Thursday, December 12, 2013

Santa Success!

First of all, I must acknowledge my absolute failure as a blogger - I will eventually post a fall update (MUCH has happened since September!), but for now, it's all about our visit to see Santa!

My friend has a Paint Your Own Pottery studio and she has a "Painting With Santa Party" every year. It is great - you have a reserved time so you don't have to wait in line for hours at the mall and the Santa at her store is really the best - real beard and all! I was afraid we'd have a repeat of last year.....
Visit with Santa 2012

But we DIDN'T! He LOVED everything about it. He talked about seeing Santa and sitting in his lap for about a week before the actual date. When we walked into the store, he went right to the back of the store where Santa was sitting and immediately started talking, telling Santa all about the tractors, trucks, and Cookie Monster. After a little conversation and some knuckles, he climbed up on Santa's lap and told him that he wanted some chocolate, some cookies, a bell to ring, and a big Elmo. He was very definite about his wishlist! He went back about 10 times to tell Santa hello - it was so cute! 

After we saw Santa, we painted two ornaments and a "Cookies for Santa" plate. He did so well! After all of the excitement was over, GG and Pappy took us out to eat - a perfect ending to a wonderful day! 

Seeing Santa for the first time this year! Notice Luke's boots - he is absolutely obsessed with his "reindeer boots" as he calls them. He would wear them all day, every day if I let him!
More talking....Santa got an earful!

Talking to Santa

Knuckles with Santa

Santa, would you please bring me some cookies, some chocolate, a bell to ring, and a big Elmo? 

So excited to finally see the Big Man!

Somebody loves Santa!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Back To School!

We are officially back to school! We went last week to meet the teachers, but today was the big day! His new school shoes arrived yesterday, just in time to wear them today - he thought he was BIG stuff!

His teachers are Ms. Dianne and Ms. Judy - they have been teaching his age group at his school for 24 years - I don't think Luke will be able to give them anything that they can't handle! He has all of his friends from last year in his class, so that will be good. They have a real curriculum this year, as opposed to last year when it was more of a nursery setting. They will go to music, crafts, and have kitchen time - I cannot imagine what kitchen time looks like with 8 almost-two-year-olds...those teachers must be on a mission from Heaven.

He was not thrilled when I dropped him off this morning. As we got in the car this morning, he decided that he wanted to sit in the front seat instead of in his car seat - unfortunately for him, that is a non-negotiable item. SO, he was already all ruffled when we got there and then didn't want me to leave. I am sure that he is just fine and is playing with all of his friends by now! He did the same thing last year, so he will just have to get used to his new surroundings.

I enjoyed my first morning to myself by hitting the grocery store and the gym. So adventurous, I know.

Here are a few more pictures of his first day, along with a picture from his first day last year...I cannot believe how much he has changed!

First Day Last Year
SO BIG! Notice the basketball hoop - he is SO into basketball right now - it is all he wants to do or talk about.

He looks so grown up in this picture - ready to go to school!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Re-creating the Nutri Grain Bar...

The Burlesons are trying to eat more whole foods, more fruits and vegetables, and are trying to make exercise and healthy living a priority! Foods like the veggie sticks pictured above are becoming less and less of a mainstay around here ;-) However, I have found that finding good snacks is one of the most challenging parts of eating well, especially since we are trying to get away from all processed/packaged foods, especially for Luke. We have the added challenge of trying to find healthy, yet calorie-dense snacks for Luke, since he is not a big eater and he is on the very light end of the weight charts.

Inspired by my amazing stepsister, Ashley Brouwer (check out her awesome food blog at, I have been trying to replace some of the packaged foods that we eat with homemade versions of the same items. Today's challenge was to see if I could find a good substitute for the Nutri-Grain bar. I must say that this recipe hit the mark...Luke LOVED them. I apologize for my food photography - hopefully you can get the idea.

Wild Blueberry Whole Grain Bars (adapted from Parents magazine)

3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c flax meal
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 1/4 c regular rolled oats
1/2 c unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c butter, cubed
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 c fresh blueberries
1 10-ounce jar of blueberry preserves (I used Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry)

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 13x9x2 baking pan with parchment paper, making sure that there is enough paper to hang over the edges for lifting the bars out of the pan. 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, flax meal, brown sugar, oats, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. 
Using a pastry blender (or 2 forks), incorporate the butter cubes into the mixture until it resembles course crumbs. Transfer 1 1/2 c of the mixture to a small bowl and reserve.
Stir the egg whites into the remaining mixture. Stir in the berries. Pay mixture into the prepared baking pan, pressing mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crust is brown.
Remove pan from oven, spread preserves over the crust, and sprinkle the reserved mixture evenly over the preserves. 
Bake until bars are golden brown, anywhere from 30-45 minutes. 
Let them cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then lift bars and parchment out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. 
Cut into bars and store in airtight container. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Weekend Stuff

I know that I am the world's worst blogger - going to try to post at least once a month (lofty goals, lofty goals ;-)

We had the best weekend! Friday evening was spent hanging out in our yard, ordering pizza, and relaxing - Luke LOVES being outside and the heat really doesn't seem to bother him (I don't know where he gets that from - I am such a wimp when it comes to heat/humidity!). Luke has been battling a little summer cold (hence the runny nose) and yet another ear infection, so it was good to see him feeling better!

