Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I'm Off Winter Camping

So you're reading this from the comfort of your warm home (hopefully).  While I'm headed north to the frozen tundra that is the upper part of the United States.

It would definitely be worth it if this is what it looked like at night.

I googled tips on winter camping.  It wasn't very helpful.  Things like have a sleeping bag for 30 degrees cooler then the weather you're in.  I haven't seen a bag below zero, so that doesn't help.  Actually, we sleep inside two zero degree bags.  Also tips like use antibiotic wipes every 5 days to give yourself a "bath".  Well, we'll be gone just a little over 5 days so I'll pass on the baby wipe bath and wait until I get home.

And then I decided to take this quiz from Scouting Magazine on winter camping knowledge.  I scored a 45%.  Not a good sign.

Of course, there is all the planning on having appropriate ways to make fire and things for emergencies in case someone falls through the ice (not likely) or gets eaten by a bear (also not likely since they are all hibernating), but I would feel completely ridiculous without my own stuff, because I just know that if I didn't bring something, then inevitably something would pop up and then I'd need it and I would be wandering the wilderness while Chris is fishing and all hell would break loose because I got lost and all I had was hard candy.  Not to mention that while I was googling I discovered that there was a fairly large shooting in the Boundary Waters Wilderness in 2007.  And since we are essentially going to be almost to Canada, I have these grand visions of stumbling upon some type of terrorist trafficking into the US from the frozen wasteland.  Okay, not really.  That would make a good book or movie plot though....

Don't you just envy me?

Also Chris popped this idea to me today: let's build and then sleep in a quinzee.  Which is a fancy term for a pile of snow you build, let it settle for a few hours and then dig out your sleeping area, and then sleep in for all the rest of the nights.  Like this.

Except I already told Chris in no uncertain terms am I building and then sleeping in a dome of snow.  First of all because I am slightly claustrophobic, and secondly, I have terrible visions of it caving in on me like an avalanche and then dying because I can't breathe.  Even though I know that if you sleep in a quinzee, you can get the temperature up a lot higher than what you can in a tent.

Who's in for winter camping next year??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ava And The Rattlesnake Head

Remember this snake?

It's the one we shot at my Uncle's home and then Chris ate.  Anyway, we kept the skin after we tanned it, and also kept the head in a glass container with water.  I think Chris was hoping to do something with it, but it's just sat on top of a dresser in our basement.

Until yesterday.

We heard this huge crash and Ava started screaming and screaming.  My first thought was that she got some glass into her foot.  But then she started yelling something about a snake and it didn't make any sense.  Turns out she accidentally knocked the glass container with the snake head off the dresser and when it hit the floor, the snake head bounced up and landed on her foot.  I ran downstairs as Chris was coming up with her.  The smell was completely disgusting.  Ava took a shower because we didn't know how much venom had been in the snake or if it was something to worry about (there's a tribe that dries snake venom and uses it in their tattoos to help promote resistance to snake bites).  And Chris very sweetly cleaned up the mess.

I have to admit seeing a splattered snake head sort of melted on our basement floor may have induced a little gag reflex in me.

What a way to start off the week.  I do wonder what it would be like to be a calm family.  Where things just move along smoothly and nothing exciting ever happens.  Probably mostly boring.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Sugar Eaters

Look at these two naughty boys.

Do you see the black container Truitt is holding?  That's the sugar bowl.  That they were both grabbing handfuls of sugar out of and secretly eating and where I found them when it seemed awfully quiet in the house.  Together they probably ate about 1 cup of sugar.  Best day of their lives.  

I won't admit how terribly hard it was not to laugh at them seeing all the joy in their eyes as they thrust their chubby little hands into the jar and quick into their mouth.  

While they were eating sugar I was with Kembia on the couch.  She was supposed to have had a doctor appt. yesterday morning, but then Truitt threw up so I thought he was sick, but he had food stuck at the back of his throat and by the time I figured it out I had already canceled Kembia's appt., and she's getting worse and grabbing her throat and her fever moving up.

