Something So Big

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Three Ingredients = Multiple Calories

Homemade Butterfingers! Thanks to the blogosphere for this recipe.....

The Siegert family kitchen likes to keep things simple. And fattening!
First you melt 16 ounces of candy corn in the microwave. (I wish I would have found this recipe during Halloween, because by Thanksgiving finding candy corn is like finding a 4-leaf clover.)

Stir up the candy corn after each minute of nuking. If I recall correctly, it takes about 3 minutes to melt those little beauties.

Make sure everyone gets a chance to stir.

Add a 16 ounce jar of peanut butter to the candy. (You knew I meant just add the peanut butter, not the jar, right?)

Pour into a foil-lined square pan & cool.

Cut the candy into squares and dip into a melted bag of chocolate chips (the chips, not the bag are got that, right?).

Try not to lick your fingers. Good luck with that.

Cool & eat! YumO !!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

In His "Free Time"

Making Christmas gifts, I find myself way behind on posts and pictures. Here's what Mark did when football season ended...

...sorry I didn't take a "before" shot of our main bathroom. It was off-white for the past 7 years of its existence! We went with our basic color scheme from the addition, pulling out the jute (from the laundry room) and adding a deep wine on the window wall. Mark made the shelves and purchased "old west" fixtures and stars at Theisens...

and we added a circular shower curtain rod to give us a little more space over the tub. It turned out fantastic (in my opinion), and the only thing I did was sew a curtain out of a thrifted pillowcase!

This is a glimpse of Mark's other summer/fall project...his dad's basement bedroom. Mark and his brothers studded out the furnace/storage room, drywalled, and trimmed it. Bad picture of the room, but it turned out great!

Christmas gifts that Mark is making. Our school principal is a very creative woodworker, and he showed Mark this idea using barnboard and battery-operated LED lights. This picture does not do the signs justice. They are just beautiful!

Last but not least is our new computer desk and printer side table. The hutch has been screwed to the wall because it is heavier than three elephants. Again, all Mark except for me doing several coats of polyurethane and unsuccessfully trying to help lug these from the garage down to the basement for finishing. Thank goodness Cy is getting big enough to help his dad with such endeavors!!

What is on his project to-do list now? I guess we'll find out in 2011!

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.--Exodus 35:35

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snapshots of Christmas Morning

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
Until four-thirty when one or two arose, and thundered down the steps, much to Mom and Dad's woes.
Mark grumbled "get back to bed!!" about three times over the next three hours. After all, we had a deal. Stockings could be checked at 7:30 a.m. So up the stairs the chitlins went, quickly and quietly settling back to sleep. (In my dreams.)
Several rumblings and pleadings later, the clock struck half-past seven, and the stockings were opened with much fanfare.
Then we heard a BIG rip. Mark and I were still half-asleep, neither of us wanting to get out of a warm bed that had only been entered a few short hours previous. But RIP! meant the presents under the tree were being opened! Prematurely! Ahhh wait kids!! Let me go get the video camera & the digital camera!!
I heard Cy start crying. "I can't believe it!" he wailed and fell on the floor.
"What's wrong, Cy? Are you okay??" I rushed into the sunroom with two camera bags flung around my neck.
"I got a Clay Matthews jersey!!! Santa got me a Clay Matthews jersey!!" He was literally crying tears of joy, disbelief, and wonder.
I hollered at Mark to get up and start filming so I could take some pictures, but by then it was too late. Santa's gifts were opened, twins were screaming "I got a DS!!!", and Ally was off in the living room, neatly folding her new clothes in a pile. So much for capturing the moment of gift-opening forever on film or file!
I did manage to see Wynne opening her beloved Baby That Poops and Pees. After helping her cut through 3 miles of plastic packaging, we freed her baby into her mommy's loving arms.

This is Leah, and she's already pooped on "Uncle Cy"'s pants! But she is quite adorable, coos, wiggles her legs and everything.

Within an hour Shae was an expert on her new Spongebob DS game. "I can't believe I am holding my very own Nintendo DS...and's it's PINK!!"

