Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From left-right: Richard & Pamela (holding Ethan), Emmy, Zeke, Peggy & Jerry, Bill & April, Kirsten & Brian
We were very blessed this year to be able to celebrate Christmas day with all of our parents for the first time EVER!!!!  It was such a great time--and I relished every moment of the kids getting all the attention and gifts from loving grandparents, eating an awesome spread of food with everyone pitching in to make it yummy and our special time around the dinner table sharing what God has done in each our lives over the past year. I thank God that he has given me parents and in-laws who care about one another and that He made it possible to share this meaningful time together!

Crafty Christmas...

I don't know what I was thinking, but I decided to make some homemade gifts this year--you know, trying to make things more meaningful than costly.  I was able to pull it off with the help of my beautiful & willing to be put to work sister-in-law.  I didn't get a picture of the grandfather's picture blocks, but we did tile trivets for all the grandma's (and Rachel made herself one, too) and recipe binders for Brian (actually for both of us, but he's been asking me to get something decorative and organized for his recipes and I figured might as well put all our stuff together!).

Tile trivets for each grandma!

Recipe Books for Brian

Thanks for helping me pull it off, Rachel!  Everyone loved their gifts and I'm looking forward to organizing recipes and having them in nice looking binders!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seeing Santa

The day before Christmas included a visit to Santa's Workshop where the kids got to tell their final wishes to Santa!  So fun to see them (the older two, at least) climb right on Santa's lap and smile for pictures.  Once Mom and Dad got in the mix, Ethan was happy, too... great family photo op!  Merry Christmas, 2010!

*What's even better is that our Sonora Santa this year is a dear friend that used to work at the high school with Brian!  Mike also came to our house as Santa for Zeke's first Christmas back in 2004!  So cool that the City of Sonora recognizes a great Santa when they see one! =)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My poor child!!!

So, Zeke had quite the day yesterday... not only did he lose his front tooth up top (he also lost one on the bottom on Sunday), he took a nose dive, literally, into the corner of the coffee table upstairs. 

He's so swollen and had already started bruising just an hour after it happened.  By about 9pm, breathing through his nose was difficult, so we decided that we'd better be sure everything was okay and take him to the ER.  They got us in and out really quickly, we were home by 10pm, with a treatment plan of ice for swelling and tylenol for pain--which we got w/o an x-ray because the treatment would have been the same regardless of what showed up.  Needless radiation to the brain--we are fine skipping that.  His nose looks straight up and down, and we have to follow up w/ the ear, nose and throat dr next week after the swelling goes down, so we'll just hope that it was a minor fracture or bad bruise and be done with it.  Worst case is that they would have to reset it--but the dr. seemed to think that it wouldn't be necessary... we'll pray!!!  He's super sore today, neck and shoulders included, so we're keeping him home from school so I can keep him up on the tylenol dosing schedule and maybe visit the chiropractor (thanks for the idea, Keely!).  Hopefully he'll be good to go to school tomorrow to enjoy all the holiday festivities!

In the meantime, what a sight this kid is... poor thing.  Apparently, it'll get worse before it gets better.  Christmas pictures will be interesting this year!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tasty Treats = Great Gifts

Brian went with a great group of guys to the 49'er football game today, so the kids and I took advantage of the day at home between church and Awana to make our Christmas goodies for our teachers, co-workers and neighbors.  I got this idea from a MOPS friend (thank you, Holly!) a couple of years ago, and I still can't get over how simple and absolutely delicious these tasty little morsels are.

Utilizing a highly selective group of quality control experts and assembly line workers, peel rolos, line up the pretzels on cookie sheets, and place a rolo on each one. 
We used a double layer of wax paper under the pretzels this year to help them not stick with 'sweat' so much to the cookie sheets, and it really worked well.


Warm oven to 200 degrees and use to soften the rolos.  Mine were perfect after about 8 minutes today. 
Pull them out of the oven and quickly(so they don't start to harden back up), but gently, push a nut into the center of each rolo... and THAT'S IT!  I used pecans today, but I've also had good results with almonds and cashews.
Let them cool for about an hour or so you don't mush them up. 
The best parts about this for me, besides the eating, of course, is that my kids can do almost everything themselves and there is virtually no clean up!  So awesome! 
I'll post pictures after we get them all packaged up, too!  The kids and I worked together to design some fun labels for their gift tags--it'll be fun to share them here!

