Caroline’s Story (easiest post I’ve ever “written”)

CB's Story

CB's Story 3

CB's Story 4

CB's Story 5

CB's Story2

Daddy Daughter Dance

Let’s start with this:
an absolutely fabulous demonstration of what happens
when a 3-year-old helps a 21-month-old put on mascara!

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Early in the afternoon, we started the primping.


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Even Lizzie, who was too young to attend, got in on the curling.

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Our timing was a bit off, though.  I forgot to feed them before I dressed them.
Their manners were superb: I should have them wear aprons for dinner more often!

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Finally, the reveal:

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Have you seen a daddy look this happy lately?

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Summer Project Ideas

Lovely readers, I need suggestions.  I don’t want the summer to just fizzle and burn away (although, we live in Kansas, so the fizzle and burn will probably turn into sizzle and burn!) .

I’d like to have at least a little bit of structure for the girls.

Please, vote…and then comment with your best, most wonderful, fantabulous ideas!

The Story of Lizzie and Buddy Bear

Lizzie’s preschool class has a communal bear, and each kid gets a turn to bring him home.
This is their story.

The Story of Lizzie and Buddy Bear

Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a little girl named Lizzie.  She was lonely because she didn’t have any friends.  Her teacher was a very nice lady, and she found a friend for Lizzie: Buddy Bear!

One day, Buddy Bear came home from school with Lizzie, so they could play together.
Lizzie was so excited.  When they got to Lizzie’s house, though, Buddy Bear disappeared!

 Buddy Bear didn’t mean to run away; he just wandered off and had a grand adventure.

First, he found a book to read. buddy3

 Then he found a BIG dog to play with.


After wandering around for a while, he got really dirty, so he took a bath.


 When he was clean, he crawled up on the couch to play a game on the phone.


Later, he realized he was hungry, so he devoured a yummy pizza.


Finally, he was so tired that he found a soft, comfy bed and fell asleep.


Lizzie was so sad when she couldn’t find her friend, but when it was her bedtime,
she found a wonderful surprise: Buddy Bear was in her bed!!

Buddy Bear told her all about his adventure,
and they cuddled all night and had sweet dreams of rainbows and unicorns.


 The next morning, after they ate a healthy breakfast,
washed their hands and brushed their teeth,
Lizzie and Buddy Bear went to school to learn lots of interesting things!



Back On The Road…Again! Thanks, Honey.

We drive old vehicles: a 2001 Avalon, a 2002 Caravan, a 1968 Charger (that’s for fun!)   The biggest plus for this is not having a car payment.  We basically drive our cars until they’re only good for donating to a scrapyard…then we find another cheap one. The  van is getting up there in miles, but we don’t want to give up yet.


I only have four requirements for a vehicle: mostly-reliable (Bob doesn’t mind rescuing us every now and then), air-conditioning (I live in Kansas!), heat (I live in Kansas!) and quasi-quiet (mufflers are good inventions).  So far, my van has met all the criteria; however, about 3 weeks ago, it started giving me fits when starting…it would just “click, click, click.” Eventually, though, it would always start, and my girls and I would be on our way.  Finally, last week, it took over 30 tries to start it, and there was a funny clanky rattle from underneath; I called, “Enough!”

Bob, in all his glorious shade-tree-mechanic’s wisdom, started digging around and found a bad starter and a broken transmission mount.  I was in a school board meeting when he sent me this picture…a little startling, to be sure!


Bob called O’Reilly’s to order the new parts (only $130); I picked them up (chit chatting with the parts store worker like I knew what I was talking about, of course), and two evenings covered in grease later, I’m good to go!  Seriously, we’re shooting for another several months out of this van…

Now, here’s my shout-out to my husband: this man can (and does) fix EVERYTHING!  So far on my van, (and this is only what I can recall off the top of my head), he has replaced the fuel pump, the driver’s side window and up/down mechanism (I don’t know what it’s called), the brakes, the oil pan/drain, battery terminals, and now the starter and engine mount.

Sometimes, I think he actually enjoys the breakdowns.  When the fuel pump went out, his uncle and his grandfather even came over to “play.” It’s in his blood, apparently.

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And this is just one vehicle.  In the past, he rebuilt the bodies of Mustangs (we had a yellow ’98 GT and a  red ’97 Cobra pre-children!) and continually tinkered with and jury-rigged our “piece of crap” Nisson Stanza.

When I’m not home, and Bob’s in the garage, he’s even found ways to involve the girls in the car work.  Here, Josie is watching her Daddy change brakes.


Even though I know Bob never minds working on our daily drivers, nothing compares to getting to play with this sweet  car!

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Reading Already

I’m an English teacher, so I have high expectations from my kids and their reading.  So far, the first 3 are great readers: my 3rd grader has been caught meandering through the crosswalk with her nose buried in a book; my 1st grader always finishes her Book-It goal early in the month; my pre-schooler even has her favorite, cozy reading spot. IMG_6248






We’ve made it a priority to read to our children since their births…even just snagging a minute for a quick story after Daddy’s morning run. IMG_6035

Now, I’m thrilled to present the latest reader in the house:


On occasion, though, this new reader is just downright silly!

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Easter 2013

Easter was early this year, but we were blessed with gorgeous weather
here in the Midwest. I can’t remember the last time we could wear
Easter dresses without sweaters and tights.


