Chantilly Lace Cake

Y’all.  Whole Foods makes this insanely addictive cake called a Chantilly Lace cake.  It’s RaptorDad’s favorite.  🙂  Considering that every time we venture into a Whole Foods I manage to blow the grocery budget on gourmet olives and baked goods, I decided that I needed to learn how to bake this cake myself so I could limit our exposure to temptation.  lol.  After much searching, I found a copy cat recipe that looked pretty amazing and assembled all of the fancy ingredients.  Except for, you know, sugar.  lol.  So back to the store we went.  Y’all.  It did not disappoint.

It’s probably a good thing that this recipe is insanely complicated because if it was easy, I’m afraid I’d be making it once a week and we’d all gain 1000 pounds.  lol.

Kate was working on her edible model of the Alamo (why???) that was due today, but she took a break to make a fondant flower for the cake.

January Review

January is always my favorite month for getting stuff done!  I didn’t accomplish everything on my list, but I made a ton of progress on loads of things.  Let’s see how I did, shall we?

  1.  New bake.  My plan was to make a Chantilly cake this week, but somehow we were out of sugar!  I’ve since rectified that and will probably end up making it this weekend.  Kate and I ::did:: get to go to a cake decorating class so that’s baking related at least.  lol.  It was so much fun!
  2. New dinner recipe.  I made the crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala and it was ok.  RaptorDad was a fan, but Kate thought it was way too spicy.  I’ve come to the realization that as much as I want to love Indian food, I’m just not a fan of cinnamon.  I made a bonus new recipe that I liked a lot more which makes sense since it involves tortillas.  lol.  I put some chicken and a jar of tomatillo salsa in the crockpot and it was amazing.  We had it with cheese and greek yogurt.  Delish.
  3. Montessori Trays.  Oh my gosh, the babies loved these!  Especially Mia.  I’m almost done with our Valentine’s Day ones and I’m so glad that I made this a goal.  🙂
  4. Feast Days.  We celebrated Epiphany!  It was so much fun that I decided to make up a monthly plan and share it with my moms’ group at church.  lol.
  5. Hexies.  Well, I didn’t quite finish up what I had hoped for, but I did make a ton of progress.  I finished November’s super hexie (a block where I baste 3 extra hexies for each one in the block) and 2 of the 3 hexies made with pre basted hexies that I was supposed to finish in December.  I have also decided that I’m not making any more super hexie blocks for now.  I have enough hexies basted to get to 36 blocks and I’m sort of thinking that might be enough.  The current plan is to make some sort of wall hanging instead of an actual bed spread. Here’s a pic of my current hexie blocks (all 14 of them!)  spread out on my grandmother’s king size bed to give you an idea of how big they are. 
  6. Scrapping.  I got November done!  November of 2017 that is.  lol.  But hey, I did this layout from last week so there’s that.  
  7. Project Life.  I only got June done, but I did sort through all of the kids’ artwork on my desk and file it in the correct week so that it will be ready to go.  Fingers crossed I can get more done this month.
  8. Portraits.  I didn’t get any of my kids, but I did take some maternity pics for my sister.  Does that count?
  9. Sewing Project.  I got the whole Keroppi quilt top done!  And my grandmother (who is a saint) is going to quilt it for me.  Winning!  We decided to applique the hexies onto every other block and break them up with a green print.  I love how it tuned out. Here’s a pic right before we added the final green borders.  I can’t wait to see this finished!
  10. New Park.  We went to Wonder World in San Marcos.  It was, um, interesting.  lol.
  11. Blogging.  I did it!  I was tempted to schedule the posts for 3 a week towards the beginning of the month, but I’m glad I resisted and stuck with starting with each Monday before adding more midweek posts.  I’m going to try that again this month.
  12. Get healthy.  lol.  This was a pretty big epic fail.  So this month I have a new goal.  I’m going to try to swim twice a week and then go from there.  We’ll see if I can keep that up, but I have my bathing suit all packed up to go to the Y after I drop Mia off at school.  Speaking of, it’s time to go!  How have your goals been going this month?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  (Looking at you mom.  lol. )

It’s Cookie Time

Y’all.  My brain is mush, but I PROMISED you a blog post so here it is.

