Category Archives: holidays

The Snake

We are really lucky that we have a boat available to us in the summers. We live on a river, it gets hot as hell and sometimes you just wanna get out there! We’ve been really reluctant the last few years to take it out, having so many kids and all. But last night, as the temp reached over 100 degrees, we said, “To hell with it, we’re packing these monsters up and giving it a whirl.”

And we did.


When Danny got off work, we slipped out of our clothes and into swimsuits and grabbed some towels, some snacks, some lifejackets and went out on the Snake River.

The kids were SO GOOD. They sat, they listened, they were safe, and we didn’t have to worry once. We stopped a couple times to jump in and swim and then headed further upriver to a beach.


The views in Hell’s Canyon are incredible.


The sky was clear, it was hot, and everything was perfect for a trip to the beach.

Even mama took part in the fun. I mean, after posing for a ridiculous, cliche, ‘standing on a beach making my legs look as tan as possible’ photo. Duh.


The kids ran wild and laughed and swam and had the best time ever.


We left with a promise to come back soon — and we’re making good on our promise and are heading out again tomorrow.


Happy Saturday!


DIY Fabric Banner


You can all now call me Dr. Prasil.

Or Professor Prasil.

Or Professor.

Or just Ruthie, I don’t care, but I prefer Dr. Prasil.

What I’m saying is that I’m teaching a blogging class at our local college all about blogging and one thing we did was a DIY post. Enjoy!


Here’s what you need:

Photo Apr 14, 6 27 54 PM


Cut the fabric into 1″ strips.Photo Apr 14, 6 34 18 PM


Oh, hello, lovely class.Photo Apr 14, 6 34 54 PM

Fold the strips in half…like so.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 10 PM


At the end of the strip with the fold, fold it down again only about 1″ down.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 24 PM


Cut a slit about 1/2″ long on that fold (so that when you unfold it, it’s an inch long, Einstein)Photo Apr 14, 6 39 36 PM

There’s your slit.Photo Apr 14, 6 39 47 PMPhoto Apr 14, 6 39 59 PM

Lay it on top of the jute cord like this:Photo Apr 14, 6 46 26 PM


Pull the ‘free ends’ around the back side of the jute cord and through the slit.Photo Apr 14, 6 46 43 PM


Tighten that baby up.Photo Apr 14, 6 47 00 PM


Now, go create a petition and present it to your dean of nursing, proposing a change in carpet pattern.


You’re done!

Easter and Birthdays and Hot Springs

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but a bit of time has passed since my last post. It’s not my fault.

No, it definitely is, 100%. My camera cord decided not to work and then I get cranky when I don’t have pictures and then the kids were on Spring Break and I worked a lot and then I had surgery (no, that’s a lie, but it usually gets me some sympathy) and then I finally went to Staples and got a card reader.

Let’s start with Easter. The kids got roller blades and roller skates and candy. Easter egg hunting was dangerous.

But they managed.

Naturally, Franci Pants’ basket was my favorite.


Those books. HEART EYES (I need an emoji keyboard).

But Franci Pants the baby? She was as quiet and sneaky as a fox…

While we were busy finding all the eggs (because finding all the real dyed eggs is extremely important) she didn’t make a peep and devoured approximately 5 mini reese’s cups, 1/2 a full size Hershey’s, 15 mini M&Ms and 1/3 giant bunny ears. It was a mess and a disaster. But I quickly forgot about it when I got this shot of the kittens:


Just look at all of them. *sigh*

The rest of our Easter was lovely. We went to church (all of us…a miracle), went to hunt eggs at Grandma and Grandpa’s, ate breakfast, came home, hunted some more, then went to some of our very favorites — the Sanchirico’s. The kids ran wild with their best friends, we ate some really delicious food, we laughed and we drank and we just had a really solid time.

Then it was spring break.

I survived.

