Saturday, April 30, 2011

birthday boy

I can't believe this boy is 4 year old already! He is so much fun to have around - he loves trains; he loves construction vehicles; he loves digging; he loves to figure out how things work; he loves his sister; he loves his mom; he loves candy corn and gum drops and taking HUGE bites of whatever he's eating; he loves shenanigans when it's time to go to bed; he has the best voice and laugh; he LOVES tye dye (thank you Lizard); he loves his cat and bungee cords; he gives the best hugs.

We've been talking about the birthday cake for Alex for month - pretty much since Katie's birthday. I'm not ready to challenge Duff Goldman, but I am loving marshmallow fondant. And I'm looking for more reasons to experiment with edible paint. (There were left over pieces so he scored a 2nd cake - we had it for lunch.)

(The idea and instructions for the cake came from

Busy day for the big boy - we had friends come over for the day, and assembled the chicken coop and run. The chickens will soon be outside where they belong!

First BBQ of the year! Hooray for a boy who wanted hamburgers and fruit salad for dinner. He also picked out 'cheese puff balls' and CANNOT get enough of those neon balls of salt.

For his birthday adventure, we drove up to Idaho Springs on Saturday to the Phoenix Goldmine. I think the kids were more impressed with being able to hand feed the chipmunks before we even went in.

The mine tour was really cool. This might be the summer of mine tours! This mine has some large veins of gold still visible, and some old tools on hand to check out.

We all panned for gold afterwards - unfortunately, although we all rubbed the 'Lucky Bucket' inside, no one struck it rich.

For lunch we hit the Buffalo Restaurant in Idaho Springs. It's so nice that we have some family close by to join us on our adventures.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

easter mania

I think we've hit on a good Easter plan around here. Saturday we do the candy, so that Sunday we can focus on the Savior. And boy, was there candy!

Saturday we went to Oma's house for an egg hunt and Easter dinner. Katie was the most interested in finding eggs; Summer was the most interested in opening them. Kat was the most interested in hiding things inside of real eggs.

My friend Kari arranges an Easter Basket exchange every year, so I've been on the prowl for fun Easter ideas. I saw this idea on Not Martha. MUCH easier to do than the version of Kindereier I tried last year - also off of her site. I am a little obsessed with surprise eggs. And the insides matched the outsides - between jelly beans and M&Ms, this wasn't too hard to do. (Even Roger noticed that little touch, and that kid never notices when I color my hair!)

The week prior to Easter we had a sugar cookie decorating fest at Margaret's house. I did a few of them with royal frosting - not as delicious, but SO FUN. And still pretty delicious.

We were in charge of dessert on Saturday, so we tried the rainbow cake also found on Not Martha. Such a fun cake to do. And I'm trying to get over the fact that the rainbow did not work out - the colors were still fabulous. (Next time we'll bake it a little hotter.)

We also made cupcakes baked in egg shells (idea from Delicious Days via Not Martha, recipe from Cupcake Project), but forgot to take pictures. The kids plunked in chocolate eggs for the yolks - next time the batter needs to be a little more dense, so the 'yolks' don't sink to the bottom. SO YUMMY. And actually a great size for snacking.

Katie made some cute eggs, bunnies and baskets out of paper to decorate the living room with. It's nice to have a little partner in crafting.

Monday, April 18, 2011


The line between kitchen implements and tools continues to get blurred in my house.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

glenwood springs

The first weekend in April we thawed out the RV and hit the road for our first trip of the year. Roger planned a great trip to Glenwood Springs. I had no idea there were so many fun things to do - I've only ever stopped there for rafting or as a pit stop on the way to UT. Keeping true to form, we left late and camped around 11 pm. Why break with tradition? Note to self: No more Alex sleeping up on the bunk. Alex + swaying bunk = motion sickness = trip to Target for more PJs. I guess it was a win for him after all.

Friday morning we hiked up the first .3 mi to Hanging Lake. ONE of us forgot the backpack for Max. Turns out we didn't need it - the kid is a mountain goat. We turned around when things got icy - it was also preventative, as we were outnumbered by kids who could potentially want to be carried down the mountain.
After lunch we went to the train museum, and then hit the hot springs. The train museum had an O-scale model train and a maintenance car to climb on, and was good for a nap. It also gave Rog a chance to practice his cliff-side parallel parking. The hot springs are enormous, and were ridiculously crowded. I don't even want to think of how packed they are in the summer. Pizza for dinner made for Roger's perfect day.

