Monday, February 29, 2016

Ella's 6 Year Pictures!

On Saturday the 20th I took Ella to JCPenny's for her 6 year pictures. Ga-Ga had bought her Easter dress a few weeks before that and I knew I wanted her to wear that for the pictures. She hadn't even tried it on before the day of the pictures...I didn't want to chance her getting it dirt! I borrowed a little white sweater jacket from a friend, but Ella ended up not wanting to wear it. She also wanted her hair to be long this time.

She is such a beauty! She gets compliments on her hair all the time! 

I love how this picture really shows off her personality. Her sweet face is so precious! 

This was the main reason I wanted her to wear her Easter dress. When I took Owen in for his pictures I saw this cute pennant background and I thought the colors would look great with her dress! How can she be 6 years old already?!?!?

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Black Bear Diner Is My Kids McDonald's!

I drive a Costco, Winco, Wal-Mart you name it...I'm on the move! Zeke and I pass by Black Bear Diner in Federal Way all the time. Almost every time he points it out. A couple weeks ago he asked if he could ask Ga-Ga if she'd go to Black Bear Diner with us. I thought he might just want to have it be him and Ga-Ga for a lunch date the next time she watched him while I was volunteering at school, but no...he wanted us all to go to dinner. It was so sweet! So we made plans to go the next Thursday that Ga-Ga watched Zeke. Pa came up after work and once Michael got home we were off to dinner. 

The kids were so thrilled! They honestly love this place more than McDonald's. 

We always get the kids an adult meal to split. Kids meals are ridiculous in my opinion...lets pay more for less! Anyways we get The Volcano. It comes with 3 pancakes....the first is huge and then they get smaller...hence the name Volcano. Normally it comes with 2 pieces of bacon and 2 pieces of sausage, but my kids don't like their sausage so we get all bacon. Then it also comes with scrambled eggs. All of that for $9.99! $2.50 per kid for dinner....yes please! 

We did splurge and we got each of the kids a chocolate milk, but I think those were only a dollar something so still the kids meals were under $4 and they didn't even finish all the food....I finished off most of the pancake for my dessert. 

Speaking of dessert the kids asked for a chocolate sundae. I knew that one would be fine for them to split so I just asked the waitress if we could have 1 sundae with 4 know there would be an uproar if someone didn't get their very own cherry! She was so sweet...she just ended up making 4 small sundaes so each of the kids could have their very own! 

Black Bear Diner is the best!!! 

And of course 2 of the kids ended up not wanting cherries after all so Jack was the lucky one that got 3 cherries! The kids behaved themselves so well and it was just a pleasant evening with Ga-Ga & Pa. And to top it off Ga-Ga wouldn't let me pay for ours! Thanks for taking us out to dinner Mom!!! 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Birthday Cookies At School!

Since Ella's birthday was on Tuesday when there was no school we couldn't celebrate her special day until later in the week. Since I volunteer all day on Thursdays I figured she could wait until then and I could sit with her for the whole lunch. I went out the night before and got some fun cookies. For Owen's birthday I got mini cupcakes since they were on sale, but they weren't this time around. The cookies were a fun change from the norm and the kids don't care...they just happy to get treats! Then we all sang happy birthday to my precious girl! Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that's she's old enough to be in school! 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ella's 6th Birth-Day!

For Ella's actual Birthday we let her choose what we had for breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was waffles and dinner was tuna casserole. I asked her if she wanted to open her present that night or wait to open it with all her other presents at her birthday party. She of course chose to open it that night! 

Owen had to photobomb the picture! 

Then Jack had to photobomb this one. 

Those brothers!!! 

Digging in! 

Earlier in the month I had sat down to add things to her Amazon wishlist. I would find something I thought she might like and then ask her and she would say if she wanted me to add it or not. We ended up choosing 3 things off her wishlist. I love Amazon! 

The first thing she took out was a Disney Princess coloring book. It was one of those bigger ones with the handle. As you can see she loved it. 

To go along with her coloring book we got her the Elsa Art Kit. She truly loves to coloring, draw and paint. She has played with this every single day since she got it! 

The last thing was Disney Princess Spot It. The Kuch's got Jack the normal Spot It last year and we love it! This Spot It version is a little more difficult. It has words on it so sometimes your card will have a matching picture, but then other times it's not a picture it's the word to a picture you have on your card. Tricky Tricky! 

Of course she broke out the art kit ASAP!!! 

Next up was her birthday cake. I hadn't really planned to make a cake...not sure why. I guess I just spaced it. Thankfully I just happened to have a lemon cake on hand and some cream cheese frosting in the frig. 

Happy Birthday to YOU!!! 

Make a wish!!! 

That last candle was a stinker! 

Yummy! Happy Birthday Ella Grace!!! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Park Time!

The kids didn't get the whole week off for Mid-Winter break they just got Monday and Tuesday which was fine by me. It seems like they are out of school all the time! Michael had asked me to go to Lowe's with the kids and buy the can light for Ella's room and while we were out the kids begged me to go to the park. We went back home first so we could get their scooters and then I took them to the park that only Zeke had been to before. My kids love going to new parks! 

