Tuesday, December 18, 2012

An Alathea Christmas

When I was a new high school graduate, my mom must have been crazy.  She let me hop in an Isuzu Rodeo with 3 girls and a bunch of instruments and hit the road with way too many destinations in sight.  I traveled with a group called Alathea (Greek for Truth)...a Christian folkish band of all girls and some Tennessian flare.  We drove all over the country, as far north as Chicago, south to Florida, and out west to Texas, then even into Mexico for a week or so.  I had A BLAST (understatement!) playing alongside these sweet girls and getting to know them, and traveling the country. I came back in one piece, kept in touch, and even did some traveling the next summer.  These girls are my favorite.  I can't believe it's been close to 12 years since we first met and SO much has changed: we've lost many many dear loved ones, all gotten married, and some of us have even had babies.  To which I dedicate this post to - Baby Boy Burton Langley, born today, December 18 (shares a birthday with lots of folks like Kimberly (best friend from college), Brad Pitt, Katie Holmes and Stephen, lucky boy).

Burton wasn't supposed to join us in the world until 2013, but apparently, if you have any connection to the group Alathea, you tend to have early babies (ALL of our children have been born before their time...). Thankfully, Burton is just happy to be in the world, and to see his momma and daddy's face up close and personal.  But being one with two preemies on my hands,we all know their health and safety can change in an instant, so please join with me as I pray for continued good healthy for Burton and arrival home for Christmas. Claiming that today!

And in honor of him, I'm celebrating by giving YOU a chance to win their Christmas Album released a few years back that is a staple in my Christmas collection.
  I know we're cutting it close to Christmas, but still, it's a wonderful album...and according to my momma who always liked to listen to Christmas music AFTER Thanksgiving up until New Years Day, you can still get it in time to enjoy.  So I can drop it in the mail and share the love.  Then, you can head on over to Alathea's website, order more music (and anticipate their newest album, a Children's CD not just for Kids...coming out as soon as it can), and see if they'll be in your neck of the woods in the Spring or next Summer.

You have until Wednesday at 8 p.m. (EST) to enter by LEAVING A COMMENT telling me your favorite memory of Christmas or Christmas tradition. ** You can earn one more entry by liking their Alathea page on Facebook to keep up with all of the fun stuff (just leave another comment and let me know you liked them).
The winner will be done by drawing.  Aaaand....GO!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Who doesn't love a giveaway?! I LOVE them...

I love all things give away...and let's just say after my super, duper long streak of not winning a single thing,
lately I've stumbled upon some major scores:
1. this Tervis tumbler with dragonflies, scripture, and love - 4 of my favorite things!
2. this bookmark that I was able to share with an older mentor woman friend of mine Multiple Blessings - Hope - Canvas Bookmark image(
3. J and I won $500 from a video contest - check out our goofiness here
and yes, I'll continue to enter. Partly because I LOVE winning, but then there are some things that I want to win for someone else. Like this time.
My friend (the same one who supplied the winning tervis and bookmark) is hosting another giveaway - for an unreleased new tumbler.  I have just the right friend in mine who I'd love to win it here's to it.
But if I don't win, maybe you will? Check out Multiple Blessings, and enter to win yourself!

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Let's face it, we're broke.  I mean, when I quit my job to stay home with the girls, we knew it would be tough.  Our days of eating PB&J, rationing bagels, and having applesauce as "dessert" each night have only just begun - and I'm loving it!
Though, who wouldn't like a bit of extra cash?! I have always been a member of our local credit union (a financial institution, but NOT a bank) since I was about 4.  My account number has been preserved, I've been on posters in their marketing department, and I know most of their employees at several branches. That's one reason I love the small town place.  But there, they have a savings account that has literally saved our lives - I was able to use some dividends a few weeks ago to cover Lydia's emergency trip to the hospital! It's called a PayBack savings account and it does just that - pays you back.  It's the BEST option (the ONLY option in my book) for saving my money that I don't necessarily need right this moment, yielding the best percentage of money earned, and it's up for grabs at ANY time (without any penalty).  I just have to meet a list of requirements each month, like having a loan (car and house), using my debit card as "credit" 25 times/month, and using the only banking system...then I get 1-3% earned each month, free activation on VISA gift cards, and a few other perks.  IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT. I haven't found anything like it.

