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Our Bunnies

Posted by casey on March 31, 2013 in Caden, Everett, Holiday Fun, Home

 
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Easter Change Up

Posted by casey on March 30, 2013 in Caden, Everett, Family, Holiday Fun, Nieces and Nephews Oh My!

Last weekend we were able to make a long overdue visit to Oklahoma McKinney to see my brother, Jess and the kiddos.  Everytime I drive out there from our house I think it is going to be shorter…50 minutes every time.  Originally we were going to join them for an Easter egg hunt in their neighborhood and other festivities. As most of you know the weather had other plans in mind for all of the cities’ community and neighborhood hunts scheduled then – canceled!

A. It was FREEZING!
B. It was entirely too windy.
C. It rained.

While the hunt may have been canceled, (which was a shame, but the boys would have been miserable doing it in the cold anyway) we still made the drive up there to get a visit in and let the kids play. Just a little change up in action.

The neighborhood was nice enough to still do the donut breakfast and Easter Bunny visit in the clubhouse they had planned.  Cathryn and Cameron went right up to the bunny and took an adorable picture.  Caden…ran the other direction and hid in the corner most of the time terrified we were going to force him onto this giant bunny who was for some reason waving at him.  Creeped out was an understatement.  I thought there might be hope for a silly bunny picture when Everett kept giggling and waving to the bunny as he scooted closer and closer.

Want to know what happened when it was his turn?  Remember this?  Yeah that…but before I had even sat him down.  As soon as he realized he was going to actually be placed on the bunny he dug his hands into my arms hard, started shaking and screaming. Ha!  I mean, it is pretty creepy.  So he spent the rest of the short visit happily waving and pointing to the bunny even after his minor meltdown from a distance he felt was safe enough.

While I may not have gotten a picture of them on a human costumed bunny, we did do an impromptu shove all the kids in a flowerbed “photoshoot” of the cousins since it is so hard to get them together and they are growing so fast.

Two kids look & two look away, one looks back while the rest look away, two kids look & two wander off….it went a little like that. Cathryn smiled the whole time which I thought was amazing and then it was pointed outthat she is the oldest…and will be 5 this summer.  Go figure, the oldest followed directions! It always strikes me how much our kids don’t look like.  You would never guess that my casper blonde haired blue eyed babies are related to Cathryn & Cameron with their always tanned skin, big deep brown eyes and dark hair. Such a contrast in appearance, but as is the case with all of our boys’ cousins.

All in all it was a fun day to add to all of our Easter prep festivities, the boys & us enjoyed the visit and we got some great pictures to document their ages on top of it all. Success! Now hopefully the weather won’t keep the real bunny from hiding some eggs outside tomorrow! Happy Easter Weekend!

 
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12: {Weekly Graces}

Posted by casey on March 30, 2013 in Life as I Know It, Weekly Graces, Writing Nook

Week Twelve

March 22 – March 28th

1. Clean house top to bottom. Phew!
2. Getting errands run and purchases made for our upcoming trip.
3. Making bunny bait with an excited Caden.
4. Getting breakfast made for both boys and my husband before anyone woke up.
5. Visit to Cousins
6. A quiet evening at home alone. Two kids in bed, just me the fireplace, my laptop and a chick flick.
7. Colter letting me sleep a little longer.
8. Grocery run and dinner prep done before noon.
9. Beginning an overdue filing project
10. Pot roast and veggies slow cooking on a cold day.
11. A brisk afternoon jog while pushing an entertained Everett in the jogger.


12. Cinnamon Apple Streudel over ice cream with Downton Abbey
13. Getting all my clothes picked out, tried on and test-packed for our upcoming trip.
14. Actually making it to the post office to mail off birthday presents & care packages.


15. Pictures of my family.
16. Successful design of Easter shirts for the boys.


17. A house full of boys. Loving all the dirt, trucks and bugs.


18. Watching my boys take turns at the baseball tee and help each other.
19. All things Easter going to school with Caden. Looked so fun and he was SO excited.