Saturday we took a gondola up the mountain to the Glenwood Cavern Adventure Park. SO FUN. And fun for Max too, once he got used to the bumps when the tram went over the poles.

The weather was gorgeous, and there were so many things to do. Katie got THIS close to trying the rock climbing wall - maybe next time. The boys could have spent the entire day in the sandbox 'fossil digging' area. Big surprise there.
The alpine slide was everybody's favorite. Max's face in the middle photo is his reaction as everyone else got to ride the slide but him. By the end of the day he finally got his chance.
The Speleobox - a wooden box maze simulating a cavern - was a hit with 2 out of 3 of our friends. Max got stuck 2 turns from the end, and started a chain reaction of inconsolable children. He finally let Katie lead him out - I tried to go in after him, but it was a little too tight for claustrophobic mom. Katie and Alex couldn't get enough of it.The backpack would have come in handy during the tour of the caverns. The cave is really really great - they are opening more spaces this summer - but poor Max was just too cooked when it was time for the tour. Miner Alex loved being in a cave.

Every night we seemed to camp right by the railroad tracks. This picture also shows the snow as it just started to fall Sunday morning. A few hours later, Vail Pass was closed and we got to hang out in West Vail for 6 hours. It could have been worse - we could have been stuck at the McDonald's with NO play land! It would have been better if I had listened to Roger and agreed to drive home Saturday night. SOMEONE didn't want to arrive home 4 hours later 1 am - even though that same SOMEONE would not have been driving - so instead we scored the 12 hour travel day instead.

Friday, April 15, 2011

super fancy

Are things getting too relaxed around here? Alex took a nap on the dogs bed the other day.

We converted our play structure from the 'castle' to 'indoor chicken hutch,' which naturally is placed in the front corner of the living room. The girls will be big enough in a couple weeks to go outside - and hopefully the chicken coop kit will arrive when they're ready to move. After they move to their permanent condo, the maid will get to do some serious dusting to get all the dust kicked up from the crazy amount of scratching they do. Feeding them worms and bugs continues to be excellent entertainment.

They are all looking a little awkward these days as their adult feathers come in - except for french toast, who is still nice and fluffy. Max's chick is making a pretty good shot at being Queen of the house. I take them outside for an hour or two when it's warm, and so far they stay in whatever small area I originally place them. Yesterday, they would not leave the planter by the playhouse even with lots of encouragement. They are getting pretty fast, but so far I'm still able to catch them to bring them back to their palace in the living room.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

tuesdays with summer

We have been having a BLAST hanging out with Summer - and her parents - now that they live so close to us. A few highlights:

We went on an adventure to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Luckily, I really did my research well so our first trip there was during spring break for EVERYONE ON EARTH. It was way too busy to check out the Space Exploration area, but Alex is now completely in love with . . . miners. Note: when checking out videos of mines on Youtube, watch out for the BBC specials on Australian gold mines. The included footage of where the miners hang out after work is not really the part an almost 4 yr old is - or should be - interested in. We hit the zoo to show off the tigers to Summer, and it happened to be a day when they weren't on display. 2 for 2 here, folks, but the kids still had a good time hanging out together. The lorikeets are back out there, so spring is really here!
This past Tuesday we went to check out the tulips and other spring bulbs at the Denver Botanic Gardens. The kids liked taking all the different paths, watching the ducks, and hunting for turtles in the pond. There is currently a display of playhouses up, and there were a few really cool ones. The Mine Shaft was really cute; the caboose house was naturally Alex's favorite, but I think Roger should start working on a version of the Mesa Verdi house:

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

healthcare olympics

Since the contest between the parents of who can rack up the most doctor visits is headed towards a close, I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of our contestants. Under that pile of grandkids, 5 weeks post surgery there are close of 50 lbs. less of Opa to love. Here's a shot of mom with all of her hair. She mentioned something about going for a haircut before she starts the radiation treatments, but I vote for just switching her part to the left to cover any possible thinness. Approximately 4 weeks to go, and these games will officially be over! I both participants are going to tie for gold.