Friday, December 27, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile 12/27/13

 Jake (8), Alyssa (5½), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)

Merry Christmas! What a fantastic week it's been. Time with family, amazing food, tons of gifts, many memories, and lots of laughs. We have many reasons to Smile. Tomorrow marks one year since Tyler went into the hospital and had surgery. It's hard to believe an entire has passed since all of his trials began. He is currently 100% healthy . . . and getting into everything, causing trouble. We are truly blessed. 

1. Zac: "Missed me, now ya gotta kiss me!"
Me: "I'll kiss you!"
Zac: "No, Alyssa has to kiss me."
Alyssa: "I'm not going to."
Zac: "Ok, Mommy, you can kiss me. Fishy kiss!"

2. Alyssa, to Tyler: "You're just a big pile of cuteness!"


4. Alyssa picking out the raw spinach in her dinner because she thought it was lettuce. When I told her what it was, she gobbled it up.

5. Alyssa: "I love you more than cake."

6. Zac, the day after our family Christmas party: "Is the white elephant going to come? I don't like the white elephant."

our family, my parents, my brother's family

8. Jake: "This place is blowing up like rotten eggs."

9. Me: "Tyler is something else today."
Zac: "What is he, a monster?"

What made you smile?
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Friday, December 20, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile 12/20/13

 Jake (8), Alyssa (5½), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)

Happy Friday! What a great week it's been. Like I said before, we had two performances of our Christmas musical production and play on Sunday, the kids' Christmas program on Wednesday, a baking marathon with my mom on Thursday, and a bunch of miscellaneous things to fill the gaps. 'Tis the season to be busy? Tyler is 100% healthy again (yea!) so that means that he's been into everything this week. Everything. He gives me many reasons to smile. 

1. Jake, about chocolate-covered pretzels: "These are as good as brains made out of noodles!"

2. Zac: "You know that guy that has 2 arms and 2 legs? Who is he?"

3. Jake, in response to my lamenting their growing up: "Would you like me to make a stop-growing-inator?"


5. Zac, singing: "Hark, the hero angels sing!"

6. The kids always pretend that their super powers are determined by their clothing (pictures, designs, etc). Zac was wearing plain pants and a plain shirt, so he said, "I have pocket power!"

7. Jake: "Hey, how did Tyler get out here? I locked him in my room on purpose."

8. The kids and I were scrolling through Lego stuff when a sea captain minifigure came on the screen. Jake said, "Hey, I had a dream about that guy!" Then he proceeded to tell me about his dream in which all the people were walking, talking, Lego characters, except for him.


10. Alyssa, whining: "Jake said I'm going to be a tattle-taler!"

11. Jake, while making chocolate-covered Oreos: "Hey, can we try coating silly putty in chocolate."
Me: "No."
Jake: "But silly putty's really good. I tried it when I was 2."
Me: "Tell me you're joking."
Jake: "No, it's really good. It tastes like sugary pancakes."

What made you smile?

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile 12/13/13

 Jake (8), Alyssa (5½), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)

Happy Weekend! It's been an interesting week, for sure. All 4 kids have been sick--coughing, sneezing, runny noses, fevers, aches--and I've been kinda iffy myself. The one who had it the worst is Tyler, as always. He's had a rough week, but I think he's coming to the tail-end of the sickness. If you could say a prayer for his healing, I'd appreciate it very much. Thanks! Also, our Christmas musical production at church is today. We had practice all day yesterday, ran Ty to the doctor last night, and had the first performance this morning. We have one more performance tonight, as well. I am so thankful for my mom who has given up the opportunity to sing with the choir and stayed with my little sickies so I could participate. Either she is the best and most selfless mother/grandmother . . . or she just didn't want to fill in my role in the play as the really, really old prophetess, Anna. {wink}

1. Zac: "My legs are burning cold."

2. Jake: "Is there an essential oil to make me left-handed?"

3. Alyssa: "Come on, Ty!"
{Tyler runs other way}
Alyssa & Me: "Hahaha!"
Jake: "What happened?"
Me: "Alyssa told him 'Come on, Ty' and he ran the other way."
Jake: "Oh, like magnets. She's north and he's north. {makes his hands come toward each other and then bounce away} Beeoom!"

4. Spending the day alone with Jake.

5. {BOOM}
Zac, excitedly looking out the windown: "Fireworks! It was a firework!"
Me: "No, I think it was just Tyler dumping out the Legos in the other room."

6. Jake: "I can't wait until Tyler gets up. He's so cute and I miss him."

7. Me, suspiciously: "Tyler, what are you doing?"
Tyler: "Uh uh."

8. Jake, while driving: "Mom, why couldn't you just go straight and then turn left?"
Me: "Because it's called a Michigan left: you have to turn right to turn left."
Jake {???}

9. I walked out of the living room for a couple minutes and was surprised to find that all the kids had left the room by the time I got back. After a few seconds, I heard "Hi!" and saw a happy baby that had been trapped by his siblings. Then I heard the giggles from down the hall.

10. Jake: "Carrots to horses are like Legos to me."

11. Alyssa: "Mommy has a crush on Daddy!"

12. Watching Jake watch himself in the reflection of the oven as he was very dramatically directing the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" which was playing on Pandora.

13. Zac, because the older 2 wouldn't let him play Legos with them in the bedroom: "If you two won't let me play, I'm gonna let Tyler in here!"

14. Me, while driving: "Oh, I forgot to grab Tyler jammies."
Zac: "How do you know you forgot?"
Me: "Because I remember that I forgot."
Jake: "Mom, that doesn't make any sense. You remember that you forgot?"

What made you smile?

