Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Schools Of Choice

Today was a big day for Evan in more than one way! I'll get to that in a minute, but first I want to give you a little background info. When Evan finished preschool in April we started thinking about what school we'd send him to for kindergarten. It's something that's always been on our mind since we moved to the Shearwater Nest, but now it was actually something we had to really think about. When we built our house four years ago we were told that most of phase three where we built was Lansing School District. While it's E. Lansing address, it's Lansing schools and Lansing/ Bath Township taxes. The taxes part is nice because it's cheaper than E. Lansing taxes, but we moved out of Lansing to be in a better school district for Evan when the time came. We were told that more than likely by the time Evan started school it would all be E. Lansing schools. There's just four houses in phase three that are E. Lansing schools and then phase one and two are all E. Lansing schools. Well, four years later that's not the case which we knew was a possibility (one we were hoping not to have to deal with). Needless to say if we wanted Evan to go to E. Lansing schools we'd have to do schools of choice. So with that said come this past May we had to start applying to Schools of Choice. We knew we didn't want Evan to go to Lansing schools. The school that he would go to is Post Oak and it actually used to be a decent Lansing school, but has gone downhill some over the past few years. So we decided to apply to a few different districts in case Evan didn't get into E. Lansing. If you're not familiar with the schools of choice, it's all done on a lottery system. No matter when you turn your application in during the two week time frame it's just luck of the draw. We applied to DeWitt, Bath, Haslett, and East Lansing Schools. When we got back from Arizona we had letters in the mail that Evan was accepted to DeWitt and Bath schools. We knew right away that since he was accepted to Bath we'd go there before DeWitt so we turned down DeWitt. Then we heard from Haslett a few days after we got home from vacation. Now we were torn between Bath and Haslett. Bath is a little closer and full day kindergarten, and Haslett is half day and a little further away, but a better school district. East Lansing was a couple weeks behind the other districts notifying people so we didn't hear from them until the beginning of July. Unfortunately Evan didn't get in and of course it was our first choice. Last year there were 50+ openings for kindergarten in E. Lansing. This year there was like 35 openings and we were number 23 on the wait list. So it was back to deciding between Bath and Haslett. We know Evan's ready for a full day of kindergarten, but since Haslett's a better school we decided to go with Haslett over Bath. In the long run we figured if he didn't get into E. Lansing next year, we'd want him in Haslett for first grade.

Now that you've got the background about why Evan will be in Haslett Schools, yesterday was his open house for kindergarten. He'll be attending Wilkshire Elementary. We got the letter last week that he'll be in the "Bumblebee Room" and his teacher is Mrs. Mills. Evan was very excited about his open house last night and when we walked into his classroom he was beaming! "This classroom is so cool mom! Way better than my old classroom in preschool." Yeah, we were off to a good start! Then we met Mrs. Mills and Evan said he liked her. She had a scavenger hunt for the kids/parents to do so we went around doing that. We did things like find his locker, read a story about kindergarten, sign up to help with holiday parties, sign up for parent teacher conferences (which are in November, that was a little crazy. I don't know what I'm doing in November yet), tour the school, and the kids ended outside on the playground for popsicles. It was a fun night and Evan really liked his school and teacher. He even got homework already before school starts! Here's hoping his first day of school goes good leaving mommy. Here's a couple pictures of his classroom. They're not the best since there was a lot of people there, but you can see it for the most part.

After open house we met Greg's mom at Max & Erma's for dinner. She had watched Em for us while we went to open house. While we were at dinner Evan's loose tooth got REALLY loose. So loose that it was laying almost flat front to back. So with it sticking out he couldn't really eat so we said that's gotta come out. Greg pulled on it a little bit, but it wasn't coming out. He worked at it for just a couple minutes and then there it was... not in Evan's mouth anymore, but in Greg's hand. I was glad Greg did it because my stomach was a little queasy watching it. Evan was super excited and so proud. The waitresses were watching him and they brought him an envelope to take his tooth home in. It was a very exciting time for him. So now the tooth fairy will be visiting our house tonight for the first time! The debate is how much should she bring. Stay tuned.....

