Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mixed up day

Whatever happened to Halloween? When I was a kid it was so much fun to dress up in a costume that you made and wear it to school. We would have a parade around the school. I can remember lining up on the playground after we had paraded around. It usually was cold, since it was New Jersey. The only costume I can remember being was a witch. I know, you should dress up on Halloween, not be your true self... The costume was black with sparkly red trim. I am sure my mother made it for me or borrowed it and someone else's mom made it. I can also remember being a gypsy once and then in 10Th grade we were invited to a Halloween party and we went and rented costumes. I was the Hamburgler. I don't know what possessed me to pick something that lame.

I really had a lot of fun that 10th grade year. We were back in New Jersey after spending the 7 years before that in Illinois. I really enjoy all of the history that is in that part of central New Jersey. We lived close to Washington's Crossing. It might actually be in Pennsylvania, but as the name implies, it is a town built on the spot that Washington crossed the Delaware. There is also a fabulous town called Cranbury. It is warm and inviting. Of course I have to mention Princeton, since that is basically where we lived. My friends and I would take the "Dinky" into downtown Princeton. It was a little spur line off of the commuter railroad. It went into Princeton and back out again from Princeton Junction.

I have digressed. I wanted to talk about Halloween. We don't get a normal Halloween anymore. The kids can't even wear their costumes to school on Halloween anymore. Since it is spirit week we have had Hat day (Monday) Pajama day (Tuesday) and today was mis-match day. We prefer Crazy Hair day, which they have quit doing, so we just take mis-match day and wear crazy hair. So hear is Molly. She did her hair with NO Help. Ella had some help.

Fang you very much

Yesterday afternoon M looked like this: Because a very clever dentist, Dr. L, pulled these:
out of here! If I had warned you then you might not have looked! We had orthodontist appts on Monday and he was worried that those fang teeth were in the way of her adult teeth that were trying to come in. He said pull now and maybe no braces later. Sounds like a win win situation. M said that it didn't hurt a bit. We were in and out in about 20 minutes. It was kind of dissapointing, I didn't have time to read all of the Woman's Day magazine that I was perusing. If only she had pitched a fit and not been a good patient. I might have gotten to the Newsweek, also!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Book Character Day

Our kids elementary school always celebrates Book Character Day on the Friday before Halloween. They have to have their book with them and be able to tell the judges about the book. Molly decided to be Little Witch last year. We had everything ready and then she came down with strep throat. Ella did too. Ella was going to be Dorothy last year and was going to bring her Maltese, Marshmallow to play the part of Toto. So last year both girls missed Book Character Day. Coincidentally, last year I told PTO that I would be in charge of the program. I organized judges, prizes and emceed an assembly for 700 students plus parents. I read our favorite picture book to the crowd and then announced all the winners (4 per grade) I had them on stage with me and had each of them tell why they picked their book. All this and my girls were at home with Adrian.

This year I didn't even go to the parties in their classrooms since I had a still pretty sick Harrison at home. He was released from the hospital the day before. Here is a very sweet Little Witch. For those of you not familiar with this series, Little Witch is always trying to be a "good" witch and do witchy things and obey her mother. The problem is that she isn't a good witch, she is a good little girl. She forgets to be messy and cleans her room. She forgets to stay out late and forgets to use bad manners, always saying please and thank you. We really enjoy these books.

Ella decided to be the Giving Tree. She had some real limbs from our tree out front. As you can see, the leaves are still nice and green. Her book was at school, so when we got there I looked in it and put a heart on her face with the initials M.E.+T. in it, like the boy carves in the tree. The girls looked great and had a great time. It is hard to believe that next year will be Ella's last year and then I will only have one little Book Character Day/Trick or Treater. Oh how time flies...

Saturday, October 27, 2007

International Man of Mystery?

This is a picture of my dad. A lot of people have asked me what he does for a living. My SIL, Jennifer, usually tells people that he is an "International Man Of Mystery." Good job, if you can get it!

