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Elizabeth’s 4th Birthday!

It is really hard to believe, but our little girl just turned four years old! Elizabeth is a bright ray of sunshine in our lives, and we are so thankful to celebrate four wonderful years with her.


Originally I was planning a ballerina party for her, but a few weeks ago we were talking about it and she said, “No, Mommy. I want a rainbow party!” She stuck to it, so a rainbow party she got. Her birthday fell on a Sunday this year and she wanted just girls, so we had her party over lunch yesterday. There were 5 little girls that came, and they had so much fun together!

Here they all are, with the birthday girl in her rainbow dress!!


We decorated everything with rainbows and rainbow colors.



All the food was rainbow. Rainbow pizza, rainbow veggies, rainbow pinwheel cookies, skittles, watermelon cake (rainbow colors), rainbow kool-aid,  and of course rainbow cake!







We did a LOT of fun rainbow crafts and activities. The girls used colored pasta to make rainbow sun-catchers, they played rainbow bingo while they ate all the food, and then they made Fruit-Loop necklaces (thanks to a box that my mom sent that made it JUST in time the day before the party!) before cake and presents. And then after stuffing themselves full, they went outside to play with water balloons and swing (and burn off all that sugar!).








Happy Happy Birthday to my sweet Elizabeth girl!



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Peel a Tomato?!?!

Yes. Have you ever? I have. As of Tuesday I can now cross peeling tomatoes off my bucket list (HA!). More on the tomato peeling adventure in a second.

This week I only got to two new recipes. And I think that was the only two times that I cooked. It was a bit of a crazy week. Nothing in particular was crazy, but when you put it all together it felt really busy. We went somewhere almost every day which is not normal for me here in Indonesia.

And Friday was my birthday!! The big 29. It feels so strange to be in the last year of my 20s. I remember when my mom was 29, so now I feel really really old. Just kidding, Mom! I actually had a really great day. Matt took the day off and we just had lots of family time. I didn’t cook, and then in the evening I went to do karaoke with all my girlfriends here in our little city. It was SO MUCH FUN!! I didn’t have a camera with me, and I was really too busy having fun singing and dancing my heart out to tunes that really date me to take any pictures. Yay!

Okay, back to peeling a tomato. Do you know how? I started making this Tomato Bisque at about 4:45. We usually eat at around 6:00. After getting everything out for the recipe I noticed this tiny little word next to the word tomatoes, “peeled”. Okay…. no canned tomatoes here, so I had to figure out how to get my rather ordinary tomatoes on my cutting board naked. Quickly. So I did what every person my generation and younger does… RUN to Google! If you would like to learn how to peel a tomato, this is the website that taught me how. I also made these Biscuits to go with the soup. It was a frantic hour! Overall, Matt liked the soup and Charlotte, Elizabeth, and I did not. However, we ALL loved the biscuits. Here is a picture!


The other recipe I made was Cheesy Spinach Macaroni. It was a really quick recipe and pretty good. I only had linguine pasta on hand and it probably would be better with a smaller noodle that could hold on to more of the cheesiness. Next time I might try adding chicken, too. I didn’t get a picture of this one so to console you I will leave you with a couple pictures of our cute little girlies.

So, have you ever peeled a tomato?

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Charlotte’s First Birthday!

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My beautiful baby turned one yesterday! I can’t believe how fast this year has gone – seems like just a few weeks ago we were in Bali waiting and waiting and waiting (and waiting) for her to be born. We are so blessed to have Charlotte as part of our family. She is a spunky, determined, independent, fearless, snuggly and strong Mommy’s girl. The pediatrician yesterday commented on how healthy she was (80th percentile for height and weight) especially for being born overseas. That girl can eat!!

You see that look on her face? Those eyebrows are like that (the “I’m studying you” look) more often than not. She has a wonderful spirited personality and loves to laugh and smile, too. Especially with her big sister. Makes a mommy happy!

On Sunday the 26th, we had a family party for her at the park. I put together some food and we invited all the aunts and uncles that live in Houston to come. It was a little cooler than we had planned, but the kids still had a blast eating food and running around.

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My goofy little toddler…

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… and my silly big girl.

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The birthday girl with Grandma and Grandpa Menger.

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The three standing cousins (Emily was there too, but she’s not quite standing on her own yet, so she couldn’t quite keep up with the bigger ones). Elizabeth and Ryan are both playing harmonicas from Uncle Andy.


Charlotte had SO MUCH FUN on the swing with Grandpa. He got her going pretty fast and she loved it!

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Emily loved the swing too. Isn’t she adorable?  And Elizabeth and Ryan had a blast on the playground!

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Of course we did cupcakes…

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and she didn’t do too badly! Not too much of a mess, at least. She didn’t really eat that much of it. And then presents…

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A few more goofy cousin pictures.

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Thanks to all the family who came!! We are so blessed to have this time together. We really appreciate being here and having the opportunity to celebrate special days close to the people that we love. I know that all the family couldn’t make it, but some is better than none!

On Monday the 27th (Charlotte’s actual birthday), we took her to the doctor. She got 5 shots, a TB test, and a prick in her finger to test for anemia and lead. Poor baby! She was pretty much feely yucky and exhausted the rest of the day. We did try a cupcake again that night and giver her the presents from us. I only have one picture to share from that but I think it’s a good one. She got a little more into the cupcake this time.


Happy Birthday my sweet Charlotte Abigail!

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Elizabeth’s 3rd Birthday

As soon as we got to Cincinnati in December, we celebrated Elizabeth’s 3rd Birthday. We had a fun and special day of pink, princesses, and playing. It was quiet and just us close family, but that’s exactly what this special little girl wanted on her special day – to just play! Here is the big girl sitting in her pretty dress with her presents.


Opening her presents. In the morning she got to open her presents from Mommy, Daddy, and Charlotte, and from Grandma and Grandpa Lilly, too. She got a princess sticker book, some “fancy” jewelry, a beautiful ballet dress…

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… a wallet, a tent…

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and a Cinderella carriage. Can you tell she is ALL GIRL??


Plus a few more presents that I didn’t get pictures of. Everything is either small or can be made small so that we can pack it and take it back to Indonesia.

Later after dinner she got a few more presents from Grandma and Grandpa Menger.


And then we had cake! Princess cake! Purple ice cream Princess cake!!

And the party hats were very important. All year long when we talked about her Birthday she asked, “can I have party hats, too??” So yes, we had party hats. We all had to wear them.


Happy 3rd Birthday to my precious princess! We love you so much, Elizabeth!

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