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fun Times At The Surprise Party

Another Sunday rolls around, and with this Sunday brings almost the end of the month. Yikes, summer is almost gone! We had a fun weekend for the most part, but then Greg had to work today so that wasn't too much fun. Since he had to work today he had Friday off. We headed out Friday morning to go down to my sister's. My Step-Mom turned 60 on Thursday I told you, and my Dad was throwing her a surprise birthday party Friday night. We made a couple stops along the way which broke up our trip a little bit. We first stopped at my friend Marie's for a short visit in Bellevue. I had a few things of Evan's to give her for Connor for the fall/winter. We hadn't made it to her house at all this summer and while our visit was short, it was still nice that the kids got to play for a little bit.

After we left there we made a stop in Kalamazoo. The kids love to go to the park and I thought it would be fun to take them to Milham Park in Kalamazoo which is a huge park that I used to go to when I was a kid growing up in Kalamazoo. It really brought back a lot of memories. It was just how I remembered it, and it was great to see my kids enjoy the park as much as I did when I was a kid. We didn't have a whole lot of time to spend, but I was glad we got to stop there for a little bit. I think next year we're going to try to go back and spend a day there because the kids wanted to explore more of the park that we didn't get to. Here's a few fun photos I snapped while we were at the park.

I remember this bridge when I was a kid. We would go across it to the little island it leads to and have a picnic lunch. The kids went across with daddy.
Emme climbed up on the rocks so I could snap a picture!
The kiddos going across one of the main bridges.
Of course they had to play on the playground equipment. Evan hung out up in the castle while Em went up and down the slides!

After we left K-zoo we headed to the party place to help my Dad, sister, & Kaite set up for the birthday party. They all got there before us so there wasn't too much we had to do. The kids had fun helping decorate though. The party didn't start until later on so we went back to my sister's for a little bit until it was time to go back to the party location. My Dad & Step-Mom love this entertainer named Pat Dailey. He plays in Put-In-Bay in Ohio and also in Key West at Sloppy Joe's. They've listened to him for years. My Dad surprised my Step-Mom with the party as well as with Pat Dailey performing at the birthday party. It was a great night listening to the music and hanging out. The kids got to go for a little bit of the party and then they went home with Kaite and she watched them for the rest of the night since Pat Dailey's music is more for adults. Although he does have a kids cd he made with Shel Silverstein which we got and the kids love. Anyway, thanks to Kaite for watching the kiddos while we were at the party. It was a great night and fun times had by all. I have a video I'll try to post tomorrow and slip in this post.

Saturday we went for what was probably our last boat ride of the summer. The kids loved being on the boat again. Then we had lunch and headed back. We came back to a mess out front on our street. Board of Water and Light has been putting in street lights for like almost three months. On Friday they were working across the street from us in our neighbors (the Marr's) yard digging where the street light is to go. Come to find out about an hour after we left they had hit a gas line and the neighborhood was evacuated. Everyone was without gas since they had to shut it off to fix the leak. We didn't know until this morning when I went to take a shower that our gas didn't get turned back on so we had no hot water. I had to call Consumer's to come out today to turn our gas back on. Thankfully with all this mess no one was hurt because they hit right where one of the main lines are and it could of been really bad. Hopefully all this mess will be cleaned up soon and they'll get this street light project done that's been going on forever. That wraps up our weekend pretty much. Looking forward to this week as we've got a few things planned which I'll be telling you about! I'll leave you with this picture which is the hole in Rich and Liana's yard that is huge where they hit the gas line.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Black Bean Pinwheels

Last week when we had our little deck party I wanted to have a few simple snacks. I was debating what to make and decided to make my El Azteco Dip which is under the appetizers to the right, and then I ran across this black bean pinwheel recipe so I made those too. They were super simple and very yummy! Greg and I decided it's something we would even eat for lunch sometime. Just make as a roll-up instead of cutting into the pinwheels. Either way they're tasty. I happened to alter the recipe a little because I didn't have onion salt or Monterey Jack Cheese w/ peppers so look for my substitutions below. I keep forgetting to post the recipe so here it is!

Black Bean Pinwheels

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese with Jalapeno Peppers
1/4 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1/4 tsp. Onion salt
1 cup canned black beans, drained, rinsed
3 Flour tortillas (6 inch)

Substitutions- Instead of onion salt I used chili powder and instead of pepper cheese I used Colby Jack Cheese. I didn't go out and by onion salt because I figured Greg wouldn't like it anyway, and I'm glad I didn't because they were a hit with him using the chili powder!

