Sunday, December 18, 2011

23 Months

Little Miss Aubrey continues to change quickly. This month, some things I want to remember: 

* Aubrey can now say Tyler's name, or calls him "bubba."

* She recognizes most colors, and some numbers and letters. She has started her version of counting. "2,3,5,6,7,8,9,10"

* Often, her expression of agreement is "uh huh, do." For example, "Aubrey, do you want some milk?" Nodding, "Uh huh, do." She beckons with a wave and, "come on." But "thank you, Mommy" melts my heart.

* She loves anything soft and snuggly.

* She continues to love anything Sesame Street. Occasionally, she has yelled, "'s...Song!" Though she is generally angry about something when she yells it, this always cracks me up.

* She loves reading books, doing puzzles, and dancing to music.

* She is still quite attached to her stuffed lamb, "Lambie." She has started pretend play - covering Lambie up, "feeding" Lambie, and sweetly talking to Lambie.

* She loves to paint, draw and color

* Aubrey is active, clearly independent, opinionated, and quite a sweetie pie.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Grandpa Henry

Photo by Lynette Polinder
Friday afternoon, my Grandpa Henry Yoder passed away in his home. This past week was especially rough. My Aunts and Uncle stayed with Grandpa and Grandma and gave lots of wonderful care. I was thankful for their frequent communication to the rest of the family, which made me feel like I was not so far away. I grieve especially for my Grandma Polly as she has lost her partner of 66 years. It's hard to imagine her without him.

I've been thinking about my memories of Grandpa, and I've been thinking a lot about childhood memories. Grandpa passed on his love of games, and I distinctly remember him teaching us to play games (specifically Rook). He liked to do tricks to amaze us, like "blowing up" his bicep. Or pulling a string between his nose and mouth. He was frugal, and I remember a reunion when he told us we could use one square of toilet paper for #1 and two squares for #2. Of course, there are lots more.

I have appreciated my loving, supportive, generous, and down to earth family. We are blessed to have such a warm and supportive community here. Grandpa would be so happy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

White Chocolate Cinnamon Pretzels

I have a recipe to add to your holiday baking list. I saw it on Pinterest and made it this weekend. It's super easy. So easy, in fact, it's almost embarrassing. And, it doesn't take many ingredients. It's sweet, salty and crunchy. Addictive and delicious.

White Chocolate Cinnamon Pretzels

1 bag of pretzels (16-18 oz)
2/3 cup oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup cinnamon sugar for sprinkling
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, and cinnamon.
2. Pour pretzels into oil mixture. Stir until coated.
3. Microwave for 1 minute, remove and stir. Microwave 45 seconds more.
4. Spread pretzels evenly onto two cookie sheets.
5. While still warm, sprinkle cinnamon sugar generously.
6. Melt white chocolate (on low heat, be careful not to burn) and drizzle over cooled pretzels.
7. Store in an airtight container.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I was working on my Thanksgiving post right as it was time to leave for The Muppets this afternoon...I just now realized that I posted the wrong video. Mistake corrected. :)


I love Thanksgiving weekend. I've had a chance to do a little cleaning, a little shopping, and a little cooking. Tyler and I had a chance for a few activities too.

First we made these turkey cups. They were easy and (I think) cute.

We also made these pilgrim hats (to hold crayons at the dinner table) and pilgrim and Native American decorations (made from TP rolls).

Yesterday, Tyler and I went on a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt.  It was my secret ploy to get him to burn off some energy. Even though it was nice and warm, it was very windy outside. We found everything but people throwing a football and another family on a walk. The only people we saw outside, in fact, were men working with their grills or smokers or fryers. :)

I also made a Treasure Hunt for him. I got a kick out of Aubrey "reading" his clues.

In the evening, we joined Ted and Sue at Hesston College for dinner. I am so thankful for family and friends near and far. Love you all! I hope you enjoyed the blessing of good food and good fellowship too.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

22 Months

Aubrey is 22 months old. She loves to do puzzles, color, watch Sesame Street or listen to an Elmo CD, jump off of anything she can, climb onto whatever she can, play "side" (outside), and read books. She is working on asking "nicely" for Elmo (instead of screaming...repeatedly). Oh, and did I mention that she loves Sesame Street? :)

She is ready for the cold weather that just blew in...

She is talking in more two to three word sentences. Many of them start with, "Mommy, need..." Though more words are clear, she still doesn't say Tyler's name...

Another milestone we are celebrating is my sister Lynette in her pregnancy. She is 33 weeks and a couple days along. Hooray!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The fox

Written on one of Tyler's school sheets today:

4. Why didn't the fox have food for the winter?
Tyler: He did not gather food!

5. If you were the fox, what would you do next?
Tyler: I would go to Dillons.

Smart boy I've got here. :)


Tonight, Tyler was working on sight words, and Aubrey got the giggles. I just caught a little on video.


