Thursday, July 1, 2010

In Memory of Cohen

If you haven't read the Cohen's story, you should.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Back to Normal...or at least semi-normal

I'm back to normal, or at least semi-normal.  Dad's still in ICU.  Apparently the 2 days they anticipated him being in ICU were the best possible time-frame.  This is day 15, but things are finally looking better.  It was touch and go for a while, and although he's been through a lot, I think he's probably only a few days from being moved into a step-down unit and then finally into a regular hospital room.  He's just hoping and praying that he'll be able to drink liquid at some point.  He's gone 16 days without anything to eat or drink!  How dreadful!

Last Friday, my baby graduated Kindergarten!  Where has the time gone?  It seems like only yesterday she was learning to stand, talk, walk, and lately...tumble!  I couldn't be more proud of her.  She's growing up into a beautiful, intelligent, little girl, and makes me happier every day.  Some pictures:

(Maddie & her Kindergarten teacher)

Of course I've been baking as well.  I made my very first wedding cake a few weeks ago for my sister.  It didn't turn out as wonderfully as I'd pictured it in my head, but it was nice.  I've made a few baby shower cakes, over 100 cupcakes, and a retirement cake.  I did finally figure out how to write on cakes.  If you've never tried, it's not easy!  I've practiced and practiced and while it's not perfect, it's better than the first several attempts in prior months.  Here's a picture:

The best part about all of my cake making?  The leftover icing!  The kids LOVE it!!!

Hope you're having a great month!  Happy June!!!  Steph

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Waiting, Hoping, Praying...

The title of my post pretty much sums it up.  It's a day of waiting, hoping, and praying.  My dad went into surgery shortly before noon today, and now 5 and a half hours later, we're still waiting for him to come out.  They're anticipating another 2-3 hours, but so far, it sounds promising.  We need this surgery to work.  I need my dad to be cancer free, and live many more years.  It's not a matter of want, it's what we need. 

So please keep us in your prayers.  It's going to be a long road to recovery for him.  The surgeon told us that he's going to spend the next few days in ICU, and then another week in the hospital recovering.  The next few months will be hard on him, as he won't be able to eat anything, and will have to rely on a feeding tube.  But at least he'll be alive, and that's all we can hope for right now. 

Hope all is well in your world!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cookies, Cakes, Desserts, and Parties!

I've been noticibly absent for a few weeks, and I'm sorry!  May is quite possibly the busiest month of the year for me for many reasons. 

1 - Like a crazy person, I agreed to plan and organize a field day for Madison's school this year.  In case your children don't have field day, it's a fun-filled day of water games, inflatable bounce houses and slides, relay races, etc.  It's a huge undertaking, and I'm not sure if I'll succeed, but I'm going to give it my best. 

2 - My dad's chemo and radiation are finally done, and it's time for him to have surgery.  He's a nervous wreck, and we're all biting our nails hoping things go well.  There's only a 40% chance that the surgery will work, so prayers would be appreciated!!! 

3 - I've been a baking fool!  I've made cupcakes, cakes, cookies, marshmallow pops, chocolate covered oreos, you name it, I've made it!  My friend Amy let me help make desserts for her son's 3rd birthday party.  Everything turned out so cute!  I can't take credit for everything, she and I both did the work, but it was a blast! 

4 - It's my birthday month/Mother's day month!  We're going to Chicago next weekend to celebrate my birthday with my mom and dad, and I'm hoping to get some retail therapy!

5 - My favorite sister is getting married!  I got to host a bridal shower at a local winery, and a bachelorette party!  I love hosting parties!!!  I wish I could be at the wedding, but since she went out of the country, I wasn't able to go.  Oh well...I can't wait to see pictures.  I'm sure she'll look beautiful!!!

That's all I've got for now!  The rest of the month is going to be filled with cookie orders, cake orders, and more baking.  YEA!!!

Hope all is well!  Love ya!  Steph

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm SO thankful!!!

It's been a while since I posted, because I've been BUSY!  I'm so thankful for my wonderful children, they are always cracking me up.  I had to take a picture of a drawing Maddie made for me, because I was having the worst day, and it brightened my day in ways you can't even imagine.  Poor dad!  As much as he may try, she's still a mommy's girl.  Lucky for him, Mackenzie is definitely a daddy's girl. 

