Thursday, April 28, 2011

Amazing Mother's Day Giveaway....

Hey fellow mommas, check out this awesome giveway created by Laura Winslow Photography.  I know, slim chance at me winning but hey I figure someone has to win, why not me???

Enter to win and hey if you do remember who gave you the tip! ;)

On a seperate note, we are off this weekend for a trip across the state and into the lovely British Columbia, Canada. We are leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning, loading up our family wagon and taking the little peanut to meet Great Grandma. Looking forward to some time with my family and most importantly getting to see my husband! He is going to be so sick of me after an 8 hour drive, hehe, hopefully I don't talk his ear off too much!

~ Have a great weekend and Happy Thursday to you!
Toni

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Adventures in motherhood

Anyone who has said to let a child "cry it out and they will eventually fall asleep" has not met my child! Last night was my first real attempt at trying to get Katelyn to sleep unswaddled for bedtime, I have tried at nap times with no luck. Last night she was pretty sleepy so I thought just maybe it could work. I was wrong!
After her bottle those eyes were starting to get real heavy, so I kissed her goodnight and placed her in the crib. As soon as her back hit that mattress her eyes were wide open and I knew at that moment she was not going down quietly. I just let her be, about 2 minutes went by and the crying began, crying turned into screaming! It didn't matter where I was in the house I could hear her even with the door closed and monitors off, this of course breaks a mommas heart. I told myself I would give it 15 minutes, so 15 minutes went by and still no end in sight. I went in and gently rubbed her tummy and popped the pacifier back in, all was good until mommy decided to leave again. I tried getting ready for bed and occupying myself hoping she would eventually fall asleep, nothing really worked, I felt horrible and was just about bringing myself to tears listening to her. After about an hour of my little girl screaming enough was enough mom couldn't take it anymore, I went in to get her. She was shaking, had little tears streaming down her cheeks and was just so upset, mom was crushed. I decided to swaddle her and she was passed out in less than a minute.

At this point I know it is going to be a long road at getting Katelyn used to sleeping unswaddled. She is getting so long that her swaddle blankets are not going to work much longer. I am not really sure what route to take since this is all new for me, but we will just keep trying. Any suggestions???

On a different note, tonight we start packing for our weekend trip. It will be a short vacation but a well needed one!

~ Happy Wednesday
Toni

Attempts at Baking: Round 2

As promised here are the Coconut Funfetti Cookie Sandwich's. They turned out really good, very sweet though, I actually had a pretty hard time finishing one. For making the cookies I used the funfetti cake mix; I left out the water and added the oil, eggs and a bit of coconut for a fun flavor. I didn't really know how long to bake them for so I ended up putting them in for 15 minutes at the suggested 350 degrees (convection), they were golden on the edges and the insides were nice and chewy (kind of a mix between a cookie & brownie). You may have to play around with the timing a bit. For the filling I used my left over almond buttercream frosting from the Easter cupcakes. The combined taste of coconut from the cookies and almond from the frosting made them delicious!
I liked this idea because I love funfetti but not necessarily always in a cake form. I thought about doing cupcakes, but the frosting I had left over from my Easter cupcakes wouldn't have been enough to cover them all, so cookie sandwich it was! 


~ Enjoy!
Toni

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Attempts at baking...

I have always loved cupcakes and it seems more recently they have been increasing in popularity. I never really thought I was a great baker but I have been trying things out slowing and trying to become more domestic. We shall see about that! I thought I would post my first attempt at going all out in baking, of course I only took pictures of the pretty cupcakes after the fact not of the complete mess I made of my kitchen in the process. No one ever said baking was a clean job!

These are lemon cupcakes with almond buttercream frosting. I doctored up a yellow box cake to make a lemon flavor, then I made the frosting from scratch. I decided to try and make an egg's nest look and I think they turned out pretty good for my first try. I bought coconut ( that was supposed to be shredded, oops I bought flakes instead) and baked it for a bit, then colored it yellow. I sprinkled the coconut on top with a few M&M's to mimic the eggs. I think they turned out pretty tasty!


Next I decided to take it one step further and make cupcake toppers. I have seen these all over the internet on party planning websites and blogs. I thought I would try it myself, or course as usual I over scheduled myself and stayed up way too late to finish these, but I am glad I did. These little guys turned out really cute and I even saved them for next year in case I find another way to use them.


My next attempt will be funfetti cookie sandwiches! Stay tuned...

~Toni

Easter Festivities, continued...

Holidays in my house have always been kind of crazy and Easter isn't any different, growing up in a blended family I have always traveled to multiple homes. It is something I have just gotten used to, my husband on the other hand has taken some time to adjust. He grew up with parents who have been married for 30 years plus and his whole extended family is the size of my immediate family (seriously). It was kind of funny when we first started dating, he was confused trying to keep all of my family members straight (trust me, took me some time too). We joked about how opposite our family lives were growing up. I never gave it much thought that other families did things differently, my large family was all I knew. It can get crazy and chaotic from time to time, but I really wouldn't change it for the world. I always said once Katelyn came along we would need to start spending more holidays at home or at one place. This holiday season I haven't been very good at that, always over scheduling ourselves, but there is always next season!
This Easter was pretty great, we started the morning off by introducing Katelyn to the Easter Basket experience, baby girl got some books and a little stuffed sheep. The Easter Bunny knew what he was doing because he even snuck some candy in there for mom and dad (he must have read our minds).




