Sunday, February 15, 2015

Cherry Pie

We keep Valentine's Day pretty low key at our house. We actually focused on it a little more this year than usual. I planted a little sweet treat on everyone's pillow, which thrilled Aubrey. 

We had a good breakfast then Tyler, Aubrey and I headed out to City Arts for a Heart-y Party. Ha! They did a little crafting.


We were downtown, so we stopped at the Nifty Nuthouse to let the kids pick out a few treats. 


Then, because the weather was so beautiful (I think it was 60 degrees), we went to Buffalo Park and played for awhile.




Tyler and I headed to the YMCA for awhile in the afternoon. He did his orientation to the youth weight equipment and surprised me by wanting to stay on the equipment for nearly an hour. We followed it up with a few laps around the track. I hope this means that we'll be able to go together which I think will be fun. And I could use a little motivation to get there more often. :)

After some Saturday cleaning, it was time to make dinner. We grilled steak and also had asparagus and these cheesy potato fries. It was a heady, happy meal. The only "recipe" was for the potatoes which we will definitely make again! I used 5 red potatoes, and only used about half of the ranch sauce and 1/2 c of cheddar. Cheesy and delicious! 

For dessert, I made a cherry pie. My friend, Michelle, makes a killer cherry pie and I've made her recipe once before, but I wasn't sure where the recipe was. So I decided to try another recipe that I found this week. The crust was great, but the filling was not what I was after...it tasted good, but was much too runny. So, this morning I scrounged up the recipe that I should have made again last night. (It was on a post-it note stuck inside a folder of recipes). I'm posting this here because this will be my go-to from now on...and I don't want to lose this recipe. It's simple and so good!


Cherry Pie
-Crust adapted from Artfulparent.com  -Pie recipe from Michelle Pankratz

Crust (for a 2-crust pie):2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T sugar
12 T butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 c coconut oil
1/2 c ice water, approximately

1. In food processor, mix flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and shortening and pulse to combine. Add water slowly and pulse until it comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill. 


When ready to use, divide in half. Roll out dough between wax paper. Press into a 9-inch pie plate leaving about 1/2 inch hanging over the edge of the plate. (While preparing the filling I returned the dough to the refrigerator to chill).

Filling 
4 c tart cherries
1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c all-purpose flour

2. Mix filling and pour into pie plate (over the unbaked crust).

3. Take the other half of the dough and roll out. If you want to make a lattice crust, cut into strips and do not look at the photo above for the correct method...which was merely a random laying down of crust pieces and putting some over and some under as it was easiest to do. :P Pinch the top and bottom crust together.

4. Brush top crust with cream (or beaten egg white) and sprinkle with sugar

5. Bake at 350 for one hour.  Let cool for several hours before eating.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Weekend

I was so glad to be home this weekend with my little family. Yesterday, we attended Family Fun Fair at Botanica. They predicted beautiful weather, and I think it got up to the mid 60's.



The rest of the afternoon was filled with the fun of Saturday off - eating out, shopping, and baking.

Today my favorite part was the gorgeous (lower 70's) weather and the fact that the kids spent a good chunk of the afternoon/early evening playing outside with the neighbors.

I don't know if I'm ready for another week...but it sure was nice to be off of work and home with my little loves.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Go KU!

Tyler's friend, Devon, invited him to a home KU game today (vs K State). Devon, his dad, Shawn, and Shawn's parents went along. During the day, Devon's Mom, Loan, forwarded pictures that Shawn took. 

Here they are filling their plates in the VIP lounge.


Sitting down to lunch. Tyler gushed about the food...the bacon, warm croissants, honeydew melon,and a "wine glass" of coke. :)


Before the game.


Sitting in the second row.


Cheerleaders! They're still in the "girls have cooties" stage, so they were a little uncomfortable with how close the girls got...or so they say. ;)


Showing us where the team warms up.


