MK—2nd Bday Party

We went with a Minnie Mouse theme this year (as much of a theme as I go with at least). Maggie loves the Playhouse Mickey show and “Toodles.” I thought I would go with Minnie especially since she is popular here in Peru. We had the team, the interns and the Padrinos (Alfredo and Judith) over for totellini and spinach ravioli (a favorite meal of Maggie’s), bread and homemade pesto. I made red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert (I still need to get your recipe Deborah!).

The little girls looked so cute in the little Minnie ears I found for them. Maggie enjoyed the party and got into the present opening for sure. For her second birthday she got a Clubhouse Mickey DVD, a set of Clubhouse Disney characters with cars, a Minnie purse with Minnie headband, a little Baby Bop doll, some books, and some new warm giraffe pj’s. Today we are going to spend her birthday money on a special place at one of the malls called “City Toys.” I will post pics of that in another post.

Thanks to April, our live-in intern, for taking many of these pictures for me. I love having the memories in pictures…

Birthday girl posing in her special Minnie birthday shirt


I had to get a photo of the McKinzie 3. Love those ears!


One always saves money with homemade decorations. 🙂




After hanging my art work, Ana wanted in on the action. She decided to make her own “Toodles” poster for her sister.




I always love purchasing some genuine printed napkins from the Peru party store. 😉


Cohen at 3 and 1/2 months old


Rachel decided to sport her Minnie shirt at the party.


Does it get any cuter than this?! Shaye (4), Cora (1), Mags (2), Ana (4)






I was going to borrow Larissa’s icing decoration supplies and forgot to get them in time. Stickers have become my go-to for decorating.



Judith helped Maggie with the present opening.


“Cop-tates!!!” This 2-year-old loves her some cupcakes.



And look who woke up for the end of the party. 🙂


MK—2nd Bday Party

MK—2 years old!

“Maggie Kate, how old are you?” “DOS!!!”
MK has had a great 2nd year. I have decided that 12-18 months, they grow out of babyhood, but from 18 months to two, they are little people. Just in the last month Maggie’s talking has exploded. She doesn’t speak very clearly but she has started using words when she wants something and making complete sentences much of the time. Some of our favorite words right now:
cookie = “gook-gie”
bird = “burd”
sun = “nun”
what? = “baht”
Oh man! = Oh man! (so funny)
bubble bath = “bobble baff”
Steph (one of our interns) = “Beff”
wolf = “woof”
Cora/Dora/Manuela = “bela”
Elmo = “Melmo”
Barney = “Awnee”
Toodles (from Clubhouse Mickey) = “Todo”
Today during our team meeting she signaled to Cora with the Peruvian “come here” and said, “Ven, Bela, Ven.” Manuela has predicted that her Spanish will be better than her English. We shall see. She seems to understand Manuela when she talks with her. Isn’t amazing how easily they pick up on languages?!
I thought I would share some pictures to capture our little toodlebug…
so big and tall!
she loves to hang out and read in my laundry tub. She gets all of her books and some toys and just hangs out.
bedtime is 8:00. She shares a room with Ana. Her comfort item is called her Baba. It is the swaddle blanket that I brought home from the hospital when I had Ana. She discoved that there are three total and likes to sleep with all three. She also sleeps with “Baby.”
Maggie now has a strong preference for what she would like to wear. On this particular day she insisted on wearing her butterfly headband (from her 1st birthday). I just love that it actually matched her outfit. Check out those blue eyes.
eating the icing from her cupcakes we made at housechurch
What 2-year-old doesn’t like “Melmo!” (She insisted on wearing this shirt over her dress on this day.)
“Bobble Baff!” She loves taking a bath with AG. It has become a nightly ritual. They could spend an hour in the bath playing if I allow it.
MK—2 years old!

CT—3 months

Smiling, cooing, sleeping, pooping, chuckling (a little)–that sums it up.

I took you to the clinic last week to get your vacunas and check-up. I only converted your weight. You are a whopping 14.75 lbs. You don’t miss a meal. You have started “sleeping through the night” (if the definition entails sleeping a 5-7 hour stretch at night). I just wish you could time it better when I actually go to bed. You love a paci, and we still swaddle you every night. You love your swing, but I just put batteries in the bouncy seat and you LOVE it. You talk away to those little animals. You are close to figuring out what happens when you kick. Your smile is the sweetest but you are certainly not quick to give them out (are you gonna be like your daddy?).


