09 December 2011

The Brownie Bake Off

A few weeks back Daughter had one of her buddies sleep over.  Since it was brrr cold outside they decided to make brownies.  And since we had two boxes they each wanted to make a batch and do a brownie bake off.  "Umm ya, sure, why not? Sounds fun!"

Two different brands of brownie mix, two 11 year olds, all the ingredients + some sweets, and they were off!

The two of them gathered everything they needed and wanted to whip up the best brownies ever.  Rachel wanted to top hers with m&ms and Kylee wanted m&ms and crushed candy cane.

After they mixed their mixes and got them in their pans they each licked their bowls clean. Almost spotless, I am not kidding.

While the brownies baked they worked on some duct tape creations (post to come on this).  Are you suprised? Naaahhh

38 to 41 minutes later ... ta da! 

I was lucky enough to be the judge. Guess what? They both were so delicious, I couldn't decide who's was better. So, I called it a tie. 

Good job ladies!

02 December 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

ev'ry where you go;
take a look in the five-and-ten, glistening once again
with candy canes and silver lanes aglow.

It is that time of year already. Boy, this sure did come up fast this time around. I am not complaining because I love this holiday so much. It's time for yummy smelling candles, Christmas trees, lights - lots of lights, poinsettias and candy canes, garland, snowmen, ornaments and my favorite, stockings.  I really LOVE stockings!


This weekend we have one free day so we will be finishing our decorating ~ YAY!  Our tree is up but not decorated, we have lots to do!  Welp, at least we have the lights on the house. I like coming home and seeing the house lit up.  This makes me smile. 

Also, I am hoping to squeeze in a family photo for our Christmas cards.  We didn't do cards last year so I really, really, really want to do them this year.  Wish us luck!

Oh! And I want to finish the DIY garland idea I came up with {post to come}. This garland is so cute, you'll love it!

Enjoy your weekend. Tootles.

01 December 2011

a quick pupdate

Most of you know already but if you don't, we have welcomed Willie [Mays] to our family.  He is so very adorable. See ...

Sweet little Willie was born in early October and is Jeter's brother, literally. They have the same mom and dad.

We had planned on gettng Jeter a playmate but hadn't decided on when.  Since we heard their mom was set to deliver the last litter she would ever have we decided to swipe up this little bundle of cuteness. 

Jeter is so happy to have a playmate now.  So happy in fact he licks Willie's ears until they are sopping wet.  We asked the vet about this and she said it's Jeter showing Willie that he loves him.  Like when they lick us, they are saying I love you.  Cute huh. 

These two pups have so much fun together.  The puppy's bark is hilarious. It's hardly a peep but he thinks he is pretty intimidating. I'm giggling just thinking about it.

Potty training is going very well and he is eating like a champ.  He also demands you take him out of his crate the instant you get home. 

Stay tuned for future pupdates!


28 November 2011

A Birthday Party {on a budget}

This year daughter wanted to have her birthday party at the house. I tried to talk her out of it to be honest with you. This would be only the 2nd time in her 11 years of life that we had the party at the house. The first time was last year - her costume party on Halloween. We didn't have enough stuff planned for the kids in the time frame I chose for the party.  So naturally, Hubber and I were kind of nervous about it this year.  Hubber was calling it the 11 minute party. "What time is the 11 minute party starting?", "What games do you have planned for the 11 minute party?", etc.  Funny guy.

Anyhoo, Daughter wanted a Mystery themed party. Her and I sat down and brainstormed different ideas, what would work, what wouldn't work, prizes, food, etc.  With Daughter behind most of the creative ideas, we ended up with this:

Fun Stuff (in order):
Guess how much candy is in the jar.
What is in the bowls?
Clue hunt with puzzle to solve (main event)
Hunt for the goody boxes


Candy jars
$5 Jamba Juice gift cards

[containers for the gift cards and one of eight clues]

The prep:
Daughter and I came up with 8 hiding places in the house and 8 different clues to lead the guests to those hiding places.  The clues were numbered 1-8 on the back of each card.  We also came up with 1 clue for the goody boxes which were all hiding in 1 location.  I went to Staples and got business cards to print the puzzle clues on and cream colored paper for the goody box clues and the water bottle labels.  The bottle labels were just to have something extra and since we were already buying the paper it was perfect.

