Monday, March 30, 2009

Calling Grandma

Payton and Alyssa love talking with their Grandmas and Grandpa over the phone. This morning Payton requested to call Grandma K. -- an unusual, yet innocent enough request, so we did. Him and Alyssa were all smiles talking to her. Alyssa told her all about the pretty pink princess dress she was wearing --- I had to take a picture so I could email it to Grandma, just so she could see how cute and happy they were while they chatted together.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Eli's sister Jessica gave birth to a baby boy, Nate. What a beautiful nephew! We can't wait to meet him!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day

These are iced way better than I iced mine, but I didn't take any photos of mine before they were eaten up. St. Patrick's Day fell on our play group day so I thought it would be fun to bring some shamrock cookies. And, since I had a 1/2 a batch of homemade cookie dough in the freezer and leftover green icing from Payton's birthday cupcakes -- it was SOOOOO easy.

For those who requested the recipe, here it is (finally):

Deluxe Sugar Cookies
2 eggs
1/2 C unsalted butter
3/4 C plus 2 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla
3 C flour
dash salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 C sour cream

Beat together eggs, butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift all dry ingredients together and add alternately with sour cream. Allow dough to chill 1 hour. When ready to use allow to sit at room temperature to soften. Roll on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Cut in desired shapes. Bake at 375°F for 8-10 minutes. When cooled frost with Cream Cheese Icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
3 oz cream cheese - softened
2 t vanilla
4 T unsalted butter - softened
1 1/2-2 C powdered sugar

Place all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

My babies just turned 4 years old. As my daughter now tells me, "We're not babies anymore. We're little kids." I wasn't sure if I really wanted to do a birthday party. Sure, it would be fun to have kids over for cake and ice cream -- but a whole party?

One day, a couple weeks before their birthday, I was riding in the car for 3 hours and wondered if I could do something fun for them and still keep it really simple (I'm really good at complicating things). Alyssa is into princesses, anything pink and Dora. Payton is into reptiles (especially frogs and turtles), bugs & spiders, Spiderman, and anything green. But how to turn that into a theme party?

Dora won. I would have three places to go to -- just like on "The Map" #1 Music Island -- where they would play musical "squares". #2 Lily Pad Swamp -- where they could hop like frogs and eat bugs. #3 Party Palace -- where my princess (and prince) and their royal guests could feast on cake and ice cream.

Simple enough with construction paper. I stacked construction paper and cut out musical notes which we taped to the walls in the living room. Made another stack and cut out lily pads and used the scraps to make bugs to hang from the ceiling. Finally, I laid out sheets of uncut construction paper in a circle on the floor for "Musical Squares" (yes, I cheated, they were really rectangles). My niece used a few sheet to make some horns to blow into.

Down in the basement we created "Lily Pad Swamp" (This was for Payton and also the part which I am most proud of). My nephew, Derrek hanged the bugs from the ceiling over the "swamp." Then, to make it a little more interesting, I got an automatic bubble blower and a few fans to blow the bubbles around the room. We gave the kids "frog tongues" (party favors) to "catch" the bugs with and my sister (THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP!) gave them a Sweedish fish "from the swamp" whenever they caught one. The kids absolutely LOVED this!

Then on up to "Party Palace" for the finale. My brother-in-law and his kids decorated the kitchen with streamers and balloons and for a finishing touch we put up Alyssa's castle tent so it might look a little more "palace" like.
Above: The requested "Dora" cake. I wanted to keep it really simple... my friend suggested a map. Hmmmm, so not cute I thought, but easy... I came up with this -- turned out quite cute afterall. Thank you Brittany! And thank you Chanda for the Dora candle.
Frogs for Payton, inspired by reading my friend Elizabeth's blog and the 99 cent box of cupcake mix. Thank you! He loved these!

When it came time to decorate the cake, I still didn't know what I was going to do for a map. But I was out of time... so this is as cute as it got. (Oh, I made a map like this for each kid. Yes, the party plans started simple enough -- but like I said, I like to complicate things...)

Eating a bug!

Down in the "Lily Pad Swamp." Once the bugs were all "eaten" they ate bubbles.

Happy birthday little man!

Happy birthday my sweet little princess! (She didn't want to blow out her candles with everyone watching -- so embarrassing!)


We found these princesses eating in a "real" castle!

Thanks to all you mom's who shared your kids with us so mine could have such a fun birthday.

The "pink" side of the table.

Alyssa couldn't believe she got MAKE UP! Thanks a lot Jana! Fortunately for me, she learned very quickly not to put it on right before church! LOL! She soooooo loves this.

And, finally, that evening we got out their presents from us. (Not like they needed anymore stuff. But Mom (me) doesn't know when to stop sometimes -- sigh.)


Pink shoes!

Spiderman water bottle!

Princess Dora Book! (She didn't want to put this down to finish opening her other presents.)

As I tucked in my baby girl she told me, "Mommy, I loved, loved, LOVED this day!" And she dozed off to sleep with her new Dora Princess book still in her hand.

I so love, love, LOVE being your mom!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Play Group

I happened to bring my camera this day and promised to post them on my blog. I run a weekly playgroup. Was it my idea? Nope. But, I am so thankful that I agreed to do it. I'm not the greatest at getting out and finding friends on my own and this way I had to make friends. This really has been a great way to get to know other moms since I moved here 2 years ago, and, now, I absolutely love these moms. I love how we are all so different, but also that just getting together so our kids can play brings us moms together to chat and become friends. And, I love the topics we come up with some days. I love that the kids just play and have fun together -- almost ALL the time!

The "before" shot. Heath (in orange) leads the gang in a race across the floor. Back and forth, back and forth. The moms are sitting back and lovin' this! (We're all thinking -- naps today, HURRAY! -- At least I was!)

The "after" shot.

And, finally, the "mom" shot.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Mommy

Alyssa: "Mommy, I drew you."

Me: "You did? I want to see it."

Alyssa: "OK!" and off she runs to her bedroom.

She started out drawing circles, then "mad snowmen" which soon became "happy snowmen" with arms. But, that drawing above is me. ME! "Mommy!" It just warms my heart. That is the most adorable drawing I have ever seen in my life! Just look at those fabulous long lashes and big bright eyes -- apparently you don't need a body if you have a face like mine!