Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm All For Easy!

**WARNING** the pictures in this post are horrible. They were taken on my cell phone. Sorry, but I was just too lazy to go downstairs and find my real camera.
My girl, Sarah, over at Thrifty Decor Chick is always coming up with these rockin', low cost, design ideas. I love her. L.O.V.E her. Anyshway, as I was perusing her site one day I was a entry titled " The easiest window treatments. Ever. Period. " That sounds TOTALLY up my alley. Pictured below are the curtains (if you can even call them that) that hang in the twincesses room.

No, they are nothing fancy. They were essentially there for one reason only: to block light (yes I see the light peeking through, normally it doesn't do that. The side was just pulled back a tad). They do their job, very well actually. They're just very BLAH.

When I pull them back, it doesn't get much better.

Enter Ms. Sarah's fabulous idea.

Again, this is a super crappy picture. I'm telling you, it looks fab in person! There are three windows and I've done this to all of them in that room. All I did was get a coordinating ribbon (on clearance at Hobby Lobby for .35 a yard!~aren't you proud of me Sarah?!) and drape it over the top of the curtain hanging up. I cut it to the length I wanted, tied 'em up and voila! Now, if you follow the link, she words the instructions far better than I do. Cool, no?


Yeah, yeah, I know I said I'd do the recipes for the cake and icing today. I was in a muffin baking frenzy this morning and forgot to grab my recipes. So sue me. please don't really sue me. By the way, it was a lemon cake with raspberry mousse filling and lemon buttercream frosting.

**Yes, dear Rambler, I said I would do two cakes. I didn't actually do two on my birthday, but I did make an absolutely devine chocolate truffle cake the weekend prior. Does that count?!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Big Reveal

I know you have all just been dying to see my finished birthday cake....ok, maybe not. However, I was fairly impressed with myself as it was my first time using this particular method of cake decorating.

Trying to show ya all angles.Of course, I could not have done it without these three helpers.

First, the twins. They were there ready to lick any bowls I put before them. I wonder if you notice that canister filled with powdered sugar just by Twin B's hand. Hmmm, yes. After I snapped this picture I turned around to continue working on the cake. Twin B took that opportunity to snatch the canister and run away with it. The Dude found her perched on the ottoman shoveling handfuls of powdered sugar into her mouth. Nice.

And this little guy.

What a great help he was, eating all of my cake cuttings. Super helpful! That is, until he dumped the plate on the floor and ran for the broom, crushing all the crumbs onto the floor.

**Tomorrow, or later, I'll begin posting the how to's and recipes for this little lovely.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

DeBug Wednesday!!

I wasn't sure I'd have another picture to play along with Maricris' game. Last night, I got my picture.

Just your average living room after the little people have gone to bed.

Wait a second. What's going on? Is it my friendly house ghost???Nope, just my lil Pickles.Silly boy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Day at the park

The babysitter was unable to keep the kids today. So we are making the most of it. They're all napping right now, so I thought I'd hop on and just say hey. Since this will be it for the day enjoy some pics from the park today!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Deep Thoughts, by MammaDucky

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. My Mom and I actually share a birthday. We were chatting yesterday (as we do EVERY day) and she was telling me how she was 29 when she had me and 34 when she had my youngest sibling (Hi Jenny!!). Got me thinkin'. I want one more child. You know, to even things out. I'm slightly OCD about things being even. I'm not talking being even gender wise, I'm talking numbers. I want 4 kids. Always have, always will. That being said, I'm not ready for #4 just yet.
I figure by the time Pickles makes it to kinder garden would be good for me The Dude's thoughts on this subject are ever so slightly different from mine. Ok, that's a lie, he says we're done having kids...silly man. Little math here: that should make me about 32 when he starts school. As we all know, or actually I think some people DON'T know, makin' babies can take time. 18 months is considered a "normal" amount of time that it can take to get pregnant. So I'm looking at being 33 or 34 before getting pregnant again! Aack!
Can I handle that? My body will be older and things will be more difficult. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being pregnant. Yep, I'm one of those weird ones. Even with my difficult/high risk pregnancies, I loved every minute of it. But will I be able to work full time, run 3 kids to school AND handle a pregnancy, let alone new baby? Scary.
I kinda see this as a growing issue. People are waiting longer and longer to have babies. Everyone assumes that you just decide to get pregnant and it happens right away. SOOOOO not the case for many many people. Before we got pregnant for the twinkies we had been trying since we got married (married in 02, girls were born in 05). We charted, took herbal supplements, saw doctors, all kinds of things. It just took time. Granted, getting pregnant with Pickles did "just happen," but that isn't always the case.
Where am I going with this? I don't know exactly. We have lots of friends that are just getting married or are newly married. They're all either already in their 30s or pushing 30. They ALL say that they want to wait a few years before having kids. PEOPLE, listen to MammaDucky, time is ticking away. Do you want to be starting your family in your mid to late 30's (or later??)? Yes, I know many people have children well into their 40s. My hat is off to you. I don't know how you do it.
I think by the time I get to my 40's I want to be getting into that phase where my kids are grown and I can chillax more. This is an odd rant and I realize it doesn't really go with the style of my blog. I guess it's too late to tell you to just skip this post if you don't want to hear my deep thoughts, eh?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Makin' Fireflies!

