Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day.

I would first like to wish you all a very happy Memorial Day! A special thanks to all of our veterans and those who are currently serving our country. We truly appreciate you and love each of you for what you do to protect our freedom.

I hope that everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day-- it was a hot one here in North Carolina! Wooo! I'm not good in hot weather.... it's not quite summer yet, but this 90 degree weather is killing me. Of the 4 seasons, Summer is definitely my least favorite!

I spent my day baking! I had a cake order for one of my sister's friends. Her little girl is turning 4 this week and she requested a Disney princess cake! She also wanted me to make a name plaque for her.

That is a very pink cake! And the letters on the name plaque are glittery-- I tried to get a close up but I'm still learning how to use our fancy camera. Anyone want to give me lessons on how to use my camera to take professional pictures?? I have a Nikon D3000, and I'm not picture savvy.

I didn't only do baking for little Kendra-- my husband and I have both had sweet tooths the past few days so I made us some cookies too. Cake mix cookies.... That's right, did you know you can make cookies out of cake mix? This was my 1st time and they tasted awesome! I made them with "Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Fudge" cake mix. All you do is mix the cake mix with 1 stick of softened butter and 1 egg. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. They come out thick and chewy and yummy!!

And I can't finish out a post without talking about our little man Leeland, so here are a few pictures that we took of Leeland yesterday at the playground at our apartment.
He's growing TOO fast!

"But why can't I eat the mulch Mom??"

Loves his football.



Saturday, May 28, 2011

pool party.

We were invited to a pool party today at a friend's house. I was SO stoked! Leeland got in a pool once last year while we were at the beach-- an indoor pool, he was 2 months old and it was a brief instant of me holding him in his onesie and he splashed a little.
He enjoyed it then... I guess enjoyed it as much as a 2 month old could comprehend that he was being held against his will in a pool. He smiled at least!

So today was going to be Leeland's 2nd time getting in a pool ever in his life, and I was pretty stoked! Though Daniel wasn't coming to the party because he had to work, he was pretty stoked too! We thought he was going to have a blast... I mean, he loves bath time! And another bonus is that I would get to show off his new swimsuit! It's from I-Play. They make baby swim suits with built in cloth diapers, they're SUPER cool! And they are on sale here.

I got him all decked out in his gear....
And I even put entirely too much sunblock on him, because I don't take any chances!
I promise that's sunblock.... he doesn't always look so ghostly.

So after the 20 minute routine of getting him ready for the pool, inflating his float with my very own lungs, we walked down to the pool and.... he HATED it! He cried, balled up into fetal position and clung to my bathing suit with a grip I have never seen before.  From a 1 year old's perspective, I can see why the pool would be a little intimidating but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. We'll keep trying though-- isn't that what toddlerhood is all about? Trying new things, some days they like it and some days they don't-- at least that's how it goes with Leeland and food.

Any tips to make Leeland's next pool experience go smoother?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Etsy shop is open!

This past week I have been working on opening a shop on Etsy... in fact I am still working on it. My shop is officially open now and though I don't have everything listed yet, I am gradually getting there. Feel free to check it out! And if any of you have Etsy accounts, it would be fabulous if you "favorite" my shop so that I may get a little exposure.  If you yourself have an Etsy shop, leave me a comment and I will surely return the favor and head over to your shop to "favorite" it. Thanks for all the love and support friends. It's a work in progress, so continue to check things out as changes are made and more listings go up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ice Cream!

Tonight after dinner we went out to Homeland Creamery to get ice-cream! Homeland creamery is in a small town about 30 minutes from where we currently live-- it's out in the country where I am originally from. They have the most amazing milk, and even better ice-cream! And they use no artificial growth hormones. I got peach ice-cream and Daniel got chocolate and we each shared with Leeland.

It was yummy yummy! What a fun little outing it was! It's nice to get out of the house sometimes. We also purchased some chocolate milk because we LOVE their chocolate milk. We hope to return to Homeland Creamery sometime soon-- they do farm tours and we really want to take Leeland on one. He just learned the word "cow" in the past month and he even knows that cows say "moo"... so cute! However they only do tours during the week, so we are going to have to work out a day that Daniel can take off work. If you're in the area, you should check them out-- it's a pretty neat place, with AMAZING ice cream! :0)

TRIPLE coupons!!!

This week is an excellent week! Who could be down when it's triple coupon week!? I mean does it really get any better than saving tons of cash and even getting free stuff!  I have been looking forward to triple coupons for a few weeks now and was very prepared for the shopping excursion(s)-- plural because there's kind of a limit to how much you can save at one time.  Harris Teeter has a 20 coupon policy-- 20 coupons triple per day, per household. You can certainly use more than 20 coupons a day, but why would you do that if they aren't all tripling.  I am pretty proud to say that I made out quite well in my 3 shopping excursions, here's a little summary.

