Monday, September 30, 2013

{Wisconsin's Optometrist of the Year}

Now that I am back home, I have my cable to take the pictures off of my camera. I want to share some of the pics from the luncheon last Friday when Bumpah received his big award: Optometrist of the Year in the state of Wisconsin. It was funny because he didn't even realize he was the one being recognized until he saw Caden and Andrew walk into the room. He was very overwhelmed to receive the top award for the year. We were all so proud and happy that we could surprise him and be there when he found out. Here are some of the pics:
Here he is at the podium saying a few words.
Nice looking award, right?
The boys ran up to Bumpah after he was done speaking.
The entire group (Jordon, Cara, Baby William, Pam, Dick, Ryan, Lilli, and me. Caden and Andrew in the front.)
It was a great time!

Speaking of great times, Caden did much better at hockey tonight. I will update about it tomorrow!

Until later,
Barby

Sunday, September 29, 2013

{back home + Lilli's prior visit}

I am happy to be home, but I had a great time in the Dells. Pam and I ended the trip with some retail therapy :) Here is my favorite buy from the trip--
It doesn't photograph the best, but it's adorable!

By the time I got home it was pretty much time to put the kids to bed. Lilli chose for us to read The Little Golden Book Bible stories. When we got to the section about the Last Supper, I explained that Jesus died so we can go to Heaven. She needed some clarification, so I explained again that Jesus is God's son, and the He was sent to earth to allow us to go to Heaven. Lilli said to me, "I've been to heaven." Really? "Yep, I was there before I came to you and Daddy." What did you do? "I was up there with God. I would get tired sometimes and sleep. God slept, too. He gets really tired." How long were you there? "Until I came to you and Daddy." She was very serious. Maybe she knows something we don't know.

Speaking of my Lilli Billy, I will leave you with a pic that LILLI took of us today :) My little photographer--

Until later!

Barby

Saturday, September 28, 2013

{shopping + more waterpark fun}

The title for today's post pretty much sums up our day. We started with a little shopping at the outlet mall here. The kids enjoyed the little quarter (now 4 quarter) rides more than the shopping :)

Lilli was super cool on the 4 wheeler--

They even squeezed in a ride together--

After the shopping, we hit up Mexicali Rose for lunch. The food was great. The kids wanted their pic with the mannequin by the front:

Then it was back to the waterpark! Lilli had a great time pulling Baby William all over the place:

It really wore her out:
 
 And then five minutes later:
:)

Until later!
Barby

Friday, September 27, 2013

{congrats + Kalahari time!}

The kids and I headed to the Dells today where the annual Wisconsin Optometric Association holds its big yearly meeting. The guys have been here since Wednesday night. We made the trek early with Grandma (Pam) because the kids wanted to be there when Bumpah was awarded Optometrist of the Year in the state of Wisconsin?! How cool is that? I am so grateful my superintendent gave me the approval to take the day :) I will have pics to share on Sunday when we get back home. I used my regular camera, and I didn't bring the cable :(

I do have a few shots of the kiddos in the waterpark. We are at the Kalahari, so the kids are in heaven. Plus Cara and Jordon came for the ceremony as well, so we have ALL of the kiddos together to play :) I will share some videos either tomorrow or Sunday. This was the first time Lilli willingly went on waterslides. She LOVED it. It was really cute. Here are a few pics from our time in the waterpark today. There will be many more to come.

Lilli loved crawling around on her hands--

Caden was crawling with the float on him like a turtle--

Look how happy William is--
 
Lilli was so exhausted that she didn't even make it until we got our food at dinner:

I'll leave you with a pic of our crime fighting duo (Cara and I just happened to pack the identical pjs for the boys):
They were making "tough" faces :)

Until later!
Barby

Thursday, September 26, 2013

{Mr. Pumpkin head?}

The kiddos and I took a trip to Target Tuesday after I picked them up. I wanted them to choose their Halloween costumes. I gave up on my dream of Caden being Peter Pan and Lilli being Tinkerbell. Caden shot that one down. He obviously doesn't get how cute the pics would be... :) I realize it is more important for them to be excited about their costumes. But seriously, Ryan was going to be Captain Hook and I was going to be Wendy! Can you imagine the pics? Oh well... Caden was overly excited to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes. That was a done deal once he saw those. 

Lilli, on the other hand, did not have such an easy time. She was saying "how cute" they all were, but she did not want one. She ended up deciding that she wants to be Sofia the First. I am fine with that, especially because she got that dress up outfit from Uncle Danny and Aunt Samantha for her birthday. She just needs a little brunette wig. I must admit that will be pretty cute, too.

The other fun things we got while we were there were Mr. Potato head type pumpkin decorations. I found them in the Halloween section. I got the little craft pumpkins to go with them. The kids and I decorated them that night.


