Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Planning

Once again, another 2 weeks have gone by without any posts on here. Life has a funny way of catching up with you at times.

The last week to ten days or so, my time has been consumed researching for our next vacation.

I think we finally made a decision and will be doing a Disney cruise in the fall!!  We have one on hold and hopefully will be putting a deposit down by the weekend.

I was really debating between Disney and Norwegian. Norwegian launched a special about two weeks ago where kids sail free and you get some other perks onboard (ship credit, drink package, etc). Believe me, it was enticing....and half the cost of Disney. I had one on hold for that too.

I finally really thought (and talked) it out and decided to bite the bullet and do Disney.

Why?

Well, who knows when we'll cruise next. It might be in a year, it might be in 10yrs. And if it's later rather than sooner, the girls will be old enough to do actual Disney.  And I also thought if we went on Norwegian that I'd be second guessing it the whole time we were there. The girls are just really into the princesses right now (Cassie wears a princess dress 24/7) and everything is just so magical to them. They would LOVE it! It really would be a trip to remember for us.  So, this is the time to do it, if any.  I just don't want any regrets.

So....if you have any Disney cruise tips, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Snow

Our winter here up in the NE has been pretty brutal.

It's probably one of the worst I can remember in a very long time.

Last year was bad because the temperatures were sub-zero for a long time. We never had a "thaw" of any sort last year so when it finally hit about 35 degrees outside, it felt warm!  Last year we had snow, but nothing super crazy. It was just the bitter cold.

This year....we have both. Yes we had a green Christmas. But I think that was the end of it. We have gotten a ton of snow and again we have had the bitter cold temperatues. Tomorrow the high is 2 and Sunday the high is 0! Yes, the HIGH! Add in the wind chills and it feels like the arctic here!  The big problem is that with the cold temperatures, the snow hasn't melted at all. We keep getting storm warnings (there's another one for this weekend) with 6-12" of snow and then it never goes away. We're running out of places to put the stuff! 

Usually I can deal with the winters, but this year, I'm over it. I'm seriously ready for Spring. The kids keep asking when Summer is coming and it feels like forever away right now. Heck, I'd be happy with 35 and sunny right now!

These are some pics out our back window so you can appreciate the amount of snow we have. And since I've taken the pictures, we've gotten more!

Yes, this is the kids' playhouse-can't you tell?!
And our furniture set-which you can't even see the seats of-or the ottomans for that!
Please come soon Spring! We miss you!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Frozen Party-Take 3!

I was hoping we'd get lucky and Cassandra would pick a different birthday party theme for us. But, she didn't. When I asked her what she wanted, she screamed out "ELSA!"

So....here we are with Frozen party #3 in our house. (See party 1 and party 2).

I have to admit, I didn't go as crazy with the planning with this one as I did with Avery's. First, her birthday is not even a month after Christmas. I didn't have time or creative energy after the holidays to get very gung-ho on this party. And second, I was trying to make this party different than Avery's parties. Thirdly, she's 3....as sad as it sounds, she won't remember it. Avery probably won't remember hers either, but there's a slight chance she might.

Anyways, here are some shots of her birthday party from the weekend.

Cassandra's cake-made by moi. Bottom layer chocolate, top layer vanilla, oreo filling and buttercream frosting. Delicious!

Decorations...look familiar?!  Basically the same as Avery's party!

My Mom bought the girls each an Elsa dress to wear for the party. This is Avery's:
Cassandra napped through almost the first hour of her party-we went up several times to look in on her and she was out cold. We kept her door open hoping the noise would wake her. It did eventually, but she wasn't happy about being woken up at all! So unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her in her dress.

We had some appetizers then pizza, boneless wings, salad and fruit salad. While we digested our food, Cassandra opened her gifts.

My loves

Loves her dresses!
After presents, it was cake time! I also made chocolate covered Oreos and my Mother-in-Law found these frozen-esque cookies as well.
Singing "Happy Birthday!"
Make a wish!
We had a really fun time at her party! We didn't do any organized games or activities this time. We were going to, but never did. The kids just had fun running around and doing their own thing. 