We ended up having to see a Dr. that we don't normally go to, but he was able to get us in later that morning.  And it was a good thing too.  Originally, I thought she maybe had a virus since all of the kids are slightly snotty and coughing, but we're gearing up for the Boundary Waters next week, and I didn't want to not take her in case it was something more serious. Turns out she has strep throat, an ear infection, and to top it all off, a respiratory infection.

And to think I wasn't going to take her in.

Now I am hoping that all of our kids will come down with it in the next few days so we can take them and get antibiotics for them before we go and my in-laws don't have to deal with it.  I already checked with the clinic and they said we just need a note giving rights to the grandparents to bring any of them in should they need it.  

Seriously  hoping Kembia is the only one, but definitely not holding my breath seeing as all the babies share sippy cups, and it is virtually impossible to prevent it.  I tried once to have a designated cup for each but gave up in frustration.

So far we are 1 1/2 months into 2013 and our medical payments are almost what they were for the entire year of 2012.  Maybe we're just getting all our sickness out right now and then will be done.  

Wishful thinking.

RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND: A Few Ways I Suck at Having a Sick Kid

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Little Family Experiment

I was in a local second hand book store when I came across a book called The Maker's Diet.  I had actually heard of it before about 6 or so years ago. Chris had an aunt that lost about 50 lbs. and was feeling amazing by following the principles in it.  The bookstore was closing and everything was super cheap, so I brought it home and started reading.

And it is totally fascinating.

Some things you already know, like avoiding milk with hormones in it, something I know I should be doing, but don't because of cost.  But it goes into all sorts of things like how as a society we are over clean and germaphobic and how he believes it's leading to a whole population that is only getting sicker because of it.  A line of thinking I happen to agree with both in my background in Microbiology, as well as watching my kids, especially Moyz and Kembia, who didn't get such a pampered start to life as the rest of my kids, and now watching them get by far less sickness then my other kids.

There's all sorts of things that are interesting from our need to have yogurt and fermented foods in our lives for good bacteria, to the avoidance of shellfish, lobster, mussels etc., due to the fact that they are basically bottom feeders that soak up all the nastiness in the oceans.  A fact which makes me considerably sad given that those are some of my favorite things to eat.

Anyway, long story short, Chris and I have decided to run a little experiment with our tribe for the month of March after we get back from the Boundary Waters.  We are going to eat only things that are unprocessed and naturally occurring.  If it comes pre-packaged we won't be eating it.  We will also be following the food laws in the Book of Leviticus, mostly because that is essentially where the book gets its information from.  Interestingly enough, the Old Testament specifically told the Jewish people to avoid all fish that do not have scales and are smooth sided, for examples, clams, mussles, lobster and eels.  They didn't understand that they would be used in the future to determine how much mercury is in the water and other nastiness.

This is not some legalistic experiment that we are running all for the sake of Christianity, but are looking at it in terms of why would God tell us not to eat certain things, and if we take them out of our diet, how does it make us feel?

Good bye bacon, I will totally miss you.

Here are some other things we won't be eating:

Pork in any form, soy, ostritch and emu, and just when I was having a hankering for those two items...., no lunch meat or any meat breaded, all dairy products with the exception of some goat cheese and milk, which less face it, we probably won't be eating either, beans, corn, potatoes, margarine, shortening, nuts, any spices with added sugars, all fruits with the exceptions of berries, grapefruits, limes and lemons, no alcoholic beverages, fruit juice, pop, pre-ground coffee, all grains, including oatmeal, sugar, heated honey, and any other artificial sweetners plus other things that I was too lazy to type .

Good grief.  It should be interesting, but I feel like we're halfway there because we have a whole freezer full of venison from this fall, and our own chickens we butchered last summer.  I am most interested in seeing how anyone in our family feels in terms of getting out grains.  Actually, we will have grains again after the first two weeks, but it will pretty much be limited to sprouted wheat berries (good thing I have some of those laying around!), which I can pound into flour if I really want to make bread, or we can just eat the sprouted berries kind of like oatmeal, and barley.