As a family, we keep the focus on Jesus’ death and resurrection
instead of the Easter Bunny. On occasion, however, a pretty darn cute bunny finds us.  Easter5

We decorate with eggs, though: lots and lots of eggs.
This was our Spring Break craft project this year.
(I HATE dying eggs…shhh…don’t tell my kids!)
I found cardboard eggs at Hobby Lobby, and we used almost 16 ounces of glue
to decoupage hundreds, maybe thousands of little pieces of colored tissue paper.
We also decorated a tray, a platter and wooden baskets. eggs9

I did bake the girls a bunny cake, using the Wilton Bunny Pan.
I took a plain white cake and turned it into a Jell-o Poke Cake,
which just adds such a yummy, summery taste.
Lizzie dove in before I could even decorate it. IMG_6377

We hosted Easter Lunch for Bob’s family this year
(and I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures!).
For dessert, Lauren and I made this cake.
The handle is folded aluminum foil covered with ribbon.

The most important part of Easter, though, is shown in Lauren’s contribution.
She spent a long time (and made a HUGE mess in the garage)
nailing and painting this cross.
She even wrote INRI on the placard and placed it by the rose bush
to represent Christ’s crown of thorns.


CHOCOLATE for Breakfast!!

As any chocolatephile (is that a word?) knows, the best way to start the morning is with chocolate.  Now, if it’s a chocolate bar, a piece of chocolate cake or a bowl of chocolate ice cream, then one should generally sneak it in before her children find her!  If, though, it’s officially breakfast food, then she can share it with the world!


I found this recipe for Cocoa Pancakes in my latest Taste of Home recipe magazine.  I didn’t have the mini-chocolate chips to add, but I did use Special Dark Hershey’s Cocoa, which more than made up for it.  I’m all for changing the name of the pancakes to CHOCOLATE pancakes, though, just because it sounds more decadent.

See, even the batter looks yummy:


I made fresh whipped cream for topping because I didn’t want to distract from the CHOCOLATE with plain ole syrup.  Lizzie was my taste-tester. chocolatepancakes5







I subscribe to the idea that bacon for breakfast keeps all sorts of ills away.  What a glorious start to our day!


Dr. Suess Cake

Who doesn’t like Dr. Suess?  I can’t imagine this type of person…I don’t think I would want to be friends with her!  My children “read” these books early on in their educational careers, and Sam, I am is a close friend of the family.  That said, I can only follow the Cat’s antics for so many days in a row before I go bonkers.  (Just a side note, I first wrote “bankers,” which I can only figure out in a combination of “bonkers” and “batty.”  Rather apt description!)

I previously posted my Polka Dotty Cake excitement, and I’m happy to report that the first graders in Caroline’s class were tickled to find the polka dots in the cake I made for them.

I started the cake early the day before I needed to finish.  Somehow, I just felt it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing.  My original design (it never got out of my head) called for a Cat-in-the-Hat hat on one side of an open book and aDr. Suess5 fish-in-the-teacup on the other side.  My first attempt at the hat looked great.

It was a pain to stack, though, and I had to freeze the layers and the dirty icing to keep everything from sticking to my fingers.  I had baked 9-inch rounds and cut 4-inch circles to layer; several dowel rods (OK, they’re really bamboo skewers, which, by the way, don’t work nearly as well as real, solid dowel rods!) are poked through the layers for stability.  All the debris is my attempt to “ruffle” the brim of the hat.

That evening, though, this is what happened to my very heavy, precariously stacked hat:

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I went to bed with NO PLAN!!  In the middle of the night, more ideas came to me.  I would use rice krispie treats (RKT) to form the hat, much smaller, thinner and lighter.  If I had time, I would make the teacup with a fish.  As it turns out, I didn’t have time for the teacup, but Caroline did!  The fish is just plastic. 😦

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In case you, gentle reader, want to form your own teacup out of RKT, be sure your handle is strong enough to stay upright.  I didn’t do this, but perhaps wrapping the RKY around a wire would help it keep its shape.  Also, be sure to use something sharp and pointy to attach the handle to the cup; I used a toothpick broken in half, which worked well enough.

The final product:

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I used edible decorating markers to outline the letters, hat stripes and the bookmark, and Caroline used them to decorate the teacup.  This was a new trick for me, and I’m pleased with the effect.

Caroline posing with “her” cake in her classroom:

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And I had leftover cake and fondant, so the teachers got a quickie.

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Polka Dotty Cake

It’s Dr. Seuss Week, you know!  Caroline’s 1st grade class does a week-long unit using all things Seussical, and the teacher asked me to make a cake to finish off the festivities.  I Googled Dr. Suess Cakes…and whew!  It’s a little overwhelming. 😦

Undaunted, I came up with a grand plan for my own cake, which I will reveal on Friday.  Before I started the fancy-dancy final cake, though, I wanted to practice:

I started by making red velvet cake balls. I found a pancake batter dispenser a few months ago that works like a dream for this: NO DRIPS!  I undercooked the balls just slightly.

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I used a yellow cake mix for contrast and spread a thin layer on the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Polka dot cake1Once I placed the balls gently on the batter, I covered them (mostly) with the rest of the batter.  (For future reference, I think 8″ pans would work better since they’re deeper.)

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I baked the cakes for the regular time, layered them, frosted them, rainbow-sprinkled them (of course!).

Wa-La:  A Polka Dotty Cake!

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Note: Check out that snazzy cake server!  I’ve decided to start collecting them…

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