Paige got a sporty red DS and set to work trying to figure out Barbie & the 3 Musketeers. This photo was taken before she grew frustrated and started crying that Shae's game must be easier than hers. Let's just remember the tranquil, happy moments on film!

My favorite moments are when we get to open presents the kids made or purchased, and when the kids give each other gifts. Ally won "Ruby" (of Max & Ruby fame) and gave it to her baby sister! See the kids' matching cowboy pj pants I made for 'em? (Good thing you can't notice how short Wynne's turned out!)

I really, really wanted to capture Cy's crying jersey opening on film, but remember I was just getting out of bed then. So I will settle for this shot of him being a tough guy in his authentic NFL stitched jersey! (This kid spent hours researching stitched jerseys on the internet over the past several weeks. He wanted either #52 Clay Matthews or #54 Brian Urlacher (da Bears), but Santa is a Packer fan so Clay won out :)

My favorite shot of Christmas morning. Sleepy eyes, but eyes filled with love. Cy bought his baby sister a cell phone eraser at the school store, and she absolutely loved it. Wynne said, "Awwwwww, Cyyyyy!" and they gave me one of those precious moments that make you want to pinch yourself as a mother.

The joy of seeing your kids open gifts that they've been dreaming about is great, but even greater to me is the joy I see in my kids when THEY give. It makes me so proud of them when they reach outside of themselves and their desires, to make someone else's day a better one. Christmas morning is a good practice for them, and I really hope to carry this out with my family in bigger, more sustainable ways beyond our family in the coming year.
Merry Christmas! Thank you, Jesus, for being the Model of giving!

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ --Acts 20:35

Friday, December 24, 2010

On the 12th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me

12 kids a-singing,

11 penguins jumping...

10 pounds of sugar...

9 lost monsters...

8 angels rejoicing...

7 folks a-visiting...

6 children listening...

5 crrrrazy kids!!

4 cousins playing,

3 wise men,

2 pipers piping...

and one Christ Child born for you and me!!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.--Isaiah 9:6

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Skillful Shutterbug!

Wow, I am so far behind on blog posting, it's not even funny! I wonder if Christmas is coming soon????

Today's shout-out is to our little T-bird! Ally won the Environmental Club Photo Contest (open to all gr. 6-12 students) for this shot she took this summer in our backyard. Her interest in photography started a few years ago when she was completing a 4-H project, and she is really quite good at it.

While we're on the subject of Allison, this girl played first chair trumpet at the Christmas concert last week (no 7th or 8th graders play trumpet, go figure). Having played trumpet all through grade school, high school, and college, I can really appreciate the amount of practice that she puts into the instrument. She did a great job last week, and also had a wonderful report card of all As (some A+s), landing on the middle school distinguished honor roll. Way to go, honey!

And now that we're into baskeball season, Ally Jo is working hard on her defense and trying to get an open shot. She is one of the shortest kids out there, due to the fact that she's playing up with the 7th and 8th graders (again, not many kids in those upper classes). Even though we haven't won a game yet, the team is improving and the girls are learning how to play better together. Keep up the hard work!

He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.--Proverbs 12:11

Friday, December 10, 2010

Just Like the Griswolds

Although my sentimental holiday favorites are "It's a Wonderful Life" and "Holiday Inn", I have to admit that my all-time favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation". Mark and I felt like Clark W. and Ellen Griswold last weekend when we went on our annual Christmas tree expedition!

It was BITTER cold outside as we stomped through Liberty Ridge Tree Farm, but we finally decided on this beauty.

Clark and Rusty fell the mighty pine!

We tried singing "O Tannenbaum" but Audrey was so cold, she couldn't feel her legs.

Everyone wanted to help carry the tree back to the family coach...

...but after a few hills, the little ones dropped out of the festivities.

Wynne started crying because Paige was lying in a valley, whining about how cold and tired she was. So Daddy picked up Paige-a-roosie, the one who INSISTED that Mommy was being anti-Christmas by considering an artificial tree this year!

It's a beaut, Clark!

The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine, to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious. --Isaiah 60:13 ESV

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pickin a Lick in Platteville

My sister bought us 2 tickets to hear Art Stevenson and his Highwater Band play at the university the other night. The show was called "Bluegrass Christmas", and what a fun time it was!

