Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Snow

Unless my calendar is wrong, we are now officially in the season known as Spring.  Spring is when snow melts, grass and leaves grow, flowers bloom and the temperature starts to warm...right?  Now I know I live in Wisconsin and therefore anything can happen with the weather, but I've decided that this year is completely unfair.

We got snow yesterday.  Like a foot.  12" of snow.  On March 23.  Snow in March is not that unusual of a thing for us--last year we even had a dusting of snow in May.  But this year seemed like it was going to follow the calendar.  We were in the 50s a week ago and our snow was about 75% gone.  I could actually see more grass than snow in my yard.  The birds were here and singing and all was well.  Then we got dumped on and the temp isn't supposed to go above 35 for the next 5 days.  *sigh*  I'm just done with it all.

March 23 was the first snow day of the year for our school district.  Even with all the snow we got this winter, it all fell either on weekends or pre-arranged days off.  So the girls and I made the best of it--we played games, did art projects, painted nails, did "make-up-overs" as Mikayla calls them, ate cake for dessert after lunch and just hung around the house.  I didn't take a single picture, but meant to.  Oh well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Presto Change-O

See how much of a face-lift our kitchen has had?  We replaced the refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, microwave, floor, and 2 light fixtures (on the ceiling and above the sink).  We removed some wall-paper, painted, added vinyl wall lettering, and took the doors off the peninsula cupboards.  Now to finish removing the old wall-paper, get new counter-tops, put up a back-splash, replace the door/drawer pulls...

Tell me, how many of you have a fridge like mine?  I know they say that a clean fridge door can make the room seem bigger and cleaner, but I have 3 kids and do daycare.  I will not get rid of the ABC magnets that keep them occupied while I cook.  And my HUGE dry-erase calendar? I live and breathe by that thing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Current, Complete and Consistent Kitchen

As most of you know, we've lived in our house for just over 6 years.  When we moved in, we had to buy a refrigerator but the rest of the appliances were there.  They were functional, but nothing to look at, and nothing that had any bells or whistles.  The oven was black with a white top, the dishwasher was white and we had bought a black fridge with the intention of going all black in the kitchen someday.  The appliances worked most of the time and, in the case of the stove, was original to the house when built in 1979. 
(we've made so many more updates to this kitchen, including removing the cupboards doors above the peninsula, peeling wall-paper, new pendant light above sink, new fixture on ceiling, vinyl wall writing above cupboards, etc)

First thing we replaced?  The stove.  I got a beautiful flat cooktop and an oven that was considerably larger than the old one.  Not only that, but all the burners work on the new stove!  The next thing to be replaced was the dishwasher.  The old one didn't get our dishes clean and was horrendously loud.   In the meantime our microwave also died and was replaced it with a nice, new and sleek model.  All that was left was the range hood.  The disgusting, grease-laden, impossible to get clean, white, loud and inefficient range hood. (and I don't know how many times I gouged my forehead on those sharp corners!)

Take a look at that beauty!  Not only does my kitchen now look consistent and current, but it's also quiet!  The old fan was so loud that I couldn't hear conversations at the kitchen table if I was cooking.  And the fan was so permanently gross and greasy that I had to always use it on high for it to be effective--and that's using the term mildly.  It did the bare minimum of sucking out the steam and stank from my cooking.  But this new one...oh it works so great and so quiet and looks so good.  And the filters can go in my dishwasher!!  How awesome is that?  My old filters I would soak in hot, soapy water for an hour and then scrub with an old toothbrush--all to get them as clean as possible which was about 25% clean.  Ugh.  So happy to see him gone!!  Not to finish removing the old wall-paper, get new counter-tops, put up a back-splash...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We're Baaa-aaack

Did you miss me?  Yeah, I know it's been awhile...again.  But the last few weeks have been busy.  At first, I was busy doing tons of laundry, cleaning and packing for our trip.  Then we were gone for 8 days on our trip.  Then we were home and had to unpack, settle in, buy groceries, etc.  But we had such a good time!

We flew out on Friday morning and landed in Orlando around noon (after a slight medical emergency on board).  There were 10 of us--my 5, my parents, my in-laws and sister-in-law.  We met my sister at the airport, who had flown in from VA.  It was great to see her for the first time in over a year!  We had rented a house but couldn't get in it until after 4:00, so we got our rental vehicles and headed to Cocoa Beach.  It was the first time to the ocean for our family.  We had a great time playing in the sand and waves.  Mikayla didn't like the water (it's yucky!) but she really enjoyed playing in the sand on "Coconut Beach."  After the beach we checked into our rental house and then went grocery shopping.

