Monday, September 29, 2008

"Yes, I am!"

The girls love playing "Let's go to the ball." They help each other put their glass slippers on and then take turns at their little vanity desk brushing their hair.

Me: "You girls are adorable."

Emily: With much confidence..."Yes, I am."

Could they be any cuter? Emily (I mean Snow White) runs down the hall crying into the "woods". And Allison (um Cinderella) can be found on the floor crying, saying "I miss my prince." Then they dance in a tight hug as Emily turns the radio on. I think we are ready for Magic Kingdom!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ponies and Apples

We had a wonderful Saturday at the apple orchard last week-end. We have been happily munching on bowls of caramel apples ever since and tomorrow the girls and I will bake an apple cake with chai whipped cream. Yummy!

Bare with me as I show way too many photos.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Allison waving at the on-lookers was so sweet.
She came up with that on her own.

Photobucket

Riding a pony takes lots of concentration.

Photobucket

My usually timid little girl took to it right away.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

And this is what I get when I ask for a smile..."CHEESE!"

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

No poison apples here.

Photobucket

Photobucket

By the end of the day Emily had a huge curl in her bangs.
Photobucket

Friday, September 26, 2008

Please tell me I'm not alone!

The scene of the accident...

Photobucket

We had just woken up from a nice nap and headed to the kitchen to make lemonade, one of Allison's favorite treats. The girls had both slid their chairs over to the counter to help and after the last bit of water was added to the pitcher I moved toward the garbage to throw away the can. Call it pregnancy clumsiness, or just a sleep-induced fog still circling my head, but I managed to catch the leg of one of the chairs causing an almost comedic chain of events. I say" almost" becasue I'm sure I'll laugh when telling Dave the story tonight, but right now I sill just want to cry. Having lost their footing and hanging on tightly to the pitcher, both girls and lemonade went tumbling towards the counter. It seemed to happen in slow-motion, lemonade splashing the side of the fridge, into the flower-pot of dozens of pens, the toaster, the open bag of bread, the front of drawers that had been left partially askew, the stove top and towels hanging from it, 2 chairs, 2 girls and of course the floor.

The stickiness is almost fully cleaned up and Emily is now sporting her 3rd outfit for the day (don't ask). Dave will need to pull the fridge out tonight so I can finish the final clean up. I will again be knee-deep in laundry and worst of all, I am really craving a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade!

Today's event ranks right up there with the Vaseline in the hair incident, and my favoite...the laundry detergent all over the floor and in the hair incident. I am in desperate need of cheering up, please leave me a note about your worst, funniest or just plain dumb-luck household goof. But don't include any details about someone getting hurt, my hormones just won't allow me to handle that kind of story these days.

Hoping your day is better than mine...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Goldilocks

Photobucket

I am just loving this adorable set created by the talented Jennifer of bella*tessa designs. I've got a mini obsession with "Goldi" right now and I'll tell you more about what I'm collecting in a few days. You can view bella*tessa's listing right here. But you've only got 3 days left to snatch it up, so don't miss out!

After drooling over this set I am just itching to get back to designing. Sadly, I must restrain myself. After all, I still have two princess Halloween costumes and a winter wardrobe for my own girls yet to make and only 5 weeks to do it in.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things I learned while making donuts...

Photobucket


I realize that this does not look like a plate of donuts, but bare with me.

1. The prospect of making donuts after nap time is just too much to handle, making sleep impossible.

2. If there is a bowl of cinnamon and sugar around you can bet 20 little fingers will find it.

3. Rarely is perfection achieved the first time around.

4. If doughnut holes end up looking like apple fritters, don't sweat it, they taste the same.

5. They taste great as a side dish with ham when your Au gratin potatoes aren't ready to come out of the oven in time for dinner.

I am determined to get these right, it may take a few more tries, but that's just fine with me. The journey is half the fun. I'm excited about making these a fall tradition in our home. I've made notes on how to do it better next time and that next time will probably be later this week. After I buy more oil for a deeper-fry and a doughnut cookie cutter that is. We picked a peck of apples on Saturday so I have plenty to work with. Here is the recipe if you'd like to try them out.