And yesterday it was my birthday. HOLLLLAAAAAAA 31. We didn’t do anything crazy, no huge parties. We had breakfast with my parents and then we drove up to Weir hot springs. It was pretty incredible. The hike wasn’t too bad – flat in some parts, really steep in others, but doable. The weather was perfect: 69 degrees. The kids were stoked and so were we. We thrive off of adventures like this.

We were there all afternoon and Danny and I were in heaven — watching the kids have such a blast and not having them glued to a screen was perfect. The Lochsa river is one of the most beautiful and little creeks and waterfalls along the way make it even better.

This week I’m awfully busy, too. I have Willow Center and I’m teaching a blogging class and co-hosting a baby shower and work and school volunteering and my besties Cleo and Stella are on vacation so I don’t even get to hang with them. But I’m lucky to be so busy.


I felt like this Christmas season was the shortest I’ve ever experienced. Honestly, I feel like it was just a couple weeks ago we had Thanksgiving. It crept up on us for sure, but we enjoyed every second of it.

We started with Christmas Eve at Danny’s parent’s house. His sister was in town with her husband and son so we ate lunch with them and had Christmas after.

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The kids had fun but were so tired. I guess that’s what happens when you get spoiled rotten.

We went home for just a little bit before heading to children’s Mass. Jamie has a hard time in church as do all the girls except Maria. Okay, so basically my kids hate church. After 20 minutes (15 of which was a nativity play that, if I might have an opinion, should have been the homily) my kids were done so I took them to the cry room. That’s where Jamie proceeded to write “SOS” on a piece of paper and hold it up to the big windows facing the congregation in the hopes that a member might see it and come to his rescue, taking him home. It didn’t happen. We were in there for quite a while until church was over and we booked it to my parents where it’s been tradition for as long as I can remember to have burgers as Christmas Eve dinner. We ate and played games and had a nice night.

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Of course, it being Christmas Eve, the kids didn’t get to sleep until 11:30 which meant Danny and I were doing stockings till midnight. It was fine, we usually don’t go to sleep until after that anyway, but we were unusually tired.

Christmas was fun. The kids had a blast, loved everything, and were so happy.

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This is the picture that makes my heart flutter:


Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Halloween 2015: part 2

It was a weird Halloween.

 Danny was gone the week leading up to it and 80% of the actual day of Halloween. So I did it all myself. Which is fine, but not quite as fun. We started festivities on Wednesday with our kid party which took us into Thursday’s school Halloween parties and eventually Friday.

On Friday Maria had her first choir performance and she did so well. I was so proud of how confident and positive she was. It might have helped that I picked up her two very best friends and took them with me to watch her.



After school she had ballet so while she was dancing, I took the girls to the downtown trick-or-treat thing. Jamie chose to stay home.


I let them choose their own costumes, 100%. That’s a hard one for me. Day 1 Charlotte chose a bat (she chose Belle for Halloween night), Alice chose a storm trooper, Ollie chose a witch, Maria was Wonderwoman and Franci was a pig.

Do you even know the kinds of creative I would have come up with?! I’m talking Wizard of Oz or Lord of the Rings or Circus or ANYTHING BUT FREE CHOICE!!

Sometimes being an easy going parent is sucky. Thank God it doesn’t happen very often.


[dawn gave each of the kids a goody bag full of fun. charlotte tore into that sucker as soon as she could]

Friday night, Maria had 2 Halloween parties: 1 at the bowling alley and 1 at a friend’s house. Having the 6 kittens alone made it really hard to do transport all day long, all by myself. For the nighttime parties, the kids were NOT happy with me at having to get in and out of the car every 2 hours for more taxi time. I bribed them with treats.

On Saturday Alice had her last soccer game (WOOHOO!) and she even scored a goal. SHE SCORED A GOAL!!!

