Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween...

Hope you have a "boo"tiful day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

She's all grown-up...

Hallie is no longer a little girl. She started kindergarten and suddenly my little girl was gone.

She is quite the conversationalists and loves to ask why - all the time.

She loves music and dancing and I often catch her singing to herself in the bathroom.

Loves school - and if they let her, she would go Saturday and Sunday as well.

She reads very well. Which is starting to cause problems for us, because Steve and I often like to spell out words to disguise our conversation. It caught us off guard when she asked about our conversation - she totally caught on. We've resorted to spelling backwards - Hallie's picking up on it, Steve is not!

She is a little mommy and if you ask her what she wants to be when she's older - a mommy. Even at school she takes responsibility for her "children" but in a very useful way according to her teacher.

She is best friends with Hunter and I love it. They do have their moments of complete rage against each other, but control themselves for the most part.

I said a joke over dinner and Hallie turns to me and says, "Mom, you like to be funny." She gets me - she totally gets me!

Because we're still in house limbo her favorite thing to say is, "I remember when I had a bed in Wisconsin...I remember we had that game in Wisconsin...I remember when we ate this in Wisconsin..." She loves remembering what life was like just a year ago, and shockingly she has a terrific memory.

She loves any activity I call a project. The laundry. Cleaning windows. Picking up oranges.  She loves a good project. I've just recently started coming up with better projects for her because I figure picking up oranges will only keep her interest for a while longer. I've started her on paint brushes!

Asks for gum all the time. She'll be happy to find her own pack in her birthday bucket!

Loves to hear stories from when she was a baby.

She has fantastic handwriting. Seriously awesome.

We've come along way from our early days of a screaming infant and we love her to pieces...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Caramel...

I came across this recipe on-line and had to try it. (I'm thinking it would work perfectly on my apple nachos). I dipped a couple apples and let the rest cool in a pan and then rolled them in wax paper. They were good. Make sure you use a candy thermometer to get the right temp or else you'll have really runny caramel - or rock hard caramel.
¼ cups Butter (1/2 stick)
1 cup White Syrup
14 ounces, fluid Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
2 cups White Granulated Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Assemble all ingredients: wash and dry apples, insert sticks, and butter a cookie sheet and dinner plate before starting to cook.

Heat all ingredients except vanilla in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium/low heat. Stir constantly!

When caramel reaches soft ball stage (235°F–240°F) remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool a few minutes.

If dipping apples, using the stick inserted in the apples, dunk apples in the hot caramel and twirl slowly away from the heat for a couple of minutes.

If using as dip, add some half and half to keep the caramel a nice dipping consistency.

If making wrapped caramels, pour into a buttered plate or dish to be cut into individual pieces when cool and wrap.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Funny Comment...

Hunter started running down the hallway where Bennett was sleeping. I quickly call to him and he comes running back.

Kara: What are you doing?
Hunter: I'm being quiet
Kara: But what are you doing?
Hunter: Getting the car out of my room.
Kara: Okay, just be quiet
Hunter runs off and quickly returns without the car.

Hunter: I'm being quiet, but my pants are loud. See? Watch. (runs across the room, his pajama pants make no noise.) See? It's my pants that are loud. Not me.

I will start referring to him as Mr. Loud Pants.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

26 weeks...

We have made it 6 months already. In some regards, time has got away from me. In other aspects, I can't believe it's only been 6 months. (He was not loving his morning photoshoot today!)

This guy loves food (hard to tell, I know!)
He still sleeps completely swaddled
He sucks on his hands through the blanket while swaddled
He doesn't fall asleep unless he's in bed. This makes life a little difficult at times.
Doesn't roll around at all, but likes to rotate around in a circle using his feet, even swaddled in his bed.
By far our best sleeper. He really needs his sleep and I will give up any social agenda to make sure he gets that sleep, we're all happier if he does!
He really likes toys now and puts everything in his mouth
Hallie loves holding him and she thinks she's old enough to walk around while holding him. I continue to tell her she's not!
He really likes the trailer on the bike and is content the majority of the time, unless it's bed time.
He has the sweetest little giggle that only Hallie seems to get.

Prefers the bumbo seat to lying on a blanket.
He has just a little bit of hair but pretty soon that bald head is going to be covered!
Has explosive diapers - almost every day. Which results in us keeping him in a onesie the majority of the time.
Doesn't like commotion or loudness. He tends to get a little emotional when all the family is gathered and it's loud.
He is one squirmy wormy - he can't seem to lie or sit still.
He is always bright eyed - a somewhat surprised/worried expression!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I {heart} Chicago...

