Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bye Bye Cricut Cake....hello SILHOUETTE!

Introducing some of my newest cakes!  Decorated with...the SILHOUETTE!  I am loving this newest method of cake decorating and can't wait to share the link for all the info on how you can BUY your own Silhouette and DVD on this fabulous  method created guessed it...Linda McClure!

Neither of these cakes were in any way decorated using a Cricut or Cricut Cake Machine.  Just a Silhouette.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One By One

One of the hymns from church goes: (and I bet it is not just an LDS hymn as I copied the lyrics from some random site)

  1. When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
    When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
    Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
    And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
    • Refrain:
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
      Count your blessings, name them one by one,
      *Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
      [*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]
  2. Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
    Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
    Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
    And you will keep singing as the days go by.
  3. When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
  4. So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
    Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
    Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
    Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
*Alternate text.

Lately, I've had the opportunity to whine and complain.  A lot.  And I have from time to time...I hope I have not seemed ungrateful for the love, support, prayers, and actual help we've received.
But, I have to remember, that truly I am blessed.  Each time a BIG ISSUE presented itself, it has somehow worked out.  Not always in the time frame I'd like, but so far, the MAJOR PROBLEMS are one by one getting their butts kicked and sometimes in unexpected ways.  The generosity of a sweet man from church, slipping "A token of my appreciation for you" into my wallet the same day Bart had a $50 co-pay doctors appointment, a relief society president quick on the draw, the paper work at Bart's work that in NO WAY can be accepted past X deadline being approved.  They add up to equal a very grateful heart.

Life is not perfect.  Yesterday as Bart walked from work to the car, he had to stop on the side walk for a few minutes and rest because he was too weak to keep walking.  He is not 100%, nor is he even 85% yet, but, my friends, he IS walking.  He is doing the best he can.  His doctors on Tuesday were shocked at how much he'd already regained.  Less then one month ago, he could not walk without the use of a walker, and he was very shaky, even then.  Last night, to get a little exercise for his legs, he walked up and down our street with Jackson. I have to remember that it is a blessing to be able to walk.  A blessing to have food, shelter, a loving family.
And I will try.  I will try to not become discouraged because things are not as "normal" as they should be yet.  I will try to keep my patience as I deal with the other issues of life.  I am not perfect.  I get angry.  I get frustrated.  I want to shout and scream and cry sometimes, too.  And maybe I do (and if you could see inside my head, you'd see I THINK those things a brain could get me into some major trouble :)  And I will accept the help others offer.  In serving others we serve our Lord (gotta love King Benjamin) so, by accepting the acts of service of others, I am allowing them to serve our Lord.  Now, i just have to return the favor and serve others with a happy heart as well.  Maybe in serving others I will remember to count my blessings, even when it is much easier to see what I don't want what I don't need.

Ride 'Em Cowboy

While at my parents, my cousins, Martha and Miranda brought over some horses.  Two to graze on my parents pasture and one miniature horse just for the boys to play with for a few days.  The boys absolutely went bananas for Tinkerbelle and had a blast riding her.  As you can see from the pictures of our water slide play date, there was not a ton of watersliding but horse riding instead.  Brennan would just go up to Tink, jump and sit there...Tink was a FAT horse and didn't really walk around that much without some prompting :).  Tink was a really great horse for them to have because she was so calm.  They have trained her to not jump around any noises or distractions so she can be used for pony rides.  The kids were literally crawling all over her and she didn't care one bit.  Thanks for bringing her over Miss Martha!  We loved it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

No Gifts Please

Almost as frustrating as people not RSVPing to an event, is the line "no gifts please" attached at the end of a birthday invitation.  Especially a child's birthday invitation.  Maybe it is the "Southern Bell" coming out in me...but who can go to a party of any sort empty handed?  That is just unheard of where I come from!  Even if you are going down the street to your best friend's house for supper, you come with something in hand, whether it be a jug of kool aid or a bouquet of fresh roses you "borrowed" from the neighbor's bushes.

Besides, half the fun of a party I am not hosting is planning and creating a fun gift for the birthday child that I hope they will enjoy.

This line was attached at the end of a party we attended just before we left for Louisiana.  The line in the evite said, "No gifts please-and I mean it!"  (Sorry to use your example K, but I still love you!)

I took it as a personal challenge to BRING the birthday child a gift :)  I do that sometimes, get all worked up over something small.  And, I had a lot of fun making a pink and white tutu for little ms. 4 year old.  I guess sort of like I am getting all worked up over this post lol.

