Monday, December 29, 2008

Just in case you missed it...

One of my favorite parts of Christmas is writing the annual Christmas letter to our friends and family...
8 Great Kuhtz Headlines of 2008! 8. “I am a Champion!”- Abby (3) not only learned to swim this summer, she was declared the champion of Jan Thomas Swim School (everyone is). With chlorine pumping through her blood she has set her sights on swimming on the swim team like her big brother next summer! Nothing can stand in her way! 7. Call him Michael Phelps Jr.- Jack (6 ½ ) spent the summer perfecting his swim stroke. Amazingly the child who could barely float on his back in May was able to win first place in backstroke at the recreational swim team championship in July! The whole family was very excited to watch the real Michael Phelps compete in the Olympics in August. Jack has worked hard all fall to accrue quite a collection of swimming ribbons and has started talking about when he is in the Olympics. 6. Just Me and My Shadow- While the family is away, Rachel is BUSY!!! Rachel has been able to fill her free mornings with going to the gym, housework, and running errands by herself. Rachel says “it is amazing how much stuff you can get done in 3 hours with no kids!” Rachel also became involved in the Reagan Parent Teacher Club and Junior League of Fresno and has read a lot of great books. 5. Speed is his middle name- Jack “Speed” Kuhtz was able to narrowly win the Fresno Fireman’s Box Cart Race in June. Jack, a veteran driver of 3 years won the new “Speedster” division, in which drivers race against all the age groups. He currently has his sights set on building his first Pinewood Derby car for the big race in January. 4. Family Times are the Best of Times- The Kuhtzs were able to connect with a lot of family in 2008. In March, the family along with the Foxes and Callahans met the Keith-Zamora family from Colorado in Anaheim for a fun few days at the Happiest Place on Earth. In June, Cousin Kelly Oswald and her boyfriend Carl from Wisconsin came to visit. That gave the family a chance to see some California relatives that they don’t see too often in an unofficial Kuhtz Family Reunion. The family travelled to Wisconsin for the official Kuhtz family reunion with Grandma and PaPa Kuhtz, in August. They had a terrific time visiting with family, attending the Wisconsin State Fair, and making the pilgrimage to the infamous Kuhtz Tap. The family looks forward to spending the holidays at home with family, especially their new cousin, Blake Charles Kuhtz. 3. Wheels on the Bus- Fall brought lots of changes to the Kuhtz household. Jack started first grade at Reagan Elementary School as a bus rider. Abby began attending preschool three days a week at Fresno Montessori School. If school wasn’t enough each child joined various activities- karate, dance, swimming, and Cub Scouts to name a few. Rachel and Steve manage to keep it all straight and everyone seems to be where they need to be when they are supposed to be there (and it isn’t easy)!!! 2. Lemons Team makes Lemonade!- Steve spent most of the beginning of 2008 getting ready for the 24 Hours of Lemons race. He and his race team put in a lot of work and “not much money” into a $500 Acura Integra. Mother’s Day weekend he and his buddies were successful in their endeavor and won the race out of more than 90 cars. 1. Kuhtzs make a BIG Splash!!!- 2008 began with the completion of the great pool project of 2007! By March nothing could keep Jack and Abby out of the water, no matter how cold the water was. The entire family worked on landscaping, building retaining walls, and yard clean up. Steve said “my goal was to have the pool ready for Jack’s birthday in April and I was able to achieve that goal.” The summer was filled with backyard barbeques and pool parties for friends and family. Rachel said “This was one of the best summers of our lives; everyone had so much fun with the addition of the pool. I love it!” Abby welcomes any one to drop in to use the new fire pit. “My Mom always has the supplies to roast marshmallows and my Dad is the best roaster!” The entire family fell in love with Jimmy Buffett and Radio Margaritaville which turned in to the soundtrack of their life this summer. To celebrate the end of summer, everyone attended Jimmy Buffett’s “The Year of Still Here” Concert at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in October. “It is like Christmas in October! We have been waiting for this day all year!” exclaimed Jack.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

He is Making a List...

