Friday, July 31, 2009

The Ears

Today was another busy day in preparation for the big party! Besides having to make the cake and go to the store to get those final few things, we had a couple outings for Emmaline planned. The morning started out with an appointment to get Em's 2 year pictures taken. Well, as you saw from the "Fun Facts," Emmaline did not cooperate for the pictures. It wasn't all her fault though because we went to Portrait Innovations for pictures and they were running behind so we had to wait like 20 minutes. While we waited Em played with the legos. Then when it was picture time of course all she wanted to do was go back out to the waiting area to play with legos instead of get her picture taken. She wouldn't smile for anything and definitely did not want her picture taken! The people working there weren't of much help either and didn't seem to want to work with us so that didn't help the situation. I mean, if I'm paying for the pics and I know what I want and my daughter isn't cooperating, then don't try to do all these other shots that I'm not going to buy anyway! So needless to say we had to leave and reschedule. We're going back Sunday morning so we'll see if we make any progress! Keep your fingers crossed! I had Em dressed all cute and her hair all done for nothing because we didn't get a single good picture.

Here's Em already to go before we left the house.

As you can see, she wouldn't look at me for the picture so maybe that should've been a hint before we left that the pictures were going to be a bust! So from there we headed home and had lunch and planned to go to the Aquatic Center since my sister and Kaite were here. However, it really wasn't all that warm yet and a little breezy, plus Em was cranky and I thought it would be best if she go down for nap. While she napped I made part one of the cake and made some of the food for the party.

We were planning to go to the Noodle Company for dinner (I've got my sister and niece hooked on that place too.) and then go get Em's ears pierced. Greg had called though and he had to work a little late so my sister, Kaite, Evan, and I took Em to get her ears pierced before dinner. Getting her ears pierced was Em's birthday present from her Aunt Jen and cousin Kaite. Em was all excited when we went in, but the closer it got to the piercing time the crankier she got. Actually she did pretty good, but as the two girls doing the piercing got their hands right by her ears she started to fuss and cry. I was holding her and had to hold her head still and arms down and 1,2,3... it was all done and over with. She cried for a few minutes afterwards, but by the time we got out to the car she was fine and happily enjoying her sucker! She wouldn't let me take her picture though of the newly pierced ears, what a surprise right?

After the little birthday girl was all done and sparkling with her pretty earrings we headed to The Noodle Company for dinner and met Greg. All four of us ate for $5! We were planning to take Em for her birthday dinner since she likes it there, so it worked out perfectly with the coupons! I had a full punch card for a free entree and a coupon for a free entree so it was our lucky day to eat at the Nooodle Place! Of course I had the Indonesian Peanut Saute, as did Greg, and the kids shared a Buttered Noodles. I finally was able to snap a few photos of Em's birthday dinner at the Noodle Place so here you can see her beautiful sparkling earrings!

Here she is with her mouth full of course! She seems to be famous for these shots lately!

Here she is boxing up her noodles she didn't eat!

Finally, here's my sweet little girl posing with her new earrings. We chose the little "diamonds" for her, and I think she looks absolutely adorable with her ears sparkling!

After we got home I had part two of the cake to make, and more party food to make as well. The big day is tomorrow and I'm exhausted already. It will definitely be nice to relax after the party is all over! More to follow on the birthday celebration, soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Let the Birthday Celebration Begin

I'm back, my wonderful readers! I know you missed me lots and lots yesterday. I had good intentions of blogging last night because I did actually get many things accomplished yesterday. The to do list got a few check marks next to some items, however I ended up going grocery shopping last night to get food for the party. I had planned to do my shopping today, but Greg wanted to go to Meijer so I quickly made my grocery list after dinner so we could go. I figured if I was going to have help with the kids going through Meijer, I'd better take. That way I wouldn't have to go at it alone today grocery shopping with two kids. Of course it didn't make the trip to Meijer go any faster. Then we get home after 9pm, I put groceries away, and had to turn around and go back. Greg let Evan put the bread in a plastic bag and they left it. Why I was the one who had to go back, I don't know. Therefore readers, I was unable to blog. The good thing was I did have help with the kids, the bad thing... Meijer had no produce that I needed for the party. It was slim pickins so that means, yes you guessed it, another trip back to the store! Ugh!

Between yesterday and today, I worked non-stop pretty much and made the to do list much smaller! I scrubbed the floors AGAIN, shampooed the couch, fixed the screen AGAIN, got all the laundry done and PUT AWAY (no full laundry baskets in this house-yeah!), cleaned the house, got all the party prep done, AND had a playdate and watched the Bachelorette Tuesday night! Yeah me! It feels really good to have a nice clean house and get so much done, only to have it trashed in two days after the party I know!

Although Emmaline's birthday isn't until Saturday, we started celebrating a little early. Tonight her birthday celebration began with dinner at Outback Steakhouse with Greg's Mom.

Here's the pretty birthday girl!

Em got to open her presents, have a yummy dinner, and got a free birthday dessert! Dinner was delicious, I had the Outback Special- steak, salad, & sweet potato! Mmm Mmm Mmm! Oh how I love a good steak! Em ordered grilled chicken and sweet potato fries. She wasn't much into her dinner besides the fries and bread, and then of course the chocolate sundae! She did eat some of Greg's veggies so that was a plus! The presents however she loved! Here's some pics of Em's early birthday celebration.

Here's some of the clothes Em got! These are from Em's favorite store- Children's Place!
(Brother's going to like me in this orange shirt, his favorite color!)

More clothes! Em can't wait until fall to wear this pretty pink sweater!

