Blog Archives for category Holidays

Happy 45th Tom!

Tom got a half day off work so we celebrated his birthday in style at our first local Diners, Drive-ins and Dives restaurant: The Shanty. I started with Pineapple Sangria…

Then we tried one of the dishes they showcased on the show: Whiskey Shrimp. It was delish.

 

And another dish they profiled in DD&D: Blackened Conch Filet. Super yummy.

 
  

And a free birthday dessert!

 

Then we went to check out the Costco in Wisconsin—just a few miles away! 

Happy 16th Anniversary!

Waiting for Tom to get home and enjoying the weather on the front porch. 


Of course we had to start with a traditional anniversary selfie. :)

Our dinner of choice this year was…sushi! This was called the Willis Tower and had layers of crab salad, sushi rice, avocado, spicy tuna, and a few sauces. You ate it with a spoon!

We couldn’t decide between three rolls so let the waiter choose for us. Why yes, that IS gold leaf on there (right).

We wanted dessert and were trying to decide where to go. Our waiter, knowing it was our anniversary, said he’d give us a mochi on the house. We’d never had it, but were game to try it—all we knew is that it would be strawberry flavor. This is what came out: it was strawberry ice cream on the inside. It was tasty but not quite what we had in mind. (I Googled later and learned that mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of mochigome, a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape.)

So we headed toward home and somehow ended up at The Chocolate Sanctuary where we both indulged in our own desserts! (We rarely get dessert and when we do it’s shared between all for of us.)

Tom had Pecan Bourbon Crème Brulé (Jim Beam infused crème brulée with toasted pecans, topped with toasted meringue and Sanctuary caramel) and I had S’mores Dark Chocolate (Dark chocolate flourless cake with toasted meringue, cocoa graham cracker sable, cocoa graham crumble, Sanctuary spiced caramel, and cocoa-candied bacon).

We may also have let it known it was our anniversary (the couple across from us was celebrating their 38th!) so we may have also indulged in free champagne and raspberry chocolates. 💕

And then this was waiting for us when we got home. (Well, they actually weren’t quite finished when we walked in so we were forcefully instructed to go wait upstairs!)

The kids helped Grannie make rice krispie treats (decorated with our cake topper!) and they drew and colored a sign. They were so excited to surprise us.

It’s kind of hard to see, but they drew and colored lots of wedding-related things (my ring and flowers, the train, the cake, the horse and carriage) as well as some of our favorite things (Petoskey stone, a saw, dolphins). We loved it! And then of course we had to have a bite of still-warm rice krispie bars!!

It was a good day. :)

Len Summer Christmas 2017

Nick and Gracie making Christmas M&Ms (the rest went into Lisa’s monster cookies).

Just a few brats to cook…

All the kids like to fish but they say Aubrey is the one who loves it the most and is the best at it. She apparently gives lessons to other kids at their house!

Katie caught a fish!

Someone took an unplanned jump into the river (learning you can’t walk on lily pads):

Drying off…

I think this picture is a tradition.

And the mandatory annual family Christmas photo! Every year they give us grief about taking it… And this year with the craziness of the move I didn’t post it immediately and they were all asking about it!! So there. :p

And the annual kid comparison—Katie is getting closer to Aubrey but Aubrey is still ahead (which should be the case, as she’s almost 9). And as usual, Owen is definitely taller than Gracie…

But I think he beats Nick this year!!


Last year:

More fishing!

After a campfire and s’mores it was time for bed. The kids decided to all sleep in the living room… Poor Timmy. :)

 

Katie and Gramma Jean’s Big Birthday Adventure

I told Gramma that for Katie’s birthday, instead of giving her stuff, to take her on an adventure. So she did.

In Gramma’s words:

For Katie’s 5th birthday this year, we went on an adventure! (Yes, in Grayling.) We played at three parks, went wading in the river (along some of the racers practicing), went to the grocery store for picnic lunch supplies [where Katie could pick anything she wanted—she got a Lunchable, strawberry yogurt covered pretzels, strawberries, cashews, and chocolate milk], threw stones in the river for a half hour, went for a 3-mile bike ride (yes, I fell), and had an ice cream cone at Wimpy’s. We were gone 7 hours and mom and dad were starting to worry! What great fun we had! Happy birthday Katie Bug!

 

   
       
                        

Gramma says Katie could have pedaled for hours!

  

Gramma says: I am so glad Katie didn’t fall. We were too close to each other and her back wheel caught my front wheel. 

         
  

Katie’s birthday then and now

      

Celebrating Katie’s birthday with the neighborhood gang.

  

  

Happy 5th birthday, Katie!

The day started by opening a present from papa and Grannie (that has been in our closet for probably two years now)—doll bunk beds. She was over the moon!

  
Picture with the birthday girl!

