Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cakes For Dinner

Last week David came home telling me about a meatloaf cake that his coworkers had told him about.  It is basically a meatloaf with mashed potato frosting.  So today I decided to make it!  I also decided to make my famous rainbow cake for fun and comparison.  Of course I couldn't eat any (of the rainbow one that is), today is day 2 for me of no sugar.  We shall see how it goes.

So, basically you make a meatloaf how you prefer and put it into two round cake pans as seen above.

I put a layer of ketchup between the meat loafs.

And then frost with mashed potatoes

All frosted

All smooth and garnished with cherry tomatoes, not too bad huh? 

After we cut into it...

And for the rainbow cake!

You make it from the bottom up so you have to start with the purple, then blue, then green, etc.

The other batters, I love that this cake is so colorful

Being built

Frosted, this cake is always super tall

The cake cut into

I received my Lilla Rose flexi clips that I ordered from my party this weekend.  The girls and I have been having so much fun trying them out.

 D with her tails up

A and B are really liking the half up.

And today we had some fun doing busy bags from the last swap I was a part of.  The kids worked on the ice cream scoops, the clothesline, the felt building, and shape sorting/matching.

 The clothesline

 D proud of her felt picture

 C and B working happily

All in all today was a very good day.  Hope yours was too :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Fun

A few days ago it was the last Friday of the month and you know what that means, roller skating!  We brought cookies to share with our friends in honor of A's birthday month.

 D enjoying her cookie and taking a breather

 D on the rink with Daddy (before he put skates on!)

 Some of my family

 E relaxing...

A about to go back out

We have been so blessed that Daddy has been able to join us for this fun time!  I managed to put skates on for about 20 minutes - not too bad.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The White Check

Have you heard of Psst...

Pssst…is all about some of the best known food and consumer brands in the country. If you would like to receive news about new products (and even samples and coupons from time to time), you can become a member.  Pssst… also offers a behind-the-scenes look at General Mills and occasionally an opportunity to give your opinion about products and initiatives. Pssst… is fun and it’s free to Join.

Just recently, I was sent 5 boxes of General Mills white check cereals through the Psst... program.  Love them.  Love that General Mills is running a whole campaign on whole grains.  Read more about it below.

What Is a Whole Grain:

”Whole grain” means it’s the complete grain, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole grain cereals use the entire grain seed of wheat, rye, rice, barley, corn, or oats without refining out the bran and germ. Whole grain is a powerful nutrient package that has vitamins, minerals and fiber. The health benefits of whole grain come from those three components working together in their natural proportions.

How to Look for Whole Grain

General Mills developed “Fast Lane For Whole Grain,” an online educational game that allows you to navigate virtual grocery store aisles and identify products that have whole grain as the first ingredient. You'll also have the option to enter a sweepstakes to win one of each of the 50 cereals with the white check.
Visit www.wholegrainnation.com to play “Fast Lane For Whole Grain” or learn more about the importance of whole grain. Plus, check out Dr. Travis Stork in this brief video on how to find whole grain and this clip from his show, “The Doctors.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pot Roast & Donuts

 What I put into Sylvia this morning.

Our dinner tonight!

And the kids and I tried out my donut maker today!  Donut maker?  Yes, my sister gave me a mini donut maker for Christmas.  It worked really well.  It bakes the donuts (they are not fried) so that is healthier right?

 My new gadget

 In goes the dough

 And out come the donuts

 I chose to roll them in powdered sugar

 A enjoying her donut

 And of course B

I do not have photos of C, D or I enjoying them but rest assured that we did!  Thanks Stephanie :)

Make Way For Ducklings, I Mean Cummins

I have joked with my family and friends how every time I cross the street with my kiddos it reminds me of the story, Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey.  I have been asked to get photos and so today I tried.  Below is our morning walk.  Enjoy!

 A, B & C are riding their bikes and D is pushing her baby in a stroller.  I am pushing E.

 On our way

 D's baby almost took a tumble here.  She didn't and all is well.

 Catching up.  The bikes have to wait before crossing streets.

I think you get the idea!

Boy, I love my family.  Keeps me busy and hopefully in shape!  We are walking even more than usual and I officially started the C25K (couch to 5K) program this week, maybe I will be a runner yet :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vineyard's I Love Your Presence Album Review & Giveaway

 *** Giveaway Now Closed ***
Congratulations to Sandie!

Have you ever listened to Vineyard Music?  Vineyard is a non-profit worship ministry and they have some amazing songs!

On February 7th, they will be releasing their new I Love Your Presence album.  This album was released to itunes January 10th 2012.  

About the Album:  I Love Your Presence was recorded live at the Burn Bright: Worship and The Kingdom Of God conference, hosted by Vineyard Worship. Several hundred worship leaders and worshipers gathered in the Arizona desert to explore the nature of God’s kingdom through music and teaching with some of the Vineyard’s most gifted communicators and musicians. This inspiring collection of songs recorded live at the The Vineyard Church North Phoenix will immerse listeners in the powerful worship that was the highlight of the event. I Love Your Presence reminds us to not just think of worship as singing songs, but also laying down our lives for Him.

I'll say!  I was allowed the opportunity to review this album via digital download, what a blessing.  I was not disappointed.  It is no secret that Christian worship music is my favorite kind of music to listen to.  I like centering on what I believe is the most important thing and worship music allows me to do just that.  This CD is truly amazing.  There were a few songs that I was already familiar with (What Can I Bring, Sweet Mercies, and I Life My Eyes Up) but most of them were new to me and I believe will become some of my favorites.  I love the vocals, the artists have a true gifting.

What songs are on the album? 

