Tuesday, July 29, 2008


A visit with great friends is what summer is all about! The girls enjoyed playing with Reese, Lauryn and Kate in the kiddy pool and running through the "water mister" to keep cool on a hot summer afternoon. Sorry no pics from the pool (I forgot to bring out the camera!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Guess who is finally 4!

After being three and three quarters for what seemed like an eternity, Kami has turned 4! Here are some pictures from her parties (one on her birthday and another a few days later). The little ballerina (outfit from Grandma) has enjoyed her ribbon wand, bubble blower and jump rope (Papa & Nana). However play clothes and close toed shoes are the only thing allowed when she rides her new Two Wheel Bike!

Here is party #1 (Evans, Koetsier & O'Brien families attended)

Party #2 (O'Brien family w/ aunts & uncle)

For those wondering, we now have our very own water park in the front yard thanks to C & C. The kid mister is great for those hot days when you need to cool off. Kami will also be enrolled in a youngsters ballet class this fall compliments of Aunt Mari. The light-up alarm clock and big girl jewelry (necklaces & rings) from Papa and Maima were also a BIG hit! Thanks to all!

Cupcake? Cupcake!

Here is the recipe for the yummy cupcakes Dianne (Mom) made while our southern relatives were visiting. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1st bowl
1 - 8oz pkg cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 c. sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 oz. chocolate chips
Stir together first 4 ingredients then fold in the chocolate chips.

2nd bowl
Mix together the following ingredients
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 c. sugar
Next add:
1/3 c. cooking oil
1 c. water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp vinegar
Beat until combined.

Grease or line with cupcake wrappers a cupcake baking sheet and fill each cup 1/2 full of BOWL 2 ingredients. Top each filled cup with a heaping tsp. of BOWL 1 cream cheese mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes. Yields 2 dozen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

local coupons from Meijer

I do most of my grocery shopping at Meijer and I'm always looking for coupons to help reduce the amount I spend. Check this website out for some great coupons for Meijer - The site also has some great recipes!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

more fun with photos!

I'm totally obsessed with finding FREE online photo-manipulating programs! Check out this site for my latest find - Here are a few pics I used to try out the site.

The "newspaper" style photo is one I grabbed from Heather's facebook pics (thanks Heady)

The "TV" pic above shows Kami & Emma kayaking in Fremont. I thought they looked great as the prime time summer fun spot on the local news! :)

What are you waiting for - try out this site and maybe just maybe you can get an early start on your Christmas cards for this holiday season!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

DIY digital picture enhancements

OK no more excuses - I've really been trying to take more pictures - or at least drag the camera around with me so I don't have an excuse not to take pictures. I love editing the pictures, zooming in, cropping, changing the color or even adding fonts. I've been using the standard software from our Kodak camera which is OK but has its limitations. However, recently while reading one of my favorite blogs Jill introduced a photo editing software site that is FREE. I gave the site a try and immediately fell in love with the many editing options available. There are additional tools which the user can purchase but the free stuff was all I need at this point with my rookie photo skills. The site is I hope you enjoy using this as much as I do. Here are a few pics I took and "edited" using (before & after)

Before After (using

Before After....OK I think you all get the point!
Now about those excuses....has anyone seen my spare set of rechargeable batteries. Last seen 4/16 during a visit with Cara & Chester - I think they are in a toy...back to looking!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pottery Studio Visit

A visit to the pottery studios is always a big treat. The gang (Evans girls, Tennessee gang and maima) recently traveled to Whitehall to enjoy some time with Cara and Chester at the pottery studios. Cara's studio, recently operational, gave us all an opportunity to catch up on the many projects she is working on which include: bone beads (made from clay), ornaments, sculpture projects, drawings, cute little clay animal designs (my favorite is the giraffe) along with many other projects. While the adults browsed the ornament selections the little girls made themselves at home perched upon stools in the drawing loft coloring and sketching whatever their imaginations could create.

Rian quickly tiring of the drawing, concentrated on emptying/refilling the contents of the glazed ceramic urns at the entrance of the studio. She spent her time lining up the small stone-like treasures taken from the urns along the door threshold and then with just as much excitement put them back into the urns.

After a picnic on the porch of the pottery studio where Chester works, the girls enjoyed time playing with some unique instruments made from clay. Then it was back to the porch for lessons from Cara on how to mold raw claw into various "creations". The girls poked, cut, rolled and pressed their little hearts out! The result was a beautiful assortment of clay caterpillars, worms, balls and abstract sculptures.

Everyone had a fantastic time! If you could measure the amount of fun the girls had by how quickly they fall asleep in the car (due to exhaustion) this was definately a 10!! Thanks Chester & Cara.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Emma's Visit

The girls and I enjoyed a few vacation days with a visit to Fremont Lake. Fred, Sue, Jamie and Emma were visiting Michigan and happened to be in Fremont for a few days along with Jim and Sandy. The girls were super excited to play with Emma and had been counting off the days to the anticipated trip. With the unpredictable Michigan weather (chance of rain always part of the daily forecast) grandmas, maimas and moms were well prepared for indoor and outdoor activities to keep the kiddos busy and happy! The Evans girls packed all of their dress-ups knowing their little cousin from the south was an experienced princess and enjoyed frilly, twirly and sparkly outfits and accessories. Speaking of accessories, the little princesses spent time designing and crafting their very own beaded jewelry. Their creativity and great ideas never cease to amaze me!

The girls all helped grandma and maima make cupcakes. The cupcakes were chocolate with a cream cheese & chocolate chip topping - Yummy! Recipe to follow (thanks maima).

After a busy day dressing up, baking and making jewelry the girls were ready for a swim in the lake. Kami and Emma enjoyed kayaking through the Sue & Jim bridge while Pa (aka "Fred") splashed the girls. Squeals, giggles and screams could be heard all the way up to the house!

Before sending the overly tired girls off to bed we all enjoyed some time roasting marshmallows, eating s'mores and watching the bonfire. We all had a fantastic time and will enjoy remembering the memories made over these past few days for years to come.