Friday, April 30, 2010

happy unbirthday party tonight!

Yes, tonight is the night. Finally! We are having a little pre-birthday party, or unbirthday party (whatever you want to call it), and opening the mystery box which will reveal the gender of baby #5. I'm so excited. And for some reason so nervous.

Ben says he's going to kill himself if it's another girl. I had the most vivid dream the other night that I opened the box and inside was the boy outfit...but I'm secretly just telling myself, "It's a girl, it's a girl, it's a girl..." because I want another baby boy so much! Of course, I will be excited either way.

I needed a quick way to decorate the cupcakes for tonight, and since I don't know how to do fancy shmancy fondant and stuff like that, I decided to stick little ultrasound pictures on top. Is that weird? Kinda. Oh well.

So the big news is coming soon! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

it's spring!

Here's another sweet little spring book. Olivia loves this one. The illustrations are simple and cute (by Melissa Sweet), and the rhymes are too. "The rabbit hopped and thumped his feet to tell the deer the air smelled sweet." Added's a board book, so it's almost indestructible.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

children's museum

Last week I was able to take Nina and Olivia to the Discovery Gateway children's museum for FREE! Lucky us! It was a preschool field trip. Olivia liked it more than I thought she would, especially the water feature...I was worn out by the time we left just from trying to keep track of that little monkey. There were 3 preschool groups there, so it was pretty crazy. Nina had so much fun "buying" groceries, and being the checker. And Olivia was a pretty good checker herself!

nursery here we come!

Olivia has unofficially started going to nursery class on Sundays...she'll be official in May. Most the time she loves it, and she loves the other little kids almost a little too much! She hugs them and pats them and kisses them until they cry. Olivia is just so loving she can't help it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

my sister's granola

Cami's Granola

4 c. old fashioned rolled oats
2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
2 c. sliced almonds
1/3 c. canola oil
1/2 c. honey
about 3 c. dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, coconut and almonds together. Add oil and honey and stir to combine. Spread on parchment lined baking sheet and bake 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool, then add dried fruit.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

strawberry bread

I found this recipe when I was expecting Hannah, so every time I make it I have memories of that time in my life, when Ben was like Olivia is now. It's kind of like banana bread, but with strawberries instead. It just smells so good, there's nothing like it. This is probably one of my favorite things to make with all those strawberries on sale!

Strawberry Bread

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. canola oil
2 c. sliced fresh strawberries

Mix dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and stir until moist and well combined. Pour into 2 greased & floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Monday, April 19, 2010

where's your nose?

I can't believe I didn't post these already! Makes me laugh every single time. Ben about falls off his chair when he sees these.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

baby #5 update

We are breaking our own tradition here. We have never found out at the ultrasound whether our other 4 babies were boys or girls, but this time, we are dying to find out before the delivery. Don't get me wrong, I loved being surprised each time in the delivery room, but for some reason I just need to know this time!

So, since this is not what we usually do, we decided to put a little twist on it and make it even more fun. We asked the ultrasound tech to put the picture that details the girlness or boyness into an envelope (with a written explanation in case we can't figure it out from the picture). Then we hit the mall and picked out a baby girl outfit and a baby boy outfit. At the register I explained to the cashier that we'd just had our ultrasound and that she would be the first to know what we are having. "I'm going to cry!" she said, she was so cute. She showed us the goosebumps on her arms too. Haha! We gave her a credit card and asked her to ring up the appropriate secret outfit, and to box it up with tape while we waited outside the store. The plan is to open the box with our kids and extended family.

Unfortunately, we have had one family member or other out of town (including my parents and my husband) since we had the ultrasound on April 8th. And not everyone will be back for about another week. Ack! So I have this mystery box sitting on my dresser staring at me everyday. Tempting me. It feels like Christmas. But I'm going to wait for the big surprise until everyone can be together to share it.

I keep telling myself that it's another girl. I really think it is. I really would love to have another boy, but according to recent Tycksen family patterns, each family is given plenty of girls and only one boy each. So we will see. I will keep you all posted!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

he really is fantastic

I don't know which I like better, the book or the movie. I have always been a big Roald Dahl fan, and I think his books make the best movies. I can't believe this film was only in theaters for a couple of weeks this past holiday season, it deserved to be in much longer.

I LOVE the stop-motion animation style in the movie, and the music is so charming and fitting. However, I do think the original story is more sweet, since Mr. Fox isn't quite so egotistical in the book as he is in the movie. And he has more kids to take care of. But I highly recommend both. If you've never read this one, it's time you did. Pick it up and you'll have fun reading it in about an hour.

Here's a fun peek into the making of the film.