20. Takeout
21. Snuggling puppies.

Don’t forget to join the weekly graces challenge yourself at www.jordylizblogs.com

 
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Egg-Cellent

Posted by casey on March 28, 2013 in Caden

Caden and I did some work this week getting ready for the Easter Bunny.  Truthfully?  He did an egg-cellent job.  I’m sorry…I had to.

Growing up, my family and I would always sit down and dye Easter eggs.  My brother and I would try crazy combinations or making half/half eggs while my mom tried to break up any sibling rivalry.  Then we would be so in love with our creations, we would have a hard time picking which one we wanted to eat as days passed. Crazy, I’m aware.  This year, it was my turn to start this with my family, hopefully minus the egg-attachment syndrome.  I have done it alone sometimes in years gone by (totally something my Mom did) but had been waiting to do it since the kids have been born until they could really be part of it.

Caden had SO much fun!  He was amazed as he dropped each tablet into the cups of vinegar as they fizzed into colors. “Mama, its blue, and green (geen) and purple!” It was a nice teachable moment too, since I can’t help but add that in to any fun activity. I probably could have stopped there and just let him stare at those and he would have been fine.  We brought out the eggs and the rest was all on him with some direction from Mommy.  He gently picked up the hard boiled eggs and carefully placed them in the colors he chose.

He listened so well and was beyond excited that he didn’t want anything to chance ruining his good time.

After a little demonstration on turning the eggs in the cups he took charge getting them all spun and making sure the color was even.  When asked if we should take them out, “No Mommy, not yet.  I think they are not done it.  Let’s just give it a few two more minutes okay?”  He was quite adament about taking them out himself and after doing a couple of them I had to let him try.  I think he had more stable hands than I did!

Caden lifted the eggs on the little wire spoon and handed them to me with the paper towels.  I told him we had to pat them dry very gently to keep the color.  Anxious to help he started patting away and then I heard it, “It’s okay egg.  I know. I know.  It’s okay.  You want to go home in there? (pointing to egg carton) Okay.  I’ll put you home with your Mommy & Daddy & brother.”  So sweet. So funny. So Caden and well…looks like he inherited the egg-attachment syndrome.

All in all it was an extremely positive experience in that day and in all of our various holiday activities.  Getting to make his very own Easter eggs with Mommy (with no interference from baby brother who was not quite ready for this activity and was outside with Daddy) was a highlight for us both.

You can imagine his reaction when I told him that if he wanted he could even pick out stickers to put on his newly colored eggs. Stickers! Ha!

He was so, so, so unbelievably proud of his Easter eggs.  He carefully tucked them away and told me they were so tired from their bath that they needed to take a rest in the fridge…but maybe we should eat just one first.

With the risk of letting him make a huge mess like most things in letting kids actually be kids and experience things for their own, he did a fabulous job coloring his Easter eggs with minimal interference.

One more step in getting ready for the silly side of this holiday.

 

 
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Hopping to School

Posted by casey on March 28, 2013 in Holiday Fun, Home, Tips and Tricks

As Easter approaches Caden will be hopping to school this week to celebrate with his friends and most importantly teachers.  My former teacher’s heart can’t miss an opportunity to tell his teachers that they are appreciated.

Anyway I can show them that I am grateful for their time being patient with little ones, keeping my son safe and giving him loads of attention is worth it to me.

So, for just a little something to help them know they are thought of, they will be getting a mini Easter basket from Caden at the end of this week, just in time for the Easter Bunny to begin making his rounds.  Nothing extravagant – cute socks, gum, fun patterned tissues, hand sanitizer, sweet treats hidden in the back and chapstick all tucked away in a festive berry basket.  Practical, price sensitive yet purposeful.

A little bit of love can go a long way, especially to a teacher.
Caden is always so excited to take his teachers their surprises and I am sure these along with a batch of Bunny Bait will be another fun delivery for him to make.

Courtesy of Darci from The Good Life’s Easter Basket Blog Hop

 
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Making Easter Sweeter

Posted by casey on March 27, 2013 in In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats, Uncategorized

It has been Easter project central over here taking advantage of another opportunity to center the boys’ activities around the upcoming holiday.  Their shirts have been sewn, baskets put together and hidden away, bunny bait made and distributed, and teacher baskets ready to go.  With entirely too many sweets around the house already, (especially given the fact that we don’t really eat them just make goodie plates for neighbors, friends & teachers) why not make one more?

