Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas decor....

Black Friday for most people means waiting in line in the freezing cold at 2 am....just to get a percentage off of the hottest toys and electronics.

There is nothing in the world that could be discounted enough for me to get out in that madness. I value my personal space and don't really feel like going to jail right after Thanksgiving. 

Instead, while my husband was sleeping off his graveyard shift, the kids and I put up some Christmas decorations in the house. 

YAY for the holidays! I am excited to hit up the stores to get some new ribbon and wrapping paper and wrap up the gifts while the kiddos are at school this week!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Personalized Wrapping

Last night, I started wrapping a few little Christmas presents for the kiddos in our family. 

This year, I am wanting to do something a bit different. My goal is to wrap presents in solid color paper, use all different types of ribbon, and make gift tags using pictures of the recipient. 

I started with my two baby cousins, Isla and Caroline, and printed out cute pictures of them. Then I used green paper to fold and cut a little picture frame....glued the picture on the inside, and wrote our names on the back of the picture. In my craft closet, I found 3 types of ribbon so I started with a cute candy cane pattern for Isla's and a sparkly pattern for Caroline's. 

They turned out so cute...especially since the kiddos are so cute. I can't wait to do this with all of the presents I wrap....although 2 presents in, I am almost out of paper and ribbon. Darn....I guess that means I have to go shopping!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

I am thankful for each and every blessing in my life!!!!!!

And I am thankful for the TEXANS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope your day is filled with family, food, and fun!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Homemade penguin costume for school program

The 2nd graders at our school always put on our holiday program and this year, it is all about penguins. This means that the PTO and the music teacher have to come up with some quick and easy costumes for about 80 kiddos to wear (my kiddo included). 

The children will wear solid black, long sleeved shirts and jeans, and will wear a penguin bib and hat...custom made by yours truly and 7 other PTO moms. A huge thanks to Cindy, Jennifer, Denise, Cassandra, Crystal, Sonya, and Lupe for coming over this morning and putting almost 80 of these together in true assembly line style. 

We had a hat station and a body station....with one person cutting, one person folding, one person gluing, one person tracing, one person hole was an adventure! I made some blueberry muffins and a breakfast casserole and Denise brought some drinks. If you offer food...they will come to help!! That's my theory at least. 

Here is what they look like....

The bodies are made of white poster board (two bodies from one sheet) and the bows are simply colored paper, accordion folded, stapled, sprayed with Diamond Dust glitter spray, and hot glued onto the poster board. The hats are black card stock and various colored paper glued together, and then a handwriting strip stapled to the ends. these will be given to the teachers to staple together as they fit each child's head. 

I can't wait to see how my cute little penguin looks in this costume!!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Disney Cruise PAID IN FULL!!!!

Congratulations to my hubs for working extra shifts, and congratulations to me for cutting back and saving money in places so we could pay off our Disney Cruise, ONE MONTH EARLY!!!! 

Our full payment was due on December 24, but we paid it off this weekend :)

Now it really feels real! We are now in the "saving for spending money" phase, which is going well because I have been putting little bits of money back each time I found some extra. We have been saving since August and are more than halfway to our goal. I have full confidence that we will meet our goal hopefully by early February. 

Lookie what I saw yesterday...

My dad and I were delivering the wedding cakes and cupcakes in Galveston and drove right past the port!!!!!

So now I am a pinning fool. I have already made a bunch of crafts for the trip but there is always time to do more right....

Thus far, I have made myself a headband, family water bottles, the boys' lanyards, Jansen a shirt, our fish extender, and some Mickey Mouse glow sticks. (Click on the links to see the finished products).

This cruise is going to be a whole polka dot theme for me. I am a HUGE lover of polka dots so this is perfect!!! 

For some good cruise ideas, check out my Disney Cruise Pinterest Board.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Calla Lily and Hydrangea Wedding Cake and Cupcakes

Well, I am home. This was so nerve-racking for me to make all of these for the wedding and then travel about an hour away to deliver and set it up.

All in all, it turned out beautiful. If it were my wedding, I would have loved it.

So here is what I made....
vanilla with almond buttercream

chocolate with peanut butter buttercream

And here it is set up at the reception hall....