We have been knee deep in cookies for the past week and a half, but the end is in sight!  Kate had an insane goal of selling 650 boxes of cookies, but she has worked her little tushie off and we are almost there.  As of today, she only has to sell 45 more boxes!  ::I think I can, I think I can, I think I can::

I’ll be back next week with some quilty, scrappy, yummy, updates.  🙂

 

Making Catholicism Fun!

Warning: Catholic post ahead.  lol.

Kate is getting to the age where mass attendance isn’t exactly at the top of her “most fun things to do list” and I found myself wanting to get her excited about our Faith.  As I was poking around the internet, I found a blog, Catholic All Year, where this family lives and CELEBRATES their Catholic faith.  Sign me up!  We always do an activity based advent calendar, so this year I just followed the blog and made some of the actives tied to some of the feast days during advent and it was a big hit! 

So, this year I’m going to pick a Saint each month and celebrate their Feast Day!  My hope is to get my children excited to learn more about their Faith.  🙂  Since I’m not into recreating the wheel, I thought I would share with y’all what I’m doing.  Or rather what I’m thinking about doing.  lol.  I like to start with themed food because I have to feed my family anyway so it’s not exactly adding to my work load.  The crafts and videos and such might happen, but they very well might not.  If you’re interested in more info, I highly recommend the book, The Catholic All Year Compendium: Liturgical Living for Real Life by Kendra Tierney. 

Here are 3 Saints for February.  (What can I say, I had a hard time narrowing it down!)

February 1.  St Brigid of Ireland.  She lived in Ireland in the 5th century and tended the cows on her father’s farm.  She often got in trouble for giving away the butter she churned to the poor.  One day she was about to get punished for giving away all of her butter, so she prayed to God to help her and her butter churns were miraculously filled with butter.  She then decided to become a Christian and eventually became a nun, establishing the first order of nuns in Ireland.

Food: Scones with butter and jam.  We may or may not make our own butter.  We may or may not make our own scones.  

Craft: Woven cross.  There are tons of examples on Pinterest, but I think we’ll do the pipe cleaner one.

February 6.  St Paul Maki and Companions (the Japanese Martyrs).  In 1597, Br, Paul Maki and 25 companions were crucified in Nagasaki, Japan for their Faith.  I’m not going to lie, I added this one because I will take any excuse to make sushi.  lol.

Food: Homemade Sushi.  Raw fish optional.

February 11.  Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1858, Mary appeared to St Bernadette in a grotto in Lourdes, France. 

Food: French food!  But I’m not that fancy so probably baguettes?

Craft: I found loads of ideas on Pinterest for making a grotto.  If I actually get my stuff together and we end up making one, I’ll post some pics.  

Movie: Formed has a movie about St Bernadette and Our Lady of Lourdes and our parish has a membership! 

I know what you’re thinking, what about St Valentine?!?  Well, obviously we’re going to do all things pink and hearts on the 14th, but I actually couldn’t find much information about him so I didn’t want to count it as our feast day for the month.

Field Trip! And Pogo Pass Review

At the beginning of the summer, I bought something called a Pogo Pass.  Basically, you buy the pass and then you get 1 or 2 admission tickets to a bunch of different places over the course of the next year.  (If you’re interested, I think I have an affiliate link that I can email to you that lets you get the pass for $39.98)  Has it been worth it?  Hmm…  I actually just totaled up what we’ve used so far and I’d say it will PROBABLY end up being worth it.  For sure, it encouraged us to get out and try new places we wouldn’t have gone to otherwise so in that sense it was absolutely worth it.  And I imagine we will hit up 1 or 2 more places before our passes expire which will make it worth the sticker price.  That said, we didn’t take advantage of a lot of the places on the pass either because they are in Waco (I’m not driving 2 hours to take my kid roller skating) or the just weren’t things I could do with the babies (looking at you Hawaiian Falls.)  But, if you had only older kids I think it would definitely be worth it.

