Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Camping Themed Birthday Cake

We are celebrating another birthday in our home today!  Twinkle Toes is 9 years old!! 

For this birthday she requested a "Camping" and/or "Waterslide" theme.  We are going to have both!  As soon as we get home from another Dentist appointment this morning, we are headed to the lake/waterslides with a picnic lunch.  After that we'll come back home, pitch a tent in the backyard, roast hotdogs and marshmallows, and open gifts.  It's going to be a fun day!  

I wasn't at all prepared to make a cake last night...  My goal was to try and come up with a cake using only ingredients/supplies that I already had in my cupboard.  However, at 9:50pm last night (just after the cakes finally came out of the oven to cool) I realized I was completely out of powdered sugar and couldn't make frosting.  Thankfully our little local market stays open until 10pm and I made it just in time!

I was so happy with how the cake turned out.  Isn't it cute?!?


Cake Supplies:
2 - 8" Round Cakes
2 - 6" Round Cakes
2 cups milk chocolate frosting
1 cup green frosting

For the Tent, Bed, Pillow, and Sign:

*Originally I thought about using a couple toaster pastries for the tent, but since I had the yellow fondant leftover from the sign, I decided to use that instead.  I thought it looked cuter for a little girl's cake.  I did use the pop tarts to help shape the fondant though, draping it over them in a tent shape to harden.

(I also used the leftover yellow fondant, a dab of frosting, and some brown jimmies to make a couple sunflowers to place at the base of the tent)

For the Trees:
milk chocolate for tree stumps (I used Hershey bells, sliced)
tree shaped cookie cutter

Ladybugs, Butterflys, Camp Fire, Marshmallows and Roasting Sticks:
red hots & black icing for ladybugs
black food decorator pen for ladybug spots
butterfly sprinkles
black M&M's (or candy pebbles) for fire pit
silver sprinkles
red and orange sprinkles for fire
2 pretzel sticks
2 mini marshmallows

(My initial inspiration was found here and here)

Happy Birthday Twinkle Toes! 

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life. ~

Here are a few more pictures from this past Sunday!  These were all taken on my phone. 


I purchased a few new things from the Sunflower Smiles collection for the girls "back-to-school" pictures, with my Gymbucks last month.  Chiquita will be getting this dress, but I gave her the headband early, to wear on Sunday, since it matched Twinkle Toes old sweater so nicely. 


Watching the seagulls fly around the parking lot.  So captivating, those seagulls!


Bud's hair... No matter what I do, it's extra thick and always wants to stick up down the middle! 


Our sweet little Rose...
Hubby mentioned that the lyrics from this Sound of Music song fit her so well, especially the other morning during Mass.  She can be such a stinker!
"Unpredictable as weather..."

*Twinkle Toes' veil can be found here (Modesty Veils website no longer active), and here is the link to Amy's free pattern for the veil Rose is wearing, which she gave to my girls.

Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more pictures of contentment

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Daybook: August 29, 2012

Outside my window...
it has been chilly, though not as cool as it was over at the coast this past Sunday, with a high of 55.   We were very glad we had checked the forecast and wore sweaters.  Here in the valley it has been around 80 during the day and dropping to the 40s at night.  It's definitely starting to feel like autumn.

I am thinking...        
about my kid's teeth.  I took the four oldest in for Orthodontic evaluations last week and both Captain and Twinkle Toes are in need of braces now.  Twinkle Toes is the most urgent, and if she has braces, in two phases - beginning right now for a year and then again in a few years - we should be able make room for the teeth that have nowhere to come in, and avoid pulling permanent teeth and oral surgery in the long run.   We then found out, yesterday morning when I took them to the Dentist for Cleanings and Exams, that they both need quite a bit of Dental Work before the braces go (Captain needs four fillings to correct defects in four of his molars, and Twinkle Toes needs quite a few sealants.)  They also had the impressions made at the Orthodontist yesterday morning.   If everything falls into place, their braces are scheduled to go on next Wednesday!

