Our Childhood Teddys

~The two lovebirds. ~

This is a story of love. Love represented in two teddy bears. The happy couple sits lovingly on top of our bed every day. Or as long as it’s a day the bed was made, lol. The big teddy is mine and the little teddy is my hubby’s. My teddy has been with me since I was a wee little girl. I don’t just love it because it is mine but because of the sentimental value behind it. It was given to me by my grandma and grandpa. My sweet grandma has been gone now for over 21 years. I can’t even believe it’s been that long since it has flown by. When I think of true love I think of two people – my husband and my grandma. They are the two people in the world that without a doubt, ¬†have loved me unconditionally. She would be so happy to know how much I cherish my teddy because of her.

Teddy has seen better days. ūüėČ

Teddy used to have a wind-up music box. I wish I knew what it sounded like.

As you can see from the pictures my teddy bear has seen better days. Fur missing in countless places, loose/ripped ears, broken music box and marker scribbled on her. These things would be okay Рif they were done by me. But, no, they were done by my little sister. She would want my teddy bear so bad and my mom would give it to her to, well frankly, to shut her up, lol.  The sad thing is that not only did my teddy get beaten up but it felt like so did my heart.

I think she looks much prettier in her yellow dress. This little dress was made by hand for my 18 y.o. daughter when she was a baby. The sweet lady that made it is now in her 90's and unable to crochet any longer. But her mind is as sharp as a whistle, lol.

Moral of my story? Parents,¬†please, think twice before: ¬†1. Giving your older child’s toy(s) to a younger sibling just because that sibling is being loud and demanding. To you it might not be a big deal but it is to said child. ¬†AND ¬†2. Giving away, donating your child’s favorite toys because they are just clutter to you or you think your kids don’t want them because they don’t play with them that often. Just because they don’t play with them that much doesn’t mean they don’t mean anything to them. I would encourage parents to decide together with the child and leave the final decision up to them with whom they want to share and whether they want to discard their toy(s).

My hubby's teddy.

And here is more love to add to my story. My mother-in-law saved just about every toy of my husband’s and his siblings childhood. When she saw I had my teddy and always kept her on our bed, she didn’t hesitate to send me his even though she had kept it all those years. A loving and sweet gesture if you ask me.

My little boy with daddy's teddy.

I hope you have a teddy or a favorite childhood toy of your own to enjoy and make you smile. If not, then I hope this post has made you smile today.

The Cupcake Courier

No I don’t deliver cupcakes, lol. ¬†I wanted to share with you about a pretty cool cupcake carrier I recently purchased. ¬†When I first saw it I knew I had to have it. ¬†What is great about it is just how many cupcakes it holds. ¬†Because really, who only takes 12 cupcakes to an event? I’ve seen carriers that hold 24 but I’d never seen one for 36. ¬†There is also enough room between each tray that you can carry ¬†decorated cupcakes without them getting messed up.¬†Another nice thing about this holder is that you can remove the trays and carry a tall cake.

                                      

The Cupcake Courier

It easily snaps in place on each side. It comes in a variety of colors, such as blue, green, pink and yellow.

Holds three trays of 12 each.

If you would like you can also add ice to the bottom holders and carry 24 cupcakes that need to be kept cool such as those with whipped cream cheese frosting.

The carrier was a really affordable price. ¬†I ordered mine from amazon. com and got free shipping. It came in a huge box and was well packaged. ¬†I can’t wait to have lots of events to be able to use my courier for.

Cupcake Fun

Recently I took a course in decorating cupcakes from a local cake and candy supply.  Not only did I have a blast but learned so much in a mere 2-hour class. Everyone who saw my cupcakes thought they were pretty cool and my kids were delighted to eat them. They want me to take more classes, lol!

My cupcake creations.

Spaghetti & Meatball

This spaghetti and meatball cupcake was decorated using a #4 tip for the ‘spaghetti’. The ‘sauce’ is a raspberry sauce that they sell at the shop, they also carried a strawberry flavored sauce.

The "meatball" for the spaghetti and meatball cupcake.

Isn’t this a great idea for the “meatball”?! ¬†Just unwrap and cover with sauce.

Mini grater to grate chocolate "cheese".

We used this mini grater and a white or cream-colored chocolate disk to grate the “cheese” on top. You can find this little grater, inexpensively, at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Chinese Noodles Cupcake

This delightful chinese noodle cupcake was pretty easy to make. The noodles are piped using a bigger holed piping tip, #6. The pink “shrimp” are a Starburst candy piece that I shaped into a “sort-of’ shrimp” shape.

Candy needed to make the broccoli.

To make the adorable broccoli you simply use the above wrapped candy. ¬†Unwrap it and with scissors cut it almost in half lengthwise to create the two-headed broccoli shape. Dab a bit of green frosting at the tips and dip into green “jimmies/nonpareil” like the tiny little balls you can see in the above picture.

Can you see the tiny little slices of celery?

To make the celery, use the green apple licorice like the one in the photo. Simply do a thin slice at a diagonal and voila, you’ve got sliced celery. You can find the green apple flavored licorice at a Henry’s or Sprouts. Winco is also a great place to buy candy inexpensively and they sell it in bulk so you can scoop out just the amount you need.

Two good tips I picked up on cupcake baking is:

1. 325 degrees is the best baking temp for cupcakes.

2. Use a tin pie pan or something similar, with water in it, placed under your cupcakes as they bake. This will help to bake them moist.

In an upcoming post I will go over the other cupcakes and show close up pics. Hope you get inspired to bake up your own cupcake fun!

Wild For Wildflowers

I'm lucky enough to have this view from my kitchen desk window.

