Thursday, February 25, 2016

Winter Weather Mix

Last week we had some crazy, but fun weather!  We had a nice snow fall on that Monday.  The girls wanted to earn a little money so shoveled a little bit at Lee's office. 
Feb 15 2016 (3)

We then went sledding.  I'm so glad we decided to go ahead and go when we did.  No one was at the hill except us.  That is always fun too!
Feb 15 2016 (4)

Once a month each kid gets to have a date with a parent.  More often it's with Lee.  They usually get to pick out some sort of treat and play a game or participate in an activity like a hike or playing tennis...or something.  Like what you would do on a date! Haley takes pretty good selfies!  She wanted a HUGE cookie for her date, play monopoly, and have it with me.  It was very fun.  I made her a huge cookie and then left the rest of the cookie dough for cookies for our FHE treat that night.
Feb 15 2016 (6)

Feb 15 2016 (7)

I love it when snow falls!  It's so calm and peaceful outside. Usually.
Feb 15 2016

Remember how I mentioned that I was glad we went sledding when we did?  This is what it looked like outside the next afternoon.  CRAZY!  It rained A LOT all night, plus the temperature rose quite a bit.  Those two things combined make for fast snow removal.  We still squeezed two snow days out of it which was a lot of fun.
Feb 16 2016

That Tuesday night was date-night mania.  Usually there is only one date per night (when we do them) and if you were curious (but maybe not) they can't be on a Monday, you can't watch a movie or play electronics together.  That is how we do them.  I know others who do these things and it works out great for their family.  So, back to Tuesday.  Elden, Cal and Clark all wanted a date.  I took Elden to 7-11 for a slurpee, then we played Wits and Wagers.  Clark and Cal each had an hour for their date and they shared their dessert---cookie dough.  Cal and I made the cookie dough with powered eggs so it definitely didn't have to be cooked.  (Though I eat cookie dough every time I make it..with raw eggs...I like it better than the cookies!)
Feb 16 2016 (3)

Aren't these snow piles crazy?  This was in the parking lot at Target. 
Feb 17 2016 (2)

My parents send us Valentine's every year and we love it!  So fun getting cute cards in the mail!
Feb 17 2016

Last weekend Lee and I saw Aida.  I've never seen the play before.  The high schools around here always do a great job with their musicals.  Aida was one of our youth from church.  She did a knock-out performance.  Just incredible.  We joined up with our friends Michael and Brittany and had a great time eating out first, then going to the play.  I think I might be having cabin fever or something because lately I've been craving more social time!  I've been able to get with friends four times the last week or so, and I've loved it.
Feb 20 2016 Aida

We went from snow on Monday to 60s on Saturday. It was so gorgeous Saturday!  Clark was on a boy scout campout that morning and I wanted to go on a hike.  We went to Massanutten.  Lee wanted to hike to to top of a certain mountain, but we didn't have enough time.  He took off to spend some time with Clark and the rest of us kept hiking a different trail.
Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (5)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (6)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (7)

"Look Mom, I found Africa!"
Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (2)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (8)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (10)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (11)

Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (3)

The trail we went on it one Lee has taken his bike on.  Apparently I've been on it with my bike too (can't remember super well).  He told me that it loops around and will take us back to the parking lot.  Well, we hiked and hiked and hiked. I was getting worried because I thought it was a true loop, but we kept going on switchbacks that took us down to the ravine.  We probably hiked at least another three miles.  There came a point where we could keep going, take a left and hike a trail that went up the mountain, or turn around.  I knew how to get back if we turned around, but it would be another hour+ till we got back to our van.  We kept going on the trail but I realized it was taking us around the base of Massanutten mountain.  That would take us HOURS to get back to our van.  Our two best choices were up the mountain, which appeared to be the right, fastest way, or turn around.  I had the kids stop and we said a prayer.  It was a good experience for them because Cal felt strongly about going up (and I had a hunch it would be the best way). So that we did.  About a 1/2 hour later we made it back to the parking lot!  We offered a prayer of gratitude back in the van.  The kids were so excited that we were done with the hike.  It was a great experience.
Feb 20 2016 Massanutten Hike (14)

Meanwhile....Clark got to shoot a riffle and a shot gun at Camp Shenandoah.  I think he had a pretty good time on the camp out. 
Feb 20 2016 Camp Shenandoah Clark Shooting

Lee and I have been doing a little challenge these past two weeks (just two days left!) of no eating treats/sweets and no eating after dinner.  Last week wasn't so bad, even with the Valentine candy around, and making treats for kids' dates.  But this week hasn't been fun!  I don't think I will be doing this challenge ever again, haha.  But it is nice knowing that if a health problem arises in the future I could stick to a strict diet. Oh, we do get to have a treat on our date night.  Last Friday we enjoyed yummy ice cream!
Feb 21 2016 (2)

Found this in the fridge Sunday morning....Shanna wouldn't say much....
Feb 21 2016