Wednesday was the first day of triple coupons and I think every couponer in the city went mad on Wednesday. I work on Wednesday mornings so I didn't make it to the store until the afternoon.  By that time the Harris Teeter was unfortunately out of much of the good deal products. The way that couponing works is that you match the coupon to the sale-- so everyone had pretty much bought out the sale items I was looking for. I had some regular "stock up" items to purchase on Wednesday anyways, so I picked up those regular items (meat, bread, pizza :D ) and got what deals I could. My cashier told me at check-out that they stock every night, so I could try back another day in the morning and they may have what I was looking for. Here's how I made out on Wednesday:
Grocery Total: 100.61
- Vic Savings: 19.17
-Coupon Savings: 31.05
Total Spent: 50.39

My grocery bill on Wednesday was cut in HALF!! AWESOME!

Since my cashier on Wednesday let me in on the little secret that they stock at night, I decided to try to shop EARLY on Thursday. I had to be at work at 9am on Thursday so I got to the Harris Teeter at 7am on Thursday. (dedication!) And she was SO right, the store was pretty well empty,  and the items were stocked. I got in and out pretty quickly because I was prepared with my list and my coupon binder-- the coupons I was planning to use were already out and ready to go. On this shopping day, I pretty much stuck to my coupon list and bought only with coupons. 
Grocery Total: 79.80
- VIC Savings: 10.24
-Coupon Savings: 43.76
Total Spent: 25.80
You thought half off was good.... that's almost a 70% savings!!! Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! :0)

Friday was my last day of shopping. I had nearly 60 coupons to use this week and with the 20 a day policy, I had to split it up amongst 3 days. I wanted to make it the earlier days in the week that way I didn't risk Harris Teeter running out of the product I was seeking. Plus, I must admit that I don't really want to spend my weekend at the grocery store. On this day I was wrapping up the last of the coupons, and picking up anything that they were out of the previous days-- plus I went to a different Harris Teeter on this day.  I must admit that on this particular day, I detoured off of my list just a teeny bit-- I picked up some more meat, plus we needed lunch meat, and they had buy one get one cookies that I couldn't resist. (I should know better than to go to the store hungry... ugh)
Grocery Total: 127.07
-VIC Savings: 29.59
-Coupon Savings: 57.58
Total Spent: 39.90

Say what!! I went off of my list and I still saved nearly 70%!! Go Dana, it's your birthday!! :0)
Just have to say that this blog post makes me VERY happy. It makes me enjoy math again.... and many of you who know me well know that I am TERRIBLE at math... I mean, that's the reason I have a Bachelor's in Social Work-- you only have to take 1 math class! Hope you all have enjoyed this post as much as I have, even if that means just reading along and thinking how big of a dork I am. Love you all and hope you have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Another baby shower cake and sugar sheets.

This weekend I had another baby shower cake order-- those things really make me realize how many people are pregnant. I know SO many people having babies right now! Are you in the same boat? I have to admit that it makes me a little jealous... just a little. I would LOVE to be pregnant again and make Leeland a big brother. In God's time it will happen-- the patience on my end is the hard part.

So without further ado, here's the cake I made. The couple that it is for don't know if they are having a boy or a girl-- a good old fashioned surprise.  The cake needed to be somewhat jungle themed or monkey, and I thought green and yellow were good "jungly" gender neutral colors.

I used sugar sheets to make the yellow and green polka dots.  Sugar sheets are a new product that Wilton just came out with. And I mean really new-- like this month-- like when I called AC Moore, they wouldn't give me any because they weren't going out till this weekend-- BUT when I called Michael's, a sweet gal there offered to sort through their boxes and find exactly what I needed.  Thanks Michaels's! (For there record, I do in fact love both stores and know that they have their own protocol for new merchandise and love to frequent both.)

They are literally like paper-- 8 1/2" x 11" and are about the same thickness as card stock.  You can use scissors to cut them or Wilton makes a special punch tool where you can punch out various shapes. I tasted some and they just taste sweet and they are a little chewy like fondant. Overall I really enjoyed them! They are much easier to work with than fondant and I like that they are so thin so you don't get the look of a giant circle popping off the cake.  The bag is resealable and the instructions say that if you place what you don't use back in the sealed  bag then you can store them-- I used all of what I bought but I wish I would've kept some scraps to test that theory and make sure it didn't dry out. Thanks Wilton for another fabulous product!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day.

In a lot of ways, Mother's Day is just a regular 'ol day to me. Mother's Day is a day to appreciate your mother, but in my case, I spent most of the day reflecting on how thankful I am to be a Mother.  My Mother passed away when I was 7 years old from breast cancer-- you would think that this holiday is extra hard on me, and typically it is, but not this year.  I have a wonderful Step-Mother that I am able to honor on holidays such as this, but I also think that being a Mom myself was a distraction from looming on the passing of my Mother.