MIX cheeses, sour cream and onion salt in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

PLACE beans in food processor or blender container; cover. Process until smooth. Spread evenly onto tortillas; top evenly with cheese mixture. Roll tortillas up tightly. Wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

CUT ends from tortillas; discard. Cut each roll-up into 5 slices. Serve with Salsa if desired

(This photo is courtesy of Kraft Foods. I forgot to take a picture)

Before I leave you again tonight, it's another August birthday to share! I'd like to wish my Step-Mom a Happy 60th Birthday! Sixty is the new forty right? Hope you enjoyed your day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Evan's Tooth Box

Last week when the kids and I were at T.J. Maxx I ran across this tooth box kit.
Ever since Evan discovered that he had a loose tooth it's all he talks about everyday. He's trying very hard to wiggle that tooth out. He wonders when his tooth falls out what he does with his tooth for the tooth fairy. I told him we'd have to get a tooth box, but I really had no clue where to find one. Then we were looking at the toys (of course) at T.J. Maxx, and saw this kit and thought this would be a good thing to make with Evan. Once we brought it home everyday Evan was asking to make it. Finally we got the chance the other day to get it started and boy was he ever excited!

First we had to mix the plaster, and we had to do sort of quickly and get it in the moulding tray before it hardened. Here's Evan mixing up the plaster and water.

Once that part was done then it was sit and wait for the plaster to completely harden. Well, that's easier said than done when a little kid is involved! Evan wanted to paint his tooth box right away. I explained to him that he had to wait a couple days before we could take it out of the moulding tray. A couple days later it was time to finally paint it and Evan was so excited once again! He thought it was so cool he got to paint his own little tooth box. For the most part he did it all on his own. Here he is getting started painting the tooth box.

Thankfully the paint dried fairly quickly so we were able to get the box painted all in one sitting. He did a super job painting it. He picked out the colors all by himself. I only helped him pain his name on it and do around the edges where two colors meet. I'm very proud of the nice work he did making his tooth box. He had a ton of fun crafting and wants to paint more tooth boxes. The kit actually makes four so he thought he should make all of them. I told him maybe down the road after his first tooth falls out! Now we just have to wait for that tooth to get out of there and the tooth fairy to come for a visit! Here's the finished product!

In other news, tonight was Emmaline's last night of ballet class. It was sort of sad to be done with it. She had so much fun and it was so neat to watch the little girls dance around. I'm hoping to get her in some more dance classes down the road. I'm very proud of my little girl though she did awesome listening to her teacher and participating in all the dance moves! Great job Emmaline! Before I leave tonight I'd like to wish my Grandma a very Happy Birthday! She shares her birthday with Regis Philbin who is one of my favorite talk show hosts so that's pretty cool! Happy Birthday Grandma!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hanging Out With Friends

It's time for my recap of our weekend happenings. Friday night we invited some friends over for a little "deck party" to help us break in our new deck. It was a last minute thing so many couldn't make it since they already had plans, but we still had a good turn out nonetheless. It was a very casual get together with drinks and a few light snacks. We chilled on the deck chatting it up with friends and had a great time. The weather was absolutely perfect. Just the right temperature and the bugs stayed away, nice! Greg got rave reviews on his nice work on the deck which he so deserved! We hardly used our old deck, but I have a feeling we'll be getting lots of use out of this new one! The deck might be our new Friday night hangout and whoever wants to stop by to hang out can. Thanks to all our friends who stopped by and helped us break in the deck. What a great way it was to wind down the week! Neighbors your welcome to stop by anytime!

Our Saturday didn't end up going as planned. It was originally planned to be a day of just the girls and just the boys. Greg was going to take Evan camping, and Em and I were going to have our own girls day painting nails, doing hair, and going shopping. Well when we woke up Saturday and it was RAINING, there was a change of plans. The boys couldn't really go camping anymore. So we bummed around the house for a bit, had breakfast and then made a Sam's run. We ended up running into Greg's mom and since Evan wasn't able to go camping he wanted to go stay at Ya Ya's house for the night. So we shipped the two kids off for the night and had a free evening. We went for margaritas with our friend Brenda at Senorita and then came back and hung out on the deck. It was a nice peaceful evening. Much needed to be kid free after Little Miss Emmaline had been a pistol for two days!

Since we didn't have our boys/ girls day on Saturday we told the kids we'd do a little boys/girls time on Sunday. Greg and Evan went for a bike ride Sunday which Evan was really excited about and went on some new trails. Em and I hung out at home and we played games and puzzles and had some snuggle time. It was a nice way to spend part of the late morning/ early afternoon. We ended the day with a nice steak dinner on the grill, well steak for me and chicken for Greg since he doesn't eat steak. Although our whole weekend didn't go as originally planned it was a nice weekend overall hanging our with friends and the kids! That wraps it up for our weekend happenings at the Shearwater Nest!

