Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Cooking Club

Groceries for our recipes!

Snack time for the kiddos! You should have seen them piling the doughnuts on their plates.

Trying to figure out, what we needed to do next!

Chaos in the middle of it all!

Finished product - ready to go into the freezer for busy nights!

I took the kids to Cooking Club this morning. Cooking Club is four moms spending four hours cooking our hearts out while our eight children were entertained by two babysitters. It was fun but lots more work than I had anticipated. Not even including the cooking! There's recipe collecting, grocery shopping, finding sitters, setting a time to cook, snacks for everyone and then prepping all the ingredients. Plus, the clean-up! It was an undertaking to say the least but it's safe to say that all four of us would gladly cook together again.

We prepared: Bow Tie Fiesta, Vodka Tomato Sauce with Penne Pasta, Flank Steak Italian pinwheels, Cilantro Lime chicken and steak fajitas. Everything looks delicious and provided us all with numerous meals for the next few weeks for our families. One of the meals is for the crock pot and one is for the grill.

Here's some tips if you are thinking of doing this in the future:

Pick the biggest kitchen that you can find! There's lots of prep work, cleaning, and moving around trying to figure out where everything is located since it's not your kitchen.

Prepare as much as you can in advance such as chopping onions or browning meat.

Choose recipes that have some of the same ingredients to cut down on cost. We used chili powder in two recipes and cilantro in two recipes.

Check with other cooks to see if anyone can bring an ingredient from their own kitchen. Example, we needed a cup of Vodka for our sauce and it may have been more cost-effective just to bring that from home rather than buying an entire bottle.

Organize ingredients by recipe so that the person preparing the meal does not have to run all over the place trying to find bell peppers or cumin. Everything would be in one bag.

We used sitters but discussed cooking at night or on a Saturday next time so that we do not have to pay for sitters. Each of us chipped in $30 for the sitter and about $60 for the ingredients. I came home with ten meals along with two extra pieces of chicken, four Italian sausages, three limes and some cheddar cheese. It was crazy but fun! Both of my children were beyond exhausted at the end of the cooking marathon but they did fabulous. Evie only came in the kitchen twice and Henry needed to be held at the end because it was way past his nap time.

Something universal about Mama's is that no matter where you live or how many kids you have is that dinner has to be made. Cooking club makes it much easier and solves that pesky question - "What's for dinner?" Happy Cooking!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tickle Monster

Henry is one ticklish little boy. Even our pediatrican was laughing at Henry giggle during his 1 year check up. Evie loves to tickle her brother. I took these pictures with my phone so they are not the clearest pictures but they are too cute not to share.

Tickety, Tockety Too. Henry said, "A-CHOO."

Swishity, Swashity Swoo. Evie's coming after you.

Bippity Boppity Boo. I'm going to tickle you.

Poem written by Theraisa K. with some adaptaptions by Jennifer Niemeyer.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up!

Sweetest, silliest little princess in town!

Our Olympic picnic from Friday night.

We had a fabulous weekend. Our best in a long time. It was busy, busy but lots of fun.

Saturday: It was my turn to sleep in which is always nice especially after staying up to watch the Olympics. Evie decided it was pretty cool and made it to the end although she kept saying that she was watching the "puppets." After Henry's nap, we went to the pool for the morning. There were hardly any people there and the water felt great. Evie had a ball going down the slide and watching Carl swim a lap.We came home for nap time and then headed to see our friends, Maura and Tim and their children. Evie and Abby have known each other since they were born so it's so special to see their relationship growing. Evie is such a bossy little thing and enjoyed having lots of new pink toys to play with since they have three beautiful little girls. We had a yummy dinner of kabobs and a family recipe for dessert. Chocolate Smush cake and it was delicious but most things chocolate are worth eating! We were late getting home and the kids went straight to bed. Carl and I were not far behind them.