Now, here's the thing...I could care less if you bring my child a gift or not when you attend his party.  Because it is not about the gift.  Seriously.  I know these "hard economic times" make it almost impossible to balance the bills, let alone any extras...don't let that keep you from coming and having fun, because really, that is what is most important.  If I could not afford to buy a present, I would not, and based on the situation, would decide if I'd allow my child to attend the party or not. (If I don't really know someone and couldn't do it, it'd be different then a really good friend inviting my child)

However, when an invitation says, "No gifts", a few thoughts run through my head.

If it is for a girl and I have a craft I want to try out, I get a bit angry. :-)  I don't have girls!  Birthday parties are basically the only time I get to get crafty and pink and curly and cute.  Saying "no gifts" is like slapping this mom of three boys who is crafty in the face!

Another thought..."yeah, your kid has a hellofalot of toys, I get that...but couldn't you let me decide if I want to add to your madness or not?"  Though, as pointed out in comments, that is kind of rude of me to not honor a parent's wishes. am I supposed to teach my child the value of a dollar (if he spends his own money on a present) or the importance of giving instead of getting (yes, I know that contradicts the me getting mad at no presents things) ???  Edited:  Maybe teaching them that parties aren't about getting is good, too :)

And finally..."how is your kid going to feel when we come to her party empty handed, leave with a rockin' (if we are lucky) goodie bag and when your kid comes to my kid's party, and I did not say "no gifts" because I feel it is up to the adult to decide if they want to bring one or not (and don't run to the dollar tree and grab a few crappy toys if you are on a budget...just come and have fun, stress free!),then the child comes bearing gifts of gold, Frankenstein, and cool presents?  She's going to start to wonder why no one loves her as much as they love my kid."  Yep. time you send me an invitation saying, "No gifts" prepared.  I don't always follow instructions.  AND...if you have a girl, you BETTER not even think about banning me from making some cute (or not so cute, we will have to wait and see) idea I found floating around in bloggy-land.  :)

So, what do you think?  Should a parent specifically list to not bring presents?  Should the parent just leave it up to those invited to decide for themselves?  Maybe add a tag line like, "presents appreciated but not necessary" so that those attending don't feel the need to bring a gift but know they can if they want.  Do you think by letting kids get lots of presents at parties we are setting up some wacky morals that kids can get whatever they want?
Oh, and this past year, I sent out a super tacky email asking if someone happened to want to bring a present for Jack, if they didn't already have a present/have something in mind, he would love a few dollars to go towards a cool rocket ship toy he wanted.  So, he got a few presents and all the money (about $75 or so) to buy the rocket.  I kind of want to always do this...narrow down what he is getting and still allow parents to just give for the sake of giving if they so desire.  (And I think Brennan wants to take horse back riding lessons and those don't just pay for themselves :) )

FYI:  This post was written while I am really if it rambles on and on or just doesn't make sense or pisses you off, sorry!  And Ladub...don't be mad, but I maybe already planned out a little something for someone who lives with you...but come on!  She's a GIRL so you gotta let me do it :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dry Ink Strikes Again (though I don't think I shared the awesomeness of the first strike!) {Baton Rouge Family Photographer}

Once there was a girl who wanted pictures for her ten year wedding anniversary.
And that turned out to be a disaster with a capital D.
Thanks ERIKA for rectifying that situation and coming out!  We love you and your pictures, too.
So, if you are in the Baton Rouge, LA area and in need of some photo love, give Erika a call!  You will NOT be sorry.  See more pictures here and here.

Pictures she took in Feb. of the kids are here and here.  I used these pictures for a fabulous Mother's Day gift for my mom and must say I rocked that gift b/c of Erika's talent and crazy mad editing skills!

Blonde Girl Party Invitations and Favors

Who doesn't like to get a beautifully wrapped package?  Especially when that package contains something that makes both Mommy and Son happy?
Blonde Girl provided me with some fantastic cup cake flags for Brennan's birthday...yes, I know his party was over a month ago, but I have not shared all my wonderful goodies from it nor have I given it the attention I wanted to (and I apologize to BG for the huge delay!).

So, back to Blonde Girl's etsy shop.  She's got some really cute stuff (and a lot of it is for BOYS!)...check out this LEGO magnet.  What a cute party favor!  If you had your guests color pictures, it would be cute to send them home with this magnet to proudly display it on their fridge!

Then there are her cupcake flags...they are very small, about the size of a quarter.  They were the perfect size to accent the cupcakes!  The kids LOVED them and licked them clean to take them home with them, too.
Then there are her invitations...she sent me a variety of samples to see her work.  The paper is a nice quality, the envelopes coordinate (there is just something about a colored envelope that I love) and the design work is nice, too.
So, the next time you are in the market for some cute invitations or party goods, check out Blonde Girl on etsy!

(Okay, so this picture does not do the flags justice, but they were perfect to be in the front row of my cupcakes!)