Here's Em being oh so lady like eating one of daddy's carrots.
For some reason Em thought she could get comfy at the restaurant.
(I did make her sit up like a lady after I snapped the photo)

So there you have it, one birthday celebration done and more to come! Em loved all the clothes she got! She definitely needs clothes for fall! She also liked her books, crayons, and coloring book! Thanks for a great birthday dinner and presents Ya Ya! We got home from dinner and my sister and niece rolled into town tonight and the kids were in their glory having more attention! Tomorrow we have a fun filled day planned and I've got to get the cake made, probably run to the store for those final few groceries I couldn't get, and do a few last minute items on the to do list. Then we should be all set for the big party day on Saturday! Stay tuned readers... I'll be sure to share all the birthday festivities with you and I still need to tell you about my new exciting adventure! My bed is calling my name now though so until tomorrow, night night!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Procrastination Is Getting The Best Of Me

Here it is Tuesday of the week of the big party, and my to do list seems to be getting bigger instead of smaller. Ugh! I was off to a good start last week and then I don't know what happened... kids, Facebook, blog, Evan's school time, Facebook, running errands, watching the Bachelorette last night, playdates, Facebook, oh damn Facebook... you get it. Doing everything else, but what I should be. Well, at least not doing as much of what I should be and putting things off. Now, my wonderful readers, I think procrastination is getting the best of me. My goal is to have everything done I need done for the party- cleaning, party stuff, grocery shopping by Thursday before my niece and sister get here. That means I only have two days left, hold on....ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Friday is fully booked as I've got Em's two year pictures, then if weather permits we're finally going to the Aquatic Center, then we have big plans for Emmaline Friday night (more on this later), and I've got a cake to make on Friday. So you see, the list must be completed by Thursday or I'm going to be running around here Saturday morning like a chicken with its head cut off before the party! So of course what do I do? I sit here and blog to you all about it instead of doing my to do list! I think I'm in trouble. I did make some progress today, more than yesterday. However, the list isn't in the trash yet, and unless it is crumpled up and thrown away, that means I still have stuff to do. I'm thinking maybe it's time to go back to the college days and pull a few all nighters, yeah right I don't think so. I need my sleep! So neighbors if you don't see me out for walks the next few nights you know why, I'm busy inside the house and not able to enjoy the nice weather outside the house. I'm hoping by tomorrow evening I can tell you faithful readers (the one's that read EVERY day) that I've made huge progress between now and then. Keep your fingers crossed...however, The Bachelorette After The Final Rose is on tonight. I know, I know, I shouldn't be watching it and should be working, but I promise I'll fold laundry or something as I'm watching! For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge Bachelor/Bachelorette fan and tonight is the last show so it's a must!

So if you don't hear from me tomorrow, it's because I'm frantically trying to get things done. Hopefully you will though because I have a new and exciting adventure to share with you! Until then, I've added a new blog feature that I think you may find helpful. It's under the "Fun Facts Of The Week" and the new feature is a Search Box, it's titled "Search This Blog." On Blogger you can add different "gadgets" to your blog such as slideshows, text, pictures, videos, etc. This gadget is a new gadget. I'm not sure how new because I haven't added any gadgets recently, but it still says "new" in the gadget section so I'm guessing it's fairly new. From this search box you can search through my blog for a certain subject instead of having to look through all the blog archives from each month. So for instance, say you wanted to go back and read something about "bunco," type in "bunco" in the search box and it will give you a list of any blog posts that I talked about bunco. Pretty neat and a very quick way to find something your looking for from a past post. When you do a search and the results appear, there are three tabs that will pop up at the top. One is "This Blog," the other is "Linked From Here," and the third is "The Web." If you click on the "Linked From Here" it will show you results of pages I've linked to from my blog posts. If there is not link for something you've searched for in the search box, it will say "No Result." It's pretty straight forward and easy to use. "The Web" tab will give you results of anything on the Web of course that relates to your search! So no more hunting and digging through my blog for something you read and want to go back and find again! Enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Wedding Entrance Of All Time

I came across this video on the Today Show on Friday and meant to post it this weekend and didn't get around to it. This couple from Saint Paul, Minnesota danced down the aisle to the song "Forever" and posted the video for family and friends on YouTube. Since then, it has gotten over eight million hits! Crazy, but if you haven't seen it, definitely watch it because it is worth it, and you'll get a good laugh! Here's the link Wedding Entrance Dance

It has to be one of the best wedding entrances of all time! It is super funny and I think a great way to switch things up from a traditional wedding entrance. I can see something like this in my kid's futures when they get married since they are constantly dancing around here and are so into music!

I'm thinking my cousin Matt & his fiancee KaiAnn are getting married next June and they should totally step it up a notch and do something like this for their wedding! How fun that would be! So Matt, I know you follow me on here... time to start dancing with Kai on the weekends and practice up! You both would be awesome at something like this. I can picture it in your wedding plans! LOL! Hope all you readers enjoy the video, I thought it was worth sharing!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hawk Nest Time Bank

Today I took part in a fairly new concept for our Hawk Nest Community. It's called Time Banking and my friends Nico and Susan (the one's who hosted the dinner Wednesday) are working hard to develop it in our neighborhood. Many people haven't heard of it, but it's a way to create a better community one hour at a time! Here's a little background to help you understand...

If you have ever said: if only I had someone who could... water the plants while I'm on vacation, watch my kid while I run a couple errands, walk the dog simply because I don't have time, finish the basement project, paint a room, wash the windows, clean the gutters, organize the closet, build a deck, clean the house, mow the lawn... you get the idea.

And you know that in return you could help your neighbor... run to the store, hang pictures, cook a great meal, trim the bushes, weed the garden, plant flowers, move furniture, teach Spanish to a two year old, bake homemade goods for their church fundraiser, watch their kiddos while they clean house, etc., etc.... the list goes on.

Then Time Bank is the perfect opportunity to make this's time well earned and spent! At its most basic level, Time Banking is simply about spending an hour doing something for somebody in your community. That hour goes into the Time Bank as a Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone doing something for you. It's a simple idea, but it has powerful ripple effects in building community connections. With Time Banking, you will be working with a small group of committed individuals who are joined together for a common good. It connects unmet needs with untapped resources. Here's another way of explaining it...

The premise is that everyone has something to give and everyone has something to offer.

Let's say:
Neighbor A: I need my lawn cut
Neighbor B: I wish someone would do my grocery shopping
Neighbor C: I want to learn Spanish
Neighbor D: I need shelves built in my garage
Neighbor E: I want to learn how to build a website

All of these things could be traded, but unlike traditional bartering, it isn't limited to Neighbors A and B trading services, instead A could help C...D could help A etc... When you help someone for an hour, you earn one credit. You can then "cash" the credit in with anyone in the Time Bank with something you need help with. Everyone is trading time and everyone's time is equally valuable.

When I heard about it from Susan it seemed like a great way to get help with things you may normally have to hire out... babysitter, lawn service, window washers, etc. This way you can find a neighbor who is interested in donating a little bit of their time and you get the help for free. In return you just donate your time to help someone else. As I said it's all pretty new, but once it gets going I think it will turn out to be a great thing.