Sunday: Evie slept until 7:30 and then Henry slept until 8:30. It was Carl's day to sleep in this morning. We decided to go to Costco this morning to pick up some supplies. Evie quickly spotted a costume from the movie Brave so of course we let her get it. She LOVES it and looks so adorable in it. When, we put the wig on her, she asked, "Where did my blonde hair go?" Everyone went down for naps and then we headed to our next door neighbor's house for a pool party. It was really fun catching up with all the neighbors and checking out all the work that has gone into this pool over the last several months. It's definitely an amazing outdoor living space with a kitchen, fireplace, bar and TV not to mention the beautiful salt water pool. Carl and I have decided that maybe having a pool would not be so bad after all. We have never really been interested in a pool because they are so much work but it's a lot easier than it used to be as technology has changed. Carl got the scoop! Evie and Henry enjoyed themselves too especially since there were lots of chocolate chip cookies. We came home for a quick shower and dinner then a little playtime before bed. It was such a great weekend and I am sad that it's over already. We are already looking forward to next weekend with the Williamson County Fair. Evie has spent the entire weekend telling us that she is going to ride "that roundy thing" all by herself. That's a Ferris wheel in case you were not sure.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Week in Review

It's been a fun and productive week but it sure did not start off that way.

Monday: It was a wild day! Henry was up all night for some reason and I was exhausted. Evie was so sweet to watch Dora while I took a quick nap while Henry slept. Everyone was much happier after a little rest. We headed back to Sky High to jump on the trampolines with some friends. It's such a cool place and burns lots of energy. Definitely go on a Monday during Munchkin Monday because it's so expensive any other time of the week. After naps, we made some pink cupcakes and a pasta dish for dinner. Henry went to town on dinner. Evie prefers her broccoli without sauce.

Tuesday: Henry took an early morning nap because Evie had camp. We were late getting to camp due to the morning nap and then construction was crazy. After I dropped off Evie, I learned a new way back that was much faster than the route suggested by my navigation system. Henry and I went to the gym. It felt good to have a little break and watch some TV on the treadmill. I nearly had a heart attack when picking up Henry because they could not find Henry in the childcare. I was beginning to panic when it suddenly dawned on me that the lady had special needs and was not comprehending that I needed to pick up Henry. There were about 20 other childcare workers in the facility taking care of the children and of course Henry was happily playing outside. That's not a good feeling to think your child is lost even though rationally I knew that he was there. Also, I realize that people with special needs thrive with employment but I was so worried about my little guy. After our little scare, Henry and I went to a pool play date. It was so easy to just have Henry at the pool. He is content to hang out in his float or swim around for a few minutes in the Puddle Jumper. Evie was not thrilled at all that we had been at the pool when we picked her up. Everyone took naps and then we headed to run a few errands. Carl needed his dry cleaning and I was out of chocolate milk for Evie which would be a major disaster around these parts. We decided to swing by the library to pick up a few books and DVD's. Carl was home when we got back because he had a dinner meeting. He took them out to Urban Grub since he liked it so much last week. Henry went to bed early and Evie and I worked on some projects. Have you seen milk painting on Pinterest? Evie highly recommends milk painting! It's easy to set up, all families have milk in the fridge and it occupies the children for at least 15 minutes.

Wednesday: We stayed home and had a productive day getting things crossed off our never-ending list of to-do's.  It was fun to take a mid-morning break to go play outside with The C's and then Carl joined us for lunch on his way out of town to Jackson, Mississippi.  After naps, we headed to the pool with The C's and it was mass chaos with way too many kids in the pool. Our pool trip was short lived because it makes us batty to keep up with our kids among a sea of unsupervised children. Henry decided that he loved egg salad at supper time. That's better than the memory card that he decided to snack on earlier in the day hence my lack of pictures this week. Henry keeps us on our toes. He clears the cabinets faster than I can pick up the mess. Evie and Henry are playing so nicely these days. It's so heartwarming to see them having fun together and taking care of each other. Evie helped me give Henry a bath in the sink after supper. Sweet girl is a BIG helper! I wrote my 1000th post which just seems unbelievable!

