Friday, January 25, 2013

Edventures Childrens Museum

Last Monday Brent was off from work and kids were out of school, so we drove to Columbia SC (about 1 hour away) and spent a few hours at the children's museum there. It was perfect for our kids ages. The downstairs had a huge area call "world of work" that was sectioned off by different categories - firetruck, farming area with tractor and a milk production line, grocery store complete with cash registers and check out lines, construction site, etc. Lot of hands on stuff for kids to do. This was our kids favorite and they could have spent endless hours in this one exhibit!

no surprise, but grahams favorite was the firetruck and tractor!

just like big daddy's tractor

milk comes from where???

using hand pedals to move the bulldozer

daddy gave Avery a lesson in robotic surgery

the biggest game of operation ever!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Upward Basketball

I'll preface this blog by saying that I just got a new computer - a MAC - and I'm not very proficient on it!!!  So my blogging is slow coming but should pick up the pace eventually!!

 We are currently letting Griffin give basketball a try. He's playing in the Upward league - right by the house, practice and game on Saturday mornings with no weeknight commitment, and focus is on sports and Biblical character traits. Its a great way to expose the kids to different sports. Griffin is enjoying basketball but hasn't really grasped any strategy yet!!  He did get the ball and attempt a shot today so that was exciting!  
 our smiley dude!

since there was no weeknight commitment, Brent is helping coach this season. 

the kids are taught a man-to-man defense so they each have a color placed on their shoulder and before playing, they line up facing the person on the opposing team that has their same color. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Carsyn is 8 months!

 This little squirt is a little over 8 months old already. As you can see in this picture, she has inherited the Parnell tongue sticking out trait!  

Carsyn continues to be our highest maintenance child!!  She is super attached to mommy and screams bloody murder when I am not in sight. She is super obsessed with my hair and loves to grab it, hold it, or rub her face with it. I am soon to have 2 bald spots where Carsyn pulls out handfuls of hair multiple times a day. She decided over the past 2 months that she likes Brent and will hang out with him in short intervals, but she dives for me if I am anywhere near.  The cardiologist says that a major complaint of infants with PA stenosis is irritability - so we are anxious to see if her temperament changes after her valve is fixed or if she is just an ill-tempered child!!!  Her cath is January 24 so you can be praying for us that day! 

Carsyn is still enthralled with her siblings and they are pretty good at calming her down and entertaining her. When she is sitting in the bouncy chair, Graham sits in her lap facing her and she just laughs at him. When a stranger smiles or talks to her, she looks to me with a "is this ok?" face before returning their smile. Carsyn is working hard to figure out how to crawl. Currently, she just scoots herself backwards constantly. She has been doing a lot of "downward dog and upward dog" lately so I think crawling is in our near future. 

Carsyn was sleeping thru the night 1/2 the time at 4 months old but hasn't really slept well since then!!  This week has been an improvement with only waking up once most nights!!  Naps are consistent though so that is nice!

 yoga time

 loving those blue eyes and sweet smile

Again, no personal space for child #4!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Just wanted to share 2 new recipes...We had some friends over for New Years so I wanted to make both collard greens and black eyed peas to go along with the ribs Brent was smoking...I'm not a "greens" eater and had never cooked blacked eyed peas - both of these recipes are fantastic!

Grits and Greens Casserole

1 medium onion
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups grits (not instant)
1 pound bag of frozen greens (collard or spinach - I used collard)
2 sticks butter
1 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups Monterrey jack cheese (reserve a little for topping)
salt and pepper, to taste
8 cups chicken broth, divided
2 cups half and half

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Cook bacon in skillet. Drain most of grease but save some to saute onion in until its caramelized.
3. In large pot, combine 1/2 and 1/2, and 6 cups broth. Bring to a boil, stir in grits, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer. Stir often to keep from burning. You want normal grits consistency. Use a whisk to get lumps out.
4. While grits are cooking, cook greens in remaining 2 cups broth. Cook about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and squeeze out all liquid.
5.Add butter, cheeses, onion, salt and pepper to grits.  When butter is melted, stir in greens.
6. Place mixture into a greased 13x9 dish. Top with crumbled bacon and reserved cheese.
7. Bake in oven until golden brown - 15-20 minutes.

New Years Back Eyed Peas

1 lb dry black eyed peas
2 TBSP olive oil
1 large yellow onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 (32 oz) cartons chicken broth
8 cups water
1 lb smoked ham hocks
1 can diced tomatoes
5 pepperoncini peppers
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Place black eyed peas in large container and cover with cool water. Let stand over night. Drain and rinse before using.

2. In large pot over medium heat, cook and stir onion and garlic in olive oil until is translucent. Add broth and 8 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer. Stir in peas, ham hocks, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, bay leaf, and spices. Cover and simmer until peas are tender and ham meat is falling off of the bone and the broth is thickened, about 3 hours. ( we took the lid off for the last 20 minutes and the sauce thickened up / reduced then.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas in Jasper

 This was the year for all of my siblings to get together for Christmas...we only attempt this every 3 years...this year, everyone but Landon and Hannah made it - they are just 2 weeks away from their due date with their first little girl. So we had 14 adults and 15 children at the cabin. Lots of noise, lots of laughter, and lots of fun! 
 Aeneas (justin's 2nd) and Griffin were shepherds in our nativity. 

 Attempted family pic with nina and big daddy on Christmas Eve

 caught one of her few smiling moments!  (carsyn did lots of crying and little sleeping while at the cabin)

 Santa came to see the kids on Christmas Eve, bearing headlamps and books for the boys

 and flashlights and books for the girls. 

 Santa's delivery for Christmas morning

 look - pyotes! (graham language for coyotes!)

 Santa brought Griffin an adventure set with a vest, binoculars, and a bug collection set

 "swimming"  in the hot tub (greenlee -garretts 1st; patrick - justins 1st; avery, griffin; aeneas - justins 2nd)

 more of our nativity (Patrick was Joseph; Avery an angel; Addison and Saeran - Peyton's oldest 2 - were angels as well. 

Greenlee was Mary; grant - Haley's 2nd was Jesus; and Kale - Preston's 1st was a wise man.

 Carsyn's first Christmas

 Nina and Big Daddy with all of their grand kids except Carsyn - she was actually sleeping and we didn't dare disturb her! 

 Patrick and Avery had so much fun together...and did lots of dance shows for us. 

 this boy loved presents!

Merry Christmas!