Tuesday, December 29, 2009


“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
--William Arther Ward

We are a few days off from the New Year, but I'm counting down the days. 2009 was something we would have never expected. It brought me to my knees, and that was only two months in. You can imagine that I wanted to be as far away from this year as possible. My heart was broken into a million pieces this year, and can only hope and pray 2010 will bring us a better year. I am optimistic as we enter this new year. I feel myself entering a place that I haven't been in many moons it seems. I saw a baby today and she made me smile...I touched her tiny hands and soft feet and she made me giddy. I want this so bad, and I realized for the first time in 10 months a baby hasn't made me want to turn and run away screaming. I am beyond excited to start this new year. I am hopeful once again. In 7 days we will celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary!

We took down our tree today..I have come to the conclusion that I do not believe this causes bad luck. I actually held off on taking down my tree a few days for fear of this. However today in my optimistic state I decided we will make our own luck this year. I think it will be a tradition of ours now to take down the tree prior to the New Year...especially this year. As I packed everything away today I prayed with everything in me that next year there will be a little one to celebrate with us.

This year I'm doing something a little different. I'm making some resolutions. I don't usually make them, because in prior years when I have they are broken before the month is over. However this year I feel like I need to get myself back on track. You can call these resolutions...you can call these goals...all I know is they are what I would like to accomplish this year.

1. To have a healthy pregnancy

2. Take an online class or two! That's right it's time to get back to school! I have been out way too long, and need to finish/work on my degree!

3. Learn to relax again! Tight shoulders are never any fun!

4. Spend less time on the computer and open up more books!

5. Organize my house and keep it organized!

6. Tone/strengthen my body--gotta get baby ready after all!

7. Learn more cake decorating techniques and learn to decorate cookies with royal icing!

8. Enjoy spending time with my husband and kids! Hopefully dedicating at least one night a week to family fun night!

9. and last but not least...start attending church again. After the lost of Bryanna I had so many questions and felt like the only place I could be close enough for God to hear them was sitting in church. I want our family to be involved in church.

More then anything I just want to get my life back on track this year...become the me that was lost in 2009. I want to smile a little more and cry a little less! I like this optimistic me, and hope she stays around a little longer!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Handbook for 2010

A good friend posted this on her blog this year, and I felt it was worth passing on this year!

Handbook for 2010

1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
4. Live with the 3 E’s—Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
5. Make time for prayer.
6. Play more games.
7. Read more books than you did in 2009.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk every day. And while you walk, smile.

11. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment....
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip...
16. Dream more while you are awake.
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing!
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. GOD heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come.
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Give a copy of this to everyone you care about.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow

Well we can wish for snow right! Anyway seems as if I'm behind on blogging again. However in my defense it has been crazy busy around here getting things ready for Christmas! Not to mention it seems as though I have come down with a cold. B had it first and so graciously decided to share with me as well. How very sweet of him! This is a Christmas gift I could have done without though!

We have been a crazy busy little family this weekend. We woke up bright and early Saturday morning and headed down to the outlets to do some Christmas shopping for me, and then ended up at the mall to do a little more shopping, and we ended up catching a movie. We finally saw The Blind Side and I was blown away! I can not wait to read the book in the New Year! I think it will be an amazing read, because I'm sure there is so much more the movie couldn't pack in! The movie left me feeling really good inside and wishing we could help someone out as well! On Sunday we drove up to Camarillo for the day to see B's brother and sister. It has been years since he has seen them, and it was nice getting to meet more of Bryan's family. Then then was today...we ran out and did a little more shopping and then I went out some more once I dropped of Bryan and the kids! On the bright side we are almost done shopping! I still have one more gift to pick up and B has one more gift to pick up and we can officially say we are done! I made a promise to myself today while sitting in traffic and screaming at random people in my car that I will start shopping in July next year! Fingers crossed I can keep that little resolution going!

Anyway for today's recipe I thought I would throw some alcohol in the mix. If I was feeling better today after the shopping experience I endured it's how I would opt to spend my evening!

Triple Chocolate Godiva Cupcakes

picture by Grin and Bake It!

The fun thing about this recipe is that it shows you how to make the pretty snowflakes on top! Next year I hope to get more daring and attempt working with chocolate and royal icing more! These snowflakes look super cute, and easy!

Now for my drink posting. I must admit it had been over a year since I had my first drink again this month. With being invited to so many parties this month it was inevitable that I would have a drink or two this month. Since then I have googled my fair share of drinks and look forward to trying a few out!

