Al Fresco Dining

Who says you have to actually be at a restaurant to enjoy an al fresco cafe lunch? EJ created her own restaurant with her dolls and little brother, and was ready to be served.

I was dubbed the waitress and decided on a Thanksgiving leftover lunch.


Everything always tastes better when eaten outside.

Our Baby Reveal

We are excited to announce the arrival of our third kiddo the spring of next year! We have had a lot of surprises this year and this pregnancy has been the biggest one. We knew we wanted a third eventually (I wasn't ready to say goodbye to the baby stages quite yet) but were thinking a year or so down the road. Of course we wouldn't change a thing now and couldn't be more excited about the prospect of a third.

We found out the sex for our first two at the ultrasounds and while we still wanted to find out early we thought it would be fun to try something a little different. Instead of it just being the two of us with the ultrasound tech when we found out, we wanted it to be the four of us with the grandparents. The tech was excited about this idea and enclosed the gender reveal in a sealed envelope for us to open later.

As a side note for those trying to decide if they should find out the sex early or not, I would always find out the sex during the ultrasound after this. The amount the techs show you is drastically different and the connection with the baby those images give makes finding out early worth it. The pregnancy will give you enough surprises!

So, I had to restrain myself from opening the envelope for a couple of days while we scheduled a time for both grandparents to video chat with us and we had a friend wrap the reveal.

We set up the laptop and playbook with the grandparents watching outside and began opening the box.

EJ knew that blue balloons meant boy and pink girl.

DaddyO and I had fun predicting what we thought it was going to be beforehand from the ultrasound and tech's comments. I thought a boy and he thought a girl.

I know EJ was hoping for a baby sister, she was quick to remind me that she already had a brother.

All that I hope is that it is healthy. They would all be great playmates no matter the gender.

And they were blue balloons!

It didn't take EJ more than a couple seconds to be excited about her "baby brother." We will be counting down the months now till our little blue bundle arrives!

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

We celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early this year as we are planning a magical trip up north later this week. Thanks to the military we have never strickly adhered to holiday dates. I remember one year in Japan when we celebrated Thanksgiving in December. It doesn't matter the date, just who you are with. This year it was our immediate family and Navy friends.

I spent the day cleaning the house while DaddyO prepared the food with the kiddos. Our menu included: Butterflied, Dry Brined Roasted Turkey, cider glazed ham, Trader Joe's Green Bean Casserole, Roasted Root Vegetable Panzanella, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

Our friends brought: stuffing, purple mashed potatoes, cider spiced cranberry sauce, minted smashed carrots, corn bread, salad with vanilla balsamic dressing, and caramel apple pie.

Needless to say it was a wonderful feast with family and friends.

After the meal the kids (and kids at heart) bundled up to watch Planes on the big screen outside while they ate their desserts.


The little ones puttered around in the indoor warmth.

We had built up to this day by watch Thanksgiving favorites, listening to music and doing crafts. When the day finally arrived I don't think the kids even realize it was Saturday instead of Thursday. It was Thanksgiving Day, a day we thanked God for all he had blessed us with and shared those blessings with each other.

His and Hers Turkey Day Shirts

This was a "while your little brother is napping" project that EJ and I worked on together a day before our Thanksgiving celebration. I had seen similar shirts on pinterest and thought it would be fun for the kiddos to each have their own. We have been doing a lot of turkey themed projects this leading up to Thanksgiving. Turkey candles, pincone turkeys, hand turkeys, to name a couple. So as I expected they both immediately recognized the turkeys.

With my "to-do" getting longer and longer I couldn't spend a lot of time on the shirts and fortunately it didn't take us longer than 30 minutes to complete them both. DaddyO came home early that afternoon so he got to see us in action and, since it was such a quick project, didn't give us a hard time:)

Everything we needed for the shirts (felt, ribbon, buttons, iron on adhesive) I had on hand so it was also a cheap project. 

We cut out the felt and ribbon, adhered them to the shirts, I stitched around the edges, and they were ready to be worn!


It is nice not having to worry what they're going to wear for the festivities, and if I'm lucky they just might fit again next year.

Christmas Busy Bag Exchange

In preparation for Christmas I participated in advent style busy bag swap. Everyone chose a Christmas themed craft or activity, prepared 24 of them, and then met up for an exchange . In return we went home with 24 different bags to do with the kids. In theory one for each day counting down to Christmas, but we may go through them faster.

On our drive over we drove through a small town that had decked the streets with Christmas decorations. I guess our DaddyO's and my effort to avoid Christmas until we have celebrated Thanksgiving has been picked up by EJ. Whenever she sees a Christmas tree or decoration she announces that we "don't look". CJ is quick to comply and ended up driving through the whole town with his eyes covered.

At the house, the kids played while the adults assembled the bags.

It was fun to see how creative everyone got.

I stuck with my sewing card theme and made Christmas Cookies Lacing Cards and a Christmas Tree that I found online.

When it was time to exchange EJ had fun counting to 24 with me as she pulled out a craft from each bag.

Even though we're not quite ready to celebrate Christmas this gives us the taste of it right around the corner.

Do-A-Dot Art

I'm always on the lookout for art activities to do with the kids. Do-A-Dot paints have been a big hit with them and me. They are simple enough for both kids yet each one can use the paints in their own way. CJ has fun banging away at the different colors to see what kind of pictures he can randomly create.

How He Rides

I guess riding a motorcycle while listening to music (in this case "On the Road with Bob and Larry") is something that starts at an early age. CJ came down with his sister's ipod this evening and insisted on wearing headphones. This is something he has only seen EJ do on airplanes but I guess it stuck. He then proceeded to climb on his motorcycle and rock away to the music.

As much as I didn't like to think of his DaddyO riding with earbuds, I know CJ is just taking after him.

Thanksgiving Busy Bag Exchange

I have pin after pin on my Toddler Learning board that I'd like to do with the kids. It takes time though to find all the necessary supplies and assembling the craft or activity, time that I never seem to have enough of. A busy bag exchange seemed like the perfect answer to having a ready supply of new crafts and activities. Any excuse for a playdate is also nice.

Six of us got together to exchange. It was fun to see the creative things everyone came up with.

Since Kimberly is on the other side of the country she mailed hers. In true Kimberly fashion she did not one but two activities and boy was EJ excited to open the package.

Shannon got us all in Thanksgiving spirit with her colorful spiced pine cone turkeys.

So cute!


Katie made fabulous felt playmats.

CJ wasted no time to get in the bag and set up the outdoor scene.

Allie got an early jump into kiddie crafting and put together popsicle stick animals.

EJ couldn't wait to jump into this one and was thrilled to have someone other than mom there to help her.

Kristin came up with a great activity that I'll be copying in the future. She taped together Popsicle sticks. We drew on hand turkeys.

Painted them.

 And wallah, a Thanksgiving puzzle.


I ended up making sewing cards out of vintage postcards. Plastic needles were included to embroider the cards.

It was a fun morning of exchanging, chatting  and playing. As you can see, we couldn't wait more than one day to make it through half of the crafts.  It was a long day of DaddyO flying though so they actually accomplished their purpose and kept the kids busy till bedtime.

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