Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hoppy Easter!

A couple days days ago I (Grant), got to experience something that Noah, Mikayla and Kristi had done once before: go to a Marshmallow Drop. Since Kristi was in Fremont that day and I was off of work, I took them to the one here in Oakland County. It was surprisingly not as chaotic as I was expecting. There were roped off "pens" for the different age groups with a separate staging area for the drop. As each group was called, they moved to the staging area to wait for the helicopter to arrive and drop its cargo. I think the 3-4 year-old group was among the scariest because there were so many parents getting in the way of the poor kids! Fortunately Noah and Mikayla were both able to find one apiece which they traded in for a small bag of treats (including a kazoo) and a couple free passes to one of the Oakland county water parks!

On Saturday we made it into Fremont to meet up with Kristi and head over to the Hayes Presidential Center for the annual Egg Roll and Egg Carry competitions, done every year to commemorate the same tradition started at the White House by President Hayes himself. They ordered the groups of kids in reverse this year, so the oldest ages started and worked down to the youngest, but the kids had some time to burn off some extra energy and play in the nice weather before their events. Although no one won a prize this year, Noah did make it into the local newspaper :)

Today was, of course, Easter. When we came home from church, the kids got to go on an Easter egg hunt around the Kosakowski house (hopefully we found all of them). Later after brunch, we learned that the Easter Bunny himself had already been there and left pun-laden clues around the house for everyone to find their baskets. Noah and Mikayla really got into it and practically fought over who would bring the clue back to Grandma to read. I'm not sure what moment had the most excitement between the kids finally finding their baskets and actually getting to go through them to see all the neat stuff. This year E.B. was extremely generous because he stopped by not one; not two; but three places (Kosakowski's, "Miss Stephanie's", and Cincinnati) with goodies for two very proud and very excited little children: if the toy could be unwrapped, they played with it with great big smiles on their faces.

Overall, it was one very blessed and very thankful Easter weekend.


Eggs, check. Baloons, check. Grandma's hand, check.

Mikayla leading the parade

Looking very hard for acorns

Noah showing off his spinning moves

the egg that looks like "Barry" the Minion

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Stick it to ya!

So that mysterious 'man behind the curtain' that comes up with the National Food Holidays threw me another curve ball today - Happy Something on A Stick Day!  Yes, I'm completely serious.  Bring on the corn dogs!

Or in our case chocolate covered bananas and some delicious chicken kebabs.  The kids enjoyed their bananas after lunch - I don't think I saw Mikayla's it disappeared so quickly.  The colorful kebabs had me thinking spring which seems to be make an appearance today as we had lots of sun and temperatures near 50.  Not going to say anything else in fear of jinxing it.

It's also National Black Forest Cake day.  In case you were wondering, it does not originate from the region in Germany nor is it named after it.  It's actually after a liquor distilled in the region that is made with tart cherries.  So that's how we get the yummy chocolate layered cake, with cherries and whipped cream in between the layers.  I turned ours into mini trifles - still yummy!

To cover my bases for tomorrow, I was a busy bee today making both Hot Cross Buns (which is the observed National Food for Good Friday, whenever it might fall) and Lemon Chiffon Cake.  Chiffon cake is light and airy, as it is made with oil instead of butter and egg whites are folded in.  Think Angel Food Cake if you've never had chiffon cake before.  I've got to say that I hope they're good because it was kind of a pain in the butt to make, hehe.  I turned ours into easily transportable cupcakes so some could stay here and some could make their way to Fremont with me.

Alright, I've got to wrap up so I can get on the road.  I'll check in when I can.  Until then..,

 Chocolate covered banana

 Hot Cross Buns

 Lemon Chiffon Cupcakes

 Chicken Kebabs

 Black Forest Cake Trifle

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Minding our Peas and Paella

 My daughter can be quite the little imp at times.  While there is no denying she's cute and adorable (please don't tell her, she already is well aware) there is a touch of sass just below the surface.  Especially when it comes to dealing with her older brother.

Take tonight, for example.  Happy National Spanish Paella Day as it sets the scene for today's Gatchel kid giggle.  When I picked up Noah from school today and the inevitable "what's for dinner tonight, Mom?" question came up I tried my best to explain paella to them.  Then I made a mistake - I mentioned that there were peas in it.

Cue Noah freak out.  Noah HATES peas.  Noah and I have done battle more times than I care to count over peas.  So much so that I have come to the point of avoiding making foods with peas in it just because I don't want to have that fight.  I distinctly remember a meal last February that he ended up eating for the next four meals simply to avoid the peas.  Am I clearly illustrating how deep the level of Noah's loathing for peas runs?

