Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cupcake Capers

Well it's that time of year again...yeah, Christmas is coming and time for all the baking!
I love baking! It's my therapy. I don't eat much of the confections I create but I love to make them. Are you kidding me? I would never be able to shed these extra baby bumps if I ate even a fraction of the amount of baking made in my kitchen. Thank goodness for my husband's Thursday night fire practices.
And I am especially thankful for bake exchanges...It's my chance to try out some new recipes and cookbooks. I have been itching to reproduce one of the amazing designs from the Hello Cupcake! book that I received for my birthday. (I dabbled with a simple technique in a previous posting!)

So I was very excited to learn that I had another opportunity to make some creative confections. I love how the cupcake book breaks down the techniques so that they look amazing but are still easy enough for anyone to accomplish. But they can be time consuming...more so than I anticipated when having to create eight cupcake creations. I really had my heart set on making everyone a beautiful white wreath with the hand painted white chocolate leaves, but after two hour of painting mint leaves and then trying to peel all those fragile wafers from their fragrant stencils, I gave up. I was also out of mint leaves and paitence! So I decided that the one and only wreath I created would be my sharing treat for our exchange night and I would pick a simpler project to swap! (But the wreath did turn out amazing if I say so myself.)

So my next pick were the gingerbread cupcake people! I decided to make them with mini cupcakes instead of the regular size ones so that everyone would get two people with seven minis in each. They were so fun to create and decorate. Especially when drawing the expressions on their cute! And pretty easy once you get a system down.

The cupcake people went over very well with the goodie exchangers and nobody wanted to be the first to eat my winter wonderland wreath (they eventually broke down and dug in). And here are some of the goodies that we received from the exchange...yummy yum yum! Jackson got to taste them all. Thanks to all those from work who participated in this year's exchange! Jackson said his favourite was 'More!'

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Made With Love

We are so blessed that Jackson has so many people who love him and think of him so often. He has many hand crafted gifts from friends and family. One of those special people in his life is Mama Karen. She is a truly talented woman with the gift of crafting fabric and textiles. Jackson has been especially fortunate to have a handmade original Mama Karen quilt with various vintage vehicles. (We hope to make this the center point of his room when we redecorate.)

And his knit camouflage blanket had been with him since he was one week old. It is just right for our autumn afternoon walks.

Jackson just over 2 months old 'hiding' in all his camo gear.

Most recently, Mama Karen found Jackson an amazing pattern for bibs during her last travels. The pattern is unique in that it is extra long and has tabs that loop around his legs for extreme coverage. And the prints used for the bibs are totally Jackson....(and Daddy approved!) We love that it catches all the bits and pieces during mealtime and keeps our little muncher extra tidy. (Not that Jackson is one to let any morsel go astray, but sometimes a few slip by...)
And we are all so blessed that Aunty Brenda's Momma Froese is such a talented seamstress and can interpret all those pattern symbols and such. She zipped them off in no time. They are our favourite bibs!

Thanks to all who love our little boy as much as we do and gift him with so many handmade treasures which we truly cherish.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comfy Movie Night

While the little cousins were all together this weekend, we decided to have a fun movie night for the four of them.

After all the baths were done and everyone was dressed in their pj's, Grandma Schaffrick popped some popcorn and we snuggled in front of the TV to watch this DVD, A Bug's Life. The little guys, Jackson & Fynn, weren't as interested in the movie especially when they had a special treat of popcorn twists.

But Sophie & Travis enjoyed this fun family movie. Even the adults got into the relaxed mode and donned their jammies too. It was a nice end to a great family weekend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

One Smokin' Night

Smokey Eyes...Smokin' Thighs...Girls Only of course!
Have I enticed you into reading the rest of this post???

This was the name of the event I attended last night.
The pilates studio at which I take my belly dance classes, (did I forget to mention that I have started dancing again...missed it so much, but now I'm back!) sponsored an amazing interactive evening last night. There was wine tasting, appies, make up artistry and pole dancing!
Still peaked your interest?