But what's even better - they're running a contest that ends Monday night.  J and I became goofs late one night when we were up and made a quick video of why we like the account - and posted it. Now we just need votes.  The video with the most votes (currently, we're the only one, but there's potential for more to be posted soon) wins $500 on Tuesday morning. What can I do with that? hmmmmm - car taxes, Christmas gifts, pedicure, give some to you....

So will you help me? Go to this link and vote for our video.  You can vote once a day through Monday night. We need your votes!

Monday, October 8, 2012

The only reason I love cold weather...

SOUP! I have been SO excited about today's forecast for a few days now, for one reason and one reason only - I have been CRAVING soup. But I don't like eating soup when it's warm outside. So basically, from April-September I go on a soup aversion.  But once October hits, bring on the candy corn soup!
And since I like to try new recipes, I went searching for a crock pot vegetable minestrone that would work for us - by the mixing of 3 different recipes and a touch of love from my own pantry, I came out with this pot of beauty:
So many of you asked for the recipe, so here it is as best as I can remember it:
- 1-2 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 10 mini carrots (or 2 reg carrots), sliced 
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large zucchini, cubed
- 2 cups of your fave spaghetti sauce with 2 cups of water
- 4 cups of chicken stock, plus 2-3 cups (optional)
- 1 can kidney bean, drained
- 1 can stewed tomatoes
- salt, pepper, red pepper, italian seasoning, or whatever else flavor you like in your soup :)
- 1-2 cups torn spinach without stems
- 3-5 handfuls of uncooked pasta (shells, elbows, or whatever is in the pantry)

1. Heat frying pan with olive oil and saute celery, carrots, onion, garlic and zucchini until just tender. (you can probably skip this step as it did in all other recipes, but I LOVE sauteed veggies...)
2. Dump veggies in crock pot.  Add 4 cups of chicken stock, the spaghetti sauce with water, tomatoes, and kidney beans.  Add salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste.  (I had a 1/2 packet of italian seasoning for dressing in the pantry so I just poured it in too).
3. Cook on low 7-8 hours (or 10 like mine did). 
4.  Add in spinach and pasta while there's still about 30 minutes left.
5. Add extra stock if too thick (we like our soup a little runny...)

VOILA - yum-o! I use a 5 qt crock pot.  I actually made dinner for another family tonight, so I split the pot with them.  J had 3 huge bowls, I had one and Miriam ate a bowl too. Served with my favorite 3 ingredient sour cream biscuits (2 cups self rising flour, 1.5 sticks of melted butter, 1 cup sour cream - mix and drop spoonfuls in mini muffin pan, bake 20-25 min at 350).  For dessert, we had pumpkin muffins that I made yesterday morning while I was in the baking mode.

And since I'm in the baking mode, I need your help.  I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, and all of my recipes are my favorite.  I have had a bad hankering for some lately, and now sits a bag of unopened chocolate chip morsels in the pantry just waiting to make their appearance in a cookie. So what is your favorite cc cookie recipe?? Since I shared my soup with you, share your cookies with me!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You're Invited to Cupcake Canvas!

