Saturday, July 28, 2007

More About Brett

I can't believe Brett is 5 years old! He is so mature in a lot of ways, yet still so innocent and young. He is a wonderful brother to all of his siblings. He adores his big sister, and would do anything for her. Jesse is his friend and playmate, and although they have their occasional fights, they get along famously more often than not.

Nathan is Brett's little sweetheart, and he is the first person Brett looks for when he wakes up in the morning. Brett loves to play with him, sing to him, make him laugh, and laugh at Nathan in return. A funny face, a grab for a toy, or any attempt at baby-talk will send Brett rolling in a fit of laughter. Tonight Brett was so excited that he got to feed Nathan his pablum at dinnertime. But perhaps the biggest testament to how much Brett really loves his baby brother is that he is always willing to share his special blanket with Nathan. Now that is true love!

(These pictures were taken on April 2, 2007 - Nathan was almost 3 months old)

Brett's 5th Birthday!

Brett turned five on July 6 - and celebrated with a Diggin' Dinosaur Party at the Children's Museum. He had 9 party guests, including Samantha and Jesse, with friends from his school class and from church. It was a great party, with games, crafts, food, activities, and lots of play time at the museum too. Not only does Brett love Dinosaurs, but he loves the Museum, and it was a great place to have a birthday party.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Soccer Boys

Brett and Jesse got to play on the same soccer team this year. This was their first experience playing soccer and they both really enjoyed it. Brett was great at taking the ball down the field, and had several close calls before finally scoring his first goal on their last day. Jesse was a great defensive player, and it was so fun to watch the two of them on the field together. We're all sad that their soccer has ended for the summer, and Brett's already talking about next season.

I've been slightly distracted this week as we've had my sister, her husband, and their baby girl, Jayna, visiting. We don't get to see them very often, and it's been great to have some time to spend together. Our kids love Jayna, who is 10 months old now. We took everyone to see Ratatouille (the new Pixar movie) on Tuesday. I really enjoyed it and thought it was very well done. On Wednesday Scott watched all 5 kids while Jordana, Gibb & I went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I have to admit that although I have read (and LOVE) the Harry Potter books, I haven't seen all of the movies. I loved this one and I cannot wait to start book seven! I'm putting off reading it until we leave for Alberta because I have so many things to do before we go and I know how little I will get done if I start reading now. But the book has been sitting on my dresser for a few days now and has been SO tempting!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Potato Salad Recipe

My friend Tasha asked me to post this recipe. I sort of made this up on the spot and it turned out really good. I got the idea of roasting the potatoes from Barefoot Contessa - I LOVE her recipes and cooking style in general.

You will probably have to adjust the amounts here - I made this to feed 3 families (about 6 adults and 10 children) and we had a bit left over, but not much. If I was making it for just our family, I would have used about 1/3 of this amount.

Roasted Potato Salad

5 lbs mini new white potatoes - I get these at Costco and they're great because they're small and you don't have to peel them. Just a quick wash and they're ready to go. Cut them into large bite-size pieces.

Put potatoes on a pan or baking sheet. Drizzle generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss together (I use my hands). Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through (tender). This is the secret to great flavour in the salad - the roasting of the potatoes.

Let the potatoes cool for a while after taking them out of the oven.

Next, mix the potatoes with the following:

mayonnaise (I used about a cup or so - just enough to coat)
crumbled cooked bacon (I used Real Bacon - pre-cooked and comes in a bag)
chopped green onion (about 4-5 onions)
more salt and pepper (to taste)

Let the salad chill in the fridge until ready to serve.


If anyone actually tries this recipe - please post a comment and let me know how it turns out!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Cassandra Needs...

I saw this on another blog and thought it was kind of funny. You type your own name into a Google search bar, followed by the word "needs". Then you list the top 10 things that come up. Here are mine:

1. Cassandra needs some major plastic surgery or somethin'

2. Cassandra needs to make a phone call

3. Cassandra needs a family that will establish clear rules and give rewards for appropriate behavior

4. Cassandra needs no introduction

5. Cassandra needs transportation!!!

6. Cassandra needs to spread her wings and may the success and the blessings of God be with her in whatever she does

7. Cassandra needs a pill for the banging in my head

8. Cassandra needs no curse other than the blind optimism that surrounds us from birth

9. Cassandra needs to use the new logo

10. Cassandra needs to start practicing in the new make-up room; she just came out looking stiff

The first one made me laugh... just a little random humour for today. What do you need?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cottage Pictures

Here are some pictures from our trip to the cottage. Cameron Lake is great for kids as it is shallow for quite a ways past the shore. Samantha, Brett, & Jesse loved to swim in the Lake, and spent a lot of time playing games, trying to catch minnows, and jumping off the dock.

Nathan wasn't too sure about swimming in the Lake at first, but he got used to it eventually.

Hanging out in the cottage...

Here's Samantha coming inside after a water fight with Scott. She's such a good sport. :)

Brett stopped husking corn long enough to pose for a picture.

