January 15, 2014

Glow Party - 4th birthday

I have brainwashed my daughter into have a glow birthday party, probably since just after her third birthday party last year. I was determined to somehow have black lights at school so all of the kids could enjoy it. I began really planning in August and got everything to come together during the busiest month of the year - December.

Pinterest was very helpful, as was a mini black light flash light I purchased from amazon so I could "test out" products while shopping to see if they would glow under a black light. I purchased a dozen T8 black lights to put into the light fixture in a small area at her school. I used dollar store plastic table cloths to create darkness within the room. I hung a few paper items on the wall - some fun fans, fluorescent poster boards, a Happy Birthday banner and some white streamers.

Another awesome Amazon purchase was liquid watercolor paint.  (Sargent Art Fluorescent Watercolor Magic Set)

Since this was also school, I knew the entire day/week could not be a party. It needed to also be learning. I created some glowing things to help make the teacher's lives easier - Dry Rice that I colored with the paint for the sensory tub. Water that I added paint to so they were glowing under the black light. There were straws cut to create necklaces and used to make letters and shapes, keeping eduction in mind. And at the end of lunch that day, everyone got a mini cupcake and sang Happy Birthday.

I spent half the day with my daughter's class and my favorite part was seeing the kids point out to each other what was glowing when they entered the "glow room." It was mainly an article of clothing and they all had fun with the highlighters and white paper that seemed to shine the best.

We also had glow sticks, face paint, glowing plates and cups, fuzzy pom poms, 

It was awesome - the teachers loved it as much as the kids. And I am so happy I pulled it off! Now I need to work on a one year old's monkey birthday party and then brainwash my daughter into something much easier for her fifth birthday next December.


July 05, 2013

Fourth of July 2013

Ahhh July 4th has come and gone. Usually when this day arrives, I say that summer is over, because from July 4th until Labor Day in September, time FLIES and before you know it, it's Labor Day!


This year we were at home (not at the beach in Maryland like my husband would prefer) but we had fun! Rachel was really into the fireworks. When she came home from school on Tuesday she said, "Guess what Mom, Miss Britt said there were going to be fireworks." I then had to let her know she was two days away from seeing them. That was a tad challenging.

She was excited about the glow sticks that we were were taking to the fireworks but had a hard time understanding we were going to go to the parade and then go home and go back to the fireworks. We were late for the parade because we were eating dinner but we got to see a few floats, political officials, tractors, horses, super heroes and fire engines/trucks. Rachel even got a few pieces of candy! The funniest part was when Spider Man came across to our side of the street and Rachel clung to my leg! She likes spider man enough to have a toothbrush with him on it that she picked out but for some reason, seeing him in person was a different story. Also, Hudson DID NOT like the fire truck air horns. He immediately began to scream. Dan took him away from the noise and the street a bit and he said he calmed down until he heard the air horns. Then he would begin to scream.

Rachel had time to get some pillow candy and she ate the entire cone.


She was super sleepy at the fireworks but hung on and enjoyed the show while laying with me on a blanket. I told Rachel it was America's birthday and she said "Where's America?" That was fun to explain.

Overall it was a great fourth of July - relaxing, beautiful weather, good fireworks and fun earlier in the day in the little pool and slip n slide. 

June 18, 2013

Father's Day 2013

My husband's first father's day with two children!

A few weeks before his special day, I took both kids to the local ceramic store to make a present for him. I L O V E hand print items but prefer them to be two dimensional so I can scrapbook them rather than feel like I have to keep the item FOREVER because it contains my child's hand print. Because you know you can't sell that stuff at a garage sale. So this might be a one time thing, because I'm "that mom" that doesn't want all that crap in my cupboard. Anyhow, we were the only ones in the studio, so that was nice and Hudson did fairly well, I fed him while Rachel and I sung songs to him and waited for each coat of glaze to dry. The employee at the store helped me put Rachel's hand print and Hudson's footprint on the mug. 

We picked out a mug that was called an ice cream mug. It fits a container of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream perfectly. But we really got it for him to dunk his peanut butter and jelly toast into, because that's what he does, he makes a big cup of hot chocolate in the winter and dunks his toast into it. Something his daughter is now picking up and shares with him when he has it. A delicacy he has named "concoction."

On Father's Day, when my husband returned home from his annual racing trip in Kentucky, we opened gifts and ate dinner on the deck. The following week we brought home the present Rachel made for her dad at school. Her dad was out of town when I brought it home and I wanted SO MUCH to open it and see what it was and then re-wrap it, but I kept it as-is. I asked her what was inside and she said, "baseballs and footballs" but would not elaborate any more. She enjoyed helping him open his presents.


Here is the jar she made at school. The top says "I love you to pieces" and inside are reeces pieces! The football, baseball and basketball are made of her fingerprints. 





June 11, 2013

90 Years Young

My grandma turned 90 years old. Recently she just was moved into an assisted care living home, but up until then she was living on her own in the house. We visited her on her special day. She was full of tears of joy and we all had a great time celebrating with her.

You would think after knowing her for 34 years, I would know almost everything about her, but I learned something new this year, I learned her favorite color is purple. I would think it was blue, because as I kid I remember her house having a lot of blue in it. Perhaps that was her second favorite color, and my grandpa wouldn't allow her to paint anything purple, so she went with blue. 

It was great to see her on her birthday. The last time I saw her was Easter and she had given up on doing her hair or having it done so she was changing a lot from what I remember her always looking like. When we went to see her at her new place, she had her hair and nails done and she looked just like grandma again. 

Here she is with her three children, one of them is my dad. 


 Rachel had fun since she was the only "kid" she helped her great-grandma open presents. What on earth do you get a 90 year old? Well, I went with a photo book and some other gifts she got were chocolates, flowers, a sweater, some sweatshirts and a gift certificate to get her hair done.

We were all admiring Rachel's polished nails and grandma's polished nails. Party nails we call them!


May 13, 2013

Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day because I LOVE the gifts my daughter brings home from school! This year I got this FABULOUS hand scrub. It reminds me of the one minute manicure I had years ago. It's very pleasant and I've used it several times. Rachel tried it with me and laughs when she scrubs her skin with it!

The week of Mother's Day I asked Rachel if she did any projects at school as well as talking about how her day was going. She told me "yes, I made you a caterpillar and a lady bug." I asked her where it was and she didn't reply, but went on playing. 

When she handed me the present, in a gift bag, she said to me, "It's a jar!"

Here is the detail of the fingerprint caterpillar and lady bug and bee!


May 12, 2013

Traditional Anniversary Gifts

My husband and I are dorks - and we know this - and that's why we get along so well! We try to follow the traditional gifts for our wedding anniversary. I have this chart on our refrigerator and reference it once a year when our anniversary comes. He seems much better at following it than I am, but this year, I'm planning ahead because when our anniversary comes, our newborn will be less than 2 weeks old so I have to be on top of my game!

This is our 5th Wedding Anniversary. And as the chart shows, the gift is "wood." I see this and think, "This chart stinks! What sort of gift will I get him that is wooden or related to wood!" And for those who do have a sick mind (like myself), the obvious is not an option here! It must be a material gift! 

So I begin to scour the internet and within a few days I find a few items that I think might work and I thought about sharing them with you because "wood" gifts are "hard"  to find.

Wooden Pocket Knife
Wooden Mechanical Pencil or Pen
Wood Handled Ice Cream Scoop (he does love Ice Cream, but I'm thinking of the woman who will have to hand wash that sucker)
Wood cutting boards and cooking knives are always and option, but my husband really won't use them because he doesn't cook.
Wood Personalized Signs for bars or man caves
Wood Box
Wood Bottle Stopper/Cork for those who love wine.
Wood Handled Razors - Etsy has these neat wood handled shaving razors

I went with the following: 

1-A block of wood in his lunch box, that read: I've been married to Kari for 5 years and all I got was this piece of wood. 


2-A handmade wood pen that looked like a 30 caliber bullet/gun. (from etsy)


3-A wood handled pocket knife (From etsy, which I later learned was a composite/fake wood!)

Of course I was SO PROUD of my wood gifts, that this year, my husband didn't follow the list. But that was okay, I got some hanging baskets/flowers that I love! 


March 29, 2013

Happy Easter 2013



She seemed "all into" talking and sitting with the bunny. Until we arrived at the mall. She didn't want to have anything to do with him. Thankfully there was no line so we mingled around the mall, taking her by the play place and the gumball machine special treat area telling her if she sat with the bunny she'd get to play and get a special treat. At one point she started to cry and said, "I don't like m&ms." 

So we did what any normal parents who want a photo of their kid with the Easter bunny do - we FORCED HER to go! She sat with her dad - and was crying and kicking and then when the camera began to take a photo, she quickly settled down and we were able to get a photo. Again, thankfully no one was in line! 

And she did eat those m&ms. 

When we celebrated Easter a weekend early at my parent's house, she kept saying "Happy Easter Day" to everyone! It was truly cute. 

February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

So I may have set up a makeshift photo backdrop at home to knock out some photo valentines for the grand parents and wanted to share a few photos with you. Still working on my manual camera mode and hating the "yellow glow" my lights give off. I blame my husband for putting all of those stupid energy efficient swirly lights in our fixtures.




We made butterfly Valentines to take to school - Rachel helped me put glitter glue on each of the bodies. I affixed the eyes and did the rest. I asked her to help me with filling the bags, but she didn't want to. She was soooo excited to eat the left over "Valentine Cereal" though. I think we had enough for three days.

I filled each bag with red hots, candy hearts and fruity cheerios. It's important to only fill the bags about 1/3 full and to try to get all of the air out. I also noticed not all of my clothespins were the same size, and that the larger ones worked better. I hot glued each butterfly to the card that I made. It said, "Valentine, you make my heart flutter." I'm not even sure if the kids liked them, but I thought they were cute. 


January 17, 2013

Christmas Jello Surprise

I love lists. I love to make them. I love to cross things off them, and mostly I love to get wish lists from people for birthdays and holidays and I love to buy them what is on their list. This year, my nephew's Christmas list was lacking - he's a boy and he's almost 16 - why are men so hard to buy for!?! His list included money so he could purchase a laptop or something electronic. I'm more than happy to give anyone what is on their Christmas list, but it's no fun to "open" money as a 15 year old who still enjoys opening presents. So I came up with two ideas: Jello or Ice.

