MCONFESSOR's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=MCONFESSOR MCONFESSOR's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Today's Cake Order (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5742884 The order was for a Hawaiian themed birthday. They wanted a waterfall and flowers on the cake and a dozen cupcakes on the side - and beyond that, gave me a bit of creative liberty. This is what I whipped up this morning and will be delivering shortly. Hope they like it! It was a fun one to make. :) <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/7/l278643671.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/0/l1089684401.jpg"> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photo... Sun, 20 Jul 2014 18:07:49 EST Pinched Sciatic Nerve. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5742466 Last night and today have been spent largely praying and yelping in pain when I move. That's a slight exaggeration, but not by TOO much. What happened is pretty straightforward and uneventful - last year our special needs son had injuered me pretty badly during one of the extremely violent outbursts he used to have so frequently. The result was a herniated disc. It was bad, but it got better and has given me no trouble since for the most part. Fast forward to last night - he wanted to "b... Sun, 20 Jul 2014 01:28:00 EST I Accomplished Many Things Today! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5740448 Sometimes I stop at the end of the day and think "I really was doing things all day! Why do I feel like I did nothing?" Not today. I DID things. I did an arm, ab, and leg workout, then I worked outside for three hours on our back patio and the areas immediately surrounding it, then I made a full homemade dinner and dessert, and I also squeezed in four loads of laundry. I'm exhausted, but in a really good way I also felt completely justified in enjoying the dessert I put together - a Mouss... Thu, 17 Jul 2014 00:20:16 EST I Think We Need a Pool. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5738980 Nothing fancy, or anything. Just something we can plop into for a bit when it gets too hot (which is constantly these past few days and will apparently be that way for several more), especially our special needs son. He has such a rough time with the heat. We are generally very fortunate out here - it is rarely 'hot,' but this current stagnant heatwave has decided to hang on for a bit. Anyway, I am looking into them and we'll make a decision soon. <BR> <BR> Tomorrow I am going to buy a whol... Mon, 14 Jul 2014 23:06:33 EST The More Sweets I Bake, the Fewer I Want to Eat! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5737850 Yesterday found me on my feet and in the kitchen for 6 hours non-stop. I got in a few miles of walking IN MY KITCHEN. The orders are boxed and go out for delivery later today, and the trial batch of French Macarons are here for my family to try. I had a few turn out really well, but they are such incredibly time sensitive cookies that just the amount of time required to take one tray out, put it down, and turn around to get the other one (so less than a minute) was enough to overbake the sec... Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:33:08 EST Tired- But Doing Well! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5737046 It's been a busy week. I've had orders, my husband had his last day at his current posting (and going away party that I provided dessert for), and our temperatures are finally getting serious about going up. I've been working out every morning and getting in a lot of walking. <BR> <BR> For those who enjoy the baking photos, here are a couple of items. <BR> <BR> Triple Layer Cappuccino Meringues (low fat, low cal, gluten free - and about the size of a mini marshmallow) <BR> <img src=... Sat, 12 Jul 2014 00:24:07 EST Such a Great Week! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5733085 We have had such an incredible week. We were able to do all the things we had planned - and then some. More importantly, we all had a wonderful time together and enjoyed every minute of it. <BR> <BR> The beach trip wound up being unexpectedly (to us and the weather forecast!) drizzly, but we made the best of it and were still able to spend hours in the ocean and at the splash pad in the park attached to the beach. We played with mud crabs, collected shells, searched for treasure, had a... Sun, 6 Jul 2014 12:30:48 EST I Bought a Swimsuit. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5731562 I hate it. I hate how I look in it. I hate that I needed to get one. HOWEVER - I am glad I have it so I can frolic around in the ocean and plop down in the sand and build castles and things with the rest of the family. I'll keep a shirt over it and no one else will ever know how hideous it is - and I assure you, it IS hideous. <BR> <BR> Our trip will be wonderful, though, because we will be together and are celebrating Independence Day even if we aren't on US soil at the moment. Fun... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 22:09:51 EST Our Canada Day Adventures. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5730544 Our family had a great time yesterday. We also really enjoyed the fireworks over the Harbour. We took a full picnic spread complete with a watermelon grill and fruit kabobs. We took extra cupcakes and glow sticks to hand out to people around us and they seemed to like that quite a bit. Parents were very grateful have their children handed glow sticks and/or bracelets for free, because as anyone with a child in their life knows - the ones being sold AT events are incredibly overpriced, but... Wed, 2 Jul 2014 11:52:17 EST -35! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5729495 Today marks the day I have lost 35 pounds! Still a ways to go, of course, but hey - 35 pounds! That's awesome! I'm really happy with my progress and thrilled that I can say I have done this myself. No meal replacements, no diet pills, no anything other than counting calories, working out, and not making excuses about why I need more than those two things. (I am not knocking anyone who opts to use anything - it just wasn't going to be the right path for ME.) <BR> <BR> My husband is on l... Tue, 1 Jul 2014 00:52:16 EST An Actual Progress Photo. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5727115 I thought I would show how my progress is going so far. The first photo was taken last year at this time. The second photo was taken just this past Friday evening. While neither counts as a 'good' picture, haha, I DO think it shows that whether I feel like I can see it on a daily basis or not, some progress is being made. <BR> <BR> As of this afternoon, my husband starts 10 wonderful days of leave. We are all looking forward to that and have lots of plans - including a trip up island f... Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:08:52 EST Feeling the Burn. (Also, more order photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5725567 As the month winds down, I am DEFINITELY feeling the challenges and SEEING the effects. It's great. I have no plans of stopping when June ends, either. I plan to keep at it. Abs and arms have become such a natural part of my day now that I'd probably have a difficult time giving it up, anyway. I figure if I stick with it, I'll continue to see improvement AND continue to feel good about doing it. :) <BR> <BR> I have been really happy with my success this month. I have not deviated fr... Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:17:48 EST Happy Monday! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5723994 After an absolutely wonderful weekend, I look forward to starting an equally great week. I guess I have no reason to believe it'll be a great week, but more importantly - I have no reason to believe it WON'T be, so I am choosing to to be positive. :) <BR> <BR> I am working on an order later today that gets delivered tomorrow morning. I am really glad it'll be full of gluten and for a customer, because otherwise I KNOW I would want more of it than is healthy. Haha. A dark chocolate cake... Mon, 23 Jun 2014 10:02:15 EST A Fun and Healthy Brunch. (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5722770 To celebrate the first day of summer, my family sat down to find their plates bursting with the life of a food park! Whipped quiche filled with broccoli, mushrooms, onion, and a bit of cheese was topped with bacon roses and surrounded by broccoli trees, strawberry shrubbery, a ranch wading pond, and olive and carrot ducks. :) <BR> <BR> My own meal did not have bacon, ranch, or raw broccoli because I do not care for any of them, but the rest of the family loved it. My husband's plate i... Sat, 21 Jun 2014 12:25:54 EST Hello Everybody! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5721624 I hope everyone is doing well and having a great (and healthy!) week! We have been enjoying some very cool weather lately, although that has made enjoying some warmer weather activities nearly impossible. I have been keeping up with my Ab and Arm Challenges and am actually starting to see noticeable physical changes. Not a LOT, but just enough to make me feel good about my progress and providing a solid amount of inspiration to keep with it. My arms are where I see it the most and that... Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:47:23 EST So Much Baking. Business is going well. (lots of photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5719114 Between orders, new product advertising, and Father's Day, I feel like I have been baking non-stop for days. I am SO thankful to have absolutely nothing to make today (at least at this point in the day that is how it stands). <BR> <BR> I had my ab and arm challenges knocked out of the way before 8am today, so that was great. I may even add in a second round of each later. :) <BR> <BR> For those who like the baking photos, here you go. <BR> <BR> <BR> Strawberry version of Big To... Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:55:47 EST Our Oldest Son's Birthday. (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5716795 Well, today was the day. Our wonderful guy turned the big 1-8. He had a great day and absolutely loved his Dumbo party. He has been happily watching two of his gifts - both Christmas movies haha - and has had a huge smile on his face for hours. He seemed to really enjoy watching me make his cake and all the food. I did super teeny tiny mini 'ice cream cone' cupcakes and a cake that looked like a giant hot fudge sundae. We called it "Big Top Sundae," and everyone really liked it. (It ... Thu, 12 Jun 2014 21:52:45 EST Lots of Decorations! (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5715784 Yesterday I took a bit of my morning to work on the decorations for our son's party tomorrow evening. I dealt with so much tissue paper that everything felt like tissue paper for the rest of the day! I am happy with how things turned out, though, and think they will look nice when put up. Ian seemed really happy when he saw them. In fact, he loved one of the flowers to death - we originally had seven of them, but now we're down to six. Oh well, no great loss. :) Between what I made... Wed, 11 Jun 2014 12:49:46 EST So Much Ab Work! (And a guilt-free dessert photo) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5714919 Ow, my abs! It's a good pain, so nothing to worry or complain about, but wow. Today we are up to 50 sit ups, 50 crunches, 30 leg lifts, and a 38 second plank. It goes up progressively each day. I try not to look ahead, but today I noticed the end of the month and laughed and laughed. Perhaps that much laughter counts as more ab work! The arm challenge is doing its job, too. I have decided to just put my scale away for a few weeks. I realized I was getting way too bogged down with it a... Tue, 10 Jun 2014 11:10:55 EST This Week's Projects. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5714402 I am starting the tassel garland for our oldest son's birthday party this Thursday, making other decorations for that, painting little elephants pink to be literal "Pink Elephants on Parade," and am making the rough draft of a design to carve the watermelon the way I want on Thursday. <BR> <BR> It is so hard to believe our guy is turning 18! He has made so much progress over this past year and we are so incredibly proud of him. I would say he is consistent on about a 3 year old level in al... Mon, 9 Jun 2014 18:02:59 EST Cutest Little Snack (Photo)! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5713779 Today I made these adorable little olive, cream cheese, and pepper penguins. They were supposed to be done with carrots, but I was out, so peppers it was! I look forward to making them again. This test run went pretty well, though, and we all enjoyed them. I love making ordinary things extraordinary! <BR> <BR> Still doing the Arm and Abs thing. Still sore. Still loving it. <BR> <BR> We had another great end of the weekend picnic dinner this evening. I just love this new tradition... Sun, 8 Jun 2014 23:12:12 EST 30 Day Ab Challenge Update (and carrot cupcake photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5712972 The 30 Day Ab Challenge is going really well. I am DEFINITELY feeling it at the end of each morning, now, but I also am feeling great for continuing with it. Obviously I would love a noticeable difference at the end of the month, but more importantly I am happy it is keeping me in the habit of ab-specific workouts each day. It was a good decision to hitch onto this one! Sore abs for now, though! <BR> <BR> Yesterday I worked on perfecting a cupcake version of the totally from scratch hom... Sat, 7 Jun 2014 18:21:30 EST Craft Day! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5711743 I was able to set aside a bit of time to get ten more bookmarks and magnets made today. They will be on their way to children this weekend. :) I really enjoy making this for the kids of family and friends and am always happy to hear about their reactions when they receive them. <BR> <BR> I'm still going strong on my 30 Day Ab and Arm Challenges. I'm feeling it for sure, but in a good way! Besides that, I also got in a good round of cardio and a nearly 3 mile walk today. The nicer wea... Fri, 6 Jun 2014 00:45:20 EST Making Time. (Photos of recent orders at the end) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5710461 After finishing up my 30 Day Challenge routine this morning (today was supposed to be a rest day, but I wasn't feeling great yesterday so switched the days out), I decided I would MAKE time to post a blog entry over here. I still track everything daily, but I find that I miss the daily blog posts and interactions over here. :) <BR> <BR> We are keeping very busy now that the weather is so great. I'm also having to work on new recipes, orders, and advertising/consultations for orders. Bet... Wed, 4 Jun 2014 11:01:36 EST Another Day, Another Delivery. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5707599 This baking business thing is really taking off! I am completely surprised (in a good way). In fact, the lady cutting our son's hair asked how our day had been and when I mentioned that I had been up all night making cheesecakes to deliver to a party today, she asked for my contact information and is potentially interested in placing an order herself! (She's been doing our sons' and my husband's hair since we moved her, but baking had just never come up before.) There have been times over... Sat, 31 May 2014 17:37:40 EST Long Time, No Blog. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5704511 I hadn't realized my last entry was nearly a week ago! I try to not let that happen, but I have been extremely busy and, consequently, online less and less. Orders are coming in at a steady pace. Nothing overwhelming or even 'rushed,' but each week I have a couple of things going, so that has been really nice. I am also trying to work on a few home projects (helping my daughter redecorate her room, for one), getting summer projects lined up and organized, sorting/acquiring things for ou... Tue, 27 May 2014 15:54:18 EST Thank You All So Much! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5700036 I tried to make sure I made it to each page to thank everyone personally, but in case I missed any - I just wanted to say thank you for all of the words of encouragement, suggestions, pep talks, and support on my Blog yesterday. I was really feeling a bit down in the dumps and that's a pretty unusual feeling for me. It was so incredibly nice to be able to come here, let it out, and get feedback. I really do not use SparkPeople in that capacity, so it was great to know I CAN when I need to.... Wed, 21 May 2014 13:17:51 EST I Need a Pep Talk and Some Encouragement. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5699331 It's not easy for me to admit that, but here we are. I do. <BR> <BR> I am eating right. I am working out. I move constantly. I know I am doing what I am supposed to do and what I need to do. I am just getting really discouraged over the slow progress. Yes, it is steady, and yes I am happy to see the scale (and sizes) go down, but I am not feeling it lately. I'm not SEEING it. It is frustrating. <BR> <BR> I realize that we all lose weight and get healthy in different ways and at diff... Tue, 20 May 2014 15:24:19 EST Product Review - Gluten Free Bread. (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5697942 The Essential Baking Company's Gluten Free Super Seeded Multi-Grain Bread. <BR> <BR> Unlike many GF breads, it is not as heavy as a brick. Yes, it is dense, but that's a given. It has an almost nutty taste about it, but without nuts. In fact, it is gluten free, nut free, soy free, dairy free and GMO free. While it IS better toasted, it is able to stand alone without dressing it up too much. I absolutely love the seed coated crust and it has a pleasing texture. <BR> <BR> I can definitely sa... Sun, 18 May 2014 22:13:24 EST Cake Order Photos http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5696455 I had a lady order a cake for this evening and I actually remembered to get a few photos before it was on its way to its new home this morning. She was very pleased with it and there have already been a couple of inquiries from co-workers regarding one of their own. I am glad things are really taking off. <BR> <BR> Golden butter cake with vanilla bean buttercream filling and frosting, covered in coconut, and topped off with hand carved fresh strawberry roses. I must admit, I thought it... Fri, 16 May 2014 13:55:10 EST What is Your Favourite Summer Dish? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5695591 Just thought we could all use a little inspiration when it comes to looking ahead to healthy warm weather dishes, so if you are interested in helping everyone out please leave a comment with a recipe or dish you really enjoy in the summertime and would like to share. <BR> <BR> Thanks so much! <BR> <BR> <BR> For me, I absolutely love fruit, so I am a huge fan of carving fruit into festive shapes and designs. I also enjoy making homemade sorbet (thoroughly blend fresh fruit and juice, t... Thu, 15 May 2014 10:28:53 EST Sore. Good, But Sore. (A post op photo for fun) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5694854 Dental surgery went well yesterday. I took a little extra time to numb up, and it wore off much more quickly than 'average,' but things were still good and went as good as anyone could want. I did bleed quite a bit later in the evening, and wound up having to stay up most of the night to keep alternating/changing gauze, so I get to add 'very tired' to the list that includes sore and swollen, but all in all I'm good to go for the most part. :) (I cannot do cardio for a few days, but I'm sti... Wed, 14 May 2014 11:19:07 EST 'Twas the Night Before Surgery... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5693680 As it turns out, the procedure will be a little more involved than originally thought, but still fine and manageable. My tooth has an extra root and they are a bit deeper than usual, so they will remove that, shave the bone, and stitch me up (if it needs it). I am supposed to expect to be sore and swollen for a few days, so I did a lot of work today just in case I really am. I made up several dinners in advance and portioned them out for my family, made up my husband's lunches for the we... Mon, 12 May 2014 20:34:03 EST Flower Course Photos, a Quick Update, and Other Photos. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5690206 Tonight we started the final course in our Wilton series. We made pansies and button flowers. They turned out pretty cute. :) <BR> <BR> My eating and exercise are still on track and going well. I am very optimistic about May and how I will end the month as far as weigh ins go. An interesting thing I have noticed is that even when I do make sweets that I can eat, I don't have a lot of desire to actually eat them. I find myself wanting yogurt for a dessert. In many ways I really like ... Thu, 8 May 2014 01:45:38 EST A Milestone Day For My Family. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5687952 Today marks one year since our special needs son has had a serious violent outburst. We had begun to believe that is something we would never be able to say, but thankfully we all held out hope, had faith, and followed our gut instincts on how to handle his situation. <BR> <BR> After years of medications (which I held out on for a long time, but finally had to try anything that might help - and it absolutely WAS the right decision at the time), we made the decision last year to wean him ... Mon, 5 May 2014 11:03:01 EST Rainbow Photos (and some bonus deer)! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5686832 We had a beautiful combination of sunset, storm clouds, and rainbows last night. We got a few photos and I thought I would share them with you. The deer that came up to graze as we were watching everything else were just a really awesome bonus. :) <BR> <BR> <BR> As for my program: Diet is going well, exercise is going well, and life is going well. Can't complain about any of that. The $10 a loaf gluten free bread I tried wasn't so great, but what can you do? Keep trying and be thank... Sun, 4 May 2014 00:19:46 EST Advanced Gum Paste Course Final Project! (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5684748 Well, I may not have been feeling the class on a week-by-week basis, but I was thrilled with the final project once it was fully assembled! I knew what it was supposed to look like, but I had a difficult time believing that all the petals and leaves we were creating were every TRULY going to become 'something.' Thankfully, they really did! <BR> <BR> There wasn't a set way you were supposed to present them in the end (some just stuck them in plastic or styrofoam cups for easy transport, ... Thu, 1 May 2014 09:46:30 EST Ugh. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5683856 I have been so incredibly careful since the tests came back positive. I have eliminated every single thing that has even thought about containing gluten. In return for my constant vigilance, my body has felt significantly better and stopped having excessive swelling of the abdominal region, awful stomach pains, uncomfortable unmentionable issues, and bleeding incidents - along with multiple other problems that could be traced back to my inability to properly digest/process things. <BR> ... Wed, 30 Apr 2014 09:56:28 EST The Last of the Guests Have Departed. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5683580 I hate to sound excited by the fact that we are without visitors for a while, because I did enjoy them very much, but my goodness - two weeks solid of revolving 24 hour a day guests is exhausting! Everyone had a lovely time, though, and we are glad they were able to come out. <BR> <BR> While I have a thousand things I could catch up on, I think I'll content myself with just saying that it was fun but I am looking VERY forward to getting back into our standard routine. We have more guests... Tue, 29 Apr 2014 23:05:08 EST The Best Way to Eat Carrots! (Photo of new gluten free carrot cake recipe I tried) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5680151 I had been toying around with trying a completely homemade gluten free carrot cake recipe for a while, but was never able to completely rationalize that 'what if no one else likes it and I am stuck with an entire mediocre or bad cake' feeling. With my in-laws being here, and loving carrot cake, I finally overcame the hesitation and just did it. <BR> <BR> I cannot believe how great this turned out! <BR> <BR> As with any recipe I run across, I tweaked it here and there, and now have even mor... Fri, 25 Apr 2014 10:48:49 EST I Carried a Watermelon - and then I carved it. (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5679138 Today I hosted a tea party luncheon for 10. We had a great time and everyone seemed to enjoy the meal I prepared. <BR> <BR> I just thought I'd share the fruit carvings I made. :) <BR> <BR> <BR> Watermelon Teapot filled with watermelon and cantaloupe balls. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/7/l175793756.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Teapot with the small strawberry rose bush beside it. <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/9/l597939016.jpg"> <BR> <BR> The table and... Thu, 24 Apr 2014 02:50:43 EST Vistors Arriving Round 2! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5677945 Against my better judgment and natural inclination, I took yesterday 'off.' I felt like I should have been cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, but I realized that their flight doesn't arrive until 8pm tonight and, honestly, I NEEDED the one day of rest and sleep in between guests. I was running a fever, horribly dehydrated, and just felt exhausted. I am happy to report that I feel right back up to speed today, so clearly it worked. :) <BR> <BR> I am currently in the throes of laundry, picki... Tue, 22 Apr 2014 13:34:15 EST Happy Easter! (A few photos from the week.) