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Posts Tagged ‘grandson’

An announcement

It has been a great while since I have posted. Life has been busy for us for the last few months. Our daughter, Nora, had a very difficult pregnancy which resulted in home bed rest (briefly), hospital bed rest (for about a week), and then the early delivery of her baby seven weeks early.

Little Oliver James was born on January 27 and has been in the NICU since then. He is a strong little boy and has made significant progress in the two weeks since his birth. He is eating well and is off all tubes, etc. At the moment he has just one monitor. His mother was allowed to begin rooming in with him just yesterday and if he continues to do well he may come home very soon.

We are extremely grateful for answered prayer on his behalf and on behalf of our daughter, Nora. People have been very kind in providing food, gifts, and child care for his big sisters. The girls have not been allowed to meet him yet.

Here are two of my favorite pictures:

The first is to give a bit of perspective. He is next to a 20 oz. soda bottle.

Here he is without any tubes and with his eyes open.

We are praising the Lord for our seventh little grandchild.

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Some cake tips and a birthday boy


Our grandson Ryan turned three last week. His parents had a party for him at a nearby park on Saturday. Ryan's favorite aspect of the party was playing on the playground equipment. He played so hard that that afternoon he actually put himself to bed for his nap!

Here's a picture of Ryan driving his little sister, Avery on the tractor he got for his birthday:


Since he loves large machines and farm equipment there was a John Deere theme at the party. Aunt Nora provided some John Deere cookies and I made a tractor cake.



It had been a while since I decorated a birthday cake so I had to dust off my decorating supplies. I discovered that Hobby Lobby no longer carries Wilton paste colors but now has gel colors which come in little bottles. The gel colors worked well and the dark colors tasted good--with some of the paste colors I have used in the past the darker colors often had an unpleasant taste.

I usually purchase Duncan Hines cake mixes and have had good success using them over the years. Many years ago the inside of the cake mix box had some tips for cake baking. One tip that is especially helpful if you are making large layer cakes that are going to be stacked or for making cakes in a character pan is to use less oil to make a firmer cake. It will still be tender and flavorful. They suggest using just 1 Tablespoon of oil for each cake mix along with the 1 1/4 cup water and three eggs. Another good idea is to spray your pan liberally with Baker's Joy, which is a combination of oil and flour in a spray can. I have found that this is really helpful if you are using a shaped character pan.


Some of you also enjoy baking. Do you have any cake baking or decorating tips you would like to share?


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Toddler Toys

Some of my readers have toddlers in their homes and some of you may have toddlers visiting in the next few weeks so I thought I would share a couple of ideas that the toddler who spends a lot of time at my house enjoys. I have seen some of these ideas on the internet and some of them have just evolved as we were playing.

The first idea is to collect the tops that you remove from 12 oz. containers of frozen fruit juice or the flat lids from canning jars. Then find someone who uses Huggies Baby Wipes and ask them to save an empty box for you. The Huggies box is the best for this because it has an easy to open latch and the opening where you pull out the wipes is very soft with no sharp edges. Ryan has enjoyed putting the lids into the slot and then dumping them out and starting all over again. He also clangs the lids together and says that they are his cymbals. ๐Ÿ™‚


The second idea involves large pom poms--about the size of golf balls. I got these at JoAnn Fabrics. One game we play with these is to put them through a small hole cut into the plastic lid of an oatmeal box.


We also have a large collection of little plastic cups that individual servings of applesauce and other fruits come in. Ryan often brings these for his lunch.


We line the cups up and then toss the poms into the cups. He also enjoys lining up the poms on the floor and then covering them up with the cups. Another game involves stacking the cups. We do have to watch out when playing with the poms because Buddy tries to run off with them.


These inexpensive (or in many cases free) items have provided hours of fun at our house and are things that you might want to consider adding to your collection.

Would any of you care to share your ideas for entertaining toddlers?


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Road trip

We just returned from a few days visiting with family in Michigan and Ohio. We ended up doing many special things but the two primary events during the week were our grandson Drew's kindergarten graduation and our granddaughter Maddie's baby dedication.

Drew turned six in March and has lost four teeth in the last month! Here he is trying to eat with a big gap in his mouth:


We got Maddie a doll for her birthday and weren't sure how she would like it. Fortunately she seemed to love it!