Naturally when I do these projects I have no idea what I am doing or how to go about doing them. I have a vision in my head and often the finished product isn't exactly like my vision. I settled on jello and picked up dollar coins from the credit union (some silver, some gold) and began my project.

I got a big bowl and put red jello in it. I let it set and shoved coins into the jello. I then set some on top of the layer and poured green jello on top of the red. I let the green set and repeated the process, shoving coins into the jello and then putting them between the layers. I finished with one last layer of red jello. When set, I placed it into a sink of warm water and tipped it onto a plastic platter I found at the dollar store.

I was immediately disappointed. 

You couldn't see the green or layers at all. But It was done and at that point, so was my "great idea" which again, looked nothing like my vision. I have no idea what happened, but it was done. 

We presented it to my nephew on Christmas and he loved it. He enjoyed standing over the sink and digging out the coins with his fingers. He left with a baggie of coins and a smile on his face. Not sure what he did with them.




January 15, 2013

Christmas Ornaments

I know, I know, I'm behind on blogging, but I wanted to share with you the Christmas ornaments my daughter made for me with the help of her teachers. And I wanted to tell you that I L-O-V-E these types of home made and photo ornaments. The snowman is my favorite, but I love the hand print too!



January 10, 2013

New Year Resolutions

2013 is here! Yikes! It's crazy to me to be at the store and see the age to purchase alcohol is 1992! I know where I was in 1992 and what I was doing and seeing the year 1992 makes me feel O-L-D and I'm only in my 30s! What will happen when that sign says 2002!?!?

So with the new year comes the standard resolutions that I thought I might share with my loyal stalkers, if I still have any. As always I want to: 

Eat Better/Stay Healthy

Exercise More/Add Exercise to my Daily Lifestyle

Send more handwritten notes and cards

And this year I thought of a few more: 

Get to know small businesses in my downtown! There are a few that I drive by all the time and have never been inside, so my goal is to go into each one at least once this year and see what they have and offer. You never know, that lighting store might have a sweet gift department or become my go-to electrical part store in the future. Besides, I consider this SHOPPING so how AWFUL can that be?!?

Make 1 crock pot meal a week - this because I got a new crock pot that I can actually leave on for 12+ hours when I am at work and commuting and not have burnt food when I return home. 

Of course I need to continue to blog...and I'm slacking. But right now I'm working on scrapbooking because I'm going to a WEEKEND event in February and hope to goodness that I can get a ton done! So far I can usually complete one month a day and I work on the project 2-3 days a week. I'm in the calendar year 2012 so that is where all of my extra digital time is spent on the computer, not on blogging. 

Happy 2013!


December 25, 2012


We went and saw Santa.

The entire time we were in line, she did not want to talk to him. She began to cry when my husband was waiting with her. She was not happy to sit on his lap, and so my great husband stepped in to pose with her. I truly love this photo! Mainly because it's so "real" - the fear in her face, the death grip, my husband laughing as I was behind the camera...

Merry Christmas! 


December 24, 2012

Owl Birthday Party

It probably started when I found the tutorial to make the penguin cake and realized there was also a tutorial for an owl cake, therefore months in advance, I suggested to my daughter we have an owl birthday party and since she wasn't quite three yet, she was "game" and I was happy about that.

For months she would see an owl and say something about her "owl party." I showed her a photo of the cake and a few other owl things and she'd talk about her owl party when she turns three. We worked on folding her fingers so she could show off the number three on her hand and with practice we were successful. 

In the end, my December baby, you know, poor baby, being born a week before Christmas...sniff sniff...her birthday gets lost in the shuffle of the holiday season, she will have had three birthday "parties." 

The first was with my parents when they came for Christmas one weekend. We had owl cupcakes, we sang happy birthday and we blew out candles. This candle thing is all my daughter has been talking about. She even insisted we take some to school and we did. She asked me on the way to school where they were after I showed her the night before when we were packing up the car with her birthday stuff that the candles were "in this box." 

The second birthday was at her school - these are my favorite birthdays because I like her to celebrate with friends, and it's quite easy to deliver a cake and of course some candles and treat bags to 18 children. This birthday doesn't require gifts, which is fine with me because after opening about the third gift, she gets burnt out and doesn't want to open anymore.

The final party was at Grandpa's house. This was mixed with our Christmas, but we still had owl cupcakes and candles and sang. 

In the end she LOVED every minute of it. And when her "real" birthday arrived, she didn't even know that it was her special day because she had already had two celebrations and another on the way.



Everyone in her class got a treat bag filled with: paper, a pencil, tattoos, an owl song list, a fuzzy owl and a bag of white chocolate chex mix that I made (not pictured, and delicious). 






We took a craft to school so everyone could make an owl mask. Here is one of her classmates posing. 


The birthday girl! I love that her school lets her wear a crown!


 She even wore an owl shirt!


December 06, 2012

Charlie Returns after She Touches Him

Our elf, Charlie, returned this year on December 1st. I had been talking about him for a few days with my daughter, telling her he was coming. He arrived by toilet papering our Christmas tree and when she woke up and saw him, she said, "What's that?" It was pretty obvious she had forgotten that he appeared last year.

The next few days Charlie just moved about the house and my daughter was somewhat confused, she assumed he should "stay put" and when I asked where he was, she would constantly look at the two or three places he had been. It is cute when she does see him, she laughs hysterically at him.

This morning when Charlie returned, sitting on our kitchen island, a full size sheet of paper under him, he was covered with stickers and so was his paper. My daughter sat at the island to eat her cereal and laughed at Charlie. I told her he must have gotten into her stickers and played with them. Almost instantly she touched one of the stickers on Charlie's body and he fell over. She said, "oh no!" and when I turned to see what happened, I too said, "oh no." I (calmly) explained that we cannot touch Charlie or he will lose his magic, but I realized it was an accident and he should be okay. She explained that she wanted to "pat his sticker." The stickers are not fully stuck on Charlie for obvious reasons—someone has to pull them all off. My daughter seemed okay with this until a few minutes later she began to melt down and cry. She was terribly upset.


I thought to myself as I put it on the kitchen island that she might try to touch it, but I figured this was a good chance for her to remember the rules and learn about consequences. 

So I had a plan. Charlie stayed in the same place for a day, and then the following day we got a letter in the "mail."


Here is what it said: 

Dear Rachel,

Your mom told me that you touched Charlie on accident. That explains why Charlie didn’t come back to the North Pole last night to visit me. The only way he won’t return is if he loses his magic and the only way he can lose his magic is if you touch him.

Since you have been a good girl and you accidentally touched Charlie, I am sending some Magic Elf Dust. Sprinkle it on Charlie’s body and he will be able to return to the north pole.

Next time be very careful not to touch Charlie, and keep your hands to yourself.


I gave the dust and letter to my daughter and let her sprinkle it on Charlie. He disappeared that night and returned in a new location. The dust was actually confetti that we received in the mail with a card, and it worked much better than glitter, because it was so much easier to clean up.

I can't take FULL credit for all of this! I found the stationery online and you can download it here.
And I found the "magic dust" idea here.

December 04, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

It's such a fun time with my daughter! She's getting "into" crafty things and doing projects with me. Every year I try to do a "Christmas craft" which is usually an ornament, and this year I'll do the same, but I added gingerbread houses to the list.

I found some ideas on pinterest and online and armed with a few ingredients I went to work and one night after dinner we all decorated our houses. It was so much fun! 

While my daughter was napping I assembled the house and the bases. 

First I cut the graham crackers. Each house uses 4 full crackers. You cut two in half (for the two sides and two roof pieces) and you cut two on an angle creating the end of the house. I drew a diagram here so you can see how it cut them. I simply put them on a cutting board and used a bread knife to gently saw apart the crackers. Not one broke where they should not have. Set the scraps aside.

I then used the small boxes I had and cut them with a knife and covered them with foil. This served as the base of my houses.

i began to mix up the royal frosting. I used 1/4 of the recipe below and it was enough to put together and decorate all four houses. If I were to do this next time, I'd use 1/2 a recipe so I could put snow on the "ground" of the foil bases. I didn't because I really didn't want to whip up more frosting. Also, making 1/4 of the amount in my mixer was a tad challenging because of the small amount in the mixer. When the frosting is done, put it in a decorator bag with a tip. (Also see note about green tree frosting.)

Then I assembled the houses. Just pay attention to where you affix the pieces, my first house was a little lopsided, but the others were great. Just run a line of frosting along the edge of the pieces, affix them together and then run frosting on the bottom to affix it to the foil covered base. 


When I was done affixing the houses to the bases, I covered the tip of my frosting bag and saved my frosting for later. It worked fine for this project, it didn't harden and we had just enough as I said above. 

I felt like it worked best if one person handled the frosting and the other decorated. I put frosting on the houses for my daughter and husband and the two of them affixed the candy. I knew my daughter wouldn't be able to do it by herself, but my husband and I kept passing the bag back and forth, so next time I will just have a bag for him. If you were doing this with a group of kids, I'd recommend 1 adult per two kids, with the adult affixing frosting and the kids adding the candy.

For the ice cream cone trees, I had white frosting left over in my fridge that I colored green. I ended up using two cones per tree because it was just easier to affix it to the base when you weren't touching green frosting! It would be hard to frost after the cones were affixed to the base only because my bases were smaller and the trees were pretty close to the house.

And yes, my daughter "sampled" a lot of the treats. She asked repeatedly what things were. She tried a gumdrop eagerly, and then half way through eating it said she didn't like it and spit it out. She dove into the mini m&ms and had gummy apple rings, gummy bears and smarties. It was great having all of the candies organized in the muffin tin, making cleanup easy and all of the items accessible.






Shopping List

Graham Crackers
(1 box made these four houses and when I was finished cutting all the pieces, I had 1 entire package and two whole graham crackers left. Most boxes come with 3 packages inside. Hope this helps to guestimate how many boxes to purchase.)

