Merry Christmas

Hello Friends!  I hope that you have all enjoyed the holidays as much as I have this year!  I know I've been lazy about updating this blog (if there ever was any doubt, my Dad reminds me regularly); but things have been busy.  I know that's not a good excuse of course.  Apologies aside... here's how my Christmas has shaped up so far.

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!!!
First you need to know that I am super traditional when it comes to celebrating holidays.  I love to be surrounded by family and familiar things.  So now that the boys are truly BOYS and not just babies, I knew that it was time to start our own family traditions.  I made a list (and checked it twice, of course), and here's what I've been doing...

Moving that silly "Elf on the Shelf" every night for the past month (well, almost every night - I forgot twice, which led to some curious morning conversations with Little Guy....

Listening to Orson Welles' "A Christmas Carol" on-line while frosting sugar cookies in the shape of snowmen and stars...

Singing old favorite Christmas songs at church on Christmas Eve.  There's not much that can compare to singing Silent Night by candle light...

Playing classic carols on Pandora all day, every day... and so you know - my favorites are the oldies.  If Dean or Frank or Bing didn't sing it... it won't be on my play list...

Helping Little Guy select just the right cookies and carrots to leave for Santa...

Reading "The Night Before Christmas" on the actual night before Christmas to my adorable boys...

Being "Santa" with Hubby late on Christmas Eve...

Waking at the crack of dawn to watch squealing boys open the gifts they found under the tree...

Savoring a yummy Christmas dinner of pot roast, potatoes, carrots and fluffy yeast rolls (all made by the most awesome husband ever)...

Watching "A Christmas Story" with Hubby while the boys played with their new toys...

Tucking in two tired sweet little fellas into their warm beds after a lovely (dare I say perfect) holiday...

Remembering the real reason for this blessed day...

the REASON for the season...



My house is always full of boy noise.  From early in the morning till late at night there is the constant hum of trains and honking horns and 'vroom vroom'... not to mention belches and songs about bugs.  Now that Baby Boy is mobile, and learning that he also has a voice - the noises include his happy squeals and irate growls (depending on who has the toy he wants). 

Sometimes, I need just a few moments of quiet. 

Today I carved out some "Me" time in the form of dishwashing the old-fashioned way.  We usually rely on the dishwasher to do our dirty work (pun intended), but recently we found that our model was on a large recall.  Since the issue that initiated the recall is FIRE related (and we're not big fans of fire); we've determined that the dishwasher is off limits until we can schedule the repair.

So, this afternoon I filled the sinks with hot water: one side soapy, one side for rinsing.  I pulled on my blue rubber kitchen gloves.  I cranked Pandora (my favorite Jimmy Durante station fit my mood perfectly) and then I started.  I adore the feeling of accomplishment that comes with something so basic as cleaning, and there are few types of house cleaning which so quickly show results.

Dirty mug goes in the soapy water... comes out sparkly clean.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Bliss.

With each plate and fork and sippy cup, the boy noise started to fade into the background a little.  It was replaced by a calm that I rarely feel these days.  The moments were few, but they served as a re-charge of sorts.  It was exactly what I needed.

Before long, the dishes were done, my gloves were laid out to dry and I was wiping down counters when my husband walked in and said, "Wow. It's 1950 in here."  Right behind him came a blur of little boy activity and excitment. 

With my "me time" effectively over and normalcy now restored - I turned off Jimmy Durante and embraced the noisy fellows that make my life so very amazing (even if I do need a break now and then).


Not So Magic Kingdom

Recently, out of the blue, our Little Guy asked me, “Can we go to Disney World?”

I know that most parents get just as excited as their kiddos do when they hear mention of the Magic Kingdom. 

Me?  Not so much. 

Why, you ask?  Why does the ‘greatest place on Earth’ seem anything BUT great to me?   It’s simple really – it was after a day of fun and Mickey Mouse that I experienced the single most traumatic event of my life. 

