A Visit to Indiana

Dear Sis,

Until recently, Aunt Angel was the only Indiana family member who had met Mr. Baby. We made a whirl wind trip to rectify that and to pass the few day remaining of Josh’s work trip.

Tuesday morning, we drove to Aunt Angels. The drive was just over an hour and Mr. Baby napped through most of it:) We spent to early part of the day with Aunt Angel chatting away. She made us Broccoli Braid for lunch, and remembering how well Mr. Baby likes grapes from her visit to us, kept the grape bowl nice and full:) After all that yummy food, I took Mr. Baby upstairs for a nap. Aunt Angel took some time to work, since she didn’t have the day off. Without meaning too, I fell to sleep and napped too.

Shortly after we got up from our nap. Cousin Charity was back from school and Uncle Paul began making dinner for us. It was a great evening together. Although I’ve spent lots of time with Aunt Angel and Charity, it was the first time I got to spend time with Uncle Paul outside of a huge family gathering. It turns out he enjoys cooking and is great at it too! He made us a yummy salmon and rice pilaf dish. Mr. Baby also indulged in some of Aunt Angel’s leftover broccoli cheese soup as an appetizer. It ended up being a late night for Mr. Baby, but with a dog, cat, and cousin to follow around he didn’t seem to notice.

We reconvened for breakfast in the morning until it was time for Charity to go to school. We were off to make our drive to Aunt Cil’s shortly after that. Again, it was an easy drive, just over an hour in length, through most of which, Mr. Baby slept:) 

Mr. Baby was quickly swept up by the Aunt Cil-cousin cluster of baby admirers. He likes being the center of attention, so it worked well for him. After a busy morning of playing in the kitchen sink with Aunt Cil and building blocks with Heather and Stephen, we sat down to lunch. Ironically enough, it was more Broccoli Braid. Sisters do think alike! It was super yummy both times, so we didn’t have anything to complain about:) 

Broccoli Braid
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 c chicken, cooked and chopped
  2. 1 c broccoli, chopped
  3. 1 c shredded cheddar
  4. 1/2 c mayonnaise
  5. 1/4 c diced tomato
  6. 2 t dry dill weed
  7. 2 (8 oz pkg) refrigerated crescent rolls
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix together chicken, broccoli, cheese, mayo, tomato, and dill.
  3. Unroll and press crescent rolls into one large piece on a cookie sheet. Heap chicken mixture in the middle longways.
  4. To create braided top, cut the dough into 10 strips on each side, taking care not to cut too closely to the filling. Twist and press together each corresponding piece over the top of the filling. Tuck dough as need to create a neat finish.
  5. Bake 25-28 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Aunt Cil pulled out the little tike car for Mr. Baby and he played with it almost exclusively the rest of our visit. 

Meanwhile, Aunt Cil, Meghan, Heather, and I worked when we could on the invitations for your upcoming baby shower. Together they colored all 100 invitations and 36 favor tags! That is my least favorite part, so I was gushing my thanks! I cut, corner rounded, and shape punched 150 bookmark mats, in-between periodic mom-demands:) 

Mr. Baby enjoyed meeting family! We were constantly reminded that Mr. Baby is precious and sweet and cute… none of which gets old to us:) We drove home Thursday, with a lunch break at Aunt Angels, just in time to play with the newly returned and napped Josh. 

Love,

b

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Meeting Neighbors

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby and I went on a baking campaign that began yesterday evening. I knew I wanted to make cutouts, but couldn’t find my go to recipe. I also knew I didn’t want to do my usual frosting with a baby as a helper. Royal icing is a project for bigger kids:) I remembered your recipe

Mr. Baby got to put all the ingredients into the stand mixer and push the buttons. He thought that was great!!! Then, I gave him a step stool so he could be next to me while I rolled dough and cut out the cookies. He loved splashing around in the flour and squishing his personal clump of dough. It took about an hour to make the cookies and another hour to clean up after all the fun we had. 