I picked up most of these items at the bulk food store and used them for decorations. 
shredded wheat cereal
red hots
gummy bears
gummy apple circles
candy canes
mini m&ms
mint flavored pink, green and yellow chocolate chips
animal crackers (I picked out the cute bears)
sugar (ice cream) cones

Royal Icing Recipe (there are LOTS of these recipes online) 

3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand mixer). You may need to add more water for softer icing, one Tablespoon at a time.

Make 3 cups

1 Tablespoon Meringue Powder
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons warm water

*Remember I had left-over icing in the fridge for the green trees. 

October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

Well, two days out of 31 for blogging this month is better than nothing, right? Sigh, I'll attempt to be better starting November 1st.

This year my daughter was much more "into" Halloween than she was last year.  She expressed a week before Halloween that she was going to be a flower. She rarely has much of an opinion so I felt like I had to allow her to be a flower for Halloween. I looked everywhere for a cheap flower headband, and of course, I know Target sold them in their dollar section years ago, but I was unable to find anything so I made one out of a head band, ribbon, hot glue and foam sheets. She LOVED it. I pinned some leaves onto a green hoodie, bundled her up in layers and we went out to the local trick-or-treat event last Friday.



On the way to the event we were practicing what to say. She had her trick-or-treat and thank you down, but when it came down to talking to strangers, she could only say thank you. I guess the polite word is the better of the two. Plus, when she says trick-or-treat, sometimes it sounds like sugary treat. She didn't like the scary things and pulled us away and I think was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of people and costumes she saw. We didn't stop at too many stores/locations or get too much candy, which is fine with me. 




Last night we carved pumpkins. She was very excited to have a jack-o-lantern and kept saying it over and over. Not sure where that came from, but after they were all carved (she lost interest very quickly) she was so excited to turn off all the lights in the house and see her jack-o-lantern glow. She told me hers is the big one. Once the pumpkins were glowing, she kept saying, we gotta get our costumes on! 


Today she wore her flower costume to school and was GLOWING once again! She hugged her friend L and ran off to show all her teachers and friends. It was adorable. I love when she gets so excited she "shakes." 

She was glowing on Monday when we took this special fruit treat to her friends at school. I was bummed she didn't want to help make or paint it, but she did love taking it into her classroom. 


August 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Behind the Scenes

I'm a Background Whore meaning in every photo I look at, I always notice what is in the background. Well, I posted this photo on Facebook and was aware of what was in the background and looking at it thought I needed to "clean up" my birth announcement board and get rid of that bag on my chair. But I failed to notice what was in the foreground of this photo until my friend H sent me a message. She said, "That pic of Dan with the cake, what's that card on the table? A bathing suit or something." Take a look for yourself.


I thought about sharing this card after I shared my daughter's birthday card to her dad, but since my husband was not too happy about my card selection, I decided not to. But after H noticed it, I had to show the world. 


On the inside it says
Your Birthday, Your Fantasy.
Not my Business!

I told my friend H I would send it to her since she noticed it in the photo. I dug it out of the recycle bin and it's on its way to her house. 

August 14, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. This past Friday, we had a party for him after work. My daughter and I made a peanut butter chocolate cake for him and decorated our dining room with things that I had - table cloth, colorful napkins, balloons, blowers and a happy birthday banner.

I love letting my daughter pick out her own cards. This holiday, just like Father's Day, was no different. She picked one out that was within arms reach of the cart she was sitting in, and kept talking about how funny the dogs looked with sunglasses on. She even showed her card to the man in the card aisle with us.


After she grabbed the card, I read it and laughed, and told her it was a perfect card for her dad! 

On the inside it says, "Let's celebrate your birthday like the fabulous bitches we are."

June 01, 2012

My (2nd) Mother's Day Gift

With all the stress and sadness of Rockwell going to Heaven, I failed to mention the awesome Mother's Day gift I received from Rachel - made by her with the help of her teachers! And if you are counting, you know that technically this is my third Mother's Day. But last year I was in Germany over Mother's Day so Rachel didn't bring me a gift from school. The year before I got this.

I brought this wrapped present home on Thursday, and couldn't wait to open it. As soon as I got home and brought it into the house, I dove into the white paper bag that was decorated with stickers. This cute present brought tears to my eyes! The best part was when Rachel said, "I made that." And was telling me in semi-jibberish how she used paint on her hands.


I have since gotten rid of the "container" and saved the "flowers" for her scrapbook. I can't wait to lay them out on a 12x12 page, I already know how I want it! 


April 30, 2012

Happy Easter 2012

Wow, Easter sneaked up on me! I forgot all about photos with the Easter bunny until the Sunday before so we went on a quick trip to the mall to get photos. Rachel wanted nothing to do with the Easter bunny and had a death grip on both of her parents at one time when we tried to get her to sit on his lap or next to him. So her dad stepped in and "saved the photo."

If you ask Rachel about the Easter Bunny she will say, "He's big." If you ask her if he is going to come to her house, she says, "yes." And if you ask Rachel what the Easter bunny is going to bring Rachel, she says, "Easter Basket."

We stayed home for Easter which was very nice. We got some yard work done, housework and relaxed. We began Easter day with the discovery of the Easter basket, which included a bubble machine, books a balance bike and rain boots. She was most excited about the bubble machine. She was cautious about the bike, but later sat on it by herself and said, "Look-it, mama."  Unfortunately she is about 2 inches too short to actually ride it. I am hoping as the summer begins she grows.  After the basket we had breakfast - complete with bunny pancakes made by yours truly. Then we had an Easter egg hunt and finished the morning with coloring eggs.

On Easter eve, we were enjoying bubbles on the deck with the grill cooking dinner when Rachel accidentally poured bubbles into her eyes. This lead to a very difficult, two person team, eye washing. At one point my husband said our daughter was "Freakishly strong." No damage done, but some irritated eyes and wet clothes.

On the night of Easter, Rachel swallowed a magnet. After 2 hours at the E.R. they sent us home and told us to wait for it to pass. Two poopy diapers later, and almost 48 hours later, the magnet is still missing. I searched through poo for a week and then gave up. Called the doctor and a few days later they wanted another xray to determine if the magnet had passed. Rachel did awesome with the x-rays, or "pictures of my belly" as she is calling them. And the most recent x-ray showed no magnet.

This photo of Rachel and the Easter bunny is on the fridge at home and Rachel keeps saying, "I don't like Easter bunny." 


February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I can't take credit for my niece's valentines - although I did design and print them for her, I hounded my sister to let me tackle this project I found on pinterest and I hounded my sister for weeks to email me a photo. Two photos later and a shipment south and I received this photo of the finished pieces. I must admit they are pretty cute.


As for my daughter's valentine's, we had them done over a month ago! She helped me stir in the colors for the soaps. I didn't scent them because some of the younger kids might have issue with that. 



January 11, 2012

Christmas in the Thumb 2011

My sister was in Michigan for Christmas so we made the trek north on Christmas Day to see everyone.

The amount of presents was enormous. We began the festivities around 2:05 p.m.



We took the first intermission at 3:05 p.m. We had potty breaks, dessert and beverages. 


We took the second intermission at 4:30 p.m. and Avery was kaput by then. 


The gift opening stopped around 5:20 p.m. But the festivities didn't stop there. We played games and had more snacks. And then after all of that we opened MORE gifts for Rachel's birthday. I'm exhausted just typing about it! 

Here are some additional photos of the holiday event! 




Avery just applied chap stick and then I took this photo. I think I need to suggest to her mom that Avery needs clear chap stick. 


Her last and favorite Christmas gift was the baby stroller. 

And after it was all done, Avery asked me to build her a tent. Since all of the chairs were being used at the table for games, snacking, coffee and visiting, we had to improvise. 


December 29, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Every Christmas Eve is spent at my father-in-law's house and this year was no different. We had a delicious prime rib dinner and the younger girls had lots of fun with gifts and presents this year.

Rachel and Joslynn pose in front of the tree.

Grandpa must have given them some giggle juice!

Rachel loved playing with the Charlie Brown Nativity Set. She lays down all of the figures and says they are going "nite, nite."


One of my favorite photos of my niece, Joslynn. She was all over that box.


Once the presents were cleared away, Grandpa showed Rachel his train. But it wasn't working at first so the two of them had to figure out what was going on. She was following his every move.


And before we left, Rachel was snuggling with Patzi on the couch. 



December 28, 2011

Christmas Gifts for Teachers

Rachel has 5 teachers at school. That's a lot when you are talking about Christmas gifts and last year when she had 4 teachers, I decided to give each one of them a pan of lasagna and garlic bread. It was very well received so this year, each teacher got a pan of cinnamon rolls.

My co-worker gave me a bread machine a while ago and I've been attempting to perfect cinnamon rolls. I make the dough in the machine, spread cinnamon, butter and sugar on them and roll and cut them. I then put them in a pan and freeze them. When I want to eat them, I take them out, leave them on the counter overnight where they rise and are ready to go into the oven in the morning. And they are delicious. I am getting better but the raw rolled cinnamon roll doesn't look very appealing. And I may have forgotten yeast in one of the batches for the teachers. Should still be tasty just not as fluffy as the others.

I wrapped them in foil tins I found at the dollar store and added a decorative top with instructions. I just hope they tasted okay.



December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Almost every year our Christmas holiday is a whirlwind and this year was no different.

Santa came on the morning of December 24th and Charlie, our elf, went home with him. I think as Rachel gets older, Charlie will be a tad more creative in how he returns from the North Pole rather than just hanging in a different place.

Rachel woke up at 6:15 am that morning and didn't go back to sleep so we just began the present unwrapping. I think she had six or eight things to open and she was somewhat into it and somewhat crabby. Even her dad commented and said something like, "Rachel, I don't think this how your mom and I pictured  you at Christmas." And I forgot to get out the camera until the very end.

Everything was done and cleaned up by 8 am. I made some dishes for the upcoming festivities - cinnamon rolls for breakfast at home, cheese potatoes and herb bread for Christmas Eve and a killer Peanut Butter Brownie Torte for Christmas day. It was just a busy day getting things ready and cooking and packing the car for Christmas Eve at my father-in-law's house. On Christmas day we drove to the Thumb to celebrate with my family and then on the 26th went to hang out with my aunt in Sterling Heights. It was busy and tiring and I'm kind of glad it's over. Every year I tell myself I won't travel as much the following year, and every year we travel.

