Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bake Sale: S'mores cookies

I have been pregnant 4 times, I carried and birthed 3 children, I have fixed boo boo's, made decisions to shape their lives, given up (happily) so much of my life for these little people.  But I have never felt more like a mom until recently when I made cookies for a bake sale.  How much more "mommy" can you get? And I love it!!!!

I haven't ever been a crafty, baking, house keeping perfect by the book mom, but it sure is fun to try!  I decided for my first bake sale I would do s'mores cookies that my friend had made via Pinterest.  Of course.  It helped that I also made these same treats two days before for Lyla's class as her birthday treat and had WAY too many supplies leftover.  I went to Sam's, and saw a s'mores kit and thought "well that is just about perfect", so I bought it.  

I now have about 16 leftover hershey's bars.  Damn.  Now I am going to have to eat them.

So here is what I used to make them:
graham crackers
marshmallows (minis or big ones torn into four pieces)
hershey's chocolate bars
store bought cookie dough

If you are that perfect mom with all the time in the world, you can make your own cookie dough.  However, this realistic mom buys it already made.

They very technical instructions:

Preheat oven according to cookie instructions
line cookie sheet with graham crackers
scoop a dollop on top of the cookie
bake for 3 minutes

remove cookie sheet
squish a mini marshmallow or a piece of a larger one into cookie and press down
lay one square of Hershey bar on top of marshmallow
cook the remainder of minutes according to the cookie recipe

These are super easy and a fun and unique treat.  Thanks to Jenny for introducing me! And thanks to my kids day care for hosting the bake sale where all proceeds benefit the MDA
Here is her class working hard washing my van to raise money for the MDA as well.  

Lyla helped me make these butterflies which we are selling at her school as part of their fundraising efforts. So proud that her teachers are teaching them the importance of community involvement and helping others.  I may not be a perfect mom, but I am a very proud mom.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Birthday weekend

Mine and Lyla's birthday weekend was just as fun as I had imagined.  I love hosting kids parties, and I love even more ....planning them! Sometimes I feel that the planning is more fun than the actual party.
Out of all the kids parties I have planned, this was definitely the easiest. All of our other parties have had quite a few details to work out, crafts to make, lots of coordinating, planning, you know...fun stuff! For this "Little Mermaid" party, we rented out the spray play ground, bought a cake, bottled water, bags of chips some plates napkins and a couple of decorations, goody bags complete with sunglasses, jewelry for the girls, chalk, beach ball, candy, whistles, and various Aerial toys.  And for the birthday girl, an Ariel swimsuit, personalized shirt, Ariel jewlery and of course a Yarn Therapy bow.  Since Lyla is now four, and she has a circle of friends we intended on having a kids party instead of our usual massive blowouts.  Well, I don't know if that will ever be possible? We are blessed with alot of friends and family that we adore, so another big bash it was!!

Saturday morning after Lyla and I were both surprised with bikes for our birthday's, we fed the kids, put them down for naps (except Lyla, she would not nap!!) and I headed out to pick up the balloon bouquet from Party City, cake from Publix, and then treat myself to a birthday lunch at Panera, my favorite lunch spot.
Got home just in time to eat, finish packing the car, wake the kids, dress them, load them, and head downtown.  We were on time! It went very smooth, thank you God.

We got to the spray park, which is an awesome public pool. They have recently added a spray playground which is perfect for little kids.  It is fenced off from the pool and ample room for them to run and play, grassy area to lay out in, and covered areas available. If you are in the Chattanooga area, check it out!

Warner Park Spray and Splash Park

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the day

After the party, all three kids went to "daddy's" Nana and Papa's house to spend the night and their Aunt Tracie and Uncle Keith were staying in town as well.  It was so hard to say bye to them.  It felt weird leaving Lyla after her party.  Everyone kept telling me to go out and enjoy myself for my birthday.  Me enjoying myself is an evening with my kids.  But I know how important it is to have adult time as well.  Five minutes after they drove off, I was OK and ready to party!!!! Tim and I went home, quick changed and back downtown to meet friends at Big River Grille.