My kids finally get it... or at least Jack does (and he is keeping his sister in check).
My kids were with a babysitter all day today. Cruel- I know- but I had a ton of things to get done and I wasn't ready to cart my kids around town to get them all done. One of the list items may or may not have been my weekly trip to see my hair guru...
When I got home the house was in shambles. I took the babysitter home and coached my children about what needed to be done as soon as we got home... i.e.- clean up your stuff or it goes in the garbage.
While I got laundry gathered and potatoes on the stove for Christmas Eve dinner. MY CHILDREN cleaned the entire game room. I am not joking! We have had a similar occurrence once before when a playdate went aye. A friend came over to drop off a gift and she was surprised that Jack was vacuuming (she asked if the housekeeper was here- no- or if Steve was home- no) she couldn't believe that Jack was doing the work on his own... (neither could I honestly).
Then I realized... in about 29 hours, THE "Big Guy" will be coming to pay them a visit depending on whether they have been bad or good. Jack has big hopes and dreams of a stellar Christmas morning complete with a brand new Wii gaming system! I wasn't far off the mark because when the kids came into the kitchen for a post-picking up break, Jack informed Abby that "he's making his list. He's checking it twice..." Knocking her down a few pegs and restoring peace and order in the house once more. I love Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Granny Panties and Old Lady Hair...

My sister sent me this article yesterday in hopes that I would blog about it...
I am not sure what to say...
Other than I have hair issues.
For a long time one of my favorite people in the entire World has been David, my hair guru. I have discovered David by chance when I called one of the only hair/ day spas in town in April of 2000. I needed wedding hair help! The receptionist politely referred me to him, it has been love ever since. David is one of the only people in my life that I let tell me exactly like it is without being defensive and offended. For a long time I told him that I needed him to come and wash and blow dry my hair everyday (it is such a hassle)... he just laughed. Earlier this year David started talks about me coming to see him one a week for a wash and blow dry... hmmm... this sounded delightful, expensive, and like a pain... But delightful won!
I have become an old lady. You know the ones that live in the senior homes that have the beauty school students come and ruin their hair with bluing and permanents... I am not quite that bad but close. Every week while Abby is at school or after school on Friday I make my way to see my favorite hair guy. He washes my hair and blows it dry- wonderful! It is like having my house cleaned on Friday, everything is set for a weekend of fun. My hair thanks me for a few days of reprieve from the torture that I put it through to blow it and straighten it myself... I am brutal and I lack patience to do it myself the correct way.
Which is fun because David tells me that I ruined my hair with my lack of patience which is odd that I would have the patience to sit in the chair week after week and have him do to me in 40 to 55 minutes what I can do it 15 minutes at home... trust me the results are not the same.
Lindsay I thank you for the article. It makes me feel better about my routine. I highly recommend it to all. Fun! Relaxing! Delightful!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

So my children have been hounding me about snow since the weather finally changed here 5 weeks ago. The first frosty morning they looked like this...

Doing the Christmas dance! Notice Abby in her summer nightgown. I think that they were imaging our yard to look like this...

Not even my house... My cousin's after 33 inches of snow fell last December in Denver.

Anyway for weeks now it has been talk of snow every morning at the breakfast table. Until last week when it all stopped. It rained last week, the temperature dropped, the local weatherpeople were predicting that snow may fall on the Valley floor (which is a entirely different blog) and the Kuhtz kids didn't breathe a word of it (I think they were afraid to curse it).
Monday afternoon, Abby and I came home from swimming lesson to hale. Steve has been waiting to check off "talk about weather" in the Tiger Cubs booklet for weeks. Finally weather and Jack and Steve are at "work". Abby and I enjoyed it. Finally that evening it haled again and this is what the crazy Kuhtzs did...



Finally last Wednesday we woke to the Winter Wonderland... Not quite snow but this is as good as it is going to get!

Monday, December 15, 2008

O Christmas Tree...

At our house we have 4 Christmas Trees. The family favorite is the Disney tree in the game room. I think my kids love it the best because it is the only tree that I let them do all of the decorating (because it is on carpet and I know that the ornaments will most likely bounce not shatter). Steve and I love it because it is a tree of fun family memories.
Here are a few...

2007 Trip to Disney World

I bought Dumbo ornaments each Christmas I was pregnant for the babies.

Abby has been a princess the last 2 Halloweens. In 2007 she got a Snow White ornament.

Steve's favorite! Jack Skelenton.
Memories of the Nightmare Before Christmas at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.

My newest addition to the Disney tree... Tinkerbell
The Kuhtzs love Disney Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Have I mentioned...

That my daughter is bossy!
Many mistake it for her being cute and 3. Me? I see it as her attempt to manipulate and control everyone, man, woman, or child to do what she wants them to do at that exact moment (yes, "moment" is a key word because she changes her mind almost as quickly as Britney changes her hair style). Abby is able to reel people in using any means necessary, usually it doesn't take more then touching her curly locks, batting her eyelashes, and smiling.
SOOOOOO today was Abby's debut performance at school.
I walked in and saw where she was sitting (
next to 1 of the 2 "cutest boys" in her class, her words not mine!)
and knew this was going to be more then priceless!

