Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Easter 2014 (A little late)

**I just realized I had this unpublished post about Easter!  Better late than never!**

What a day!  It was jam-packed full of fun!  We got Parker out of bed and lead him to his Easter basket.  The extent of his initial interest was the 1 piece of paper grass that fell out.

 Once I helped his open his eggs and slinky he wanted to check things out.
 After breakfast we dyed eggs!

 Our family festivities were pretty light.  We had lunch with Jimmy's parents.  I love it when the whole clan is there, but it was kind of fun to spend some time just with Grandpa and Grandma.
Grandma Cherry's feast
We headed to my parents after lunch.  I was in charge of dessert so I got some extra yardage (pun intended) from my green coconut.  I made cute little Easter egg cupcakes with jelly beans!
 It was a beautiful 70+ degree day, Jimmy spent most of the afternoon riding the 4-wheeler, but found time to take Parker for a ride with Grandpa after he woke up.  Noises have been a struggle for Parker lately so I was not surprised that he was weary of riding.  Once they got going he was fine, but started whining again one they stopped.
 Juice boxes make everything better!  I thought he looked rather dapper in his orange plaid.
 It was another delicious meal!  We got my parents all to ourselves as well!
 Parker wasn't much for the ham, but did like the cupcakes!
Belated Easter blessings to you all!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Waterpark of America

Autism Speaks hosted a night out at the waterpark this weekend!  Waterpark of America is a huge indoor park by the Mall of America.  It is awesome, but also a little on the spendy side.  I was very excited to see this event pop up at a discounted rate!  Parker loves the water so we were excited to take him.  We also invited my parents along so my mom could be with Parker while we rode the big slides.  I did tell her in advance that I was just using her!

It turned out to be a great day for indoor activities with it raining all day.  The whole park is Minnesota themed and the zero-depth area for kids is called Fort Snelling.
 Parker loved the falling water...
 And jumping and splashing...
 He even did some of the small slides by himself.

 And he got to go down the big slide with Jimmy, Grandpa and myself.
The first video below is Parker's first trip down the slide with Jimmy.  The second is his ride down with me.

 He loves it so much that he wanted to climb back in the bottom.
 It was so much fun to splash around with Grandpa!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Community Easter Egg Hunt

Since my parents had Parker overnight we decided to meet at a morning Easter Egg Hunt for a little fun and to get him back!  I was chilly and windy, but we still had fun.  I did neglect to think about the 10"+ of snow that had melted over the last 2 days and wished I had brought boots for all of us!  Parker still doesn't totally understand the concept, but we had a good time helping him along.

He mainly just ran around aimlessly, overwhelmed with excitement at the wide open space.
 But Nana managed to snatch him up and assist with grabbing an apple sauce.
 I think Jimmy was more interested in this chocolate bunny than Parker was.

 Then Parker found the puddles and the mud!  I let him play (code for took some pictures) then tried to steer him away.

 A basket full of treats = Success
 There was a great variety for the little ones, fruit snacks, cheeze-its, etc.  We will try again next year and hope for more interest and better weather!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dogs and Donuts Date Night

Parker is sleeping over at my parents tonight so Jimmy and I decided to hit up Minneapolis for this week's date night.  The Wienery has been on our list of places to visit for years!  This place is a true dive, but the food was awesome!
 I got the Manhattan (chili, cheese and onions) with onions rings
 Jimmy got the Drive-In (chili, cheese and slaw) with hand cut fries
Date night is never finished without dessert!  We whipped by Glam Doll Donuts on the way home for a sweet treat!  Jimmy picked out a Calendar Girl for me, chocolate and salted caramel!  This place is so good!  Both of these places are a must for locals and visitors alike!  I will even take you sometime!
I hope your Friday evening was as delicious as mine!

Golf-Themed Cupcakes

We typically go to my parents house for all the PGA majors so we can watch them together.  Last weekend was no exception with The Masters kicking things of for 2014.  I volunteered to bring dessert (as usual) and I was feeling crafty!  I really haven't had the time or energy for creativity lately so it was a refreshing change.  I decided to use cupcakes to create one of Augusta National's signature holes.  Number 12, Golden Bell, is the courses shortest hole, but gives players plenty of guff!  Rae's Creek and the Hogan bridge leading to the green are it's visual highlights.

