Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Elise turns THREE!!

I really can't believe that our little girl is 3!  We thought we'd start the day out right with some streamers and balloons for her to wake up to.
She thought it was a pretty awesome surprised and had fun playing with the balloons for days!
Since her birthday fell on a Sunday we let her open one present before church. 
It was a beautiful, sparkly "layna" dress!  She has been asking for a sparkly dress for weeks now and was excited to have one!  Also in the present was a pin to wear on her dress that said "Birthday Girl" and it was fun to have everyone at church say happy birthday to her!
The day was pretty low key and normal until dinner time.  I made what I think is one of her favorites for dinner- Italian crock pot chicken.  It is a meal she always eats a lot of so I figured it has to be a favorite.  She even got to use the You Are Special plate and thought that was pretty cool!
After dinner she got to open presents!  Here she is opening the game Uno Moo.  We are hoping to get her into more games this year since she is bigger.  She also got Candyland for Christmas. Both still seemed little advanced for her, but we'll keep working
I should also mention that Elise did get dressed that day, but she is OBSESSED with this little star nightgown she opened Christmas Eve.  Unless we are leaving the house, she can usually be found wearing this. I'm picking my battles. And who I am to argue someone who wants to wear pajamas all day!
Reading the new books that Grandma Marie sent to her- with princess crown, of course!
Giving her new Cinderella doll a hug!
Here she is showing off her new butterfly wings and matching tu-tu!
Grandma also sent 4 little farm puzzles knowing how much Elise loves farms!
And speaking of...she got more farm animals!
And to finish the night off- a princess kit!  It came with a skirt, high heels, earrings, a wand (that she calls a "spell") a purse and a crown!  How very fitting for this little princess of ours!
When it was time for candles Elise wanted more. She remember that Daddy had lots of candles on his cake and wondered why hers didn't.  I explained that each year she'll get more and more candles the bigger she gets. She still wanted more but settled for the 3 :)
Happy birthday our sweet Elise!  We love you so very much and had a great time celebrating you all day long! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas 2013

We had a wonderful Christmas this year! It was our first Christmas that we didn't travel back to Utah to spend with our extended family.  We were sad to not see all of our loved ones but we had a really fun time waking up in our house Christmas morning and just enjoying it together.
On Christmas Eve we got together with 3 other families and had a fun dinner.  The kids played together and watched a little bit of Elf too.  After that we all went home and talked about the true meaning of Christmas. It's a little tricky of a concept for our almost three year old to grasp so we talked about Santa coming too.  She was so excited!  She went to sleep very well since she knew that she had to sleep for Santa to come. 

Here is what our Christmas tree looked like on Christmas Eve!
Here are the gifts that Santa left! He brought a ballapalooza for both kids.  They love it!  We have dance parties to it every night, it is so much fun.
Santa brought James: a gumball machine, race car, tiger and lots of books!
Santa brought Elise: a princess castle, safari animals and some yummy candy!
Here is a picture of the "after math" of Christmas morning.  We spent a long time opening presents and playing with all our new toys.  We were all very spoiled!
Zack and I were good kids this year too so Santa didn't forget us!  Zack got lots of great new clothes, cologne, Cranium and his big gift is Skydiving!  He will use it sometimes this summer when it isn't -14 outside! I was very lucky and got lots of fun little things!  I got a scarf, new boots, a Mindy Gledhill CD, a rice cook and a laminator too!  I've had so much fun trying out all of my new things!
I walked by Elise's room later that day and "caught" her playing with her castle.  I love to listen to her play when she doesn't know I'm watching.  It's my favorite!
Here is another favorite photo from the day!  Zack reading Elise some of the books Grandma sent to her.
We feel very blessed for all the many things we received.  We missed our families so much but felt lucky to spend the day playing together as our own little family.  I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas as well!

