Tagged: family

Oct 26

A new hope chest.


My mother’s side of the family has been working to sort thru some of my grandma’s belongings, as she is living in an assisted living home and my uncle and his wife are moving into her old house. Lucky me, I got dibs on an old chest that she had. It is a beautiful piece and still has the 1941 paperwork stapled to the inside of the lid.
As a child, I remember pulling old mementos out of it, such as her 1947 wedding dress, and straining to imagine that era. My mother always had a memory chest too, a “hope chest” as we called it. And as we grew, it was filled with little pieces of our past. Like our first pair of shoes, our baby blankets or my girl scout sash with all my hard-earned badges.

I had already started small “hope chests” for my children. So when I got my grandma’s chest, I wasn’t sure what to do with it. But it didn’t take long to decide that it would be the perfect home for all our photo albums, which were currently stashed here and there. This inspired me to develop some sort of system for organizing all these photo albums.

One night, with the hubby out of town, I went through each book and jotted down what was inside. I used the digital files on my computer to determine the date range of each album. Once I had a rough chronological order of them, I numbered them.

I used metal-rimmed tags and a circle punch to make the number labels. And I stuck them on with hot glue. Here’s to hoping they stay on!

Taking, sorting, printing and organizing pictures is a huge task! Often, I only print photos once or twice a year. Many times I have questioned why I go thru all the trouble of printing and storing them at all.

My mom always kept photo albums and I LOVED looking thru them. Especially as I got older. I can’t imagine not having those albums to share with my husband when we met. Pictures can really share so much about your past and I am hoping my children appreciate it as much as I do. We’ll see if I can maintain my system and not get too far behind with all the pictures we take…

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Sep 01

Anatomy of a fit.

One minute, he’s playing. Having the best evening ever.

The next, he’s in timeout for not sharing the slide with his sister.

Broken hearted.

So sad. Poor Graham, huh? You feel for him, right?

Then Dad has a talk with him. He listens, says “yessir” and promises to be a good boy. Then we go on and play some more, only to repeat minutes later.

A typical three-minute span in our day.

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Aug 16

Old.

This summer, my husband, my brother and his wife are all celebrating their thirtieth birthdays. (Thirty?? What? My husband is turning thirty?!?!? When did we get this old?) Of course, I am happy to celebrate with them as I have two more years before I hit that milestone.

Together, we all threw a party to help the three of them through this. Of course, good times were had by all. But I have to tell you the story of the cakes.

The damn cakes.

First of all, let me tell you that I was determined to buy the cakes, not to make them. For two reasons. One: I know very little about decorating cakes and have been “winging it” through each of my kids birthday so far. Two: I didn’t need that added stress in my life. However, when it turned out that my kids were going to their grandparents for a few days and I saw what the bakery wanted for three separate birthday cakes, I changed my mind. I thought, I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll just use a box mix and do something simple. No problem.

Right.

I made these cakes the night before. Mistake number one, perhaps? And, I used frosting from a can. Mistake number two? We’ll just say that Martha would not be proud of my cake decorating skills. Oh well. At least they tasted good. Didn’t stop me from eating two pieces today. (Hey, I’m eating for two, remember??)

But I do have to tell you that I did learn one thing in the process. I always get really frustrated when baking the layers of a cake because they always bake with a raised dome in the middle. Which I then have to chop off and discard (read: eat while waiting for cake to cool). But I feel like this wastes cake and my layers aren’t as tall as I want them after I level off the lump.

So, I googled it. And it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who was devastated by the dome. All it takes is some old wet towels wrapped around your cake pan as it bakes. Who knew?? I guess the moisture keeps the outside cool so it doesn’t cook as fast as it normally would. Follow these directions and you’ll get a perfectly level cake. Worked for me six times.

At least something worked.

Anyways, clearly the party was still a blast without beautiful cakes. Life is not about perfect cakes. Life is about good friends and good memories. Here’s to thirty more years of that with three of my favorite people in the world. Happy Birthday to Trever, Jenny and Brady! Love you guys!