The weather around here is finally cooling off and it is beautiful. The kids are spending more and more time outside during the day and I love it!

But there is one thing I miss more than anything...a midwest fall season. The trees in Wisconsin had such beautiful color and there was such a richness this time of year. It seemed as though each year I marveled at just how pretty fall was and swore that it was indeed better than the previous year. I'm missing that just a tad as I see friends pictures with red and orange leaves abounding.

While sifting through the stack of digital files that I have recently recovered I came across my last trip to Chicago with my sister-in-law just a year ago.

Steve and I had made the trip to Chicago (just a two hour drive from Wisconsin) many times for a number of reasons and always loved our time and experience there. We had made trips with and without children. Trips with friends, outings with family. We never tired of the city, it has so much to offer.

The last visit I made, I experienced it just a little differently knowing it wasn't going to be in our backyard anymore. Jandi and I had such good time - it always leaves me wanting to come back again...Hopefully sooner than later.

We also managed to see some pretty sweet things in Milwaukee as well, including this super cool designed art museum.

We even let Steve join us for some of it!!

I'm hoping every couple years I can venture back and enjoy the beauty of the midwest during fall, such a beautiful season.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Surprise lunch...

Steve happened to work from home one morning and had to head into work after lunch.

Hallie keeps talking about her friends mom who visit at lunch, so we decided we would surprise her for lunch. We grabbed some food, signed in as visitors and waited patiently at a lunch table until we saw her class walk in. We sat right by the door she would walk through. Her friend saw us first and the look of surprise on her face was great. But not as great as this face:

I realize our days are numbered with Hallie (and her friends) thinking its cool to sit with us at lunch, but as of right now we're in taking advantage of it.  I don't think it's so much Steve or myself, but more Hunter and Bennett...okay, seriously its the Gerber baby! Everyone loves the Gerber baby, he gets all the attention and all the love.

It was fun to watch Hallie interact with all her friends. Carefully eat and share her oreos. And have typical lunch table conversations. We even stayed a little during recess so we could watch her from afar.

Hunter was more than disappointed when we had to leave. He wanted to "do school, just like Hallie." Just a few more years little guy, and we'll be visiting you at lunch!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

BBQ Chicken...

I'm a big BBQ chicken fan - Steve is not. He claims he ate pulled pork one time and threw up. Therefore he can no longer eat anything of resemblance...sloppy joes, pulled pork, bbq chicken (only if shredded). So knowing he would be traveling one week, I made up this recipe. I had it the first night on top of a bun with mozzarella cheese, two nights later I ate it in a spinach wrap just like the way Red Robin does their bbq wraps. They were pretty tasty. It's definitely on the menu next time Steve decides to gallivant (aka - work) around the country!

BBQ Chicken
4 large chicken breasts
1 small bottle of bbq sauce
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of italian dressing
3 tbsp worchesshire sauce

Throw everything in a crockpot and let cook throughout the afternoon. Shred and serve on a bun, on a wrap, over a salad, whatever your little heart desires!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One year ago...

We were in Omaha.
Steve had left his job by this point and he was preparing to start his new work in AZ. He had a two week window to do with what he pleased...we made the decision to gather with our friends the Owens from Omaha (the same friends we gathered with this summer in McCall, Idaho) for one last hoorah before we left the midwest. (These pictures were lost in the abyss of a failed hard drive...and I'm so happy to have them back in my possession, hence the very, very delayed post!)

Our kids are the same ages, but opposite genders yet they still have a great time.
Omaha has a very entertaining zoo that kept the kids happy and busy. I think they could've sat and watched the monkeys the whole afternoon!

We enjoyed visiting the Winter Quarters temple and learning so much more of our pioneer heritage.

I've decided every city needs a few of these oversized (a.k.a adult friendly) slides. They were awesome - We sat on a small sheet of wax paper which increased the speed, which ended up being a little too fast for the younger kids!

We also enjoyed by far the most delicious steak house (a local hole in the wall) I've ever been to, experienced some beautiful weather, drove by Warren Buffett's home (this is where Steve's obsession for the man started to take shape) and had some good conversation with our friends.

It's hard to believe this was exactly a year ago...time flies...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

25 weeks...

Every week that passes, I think, "I really should buy the next size up in onesies, theses are getting a little snug." Yet every week I shove him into the same small onesie (which isn't small at all, he's just getting so big!)
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