Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Face Painting, Balloon Animals & Cotton Candy

Daddy took his little girl to Best Buy the other day, as they had their Grand Opening.  To their surprise they had Face Painting going on, someone was making Balloon Animals and they were giving out Cotton Candy.  Olivia turned into a little Butterfly, got a Puppy on a Leash Balloon Animal and a small bag of Cotton Candy, all of which she was very excited about.  

Every time Daddy says he's going to Best Buy now, Olivia wants to go with him.  As Daddy and daughter were walking towards the front door a couple of days ago, Olivia told Daddy she wanted a Balloon Puppy.  Poor girl was disappointed to hear that the fun activities were only a one time deal.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

I decided to make Cookies & Cream Cupcakes for my daughter's first birthday.  I've had them on my Sweet Treats board on Pinterest (feel free to follow me!) for a little while and was really excited to try them.  I think cupcakes are perfect for a first birthday.  I found them on this great blog here but the actual recipe is here.

Makes 24 cupcakes

24 Oreo halves, with cream filling attached
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (I quarter them)


Oreo cookie crumbs
24 Oreo cookie halves (I quarter them)

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line the walls of two cupcake pans with 24 paper liners.  Place an Oreo halve in the bottom of each liner, cream side up.  

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir together with a fork to blend and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Blend in the egg whites one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract.  With the mixer on low speed, beat in half of the dry ingredients just until incorporated.  Add the milk and beat just until combined, then mix in the remaining dry ingredients. 

Gently fold in the chopped Oreos with a rubber spatula until evenly incorporated, being careful not to over-mix.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners.  

Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.  Sprinkle with Oreo crumbs and garnish decoration with Oreo halves or quarters.   

These cupcakes turned out absolutely delicious.  My favourite part of them was the bottom (half the oreo cookie with the cream part on it).  I will definitely be making them again!

Linking up with Skip to My Lou

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Upper Clements Park

We took the girls to Upper Clements Park today, along with two of my sister's families.  This was Olivia's second time at Upper Clements Park in the Annapolis Royal (the Valley), Nova Scotia, Canada and Lexie's first time.  Olivia was shy of 4 months old the first time we took her, so this time, the experience for her and us was completely different.

While waiting for the rest of our crew to arrive, Daddy took Olivia to one of the playgrounds.  Andrew couldn't stop telling me on the drive home, how he loves seeing Olivia's eyes light up when she sees a playground and she just gets to play as her little heart desires.

We walked a bit down the road, where there were two big towers.  Daddy and Olivia went up the first tower and walked across to the second tower.  Olivia certainly is not afraid of heights - she crossed the whole way, walking all by herself and had fun in doing so.

Lexie is standing up just behind the pony! :)

Next, we went to the Carousel.  Daddy stood by Olivia while she was on the pony that was pulling Mami and Olivia's little sister.  It was Lexie's very first time on a Carousel and she was alright with it. Olivia on the other hand, kept squeeling with joy, and people kept smiling at her.

I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to take Olivia on the Ferris Wheel.  Maybe because I thought that it is one of the rides I wouldn't feel sick afterwards, as it's just high and not round and round and round.  Boy was I wrong.

It went quite fast, which I did not expect.  Olivia was fine the first round, as we went up slowely and then stopped, to load the next people.

Even when we were right at the top, she was fine, pointing down to Daddy.  This went on about 6 times, until all the new people got on.  Then, once the ride started going fast, my poor, little girl started crying.  I really don't think she expected the "Butterfly in your stomach" feeling when the ride really took off.  We had to endure two more rounds and then got let off.  Luckily, as soon as we got out of the Ferris Wheel, Olivia was fine, running over to the Trucks.

Now the Trucks...she loved!  Mami took Lexie on a truck, too, which was Lexie's second ride.  She seemed to enjoy it, as she kept standing up in my lap and hanging on the front with her hands.  Olivia kept going back on the Truck ride.  I personally think she looked cutest when she rode in the front and with her cousin Lily.  

