Monthly Archives: February 2011

Big Red and Sue E.

The night before we flew home from Arkansas in December, Jake and I took the boys to their first ever Razorback basketball game at Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville!  Opi, Hunter, Tim, Candice, and Laci also joined us and we all had a great time!

Walking from “The Pit” to the arena.  Two of my favorite things about this picture…1.)  Laci, Hunter and Ben holding hands and 2.) Laci’s pig tails…they’re absolutely adorable!!  The kids were all so excited about the big game that they didn’t seem to mind the long, cold walk to the arena.

Finding tickets.  So we didn’t exactly have all the tickets we needed when we arrived at the game.  Ben was eager to help out by proudly displaying four little fingers.  I mean, really, who could turn him down?!?  We quickly found tickets, made our way inside and grabbed our seats just in time for the tip-off! 

Snacking on concession food!  Ben loves popcorn and he and Hunter are sharing a box of it in this pic.  He also munched on nachos and a hot dog!  A couple of times I heard Ben holler out “defense” even when we had the ball and he’d clap anytime anyone on our team or the opposing team scored a basket!

Cheering on our team!  I wasn’t sure how Jude would hold up considering game time was his normal bedtime.  But, in typical Jude fashion he was pretty chilled out and quite content to hang out on Opi’s lap.  (This picture really doesn’t show just how excited he was…he was bouncing, clapping and letting out little squeals for most of the game!)  I’m pretty sure he was in Hog heaven and happy to be out and about with all of us!

And the most anticipated event of the evening…

meeting Sue E.

and Big Red!!


Filed under Arkansas, Ben, Family, Food, Hobbies, Holiday, Jude, Travel

Loving Christmas 2010…A Little Recap

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Filed under Arkansas, Ben, Birthdays, Family, Food, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

A Tale of Two [Christmas] Parties

(I know…I’m posting about Christmas in February…)

Back in December, the Family Events Committee put on the annual holiday party for all the kids in our neighborhood.  The kids sang Christmas carols while they waited for Santa to arrive.   And arrive he did, on a fire truck!!  (Don’t forget to turn up the volume to hear the cute carols!) 

This was Ben’s first official meeting with Santa!  I wasn’t sure if he’d be scared to meet him this year, but as you can see he was very eager to make his way to the front of the crowd!  Before we left for the party I asked Ben what he was going to tell Santa he wanted for Christmas.  “Guido, Luigi, and the Leakless Truck,” he replied.  Forget about even letting Santa sit down, Ben was ready to give him his wish list right away!

There was plenty to do at this party:  a DJ played music for the kids to dance to and he led them in some fun games; craft tables were set up for kids to make Christmas ornaments and decorate sugar cookies; and there was lots of yummy food to eat.  While Ben had fun doing all of these cool things, this window seal overlooking the lake below is where he and a few of his buddies (Kaden, Sophia and Kailyn) enjoyed playing the most while the party boomed on behind them.

And just in case Santa forgot, Ben sat on his lap and reminded him one more time about the things he’d like most for Christmas!  (Is anybody with me on this one or does Santa seem just a bit…odd?  I know he’s missing his glasses and all, but we all felt Santa was just a little, well, strange.  When referring to Santa, I overheard a party goer say, “All he’s missing is his bottle of whiskey!”)

Jude was well into his morning nap when the Christmas party started so when he woke up, Jake brought him up for a visit with Santa.

We managed to get both of the boys to sit together on Santa’s lap for half a second.  I love their cute smiles in this pic (even if Ben is covering most of his mouth with his hands)!

Oh, and did I mention face painting?  Ben chose the tiger design!!  He’s very into tigers these days.  He loves the book Rumble in the Jungle because it has a tiger that goes “Grrr”!  Every time we get to that page Ben pretends to put his finger in the tiger’s mouth and we have to make pretend noises like the tiger is eating his finger.  Funny, that boy!