Oh, and to explain the “23″ atop Jenny’s cake:
What woman wants to openly admit their true age, right? For this reason, I taught my daughter to say that her mommy and Aunt Jenny are “twenty-twee” whenever prompted. In fact, according to her, I turned 23 on my last two birthdays!! Love you, Lilah!

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Jul 21

Pink or blue?


My brother and his wife are having a baby today! As I write, Jenny is being induced. They have kept the gender and the name a surprise, so I am super anxious for this baby to get here! Wishing I had something I could do to speed the process up, I decided to make cookies for him/her. Okay, so their mostly for the baby’s visitors.

My prediction is that I will be taking the blue cookies to the hospital. But knowing my family, I am guessing they will all get eaten either way :)

Can’t wait to meet you, little one!

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Jul 06

The Fourth, firecrackers and floods.

Happy 4th to everybody! If you live anywhere near me, you probably had the same Forth of July experience that we did: WET. A couple months ago, we had booked three nights in cabins at Cheney Lake for this holiday weekend and were very much looking forward to it. Might as well have stayed at home because we didn’t even ONCE get in the water. It rained and rained and rained!! The rain wasn’t too big of deal for the first day or so – we made the best of it by playing cards and games of washers and french darts in between the rain showers. But by the third day, Sunday, we were tired of it. So when the water started flooding the campground we were in, we bolted. Sad, but much better to be back on dry ground. So we celebrated my baby brother’s 16th birthday (16!?!?! What?!?!) at my folks’ house.

We still had a great time + we got to light fireworks, which were prohibited at the state park. We even painted faces and got some decent pictures of the little kiddos. They were all kinds of cheesy, which was a nice change!

Next up, a week of birthdays (Brady’s, mine, and hopefully a new Krehbiel baby!) and four whole days with no kids! Brady’s kind parents are keeping them for us…Yay!!!!!

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May 16

Upright.


Well, folks. Break out the bubbly – Graham finally walked.

We’ve been thinking for the past few months that any day he was going to take off. Good thing we didn’t hold our breath.

He really started about a couple weeks ago and has been so proud of himself. At first, he only wanted to walk when somebody was watching and would praise him afterwards. Attention hog, huh? But, he’s come around since then and I rarely see him on all fours any more. Exciting and sad at the same time. Milestones like that force you to face the reality that your baby is becoming a toddler. That, and the temper tantrums. But that’s a whole ‘nother post all together.

So, congrats to Graham, good riddance to all those pants with holes in the knees and hello to bumped heads and busted lips.

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Mar 25

Birthdays and chocolate and cake, oh my.

Over a month ago (seriously, it’s been that long?!?!), my little guy turned one. As if that wasn’t a big enough milestone, we decided to baptize him then as well. Oh, and it was also Valentine’s Day.
Is that enough reasons to party? I think so.

Since it was Valentine’s, the theme for the party was pretty obvious. I called it the “Kind of our Hearts” party. Feeling inspired by some of the amazing desert tables going around the internet, I decided to go “all out”. (I may have also been high the day that decision was made ;)

Six glue sticks, five cake mixes, three jars of frosting and one crazy mama later:

Seriously, this was a lot of work. How do all these people pull it off? Maybe all those other mom’s out there aren’t doing it alone? I was exhausted after baking and decorating all day! Don’t get me wrong, it was fun and I loved planning and carrying out all the details, but it was a TON of work.

Like, if I still worked full time, this would have never happened.

Hell, if I still worked full time, I probably would have picked up cupcakes at Dillons and called Pizza Hut. (We also served lunch – pulled pork sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, fruits and veggies).

But anyways, enough about the work.

It all started with the invitations. These were pretty simple to make, and I had almost everything on hand already. I used an old deck of cards for them.




And more details from the party:

One of the reasons that this was time consuming was these little guys. I have a mini-bundt pan that cooks six of these at a time. I think I made like eight batches or something crazy like that – that is a lot of in-and-out of the oven, watching the timer, greasing the pan, etc, etc. BUT, aren’t they cute?!?!?