Tyler loved it! He brought home some souvenirs, told us about the excitement of game events, and about recalling some of the clever signs that people held up. How nice of Devon's family to invite him along!

I, meanwhile, worked at the hospital. Last night and this morning, Aubrey cried when I told her that I had to work and Tyler wouldn't be around. I told her I'd send her pictures throughout the day and she should send me pictures too...starting with waiting in line a little before 7 am for a wellness check. I only got a couple of pictures from Aubrey and Wayne, but I took a few more. Yikes!



Wayne and Aubrey spent the day in Hesston with Ted and Sue. Aubrey was excited to tell me about her day. While Wayne and Sue worked on her new computer, Aubrey was happy she got to play with Grandpa "learning how to juggle," playing catch, and eating "chicken and rice" (sweet and sour pork).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Today

My mama celebrated her 65th birthday today...while she and her sisters moved Grandma Polly into Greencroft. 

We enjoyed this pretty sunset. :)



January 19

Monday, Tyler went to a marionette making class with City Arts...and in the afternoon, we took advantage of the gorgeous weather at the park. Love being outside in the middle of these cold winter months.




Sunday, January 18, 2015

Aubrey's 5th Birthday

My tiny little baby. My little mouse. On January 15, she turned 5.

Aubrey wanted a calendar in her room this year..."just like Tyler." She picked out a Disney princess calendar and was thrilled to have it hung in her room. She loved having this in her room, especially as she has been counting down the days until her birthday.

Aubrey loves to play pretend and a frequent theme over the past few months has been to play that we are married and have a (stuffed frog) son and a (Ariel doll) daughter. It is always some one's birthday and the parent (who is not having a birthday) gets up early to make a cake, put up streamers and get presents ready.

On the morning of her birthday, I woke up bright and early and went to pick up birthday donuts...with a quick stop for a few groceries, I rolled in around 7 am. She met me at the door, rubbing her eyes and asked "where are my friends?" I explained (again, as I had tried to prepare her) that her friends would not be here until Saturday for her party, Then, "where are the streamers?"

So, after a sleepy birthday girl ate her donuts licked the frosting off of her donuts, we hung streamers. :)


That morning, "hmmm, Mommy. I don't feel like I'm 5. I still feel like I'm 4."

Then later, "I feel like I'm 5, Mom! Now I'll sleep by myself!" (Of course she wasn't so excited about that sleeping by herself proclamation when bedtime rolled around).

I was home on her birthday, and between playing Frozen and trying to make her feel special, I tried to get things ready for her birthday party. She had a hard time waiting for Tyler to come home from school to open presents, so we let her open her present from the Showalters. She was in love and wore it all day. In fact, she told me she wanted to throw away the dress up dress we had gotten her for Christmas because she loved it so much. Silly.


She was equally thrilled when a handmade card from Jillian arrived in the mail that afternoon. Shrieks of joy.

That evening, we let her open presents from us.


Friday, she took cookies to school. I didn't take any pictures, but we just made some easy drop sugar cookies (that are quite yummy), I put some pink buttercream frosting on them and she put sprinkles on top. It was especially fun that she could help make them.

Saturday afternoon, we had a few of her friends over for a birthday party at our house, per her request.

I had asked Aubrey whether she'd like cupcakes instead of cake for her party. We picked out a Reese's peanut butter (chocolate cupcake with peanut butter filling) cake mix.  Later, she told me firmly that she wanted BOTH cupcakes and a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I don't remember asking her if she wanted any kind of theme, but on the day of her party announced she wanted a Frozen themed party - sorry, too late for that! I told Wayne that I feel like I burned myself out on decorating cakes when Tyler was younger. I went the easy route and just threw on some of her ponies (washed, of course). Sprinkles and edible glitter make everything fun, right? Sorry, Aubrey. Hopefully some day soon I'll get my motivation back. :)
I used an easy cake recipe, chopped up some chocolate to sprinkle on the frosting in the middle layer, and topped it with chocolate frosting.

