Saturday, December 08, 2007

Christmas Craft (and other traditions)

The first year Brad and I were married I wanted to start a special tradition - something that just our family would do together every year, and something our kids would one day enjoy doing with us. We decided to do a "Christmas Craft". The first year we made a Sugar Cube Castle and second year we made a Gingerbread Village with Gumdrop Trees. The next years have kinda all blended together, and since my pictures are all in storage, I can't get them out to remember exactly what we did, but you get the idea.

Since this was the first year that Kathryn would be able to help at all, we set out to find something simple, and not very time consuming, so she wouldn't lose interest before we even got everything set up. We decided on these Candy Trains. It turned out to be a hit! Brad picked up a pizza from our favorite local joint and we ate in the living room while we watched "The Polar Express", then we set to work on trains of our own!

Both the girls were most interested in eating the candy, but once they got their fill, Kate was very interested in making her very own Polar Express.

On the subject of traditions, we also have a few recipes that are holiday favorites. One of my favorites is English Butter Toffee. My brother used to make this every year when he would come home for Christmas. Now we can't have a Christmas without it.

English Toffee

1C Sugar
1C Butter
3T Water
1/2 t Salt
1 t Vanilla
1/2C Chopped Pecans
1 Large Hershey Bar or 4 regular size

Bring sugar, butter, water, and salt to boil, and boil until it reaches 300 degrees on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water separates into hard, brittle threads. Remove from heat, but keep stirring. Immediately pour into ungreased 9x13 pan. Spread Hershey bar(s) over the top and sprinkle with nuts. Cool before breaking into bite sized pieces.

The next is Brad's and my tradition of home-made caramels. I stumbled across this recipe in Betty Crocker's cookbook, and we've never had any that we like better. I made them the first year we got married and have made them every year since.


Cut little rectangles of waxed paper ahead of time, so when you're ready to wrap, you're ready to go! Here's another secret - cutting the caramels with scissors is quicker and easier than using a knife.

2C Sugar
1/2C Butter
2C Heavy Whipping Cream
3/4C Light Corn Syrup

1. Grease bottom and sides of square baking dish, 8x8 or 9x9, with butter

2. Heat all ingredients to boiling in heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook about 35 minutes, stirring frequently, to 245 degrees on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water forms a firm ball that holds its shape until pressed. Immediately spread in baking dish. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

3. Cut into 1" squares. Wrap individually in waxed paper or plastic wrap; store in airtight container.

The last is a classic, super easy, hard to stop eating, peanut cluster. My sister Heidi always makes these, and they are so addictive! It's great to always have this stuff on hand to take to a Christmas party that you don't have much time to prepare for.

Peanut Clusters

12oz can of salted peanuts
6oz Nestle's chocolate chips
6oz Butterscotch chips

Melt chips in microwave. Stir in peanuts. Drop on waxed paper.
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Friday, December 07, 2007

Fun at the Children's Museum

On Thursday we crashed the Dehut's "Grandparent's Day" and went with them to the Children's Museum. I've been wanting to take Kate ever since I heard about the "Yule Slide", and when I heard her friends from church, Cianan and Cooper, were going, I thought it was the perfect time to invite myself to go along :).

The kids all had so much fun! Of course, the slide and the merry-go-round were the favorites, but there were lots of other fun things to do too. We actually had a more-adults-than-kids ratio, which was super nice! Each child had an adult to look after them, plus an extra adult to pull the wagon :).

They were all so worn out by time to go. Olivia was asleep before I even got out of the parking garage, and Kate fell asleep with a cracker in her hand. Many thanks to Jeremy and Anna and their sweet boys for such a fun day!

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Snow Day!

There were at least 4 very happy campers this morning when we woke up to this beautiful blanket of snow. We were supposed to get around 5", and I would say we got every bit of that. Kathryn's first question of the morning was, "Can I walk in the snow?" She loved it! Neither of the girls were ready to come in, but Mommy was tired of pulling the sleigh (a team of reindeer would have come in handy).

As soon as we got out of all of our gear Kathryn helped me make hot chocolate. Olivia drank hers in a most nontraditional, but spill-proof way :).

