Friday, July 31, 2009

Book Fan Friday

This week before storytime I had a better chance to take a look for books that others have recommended to me. Unfortunately, our library only carries one of them and it was checked out. :( Oh well, I guess. Not many kids made it this week. My husband was off today, though, and came with us so that was fun. Each kid was able to pick out their favorite song to sing before the story. We picked Bingo because we know Baby Girl loves that song. She claps along and smiles every time we sing it at home. She got so excited that everyone was singing it! It was very cute. Anyway, my husband picked out the book for Baby Girl. He picked out Mama's Kiss by Jane Yolen.

The story is kinda silly, but in a very good way! It follows a mother's kiss that was blown to her child but missed, along its adventure outside, and back again. It is a fun little story and Baby Girl especially enjoyed the bears!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cake Pops

As soon as I saw cake pops on Bakerella I knew I had to try them! They are just too cute to not try. So I ordered some supplies and in walks my husband from work yesterday with some boxes in his hands... the supplies came in! Yay! So you know I had to make them right away today. After heading off to the NEX to grab some cake mix, that is. Anyway, I knew one of two things would come from this experiment. These were either going to turn out as 1) an extremely cute, tasty treat or 2) an extremely messy-looking, but tasty, treat. Either way, I'm good.

On Bakerella there are SO many cute cake pops, let alone all the other cool stuff she makes. This woman is truly creative and immensely talented. But I decided to try out the smiley face cake pops for my first try, with the thought of making cat cake pops as favors for Baby Girl's birthday party if this batch is successful! A tad bit ambitious? Possibly. We'll see how the smiley faces turn out. The cake couldn't bake and cool quick enough!

After the cake cooled, and after some crumbling, mixing, and rolling, the pops were ready to be put in the freezer to firm up.
(Ack! More waiting? haha Good thing I've been getting better at that. I'm horrible with waiting to give people their presents and, to me, baking always feels like making little presents. But my husband isn't great with that, either. We have to get better at that because we can't give Baby Girl her birthday and Christmas presents early... at least not when she's old enough to realize what birthdays and Christmas are. And I only add that last part because hubby and I *ahem* already gave Baby Girl one of her birthday presents. *ahem* Oops. Anyway, back to the cake pops!)
So I am looking forward to seeing how the dipping turns out! They have been so much fun to make so far.

After they were all nice and firm, I melted the candy melts and got to dipping! I admit I was more than a little worried when I dived right in and my first one promptly fell off the stick and I had to fish it out. I wasn't expecting professional results by any means, but geez!

Oh well, I didn't let that bring me down. I tried again and got it right the second time. As I was getting to the end, though, they started to pop off the stick again. So I stuck them in the freezer again to see if that would help. Things with frosting do tend to melt in this house. Many a frustrating night has been spent trying to beautifully frost a cake only to have it become one big mess that looks like a can of frosting exploded over our entire kitchen. Okay, so it doesn't end up looking that bad, but it sure feels like that sometimes.

I was so excited when they all dried and I could put the smiley faces on them! I am pretty proud of how my first batch of cake pops turned out! I think they are super cute and my husband loves them, too. Oh, and they are YUMMY!

Too cute!

My mom is no longer here with us in the physical sense, but I know she would have thought these were the cutest things and her favorite color was always yellow. So this one's for you, Mom.

I would TOTALLY suggest making these. These weren't too hard to make at all and were really fun. I am definitely going to try and make kitty cat pops for Baby Girl's birthday, but I'm expecting those to be a bit more of a challenge because you use chocolate (or white chocolate, caramel, whatever) chips for the ears. Hopefully I can get them to stay on and get them covered with candy melts! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prayers for Stellan

I can't imagine going through what this family is going through. This poor little boy is struggling and he and his family need our prayers. Here is Stellan's story.

Prayers for Stellan

I have been following MckMama's blog for a little while now and just felt a very strong need to ask everyone to please put them in your prayers.

May the Lord bless you and keep you: May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
~Numbers 6:24

Amazon Giveaway

Angie over at From Pigpen to Paradise is at it again! :) She is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE It has been a lifesaver since we have moved to GTMO since you can find almost everything and they more often than not will ship to APO/FPO addresses.

