Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mama's Holiday Wish List

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
- a camera
- a new house (this is a WISH list)
- new jeans
- brown shoes
- Ugg boots (mine are like 10 years old and looking ratty)

2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
- I've received a lot of handmade gifts, but probably a skirt my mom made for me.
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
- There is a really cute shirt and skirt that I want to try to make for my daughters.
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
- The one that stands out the most is the original Nintendo
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
- I just asked my oldest and she told me that she really wants her own tube of chapstick. I think that can be arranged...
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
- ummmm.... anything sweet!
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
- I'm going to try and make some shirts and skirts for my daughters and maybe a pair of Robeez type shoes for my niece.
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
- Not really sure... Maybe the National Lampoon's Christmas
9. Favorite holiday song?
- Joy to the World
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
- We grew up going skiing every Christmas and it was so much fun

Monday, November 2, 2009

All about "Us"

I was tagged by Nicole, at Launder, Fold, Repeat! You need to check out her sight. She has the cutest kids, greatest crafts, and recipes that are AMAZING! This post will give my readers (all two of you) a chance to get to know Andy and me better!

What are your middle names?

Mine is Jane. His is Andrew (his first name is Jerry, but he goes by Andy)

How long have you been together?

We have been together since high school! We started dating our senior year, so November 1998. So, I guess we've been together for 11 years now. Wow that seems like a long time, but it has gone by really fast!

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
We knew each other before we started dating. Andy and I don't agree on this part because he says that I didn't know who was my Freshman year, but I totally do. He tells me that he remembers me at basketball practice wearing really ugly high socks.
I actually dated his best friend before we started dating (
he actually was the best man in our wedding), so I guess we knew each other for at least 2 1/2 years before we started dating.

Who asked who out?

We sort of hung out for a while in a group of friends, but for our first "date" I think that he asked me.

Who made the first move?

He did.

How old are each of you?
We are both 28. He is older than me by 1 month.

Did you go to the same school?
We went to the same high school, but different colleges. I went to Hillsdale and he went to Davenport.

Are you from the same home town?


Who is the smartest? Depends on the subject.

Who majored in what?'I majored in Elementary ed and he majored in Business

Who is the most sensitive? Definitely me.

Where do you eat out most as a couple? Usually whatever place can serve the food the fastest because we have three impatient little girls. If we are going out by ourselves we like to to go to local places like Leo's or Honey Creek Inn.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?

Jamaica on our honeymoon

Who has the worst temper?

He does, but I have been known to shine in this area as well. :)

How many children do you want? It depends on the day. I know that we would love to have at least one more, but some days 2 more sounds good to me. Andy tells me that we'll talk when we get to four.

Who does the cooking? Both of us. We both love to cook, which is nice because if I don't fee like it, I know that he will make something delicious.

Who is more social?
It depends on the situation. I would say he usually is more outgoing in large groups. I like small get togethers with close friends.

Who is the neat-freak? I wouldn't call him a neat-freak, but he likes things clean. I like things clean too, but he gets particular with certain parts of the house.

Who is the most stubborn?

If you know Andy then I don't even need to answer this, but for those of you who don't know him: HE IS!

Who wakes up earlier? Usually he does. He has been awesome with getting up with the kids and letting me catch a little more shut eye.

Where was your first date?

We went to Studio 28 and saw "Waterboy."

Who has the bigger family?

He does. He has three other siblings. I have 2 other siblings.

Do you get flowers often?
Not a lot anymore. I got them a lot when we first started dating. Now I get them for my birthday and maybe a few other random times during the year.

Who is more jealous?

We really aren't jealous people... I guess we just trust each other. :)

Who eats more?


What do you do for a living?

His main job is a real estate agent. He also helps farm at his parent's orchard and also raises money for a private equity firm. I am a stay at home mom and love every minute of it (except the changing diapers part)!

Who does the laundry?
I do the laundry. He pretends he doesn't know how to use our new washing machine (uh, how hard can power "on" and "start" be ?). He will help me fold and put away if I ask.

Who’s better with the computer? I think it's a tie.

Who drives when you are together?
99% of the time: him. He doesn't like driving in big cities where he doesn't know his way around, so I usually will drive then.

What is your song?
I don't know if we have one?

Thanks for the tag, Nicole! So, now it's time for me to tag a few people. Tag, you're it (if you have time and energy!) to Rachel, Carrie, Ashley and Molly !

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sugar Cookies w/ Royal Frosting

This is a great recipe! I tweaked it a little for the liking of my family.

Ella’s White Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 t. almond extract
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
2 ½ c. sifted flour

Cream butter. Add powdered sugar. Blend in egg, almond extract, vanilla, salt and flour. Chill dough until firm. Roll to ¼” thickness on well-floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters. Place on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 min. Cookies should not brown. Frost and decorate when cool. Yields ~24 cookies. THE ORIGINAL RECIPE SAID THAT IT MADE 40 COOKIES, BUT I BARELY GOT 24 OUT OF THE BATCH. I guess it depends on the size of the cookie cutters.

