Christmas Photo Shoot

I think pretty much everyone has gotten our Christmas cards so I can share some of the pictures I took. The kids did GREAT for me (especially Mckenna, she does love a photo shoot) and Omar only took minimal yelling at to keep in line! I love, love, love these pictures.

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Sorry, I win for cutest kids on the planet!

Diving into Christmas Break

I don’t know whose idea it was to let the kids out already for break but it’s killing me.

Two and a half weeks of days to entertain my kids. Honestly it would be that bad, except for the fact that I have one child who wants nothing but to stay home, and one child who wants to be going, going, going.

This was our fourth day off of school. So far we have painted pottery, gone out for lunch, gone to the movies and checked out a stack of books from the library. I have a stack of Christmas craft ideas that I want to pull out, cookies to be baked and, if the weather would warm up, beach days ahead.

Of course I still have boxes of gifts that HAVE to be mailed TOMORROW! I tried going to the main office today but the line of cars to get into the parking lot was blocking street traffic and the post office on base was closed already. 4pm during the holidays? Absurd! Oh and I have to go to the commissary tomorrow too, crap.

Also my poor dog is going a little stir crazy I think… I’ve been taking him for a walk around our neighborhood while the kids are in school and haven’t since they’ve been out. Plus with all the rain the dog park is too muddy. I might have to drag the kids along for a walk so he’s not stuck in the house for another day either.

I got my Christmas cards today, I am really bummed by the way they turned out. I get the majority of them sent straight to my friends but have some come to me for all of my local friends. They were really dark. I do not love the printing job. So I am going to call Hallmark and yell at them. Which is pointless because they can’t really fix it. All the cards are out already. But I am upset because I loved the pictures I took of the kids!

Seriously, Self?

Today I had a busy day of Family Readiness Group training. It was a really informative day, I learned a ton of information and I had a great time with my board members. I am REALLY excited to actually start with all of the activities and fundraisers we have planned. We are going to have an awesome FRG and hopefully have a great turnout from spouses!

So in my rush to get out the door this morning I left my keys inside. Our door has a lock that turns from the inside even if it’s locked, and as I was shutting the door I was looking inside my purse for my keys so I could turn the deadbolt. No keys. Mckenna had run to get the mail the day before so I am solidly blaming the entire mess on her. Well I knew there was no point in doing anything then so I waited until we were on the way home to call, what was supposed to be a 30 minute wait for maintenance turned into an hour and a half and probably would have been longer had one of the resident service office employees taken pity on me after repeated calls, so she went and grabbed the keys herself. I need to take her cookies or something.

Well that ruined my afternoon and made me grumpy and cold and it was raining outside so I decided to skip football practice. I know, horrible of me, but come on! It was raining, what are my kids supposed to do? Just sit in the car for an hour and a half? Miserable. So I am a team flake. Terrible. I’ll try and do some conditioning on my own time to make up for it!

Lesson learned, one I haven’t had to learn in DECADES. Keys in hand BEFORE you close the front door. (And if you take the keys out of mom’s purse, put them back!)

Tomorrow we are planning to go see Rise of the Guardians and I am DETERMINED to get my last few things purchased AND mailed off tomorrow. I am so very close!

I don’t even know what to say…

So just about everything that could be said has been said about this topic and I don’t want to get into the debate about gun control, mental illness and God in school.

I just want everyone to remember the victims and honor their memory. I can’t even begin to imagine what their families are going through. My heart goes out to them.

Sandy Hook

Joint Spouses’ Conference 2012 Recap

Okay so this was awhile ago but I had such a great time and took SO many pictures I wanted to share it. Also I had forgotten my camera and had to drive home and get it so after doing all that these pictures MUST see the light of day!

The Joint Spouses’ Conference is a military spouse conference that is hosted each year by one of the branches. This year Navy had the privilege and the conference was held on Ford Island.

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We had the CO of Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam open up the conference, then a really cute little message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Dempsey and his wife.

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I was actually second guessing my decision to go at the last minute, I was getting some major anxiety over the fact that I was going to know NO ONE! I found out the night before that one of my friends from football was going to be there so at least I had someone to eat with!

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We got great little welcome baskets and a tote bag full of more goodies. The entire conference was decorated SO well, I was very impressed! Those ladies did an awesome job!

There was a large list of workshops you could take: cooking, painting, photography, sailing, hula, lei making, business classes. You name it. I went with Lei Making, Beyond the Mai Tai, Hula and Chocolate.