I am so glad it is over. I hope they had a beautiful wedding...from what I saw it was gorgeous.

Here are some of the professional pics from the wedding photographer:

Linking to: Keeping it Simple

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wedding cupcake sneak peek....

Tomorrow is the wedding!

I have baked all day long. My back hurts, my legs hurt, my neck hurts, and my feet hurt. All in all, the vanilla almond cupcakes are finished and the cake is finished (all but the flowers).

I am going to bake the other 4 dozen chocolate cupcakes tomorrow morning, and ice and decorate them after that. Thank goodness the icing is complete!!! One less thing to do tomorrow. The plan is to put the flowers on the cake once I get there. No risking the destruction of the flowers!

So here is the sneak peek of the vanilla almond cupcakes with gum paste calla lilies. 

And with that, I will hit the hay. Full pictures to come tomorrow when everything is set up. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Student Representative Speech...

Well, tomorrow is the day. Caleb has been waiting for this day for 2 weeks now. 

Earlier in the week, he wrote a speech on why he would make a good 4th grade CHICKEN Club Representative. He read it to me several times, and then last night read it to my husband and I. 

While I encouraged him to look up occasionally while reading, my husband gave him the best, concrete suggestion. "Look at your friends when you get to the end of the sentence."

Today, I asked him if I could video him while he practiced the last time and while he was not super excited to be videoed, he agreed. 

I am so proud of his efforts! This is something that I would never do and yet he seems fearless. I think it is because he doesn't realize that he should be nervous! Autism/Aspergers is cool that way. Of course, I hope he wins because it would do amazing things to help his development and social skills, but if he doesn't....I am still incredibly proud of his fearlessness, honesty, effort, and progress!

Vote for Caleb!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Holidays...they are a-comin'

It's November, folks. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, Black Friday ads are coming out, and Christmas is oh so close!

There are many projects that I will be working on in the upcoming weeks, but the first one that I am just a bit stressed about is that I agreed to make cupcakes for a former co-worker's wedding for the 17th. I am not stressed about the baking and decorating of it all....I am prepared with the gumpaste hydrangea and calla lilies already finished :) And after church, I will get the rest of the supplies to bake chocolate with peanut butter buttercream, vanilla with almond buttercream, and strawberry with cream cheese buttercream cupcakes. The delivery is what is giving me a bit of a pit in my stomach. The venue is an hour away...needless to say....I am praying everything makes it in one piece. 

Coming up next week, we are making 80 penguin costumes for our 2nd graders at school for the holiday program. 

Then I will headed to a friend's school to be on a panel for her Interpersonal Communication class, to give my 2 cents on living with a special needs child. 

Then I will be baking up a storm for Thanksgiving!!!!!

And finally, the day after begins Christmas decorations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have several projects I want to complete this Christmas. So much fun. 

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Elementary school election poster....

So he did it. My Caleb came up with some reasons why he would like to be a CHICKEN Club representative and made a poster. Here he is in action:
Typing out the reasons he wants to be a representative

Gluing down letters...very stressful when they kept curling up after he glued them...hence the "weights"

It's beginning to come together....

He was very proud of the finished product

Caleb's election poster

No one can say he doesn't have school spirit!!! Go Polk Pandas. LOL

So now, he just has to write a speech. He is hot and cold on this. One day he really wants to talk in front of his friends, and the next he doesn't. All I can do is encourage him and help him practice. I am proud of him for trying!!!

Vote for Caleb: CHICKEN Club Representative!

My oldest son, Caleb is in the 4th grade this year. 

Our school district divides elementary into K-4th, middle into 5th-8th, and high school 9th-12th. I am AMAZED that this is the final year of elementary school for Caleb. He is an unbelievable child: complicated, loving, smart, awkward, sweet, and Autistic. He still has many obstacles. He struggles in reading comprehension, in his verbal skills, eye contact, empathy, and has some anxiety. Each year he progresses, and with 3rd grade being so devastating for him, we worried all summer about 4th grade. To our surprise, he is doing really well this year. His grades are better, he is maturing a bit, he has several school friends, and he is more aware. He has to work twice as hard to accomplish things that come naturally to the average kid. 

