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Mt Dew Cupcakes


So it’s never been a secret, I love Mt Dew!  It’s a problem, I know.

Sometime over the past week or so Andy saw a link to a recipe for Mt Dew Cupcakes on Facebook.  He tucked the idea away and then googled ‘Mt Dew Cupcakes’ to find the recipe.  He went to the store, bought all of the ingredients, and came home to make them with the boys for my birthday.  So super sweet!


I was surprised how many of you asked for the recipe!  Here is a link to the recipe Andy used.  They are very flavorful! Enjoy!

~ Erin

They Say It’s Your Birthday!


February 25th, my favorite day of the whole year.  It’s my birthday!  And so far it has been one of my best!

My boys have been spoiling me rotten all week!  Every day since Sunday they have sang me Happy Birthday.  At least twice a day Brennan has wished me a happy birthday.  I have had lotion rubbed on my hands.  My hair brushed.  Mt Dews brought to me.  It’s been so wonderful!

Last night Andy and the big boys made me special cupcakes.  Get this, they made me MT DEW CUPCAKES!!!  No kidding!  Andy saw the idea on Facebook and looked up the recipe online to make for me!  The cupcakes had 16oz. of Dew in them! And the frosting had 2 T but Andy said he thought it needed one more tablespoon so added that for good measure. The funniest part, though, is that he basted the cupcakes with more Mt Dew!!! Ha ha,  hilarious!  And delicious!  So how did they taste? Amazing!  Seriously might be the best cupcakes I’ve ever had! They were so super moist and flavorful, yummy!  Oh, and he made them green because that’s my favorite color!  The sweetest thing ever!




This morning Tate gave me a great gift and let me lay in bed until 7!  I was awake before that but he wasn’t in his room hollering for me, what a gift!

And, as I was getting up the boys came down the hall with breakfast in bed for me!!!  Cinnamon Toast and chocolate milk!  And a sweet note Aiden wrote. These guys!


They of course wanted to give me my presents this morning but I insisted on dragging this out as long as possible so I’ll be opening those tonight – can’t wait!

My dad just called me and sang me Happy Birthday!  Made me laugh and put a big smile on my face.

This might be the best birthday ever!

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Tate’s First Birthday Party!


We celebrated Tate’s first birthday on Valentine’s Day.  We decided to do something a little different than we normally do for the boys’ birthday’s and had everyone over in the afternoon for snacks and cake, instead of the usual meal we do which always adds extra stress on me that’s just not necessary. 

Everyone arrived at 3:00 and we dug right in with Tate’s smash cake.  He was totally NOT into it!  I was shocked!  He wasn’t feeling 100% himself that day so I thought maybe that was the problem, but when we tried again 2 more times over the next 2 days he was still not at all into it.  I helped him stick his finger in the yummy frosting and he was not at all impressed!  I cut a piece out of his smash cake for him thinking maybe he’d like that but still no!  Silly boy!


My sweet grandma made a really special place mat for Tate that has a birthday cake on it and says “It’s my day!”  So sweet!  I didn’t get a clear picture of that but we will be using that for everyone’s birthday from now on!

After we all watched Tate *not* eat his cake, everyone else filled their plates with the food I had prepared.  There was cheesy hamburger dip, bacon wrapped chicken bites (that Andy stood out in 5 degree weather to grill for us, so sweet!), jalapeno poppers, fresh fruit and a really fancy cake a friend of mine decorated for me so I wouldn’t have that stress on my shoulders that day.


Once the food had been devoured it was present time!  Andy does so great helping the little’s open their gifts.  He helps with the paper a little and then lets them hold their new gifts, push the buttons, listen to the music, drive the cars around, whatever – instead of just setting it aside and moving on to the next gift.  It draws things out a bit for our guests but I think it’s important for the kids to play with their new toys and show the giver how much they love their present.


We got Tate the rocking horse.  He loves it!  Well, until big brothers rock him a little too hard on it! 

Once the gifts were all opened Tate played with his gifts until our guests left. He didn’t get an afternoon nap and like I said, wasn’t feeling 100%, so about 6:00 I took him back to bed.  I rocked him in the chair and read him a book and he feel asleep on my lap, something he hasn’t done in months!  It was so sweet and special, the perfect Valentine’s gift to me from him!  He slept all night long and was back to himself the next day.  Darn teeth coming in!

Tate sat on my dad’s lap for quite awhile and I got this funny picture of them.


It was a really special afternoon, everyone made Tate’s first birthday magical and memorable!