The day Ben’s preschool let out for Christmas break they put on a small presentation in the corridor right outside their classroom for all the parents.  The older preschool kids put on a much larger Christmas production in the church sanctuary, but since Ben is only in the 2’s class they scale it way back for the little ones.  Ben is considered to be in the “older 2’s” class based on the date of his birthday so that’s his class you see standing up behind the “younger 2’s” class sitting in the chairs.  I should also note that I was only able to record a little (and I mean a little) bit of the actual singing because my camera memory card ended up being full.  Bummer, I know.  I even made sure to clear all the pictures from the card the night before, I guess I just had more video on it than I thought.  The good news is that my friend Steph (the one you’ll see in the video) did get all of it filmed so I hope to get a copy from her and I’ll try to get it posted here at some point!  Anyway, Ben did a great job!  The first song they sang was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…I love his little twinkling fingers!

After the big show we mingled with Ben’s classmates and their parents while munching on muffins and juice!  Before we left, Ben handed out these little bags of cookies to his classmates… 

…and he delivered boxes of homemade fudge to his teachers, the office staff and security personnel!

This homemade fudge is to die for!  I just so happened to have the Food Network Channel on one lazy Saturday afternoon while Ben napped and Jude played on the floor next to me.  The show Dessert First with Anne Thornton came on and she was making her Fabulous Fudge recipe.  I grabbed a pen and jotted it down while she cooked.  Here it is…you should tuck this one away for next Christmas…it’s yummy and so so so simple!


1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup milk chocolate chips

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pinch of salt

1 ½ tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped walnuts


In sauce pan combine sweetened condensed milk, milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Stir to make sure condensed milk coats chocolate chips. Stir in pinch of salt. Put on stove and heat stirring frequently. When melted remove from heat. Add vanilla and walnuts. Stir to coat walnuts. Pour into foil lined pan and smooth out. Let fudge come to room temperature then put in refrigerator for three hours. Remove from pan, cut and serve.  Enjoy!


Filed under Ben, Food, Friends, Holiday, Jude, Orlando

My Heart REVS For You!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ben’s preschool class celebrated Valentine’s Day last Thursday by exchanging cards and small goodie bags.  This year we opted for homemade Valentine’s Day gifts.  We took our inspiration from a car show that Jake and Ben stumbled upon while out running errands one Saturday afternoon.  Jake just so happened to snap some cute shots of Ben standing by various cars and trucks and I thought they’d make great Valentine’s Day cards!  So, I let Ben pick out three of his favorite photos, we printed them, glued them to colored card stock and then wrote some catchy little Valentine’s Day phrases on them. 

Here are the photos and phrases we used… 

“My heart REVS for you!”

“Have a MONSTER sized Valentine’s Day!”

“Glad you DROVE into my life, Valentine!”

A special card just for his teachers…

“You make life SWEET!”  (This is a photo from Ben’s Christmas party in December.  That’s his teacher Mrs. H on the left and the assistant Mrs. B on the right.  We absolutely LOVE them both!  They are really REALLY wonderful!)

Ben decorated the back of each card with Valentine’s stickers and we attached each one to a bag of homemade chocolate dipped pretzels with heart sprinkles.

Ben had so much fun acting as the “sprinkler”.  His philosophy…some for me, some for you.  Each time he sprinkled a chocolate covered pretzel, he sprinkled his mouth!  I got the pretzel inspiration from my sister-in-law.  She made these for Christmas and Ben loved them!  Thanks, Candice!

The finished products!  Ben was really excited to hand these out to his friends!


Filed under Ben, Co-op preschool, Food, Hobbies, Holiday, Orlando, Projects

Happy 14th Birthday, Kayla!

