Sunday, February 21, 2010

Budding Picasso

The other night I agreed to take a bath with Gabrielle. While I was showering and washing my hair, she was busy drawing with her bath crayons. I know it's a little hard to see (and some of it washed off). But, I was so proud that I could tell what she actually drew, unlike the scribbles that she's done in the past.

Her portrait of daddy...there's hair, eyes, ears, a nose, and even a smile. Great job, Gabrielle...I'm sooo proud of you!!!

Matthew's 3rd Birthday Party

Yesterday we went to a 3rd birthday party for one of Gabrielle's little friends, Matthew. We had a great time hanging out, watching the kids play outside, and eating cake.

Heather (Emmalyn's mom) and I enjoying the wonderful Southeast-Texas weather (while my friends in Kansas were getting snow and ice).

Gabrielle and Emmalyn in the bounce house.

The two girls playing on the swing-set together.

Something about this picture makes them look like two little-old-ladies to me. I was just amazed that they sat there for several minutes just watching everyone else play...especially at an outdoor birthday party with so many things to do!

The girls driving the Jeep...I think they were more concerned/excited about the "microphone" than actually paying attention to the driving.

Emmalyn driving...I'm just glad that the girls aren't driving for real--we'd all be in trouble!!!

Emmalyn driving in action.

Gabrielle's driving in action...through the swing-set and into the fence. Glad we have some years to work on improvement!!!


Matthew and his Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake that his mom, Cindy, made for him. It looked AND tasted great!

Gabrielle sporting her red-frosting-lips after eating cake.

Matthew trying on his new horse costume...cute!

Opening his "rocket card" that Gabrielle picked out.

The Thomas Train Station that Gabrielle picked out at Target for Matthew. She had fun checking out the "boy toy isles", but made sure that we also visited the girl-toys before we left that day too. :)

Sing, sing, sing!

The other evening right before bed, Gabrielle ran to her toy-box and got her play microphone (a prop that I used when I was teaching to get the younger students to sing by themselves). At first she started singing, and then realized that she wasn't standing on our fireplace. So, she stopped singing, stepped up, and started over again. About half-way through I realized that I really needed to be recording her wonderful performance for us!!!

The end of "Twinkle, Twinkle" and the extended version of "Jesus Loves Me" (you'll understand when you watch it).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More pics of our little dude...

On February 3rd we got to "see" our little man again (which was confirmed when he showed us his "parts") via 3-D Sonogram. It was fun, and I think that Gabrielle really enjoyed it too. In fact, she thought that he was coming out to "see" us, and was a little disappointed when we only got to see him on the "TV screen".

Look at those lips!

He looks soooo peaceful napping like that.

So, I thought I would also add a couple of Gabrielle's baby pictures that I thought resembled the ones from the sonogram...I think they have the same lips and chin (which comes from me). Part of me can't wait to see what he's going to look like in person, and then the other part of me remembers that it's going to be a lot of work to begin with (especially helping Gabrielle understand that she won't get my full attention anymore either).

Gabrielle--May 7th (almost 1 month old)

Gabrielle--holding hands in the hospital

Gabrielle--April 19th (9 days old)

Gabrielle--April 14th (1st Day at Home)

Sitting on the "table" waiting for Dr. Sherman to come check me out after we had our 3-D sonogram.

Daddy and Gabrielle self-portrait...Smile, Gabrielle!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year on Valentine's Day we ended up staying home from church because Gabrielle had a bad cough, and I didn't want to be "that mom" that still brought her anyway. So, we hung out in our pajamas and exchanged our gifts that morning.

Gabrielle "reading" her card from was one from Hallmark that Nick and I recorded our own voice-message on before the song, "She's Some Kind of Wonderful" played. I thought she was going to make the card fall apart with how many times she opened and closed it. Let's just say that she's pretty much memorized what we said, as well as the song lyrics too!

Checking out the Dora chocolates that daddy bought her.

Opening her gift from us.

The Dora "Backpack" toy and a book that has a puzzle in the front cover.

Checking out all the "stuff" in Backpack.

Reading my card from daddy...

And, unwrapping some gifts of my own...a new Bible cover, a Cricut cartridge, a new red/black necklace, the Fireproof DVD, some yummy chocolates, and a nut-chopper for the kitchen--I don't think I forgot anything. Did I mention that this weekend Nick also cleaned our shower, vacuumed the house, installed the baby car-seats, finished our taxes (yea for a fantastic $$ return!), and even cleaned out a "junk" area in our office? He really spoiled me this year--I think I have the best hubby in the whole world!!!

