Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Criggers!

Merry Christmas from the Criggers!
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Photo booth Friday

Here's a sneak peek at the family pictures we took recently.  
I love this one!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Muffins So Good It's Ridiculous!

I'm quirky about the mail.

I love it.

I can hear the mailman coming a mile away.

It's a happy start-stop start-stop sound.

My favorite thing is getting a fun new magazine, finding a good recipe, and making it all in the same day.

That only happens like once a year.

But it happened TO-DAAAAYYYYY!!!!

And it turned out AWWWE-SOOOOME!

So good, I'm singing all fun words to my kids with extra syllables!

Don't you wish you were here?

Here's the deal with the recipe I found today:  it's like a truck carrying Dutch Apple Pies ran straight into the Muffin Man.  SMACK!  These muffins are apple-ey, brown sugar goodness with a buttery oatmeal topping.  DE-LIIII-CI-O-SOOOO!!!

Thanks to Parents Magazine for this homerun recipe!

Apple Pie Muffins 
(with a few adaptations of my own)

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter, melted
3/4 c. buttermilk (I used 3/4 c. milk and added 1 tsp. of lemon juice)
1 egg
2 large apples, peeled and cut into small cubes

1/4 c. butter (cold)
1 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners.

In a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.  In a larger bowl, combine melted butter, buttermilk and egg.  Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined.  Fold in apples.

In another bowl, combine brown sugar, oats and cinnamon.  Cut in cold butter until mixture is well combined and crumbly.

Fill liners almost to the top.  Sprinkle each with a large spoonful of topping.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let cool for 5 minutes; remove from cups and eat immediately...or store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days, if there are actually any left to store!

Makes 12 muffins

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More summer fun!

Our summer fun...continued!

We celebrated National Cow Day by dressing up like cows and heading to Chick-Fil-A for FREE FOOD!
In line at Chick-Fil-A, I also got the opportunity have an embarrassing moment...yeah, me!
As we all waltzed up to the counter already a little embarrassed to be dressed up, I thought it was a guy named Joey from our church in line in front of us. So, I said, "Hey Guys!  It's Mr. Czellar, Jasanna's husband from church!"  The guy looked at us like we were ginormous freaks (because we were at that moment) and said, "I'm not that guy. I don't know you."

The older kids took two weeks of swimming lessons and did FANTASTIC!

Maddox entertained himself in some interesting ways while we waited...

 We had one last week away...Family Camp!
Cody lead the music for the entire week and we all enjoyed the fun camp activities!
Maddox loved sitting on Grandpa's lap during the hayrack ride.
 Evidently Grandpa was a little more warm and snuggly that he first thought, too! Zzzz....
 We had a really nice, cool week to enjoy the lake!
We're just a tish packed in with all of items for camp!
Boys?  Boys?

Our final summer Hurrah was a special trip to Adventureland with these special ladies!
We ran all over the entire amusement park with these two!  They were so fun, and we all made some pretty special memories!

Well, until next summer!


For our next summer adventure, we left Dearborn, Michigan and headed way north to Mackinaw City, Michigan.  Time for VACATION!

The drive was beautiful!

We arrived at Mackinaw Mills Campground and met up with my mom and dad (and their RV). 
We were super excited to find that this was our view from the camper...the shores of Lake Huron!

Our first tourist destination was Mackinac Island.
We visited Mackinac Island a couple of times as a kid on family vacations, and I could.not.wait to get back and have my whole family see this beautiful island!

We took a ferry to the island where the only transportation allowed is horses or bicycles! 
(A pastor that we had met at the conference gave us free ferry tickets!)
The carriage ride was a fantastic way to see a lot of the island and learn a ton of history, too!
The carriage took us through the National Forest on the Island up to Arch Rock.
Beautiful views!

The carriage ride ended on Main Street, where they had a Starbucks (!) and where I evidently caught up with my long lost best friend...or just the friendliest lady ever who wandered into our picture and became the ultimate hugging photo bomb!  She was hilarious.
We walked along the boardwalk and just soaked in the perfect weather and beautiful island.  
We also all picked out which houses we were going to buy...someday, of course.
Then, as if this day wasn't already bucket list worthy, Cody suggested we leave the kids with Grandma and Grandpa at a park and take a quick bike ride date around the island.
Selfies on a bike are dangerous and unflattering...but oh well!  
It was an experience of a lifetime!
The road around the island was so peaceful. 