Last Saturday was my sister's bridal shower, and I got to bake cookies!  I didn't have my camera, so I had to use my iPhone to take the pictures, so don't pay attention to the poor quality of any photos I'll be including on this post. 

How cute are these?  My girls and I were oohing and ahhing over how well they turned out!  The pictures really do not do them justice.  They weren't perfect, but it was good experience, and I'll be making more this weekend. 

Otherwise we've just been busy getting back into the swing of things.  Between cake classes, work picking up (thank goodness it's hailing), organizing an event for PTO, and getting started with my new Treasurer duties at cheer, I'm a busy girl. 

I hope all is well!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random Sunday Ramblings...

I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  I can't quite put my finger on exaclty what it is that's been bothering me (truthfully, everything appears to be bothering me) and that aggravates me.  I want to know what my problem is, so I can fix it.  Some ideas:

I am almost 27 and I am not where I imagined I would be when I got this close to the big 3-0.  Ten years ago I was wrapping up my junior year of high school with high hopes of how awesome college life would be.  Well guess what?  I didn't go to college.  I got pregnant.  College was put on hold so I could scramble to provide for the most amazing child ever.  It was hard.  I spent almost the entire first two years of Mackenzie's life living with my parents, DYING to move out.  I did, and things just got harder.  Who would have thought that it was near impossible to come up with money for a mortgage, utilities, AND daycare?  The state of IL was no help, apparently you have to be making minimum wage to qualify for any type of support.  Lucky me, but then again, that's my luck.  Looking back, I'm glad I had to tough it out.  It made me appreciate every penny a lot more.  I've never had anything handed to me, and I'm glad.  I don't take anything for granted. 

Yes...I think that is part of what's aggravating me.  If you'd have asked me what I'd be doing in 2010, I'd have thought I'd be a lot better off than I am now.  I'm in a rut at work.  What was once a job I loved, is now one I dread.  I take that back, that's not entirely true.  Nine months ago we had a major layoff and I ended up in a HORRIBLE department.  I went from working independently and being appreciated to being micromanaged and treated like a slacker.  That's what I hate.  It's not the job, it's the way you're treated in the department.  Work is DEFINITELY a source of aggravation for me lately.

My husband is also driving me nuts.  He and I have completely different views on life.  I feel like I really try to go above and beyond to keep our marriage together for our children, and I'm starting to wonder if that's the right decision.   We fight constantly, and feel more like brother and sister than husband and wife.  Every time I tell him that I think we need to consider breaking up our marriage, things change for a few weeks and I feel guilty, as if everything is my fault.  How dare I even remotely consider taking my children's father away from them?  I was a child with divorced parents, and I know how hard it is on kids.  I would NEVER want to do that to my girls.  So I stick it out, and become bitter toward him.  Even when he doesn't deserve it. 

Lucky for me, hail season is starting up and at my company, that equals busy season.  I'll be working non-stop and running the kids to cheer practice every night.  I won't have time for bitterness, I'll be too busy.  That's exactly what I need right now. 

But for now, I just keep on baking.  Today I made an incredible brownie/cookie masterpiece that tasted like a little slice of heaven!  It's from one of my favorite blogs, Bake at 350, and is heavenly!!!   After I got that in the oven, I took out the rest of my aggravation on a piece of hot pink fondant.  I had to get a cake board covered so I can get ready to make my class finale cake.  Pictures will be posted in another week!

Have a great Sunday!  I promise I'll be back to normal by tomorrow!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cookies and Cakes!

I'm obsessed with baking.  Pretty much anything that can be homemade, I think I am capable of creating.  I think the problem is, that in my mind, I'm practically Martha Stewart.  Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that I'm more Stephanie than Martha.  I want the perfect product, but I don't have the time to create it.  When I do get started baking, watch out, it's an all day affair.  Since I can't bake every single day like I'd like to, I have found amazing blogs to help satisfy my baking need without having to bake daily.  Next weekend I'm hosting my sister's bridal shower at a local winery.  How cute are these cookies from Bake at 350?  I'll be making these next week to package and take to her shower as gifts for the attendees. 
Aren't they adorable?  If you haven't been to Bake at 350, you don't know what you're missing.  I'm a HUGE fan, in case you can't tell.

