Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Birthday Cake Round-Up

Fishmama is having a Birthday-Cake Round Up. I thought I'd share a few cakes I've made.

The first one was for my youngest son's "Shark Birthday."

This cake features graham cracker crumbs as the ocean floor, jelly beans as pebbles, fruit roll-ups as sea weed, rainbow goldfish, and a cardstock shark fin poking out the top.

We rounded this out by floating a shark in what I had thought was supposed to be blue kool-aid, but actually turned out to be red kool-aid. The whole scene looked macabre and the little boys ate it up!

The next cake was a Jo Jo's Circus Party and I did the faces of both Jo Jo the clown and Goliath her pet lion.

Character cakes always freak me out...nothing shows devotion to a character like eating its face!?!

Here is my first attempt at making a cake (I know I didn't have to tell you that). For my oldest's first birthday we had a farm theme featuring a cow cake complete with milk dud eyes:

Of course there was the year I cheated and didn't make a cake. I just made blue cupcakes to look like water for the pirate ship to float on:

The cakes may not be perfect but there was a lot of love that went into them.

My boys remember these cakes fondly (except for the cow one, which is fine with me) and don't care that they didn't have fancy store bought cakes.

Check out more cakes at Life as Mom.

How I Organize my Coupons

Last year with the gas prices soaring I began looking for ways to trim our budget.

I had always avoided clipping coupons because I felt like I could get better deals buying store brands.

It wasn't until I discovered Money Saving Mom that I began to tap into the power of using coupons and store discount programs.

After a bit of trial and error, I have tweaked my coupon organization system into something I am successful with.

I like to take Sunday afternoon and peruse the sale papers and clip coupons. Since I keep my coupons alphabatized I couldn't just clip them and throw them in a pile. I needed something that would expedite this process. I created the coupon mat:

The coupon mat is basically a large sheet of card paper sectioned alphabetically. For instance, when I clip a coupon for baby wipes, I just lay it on top of the section for "B." This way I don't have to stop what I am doing I can keep clipping.

When I'm done I just flip through my binder and load it up. Here is the coupon mat full and ready to stock my binder.

My binder is my money saving friend! The idea is not new with me, but it is one that I have had success with. Here is a video I created to illustrate my coupon binder:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Reflections of the past far!

We are at the halfway point in the year and I want to take time to look at the last six-months.

These last few months have easily some of the most difficult times in my life.

In February, we got news that my youngest son would require a delicate surgery that was scheduled for the first part of March.

In March, he had his surgery and the recovery was incredibly painful for him and very stressful to me.

Two weeks after his surgery my husband's 58-year-old Aunt passed away in her sleep. It was incredibly shocking.

A week after her funeral, we took my son's kitten in to be spayed and she died on the operating table from complications from the anesthesia. It was extremely difficult to deal with her death and help my son to understand.

At this time, I had begun to have quite a bit of pain in my digestive area and I attributed it to stress. I spoke to my doctor about it and she ordered an ultrasound that diagnosed gallstones. To this point, I have opted to not have the surgery. I just haven't had the time to be down with a surgery recovery.

On May 14th, my precious Grandmother went home to be with the Lord. It was rather unexpected. She is the first person in my family to have passed away. I have dealt with loss in my husband's family, but the grief I feel over my Grandmother has been very different. I am still coping with the fact that my Grandmother is gone. I rejoice for her, but at the same time I long for her.

In June, we were in a car wreck where we were rear-ended twice. Last Sunday's paper revealed that they had apprehended the woman who fled the scene on foot and she actually had an open container in her vehicle at the time of the crash. She really was drinking and driving.

This year has been a roller coaster for me!

As I was having my quiet time and reflecting on this year so far, I recalled a prayer that I had prayed around the New Year.

I had prayed that the Lord would grant me a greater heart for those that are suffering. So often when a member of the body was aching I intellectually could understand their heartache, but I felt I lacked true empathy.

I actually chuckled thinking about my prayer because certainly THIS year I have a whole new perspective. I see with new eyes what it is like to have a child go through trauma both physically with his surgery and emotionally with his kitten, I watched my husband's cousins deal with the unexpected loss of their mother, I had a health scare of my own, my Grandmother's death is still difficult but it is a first-hand loss that I had never experienced before, and the car wreck has affected a certain amount of security.

Even though I have dealt with a lot this year, I am thankful that God is conforming me to the image of His Son. Keeping that in mind is helping me to get through this.

What has the first half of the year brought you? How is God working in your life?

Leave me a comment and let me know.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Photo: EJP

I really enjoy three-day-weekends, but they sure add to Monday morning clean-up!

Thankfully, I have the Big 80's on Sirius to get me through. I love cleaning to songs from the 1980's.

What's your go-to method to motivate you to tackle your big jobs?

Friday, July 3, 2009

I got Rear Ended...TWICE!

Last Friday, we were having friends over for dinner and a fun evening of fellowship. My husband sent me to go pick up a couple two-liters for dinner. I took Princess Pea with me and left the two boys with him.

Traffic is heavy through our little town at five in the afternoon, and this road I was traveling on is extremely busy.

The vehicle in front of me stopped. I stopped.

The vehicle behind me didn't stop.

I see in my rearview mirror her manuever her car to the right into a ditch but she still clips the rear right bumper.

Princess Pea starts to cry and I turn to assure her we are okay. While I am twisted in my seat, we got rear ended...AGAIN. This time I bump the vehicle in front of me.


I am 32-years-old and this is the first wreck I've ever been in.

I got my daughter out of her carseat. She is crying and very upset and frankly, I am rattled.

The person driving the first vehicle who hit me immediately starts getting on her cell phone and telling someone that she "just totaled my car!" I hear her give instructions on where she is and a few moments later she takes off running.

She fled the scene on foot and left her vehicle at the scene of the accident.

I fill out the accident reports and I am allowed to drive my mini-van. That's great, because we have only the one vehicle.

My daughter and I go to the ER to be checked out and we are okay, just very sore.

Turns out, that neither driver who hit me had insurance.