So to get the ball rolling, those of us who were interested so far got an email and we were to contact the person below our name to offer help. The person who was below my name happened to be my friend Susan. So today I went to her house for a little over an hour and helped her organize all of her baby clothes from the first two years of her daughters wardrobe to put in storage. It felt nice to help her out and knowing in return I'd get some help with something from another Time Banker. Not only did Susan get help with something that she's been wanting to get done, but we also got to have a nice little chat as we were organizing! I happened to be the first one to complete a Time Bank project so Susan & Nico were so gracious as to congratulate and thank me for getting it going! My friend Carla has my name below hers so she's going to be coming to help me for an hour doing something. I'm not sure exactly what yet, but we're figuring that out over the next couple days.

For those of you readers that are in the Hawk Nest Neighborhood and are interested feel free to join along. As I mentioned, Susan and Nico Gisholt are organizing this so you can contact them or if you don't know them you can contact me and I'll let them know! You can also go to to learn more about Time Banks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Olivet, Michigan... Really?

Today we didn't really have any big plans. I was going to work on some party stuff for next weekend, do the laundry, (Yes readers, I'm always doing laundry. It's a never ending task around here) and odds and ends kind of things. Then Greg got a phone call from his mom that she and his aunts and uncles were in Olivet at the car show and the Lion's Club was giving out free bike helmets if we were interested. We debated about going because the weather was iffy and looked like rain, plus Greg was in the middle of watching the second to the last day of the Tour de France. Once the bike race was over we did end up heading out and got on the road to Olivet.

For those of you not from around here, Olivet is NOT our kind of town at all! It's about 30 miles south of us. It's population is about 1800 people, there's not a whole lot to do there, and it's pretty much farming territory. It is home to Olivet College, but other than that not a whole lot going on in Olivet, MI. It's the kind of town where if you blink you'll miss the downtown. My good friend Marie teaches at Olivet Middle School which also has Olivet High School attached to it. Yeah, really small school readers, really small. I always joke with Marie because she lives in Bellevue (which isn't any better than Olivet and teaches in Olivet and I don't know how she does it because seriously I would go insane if I lived somewhere like that! Nothing around, smells like cows all the time, and have to drive a far way to get to places! No thanks.

Anyway, we decided to go so the kids could get helmets and we thought Evan would enjoy looking at the cars in the car show since Greg's uncles had their two cars there. We got to Olivet and we met up with Greg's mom and aunts & uncles for lunch. We went to this place in downtown Olivet called The CoachLight Inn. Readers, I have to admit for a little podunk town this restaurant had pretty good food! Not a bad way to start our visit in Olivet. Here's the restaurant we had lunch at.

After lunch we headed down the road by the College to where the car show was. Evan did enjoy looking at the cars and Em actually liked some of them too. Greg's Uncle Don had his 1998 Corvette in the show and his Uncle Bud had his 1969 Camaro. Evan liked the Camaro the best, but he wanted to go for a ride in the Corvette. Em had fun sitting in the drivers seat of the Corvette pretending she was driving. Here's the two cars.

This isn't the best picture, but here are Evan and Em in the Corvette.

Besides the car show there were some other festivities going on. We happened to hit it just right after lunch and were able to catch the parade that went down the main street in Olivet. It was no MSU Homecoming Parade, but all and all it was enough excitement for the kids to grab some candy, see the firetrucks, and hear the marching band! On a scale of 1-10, I'd have to give it a 2. However, if you're from Olivet it's probably the most excitement that happens there so it would be a 10 for the locals. Here's a few things we saw in the parade...

An over the top UPS truck!

The Olivet High School Marching Band
(Oh, how it brings back memories of being in the marching band...)

And it wouldn't be a parade in Olivet without some tractors! Here's one of them.

So that was our exciting Saturday! I had no idea when we left that I'd be spending three hours in Olivet, MI. Really on a normal day without the festivities, I can't see spending much time there at all. Who knew there would be good times readers, good times.... that is if you're two and four! On a final note, we'd like to wish the Ellis' daughter Maddie, a Happy 2nd Birthday! Happy Birthday Maddie! We hope you had a wonderful day! Maddie is one of Em's four friends whose birthdays are all within three weeks of each other born the same year! (Yes, there was something in the water in our neighborhood at the end of 2006! LOL!)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wednesday Night Dinner With The Gisholt's

Last night we had a nice evening at our dinner with the Gisholt family and friends. Our friends Nico and Susan live down the street. They have a daughter Elizabeth who is Emmaline's age. Elizabeth and Em's birthdays are nine days apart. Every month Nico and Susan host "Wednesday Night Dinner with the Gisholt's. This usually takes place the last Wednesday of every month, however this month got changed so it was yesterday instead of next week.

The purpose of their Wednesday night dinners once a month is an opportunity to meet new people, or to see old friends, and to enjoy a meal in good company! Anyone and everyone is invited- friends, children, co-workers, significant others, (or even just "others"). The dinners are potluck style so you bring a contribution of food. Since there are at least 80 plus evites sent out, you never know how many people are going to be able to attend. Therefore they ask that you just bring a portion size to feed around six. That way you don't have to cook huge amounts of food and since everyone is asked to bring something there's always enough food. So based on your last name you will bring an appetizer, a salad, a main dish, or dessert. For example:

A-G salad
H-K appetizer
L-S entree
T-Z dessert

The items rotate often so you're not always stuck with bringing a salad or entree all the time. Other contributions are also welcome such as bread, wine, soda, beer, etc. If your busy life doesn't allow you time to get to the store, no worries or pressure to bring anything other than your sparkling personality! It's a really laid back dinner party and it always turns out with more than enough food! Last night we had a wide variety- Swedish meatballs & noodles, pot roast, mac-n-cheese, pizza, salads, soup, veggies & dip, hummus, and lots of wonderful desserts- brownies, chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, etc. Yum yum!

