25 October 2011


How can our baby be 14 already?
Liam loves birthdays and parties, so we got on board with this. 
We had planned to do a neighborhood rally, having a bunch of 14 year olds run up and down the street, burning off lots of energy challenging their brains and each other in a constructive way. 
As it turned out, it rained. All day.
Quickly regrouping, we decided on a virtual rally, using the computer to find clues. Hero and I spend lots of hours challenging our brains to get things to work out. 
But they did work out - And the boys had a super fun time playing.
Look at that face. 
He got a lot of great gifts - great in that it was mostly cash. Liam received about $200 - Holy cow!
No Murphy birthday party is complete without the chocolate bar game. All kids totally love this game. A jumbo size candy bar is wrapped with every single seam taped to death. Then it is wrapped two or three more times. Everyone sits in a circle and rolls a pair of dice. If you get doubles, you first put on a hat, scarf and gloves, and then try to unwrap the chocolate bar, all the while everyone else continues to roll the dice in hopes of doubles. It is craziness. You would think at this point of the evening, everyone would be chilling and not really interested in more sugar. You would be incorrect if that were your thinking here.
Lovely cupcakes, just a few weeks before Liam was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. Next year will have to be gluten free.

Another successful birthday. 
I love having parties for my  kiddos. 
Thanks for turning 14 Liam!


The first boy for our family.
I just knew he was a boy. As soon as he was born, I totally had to sit up and look. Sure enough - boy.
He had the softest little neck. I very often had a hard time resisting kissing that soft fuzzy spot on the back of his neck.
He let me do that for a few years. And then he grew up.
Which is good. He did lots of good things along the way.
He went to preschool, went to church, played soccer, did a season of bowling (with his best friend Cassie and they got a free Burger King lunch each time), went to school, danced, joined a few different theater groups, sang, hung out with friends, performed at CHS in lots of plays and musicals, was a preschool teacher (at CHS), learned to drive, loved his family, became an expert in all things Hollywood (just ask him the best picture, actor, actress, etc from any year!),finished high school and enjoyed his last summer as a kid.
Brenden had a birthday! Somehow time sped up and he is now eighteen. 
Not possible.
For his birthday we wanted a duffle bag. Brenden has big plans to join the Air Force. He is trying to gain about 10 pounds to get there.
This thing is big! Look at all that can be stored in that bad boy! 
That is Colin in there.
After he was zipped up, he rolled around the great room for a few minutes. I could never do that in a million years. Colin is a trooper.
Pretty much every year Brenden wants Wacky Cake for his birthday. Oh. Yum. This cake makes lots of servings so we have leftovers for a few days!
Love the look that David is getting from the birthday boy.
Time to dig in!
Happy Birthday Brenden!

22 October 2011

Little Garden

A few years ago, we (and by 'we', I usually mean I came up with a crazy idea and Hero runs with it) built a square foot garden. The idea is that in each square foot, you can plant a certain number of plants and they will do great. 
No thinning, not too big and very organized.
It is a really great idea.
For some people. 
Actually, it is probably a good idea for us, too. But I have this little problem with plants. 
Most of them end up dead.
It does not matter what kind of plants - indoor or outdoor - but I do have better luck with outdoor plants, hence this crazy idea for a little tiny veggie garden. How bad could I mess it up?
This is day one.
I have tomatoes, spinach, peas, beans, peppers, cauliflower and mystery. So much potential.
Oh, and marigolds, for two reasons - One, they are supposed to attract good bugs, and second, they remind me of my grandma Norma. She used to cut flowers for me to take home every time we visited her house. The smell gets me every time.
You can see it is not too big. I should be able to take care of this, right?
And I can, except for one little problem. I have this thing about projects. I want to do them and be done. Maintenance projects are a downfall of mine.
I have 72 hour emergency kits that are half done, but I just cannot get excited about finishing them, as I know I have to clean them out after a while to rotate food and such.
I have photo journals that are seriously not up to date, because I know that as soon as I finish, I will not be done.
I recognize this is a problem. A weakness. I am trying.
Here is the garden at the end of the season. Do not let that plethora of tomatoes fool you - they are all icky.
The rabbits ate the peas and spinach.
We got one pepper.
The mystery turned out to be squash. They were good.
And we got two cauliflowers.
The only thing that really thrived were the marigolds. (That's something!)
Um, in my defense, I did water more this year.
Next year, I am going to turn this into a mini pumpkin patch. Since kindergarten, I have been able to grow pumpkins.
I wonder how many pumpkins per square I can get.

05 October 2011

Cuppy Cake

For Family Home Evening recently we decorated cupcakes.
Super fun!
I got an awesome cupcake decorating book from the library, made a batch of buttermilk cupcakes (buttermilk is my new favorite ingredient), stocked up on all kinds of candies and sprinkles, plus some mini vanilla wafers (so cute!) and mini donuts.
Instead of making frosting (like I know I should have - live and learn!) we used store bought. Not good. That stuff did not hold up - Way too soft.
Next time.
There was some serious art going on here. 
The intensity and dedication was awe-inspiring.
Check out the apron on Colin. This is serious.
Lauren wanted no distractions. Hair pulled back without a chance of any getting in her way. 
Or on a cupcake.
Hi friend! 
Looks like a great day for a swim.
Unless you are a fish. In Swedish waters. 
Swim away!
This is one of Brenden's cupcakes. 
It really does look like water with those sprinkles.
And drops on the table.
Another friend - Hi!
Looks like his feet have a little bit of a sunburn.
Good thing he has his arms tucked inside the inner tube.
She looks very happy. She may or may not be missing a flipper.
I think I mentioned the frosting was pretty wimpy.
This fellow is quite the swimmer. Hero worked on outfitting this guy. Complete with goggles, snorkel and flippers. 
Paddling away.
Looks like he may have forgotten his swim trunks though - check out that little fanny.
Not sure what is going on with the little swimmer to the right. 
That looks awkward. And uncomfortable.
Just another fun day at the beach!
Some with hats, some with inner tubes, some with flippers, some with no swimmers at all.
Check out this little creature. 
And his cute creature cupcake.
It's a lobster. Very clever, Liam!
Ready to serve.
Except who could eat them?
Well, friends or not, they were sure tasty.