Friday, December 31, 2010
Honestly, I was a little bummed that we didn't get her meal in one of those cool boxes with the golden arches on the top. Maybe next time.
This girlie loves her fries!
This must be why they call them Happy Meals.
It's just not complete without an ice cream cone.
What a treat it was!
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Daddy started by pulling her in her new sled, but then we realized all the paths were cement and very well shoveled. The sled went back to the parking lot.
Ella met a penguin!
Mama & Ella in the tunnel
Monday, December 27, 2010
Here are a few pictures from our days in central Wisconsin. Although I usually take most of my pictures on my iPhone, it wasn't ideal this time around since the gift-opening happened at night. Next time I'll be sure to have the regular camera on hand for the tricky, darker shots.
Grandma & Granpa and Auntie Kristin with Ella.
One more thing. I'm super excited to share that I received word last Wednesday that I've been accepted to grad school! I'll begin my Master of Education in January through the University of Minnesota Duluth. A lot of the class load is online, so I'll continue to be at home with Ella while completing the two-year program. I'm happy to be working toward furthering my education and continuing to prepare for my dream of teaching abroad. Your prayers are very much appreciated as I prepare to begin classes and make arragements for Ella so that I will have enough time to study each week. Yay!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
the Olsen family card
(one year pics by our friend & photographer extraordinaire Sara Montour)
Although I've been on a short (unintentional) break from posting, I'll be back at it this week. There are so many pictures and stories to share! Ella is loving the holiday, especially all the time she gets to spend with Daddy during his vacation this week. Check back soon for all the fun that is to come!
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I have many, many new pictures to post. I'll try to find the time later today to get a few up. I'm also working on finishing my classwork before finals next week along with all the other fun Christmas hoopla, but I will do my best! Isn't this a fun time of year?!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Vanilla cake with almond frosting.
Vanilla cake & real raspberries with raspberry frosting.
Dark chocolate cake with mint frosting.
Devil's food cake with chocolate frosting & mini Oreos.
Dark chocolate cake with vanilla frosting & festive gum drops.
I had so much fun with the colors.
And with the sprinkles.
(Check out this cupcake post for frosting tips & recipes.)
Little labels like this one printed on cardstock helped clear up any flavor confusion for event guests. (This was another flavor that I didn't capture in a picture. They were all chocolate with mocha frosting and brown & white sprinkles. Probably my favorite flavor.)
I displayed the cupcakes on a decorated table near the coffee bar. A string of silver star garland and bowls of silver Hershey kisses made it feel quite dressed up.
Someone asked me yesterday if I'll be making cupcakes again any time soon. My answer was yes, but probably not 18 dozen. When I took on the challenge, I had no idea how I would do it exactly, but I thought I could figure it out. I was so glad that the ladies heading up the event at the church trusted that I could actually produce something decent, and for the women who so sweetly washed all my dishes! And for Pete who ran to the store when I ran out of flavoring and powdered sugar. And for the girls who played with Ella for hours on Friday night while I was decorating and Saturday morning during the event. Goodness, what a team! It was a ton of fun, honestly, and it really is a great feeling knowing that I made over 210 cupcakes. Yay.
Monday, December 6, 2010
In the meantime, here is a picture I took earlier this afternoon. It was Ella's first time on the city bus! We had great fun. We went to pick up the Jeep at the hospital since this mama didn't want to get up long before the crack of dawn this morning to drive the Doc in. The stop is half a mile from our house, which is lovely. Thanks to my free student pass, I'm sure we'll be taking many more rides on the good ol' DTA through the next couple years.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Ella was in love with the Backyardigan stuffed characters. She won't stand to watch anything else. I've tried Clifford and other PBS shows, but she has her favorite! I'm okay with that.
It was not an easy task to leave the store when it was time for dinner. One, she was hungry. Two, there were so many more books to read. And three, she wasn't finished socializing with the big kids. No worries, Miss Ella, we'll visit again very soon. After all, our indoor hangout choices are somewhat numbered during long Duluth winters.
On to the challenge, as mentioned in the title of this post. I am currently sitting on a stool in the middle of the kitchen. I'm completely surrounded by bowls and spoons, mixers and measuring cups. The challenge? I've volunteered to make 17 dozen fancy cupcakes for a women's event this Saturday at our church. I'm also making the same number of cookies. I'm beyond excited to do this. Just ask Pete. It's going well so far! More than half the cupcakes are baked and I've got a good start on the cookies. Tomorrow afternoon I'll lug everything to the church kitchen to do the actual decorating of the wee cakes. I'll post pics after Saturday. Onward!
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The day after Thanksgiving presented itself as the perfect day to "deck the halls" of the Olsen house. This is one fun place to decorate! We put our tree in the living room, right in front of a window that can be seen from the street. It makes the house look quite festive. It's little and lovely and just the right size for our growing ornament collection, which includes these three playful ornaments. They were on my Grandma Johnson's tree while I was growing up.
You can see that Miss Ella is quite fond of the lights, but I can't seem to convince her that she won't be able to blow them out.
This year we feel extra festive with TWO Christmas trees. We've had one for a couple years and put it in the corner of the dinning room. It's entirely red and gold with a couple sparkly white and gold ornaments that look a bit like snowballs.
And this is our main tree. It's warm and bright in the evening. We've already enjoyed many hours sitting near it while reading or playing. I'm not sure I'm going to want to take it down after the new year.
Happy beginning to an exciting Christmas season!
(You can see one of the new curtains I made in the picture above. I still have one to make, but the other two are up. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. They go up and down like roman shades and provide a bit of rich color to the room. I'm procrastinating on the last one since I'm having far more fun working on Christmas gifts!)
Friday, November 26, 2010
We Skyped in the morning with Grandma & Grandpa Olsen and Auntie Kristin. So much better than a phone call! (In the evening we Skyped with Auntie Kathryn, too.)
Then I set the table.
When I was growing up and my mom would make pies, she would cut up the extra dough, sprinkle them with cinnamon & sugar, and bake them like cookies. I did the same this year for each place setting.
The turkey was a success! I honestly didn't know how it would go since Pete does the cooking around here while I do the baking. He was working, though, so it was up to me this time. I made a rosemary roasted turkey, classic sage & parsley stuffing and cranberries along with Mama's Perfect Apple Pie. Grandma Scott and Mama Bex added to the spread, which equaled a crazy amount of food. It seems inevitable, doesn't it? Pete used his amazing surgery skills to beautifully carve the bird.
A bit blurry, but this was our meal!
My clean-up helper.
Dinner was followed by naps all around. (Uncle Jake & Malena)
And play time with Grandma's shoes.
When our food had somewhat settled, we pulled out the desserts.
And that's all we could handle. Ella & her baby expressed it for all of us.
I think the classic Thanksgiving meal must have been designed so that the leftovers would taste just as good as the original meal. Today's meals were delish!
I do hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Just kidding. No one's pulling me out of the warmth of my bed at the wee hours of the morning for a trip outside. Instead, we'll be hauling boxes of decorations out of the attic to dress this place for Christmas. Now that's something that might get me out of bed at an early hour!
More pictures & recipes from our day to come...
Happy Thanksgiving to you, my friends!