Thursday: Evie went to camp at Inside Out. She was so excited because that is where her birthday party was back in January. I was super impressed with the way the camp was operated and the counselors were sweet. Henry was mad as a hornet that he did not get to stay and play too so we will have to get back there one day soon. We went to run a few errands and made a quick trip to the doctor. Henry loved having the run of the house when we got home and played with all the toys without being reprimanded by our Queen Bee. Soon, it was time to pick up Evie so we ran back out to get her. Evie had a blast at camp and wants to go back, although she was quite disappointed that cake was not served. Too bad, camp season is over since school starts here soon. I received an email from camp that "Evie was a perfect princess at camp." It was a dress-up theme which suited Evie just fine. She was very wound up that she did not sleep but rested quietly in her room for two hours. Carl was still out of town so I decided to take the kids to Chick fil A for dinner. We had coupons for free meals from participating in Bible school last week. It makes me proud to support a business that does such a phenomenal job of supporting our community. Chick fil A was crazy busy and Henry was picked up by a random ten year old a few times too many so we decided to get out of there. I made the mistake of deciding to run two quick errands which were not quick since everyone was coming home from work. Oh well, we made it and were all relieved to get home. Bathtime and bedtime were next on our agenda!

Friday: Our neighbor's alarm for their pool was going off all night so I barely slept but the kids slept through it. Henry woke up right as it was going off about 2 but went back to sleep. He took an early morning nap and then we headed to Monkey Joe's to meet Evie's little friend Leah. They were so excited to see each other and had a ball jumping around for over an hour. Friday's are never good days to frequent places like that so we decided to call it a day as the place kept filling up with kids. We made a quick trip to The Flour Shop for some sweet treats and then picked up our grocery order at Harris Teeter. Our favorite employee, Amy, is transferring to another store. She is such a hard-worker and makes our frequent grocery pick-up's a breeze. I will miss seeing her but at least our Harris Teeter is going to stay open. My parent's HT closed recently as part of a store consolidation. We made it home for a quick lunch and then naps. Henry and Evie were both ready for nap time after our busy morning. I had to wake Evie up at 5. Carl arrived home from his trip and we took my van out to the dealership. Henry went to bed and Evie stayed up to watch the Olympic opening ceremony with us. We had so much with our sweet girl eating red, white, blue yogurt for her and spicy chicken for us. Dessert was an ice-cream sundae. Evie found the opening ceremony fascinating for about an hour and then lost interest.

We have a busy weekend planned which is always fun yet exhausting! Hope your weekend is off to a great start.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1,000 Posts!

It seems like just yesterday that I started The Niemeyer Nest with my very first post and here I am today at 1,000 posts! Blogging has become so important to me because it is my record of our family life. That's the reason, I started blogging and what keeps me writing even though going to bed often seems like a much better use of my time. The Niemeyer Nest began when Carl and I were planning our move from Charlotte to Nashville. Blogging seemed like an easy way to keep everyone in the loop while living so far away from our family. Grandparents love pictures of their grandchildren! Evie and Henry's grandparents might not see their grandchildren every week but they sure get to see lots of pictures which makes the distance a little more manageable.

It's become much more than a record of family life over the last three years. Sometimes, it serves as an outlet. Something besides being a wife or a mommy. Other days, it's the chance to celebrate being a wife or a mommy. Of course, there are days when my blogging material is something that makes me laugh, personal experience with an amazing product  or an important message to share with others. Sometimes, I have nothing to share and just take some time to catch up all my favorite daily reads.

One of my favorite parts about blogging is the friendships that I have developed with other bloggers. Sometimes, it seems so funny that I have such an interest in reading about other families day to day lives when I do not even know them! That's probably what makes it so enticing. It's the chance to see that whether you live in Canada, Georgia or even across the street - it all comes down to family life and trying to keep a piece of yourself in the midst of  endless dirty diapers, sleepless nights and toddler tantrums.

Taking trips down memory lane always thrill my heart while causing me to wonder where the time has gone. It's bittersweet to reminisce about what we were doing this time last year or how we celebrated Christmas when Evie was a baby. Those moments seem like just yesterday in so many ways. Reading the important details refreshes my memory of our special times as a family.

