Monday, July 19, 2010

Our Summer..

This is how our summer has been. Full of Fun and Excitement. It doesn't seem like we've had a weekend where we can just sit back and relax. Don't get me wrong - I'm not sure we would enjoy that much. We had our annual July 3rd Party. My parents, unfortunately, could not attend due to an illness. But we did get to see my sister and her kids for the first time in a long time. So it was nice they could finally make it to the annual event. Family and friends came out to enjoy the nice HOT Illinois weather, some great food, beverages, games, conversations and fireworks to end the night.

For the first time in a long time we actually were able to get all the cousins rounded up for a much needed photographic moment. Aren't they all so CUTE!!!

This bounce house has turned out to be a great investment. The kids will play for hours in this thing. Climbing, sliding and bouncing all night long.

Everyone has enjoyed the sandbox that has finally been put in. Of course, V has done a fantastic job putting the patio block in to ease his mowing around and the kids love it. I'm not sure that the parents enjoy it. Baby V decided to dump a whole bucket full of sand on her head - that was an awful bath. Do you know how hard it is to get fine sand out of someones hair??? It's not enjoyable - lets just say that.

Finally here she is after a night of running around and showing off her artwork. This is a block we did on her 2nd birthday. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to certain things and insisted that the stones not be placed in her hand print. So as she placed them I moved them to a better location. But it turned out and she loves to show it off.

To cap off our summer events, Baby V has enjoyed spending countless hours with her daddy. She loves talking about how she gets to see the track girls a couple of times a week. Her weekly visits to music class has been enjoyable and a good bonding time for her and daddy. She's been to the zoo and the family museum here in town. We ventured to St Louis for four days which was an absolute treat and she was a blessing. Our adventure in St Louis will be posted soon. We're also headed up to Michigan for a weekend to visit some friends at their lake house and to enjoy the sun and some boating and endless outdoor activities. So as our summer continues - we hope you are enjoying yours as much as we are enjoying ours.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May gone - June Starts

Where has the time gone. We've had a crazy busy month that it feels like it never existed. That's part of our busy lives I guess. With just a blink of an eye - it's all gone. But it was good, eventful and fun all in the end.

Mackenzie turned 2. We had a successful birthday party with family and close friends to join in on the fun.

Here's the little turkey at daycare on her actual birthday. She's not a ham or anything  - is she? They really did make her feel special and she loved her birthday hat.

She loved her party - even though the weather didn't turn out to be the best. But she got lots of nice presents and she's really enjoying them all. She also loved her Yummy Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cake too.

Then after all those festivities were over -- it was time to begin our yearly adventures to the State Meet in Charleston, IL. V left on Wednesday so the girls could compete in prelims Thursday morning. Baby V, my mom and I headed down Friday morning. It was a long road trip down with many stops along the way. The weather was rainy but by the time we hit our destination it was nice and sunny. We decided to stop at the Outlet mall to do some shopping and then off to Rockome Gardens in Arcola to ride the train, take a horse and buggy ride and walk around some of the gardens they had. We didn't stay very long as we only got there about 45 minutes before closing time. We did get to check out the cheese making factory and try some yummy delicious cheese. Next time we'll have to go and spend some quality time and check out all their shops. We then stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called McGrady Inn. It's an old church that has been turned into a bed and breakfast and it's absolutely wonderful. Below is the room we had. It's their choir loft which is a 2-story room. There's a TV room downstairs with a bed and bathroom upstairs. It's very spacious and comfortable.

As for the meet on Saturday, it went very well. The girls qualified 8 events of 12 that went down. It was a HOT sunny day and sitting in the bleachers from 9am til 5pm makes a long day for a 2 year old. I have to say Baby V did very well considering the conditions and not getting her daily nap for 2 days. We walked around a lot, ate, cooled off with some ice and lemon shakeups. At the end of the day Baby V crashed immediately getting put into her car seat and the girls were able to pull out a 4th place finish for the team. It was a great accomplishment. Everyone was so proud of all their hard work and dedication for the year. It was, yet, another great season and the Seniors will truly be missed.

Now we're into June and our crazy adventures continue. I'll post some pics of the meet as soon as they become available. I'm hoping they turn out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Birthday Prep..

So my daughter, my sweet, ornery, cute, little daughter turned two today. Hard to believe that two years have already passed but she's been a true blessing. She's an absolute joy and I couldn't have asked for a better child. She has her moments - like we all do - but overall she's the most joyful happy child I know. Can't you tell??

As she turns two today, I've been in birthday preparation mode. You have to know me - I tend to over extend myself in these types of situations. I have grandiose ideas that takes me days to plan, prep and execute. With birthdays, it's generally the cake I over extend. I posted back in April how I was making this cake for my daughter.

So far this cake has turned into a week long project and -- well -- I haven't even begun to make the cake. But here's where I'm at. First here is the hand.

After pondering several thoughts on how to make this - I decided my best bet would be to use straight white fondant. The fingers have been put together by using sucker sticks. Now the key will be to make sure I make the base strong and sturdy to hold the weight of this monsterous hand.

Next we have the clubhouse.