Which brings us to today!  I was looking through the Pogo Pass trying to decide on something fun to do over Winter Break, and saw Wonder World.  Um, yes please!  I am addicted to cheesy roadside attractions and I have wanted to go to this place ever since I went back to school at Texas State to get my teaching certification.  Was it fun?  Yes.  Was it insane with 2 preschoolers?  Yes!  Am I disproportionately disappointed that they didn’t sell souvenir patches?  Yes.  lol.

Luckily Kate’s BFF’s mom is super duper awesome and she always agrees to come along on my crazy adventures.  The Pogo Pass got us into 3 of the 4 attractions and I decided that was enough for my crew, we just missed out on the Wildlife Train ride.   My friend found a Groupon that included all 4 attractions, so we did the Cave, Observation Tower and Anti-Gravity House, then had a little picnic and left before they got on the train.

The Cave was fun, but to say that it wasn’t very accessible would be like saying the Sahara is a little bit dry.  I wish I had brought my wrap so I could have worn Mia, but I ended up just carrying her for large chunks of the tour while abandoning my friend to deal with Xander.  Did I mention she’s awesome?  lol.  Still, I think this is a good starter cave for kids because they can actually touch all of the walls which makes it less stressful.  That said, there were some tight spots so I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who was claustrophobic.

Kate loved the observation deck and even with my deep fear of heights I can agree that the view was lovely.  But the Anti-Gravity House?  Oh lord.  You could not pay me enough to reenter that place.  It’s designed to be disorienting, and it straight up made me fall over.  Luckily, I was near a helpfully placed bench, but yikes.  I’m still dizzy just thinking about it.  Kate, on the other hand, would have happily spent 3 hours in there.  Even I’ll admit that they had some pretty cool optical illusions with balls and water appearing to roll uphill.

Bottom line, am I glad we went?  Yes!  We had a blast and it wore the babies out enough that they are both currently napping in their cribs which is my major litmus test for if an activity was worth it.  Would we go again?  Um, probably not.  It’s kind of a one time is enough sort of experience.

As for the Pogo Pass?  I have enjoyed having “free” activities to do with the kids, but I don’t think we will be buying one again this summer.  Maybe when the babies are old enough to really take advantage of  more of the activities it will make more sense, but for now I think we’re better off looking for the occasional Groupon.

Christmas Pictures

Look at these beautiful pictures of my babies!

It was so cold, but my kids are (mostly) good sports.

There was a lot of “throw your coats over here!  Stop shivering and smile!  Now put your coats back on and walk over here!”  lol.

But I love how they turned out.  My sister and I do cousin pics every year and I love them!  Mia’s dress (my favorite Kate hand me down) is comically too large, but I just happened to get these perfect matching plaid shirts for the boys from my sister-in-law and we made it work.

I’m so glad that my sister is such a good sport about me getting a cousin pic of them every year!  And who knows, maybe next year I’ll get some where they’re all smiling at the camera at the same time.  lol.

January Goals Plan

Remember when I said I was going to try to post once a week?  Apparently I have a lot to say.  lol.  I really should space them out, but I wanted to put out my January plan to hold myself accountable.  Here goes.