Indulge me, if you will, while I venture back to 1991.  I was seventeen, enjoying some quality time on a lovely family vacation with Mom, Dad, and my baby brother (he was 8 years old at the time).   We had driven the family mini-van from our little town in the Midwest to Orlando.  On our way, we’d made stops at my grandma’s house in Kentucky and Savannah Georgia for some sightseeing.  We were in high spirits when we reached Disney World, fully ready for a day of fun.  We rode rides, ate cotton candy, watched a show, bought souvenirs and all the other stuff that visitors do there…

Evening was approaching and rather suddenly things began to change.  My Mom has struggled with severe allergies for years, and on this particular day she started to have a reaction to one of the many tropical flowers that were planted everywhere.  She was weak and Dad felt he needed to stay with her.  He thrust the keys my way, reminded me how to get to the van and instructed me to get the van and come right back.  I jogged away in the direction he had shown me and after several minutes I found the van. 

Now, prior to this day I had only ever driven in our small town of approximately 7,000.  I’d never driven on an interstate or dealt with heavy traffic at all.  It seemed like it would be no big deal though, after all my task was to drive from our lot to the spot near the entrance where my family waited.  “I can handle this,” I thought to myself.

At first it was even fun.  I felt grown-up and felt sure that I’d been given more responsibility than I’d ever known before.  Also, I knew that doing this chore was helping my family and that made me feel good.  So there I was driving through our lot toward the park – when I came upon my first obstacle.  The guys at the little booth that connected our lot to the next one would not let me pass.  I began to feel nervous, but being an industrious gal – I figured there would have to be another way around and so I went the other way.  Once in the next lot, I was again not allowed to go closer to the park – only farther away.  

Within minutes I found myself where no small town girl with zero city driving experience should be – the crazy busy freeway in front of Disney World.

To say I was scared would maybe be the biggest understatement of all time.  I was petrified.  This was before the days of cell phones.  I had no way to contact my parents to let them know where I was.  I was bawling like a baby when I saw the next Disney World exit and took it.  This time (after being told ‘no’ by yet another parking lot attendant) I simply parked and started to run.  I ran for what felt like forever, tears streaming down my face. 

I found my folks.  Mom was feeling worse - not better, and after hearing my story, Dad was angry to say the least… not at me, but at the guys who wouldn’t let me through. 

“They’ll let ME through,” he said with a determined expression.

To this day I don’t know what he said to them, but they did let him through.  He helped Mom into the car and then made sure my brother and I were also loaded and secured.  The car was quiet for a while.  We were all thinking about what had happened, and thankfully what didn’t.  From that day on, my thoughts of Disney World have always been dark - except for when I think of my Dad rescuing me.

I suppose the truth is that although that day was scary, it was also a day filled with comfort and safety – the comfort and safety that only a loving and protective father can give.  And I have to admit it was fun to meet Mickey Mouse and see the Country Bears…..

So, maybe we will do Disney World someday.  We’ll see.  I just know that if we do go, I’m not driving.


Look Who's FOUR!

Happy Birthday to our Little Guy - the very first person to ever call me Mama!  I just adore this kiddo.  He's funny and smart and makes me laugh more than I ever thought would be possible.

He's four today - and he's sure that this means he's now able to stay up late at night and maybe 'get a job'.  I'm not ready for him to join the workforce just yet, but we might be able to negotiate on bedtime.

Today was fun - filled with all the wonderful little things that make a young boy happy.  And any time this particular young boy is happy... Mom and Dad are happy too!

Happy Birthday to our sweet Little Guy!!  We love you so much!!!  Hoping all your wishes come true.  :)


First Birthday

Today marks our Baby Boy’s first birthday!

I can’t believe a year has passed!  Where can the time have gone?  It seems like just yesterday, I was writing THIS to the tiny baby still snuggled in my belly. 

Now he’s a great big boy with a great big personality.  He’s silly and clever and fun. He loves playing with his big brother and making us smile.  He is easily the most cuddly and lovable daily 4am wake-up call a Mom could ever hope for.  His little smile melts my heart and his giggle makes every day brighter. 

