Monday, October 31, 2011

Family pictures

I've been checking the mail with sweaty palms and pounding excited anticipation of receiving our pictures from the one and only, amazingly talented C&A Photography.  I don't know how she turned 2 wild monkeys, 1 hungry/fussy baby, 1 grumpy football coach and 1 self-conscious and obsessive mom into moderaly normal looking people...but she did.  Here are a few of my favorites.  XOXOXO!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Party like he's THREE!

We had a smashing weekend celebrating our little monkey Seth's birthday.  He took the day in stride....having a blast at a monkey-themed party, hanging out with friends and family, and getting an abundance of gifts.  So! Much! Fun!  Here are some picture highlights of the day:
I have no idea why there is a bite missing....

(Nice crazy lady in the background)
Opening his brother's gift....or more accurately, watching his brother open his gift.

Poor Uncle Matt's back went out during the party. Ouch.  But had to take  a picture, right?  
I don't know why he didn't like his tattoo...I thought it was pretty cute!?!?
The birthday boy wanted Monkey tails (hot dogs) as his main dish.  I think the guests were thrilled to eat  such fine cuisine :-/
Observation 1:  Football is ALWAYS on (though it was muted).  Observation 2:  Grandma Sue shoving her mouth full of cupcake.  Ha ha ha ha!!! 

Seth and his cuz, Sydney....all the other cousins were outside wrestling, of course :)
Some purty girls eating banana splits.
The shirt says it perfectly...
Refuses to look at the camera, but he's still cute.
Thanks for making this day such a fun one for Seth. Seems like last month I was wondering what kind of kid Seth would be, trying to imagine him talking and walking.  And  Seth really rounds out our family.  A great combination of silly and sweet, talkative and watchful, energetic and thoughtful, sensitive and confident.  The middle child....right in the middle of my heart.  Happy birthday, buddy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Trying to cope with "the Hoarder" know who I'm talking about

 Oh, our little hoarding monster.  I LOVE that he LOVES so many things.  I LOVE that he understands the importance of keeping and valuing things....but *things* can become *idols* pretty quickly and we're trying hard to keep *things* as just *things*.  But to a kid that wants to keep every single Sunday School paper, instructions, daddy's paper trash, receipts, paper inserts in DVDs or games, plastic baggies, you get the picture, we know it is going to be a struggle to balance appreciating the things we have and not making them a big deal by keeping and becoming attached to them.  [Ok, I know some of you that are thinking I'm going totally overboard with this, but trust me....we come from a long history of hoarders.  Not like the dirty TV show, more like the kind that keep 17 vacuum cleaners just "cuz".  Gotta get this under control.] Aaaaanyway, so preschool has opened up a new chapter of hoarding opportunities.  Treasures come home each day and EACH deserves fridge-honors, right?  So, I had the crazy forward-thinking liberating idea of putting a cap on the keeping.  I certainly didn't pitch it to him like that, more like this:  "Hey!  Lets decorate a special folder to keep your most special papers from preschool!  Only your favorite and best work should be saved in this special folder, and other things, we'll just look at, learn from, and then let them go...." Thinking, hey!...not a bad idea.  One folder for each year of school:  13 folders, 3 kids, this is manageable.  Only problem is that it is the 6th week of school and the folder is already full.  Love that kid. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

No monkeys were hurt in the creation of these invitations

I really like birthday parties.  I *tend* to go overboard....all for my own entertainment.  That's all I'll say.  Seth's birthday party is coming soon. He settled on a monkey theme.  Fits him perfectly, right?  Well, here's the invites.  Super easy, no really - took about an hour.  And cheap!

The invite package.

Step 1:  made moon shapes in Word, typed invite information inside the moon. 
Used lots of puns, cuz i'm punny like that. 

Free-handed the stem at the top, cut them out, then cut a section for the top of the banana - it will be the part you see when you open the banana so I used a lighter yellow textured paper that I had on hand.

Inside view.  Just colored the stem with a brown marker, cut the bottom off at an angle and glued on the lighter yellow waffle-paper.

Cut out foam fronts - using the pattern I already created.  Then just cut down an inch or two to make a peel in the banana.

Hot glue-gunned the foam part on the invitation part - just at the very bottom.

Front view - the monkey is a foam sticker; just moved him around so it looked like he was hanging/peeling the banana.  Stuck the peel part under his head to keep it peeled open. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mom, you deserve a spot on my blog for your amazingness.

