Thursday, June 30, 2011

Together we make a Family

When you have kids you realize how fast time flies and how much they grow and change in such a short amount of time. Therefore, I felt like it had been too long since we last had our family photos taken. So, a couple weeks back I called up Photography by Amanda Hendrickson and scheduled a date to have them done. Although we were eaten alive by mosquito's (aka: bee-beeps) things went great! I am always so surprised at how many good shots Amanda always captures when we aren't even looking--she's brilliant I tell ya! Anyway, here they are! SO HAPPY with how they turned out. Enjoy :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

18 Months

Hattie, how are you already a year and a half?! Where does the time go? I swear we just celebrated your 1st birthday and now in only 6 short months we will be celebrating your 2nd. I'm not ready for you to grow up! BUT I must say that these last few months have definitely been the most rewarding. You are learning SO MUCH, sometimes 5 words a day, and it is such a joy to watch you learn and understand more and more about your world.

You are talking so much these days and say so many different things. I am amazed at how you will sometimes put 3 - 4 words together in a sentence! Some of my favorite things you say are:

"More Please Momma"
"I lub (love) you"
"Praba (Prada) NO-NO!"
"Hush" (very quietly)
"Neigh!" ANYTIME we see a horse, you LOVE them
"A BOOP! A BOOP!" (book)
"Here you go"
"A goller" (stroller)
"Night-night Momma/Daddy"
"A kuckle!" (buckle) Everywhere we go you insist on doing up the buckle on your carseat, stroller, cart, high-chair
"A bee-beep!" Went from bee's to any flying bug that you see, and no, you do NOT like them
"Acycle" (Motorcycle) These are definitely another favorite of yours! You get so excited when you see one.
"There/here it is"
"I did it!"
"I tute" (I'm cute!) Haha! We may have taught her this one :)
" A geen/gueen" (A drink) I have no idea why you call it this, but it's pretty cute

You have also become quite the little singer! You are learning some of the verses to a couple of songs:

Twinkle, twinkle little star - 2nd and 3rd verse? I don't know why you won't sing the first, haha!
Old McDonald - E-I-E-I-OOOOO!!! With a (insert pig noise) here and a (pig noise) there.
Ring around the Roses - Ashes, Ashes, DOWN! (falls down on the ground)
The Itsy-Bitsy Spider - Hand motions and all!

You are very independent and insist upon doing so many things yourself. Some of the things you love to do yourself:

Take off your diaper
Put on /take off your shoes
Use a fork and spoon
Throw things away (luckily it hasn't been anything important! ha!)
Push the shopping cart
Walk Prada on the leash
Buckle the carseat
Get in the bathtub
Say prayers
Teach your baby to use the potty
Read books
Navigate the iPhone / iPad

You have become quite the little eater too! Some of your favorite foods are:

Mac n' cheese
Fruit snacks
Cottage Cheese
Greek Yogurt
ANYTHING sweet (chocolate, ice cream, cookies, candy)

Reading is still one of your favorite activities. Some of your favorite books are:

Goodnight moon
Baby's first words
Turtle's take their time, Rabbits really rush
First ABC's
First Numbers
First Colors
Anything "Elmo" (Sesame street)

I'll be honest, from about 10 months on you have NOT been a good sleeper. Up until this month (aka JUNE) you were waking up 1-2 times a night--usually around 4AM. Well, finally our prayers were answered and you started sleeping through the night! Let's just say this is one of my favorite milestones, haha!

We are working hard on potty training. You have been pretty good with only a few accidents but we aren't quite there yet.

You wear size 12-18 months (once in a while 24 months) a size 5/6 shoe.

