That first day, pulling up to the airport and then making my way inside with the girls to meet our friends, I was so excited and nervous. But then I heard Jessica calling my name (with what little voice she had left) from behind me. They were already outside waiting for us. I can't even tell you how fun it was to see them all in person for that first time. Everyone was so warm and just as lovely as I had expected them to be.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Jessica and her heart through countless e-mails (and of course her delightful blog) over the past couple of years. And I was pretty sure her Mom was equally delightful. This was indeed true! We became fast friends. I loved getting a call on my drive home that last day, from her mom, because with all the commotion of getting the cars and car-seats unloaded at the curb and tickets checked-in, we hadn't had a chance to say good-bye. What a sweetheart!
So, that first night after they arrived, we helped them get settled into their hotel and then they came over for dinner. The girls had already become fast friends and of course enjoyed opening gifts. So funny that anytime travel is involved, so are gifts. That's probably pretty universal I think.
David loved the fun creole seasoning and there were goody bags for all the kids (the contents of which are all over the house by now). Jessica made the girls chalkboard mats and the brown one for Sam came all the way from Canton. They are awesome! She promises to have a tutorial on how to make them over on her blog soon so keep an eye out for those.
And, because they came all the way from Louisiana to Minnesota to see little 'ole me and my family, I made her something very special, a thank you for such a huge gesture. I'm pretty sure she loved it. ;)
If you remember this story, you'll know why this inscription was so important. I conspired with her mom to get the words correct to say "In loving memory of my great-grandfather" in Spanish. It was driving Jessica nuts not to know what this surprise was going to be, but I think the wait was worth every minute.
I even took the time to make the little pig on the left, a red stripe dress, like one of them from the fabric, and the one on the far right is wearing a boutique dress similar to this one. That's what I love about drawing your own iron-on transfer, you can customize it to your hearts content. I'm only wishing I had redrawn their faces to be like the pigs in the fabric design, but that part didn't occur to me until the apron was all done and there was no time to re-do it. Oh well, these sweet little faces definitely give it a vintage feel and they are adorable just the way they are. :)
Hey y'all. My bother owns a local fan and lighting store called The Fan Man.
He is going to do a drawing for this cute table top retro fan (your choice of color) once his facebook fan page reaches 125.
Hop over here and "like" him and you are entered to win.
We have this fan in pink and just love it! In fact I just saw it in a "things we love" kind of article in Family Circle or maybe it was Better Homes and Gardens, I can't remember now. But, my point is that they had it listed at over $50 and Jason sells them for $40. Sweet! I think you need one too. ;)
Well, if you hadn't guess it, Anna Maria Horner was the fabulous designer we had the pleasure of meeting last Saturday night.
Quilt Market was in Minneapolis this year, and although we didn't get to go (we don't buy fabric wholesale *sniff * sniff*) we still had the perk of going to Anna's book signing.
We got to ooo oand ahhh over all of her samples from the book too.
She was so sweet in person and Amy and I had a blast hanging out for the evening. I got a chuckle when I asked the ladies behind us to take our picture and we ended up exchanging camera settings...hehe.
Everyone, this is Amy...say "Hi".
Turns out though that I will forever be known as the "book-signing saboteur". Now that I've been to a couple of book-signings, I wasn't nearly as nervous as I was when I sat next to PW. This time I started chatting right out the gate. And of course I had to mention Market. Evidently it was at the same moment she was signing her name.
Poor Amy, I hope this doesn't devalue her book, but rather makes it even more awesome. Hehe... At least we got a good laugh out of it when we sat down to dinner and looked more closely at our books.
Back to the giveaway. We are so excited to offer up this signed copy of her newest book "Handmade Beginnings." It's adorable and I'm sure you'll love it. Here is the actual book you'll receive. She even signed her real name for you. ;)
You know the drill...to enter, just leave a comment here. Leave an additional comment for each additional entry you earn for 1) blogging about the giveaway, 2) for following this blog (see sidebar). If you are already following us through reader or the like, just say so in a separate comment.
Now that summer is truly here (I'm talking sunshine and 80*) I can't wait to make lighter, more summery types of food. In a few minutes I'll be walking out to the backyard with the girls to pick rhubarb to make a crisp for Bible study tonight. Yum! What are your favorite summer foods?
Psst...I've got a fabulous chicken salad recipe from my friend Kim, to share with you soon. I can't believe I've kept that one to myself all this time! Shame on me.
Last night I made the most tasty quiche ever.
I used what I had on hand, and this puppy was loaded up with tons of fresh asparagus and broccoli (that I sauteed first), plus ham, a few scallions, monterey jack, eggs and half and half. I made my own pie crust, leftover from the double crust recipe I made for Peanut Butter Pie last week, boy was that yummy (next time I'm using chocolate pudding and adding bananas to it), and it was flaky and delicious.