The girls had an activity day event last night and did some cooking.  They loved it!  Well, I know Shanna did.  I found their aprons I made them a couple years ago for Christmas.  I used the material from an old prom dress.  Kind of funny that my twin girls are now wearing it as aprons!  I thought it would be fun material to repurpose.
Feb 24 2016 (2)

We'll post this again when Lee does his Nicaragua post, but the local paper interview Lee about his Nicaragua vision trip!  (I emailed them telling them about the trip and giving them Lee's contact info if they were interested in an interview.) They did a nice, front page article.  They recorded his hometown right and even did the correct spelling/punctuation for the church!  A common error is to write Latter Day or Latter day.  But it's Latter-day (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)  I recently filled out a survey and at the end it asked what religion I was.  One option was Latter Day saints. Soon after a question was "Do you have any comments?" Why, yes, yes I do.  I wrote explaining they needed to change Latter Day Saints to Latter-day Saints. 
Feb 24 2016 The Valley Banner

Feb 24 2016 The Valley Banner (2)

Lastly, I finished reading this book.  I don't feel like I have a problem with hoarding or tidying, but it's something that somewhat interests me and heard it was a good book.  It was such a fun read.  I loved the writing style and it gave me some things to think about.  I want to read it again.  If you've read it you'll have to let me know what you think of it! I won't be following her whole program, but do want to incorporate some ideas.  I love the idea to keep in your home only those things that bring you joy.  And to discard the rest.  It was interesting learning more of the Japanese culture.  One aspect was how inanimate objects to them are almost like living things.  One thing she does it thank an item--say an old pair of shoes--for the service they gave her, then discard them.  I am not sure about thanking items that way, but I definitely can feel grateful for the use I received from a worn out pair of shoes, and get rid of them knowing that I used them, and they worked for me, and their job is done.  But seriously, such a great book!
Feb 24 2016

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day Weekend 2016

What a fun weekend we had.  Hope you did too.  I love Valentine's Day.  It's always fun to have something out of the ordinary to celebrate to make an ordinary day special by giving/making treats and little gifts. A little bright spot in the dead of winter.  Not that winter is all gloomy, but it's fun to have something to look forward to.

Shanna wanted to bring cookies to school for Valentine's Day and I signed up to bring some to Elden's class too.  I softened some butter for the frosting....I thought only 15 seconds.  I must have pressed 1:15.  I was really shocked when I opened the microwave!
Feb 11 2016 (2)

I frosted the cookies before school that morning.  I made a nice mess. The opposite counter was worse, ha ha.
Feb 12 2016

I went to Elden's party later that afternoon.
Feb 12 2016 (2)

Elden and his classmates made the cutest Valentine boxes.  His teacher loves crafts and activities, which is so fun.  I should have taken a picture of the line-up of boxes.  They looked like cute Valentine boxes from Monsters, Inc. or something. 
Feb 12 2016 (3)

These kids were so excited to get Valentines from school.
Feb 12 2016 (5)

We had a fun, busy Valentine weekend!   Friday night we drove up to my sister's house in Tyson's Corner.  All the kids fell asleep on the way up and immediately laid down when we arrived.  Steph made a yummy brownie tart and we adults stayed up talking.  It was really, really fun.  Early Saturday morning Steph, Lee and I went to the temple and did a session.  We went to the 7th floor to show Steph the Priesthood assembly room, but sadly it was locked.

We arrived home around noon and did some Saturday stuff.  We took off a little later to go to the baptism of my friend's twin boys.  They used to live nearby and in our ward,  but moved about 50 minutes away.  I found out that my friend is the new Relief Society president!  Here I am with my friend Megan and one of her twin boys.  I used to teach the boys primary a few years ago.
Feb 13 2016 (2)

That night Lee took me on a Valentine's date.  It was a surprise and he told me to dress up.
Feb 13 2016 (3)

He took me to Ciro's for dessert (we had already eaten dinner).  We got smoothie-type drinks, an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms and dessert.  I have an amazing talent of tying a cherry stem into a knot, in my mouth.  Fingers-free.  I know, I know.  So cool.  I'm a good kisser.  Ha ha.  Not that you even wanted to know! 
Feb 13 2016 (4)

Feb 13 2016 (5)

The stem was broken so it was a little harder....still tying the knot.  But here is a picture of our fun drinks.
Feb 13 2016 (6)

Ta-da!  A knot!  Not the prettiest, but still tied!
Feb 13 2016 (7)

Stuffed mushrooms.
Feb 13 2016 (8)

Lee ordered a lemon mousse dessert.  Lemon overload!  It was really yummy though. 
Feb 13 2016 (9)

My all time favorite from Ciro's, their chocolate cake.  YUMMY!  So, so glad they didn't drizzle raspberry sauce ON the cake.  Chocolate and fruit combined do not make my mouth happy. 
Feb 13 2016 (10)

Valentine's morning Lee set up a tiny hunt for me.  Cal took me on it.  I found some yummy treats!  Thanks Lee!
Feb 14 2016 (2)

The girls made some wood art for Lee and I as gifts.  It's always fun to see gifts our kids create for us on special occasions.

