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Friday, July 30, 2010

These pictures are part of the camping blog below. :-)

Airplane with daddy.

Happy child.

Scary Rugby Player...

More airplanes.

Marshmallows are messy but totally worth it.

Woodland fairy with her necklace, ring, bracelet and hair accessories.

Grampy visiting.

Cute children in the woods.

Our campground.

First Family Camping Trip

We love camping as a family. I mean LOVE it. It is such a bonding experience to be out together in nature, snuggeling together in a tent as a family. It's great. This was our first all family camping trip. Abigail had never actually slept in a tent and we were very worried about her sleeping. To our surprise, she went to sleep all by herself and although she couldn't sleep with all the noise around her, she laid in her bed quietly until mommy came to sleep with her. Does that happen??? Sigh, it was blissfull. We went for nature hikes (well, they were shorter hikes due to shorter legs), played at the playground, played soccer and frisbee on a nearby field, enjoyed night walks, campfires, campfood, a gazillion marshmallows, just as many millipedes (also known as lillypedes according to Abigail), and just good old-fashioned family time. My favorite moment during it all was waking up with Abigail in my arm. The girl opened her eyes and smiled the biggest smile at us! David and I both were smitten. Then she started smirking until we laughed and continued to make cute faces to keep us laughing. Other greats were Nathan playing rugby with me. It's quite scary to get tackled by a four-year old. He also walked me to the restroom at night so I wouldn't be scared. And of course watching my husband taking care of us all. At night I was really cold for some reason and he gave me some of his clothing and his blanket. Re-arranged the whole sleeping situation just so he could keep me warm and everyone else. He was going to give up his blanket for me! What a guy. Plus, he makes the absolutely perfect marshmallow. Definitely a keeper. And the kids are quite fond of him. That helps. :-) Here are some pictures of our first family camping trip.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beautiful Creation

On a recent day trip we found this really beautiful spot close to our home. The scenery was just great. The weather was perfect. The company was beyond good. :-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You

I love my husband. Very much and for so many reasons. He sleeps with a blanket he doesn't like because I love it. He carries all heavy things for me even when he's hurting. He opens doors for me and lets me walk in first. He teaches his children to be thankful for my cooked dinners even if they don't like what they are eating. And he spoils me. :-) Once a week we try to have a movie night. Last weekend as he took the kids to go to a nearby movie rental place, I didn't even notice they were gone longer than normal. Picking the right movie is a tough decision for a 4-year old. That could take a while. Granted we only give him two or three choices but nevertheless, it is a decision that cannot be taken lightly. But they were off to another location where they made a quick stop to get my very much loved Chai Tea Latte and these oh-so-beautiful flowers. Abigail couldn't help herself and spilled the beans right when they saw me and before I ever saw the flowers. She was so excited yelling "Mommy! Mommy! We got you flowers!!" My husband's beaming face was wonderful to see. He gets very excited for anything good happening to me. That would be another reason I love the man that God gave me. Or the man that was "baked" for me as my mom would say.
Seems that lately God's beautiful creations and love for me are really jumping out at me. These gorgeous flowers are just another happy part of the whole awesome thing. :-)

That delicious chai tea is just so good. Am I really doing free advertising for Starbucks?? Mandy, I'll have some for you! :-) And the delightful flowers and vase were enjoyed for many days after.

Here is another one of God's amazing creations for you to enjoy. Bet you don't have a spiffy hat like that.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


It's been so busy with the good weather being here finally. We've been doing lots of outdoors stuff, lots of playdates, playgrounds, scenic drives, parks, etc. And we've gotten in the habit of not taking our big chunky camera with us. This is very unusual knowing how many pictures we have on our computers. Most likely every hour of Nathan's first year has been documented through photographs. But here are some things we did manage to take pictures of:

Nathan's picture he painted for Father's Day. It's an ocean with a red fish, a purple fish (eating the red fish???), some sand and sea weed.

Puzzles are huge at our house right now. Abigail is finally able to do them too so her and Nathan sit for a good hour at the dining room table doing puzzles. Abigail can do 25 piece puzzles. Nathan is doing 100 - 150 piece puzzles, depending on the puzzles difficulty level. He is very proud to do puzzles that are marked 6+ years. :-)

We've been doing lots of dress-up. Pirates, princesses, dragons, the likes. In our house, you never know what to expect around the corner....

In an effort to make life healthier, I've been making a lot of things myself. Here are strawberry-yogurt popsicles that I made with all natural and organic ingredients.

Here is the face of the first child enjoying this homemade treat. You see why she's wearing a bib.

Here is the happy face of child number 2 enjoying the homemade popsicles.

Another thing we've been focusing on is to teach our children how to be thoughtful of others. Here Abigail took initiave and read to.......... our cat Daisy hiding under the bed! Daisy hides from the kids but that didn't stop Abigail in her thoughtfulness.

Still reading to the cat. Don't you like her choice of book to read to the cat? Curious George. How sweet.

There has been some yummy grilling going on! Love summer because David is an amazing grill master. This year he tried grilling corn for the very first time. His favorite part about grilling corn? The handle the husks leave you.

Summer dresses! Oh what fun! Little model loves her dresses.

