Thursday, July 30, 2015

Archer and Avonlea's Mickey and Minnie Mouse Birthday Party


Archer and Avonlea had a Mickey and Minnie Mouse themed party for their third birthday.  We invited most family and a few close friends of the family.  We served dinner: sub sandwiches, pasta salad, chips, vegetable and dip, watermelon and cantaloupe.  And I made Mickey and Minnie cupcakes for dessert.  They took a long time to prepare but they looked so cute.

We had a photo booth for guests to take pictures of themselves as a Mickey Mouse and the gang character.

The twins opened their presents.  The were spoiled!  We gave Avonlea a couple sets of Minnie Mouse dolls with dress up clothes, and gave Archer a couple Thomas the Train track kits.  They also received scooters, play dough sets, more Mickey and Minnie toys, and a lot more.

We ended the night with a firework show put on by Greg.  We invited a lot of neighbors over to enjoy the show with us.

It was a great party!  Thanks to all our friends and family who came to celebrate with us.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Forth of July and Pioneer Day Festivities

We viewed a lot of great fireworks this month! On the forth, after a barbeque with the Nichols side of the family, Greg and I took the kids to see the fireworks in Magna. I had been a long time ago, and they weren't great. This time they were awesome! All the kids loved the show. On Pioneer Day, the Nelsons invited our family over along with a bunch of friends from our old ward for a potluck barbecue and fireworks. They always put on an amazing show! It lasts over an hour and every firework is big, loud, beautiful and impressive. We're so grateful they include us in this yearly tradition. We love them, and we love their love of fireworks. The kids once again were enthralled. And Greg and I were more than happy to catch up with some friends, eat some good food and see some great explosives. Check out the bounty provided by the Nelsons!
Before:

After:

We also did a firework show at our home the next night after the twins' birthday party.  We invited both sides of the family, some family friends, and a bunch of neighbors.  It wasn't as grand as the night before, but it was fun.  My friend Allison said it was the best firework show she'd seen.  She was referring to the excitement factor since our fireworks were very close, and gave us all a scare of blowing up several times through out the night.  We have plans of how to set them off in a safer manner in the future.  Grandpa Kelly was in town and loved the fireworks; he said he wants to make it a yearly tradition.  I suppose that's one benefit of being born on Pioneer Day, as the twins were.  We get to make the celebration extra grand!

Three Year Old Twins

Archer and Avonlea turned three July 24.  They have grown up so fast!  I don't know if I am just more accustomed to dealing with the toddler years and its accompanying mood swings and tantrums, or if the twins are just really good toddlers, because the so-called "terrible twos" haven't been so terrible.  The twins are just so much fun at this age!  The are silly, curious, loving and just plain adorable!

Archer has really grown up a lot the past six months.  He is talking so much more and much more clearly.  He has developed a really silly personality!  He is usually found joking around, making funny noises or faces and giggling.  He loves his siblings, especially Avonlea.  He is the pickiest eater out of all our children.  He eats only a handful of foods, and not even much of those.  His clothes hide it fairly well, but he is one very skinny boy!  He is very active and loves to go "bye bye.'' He will actually count how many places we go each day and brag about going to "2 bye byes," or "3 bye byes."  He is a very happy, easy going, fun little boy!

He has learned: to use the potty (still having an accident occasionally), many little songs (his favorites include: Lullaby, Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam, Old McDonald Had a Farm), all his colors, animal noises, and to pronounce words much better

He likes: his blanket, Mickey Mouse, superheroes, Minions, the color yellow, fruit snacks, suckers, crackers, strawberries, yogurt, bananas, milk, jumping on the trampoline, trains, YouTube videos of toys/surprise eggs/play dough, playing with his siblings and friends, animals, play places, park equipment, swimming, and baths.

He dislikes: most sandwiches, potatoes, most meat, most food really

Things he does that makes us laugh: makes weird noises, acts like a wild animal, his little grin, and lots of giggles

Avonlea continues to be a little diva.  She has very extreme emotions.  She is the sweetest most loving child one minute and the most stubborn, bratty, or heartbroken child the next minute.  She loves all things girly.  She wants to wear a skirt or dress everyday because she "wants to be the princess."  She also insists that Archer is her prince.  She is very smiley and loves to be the center of attention.  She loves to talk.  She follows me everywhere.  She is my little mini me and will encourage, praise and discipline her sibling right along with me.  She also has a little tomboy side too.  She loves to wrestle with Greg!  She brings a lot of joy and adventure to our lives!