I've spent the last 31ish years making fun of my mom's craftiness.  Awful, I know.  But does YOUR mom have 16 chests of drawers full of random craft supplies?  Does she have a ribbon maker?  Does she still have leftover fabric from making your coming-home-from-the hospital outfit?  Does she make a wreath in the time it takes you to sneeze?  Does she know how to make your skirt last another year by sewing some lace or other nastiness to the bottom of it (oh yes, she did....out of necessity).  Does she?  I dare say NO!  My mother is truly one-of-a-kind.  But I suppose I should admit that she is pretty stinking cool.  And as I get older (and she, therefore, gets cooler), I must admit that she is one fancy shmancy crafty mom.  Take this.  She turned this:


Amazingly beautiful, huh? 

And she made little Reed THIS:

And she made little Ryan THIS:

And she made little Seth THIS:

And she made the boys THIS:
Its a town for all their cars.  You probably can't see all the little garages that the cars can drive under/in. SO CUTE>>>hours of fun.
Sheesh, Mom.  I've always wondered where I've gotten my coolness.  I figured it must have just been from Dad, but I'm starting to think you might have had a *little* something to do with it. 

You NEED to eat these cupcakes.

Totally unhealthy but I don't care.  Every once in awhile you just have to throw down all rules of proper eating and go all out gluttonous.  Just a smidgen gluttonous. (I s'pose that's an oxymoron.) True confessions: I am really indecisive on how to best utilize my calories - I crave everything at once - cake, cookies, frosting, chocolate, all of it.  Welllllllll, my dreams came true when I made this recipe.  Its....wait for it.......get ready for's everything you want ALL AT THE SAME TIME.  Say it with me now:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes 
Did you see the "DOUGH" part of that?  Yep, anyone can make chocolate cupcakes.  And most people can make chocolate chip cupcakes.  But hold! on! to! your! belts! this baby has DOUGH in it. Ok, HUSH! to all you people who pretend you don't eat the dough.  I know you do....and if you really don't, you WISH you did.  You're missing out on one of God's most amazing creations.  D...o...u...g...h.  (said in my most dreamy voice.)

So here's the scoop (pun intended):
  1. Make your favorite white/vanilla cupcake recipe.  I like Wilton's Vanilla Bean or French Vanilla.  (I tried this with chocolate, it wasn't as good).  Pour batter in wrappers in muffin tin.  WAIT!  Don't bake them yet!
  2. Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipe.  I like this one.  But it helps if you use mini chocolate chips. WAIT!  Don't bake these either! 
  3. Freeze the dough in small balls.  Or if you want to be like calorie-loving ME, you'll make a quadruple batch (oh yes, I do) and freeze them in balls to always have cookie dough around to eat  bake.
  4. Drop a dough ball down into each cupcake batter in the muffin tin.
  5. Bake according to cupcake directions.  If you want to have a kinda doughy bite in the middle, place the FROZEN cookie dough in the cupcake batter.  If you want a more solid cookie bite in the middle (more of a cakey consistency), put the dough ball in chilled, but not frozen. 

HELLO!?!?  Are you still here?  If you ran off to the kitchen to start baking, wait just a minute.  You need the frosting recipe.  Here it is.  And its gonna blow your mind.  It takes like cookie dough, too. 

3 sticks softened butter (don't judge)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the salt, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth and combined.

Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.  I'm not joking - best cupcakes ever.  You can play with the proportions of dough-cake.  And when you make these and your eyes roll up into the top of your head as you sink your little teeth into this masterpiece of caloric wonderfulness, think of me.  And bring me one.
(Thanks, Tish, for the heads up on this amazing recipe.)

Who has the best babysitter in the world? Hands down.....WE DO!

So, no preschool today so our amazing, wonderful, fabulous, marvelous babysitter took our boys and her kids on a special trip to the Boone train place (whatever it is called, Boone Scenic River blah, blah,'s the TRAIN).  The kids were THRILLED!  AND, she is awesome enough that she took all kinds of pictures and sent them to me so I could enjoy it *almost* as much as they could :)

A little playing in the park before the train

Such a sweet face....would NEVER be naughty....


All ABOARD!!!!

Seth is so excited :)

Got his ticket and he's ready to go

The boys with their "big buddy, Riley.

Reed's first train ride....can you see the excitement in his eyes!?!?

A little nervous about this one - DON'T FALL OUT!

Oh. My. SOMEONE GRAB THEM! AND CLOSE THE WINDOW! AND PUT ON THEIR LIFEJACKETS!  (so, I'm a little scared of water...who isn't?!?!?)  Good thing cooler heads prevailed and allowed them to have fun!

Reed checking out the view with our sitter's oldest daugher, Brianna.


OUT.  But notice, he's even hoarding in his sleep.  Impressive, little buddy.