Here’s a little insider fact about big families: kids rarely get to do things alone, things that are just for themselves. Alice had a soccer pizza party and she begged me to just let her be the one to go and not “all the kids.” I wasn’t sure how to make that happen with Dan being gone, but I also knew it was really important to her to have this one thing. Luckily, my cousin Abbey is the sweetest and my kids just adore her and think she basically is magic, so she said she would take Alice and hang out with her there. Oh, it made her day. Then we had Pumpkin-Palooza downtown. Maria danced and the rest of us trick-or-treated.

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The streets are wet because it was rainy.

Happy Halloween.

After that we had a little down time.

But then it was time to go out again. It was raining cats and dogs and I swear that if I didn’t know for a fact I’m not losing it, I might have thought we had the wrong day for Halloween. We were the ONLY ones out trick or treating. I know it was raining, but really?! After about an hour of walking around we headed back home where our pals met us and we decided to go out again. All in all, it was a good Halloween. Cold and wet, but fun.

halloween2015-5 halloween2015-6

Jamie isn’t pictured at all, in case you didn’t notice.

We’re learning how to be the best parents for him. When to let things go – knowing what’s important and what’s not. There are some things that he needs to learn and try and attempt in order to both be a good person and be successful in life. Dressing in costume and participating in Halloween isn’t one of them. I’m not sure I would have let him just stay home had this been any previous year. I might have made him just suck it up and put on a mask just to be with us and be ‘normal’ and ‘have fun.’ Believe it or not, I’ve become a bit wiser over the course of the last 9 months or so and I’ve tried really hard to see the world from Jamie’s eyes and only then make a decision or help him make a decision when it comes to social things. And make those decisions so they are best for him…not us.

It’s hard.

I want really badly for him to love doing things with us, no matter what it is and I’d love to have him in that picture of all the kids in costume. But I’m not going to force him to put on a costume just so I can say he did it. I’m not going to make him knock on strangers doors and talk to them and look them in the eyes and collect candy he’ll never eat just because that’s what most kids are doing. He had a very nice night staying home and watching TV and reading…and I’m okay with that now.

We will see what next year brings but as for this year, we had a very Happy Halloween.

Party of 17, Please.

We are a large family. With six kids, we get comments/questions/looks just about everywhere we go. I know, it sounds like I’m just saying that, but it’s true. 90% of the time we are out with our kids, someone says something about our family size. It’s rarely rude or mean, most often it’s just a comment on how many kids we have or how busy we must be or how full our hands are.

(so full)

It helps to be able so say, “Oh, I know, but my friends Liz and Paul have seven kids.”

By the time I say this, people have usually moved on and don’t really care to hear what I have to say. They’re more worried about getting that next sample at Costco or making sure their veggies are correctly bagged. Which is fine by me, we all know how much I love talking to people.

But let’s get back to that family with seven kids.

They joined us for a weekend up at Dan’s parent’s cabin in Sandpoint. Yes, that’d make 17 people…13 of them children. Even I have to admit how ridiculous that is.


cabin-6340 cabin-6400

We had so much fun. We pretty much stayed close to home (with the exception of a trip to a museum and a quick trip back towards home for a couple hours one day). We had dinners at the cabin which I think is really fun because it’s really laid back and the kids can come and go and run around and no one it too concerned with strict rules. Because it’s the cabin. And it’s Liz and Paul. Parents who are laid back are my favorite type. (Dan happens to be the most laid back of the laid back parents. I kinda like him.)

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[chatting over some beer]


[Liz made salsa}


The kids were all so good.

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They slept in, they ate, they played, they were fun and polite and easy to wrangle. The big kids took care of the little kids and they were pretty great.

They even played with the adults.

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(for 2 years, I’ve tried to lure this kid into a friendship with me. he’s tough. I’ve tried buying his friendship with frappuccinos, brownies, and Nerf guns. I think I may have won him over when I brought Danny into it.)

We swam and we boated and we jet skied and we ate and we drank and we played poker and we talked and we laughed and we cried. Just kidding, we didn’t cry. But we did laugh.


We spent a pretty great weekend in a pretty amazing place.