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5676718 What a wonderful day to stop and think about how fortunate we are, how important forgiveness in our lives is, and how we should treat others. :) <BR> <BR> We had a lovely Easter. Also, my sister in law and our friend made it safely back to the mainland and we have exactly one day until our next visitors arrive. I have just enough time to get everything re-scrubbed, all the laundry caught up from the week, the guest room bedding changed, the guest baskets re-stocked, and all of the shoppi... Mon, 21 Apr 2014 00:23:33 EST Still Here! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5674782 I know I've neglected this, but I've been busy. My sister in law is visiting, so online time is almost non-existent. I am currently trying to keep myself awake to finish the specialty Easter eggs I am making for everyone's baskets (we will have our usual six for our family, plus one for my sister in law and one for another friend who is coming over from the mainland for the weekend). <BR> <BR> We are going to try to make the early morning Good Friday service tomorrow, but I have accepted... Fri, 18 Apr 2014 02:18:53 EST Photos of Today's Walk. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5671574 We had such a nice weekend, and such gorgeous weather. Today's church service featured Baptisms and Child Dedications, so that was very nice to witness. Afterward, we took all the children down to a beautiful oceanfront garden/park where we all had a great time. Following that, we went to drop off food for someone in temporary need who had reached out to the community for help. I love when opportunities to help someone come up at a time when we can do just that. It also helps show the c... Sun, 13 Apr 2014 22:38:27 EST Son's 15th Birthday - and I Made a Strawberry Rose (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5669855 Yesterday one of our sons turned 15! He is a fantastic young man and we all had a wonderful day. We had a tropical luau dinner party, games afterward, and then enjoyed a Cupcake Volcano. Along with the fruit kabobs I had made, I tried my hand and making strawberry roses for the first time ever. Needless to say, we're all hooked and now we want strawberry roses at every meal. Haha. <BR> <BR> Yesterday was gorgeous weather, today is gorgeous weather, and our weekend is supposed to be... Fri, 11 Apr 2014 13:44:28 EST First Advanced Gum Paste Class. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5668666 We had our first class of Course 4 tonight. It was quite enjoyable, but I'm not the biggest fan ever of wrapping wire with florist tape! Haha. Oh well, I'll get used to it and learn to love it. <BR> <BR> The only items we got to bring home tonight were our Gerbera Daisies. Mine is light blue and my daughter's is lavender. Our other items are hanging on our drying racks in the classroom, as they are part of a multi-week project. My daughter dropped my daisy on the way into the house, ... Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:54:10 EST Photo of My Finished Tassel Garland and Blackboard http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5667695 After waiting plenty of time and deciding on what kind of decorative accent I wanted around it, the bar area in our dining room is finally complete - making the entire room finished! I am so happy to have it all behind me. The blackboard works wonderfully and I will definitely come up with something else to use the rest of the paint on. The tassel garland was also quite simple, although a bit time consuming. It is going to work great for permanent decoration in that area, but I could def... Tue, 8 Apr 2014 21:05:51 EST New Tire (as I get rid of my 'spare' one). http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5664672 I've noticed a bit of a decrease around my middle these days. I like that a lot. <BR> <BR> In non-body news, we had to have a tired replaced where one had blown out when my husband was on the way home from work night before last. It took two days to get into a place that had the right tire AND could put it on. We're lucky they squeezed us in, because a lot of them aren't open on Saturday. In any event, it has been done and the van is good to go again. <BR> <BR> What is everyone else ... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 23:24:11 EST Our Son's 13th Birthday Today. (Photos) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5663960 Our youngest turned 13 today. Thirteen! We now have three teenage boys and a 21 year old daughter. That seems crazy to think about! We all had a great family dinner tonight and then enjoyed a night of games after that. <BR> <BR> I spent hours making the cakes and dinner, and am absolutely exhausted this evening, but it was well worth it to see not only our son so happy, but everyone. I try to never lose sight of just how very Blessed I am. <BR> <BR> (I also wound up getting in a lo... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 01:24:24 EST