Monday, April 25, 2011

our Easter week (warning: picture overload!)

What a busy crazy pre-Easter week!  We started off our celebration last weekend when my parents came up to take us out for Chad's birthday.  (Yes, I realize it was about a month late, but we've been busy!)

My mom was a good sport and colored eggs with the girls.  Good thing she did, because their mommy had almost forgotten that Easter was approaching and hadn't even thought about that yet!

After the weekend, we had a busy week with activities every evening, except Thursday, which was good since we were recovering from Tate's incident.  And I ended up with a killer headache that started when Tate got hurt and didn't end until Saturday.  Sorry for anyone who had to be around me those days.  I'm sure I was totally cranky and annoying.  I swear that wasn't the real me!  (Just don't ask Chad...)  ;)

Friday morning we were all exhausted still (and my head was still throbbing), but I had been promising Millie all week that we'd see the Easter bunny.  And Friday morning was our last chance, so we headed out to the mall.  I believe this was the first time Millie hasn't been terrified to be this close to the bunny.

She was even willing to pose with another bunny at our church for our big Easter Extravaganza this past Saturday.  And Addie was thrilled since school had caused her to miss out on the mall bunny.

Tate wasn't quite as thrilled to see the bunny.

 Our church hosted a big Easter egg hunt with lots of fun games and big inflatables.  And yes, they did of course talk about the REAL meaning of Easter.  A super important part of the whole morning.  :)

Looks like our family had an advantage in the Cake Walk.

 Addie got a tattoo by our resident tattoo artist.

Sunday morning started with fancy outfits and an Easter egg hunt at our house.

 Then we took off for church where we were reminded of the awesome forgiveness of our Savior and his glorious resurrection!  If you want to hear a really great message, click here!

After church, we drove down to my hometown for a yummy Easter dinner with my parents.  They, of course, offered to take a family picture of us, which was good since I had tried to coordinate our outfits (I know - I'm a dork!), although Chad refused to wear a salmon or peach-colored shirt .  But really, what's the use of trying to coordinate outfits if there are no photos to account for it?  ;)

And then there was another Easter egg hunt!
And there were more than just eggs to find!

Once Tate got a few eggs in his bucket, he got a kick out of emptying it and putting the same ones back in.  I'm not sure he understood the purpose of the hunt...

Millie has been so sweet lately.  In the picture below, she's bringing a football egg to Tate because she knew he'd like it.  She also brought one of her sparkly eggs to Addie too, knowing big sister loves sparkles.  :)

Meanwhile, Addie was behaving in a very competitive manner, searching every nook and cranny for those tricky hidden eggs.  Wonder where she got that from...
Although she can be competitive, she is also very sweet and helped her little siblings find eggs too (once she had no room for any more).  ;)

What?!  How did those eggs get way up in the trees?  That must be one tall Easter bunny!

Everyone's got a full bucket!

Us girls gabbed in the kitchen while unloading the loot,

while the guys talked about... um, well, I guess whatever guys talk about... and threw around Tate's new football.

And that was our week.  Hope you all had a fabulous week and took time to reflect on the real meaning of the season.  Here are a few posts that I thought did a great job of reflecting on the day:


Friday, April 22, 2011

it's all fun and games until...

...someone gets their eye poked out.

That saying has taken on a whole new reality at our house.  Curious?  Here's the whole story:

Time: noon yesterday
Location: our house

We had just finished having lunch and I was getting ready to put Millie and Tate down for their naps.  But they were having so much fun playing together so I thought, "Well, I'll just take advantage of this time to upload a few pictures to my blog..." (which then never happened, but you'll see that post tomorrow).  They were running around in the kitchen and laughing like crazy.  I was basking in the sound of them playing so well together.

Then, suddenly, Tate's laughter turned into a scream.  And Millie cries, "Mommy, Tate fell on Odie's kennel and I didn't mean to!"

I ran in right away and picked Tate up, only to see that blood had filled his eye.  I couldn't even see his eyeball, there was so much blood and it was beginning to pour out.  My first thought was that he has lost his sight.  Through the blood I could see he was trying to look at me and couldn't get his eye to focus.  He was scared.  I was scared.  Millie was feeling awful.

