Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Cake and First Birthday

My friend Katie's on turned 1 this last week and they had his first birthday party the first weekend in November. They did a Halloween themed party and she asked me to make the smash cake! She just wanted something simple, but I had all kinds of ideas running through my head about pumpkin smash cakes!

I spent some time on the Internet looking up different examples to see if my idea was even feasible. Then I hit up Michael's to look for different pan options.

I didn't like any of the molds and I had it in my head that I really wanted to do a 3D cake. At Michael's I found small cake pans (6 inches maybe?) that would work.

I used a cake mix and cooked 4 different small cakes. I stacked 3 of them on top of each other (with frosting) in the middle and carved it into a ball shape. I wasn't sure about frosting it with all those crumbs, but I read about doing a "crumb coat" and tried it out. It worked!

As my crumb coat was setting (in the fridge) I started making the frosting colors.

When I first started frosting the cake, I was worried that it looked like a basketball. It really did. But I went back and pulled the spatula up in vertical lines to give it the grooved look of a pumpkin. Then I sprayed on orange food coloring spray on the lines to make them look more pronounced.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do about the stem. In the middle of cake making, I still didn't know what to do. I saw an idea online to use an ice cream cone...but we didn't have one of those. But I looked over on the counter and saw a mini cupcake we had and I cut the top off and stuck it on top!

To make the jack-o-lantern face I stuck some large tootsie rolls in the microwave on medium power for 15 seconds and rolled them flat with a rolling pin. Then I stuck them on with frosting on the back of them!

And here was the final pumpkin smash cake!

At the birthday party, Zander was a star! He stuck his hand right into the cake and was totally into it! It was so fun to see him enjoying his cake so much!

I loved being able to give him some of his bottle at the end of the night!

Happy First Birthday Zander!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Overheard in Preschool Part 2

My kiddos sure keep me entertained! I had to definitely post this one for Erin!


Me: "Next week there is no school! We will stay home for 9 days. Well, I will be here on Monday and Tuesday. I will meet with some of your parents!"

Random Students:
"What about mine?"

Student 1: "Will you meet with my mom and dad?"

Me: "No. Actually they didn't turn in the paper".

Student 1: "But my mom is pumping."

Me: "....Your mom is what?"

Student 1: "My mom is pumping. For my baby sister."

Me: "Oh. So that's why she couldn't turn in the paper?"

Student 1: "Yes........It takes a lot of time."

Student 2: "When my aunt had a baby she had a lot of milk right here! (pointing to stomach)"

Me: " let's sing about the days of the week..."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Chicken Stealer

Last week one day I made boneless skinless chicken breasts for dinner. They were marinated and breaded. Well....they were for Adam. Not me. Because I don't eat meat. I cut each one into two pieces so they would cook faster. So there were 4 pieces of meat.

Adam took two of them and put them on his plate and we ate dinner in the living room while watching TV. I know. I know. We do usually eat dinner while watching TV. It is our only time to watch our shows! When we have kids though? We shall eat dinner in the dining room or kitchen without the TV on. That was always the rule in my house growing up and I think it is a really good rule and prompts family time and conversation. But for now? We watch our shows.


When dinner was over, we went back into the kitchen to clean up. I looked in the pan and saw only one little piece of chicken. Where was the bigger piece?

"Did you eat three pieces", I asked. Adam said that he didn't think so, but then figured that he must have. Maybe two small pieces were stuck together and he didn't realize it?

So there we were looking quite perplexed.

And then we saw it.

Right there on the dining room floor.

The chicken!

That stupid cat climbed on the COUNTER (where I HATE her to be). Stole the chicken. Climbed down. Walked into the dining room. And was eating our chicken.

So Adam went to go find her. And then I yelled at her and she jumped down. And then I chased her around the house screaming at her.

It definitely helped.

Her or me? Probably me.

But we have not so much been getting along ever since.

AND we had to move our garbage can so it is not so easy for her to jump up on the counter. So now? It is totally INCONVENIENT for ME to throw things out in the kitchen.

I am not a good pet owner.

I like other people's animals. A lot. At their house.

Not mine.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Christmas Card Planning

I usually start thinking about Christmas cards in the summer. My mom and I pick a day and work on our design inspiration so we are all ready to go and ahead. Well, maybe that happened 1 or 2 years. Other times it was totally last minute. But in recent years, I was totally ahead of the game.

But this summer?

I was a just a bit busy.

So there was definitely no Christmas card planning.

But this Saturday will be it! I am going to figure out OUR Christmas cards (so exciting to say!). I want to design our card because that is what we always do, but I also want to include a photo somehow of our wedding...because I think that would be fun!

I was looking on Shutterfly and I'm thinking that I really like the 5x5 cards because they would fit nicer inside another homemade card. But I'm sure I could work with the 4 x 8 cards too!

I love how this one says "Joy" at the top. We could include 4 pictures from our wedding and a brief update at the bottom. I like the idea of including a little note about our year with the card.

This one also gives the opportunity write a couple little blurbs about the pictures. I really like the snowflakes on the black too!

And obviously this one strikes my fancy because it is black and white! Couldn't get much more perfect to go with a wedding picture than a black and white card!
So many choices! But I love all of the options to be able to include a cute and creative photo along with a homemade Christmas card. After Saturday I'll definitely have more of an idea about what I am going to do!

