Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Busy Start To Summer

We've had a busy week! Memorial weekend with the Bennett family, then the Cannon family came, kindergarten graduation, a new puppy, and a surprise visit from Ryan and Liz! Phew! Ryan and Liz will be here until Wednesday and then on Thursday the Rollins family will be here. Followed by a 2+ week roadtrip/vacation to Oregon to see my parents and siblings. We got this summer started with a bang! 

Anyway here are a few pictures from this week with the Cannon family.

 Grace gets nervous and quiet in crowds, especially when she doesn't know people so when the Cannons first came she was a bit shy. But she still loved Papa!
 And it didn't take her long to warm up. Cousin Drew was very sweet to her all week and played with her like an older brother (except maybe even nicer)! 

 Whenever Marilyn is the host there is sure to be lots of big meals involved. She had a nice set up in their garage with tables and chairs where we could eat out of the sun but still enjoy the nice weather. Plus if the kids spilled on the floor it was no big deal.
 Phoebe got a teaching job in Rifle starting this fall and we are so excited she is back here with us. This is Phoebe and Charlie with Alicia's little baby girl, Sydney. 
 I just thought this picture was funny. Sadie was pouting about something and Charlie was just hanging out with a random wheel. 
 And Ava requested a picture of her on the slide. :)
 Barry has been having a rough few months, first being diagnosed with cancer, then getting shingles, and just recently the cancer has started swelling and causing pain in his leg. That being said I couldn't help but snap pictures of him whenever I could and I had to get one of him with his only daughter.

The Cannons left yesterday and a few hours later Ryan and Liz showed up. (They must have figured out how cool surprises are by watching all the Morgan surprise videos!). We have a packed next few weeks and I'm sure there will be many more blog posts to come. Hurray for Summer!!

Friday, May 30, 2014

A New Addition

My girls have been asking for a dog for so long now and their dreams have finally come true! This little guy is about 7 weeks old and is a pure bred border collie. He is so playful and sweet and of course adorable. I picked him out as my favorite almost from the beginning because he was the runt. 

He still has no name but Chris has a few ideas. We'll update when we have a name. 
We've been playing with all the puppies since they were born but it was so fun today to finally bring him home.

Chris got this dog house from his mom's house. It belonged to Chris's childhood dog. Then he painted it a bit and once we give him a name we'll paint that on as well. 
Chris finally has another boy in the family! 

UPDATE: Since writing this post Chris has come up with a name. His name is Mack.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Little Graduate

How time flies! My first kindergarten graduate!

Chris's sister is in town this week from Idaho with her family (minus their oldest daughter who is at EFY!) so I decided to give Ava the option of whether or not she wanted to go to the last day of school...because really what do they do besides play? She opted to stay home. However when a flier came home in her homework folder about "kindergarten graduation" we decided we should at least go to that. And so we showed up at 2:30 for the last hour of they day so Ava could graduate.

I had never even heard of kindergarten graduation before but it sure was cute! The class sang a few songs and got their diplomas and then they showed a few videos with photos through the year and some short video clips thrown in as well.
My favorite part in the video was each student holding a sign with what they want to be when they grow up on it. There were plenty of "firefighters" and a few "police officers". My favorites were Ava's cousin Paul who said "rancher" and another little girl who said "baby elephant caregiver". So cute. Ava's said "Mom & Store Owner." She's been on this store owner thing for a while now. I guess she got tired of me telling her she couldn't have things because they were too expensive because in her store "everything will be free!" 
Great Grandma, Grammy, and cousin Kate joined our family to watch the graduation. 
This was Ava's teacher for Kinder, Mrs. Hills. We really loved her and I am so happy that Sadie will have her next year. We also found out who Ava's teacher will be next year and have heard nothing but praise for her so we are happy about that as well.

I'm so proud of Ava for all she has learned this year. I am absolutely blown away by the things they learn in kindergarten compared to when I was there 25 years ago. Truly amazing. 