Christmas Tree 2010

We finally got our Christmas tree this week!

Picking out the tree was quick--we truly just spent most of our time chasing Ethan who was having an absolute blast running through the rows of trees.  But... we had fun as a family, found a great little tree that we got to pay entirely too much for, enjoyed a delicious bite at Camacho's afterward, and now get to admire the glow of the beautiful lights. I so love this time of year!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Motherlode Christmas Faire 2010

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Thanks to one of my students at the college, we got free admission to the Christmas Faire at the Fairgrounds in Sonora over Thanksgiving weekend (so, I'm a bit delayed in getting the pictures off my camera!).  They have it every year, but this is the first time we've been able to get down there.  My student sent Santa's Elves looking for us, and it was sooooo cool, because when she found us, she called each of the kids by name and they just were so surprised!  So fun! 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Gratitude Project 2010

Our gratitude project was a huge success!  Each day in November, every one of our family members contributed the things they were most thankful for.  It was a great thing to do together--once I got over trying to make it look 'pretty' and just let the kids have fun with it anyway.  We had a great time talking over dinner each night about what we were going to put on the 'gratitude' board that day.  Three of my greatest blessings are smiling up at me in this picture from this afternoon playtime!

I'm thinking we'll have to do this, or something like it, every year.  I love the snapshot that it gives into our family life right now--how Emmy is learning to write and her awesome artwork, what Ethan is into playing with, what Zeke is learning about in school--as a I'm already looking forward to seeing how it looks different next year. 

Notes to self: fine tip markers would be better, one thankful thing a day will help with making room for all the great pictures, think about different color markers for each family member.

Thanks, Becky Higgins, for this great idea!!!

Gracious Hosts & Great Friends

So we wouldn't be 'alone' on Thanksgiving Day, Keely's mom invited us over to celebrate the holiday with their family and share in their delicious bounty.  Thank you so much, Mike and Laurie, for opening your home and hearts to us--it made our Thanksgiving Day special!


We celebrated Thanksgiving early with the Miller clan and my folks in Fresno this past Saturday.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the food, the company and the family togetherness. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

MOPS Craft

This is my completed craft from MOPS this last Thursday.  I did it in about 5 minutes.  I'm not sure where our Creative Activities Leader got the materials, but she had printed out bible verses on pretty backgrounds and had us use stick glue to adhere our choice of scrapbook paper to a tile, then seal it all together with mod-podge.  It can act as a trivet or a decoration--totally easy and cool.  I did one of these last Spring with a big 'M' and pretty stickers that usually sits in this spot, but it's nice to have a little 'Thankfulness' verse front and center this time of year.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ethan turns 2!

My little guy is already 2 years old!  We celebrated his Veteran's Day birthday with a little family lunch and ice cream sandwich get-together.  I couldn't get a good picture of Ethan that day to save my life, but I felt I should post something to at least commemorate the event! 

"Bubbles" is one of Ethan's words--and Kayla knows it's one of his favorite things to play because he asks her for it all the time!  One of the many perfect for him gifts Ethan got this year! 
Ethan also scored 3 foam swords--and there have been some epic battles around here ever since.  That kid hits hard--he'll take us all out!
Love the face he's making in this picture as he's doing his best 'elephant' sound!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gratitude Project

Got this awesome idea off of Becky Higgins' Blog

It's a family project to remind us about all the things that we have to be grateful for during this Thanksgiving season.  We talked about what gratitude means as a family, and now each night over dinner, we all decide what what couple things we are most thankful for that day and write/draw it on the board. 

I used chipboard letters out of my scrapbook supplies and a 20x30 poster board from Staples.  I had the poster sized clip frame (from Ikea years ago) that I'm using to hang it up.  I just put some patterned scrapbook paper as a background to make up the difference between the frame and the poster board.  The glass is actually in front of the background holding it in and the posterboard is poster putty'd to the front of the glass.  We're using sharpies to write on it.

