Saturday, March 10, 2012

Great Wolf Lodge

In the worst winter snow of the season, Rob and I took Ava to Great Wolf Lodge. We left last Friday night in effort to beat the snow storm but ended up right in the middle of it. After a white knuckled five hour ride to Traverse City we made it in one piece to the Baymont Inn. Originally, we were planning on riding up Saturday morning with four other families but opted to leave early since our reservations were not refundable and we thought the highway would either be impassable or shut down. So... we hit the roads early and sighed a big sigh of relief when we safely parked our vehicles for the night.




Saturday afternoon our whole group which included the Barksdales, Kooistras, Arnoldinks, and Huysers made it to Great Wolf Lodge with a pack of wild kids ready to swim.

Here is a view of all of water park...



Ava loved sliding down on her tummy... The GWL staff blew the whistle on her several times for violating the rules and not going down on her butt!!!



She had fun swimming in the kiddy wadding pool.



Captain Ava...



She loves GWL!



Here is a cute picture of Ava on the steps of our room suite holding our "Elise Candle" and waiting for story time.



She had to tuck Dora in bed because she was tired from swimming all day!



Ava, Kamie, Alaina, Jacob, Kyle, and Kaylie waiting for the story to start.



Rob holding Baby Joe!



Here are all the animals telling the kids a bedtime tale.



Wolfie & Violet visited during the story.



My Wolf!



 Ava had to have a stuffed wolf from the gift shop that she had to name LOVELY. This is her telling the momma wolf outside the shop that she was going to take Lovely home and be her new momma.



She loves LOVELY!



Rob, Ava, and Lovely sitting in the lobby waiting for our pizza.



This happy kid made our trip worth the white knuckle ride. We can't wait for our next water adventure!



Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Todd's T-Shirt Quilt

As part of my 2012 goals to make something for each of my family members I created a quilt for my brother, Todd's, birthday. It was a big hit and now everyone would like one. I guess I will be busy for the rest of the cold months making quilts filled with flannel for the one's I love. As they say, a family stitched together with love seldom unravels!

It took me a handful of months just to get 30 T-Shirts. I wanted this to be a surprise for him so I rummaged through our closets and Goodwill for the majority of them. Finally, I asked him to give me a few of his own old T's for the final touches but he couldn't ask me what I was using them for. All thirty shirts have some meaning whether its a favorite sports team, hunting or fishing related, a place we have been, or an event we have supported!



After I organized the shirts out I cut them into 12 1/2 in by 12 1/2 in squares along with the 30 flannel squares I needed for this project.



Then I made T-Shirt/Flannel sandwiches and stitched each one with an "X."



Using the flannel I personalized a T-Shirt with an "e" for him because he tells me I need to mark my sewing goods with a label of sorts. I embroided it with our love saying, "LUV YA 4EBS XOXO" Which means, "I will Love You Forever - Hugs & Kisses!!!"



I also specialized the Detroit T-Shirt by keeping the neckline and making it into a pocket for the safe keeping of his remote, phone, or whatever else he wishes.



Then I sewed all thirty shirts together...



I used a rag scissor and snipped the boarders of all the shirt squares.



Finally, I washed it so the agitation of the cycle would rag the quilt and give it a cool frayed look.



Then the Wednesday before his 39th Birthday I invited him over for the secret Birthday Gift reveal! As he opened his quilt he noticed right away some of the shirts he donated to the cause...



Pleased and Surprised... He claims this is in his top three prized possessions!



16 hours in total... 5ft by 6ft... I am proud of my work!



I will love this brother of mine 4EBS!



On a tiny side note... Here is a picture of us taken at my mom's on one of our Wednesday Night Sleep-over Office Parties just before I cut the shirts. It's of him wearing one of his old favorites that made it into his quilt! We are holding up season 2 and enjoying a McDonald's flurry that was purchased with cash from my sewing sales. I love this picture of us even though we are not looking our best. Our smiles say we always have fun together no matter what MON'!"



Bowling is FUN-tastic!

In effort to try and spice up the fun this winter, Rob and I took Ava bowling for her first time! We went with our neighbors the Barksdales and the Arnoldinks. A good time was had by all and I am sure we will be back again.

Here is our Bowling Queen... I love her shoes!



Rob showed her how to roll the ball under-dog style...



Kaylie helped her using the ball-stand...



