story fam

story fam

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We did it!! MRR book #1

Our triumphant group (minus Dad who was taking the picture)

Well I am proud to announce that Mom's Rocking Readers have officially finished our first book club book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. We celebrated this afternoon by watching the movie. Collectively we decided that the book was far better than the movie (although we enjoyed the flick!!). The kids got into a lively discussion about the details that were left out-it was fantastic!! Next we will be deciding on our second pick; I think that book two is in the running. I am thrilled that we are reading as a family!! It is a worthwhile, intentional investment in our kids-and easy to boot!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Menu Monday

I am trying to take care of another child who is down with strep!! AHHHH!!!

This week my goal is to spend as little on groceries as I can. Usually a large portion of my bill goes to convienience lunch items (fruit cups, fruit roll ups, snacks, etc.) and ancillary items like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. I am also off on my shopping due to the holidays which is screwing me up. I always go shopping on Thursday or Friday for the following week (I only go ONCE a week as I can't stand to go anymore!!) and due to the holiday and our crazy schedule haven't gone for this week yet. I think I am a bit anal about my shopping routine!!


Lunch Mac and Cheese

Dinner Sphagetti and meatballs, french bread, green beans


Lunch Sandwiches

Dinner Cheese quesadillas

Wednesday (Happy New Years Eve!):

Lunch Waffles

Dinner Our traditional roasting of hot dogs and s'mores in the fireplace


Lunch Nuggets

Dinner Smoked sausage and hashbrowns


Lunch ?????

Dinner Bagel pizzas


Lunch Sandwiches

Dinner Breakfast night


Lunch ?????

Dinner Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

For more wonderful meal options check out

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cutie patootie

Christmas at Grandma Choo Choo's

"The perfect couple"

Emily and Jeremy
We were so excited to have a visit from our most favorite person in the world..Emily. This time we got to meet her special guy, Jeremy, and we give him 2 thumbs up!! What a sweetie he is-although Derek and I agree that if he does anything wrong and is naughty we will be driving out to Kansas to get Jeremy and set him straight:)
Ella said that Emily and Jeremy are "the perfect couple Mom-they'll get married-I know these things". Ella has decided that she is going to be "head flower girl" and when I explained that Emily has nieces of her own Ella just shrugged her shoulder and said "Mom I want a tiara". Peris on the other hand admitted that she had a "little crush" on Jeremy. She told me this red faced-I'm thinking that I probably shouldn't air this on my blog but it was so cute!!!
I knew Jeremy was a stand up guy when instead of admitting to a dog allergy (which he has) he sat on our couch and petted Henry the entire time they were here-sorry Jeremy!!!!
We were thrilled to see Emily while she was here on Christmas!! She is a special part of our watch out Jeremy!! When it comes to Emily, the Story family means business:)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Won Over

"I think he is the one"-Derek Story on December 26th 7pm

Need I say more???

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our New Addition

Please help us welcome our newest, and final, addition: Henry Spencer Story. We found Henry at the pound and know that "he is the one" (says Fiona). Henry visited Deenie today (the groomer) and got the royal treatment. She was so impressed by him that she gave him the full groom and not just the bath that we asked for. Deenie was SO nice and fit him in (thank you Uncle Tim for making the call) so now he smells 100% better and looks so handsome. Then he was wisked off to meet his new Doctor, Dr. Olson. She gave him the once over and was very pleased. He got his rabbies shot and a blood test to check for heartworms. We did schedule him for his neuter and a minor surgery to remove a cyst on his left eye. We are so thrilled to report that Henry is a lovely dog-honestly he is doing far better than I had hoped!! He has used the restroom outdoors (knock on wood no accidents so far), didn't beg for food at dinner time, and has been so calm. Either this was meant to be or he is really playing us!! Right now he is laying at my feet resting-he is just so darn cute!!!!! I am so glad that we were patient-he really is going to be our forever friend!!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The big haul

Well not to sound selfish but man did I make out like a bandit this year-hmm...I guess I was good!!!! So what did I get?? A cool double layer t-shirt, hand cream, a red pair of fuzzy crocs, brown croc boots (they are AWESOME), the Wii Fit (whoop whoop..thank you Santa-wink wink), pink fuzzy crocs, a matching pink fleece zip up jacket, Jessica Mc Clintock perfume, a hedgehog webkinz, tanning gift certificates, an Amplified bible, a Starbucks gift card and there is so much more!!!!! And we have one more Christmas to go on Saturday with Grandma Choo Choo.