The rules for the main event:
Daughter paired everyone up in teams of 2.  Each team started with a clue which would lead them to the next clue and so on.  Once the teams had clues 1-8 they had to bring them to me. After I verified they had all of the clues, no duplicates, I handed them a stack of letters and a puzzle sheet.  The first team to solve the puzzle won a $5 Jamba gift card for each of them.  

The puzzle was: WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! All they had on the sheet was the '!'.  This game was so fun!

The time line (2 1/2 hours):
As the guests arrived (17 friends total) the girls started playing a game of hot potatoe with a wiffle ball. Can you believe we have wiffle balls? ha ha This worked out really well since we were waiting on a friend who was rushing over from a soccer game and we couldn't start until everyone arrived.

We started with the Guess how many pieces of candy are in the jars game.  We had them guess the total between the 2 jars.  The 2 closest guesses would win the jars.

Next we did the What is in the bowls game.  We had a towel over the 3 small bowls. Each guest had to stick their hand in each bowl then write down what they thought was in each bowl and in the correct order. The bowls were: #1 apple sauce, #2 smashed peas, #3 smashed cherries.  The winner received a $5 Jamba gift card.

After that we did the main event, the clue hunt with puzzle to solve.  It was so fun to watch the guests work in their teams to figure out the clues and what they meant. 

Then, we had them hunt for their goody boxes. This only took about 5 minutes since the clue was pretty easy and all of the boxes were in the same spot.  Once one guest found a box, the rest found them almost immediately.

Finally we fed everyone and Daughter opened her gifts.  The party ended with about 15 minutes to spare which worked out nicely. That left enough time for everyone to gather all of their stuff.

"That was the best party I have ever had!"  -Daughter

Well ok then. I am glad all worked out the way she wanted it to and I am extrememly happy that she loved the party so much!

Odds and ends:
We ordered the boxes and magnifying glasses from Oriental Trading company and got the candy for the jars from the Dollar Store.  The cupcakes were made by my super talented co-worker, Kristi. Let me know if you want her #. :o)  The pizzas were take-n-bake from Winco.

The best party ever with 17 of Daughter's closest friends for less then $200.  You can't have a party at a place for 17 guests for under $200 anymore.

The final $:
Dollar Store - $10
20 Cupcakes - $30
Candy and nail polish - $36
Oriental Trading - $26 (shipping included)
Gift Cards - $15
Pizza - $25
Plates, napkins, water bottles - $15
Staples - $17

Total: $174!!!
Daughter's excitement - PRICELESS!


22 November 2011

Being Thankful

Hiya! Can you believe it's Thanksgiving time already? Wholey moley! I haven't even began to start thinking about Black Friday. Actually, I think I am skipping it this year.  I have been working so many hours that I may want to chillax all day on Friday. Plus I am having some girl time with one of my dearest friends on Sunday. Lunch and a little shopping - yup!

I am always counting my blessings and I am Thankful for everything in my life, even the hard stuff.  Remember, the hard stuff brings lessons and lessons help make us better people. Right? Right.

I spent some time recently reflecting on all of the things I am thankful for and I jotted down the first 100 {yes 100} things that came to mind.  You should try this, it's easy and rewarding.