Dinner was great fun! Love my friends and family.  We stayed at dinner a little too long (had nothing to do with the shots we kept doing, did it?) and got down to the riverfront for live music just before it ended.  We met up with a couple of more friends.  Laid out on the blanket, took pictures, and jammed to some Beatles.  Lovely.

We made the not-so-best decision to go to the club.  I guess I am finally showing my age.  My favorite line of the night was "I just want to go home and crochet" and two of the people with me totally understood! Though I was out later than I wanted to be, it was a fun time.  Definitely a new generation of kids out there that took over my little circle of friends place at the clubs.  They can have it! As Tim said, we would rather sit and hang out at a Chili's all night.  Yup, definitely, finally, acting my age.

The next morning it was time to go get the kids and it was Lyla's actual birthday!  Turns out the twins both had a fever.  I have never missed my kids this much before in my whole life.  I cried writing the usual happy birthday to my child facebook post.  I couldn't believe I wasn't with my baby on her birthday morning and on top of that the babies are sick.  So we got up to Nana's as fast as we could, which meant missing church. When we got there, Lyla was having breakfast, which included ice cream.  She later said that was her favorite part of the day.

We spent some time with the family, said our goodbyes to our SC family that were visiting, and headed back to our house.  Sean's fever wasn't breaking but Liv seemed to be happy and healthy.  
Later that evening, for Lyla's birthday we got some of the family together and went to her favorite dinner spot.  Welcome to Moe's!  It was very sad, but Tim and Sean stayed home.  I missed my boys.  But me and the girls and the family had a good time.  

After dinner, birthday celebration wasn't complete without Sweet Frogs, our new favorite treat.

I enjoyed this weekend so much.  I enjoyed seeing so much family, so many friends and most of all seeing the joy on Lyla's face.  She has been waiting for this weekend for many many months now, and to watch her soak it all in, was awesome.  And I love sharing a birthday with her!!! I am sure she won't love it as much as I do as she gets older, but that is OK.  We all know it will be all about her every year no matter what :)

Now that the twins party is over, Lyla's party is over, time to start contemplating next year. I already have some ideas in mind......

did I mention I LOVE planning kids birthday parties?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's my burfday!! And I have lots of good memories to share...

 Thirty *&%$S@#  years ago my mom was giving birth to me at Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadephia PA.  At 11:58am to be exact.

Seven years ago I was having dinner with my boyfriend Tim and a group of friends, and was proposed too.

Four years ago I was  in labor with Lyla and celebrating my birthday at Erlanger Hospital.

One year ago I was surprised.

Today I am riding bikes with my daughter, playing chase and hide and seek with my twin babies, and in happy tears over all the special memories I have.

I have good birthdays.

So I don't have any pictures of my birth, but here is the youngest picture I could find of me that I had scanned in.

Six years ago on my birthday, I was going to what I thought was a birthday dinner with out 10 of my friends. Lisa and Amanda and I went shopping for a birthday outfit.  That was only after I said I was going to wear jeans and a concert tshirt to dinner, they knew better.
Tim wouldn't tell me where we were going or who was going to be there.  On our way to dinner, he surprised me with a CD (can't remember which one!!!!).  As we drove downtown and he pulled into the Chattanooga Choo Choo, I realized we were going to The Station House, and I was very excited! It is a restaurant with a singing wait staff.  I love music, what a great way to spend dinner with friends.  After drinking a few glasses of wine, eating a delicious dinner, our waiter came over and sat next to me and began singing Edwin McCain's "greatest fan of your life".  It was sweet, made me feel special! My friends were snapping pictures and I was smiling ear to ear.  He then gave the microphone to Tim, and Tim got down on his knee and said "baby, just wanting to know if you would marry me".  I cried, screamed, covered my mouth with surprise, jumped in his lap and said YES!!!!!!!!!!!! What felt like 10 minutes later, I remembered there was a diamond ring involved, and put it on my finger and was absolutely the happiest I had ever been.  I immediately went outside and started calling family.  The day I had been dreaming about finally came.
Tim popping the question

