Friday, December 31, 2010

All The Pieces














Happy New Year's Eve


What are your plans?

I do believe the spouse is working both today and tomorrow.  I am working on the wedding cake and delivering it tomorrow so no late night craziness for me.

This just isn't a holiday we do much with.  Growing up Mom always made snacks (pickle wraps were my fave) and we'd hang out until late and then all head off to bed.  It wasn't much, but we thought we were cool getting to stay up until midnight.

I think a big part of our lack of partying is that we've had babies for the last 10 years.  When you're already sleep deprived staying up on purpose seems slightly ridiculous.

Regardless, I'd love to start a tradition with my kids.  The last few years Jared has taken the kids to the Church lock-in but this year our youth had been invited to another church gathering.

What to do?  Any Ideas?

What does your family do to celebrate the gift of another year?  Besides getting snockered...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Better Spirits

My family is back to eating, sleeping, and acting completely normal...well acting as normal as they're capable of :)

We did have one last incident before the tides turned for the better.  I have been letting the older three boys use the treadmill to burn energy during these colder days.  They are allowed to use them at the Y so I thought, "Why not?"

Eli was walking and I typically keep everyone else out of the room for safety reasons.  I was making dinner and our girl sneaked past me.  The next thing I know she crying the, "I'm in real pain" cry and she's holding her thumb.

It appears that she got her hand caught in the tread where it returns under at the end.  The only thing we can guess is that her tiny thumb was caught and smashed between the roller and the tread.

She cried for more than a hour and said, "Owwwieee" about a thousand times.  Jared kept commenting how lucky we are it didn't literally tear her thumb off.  She has a pretty nasty burn/cut that goes the length of her thumb and its purple from bruising.  After this and the Funniest Home Video incident (a blog all in itself) the treadmill has been labeled, "The Death Trap."

After some ice, Tylenol,  and Dora she was fine and eager for bed.  Sweet baby :(

Back to the positive, today the boys and I are headed to the church for some post Christmas partying.  Ms. Alisa suggested we let Corbin and the boys hang out and make sugar cookies and eat some pigs in a blanket.  We postponed twice due to the flu.  The kids don't really care if we were able to get it in before Christmas.  They are so excited and we have the Roth kids this week and they are really looking forward to it too.

I started my second wedding cake yesterday.  The wedding is Saturday and this is going to be really pretty.  I made a bunch of white chocolate snowflakes yesterday and dusted them in blue shimmer.  Today I'll finish making all the layers.  The bride requested a white 3 tier cake with silver ribbon around each tier and blue snowflakes.  I'm going to present the cake on a gorgeous beveled mirror.  I'll be sure to post pics once it's all put together :)

If you know anyone needing a cake made for a special occasion please send them my way!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bah Humbug

How in the world is it December 28th??

I don't remember having a joyous Christmas.  Maybe that's because my family has been in the fog of the flu for the last 10 days.

I was fortunate to have it twice, yep, twice.  Apparently my first go round wasn't quite enough to build up immunities so as the bug passed through the family it decided to give me one last kick in the pants on it's way out.

This morning I feel somewhat human.  I made a cup of coffee and showered by 8:30 without even a touch of nausea.  This is serious progress.

Reasons for a down right terrible attitude:

-We spent Christmas (on my side) on Christmas Eve at my mom's while Jared and Graham stayed home.  Thursday night Graham had projectile vomiting from his top bunk raining his terror from on high.  It was so sad to leave Graham's pathetic little self at home while he knew we were off to open "peasants" at NeNe's.

-Due to Graham's illness Jared went to the Christmas Eve candle light service without Anneliese, Graham and I.  

-After I arrived home from Mom's I was struggling with a headache and not feeling well so we discussed it and decided if anyone else were to fall ill we would stay home Christmas day as a family.  Jared started in with the worse case of the flu I've ever witnessed Friday night.

-Christmas morning the kids awoke around 8:30 and we drug our very sick/weak Daddy out of bed to open gifts.  He was a good sport and made it through the gifts only to retire to the restroom shortly after.

-Jared confessed that when he agreed we'd all stay home as a family he was sure I would be the one to be sick and he didn't want to leave me home alone.  Now that it was Jared that was ill, he insisted the kids and I head to the Altic's without him.  So we headed out for another holiday celebration with a fraction of our family.

-Saturday early evening the kids, mom and I arrived home to find Jared still in bed and still very ill.  We brought him some lasagna from his mom and he decided to try and eat.  I don't think he'll ever eat lasagna again.  He was up off and on all Saturday night and was still in the bathroom when I left for church Sunday morning.