The band hails from the Babcock, Wisconsin area and consists of Art on the guitar and harmonica, his wife Stephanie on string bass, Dale Reichert on the mandolin, and Bruce King on banjo and Dobro. Art said this was the first time they'd ever "picked a lick" in Platteville, but that they had purchased Stephanie's bass from the town several years ago. "She's home", as he said!

It was hard not to get up and dance when they started playing everything from "Forty Pigs" to "Blue Christmas". My date for the night was Paige Elizabeth, who thoroughly enjoyed the concert as much as I did. Here we are getting ready to head out. Photo taken by twin sister Shae, who thankfully enough was not interested in going!

The one other child interested in attending the show with me was of course Wynne, who finally settled into the idea of watching a Christmas movie and drinking hot chocolate at home. Not to be outdone, Wynne had to take a picture of us, as well.

Okay, back to the show. I hadn't been in the Center for the Arts in several years, and it always takes me back to my college days when I spent a good majority of my time there, either in shows or working on my theatre minor. If tickets weren't so darn expensive to most events, I would get in there more often. We had box seats right up next to the stage, pretty sweet!

Aside from the wonderful Christmas music, Highwater played a number of toe-tapping numbers that transported me to the South or Appalachia. Art played a crazy-good harmonica on "Old Joe Clark" and when they did a number by the Osmonds, I felt like I was riding the General Lee with the Duke boys. I especially loved their gospel tunes and am now on a mission to find the music for "God Ain't Dead" (He's still alive...I can feel Him in my hands...I can feel Him in my feet...I can feel Him everywhere!")
The musicians were absolutely outstanding. If you've ever attempted a string instrument (or harmonica) before, you can appreciate how intricate and quick the fingerings were. On the way home, Paige said, "they have a gift".

Well said, honey!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. --1 Peter 4:10

Monday, December 6, 2010

Go Big Red!

Santa's not the only Big Red who's busy these days...

The BADGERS are still playing football, and the winter sports season is underway!

Saturday our kids (and their cousins) had the privilege or working at the Badger Mens Basketball game versus South Dakota. Mark and I got free tickets to the Kohl Center!

Do you see the only girl in this picture? Rachel graduated from our high school and is now one of the team managers. She's the one who lined up Ally, Cy, Claire, and Gabe to be ball kids. Thanks, Rachel!!

The student manager in charge of our kids was Kyle. He's the blonde guy standing next to Cy. The kids thought Kyle was pretty cool :)

After pre-game warmups, the cheerleaders heralded in the team. The music starts pumping, the lights go crazy, and the cheerleaders start flipping all over the gym. Even though I'm not a big basketball fan, I have to admit it was pretty exciting!

Good ol' Bucky likes to get the student section going!

Okay, here's one of the few shots I took of the actual basketball game. You can see the kids are ready to get out on that floor and wipe up the sweat...

...and they're off!!! Now picture this scene about 95 more times, and that was the ball game. Every time-out, break, you name it. Those kids were out there wiping the floor. They did a bang-up job of it, too. Mark and I couldn't help but notice that our 4 kids (2 kids and 2 cousins) were faster and covered way more floor than the 4 kids on the other side of the court. In our unbiased opinion, of course.

Here's a picture of a UW legend in himself, Mike Leckrone. He's directed the Badger Band for probably 30 years now, writing several pieces of music and producing a marching band that is a force in its own right. They're my favorite attaction at Badger anything!

Halftime was neat because several members of the Badger football team came out on the court. Cy got to see Coach Bielema, J.J. Watt, and Scott Tolzien up close!! This team just earned a Rose Bowl bid against TCU....Go Badgers!!!!

Our kids got to work the court closer to us in the second half. While Mark was coveting the big round "W swiffer", I was thinking we should get the kids towels and red pants for Christmas. Maybe my floors will be cleaner that way.

The Badgers beat the Coyotes by about 15 points. The kids got to meet the team and get their autographs (and keep these shirts!) after the game. Throw in a snack stop at Kwik Trip on the way home, and you have yourself a pretty sweet day!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.--Colossians 3:17