Monday, April 27, 2009

baseball season, better known as the I-55 rivalry


Is this the face of a true-blue Cubs fan taking a bite out of the Cardinals? Or is this the face of a red-blooded Cardinal fan enjoying the sweet taste of victory? You decide, his parents can't.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

indiana!

We surprised Grace when we picked her up from school on Friday by telling her we weren't going home. Instead, we'd be going to Indiana. Her reply, "Indiana?! What?! Why?!"

Well, why not?

We headed to Indianapolis and scored ourselves a deal off Priceline. We stopped at what Jimmy affectionately refers to as "Jimmy Johns about my Pancakes" for dinner in a fine city called Terre Haute (we're still unclear as to the correct pronunciation). Our verdict on the IHOP - we're clueless as to why Grace and Jimmy love it so much.


Onward and upward, we finally find our hotel and immediately do what all kids do when they arrive in a hotel room well past bedtime:


After sleeping in and our breakfast buffet repast, we trekked even farther North to the land of West Lafayette, Indiana, home of the home of the Boilermakers - Purdue University. Turns out we timed our trip perfectly to coincide with their Spring Fest. Big on engineering, sometimes basketball, and always Agriculture (with a capital 'A'), Purdue puts on a terrific festival. There were cows to milk, chicks (chicken, duck, and turkey varieties) to hold, roach races to watch, and goldfish races to participate in. There were crafts, snacks, mimes, and lovely people watching.

Jimmy with a [chicken] chick, Gracie with a [turkey] chick


Evidently milking a cow was a life-changing event, Grace has decided to be 'THE farmer's wife' when she grows up so she can milk the cow. Makes me wonder if she thinks THE farmer is going to be as cute and nice as this guy was...






Jimmy was so excited to see these BIG rockets!

Its just so fun to run oneself ragged at a festival.

We drove through Urbana/Champaign and Arcola, Illinois on the way home. Turns out Arcola is a delightfully quaint town on the outskirts of a large Amish community and is the Broomcorn Capital of the World. We dined at the Dutch Kitchen. Not only was dinner delicious - they had homemade pie (hard to beat that)!
This little jaunt proved to us that we really can make it across the country together on a road trip, actually have fun, and get much needed sleep. We'll just have to take it one day at a time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

where have we been!?!

London?

Paris?


Boston?


Somewhere else amazing?
Write your guess in the comments and I'll fill you in tomorrow.

Just to clarify, 2 of these pictures were taken by me and one by Nate, all of which were taken on the same trip.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

spring is springing

The children managed to keep their chocolates and jelly beans off their Sunday clothes to get some cute pictures of them. In case you are interested in seeing some seriously sugared-up kids, they are posted here:

On Easter we made a deliciously delightful lemon cake. It was so good, it would be a crime not to share it with you.

Lemonade Layer Cake
adapted from ‘Cooking Light’

Cake:
1 1/3 cups sugar
6 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp lemon zest
3 tbsp lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.

Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, beat with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with knife. Into a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk; beginning and ending with flour mixture, beat well after each addition.

Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans (which have been lined with parchment paper rounds and coated with cooking spray). Sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles in batter. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Frosting:
4 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp lemonade concentrate, thawed
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese (we use Neufch√Ętel, the 1/3-less-fat cream cheese)
3 ½ cups powdered sugar

Place the butter and next 4 ingredients into a large bowl; beat with a mixer on high until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until blended (do not over mix). Chill 1 hour. Then proceed to frost your cake!

We served it with a simple strawberry sauce (fresh strawberries blended with a little lemon juice and a little powdered sugar).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

12 minutes

Twelve minutes is all the time one needs to fall hard and fast asleep on a gloomy Monday afternoon and find oneself jolted awake by the resident three year old who was supposed to be playing/resting/napping/reading/whatever-as-long-as-its-quiet-and-in-his-bedroom. In these particular twelve minutes he managed to unwrap all the chocolate lambs left by the Easter bunny; play with cars and trains upstairs, downstairs, and on the stairs; turn on the TV and peruse the fine selection (ie way too many) VHS tapes that are currently in our house.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Calgon, take me away

For those of you wondering what we're doing that's so exciting it is preventing me from blogging - well the truth is there is not much worth blogging about. We're in the process of selling our house. Selling one's house signifies change. For those of you who know me rather well know I really am not too keen on change. Also, Jimmy has recently decided napping would not be on his daily agenda. This would be fine except for the wee little fact that he is then completely exhausted around 4:30. This complicates the transition time between school and dinner. Nate had been MIA for a while (meaning the hospital sucked him up and and took a long time spitting him back out each day (or maybe even the next day). Thankfully his schedule changed this week and already things are tremendously better. We're T-minus 10 weeks here, and I guess its time to get crackin'! Grace recently told me, "Don't worry Mom, everything is better in California." I'm trying to believe her!

Some other fine wisdom of the day (this comes from Nate directed to Grace): "If you have to take a breath during the punchline [of your joke], its just not funny."

Friday, April 3, 2009

mama, want some more please

This fully explains Jimmy's approach to nutrition.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

april fools

The only true April Fools prank I had yesterday was from Grace. She calmly informed me I had a bunch of spiders in my hair when we got in the car after school yesterday. Ummm, ha ha. So funny to someone at the ripe ol' age of seven, I suppose. I just wish what the mechanic told us about Nate's car yesterday was an April Fools!