Crockpot Carrot Cake

 I think there's some law of nature that says if your oven is broken, you will crave baked treats!  Our oven has issues, so I decided to try "baking" in our crockpot!  Experiment #1 worked great!  This carrot cake was delicious, super moist, and sooooo easy!

I used a carrot cake mix because I didn't want to put all the effort into a cake from scratch that might not turn out.  I mixed it according to the directions on the package, then poured it into the greased crockpot.  I turned it on high, and waited two hours.  I think it might have been done closer to an hour and a half, but I was afraid to open the lid!  As it was, I cut about 1/4 inch of slightly toasted (not even burnt!) edge off one side.  It was delicious plain, with ice-cream, and with frosting!  Oh, yeah!
As a treat for reading the whole post, I'll tell you that Experiment #2 failed miserably.  I tried a batch of brownies, but by the time the middle cooked the outside 2/3 was a chocolate cracker.  It was softer the next day and Jon said it was good dipped in milk, but seriously...only the middle 2 square inches tasted any good to me!  Luckily, I like carrot cake more than brownies.

Our Trip to Surfside

It all started last year when we ran the Surfside Half Marathon together on Valentine's.  There just isn't anything quite like a 13-mile morning run along the beach with your sweetheart on Valentine's Day!  (Plus, last year they gave us cool yellow jackets!)  We decided that we'd like to come back as many times as possible for the Surfside run.  
This year I was a little too pregnant to run a half marathon...I know some people can do amazing things when they're six months pregnant, but it wasn't going to happen for me!  However, we still decided to enjoy the trip and let Jon run the half marathon.  
The half marathon is completely along the Surfside Beach.  This is Jon (in the orange) at about mile 4 1/2.  The air started out at a frigid 40 degrees, but by lunch time was close to 60.  This is considerably colder than last year!
The cold air didn't seem to touch the water.  Still, underneath her beanie, gloves, long-sleeved shirt, sweater, jacket, and two pairs of pants, Kaia was cold enough to return to the motel for an hour of the run!
Happily, we were staying in a motel on the beach and it was easy to get to and from the race.  Kaia had packed "everything I need" to entertain herself into a cute little purse that she pulled out at the motel.  The main items were some toys and a little coloring book and crayons. 

Jon finished running at about 10:35 am.  We hung out at the beach (which was now a decent temperature!), ate lunch (an awesome barbecue provided by Surfside), and visited with some friends for a couple hours.  We love mini-vacations!

A Little More Lovin'!

 After a week of Valentine's festivities, this little princess was ever so excited for the final day...when she could open her treats!

She was thrilled to get her own little flower from Daddy and cards from both parents.  It made her even more excited that she had cards she had made for both Mom and Dad. 
Our big Valentine treat was a trip to Surfside, where Jon ran the half marathon.  Check out the other post for details on that!

Some of Kaia's favorite Valentine activities this week were finger-painting (we used the hand prints to make cards for Daddy!), making heart garlands, making cards (especially when she was allowed to use stickers!), dipping strawberries, giving cards, and eating chocolate!

"Super Kaia" loves to fly, rescue small animals, and celebrate Valentine's Day!

Valentines With Our Toddler

Almost a week ago my sweet little toddler told us that we needed to decorate our house for Valentines.  She was all too happy to help and get involved in the projects!  I really enjoyed watching Kaia write on this heart chain that Jon cut out.  Of course, she wasn't the only one writing!

Yesterday we dipped strawberries in white chocolate and added sprinkles.  It was the perfect toddler Valentine activity--what 2-year old wouldn't love licking her fingers after they were coated with white chocolate and strawberries?  Kaia loved it, I loved it, and we all loved eating them! 
And last, but not least, Kaia's been making Valentine's for us all week.  We're going to make some finger print and hand print specials today and tomorrow, but so far she has enjoyed using stickers and markers.  Did I mention that we're celebrating Valentine's all week long?!!

"Family" Family Night

For Family Night this week we decided to talk about family.  Since so many of our family live so far away I decided to make a family collage for Kaia.  She LOVES it!  It has been so fun to watch her review everyone's name and tell me about them.  I would have loved to have had room for second cousins and even more, but we have to start somewhere!