Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday Five: School's Out

Happy Friday everyone!  It is time for the weekly Friday 5!  Easy way to end the week by sharing 5 thoughts and 5 pictures from the week.  Join me every Friday. #Friday5

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5 Thoughts

1. School is out!  My kids' last day was Thursday, it is officially summer break for us!  It is chilly and cloudy, but it is summer.  It honestly doesn't feel like it yet, just feels like we are on a long weekend.

2. We have entered the world of Club Soccer.  Alex got recruited by two club teams after her last regular season game (which they won 6-0).  We went to the practice Monday and were still uncertain but went once again last night and I guess we are in it.  Soccer mom on steroids here now I guess.

3. My in-laws are here for the weekend.  The kids have already started sewing projects with Mimi.. though they will have to wait until Saturday to finish it as the sewing machine started smoking while Lucas was sewing.  It was a very old machine that my MIL gave to us and we were just talking about needing to get a new one.. and well now we are.

4. Ryder: "I don't like pictures of babies?"
    Me: "Why not?"
    Ryder: "Because you shoot them with canons"- he said while giggling and laughing

5. Last weekend the boys went camping and Alex and I had a girls weekend.  Alex was so excited about getting dessert at the restaurant but by the time we ate the appetizer and our dinner we were both too full.  Maybe we will skip right to the dessert next time.

5 Pictures
We may have been too full for dessert, but after walking the mall for a while we had room for candy! 
Final day of school officially out! 
Walking up walls and ceilings is fun
Sewing with Mimi
What is your Friday Five?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How to Make a Minecraft Birthday Cake

If you have boys, there is a good chance you have heard of Minecraft.  My boys love Minecraft, so it didn't come as too big of a surprise when my 5-year-old said he wanted a Minecraft Birthday Cake.
The cake actually ended up being a lot easier than I thought, and I have to disclose now that I didn't always use the proper Minecraft squares or cubes, but even my Minecraft obsessed 10-year-old loved the cake.
What I Used
2 Chocolate Box Cake Mixes
Square 12x12 Cake Pan (You can use a rectangle pan since cutting the cake anyway)
5 Pre-packaged Rice Krispie Treats
Butter-milk frosting (home made)
Green Dye (Wilton Kelly Green)
Blue Gel Frosting
Grass Tip (Wilton #233)
Square Disposable Cake Plate
Parchment Paper 
Minecraft Creatures 
Some like to make homemade cake, which is great, but I have learned the secrets of making the perfect box cake mix.  
After the cake was cool, I began by cutting out the base pieces.  I did level each piece for ease of stacking in the end.  I placed parchment paper over the cake plate, which ended up working out wonderfully and was easy to wipe the crumbs that fell when stacking the pieces.
I honestly just sort of eyed the pieces and began cutting different cubes (and yes a few rectangles).  I stacked them to create the hills that are common in Minecraft.  
After I arranged the hill pieces, I began adding the "grass".
I highly recommend picking up the grass frosting tip, as I can't imagine how long it would take to try and make the grass like this without the tip.
After the hills were all frosted, I wiped away the crumbs and then began adding the "sand".
For the sand I cut Rice Krispie treats in half, so they were not as thick.  I also cut the ends to square them off a little. 
I then added a square of water with the blue gel.  I simply outlined the square, then squeezed a bunch inside the square then used a knife to spread and smooth out the gel.
I printed the Happy Birthday sign from a site on-line and simply set it next to the cake.
The finishing touch was the animals. 
We had actually already ordered these animals as a gift for my son's birthday and when he said he wanted a Minecraft cake, we knew it would be perfect to use them on the cake first.
After we had the cake, we quickly washed the animals feet (they are plastic) and they became another birthday present. 
He absolutely loved the cake and it was honestly one of the easier cakes I have made. 
Have you ever made a fancy birthday cake?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Graduation, a Birthday and a Minecraft Cake

Last Thursday was a very special day.   Not only did my baby turn 5 but he also graduated from preschool!

