Monday, February 28, 2011


Seriously people how in the world is it Monday already? When we are away for the weekend it goes by so quickly and I'm exhausted by the time Monday rolls around, when we are home for the weekend I feel like there is so much that needs to get done and caught up on that I'm exhausted by the time Monday rolls around. Apparently weekends just make me exhausted. They also cause our children to become less than pleasant by Sunday night. I didn't really come here to whine though (although that is a fabulous perk of having your own blog!)
We did have a good weekend, however fast it may have flown by! Bob and the kids played out in the snow (the little bit we had) on Saturday afternoon while I attempted to have a bit of quiet time. However since I kept getting requests to "look at me!" and the doorbell kept ringing (apparently that is a mighty fun thing to do when you're a kid...or 30!) I didn't get much quiet time. I did however take some pictures of the kids playing...through the window of course! Since Brianna is begging for a snack and Bryce is quiet in his room...for now, I'll just leave you with some pictures of the snow play.
Hope you all had a great weekend and have a great week ahead!

they begged to go outside and then complained the whole time we got them dressed
my little man
snow golf!
making it snow on himself
how can you help but love that face?
up to something
my snow princess
funny funny kid
snow sliding
Bryce needs a turn too!

Friday, February 25, 2011

late night stream of thought...

Tonight is one of those nights where I can't sleep, too much running through my brain, and I know that morning will come much too soon and I will not be ready for it, but I can't stop my brain.  So, maybe if I just write it out it will help me sleep.  So away we go, this will probably be in list format and I can't promise it will make sense so feel free to skip if you want!
  • I just finished Because I Said So by Dawn Meehan. I have to tell you I LOVED it. It made me smile, laugh and even tear up. Totally worth your time to read. I read snippets to Bob because I swear that woman has a camera in our house. I could relate to almost all of what she said (especially the husband chapter) Our chaos is just on a smaller scale (she has six kids). Check it out!
  • The next book I have on my to-be-read pile is Jodi Picoult's new book that doesn't come out until next week.  My sweet friend Holly got an advanced reader copy and gave it to me with the requirement that I write a book review for her book blog.  This makes me a little nervous because I'm not very good at book reviews I feel like I either give away too much or not enough, BUT  I'm super excited to have this book (yes I am a nerd) so I of course will give this review my best shot! :)
  • I yelled a lot today, I'm not sure almost felt like today was Monday.  Because we were gone all weekend and didn't get home until Monday afternoon and then rushing off to work Tuesday and Wednesday...I feel like I haven't breathed at all this week.  So today I had a short fuse and I am so mad at myself about it.  But I will try to do better today!
  • Does the crossover of extra characters on Grey's and Private Practice annoy anyone else?  On tonight's episode of Private Practice Andy (the patient with potential dissociative disorder) is the girl who also played a cancer patient on Grey's while Izzy was having treatment.  I probably wouldn't notice this except that this actress also played Paris on Gilmore Girls for years. 
  • I watch Gilmore Girls everyday.  Did you know it is on everyday?  I have seen every episode of the entire series at least 6 times, and yet...I can't make myself delete it from my DVR recordings. 
  • I apparently watch entirely too much TV (stop nodding your head Bob)
  • Anyone else watch the first episode of the Real Housewives of Miami?  I'm not sure it will hold my attention, they all seem a bit loca. Although sometimes that makes for interesting TV.
  • Army Wives starts back up next weekend...soo excited...that is one of my favorite shows ever!
  • If you live in the St. Louis area and need/want some fantastic pictures of your kids...check this out. I love that there are such great giving people out there!
  • There are some great giveaways going on out in blogland right now.  Check this and this out!
  • Since I put the first five years of my blog into a book every time I link something I think about how that doesn't translate well onto a piece of paper. 
  • I We got a new vacuum cleaner!  And it wasn't for a gift (although it was around Valentine's Day) :)  I'm pretty much in love with it, it is amazing how good your carpets can look when you actually have a vacuum cleaner that WORKS!
  • Our real Valentine's Day gift to each other was having plumbers come over and installing a new injection pump in our laundry room/half bathroom.  Because of COURSE it quit working a couple of weeks ago.  We are nothing if not romantic. 
  • I can tell that spring is coming because all of the sudden there are lots of things popping up on the calendar. 
  • Sometimes I wonder why we own a house...we are rarely here, if it were possible for the 4 of us to live in a car together without killing each other it would probably be way more economical for us! 
  • Totally kidding about the laptop has sketchy (at best) in the world could I go on without the internet...or the dvr.  I shudder at the thought.
  • I love how twitter suggest people that you should follow, it sometimes feels like they are trying to tell me something.
  • In other twitter related news it is amazing how you can tweet one thing and all of the sudden people are following you.  Before Christmas I tweeted that I was almost done Christmas shopping and next thing I knew there was this shopping thing following me.  Do they have someone just scouring twitter searching for keywords?
  • Pretty sure I would be awesome at that job...sign me up!
  • I have no idea what I'm even writing anymore...ha!
Now that I've convinced every last one of my readers that I'm crazy I think it is time for me to go to bed.  These kids will be up before I know it.
Goodnight blogland!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

knox friends...

