Sunday, July 26, 2015

Are We There Yet?!

Well, the "drivers" set out bright and early Friday morning on our road trip to Disney...or at least for about the first 11 hour portion of said trip (sigh...).  We were attempting to get as far as we could so we wouldn't have that far to travel Saturday morning to begin picking up people from the airport.  Our first stop would be New Orleans to pick up David, Codi and Beckett to ride with us.  Parker Ann decided that she would also ride with us for a while.
I knew it was bound to happen and it wasn't long before it did.  About 1 1/2 hours in the trip Parker Ann asked (for the first of many times...), "YaYa, how much longer until we get there?!"
We stopped to pick the New Orleans crew up and Parker Ann and Beckett took one last run around the apartment complex before they were to be strapped into car seats for the endurance of the trip.
Parker asked several more time if we were there yet and was SUPER EXCITED when we finally make it to Florida.  Even though we were not technically "there yet".  That's when she declared, "This trip is taking HOURS!"
                            But we did jump out at this rest stop to play for just a little bit...


And then it was back on the road again.  And the rain had set in.  But that really didn't matter because we were just driving AND it cooled things off a bit.  I hope it rains just a little bit every day.

We stopped around 9 p.m. for dinner.  At the Waffle House.  Just a little tip:  You might not want to do that late at night after driving all day and getting into bed.  Can you say HEARTBURN?!  After a not so good night's sleep we were off the next morning by 7 a.m.  We had to get to the airport to pick up the Ohioans by 10.  After picking Caitlin, Kevin and Holli up we went over the car rental place where we were to pick up our  15 passenger van.  Yep...we will be traveling around in this van and my Escalade will be used to carry scooters, strollers and diaper bags.

OH...and that suitcase sitting there is one of Caitlin's.  Which I'm sure DEFINITELY did NOT make the 50 pound weight limit for the plane.  It had a tag on it that said, "HEAVY".  No kidding!

While we were waiting for our van to be ready for pick up and the second bunch to come in at the airport we decided to head to the mall for some lunch and a little fun...
                                              The first place we hit was the Crayola Store!
                                                                 Crayolas made this!
                                                         These two were inseparable.
                                                      This store is an art lovers heaven.

After lunch, Robby and David ran over to pick up the van while the rest of us headed to the American Girl Doll Store...
                                   All of the girls (including myself...) LOVED this store!

                                            And yes...we left with some pretty cool items.

Hubs and I left for the dreaded grocery store trip while someone else went to pick up Ryan, Allison and Livie from the airport.  We finally made it to the house afterwards where most everybody went for a swim while the Grands were so exhausted that they took a wonderful little nap...before heading back to the airport for a final trip to pick up Mimi and PaPa.

We made it!  About 15 hours later and three trips to the airport and exhausting all of the coins in my vehicle for toll roads.  This BIG, FAT FAMILY is ready for DISNEY!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Getting Ready For Our BIG, FAT FAMILY VACATION

It's that time of year again and we are all gearing up to set out on another BIG, FAT FAMILY VACATION.  There are 17 of us this year.  Yes, you heard me right.  17 of us...some flying, some driving...ALL staying in the same house for a solid week.

At first, we just thought we would plan a vacation like we had last year at the beach in Destin.  However, we quickly found that the houses to rent that housed that many people were going for an outrageous price.  Seriously.  Like $20,000 a week.  GULP!  So, somewhere in there Hubby decided that we should just load up and go to...are you ready for this?  DISNEY WORLD.

Yep, it's only about 9,000 degrees here in Louisiana and instead of choosing a cooler climate for vacation, we chose Disney World.  WHAT WERE WE THINKING?!  I ask that NOW...because at the time...when the weather was not so hot...it seemed like a FANTASTIC IDEA.  And so we now find ourselves purchasing cooling paraphernalia for strollers AND ourselves.

Yes, it is going to be hot but hopefully a few rain showers will sprinkle us to cool us off and I think we will tend to visit most of the parks in the late afternoon and evening.  The house we are staying in was about a fourth of the price of the ones we looked at in Destin and it even has its own pool that we can cool off in.

