Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Returning my bedroom to a refuge

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

So I decided to get with it today and accomplish a few things that have just needed to be done for awhile!!! The 'Tackle it Tuesday' idea is that by encouraging folks to blog about housework or other things that just need to be done, it might give us that extra umph to get with it! It certainly has worked for me today!

Hi - my name is Jodi and I am a clutter bug - sad, but true...and definitely something I'm trying to work on, but definitely a work in progress! I have a few spots in our house that turn into raging hot spots (to borrow a Flylady term) in a heartbeat...2 of them are in our bedroom my jewelry armoire & a chair. Last week I started taking things out of the closet that don't fit my now pregnant body...folded them neatly...and stopped right there.

I am happy to report that those areas are now free of clothing, toys and other miscellaneous stuff and are instead ready to be used for their intended purposes! Brad will be so delighted when he gets home. Moreover, all of my clothes have been neatly packed into my plastic boxes and are now ready to go into our storage room - woo hoo!

So while I was in this productive little "project mode" - I thought about a few long neglected plants scattered about the house. These 2 drive Brad crazy because they are on a shelf in our bathroom and hang over onto the bar where he hangs his towel to dry. Oops!

This poor guy - while at first glance seems fine - look closer...

he's still in the tiny pot he came in, balanced on a 5 oz. dixie cup, sitting in the nice, pretty pot - and has been that way for too many months to even begin to count. Embarassing!

As expected, these 2 guys were root bound beyond belief and quit lopsided from their neglect & poor placement in the bathroom - now repotted and ready for a new home in the house, hopefuly they'll perk up and start looking better!

And this one looks so much better already, just having some dirt in the pot! I know the plant will also be infinitely more happy, as the little pot it was stuck in didn't hold much dirt, and dried out almost daily, leading to several leaves never even having a chance. I'm betting in no time at all this one will also look a lot healthier!

Definitely a nice feeling to have both of those little projects wrapped up and taken care of! So how about you...any projects that you need to take a few minutes and just knock out? I'd love to hear about them! For more tackling inspiration, head on over to Tackle It Tuesday and take a look around!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mama, Papa & Elmo

As Walker & Alexa's birthdays approached this year, the ever-present birthday question rose to the surface...what kind of cake? Last year we did the Baby Einstein caterpillar cake (thank you Publix) - this year..hmmm....

A month or so back, Elmo came to mind - Walker isn't in daycare and doesn't watch cartoon TV, so he really hasn't been introduced to many "characters" so far...however he does have a stuffed Elmo who sleeps in his bed and every morning is pointed out as "elmo" by Walker himself. Just seemed like a logical choice and fitting for 2 as well...I'm guessing they won't share a cake for very many more years, as boy & girl things prevail, but this year didn't sound like a bad plan.

I tend to be a bit of a procrastinator (though I'm working on it, I promise!), so I finally started looking at cakes online...the Elmo ones we found just weren't at all what I envisioned...so I decided, what the heck...let's just go for it! Elmo has a pretty simple face...surely he can't be that hard to make...and thankfully he wasn't! We started the night before by baking 2 round yellow cakes and we colored the coconut red. Using a LOT of gel food coloring we were able to get a really good, dark red color which really helped me think we could pull this off!

We used Walker's Elmo to help us draw a template which we then cut out to help guide us.

It did seem like we dragged an awful lot of kitchen gear out for this project, but a lot was never used or only used to help find the right diameter circle when drawing our template, so that made for quick easy clean-up aftewards! The Kitchenaid mixer came in handy both for mixing the cake and also coloring the red icing.

We then mixed up red icing...never did get red enough for my liking, but at least it gave a decent red base to Elmo's color. Because we had baked the cakes the night before, they were completely cool and didn't crumb at all while icing them - hallelujah - that is usually one of my biggest issues icing a cake!!!

And then the coconutting began! It was actually a very fun part of the process - we used the mouth template to keep Elmo's mouth free of coconut.

