Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas in July

It has been such a busy month! I really wanted to fit in a little Christmas in July celebration. It came down to the last week and finally the very last day of the month, but I was able to make it happen!
I had my little Christmas trees decorating the tabletop. I had the stockings out. They were filled with character band-aids (which we will go through in no time!) and little bags of cheetos.

I made lots of Christmas goodies : caramel wrapped, chocolate dipped pretzels.....
Chocolate dipped shortbread, and caramels (that I used to wrap the pretzels)
My family loves these caramels. They are Grandma Newman's recipe and nothing else will do.
I had the kids wait in Max's room while I set everything up. Ty helped bring out my little gifts for everyone. I told the kids that it was the last day of the month and soon it would be August. I asked if they would like to have Christmas in July. They looked a little confused but thought it sounded like a good idea. I told them that we should go have Christmas. So we walked into the living room and did just that!
Just like on Christmas in December, Max was so excited that he was shaking.
Mia got an Ariel barbie doll.
Max got a little spiderman and green goblin action figure.
All of the kids got bubbles and fancy bubble blowing toys. Ty got a tie. I hate saying that, because it sounds so weird, but Ty needed a tie so Ty got a tie.
After our presents we went to Barnes and Noble for storytime. While we waited for the stores to start the kids played with the train table. I love to see the three of them playing together.
Max and Mia are pretty good about sharing with Zackary. They gave him his own little train.
Mia was the only one that actually sat through the stories. She snacked on her cheetos. I don't know if that was allowed, but we did it anyway! Max was busy trying to get me to buy him things, even though we just had Christmas, and Zackary was wandering through the store. We are having a roasted chicken with sweet potatoes for dinner. I think the Christmas in July party was a lot of fun. It was a big surprise for the kids. I am looking forward to more celebrations with my little family!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shoe debut and a new park too

This morning I took the kids to "Dragon Park" in West Nashville. I thought it would be a great place for Zac to break in his new shoes. We have heard great things about this park but have never been.
At first Zackary was not so sure about the shoes. He definately prefers going barefoot (don't we all?)
The park was really wonderful. The playground was terrific and the park's namesake, a giant mosaic dragon, totally wowed the kids!
Zac took a break from walking to rest on the dragon's back.
Max would love to have his own pet dragon. He could fly it anywhere and use it to destroy things.
The mosaics on the dragon were really interesting. Zackary discovered superman.
A tiny version of the superhero.
My favorite was the Mr. Sunshine high in the sky.
There were great places to climb.
And tunnels to hide in and crawl through.
If you look closely into the tunnel you can see Max running away from the camera.
After spending 2 hours exploring the park in the heat and humidity all of our water was gone and the kids were tired! We decided it was time for some ice cream!
Max got chocolate with oreo cookies.
Mia picked out strawberry ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. Such a little girl :)

Zackary shared my dark chocolate with caramel. As you can see from his smiley face and little dance I think he loves the shoes! (maybe it had something to do with the ice cream as well!)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Super Mom

Max will be turning 5 in about 3 weeks.
He will be starting kindergarten around the same time. Serious milestones!
I am planning a big superhero themed birthday party. It is starting to take over my life. I think Max is going to have a great birthday and maybe I will come out of it feeling a bit more like Wonder Woman :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shoe Drama

We found some wide-width shoes for Zackary's chubby little feet!
His shoes cost more than mine do.
They are very stylish and classy.
He will be quite the little Mr. GQ.
I am looking into outlet stores and online deals for wide-width baby shoes, because new shoes like these every 3-4 months are going to be seriously spendy!


For lunch today, the kids and I sat around the table with a big bowl of strawberries and a little bowl of Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge. I make no apologies.

Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (chopped)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir together cocoa powder, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt, and half of the chopped chocolate in a saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until chocolate is melted. Cook mixture at a low boil for 5 minutes.

