Carver the Helper Boy

A post from Kelli–

I kow this is a big surprise, but I really just love Carver!  That kid is just the coolest!  At times, he can be a bit of a handful, but usually it’s because he’s a smart kiddo!

When he stayed overnight a few weeks ago, he was my helper boy once again!  I was working on cleaning up in my dining room/downstair sewing room as Puppycat had gotten into the garbage and pulled a meat wrapper out and stashed it in her secret hiding place that isn’t so secret.  While I was cleaning up the bits of paper, I also started picking up the remants of scrap vortex that have just been hanging out on the floor for a while.  I didn’t say anything to him, but he ran over to help me.  Shortly after, I was working on getting a bottle warmed up and changing Georgia and he came over and handed me a grocery sack.  I opened it up and then walked back over to the dining room/sewing room and by golly that little kiddo had picked up all of the rest of the scrap vortex scaps!  Isn’t he the best!?!?!

A bit later, I needed to take a shower because we needed to go to Decorah as I needed groceries and we had to meet up with Kalissa so he could have some Mommy time.  I called him over and asked if he could be my biggest helper boy.  I asked him if he could watch Georgia while I took a shower and his eyes just lit up.  He loves that girl and loves to help take care of her at every opportunity!  I told him that if she cried, he needed to give her her pacifier and if that didn’t help, he needed to come and get me.  He was thrilled with the responsibility.

NOTE–I know that he is too young to babysit.  I was more or less giving him something to do so that he wouldn’t find any trouble.  Also, he is well aware of the rules when it comes to babies–No picking them up, be gentle, no pushing their paci, etc

When I was in the shower, I’d stick my head out of the shower and listen.  Thankfully, all I heard was Blippi!

When I was almost done, Carver came roaring into the bathroom and told me Georgia was crying.  I quickly finished and came out to find this–

For some reason he felt it necessary to take his shirt off–Why?  I have no idea.  Often times, I count it as a success as long as he either has his shirt on or bottoms on.

He had helped her get her pacifier back and she was content.  He also decided to share his doll with her.  He can be a handful, but sometimes that boy sure melts my heart!

Before long, we were off and ready to go!  I had a big list of stuff to get at the grocery store.  I was a little worried to try and tackle it with two littles, but I wrapped and wore Georgia and Carver was a big help in the important jobs like which bag of carrots to buy or which bunch of celery we should get.  He happily threw them in the cart and thought he was on top of the world.  When it came to canned goods however, I quickly learned that throwning them in the cart was definitely not the best idea.  Hopefully I’ll have some time to get it down going grocery shopping with one kid…

My Tagless Garage Sale Find

A post from Kelli–

A few weeks ago, before Dad passed away, I heard about a tagless garage sale that a group was going to sponsor in the next town over.  The parents of the middle school students had gotten together and decided to put on a tagless garage sale and vendor show as a fundraiser for the student’s trip to Washington D.C and I was thrilled to contribute.  They had tons of vendors with clothing, jewelry, and all kinds of goodies.  But me?  I was going for the tagless garage sale.

I found a few clothing items and some other odds and ends, but this was one of my favorite finds!

Looks like a regular old cookbook right?  Well this cookbook was created and such by yours truly!  Me!

After high school, I went to Upper Iowa.  After 5 1/2 years, I ended up graduating with a degree in Secondary Education and able to teach social studies and business, as well as Management and Marketing degrees.  I did a marketing internship with mom and ended up doing my Management Internship at the daycare center I worked at.  As part of a fundraiser, we made a cookbook and I was responsible for getting the recipes together and submitted.

Here you can see my name–Kelli Kramer–if you look really close!

I also shared some of mom’s recipes–We love these hot dog meatballs!  Here’s the link for them

It’s always fun going through and seeing what kinds of recipes people have added in.  As great as Pinterest is, sometimes there’s nothing better than a paper cookbook and some old church recipes.  I especially like flipping through them and seeing who submitted them.  I’ve made friends with a few ladies at the nursing home and like to try their recipes and report back to them.

It looks like I even “borrowed” one of Kalissa’s recipes here–Cheesecake!  Who doesn’t love cheesecake?  Actually Jason doesn’t….which may be his most unredeeming quality…You can see the link better here

I found mom’s Smores Brownies too–See?? …

Taking a Walk through the Eyes of a Toddler

A post from Kelli–

Before dad got sick, we always joked about me being on maternity leave and my great dislike of being at home for days by myself.  Obviously I would have the baby with me, but we all know that about 3 days at home is my max before I pack up and head to mom and dad’s.  Everyone was taking bets on how long it would be before mom or dad would have to sit me down and have a talk with me about how they were happy to have me over occasionally, but I needed to go home occasionally.

