Sunday, September 28, 2008

Easy Apple Cake

Thought I'd share an easy recipe for apple cake that we redeemed ourselves with by making tonight (and by the way, we ate every last piece of our burnt pie that wasn't so burnt afterall :)!)
The funny thing is, because I was making dinner at the same time somehow the timer for the cake was turned off during baking. But not to fear, I was not going to lose this one to the 350 degree beast - the cake turned out YUMMY!

Here's the recipe from and some pictures of our baking redemption :)!


2 c. diced apples
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon

Place apples in a mixing bowl; add sugar and mix. Let stand 1/2 hour. Then add oil and egg and blend well. Sift all dry ingredients on apple mixture, add walnuts and mix well. Add vanilla and stir well again. Turn into well greased and floured 8 x 8 pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes in 350 degree oven. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream or serve cold.

Linda's Surprise Party

Yesterday was a pretty busy Saturday for us- started out doing some running around and then went to Linda's surprise 60th birthday party. Linda is a friend of Pete's mom - they had Trina and Renee in the same hospital on the same day and became friends. Through the years the families have kept in touch as Beth and Pete are the same age and now we all have families of our own.

Here are some pictures from the party. Linda was very surprised and everyone was very happy to see us and appreciative that we made it out to the party which was about 45 minutes away. There were lots of little friends for Kylie to play with and Peyton had her share of fun and birthday cake too! Kylie loved shouting surprise when Linda walked in and then whispered something so funny into my ear. She said, "Mommy are you thinking what I'm thinking? I thought the birthday girl was going to be like me!" Meaning that she thought birthday parties were just for someone her age. Doesn't sound like a bad thought process to me as far as the aging part but on the other hand we all like a good party :)!

Life is short and a little extra effort here and there can put a smile on someone's face or make a big difference in their day. So even though it was pretty challenging with the kids we were happy to share in Linda's surprise day!

The guest of honor talking to one of her friends

Peyton playing ball with Beth's son TJ

Kylie playing (?) Go Cubbies cornhole with a new friend

Kylie enjoying some birthday cake. If you look closely, Kylie was lucky enough to get the piece with a sand castle on it which Kylie, in normal princess fashion, was quick to call "the kingdom"!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bakers Square We Are Not

But we tried!

I had been promising Kylie all week that we would make an apple pie and some other things with all of the apples we had picked so tonight was the night we went for it! All was well until we left it in the oven as long as the recipe said to- oops?!

The test will be in the morning when we TRY to cut into it :), but we had a lot of fun so that's what matters!

Maybe our next attempt will be at homemade applesauce- can you burn that :)?

Getting started...

Putting all of the apples into the sugar and cinnamon...

Filling the pie crust...

Ready for a sample...


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's official

After 4 different interviews it's official that I have a new job and I start on Monday! I will be an Account Manager for Robert Half International in their Marketing and Advertising Division- The Creative Group. The staffing industry and sales is a new arena for me but my marketing experience and laundry list of roles during my 7 years at BP should help me out at least a little!

Of course it's always a bit scary and uncertain when you start again somewhere with new responsibilities to learn and people to get to know. But I'm very excited to take on this new adventure and the little ones are ready to get back into the routine they know. The 3 months home together was definitely time well needed and well spent but it was also a bit foreign to us. As crazy as working long hours and juggling schedules may seem, it's what we know. The experiences we afford our little ones are priceless even during these young years as they learn and grow so quickly and along with my #1 job of being a Mommy I also need the challenge and stimulation that a professional career brings. It's all about trying to achieve that perfect balance- if such a thing does really exist?!

The plan is to use this week to get things in order and ready for Monday. The girls will return to Adventures In Learning where their teachers and friends can't wait for them to come back. Actually, Kylie headed back yesterday as she was so excited when we had stopped in on Monday to do all of the paperwork, etc. that I was up for the idea if she was! She had a wonderful first day back playing with her friends, having ballet & music class and working on the letter C in her lessons.

So it's little Peyton and Mommy for the next few days and if only Kylie could see what is going on at home with HER toys. When Kylie's away...Peyton will play :)! We won't tell if you won't!

Kylie with Daddy and Peyton ready for Mommy to bring her to school yesterday

Peyton ringing up her morning purchase today

Peyton cooking up something for Kylie when she comes home tonight

Monday, September 22, 2008

10 months and ready to ride!

As you all know, little Peyton turned 10 months old on the 16th. The months are flying by and with getting older comes getting bigger and being able to do more and more ride on the back of Daddy's bike!

It's hard to believe that now Kylie is already too big to ride with Daddy on his bike but little Peyton is waiting in the wings. Here are a few shots of her first ride with Daddy when we got back home on Sunday afternoon. Then Kylie, not to be forgotten, got a ride in the bike trailor as we headed over to the park with the neighbors. Where were Peyton and I you may ask? Trying to keep up with the stroller which wasn't half as exciting for Peyton as her bike ride with Daddy!

Tis the season...

for apple picking! We were in Michigan City at Grandma and Papa's over the weekend as were my brother and Connor. On Saturday morning we all headed out for one of our favorite fall activities - apple picking at Garwoods Orchard, the largest orchard in Indiana. We had a fun time riding on the wagon out to the apple trees and the kids got an added surprise during the outing- a pony ride! Kylie was on Cloud 9 as she has been begging us for months to go on a pony ride (this request stemming from all of the magical horses that star in practically all of her favorite princess stories!)

The picking is so much fun that before you know it you have more bushels of apples than you could ever know what to do with! Anyone have any good recipes that use a lot of apples :)?