Kathryn has been singing "Jingle Bells" and asking if we can go "walk in the snow some more" ever since we walked in the door. What a great way to start our day!
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Now we're even

This little one will be the 20th grandchild on my side, so since there were already 10 boys and only 9 girls, it just seemed fitting that we evened things out. So, we decided we'd have another little girl.

Of course, as far as Brad's side is concerned, it's really starting to tip a little tooooo far toward the girl side to even out ;). It's always good to be outnumbered by sweet little girls, though.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Sew I've been a little busy...

Preparing for a craft fair of all things. Yes, that thing I said I'd never do again. A girl from church asked me if I'd like to put a few things out at her booth at a band booster craft fair this weekend. I crammed this week and made as much as I could. Mom watched the girls for me yesterday afternoon so I could finish up, and here we go! It's only 3 hours long, so if I have no customers at least I don't have to be depressed for too long over it :).

Olivia is trying to cut her molars, so she hasn't had a nap the past 2 days, which is really no fun for Mommy. She hasn't been too cranky, just really LOUD and demanding - nothing abnormal, really :). Today I changed her diaper and noticed something round and shiny. Yes, no joke, my earring. I panicked and tried to think of anything else that would be lying around our house that has come up missing??? Who knows what else she's swallowed without me even getting the chance to worry about it?!? Thankfully, it's out and all is well (although I'm not sure where the other one is, come to think of it...) Brad wants to know if I'll be wearing these earrings still. I think it's a great excuse for him to buy me a new pair :).

Olivia's favorite-word-of-the-day today is "ouch". Every time she says it she and Kathryn both start laughing hysterically, so of course she keeps saying it over, and over... and over.

Monday is our big day! We'll find out if we're having a BOY or a GIRL. Of course I'm hoping for a girl and Brad is holding out for a boy. Yikes! I'll check back in then!
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Winter coats, Bathtub fun, T.P., and other fun stories

I can't start my post without acknowledging some others who's posts have been much more inspiring than mine lately. I have thoroughly enjoyed Alaina's posts. She has so many good tips on where to buy fresh and organics (which has been so helpful to me just moving back to the area), and lots of fun links to menu planning and giveaways. I've especially enjoyed her new recipe blog. Thanks, Alaina!

The second inspiring blog has been Amy's. She has recently posted alot of money saving tips that have been so fun and informative. She also led me to this blog which I can't seem to get enough of. It has been so helpful, and I've enjoyed the "rush" of getting stuff for free :). Keep it up, girls! I wish I could think of something useful that I could share :)

Aunt Rosie and Uncle Adam got the girls these sweet coats when we left Tennessee. They thought they might come in handy :). We finally got them to pose in them. If we could have only matched Olivia's smile in the first picture with Kathryn's in the second - story of my life...

I caught Olivia in the bathroom unrolling ALL of the toilet paper the other day. I walked in and said, "Olivia Belle, what do you think you're doing?" She looked me in the eye, put a tiny piece of toilet paper up to her nose, and blew out with her mouth. At least she thought she was doing something constructive :).

One night Kathyrn just couldn't get to sleep. She got up several times asking if it was time to "wate up". Finally, Brad said, "let's just let her get up for a few minutes." Of course, as soon as we had put down the girls that night, we had broken out the powdered sugar donuts (don't tell me you don't do this at your house too =). So when Brad said she could get up, I said that was fine, but she didn't need to have any donuts. Kate walks out into the living room, looks straight at the donuts (she has a way of sniffing out sweets), and says in the most emphatic voice ever, "DONUTS, DAD! WOW!!!" It was too cute, and of course, we couldn't say no to that :).

The other day the girls and I were riding in the car, and I had to break very suddenly. I said, "Hold on, girls! Quick stop!" Kathyrn thought that was so funny, and was laughing hysterically. Once we got stopped, she said, "Whoa, Mom! That was too close!!!"