First Day of Kindergarten:

Last Day of Kindergarten:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Traditions

Every year on Memorial Day weekend Barry's sister and her family come out to the ranch for a little reunion. It's a tradition that I hope continues for a long time! I never did count how many 2nd cousins my kids had here but it was quite a few. Even a couple of 2nd cousins once removed! (Ha! Figure that one out!) 

Friday night is when everyone starts showing up and we had a big dinner at Barry & Marilyn's house. Then Saturday it's the big day of fun. The weather wasn't great this year but we still managed to have fun.

Playing on the park at John & Chelsea's house.
The cousins all love the ranch which is my favorite part of them coming. Not one of them complains about wanting to play video games or computer games, etc.They just can't wait to get out and explore. Above is Chris's cousin Angie and two of her kids, Sidney and Mackay.
Just a few of the cousins eating lunch and enjoying the animals.
Ava and Paul cruising on a mini four wheeler.
After hanging out a playing for a but in the morning it was time for the annual hike up underwear mountain. Ava and Sadie both made it to the top!
Grace hiked for a few minutes before getting bored so we ended up staying down below so I didn't get any pictures of the girls up top. But I'm really bummed I missed it because there was a proposal up there this year! Congrats to Liz and Scott.
From the bottom I was able to get this picture of the group up at the top. I can't tell who anyone is though. 

Sadie and cousin Sadie. I always get a picture of them together.
Sadie loves playing with cousins and friends and had a blast this weekend. All of the Bennett kids are so sweet to the younger children and I love them for it!
And there are two Ava's as well (a little closer in age than the Sadie's) and they played great together. I think in this picture they were making a "pet shop". They had a couple of kitties and a puppy in there.

Saturday night was another big dinner and a birthday party for two of the kids. Sunday is the day we visit the cemetary where the Shideler ancestors are buried including Barry's deceased parents and brother.  Unfortunately this year it was raining after church and we opted not to go so no pictures of that. And now everyone will start trickling out and by tomorrow mid morning they will all be on their way home. Last year Sadie was bawling when everyone said goodbye. This year we have more cousins coming just as these ones are leaving (so hopefully no tears). And then shortly after they leave more cousins are coming!! It's a dream come true for Sadie! 

P.S. Happy 14th anniversary to my sister Sally and her husband Josh today! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

more spring...

This spring has been surprisingly (and depressingly) cold. I keep waiting for it to warm up and Chris keeps saying "there will be plenty of hot days to come". But I just get so impatient. We have had a few nice days to enjoy here and there. Although I've had allergies this year for the first time ever and can't stand to be outside for too long, especially when it is windy which around here is pretty much all the time.

Grace is so obsessed with the cats. She loves them so much. We were supposed to have kittens don't want to know what happened.
Grace loves her four wheeler. Of course I think that about all of her things because if anyone tries to play with them she starts screaming about how it's hers. So maybe she doesn't really love it. Maybe she's just possessive.
Chris set the trampoline up before the Roberts came to visit so the girls have been having lots of fun on it, when the weather has been nice.
Is this scary or what?! Ava can drive the four wheeler by herself. Luckily she can't shift because it is a foot shift so she can only go in first gear. But it still makes me nervous!

And we had one really nice day where we ventured out to the park for a couple of hours to soak up some rays. It felt great!

I hope springs shows its pretty face again soon. Snow in the middle of May is not my idea of a nice spring. Summer will be here before we know it and we will have skipped right over spring.

Monday, May 12, 2014

May Days

It's the end of the school year here in Colorado. School get's out 2 weeks from Thursday (Wednesday for Ava) and so there have been all kinds of "May Days" activities being planned. The kinder kids are doing a day in the park, a drive in movie (we have to make a car out of a cardboard box...I mean get to...sorry dad), a pet pageant, homework party, and I don't know what else. I don't remember doing anything other than a last day of school party. But I could be wrong. 
Anyway, with only 6 days left of school for Ava (including today), you'd expect warm weather, kids getting antsy for summer, etc. But no, we get 4" of snow (maybe 5, I didn't measure)! So we had to dig out our snow clothes and snow boots from the storage closet because I had already put them away for the winter. The girls couldn't resist one last chance to play in snow before summer comes. 

