Saturday, March 31, 2007

One Tooth....No, TWO Teeth!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. Oops, wrong holiday! All I want for Easter is my two front teeth, my two front teeth.....etc. Yes, that's right! Allison has lost her two front teeth this week. She lost one on Sunday night. Actually, she pulled it out in bed and there was blood everywhere! It wasn't ready to come out yet! She was playing with it during church earlier that day and I took a good look at it at that time and it was probably going to be a few days yet. However, when my child wants something, she'll do what she has to do to get it. This obviously included causing herself pain! I don't think she'll do that again though. She was freaked out by all the blood and the upset tummy she got with it. She lost the second one on Thursday after school when she was eating a soft oatmeal cookie. It just fell right out! No blood! She soon realized it was a much better way to lose a tooth! She always gets ice cream when a tooth comes out and Uncle Bill and Holly wanted to share in our tradition this time. We met them in Cranberry at The Marble Slab (YUMMY!) and Allison got bubble gum ice cream with gummy bears sprinkled on top. They presented her with a book about Sharks as Holly and Allison has this love in common. Allison's new nickname has become Shark Girl. Hmm, Princess to Shark Girl...not what I had in mind when I had a little girl. The book came with this cool poster of a shark and we will be putting it up in her room this weekend when we rearrange and clean the Princess room. This should be interesting!

Have Fun!

"Other than a dimple in a cute little chin, What's more adorable than a toothless grin?"

~Azu "Betty" Espezia
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


My title is courtesy of Curtis. He emailed me this last week and I had every intention of updating it then but you just got in the way. So here I am 21 days later with lots to report and lots of pictures to share. You might want to go get a refill on your coffee or Pepsi before you start reading. I would promise to keep it brief but if you know me, you know that is not possible!

First I want to thank all of you who read my blog. When I started this thing my intention was to document the happenings in my life. I soon found out that I enjoyed writing and updating my blog. My only wish is that I could do it every day. I just don't have the energy. I wish I did. I fall asleep much to easily in the evenings and then when I get up early in the morning, I try to get housework and laundry done while I have that morning burst of energy. This is my 95th post. As with most bloggers, I'll have to figure out something special to do for my 100th post. A way to celebrate it with all of you. A little thank you for being there out in cyberspace to let me get out the clutter in my head.

Cakes. These are the last 3 cakes that I made for our church's fish dinner. This first one is called as "Better Than Sex" cake but I changed the name to "Better Than Love" cake for the church.

"Better Than Sex Cake"

1 chocolate cake mix (I use Devil's Food)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar of caramel ice cream topping
1 small container of Cool Whip
Heath candy bars (I use one pack of 6) or Butterfinger candy bars
~Bake cake as package directions in a 9 x 13 pan.
~As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, use the handle from a wooden spoon and poke holes all over the cake.
~Pour the can of condensed milk and the caramel ice cream topping over the cake. The cake will absorb both.
~Cover with foil and put in the refrigerator overnight. It must sit at least for 4 hours.
~When ready to serve, frost the cake with cool whip and chop the candy bars into small pieces and sprinkle over the top of the cake.

This next one I had a little help from Mr. Hines (Duncan) and the Pillsbury Dough BOY! I used a box of spice cake mix and then I added 3/4 cup of raisins to the batter before pouring it into the pan. I used already prepared cream cheese frosting and topped the whole cake with crushed walnuts. Very easy and just added a little extra to make it my own.

Okay, this one was really cheating!!!!! Things have been really crazy and making a cake just slipped my mind...until the morning of the fish dinner. I looked in my pantry and had these so I went with it. EASY PEASY but so festive since it was a beautiful day last Friday! It must have been a hit because there was none left by the time we got to the dinner!

I have this huge chicken wire basket on top of my bookcase/wall unit. I love the basket but I always felt it needed something. At Christmas time, I put the the presents that Allison bought for all of us from the Santa workshop at school in the basket. I loved the way it looked but I really don't think having wrapped presents in there all the time is my answer. After a long search I found these willow balls at Pier One. I love them! They are just the filler I needed. If you are looking for something a little different, you can check them out online here.