"Cutest Boy #1"

2 seconds later Abby was telling on him for touching stuff.

The Snowflakes were the problem.

Tone deaf Abby can't sing "Jingle Bells" well if she can hear the girl sitting next to her. I think she saw that move on "Hannah Montana".

After the "show", argyle boy's mom told me that she was glad that Abby could keep her son in his place. Good God! You better watch out! She is already working on about 3 other boys (including her older brother) to marry her and have a wedding (I think it is about the wedding more then it is about the boys- or at least that is what I keep telling myself).
If bossing the boys around wasn't enough. Abby got all of her teachers to gush over her and tell her how beautiful she is by simply lifting her right foot to hug each and everyone of them.

The question in the back of my mind is what is this girl going to be when she grows up??? Most likely a princess to some "dumb sap" (as Great Grandpa Keith would have said) who will do exactly what she wants him to when she wants it done.
Cutest Boy #1, Abby, Cutest Boy #2, and Cutest Boy #1's baby brother
They look so happy now! Someday they will compete for her to treat them like dirt! Sorry boys it is a fact of life!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I Told You...

I am not clever and that I know a lot of people who are. Here is proof...

The cards I received from the card exchange!!!

Here are some of my favorites...


Thank you!

More Christmas!

Gotta love it!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I am Not Clever...

But I know a lot of people out there are. Last week during my annual Christmas dress up of my house I found myself putting items back in their storage boxes, just because I don't have a place to put them or they are no longer my style. So most of it I carted off to Goodwill, because I know that someone out there may LOVE to have 1 of 10 Christmas platters. But this I could not part with---

A gift from my mother-in-law 10 years ago. I know she probably paid a small fortune for it and for some reason I could not part with it. Maybe it is the memories- filling it with Lindt's chocolate truffles and counting down our first Christmas together. Attempting to encourage good behavior with Jack when he was 4 by telling him that Santa would come every night and put something in it for the next day (good behavior and I didn't want to fill it and have him cheat and open them all too soon- YES I am a control freak!) after the 5th or 6th night we both forgot about it.

I am inspired by those of you who can breathe new life into items that are outdated. But I need help!!!

So I ask all of you what should I do with this?
Does it have a life besides being an advent calendar?
The doors push open easily.
Measurement 17"H 14"W 1.5"D
It has a hole to hang it behind #3

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Hustle and Bustle...

The holiday rush is finally here!!! Here is how we spent the last 4 freezing cold days: Thursday- FINALLY it is cold! Jack had his winter holiday performance at school. Steve was at an enrollment meeting and made it to school just in time to watch the last 2 rows of kids get on stage. We thoroughly enjoyed the program. It always makes us smile to watch or shy child attempt to keep time with 79 other 6 year olds. I was rewarded for all of my years of excellent craft collecting with this...
Jack's cowboy made the Multipurpose Room board!!!
Friday- My sister, a friend, and I attended the La Comida Guild Home Tour. Great day! Frozen my arse off! Finished Christmas shopping. Went to dinner to celebrate some friends birthdays at the Public House- YUM!!! Stayed up way too late talking!
Saturday- In the morning I went to the Craycroft Center in downtown Fresno. My self and 24 other Junior Leaguers had breakfast with the children and staff at Craycroft. What a great way to make you truly appreciate how lucky you really are. I tried to explain it to Jack later in the day that it is like a hotel for kids who can't live at home because something bad happened there. People come in and take good care of them and love them because they need lots of love. (That seemed like a good explanation because the questions stopped after that). The 8 children that were there were showered with gifts from the Leaguers and given A LOT of attention. It made my heart feel extra good.
I spent the afternoon signing Christmas cards and getting them ready to mail out on Monday, while I watched "Kath and Kim" and "ER".
I thought that it would be a prefect night for a popcorn dinner (we used to do them all the time when I was a kid- popcorn, orange soda, apples, and a good movie). Steve, Jack, and Abby were not on board for a popcorn dinner, so I treated them to leftovers. :) After dinner, the kids and I curled up on the couch and watched "Home Alone" and ate popcorn (I kind of got my way).
Today- I do laundry. Get ready for school tomorrow. Go to Target. Eat some lunch. Maybe bake a chocolate cake (a trial run for the real thing next week for Steve's birthday). Do anything but spend too much time outside... TOO cold!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Is It Just Me or....

