Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Best of 2010

These are in no particular order...just the top happenings of the year. 
1. Makiyah celebrated his first birthday in January. He has proven many times over that he is ALL boy. He loves to cuddle and be tickled. He still has the best laugh and can easily make you laugh. He's the social one of our two kids at this point. He and Amaya can play together like best friends and fight like brother and sister. I guess you can't have one without the other. His favorite toy right now is a horse. He got his first 2 haircuts this was sad to cut off the curls but it needed to be done.

2. Amaya celebrated her 3rd birthday in April. We celebrated with a Dora and a princess party...(two different parties). She is my little sweetie and I've actually stopped calling her baby girl all the time...where has the time gone.  I still do it every once in a while but not like I used to. This year we've spent some time doing "pre-school." I haven't been consistently doing it every day but we use every experience as a learning opportunity. This year has not been without trials...I think she breaks the record for fits and whining but it's been getting better in the last few weeks. She also loves to cuddle with me and one of my favorite things these past few months is her and I falling asleep together. She often wants to sleep on "mommy's chest." Gonna definitely let her do it until the belly is too big.

3. Chad has officially been at his job over 1.5 years now. It seems just like yesterday that he couldn't find a job and we are always thankful for this one.

4. Chad got 3 deer this year to stock our freezer once again. I'm looking forward to the jerky he is going to make any day now. I'm also going to try making some canned "bologna" with deer meat. It's not really bologna except it has different spices. I used to LOVE the stuff my mom made with ground beef so I thought I'd give it a try.

5. Chad finished our bay window in the living room. It has literally been taped off for 2 years now.  He was going to finish it when I was gone about 2 years ago and didn't end up having time so he taped it then and finished it actually didn't bother me (most of the time)...all things get done in due time. BTW: it looks beautiful!! =)

6. In March, I started my photo business: Joy For Life Photography by Elaine. It has been a blessing and has helped me to stay creative.  I love being creative and love capturing that special photo for someone. I've learned that I am more creative than I thought I was.

7. In September we took a family vacation to St. Augustine.  We took my mom and dad and really just had a relaxing time.  If you received a Christmas card from us, the pictures were taken there. We didn't have much of an agenda and it ended up working great. Makiyah loved the beach and was just starting to say sentences but didn't always know what to say.  During that trip we often heard...."blealkjlkeoidjfaoien;galkd..BEACH" (the first part of that means we had no idea what he was saying but he always finished it with a loud "BEACH"). He thought that every time we left the condo, we were going to the beach and it resulted in several meltdowns when he realized we were only going to the van instead. Amaya also could have spent each day, all day out there. She loved digging in the sand and getting all dirty.

8. While on our St. Augustine vacation I would have to say I planned one of the best surprises ever for Chad. See one of my previous posts. It worked out so perfectly and really couldn't have gone any better.

9. In November I went with my mom to Florida on a bus.  I can say that I will NEVER do that again...hopefully we will either fly or drive next time.  We contemplated both and then decided that it would be ok with her helping me with the kids.  I have never been so miserable in my life. On the way down from Cincinnati on I was in 2 seats with the kids and for most of the night I couldn't move b/c if I did Mak would wake up and cry. The way back was much much better since my mom was able to sit beside me and take care of Amaya through the night but I would definitely fly next time.

10. In November I also chopped off 10 inches from my hair (you can see my shorter hair in the first photo).  I donated it to Locks of Love.  I didn't know if I had that much but I did. I was glad since I was ready to have it cut off. Now I'm ready for it to grow out a bit again...LOL.

10. In October we found out we were pregnant with #3 and yes it was all planned. =)  We like to plan and space out the kids. After Mak, I really didn't know when I would be ready for a third.  I can't say I'm totally ready now but that's why they are in my belly for 9 months so I can prepare. I'm already excited to meet this little one. When Mak was born, I told Chad that we should be surprised when we have our third and not find out the sex.  He totally disagreed with me and now I think I disagree with myself. I want to find out. Only 7 more weeks till we know. At 13 weeks, this little baby already has legs and arms and little tiny finger prints....LOVE!

Some fun pictures from this year. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shutterfly...Great Deal!!

This is an absolutely amazing deal. I'm excited to announce that Shutterfly is giving away 50 free fellow ya go...check it out! Isn't it a great deal?  I've used Shutterfly before and have been happy with the quality of their prints and services. I always choose my prints/cards in matte since I think it looks more "finished." I absolutely love their selection of Christmas cards in all sizes this year! I typically stick with the 4x8 size but because of this give-a-way I might just go with another size.

So far some of my favorites are:
Many Memories Tree Christmas Card
Glitter Glamour Joy Christmas Card
Pictures in Snow Christmas Card

Oh my goodness they are all soo nice this year!!  REALLY! Go check it out for yourself:

Shutterfly has great search options too. If you know what color(s) you are looking for, you just click on those on the left side of the screen and it eliminates all the ones you don't easy is that? Also you can go directly to the size you want and not have to look through so many choices if you like to make it easier on yourself. You can also choose the amount of photos you want on the card and it will eliminate all the rest...again..soo nice!!

Here is a direct link to their CHRISTMAS CARD SELECTION...these all have photo options so you can add all your family and kids photos.

Seriously the more I look, the more I can't figure out just which one I'm going to get this year...yikes. =) I have to choose soon though.