We used to have a neighbor in the "old neighborhood" (that is how you describe where you used to live if you used to live in New Jersey) that was sure that Dad was a CIA agent because he used to go to China for a month at a time, twice a year. And he started doing this basically on the next plane out after Nixon came back from China. For those of you too young to remember (myself included) NOBODY went to China back in the 70's. Nobody but my dad. He had a vision of cheaply made garments on all the racks at your local Wal-Mart. Thanks, Dad! Okay, not at Wal-Mart, at Sears. Remember those Toughskins jeans you wore as a kid? I had some amazing made in China knick-knacks as a kid. Stuff that other kids didn't have. It was really cool. Back in those days a trip to China was really exotic. He used to bring a lot of his own food. Stuff like hot chocolate and instant soup. He liked China so much that in 1987 he moved us all to Hong Kong. But that is a story for another post.

My dad is not an international man of mystery and he is not a CIA agent (at least I don't think so!). He is an Executive Director with Li and Fung. I know, that doesn't really tell you what he does. That is what these articles are for, they kind of give you a glimpse.

I Googled him tonight to find some articles that talk about him and his job. I found some interesting things. I will just post the links, not the whole articles. This first one made me laugh. It talks about him speaking at a conference and they say that the conference-goers were "taken aback" at his presence. Who says that? It makes sense when they explain it in the article, he isn't creepy or anything! :-)

This next one has a PowerPoint in it that I guess my dad created for his speech at this conference. I learned a lot, just scroll down and click next to his name in the box. It says Tom_Haugen_ PP Presentation

Here are a couple more. One is from the Li and Fung website. It has another cute pic of him!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stomach Virus?

I know, I fell off the face of the Earth this week...

Last Sunday Harrison woke up with a stomach virus. HAHAHAHA!! A stomach virus would have been so nice. He didn't seem to get better all day. I figured that when we got home from church he would be moving around and feeling better. Nope. So that night I figured he would feel better. Nope. Huh, tough stomach virus. I start using A LOT of Clorox wipes, I don't want anyone else to be this sick, he was miserable. So then Monday morning rolls around and he is CRAZY... UNHAPPY...feeling like he is going to DIE!! Okay, what kind of stomach virus is this? I put him in the car and call the doctor on the way. I figured if they couldn't see him I would take him to the ER. The doctor is in with us all of about 15 seconds and she says.. I think we have an appendix here!! Hey, aren't you supposed to run a fever or have pain just on one side with an appendicitis? Nope... That afternoon the surgeon removed an abscessed, busted open appendix out of Harrison. He was very clever and did it through 3 little holes in his tummy, one of which was in his belly button. Yeah, it is totally disgusting to think that the kid had his insides sucked out through his bellybutton, but at least he isn't going to die now!

So... that is what Harrison and I did for the end of fall break. We spent Monday through Thursday at the hospital. He is SORE and Tired, but smiling, but not smiling too much, it hurts to smile too much. I am sore and tired, too. I will be glad to sleep in my own bed tonight. And here is some fun trivia for you. Did you know that pediatric patients can't have their IV just drip, drip, drip into their arms until the bag is empty and then the nurse comes and changes it? Oh no, they have to set it for one stinking hour. Every hour it goes of BEEP ... BEEP.. BEEP ... BEEP... You get the picture, all day, all night. And of course, it goes without saying that 4 am is the PERFECT time to check your weight, temp, blood pressure, etc! AAARRRGGGHHHH

Tonight I will sleep happily and silently. And when I get up I will put Ella's costume together for Book Character Day tomorrow. Yes, I made it home just in time to not miss Book Character Day. I am not sure yet if that is a good thing...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Beehive Party

Since Lucy and Rachel are not old enough for Youth Conference this year they decided to take advantage of the fact that William was gone and have some friends over. They invited an out of town friend since her family would be coming here to drop off older siblings. Meet Lindsay. We call her Bob. And one friend from in town. Meet Alyson. She is actually our Beehive in training.

Bob and Lucy being themselves

I asked: why do you have a picture of your legs? Teenage girl response...Mom, do you see how cute our pajamas are? Oh, yeah, fabulous!
Getting ready for bed apparently requires make-up and curled hair, applied by some beauty consultants. Okay, Alyson looks really funny in this picture, I love it.
But make-up must be removed before actually going to sleep, and beauty masks are a must. They don't want to lose that glow of youth that the um...youth have...
And finally, watching A Walk to Remember. Alyson actually had a sleep over Thursday night also( we are on fall break.) She only saw about 10 minutes of the movie before she was snoozing. She then favored us with some comedy. She talked in her sleep to her brother and sister and walked in her sleep, yelling at a few people. Very entertaining!!!