Snowy Coconut Cocktail

Photo by Mixing Bowl

Now I must admit the fact that this drink has half and half in it has me on edge, but it looks way too cute not to give it a shot. hehe get it a shot.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

My poor poor tree. She started off beautiful and green and now she is slowly turning brown. This upsets me because I have watered her daily. I check her often to make sure she isn't running out of water, and yet she is still dying on me. I realize she wasn't going to last forever, but making it to Christmas would have been nice. My fingers are cross she holds out for me and stays semi green until the big day! However everyday she is looking more and more pathetic! I suppose next year we will have to hold off a week before buying our tree. Just to be reminiscent here is a picture of our tree in happier times!

by the way I realize the tree looks lopsided...its possible that I'm the lopsided one because the tree is pretty straight...well as straight as we could possible get it!

Well enough about my tree...lets talk baking. I realize I didn't post a recipe yesterday, but I have to say baking has me a bit bored. I have reached my quota with cookies, but I still have one batch ahead of me to decorate with kids. I'm just not enjoying the whole cookie experience. I swear if I'm ever to open up a bakery of my own it will be a "No Cookie Zone." Well that might be a little harsh. While I do enjoy a snickerdoodle or pretty sugar cookies...ahh yes Sugar Cookies would have to be sold at my bakery! But only pretty decorated sugar cookies! Anyway cookies just don't do it for me like a cake or a cupcake or even a brownie! Case and point I have a ton of leftover cookies sitting on my counter because I'm bored with them! Anyway in the hustle and bustle of this holiday season I have neglected my true love of the baking world! I have not posted a single cupcake recipe and only quickly made a box of funfetti cupcakes for Kobe's birthday! So with that being said tonight I bring you two cupcake recipes!

I ran across this new blog tonight, and looked through it for probably about an hour or so. It's a pretty cool blog, and I can't wait to try some of the recipes on her blog! The other day I mentioned how I like a sip or two of eggnog during the holiday season, and I tried to capture that in a cookie recipe I found. The end result of those was...well ummm...they ended up in the trash! But I have high hopes for these cupcakes!

Eggnog Cupcakes

photo by Annie's Eats

Now when you think of Christmas two flavors come to mind eggnog and peppermint! I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of peppermint. I think it's the crunch of the candy cane and texture it leaves behind on your teeth but it throws me off I just don't care for it. However for these cupcakes I'm willing to overlook that!

Chocolate-Peppermint Candy Cupcakes

photo by Myrecipes.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Something different

So I'm not following in my blogging tradition of passing on a recipe or two but I ran across this just now and felt it was worth sharing! Enjoy!

45 life lessons you'll never learn in school

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12.. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind..
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This cookie shop is closed!

I am so over cookies! I baked cookies for 2 1/2 days and now I'm thinking if I ever bake another cookie it will be way too soon! I say this now, however if the cookies I baked make it in one piece to Texas I will most likely start this new tradition of doing so every year. That is until the year we have a baby and I am much too tired to complete the task that year...fingers crossed that will be next year! However, since this was my first year to make an insane amount of cookies I will say it went over extremely well! There were only two batches of cookie dough that I made that I was not crazy about! As much as I enjoy a sip of eggnog during the holiday season I did not enjoy the eggnog cookies I baked. Perhaps this is the reason why I forgot to wrap them last night and into the trash they had to go this morning. I'm also not fond of the M&M cookie recipe I made this morning. The cookies came out much thinner and not as sturdy as I had hoped for. I did enjoy the Mexican wedding cookies, and know for a fact these will be made every Christmas if not at least once or twice during the year.

Here are my cookies all baked up and some still cooling! Bryan came home and called me crazy! Funny thing is at this point I was feeling rather nutty! My back and legs were hurting and I was just ready to sit down and relax!

And here they are packed and ready to ship! Sadly my bunch of cookies only made 4 really good containers of cookies! I had planed on making at least 2 more boxes but that didn't happen. I cringe thinking if I want to do more boxes next year I will have to double my recipes!

Well, as you can imagine I am over cookies so for the next 9 days I will attempt to find recipes that aren't cookies! Today I'm sharing with you some super cute Tree cakes! These actually might find their way to our Christmas Dinner! I saw these a few years ago and thought they were really cute, but at the time I wasn't that into baking. I specifically hunted these down today because I thought it would be a fun project for the kids! How cute would it be for them each to decorate their own little "tree" and best of all I can decorate Bryan's and mine and dodge the sugar fest the kids have created on sugar cookies in past years!