Is there really anything better than catching up with old friends?  If you've been around here much you know my love for Knox College and the people I met during my time there.  This past weekend we had the chance to catch up with some great friends in Wisconsin.  The funny thing is, that Bob was friends with Chris and Andrew in college where they played golf together, but I wasn't really friends with Holly and Abbie until later.  We have become friends through our husbands and our blogs and when we're together it feels like we have been friends for a very long time.  Our first real get together with these two families there was only 9 of us (and only 3 kids) this year there were 13 of us and the kids outnumbered the adults this time (7 kids to 6 adults).  The kids had a great time playing together as did the adults (board games and wii were played...there was much laughing).  We went on a couple walks to the can read about that here. We went bowling and just had lots of fun together.  I will upload all my pictures to shutterfly soon, but for now here are a couple from the weekend!

This last photo is borrowed from Holly! :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

almost forgot...

I can't believe I almost forgot this...
There is a great giveaway going on over at Lily Bella Photography.  It is so easy to enter...just "like" Lily Bella Photography and Tizzy Dee on facebook and then leave a comment stating that you "liked" them on the blog post (linked above) to enter. See...easy peasy!  The hats are adorable and I am just wondering if I win, do I want to keep the hat for myself or give it to Brianna?  :)  Go over and enter contest runs until March 5th!


Friday the kids and I tagged along with Ben, Amanda, and Molly for a trip to Shedd Aquarium.  The kids and I had never been there before so we were pretty excited.  The kids loved the aquarium and were mostly well behaved during our time there. :)  Brianna said her favorite part of the aquarium was the whale and dolphin show we went to at the end and I think Bryce just liked everything, they stood in front of the first tank for about 15 minutes looking at the big turtle and the fish in the Caribbean tank.  We all had lots of fun.  Thanks again Ben and Amanda for the invitation to tag along!  Enjoy some pictures from the day!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the one with all the cake talk...

As are some cake decorating tips from little old me.  I in no way claim to be an expert at this sort of thing, I have learned by trial and error and I just enjoy baking and decorating (so there is my disclaimer).  Feel free to ask any questions on anything you want clarification on, I will try to put in as many details about products I use as I can, but I may miss something here or there, I would be happy to answer any questions you have! Without further ado...
I start with boxed cake mix.  You can of course make from scratch, I however save my time and energy for decorating and not making cake from scratch.  When I make a yellow cake, I like the butter cake mix, it just to me has a really good flavor.
Mix cake according to directions and pour into prepared pan.  I like to use the spray that has flour in it(there are several different brands they all work fine, I use whatever is cheapest).  It works great if you use generously on the pans, the cakes come right out and you don't have to worry about the cake cracking/breaking as you try to get them out of the pan.
Bake according to directions.  When they are finished baking, I like to let them sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan.  After they are removed from the pan, let them cool completely.
After the cakes have cooled completely you will need to level them out. 
Time to stack!  Normally I use a bigger plate, but it has cracked so I just used a regular plate, I think this cause the cake to be a little lopsided but it worked out OK.  Between the layers of cake you can put in any filling you like.  I've used pudding, frosting, fruit.  When using strawberries previously I would put a layer of cool whip then strawberries then cool whip, I was worried that the strawberries would make the cake soggy, but really it is up to you, the sky is the limit!  On this particular cake I used funfetti frosting.

After the cake is stacked it needs to be crumb coated/dirty iced.  It basically just keeps all the crumbs stuck to the cake so it doesn't get in the fondant, to fill in any of the gaps between the layers and to give the fondant something to stick to.  You want the cake to be covered but it doesn't need to be super thick.  (I just used store bought frosting)

After the cake is frosted, put it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to harden up the frosting.
Now it is time to start the decorating.  First thing you need to do is make fondant (you can buy fondant if you chose Michaels is a good place to get it).  This is the recipe I use. To cover this cake I used 24oz of marshmallows (so 1 1/2 times the recipe). 
Melt the marshmallows

The recipe says to mix in the powdered sugar by hand but I have found that you can use your mixer with the dough hook to do most of the messy mixing so that is what I do.
After it is mostly mixed (it takes a LOT of powdered sugar) you will need to knead the rest by hand. When kneading by hand you will need either solid shortening or non-stick spray to keep the fondant from sticking to your hands and the surface you're working on.
After it is kneaded you can add color.  I use food coloring gel (I got it at Michaels it is Wilton brand).  Knead the color into the fondant.
Roll out the fondant and then put on the cake.  Putting it on the cake is the trickiest part...a lot of this is trial and error but if you roll the sheet of fondant around the rolling pin you can sometimes transport the fondant to the cake relatively easily. 
After the cake is covered you can decorate it any way you want!  For this cake I was making a pond theme, so I used blue piping gel to make the pond and sculpted little frogs (not especially well) and lily pads from the leftover green fondant.  I used whole grain spaghetti with small pieces of brown fondant to make cattails and grey fondant to make some rocks.  Around the bottom of the cake I just colored some of the canned frosting green and piped on some grass.  (no need for piping bags or tips, just put the frosting in a ziplock and cut off one of the corners).  Here is the final product. 
I welcome any questions you have!  Hope this helps anyone who is looking for a few tips!  I will stress again I do not think I am an expert, by looking at the pictures you can see mistakes and flaws, I am just a girl who enjoys creating things.  Happy decorating!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

my name is amber and i am a sporadic blogger...