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Birthday Party Decorations


For Tate’s first birthday I went a little more ‘overboard’ on decorating then I normally do.  Usually we have family over for supper and cake and I don’t decorate any more than the cake.  But for Tatie Tot’s big birthday I wanted to make it special (not that he knew any different). 

Every month since he was born I took a posed picture of Tate on his special blankie with his little monkey sitting beside him so I could see how much he grew each month.  While perusing Pinterest I found a banner someone had made using those same types of pictures.  I immediately knew I was making that for Tate’s big day.

It was so easy to make the banner.  I had all the scrapbooking paper I needed, plus my Cricut cutting machine.  I was using a green and blue color scheme for his party so that was what I went with for the banner, too.

First up, I cut the scrapbook paper so it would be slightly bigger than my photos.  After that I used my Cricut to cut out the numbers representing each month/age. 


Once I had everything cut I started assembling the banner.  First I glued the pictures to the cardstock.  Then I used glue dots (Zots) to adhere the numbers to the cardstock.  I didn’t want to stick them to the photos so I could use the photos in a scrapbook later. 


Finally, I used little decorative clothes pins to attach the pictures to a long piece of jute/twine.  To hang it on the wall I used some clear 3M hooks, the kind you can stick to the wall and remove later with no damage left to your paint.


In addition to the pictures I used my Cricut to cut out Tate’s name and 2 number 1’s.  I used mini-clothespins to attach those to the jute/twine, also. 

Almost 2 weeks later since I hung these up and I still have them on the wall.  I love looking at the pictures, and so does Tate!  We blow kisses to the babies on the wall before naps. 

Everyone at Tate’s party really enjoyed looking at the pictures of Tate.  I had this hung up above the table of snacks and cake so they could see how much he’s grown while filling their plates!

Do you go all “Pinterest-y” for your kids’ birthday parties?


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Tate Lately // The One Year Old Post!


Oh my goodness, Tatie Tot!  ONE YEAR OLD!!!  Boy did that year go by fast! 