Sparkling Tree Cakes

Photo via Kraftfoods

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Swap recipes

I know I know I've been gone for two days. I've had so much going on these past two days that by the time I get to blogging my eyes are just glazed over...as they pretty much are now, but since I owe you guys three recipes here I sit! I did my share of baking this weekend for a small get together of wives in my husband's command. It ended up being tons of fun, and there was plenty of cookies, food, and laughter. I have to say I really enjoyed this little gathering, and hope some great friendships form from this! YAY for non forced gatherings! Anyway since this little gathering was full of yummy food I decided today's post would be dedicated to three of the yummy things we had!

The first recipe is a yummy cheese platter a friend made. It looked and smelled so yummy, but I was a little weary of it! Let me tell you when I finally tasted this thing it was amazing! I can't wait to make it on my own!

Marinated Cheese

Photo via Mylifetime

Yummy recipe number two was actually something I had tried at another friends house! It's called Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes! These were so yummy and very easy to make. I have to admit coring the tomato took some effort but once that was down mixing a little bit of this and a little bit of that came together to form something extremely yummy and pretty looking! When you have a party with a bunch of women presentation is everything and this certainly "fit the bill."

BLT Bites

photo via Taste of Home

And finally my cookie of choice for this little cookie swap. I made Turtle Tassies. Bryan said they were more like candy, however with the outside made out of sugar cookies I figured it was cookie enough! It was also totally different then anything else I knew people would bring. It took a little effort to get the bottom to spread out but once I floured my fingers and went to work it spread out effortless! I also received an amazing complement yesterday when I set them out! One of the girls asked if they were store bought

Turtle Tassies

I opted on half of a pecan on top of my cookies instead of a bunch of chopped up ones. I only did this because I couldn't find chopped pecans and since I had to make double the recipe I didn't want to spend a lot of time chopping pecans. I do think a bunch of pecan on top look much better, but if you decide to go the easy route like I did it still looks great!

Friday, December 11, 2009

My little Angel

All week long I have been awaiting the arrival of my special Christmas ornament I had made for Bryanna. A few weeks back I was reading on of the many blogs I read about a month who lost her baby girl to Leukemia. In this particular entry she talked about visiting a craft fair and running across this special ornament. She was gracious enough to post the info so that people could contact the lady who makes them. I sat on it for a few days, and finally emailed her asking if she would make one for me. She was out of the ones she had premade so she had to knit another one just for us. It took all of a week for her to make it, and finally it was in the mail. You must understand that I have searched the internet for months looking for the perfect ornament. Our baby girl deserved her very first Ornament. When I saw this one I knew it was perfect!

the little tag reads "Bless this baby"

Aren't her wings beautiful! The tag on the bottom says "Bryanna 2/10/09" It truly is perfect! I almost hate having to put it away when Christmas is over.

Anyway on to today's recipe. Well, I should mention today's recipe isn't really a recipe at all. It's more of an idea...a brilliant idea if you ask me! With all the holiday parties going around I though I would mention this! I first ran across the idea of a Hot Chocolate Bar a few months back. I bookmarked it for future reference and have thought about it ever since! Seriously it's kind of pathetic but I would have never thought of the idea of setting out different toppings for hot chocolate! I wouldn't have even thought to offer hot chocolate at an adult party! But it makes sense and I love it!

Hot Chocolate Bar

Photo by Busy Bee Lifestyle

On a chilly night like tonight it makes me wish I had a cup of hot chocolate with a shot of Bailey's too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

busy busy busy me!

Today's post is just a quick one! I am busy getting my house cleaned for the sitter coming over tonight. Bryan's command is having a Christmas party! I'm excited because it's a night away from the kids and they are usually pretty fun, but at the same time bummed because it's Kobe's 9th birthday and we wont be home for it. It seems as though Bryan's command had it out for the kids this year! His military ball fell on Anthony's birthday so it was kinda funny hearing the Christmas party would be on Kobe's. Anyway this morning while cleaning I took a break and made some cupcakes for Kobe. Nothing really too special just a box of funfetti cupcakes, but they are so yummy and moist it was a must!

Now on to today's recipe! This morning when I opened my inbox I had an email from Pillsbury. A few days ago I signed up for their 12 day's of Christmas email, and today was the first one. I have to say I already have all my stuff for baking this month, but I will have to run out and buy the ingredients for these cookies to make with the kids! SHHH Don't tell Bryan I'm buying more baking stuff! One day I swear baking is going to make us some money instead of costing us so much!