Yesterday on our way home from the ladies Bible class we stopped at Wendy's to get some lunch before heading home. I gave the girls each a fry. Olivia immediately put hers in her mouth. Kathryn waited and said, "Mom, is it too hot?" Olivia looked at Kathryn, took hers out of her mouth, blew it once, then put it back in :)

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! We truly do have so much to be thanful for.
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Friday, November 09, 2007


Thank you all for your congratulations and well wishes on our upcoming arrival. While it was most definitely a surprise, it is indead a blessing from the Lord, and we covet your prayers for a healthy pregnancy and delivery of yet another bundle of joy. I am due around the middle of April - right around the end of Brad's big "tax season", and also when we're hopefully due to move into our new house. We're trying not to stress over all of these things that will be happening all at once, and leave them in the Lord's hands to work out the timing for us. It is very overwhelming if we let ourselves dwell on the details. Our house has still not sold, but Brad did talk to our realtor last night and found out it was almost sold, but the couple wasn't approved for the mortgage :-(. At least that gave us some hope...

The girls have adjusted fairly well to the move. If you had asked me two weeks ago, I would have said they had adjusted great, but looking back now, I can see it has been a process of adjustment. In fact, as Brad was tucking them into bed tonight I was thinking, probably just as of this week have they gone to bed without question or complaint - which is very unusual. I have always been able to lay them down at strange places, and they've gone right to sleep without a peep. Once everything started changing, they started getting very sceptical of what was going on. Kathryn is especially perceptive, and everytime we would go somewhere new she wouldn't leave my side. Now, every morning when she wakes up, she goes through her list of "friends" to see if we're going anywhere "fun" that day :).

We have made great strides in other areas as well. Up until the past couple of days, Kathryn was constantly asking to "go home", or "go see Claire". I found this really tugged at my heartstrings, and I just ached for her, and was longing for normality to return for her sake. These requests have definitely lessened, and I am torn between being thankful for her contentment, and being sad that she is starting to see a new "home" and new "friends". It was almost like I was looking to her to relate to me missing my home, and my best friend.

Last Wednesday, Kathryn went to Bible class all by herself for the first time! I was so proud of her! We've been asking her if she would like to go for a while, and have tried sitting in with her, but as soon as we would try to leave, she would cry. Finally Wednesday, she said she wanted to go, Brad took her in, and she never looked back! She and Olivia both have become Miss Independence over the last week or so. I hardly even see them at church, and we are always searching for them when it's time to go home. Our little girls are growing up :).

Now, concerning my last post and all those who have never been so great at math and thought we were having triplets (I won't say any names :-D)... The saying usually goes, "and baby makes three", thus, Kathryn would be three, Olivia would be four, and now... TA DA... one more baby makes FIVE.

p.s. as soon as I can find the USB cord for our camera I'll post some new pictures. It must still be packed :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Best Buds

Look at all those little girls! Good thing they'll be adding to the boy side pretty soon :).

Leaving your best friends is never an easy thing to do. I'm so thankful for all of the great memories we have, and look forward to many, many more - even though we are miles apart.
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Olivia's 1st Birthday

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. Most of you know things have been a little crazy for us over the last couple of months. We are mostly settled here in Indy, and Brad is loving his new job. The girls are loving being close to their cousins, "Tay-yor and Ewwa-Beyya" (Taylor & Ella Bella :), and I am loving being a hop, skip, and jump away from my sister and Mom. Our house has still not sold, although we've had two "serious" lookers who we've been expecting offers from for the past 2 weeks. We're starting to lose hope :). We're so blessed to be able to stay with a family from the church here until our house sells, and we find something to buy.

One month ago, our baby turned 1! Adam & Rosie graciously hosted her first birthday party for us, since our house was not fit to be seen. Many, many thanks to them!

Brad picked out the cake, and it just seemed so fitting for Olivia - our little monkey.
She loved opening her presents. What a little ham!
A sweet baby doll from Aunt Norma...
Olivia sporting her new shoes from Gramma & Grampa
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More Birthday Fun

We thank God every day for this sweet little brown eyed girl. Oh, Olivia, what would we do without you!

Many thanks, once again, to Jessica and Allen for the great pictures!
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the slide...

Tonight we went to one of Brad's very last softball games of the season. Besides Brad, you can guess who is the second most (and may even beat out Brad for first) excited about these games. Especially when she learned at the first game she went to that there was a huge play area just for her :)!

Tonight was no exception, although, it was a little different. Every other time we have gone, the play area has been away from the field we played at, so we've played for a little while, then gone to watch Daddy play ball. Tonight, the play area was right next to the field - which was really nice, except that I still had to have my head turned to see what was going on, so I basically missed the whole game instead of half :).

