Lego Man Cake

Alex had a Lego party for his 9th birthday. Derek suggested making a Lego brick for the cake but I quickly dismissed that suggestion since it did not seem like a challenge. Alex provided me with this figure as inspiration for the cake. So I went for it and think it turned out all right.

Step 1: You need: 2 boxed cake mixes, frosting dye, and 5 large containers of frosting. No, I don’t even consider making my own frosting.

Step 2 – Place both cakes side by side and then carve out the general Lego man shape. Follow up with an initial layer of frosting. Place the cake in the fridge – it’s easier to put the next layer of frosting if the first layer is more solid.

Step 3 – Create the bodysuit? armor? training clothes? with orange icing. I used clear icing bags and a basic frosting tip for the rest of the icing.

Step 4 – Use gray icing for the equipment and part of helmet. I started questioning my cake decorating abilities at about this point – hmmm… 2 hours till the party, I wonder if the grocery store could make a lego brick cake in such short notice?

Step 5 – Using a wider icing tip I created the white sections of the helmet

Step 6 – The first attempt at making “Lego skin” was too pink (very bad in the eyes of a 9 year old boy) so I tried again and got a brown color. Good enough.

Step 7 – I added the black icing sections.

Step 8 – I added the red sections and called it done.

There were certain parts of the cake I wasn’t thrilled with but Alex was excited with the cake and that’s all that counts in the long run.

My Top 10 Favorite Adult Books

Maybe I should clarify…especially for certain friends of mine. When I say adult books I mean typical regular books you would find in your local bookstore – not the adult bookstore.
I love to read and am a pretty quick reader. I tend to go in spurts with my reading, i.e. 5 books in a month and nothing for the next month. I typically favor books that tell the story of women and children and their daily struggles and triumphs – whether that takes place in the depression or the present. Those stories can be fiction, biographies, or autobiographies. You will notice I do not have any of the “classics” on my list. Several years ago I bought East of Eden by John Steinbeck. I got as far as page 3. I figure my horizons are broad enough.
I hope you enjoy my selections.
Naked – David SedarisThis is the funniest book! My husband and I both have enjoyed many of David Sedaris’ books. The humor is sometimes crude and controversial but so worth it. This book is filled with short stories so it’s nice to read an entire story before bed. My favorite story of his “SantaLand Diaries,” is not in this book but worth whatever you have to pay to read it. 

The Color of Water –  James McBrideI have probably read this book 20 times since it’s my favorite book. James McBrides’ mother fascinates me. She born into a white Jewish family but raised her twelve biracial children as black and married a preacher she adored. This book mixes the history of Ruth McBride with the childhood struggles of James McBride and his family.

The Help – Kathryn StockettI cannot recommend this book enough. Once I started reading I could not put the book down. This book tells the stories of a group of white woman and their black maids in Jackson, Miss. during the civivl rights movement. I am eager to see the movie version of this book this summer and hope she releases a new book soon.



Funny in Farsi – Firoozeh DumasFunny in FarsiMy mom gave me this book after she listened to Mrs. Dumas speak at a conference. I, in turn, have given this to friends since I find it to be a laugh out loud book. Through short essays, Mrs. Dumas shares her life in California after coming from Iran at the age of seven. You will enjoy reading how her family deals with new American customs and expectations.

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate JacobsThis book focuses on a group of women who come together because of their interest in knitting. Some of die hard sitters while others come more for socializing. Moments in this book will make you smile while others will have you cry – amazing.


Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

I have read Angela’s Ashes several times and each time I am struck by the perseverance of Mr. McCourt and those around him while growing up in poverty in Ireland in the 30’s and 40’s.  This book truly makes you appreciate everything you have.
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna LandvikThis story follows the lives of five women who live on the same cul de sac in Minneapolis over three decades. Texas born Faith, antiwar activist Slip, sexpot Audrey, painfully shy Merit, and Kari the widow, all come together to take you along for an amazing read.

Good in Bed – Jennifer Weiner

This was my last selection to include in this list. Truthfully, many other books could just as easily be in this spot. I like this book because Candy is a strong character with a sense of humor while dealing with her ex-boyfriend writing about her and her “assets” in a national magazine.
The Other Boleyn Girl – Phillipa GregoryI am not a history buff but I am a social history buff. I love to read about the way people lived many years ago, the clothes they wore, and the activities that kept them busy. After reading this book I am thankful I didn’t grow up in the courts of England. Gregory describes them as being cutthroat and vicious – and that’s just between the siblings.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy

I love Maeve Binchy books, there’s just no question about it. I immediately get drawn into the characters everyday plights and am fascinated how she connects everyone’s lives eventually. Her books, which typically take place in Ireland, always keep me up late at night reading.

Do you have any favorite book suggestions for me?


My inner Towanda almost came out last week.

Let me explain.

I picked up my 2 yr old from day care and was informed she did not take a nap. Well, I needed to remedy the situation since we had a late night ahead of us. I decided to drive around, ignoring her, while she fell asleep. I knew she was tired and just needed to be strapped down in order to rest.