  • Favorite foods: green beans, raisins, cheerios, Puffs, chicken, any and all fruit
  • Clothes: 18- 24 mo./2T shirts and pants, size 5 shoes, size 4 diapers
  • Bottles: switching over to whole milk slowly – worked our way up to half formula, half whole milk over the past week.  So far so good!  You take 3 to 4 a day, depending on the day.  Once we get you switched to whole milk completely we’ll work on switching to only sippy cups.  You drink water out of the sippy at meal times but only in small sips.  We’ll get there.
  • Favorite toys: anything that plays music, especially your vintage Fisher Price radio.  You know how it’s supposed to turn on, by turning the dial, but it’s too tough for you to turn still so you just pretend you’re doing it.  You also still love the Little People collection we have.  And books!  You could sit and look at books for quite a long time!  I always hand you one when I strap you in your car seat.
  • Walking!!!  Yes, little boy, you are walking!  You started working on it shortly after you turned 11 months old and never looked back.  We were all surprised how fast you picked it up.  One day you worked and worked and worked at it.  You’d fall down and get right back up to try again.  Now it’s your preferred mode of travel.  You really love being able to carry toys around with you now. 
  • Socks, shirts and pants:  give you a pile of clothes and you could play for hours!  It’s so funny how much you like playing with them.  When I change your clothes I leave them out for you to play with.  You shake them all around, pull them tight over your head, almost like you’re trying to put a shirt on.  You carry them from room to room and back again.  You move them from in front of you to drop behind you, then turn around and do it all over again (another 10 times at least!).  It’s funny to watch you do all of this.  I don’t dare fold laundry when you are around or you’d undo all of my handy work and have clean clothes strewn all over the house! IMG_1850
  • When I get you out of bed from your nap or first thing in the morning you will stay laying down, snuggling with your blankies, and say ‘aww’.  I’ll rub your back and you’ll smile at me!  So sweet. Then I say “lets get up!” and you’ll grab your favorite blanket, the one we call Snuggle Blankie, and hand it up to me.  Bless your heart, that melts mine every time!  You love your blankie as much as I love mine!
  • You are rolly polly!  You act like a sweet little playful bear cub, it just cracks us up!  You lay on your back, pull your legs up and flop over to one side. Then roll back to your back, pull your legs up and flop to the other side!  If one of us is laying on the floor you come over to us, sit down by us and lay back like you are all relaxed.  If we have a pillow you get right up by us and eventually work your way onto it so far that we are now off the pillow.  When you do this Daddy says you are just like me. Makes me smile! IMG_1887
  • You love being chased by your brothers!  Especially now that you are walking!  The peals of laughter out of all of you does a mommy’s heart good! 
  • You are obsessed with getting the remote or our phones if we leave them laying where you can reach them.  You finally know it’s not for you so you just give us a devilish grin when we take them away instead of the major temper tantrum you used to pull.  And a couple of times you have handed them over to us, kind of like “here guys, I found this.”
  • A few times a day you will disappear back to your bedroom.  There are a few toys back there but mostly you go back to sit and look at your books.  Sometimes you crawl or walk back to the living room by yourself, other times you will stand in the hall and scream and cry until I come get you. 
  • You eat your food off a plate or a bowl now.  Sometimes you pick them up, trying to dump them, but for the most part you just chow down and leave them sitting in front of you.  This seems like such a big boy thing to me.  It was just a month ago I’d put everything on your tray.  Still not using utensils, I figured that would be more of a toy for you at this point.  IMG_1819
  • When I am sitting or laying on the couch you will sometimes walk over to me and lay your head down on my arm or head and snuggle in.  It’s really the sweetest little “I love you” there is!  Sometimes you will come charging over with your determined walk, as fast as you can, and hold your arms up to me for some extra love and hugs.  We do a lot of hugging and kissing every day and when I was sick a week ago and couldn’t do that I could tell you were missing it.  It seemed like just when I couldn’t handle being sick any longer you’d sense I needed some extra love and come give me a lean in ‘hug’. 
  • You don’t really say too many real words yet.  You do not like to perform on command but I have gotten you to say “ho ho ho” and “moo”.  When you are fussing a little and I ask you “do you want your ba-ba?” you’ll do this little chuckle thing which means ‘yes’.  You make the craziest sounds and really use your tongue a lot when ‘talking’.   Still making the da and ma sounds, lots of ‘g’ sounds and a bunch I can’t even begin to describe. You will say ‘ba ba’ and ‘nigh nigh’ sometimes. You ask questions, I can tell by your tone, and sometimes you go off on a tangent and tell us a really good story.  You can crack yourself up.  I’ve caught you sitting on the floor with toys chuckling to yourself – adorable! 
  • You take 2 naps a day still.  I thought for a little while we were transitioning away from that but then you made it clear you were not ready to give either of them up yet. That’s just fine with me, I don’t want a fussy tired bebe!  Your nap lengths vary, anywhere from 1 – 3 hours.  You do a lot of chattering to yourself when falling asleep, and I can hear you kicking the rails of your crib a lot.  You never stay in the same place or position that I lay you down in and at night before I go to bed I go in and cover you back up.  Who knows how long that lasts but it gives me peace of mind.  At night you go down between 8 and 8:30, sleep all night, and wake up between 6 and 7.  Sometimes in the middle of the night I can hear you talking in your sleep.  Just like Mommy! IMG_1920
  • You have 2 teeth on top and 4 on the bottom!  It’s the most adorable thing seeing you take a bite of something using those front teeth!  It’s almost dainty how you do it, ha ha! 
  • You hate having your toes messed with.  I can tickle the bottoms of your feet but if I touch your toes you scream out.  I don’t like my toenails touched, could it be the same thing?  All of these similarities, you are most DEFINITELY part of the pea pod! (Sorry, Daddy, we got another one!)
  • You may be a mommy’s boy but your are definitely a fan of your daddy’s!

Sweet boy, you are so loved!  Every last ounce of your squish!  I don’t want to forget a single morsel about you and our time together.  I could write and write and write about you.  Your dimpled squishy hands.  Your tight lipped smiles.  Your big brown eyes!  That puff of hair! Your sweet, innocent smell.  And how much you love me back!

I adore you, Tate.  Happy First Birthday, Big Boy!


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Day 6 and Counting


Ugh, 6 days of this illness, guys!  I have had whatever this is (guessing Influenza) for SIX DAYS!  I am so ready to be done with it!  The body aches and chills are gone now but the cough is still very present, as is getting super duper hot out of nowhere.  If I stay on a steady stream of Ibuprofen it helps the hot issue but that cough!  And now I can feel ‘bumps’ in my throat.  Going to be calling my doctor first thing this morning to get an appointment for the ‘bumps’. It irritates me that I did what I was supposed to do in getting a flu shot and I still got the darn virus! 

Enough ranting, lets just hope that since it’s supposed to last 5-7 days, and I’m on day 6, that I’m just about done with the whole thing.

Our big snow storm from this past weekend started off with a really wet snow and it stuck to the trees really well.  It was such a pretty picture!  The other morning the sunrise was so beautiful, the palest, prettiest colors.  I snapped a few pics.