Already, I love the cat picture Emmy drew last night and the bottle that we know Ethan is so totally thankful for is on there.  Zeke's first thing was Family--but he only drew 3 people next to it--who is he thankful for?  I'm excited to see how this turns out... and if we continue to do it annually, how it will change as our kids grow!  I'll post our completed version after Thanksgiving! =)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Having Fun on the Swings

The weather has been beautiful and unusually warm for this time of year, and we are trying to take full advantage of the time to be outside.  These videos are from a couple days ago when the kids were having a great time with each other, swinging and laughing together. 
I had to capture the moment
to remember the sounds of my favorite little people-
-and to share it with you!

The sounds of my kids squeals of delight and unabashed laughter
always puts a smile on my face. 
Hopefully it does for you, too!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Here are some pictures from Trunk or Treat last weekend.  We let this be our primary costume time with the kiddos this Halloween--Darth Vader, Thumbelina Barbie and our little Monkey Man got PLENTY of treats and they had a great time (well, Ethan did once he eventually got used to his costume and realized that it was all about the candy!). 

Josh & Janean Woods held their 2nd annual costume party on Saturday night for Josh's birthday.  Last year, Brian and I went as John McCain and Sarah Palin.  This year, on the heels of seeing the musical Wicked this past summer, Brian and I chose to be Scarecrow and Elphaba.  It's not easy being green--or getting it off, for that matter!  I ran out of warm water in the shower trying to scrub it all off!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Created this collage so I could print out some pictures for my little office space at work. Of course, I ran out of printer ink, so I can't print it until I get that replaced... so I thought I'd post it for now.

I love my family and thank God for each and every one of these very special people. As we enter this season of thankfulness, I am overwhelmed by the gifts that I have been given and the blessings that I receive on a regular basis from my loving God.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Zeke's Class Fall Fun Day

Zeke's class had their Fall Fun Activities Day today! It was sooo fun for the kids.
We had stations that the kids rotated around that included:
pumpkin golfing
dangling doughnuts
gourd bowling
the Great Popcorn Challenge (relay game with popcorn)
fall bingo with candy corns as the markers
face painting
giant pumpkin circumference guessing
pumpkin pattern mosaics
fall cookie cutter painting

I love that I got to be a part of the day!
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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I have to say... having this blog has given me even more motivation to capture the everyday moments and to download my pictures off my camera regularly!  I have been enjoying this whole blogging thing! =)  Hope you are, too!

Now I'm starting to play with designs a little bit and figure out how to do more cute stuff... so that's fun... but I really have to go to bed.  We've got Zeke's Fall Fun class party tomorrow that I'm helping to put on--with special thanks to Keely and Melissa who are taking my 2 little ones so I can do it!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mommy looked away for 2 minutes and...

Yep... yogurt all over the face. 
And he thinks he's sooooo funny.
Well, he's actually pretty cute, I must admit!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nana & Papa's Fall Visit

Brian's folks drove up super early yesterday to make it in time for Zeke's 8:55am soccer game, and then to hang out with us the rest of the day.  It was on and off sprinkling, but we were blessed with dry skies for a visit to Hurst Ranch where they had the train going, a petting zoo, a hay maze, and pumpkins.  After a fun time there, we enjoyed lunch at Camacho's, then Zeke was excited to share his new Wii game with Nana & Papa.  We definitely enjoyed the fun and relaxing pace of the day, and a special thanks to the in-laws for making the trip!

As expected...

...Emmy earned her way to the top of her ribbon mark!  Reward day for Emmy!!!  It was a bit of a bummer though, as she wanted to go see a movie for her reward and there is nothing appropriate for her viewing in the theatre right now.  She settled for $5 and hopes to spend it on something Barbie-ish. =) Yea, Emmy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The hard work pays off!!!

It was an exciting morning in the Miller household today!!!  Zeke's reward jar was finally full of 'jewels'!!!  He's been working hard for the last 2 weeks earning jewels (see previous jewels post if your are clueless as to what this means!), and today was the day he got to the top and could choose his reward.  He's been saving money to buy the Lego Star Wars game for the Wii, and he just needed a couple more dollars to afford it, so for his first reward, he chose $5--and after school today, we'll take a trip to Walmart for the game.  He's sooooo excited!  And I'm sooooo excited our new 'system' is working so well! 