I started by baking 2/3 of a box cake into mini-cupcakes, which yielded 43.   I arranged the cupcakes unfrosted into the shape I wanted.  Then I drew a diagram to help with assembly, but I forgot to take a picture of it.  I separated a small amount of white frosting to be colored yellow and blue, then colored the remainder green.  I also made green coconut and sugar using standard food coloring.
 I started by frosting all the cupcakes.  I dipped some of the green ones in coconut to represent the "rough," or longer grass along the edge.  The fairway was frosting only and I dipped the cupcakes for the "green" in the sugar.  Blue is obviously for the water in Rae's creek.  I used the yellow frosting for the based of the sand traps, which were then dipped in graham cracker crumbs
 The Hogan bridge in the background was the toughest part.  I wanted it to be edible, but was not having luck carving graham crackers into such and intricate design.  I ended up using a few layers of cardboard coated in peanut butter and rolled in crumbs.  I thought it turned out pretty neat.
 I cut a white jelly bean in half for a ball and made a toothpick pin for the finishing touches!  A delicious and fun way to celebrate!  Happy Baking!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring at Last!

The last week was beautiful!  It was in the 60's most days and we even hit 70!  Of course, a cold front is moving in as I type and the words "wintery mix" are back in the forecast.  We just have to take what we can get in Minnesota!

The snow if finally gone, but I couldn't help making the last (and first) snowman of the year.
Parker thought it was kind of silly and almost ran him over!
We had a brief genetics follow-up appointment on Monday with a medical specialist.  She does not have any concerns about Parker and we won't need to go back for a couple years.  They had me put him in a little gown.  It was adorable!
Wednesday was the highlight of the week, it was sunny and 70!  Parker and I also had a playdate with a blogger friend from Oklahoma, Courtney, and her adorable kiddos!  Courtney and I first found each other on pregnancy message board in 2011 and have been in contact ever since.  Her daughter Jillian is just a couple weeks younger than Parker.  They were in the area this week so we had to meet up!

Parker gave a great first impression by eating dirt and woodchips!
The park we went to has smaller equipment that is perfect for toddlers!

Exploring the tunnel
Spinning...and spinning...and spinning...
We wrangled the kids in the swings for a while.  It made chatting a lot easier!
Jillian, baby David, Parker
Courtney has been an amazing friend over the last couple years.  Even though we had never met so is always thinking of my family and is so supportive of all the stuff we have been through.  I hope we get a chance to meet up again!  I didn't intend to get the kiddos in the picture below, but am so happy I did!
All the fun this week was starting to take it tole on Parker.  I found him snuggled up with his pillow and blanket on Friday morning.  He was so tired and didn't want to get going.  He is becoming such a big boy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fridges and Farms

I mentioned in a date night post that we were looking for a new fridge.  We actually ended up buying it just before leaving for DC.  It sat in our garage for a week and half and we finally got it in today.  Here is our old fridge with the cabinet doors removed.
My dad came over to help take the cabinet down.  He is going to try to salvage the taller part and maybe do something with the rest too.
We have some other sheetrock work to do in our breezeway, so we plan to repair and paint the wall at that time.  It is nice to have such a big fridge, we gained at least 50% more space plus the shelves are more customizable than the old one.
Once we finished putting everything back together we took a walk because it was a nice sunny day.  We stopped by "Fairview Farms," which is really just our friends, Michelle and Enoch's, house.  They have been boiling sap the last several years and we wanted to check out the operation!

Parker had fun playing with their dog, Ruby.
They have a pretty neat set-up.  The barrel contains the wood and the square pan is where the sap boils.  The smaller pot on top also contains sap.  It is getting warm before adding it to the large pan because you don't want to slow the boil when pouring it in.  The yield can vary, but it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup and an average tree will produce about 10 gallons of sap a year.  You know it is ready when it reaches a certain temperature.  Enoch uses a hydrometer to check his syrup, but you can also use a thermometer.
Enoch adding wood
Enoch, Jimmy and Parker
Parker wasn't too interested in the boiling, but did almost get his hand in a bucket of sap!  He loved just being outside and trying out his new boots (they match the hat!)
Today was the first of a long stretch of gorgeous weather, it may even hit 70 on Wednesday!  We are very excited for some outside time.  Hope you are having a great weekend too.