It’s true that he has a temper, but he’s my sweetie; and he will always be my Baby – even when we’re both old and grey.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy!!!  We love you so much!! :)


One Crazy Summer

Holy Busy Summer Batman!  I can’t even begin to tell you how nuts it’s been around here.  I won’t bore you with every minute detail, but I will give you a quick glimpse of the stuff that’s been keeping me away from my blog….
  • A baby who doesn’t realize he’s a baby… Baby Boy will be ONE next week,but he thinks he’s much bigger.  He gets terribly aggravated when he fails at anything he tries (translation: anything he sees his big brother do), but he never stops trying.   Actually he just never stops moving, period.  I’d forgotten how exhausting it can be to chase a determined baby who is fully mobile, and who loves nothing more than to test his boundaries.
  • A big boy who thinks he’s a teenager….  For some reason Little Guy thinks that turning four (his birthday is also this month) will flip some magic switch that changes all the rules.  He is convinced that four year olds never have to sleep and that they get to eat cookies for breakfast and wear pajamas to school.  He’s wrong of course, but he’s not easily convinced that this is the case.  We’re especially having trouble with bedtime.  He just doesn’t want to go to sleep – ever.
  • A day job that is going into overdrive….. The office is so busy; I’ve even had to work some extra hours at home lately, which is certainly not ideal.  Hopefully the extra hours are only a passing phase and not the new normal.
  • A party to plan… We’re having a joint birthday celebration for our fellas. We’re doing it at our house and of course that requires a whole different level of house cleaning than we usually get by with.  Last night it was washing windows and laundering drapes.  Tonight it will be cobweb removal and dusting the shelves that usually get neglected.  Not sure what tomorrow will hold, but I know it will probably require Clorox wipes, a scrub brush or both. 
  • Presents to make…. This I’m almost done with (thankfully).  I did publish a couple quickie blog posts last month showing the stuffed creatures I’ve made for the boys.  I’m now working on a little wooden house for part of Little Guy’s birthday present – it is a joint gift from my Dad and I, and requires a post of its own, which you’ll see later in July….
And I’ll close with a few recent pictures. Enjoy & meet me here again soon – very soon, I promise!
Baby Boy stealing a peek at Big Brother's favorite book

Little Guy "helping" his Dad with the crossword

Four Generations:  My Mom, My maternal Grandma, myself and the boys. 
This one is actually from May, but hadn't posted it yet.


Spaceboy and Robot

I bought this Wee Wonderful pattern (for the two fellas you see below) last fall, but just now got around to using it.  I really couldn't be much happier with the end result.  They are adorable (if I do say so myself) and I think Baby Boy will like the bright colors.

The pattern was very easy to follow and since it came in a wonderful little booklet format, will be easy to re-use in the future if I ever need to make another set. 

My only regret is that I now wish I'd have placed the robot's chest plate maybe an inch higher on his chest.  My mistake.  Everything else worked great (I felt).

The fabrics I chose were all simple cotton (trim and details in felt).  The "A" on the Spaceboy's belt represents Baby Boy's first initial.  The photo suggestions that came with the pattern included some buttons.  Although I think buttons might have been cuter, I just didn't want to risk the possible choking hazard that might pose.

These little fellas will be part of Baby Boy's first birthday next month.  I can hardly wait!!
The photo above is the one that Wee Wonderful displays on the pattern itself.  If you like to make stuffed lovies for the kiddos in your life, I'd recommend getting patterns from this company!

Note:  I was not asked to review WW patterns.  I purchased the Spaceboy and Robot pattern and used it because it's adorable.  No other incentive was requested or received.


A Day Late

I meant to do this yesterday, but time got away from me.  Hubby was a little under the weather and the boys were both a little stir crazy.  It made for a fun (though hectic) day.  Even though this message is a day short, it carries with it the deepest love and appreciation which I have for my Dad and my husband!!
Happy Father's Day Dad!! I love you!
Dad with our boys last month

and Happy Father's Day to my Hubby too!!!  I'm such a lucky lady!!! 

this is an older picture (we were in the hospital with Baby Boy) but its a favorite.


Caramel Cake

I never had Caramel Cake until today, but ever since I read "The Help" I've wanted to try it.  In that book, one of the main characters "Minny" is said to make the best Caramel Cake anywhere.  It kept coming up throughout the story, and every time I read about it - my mouth began to water.

It was not something I'd tried, but I was sure I'd be a fan.  After all, I love caramel and I love cake.  But after I finished the book, I kind of forgot about my interest in this seemingly yummy confection.

So today when we were watching America's Test Kitchen, and they featured Caramel Cake - my interest was instantly renewed.  Hubby offered to bake it for me, and I said you betcha!  He baked the two cakes, and then I whipped up the frosting and iced them.