Day 2 was spent at Animal Kingdom, but before we got there I had to buy a new camera--mine crapped out after the beach when I plugged it in to charge.  Of well.  We got the new camera and headed to the park.  We had so much fun walking around and looking at all the various animals, many of which (hippos, rhinos, elephants...) aren't even found in zoos around home.  We went on a few rides, including Lilly's favorite roller-coaster "Expedition Everest."  We also sat in on "It's Tough to be a Bug" in 3D by the Bug's Life crew, but Mikayla did not like that at all.

Day 3 (Sunday) started with waking up and looking out the window to about 10 hot air balloons flying over our neighborhood.  The girls thought that was really cool.  Then we headed to Magic Kingdom.  We got to meet Cinderella and Ariel, went on a bunch of rides (including Space Mtn and Big Thunder, which the big girls loved) and sat in on Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.  The Laugh Floor was really funny and they even picked on us and our matching shirts, particularly singling out Grampa Bill.  We watched the Celebration Parade and ended the day with ice cream and fireworks over the castle.

Day 4 we went to Hollywood Studios.  It was our first day of meeting a lot of characters--Buzz, Woody, Green Army Man, Mickey, Lotso, Frozone, Mr. Incredible, Mater and Lightning McQueen.  We also saw Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid plays.  The girls each bought some souvenirs and we went on the Rock-n-Rollercoaster, which went 0-80 in about 2 seconds and went upside down!  Alayna didn't know what to think of it but Lilly, our thrill-seeker, loved it.  For dinner we went to Ponderosa Steakhouse and came back to the house to find out we'd missed out on 12" of fresh snow back here at home.  Oh darn.

Day 5 was the day to say goodbye to Bill, Lynn and Alicia.  They didn't get to stay the whole time, so after saying good-bye to them and getting them off to the airport, the rest of us headed to Epcot.  We were able to meet Daisy, Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Snow White, Mulan and Marie from Aristocats.  While in line to meet some of the characters, we started chatting with a family that commented on our Packer jerseys (we were all wearing jersey's but my sister)  The daughter said she cheered for the Packers in the Super Bowl since the Panthers weren't in it.  Turns out it was Thomas Davis and his family--he plays for the Panthers!  After that we did the Nemo ride and looked at all the aquariums while Gramma Paula took a survey and received $150 to spend at the parks!  When she returned, we watched Turtle Talk with Crush and we completely recommend that.  It was hilarious.  Then we started the country tours and had some Italian gelato.  We ended the day with the ride that goes through the "big golf ball" and all the girls really liked that.

Day 6 we went back to Magic Kingdom.   The first thing we did was go back to meet the princesses because Belle was on duty.  Belle (Yellow Belle, to be exact) is Mikayla's favorite princess and she was so excited to meet her that she was shaking!  It was too cute.  We also met Aurora/Sleeping Beauty.  We did a few of the rides we didn't have time for the other day, like Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise, rode the train around the park and finally, Splash Mountain.  Mikayla was so happy to make the height requirement (barely!) and loved the whole "roller-coaster" ride, keeping her arms up the whole time!

Day 7 was our last full day in Florida.  We took our time in the morning and then headed back to Cocoa Beach.  We played in the sand and water for a few hours, then anxiously waited for 4:50...when Discovery was going launch.  We were able to watch it launch and it was so cool.  The blast was VERY bright and it went so fast you almost could have missed it.  But we can now say that we watched Discovery launch for the last time in person.  Since the beaches were so crowded, the normally 45 min drive back to the house took 3 hours!  We got back to the house and got everything packed up to go home the next morning.

Day 8 was time to go home.  We gathered everything, did a quick tidy of the house and headed to the airport.  Our flight was delayed almost an hour, but we finally were put at a new gate and given our seating assignments.  It was hard to say good-bye to my sister, who had a flight later than us back to VA.  Our flight was uneventful and we landed safely at MSP.  Mikayla slept for about 2 hrs of the 3 hr flight, even sleeping through landing!

We had a great time and are so blessed to have such wonderful family!  I took about 450 pictures--actually, I probably took about 550 but each night I would go through my camera and delete the blurry or bad pics from the day.  I came home with about 450 on my camera.  I uploaded a whole bunch to FaceBook and honestly don't want to go through that again.  SO...if you want to see the pics, just let me know.  I can send you a link to my album on FB, even if you aren't on FB, and you can view the 125 I put on there.