March 11, 2011

Cousins, Cousins...(Part 1 of 2)

oh, how we love them!  We got to spend some time with both sets of cousins the last couple weeks before Oliver was born...sweet, much needed, quality time.

First, the kids and I traveled down to Austin for a quick 32 hour trip.  The mission?  Sew some t-shirt hoodies for Asher before this baby's arrival while spending some craft time with my sis.  You see, I bought this pattern from Lil Blue Boo over a year ago, and I knew that if I didn't get to these soon, it wouldn't be until next year that I finally got around to making Asher some hoodies made out of our old t-shirts.  I knew my sis would make me get them done.  She is pretty much a professional seamstress and works very quickly!  She made me cut out all my pattern pieces before I came down.  I got 3 hoodies done that first day during naptime and bedtime combined.  It also helped that she has a serger. (And, I actually used it this time...which was a total victory for me!  In the past, I've been too intimidated by the contraption, that I'd just pass off the pieces that needed to be serged to her and sew anything else on my machine.)

Here is my little model in his new hoodies:

He is so proud of this one revealing his new age...I think it's the frontrunner.

And, originally, I thought this was going to be his favorite b/c he was excited about the hawk's face on the front.

But, now I think the double swords on the front might have sealed the deal for his second pick.

We sewed during naptime and bedtime...but all between we soaked up our family.  Some of the highlights?   We played tons of outdoor games and even some board/card games: Reid and I taught Asher how to play kickball. And all the kids (but Nash) played Duck, Duck Goose and Crack the Egg on the trampoline, Red Light, Green Light and Simon Says.  This brought back many sweet memories of playing these with my sisters in our yard at the Green Acres Woods house.

With the current TMNT craze going around the cousins, Kyle knew she had to stop when she saw this on the side of an ice cream truck in her neighborhood:

Unfortunately, this was the only ice cream they were out of, but she came back with a bunch of other goodies and the kids were more than satisfied.

Don't you just love "Mario"?

The next day we toured the beautiful, new fire station that is directly across the street from their house.

We also whipped out a hoodie dress for McKlayne that I have yet to put a front pocket on.  I was going to appliqué some hearts on a single pocket on it for Valentine's Day...but then I had a baby.

We used the above hoodie pattern for the top and my sister hand drew a pattern for the skirt portion of the dress. See...I told you, professional!  My brain does not work that way.

The thing I love about this  dress?  I left it sleeveless so she can wear it all year round, with longsleeves and leggings when the weather is cold or alone in the summer.  I think it'd make a great cover-up for the pool.  My sis had the brilliant idea of suggesting that we make some of these out of terrycloth for true cover-ups.  Maybe we'll get to that some day?

Then we had to take some pictures with "Lucy" (Bitty Baby is 20 years old...she used to be my doll.) McKlayne received her for Christmas this year and named her Lucy.  She is now her favorite doll, which, of course, makes my heart swell with pride.

Aren't those such squishy, kissable cheeks?


The next week Ave and her three girls made the trip up to visit us.  Asher had asked the week before if we could take his cousins to one of his favorite local venues, Blue Baker, all painted up, of course.  

Depending on how blue you are, you can earn quite the spread of free food.  (We may or may not be guilty of painting our kids up about once a month-during the warmer months-and allowing them to earn us a free dinner.)  Charlie and all the kids got painted up and Ave, Ash (speaking of cousins...Char's sis made a quick trip to Texas...with a new baby girl cousin in utero...a first cousin for the Apel side!) and I painted our cheeks for free cookies.  Four adults and four children ate just under $50 in food, drink (and cookies) for $9.  See why we love this place?

The kids had a blast getting painted up to go eat at their favorite place...even in 24 degree weather.  Charlie won the Best Parent award that night as he raced around the fountain with four littles as they ran out their crazies for about 20 minutes.  Or does that make us the worst parents that we allowed our children to run around in that kind of weather?  Either way, they enjoyed it and so did we as they burned off some excitement.  (Kids, your Daddy really is the best.)

(McKlayne was cracking us up about how seriously she was taking her blue one else even wanted it, but she was super pleased with it and wore it ALL NIGHT LONG.)

The next evening we had a little Valentine's Making Party.  We made mini heart-shaped pizza's and the kids were thrilled to get to top their own:

Homemade Pizza Crust
2 pkg. rapid rise yeast (5 tsp.)
2/3 c. warm water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 c. flour (I use half white and half whole wheat.)
1 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 c. warm water
-Preheat oven to 350°F.
-In a small bowl, mix first 3 ingredients. Let stand for 5 minutes until foamy.
-In a large bowl, combine salt, flour (no need to use the full quantity - use enough flour to make a stiff dough), sugar oil, and the second 2/3 cup of warm water.
-Mix together yeast and flour mixture and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
-Place dough into an oiled bowl and turn once to coat with oil. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 45 minutes to 1 hour).
-Press dough out with your fingertips (or have your husband, who worked at Papa John's in college roll out) into a circle.
Spread with your favorite toppings.  
Bake at 350°F-400°F for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden and lightly browned in spots and cheese is melted and bubbly.  (Makes 2 large pizzas.)

Uncle Jordan came over, too, and was eager to help make some heart shaped pretzels for the party.  (He's a hands-on kinda guy, ladies.) We used the Pioneer Woman recommended recipe, but, honestly, I wasn't too impressed with how they tasted for all the work that they were.  Maybe we did something wrong?  I will try another recipe if I attempt these again.  

I gave Jordan the job of twisting them up, which, surprisingly, he was really good at! Did you know that was a gift?  

He is, indeed, a self-proclaimed pretzel expert, since this has been his snack of choice for the last 24 1/2 years.

The kids (with parental assistance) made these Valentine's for the Grandparents.  I bought all the supplies (other than the cupcake  liners and paper) in the Target $1 Hot Spot.  They enjoyed gluing and having creative reign over the placement of stickers.   

Here's the finished product:

Cousins, Cousins (Part 2 of 2) to be continued...tons of pics/video from our second annual snowday!!

March 9, 2011


(in pictures)

Oliver Creed

born February 11, 2011

at 1:57 p.m.

Weighing in at 7 lbs 14oz and measuring 21 1/2 inches long.

Cate came in town yesterday and we had such a fun time posing my little baby doll for his first photoshoot while the rest of the kids were napping.  Thank you, Cate, for all of your help! I will forever cherish these!!

I'm working on writing Oliver's birth the mean time,  I may actually finish a few posts that I had begun before he was born...I had about 8 unpublished, overdue posts. Many of you have asked, and yes, we did do a "Bradley Method" un-medicated birth.  I highly recommend it.  (More on that to come in his birthstory.)  Until then...maybe these will hold you over.

(This is how I often find my two boys...Asher just can't get enough.  I don't blame him...but Asher is constantly reminded to "give Oliver some space".)

And now...for my favorites...I had to peel the 25 cents garage sale sticker off of this baby...(the blue one...not the 3 1/2 week old) before we could use it. When I bought it months ago, I never envisioned using it for this...

I never expected to get so many good ones of all three of them...I may not try again until 2012.

I can't decide which of the next ones are my favorite...what do you think? 



(Or #3?)