Monday, October 24, 2011

Cami Turns Two!

Cami is such a sweet, funny, happy girl, and I have been so blessed to have her in my life! I can't believe it's been two years since I gave birth to her - the time is really flying by!  We've had a great birthday weekend for her here in Florida. Her pumpkin-themed party was on Saturday, and it was a big success! 

Our new house has a brick oven in the backyard for making pizzas, so pizzas were definitely on the menu for the party!  My brother is somewhat fascinated with our brick oven, so he was very eager to help out with the pizza making.  I think we had 5 different pizzas altogether, one of them was in keeping with the pumpkin theme, and had pumpkin dough (I'll link up to all the recipes I used at the end of this post).  The pizzas were a hit, and were gone as soon as they came out of the oven!

Then of course, there were presents.  Cami was so funny with her reactions.  When she opened this one present that was a Hello Kitty outfit, she literally freaked out.  Yeah, my kids are obsessed with Hello Kitty.  She got some really great presents and loved opening all of them.

And then the cake.  I didn't do a traditional birthday cake this time - instead I made mini pumpkin cheesecakes.

And here's some video of everyone singing Happy Birthday.  I love her reaction at the end, and then I love what Kendall says about the candles.

Untitled from Kelly Spear on Vimeo.

And then today, Cami's actual birthday, I wanted to do something special, so I made cake batter pancakes.  I think these will become our birthday tradition breakfast for everyone's birthday!  The sprinkles make them so much fun!

Grant had to go to work, of course, but before he did, Cami got changed into her new Hello Kitty outfit that she was so excited to open on Saturday.

We had a great weekend!

As far as the pumpkin theme for her party, I guess you can blame that on Pinterest.  I had been seeing all these great pumpkin ideas, and I needed an excuse to make everything I was seeing!  So here's the links for everything I used...

By far, the best response I got as far as recipes goes was for this Pumpkin Fluff Dip, served in a hollowed-out pumpkin. 

The mini pumpkin cheesecakes.  I didn't use a mini cheesecake pan like the recipe called for, so they weren't exactly bite-sized. 

The pumpkin dough.

The pumpkin cooler to hold drinks.

Pumpkin Candle Holders.

And then the cake batter pancakes I made this morning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Trip to Japan...NOT! (Part 5: Crater Lake and Willamette Valley)

After a longer drive than we anticipated, we finally made it to Crater Lake, Oregon. 

We got there right around dinner time, and we were only planning on staying one night.  I made the decision to just eat dinner and then go to bed instead of going to see the lake right then.  The lake was, I think, about 7 miles away from our lodging, and I didn't think the girls would be very happy to get back in the car again after that day's drive.  Oh, and I have I mentioned on the blog yet that I'm pregnant?  I don't think so...most of you know, but for those of you who don't, I found out Memorial Day Weekend about Baby #3, which was interesting timing for this trip (we took the trip in mid-June).  Meaning, I felt like crap the entire time!  So my decision to have a low-key night was partly selfish.  I needed rest!

It turned out to not be the best decision, because when we got up the next morning, we had breakfast, then drove up to the lake.  At least we think we did.  You couldn't even see the lake!  Fog had completely settled inside of it, and except for seeing signs for Crater Lake everywhere, you wouldn't even know a lake was in the area!


We asked a few of the park rangers what they thought the chances were of the fog lifting.  Some of them were hopeful, others weren't.  So we decided to wait it out in the main lodge, which had a lakeview.  We figured if/when it cleared up, this would be the best place to see it.

One thing I've neglected to mention so far about this area, was the amount of snow leftover from the winter.  This was mid-June, and the snow was piled so high!  The girls loved seeing that. 

They also had fun waiting in the lodge.  Grant and I did, too - we love National Park lodges and their rustic beauty! 

Hours went by, and we started to realize that if we were ever going to actually see Crater Lake, we would need to stay another night.  So we checked on availability at this lodge, and they did have a room for us.  {That was the good thing about this whole trip - it was totally unplanned, so we didn't really have a tight schedule.  We booked tickets back to California while we were at Paul's house in Portland, so the only thing we had to do was be back in Seattle for our flight.}  They worked quickly to get it ready for us in time for the girl's naps (I feel like my whole life revolves around getting these girls to sleep!), and we all took very long, much-needed naps.  When we got up, Grant went down to the lobby area to see if the lake was visible yet, and it just barely was! 

Crater Lake is known for being very blue, but it was evening, and the sun was setting, so we couldn't really tell the blueness of it.  But this gave us so much hope that tomorrow would be even better - and it was!

Because of how much snow was still piled up everywhere, we weren't able to drive around the lake, or go down closer to it.  So, we took some pictures, then started making our way back up north. 

