Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Family Pictures

It's that time of year when just about every family is thinking about taking a good picture for their Christmas card that gets sent out to family and friends near and far. We were a little behind on this because of a new addition to our family. But as the weather got colder, I knew we had to do it soon. Our friend Andrea came over and took some great shots of our family for us a few weeks ago.

Brianna - 4 weeks

Blake - 22 months

Rebecca - 6 years

Here are just a few pictures from around the house.
Blake is very affectionate with Brianna and loves to get down on the floor with her.

Here is Brianna all dressed up - love her hair!

Here are the kids before church last Sunday.
Merry Christmas!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Candy Cornucopias

Thanksgiving is later this week and we all have so much to be thankful for. Here is a fun way to show others you are thankful for them.

I saw this idea first on Pinterest - soak the tip of a sugar cone in water and bend it up. Here's my take on it - just a little different. I didn't have sugar cones, but I did have waffle cones left over from Rebecca's birthday so I thought I would give it a try.

 I tried soaking the cone in water like I saw on Pinterest, but that didn't work. The cone just got slimy and
still didn't bend. I had the idea of putting the cone in the microwave to see if it would soften up and - BINGO it worked. I found that 20 seconds on high was just right for being able to bend the end of the cone. After shaping the end the way you want, you have to hold it in place until it cools and gets hard again.

For the candy mix, I used candy corns, candy pumpkins, and Reece's Pieces. Fall colored M&Ms would work great too, but I couldn't find those in the store. Fill the cornucopia with candy and use a candy bag or plastic wrap to cover it and keep the candy in place.


I finished them off with a gift tag that I found HERE - free printable. They turned out so cute and I look forward to giving them to a few special people!




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

3 weeks

Brianna is 3 weeks old already. The days are just flying by. She is such a good baby, which makes the transition from 2 kids to 3 kids pretty easy. I am loving my time at home with Blake and Brianna and also having my mom here to visit for 2 weeks.
Brianna has lots of hair - everyone has to comment on it. I love her hair too! It gets nice and curly after a bath and has a natural fluff. 
As expected, Grandma Pontier has spend lots of time in the kitchen and has had some little helpers too. Here they are making apple dumplings.
On Sunday, Nov. 17th Brianna was baptized at our church. We had a lunch after church for family and friends.
Here is Brianna wearing the baptism gown that has been in our family for over 60 years. My dad wore it and so did I.
Our beautiful children that God has greatly blessed us with!
Here are all the De Vries grand kids.
The De Vries family (only missing Linda and Bill).
Grandma Pontier with her 12th grandchild.
The weekend before, we has some good visits with the Pontier side of the family. Here is cousin Michal with Brianna and Rebecca.
Blake is a budding musician, he loves anything that plays music and can't keep his hands off the piano at the Barnes' house. Here he is with cousin Joanna.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

She's Here!

We are so happy to welcome Brianna Joy into our family! She was born on Oct. 28 at 8:02 am. She weighed in at 7 lbs. 15 oz. and was 20 inches long. She also has a great head of dark hair - perfect for bows! We are all in love with her already!
Brianna Joy
Proud mama with her 3 blessings!
Our family of five!
Rebecca is in love with her new little sister.
Brianna with Aunt Linda.
Our 3 blessings! Becca, Blake and Bri.
Big Brother and Big Sister - very proud!
With all the picture taking, Blake can now say, "EEEZZZ!"  With a goofy grin too.
Brianna with Grandpa and Grandma De Vries. 
Brianna with Aunt Debbie and the Eekhoff cousins.
Precious.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Filling in the Gaps

I've taken a lot of pictures here and there of our family over the last few months and I thought I would just post them. Many of these pictures I have posted on Facebook, but others are just life around here. Enjoy.
Watching the crop duster fly by a few times. 

Almost hidden under mom's big baby bump.

Reading with Daddy. Blake loves books with pictures of real animals.

Rebecca's first day of school - first grade at Pella Christian.

Birthday restaurant meal at Jethro's. The cake is almost bigger than the birthday girl!

Yum!! And yes, she did share.

First time at the sprint car races in Knoxville.