Tonight we had dinner with our neighbor friends, the Marr's. Rich is heading off to school for two years so he won't be around much so we thought we'd get together before he starts school. I love my $15 gift card we got on Mother's Day at Champps. It reloads every month with $15 to use on a purchase of $25 or more. We all ate for $10, you really can't go wrong with that. Heck I couldn't cook at home for $10! We came home from dinner and went for a walk and then I ran some blueberry pie down to my friend Jess because I've been promising her some pie. Besides it was her birthday so I wanted to make sure she got some! She invited us in, and the kids played with her kids and we enjoyed a glass of wine. What a nice evening all around it was! Before I leave tonight I'd like to wish my friend Jessica a very happy birthday! Happy Birthday Jess and thanks again for the glass of wine tonight!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Meet The Spartan Football Players

Yesterday was a day Evan had been waiting for since about a week ago when I mentioned it to him. I really need to remind myself not to say something too far in advance because Evan's concept of time... well it really isn't. Once I asked him if he'd want to go downtown East Lansing to meet the MSU football team a little over a week ago, I was asked constantly everyday (sometimes more than once a day) when was it time to go meet the football players. It was pretty much all he could think about. This year was the eighth annual "Meet the Spartan football players and coach." We had never gone before, and when I heard about it this year, I figured this would be something Evan would enjoy. Boy was that an understatement! When we were downtown last night Evan said to me, "This is the best day EVER!" The excitement on his face and the sparkle in his eye was so special! I knew exactly how he felt! When I was a kid and my Dad & Step-Mom took my sister and I to the Notre Dame (yes I used to be a ND fan... times have definitely changed folks) football banquet or events with football players, I was so ecstatic to meet the players! I could feel Evan's excitement last night as if it were my own as a kid!

The "Meet & Greet" started at 5:30pm and was to go until 7pm. Greg said I should get downtown about 4pm, but I thought he was joking. I figured we'd get there about 5pm and be there just a little early. Well, I was wrong because when we got there at 5pm it was already packed! The lines for autographs were LONG and there were several lines. What I expected to see downtown was a tent set up with a few of the "big name" players- captains, quarterback, etc. and the coach. Well there were two huge tents set up, and a smaller tent. One tent had the offense with two lines forming. Another tent had the defense, also with two lines forming. Then the small tent was for Coach Dantonio. I didn't expect the whole team to be there so that was a great surprise and Evan was even more excited. He couldn't wait to get autographs and pictures with the players. We got in line right away and while we waited for 5:30pm to roll around there was entertainment by the cheerleaders, Motion girls, and lots of great tunes being played! Sparty was also out and while Emmaline wanted nothing to do with getting near Sparty, (kids and mascots/characters at this age just don't mix) Evan was all about getting his picture with him. Emmaline was into the "girls" as she called them... a.k.a. cheerleaders and wanted her picture with them since she was in her cheerleader outfit. Here's a few pics of both the kids. First Evan with Sparty! Go Green!

Emmaline with the MSU cheerleaders! She was so excited to hold the pom-poms!
Em with the MSU Motion Girls! She fit right in with both!
The lines were moving slowly once it got going so since I saw the line for Coach Dantonio wasn't too long I grabbed the kids and got in that line while Greg was in another for the offense. Wouldn't you know it though both lines moved about the same and we were just about to be next in line for Coach Dantonio, and Greg was about to be next in line to start getting football players autographs. So I sent Evan back with him and Em and I stayed to get the coach's autograph. I wasn't about to miss it after all that waiting. We then joined Evan and Greg and the kids made their way through the line getting their posters signed. Emmaline was so cute following her brother along and she was into more than I thought! We made it through one line and hopped back in another. I figured we'd never make it through all of the players since it was 6:30pm by the time we hopped in line two. We ended up making it through line two, then line three, and to my surprise we made it through line four which was awesome because we wanted to get Ev's football signed by Greg Jones (his new favorite player)! For years he's talked about his favorite player being Javon "the" Ringer, but when he graduated a couple years ago Evan didn't quite understand that he doesn't play for MSU anymore and he now plays pro. So now that he's got a new favorite, I have a feeling all we'll be hearing is "Greg Jones!" We ended up making it through all the lines because the football team and Coach Dantonio stayed a little past 8pm so they could get through all the lines. Nobody got turned away, it was great! Evan had the time of his life and all he keeps telling me is he's going to play football when he gets bigger! We had a really great time and as Coach Dantonio said last night, "what a great way to bring the community together and the football team to be more involved with the community and their fans!"

