Friday, April 29, 2011

Easter 2011

Last weekend, we got the chance to go to my parents' house for most of Easter weekend. It was wonderful because I got to spend time with everyone AND I got to shop :)  (hey, I needed an Easter dress and new shoes, right?)

While there, Wes and Connor enjoyed lots of time together without a single argument!

Let's see, they dyed eggs, of course...

My parents cooked an awesome spread of shish ka bobs...

There were mushrooms...
and shrimp...
and onions...
and chicken...
and venison...
and corn...
and.... hmmm I think that's about it... 

Connor got us all hooked on Battleship

After a fun-filled and delicious Thursday -Saturday, we headed back home.

Sunday arrived and Wesley followed the Easter Bunny's clues to find his basket.

I must say, the Life card game has been a huge hit. I think we played every night this week :)

After the basket was thoroughly scoped out, it was time to get ready for church. Sadly, the scavenger hunt ran a little long and we were too rushed to take a picture before church (aka while my hair was still cute) but the after church pictures turned out nicely.

After I got the picture *I* wanted, Wes had a few ideas of his own... 

Cup of Hope

There's a new hangout in Collinsville and it's serving up tasty treats for the much-needed afternoon pick-me-up!!

When they first opened I went for lunch and scored a Scrumptious Pepperoni Pizza Panini and a to-die-for Caramel Apple Cupcake!  (yes it really did taste as amazing as it looks... maybe even better)

Wes has been realllly great all week - even his report card was almost all A's :)

If THAT doesn't warrant a treat, nothing does ;)

So we went back to our new favorite place and even hung out there to chat and munch :)

When we arrived, he went straight to the glass display case and gazed adoringly at all his options.

It was a tough call, but he finally settled on the Vanilla Marble Cupcake.

I opted for the Dark Chocolate Frappe.
(You can see Hope, the owner, in the background)

While we were hanging out, a large group came in and looked over the menu. I noticed them eying me and whispering... I began to wonder if I should feel self-conscious...

Finally, one leaned over to me and whispered,  "What are you drinking?"  and then the whole group had to have their own Frappes.

Judging by the crowds that are always there, I'd say that this new hot spot is here to stay :)

One way to sum up the idea of just how many people are going there is to say that I saw people I didn't know :) In THIS town, that's saying something!!

So the next time you come to see me, let's go grab a cup of hope :)

Take a Peek-O at our Pico

It's almost time for Wesley's birthday party!! So I asked him what theme he wanted to have this year and waited to hear what time of tropical idea he'd come up with.... Boy was I surprised when he suggested a Cinco de Mayo Party!

Needless to say I had to rethink all the decorations... and the MENU!

The first thing I thought of was the amazing Pico de Gallo we had in Mexico after The Amzing Race :)

After consulting with the Food Network website... Brad and I set to work.

We peeled the skin off 6 tomatoes (6!) and then the dicing began...

1 pepper

1 onion

and 6(!) tomatoes!

A few more ingredients... and some secret herbs and spices...

and some stirring....


I have to say, for a first attempt this was pretty close to the Amazing Race Pico de Gallo.

Brad and Daddy think something is still missing though.... 

I think it tastes wonderful, but to figure out WHAT is missing is a challenge I am willing to accept :)


I only wish the cilantro I planted had been ready in time  :(

A Rose by Any Other Name...

 It's finally rose season once again!
I've been looking forward to this ever since the first leaves started to appear on my bushes :)

Unfortunately, our rose bushes have developed a few problems :(

The leaves appear to have a bad case of blackspot  (Well-named, huh?) and that sounds like it's gonna be a booger to get rid of :\


They also have this weed growing all over them. As weeds go, this one is kind of pretty. It has little pods and teeny tiny purple flowers -there is one almost in the center of this photo. I'm curious what this plant is and where it came from. anyone have any ideas?


Despite these two set-backs, the roses are growing beautifully. In fact, the white rose bush has a whopping 23 buds already!!!

Not to be outdone, the pink Tropicana bush has almost as many buds on it :)

It's like those two bushes are competing to be my favorite :)  Even the red rose bush is trying to put out a handful of buds...

I love them all, of course, but if they want to be my favorite they'll have to step up their game because there's a new bloom in town :)


With such prolific roses I might need to add a flower arranging class or two to my Lifelong To DO List :)

Looks like I have a LOT to learn :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AWANA Grand Prix

Orange Lightning struck the Collinsville area yet again last Saturday!

Since he was racing the same car from last year, Wesley was running in the Unlimited Class instead of the general matches.

And, much like last year, he left a wide path of destruction in his wake...

I was the official photographer again this year, so I had a front row seat to all the action.

We had a new track this time and the cars were zooming so fast that a pillow had to be added to the end after a few cars went all the way off the table!!

As the matches went on, Wesley knocked other cars off the charts left and right!!

Even the car that beat him last year eventually fell by the wayside...

Soon, it was down to two cars.

Wesley's Orange Lightning and Payne's Maroon MSU Car...

It was a close race and everyone was on the edge of his seat!

Would Wesley achieve Victory this year after being edged out last year??


Sadly, no. 

In the final match, Payne beat Wesley by a full car-length :(

In the winner's circle, Wesley proudly received another 2nd place trophy and was just as happy for Payne as he could have been. He simply said he'd like to try again next year with Orange Lightning and maybe another car in the general races...

And THAT winning attitude made Wesley #1 with me :)

At the close of the afternoon, it was pointed out that next year LEADERS can submit a car to race among themselves....

I can see it now... zooming down the track faster than the human eye can follow ... it's ... Purple Passion!! Stay tuned Race Fans!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fun-Filled Weekend

Wesley spent the weekend with Nana and Poppy this past weekend so Brad and I were left to our own devices.  And unlike past weekends, we did not spend the whole time cleaning or resting at home.

The first order of business was an actual date! Thanks to some friends of ours, we have discovered a Thai restuarant near Collinsville.  Neither one of us had had Thai food before so we tried it out a few weeks ago and have been trying hard to find a way to go back without our picky eater in tow.

I have to say, the first time I went was a little yummier and a whole lot spicier than this time.
I had chicken stir-fried with bell peppers, scallions, ginger and bamboo shoots. It was a unique blend to say the least.

You may not can tell in my photo, but my meal came served on a pig-shaped platter. Oh, and check out how they serve the rice in a flower shape:

Brad had a Red Curry and it came swimming in a fish-shaped bowl.

After dinner, we took a stroll through our brand new Tractor Supply Store. I had never been to one before so imagine my surprise and delight to discover baby chicks for sale!!

After visiting Tractor Supply. Brad had one more activity planned for Friday evening.

He was ready to teach me to drive his car..... I only killed it once, but it wasn't exactly smooth sailing either! Hahaha Brad was an excellent teacher, though, and very patient and encouraging! Too bad his seat won't scoot further forward. I could barely push the clutch all the way down! Look how far I am from the wheel!!

Saturday morning we had plans with some friends to go play Disc Golf. This was a first for 3/4 of the group and 1/4 had played once before. So we were definitely looking like a group of PROS!! Hahaha

I think we all spent an equal amount of time playing on the path and in the woods! We had a blast though and are already planning to play again - maybe with a bigger group!

Here we are before our first round:

And our friends, Joe and Jennifer.

The final scores on the first game were as follows:

Joe - 32
Me - 45
Brad - 46
Jennifer - 54

and the second round was a little closer... among the first-time players at least!

Joe - 27
Brad - 41
Me - 43
Jennifer - 46

We *might* not invite Joe next time  ;)