Blake loves his "farm show" - Baby Einstein video. Rebecca loved it too when she was his age.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Freezer Meals

Just like so many others who value their time, money, and eating healthy; I have made my fair share of freezer meals. Meal planning has always been a bit of a struggle or avoidance for me. I don't really enjoy cooking or even thinking about cooking. On a typical day, I start thinking about supper between 5-6pm and we usually eat at about 6:30pm. So that means that anything I make needs to be quick and easy. There have been plenty of exceptions to this norm and my family is by no means going hungry, but on the whole we have about 20 different meals that we eat regularly and I can put together quickly. 

With that said, I work full time and finally getting home at 5pm and then having to cook supper is usually the last thing that I want to do. Hence the appeal of freezer meals. There are a few "freezer meal" groups at our church that get together each month and make meals together. I haven't joined one of those groups mostly because I work and because of the distance to drive to church. I find it pretty easy to plan my own meals that my family will like, shop, and put the meals together. With school starting next week, my goal was to get at least 15 meals in the freezer. And I did it!

Here is a list of the meals I have made:
Stuffed Shells - 3 meals
Potato soup - 3 meals
Cheesy Meat and noodles 
Honey Sesame Chicken (crock pot)
Chicken and Dumplings (crock pot)
Meat Loaf - 2 meals
Cheesy hash browns potatoes (side dish)
Chicken and rice with veggies
Pulled pork
Taco meat - 3 meals
Beef and gravy - 3 meals


 I'm most excited about these freezer to crock pot meals. I've never tried this before so I hope they work out and taste good. They were so easy to put together because I didn't have to cook the chicken first.

I'm not going to list all my recipes. I got all of them off my Pinterest page. Reposting these recipes would just be redundant and a lot of work for me. But just so you know my process, I first go online and find all the recipes that I want to make. I go through the ingredients and make a list of everything that I will need to buy. I go shopping. Then make the meals as soon as possible. I put a list of meals on the front of the freezer so I can remember what's in there.

Here is a picture of our freezer currently, most of the meals are on the top shelf and the rest is full of meat. We butcher our own meat at a local meat locker, so getting a half a hog or a 1/4 of beef fills up the freezer pretty fast. So in addition to the ready made meals, I always have pork chops, ground pork or beef, steaks, and other cuts on hand. 
I hope to make a lot of apples sauce this fall so that will have to be canned since there is not room in the freezer :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A little organization goes a long ways...

Sorry for the blog silence lately. It is just another testament to how life is moving a bit too fast lately. You'd think as a teacher and with my summers "off", I'd find more time to reflect on life and share, but not so. We have had a busy summer of playing, working, spending time with family and friends, and just catching up on things.

Speaking of catching up, I wanted to share the latest bit of organization I did in the house. The family room in the basement doesn't actually get that much use at this point in our lives, but I know as the kids grow it will. This is what one side of the room has looked like for the last year.

Not terrible, I know. I'd never make it on one of those TV shows to help me organize my mess, but an eye sore that I have to look at. There used to be a tall shelf here, but I stole it to help organize my sewing things in another room. I looked online several times for inspiration to organize this space and Dan even said he would try and build something. But in the end it just took a trip to Target, ordering online, and assembling a few new pieces of furniture. And now......

Yeah! This small little accomplishment makes me so happy! The adult games and books are on the right with  family pictures of nieces and nephews. The kids games and toys are on the left and the storage bench has more toys in it. (Ironically though, there is a manufacture sticker on the inside of the storage bench that says, "This chest is not intended or suitable for a toy chest." Oh well, I think it's very suitable ;) I also hung up a chalkboard we had laying around and there is a little bucket hanging next to it to hold chalk - that's my favorite. 

Like I said, I ordered these from Target. They are considered hardwood construction with a veneer finish. I love that they all match and that these pieces can grow with the kids - it's not "kid" furniture. Also, if we ever move, these could work in any room. All good decorating blogs give you a price list, so here it is - all items were on clearance and marked down about 25% from the original price, I got free shipping and 5% off with my Target card - so the grand total was right at $250. Worth it to me!