We are having a really great day-I can't believe that it is after lunch already!!! Tonight Grandma Choo Choo, Pat, Uncle Tim, Aunt Christine, and our special guest Rusty are coming over to play the Wii (Santa does rock!!) and have dinner. It has been a really special day!!!

Our Christmas Morning 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What a wonderful day

Whew....time to catch my breath. Today was very busy and very fun. We started out by going over to Mapleton to celebrate Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa Story. Uncle Alec and Aunt Jayne were there too-we had a fun morning together. We came home and had a little time to regroup before going to Christmas Eve service at 5pm. This is the first year that we have gone to church as a family with my Dad and Pat-it was beautiful. I could barely contain my emotions while singing Silent Night and O Holy Night. It was magical and powerful. Then it was off to Pa Pa and Grandma Pats house for dinner and more partying. It was so nice to see all of the kids together.
Now it is 11:30 and we are waiting for Santa to come. Tomorrow will be another full day but it has been so much fun this year!! As the kids grow up I know the Christmas experience will begin to change, so I want to hold on to the magic as long as we can!! As Peris says, "You have to believe to receive".

Christmas Eve with the Kirks

Christmas Eve with the Storys

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December Reads

I posted about my reading a few spots back but wanted to update my reading list!! I just finished The Magicians Nephew and it was REALLY good!!! I decided that I will now read the whole C.S. Lewis series in order. I also picked up Twilight last night at the store-we'll see how it reads.

We are 3 chapters away from finishing The Sorcerers Stone as a family and it is getting REALLY good as well!!! I love that this book holds the attention of everyone in our clan. The kids want to read the next book in the Potter series (The Chamber of Secrets) so we will start that as well.

Happy Reading!!!!

Cookies for Santa

Slow Cooker Chocolate Pudding Cake

Here is the recipe that I made on Sunday-it is delicious and so easy!!! It is taken from the Gooseberry Patch Christmas book 10th Anniversary...enjoy:

1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
2 c sour cream
4 eggs
1 c water
3/4 c oil
1/4 t salt
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
non-stick veggie spray
whipped cream

Combine dry cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, eggs, water, oil and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased slow cooker (sprayed w/non-stick cooking spray). Cover and cook on low for 5 hours or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Serve warm and topped w/whipped cream. Makes 10-12 servings.

Hope this is a hit with your family!! I have already had requests for it again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Menu Plan Monday (One crazy week!)

This is going to be one crazy week!! Christmas vacation has officially started, so now I am responsible for planning at home lunches as well. On top of our usual meals this week I am preparing a meal for a family at church who have newborn twins and will also be making dinner for our extended family on Christmas Day evening. I have our picture schedule ready for tomorrow so the day will be much more structured!! I can already tell that today (which was day 3 of little structure) was beginning to fall apart due to the lack of structure that we all enjoy around here. We are going to visit the Humane Society tomorrow as our fieldtrip which everyone will enjoy. I am looking for a dog to adopt so we'll see what we can find.

Menu for this week:

*Monday lunch: sandwiches

dinner: turkey and gravy over brown rice

dinner for the Ball family

*Tuesday lunch: mac/cheese

dinner: Minestrone Chicken Dinner

*Christmas Eve We will be enjoying lunch with Grandma and Grandpa Story and then

dinner with Grandma Pat and Pa Pa

*Christmas Day Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls (a Story Family tradition!)

Lunch: something REALLY easy!!

Dinner: Loaded potato soup, crockpot chili, honey cornbread, frozen pizza

(my brother Tim isn't very adventurous so we have to please him too)

*Friday lunch: nuggets

Dinner: grilled cheese and soup

*Saturday Christmas at Grandma Choo Choo's

*Sunday C.O.R. day (Clean Out Refridgerator.....i.e. leftovers)

I also want to note that I made an AWESOME crockpot dessert today that the kids loved-a chocolate/pudding cake that is served hot with whipped cream-delicious!!!!!

