Thanks for Thanksgiving

Our thankful tree was inspired by one I saw on Pinterest from www.honeywerehome.blogspot.com.

We have much to be thankful for.


Pinterest Complete {slotted building discs)

You know how you can get so wrapped up in pinning things on Pinterest that you never get around to actually doing anything?  Well, periodically I am going to share something that I saw on Pinterest and saw it through to completion. 

Take these building discs.

diy building discs toy

The pin came from a blog called Handmade Charlotte but the project originated at Made by Joel.  I was excited to find out that Made by Joel has bunches of fun kid projects and cool printable coloring pages.  I can't wait to play some more!

So, Joel's discs are bright and colorful.  I had visions of using pretty scrapbooking paper to make some of our own but I wanted these to take on the plane--a fun, quiet, easily portable game for the littles--and my time kind of ran out.

I started with cardboard coasters that we got from Sierra Nevada.

No time to cut out cute paper and glue on both sides.
So, I just cut the four slits in all the coasters and stuck them in a bag.
I did throw in some popsicle sticks.  They fit in the slits so it adds abother dimension.

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5 Things to Do in...

#1    Stuff your face at Burger Me. 
Make sure to bring along some good friends
who don't mind sharing their fries with your moocher kids.

 #2 Window shop/Stroll down Donner Pass Road.

#3 Browse Truckee Variety, the local toy store.

#4  Play the Mural Game.
Very similar to the Statue Game.

#5  Enter a local contest.

You can.  I know you want to.  We didn't this time.  Jono is not allowed and the other boys haven't quite grown theirs in yet.


Winter Yellow?

This was taken in front of the hotel about 3 weeks ago.
Winter is headed our way.


A Little Birthday Celebration

Jono had his birthday recently.

 That's a three-four.
The four will be reused in December when Trek turns four.  He's pretty stoked that he and his dad are the "same".  Call me practical.  Call me a cheapskate.  Whatev.

Joe helped to light the candles.
He struck the match and lit all the candles all by himself.
Then directly blew out the match and candles all by himself!

Eventually, we got them all lit and over to the table for the waiting birthday boy.
I love celebrating birthdays.  Especially for the people I love.
I am so blessed that they were born, so of course, their birthdays are a holiday for me!
I have to share with you a little something I made for my man on his bithday.
I was inspired by I am Momma Hear Me Roar
She made some super cool upcycled t-shirt hats for her boys. 

I want to make one for everybody in the fam!  When time allows, I suppose.
But Jono had requested that I make him one for his birthday. 
So, I went to work.
She has a great tutorial, complete with patterns, on her blog.

I made just a couple adjustments.
Jono asked that I line it with some fleece for added warmth.  Which I did with some material that I upcycled from a pullover. And seeing as I was making it for a full grown boy and not a four-year-old I thought I should add an inch of height to each section. 
Now in my defense, I was making this as a present and I couldn't very well have Jono try it on after every step of the process.
So, this was the result.

You can see I over calculated a bit.
The hat is more suited for one of the coneheads from Saturday Night Live.
As soon as he put it on, we both just burst out laughing!
I offered to fix it but my sweet husband refused.
He said because it was my first one it made it even more special!
And he'll wear it, too. 
With style and swagger. 
Because he's cool like that.
And he loves me.

Aren't I a lucky girl?


Soccer Wrap Up 2011

Now this might get confusing. 
Both Joe and Trek's teams are orange.  The same orange. 
 You'll have to look for their faces to tell the teams apart.

This is Joe's team.  The bears!

That's his game face.  And he is such a good little player!
He was one of the top scorers on his team this season.

The bears did such a great job.  They learned positions and how to stay in their lanes.  The coach did a great job coming up with drills to teach them this stuff.  Do you know how are it is to get them out of the mob-ball mentality?!  But Coach Shelley did it!

Here are the Mob-ball Champs.
We call them the Sparrows.