The girls and I left after the first game so we could get back for bedtime. As we were walking out I was asking Kate if she had fun with Emily and Claire on the big slide. "Yes" she said emphatically. "It was soooo fun with Emmy and Claire! It was soooo fun on the big slide! Thanks, Mom. Thanks for taking me!"

I couldn't believe my ears. I knew there would come a day when she would appreciate the little things that I do for her, I just didn't know it would be so soon. I also had no idea how wonderful it would sound.

I can't believe how much I love these two little girls, and just when I think I can't love them anymore, they do something like this, and I love them all over again.

Our thoughts are especially turned to Olivia, who, one year ago today was just a 7lb 4oz bundle of joy. Happy Birthday, Olivia. We love you too, too much!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My baby grows up:

While we were home last weekend, we had an early birthday party for Olivia at Nana & PawPaw's house. Mom found the cutest ever puppy dog cake. She was a little unsure at first, but as you can see through the picture progression, it didn't take long until she decided to DIG IN! The "mustache" picture is my fav :). Adam and Rosie will host the "big" birthday bash in about a week and a half! I'm sure there will be lots more pictures then :)

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Starting A New Chapter

It's really hard to believe that just 3 weeks ago Brad and I were sitting on the couch talking, and he said something to the effect of, "well, since I'm looking for a job anyway, what about moving back up to Indy now instead of switching jobs again in another year?"

So here we go. Three weeks later. A new job, a house up for sale, some very upset in-laws and neighbors ;), and one exhausted Mommy.

It is never easy to leave behind really, REALLY close friends and family. It's never easy to step out of your comfort zone and go into the unknown - or semi-unknown in our case. But we are anxious for our new life, being close to my parents and sister, and rekindling old friendships.

So here's to starting a new chapter, to packing up a very cluttered house, to leaving the only "home" our girls have ever known, to saying sad goodbyes, but then being welcomed home with open arms.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Reunion - group shots

Every other year over Labor Day, my Mom's side of the family has our big family reunion. Every year we say it was the best one ever, but this one really was. It was one of our smaller groups due to some last minute cancellations, but there were still about 80 of us in all. We met at Sugar Hollow Retreat in east Tennessee. The place was awesome! Here's a group shot of *almost* everyone:

The Sellers' clan, minus Tommy, Josiah, & Nathan (Christi's husband and boys) and Silas (Brad and Hannah's newest, who was asleep :) There are now 18 grandchildren, and one more due any day now!
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Reunion cont. - all kids of fun...

The guys played cornhole ALL DAY on Saturday, and most of Sunday afternoon. They even went so far as to have a cornhole tournament with "double elimination" to help move the never ending game along.

This is Kathryn with her second cousins Jenna & Lindsey. Their mom, Meredith, and I have so many great "cousin memories" from growing up together, so it was especially fun to see our kids play together.
Kathryn with PawPaw
toward the right, my brother Tony, S-I-L Teri
toward the middle, nephews Eli & Kaj, neice Michal
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Reunion cont. - My Family

Here are some individual family shots of the Sellers side

(LtoR) Tony (brother), Elijah, Noah, Michal, Kaj, Emma, Kady, & Teri

Dad & Mom, Isaiah, & Christi (sister)

Heidi (sister), Taylor, Jack, Ella, & Josh

Hannah (sister), Corbin, Brad, Truman, & Cozy (Silas was asleep :)

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Beginning With Words

I stumbled across this article while cleaning out a stack of old papers by the computer. Could I have come across a more appropriate article this very day? I honestly think not. If you have a toddler that is annoying you with his/her constant questioning, this will be a good reminder for you as well.

Beginning With Words
By: Rebekah Anast

For weeks now, my two-year-old has had the obnoxious habit of repeating himself over and over. At first I continued to answer him patiently – the same answer ten times in a row.

Next I resorted to ignoring him; but the questioning went on. Finally, I threatened to spank him if he kept asking the same question after he had received the answer. Then one day, he asked me a question that did not need an answer - and then asked it again in a different way. “I see no stars up there, Mom?” “Mom, do I see no stars up there?”