This was only our second time making it to dinner with the Gisholt's. We attended one of the Gisholt's dinners last fall for the first time. I had to take a dessert that time (Butterfinger Chocolate Cake Dessert- I'll have to post that recipe soon!), this time I had to take an appetizer-hence the veggies & dip and salsa roll-ups I posted yesterday. Here's the roll-ups:

Our first dinner we went to in the fall Emmaline was just over one years old, and she managed to grab a glass of red wine off the table and spilled it all over the table, floor, and her hair, and her nice white tank top, and me! So needless to say we had to leave early to go home and get cleaned up! Last night was much better and no food or drink was spilled. There were a good number of kids there so that kept Evan and Emmaline entertained. We had a great evening and dinner thanks to the Gisholt's. We look forward to more Wednesday night dinners. Thanks Nico and Susan! Here's a couple photos from the dinner party!

Our hostess, Susan is the one leaning over, and our host Nico is the one in the way back in the middle in the green shirt.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Veggie Dip & Salsa Roll-Ups

After yesterday's big excitement of Emmaline going pee on the potty, guess what? She did it two more times yesterday! Yes, I'm still a proud mommy! I know it's not going to be that easy the whole way through this potty training journey, but hey I'm going to enjoy the moment. Today so far it's only been one time, but she is still willing to try and sit on there without a diaper. I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed she keeps it up!

Today I had to go have some blood work done as a follow up to my doctor's appointment last week. My mom came up to watch the kids for a little bit so Greg didn't have to take time off work. I was able to run a couple errands after wards so that was nice to be able to do without kids. While I was gone the kids played outside, Evan showed off his bike riding skills sans training wheels for Grandma. They went for a little walk as well. It was nice to have a little free time even though part of it was spent at the lab getting my arm poked! Thanks Mom for coming up to watch them. I know you're busy getting ready for your trip. She leaves on Friday for Africa which thankfully she got all healed up for in time from her fall back in May.

Tonight we're headed to a dinner party down the street at our friends Nico and Susan's. Looking forward to it. Kids are welcome so it will be all four of us going! I made a nice veggie tray and homemade veggie dip, as well as some salsa roll-ups. I'll have to tell you all about our evening tomorrow. Until then readers, I'm posting a couple recipes here of the veggie dip and roll-ups for your enjoyment should you be in need of some items to make!

Veggie Dill Dip

1/2 cup sour cream (I use reduced fat)
1/2 cup mayo
dill & seasoning salt (use to your desire)

Mix sour cream and mayo in bowl. Sprinkle in dill and seasoning salt to your liking. Voila... veggie dip. Serve with raw veggies- cucumbers, carrots, green peppers, cauliflower, etc. (I add quite a bit of dill to actually get some flavor so don't be afraid to add a lot at first. Taste and if need more keep adding to your desire.)

Salsa Roll-Ups

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA, 1/3 Less Fat than Cream Cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. TACO BELL® HOME ORIGINALS® Thick 'N Chunky Salsa
1/2 cup KRAFT Mexican Style 2% Milk Finely Shredded Four Cheese
1/4 tsp. chili powder
(Of course don't have to use Taco Bell brands. I use Ol' El Paso Thick 'N Chunky Salsa Medium & whatever size tortillas & cheese I have on hand.)

MIX cream cheese and salsa; spread onto tortillas. Top with remaining ingredients.

ROLL up tortillas tightly. Cut each crosswise into slices.

Make Ahead (if prefer)
Prepare roll-ups as directed, but do not cut into slices. Tightly wrap each roll-up in plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to 4 hours. Slice just before serving.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Emme Peed In The Potty!!!

Today before Emme's nap we hit a huge milestone! She went pee in the potty! Woo hoo! We've had the little potty in the bathroom for awhile. Em hasn't shown a whole lot of interest. At least not consistently! Sometimes she just wants to go in and lift the little potty seat up and down. Other times she wants to sit on it with the lid down. When she does sit on the little potty with the lid up, the diaper has to be on. O.k., it's a start I know, but we've gotten nowhere. So today before her nap I went to change her diaper so she was all clean for her nap. Well, her diaper was barely wet and I figured she really didn't need it changed yet. However, this kid I swear pees A LOT! I've never seen such full diapers. She used to pee through her diapers at night and would wake up with soaked jammies and wet sheets. I didn't know what to do. Evan never had that problem. My friend Wesley recommended nighttime diapers because he daughter was having the same problem. So off to the store I went and have been using them for about 6 months at night and they're a lifesaver. For the most part she has woke up with dry jammies. I'm wondering why they just don't make all diapers that absorbent. Oh wait, I know... then you wouldn't have to buy different kinds of diapers and they wouldn't make MORE money! Back to the potty... so since her diaper wasn't very wet was thinking, "She's gonna have to pee soon because she drank a whole cup of propel & a yogurt smoothie at lunch." So I asked her if she wanted to go sit on the potty with her diaper off, and she said, "yes!" So off we went! She sat down and just kept smiling. I'd ask her if she went and she'd say, "no." Then I asked her if she wanted to get up, she'd say, "no." So we sat there and sat there for a little bit. Then I had her get up for a minute to check and low and behold, she had peed in the potty!!!! Oh, a proud mommy moment it was!!! Em was proud too, she was clapping and saying, "yeah!" It was too funny! She got up on the stool after wards and washed her hands like a big girl and was smiling away! Now, I just have to get her to keep being interested and going on there. Oh how no diapers in my future sounds very very good! I think my niece is going to stay with me for a few days after she comes up for Em's party so I'm thinking she'd be good to work with Em on the potty since she was so great with Evan. We were about at a lost cause when potty training Evan, and bless Kaite's heart she worked with him everyday for a week and got him to start using the potty!

Party Planning, Cleaning, & Other Stuff

Ok, I'm getting some grief from some of you readers... get blogging, get blogging. So here I am! I take a couple days off and apparently I shouldn't of because I'm not hearing the end of it! I did get rested up over the weekend. I actually took a little nap on Sunday. It wasn't very long, maybe a half hour. I didn't get the garage cleaned, and we didn't make it to the Aquatic Center since the weather didn't cooperate. Chilly, chilly! I did get one load of laundry done. Woo hoo! Other than that and running a few errands it wasn't really a very eventful weekend. My wonderful husband shampooed the carpet Sunday night. I had been asking him to do it before Em's party so that is out of the way. Still have a few spots that need to try to get stains out, but the big part is done!