A few months down the road, and they haven’t had to have that talk.  With dad being sick, I’ve spent lots of time at home helping with childcare and such.  There are drawbacks of course, but there are some amazing perks!  Since mom and dad live in town, our evening activity often involves talking to Kalissa and going on a little walk.  She has a stroller that Carver can both sit on and stand on, but it also has a spot for Gannon’s carseat to snap into.  I have a stroller for Georgia, and then mom usually has the dogs on a leash.

Here’s Georgia all snuggled in her carseat that snaps in so easily.  I know that kiddos aren’t supposed to wear big bulky snow suits but I just use it for when we go on walks to keep her nice and snuggle warm–Shout out to Lora who passed it on from little Miss Lucy!

It is so fun to see all of the things as Caver sees them!

It’s hard to see it in the picture, but there were a bunch of little blue flowers that were growing on the side of one of the roads that we often walk on.  We also talked about squirrles and animals we saw on the way….the sprayer at the coop…the water in the river….how Kalissa’s friend Regan played with him at the playground a while ago….

Things that I don’t even think about are entralling to him and it is so incredibly fun to see!

On this particular night, Kalissa had to teach clinicals the next morning and Craig was away for work.  I offered to take Carver for the night so that Kalissa wouldn’t have to wake him up really early in the morning to take him to Mom’s.  We dropped Kalissa and Gannon off at their house and Carver walked back to Mom’s with me, Georgia, and the dogs.

We were walking along and he just started yelling about how he saw S as one of the little girls at childcare’s name starts with S!  We then had to go through all of the letters on the stop sign and talk about who’s name it was for.  It was just hilarious and super cute how he was so excited!

Little moments like this are the things that have made the past few months more bearable!

After Pregnancy Cravings–French Toast

A post from Kelli–

As you know, my pregnancy was difficult at times.  I puked quite regularly throughout my entire pregnancy, lost 20 pounds at one point (gained part of it back, but never reached my pre-pregnancy weight) and was super tired.  Often people asked what I craved.  Most of the time, I craved not eating.  People often told me that was bad for the nausea, but on the bad days I just couldn’t eat.  There were a few spurts where I’d crave strange things–Laffy Taffy (but not banana flavor), chicken fries and mashed potatoes with gravy from Pizza Ranch (I might have gotten in a little argument with the delivery guy once), ham and pickle roll ups to the point where I carried the ingredients with me everywhere, and Rocky Road ice cream but only the Walmart brand.  I’d crave most of it for a day or two, maybe a week and then be done.

The real cravings hit for me after I had Georgia.  I had her at 10:22 at night and so in our little town, nothing was open by the time that we were ready to be moved to our room.  Jason ran to Kwik Star to see what had been sitting in the warmer for hours and came back with some cheese stuffed bread sticks.  Ever since then, I’ve found myself going out of my way to get gas at Kwik Star, knowing that I will likely be able to grab myself a pack.

The other thing I have craved is French Toast–To the point where mom, dad, Kalissa, and especially Jason make fun of me regularly.  It was the first thing that I ate at the hospital for breakfast and I really think that my body had been feeling so crappy and I hadn’t been able to eat for so long that the French Toast just hit the spot.

Ever since I was discharged, I’ve always had a batch of French Toast in the refrigerator to warm up whenever I want some!

Again, Betty Crocker came to my rescue–

I swear, there is a recipe for almost everything in here–especially if you like jellied loaves of meat and things!  Ha!

The bread section though is the best!  They have french toast, pancakes, baking powder biscuits–All Kramer/Hanken house favorites!  I always joke that it’s easy to find the right page because I’ve spilled on it so much that that page is stiffer than the rest.

It’s super easy to make!  I whip up a batch every few days and keep the leftovers in a bag in the fridge.  A minute in the microwave, butter and syrup and I’m a happy, happy girl!

I don’t have a griddle, but I do have a skillet that I received as a wedding gift.  One thing that is nice is that I’m able to make a batch easily while making supper or doing dishes.  They take a little while too cook on each side, but when they are done–They are the BEST!!!

A funny side note–When we were little, we always went to church as a family on Sunday mornings.  There were a few times when dad wouldn’t quite make it to church so we would go without him, but when we came home, he would have made french toast for breakfast with sugar syrup.  I remember a few times asking my mom to make french toast for supper, but she always said that was a thing that dad made and since she was making supper, we weren’t going to have french toast.  As a kid, I just thought she didn’t know how to make it, but couldn’t quite figure it out because if that was one of the only things dad made and there was a recipe for it, why couldn’t she figure it out?  As an adult, I asked her about this and she told me that if she would have made us french toast, it wouldn’t be as special when dad made it.  It’s little things like that that remind me if I can be half the parent either of my parents were, Georgia is going to be the luckiest little girl in the world!

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