I am also interested in seeing how everything goes when we take out all forms of caffeine that Chris and I are used to- my two cups of tea in the morning with sugar, and Chris' ginormous cups on the weekends.  Herbal teas are allowed but just without sweetner, so if I am getting exceptionally crabby one day, I may just have to have a plain cup or two....

We will be making one giant exception, and that is for Ava's 10th birthday which falls in March, she will still get to pick out the meal she wants to eat and the type of cake, we can't take away all the fun for such an important birthday!

PS: I also drank my first kefir yesterday.  I'll admit it was a little hard to drink milk from a cup that sat on my counter for two days.  It just goes against everything that I am paranoid about leaving food out.  But I liked it, and will continue. Here's hoping for a wildly successful gut improvement in me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sad But True

I bought some of the gorgeous children's books I showed you a couple of weeks ago.  I got Anne of Green Gables,  Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Wind in the Willows and the Secret Garden.

And I need to come clean.  Remember how I said that I didn't know Peter Pan was a kid's book?  I also didn't know that about the Wizard of Oz.  Apparently, my education was sorely lacking in the English area.  I did, however, watch the movie, so I am just going to roll with fact that I have the general idea of how Wizard of Oz goes!

And, late as usual, given that we only watch PBS, I heard about Oz, The Great and Powerful coming out on March 8th.

Totally going.

And here's the trailer for all of our benefit

Also along the sad but true line, I just read for the first time, Anne of Green Gables.

I sort of feel like I failed in the "read this while you are still a kid" category.  I remember watching the movie on PBS, and loved it, especially when she cracks her slate over Gilbert's head.  And the part where she floats down the river and Gilbert saves her, but have never read the book.  How sad.  I immediately went to our local library to get the movies, and I am on a waiting list.  Apparently there are a lot of other women out there having the same fond memories that I had growing up.

Then I downloaded most of the books on my kindle so I can keep reading the series of Anne books, none of which I recall reading as a child either.  And all of which I will be pushing Ava to read.

Once she finishes The Secret Garden.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Kembia's "Nose Earring"

Ava had some of those little nail stickers to use for your manicures.  Kembia saw them and wanted one in a bad way.  So nice girl that she is, Ava gave her one and put it on her thumb.  To which Kembia said "no, on my nose.  I want a nose earring like mom".


I thought it was so cute.  And when I shared it with Chris he said  "Great.  We're totally going to have kids covered in piercings, tattoos and dye their hair".

I just looked at him and sweetly said "Oh, so you think I'm a bad example for our kids?"  Seeing as I have three tattoos (would love more), a nose ring and always dye my hair.

And he looked at me and realized what it was that he just said, and then tried to mumble something about how I wasn't a bad example, and that he just didn't want out kids to do any of those things really early in life.

Insert foot into mouth.

I tried to explain that there is a big difference between this:

heart nose ring

And this:

Givenchy Nose Ring

But this is more Chris' idea:

Nose Ring

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I'm So Over It

Winter, that is.  Today I had to threaten Owen that if he didn't get outside I was going to make him clean toilets.  And that was after we spent 2 hours watching Good Luck Charlie on Netflix.

I think I'll pass

Let's chat about that for a second.  I've mentioned that I want to move into the set of that show before.  So I got the genius idea of getting a free month trial for steaming Netflix so I could actually watch the show and escape reality for a teensy bit.  And then, when all the kids and I sat down to watch it, I dropped the Blu ray player remote into my giant glass of pop that Truitt was trying to step in for some unknown reason, which then short circuited the remote.  I dried it out for hours, but no luck, so off to Radio Shack I went where I bought one that once I got home wasn't compatible, so I had to go back and get a different kind.  That is a lot of work to watch free movies for one month.   And so far my free month trial has turned into a $20 mistake.

Have to say though, the kids and I are thoroughly enjoying the show.  Until my eyes start burning and I realize it's only 2:40 and still 3+ hours until Chris gets home from work.  And what exactly are we going to do for the rest of the day?

