Family Visitors

This past week we had some visitors from out of town: Doc's sister Jill and her family.  Jill's kids were on spring break for the week and decided to spend a few days down in our neck of the woods.  Unfortunately, we just don't have enough room in our house so we could host them, but we were still able to meet up and spend a fair amount of time with them.

We met Jill and her family out for dinner Thursday night, but the bulk of our hang out time was on Good Friday.  Our kids were out of school and Doc was able to work just a half day (I was stuck at work all day, boo).  After loading up on ribs at the Rendezvous, their plan was to spend the afternoon at the zoo.  Turns out, that was the rest of the city's plan too.  Since it was so crowded, they opted for a park in our neighborhood.  Doc was sweet and took my camera along.

(Just so I'll remember:  Anna is 11, Wyatt is 12, Nathan is 8, and Henry is 6 in this pic.)

Looks like Anna climbed as high as she could to get away from the boys.

We sat outside while Doc cooked our dinner on the grill.  I gave Henry and Nathan a piece of cheese to feed Lolli so she'd love them.  I think it worked.

Lolli had extra kisses for Uncle Chad too.

Love this sweet face.

I had a long list of things to get done in the kitchen.  By the time I went to bed that night, I had baked a chocolate cake, a white cake, a yellow cake, and 3 batches of lemon cupcakes.  Luckily I had some helpers along the way!

Anna is always excited to be a kitchen helper!

All the baking was for a couples' shower my mom was hosting the next night.  I volunteered to make cupcakes in a jar (like I did a while back) and cake pops.  It was a huge undertaking but I figure I probably owed it to my mom, she does a lot for me.

The first batch of lemon cupcakes were a bit of a flop.  I used this recipe that's just a cake mix and Sierra Mist.  I accidentally poured in the whole 20 oz. bottle of Sierra Mist instead of just 12 oz.  Oops.  They still tasted good, they were just a little sticky.  It was a good thing I had a house full of willing taste testers!  We needed an appetizer anyway...

The second two batches went well but they didn't rise like most cupcakes.  Taste wise they were great, but that meant that it took one and half cupcakes to fill up each mason jar.  Gah!  We finally got 'em done before bed though.

But then there were the cake pops.  Oh, the cake pops.  It was my idea to do 3 different cakes so they'd be different flavors.  Sounds like a good idea, right?  The problem is that one sheet cake alone makes about 3,000 cake balls so that means three cakes makes roughly...quick math...9,000 cake balls.*  I would've taken a picture of all the fun** we were having rolling the thousands of cake balls, but my hands were too messy to pick up the camera.

We called it a night around 10:00.  I didn't sleep a wink because I couldn't stop thinking about all the unfinished balls in the fridge.  By 7:00am I was up and at 'em and back in the kitchen.  I'm new at the whole cake pop thing and had no idea how long it would take.

I pulled out the first cookie sheets and decided to start with chocolate.

I dipped my sticks in melted chocolate before sticking them in the cake balls.  I read that this was a good idea to keep the balls from falling off; it sounded legit.

Then it was just a matter of dipping them into melted chocolate.  Of course, I had to take it up a notch and do each flavor with a design.  My first batch got dyed blue.

Then I got fancy and drizzled white stripes on them.

With 9,000 cake balls in the fridge, I totally underestimated how much styrofoam and sticks I'd need.  I had to send Doc out to the store to fetch me some more.  By 10:00, I had an assortment of cake pops.

Obviously that's not how they were displayed for the shower, but we'll get to that in another post.

I had enough time to take a quick shower before Jill and her crew were back over for the afternoon.  We attempted to get a few shot of the kids, even though they weren't that interested in it.

This one cracks me up.  Ha!  I can't remember what Doc said to Nathan to make him perk up...

We got one of the boys with their sister Jessie too.  Lolli kept trying to photobomb this pose so getting a decent shot was tricky.

While we were outside, I got out some cascarones that I'd bought for Easter.  These are confetti-filled eggs that you smash on your head for good luck.  Wyatt was the first to go and smashed his hard!

Nathan got covered with confetti while Henry managed to stay clean.

I think Anna was nervous that it would hurt!

Wyatt got another egg so he should be extra lucky this year.

Unfortunately, after our confetti party I had to leave to deliver my goodies and help my mom set up for her party.  I gave my farewell hugs to our visitors since they were gone by the time I made it back.  It was a good to see them all and I'm glad they were able to visit!

*Slight exagerration.  But only slight.
**Sarcasm.  Nothing is fun with that many balls.