Reindeer Cookies

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

An Angel and some cookie

As I mentioned I wasn't really looking forward to this Christmas, but I'm trying my hardest to put on a brave face and carry on. This year I bought the biggest Christmas Tree I have ever had. Bryan said it's pretty close to 8 feet...this means while decorating I had to stand on a step stool! Also as mentioned in a previous post I bought the Christmas tree angel I saw that I just had to have. She was perfect in just about every way. She reminds me of the willow tree angels which I just love, and her wings are long and beautiful. She isn't flashy, just everything I imagine an angel to look like. She also has Bethlehem on her skirt and a tiny little manger scene right at the bottom...she screams perfection. Here she is for you to see in all her beautiful glory.

Now that I have bragged about my beautiful angel let me take a moment to brag about today's recipe. I have mentioned how I am sending out cookies to our families. Well, I had run across a recipe that I wanted to try out prior to baking up holiday cookies to see how well it would travel. Well, last weekend we were invited to a Christmas party and I knew it was the perfect time to try it out! I made up a batch of these cookies...well more like 6 dozen, and they were amazing! I was really happy with how they came out and tasted, and best of all they will travel just fine! It was my first experience with thumbprint cookies but for my first time I will say they came out beautiful! Bryan kept commenting on how they look like they came out of a book (thanks honey)! Anyway, I can't wait to bake up another batch and keep some at home for us this time as well!

Strawberry Cream Cookies

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Raspberry Poinsettia Blossoms

Raspberry Poinsettia Blossoms

My recipe for today is these little beauties. I ran across them last year in my Betty Crocker Christmas cookie book I picked up. Every now and then as I'm standing in the check out line at the grocery store these little books strike my interest. I'm sure Bryan will tell you that lately that has been alot. Actually last weekend when he picked up the book for me he mumbled "this is what my life has become." Yes honey yes it has, but you enjoy the cookies as well!

Anyway these cookies have me on edge because in my mind they are probably much harder then they actually are. I do know that once they are completely they will make me giddy because lets face it, every time I make something and it's done I get a little giddy! Maybe it's because I'm beyond amazed I'm actually good at this baking stuff, or maybe its because it brings some joy to my life. Most likely it's a little of both! I will be sure to post pictures of these once completed! I can't wait to see how they turn out! My baking day begins tomorrow so I will soon have lots of pictures for you guys!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Christmas Time!

I realized I haven't posted in over a month! Where has time gone! I have been busy running around first it was putting together Thanksgiving which came out of nowhere this year, and now we are 18 days away from Christmas. We will soon be approaching the end of one year and the beginning of a new year. I pray that 2010 will bring us a better year. I pray that we will meet our forever baby in 2010. The holiday season has me a little down, but I'm trying to prepare things to get me into the spirit. Yesterday our tree went up, and today I bought the angel that I have been wanting since I first saw it. Our tree is almost complete I'm just waiting for Bryanna's ornament to come in the mail.

Anyway this week will start my crazy week of baking. I have decided to send home cookie care packages to both my parent's and Bryan's parents as well. Tomorrow I will shop for ingredients and Wednesday and Thursday will be my baking days! I will be extremely busy this week, but luckily it seems as if the weather will be perfect for staying in and baking! I have decided that in order to get a post in daily I will begin posting a recipe from here until Christmas Eve. One day I may post a cookie recipe, the next could be a cake or even a candy recipe. I do this not only to motive myself but hopefully to also inspire some of my fellow bakers out there!

Today's recipe is a cookie recipe! I made snickerdoodles for Thanksgiving, and they came out amazing! Snickerdoodles have always been my favorite cookie, but I never attempted to make them! As easy and as yummy as these were I will make them over and over again! (Click on cookie title for recipe)

Soft Snickerdoodle Cookie

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween...

A day late is better then never right! Yesterday kept us extremely busy! We woke up at what I can only explain as the butt crack of dawn! The kids had to be at their soccer pictures by 7:20 which means we were running around super early! They then had their game at 9am. It was a great game, our team of course won! Kobe and Tony both played goalie during the game. Kobe did amazing in this position! He blocked 3 balls and got hit in numerous places while doing it but still played his heart out! Tony did well but plays better out on the filed. We then ran to the store to pick up things for lunch and dinner and came home. I managed to get a nap in, which after waking up so early I was in desperate need of!