Rockwell is always in the spirit!

Crazy excited to help her mom open her present! (You can see the tent Santa made for her in the background)




December 13, 2011

Cookies for Grandpa

If you are a faithful blog stalker with a good memory, you will recall that I make my Christmas cookies in July. But usually in December I make one batch of sugar cookies for my father-in-law because he loves them, or as he likes to say, " these are my favorite." 

This year Rachel helped me. She even decorated one cookie for her "gam-pa". And when she was finished, she got to eat a cookies. The photos tell the story. 




December 05, 2011

Meet Charlie - Our Elf

Charlie graced us with his presence from the North Pole on December 1st. Rachel is enjoying finding him every morning. And she loves to say, "Charlie Funny" and "Charlie Silly" whenever she sees him in his new location.


October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

It may have been a tad early to go to the pumpkin patch, but it WAS October (although it was only the 1st) but I was worried if we waited until another weekend, we wouldn't find the time. My husband tentatively has two trips planned in October - a week in Germany and a week in Georgia - so I jumped on utilizing the empty calendar space to visit the little pumpkin patch and pick out pumpkins for Halloween. Naturally it was a dry but windy and blustery day. (The following weekend it was in the 80s!)

I also jumped on this opportunity to invite my little sister since we'd be in her neck of the woods that day. She came home with me and her and her cousin carved pumpkins while I worked on boiling and baking the seeds while Rachel napped. We'll carve Rachel's pumpkin another time.

The pumpkin patch is on a farm so we get to take advantage of seeing the animals. Rachel LOVED the animals. It looks like she is crying in this photo, but she's laughing at the goats. The goats were her favorite, although she did enjoy checking out the pigs, horses, cows, chickens and bunnies.

Here's my little sister sitting on a pumpkin and posing with the "farm dog."



I planned to put random dots on my pumpkin with the apple corer, but soon realized I made a smiling pumpkin! 

Boiling the seeds!

Here is my pumpkin seed recipe in case you are interested. I found this in a newspaper years ago and have always used it. 

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Heat oven to 400.

Collect & Clean seeds. Boil in salted water for 15-20 minutes. You will see the seeds start to turn "gray." This is the water absorbing into the seeds, which is important for the recipe. Drain seeds and spread onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt or other flavorings if desired (cheese, garlic, ranch, chili powder, etc.)

Bake 10-20 minutes checking halfway through and pay close attention so the seeds don't burn. Sometimes I flip the seeds, sometimes I don't.

Cool and enjoy!



July 28, 2011

Christmas in July 2011

Most of you know I choose to make my Christmas cookies in July and here is the tag that I send along with my treats:

Around the busy holiday season in December, people and businesses are bombarded with an overflow of holiday treats and goodies. Often, it’s more than we can possibly enjoy, no matter how hard we try.  Therefore, please accept these “Christmas in July” cookies and enjoy them ‘til your heart’s content!         
Merry Christmas!
P.S. These cookies have not been in my freezer since last December! They were baked fresh this month!

Most of you also know we don't give our daughter much sugar, if any. I was doing the single mom thing while my husband was out of town working and I decided to give Rachel a sugar cookie to keep her in one spot while I made dinner. She didn't take one bite, but instead, tried to pull off the sprinkles and eat them one at a time. She didn't get too far, but it was comical watching her pick up the teeny tiny sprinkle and put it in her mouth.


June 30, 2011

Easter 2011 - Long Lost

I completely forgot to blog about Easter! We went to my Aunt's house and had a small Easter egg hunt for Rachel after dinner. She had lots of fun "finding" and picking up the eggs and putting them into her basket! It was a nice sunny day and we sat outside on the patio for most of the afternoon and were very entertained watching Rachel play in the water fountain.



And the giant glass pig filled with pennies makes everyone happy! 


I also made these cute mini cupcakes for her to take to school. 


April 22, 2011

Happy Easter 2011

This year we went to a different mall for our photos with the Easter Bunny. There was no line and Rachel was able to get "used" to the bunny before she sat on his lap. Well, she was much more into the eggs and chicks, and ducks and flowers around the bunny than the live bunny who was waving to her. She did end up sitting next to the Easter Bunny, but not on his lap. And I wasn't going to push the idea after last year's photo.

Happy Easter to all!

Just to refresh, here is last year's bunny photo. 


April 18, 2011

Lucky Friends

I know I am behind, but I wanted to share my St. Patrick's Day lucky friend popcorn treat I made for Rachel to take to school! It was a modification of the popcorn balls I remember making with my Grandma and sister when I was a kid. I never knew how we made them, just that my grandma filled her (clean) sink full of popcorn, and dumped the colored syrup on the popcorn. Our job was to mix and mix and mix and butter our fingers/hands and shape them into balls. It was a challenge because you had to work fast before the popcorn set up, but the popcorn was hot on our fingers! I remember making all sorts of colors and wrapping them in plastic wrap for Christmas.

When I began this project, I had no idea it took so long to boil the sugar mixture to get the temperature to 212 degrees F. Thankfully my candy thermometer worked perfectly and my favorite recipe book (Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book) gave me an approximate time because the recipe card I was using did not! I was taking a "risk" with this recipe, because I didn't plan on forming the mixture into balls, but rather pieces, spread out onto wax paper.

When I mixed the popcorn and green sugar syrup mixture in the bowl, it covered very well. I was surprised because I thought it was difficult as a kid to get the popcorn coated and I recall mixing and mixing and mixing. Of course I had to taste some, because some fell onto the counter while mixing and it brought me back to my childhood. It tasted exactly like I remember. The sugar stuck to my teeth and everything! It was a great memory!

It starts with popcorn...

And boiling hot sugar syrup...

After you combine the two, you spread it out on wax paper to cool.


When it's dry you break it apart and package it! 


March 31, 2011

Play Ball 2011

Although her Dad is away in Germany, today is a holiday in the United States. It's the Detroit Tigers Opening Day/First Game of the Season! Today the Tigers take on the Yankees in New York, but Rachel had to show her spirit for her dad! Her outfit is complete with her baseball clip that I made!

I'm sure her dad is actually enjoying opening day in Europe. I imagine he is listening to the game or streaming it on the internet while sitting in the comfort of his hotel room (since he's 6 hours ahead of us) rather than where he usually is on opening day - at work at his desk! 

Go Tigers!





February 25, 2011

Valentine's Day Twenty Eleven

Last year's Valentine's Day was one I will never forget - not because it was Rachel's first Valentine's Day, but because it was my mother-in-law's last day on Earth. So this year as I was making cards and treats for Rachel to take to school and give to family and friends, I couldn't help but remember 2010 in the back of my mind.

My big plan for 2011 was to make thumb print hearts using Rachel's thumb print. I figured I only had to make about a dozen, so I could control her thumbprint and get the job done. Well, this task proved to be much harder and we never did get one heart done, we got one side, as you can see below.


I quickly changed my mind to hand prints. This task seemed to go much better than the thumb prints and faster. Rachel had fun "stamping" her hands onto her covered spot on the kitchen island.




Once the paper cards were done, I worked on treats for her teachers and classmates at school. This year I made a treat box out of paper and filled it with four different candies - chocolate covered strawberry, chocolate dipped marshmallow, fudge and chocolate wafer cookies. I always forget to take "in progress" photos so most of the images are finished products.





January 17, 2011

Rachel is 365 days old!

December 19th marked the 1st birthday for my daughter!

I'm drawing a blank as to what I can tell you about her! Her hair is super long, she loves to take baths, she is holding the telephone to her ear and talking a lot, she drinks whole milk, she weighs 17 pounds, 3 ounces, she has her first pair of "real" shoes (she's a size 3.5), she can fit into clothing labeled 6-12 months, and she still has one tooth!  






January 05, 2011

First Birthday

I decided to have Rachel's first birthday at my parent's house because most of my family and friends live there! We had about 24 guests, adults and kids, aunts and uncles, grandmas and great grandmas. We went through a case of Yuengling and then some, three quarters of a three milk cake, about 30 of my cake bite ice cream cones. The "older" kids brought a few wii games and played Just Dance in the living room while most of the adults watched. "Miss Anita" as the kids were calling her joined in on the dance fun as well as Dawn and Lynn.

Rachel didn't take an afternoon nap so she was super sleepy when the 7pm party began. She wasn't fussy, but wasn't overly smiley or social like she usually is. She sat quietly with her dad as they opened gifts, she visited with friends and family by simply sitting in their lap.

She didn't dive into her cake, she was very delicate - and I bought white cake and frosting, not thinking the effect of messiness would be toned down with the lighter colors, but it was! I put her to bed with frosting in her hair and gave her a bath in the morning. I think there was still some frosting in her ear when she went to school on Monday. 

My daughter was born nine days early, and the day she entered Planet Earth just happened to be my Grandpa's birthday. My daughter and Grandpa are 101 years apart. Crazy how the universe cycle works. 


You cannot have a birthday party without balloons! 


Or party favors -- scratch pads and pencils! 


 She was very lax during the opening of the presents. Her dad helped her and she was so tired she just looked at everything and sat there.

She tried to run after getting this gift in her hand!


And she wanted to read about the dog Carl. 


She read every birthday card that was given to her. 


A tiny cake for a tiny girl. 

She didn't like it when I put the hat on her. 


December 22, 2010


Rachel went to see Santa!


December 21, 2010

First Birthday Party at School

The benefits of working right next door to my daughter's day care is being able to go visit her at any time. I was so excited to take my ice cream cones to her school for her birthday treat, because they tasted awesome and looked awesome. I planned a time with her teachers and went to visit with her surprise.


When I came into the room, Rachel was walking around ringing this bell. She didn't want to let go of it. 


She is sitting at the table with her bell! We sang Happy Birthday to her and she smiled. 

Baby A was too young to enjoy the ice cream treat, but he joined us in spirit. 


Her friend C sang Happy Birthday!


Baby Girl A was very excited to see the treat, but she couldn't have any either! 


More of her friends!


Her teacher's put a crown on her head! It didn't last long, she took it off almost immediately.


Her friends enjoyed snack! 



I handed her the ice cream cone and she didn't know she could eat it. She banged it on the table and tried to hand it back to me. So I stuck the bottom of the cone in her mouth. She then ate the entire thing from bottom to top! Once it was in her hand, she never let go.