-Sunday afternoon round two started for me.  Jared was just coming out of the fog and finally eating/drinking and I started vomiting and running fever.

-My friend Wendy, who is military, put in for a transfer to Leavenworth.  We've been friends since we were 19 and have lived in different states for 10 years.  We were both really excited and hopeful to live near each other again even if only for a while.  She called to let me know that they did not receive the transfer and she'll be moving to Ft. Leonard Wood instead.  

I believe it's Tuesday, and we are finally all well.  In the 7 Christmas' we've had in this house I have always taken a picture of our kids in front of our Christmas tree.  This is the first year we didn't take one.  Partially because we're in a camera crisis (crisis may seem strong, but I'm not exactly rational :)) since we don't have a working camera in the house other than our phones.

In true Bah Humbug fashion, as soon as I was able, I took the tree down and packed away all signs of the holiday.  Last night we went through all our decorations and threw out the bulk of our lights since 90% of them just stopped working last week.  Our tree looked awesome (insert sarcasm here). 

Never have I been more thankful that Jesus is the reason for the season.  This broken world can be full of flu and foolishness.  If my peace or happiness were dependent on the trappings of Christmas I would be one hateful cranky girl.  


Here it is Dec. 28th and even though our celebrations didn't turn out like I'd planned I really am thankful.  Thankful to be feeling better, thankful for another week off school, thankful my babies are feeling better (including the 6ft tall one).  Thankful for a God that loves me and knows my name.

John 16:33 (New Living Translation)

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wedding Pics

Sweet Wendy sent some pics from the wedding and I wanted to share!

Here's the new family:
Asa, Wendy, Isabella, Danny, Hank
This is a pic the photographer took right after the ceremony when I had a chance to love on Izzy.  When we lived next door I spent many hours holding this precious little girl when she was brand new.  She has always had a very special place in my heart.  I love how this pic captures that feeling.
A quick pic after the ceremony with our precious friends.  We are so happy for you both!
There are so many great pictures that I would love to share.  365 to be exact, but I'll spare you and blogger :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Would an Altic Girl Look Like?

Everyone always says how much Anneliese looks like Graham.  In fact one gentleman at church calls her "Graham-ette."

Well here's proof she looks a bit like Eli as well.  The kids are the same age in these pics.



During our pregnancy we wondered and wondered what a little girl would look like.  Turns out she looks an awful lot like her older brothers.  Look at their little fat fingers, even they are alike.  Love it!

Thank you Lord for the gifts you've granted.

Monday, December 20, 2010

School's Out, Hear them Shout!

CHRISTMAS BREAK IS HERE!!!!!!!

I may be a bit excited about this.   Just a tad....

The kids and I have the next two weeks off for Christmas break and we have a whole lotta nothing planned. 

Today is the first day without school and the TV stayed on until noon and the kids actually turned it off vs being asked to. 

Usually around October I begin to get "the itch."  The I don't wanna itch.  The kids feel it, they recognize when it hits and try desperately to take advantage.  It takes immense strength on my part to continue on to Thanksgiving break.  We take a week for Thanksgiving and I really really don't want to start back up knowing Christmas is so close.

Thankfully, IT'S HERE!!

This week is just getting ready for family gatherings.  I have some baking, sewing, and a tiny bit of shopping left.  I don't have any time scheduled at the Y and I'd like to keep it that way :)

Next week I have the Roth kids for the week and I have a wedding cake to prepare for a New Year's wedding. 

I can't wait to catch up on house work, sleep a lot, and just spend time with Jared and our babies.  God is so good!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gotcha

After being caught red handed, I asked the culprit, "What are you doing?!"

To which she replied, "Yummy."

Well, can't argue with that :)













Blessed

Last night I was blessed to be invited to a movie and dinner with some great gals.  Sonya, Alanna, Robin, Berkley, Hannah and I went to so Narnia and had dinner at Abuelo's.  The movie was great (intense!! maybe a little much for the young Narnia fan) and after we headed over to Zona Rosa.  We were celebrating Berkley's 18th, and Hannah's 13th birthdays.

Since the event was celebrating the girls, we asked them were they would like to dine.  After about 40, "I don't care" we settled on Abuelo's.  I've never been and it was beautiful inside.

Here are the birthday girls:
  Auntie and Hannah
Early this morning I headed out to get some groceries, rushed home, loaded up Tanner and headed out.  First we picked up Trent and then headed to Midland Dr to get Corbin.  Tanner requested Subway for lunch so after eating fresh :)  we headed to the Legends.