Angie's website is awesome, too. And not just From Pigpen to Paradise, but she has other great blogs, too, so make sure to check them all out!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Fan Fri... I mean... Sunday

Well, I'm finally feeling good enough to get out of the house! Yay! So Baby Girl and I went and helped my husband with a cookout for his section at work. Then we all went to the library to grab a book. I wrote down a couple of the books that some wonderful readers recommended but couldn't find them. We have a fabulous library, especially considering where we live, but we just don't have everything. Plus we were all hot and ready to rest in the a/c at home so we didn't look for every book that was listed. I will look for others next week. But we did grab a beautiful, classic book... Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.

I had to make sure to get Baby Girl playing in the background. :)

I always knew that it is a book loved by many, but this is the first time I've really read it. I L-O-V-E reading it to Baby Girl. Makes me tear up a little. lol Anyway, if you haven't read it to your little ones yet, I highly suggest it. Very, very sweet.

I think it is also making me tear up a little extra today because my little girl turned 10 months old today! How did that happen? I'm really beginning to plan in my head how to decorate the backyard for her party. It will be cooler here in September so it should be nice. It is summer weather in Guantanamo Bay year round... we don't really get a winter, just a milder summer. :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Fan Friday... Postponed

Baby Girl decided she didn't want to take a nap until around the time we would go to storytime, so we didn't make our weekly trip to the library today. I haven't been feeling 100% lately, either, so I guess it allowed me to have a little extra rest. But I am planning on going tomorrow when we are out grocery shopping so I will post then. I have gotten a few suggestions on books that other mamas and their kiddos enjoy and am going to start looking for those! Can't wait. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Baby Girl's 1st Birthday - Starting to Create!

Even though Baby Girl's 1st birthday is 2 months away (2 months and 4 days to be exact!) I am starting on making things for her party. It seems like awhile away, but I know it will probably take me that long to finish everything because I don't always have time to just sit down and create. Her birthday falls on a Saturday, and one that her Daddy has off, so we get to have her 1st party on her actual birthday! I thought that was pretty cool. We are doing the Purr-fect Kitty theme from Oriental Trading. Anyway, we have all of the supplies we need and I just need to figure out the rest of the details and start making everything.

I am making some drink mix holders that go on water bottles that I found at Blue Eyed Blessings. Hers look so much better, but I had to work with the materials I had available to me. But that's okay. I really like how they turned out. I think they are super cute. :) Thanks for the inspiration, Heidi!!

For 2008 we had chosen a cat calendar. For one reason or another we didn't throw it out and now I am glad we didn't! I had rediscovered it a couple of months ago and really wanted to use the pictures somehow for the party. I thought about it for awhile and decided to make jigsaw puzzles! I was thinking of putting it on cardboard and cutting it out (because I couldn't think of anything else I could use that could be found in GTMO!) but my hubby reminded me of the stuff he and one of his friends used to make terrain for Warhammer. It is kinda like cardboard, but different. haha I really don't know what it's called. I'll have to ask him what it is and if anyone is interested, I will let you know.

Anyway, so I used rubber cement to put the pictures onto the "cardboard." Glue just left it bumpy but the rubber cement was perfect. Then I measured out columns and rows and cut them out with an exacto knife.

I had originally wanted to make a lot and put them in the goody bags, but they didn't exactly turn out incredibly perfect. But we decided they were more than good enough to lay out as an activity for the kids if they'd like!

It was so much fun to make these things. I am also making her invitations, thank you cards, and who knows what else. I'm still searching to see if I can find any other cool ideas! :)

**UPDATE** My husband just got home and said he thinks the stuff we used for the jigsaw puzzle is foam board.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Happy Not Me! Monday! Well, actually, they mixed things up this week and it is "Not My Child!" Monday. BUT, my beautiful daughter is almost 10 months old and doesn't quite have those moments yet. She's our daughter, though, so I know that she will have plenty soon enough! So I am going to be sticking with the Not Me's for now. This is my first week joining in... let's have some fun this week! :)

I DID NOT wake up one morning this week with the strong desire to take Baby Girl and go shopping at the mall and Target just to realize that we have lived in a place without those things for 1 1/2 years! Even though we have lived in GTMO for awhile now (with the only places to shop being the NEX and the internet) I still sometimes forget where I am for a split second and want to go window shop all day. Oh well, it makes those trips back to the states all the more exciting!

