Sunday, August 31, 2008

And My Heart Breaks...

That would be Griffin's crib. I took it apart this morning, because my wee little baby boy has moved into a Big Boy Bed. Camden started sleeping in a bed when he was 17 months old. He never tried to escape, but then again, Camden was my easy boy. Griffin, on the other hand, is a maniac. I've been toying with the idea of trying to move him into a bed, but knowing Griffin as I do, I knew I was only asking for trouble. On a whim, Steve and I moved the trusty old Fire Truck Bed back into the house last night, and set it up next to the crib, because we were pretty sure we were making a big mistake. Lo and behold, we put Griffin to bed, wide awake, like we always do, and he didn't make a peep, didn't try to escape, and slept great last night. The same thing happened at 1:30 this afternoon, when it was time for his nap. Griffin wants so badly to be a big boy - - wants to be just like his brother. Bottles are long gone, the crib is gone - - the only bit of baby-ness we have left to deal with is The Binky, but I'm giving him until his second birthday until I tackle that. Oh, and diapers...I suspect we're a few months out on potty training. I'm slowly getting rid of all of the baby gear, but I can't give up this crib. It doesn't take up much room, so I'm keeping it, as well as the Moses Basket that the boys slept in when they were tiny and new.

First night in the Fire Truck bed

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Angel Cake #2

Here's my second Angel Cake. This one is for a little guy in foster care. I'll deliver it this morning, and then Steve, the boys, and I will be heading to Boise to the fabulous farmer's market.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Great Oprah Adventure: Part 3

Oprah, could you please give us a break? I mean, seriously. Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from Mark, from the Oprah Winfrey Show. He very cautiously asked me, "Can I ask you about your travel arrangements to Chicago?" I pretty much knew what he was going to say next - - the show we had been rebooked for was now cancelled. So, we've now been re-rebooked for the Thursday morning show. Please Oprah, don't cancel this one, too! This is really our last chance! We had to rearrange some of our travel plans, but now we'll have all day Wednesday to enjoy Chicago and see the sights. I'm going to keep thinking happy, positive thoughts. I may just refuse to answer my phone between now and next Tuesday morning.

***Update: I'm feeling slightly better, knowing that we were bumped by Michael Phelps (Oprah is taping her season premier next Wednesday, with all of the Olympians).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sweet Baby Wesstin

Yesterday, I finally met sweet little Wesstin, my dear friend Terri's new son. He was born on August 19th, after a very difficult labor for his mom. He is absolutely beautiful. His little head smelled so sweet, and he was just full of little baby chirps and gurgles. I could have eaten him right up. Good work, Terri! I'm looking forward to watching him grow along with our other FOUR boys!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Oprah Adventure: Part 2

Oh mercy. I just received the dreaded call from Harpo Studios, letting me know that "due to production changes", they would need to switch us to a different taping (we were scheduled for the 11:00 taping on September 3rd). The audience coordinator suggested we move to the 7:00 a.m. show the next morning, and I agreed, although I knew we would probably need to make some flight changes since we are all flying back home that day. For some reason I thought we were all flying out around lunch time, but unfortunately Jen was scheduled to fly out at 7:00 a.m. So, I called Harpo back, but only had the option to leave a message, in which I begged, BEGGED for them to let us attend the a.m. taping on the 3rd, although I don't even know if that is an option. Yes, I am well aware that there are far greater troubles in the world, but please send some calm and positive thoughts to Shonda, the lovely audience coordinator who called me, so that she can put us in the September 3rd a.m. taping! I should have told her we'd sit on the floor if we had to!

***Update*** Crisis averted! Shonda just called back and we can, in fact, attend the 7:00 a.m. taping on the 3rd. Phew! As it turns out, this is even better, because then we literally have the entire day to enjoy Chicago.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nurse Heather, At Your Service

Yesterday morning, the first full day of school, Camden woke up complaining of a tummy ache. I must admit, I wasn't really convinced that he was actually sick. However, when he vomited all over himself and the sofa, I was convinced. So, my boy missed the first "real" day of school. Luckily by noontime, the worst was over. Now I'm just hoping nobody else gets it, but at least if we do, it seems to be a mild bug. Steve was home yesterday also. To preserve his dignity, I won't tell you why, but I will tell you that his best friends were a bag of frozen corn, a jockstrap, and a bottle of Heavy Duty Narcotics. You figure it out. Steve is not one to lie around, and he doesn't like to be fussed over, so it took him a little while to get use to doing nothing all day long. I suspect he'll be taking it easy for the rest of the weekend. This morning, Griffin and I are off to the farmer's market because we are seriously low on fruits and veggies. Other than that, we have no plans at all, which is just fine with me. Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First Day of School

I'm happy to report that Camden was feeling much better this morning, so he was able to go to school. He was so excited, and had a wonderful time (for all of you wiseguys out there, his school is pronounced like "beauty", but without the "y" on the end).