He is now a member of the CHICKEN Club, a club for 4th graders that make healthy choices and say NO to drugs. He was excited to sign his pledge card and receive his membership shirt. Yesterday a note came home about an election for club representatives. It is for students with good grades and conduct, and those kids would be helping with the recycling, setting up chairs for assemblies, greeting guest speakers, and various other school projects. He looked at it and said, "Mom I want to do this."

I was really surprised. But once I asked him why, he couldn't come up with an answer. He is interested but doesn't know why. He thinks he would make a good representative, but cannot give any reasons. I have mixed emotions about this. 

First, I always want to encourage my child, challenge him, motivate him, and let him know with hard work he can be ANYTHING he wants to be. Second, my mind is saying he is not ready for this. He won't win. 

Instead of telling him either of these things, I told him he would have to make a poster and write and give a speech. I told him this would teach him so many valuable things: confidence, verbal communication skills, eye contact, competition. I also told him I would help him in any way I could. 

To help him learn more about himself and his skills, I am going to write down a list of characteristics and have him circle 4. We will discuss what each characteristic means and give examples. Then he can choose the ones he would like to include on his poster as reasons to vote for him as representative for the CHICKEN Club. 

I am proud of my son for taking this leap. I am hesitant because I am his mom, and I know his limitations, but I never want to underestimate him. If he wants it and works hard for it, he can do it! More to come as he makes his poster and writes his speech.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Operation Christmas Child...

It's that time of year again. Even though it is only the first week of November, our minds are quickly shifting to Christmastime. Thankfully, almost all of our gift shopping is done. 

Every year, we put together a few boxes for some children oversees who are less fortunate than we are. I often forget, in the middle of our budgets, spending, stretching, and buying how blessed we are. We are incredibly blessed to have our family, health, and happiness. My boys will each choose a boy or a girl of a certain age, and will donate some of their money to help fill a box with goodies. 

While I was at the store today picking up supplies for our school movie night tonight, I picked up some goodies to fill a box for a girl, aged 5-9. I love shopping for girls since I usually only shop for boys. Here is what I was able to get for her for about $10:

  • a journal
  • a set of cute mechanical pencils
  • fancy erasers
  • glow necklaces
  • fancy stickers
  • a stuffed unicorn
  • lip gloss

It's not too late to pack a shoe box for a child this Christmas. Here is the link to the Samaritan's Purse website....we will be paying online to ship so that we can track our packages. Last year, they all went to Mexico. We are hoping they go somewhere overseas this year. 

Peppered bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos...

My husband is on a no/low carb diet. I shudder to even type that because my love for carbs extends further than just breads and potatoes. Carbs complete me. We are soul mates. Being on a low carb diet turns me into the Wicked Witch of the West for sure. 

When my husband announced that he was going to be on this diet again, I immediately bristled. That means an increase in our grocery budget. That means extra grease. That means listening to him gripe about all the things that we are eating that he cannot. Bright side? I don't have to cook that much for him. 

He likes steaks and grilling. I do not grill. But he is getting a little tired of those things. So yesterday I felt like being nice and made him some quick stuffed peppers for dinner.

Here's how I did it:

  • 8 oz of softened cream cheese
  • 10-20 jalapenos
  • bacon
  • toothpicks
Wash the jalapenos and dry them off well.

Using a knife, cut the stem off the top of each jalapeno and then cut each in half lengthwise.

Using a spoon, scoop out the insides and discard. Make sure not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth while scooping since the seeds are what gives the jalapeno it's heat. Your face will be on fire!

Fill each half with cream cheese. This would be a good time to add some other flavors to your cream cheese. You could add diced shrimp, bacon, etc...but I just used regular old cream cheese. 

Cut your bacon into thirds. I used peppered bacon because the hubs likes it the best.

Wrap each jalapeno half with a small slice of bacon and secure with a toothpick. 

Place on a broiling pan and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, and then broil on high for 5 minutes to help crisp the bacon. 

Quick, easy, and low carb...the hubs loved them! They were pretty tasty if I do say so myself. Next time I am going to add popcorn sized shrimp to them. Yummy!!!