Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall Treats

The other day I was doing a google image search trying to find some cute and yummy ideas for fall desserts. I love fall and anything pumpkin-y, cinnamin-y, and I came accross this picture...

The caption said "delicious 2-ingredient pumkin cake" and I was all in.

The two ingredients:
box of yellow cake mix
can of pumpkin

When my Aunt Kimmy did weight watchers, she gave us the recipe for some muffins that are 1 point a piece using either a chocolate cake mix or spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin, so I am no strager to this idea, but yellow cake? How come I never thought of that? Because lets be honest... what's not to love about yellow cake.

So, I made it last night. The recipe used an apple cider glaze, but since I don't regularly have apple cider in my house, I just made a cream cheese glaze.

I sneaked a slice before I headed out the door for school, and it was fabulous. I don't know if you've ever made anything like this, but the can of pumpkin makes it so moist, and you can't get easier than 2 ingredients.

And since we're on the subject of yellow cake and how it makes everything better, if you ever need a quick and easy dessert, dump a yellow cake mix over a can of pie filling, canned peaches, jar of applsauce, (you get the idea) cut up a stick of butter and put that on top, and then bake it until it's golden brown and serve with icecream.

Oh, and while searching the food network I came accross two blogs of contestants that have been on Ultimate Recipe Showdown, and they are fabulous so I tought I would share...


Today is the first day of fall...
it is September 22nd...
and the forecast says it's supposed to be 90 degrees today...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Did you know...

that this week is National Cupcake Week?

Well, you know I did.

Of course I had to participate and make cupcakes. At first I thought I would make your typical 'cupcake-looking' cupcakes...

but then I had another thought thanks to my sister-in-law, Brooke. I made 'Better than sex' cupcakes... and they were fabulous. I limited myself to one, but oh, how I wanted another...

You start with a chocolate cupcake... I did dark chocolate. While they are cooking, warm a can of sweetened condensed milk and caramel ice cream topping (mixed together) on the stove over low heat. WHen the cupcakes come out of the oven and are still hot, poke holes in them and pour your caramel mixture over them so it can soak in. Then sprinkle with heath bar so it kind of melts a little bit too. When they are cool, top with cream cheese frosting and some more heath bar bits.

Go for it, you'll thank me. It is National Cupcake Week, afterall.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

They're here!

There are three food items that I wait all year to be able to buy because they are seasonal products. Two of them come out in the fall and when I got out of class tonight and ran to Walmart to get milk, guess what they had?...


And these:

And did I leave the store with both of them?


The third thing I wait for, you'll have for too, because it comes out at Christmas!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Four hours down...

One -hundred-eighty-six to go!

I had my first day (night) of class last night. I was really excited and as soon as I walked into the building I got nervous like I was 18 again and walking into a college class for the first time. But then as soon as I walked into the classroom and felt older than many of the students, my nervousness went away.

It was funny to see the difference between those studensts that were 18-19 years old and those of us tha were older. We were the dorks asking and answering questions and they were the ones looking at the clock praying for it to be 10:00 already. Four hours a night, every single night of the week (except Friday) will get a little tiring, I think, but I'm so excited to be there.

My teacher had us ago around the room last night (20 students) and tell a little about ourselves and why we were there. It was fun to hear everyone's stories and not be the self-concious 18 year old that was worried about what everyone was thinking of me.

I'm already looking forward to tonight and all that still have to learn!

And I have to thank my mom and dad who are so supportive of my going back to school, and picking up the tab. Thank you both! I love you!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What did you do Friday night?

I spent mine making these...

34 72-hour kits that were all bought at the preparedness fair we had on Saturday at church.

And orders for 32 more!

Like I don't have anything else going on right now! :)

It's because I'm awesome :)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We Remember...

I woke up this morning very mindful of the fact that today was the anniversary of 9/11. I still have a hard time even thinking about that day and the weeks that followed without becoming very emotional.

I had my tonsils out on the early morning of September 11, 2001. My mom still talks about being in the waiting room of the surgery center watching the news with the one other man in the waiting room. Some sort of special alert came on the TV when the first tower had been hit talking about this freak accident in which a plane hit the tower, and as my mom and this man were watching, they saw the second plane fly and crash into the second tower. She siad they were glued to the TV and couldn't even believe what they were seeing.

I remember my mom coming into the recovery room as I was waking up telling me about what had happened. I was so groggy and out of it that I didn't understand, much less comprehend what she was talking about.

As I was at home laying on the couch for the next 2-3 weeks (I do not recommend having your tonsils taken out as an adult - it's horrible) I was enveloped 24 hours a day in the tragedy that was 9/11. I became depressed, as all I saw hour after hour were these horrible images of disaster that I could not take my eyes off of. Once my recovery process was over, I was so touched at the overwhelming abundance of patriotism all around me. Flags were everywhere, everyone loved everyone, no matter our race, religion... we were all Americans, and we were proud!!! How quickly those feelings seemed to fade, but I will tell you that I am proud every single day to be an American, and to be free.