I just love Camden's teacher, Miss Wentz. She's a bit old-fashioned, which I like a lot. I could tell that she expects her students to be well-mannered (again, love it). I'm so excited for my little guy.
Congratulations, Sweet Boy. Mummy and Daddy are so proud of you. Here's to a wonderful school year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, here we are, less than 24 hours away from the first day of school, and my Sweet Boy has a 102-degree fever. We've been nursing the sickies here for about the past 4 days - - runny noses, icky cough, and general crud. Griffin seems to be over the worst of it, so here is hoping that Camden will turn the corner sometime before 9:15 tomorrow morning. I'd be so sad if he missed the first day of kindergarten - - he is so looking forward to it. Right now, I think he is just happy that I'm letting him watch movies all afternoon...not something that happens often around here.

Camden met his teacher, Miss Wentz, for the first time last night, at the open house at his new school. We all liked her very much - - she taught elementary school for 35 years in Boise, retired, and then decided to come back to work part-time teaching kindergarten.

In case you were wondering, the ugly sofa that Camden is sprawled upon is not in my living room, thank you very much. It came with the house, and resides in the basement, in the family room. Someday, I will get a slipcover for that thing.

Get well soon, Munchie!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Great Oprah Adventure: Part One

So yesterday I got tickets to The Oprah Winfrey Show. I'm totally not kidding! I mean, it is so crazy! I bought my plane tickets last night, and will meet up with my dear friend Jennifer, my mom, and my Aunt Jean in the windy city for 48 hours of pure crazy girl time. It is only fitting that I am doing this with Jen - - we have experienced some great adventures together over the years, haven't we, Jen? We'll attend the afternoon taping on Wednesday, September 3rd, so that gives me exactly 15 days and some change to figure out what the heck I am going to wear. Good Lord. For some reason I thought September 3rd was THREE WEEKS from now, but after having just counted this out on my calendar, I see that is TWO. Ack! So please come along on our crazy little adventure to Harpo Studios!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Could swimming be any more exciting to watch, in this year's Olympics? I just cannot get enough of Michael Phelps (for the swimming talent, people...for the swimming talent!)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where Has This Summer Gone?

I seriously cannot believe my baby boy starts school next week. Can you hear the sound of my heart breaking into a million pieces? It just dawned on me today that "life as we know it" is about to change. Yes, it is hard to see him growing up so fast, but on the same token I am very excited for all that he will learn this year. He is a social little guy, and I know that being around a whole new crop of kids is going to be great for him. He'll be attending the morning kindergarten class, which works out quite nicely for all of us. Griffin naps in the afternoon, so while Camden is at school, that will give Griffin and I some one-on-one time together, which we have never had! Then, after Camden comes home and we've all had lunch, Griff will go down for his nap and then Camden and I will have time together. I think this will be really good for both boys, because at times it is hard to keep them both happy.

This past Saturday, we had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with Steve, so we hopped in the car and headed right to Boise. Griffin brought along his favorite book at the moment, SkippyJonJones, and kept saying, "Daddy read it!" all the way to Boise. Steve reads to the boys every night (when he's home!) so Griffin didn't really have to say much to get his Dad to sit right down on the floor and read to him.

Poor Steve...he's been training really hard while he's been away, and he looked so tired when we saw him. I think he is only sleeping 2 or 3 hours per night, and some nights, not at all. I am guessing he is going to need some time to decompress when he gets home on Friday. We had planned to go camping this coming weekend, but I'm wondering right now if that is such a good idea - - probably Steve ought to have a few days to readjust to home life before we go and cram ourselves into a tent together.

I really enjoyed delivering my first Angel Cake last Friday, and I'm already looking forward to the next one. I'm not signed up to do another until the end of the month, and this time it will be a Spiderman birthday cake for a little guy in foster care.

Business has been a little slow at Story Time the past month or so. I'd attributed it to summer vacation, swimming lessons, etc., but went ahead and made a new bulletin board for the children's area at the library last weekend, in hopes of drumming up some interest. I guess it worked, because I had a huge crowd this morning, and all new kids.

I have really been loving a couple of new blogs lately - - the first is on my blogroll and it is called The Motherload. It is jam-packed full of all kinds of helpful hints for moms. I am especially loving the menu-planning advice, as I am trying to get better at this. My other new favorite is called Simple Mom. Again, this is packed with great cooking, organizing, decluttering, mothering, and crafting ideas...I just love it. Right now, Simple Mom is doing a serious about how to be "Disorganized & Unproductive". It has really caused me to take a good look at how I've been running this household. Lots of improvements can be made...lots.
I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but I love being a mom. More specifically, I love being an at-home mom. At times, it can be so very difficult, and I just want to throw my hands up in the air and run out the door. However, nothing has ever made me happier than being with my boys. We have great days, we have not-so-great days, and occasionally, we have days that I'd just like to forget ever happened. I wouldn't change a thing, though. Life is good.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A New Venture

I've recently become an "angel baker" for a charitable organization here in Idaho called Angel Cakes, and I am so excited about it! I read a piece about it in a local paper, so I contacted the director of the program to ask how I could get involved. As it turns out, they aren't presently serving the county I live in, so I am helping her get the ball rolling in my area. We met at my house the other day, and then we were both interviewed by the local newspaper. The boys and I will be leaving shortly for Boise, so that I can deliver my first cake, pictured above. It is for the Ronald McDonald House, and Angel Cakes delivers to them once per week.

