Monday, March 28, 2011

Sophie’s Rapunzel Party

This year, soon after seeing the new Disney Tangled movie, Sophie knew she wanted to celebrate her 5th birthday party with a Rapunzel party.  
We did just that a few weeks ago and I wanted to share some fun photos from our Tangled day.

Sophie 5 tower cake

I made this “tower” the night before her party and Sophie loved it so much.
It’s just a styrofoam circle on the bottom with a wooden dowel stuck in the center.
I stacked premade pecan rolls on the dowel, added one in a cupcake wrapper and then topped it with a waffle cone that I covered in purple candy coating.   Then I slathered the tower with green icing to make it look like the vines.  I am no cake decorator, but I think turned out cute.


I placed it on my cake stand making it super tall and put some of Sophie’s new favorite dessert below, brownie covered Oreos.  Yum!

  Sophie 5 cupcake toppers

My sister Haley made these adorable cupcake toppers that I planned on sticking in the brownies.  They wouldn’t jab through the Oreo centers, so I randomly stuck them into the stryrofoam. 

Sophie 5 decor Sophie 5 decor2

I am not a very good decorator.  I just make up random things as I go.
I decided to hang fives all over the house for a little splash of color.
Sophie really loved this and kept saying “cool fives Mom!”

Sophie 5 treats  

Some candy coated pretzel sticks and gummy bears.


We draped an eighteen foot blonde braid on our front door, that my husband so kindly help me braid.




  Kid cups for the lemonade station. 

Sophie 5 Flynn Rider

Remember in the movie how Rapunzel hits Flynn Rider in the head with a frying pan when he creeps up into her tower?  Well I saw a cute idea to have the kids play “Pin the Frying Pan on Flynn Rider.” 
I asked my husband to draw him on a big poster board and I must say, he did such a great job! 
I wish I was half as artistic as he is.


Sophie 5 flynn rider 2

Hersh, my dad’s longtime friend, was so kind to volunteer to be the official poster  holder.

Sophie 5 Gracie

We covered all the kids eyes’ with my scarf and sent them on their way with their very own frying pan.


Everyone did such a great job!
(Check out all the kids! And they are all cousins! My girls are so lucky to have such a big, fun family!)


I found some Tangled printables online and made these fun banners to drape randomly around the house.


They have the cute sun emblem from the movie.  Sophie loved these so much that they stayed up for several weeks after the party!


Ella, my sister Haley’s sweet girl, was kind enough to bring her new Rapunzel tower to add to the decor!
It opens up into a table with two chairs.  So fun!


The present station.  I sewed purple circles in a line and just hung them on our mantle.
”Sew” easy. 

Sophie 5 sign    

 Sophie 5 tower2 


We had a “build your own tower” station for the kids as well.
I bought skewers and put different fruit and cheese in frying pans to play off the movie again. 

Sophie 5 tower line


It was cute to see all the kids making their own “towers!”

Sophie 5 tower

Sophie all smiles in her retro Rapunzel dress up dress.

Sophie 5 mimo

Mimo holding my sister Adie’s new baby, Cooper.

Sophie 5 present time

Present time!


Loving this day with her side braid.

Sophie 5 Rapunzel on cakeSophie 5 cake

Time for cake!

Sophie 5 cake time

Sophie 5 candle Sophie 5 happy birthday song

Happy Birthday to you…

Sophie 5 candle time

Blow out the candles!


As her little guest left, she handed out some “Rapunzel Paint” to the girls and “Flynn Rider Paint” to the boys.

Such a fun day filled with family and friends.
Thank you to all who came to celebrate Sophie’s 5th birthday, Tangled style!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Iced Coffee & Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken


I am attempting a new recipe for tonight’s dinner.
My friend Mandy, who made this last week, said it was super yummy.
It’s also very healthy.  Major bonus.
It’s also easy.
My very favorite part. 
Especially when I am on day 5 of 7 that I am husbandless.
It’s been an interesting few days without Steve around. 
He helps me out so much around here so I have had to pick up the slack in the dishes, laundry, dog walking, night time prayers, teeth brushing and other Daddy departments.

I have so much respect for Moms that have traveling husbands.  I could never do it.
Although, I do feel very accomplished knowing that I am running this household,  that is filled with eight kids daily, all by myself.   The iced coffee drink I developed has really come in handy I might add.
Here is that recipe in case you were thirsty today.