Coach Dantonio signing Em's poster!
Evan was giving some of the players pounds (fist bumps) then "blowing them" (opening the hand up). The players were having fun with it, as you can see this one here "blowing it up" back.
Emmaline hamming it up with the guys as well!
Evan really wanted pictures with the players, but I had to explain to him we couldn't get a pic with every guy and I was taking some as he was getting autographs. Then while we were waiting in the last line these guys were done already and Ev went up to them and asked all by himself if he could get a picture with them. What a great shot, huh?
All the autographs the kids got on their posters and Ev's football!

My kids definitely bleed GREEN and are Spartan fans for life! We all can't wait for the football season to get underway!!!!! GO GREEN! GO WHITE! GO STATE!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Day of Festivities

I mentioned to you we had a busy weekend. Most of it took place on Saturday, but the whole weekend was busy nonetheless! Saturday was a day of festivities and started out with a birthday party we went to for Em's friend Chloe. The kids had a great time playing, eating cupcakes, and watching Chloe open her presents. Birthday parties are fun, but when it's time to open presents with young kids it's just a little, o.k. a lot chaotic. All the kids want to open the presents, and they're just whipping through them. It was the same way at Em's party and like Wesley said on Saturday, "it feels like the whole house is out of control." There were quite a few kids there and by the time we left I was exhausted. I don't know what it was, but we came home and I just needed to chill for like a half hour before I was able to function for the rest of our plans that day.

After I was a little rested we headed out to pick up some more bushes for the backyard around the deck. We bought four more bushes and these one's were a little bigger than the previous one's we bought so we barely got them in the car. These suckers were so heavy to lift too. I don't now how Greg got them all out of the car by himself. That took a good couple hours going to get the bushes and unloading them that by the time Greg got them all in the backyard he was pretty much done for the day. We then went to pick up the kids from Greg's mom's (she watched them for us while we went to get the bushes) and headed down to the Great Lakes Folk Festival in downtown East Lansing. We had dinner down there with Greg's mom and hung out for a little while. It was a little scaled down this year due to budget cuts (of course, right?) so it wasn't as great as last year we thought. The rest of the evening we just relaxed on our new deck and our friend Brenda came over to help us break in the new deck a little with some drinks!

Sunday brought about more working in the yard for Greg. He tilled the area where the bushes were going, and then he started to dig the first hole. Well, after almost getting done digging the hole he hit the phone line. The damn thing was barely buried underground. He didn't know what he hit though so he had his uncle (former electrician) come over to check it out. That's how we knew it was the phone line. He didn't hit it too bad though thankfully because our phone is still working. They taped the wire up so hopefully we won't have any problems. By that point Greg was done working for the day and decided he wasn't into digging more holes. We went to dinner that night with his mom to Mongolian BBQ, and we happened to pick the right night because some of the MSU football players came in to eat. Evan was in his glory and was so excited that they were sitting right by us. It was a great way to end the weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Deck Project Is Complete

It's finally here! The long awaited deck pictures that many of you have been asking about. I had good intentions of posting them yesterday, but Sunday came and went before I knew it. We had a busy weekend and I'll tell you about that in my next post because if I make some of you wait any longer, it could get ugly. LOL. A little bit about our deck project and then the photos I promise! Back in the spring we talked about taking our old deck down and replacing it with a patio. The original plan was to put in a stamped patio and then we were going to landscape around it. We decided we weren't going to do anything until after we got back from our trip out west. With that said, when we got back we put it off and put it off, and then it got into July and we said if we were going to do anything we better get a move on it so we can enjoy it a little before summer is over. After visiting a few of the home improvement stores we got to talking and changed our mind to put a new deck in instead of a patio. We thought we'd put in the TREK decking, but after Greg read up on it a little he saw that there is actually lots of problems with it and they tend to mold easy. We stumbled upon a hardwood for decks at Menard's one day and thought, "hey this might look pretty cool with our house." We decided to go with a Brazilian hardwood called Cambara. So to make a long story short Greg started knocking down the old deck and we didn't have anything bought for a new deck or know exactly what size we wanted. So we quickly got moving and designed something at Menard's, got the supplies ordered, and at that point there was no turning back.

