The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare

Awesome books, better than Twilight, and now here's a great giveaway! I'm posting to up my chances of winning, so don't hate me. Lol



happy 3rd birthday to hannah

I would say Hannah had a decent birthday. I got her a tutu, which she only wore temporarily.

She got a My Little Pony, which she was in love with, a Polly Pocket set, a new Doodle board thing (I can't even think of what its called), Play-doh and clothes. 

These pictures.... My kids are so funny. Audrey is so motherly. I had the camera, and Audrey was like, "Ok, Hannah now turn around and show Mommy what you got so she can take a picture of it. Come on Ethan, get in the picture! Ok, say cheese!!!"

Oh, and that tiger/cat animal that Hannah has... I guess Audrey told one of her friends at school that it was Hannah's birthday, so her friend went home and got this tiger/cat animal and wrapped it up in a grocery bag and put a tag on it. How cute was that? Audreys' friend's mom drove the friend to our house, just to drop off the present. So sweet :)

Look at how enthused Jayson looks. (above)

Hannah - "ACK I'm being squooshed." (above)

"Oh boy mom. Clothes...." (above)

By the end of the night, Hannah had thrown up. And she's already been sick today too. Poor baby, I hope it wasn't the cake.... I want to laugh at that last comment. Is that cruel? (view next post to know what I'm talking about...)

professional cake makers.... i bow down to you.

I have a new found respect for professional cake makers and decorators. I already knew I wasn't THAT good at decorating cakes. But I wanted to try. Again. I guess I figured if I bought all the professional stuff, my cake would look professional. Ha ha ha

So I had heard about these Rainbow Cupcakes and I wanted to make a cake version. So cute, right? I saw on one website, where the lady just poured the batter into each pan, one color on top of the other, and got this result:

So, me thinking I can make this better (HA), I decided to put dots in the pans, like you would the cupcakes in the liners. So, my result, was this, before it went into the oven:

Cute huh? Too bad my yellow was more gold, than yellow. Anyways, so into the oven they went. Here's a lovely photo:

Looks like a soccer ball, huh? Ok, so I had to make this bigger and better. I must have been in a challenging mood.

So I had this chocolate mousse mix I'd been dying to use. And I read that it could also be used as a cake filling. Well how cool would that be?! Chocolate Mousse in between these two awesome soccer ball rainbow cake layers.

.... Later I would realize this would be the death of my beautiful cake.....

So, I make my Mousse. Its made with whipping cream, chocolate and the mousse mix. Hard. I whip it up, and I decide to refrigerate it, till my cake is cooled off. I'm thinking that if I make the mousse cold, it will work better. (*snickers to self*)

Cake is cooled off. I slather the mousse on the cake, and put my top layer on. BEAUTIFUL!

I make my yummy buttercream icing.

Later I would realize this would be the second death of my beautiful cake.

Buttercream Icing, believe it or not, is made out of butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.

And as a side note, high humidity does not work well with buttercream icing, or mousse for that matter.

So, I make my icing. I tint it pink. I slap some of that sugar butter on top of my cake and start to spread it around. And then, oh crap. My top layer is sliding around. What the heck? Oh, nice. And now the mousse is gushing out the sides. Lovely.

Long story short, it was a disaster. The mousse was a horrible idea. Of course, putting it in the fridge was a fine idea. But the humidity and just the fact that it's probably supposed to STAY cold to keep its form, made the mousse kind of on the runny side.

Then the icing. Ohhhh the icing. The freakin humidity basically made my butter melt. Well, no, it made it extra soft. So the icing wasn't really staying put. What a disaster.

I did the best I could. I tried to patch up the sides with the purple icing I used to write on the cake, since I didn't have any pink left. In the end, I gave up, went to the room, and laid in bed with the covers over my head. I was exhausted and frustrated and mad at myself.

Next time, I will NOT use the stupid mousse mix. And I will not work under humid conditions.

Audrey loved the cake. It wasn't her birthday, but she said it was so beautiful and that I did a good job on it. I should have felt loved and it should have made my heart melt that she thought so highly of it, but I just wanted to dump the cake in the trash and go buy one.

Here's the pictures I know so many of you just HAD to see. I tried to warn you....

Not that ugly from the top right? 

What a disaster. Next time I will also be layering the batter, instead of trying to one-up the professionals.

