Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Easton's Farm Party

I love themed parties and opted for a "Farm Party" for our sweet one year old. He loves animals and especially loves the Baby McDonald Baby Einstein video. He squeals with delight when the older kids are watching it (yes, they still like Baby Einstein!).

I made a pig onesie for Easton to match the theme. Someone told me later they thought it was a lion. Oops. None of these baby animals ever look like themselves.

And you have to make the token birthday crown, right?  He kept it on for all of 3 seconds, the 3 different times we put it on him.

I made a Barn Cake that my neighbor gave me a picture of. I used a different recipe for the cake though. This recipe is hers, also. I've never been the mom who makes the amazing cakes, but the day I made this, I felt like one of those moms. This is by far the cutest cake I've ever made. Thanks to Mandy for the recipe and Erin for the decorating advice and "tips" (literally, cake tips she let me borrow). It might be a little lopsided. Don't hate. It's still #1 for me thus far.

Birthday Cake Recipe: (I doubled this to make 4 - 8x8 pans of cake)

1 package plain yellow or vanilla mix (Duncan Hines)
1 package vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz.)
1 1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I added a touch of almond extract as well).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Light mist pan with oil and dust with flour. Mix all ingredients in bowl. Beat with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Mix on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes.  Mixture should be smooth. Pour into pan. Bake 35-40 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch.

Icing Recipe:

1/2 C. shortening
1/2 C. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. (4 C.) powdered sugar
2 T. milk

Cream butter and shortening. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar is mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.

I stacked 2- 8x8 cakes on top of each other (icing in between) and trimmed the last two layers before stacking. On the 3rd layer, I measured 1" from the edge and cut a wedge off each size to make a sloping roof line. On the fourth layer I cut off 1" from each side and then left 1" in the middle of the cake and cut a long wedge all the way to the outer edge (basically make a trapezoid). I stacked them with icing in between.

I put icing and cake in the fridge to harden. Got them out later, iced them all around (with crumbs inside the icing), put them back in the fridge, got them out again and then used my tips to make it pretty. I used the tip that looks like a teardrop (help me out professionals!) to make the red barn paneling all around. I used the smaller one like that to make the roof. I used the grass tip to make grass around the barn and little farm animals to decorate. It was so fun to make.

Before the party started Beckett got to it. He was making the cow gallop on top of the roof, so there might be some footprints on the rooftop in these pictures. ;)

With the scraps I made a little barn for Easton to dig into. Or so I thought he would. Who knew that any one year old who has never tasted cake before wouldn't like it? I thought keeping him from sweets this whole year would make him DIG in at his party. Not for this boy. He loves cucumbers. I guess that should have told me something.

Here he is checking it out:

The video is coming... I've watched it several times now, just having a hard time uploading it. It's worth the wait. Hilarious!

Take that cake away! Now I'm happy!

Watching the birthday boy video

Pleased as puddin' with his presents

Hanging with family and friends that are like family (we include them in that category).

A worn out 1 year old...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Easy E!

My baby is ONE! It seems cliche to say it's happened so fast, but it's absolutely true! One year has flown by. The past year has been one of so many changes in our lives, including having our 3rd child, Easton Brooks Duty. What a blessing and joy he has been.

I like to write in my childrens' journals that I keep for them - prayers, birthday letters, accomplishments and give God glory for all He is doing in their lives. I hope they will be a testament to God's working in and through them before they can ever remember. I have been so awful at keeping up with Easton's this year. I know I have many good excuses, but...well, I'm moving on. One less blank page. Here is your birthday letter, precious boy:


What a surprise and blessing that you were to us! We found out shortly after your brother's 1st birthday that we were pregnant with you. We were excited and overwhelmed at the same time. Having 3 babies in 3 years is hard work! I was glad to have 9 months to get used to the idea. Surprise again! I found out I was already 3 months along when I went to the doctor! You were born July 27, 2009 and you came out with red hair (very little) like your sister. You are getting good at surprising us at this point! 

From the moment you came out of my tummy, I fell in love with you. To this day the biggest, bluest eyes I've ever seen, and a precious, dimply smile that lights up the room. You are truly a happy baby. Most of the time, you are either extremely elated or extremely upset. I think a good way to describe it is passionate. In this way you remind me of your sister, Taylor Joy. Maybe there is something to this red hair thing! I pray that the Lord uses your passion and intensity to bring Him glory in whatever He leads you to do.

You love watching your brother and sister and they love catering to you. They will bring you toy after toy until you are pleased. They will do silly things to make you laugh (who am I kidding? We all do silly things to make you laugh!). We all love it when you laugh. And you laugh very easily. You are going to be a clown. You are funny and you know you are funny. I'm looking forward to seeing your personality develop as you grow. There is so much there and I can't wait to uncover those little nuggets of your personality that I see now, but will become much more evident when you are older.

I love your cuddles. I love your open-mouth kisses. I love your babyish ways. Like when you bury your head in my shoulder when you get shy. Like when you fall asleep on my shoulder. Like when I wrap you up after your bath and you stay swaddled in my arms for awhile. Like when you find your blankie and dive into it with excitement and just lay there, treating it like lost treasure. The Lord used you to minister to me in more ways than you could ever know this year.

Thank you for living up to your name, "Easy E." There's no such thing as an easy baby, but you were very easy for the most part. I prayed for that. I was nervous with the ages of the 3 of you, all being a year and a half apart. But, God knew what He was doing. He made you laid-back, easygoing, fun, cuddly, and easily entertained by the older two. Praise God for helping me out in that way. Praise Him that the three of you are the best of buds. I can't wait to see your friendship continue to grow and deepen. You three make my heart melt.

I love you and am smitten with you. You are precious. I'm looking forward to year 2 with you.


Saturday, July 24, 2010


We spent a long weekend in Galveston with our dear friends the Shipley's and the Otto's last weekend. It was the kids' first time on the beach and let me tell you, they fell in love. From the time they set foot on the beach, they were smitten.

The first day was my favorite. I had the two older kids with me the first day and then Allen brought Easton the next day. I loved having my husband and baby there, don't get me wrong, but the first day was so relaxing. I never would have thought it, but having two preschool-age children was very restful. Plus, I loved spending more intentional time with Taylor Joy and Beckett that is harder when taking care of the baby.

The kids were having the time of their lives jumping waves, running back and forth pretending like the waves were "chasing" them and riding the waves. I felt refreshed and thankful just watching them laugh and play.

Anyway, here are some pictures from our trip. I love documenting our life together. I love that I have all of this written down and posted for us to look back on. Enjoy the pics!

Monday, July 12, 2010


Taylor Joyisms:

(books fell off the shelf) "Well that was intense!"

(her answer to "what does it mean to die?") "it means you just lay there forever."

"Daddy you forgot to cut off my toes!" (referring to her toenails that needed to be clipped)

"Wow! that boy on the radio station is really rockin' it!" (about I Can Only Imagine by Mercy Me - not really a "rockin'" song...)

During bathtime as I was washing her hair she said, "This is kinda like baptism except with lots of soap."


"I am da way, da spook and da wife. No one comes to da fodder except for me." (reciting John 14:6, the exclusive, Beckett version)

(after pooping and seeing it in the potty) "It's like a double peppy pizza!" (Double peppy pizza is an episode on Boz. Boz fans, face really doesn't look very appetizing in the show. )

"Holy Poly" instead of Roly Poly

"W" stroller instead of double stroller

He refers to getting stung by a bee as when the "bug poked me."

(getting out of the bath) "I just keen (clean) and squeaky!"

(when asked about going to the pool) "It was nice and awesome!"

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