The weather was perfect for being out and playing and the park was empty. I don't know if there aren't many kids in that neighborhood or if it's just the location, but we had it all to ourselves. 

Of course the kids run around trying everything out for just a minute before moving onto the next thing. 

The teeter totter can be a bit difficult when your partners legs don't touch the ground! 

Jackson showing Zeke how it's done! Zeke did try to get up, but then got nervous so Owen had to help him down. 

The nice thing about this park is the half basketball court that connected to the playarea. It's just perfect for their scooters. I even took Owen's razor for a spin. The only thing is,  see that little wet patch on the far right. Yeah....I hit that and the scooter shot out from under me in a split second and I was on the ground. Oh man road rash hurts. I'm going to be so much more sympathetic with the kids when they get it now. I guess I had forgotten from when I was a kid, but it stings...bad! 

Of course this was Ella's actual birthday. She was having a good time until towards the end....the kids have been bickering a lot lately and since I had warned them to knock it off we ended up having to leave earlier than expected. Ella was of course in complete meltdown mode by then. 

I love how Zeke will ride his scooter and then go play and not ask to have his helmet taken off! 

I tried to teeter totter with is actually not that fun since the springs aren't very loose! 

One last picture before the bickering got to be too much! I'm sure the kids and I will be visiting this park more this summer! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Let There Be Light!

One of our goals this year was to improve the lighting in our kitchen. It was like a tomb! I was used to it, but this last winter especially in the evening when it was time to make dinner I just hated being in there. We hadn't really talked about when we were going to update the lights, but then by pure chance....aka stalling at Costco since I promised a certain 3 year old we would eat lunch there, but then finished shopping at 10:30 in the morning and thought I should wander the aisles a bit! Wow that was a long sentence! I just happened to come across these awesome puck lights that could be mounted to the underside of the cabinets. The best part was there were 6 of them, they came with18...yes 18 batteries you'd need and they were on sale for $15.99! I figured I would buy them and see what Michael thought...worse thing was I'd be taking them back to Costco. 

A couple nights later Michael put them up in our kitchen and I fell in love! With both the lights and my husband all over again! Seriously it made such a HUGE difference in my kitchen. See we have two IKEA lights that I bought 10 years ago when we moved in. The light over the kitchen sink just finally stopped working....okay it didn't really stop working the light bulbs stopped working sometimes less than a week after we'd change them. So I just stopped replacing the bulbs since that was a waste of money. The main light in the kitchen had those directional lights that were fun, but not when you are trying to prepare dinner and your body is actually blocking the light from shinning on the counter top! Ugh!!! Now I have all these nice LED lights that make my counter top light up so nicely! I actually ended up going back and buying another 6 pack of lights since one corner was still a bit dim and since these are LED and the light under my microwave is not it looked funny. So we just mounted....they come with heavy duty stickers...two under the microwave. I also stuck one under Zeke's bed so Owen has a light he can use if he needs to as well. 

The absolute best thing about the lights is they come with a remote! The remote can control up to 36 lights at one time! That must be one huge kitchen! At first I thought it would be silly to have a remote, but it is so much easier to push a button and have all 9 lights come on at once instead of pushing them each individually. Of course I could just push one and turn it on if I only needed to use one at that moment! The other thing I love about the remote is we can control the percentage of light. They have preset buttons at 10%, 40%, 80% and 100%. We have ours set at 80% because they are plenty bright enough. The last thing about the remote is the timer feature. I use it every time I turn the lights on! These suckers take 3 AAA batteries each and I do not want to turn them on and forget and they've been left on for hours and hours while I didn't even need them to be. According to the packaging if they are used at 100% without turning them off the battery life is expected to be around 20 hours. Most of the time I only use them in the morning during breakfast/lunch packing time. I usually set the time for 30 minutes and then again during dinner prep and never for more than 60 minutes. 

After seeing what a difference those lights made we really started thinking about getting a new main light for the kitchen. I went on to Amazon and found a nice inexpensive LED light that people raved about. I ordered it and Michael installed it and we HATED it! It was awful I didn't even take a picture of it. It basically made our kitchen look like there was an alien abduction in progress! Horrible! So back to Amazon that went thank you very much! We were just going to go to Lowe's and buy some light fixture that would be sufficient until we remodel the kitchen in 4-5 years. That's when I got to thinking that that was a horrible idea. Why buy a light fixture knowing that in 4-5 years you are going to be done with it. I texted Michael my concerns and asked him to consider thinking about can lights. It's what we knew we were going to upgrade to when we remodeled it was just a matter of figuring it out since when we remodel we are going to be removing a wall and we didn't want to have to put the can lights in one location now and then end up having to move them later after we remove the wall. Decisions decisions! Being a homeowner is tough sometimes....first world problems I know! 

