Monday, January 31, 2011

Baby Sweet Shoppe: Cupcake Tutorial

Need a cute baby shower idea?  Here's a fun way to package those baby essentials--make some cupcakes!  For this project you'll need:
  • 4 receiving blankets
  • 4 onesies
  • 4 medium rubber bands
  • 4 coffee filters
  • thin coordinating ribbon
  • scissors
  • a bakery cupcake box (I found mine at Packaging Specialties)

First, fold the receiving blankets down until you have a 3" strip.

Now for the cupcake icing.  Lay a onesie over your fist, and poke it down.

Then pinch the top and gather it together.

Lay the icing at the end of the receving blanket and roll it up.

Roll it all the way up, moving down as you go so that the top is peaked.

Wrap it with a rubber band to secure it.

Place it in a coffee filter "wrapper."

Tie it closed with ribbon.

Repeat all the steps again for more cupcakes.

Place them in the bakery box.

If you want, tie it with bakery string and add a cute tag!

Hungry now (either for cupcakes or babies)?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Great Man

I have been blessed to have some Great men in my life.  Great men--really, truly Great men-- are rare, and I find it extraordinary that I've been privileged to know the ones I have. 

I lost one today.

He was a man that led an exemplary life on every level.  Important to so many people, well respected professionally, in fields of education, in the community, religiously.  He was also a man who loved me since the day I was born.  A wise patriarch in all senses of the word.  A man who welcomed me with open arms as I left my Kansas nest for college (and helped me move my many, many boxes of clothes semester after semester).  A man I got to live with for a little while and eat graham crackers and milk with while we watched Dr. Zhivago.  He's also the man that married my sweetheart and me (J credits him for preventing me from bolting at the altar).

A man I call Grandpa.

And while it hurts, really hurts, to lose someone that you love so very, very, very much...  While it makes your insides feel like icy hot, your throat clench up and turn inside out, your eyes burn and your head hurt from crying...  While it seems like a raw, gaping hole is being ripped in your life...  There's also


Peace in the most flawless life you've ever seen lived.  Peace because of the joyous, heavenly reunion that must be happening right now.  Peace because even though it was sudden, I got to say goodbye, and thank you, and I love you.  And peace in the absolute conviction that families are eternal and that I will indeed see him again.  And joy and gratitude in the legacy that he blessed us with, and in the relationships that are still located here on earth.

I love and miss you, Grandpa.  You are a Great man.  God be with you til we meet again.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I am crazy about this girl.  Head-over-heels in love, can't get enough, want-to-spend-every-waking-moment-covering-her-in-kisses crazy about her.  (I don't have favorites, but there is something to be said for a smiley child who never talks back)  She just celebrated her seven month birthday, and I can hardly believe it.  I swear I was just up rocking her to sleep at 3:00 in the morning.  Now she (usually) sleeps a good 11 hours, with a couple good naps during the day.  I swear just yesterday she was like this

and then somehow her bassinet shrunk and today she looks like this:

I packed away the rest of her newborn dresses and cried a little.  Little ruffles and teensy cardigans. She might as well be going off to college with how my heart feels ripped apart.  I hold her.  A lot. (Except for at night because J won't let her sleep with us).  Because, first, I can't get enough of her, and second, I have to savor every baby minute I've got. And also because then she's really close and I can kiss her and smell her, and when I do, I feel all dreamy. 

She is soooo chunky, and every time I see her incredibly soft, squishy little body I laugh out loud because I love it so much!  I think she's my most bald and chunky baby (in the most perfect way) and my most talkative.  She coos all the time, talks, complains, and laughs hysterically when she wrestles with Daddy. It's a sound that, for the life of me, I can't figure out why the entire world doesn't come to a screeching halt to listen to.  It's so magical. 

She's in the Go-go-gadget-sticky-hands Phase, and she loves to tug on my hair and earrings.  It's okay, though, because I gently remove her hands, and when I do, I realize what tiny, soft hands she's got and I have to start kissing them.  She loves to roll, but gets all irritated when she realizes she's been on her belly too long.  She loves to eat, too.  We've recently introduced her to rice cereal, peas, green beans, squash, applesauce, and sweet potatoes.

She adores her siblings, refuses to sleep anywhere but her bassinet, and has a smile that lights up a room.  She will only sleep with a blanket in front of her face (I know, nice and safe).  When I'm not with her, I miss her.  Wow, I love this baby (which I tell her 5 million times a day).

I've so got a crush.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas was wonderful.  All 19 members of my family (incl. new spouses and babies) gathered in Kansas for two weeks of joy.  At first it was a little weird for me, realizing that my 'family' as I knew it has permanently changed.  J has been around for so long that he's kind of assimilated into being one of the kids, but with all the new brothers-in-law around (as fantastic as they are), it was kind of ...sad?...that my sisters were now part of a package instead of it just being the girls.  I don't know it this makes any sense, but I mourned just a little for the way it used to be.  It was really wonderful to play games, watch movies, talk until much too late, and craft to our heart's content.  We also happen to have the best sister in law in the world, who planned fabulous activities like homemade gingerbread houses, flower making, and surprised us each with a super cute, reversible apron.  How cute is she???

It was AWESOME to be with everyone, cook together (we even had "Cultural Night" where everyone prepared a special dish from around the world), do dance battles on the Kinect, and enjoy each other's company.  It was so very relaxing.  They boys had a great time playing football in the backyard.

My parents have a house with a big yard that backs to a golf course.  It makes it seem like we're way out in the country (out in the country with an occasional golfer) and it's like a breath of fresh air.  Girlie and Sammy (without my permission) would go adventuring onto the golf course, exploring the ponds and woods and trails.  I loved it.  That is what childhood should be.  Lots of gathering, and cooking together, and wandering, and playing with wooden blocks, and inventing games, and sleeping hard at night.  Lots of people to love and to love you.

As I thought about coming back to real life, it made me cringe just a little.  So busy and scheduled and complicated.

It made me want to move to the country and live off the land.  Teach my kids how to navigate by the stars and which plants are edible.  Make my own soap and pottery.  You get the idea.  And it made me determined to spend this next year really getting back to a life without so many additives.  An existence that is wholesome and organized and simple and rich in all the right ways.  I vow this year to savor the good things more. Like my wee ones.  They're growing so fast, too fast.  I'm mourning their quickly passing childhood (look at me with all my mourning...) while bursting with joy at their new ventures.  And I'm grateful.  For the sweetness in my life.  And especially for J.  If I may get sappy for a moment, I love that man.  In an unpredictable, changing world where everything seems to disintegrate and all is disposable--I have J.  He is so final.  A destination, a home really.  I can't imagine anything beyond him. 
And, for my friends.  I came home to stacks of delicious Christmas cards, photos and letters from dear ones around the country.  Beautiful, talented, amazing people whom I truly adore.  As I read the updates, looked at kids who are impossibly bigger, and thought about each of you, just know I. LOVE. YOU.

2011, bring it on.