One other gift I am thinking of giving this year is a photo calendar...what a great idea for grandma.  I may just have to put all the pictures my kids throughout the year in that is a link to their CALENDAR SECTION.

And just in case you are wondering...they also do photo birthday invitations...I'm a HUGE fan of using a photo for just about any invitation or occasion. Check out their BIRTHDAY INVITATION CHOICES.

Head on over to and see what you can find for your Christmas cards and/or presents this year. =)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our Vacation...The Surprise!

We arrived in St. Augustine yesterday evening.  Amaya kept asking if we were there yet..."mommy are we at the beach yet? Mommy are we in Florida yet?"  I think the first time she asked we were in Columbus...about 1 hr from our home. =) Fortunately she forgets easily so she didn't ask constantly..just enough to still be cute. =)

So far we have only spent about 10 min on the beach (yesterday) and 20 min. today.  I had a huge surprise planned for Chad for months now.  I don't even remember how long it's been but when we knew the dates of our arrival here in Florida, I contacted some friends (David & Suzanne Anderson) who moved to Florida almost 2 yrs ago. I wanted to try to set up some time with them when we came.  I also wanted to do it at the beginning of the week so that we would make sure we have time. Anyway, today worked out best for them so here is how it all happened.

Yesterday I sent Suzanne several texts and we agreed to meet at Planet Hollywood at Disney. I decided to keep our GPS with me in the backseat and give Chad just enough directions so that he had no clue where we were going.  Yesterday I told him I had something planned for today but I wasn't going to give him anymore details.  So today I told everyone they needed to be ready by noon. My mom was in on the surprise ..somewhat but my dad didn't know. Anyway, we started out going south of our location and Chad thought I was taking him to a place we had visited on our honeymoon. =)  That was so fun.  I tried to pry him to see if he had any idea and he didn' far so good.

We continued to travel south towards Orlando.  He still had no clue...later he admitted that as we got closer to Orlando he thought..."we should have contacted the Andersons and met up with them" but he never voiced that to me. We finally get to Orlando and finally make it to Planet Hollywood (got stuck in traffic...tried to find a way around it and lost some time doing that..=).

The plan was for Trent to come out and see if Chad still recognized him...he's changed quite a bit since they lived in Bloomington. Keep in mind at this point, I still haven't told Chad anything about our trip.  We were walking up to the restaurant and there was a huge alligator above the gift shop beside it and so Chad was busy looking at that.  I knew the Andersons were in the gift shop so we just kept walking.  Trent's girlfriend came out and walked up to Chad and said.."can you take our picture?"  Which at that point, Chad finally looked at them and since Trent's back was turned he hadn't recognized him yet. When he turned around Chad did a double take and said..."well, no I can't take his picture" (teasing) and then he says..."wow, what a coincidence that you are here". was so fun. 

He didn't actually get that it had all been set up until David and Suzanne walked up...oh what fun!!  I LOVE surprising people..haha I think it made me tear up a bit...but out of the pure joy of the moment. I haven't surprised him like that since his 30th birthday and his reaction was so great!

I love you honey. I love that I was able to surprise you today....and I love that we were able to spend time with the Andersons again!  They are a special couple in our lives.  Thank you Andersons for a truly memorable start to this vacation!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Final Project...Cake Decorating

Here is the decorating from my second night of class..the border and the finished piece (and yes that's a fish....made some mistakes on that one but hey it's a learning process right?) =)

I don't really like my handwriting very much but it turned out ok...I'm sure if I work on it a bit more it would turn out even better. =) It was also supposed to have some leaves with the roses but I didn't have time to finish those and I thought it looked good just the way it was. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cake Decorating....the steps

My friend Karina asked me to take a cake decorating class with her and I must say it was a lot of fun!!  I learned so much. I'm one of those people who hates to spend money on cakes especially when I feel like I should be able to make them.  I'm also one of those people that know nothing about decorating cakes. My two favorite cakes that my mom used to make growing up did not have any frosting so I didn't frost much.  I bought an instruction booklet a few years ago and learned the very basics...I mean the very basics.  I never learned to do any flowers or how to smooth a cake so it was basically not a very good deal for me.

I took pictures as I frosted the cake for my final project...see for yourself:

1. I didn't take a picture of this step but the first thing you do after baking and cooling a cake is level it. I got a really cool new tool to do much easier than trying to take a knife which I used to do.

2. The second step is to pipe some frosting on the bottom layer to create a dam for your filling.  As you can see my filling was simply a pudding cup...a trick I learned from it!! =)

3. The third step was to put the top back on...I put it on "inversely" so that my new top would be completely flat (it was the original bottom of one of the cakes).

4. The fourth step was simply frosting the cake. I frosted the cake and smoothed it as well as I could with my spatula. As you can see it's not very smooth..that's what my cakes used to look like.
5. The next step was really smoothing the cake.  The Wilton method is using a piece of parchment paper.  I learned an even better method from my classmate.  She told me about the VIVA paper towel.  It worked great...see for yourself. Isn't it amazing?

Stay tuned for pictures of my final project and pictures of the second night of class.  I didn't take pictures of the other two nights b/c I just didn't think they were that cool. =)

Friday, August 20, 2010

pretty girl

Mak's first haircut

On August 2nd Mak got his first haircut.  I was very sad to see the curls go but as you can see in the photo below...he really needed it! =)