Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just some random happenings

Just some random events that have been happening around here...

Here is Madison and Daddy lounging around on a lazy weekend morning!
Madison loves her "everywhere chair." For you mommies-to-be, this is a great gift!  Pottery Barn Kids.  Here she is sharing it with Daddy.

I've been trying to make hair-bows for Madison.  This is a huge feat for me, I'm just not all that creative. But, thanks to Pinterest, even those of us that can't come up with the ideas - can at least copy them!  I have a love of all things smocked.  And, hair-bows can add up.  So, I'm giving myself a challenge and trying to make Madison some holiday bows!

And, this just goes to show, I stink at house cleaning...

Ryan, can we PLEASE get a cleaner hired again???????

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hello Cool(er) Weather

What a relief...the heat has finally broke here in North Carolina and I am so excited.  Seasons are so great, because just when you've had enough, you get a change!  The weather has been so amazing here - comfortable days with cool evenings.  Fall is truly just around the corner.  We've been taking advantage of the wonderful weather and enjoying some outdoor time and open windows!

Here is Madison in the am on a morning walk
She is too cool for school!  Seriously, this kid has it made in her stroller.  Sunglasses, graham crackers, milk and multiple toys.  I love that it was cool enough for her to wear a cardigan!

We were lucky enough to be able to meet some friends at the park today and we practiced our sliding.  Madison is one cautious kiddo, but she's gradually getting used to the idea of a slide.  In fact, today she actually said "slide!"

This is actually from an indoor park from last week, but here she is again taking on the slide! Madison has some extra daring friends and she is learning how to navigate the playground from them.

As a physical therapist, slides are iffy for me!  I love the coordination, motor planning and abdominal strength that they encourage.  However, experience with broken femurs are enough to make me a "helicopter-mom" as Maddie slides down.  I know it is rare, but I tend to hoover close enough to make sure her little legs don't get stuck!  Hopefully, I'm not holding her back:)

Happy fall to y'all!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Grandparent's Day

Madison is very lucky to have exceptional grandparents.  She (aka we) certainly do not give them enough thanks for all they do for Madison and for us.  She has such wonderful role-models and so, so, so much love! 

Wishing her grandparents all a very happy Grandparent's Day!!

Madison is fortunate to have her Nana that lives in North Carolina, Florence.  So far, Madison has been able to see Nana fairly close to monthly!  Nana is so much fun and is always ready to play and read and snuggle with Madison.  Here's a peek at some of her favorite Nana-moments!
Easter 2012 with Nana

Sweet Snuggles from Nana

Madison's maternal Grandmparents, Lainy & Papa, have done an amazing job playing an active-role in her life, even from Missouri!  Madison get's to see them about once a month and even traveled to MO once to visit them.  We know that she looks forward to visiting again for Thanksgiving.  

Madison had such a great time in Ocracoke Island this past summer (2012) with Lainy & Papa

Maddie with Lainy and Papa in NY in Summer 2011.

 Madison loves when Lainy and Papa come to visit.  There is so much playing, laughing and snuggling (when she can sit still long enough)!

Madison's paternal Grand-dad, Paul, is lots of fun!  She had a lot of fun during his recent visit and thought he was so funny!

Thank you so much to our parents!  We are definitely better parents because of you all, our parents!  We are so fortunate that Madison has you all to spend time with, learn from and love.  
A very Happy Grandparent's Day to you all!!!

And, a special wish for our Grandmother's...Grandma Kay and Grandma Angie. Lots and lots of love!
Madison with her Great-Grandma Angie

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cake Pop Fun

I love to bake.  I think it makes for nice gifts and it is an "easy" thing to contribute to any event.  For Madison's 1st Birthday, I had my heart set on cake pops.  I was able to borrow my neighbor's cake pop maker - yes, these things exist.  They turned out cute and so recently I decided it was time to get my own cake pop maker.  Our "new" neighbors were very sweet and brought over a box of clothes and toys to pass along to Maddie.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to give the new machine a go!

I actually purchased the Bella brand maker, but I do love the Babycakes one as well.  One thing to note - if you are on the market for your own is to be sure to purchase one that has 12 holes.  The one I borrowed for Madison's birthday only had 6 and it takes  A LOT longer!

A few tips:
* Use the Babycake recipe for cake pops.  I read a lot of reviews and it seems that some people have used boxed cake recipes, but they often have to alter the ingredients. I'd rather be safe than sorry!