Last night, we enjoyed spending the evening with the Pankratz family. Of course, we enjoyed delicious food. Besides the big pot of yummy chili that Michelle made, we both made some sides, including a few "themed" items.

This spider cheeseball

Michelle's peanut butter spider cookies and my owl cupcakes. 

Followed, of course, by trick or treating. It was a gorgeous evening to be out. The high was in the 70s yesterday, and the evening was still mild and pleasant.

Aubrey can't say "trick or treat," but her thank you and bye bye earned her lots of smiles.

We didn't stay out too long, and everyone was still in good spirits when we returned. Abe was eager to hand out candy at the house, and was quite sweet - looking for trick or treaters to offer candy to.

The little ones wisely gathered around Wayne to enjoy some of their loot.

Aubrey trying on Abe's Harry Potter glasses.

We had a great evening! :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Owl Cupcakes

I just got done making these cute Owl Cupcakes for a Halloween party. (I borrowed the photo from the site that gave me the idea). I used this chocolate cupcake recipe and this chocolate buttercream frosting recipe. Aren't they cute and festive?  (And quite easy)!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cheddar Bacon Dip

Try this. It's so good and so easy.
 I'd love to say that I adapted it...but I didn't. It's good the way it is.

(Click on the picture to link to the recipe on Crumbs and Chaos).

Cheddar Bacon Dip

16 oz sour cream
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
3 oz Bacon Bits (the kind in the bag, not the jar)
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Mix together and refrigerate for 24 hours.  Serve with crackers, chips or veggies. 

Monday, October 24, 2011


A couple of videos of Aubrey demonstrating her love of playing on the ottoman.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Like many families, we have an annual tradition of going to a pumpkin patch. Of course, it doesn't always work out the way I envision it.

Our day was all planned out. Tyler's soccer game at 9 am, with the remainder of the day in Hesston including a trip to the pumpkin patch. But, when we arrived at 8:45 for the game and found out that the time was changed to 11:15, we had to change all of our day's plans. 

I had my heart set on going to the pumpkin patch that day. So, we still went, but waited until evening. Aubrey was a bit fussy (she started a head cold this week), about 10 minutes before they closed, Tyler told me that he was sooooo hungry ("because, I'm always hungry, Mom"), and Wayne was not terribly excited about going to begin, perhaps it was okay that we didn't have a whole lot of time there this year. Believe it or not, everyone did seem to enjoy themselves while we were there.

We checked out a new patch - Papa's Pumpkin Patch.

Tyler enjoyed going down the "slide."

The little lady

Aren't we cute little flowers?

I didn't realize until today that Wayne captured this one. Ha! :)

Afterwards, we were happy that Ted and Sue could roll with our change in plans. We met at El Cerrito and enjoyed a delicious meal. What a nice ending to the day.  :)


While Tyler practices soccer, Aubrey and I walk the paths through the woods or around the pond. At  Thursday evening's soccer practice, a 4 year-old girl cozied up to Aubrey. Aubrey was not excited to have another little mommy trying to herd her around, so it was hard to get a good picture of the two of them. But, I took a few pictures anyway. It was a great evening to be outside, enjoying the crisp fall weather.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Came across this website today...and not only are the recipes intriguing, I really enjoyed her writing. And writing about bribing her kids reminded me of my recent post about Tyler's incentive chart. I never said that "my kid will never"__________, but I have done and said things I didn't think that I would. :)

In any case, she has some fun and tasty-looking seasonal recipes that I'd like to try too...
Full disclosure here - I'm only allowing myself to eat sugar (and things that are high in carbs) one day a I don't bake or make sweets nearly as often as I used to. So, I may not get to these...but a girl can dream. :) (And make things for other people).

(click on the picture for the link)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

21 Months

At 21 months, Aubrey is talking more (in words we can understand) :) - and on October 1, started nodding yes and saying "uh huh" instead of saying "no" in answer to every question. This was quite a happy thing for Wayne and I, as it makes communicating much easier!

Elmo and "Coco" (cookie monster) have captured Aubrey's heart. No, to be more accurate, are quite an obsession of hers. She often asks to watch Elmo (Sesame Street), listen to Elmo in the car, and read Elmo books at bedtime and in between.
Her blankie and pacifier at nap and bedtime are essentials.

She is eating more foods, but is generally adamant that she feed herself.