I was a part of a preparedness fair we had today at church, and how happy I was that we started the morning in the chapel with a tribute in remebrance of 9/11. I, of course, was moved to tears as I saw images again that will forever be in my memory, but how proud I was to stand with my hand on my heart and say The Pledge of Allegiance.

I called my mom a couple years ago on July 4th. It was a holiday that we weren't spending together that year for some reason and I old her I was sad that we weren't together on the holiday. She told me that we lived in a free country, so every day was a holiday. I have never forgotten that. I am grateful to her for instilling such a sense of patriotism in me and a gratitude to those that have given their lives so I can live free.

"I'm proud to be an American
Where at least I know I'm free
And I won't forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I'll gladly stand up next to you
And defend her still today
There ain't no doubt I love this land
God bless the USA"

I remember!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Baby Jail

Because I have a naughty girl who makes messes like this...

And this...

And because she was sleeping places like here...

and here...

She got sent to baby jail...

And after the first couple times, now she loves it!!!

And now I can take a shower or put her down for a nap without my house or her room being utterly destroyed. It's fantastic!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jackson's "first day of school"

Jackson has been so excited to start school, especially since we started walking down to the bus stop in the morning with our neighbor, Jacob, who started Kindergarten this year.

He tells us that he goes to a pretend school because you ride the bus to real school and ride in the car to pretend school. I guess that means he'll be riding the bus next year and I won't have to drive him. Sounds like a sweet deal to me!

Jackson was so excited to put on his back-pack. He even wore it on his back in the car to and from school. We put his folder in his back-pack and he was ready to go...

Recently when I've gone to take Jackson's picture, he cocks his head to the side and throws up a "west-side" gesture like he's living the thug-life. I have no idea where this came from, but I think it's hilarious!

My big boy!!!

Dana, who has her degree in Early Childhood Education has made our schedule for the year, and school is at her house this week. Yesterday, she spent the time the boys were at her house having them get to know each other and to recognize their own and each other's names. The played name games, matched each others oictures to their names. etc. Jackson came home with a picture of himself and his name that he colored. He has never so animatedly told me about his day and all that he did. What he had for snack, for lunch. his new friends names and things they like. I am so excited to have this opportunity for him and for me!!!

Tomorrow he will go back to Dana's, and he will bring his own lunch. I took him to Aldi, where he picked out ham and cheese for a sandwich, strawberries, friutsnacks, chocolate pudding and juiceboxes. He can't wait to bring his Star Wars lunbox to school and show his friends!

Trying to be organized...

And STAY organized!!!

With Jackson starting school and me starting school, life is different around here. In an effort to use our time at home more efficiently, and give my kids some responsibility I made some house rules and chore charts. My sister-in-law, Brittany, who puts me to shame when it comes to organization and keeping her house perfectly clean at all times has been my inspiration...
I printed some pictures off the interent for our house rules and laminated it and put it on the fridge nest to our calendar. Every morning we go over the rules and every time someone starts to break one all I say is, "whats our rule" and it nips it in the bud. Now it's only been three days since I made the chart, but it's having the desired effect so far.

I know my kids are young, but they are old enough to understand that there are certain things they can do and need to do. Once again, Brittany made some adorable chore charts that are framed and everything. Mine are just laminated and on the fridge, but the kids love them. Since they can't read, I once again printed pictures off the internet. They love doing their chores and marking them off with a dry-erase marker. his morning Jackson even reminded me that he needed to put away his toys before we left. Who knew?!

Jackson picked a picture from Star Wars to put on his chore chart. His chore are to make his bed, put away his toys, brush his teeth and get dressed. I help him make his bed and I pick out his clothes, but he does the rest. Caroline wanted a baby on her chore chart and her chores are to put away her toys, brush her teeth and get dressed. I have to help her with everything, but she does understand that it needs to be done and she understands that she gets to mark it off when its done.

It has been wonderful to go to bed every night to a clean house, wake up to a clean house and come home to a house that is clean because it was left clean when we walked out the door. I think it will help us all cope better with the changes taking place in our lives if our time at home is more structured. I know it works for me!

Caroline's Arm

So, about a month ago while vising the zoo (which we do frequently) Caroline severely burned her arm. We were wlaking toward the parking lot after leaving the zoo and the kids (including two friends we had brought) were playing aroung and very interested in one of the golfcart/ATVs that the zoo-workers drive. After repeatedly telling them all to leave it alone, Caroline, of course, ran back to it and fell, catching her arm on the exposed muffler on the back. It wasn't until the screaming that I realized it was still hot and she had burned herself. I was not prepared however, for the way it looked when I got to her. The oly way I can describe it is that simply looked like melted saran wrap or something peeling off her arm. Looking back at it now, I probablt would have run back into the zoo where I'm sure they have a nurse's station or something, but all I could think to do was snatch her up and get her out of there as soon as possible. I poured a bottle of water on it and immediately drove to CVS where I bought burn spray, ointment, and gauze, etc. My teeny girl was such a trooper and has made it through even better than I (and the doctor) expected.

this is a few days after it happened.

a week or two

another week

I took this picture just today. It's just barely pink, and the doctor thinks there won't even be a scar. I'm not sure if it a third degree burn, but it was second degree, atleast. I'm amazed at how good it looks and how she rarely acted as if it even bothered her, My brave girl!!!