Oh loves, are you feeling neglected?  I'm so sorry, things have been INSANE around here (hopefully in the next couple weeks I can fill you all in).  Here is the quick rundown...soo much going on, jobs (remember...I have 3 right now...4 if you count Bob and the kids :)), kids are great Brianna is actually at her first sleepover (at a non-family members house) baby is growing up :(, Bob was in Boston for a few days last week, and we are excited to be visiting some great friends this coming week.  My mom is in town right now and I've been keeping her busy and working her like a dog.  (Don't worry, she isn't complaining...actually she is totally keeping me on task and for that and so many other reasons I love her).  My goal is to get a cake tutorial post up for my dear friend Abbie this week.  She asked for a tutorial in a previous post so I'm doing my best to fullfill her request (see ask and you shall receive)!  OK, I really must sleep now, morning will be here too soon!  Night night...I'll be back soon!!

(wow this post has too many parenthetical comments and WAY too many emoticons...yikes!)

Friday, February 04, 2011

the story of the birth certificate (or lack there of)...

Since I'm still in sort of a writer's block and in my previous post I mentioned that I didn't have a birth certificate until I was 18 I thought I would explain this little tidbit about me.

When I was 17-18 I lost my license somewhere.  I searched everywhere for that darn thing, cleaned out my car, my purses, looked around the places I worked and came up empty-handed.  So in order to get a replacement license you have to supply the DMV  (at least in Iowa) with two forms to prove who you are.  No biggie, I had a social security card and my birth certificate from the county (I think, right mom?)  So when we took them in they told us that they needed an official copy of the birth certificate from the state. Mom called (or wrote or whatever you have to do) to request a copy of my birth certificate.  They said they didn't have a birth certificate for me.  They asked her if she was sure that was my birth date, she assured them that that was in fact the day I was born.  They informed her they had no records of any births that day for the whole county (I think...or at least the hospital I was born at).  They told her that I would need to apply for a delayed certificate of birth.  My mom (the saint) filled out all the paperwork and got all of the information they requested (huge pain in the ass, right mom?) and about nine months later (I think in the middle of this we did eventually end up getting enough information to replace my license) I finally had a birth certificate and existed in the eyes of the state of Iowa.  Ironically about a week after I finally got issued a replacement license the old one was found.  Thankfully, this all happened when it did, I can't imagine going through all of that when we were applying for a marriage license.  I'm just wondering why the state was taking my money all of those years since apparently I didn't exist...I think I deserve a refund!! :)

(OK that wasn't a very exciting story written out, but that is what you get when I can't think of anything else to write about! :))

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

i'd like to thank the academy...

Actually...I'd like to thank the beautiful and talented Abbie over at Greening Sam & Avery for this award.  I feel a little less than stylish right now sitting in my paint-covered sweatpants, t-shirt and unwashed hair...but I'm blaming the blizzard on me not looking stylish today.  :) 

Now onto following the rules of acceptance -

1) Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2) Share 7 things about yourself
3) Award 15 recently discovered great blogs/bloggers (The Versatile Blogger guideline was different the first time I received it so feel free to choose 10 or 15)
4) Contact the bloggers to tell them about the award

Hmm...what seven things shall I tell you my beautiful (and handsome) readers?  OK here it goes, hope this gives you a bit of entertainment if you are trapped inside like I am on this beautiful blizzardy (yes, that is totally a word!) day.
  1. According to the State of Iowa I didn't exist until age 18 when I (OK really my mom) applied to get me a delayed certificate of birth.  They actually asked her if she was sure that was my birthday!
  2. I feel completely socially awkward most of the time.
  3. I am terrible at making new friends, but love meeting new people.
  4. I have an unhealthy addiction to Reality TV.
  5. I am a crier (at both happy and sad things).
  6. I read 7 books during the month of January.
  7. I am a night owl...I see 2am more often than I should.
Well, I'm not sure those are the most interesting things, but my brain feels like it is on a snow day as well!  Let's see...who to pass along this award to?  OK here are the people I think you should add to your Reader or bookmark (since probably 1/3 of the ones Abbie posted I love too!)!
  1. The Creech Family
  2. WantNot 
  3. Woulda Coulda Shoulda
  4. Joy Unexpected
  5. The Spohrs are Multiplying
  6. Curvy Girl Guide
  7. the unwrapping
  8. A Southern Fairytale
  9. Notes From the Trenches
  10. On My Bookshelf
Happy Reading!!