She has learned: to use the potty (still having an occasional accident), a lot of little songs, (her favorites include: I am a Child of God, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Follow the Prophet), all her colors, animal noises, and to be more comfortable climbing and playing on play equipment

She likes: princesses, mermaids, jewelry, Minnie Mouse, dresses, the colors pink and purple, meat, suckers, yogurt, Lucky Charms, broccoli, bananas, jumping on the trampoline, dressing up, YouTube videos of princess toys/surprise eggs/play dough, playing with siblings and friends - especially girls, animals, play places, park equipment, swimming and baths

She dislikes: being alone, grapes, sleeping (she goes to bed last, wakes in the middle of the night often, skips naps and is the first one up in the morning)

Things she does that makes us laugh: talks in a very high pitched voice, picks out jewelry to wear each day, for every outing, and even before bad, big cheesy smiles and silly giggles

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Recipe - Chicken Pesto Stuffed Shells

My fellow foodie friend sent me a recipe to make.  I knew I'd love it before I even made it, because I love anything with pesto.  And I was right, it was delicious.  Greg was especially impressed with the meal.  I will be making it again for sure!

Pesto Chicken Stuffed Shells

12-16 jumbo pasta shells
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
3 tablespoons prepared pesto (homemade or store bought)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over high heat, boil water and prepare pasta shells as directed on package. Cook pasta shells only until al dente. The pasta will finish cooking when the dish is baked. Drain the pasta shells and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 1/4 cup of cheese for the topping. Fill the pasta shells with the filling and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 30 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot and cheese melts.

To make ahead/freezer meals - Prepare as directed but place filled shells in an oven and freezer-proof baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over filled shells, cover and freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake shells uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until shells are bubbling hot.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Legoland


Our family took a trip to Legoland mid-June and yes it's true, everything was awesome!  We went to the park five days in a row.  It took the first four days for us to be able to see and do everything, and we spent the last day visiting our favorite rides, shows and activities one last time.

One of our favorite things was the large Lego structures that are all around the park.  They are amazing!  And there are so many of them, we were still noticing new ones that we had missed days into the trip.  There is also an entire land inside the park, Miniland, that is made up of large replications of major cities, and to Brody's utter delight, even Star Wars cities!  It was so cool!

 
 
 
 

The rides were very different than other amusement parks we've been to.  They weren't big thrill rides.  They were very kid friendly and a lot of them were rider controlled.  Here is Palmer and Brody on Kid Power Tower, pulling themselves up and letting themselves drop by the power of their own muscles.

There is also numerous areas for the kids (and adults) to play with Legos.  There are even play areas in the longer lines for kids to play while parents wait, genius!  The kids played with a lot of Legos, yet never seemed to tire of them.  In one area there was a wall of guests' impressive creations.  Avonlea decided hers was worthy of display and added her own contribution to the wall.  Can you find it?  I'll give you a hint.  She prefers to only build with pink Legos.


The Legoland waterpark was also very impressive.  It was a tad too cold for me and the twins and we spent most of the day shivering, but the chilly weather didn't seem to bother Greg and the older boys.  Sadly, I didn't get any pictures since I left my phone behind as not to get it wet.  But some favorites were the Chima wavepool, the Duplo pool, and the Orange Rush waterslide where the entire family could ride together on a huge tube.

We spent half of day four at the Sea Life Aquarium.  It was a really cute aquarium, very kid friendly like everything else, and also incorporated a lot of Lego characters.  We were able to see the octopus feeding there which was really neat.


We watched a couple 4D movies, got soaked in Pirate Shores (a land made up of water rides and amazing splash pads) and met Emmet and Wildstyle, which the kids liked.

It was a great vacation for our family!  I think the park was really geared to our children's ages.  The kids had a blast, and we had a blast watching them take it all in.  Several weeks later Archer still tell every person he meets, "I went to Legoland."  And Avonlea will say, as if to remind herself we can't go visit all the time, "Legoland is far away."  I'm so glad we took the opportunity to take this trip.  It will be one we remember always!