I'm Getting Paid for this!

So, one good thing that has come form all the time I spend (waste) on Facebook is that I have gotten some business making cakes. It's been alot of fun, and the orders just keep coming! Here are the cakes I have most recently been paid to make...

This is the Cookie Monster cake I made for my nephew, Dylan's, first birthday. It was vanilla cake with chocolate chip filling (it had to be chocolate chip for Cookie Monster :) )

Of course I didn't paid for this one since it was Caroline's birthday cake, but I wanted to show it off :) It was white cake (dyed pink, of course)

I made two of these sheet cakes for a wedding reception. They were chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse filling with strawberries. She sliced them and topped each piece with a strawberry.

This was just a plain vanilla cake with fabulous decorations. I made this for my neighbor I had growing up. It was so fun to re-connect with them over Facebook (and cake.)

This is an army cake I made for a 9-year-old's birthday, It was vanilla and chocolate cake , swirled together so it kind of looked like camoflouge.

A "Team Carlisle" cake I did for a birthday. Layers of vanilla and chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling.

I have to say that the Carolina cakes have been very popular. Are we really surprised?! This was white cake that I dyed blue and has white chocolate mousse filling.

I only wish I had a bigger kitchen and an industrial-sizsed kitchen Aid mixer. Maybe one day :)

Caroline's Pink Party

We've waited for this day all year... now it's two weeks away - it's practically here
Our sweet Caroline is turning 2, so we had to decide what we wanted to do
She's a teeny girl who's so pretty in pink - that made us think...
Let's have a pink party with pink everything - pink hats, pink balloons, pink cake and ice cream
We'd love for you to come to Papa and Gree-ma Howard's house; and don't forget to wear pink - your pants, shoes or your blouse.
That is what Caroline's invitation to her pink party said.
When Caroline turned 1, we barely had a cake so I really wanted to do more for this birthday. It was still just family, but we did it up a little more. The "Dollar Tree" helped me throw a great pink party... we literally had pink everything!
The pink snacks... the cake of course, pink marshmallows, pink iced animal cookies, pink sugar wafer cookies, pink whoppers and pink punch

pink decorations

Our pink waffle bar... pink waffle batter, homemade pink butter, strawberries, homemade pink whipped cream and pink sprinkles, Eaten of course on pink plates, with pink silverware with pink napkins and pink cups!

Caroline, Amy and me

had everyone that wore pink take a picture together

My beautiful mom and me

Amy, Kasey and me. Somehow Kasey missed the pink memo :)

Your fabulous cake decorator

blowing out the candles

My birthday girl!!!
I'm not sure how I can ever top that party, but it will be fun to try! :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turning over a new leaf...

I realize that it has been about three months since the last time I blogged. Nobody proabaly even rads this anymore, but I have mdecided that blogging is really a good thing for me to do and I want to get back to it. I think it is a good release for me and a better way to document our lives than just uploading pictures to Facebook. I have really spent alot of time in the last week organizing and cleaning the house, developing some house rules, helping the kids by making chore charts and helping them with the things that I want them to do every day. I realize that we need to use our time at home more efficiently than we have been.
There is alot going on at our house right now - alot of big changes. First, I am starting school next week... a 3-month course to get my CNA certification. It is going to turn our lives upside-down for a few months, but I am really, really excited about it. I will go to class four nights a week for 4 hours a night. I am one who really needs my sleep, and I just hope I know what I'm getting into. I would really like to work in a hospital when I'm done. I really want to be the best mom I can , and sometimes I feel like I'm not as good at it as I want to be. I really hope that doing something for me will help me in the most important job I have... a mom. My cake business and also really started. I have had many orders in the last couple weeks and more coming in all the time. I am really having a great time, and am happy to be making a little money while I'm at it.
Jackson started "Friendship School" today. Three other moms and I will rotate weeks having pre-shool at our house for four 4-year-old-boys. What's really funny is that the elementary school he will go to is Friendship Elementary. We are all in the situation where we can't exactly afford pre-school, and I feel very lucky to be a part of this. It is two mornings a week for three hours. Jackson had such a great time today... he has been talking about his new friends, Silas, Calvin and Rio all day. He brought a back-pack and a folder and came home with papers in his folder today... how fun. It means Driving to and from Greensboro twice a week, which means putting alot more gas in my car than I'm used to, but we're going to make it work. I know how important this is for Jackson and for me. He is my big boy and is so grown up.
Caroline just had her second birthday. She is my big lady. She is a teeny, smart, sassy, sweet, naughty girl. She is full of energy and loves her "Jack Jack." Anyone who is around her loves her, but also can't believe how naughty she is. We love her so much and can't believe how big she is.
I have pictures of Jackon's first day of school, Caroline's birthday and my cakes that I will post tomorrow. Just wanted to let everyone know We're alive around here and to stay posted.