When I became a decorating consultant for Home Interiors and Gifts for this second time, I did it to make some extra money. Other than changing some things around in my home for some variety, there really isn't much decorating that I NEEDED to do. However, there is always some adorable things that I like and just have to have. My latest is Scooter. Scooter the Rooster. Isn't he cute? He is rattan and metal. I had originally thought about spray painting him white and using him in my kitchen but now I am not so sure. I put him here in the living room to take this picture and I kind of like him against my walls. Hmmm, I'll have to give his home some thought! By the way, if you see anything in the Home Interiors line that you don't need but just have to have, please let me know. I would be happy to help and we now ship to anywhere in the United States! You should give our candles a try....they are awesome and the new containers go with any decor. Mmmmm! French Toast. Allison asked for Mom's special French toast for breakfast one morning. I love that she'll always remember that I make a special French Toast just for her. My secret is that I add a few sprinkles of cinnamon and vanilla extract to the egg and milk and then I top it with a few sprinkles of powdered sugar. Isn't it amazing that something so simple makes such great memories for little ones?
Do you see it? It's barely there but it IS there! It's Allison's marigold that she is growing in our kitchen window. She brought it home from school the day she went to Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. It was supposed to sprout in 5-7 days and I was getting nervous. It was day 7 and nothing! Mom suggested that I cover it with plastic wrap and like magic, this appeared in a couple of hours! Thank goodness for Mothers!

Allison and I went to my parent's house last Saturday to help my Mom with some Easter preparations. Since we missed seeing her on her birthday, we decided to surprise her and bring a cake, flowers and balloons. Allison wanted to get dressed up for the "party" and this is what she picked out. I tried talking her out of the cowboy boots but she wouldn't have it! Doesn't her hair look cute. She's been growing it out so she could put it in a ponytail but since it's not long enough just yet, this is what we ended up with. Cute! Cute! Cute...if I do say so myself!
Here she is helping Ba Ba crack open eggs for the dough for the capeletties for Easter dinner. She is getting so big!
It's that time of year! Curtis took her out bike riding last night while I was at work. I found this on the digital camera. She dressed herself again but I am sure you can tell with the spaghetti strap top. It wasn't quite warm enough for that yet!
One last picture for no other reason but because I think it's funny! Allison took this after she posed Daddy and Uncle Rudy (Curtis' best friend) with a stuffed snake and dragon. Again, I was at work while this took place. I love that they humor her and let her make them the object of her fun....well, now it's our fun...isn't it?
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lessons of Love!

Allison spent some time with Grandma (Curtis' Mom) on Sunday. Grandma is an excellent seamstress and wants to teach Allison. I think it's wonderful! Allison will remember that forever...just as I remember my Aunt Edith teaching me how to crochet. I loved my Aunt Edith dearly and some of my most vivid memories are of our conversations during my lessons. She taught me so many things. Along with teaching me how to crochet, she taught me how to make her pasta sauce, homemade pasta, hamburgers, gardening and more. She passed away when I was five months pregnant with Allison.I am so sorry she never got to meet Allison but I am sure she is up there in heaven watching down on her.

Allison made this fabric picture all by herself...with a little help from Grandma with the actual sewing. Please ignore the crinkles. There isn't any but when I scanned it, they appeared. Anyway, she picked out just the right colors for the grass and the sky and also added the cloud. The man in the picture is God. Yes, God. The design is all her own. She said he doesn't have shoes because he didn't need them. "Jesus didn't have shoes. He walked in his bare feet so why would God need shoes?" I was amazed. We all were. We think she did such a good job.

Have Fun!

"Surely, two of the most satisfying experiences in life must be those of being a grandchild or a grandparent." ~Donald A. Norberg~

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Brrrrrr and My First Bake Sale!

