Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lifting Burdens

My sweet grandma is in a new video put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My grandma is one of the most kind, charitable people I know. She is always busy helping a friend, baking bread for a neighbor or serving a family member. Growing up, we did not live close to my grandparents, but when I went to college at BYU, she lived only 10 minutes away. We had dinner at her house several times a month and she was always willing to let me use her washer and dryer. She makes awesome chocolate chip cookies and sticky buns and her homemade bread is the best! She is very talented musically and I love to listen to her play the piano or the organ. My grandma is the biggest BYU fan I have ever seen. Sun, rain or snow she rarely misses a home football game. Her home is filled with pictures of her family. She has 7 children and 53 grandchildren (of which I am the oldest!) and more great-grandchildren than I can count.

I really appreciate the example she has been to me, and I think it is very fitting that she is shown in this video because she is such a Christ-like person. The video is entitled "Lifting Burdens: The Atonement of Jesus Christ". My grandma is at the 2:32 point in the video.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch---Revisited!

This weekend we went back to the pumpkin patch at Sweet Berry Farms. This time, Riley and Kaiya got to come. We also had my friend Brenda's kids with us---Joe and Luvinia. I have taken the kids to the pumpkin patch every year for the past five years, but I didn't realize that Jayson had never been before. Something has always come up that prevented him from going in the past.
When GG and I took the babies a couple of weeks ago, there was hardly anybody there---maybe 10 cars in the parking lot. This time was a whole different story! The place was PACKED!! Hundreds of people were there. The parking lot was overflowing and several cars had to park on the street. We had to wait in long lines to get tickets for the Hayride and other activities, but it was worth it. Everyone had a great time!
Kassidy, Ryder, Kyndall and Kaydence check out the pumpkins

Kaiya and Riley

Rustin and Ryder try to figure out how to overthrow Kaiya and take over the tractor

Riley hides in the corn field. He and Joe enjoyed finding their way through the corn field maze.

Luvinia helps Ryder and Rustin drive the boat.


Luvnia and Kyndall

Kyndall peaks through the slats of the old trailer.

Ryder takes a turn peaking out



Jayson spent most of the time behind the video camera---hopefully he will make a WQ+2 episode with all the footage!

Riley found a huge pile of hay to jump in

Jayson and I pose by an old truck, surrounded by Kaiya, Kaydence and Rustin. We met Jayson's brother, Joel and his family at the pumpkin patch. My sister-in-law Tobi took this picture, but unfortunately we didn't get any pictures with them! They were a little late getting there, so we didn't get so spend as much time with them as we would have liked.

Kaiya, Kassidy, Ryder, Rustin and Kaydence wait for the hayride.

While waiting for the hayride, we ran into Kristen Duke.

The Hayride! Jayson, Rustin, Kassidy, Ryder, Kaydence, Luvinia, Kyndall and Kaiya

Ryder, Kyndall, Kassidy and Rustin walk up and down the aisles of flowers. Notice Kassidy's backpack---she found it in Kaiya's room last week and it has become a permanent attachment to her back. She eats with it, sleeps with it and would probably bathe with it if I let her :-)

The flowers were so pretty and there were butterflies everywhere.

More flowers...

Kaiya enjoyed filling a cup full of flowers to take home. She also made sure each of the little girls got a flower in "their" color

Kassidy (with her purple flower)

Luvinia and Kyndall (Luvinia is holding Kyndall's pink flower)

Kaydence with yellow flowers

We also ran into Kaiya's friend, Vivian. Really, I think the whole city of Austin decided to go to the farm that day!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Kids Dinner Nights

I have always enjoyed cooking, which is good--considering the crowd I have to cook for. I am somewhat of a "recipe junkie"--I like to collect new recipes to try. I also like to take recipes and "healthify" them, by substituting ingredients to cut down on fat and calories or increase the whole grains.

Although I like to cook, one thing I hate doing is deciding what to make for dinner every night. Because of this, I started doing "Kids Dinner Nights" at our house. Riley and Kaiya each have one night a week where they help plan and prepare dinner. At the beginning of each month, we sit down together and brainstorm a list of dinners, then we get out the calendar and the kids choose what they want to make for each of their dinner nights. They have to plan well-balanced meals that include fruits and veggies and no one is allowed to repeat the same meal twice in a month. So far, our dinner nights have been a big success. Riley and Kaiya enjoy the one-on-one time with me making dinner and there are two less nights a week that I have to dream up what to make!

Here are a few of the kids favorite "kid friendly" recipes that they like to make:

Chicken Bundles

These end up on the menu nearly every month. They are fun for the kids to make and they love how they taste.

8 oz cream cheese, softened (I usually use fat free to make it a little healthier)
2 cans chicken
1 tsp dried minced onion
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans crescent rolls (reduced fat work well too)

Combine cream cheese, chicken, onion, salt and pepper. Mix well. Open crescent roll cans and lay dough triangles out on the counter. Place a large scoop of the chicken mixture on each triangle. Fold edges of dough around the chicken mixture and pinch together so that there are no holes. Place bundles on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 16 bundles.