The three littlest kidlets have decided that the answer to that question is jumping from the coffee table onto the couch and back again.  Do you see those insane sharp, metal corners?  So far, through 5 kids, no injuries but I am not sure how much longer it will stay that way.  They think it's hilarious, I think it's a giant medical deductible waiting to happen.

Stone and metal, totally baby safe.

Also, I have to threaten at least one of them a day to not take the tiles out of the table because I don't have any replacements and Mommy will be very upset if they break one.

Naturally, you would think taking them outside would be a good option.  Do you know how much work it takes to get the babies outside?  Too much.  And then they just fall over and get their faces covered in snow and cry.  Totally not worth it.

Multiply times 3

February and March better go by really fast because I am starting to go CRAZY in my house.

Happy Love Day.

PS:  I made the Nutella stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies, and am so, so sad to report that it was just way too much for me.  The brown butter just took things too sweet.  Maybe if I had used it in the recipe off the back of Nestle it would have been better, but this recipe called for mostly brown sugar.  I think I am still in shock from everything coursing through my veins.  Of course, if you like uber sweet, run, run, run to the kitchen and make them immediately.

PPS:  Chris loved them.  Figures.

PPPS:  I leave for winter camping in the Boundary Waters in less than 2 weeks.  Somehow, I am just not getting up the gumption to get excited about it.  Chris thinks I should be out every day pulling all three babies in the sled on my skis so I can "get a feel for what it's going to be like", since what they collectively weigh together is about what my sled will contain.  I just give him dirty looks and tell him that I'll be fine.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Love Meal


Chris and I don't really do Valentine's Day.  Back when we were first married we would do gifts and go out, but it just felt so contrived so we quit.  Which is a good thing because it's just not worth the money to pay a babysitter for our 5 kidlets to go out on a holiday that someone else made up.  We'd rather be spontaneous or go out for a special reason of our own.

We do, however, use it as a good excuse to spend a little bit more on making a yummy supper at home, so I guess technically you could say we do valentines, but I don't really feel like it is.  It's just a good opportunity for us to try something we wouldn't normally do.

And to me, special food usually means seafood of some type is involved.

Here is what we've got going so far:

1.Oyster Stew

oyster stew

Our family loves oysters, even the babies, and when I saw this recipe in House Beautiful, I knew it would be popping up at some point in the Nelson household.  Perfect opportunity.  Go here for the recipe.

2.  Venison Roast on the grill

I've been eating venison since I've met Chris, and to be honest, at first I didn't like it all because I had never really eaten it before.  But the way Chris makes his roast is amazing and totally to die for.  He cooks it super slow and bastes it in butter and then adds Lowry's Seasoning Salt.  I wish everyone had the opportunity to eat this.

3.  Roasted Brussel Sprouts

These regularly make an appearance at our house, but they are so yummy and my kids always ask for them.

4.  Lobster Tails

Sadly, ours will be frozen and not fresh.  But the best lobster tail of my life was one I made at home two years ago.  It beat out every restaurant's lobster tail that I have eaten, hands down.  They're on sale for $5 per tail, so we'll buy one for Chris and me and the big kids and share between all of us.  If you go this route, keep it simple, nothing fancy.  Cook them till they're just done and then dip in butter.  The only way to eat them in my opinion.

5.  Dessert

Not exactly sure here, but probably I will serve blueberries and some other fruit.  It's on sale at the grocery store, and after a winter of pretty much eating apples, bananas and oranges, some new fruit will be a welcome change.

There you have it, our Valentine's meal.  And does it sound good.  And also kind of far away when you are so looking forward to eating it!

PS:  I haven't forgotten about the Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chips with Brown Butter.  I didn't make them this weekend like I said I was because Chris had to work on Saturday which he normally doesn't, then with church on Sunday and later a snow storm and driveway to clear, no can do.  But I did pick up the stuff and my plan is to make them today.  Hopefully.  And when I do, I'll let you know.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

New Artwork

When we first moved into our house (10 years ago this year, yikes!) I could not figure out what to do for artwork on one wall in the living room.  Contrary to popular opinion when you have as many kids as I do, I do not like to hang lots of family pictures everywhere.  Actually, now that I am thinking of it, I don't have a family picture hanging anywhere in my house.  I sound very emotionally attached to my family, I know.