Before, I never used to appreciate wildflowers much less think much about them. Except perhaps the ‘Black-Eyed Susan’ whom I used to admire growing wildly from the sides of the freeway off-ramps. When my second son announced that he wanted to grow wildflowers I was a bit dubious as the ‘weeds’ are not very attractive. I would always get on my hired gardener about making sure that he always removed any weeds. When I showed him which ‘weeds’ to leave alone, he even looked dubious. He was like “Those? You don’t want me to touch those? Okay….”

Well thanks to my son my eyes have now been opened to this beautiful part of having a garden. I not only appreciate wildflowers but strongly believe that there is a place for wildflowers in every garden.  I am so thrilled to be able to go out every couple of days and pick flowers to arrange around my house. And the array of color is just breathtaking.

So pretty in pink.

I will now always cherish wildflowers. Not just for the delight they have brought me, but because they are part of my son and his love of God’s handiwork.

I love these pretty white ones growing shyly in the back.

Our cat thinks it's a beautiful place to relax. It is one of her favorite spots.

I love it that I have these pretty flowers to brighten the inside of my home.

Even Mrs. DeVine in the Fancy Nancy books has a wildflower garden. ūüėČ

In the children’s book Fancy Nancy “Explorer Extraordinaire” there is a one page introduction to wildflowers – with fancy names! “Oooh-la-la”!

One reason I love the Fancy Nancy books is how the author incorporates real photography and facts in the stories, making the books educational as well as adorable.

Why Teach Kids To Sew?

It used to be that just about every household had a sewing machine.  Or if not, it was easily accessible from either grandma, an aunt or a good neighbor.  It also used to be that children would learn basic sewing from either mom, grandma, etc.. or at least in school.  Sewing was considered a useful and often times necessary  skill to have.  If a sock got a hole in it, or a button popped off a shirt, an older child or teen would certainly know how to take care of it.

Not in modern times, today most children grow up without ever seeing a sewing machine in person. ¬†‘Hole in a sock? Fix it by darning it? Are you crazy?!’ Just toss it. ¬†‘Shoot, shirt is missing a button – guess I can’t wear that shirt anymore’. ¬†Any of my scenarios seem familiar? Maybe a little exaggerated – but really not by much. ¬† With mass production, ready-made clothing can be bought reasonably inexpensive, albeit, low quality. And now a days sewing at home can actually be more expensive than store-bought clothing. ¬†So why teach kids to sew?

My biggest answer would be for the creativity¬†and sense of accomplishment it develops. ¬†It’s so neat when kids get to pick their own fabric and see it go from just flat fabric to something they can handle, feel, it’s useful – and they can wear it! And how awesome that they made it themselves! ¬†In sewing they not only get ¬†to spend time with a person that cares about them but they work on just some of these useful skills: following verbal directions, following visual directions, trouble shooting, decision-making, math, fine motor skills, and¬†patience.

Recently I signed up my daughters for a sewing club/class.  It meets just once a month and we love it. It is our fun and special time together.

Look at the super cute "kitty" print she picked out.

Notice the blue painters tape on the sewing machine. This is a great guide to help the beginner sewer keep straight stitches.

This is daughter #2 working on her skirt. I get a chuckle out of this picture because it reminds me of how much "patience" she had to practice with her project. Being a perfectionist she did not enjoy making any mistakes and most of all having to correct them, lol!

'Ta-Dah'! Made her first skirt ever. Notice the coordinating rick rack on the bottom edge.

Sending Me Back – To the back of the classroom.

ZUMBA! ¬†About a year ago I joined a Zumba class offered through my city’s parks and recreation department. ¬†I loved it, it was so much fun! ¬†I particularly enjoyed the music which is quite different and more upbeat than the traditional aerobic tunes. ¬†The choreography and dance moves make it even more fun.

What is it:

Zumba¬†is a Latin dance-inspired fitness program created by dancer and¬†choreographer¬†Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s.[2]

Zumba involves¬†dance¬†and¬†aerobic¬†elements. Zumba’s choreography incorporates¬†hip-hop,¬†soca,¬†samba,¬†salsa,¬†merengue,¬†mambo,¬†martial arts, and some¬†Bollywood¬†and¬†belly dance¬†moves.¬†Squats¬†and¬†lunges¬†are also included.

Wearing my Zumba skirt. Not necessary but fun to wear. Everyone I have talked to that wears one, has expressed that the 'jingling' gives them that extra umph to take the hip shaking up a notch. ūüėČ

I started off going to Zumba regularly for about 5 months. Then life got busy, I got lazy and stopped attending for about 8 months. Came back one day thinking I would just pick up where I left off. Thought I was a big shot and put myself at the middle to front rows of the class where I used to be. Hello, what was I thinking?! I ended up sore and misaligning my hips and lower back for three weeks!

This week I gave it another try, I came back as a newbie and put myself at the very back of the class – the last row. Where I belonged. I took it slow, modified my steps and form, walked in place when I needed to. I didn’t get embarrassed when the class went left and I went right. Actually, every time that happened it made me laugh!

I know with commitment and perseverance one day I will be back to the front of the class.

Make sure to wear comfortable shoes. They have shoes made specifically for Zumba. The ones I wear are the same ones a lot of dance teachers wear at ballet studios and such. They are split sole to make it easier to point and flex your foot. They also have a fairly smooth bottom to be able to glide and switch directions easily.

I hope if you get the opportunity you will give Zumba a try. It is a fun workout – plenty of sweating and fun shaking those hips. And don’t be afraid to go at your own pace!

Ready for class...