Optional: to make this dinner a little fancier, use sliced green onions in place of the dried onion and add one can of mushrooms (diced) to the chicken mixture. Dip each bundle in melted butter and roll in Italian bread crumbs before placing on the cookie sheet. Serve with a chicken gravy made from one can cream of chicken soup mixed with a half can of water.

Another variation: instead of making "bundles", make "pillows"-- fuse two triangle dough pieces together to make a rectangle. Place a large scoop of the chicken mixture on each rectangle. Fold over and pinch edges. Makes 8 pillows.

Kaiya and Mr. Bear make Chicken bundles

Bread Bowls with Soup

These are a good comfort food for winter and the kids think it is so fun to eat out of the bread bowl.

Super Easy Version:
Thaw one loaf of Rhodes bread dough for about 2 hours. Cut into four pieces and shape into balls. Place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise for about 3-4 more hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool. Slice off top and scoop out middle, then fill with your favorite soup or chili.

"From Scratch" Version:
Layer the following ingredients in a bread machine:
1 cup warm water
1 T shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
3 T sugar
1/3 cup dried milk
1 T instant yeast

Set bread machine on "dough" cycle. When finished, divide dough into four balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise about one hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Bread Bowl with Chicken Noodle Soup

Bethlehem Pork

We had this meal at our church Christmas Party last year (hence the name) and it has become one of Riley's favorite dinners. I know it is almost an oxymoron to call it Bethlehem Pork, since the people of Bethlehem were Jewish and did not eat pork, but from what I understand, there wasn't enough money in the budget to get beef for the Christmas party, so pork was substituted, and the name stuck at our house!

2 lb pork loin roast (I like the kind from Costco that comes individually wrapped in a 4-pack)
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. rosemary
1/2 T. minced onion
¾ t. salt
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. marjoram
1/2 t. celery seed
1/4 t. red pepper

Mix all the seasonings together. Sprinkle over meat and gently rub in. Cook meat in crock pot (with just a little broth/water to cover the bottom) on LOW for 8-9 hours, or until meat pulls apart easily. Shred and stuff in pita pocket and serve. The kids love the pita pockets, but I actually like it better wrapped in a tortilla or on the new Orowheat Sandwich Thins.

Fruit Sundae Cones

waffle cones (one per person)
mixed fruit (we usually use strawberries, bananas, grapes and blueberries)
vanilla yogurt (our favorite is the Archer Farms fat-free vanilla yogurt from Target)

Layer yogurt and fruit in cones and enjoy!

Riley displays his fruit sundae cone

Ryder, Riley and Rustin enjoying the results of Kids Dinner Night

Kassidy, Kyndall and Kaydence

Here are a few more recent pictures:

GG takes the quints out for a walk in the rain

Ryder and Rachelle



Kaiya fell face first off of her scooter :-(

Riley is doing Volleyball this season and Jayson is the coach. They both love it :-)

In other news, Jayson gave our website a new face lift. Check it out HERE. Now if only I can talk him into giving the blog an updated look as well!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Pumpkin Patch

Last Thursday, Virginia and I took the quints to the pumpkin patch at Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls (about 45 minutes from our house). We were hoping to get a good picture of the babies for the 2010 Wilkinson Quints Calendar (yes, there IS going to be another calendar this year!! More details on that in a future post...). As luck would have it, it started RAINING when we were about one mile from the farm! It wasn't raining hard at first, so we got everybody out to look around. The quints LOVED it! They are really fascinated by pumpkins, so seeing that many in one location was soooo exciting!

Virginia (aka "GG"), Kaydence, Kassidy, Ryder, Kyndall and Rustin make their way to the pumpkins.

Kaydence, Ryder, Kyndall, Kassidy and Rustin

They treated the pumpkins as their own personal jungle gym.

I thought Rustin and Ryder were pretty funny in this picture.

The farm has every kind of pumpkin you can imagine.

Kyndall, Kaydence and Rustin

Ryder drives the mini-tractor

Kaydence, Rustin, Kassidy and Kyndall check out the old truck filled with pumpkins.

Kassidy, Ryder, Rustin, Kyndall and Kaydence

Rustin, my super-climber, actually made it to the top of the pumpkin pile




After we had been at the farm for about 30 minutes, the drizzle turned into more of a downpour, so we took cover in this old trailer.

Kassidy peaks through the slats of the trailer.



Ryder, Kyndall and Rustin--I think they were watching a cat run for cover.


GG ran back to the car to grab some umbrella's. The kids had almost as much fun with those as they did with the pumpkins.



Kyndall and Kassidy

After the farm, we headed to McDonald's for lunch.

Despite the rain, we all had a great time. In fact, we plan to go back in a couple of weeks with Riley and Kaiya (I kept it a secret from them that we went without them this time because I knew they would be sad!). If you live in the Austin area, I highly recommend going to the pumpkin patch---not only are there fabulous pumpkins, but you can take a hay ride, run through the cornfield maze, pet goats and other animals, paint a pumpkin, stuff a scarecrow, and take lots of fun pictures!