This is going to be a short post because it's cold in here! I don't want to be sitting still for any length of time. I want to keep moving! Our furnace went out yesterday sometime and we need a new blower and the furnace man can't replace it until tomorrow. BRRRR!!!! He did leave us a space heater to help us out until he can fix it. It makes me nervous so we will not be running it tonight while we sleep. I guess the three of us will be sleeping together again tonight! There's nothing like some good old fashioned cuddling to keep you warm but I don't get much sleep that way. Curtis and Allison are both BED HOGS!!!!! As far as Allison, Curtis took her over to his parents for a while. She didn't want to go. She wanted to stay home with Momma and cuddle but her fingers were so COLD! Poor baby!

Allison's school was having a "Soup, Pie & More" sale after church today. If you signed up at the beginning of the year for this committee, you were to put together ingredients for the soups. I am not sure how exactly that goes since I didn't order any of the soups. It's not that I didn't want any of the soups, it's just that the pick-up time conflicted with our church this morning. I just couldn't be in two places at once. This may sound confusing for some so let me explain. Allison goes to a Lutheran school that is about 20 minutes from where we live and the soup pick-up was at the Lutheran church that is part of the school. This is not our church. We are Roman Catholic and our church is just up the road from where we live. So when I said the soup pick-up conflicted with our church, I meant that I couldn't get there from our church to that church in time for pick-up. Make sense? Still with me? I know, sometimes I confuse myself too!

Anyway, if you weren't on the soup making committee, you were asked to help with the "Pie & More" part of the sale or if you didn't want to do that, a donation is always appreciated to help with the soup ingredients. I decided to do the "More" part and made some items for the sale. I guess I never really thought about it much but I love to cook, bake and be creative in the kitchen. I didn't make anything fancy by any means but this was my first bake sale as a Mom and I wanted my items to be fun and festive. Of course, I had to take pics. What would a blog entry be without pics? As always, click on the pictures for a closer look.
The final products:

These are 8" x 5" spice cakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. I got these pans with lids at a dollar store by where I work. I liked the size because it's perfect for a couple who don't want a whole cake laying around.

These are Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have a recipe for these cookies that is labor intensive but I didn't use it. Instead I used a recipe that I got off of Heather D. White's blog. I've mentioned her before. She has such great recipes! I had total confidence in trying this recipe for the bake sale without testing it beforehand. Here is the recipe straight from Heather's blog. I should also add that I copied how she packaged them too. I hope she doesn't mind...after all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?


1 Spice Cake Mix
1 Can (regular size) Pumpkin
1 Cup TOTAL of mix-ins (either 1 C. Chocolate Chips OR 1 C. raisins OR 1/2 C. Chocolate Chips & 1/2 C. raisins. - Whatever you add, add 1 Cup TOTAL)

Mix together. Spoon onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. VOILA!!! ('s just the mix...don't add ANYTHING to the mix but the eggs, no oil, nothing!) (P.S. I prefer to use Milk Chocolate Chips instead of Semisweet. Mmmm...delish!)

I wanted to make something fun for the kids and all kids (young and old) enjoy cupcakes! I used Wilton's Dazzling Dots baking cups. I iced them all with white icing using a Wilton star decorating tip (I think it was #20) and sprinkled Wilton's Spring Confetti Sprinkles on top. I put them in a bed of lime green & yellow shredded paper Easter grass from Wal-Mart to keep them steady in the take out containers I got from work. I wrapped them with ribbon that I had in my stash, added a tag and they were ready to go!

A closer look:

The last items I made were Chocolate Covered Oreos with white chocolate streaks on top of them. YUMMY and SO easy! I put each oreo in a Wilton Easter baking cup, dropped two of them into a cellophane bag and tied the top off with a ribbon from my stash. SUPER cute and a GREAT Easter basket idea!

Have Fun!

“When you look at a cupcake, you've got to smile.”

~Anne Byrn

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Friday, March 02, 2007

Dr. Seuss & A Taste of Hawaii!