(cupcake compliments of Sandra)
I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it! I want you to join me for some hands-down super fun time, enjoy my cupcakes, and give back to the community! How, you ask? Here's the story:
     So, our church, First ARP, is excitedly in the midst of the HIP (Harvest Is Plentiful) Project - an effort to share Christ's love and our church to friends, family, coworkers, and our local community.  Our congregation has been challenged to invest a sum of money and figure out creative ways to meet others around us and tell them about our church.  Each of us was given "seed money" to get our project started.  Although the measure of our "success" is the number of people who we communicate the gospel to, all funds that are raised from our seed money go directly to our daughter church fund (for those of you not familiar with that terminology, our church has been given the opportunity to start another church in the upcoming year - we've been praying over this and moving in this direction ever since I began my ministry there...that means a new church will need a place to meet (or rent to pay for it), a pastor who needs to have a salary, and tons of miscellaneous needs that require money).   We are excited to see how we can support that effort of a new church, while inviting others to see what First ARP is about.  So my project, CUPCAKE CANVAS!
     Some of you may have been to one of those cute little expensive girls night out parties - you know, where you have an art teacher in front of you giving instructions on how to paint a peacock, beautiful sunset, or scenery all while sipping on a bottle of wine.  While those nights are fun, you probably end up enjoying your wine more than your awkward-doesn't-look-anything-like-it's-supposed-to paintings that you take home.  
Well, cupcake canvas will have a similar idea but with a twist...
     We will gather together for a few hours, eat some of my yummy cupcakes (by the way, did you know I make cupcakes for a partial living now?!:)), and we'll be painting button tree canvases - just google or pinterest "button tree canvas" and you'll see what I'm talking about.  I'll give you a few of my tips/pointers for painting canvases (like I did for this one, this one, and this one), but we'll be painting trees. Simple, two colors needed trees.  Then, we'll add some buttons.  
*PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take a break from reading this and go get all of your random missing and extra buttons in your jewelry box and top drawers*
Now, back to reading...if you don't have spare buttons, no need to worry, I'll have some you can use.
Then, we'll eat some more cupcakes, gab a little, then add (in your own handwriting) this sweet simple verse:
 They are like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.  Psalm 1:3
     I'll gather all of our completed canvases and take them over to our local adoption agency, Christian Family Services, for them to be given to birth families and adopting families to serve as sweet reminders and encouragement for their bundles of joy.  On the back of each canvas will be a short note of where the paintings came from, and the information about our church (in the event they are impacted and want to visit someday).
     And get this - it will only cost you $15!!!! All of that is tax-deductible, and it will be a great help in covering costs for supplies, goodies, and even help towards that daughter church fund! Invite friends so that the Cupcake Canvas in itself will be an outreach to other folks (like that girl you work with who is super cool and nice, but you have no clue if she's a believer or if she goes to church or what - PERFECT OPPORTUNITY!!)

So a run-down of the pros:
- cheap cheap cheap girls night/afternoon out
- two different times to paint for your schedule's convenience
- helping the community, especially the adopting community
- enabling God's kingdom to grow through sharing love to others and raising money to help build a new church
- yummy cupcakes at your disposal
- learn the way around free-hand canvas painting 
- enlighten your creative side
and the cons:
- there are none.
The official promo
So if you're interested in this sort of thing, COME JOIN ME! I have 24 canvases that are stark white and need some paint and buttons and TRUTH on them!  And if you can't make it, will you just say a prayer right now for those who will be impacted by this simple ministry? Many many thanks!
Email me, fb register, or call to let me know if you'll join me for one of the nights.  See you there!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Giveaway Central!

I LOVE all things giveaway, crafty, artsy, baby, cute, chic, etc etc. That's why, when I came across this post about a virtual grand opening for a business called "Multiple Blessings" from a FB post of a friend of mine who owns a baby boutique store, I hopped all over it! While first perusing the gambit of items and opportunities, I quickly rushed to the laptop to do all that I could to win something (the iPhone is awesome, but not with all the do-dahs of blogaways!). With all of the items this gal is giving away, surely I'll win something, right?
If not, she's got some great options to add on my Christmas list, and to Miriam's list, and to Lydia's list - ha.
Check her site out!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Life of a cowgirl

Miriam got invited to a super fun RoundUp Party and we've been totally excited about it since the day the invitation came.  I LOVED every part about this day - from the invitation, to the simpleness, to the cupcakes (I wonder who did them?!), and the events.  I didn't know how it would turn out, but Miriam finally warmed up to the horses, and took a ride - and then another!  We had a blast, and for the first time in EONS, she fell asleep in the car at noon on our way to lunch. Some photos from the day:
Cupcake display. I loved the idea of the candy boot molds!

Miriam not so much warming up to the horses
J showing how sweet they can really be, M having no part in it.

Finally on, but not so sure about it...

She's havin a talkin with that Snowflake of a pony.
Success!! And she's even enjoying her ride!

She is so proud of herself!

Enjoying one of the best parts of the day, the cupcake icing. Fueling up for another ride.