Bradley and Mitchell

Bradley and Mitchell came over and watched Vegitales in Lucy's room Isn't he cute...

Looks like a Caten, doesn't he? Here they are doing a little dancing to the Vegitales theme song. Lucy's camera doesn't have sound, so you will just have to sing it to yourself.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sir

We wanted to give Grandpa something for his birthday that he couldn't get for himself. Talent like this cannot be bought at the store. Be very impressed!! We are excited to come and see you at Christmas! Happy Birthday.

Ella Cooks

Ella cooked us a fabulous dinner in Tuesday. This was really helpful to me since I had to run kids around Tuesday afternoon and evening. She made Sante Fe Soup. It was yummy, but spicy!!
Sante Fe Soup
2 -4 cups shredded chicken
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced (or)1 TBS of minced garlic from a jar
2 packages taco seasoning
1 package Lipton Ranch Dressing mix
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can kidney beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
2 cans white or yellow corn, undrained
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 small can Rotel
Saute' your onions and garlic in either a little butter until onions are translucent. Add chicken to pan for about 5 minutes to absorb some flavor. Add taco seasonings and ranch mix to chicken mixture. 1-2 cups H2O will be needed to dissolve all the powders and make the yummy stuff. Next, dump all canned indredients into crock pot. Add in your chicken mixture. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, and then simmer for additional hour. Serve in bowl with toppings of Tostidos, sour cream, cheese, and chives (if desired).
I think I will just add one pack of taco seasonong next time.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Guestbook up and ready to be signed

Thanks, Heather for the guestbook link, it is at the bottom ready for everyone to sign it. You can also admire Bandit looking handsome on the front porch that same day I took the picture of the rain. Actually, I just added a second guestbook at the top left, I will try them both out and see what ai like better.

The big news of the day, however...drum roll please...

ACH APPRAISAL SERVICES is now up and running!!! Yes, Adrian jumped through the final hoop to obtaining his license and we are our own business now. I will be so glad to get to fast and pray about MY stuff now! Just kidding. We are so excited. I need to have a blog that is dedicated to the business side of our life. It would be fun to have before and after pics of houses we flip. We have 3 right now in various states of fixing upness. Okay, I know that is so not a word, but you get my meaning.

A Couple of Questions...

Okay, first off. I love looking at my map and seeing how early Gretchen gets up and looks at my blog! But then there are the people from places that I don't know. I am really glad you are looking, but the suspense is killing me. I want to put a Guestbook on here, but it is not a choice. I asked William to write me one with HTML since he is a teenage boy and that is the kind of useful skill he possess, but I don't think he was very interested in doing it for me. Maybe I should let him do some sort of HALO guestbook. He could sort the guests into blue and red teams and occasionally everyone would get a big gun and duke it out. That would peak his interest! So don't be alarmed if you have someone named FunnyBill stalking you, it is just William in HALO mode!

So anyway, please everyone, post a comment occasionally so I can know who the heck you are. Something quick like, "Hi, this is Bob from Brooklyn and I linked to you from Just kidding, I hope.

Secondly, I need school lunch ideas. I have some good ones, but now that we are a fourth of the way through school it is starting to feel a little stale. Here are some of our "good" lunch items:

1. homemade wheat bread, just butter it.
2. yogurt sent straight from the freezer, it is still half frozen at lunch I am told. Very Yummy
3. muffins made with whole wheat and a vegetable, i.e. pumpkin, zucchini, squash
4. Thermos foods. My best investment this year. For about 7 bucks you can buy a wide mouth Thermos brand (don't skimp on the brand, the others don't work very well) thermos at Wal-Mart. This opens up the world of LEFTOVERS! Chicken casserole, spaghetti, tortellini soup. Or Rachel likes to warm up a can of tomato soup or make instant Yakisoba in the morning and take it in the thermos. Harrison likes spaghettios (sound good, Gretchen?) I put hot tap water in the thermos and put the lid on it. Then I warm up the food in the microwave. once the food is good and hot, dump out the water, pour in the lunch and bon appetit.
5. Baby Belle cheese. You have to get these at Sam's or Costco because to buy them at Wal-mart is highway robbery!
6. Lunch meat and cheese rolled up together and put into a snack size zipper bag. Molly loves this.
7. Kiwi. I found these cute kiwi spoons. They are plastic and a knife on one side and a spoon on the other. Any plastic knife and spoon would work, or you could cut it in half first and put in a zipper bag or Tupperware container. the kids just scoop the kiwi out with the plastic spoon.
8. Boiled eggs. I peel them first and then just pop them in a bag. Ella's teacher told her that eggs are brain food. Ella says she has proof because she won the spelling bee in her class and it was right after lunch and for lunch that day she ate 2 boiled eggs!