After having a birthday with her peers, we went into the preschool room and the preschoolers sang Happy Birthday to her. She smiled a lot while they sang to her. 


Her preschool friends. 



December 08, 2010

Rachel is 11/12 of a year old

On the 19th of November, Rachel celebrated 11 months of being on Planet Earth. She got her first tooth a week earlier, on the 13th. My husband noticed something "white" in her mouth when we had her in the shopping cart at Meijer and sure enough, her first tooth, on the bottom left of her mouth. She's been toothless for so long, I cannot imagine a mouth full of teeth on her.

Her hair is terribly long. I'm contemplating getting it cut, but want to be sure my good friend, Dawn can give her first hair cut. Dawn is 2 hours away, so maybe when we visit in December, Dawn will be able to squeeze Rachel in. 

She recognizes her dad and I, and she especially recognizes the dog, Rockwell. She says "dog" when she sees him. She has an awesome belly laugh when we tickle her. It cracks anyone up who hears it.

This month's photos were kind of rushed, so I had my husband try to help me get her attention. She's frequently looking at him. He calls this photo her "model pose."





November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

This Thanksgiving will be at my house, the turkey is thawed, the potatoes need to be peeled, the stuffing is ready, the house is clean and my parents, father-in-law and grandmas will all be coming over to enjoy family, food and fun!

Rachel is sharing her Thanksgiving Greeting! (Can you see her tiny foot?!?)



November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Guts

Since we got pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, we had to carve them! I was really excited to see what Rachel would do when she felt the "guts" on her hands.

Here is our blank canvas. I will admit, I was in a hurry and felt like I just needed to get this done, before I put Rachel in a bath and then to bed, so it was a bit rushed and my imaginative juices were not flowing. I was also recovering from having a cold for what seemed like three weeks.


At first, she seemed to love the pumpkin! 

(Yes, I cut out the bottom of the pumpkin. It makes putting in and lighting the candle much easier, and then the top can never fall into the pumpkin!)



I put the guts on her feet. She didn't want to touch them. I held the guts in my hand and she would act like she was going to touch them and then pull her hand away. Of course the guts made the black plastic very slippery so her attempting to get away was not going well.


Here is the finished product! I call it the "Super R Pumpkin!"


All the seeds went to waste. I thought about my friend Mowen as I threw all of the seeds into the trash. When we were in college, Mowen and I somewhat perfected the pumpkin seed recipe. Our secret is to boil them in water first, and then bake them in the oven. It prevents them from burning. And that year we also experimented with flavors, salt, ranch, cajun...

November 15, 2010

Halloween 2010

Rachel had the option of wearing four different costumes for Halloween: Lobster, Butterfly, Pig and Pumpkin.

The pumpkin costume was missing an eye, and I never got around to fixing it, so I decided not to dress her as a pumpkin. She was a butterfly at school and a pig on Halloween Eve when we went to an open house. I don't have any school photos of the butterfly! The lobster costume didn't have holes for her legs (think of a mermaid) so she quickly wore that for a photo shoot and then undressed.


If you're going to wear a pig costume, you have to have a pig tail! 

Here is the lobster, laying on the floor. 


And here is her cousin Avery as a lobster when she was little! Thanks to Avery for letting us use your costume!

Rachel really enjoyed being in the pot! Thanks to Grandpa for letting us borrow it!





October 29, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Grandpa (Part 2)


Sixty years is a lot to think about. And somehow, my husband and I were able to pull off an awesome 60th birthday party for my father-in-law! I was a little worried, since we were having the party at my father-in-law's house. I thought maybe he'd hate me for having so many people over, but he loved it and he was truly grateful. But you can't pull off a surprise party without the help of the friends and guests that keep their mouths shut. And I thank everyone for helping in that way!

I think the final count of people that came to the party was around 60 - fitting for a 60th birthday - and we kept with the Taco Bell theme by providing a taco bar. I love taco bars, they are actually quite easy and there is something for everyone on the menu.

I am so grateful and thankful for my parents! They came to help out with food and setting up and to take care of their grand daughter. Often when you host a party, you don't get to chat much with anyone, but it's always great to see people staying late and having a good time hanging out with each other. I believe the festivities ended by midnight - pretty impressive for a 60th Birthday Party. And I was told the return dollar amount on empties was $23.10. This doesn't count the non-returnable bottles of Yuengling! (For my out of state readers, that's 10 cents per can we get back.)

Friends and relatives came from around the corner, and from across the US - New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania - to wish Dave a happy 60th. Everyone arrived on time, and some people were waiting outside, some inside, to surprise him when he came home.

The rainy weather kept away the "show cars" we were hoping guests would bring and park in the special "show dog" parking spot, but we had a great turnout and a fabulous time. The birthday boy said it was a lot of fun and enjoyed seeing all of his friends! 


Centerpieces that were spread out around the house. 


Guests were asked to included their Best Wishes for Dave on this board. 


Dave's sisters wanted to help. His sister, Debbie, was persistent, so I gave her the task of melting the velveeta and tomatoes. She worked diligently on this dish and did a fabulous job. I'm now calling this recipe "Debbie's Cheese." 



Guests were gathered outside waiting for the Birthday Boy to arrive. 


Two of the five that came all the way from Pennsylvania and brought the Birthday Boy 7 cases of Yuengling. 


One of the gifts Dave received. 


He was a good sport, he wore his party hat! 



Scratch pad party favors for the guests.


Dave's east coast sisters. 



October 27, 2010

Happy 60th Birthday, Grandpa (Part 1)


Almost a year ago my father-in-law said, "You know what I want to do on my birthday? I want to go to Taco Bell." when I asked him why he wanted to go to Taco Bell, he said, "Because I've never been there." I thought this was a very valid reason, and stored this in my brain, hoping I would remember when he turned 60 that I would "buy him dinner" at Taco Bell.

A few months before his birthday, I decided to check with Taco Bell to see if I could do a birthday party at their location. A quick phone call revealed Taco Bell does not do birthday parties. So my plan was to "tell a few of my father-in-law's friends" about Taco Bell and have them meet us there for dinner on his big six-oh. Well, the "few friends" list my husband gave me turned out to be more than 60 people so we had to come up with Plan B a Surprise Party (which will be Part 2 that will be published in the days to come).

I still wanted to do the Taco Bell birthday to ensure my father-in-law was not onto our surprise birthday party event. My husband, daughter and I met him at Taco Bell on the night of his birthday. I almost forgot about making him a cake so he would think this was his big-bad 60th birthday celebration. I remembered the morning of his birthday so I was whipping up cupcakes the morning before work and I frosted them at work! I nabbed some balloons at the dollar store after work and just before heading to Taco Bell.

I happened to put Rachel in a cute dress the morning of the party because the weather was going to be nice and she hasn't worn it yet! I knew there wouldn't be much more time for her to wear it before she outgrew it - it was nearly October. Rachel's teachers asked what was the special occasion for her being so dressed up, and I said, nothing, just wanted to be sure she could wear it - then I told them about the Taco Bell party and they all laughed. They were kind enough to take the dress off her and put it back on so it stayed "nice" for the Taco Bell party!

We gave my father-in-law an outdoor furniture set for father's day, his birthday, Christmas, Easter and every holiday in between, but we owed him a broom, so I bought him a broom and gave it to him. We broke the broom he keeps in the motorhome while on one of our camping adventures. 

It was super sunny in Taco Bell. It was almost impossible to find a seat that wasn't blaring sun into your eyes as you sank your teeth into the delicacy of Mexican food served at the restaurant. As I began to say they needed some curtains or blinds, I realized the Taco Bell we were at looked new and recently remodeled. When I ordered, I asked the cashier if they remodeled. He said they did, and just re-opened last week! I breathed a sigh of relief! What would I have done if they were still closed! We could have picked another restaurant, but it wouldn't have been the same as helping my father-in-law make all his dreams come true by taking him to Taco Bell.

We all ordered and as we sat down to eat, my father-in-law told us we could bring him back on his 80th birthday. The highlight of the day was probably eating the cupcakes I brought for him in the restaurant! 


A smiley photo in the morning before going to her cute dress!


October 25, 2010

Rachel is 3/4 of a year old

In September my daughter turned 9 months old! She started crawling on Labor Day, she is babbling and talking all the time. She is still itty bittty, weighing 16 pounds at her 9 month check up. This just means her clothes are lasting much longer than expected. She can still wear some 3-6 month clothes and most of the 6-9 are big on her!

We recently thought maybe she was going through a growth spurt and getting teeth. She slept a lot one Saturday and began to get cranky and needy and was just not herself on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday she was a mess and at the suggestion of her teachers, I took her to the doctor. She didn't have a fever and the snot from her runny nose was clear, but she just was very off. She wasn't sleeping well and was eating so-so. She ended up being "fine" and probably having a virus, so there was really nothing we could do. Of course the day after the appointment, she seemed much better. By the weekend she was back to her normal self. This was her first "real" sickness. She's had colds before, but nothing that made her this crabby. I think my husband and I got a taste of what a "normal" baby would be like - you know, one that doesn't sleep through the night when they come home from the hospital!

We're still waiting for those teeth to "grow." 

The photo session didn't start this way, but I think this face is hilarious. 


She wouldn't keep her fingers out of her mouth! 


I love this photo and I'm bummed it is blurry, but then again, I kind of like the blur because it shows how much she is a movin' and shaking! 



September 08, 2010

Rachel is 2/3 of a year old!

By baby girl is growing up! She is eight months old and doing great. She's crawling. She is sleeping through the night very well, except once in a while she gets "stuck" on her belly and cries so we have to turn her on her back and without opening her eyes she is back to sleep.

She is loving all of the baby food i make her and combinations I put together for her meals. She eats graham crackers and puffs and loves to pick up the puffs and mash them into her mouth. For the most part she makes it into her mouth, but there are some days she misses and the puffs get stuck on her lip, face or cheek or fall onto the floor for Rockwell to nab. 

Rockwell has quickly learned that food falls from Rachel's location. He usually sits under her chair and waits. 



August 16, 2010

Rachel is 0.58333 years old!