Daddy is a great guide - ride #2 on sweet Snowflake.
Thanks, Megan for the invite - we had a blast!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Catching up

I had no clue that quitting my job would actually make my life more busy.  I am IN LOVE with my new job as the full time caregiver and mother to Miriam and Lydia, but boy do we stay busy?! I hardly ever get a chance to get on the computer, much less blog.  But being that our summer is about over, and as of last week I started a new job (I'll be teaching Spanish one day/week at Miriam's preschool), I have a few resolutions to tackle before school starts next Thursday.  So today, I've uploaded some photos from the past few weeks, and even blogged a bit.  Here's what you'll find:

I have loved blogging, even in the early days after momma passed away, and hope to keep with it a bit more as school gets underway.  Just last fall, I only had like 7500 page hits. Now I'm 484 away from 20,000!!  (Some people set goals to have like a bagillion views - and some people start small :)).

I wonder how long it will take to get there? 

Ghent girls updates

We have had quite the end of summer this month! I knew after the busyness of July I wanted to sit, stay, rest, and have fun (if that was at all possible!). So we've done a mirage of events to enjoy the last bit of summer.  The girls continue to grow so fast too!! Enjoy a little recap of our August fun!
We went to the Velodrome to watch the women's bike racing one weekend.  Miriam had a blast, mainly because she got to ride on a "schooo bus" to get from the parking lot to the event. 

We've had many a pj days this month just enjoying the house and our yard.  Miriam is LOVING her little sister and trying to get her attention any time she can. She loves reading to her and playing with her (and her toys!).  One of the best feelings I have is seeing the reaction on Lydia's face with Miriam addresses her, smiles, and talks to her. 

Yet again, I still can't take a picture with Miriam looking at the camera and smiling.  But anyway, she's still adorable!

We were in Georgia for our nephew, Will's birthday.  Apparently we've been holding Miriam back as this was her first attempt at watermelon on the rine.  Obviously, she enjoyed it.

We took a trip to Trader Joes (the day before we started potty training) and they gave Miriam some stickers at the check out counter.  She was so polite and said "Thank you" without prompting, so the cashier gave her this plant.  She is obsessed with it even still!

With so much success on the potty training end (we are now out of diapers except for during "sleepy times"), she deserved a little reward.  This was the night we bought her some more undies. I don't know what she was more excited about: the panties, or her yogurt!

What would the end of summer fun be without Weeze? 

We've done lots of art work.  This day we painted with our finger tips and our feet so we could make our cousin Jack a card for his birthday.

Breanna (Jeremy's cousin) came to visit with us a few days before she moved into to her college dorm.  Miriam loves playing with her (and everything that belongs to her).

Then we went to the Children's Museum with some friends and actually enjoyed it this time.  Miriam was really impressed with the dress up closet and wanted to be a pirate (until I went "Argh") and then doned the princess dress.  Bad hair day, eh?

We met up with Miriam's preschool teacher from last year and her three kids and headed to Golden Corral to eat our weight in the salad bar, chicken fingers, and the chocolate wonderfall!! I don't know what it is, but I crave the buffet style meal every once in six months or so, and this one didn't disappoint.  We even got cotton candy and Becka used her talents to score all four kids a stuffed animal from the crane machine!!

We visited the county museum one Sunday afternoon before nap (because it's free to the public then).  I knew she'd be entranced by the mammoth of an elephant at the end of the exhibit hall. Jeremy and I both grew up visiting these same exhibits, and even had a teacher in high school who basically killed all of them for the display.  Miriam loves animals, but is somewhat terrified of them, so these almost-look-real-but-don't-move beings are perfect for her liking!

On our last week of summer, we headed to Baxters Bunch for a little playtime.  Since it's hard for me to join in on the fun with little Lydia, we asked a church friend (Miriam's favorite future babysitter) to come along and play.  They had a BLAST and were both thoroughly exhausted by the time we got home (mission accomplished!)

Lydia, well, hasn't been doing much, other than being cute.

More proof.

Another piece of evidence...

And just in case you didn't believe me...