Keep in mind the final details are not all here but it gives you the effect of where I'm at with this. Unfortunately I'm a perfectionist and I think I could have done better but my daughter knows exactly what this is as she repeated continously last night --  "MICKEY MOUSE!!!!" So I guess that's all that counts. I did end up making the clubhouse out of rice krispie treats as I knew I could make that in advance and it would be sturdy. I shaped and molded the clubhouse into seperate pieces. I then covered it with fondant and attached the pieces together by hammering in a sucker stick. Worked out great. The slide has yet to be attached but that has been made strictly from fondant. I will begin to attach and add the remaining details come Saturday when I have to assemble. So hopefully this grandious idea I have will turn out just perfect -- well as perfect as I can get for tackling fondant for my very first time.

Meanwhile - as the preparations for this little girl's birthday celebration continues I will continue to enjoy every moment of this time because tomorrow she will be all grown up and no longer be my little two year old girl.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I find myself typing and deleting, typing and deleting. I haven't posted in quite some time for this same exact reason. We've had so much going on and so much I could post on that I don't even know where to begin. That was until this last weekend when we had a memorial service to attend for a former coach of V's. Jim Boughton, V's high school coach at Dubuque Senior, passed away 6 months to the day of being diagnosed with brain cancer. I had always heard stories about Boughton and what a great mentor, coach and friend he was but it wasn't until 3 weeks prior to his passing that I officially got to meet him. He had nothing but kind words to say about V and could say nothing other than he was proud of his accomplishments and his successes. He has followed V's career throughout the years and was overly proud of him. V stayed in touch through email and occasionally a phone call. Always seeking out advice and strategies for upcoming meets or areas he would be struggling with. It wasn't, however, until the memorial service that I realized something. See you have to know V and have to know how much he's into track and his girls and making sure he's got as much knowledge as possible to get through the season. He'll grab every newspaper out there to get information on his competition. He'll scan every website possible to get as much information on his competition as possible. He then will take that information and run the meet on paper about 10 different ways to see how they can come out on top. He's very meticulous when it comes to putting his meets together and putting his girls in certain events. But I always wondered where this came from. It's too the point that we joke about it because I just could never figure it out. He's not that way about anything else. Even when he coached basketball he wouldn't get that into it. Granted, track and basketball are two completely different sports but there was just something different about V come track season. I guess I just associated his strange behavior to the fact that track is V's life. It's his love and his passion - of course after the love and passion that he has for the two lovely ladies in his life -- ha! Anyway - it wasn't until this memorial service that I realized he picked this all up from coach Boughton. After hearing students, alumni and colleagues all speak about this man I know very little about, I then realized and felt as if I was at a memorial service for V. It was scarey as I sat there and listened and cried at these memories so many had of him. But then I realized - what a blessing. This man, this very caring knowledgable man has shared a wonderful gift with V. What a mentor to have! He was an outstanding coach with some great achievements to show for it and that man got to share his vast amount of knowledge with V. Boughton was not only able to coach him but was also a great mentor and friend. He gave V all the knowledge he had to be successful and it's paying off. As V goes through the next two weeks finishing up his season, Boughton will be on his mind I'm sure. It's sad to have lost such a great mentor, coach and friend -- but the knowledge and his memory will continue for many many years to come. RIP Jim Boughton -- we know you are there in spirit and in memories.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Well unfortunately, when I picked up Baby "V" yesterday, I found out we had a bit of an issue at daycare. Apparently, my sweet, little lovely daughter -- yep this one, this one right here

was sitting reading -- or probably, more likely, looking through -- a book. These days she loves going through book after book. So I'm sure she was really into this book. Then, out of know where, a little boy, apparently, came over to try and take her book from her. Well that's when it happened. My sweet little lovely girl -- yep this one, this one right here -- still my sweet little girl --

decided to "CHOMP" down on his arm. What's a girl to do?? She was only protecting her book? Heck, he was trying to take her little precious book away from her -- you know, like kids do at their sweet little toddler age. Well then the providers yelled - scaring my little daughter into "CHOMPING" down even harder and not letting go in fear of what might happen. So, of course they found she had broken his skin as they had to go and physically remove her mouth from his arm - they chose to discipline by putting on her favorite Mr. Al Show "Tootie Ta" and sat her in a corner to not watch.

Why am I posting this incident?? Well it's because I struggle with discipline at this age. What's a mom to do 6 hours later after the incident to discipline. Don't get me wrong - I think the providers handled it very well considering the situation and I would never second guess that they are not doing what is right. But, I, as the parent, felt horrible and sat there and talked and talked to her about biting and how wrong it was. I feel it's my responsibility to make sure she understands that we, as parents, do not tolerate such actions and that it's wrong. But, being 6 hours later, does she get it at the age of almost 2? Does she know - 6 hours removed from the incident - that I'm telling her biting is bad and she associates it with what she's done to this poor little boy? Every response I get from her is "yeah"

Do you like being a bad girl?  -- "Yeah"
Are you supposed to bite -- "Yeah"
Is biting nice? -- "Yeah"

It appears to be a never ending response.