Marta’s Iced Coffee:
1/2 cup strong coffee that has been refrigerated for several hours
1/2 - 1 cup of Vanilla Almond Milk
A splash of sugar free vanilla syrup
Big Handful of Ice

Combine all in a shaker and shake like crazy.

And here is what’s for dinner tonight…

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken


1.5 lb chicken (I used three small breasts)
14.4 oz can of diced tomatoes
15 oz can of black beans
8 oz bag of frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 tsp of dried)
14.4 oz can chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in crock pot.
Season chicken with salt and lay on top of well mixed ingredients.

Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.

30 minutes before serving, remove chicken and shred.
Return chicken and stir in.

That’s it!  So easy.

You can also sprinkle cheese on top if you’d like.
Serve plain or over rice.

*1 cup= 190 calories, 1.5 g fat, 5.6 g fiber and 21 g protein.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Haus of Drama

The past week or so have been hectic, filled with drama and exhausting.
I feel bad complaining when there are so many other more important, sad, terrifying things going on in the world. 
My broken washing machine means nothing in the grand scheme of things and I really don’t like to use this blog as a place to gripe.

However, I also feel like I’d like to document the Debbie Downer moments, just as much as all the happy things we have to share and celebrate.
I think of it as, keeping it real.
Because we all know, life is not always sunshine and daffodils. 
That would be too easy.

Something that truly has not been easy for our family for the past year or so and that is actually very real and serious to us, is our oldest daughter Mia’s health.


Last January through May, when she was in Kindergarten, she was constantly sick. 
It went something like this.
Ear infection… sinus infection… strep throat.
Then sinus infection…strep throat…ear infection.  

{Watching Aunt Maggie play at Purdue University last Spring.}

All while we were road tripping the country watching my youngest sister Maggie play softball for the University of Michigan several times a month.   
I think back and feel awful for what she must have been going through. Not feeling 100%, but being such a trooper.  She rarely even said her ears or throat hurt, but when she went in to see if her previous infection was better, it usually turned out that she already had another infection.

We finally had her blood tested, since the only time she was infection free was when she was on an antibiotic, to see if there was something going on with her immune system. 
Sure enough there was.

She had very low levels of one of the five antibodies that all of us have to help us stay healthy by fighting off foreign things, such as bacteria or viruses. 
The one she was low on, is the IgG class of antibodies, which just so happens to be the most predominant one we have.  Most of the antibodies in the blood and the fluid that bathes the tissues and cells of the body are of the IgG class.

{Last summer at her first appointment with the immunologist. On her 6th birthday.}

She saw an immunologist in July and was given another vaccination (one that all babies get) to see if her immune system would respond and produce the antibodies she was low on to defend itself.  Thankfully, it did just that!  This means her immune system is functioning.   
We were so happy that her levels were back to normal and she has been healthy up until recent weeks.
She had strep and then a double ear infection and another sinus infection.
Once again, no fevers, no complaining.  Just a bit of a headache.

I am so glad we took her in because we have learned that her levels have dropped again and unfortunately she must be on antibiotics for the next few months to keep her healthy. 
30 days on. 10 days off.  30 days on.  10 days off. 
A journey we are still unsure of and praying that everything will work out in the end.  Praying her little immune system will grow strong and overcome this.  

After reading this blog written by a mom of a little boy who suffers from the exact immune deficiency as Mia, I found myself discouraged and in a fog.  What this little boy has been through is so upsetting.  A life with such trials and tribulations.  I can’t begin to imagine.   

However, my hopes were heightened after talking with a mom at the girls’ dance studio whose daughter suffered with the exact thing as Mia since she was one year old.  She is now seventeen and is perfectly healthy!  She did have to have infusions, through a port near the heart, of the IgG antibodies from age one to ten, but by ten her immune system was strong enough to not need the infusions!

So we continue to pray and hope for the best for our sweet Mia taking it one day at a time.  Sometimes feeling so in the dark, and others feeling extremely positive and thankful that we are happy to know what her situation is and that’s it’s a manageable issue, even if it means that she must endure infusions at some point. 

As if Mia’s health is not enough, we have had many other drama filled adventures the past few weeks.  What you ask?

For example, I came home from preschool to a flooded laundry room.
Our ten year old washing machine was a goner.


And after a week with no washing machine, I can finally do laundry in my own home again.  Thank you to all who allowed us to lug our dirty clothes over to do a few loads. You saved this mom’s sanity for sure.


And the list goes on…

-Sophie’s brand new birthday Barbie’s wing broke. 