Over the weekend I took Emmaline to Claire's to look at the earrings and make sure they have two people to do both ears at the same time. Em was all excited and I think she thought she was getting her ears pierced that day. She was a little mad at me when we left and no earrings. So I think we're going to give it a whirl and get them done on her birthday weekend. I'm just hoping she stays this excited about it and can sit still when they do it.

We also got some news over the weekend about Evan's preschool and have hit a snafu. (The reason I was ticked off yesterday.) The tuition has gone up which we weren't expecting. So now, as the school year nears, I'm frantically trying to figure out what to do and if he's going to be able to go there. He had a hard time adjusting to being away from Mom & Dad when he first started, last year and finally by second semester he was much better. He really liked school, liked his teacher, and couldn't wait to go back when school was done in April. Now all summer he's been asking when he goes back to school and keep telling him not until September. I know he's going to be bummed if he doesn't get to go back. Hopefully it will all work out. This is the year he needs preschool the most before kindergarten. Unfortunately we can't send him to kindergarten even though he's ready. Since his birthday is December 31st he misses the December 1st cut off date by the state. I'm waiting for a call from the school so we'll see what happens.

This week my goals are to get a majority of the party stuff done and get this house cleaned so I don't have so much to do at the last minute. I've already started working on party stuff. I've come up with a few ideas for the goody bags and the party itself so I'm trying to get things done and out of the way. I'm also working like mad around here to get some long overdue serious cleaning done. I seem to have more ambition to do serious cleaning, (windows, shampooing furniture, organizing, going through piles of papers, that kind of stuff) as opposed to the day to day stuff like vacuuming, bathrooms, etc. when I have people coming over. So far I've accomplished a few things so I'm off to a good start. Now, I just have to keep it up. I'm thinking some of these toys need to go out of the living room though for the next week so I'm not spending all my time cleaning those up everyday and can get to other stuff. Oh how I can't wait for the day when all toys are downstairs and not overtaking my living room!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bachelorette Party

Last night I had my girl's night out that I mentioned. My friend Missy is getting married in August and she had her bachelorette party. Her party was at Harper's Restaurant & Brewpub in downtown E. Lansing (formerly, Dooley's when I was in college). Harpers has been open for a little over 10 years I believe. It is quite large inside with ample seating and a large horseshoe shaped bar. There is also patio seating outside when weather permits.

The bachelorette party was actually a spa/dinner/dancing combo. Some of the girls first went to the Douglas J Institute in downtown E. Lansing for manicures and pedicures. I was planning to go get a pedicure until I realized I had the days mixed up. I thought the party was on Saturday, but when I realized it was Friday I didn't have anyone to watch the kids so I opted out on that part and met up with everyone at Harper's afterwards. We had the fireplace room there reserved for us so that was nice to have our own space. Here's the room:

This is my friend Missy. I've known Missy for about a year and a half. She's one of the bunco girls. I met her through my friend Wesley.

There were 11 of us that ended up at Harper's. We lucked out that night because beers and burgers were 1/2 off! (They have different specials every night.) With Harper's being a brewpub in E. Lansing and all, they have several beers on tap that have local names. I had the Spartan Wheat which I had never tried. If you don't know, I'm definitely a beer person. I do like my mixed drinks & frozen daiquiris, but as we all know those are quite pricey when you're out somewhere so beer it is usually for me. The Spartan Wheat was very good. It is a rich flavored, light colored wheat beer. I highly recommend it!

The party was actually pretty tasteful as far as decor and presents go. Missy did get a few "bachelorette type items," but for the most part she got some very nice gifts. Here she is opening the present I got her. I think she liked it, what do you think?

After dinner some of the girls stayed for Mega 80's night. I headed home after dinner and socializing, as it had been a busy week and I was really tired. I ended up having two beers and a burger & fries for dinner and it was only $8.48. A pretty good deal I thought for half off night. It was a good time had by all, and another enjoyable girl's night out! Congrats to Missy on her upcoming nuptials! Here's the whole group with our waiter in his 80's attire.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tired Blogger

Well here it is Friday already, and right here is one tired blogger. Sorry readers I missed a couple of days. It's been a busy week with parties, appointments, the zoo, and Evan's "school time" so I'm trying to get caught up! Earlier in the week I attended a party at a friend of mine's. It was an Uppercase Living party. I've heard of many home interior parties, as well as Pampered Chef, Longaberger, Tastefully Simple, Lia Sophia, etc. I had never heard of Uppercase Living before so I thought I'd check it out! Uppercase Living sells decorative lettering and images (wall appliques) you can put on any walls in your home, or on pretty much any item you desire- decorative plates, boards, tiles, glass, etc. When looking through their catalog at first it is very overwhelming. There's so much to choose from, and then you have to think where you would put one of the images or lettering. It is a pretty neat idea though because instead of having to paint a saying on your walls you can use these appliques. Plus they come in a wide variety of colors so you don't just have to have the normal black, although I do like the black. Here's a few examples from the catalog.

It's too bad we already have the kid's rooms done because there are some really cute sayings.

I like this one for a bathroom. Too bad I don't have enough wall space in my bathroom for it.

Here's one of the tiles you can purchase and then add whatever applique you want to it.

I haven't decided what I'm getting yet, but I think they're a neat way to decorate your home. I'm also thinking of hosting a party possibly this fall. They have a new catalog coming out in August so I can't wait to see the new items. You can check them out on the web at

Tonight I have a bachelorette party to go to for my friend Missy. We're heading to Harper's (bar/restaurant) in downtown E. Lansing. Should be lots of fun and looking forward to an evening with the girls! I'm wishing the weather would warm back up as it's putting a damper on my outfit for tonight. Now I have to decide it I want to freeze and where my original outfit or find something else. Decisions, decisions! I'm not sure what's in store for the weekend yet. Guess it depends on the weather. We still need to get to the Aquatic Center sometime, I've got laundry to do, grass to cut, garage to clean, house to clean, and the list goes on. I'm also looking forward to some sleep, as Evan is back to having a hard time sleeping in his room this week for some reason so it's made for not very good sleeping. I'll try to get some rest and keep up so you readers have something to read over the weekend!