I DID NOT forget to wake up early this morning to make my wonderful husband his favorite breakfast for his birthday before he had to head off to work. Baby Girl woke me up in time to say good morning and happy birthday to him, which I knew would happen, but I had planned to set my alarm and make him french toast croissants. Man, I feel horrible. But I'm going to be trying to make homemade chicken pot pie for the first time tonight, so maybe that will make up for it!

That's it for this week!

This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Monday is my hubby's birthday and I wanted to bake something special for him during his birthday weekend. He had seen me looking at ice cream cone cupcakes from Betty Crocker and said "Why wasn't I aware of these before?" We were both excited to try them out.

All you need is:
^any flavor cake mix (we picked Devil's Food) and the ingredients listed to make said cake
^flat-bottom ice cream cones
^any decorations you want (we used sprinkles but I was going to put maraschino cherries on top as well... too bad I forgot them when I went to the store!)

I saw these cupcakes on other sites as well and found two different ways to make these. Betty Crocker says to put cupcake liners in a muffin tin, fill them up 2/3 of the way, place the cone on top and bake. Other sites say to fill the cone itself halfway with the mix and bake them that way. Our first dozen that we made (makes about 2 dozen) we did 6 one way and 6 the other. We found that putting the cupcakes on top of the cake mix worked much better for us. Baking them for 17 minutes ended up being perfect.

After they are baked, let them cool completely. Then carefully take the liner off and frost. I put the frosting in a ziploc bag and snipped a corner off to make it easier to make it look like soft-serve ice cream. Then came the sprinkles! I was pretty happy with how they came out for my first try. Can't wait for a reason to try them out again!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Fan Friday

Storytime today was extra special because my wonderful husband was able to join us! He had a break from work and came to see what it was all about. You could really tell Baby Girl liked having her Daddy come listen to a story with her.

While looking through all the books this morning, I wanted to find one that I was not familiar with at all. Some of the books I have done for this blog so far I have either read, heard of, or were familiar with the characters (ie. Berenstain Bears). So I really wanted to discover something new with Baby Girl. I came across a book with a cute little owl on the cover. Turns out the owl doesn't want to be known as a cute, little thing.... at least he doesn't think he does. It is I'm Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen.

It is a sweet little book. I generally read to Baby Girl during the day, not as part of her bedtime routine. I want to incorporate reading into her bedtime routine, but just haven't yet. Anyway, I feel like this book is a perfect bedtime story. I can picture myself reading it to Baby Girl while she lie all snuggled up in her bed (well, when she's older... she's still in a crib right now of course).

I am still trying to think of a good name to replace "Book Fan Friday." Honestly I haven't really sat down and brainstormed too much, but I'm hoping inspiration will come! If you have any ideas, please leave a comment! And if you have any books you have read your little one that you guys have just loved, I would love some recommendations! I received a recommendation last week and look forward to seeing if the library here has it. Since it was similar to the book I checked out last week, I decided to save it for another week but it is on my list!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Not Me!

I just joined SITS - The Secret is in the Sauce. It is an awesome blog that brings bloggers together and helps support each other by leaving lots of comments. I have checked it out just today and already found something cool! Today's featured blog is We are never alone. She introduced me to Not Me! Mondays and now I want to introduce it to you! It sounds like a great way to start the week by making you admit all those "oh my goodness, I can't believe that just happened" moments and seeing that everyone else has those moments, too. For example,

I DID NOT hurry out the door this morning to take the recyclables to the curb before they got picked up knowing very well that my husband took them out last night. :)

Not Me! Mondays were started by MckMama over at My Charming Kids. This is where the blog carnival is held each week. I can't wait to join in next week! Hopefully I won't be too shy to share these moments with the world. :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Fan Friday

Before I discuss the book I picked up at the library for Baby Girl this week, I wanted to share a really cool giveaway with you. Over at From Pigpen to Paradise, they are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card! Way too cool! I am constantly ordering stuff off because they have pretty much everything, usually for a great price, and they almost always ship to APO/FPO addresses. Here is the direct link to the post, but be sure to check out the rest of her blog! I discovered it just a day or so ago and love it already. Lots of inspiration and I really like the daily cleaning challenge.

