Biltmore and Birthdays

I meant to post this, but I guess I never did. :/

For my bday weekend way back in March we hit up The Biltmore in Asheville. We took all four kids and grandma and actually had a good time. The kiddos were well behaved and we were able to participate in a wine tasting (the kids got juice) and play on the playground. It definitely cannot all be done in one trip. I had one of the best milkshakes there, though it cost me $6. Happy Birthday to me!


















We did a tour of the house, which was featuring wedding gowns from various historical movies. We explored the garden, which wasn’t blooming anything, but enjoyed the conservatory which was featuring orchids of all types and sizes! I’d love to go back and do the audio tour which is more in depth and see the flowers blooming. It was a nice day spent with the family.

Happy 8th Birthday, Nora!

I’m so very glad year seven is over. I’ve come to the conclusion that the seventh year is a year of transition. They are figuring out who they are and where they fit in the family. It is a trying year, in my opinion. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a subtle change in Nora, for the better. She’s a little more confident, a little less dramatic and slightly more mature. She still loves dress-up and imaginative play and, of course, Frozen.


Card readingThis year she was able to read her own cards easily and was actually interested in what they said.

Frozen tiara Frozen tiara! She also got Frozen dresses and accessories and books. She loves books!

Help with the handwritingGrandma helped with the handwriting at the bottom of the card.

Silly brotherWhat imaginative play is complete without Olaf?

Make a wish
Nora took a moment to make a wish before she blew out her candle.

She is in second grade this year and already loves her teacher. Although there is still the drama that is Nora and the anger issues, I can already glimpse the young woman she will one day become. I’m so thankful to be her mama, even though she drives me crazy sometimes, because she teaches me to be better every day.

Yo Gabba Gabba!

For Lorelei’s birthday we decided to have a Yo Gabba Gabba party since she really likes that show (and so do we). We kept it just us because Jason’s sister was due with her baby right around Lorelei’s birthday and that would have been just too crazy.

In keeping with the colorful theme, I wanted to try out a rainbow cake, but instead of food coloring, using actual food to color the cake. I found a great recipe that explained in depth just how to do that.

Making cupcakes

Everybody helped, even grandma.

Rainbow colored

I decided to do cupcakes and they started out very colorful. It was almost like a science experiment getting the cake to change colors.

licking the spoon

Finished product

Unfortunately after it baked the colors were not very bright and the cake itself was not one of my favorites. Next time I might add more coloring (especially the “red”) and choose a yummier cake recipe. We still had a great time!


Blowing out the candles

Lorelei blew out her candle all by herself!


Then, it was present time. She got a pee-wee pillow pet panda, puzzles, clothes, toys, books and a new baby doll.

Twinkle Twinkle

She immediately pulled it out and started feeding the baby and singing, “twinkle, twinkle little star…” so cute.

Eye on Muno

We then played stick the eye on Muno. Muno is the red guy, in case you don’t watch Yo Gabba Gabba.

Nora's turn

Nora won!

Lorelei's turn

Lorelei totally cheated (I think Nora did too), but it was fun spinning them and we adults got in on the fun too and did terribly. “Celebrating Lorelei’s birthday iiiiiss AWESOME!!”

Lorelei Turns Two


My baby girl is two today. I’ve stayed home with her for these last two years and watched her grow and change and it has been such a blessing. The last two months have been especially interesting. She can say so many words now and put phrases together that I end up asking questions a lot of the time rather than just doing things for her, “bunnies or a banana for snack?”. Because she is at that stage though, she’ll choose banana and then get upset because you peeled it the wrong way or put it in a bowl when she wanted to hold it and eat it. Frustration all around!

She is absolutely adorable and so active now. She wants to go, go, go and play all day. This is one of the reasons we’ve decided to put her in half day preschool here in town. More toys, more play and a little time for mommy to breathe and go to doctor appointments unattended. I know she’s gonna love it. It will be good for daddy to learn to let go (just a little) of his little girl because she has made it abundantly clear that she is growing up and is no longer a baby.

With the new little one coming in just a few short months we are also teaching her patience and to do things on her own (though she resists). She can keep her crib a while longer, but eventually she will need to give it up! She loves two things equally at this point, books and puzzles. We do the same puzzles over and over and she is so good at them. I’m thinking today that I’ll have to pick out one or two for her birthday party on Saturday (just us). We’ve already gotten her a pee-wee pillow pet just like her sister’s, but a wee panda. Lorelei really likes pandas for some reason. She also loves to play with her ugly babies and put them to bed and sing them to sleep. My favorite is when she’ll sing a Yo Gabba Gabba song; Baby Teeth Fall Out or Keep Trying. lol

We delight in her, to say the least, and look forward to what this next year will bring for Lorelei and our little family.