BUT, before we do that, I must give thanks to Maricris over at Zen Ventures. She gifted me this totally awesome award, which is actually FOUR, count 'em, FOUR awards in one!! Rock on! Yes, so fireflies. I needed lots of fireflies for my birthday cake. Actually, the book only said I needed something like 12 but I made extra for two reasons: 1.) I have a tendency to screw things up B.) they were fun to make and I didn't want to stop! So I made eleventy million fireflies (possibly and over exaggeration) and 6 moons (again, made extra).

Get yourself some candy melts. They sell them at Wally World and craft stores. I got dark chocolate and white chocolate. They also sell them in various colors, which is awesome. However, if you're going to be coloring your own, you need to be sure and get dye that is intended for coloring chocolates. It MUST be oil based. If it's water or a gel, your candy will seize and then you're screwed. It's not fixable.

Melt your chocolates down, either using a double boiler (preferred method) or in the microwave. If done in the microwave, set it to defrost mode and stir it in 30 second increments. *NOTE* do not lick the spoon! Your saliva will cause the candy to seize if you mix it up with the spitty-spoon.
You can buy little squeeze bottles in the candy making section of your craft store if you so desire. But, if you're a cheapskate like me, you'll opt for the option of making your own bags. Either pour the chocolate into a sand which bag and snip off the corner or make some piping bags out of a few squares of cellophane. Cut squares and starting at the top, twist the corner down toward you. A conical shape should form. Tape off and snip the point off when you're ready to work with it.
Now, the easy and fun part! You can pretty much make any image out of chocolate, although the simpler the better at this point. Simply place the image under some waxed paper or parchment and trace the main shape using dark chocolate. Next, fill in with the desired colors.
If the colors spill outside the lines, who cares. It adds to the uniqueness of the piece.

After I did the fireflies, I needed to make some moons. For this, I took dark chocolate and made little swirls and dots all over my waxed paper. I selected the areas with the prettiest swirls and drew a big white chocolate circle over it. Ta-da! Moons!
Now, you may be wondering what book I keep referring to. It's this one.I recommend picking this little baby up. It has lots of fun ideas and they go into greater depth about using candy melts. BONUS: They have lots of yummy recipes!!
Before I got, I'd like to give a little shout-out to my lil cyber stalker/lurker. Peek-a-boo! I see you!!! Keep on lurking my friend. Or, better yet, why don't y'all move on down here so we can hang!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How to starve a hubby and give a kid nightmares!

There are some obvious reasons why Mammas aren't allowed to be sick. The whole world quickly falls apart.
The other day I had an earth shattering migraine. I spent a lot of time looking like this poor soul, on the floor of my bathroom.
Thankfully, the baby went to bed early and without a fuss. The Dude put me in bed and stayed as quiet as possible. As I tried to drift off to sleep, it occurred to me that I should probably give food options to The Dude. I passed out instead.
The next morning as I handed The Dude his coffee he remarked that it was amazing how he wasn't that hungry, given the fact that he hadn't eaten supper. That's right. I've got the lad so spoiled that if I don't fix his meals, he doesn't eat. Poor guy. That's just pathetic, eh?
Anyway, I recovered and fed the guy.
My girlies were given these pink teddy bear blanket things (you know the type, teddy bear head with a blanket instead of a body) with their names and birth date embroidered on them when they were babies. They love those things. I'm not posting a picture of them because they look awful. Even with washings, they just look yucky. Well, my lil' Pickles has grown jealous of these bears. I searched high and low from one for him and all I could come up with were very small ones. Not quite what the girls have. So I decided to make my own.
I went to our enormous stash of stuffed animals and picked a nice soft one. I went the the Wally World and purchased an inexpensive baby blanket, one with a satin edge.