Okay, I showed you mine, now you show me yours!

Oh, and right now Adrian is in Nashville take his test, Yippee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

YW Pics Part 2

Some very fancy decorating. Thanks to Tim Hitchcock and Miriam Crawford for the fab flowers. Lucy and Kaylee
Oops, forgot to turn this. Lucy is an artist, as you can see.
Megan and her "Baby" His name was Clark Oliver Kent. She said she would have strangled him if she could have without failing the class.

YW In Excellence

Well, we had a princess theme, as you can see. It was actually supposed to be a tea party. we had so much fun! The tables each have a little porcelain tea set on the center. This is Meleah showing off some of her stuff on the Princess of Power table.
I told Lucy to smile, but she had a mouthful of egg salad.
Here is Rachel holding Mitchell. My girls have a tendency to gravitate to the babies and toddlers.

Ella and Kara and Mariah enjoying some yummy food.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Family Nutrition

My very smart SIL, Gretchen , Found and tried some very nifty recipes to get her family to eat more vegis. Good job Gretch! After you look at her ideas here is the link to the Oprah recipes that inspired her

Happy Eating!

It's Raining, It's Pouring

Hooray!! A little rain. We need about 10 inches of rain. it is so dry. This gives me an excuse to take a pic of the cute decals my kids picked out.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Gotcha Night

Well, silly me. The Pumpkin Patch is only open on the weekends for families. So we had our pumpkin patch dinner and went and played Gotcha at the church. Our special dinner was made by Ella and Molly and bought by William. Yes, life certainly gets easier when you have kids old enough to get the stuff on your list at Wal-Mart while you pick up other kids from their BETA meeting. Then I dropped the groceries off at home and Ella and Molly turned hot dogs and bread dough into mummies while I was gone picking up Lucy and Rachel from music lessons. This recipe that I used to make the bread dough is my new favorite recipe. P.S. Look mom, the clock is up and looks great!

Soft Rolls

1 2/3 Cup warm milk

4 1/2 Teaspoons yeast

4 1/2 - 5 Cups bread flour

2 eggs

1 stick butter

2 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons sugar

Throw it all into your mixer bowl and use the dough hook to knead for 15 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let rise about 1 hour. Punch down and shape how desired. I roll into long snakes and then twist. Ella and Molly make fabulous looking rolls!! Let the shaped dough rise about 30 minutes and then bake at 350 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes. VIOLA!

Kitty pics

Here are Ella and Molly with Cookie and Oreo!

Adrian Interview Day

Okay, my husband left at 5:30 am this morning to be at an 8:45 interview in Nashville to obtain his Appraiser License. He just called me and he PASSED!! HOORAY. Now he will have to pass the test, which I don't think is a problem and then ACH Appraisal Services will be up and running, with already more business than he knows what to do with!! Life is good.

Tonight we are surprising the kids and taking them to the Pumpkin Patch for Family Home Evening. It will be so fun since fall is in the air, hahaha! The temps are only in the lower 90's today!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Conference Sunday

This weekend was General Conference. It was amazing and wonderful, as usual. Yesterday we went and watched the morning session at church and the afternoon session at home. Today we followed the same pattern. There was a fabulous and timely talk on recording our lives in some way so that our children will be able to look back and be reminded of the ways God has touched our lives. He said we may not keep a traditional journal, but we all need to do something so that our children can be reminded of the tender feelings they felt during these times. The speaker told of how his son had called him just recently to tell of an experience that was remembered because he had been reading his copy of the family journal. It was not an experience President Eyering (I think that is who it was) had written about. It was a memory triggered by reading of that days experience as recorded by Pres. Eyering. We have so much influence as parents, mothers especially. I love this job I have!