Bird Nests

I am sure you have seen these or images of them around.  The Rice Krispie site even has instructions for them.  As usual, I have my minor adjustments to help out a long the way.

6 cups of Rice Krispies
1 bag mini marshmallows
3 Tablespoons butter
2 muffins pans coated in cooking spray
2 cups coconut
green food coloring (optional)
jelly beans (or other chosen egg shaped candy)
buttercream frosting (butter,powdered sugar, cream)

1. Begin by greasing/coating with cooking spray your muffin pans so they are ready to go.

2. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat.  Once melted add your marshmallows and continue stirring until marshmallows are melted.

3. Once smooth, remove from heat, add your Rice Krispies and gently mix until coated.

4. Fill a small bowl with water to dip your fingers in.  Scoop the Rice Krispie mixture into each muffin spot using your fingertips to push down firmly.

5.  Push a dent in the middle of each “nest” and let it raise up on the sides.  Leave them in the pan to cool and then you can remove by spinning them out easily.

6. While those are cooling and hardening you can dye your coconut if you prefer to do so. I actually hate food coloring and usually skip the option especially if we or the boys will be eating it.  For gifts, I go with the cuter option for presentation which is the dyed coconut to look like grass.  So, here is the how too.  In 1/2 cup batches, take 1 tsp water and 5 or so drops of food coloring in a bowl. Mix together and then add 1/2 cup coconut stirring until evenly green.  Dump out onto wax paper to dry and repeat for all coconut.

7. Now, what the “official recipe” doesn’t have is frosting.  I wanted a way to help the coconut to stick and look fuller and who doesn’t like frosting?  I also wanted to put a dollop under the jelly beans to keep them from rolling off too.  I make a basic butter cream with softened butter (1/4 cup), powdered sugar (1/4 to 1/2 bag), and cream.  Whip your butter, add the powdered sugar and cream in rounds until you reach the consistency and flavor you like.  You can add various extracts if you like, for this because it wasn’t the flavor focus I stuck to plain ol’ vanilla buttercream.

8. Take each nest and fill the dent with a small spot of frosting.  Top with coconut and gently pat.  Then put a small circle of frosting in the center of the nest on top of the coconut for the jelly beans (or other chosen Egg shaped candies).  Place jelly beans in the order you prefer and there you have it, another adorable Easter themed sweet perfect for class parties, playdates, neighbors or if you fancy it, yourself.

A holiday twist on a classic treat. Get to hopping.

 

 
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A Month In

Posted by casey on March 27, 2013 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

We are a month in to Caden’s 4th year with us and each day I am so surprised by how much of a kid he is now.  This isn’t so much a “new thing” since he turned three, but just something I am allowing myself to see.  There is definitely way more kid in him than baby these days.  So grown up, so fast.

I am loving getting to have real conversations with him and learn how he sees, perceives and wonders about things.  For example, awhile ago our waffle maker broke which was a bit devastating to him.  Naturally we threw it away and months later, one night before bed he saw the big trash cans out front and said “Mommy, I think that big trash truck is going to bring us a new waffle maker tomorrow since it took our other one, right??!!”  Well, not exactly my son but yes…if you take something that isn’t yours you should give it back…or if you break something you should fix it…so in theory yes, the big trash truck should give us a brand new working waffle maker.

His imagine is still running wild and it is so enjoyable to sit back and watch the scenarios he comes up with.  Most are fun – going to Mars or the Moon on a rocket ship (on his swing still it is always a rocket ship, or in this laundry hamper) to visit Mickey Mouse and his friends.  Some are silly – needing to chase him because he is Peter Rabbit and we are Mr. Todd the fox.  Every now and then you get a scary one – watching out for ,spiders and booby traps (which he calls booty traps) on our walks.

Still sensitive and still a nurturer combined with his imagination makes his Dr. Caden checkups a pretty regular occurrence for his, and his stuffed friends – I mean the baby.  There are bottles to be fed, hearts to be listened to and medicine to be distributed.  Once his patients are given the all clear, snuggles and rests are the doctor’s strict orders.