Monday, December 2, 2013


This was a fun Thanksgiving because I was the host!  That is a first for me :)  We had it in our house and had two other families over to join us! 
I was pretty worried about making the turkey.  I know it really isn't that hard but you just hear all the bad stories about it and I didn't want that to be me! I just used an oven bag to cook it and rubbed it in butter and added some veggies to the bag and it turned out beautiful and delicious!  I was proud of myself!
In addition to the turkey I also made a drink, gravy and sweet potato casserole.  We had a delicious spread thanks to Janey and Cassi who also helped with the cooking!
Of course, by the time everyone arrived I forgot about taking people of any people.  Just the food.  But that is what Thanksgiving is about, right? 
I was able to use my fall table runner and a little thankful tree I mad as the centerpiece. Our living room barely was big enough for the table, but it worked out! 
We had a great time eating, visiting and laughing with the Ratto's and Burdges.  We truly have so so much to be thankful for and are incredibly blessed! 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zack's Birthday Bash

In addition to our family party, we also thew a birthday bash for Zack with some of our neighbors and some of his friends from school. 
I made (what I thought) was a bunch of yummy food and treats for all our guests
Here is Zack with his friends from school. 
L to R- Courtney, Abby, Ayuko, Zack, Hemal and Amy
Fred and Kathy were kind enough to come by and say hello!  They even brought custard with them :)  Nic was enjoying that!
Emily, Jenn and Daniel (holding Sam)
Some of our building-mates, Scott and Lyle
And Nic, Janey and baby Emily
Thanks to everyone who could come by and say hello! We had a great time!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Zack's Birthday

Zack turned 28 yesterday!  We had such a fun day preparing and celebrating this great guy!  I wrapped the presents in the morning while he was at the hospital and Elise couldn't wait to open them and give them to Daddy.  Even when he got home the first thing she said to him was about his presents.  I think Christmas will go well for someone!  But that does mean that I'll have to hide every wrapped gift until Christmas Eve.  Good thing we had Zack's birthday as a test run! 
I wanted to make something special for dinner that we've never had before.  I made pan-seared filet mignon wrapped in bacon.  Yes, that is the full name and yes, it sounds much fancier when I say it like that.  It was a recipe from Our Best Bites seasons cookbook.  It was so so easy and very quick too!  I have never made anything like this before so I was a little worried but it turned out perfect and oh so delicious.  Zack told me to do a single post on the blog about the filet mignon alone.  Ha ha. 
And just because it was that good, here is a close up of it. It was served up alongside some steamed broccoli and twice baked potatoes. I also made the "suggested" garlic and herb butter to top it with and I'm happy I did.  Melt in your mouth good! I served it up on our You Are Special plate and we had a wonderful meal.
(Best picture of Elise smiling I could get!)
After dinner we opened presents.  Zack got a new sweatshirt, two long-sleeved shirts and google's new Chromecast.  After gifts it was time for cake!  I made him a chocolate oreo cream cake and it was as yummy as it sounds. 
Again, because I can, here is a close up of the cake.  I'm pretty sure we gained about 3 lbs. each from dinner that night, but it was worth it! 
Zack: We love you oh so very much!  You mean the world to our family and I don't know what we'd do without you.  We are so proud of how well you are doing in school and know that soon you'll make a kick-butt doctor too!  We love you!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday Five

I learned at my last dentist appointment that I grind my teeth.  Fantastic.  I never used to do this but upon learning this, I realized that I do it when I fall asleep nursing....which is most nights.  I'm hoping to stop this on my own so I don't have to get a sexy mouth guard.
I just pulled out another loaf of pumpkin chocolate chip bread from my oven.  This is probably the 7th time I have made this since the end of September.  It's a problem.  It's just so delicious!
One of my favorite conversations goes like this:
Me: Hey, what's your name?
Elise: Lissers
Me: What is mommy's name?
Elise: Emily
Me: What is daddy's name?
Elise: Sweetie
I get off dinner duty tonight since our friend and landlord extraordinaire, Fred, is taking all of his tenants out to dinner at the Lakefront Brewery.  Each Friday they do a fish fry and have a polka band play.  It's lots of fun and the kids love it. 
Tomorrow Zack gets a really fun day!  He is going to the BYU vs. Wisconsin football game in Madison.  He is taking a double decker charter bus out to Madison.  He is going with a bunch of friends and neighbors.  I know he'll have a blast.  Fingers crossed we come out with a cougar win!! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Binky Fairy