Darn power lines ‘uglied’ up my picture.

This one I took because of how much that snow weighed down the branches of the tree.  It looks so neat hanging over the tool shed like that.


I think I forgot to show you all a picture of Bren with his Washington Monument sculpted out of Q-tips that he made for his 100th day of school celebration. 


We had a little warm up a week or so ago and the boys took full advantage and went out to play basketball in the driveway with Andy.  I love these action shots!


Tate loved watching them play from inside.  We opened the window so he could have the fresh air and ‘talk’ to them.


When Tate plays with his barn he likes to look through the side door and push his little hand through it.  I love how he’s laying on his tummy here.


One more pic, of my WALKER!!!


The chair is behind him because it’s how I keep him out of the cabinet.  That boy is into everything!

Happy Thursday!


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My Groundhog’s Day


If I could redo any day over and over and over again I think I’d pick a Christmas Day from when I was a kid, under the age of 10.

Every single Christmas as a kid, for me, was exactly the same as the year before and the year before that.  We had the same routine every year. 

My sister and I would wake up and run to the opening overlooking our living room to see if Santa had brought any presents.  And there they’d be, all wrapped in tissue paper with our names written on them!  We’d be so excited!  Most years my dad had beat us awake so he could go out and do chores before breakfast and present opening. 

I can’t remember if we ate breakfast before opening presents or not, but Mom usually made a breakfast casserole for Christmas morning.  After eating and getting it all cleaned up we’d start to get ourselves ready to head out to my Grandma’s for dinner.

At Grandma’s house we’d help set the table for lunch while Mom, Grandma, Aunt Carol and Aunt Joan made the food.  Great Aunt Ruth, Great Uncle Milt and their adult sons Jim and Dan would arrive. Aunt Ruth always brought the relish tray because it was easy to transport all the way from their home 2 1/2 hours away.  It’d be noisy when they’d arrive, everyone talking at once, shaking hands hello and just the general excitement.  It was the one time a year we’d see them.  Oh, and on that relish tray were the biggest, fattest black olives I’ve ever seen! I have no idea where she got those big guys but they totally grossed me out and she took the majority of them home every year.

While the women were cooking the men and kids went into the living room, a room we never sat in except for Christmas Day.  Grandma would watch TV in there at night, but every Sunday when we went to eat Sunday Dinner with her we’d stay in the kitchen and dining areas.  It always felt more special on Christmas because we could sit in the living room!  Uncle Milt always sat in the same chair, every year.  They guys all talked, laughed and told stories, it was so fun to sit and listen to them!  And while they were talking my sister, 3 cousins and I snooped under the tree. 

Finally it was time to eat!  The adults all gathered around the big table and us kids sat at the kitchen table.  We’d go through the line filling our plates with the amazing food everyone had brought and cooked.  Grandma always made her white rice with cinnamon on top, yum!  There’d be roast, potatoes and carrots with delicious homemade gravy. That relish tray.  Salads and sides.  Then dessert!  Mom always took Cherry Cheese Pie, my favorite! It’s still not Christmas if I don’t get a slice of Cherry Cheese Pie. 

After lunch it was time to clean up the dishes.  We’d beg to wait and do dishes until after presents but no, dishes came first.  We’d tear apart Grandma’s big dining room table, take all the leaves out, move the extra chairs back to the rooms they came from, then push the table back together as small as it would go and move it over to it’s normal resting spot.  I’d help with the table, then help put dishes away (anything to get out of drying all those dishes!).  Finally, present time!!!

We’d help Grandma hand out the gifts.  One Christmas in particular I remember Uncle Gary and Aunt Joan giving my sister and I matching Smurf sleeping bags!  I can see the picture my mom took in my mind of us laying in our new sleeping bags on Grandma’s dining room floor!  While opening gifts someone always bunched up their paper into a ball and started a wrapping paper fight.  Grandma took that as her cue to run and get a trash bag and start picking it up as fast as possible, ha ha!  I love that memory.

Another great memory of that day is after all the paper was picked up Grandma would then go and get a little tin full of peanut clusters to pass around.  Yum!

Then it was all over.  Because of their long drive home Uncle Milt, Aunt Ruth and the boys would head out.  Then Uncle Gary, Aunt Joan and my cousin Kim would head out, they had an hour drive ahead of them.  And then we’d leave too.  We had one more Christmas to attend for supper at my mom’s folks’ house.

We’d head home, unload our new toys, hang out for a bit while Mom made something to take to Grandpa and Grandma’s that night, then we’d load up and head out again. 