I am thankful... 
that the Dentist and Orthodontist are both willing to work with us and allow us to make small interest free payments each month, with larger payments at tax time.  Still, we are really nervous about the cost.  It isn't exactly in our budget...  I'm also thankful that the only cavities that were found, happened to be on Rascal's last couple baby teeth, and those should be falling out sometime this year!

Learning all the time... 
Yep... It is definitely time for our family to seriously consider any options we might have for Dental Insurance.

Celebrating the liturgical year... 
today is the feast of the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.   We don't usually do much to celebrate this feast in our home, since we have a birthday tomorrow, but we will read a short story at dinner time as usual.   Still, there are so many cute ideas from some of the other contributors over at Catholic Cuisine... One of these years I really need to try a few of them!

From the kitchen... 
Gluten-free Carrot Cake made with Spice Cake Mix. Yum!!!

I am creating... 
plans for our Little Flower's Mother/Daughter Tea.  Since we meet through the summer to complete Wreath IV, we decided to have our tea on September 8th, our Blessed Mother's Birthday!

I am working on... 
being creative with our budget and looking for areas we can cut back.

I am going... 
to try really hard to limit our trips to town to save on gas.  This means that the boys won't be able to play hockey this year, but they are very excited about taking a Lego Robotics class instead, which will be just once a week and only 5 minutes from home.

I am hoping... 
that we are able to enjoy our sunflowers for at least a little while before it starts getting too cold.   It's taken them all spring and summer to finally bloom.

I am reading... 
about one of my little brothers!  There was quite the article in the paper this past weekend about him, and one of my neighbors dropped it off for us to read.  If you'd like to check it out you can do so here:  Different Strokes

I am praying... 
for a special intention.

Pondering these words...
from St. Rose of Lima, whose traditional feast day is tomorrow:

"Without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. The gift of grace increases as the struggles increase."

I am listening...  
to Liberty Kids.   The kids are watching an episode in the living room.  We recently cancelled our Netflix subscription, but thankfully we do have the whole collection on DVD.

Around the house... 
Bud sure loves to crawl and explore.  His latest favorite thing to do is pull books off of the bookshelves.  I'm thinking he got the idea from his godsister - that little Cupcake Cutie, who is going to turn one already this weekend!

One of my favorite things...  
Gymboree's beautiful sweaters for my girls!  I'm trying to decide between the Gem Button Cable Sweater or the Butterfly Button Diamond Knit Sweater to give Twinkle Toes for her birthday.  (They are on sale right now, plus I have an extra 25% off coupon!) Poor girl, she usually ends up getting mostly "back-to-school" clothes and new books on her birthday each year! Not that she minds... ;)

This week's plans...
  • Dentist Appointments & Orthodontist Appointments Tuesday Morning
  • End-of-Summer Ice Cream Social and Park Day Tuesday Afternoon
  • Mom's Night Out Tuesday Night
  • Celebrate Twinkle Toes' 9th Birthday on Thursday
  • Friday morning Mass
  • Older boys attending a friend Birthday Party Friday night
  • Saturday Morning Grower's Market
  • Sunday Mass
  • Hubby has an extra long weekend for Labor Day!!!

A little peek at my day...

Let's Travel Back to the World of the Vikings!

*This post has been sitting in my drafts folder since the fall of 2010...  I'm just going to post it now as is.  

