Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ellie's Brave Party

It's February and Ellie's birthday party was a few months ago.  I have found that October through March is some sort of time warp and everything seems to be moving so fast that I have a hard time keeping up with whats going on and an even harder time documenting it.  I think that I enjoy planning her parties the most...so far.  We usually have the same vision of where we want it to go.  We both knew that we wanted it to be simple and fun and most importantly special.  So here is her party in pictures...enjoy!

Bear claw cupcakes: chocolate frosting and almond slivers

Wisps: blue cellophane, balloons and a lightstick.  I had them through out the neighborhood leading people to our house!

Chocolate cake with almonds on the outside.  Green coconut grass. Marshmallow fondant stones.

I used an oval wood cutting base and got lucky that the number 8 was blue or wisp colored.

Bear paw cupcakes and a picture of the birthday girl with Merida from Disneyland!

Such a silly gal!

The girls wore their favorite dress up clothes- Ellie was Merida of course!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fun Peacock Inspired Wreath

Making wreaths is strangely fulfilling.  I don't know why, but decorating my front door gives me such satisfaction.  I was hunting down Christmas mark down deals at Hobby Lobby and got everything (except the ribbon which was 50% off) for this wreath in the Christmas Clearance at 80% off!!  I think I maybe spent 5 bucks! Thank goodness for some non-traditional peacock sprigs, green blue and gold!  I think I'm going to try and incorporate that gold letter J in every wreath this year!  Challenge accepted self!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Best Grilled Cheese

I love grilled cheese.  It combines two of my most favorite foods cheese and bread, what's not to love? But my favorite recipe uses sourdough bread (Pepperidge Farm, Farmhouse Sourdough is my fave), 2 slices of colby jack and some Smart Balance butter on both sides...divine.  The sourdough gives it just enough kick and the colby jack mellows it out.  The kids always eat it up and so do I! So go on and try out a new grilled cheese, you're gonna love it too!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Super Easy Fall Wreath

I think I maybe spent $5 making this wreath and its my favorite so far.  I am still super frugal and cheap when it comes to wreaths. This is the only wreath I've ever owned, I just keep dressing and redressing it.  I think I only paid $6 for it too!  I got everything from Hobby Lobby, the corn on the cobs, glittery leaves, berry beads, feathery leaves and the letter.  I have also used the same "J" I just keep spray painting it.  No hot glue, I just stuck it in or tied it on.  I spent about 20 minutes getting all put together while the kids took a cold swim in the pool.  There was no way I was getting in there, but they had a blast filling up ziploc bags and splashing each other while I got my craft on.  Who needs toys, right?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back to School

I love summer.  Back to school means more traffic and a stricter schedule.  It also means activities.  This year with 3 in school I'm feeling a bit nervous.  Not for them but for me.  Can I get their folders signed every night and all that other stuff?  I got their cubby space at home all ready for them.  Now I just have to remind them to leave their backpacks there and not drag them all over the house.  Ellie was up and ready by 5:30am...I believe she was excited for her first day of second grade!!  She helped me pack lunches and we curled her hair.  This all of course woke everyone else up so we got out the door for pictures pretty early. Happy Back to School!

Look how big my babies are!

He will probably be taller than me in the next year or two.  Too bad for him I'll always be tougher :)

Girls! Girls! Girls!
Finally getting back into the swing of blogging again.  I can't wait to show you all pics from our vacation.  We had so much fun and I learned a lot about traveling in a car with 4 kids.  I've also been super conscious about taking pictures with my kids and making it a priority.  They don't care what I look like because to them I just look like their Mom and they love me (for now, haha, there aren't any teenagers yet).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

An Ariel Party and Homemade Butter Cream Frosting

In the past (before I went back to work) I would have planned out what to do for Regan's party and done all of the shopping by myself.  This time we spent a lot of time at the computer looking at Pinterest for ideas.  I even let the girls go with me to Target to pick out all the supplies.  Since she is just turning 4 it was a family party with the exception of her BFF from gymnastics and her sisters.

I wanted simple and no stress.  So I really only decorated one area.  I used green crepe paper cut in various lengths, twirled and taped to look like sea weed.  It was a big hit.  It only took 15 minutes to cut them and put them up.  You could get more creative and add characters or fish, but we didn't get that far.  In fact I didn't even get a picture of it so use your imagination.  For the table we used red and pink (Target didn't have teal or purple table cloths!) which are the colors of Ariel's formal dress and hair color.  I also put out Hershey's pot of gold nuggets (because Ariel searched for treasure) and the spring M&M's (just the purple and teal blue ones we ate the other ones) in an Ariel cup.  

I poured my heart into her cake though.  We bought the Ariel bath set at Target to top the cake with.  It doubled as a present.  The cake was 7 layers and I attempted the color graduation with it in shades of teal.  I made homemade butter cream frosting (with homemade butter y'all) and tinted it teal (what she asked for) and shaped it to look like waves.  It was super yummy.  

Recipe for Homemade Butter Cream Frosting:

About 1 cup of Homemade Butter (unsalted) softened at room temperature
1 bag of powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
Dash of salt
Approximately 1 tsp of vanilla (just squirt a bit in there)

Combine all ingredients until desired consistency.  Start with the smallest amount of cream and add more until  creamy.  Tint if desired.

The Birthday Girl.  

My first attempt at graduated colors.  Not my best work, lol, but it tasted amazing!
Lighting the candles!