I was not paid to write this review, though I did receive some very useful cupcake toppers, invites and other goodies from Blonde Girl's etsy shop to review.  What you just read is my honest opinion of it!

Follow Blonde Girl:


twitter: BlondeGirlParty

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lighting at CSN

Have you ever thought about how much good lighting effects your home?
I have...and not just because CSN asked me to share a few of their great lighting products, either.  Since I am now a CSN preferred blogger, I will get to share lots of their fabulous products, too!

My living room has a nice big window.  A nice big window that doesn't let in any light during the night.  Odd how the sun goes out and the moon just isn't powerful enough to give my family light to see, read, eat without spilling all over the floor, etc.  My living room also has...NO OVERHEAD LIGHTING!  It's basically a cave as the sun sets and night falls, bringing with it a cool breeze and a lack of lighting from the moon.  Come on moon, get your act together.

But never fear, check out some of the fab lights and accessories I have found that could solve the frustrations of living in a home with NO overhead lighting in the bedrooms, living room, or craft room.  I will focus on my living room, to keep it simple.

1.  Overhead lighting.  Maybe one day my daddy can install overhead lighting in my living room.  He mentioned it once before.  BUT...the more I think about having a really cool dangling chandelier or a multi-purpose ceiling fan, the more my blood pressure starts to rise just thinking of the constant nagging I'd have to do.
"Jackson, a chandelier is NOT a swing!"
See, it would just be too stressful worrying about my beautiful lighting breaking, so when my daddy installs an overhead light, I will go simple and elegant.

2.  Lamps.  Now, lamps are just as precarious in the world of little boys as fans and chandeliers, but I like that you can get a little funky with a lamp and add a little bit of style to a room without drastically changing the entire room's look.  This lamp would go great with the hints of blue I want to incorporate into my living/dining room.  AND...if for some reason a boy child were to break a lamp,'s a lot less money for them to have to work to replace it then a fancy overhead light...and it's a lot easier to clean up :)

3.  Accessories.  Now, every light needs a good light bulb.  With out the proper wattage, bad things can happen.  Too small a wattage and you might as well not even have a light on.  Too much wattage and you have a fire hazard on your hand.  CSN even has light bulbs on hand so check them before you place that final order...that way EVERYTHING you needs gets shipped to you at once.

4.  T.V. Stands.  Now, no, this item will NOT solve your lighting problems (unless you have a really bright t.v.) but it will make me happy and make me forget for a moment that there is a lighting problem. could get one and add some recess lighting and have another source of glowing warmth!

5.  New shoes.  Now, once again, does NOT solve your lighting issues :) BUT...I love a pair of new shoes!  I actually own this pair from CSN!  Wouldn't that sunny yellow light up ANY room??? 

6.  Sales.  Now this is not an item that could enhance my lighting problems and help me become a rockin' photographer, but...I love a sale and CSN has a lot.

So, go check out CSN today and see if you can find some lighting (or other stuff, because CSN basically has it ALL!) that would solve your lighting problems or make you happy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Giving Thanks (where I actually GET something from that phrase :)

As a thank you for traveling to Texas with my mom and helping at an ICES day of sharing in San Antonio and helping set up/tear down for a class in Austin, my mom gave my sister and me a Silhouette!  I have been hearing her talk about all she is doing with hers now and I can hardly wait to try it out!  She's also giving us a printer that can print on gum paste...this is going to change (yet again) the way I decorate cakes!
Now, a simple "Thanks for a fun trip girls, hope you liked the free breakfasts at Hampton Inn" would have been enough of a thanks for me, so this was a really fun surprise to get!  Thank you Mama.

In other news, Bart is doing great walking around...he hasn't even used a walker today, though he is no where near 100% stable or "normal" (but really, was he ever really "normal"?).  He had physical therapy tomorrow morning so they can assess him and see where he is.  Today he went swimming at Ms. Ruthie's house and did great, though he said it felt like he was a dead man in the water.  That didn't stop him from (only once) climbing precariously onto the diving board and doing a scary jump.  Seriously...he can hardly feel his legs/feet, I don't think doing tricks to impress the boys is really most important right now :).    This is probably my favorite picture from the 3rd of July...Bart, ever the fireworks junkie, lighting sparklers for the boys :)  My dad helped light most of them, but he was out there with his walker, being a big part of the fun.
Thank you for the many prayers, comments, emails, and bits of encouragement.  I know our prayers have helped Bart get to this point at this speed.  Hopefully with the therapy, steroids he received in the hospital, and a regimen of Betaseron, he will continue to be an able bodied husband and father. 
I taught the younger children in primary Sunday and our lesson was on saying "THANK YOU".  So, to my mama and all of you...THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO!  YOU ARE AWESOME.