I didn't manage to get pictures of the kids in their costumes, because they were the same thing they were last year. We went out on Wednesday night searching for costumes for them. We drove to tons of stores with no luck. Tony wanted to be Freddy Kruger, but hated the mask that came in the set, so after numerous stores they both decided to be what they were last year. So I had two big boy Ninja's running around. For the second year in a row we allowed them to go out on their own. Our neighborhood isn't big, and it's a military neighborhood so we felt safe with them going out. The streets were crowded with people as well. We ended up with more candy then we bought! I'm up to my eyeballs in chocolate! At least I have a stash now!

While the boys were out Trick or Treating I whipped up some cupcakes. They were supposed to resemble candy corns with the different colors but my colors weren't dark enough. They were very moist and delicious though!

Here are the two different colors I mixed up. As you can tell my orange needed to be just a tad darker!

After filling the bottom layer with the yellow cake batter I had to stick the cupcake pan into the freezer for 10 minutes which made the cake batter a gel like consistency. I can only imagine this was done so that the colors wouldn't mix.

Finally I dressed them up with a pastry bag and a star tip. The white icing was store bought. I still can't bring myself to make my own! Also on top I added a candy corn!

From the outside you can't really tell it's multicolored...

but from the inside you can! (ignore the plate it was on Bryan's pizza plate!)

Also last night with the time change I slept horrible. I ended up waking up way to early this morning and could only fall back to sleep off and on. However one good thing about this was we were up bright and early to hit up Walmart for discounts! I got some amazing Halloween baking items for 50% off! I got two silicone baking pans, a pumpkin cookie cutter, and a pack of 5 plastic cookie cutters all for $11.50! An even greater deal when you think about the fact that the pans were $9 each originally!

I hope every one had a great weekend! I can't believe it's November already! This year is almost done!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's been awhile

I'm a horrible blogger. It's been two weeks since my last post. Last week seemed promising though. I went on a job testing thing on Tuesday, Wednesday I got a call back for an interview, and Thursday I went in for an interview and a drug test. As I sat there talking I had the job! I was excited about the job. I was finally going to get out of the house again and out of this brain of mine that can become a dark abyss. Training started on Monday, but I couldn't. She said she was more then positive they would have a second round of training. I contacted her on Tuesday and they said they would not. I was bummed. I felt sad and rejected that day. I heard "Everything happens for a reason." I know I use to live by this saying, and in most cases its great to hear, however when something doesn't go your way you would like nothing better then to poke your eyes out. I will however pick up and carry on just like I have for the past 9 months. So now I'm back to square one on the job front. Joy for me!

Other then that I had such high hopes for this month. I had run across tons of cute Halloween recipes I knew I had to try out, and in all honesty I have tried one of the millions I waned to bake! Tomorrow will be a baking day as well, and I have two recipes in mind I would love to make, but one for sure I will do. However I made some amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. I'm not even sure i've ever had chocolate chips with pumpkin, but as soon as I heard of the combo I knew I had to try it out! Can I just say they were amazing! Bryan and the kids were a HUGE fan of them, and that makes for a happy mommy! Here is the recipe you should definitely try it out!


1 sm. can pumpkin
2 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp. milk
1 c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. real chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)

Combine all ingredients. Mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Watch carefully; when bottoms are well browned, remove from oven and cool.

**recipe found on Cooks.com**

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Awareness Day

Today I participated in Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness day. It's a day that I hope and pray no one ever has to experience. Last year at this time I was wondering if I myself could be pregnant, and of course exactly five days later I would find out I was. While filled with fear it was the happiest 20 weeks of my life. I did walk around praying that I would be able to carry our baby to term and have a beautiful healthy child. Once I passed my first trimester mark I felt it was actually happening! I avoided looking at pregnancy loss ribbons or myspace pages, because I felt if I didn't look at it then it couldn't happen to me. I felt something that horrific could never happen to us. I had friends who had lost babies later in their pregnancy, but I couldn't think of that...I couldn't be bothered with the facts of it. It was a very unfortunate event for them..not me. However in an instant I realized it can happen to anyone. In the blink of an eye the dreams of our baby girl were shattered. Something was wrong and she was coming and would not survive because she was too young. I was and still am broken hearted. I will never get over the loss of my child, and wish that no one would ever go through what we have been through. Of course I have learned different...I have been opened up to a whole new world. A world where parent's do die before their children, and life isn't as you expect it to be.

