Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Colorful Cupcakes

In keeping with the Birthday series, I thought I'd show you the cupcakes we are having tomorrow night for Brooke's actual birthday (since I've already made one big cake, I didn't want to do another!). Tomorrow will be a little Ode to our birthday girl, but in the meantime....

Did you know that if you mix up a box of white cake mix, divide it into four bowls, add a different color food coloring to each of those bowls, and then put one tablespoon-or-so of each color into a cupcake you get this:

Rainbow cupcakes! I saw these somewhere and thought they were cute, so we made them tonight.

I didn't get too fancy with the decorating. Buttercream and sprinkles. Tomorrow's all about the presents anyways, right?

Coming after the Birthday festivities, a yummy recipe with a sweet story to it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday Brooke at

a little long, but since we're talking SIX years! Brooke's bday is Thursday-- Happy Birthday Stinkerbell!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Evolution of a Birthday Party

Every year for Brooke's birthday, the weather is a factor. We usually hold our breath and hope it isn't either raining or too windy. We've had a few nice days around her birthday party day, but the day OF the actual event, we've rarely gotten super lucky. Last year I decided "We're not having a party next year. We're going to Great Wolf Lodge and hopefully some other families will go with us and we'll just buy them dinner for coming along!"
And then, Brooke decided several months ago that she wanted to have a Treasure Hunt at her Birthday party. She was totally convinced she'd be inviting a bunch of friends, and one way or another we were going to have a TREASURE HUNT.

Kind of took away the whole Great Wolf Lodge party idea. And you can't have a treasure hunt at the Bowling Alley. So once again, the party was going to be here at our house.

Forecast for the day: cold with a chance of storms. Translate: Party INSIDE. Matt was sweating it because I let her invite about 15 kids (a bunch of kids from class and her cousins). I wasn't sweating it because I knew that a) not all the kids would come, b) we would re-arrange the basement so that the TV was blocked from hands and flying bodies, and c) I was going to run this party like a well oiled machine.
That I did. We had games/activities for the first hour or more. Then we did presents, cake, and the treasure hunt (which all the kids loved). By the time all was done, there was 15 minutes left to pick up and I had a Pirate book to read to them. It all went well. Matt should never underestimate me :)
Here are some pics from the festivities:
The day started with a balloon delivery from Grandma Jenn and Papa Brad:

Brooke wanted a pirate costume, so grandma Anne made one for her and one for Hannah. Hannah's picture was taken right after her (short) nap and she hadn't quite adjusted to the crowd yet!

Party fun, we did Pirate Trivia, Bean Bag Toss, Pirate Pirate Who's Got Me Gold?, Walk the Plank, Limbo, and Pin the X on the Map.

Gift opening

Cake time! Look at that AWESOME cake :)

The Treasure Box, made from a cardboard box

The treasure hunters

The whole gang
I think everyone had fun! Thanks to Matt, Gma, Gpa, Dustin, Kacy, and Kristi for helping me keep it all running smoothly!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Water Bottle Winner

I'm just sitting down after a crazy day of Brooke's Birthday Party. I have to say, it went off quite well :) Yeah me! I knew I had to have those kids playing games the full first hour, before we ventured into gifts and cake, and finally, the TREASURE HUNT that the entire party was centered around. The treasure hunt was great fun and I'm so glad everything went well. It would have been better to be outside, but we moved things around in our basement and made plenty of space for the party!

Now before I go park my butt on the couch to watch a movie with Matt and eat another piece of cake, I thought I'd announce the winner of the cute water bottle....

It is CAMMIE!!! Cammie is a friend of mine that I met in Mothers and More, and she is also one of my fellow Disney nuts! I've had the pleasure of booking TWO vacations for them (both Disney). She's also my Uppercase Living consultant if anyone needs any of that nifty stuff. Congrats Cammie, on being selected by my totally non-scientific, albeit completely random, winner selector! Get in touch with me to get your prize!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's a Great Day for a GIVEAWAY!

Because the sun is shining
Because my vacation is a month away
Because my little girl is turning six in a week
Because I have wonderful friends
Because Thursday is my favorite day of the week
Because I don't have to cook dinner tonight
Because it's been a long time since I've done one....
We're having a giveaway today! Today's prize is fun, functional, and environmentally friendly.
My friend Debbi told me about these super cute water bottles at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are stainless steel, 12 ounces, with a variety of fun rubber designs and colorful lids. There is a cover on the lid that flips open, then it has a pull-up spout. I also love the little caribeener attached to it. They are going to be great for summer outings to the zoo, park, etc.