I don't think they lost a game all season but nobody keeps score officially.
Except for some overzealous soccer moms.  Not me.  I'm totally cool with it being a non-competitive, neutral, confidence building event.  Truth?  Hmmm.

Trek is everybody's cheerleader.
Look at that excitement for his teammate's score!

And here are some of his other amazing moves.

The tongue hanging out.  I guess he gets it from his big brother.
He was not shy about pushing his way into the mob to get the ball.  And it didn't matter if he got to score or not he was always thoroughly pleased with himself any time he got to kick the ball!
One of my favorite moments was when we look over and he and his teammate are spying down into the cone.  They put a cone over a hole in the middle of the field and it was much more interesting than playing the game!

There you go.  Little soccer wrap-up!
Go orange!


T-Shirt Designer

*picture via Yuba Feather PTSA

Abby won the design contest for this year's spirit shirt at her school.
Didn't it turn out wonderfully wild?!

Alabama, your orders will be there soon!


Sacramento {train museum and good eats}

The railroad is another giant piece of California's history. 
Following the gold rush, the rush to connect our continent by rail was on. 
But it is a part of my history too. 
My dad's dad worked for the railroad--L&N Railroad to be exact--and my great, great grandfather was Casey Jones.  Really.  I've been to the family reunion before in Jackson, TN.

The train museum in Old Sacramento does a wonderful job of taking you back to the days when the western rails were built and train travel became glamorous.

It is a great museum for families because there is something for everyone.
The kids can take a turn as an engineer in one of the engines. 
You can see how a private car would have been decorated had you been rich enough to afford one.
I loved walking through the dining car.  Each railroad company had their own china pattern.  You can see a complete table setting and sample menu!  (I'm a complete nerd, aren't I?)

Upstairs, you will find all different sizes of model trains!  The kids love watching them run around their little tiny towns.  And, of course, there are Thomas trains to play with.

*this picture was taken a couple years ago during our first visit.  this is joe!

After your trip through the railroad world, you might want to grab a bite to eat.
There are several historic places to eat.
You could go to Fat City.
The food isn't my favorite but you have to at least pop in for a look at the magnificent carved wood bar and their collection of Tiffany stained glass.

When my sister brought her family we found some tasty dishes at the Ten22.  I loved that they used fresh food from local farms! 
Has anyone been to The Firehouse Restaurant?
I've heard some good things and would love to try it.

Something I have tried is the brittle at Sacramento Sweets Co.
Peanut. Pecan. Walnut. Almond. Cashew!
They have it all and it is all. good.

Do you have a favorite place in Old Sacramento?


Sacramento {Gold Rush Days}

Jono and I were able to get down to the "big city" to celebrate his birthday.
The big city is Sacramento. 
It might not qualify for some of you but there are sidewalks there. 
And people walk on them to get places.
And there are buses and tall buildings and more concrete than trees.
And lots of stop lights and confusing one-way streets. 
And after dark, there are still people out walking the streets.
It has a completely different feel than the small mountain community
where we spend most of our days!
While most of the city is very modern, a small area downtown by the river has been preserved as a historic landmark.  For a few days each year (usually around Labor Day), the streets turn to dirt and horses and carriages are the only vehicles allowed through the streets.  It's straight from the 1850s.
My family lucked out when their visit happened to overlap the festival.

How would you like a ride in the paddy wagon?

There are all sorts of exhibitions: 
gold panning, medicine show, pony express riders, dancers,
AND a wild west shoot out!

Good times in Old Sac!

What is your favorite big city? 


Books Are My Life

     “Brianna, come and get your breakfast it’s almost time for school.”  I am reading a book.  Harry Potter to be exact and it’s good.  I’ve been reading since 4:30 this morning, but I guess I have to stop.  I walk down the stairs for breakfast.  Rubbish.  It’s cereal again.  I force the everyday cereal down my throat.  Finally, I finish and off to school I go.
     I meet my friends Anne, Tinka, and Fred.  I giggle remembering Fred Weasley from Harry Potter.  He’s lucky to be named after someone from Harry Potter.  I walked up to them.
     “Hey, Brianna.” 