I took some time today to reflect on the short time we had with Bryanna, and what her life may have looked like. I miss my baby so much...I wish more then anything she was here today instead of in Heaven. I wish I was holding her today instead of lighting a candle for her..but this is how our life has played out. A good friend, who is pregnant, emailed me today and told me she feels like Bryanna is her baby's angel. It took me by surprised but made me smile knowing that she thought like that. If Bryanna is Karen's baby's angel then I know one day she will be our baby's angel as well.

Anyway, my heart goes out to the millions of people who are also very aware of what today was, and for that very reason I lit not only a candle for our baby girl, but also a candle for all the other babies that were lost way too soon.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bakin' mama

Lately I haven't had much luck with baking. I will find a recipe on line that I'm so excited to try and I end up being disappointed. Baking just hasn't been going my way since I made the apple sauce cake. Such a disappointment. I thew out the majority of the cake, the banana bread while good just didn't bake up great in my oven. I managed to make a really good brownie the other night, the first time ever! However I was back to flops last night with an apple crisp recipe I tried! I learned I am not a fan of nutmeg!

However today I wanted something yummy. I had a box mix to make funfetti cupcakes, and I finally ran across some pumpkin this weekend, but none of those sounded good. So off to google I went again. I ended up finding an amazing site with Snickerdoodle bars. As I read through the recipe I realized I had all the ingredients on hand. Let me just say a few months ago this would not have been the case. I think it's official ya'll I have become a baker! Anyway I went to work on these "bars" The battered smelled amazing and I was so excited! I should explain that snickerdoodles are my FAVORITE cookie! I get overly excited when I walk into a mall and see a cookie stand that has snickerdoodle cookies. Anyway, once they were golden brown I stuck a toothpick in them and it came out clean, so out of the oven the came. I had mixed up a cinnamon sugar blend and sprinkled them with it while still warm. When the cooled we cut into them, and once again I found they didn't bake up like a bar at all. They were like a softer cake! The review said it would be "cakey" so I can only assume that's the way it was supposed to be. Let me just say they were AMAZING! They were everything I wanted them to be. However, next time I try them I think I might keep them in the oven a little longer to see if they get a little harder. But I was very happy and will definitely make them again! Hopefully this means I'm back in business!

By the way ignore the crumbs! It was right after dinner and I hadn't fully cleaned the table yet! Also I'm beginning to realize I need different plates! Off to Ross I go!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fall Festival

Our housing area is very big on community/family fun. We have never been down to any of them except for of course when they do pizza nights, then we go down and grab our pizza :). However, since I've been so big on fall this year, and the kids knew it was going on we decided to take them. I must also admit that the fact that there was going to be cupcakes kinda won me over as well! What can I say I'm addicted! Bryan and I had a "nice" dinner which included a Philly cheese steak, fries, and of course our cupcake. While it was nothing to write home about it was yummy enough.

The festival included such things as a face painting, hair color, pumpkin painting and a mirror and smoke house. The kids ran around with their friends, and for a moment I thought they would be too "cool" to join in the fun. However soon they jumped in and their friends joined as well. I asked the kids to decorate pumpkins so we could have some decorations!

How cute did those come out! I was pretty impressed! They also painted their face and hair. Bryan and I sat at a table by the pool talking and as the boys went up to get their face painted they were trying very hard to explain to the lady exactly what they wanted. Bryan and I sat patiently and tried to figure out what they were trying so hard to explain! We could see the lady paint a little and stop to ask them for more detail. When Kobe was done he walked over to us, and we still couldn't figure it out...Can you?

If you guessed Jason then you are right! Kobe was a little annoyed when he got home and saw it wasn't exactally right! Tony on the other hand I'm still not too sure what he is, but I think she did an amazing job on their faces! All the kids were walking around with such amazing designs! No two kids had the same face painting! Now that's pretty impressive! It was a fun hour and a half and then it was time to come home!

By the way, I realize I haven't been too impressive on baking lately! I have been baking weekly, but not anything out of the norm. Last night I made some box mix brownies which came out amazing, and the past weekend I made a yummy chocolate chip banana bread. I didn't get a picture of the bread beacause as you know my oven has been a little wacky, and well the bread burnt a little. However the bread was super yummy so I will pass on the link! I plan to try it out again now that our oven has been fixed!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall and Etsy!