Apple Doughnuts
2-1/2 C flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C sugar
3 Tb butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 C apple cider or apple juice
1/4 C milk
1 Tb vanilla
1 med apple (McIntosh or Empire is good)
oil (for deep frying)

Topping
1 C sugar
1 Tb cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and make a well in the center.
2. In a small bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, then beat in the egg.
3. Add the apple juice, milk, and vanilla to the creamed mixture, beat all together.
4. Pour into the center of dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
5. Peal, core, and finely chop the apple, then stir into the batter.
6. Cover and chill the dough for 1 hour.
7. Working with half of the dough at a time, place it on a floured board; knead lightly, and roll out to about 3/8" thick.
8. Cut with a floured 2-1/2" doughnut cutter.
9. Heat the oil to 375 degrees in a wok or skillet; fry the dough for 1-2 min on each side, until golden brown (do not overcrowd); drain on paper towel.
10. When cool enough to handle, roll doughnuts in sugar mixture to coat.

Next time I will fry them in oil deep enough to cover the sides, but not the top. I will follow steps 7 & 8 carefully instead of rolling into balls that were too thick to cook the inside before burning the outside (those were the ones I didn't photograph). I will actually get out my thermometer and make sure the oil is the correct temp. I know mine got too hot and I couldn't cool it down quick enough on my electric stove (I so need a gas range...someday).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Don't miss this one!

Photobucket

Jenn of takeabow is having a fun giveaway. She is my absolute favorite designer! She made these adorable yo-yo headbands and is willing to part with them. Be sure to leave her a comment by Monday to be entered in her drawing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Apple Pickin' Time

I could hardly keep a straight face...

Me: "Do you want to pick apples tomorrow?"

Emily: "Yes, yummy apples. Not poison ones."

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Are people coming?

After dumping all of the legos out and moving on to something else:

Daddy - "Allison, pick up your legos."

Allison - "Are people coming?"

Either we don't pick up often enough, or we've been having a lot of people over lately. I hope it's just the later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gifts for the Mom-to-be

Photobucket

As soon as my best friend Sara told me she was expecting their first child, just 10 days after my due date, I knew I had to host a shower for her. Thankfully her youngest brother decided to get married this week-end, so she was in town from VA and we had a 3 hour window today to throw a fun party. I can't believe I didn't get a single picture of Sara and me today, though I posed for a few.

Sara is one of those rare friends that is never afraid to tell you what she really thinks. She always has great insight and she is the most mature Christian woman I know. We have been great friends for at least 10 years now. Unfortunately she and her husband Steve live in VA right now, so we only get to see them about 2 times a year.

I knew I had to make something really special for her and since they decided to keep baby's sex a mystery I had to come up with something neutral (I hope it's not too girly). I spent the better part of yesterday making a custom nursing cover-up, security blanket and mini diaper bag to hold it all in. My color combo was inspired by Jona's pillowcase post a while back and I am now pondering the creation of a shower curtain in the red print to go with our freshly painted yellow bathroom. Red and Aqua are my new faves, and I think yellow is just yummy with them.

Nursing cover-up (tutorial here)
Photobucket

There is even a soft minky pocket on the left side because
Sara is left-handed.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Security blanket
Photobucket

Photobucket

Sara completely surprised me with the most wonderful thank you gift. A retro phone from Pottery Barn (my favorite store). I think it looks just perfect on my corner table.
Photobucket

And since I haven't posted one in a while, here is a belly shot. Notice the yellow in the background (Behr Pismo Dunes). We have a c-section scheduled for Friday November 14th. Just two months from today!
Photobucket

Friday, September 12, 2008

What do I Read at 3am?

Photobucket

Early this morning after changing the bedding on a little girl's wet bed, I couldnt' get back to sleep. I decided to do a little dreaming about fun flirty summery skirts I'm excited to make for myself next summer. Think Heather Bailey's Freshcut and Pop Garden and Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market and Ginger Blossom.

I found this book at JoAnn last winter and used my trusty 40% off. It's a delightful little book. Even if you are a non-sewer (with access to a sewing machine), I think you will love it too. It would also make a wonderful gift for that "she's-so-crafty-person" in your life. The price at Amazon is great right now and makes this much less expensive than all the store-bought patterns you would need to buy to make the many different styles of skirts in this one book. Not to mention how much more user-friendly their directions are.
You will learn how to draft your own pattern based on your specific measurements and make 16 different styles of skirts. There are versions of the classic A-Line, Wrap, Full, Pencil, Layered & Tiered skirts. This book also teaches you some basic sewing skills and termonology, everything you need to know to complete the skirt you choose to make. The drawings are also easy to follow. Once you master the techiniques here you should be able to whip up a sweet little number in just a couple of hours.

