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