Royal Icing
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. meringue powder (You can buy this at Michaels)
5 tbsp. water

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the sheen has disappeared and the icing has a matte appearance (about 7-10 minutes). This will be the stiffest consistency of the icing. This is the consistency that you will use to pipe around the outside of your cookie. You may need to add water to make a little thinner, but ADD A LITTLE AT A TIME (Remember, if you are having any difficulty piping, it is still too thick. Add a little more liquid and try again.) Separate the icing into containers to tint frosting. Using a pastry bag (or in my case, a Ziploc baggy with a corner snipped to fit piping tools), pipe around the edges of each cookie. Let stand so the icing will set. Make sure to keep the leftover icing covered at all times when not in use so that it does not begin to harden.

After you have piped all of the cookies, thin out the remaining frosting by incorporating a small amount of water at a time, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then smooths in with that still in the bowl. If you go too far and the icing is too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar to thicken it again. Once the frosting has reached the desired consistency, transfer it to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. If it does not completely spread to the edges, use a toothpick to help it along. Allow to set.

Use the remaining thicker icing for piping decoration as desired.

**I use gel food coloring because I think it makes brighter colors, but liquid food coloring can also be used!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Molly is 2 months old (well almost three)!

I can't believe that Molly is already two and a half months old! It feels like she has always been a part of our family. She is loved so much by her sisters (mom and dad, too). She has been a pretty easy baby, but has been getting a little more fussy lately (hopefully this just a phase). She is very alert and loves "standing" while you hold her. She is smiling a lot and looks around to find out where the noise is coming from, and trust me, there is always NOISE in our house.
Here are her stats from her 2 month checkup:
Weight - 13 lbs 7 oz
Height - 23 1/4 inches
The nurse didn't write it down, but I think she is about 95% for each category! This wasn't very surprising see that Layne and Abby were both way off the charts for each when they were little (and still are off the charts).
Here are pictures to show how much she has changed in one month!

Molly - 1 month

Molly - 2 months (I couldn't find the dolls clothes)

Molly and Abby
Layne and Molly

She loves the exersaucer!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Swagbucks! I love it!

So, I posted about Swagbucks a while ago, but I just wanted to tell you how much I love it! For those of you that don't know what Swagbucks is you can read about it here.
This is a great way to buy Christmas presents. I've been buying Amazon gift cards and plan on buying the something for the girls from there this year. The gift card options are endless! This is the best and cheapest way to buy gifts for people (or yourself) because you aren't spending a dime, yet you can earn these awesome gift cards! You can now get cash from Swagbucks by buying a PayPal gift card and they will put $5 in your PayPal account.
A great way to build up points is to have people sign up using your code. I am amazed at how fast the points add up after just doing a few searches a day. The points add up even faster if your friends use Swagbucks too!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hide the Remote!

So today I told the girls that they could watch Caillou for a little while. I turned on the TV to PBS and went upstairs to fold some laundry. It was quiet downstairs so I figured that they were watching the show, but I was wrong! Layne yelled that she couldn't find Caillou and I told her that it should be on because I turned it to the right channel. She then told me that she pushed the button on the remote (meaning the OnDemand button that we use to watch already recorded shows that Comcast puts up each month). My heart started racing because if you just start pushing random buttons you could end up finding more than kids shows...
Well it turns out that ordered an "ADULT" film... you know, the ones that cost $14.99. Luckily I pushed cancel right before the, I'm sure high quality movie, "Big Boobs" popped on screen. I told her that only I could use the remote and then quickly hid it from her.
What are the chances of a kid pushing random buttons on a remote and ending up purchasing an adult film. My job for tonight is to find the child lock on the remote...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Layne started school today and she was very excited about it. She woke up smiling and telling me that it is a school day! After we finished our french toast we loaded everyone up in the stroller and walked to school. Layne wouldn't stop talking the entire way to school, but once we entered the building she was silent! She loved finding her hook and hanging up her backpack, but when I told her it was time to go into her classroom she told me she had to hug her sisters first. It was the cutest thing! Abby cried when she realized that Layne wasn't coming with us, but that quickly stopped when she saw a few dogs our on walk back home.
Abby didn't know what to do without her big sister, so she stuck like glue to me for the next 2 1/2 hours! I'm hoping this will change, but it must be hard on Abby since she has always had someone to play with.
Layne was smiling when we picked her up and proud to show me her artwork that she had made today. She was very quick to hug Abby and Molly and tell them that she was done with school for the day.
I'm going to miss my big girl this year, but I know that she will love school and socializing with the boys and girls in her class.