The kids had lots of Bowling Alley Snacks...



Here is Kris, Angie, me...



We all had a fun time... However, I must say that the price of bowling is not as cheap as it was when we were kids. Yes... I had to go there with a walking backwards in the snow story. I'm getting old! Seriously, it was pricey. We bowled for two hours and our bill was $60 dollars. That was unlimited bowling for the two hours we were there, shoe rental, an appetizer to share, and two drinks. For some reason that seems pricey to me so it's a good thing we had fun with friends!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Valentine's Day Extravaganza


This was the card Ava made for Rob & I at daycare... very well done!

Generally, Valentine's Day is really just another day here at Home Sweet Kolkman. Yes, there is the usual exchanging of cards and maybe some sweets and takeout for dinner. BUT... this year it was a real EXTRAVAGANZA!!!

Here is a cute ballerina pose of my Valentine Ava Elise...



Ava and I began getting ready for this day by creating heart shaped crayons out of her old crayons which was an idea we found on Pinterest. It is a pretty easy process and they turned out great.

Here are our cut up crayons in the heart tray.



Then I melted them in the oven at 275 Degrees for 15 minutes.



Then they cooled and we took them out of the mold.
The tops were shiny and the bottoms looked marbled!



Then Ava prepared her "DORA" Valentine's Day cards.



We put two heart crayons and candy inside little takeout boxes.



Then we attached her DORA card's for her special delivery to daycare since we spent the day home together. She was very animated in her delivery and I wish I had my camera to catch her in action. She was so affectionate with her teacher that it made my heart melt... She loves Ms. Chris!



We also made Neapolitan Cupcakes for all of the teacher's at AppleTree. They had brownie on the bottom, strawberry cake in the middle, and cream cheese frosting on top!



Since Ava was busy making Valentine's for all of her family and friends this year and really expressing her love of others... Rob and I decided to go overboard and spoil her rotten with all our love and affection. I picked out a new stuffed ballerina frog for her which looks exactly like her lovey Lily Mae. She named her new frog Charlotte and she is a new favorite in her stuffed animal collection! Rob picked out a new Tervis Princess cup for her which has Disney characters Snow White, Belle, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty on it. We recently became Disney Club members and our first seven movies arrived the day before Valentine's Day. So we let her open them as gifts to sweeten the day even more.

Here is Ava and her Valentine's Day gifts. She was a very happy camper!



Ava also was spoiled by Aunt Dee & Uncle Kee. They sent her a very special Valentine's Day gift in the mail. She was soooo excited to open her box from Dee & Kee.



Rob treated me on Valentine's Day as well. He bought me a Keurig which is a huge HIT!



Then he bought me a drawer to store all of my coffee, hot chocolate, and cider treats!



A week before Valentine's Day we treated Rob to new waterproof boots!



Valentine's Day this year was quite something! Very lavish and we all feel very LOVED!!! Since I had to work the evening of the fourteenth we had to continue celebrating our Valentine's Day on the fifteenth. We took a trip to my moms to see Jack, Emma, and Uncle Todd. 

Ava loved to give her cousin's her Valentine's!



Then I also had a Valentine's Day gift for Jack and Emma...



Here we all are with new Peepers I made for them, markers, and heart notepads.



Uncle Todd treated Ava to a gift of chocolate candy! He calls her Louise and she calls him Uncle Tawd... they really seem to share a special connection!



Finally, we visited Elise at the cemetery. We brought her flowers and a pink bear.



We have two bears like this pink one. One is Elise's which was in the cemetery last season and it is slightly faded. The other is Ava's which is brand new. She had a hard time giving Elise her bear back even though she has the same bear at home. We tied it to her vase and sent some kisses to heaven for her. Ava could hardly stand the idea of leaving this bear behind so she cried and cried and cried over it.

Crocodile Tears...



So we talked about sharing and what would be the nice thing to do... which would be leaving the bear in the cemetery. Ava thought about this for a while and she was still not wanting to leave this bear for Elise. So I said it would be sad to leave Elise with nothing. Ava thought about this again. With a snotty nose and tears in her eyes she said, "But Elise doesn't have nothin'... She has her flowers." How do you argue with that? So we cut the bear off the vase and left the flowers. Ey-Ey-Ey Kid! So on an ending note... We hope you all had as happy of a Valentine's Day as we did!