Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Life Jacket

Just because this picture makes me laugh!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Expert

My kids have recently become obsessed with a little online game called Fancy Pants.  It is a pretty challenging little video game and for the longest time Dallin was the resident expert on getting through some of the toughest spots.  But not so anymore.


The other day, Layton (my 4 year old) was playing it on the laptop and Mandy(my 6 year old) was playing it on the desktop computer.  After a bit, Mandy came in to Layton and said, “Layton, I am at a really hard part, can you help me get through it?”

I guess Layton is now the expert!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Last year for Mandy’s birthday, she got a butterfly kit.  To be honest we had kind of forgotten about it, but then a few weeks ago, she pulled it out and wanted to try hatching a butterfly.  So we ordered the caterpillars and got it all started!


After about a week of growing the caterpillars started building their chrysalis.


We moved them to the butterfly habitat to hatch.


About a week or so later, they did!  It was so fun and exciting to see them!


After a few days of watching them, we decided to release them.  We tried doing it out by our flower bed in hopes that they would stick around.


But nope!  Those things flew out of there faster than I could take a picture of them!  Seriously, they were obviously very excited to be free!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Time is going by so crazy fast.  Our days just seem to run into one another and life is passing by way too quickly.  There are only 2 weeks of school left!  Only 3 1/2 weeks until we go on vacation for a week!  And only one week until I get Layton registered for the VPK program.  Makes me a little sad to think how at the end of this summer all of my kids will be in school.  Yes, Layton’s will only be 1/2 days, but still, they will all be in school.  I’m really hoping that we can savor this summer and make it last as long as possible.

Kind of like how I’m trying to keep Layton a toddler for as long as possible.  He still takes naps almost everyday.  He’s one of those who just needs them. 

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A few days ago he got up a little early from his nap, found me, and crawled up into my lap.  Then I settled down with him on the couch and he fell back asleep sprawled across me.  Oh how I am going to miss having him fall asleep in my arms.  It just is so warm and cuddly to have a child sleep on you.

Does anyone have a magic potion to make time stand still?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother’s Day

I had a wonderful Mother’s Day this year.  Nathan and the kids really showered me with gifts.  In fact the day before Mother’s Day, Nathan came home with this:


Although I am really starting to think that those really weren’t for me since Nathan took them with him today so he could go to a driving range this afternoon. 

But that’s ok, because I did get some other things that I KNOW were for me.  Like a new pair of running shoes:


Some very special hand prints:


A flower:


A recipe book where Mandy shared what food that I make that she loves the best – BREAD!  She also gave the recipe:

She puts the wheat stuff in a bowl.  She cooks it.  Then she puts it in a bag.  Then she puts something around it and twists it.  Then she cuts it up.  Then she makes toast with it.

And a poem:


Dallin thinks he is HILARIOUS. 

All of it made me feel very special and so grateful to be mom to these three.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vanilla Cheesecake Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Icing

I had to make my own treat for myself on Mother’s Day, so I decided to make what is now my very favorite cupcake.  It is a variation of the chocolate cheesecake cupcake, made with a homemade yellow cake rather than a box mix.


Homemade Yellow Cake:  This is a half recipe that will make 12 to 16 cupcakes, double it if you need more cupcakes or want a make a regular layer cake.

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup milk

1 cup all purpose or cake flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in one egg at a time.  Add vanilla.  In a small bowl, mix together four, baking powder, and salt.  Alternately beat in 1/4 of the flour mixture and then 1/4 of the milk until well blended.  Fill greased or paper lined cupcake tins 1/2 full with batter.

Cheesecake Filling:

1 block cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

Beat sugar and cream cheese until very smooth.  Beat in egg until well blended.  Place in either a piping bag with a round tip, or use a ziplock bag and cut off the corner.  Slightly insert tip or corner of ziplock bag into middle of the cupcake batter in each tin and squeeze enough filling in so that the amount of batter in each tin swells to about 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes at 350 for 16 to 18 minutes.  You want them to be slightly underdone.

Ganache Icing – My favorite part!!!

8 oz. quality semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup powdered sugar

In a small sauce pan, heat cream until it begins to simmer.  Pour hot cream over chocolate.  Let it sit for a minute or two to allow the chocolate to begin to melt.  Whip the chocolate and cream together until smooth (it usually takes several minutes for the chocolate to fully melt and incorporate), add in powdered sugar.  Allow mixture to cool completely.  You may also stick the bowl in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour to speed the cooling process.  Once completely cool, use the whip attachment on your hand or stand mixer and whip until the ganache turns a lighter shade of brown and is a good consistency for decorating cupcakes.

Decorate cooled cupcakes and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Gymnastics Spring Fling

Mandy started gymnastics in January and LOVES it.  She had been doing ballet but just wasn’t that in to it anymore so she begged me to let her do gymnastics.  And I’ll have to say I’m glad I let her switch.  I think this is something that she is going to enjoy doing for a long time and already has some natural ability for it.

She took part in an exhibition to show off all that she has learn so far.  The girls started off by warming up.  Is it just me or is it a little painful to look at how far Mandy can bend herself over?


And look at all these girls doing splits!  Awesome!


They started out on the spring board.  Mandy showed no fear.  She took off running and sprung right off of it!


Right into a hand stand.  Several of the older girls actually needed some help fully going over, but not Mandy.  She was awesome!


Then they moved to the bars and Mandy showed off her flipping skills.


Next she got up on the balance beam.  She needed a little extra help here, but I still think she did amazing.


And just look at that smile.


Next was their floor routine.  Starting with a handstand.


Next a back bend and kick over.


Every time I see her backbend it amazes me.  Even the guy sitting next to us not even knowing that she belonged to us commented – “I don’t think that is a back bend, I think she just bent herself in half.”


Last was the trampoline.


And then awards!


She was so proud!


And so was I!!!!!  She told me her favorite part of the day was when the big girls got out there and did a few things.  She was amazed and wants to be just like them.


I just love seeing her so excited about something!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Last year sometime, my friend Lea posted about her family going out and doing some geocaching.  I’d heard people mention it here and there, but to be honest I didn’t really know what it was all about.  But in doing some research for the vacation that we have planned this year in June, I saw it mentioned again as a special program at all of the Georgia State Parks.  It looked like it would be something fun to do with the kids while on vacation, so I looked into it a little more.  Come to find out there are tons of caches right here where we are.  One in fact just a short walk down the road.

We thought it would be a good idea to try out the geocaching app on Nathan’s phone to see how well it works and so we set off to find the cache that is so very close.


It is only 3/4 of a mile away, but less than halfway there Layton was already complaining that he was tired.  Good thing Nathan doesn’t mind being a pack mule :)


Dallin held the phone for us and acted as our guide.


We headed out into the woods and went treasure hunting.


Surpise!  They found the cache hidden underneath some logs in a little hole.


Layton traded in an orange car for this little SUV.


Mandy traded in a magic mirror for a Geocaching Button.


It was a lot of fun.  I think the kids really enjoyed the hunt.  We’re going to try it out again soon and are really looking forward to finding the ones at the State Parks we plan to visit while on vacation!