Next on our make-it-up-as-we-go agenda was Willamette Valley in Oregon.  It's a small, but well-known wine country, and even though I was pregnant, we were going to some wineries in the area.  Don't worry, I spit out the wine I tasted. 

The area was so beautiful!

It was my birthday that day, so I think this was Grant's attempt at getting a picture with me and the girls, but as you can see, Kendall wasn't having it.

We spent one night there in Willamette Valley, and then we headed back up to Seattle for one last night before flying back home.

All in all, it was a great trip.  I do wish we could've made it to Japan, but at the same time, with me being in the early stages of pregnancy, part of me was relieved that we never made it.  I was still able to tour around a part of the country that I've never seen before, and I think we all had a great time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Trip to Japan...NOT! (Part 4: Portland)

First let me say, I'm so sorry for the blog-neglect!  For what it's worth, we only moved into our house 3 1/2 weeks ago, but we were gone for 1 1/2 of those weeks.  I had to wait until we moved in to finish this series, because all the pictures from the trip were on our regular computer, which was packed up in storage. 


Once we arrived in Portland, we made our way to Paul's house.  Paul was one of John's (Grant's older brother) roommates at Florida State, so we've known him for a while.  After we got to his house, we talked a little, then walked down the road to get some food (burritos and cupcakes) then piled in the car to head to Multnomah Falls (I'm sure I've said it somewhere on this blog before, but I have a thing for waterfalls).  I've heard so much about these falls, this was probably the main thing I wanted to do in the Portland area.  It did not disappoint! 

And as an added bonus, it wasn't just the view of the falls that was so great, the whole area around there was just beautiful!  Here's a few pictures of a lookout over the Columbia River Gorge.

The next day for breakfast, we walked to this place that Paul had been telling us about - Pine State Biscuits.  He told us about this item on the menu...the Reggie Deluxe...a biscuit, with fried chicken, cheese, gravy, bacon, and a fried egg.  It sounded so wrong, but so right.  It was awesome, and I kinda want one right now.

I have to be honest, as we were talking to Paul about things to do in Portland, he kept mentioning food and eating out.  We thought he was a little obsessed.  Until we realized that Portland is a food-lovers paradise!  From now on, when I think of Portland, I think of food.  Wonderful, delicious FOOD!

Which brings us to our next stop...

I've seen this place several times on TV shows.  Apparently, if you go to Portland, Voodoo Donuts needs to be on your agenda.  So we went there.  Except it was closed for remodeling.

That wasn't a problem, though, because they had a second location across town.  So we went there and got some really delicious treats.

Lest you think all we did was eat on our visit to Portland, our next stop was to the Japanese Gardens.  Beautiful, quiet, serene.

That night was our last night in Portland and, okay, we did do some more eating.  But I was able to do a very cool thing after dinner!  Let me back up.  As we were driving to Portland, I was thinking about the Portland Modern Quilt Guild.  So I looked up on my phone to see when their next meeting was.  It happened to be my last night in Portland.  So I thought it would be really cool to check it out!  Although, I have to say, being the kind of shy person that I am, I definitely was about to chicken out.  So at dinner, I nervously kept watching the clock, but I was being quiet about it.  I didn't want to tell Grant that I had changed my mind, and I wasn't going to go.  The meeting started at 7 pm, and right around 6:50, Grant looked at his watch, and literally pushed me out of the restaurant so I could go.  So I went, and I'm so glad I did!  As soon as I walked in the room, I felt at home - a quilty home.  I also got to meet one of my favorite quilt bloggers, which was really cool.

Anyways, the next morning we would be heading down to Crater Lake.  But before we left, we had to do some more good eatin'.  Paul had been raving about Tasty 'n Sons, so we chose to go there.  Oh man...this place was so good!  It's family-style, so we were able to order a lot of different things, and eat a little of all of it.  First of all, their biscuits were TO DIE FOR.  The best.  Trust me - this is coming from a true Southerner, who knows a good biscuit when I taste one.  Grant and I said that we would've been happy just eating the biscuits with the equally amazing honey butter.  Of course, we didn't stop with the biscuits.  But everything was very, very good.  I was so caught up with how good everything was, that I only got one of the entire meal - this was kind of a Middle Eastern dish.  Can't remember what it was called, but it was good.

Crater Lake will be it's own post, but before I get to that, I'll mention what we did on the way down there.  We stopped at the cemetery where Grant's grandma and grandpa are buried (his mom's parents).  I didn't think it would have such a deep impact on Kendall, but she actually got really sad about being there.

All in all, we had a great, but fattening time in Portland.  If I ever go back, I'll make a point to hit up the food trucks, which are really popular there, but we couldn't quite fit it in this trip.  Literally.