I am about to say ‘hey’ back when my head gets all foggy and I can’t think of anything else but books.  It is quite odd.  It isn’t any exact type of book, just books.  But, it went as quickly as it came.  Anne, Tinka, and Fred were all looking at me funny.  I say ‘hey’ back and try to act as if nothing happened.  I wonder if they would believe me if I told them about whatever happened a minute ago.
     The bus pulled in.  I sat by Anne.  I made up my mind and decided I should tell her.  I’m closer to her than any of the three, so it would be safest to talk to her.  I try to tell her the exact details.  It looks like she’s listening pretty hard.  When I finish she’s looking at me more intently than my likings.  Then, out of the blue, she asks me, “What Harry Potter book are you reading?”  I told her I am reading The Order of the Phoenix and she just nods her head and keeps looking at me intently.  It is quite creepy really.  Then she tells me to keep a book with me ALWAYS. 

     Just then the bus pulled into school.  We got off the bus and met back up with Fred and Tinka.  We went to class, took roll, and all the other normal stuff.  We have twenty-one people in our class and ten are absent.  TEN!  That’s the most we’ve had absent ever.  I look over at Anne.  She looked horribly grim.  It’s the first time she has looked like that.  She’s usually so cheerful.

     Finally, it’s lunchtime and to my surprise we aren’t the only ones with bad attendance.  At least half the school must be gone!  I got my lunch and sat down by Anne, Tinka, and Fred.  I looked at Anne.  She looked at me.  “What’s going on?” I whisper. 
     “Mlake Month.”

     I look at her puzzled.  Suddenly the lights go out.  I heard footsteps, then a screech.  I waited for the lights to come on.  I heard what sounded like fingernails scraping metal.  I saw a bright flash.  Then everything was over. 
     Anne looked zoned.  “That’s a Mlake.  They are dark forces.”  I listen intently thinking.

“Is there a way to stop the Mlake?”
     Anne sighed.  “The way is different for all of us.”  I waited for a minute.  She didn’t say anything so I just ate my lunch.  Suddenly, Anne announced, “I’m afraid we’ll have to go looking for them.”

“Anne, what do you mean by us?”
     “There’s a special society for people like you and me who have been attacked by the Mlake.  We go around the world protecting people like you who it’s their  first time experiencing the Mlake before.”  She stopped.  I understood so far.  She started again.  “We’re what you call W.O.T.C.H.E.R.S.—Wilds, Olameers, Teams, Coes, Halameers, Ecutes, Ralameers.  W.O.T.C.H.E.R.S. are what you call all of us, but those are just the steps.  Right now you’re a Wild.”  She grinned as she said it.

So we’re going to go looking for  the Mlake?” I asked. 

“Not until we find out your secret weapon.”

“How do we find my secret weapon?” I asked much too cheerfully. 
     “We just test out things that you like and see if it has the power against the Mlake.”  Just then, the bell rang to go to class.  When I walked into class, I remembered the lot of kids absent.  I looked at Anne.  She just said it was okay, the Mlake just took them to scare me and they would be back. 

It is the time of day where the teacher reads aloud.  I jot down a list of things that I like.  It was everything I could think of from waterslides down to snowflakes.  After school, Anne and I walked to my house.  The whole way we talked about what were the most logical things for me to try.  When we got home we took everything into action.  We tried for hours, but nothing worked.  When we were done Anne looked confused.  I thought of everything I tried and what we didn’t.  I read the list aloud, “Waterparks, bowling, drawing, skiing, snowboarding, waterskiing, tubing, sledding, watching the snow fall, and dragons.”   Anne collapsed on my bed and groaned, “We’ve tried all that.” 
     Suddenly, the lights went out.  I heard a terrible screech and a bang.  I heard Anne call my name.  Just then, I remembered the ‘vision’ I had earlier today.  Books!  I grabbed one and opened it.  There was a bright light that lit the room and I could see it was coming from the book.  I saw the most horrible creature leave and not turn back.