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Dan took a whole week off of work, and that doesn’t happen very often. Usually it’s a day here, a day there…so we are taking full advantage. Mostly because school starts next week and we’re cranky about it.

Happy End of Summer!


I want a million things for my kids. I want them to be successful and not worry about finances when they’re older. I want them to be happy and have a job they love. I want them to be comfortable and find someone who loves them for exactly who they are. I want them to be curious and I want them to travel and I want them to do well in school and I want them to have a zillion reasons to eat cake and celebrate.

And I want them to have adventures.

This last trip we took opened my eyes a little bit. I sat on the beach and watched as the kids ran from the waves, their smiles as big as they could possibly be. I truly don’t think I’ve ever seen Jamie so happy for so long as he was when we were at the ocean. He ran around from the waves to the sand to the rocks to the tide pools back to the waves, smiling and laughing the whole time. Alice had a hundred things to tell me about the big rock and jelly fish and people who save swimmers. Maria was in awe of the tiny crabs and sea creatures in the tidal pools. Charlotte couldn’t have been more thrilled to be a big kid with her older sisters and Olive was content to watch it all. My kids, on this huge adventure, were in heaven. They were doing something out of the ordinary and different. We weren’t on a schedule, we didn’t have any place to be and they were free to explore. I want to change things. I want to spend free time and extra money on adventures, not things (let’s be honest…i love things). I want to watch the kids’ eyes light up and I want to hear stories about the things they see for years and years and years. And while we try to do that as much as we can, I find myself getting sucked into things. The coolest new baby gadget or the cutest new trend in baby footwear (oops, I’m a victim of the moccasin craze). It’s easy to say we’ll do this or that but it’s extremely difficult to follow through. You always hear that spending time and money on experiences are so much better than on ‘stuff’ — and I always have good intentions. So cross your fingers for me, eh? <—I’m also trying to be more Canadian.

So enough with the words. Here’s our latest Oregon adventure (all phone photos…i was nervous about sand in my ‘good’ camera):

We went to the Oregon Zoo where Maria learned she will never have a wingspan like a vulture.coasty-1

Francesca was happy and smiling the whole day in her stroller. That’s why I keep her around. Because she’s basically a perfect little thing.coasty-2

We saw the most adorable baby elephant and its mama.coasty-3

And Jamie took lots of book breaks.coasty-4

I ended up hauling Charlotte around like this most of the time:coasty-6

The kids pretended to be penguins.coasty-7

Charlotte got her feet wet.coasty-8

Ollie laughed and laughed. And laughed some more.coasty-9

I got stuck carrying her when I wasn’t holding Charlotte on my shoulders. I had all 6 kids at the zoo alone, so I basically gave in to anything they wanted to make life happier.coasty-11

At the Children’s Museum, Ollie helped as a checker. She just might have a future as a grocer.coasty-12

We stayed with Uncle Josh on Thursday where Francesca had quite a time.coasty-13

So did Ollie and Alice and Jamie and Charlotte and Maria.coasty-14 coasty-15

Brandi the Incredible gave us passes to shop the Nike Employee Store — holy thankful. Several pair of shoes, shorts, tanks, and sweatshirts later and we are decked out. Thanks, Brandi!!coasty-17

Danny had breakfast at Pine State Biscuits (we opted for Blue Star Donuts)coasty-18

At the coast, the kids were happy as clams with coffee shop breakfast.coasty-20 coasty-21

Nothing beats ocean views, that’s a fact.coasty-22

Maria and I went horseback riding.coasty-23  coasty-26

If you could hear them belly laugh after looking at this picture, you’d be happy for days.coasty-27

Franci was a trooper. Sand in the eyes, mouth, and ears didn’t bother her a bit.coasty-28

Charlotte enjoyed evening s’mores. Sometimes she’s a bit serious.coasty-29 coasty-30 coasty-31 coasty-32

And our proudest accomplishment this trip? Ikea on a weekend with ALL SIX KIDS. We left with all 6 of them. This, my friends, is something.


Happy Adventures.