Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I kept searching online for ideas and had some of my own but they just didn't seem right to me. Can I just mention something here? Oh, yeah, I can, this is my blog. :) Some people out there...well they are spending way toooo much on baby's first birthday party. OH MY WORD! When you out-do yourself for the first birthday how in the heckfire (got that from Kayla Aimee) are you going to pay for the wedding? Come on, really? I feel bad for spending what I did and it surely was not much. I just was in awe of some of the party ideas and pictures floating on the world wide web.
I spent like one millioneth of what others might spend and we had a sweet time with preicous memories made. That really is what is important, isn't it. I would so love to link up some of those parties I saw, but I'm not the mean spirited or judgemental type so I won't.
So back to me trying to make a decision. FINALLY it hit me...the Baby Einstein caterpillar. We have a Baby Einstein dvd, Baby's First Signs that she loves. This 20 minute movie has saved my butt so many times during trying moments with my sweet little ornery girl. I can plop her in the Baby Einstein exersaucer that my beloved sister-in-law is letting us borrow, click on the movie, and say, "Do you want to watch the caterpillar?" She smiles, she giggles, she's content! Thank you caterpillar! And to show my gratitude to you, I honored you by decorating you on her first birthday cake.
He was so easy to make. It would have gone so much faster IF I had a couple more star tips and frosting bags. I had to stop a bunch of times to wash my one tip and bag and refill with another color. I wanted to put some purple on here but I had to add so much food coloring to the frosting to get the color bright, that when I added some red to my blue frosting, it looked horrible. Like pukey purple, so no purple! And there is a reason why the number one is in M&M's. I totally screwed up the frosting one, so I scraped and plopped on red M&M's!
I made a small "smash" cake for her to eat.
I used a dark chocolate cake mix because, frankly I think box cake mixes turn out so much better than homemade. I did make homemade Buttercream Frosting though. (I did not use clear vanilla like the recipe calls for and my white turned out fine.) YUM!
If you have never decorated a cake, it really isn't awful and hard. You can do almost anything with that star tip. It's crazy. I know the rage is fondant these days and I would like to give that a try some time, but that little star tips invokes so much nostalgia to me as I remember my mom piping out gorgeous cakes for loved ones so many times. She was super talented at cake decorating. I have just a fraction of that talent but am thankful that I have a fraction so my little girls can get Mommy-made birthday cakes each year filled with love.
I sure hope I never end up on Cake Wrecks, though. Yikes! ;)
Happy Birthday, Pumpkin!
Friday, March 26, 2010
Cheesy Potato Soup
4 T. butter
1 c. diced carrots
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 c. chicken broth
5 c. peeled, cubed potatoes
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 c.)
2-3 c. spinach, chopped
Melt 1 T. butter in a large sauce pan. Saute onions, garlic, and carrots. (You could also dice some celery and add at this point.) Add chicken broth, potatoes, basil, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Melt 3 T. butter in another sauce pan. Stir in flour for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk adding a bit at a time. Cook until thickened, 2 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted.
Pour cheese mixture into soup and stir thoroughly. Add chopped spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
A few posts ago she shared her most awkward moment. You can find it HERE. Oh my word. I think I would have DIED if this had happened to me!
I thought it would be fun to share an awkward moment from my life with you. Now this moment is really not comparable at all to Kayla's but it was pretty awkward for me.
This "fun" moment happened one earlyu spring night back in 2006. Hubby had gone white water rafting with our church's youth group for the weekend. My mother-in-law had just dropped me off from an evening out shopping. It was already pretty late so I quickly put on my VERY OLD pjs which consisted of some shorts and a t-shirt. Let me also mention here that I was about 5-6 months pregnant, so my loose fitting pjs were not so loose. Let me also say again that they were OLD. They were not a cute matching set, by NO means. And it was pj time so I had also let the girls free.
So glad I can't see the mental picture you have right now but you probably have it just about right.
I got busy doing some things around the house before bed. I had some boxes that needed to be thrown into the garage so took them out and CLOSED THE DOOR BEHIND MYSELF. Immediately I knew what I had just done. OH NO! I was in pjs, no shoes and no socks and I had just locked myself out of my house. It was at least 10:00 p.m. and it was cold out. GREAT!
I ran to the front of the house to check the front door which automatically locks but I was hoping against hope that for one time it had malfunctioned and was not locked. IT WAS LOCKED! GREAT!