Remove pan from heat, add remaining chocolate, butter and vanilla, and stir until smooth.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. (I am using a mason jar)

Monday, July 26, 2010

at the drive-in

We had plans to drive to the Stardust Drive In movie in Watertown. The weather had other plans. It started to rain. Then came the thunder and the lightning. I love a good thunderstorm, but the kids were so disappointed. We got creative and made our own little drive in theater in the living room.
We used suitcases for "cars". We filled the cars with blankets and pillows for extra coziness. I made little snack packs with juice and gummies.
Our drive-in was a success! All three kids were asleep before the movie ended. We are still hoping to make it to the real drive-in theater before summer ends! Hoping for better weather next time :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fudgy Goodness

I realized today that I will only be teaching 4 more Relief Society lessons before we move (somewhere) in December!
The treats had better be good! I did a little experimenting while I was in California and this recipe comes from too much time with my mom. (Much chocolate and much giddiness!)
I am calling these:

Max Power Bars
(because he loves them!)

1 recipe chocolate chip cookie dough
1 bag chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare cookie dough and set aside.
3. Over medium-low heat in a saucepan; melt together the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and vanilla. Remove from heat.
4. Press just over half of the cookie dough into the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan. Spread the chocolate fudge mixture over the cookie dough. Sprinkle the remaining cookie dough over the fudge layer.
5. Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Early this afternoon we packed some lunches. I spread a blanket out in the living room and we had a little picnic while watching "Bolt".
Max and Mia adore Lunchables. I used to love them too!
There were cookies.
Zackary wanted to be a part of the lunchtime festivities, but Max and Mia were being very exclusive. I had to persuade them to share and told them that Zac was a part of the family too. He was glad they saw it my way and then he did a happy cracker dance.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beach-y Keen!

We spent the afternoon and evening at our favorite picnic spot. It is a great little state park in Gallatin. There is a sandy little beach with a swimming area, picnic tables, barbecue grills, and a playground!We started on the sand. Zac was armed with a shovel.
Ty led Max and Mia into the water. It was so warm! It has been HOT here in Tennessee.
While Ty and the kids swam, I took Zac back to our picnic spot to cook dinner. Zac had a little towel to play on and a little radio to listen to.
He had himself a happy little time :)
I grilled sweet potatoes seasoned with cumin, and salmon marinated in chili powder and brown sugar. We ate it with some fresh pineapple. It was a nice change from the usual cookout food; hot dogs and hamburgers!
After dinner we took everyone over to the playground. Zac ate graham crackers while he sat in the baby swing.
Cameo picture of me! I was there!
Mia on the swings. She has always loved the swings. I keep thinking she will outgrow them, but she loves them still.
Max is my adventurous child on the playground. He climbed the ladders and even mastered the monkey bars. He is so amazing :)
It was nice to be outside and wonderful to spend some time together as a family.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rainbow Party!

We had our own little rainbow celebration today. I love a party and decided we needed to have one. We started out making rainbow swirl paper.
I filled a cookie sheet with shaving cream and put drops of food coloring all over the top.
I used a spoon to swirl the colors together.
Then we carefully pressed white cardstock into the colored shaving cream.
I pulled the paper out and scraped off the cream using a spatula. The results were beautiful!
This was a quick project and the kids enjoyed playing in the shaving cream afterward. (I did make them take their shirts off for that part)
Next we made Rainbow Cupcakes. You could use a store bought white cake mix. We used this simple recipe:

Basic White Cake
(used for making rainbow cupcakes)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Cream the butter with the sugar. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour and baking powder. Alternately mix in the flour and the cream.
3. Using 6 small bowls divide cake batter evenly.

4. Use food coloring to make each batter bowl a different color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.
5. Layer colors in cupcake liners. Bake for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool and decorate!
The finished products. Mia is waiting to decorate her cupcake.
We used skittles for decoration. (Taste the rainbow!)
Mia with a mouthful of rainbow.
Max used all of his skittles on one cupcake.

An inside look at one of our little cakes.
Our rainbow party was a success. Max delivered rainbow paper and cupcakes to his friends in the neighborhood. We colored rainbows and danced with Mia's rainbow bellied care bear. More party days to come!