Yesterday Allison's Kindergarten class celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday. They were encouraged to wear red, white and black. I had the black pants but we don't have much red in her closet. Luckily we found the PERFECT red and white striped shirt that looks like The Cat in the Hat's hat! She was so excited and it was only $7.00 which made Mommy excited! Gotta love a bargain! The first picture is with her favorite book and then her favorite Dr. Seuss friend. Typical Allison. Don't you think? Doesn't she look all grown up with her legs crossed in the second picture?
They had lots of fun in her class. They all got Dr. Seuss tattoos, had tons of books read to them and had GREEN EGGS & HAM for snack! She wants me to make them. YUK! If you go to the "Suessville" website and send the Cat in the Hat a birthday card for his 50th birthday, Random House will send a book to First Book. It's a great cause. They give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. I encourage you to go and send a card.
This week's cake for my church's Fish Fry is a little taste of Hawaii! Again I wish I could cut it open to show you what it looks like inside. You'll just have to use your imagination! This is a great Summertime recipe. Enjoy!



1 box of yellow cake mix

1 8oz. package of cream cheese

1 small box of instant vanilla pudding

1 cup of milk

1 20oz. can of crushed pineapple in it's own juice, drained

1 8oz. cool whip

1 cup of coconut, toasted


~Bake cake according to box in a 9 x 13 cake pan.

~While the cake is cooling, whip the cream cheese, then add the box of instant vanilla pudding and 1 cup of milk.

~Fold the drained crushed pineapple into the cream cheese and pudding mixture and spread over cooled cake.

~Spread the cool whip evenly on top.

~Sprinkle with toasted coconut.


Have Fun!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Disney on Ice, A Friend and A President!

Last Saturday we took our annual trip to see Disney on Ice. We have been taking Allison since she was 9 months old. She loves it and we love our little family tradition. However, this year we decided that she could bring a friend. I personally was a little torn at first with this decision. It is such a great family day and I wasn't sure that I was ready to share that with anyone else. She invited Anna from her Kindergarten class. Anna is such a lovely young lady and at the end of the day, Curtis and I agreed the day was huge success! This year it was Monsters, Inc. and it was awesome! Our seats were 1st row rink side seating and just perfect. They were dead center and we saw everything perfectly. We even got a popcorn shower when one of the monsters jumped off the ice towards us and hit a guy carrying a big bag of popcorn. It was hilarious! We were still picking popcorn out of our hair after the show! Here a few pictures of the show:

Allison & Anna at the beginning of the show with cotton candy. They couldn't wait to dig into that! Allison doesn't get it too often and I could tell by Anna's excitement, she didn't either.
This is of the two of them before the show started. This was the view of the ice from our seats.
This is Mike and this picture was taken from my seat with no zoom lens!
Sulley and Mike. Isn't Sulley cute?
This was part of the finale. I had the girls stand in front so they could get their picture taken with Roz but Allison turned her head just as I pressed the button.
More of the finale.
Another one of the finale. You can see all of the tissue confetti that was sprayed into the air. It was every wear and I think we brought some home with us in the hoods of our coats!
After the show, we always go over to Station Square and grab some lunch at Houlihan's, walk around the shops and ride the Monongahela Incline. This next picture of the girls are as we were going up the mountain in the incline to Mt. Washington.

The girls on one of the look-out points on Mt. Washington. I LOVE this shot! You can see Pittsburgh's skyline across the Monongahela River, Heinz Field to the left in the picture and the PPG Place building to the right.
This picture of us was taken by Allison. She posed us and everything! It think it came out great! I love the blue of the sky behind us!

Okay, so I've written about Disney on Ice and a Friend but I bet you are wondering what I meant when I put "A President" in my title. Yes, we were wondering too! After picking Anna up at her house and on our way to Pittsburgh, Anna said something about "meeting the President." We told her we weren't meeting the President but she kept on saying it. After we rode The Incline, she said it again. I asked her where she got the idea the she was going to meet the President? She said Allison told her. Well immediately Allison said "NO, I didn't!" Curtis and I just looked at each other still puzzled. It wasn't until we were riding The Incline back down that Curtis said "WASHINGTON, Mt. WASHINGTON!" LOL! Too Funny! Allison did tell her that we would be going to Mt. Washington and Anna interpreted it to President! Don't you just love the way kids think? I certainly do!

Have Fun!

"Friends are kisses blown to us by angels."

~Author Unknown

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