So then I text daddy and let him know how nice his little girl was today. So, he gets home, talks to her, asks her what she did to the little boy today and she responds with "I gave him owies." So she gets it. Now it's 10 hours removed and she gets it - she remembers what happened 10 hours ago when daddy asks but 6 hours removed and she can't tell mommy anything but "yeah." However, daddy then goes through the whole list of questions to get the same response - "Yeah!"
This is where I'm at - she apparently knows what she did to the little boy but at what point is my disciplining her going to do any good? She got disciplined at daycare but I don't want her going around and thinking biting is okay. How do I teach her at this point to use some other defense mechanism to stand up for herself other than biting? If I try to teach that - is she going to get it 6 hours removed? Is she going to understand that she needs to use these other techniques in these situations - 6 hours removed? So that's where I'm at with it. Trying to get the whole discipline down. Well "V" - Mr "V" that is -- seems to get the whole discipline thing. Maybe because he deals with a bunch of 10-year old kids day in and day out and it's rather second nature to him. But me, well it's still new and I'm still learning and it's still frustrating. As much as I like to think that this lovely, lively, beautiful innocent baby girl -- yep this one, this little cute adorable one..  (not that I'm biased or anything)

is actually INNOCENT.. I know deep down inside she has those sides of her in which she has a little bit of defiance so I'm going to have to learn quickly on how to discipline this cute, sweet, I like to think -- innocent child.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fondant Mystery..

I've been pondering the whole idea of fondant for quite some time. You can buy it pre-made or you can make your own. When "V" and I got married our cake was made of fondant. It tends to be an acquired taste and through many cake tastings we found that most are not all that edible -- it definitely makes a cake look pretty but trying to find a good tasting fondant can be difficult. We lucked out and the gal that made our cake always made her fondant from scratch and it was delightful. I'm not a big sweet person so it was nice to have something that tasted nice but not overpowering on the sweet side.

As baby V approaches her 2nd birthday - yes can you believe it - she'll be two... I ponder what cake I'll make this year. Last year I went over board and made two, which ended up being, huge cakes. This is the caterpillar cake I made for her last year.

Now I'm thinking - how can I top this. Well --- I'm thinking I'll go with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse this year. She's all into Mickey and his gang and it's a weekend ritual to wake up and sing the Hot Dog song every morning. Besides what kid at her age wouldn't love to say "Meeska Mooska Mickey Mouse" and have the clubhouse magically appear and best thing of all - have it be edible. Here's the cake I plan on attempting to make.

Keep in mind that I did not make this cake and I can not take credit for the photo above. This cake was made by Norma S. from Indiana and she was so kind to post her cake with tips and hints at the Coolest Birthday Cakes Website. However, it's given me a good guide on how to make baby V's cake this year. However, as you can see - there's fondant - lots of fondant on this cake. I've never made fondant and have never worked with fondant. But to make this cake and make it turn out well I figured I'd have to dabble in getting some experience with this. I had pondered using the pre-made fondant but as I've said before it may not taste the best. So after some research and talking to some fellow friends, I decided to make some fondant on my own. Miraculously -- it was not hard at all. It had to be about the easiest thing I've ever made. Take some Marshmallows, water and powdered sugar and you're good to go. Now I added some almond extract into my water to give it some flavor and to see how it would work and it appeared to have worked wonderfully. Here was my end product for my first small batch.

Now that I've made it - it's sitting in my fridge for use. I will be rolling it out and playing with it soon to see what I can do with it but so far I've got a good product and who would have thought this would have been so easy to make.

Marshmallow Fondant
1 Cup Mini Marshmallows
1 Tablespoon Water
1 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar

Pack marshmallows into measuring cup until packed tightly and getting 1 cup. Push them down as you measure them out. Place into a microwave safe bowl. Add your water and microwave until they puff up - about 30 seconds or so. (If you want them flavored - add some extract into your tablespoon and then fill the rest up with water.) While marshmallows are in microwave - sift 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Now, once the marshmallows have puffed up, remove from microwave and stir. It should be a soupy consistency. If you want your batch to be all one color - add your coloring now. (I used the Wilton Paste Food Colors and it worked well.) Next add your marshmallows into your sugar and stir until well combined. It turns into a lumpy dough mess and won't combine into a ball at this point - that's okay. At this point - grease your hands up with some Crisco shortening and dump your bowl of fondant onto a clean surface to start kneading. You'll knead this mixture like you would bread dough. Knead it until you get a nice dough ball and it has nicely come together. Once you have your fondant ball - wrap up in saran wrap, place in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate. From what I've read - keeping your fondant refrigerated will last for several weeks. So this is something that you can make ahead of time as time permits.

Friday, April 16, 2010


No - I haven't fallen off of the face of the earth. We're still here and as busy as usual. Didn't I say that we live a crazy hectic life?? Yep that would be the reason I haven't posted in a while. On top of that - it appears the entire "V" Family has come down with this wonderful great allergy, sinus, cold thing that has allowed me, solely me, being down all week. The rest of the family has it but it appears theirs have been quite minor compared to mine - or maybe I'm just a big baby and need to suck it up. But once I get back to feeling normal I have great things to share with all of you --  pictures, events, happenings, the works.. So until then.. I'll keep you all in suspense.