Before I leave you, I'd like to give a shout out to my niece Kaitlyn. She's been busy with softball since May. First she was on a regular season team and played 3rd base from May until June. Then she made the All-Stars team in July and played center. The All-Stars team won district for their league and then ended up making it to the sectional finals. They were whooping on the other teams like 16-3, 14-2, etc. Unfortunately they were just shy of making state finals so their season came to an end on Wednesday. I'm really proud of her for playing so well, getting lots of hits-doubles and triples. Awesome job K! Sorry Kaite your team didn't make it to state finals, but you should be proud of the wins you did get! Great job!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Family Trip To The Zoo

Yesterday and today were the L&L Zoo Days at Potter Park Zoo. The local grocery store L&L, has free tickets to the zoo two days during the summer. All you have to do is go into the store and ask for the tickets and they're yours. I hear of this every year and always forget about it until it's too late. So this year I picked up some tickets a couple weeks ago, marked it on the calendar, and off to the zoo we went today. It was our first family trip to the zoo and Emmaline's first time to the zoo. I had a doctor's appointment this morning so Greg took the morning off, then just decided to take the whole day off so he could go along with us to the zoo. My friend Wesley and her daughter Chloe also went with us. Here's Emmaline and her buddy Chloe.

We left for the zoo after lunch, and when we got there it was a zoo, in more ways than one. The traffic and people were crazy. Greg had ridden by there yesterday on his bike and said it was packed. I figured today with the weather on the iffy side and sprinkling a little, and it being the second day of zoo days it wouldn't be as busy. Well I was wrong, it was busy crazy and lots of people. I think we actually hit it at a good time if there was a good time because when we left it was even crazier!

We were able to maneuver through the zoo though for the most part and were able to see most of the animals. However, there were a few animals that weren't out for one reason or another and because it was so hot some were hiding. It was hard to see them, especially the kids had trouble seeing since they're so short. Here's a good example. This tiger wouldn't move for anything. She was staying in this water cooling off the whole time...

but this tiger was wide awake and very scary...

Since we were at the zoo for a good chunk of the afternoon, that meant we were cutting into Em's nap time and Evan's "school time." I figured though that the zoo could be his "school time" since he was learning about the different animals. However, when we got to the big horn sheep, we weren't quite expecting the school lesson of the day to be sex ed.! We saw three big horn sheep and this one was perched on this rock with nowhere to go.

When she finally did climb down, one of the males was feeling a little frisky and he took of and went after her. Of course all the adults were cracking up, but the kids had no idea what was going on. Thankfully she got away and went back to this spot. She wasn't interested at all!

Although it was hot and crowded, we all had a fun time! It's not the greatest zoo around, but since we had free tickets it was worth it. I'd really like to get to Binder Park Zoo with the kids this summer. Evan's been there once when he was younger and I'm sure they'd both enjoy it lots! We were a little disappointed that the river otters weren't out. (There's a viewing spot where the otters swim right up to the window and you can see them up close.) Maybe next time, we'll get to see them. The line for the coral reef exhibit was really long so we weren't able to see that either. Em was too tired to wait that long so we had to get going. There were also some bounce houses and a huge bounce slide for kids to go on outside of the park so Evan had a fun time on the slide! As we wound our way through the zoo I tried a few times to take a picture of the kids, but they wouldn't cooperate together. So this is the best shot I got of my two crabby kids at picture time at the zoo...

I took quite a few pictures so here's a slideshow of the rest of the zoo photos!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bike Shirts

Last week Greg finally got his new bike clothes for the season. His cousin Tony works out in Colorado at Pearl iZUMi, and he and his brother Tom designed the bike clothes for some of the guys that ride together. Since most of the guys are out in Colorado and ride in a different class than Greg they usually all ride together, but Greg was still able to get in on the deal and get the bike clothes too. It took a little longer than expected, but they finally arrived. Here's the jersey.

Then on Saturday we were having dinner with Greg's Mom and his Aunt Rose (Tony's Mom). She was telling Evan that Tony was sending him something in the mail. Of course Evan being four, wanted to know what it was, when it was going to be here, and the list of never ending questions began. I'm thinking, great Evan's going to be asking to check the mail everyday, all day because he doesn't really have a good concept of time. Then being Saturday, no mail Sunday, and coming from Colorado it would probably be like Tuesday or Wednesday before the package would come. Greg & I didn't know about it, but when we heard we could pretty much figure out what it was. Evan being the smarty pants that he is, guessed on the first try what color it was, black. I think you can probably see where I'm going with this. So to our surprise when we got home from dinner I went to get the mail, (I hadn't gotten it earlier since I was doing the Mom2Mom Sale all day) and the package was in the mailbox. I happened to be talking to some friends while I was getting the mail and Evan's telling me, "that's for me, that's for me." Since he was interrupting me, I replied with, "No Ev, it's for mommy" because otherwise he'd want to open it right away. Evan being the smarty pants that he is again says, "Why does it have my name on it then? and spells it out E V A N- Evan!" Oh that kid! So needless to say he took the package in and opened it with Greg and this is what we found...

Yes, that's right, a mini version of Greg's jersey. It's a little long on him and slightly baggy on the sides, but it's the smallest size they make and it works. Evan is totally hyped over his new bike shirt like Daddy's. He immediately whipped off his shirt to put it on. Thanks Tony for getting this for Evan! He definitely LOVES it!

Sunday, Greg went for a ride and when he got back he and Ev went for a little ride around here. Of course Evan had to gear up in his bike shorts and sport his new jersey. Here he is thinking he looks all cool!

He should think that because I thought he looked pretty cool too! He's so cute! What a kid, he's totally like his father! Bikes, bikes, bikes! Evan is already talking about when his next race is. He's ready for him and Daddy to race wearing their matching jerseys. Of course readers, I wouldn't finish this post without a picture of my two favorite bike riders sporting their matching jerseys. So without further ado.... here's Greg with his "mini me."

Sunday, July 12, 2009

East Lansing Farmer's Market

Today was a long awaited day for many East Lansing residents. There's been lots of talk about the Farmer's Market coming to East Lansing. When is it going to open? That's the question that I heard from several people. Many thought it was opening in May like some of the other local markets, but that was not the case. Finally we all heard a date and it was scheduled to open, today at 10am. Being a Facebook junkie that I am, I had got an update the other day about the farmer's market opening and there would be a ribbon cutting at 10am and coupons handed out to the first 50 people. So of course I was going to be there at 10am!

