Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Joys of July

The summer is flying by! We have had such a busy and fun month. The first part of the month we celebrated my sister and my soon-to-be niece or nephew! Then we celebrated my sweet Jenni J's 4th birthday. Mid-July we signed Jenni up for fall soccer and are looking forward to that new adventure. On July 21st Jenni turned four and we moved!

 I made this dress a few months ago but this was the first time Jenni wore it :)
 A soon-to-be four year old :)

 The day before Jenni's birthday someone cheerfully knocked on the door. Eric was at work so I wasn't sure who to expect on the other side of the door, but it was a kind delivery man with a special package for our birthday girl!
 I love cookie cakes for birthdays. I have had dozens of birthdays with these yummy cakes and Jenni is continuing with the fun tradition :)
 The sweet birthday girl in a new swimsuit for a late night birthday swim!
 A fun carousel ride on her birthday :)
 We moved! Packing and moving is always entertaining with these two :)
 My three loves hand-in hand.
After unpacking, I got busy sewing valances for our living room and dining room windows. We have made close to a dozen trips to fabric stores this past week and thankfully the kiddos have remained cheerful during the outings :)

Joshua knows about three times as many signs as he does words, so he obviously signs for the most part to communicate with us. However, earlier this month after Eric returned home from work, Joshua came to sit in his lap and said, "Dada? I love you." Sweet little guy. He doesn't have too much to say, but when he does he sure is sweet :)

Jenni is patiently waiting for the arrival of her baby cousin. She asked me today if Aunt Andrea could have twin babies so that Andrea could have one and give Jenni the other. She said, "I promise to take care of her baby. I love feeding babies their bottles." We are so looking forward to meeting their sweet baby!

Jenni loves discussing what heaven might be like. After discussing whether or not heaven would have a kitchen, Jenni asked if I thought she might meet the disciples when she gets to heaven. I responded that she probably would if she would like to. She then asked, "Do you think the disciples will help me set the big table for us to eat at?" Sweet questions.

Looking ahead
Jenni and I are traveling to see my sister this upcoming week. We are looking forward to having some "girl time" while Eric and Joshua have some "guy time" :) My niece or nephew will be born in the wonderful month of August! August will also be the month that ballet starts again. And Jenni is starting Pre-K this week! We are SO excited! Lots of wonderful things ahead of us!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Royal Icing

Royal Icing, Pipe
3 T. meringue powder
4 c. powdered sugar
5 T. warm water
Blend 7-10 minutes on low speed.

Royal Icing, Flood
3 T. meringue powder
4 c. powdered sugar
7 T. warm water
Blend 7-10 minutes on low speed.

Make sure all utensils are grease free to prevent rapid drying. Cover standing mixer with damp cloth while mixing. Store in airtight containers up to 2 weeks.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. almond extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 c. flour

Beat all the ingredients, less the flour, together until light and fluffy. Add flour to the mixture. Stir together. Divide the dough into 3 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. On a floured surface, roll out 1 disk at a time. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes and place on baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 minutes or until done.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

1 c. butter (firm, not cold)
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 t. salt
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. milk
1/2 t. almond extract (if desired)

Beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar and salt on low speed. Beat until smooth. Mix in vanilla, milk, and almond extract, if desired.

Chocolate Cupcakes

1 package chocolate fudge cake mix (just the dry mix)
1 package dry instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. warm water
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a standing mixer. Mix on medium speed. Stir in 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mix on low speed. Bake at 350 degrees for time on box.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Jenni Mae's FOURTH Birthday!

Jenni's birthday banner included ladybug ribbon and red ribbon with small black polka dots.
I sewed the red tablecloth and black with white polka dots table runner to coordinate with our theme.
 Jenni's deliciously chocolatey triple chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Scrumptious.
 Sweet little ladybugs made with royal icing.
 I made small cream cheese sugar cookies and decorated them with royal icing to look like ladybugs. I also made a few cake pops - ladybugs and friendly bumblebees. We love how they turned out!
My sweet almost-four year old...who is still technically three :)
 ready to start the party!
 the sweet birthday girl :)
We served one of our favorite's - Mexican lasagna, a lettuce salad, and chips with queso, salsa, and guacamole.

 oh goodness, we love her :)
 Keeping with the ladybug theme, I made place card holders for each of our guests - Jenni Bug, Brother Bug, etc. I sewed the red tablecloth for our long dining table. I also found adorable ladybug fabric that I sewed into napkins to add to the theme.
 Jenni and Grandma Linda :)

 Jenni picked one of each dessert :)

 Joshua slept through the birthday festivities so we had him take pictures with his big sis the next day. He enjoyed celebrating Jenni with a chocolate cupcake :)
Jenni and I decided on a ladybug themed birthday party to celebrate her fourth birthday and had many enjoyable weeks of planning and preparing for her special day. We celebrated a couple weeks early on the same weekend as my sister's baby shower. What a wonderful weekend celebrating two of my favorite girls!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Andrea's Baby Shower

 chicken salad sandwiches
 fresh fruit, veggies and ranch
 strawberry walnut bread
 cinnamon mints, cake pops

 the banner hanging behind Andrea's chair
 the party favors
A&D call their baby "Peanut" so the favors were honey roasted peanuts with the tag "Peanut's on the way!"

This summer I was busy planning my sister's baby shower. She is due to have her baby in the next few weeks and we are so thrilled for her and David! Since A&D decided to wait to find out if they are blessed with a baby boy or girl, we kept the color scheme of the shower yellow, white, and shades of brown. We had a lovely shower with family, friends, and yummy food.