We are binky free!!!  This has been a looooong time coming and I have been putting it off forever.  Zack and I finally bit the bullet and decided to take away the binky and it has gone really well!  I thought that a visit from the binky fairy might help ease the transition the most. 
It was a normal day and after bath time we told her a special visitor was coming.  We explained who the binky fairy was and that we were to put her binkys in an envelope so the binky fairy knew to come! 
We placed the binkys inside and Elise was not a happy girl.  We asked her if she wanted to help us put it out in the mailbox but she refused.  While I took the letter to be "mailed" I went and put it in the outside garbage so it wouldn't be a temptation to me.  When I walked back I set up what the binky fairy "left".
She got a letter from the fairy, some Sofia the First pajamas and a unicorn backpack that we affectionately named Periwinkle.  Once she received her gifts she was still sad and even said, "I already miss my binky" but I think she knew her fate was sealed.  She will ask for it here and there (usually in the middle of the day) but is doing so so well!
We are so incredibly proud of her!  Her binky has been with her since she was born and one of her favorite things!  She always had one in mouth and one in hand if she could.  We are proud that she has done so well giving up something so dear to her!  She hasn't even asked for it the past two nights!  Go Elise!


We had so much fun with Halloween this year!!  We had lots of different events to be at so it felt like it lasted for weeks, which we loved!! 
As I mentioned before, Milwaukee does Halloween a little different. Each neighborhood picks it's own day and time to have trick-or-treating.  It usually isn't on Halloween itself but can be.  For us it was the 25th!  I was really excited to take Elise out since this was the first time she went "real" trick or treating from door to door. 
Elise, Jane, Chloe and Naomi
Some fun decorations at a home we stopped at.
We went with our cute neighbor friends and had a great time! We noticed that a lot of people here set up a small bonfire our in their driveway and sit around the fire with their candy to hand out.  That made it a lot faster and warmer!  It was also pretty funny to see lots of dads out with beers in hand.  We were offered some cider at one home and she asked if we wanted it "spiked or un-spiked".  It made me laugh- we aren't in Utah anymore!!  We only did a few streets but still were able to bring home a lot of candy. 
The next activity we had was our ward Halloween party.  I signed up with our friends the Ratto's to decorate a door for the ward contest.  We didn't win but I think our mummy door turned out pretty cute!  Instead of a trunk or treat they just stayed indoors and went door to door in the church. 
Me and my cute monkey!!
Finally on Halloween we had trick or treating at the medical school.  It's always really fun to go there!! They have footprints all over the school and offices showing where to go and each office does a great job of decorating it.  After you finish that you can go to the cafeteria where they have games and activities and healthy food to eat.  It's fun every year!
Our cute little family!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cedarburg Creek Farm

A few weeks ago we went to a pumpkin patch out in Cedarburg.  It was a blast!!!  That morning when we told Elise we were going to a farm she was SO excited!!  She couldn't wait to go and kept asking us about all of the animals that would be there.  Just seeing her that happy made the whole thing that much better. 
It was a nice drive on a beautiful fall morning.  It is always nice to get out of Milwaukee and see how beautiful Wisconsin really is.  I forget that a lot of the time living in the city. 

Elise could have fed the animals all day!  She loved it!!  She didn't quite grasp the concept of opening up her palm so they could get the food so it was pretty funny to watch her feed them, but she had a good time! 
We said "gobble gobble" to the turkeys and told them we'd see them in a few weeks ;)
And oinked at the piggies
They also had ducks, geese, baby chicks and ponies.  Elise actually got bit by a pony while feeding it.  If you ask her today about a pony she will re-live the whole experience and tell you a pony bit her and "no no no pony!" 
James was being  his usual perfect self and hung out with me in the bjorn watching all the kids and animals.  I think he was pretty entertained too.
Besides feeding the animals, the farm had bounce houses to play on (Elise did 2 of them but we didn't get any pictures), a hayride, a corn maze, a "corn box" aka sandbox with corn, and mini tractor riding.  There was so much to do we could have stayed all day!
Here is Elise playing with the trucks in the corn box
Riding her tractor
The cutest goat and sheep around!
We took a hayride around the farm and had a lot of fun!! I love this picture of James, he is such a stud!!
James giving Daddy some love!
The last thing before we left was to head over to the fields and pick our pumpkins!  They had these wagons to haul your pumpkins (and kids!) which Elise loved. 
It was a great afternoon and we will certainly be back again next year!  Lots of fun! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Five!

