13th Birthday Owl

A sweet girl in my ward turned into a teenager today!  She is an amazing young lady and I’d only be too happy if my daughter turned out to be as thoughtful, funny, and well-rounded as her.  Her mom had asked me to make a cake to celebrate and mentioned the all too well-known fact that she loves owls!!!  I had picked up a ridiculously cute owl necklace that I was going to give to her anyway but I thought it would be fun if I could incorporate it into her cake.

I set out by making the main part of her cake just a regular stacked cake.  I then used the same technique/approach I used to make my little nieces’ first birthday cake several months ago.  With the mommy owl made and the nest decorated I set out covering two extra-large plastic Easter eggs with fondant.  That was a little trickier than I had anticipated but it was well worth it because once they hardened a bit you could open and close the eggs.  I decorated the outside and then placed the baby owl necklace inside one of the eggs for her to open up later!  I added a sweet little butterfly to the edge of the nest and sent it off to be devoured!


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20th Birthday Cake

I spent the bulk of last night finishing this cake!  I think it turned out spectacular especially since there are so many personal aspects to it for the young lady who it was for.

She is an avid mountain biker and had a great trip with her mom right before her birthday.  I had heard the story in great detail and portrayed it through the fondant and frosting work.

My kids were so thrilled to look at all the details that I had pipped on there and asked about them.  I was really pleased with the way it turned out! 🙂

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Tonight was the last night of our Halloween extravaganza.  Jared got home from work a little early so we could all go trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  We got Kami all set up with the projector on the garage door before we all left as a Star Wars family.  Jared had a hard time seeing through the mask so as the sun set he mask came off.

This year was so much fun because the kids knew what to do.  We assigned them partners who they had to stay with the whole night.  Our neighborhood has a nice little circuit that took us about an hour to finish but loaded us with plenty of candy!  The kids were excited to get back home and dig into their treasures while watching Monsters vs. Aliens.  Such a great movie and even better to watch with neighbors and other trick-or-treaters.  I had made a huge thing of brownies for one of the class parties that I didn’t end up using and I most certainly didn’t want to eat them all by myself so we brought those out for the adults.  It was a truly wonderful time!

Shortly after this picture was taken I had spent $20 and bought back all four bags of the kids’ candy.  This is the third time they have collected candy (Fall Festival, trunk-or-treating, and tonight) and each time I allowed them to pick out 5 pieces that they could eat that night.  Tonight was the same thing but then after they ate their five pieces I gave them the option of continuing to eat as much of the candy as they could tonight but at the end of the evening we would be throwing it all away OR they could sell it to me for $5, each! The three younger kids jumped on the $5 while Benjamin sat there and weighed the offer very heavily.  His response was, “How about I eat as much as I can AND THEN sell you the rest for $5!”  I had to laugh at his way of thinking but I told him it was all or nothing.  He took the $5 and handed over his candy which we proceeded to pass out to trick-or-treaters.

An amazing Halloween without the added chaos that the leftover candy brings!!!

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I had very little time to get the kids dressed today for the trunk-or-treat but I did a better job of it than I did the other day for the Fall Festival.  I had time to do the make-up better on all the kids and I just felt more prepared.  So, with the kids getting home at 4:00 and needing to be to the church at 5:3o I was surprised when we had extra time.  I used that time to take some pictures in the front yard because who knows when they’ll all look this good again!!!





I really love this theme that we have this year!  We hardly spent any money on the costumes.  With Yoda we spend $1 for the green face paint, $1 for the green hair spray, and then used my sweater and his clothes.  I spent a little extra time cutting out some green felt and gluing them to one of Emma’s old headbands that she never uses.  For Luke I had luckily raided Jared’s closet and gotten rid of some of his old shirts.  I cut it apart to make the tunic and then used a dollar store light saber.  Leia was a little more in-depth.  I used some yarn similar to Emma’s hair color and another old headband to make the double buns.  I’m sure if I had made it more of a priority I could have made a white dress out of a sheet or something but I ran out of time so I bought an angel costume that happened to be on sale at Party City so that was a whopping $7 and a little makeup to finish it off.  Darth Maul was all about the makeup.  $1 for the red and $1 for the black.  I had a bunch of leftover black material from years ago when I did a production of The Woman at the Well that I shredded and draped to get the effect I wanted.  With all that done I found a pair of black gloves in clearance at Target for $2 and just used some black electrical tape to tape two $1 light sabers together.  I love when you can be creative and use the things you have lying around to create something special and unique!

The kids were great!  Everything was so enjoyable and fun!  We’ve been entering a different stage over the past few months of independence and self-sufficiency that makes me able to enjoy my children even more.  I loved when I was so inherently needed when they were little ones but I can now immerse myself in their personalities and really get to know and enjoy my children.  I’ll always miss some of those little baby and toddler times but I enjoyed them fully and so have no regrets in that department which really helps when moving onto the next stage.

We saw so many friends tonight since our ward and the newly established Windmill ward met together.  There was a bunch of great food and funny enough all my kids camped out right next to the food tables.  It was funny to watch little Miss Leia (Emma) keep up with her brothers and go back for thirds.  It’s things like that to help me to know that they’re starting a growth spurt and I need to watch what they’re eating and to be patient with them because for the next couple weeks they’ll be asking for food non-stop.