He woke up excited to open his presents (due to some "helpful" misinformation and leading from his big sister).

So he got to open one present before Eric had to leave to work.

Then it was time, time to leave for his last day of preschool.

At the graduation they sang songs, with Ryder bringing out his 'inner-Alex' during the performance.

The parents tried to not laugh too much during the whole thing, it was hilariously adorable.



Then we got a special treat in that Daddy joined us for our lunch date.

The evening was filled with the Minecraft cake I made (more details about that tomorrow)
Birthday Cake


More presents

And dinner at Farrell's, where he actually only ate a few bites of his ice-cream.  He was smart though as he was one of the only ones that had any room left for birthday cake at home.

It was a wonderful and memorable day.  It was also bitter-sweet as it was the last preschool graduation for our family. Our family is officially making the shift from the little kids at home preschool years to just school years.  I have to admit while I am kind of excited about it, it also scares me too.  I know things will be different, but it will be good.

So to my last born, my baby- Happy Birthday! What a big day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Death is Always a Resident: A Book Review

I love being able to support new authors, as hopefully I will be a published author myself someday.  So when Lorraine Jeffery contacted me asking if I would review her new book Death is Always a Resident, I was happy oblige.

The Book:
Jan Myers has dedicated her career to helping the elderly. But after one of the elderly residents under her care mysteriously dies, Jan’s career, her daughter, and everything she loves is suddenly in jeopardy.

It’s up to Jan to piece together the clues and find out what happened before it’s too late!

This cozy mystery is a perfectly thrilling read. With shocking twists and romantic hints, it’s sure to keep you guessing till the very end.

My Review:
It took me a few chapters to get into the book, but once I was in I was hooked.  I love that halfway through the book, I was still clueless as to who could have done it and what exactly happened.  The clues slowly began to unfold all while the characters developed.  

I also really like the unique setting and storyline of this mystery.  It really got me thinking about the care of the elderly in general and made me grateful for those who do care and try and make a difference.  The book also had a very real feel to the entire thing, was never over the top. 

I liked the sub-plots of the story and the mother/daughter relationship.  It felt very real and genuine, with the struggles and problems that often accompany the teen years.  This is a quick read and also what I call a clean book, free of language and graphic imagery.  This would be a great summer read.  

You can find more about the author and the book on her website. 

You can purchase the book at:
Amazon//Barnes and Noble//Books and Things

Monday, May 18, 2015

Week 19: Best of the Blogosphere

Welcome back everyone! It's week 19 of the Best of the Blogosphere Linky party!

Last week we grew! Thanks for inviting your friends!
One of my favorite posts from last week's link up is a post from Jessica of Dreaming of Leaving.
She shares some great Instagram tips for blogging, including telling about some great apps that I didn't know about. 

We're featuring four of your favorite posts from last week. We had a wide variety of topics link up. Here are the ones that you loved. 
Distracted baby solutions

They'll Grow Up Soon Enough
They'll Grow up Soon Enough- Rahab to Riches

Thanks once again for partying with us. If you haven't had a chance, come meet us! Best of the Blogosphere Hosts
Party Rules:
  • Follow your hosts! Take a moment and give us some love! Follow us on social media so we can promote you!
  • Link up your best post of the week. Be sure to add the link for a specific post, not your homepage. And, please link up only one post.
  • Please link up family friendly posts- nothing political or religious. Also, please do not link up posts to promote giveaways, link parties or shops. Guess what? You can link up a sponsored post if you feel it’s your best post of the week. We’re cool with that.
  • By linking up with the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party, you are giving permission to us to feature your post with a link back to you- either as a weekly winner or our own personal favorite post
  • Take the time to visit a few blogs and vote for your favorite post of the week.
  • Tweet about us #bestoftheblogosphere
  • Follow the Best of the Blogosphere Linky Party board!