Everett is becoming a very active part of his life and while they do butt aheads quite a bit he is becoming more active himself in his role as a big brother.  Even though Everett is a great communicator Caden will tell us when he thinks he needs something, or if Everett wants more food etc.  Sibling rivalry is strong and he is so sensitive to Everett taking a toy from him, or pushing him, or well anything that he doesn’t think he likes so that is a challenge.  At the same time though they play so well together at times and start talking to each other back and forth that it is just priceless.  I suppose that is really want the next 15 years look like.  Pushing, hugging, crying, laughing.  Siblings.

Caden is learning so much and since he is a sponge right now, I am taking full advantage.  Once a teacher always a teacher, we have been doing a lot of letterwork both indoors and outdoors to support and surpass what he is being introduced to at his school.  I am so impressed with how responsive he has been and the letters he is starting to write on his own!  Proud Mom and teacher right here.

What still holds true?  His routine.  He is a stickler for the order things are supposed to be done in.  His neatness.  He is also a stickler for things being in their proper

The face of Mr. Sensitive – Devastation Always

place and not put away somewhere different or in a new spot.  We have to talk it through why we are changing something and then he is totally okay, he just wants to be included and have input in the process.  Go figure.  His sweetness.  This is translating to sensitivity which isn’t good at times, but he is a snuggler, attention lover, intuitive with emotions little boy who just wants to make sure we are all okay.

Since we have had a lot of illness this past year and a half, a lot of caretaking and just recently a couple of surgeries he is very understanding of one of us not feeling well or having “owys”.

Bulldozers, dumptrucks, excavators, cranes, cement mixers and rollers are still all the rage.  I am the weirdo that stalks construction sites making passes in my car with the windows down as the boys scream “Wow!” “Look at that dozer!”  We read books every night about all of these working machines, we have PJs and t-shirts and stickers and, you get it.

So far, three years old and year four is off to a decent start with lots of promise in the months to come.  I always get excited to move into a new season (Spring and then Summer not far off) to see how much has changed since the year past.  A much braver and independent boy this year we are in for a lot of fun outdoors!

 
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Fleeting

Posted by casey on March 26, 2013 in Caden, Everett

Remember when it was spring?

As in, outside all day with the kids…

shorts, t-shirts and iced tea…

no longer wearing flannel PJs spring?

What the heck happened?

Such a tease that fleeting spring weather was.  Hopefully this coldfront will be just as fleeting and we can get back to sidewalk chalk and water tables.

 You want to see a really stir crazy child?  Tease them with a couple weeks of glorious weather and then try to explain to them that it is just too cold out again.

I mean really.  Oh Spring, you can come back now!

 
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Catching Bunnies – {Bunny Bait}

Posted by casey on March 25, 2013 in Holiday Fun, In The Kitchen, Sweet Treats

With only a few days left until Easter we are all busy getting ready for the Easter Bunny’s arrival so why not entice him with some bait?

Bunny Bait

Popcorn – 1 cup of kernels popped
Sea Salt
M&Ms – 1 bag Easter colored M&Ms
Mini Pretzel Sticks
Vanilla Candy Melts
Sprinkles (optional)

Now, I first saw a recipe for this here but after seeing some various versions I made some minor changes too. Minor being I added broken up mini pretzel sticks for an added salty vs. sweet element…and changed the holiday theme from the original recipe I saw.

I also prefer to pop my own kernels over the stove instead of using microwave popcorn.  Less additives and better taste.  But, to each their own, so you do have that option and it would be about 2 bags of microwave popcorn.

The last change I made to the original recipe was using sea salt to salt my popcorn (since it wasn’t pre-salted microwave) The sea salt is stronger in flavor and sturdier in texture so it stands up to the sweet parts well!

– Line two cookie sheets with waxed paper.
– Pop your popcorn and place in a large bowl.  Add your broken up pretzel sticks and stir around to mix.
– Melt your candy melts either in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals or over the stove on medium low heat (I prefer the stove) until smooth.
– Drizzle over your popcorn/pretzel sticks while stirring the popcorn to coat.  I find the easiest way to do this is to pour the melted vanilla candy into a large liquid measuring cup and then drizzle from there.
– Next add you bag of M&Ms in batches and stir to spread evenly.  This is where you would also add your sprinkles for extra color if you choose to do so.