I had no idea what to do. These are the totally rational options that went through my head and I spent at least 10 minutes trying to decide which was the best route to go.
1.) Break the kitchen window!
2.) Walk uptown to a pay phone and call my mother-in-law to come rescue me. Oh, wait...I don't know her phone number because they only used a cell phone and I had it on speed dial in my phone. Oh, wait....I had no money to make a phone call. (I had found a yucky pair of flip-flops in the garage by this point.)
3.) Curl up in my car and wait for hubby to come rescue me. Hubby would be home the next afternoon.
4.) Go to the neighbors to ask for help.
*The eastern neighbors were in their 80's, asleep and hard of hearing. They wouldn't hear me knock and if they did, I would wake them up and the whole neighborhood would know of my predicament after their breakfast at the uptown dinerz. (The hubby was seriously hard of hearing. We had a dog named Petie that would bark alot. He was convinced the dog's name was Beanie and would constantly shout, "Beanie! Quiet!")
*The western neighbors still had lights on in the house. I hardly knew them.
I sucked up ALL of my pride and knocked on the door. Their teen-age daughter answered the door and got her DAD! Yeah! Get the DAD! Just what I wanted. I explained what had happend while shivering and crossing my arms over my chest, while trying to stand behind the bush by their door. I did explain that I was pregnant and doing stupid things all of the time. (That was my worst pregnancy symptom with my first daughter.)
He was SOOOO nice and quickly came to my rescue. His daughter tagged along. It was a fun family adventure for them. I'm so glad I could provide late night entertainment.
He assessed the situation and figured we would have to break the window and I did not care. He had one more idea, trying to break in! He tried his method and it worked! I could have cried. I was so happy to finally be in my warm home.
I did make a plate of cookies to take to them for helping me.
Do you have an embarassing moment? Be sure to blog about it and then let me know in my comments.
Easter is right around the corner, and you’re probably thinking about what to put in the kids’ baskets this year. Hershey just introduced a new line of Easter products sold exclusively at Walmart.
To celebrate their new launch, Hershey is hosting a Better Basket Blog Hop to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network. For every blogger who participates, Hershey will donate $10, up to a total of $5000, to CMN. You can help spread the word, and raise money by participating in the blog hop.
Here are the rules for the blog hop:
HERSHEY’S BETTER BASKET BLOG HOP RULES
* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
* Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
* Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
* Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.
* Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).
* Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.I received a virtual basket from Mommie Daze.
I'm passing one on to:
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Seriously. I have had an emotionally draining day today. I'd rather not share specifics as they are personal but it's been one of those days when I can't wait for it to be over and start over tomorrow because I know His mercies are new every morning. These days make that little line from a well loved verse so powerful to me.
It's rough this time of the month to keep on trusting with our rent and house payment due. I get very overwhelmed. This then causes me to do very stupid things and I did one of those today and got into "trouble" with the hubby. It's been a rough day, but His mercies are new every morning!
I have really been struggling with the fact that our house is not selling up north. I totally know I am not alone. I bumped into a mom at one of my mom's groups a few weeks ago who was so relieved to have just sold their home and after paying two house payments for 18 months! My blood ran cold when I heard her say that length of time. She was still alive and she still looked sane, so there is hope.
When we took this step of faith to uproot our family and put Hubby through school, I truly believed our home would sell quick. I thought by winter it would be off our hands. Well it is spring and things are not looking too promising.
As I mentioned before we went to my dad's last week and while we were there, we visited our old church. What a blessing this was to me. It felt so good to be hugged so many times! I love those friends dearly. We were also anxious to hear the brand new pastor speak. I have heard amazing things about this man and was so excited to hear him. His sermon was really good but the most interesting thing was when he started talking about the selling of a home during his sermon!
They are trying to sell a home too. He said something like this, "Is it still God's will for you to be where you are when your home hasn't sold after 6 weeks?" Ummm...well how about after 7 months. This hit me between the eyes because, well, I'm there. Is it still God's will? Why won't He just let it sell? What is He trying to do? Does He know what He is doing? Yikes! Scary questions....they spiral me right into that yucky place. That place that I've become way too familiar with...that place that I abhor, but I still take myself there...LACK OF FAITH!
The point was that yes, you can still be in the center of God's will even when things are not going the way you want them to go.