The kindergarten graduation was held on Thursday evening. Drew and the eleven other children in his class had obviously practiced their lines and songs for the program quite well.


After the first part of the program the children left the stage to change into little white caps and gowns and while they were gone we watched a power point presentation of some of the highlights of the past year. Drew was quite the little ham and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the evening.


Here's a picture of the whole family with the proud graduate:


On Sunday Megan and Jim had Maddie dedicated at their church. Here are Maddie and Megan dressed for church:


The pastor did a very nice job and explained that the purpose of the dedication is to encourage people to pray for Maddie and her parents as they strive to care for her and rear her in a way that pleases the Lord. Pastor Berlin said that he likes to have all the people in the church actively involved so he appointed Maddie to be the secretary of the nursery. ๐Ÿ™‚ She is quite the little character:


On Friday we took a trip down to Ohio to visit with Rob's mother and his sister and brother in law. We had a pot luck lunch at the nursing home and had a nice time visiting with all of them. A local pastor who often visits with Rob's mom came by and we were encouraged by his visit. Here are Rob, his mom, and his sister:


On Saturday we drove to downtown Detroit to visit the Eastern Market.


I have always wanted to visit there, so this was a special treat for me. It is huge and although we spent a couple of hours there we barely scratched the surface.


There were some musicians and this clown was making balloon creations for the children:


We ate lunch down there and Rob bought a catnip plant for Buddy and I bought some delicious cookies. We also ran into a family who used to live here in Greenville.

Memorial Day was cold and rainy in Michigan. Jim had to work early in the day but we all were invited for supper at the home of Megan and Jim's good friends, Kevin and Kristen. We had a really nice visit with them. There were several other families there and the children kept things pretty lively. Maddie enjoyed circling the open floor plan. We had to station someone near the stairway to the basement to make sure she didn't leap down them. There were several little boys who thoroughly enjoyed playing together and during the course of the evening a couple of them got locked in a bathroom and a small flood ensued when a commode overflowed. Fortunately no children were harmed during the course of these events. ๐Ÿ™‚

Those were the highlights of our week. I hope your week was a good one too.


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A day of celebrations

Our wedding anniversary was this week and since we knew we couldn't do much celebrating on a week day we decided to do some special things last Saturday.

We started the day with fresh, hot doughnuts from Krispy Kreme--a real treat!

Our next event was to go window shopping for cats at two of the local shelters. Believe it or not, we did not come home with one. Aren't you surprised? We did see several that we could have easily fallen in love with, but we restrained ourselves. ๐Ÿ™‚ We did find out information which will be helpful when we do decide to adopt a cat or kitten again. We were actually surprised by how many cats and kittens were available or which would soon be available after health check-ups and spay and neutering.

We went out for lunch at Tony's New York Style Pizzeria. We had been there before a couple of times and had gotten their calzone--which is huge. We can split a small one and get two meals out of it. This time I had Chicken Parmesan and Rob got Lasagna. Both were excellent. They also have delicious gelato but we didn't get dessert this time. Tony's is located at 30 Orchard Park Drive if you are interested in checking it out. They do have a pizza slice special at lunch which is quick and also very good. Here's a link to their menu.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Upcountry History Museum where they were having a special pictorial exhibit about the city of Greenville. It was interesting to see pictures of some places in Greenville from the past compared to how they look now. This exhibit was to close last weekend but is being extended for a couple of months. The museum has a lot of information about the local history and has a nice little gift shop with many books and other items from this part of the state. It's also very economical--the cost is only $4 for adults at this time.

Saturday evening we also attended another special celebration--Ryan's second birthday party. Katie made him a little cake shaped like a car with Oreos for wheels. He loved his little cake (especially the tires, which he is fascinated with right now!) but he would not even try one bite of it. He also enjoyed playing with the shiny confetti which was part of the table decorations and trying out some of his new gifts. Since turning two he is talking quite a bit more and it has been fun to hear his vocabulary expand.

We forgot to bring our camera and his other Grandma, Cindy, graciously shared these pictures with us:

Here he is rearranging the confetti.


Here he is playing with some of the toys he received.



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