Hmm...now I'm thinking about how easy these would be to make in little girl sizes too. How delightful!

*If you buy this book based on my recommendation and end up with any qustions about how to do something, just ask me. I love to help!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Birthday Part II

Photobucket

We had a fun filled day of Birthday party! We managed to hold 25 people (+ one baby) in our tiny house and it felt just fine. I was very surprised. Now I'm not so worried about the Baby Shower I'm hosting on Sunday with the same number. The girls had a blast and haven't stopped talking about it, or playing with their balloons and gifts. I however am still recovering. Spending the majority of the last 3 days on my feet has really taken a toll on me. All I want to do is nap every chance I get.

My favorite phrase of the day, "Mommy, my watch is clocking." Emily loves her new princess watch.

Photobucket

I was able to finish a new dress for Allison by staying up until 2am the night before. It's not 100% completed, but good enough to wear for the day. I'm sure I'll be offering it as a custom next spring, so I'll finish it up and take proper pictures soon.

Photobucket

The cake was my favorite accomplishment. Of course it's not perfect, but I think it turned out pretty cute for my first try at this kind of decorating. I used a Wilton Raggedy Ann pan from 1969 that had been my Mother's. So I'm sure I had a Raggedy Ann cake at some point in my early years too. She loved cake decorating and I inherited all of her icing tips which I gladly used. I did end up having to use my fall back option after the original homemade carrot cake broke coming out of the mold. After a trip to the grocery store we ended up with a chocolate box mix and homemade cream cheese frosting. The girls watched me frost it and of course I frosted their finger tips a bunch too. Those are the kind of memories I love making with them.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

I meant to get a picture later when all the kids made their way back to the trampoline. A great way to end the party!
Photobucket

A special thanks to Jeremiah for videoing the opening ceremonies and to Jeremiah and Terrence for playing so well with all the kiddos. I'm sure every family has that special uncle or cousin that all the kids gravitate to. For my generation it was my uncle Jim from New Orleans and it's so fun to see my girls have someone like that too. They will always remember that!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Birthday Part I

Last night we took the girls to the Mall of America for a Birthday celebration with just Mom and Dad. We started our night with dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, one of our favorite spots. I can't believe I forgot to take pictures while we were in there. We were seated by our favorite fish tank and ended the meal with a sparkling Volcano brownie dessert. Yummmmmm!!!

Next we browsed the Disney store in search of a specific toy they didn't carry...bummer. Then off to see the roller coasters. We rode the carousel twice and just had fun walking around and taking it all in. When we were done Allison almost had a meltdown becasue she didn't want to leave. I know the feeling.

Here are a few pictures of our night out. The girls have been talking about it all day. And there is still a Birthday party to look forward too!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Doing their best crocodile impressions.
Photobucket

Waiting can be fun too!
Photobucket

Photobucket

Doing her best NOT to smile.
Photobucket

Photobucket

I realize that a lot of my readers may never travel to MN, so in case you haven't heard, the Mall of America has a large amusement park inside. They just transformed it from a Camp Snoopy to a Nickelodeon park (not our favorite idea). There are 3 huge floors of shopping, dining and entertainment around the park and a brand new IKEA across the street and a water park across the freeway. It's super close to the airport, so come on up for a visit, you'll love it and I'll meet you there! They are also planning an expansion to double the size of the Mall that will include hotels and more entertainment.

I love going to the Mall, and in college I worked at the Eddie Bauer there for 9 months before I was transfered to another store to be an Assistant Manager. Can't say that I loved the nights where closing at Christmastime took until 2am to re-fold every piece of clothing in the whole store, but it was still a lot of fun.
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

And guess what is going in this spot. It looks like it will be all 3 stories high. It's at the same entrance as UnderWater World.
Photobucket

Yep, American Girl is coming to MN! I wonder how old the girls should be before they can truly appreciate these dolls. I would have loved them myself, but I was born during the Cabbage Patch craze. I even had an all-cloth doll that was hand signed by Xavier Roberts. Gee, aren't you jealous?

Photobucket

And finally I had to have a pic of the girls with me. Since I'm always behind the camera, I didn't want another big event to go by without proof that I was even there.
Photobucket