First up Lei Making. I really enjoyed this and was amazed at how easy it is, just threading flowers. Tuber roses smell AMAZING! We also did a ti leaf lei which involved twisting ti leaves. It was not really complicated but my brain is old and tired! So I ended up with a ti leaf bracelet! This workshop was put on by the Hale Koa hotel which is a military hotel in downtown Waikiki. The women were great and VERY informative. Seriously I would love to take some Hawaiian studies classes!

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Sporting my new handmade lei of purple orchid and tuber rose!

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Next up was Beyond the Mai Tai, which was also hosted by the Hale Koa, but the bartenders this time. And yes it was still rather early in the day for drinking but what the heck. We had some delicious samples, got some great recipes and all got a little bit tipsy. Good times!

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Lunch was delicious! We had a ton of dessert and it was hilarious to see all of the photographers whip out their cameras to take pictures of the food. I know my husband rolls my eyes at me but it is so nice to be among like minded people!

 

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Our guest speaker was Mrs. Hawaii who happens to also be a Navy veteran and current military spouse. She was not your normal pageant queen but was really down to earth. She is doing some amazing work with childhood obesity and nutrition in Hawaii.

IMG_9907aWe also had some adorable little hula dancers but my camera was on a wonky setting and none of the pictures turned out.

After lunch it was time for Hula lessons! This was a class that was insanely out of my comfort zone. I don’t dance. Like, ever. Well maybe if I’ve had enough to drink but the mai tais had worn off by now! But this is something I really wanted to do and thankfully we had a great instructor, the same lady from the Hale Koa that taught me lei making! I don’t have any pictures because it’s pretty impossible to take photos and hula. But I had a GREAT time and actually remembered most of the steps!

Now, time for Chocolate making! This was fun basic intro to working with chocolate.

We had our ingredients laid out in front of us, ganache with some different flavorings like lavender, cocoa powder, cayenne, sea salt,  and nuts. I thought mine looked like the Hawaiian islands.

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And here I am with all of my finished truffles. And a chocolate dipped strawberry.

IMG_9919aI really liked the sea salt as well as the cayenne truffles. I accidentally gave Omar one of the cayenne ones when we got home. He was like ‘what is wrong with this, its burning my mouth!’ Sorry! My kids aren’t fans of ‘weird’ chocolates!

We wrapped up with some more food as well as a silent auction and a basket raffle and I was beat! I had a really great day and met some really nice women. Really my only complaint was that everyone had their iPhones in front of their face all day. We aren’t there to check FaceBook, we are there to meet people and have a good time. It was kind of annoying but whatever. I am really looking forward to going again next year, I think the Army will be hosting.

 

And here are just some random photos from the day:IMG_9874

 

 

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Cake Pop Tutorial! {From a novice}

Okay I have been reading Bakerella’s blog for years, I’ve bought her cake pop book and I adore her. After all, she brought cake pops into my life! While she is an expert and an artist, I am an amateur.

I’ve seen some cake pop makers in stores but they are not true cake pops, as you can see a cake pop is a mix of cake and frosting, a perfect bite.  So here are the baby steps to making your own cake pops at home, they are cheaper than the ones at Starbucks and they are GREAT for bake sales!

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Grab your ingredients, a box of cake mix and a can of frosting. You can really do any combo, I like cream cheese frosting because it’s delicious. Mckenna prefers red velvet, I’ve done strawberry for her birthday, really whatever you like. You can absolutely do homemade but the two store-bought items are the perfect ratio. Bake up your cake and let it cool – completely! When it is totally cool just crumble it up with your hands to make cake crumbs.  Dump in the can of frosting  and get to mixing. Try and get it totally mixed with no cake clumps, they will affect the integrity of the cake pop. (Ha, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever typed)

Okay, now a tangent on the size of your cake pop. I ran into an issue today with my two different sizes I was doing. I was using the small and medium Pampered Chef dishers. (If you don’t have dishers in your kitchen put them on your Christmas list, they are invaluable). The small size worked perfect, the large ones were falling off the stick. The larger ones could have possibly worked with thicker sticks. Anyways, the small ones were a perfect bite, so when in doubt, go smaller.

 

cakepops2So using your disher scoop perfectly uniform bites onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill for 20-30 minutes. Come back and roll them into nice crumb free balls.  Grab some candy melts (you should be able to find these in any craft store or sometimes in a grocery store) and melt them in a double boiler. Grab your sticks and dip them into the candy melts and then stick into cake pops. Chill again just to make sure these suckers aren’t going to fall apart on you. Dip into the candy melts and tap off the excess (but not too hard or you will shake it off of the stick!) You can stick these into Styrofoam to set, but I never have that, so I stuck them into an upside down colander (or three). Perfect!

This is just the starting point, there are so many ways you can decorate them. And they are just insanely delicious!

Enjoy!