Today I am giving away this particular one:

Isn't it fun and Springy? Don't you want one? I actually bought the girls each one for their Easter Baskets too. I'm loving it.
How to enter you ask? TWO ways!!! First off, leave a comment (by clicking the little blue word comment at the bottom of this post) answering the following question. Second, become a follower of my blog (by clicking on the followers section on the right of the blog page) for an additional entry. (Those of you who are already followers are automatically entered once, so leave a comment for your second entry!). So everyone has TWO chances to enter. Winner will be chosen at random on Saturday evening.
Since I'm starting to plan our summer, and plan vacations for other people too, today's question is:
What is your dream vacation? (Give me as few or as many details as you want!).
If you've read my posts lately, you know that I personally have Bora Bora on my mind!
Enter now and have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

snow from hell

I'm not going to beat around the bush here, as you can tell from my title. I was a little pissed off about the weather this weekend.
Let's get down to it.
I really really really would like to be here:

Bora Bora. You can blame the movie Couple's Retreat. It was filmed here from what I've heard, and I want to go there desperately. Sigh.
This weekend, I was supposed to go here:

Legends in Kansas City. To see this little guy:

My sweet little nephew Brayton. He's 8 months old and I haven't seen him since October.
Instead, we got crappy weather. It made us stuck here in Wichita so we could not go to Kansas City. Nor am I in Bora Bora. I was here all weekend;
looking at the snow from Hell. Because it was hellaciously annoying that plans for a road trip in March were thwarted by a stinkin snow storm. Grrr.
On the upside of all this, because Brooke and I were especially bummed about our plans getting screwed up, we went to the bowling alley for some family bowling and pizza fun on Saturday. We made the most of a disappointment, and had a decent weekend...
but dude get me outta here! Thank GOD our vacation is in a little over a month!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Random Reader Poll Thursday

I decided today that I would post a little question/poll for my readers to answer. I want to know what you are thinking on the other end of this computer!

Simply click the little word "comments" below this post and leave a comment answering this question. Just because I'm curious!

We'll keep it simple for this first time (and that's not to say I will remember to do this every Thursday either. Hence the word random).

What is your favorite movie?

I have lots but right now the one in the top spot is "Couples Retreat." Except that it makes me desperately want to take a trip to BoraBora / Tahiti.

Looking forward to hearing your favorites!
Scroll down to see a then-and-now Disney post. I really liked this post and was impressed with myself for coming up with these picture combos ;)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Diaper Deal!

Hey there! Be sure to read my much funner post below this one...but for those of you with kiddos in diapers I wanted to give you a heads up on this great diaper deal!

If you go to and order $49 worth of stuff, you get free (fast) shipping. Their prices are very competitive. Then, if you enter my referral code of ABCA6870 you can get $10 off. So I just ordered a box of huggies wipes, 3 pkgs of size 5 pampers, and a pkg of Lil Swimmers for $39.

Then, go HERE to print off a rebate form and follow the instructions to either get a free year of Parenting magazine, or a rebate check for $14.97! With the rebate then, you'll have gotten all those diapers and wipes for $24! Great deal!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Loving your job *or* Disney Nut

I always heard that on the path to find happiness in life, you should figure out something you enjoy / love and make a career out of it. Until just a little while ago (as in, hours), I didn't realize that I had actually kind of followed that advice.

Those of you who know me well know that I am a Disney nut. The whole family is. I love all things Disney, I could go to Disney World several times a year and never be bored with it. I love thinking about Disney, researching Disney, watching Disney stuff, shopping for Disney stuff, and going to Disney.

And I just happen to be a travel agent! I spent hours this afternoon working on some Disney packages for clients, looking up park hours for them, helping them plan their dining reservations. And it didn't feel like work. Because I get such joy out of helping someone else have a fabulous WDW vacation. I get excited working on their details. It is a great place to be, and I'm so lucky that it has worked out for me thus far.