We watched it as a family and had our favorite movie treat...caramel popcorn (a recipe from my friend Heather) Here's the recipe for you:

Mary Jane's Caramel Popcorn

1 stick of butter
1 1/4 c. corn syrup
3 c. packed brown sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk
a couple huge bowls of popcorn

In a heavy medium sized saucepan, combine corn syrup and brown sugar. Cook and stir until it comes to a boil. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Add butter. Continue cooking and stirring until mixture form a soft ball (I cook it to about 235 or 240 degrees on the candy thermometer). Remove from heat and pour over the popcorn.

Sometimes we don't use all the caramel at once, so we store half of it in the fridge, then heat it up to use for the next week's movie night.

popcorn popping

The kids and I had fun this past week whipping up these easy, springy paintings. A little colored paper, a few crayons, and some sponges for dipping into paint, and there you go! Blossoming trees to match the ones outside, finally!

I also want to try this little project if we get some time. We did something similar to this once that was actually more simple, but it was a few years ago. I'd love to try it again now that Nina's bigger.

(clockwise from left, Nina, Ben and Hannah)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

just a thought

"Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children."

~Charles R. Swindoll

Thursday, April 8, 2010

cold weather=baking experiments

I haven't felt like doing much of anything lately with all this snow and wind. Except BAKE. I figured that if the weather is crummy, at least we can be cozy inside with something good to eat. :)

This past weekend I just had the urge to try some new bread recipes, which is actually really funny since I used to have a fear of making bread. I could never get it to turn out. But I think I finally got the hang of it. I've been making my own wheat bread for about the past year for a few reasons: it saves money, it rotates my food storage, and best of all, it makes the house smell so GOOD! It tastes better than store bought bread too.

Anyway, so this weekend I branched out and made a couple French baguettes, a loaf of Italian bread, and a batch of cinnamon rolls. All firsts for me. I couldn't believe they actually turned out! Plus yesterday I made the weekly wheat bread too. YUM. I think I'm ready for a break from the kitchen now...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

spring break

Or should I say winter break? Sheesh, it's been more cold and snowy than it's been all winter! The kids made snow castles and had snowball fights in between dying eggs and eating all those jelly beans.

Clayton was gone all day Saturday with his dad, testing out their dirt bikes for their upcoming trip...and unfortunately my father-in-law had an accident and broke his shoulder blade. I feel so bad for him. I think they are still planning the trip though. Sunday morning we had breakfast (Creme Brulee French Toast!) at my parents' house and watched General Conference together, it was really nice.

My mother-in-law is so awesome, every year she puts together a HUGE Easter egg hunt for the family and it's always a blast. The kids go first. Olivia was a little confused about what to do, she kept dumping her eggs back out of her basket, but then toward the end she caught on. She got about a dollar in change and some candy for her efforts, yay! Ben spent so much time helping the little kids get eggs that he got about half of the amount of eggs the other big kids did. He was kind of sad about it, but I told him that it's more important to help the little kids, and they'll always remember how nice he was to them. I think that helped him feel better. He is such a sweet kid.

The adult egg hunt is always hilarious! It's a total greed fest. Picture about a dozen adults with bags or boxes, scrambling around out of breath, trying to fend for themselves in the quest for the most eggs (and the most money!). It was more exercise than I'd had in months! Ruth (my mom-in-law) put $300 in change into the eggs, and together Clayton and I came out with $59.47...yay! That was a record for us, but we still didn't beat Kerstin, dang it! (I'm kidding Kerst!) Date night here we come!

And it wouldn't be a Tycksen Easter party without some goofy pictures of Clayton's brothers, those sweet little Blossom Boys! Haha!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

big little kid

I just think it's so cute when she lays on her tummy and colors like a big kid.

P.S. No, she didn't color that blue sky, by the way.

Friday, April 2, 2010

silky tag addict

Olivia loves the little silky tag on her blankie more than the blankie itself. She is pretty quick at locating it whenever she picks up her blanket, and she'll lay in her bed and smile at it. She'll even drag her blanket around the house just by holding onto the tag. So now I'm wondering what to do when the tag comes off, which I'm sure will happen any day now. Look at that ratty little tag! Maybe I'll just replace her blankie with a washcloth, because she loves the silky tags on those too...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

olivia and the "butts" movie!

Now you can see what I was talking about the other day...

P.S. I'm the worst videographer ever, sorry I chopped her head off so much! I guess I'm too focused on the "butts" myself!

not your ordinary coloring book

My kids have caught me coloring in this book without is just too much fun. I love it because it's more than just "coloring inside the lines," and it pushes my kids to be creative. Each page has a small drawing of some sort and at the top are suggestions for finishing the picture. For example, on one page there is a drawing of an elephant. At the top it says, "The elephant is cold. Can you draw some warm clothes on him?" I've found that this book can always frighten the "I'm bored!" monsters away.

We've also gone through Taro Gomi's other coloring books, Doodles, Scribbles, and Squiggles, which I highly recommend as well. They cost just a little more than grocery store coloring books, but they are HUGE and you'll get hours of creative time from one book.