Does everyone wait until Thanksgiving to gorge themselves for what I fondly call
"6 weeks of gluttony"
(you know the time of the year when there is an endless buffet of the
yummiest food that you can't keep yourself from eating- or at least I can't)?
Maybe I sould be embarassed by this pronouncement...
Oh well, come January I will be on my weight loss kick again. Maybe...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Homework. Homework. Homework.

My mother, the teacher, has a serious disdain for the "take home project" when I was growing up. You know the ones that I am talking about culture reports, Science Fair, History Day, build a California mission to name a few, you know that ones that the teacher loves to give and prays that every child returns after the long weekend. I think it had something to do with teachers rewarding parents for doing their children's work and not encouraging the child to do it themselves. She usually delegated that kind of homework to my dad who would rather be taking a nap on his few days off of work then helping me with my project. So in the 1980s before word processing, the Internet, scrapbook supply stores, and craft super stores like Michaels and WalMart we would have to trek across town to Allards to get the stick on letters and the spray on glue that makes you high. Basically spending a small fortune on the materials that would hopefully make my handwritten essays or experiments pop.
Jack has reached the point in his education where these same projects are going to be coming home. But Jack has his mother who as a child was scarred by the not so pretty assignments that she was forced to turn in- NOT FOR MY KID! Luckily I have been helping my youngest brothers fight the good fight against lame looking projects for several years to get me good and ready for my own kids' "education". I was pretty much prepared for it all, except I wasn't ready for Jack to come home with an assignment that I am assuming was left on the bus the Friday before Thanksgiving! YIKES! The only clues I had were the weekly calendar saying that there was a cultural doll assignment separate from the rest of the homework- BUT NO doll and NO directions!!! Great!!! This I could not have prepared for! My solution- purchase as much as I could to go on the doll after asking the 6 year old how big the doll was, we needed hair, a shirt, pants, shoes, and a culture...
True or not that is what we picked. Luckily the assignment was not due until today (Tuesday). So Monday I picked Jack up from school, just to be sure that the doll came home without going missing AGAIN. As soon as we were home we were working to create the cutest little paper doll cowboy I have ever seen. And amazingly, Jack did most of the work!!! With a few creative tips from his mother. :)
Jack insisted that he have a cactus if his doll was not going to say "WHOLA" or be Chinese (I don't know why he thought those would be his cultures he just did). I added the belt buckle, the lasso, and the Jessica Simpson lips (Ooops!).
We even had time before bed to write the first draft of a very demanding letter to Santa. We are working on draft #2 being more gracious and less self-centered (a "Hi. How are you doing?"-maybe).

Monday, December 1, 2008

These are a Few of My Favorite Things...

The main attraction!

The stockings were hung...
There are so many where do I start??? Books- Twilight series- devoured them, I pray at night for more stories of Bella and Edward Shoes- my pink Uggs- so ugly but SOOOO warm! TV Show-Lost- I am counting the day until Season 4 comes out on DVD... 7 by the way. Blog- toss up between my sister's (Notes from Serenity) I can't get enough of my adorable nephews or Sarah's (Thrifty Chick) so many things to copy! Check out my Initial wreath! Below-

I have a Starbucks ornament tree on the table that didn't come out very well in the picture.
Stores- Target... is there anywhere else? Favorite way to connect with friends- FACEBOOK!!! This is possibly the best find of the year for me! Thanks Kelly! Or is it my blog??? Hmmmm... My Favorite Holiday- Christmas!!! This year not just 1 tree, I have 4 trees in my house!!! LOVE IT!!!

The Disney Tree!!! And a tree to hang Christmas Cards on!!! (I already got one!)
Christmas movie- oooo! I love a classic Miracle on 34th St. But I do also love the humor of Elf and Christmas Vacation. Christmas food- CANDY!!! I love to make and EAT English Toffee. AND easy to make...
Super Easy Toffee
Cup of butter
Cup of Sugar
Hershey bar
Almonds slivered ( I prefer roasted, I usually use raw and toast them in the oven myself)
Chop equal parts choclate and almonds. Cover bottom of cookie sheet. On stove boil sugar and butter until color of toffee and sugar dissolves, stir constantly. (about 10 minutes past boil) Pour over chocolate and almonds. When cool flip onto cutting board and break into pieces.
Easy to double!

Snowflake tree!