It was really hard to get a decent pic with both paying attention at the same time :)

Now, they are called pumpkin "push-ins," but that makes them sound much easier to use than they are. What I did was use a pair of very sharp scissors to push the hole into the pumpkins, then I let the kids put in the parts. 

Caden thought the mouths were pretty funny--

Lilli, too--

I realized I didn't take a pic of the kids with their finished products, but I did get a pic of the pumpkins on the table:

Overall, I think they were pretty cute. Caden and Lilli were really into it the entire time we were working on them. I think the push-ins would work with a real pumpkin, but then we would have to worry about a rotting pumpkin in the house...no thanks. And like I said, if you are using a craft pumpkin, it was too difficult to just push in the pieces without a hole already started.

On a sad note, I found out today that my Onkle Andreas in Germany (Grammy's brother) passed away this week. Please keep the family in your prayers, especially my Tante Christa. I am going to look through my old pics to find some of when I visited Rockenhausen when I was in Germany. I had a really good time. I remember playing a lot of the game "Aggravation." My Onkle Andreas loved playing that. He also loved a handheld Yahtzee game that my Grandma had sent him :) I had a great time visiting them. He insisted on giving me money to pay me back for my train ticket. I kept telling him thank you, but no thank you. He looked right at me and said, "Es muss sein." It must be. That ended the conversation :) He was a good man.

Until later,

Barby

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

{Lilli the fearless}

It is no big secret that I am NOT a fan of bugs. I remember when I was in college, and there was a centipede running through the duplex. I slammed a piece of tupperware over it and called my now father-in-law to come (across town) and kill it for me. He did :) I just am not a big fan of creepy crawlies. Most of them are freakishly fast, and then they disappear and you have no idea where they went. That is the worst part...the unknown... Lilli, luckily, does not seem to hold the same fears. Here is a video that Ryan shot from when I was in Florida over the weekend. And yes, that is a real caterpillar in the video :)


I was squirming just watching the video, but I made sure that Lilli did not see that :)

Until later!

Barby

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{hockey update-single blade skates}

Caden had another hockey lesson yesterday. It was rough. He switched back to the single blade skates, so his sense of stability was removed. He fell... A LOT. More than he has in the past. He was so defeated, but he kept getting back up:




I reassured him that it would get easier, just like it did after the first time he was on the double blade skates. I talked with Coach Joey after class, and he will be giving Caden a couple private half hour skating lessons. Caden is happy about that. His first one will be Thursday after his hockey lesson. He is excited. He knows it will help him to get better.



Can you tell which kiddo is Caden?
He is not the one in the front. Although that little guy was having some issues, too :)

Lilli was right there cheering him on:

If you look carefully, you can see that she was giving him thumbs up in this shot:

He was telling me he didn't think he can do it. Yes, he can. He will see :) Side note- Caden slept VERY well that night.

Until later!

Barby

Monday, September 23, 2013

{kids fun run}

Friday night the kids ran in the Guardian Kids Fun Run in Appleton. I was sad to miss the run, but Ryan, my brother, and Samantha were there with them. Ryan sent me a video, so I was still able to see the action:

Here is also a super cute pic of the race:
Yes, Lilli is running in ruffle pants and Caden is running in jeans :)
After the race, the kids were excited to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings. Here are some shots from Aunt Samantha of the kiddos:


I am happy that they love to do these little races. It is something that I will keep encouraging as they get older. I want my kiddos to continue being active. I see what happens by the time they get to high school if they are not encouraged. I don't want that. And speaking of being active, Caden had hockey tonight. I will update you about that tomorrow. I will give you a sneak piece of info, he switched to single blade skates today. How do you think that went? :)

Until later!

Barby


Sunday, September 22, 2013

{home sweet home}

I am happy to report that I am home. It was a LONG day, with way TOO MANY delays, but I am home. It was great to see the kids and Ryan. We even went to Chipotle for dinner. Great night!

Overall it was a great weekend. I will fill you in on the rest tomorrow!

Here are a couple of pics that Ryan sent for me today:

Ryan stopped at the park with the kids after church--

Lilli lookin' like a rock star--

Spiderman Caden--

He LOVES climbing all the way to the top--

Until later!

Barby

Saturday, September 21, 2013

{congrats Andrea and Josh!}

Today was my cousin Andrea and (now husband) Josh's wedding day! I know it is a whirlwind of a trip, but I am so happy that I was able to make it.  Here is a shot that I took of the ceremony:

Here is the happy couple after the ceremony--

The ceremony and reception took place at the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. It was really cool. Caden would have LOVED it there. Look at these cool pedal cars:

This one was my favorite--

Here is a shot of my mom, my grandma, and me: the three Lianes :)

I bought the dress just for the wedding. It is maybe one of the nicest dresses I have ever purchased. I love it. I especially love that there are little clasps at the shoulder straps to snap your bra into it. Nice! I hope to have some other occasions at which I will be able to wear this little number.