It's always enlightening to check my stats on Blogger to see who is reading my blog. I am still totally blown away that people take the time to read my story without even knowing me.  It boggles my mind to see which posts receive the most traffic. Sometimes, the posts that you think will grab the most attention end up with disappointing stats but then posts that are quick run-downs are the posts that everyone gravitates towards sending those stats sky-high.

These are the five most popular posts on my blog: Cheekwood Treehouses, Stella and Dot Giveaway, Pinterest Project Perfection, Living Room or Playroom and Entertaining Toddlers. Are these my favorite posts? Of course not, my favorites are the ones about my children because that's why I blog. Not for followers, or comments. Although that makes me feel good that other people want to read what my posts. I blog so that one day when my children are grown that they will have a small glimpse into their childhood. A glimpse that will give them insight into the depth of my love for our family and the chance to see what ordinary days looked like and how we lived life. That's it folks, that is my motivation! Keep reading, I appreciate your emails, comments and conversations more than you know. Blogging has become the new medium for baby books for children all over the world. Pretty powerful, if you stop to think about this amazing gift that we can give our children and ourselves. It's my pleasure to share this amazing, challenging experience of raising a family with other moms in such a meaningful way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Evie makes me smile every day! Some days more than others but always more than anyone else. What a pleasure it is to spend my days with my sweet, smart, beautiful daughter. Here are a few of her latest comments. Carl asked me how I remember all this stuff and I told him my secret. It's a notebook. I can quickly record a few words so that the phrase will jog my memory later. There's no way, I could remember all this stuff, since I can barely remember what I had for breakfast. Cinnamon toast and a yogurt parfait in case you were wondering about breakfast.

We were looking at class pictures from when I taught school. Evie wondered aloud, "Who are all these children and why are they with you?"

I left her downstairs to go feed Henry and she told me, "Don't worry, I'll be just fine."

We passed a jeep while driving down the road. Evie was quite concerned the jeep was missing some doors. "Oh no, that jeep does not have any doors. Him is breaking the rules. You gotta have doors He's silly."

Putting on shoes seems to be a major decision around here so I usually offer her a choice of two different pairs. I asked Evie which pair would be best and she told me that she'd just wear her feet!

Carl and I have recently decided that food stays in the kitchen. Carl had a snack in the den and Evie let him know in no uncertain terms that food belongs in the kitchen. "Daddy, just drinks in here, not snacks."

I often remind Evie that Henry lives here too when she is trying to boss him around. Well, she got me back the other day. Carl was reading over my shoulder and I asked him to move back in a less than kind tone. Evie quickly reprimanded "Daddy lives here too."

Henry was crying on the way to take Evie to Bible school. I was trying everything to get him to calm down when Evie announced that she knew why he was crying. "Mommy, Henry is crying because I am going to Bible school and he is going to miss me. I'm his sister."

We were heading to the park to play and Evie was dressed like Belle. I told her that she needed to take off the costume and put some clothes on before we could go to the park. Evie was not too pleased about this since she practically lives in dress-up clothes. Then, it dawned on her why I asked her to change clothes, "I know why I need to change clothes. People at the park might think that I am a real princess. That'd be so funny." You are right, Evie, they might think you are a real princess!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up!

It's been a low-key weekend with nothing too exciting to blog about. Sometimes it can be nice to just take it easy for a few days.

Saturday: I caught up on some chores around the house while Carl worked in the yard. It's always funny to try to straighten up with my kids around. I read the other day that cleaning up with kids is like eating oreos while brushing your teeth. That pretty much sums it up! We went to the pool after nap time and had a good time. Sunny skies with moderate temperatures makes for the perfect pool day. Pool hardly had anyone in it which is always a plus. Carl grilled chicken for dinner and I made some sides. We sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful night.