Seven months! It's been seven months so far! My kid is still a bite size gal, she can still wear some 0-3 month clothing, some 3-6month clothing and a little 6-9 month clothing. Baby clothing is just like womens clothing -- nothing is comparable in size. Just how women are a size 6 in this brand and a size 10 in another, baby clothes are no different!

I am LOVING making baby food. I make all sorts of stuff and Rachel loves to eat it -- cauliflower, peas, beans (from my garden!), apples, peaches, blueberries (that we picked together), squash and zucchini (from Aunt JuJu's garden), sweet potatoes, bananas, you name it and I puree it and she eats it! We're going to introduce meat very soon, I just haven't had time to cook and grind it up because I've been so busy working on fruits and veggies.

She is talking now -- babbling, instead of screaming! That's fun and reassuring since I'm always concerned about her hearing and ear situation. She has a hearing test in August and I am anxious and nervous about the results. She says dada and baba and bub bub bub.




July 19, 2010

Fourth of July 2010


Over the fourth we went to Ocean City, Maryland to hang out with some family members. It was a great time!

Rachel did AWESOME the entire time we were there. We left Friday night and spent the night in Pennsylvania. She slept great in the car and at the hotel room. The next day we drove to Maryland. It was a longer trip than we wanted it to be, but we stopped for feedings, and diaper changes and to get water and soda and beer and then hit some traffic. 

While on vacation, Rachel loved the water. We set up a pool by the ocean and filled it with salt water. We let it warm up and she hung out in the pool almost all day. She liked to watch the ocean, but I think the water was too cold for her. Occasionally she would be sitting on the shore and the tide would come up and get her butt wet and she would fuss. The water temperatures were near 70s and the air was in the 80s-100s every day. It was perfect.

We had a huge wagon load of things that we took to the beach every day, but we managed to get it all there in one trip and never have to go back to the condo for anything. We spent all day at the beach and two of those days we spent at the condo pool. 

Rachel liked to grab and play with the sand and enjoyed chewing on the (salt) water covered toys I brought to put into her pool. She splashed her arms up and down in the water and was enjoying all the attention by family. 

We all managed to get "cooked" nicely on the beach and at the pool, but no sun burns to report. We were careful at reapplying sunscreen and keeping our baby girl in the shade. I still think her legs got tan! 

Cousin Jami had a knack with Rachel. Jami is a high-school baby lover and she always willingly took Rachel and managed to get her to fall asleep in her arms. It was crazy! And so cute at the same time. 

"Does she ever cry?"  That wast the question most asked by family members. Our child is so amazing that she rarely cries and fusses, and since it is so rare, i often let her cry and laugh at how cute she looks when she cries! Mean, maybe, but it's too cute! On the long ride home (14.5 hours) she didn't cry once. I swear, she was an angel. It was odd and crazy at the same time! I couldn't ask for a better child!



Rachel's first souvenir....a personalized flip flop zipper pull that i put on her diaper bag! 



The wagon at the beach, all loaded up! 


Here's a list of what is inside:
Beach Towels
Beach Blanke
Cooler with Beverages & Sandwiches
2 Umbrellas
Sun Tent
Kiddie Pool
Bag of Toys

Pretty impressive, but what is more impressive is that my husband dragged it across the sand every day we went to the beach! Don't worry, it's not overloaded, with the correct air pressure in the tires, it can hold 300 lbs. Thanks to grandma and grandpa for getting Rachel this wagon! She hasn't ridden in it, but all of her stuff has! 

July 14, 2010

Rachel is half a year old!

Rachel is already 6 months old! She sits up, she rolls over, she talks and she is now eating cereal, bananas, peas squash and sweet potatoes! We're working on a sippy cup and she sometimes will drink water from a bottle. Often she makes a mean face when she starts to suck and realizes it's just water.

She loves her exersaucer and jumperoo at home and whenever we put her in there she will poop. We were on our way to vacation over the fourth and I put her in her exersaucer about an hour before we were leaving, hoping she would poop before we began our 6 hour car ride, and she did!

She sleeps well, she smiles and laughs a lot and people often comment on how happy she is and ask us if she ever cries! She's tiny - petite - weighing in at 13 pounds 12 ounces at her six month check up and 24.5 inches long. She's following her curve and in the 10th percentile!

My kid is so mellow and calm. Almost all of the photos we take she is just sitting there looking.


But I can coax a smile out of her!




July 12, 2010

Rock Star Camping

We went on a trial-run camping in Rachel's Grandpa's Rock Star Motor home to the west side of the state. It was our test before we drove to Ocean City, Maryland over the fourth. It gave us a nice idea of what worked on the beach, what did not and what we need to take. Plus, Grandpa was nice enough to let us borrow his "rock star" motor home, so camping really wasn't all that bad.

Rachel traveled well in her car seat buckled into the motor home couch, she slept well in her pack n play, enjoyed a bath in the kitchen sink and had a nice long nap in her beach tent on Lake Michigan. She wasn't too fond of the water, mostly because I think it felt cold to her, but she liked the sand and enjoyed "people watching" with her dad.

We are so grateful that Grandpa let us borrow his Coach, and watched our dog while we were away. And so thankful to Stacy L. for inviting us on the camping trip. There were about 8-10 families that all camped and hung out at the beach! We hope to do it again next year!

Here is a photo of the coach, all set up and in our camping spot. 



Rachel comfortably hangs out in the motor home (on the floor).  You can see her seat strapped in where she rode for the trip (on the right) and the usual accommodations of camping (laptop/internet on the left couch).



Here is the other shot, facing the entrance/driver's seat. The satellite TV wasn't working, which upset my husband who wanted to watch a baseball game. As you can see with the slide out we were able to accommodate her exersaucer for the trip, too! Grandpa even steam cleaned the couch cushions "for Rachel" before we left.


June 18, 2010

First Cereal

She's not really a fan of the cereal. She seems to squeeze her lips shit very tightly and rub her face, putting cereal all over her hands, hair and eyes!

Ready for her first "meal" from a spoon! We tried this Memorial Day weekend.


Not sure what is going on....




Poor was torture! 


I kept trying with the cereal and she began to get a little better. I took some to "school" and of course she gobbled it up for her teachers! I can't wait to give it to her this weekend when we are home! 

June 09, 2010

A "First" Weekend

Memorial Day was a big weekend of Firsts for Rachel. Stay tuned for:

1-Her First Boat Ride.

2-Her First Time Sitting in her Big Girl Seat at the Table.

3-Her First Taste of Cereal.

4-Her First Time in the "Pool."

June 01, 2010

Great-Grandma's Birthady

We went to visit Great-Grandma on her 39th birthday!


I wish I could tell you that I said "close your eyes" but I did not! 


May 28, 2010

Rachel turns 5/12 of a year old

I struggle with these photos. I never have enough time and usually try to get them done in the morning before she goes to school. 



Last Month


May 26, 2010

First Mother's Day

This is probably Rachel's 2nd craft, and my First Mother's Day Present from her. Her teachers helped her make a flower pot for me!



The flowers are painted using Rachel's finger prints! 


May 24, 2010

Second Anniversary Gifts

The traditional gift for a First Wedding Anniversary is paper. Last year I purchased a ticket for my husband to attend opening day at Comerica Park for our first anniversary gift.

This year, I will admit, I remembered our anniversary was coming and then I forgot. A few weeks before our big 2 year celebration, my husband sent me an email with his suggestion for a second anniversary gift for him: 100% cotton coveralls - - the traditional gift for a second anniversary is cotton (modern is china).

This was such a fabulous idea because I struggle with what to purchase my husband for birthday/anniversary/Christmas gifts because he wants big ticket items - a house with a basement, a rock star motorhome, a tractor...

So three pairs of navy coveralls are all wrapped and given to him on our big day! 


In keeping with the 100% cotton/Traditional Wedding Gift Theme, I received new flannel sheets! 

May 12, 2010

Rachel's First Craft

Rachel's school teacher gave me her first craft to take home. It was hanging up during the month of April and I never even thought to see if one of the pieces of artwork was hers! The teacher's traced Rachel's foot to make the chick. It's too cute!


April 30, 2010

Play Ball

Die hard fans (such as my husband) know that baseball season is in full swing!

Rachel brushes up on her baseball vocabulary including singing "Take me out to the ballgame" with her dad. 

Dress rehearsal for opening day! 



April 26, 2010

Rachel turns 1/3 of a year old

And here are Rachel's 4th month photos!

And here she is standing up! 



For Comparison:

1 Month Photo

2 Month Photo

3 Month Photo

April 23, 2010

Rachel turns 1/4 of a year old

I just realized I forgot to post Rachel's 3rd month photos....from March. I realized this when I was getting ready to post her 4 month photos!


One Month Ago (2 month Photo)

Two Months Ago (1 month Photo)

April 06, 2010

Peter Cottontail Update


Rachel's sneak peek Easter dress photos were revealed a while ago, but here is the dress in its entirety...with the Easter Bunny! She didn't have a problem with the bunny, she got upset just before it was our turn to have photos! I didn't have a chance to calm her down and it was our turn! You can even see a tear in her eye!



The Easter bunny knows just what Rachel likes - Cadbury Eggs, Peanut Butter & Chocolate! Thanks to Grandma Linda for personalizing the basket for Rachel!




I recently started putting bibs on Rachel because she is very drooly.  While finding a new bib the day before Easter, I noticed this one! Thanks to Aunt Dawn and Avery for the hand-me-downs!




Rockwell had to pose with the basket filled with goodies he was unable to taste! 



Photo shoots with Dogs are challenging, but then you add a baby and an Easter basket prop and it gets even more challenging! 


March 16, 2010

Peter Cottontail

The other day I had an eventful shopping trip to Kohl's to use some Kohl's cash and a gift card I received. While browsing around the store, I stumbled upon some cute dresses and realized that Rachel needed an Easter dress! I found a dress that I thought fit her personality and picked up a cute sweater in case it's cold on Easter Sunday.

I believe this is the first "outift" I have purchased for my daughter. If you recall, her closet is full thanks to my sister Dawn. I was quite excited about all of the cute dresses that were out for summer and had to remind myself that Rachel doesn't need any more clothes, so I should save my money until she can talk and tells me she wants something like a pair of jeans from Hollister, or a Coach purse.