-I have been caring for some sick children this week, while trying to also take care of five healthy ones.
Snot sucks.  Pity party.  Bring on summer.

-If you recall this post, I chose to have a vein lasered in my leg and I am unfortunately still limping around like a weirdo.

-Our trampoline was picked up in a recent storm/tornado and ended up on our roof.  We flipped it over to see if was still functional, and it’s definitely not.  The girls are sad.

-It snowed on Monday.
Then Thursday is was 83 degrees and sunny.
My sinuses want to explode.

-I watched my cat barf on the top of my Suburban yesterday.
Awesome Drama.

-I drove off Wednesday night in a tizzy to get my three girls to dance on time, along with our neighbor’s little girl, with my iPhone on my bumper.

*Luckily I have so many awesome and generous people in my life, and thanks to one of them, my friend Kristy Bradley, I now have a new iPhone! She gave me her old one and I am so thankful to be back in the cell phone loop.  How did I ever survive without an iPhone?

-And finally, the finale…we woke up this morning, the start of Steve and the girls’ Spring Break, to find and smell about 15 piles of dog poop upstairs. 
Green none the less, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
We now have a sick Gussie dog.  I am wondering if she ate something last night in the back yard as they were outside for about five hours celebrating the nice 80 degree weather.  

Thank goodness I have so many fun and positive things to lighten my spirits as life gets dramatic….

Like these two bucket heads….


who may or may not be princesses as well…


a sleep-talking ducky-on-the-head-wearing crazy kid…


bowling beauties…


a Sophie Cat in the Hat….


and sisters who go line dancing with me.

Life doesn’t get any better than that.


PS I need some hair help.
Here it is now.  Long.  Too witch like?


This is what I would love to do. 
My sister Haley sent me this picture and I stole it to use as an idea for my hair. 
Thank God for sisters.

What do you all think?
To cut or not to cut?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Had Plastic Surgery. Jealous?

I can now officially say that I’ve  had plastic surgery.
Unfortunately, not the fun kind where I get a cute new nose or skinnier thighs.
Just the ultra- glamorous correction of one useless and very malfunctioning vein in my leg.

Yes, it’s true. I am 31, and had to have varicose vein laser ablation.


You really will be after checking out this picture in some stellar black panty hose taken the day of my surgery. 

The procedure I had done was a bit more challenging than I had planned.  In my mind, and they way I {mis} understood things, it would be a simple little shot of fluid and local anesthetic to numb the vein, followed by the sliding of a tiny laser all the way up my leg to my groin area.  They would then fire up the laser and with pulses of heat it would incinerate the vein as he slowly pulled it back out around a tiny incision in my leg.

Not exactly what happened.


{Day After Surgery}

As you can see in this picture, and all those teeny tiny red dots going up my leg, I had a few more shots than the mere one that I was anticipating. 
It was more like 30 shots… of lidocaine no less, which I now know, causes me to shake violently, feel like I may pass out or throw up at any given minute, and feel like I drank a bottle of wine. 

Thankfully they tell you ahead of time to have someone drive you the day of your procedure, because I was definitely over the legal limit of lidocaine on our way home.

A big shout out to my sister Adie who kindly drove me, along with her three week old baby boy, and my sister Maggie who sat with the rest of the seven crazy kiddos so I could have this done!


Adie hung out back at Haus of Girls for awhile, reading to several of the cuties, while waiting for me to sober up.


Maggie is such a life saver to hang out with all the kids for a few hours so that I could finally have this done.  They now all love her more than they love me.  :)
I should have expected that though.
She’s way younger, more energetic and does NOT have varicose veins.


{Two Days After Surgery}

It’s looking so much better.
But now the actual vein that they lasered is what is  sore rather than the initial 30 pokes from a giant needle. 
It feels like a super sore, hard electrical wire going up my leg.
Even more awesome.


The back view.

Despite burdening my sisters, feeling like I might die from an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and some stinging pain for several days, I am so thankful that I did have this done when I did.
It’s over and done with and now I don’t have to worry about it anymore.  Just a few more injections in the actual vein that was bulging down in my calf, and I am done.

And I know this second procedure will pale in comparison to having a laser slid up my leg,  heat pulses burning it to pieces all while tasting the nastiest burnt toast taste in my mouth.  Yuck!

And finally, do you want to know the biggest benefit of having this surgery?
(If you love Saturday Night Live as much as I do you will totally get this…)
Afterwards I was able to say with authority, “I got one leg! Jealous?!” and mean it.

Happy Tuesday!


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