Sunday: Carl took the kids and I slept in until 7. Something is wrong with the phrase "sleeping in until 7" but it was still nice not to have to jump out of bed quite so early. Henry went down for an early nap while Carl rested a bit. He's feeling a bit under the weather. Evie and I played school which happens to be her favorite game these days. She takes it very seriously and reminds me to raise my hand before speaking. Not sure that Evie would ever remember to raise her own hand in class! After Henry woke up, we headed to late church and it's always worth the effort once we are sitting in the pews sans children. I picked them up after communion and managed to still catch that our minister is leaving to go to another church. Carl missed that announcement which made me laugh since it was pretty much the defining moment of the service. We picked up some chips and dip from Local Taco on the way home and snacked a bit while Carl watched some golf. Then, he grilled yummy hamburgers for lunch and everyone went down for a nap. After naps, I ran a few errands and then we played outside. Nothing too exciting! Now I am just waiting anxiously to see which guy Emily chooses to spend the rest of her life next month of her life with.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Week in Review: VBS and Date Night

We had a fun week with lots of plans! We were out of the house every single morning which is challenging but we enjoyed ourselves.

Monday: Evie started VBS at her preschool. She spent a great deal of time deciding what to wear and finally decided that a headband would complete her look. Evie was thrilled to see some of her little friends from school at VBS. Henry and I went to Chick fil A to meet some friends for breakfast. He snoozed in the car and I just enjoyed the silence until it was time to pick up Evie. Carl came home and helped me prepare the children for bed. After they were both asleep, I went to Sopapilla's for dinner. It was a delicious meal and always wonderful to chat with other moms in the same stage of life as me. I had a mango salad with grilled Mahi and pineapple. Salad is not usually my first choice at a restaurant but this has become my new favorite dish on their menu.

Tuesday: Evie went to VBS and Henry came home with me for his morning nap. We went to the YMCA after nap time. Every time, we go to the Y something crazy seems to happen as if taking two kids in the nursery is not enough action. Henry was evacuated from the nursery because of a smell coming from the sewer. Pretty crazy! He did not seem too worried at all. Evie would have been a basket case if this happened to her. I told Evie about it and she asked me if Henry made the smell that got everyone "vacuated." She cracks me up!

Wednesday: Evie went to VBS and Henry went with me to the gym. They lost his cup and he ate mulch off the playground in case you wondered what happened on this visit. He's always happy though so I just keep taking him. We ran to Costco quickly to get a few things before Henry's 12 month appointment. Henry weighs 21 pounds which is the 25% and his height was in the 75%. Dr. B gave Henry a glowing report! Poor Henry, had three shots so he passed out on the way to get Evie. We came home for a quick lunch. Evie decided to skip her nap but she rested quietly in her room. We met some friends for ice-cream and then came home to play outside with Carl. Henry went to sleep and Evie stayed up to see the babysitter. Carl and I went on a double date with Christian and Courtney to Urban Grub. If you are local, check this place out! We all enjoyed it so much after we adjusted to being the oldest people there. We were not quite the oldest people but it's a young crowd for sure because of it's location. Try the Pork Fries, pieces of pork tenderloin, battered and fried then served with a white barbecue sauce for dipping. Dessert was AMAZING! Carl and I shared the peanut butter chocolate bar and it was so good. Courtney and Christian had the banana pudding torte that was gorgeous and outstanding!

Thursday: We all went to VBS because I was teaching the elementary kids. It's only been 3 1/2 years since I taught school but I had forgotten how much time teachers spend on classroom management. Goodness Gracious! It was interesting teaching now that I am a Mama because I'd wonder which one of the kids in my groups would be my Evie and Henry in a few years. It was a nice break for me to spend the morning with older kids and I had fun teaching again. Henry was exhausted after skipping his morning nap but he made it through 3.5 hours in the nursery! That's a record for him. He had his little friends with him which helped and they passed out lots of snacks which always makes everything better. Henry never sleeps well when he is overly tired so he had a super short nap which resulted in a super early bedtime.