After eating it was time for some trunk-or-treating.  Such fun trunks and such amazing people here tonight.  I got a good laugh when I watched Luke (Joseph) fight Batman for a piece of candy.  That Batman is such a character I’m pretty sure he was asking for it 😉 .

Benjamin met up with two of his best friends at the church and I couldn’t help but snap a picture of the three of them.  Chaz was the Hulk, Willie was Cap’n Jack, and Benjamin was Darth Maul.  It was fun to watch these three very different boys, not just in their choice of costume, talk and laugh together.  It’s friendships like this that span ward splits and the years to come.

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Nana’s Birthday

Several days ago my dad had approached me about my mom’s birthday.  He wanted to see if we could do a family dinner.  I thought it would be a great idea.  He then asked if I could make the dinner and a birthday cake for her!  With dad at work and mom at home it would make it impossible to have dinner be a surprise unless I made it.  I agreed, as long as we could do it at my place.

I planned the meal around her favorite Olive Garden special.  She always orders the Pasta Fagioli with salad and bread sticks  so that’s what I made.  Dad picked up some bread sticks on his way home from work and a bottle of their famous salad dressing.  While I was cooking and setting the table the kids were writing menus and signs for the front door.  I had made her cake the night before so that I wouldn’t be swamped with trying to make that at the same time.  My mom LOVES German chocolate cake!  The only problem is that she’s the only one that likes that kind of cake!  I remember making her a German chocolate bunt cake for her 50th birthday and thinking that it looked like a big mound of something not very delicious 😉 .  This year I made my version of German chocolate with homemade Coconut-Pecan Cajeta frosting.  It was delicious!!!  I’m lucky we got any of that stuff on the cake.

After dinner and we cleaned off the table we pulled out the cake and sang happy birthday.  Nana wouldn’t let anyone touch the cake for about 10 minutes while she dug into it.  The kids kept trying to get a piece or a bite and she, jokingly, kept shooing them away.  It wasn’t until the kids started to get really upset and some even cry that she finally relented and allowed them to have a piece.  I think she ate about half the cake all by herself 🙂 .  That’s when you know you did something right!


When we were all sufficiently stuffed, we all made our way over to the couches and enjoyed Star Wars Episode IV.  I was really impressed because my mom is NOT into the whole sci-fi thing but she watched the movie with the kids and I think she really enjoyed herself.  It was such a wonderful evening.  The food was wonderful, the cake was a hit with everyone, and we were able to relax and enjoy ourselves.  I love that my house was able to accommodate everyone and that it create a wonderful inviting spirit where everyone can enjoy themselves.  It was a very fulfilling moment to look at everyone in the family room and see them truly relaxed.  The kids were lounging on the floor or the ottoman, Nana and Papa sat on the couch with some of the kids going back and forth from the floor to snuggling, Michael fell asleep on the couch for a bit, Jared and I got to sit together and watch all of this… it was just perfect!  I’m so grateful that my husband has been able to create this wonderful life for us where I can stay at home with the children and that we are able to have the gospel in our lives and have that reflect in our home!

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Filed under Brithdays, Cakes, Family, Nana and Papa

Fall Festival

Tonight was the school’s Fall Festival.  This year I entered our car to be used for the trunk-or-treating.  One of the fun things about using your car is decorating it.  This year we went really simple.  One of my young women needed some service hours for NHS and so I said she could come and man our car.  My kids love Michaela and so it was really special to have her there with us at a family event.  I had her dress in some of Jared’s clothes which were too big, and sit propped up in a lawn chair with the candy in her lap.  The material was thin enough that she could see through and grab a kids’ hand or offer candy when needed.  It made for a very basic decoration but it got right to the point of handing out candy and I don’t have a lot of Halloween decorations anyway.

I was completely surprised and baffled at the kids’, and even parents’ in some cases, response to our trunk.  The kids were very apprehensive about approaching our car.  Some parents wouldn’t even let their kids come up to it.  Meanwhile, we had a trunk on one side of us with decapitated wolves (+gore), shrunken heads, and a huge bloody scythe in the trunk.  On the other side there were zombies and tombstones and creepy pictures in frames.  I couldn’t believe it when one mother actually yelled at ME because her daughter got scarred!  I’d rather have a little scare from a harmless scarecrow than have nightmares because of the crazy stuff I saw next to me.  Plus… it’s HALLOWEEN!!!  Some people?!?!

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School Pumpkins

Today I had to finish decorating the plastic pumpkins from the kids’ classes for the Fall Festival this weekend.  There are so many things I want to do for Halloween but there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get it all done.  We finally just put up the decorations and I’m planning on buying some pumpkins next week to carve.  Last year we never got around to that and I want to make sure we do that this year.

I like to make sure I get a wide variety of pumpkins for the teachers to pick from and make sure that they get the most bids possible.  I had two pumpkins to decorate for Joseph’s class (am and pm classes) and this is what I came up with…

Emma’s class got the pumpkin chopped in half to make two matching frames (I thought Emma’s teacher would pick the sparkly one but I guess I was wrong and Emma was a little disappointed too)…

and Benjamin’s class got the crazy cauldron with the “IT” popping out of it!  Fun stuff!!!

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Filed under Benjamin, Craft Projects, Emma, Holidays, Joseph, School