Labor Day Weekend

We had a great Labor Day Weekend with awesome weather. We spent our last weekend of the summer at my parent's cottage. The girls had an awesome time playing with their cousins, Zach and Carter. Layne and Abby loved sporting the new wetsuits Grandma bought for the cottage. They fit perfectly as you can see from the pictures. :) Here are some pictures from the weekend.



Tubing fun!


Last tube ride of the summer

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hudsonville Fair

Last weekend we went to the Hudsonville Fair with Matt, Allison, Zach and Carter. The weather wasn't the best, but that turned out to be a good thing because it wasn't very busy! It was dollar day, so all of the rides were only a dollar (thank goodness because I wasn't about to pay three dollars for a carousal ride). Layne loved all of the rides that she was able to go on (next year she'll be able to ride more). Abby wished she could have gone on all of the rides, but she was just too small. Here are some pictures from the day.

The Ferris wheel

Everybody on (check out that carnie!)!

Sticky hat

Carousal ride

Bumper cars - Layne loved this ride

Dragon "teacups" - Andy got the girls so dizzy on this ride

Matt, Allison, Zach and Carter on the dragon "teacups"



Sunday, July 26, 2009

Molly Jane

We are now a family of five! Molly Jane was born on Friday, July 17. She weighed 8lb 11 oz and was 21 inches long. She is a very easy baby (I'm probably jinxing myself) to have around. She sleeps pretty much all day and night. This can be a problem with getting feedings in, but she seems to be eating better everyday. She has the cutest, chubbiest cheeks I've ever seen. It was funny because in the operating room the first thing the nurses and doctors said was, "Look at the cheeks on her." When she was born Andy and I thought she looked exactly like Abby did, but slowly I am seeing more and more of Layne in her. It will be fun to see her personality develop in the upcoming months.
The girls (Layne and Abby) love her already and fight (literally) over who gets to hold her. The newness of her is waring off, thank goodness and now only ask to hold her like 10 times a day. Layne and Abby had a lot of fun the past week because they got to sleep at both sets of grandparent's house and my sister's house. They also spent three nights at my parent's cottage, so they were very spoiled. It will be interesting to see how this next week will be at home with me and the girls. Hopefully I can keep the older ones entertained while trying to recover from my c-section and take care of a newborn.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Last Getaway as a Family of Four

We decided to head up to my parent's cottage for one last weekend as a family of four. We had a great time and great weather. The girls could play in the water all day and night if we let them. Layne and Andy went tubing behind the boat for the first time this year. She was screaming the entire time, but said she had a lot of fun when we got back. It probably would have been more fun for her to go by herself because Andy's tube kept spraying her and making her ride pretty bumpy. Abby enjoyed playing in the water and making sure that I was always by her side (I think she can sense that a big change is about to occur).
The weekend was relaxing except for Sunday morning when I decided to head up to the cottage from the beach to get the girls a snack. I had taken about four steps up the stairs and right when I was about to put my foot on the fifth step, a huge (okay maybe not huge, but definitely fatter than a garden hose) snake slithered off the step and into the trees. I have never ran down those steps faster. I caused a huge commotion because I was yelling so loud (I'm sure people thought my water broke or something). Everyone thought that it was so funny, but I haven't recovered from it yet. My dad tried to comfort me by telling me it probably wasn't poisonous, so if it had bitten me it wouldn't have been a big deal. I told him that dogs aren't poisonous, but it would still hurt if one bit me. I think my blood pressure is now back to normal, so here's hoping I don't have anymore traumatizing events this week.

Abby lounging on the turtle


Andy trying to get Layne to stop screaming

Look at that lip

Loving the water

Sisters on a pontoon boat ride

Layne warming up in the sun

Abby chilling on her chair

She loves to drive

Monday, July 6, 2009

The 4th of July

Here are some pictures from this past weekend. We spent it at my parent's cottage on Big Star and had a great time! The fire works were great and we didn't even have to leave our cottage to watch them! Andy also had his own fireworks show that he put on for us with the fireworks he bought at a "secret" warehouse in town. You definitely wouldn't have found his fireworks for sale at any store in Michigan. Abby missed out on the fireworks (maybe next year), but Layne had a great time. She loved watching them, but as she put it, "I don't love the noise." My brother bought some huge sparklers for the kids to use and they were a hit. Layne did get a spark on her foot from one of the sparklers, but other than that, it was a great night.

Fourth of July snack

Enjoying a snack with Zach and Carter

I think it's impossible to get a picture when they are both smiling.

Playing catch with Avery

Watching the boat parade

Papa and Layne watching the neighbor's fireworks (notice the ears being covered and the gigantic pregnant lady in the background)


Grandma and Layne

Avery and Layne