Today is my niece’s 14th birthday.  I can’t even believe that I just typed “14”!!  I remember when she was Jude’s age!  I also remember the first time I heard her laugh (Mom, Jill, Julie and I were driving home from Branson, MO, with Kayla in her car seat…her laugh was so cute and contagious, we all began laughing!)  I’m pretty sure from the day she was born she loved all things girlie.  From the moment she could walk (and probably before then) she loved high heel shoes referring to them as “klop klop shoes” every time she’d ask to wear a pair!  One Christmas she even put on a fashion show for us by modeling all the clothes she’d received as gifts.  Now as she’s getting older I find myself asking her for fashion advice!  Oh, and did I mention this girl can shop…but she’s thrifty, she can make her money go a long way!  It’s very impressive!  She’s very creative too and is quite the little artist!  And as you can see from the picture above, Kayla loves to have fun!  That’s her along with Hunter and Jude…they gave themselves Rudolf noses over Christmas…aren’t they just the cutest reindeer you’ve ever seen!   

Happy 14th Birthday, Kayla!  One of the coolest things I love about you…you’re a God’s girl!  It is awesome to talk to you about your love for God and about going to church!  You have no idea how encouraging it is to talk to you about your friends and school too…you, my dear, are one smart chica and I’m so proud of you for making good decisions!  You are truly beautiful on the inside and out!  May this be your best year ever!  We love you!

p.s.  You should come and stay with us in Florida this summer!  We’d love to have you!  🙂 


Filed under Birthdays, Family

Jude…8 Months


I realize that today actually marks 10 months for Jude and clearly I’m way behind on my blogging, but there are just a couple of highlights from Month 8 that I wanted to share.  Here they are…

Jude’s first haircut!  I never would have dreamed of cutting Ben’s hair when he was this age.  It really wasn’t until around eight months that Ben’s hair started to grow.  However, with Jude it’s a different story.  I love this picture because you can see just what I’m talking about.  See that little tuft of hair hanging over his left ear.  He was in need of a trim.  So while we were all together in Branson over Christmas, Omi grabbed her scissors and did just that…she trimmed the hair over his ears and in the back along his neck. 

Here’s the chaos that was actually going on around Jude during the haircut.  We sat him on top of the kitchen table while Omi trimmed his hair, Jake steadied his head and I kept him from toppling over.  Jude was quite the trouper!   To keep him from getting upset we let him play with a wrapped gift box and sang to him.  Whew!  I’m pretty sure all of our arms were burning after that, but in the end Jude was one sharp-looking little guy!  Thanks, Omi!

Another first…a ride in the swing!  Before flying home from our family Christmas vacation in Branson we stayed with Tim, Candice and Laci for a few days.  They have two great little swings out back and Jude loved every second he got to ride!  Take a look for yourself…


Filed under Jude, Orlando

“That’s Naughty, Jude!”

The day after Thanksgiving we surprised Ben and Jude with a special package.  Inside the package Ben found a scout elf sent to us by Santa Claus himself straight from the North Pole.  Thankfully our scout elf came with an instruction manual.  Here are a few things we learned:  The scout elf acts as Santa’s eyes and ears observing children and sending “naughty and nice” reports back to him during the Christmas season.  The elf was under orders not to speak to the boys and the boys had to follow one simple rule…they were not allowed to touch the elf or his Christmas magic might disappear.  Our elf was in hibernation in his box until we adopted him.  As soon as we opened the box and gave him a name he received his Christmas magic.  What is his name?  Well, we let Ben name him.  When we asked Ben what we should call the elf he, without any hesitation, exclaimed, “Frickie!”  And there you have it…a new Christmas family tradition began.

So each night after the boys would go to bed, Jake and I would find a new place for Frickie to reside for the next day.  And every morning Ben would wake up and hunt around the house until he found him.  Can you find him in the picture above?  Oh, yes, there he is…observing meal times from the light fixture!  On this particular afternoon the boys were sitting at the table while I finished making lunch when I heard Ben in typical bossy big brother fashion shout, “Nu uh!  That’s naughty, Jude!  You can’t thow your sippy cup from the table.  Santa won’t bring you any presents!”  I had a good laugh there in the kitchen and over lunch I explained to Ben that Jude wasn’t quite old enough to know any better.  We really enjoyed having Frickie in our home this Christmas season (he even traveled to Arkansas with us), but for now he’s “hibernating” in our attic until next year!

p.s.  Want to know more about scout elves?  Check out

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Filed under Ben, Holiday, Jude, Orlando