I tried to brush it off by pointing out how many other things there were in it and that he wouldn't even be able to taste the peas when the tiny voice from the seat next to him pipes up with "Mama, I love peas!  Yum!"  Said owner of the voice then beams at her brother who is shooting lightning bolts at both of us through his eyes.  I sighed and decided to let it drop for the time being.

So when they get up from their naps and come into the kitchen Kayla spies the container with the peas I have thawing in it on the counter.  Not missing a beat as her brother walks in she says "Yay peas!  Mom, I love peas!  Noah, look, peas!"  I could have happily hung her upside down by her toes at that point as it sets Noah off on another tear.  For the next hour until Grant gets home she randomly continues to remind anyone in earshot how much she enjoys peas.  The fact that she completely realizes and is delighting in the fact that she's gotten under her brother's skin is not lost on me but if someone's got parenting advice on how to handle that one, I'm all ears!

We sit down to dinner and I ask Kayla if she wants to try the rice part or the sausage part first ("Rice, with lots of peas, Mom!") and I spy a grumpy Noah out of the corner of my eye glaring down the Spanish Paella.  At this point I almost gave in and told him to just eat around the peas but realized it was just going to turn into a bigger battle at some later date if I did.  I am pleased to report completely under his own steam, Noah battled his pea demon and ate all of the paella.  (Granted I've never seen more exaggerated 'yuck' faces in such a short period of time, but that was so not the hill I was going to die on)  He even admitted to liking it (except for the pea part)  Kayla, too, enjoyed all of her paella.  In fact, it was a hit all around.  It reminded me a lot of a jambalaya with a little less kick.  I will admit that we made the 'poor man's' version, swapping out big shrimp for little mini salad shrimp, but between lobster and shrimp, it was looking like an expensive week to celebrate our food holidays!  It may have not been the most classic paella, but hey, Spanish Paella, peas and all, consider yourself celebrated.

In other news Noah had a great time at his Easter party at school today.  He came home full of sugar and goodies.  And a great big shout-out to his one classmate's Grandma who made little bunny washcloths for each of them!  He loves it, has been carrying it around with him everywhere and when Captain Blue Streak and the Pink Polka Dot Princess showed up today, CBS told me that the bunny washcloth also has super powers (he kisses people when they touch his bow) and his name is Lightning Bolt.  OK then!

We also finished up our art projects for our Easter celebration.  I am tickled with how they turned out!  I am so stinkin' proud of both of them.  Can't wait to share them with everyone over the weekend.

As a programming note, things are probably going to be a little crazy around the blog the next couple of days.  Tomorrow night I am heading to Fremont to be with my family during Dad's surgery on Friday and Grant and the kiddos will be here in Farmington (they're going to the Marshmallow Drop on Friday.  Remember last year?) and then will be joining us on Saturday and Sunday.  While I'm working on getting the stuff around for our food celebrations, can't promise pictures of those since I'll be leaving the camera here for the way more fun action ;-)  We'll work on getting posts and updates around as we can, though.  I'll try to get a post up before I leave tomorrow night as I'm sure no one wants to miss National Something On A Stick Day (no, I didn't make that up).  Until then...

Spanish Paella

 Noah's Daffodils for Grandma

 Mikayla's Daffodils for Grandma

 Didn't our bunnies turn out cute?

If you guess that last night's coffee filters were to become butterflies, give yourself a hand!  They did AWESOME!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Cake Fit for Bella

Really quick tonight...

 Happy National Spinach Day!  Check below to see the 'lazy' spankopita I made for us to celebrate today.  (If you need a giggle think of Mikayla saying spankopita)

The kiddos and I made Bella's cake for her birthday in Kid Kitchen as well as some pretzel treats for her.  I think the pictures of the cake making and birthday party say it all.  Oh, and by the way, just because a cake can be eaten by both dogs and humans doesn't make it tasty to both species...

Spanish Paella tomorrow!  Until then!

Noah mixing up the cake

Kayla adds the carrots

Into the oven it goes

Stirring up the pretzels

After we used peanut butter in the cake they insisted that's what they were going to make themselves for lunch

Doggie pretzel!

Noah shaped all the pretzels by himself

Our frosted cake

I helped them decorate it :)

Lazy spankopita

Yum, spinach!

Bella's 'party'

What was left of the cake

More crafting - any guesses what these are going to be?