Shortly after, Tante Karin took our big girl on a plane.  Thank Goodness, my sister volunteered to take her.  I know I probably would have thrown up afterwards!  Olivia enjoyed the plane ride with Tante Karin.  

It was time to get some grub - we went up to the little restaurant and while Daddy & Olivia went to yet another fun playground, Lexie & Mami went to get some food.  It was about a 25 minute wait and once I got the food, I took it outside to the picnic table by the playground.  I took a look to the playground, to wave hubby and daughter over and during that second, a nasty seagull dove down onto the table to attempt the abduction of our food!  Unbelievable!

First, Gotte Babsi and Malcolm (soon to be uncle, oh yeah!) took Olivia on the Antique Cars and Olivia had so much fun, that we decided to take a family ride in the Antique Cars, with Lexie and Mami hanging out in the back, while Olivia steered and Daddy pressed the gas in the front.  Good times.  Then we navigated up to the Kiddie Bumper Boats and the Ball Pit.

The Kiddie Bumper Boats were really sweet and kind of fun for Lily and Olivia, even though I think the boats were kind of tricky to steer.  The girls mostly went in circles.

The Ball Pit was most fun for all the kids, whether they were one year old or over 3 - they all loved it!

Our last stop was at the Kiddie Wading Pool.  Olivia and Lexie both enjoyed the water and Olivia actually went under water fully, her whole head and everything, for the first time, I think.  We've only been in a pool one other time, when she wasn't even a year old.  Other than that, she's been in the tub and in her Oma and Opa's Lake.

I wasn't sure why the guys suddenly started laughing behind me, but when I turned around, I realized why.  Needless to say, I had to take the above picture.  Not sure what Lexie was trying to do with the food!

Our biggest girl sure enjoyed the treat of her Birthday Party ice cream at the end of the day.  She had to wait many, many hours to get it.  Needless to say, I don't think she very much minded the wait, as she had a great day at Upper Clements Park this year!

We really enjoyed the day with the kids and relatives.  However, we both decided that next time we wouldn't get Premium Bracelets for ourselves again.  Maybe we'd get one, or just a Basic Bracelet, as we paid $25.50 plus taxes for one Premium Bracelet and only went on 2 premium rides.  It was not worth it.  We did get a 25% discount off of one Premium bracelet (CAA).  Kids under 2 years are free to go on Kiddie rides, so we didn't have to pay for Lexie but the Basic Bracelet for Olivia cost a wooping $22 plus taxes.  

However, seeing how much Olivia enjoyed her day, it was well worth the money.  We were at the Park from 11am - 6:30pm and both of the kids fell asleep in the car pretty much immediately on the way home.  Hubby and myself had a nice and quiet 2 hour drive back.  We could actually talk to each other, uninterrupted - it's a luxury these days!  These last two pictures were taken hours after our kidlets had been transfered to bed, the same night.  They were exhausted alright!

More of Metallica

Sylvia mentioned in a post a few days ago that for our anniversary (which was the 20th - 5 freaking years!) that we indulged ourselves in a little heavy metal mayhem that is Metallica.  This concert marked my fourth Metallica show, and Sylvia's second.  I myself got into Metallica back when I was 14, when one of my best friends introduced me to their older stuff (as I was familiar with only the Black Album at the time).  Sylvia has liked them for quite some time too, but swears that it wasn't me who got her into them...which may be correct, but I think that I pushed it a little more.  Whether it be from me or not, their song Nothing Else Matters is special to us as it was our first dance song at our wedding (now THAT is love - my favourite band as our first dance song.)

So anyway, on with the concert.  The concert was called Rock the Hill, which is apparently supposed to mark the first of an annual event, and also featured the likes of Death Valley Driver (local band who won a battle of the bands), Matt Mays, Protest the Hero, Seether, and Coheed and Cambria (all of which, surprisingly, I haven't seen before).  All the bands were fantastic.  Seether was a real stand out, because I wasn't too sure what to expect, but they had a fantastic set.  They were a true warm up act, as the whole crowd really got into them.