First stop was my mom and step-dad's for brunch and an Easter egg hunt. For the first time in a while the whole family was there, all kids and grandkids, it was really great getting to see everyone and watch all the kids having fun. My mom had a great idea this year for egg hunting, each kid got their own set of eggs to look for. She put a picture of their eggs on the front of the Easter bags and off hunting they went. Katelyn obviously had no idea what was going on, but I played along like the big kid I am and we of course got a few great photo ops. We hunted for crystal/jewel eggs that were loaded with candy and cash!




 Katelyn with her Aunt Jen
 Katelyn's cousin Brett
 Aunt Tanya and Cousin Emily
Cousins showing some love

Last stop was dinner and dessert at my dads, it was a long day but it was a lot of fun; with fabulous food, good treats and lots of laughs.

 Grandpa & Katelyn
 Daddy & Katelyn (she's trying to open her chocolate bunny)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter as much as we did!
This week is going to be a little busy for us, prepping and planning for our first weekend away with Katelyn, we are off to Canada bright and early Friday morning. We are taking Katelyn to meet her Great Grandma,  7 hour drive across the state with a baby, we shall see how this goes!

~ Happy Tuesday
Toni




Monday, April 18, 2011

Let the Easter festivities begin

What an amazing weekend we had! The weather turned out great and I had the chance to not only spend time with my family but with friends too. 
On Saturday, Steve and I decided to brave Uptown Gig Harbor for a visit with the Easter Bunny. Surprisingly it wasn't too crowded, we got our picture taken and of course Katelyn was so intrigued by all the little kids running around searching for eggs she had no clue she was being posed with a giant stuffed bunny! We finished off our morning with a hearty breakfast and then home bound so Steve could head off to work. I am so thankful we were able to squeeze some much needed family time into our busy lives.



Katelyn and I spent Saturday afternoon at an Easter Party with our dear friends the Fischers. There was lots of good food, great company and Easter egg decorating! I haven't dyed eggs in years, I was a bit rusty but it was a lot of fun to prep myself for all these things Katelyn will be doing as she gets older.
 
 
Thank you to my friend Melanie for having us and making the most delicious desserts, that I can never stay away from!





~ Have a great Monday!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flying By...

Time is just flying by, my baby girl is almost 5 months old and I can hardly believe it. She is growing so fast and changing everyday. She is rolling over, smiling, giggling, blowing bubbles and kicking up a storm!

Our newest adventure is one I think Katelyn is going to love, FOOD! Well actually only rice cereal, but she likes it and has taken to spoon feeding pretty well. She hasn't quite figured out that with food it isn't a consistent stream going down her throat, like her bottle. I have to be quick, one bite in the mouth and before I can even get the spoon back in the bowl she has her mouth open whining for the next bite. Hopefully this will be a lesson in patience for her.


Katelyn's favorite activity of the moment is her jumper, now that her feet can reach the floor she has figured out how to jump. Each time she jumps the lights flash and music plays causing an instant smile or giggle, which of course makes mom giggle too!

Next up for us is prepping for Easter, should be fun introducing Katelyn to the Easter Bunny (we will hope that goes well) and we will be getting together with Katelyn's friends Sara & Molly to do some Easter Egg decorating! Should be a fun weekend!

Happy Thursday and have a great weekend!

~ Toni

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Planning Early...

Some of you may call me crazy but if you know me well, I LOVE birthdays, so yes I have already been thinking of decorations, crafts and fun things for Katelyn's first. My husband thinks I am nuts but thankfully I have a mom who shares in my craziness and we are having fun with the planning. I have been scouring online sites, blogs and images to get ideas and inspirations for a big bash on a budget! I have come across a lot of sites that have become new favorites and Jessica at Blah Blah Blogging happens to be one of them. She posted pictures of her daughters 1st birthday and I just loved everything she created. She also put into words exactly how I feel about birthdays and here is an excerpt from her blog:
 
"So many people told me that a first birthday celebration is just for me, since the baby won't remember. This is true, yet I knew I wanted to celebrate big, make a fuss, hand-make every decoration, stay up late cooking and crafting and gluing, and invite all the little friends and their families over. I've been thinking about this party, this event to celebrate the life and miracle of my angel baby girl, for months, but I couldn't articulate to myself why I wanted such a big fuss." (This is so true and so me, I am glad to see I am not the only one!) "Then I read a post and was struck by a short quote from a mother who lost her daughter to a choking accident two weeks shy of her second birthday. In a letter to her son on his first birthday, she wrote, "Dearest Little Peter Boy, I didn't know that your sister, Lucy, would have only one birthday. Just one. We had a small party for her. And it was sweet and wonderful. But after she passed away, I realized what a big deal birthdays are. Another year alive. Another year with our loved ones. And I vowed that I would make your first birthday a huge celebration. And we did! It was all I could have hoped for and more." I agree. They're a big deal and they are indeed a miracle. One which I do not take for granted a great birthday party was my way of expressing that and reveling in it. I thank God for my precious baby."
As I read this it not only brought tears to my eyes but I also thought it captured so many true feelings I have. For me making occasions special for her is not going to be about spending a lot of money its going to be about a lot of love and crafty creations to make it memorable!

Here's an inspirational picture from Jessica's site (hoping she doesn't mind). Also check out her Craftily Ever After blog for some great crafting ideas.




A couple of other fun sites to check out for party ideas and inspirations are The Party Dress and the Design Dazzle Blog.

Thanks and Happy Wednesday!  ~