What the Boys Read:
Who Were The Vikings
Vikings: Dress, Eat, Write and Play Like the Vikings
Leif the Lucky
Viking Raiders
Viking Ships At Sunrise

Our Family Read Alouds:
Founders of Freedom  Excerpts (suggested in Connecting With History Vol 3) Read by Dad & Mom during Dinner
Twelve Bright Trumpets Various Stories Read by Mom
Son of Charlemagne (with Hillsides Study Guide) Read by Daddy
Beorn the Proud (Living History Library) Read by Mom

Added to Timeline:
800 - Charlemagne is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope St. Leo III
861 - Norsemen discover Iceland
903-935 - St. Wenceslaus, martyr and patron of Bohemia
962 - Pope John XII crowns Otto I the Holy Roman Emperor
c. 1000 - Leif Ericsson discovers North America

Make Viking Ship from Crayola

Worksheets and Coloring Pages:
Viking Worksheet (for my younger students)
Color Viking Warrior in Dover Coloring Book Knights And Armor (boys)

Other Reources:
BBC - Vikings
Nova Online

After studying the Vikings, Captain added the Playmobil Viking Longboat to the top of his "Christmas Wishlist"...  I was so disappointed to see that the Viking line had been discontinued! (Updated to add: He was very excited on Christmas morning.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Sunday Drive

Subtitled:  A Latin Mass, Whale Watching, and fun at the Beach! 

Our family loves the Latin Mass.  The only problem is, it is rather hard to come by where we live.  In fact, we usually have to have a baby in order to get a Latin Mass around here! (ie: My brother-in-laws' fly out to baptize the new little one, offering Mass while they are in town.)   The closest parishes that offer the Latin Mass (or rather, Extraordinary Form) are 3 hours north and 5 hours south, with a couple mountain passes to cross each direction.  As much as my husband would love to move, it just doesn't seem to be in God's plan for our family at this time.

Recently we found out that there is a priest about 2 1/2 hours away, in another state and diocese, that is now offering a Latin Mass every Sunday!  The only problem is that it begins at 8 a.m.  Rather early, when you have that far to drive with an over full van load of kiddos and a baby that doesn't sleep through the night.  We discussed making the drive again this past Saturday, but I just said I don't know how it could even be possible, without going over the night before, so we didn't even bother to prepare or set the alarm... However, amazingly, the baby woke us up at 4:25 yesterday morning, Rascal was already awake as well, Hubby felt abnormally rested, and we decided to give it a shot.  We woke the rest of the kids up, got dressed for Mass, packed a bag with extra clothes and snacks, and were on our way by 5:45.   We made it to Mass with 15 minutes to spare!

As we pulled up to the church, not seeing another car or person in sight and wondering if they still offered the Latin Mass, the pastor walked out of the rectory with a visiting missionary priest (who is headed to Bolivia today) and welcomed our family!   We had been expecting a low Mass, but the visiting priest was able to play the organ and sing the responses, so we were blessed with a beautiful sung Mass!

After Mass we visited some more with the pastor and he invited us back to the hall, following his English Mass, to attend a reception for their newly ordained deacon and to meet some of the other parishioners.   In the meantime we went to pick up a couple coffees and breakfast for the kids.

After attending the cake reception at the Church, some of us changed from our Mass clothes, and headed to the beach.  A trip to the ocean was on our "Summer Bucket List" and we were all so happy to finally be able to check that off our list!   When we pulled off the highway we couldn't believe our luck when we spotted a whale just off the shoreline!!  (What a perfect way to kick off our new school year, and our study of Swimming Creatures!) 

If you look closely at the following pictures you can see a little glimpse of the whale spray/blow in the first two pictures, and the top of the whale in the third.   I wasn't successful with getting a picture of the tail when diving, but the kids were so excited to see that.   This was the first time any of them actually got to see a whale that wasn't in captivity!  Very exciting, for sure!

We then spent the rest of the afternoon having a blast on the beach!   And, yes, I am going to share a whole ton of pictures, as usual... It was Bud's first trip to the ocean, after all!  :)

We spent  a little more time watching the whale before it was time to head home... The kids were all sad to leave - even if they were quite tired! 

Hopefully it won't be too long before we are able to make the trip again... However, with the cost of gas and over crowded mini-van we won't be able to go too often.  In the meantime, we will just continue praying for a local (and frequent) Latin Mass.