engagement photo

Four years ago, it was a Monday and I was in the office doing payroll.  I went to Macaroni Grill (one of my fav restaurants!!) with some friends from work for my birthday lunch.  After a very awkward serenade in Italian by our waitress (seriously, it was awkward) I headed back to the office to finish up some loose ends before I went to the doctor for my checkup.  I was 39 weeks and 5 days pregnant and so ready to welcome my first child into the world.  I had no signs up labor.  I started to think I was going to be pregnant forever.  After my checkup, the doctor came in to tell me that my blood pressure was high and I had protein in my urine, signs of pre-eclampsia.  It was baby time, gotta get her out! I was thrilled.  Not because I was potentially going to be very sick, but because I might have my daughter on my birthday!!!
Thank God my mother was with me.  She helped me get checked in and settled into the room.  I called Tim. What was his response you say? "Should I go to my softball game, or find someone to cover".  Ummm, find someone to cover.  I had the amazing pleasure of having one of my best friends be my nurse, Beth.  She came in after an already long shift to work the night shift just for me!! I had lots of visitors, birthday cards, birthday presents and had a little party in the room. As my magnesium started hitting me, things started getting blurry. I started getting very sick.  Baby wasn't coming.  Midnight approached and I realized that Lyla was not going to be born on my birthday.  Typical Leo, she wanted her own day!
Twenty-seven hours later, Lyla was born. Once again, the day I had been dreaming about finally came.

birthday cards and presents!

so excited!!!

me and Beth
Happy family

Last year I was having what I thought would be a low key birthday. The twins were only a couple of months old. Though, I did have this amazing dream that I had a surprise birthday party and my sister Jacqui came from new Hampshire to surprise me. I called her a week before my birthday and told her it was a sign, she needed to visit.
After work my mom offered to babysit the kids so Tim and I could go to dinner. I tried going over the millions of baby details with her, but she wouldn't hear it. Shooed me out the door.
We went to the mall to shop for a present. I was so suspicious after my dream and kept waiting for Jacqui to jump out of a store and surprise me. Tim "left his wallet at home". Uh hu. I was on to him. I thought he was going to drive me to olive garden and Jacqui would be there. Well, he started driving home, for real. Maybe he did leave his wallet. Feeling a little disappointed we pulled up to my house and surprisingly my driveway was full of cars!!! Lyla came running out and yelling "mommy the whole family is here, surprise!!!!". Somehow Tim pulled it off. Still a mystery how he did it. Not only did he not use any form of communication other than word of mouth, but he got everyone there on time and without me knowing. Kudos to Tim!!!!
I was still looking for Jacqui though. I kept fooling myself and expecting her any moment. About an hour into the party I am in the kitchen, turn around. Jacqui!!!!! She really was there!!!!! They had this an together for quite some time, I guess my dream was a bit psychic. It was awesome. I felt loved.
And of course I have no pictures because it was a surprise and I wasn't prepared.
The next day we celebrated lylas birthday, with Aunt Jacqui. It was a fabulous weekend.

Today, I woke up pretty early.  I am still a child at heart and love my birthday.  Well that, and I was excited to give Lyla her present!! We are giving it to her today, since it is her birthday party day and because she is spending the night at Nana's and won't be here on her birthday morning.
While I waited for everyone else to wake up, I did my usual morning facebook reading.  I love getting facebook birthday messages, it really does make someone feel good.  For growing up without a whole lot of friends, it feels good as an adult to have people take a minute out of their day to wish me a happy birthday.
Everyone else woke up so we went downstairs to the garage to surprise Lyla with her bike.  Guess who else got surprised with a bike? ME!!! Been wanting one for a few years now.  Looking forward to this fall and taking bike rides with Lyla along the river.

So there are some of my favorite birthday memories. Today we are having Lyla's "Little Mermaid" birthday party at the splash park.  Tonight is my birthday party with the grown ups! Then tomorrow is Lyla's birthday dinner, by request at Moe's.  Going to be a great weekend.  Cheers!