May 30, 2012

Little A's "Very Hungry Caterpillar" Birthday party

When my first son was born I had his birthday party planned weeks in advance. I made cute little invitations and I invited his little one year old friends to join us for the celebration. He had a baseball themed birthday party, complete with popcorn, hot dogs, and little rice crispy treats decorated like baseballs.

Poor little A was not quite so fortunate. The busy-ness of daily life caught up to me and before I knew it, it was the week before his first birthday. I had not bought a single present. I had not thought out a cute theme. I had not invited a single friend. I guess that's just the plight of the middle child. I started brainstorming some cake ideas and I decided on the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle.

 I knew that I wanted him to have his own cake to smash, and I think cupcakes are just so much easier to eat and enjoy. So this is what my mom and I came up with. I used a six inch cake pan for the head and 15 standard cupcakes for the body.

We bought plain vanilla butter cream frosting (don't use the whipped, it's too hard to mix the colors) and then dyed it with gel food coloring. We did buy a tube of red decorating icing to mix with the frosting to help get the red color for the head (that helped it from looking pink). We decorated the cupcakes with some green sugar crystals and some green glitter decorating gel, and some we left plain. We mixed to different shades of green - one darker, and one with a little more yellow.

For the antennas I used a red Twizzler that was cut in half. I piped the face onto the cake with some additional butter cream and a bit of the green glitter gel. 

I used a wooden #1 that I bought at Hobby Lobby. 

Even though I didn't have a lot of time to prepare, I think the party was a lot of fun. It was just our immediate family and my mom and dad. Little A gave the cake his stamp of approval.

It's hard to believe that he's now a year old. This last year has just flown by sooo fast. He's such a sweet kid. I'm so glad to be his mommy.

Happy Birthday A! We love you!


*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to help you find the materials I used in the making of the cake.

May 24, 2012

Week 4 - Run to the MOPS Convention

To find out more about the mission of MOPS or to find a group in your area, check out this link:

The last week and a half have been a little bit slow in the whole running department. Things have gotten a bit busy lately (your standard mom stuff - sick kiddos, doctor's appointments, and a bajillion and twelve loads of laundry). I haven't gotten in as many miles as I would have liked this week, but I did fit in some!. Here's my last week in review.

5/12 Monday - Ran 3 miles
5/13 Tuesday - Ran 1.25, biked 5.75 miles
5/ 17 Thursday Walked 2 miles
5/20 Sunday - Ran 4 miles

Week Total: 16 miles

Week 1: 14.05 miles
Week 2: 37.025 miles
Week 3: 6 miles
Week 4: 16 miles

Grand total:  73.05 out of 411 miles

A HUGE note of thanks to Courtney M. who outran me this week through her donation of $40. Way to go Courtney, you're awesome. 

Fundraising Goal $60/500.
We also had a fundraiser at our last MOPS meeting where we raised $210 through a silent auction. Thanks to all of the ladies who participated!

Would you like to help send our MOPS Coordinator and I to the Mothers of Preschoolers Convention, Aug. 9-11 ? The money we're raising will go to help cover our transportation and lodging expense to attend (We're driving from NM to TX with five kids under the age of ten - you might say a prayer for our sanity). You can make an easy, secure donation by clicking on the link below. Seriously, every single little bit helps!

Where am I on the map? 
This week I ran from outside of Littlefield and I almost made it to Anton.

 The big picture:
The pink highlighted section shows how far I've traveled to date. 

Next week's goal: Make it to Lubbock, TX (about 23 miles).

To learn more about what I'm trying to do you can check out my most recent posts.
*I would walk 500 miles 
*Week 2.5 update

Thanks for your support!


May 22, 2012

The Worry Trap - A lesson in gratitude

Sometimes I'm ungrateful. There, I said it. It so easy to focus on what I don't have that I forget to pay attention to what I do have. As is the case with 90% of single income families, we live on a budget out of necessity. I can't just go out and buy a new outfit because "I feel like it." Each purchase is planned out in advance and written into a budget. If I make an impulse purchase the money has to come from somewhere whether that be from the grocery fund or a surplus in another area. Every dollar has a name, a purpose.

Sometimes living such a financially disciplined life can be tiring and I can begin to take on the mentality of my two-year-old. When I catch myself slipping into the "BUT I WANT IT NOW!" mental tantrums, I have to take some time to practice gratitude. It is a mental and spiritual exercise that has the power to bring me back to reality and free me from the worry trap.

Here's what I was whining to my Heavenly Father about this morning:

A bill hit a bank account that we had closed the previous week. I had made arrangements for the amount to be drafted from our new account, but for some reason it still went to the old account (This means we were hit with a $35 fee for going $5 over on our closed account - technically it was still open as we were waiting for an outstanding check to clear). Yes, it was technically my fault, but I was still so frustrated that I hadn't let a little extra buffer in the old account to cover something like this. When money is tight, silly little mistakes are costly and I was frustrated with myself for making the error.  