Michael and I did some research together online prior to me leaving for my Bi-Annual Girls Weekend. I still wasn't sure if he was totally on board or not and figured I wouldn't bring it up for a while. To my surprise when I got back home on Valentine's night he already had the whole project mapped out on the ceiling in regards to where the can lights should go. I was so surprised! At first he had the kitchen mapped for 6 can lights, but with further research we went down to 4 instead. The next day Michael was off county jobs...he gets every holiday off! We took all 4 kids with us and headed to Lowe's to pick up all the stuff he'd need. Almost $300 later and we were ready to go. I told Michael it was funny spending so much since we could have just gotten one fixture and spent under $100! This really was an investment though since Michael had to buy the proper tools he needed to do the job.. Also those tools will get used again when we do the remodel and he had lots of leftover electrical cord so he won't have to buy that the next time either.   

I wasn't figuring that he'd get right to work that very same day, but he did! First cutting out the holes for the can lights. We decided to just take down the broken light over the sink and then we put a white cap on it. 

After cutting out the 4 holes he started threading the wire though. This was the tough part because he had to drill through the floor joists to get the wire to go through. That was one of the big expenses for this's a really long flexible drill bit. It's amazing and Michael even commented on how he had no idea how someone would try to do this job without one. You definitely need the right tools for the job! 

He tied all the wires into the junction box that was where the original light was and then he capped that off as well. When we do the remodel he will go ahead and fix the drywall for the two old fixtures then. Right now the caps look great. 

First can light all wired up and ready to go in the hole! 

Fast forward a few only took him 6 hours start to finish...not bad really...says the lady that didn't really do anything besides hold a flashlight for about 5 minutes. 

Ta Da! I have light in my kitchen!!! It's amazing the difference it makes! I love being in my kitchen now! Also Michael repainted the ceiling so it's so nice and bright white! 

I actually texted the above picture to my mom and asked.....notice anything? She didn't know we were doing anything and she hated how dark my kitchen was! She texted back with....LIGHTS!!! Yeah...they look great!!!! 

I'm so thoroughly pleased with how they turned out and so grateful to my hardworking hubby to spend almost his entire day off....working! 

And since he is such a total pro at can lights now I went and bought a smaller one....note to self smaller does not in the can light world mean install outside of Ella's closet. Ella's closet is in this little nook in her room and it was so hard to see her clothes it was ridiculous! At first Michael wanted to install a separate switch, but I figured it would be fine and less work for him to just connect it to her main light switch. I think it turned out great and it's so nice for her to be able to see the clothes she's picking out for herself! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Kids Valentine's!

Every year I try to do something fun for the kids Valentine's. I know I could go and buy them, but I'm the craft lady so what would be the fun in that. Last year for Christmas our neighbor gave us the XXL bag of M&M's. There is NO WAY we are going to eat that many M&M's so I thought that we could use some of those for the Valentine's. I looked on Pinterest for a really long time trying to figure out a cute play on words, but there is nothing with M&M's. I finally stumbled across this idea and ran with it. I printed the Valentine's out in color from the library for free and then I cut them and put them together with some colored paper for the background. Each kid had a different color so we'd know who's were who's. Ella's were pink, Jack's red and Owen's were tan. The kids got to use a few of my Stampin' Up Stamps to put hearts and Valentine wishes on the back of the Valentine's. 

I had the kids help me assemble them a couple nights before they had to take them to school. I put the paper in the cellophane bags and they put the M&M's.  

I also spent a good amount of time separating the M&M's since each bag could only have 5 of two different colors. 

Don't worry I made the kids wash their hands before handling the candy. I think I must have been helping Ella so much that I forgot to get a picture of her! 

It was so fun to see what colors the kids picked for their friends. Jack was very particular about each person making sure not to include a color they didn't like. He has such a sweet heart and knew specifics about so much of his classmates. I think there were only a few he didn't know and he gave those kids blue and green for Seahawk colors! 

Here's a closer look at the card. I use my My Memories program and made the Tic Tac Toe boards. I thought it would be fun for them to get candy and a little game to play! 

Monday, February 22, 2016


You know it's been a long time since you've played outside when the kids get SUPER excited about the teeny tiniest puddle ever! 

They were so super happy to get to put their muddy boots on and splash! 

It was also sad though because we realized that Zeke's super cute puppy boots had a split in them on the side! He was walking so funny since his feet were soaking wet! 

After we took his old boots off he put on his not nearly as awesome camo boots, but they still did the trick so he didn't mind all that much! 

Jackson has NO problem just running up and splashing whoever is nearby! 

I loved the action shots! 

Of course I wasn't using my actual camera so most of them ended up blurry! 

Ella wanted to splash in the puddle, but she was so cute and would space her steps just perfect so she would end up jumping over the puddle instead. After a few tries she finally got it! 

Zeke was getting himself all geared up to run! 

Towards the end they were running from all the way across the street to jump. It was fun watching them enjoy something as simple as a little puddle!