This cake is good.  We're far from being professionals, and this was our first attempt.  Doesn't matter.  This cake is REALLY good.  The cake itself is a fairly basic yellow cake, and it's a buttery, moist yum-fest.  Honestly though, the cake is nothing more than a delivery vehicle for the frosting.  Oh dear.  That frosting could maybe bring about world peace.  It's just so GOOD.  Ridiculously sweet, buttery and richer than Bill Gates... this is a cake to love.

So of course that's what we're doing.  I highly recommend giving the recipe a try. 


Birthday Critter #1

I'm making two little stuffed characters for Baby Boy's 1st birthday (coming next month), and decided I'd better make at least one for Little Guy as well (his 4th birthday is also next month).  The photos below show what I came up with. 

This funny little monster doesn't have a name (yet), but I'm hoping he'll be well received.

I'll post pics when I get the next two stuffed critters done.  Those are taking a little more time as I'm using a pattern.  The monster was so simple, I just threw him together using some bits of fabric from my stash.


Customer Service

My family returned from a (much needed) vacation on Saturday, and no sooner had we crossed the threshold of our home - the hard drive on my laptop crashed. 

This wasn't a "Please Restart" kind of crash... This was the blue screen of death kind of crash - for which there is no quick fix.  The computer is just over a year old and had been working great - right up until my baby (who is now pulling up on everything) pulled up using my laptop cord and brought the whole thing crashing to the kitchen floor.  Thankfully he was unhurt.  The computer also seemed fine at first, but within a week I started having issues with random crashes (the minor kind).  I am the kind of person who ignores problems until they can't be ignored any longer.  I assumed the problems I was having wouldn't get any worse.

I was wrong.

So, on Sunday night I broke down and called customer service for my computer company (let's call them "Pewlett Hackard").  I was expecting the extraordinarily long hold time that seems to go hand in hand with most customer service phone lines (cable tv and the phone company are notoriously bad at this).  Imagine my surprise when my call was answered within the first few rings!  A soft spoken voice with an Indian accent answered.  I couldn't spell his name if I tried, so we'll call him "Sam".  I explained my problem to Sam, and he asked several questions.  We chatted for a while, and he put me on hold.  After a few minutes of hold time, he came back with the news I'd expected - I needed a new hard drive.  ugh.  Still, this wasn't his fault so I stayed positive, asking what my next steps would be.  He reviewed my options with me, quoting a price that I wasn't thrilled with - but accepted.  After a little while he said, "You've been so patient.  Let me check on something for you."  I was again put on hold, but he came back on the line within a couple minutes.  "I found the same hard drive for $100 less.  Would that work for you?"  "Why yes it certainly would!" I replied.  He went on to say I'd also need a set of recovery disks which would run an additional fee.  I said that was fine, and was connected to a second customer service representative who was in charge of finalizing orders.  We'll call her Betty. She briefly reviewed everything with me again and then she said, "Sam mentioned you were very patient and kind.  I want to see if I can do something for you."  There was silence as I was once again put on hold.  Then she returned to the line and said she could order my hard drive from a vendor that often includes the recovery disks for free!  Eureka!  I was thrilled.  I told her as much and she laughed.  I got the distinct impression that she doesn't deal with nice people 100% of the time.

Maybe I would have gotten these special deals no matter what, or maybe I got the "Wow - there are still nice people in the world!" discount.  I'm not sure.  What I am sure of is that I received excellent customer service and that always makes my day.  I'm sure looking forward to getting that hard drive and getting my laptop back in working order.  I hope I never have to call customer service again, but if I do... I sure hope I can talk to "Sam" and "Betty" again.


Father's Day Giveaway!!!

Welcome to the Dad is Sweet giveaway, hosted by Diary of a Determined Momma and the Random Bloggers!
The Random Bloggers are a group of friends who blog, review, and rant to bring you the content you want to read. We've gotten together with other great blogs from across the web to bring you a super-sweet surprise for Dad this Father's Day! You can enter to win a box of Milk Chocolate-Covered Cashews & Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds from Dove Chocolate Discoveries.
Dove Chocolate Discoveries is by the same company that makes those delicious Dove chocolates with the witty wrappers, but it offers a delicious gourmet line exclusively through its Chocolatiers. These range from chocolate covered fruit and nuts, drink mixes (Chocolatini!), and baking sets. The prize for this giveaway is being provided by "Champion Chocolatier", Brooke Lewis.