The farmer's market is located in downtown East Lansing in the Valley Court Park. When we arrived there weren't a whole lot of people there yet which I was kind of surprised by. I figured with all the talk that there would be a good crowd. We were a little early, but still I expected more. Some of the booths were still setting up, and I was also a little surprised at how small it was. I know it's new and it's only E. Lansing, but I expected it to be a little bigger. Take a look...

I'm guessing that it will probably grow a little as it gets going. I'm sure some of the booths will change as well, as the produce changes. I really wanted some tomatoes, but there were none to be had. I was a little surprised to see that the "Grand Traverse Pie Co." and "El Azteco" (a local Mexican restaurant) had tents there. By about 10:30am the crowd did pick up a lot and there were many locals checking out the market. We even ran into our friends, the Beckwith family. They decided to check it out too after I mentioned it to them last night! Here's the crowd later on.

We did end up getting a couple things with our coupons and only spent $3 total. Here's my big first purchase at the E.L. Farmer's Market.

Flowers $4, Potatoes $2, Squash & Zucchini 2/$1. Here's one of the coupons they were handing out too. $2 off a purchase. For the stuff I bought I didn't think the prices were too bad. I always like zucchini and squash at restaurants, but have never cooked it so I'm going to give it a whirl. If anyone has suggestions, I'd greatly appreciate them! I'm looking forward to visiting the Farmer's Market some more. It's open every Sunday 10-3pm until October 25th!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Mom2Mom Sale

Today was finally the Mom2Mom Sale that I've been talking about since my garage sale a month ago. While I did get rid of a lot of stuff at my garage sale, remember I said I was going to be taking some of my kids clothes and baby items to the Mom2Mom Sale in July. Well, that's what I did today. For those of you not familiar with what a Mom2Mom sale is, it's like a HUGE indoor garage sale for mom's to sell and buy baby/kid items all in once place. Moms (& Dads) who are in need of baby/kid items can find gently used boys/girls clothing, toys, furniture, play equipment, and much more for really great prices. I hadn't really heard of Mom2Mom sales until last year and hadn't ever attended one until May. So this sale was my first time as a seller.

Friday night I loaded up the car with tubs of clothes and toys and headed to the sale site to get set up for the big sale today! The sale was being held at an old Burlington Coat Factory building with over 50,000 square feet of space to set up tables and racks to sell items, as well as a huge large item section. Here's what the space looked like Friday night.

You have the option of bringing your own table or renting a table, or two, or more. If you rent a table it's $25 for an 8ft. table. However, since I signed up early there was a special and it was $5 off. So I chose to rent a table for $20. If you bring a table it's $15 for the space. Rack space only is $5, but you have to provide your own racks. The prices vary per sale depending on the venue, but overall it's in that ballpark. Since this was my first sale I opted to not deal with hauling a table and since they were offering $5 off I figured $20 wasn't too bad. Some people were setting up and you'll notice some empty space. That's spots reserved for people bringing their own tables and racks.

Set up was from 6-8:30pm on Friday. My mom came to help me, and we got there at 6pm and were able to get my table set up and out of the by 7:30pm, which wasn't too bad. I took both boys and girls clothes and had them separated ahead of time so that made the set up a little easier. I also found this small shelf to display some items which ended up working out great. I had planned to keep sleepers and onesies in tubs under the table so I also had those separated into the tubs ahead of time as well. Here's my table.

Saturday morning there was also time for set up. It was from 7-8:30am, but I didn't want to have to get there that early so I was glad we got everything done Friday. I did grab a tub of toys and some Halloween costumes to take Saturday morning in case there was a little extra room. (Believe it or not, sometimes people who rent space don't show up.) Well, I was glad that I grabbed the stuff because the space next to me was empty. That person didn't show up. So although you're not allowed to take that space, it made for a little extra room to the side of my table. I ended up selling two of the three costumes I took so it was worth grabbing them.

The sale started at 9am and went until 2pm. People were lined up outside an hour before the doors opened. I've never seen so many pregnant women in my life! Good thing nobody's water broke! When the clock hit 9am everyone was rushing in and the large items are first to get snatched up. Here's the large item before the sale opened...

Everything from strollers, swings, bouncers, and pack n' plays to bikes, kid tables, cribs, outdoor play structures and more! Quite the selection if you are in need of a large item. Most in "like new" condition! Here's the large item area within five minutes of the sale opening.

People were swarming to that area. Of course since those are the first items to go you have to be fast if you're looking for something. However once you've purchased your item you can't have it held for you so you have to carry it around while you shop. I personally would've carried the item out to my car, but some people are so eager to get to the tables they just lug it all around. Crazy! My table was towards the back of the store which at first I wasn't to fond about. However it wasn't to far from the large item area so that ended up being a good thing because when people were done in that area they headed towards my area.

Overall, I was pretty happy with my sale. I was hoping to make around $100. I made $134 minus the $20 for the table rental, so I ended up with $114. Of course there's no guarantee you'll even make back your rental space fee, but I made my $20 back in the first 25 minutes so that was a relief. The morning was definitely the most profitable. I'd say the rush died down about 12:30pm so the last hour and a half was a little slow, but still not too bad. While I did get rid of a lot of clothes, you've seen my stash and I've got a lot so I still have stuff to get rid of. I'm guessing I'll probably do another Mom2Mom sale sometime. Knowing what I know now, I think I'd probably take my own table or racks next time to save a little more money.

If you're a seller you have the opportunity to pre-shop the sale before it opens which is nice. I ended up finding a cute denim Gap dress for Em for $2. I also found some ladybug shoes for her birthday for 50 cents and some ladybug hair clips that I'm super excited about. I didn't think the shoes would fit, but they do so they'll be perfect for her ladybug party! I'll show you the dress, but the birthday items will have to wait since she'll debut them at her party.