For the last two weeks my daughter has insisted upon “Pop Pop” being played in the car. That’s her way of saying “Turn on the Mary Poppins soundtrack or heads will roll.” My boys have endured countless playings of “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and “Jolly Holiday.” They just may come to believe Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are family members.

Truth be told though, nothing annoys me more than when I realize I am singing along with “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and I actually dropped off all 3 kids fifteen minutes earlier.

So there we were. Driving and driving. It took twenty minutes and eight replays of “Feed the Birds,” but she finally fell asleep. Not wanting to wake her up I continued listening to “Pop Pop.” I determined it was a small price to pay in exchange for the precious nap time she desperately needed.

Four minutes after Caroline’s eyes closed I came to a stoplight. I waited patiently trying to mentally map out my next 30 minutes of driving before I would need to pick up her brother.

A young man on a motorcycle pulled up next to me. I noticed his lack of a helmet and was worrying about his safety… when he turned on me. Without warning he needlessly started revving his engine. LOUDLY. Not once. Not twice. But continued to rev it for the rest of the stoplight.

What’s he planning on doing? Racing the minivan?

The moment the light turned green, the Fonz took off, screeching and roaring down the road.

And then it happened.

A loud shrieking sound from the back seat. All parents know the particular cry I’m talking about. It is the cry that says, “I wasn’t ready to wake up! I’m still tired! Now I ‘m really pissed off because I’m strapped down in this seat crying! I haaaaaaaate you!”

My inner Towanda wanted to come out.

If not for the fact that I would have had to explain to my husband why the front of my minivan was smashed in and that he needed to pick me up from jail, I just might have gone after that motorcycle.

Display Board for Kids Room

Do you have a large frame you haven’t used in years? We have several and I decided to turn two of them into something useful for the boys’ room. Since our marathon displays have been in a closet for probably five years I decided it was time to change them up.

After taking the back off of the frames, I sprayed them with red paint. The boys have red beds in their room so I decided the frames would coordinate nicely with those.

I had some chicken wire lying around and decided to use it. Yes, I know. We do not live on a farm and I just happened to have some chicken wire lying around. Last summer I was going to make a jewelry holder using a frame and the chicken wire but I never got around to it. So, yes…I had the chicken wire just sitting around.

The frames were 22 x 26 inches so we cut out a piece of wire that was 24 x 28 inches. This gave an extra inch on each side for bending and stapling.

I declined to include pictures of our bloody hands from the wire. This was for the benefit of everyone with a weak stomach.

Derek bent the wire edges roughly 90 degrees using pliers. The bent section was the extra one inch of wire initially added on.

He then stapled the wire in place.

We hung the boards on the wall using the same wire that was originally on the frame.

The boys were able to each place their special papers (drawings of their imaginary soccer teams) and ribbons on their own board using clothespins. (We didn’t make a cork board for the boys since having the push pins around would have been dangerous for Caroline.)

If I was a true “crafter” I would have decorated the clothespins with glitter or scrapbook paper but frankly that seems like too much work to me.

The final product – I love it!

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Last weekend I took Caroline and Andrew to our neighborhood Easter egg hunt. Derek and Alex were off at a soccer game so they missed out. As you can see, Caroline and Andrew were deeply disappointed to miss the soccer game.

Caroline is wearing her “e-sta wabbit dess” my mom gave her and Andrew is wearing a shirt from Aunt Kelly. Thanks for the adorable clothes!

She’s wearing her summer hat since it was roughly 90 degrees and sunny.

Andrew was very willing to take a picture with the Easter Bunny. Caroline, not so much.

One of my favorite pictures shows right before the egg hunt began – Caroline and Andrew look like they’re standing at an Easter crime scene…I can see the headline now:       Massive Mob Attacks Rabbit who Placed Fruit in Easter Eggs

After the Easter egg hunt, Caroline & Andrew came home and dumped their baskets on the floor. Caroline was excited to find plastic bracelets in each of her eggs. Andrew was happy with some of his finds – little erasers, spinning tops – but not so happy with some.

I am now the proud owner of 6 pairs of stick on earrings and 2 plastic rings.

6 Weeks

It has been 6 weeks since my miscarriage and I’m angry.

Just plain angry.

I don’t know what stage of grief that falls under. In fact, I purposely have not looked at the stages of grief. I don’t want to think I’m on stage three when a bad day makes me realize I’m really still at a one. I know I will teeter back and forth between the stages, whatever they may be, but I don’t want to know about them officially just yet.

Here are the stages I have gone through:

Stage 1: Sadness. To the core.

Stage 2: A Need to Hide: I could not see or talk to anyone the first two weeks. I knew I would break down and it was not something I was comfortable doing in front of so many.

Stage 2: Retail therapy: I told Derek I didn’t want to hear anything about our Discover bill this month. Just pay it and we’ll worry about the next bill in due time. I’m sure he’d say THE LOFT, Target, Macy’s, and Dillard’s have benefited immensely from my grief.

