Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Rainy Day is a Baking Day

Yesterday Tia was literally BEGGING me to bake a cake.  I assured her that today would be a better choice since it would be chilly and rainy.  Baking is good on rainy days.  I held her off only by having her help me choose the recipe we would make.

She chose Peanut Butter Brownie Babies, which we've never made before.  Now, you know I try my best to make everything 'healthy', so I bought a fat free brownie mix.  For the filling we used all natural (no added junk) peanut butter, reduced fat cream cheese, and splenda.  Hey, I have to at least try, right?

Can we lick the bowl?
ooh, they look so good!
They had to bake for 30 minutes and I lost count of how many times I heard "Mom, are they done yet?".
The recipe called for a squirt of whipped cream on top and a marascino cherry.  We skipped the cherries because my kids won't eat them.

The finished product
We ended up with 15 brownie babies.  The kids and I each had one.  Well, Tia had half of one and quickly lost interest.  I think she views baking as an activity, and not a treat (she's not from this planet).  Now, who is going to eat the dozen I have left?
If you're interested, come on over, they're in the freezer!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Today was a very happy Father's Day for my dear hubby, who I think is one of THE most amazing dads ever!
We started out the day by making him his favorite breakfast...veggie egg white omelet (I know, don't get too crazy!).  Then we headed out to one of our favorite Chicago hot spots, the Lincoln Park Zoo.  If you've never been, you should.  It's absolutely gorgeous, and amazingly enough, it's free!

We had a near perfect weather day, and walked nearly two miles during our visit.  I love that all D.R. wants on Father's Day is to spend time with his family.  That's a great Dad!

Here are a couple more pictures from our day at the zoo.  Enjoy...

A great ride

The bear cave

Our family

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Read By Example

It was a little chilly out last evening and I couldn't convince either of the girls to go out with me.  They wanted to watch TV.  I decided to go out anyway and get into a new book.  I wasn't out there one minute and I was joined by my little book worm.

Lead by example, Read by example!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Family Fun Week, Part 1

This week, the last week of school, we were supposed to be back in Rochester visiting our family and friends.  Unfortunately that plan didn't work out.  Since I already had a 9 day stretch off from work, I decided to make the best of it and plan lots of fun activities for the kiddos.

Day One of 'Family Fun Week' brought with it nearly 100 degree temperatures.  I slathered on the sun block and we went to the local splash pad.  It was a blast!  We brought lunch and had a picnic.  We were there for more than 3 hours.
Check out these happy faces!

Would you believe after that beautiful, sunny day we had severe storms and a 40 degree drop in temperature?  That's OK because we had already planned a trip to our favorite museum!  It warmed up just enough to be able to have lunch outside and get some fresh air, then it was back inside for more fun.

Gia the construction worker

The wind tubes
We were there for 4 hours and they played HARD.  They both slept on the car ride home and still went to bed at their normal time.
Needless to say after two days of big time activity, today we will be laying low.  We'll be off to the library in a little while for some 'quiet' fun.
I hope they get some good rest because I've got plans for more fun in the coming week.
Happy Summer Vacation!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Moving On and Moving Up...More Milestones.

My beautiful Tia is officially done with preschool and registered for Kindergarten.  I really can't believe how quickly this year went by, and how much she has grown.

When we began this journey, she was a painfully shy little girl who was terrified of the world around her.  We knew the real Tia was in there somewhere and just needed to be gently coaxed out.  We applied to a special program within the school district and were approved after the second try.  Within the first week of school we knew we made the right decision.  It was like someone flipped a switch and our sweet little girl came right out of her shell.  She was excited about getting on the bus, and seeing her friends and teachers every day.  Her fear of strangers diminished to a tolerable level.  Praise God!  What a sigh of relief for our family.

Although we are sad to see this school year come to an end, we are confident that Tia is 100% ready for Kindergarten.  She is currently accomplishing all of the skills needed to be successful, and for that we are grateful.

Here's a side by side comparison from the first day of school, and the last.  My how she has grown!

August 2010

Unlike most children who are bursting with excitement about the end of the school year, Tia is sad.  She says she'll miss her teacher the most.  I know that's true, but she'll also miss the daily routine, which she loves.

We'll do our best to continue that through the summer, along with having lots of fun of course!

We are so proud of our big girl!
June 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Budding Gardeners

We finally had the opportunity to put our garden in.  It's normally in by Mother's Day weekend but this year the weather has been less than cooperative.  We've had hot and rainy as well as cold and rainy.  Finally a stretch of 2 days with warm and dry allowed us to get out into the yard.

The girls enjoy planting the garden every year.  I love seeing the excitement in their eyes when the tomato plants begin to bear fruit.  I also love watching them take such an interest in watering, weeding, and tending to their very own garden.  I think we're growing more than just vegetables here.  We're cultivating responsibility and pride in hard work.

She's ready to dig right in!

The Little Professional

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Craft Project All Their Own

I guess I have taught my daughters well.  While at the park, they collected LOTS of pine cones and very excitedly told me they wanted to paint them.  They're used to doing craft projects all winter long when we don't get to play outside very much.  We're not inside as much in spring but since it was very windy out, and a bit chilly, this was a great idea.
They were so happy to get out all the paints, and make their own creations.

Happy kids and creative minds at work.  What more could I ask for!?