1.Let It Come
2.Glory To The King
3.Saving Grace
4.What Can I Bring
5.Love Of God
6.One Thing Remains
7.Now And Ever
8.Invitacion Fountain
9.Sweet Mercies
10.Isn't He / Amazing Grace
11.I Love Your Presence
12.Perfect Sacrifice
13.I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121)

This is truly and inspirational album and I think you would love it as well.  Find the album on itunes here.

Now, onto the giveaway!  You too can win a downloadable version of Vineyard's I Love Your Presence album, how awesome is that?

Mandatory Entry:  Follow me on google friend, that's it!  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win! 

Extra Entries
, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.  As you can see, there are lots of extra entry opportunities so don't be shy!

1.  Tell me your favorite Christian song (2 entries)
2.  Follow my google+ page  (2 entries)
3.  Follow my facebook page (2 entries)
4.  Like Vineyard on facebook (2 entries)
5.  Follow Vineyard on twitter (2 entries)
6.  Enter any of my other giveaways (2 entries per giveaway)

Giveaway will end on February 1st at Midnight.  Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond.  If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Since this giveaway is for a down loadable version it is open worldwide!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Your middle name is Diane

Kids say some of the funniest most profound statements out there!  Last week, B told me that she was allergic to the sun.  "Really?  Oh, you mean when you get a sun burn?  You just burn sweetheart, you are not necessarily allergic," said I.  Then, she proceeded to tell me that she thinks she is allergic because every time she looks at the sun she sneezes.  I thought that was awesome :)  And then a few months ago, there was D.

 Take a picture Mommy.

 Little did I know she was coming down head first!

My sweet girl

D's middle name is Diane for those who don't know that tidbit.  We were eating dinner together and our cat, Molly, decided that she would scratch the couch.  D looked right at her and blurted out, "Molly Diane, no no!"  That cracked me up.  She has since been calling everyone their name Diane.  I am Mommy Diane for example (not really though!).  I think I am going to start keeping a book because my kids have some good ones.

Monday, January 23, 2012

PetCakes Review & Giveaway

*** Giveaway Now Closed ***
Congratulations to Barbara!

Have you heard of PetCakes?  They are a deliciously cute plush pet line that are truly sweet for children 3 and up!  Each PetCakes animal has a frosting hat and comes nestled in their own cupcake wrapper.  When the PetCakes are pressed down into the wrapper it looks like a cupcake, truly unique.  My kids are in love with these plush cupcake friends.

Check out the Series 2 Forest Animals
Honey Cakes, Bamboo Berry, Nutty Nicky and Roco Coco

Bamboo Berry

Nutty Nicky

 We received Nutty Nicky and Bamboo Berry
They are even cuter in person than on the website!

 B holding Nutty Nicky

C on his bed with Bamboo Berry

 Yes, our new friends even went on a walk with us and they are holding hands while crossing the street.

All my kids love these!  Our PetCakes are super soft and just all around fun.  The kids have spent a better part of the day playing all kinds of games with Bamboo and Nutty.  I am amazed at all the creative roles they come up with to play.  Thank you PetCakes for making a plush toy that is adorable, affordable and for multi-ages!

PetCakes are available for purchase on their site for $12.99.  They are currently running a special offer.  When you buy (4) or more PetCakes Collectibles plush toys, receive the PetCakes Collectibles Minis (4 pack) FREE.  You only pay an additional $1.99 shipping and handling.  What a great deal!

Now, onto the giveaway!  PetCakes has generously offered to give one of you a PetCakes of your very own from Series 2 pictured above.  Note, they get to pick which one your receive - what a true surprise! 

Mandatory Entry:  Follow me on google friend and let me know, that's it!  Please be sure and leave your email so I can contact you if you win! 

Extra Entries
, leave a separate comment for each extra entry.  As you can see, there are lots of extra entry opportunities so don't be shy!

1.  Follow my google+ page (2 extra entries)
2.  Follow my facebook page (2 extra entries)
3.  Like PetCakes on facebook (2 extra entries)
4.  Blog about my giveaway and let me know (5 extra entries)
5.  Comment on any one of my posts and let me know (2 extra entries)
7.  Let me know which PetCakes is your favorite (2 extra entries)

Giveaway will end on February 10th at Midnight.  Winner will be selected using a random number generator and will have 48 hours to respond.  If there is no response, I will randomly select another winner.  Open to US residents only.

Disclosure:  I received 2 of the PetCakes Collectibles Series 2 Forest Animals in exchange for this review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Sylvia has a friend

This weekend I made Chicken Tortilla Soup in my crock pot.  I have a great recipe and it is so yummy!  One of the best things about this soup is that it is flexible so you can change it up a bit based on what you have around and what you are in the mood for (extra spicy, mild, etc).

Bowl of soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup Recipe
Ingredients: 6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts cooked and cubed, 1 can chicken broth, 1 can beef stock/broth, 1 can cream of chicken soup, 1 can diced rotel tomatoes, 1 can whole kernel corn (don't drain), 2 10oz cans V8 tomato juice, 4 cups water, 3 Tbsp Worcester sauce, 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, Saute: 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 diced onion, 2-3 celery stalks diced, and 3 cloves garlic

Directions: Saute ingredients then add with liquid and chicken, simmer 1-2 hours on stove top or slow cook in crock pot.  Serve with chips and cheese on top!

So, that's the base recipe.  I usually buy a whole chicken and boil it so I have plenty of chicken and my own broth.  I also use no salt instead of actual salt.  You can use as many can products as you need to or fresh - that's what I love about this recipe :)

And guess what I found while getting ready for A's party?  A smaller crock pot that I didn't know I had.  Apparently my parents had given it to me awhile ago and I completely forgot about it.  What a great time to find it!  So without further ado, meet Claude.

Claude, Sylvia's new best friend.
Thanks Mom & Dad!