Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Mountain

The kids around here have been bemoaning the lack of snow suitable for playing in for a few weeks. So they were very happy with the eight or so inches we got the other day, and even happier when their dad had the parking lot plowed and a big pile of snow was formed that the back of our lot.

It has been dubbed "Snow Mountain"
I was really surprised how much fun Eleanor had playing in the snow. Last year she wanted to go out and lasted about thirty seconds before coming back in too cold. This year she was right in there with the rest of them.
Katie did not join the crew outside. We had already been "superdishing" ( a modified version of sledding involving an old satellite dish and a four wheeler--a post for another time) at a friend's house, and she had been cold and wet enough for one day. But the others couldn't wait to take the hill when we got home.

After spending a few hours in the snow, nothing hits the spot like hot cocoa!

At least someone is enjoying this white mess. I'm ready for spring, myself.

I'm learning to make bread!

Most people think I'm a pretty good cook, especially when you consider how far I've come. Dan ate a lot of Tombstone pizzas early in our marriage! Since then, I've learned to make a lot of things, but baking yeast breads has always intimidated me.

A few years ago, thinking I would impress my family at Thanksgiving, I attempted to make homemade rolls. They turned out like hockey pucks.

But, since Dan bought me my Kitchen Aid mixer for my birthday/anniversary/Christmas this fall, and it has the dough hook attachment, I thought I would give it a try again, this time with much better results.

I made this cinnamon bread the other day.

It was actually Katie's idea to take the picture of it and blog about it. I guess she really liked it. I've also found a recipe for honey wheat bread that everyone really likes and have made several times. The kids will even eat it for sandwiches, which says a lot for my white-bread lovers. It's all part of my plan to start feeding this crew healthier.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Horsin' Around

You would think that after sixteen years of marriage, your husband would not be able to surprise you anymore. Especially someone like Dan, who is so steady, so reliable, so dependable. But every now and then, he throws me for a loop.

For example, a couple of weeks ago when he showed me an ad in the Trader (the source of most of his surprise ideas--what an annoying publication!) for a 1 1/2 year old filly and said,

"I think we should buy her for the kids."

Hello? You're joking, right?
He wasn't.
Long story short, Mackenzie loves horses, and the lady she had been spending time with who was teaching her about horse care and riding has taken a new job and just is not around much anymore. Mackenzie was only over there a couple of times last year, and she missed being around horses terribly. Dan was recently visiting with one of his cousins here in Chrisman who also has horses, and she asked if Mackenzie was getting to do much riding. When she found out that she wasn't, she made a most generous offer. If we ever thought about getting a horse, we would be welcome to keep it at her house in their lovely pasture with her horses at a most reasonable price: free.
So, this daddy who loves his daughter so much decided that he would take the money from his service as a volunteer fireman for the year and spend it not on the gun he wanted so badly, but on this beautiful Tennesee Walking horse.
Her name is Lucy.
She is a family horse. Everyone will participate in her training to the extent their age allows. Dan's cousin has much experience in training horses, and is excited to help us work with her. Dan also has experience with horses, so we're in good shape. I personally, am clueless.
Who would have guessed that the Krabel Academy would add equestrian studies to our curriculum?

The kids were thrilled, to say the least!

Welcome to the family, Lucy!

One more Christmas post...

OK, one more batch of Christmas pictures...

Christmas morning is always so much fun. The kids were especially excited this year because "Mikey" spent the night with us. We have a couple of rules about Christmas morning at our house. First, no one is allowed downstairs until everyone is up and we go together. Secondly, no one is allowed to wake up Mom and Dad until 6am at the earliest. Any earlier is just too early (especially since some years we are up way too late on Christmas Eve still wrapping...)