Hello Readers! I'm so happy to be working with the bloggers for this giveaway. As a blogger myself, I know the incredible power and reward of working with others to bring great things to our readers and ourselves. DCD has been good to me and my family since becoming a chocolatier and it's been such a wonderful experience that I really want to share this company with the world. Good luck to everyone and I hope you (or Dad) enjoy this prize! -Brooke Champion Chocolatier
Don't want to wait until the contest is over to taste the delicious products that Dove has to offer? You can shop online HERE, or contact Brooke directly at ChampionChocolatier@gmail.com to consult with her about the products or the opportunity to become a Chocolatier yourself!
Entry for the giveaway is simple, just use the Rafflecopter below! This will run through June 10, so good luck everyone!
Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway


Happy Birthday Dad!!

Dad as a youngster
Today is my Dad's birthday.  I know everyone says that they have the best Dad ever... but they are wrong (unless they are my brother...).   Our Dad is awesome.  He's smart and kind, funny and loyal.  He has always been supportive and available whenever I needed him.  He has always set forth a positive example for us.  He was my very first hero.  He is my dear friend.  I am blessed to have him in my life.

In addition to being a great Dad to me and my baby brother, he's also a wonderful Grandpa to my boys.  They get along great, and have a lot of fun with him.  A lot of that has to do with the fact that my Dad still remembers being a little boy himself, and doesn't hesitate to act like one whenever he's around his Grandsons. 

p.s. Pretty much everything I just said about my Dad also applies to my Mom who is equally awesome - it's just not her birthday today!  :)

sharing a rare quiet moment with Baby Boy

and "Partners in Crime" with Little Guy.
(Dad is the one on the right)
Happy Birthday Dad!!!!  I love you.  :)


My Baby Ate Peanut Butter

Our peanut butter loving Baby Boy
It was one of those mornings when nothing is really going right, and I can tell that we'll probably be running late.

Little Guy had asked for an apple and some peanut butter/cracker "sandwitches" for breakfast.  I know this may not sound like the best breakfast ever, but considering how very picky our three year old is... this is about as good as it gets.  He finished maybe half of the food on his plate before wandering away to play with his trains.

I followed him to the train table and we had a lively discussion about how much he should be eating (I said "more".  He said "no more").  When I finally convinced him to go back to his breakfast, we both stopped short.  The baby was standing there, leaning shakily against the little picnic table where Little Guy always has his breakfast.  Baby eyes were sparkling.  One chubby hand was firmly attached to the table's edge.  The other was cramming the last of a peanut butter cracker into already bulging cheeks.  He was grinnning around that mouthful of cracker, like the proverbial kid with a hand in the cookie jar.

If you've read ANY baby book, you know that babies are not supposed to eat peanut butter.  My Baby has not yet learned to read, so he didn't know this.  Actually I'm pretty sure he would have skipped that chapter if he could read.  Though he only had that one taste, he was clearly a fan of the brown goopy stuff right off the bat.

I ran right to him the moment I realized what he was eating, but it was too late.  I settled for watching him closely for the next couple of hours.  I saw no allergic reactions of any kind, so it ended up allright in the end. 

He won't be getting any more samples of peanut butter until he's old enough (at least not on purpose).  No matter.  I'll never forget the look of sheer joy on my baby's chubby face as he tasted something forbidden for the very first time.


"X" Marks the Spot

Little Guy currently loves pirates. He has a little pirate hat, and routinely walks around the house shouting things like, “Argh!” and “Ahoy Mateys!”

We found the hat at Target for $2
Because he loves pirates so much right now, and because he’s been a pretty good boy lately, I surprised him early this week with a fun (and very inexpensive) activity. 

When he got home from school he went into his room to change into play clothes.  He noticed right away that his pirate hat was sitting on his bed.  Under it was a little treasure map that I had made earlier in the day. 