As I mentioned in my last post I'm in love with fall. I sit here patiently waiting for falls arrival in San Diego. Every morning I wake up with the hope of a cool fall morning, only to be greeted by summer weather. Just once I would love to live in a place where the leaves change colors and fall to the ground! Looking out the window I can see our trees starting to die, but only a handful of the leaves are beautiful fall colors. I wouldn't doubt it if in a few days the trees are bare only having never truly turned colors. It's a little odd to me to be obsessed with a season that I've never really gotten the chance to enjoy. I also find it hard to believe I will every truly enjoy the season and all it has to offer. So in the mean time I can enjoy the taste and colors of the season without trying getting the full effect.

I also have a new love for the website Etsy. My love for baking has lead me to wonder how to sell things on this amazing site, and yet I fear that my creations will never be seen because this site has so much to offer! While I have yet to order anything I have spent way too many hours on this site shopping for my future child, mapping out my new kitchen, searching for baking ideas, and just marveling at all things this site has to offer! Everything on this site is homemade, and well lets just say it gets my creative juices flowing! I'm constantly wondering if I can make something cheaper then they could ship it to me, or if I could make it better. Which i'm sure I could :). Anyway if you have a free moment you should def. check it out! I promise you will be busy for hours!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Fall Ya'll!

I have looked forward to this season more then you could know. It's my wish that come this time next year we will be welcoming a little baby of our own. Perhaps that's why I'm so ready for it to get started! Summer seemed like the longest season of my life! Today while I was on facebook I was so jealous to read that so many of my friends were enjoying fall weather! I on the other hand in sunny California am sitting here in a tank top and capris! Not so fall like...I'm praying it comes soon. Although I know it won't be this week since we are in the middle of a heat wave!

However since it was the first day of fall I got a craving for apple butter. My dear friend Jess posted about it on her blog last Friday, and while at the grocery store on Saturday I picked up a jar. So this mornings breakfast was two pieces of toast. One with apple jelly and one with apple butter!

I have to say while the apple butter was good I will have to stick to apple jelly! I love apple jelly, but apple butter was a definite change of pace. I will continue to eat it but it won't be my go to! I'm still on the look out for pumpkin butter, which a good friend promised to send me!

While I was on my apple kick today I made an applesauce cake. The verdict on it was it tasted very similar to the pumpkin cake I made last week. This coming from Bryan and the kids. I however preferred the pumpkin cake from last week. This cake was very simple to make it was a box of spice cake mix, some oil, eggs, and apple sauce. Once baked and cooled it was topped with vanilla icing mixed with cinnamon. The icing was yummy, but it had me longing for cream cheese!

I did love how it made the house smell. It made me want to bake yummy fall treats daily! Next up is pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Now if only I could find some pumpkin! I swear no where around here has the 15oz can of pumpkin! I'm tempted to buy two packs of cake mix and go to work! Hey I can always seen the extra cookies to work with Bryan! I'm sure the Marines wouldn't mind! All in all it was a good day! Can't wait to do some baking, and hear what you guys have in store for Fall! Until next time!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pumpkin cake and a new book

This summer has been the longest summer of my life! I so badly want it to hurry up and be over with! For some reason this year I look forward to the holidays. Perhaps it has something to do with getting as far away from this summer as possible, or maybe its just the outlook of new things to come. Maybe its a mix of the both. Anyway last week I started bringing out all my fall stuff. I went out last weekend and bought a pumpkin pie candle, and on Sunday night I baked a pumpkin cake!

I should explain that fall is my favorite time of year! I love the colors, smells, holidays, cooler weather, and everything the fall brings with it! I'm also obsessed with pumpkin! Pumpkin latte, pumpkin cupcakes, cookies, pie, and cake oh my lol. I ran across Paula Deen's recipe for pumpkin "bars" but I'll call it pumpkin cake since it baked up taller like a cake. From the very first bite I was in heaven! It was all I wanted in a pumpkin dessert! Bryan and the boys loved it! I really want to try doing it as cupcakes the next time around! Hopefully it works well!

Doesn't it look amazing! Don't you wanna take a huge chunk out of it! The first night I ate a huge and I do mean HUGE piece of it! It was so yummy! I definitely recommend you making this cake this weekend! It will be a favorite in our house throughout the season! Luckily the season hasn't even really started yet! You can find the recipe here:

Also, today I ran out and bought a new book. Since we lost Bryanna I have been hearing about a book called An Exact Replica Of A Figment Of My Imagination.