For more recipes check out!!

Strep Sunday

Well not only is it -1 degrees out right now we are in the throes of strep throat. Michael is on an antibiotic and Derek and I both woke to sore throats this morning (p.s. we are hoping it is due to our house being dry!!). We stayed home from church this morning in order to contain our germs and were trying to entertain the kids. What to do on a day where opening the front door to get the paper caused the house to feel chilly? We built a tent in the living room with chairs and blanket and then had Moms Rocking Readers underneath. We are almost done with the first Harry Potter book-only 4 more chapters to go before getting to watch the movie!! It is also the 4th Sunday of Advent so we will be lighting the last candle on our wreath and having another special family meal. I am making a special dessert that cooks in the crockpot for 5 hours. It is a yummy chocolate pudding cake that looks super yummy!! Our family activity is an art project to enjoy together. Maybe we will just hang out in our jammies all day? I know we aren't going anywhere and we are praying for a relief from illness!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Luncheon

Dining with Dad-some really good together time!!
Peris and Mrs. Irvin

Playing games with friends

Peris and her good friend Billy

The 4th grade winter luncheon was held today and it was a Daddy/daughter date. How fun that must have been for Derek and Peris to spend some special time together. With the impending weather today was very festive for the girls. Presents came home and the biggest treat of homework for 2 weeks!!! Truly a mothers dream come true!!!!

My favorite cookbooks of 2008

Okay, anything that this woman cooks is easy and delicious! I would LOVE to get one of these cookbooks for Christmas!! They are simple, economical, and just plain good meals to serve to my family!!
A classic!! This was the first cookbook I ever received (thank you Aunt Nancy). I have used it for everything from how to boil an egg to making a special meal for my family.

This is my FAVORITE cookbook of all time!! These are the ladies who created Desperation Dinners and they have outdone themselves. This cookbook is full of very inexpensive and delicious meals!! I have made several and they are all big hits (with Derek)!! For Christmas we will be having loaded baked potato soup which is on page 30. This is an investment for any Mom looking for good meals!! I got this for Christmas last year and it is definately well loved and used often.

Illness and Ice Storm

The flu has struck!! Michael came home yesterday with a 101 temperature and is still not doing the best. He did actually vomit and is still running the fever today. I can tell he doesn't feel well-he isn't moving!! In addition to the flu, we are expecting a major ice storm to hit this afternoon. Hopefully it will stay to the south of us-I'm not too keen on loosing power with 5 little people here at home!!!!

Sick day activities:

  • t.v.
  • coloring book and crayons
  • read Lyle the Crocodile at Christmas
  • read Harry Potter
  • t.v.
  • nap, nap, nap (for Michael not me darn it)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's on your Nightstand?

So what is everyone reading these days? I have heard rave reviews about Twilight, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The Namesake and many other good picks. Right now I am inbetween books and find that sitting still long enough to actually read has been difficult. But with holiday break coming up I need to find something that is really good!! My picks for break:

  • The Fairacre Series by Miss Read (have heard that this series is very Mitford-esque)
  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (currently am reading this one-it's good!)
  • The Magician's Son (the first in the Wardrobe series)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mom's Rocking Readers next pick)

I'd love to hear some other suggestions!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Monday Menu Plan

This week is really busy again!! We have holiday parties, volunteering, and lots of commitments!! I did decide to try two new recipes in order to follow my goal of trying at least one new thing per week. The kids might not appreciate it, but Derek and I sure do!!!!!
Monday Ham and Cheese Puff

Tuesday Date night

Wednesday Italien Meatball Sandwiches

Thursday Breakfast night (waffles, eggs, toast)

Friday Take out night or frozen pizza

Saturday Take out night or frozen pizza (I teach all day so something easy)

Sunday Sphagetti and Meatballs, salad, french bread

For more great recipes check out:
Next week starts Christmas vacation so I am going to have to get creative for lunches as well as dinner!!! Any suggetions?? PLEASE feel free to share!!!!