Feb 14 2016 (7)

We enjoyed whole-wheat waffles for breakfast. Delicious!
Feb 14 2016

Growing up my dad always gave us kids a Valentine card with a Little Debbie treat.  With my help, Lee does the same.  He even rings the doorbell and runs away, like my dad did.  So fun. The kids were really excited to get a fun treat.
Feb 14 2016 (3)

Feb 14 2016 (4)

Feb 14 2016 (5)

And nothing to do with Valentine's Day, but there are five Laurels (young women in our church congregation ages 16-18) that will graduate this spring. I gave all of them a copy of The Total Money Makeover.  The book focuses a lot of getting out of debt, but it has such great advice in there like never loan people money, don't co-sign loans, always buy vehicles with cash, budget your money, don't go to a school you can't afford, always pay tithing, and use a budget every month.  I have always been so grateful we found some great money tools before Lee graduated optometry school.  In addition with great teachings from my church leaders, this book gives more specific steps with what do to with money. Lee and I have greatly appreciated that.
Feb 14 2016 (6)

Hope you had a terrific Valentine's Day! 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Winter, Winter

A few winter happenings at the Robertson Household...

For Family Home Evening one night when I was a kid, my parents handed out a lot of cash to each kid.  Then they told us how much each bill was and we kids have to "give back" the money to our parents to pay for that bill.  It was a great hand-on and visual lesson teaching me that it costs a lot of money to run a household.  And being in a family of ten kids, the money my dad earned was used up quickly! I always remembered that lesson and have wanted to do it with my kids.  I finally did it a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted to do it because we are going to have some tight months money wise this year with our saving goals we have in place. And it (I think) was good for our kids to see themselves the money that goes in to running a household.  They didn't want to give up the money I handed them!
Feb 1 2016

One day I was at Food Lion and they were giving away free flowers!  I asked if I could have two bunches (maybe that was being too greedy...).  I took one for myself and one for my friend who recently started back to work.
Feb 2 2016

The snow in this picture is practically gone.  And now there isn't any snow in our yard. That is something I love about the weather here.  We get all four seasons, but none of them are very harsh.
Feb 3 2016 (2)

I FINALLY redid the kid Saturday job charts and our family job rotations.  We needed some changes.  I made the kid Saturday jobs a bit harder and more cohesive.  So far it's going okay.  No strikes yet.....almost....
Feb 3 2016 (3)

One Wednesday night we had a fantastic activity that the young women's president put together--my friend Katherine.  First a fun slide-the-cookie-to-your-mouth-no-handed activity.
Feb 3 2016 (4)

The youth did a mock Survivor game.  There were three teams.  They each had to go out in two's and get their specific envelope--color coded.  They had to listen to their specific team member to find out where to go to get their specific envelope.
Feb 3 2016 (6)

Shanna wanted in on the action and it worked because that team needed one more member.
Feb 3 2016 (7)

The teams dumped out their envelopes to see what was inside.  It was puzzle pieces of the 2016 youth theme scripture--2 Nephi 31:20.  They all sorted them and put it together.  All the youth seemed to love it.  It was a fun activity.
Feb 3 2016 (8)

Feb 3 2016 (9)

I made some freezer jam last week.  It turned out great!  Guess I should scrub off those old price stickers...ha ha.
Feb 3 2016

Shanna bought some fake nails the other day and put them one.  She removed them about 30 minutes later.  Too funny.
Feb 6 2016 (7)

Haley put some on too. Not sure how long she kept her's on.
Feb 6 2016 (8)

One Saturday I made some German pancakes.  Normally Lee makes them, but he and Clark were busy that morning so I helped out.  I think Lee's are better, but these turned out fine.
Feb 6 2016

We've been having some washer problems lately.  For two weeks water was leaking while doing laundry.  The second week the water leaks were really bad.  Lee bought a new pump and installed it.  The new pump seemed to do the trick, but it started leaking a little bit again.  Lee tightened the belt and so far so good.  I was going to run a small hot load of water last night to keep the washer from freezing up over the weekend.  But the water wouldn't even come out.  Spring is around the corner, right?  Here's hoping it fires right up Monday morning!
Feb 8 2016

The new pump.  Thank you eBay--twenty bucks.
Feb 11 2016

On a Tuesday we pulled the kids out of school for a couple of hours to get their passport applications in.  Lee had to be there too.  We went to a nearby post office. When we arrived they said they had down only 2 people on the schedule for passports.  One lady didn't seem happy that we had five kids that we wanted to do passports for.  It wasn't my fault that someone wrote the number of kids down wrong.  But it worked out just fine and they got them all done before their lunch break. 
Feb 9 2016 (2)

We had a pretty snow fall for a couple hours that same day.  And surprisingly school wasn't canceled.
Feb 9 2016

Hope you are all enjoying winter!  It will make summer that much sweeter, right?!