(I took these pictures shortly before her friends arrived, because I was afraid I'd forget to take a picture after the party started).



A little less than an hour before the party, Wayne opened the front door, and the wind caught it and whipped it open, breaking the closer. (It snowed and was icy on Wednesday and on Saturday, it was around 60 degrees, but windy...what!?). He ran to the hardware store and was just finishing up installing the new one as the first guests pulled into the driveway. 


I only had a couple of planned activities for the kids. The first was to have each child paint a picture with the first letter of their name. When I was prepping the letters/canvases for the party, Aubrey helped to pick the font for each person's letter which was especially nice when I could not decide. (We didn't like the same font for all of the letters).  

I didn't think about taking pictures of the kids when they were all painting. Oops.  Here are Aubrey and Tyler's finished products (paint dry and letter sticker removed).


Tyler was more thoughtful as he painted, and of course took a little longer than the younger ones. 


 Aubrey had a mix of friends from preschool last year (who she still enjoys playing with at school), preschool this year, and our friend's kids (who are her friends too, of course). She was nervous before the party of how to manage splitting her time with them. Early on, I saw her go sit behind the couch. As I tried to coax her out, she said she was trying to figure what to have her friends play. Oh my, she is growing up. I didn't expect her to worry about this stuff quite this soon. That quickly passed and the kids were playing nicely.

Excitedly watching the opening of presents.


 They cracked me up. I didn't get any pictures with all of them looking at me and smiling, but I love it.


Then, they each decorated a cupcake. (I had made paintbrushes out of rice krispie treats too, but again, I forgot to take a picture. But, that's okay. Mine were not nearly as cute as the Pinterest ones I saw, so whatever). :)



Then cake and snacks.



It was a good day. :)

Today, Ted and Sue came down for lunch. We went to Lee's Chinese restaurant and discovered that Aubrey LOVES sesame chicken. (Tyler was not so thrilled as I let her try his dish which led to her pretty much only eating his meal instead of her own).

Sue had brought back the faces/masks that Aunt Isabelle printed at Christmas to represent our family in the family picture since we couldn't be there. Here, the kids were enjoying pretending to be Wayne and me.



Tyler as Aubrey. Looks extra funny since her face is so much smaller. 



We had a couple of leftover cupcakes, so Sue and Aubrey decorated their cupcakes.



The finished product.



Look at those tired eyes. I think all of the excitement has worn this little lady out.



What a great weekend! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Eye roll

This girl has perfected it. 

Fishes

New Year's Eve morning, Rachel introduced me to piloxing and Hollins took the kids swimming. I had fun...and am sure I'll be sore. And the kids had a great time too. How nice of Hollins to brave this troupe alone!





Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stuckey Christmas

Today was our Christmas celebration with the Stuckey/Showalter clan.

Rachel got up bright and early to bring home donuts for breakfast. 

We opened presents...the girls enjoyed trying on their new Frozen clothes.



Rachel, Sue, and I had a good afternoon. First, we took the kids to see Annie. 

Then, sans kids, we made our annual trek to Trader Joe's, and then checked out Fresh Thyme. So fun.  I had to take a picture of my cashier's name tag for Dad. :)


The evening meal was another incredible family-style meal at Maggiano's where we all stuffed our faces. So. Good.


Grandma Sue got the girls matching outfits, so we got a few pictures of these little cuties.





Decatur then Indy

Monday, we headed out and spent a few hours with Grandma Billie and Max in Decatur. It was great to see them again. It was nice to reminisce about Grandpa Wayne, and laugh with Uncle Max because, well, he just has a way of entertaining us and making us laugh. :) I stink, apparently, at taking pictures and completely missed capturing the moment. But we really enjoyed our visit.


Then we headed down to Indy to start the Stuckey Christmas festivities.

Jillian and Aubrey worked on some crowns for the little ones.