Oh, and it tasted good. Minus the mousse.


a better than average pregnancy... or not

Last August, I found out I was pregnant with our 4th child. I decided from day 1, or maybe it was day 2, that this was going to be the best pregnancy ever. I wasn't going to gain a ton of weight, and I was going to eat healthy, and I was going to exercise. Woo hoo!

At the time, I was also working at the nursing home as a CNA. So that counted as exercise. Wouldn't you think? Heavy lifting, LOTS of walking, not much time to snack on junk, etc. Well, around week 7 the morning sickness hit. I had never been so sick with any of the other kids. It was horrible! As soon as I woke up, I'd have to run for the toilet. I would try to fight it, and it made it worse. One time, I fought it for so long, that I spewed chunks on the wall before I hit the toilet. I know you wanted to know that. It was just horrible. I would brush my teeth, and that would immediately be pointless. The only thing I managed to keep down was trail mix and apples. Interesting huh? At least it was healthy. So I survived off trail mix and apples during my first trimester. I was actually so sick, my weight gain was actually a weight loss. I had lost 9 pounds in the first 12 weeks. I was so proud of myself for losing weight. Too bad it wasn't the healthy way to do it. The second trimester seemed to go better. From about 14 weeks to 26 weeks, it was smooth sailing. I wasn't hardly sick, still the occaional wave of nauseousness, but nothing like it was before. I had even gained back the 9 pounds I had lost, plus 4. So, I had gained 4 pounds in 26 weeks. I was on a roll!

My next appointment was scheduled for 29 weeks. At week 27, I felt very swollen, very fat, and just all around puffy. I was like, "here comes the aches and pains and awkwardness".

During this time, I had been keeping in touch with my sister, Heather, like I always do, and learned that she was having some troubles with her pregnancy due to high blood pressure. I felt concerned and tried to focus on her and wanting to be there with her and offering support where I could.

I hadn't worked in a couple weeks, just because thats how I wanted it. I went to work on a Monday. It was Monday February 8th. Everyone was wondering how'd I'd been, where I was, etc. Later that night, when I came back from break, I knew something was wrong. I was entirely too shaky, and too puffy. I sat down, took my blood pressure. 180/110. Ok, not good. I took it again. This time it was higher. My eyes got real wide, and the nurse working that night told me to call my doctor ASAP in the morning.

The next morning, first thing, I called my doctor. He called me back an hour or so later, asking if I could come in before lunch. I drove my butt to Dumas, a 45 minute drive, to my OB doctor. My blood pressure there was NOT any better in the least. There was also protein in my urine and I had gained 25 pounds.... say what? Twenty five pounds?! Yes. 25 pounds in 3 weeks. Holy crap. I was freakin out. I knew I had pre eclampsia. I knew it. I know the signs and the symptoms. I got pre eclampsia in week 39 with Audrey.

My doctor admitted me to the Dumas hospital for "observation". He just wanted to keep an eye on my blood pressure and see what happened. Well, over the course of the next two hours of me just laying there on my back, staring at the ceiling, my blood pressure went no where. After some phone calls from his colleagues, my doctor decided it would be best to ambulance me down to Amarillo (90 minutes from Dalhart, 40 minutes from Dumas). He obviously knew the baby would be arriving soon.

My first ambulance ride! And it better had been my last. It was a very bumpy ride. And long. And lonely. No lights or sirens either. Bummer.

(Jayson was of course informed of what was going on. He was in shock. He couldn't believe that a routine appointment could go as haywire as it did. He was working on getting to Amarillo, but had the kids and was trying to get a babysitter.)

I was admitted to Northwest Hospital in Amarillo on Tuesday in the evening. They hooked me up to all the monitors, started asking me the 20 question game, which seemed more like the 134 question game, and flipped off the lights to help with my blood pressure. Which didn't work by the way.

For the next 24 hours, my blood pressure was monitored, and my pee was collected in a bag and all contained in a 24 hour jug, all prepared for the lab by my wonderful nurses. Once my lab work came back, and 24 hours of pee had been collected, and analyzed by the laboratory, it was determined I had severe PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension = super high blood pressure due to pregnancy). By this point it was about 10:30 at night. By 10:45pm, it was determined I would be going in for the c-section, immediately.

(Oh and by this point, Jayson had arrived. He came in during the early evening I believe.)

Jayson was actually really funny. Before the nurses came in to make their announcement, Jayson was lying on the couch. He was so tired. Poor man. The nurses came in, told us we were going to do the c-section "now". And Jayson jumped up, and said, "Like, now, now?" And the nurse said, "Yes, now, now." I just had to laugh.