He loves playing with his car and lawn mower (his mow-mow as he calls it!) and has recently gotten very interested in sidewalk chalk. He is also obsessed with digging in the dirt, putting it in his wheelbarrow and distributing it around the yard. Kasey recently put out sand and dirt to level the back yard, so he wants to be just like his daddy!

Saturday was spent at the zoo! He loves the zoo and we are so grateful to have such a great place so close to us! He loves all of the animals, especially the zebras and the giraffes. They also have a carousel and a splashpad area. He loved the carousel, but wasn't too sure about the foam pit. I cannot believe that my germaphobic self got in that foam, but I just prayed that no flesh-eating microbes had taken up residence in there.

On Sunday, we went to church and then spent a great afternoon playing basketball, going to Costco, and playing in the new sprinkler from Gran - great weekend!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Island Time!

This was the view we woke up to every morning from our room...not too shabby!
So, we finally took a vacation! It had been many, many, many years since we took a trip of any kind, so we were blessed beyond our comprehension when Kasey's company rewarded his hard work with an amazing trip to Caneel Bay on St. John in the US Virgin Islands! We filled our days with swimming, snorkeling, reading (I read three books on the trip!), exploring the grounds, eating amazing food, and relaxing. Caneel Bay was more than we could have imagined. Beautiful scenery, tip-top service, anything we wanted or needed was made available to us immediately, and endless opportunities to unwind...ahhh. There were no televisions or phones in the rooms (we did have a cell phone to check in at home) and we didn't take a computer, so we got five days of completely unplugged relaxation. 

We left Luke at home (our first time leaving him overnight and my first time to be away from him for more than a 5-6 hour stretch). I left more laminated signs around the house than you would find in most kindergarten classrooms - it was a little (maybe a lot) much, but at least there would be no question regarding routine/procedure ;-) We all survived just fine and had a great time. The grandparents did a great job keeping him busy and happy so that mommy and daddy could relax and enjoy...which we did for five great days! 

We ate at some amazing restaurants - this one was in Mongoose Junction and had the absolute best desserts we have ever had in our lives. The other food was amazing, but the desserts were not to be missed! 

Sailboats would dock near Caneel Bay, stay a night or two, then head off for other ports. It was so neat to see all of the different boats. It is certainly a different way of life in the islands! This picture was also taken from the private balcony/patio right off of our room. We could hear the waves at night and the birds/frogs. It sounded like the rainforest setting on Luke's sound machine ;-) 

This was one of the places that we was a bit nerve-wracking to jump off of a large boat into choppy water and swim to the big rock, but once we did it, it was amazing! We saw so many different types of fish and other sea creatures - I had never seen a coral reef before, so it was very cool to see what that was all about. We also snorkeled into some caves, which was just awesome. Again, nerve-wracking, but awesome. 

On our last night, we ate dinner on the beach - it was so relaxing and beautiful. We were definitely spoiled. 

This was one of the beaches just after a little morning rain - the sand is much whiter than it looks in this picture. They had rows of these great hammocks and waiters that came to your hammock to take your food/drink order - does it get much better?
We are already planning our return - we think Caneel Bay for our 15th anniversary sounds like a plan. We can't come down off of the "cloud" - it was such a treat to relax and rejuvenate. We can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter 2013

So I have fallen a bit behind on the blogging...I have tons of pictures on the camera, but I am just going to start from this point forward!

We had a great Easter! We actually made it to the 7 am service at church, so we were quite proud of ourselves. We went to Sunday School and were home by 9:30 to get ready for everyone to come over for brunch. We had such yummy food! I made a quiche and salad, Gran and Gigi brought fruit, blackberry french toast, orange rolls, chicken biscuits, hashbrown casserole, ham, and devilled eggs - do you think we had enough food? It was a bit ridiculous. We had such a relaxing brunch and then watched the basketball games. After Luke napped, Kasey, Luke and I went on a long walk - pretty much a perfect day!

Here are a few pictures of the little man - he was so proud of his new white shoes! The Easter Bunny was quite good to Luke - one of his favorite treats was his bottle of spill-proof bubbles (ha) from Gigi - he likes dipping the bubble stick more than he cares about the bubbles!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Luke's First Snow Day!

My relatives who live in areas of perpetually frozen tundra will chuckle at this post, but we got a little dusting of snow yesterday and it was SO exciting! It was cold and blustery all morning and the snow was really coming down when I got to Luke's school! When I went to pick him up from his room, his teacher had all of the babies in the bye-bye-buggy and they were all just looking out the big window, watching the snow fall was precious!

Once we got home and got a little (emphasize LITTLE) nap, we headed out. Luke was not a fan of his jacket, his hat, or his mittens. He is, however, a huge fan of his bottle. For twelve solid months, I tried to get him to take a bottle to no avail. In fact, I can count the ounces he drank out of a bottle on one hand...However, he found a bottle in the cabinet with his sippy cups and is now completely obsessed with it. I don't put anything in it, but he loves carrying it around and sleeps with it every night. I can sometimes get it away from him (we don't take it out in public or in the car), but if he catches sight of it or thinks about it, there is no distracting him from his goal of getting his little chubby hands on it!

Here are a few pictures from our snow day! He liked looking at the snow and walking in the snow, but wasn't wild about touching it - I guess we will wait until next year to make snowmen and snow angels! I could only keep one mitten on him because he had to have one hand free for the bottle at all times....