We ordered the wood about mid-July and of course the hardwood was special order and took two weeks to get so it wouldn't be in until July 30th. While we waited for that to come in we figured we'd get started on getting the holes dug, posts in, and get the deck framed so we had half our order delivered and then we'd go back and pick up the special order part. We found a guy who was building a deck across the street for our neighbors to come and dig the holes. The ground here is extremely hard and once you dig a little you hit clay. So he dug the holes and then said if we wanted he'd come back the next day and frame the deck for us for $100. At this point (due to the holes getting dug a week later than expected) we figured we'd take him up on the offer because the hardwood was coming in the next day. It was the best $100 we ever spent because what two guys did in about two hours was a lot more than Greg could of done by himself in a couple days.

For about two weeks mostly in the evenings after work and some of the weekends, Greg has worked very hard putting the rest of the deck together. He did a great job for his first deck and I'm really proud of him. He's worked and worked and worked and it really looks nice. We ran out of screws twice and had to go make special trips to Menard's to get more. Not only has he worked his butt off building the deck, but he has also been planting bushes around the deck too. Not an easy task digging the holes in our yard as I mentioned, let alone doing it in this extremely hot weather we've been having! It's all coming together and while there's lots more landscaping and some patio blocks we probably want to put in down by the steps, that will probably wait until next spring. So after 1325 screws (no I didn't count them all, but I knew how many were in each board and multiplied it by all the boards) the deck is done and it's really nice to have it finished. Thanks honey for all your hard work. You did an awesome job! Now to the photos!!!! I failed to take pictures along the way pretty much. I often thought about it late and night and then by the next morning it slipped my mind again. So most of these are at the end.

This is the only picture I have of our old deck. You probably saw some of it when I posted the picture last year of our grill blowing over. This was when Greg was tearing it apart! We truly do apologize neighbors for our hideous deck we had for three years. While the deck itself wasn't all that bad, the stain turned out way different than we wanted. Ugh! I can't believe we left it like that for three years.

One angle of the deck complete before stairs.
Another angle before the stairs were finished
Stairs to the house completed & three of the bushes planted.
Stairs coming up from the yard completed & a closer look at the bushes planted on one side. The area where the picnic table, stairs, & grill are is where we still want to do something. We're not exactly sure, but probably put in some big patio blocks of some sort.
Getting there... more bushes planted. Still need to "clean up" dirt and put mulch in.
Another angle of deck finished with bushes and furniture on deck. Still not sure how I'm arranging the furniture, but wanted to get it up on the deck.

View from in the house. I need to spray paint my little blue table still. That's on my list this week, but too windy today. The red planter boxes I just found on clearance at Meijer and am trying to decide if I'm keeping them or not.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Last Sunday we finally made it to the East Lansing Farmer's Market. The first couple weeks I forgot about it opening, and then it was Em's birthday and we were too busy. So on Sunday before doing anything else I made it a point to get downtown East Lansing and hit up the market. By the time we were done at the market, I walked away with some tomatoes, green beans, hot peppers, and some blueberries. I've been having the taste for blueberry pie so I figured what better place to get them than at the market. They've been in the fridge for a few days waiting to be put in a pie. However, I didn't have all the other ingredients so I made sure I got to Meijer today to get them. It was a great day to go to Meijer because the kids and I ran into our friends Nico and Susan and we got to meet their new little girl Carolina! So tiny and so adorable! Once I got home and got the kids lunch I figured I should get to making the pie. It's really so simple and takes barely anytime. So with that said, the pie got made and it looks so delicious! Here's my blueberry crumble pie followed by the recipe. Can't wait to have some after dinner!

Blueberry Crumble Pie

5 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 (9 inch) reduced fat graham cracker crust
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 TBLS all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
1 (80z.) carton of low-fat sour cream
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 TBLS granulated sugar
1 TBLS margarine, melted

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Place blueberries in crust, set aside
  • Combine brown sugar, flour, vanilla, rind, and sour cream and then spread over blueberries
  • Combine bread crumbs, sugar, margarine and then sprinkle over blueberry/sour cream mixture
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 40 min. or until set and crumbs are lightly browned
  • Cool 1 hour on a wire rack
Yields: 8 servings

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Swimming, Ballet, & The Deck

Happy Sunday evening readers! It's time to tell you about our busy week we had last week. I hope I can remember it since it flew by so fast! My niece Kaite and her friend Libby stayed with me until Thursday so we finally got to go to the Aquatic Center. I hadn't ventured there yet with two kids on my own and our weekends have been busy so that's why we hadn't been there yet. Since I had some extra help with Kaite here we went on Tuesday and the kids had a blast! Both Evan and Em wasted no time getting into the water! My little Emmaline was a fish the whole time and she absolutely loved the froggy slide once she got on it! She didn't want to stop going down it, and she had no problem doing it all by herself. It was so fun to watch her. Check her out on the slide!