There has also been a lot, and when I say a lot of I truly mean it, of imaginative play. Nathan is basically spending his days pretending to be different characters from movies or stories. Here he is pretending to be Robot Roscoe from a Backyardigan segment. Other favorites include: Todd (Fox and the Hound), Elliot the Dragon (Pete's Dragon), a birdie, another fox whose name I cannot pronounce, a velociraptor (for those of you who don't have boys, this is a very fast and scary dinosaur), and a kitten named Oliver. Abigail of course loves to do whatever Nathan wants to do so she has a lot of the female counterparts: Vixey (Fox and the Hound), a girl dragon with a name I cannot pronounce, a girl birdie, no second fox and thankfully no second velociraptor (they tend to attack me unexpectedtly), and a kitten named Olive. The unfortunate side effect of this is that the foxes and some other characters make really annoying sounds. The positive is that if you go along with the character play, you can get them to do just about anything, even things they fought you on before. This works especially well on the dreaded tooth brushing task. Love that!

More yummy grilling stuff. The pineapple was sooo good. It's dipped in coconut milk first and then in a brown sugar mixture. Mmmh, mmmh, mmmh. We'll try lime/lemon honey mix next time. Oh, the possibilites!

More from scratch things I've made: French bread and loads of strawberry freezer jam. The freezer jam is such a hit in our house. Since we have tons of it now, we are starting to put it into everything: bread, yogurt, popsicles, ice cream. The possibilites are endless. Ahhhhhhh, summer. Such a beautiful thing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Healthy Fruit Dip

I went to the other day to get a good receipe for a fruit dip. Seemed the first 25 recipes all had marshmallows of some sort in them. Looking for a healthier version, I came up with this simple and yummy dip:

1/2 cup of Stonyfield Organic Plain Low Fat Yogurt
1 TBSP real maple syrup (No, that auntie Jemima may be nice and all but it's not the real thing.)

If this is too runny for you, you could add cream cheese and more maple syrup.
About Stonyfield jogurt: In my opinion, they are the absolute best yogurt out there. My personal favorite is Whole Milk Vanilla Cream Top (That's right! You haven't lived until you had a cream top!). That yogurt is also incredibly good covering your Breyer's Vanilla Ice Cream. Thought you should know. So for a two ingedient recipe, it stands to reason you get only the very best. :-) You can find Stonyfield yogurt in the organic fridge at your local grocer.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Our Niece Olive

Here is the picture of Olive Elizabeth. We had a great opportunity to hold her for a while yesterday and she's just adorable. She loves to be swaddeled and held tight and looks absolutely fabulous in pink. As any lady of a certain class, she owns her hats and wears them with style. Can't wait to see what this little lady will be. One thing is for sure, falling in love with her is easy.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Beautiful Baby Girl

We are finally a first-time aunt and uncle! It is amazing how a little sweet baby can just make you so emotional. Having your own children you expect that but taking someone else's child in your arms and feeling instant affection is an amazing experience. Of course she is adorable, so that always helps. She makes the cutest little sounds and is already a good sleeper. She loves to be swaddeled and seems very comfortable being held. Grampy thinks she looks just like her mom. David and I always have a hard time seeing who babies look like but we trust Grampy on that. Mom unfortunately had some trouble throughout the last few hours of giving birth but hopefully she will be able to fully recover shortly. She is being strong and trying her best to get better. Thankfully she has her mom here and of course my brother-in-law who are all taking good care of her.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Azure Standard

We have been trying to be really conscious of what we feed our kids and also what products we use for cleaning. Going organic and "green" for the sake of our children (not that I don't like the planet, the kids are just a much greater motivator) is not always cost effective. Through some research I came upon this great service that is available in many states (yes Germans, this post is NOT for you....). It's a great service where people get together and become a "drop" and therefore get much cheaper organic and safe products. They mostly try to sell in bulk and not all their products are organic and as part of a drop your minimum order is $50. They sell everything edible (just about). I've heard only good things about them and posted my first order today. I'm giddy about it, to say the least. Don't ask me why this excites me, I'm just weird.....
Anyways, if you are interested, here is the website link.
And for the Germans, I'm really sorry the Germans did not make it to the finals of the World Cup. Now we can be sad together...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Frugal Family Fun

We've been trying to do something special with the kids on the weekends. The weather hasn't been too nice around here so last weekend we decided to go camping - inside our house. The kids were super excited. We told them ahead of time and both Abigail and Nathan were eager to help. Thankfully we had some room in our fire place room to put the tent up. The plan was to also roast marshmallows and hot dogs but the latter never made it. The door on the fire place got stuck and having only one side open resulted in a weird draft that eventually made all of our fire alarms on the second floor go off. Yep, we even had excitement. :-) The kids had a great time though and this didn't cost us anything since we had everything at home already. Abigail didn't want to sleep in the tent but Nathan was the happiest little boy, sleeping in between mommy and daddy. You should try this sometime.
Disclaimer: Activity may result in back pain over the next few days for any persons over the age of 30. Activity will result in extreme happinesss for all persons under the age of 10. This may also last for days.

Abigail is not crying - she's actually very excited. Watch her hand. The next frame (not shown) shows her little hand slowly reaching for the marshmallows....

Abigail mesmerized by the fire. I love this picture.

Daddy and Abigail getting the fire started.

We had extra long storytime. Both of our kids LOVE having stories read to them. Nathan loves to drink his milk out of sippy cups. This is a treat for him.

Nothing like discovering a "secret" exit in the tent and then wrestling your sister who is trying to escape. For the rest of the evening, they would climb in and out through the little exit in the back.
The best part about camping in your own house? Woody and Buzz Lightyear could come along too! Oh, and another great thrill for a 4-year old boy: Flashlights!