Jesse just loves to be outside. He would often be the first one out to play in the morning, and the last one in for supper. One cottage tradition for our kids is feeding the chipmunks. We had two chipmunks (or maybe the same chipmunk on two different occasions?) get into the cottage while we were there. Both times we were able to lure the chipmunk out with a trail of peanuts.

This is one of the first boat rides the kids took with Scott - before we put on the big motor.

On Thursday we had a family adventure while Nana watched Nathan. We took the boat across Cameron Lake, then paddled through the narrows until we reached the Cyprus Lake Trail (Cyprus Lake is part of Bruce Peninsula National Park). We docked the boat at a bridge on the trail, and hiked along Cyprus Lake until we met up with the Bruce Trail. We took the Bruce Trail out to Georgian Bay where we had a great time jumping in and swimming at the Bay. We then hiked back to the boat and and headed back home to the cottage. We took a short detour to rescue a couple in a canoe who had capsized at the back of Cameron Lake and couldn't get to shore. This was one of my favourite days at the cottage.

We tried our hand at fishing a couple of times, with no luck. However, our neighbour went out twice a day and never came home empty-handed. He brought over some freshly-caught pickerel and taught us how to skin and de-bone it. Then Nana cooked it for dinner while we were out hiking and it was delicious.

Jesse wasn't too keen on holding the fish.... But he sure liked eating it!

Bill and Scott learned that there's more than one way to skin a fish... but you really need a good fillet knife!

Enjoying ice cream cones at The Sweet Shop - a great cottage tradition.

The Saturday before we left , Jeff & Lindsey came up for the weekend. It was fun to hang out with them for a bit - although we wish we could have had more time together. This was Lindsey's first time at the cottage.

Karri & Dave and family also came to the cottage on Saturday.... after driving out from Alberta in record time. Samantha was having so much fun with her cousins, we decided to leave her there for an extra few days so they could have some more time together. Here she is with Hannah and Sara in their new matching pj's.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nathan at Six Months

Nathan is six months old now, and continues to grow and change almost daily. He's become quite good at sitting up, and is starting to play with his toys a lot more. He grabs for anything within his reach, and if he can actually grasp onto something it goes straight into his mouth. He has started taking some interest in our cat, Oscar. He notices whenever Oscar is in the room and watches his every move. If he's ever within reach, Nathan will try to grab his tail or ears, but hasn't succeeded yet, as Oscar is just too quick. (He's had a lot of practice running from the likes of our kids)

Nathan started eating solids this past week. He loves his pablum and ate a whole bowl-full at his first feeding. Here's a picture of his first pablum on July 5 (above) and another picture of him eating at the cottage (below). I love the old high chair up there. It must be over 50 years old, and it's fun to think of all the McKee (and Hill) babies that have eaten out of the same chair - including Scott, I'm sure. I know all of our kids have. The buckle is long gone, so I tied Nathan to the chair with a dishtowel so he wouldn't fall out.

Nathan is such a good-natured baby. Here he is, smiling, after being kissed on the forehead by Jesse on the terrace of The Sweet Shop in Tobermory. I think he was wishing the kiss was about four inches lower so he could have enjoyed a taste of that Triple Tornado ice cream.

Home Again

We're back home from a wonderful week of vacationing at the cottage! It's hard to believe we were gone for 9 days - it went by way too fast. I have so much to catch up on and tons of pictures to share, so I'm definitely going to make time this week for posting.

Here are a few pictures of our trip to Jeff & Lindsey's on the Canada Day long weekend:

This picture is a little blurry... I guess Samantha was riding too fast! (Notice Scott, Lindsey, & Jeff on the bench in the background)

Well, that's it for now. I'm off to bed, unless I get sucked into Harry Potter again. I'm in the middle re-reading book six before final release on Saturday. I also want to see The Order of the Phoenix, which is in theatres now, but I'll have to wait until Jordana comes to visit, as there's no hope on earth of Scott coming to see it with me... Oh, well - she gets here next week, so that's not too long!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Update From the Cottage

This past week has been great for summer vacation... not so great for blogging! I guess it's time to get caught up a little bit.

Scott's officially on vacation this week and we are spending our time up at the cottage in Tobermory. It's so fun to be up here with the kids - it's the perfect place for children to be during the summer!

Last Sunday we went to visit Jeff and Lindsey in Michigan. Monday we went out for brunch, did some shopping, Jeff & Scott played a little tennis, and we went for a swim in their pool before driving back Monday evening. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our kids had play dates every day with friends. Friday was Brett's 5th birthday and he celebrated with a party at the Children's Museum. On Saturday Aunt Corinne watched our children while Scott and I went to the temple and out for dinner at the Mandarin.

I will have to share pictures later, as I didn't bring my own laptop up to the cottage, and haven't put any pictures on Scott's laptop yet. Just a couple of other things before I go...

Scott got a promotion at work this week - congratulations Scotty! :)

Saturday Brett scored his first soccer goal! Scott was far more excited about this accomplishment than he was about his work promotion. Brett and Jesse have really enjoyed playing soccer together this year. They're both bummed that it's all over now (there are technically 2 weeks left, but we'll be away for both of those). I'm definitely looking forward to a lot more soccer games in the future.