Opening her birthday cards—the same card from two people and the zebras matched her outfit! What are the odds?!

The official picture.

Because I have nothing else to do at 9:45 the night before the packers arrive.

I don’t like Katie’s birthday during move week. 😐

  

DIY Umbrella Design

This was an early birthday present for Katie. She had her own umbrella that broke and we threw it away and she really missed it, so I got this on a deal and saved it until now. She loved it—and even invited Owen and me to color with her. (If you’re curious, it’s the ALEX Toys Craft Super Sweet Umbrella.)

I love this face. She (and her sister) just turned 14 yesterday.

    

July 4th with the neighbors

Three happy kids tonight doing sparklers and watching the neighbor’s bigger (but still small) fireworks.

And some of the super cool pics I got with my waterproof camera on the Fireworks settings—these were just simple fireworks we did in the street. I was amazed at how cool they looked!

Early 4th of July festivities

Our local fireworks were tonight, so we had our “F It Friday” group together for a “Suck It Saturday” instead! After some delicious drinks (and refills!) and dinner…

…the kids played in the water while we watched and tried to stay out of the spray zone. One dad (Eric) joined in the fray…

Then it was off on a caravan to the equestrian center (where we watched from last year, too). The kids ran around and played and did sparklers…and eventually watched some of the fireworks. I think Owen sat with me and Katie for about five minutes and then he was off with his friends.

Both kids had fun and were happy and I got to spend another night with our great friends…and that’s just about all I can ask for. (Well, if Tom would have been there it would have been even better!) :)

Surprise birthday!

It was my friend Caitlin’s birthday and she didn’t think I knew, so we surprised her with cake and ice cream…and took them out to dinner. They just happened to have face painting that night, so three of the four kids did that (Owen stayed at the table watching Nationals baseball with Tom). The face painting lady and I even convinced Caitlin to get her face done as she didn’t think she’d ever had her face painted.

Katie picked the Ice Princess.

  
    
   

  

  

  

Don’t Buy My Kids More Toys. Try This Instead.

Don’t Buy My Kids More Toys. Try This Instead. From ScaryMommy.

Hallelujah and Amen.

Let me give you some advice of what you can do instead: Just spend time with them. Take them out for ice cream, or a date to the zoo, or even to the park down the street. They will love that more than any toy, I promise. They will remember it longer too.

Our kids just had a birthday party and got lots of gift cards. The plan is to let them but one thing and then trade them experiences for their cards. Would you rather go to Target and get a Barbie or would you rather go to the zoo? A new Lego set or a baseball game? Fingers crossed my plan works.

Happy Father’s Day

  

I gave Katie one of her birthday presents early!

A matching dress to my leggings! She LOVED it!! 

   
   

Dual Birthday Pool Party

After watching the forecasts and worrying about the weather all week (the forecast varied from thunderstorms to 60% chance of rain to light rain all day)…we decided to go ahead with the party and it ended up absolutely perfect!! It was overcast at the start and gradually got sunnier and warmer throughout the party—enough so that I had Tom grab my suit when he went back to get the cake!

We had 60 guests (kids and adults!!) and the pool was probably the busiest it will be all season (aside from the days they have cookouts with free food or night swims with free ice cream). But it all went smoothly, everyone had a blast, and there was plenty of pizza and cake for multiple helpings (once I started cutting the serves 48 cake and realized my small pieces were still not small enough to get me close to 60 pieces, I started halving those…and then ended up having half the cake left so kids got seconds and thirds).

The gaggle of dads. They didn’t move from this spot the whole time. 😂

;

The kids were fairly patient about opening gifts once we got home…and they LOVED everything. They got Bop It (thank heavens I found the volume control!) and Owen picked up on it right away, Katie dug right into the glitter glue and construction paper, Owen picked out his favorite baseball cards from a new pack, Katie put together her Disney Lego, we’ve been shot multiple times by Owen’s new nerf gun, and both kids were OVER THE MOON about all the gift cards and getting to go shopping once we move! They both said it was a great birthday!

Pool, Day 2: Memorial Day cookout

We are trying to get as much pool time as we can before moving this summer… We will have a close aquatic center, but it won’t be the same as our personal pool. 

   
 

Hoppy Easter 2017

So, once again this year I convinced Owen to leave the Easter Bunny a note requesting something other than candy—I told him it went so well before that it might work again. So, Owen wrote this note:

And the Easter Bunny left this note:

And gifts!! Along with a very few hidden eggs with gummy candies, Owen got a Nexo Knights costume, Katie got a Lego birthday cake, and they got a Pokémon Magikarp hat to share!

Easter gifts from Gramma Jean

Katie put her skirt on right away (it actually even matched what she was wearing) and they LOVED the candy in the bunny egg.