A light went on in my brain. I began to recall my own experiences with language learning in Papua New Guinea. Could my two-year-old possibly be cognizant enough to be learning his first language in such a structured manner? So, for the first time, instead of answering his question, “I don’t know whether you see any stars or not, Joe,” I repeated his phrase back to him with the proper grammar. “I don’t see any stars up there, Mom.” He looked at me with absolute delight and jumped up and down yelling, “I don’t see any stars up there, Mom!” The next few days were an intense learning session. Joseph’s ability to talk grew by leaps and bounds. He questioned me continually; and now - instead of answering what had appeared as dumb questions, I would carefully articulate the grammar and phonetics of a whole exchange for him. He repeated me until he could say it all properly without coaching. Joe: “You got to wash a dishes, Mom?” Mom: “Do you need to wash the dishes, Mom?” Joe: “Do you need to wash the dishes, Mom?” Mom: “Yes, Joseph, I need to wash the dishes. Would you like to help me?” Joe: “Like to help me?” Mom: “I want to help you, Mom.” Joe: “I want to help you, Mom.” His affection for me became hilariously dear. We were close before, but now we had become best buddies in just a few hours. I was suddenly the only person in the world who could tell him exactly what he wanted to know. My curiosity was aroused; did all toddlers face this problem? I began to listen in Wal-mart and the bank when I went to town. What I heard was different levels of understanding. Some children seemed to be under the impression that there wasn’t necessarily a correct way to speak. Perhaps because the adults in their lives simply repeat their baby-talk back to them, thinking it cute. Other children had obviously discovered the truth and were in various stages of learning with their oblivious teachers. I can sympathize with these kids in their efforts to learn a language from a clueless adult.

I spent two years among the Kumboi people of Papua New Guinea. Most of that time was spent on linguistics and translation. I squatted for hours in the smoke filled cook-house in the center of our village practicing the words I learned and trying to pick up new ones. The villagers loved to hear me talk. It amused them to hear a grown person falter and slur words just like their toddlers. I encountered the same problem Joseph often does when my Kumboi friends failed to repeat the words I said correctly. Their first response was to say them the same poor way I had because it was funny.

Among my friends was a young married girl from one of the most remote and uncivilized villages in the region. She was often teased for forgetting to wear a shirt or comb the debris out of her hair in the morning. Natalin did not speak the trade language at all when I first came and was confined to the local tribal language alone. Natalin was my favorite language helper above all. She was a natural teacher. When I said a word incorrectly, Natalin did not think it was funny; she must have understood the frustration of not being able to communicate. Her response to me was always swift and loud. With perfect enunciation and tones, Natalin would repeat the desired word or phrase for me the way it should be said. Even today, seven years later, I can hear her voice ringing in my head. She would bob her head at me, directing me to keep repeating her until I said the phrase to her satisfaction. Next this unlearned, but brilliant teacher would pick up an object on the dirt floor and begin an instructive conversation in which I would have to use my new phrase correctly.

Natalin made me excited about learning a language. Her focus was never on my inabilities, but rather on the task at hand. I not only learned Kumboi from Natalin; I learned how to teach as well. Like every good mother, I tend to think my child is exceptional. I imagine him orating to thousands and awing them with his eloquence. But this week has been enlightening for me. I look at little children with different eyes - or I should say - I hear them with different ears!
Long before our children begin “school” they are developing a propensity to learn. If that desire to learn is thwarted or denied, it might whither and die. If it is cultivated and cared for, it will doubtless grow. I have often said that homeschooling is a way of life; a way of learning. Now I believe that teaching is a way of life as well.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New do...

Kate had so much fun getting her hair cut yesterday. After she was done, she got to play with Megan and Morgan, which was even more fun. Gramma came to spend the day and night, and her best buddy Claire came to help celebrate Daddy's birthday. It was such a full, fun day.
Olivia has officially started walking. She has to, to keep up with her big sister! Only one more month until her first birthday!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

(Kathryn) Here I am at Nana and PawPaw's enjoying a tea party with my cousin, Corbin, and one of our favorite teddy bears.

Corbin really wanted Uyia to join the party, so somehow we got her up in this seat. She loved it, but Mom thought it looked a little precarious.

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