Then he hit me with this, "Honor the person of God before the product of God." When we do this, when we just trust Him even when things are not happening the way we would prefer them to go, we can have joy because WE KNOW God is true. If I focus only on what He does, it will lead to disappointment.
OH MY WORD! Did he crawl into my messed up head to find this out? This is something I struggle with so much. I get disappointed so easily because things don't go the way I want them to go.
Am I honoring God for who He is or am I more focused on what He is or isn't doing for me?
I leaned over to my sweet friend that I was sitting by and said, "Isn't it crazy that we are here for THIS sermon? Of all the Sundays, it's this one!"
I would love to say to you, "Issue fixed!" but alas, I can not, at least not yet. Again this is a moment by moment thing.
This season of life is hard. I have to choose each day...each moment to focus on the good. I have to choose to focus on God for who He is, not on what I want Him to do. I am trying. Today was hard and I failed miserably, BUT HIS MERCIES ARE NEW TOMORROW MORNING!
***Side Note: I am signed up on Spark People but it's a bit overwhelming as there is so much on there. I'm going to ease into that. I am enjoying searching for recipes. Yesterday was a dreary, rainy, cold day, so we couldn't go for our daily walk. I.DUG.OUT.A.KATHY.SMITH.DVD! She kicked my butt!!! I do love her though. She is my favorite exercise instructor on dvd. She seems so real and isn't overly perky. Those perky ones, they DRIVE me nuts when I'm melting into a puddle of sweat and about ready to keel over! Do you have a favorite work-out DVD? Funny story! I did the dvd with my oldest daughter. She thought it was so fun. When she saw that I had on shoes to do it, she wanted her shoes too. A couple minutes later I looked down to see that she had chosen truly appropriate work-out shoes...red rubber ladybug boots! Perfect! She also used two cylinder blocks for her weights! She loved it so much that she asked to do it tonight while I was making supper! She was trying to do the moves! LOVE IT! And that folks, is why I want to do this!
(Above Photo found Here)
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I need to lose weight. I need to in the worst way. This has always been my struggle. It stinks because it's all out there for everyone to see and know. I have tried so many times and failed. I have done so well before and then stopped and ended up right where I started.
The thing I am craving the most right now is a lifestyle change. My weight keeps me from doing so many things because it has made me a VERY insecure person. I hate that. I hate feeling insecure when I know how very secure I am in a Jesus who loves me passionately.
And now I have been entrusted with these two amazing little girls and I long to be a good role model for them. I have been talking to my oldest a lot about wise food decisions and how keeping busy is good for us. I feel like I'm a hypocrite at times when I tell her these things then turn around and make horrible decisions for myself.
So I'm attempting. The thing is that when I have started to do this in the past, I jump all on board giving it my all, then fail one time and throw it out the window. So I'm trying to make small steps and work myself into it not just jump in head first and get discouraged. I have been reading Annie Blogs lately. She has started her own journey and it made me want to do it too but in my own way.
We'll see. I don't know what will happen but I want change. I long for some good change. I guess moving to a brand new place with brand new people makes you want to change some things. I don't know. But I do know that I do not want to pass weight issues on to my sweet, precious little ones.
So bring on the spinach! Thankfully I had already started a love affair with spinach so I'm planning many spinach salads for lunch in the coming days. YUM! I have also been making a conscious effort to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. You do know about this right? The major part of your grocery shopping should be done in the perimeter of the store for things like produce, meats, and dairy. (I go to one store that has ice cream on the perimeter. Does that count?) I do not buy snacky things at all anymore either. Pretzels are about the only snack that makes their way into our home.
I'm going to check out Spark People too. I have several friends who have used this site and loved it.
Now that the weather is nice I have started taking the girls on walks around our neighborhood. It's much different walking here than it was up north. There are hills and it is a work-out. I also push both girls in the double stroller so that makes it even harder. I just keep repeating, "One step at a time, one step at a time."
I won't be posting how many pounds lost here. We don't own a scale. Honestly seeing the number flash on the scale is more of a deterrent for me than a help. It overwhelms me so I judge by how my clothes are fitting. Someday I will own a scale and I will estimate how much.