The evening started with our entourage of eager ladies splitting into two groups to make the lessons more intimate. One headed for the smokey mirror corner, where instructions on the 'smokey eye' make up technique were mastered, while the other group headed to the workout area for a lesson of sexy struts and a turn on the pole. It was a time to embrace adventure and self-consciousness and just relax and have fun. And from the amount of laughter and smiles heard and seen throughout the night one could see that inhibitions were thrown to the wind and hair was let loose. We all got a chance to experience both empowering demonstrations and enjoyed every minute of it.

I'm glad that my friend Karen was able to attend with me. We had a fantastic night...and I will get you on that pole some time soon, missy. You can bet on it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OFD Cash Raffle 2008! That's a wrap!

So glad that we can put a close to this year's Firemen's Cash Raffle here in Smalliver. It was a lot of fun but so much work over the past month. Last year I was pregnant with Jackson and got a 'pass' on all the organizing and such. But this year, since I was home on maternity leave, it was easier for me to get some of the daytime tasks done. I didn't mind at all as it kept me busy and got my brain back in gear before I start back at work. Only 19 more days until I'm back! Yikes! (But that's a whole other posting in the making.)
This years' theme of Hollywood/The Oscars was very classy and elegant. Red carpet, velvet ropes, photographer for keepsake pictures, lots of glitz and glam. It was really fun to be creative and get into the event planning mode. You may not know this about me but I did my Business Admin practicum with an event planner in K-Town during the Fall wine festivals and I used to work for a sports and entertainment event planning company who organized the hydroplane raced in Canada. That's where/how Scott & I met. (Again, another story for another time, or ask me sometime & I will spill all the details.) Yes, I had a life before having Jackson. Sometimes it's hard to imagine all the things I did way back then, but great to look forward to what's in store next.

I digress... Back to the Cash Raffle. So much fun and yet again, the guys put together another hilarious skit! Lots of tongue in cheek humour that will almost get them into trouble as those boys like to push the envelope. And again, my every talented hubby was there to spear head the direction of the skit and keep them on track and focussed. Yes, Scott was a drama geek in high school (and we are both thankful we didn't go to the same HS as I don't think we would be together, who am I kidding, I know for a fact we most definitely wouldn't) and secretly loves acting and directing, though you would never know it to see him. He may complain about it but he loves every minute of the drama that is created every year.
We didn't win the $10,000 cash but it was the first year we bought a ticket so we won't be greedy, next year will be just fine. And we are so glad that Scott's parents, Alf & Jill were able to come to the raffle on our ticket, as we have admission 'cuz we have to work it! And Jackson had a great sleepover with Becky and Meghan. Not even one and already having sleepovers with girls! Thanks girls for all your care and attention to our little guy. And to Jill & Alf for all the extra babysitting on the days leading to the event and the days after for all the clean up. We are just so glad that another year is done. Of course, they are already working on next year's theme....Oh those boys, don't they ever stop and rest!

PS And without the amazing work of the fire wives it just wouldn't happen each year! A special big 'Way to Go!' to the Decorating/Dessert know who you are and you rock!
PSS Thanks for lending me your great dress l'il sis! It was just perfect for the event!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Soapy Inspiration

Have you noticed how small the liquid laundry detergent bottles have been getting lately? I know that they claim they are ultra concentrated and you need to use less than the regular liquid detergent, "same number of loads, half the size". But how much were you using in the first place? Especially when the detergent measuring cup is the same size as the one that came with the old large bottles. But what can you do when you need soap to wash your clothes and this is the only product out there....or is it?

While watching this show on TLC about a family who really has to watch their pennies especially when doing laundry for 19 people (yikes! I cringe when it's only the three of us), they had an episode of some hints and tips of how they do it! And lo and behold, there was a laundry solution. They make their own liquid detergent. Cool! I didn't even know this was possible!
So off to the internet to find the recipe. Not too difficult and the ingredients are easy to find. Let's give it a whirl!

Wow! It made a 5 gallon bucket of concentrate for about $4. So now I'm going to fill up the empty laundry soap containers we have and see how it cleans. Can't wait to start watching my pennies grow...if they can do it so can I. Thanks Duggar family! And just think of all the plastic we will be saving from the being produced and having to be recycled! So does anyone want some liquid detergent??? We have a little to spare if you want to try it before making your very own!