1.      a good life – we aren’t rich but we are happy & that is what matters to us.
2.      good health
3.      mucho happiness
4.      my amazing family who I love dearly
5.      my family’s good health
6.      our wonderful friends
7.      the gift of giggles
8.      our puppies
9.      boots – I just love boots
10.  good food
11.  mashed potatoes – it’s a weakness
12.  our home
13.  my job
14.  my work ethic
15.  my awesome time management skills
16.  my co-workers who make me go hmmm every day. Love these people!
17.  hubber’s job
18.  our daughter and her creativity
19.  my creativity
20.  hot water
21.  coffee – it’s getting me through these 12 hour days
22.  cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, basalmic vinegar – the snack of champions
23.  google
24.  Verizon – a must have
25.  denim
26.  my ability to knit – I enjoy this
27.  yarn and knitting needles
28.  the sewing machine – I will have one some day {hopefully sooner rather then later}
29.  the liking I have taken to cooking
30.  the crock pot
31.  our break from softball – even though it’s short. It’s something.
32.  my vehicle
33.  our kitties – I think they are happy we got pup #2. He keeps #1 out of their hair.
34.  my hair lady – she keeps me purdy
35.  pampered chef cooking stones – I swear they make food taste better
36.  the flat iron
37.  the hair dryer
38.  the iron – yes I even iron my jeans
39.  t.v.
40.  dvr – I can’t even imagine how many VHS tapes we would have
41.  hairspray
42.  makeup
43.  duct tape – it’s daughter’s new love so I love it too. She is making some pretty cool things.
44.  blogs – I read some really good ones
45.  my ability to not be so quick to judge others
46.  people who don’t talk about others especially when they don’t know their situation
47.  facebook – I love staying connected with the people I care about
48.  my confidence
49.  people who pay it forward –  selfless people make the world a better place.
50.  the holidays – all of the food - yumma!
51.  the Christmas holiday – it’s my favorite.
52.  Christmas stockings – my favorite part of Christmas morning.
53.  the elliptical
54.  the treadmill
55.  our 7lb weights
56.  the dishwasher
57.  daughter’s love for veggies
58.  talented people
59.  people magazine
60.  coffee places – I don’t have a favorite
61.  New York – we’ll go back some day
62.  street lights – I am kind of a scaredy cat
63.  the microwave – without this I would be eating cold lunch every day
64.  blankets
65.  pillows
66.  the fire place
67.  swimming pool – summer fun!
68.  the hot tub – year around fun!
69.  our house not catching fire when the bbq did the other night – phew!
70.  my ability to read and write
71.  my patience – I have a lot of it
72.  the power prayer – I find myself praying more and more. It’s nice.
73.  snow – I love the snow
74.  airplanes – such a time saver. How long would it take to row to Hawaii?
75.  grocery stores
76.  farmer’s markets – I have tried different things but my thumb isn’t green enough
77.  cleaning supplies – every household should have these ;o)
78.  friends and family gathering
79.  truths
80.  crafts
81.  scented candles
82.  slippers
83.  wool socks
84.  the laptop
85.  my camera
86.  sweaters and hoodies
87.  uggs – wish I had a pair on right now
88.  toilet paper – can you imagine having to use a leaf or something? Eeek
89.  the washer and dryer
90.  matching socks – although daughter would say this is not cool these days
91.  the dollar store – they have goodies – seek and you shall find
92.  wrapping paper and fancy bows – I like cute packages
93.  our garage – I am not a windshield ice scraper
94.  fall leaves – they are so pretty to look at and fun to jump in
95.  green grass
96.  fresh flowers
97.  pumpkin seeds – so yumma and so good for you
98.  my SF 49ers and their good season, so far
99.  dryer sheets – they smell good
100. green tea – my 3 – 4 cups a day have kept me healthy [knock on wood]

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Have safe travels and get lots of r&r.


02 November 2011

Halloween Bash - Softball Style

This past weekend our mighty, mighty Mizuno girls participated in the Halloween Bash/Breast Cancer Awareness tournament.  Each team was given the option to dress up on Saturday. 

There were some cute costumes but I think we looked the best.  We incorporated both Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness.  Our coach's shirts even had pink on them.

We asked them to look tuff for this picture. hee tee hee

How did they do you ask?  They did great! Another weekend of improvement and about a notch higher on the skill level chart.  This team rocks!  It's not every tournament that 3 different players on your team each hit a home run. Yep, it's true.  And, once again we had quick thinking, quick plays, hard hits, awesome outfielders, good pitching and catching and the best thing-everyone hit the ball.  I don't think one player was in a slump last weekend. Not one.