Today is Tanner's 9th birthday and per his request we went to see Tangled.  SUCH a cute movie.  We absolutely loved it.  Ms. Jess met us there so I could have an adult to sit with :)  Tanner, Trent and Corbin sat clear up in the back row all by themselves.  They're practically grown you know.
I just finished baking a cross shaped cake.  Tanner has been asking Daddy about getting baptized.  Jared and I decided to wait just a bit and told Tanner we'll discuss it again when he's 9.  Tanner asked for a cross to represent the year he'll be baptized.  He's such a sweet boy. 

Tomorrow morning is the kids Christmas program and today I'm baking a whole lotta cinnamon rolls for the congregation.  Think of it as a Sweet Merry Christmas from the Altic's :)

We are so very blessed!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Berkley!

Robin H. text a few days back asking if I would make a cake for her soon to be adult (!!!) daughter.

Today is Berkley's 18th birthday!

In the text she requested a banana dream cake :)  I'm not sure what that is exactly but here is my version (I took the pics with my phone so they're not the best):



This is a yellow cake with banana flavored Bavarian cream filling between the layers.  Also between the layers are fresh sliced bananas.

Topped off with the most delicious fudge frosting :)

Robin asked for lime green accents so I tinted some white chocolate to make a beautiful B and lots of polka dots.

Happy Birthday Berkley!  I hope it tastes as good as it smells!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Alisa Asked...

If you read the Sweet Life (if not, naughty list for you!!!), then you know Ms. Alisa asked me specifically, "What are you enjoying?"

So I figured I better answer her since I love her.

This morning on my way home from the Argentine center, WAIT just thought of another thing I'm enjoying.

The Argentine Center!  On Monday's and Wednesday's I drive into KCK and teach a class to older adults.  They are all in varying states of health and I am helping them and I'm thankful for that.  We work out for a hour and even though it's a small group, I feel really blessed to be helping them in a real way.  We work on balance, core strength, and basic overall health.  I am free to talk to them about my faith and all in all it's a blessing.

Ok, back to the original thought...This morning on my way home from the Argentine center I heard an interview on Air 1 (another thing I'm enjoying!) with Matthew West.  He was talking about his song "One Last Christmas." Please follow this link and watch the story of Dax (all proceeds from the song and video go to support St. Jude's hospital in loving memory of Dax).

I'm cherishing every moment with my 5 little blessings.  What a reminder of what a blessing and privilege it is to have children.  It's when I think about how desperately I love our kids that the fact of God's sacrifice overwhelms me.  

Christmas is about Christ.  It's about a God who loved us so much that He willingly gave His son so that we may live.

John 3:16-21 (New Living Translation)
 16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
 18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[a]

What am I enjoying? Salvation, family, the freedom to tell you about Christ's love and forgiveness. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My New Skill

I have been craving sushi as of late.  It's filling, good for you, and I can eat my weight in it and it's crazy low in points!

Unfortunately I can't really afford the $10-$12 price tag for Stix take out on a daily basis.

I've been doing some research online and decided to buy the necessary tools and try making it myself!

I've had it two days in a row for lunch and the supplies have already paid for themselves (and I have enough supplies to make it at least 8 more times).

This was yesterday's first attempt.  These would be considered California Rolls.  Typically California rolls are rice on the outside and coated with sprinkled sesame seeds but for this newbee it was easier to roll them in nori.  I picked up some sesame seeds today so I may try the "inside out" roll on another day.

I was surprised to find out that the odor (my opinion) that comes from sushi is not from the fish.  It comes from the nori, it REEKS!  Carrie B. suggested that I try the soy papers.  They work like the nori but have little or no taste or odor.

I am coming to the realization that I eat sushi primarily to consume wasabi.  I love the flavor and I even kinda like the sinus burn that comes from getting more than a tiny touch per bite.

It definitely has a learning curve.  My rice yesterday was crunchy in the middle.  Today's was much better and the sushi as a whole was better due to picking up some Gari at Price Chopper.  BTW, I was shocked and amazed at the amount of supplies, and the low price of said supplies at Price Chopper.  Kudos. 

While the rice was better, it still wasn't quite right.  Luckily I found this website and I am now confident it will be perfect next time.

How about it?  Any sushi fans out there?  All the links are to definitions so you can educate yourself much like I did.  It's fun and I'm all about learning a new skill/trade.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Unplugged

Our children are heathens remember...

And due to their behavior they have been unplugged for the bulk of today.

Brennan is in the midst of a serious punishment that may last days and days.  We're unsure how long and have yet to decide.  I think that alone is punishment to him.