Isn't it cute? I can't wait for her to wear it this fall! If you haven't ever been to a Mom2Mom Sale, I highly suggest that you go to one if you're in need of baby/kid items. There are a lot of items that still have the tags on them or look like brand new. Kids outgrow clothes so fast and you can find some of those "special items" like costumes, snow pants, dress up clothes, etc. that your kids don't wear that much for good prices. Thanks to my mom for coming to help me with the sale. It was nice to have some company since I didn't know anyone else having a table. It was nice to have some help hauling the stuff in and out too. Since this was only my second time at a sale, I'm not familiar with the turnout, but I'd say there was a good amount of shoppers and the sale appeared to be a big success for many sellers!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Playdate At The MSU Gardens

Today the weather was absolutely beautiful, and it was a perfect day to head to the MSU Gardens. If you're not familiar with the gardens at MSU, you really must go. I showed you a while back a few pictures of the Beal Gardens. Today we headed to the 4-H Children's Garden and Horticulture Gardens which are different. It's a must see in the summer. Beautiful readers, absolutely beautiful! It's a great place to take the kids and there are some great things for them to do there. I can't believe this was our first trip there this summer. We must get there more often! The kids and I met up with my longtime friend Marie and her two kids Kyra and Connor. We hadn't seen them since April so I was glad we were finally able to get together this summer. Marie and I both decided ahead of time to grab some lunch on our way there and turn our playdate/garden exploring into a picnic at the gardens. It worked out perfectly! I picked up Jimmy John's and she picked up McDonald's. We found a nice shady spot under a tree in the Horticulture Gardens and had our picnic lunch!

The flowers in bloom were absolutely gorgeous. While my green thumb is pretty good sometimes, I think I could use these horticulture experts at home. My pretty hanging basket I showed you awhile back doesn't look anything like these...

Aren't these baskets gorgeous? They must have at least a dozen, if not more of them hanging in this round pergola.

After our lunch we headed into the Children's Garden and right away the kids spotted the train (the Spartan Express) that runs through a patch of flowers. It only runs on Thursdays from 1-3pm so we lucked out. Here's Em and Connor watching it go around and around and around.

We spent our time watching the kids explore the tree house, walking on the dance chimes, playing in the garden observatory, looking for turtles in the pond, playing at the merry-go-round fountains, winding their way through the Alice in Wonderland Maze & Secret Garden, watching the train some more, to name just a few. So much to do in the gardens! Since I took too many pictures to post individually, I've compiled the rest in a slideshow. You can view them here: MSU 4-H Children's Garden Photos. We had fun times in the gardens with great friends. Thanks Toburen's for meeting us for a playdate!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Tonight for dinner I decided to do breakfast for dinner. I've been wanting to make a quiche so I thought I'd give it a whirl for dinner. Sometimes breakfast for dinner sounds good! I searched quiche recipes online and found one on (I find some good recipes there) that sounded good and changed it a little to fit our likings. So here's my version of the recipe.

Sausage, Mushroom, & Cheddar Quiche

1 pie shell/quiche shell (I used a frozen pie crust)
1 lb. pork sausage (I used a roll of Bob Evan's sausage)
4oz. can of mushrooms
1 tsp. parsley
1 Tablespoon flour
1/8 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
1 cup cheddar cheese (more if you prefer & could use whatever kind- colby jack, sharp cheddar, etc.)
1 cup milk
2 eggs

(It also called for 1/2 cup chopped onion & 1/4 cup chopped green pepper which I didn't put in because Greg doesn't like onion, and I didn't have a green pepper otherwise I would've added the pepper.)

Cook sausage until browned. Drain grease. Combine with mushrooms, parsley, salt, pepper, and flour, mix well. Spoon into pie shell or quiche shell and top with cheese. Combine milk and eggs, beating just until foamy. Pour evenly over cheese & sausage mixture. Bake in 325 degree oven for 50 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and quiche is set. Serves 6.

It turned out pretty good for my first quiche. However, the crust was slightly doughy in the middle, but still tasted pretty good. I think next time I would cook the crust a little before I filled it. For maybe like 5-10 minutes. The cheese was browning on top so I figured it was done and the quiche was set so didn't want to leave in longer. Evan was funny when we were eating dinner, he kept saying, "Is this breakfast or dinner, dinner or breakfast?"

A note to my fun fact a the bottom of my previous post; a new fact even better than that... today at 12:34 and 56 seconds it was 12:34:56 07/08/09. Pretty neat again, huh? My mom heard that on the nightly news. It only happens once a century they said on the news. I say twice a century if you count a.m. and p.m.

Summer "School Time"

Evan's been out of preschool for two months now, and I can tell he's getting bored. Only two months to go and it'll be time for him to start up school again. I was talking with my friend Becky last week when she was cutting my hair and she was telling me she does "school time" with her kids in the morning. I got to thinking and decided that it's time we have a dedicated block of time where Evan has "school time" during the day this summer. While he does practice flashcards, colors, plays educational games, reading, etc., it's not always for a certain amount of time, everyday, without any distractions. Usually he's coloring with his sister or she's bothering him when he's trying to do something.

So I decided that while Em is napping every afternoon Evan will have a chunk of time where he focuses on school like activities. No cartoons while he's doing it, no goofing around, no playing with toys while he's working, etc. Usually it's for about 20-30 minutes and he is given lots of choices on what he can do. If he can't decided then he can ask me to pick for him. So far it's been working well, and he really seems to be enjoying it. He does things like practice writing his name better (He's been writing his name for a long time, but I'm having him work on getting the letter size smaller.), putting letters in order (He knows his ABC's, but identifying some of the letters is tricky, you know those b's & d's), practice writing numbers, practice writing words, coloring in the lines, and lots more.

Here he is today practicing putting letters & numbers in order.

Then he practiced writing the words "MOM & DAD" under the one's I wrote. He knows how to spell them if you ask him, but writing them can be tricky with d's backwards. He also wrote his name, but it's still a little big when doing it on the dry erase board.

Then he did some coloring. He worked really hard on this picture, taking his time. He tends to get in a hurry and scribble through. It might be hard to see, but he did awesome staying in the lines when coloring the sun.

Oh, note the left hand. He takes after his momma! I've got a lefty, and maybe even two. Em seems to favor her left, but not totally yet! I think if he could he'd go back to school now. Since that's not an option and we have two more months of summer, I think we'll just keep up with summer "school time."

Here's my fun fact for the day. It's too long to post on the side. Today at 5 minutes and 6 seconds after 4, it was 04:05:06 07/08/09. Get it, 4,5,6,7,8,9. Pretty neat, huh? My sister forwarded me a text with that. Of course I got busy doing stuff and missed it. I kept thinking to watch the clock and next thing I knew it was 4:14pm. Oh well, I guess I'll have to wait until next year when it's 05:06:07 08/09/10 for another neat time & date like that!