A Seuss-y Birthday for My Boys

March 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Everyone says, “They grow so fast!” “Cherish every moment because it goes by too quickly.” But I also think that everybody knows that it’s truly difficult, if not impossible, to fully appreciate the importance of periods of your life until they are over. I do my best. But it still goes by too quickly.
My boys just turned 1 and 3. Already!! Since I recently re-realized how much fun reading Dr. Seuss can be, we decided on a Dr. Seuss-themed party. (Also, DS1 is currently loving The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That on PBS.) One party for two kids who aren’t twins. I hope they don’t get upset with me later in life for not giving them each their own party, but my husband tells me boys don’t care about such things (especially at this age.)

I found an awesome Seuss-y printable party package at Dimpleprints on Etsy.  It turns out once you start with the Dr. Seuss theme, it’s difficult to stop.

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Since we moved to Illinois 6 months ago, we had the party at Grandma’s house up in Wisconsin.  We invited “the cousins,” which was the best thing ever according to DS1.

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We had Seuss-themed food like Green Eggs (deviled eggs with green dye), Roast Beast (pulled pork), Beezlenut Stew (meatballs), Who Cakes and much, much more.

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I think the most exciting part (for the kids) may have been the candy buffet.

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The boys were a bit under the weather, but it hardly showed.

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Happy Birthday, Boys!

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Some Nice Things about Winter

February 6, 2011 § 2 Comments

I am tired of winter!!  Tired of it, do you hear?!?  Perhaps, if I lived in a place that had mild winters it would be alright.  But no, I live in Illinois now and here, winter is winter.  Winter is snow.  Winter is cold and, as much as I would like to be, I’m just not a snow or a cold type of person.  I’m not a skier or an ice-fisherwoman.  I like to be warm.  I like a nice, warm breeze wafting across my face, soft green grass under my bare feet and watching my son’s diapers sway as they dry on the line under a bright sunshine and blue sky.

I’m quite sure I have at least a bit of what they refer to as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.  Basically, you get really down when you don’t see the sun often enough.  That is me.  Depressed, tired, cranky–some days more than others, depending on how much the sun shines that day.  Of course, it doesn’t help that we moved recently and here I am in a brand, new place with zero friends or family in the vicinity.  It stinks.  And my poor children (not to mention my husband) are stuck with me and my crappy attitude.

So I am looking forward to Spring and picnics and trips to the Farmer’s Market and walks and bike rides and, hopefully, another move (just from the house, not the area).  Trying to come up with a list of things I enjoy about winter is a bit difficult, but probably good for me.  Here goes:

1. Darkness at bedtime.  It is much easier to get the kids in their beds and asleep at their regular bedtime when it is dark outside at 7pm.  Then again, I don’t really mind when they stay up a bit later in summer.  There is so much more to do.

2. Not feeling guilty on days when I really DON’T want to go out anywhere that we are “wasting a beautiful day.”  On the other hand, I do still feel guilty for not being much of an outdoorsy, snow-lovin’ person.  We’ve only been sledding once and it wasn’t so great.  The hill was much to steep for my almost 3-year-old.  Apparently, there aren’t any natural hills in all of Illinois.

3. Bird-Watching.  My MIL got us a heated birdbath and some bird feeders for Christmas.  For now, they are on the front porch and we can watch them up-close and personal.  Today, DS2 came up to me while I was sitting on the couch in front of the window and pointed at it.  He was asking to be lifted up so he could watch the birdies out the window.  It seems to be his favorite thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Finding indoor things to do.  We have Music Class on Mondays and typically head over to South Side Sprouts on Thursdays.  It is located in a Christian Church and for no charge at all (you can donate), there is an hour of free play in a fenced-in area full of fun toys, storytime, a craft or activity and a snack.  It is very nice and I’m very grateful to have a place to take the kids when we are just so tired of being cooped up.

5. New Episodes of our Favorite Shows.  We have really cut down on our TV-watching, which is good.  But it is nice to see new episodes of our favorite Thursday night comedies and a few others we like.