That all being said, I wanted to share with you where the Disney Nut began and how the Disney Nut has continued onto my little ones.
My first trip to WDW was with my moms whole side of the family when I was 8 years old. All of us Iowans loaded up into an RV and road tripped it down to Florida to meet up with the Floridians (4 of them) at WDW. It was Christmas and it was one of their coldest Decembers on record in a long time. We were wearing hoods and stocking caps. And I remember how magical it was.

Here is a picture of my dad and I on that trip:

We took Brooke to WDW a month after she turned three. Start 'em early I say! Here is a picture of Brooke and her dad on that trip:

Last year we took the girls on a Disney Cruise and made a one-day stop at Magic Kingdom the day before we set sail. Hannah was 15 months old. Here she is with her daddy on that trip, riding Dumbo:

But wait, there's more.

My first go-'round on the Carousel at Magic Kingdom (that's my aunt Kathy and Uncle Tom in front of me:

And Brooke's first time in 2007 (that's Grandma Anne there looking on):

And Hannah's in 2009:

My first meeting with the Big Cheese:

The entire time leading up to our 2007 trip with Brooke, we kept talking about "going to see Mickey." We didn't discuss going to Disney World, it was all about going to see Mickey. When we got to the hotel and started our walk to Magic Kingdom, she kept asking "where's Mickey?" When we walked down Main Street USA, nothing interested her, not even the castle. She just wanted to know where Mickey was. So we headed straight to ToonTown so she could meet him, and then we could get on with the show.
Brooke's first meeting with Mickey:

(Pretty excited little girl for someone who is scared to death of Santa and the Easter Bunny!).
Since we only spent one day at MK last year, we didn't do character time. You get a lot of good character opportunities on the cruise ship. Hannah didn't meet them all, and her best moments were with Chip and Dale, and Goofy. They didn't bother her at all.
However, she could not get away from Mickey fast enough, and this was the only shot we got of her with him:

We were all lucky enough to get to ride the elevator with Minnie on the cruise ship though! Just the six of us (matt's parents too) along with Minnie and her assistant. We rode about 6 floors. It was so exciting and I thought Brooke and Hannah might burst. Too bad we were squished in there and the camera was buried in my bag! It was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip!
So you can see.....Disney runs deep and goes way back around here. I don't have any pictures of Matt from his younger years at Disney, they must all be at his parents house. I can tell you that he has mentioned the story often of the year his best friend Jamie went with them, and they sat on the balcony at the Contemporary feeding birds French Fries that they had sticking out from between their toes. Silly boys.

I've been to WDW 6 times and I plan on going a lot more. And I'm so blessed that my job is sharing a place I love with others! How fun is that!?
Wishing you a day filled with Pixie Dust!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Shred

Hello. Meet the butt-kicking, sweat inducing, ibuprofen poppin-causin' 30 Day Shred.

That chick on the front that is a little blurry in this picture? Jillian Michaels. The "tougher" Biggest Loser trainer (though I think Bob has his moments and is a heck of a trainer too).

Someone told me about this DVD and now I'm telling you.

I LOVE it. Not as much as I love Bon Jovi or his concert I went to the other night. Not as much as I love my family, Disney, and cookies. But as much as one can love a workout dvd- I love it.

Here's why. I can get it done. It is hard, but quick. On this DVD are three different workouts, of three different difficulties. Each one consists of warm-up, 3 circuits each made of 3 minutes strength/2minutes cardio/1 minute abs, and a quick stretch. 20 minutes. And in that 20 minutes I sweat more than I do an hour on the elliptical. I am breathing hard. I'm feeling the burn. Jillian does NOT mess around. I'm on day 8 and I can honestly say I'm doing pushups much better than on day one. (I hate pushups by the way). All you need are some hand weights and enough floor space to lay down and do crunches.

I've even challenged Matt to the 30-day shred challenge. Much to my surprise, he's on day 4 and hasn't skipped a day yet. And Matt hates exercising. Especially after a day at work. There was a day or two I thought he'd wimp out on me, but so far so good! :)

If you're looking for a workout, get this. Combine it with some walks in the gorgeous spring weather, and replace some cookies with carrots or fruit, and I bet you'll be feeling great. The DVD was only $9 at Target.

Have a great day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday musings....

I have some different blog ideas floating around in my head, but for now I'm going to just tell you the current stuff going on in this neck of the woods.