Recipe Review: 

Your mother-in-law’s sugar cookies roll out very easily, which is not always true with cut-out cookies. The cookie alone is not sweet, but it is soft and almond-y. The frosting itself, would be too sweet, but a thin layer on these cookies is perfect. When I don’t have time for royal icing, this is my new go to recipe! Thanks for sharing.

Also, it makes about 6.5 dozen medium cookies. Might make a half batch in future… or freeze some without frosting and thaw and frost when needed.


This morning we made heart shaped brownie bites and rice crispy bites too. And we whipped up a batch of icing and frosting the butter cookies from the night before. Everything turned out great! 

I used a silicone pan. The plastic pouches of brownie mix are just the correct amount of batter for one pan. We sprayed each cavity with baking spay that greases and flours in one step, added a tablespoon of batter to each cavity, and baked just a few minutes shy of the full package baking time. Then we cooled them 10 minutes before pressing them out of the pan. Our drizzle is candy melts. We didn’t have pink so we melted white and red ones together:)

For the rice crispy treats, we made a half batch of my usual rice crispy treats and mixed in a jar of sprinkles for festive appeal:)


During Mr. Baby’s nap I made calling cards with our names, street address, phone, and email. When he woke up we arranged cookie plates and headed out to introduce ourselves to our new neighbors. In the course of an hour and a half we knocked on a dozen doors. Half were home, and happy to tell us all about our new neighborhood. It was an afternoon well spent. Now we can really get to know everyone better when the cold goes away and we all start hanging around outside!

Love,

b

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Newport Aquarium

Dear Sis,

Daddy was in town today, so we went to visit him and tour the Newport Aquarium. Mr. Baby learned the say fish, and did so repeatedly for the first ten minutes or so.

The crocodile was ever so still. Mr. Baby never noticed him, but the croc was watching the baby!  It made me pretty uncomfortable. I was glad to move on!

The sting ray tank had a cool tunnel under it. Mr. Baby took a look upward at the swimming rays when I captured this picture.

Although it was a tourist-trap the aquarium was one of the best I’ve been to, and we will have to keep it in mind when family visits:)

Love,

b

 

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Happy Birthday Grandma

Dear Sis,

Mr. Baby is always getting cute notes from Grandma! Now she has special Grandma stationary:)

…and this cute crochet bird house that I got from Miss Patty, but I thought Grandma would simply adore.

Love,

b

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The Big Move

Dear Sis,

Our Final Days in Texas

On January 8th, Dad arrived in Texas. We stopped for dinner with friends on the way home. It was nice to get to say goodbye while eating yummy Tex-Mex.

On January 9th, Josh got a moving truck. We hired movers to help with the big stuff. After a day of packing, it became clear that we didn’t have a big enough truck for the job.

Mr. Baby discovered how holding hands made the precarious task of learning to walk much easier. 

On January 10th, Josh picked up a trailer to accommodate our remaining possessions while Dad, Mr. Baby, and I went to our neighbor friends for breakfast. After our meal, Dad and I headed back to help Josh finish the packing and cleaning, while Mr. Baby stayed behind to play one last time with David and Merrill. 

We finished loading the truck around 2PM. Picked up Mr. Baby and made the 8 hour drive to Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

On January 11th, we were supposed to have an “easy day of driving.” Only 5 hours to Nashville, Tennessee! The weather had other ideas. Snow and ice slowed things down to a near standstill for 2 hours, while a 20+ car pileup, on the other side of the interstate, made our easy drive into a painfully long one. After another long day in the car, spending the following day visiting with Nashville family was a welcome thought to fall asleep too.

January 12th, was a great day at Granny’s enjoying grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was glorious after two hard cold days on the road! Mr. Baby and I were so tired we napped after breakfast.

On January 13th, Granny Bob met us at the hotel for a farewell breakfast and we set off for the final 5 hours of our drive to our new home. My anticipation grew with each passing hour. We stopped for lunch an hour out. Mr. Baby pretended to feed Dad while we waited for our food to arrive.

Getting to the new house was a feeling like I can’t describe! Seeing our new home for the first time, I felt relief that our trip was over, but tried not to think too much about all the work the lie ahead in following days. 

Love,

b

 

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