Happy birthday, Emmalyn!!!

Gabrielle's good friend, Emmalyn, turned 3 in January, and she had a Princess Party to celebrate. The girls enjoyed dressing up, getting jewelry, and playing in the bounce-house too!

L to R: Collette, Emmalyn, and Gabrielle

Blowing out her candles...

Emmalyn sharing the Princess Jasmine decoration from her cake with Gabrielle (currently her "favorite princess").

Opening her gift from Gabrielle...princess stuff!

Emmalyn's new Ariel trike that Gabrielle had to try too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Apple Cranberry Pie

I cut little hearts out of the top crust--for Valentine's Day!

2 refrigerated pie crusts

½ cup sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

3 T. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. salt

2-3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled/cored/thinly sliced

½ cup dried cranberries

1 T. lemon juice

2 T. butter, cut in small pieces

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and butter bottom of pie pan. Gently press dough against the sides and bottom of the pan. Trim edges, fold under, and press to make edge. Cut shapes out of second pie crust with a small cookie cutter and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix ingredients through salt. Add apples, berries, and lemon juice—toss well to coat with mixture. Arrange apples in pie plate and dot with butter. Brush edge of dough lightly with water and arrange dough shapes, overlapping and pressing together lightly.

Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce to 375 degrees, cover edge of crust with foil and bake for an additional 50 minutes, or until crust is browned and juices have thickened and bubble around the edges.

Baked Ziti

16 oz. dry ziti pasta (I actually used penne)
1 cup chopped onion (I use frozen)
2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 (26 ounce) jars spaghetti sauce
8 oz. provolone cheese, sliced
2 cups low-fat sour cream
8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 T. Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet brown onion and beef. Add spaghetti sauce and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two 9x9 pans. Layer as follows: 1/2 of the ziti, Provolone cheese, sour cream, 1/2 sauce mixture, remaining ziti, mozzarella cheese and remaining sauce mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese.
4. Bake one pan for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted. Cover and freeze other pan for another meal. I might even try splitting this recipe into four pans (or only making half the recipe) next time so that we don't have as many left-overs at one time.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Grandpa and Grandma Reinke came to Texas!!!

So, after our time in Colorado with my sister's family, my parents took a road-trip down here to Texas to stay with us for a few days. They got here Wednesday afternoon and didn't leave until early Monday morning. We had a great time, and I'm sorry that I didn't take more pictures!

Nick and my dad working on the Great lighting-exchange of 2010. There was a pink fan in the nursery, so we traded it out with the plain white one that was in Gabrielle's big-girl room. Then, we put a ceiling fan in the office/dining room, put that light fixture in the entry-way, and put the old entry-way fixture in the laundry room. Confused yet? All of that just to say that I am SO glad that my dad helped Nick get it all done!!!

A picture of the new school in Sabine Pass...I love that it's in the shape of a lighthouse. We took my parents for a drive south...and got pretty darn close to the coast.

Here's a picture of the typical house closer to the coast.

We promised Gabrielle that she could play at a park that day, even though it was COLD outside. She had a great time anyway!!!

Another slide...

Catching a picture of her feet coming down a slide.

A hat and gloves at the park in southeast Texas...seems crazy that it was really that cold on Saturday afternoon!

The sign outside the FHR chemical plant that Nick works at here in Port Arthur, Texas.

A view of the FHR plant from Highway 73.

Gabrielle putting a magic spell on the napkin covering the remnants of my taco salad during lunch on Sunday.

Tasting some of the taco salad shell. She's such a ham with that napkin tucked into her dress...

More magic skills!!!

Grandpa and Grandma Reinke walked a few blocks down with Gabrielle to the park for some fun time Sunday after nap time. Thanks for all the great memories and fun times we had while you were here!!!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Baked Apple French Toast

You will need to increase cooking time by 15 minutes if you assemble it and refrigerate it overnight. I also only made a ½ batch for our family in an 8x8 square pan.

1 (16oz) loaf French bread, cut into 1 1/2” slices
8 eggs
3 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1T vanilla extract
5 (or so) granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
T butter, cut into pieces

Arrange the bread slices in a single layer in a greased 9×11 baking dish. In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla. Pour half of the mixture over the bread. Next arrange the apple slices over the bread. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the apples. Mix together the ½ cup sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle over apples. Dot the top with butter. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.