This morning, Daniel got up with Leeland and I got to sleep a little bit longer than the norm. I walked out of the bedroom to find a card from Leeland and a card from Daniel. Daniel had to work today but this afternoon, Leeland and I spent time with my family at my sister's house eating burgers.  In honor of Mother's Day, dinner tonight was from the crock-pot.  Taco chicken chili, very little work but SO delicious. I got home from my sister's house to a glorious aroma!  After dinner, in typical Dana fashion, I did some baking. Did you know that it's strawberry season!? What a glorious time strawberry season is! And when your refrigerator is overflowing with strawberries, you bake them. I have a standby crumb cake recipe that I typically make with blueberries, and on one special occasion (Valentine's) made with raspberries. Tonight it was strawberry crumb cake!
check out that streusel topping!
crumbly goodness :0)
That is all for now folks-- as much as I adore being a Mother and feel so incredibly blessed to have Leeland in my life, life as a Mother never stops. There's laundry to be done and sleep to be had to begin this next week. I feel terrible that life has been so hectic for us lately-- please be in prayer for us as a family.... so many decisions to make, and we're still waiting on the right answers. We hope to hear good news in the next 4 weeks, but we appreciate the prayers anyways.


Leeland and his Uncle Nate
 My brother-in-law is being deployed over seas soon. We had a little going away party/cook-out this weekend for him. I have to say that it was very hard to have a "party" when you know what the reasoning is behind it. He's going to the Middle East to help break down a military base-- he should be leaving in the next couple weeks. I don't know the exact date, mostly because it's changed at least 3 times. I'm so sad to see him go.... in my mind he's still that High School teenager that I first met when Daniel and I started dating. I pray for him all the time, I pray that he accepts the Lord, and I pray for his safety. I pray for his wife and her patience, strength and salvation while he is away. If you think about it, I encourage you to pray for him also-- pray for all of our soldiers serving our country and protecting our freedom.
Nate and his wife Monica
And of course, I HAD to make a cake for my brother-in-law for this special occasion. He's the one person who has pretty much loved every cake I have ever made.... he even insists that I ship him cake over seas while he is away. I'm going to have to look into the care package restrictions, and if I am able to send him some baked goods, figure out a way that the items will stay fresh.
John 16:33
A very thick chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream! Delicious!

Indie Market

I had my very first "First Friday Indie Market" this weekend-- this is the same market that I applied for last month but didn't get accepted . This time I got accepted and I had a good time. I have to admit that I was SO SO SO nervous on my way to the market. I have been told that my creations are cute but I have never sold anything that I have made. Typically the things that I make are for myself or close family and friends-- it's weird to think about someone actually paying money for my items.

I didn't sell as much as I had hoped but the girl in the booth next to me said that her night wasn't as good as last month either so that made me feel a little bit better.  My biggest seller was the little dresses that I make (which I didn't get a picture of before I sold them... oops) and I gave out some business cards to some ladies about making dresses in specific sizes.

I will say that I learned a lot-- I learned what sells and what doesn't. I got some great ideas on better displays so that people know what I'm selling, and I even got some tips on pricing. I haven't decided if I am going to apply again for next month yet, my family thinks that I should, but I need to decide this week so I'll keep thinking.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Power lifting competition.

Last Saturday we went out of town for Daniel's power lifting competition. He started power lifting last year and had his first competition back in December. He and a few buddies train together at least 4 mornings a week-- Daniel has competed twice now with his buddy Alex, and both of them have done a great job!

The competition back in December was a bench, curl and dead lift meet. The meet we went to last week was bench only. It was a really great meet-- there was lots of competition and there were a few teams there. By the end of the day there were 3 national records set! Daniel says that doesn't happen often, much less 3 of them happening in one meet. Daniel walked away with 1st place in his age & weight category, and 2nd place overall in his weight category.

Daniel and Alex with medals AND trophies! 

I am SO proud of my husband! He did such a fabulous job, and I can only hope that Leeland and I made great cheerleaders.

The Great Cloth Diaper Change

   On Saturday April 23rd, Leeland and I along with my friend Dusti and her son drove an hour out out of town to participate in the Great Cloth Diaper Change!  It was SO exciting! The whole thing began as increasing awareness of cloth diapers and it developed into setting a Guinness World Record for most cloth diapers changed at one time. Originally, the diaper change was only going to be a U.S. thing but it ended up being open to the world. You can find the current numbers at The Great Cloth Diaper Change website-- there are still numbers coming in but as I am writing this post, they are showing 221 hosts and 6,363 participants!

Ready to change!

Distracting my boy with a spray bottle-- check out that beautiful BG (bumGenius diaper)!

Group shot! Just having a little fun :0)
Did I mention that the first 25 people to get there got awesome SWAG bags full of samples?? Yea, we were the first TWO to get there!