I'll make sure to post pictures, I can't wait!!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Come on weekend! I'm READY!!!

It's definitely been "one of those days."  I'm ready to pull my hair out, scream, and possibly throw a tantrum.  Yes, I was ready for hail season (I work for a dent company) but now, I'm remembering why I'm always ready for it to be over too.  Haha!

Luckily, this is MY FRIDAY!  I'm off tomorrow (as I am most Fridays) and am excited about having a nice, peaceful, relaxing, Friday. 

Any big plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (except with a few words)

It's that time of year!  I'm SOOOO ready.  Bring on the hail!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

March is out, April is IN!

Can you believe it's already April?  I'm shocked!  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was rushing around to get birthday parties planned, and now I'm already thru Easter!  This year is going by way too fast.  I didn't get as much baking done this weekend (only a batch of cupcakes) but I did get to spend some quality time with my wonderful girls.  Maddie was SO excited to have gotten an iPod shuffle from the Easter bunny, she was practically silent all day yesterday.  She had that thing glued to her ears the entire day.  Mackenzie got another book to add to her Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection, and she was just as excited as Maddie.  Oh, and I found the CUTEST little cheer shirts to put in their baskets!  They LOVE them and I'm pretty sure probably wore them to school today. 

I had planned on making another basket weave cake (it seems so Eastery, don't you think) but didn't have time.  So I'll just include pictures I took from the last time I made it. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm back from my mini-blogging vacation!

I've been absent from blogging for a while, and I apologize!!!  I have been so busy with work, home, baking, and cheer that I haven't had much time for my beloved blog world.  I'm back though! 

A few updates on what I've been doing:

Cheer practices, a funeral, AND I bought an amazing book!

I've been baking like a crazy person!  I finished up Course 2 in my cake making class with a cute little basketweaved cake.  While I don't see myself basketweaving in the future, I'm happy to have learned.  Plus, that means I get to start my next class which is what I've been looking forward to!  FONDANT and GUM PASTE!  I'm excited!!!  The picture's kind of crappy...I had to use my phone.

And last, but certainly not least, we were wrapping up cheer season!  The girls had their last competition of the '09-'10 season and did a fantastic job!  I was a proud mommy, as always.  Now we get a bit of a breather, no more running 4 days a week to mandatory cheer practices!  The next 4 weeks are easy, they have optional clinics and practice times, and then they have try-outs for next season.  Our hope is that they will FINALLY get their back hand springs so they can move up a level, keep your fingers crossed!

I guess that about sums it up!  What have you been up to? 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maddie's First Breakup

Considering Maddie is only 6 and in Kindergarten, unless you knew her, you'd never imagine that she would be going thru a breakup, or even talking about a boy being her boyfriend.  That's because you haven't met Zachary.  He is, in my opinion, the male version of her.  They are SO darn cute together!  He was a savior when she first started Kindergarten.  She would cry every day I dropped her off, and heaven forbid she saw me walking around the school (I'm on the PTO Board, so I'm ALWAYS there).  When she cried, he would hold her hand and pat her on the back.  He is seriously, the sweetest little boy ever. 

Last week however, they broke up.  Let me walk you thru our week:


Doug:  Steph, Maddie hasn't talked at all since she got home, will you see what's wrong?
Me:  Maddie, what's wrong, you seem sad?
Maddie:  Nothing (with pouty face)
Me:  Honey, what's wrong?
Maddie:  Zachary and I broke up.  He's not my boyfriend anymore, we're not even friends.
Me:  (with shocked look on my face)  WHY NOT?!?!?!
Maddie:  He kissed Katie on the playground. 
Me:  (Holding back the laughter) Kissing isn't good Maddie, did you tell him that he's not supposed to be kissing girls?
Maddie:  (Yelling) He's only allowed to kiss me!!!  He used to hold my hand and kiss my cheek, I told him he can't anymore.  He kissed her, like, 10 times!