I cut off the parts of the bear I wasn't going to need. **NOTE: do NOT do this in the presence of children...nightmares will ensue.

I folded up the edge of one side of the blanket like a fan

and ran some embroidery floss through it.

Yes, I realize the thread doesn't match. I couldn't find my blue! I found every other color under the sun, just not blue....whatever.

Then, I went back and stitched the blanket to the bear and back through the blanket. I didn't want that sucker coming off!

Ta-da!!! Next time, I wouldn't stitch through the satiny part. I'm not sure why I thought that would work the best. Oh well, live and learn. I will probably re-do this one anyway but with BLUE thread! It would look way better had I stitched it together just below the satin. He would have had a little collar, kinda.
Hey, I never said I was a professional!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

You CAN have your cake and eat it too.

You've heard that phrase, "You can't have your cake and eat it too," right? You get the gist of that? You can't have two things incompatible. You can't have a truly yummy dessert/treat that is low calorie and low fat, right? I'm slowly learning how wrong that is.

Now, dear friends, I am a sweets girl through and through. I would gladly eat an ice cream sundae at any given time. But, as you may remember, I'm dieting (kinda).

As I sliced up a banana for my kiddos the other night, twin B asked for "cream in my mouth" which is code for throw some whipped cream on there for me Mamma. As I pulled the can of Cool Whip out, I looked at the label. Eh, wasn't too terrible for 2 Tablespoons. I certainly don't use 2 Tablespoons of the stuff on sundaes.

As I gazed further into my condiment shelves, I looked at other common sundae toppers such as the cherriesAnd the chocolate syrup.Again, these values didn't look so bad. It was then that my sundae substitute was born. The REAL devil in my beloved sundae, was the ice cream. If I could keep most of the yumminess of the flavors intact, would I REALLY miss the ice cream? Answer: NOPE.

Ya know what sealed the deal on that little situation? I did the math. You read that right, I did math. For a standard Banana Split Sundae (with 1/2 Cup of vanilla ice cream *stop laughing, I know, no one uses just 1/2 Cup of ice cream, but let's pretend*), you're looking at 355 calories and 11 grams of fat! For a full cup of ice cream, it's 535 calories and 20 grams of fat. Yipes.
With my little faux sundae, I was consuming a mere 165 calories and 1.5 grams of fat! The bonus being that it still tasted sinfully awesome!

Here's what I did. I sliced up one small banana (90 calories), drizzled about 3 tsp. of chocolate syrup on top (50 calories), topped it with some Cool Whip (we'll go with the serving size of 2 T for 15 calories and 1.5 g of fat), and one cherry (10 calories). I gave the three pictured to the kids. I don't think they missed the ice cream, do you? I have another guilty pleasure during the winter time. I love, love, love hot drinks like hot chocolate, mocha's, and lattes, especially during the colder months. At Starbucks, you can order a yummy Vanilla Creme: A soothing and creamy combination of steamed milk and vanilla, topped with whipped cream (optional). A caffeine-free alternative. I don't much care about the caffeine aspect. After all, I loves me some caffeine. It's just a yummy drink. Then I looked at the nutritional info 260 calories and 12 grams of fat in a tall (120z)with 2% milk!! WHAT?! How is that possible? Anyway, I set out to make it a little more waistline friendly.
I steamed 12 oz of non fat milk, added a few drops of vanilla extract and bammo, had my drink. Ah, but this time, there were only 120 calories and no fat. I skipped the whipped cream in my home version. If you have a cappuccino machine, when you steam the milk a teeny-weeny amount of milk will froth (2% or whole milk will froth a TON. Not so much with the skim) and I just topped my drink with that. Truth be told, you can order the Vanilla Creme with non-fat milk and skip the whipped cream, at Starbucks. It's just gonna cost you more Moo-La and somehow they slip in an extra 30 calories.
The drink itself is still yummy and soothing. It's actually probably MORE soothing now that I know I'm not wasting 12 grams of fat!