So no family pictures but I have had these zebras in my house since the beginning:

And actually, I still love them, but after painting the walls white and 10 years of living with them, they have gotten a little old, and now I think they might be slightly too small for the wall even though they are multiples.

So I have been obsessed with Audubon prints for, like, ever- imagine that in a early 90's high school voice and you totally nailed me.  You also nailed Ava who is going through the whole-valley girl stage herself.  At 9.

But, I like to buy books and then frame the pages because it is a whole heck of a lot cheaper, the whole champagne taste but beer budget syndrome.  There are several books of Audubon prints, as well as calendars, but they were expensive, and I couldn't figure out if the pictures spanned both pages in the books, and it really ended up not worth my time.  Plus I couldn't pick the pictures I wanted, and the calendars were mostly pictures of multiple small birds and I am going for big impact.

And then one day last week I stumbled across the site and they had a whole slew of Audubon prints.  And I hit the motherload.

Feast your eyes upon these beauties.  For sure the Condor is making an appearance on the wall with two others formally occupied by zebras.

They start at $49.99 for an 18"X24" Giclee print.  Giclee is a fancy word for a process where millions of ink drops are splattered onto the paper and make up the picture.  This is standard for museum quality reproductions.  (info off the website)  

I'm going to wait until next month because I am trying to drastically reduce my monthly budget and improve our savings, and hopefully there will be a percentage off.

Aren't they gorgeous?  Seriously, that Condor is ridiculous.  I'm in love.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nutella Day?

I had no idea that there was a recognized (by who?) Nutella Day.  But I am all over that.  Technically, it was Tuesday, but better late to the game than never- yes?

Over on A Cup Of Jo, where I first heard about my new favorite holiday, was posted a bunch of Nutella recipes.  For the love of all good things, this is going to be very dangerous for me.

Had to post a few of the yummiest looking, but please, please go click and get the rest.  Your mouth will thank me for it.

Banana and Nutella Stuffed French Toast- the original link didn't work, but it's not hard to figure out.

The recipe is at the very bottom of the post.  Also, I think this might be my favorite without actually trying any of them.  Brown butter- my favorite- in a cookie?  Heaven.  I will, without a doubt, be making these this weekend and I will tell you on Monday how they turn out.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Packing, Packing, Packing

I've been dreaming about NYC since December when Chris got his 10 year gift from his company.  And I've been thinking about what to pack a lot.  Chris would prefer that I be thinking about the winter camping we are doing at the end of this month in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness, but alas, I am having a hard time getting over excited about the long johns and snowpants I'll be bringing on that trip.  Not to mention the 50lbs. of gear I'll be hauling in on a sled and cross country skis.....

True story about this picture, I googled winter camping images and this was the first picture that popped up! I almost peed a little when I saw hubby and a good friends of ours on a google search!  (Chris is on the right in case you couldn't tell because of all of his beardly manliness)

Thank goodness for that little addiction called Pinterest you all may have heard about.  It's helping me get inspired for my big city adventure.  Which also might be the fanciest stuff I ever do in the history of my life given that Chris' company is picking up the tab and they are being very generous in what they want us to do. Broadway, fine dining, killer hotel, the works.

But what to pack?  NYC can be tricky in April, although we'll be there when it's just about May.  I've heard freezing temps, to rain to 70 degrees.  I suppose I'll have to wait for the final stuff until it gets closer and I can look at a 10 day forecast, but until then, I am having fun with all of these.

Packing for New York
Nice and casual, but maybe a bit too summery for Spring.  Also I would never wear white pants or shorts.

Just ignore the pool attire, not really going to be a part of our trip

This one seems like the best that would correspond with what we are doing and potential colder weather.  Although I never wear yellow because it  makes me look sick.  But for a guideline, this is great.