Stage 3: Annoyance: Annoyed that Derek gets to carry on with life as usual and I am stuck waiting. Waiting to exercise, waiting to have a direction again, waiting to feel normal.

Stage 4: Jealousy: Looking at pregnant woman wishing it were me. This one always makes me feel like such a jerk since I’ve already been blessed three times.

Stage 5: Anger: I’m angry I had to quit my part time job I loved. I’m angry I can only exercise 2 times a week right now because of some complications. I’m angry I got my period. I’m angry I can’t fit into my summer clothes because it’s 85 degrees. I’m angry the daycare can’t seem to clean my daughter’s nose once during the day. Just name it and I can give you my side of it and how to be angry about it.

Stage 6, 7, 8, 9, 10… I don’t know what phase I will go through next but I do feel confident I am moving in the right direction. Writing has truly been cathartic for me. It lets me share at my own pace.

I will be fine. Better than fine. Just not sure when.


Last week Alex invited a few boys over for his birthday. The first part of the party involved me driving them to Legoland. It’s a 30 minute drive and I only managed to remember a few of the precious jewels they said.

From the mouths of 3rd grade boys, enjoy:

“Last week we got to speak to the astronauts on the space station. I wanted to ask – Uranus – Does it have a crack?”

farting sounds – lots of giggles

“Dude, remember when we were camping and the door just closed on itself? It was bloody Mary.”

farting sounds – lots of giggles

“Don’t you know anything guys, it was really her Uncle Henry. Bloody Mary was taking the week off.”

farting sounds – lots of giggles

“Guys…inside voices guys.”

farting sounds – still, more giggles

“My third grade teacher got married. She changed her name to Mrs. Fleming.”   “Why did she change her name?”   “Dude, she’s not a pop star, she has to change her name.”    “Lots of paperwork is involved when you want to change your name.”

“Remember when we were little”


I must be more attractive than I thought.

Or maybe it’s my glowing personality.

Either way, I’m bewildered by my locker room experience today.

Let me back up and tell you the story. Then you can be the judge.

After swim practice today I showered in the locker room. The other female swimmers  were showering as well, chatting up their various plans for the week.

Once I finished showering I dried off by twisting a towel around my head and used a separate towel to wrap around my body. The second towel covered me from my chest to mid thigh. I stepped out of the shower stall and walked to the mirrors where I began laying out my things – lotion, brush, clothes.

I noticed my teammate Lynnae come walking around the corner from the showers. She had a towel wrapped around her and was carrying her caddy of shampoo products.

I smiled at her and went back to laying out my things.

As Lynnae walked past me she squeezed my right bum cheek, smiled at me in the mirror, and kept walking.


What the hell just happened here? I thought.

Aren’t teammates suppose to pat each others’ bums, not squeeze them? At least that’s what I think I’ve always seen basketball players on tv do?

Swimmers, they never even pat. Basketball & baseball players, yes.

I reiterate, swimmers NEVER!

Was I just violated?

Did I just get to second base with my 57 year old teammate?



Tree Mural

Why is it projects always take 14 times longer than you plan?

I knew I wanted to have a tree mural in Caroline’s room so I began searching for inspiration pictures in December.

I looked on Janey Mac vinyl but didn’t find exactly what I wanted so I combined the designs below:

Classic Tree Swirl w/Birds, Crazy Swirl Branch w/Owls, Swirl Tree w/Birds, Owls, Flowers

I took pictures all along the way: blank wall, the tracer, the tree, etc but they got lost in the world of technology so all I have are pictures of the finished product.

I printed out the vinyl pictures, enlarged them, and traced them onto the wall using a tracer.

I started with the tree first. I used the basic shape of the inspiration tree but then added several more branches.

The birds and the owls came next.

The initial green I used was too light so I darkened it up about 50%.

Everything on the wall needed about 3 coats. Ugh.

Probably would have gone faster if I had painted in increments longer than 15 minutes.

After many painting sessions I was done at the in the middle of February.

I told my husband I will seriously consider shelling out the money for vinyl next time.

Only 6 weeks to paint a tree. In terms of project completion, that’s got to be some sort of record around here.

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That Sure Is

Last night I went to the store to get some groceries. I chose the line with the 16 year old male cashier as opposed to the 60 year old woman. I figured less chatty, quicker, and will get the job done faster.

Among my items were 5 large containers of frosting. I am making a birthday cake for Alex and want to make sure I have enough frosting for it. My husband can attest to the fact that There’s nothing worse than running out of frosting 15 minutes before the party starts – not that I have ever been inadequately prepared for a party. Just saying, it could happen.

So as the teen grabs the frosting and scans it he says, “That sure is a lot of frosting.”

“Yes, it’s for my son’s birthday cake.”

That got me to thinking.

I wonder what he would have said if I had 5 boxes of tampons? “That sure is a lot of tampons.”

I was almost tempted to run back and grab the tampons just to find out.

Maybe I’ll wait until Alex’s 16th birthday.

I’ll send him to the store for the frosting and the tampons at the same time.

I bet that will make for a lasting birthday memory.