For Just Such an Occasion

Yesterday was Jason’s 30th Birthday. He loves (LOVES) cake and I thought what better way to celebrate him and the occasion than making him a birthday cake, from scratch. As I contemplated this task I was reminded of that scene from Sleeping Beauty where the ditzy chick tries to make the cake. I hoped that what was made would atleast come out edible.

I gathered the ingredients and followed the directions with Nora helping and learning what “exact measurement” means. I have been really enjoying my new kitchen and dreaming about other appliances and utensils it would be nice to have (stand mixer or hand mixer with more options, loaf pans and a variety of ramekins). I separated the mix into two cake pans and put them in the oven. I then started on the icing. I used a simple recipe that I didn’t love, although I am not a fan of icing anyway, and once it was prepared Jason thought to add food coloring (yuck!), but we are patiently waiting for the blackberries to ripen, so I sent Jason down the road to hunt for a few. Once he returned I squished them in the garlic press and added them to the icing which turned a manly plum color. lol

Icing the cake was not too difficult except -again with the icing I’m not happy with- it was a little thin, but super shimmery! I decorated it as best I could (this part of the process is always difficult for me!) and presented it to Jason as we sang Happy Birthday. Noah wanted to start and went with his version, “Happy Birthday to you (cha cha cha)”. lol


This was our first occasion away from my family who has a mandatory, hat-wearing, party for each person’s birthday. I know Jason enjoyed the intimate affair and the sparse presents; the kids made him cards and I replaced his broken measuring tape. lol

I may try again with a different recipe for Nora’s Birthday and I will definitely be trying a different recipe for icing. I plan also to make another batch of bread today if Lorelei lets me. She may have started teething. She is usually a very amiable baby, but nothing is making her happy the last few days. I am very much enjoying tasks that require improvement as we wait patiently to make improvements on the house which will allow me to put away more boxes!

Noah Turns 7

A lthough it seems like we just had a birthday in our house, (because we did) yesterday we had another. Instead of a princess party, we had an army party. I thought that we would also play a little Capture the Flag in honor of the theme. It was just family with a few exceptions, Nathan and Jackie, who were a great addition to the party. Noah was blown away by his gifts, the coveted “zoom zoom” zhu zhu pet, ball and glove, pj pants, airplane and new bike.

He has been learning how to ride his bike without help for a few months now and was finally ready (and tall enough) to get a new, larger bicycle. It has been great watching him learn this new skill and how proud he is of himself; although he wanted to give up so many times and put his training wheels back on. So, that’s what we did; cake and presents, capture the flag and then a little bike/razor riding. Here are some pics:

Nora’s 4th Birthday

We celebrated Nora’s 4th birthday today. She is growing so quickly! She really wanted a “princess party” and absolutely loves pink, so we had pink balloons and Disney princess decorations everywhere and a few friends and family over to celebrate. She loved it. :o) Here is the big moment captured for your viewing pleasure.

My Mama’s Bday

We were out of town for my mom’s actually birthday day, but as soon as we got back we had her party. Complete with chocolate, chocolate fudge cupcakes! Can you say chocolate coma? *seizes*

mmm, cupcake...

lol, mmkay wipe the drool off the keyboard.

I just love this pic of her with the candles ablazing as we sing Happy Birthday to her. Yes, before you ask we make EVERYONE wear the “birthday hat” at their party. lol
Happy Birthday to you...
This one is fun too, the kids barely resisted helping grandma blow out the candles!

Make a wish!

And then the lights come on and there is chaos!

Give me a cupcake!

Jason couldn’t resist this pic of Nora eating her’s.

Thanks mom for having a birthday, so we could eat cake!

In all seriousness my mom is fabulous. She took care of our kitties while we were gone and even dropped off chicken and yellow rice for us to eat when we got home Sunday evening. Thanks mom, we love you mom!

Nora turns 3

Happy Birthday Nora!

I think it is going to be crazy every year having a little girl’s birthday around labor day and the start of school! We decided to just do a family thing this year and invited Grandma, Aunt Carrie and Uncle Edd over for a pool party. Nora got her first Barbie complete with accessories, blue’s clues and Hello kitty dolls and a book with flaps to open (her fave). I also took her to get her ears pierced!

She is such an accessories girl. It is all about the shoes and the ponytail holders, so in two months I look forward to introducing her to the world of earrings. :-)