Monday, July 25, 2011


I love taking photographs. I have not devoted a lot of time to studying techniques, but it's definitely something I'd be interested in doing at some point in the future. In my Google Reader today, I came across a contest from iheartfaces. The theme was "water" and the photo must include a face (at least one, I would imagine). So, figuring that I had hundreds of beach and pool photos, I started making a mental inventory of ones I really liked. One stood out in my mind, but I had to think back to where it would be located. My photo files are organized by year (and then by month), and I knew the photo in my head was taken in November and that Ben was little, so I went to November 2006, and there it was! This is one of my all-time favorite pictures:

It was taken at Fort DeSoto, and like I said, Ben was just over a year old. We walked out on the North Beach to play a little bit in the sand and on the playground. At the point that this photo was taken, Ben was whipped. I love everything about it. Here are some more from that day:

See, told ya he was tired!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fastest 18 Holes Ever

Today, we went miniature golfing, at Ben's request. I recall the last time we went mini golfing at the old course on Gulf Boulevard (the one I remember going to as a kid!), and I had to post pictures from back then. This was almost exactly three years ago (Ben was just shy of three years old) and he had a major meltdown on, I think, Hole #16. Check it out:

What a difference a couple of years makes! Today's golfing experience was just as hot, but our kids are a whole lot more laid back now. Phew. Makes for a much more enjoyable time. I noticed that I took very similar photos this time that I did last time:

When we got home, Grandpal (that's Grand-paaawwl, in case you are wondering, and how Ben actually spells it) came over and we went to the pool. Eva and I were hanging out on the raft, and Ben was pulling us around the pool when somehow, his very loose bottom tooth got caught on one of the holes in the raft and got yanked out! AAAHHH! He freaked out a little bit, since this was his first tooth that came out totally on its own (the first three were "wiggled out" by the dentist after his playground accident). Unfortunately, we could not find the tooth that fell  out! We did our very best to search the pool, deck, and even the raft, but no luck. I am certain the Tooth Fairy understands that these things happen, right?

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Why do all of my posts titles look the same? It's always the subject and an exclamation mark. I need to try to vary that!

Anyway, today was a very lazy day, but we did undertake a big cooking project - cakeballs! I've made them before, last Christmas I think it was, and thought it would be fun to get the kids involved since it does take a lot of steps.

1 box of the cake mix of your choice
1 can of cream cheese frosting
melting candy/chocolate of your choice (I used milk chocolate, but you can use white chocolate, dark chocolate, whatever!)

1. Make the cake as directed on the box (be careful not to undercook)
2. Let cake cool completely
3. Crumble cake into a large bowl
4. Mix in cream cheese frosting
5. Put mixture in freezer for a while (otherwise the ball-forming is much too gushy and mushy)
6. Use your hands to shape the mixture into smallish balls (mine were about 1" in diameter, Ben's were...of varied shapes and sizes!)
7. Put balls on a cookie sheet and put in freezer for a while
8. Melt chocolate candy/bark/chips slowly (don't overcook)
9. Roll each ball in the melted chocolate with a spoon (I don't know of any easier way...suggestions welcome)
10. Put balls on wax paper to harden
11. Store in the fridge (my favorite) or on the counter in an airtight container

Ben did an awesome job measuring all of the ingredients

Eva did an awesome job trying to sneak chocolate

Ben's first time using the electric mixer

Eva's first time being one inch from chocolate and not putting her finger in it

Of course I let him taste a little cake batter

My princess ballerina had some, too. Can you tell?

What happened to the shirt? Cake batter happened! Bowl licking happened! (I spared you those photos)

Check out those cakeballs!

Very carefully dipping the cakeballs in melted chocolate. We didn't have any wax paper, so I used printer paper. Yeah, I said it.

Ta da! Not pretty, but mmm-mmm-good!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House Party!

 Well, no, not really. Sounds exciting, though, right? This week, we're sticking close to home. No big plans, other than tennis lessons and possibly hitting the beach on Friday. I try to keep things sort of fun, even if we're just hanging out around here.

We do some science-y kinds of things a lot. Ben has been creating potions, generally consisting of water, salt, liquid soap of some sort, and maybe even some sprinkles thrown in for good measure. We also did a little sink vs float investigation, in which Ben made predictions, observations, and recorded the data (gosh, I sounds like a teacher...oh wait...)
Check out those goggles: Safety first!

Eva has to lend a helping hand  

The results (I don't know why it's turned)

The happy scientist
Inspired by my new favorite time sucker, Pinterest, I made a hopscotch grid in our living room with painter's tape. While I was making it, Ben kept commenting, " you think Dad's gonna get mad? I think Dad's not going to like this." I had to reassure him multiple times that painter's tape would not stick to the floor permanently.

I've been on kind of a croissant kick, so we've had two delicious croissant based snacks this week. One was this AMAZING cinnamon sugar cheesecake croissant thingie:
(Forgot to take a picture - this is from the recipe!)

The other was a peanut butter chocolate chip croissant thingie. Seriously yum.
Eva was my helper (when she wasn't stealing the chocolate chips. See that face? That cute little mouth is filled with chocolate chips)

It was a hit! Ben ate three! And, yes, that's spilled milk. Welcome to my world.
 And finally, we have been spending a lot of time at the pool. Eva is getting to be a great little swimmer. She has absolutely no fear (which is kind of scary), loves to jump, and actually swims under water. She doesn't even try to keep her head above water. The key is getting her to use her arms and legs all the time! She is pretty good about swimming either to me, to the step, or to the side, though. Ben, of course, is an awesome swimmer. He has learned a bunch of different kinds of floats in swimming lessons, and has a sort of crazy free-style thing going on. He also loves to jump in, and I would like him to learn how to dive.
This is the first time that I feel confident to not be in the pool while the kids are in the pool. Of course, I am right there, and I tell Eva to stay on the stairs if I am not in the pool. She likes to play on the stairs, so it's okay.

Doing the crab crawl


Blowing water out the back of the noodle

Taking a breather and looking adorable

Silly faces!

Riding a horsey - "Heeheheeheeeheeheeheee!!!" That's Eva's version of "Neigh!"

They both loved jumping on to the raft

Next week, I have a couple of trainings to attend, so the kids will be with Aunt Kathy and Uncle John (Helllllloooooo, Chuck-E-Cheese!!!). They are looking forward to it!

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Although we have no major vacation plans for the summer, we try to get out of the house for some fun every once in a while! Here are some of the highlights of our summer so far:

Ben going down head-first at the Dunedin Splash Park


Love playdates with Grant (and his parents!)!

Can you get any cuter?

Snacks at Albert Whitted Park - pretty, but no shade

Again, pretty view

Playdate with Michael (face blocked b/c I don't know if his parents would be okay with me posting him on a public blog)
Our favorite beach, Pass-a-Grille

Eva driving the boat at the Glaser Children's Museum

We met Grant and Michael there - they all loved the fire truck!

Eva made a garden

Ben and Greg took the Mustang to the car show and "won" a trophy. Ben didn't put it down for about 24 hours straight.

Swim lessons at Fossil Park

Yup, that's Ben on the high dive! No fear at the Twilight Swim Night!
Some guy offered to take our picture in front of the aquarium

Playing at the Florida Aquarium (weird...didn't get any photos inside the aquarium!)

Lowry Park Zoo - how hard is it to get a good photo of three kids, 5 and under?

Impossible, but at least Eva looks smashing!

Carosel time!

The Flying Banana ride! Eva was running back to me to see the picture here