So I guess that makes this blog official. I was too shy to actually let anyone know I had started it, but I feel as though I was being spoken to directly this morning. So ... I will let my children read this and not feel silly!! I even told Ella and Molly I would put pictures of their cats on here, if they could get Lucy to take a picture and put it on my computer.

Speaking of cats...UGH!! The plan with these two kittens that we acquired recently was to let them stay in the house, in the little girls room, until they drove me crazy and then kick them out onto the back porch with the 3 other cats and 4 dogs. Ha Ha Ha They are so a part of the family, I would feel bad kicking them out. Everyone needs a couple of kittens in their life. A couple of stinky, picky kittens!! Yes, they really are stinky. One of them especially. He has a GAS problem! Yuck. And then there is the picky thing. Their litter box has to be cleaned everyday or they quit using it. They are partial to Molly's bed! Then one day I forgot to change it and one of them got on top of the litter box and peed into the square cut out area that has the handle in it. A little pool of pee for me to notice as I am carrying it outside to clean it. Adrian was following them around that night saying, "Which one of you did it? Come on now, fess up and we will go easy on you."

The whole idea was that Molly loves cats so much that these kittens would make her so happy. Ella just loves all animals, except Pomeranians, that she wanted the kittens. So rewind with me to Night 1 with kittens. Kittens allowed in their beds with them, a first in Hale family history. Pure joy, ecstasy, kitten heaven. They cuddle and purr and chase foil balls. These cats have read the kitty manual and are doing everything to bring blissful joy into the lives of little girls. And then it is time to go to bed. Let the tears flow. Molly is suddenly coming out of her room sobbing. The problem? Her kitten keeps escaping her stranglehold on it to go and sleep with its brother on Ella's bed. We try to explain to her that the cats are just nervous and want to be together since this is the first night away from their mom. We assure her that they will eventually sleep with her, just not tonight. No dice. She cried for about another hour until finally I told her she could sleep in Ella's bed the next night if that was were the kittens chose to sleep. Ella was a little surprised. Night 2 comes and the cat stays on her bed for a little while. But then she gets upset when he leaves. More tears, but we persuade her to stay in her bed since Ella had no intention of giving up her own bed. Night 3 goes smoothly, no tears, no getting out of bed. The next morning Ella spills the beans.

Ella, "Molly why did you get so mad at the cat last night when he tried to sleep with you. I thought you wanted to sleep with him."

Mom, dumbfounded, "HUH?"

Molly, matter of factly, "I did want him to sleep with me, be he laid right up against me and started purring, he was too loud so I threw him off the bed."

Dumbfounded mom again,"WHAT?"

Ella, "She threw him off about ten times. He finally came and slept with me."

Okay... proof that there is no pleasing a 6 year old!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I can blog, too!

Okay, I have never really even read a blog before yesterday. That is a fairly odd statement from someone who loves to read as much as I do. Since I like writing almost as much as reading I decided to give this a go. I am a little freaked out that our personal info will be out there for strangers or psychos or pedophiles to peruse. I really get nervous when I think about someone looking at pictures of my children. I know they are fabulously gorgeous, I just don't want some nut case to think that!
The boys are all gone to church tonight. I love that they are there together! It is so great that Harrison has turned 12. Since he turned 12 he has gone on one camp out and had 2 Wed. night activities. One was Duty to God and the other was a combined activity. He has said they all were fun... but ... Harrison does not like crowds or chaos. I am amazed at the different personalities the kids have. I see such a mix of Adrian and me in Harrison, yet he is totally different than the others. William doesn't even notice that there is a crowd or chaos. Lucy wants to control the crowd and chaos. Rachel wants to hang out in it. Ella wants to lead them to the next thing and Molly wants to merge quietly. All so different. If only I could convince them to embrace their differences rather than trying to bend each other to their own will.
Tonight while the boys were gone the girls wanted to rent a movie, so we ended up buying (for only $3!!!!) Loves Softly Enduring something or another. Lucy said we NEEDED Volume 3, so now we have it. At the end of the movie the girls were excited and pointed out to me that I had watched the whole movie. I never sit through a whole movie. I am not patient enough to watch movies unless they are based on a Jane Austen novel.