Regardless of the heat, we are DISNEY BOUND tomorrow for a week of FUN in the HAPPIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD!  Everyone (I mean EVERYONE; adults included) are SO excited about going to Disney.  They have purchased cute little Disney clothes for the kids AND Hubby purchased t-shirts for all 17 of us to wear one day...
Lila Kate and Livie got yellow shirts with royal blue writing because they did not have their size in blue.  This is what the front says.
 I know in the picture the shirt looks gray (not sure why) but it is really a pretty royal blue.  This is the back.  Cute, huh?
And here's a sampling of not only the cute Disney outfits that have been purchased but also the excitement about our trip!
                                                                  Minnie...Her favorite!
                                 Don't you just love this Tinker Bell shoot?  It looks so magical...

And so now I find myself in a familiar place...Behind the eight ball.  I still haven't cleaned my vehicle out, gassed it up, run errands, boarded the dog...you get the idea, don't you?  And what am I doing?  Sitting here in bed drinking coffee trying to get my courage up to do all of those things in this 100 degree heat (sigh...).  Well, I'm getting off of here and up and getting after it...Or at least I'm still in the trying to convince myself stage.  I will attempt to post a few photos while we are away.  Pray for rain...and a cool front (if that's not asking for too much).



Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Counting Sheep In My Sleep

As you all most likely know by now, Grand Number 6 is on the way.  He is expected to arrive on October 29th.  If you followed me along the journey of Caitlin's pregnancy with Holli, you will remember how we had to make all sorts of cute stuff for the nursery and baby...including all of that handmade baby furniture her dad built?  Well, just to let you know...nothing has changed with this pregnancy.  Kevin has already painted the nursery and Caitlin has a theme (vintage toys) and now she has enlisted others to assist her with making Number 6's (I refer to him as this because no name has been decided on yet) arrival just as special.

My first duty was to produce some watercolor painting that can be hung in the nursery...

It had been a while since I water colored so I decided to fiddle around with watercolor pencils on these paintings.  There are still a few details left to do but otherwise they will be ready to travel with me to Ohio in September, be framed and placed on the nursery wall.

Now back to those sheep I've been counting in my sleep.  I pin a lot of things on Pinterest.  I mean a LOT.  One of them was this wonderful sheep blanket.  I realized that I had not ever attempted to do intarsia knitting (knitting a picture or design switching out colors).  I knew it most likely would not be simple, however, I did want to learn this technique one day.  I didn't realize that "one day" would be sooner than I had expected.  When Caitlin sent me the exact photo of that blanket to make for "Number 6"...

   Here is the photo of the blanket I pinned on Pinterest and MY blanket started in the blue yarn.
This is the yarn that Caitlin chose for the main color of the blanket.  She purchased this yarn at a shop in Ohio and mailed it to me.  Can I tell you that I just LOVE Malabrigo yarn?!
This is the yarn that the pattern suggested using for the sheep.  It is a fuzzy, textured yarn that I purchased at Michael's.
The pattern was not actually in the link that I pinned so I had to order the book from Amazon.  There are lots of other blanket patterns in this book that I will most likely use so the purchase was a good one.
Now the work began.  The border was no problem so I got it done pretty quickly.  However, for the intarsia knitting I not only had to watch an online video but also read the instructions that the book provided.
I learned a lot on this first row of sheep.  It was suggested that I make bobbins (separate threads rolled in a specific way so as to not cause tangling of the yarn), however, I decided to just let my yarn hang and did not have any trouble with tangling.  I also learned that the hanging yarn always needed to be on the wrong side of the piece and it is important to remember to wind your yarn around the new color when changing colors so everything will stay connected.  I'm giving you these tips because of my trial and error mistakes.  I had to rip out entire rows more than once...(sigh).
                                       Here I have my pieces of yarn cut and ready for use.
   OK, so I was SUPER PROUD of this first row of sheep!  And I LOVE the blue background yarn.
Needless to say, the second row went much faster and now I am about to start the third one.  I think I can have this blanket almost completed by the time we leave for vacation Friday!  All I will have to do is use a black yarn to make the faces and feet of the sheep and then back the entire blanket with a soft fabric to cover all of the cut yarn on the wrong side.

I always wanted to try intarsia knitting but was a little afraid of it.  Thanks to videos and additional instructions,  this project has actually been fun.  I'm not sure what's next for "Number 6" but I'm ready for the challenge after mastering this skill!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Sunday Dessert!

