veronika met up with us in her Jeep. Then we headed back to the campsite to unload what she brought. Then Veronika and I took off with Echo to the store in Trochu to “fill in the gaps” on some food items… aka = pop tarts, pork chops and some sausages. It was a nice drive and Echo got in a nap. I was reminded as to how EXPENSIVE things are in small towns… a package of pull ups in Trochu at the grocery store is 25.00… way more than in the city!!! So we decided to deal with however many we had left.

Apparently while we were gone to the store the kids found a caterpillar which was a HUGE source of excitement… many pictures were taken and I am told the critter managed to make it off intact.

Rather cute

Then it was time to pack up and head back to the lake. It had cooled off a bit so the water was VERY cold, we persevered and managed to enjoy ourselves. This time we all wore bathing suits, well except Echo but she put a toe in and very quickly voiced her opinion that the water was NOT to her liking!

Back to the lake...

The sun looks so pretty here

 Supper was cooked over the fire by our total pro Adam. It was beyond delicious and included some amazing potatoes. He really does cook EVERYTHING over the fire. And then of course there was the marshmallows… what is a camp out without them? And Veronika had the jumbo ones… they were deemed too big for the kids though… it took multiple cookings and layer after layer to get them fully eaten (you can be sure we complained loudly… well we would have except for our mouths were full and fingers too sticky!).

Showing the kids why diamond bark is called what it is (and Zander's rocks)

Snuggles in front of the fire

A marshmallow AND popcorn for Echo

The kids got to choose their tent so of course chose the big one… so after dinner it was pj’s and bed… with very few interruptions once they realized we could see their shadows from the light in the tent! That left the adults (and Echo) free to stay up late chatting, drinking, eating more marshmallows and just relaxing. How marvelous! Though I have now been reminded how out of practice I am in drinking shots… drink something all at once? Seriously? 

Ken, Echo and I slept in the rv on a VERY comfy bed… not exactly SLEPT IN but got a nice sleep… then it was up and back to camping in the morning – the rather chilly morning! So it was a very good thing I brought jeans and sweaters for all the kids. Though they were quick to lend a hand and ask poor Adam a MILLION questions about the fire – if the poor man had any intention to quit smoking they most certainly were NOT helping him with it… all 4 kids peppering you with questions CAN be quite stressful! 

Echo, Combyne and Ken hiding from the other kids

After breakfast (cooked on the fire again – YUM) it was time for some relaxing… well as relaxing as it gets with 5 active kids… but we managed… 

After relaxing and such it became clear to Veronika and I that Echo was NOT going to nap in the rv and Trinity needed a boy break. So we decided to tour Trochu and Three Hill and get some soft serve at the Trochu Dollar Store. First off to Three Hills where Adam and Veronika had rented a couple places (we drove by) and cousins from the other side of the family once lived (could not remember the way to their old place). We saw the pool with splash park, stopped in at the grocery store to NOT buy pull ups (ouch!) and generally toured. Good thing to know about Three Hills – if you need gas do NOT stop by the place on the highway but go further into the city – there was a like 9 cents difference! 

On the way back to Trochu we stopped and checked out the large windmills that are generating power out in the fields. They are intensely huge and rather awe inspiring. Trinity checked them out (with Cousin Veronika’s sunglasses on as the sun was too sunny) and was rather impressed.

I took a few pictures

So huge!

At the base of it

Of course we had to drive through Trochu also, see our grandparents’ old house (fenced and for sale), the splash park (we HAVE TO go there next year), the arboretum that we took pictures at with our grandparents ages ago… downtown… where we ended up at the Dollar Store for soft serve… Echo shared some of mine (cheesecake flavoured) and Trinity had a baby (baby??? big!) banana. 

Trinity's ice cream and the glitter paper

We picked up a treat for the boys – shaped elastics, and a sheet of purple glitter paper (only 1.50!) and headed BACK to the campsite. 

The boys' treat

The guys were all at the river so we went over there to meet up and wade in the rather chilly water. After that it was back to the campsite and more hanging out before supper… cooked over the fire of course! 

Trinity was so worn out we forced a nap on her. She woke up while everyone was eating supper and was beyond ready to go home so we figured it was time to pack up and head out. The flies and other bugs were way worse Saturday afternoon anyway and we had to be home and in bed to be awake and ready Sunday morning. So we helped pack up and said good-bye to Adam and Veronika. 