I rest my case.  You may notice that in some of the photos she's wearing bibs. The teething demon has struck us (since about mid-July) and has totally reeked havoc on our sleep and lifestyle.  Lydia's clothes don't stay dry, her hands are always laden with slobber, and she seems to be in a somewhat state of pain 85% of the nights.  But soon, and very soon, hopefully, we'll see a tooth pop out. She is 2 weeks shy of 7 months and we still haven't started solids yet (woohoo) but I have a feeling that it will be time soon. So, in between my baking frenzies, I'll be peeling and dicing the sweet potatoes, steaming all of the veggies, and breaking out the cube freezer trays again for operation homemade baby food.  Now that I know how it works, it shouldn't take any time to get done. 

Bulletin boards: a confession

In college, while I was burning the night candles reading the 500+ pages of Don Quixote in a foreign language, I laughed at my fellow classmates who were education majors and were complaining about putting together die cuts and cute shapes for their classrooms during their internships.  I mean, really, how hard can a bulletin board be?! It's time I issue an apology to each and every one of you.  Your cute, creative, fun "busy work" really was meaningful and time consuming.  And to me, it's been stressful!!

The past few days I've worried myself sick over a stinking bulletin board.  I am excited to be teaching Spanish to the cute preschoolers at Miriam's school each week, and I have my own "classroom" that doubles with the church as a Children's Church room.  There's not a whole lot of potential and room for me to do much, other than the bulletin board, so I had to get to working.  However, I'm in an environment where almost all of the other teachers are certified and are certainly more skilled and competent at what they do than where I am.  I have taught children before and I've taught Spanish, but not necessarily the two together. 
This is pretty much what it looked like when I got into the room last week (minus the blue paper - I forgot to take a real initial photo).  Eek - what was I to do?!

So I've been working hard at night and on the weekends to put my teacher skills and creative juices together.  Today was BB-day (bulletin board day).  I went in with my vision and actually had an outcome worth being proud about.  Without having taking the Bulletin 101 course at EC I think I'll manage to pass on this one. 

So at the beginning of each class, we'll say our hellos (top left corner) and at the end our goodbyes (I also need to at buenas noches) - Not sure how I like the black doesn't really look like it fits in but it will do. Then, as we talk about colors, we'll point out the yellow sun, blue sky, pink flowers, green grass, stars/moon, and white clouds so we learn colors and other vocabulary.  Decent? It will work! I've got another board to work on - my "que esta en mi caja" board (what's inside my box?).  I hope the kids will be as excited about it as I am!!

Reese Cup, Raspberry Lemonade and Gluten Free

As much as I haven't been busy, I've been just as busy in the kitchen during nap and late at night finishing up several dozen orders over the past 6 weeks. It's gross to think about the pounds (and pounds) of butter, sugar, flour and eggs I have gone through to make sweet tooths happy!  I've done everything to just plain ol' vanilla, to creamsicle and purple (for a psuedo clemson party), to my new fave-Reese cup (both regular and GLUTEN FREE!!), and Raspberry Lemonade. I've had so much fun trying new recipes and of course indulging in a cupcake or two myself. Here are a few pics and recipe links to the ones I've really enjoyed:

Our friends are chocolate fans. We are chocolate fans.  So I took my favorite chocolate cake and frosting recipe and found a good addition in the peanut butter filling from this cupcake recipe and created a wonderful masterpiece. This is way more worth wasting your calories than a reese cup - even if it is shaped like a tree or an egg!
Reese Cupcakes (PB filling with cookie on top)
I filled most of them with PB gooeyness!
And some I topped with the delectable filling

Beautiful Raspberry Lemonade

 When I started on this cupcake journey back in the spring, I had found ideas for a pink lemonade cake in a Southern Living magazine.  I stored it away, saving it for a summer treat. Well, now that summer is almost over, I got the craving and went in search of ingredients, but decided to try a Raspberry cake instead.  Who knew finding raspberry lemonade concentrate would be so flipping hard?! After visiting 4 grocery stores, I found the welches brand at good ol HT.  Came home and immediately made this batch.  It only made 10 cupcakes, but could easily be doubled and no need to buy another can of concentrate.