I'm also going to try and do it all in a carry on because really, we are only going to be gone 5 days including the days we travel.  Chris doesn't think I can do it, especially because I'll need fancy clothes for Broadway and supper.  He thinks that since we'll be walking a lot during the days that we'll want to change for night stuff.  He's probably right, but that involves bringing a lot more stuff.  We'll see how savvy I can be.  Although, to be fair, I packed for two weeks in Africa in a carry on, so if I can do that, I can certainly do this!  

PS- If anyone's counting (mom and dad), Owen threw up last night making it a total of 4 of the Nelson's succumbing to norovirus.  It's just me and Moyz and Kembia remaining.  The question is for how long?  Also, sickness in large families suck.  It takes forever to go away.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sesame Street Spoofs Downton Abbey

You know you've made it big when Sesame Street Spoofs you.

It's a good thing my cousin emailed me this, because it's super cute, and also, Truitt threw up last night, so I had nothing for today. Which, by the way, officially starts week 2 of the sickness in our house.  And we still have 3 more kids for it to go though.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Awesome Crap

Slightly lazy in the DIY department due to sick kid and hubby, but I did find time to google all sorts of cool stuff whilst trying to stay sick free myself.  So far so good and I'm starting to feel all "Chris got sick and Jess didn't" cause he never gets sick and I always do.  Course, it will probably bite me in the butt later, but whatever, I'll gloat now.

Without further ado:

DIY Lace

From the blog Stripes and Sequins.  I'd probably do it in black lace since I don't wear a lot of gold, but either way, easy and awesome.

Wisdom from Adele  (cannot get Skyfall out of my head!)

Black Trimmed Windows
white walls with black trimmed windows
Contemplating for the living room

adore feb-mar 2013 cover
Normally I am not an online magazine type person, but this color issue is awesome and makes me want to keep coming back to Adore (Australian magazine) to see how it is the rest of the year.

Driftwood Mirror
Love this from In The Fun Lane.  Don't really have access to driftwood, but sticks and branches will totally work, and since our home is taking on a nice rustic/tribal theme, this ought to go great in the bathroom.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Books, Books, Books

So I am sure that you have seen the Penguin clothbound books that came out around 2009.

Amazing, yes?

I bought the complete collection of Jane Austen's books quite a few years ago, but lately have been thinking about acquiring more because 1. I love books, and 2. the beautiful, the better.  (Not knocking kindle because I think it's a fabulous way to carry a bunch of books with you, but it will never, ever be the same as holding a book in your hands).

Then I discovered that these were a limited edition and some of them are getting hard to find.  You can buy the entire collection off Amazon for something like $550, but since that's not even remotely in my budget, I am going to try and buy them piecemeal.

My credit card (which I ALWAYS pay off every month in full), gives me points to places and amazon is one of them, so while lying in bed today avoiding my kids and Chris and Ava who are slowly on their way to recovery, while I think I may be feeling that "going to throw up in the future" tingle at the back of my throat, or maybe it's just paranoia, I ordered these four:


Lady Chatterley's Lover (this one I got at, Amazon was sold out)

The Woman In White

Hound of the Baskervilles (seriously, go watch BBC's Sherlock!)

The last one isn't the brightest colors, but mostly I ordered it for the story.  I have to admit that the first three I ordered largely because of the color of the book, to add some flair to the others I already have and add some color to the living room where I keep them.  But I'm not quite that shallow because I do like the way the stories sound.  That's the reason why I didn't order the Jabberwocky one.


It's gorgeous, but I am not a huge fan of poems and would rather order the stories first.

Hopefully, the books will still be available as I try to buy them over the next couple of months.  In my mind, books should always be this gorgeous.  And then while toodling around some more, I came across these Puffin Classics.  

Just a small sampling.

This has got to stop.  Now I am just as fascinated with these, although they are for kids.  Examples are Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables....

Can I be totally honest here and tell you that I did not know that Peter Pan was an actual book?  I just thought it was a Disney movie.  Bet you can guess at least on of the ones I will order in the future!