January 19, 2015

Sweet & Salty

No school today in observance of MLK.  While our usual Monday routine is quite pleasant, it felt good to deviate a bit from our norm.

Our agenda looked like this:
1.  Bake healthy-ish muffins
2.  Take said muffins & lunch to WM & WJ at their now shared office
3.  Paint with WC while MD napped

Simple.  Very simple.  And oh so enjoyable.

My little sous chefs stood side-by-side at the kitchen counter busily chopping strawberries, while I rooted through the pantry seeking out muffin ingredients.  Strawberry banana chocolate chip oatmeal muffins.  Yep.  Healthy in that they had only a tablespoon of honey for added sugar and called for Greek yogurt.  Yet we snuck in those dark chocolate chips so they'd still seem like a treat.  They were delicious.  And still warm from the oven when we indulged in a post-lunch treat.  

I like seeing our sweet boys working together on these everyday tasks.  Helping.  Teaching.  Applauding.  Each.  Other.

I also like these polka-dot measuring cups.  A lot.  If all of my dishes were polka-dotted and rainbow colored (the set has one red, one blue, one yellow & one orange cup), I'd never tire of dirtying the dishes and washing them only to dirty them again.  

And since I seem to be on a rainbow hued kick these days, Channing & I actually did get around to painting.  For an hour and a half.  We sat together at the dining room table & watched as colors bled & blended into beautiful rainbow colored hues.

This technique, found on Pinterest quite some time ago, is simple.  Using card stock or water color paper, draw a design in pencil, trace it with good old Elmer's glue.  Generously sprinkle table salt on the wet glue.  Carefully shake off the excess.  Then, using a very wet brush, gently dab watercolor paint on the salt.  The slightest touch causes the paint to skip across the salt.  When it dries, it has the most beautiful texture & the color intensifies to the point you don't just see it on the paper you can feel it.  

We may have just painted the old fashioned way too.  I painted hearts.  In honor of Valentine's Day being just around the corner.  And in rainbow colored hues once again.  Channing painted an apple. For me.  And I like it so well, I intend to frame it.

There you have it.  Our day in a nut shell.  A little sweet.  A little salt.  All of it good.  Very, very good.

December 31, 2014

Made Me Smile

The final hours of 2014 are winding down.  I'm feeling blessed.  And grateful.  While this blog was sadly neglected much of the year, my camera was not.  Channing just spent the better part of an hour snuggled on my lap as we browsed ALL the photos in the photo library from 2014.  The number is astounding.  There are photos I'm incredibly proud of from an artistic standpoint and then there are those photos that simply made me smile.  They brought me back to a moment, some just ordinary everyday, some more of the milestone type.  Regardless.  I smiled.  I hope you do too.

Channing is turning into quite the little artist.  We've gotten a few books with the words 'how to draw' in the title that have offered guidance and inspiration.  My favorite drawing has graced the refrigerator for much of the year.  It's of me.  It says 'I Love You Mom'.  I've got crazy curly hair and glasses and I'm wearing my favorite yellow and white striped t-shirt.  My cheeks ache from smiling every time I see it.  Every.  Time.  

My folks spent part of the winter enjoying the sun & sand on St. George Island in FL.  We couldn't go that long without some quality grandparent time.  The boys and I made the trek sans Michael which was a little bittersweet.  We had a great time.  He would have too.  Maxwell quickly mastered the art of throwing shells back into the ocean.  Channing was a blur of activity, bounding in and out of the waves, making sand castles and exploring tide pools.

WM & I celebrated our birthday in March with a trip to the MOA.  Even though it wasn't his birthday, Channing obviously had the most fun.

Milestone-Channing lost tooth #1.

We traveled to Tybee Island, GA in May to celebrate Kath's birthday as well as Walt & Kath's anniversary.  The trip was spectacular.  

In June, the boys & I spent time in Duluth.  There are not words for the magic of these few days.  My heart just feels full.

Mom, why can't we go out and play with water balloons RIGHT NOW?  That was so much fun.  Can it be summer RIGHT NOW?  (As I type, it's bitterly cold outdoors.  -25 with the wind chill.  Not a good day for outdoor play.  Definitely not.)

Summer evenings are best spent sitting on the porch eating ice cream cones with your big brother.  

In September, we left the boys behind and spent an extended weekend in Phoenix.  Despite the heat, we hit the golf course a couple of times.  WM enjoyed his game & I enjoyed the scenery. 

Channing originally wanted to be  a zombie for Halloween.  We settled on Angry Birds.  He was OK with that decision provided he got to be Bomb Bird.  They were the cutest Angry Birds I ever did see.

November came with a heavy blanket of snow.  We groaned at the thought of an EXTRA long winter.  Then December came and it all melted.  Believe it or not, we did not have a white Christmas.  Channing's anxious for more snow to arrive.  He's quite good at clearing the driveway with his Tonka Trucks.  

This picture cracks me up.  Maxwell was totally into Santa until he realized there was a camera in the room.  Then he was all smiles for the lady behind the lens rather than the man in the jolly red suit.  