probably the most perfect looking cupcake to date!
Then, I got word from Jeremy's boss at work (who is a super health nut and competitive athlete) that he wanted me to try my hand at some gluten free cupcakes to mimic the Reese cup ones I had made a few weeks prior.  So I did a bit of research, since I've never made anything gluten free, found a few recipes, and went on my search for ingredients.  I basically learned all you have to do is replace the flour and tweak the measurements of other ingredients, but when you use gluten free flour substitutes, you've got to add Xanthan gum to help everything stay together.  But when I found it at each of the 4 stores I went to (when I was searching for the lemonade concentrate), the price only got higher and higher. So I settled for an 8 oz bag of it for $13.  It does seem like a lot of money, but in the scheme of things, a little goes a long way. So from that 8 oz bag, I only used 1 TEASPOON!!!  Which is like pennies of the whole cost of the bag.  I'm hoping that J's boss really likes these and wants more, so I don't have a bag of that expensive gum lying around!
Cooling in the pan
When I mixed everything together, it was super thick - unlike my perfect chocolate cake recipe - I guess thanks to the xanthan gum.  I think I may have overfilled the cupcakes because they came out as tall as they are deep. The picture above does no justice as to how risen they really were.  Who knew gluten free had so much rising potential?!

Peanut butter filling- check!
 So I proceeded with the next step: peanut butter filling.  Thankfully, he didn't ask for gluten AND peanut free, or else this would have been a major bust!!! I had to try out the filling just to make sure it didn't taste gluten free :)
They may not tasty as heavenly, but they still look good and are chocolate!
 And the dense heavy cute finished product.  I sent Jeremy off to work this morning with 23 (it made 2 dozen but we had to make sure that they didn't taste like poop!) and have been anxious all day to hear whether or not he liked them.

I have more orders coming up this weekend for a cowgirl party.  Hoping to make chocolate and strawberry cakes topped with their respective frostings then a candy cowboy boot! Yay for fun and baking!

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Today was one of those days.  Filled with all sorts of emotions and thoughts I just didn't know how to handle myself.  Today I woke up and realized that my first baby is not just 2 anymore...she's 2 and 1 month. And my baby...yeah, she celebrated her half birthday today.  And me, well, I'm exactly one month away from turning 30.  Now, I realize that most of my friends have already reached this milestone and have taken it with pride.  However, I have had more and more moments of waking up, looking in the mirror, and thinking to myself "I have two children and will be 30 this year" and for some reason that thought turns my stomach.  I don't know if I'm in denial or what, but it's just reality hitting hard this year. (If I'm having a hard time with this one...what does that mean for the other milestone years?!)  But, in order to make it into as much fun as possible, I'm trying to dream big for the celebration - thinking even silly as a trip to Carowinds to unless my inner child or a crazy bike party ride in the city with a group of friends.  Whatever we do, I'll be sure to document my turn of another century decade (although some days I feel that old)!

In other news, the girls and I have been busy learning, playing, laughing, and even wailing together!
Miriam can now officially count from 1-10 without prompting.  She's also almost 2 weeks into potty training and doing EXCEPTIONALLY well from my standards (only about 5 accidents overall), growing her vocabulary by leaps and bounds each day, learning to sing all of the words and pitches to some of out favorite children's songs and church hymns, and learning to love her baby sister.
Lydia is developing right on target and can now hold her head up fully to play and is reaching for toys that are in front of her.  She still nurses 5 times a day and usually takes 2 small naps in the morning, and a great afternoon nap from 3-5 or 5:30, then sleeps from 9-8.  She's finding her voice, and loves to smile, especially at her sister.
My heart just melts every time I see Miriam interact with Lydia.  How I long to see their relationship grow in these next months and years and they both continue to grow up!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I was so disappointed:(