So I was wheeled into surgery, and had the c-section. This was my 4th c-section. Every single c-section prior to this one, the blue screen that was draped over my chest to prevent me from seeing anything, was always a mile high. They didn't want ANYONE seeing anything. But this time, it was only about 6 inches up, enough to hide my eyes from seeing anything ... (because apparently watching your own innards coming out isn't pleasant scene to watch...) and low enough to allow Jayson to watch. If he wanted. So he did. And he actually did really well. He didn't pass out, and the entire time I kept asking him if he was okay. He assured me he was fine. And for some reason, the only time he needed to walk away was when they were taking out my placenta. Not sure why *that* would gross him out. Sheesh.

After Emily was born, she was taken by the nurses to be evaluated and taken immediately to the NICU.

Now, before all this, all I was feeling was terror and shock and excitement. Excitement at the idea of not being pregnant anymore. Terror and shock at the thought that my 28 week old baby was still supposed to be cooking inside me. It was way too early. Would she survive??

While I was laying there, getting stitched up, the nurse quickly showed me my baby, before they whisked her away. Emily was wrapped up, burrito style, and the only thing running thru my mind when I saw her was, "oh... my... word... she's the size of a football...." And she was! Take a football, and hold it. That was how little she was. Her head was the size of a small orange. The only thing she really had going for her, was that when she was born, she was pink. The nurses all said that was a good thing.

After the c-section, and after Emily was taken to the NICU, I was taken back to my room.

My blood pressure to this day still continues to be a battle. I was in the hospital for 8 days, 3 for the c-section recovery and 5 more just because my BP wasn't going down. I was put on meds, and after 2 weeks was allowed to discontinue the drugs. But even now, I think my BP is border line dangerous.

It was a full 24 hours before I was allowed to see Emily. Jayson went and saw her, and would report to me how she was and all the medical terminology. It was a very depressing time for me. The doctors were kind enough to take a picture of her and print it off for me. This was my first picture of her. I looked at it all the time.

I'll blog later about the NICU and the time spent there.



has it really been two years?

About a week ago, I was talking to a friend of mine on Facebook, and she mentioned how she had been reading my blog. I thought that was interesting since I never posted. And THEN she made some sarcastic comment about how its been two years since I posted anything. Not to mention, I think I only blogged a few times anyways. I never thought the blogging world was for me, although I LOVE reading my friends blogs, and I LOVE LOVE baking blogs and craft blogs! So I'm all about blogs. Just not doing my own. HA I just need to do it. It'll be healthy for me, right?

So, LOTS has happened in the last two years. Well, not that much, but enough to change our lives! I'll start off with the most important life changing event. We had our 4th baby! Emily Michelle was born at 28 weeks after I had been diagnosed with PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension). I will be creating a blog specifically for her, including all the details of what happened, my feelings, and the emotional journey that I went thru, having a baby in the NICU, as well as how I managed to also be a mother to 3 other children, and how I called upon family and friends for help.

Another item of business I'll need to write about is mine and Jayson's little getaway to Taos, NM. We did this back in January, and I never posted pictures. Shame on me. But now I'll have a blog all about our little adventure :)

And then of course, I need to write about the kids. Hannah's 3rd birthday was actually yesterday, May 14th, but we will be celebrating on Monday when Jayson is off work. I'm making her cake, and I'm making a RAINBOW CAKE with cloud frosting. I'm so excited and I WILL be posting pictures!

K, I think thats it for now. Its taken me since about 4pm this afternoon to edit my blog layout, and take care of 4 kids too, and now its almost midnight. Good grief! I'm all blogged out for now. I'll work on it some more tomorrow. Goodnight!

PS- I was re-reading this, and just saw that I put "...and take care of 3 kids..." so I fixed it to 4. Apparently that's still going to take some getting used to.


Pampered Chef National Conference 2008

WOW I had a blast at Nationals! I learned so much information, and we learned about all of our new fall products, and our new recruiting incentives! Despite getting an average of 5 hours of sleep per night, with two of those nights getting only 3 hours of sleep or less, I really had a great time, and the money spent was WELL worth the classes I took and the information I learned. I'll give a little breakdown of everything we did, and try to get some pictures included, if I can figure that out.