Friday: Evie woke up in the night from the horrible storms and convinced me to stay in bed with her. She normally sleeps right through the storms but this was pretty bad with lots of lightning flashing in the windows. Henry slept right through the storm. We stayed home until after nap time and then headed to the pool for the rest of the morning with our boys. Evie spent some time kissing Campbell and then playing with her spinning Belle water toy. Courtney and I were pleasantly surprised that the pool was not overly crowded. Both kids napped well and then we did some laundry. Carl got home a little early so Evie and I headed to the Y. I had told Evie that she could go in the bounce house but it is closed on Friday afternoons. OOPS! That did not go over well at all until she spotted a few of her friends in the other room. Friends make everything better and she was fine. Carl fed Henry supper while I was gone and then I bathed him and put him to bed. Evie stayed up with us since she napped later than usual. We sat outside for dinner and enjoyed some precious time with our sweet girl who is growing literally before our eyes. She is such a BIG girl now and so much fun.

Hope you have had a great week and that your weekend is off to a terrific start.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Henry's First Haircut!

Yes, he had his haircut two weeks ago. It seemed like a good idea to blog about it since this is our baby book too. Henry was in desperate need of a haircut!

We went on his actual birthday for the haircut. Carl met us at Great Clips because it's half between our house and his work. Evie went first with her trim and then Henry. I put him on the booster seat and the stylist told me not to worry that babies sit there all the time without falling. Carl and I were hesitant about this because Henry is a mover and a shaker. Within two minutes, she changed her mind and had Henry sit on my lap for his haircut.

He looks like such a big boy now with his new haircut. Can't believe that my baby boy is 1!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Henry and his Loot!

Sweet Henry racked up for his birthday! He loves all of his presents. His favorite is the CAT ride on toy from Uncle Ben. My brother always chooses a winner. Evie is still playing with presents from her Uncle Ben from her first birthday. Henry enjoyed opening all of his presents with a little help from his big sister. We are so fortunate to have such generous family and friends to share the important celebrations in this wonderful life!

Monday, July 16, 2012


Dear Evie,

  You are 3.5! That's half way to 4. Daddy and I have been parents for 3 1/2 years!  Time goes too fast because we still feel like you were just born. I love you at this age. So full of wonder, smart as a whip, sassy with a capital S and always displaying a heart of gold.

You are my special girl. Our relationship has changed a lot because you are getting to be such a big girl. We do more things together as girls than just me being your Mama. It's so special to have a little girl to whisper secrets with, paint pink toenails, eat desserts and cuddle in bed with piles of books. I cherish our special girl time and listening to you chant "Girls trip, No boys allowed."

It's certainly not always paradise here mostly because we are so alike. You are a much cuter version of me but we both still  wear our hearts on our sleeve and like things just the way that we like it. Sometimes, it can get pretty interesting as we figure things out together.

You have a vivid imagination and take me on some interesting adventures without even leaving the house. Sometimes our adventures outside the house can be pretty interesting too. You love to make new friends and always try to recruit a new to join your fun. It's so cute to hear you say, "hi, I'm Evie. That starts with E. What's your name? What you start with?"

You make us laugh all day long! Some of your funnies lately:  You observed lots of adults laying around the pool and asked, "Why are all these people sleeping here?"  You say, "I got" instead of forgot. You needed to use the bathroom on the way home one day and I told you that we'd be home in just a minute. Your response was, "I'm NEVER wearing these panties again" as if the panties were the reason you needed to visit the bathroom. You have more personality in your pinky than some people have in their entire body. You challenge us, inspire us and motivate us to do more and try harder.

You LOVE people and are constantly thinking of others which makes me so very proud to be your Mama. We planned to make cupcakes for your half birthday and you have already requested to take some to your boys because "they like pink things too." Plans changed when we found out that we were out of eggs.

Speaking of pink, it's still your very favorite color! At Bible school, you were issued a red shirt which you immediately told me that pink does not go with red and that you did not look pretty anymore. Luckily, you recovered quickly and hopped off to sing songs with your Watermelon group.  Everything is still pink in our house!

Dresses are your favorite choice and especially long "princess" dresses. You wear 3T and 4T depending on the brand. Shoes are still fascinating to you too. I have to go on a treasure hunt to find my shoes every time we leave the house because you carry them off during your elaborate imaginative play times.

You are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to us! We love you with all of our hearts and thank God everyday for choosing us to be your parents. You are our special gift! Words can not express our love for you. It sure has been a fun ride so far. Let's keep it going!