But #2 and #3 (Tanner and Eli) have had a seriously difficult time focusing on school work today.  They also seem to be in "torture each other" mode.

An easy punishment is simply to unplug for the day.  They are all grounded from anything that requires batteries or electricity.

They were super happy about the nice weather today.  They rode bikes for a bit, but otherwise Brennan and Tanner have been like this:
Tomorrow the younger kids will likely regain their technology but it's been really nice to see them engage their brains verses checking out to the Wii.

Hey Keepin It Under Controllers!

How ya doin?

I had a fun morning.  I went into my boss to have some training on personal assessments for clients.  Chad (my boss) thought a good way to learn the assessments was for him to do one for me.  It was a bit eye opening.

My overall balance isn't great.  I couldn't stand on one foot without losing balance for more than 4 seconds.  YIKES!  My right shoulder is higher than the left showing an imbalance in muscle strength and my head leans forward.

Add to that my body fat percentage is too high and I need to lose about 10lbs.

This may sound like bad news, but honestly I'm kinda excited.  Now that I have the full assessment I am going to develop a workout program for myself.  My boss is going to make sure it's accurate.  If I follow my own plan I should be within ideal body fat % and fit within 8 weeks.

It seems important to be fit if I'm going to be hired to help others gain a healthy physique.  When it comes to eating healthy I do a really good job 90% of the time or better.  My issue is exercise.  I'm all or nothing. Since my dreams of running the marathon were squelched due to my injury, I've been doing a whole lotta nothing.  All that work I put into the running has faded over the last few months.

Now it's time to get started!  I would really like to assess a couple people in order to practice the process.  If you are interested let me know!  I'll take the first three to respond.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Favorite Heathens

Our children are naturally sinful.

They don't need to be taught to bite.

They naturally claim, "MINE!" as soon as they're able.

"NO" is a favorite word soon after their second birthday.

They are selfish, self-serving, and manipulative.

It is my job as a parent to teach them right from wrong.

To teach honesty vs lies,

Integrity vs sneakiness,

Service vs selfishness.

We as humans are constantly fighting against our selfish human nature.  We (I) are naive to think that our children are naturally good and free from temptation.  They need our guidance, our love, and most importantly...our discipline.

Hi, my name is Shannon and my children are heathens.  I vow to do my best to recognize where they truly are and to discipline them in order to prepare them for a happy, healthy and productive adulthood.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If You Had Time...



I've been day dreaming today.

What would you do if you had time?

This is a selfish day dream.

I have desires to serve more, give more, be more selfless.  In my quest to be more like Christ I am in constant thought about how I can represent Him better day to day.  But for the focus of this blog I want to talk about the interests and talents He grants.  Heaven isn't going to be one long choir practice.  I believe we have eternity to explore and learn new and exciting things.  I believe we will have an eternity to study all the wonders of God's creation.  So for this blog, what would you do if you had time.  Time to just explore your own personal interests or talents.

In my day to day life most of what I do is for others.  That's not a complaint, it's a simple fact.  I love serving and loving my family through acts of service.

However, if I was granted a day.  A day to do something to grow myself, go somewhere I could learn something new, learn a new trade, hone a skill, what would it be?  Not a day at the spa, something to expand your horizons, exercise your brain.

For now I think I would really enjoy some sort of baking school.  I love to cook.  I love to bake.  I think it would be so much fun to go to a cake decorating class, a class on BBQ and smoking foods, a class on how to make sushi, a pastry class!  Ooohh, how about cooking light yet delicious!  I like to read and do research online but a class environment speaks to my social side.

I really look forward to the kids getting older and doing stuff like this together.  Jared and I talked about taking Tanner to a baking class since he seems to show the most interest.  He's artistic and creative and would likely enjoy it and I would love to have the one on one time.

Anyway, day dream with me.  What would you do if you had the time?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Wedding Crashers

Jared and I officially crashed my sweet friend's wedding.

We left as soon as church was out.  After heading home to grab the cake and last minute decorating supplies we hit the road.  Unfortunately our GPS on our phones took us the most direct (read: paved goat path) vs the most efficient route.  It took forever and a lot of the drive we couldn't go over 30 mph due to the winding tiny roads.