So today Baby Girl and I went to storytime at the library. Lots of fun as usual. It is cloudy and threatening rain today, though, so not as many kids showed up as a couple of weeks ago. After songs and the story (Ella Sets Sail), we looked at the numerous children's books and decided to pick out a classic.... Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

It's a classic for a reason! Very cute and it gives me even more chances to teach Baby Girl different animals and their sounds. I know most people (at least those who have children in their lives in some way) have heard of and/or read this book, but I do highly recommend it!! :)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Holy Clean Oven, Batman!

So I just found the best cleaning product and had to share! Today is my "clean the kitchen" day. My big goal was to clean out the fridge, but I had bought a new cleaning product for the oven yesterday and wanted to try it out. It is called Easy Off Oven Cleaner. I had a coupon and thought I'd give it a try.

I don't know about everyone else, but I honestly have never cleaned an oven before (unless pressing the self-clean button counts) and was pretty intimidated by it. We do the self-clean option every now and then but it was still getting pretty gross. So I sprayed the Easy Off on, closed the oven, and let it sit for 2 hours. Then it says to just wipe it clean with a wet sponge. Hmmm.... seemed WAY too easy. I didn't really think it would work all that well. So two hours go by (right after Baby Girl started her nap. Perfect!) and I head over to the oven. I open it up, take one swipe, and... shut the front door! All the gross, baked on stuff came right off! Our oven looks fabulous! I am probably way more excited than I should be about a cleaner, but it is the best product I've discovered since the Magic Eraser (which is pretty awesome, by the way). I had to share it with all of you. So if you are avoiding cleaning your oven, definitely check this stuff out. They have a glass-top stove top cleaner, but they don't sell it here in GTMO. I'm definitely getting some of that and bringing it home to try out next time we are in the states! Anyway, that's my tip for the day. :) Have a great one!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

This year is the first year I really decorated for 4th of July. I didn't go all out or anything, but the dining room table got decorated on the 1st.

We have a few sets of placemats. We made sure we got sets that could work for all kinds of occasions so we could just decorate around them. We use the red ones for Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, and Christmas. So we just bought some cute napkins and confetti and we had our table!

For breakfast I made star-shaped bluberry pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. My wonderful husband put it all together to make them look like fireworks. :)

We hope you all had a fun and safe 4th of July!

Thank You!

I want to thank all of our military men and women, past, present, and future. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for fighting for our freedom.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Book Fan Friday

The library has different hours today in honor of Independence Day, so there was no storytime. So we picked out one of our favorite stories from Baby Girl's own little library. We read different books every day, but this week our main story will be from Little Golden Book Inspirational Favorites. There are three stories in this one book, but we are focusing on A Blessing From Above by Patti Henderson.

It is an adorable story about a kangaroo with an empty pouch who wishes she had a baby of her own. The story really leaves you with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside. My husband says you'd feel especially warm and fuzzy reading it inside the kangaroo pouch. :) (He can be such a jokester!) Since he was off today, he took the chance to read to her.

It is now definitely one of my favorite children's stories. At the end of the story I love to tell Baby Girl how she is a blessing and I thank God for her every day.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's Never Too Hot For A Picnic!

Things have felt so great now that I have a routine down. Of course I spend LOTS of time with Baby Girl but it feels fabulous to have the house cleaner and to make dinner every night for my family as well. It has helped my self-esteem grow and has helped me better recognize how to seize every moment that comes along and make it extra special.

A few days ago, I was in the kitchen making chicken salad so it could chill in the fridge before making sandwiches when darling husband came home for lunch. Baby Girl was hanging out in her Bumbo (her chubby little legs almost can't fit in it anymore!), playing while I cooked. Well, I thought I had moved her far enough away from the kitchen island, but I guess not! She had grabbed the picnic basket and pulled it down.

Wasn't me!

I showed my husband the pictures and he joked around and told Baby Girl that it was way too hot outside to have a picnic. Well, that may have been true... but it was nice and comfy inside! So I packed a couple of plates, napkins, and some chips in the picnic basket and made some deviled eggs. Hubby brought home some Subway on his way home from work. I laid a blanket out on the living room floor and we had a little indoor picnic. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of that, but I'm sure you can imagine. :)

It was a cute change of pace and was a great family moment.