I also forgot to take a picture of the goodie bags. They each got one of the frozen-esque cookies, some Frozen tattoos and some Frozen stickers! Nothing too big, but I don't think they mind!

Another successful party in the books!

Monday, January 26, 2015

3

I no longer have a baby...or a toddler. I'm not a Mom of a school-aged child and a preschooler. How on Earth did that happen?!

Friday was a special day-our baby turned 3.  THREE. It seems like yesterday she came into our lives, yet it also feels like she's always been with us. I can't remember life without her (or Avery being an only child).

Three is hard for me to swallow. It just sounds so old to me. Yeah I know you're thinking, "Wait until they're 20, yada, yada" but really three is like a first big age to me. No more babies or toddlers. She's a little girl now. A preschooler. It's crazy.

Let's see-Cassandra at age 3 has quite the personality. She's pretty laid back, very independent and can be stubborn at times. She also is the sweetest, kindest little girl. She can read people very well and will ask "why are you sad, etc". She definitely thinks of others first-she's great at sharing and is also my little cuddlebug. She eats pretty well-tries all kinds of foods. Her favorites these days: blueberries, raspberries, melon, yogurt, pasta, soup, waffles, pancakes. She loves reading books together and has really started to get interested in coloring lately. She's just starting to get into the pretend play too.  It's so fun watching her grow and change!

Like we usually do, we spent the day with her. Gabe took off from work (which we do for both of their birthdays) and I had the day off.  Avery had school so it was just a Mommy, Daddy, and Cassandra day which was cool-I don't think that's ever happened!  We always let the girls pick what to do on their special day. She chose the Strong Museum.  We got there right when it opened and had a blast! Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera so I have no pictures from there, but we all had a good time. I packed her a lunch and she ate there and had some ice cream after of course! And as part of her present, we let her pick out something from the gift shop....and she chose a book about Jacks and a set of jacks-kid cracks me up!

We got home and put her down for a nap, which she ended up not taking (girl must be too excited for her special day!). Then Avery came home and they played a bit. We made dinner and had some yummy cupcakes to celebrate!
Courtesy of The Upper Crust
Happy Birthday to you!!


After cupcakes, she opened her present from us.

We got her a shirt, a Frozen coloring book and Frozen  hair ties. She'll also get a big girl bed eventually-I'm holding out as long as I can!! 

After we played some more, it was off to bed.  It was a really fun day spending it with our little peanut.  She's just such a joy!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Cassandra! We love you so very much!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Easy Cherry Pie

Let's see-I've had this recipe sitting in queue since July and still haven't posted about it. No better time than today right?!

We love taking the kids out to pick fruit in the summer....strawberries, raspberries and cherries. The problem?  You have so much fruit that you don't know what to do with! Yes, my kids eat a ton, but when you pick numerous pounds of stuff, they only last for so long before going bad.  So when we went cherry picking over the summer, I knew I had to figure out something to do with some of it.

I decided to make my first ever cherry pie.  And it turned out pretty darn good! I'm sure I'll be making it again next year when we go cherry picking!

Cherry Pie
 5 cups cherries, pitted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
pie crusts (either homemade or store bought)

1. Add cherries, sugar, and cornstarch to a pan and stir to combine. 
2. Heat mixture until sauce thickens (I honestly don't remember how long it took since it was 6mos ago!)
3. Pour into pie crusts and bake at 350 until crusts start to brown (again I have no clue how long!).
(Notes: I "cheated" and used store bought crusts. I've never made one from scratch and I think the store bought ones are just as good. The only issue I came across is that my cherry pitter left a ton of seeds in the filling. Luckily just our family ate the pie so it wasn't so bad that we were spitting out pits, but it's not something you want in your pie either!)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Xmas Recap

Here we are...the last night of winter break. Tomorrow we get back into our routine of being up early every day and Avery heading back to school.

It's been 2 full weeks of family, friends, parties, and just soaking up our time together. That's what it's all about right?!

So, here's a recap of our holiday break!