Angel Cakes is an organization of bakers who volunteer their services, baking cakes for ill or disadvantaged children, and also for people in hospice care. Ronald McDonald house is generally full on the weekends, so they get a cake for families to share each Friday. The way we get assignments is through an email list. When the director receives a referral from one of our community partners, she emails all of the "angel bakers" to see who would like to do the cake. The organization was just started in January, and continues to grow and grow every month. I'm just really excited to have an opportunity to do some volunteer work, doing something I absolutely love. It is funny how it all worked out, because I've been itching recently to get back into cake decorating.

*In case you're wondering, the cake I made is a Paula Deen recipe - - it is a Summer Strawberry Cake with Strawberry-Cream Cheese Icing.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I love Red Velvet cake. I'm not sure what it is about it, exactly, that I love so much (the cream cheese butter cream frosting, perhaps?), but boy howdy, is it good. The name "red velvet" comes from the reaction that happens between the vinegar and buttermilk in the recipe, which turns the cocoa a reddish color. However, cocoa nowadays is more alkaline, so you really have to add red food coloring to get that deep red color that makes it so lovely.

I had the urge to make some cupcakes yesterday, so I did a little online research, found some recipes that I liked, and then tweaked a couple to come up with these. You'll want to make sure you use butter (not margarine) and regular cream cheese (not reduced fat) in the icing, because it will really mess with the consistency. Plus, if you are going to eat a red velvet cupcake, you might as well go all-out, right?

Red Velvet Cupcakes (makes 1 dozen)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon red food coloring
1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with cupcake papers.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer (be sure to use a "low" setting when mixing so that you don't spatter red food coloring all over the walls!). Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Fill each muffin tin about 2/3 filled. Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (add more in 1/2 cup increments for stiffer icing)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

*Updated to add: Melissa asked me what kind of cupcake papers I used for these - - some of them were regular liners, but in the first photo, those cupcakes are in Wilton Nut & Party cups - - I recently saw some cupcakes made in these and liked how they look. You can find them wherever Wilton cake decorating supplies are sold.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Verdict

As my doctor predicted, the growth was in fact a fatty tumor, or a lipoma. PHEW! I had chosen not to get all crazy about the unknown, and luckily I was so preoccupied with how uncomfortable I was over the weekend, that I didn't have a whole lot of time to dwell on the "what ifs". Anyway, I am breathing a big sigh of relief tonight, and enjoying a lovely glass of pinot grigio before I head off to bed. Thank you all so much for your kind words, and for keeping me in your thoughts these past few days. It has meant a lot to me.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Random Pictures & A Quick Update

One good thing about convalescing is that it gives me a chance to clean out my email. I am so bad about keeping it organized, and before I know it, I have 25 pages of email that I can't just go and delete because I have no idea what is lurking in there. So, over the past few days while I've had my bottom firmly planted in the recliner, I did some weeding. I came across a few pictures that cracked me up - - mostly taken with my cell phone while out and about on various occasions:

Griffie, on a recent outing to the Rumor Mill, for donuts and milk. Please take note of Griffin's donut-eating method. He eats the part covered in frosting, and then discards the rest. That's my boy.
This was taken one day when Griffin and I had a lunch date in Meridian. We went to the Blue Sky Bagel Bakery where Griffin had a bagel that was nearly the size of his head.

Griffin, Josie, and Camden, enjoying a nutritious meal at the Cherry Festival. Griffie looks as if he's about to explode. Yes, that's my finger, partially obscuring the lens. I'm a professional photographer, you know.


The boys and I have had a very good weekend, although yesterday was a bit sketchy because I still wasn't feeling quite like myself. Today I was able to get a lot of work done for the library, in addition to doing a lot of playing outside with the boys. Steve left for another Army training stint on Friday, so we won't be seeing him until the middle of the month, unfortunately.

Here's a cake I made for my friend Terri's baby shower. I never knew how much I used my pectoral muscles to decorate a cake, until I tried to get this thing finished. Ouch!

I love this picture of Camden reading, Good Night, Maine to Griffin the other morning. Although Camden does not actually read yet, he has this book (and a couple of others) memorized word-for-word, so he'll sit and "read" to Griffin. Griffin has a thing for "rubbing hair", which is what he is doing to Camden in this picture. Gosh, I love my boys.

Our schedule is jam-packed this week, and the weather is supposed to be wonderful, so we are a happy bunch here!

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