Here are some sneak peek photos of what Rachel will be wearing when Peter Cottontail comes to visit her!



I also picked up a few swim suits for Rachel to wear on our trip to Ocean City, Maryland over the fourth of July! 

February 15, 2010

Skate Party

Over Valentine's Day weekend, my husband, daughter and I were invited to an ice skating party at faux Aunt JuJu's house (Uncle abandoned JuJu for the Valentine Weekend). My husband brought his skates - the ones he bought brand new in the early 90s - and I bundled Rachel up in the Baby Bjorn and we went for a walk to the pond.

January 23, 2010

Kari's Holday Letter 2009

Just as I sit down to begin my 2009 holiday letter (in January 2010) my new baby girl begins to cry. I guess you can say we ended our 2009 year with a big bang – the birth of our daughter, Rachel Suzanne on Saturday, December 19, 2009. I hadn’t planned on sending out Christmas cards this year, I planned on sending a New Year’s card and double it as a birth announcement.  I didn’t think our baby would be born in 2009 or 9 days early, so Rachel happened to really put the kabash on the New Year’s Card and as for this letter, viewing it online, you can say we’re “going green” this year. I’m sure by next year, the paper version will be back in action.  

Around this time last year, Dan and I were spending time in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, celebrating my friend’s 20-20 birthday. And shortly after our return from the warm weather, I threw my own 29.5 birthday party at the roller skating rink. That same month, Dan’s job was put on hold as he spent 3 weeks unemployed, a far cry from the original length of 3 months. Dan said goodbye to his truck he called “The Pig” – his 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 (Dually) 4x4 Cummins.

February we celebrated the super bowl at a friend’s party. We took care of our dentist appointments, got the dogs to the vet for their check-ups, and tried to stay warm. March came and went and before we knew it, it was opening day at Comerica Park in April. Dan spent the day in Detroit celebrating and watching the game with the ticket I bought for him and the following day we moved a shed that we purchased at an auction the week before.

Dan’s second annual bachelor party was spent at a Tigers game in Detroit in May, I attended a bachelorette party for my friend Heather in Windsor, and we organized and hosted a benefit golf outing for Jax Johnson (and we raised over $4,000!) We celebrated our first wedding anniversary and found out I was pregnant.

Halfway thru the year and we said goodbye to Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and our beloved K9 Cletus. My surprise 30th birthday party was in June, and after finding out about the event, I surprised my guests by telling them I was expecting.  We went strawberry picking at a local farm and for the first time I made strawberry jam!

We had two camping trips planned this year – one was in July and it rained the entire weekend. We did see sunshine during a four hour stretch that allowed us to float down a river in a tube. I felt our baby move for the first time this month and I got poison ivy while trimming trees in our yard.

In August for our second camping weekend we broke out our brand new tent we received as a wedding gift. And it leaked. All weekend it rained and all weekend our tent was leaking water. We found out this month we were having a baby girl on or around December 28th. My VW Bug debuted in it’s first bug show not far from our home.

We began to put our nursery together – slowly but surely in September. We bought some hangers, emptied out our office, had our carpets cleaned, I refinished a dresser and began to sort thru the baby clothes my sister gave to me. We took a class on how to prepare our pooch, Rockwell, for a baby. Most of our thoughts revolve around having a child at this point in our life – we have to hurry up and do things before this baby arrives.

In October I flew to Georgia to visit my sister and niece and we had our first baby shower in the thumb. And how can I forget Halloween? Dan and I took advantage of my “baby bump” and went as a shotgun wedding. Sadly we didn’t win any prizes. Braxton Hicks contractions began this month and continued through my pregnancy.

We continued to take more classes to prepare for our baby in November, as well as celebrate two Thanksgivings, and have our Nut Cracking baby shower. I had most of my Christmas shopping done hoping and anticipating we would have a baby before Christmas and the New Year.

December started out as a normal December…Christmas Parties, Tree Trimming, Hair Cuts, Gift Shopping, Pot Luck Recipes but a few new items were added: Car Seat Inspection, Doctor Appointments, Meet the Pediatrician, Belly Photos and Santa Photos with Rockwell. Then, on Friday, December 18th we made a trip to the hospital and the next day had our baby girl!

Whew, what a busy 2009, and thankfully we received our tax deduction - Baby Rachel! I’m wishing all of you a fun, happy and healthy 2010!

In my annual fashion…
In the spirit of supporting our friends, family and community, we are very proud to announce we have made contributions totaling over $1,200 to the organizations listed below. We invite you to share in this sense of accomplishment, for it is your continued patronage that is the cornerstone of this financial assistance.

Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter
The Salvation Army
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure – Greater Lansing
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – In Memory of Ehren Peyerk
The American Cancer Society
The Travis Chellis Foundation
Peace Corps
Habitat for Humanity – Canada
Thumb Industries Walk-a-Thon
Last Chance Rescue
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Honduras Mission Project
Special Olympics of Michigan
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Livingston County
American Diabetes Association
Eric Carpenter Family Assistance Fund
Brides Against Breast Cancer

December 30, 2009

Baby Everett G.

One of my good high school friends had her second baby boy just before Thanksgiving. Everett McIntosh is his name. He is joined by his big brother, Mason.

As I was sitting at my desk a few days before her scheduled delivery, I received a text message that said, "Mason just asked if the doctor was going to take the baby out with a screwdriver." This had me laughing so hard, I was almost in tears! Therefore, when the baby came, so near to Christmas, I had to act on the comment made by his big brother and send Everett a special, personalized Christmas ornament.

The search almost immediately began, I needed to find the perfect screwdriver AND baby's first Christmas ornament. I wanted a simple, flat baby's first Christmas metal/pewter ornament to attach to the screwdriver. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to locate exactly what I wanted, so I found this instead:

3 pack of screwdrivers at the dollar store, I just had to add the hole. 2 sided, Baby's First Christmas Ornament from Babies R Us. Personalized paper quote that captures Mason's curiosity forever. 

Put it all together and you have a one-of-a-kind, personalized ornament for Baby E. My friend reports that she received the ornament and has it displayed at the top of the tree because Mason wants the screwdriver!

December 15, 2009

Santa Baby

Here's a photo of our current "baby" with Santa.


December 14, 2009

First Ornament


My daughter isn't even born yet, and she already has a Christmas ornament. We received this 2009 Hallmark Fisher Price Chatter Telephone Ornament as a shower gift and it is now adorning our tree. I'm sure I appreciate it more since I recall playing with the actual toy as a child.

December 11, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

This Christmas will be a very uncertain one! With my due date on the 28th, we contemplated getting a real tree, but we like to wait to put up a real tree until the middle of December. I figured that was "cutting it too close" and since we have no free weekends in December, I put up the artificial tree this past weekend while my husband was working. The tree is nothing too special, a small, cheap one that I purchased for my apartment while in college. It works for the occasion.

Rockwell wasn't too interested in helping this year, he did walk back and forth with me to the garage to bring in all the boxes, but mostly he just sat and watched or relaxed on our bed in the bedroom. I was able to get a few photos of him relaxing next to me while I decorated.



December 07, 2009

I Caved - Pregnancy Update #43

I've told several people that my daughter has so much stuff that I am not going to buy anything unnecessary until after she is born. Necessary items such as a crib mattress and changing pad and wipes and nursing pads were purchased, but up until last Thursday, I haven't purchased anything we didn't need for her.

Then I went to Target. And while looking at the Christmas items, I saw the cutest stocking. I looked at it and said, "awwww" to myself as I touched it. It was so cute and pink and soft. I knew we didn't NEED this stocking, she may not even arrive before Christmas, but I wanted it. It took me about 30 seconds before I put the $2.99 stocking in my cart and immediately I felt guilty. I knew I should put it back because I made a promise to myself that I would not buy any unnecessary items. I couldn't even justify it being only three bucks!

As I walked through the store and nabbed a few more items on my list, I told myself when I get to the register I would just tell the cashier I changed my mind and didn't want the stocking. But then I said "the heck with it!" I have a gift card, she can get a $3 stocking and it will be fine. I was so excited when I got home and decorated for Christmas to hang it up with the other stockings on our shelf. It looks too cute!


November 03, 2009

Halloween 2009

This year my husband and I had to play on my pregnancy and belly for our Halloween costumes. We decided to go as a Shotgun Wedding. I hope we didn't disappoint our fans!


May 29, 2009


I have a gut feeling my husband is planning or is in on a surprise 30th birthday party for me on June 6th. I only know this because I manipulated him and some other people into indirectly telling me it is true.

June 6th has been listed as "Kari's Birthday Day" on our calendar for months. Probably since there was still snow on the ground. Recently I asked my husband if we could change the day. He assured me we could not. I was convinced he had something big planned, or bought tickets to a concert or something, because why else would he not be able to change the date.

After some pressing I got an email from him that included our itinerary for the day. He was very disappointed he let out our surprise day plans, but assured me this is what we were doing. There was one item on the list that required an appointment, but I could easily see that everything else could be changed and rescheduled. Again, this confirmed my thought that he had something up his sleeve. At this point, I am 90% sure he has something planned or is in on something.

One day I decided to start asking people what was going on. I called my friend Dawn and assured her she didn't have to get me a present for my real 30th birthday because she got me something for my 29.5 birthday. Again, I was just stirring the pot a bit. She left me a message and through her smiles and laughs, I knew she was bluffing when she told me she knew nothing about a party! Now I am 92% sure there is something going on.

I shot out a couple of emails to a few friends and in casual conversation I told them I would see them on June 6th at my surprise party, and the common response was "I don't know what you are talking about." That was usually followed by "We have plans to do this or that on that date." Some people ignored the question completely! My hunch is now up to 94%

I then nabbed some people at the gym and started asking them if they were coming. The combined response is usually "I didn't get invited." My response was "I'll get you on the list." The small smile on Cassie's face made me 1% closer to thinking something was going on, but it was Trena who did an excellent job of giving me a hint.

Trena looked at me weird, and asked why she would come to my surprise birthday party. She then pulled out the "I didn't get invited" card and I saw her whispering to Katie, another girl at the gym. Shortly after I questioned Trena. Katie then asked me how I knew. I told Katie, I just "Had a hunch." Trena asked me if I was sneaking into my husband's email account! Suspicion up to about 99%.