You also started nursery and you LOVE it! You are so good and absolutely love playing with all of the kids! This makes church a lot easier for everyone :)

Hattie you are such a joy to have in our home. You are so kind and loving and always seem to be so concerned for others. You have a very sweet spirit and you teach us so much everyday. We love you very much and cannot wait to see what the next 6 months bring.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breakfast in Bed

In my Father's day post I had mentioned that I made Mr. Pack breakfast in bed. This was something I had never done before and thought it would be a fun surprise! I made him yummy homemade waffles and the BEST most DELICIOUS syrup recipe on the planet--it's more like caramel sauce and I mean, who doesn't love caramel sauce, right? Below are the recipes I used:

This is the first time ever using the "Special" plate! Sean and I made this
beauty together at Color Me Mine for our 2nd Anniversary. It was so much fun!
You can't see it but the inside of the plate is red with white polka dots :)

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat waffle iron. Beat eggs in large bowl with hand beater until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla, just until smooth.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour mix onto hot waffle iron. Cook until golden brown. Serve hot.

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup
from Our Best Bites

3/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 stick real butter
2 Tbsp. Corn Syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda in a LARGE pot (I use a stockpot). Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring very frequently, for 8-9 minutes. When it’s done, it should take on this luscious golden-brown color. Remove from heat and add vanilla.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dd is for Daddy

"It should have great meaning that of all the titles of respect and honor and admiration that could be given him, that God himself, he who is the highest of all, chose to be addressed simply as “Father.”" - A. Theodore Tuttle, "The Role of Fathers", Ensign, Jan. 1974, 66.
I feel so blessed to have married such a good man and I must say that my love for him grew ten fold once he became a Daddy. He is such a wonderful dad to Manhattan and she is definitely a DADDY's girl! She has him wrapped around her tiny little finger and I don't think he'd want it any.other.way. Sean makes so many sacrifices for us (especially sleep!) so that we can spend time as a family. He is has so many qualities that make him such a good dad: selfless, kind, loving, driven, patient, devoted, fun, caring, virtuous--he fills the shoes perfectly! Sean, we truly cannot thank you enough for everything you do to make our lives better. Happy Father's Day, you are one amazing Daddy!


Hattie and Daddy Father's Day 2011

This morning Sean woke up to breakfast in bed (homemade waffles and syrup--recipes to come!) and when he came downstairs he found a new little surprise waiting for him...

A new golf bag!

I made these little collage frames for the Grandpa's
Speaking of Grandpa's...I also want to say Happy Father's day to both my dad and my father-in-law Lynn. We love you both! :)

Side note: Sorry these pictures are from LAST YEAR!!! UGH! Apparently I'm not good at taking pictures of anyone but Hattie. I will do better. Pinky swear.

And of course we are thinking of my sweet Grandpa Ayers today whose health is declining quickly.
Happy Father's day to all the men who have touched our lives in one way or another. We appreciate all of the examples we have too look up to!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Another year...another WINNER!

For the second year in a row we decided to enter Manhattan in the Freedom festival baby contest. Well boy am I glad we did because...


in her age category! We of course are a little bit biased and think that she is just the cutest thing on the planet so it really doesn't matter if she ever wins or loses. BUT, it's always fun to win a time or two right? AND do you want to know the best part? We get to walk in the 4th of July parade again! We've already decided that we're going to up our ante and get a wagon and decorate it like crazy--we are weird like that. HA! Anyway, I didn't even think to take a picture of her before and didn't take my camera with us but luckily there was a photographer there that got some cute shots. Congratulations baby girl on being an all American girl!

Doing her "pose" haha!

2010 2nd Place Winner

Friday, June 17, 2011

Have your {CAKE} and {EAT} it too

Photo from

This is by far one of my FAVORITE cake recipes and I thought I would share it with all of you. The cake itself is SUPER moist and the CHOCOLATE frosting you may want to double so you have enough to frost the cake...because you will eat spoonful after spoonful waiting for the cake to cool! It is DIVINE!

Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott

Banana Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don't have any mix milk and 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and let sit for 10 min)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana

To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in medium bowl and stir with a fork to combine well.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla. Beat well for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until you have a smooth batter.

Using a large spoon, stir in half the flour just until it disappears into the batter. Stir in the buttermilk and then the remaining flour the same way. Quickly and gently fold in the mashed banana and then divide the batter between the 2 cake pans.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on wire racks. Then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.

Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup evaporated milk or half-and-half
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To make the frosting, combine the butter, cocoa and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring ofter for about 5 minutes, until the cocoa dissolves into a dark, shiny essence. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at low speed until you have a thick smooth frosting.