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile 12/6/13

Jake (8), Alyssa (5½), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)

This week included Jake's 8th birthday, his special day alone with me to celebrate, our power going out for a few hours, Tyler dumping water on the laptop, and Leighton fixing the laptop. And a bunch of Smiles.

1. Jake, after I sang a bunch of Christmas songs: "Where are you getting all these songs? On Google?"

2. Zac, while helping create customized Lego mini-figures to represent us: "Mommy, make you a princess! Make you a princess! . . . And make me a gingerbread guy so I can marry you."

3. Jake: "Mom, if you write as good as you cook, you can be another Shakespeare."


5. Zac: "In apples, there's juice . . . And in oranges, there's juice." {long pause} "And in juice, there's juice! Hahahahaha! That's so funny!"

6. Jake, frustrated because of a dispute with Alyssa : "Mom, could you reason with her?"

7. Zac: "I love Tyler."
Me: "I love Tyler, too. And I love you, too."
Zac: "And Alyssa and Jake?"
Me: "Yes, I love them, too."
Zac: "Why? Sometimes they're mean to me."
Me: "Well, I certainly don't like when they're mean."
Zac: "Yea! You're on my team."

8. Jake: "It's easy as pie."
Me: "How do you know it's easy? Have you ever made a pie?"
Jake: "It's a figure of speech, Mom."


10. Jake, after listening to me talk about lemon bread: "Is it like unlemoned bread?" (aka unleavened bread)

11. Zac: "Tyler's so cute that I want to keep him! Hahahaha . . . That was so funny that I still want to laugh!"

12. Zac: "What are you allergic to?"
Papa: "Nothing that I know of."
Zac: "Gramma, what are you allergic to?"
Gramma: "Nothing that I know of."
Zac: "I'm allergic to everything I don't like."

What made you smile?

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Things That Make Me Smile 11/29/13

Jake (7½), Alyssa (5½), Zac (4), Tyler (1½)

I seem to be making a habit of posting my Smiles late. Leighton was home for four days during the Thanksgiving holiday. We got a bunch of things done around the house, got the Christmas decorations up, and spent as much time together as a family as possible. I didn't want to take the time to work on a blog post, so it was pushed to another day. Well, one day became two, and two became three, and here we are over a week later. Any day is a good day to Smile though, right?

1. Jake: "Wouldn't it be cool if the floor was so clean you could lick it?"

2. Jake, listing his favorites: "Food: pizza à la mode."
Me: "And have you ever had pizza à la mode?"
Jake: "Well, no, but pizza's good and ice cream's good, so I said them as one so I could still say them both."

3. Alyssa: "I could do that in a jippy." 

4. Jake: "Why would anybody think that Santa was real anyway? I mean, who can live, like, 2,000 years?"
Me: "Yeah, and how can they believe that he could pass out presents to every house in the whole world in one night?"
Jake: "Well, technically, it would only be half of the world at a time, because when it's night on one half of the world, it's day on the other."


6. Zac: "What are those?"
Me: "Cobwebs."
Zac, shocked: "Cowwebs?!? How did cows get in our house?"

7. Alyssa, lifting a 3 lb weight: "This will make you stronger, right? I wish it made you smarter."

8. Zac: "Will Tyler always be a baby."
Me: "No, not always."
Zac: "He's going to grow up?"
Me: "Yes, one day."
Zac: "Which day?"


10. Me: "My pretty, green-eyed girl."
Alyssa: "Hmph. I want blue eyes."
Me; "But your green eyes are so pretty."
Alyssa, staring at me: "What color are your eyes?"
Me: "Orange."
Alyssa, shocked: "Really?"
Me: "No, they're blue."

11. Alyssa, helping me with laundry: "What's this?"
Me: "Stain stick."
Alyssa: "Oh, to make sure the stains stay on the clothes?"

What made you smile?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Apple Pie Tartlets

I think these apple pie tartlets are pretty much perfect--all the goodness of apple pie in a cute, little two-bite form. 

The only problem? 

They're so dangerous! With a whole pie, you have to commit yourself to sitting down and eating a slice, but with these tarlets, you can just grab one as you walk by. I mean, it's just a teeny, tiny, bit of pie. No harm, right? Right. Until you've eaten six. 

They're dangerous, I tell ya.       

I prefer jonamac apples for these. The rich sweet-spicy taste makes the tartlets burst with flavor. And because jonamacs break down while baking, they produce more melting juices that, when combined with the flour, make a nice, gooey appley gel to hold it all together.

And what could be better than that?

These tarlets are a favorite in our house. They take a little bit more time than making a traditional streusel-topped pie, but they are totally worth it.

And remember, since they're small, you can eat more!


Pie Crust 
½ cup shortening 
1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ice cold water

1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together in a food processor with a dough blade (or in a bowl with a fork or a pastry blender) until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together and mix until combined. Place the dough in the freezer for 5 minutes.
2. Roll dough gently on a floured pastry mat to about ¼ inch thickness and cut portions using a flower (or 2-inch round) cookie cutter. Gently press dough flowers into the wells of a mini cupcake/tarlet pan. Continue rolling the scraps of dough and cutting flowers until gone. If the dough gets warm and hard to use, place it back in the freezer for 5 minutes.    
Pie Filling
2½ cups apples - peeled, cored and diced
¼ cup white sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp flour
2 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp brown sugar

Mix all ingredients together and fill tartlets.

Streusel Topping
¾ flour
⅓ white sugar
½ cinnamon
6 tbsp butter

1. Mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon together. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the pie filling.
2. Bake tartlets at 350° F for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the flower petals are just beginning to brown. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
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