Pour the mixture out onto the cookie sheets lined with wax paper, or your counter covered in waxed paper spreading it out into an even layer to dry.  Once dry store or share in containers, baggies, mason jars, anything you can imagine!   It is a delicious salty/sweet treat that can be adapted to most any holiday but for now, enjoy using it to catch some bunnies! :)

We will be adding these cute oversized mason jars filled with bunny bait to Caden’s baskets for his teachers this week.  You will get a glimpse of those soon too!

Need a cute tag?  I made these and am happy to share.
Carrying On’s Bunny Bait Tag

Hey look, I already caught one bunny!

 
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Playdate and a Party – Perfect Combo

Posted by casey on March 25, 2013 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

We had been doing pretty good at arranging some morning playdates in January and the beginning of February since Everett was napping a little later finally freeing up a good chunk of morning time for entertainment.  So, as Caden’s birthday approached and his excitement peaked I rethought my plan to have just a small family party on the weekend.  He was so into it and loving the playdates always asking when his friends were going to come back over.  Ding! Why not make next week’s playdate into a small celebration for him and combine the two.

Since we did his real party over the weekend with Colter and Nonna & Pa Pa it was a great way to get some of us together without taking up anyone else’s weekend time to making a huge deal out of it.  Plus, Colter had already witnessed the festivities and wasn’t really missing out on celebrating his boy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the timing of it all and I think his friends did too.

It was short notice just a few days prior that if they wanted to come to our playdate and enjoy some extra celebratory treats it was officially on!  A few missed out with illness or a long-running appointment but we still had a testosterone dominated group that was able to come, play and party!  From ten a.m to noon it was a fabulous way to get everyone out of their houses and wear our the kiddos.

I put together some small favors for his friends complete with a shovel, small bulldozer toy and construction stickers to thank them for coming and spending time celebrating Caden.  Top that to the decor that was already up and add in a newly baked batch of cupcakes & cake pops and it was playdate party time!

Not so paitently waiting for friends to arrive.

The kids were hilarious.  All bouncing in the trampoline, loving all the toys and in great spirits. There were race cars racing, balloons flying, music playing, Mickey watching, kids bouncing play going on all over the downstairs – organized, fabulous, fun chaos. We got to enjoy watching them run around and interact with each other all while getting some adult interaction ourselves.

Oh and yes there is a trampoline in our living room. That was Caden’s big birthday present from us, but it was too cold to utilize it outside when we got it.  So why not make every kid’s dream come true and build a trampoline in the living room filled with balloons?  Yes…we have surrendered our house to our kids completely.

Surprise, surprise they were all ready for cupcake and snack time.  Except Carson for a few minutes because cake time = you have to stop playing for a a minute.  Too funny.  All boys, ready to go.  The real surprise, they were silent and seated and stuffing their faces.  Caden, again giddy, couldn’t believe that yet again he was getting treats and candles and songs just for him.  Happy boy.

Caden and Carson sat their chatting about their cupcakes allowing me to eavesdrop and giggle at their own private conversation.  Caden really took to the fact that Carson would play games with him similar to “Red Light, Green Light” in the trampoline and Caden would follow all of his instruction.  Wesley was shrieking with excitement in the trampoline running literal circles around with while screaming and flailing about. Hilarious.  You could see the sugar rush hit and then begin to fade as it quieted down again.

Even though I had said that gifts weren’t necessary as I was really just wanting to get us all together and to make Caden feel special he was treated to generous art and craft supplies that I had suggested as a hopefully burden-free option.  Race cars coloring sets, travel magna-doodles, a crayon box case, new sidewalk chalk, watercolors and the list goes on.  Another exciting loot was gathered by the birthday boy, though I forgot to have him open them while everyone was still there – sorry!

All in all, in my eyes it was another success to this year’s celebrating and the perfect compliment to an intimate family party.  The best of both worlds for partying and our boy most definitely felt loved, spoiled and celebrated.

 

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