6. Birthdays are coming up!!  I do love party planning and this year, we are having a combined party for the boys (I hope they don’t feel cheated when they are older; we will definitely have separate parties when they start to care about such things.) .  We will be having the party at Grandma’s house up in Wisconsin, so everyone there can celebrate with us.  The party is Dr. Seuss-themed.  I’m pretty excited about it and will be sure to post pics.

That’s all I can think of for now.  We are headed to Philly for a couple of weeks and by the time we return, March will be practically upon us.  March means Spring.  Warm breeze.  Cool grass.  Laundry on the line…

My Etsy Shop is now open!!

February 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

For those of you who have not yet heard of Etsy, it’s a site where folks can buy and sell handmade and vintage items and supplies. I love it! It’s just a fun place to shop around and I’m always happy with the purchases I make there. It’s great that there is an outlet (besides craft fairs) where a community of people can come together and create things you can’t find in a store. The items are unique and thoughtful and made by someone’s own hands. Go there!

As for me, in my last post I said that I was go to start creating rosaries. I was inspired to do so a couple of months ago when I saw some very beautiful rosaries up for auction at a Catholic school fundraiser. We have a few rosaries in our house, but they are mostly cheap-looking plastic things. Not that a rosary needs to be particularly beautiful or expensive; it is really just a tool used for prayer. But there’s no rule saying a rosary can’t be beautiful and functional.

Anyway, I started a few weeks ago with making my son a birthstone rosary for his birthday and since then I’ve become sort of addicted to it. Hopefully, Etsy can help support my addiction and maybe I’ll do a craft show or two this summer. That might be fun. I’m also making bookmarks and I’ll be adding some rosary bracelets and chaplets soon. And who knows? Maybe I’ll branch out into earrings and some secular stuff down the road. For now, here’s my shop. Let me know what you think! ; )

FaithBeads.etsy.com

Hey All!

January 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Yep, still here.  Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted.  Things got hectic and are still hectic, but I thought I’d update this a bit and see how long I can keep it going.  My problem is a severe (self-diagnosed) form of Attention-Deficit–or maybe I should call it Attention-Shifting-Constantly Disorder.  But what am I up to lately, you ask??

1. Expecting a new baby.  Soon and very soon.  Involves lots of nesting and stress.

2. Keeping up with my almost-2-year-old.  Lots of work.  Tons of fun.

3. Doing some baking, but mostly for fun.  I lost interest in it during my first trimester (bleh!) and I’m just starting to get it back.  But this also has to do with my ASCD, because I just get bored things when I do them too much and I have to move on to something new for awhile.  Plus, I’m not all that creative and the decorating portion of it was stressing me out.  I just want to bake what I want to bake when I want to bake it and make some money.  Is that so much to ask??  ; )  Still have a wedding cake in July, though, which I am looking forward to and I expect to get back into business in the Spring.

4. Getting started with my new hobby: making and selling rosaries.  Yeah, different.  I know…  I’ve never made any kind of jewelry before, but I was inspired and I’m slowly getting the hang of it.  Haven’t done anything with the selling portion yet, but will get started with that soon.

That’s all for now, I guess.  We are having my son’s birthday party this weekend, so lots to do for that and right now, I have a stinky diaper to change so we’ll talk soon.  Bye for now.

Recent Cake Orders

July 7, 2009 § 1 Comment

The weekend of June 26th was pretty busy, which was exciting and a bit overwhelming.  Just thought I’d share some pics: 

 

A fun bachelorette party cake.  Italian Buttercream with fondant accents.

A fun bachelorette party cake. Italian Buttercream with fondant accents.

 

A construction vehicle cake for a child's second birthday.

A construction vehicle cake for a child's second birthday.

 I also did cupcakes for a bridal shower, but unfortunately, I neglected to get a picture.  It’s too bad, because they turned out pretty well.  On top of that, I did a cake tasting for a wedding taking place next July, which was a fun experience.  They seemed to enjoy, so hopefully I will get the business.  This is from this past weekend: 

 

A bridal shower cake.  Marble cake with light chocolate buttercream.