Passed out

I am happy to report that the complaining van and the cell phone on low battery BOTH saw us home safely… of course as when we came to the campsite I texted people to let them know we were on the road and went from there. I just felt safer that way, and it IS entertaining to chat while on the road. The kids were exhausted when we got home but it was definitely a BATHS FIRST sort of night, as well as the start on the mountain of laundry that had come home with us. I love campfires, do NOT love the smell of smoke on everything later. 

Sunday marked the beginning of Sunday School at our new church and the boys and Ken were the ones who went. I kept the girls home to give Echo nap time and myself the time for prep work for the afternoon crafting event. I have yet to discuss 9/11 with the kids and will probably talk to the boys about it in the future years… but what I remember the most is being in a panic with Ken as we tried to find his parents who were supposed to be flying home from vacation back to Minnesota on some unknown flight. It was a full 2 days before we were contacted and told they had been grounded in Florida and stayed with my brother in law. In the panic no one had thought to call us up here in Alberta (though keep in mind they are the same people who were in the eye of Katrina on vacation too! And drove TO work on the bridge in Mn that later collapsed that evening but not home on it!!). 

They chose matching outfits for their first day!

We had a lovely turn out for my crafting afternoon! Supplies were brought, ideas shared, glitter and more used in abundance. Crafting messes are some of the BEST messes. And boy did we make a mess! Ken had to bring up the second table and I added both spare leaves to the kitchen table. We had Karyn’s Cricut, Kristen’s texturing machine and my embossing powder and heat gun as well as tons of other bits and bobs. 

Craft supplies all over!

There was a variety of crafts going on – Victoria made stationary, most people cards and Karyn and I worked on some scrapbook pages. What we learned is that we need to pick ONE topic or theme to cut down on the large quantity of supplies we needed and that every event will most likely include at least ONE trip to Michaels with some group of people!! (we did towards the end go in with coupons and the like).

Lauralee with purple bits and bobs... I don't have a finished card picture

Karyn brought her finished cards for people to look through and there were snacks and drinks, in fact KEN made us raspberry cake and a VERY chocolaty banana bread! All were thoroughly approved. 

After some crafting was done and Echo woke up Kathy and Victoria took charge of keeping her entertained, although apparently Echo has decided she wants to learn how to knit and made it nearly impossible for Victoria to work on her blue giraffe! 

Baby time!

All in all tons of interesting things were made and much fun had! We are already discussing an October gathering with maybe a Halloween theme! YAY!!!

Two of Kristen's cards

The scrapbook page Karyn made for Emanuel with the pictures I had printed out

I did this one using Kristen's embosser... I think it is a small Sizzix

I really like this card... I need to get some of these little jewels Kristen had for myself!

I got a Currclick freebie of the week that some parents with younger children may be interested in as well! (if you have made it all the way through my weekend babble that is!)… it is called My Learning Desk Mat. I plan on making one as place mats for at least Trinity and Emanuel. 

Today’s homeschooling for the twins was mainly focused on COMPLETION. We worked hard on one of the math grade 1 workbooks they had found in their drawers and they BOTH completed it! They were so excited… it covered a variety of things but what I loved the most is that it focused on fractions in a VERY basic way so that helped them get a better idea of what they are… something I want to focus on in a big way this year. 


Emanuel worked VERY hard on his letters and numbers today. He is absolutely determined to get in as much learning as he can!

Working on 2's

We even made time for Stuart Little… we learned all about what he does first thing in the morning. Trinity had Daddy draw him brushing his teeth. 

Stuart Little pages

So with that much accomplished we let it go and the kids went down and watched the OLD My Little Pony dvds that Kathy had given them ages ago (something I can’t stand to watch so I stayed upstairs and sorted craft stuff). I feel that we ended the day work wise at a good point and they are ALL excited about tomorrow… more Stuart Little, some special pictures to draw… oh did I mention we did one last picture from each boy for their Summer Adventure File? Emanuel and Zander drew Prickie Pie who came for a visit yesterday and Gavin the tent they slept in while camping.

Meeting Prickie Pie

Prickie Pie

The tent

Now I have a corner set up even better in the basement thanks to bookcases Kathy gave us (thank you so much!) and I am hoping to have made great inroads on the rest of the mess screaming at me for cleaning. We still need to figure out curtains… and find pictures… THEN we will truly be home!