G and G Marie’s was a huge gathering.  My mom is the oldest of 6 kids, plus they are all married, plus they all were having kids, so that’s a lot of bodies in one house!  By the time I was ten there were 16 grandkids in all, 2 more were born after that!  It was NOISY!!!  But so fun!  Us kids would either go upstairs to play in the bedrooms with the toys or down to the basement to play with the old cash register.  It was always so fun!

About 5:30 the phone would ring, it was my Great Grandparents Hammen calling from Arizona.  The phone would get passed around from person to person and we’d all get a little chance to talk and say hello.  They were snowbirds and missed out on Christmas with us every year.  One year they sent a big box full of teddy bears up for us grandkids. They all had either red or blue bows – red for the girls, blue for the boys.  They sent too many boy and not enough girl ones and I got stuck with a boy bear.  I was so upset about that one!

Then it was supper time, 6:00 sharp.  Grandma always (and still does) made cheese soup, along with a pork loin, chili, some yummy potatoes and a few other things.  The aunts would all bring a dish to pass.  Aunt Linda Lee brought deviled Eggs. Aunt Marsha brought taco salad.  Aunt Linda Sue brought hamburger dip.  And so on and so on.  Grandma would make a ton of pies and desserts, plus set out the cookies that us grandkids had helped decorate a few weeks prior.  There would be tables and chairs set up in every room, from the kitchen to the dining room to the sun room to the bonus room – everywhere! 

After supper the aunts helped clean up and do dishes, then it was present time!  Back then us cousin’s would draw names for a fun exchange and the adults would exchange names also.  Sometimes they’d give gag gifts, which always made us laugh. One year I remember my dad got my Aunt Jackie’s name. She was a big Neil Diamond fan so her gift was a VHS tape of one of his concerts plus some hot cherry massage oil (Cherry Cherry was one of his biggest hits).  I didn’t quite get it then but I still chimed in with the laughter over that one.  Good clean innocent fun!

Grandma would get us grandkids gifts, too, which we’d tear into.  The gift opening was always so crazy.  Us kids would all sit down in a spot in the living room and wait for our gifts to be handed out, then it was a free for all as we tore into our gifts!  There was paper everywhere!  Gifts were always misplaced then found again.  The cleanup would start and we’d all sit around playing with our new toys.  Then Grandma would come around with money envelopes for all of us from Great Grandparents Marie and Hammen.  After that Grandpa and Grandma would find a chair and sit and open their many gifts from their kids. I always though that was so fun to watch.

Finally, it was time to go. We were tuckered out from a long day.  It was always such a great Christmas.  Christmas felt like Christmas back then.  I miss those days.  They were so fun.

What would be your Groundhog’s Day?


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What I’ve Been Up To


Hey there!  I took a week off from the blog last week, unintentionally.  Last weekend I took a ton of pictures to share with you all for my weekend recap post, then Monday morning came and I was a big ol’ blob on the couch.  I pretty much stayed there through Wednesday.  Not sure what was up but I just felt out of it most of the week.  Thursday afternoon I finally came out of my coma and then played catch up on Friday, thus the lack of blogging last week.

Today’s weekend recap post will be without pictures.  Saturday morning we went to Aiden’s basketball game at the Y then headed out to my folks’ house to have lunch and so I could give haircuts.  My sister’s family joined us.  We had a great time, headed out about 3 and came home to settle in the for the night and Sunday because we were due to get a huge snowstorm.  I dozed off on the couch around 4 and at 5 woke up with the chills.  My teeth were chattering so hard!  I drug myself off the couch long enough to get some warm comfy pajamas on then climbed under a couple of warm blankets and that’s where I stayed the rest of the night.  Those chills turned into body aches, a fever, getting super duper hot, then cold again.  It was awful!  Sunday was much of the same.  I quarantined myself in my bedroom most of Sunday so as not to pass it our  to the rest of the family but came out of hiding late in the afternoon so Andy could go out and blow out the 10” of snow in our driveway. 

We did watch the Super Bowl.  I wasn’t super impressed by any of it, especially the ending.  Went to bed, didn’t sleep great. Then about 2 a.m. Aiden came in complaining of a sore tummy.  He camped out on our floor and about an hour later was in the bathroom getting sick. Poor guy!  Today he is quarantined to my bedroom.  Totally stinks when we are sick.  Makes you really appreciate your health!

So that’s what I’ve been up to – not feeling like myself for way too long! Hoping today I completely get over whatever ailed me and Aiden gets better and no one else gets it!  Ick!


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