We arrived at the restaurant at 3:40 ish and put the cake together.  When we left the house the sides of the cake were smooth and beautiful:

After 4 1/2 hours in the car, it settled.  The icing in between the layers began to bulge.  I talked to Dana (the cake whisperer) and she said since I chose butter cream icing I chose taste over function.  Traditional wedding cake icing is all shortening, no butter (typically you add butter flavoring).  It doesn't taste as good but it holds it's shape much better.  Good to know!  I think in this case I still would've used the butter cream since the bride requested it.   A lot of people decorate with fondant these days but few people prefer the flavor.  It's a challenge to get that smooth look and still have the delicious flavor of butter cream.  If you look at the finished product you can clearly see the bulging icing on both the top and bottom layers.  Overall, I am really happy with the way it turned out.  I've already been asked to make another for a New Year's Eve wedding!   
We finished putting the cake together at 4 and headed to the Thorn Crown Chapel for the service that was scheduled to start at 4:30. 
The problem was, we didn't know where it was and our GPS had it located in the parking lot of the "Joy Motel."  We wandered around a bit and kept calling Wendy but she didn't have her phone.  Finally at about 4:20, she called and in a very stressed voice said, "Honey, where are you?"  I told her we were desperate to find the chapel so she handed the phone off to Danny.  He gave Jared some directions and at 4:31 Jared and ran down the path you see at the back of the chapel, opened the door to the wedding party and guests (including Wendy) staring at us.  She hugged me and said, "Sit down, we're waiting for you."

NEAT!

After the brief ceremony we all had a laugh and hugs while the cameras flashed fiercely, capturing every moment.  We are now known as the "wedding crashers."

The ceremony was beautiful and even though it was a whirlwind trip, I am so thankful to have been able to be there.  There's a lot to Wendy's story and this ceremony was a beautiful reflection of God's redemption.  I don't have pictures of the ceremony yet so here's a picture of the Bride and Groom at a Military Ball just a week before:
We all headed to the Rogue Manor for dinner and cake.  Wendy said the cake, "rocked my face off."  I think that means she liked it :)  We arrived home at midnight last night exhausted and so happy to be home.

All in all, a blessed trip and we are so happy for you both!

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Danny Pinkerton!

Here We Go A Wassailing

This year marks the 4th year I've been at the Piper Craft fair as a caroler.  This is the first year we've gone as a trio and also the first time we have footage.  Jared brought all five kids in and took a quick clip of us singing Silent Night.  Jared is holding Anneliese who had been crying.  That is why I keep looking at the camera with the goofy, "it's okay" look :)  I sing soprano, Dustin tenor, and Jess alto.  I really think our best song is What Child is This?  but we didn't get that one on video.  This one is a bit pitchy dog :)  but you get the general idea. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm Still Here Kickin!

I just realized I hadn't posted since the end of November.  That's terrible!  I really try to post every other day and I've been just too busy to mess with sitting down.  It's highly overrated.

First of all I pray your Thanksgiving was thankful.  I heard a joke on the radio Turkey Day that went like this,"Today I get to spend the entire day with people I hate, thanks a lot Pilgrims and Indians."  I couldn't help but giggle.  I hope that is the opposite of what you experienced!  We had our first smoked Thanksgiving turkey and it was AWESOME!  The best part about a smoked turkey is that left overs can be slathered in BBQ sauce and it makes it even better and tastes nothing like Thanksgiving :)  I set it to brine for two days and then smoked it for 6 hours.  It was the juiciest, tastiest turkey I've EVER eaten.  There were several comments from the fam and they agreed. 

Tomorrow we have our family gathering with the Altics.  It may seem late, since it's December, but better late than never!  I made a ton of bread yesterday for the event.  In the morning Dustin, Jessica and I will descend upon the Piper Craft fair singing our carols and then Dustin and I will head to Platte City to join the family around 1.

Today I started my first wedding cake.  I have half of the layers baked and am about to start the other half.  Yesterday I made dozens of adorable little white and dark chocolate swirled seashells.  The bride wants a beach theme, hence the shells.  I'll post pics as it starts to go together.  Jared and I will be delivering the cake to Arkansas Sunday afternoon and then heading back Sunday late.  We tossed around the idea of staying the night but I have work Monday.  It's okay though.  Mom is staying with the kids so we'll have 8 hours of uninterrupted conversation.  Not to mention, being forced to sit for a while would do me good.  It will be a blessing!

We're just about done with our Christmas shopping for the kids.  It's getting harder and harder to do their Christmas for the budget we set.  We typically have 3 gifts per child.  No reason for the number really, it's just how it's worked out.  This year they each have one big gift that zapped the bulk of their budget.  It's such a blessing to see how grateful they are each year.  They are a blessing and we are so very fortunate!

I pray you are all doing well.  I will try to check in again with pics of the cake.  The kids and I ate the rounded tops I shaved off the layers and it's delicious.  I was a little nervous since this is my first marbled cake, but it's SO good!  Relief!