He knew what it was instantly and excitedly started to study it.  He quickly headed down the hall and through the living room.  His Dad stopped him and asked where he was going?  Little Guy showed him the map and said, “See. There’s the couch, so we’re right here.” After showing his Dad where he was on the map (and he was exactly right), he kept on going - stopping only long enough to put on sandals.  Hee continued on through the house (following the map) until we got outside and to his sandbox.  He lifted the lid and there was a paper “X” laying on top of the sand.  He dug under it with his little shovel until he came up with a small plastic container which we had filled with pennies. 

Little Guy studying his map

"X" marks the spot
He loved finding his“treasure”, and was very excited to add the pennies to the baby-bottle bank that he’d gotten at church.  We’re supposed to fill it up and take it back in a few weeks.  The money goes to help unwed mothers and their babies.  I loved watching him have so much fun, and was very excited that his first thought was charity and not buying candy or some other frivolous thing. 

He’s far from perfect (who is?) but he’s a pretty wonderful little pirate if I do say so myself.


Urban Gardening Books

I am fascinated by the idea of gardening.  I want to feel warm earth between my fingers, and bite into a juicy tomato right off the vine.  I want to preserve my crop and line the beautiful jars in rows that I can admire, and 'shop' from.

I think it all started when I was little.  My parents have always had a garden.  Like all other families: they had good years and bad.  Sometimes we had issues with pests or drought or flooding.  Gardening is always a gamble, but it was one that we won big with most of the time.

Hubby and I don't have the square footage my folks do though.  Our house is on a small-ish lot which is almost totally shaded by enormous maple trees.  There is a patch of the deck/patio which gets a good amount of sun daily, but it is a small patch to be sure.

For the past few years I've delved into container gardening, and it's been great fun (though with mediocre results).  I keep trying though, because I know that someday I'll get it figured out.

not my garden.  pic via bing! images.
I recently ordered two books from Amazon.com about Urban Gardening.  The first is "The City Homesteader" (Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage) by Scott Meyer.  The second is "Urban Homesteading" (Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living) by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume.

Both books offer a lot of wonderful information and ideas for making the most of small spaces. 

The "Urban Homesteading" book is a bit heavy-handed with the political aspect of gardening and spends a lot more time than I felt was necessary detailing things like Global Warming and Carbon Footprints.  I don't choose to garden or preserve my own food out of a desire to be kind to the planet, or whatever.  I do it because it's smart, frugal and tradition.  But I digress.  This book is full of great pictures and some wonderful ideas.  I don't have the space (or the accommodating neighbors) needed to grow animals, but the sections on goats and chickens were especially great.  This one won't be my go-to book, but it will serve as a handy back-up.

I fell in love with the second book "The City Homesteader" almost from the first page.  Filled with whimsical illustrations, it keeps to the basics.  There are a lot of well thought out and detailed projects in this book, as well as a lot of general information that will be very helpful.

After reading the section on berries, I realized that we should plant raspberries (and I now know just the place to do it).  I also learned how to make a potato barrel, a compost pile, and a rain barrel.  I discovered why my heirloom tomatoes didn't produce much last year.  I now want to get a strawberry pot and make some of those upside-down tomato planters (the book tells how to make your own).  There are tips on growing indoors as well as all the helpful outdoor tips.  I also found the edible plant identification section to be very informative.  I know that I'll be using this book a lot.  It is full of wonderful illustrations and great information.  It's a fun read even if you have lots of room to plant, but I'd definitely  recommend it to anyone with a space problem for sure.

Note: Review based upon my own opinion only.  I was not compensated in any way.

A Trip to the Zoo

Some good friends invited us to join them for a day at the zoo. They have a sweet little girl who is Little Guy's age. The two of them hadn't seen each other in a while, but got along wonderfully. Baby Boy was perfect and sweet as always. We had a wonderful day.

Little Guy checking out the fish

amazed by the 'dinosaur bones' in the play yard

Playful Penguins

Feeding the Llamas

Little Guy's Favorite

Little Guy with his friend - watching the monkeys

Baby Boy, relaxing and enjoying the day


Stopping to Smell the Roses

When we first moved into our house five years ago, I planted a rose bush.  I love roses and I really was excited to grow my own.  The bush flourished.  It grew and filled out.  What it did not do was bloom.  Not once.... until this year. 