Tuesday night, I went to bed about 11:30. Got up at 3 am. I don't remember sleeping that night. Lol I drove down to Amarillo for my flight leaving at 6:55 am. I met up with my best friend, Melody, gave hugs, checked in and talked like giddy school girls until take off. In the air, we both tried to get some sleep, but our flight to Dallas/Fort Worth was less than an hour. We had a 2 hour layover in the DFW aiport, and there we met up with Melody's other best friend, and one of my now good friends, Melissa. We picked up some breakfast, walked around, browsed a book store. Before we knew it we were on our way to Chicago. None of us slept. I tried to read, but found to my dismay, that I started feeling nauseous. A quick 2 hours later, and we were IN Chicago! It was completely umbelieveable, the aireal view of the city. Tall buildings everywhere, and we flew over Lake Michigan when we coming in to land. It was just the most beautiful thing. I was in awe of the greatness of this city! After we landed, we ran to the potty, and met up with our Director, also named Melissa. We got our luggage, and got a taxi! Woohoo, first time in a taxi! It was nothing special really, pretty much the same as what I've seen on TV. Thank goodness for television, huh? LOL We drove 30 plus minutes to where we were staying. The Sheraton. And wow, what a hotel. Here's a shot of the hotel, and a view from our room. The water you see there is Lake Michigan.

After we were checked into our hotel, and after we unpacked a little and got more organized, we walked down a block or two (and these are REAL city blocks. Like NYC blocks. Not 4-houses-long-blocks, like in small towns) and we ate at a Deli, which was de-lish! Later that night, once our 5th girl joined us, we walked down to Volare, an Italian restaurant hidden by many tall buildings. I have never had any Italian, as good as this! Ok, it beats out Olive Garden and Johnny Carino's! It was the best! I ordered Risotto Fattori,which translates to "Risotto with diced chicken breast, peas and a four cheese sauce". A $16 plate. I just drank water that night. Lol. Here's some pictures from that night.

After Volare, we walked down to Navy Pier. Navy Pier, as described by Wikipedia, is a "...3,300-foot long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan. The pier was built in 1916 at a cost of $4.5 million; it was a part of the Plan of Chicago developed by architect and city planner Daniel Burnham and his associates. As Municipal Pier #2 (Municipal Pier #1 was never built), Navy Pier was planned and built to serve as a mixed-purpose piece of public infrastructure. Its primary purpose was as a cargo facility for lake freighters, and warehouses were built up and down the pier. However, the pier was also designed to provide docking space for passenger excursion steamers, and in the pre-air conditioning era parts of the pier, especially its outermost tip, were designed to serve as cool places for public gathering and entertainment. The pier even had its own streetcar. It was known as a romantic spot for young lovers..." They have firework displays on Wednesday and Saturday nights. It was really, one of the best desplays of fireworks I've ever seen. Here's a couple pictures from our night at Navy Pier. At one point, before the fireworks began, we were sitting down, all laughing and talking, and all of a sudden out of nowhere, a RAT comes running out of the bushes towards us! We all screamed and jumped and I guess our vocals scared him because he flipped a 180 and ran back into the bushes. LOL. Ok, here's the pictures. The first picture here, is a picture taken off Wikipedia. I believe that our hotel is the one thats furthest to the right or the one, right above that one.

That night we crashed about 1 AM. We all got up about 5 AM to start getting for Day 1 of Nationals! We had to pick up our registration packets at 6:30, and we had a first-timers orientation class at 7:15 am. Here is a picture of us, wide awake and all pretty on Day 1 at the butt crack of dawn!

After orientation, we had the privelage to drive to the Pampered Chef Home Office, in Addison, IL for a tour! I didn't get many pictures from there, but my 2 other girlfriends snapped a jillion pictures and haven't gotten the rest to me yet. But we were able to see some of the older PC products, we toured the test kitchen where they create new recipes, we got to see the makeup room/laundry room, we saw the kitchen where they make all of the dvds that are sent out to us each new season. Basically, they just demonstrate the new products and recipes in there. We were able to go up to the next level, and tour Doris Christopher's office. Doris is the founder of Pampered Chef. She is a wonderful lady and we all got a picture with her! But that picture is on another camera. We also toured Marla Gottschalk's office. She is the Senior Vice President of Pampered Chef. I left her my business card (hey, everyone was. LOL). We went up to the next level and we were able to view all the conference rooms. There's a room dedicated to all of the consultant who've reached $1 million in Career Sales. There was a room for the $2 million in Career Sales. There was a room for all of the TPC Achievers. Those are the Top Performance Cluster Achievers. Those are they, that achive the highest sales, recruits, and 3 other categories in a one year's time. Those people just blow me away. Their dedication and love for what they do, is just phenomenal.