  1.  New bake.  In the spirit of it being January, I’m going to attempt something healthy.  I have my eye on this recipe for quinoa breakfast bites.  I’m a little bit skeptical of weather or not my kids will eat quinoa for breakfast, but it would be awesome if we could break them of their z bar habit.
  2. New dinner recipe.  This is a combo goal!  I’m going to attempt to make chicken tikka masala for our Epiphany dinner.  I found a recipe using my best friend, the crockpot.  Now I just need to find some garam masala.  I might just order it off of amazon, but I also figure my kids would get a kick out of a field trip to a specialty grocery store.  We’ll just have to see how much time we have this week.
  3. Montessori trays.  Y’all!  I actually had these ready to go on the 31st!  And they have been a huge hit.  Mia especially loves them.  I can’t wait to get started on revamping my H is for Heart valentines stuff for February.  🙂
  4. Feast Days.  As I mentioned already, we’re celebrating Epiphany this month on January 6th.  We’ll have Chicken Tikka Masala for dinner since the 3 wise men came from the east.  I’m planning to write up a whole blog post after the fact about how we’re celebrating.  Since Epiphany falls on a Sunday, I’m going to try to come up with some more fun crafts and stuff since we’ll be home and not busy at school.  🙂
  5. Hexies.  We’ll see where we are at the end of the month.  I’m so far behind I’m not sure it’s worth trying to catch up.  lol.  I might need to come up with a new plan.
  6. Scrapping.  I’d love to get November 2017 and January 2018 done.  We’ll see.
  7. Project Life.  Hmm…  Maybe I’ll try to do June 2018 and December 2018?  I’d love to get caught up, but I also really love doing current stuff.  I’m going to play around this month and then solidify my goal for February.
  8. Portraits.  No ideas yet.  But I’m sure we’ll come up with something.
  9. Sewing Project.  I’m actually really excited about this one.  My Quilt Guild makes donation quilts for various charities and sometimes they issue challenges to encourage people to participate.  This time they gave out novelty prints and one of them was keroppi!  I’m obsessed with keroppi so I had to participate.  🙂  The idea is to add fabric from your stash to make a quilt or quilt top.  Since I don’t really have a stash (yet!) I ordered some fabric.  lol.

    As you can see, it’s a charm pack of low volume fabrics in a whole rainbow of colors!  My plan is to fussy cut keroppi hexagons and then applique them onto the charm squares.  Then I’ll machine sew the squares together to make a quilt.  I might need to add a border depending on how big it ends up.  We’ll see.  This is due at the February meeting so I’m hoping to finish it in January.
  10. New Park.  I’m leaning towards a nature park rather than a playscape park, but we’ll just have to see.
  11. Blogging.  My goal was to have 4 blog posts by the end of the month, but I think I’m going to change that to having a blog post scheduled for each Monday in January.
  12. Get Healthy.  January goal is 2 work outs a week, 10K steps a day, and track all food in My Fitness Pal.  Lofty goals indeed, but I gained almost 10 pounds in December!  Yikes!  Time to get back on track.

Should we check in on my Mini December Goals?

  1.  Write Thank You Notes.  Done!
  2. December Daily.  Done!  I’ll try to take some pics of it and blog them later this week, but the reader’s digest version is that I switched to a 4×4 format and it’s freaking awesome.
  3. Take and edit family pics.  Done!  And I think they turned out really nicely if I do say so myself.
  4. Edit/ Print/ Scrap November.  hahahahahaha.  Not even close.  But this one was always a stretch.
  5. Organize new toys.  Still a work in progress.  Especially since I dumbed out a bunch of their toys to reclaim my Montessori bins.  lol.  But it’s better.

S is for Snowflakes!

First project done!  I wanted to start off the year with my January Montessori trays ready to go and I got them done just in the nick of time.  I had forgotten how much fun I use to have making these.  🙂  I managed to repurpose some stuff from a long ago I is for Ice unit I developed for Kate and them added some new matching activities I found on Pinterest.

For those of you who haven’t seen this before, here’s my set up for Montessori trays.  RaptorDad made me doors for this cabinet years ago so we can keep this closed off.  Of course, the twins have figured out the latches, lol, so they have free access.  I used to try to do 9 trays at a time, but I’m simplifying y’all!  So I did 6 this month.  We’ll see if I can keep it up.  lol.

The first tray is some simple transfer work with some tongs and pompoms.

Mia got a new magnadoodle from Santa and yesterday RaptorDad was writing her name on it when she drew circles on the vertices of the M.  I figured this was something they were working on at school so I found some stickers and wrote her name to see what she would do.  She was thrilled!

Next up is some classic Montessori counting work.  Since this is the first time they’ll seen this work (and since I don’t have to be constantly looking for a ton of little marbles) I only went up to 5 instead of 10.

