Wednesday, February 29, 2012

:: Party Time - reese's first birthday party

Reese turned one at the end of November.
{I'm finally posting this, after 2.5 months}
We decided to have a birthday party for her in the middle of December
after my husband's finals were finished.

When I saw this vintage, rainbow hot air balloon birthday party
 that Paige of Paige of Styles did for her daughter,
I knew I had to do it too.
And since I found a great deal I was able to buy her printable party package on etsy.


We bought this book and had people write inside what they thought she'd be when she grew up.
This woman was the hit of the party.
All the kids loved their balloons that she made.
It didn't take her long to dig into this cake.
Her first year did literally fly by.
Don't know what we'd do without her.
She's such a special little girl who makes me so happy.

party printable package - Paiges of Style
hot air balloon cookies - Sugar
cake recipe - found here
hot air book - amazon


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

:: Giveaway Results

 And the winner of the Shabby Apple necklace is . . .

{hannah, please e-mail me at so I can get all your info}

:: 35 before 35 - #9

On Saturday I completed #9 on my 35 before 35 list.
I became a Tough Mudder!

11 miles (many of them hills) and then 25 obstacles which included ice cold water and live wires.
There were 12 of us on our team {including the hubby} and we all made it out alive.
We finished it within 4 hours.

These are the before pics:

During pic:

And these are the after pics:

{I'm so tough, I don't even care that I look like a dork with my hair flying everywhere.}

Things I wish I would've done to prepare more:
- we were running in Temecula, CA near Vail Lake.  I wish I would've trained running up hills.  We started out the run running up a hill and I was out of breath in 5 minutes. 
-  I wish I would've practiced doing the monkey bars {I really haven't done those since 6th grade, but was impressed I was able to do a little more than half - - and they started out at an incline!}
-  I wish I would've worn those capri running pants so that I had something covering my knees cause my knees are scraped up.
-  I wish I would've drank more water that morning.  After that first hill I was dying of thirst, but they didn't have a water station until around mile 3.

Favorite obstacle:
the slip and slide and the balance beam

Least favorite obstacle:
the ice bath, the ice bath, did I mention the ice bath?
{we had to jump into this large container of water with 3-4 inches of ice on top . . . THEN we had to go under water to the other side and then climb out - - I get cold very easily - -
 I was almost in panic mode . . . not good}
oh, and I wasn't too excited about the live wires, but they weren't as bad as I had imagined - - I did get shocked twice.

So, the question is, would I do it again?
Probably . . . if I didn't think too much about the ice bath.

Monday, February 27, 2012

:: Party Details - "best cake ever" recipe

So, here it is, ladies and gents.
The BEST cake recipe out there!
And I'm not just saying that.

White Almond Sour Cream Cake
{can be found here on}

2 (18 ounce) boxes white cake mix (Betty Crocker or Pillsbury)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 2⁄3; cups water
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons real vanilla
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 cups sour cream
8 large egg whites

  • Directions:

