Thursday, October 21, 2010

John Bryan State Park-On A Perfect Fall Day

Sunday we went with my family to John Bryan State Park. Joey and Kristin, Lindsey and Ben, Wesley and Riley, my 82 yr old grandma, and the five of us all picknicked and hiked at the park. It was a BEAUTIFUL, warm, fall day. We all collaborated and brought something to eat. When we got there, we had sandwiches, fruit, and chips and cookies of course. After we fueled up on lunch, the kids found a fallen log to explore. It had obviously been climbed on a lot because there were many spots that were very smooth. Too fun. They happily climbed and walked from one end to the other over and over again.

Matthew picking the burrs out of his shoes after the hike.
After we were done eating and ready for a walk, we hit a trail. It took us back to our Colorado days when Derrick and I would spend hours on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the mountains, far away from the city and hiking while enjoying God's creation. The colors were starting to peak, and the leaves were crunchy and the air was warm.

We came to the bottom of a hill to what I think was the Little Miami River. Anyway, this made for a lot of great entertainment-the kids threw rocks in the water while the adults took pictures and talked.

Lucas throwing in the biggest rock he could find.

We hiked on for awhile, and after an hour or better, Grandma decided she was ready to go back. So, back we went to our picnic spot. We had a snack, the kids climbed on the log some more, and the kids engaged in a "kids vs. Ben and Grandpa" game of baseball. Too fun.

Matthew and Lucas down by the river.

I love these times with my family-when all of us get together and hang out for the day, not worrying about what we have to do, or getting to work on Monday. It was a perfect fall day!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Birthday Preparations

Happy girl! She knows her birthday is coming!

Natalie's first birthday is upon us-in 5 days, my baby will be one. Needless to say, I've been preparing and listmaking for this party for about two weeks now. I LOVE my kids' birthdays. I love celebrating them and that they made me a mommy. I get excited to plan around the theme, and this one is no exception. Her theme is butterflies. So, we invested in the Hugs and Stitches baby girl first birthday party plates, cups, etc. My sister, Kristin, is going to make an amazing butterfly cupcake cake. Of course, the birthday girl needs a birthday outfit, right? I scoured the internet for days, looking for the perfect party dress. I found tons of dresses that were adorable, but when I wanted to personalize it, that was going to cost me an arm and a leg. So, I decided to do it myself. I"ve been a bit craftier lately-branching out of my scrapbooking zone by making a shelf for Natalie's room, as well as two bow boards, a birthday banner, and now her birthday shirts. They're nothing overly fancy, but I"m proud. They are both longsleeve onesies with iron-ons I found at JoAnns. One has a large cupcake with a rhinestone number 1 on it. The other has an "N" with a cupcake on each side. Super cute, and reasonable. But the piece de resistance is the tutu.

Natalie exploring her birthday tutu!

My cousin, Chelsey, makes adorable headbands, hats, and tutus. Of course I commissioned her to make Natalie's birthday tutu, and adorable it is! Natalie loved playing with it, and looked A.D.O.R.A.B.L.E in it for her first birthday pictures. Can't wait for her birthday party this weekend. It will be the first birthday party we've had in years with both sides of our family present-because our house is big enough! Pizza, stromboli, salad, cake, and ice cream will add to the fun!
"Look at my fun tutu"!

The Weekend of Nothing...

Matthew and his pretzel.

I waited and waited for the weekend of the 8-10th to come, because that was the weekend we had NOTHING...except soccer and church. I was so excited because I was going to get a ton of stuff done around the house, bake, and enjoy being home. Well, it finaly happened. Friday night we had yummy grilled pizza. Always a family favorite in our house, and a Friday night tradition. Saturday we only had soccer, then we were home together for the rest of the day. So, I decided I was going to try my hand at homemade pretzels. After I mixed up the dough, it was done rising and ready to be used after supper.
Derrick and Matthew making pretzels.

So, we pulled the dough out by fistfuls and started rolling out snakes to shape into pretzels. Derrick and the boys had much fun with this! They all three were so into it, and it was nice to see them doing something fun together.

Lucas and his pretzels
They experimented with different shapes, and of all of us, Derrick's pretzels turned out the best. So, we baked them, and I brushed them with butter then sprinkled them with salt or cinnamon and sugar. YUM! They turned out so awesome and yummy! In fact, Matthew liked the cinnamon and sugar ones so much, he asked for one for breakfast Sunday morning.

We finished our weekend by having Sarah and the kids over for chicken and noodles-which also turned out delicious! While we were outside after dinner, Natalie decided to explore the sidewalk chalk, and ended up looking like a little clown :)