The best part was that all three kiddos ate it! Even Sam who's become a picky eater and generally won't put anything green in his mouth.
We even discovered that he's no longer allergic to eggs. Woo hoo!
The bottom looks a little wet here, but do not fear, it was sublime. I did pre-bake the pie shell, even though Betty will tell you not to. My quiche was loosely based on this recipe.
And speaking of summer cooking, while I was waiting for my Dr. the other day, I picked up the June issue of Family Circle (it's got this dessert recipe on the cover). I don't usually read this magazine, but it has something like 30 different salad recipes in it and they all looked great.
These two in particular...
I bought my own copy at the grocery store this morning. And an article I found fun to read was this one about two mom-preneurs in my own city that started a sign company. I've seen these signs around for garage sales in our area for a long time and always wondered about them. They are super cute and really catch your eye. Way to go ladies! I wish you great sales this year.
Oh and I couldn't help but notice the little ad for The Vintage Pearl in the back (also found it in All You magazine, wonder where else she is). Erin's fun little company is fast becoming a household name. Love that!
I'll be back to wrap up our week-end escapades soon, but that rhubarb is calling me. I hope you are all having a beautiful day!
Ok, I'm not doing this in any real order. I'm saving the best for last. My mind is all over the place, I can't think quite straight as I'm still recovering from the massive had cold I started getting the day the Little Pumpkin's family arrived. Oh and Jessica started her trip out by losing her voice. What a pair we were! And I'm pretty sad that this is the only good picture of the two of us that ended up on my camera (of over 400 pictures!!!). I'm hoping she has a good one on hers. You can see what's she's started writing here and here.
Our day at the Mall of America was really fun. We started with a quick ride on the Hot Air Balloons and then off to lunch at Rainforest Cafe. I really love that place, but my sweet and very sensitive Emily, cried through most of it and plugged her ears through almost all of it (even asking me to feed her). We were sat right in the middle of the gorilla room and boy was it loud and evidently scary too. Kind of funny to see Allison and Grace across the table from us loving every minute and pretending to be monkeys themselves. They had a blast!
Taking pictures in Lego Land. The Lego sculptures are enormous!
Two of a kind.
I love that at this age we can walk right past American Girl and no one even notices.
We were pretty surprised that we both fit in there with all five kiddos. I think this was Hudson's first ride.
I never got a good picture of it, but Hudson loved to grab at Sam's hair, and Sam would just giggle the whole time because it tickled.
Hudson is a good on-the-go napper. This little boy is just precious!
Couldn't resist a picture of my big guy. :)
The Merry-Go-Round is always a favorite.
And the roller coaster was hilarious. I sat with Sam and my little daredevil thought it was great fun. Even Virginia (aka Noonie) enjoyed it.
Allison sat in the front row all by herself. What a big girl! Of course Emily wouldn't get near this one. Someday...
We finished our time with the Ferris Wheel. I still have yet to go on it, but I'm sure the view is great from up there.
I've got at least one more post about our week-end, but bye for now. I'm about to go catch some sun in the backyard with the girls, sip some lemonade and nurse my poor arms and hands that were butchered at the Dr.'s office this morning. Just the normal cholesterol and glucose test (now that I'm over 35). Five pricks later, and lots of digging, they finally got what they needed. But the bruises are already starting to show up and man does it hurt. Ouch!
Oh and a little teaser for you. Amy and I are going to a book-signing this Saturday night. And we will be giving away a signed copy of "___________" on the blog next week. Can you guess which book it is and which amazing woman we are so excited to meet? Never a dull moment around here!
One of the best parts of the whole trip was seeing our daughters play together.
(Oh, and I've decided that dressing my girls alike in crowded places is a good thing. Makes them so much easier to find.)
Here they are enjoying a game of Ring-Around-The-Rosie. Never mind that from the other side of the room you could see the big Leopard walking right in front of the glass, ready to pounce on it's prey (way cool if you ask me).
Ring-Around-The-Rosie with friends, trumps Leopard's.
Jessica tells me that most of Grace's friends back home are little boys her age, not many girls around. So she was pretty excited to have two new girlfriends to play with.
After going to the Zoo and then finding out that we were going to the Mall of America the next day, Emily exclaimed "The days keep getting better and better with Grace!"
Oh, if you could have seen the joy on my girls face!
And Grace later asking "Where are my cousins?" when she got up in the morning, was pretty priceless.
Grace, we so enjoyed your visit. Emily and Allison really loved playing with you.