The only thing I could think to do was call 911.  We live 30 minutes from the nearest ER, but I knew the paramedics could be here in just a few minutes.  The 911 lady was so great.  She could tell I was breaking down and she talked me through everything.

Within a few minutes, a detective was at our house.  He was in the area and heard the call on the dispatcher, so he came over to make sure we were okay.  He was very friendly and tried to help calm us all down.  Although he frightened Millie to death.  She still thought it was her fault, although I had told her over and over again that it was just an accident.  It was really mommy's fault for leaving Odie's kennel open.
See that long part of his "door" sticking up?  That's what he fell on.  Yikes.

In another minute, the paramedics were here and they were checking out Tate's eye.  They concluded that the important part of his eye (the iris and such) was okay, but there was definitely a cut on his inner eyelid and possibly back farther on his eyeball.  At this time, however, the bleeding had stopped, so that was a good sign.  They offered to take him by ambulance to the ER, but said I could choose to drive him if I'd rather and if I was in the right state of mind to do it.  I don't think I was probably in the right state of mind, but I opted to drive since I knew it would save us a bundle, and at least his vision wasn't in peril anymore.

On the way to the ER, I tried frantically to get ahold of Chad.  You see, he doesn't have a cell phone (I know... WHAT?!?) and he wasn't teaching like usual yesterday, he was attending some class off site and I couldn't remember where.  So, after calling his school's secretary, she was kind enough to take charge of tracking him down.  Which, I guess, took several phone calls and emails all over the place.

At the ER (Chad did eventually get there after a little while), we were so relieved to find out that he had only cut the inside of his eyelid, and his eyeball was unharmed.  Needless to say, we were praising God for that!  Just a centimeter difference and it could've been a much sadder story.

We did finally get Millie to realize that it wasn't her fault at all.  They were just having fun and playing, and that's good, not bad.   So she's fine now too.  :)

And this little guy...

 Well, he might look kinda funny...

But he's definitely back to his ol' self!

Thank you, Lord, for watching out for our son.

And on this Good Friday, may you all take time to reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for us.  If you're looking for a great service to commemorate his death, come to our church tonight!  I'd love to see you there!  :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

kids' bathroom makeover

My amazingly talented friend Abby was here a few weeks ago, working her magic in my kids' bathroom.  I only wish I had "before" pictures to show you so you could be even more blown away by how she transformed the space.

The inspiration started with the shower curtain that I got at Target.  I thought it was perfect for a girl/boy bathroom.  Gender neutral, yet fun.

So she took that and ran with her own creative ideas.  

Just look at those darling owls above the shower.  She personalized them with the kids' favorite colors and eye color.  Although we can't quite tell what color Tate's eyes are going to be for sure yet... right now they're kinda bluish/greenish/hazel.  But we can always repaint his owls's eyes once we figure it out!

And yes, I do realize that my kids' initials spell out "ATM."  If only they did flow with cash instead of squeezing it out of me.  Ha.

I also replaced the hardware, which had before been the cheapest-looking fixtures I've ever seen.  And I was lucky enough to get new towel bars on huge clearance for just $4.75 each!

I thought this toothbrush holder fit the bathroom's theme just perfectly.  
Plus, the kids love it.

It was Abby's ingenious idea to put up a picture of the kids, and she painted the frame for me on the spot.

 This light fixture was previously shiny brass (which I don't care for), so I spray painted it a metallic black to match the new hardware.

And the tree.  Oh, the tree!  

Complete with it's own little critters.

I also needed this tree to serve a purpose, holding the kids' hooded bath towels.  So, I found these funky hooks from heliotrope.  I ordered the pink ones, thinking they'd be fun for the girls, but once they arrived, I didn't like the shade.  They were very "pepto-bismol" looking.  So I painted them purple and yellow, which the girls loved and they complemented the bathroom better too.

(The purple one still needs one more coat of paint...)