I was also all stoked to see Coheed and Cambria.  Their set was balls to the wall fantastic.  I got really into the set.  They were all business.  They came out and played the hell out of an hour.  The crowd got pretty intense when they came on, because everyone started to surge forward, likely to get up close for Metallica.  I was surprised though with how many people I talked with afterwards that have never heard of Coheed and Cambria, and most weren't very impressed with the set.  Me - I really want to see them where they are the headlining act.

Finally, the time had come for Metallica to hit the stage.  They played a blistering 2 hour set which left me with no voice and a ringing right ear - just like old times.  The only thing I thought was surprising was that they didn't play Battery, but I guess that is OK because they did play Hit the Lights.  It was amazing.  I could do it every week and never get tired of it.  All in all, it was a great time.  I can't wait to see them again.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pretty Flowers

Just wanted to share the pretty SURPRISE Flowers that hubby got me for our 5th Wedding Anniversary.  We don't usually do flowers, as we both think it's a bit of a waste of money, you know, just a tad!  

They even came in a purple vase and delivered to my door - so thoughtful. :)  I'll share the Cheesecake Cookie Dough Bars that I baked for Andrew, but that were only ready the next morning, because they had to cool in the fridge overnight, at a later date. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Happy 5th Anniversary, Honey...

Thanks to my sis Barbara for the picture!
So, I just dropped Olivia off with the babysitter and her daughter that will be taking care of Lexie and Olivia when I go back to work in September.  I must say, it was just a tad harder than I anticipated, even though our little girl was 100% fine, already shooting hoops with the babysitter's daughter when Mami and Lexie were leaving.  I know she'll have a good time today, but it still made me sad to think about us putting the upbringing of our little girls into someone else's hands - because really, that's what will be doing for the next 10 months, starting September 2011.

At least there will be a light at the end of the tunnel - once the end of June 2012 rolls around (oh so far away!), Mami will be re-united with her little angels full-time until at least the end of August 2012!

In other news: HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY, HONEY and thanks for coming to see METALLICA with me at Rock the  Hill 2011!  I hope you know that you're not only the best husband that anyone could wish for, but also the bestest Daddy to our girlies!  Every day, we're lucky to have you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Healthy Baby Cereal Cookies

Thanks to Chez Lisa: Quest for Favourites for the great picture!

So, I've made these cookies several times already and the kids and adults (adults that don't mind eating healthy snacks, that is) love them alike.  I made them several times for my friend, when he was in the hospital with cancer, because he wasn't allowed any sugar, so this recipe was perfekt.  I found the recipe on my friend Crystal's blog here.  The cookies are not only healthy but also really simple & quick to make, which is always a plus for a mommy, right?  Please find the recipe below:

Baby Cereal Cookies

1/2 cup butter, margarine or oil
1/2 cup sugar or fruit puree
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
2/3 cup infant cereal
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
2 tbsp coco powder (optional)

Preheat oven 375 degrees. Grease baking sheets, use parchment paper or silicone sheets. Beat butter and sugar/puree. Slowly beat in vanilla and egg. In separate bowl, mix all other ingredients. Slowly incorporate into butter mixture. Spoon cookie mix onto baking sheets. Cook 10 minutes. 

Thanks to Chez Lisa: Quest for Favourites for the great picture!

I usually have to bake my cookies for about 15minutes instead of the 10 minutes it says in the recipe and love it when they get a crunchy bottom to it.  I like using the Beechnut Multigrain Baby Cereal (my parents stocked me up from their visit to the States, as we no longer have Beechnut in Canada - DARN!) and Apple Puree.  I've also made the cookies with butternut squash, sweet potato and carrot puree.  I omit the coco powder and salt.

Hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Linking up with Skip to My Lou, Chez Lisa: Quest for Favourites
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