And there you have it.  2014 in a nut shell.  Happy New Year!

December 25, 2014


If you've ever picked up my camera, offering to take a quick pic for me, you know...I keep my camera on continuous shooting mode.  Many quickly suggest I 'fix it' and try handing it back for corrective action.  I just smile and say, 'Nope.  That's just the way I like it.'

As the mama of two crazy little boys, continuous is make or break.  Take for example our holiday card.  426 shots later I added some graphics and sent out this:

In case you're wondering, the mugs are vintage-a gift from my dad.  The quilt was made by my Great-Grandma O.  The chair was a gift from Walt & Kath when we were expecting Channing.  I picked it out at The Porch in Buffalo, MN.  And the sled.  That beautiful sled.  It's the very same one that carried Papa Walt down the snow covered hills of his youth.

And, I'll let you in on another secret.  There's no hot cocoa in those mugs.  Just whipped cream.  

There were some strong contenders this year, but that first one. The one above.  That's the one that did it.  That's the one that got the Sophie stamp of approval.


What?  You didn't find it?  Yep.  Somewhere in all that whipped topping filled sweetness is Sophie's strawberry.  It's our special way of including her.  Look closely.  You'll find her.  

Merry Christmas.

December 17, 2014

Splish Splash Christmas Bash

This past weekend, The Kuehls gathered from far and wide to celebrate Christmas together.  As ususal, it was a wet, wild and oh-so-fun weekend.  Regrettably, I forgot the waterproof camera so the most adventurous water sliders were not captured in action.  

We stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Wisconsin Dells.  Hats off to Sarah for finding our place to stay and a special thanks to Jesse for his continued military service and for extending us his discounted rate on our stay.  Woot!!

There was plenty to do.  Plenty.  Thrill seekers big and small found slides and rides to their liking.  Some liked to take it slow.  

Some made a dash for the bottom.  Andrew clearly won this race!!

Maxwell LOVED the wave pool.  Sorry no photographs.  You'll have to picture him in your mind on his back, bare toes pointed into the waves, riding the swells and giggling the entire time.  Entire.  Time.  Surprisingly, he still did have a voice at the end of the weekend. 

Not that he minded the slides.  Like everyone else, he found those to his liking too.

It was fun.  Great fun.  Although, it may be well into the new year by the time some of us finally dry out.  

December 10, 2014

Hello Love

Well, yes, hello, but also Hello Love as in Hello Love Photography.  We had the pleasure of meeting Laura in September on a brisk fall evening.  Despite the coolish weather and a little wind and much to my delight, she captured our family just as I'd hoped.  Perfectly. 

I'm seriously in love, love, love with these photos.  Seriously. 

December 9, 2014

Catch Up

The past couple months look like this:

Channing headed off to full-day Kindergarten.  He’s thriving in his new academic environment & we are thrilled.  It’s amazing to see what he’s learned since the beginning of the year.  It’s fascinating to see his wheels turning.  It’s exciting to think ahead to who he is becoming.  

Maxwell turned 2.  If you ask him, he’s four.  Or sometimes he’s six.  Regardless of the number he says, he holds up five fingers.  Always five fingers.  I laugh every.  single.  time.  He’s talking up a storm.  His current favorite phrase seems to be ‘no help.  Little Mr. Independent.  

Michael & I snuck off to Phoenix for a long weekend.  We needed that time together to recharge and enjoy being Michael & Holly rather than dad & mom.  

October brought the ‘what to be for Halloween’ debate.  Channing asked to be a zombie.  With a gentle nudge in a more age appropriate direction, he opted for ‘bomb bird’ and suggested ‘red bird’ for Maxwell.  The costumes were fairly easy to put together.  It’s just the old pumpkin costume of my youth, made up with the appropriate color of polar fleece & an applique for the face.  Again, fleece.  Good thing they were warm, thick costumes.  Halloween, spent in Cincinnati visiting Kelly & Co, was a wee bit wet and chilly.  

 Most of the kiddies went trick-or-treating with the dads.  Little Lil & Jameson stayed home to hand out the candy, or in Jameson’s case to steal all the candy he could get his hands on.

Mid-November, Channing turned 6.  Yep.  6.  He now has to use TWO HANDS to show his age.  Sheesh.  He’s old.  

Which brings us to December.  We’re in the midst of holiday prep.  The caramels are in a pan on the kitchen counter, cooling as I type.  Sparky, our Elf on the Shelf, has reappeared from wherever elves go in the off season.  I’m later than I’d like with regard to ordering, addressing & mailing the holiday cards.  Yep.  Just placed the order 10 minutes ago.  

Channing had fun helping to style the photo shoot for this year’s card.  He helped scour Pinterest for ideas.  He made suggestions as to where the boys should sit/stand as well as what props were necessary to achieve our desired look.  Thankfully his ideas & mine were in line this time around.  That doesn’t always happen.  Without giving anything away, here’s an outtake from the shoot.  Sweet boys.  Pun intended.