I will give Amy at the gym some credit for looking at me and saying, I don't know about any party, I have the spin-a-thon that day. She did an excellent job keeping her face straight and promptly coming up with an answer!

Although I cannot officially confirm, and I feel somewhat guilty for manipulating people into giving me clues about a possible party, I'm only 99% sure something is going on...and if it is, I hope to see you all on June 6th!


May 18, 2009

First Anniversary Gifts

My husband and I are corny and that is what I love about us! We love to rip on things like "what's the gift for the first anniversary?" and then try to find cheesy gifts to give each other for the special event. The traditional first anniversary gift is paper. I was determined to somehow find a way to get my husband some sort of paper gift.

I began with an online search, for 1st anniversary gifts, paper anniversary gifts, and found nothing I was really interested in. Concert tickets were a nice but obvious gift, but to what concert and when, I wasn't sure. Then I stumbled across the idea to get him opening day tickets at Comerica Park! I was set on this gift and amazingly found some tickets reasonably priced on Craigs List. I only bought him one ticket, because I didn't want to spend a few hundred on two tickets, so I got him a single seat. He's corny like that, he'll go to a game alone!

My next task was to figure out how on earth I was going to give him an anniversary gift one month early (opening day is on April 10th and our anniversary is on May 7th) and make him work hard for it. So I rattled my brain and asked some friends and came up with an idea: a paper scavenger hunt and a paper poem to present him with his paper opening day ticket.

For the scavenger hunt, he had 24 different close up photos of paper that was in our house and garage: paper towel, newspapers, magazines, computer paper, etc. He had to find one set of paper, that revealed a clue and lead him onward to more paper. He was not at all thrilled about this scavenger hunt. He sighed a lot and asked me how many clues there were. He actually completed the hunt rather quickly. I kept reassuring him it would be worth it in the end. The last clue directed him to me, and I had this lovely paper poem that I read to him:

A Paper Poem
by Kari

You can use paper
for a silly hat
for rain cover
a chair mat
to get the news
to write love letters
for grocery lists and
to blot your lipstick.
You can use paper to
blow your nose
wipe a tear
clean a spill
make spit wads
buy a motorcycle
carry groceries
make airplanes
design a home
leave a note
make a payment
send a message
wipe your butt
dust a table
buy a car
clean a window
light a fire
make a pinata
rock paper scissors
stuff your bra
make a funnel
win a game
buy a home
travel abroad
business cards
origami birds
unwrap gum
squish a bug
hold a six pack
scrapbook memories
suicide notes and
to wipe your face.
You can use paper
to color
filter coffee
decorate a tree
send a letter
blot a cut
roll cigarettes
get a parking ticket
mark a trail
say I love you
say I’m sorry
litter the floor
stuff a bag
print a picture
ask questions
get answers
pay a check
call for help
carry lunch
hold vomit
show your support
decode puzzles
give a compliment
keep your place
send mail
voice your complaints
become a citizen
say thank you
have a yard sale
mark a page
save the date
renew subscriptions
connect the dots
send packages
seal envelopes
wrap food
understand instructions
to congratulate
say farewell
wrap a gift
your first anniversary
with a paper ticket
to opening day at
Comerica Park.

While reading the poem he seemed half interested, he was petting Rockwell and talking to him. Not sure if he realized what the gift was at the end or just looked up at me when I was finished reading it. He did say he loved the ticket and went to Opening Day with other friends that were at the game as well.

The highlight: he took a photo of the seat I got for him. It was really a single seat. The seats him and I always make fun of when we are at the park.


April 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Cups

Is there anything better than a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup? I thought for sure a homemade peanut butter cup would somehow be better than a store bought peanut butter cup. I guess I was wrong.

For Valentine's Day, my husband and I decided to make gifts for each other. I decided to make him Peanut Butter Cups from scratch. I was very excited about making them because I love to cook and I thought he would love them.

On Valentine's day I gave him the container of peanut butter cups. After we each tried one, I said to him, "aren't they good?" To my surprise, he said, "ahh, I don't like the peanut butter filling. It tastes funny." I then told him I thought they were delicious and if he didn't want them, I would eat them all. After that, I let him know I had to "hand paint" all of the chocolate in each paper cup, then add the filling and hand paint the top chocolate on! It didn't make him love the peanut butter cups any more, but I think they were good. Maybe not as good as Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, but comparable enough to share the recipe! 

Maybe before sharing the recipe I should admit I used Smooth, not Chunky Peanut Butter, I had smaller paper cups, which could explain why I had so much chocolate left, and I didn't have graham crackers so I substituted for Ritz crackers, possibly the reason why he didn't love them! 

Peanut Butter Cups

1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

60 (1 1/2-inch) paper candy liners, separated into 30 double-lined cups

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

1 cup powdered sugar

2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

MICROWAVE morsels and vegetable shortening in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on MEDIUM-HIGH (70%) power for 2 minutes; STIR. The morsels may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10 to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted.

PLACE about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate in each candy cup; spread to about 1/8-inch thickness, almost to top of cup, with small pastry brush. Refrigerate.

COMBINE butter and peanut butter in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes or until melted. Stir in powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Cool for 5 minutes. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon into each chocolate cup.

SPOON about 1/4 teaspoon melted chocolate on top of filling; spread to cover filling. Freeze for about 2 hours or until firm. Carefully peel off paper liners. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Makes 30 candies




December 30, 2008

New Year - New Plans

No matter how hard I try to NOT have a New Year's resolution, I always have a list of things in my head I want and do not want to do in the coming new year. I remember this list for about a month. I would say I abide by about 1/3 of the list.

This year Dan and I are on a serious spending freeze come January 1st. We haven't been out of control with any of our money, we are very conscious of how much we have, how much we spend and how much we should be saving. We are just looking to save more because you never know what else is going to happen in the auto industry... I'm already looking for loop holes in this spending freeze such as sneaking things into the "grocery bill" when I am at Meijer. I'm going to try hard not to, I have two Target gift cards burning a hole in my wallet right now, but I'm saving them for when I am really desperate (I'd say by mid-February) to buy something not on our list.

I'm sure we'll fall off the wagon a few times, but the two of us are wise with our spending. We like to research our purchase, attempt to find the best item and the best deal. We rarely purchase something on impulse, and Dan has found a gas station that will give him a Reece's Peanut Butter Cup Cappuccino for FREE if he puts 8 gallons of gas in his car! 

These thoughts have led me to wonder if there is a top 10 list of New Year's resolutions. Sure enough, that internet has EVERYTHING! has the Top 10 list. My resolutions match 3 on the list:

Number 3 - Tame the Bulge. Don't we all wish we could lose 10 lbs (or more!)

Number 7 - Get out of Debt (see above)

Number 9 - Help Others. This will happen because we regularly donate to Last Chance Rescue, JDRF, the American Cancer Society, and the Special Olympics. But each year I try to do more. I'm sure 2009 will include the Travis Chellis Foundation as well.

We wish everyone a happy, healthy, New Year and hope that when 2010 comes around, you aren't repeating and relisting items on your resolution list!

December 18, 2008

Postal Victims Again!

As most of you know, I had my Christmas cards ready early, therefore I mailed them at the beginning of December. Well, the other day I received a very official letter from the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

In a nutshell, the letter stated the following:

1-The mail I sent on or about November 24th was rifled through and was discovered by the Bay Port Post Office. The envelope and its contents was investigated and then sent to the addressee on or about November 24th. There was a photocopy of the envelope included in the letter from the post office, therefore I know who received the Christmas card.

2-The individual responsible for rifling my mail has been identified and "no longer has access to U.S. Mail within the United States Postal Service."

3-Complete the Mail Loss/Rifling Report to ensure the post office can document any lost cash or item that was within the envelope. 

This letter was F A S C I N A T I N G to me because I mailed the letter on December 2nd, as the postmark states, not on November 24th. And, when I emailed my friend to see if she got it (as the letter from the post office stated) she had not received anything. 

Therefore, I emailed the person who sent me the letter and she answered most of my questions. Sadly, the letter sent wasn't completely accurate. 

1-There were multiple victims, and the mail was opened between November 24th and December 3rd. I say, "Fix the form letter!"

2-The letter was not sent to the addressee but is in the hands of the Office of Inspector General until the case has been adjudicated. Again, I say, "Fix the form letter!"

3-The letter can be returned to me, which I have requested because I want to see what is missing and how long it takes the government to handle this situation!

This is just one of the reasons why I don't want the government taking control of my health care!


December 10, 2008

Christmas Lists

My family has always given each other Christmas lists. The lists contain everything from socks and tee shirts, to gift cards and electric blankets, peanuts and chocolate, cologne and wallets, tools and car cleaning kits. I love getting a Christmas list from people. It at least gives me an idea of what they want, but may not need. And everyone knows a Christmas List is a guideline for gifts. You may not get anything on the list, you may get a few things, or you may get everything. I mostly like them because they take all the thinking out of gifts and when you don't know what a person wants, you always wonder if they really like the gift you got them or if they are just "being nice."

This year I have been at a loss as to what I should get my husband for Christmas, so I asked for a list. Recently he sent me a link to an expensive watch. Normally I would just purchase this watch for him and be done with it, but for some reason I cannot see buying him another watch. He already has one. (I know, I know, it's probably like telling a woman she doesn't need another pair of shoes or two winter coats). But his is in great shape, still accurately tells time and he frequently gets comments on his watch to which I hear him reply, "I do love this watch."

When I asked him if he really needed another watch, he said he would love one but actually thought of something he needed for his Christmas list. Here is what he said:

"I did actually think of something I somewhat need, a new desktop radio for work. Mine is getting annoying, and I have to shove paper in my audio selections to get both speakers to work. Keep in mind the radio was purchased in the summer of 1992, traveled back and forth to LSSU a few times, and took a spill out the back of my Ramcharger in 1995. It also powered the speakers at the house for half a party when the amp we had took a s#*%."

After reading that, how can I not get him a new radio? Anyone who can recall the path his radio has taken deserves a new one plus, he's had that one for OVER 15 years and is still making it work. This is why I love my husband and his Christmas gift list!

He was kind enough to email me these photos...