Overall it was a great day. We had a fun time at the wedding and the reception. Here are some other random pics that we took:

It was so nice getting to see the family--

One last pic--



I fly out tomorrow AM, so I will update you tomorrow about the trip back :)

Until later!

Barby

Friday, September 20, 2013

{off to Florida I go!}

I am sitting in the airport in Appleton as I type this. The first leg of my trip is to Atlanta. I'm amused by how many people just love talking loudly on their phone for everyone to hear. There is a guy next to me who is discussing Tiger's golf game. Really?! Is that a loud discussion that needs to take place now? One would think not...

I'll have a layover in Atlanta, and then I'll be in Florida. :)

The guy has now called yet another person with whom he's discussing his daughter's golf game. She is, from what I gather, very good. She doesn't like the new country club. Oh! I also must add that he pronounces Wednesday "Wins-day." That I like :)

Anyway...as I sit here I realize that I forgot to pack my swim suit :( Darn! I think the weather will be nice, too...

I thought I'd include a shot of my super cute carry-on bag I use :)

I'll leave you with a couple of pics of the kids I received today:

Here's a shot of the kiddos at Grandma and Bumpah's--

And here is my goofy son playing with a luggage cart AND drinking out of a sippy type cup. Silly boy--

Until later...in sunny Florida!

Barby

Thursday, September 19, 2013

{criss-cross apple sauce}

I am super busy tonight. I need to finish start packing for Florida. I leave tomorrow right after school. I am flying to Fort Lauderdale for my cousin Andrea's wedding. I am really looking forward to the quiet and the time to read :) Not to mention I bought a super cute dress for the wedding...but I need to pack! This will be a quick post. I got a video tonight of Lilli singing what they sing at preschool when it is time to sit down. So cute. Enjoy!


Until later!

Barby

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

{Grandma's recipe: Meat, Potatoes, and Eggs}

Yesterday I was describing to a few of my co-workers what I was making for dinner last night. It is something that I remember my grandma making a lot when I was younger. I also always have her make it when she comes for her yearly visit to Wisconsin. We LOVED it growing up, and my family still LOVES it today. In fact, when I told my brother on Sunday that I was making it for dinner on Tuesday, he told me he would be coming for dinner. Yep, it's that good. The thing is...there is no fancy name for it. And truthfully, it doesn't even look that pretty. But it is good...really good. The other great part about it is that you can prep everything the night before, which is what I did.

I browned up about 1 1/4 lbs. of ground beef (I used half beef half turkey) with one chopped onion the night before:

I liberally seasoned the meat with salt, pepper, paprika, and dried parsley flakes. You have to add more than you would think. Because potatoes will be added to this when it cooks, a lot of the seasoning will be sucked up by those spuds.

Grandma said she usually used about 1 lb. of meat. She liked this recipes when her five kids were young because it didn't require a lot of meat ($$$), and because she used potatoes in it she could stretch it as much as necessary.

I also peeled and sliced about 4 or 5 potatoes and placed them in a container with cold water:

I put the cooled meat and the potatoes (in separate containers) in the refrigerator for the night.

Here's the fun part. When I got home after picking the kids up, I put the meat in a deep pan and spread it out. Then I had the kids put the potatoes on top of the meat. I told them to spread the potatoes like the rat does on" Ratatouille."

What Remy's Ratatouille looked like in the movie.
They were very helpful:

The important part is to first put the potatoes in a single overlapping layer over the meat. Then do a second layer if you want extra potatoes. I did.

They then added some stock (about 2 cups) to the pan for me. I used vegetable stock, but you could use whatever you have. Grandma would usually just use water.
He is such a ham :)

Then we added another layer of seasoning:
I think Caden could grind that peppermill all day if I let him!

I put the pot on the stovetop with the lid capped, and then I put the heat at medium to bring it to a simmer. It cooks for about 30-45 minutes. Check it once in awhile to make sure there is still enough liquid. If the potatoes are not cooked, and there is not liquid left, you need to add more.

Once the potatoes are cooked, you mix it up. This will break up the potatoes:

You then make four wells in the mixture for the eggs:

Crack in the eggs:

Then don't touch it for about 1-2 minutes to allow for the egg whites to start to set up. Then you can take your spatula and mix the egg up inside of the well. Let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Once the egg is pretty much cooked, mix it all up again. It should look like this:
If you used 100% beef instead of half turkey like I did, the meat would be a little darker.

Like I said, it may not be the prettiest (I think it's pretty), but it tastes great. Fresh parsley would give it brighter green throughout. At this point you will want to try it and see if you need to add more salt or pepper. I usually end up adding more salt.

The best part is that you serve it with ketchup!

What kid doesn't love ketchup?! Mine do. Caden loved the meal so much that he had three helpings of it:
How hilarious is that shirt?
Hope you like it! I need to come up with a flashy name for it :)

Until later,
Barby