A bridal shower cake. Marble cake with light chocolate buttercream.

Strawberries & Dillinger

June 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

Burrough - Public Enemies cover

I’ve finally finished it.  It only took me 4 months.  And no, it’s not a 2000-page book; I’m just a slow reader.  Thank you, Free Library, for allowing me to renew it 3 or 4 times.  (By the way, aren’t libraries great??  They let you borrow books for FREE!!  Now that hardbacks cost about $30 a pop, libraries are definitely the way to go.  They are green (hundreds os people can read the same copy of a book), promote community, responsibility and again, FREE!!  Awesome.  Okay, I didn’t mean to ramble on…)  

I’ve always been very interested in the outlaws of the 1920′s and 30′s (along with those of the proverbial “wild west.”)  I don’t know why that is.  Perhaps it is that most books and film tend to portray these “characters” in a very romantic, Robin Hood-esque sort of light.  In most cases, these characterizations are very far from the truth.  That is what I loved (and hated) about Bryan Burrough’s book.  The man did his research.  The information is very cut and dry; mostly facts with minimal speculation.  He has whittled out all the exaggerations and falsehoods created by previous authors on the subjects and by those who were involved first-hand (or claimed to be) and may have fudged a little in their telling of it.  In short, he has sucked the romance right out of it and left his readers with the cold, hard truth: that these people were mostly cold-blooded murderers and thieves.  

About two of the worst, Bonnie & Clyde, and the strange phenomenon of their elevation to heroic status, he writes this: “Art has now done for Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow something they could never achieve in life: it has taken a shark-eyed multiple murderer and his deluded girlfriend and transformed them into sympathetic characters, imbuing them with a cuddly likability they did not possess, and a cultural significance they do not deserve.”  Very well put.  

One thing I really liked about this book is that, unlike books that are just about Bonnie and Clyde or just about Dillinger, this books gives you context.  Bonnie & Clyde, Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, etc. were all kidnapping, robbing, murdering and running from the law at the same time, just as the FBI was discovering it’s own identity.  This covers everything.  The downside is that it’s easy to lose track of all the names, dates and events, with the narrative changing subjects from page to page.  At times, it was hard to follow.

The film, Public Enemies, starts tomorrow and I am very excited to see it.  Much of it was filmed in our area, including our Capitol Square and a place just up the road from us: Carandale, where we pick strawberries every June.  I just love picking strawberries.  There is something about a strawberry that is freshly picked and still warm from the sun.  It has a taste unlike anything you can buy at the local grocery store that has travelled and been refrigerated and seems far removed from the earth.  And it just so happens that this is the place where Michael Mann chose to film Pretty Boy Floyd’s death scene for Public Enemies.  Pretty cool, I’d say.

strawberries

Cake Order: Daisy Birthday Cake

June 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

Wow, I have got quite a few cake orders coming up.  Two showers and one bachelorette party, a birthday and possibly a sample session with a couple getting married in July 2010.  Is it weird that I get really excited on days when I have to make a cake?  I guess it just means that I’m in the right “career field.”  The latest is a cake I did for my MIL’s friends.  It is moist yellow cake with raspberry mousse filling and Italian buttercream.  I’ve been working on getting my cakes to be 4-inches tall, because that’s what I’m going to want my wedding cake tiers to be.  This one is 4 layers of cake and 3 (generous) layers of filling.  It came out at exactly 4 inches!  I don’t think all my cakes will need to be this tall, but it’s nice to know I can get them there if need be.  I chose to decorate it with gum paste daisies because mine are just about ready to bloom and I thought it was seasonal, just like the raspberries.

I finally figured out how to make Italian Buttercream.  I think the problem I was running into was mainly a temperature problem.  Adding the butter too soon, while the meringue is still too warm, causes the butter to melt and the mixture to become liquid-y.  It can be fixed. however, by just cooling the mixture down a bit.  In my case, I made it too warm and then I made it too cold, but if you just keep mixing, it will come together eventually.  It just takes patience–which I don’t have a lot of, but I am learning.

daisy cake

daisy cake

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