We walked into one of those cheapo beach stores on main street and ocean blvd the other night in search of a water shirt for Miriam. When we had found the one at the cheapest price thanks to the store clerk, my heart dropped and my blood boiled. J instructed me to put the shirt back and get out of the store immediately because we had recognized who the man was.
See, a few nights before he and I went to live a few hours as kids again at the OD pavilion just a few blocks down from our hotel.when we decided to ride a ride or two (oh graviton make me barf!), we had to purchase tickets. When we walked up to the ticket booth there was a tall built man standing with his daughter (about 6 or so) at the front counter asking for a "locals" discount at 11pm (they closed at midnight). The lady informed they guy that they didn't do that and he pressed the issue again. Unfortunately the lady's next response still didn't make him happy so he proceeded to cuss her out using every word in the book (and even some new ones!) and dropped the f-bomb a handful of times, right in front of his poor young daughter who just wanted to ride some rides! I was so disheartened by the scene that I even said out loud enough do he could hear me "really? In front of your daughter? ". Thankfully he didn't turn around and come after me but j and I hated seeing that guy be such a jerk to the ticket lady and to his daughter. And he smelled something awful of alcohol!! then we spent our fortune on tickets, rode the gravitron twice and returned home thinking of how rude that man was.
So while standing at the water shirts, it dawned on us: the clerk was that man. I have never felt so much passion as to not support a business as I did in that moment and we high tailed it out of there-without the cheapest water shirt in NMB:(

Monday, July 9, 2012

Birthdays, Cupcakes, and Cookies-OH MY!

I can't believe my little sugar bag (well, my first one at least) will be 2 tomorrow.  I think I've got a big ol' blur in memory when I think of the last 2 years - can I get a rewind and slo-mo replay??  She is so stinking cute, incredibly clever, outrageously curious, spastically energetic, and absolutely fearless.  She has brought joy, laughter, excitement, and gray hairs to our lives.  She certainly keeps us on our toes, and now serves as a super big sister, learning how to do everything mommy and daddy do to help baby.  She's singing her ABCs and counting, singing songs, praying without prompting, and of course still eating well, if you couldn't tell.  Happy Birthday Doodle Bug!

I've quickly learned that a summer birthday is a hard thing. There's no "birthday table" at school to sit at and it seems everyone is always so busy in the summer to host a worthwhile party.  We decided this year to not throw a "friend party" for Miriam for a few reasons (schedule, money, and we didn't have a theme....), but instead to do a small family gathering for lunch and cake/presents after Lydia's baptism (since all of the family would already be together).  Even with that, things came up and folks were busy, so it turned out to be a small party, but fun was had none the less.  Here is M filled with excitement to play with her toys she just opened...or maybe she's just wanting us to go ahead and stop singing so she can eat the beautiful cupcake sitting in front of her...
 And since she is going to preschool a few days this week, I thought she could be the coolest kid by bringing a homemade snack to help them celebrate her. The preschool doesn't like cupcakes because of the mess (what mess?? aren't they consumed in just one bite so there isn't any mess??), and since I've been making them for a living these days, I was distressed as to what to bring. Then I had a perfect idea - cupcake COOKIES! So I spent a few quiet moments looking on pinterest for ideas, recipes, etc and came across this SUPER recipe that is quick, good, and easy!
I made the dough on Saturday at 4 pm, then put it in the fridge until Sunday morning. Then M and I cut out the shapes with the less than .50c cutter I got at HL.  We baked them, went to church, got Lydia baptized, ate lunch, opened presents, ate cupcakes, then came back home to naked boring cookies. While I still churned ideas for decorating I finally took the plunge with this icing recipe (but used vanilla instead of almond extract).
naked, but yummy, from scratch sugar cookies

Topped the cupcake with white frosting and some jimmies - my new favorite go to cupcake item!

Thought I grabbed the pink food coloring but got purple instead.  So, purple cupcake liners it is!

The finished product! Fancy, eh?
They dried over night and the icing hardened and didn't look half bad this morning.   They certainly didn't look store bought either.  Ha. I'm pretty sure her friends still enjoyed them!! Maybe I'll keep making cookies too - but I'll definitely need some practice and mercy with the decorating!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Our Friday adventures

Today I was interviewed by our local newspaper for an article they are doing about breast feeding and the new initiative that our local hospital is joining. PMC is 1of 90 hospitals in the nation working together over the next 22 months to improve maternity care and encourage exclusive breast feeding among mothers. Obviously I'm a big EBF advocate so I was thrilled to do the interview. And I'll also be serving on the board for the initiative at the hospital.
Although it was quite the adventure just to make it out the door on time we finally made it to the hospital for the interview. I had to take both girls with me which I knew would be interesting too! They both did great, the interview was fun and our friends in the marketing dept helped with the girls while I was talking to the reporter. They were awesome treating her to stickers (post it notes) and all! I can't wait to see how the article turns out!