I sometimes get discouraged because I don't contribute to the family income. My husband has a great job with a good salary and benefits, but sometimes I daydream about what it would be like to be a two-income family. If we could live on my husband's salary and save mine we could pay off our home early, save for the future, fix up the house, and buy what we want when we wanted it.

Transforming my mind
Today, I thank God that even though the bank fee occurred, I can find a way to cover the expense. My family will still be able to eat and all of our bills are able to be paid. I'm thankful that my husband has a job and is able to provide for our family above and beyond our basic needs. I have never gone hungry or without food or shelter. I may have to say "no" to some wants, but I've never had to say no to a need. God has always been faithful to our family.

I'm thankful that I've been given the opportunity to be a full-time stay-at-home parent. I have the privilege of shaping the hearts and minds of two little boys. I taught my son the alphabet and that Jesus loves him. I never have to worry about the quality of their care or what lessons they are being taught by others who may not share our value system. So many mothers would love the opportunity to be a stay-at-home parent. It is a privilege and a blessing to spend my days building blocks and racing cars. I can take them to the zoo in the middle of the morning or head to Sonic for a happy hour slush. I'm the first face they see when they wake up in the morning and the last voice they hear when they lay down to sleep.

Ultimately life is not about how much money is in your bank account, what designer clothing you wear, or if your house looks like a picture from Better Homes and Gardens. Life is about relationships - relationships with God and relationships with those He's placed in our lives. I can choose to be ungrateful for what I don't have or I can choose to be thankful for what I have been given.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:11-13

I can be content with what I have because ultimately it is God who has given it to me. I think I have what I have because I need to learn dependence on Him instead of on my own clever planning. He's fully aware of what my needs are.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:22-34

By focusing not on my earthly needs, but on who God is and what he wants to accomplish I am doubly blessed - I am free from the worry trap and I am promised that God will take care of my basic needs. The thing that consumes your thoughts and energy is often your treasure. I'll be the first one to confess that my heart is not always focused on the things it needs to be, but I'll also be the first to admit that when my focus is on the goodness of God I am less stressed, less anxious, and 100% more content in my circumstances. 

This is my prayer:
Lord, you are good, and your mercies are new every morning. Thank you for being the God who provides for my family. When I'm tempted to dwell on what I don't have, remind me of the many things that I do have. I thank you for my family, a home to live in, and food to eat. Help me to remember that it is You who gives and You who takes away. Whether I have plenty or little, you are still Good and I will give you praise. You give me the strength to make it through any circumstance. You turn my mourning into dancing - my weeping into songs of praise. Your love endures forever.

 * Photobucket

May 21, 2012

Disney Cruise Giveaway

Have you already made plans for summer vacation? If not, how does a $3,000 Disney Cruise sound? Enter today to win a fantastic $3k voucher for your own dream Disney Cruise vacation, hosted by American Family and Acadiana's Thrifty Mom.

Here's the moment we've all been waiting for! Acadiana's Thrifty Mom has teamed up with American Family and an awesome group of bloggers to bring you our BIGGEST giveaway yet! One lucky fan will win a Disney Cruise for a family of 4 valued at $3000! That's right, a Disney Cruise ♥ This awesome giveaway is brought to you by American Family and Acadiana's Thrifty Mom, and hosted by Frugality For Less, and Debbie Does Coupons. GOOD LUCK! *This giveaway is opened to U.S. residents only. You must be 18 years of age to enter to win. The winner will be responsible for transportation to and from the port of departure. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Google, Pinterest, or Twitter in any way. Please read HERE for complete rules.

May 13, 2012

Mother's Day Questionnaire 2012 - Age 2.5

For Mother's Day 2012 I thought I would ask my 2.5 year-old a few questions. Here's what he had to say about his mommy:

1.   1.  What is something mom always says to you?
B: "Stop." 
Sooo true. I've considered having this word tattooed on my forehead so that I don't have to say it quite so often. Stop knocking your brother over. Stop picking your nose. Stop peeing on the floor . . .you get the idea.

2. What makes mom happy?
B: "When I get happy, you get happy, and Andrew gets happy and daddy gets happy."

3. What makes mom sad?
B: "The bathroom." I'm not quite sure what this one is about, but it made me laugh.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
B: "When you make Andrew happy"

5. How old is your mom?
B: "You’re two."

6. How tall is your mom?
B: "Little. Wait, you’re not little you’re big."

7. What is her favorite thing to do?
8. What does your mom do when you're not around?
B: "Goes outside to the park."

9. What is your mom really good at?
B: "Videos" I don't know if this means I'm good at pushing play on the Netflix Wii remote or if he likes it when I record videos of him - probably both.