    1. 1
      Place all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together with a wire whisk.
    2. 2
      Add the remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
    3. 3
      Pour into greased and floured cake pans, filling each pan a little over half full.
    4. 4
      Lightly tap cake pans on counter to bring air bubbles to top.
    5. 5
      Bake in preheated 325° F oven until cake tests done.
    6. 6
      Baking time varies according to the size and depth of pans being used.
    7. 7
      I used Wilton's Bake Even Strips on my cake pans to ensure a level-topped cake which required absolutely no trimming-- I highly recommend these, or good quality professional baking pans.
    8. 8
      In 2" deep pans, this recipe makes:
    9. 9
      One 14" round and one 6" round
    10. 10
      or One 16" round
    11. 11
      or One 12" round and one 10" round
    12. 12
      or One 12 X 18" sheet cake
    13. 13
      or One 12" round and one 8" round and one 6" round
    14. 14
      or Two 9" squares.
    15. 15
      or 5 dozen cupcakes.
    16. 16
      Half the recipe makes:
    17. 17
      Two 7" rounds
    18. 18
      or Two 6" rounds and 6 cupcakes.
    19. 19
      For chocolate cake: use chocolate mixes and substitute 6 whole eggs for the egg whites.
    20. 20
      For liqueur flavors: substitute alcohol (such as champagne or Kahlua) for about 1 cup of the water in the recipe.
    21. 21
      For berry flavors: use frozen berries, thaw reserving the juice. Substitute the berry juice for part of the water in the recipe, and stir the berries in at the end.
    22. 22
      For lemon cake: substitute lemon juice for about 1 cup of the water in the recipe, use 6 whole eggs instead of the whites, stir in 1 Tblsp lemon zest, and use 1 tsp of a good lemon extract in place of the almond.
    23. 23
      For white chocolate: melt 8oz white baking chocolate & cool slightly. use 6 whole eggs in the recipe instead of the whites, temper the chocolate by stirring in a small amount of the batter, then add the white chocolate to the entire batter and stir well. Doesn't bake up quite as high as the original, so add a pinch more batter to the pans.

      So, there you go! 
       The only thing I don't add in, is the almond extract {can't stand the stuff}, but it's still delicious without it!
      Thank you, Lesley of Kensington Blue.  
      I will be forever indebted to you!

      Oh, and the shabby apple giveaway ends tonight!
      Don't forget to enter! {there might be low entries}

      I'll be linking to these parties here.
  • Friday, February 24, 2012

    :: Party Details - pink ombre cake

    For Ava's birthday, I made this pink ombre cake.
    And the recipe I used is pretty much the best cake recipe out there!
    {and I don't say that about any cake}

    Come back Monday for the delicious recipe.
    You won't regret it.
    {well, your hips might}


    What am I thinking?!

    I might be doing this tomorrow.
    And I might literally die.

    We're doing the Tough Mudder with a few friends of ours.
    My first time and my husbands third!
    They made this video when they did the Tough Mudder in Arizona last month.
    {The hubby can be seen at 1:16, falling in the mud}
    Isn't it awesome?! - - the video, not his fall.  Well, his fall was sorta awesome too.

    What am I thinking. . .
    I may or may not be back on Monday.

    Happy Friday!
    And don't forget about the shabby apple giveaway that ends on Monday.
    Go here!

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    :: Family Happenings - ava's birthday {party}

    Sick of the birthday posts yet?  I might be.
    And I still haven't even posted about Reese's party {shame on me}.

    Well, this year I needed to simplify things a bit, so I decided to not do a big par-tay {like last year}.
    I was definitely tempted, don't get me wrong.
    And I had the PERFECT party planned for Ava.
    Ideas were flowing into that crazy brain of mine, left and right.
    But, this year is just not the year.
    So we decided to do a smaller party with her friends and their family one Sunday after church.
    All I did was . . .
    make this awesome pink ombre cake,
    make cupcakes,
    buy 4 pink flowers,
    pink balloons for the decor,
    put up a cute picture of the birthday girl
     . . . and that's about it.

    I made this yummy, pink ombre cake for the missy.
    Really easy to do, just a little time consuming.

    We then had everyone write birthday wishes on the balloons
    and then the kids let them off.
    Ava LOVES this birthday tradition.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    :: Photography - WPPI and a newborn

    Sorry for the lack of posts.
    I was a little preoccupied earlier this week.
    I have an awesome friend who was able to get me tickets for WPPI in Vegas.
    {it's a photography convention)
    I only went to two days of it, but I was so inspired!
    Learned so much!
    If you ever get a chance to go, then do it!

    One night I was able to stay with my brother and his family.
    I met my newest niece, Emmy.
    Just a few weeks old.
    And . . . well, we of course did a 15 min photo session.

    Isn't she gorgeous?
    My favorite part about her is her little upturned nose.
    Nothing like a newborn baby.

    Don't forget about the shabby apple giveaway that ends on Monday!