Yesterday was Sunday and, of course, after church those who were in town came over for lunch; 10 this week!  Lunch was nothing impressive...hamburgers.  But you don't really have to impress these people, all they want is a free meal.  And although we only had hamburgers, I did make my "Sunday Dessert" because it was Sunday and everybody wants something a little sweet to eat after their meal.

This week's "Sunday Dessert" was a Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I had never made one of these before but I made it this week for several reasons:
1.  I have always wanted to make one.
2.  I like pineapples.  A lot.
3.  Pineapples make me think of summer and our trips to Hawaii.  I want to go back.
4.  I'm told this was my father's favorite cake and my mother made it for him quite often.

Once I had decided which cake I would make this week, I turned straight to the Food Network to find a recipe that sounded good.  I found THIS recipe by Damaris Phillips, Season 9 winner of the Food Network Star.  I watch that show every year and just LOVED Damaris so I was definitely going to use her recipe.

The first thing you will need if you are going to try this recipe is a 10 inch black, cast iron skillet...
                                       Put 2 Tablespoons of butter in the skillet and melt it.
                                       Next, add 1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar.
 
   Stir the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes on medium heat and then set the skillet aside.
              Place pineapple rings around the edge and in the center of your sugar mixture.
                                   Now, take crushed pineapple and fill all of those holes up.
               Mix dry ingredients in one bowl (Refer to RECIPE for ingredients and amounts).
                                               Mix your wet ingredients in another bowl.
             Then mix 1/2 cup coconut oil and 3/4 cup sugar together until soft and creamy.
Add your egg, followed by 1/2 of the dry ingredients, all of the wet ingredients and then the remainder of the dry ones.
   Pour this mixture over your pineapples in the skillet and place in a 350 degree preheated oven.

This cake bakes very quickly (approximately 35 minutes), so check it at 20 minutes to make sure it isn't getting too brown.  NOW...go lick the bowl and beaters.  I know it has a raw egg in it but if you didn't grow up licking the bowl and beaters then you don't know what you're missing!  Wash all those bowls you used, load the dishwasher and by then it will almost be time to check your cake!

                                    Take the cake out and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
                                                   Then flip that baby out onto a plate!

Was this cake well received by my bunch?  Ummm...let's just say I'm glad I got a pinch of it because when I turned around it was GONE!  It was SO SUPER MOIST and DELICIOUS.  I'm pretty sure when everybody is in I will have to make 2...or 3 of these!

Sunday lunch AND dessert was a success.  Now it is Monday morning and I've gotta get things going around here.  Did I mention we leave for our BIG, FAT FAMILY VACATION Friday?!  Oh...details on that later...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Argh Matey...Captain Beckett Turns 2!

There's been a lot going on here.  No really...A LOT!  The Hubs and I have been frantically attempting to get Ryan's dental clinic open by August and my house has been a busy place with Grands coming to visit and swim and well, you know how summer is in general...Busy, Busy, Busy!  The 4th of July snuck up on us this year and actually we made it a double celebration.  Beckett's 2nd birthday was on the 5th so his parents decided to celebrate it on the 4th.

Beckett is just a little obsessed with Jake the Pirate these days, Matey, so you guessed it...the theme was EVERYTHING PIRATES!

 It was an outside party so we were very thankful that the weather was nice...at least until the party was over!


This jumper made its debut the day before the party and the kids really enjoyed it.  Too bad there was only a child sized door for them to enter or I would have tried it out as well!

 The pool house was not only a great back drop for the party but also a great place for people to cool off.








I caught some shots of the sweet birthday boy when he wasn't looking.  Because if he was looking he would run from the camera.  A "Boy Thing" I suppose.  However, I love to capture those moments when he doesn't know I'm looking...
                                                Oops...he heard the click of the camera.
                                                        And he's making his get-away...

                                              And then it was time to cool off in the pool!

                                                   And eat some Birthday Cupcakes.


                                Hit that pinata treasure chest to see what treasures were inside.
                                    CANDY...YAY!!!  What better treasure could there be?!
                                                   Then it was time to open presents!
                                               PIRATE TOYS!  And his Pirate Raincoat.
                                                                And Rain Boots.
                                        And great-mam-maw got to visit with the babies too!


                                 And then the rain came...But Parker Ann didn't seem to mind.

It was a busy, fun-filled holiday/birthday weekend with lots of family and friends.  And now we have another 2 year old...
                                                        Argh...Happy Birthday, Matey!