I have a feeling her teen years are going to give me gray hair.  On the other hand, she informed me last night that they're good now.  He promised to never kiss Katie again.  I'm going to let my husband explain that kissing boys isn't something she needs to make a habit of.  Especially at 6!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Sleepy Monday!

There is just something about Daylight Savings Time that bugs me.  I don't mind "falling back" every fall, but something about the "spring forward" part annoys me!  It seems like it takes forever for me to catch back up.  I didn't go to bed until midnight, because I wasn't tired but at 4:30am this morning when my alarm was going off, I was CERTAINLY tired. It's going to take the entire week to adjust to the time change.  Ugh...

But enough complaining!  I had a wonderful weekend!  I baked cookies like a crazy person!  The first batch was okay, not exactly what I was hoping for...

See how the icing is running off the cookie?  That's NOT supposed to happen.  LOL!

And then there was my attempt at making an Easter shaped cookies...

Yeah, eggs are probably something that should be one color, maybe with a few dots?

The kids were VERY excited to show me how it's supposed to be done though.  I've said that I'm not good at writing on cookies and cakes, and they both had to make sure I saw that they can write letters (the M's on the cookies) and let me know that if I ever need help, they're available. 

The final batch of cookies turned out much better though.

Tonight is cake of my best friends has a birthday tomorrow!

I hope you're having a FANTASTIC Monday!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Party Time!

Finally!  I have a party to plan!  I love planning parties!  Lately, I've seen so many amazing ideas, I couldn't wait to have a party to plan to use some of them!  My sister is getting married in May, and it's finally time to plan her bridal shower.  Lucky me, when I logged onto my blog this morning, I saw a giveaway, so obviously, I have to enter.  It's on one of my favorite party sites, Half Baked - The Cake Blog.  If you've never been to that site, make sure you check it out, it's amazing!  Several of my ideas for the shower will be coming from that site, and if I'm able to win her current giveaway, I'm certain I'll be using it toward the shower as well. 

Look at some of the cute stuff!!!

Aren't the cupcake kits AWESOME!  This website has everything you can imagine for party supplies.  I've already bookmarked it, I'm in LOVE!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flower Making!

I've been a flower making fool lately!  I'm half way thru my second Wilton course and I'm LOVING it!  My friends aren't loving the flower phase, because unfortunately if I'm only making flowers, I'm not making cakes.  For some reason they LOVE being the guinnea pigs for my "test kitchen."  Haha! 

A few pictures of my flowers, and yes, I apologize in advance for the poor quality, it was dark and all I had was my phone for pictures. 

I also got to use Royal Icing for the first time to flood an area.  I've been dying to learn how to do that because I want to make those SUPER cute sugar cookies that always have super smooth looking icing on the top.  It didn't turn out as well as I had imagined (I had a disaster with my piping bag) but after testing it out, I know what I did wrong and I'm prepared for next time.  Hallelujah!  I think there may be a day of cooking baking in my near future!  Here's the bunny I created to put on my class finale cake:

I will be creating lots of goodies this weekend, thanks to my lovely 40% off coupon for all Wilton products.  I can't wait! 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Word to your Mother...

Another CRAZY weekend!  We were in Kansas City, MO for a cheer competition.  Coach Amber is hilarious and this weekend, she didn't disappoint.  While trying to keep our kids entertained (they had quite a while before it was their turn to compete) she taught them "word to your mother" (see above picture) and poker face.  LOL!  It's one of those things that you MUST see, because it's hilarious to see all of our darling little girls, acting like lunatics. 

Poker Face:

But on to the competition:

All of the Pride teams were fantastic!  Here are a few pictures, only one (maybe two) more competitions until the season is over and it's time to tryout for next season!  I can't believe it's gone by this fast!

My beautiful baby is the one in the middle with her leg up in the air.
I couldn't get any good pictures of Mackenzie, because she's a base.  It's harder to get shots of her when she's facing sideways holding another girl up, but I tried my best.  She's on the far right in both pictures. 

After they performed, they were promised snow cones...NEVER AGAIN.  LOL!  How on earth we managed to only get red on Maddie's shoes, I will never know.  They're currently pretreated.  Pray that they turn white after I wash them.