We arrived back at the island just in time to sample some fudge (yum!) and catch a ferry back to Mackinaw City.
Farewell, Mackinac Island!

The next day brought our another tourist adventure:
"Life continues much in the way it did in the 1700s. 

Watch the smoke billow from the cannon and muskets 
fired by British soldiers and help colonial women prepare 
food or tend the garden. Join French voyageurs and Native 
Americans as they demonstrate their way of life – the 
past and present blur into a fascinating and unmatched 
experience at Colonial Michilimackinac."

Our tour started off with this uncomfortable photo op.  Haha!
There were a lot of really fun demonstrations that we got to watch and participate in.
Maddox clapped along to the singing!

What boy wouldn't love holding a musket?
These were quite impressive!

We learned a lot of history about colonial life and even got to help make (and sample!) apple dumplings and a potato pie!

They have a pretty view to shoot the cannon!

Right next to the Colony we explored a beautiful beach!
We love Lake Huron!

We also took a quick trip to see the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie.
The boats come through these locks and the waters raise and lower to let them through.
There's Canada right across there, too!

The sunsets were so amazing every night on our trip!
Cody caught several awesome pictures...more to come someday!

When we left Mackinaw City, we drove around the Upper Pennisula and took some time to explore Lake Michigan.

We traveled through Green Bay and headed back north into Door County, WI.
We had a great time exploring the cute little shops, but my very favorite spot was Egg Harbor.
This is the same beach our family visited four years ago.
I love the clear, peaceful water and clean beach.
I think I really could live here!

 I love our little people!

 They are SO happy exploring and traveling and playing!

 Isn't this place beautiful?

We traveled back to Iowa and made it to Clear Lake just in time for the 4th of July.
 There's always enough room on Grandma and Grandpa's laps!
 This was a pretty fantastic way to end our vacation!

And THAT was our summer family vacation!

Our next summer adventure...

So, 24 hours after returning from camp, laundry was completed, suitcases were repacked, and we headed off to Dearborn, Michigan for a week with our church association's annual conference.

Our kids love going to their classes and meeting other PK's.  
We love getting to be with old friends!

This was a pretty fun morning!
Probably bragging, but this guy is my all-time favorite musician! ;)
 Love watching him lead and being a part of the music with him!
(even when he "lets" me play new instruments)

We took so.many.rides on the elevator.
The best part was always the JUMP!
 The next best part was passing by our friends' (the Moores) room and letting the kids knock and run!

Dearborn had some amazing restaurants!
We frequented Ollie's Lebanese Cuisine several times.
These pictures are from their facebook page, but seriously, it was a crazy amount of the most delicious food ever...hummus, falafel, and a lot of other things I couldn't pronounce but were totally amazing!  I don't think a week goes by that I don't crave this food and contemplate how I could get it to my house!

On our way out of town, we stopped by Masri Sweets.
The BEST baklava I've ever tasted!
They also had yummy cream-filled cakes that the kids really enjoyed!
It's probably a good thing we don't have a bakery like this close by!

(On a funny side note, I showed my small town roots when I was a little bit nervous with our large {white, Iowish} family piling into an Arabic bakery...lots of other people in traditional Arabic clothing {not-Iowish}...The bakery was in sort of an odd location next to some sort of lumber yard with a somewhat creepy.to.me.looking alley beside it.  But hey, it was a bakery, so I was going to take a risk and be normal and act cultured.  As we were getting out of the car, it began to down pour, so people were really scurrying into the bakery.  Carson yelled loudly, "IS THAT A CREEPY DARK ALLEY?  I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO SEE A CREEPY DARK ALLEY!"  Thanks, dude, for outing us as out-of-towners.  Totally feeling at ease now!)

Glad this guy conked out in the car!
We still had a week of vacation to enjoy before heading home!