CT—3 months

High Altitude Cupcakes


Maggie’s birthday is quickly approaching, and I thought I would try a new cake recipe today. I found the cake recipe on I made revisions based on a website’s recommendations for baking at high altitude. The icing recipe is one that you must try. It is from the Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen tab–love her!

I made these cupcakes today for our house church gathering. We like to celebrate with dessert if anyone has a birthday in the week. They were a hit. The icing wasn’t the best I have ever tasted (sorry, but cream cheese icing will always be the best), but it was really good. The cupcakes weren’t the best cake I have ever tasted (welcome to high altitude baking). They were a little dry still, BUT they did not overflow in the pan like other recipes I have used. I think I could still work on tweaking this recipe.

They were good enough that I would try these recipes again.

Basic White Cake Mix

(For altitude of 7500 ft: reduce baking powder 1/4 tsp, reduce sugar 3 Tbs, increase milk by 3 Tbsp, increase oven temp by 25 degrees F)


That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had

You really do beat the tar out of the frosting to get it to be the right consistency, but it works. It resembles whipped cream. Greg commented to me that he thought it even tasted a bit like whipped cream. ummm… whipped cream


And now on to the finished product…


And the girls had a blast adding the finishing touch… the sprinkles.


High Altitude Cupcakes

A New Project

My hubby is a manly man. He loves to build things. I absolutely love this about him. In our new home (which I know I still haven’t posted pictures), we have to use our rooftop for storage, tools, and my washing machine. The sun in Arequipa is incredibly harsh to things that sit outside for long periods of time so it was essential that we put some type of protection up there. This weekend, hunky hubby has been working on that solution. I told Ana that he is buidling me a house to escape to when I want some quiet time. 🙂 It isn’t exactly the before pictures. I have caught it in progress, but hopefully you can see the difference when I post the after pictures. Oh, and I was sure to take pictures of the view I have while doing laundry. I absolutely love those mountains. A warm sun plus a cool breeze plus a breath-taking landscape equals a wonderful environment and motivation to do laundry for a family of five. 🙂

coming up the steps and looking over at the wash area


hunky hubby


Volcano “Misti”


the other mountains to the left of Misti


closer up of Misti


A New Project

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

So I finally did it. I made this recipe (that I got in my inbox about 6 months ago from and almost made it in time for my husband’s birthday. We ended up hosting a game night for our house church. What do 12 Peruvians, 4 Gringos, Uno Attack, and a killer cheesecake equal? A really awesome time. It was a lot of fun, and this cheesecake hit the spot at the end of a fun time together. I definitely recommend this one for anyone looking to please a crowd. I was able to slice it into 16 equal parts, and the portions weren’t huge, but just right in my opinion. Here is the link and some pictures to this recipe:

Click here to view recipe

1. There are actual plops (I don’t know that that word sounds appetizing) of cookie dough all throughout the cheesecake. Absolute deliciousness!


2. The topping is poured on top of the cheesecake right after it is pulled from the oven. You really only need to bake a cheesecake until the outer circle is firm and the middle still jiggles. This topping made me think I hadn’t baked it long enough, but it ended up being fine. If you overbake a cheesecake it will crack (just sayin’ if you didn’t already know that).


3. Wah-lah! The beautiful finished product. Several commenters suggested using a different type of crust. I was a big fan of the oreo crust myself. I hope you can try this sometime!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake

29 and counting

Greg is 29!!!
I am pretty sure he enjoyed his birthday this year. I made Monkey Bread for him on Wednesday morning (to share at our team meeting), we celebrated and went to TGIFridays for lunch on Thursday (picture above), he got a pair of shoes that he requested about 6 months ago, and we went on our first date since Cohen was born last night (Rachel’s gift to him was a night of babysitting–thanks Rachel!). Tomorrow at house church I am making one of his favorite desserts, MK’s Chess Bars, and if you thought we had been eating too much dessert, I am going to use his special day as an excuse to try a chocolate chip cheesecake recipe I have wanted to try for forever (it will just be coming a little late).
I love you Greg McKinzie! I am so thankful to be married to you, and I am glad I can tell people that we are BOTH 29 years old. Here is our picture from our date last night as 29 year olds.
29 and counting