How cute are these snowmen!  They’re a free shape matching printable that I found on Pinterest.  I just printed and laminated them.

Another cute free printable!  This one is for matching snowflakes.

Last one!  This one was a big hit.  🙂  I took stripes of paper and drew cut lines on them.  Then the babies put a sticker in each square before cutting them apart.  A bit messier than I usually like these trays, but we’re working on scissor skills right now.  🙂

2019 Goals

Historically, I just do monthly goals, and who knows, I may chuck this plan out the window in February and go back to that, but for now I’m going to attempt some big goals.  12 of them in fact.  Am I crazy?  I believe we’ve already established that.  lol.

  1.  12 new bakes.  Roughly one a month.  Who knows what they will end up being, but some ideas I’ve been kicking around include roughly everything I see on The Great British Bake Off.  Except for that time they cooked with suet.  Definitely not going there.
  2. 12 new dinner recipes.  Preferably something in the healthy range that doesn’t taste like garbage.  Now accepting suggestions.  lol.
  3. 12 months of Montessori.  I used to be so good about making Montessori trays for Kate.  I even still have most of the stuff boxed up!  I need to get it all down and let Mia and Xander play with it.  I’m going to try to rotate the trays once a month.
  4. 12 feast days.  We had so much fun during advent that I’m going to try to make it a more regular thing.  Who knows that all will go into it, but at minimum I’m thinking a themed meal  and craft.
  5. 12 hexies.  I’m so far behind.  Y’all, I’m still working on November’s hexies!  But I’m going all in this year.
  6. 12 months of scrapping.  While I’d love to catch up, that seems supremely unlikely, BUT I can make sure that I don’t get even more behind.  So in January, I want to finish January of 2018.  In February, February 2018.  Etc etc.  I’ll work on November and December of 2017 throughout the year.
  7. 12 months of Project Life.  Same, but ideally I actually will catch up.  I’m still stuck in June of 2018 though, so we’ll see.
  8. 12 sets of portraits.  I want to do better about taking “real” pics of my kids this year.  Bluebonnet and Christmas pics are obvious choices, but I want to get 12 full sets.
  9. 12 finished sewing projects.  Goodness, I’ve only been quilting for a year and I’ve already racked up quite the list of unfinished projects!  I’d like to tackle that list and actually finish some of them.  First up is the charity quilt for my quilt guild which is due in February.  I’ve finally settled on a plan and ordered fabric.  And needlessly complicated it.  lol.
  10. 12 new parks.  Time to explore!
  11. 12 months of blogging.  I think it’s become clear that 3 kids does not lend itself to blogging on the regular, but I miss it so I’m just changing my expectations.  Instead of trying (and failing) to blog 3 times a week, my new goal is once a week.  Fingers crossed.  lol.
  12. Get back to healthy habits.  Blah.  Definitely not the “fun” goal, but arguably the one that needs to happen the most.  Frustratingly, it doesn’t fit neatly into my “12” theme, but my rough goals are to swim at least twice a week, get 10K steps everyday, and track what I’m eating.

I think I’ll update these and come up with the specifics once a month just like I used to with the monthly goals posts.  This will just give me more structure for the year.  Then hopefully I will add in blog posts about specific projects.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas y’all!

I love matching Christmas jammies!

Our Christmas was perfect.  🙂  Lots of family, friends, good food, and good company.  Now it’s time to start thinking about the new year, but before I set 2019 goals, I thought I would set 5 goals to accomplish in the next 5 days.  Have I mentioned that I love setting goals?  lol.

  1.  Write thank you notes.
  2. Finish 2018 December Daily.  I must have been very good this year because Santa brought me a new photo printer!  <3 <3 <3
  3. Take and edit family pics.  MY sister’s friend asked me to take some family pics for her extended family.  Yikes!  Fingers crossed.  lol.
  4. Edit/ Print/ Scrap November 2017.  Yes, I am that far behind.  lol.
  5. Organize new toys.

Will I get all of this done?  hahahahahahahaha.  No, but I will get some of it done!