So, if you would pray for me as I start this journey yet again. It would mean more to me than anything. I can not do this alone. This is a battle from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I close them. I could also use a jump start on the metabolism so you could pray for that too. :)
I do have to say that this is a HIGHLY personal battle to me. Posting this here...well I might have an anxiety attack. I do NOT talk about weight, dieting, exercising with anyone. It makes me feel very vulnerable and weak. EXTREMELY. So if you do happen to talk to me about this on the street and you get the "I don't want to talk about this" vibe, slap me in the face and remind me, "I'm your friend and I only want the best for you." :)
Now I'm going to go sign up at Spark People.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
She created these little balls of sweet, yummy cake delight. They are adorable and can even be turned into cake pops. (I'm very sure they are low calorie too.)
My sweet friend at The Back Door opened her new home in the countryside for us. I was dying to see the homestead and her. She is a delight! (I just want to say something here for the public to read. I was thinking the other day that I used to live less than a block from her and I didn't take the time to get to know her. HOW SAD!!!! I wish I would have taken the time to step out of my comfort zone and gotten to know her then. I mean, she was a stone's throw away from my little green house. There would have been some extra sweet Back Door memories with her. Love you, Friend and thank you for hostessing!)
Now let me just say for a moment here...go ahead and giggle. Just go ahead and get it over with. You know you want to. I mean...cake balls???? What grown person can NOT giggle over that name. Oh, okay...so you're more mature than we are? Your mind isn't in the gutter like ours were? Maybe we had a bit too much fun with the name. But come on...all of us who were there are married, we're all grown-up, and we were starving for adult conversation, so yes....we giggled and cracked many jokes about the sweet little name of cake balls. A very sweet friend thought maybe we should call them cake bites when telling people about them. Oh Bakerella...did you have any idea when you named your sweet treats?
Ok...breathe...no more giggling. Grow UP!
We had fun. We crumbled. We mixed. We froze. We melted. We dipped. We tasted. YUM!
A piece of advice if you do find yourself craving some cake balls (no giggling). Melt your chocolate in small batches and do it in the microwave. We did some in a double boiler and it did not work well. The almond bark we melted in the microwave worked so much better. If you do it in small batches, you will have less crumbs in your melted chocolate to deal with too.
We made all sorts of cake balls. (I see that giggly sparkle in your eye. Focus...focus...focus!) The different types were cherry, strawberry, dark chocolate, confetti, lemon, and brownie. I did have a favorite. Is it ok to voice it here? No hurt feelings co-cake ball makers. The dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting mixed in and dipped in white almond bark were wonderful.
And before BFF posts it in my comments...Hubby's nickname is NOT sweet cake balls.
Come on people.....GROW UP!
(For the record...this will be by far my most rebellious post. Heehee!)
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
It was really easy. This recipe is special because you use kool-aid which makes it smell wonderful. We made grape and orange. It turned out really well. I was a little skeptical at first but once we really started playing with it and squishing it, the play dough got easier to work with. Peanut thought it was so neat to make our very own play dough in our kitchen. Here are some pictures from our play dough playing adventure.
Note to play dough makers: Be sure to label your play dough when you store it in the fridge so that your unsuspecting hubby does not eat your creation!
Thursday, March 4, 2010
You know those security gates that you walk through to get into a store and out of it? I set those things off. The really crazy part is that it is only certain stores and not others. I have always set off Walgreen's and CVS and most Targets. It is very annoying and embarrassing. If I set the alarms off when I walk in, I always say to the cashier before I leave, "Just so you know, I'm going to beep when I leave because I did when I came in."
It gets even weirder because sometimes I will beep when I go in but not when I go out or vice versa. This happened today at Target. I have never set off the alarm at our Target here in our new town. It felt so freeing to walk into a Target, wait for the beeps with my heart beating a bit quicker, then NO BEEP! Ahh...relief. No judging eyes turning my way. Just walk in and walk out and not worry about it.
Ok, so today, I walk in to Target for diapers. (Target brand diapers are my favorite right now. They work, they're cute and THEY ARE CHEAP! And it gives me an honest reason to go to Target. How could it be any better?) I get the goods and score a super cute shirt on clearance for me. I pay. I leave. I BEEP!!!!!!!! What in the world??? I'm totally cluelesss.
I have tried everything to figure out what causes me to beep. Cashiers are always sure it is my winter coat BUT I can beep without it. (I even had one ask if I wanted her to run my coat over there de-beeping device thingamajig in the scanner because she thought for sure it was a security device left in my coat.) My 12 year old niece was sure it was my earrings BUT when I took them out and let her carry them out, I beeped.