The cake stand was actually very simple (and cheap!!) and inspired by this easy tutorial.

The crown on top was originally going to be made from fondant. But, having never worked with it, I got intimidated at the last minute. This one is made from foam paper and served the purpose just as well.

For the wall art, I just used some leftover wrapping paper and taped it over the art. Be warned, this took a lot of tape and trial and error. Lots of error. (That damned thing would NOT stay up!)

Chocolate dipped pretzels. The strawberries were supposed to be dipped as well, but I ran out of energy. And chocolate.

And the birthday boy. Who loved his party, but mostly loved his cake. Which is a reminder of why, in the future, I need to just keep it simple.

Happy Birthday, Grahamsey.

All hail King G. (Which is what Brady and Lilah have nicknamed him.)

And I conclude this with a vow. A vow to never go overboard again.
At least until May. (Lilah’s birthday ;)

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Mar 16

Ornery.


This little boy is into everything. I think we have our work cut out for us. He’s still not walking, but that doesn’t slow Graham down. He can move faster on four than I can on two!
Whenever somebody has gone downstairs, he stands at the gate and yells at them. Contrary to how this photo looks, he cannot open the latch! I tell him no whenever I catch him (except when I need to get a photo, of course).
Recently, I walked into my bedroom to find this:

He had pulled out and unfolded every t-shirt I own. Plus a few of Dad’s socks that he managed to squeeze out. He was pretty tickled with himself…now he just needs to learn how to fold.

And to eat with a fork.
I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

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Mar 14

Me want cookies.

Last week, my neice Eva turned two and yesterday we celebrated. With an adorable Cookie Monster party theme. Now, if there ever was a little girl who loved cookies more than anybody in the world, Eva is her. She loves her cookies. So she was in heaven.

Cookie monster birthday party theme
There were Cookie Monster cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal peanut butter cookies. A little cookie-obsessed girl’s dream. (And mine too! I couldn’t resist a little of each!)
Cookie monster birthday party theme - cupcakes
Jenny and her sister decorated these and it sounded like they weren’t quite as easy as one might think. The cupcakes were too soft to cut into and shape. Maybe if you let them dry out for a day or two that would help?
Cookie monster birthday party theme

Those are real chocolate chips on there. I guess they had a problem with Eva sneaking the chocolates off throughout the day. (See the bottom left corner)

Blue plastic Solo cups + googly eyes = Cookie Monster. So simple and cute.
Cookie monster birthday party theme
She was pretty proud of her birthday spread.

Princess Eva and brother Jak. All the kids ate Cookie Monster’s eyes first.

Happy Birthday to Eva!

Eva received a Snow White dress as a gift and immediately put it on for the rest of the night. Even princesses have to go to bed at their own party.

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Feb 23

Out on a limb.

Last fall, I was yearning for a family tree for our wall. I looked all over the web and never really found one that I thought was right. So, one night I got inspired and made my own. I knew I wanted it to be organic, or able to grow, should we decide to have another baby (a whole different post altogether!). I ended up with this piece which still puts a smile on my face when I walk past every day. The visual representation of what my life has become is so meaningful to me and a great reminder of my little family. It just feels so comfortable.


Soon after, my MIL’s birthday was approaching, so I made one for her. This one was much more involved because it was three generations but really cool to see come together. She has four kids who are each married + eight grandkids. The family is not done growing, so it needed to have room for up to 22 people. It ended up taking longer than I hoped and became her Christmas present. Aside from a few typos (typical, Kylie), she seemed genuinely happy with it.

Then my friend, Lindsey, hit me up for another one as a Christmas gift for her mom. I was happy to help, especially because her family is small (read: more simple to make).

So there you have it. Three family trees. And I’ve decided I really enjoyed the process so much that I am going to take a chance and see if I can find anybody else to pay me to make them :) See my etsy shop here. I’d love to hear what you think!

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