 The next day at school we had perfect attendance.  I looked at Anne.  She looked at me.  “This may be the first time, but it won’t be the last that you will have to fight the Mlake,” she whispered.

This is Abby's second self-published book.
Abby is an avid reader and wanted to write a story to encourage others to pick up a book.
You can check out some of her earlier works here.


Sustainable Living

*DISCLAIMER:  Do not read if you are easily grossed out.*

We would love to be those people that grow all their own food, get their milk from the goat out back, make their own brews, absolutely never buy store bread, etc.
Let me just say:
We're not there yet.
This summer we acquired a handful of chickens. 
Remember how one of them turned out to be a he-chicken? 
Well, he is a very good crower.  All day long.  And then he made the mistake of attacking Jonathan.  (He has this effect on animals.  Maybe his legs are just too long?)  And we don't really want tiny chicks in our morning breakfast.  I think you see where I'm going with this.
The rooster had to go.
We did some research and came across this very helpful blog on how to butcher a chicken.  It takes you through the whole process step by step.  With pictures.  Very helpful.

The first step is to catch the chicken.  We did not have a large net like the helpful blog suggested and we didn't want our first kill to be in front of the kids.  We just didn't know what would happen exactly.  What did happen was I herded the rooster into the shed with the canoe paddle (it took several attempts because we didn't want to take out the layers in the process and they kept following the rooster right into the shed).  Then, Gard-dawg took him out with the other paddle.  Away from the eyes of the curious, innocent children. 
Next, he took the rooster out and, well, chopped his head off.

It's what the instructions said.

At this point, we could contain the children no longer.  "Is he dead?  Did you kill him, Daddy?"
Their reactions were pretty predictable.

Joe and Trek were thrilled by the gore.
Dylan wanted to follow with his brothers but just not sure about it.
Abby chose not to look.

Jonathan took care of the rest of the cleaning of the rooster by himself.
He gathered all his tools.
Boiling hot water.  Sharp knives. KVMR.

And, that's about all the pictures that I feel need to be shared.
Except this one more.

I'm pretty sure he cut open something the blog people said not to cut because it was awfully smelly and quite possibly have turned my husband into a vegetarian.

Got any vegetarian recipes to send my way?

Oh, and this wasn't just a way to get rid of Red.  The meat is being fried up at guys' night (a very honorable ending for our rooster, Don't you think?)


Get in the Frame

Fellow blogger Emily from The Anderson Crew sends out the call every Thursday to get in front of the camera with your kids (or spouse or friends).  So that when they are all grown they will have some sort of proof that you were actually there.  Documentation is a good thing.  I have documented all sorts of moments in their lives so far.  From the first day of school to that mysterious dinosaur egg/rock that they discovered.  I take pictures of them all the time. 
 I didn't think it would be a big deal to snap a picture with me in it with them.


These two weren't too hard because I can still catch them.

This one was being goofy and preteen-ish and didn't want to look like she might like her mother.

But we did get one eventually.

This one acts like he doesn't want to be in pictures at all!  Much less with his mother putting her arms around him.  I mean, gross.  He ran.  I employed the help of his siblings.  I tried tackling.

Maybe I should have busted out the pig-nose-hold that I used in my hog wrestling days.
This worked somewhat.

I don't want to forget to document this guy either. 
He's my love and friend that has committed to walking through this crazy life with me. 
We gotta remember how we were just then in that moment.

Thanks for the challenge, Em. 
It was a physical challenge but I hope it will be a treasure for my little rascals one day.
It's a treasure for me now.
If you would like to link up with Emily too, just click on her button below.