* Fill each hole pretty much to the top. You don't want it to overflow, but if you are too cautious, your cake pops do not come out ball shaped!
These ended up being ugly cake pops and thus were not used!

* Freeze the cake pops for a bit (30+ minutes) before adding the sticks to them

* Dip the sticks in melted chocolate and then put them into the cake pop.  Let the chocolate harden before dipping the balls into chocolate.

* I use a tall cup to melt the chocolate in and then dip the balls.  I then I use a combination of tapping and twisting to get off excess chocolate.  This is the trickiest part of the entire operation!  It is easy to leave too much on and then it drips down the stick.   

* For the cake pops to dry, a foam block works great!  This is what we used for Madison's party.  However, I don't happen to keep those lying around, so we had to improvise.  Luckily Ryan's an engineer and was able to help me come up with a pretty logical solution!  Coffee cups filled with dry rice or beans!

We discovered that Madison has quite the sweet tooth!  She was able to eat her own cake-pop in just a few minutes!

The Madison seal of approval "mmmmmmmm"

Monday, September 3, 2012

Sweet Labor Day

We have had such a nice Labor Day weekend.  Friday night was the opening NCSU Football game - while it was hard to watch, it was a nice evening. Saturday was gorgeous and we enjoyed the pool with lots of friends and did some shopping. Sunday, Ryan enjoyed golfing and Madison and I were lazy around the house.  We enjoyed a few BBQs and lots of extra time together as a family.  Our contribution  was dessert and Ryan requested cupcakes!  I wanted to share my favorite recipes with you.  I feel like I've tried a lot of them and these are the best for homemade cupcakes!

Chocolate Cupcakes via Magnolia's recipe - follow this link
* We didn't have any buttermilk, so I used a substitute of 1 cup milk and 1 TBSP white vinegar.  This worked just fine!

I love these cupcakes because they come out fluffy and moist.  Also, I have stopped coating the cupcake liners with any Pam or similar product.  They really don't need it and can sometimes come out greasy if you do add it!

Butter-cream Icing, this is truly the best icing recipe I have found!  This is my go-to and it almost always comes out perfect.  I do add the 1/2 block cream cheese.

For today, I had 30 cupcakes.  So, I doubled the icing.  This yielded way too much, but I'd rather have too much than not enough.  I experimented with freezing icing - so I'll let you know how it turns out.  If you've done this before, do you have any tips?

We did red, white and blue icing in honor of Labor Day!  

Sweet Madison today.  She is one lucky girl to enjoy so much fun with so many friends today. At our first BBQ, she was amazed at all the big kids and loved following them around.  With our dear-friends, the Logues, she was so sweet and loved laying on the floor and playing with them.  Addison is like an older sister to her and is so loving to her.
*By the way, a family friend made this dress for her! Let me know if you are on the market for an adorable outfit for your daughter and I can pass along her info.  She is amazing!*

Sweet kiddos - and Madison trying to flee!

HAPPY LABOR DAY to you all!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

True Confession

I should start by saying that I am trusting that those of you who read this (hi mom! hi dad!) know that Ryan and I keep a fairly clean house.  I say fairly because it isn't perfect, but we do clean on a regular basis and are generally pretty organized.  But, there should be no judgement of us after reading this post.  Ok - disclaimer over.

I just got excited about vacuuming.  No really. I did!
Ryan and I got a little carried away at Sam's Club today - no judgement.  This is the vacuum cleaner my parents bought for me in college. It has seriously been a trooper!

 Then today, on our very exciting trip to Sam's - this was on sale.  Serious sale.

And then, we drove to Durham to purchase it.  Because, all of the Raleigh stores were out of it.  We became a little vacuum desperate.  Remember, no judgement.

It was almost like the vacuum inspired us to organize.  Before we knew it, we were spending our Saturday evening reorganizing our kitchen counters and pantry.  Then, I was begging Ryan to put the vacuum together so I could try it out.  And I did.  And it was great.  And gross.  Seriously. Remember, NO JUDGEMENT.  This is what the vacuum picked up.  It has been 1 week.  Which is loooong, I know, but it was a looong week.  

I'm a visual person.  I can assure, the C household will never, and I repeat, never go more than 2 days without a vacuum.

And we have these two pooches to thank for all of the dog hair...

I realize that I just did an entire blog post about a vacuum.  It seems a little odd, and I almost stopped midway, but it just so amazing to me that it seemed worthy of a blog post. I promise to try to blog about more exciting things like Madison and vacations and real life.  Thanks