After our Home Office tour, we headed back to the conference center, ate lunch, and headed to our first class at 1pm. My first class was called Cooking Show Live in Action with Matt King. I learned SO MUCH and took some great notes! There wasn't a time when I wasn't jotting something down. He was an awesome speaker, and I think he's my new mentor. He's been with the company for 6 years (I think??). He's a director, has dozens and dozens of recruits, and yes. He's not on "my team", if you know what I mean. But thats ok! That makes it even easier to talk to him! I did approach him after class to ask him some questions. And later on, I found out that he is actually in my PC family. All that means, is that we're under the same National Executive Director. So, like my upline director Melissa, would be his "sister" or they're possible "cousins". But we're related, which is pretty neat. Here's a picture of me standing next to his picture. I did get a picture WITH him, but that picture hasn't been sent to me yet.

After class, we attended Day 1 of General Session. Day 1, we learned what our new fall products would be, which was WOW exciting! I can hardly wait till then! There were giveaways and music and dancing, and just, wow. There were camera men, photographers everywhere.... We got our photo taken a few times and a shot of us on video too! So we'll see if we made it into the Conference video and newsletter! Here's some pictures we took, on Day 1 during General Session. The first picture is some of the staging decorations. Very professional and nice looking!

And here's a picture of our founder, Doris Christopher.

That night we ate at Giordani's. REAL Chicago Pizza! And it was the best pizza I have ever had! It was made with REAL mozzerella cheese! The wait was over an hour, but SO worth it! They had a water fountain in front, so we passed the time with taking pictures. So here's some more pictures. Lol

After eating the best pizza ever, we headed back to the hotel and passed out about 11:30pm. On day 2, we slept in till about 6:30 am, if you call that sleeping in. Lol Day 2 started with General Session at 9am. Ok, this was an embarrassing moment. The Pampered Chef has their own dance team and singers. And during one of the opening songs, they were singing a song to the tune of YMCA. It was called TPC Way. During one of the bridges of the song, a couple of the dancers actually came out into the audience and literally dragged myself and Melissa, my upline director, onto the stage. I was seriously having an anxiety attack. Lol Ok well it felt like it. I was so embarrassed dancing up there with the attractive male dancers, and shortly after walking on-stage, I became dsylexic and I lost all sense of "normal" dance moves. Lol I wasn't sure WHAT I was doing, but apparently my girlfriends all got lots of pictures, and the cameramen put me up on the big screen too. Ahhhhh! Incredibly humiliating! Ok, I'll share some pictures.

I had 2 classes on Day 2. Phone Courage and Abundant Bookings. Very good classes. I learned a lot and took some good notes. Here's some more pictures. I know you're loving all the photos! Lol

Also that night, we had a banquet dinner in honor of our Senior Executive Director, Teresa Brown. We were told to wear sparkly clothes or makeup. I borrowed this shirt, but think it looks good on me.

Ok, on to Day 3! On Day 3 started with my last class. It was called Be A Master Seller. I LOVED that class! Great ideas and very useful to me! All of the classes I took were very beneficial to me and my business. I felt that the money I spent on registration, was WELL worth the knowledge I learned while there. Here's some more pictures from General Session Day 3. (I forgot my apron at the hotel, so I'm not wearing mine, which wasn't mandatory, but still cute.) Let me tell you this.... The more universal you are in your group/team, the more attention you get from the photographers and camera men. We did get our picture taken a few times with our aprons and purple pom-poms, and had a video clip taken as well. So we'll see if we make it thru the editing. Lol

Overall, I had an awesome time at nationals. It was all very exhausting, but so exhilirating! We learned some fantastic recruting incentives, promotion incentives, and of course, we learned all about our new fall products! WOW is all I can say. Lol yes I can spill the beans, so if anyone is interested, shoot me an email, or give me a call, and I'll clue you in!


And yes, Jayson and the kids were all alive and well, and no the house was not upside down when I came home. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to find a somewhat decently clean house. The kids all missed me and were happy to see me. As was Jayson.

I'm happy to be home, and I'm looking forward to Nationals 2009!!