And now I have a 4 year old.  A glorious little girl who amazes me everyday.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Things I Wish I Would've Done

Last time I posted it was Ethan's birthday.  My dear sweet mother had surgery later that afternoon and then went to the ICU.  Sadly she passed away two months later on May 30th.  While I have been through every emotion I feel like there are things that I wish I would have done with her that I am now doing with my own kids.  I'm sure that this list will grow but here is what I've got so far.

Take pictures together, often.  The last picture that I can find of my mom and I together, Ethan was just a baby.  So I have been taking pictures with each of my kids at least once a week and as often as possible.  It is one of my regrets that I don't have a recent picture of the two of us.

Just sit and talk.  We did a lot of talking when she was in the hospital but before that, while we would talk on the phone every day, we didn't get to sit down together as often as I wish we had.

Go through old pictures together and talk about them. I have already had the "I wonder what/where that was, wish I could ask Mom" moment.

Record your parents voice.  Well this one I already had, but it means the world to me.  I have all of my moms voice mails in my email.  I can hear her anytime I want to.  Not the same, but its comforting nonetheless.

So there you have it.  I am still struggling with the day to day, although I usually don't let people see how I am affected.  My husband sure knows, because I hate going to bed and usually fall asleep on the couch.  I often think about her before I fall asleep and sometimes I just need to watch tv and crash or distract myself.  Sorry babe, thanks for understanding!  The kids have been wonderful and just give me hugs when I start to cry reading a book or if I just get sad.  What a whirlwind the last two months have been.  Now everything is calm, no more trips to the hospital and staying out late or feeling like I'm torn between my children/husband and my mom.  But what I wouldn't give for one more minute.

Monday, March 25, 2013

My Baby is 10!!!

My oldest, my baby is 10.  So let me take this opportunity to brag on my tween.  Ethan is the most kind and loving child I have.  Even at 10 he has more empathy than a lot if not most adults.  He truly has a gift for understanding how other people are feeling and then trying to connect with them and lift their spirits.  He is a kid magnet and a "Baby Whisperer," give your kid to him and he'll get them to sleep!  He has a calming and nurturing nature to his personality.  I can wait, but one of the things I look forward to when he is an adult is watching him become a father.  He is going to be amazing, but I'm fine with waiting a couple of decades to see it :).  He is smart and school is easy for him.  He loves reading and playing basketball.  I love watching him play and progress in skill and confidence.  

He is human and imperfect and every now and then I see the teenager emerging in him, but for today, he is perfect and he is all mine.

Monday, March 4, 2013

How to Make Your Own Homemade Butter

Today is perhaps the best Monday in quite awhile.  This morning we woke up in our new house.  It is Regan's 4th birthday.  My Mom, who is continuing on her fight against cancer, doesn't have to have surgery today!  And it's my 300th post.  So I'm going to share with you just how easy it is to make your very own homemade butter because making homemade butter is one of the most satisfying things to make!

What you need:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream (use as much or little as you like, I usually do about 2 cups and I don't usually measure it, I just pour in half of the carton)
  • Kitchen-aid stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  You could do it with a hand held mixer but this way is a lot easier.
  • Salt or seasonings to taste.  I like a garlic herb blend or even cinnamon.
  • A strainer, bowl for the strainer to sit and a mason jar to hold your buttermilk.  A dish or container for your butter.
  • A loaf of fresh bread.  Okay this one isn't required but you'll want it!  Try this recipe, its easy!

What you do:

Put your cream in the mixer and turn it on low so it doesn't splash out.

It will turn into whipped cream, resist the temptation to eat it!  It will still be really white in color and fluffy.

A short while after the butter will separate from the buttermilk and it will be yellow in color.  Turn your mixer off.

This is the buttermilk.  Strain it into a bowl and then transfer the milk to a jar.

Get the butter out of the whip and squeeze out any excess buttermilk.  Then wash your butter by running it under cold water and kneading it with your hands for a few minutes.

Now you can add seasoning and shape it to fit in the dish of your choice.  

The time it takes to go from cream to whipped cream to butter will vary depending on how much cream you use and how cold your mixer bowl, whip and cream are.  I'm usually done in 15 minutes, start to finish.  To make butter faster, put your mixing bowl and whip in the freezer for about 10 minutes prior to starting.  That was easy wasn't it?  And now your hands are soft and you have buttermilk for pancakes.  People are always amazed when I tell them I make it myself.  I suppose it's because they are picturing me milking a cow and churning butter on the porch, not this girl!

Happy Monday!  Thanks for sharing this journey with me for 300 posts...here's to 300 more!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spiderman likes ice cream and other fun stuff

How about some catching up?  I miss blogging.  So here goes.  Ellie is a Girl Scout now.  I have a ton of cookies in my garage and on my thighs.  But they are so good and Dale thinks I'm hot and cookies just come once a year, hah!  Jack likes to wear his Spiderman costume in public, especially to consume ice cream.  He's number 4 so I don't care what they wear as long as it is weather appropriate and even that is up for interpretation.  Regan will be 4 on Monday. She is so smart and turning out to be a really great little gymnast too.  Mom is in the hospital still trying to recover from her last surgery.  It's been hard on all of us.  We are moving to a new house.  One that will give each kid their own room!  We are beyond excited!  I started making my own butter.  I'll post the recipe soon, I promise, because really its too good not to share.  Here's some pics of our latest adventures.

Valentine lunch with Ellie

Spiderman eats ice cream at a Girl Scout meeting.

Lots of gymnastics

Sellin' cookies

The view from my office.

Making butter.

Having tea parties when we're sick
 More to come.   I really miss this creative outlet!  Have a great weekend, don't be jealous, I'll be moving :)! Working off all of those "Thin" Mints.