Evan had fun too going from the pool to the splash pad to the sand area. It's too bad there's only a month left for the Aquatic Center to be open. Hopefully next year we can get a lot more use out of it since the kids will be older, and buy some passes. Here's a pic of my other fishy in the pool!

On Wednesday Emmaline started her first ballet class. If you remember when I was telling you about Evan's basketball camp, Emmaline couldn't wait to start her ballet class. Well, all day Wednesday she was ready to go to class. Finally when it was time to get her ready for ballet she couldn't of been more excited! She was out the door before me. We got to the Bailey Center where class was held and she was so excited to see her friend Chloe who also is taking the class. They went in together and Em wanted to get her ballet slippers on right away. I told Emmaline she'd have to listen to her teacher like a good girl and follow directions. She said, "I promise mommy." This was the first time she was in a class with a teacher so I wasn't sure what to expect. She did fantastic though and loved the whole half hour of class. Here she is with her buddy Chloe. Check out her pose!

Here's another pic of Em and the other girls in the class doing some dancing! They were all so cute!
Thursday Kaite and Libby had to leave. My mom came to pick them up and took them back home. It was quiet after they left and the kids really missed them. Greg continued to work on the deck all week the deck is pretty much done. He just has to do the stairs, but other than that all the boards are on and I must say I think it looks really nice. Such an improvement from the old deck. I regrettably haven't taken any pics along the way so at this point I figured I might as well wait until the stairs are on and then I'll post some pics. That pretty much wraps up the highlights of the week. The highlight of the weekend was Greg and I were able to sneak in an unexpected dinner date on Saturday night. His mom took the kids for the afternoon and overnight so we decided to hit up P.F. Chang's for dinner. It's been a couple years since we've been there and it was really good. We tried some crispy green beans for an appetizer and boy were they yummy! I think it's going to be sooner than a couple years before we go back!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A Beautiful Day In The Gardens

On Sunday I told you we headed over to the MSU gardens to take some pics of the kids. We've done this the past couple years around Em's birthday since Kaite is here to visit. That way we can get all the cousins together. Here's a few of the pics I promised I'd post. There's more on Facebook so feel free to check them out there too. Enjoy!

Evan & Em with cousin Kaite at the MSU Gardens
Emmaline stopping to smell the beautiful hanging baskets
Evan playing peek-a-boo in the trees
The cousins in front of the fountain

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Fun-Filled Birthday Weekend!

I'm back tonight and ready to tell you about our busy busy busy birthday weekend for Emmaline. It all started on Thursday with Em's early birthday dinner at Spartan Hall of Fame Cafe with Greg's mom and aunt. Emmaline picked where she wanted to go so Hall of Fame Cafe it was. Her bed was coming Friday so we kind of needed her present from Ya Ya before then. I had picked out a new comforter set that Greg's mom said she'd give to her so we wanted to get it so her bed could get all made up when it came. We all had a nice dinner and Em loved her new bedding and new toys she got!