Maybe the rose bush overheard me saying I was ready to dig it up and put in something else?  I don't know what caused the change.  I only know that the sight of those lovely blooms makes me very happy indeed. 

Today I got a little extra bonus when I saw a lively little humming bird flitting around the rose bush.

Just like in life, sometimes you have to wait for the really good stuff.  I'm very glad I waited.

Happy Mother's Day

Here in the United States, today we celebrate the mothers in our lives.  I am very lucky indeed to have been blessed with many (both in my own family and in my husband's).  Each of these ladies are special and loved in their own way.  Today my best wishes go out to each of them!  Thank you for being there for me.  You all deserve a lovely day.

Today I will enjoy quality time with the ones who call ME "Mommy", and I will get to spend some quality time with my own Mom next weekend.  I'm very excited about that.  It is always wonderful when I get a chance to be with her.

Happy Mother's Day to you!  Even if you may not be a mother yourself, your life has undoubtedly been shaped by one. 


Duck Cake

My office threw a baby shower for a co-worker today (Josh), whose wife is expecting their first child. 

I baked the cake.  It's simple (white/white - my co-worker's favorite), but seemed to be well received. 

Little Guy went shopping with me to pick out the duck.  It's not perfect, but I was pleased and it seems that those who tried some were as well.


Surprise Encounter

I am a really lucky lady.  I have the best hubby ever, and two fabulous little boys.  I love these roles of 'wife' and 'mother' more than any that preceded them. 

Life is good.  There are days when there is routine and safety.  There are days when there is excitement and adventure.  There are days when we are reminded of just how blessed we are.  There are days that we are surprised by each other. 

All of these days are my favorites.

Today I decided to get out of the office over lunch.  This is not terribly unusual, but was spur of the moment and not something I'd discussed with anyone.  I thought I'd kill some time at the nearby Goodwill store.  It's a nice diversion which also happens to be close to my office. 

So, there I was perusing shelves of glassware and brik-a-brak when I heard a familiar voice (my husband's) which surprised me.  I looked up and there he was smiling at me.  It was a smile that said he was surprised to see me, but also one that said this was a pleasant surprise.  I know that the smile I returned was filled with the same sentiment.  This was truly a pleasant surprise.

Hubby usually works on the other side of the city, and today he had to work at a different one of his company's offices.  Today's office was a lot closer to mine, but we hadn't thought to plan a meeting.  It happened anyway.

After our initial surprise, we then proceeded to browse the aisles together.  We even ended up finding some fun bargains.  I know that meeting at Goodwill isn't most people's idea of a fun date, but you know what?  That's what it ended up being for us. 

This was simply... the best lunch ever.



Recently I entered to win a give-away over at notquitedonnareed, and (woo hoo) I won!!

What did I win?  I'm so glad you asked.  My prize was a fabulous birthday cupcake kit and awesome new cupcake pan.  I got it all in the mail this morning.  As soon as Little Guy saw what came out of the package, he said "We must make cupcakes, because they make me happy!"

He gets that from his Mama.  Cupcakes have always made me happy too!

We decided (even though we didn't have a birthday to bake for) that we'd get started right after lunch.  We had a really fun time mixing, baking and (of course) sampling these yummy treats!!

Little Guy checking out the cute little cupcake paper cups.

And he did almost all of the pouring of ingredients
and mixing (and did a great job!)

cups ready for the batter!!

After 25 minutes we had 12 yummy cupcakes!
The kit came with frosting and sprinkles. 
Little Guy approves! (so do I!)

The box said that the kit made 12 cupcakes (which it did)
but we had enough batter left over to also make one little bonus
cake using a tiny cake pan that Little Guy's Nana got him for Christmas.
How cute!!

We put the remaining cupcakes in a carrier, loaded the boys in their
trusty red wagon and delivered cupcakes to some of our neighbor ladies
(including the sweet lady from my last post)
Everyone loved their surprise delivery, and the boys and I had a great time too!
I'd like to send out a big thank you to notquitedonnareed for hosting such a fun give-away (if you haven't been to her blog yet, you should go there right now!) and for the fantastic prize package.  We had a blast making these cupcakes.  The only part of the prize that we didn't use was the pack of birthday candles.  We've saved them though, and will certianly put them to use soon! 


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