The race downstairs to see what's under the tree.
Eleanor with her pink and purple My Little Pony. A few weeks before Christmas, she started asking for a pony. We thought she wanted a real one! It was a relief to find out she just wanted a little plastic one. She also got a new stroller, carseat and bed for her dollies.
Elijah had a space-themed Christmas: Matchbox Shuttle Mission and Space Rover, and Lego Mars Mission Alien Infiltrator. He's been on an outer-space kick lately.
Mackenzie with her Breyer horse. The girl loves horses. She also got a camera and a new music bag for her piano books.
Katie got her much-wished-for pink Ipod, along with some books and a Willow Tree figurine.

Michael had a very practical Christmas this year--mostly accessories for his truck.
Sometimes being a grown up is not so much fun.

But sometimes it is, like when your kids buy you a model rocket!

This is an SR-71 Blackbird. Dan's father worked on these planes when he was in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Very cool. The kids (including Dan) can't wait until the weather is good enough to launch it.

After we opened our gifts, I made our traditional Christmas morning breakfast: monkey bread and fresh squeezed orange juice. I also made some pancakes because one pan of monkey bread no longer feeds all my little monkeys.

A little later we were off the the Allen farm for lunch with my family, which is another fun tradition. Lots of good food, lots of cousins to play's a special day.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas Programs

Another Christmas tradition in our family is that our kids participate in at least one, usually two, church Christmas programs. This year was no exception.

Sunday, December 21 was the program at our church, Chrisman Christian Church. The youth sang carols and recited poems, accompanied by our own Katie.

Elijah as a shepherd and Eleanor as a puppy.
I didn't know there were puppies at the nativity, either.

Mackenzie as Mary

Then, on Christmas Eve, we went to Wesley Chapel, my home church, for their annual service. Eleanor said her poem again and the other kids played piano solos.

Katie played "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"

Mackenzie played "What Child is This?"

Elijah played "We Three Kings"

And, Katie, Mom and I played a flute trio, "Carol of the Bells."

I have been participating in the Wesley Chapel Christmas Eve program for as long as I can remember. All those years my parents "encouraged" me to perform, I never dreamed that I would voluntarily be up on that stage as an adult. You just never know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

O Christmas Tree(s)

When Dan and I got married, one of the first things we had to work out was the issue of the Christmas tree. I grew up with the tradition of going out to the tree farm and cutting a live tree. He had artificial trees. My powers of persuasion won him over, and for seventeen years we've had a real tree.

As Dan's allergies and asthma get a little worse every year, we may eventually have to let this tradition go. But he's a great dad, and he knows how much the kids love picking out the tree so he goes along. At least most of the kids love it. Eleanor told me this year she did not want a real tree because she didn't like picking up the "crumbs." (needles, I suppose) I can't believe she even remembered that from last year! She also didn't get out of the truck for more than a minute or two at the tree farm because it was cold. Evidently this family tradition is not one of her favorites.

Mackenzie located our "perfect tree" this year. A little shorter than in years past (we've had some really big ones), but it had a beautiful shape and fit in the dining room very nicely.

Elijah watches while Dan cuts down the tree.

After all the lights and decorations are on, it is another tradition that Dad puts the angel on last.

Our tree is very hodge-podge. We have ornaments from trips we've taken, things that have been given to us, things the kids have made for us, and even some things that have been handed down from my parents' and grandparents' trees.

After the decorating is done!

Now here's the part where our Christmas tree traditions go a little overboard:

The kids have a lot of ornaments of their own. A lot. If I put all of their ornaments on our tree, there wouldn't be room for any others, so a few years back Katie and Mackenzie got their own small trees. Now Elijah and Eleanor have their own, also.

Katie's tree

Mackenzie's tree

Elijah's tree

Eleanor's tree

This little tree has been around a while. It used to be in my room when I was in college.

And finally, the tree downstairs in the funeral home. This tree is the total opposite of our tree upstairs. It is artificial. It has all white lights and matching ornaments with elegant gold ribbon. I love the way this room looks decorated for Christmas with the mantle and bannister covered in greenery.

Time for an update...

Well, between holiday busyness, a period of frustratingly slow internet service, and a misplaced camera, it's been almost a month since I posted anything. Sorry, Mom.