1. We're getting Olive Garden carry-out for dinner, which happens to be Brooke's favorite restaurant. However, after spending the afternoon at Grandma's house, Brooke has elected to eat dinner (meatloaf sandwiches) at Grandma's house instead of coming home to eat her favorite meal with us. I'm not sure what to make of this.

2. My little two year old is wandering around the house looking like a little white-trash baby because she refuses to get dressed or get her hair put up, so she's walking around just in a diaper with her hair in her face. Same child had a cereal bar after her nap and immediately after finishing it asked for another. Based on the fact that #1 is happening in the next hour, I told her no. Now she is upstairs crying to daddy "I want bar!!!".

3. I used to have 9 followers to this blog and now I have only 8. Did I piss someone off? Hm. Sorry non-follower. And I was so close to having double-digit followers. Maybe this is a loser-blog!? My friend Michelle has only been blogging a few months and she has way more followers than me! :) Should I find something else to do with my time? (Probably. Don't answer that).

4. Speaking of Losers, I love the show "The Biggest Loser." This week I purchased the "30-day Shred" dvd by Jillian Michaels. It has three circuit workouts of varying difficulty. Each one consists of a warm up, three circuits that are made up of: 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and a minute of abs, followed by a cool down. A really tough, fast, sweat your butt off 20 minutes. I love it and I'm on day 5 of my goal of doing it for 30 days solid. And I'm sore. Very sore.

5. Brooke's birthday is coming up, and for months all she has said for her party is that she wants to have a treasure hunt. I don't know where that came from. But I don't think I can plan a proper treasure hunt if I have the party, say, at the bowling alley. So apparently I'm hosting the party here and putting together a treasure hunt. We're going to do a pirate theme...which is pretty far removed from our usually girly theme, but it will be fun. I think. Pray for me.

6. Spring Break has started...and I'm really hoping we see some pretty Spring weather, because it's going to be a tough week off with these little girls if we can't get outside and burn off some steam!

7. Have a great weekend, oh precious readers!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- a rare shot

Taken at 915 this morning....

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sew what!?

If you read my crazy eights posting down below, you know that one of things that I'm not real good at is sewing. My mom is an awesome seamstress. She made my prom dresses, and many clothes for me growing up. She can sew up just about anything. My Mother-in-law; also an awesome seamstress. AND she has one (actually two!) of those awesome embroidery machines so she's got quite the wonderful little sewing room that is often buzzing. She makes some super cute personalized stuff for the girls.

Me, sewing... not so great. Mom says I didn't want to learn, I'm not sure I believe that. I wish now that I knew how to sew as good as these two women, but I get by.

I'm in major "redecorate" the house mode. Mom always said I had "steak taste with a hamburger budget" and that still rings true today. But I'm slowly changing things / decorating things in the house, one $30 project at a time.

And in case you didn't know this about me, when I get an idea to do something, I want to do it IMMEDIATELY. I decided several months ago that I wanted to paint a wall in the kitchen. I drove to Lowe's that morning and bought the stuff, taped it off after lunch, and had it painted during nap time before Matt even got home.

Another wild-hair moment hit today. I wanted to do something with the windows in the family room. This is what it looked like:

This is what it has looked like for 10 years. Well, the walls were white until about 6 years ago. We actually would close these windows off and have custom built floor-to-ceiling shelves put in on each side of the fireplace if we could afford it, but we can't.

I saw in the Target ad that they had long panels on sale for $9/each, and they were wide enough (and the windows narrow enough) that I theoretically only needed two. So Hannah and I stopped at Target today. This is what the panels looked like:

I didn't think plain ol brown would look good on a brown wall, and wanted to do something to "embellish" them. I remembered this fabric that I had bought several years ago. I was going to make Roman Shades for these windows...but I didn't know how and never figured it out. So I had all of this:

I decided to do a triangle panel across the top and a section across the bottom. I cut and pinned my little heart out, dusted off the sewing machine, and got busy during nap time. When Matt got home and caught me in the midst of sewing, I simply said "I'm making curtains. In a little while you are going to hang some cafe-rods in the family room for me and you're not going to bitch about it." He followed those orders quite well today actually!

So the finished product I think turned out pretty decent. It's warmer than it was (albeit a bit darker but I don't care. The other wall has huge windows on it that I can open the blinds on). I have a lot of the fabric left so I may try to do a valance on the other window, or make some new pillows, but nonetheless, today's wild hair has been trimmed and taken care of.

Whatcha think?