-We took our window a/c units out this week which means that it must really be fall!!  It's always a little sad to do this since it means we are officially done with warm weather.  I'm okay with winter, but I hope that this year it won't last as long as last time! 

-Yesterday James turned 5 months old!  I can't believe he is so big!! Our pediatrician told us to start James on rice cereal at 5 months and I was thrilled :)  We gave him his first bite and......he wasn't the biggest fan.  It is always so fun to give them food for the first time.  They don't know what they are doing and make a huge mess.  Starting solids is always a work in progress and messy so I was glad the doctor wanted us to start a month earlier than normal.  The sooner we start, the sooner we are through this phase and moving onto baby food and puffs.   Bring it on!

-Milwaukee does trick or treating a little different than most.  Instead of doing it on Halloween, each neighborhood association picks a night and time and that is that.  For us, that night is tonight. It will be the first time Elise will do "real" trick or treating; or door to door trick or treating. Usually we have gone to the medical school and go around to all the offices.  I'm excited to take her out and see how she does.  I think she'll love it!

-We had some company over this weekend I made lasagna roll-ups. It's a fun, simple twist on the classic and I think they all liked it! If you want to give it a try, you can use the recipe I used here: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2012/02/lasagna-roll-ups/

-I checked out the book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling and I was already laughing out loud a few pages in.  It is one of those hilarious books about nothing in particular and is the perfect read for a busy mom of two.  If you need a good laugh, grab this one!  It will be a fun, quick read!

Monday, October 21, 2013


Elise is SUCH a talker!!  She has a huge vocabulary and is constantly using words we didn't even know that she knew!  She keeps us laughing all day long with the things she says and we thought we'd share a few of them with you!

Zack: Elise, you are so sweet. 
Elise: Yeah, it's my purpose.

As we were taking a walk though the park: It's a fun neighborhood

Zack taught Elise the song "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and when he sings the part where the fairy will "turn you into a goon" Elise says "Nooooo!!!"

Pro: Elise loves to read The Book of Mormon
Con: Her favorite people are Laman and Lemuel

After removing her bib: I'm free!!!!

Elise: Mom, are you pumping milk?
Me: Yes
Elise: Good job mom!

Me: Do you want hot chocolate like Dad?
Elise: Yeah!  Actually........ no.  Just milk.

After walking in from taking out the trash: You came back mom!!!

Upon completion of building a fort with dad: This is respectable. 

Oh Lissers.  So sassy.  So sweet. So loveable.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Latest Projects

Even though things have been pretty busy around here (and I apparently gave up on blogging-oops!) I've still found the time to get a project finished here and there. 
First up: crayon rolls!!  Our ward opening social had a silent auction to raise money for our ym/yw programs.  People signed up with baked goods, babysitting, date night baskets and all sorts of hand made items.  I was really impressed with every one's talents!  I made these two crayon rolls as my contribution.  They are a fun and simple project I was able to make with scraps. If you are interested on a tutorial, you can find it here.

 The next thing I made was a cardigan onesie.  I love these!!  They were so so simple to make; easily took less than an hour.  Best of all is how adorable James looks in them!  I used this tutorial to make them.  I also made some bow ties too but don't have a picture of those.
 Next item is a temple/garment/dress bag.  I offered to teach some ladies in my ward how to make these for one of our Relief Society activities.  Only a handful of women signed up to make them, but that's ok!  It made teaching much easier!!
 I love how it folds up and it also has a large pocket in the middle for your shoes, envelope, etc.  I love the fabric as well.  I don't know if you can see but there are bees on it which I thought was perfect for a temple bag, ha ha.  I followed this tutorial but had to do some guess work in the end.  It wasn't the easiest tutorial to follow.
Finally, I made these adorable owl hats with my moms help while she was in town.  Several of my friends have made them for their kids and I used to make crochet beanies in high school all the time so I knew I could make one too.  It was really fun to crochet again and was a fairly simple pattern to follow.  If you want to make one I used this tutorial.