Peyton on quality control

Grandma, Connor and Kylie hard at picking

Uncle Mark and Connor on the wagon ride- these 2 aren't baseball fans are they?

Peyton hard at work again- this time in charge of keeping track of our bags for the apples

Kylie and Connor posing for the traditional pic under the "u pick" tree

Why do we have to miss all the fun? We like apples :)...(Spike, Emma & Maya)

Peyton and Kylie sitting on the fruits of our labor

Peyton meeting Rocky the Horse

Kylie and Connor READY for their ride on Flash the Pony!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ike be gone!

I felt like I had to dedicate at least one post to the latest events from Mr. Ike. The destruction and devestation that he has left on so many lives is one of Mother Nature's gifts I just can't understand. Please say a prayer for all of the folks so terribly affected by Ike.

Fortunately we only received LOTS of rain here for MANY days. But no complaints. A bit of sweeping outside, slowly but surely we are drying out and the sun has come out again. We had a beautiful, DRY, fall like day out today that was just about perfect.

Above picture was taken last Saturday through our back sliding glass door (hence the clarity of the photo :)!). Not only did the kiddie pool on the deck fill up, it overflowed just like all of the ponds, brooks and even grassy areas around. Surprised we didn't see any ducks waddling by, but even they probably took cover from the miserable conditions! I know the little flying ants did in our bedroom windows but that's another post all in itself- ugh...good night!

Not a care in the world

Isn't that how you feel when on a swing?

Photos taken during our playdate with Chloe and Aiden this morning (the neighbors). The group came over around 9:00 and the plan was to have the girls play for a bit indoors and then venture out to a play area if some air was needed :). Well, as the pictures depict, some air was needed.

It started off with poor Kylie. Chloe just did not want to play in Kylie's room with her toys today. Rather, she just wanted to be by Mommy and eat snacks. This put Kylie into a MOOD as she couldn't understand why Chloe didn't want to play today when that's what she came over to do. Can you blame the poor thing? Then Peyton...there was WAY too much excitement in the house for her to even think about laying down for her morning nap, so after several attempts I threw in the towel on that one.

So then off we went, to our local community center with the library and play areas. We started outside and then the kids played inside. Peyton hung out with Mommy as we went through our email in the computer area and checked out some movies for her and big sis from the library.

There was just something not quite right in little Chloe's world today as the playdate ended on quite a sour note. You know how you have those days when the smallest anything will just make you beside yourself? Poor Chloe- today was that day. Kinda nice it wasn't Kylie for once though :)! Feel better Chloe- maybe we can all play outside this afternoon!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Open up and say Ahhhhhh...

Please forgive the still sicky Mommy that forgot to post this cute video of Daddy feeding Peyton last week. These two have quite a special relationship. Peyton will do anything for Daddy- hence the repetoire of tricks they have already :)!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Discovering LEGOLAND

Earlier this week we ventured off to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center- America's first indoor Legoland. It opened in July and it seemed like a great way to spend a very cool and rainy day such as it was on Monday here. I thought the trip over to Schaumburg would be much easier with Grandma B. accompanying us, and I was right.

We had a great day starting off with lunch at Rainforest Cafe and then exploring all that LEGOLAND had to offer. We explored the Jungle Expedition, the Lego Factory, the Dragon Ride and the Lego Play Area- and of course most everything was made out of Legos!

After a quick snack and a trip to the Lego gift shop of course, we made a quick pitstop at Starbucks for Mommy and Grandma. Then we hit the road back home to share all of the stories of our fun day with Daddy! I'd say we'd take you next time Daddy, but for about $20 per person (good thing we had a coupon!) I think we had our share of LEGOLAND fun- next time let's hit the bins of Legos in Kylie's room :)!

Kylie with the tigers at the Jungle Expedition

Entrance to LEGOLAND

The "twins" at Rainforest Cafe

We made it out alive and actually ate some lunch too!

Peyton loves these types of things at play areas!

The beginning of a masterpiece

These Legos are mine, all mine!

Learning how Legos are made at the Lego factory

Grandma and Kylie embarking on the Dragon Ride

Quick snack break

Kylie testing just how strong of an earthquake her Legos could stand up to!

Peyton having a great time playing in the soft legos!

What a face!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A morning at the laundromat

Unfortunately Mommy's come down with a yucky cold in the past few days. So although feeling pretty crummy right now, I wanted to share our adventures at the laundromat this morning with you...

Thanks to some smart persuading from Grandma B. who's here with us this week, our gang headed to a laundromat this morning. Instead of telling what led up to this unusual trip for us, let's just leave it at our 2 year old washing machine died last week and is still waiting to be revived!

I pulled into a laundromat that was on the way to where I had planned to go, which was a bit of a mistake but we survived (you'll note the newness and cleanliness of the location we visited in the pictures below?!)

But mission accomplished and we'll keep our fingers REALLY crossed for the speedy recovery of our own washer!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Maybe Spike can help?

No worries Daddy- this fan will help pull our Cubbies thru!

Cubs Magic Number

Magic number for the Cubs to clinch the division is 16. This is the combination of wins by my beloved Cubbies and losses by the Brewers for us to clinch the division! I will update daily. They have me a bit worried at the moment..........

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Bud!

Our neighbor Bud turned 75 years young this past week and to celebrate, Kylie and I made cupcakes for Bud as well as the rest of our neighbors. Kylie was a great helper and we had a lot of fun! Peyton enjoyed sampling the final product and gave us her seal of approval by gobbling all of the pieces up as quickly as Mommy could give them to her!