To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Cover the second layer placed top side up. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly, first over the sides and then covering the top of the cake.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Date with Grandpa

This year my Grandpa Ayers was diagnosed with both Alzheimer's and Cancer. It's been a rough road to say the least. Because it's taking such a toll on things my thoughtful cousin suggested all of the local "older" grandchildren go visit him for a few hours at least once a month. This is not only good for us but it also gives my Grandma a little time away from home.

Can I just say that I am SO GRATEFUL that Hattie and I went and saw him a couple weeks ago? I had no idea how much both diseases were progressing. Here was my Grandpa, the one who remembered EVERYTHING and read 5 books a week asking me simple questions over and over. And here was my Grandpa, who used to be so big and strong, looking aged and frail. It absolutely broke my heart.

Needless to say it was good to just BE with him. He adores Manhattan and although he probably won't ever remember who she is for more than 5 minutes at a time, she definitely knows that he is "Pawpaw."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Goodnight Moon

Manhattan at 6 months old

Tonight my sweet Manhattan was having trouble going to sleep. I think it was a combination of a long day and a not so long nap. I let her cry for a little while before realizing that she wasn't going to go to sleep. I finished up my mopping, grabbed Goodnight Moon, and headed upstairs. When I opened the door she just lit up and immediately stopped crying--Mom's have special powers you know.

I took her out of her crib and we sat down in her rocking chair. We read through the nighttime favorite twice. Each time pointing to the mittens, kittens, comb, brush, and the little old lady whispering "hush." Rarely does she just she ever sit still so I was definitely soaking up this moment with my little girl.

After we were done reading, she proceeded to say "night-night" to everything in her room. "Night-night shoes." "Night-night bows." "Night-night piggy." "Night-night baby." "Night-night Prada." "Night-night table." "Night-night Mamma." Hearing her sweet little voice saying goodnight to her room just made me melt. I wanted to hold onto this moment forever and never let go. It brought tears to my eyes.

Soon the moment passed and she knew it was time for bed. I kissed her goodnight and closed her door. Realizing how much she is growing up is so bittersweet. Why can't I just stop time even just for a moment?

It's moments like these that I always want to remember.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sous Chef

I have the SWEETEST little helper in the kitchen! She is always so interested in what's going on so I usually just let her sit on the counter and watch. But the other night she was up for a bit more action! Not only did she help me measure, mix, and pour, but she felt the urge to do a little taste testing as well. Who can blame the girl? I do it all.the.time. And if you don't you're weird! Ha! We made the following recipe from Our Best Bites and it was divine!

Ooey-Gooey Peanut-Butter Brownies

3/4 C sweetened condensed milk, divided (fat-free is fine)
1/4 C butter, melted and cooled (1/2 stick)
1/4 C non-fat milk
1 box devil’s food cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
cooking spray
1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme (about 1 3/4 C)
1/2 C peanut butter morsels (not gonna lie, I used a very “heaping” 1/2 cup :)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, combine 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, milk, butter, cake mix, and egg white. Mixture will be very thick. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Use either floured hands, or spray your hands with cooking spray in order to press it down without having it stick to your fingers. The layer will be thin. Bake for 10 minutes.

Combine 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk and marshmallow creme in a bowl and combine until smooth. Stir in PB morsels. No one will tell if you stir in some extras. Spread marshmallow layer over brownie layer in pan. Carefully drop remaining brownie batter by spoonfuls over marshmallow mixture. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool before cutting into squares.

Mommy and her clean helper
Are they done yet?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Shoe Fetish

What could be cuter than a diaper paired with heels?
Absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feathering the Nest

We recently hosted a baby shower for my cute sister in law Kylie. She is expecting baby girl Evalyn next month and we are SO EXCITED for she and Daniel!

It was so much fun to throw a shower with my cute sister in laws and mother in law. I think everything turned out so cute and the food was to die for! In only a few short months we will be hosting yet another shower for Halie who is expecting the very first grandson for the Packs! We cannot wait for these two babies to join the family!