10.What is your mom's favorite food?
B: "Lunch.  – Chicken nuggets, hot dogs, ketchup and mustard" For the record, those are HIS favorite foods ;-)

11. What do you and your mom do together?
B: "Go to the park or go outside"

12. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
B: "At the park or outside."

It'll be interesting to see how his answers change at this time next year. I tried to get video of him answering these questions, but it turned into him just wanting to watch himself on the camera . . . oh well, maybe next year! If you can't tell, he REALLY likes going to the park and playing outside - it was the answer to 3 out of 12 questions :-)

Happy Mother's Day to all of you hard-working women. 
Take some time today to take care of yourself!!


May 12, 2012

A Visit to Virginia Beach

*photos from

I lay back. A breeze shuffles the pages of my book. Seagulls call out to one another while a wave crashes against the sandy shore. Salted air fills my lungs and I exhale with pure, unadulterated relaxation. This is vacation. This is Virginia Beach.

In my everyday life, I’m a stay at home mom. I spend more time shoveling loads of laundry than sand for sand castles, but I’ve learned how important it is to take time to relax, to make time for family memories. The beach can be a place to build family memories that will last a lifetime. 

My husband grew up on the east coast and has fond memories of spending childhood summers playing on the beach. Unfortunately, we now live near the desert, and although there is a lot of sand there is very little water to go along with it. My boys have never seen the ocean, but we hope to remedy this soon.

Virginia Beach offers more than just sandy shores and ocean front views. There are also many fantastic, family-friendly activities right at your fingertips! I know my oldest son would love to check out the VirginiaAquarium (I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we’ve watched Finding Nemo.) I know he would be thrilled to see all of these fascinating, underwater creatures up close. In the summer months, Virginia Beach also offers whale watching expeditions.  If fish aren’t your kid’s thing, perhaps they would enjoy picking (and eating) fresh strawberries or kayaking with dolphins. There are some seriously fun things to choose from.

For the adventurous members of your family, try para-sailing. You can soar 1,000 feet above water and never even get wet. If getting soaked is your idea of a fun time, you could check out the Ocean Breeze Water Park. It features towering and twisting water slides for the courageous and even a fun “Buccaneer Bay” and lazy river called “Little Amazon” for the younger members of your family.

After a busy day of adventure seeking and memory making, enjoy one of my favorite parts of vacation . . . someone else cooking dinner. Virginia Beach is a foodie’s paradise. There are even Coastal Food Tours. I didn’t know such a magical thing existed. During the tours, you can learn about the history and heritage of Virginia Beach and taste some of the finest, fresh foods they have to offer.

There’s a little bit of something for every member of the family. Spend a day on the beach. Go hiking through a local park. Tour a local farmer’s market and enjoy a picnic lunch and an afternoon of strawberry picking. Wave hello to a pod of dolphins or soar above the water like a sea gull. Give your family a gift that never gets broken and never needs batteries – a family vacation and a lifetime of memories.  Happy Travels!

"I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach blogging program to earn My SocialMoms Rewards points. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on the topic, click here.”

May 11, 2012

Running to Texas - Week 2.5 update

Sorry for the tardy post. I was able to spend a few days visiting with my mom and dad and we also celebrated my youngest son's first birthday! Hard to believe he's already one!!

Here's an update on where I am on my quest to run/walk/bike the distance from NM to the MOPS International Convention in Grapevine, Texas. You can check out my first post for more information about my journey and why I love MOPS.

*Sunday 4/29 - Ran 4.5 miles.
*Monday 4/30- Walked 3.375 miles
*Tuesday 5/1 - Ran 3 miles, biked 7.15 miles
*Wednesday-5/2 rest
*Thursday - 5/3 walked 1 mile
*Friday- 5/4 Biked 15 miles
*Saturday- 5/5 Biked 3 miles

Week 2 total: 37.025 miles

*Sunday - 5/6 rest
*Monday - 5/7 walked 1 mile
*Tuesday - 5/8 Ran 5 miles
*Wednesday 5/9 rest

First 1/2 of Week 3 total: 6 miles

Where am I now?
Week 1: 14.05 miles
Week 2: 37.025 miles
Week 3: 6 miles (so far)

A big Hurray for Jodi F. who "ran" alongside me for 20 miles this week! Thanks so much Jodi. 

Grand total: 57.075 miles / 411 miles

Fundraising Goal: $20 / $500

Our MOPS group is holding a silent auction on Tuesday 5/15, so I'm hoping we'll be able to raise some more funds to help cover the expenses.

Here's where I am right now on the map:

This week I ran through the towns of Muleshoe and Sudan.

My goal for the rest of week three is to pass the town of Littlefield and HOPEFULLY get close to Anton (about 20 miles).

This map shows the distance I still need to travel (the part highlighted in pink shows how far I've traveled so far)

If you'd like to make a donation it'd be super, duper, uber appreciated. Seriously, even a dollar or two helps. Thanks for running alongside me!