I think it might be that super cute red wallet that I "misplaced" last week. I don't know for sure. I thought my beeping days were over but alas I have brought my beepage south with us. It got packed and put in a box and moved with us only to be discovered today at Target.
(Ok, so I have beeped at some other stores down here, but that was just too cute a paragraph to pass on.)
So a word to you if you are ever shopping with me...I am NOT a kleptomaniac. I mean if I beep when I go in, that should at least say something about my honor.
And can I just tell you something? I have NEVER, NOT ONCE been asked to show what was in my bags or anything by anyone if I beep on my way out. Typically I stop, turn around and wait for Mr. Security Guard to come bounding over the check-out lane to pull me aside and check my bags. He never does. A lone, bored out of her mind cashier will usually say, "You're fine." I mean, what if I had a Flat Screen TV jammed under my coat? What IF???? What really is the purpose of those security gates if they don't check? One purpose is to make EVERY other person near the security gate look at you like you are a criminal and should be sentenced to jail time. Fun, fun, fun!
I guess...maybe...I don't look like a criminal type to store employees. I guess...maybe...I look more like the "Please, leave me alone and let me get these two worn out crying children to the car, so I can get them home and fed" Mom type.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I have a couple of friends who have made felt boards for their kiddos. I finally got around to making one for my daughters. (Well, it is mostly for the older one as the baby would just like to eat the felt.)
I used a foam board that I found at Hobby Lobby for $2.99. I then purchased one yard of the light blue felt and got a cute spool of ribbon. I wrapped the light blue felt around the foam board and hot glued it in place on the back. I then hot glued one long piece of ribbon to the top so the board can be hung on a door knob. (One of my friends also used a foam board but said she needed to add some extra support as it was bending. I am hope that since we will hang it, this will prevent it from bending.)
Then I dug through my felt stash and cut out hearts, the girls' names, a little girl with clothes and spring flowers. The other day Peanut and I added more colors to our felt stash. You can buy 8x11" sheets of felt for super cheap. I got mine at JoAnne's and I think they were $0.29 a sheet. We worked together to cut out more fun things for our felt board. (You are not allowed to make fun of my lack of artistic cutting skills!!!!)
Peanut cut out some happening shoes and bows for our little friends.
We made a rainbow to work on color recognition skills and an apple tree to work on counting .
I foresee alot of fun with this little activity which is a great thing to pull out during baby sister's naptime. Easy, peasy and cheap!
Monday, March 1, 2010
After they left, I had my typical "after-being-with-family-Debby-Downer" moment, wishing they were here or I was there. Then I got on my computer and saw that I have so much to be thankful for today. I read that one family has lost a sweet precious 5 year old daughter and another has lost a sweet newborn child. I was quickly reminded how insignificant my longings are in comparison to what these families are longing for...to hold their sweet little ones again, to see their precious smiling faces again, to smell those intoxicating little heads again.
It is difficult to keep my mind focused on the grand scheme of things when I get caught up in, "Why isn't our house selling,""Why is the car making that noise again," "Why are living away from family????" I get weighted down and have a very hard time living in each moment. I don't feel like being joyful when I get so weighted down.
On Sunday morning at church the service was wrapping up in worship after a wonderful sermon on mercy. Two rows ahead of me was a sweet little girl around the age of 8. She stood in the center aisle, having a wonderful time singing and dancing. She was not holding anything back. She didn't care that everyone was watching her. She was praising her Jesus. She was full of joy. She even broke out into the full jumping jacks dance. It was so moving to me. I watched her and my eyes filled with tears as she twirled.
(Image via Flickr)
She was not weighted down by financial worries, longings for family, car problems. She just floated and worshiped. I long to be like this child. To praise Him and not be weighted down. To hand it all over to Him and twirl.
Tonight after hearing of the enormous losses that two families are grappling with today, it made me long even more to twirl before Jesus. To shout and praise Him and not take another moment with sweet little ones for granted. To get down on the floor and play more. To get the paint out more. To model a life of gratefulness before them. To show them everyday how to twirl.
"'Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the SIMPLICITY of a child, you'll never get in.' Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them." Mark 10: 14-16 The Message
I long to have child-like, unweighted, twirling faith.
I hope that someday my daughters can have this same little conversation from one of my fave movies, You've Got Mail, with someone but in regards to their faith and pure, divine love with Jesus.
Joe: Um, is that you in the photograph? What are you doing?
Kathleen: Twirling. My mother and I used to twirl.