Friday was a jam packed day! The guy had finally come on Thursday to dig the holes for the deck and since it took him so long to finally do it he said he'd set the posts in place too. That was nice. So then when he finished he told me if we wanted him to frame the deck for $100 he'd come back and do that on Friday. So I talked to Greg and we both decided it was worth the $100. The other half of our deck order was in Thursday night and ready to be picked up and with the birthday party on Saturday and Em's birthday on Sunday we knew we wouldn't be getting much work done. So Friday morning the guy came back and he and another guy framed the deck in no time. Greg had to work for a couple hours in the morning and then he had the rest of the day off so we could go pick up the rest of the wood and also take Em's crib apart and put the full size bed together since her new mattress was being delivered late in the day. Our trip to Menard's to get the wood took up a huge chunk of the day. Between that and cleaning the house for the party, and getting Em's new bed all set that was our day. I put Em's new bedding on her "big girl" bed before she could go in her room and see her new bed. She was so excited and just loved it! Here she is walking in her room seeing the new bed for the first time!
She laid right down on her new bed and snuggled up with her babies!
Here's Em going to bed the first night in her new "big girl" bed! She did fantastic that night!
Saturday was the big Princess Party! I had some last minute prep work before the party, as well as picking up the cake. This year I just didn't have time to get creative and make a cake so I just ordered one from Sam's. When I went to pick it up I was a little shocked to say the least when I saw her cake. This is what the lady handed me!
You can imagine the look on my face. I had this feeling going into the store that morning that something wasn't going to be right with the cake because the guy who took my order was clueless. However, I thought her name was going to be spelled wrong, not a big Cubs emblem in the middle! The lady said she thought this was a little weird when she made the cake. Uh yeah, a Cubs emblem in the middle of a princess cake! They did end up fixing it and ended up giving me 50% off so I guess it ended in my favor. Here's the right cake!
Before the party started we were invited to Angie's baby shower (she's the one who bought all my girl clothes at the garage sale). So we headed down there for about an hour and then came back and it was princess party time. This year I opted to keep it simple. The party was at 4pm so I figured I'd just have a couple snacks at the beginning and then order pizzas for dinner. By the time I spent money buying everything to make food it would end up being about the same to order pizza. It worked out good and was nice not to have to make a bunch of food. So while we waited for the pizza I decided in lieu of doing games at the party this year, I'd have the kids do some activities instead. First they made princess candy necklaces. This was a hit and they loved eating them after wards! Here's the girls working on their necklaces.
We then had pizza dinner, Em opened her presents, then we had
cake & ice cream. Here's the birthday princess ready for her cake!
The party ended with the kids decorating their own princess sugar cookies. (Yes I know a little bit of a sugar overload at the party, but hey the kids had fun so that's all that matters!) Here's Em and her friend Chloe starting to frost their princess cookies.
It was a fun day! I'm pretty sure all the kids had a great time. Emmaline got lots of nice presents. Thanks to everyone that came to help celebrate her special day! Here's one more picture of my Princess Emmaline! She looked so cute for her party!
Sunday was her actual birthday and boy did she know it. She popped out of her new big girl bed at 6:30am and was ready to start her day. I wasn't, but that didn't seem to matter! We headed to the MSU gardens in the morning to take some pictures. Then Em got her birthday lunch at Noodles. Later on my sister left to head home and Kaite stayed here. She's staying for part of this week until Thursday. She brought her friend Libby here too so the two of them have been hanging with us this week! It's nice to have some extra hands around the house. We went to Smokey Bones for Em's birthday dinner that night and Greg's mom and Aunt Rose joined us again. I'm not sure why we went though because Em hardly ate any birthday dinner. Oh well, we all enjoyed our meals. So now my little girl is officially three and growing up way too fast. That's our long busy weekend wrap-up! It was pretty much non-stop around here all weekend. This post is quite long already so I'm going to wait and post some of my pictures from the gardens until next time!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Basketball Camp

Wow, I've got a lot to catch you up on from the weekend, and I also remembered I haven't even blogged about Evan's basketball camp last week. So first let me tell you about that. Last week Evan had a four day basketball camp that was from Monday to Thursday for an hour each day. This was the first time Evan's done any kind of camp. I signed him up a couple weeks ago and everyday he asked me when was basketball camp. So when last Monday arrived he was thrilled he finally got to go! B-ball camp was at the Hannah Center in East Lansing where there are lots of activities held. His group was 5-7 year olds, both boys and girls.

They learned everything from dribbling the ball with the right hand, then the left hand, and then going back and forth from left to right to what the lines on the court mean, to passing the ball, to shooting baskets, to shuffling their feet, to playing offense and defense. Lots to take in over the course of four days, but all the kids did great. Evan had a lot of fun, and by day four I could see how he had improved since the first day. He really picked up a lot of basketball knowledge in a short time.

Since this was his first camp I wanted to start with a short one to see if it's something he enjoyed doing. He's definitely going to be doing more camps! He liked it a lot and now wants to do soccer and football. I'm not sure there's a football one for kids that young, but we'll definitely check into what's available. Now he wants a basketball hoop at home! This week Emme is heading to ballet class which she is super excited about. I can't wait to see her dance!

Here's a few photos from basketball camp and then tomorrow I'll get back to the weekend festivities!

Evan on the first day all set to start b-ball camp!
Practicing shooting baskets. Almost got it to the rim, but not quite!
Ev dribbling the ball
Last day after camp was over... my future Spartan b-ball player!