And Chad made this darling birdhouse hook for Tate's towel.  It's so nice having a handy husband.

And, here it is serving it's purpose.  Although I like the look much better without the towels.  Maybe it would help if I replaced the pink-polka dotted towel with one that matched better.

So there it is, folks!  The best part was Addie's reaction when she came home from school that day.  She was so happy, she just giggled and giggled.  The only downside is that the kids love their new bathroom so much, that it's hard to get them out of there sometimes... like on school mornings when we're already running late, of course.

Thanks again, Abby!

Monday, April 4, 2011

a few recipes and a super warm day!

I've been craving Asian food lately.  And not having been to P.F. Chang's in awhile, I was longing for their lettuce wraps.  And since I probably won't get out there again for awhile, I thought I'd try and make our own from a recipe I got from All You magazine.  I must say, they turned out really good!  In fact, I served them with these Asian meatballs for our small group last night and I had lots of folks asking for the recipes, so I thought I'd just go ahead and post them on here.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced (if you don't have a garlic press, get one!  They're so fun!)
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. teriyaki sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 cup)
24 large Boston or butter lettuce leaves (iceberg works just fine too if you can't get the other)
Soy sauce, optional

  • Warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  
  • Add garlic, sauté about 1 minute.  
  • Stir in turkey and cook, stirring, until almost cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth and hoisin sauce.
  • Cook, stirring and breaking up clumps of turkey, until turkey is cooked through, 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in teriyaki sauce, bean sprouts and carrots. (You should have about 6 cups of filling.)
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling into center of each lettuce leaf.  Serve with soy sauce, if desired.
*For a crock-pot-friendly, large group version, double the recipe and follow the instructions up to bullet 5.  Then dump it all in a crock-pot and add the teriyaki sauce.  I served the carrots, bean sprouts and soy sauce on the side for people to add on their own, incase they were picky eaters.

(Slow-Cooker) Tangy Asian Meatballs
1 lb. ground pork
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
3 scallions, white and light-green parts, chopped (I left this out so our kids would eat them!)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger (ginger root was $5 at my store (yikes!), so I opted for dried ground ginger instead - if you do this, then use 1/4 Tbsp. of ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup jarred Chinese plum sauce or duck sauce (I used plum sauce)
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • Combine pork, panko, scallions, egg, soy sauce, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
  • Mix gently but thoroughly with your fingers.
  • Roll into 1-inch balls.
  • Mist slow-cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Add meatballs.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together bbq sauce, plum sauce and hoisin sauce.
  • Pour over meatballs.  Gently stir to coat (They fall apart easily, so be very gentle!)
  • Cover and cook on low until meatballs are cooked through, 3 - 5 hours. (4 worked well for me.)

And incase you don't live in Iowa, and didn't hear about our crazy warm weather yesterday... it reached 87 degrees here!  But with the breeze, it was just perfect!  Addie went up to a neighbor's yard to play, but these two had quite a fun time in our backyard.

Unfortunately, it dropped 40 degrees overnight!  Ugh!  But they're promising the rest of the week will be in the 60's.  They better be right... whoever "they" are...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

our april fool's prank :)

So, the night before April Fool's Day, I asked the girls if they were going to play any pranks on anyone for April Fools.  However, they had no idea what I was talking about, so I thought I needed to educate our girls on what April Fools is all about.  And the best way to teach is to "do," right?  So, we thought it'd be fun to make Daddy a "sponge cake" - stollen straight from the pages of Family Fun magazine (I'm really not all that creative).

Here are the little pranksters with their cake, made from kitchen sponges, and decorated with frosting and sprinkles.

Here's our unsuspecting victim... all happy that his girls thought to make him a special cake.

And here's the plan carried out in action: 
(please pay no attention to that crazy lady's voice... I don't really sound like that, do I?!? Yikes!)

Awww... poor Daddy.
But don't worry, we made it up to him with ice cream for dessert instead!  :)

I'd say the girls passed their April Fool's test, wouldn't you?

So, were you the prankster or the "fool" this year?  Tell me about it!