Of course there was cookie making! I made 3 kinds this year. The kids love doing the cut out cookies. Both girls helped me roll and cut them and Avery helped me frost and decorate one day while Cassie napped.
A quick shot of our mantle:
I took vacation days on Dec. 23rd and 24th (I'm amazed we were even open on Christmas Eve). The girls went to daycare on the 23rd and I had a day to get things done. I went to the gym in the morning, ran a few errands and did all of the wrapping we had-took me a good 3 hours to finish it all!

The weather here was very atypical for this time of year. Christmas Eve day it was in the upper 50s! It's very strange having a Christmas without snow! It's the one day a year I don't mind it and we didn't have any this year!

On Christmas Eve we were all up and ready to hit the road. We always spend Christmas Eve at my Mom's in Buffalo. Before we hit the road, the girls had to put out their cookies for Santa and the reindeer food since we usually get home very late.



Then we drove to my Mom's!
Mom's tree
We took a few photos before people started coming over.....

Mom and the girls
....and we ended up doing gifts with each other right away. We had family coming for dinner and we had no idea who else was stopping by, so we decided to get it out of the way. The girls were all about the gifts!
First present!!
My friend Renee and her little one, Sabrina stopped over to visit!
Sabrina
The girls just love her and can't get enough of her!
Cassie, Sabrina, Avery
My Aunt and Uncle also stopped by for a short visit. Then our cousins came over for dinner.
Cassie and Eddie
After dinner (while we digested), it was more presents with the cousins!
Taylor and Avery

Cassie and Eddie
And a few more photos before they left!
Taylor, Eddie, Rachel, Eddie

Cassie, Rachel, Me, Mom, Aunt Pat, Avery, Taylor
We left my Mom's around 8 or so to drive home. The kids were so wound up that they didn't fall asleep. We finally got them to bed and went to bed shortly after.

Then, it was Christmas Day!
Santa came!!
Avery let us sleep until around 8:30 and we waited upstairs for Cassie to get up around 9. Then of course we had to open presents right away! They went for their stockings first!
Avery

Cassie-no idea what that face is!

My little cuties
After opening, we had breakfast and then just relaxed and played with all of their new stuff. After Cassie's nap, it was time to head to the in-laws' house for dinner!
Ready to eat!
We had to wake Cassie from her nap and she was downright miserable. She refused to get into her dress and was quite a pill for awhile. She finally warmed up a bit.
Avery and Cassie
We had a very good dinner and then opened presents.
Cassie with her Anna hat

Bianca and Owen

Cassie
Friday was a pretty lazy day. We all had off and just hung out at home playing with all of the new toys!

On Saturday, my Dad and Colleen came out for our Christmas dinner. We had a really nice visit with them!
Dad, Colleen and the girls
Sunday was another family party for the extended family at Gabe's parents' house. Then Monday was Gabe's birthday!  Gabe and I worked pretty much a normal week so we had a little bit of a routine last week. I'm ready for us to be back on a schedule though. We all enjoyed staying up late and sleeping in late, but we're ready to get back to normal too. It definitely was a nice break and a very nice holiday. It's amazing how fast it goes though. I think the anticipation is almost better than the day itself!  Avery was pretty bummed that it was all over too. We took down the tree and decorations on New Years Day so it feels a lot less cluttered in here. Now I just need a food detox! Hahaha! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Here's to a great 2015!! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

Here we are.....Christmas Eve Eve. Or as the book is called, "The Night Before The Night Before Christmas".

The shopping is done.

The baking is done.

The wrapping was done today.

It's the calm before the storm that hits tomorrow morning.  48 hours of mass chaos.

And I can't wait!

Tomorrow we hit the ground running spending the day at my Mom's. Then we're back home for Santa's visit and over to my in-laws' after.

The kids are stoked.  I am stoked.

I love reliving Christmas through their eyes. It's a feeling you can't describe until you experience it yourself.

I'll be soaking up the next 48 hours.....family, friends, food, gifts. It's all good.

Enjoy your holiday magic everyone!  See you after the chaos!