And bloggers, you can get 50 free photo cards too! Just click here to get the info!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

My Halloween in Pictures

I love Halloween.

Well I really love anything related to fall.

But Halloween is super fun. And I love Halloween decorations.

However, I DO NOT like gross scary creepy Halloween decorations.

I was so excited for Halloween this year because for the first time Adam and I have been able to spend it together! The last 3 years we have spent Halloween apart so we could both hand out candy at our respective houses. Although handing out candy at my house meant to like 3 kids. But they were 3 kids I was excited about! 4 years ago we actually DID spend Halloween together because we went on our third date on Halloween! I was also excited about Halloween this year with the hope of having more kids.

Adam never had a TON of kids at his house, but the house wasn't decorated and didn't look lived in. Now we have cute decorations and it looks much more presentable. Not so much like a real haunted house.

So here was my Halloween...

This is me all dressed up and ready at the door at 3:00 with my candy. I kept getting up to check the street because no kids were coming.

So I sat down to be productive and worked on my homework in my costume.

The doorbell rang, but it wasn't a real trick-or-treater. Just one of Adam's brothers coming to hang out!

Adam looking out the window.
But wait!
He sees some kids coming our way!

I got to hand out candy! very dorky fashion...I tallied the numbers of kids that came. There were about 19 kids that came. But only in like 5 groups.

The doorbell rang again and it was our nephew and another of Adam's brothers! He got a special treat bag I made up just for him. They were ghostbusters...obviously!

The very cool "Proton Pack" they made!
Overall, it was a very fun Halloween. I wish that we had more trick-or-treaters, but maybe with time we will get more as word gets out there are actually people living in our house and not ghosts!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Decorating My House

So we have been working like crazy to try to get our house feeling like a home. A couple of weeks ago my parents came over to help us do just that. People had been asking me, "Does it feel like home yet?" and I kept saying, "Not yet....probably will soon". I hadn't figured out what would make it feel like home. I thought time would help.

But after we got "stuff" up on the walls? It totally felt like home.

It was really amazing what a difference it made. We spent about 6 hours that day hanging and planning. Since then we have been slowing doing other things to make it feel more like home. Clearing off shelves. Unpacking boxes. Making it out own.

The Dining Room

The foyer from the dining room

The Foyer from the front door

The Living Room

The Living Room

The Living Room

More of the Living Room

"Stuff" on the shelves

Oops! Oh well. Too late.
You've seen it now.
The catch-all room.

The room that has virtually not been touched, except for the closet, is our master bedroom. We have a comforter set we bought about a year ago. And one coat of paint. But the paper is still on the floor, it needs to be painted, the bathroom needs to be completely done, and we need a bed and furniture. We have saved some money from our wedding for furniture when we get to that point. Right now we are sleeping on my full bed from college and a refinished dresser that was my mom's when she was a child!

I love looking at bedroom furniture.

I like dark wood.

I like more modern looking stuff with clean lines.

Then I saw some of these upholstered headboards!

I had never thought about an upholstered headboards before now. CSN Stores contacted me about doing a review for them after looking through their 200+ stores (trust me, I was on there forever!) I discovered THIS headboard. It wouldn't go in our room that we have planned. But seriously? I love me some red. I keep going back to that one!

Excuse me....I have to finish blogging so I can go back to CSN Stores and check out more stuff. There's like every category possible. Seriously.

I wrote this post in anticipation of an upcoming review post for CSN Stores.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Fall Gardening

We didn't have time this summer to do any gardening, but this fall we have made some time!

The biggest project was the Black Walnut tree next to the house. Adam and his brothers and his dad had been spending a lot of time telling me how useless Black Walnut trees are. They explained that they are toxic to the soil, the walnuts are disastrous, and it is just overall a terrible tree. I don't really like to get rid of trees, so I fought it for quite a while. But then as my tree was parked underneath it and got covered in grossness from the tree and I have to trip over the walnuts on the way to work....I finally agreed to let it go.

Adam and his brothers had at it and with the neighbors help, they notched the tree and took it right down. The stump is still there. And probably will be for a while. Do you see those roots???

The bad part of having the tree taken down. Adam found out about a week later that it was worth a ton of money.


Nice. Huh?

Toxic and terrible and useless. Huh?

Anyway, we learned that Black Walnut trees are a hot commodity. So if you have a Black Walnut tree? Don't let your husband and his brothers convince you that it needs to come down!

Do you know what else comes with fall? Millions and millions and millions of leaves. The property is covered in them. So I thought you needed a picture.

Two weekends ago I spent some time planting fall mums and some spring bulbs. I love to have pretty plants, but we have so much work to do to get the house ready to be landscaped that there isn't too much we can do now. We have a lot that needs to be torn up and soil put down. We aren't in a position to do it yet this fall. But we had a spot in front of the house where I cut down some of the bushes that I thought would work for some mums and bulbs. I am so excited that we have some pretty color now! And we will have other color in the spring!

With lots of advice from Amy I figured out where to plant the mums and bulbs, how to use peat moss, and what else to do to lay them all out. Hopefully they are pretty in the spring!