Third Advent Sunday

Today marks the third Sunday in advent-we get to light the illustrious pink candle of Joy. As we get closer to Christmas, we are able to see each other at the dinner table a little bit easier. To celebrate the Advent season, each year we pull out the Advent wreath that Peris made in 2002 (she was just 3 years old-sniff sniff). It is a block of wood in the shape of a cross that has some evergreen and pinecone accessories crudely glued on. Our first night is the most interesting. We shut off all of the lights except for the one candle that is lit. The first candle represents Hope-we discuss that before Jesus the world was dark which is why with only one candle lit we are eating in the dark. Each year one child reminds us that soon it will "get light" because Jesus is coming. This year on the first Sunday of Advent we took an inexpensive paper craft booklet of the nativity and put it together as a family. It was actually disasterous-but hey, we did it together!!! On the second Sunday of Advent we lit the candle of Peace and talked about how only with Jesus can we find peace. The second purple candle is lit and our dinner table is bathed in a beautiful golden glow-what wonderful mood lighting. I will throw in that the lack of overhead lighting seems to also provide us with a quiter tone at the table-it is lovely. Last Sunday we celebrated with my Mom and made gingerbread houses and then went to a hockey game to watch Uncle Tim play. Tonight will be the third Sunday of Advent and we will light the beautiful pink candle (hey, we are a house of girls here...we all love pink) and talk about the Joy that Christ brings to our lives. Our family activity will be a little craft project and we will make cute, little fuzzy ornaments. Then at 7pm we will be watching HGTV's Holiday Window show (where they show the big store Christmas windows) together-well at least Derek and I will sit down and enjoy the show.

Here are a few other simple ideas that you can do to celebrate the coming of Jesus' birthday together as a family:

*Make ice cream cone trees-take sugar cones and "paint" them with green icing. Attach candy and you have an edible tree.
*Drive around as a family and "ooh" and "ahh" over neighborhood Christmas lights
*Go online and print off a few holiday coloring sheets-get your inner-child groove on and color with the fam
* Purchase a holiday puzzle. Set aside a few minutes each night, or morning, and put the pieces together as a family.
*Gather all of your holiday books together a place them in a basket under the tree. Each night read one story together as a family. You can always add a new book to your stash each year to grow your library.
*Go caroling in your neighborhood. I don't know about you, but our neighbors would LOVE to see us show up at their door and bring this wonderful tradition back to life!!!!

During this busy time of the year make sure you take a few minutes out to spend time focusing on the reason for the season with your children. There are memories to be made!!!

God bless!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Orffcat Winter Concert

Peris pre-concert
Addison and Peris

(from left) Rickey, Alexis, Peris, Jessica, and Rowan
Last night we were treated to a wonderful winter concert at Kemp Hall. Peris played with the Mildcat group (she plays an instrument that resembles a xylophone) and we heard the ISU Redbird Choir as well as the ISU Wildcats. It was a really nice evening.
It was so cool to see Peris' face light up when she looked up into the crowd and saw an entire row of her family sitting there cheering her on. I know one thing is true-she will not forget that people cared enough to come and watch her play. She will remember that she is important and loved and part of a great big family that participates in her life. That is priceless.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Parents Play in PE Day

Jr. Gamma Phi Circus Extravaganza

Peris and the gang (from left) Olivia, Emmy, Peris, Anna, Emma, Katie, Sara, Fiona, and Logan

Michael is in the front row (red sweatshirt)

Yesterday was the Jr. Gamma Phi Circus Christmas party at school. We are so blessed to have our kids in a school where they have the opportunity to participate in programs like the circus. It was awesome!! The kids had such a great time watching the big Gamma Phi Circus performers-it always holds their attention!!!

All I Want for Christmas.....

The tooth fairy has been very busy keeping up with Ella!! She lost her second front tooth yesterday at school-it was quite an event!! She informed me that there was "a lot of blood Mom-some of the kids acted like they were going to puke". So now all she wants for Christmas are her two front teeth...actually, she likes not having them!! She thinks that she looks "even cuter" without them-I have to agree...although I personally think that she always looks cute!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sharing the Spirit at Prairieland

Last night we went to a craft night at Prairieland called "Sharing the Spirit"; there were several stations to make holiday ornaments-some were to keep and some were to share with the people living next door at Evergreen Nursing Home. We made a star and paperclip bookmarks to keep and then a keychain and photo ornaments to share. We also enjoyed cookies-it was a really fun night!!