It's a Memoir about a couple who has a baby that is still born, this couple also goes on to deliever a healthy baby almost exactally a year later. So while I'm sure this will be a difficult book to read it might be helpful as well to see that even though there is an ending there is also a new beginning..whats that saying "With every end comes a new beginning." We need our new beginning...for this reason I have decided to put an end to my Empty Cradle meetings. Our story is sad enough without me adding other's stories to the mix. Really it's just too much, and as we prepare for our new beginning I can't keep holding on to the sadness that will be there regardless. It's one thing to feel it...it's something completly different to bask in it.

Anyway with that being said...have a safe and happy friday night!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Organization part 1

For the past 7 months my life has been complete chaos. Only now as I'm beginning to see things much clearer and as I'm finally wanting to move forward in life, do I see the need to organize my life more. As I look around me I see so many things in my house that need to be organized, redecorated, and just brought to life in a whole new way. Brought back to life...only now 7 months later am I feeling like I'm ready for life to move forward...I'm so thankful for every single day in my life, and now its time to learn to enjoy life again.

My first project has me in a state of confusion, which if you know me is a state I find myself in quite often! Anyway lately I have found myself buying tons of food magazines. I have even subscribed to two of them. However once the magazines are read and I pull out all the recipes I hope to try I'm left with this...

I should mention that there are more...tons more. I have a binder full of magazines, clippings, and recipes I have cut out, printed out, or been given!

Do you see what I'm talking about now! I have this mess, and the magazines from above that, and now I need to figure out how to organize them in one big happy folder! As you can see I tried my best to organize them before, but as I pull out this binder to make a grocery list I usually get overwhelmed and never even pull out recipes from it. The majority of the recipes in this pile I have never even tried!

For the next week, hopefully not longer, I will be cutting, pasting, writing, and filing, and hopefully I will end up with a very well organized cookbook for myself! I have an vision of what I hope it looks like when it's all said and done, and well since I have most of the day to myself I have tons of time to play around with it! I've seen some really cool looking scrapbooks done for recipes, but since these are just recipes pulled from magazines I don't want to do anything all that fancy...now for my baking...hmmmm....

I did find myself at Michael's today and while wondering through their dollar aisle I ran across a small recipe holder and some recipe cards. For only a $3 I picked up the holder and 60 recipe cards! I also found some really cute food stickers to add to the book. Hopefully I can hit up another craft store soon for more food stickers...but now that I'm dreaming of a baking scrapbook I might hold off on using one of the sheets until then!

I'm in love with the baking stickers! Actually all three of them are pretty cute! I'm not sure how I will utilize the stickers yet, I guess I'll just have to wait and see how the book comes together! Hopefully next week I will have it all together and can post pictures of the final product!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome to faith, hope, love and everything in between. When I came up with the title of this blog it was everything I was feeling in life. The need for hope and faith with everything that has happened this year. The love of my family and friends, and really just whatever goes on in this little brain of mine that is in constant motion.

This is currently blog number three for me. Why so many you ask? Well let me break it down for you.

Blog number one is solely dedicated to Bryanna and all of my feelings that I had during that time and even now. While I don't dedicate as much time to the blog now it helped as a healing tool. I have been able to express my emotions that I might have not been able to get out otherwise. Even now while I don't use it as often I will occasionally run across a poem or song that hits me and makes me think of her so into the blog it goes. It kinda serves as my unofficial memory book...something that I have put out there for others to read so that other women who may go through this know they aren't alone. If you are interested in reading that blog you can find it here: http://bryannassweetsilverlining.blogspot.com/

Blog number two serves as my baking blog. After we lost Bryanna I turned to baking. It's a therapy for me in a way. On days that I'm super worked up and stressed out and anxious baking helps me pull through. There is something so comforting about taking almost next to nothing and creating something so amazing. The smells it fills the house with, pulling out my box of cake tips, and cupcake liners, the excited looks and praises the kids give when they get to sit down and eat it. I love it all. Bryan will often tell me "Just bake already!" when I'm having a stressful day. I just really love everything about it...perhaps I can be the next Martha Steward one day! Anyway to follow that blog look here: http://sweetzs.blogspot.com/

Finally there is this blog. I needed a place to get out my random thoughts, somewhere I could talk about what we are doing as a family. I wanted a place to share the crafts I do, or the activities I want to start. I needed a place to talk about our adventures in trying to conceive again, as I felt Bryanna's blog wasn't the proper place. I wanted to talk about books I'm reading...stresses I'm going through, my highs and my lows, and really just faith, hope, love and everything in between.