 I don't understand why they insist on crawling through it. But they always do.
 Sadie was just so excited she had to give the snow a hug.
 And we ALWAYS have to eat the snow. 
 I wish Ava had been here for this picture. She loves snow more than these two and instead she is in a classroom. (But I'm glad she's in school learning!)
When we got done and come inside Sadie was cold and wanting hot chocolate so bad. Unfortunately our power was out all morning. So we had to warm up the old fashioned way. In front of a fire! :) 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sausage Tortellini Soup & Rolls

Let me start by saying the credit for this soup goes entirely to Our Best Bites. But I am completely in love with it. Even my picky girls like this soup so you know it must be good.

Summer is almost here which means soup season is almost over.  But today is cold and rainy here in the Colorado mountains and it's a perfect day for soup! (In my world any day is a good soup day but rainy days especially).

Sausage Tortellini Soup

12 oz Italian sausage (or 3 links with casing removed)
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 small onion, diced (I use less)
1/2 C. Water
2 - 15oz cans chicken broth
1/2 C. Apple cider
1 - 16 can petite diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 C. Sliced carrots
1 tsp. died basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 medium zucchini, grated
10 oz package of cheese tortellini
2 Tbsp. dried parsley

Crumble sausage and brown in a large pot with onions and garlic. (If using link sausage remove casing). Cook until sausage is cooked. Add water, broth, cider, tomatoes, tomato sauce, carrots, basil and oregano. Boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Add parsley and zucchini and and simmer 15 minutes more. Add tortellini and cook until tender (only takes maybe 5 minutes). Serve hot.

I love soup and this is definitely one of my all time favorites. Add to that my favorite dinner roll and you just about have the perfect dinner!

Lionhouse Rolls

2 C. hot water
2/3 C. dry milk
2 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 C. sugar
1/3 C. butter or shortening
1 egg
2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 to 5 C. Flour

Combine hot water and dry milk until milk is completely dissolved. Add yeast, sugar, shortening, egg and salt. Mix until well combined. Add 2 cups flour and mix for 2 minutes. Add 2 more cups flour and mix 2 more minutes. And remaining flour in small amounts at a time until dough is right consistency (tacky but not sticky). I usually knead the remaining flour in by hand instead of in my mixer. I get better results). Let dough rise about 1 1/2 hours until double in size. Punch down and roll out dough. Form into balls and place in greased pan. Let rise 1 1/2 more until double in size. Bake at 350* for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Depending on how big you make your rolls with depend on how many this recipe makes. I consistently make 24 with mine (9 in an 8x8" pan and 15 in a 9x13" pan).

Add your favorite salad and your meal is complete! I hope your day is warmer than mine!

Friday, May 2, 2014

visit with friends

This post is seriously overdue. We had some friends visit us several weeks ago and I'm just now getting around to posting pictures. The Roberts family has three kids as well. Their oldest Carter is 7 (almost 8), then Jason is 4 (almost 5), and their youngest Lorren is two months younger than Grace. It's fun to get together and see how the kids play together. Carter is a little too old for the girls and was only interested in the fun outdoor stuff, mostly hunting. Jason got along great with Ava and Sadie both. Grace and Lorren....totally butted heads! lol. They were funny. Everything became "special" to Grace that weekend. My special toy, my special bed, my special animal, etc. You get the picture. It was funny. I think they warmed up a little by the end.
Jake and Brittany (and family) came on a weekend when we were branding so they got to help with lots of fun stuff. Exactly the kind of stuff Carter wanted to do. (carter pictured below helping his dad hold down a calf).
Sadie was feeling brave as well and got in on the action too.

And my little diva....well she was brave too! (See below)
They didn't last long though before they ran off to go play. So much fun stuff to do and places to explore on a ranch.

There was plenty of play time on the trampoline and in the yard. They also shot guns, went hiking, and even shot a few things. We were happy they could come visit us. It had been three years since their last visit and it was supposed to be an annual thing. Maybe now that their boys are older and got a taste of the ranch they will be able to talk their parents into coming back more often.