(Emmy is close behind, and will probably be at her mark today or tomorrow!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Playdate at Cover's Apple Ranch

Emmy, Ethan and I had good fun with great friends at Cover's today on the annual MOPS playdate.  Cover's is so fun this time of year with all the pumpkins and the hay maze in addition to the normal fun of the barn animals and playground, and of course... all the apples!  We took a train ride and then a tour of the facility where the kids got to see how they core and peel the apples, how they slice them up (and how yummy they tasted!) and then how they put a pie together.  Emmy was the most talkative one on the tour, answering all the questions to the best of her ability--and most of the time, right on! =)  Afterwards, we all got a delicious apple cookie and fresh apple cider.  We were able to stay and play for awhile and enjoyed our time throughly!
Emmy and some of her cute little friends

Ethan loving everything about exploring, eating, and playing!

Cover's Apple Ranch--October 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Scenes from Grandpa's party

I don't think I got too many great pictures this time, but at least it's a snapshot of the evening and our time together.  If anyone wants individual pictures sent to them via email, I'm happy to send them to you (you can click on the image to view it larger)!  Love you, my FAB family, and it was great to be with you all!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Celebrate Grandpa Al!

We just got home from a wonderful birthday weekend celebrating Grandpa Al's 85th birthday!  We had a great time catching up with our beautiful and big Fabulich side of the family, meeting some new friends and loving on our beloved Grandpa.  I'll post some more pictures of the kids and some other shots I got around the party, but figured my first post about it would be focused on the guest of honor!  We love you, Grandpa!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Well, I finally did it.... I actually got a 'chore' system that seems to be working for both of my very different children!!! Thank you Family Fun magazine for the article 'Don't Lose Your Marbles' back in the June/July 2010 issue, which I tore out and have been saving since I read it. When I saw this in practice in a couple of my friends homes, I was motivated (or should I say desperate?) to give it a try. We definitely needed something in place to help me be consistent with getting the kids to learn about responsiblities and doing their part to contribute to the household operations.

On Thursday, Emmy helped me decorate the vases (which I found at Walmart for $1 each!) for each kid, and when Zeke got home from school, we all worked together to come up with the name, the 'rules,' and most importantly, the rewards.

The 'system': They get jewels (which are little decor rocks that I also found at Walmart for $3 a bag) from me, the keeper of the jewels, for completing their tasks throughout the day. They get 2 jewels if they do it on their own without prompting, one if they are asked to do it and complete it w/out complaining or delaying, and if they disobey or otherwise, they have to give a jewel back. They can also earn extra here and there if the keeper of the jewels catches them being extra helpful, or having extra good attitudes, lovingly helping a sibling, etc. Zeke has to fill his jar up to the tip top, Emmy has to fill to the ribbon line and Ethan to the top of his name (figured he needed a goal to give the 'fairness' thing to the other kiddos). Once they reach these markers, they get to pick one of the 'rewards'--and they are sooooooo excited about this!

So, we are only on day 4 of this new adventure... they both have earned about 40 jewels so far and are constantly on the look out for how to earn more--Ethan has 8 =) and could truly care less--he'd rather chew on the jewels! They've been spending hours just like in the picture above, counting and sorting their colorful jewels and dreaming of the reward they get. Hopefully it will continue to be effective even as the excitement wears off. I guess it's only as effective as I make it, so... here's to consistency!!!
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Emmy the Hula Hooper

Emmy truly learned how to hula hoop last week and I am proud to say that after only 1 week, I think she's the most fabulous 4 year old hula hooper I know! Look at those hips go!

That's my girl!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Emmy finally got to have her 'Cuffin Party' that she's been wanting to have since summer. Once we discovered that 'cuffins' were just like scones, we set the party date and decided to take advantage of the break from preschool this week to do it. So we made some heart shaped chocolate chip cuffins, and some raspberry ones to share with her friends, as well as blueberry muffins, strawberries and grapes. Hot chocolate (and coffee & tea for the mommies) and juice topped us off. The girls had a great time eating, playing together and painting princess (and mickey mouse) suncatchers.

Emmy is now recovering from her big morning by watching High School Musical and relaxing upstairs under a blanket. I suspect she may fall asleep soon...
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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Columbia Air Attack Base

I was able to accompany Zeke to his first field trip as a first grader to the Air Attack Base in Columbia this past Thursday morning. It was a great time of learning about the bombers, kids putting their hands in the retardant (Zeke calls it 'snot'), and climbing into the helicopter. Shout out to Melissa for watching my other two kiddos so I could join in the fun!