Baby Bear

Adventures Are Us?

I swear this family attracts what we are coming to term as “adventures” like nobody’s business. Thus a simple run out to pick up a Kijiji ad (more on that later) and take the kids out to the Bulk Barn went from mundane to a full out (somewhat frustrating) adventure. This time the blame is firmly placed on the van (I know I know – what is it with us and vehicles??). That pesky check engine light went on and the heat went up and… well our plans changed.

All ready to head out... little did we know...

We pulled into a gas station (this is thankfully AFTER the pick up) and got some gas and anti freeze… this did not seem to SOLVE the problem, even after parking (taking advantage of that time to give Miss Echo her cereal) and turning on the heat, we didn’t really solve anything, BUT for the FIRST time ever we had full out hot air coming out of the vents! Go figure! So we carefully and somewhat slowly made our way back home. Thankfully our nearby wholesale place was not far off the path so instead of the much wished for Bulk Barn we went in there to get a treat. The kids each picked their own container of Pringles.

So many chips!

So I am a bit disappointed, as things stand right now we will not be heading the hour or so away to mom’s to spend our traditional Easter Sunday with her, Mike and my Uncle Wayne. BUT we DO have Echo’s pretty dress… I have plans for some alterations I will start tonight and share with you in the next entry. So the new plan (if the van is not magically better) is to dress up the remaining 4 children in their Sunday best and take pictures… then undress them all from the finery and pack them up to walk to the nearby McDonalds… it is across the highway and only a block or 2 away. Then, instead of church (granted this is ALL if the weather works WITH us) take them out to the local park. (Which may morph into slurpees at the local Husky… who am I to say?)

The dress to start

We did pick up our cake mix so cupcakes will still be made on Saturday… crafting can still be done (I have TONS of supplies I just need to bundle up) AND the dresses on our two sweeties will NOT be wasted. I have special Easter themed sprinkles I picked up on our previous Bulk Barn expedition (the one henceforth known as the ACCOMPLISHED trip, vs. today’s ABORTED). I bought a package of Easter stickers that I only cut a small number out of for the hunt so we could sticker ourselves to death as well. Again not our regular traditions and I know at least one of the kids is crushed about not going to Grandma’s but we will manage.

Like I said to Ken (something I NEVER thought I would say) – good thing we AREN’T moving on the 1st!

We worked on some new games – Spring/Easter themed… folder games. Assembly, colour (no colour toner of course) and such was completed today and yesterday. These are dealing with vowels and can be found here and here. The second link is grade 2 level so I am not sure if we will actually get much play out of it but it will be assembled and ready for play when we ARE ready for it! I am actually finding NOT having the toner has us working much more TOGETHER on our assembly. Before I would just colour print, cut and be done… this time the boys each coloured something and cut them out and then Ken and I do the assembly.

Colouring away

Today we worked together to make a loaf of CHOCOLATE CHIP banana bread. The kids did stirring, banana mashing, and dumping in the chocolate chips. We had only the most minor of spillage. Everyone took a turn and the result was quite lovely! I have to admit I really enjoy baking with the kids though it gets noisy, messy and often out of control! Lots of counting, order of things, measuring and hopefully in the not too distant future – them reading the recipe to me!

Making banana bread

Finished loaf

We have started a whole new phase of baby stuff with Echo – puffed wheat… I call it the messy baby phase. There is literally a radius around the child at any time where you have to watch out. She is also much more… sticky herself. I was hoping we would find some puffed RICE (much neater – no husks) but had to settle for the wheat.

Hello puffed wheat

We saw Gavin off this evening. Trinity especially was quite upset at the temporary loss of her second oldest brother. Gavin, on the other hand, was more than ready to go. The plan so far, is for him to stay there until Monday when they will bring him back. If we can figure out the van thing we will join them for the day on Sunday but otherwise they are already planning things like movies and walks with the dog. I am sure he will have a blast.

Seeing Gavin off

So I am down to 4 kids (which may not sound like a huge change but trust me the difference WILL be felt). I have the dress to alter, a headband to complete to match (once I find the headband… it got dirty and thrown downstairs) and of course other little crafts and ideas to flesh out.

I made up these two their own little duckies last night!