Next came chocolate sprinkles for the mouth - we started out using our overall template, but then realized that the coconut had formed a bit of a well for the mouth, so the template was really unnecessary. The spoon made for easy delivery and fairly accurate sprinkle placement.

We started out icing the nose off of the cake, and finished it off using a ziploc bag as a piping bag with icing in it and the tip of a corner cut out. That worked so well, that we did the eyes entirely using that method, and then used a knife to even things up. We then made a paper cylinder and used it as a template to drop sprinkles onto the middle of the eyes - no pics of that - it was kinda a critical point, if you know what I mean!

And VOILA - the finished product - not perfect, but certainly pretty darn good for two novice cake bakers! I should stop here to further issue thanks and credit to my sweet, wonderful husband. This was a project I took on completely by myself, but true to form, he didn't let/make me tackle it that way. Brad was super-involved and super-helpful throughout this entire process. He baked the cakes and made the entire decorating process go so much more quickly and smoothly than if I'd done it myself! Yea for a wonderful husband!!

And a side-by-side - I just couldn't help myself! ;) We picked Walker up to show him the cake and asked him who it was and he said 'Elmo' - just what this Mama wanted to hear! Made my day!

We used a few of the cake remnants to decorate a little triangle for each baby. True-to-form, after the candles were out, Walker jumped down in the floor to play with his 'bobtat' and Alexa picked hers up and took a bite out of it. So funny!

Walker did finally stick a finger in his icing when we picked him up, but that was pretty much it for him. Too much action going on for him to be interested in cake!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday Walker!!

My oh my how my little baby has grown - in honor of his 2nd birthday, today, I thought a little trip down memory lane was in order...

Walker evidently didn't want to come out and join the world, because he as 9 days overdue and only appeared then because I was induced. We got to the hospital about 6 that morning and he was born at 9:13 that night - that child was just happy where he was!

We don't have many pictures from the night of, imagine us...being exhausted!...but this is a favorite of mine with Brad holding him the next morning.

Brad and I both love this pic...he was sitting in my lap in the hospital bed and I was burping him - our parents (most vocally my daddy) hate it...both Brad and I, however, were both smitten and in love with this cute little fella!

What a delightful surprise when I got to go home - a hand-made cradle by my daddy. Always will be a precious and treasured gift! W looked so tiny laying in it!

And those hands...love those little hands!

Alas - a year has passed...he's standing...toddling around, beginning to walk...

grinning like crazy - our boy has always been a smiley boy...

getting into anything he can - the boy does love to explore!

and enjoying the cake his Papa (Brad) baked for him on his first birthday!

And here we are 2 years later - man oh man - where did the time go? Suddenly he's a big boy!

totally in love with the 'bobtat' (and any other tractor-like machine, for that matter)

semi-interested in a turtle we found while working in the yard...

very interested in a rake and how it works

wishing he could be outside 24-7 - oh yes - the boy is an outside boy!

It is so hard to believe that 2 years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting for the arrival of this precious little boy. Brad and I always knew we wanted children, but never had any idea of the true joy and love that Walker would bring into our lives. We are truly blessed beyond measure. God has gifted us immeasurably with Walk-Walk.

So today, little bug, we want you to know how much Mama and Papa love you - that you have changed our lives forever and much for the better...we love seeing you grow and learn...trying new things and succeeding. We are constantly amazed by your ability to learn and how eager you are to do it. While we would love to hear "bussi-roe" (buffalo) and "op-ti-pus" (octopus) and "YEE (pause) haaww" (yee-haw) forever...I know we won't. So we'll treasure these precious memories now, along with all the others you've given us and look forward to every day that God gives us with you.

We love you!!
Mama & Papa

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Birthday Pics

Just thought I'd share a few pics from last night - both babies were so cute! and the way they play together and love each other...priceless! I never tire of seeing them together! Enjoy!