She is still enamored with dogs, and really, any animals. She also loves babies. She gets a little pout quite often, but when she thinks a baby or animal is sweet, she pushes her lower lip out, cocks her head to the side and makes little "ohhh" sounds. It is quite sweet. She gives sweet hugs with a pat, and lots of kisses too - sometimes with her pacifier still in place.

She continues to be a very active girl, with little fear. She keeps us on our toes! :)

The Park

A trip to the park...

Celebrating with the Stuckeys

Friday night, Ted and Sue came to celebrate Tyler's birthday. We hadn't seen each other since our trip to Indiana, so it was nice to catch up and spend time together.

Tyler, opening a present.

Aubrey, trying on Grandpa Ted's coat.

Tyler had originally requested a peanut cake for his birthday. He explained that he wanted it in the shape of a peanut, with peanut butter frosting. We hadn't made a cake for his birthday party, so I decided to make a cake for Friday night. (I didn't make it in the shape of a peanut, though). I chose a couple of simple recipes that used ingredients I had on hand. So, I was able to make this between doing laundry, soccer practice, baths, supper, etc on Thursday evening. It's that easy! And, it was tasty.


Nonstick vegetable oil spray
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Line  pan bottoms with parchment paper. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk in liquid ingredients until batter is smooth. (I just used my stand mixer, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl frequently). Divide into pans (scant 3 cups each).

Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out wiht a few crumbs still attached, about 28 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Cut around cakes and turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment paper and cool.

-Adapted from

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)

Combine butter and peanut butter and beat until mixed well. Add confectioner's sugar and maple flavoring. Beat to combine. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sausage and Lentil Soup

Today was rainy and cool and called for a simmering pot of soup. We started making this soup last winter, and it quickly became a favorite of Wayne and mine, and I'm surprised to see that I haven't shared it yet. If you like it a little less spicy, you can omit the red pepper flakes and use a less spicy sausage.

Sausage and Lentil Soup
Adapted from Heather Gingerich/Siloam Fellowship cookbook

1 pound Italian sausage, sliced and casing removed
1 T oil
2 carrots, diced
1 lg onion, chopped
2 cloves crushed garlic
3 stalks celery, diced

In a stock pot, brown the sausage, then remove from the pan. Add a little oil, about 1 T, to the pan. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Saute until tender. Add the sausage to the vegetables.
8 c chicken broth
2 large cans (28-oz) petit diced tomatoes
2 c dried lentils (rinsed and drained)
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 bay leaf

Simmer until lentils are tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Remove 1/3 of the soup and puree it, then return it to the pot. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Ice Cream Cake

Ice Cream Cake
Adapted from a recipe from my Aunt Joye

2 (1/2-gallon) containers ice cream
     (Tyler picked Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate and Cookies and Cream)
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups crushed Oreo cookies (frosting removed)
1/2 jar hot fudge topping, warmed (optional)
1 8-oz container Cool Whip

* In the microwave, melt the chocolate chips. Mix well with Oreo crumbs. Spread on waxed paper to cool and then break apart.
* In a 10-inch spring form pan, spread 1 container softened ice cream. Spread the hot fudge topping on top of the ice cream then sprinkle with the Oreo and chocolate mixture. If you'd like, only sprinkle 2 cups of the crumbs and reserve the remaining to decorate the top of the cake.
* Freeze for at least 30 minutes. Add the second container ice cream. Freeze for at least 4 hours.
* Remove the sides of the spring-form pan. (You may run a little warm water on the side to loosen). Return to freezer until firm.
* Spread Cool Whip evenly over the top and sides and freeze again before decorating.

Tyler is 7!

On Thursday, October 6, Tyler turned 7. Since he had soccer practice on his actual birthday, Wednesday we went out to eat at the restaurant of his choice (barring fast food options). He picked Texas Roadhouse.

Aubrey enjoyed dancing to the music.

We need to practice proper behavior at sit down restaurants...

On his birthday, I brought treats to his class. I thought it was sweet how excited they all were for a little treat.
He excitedly told me how people had been singing Happy Birthday to him throughout the day.

That evening, he opened his presents from us.

Opening his own tennis racquet. He wondered whether we had just wrapped up a racquet we already had. ;) I explained that Daddy played through high school and college and now he would be able to learn with his own kid-sized racquet.

Saturday, he celebrated with his friends at All Star Sports. We had intended to play mini-golf and ride the go-carts. Both outdoor activities. But, after a summer of drought...yesterday afternoon, it rained and rained. Sooo, we adjusted our plans to indoor activities. Laser Tag and arcade games.

Taking a break to eat.

Opening presents.

Back at home, the Pankratz's and Jaberg's joined us for ice cream cake.

Otto & Huey Pankratz and Aubrey playing a counting game on the iPad.