Sunday, December 22, 2013

Festive Cake

      My Aunt DaNita was having a Christmas party with her coworkers and none of them wanted to make or bring a cake to the party. And how can you have a party without a cake? So Aunt DaNita asked if I would make them a  red velvet cake, and they would reimburse us for the ingredients.
I haven't decorated a cake in a while, but I told her I would.

Words from my Nana echoed through my head as I said I would decorate the cake.
"You have to keep up with making cakes, or you start to forget how to do it."

And....the last cake I decorated was.....hmmm....back in June or July?

Sadly enough, I was really regretting having to decorate a cake for them. Everything gets so busy in December, and this was just something to add to it.

So at first I was just going to crush up candy canes and sprinkle that on the sides and the top of the cake.

But then I sat down and sketched out my own idea:

I kind of shocked myself that I came up with  a good plan in under 5 minutes.
I watched a poinsettia flower tutorial on youtube, and then made my own.

Ahh, I would say it turned out pretty well, being that I really didn't want to do this anyway!
It was fun to make and decorate a cake again.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh, Christmas Tree

I knew the flea market was off to a really good start once I had gotten out of our van and was overcome by the freezing temperature inside the flea market building, it was so cold that my nose was attempting to fall off my face. Okay, well it wasn't that bad, but I was feeling rather numb. After our table was set up, I sat down in a chair behind our checkout table. In the spot behind us, the elderly vender noticed that I was vigorously trying to thaw my hands and offered me his warm winter mittens. That was so nice of him! I had my own pair of gloves, but I thanked him.
I really like how nice the people are at these farmer/ flea markets.
Once the flea market doors opened for shoppers to come in, mom and dad left Britney and I to manage the tables as they walked around. Which they took a good hour or more doing...haha. But once they got back, Britney and I ventured up to the farmer's market building, just a short walk away. It was snow flurrying as we went outside- so pretty!
The Booktail vender was there! I decided to finish up Christmas shopping for my family by buying each of them a booktail from him. I let Britney pick out her own since she was shopping with me.
I got dad a Holy Bible charm booktail, he doesn't really read anything besides his Bible, so I think it's a perfect fit, Britney picked out an owl booktail and I got mom an angel booktail. Horrah! His deal is buy 3 for $20. I had $25, so I had $5 left after I bought from him, so I found another vender with organic dog treats and bought Mandie two big peanut butter bones for $5.
I'm finally done Christmas shopping!!
Dad: 4
Mom: 5
Britney: 4
Mandie: 15
(Haha for Mandie I got:10 small organic pizza treats + a free one (Christmas special) , 2 large organic peanut butter treats  and 2 stuffed toys- I spoil her...I really do.)
I still had some money from my grandparents, so I went back to the Booktail vender and picked out three for myself-haha. He realized that I had already bought from him, and told me that after I buy 3 booktails, the price goes down to $5 for each. So I bought four!
A thimble( Peter Pan themed! I didn't realize it until after I bought it, but it's probably going to be my favorite!) A retro scooter, a teacup and a globe.
Britney and I made our way back down to the flea market building and walked through the vender's tables. We went to a table with crochet afghans. I saw a really soft pink one that I liked, but it was $15 and it was for a I refrained myself. I began to feel bad for the elderly vender lady, because she was unfolding and holding up each and every afghan that she had on the table. The very last one was really long and pretty, for $20, so I decided to get it from her. First, because I would have felt guilty for her unfolding all of her afghans for Britney and I to see and we just walk away,  and second, because I've been actually wanting a blanket/ afghan like it, or I've been wanting to make one, and lastly, I think it made her day!
Whew, I spent a lot. But most of it was Christmas shopping. I'm just not really used to spending that much, not even in a month, less likely in a day!
I also went walking around with my mom later on in the day. It was near the end  of the selling day and people were already regretting to pack up what they didn't sell, one vender came up to my mom and I and gave us a plastic bag, gesturing to his table he said, "I'll give you this back for a dollar if you fill it up with items from this table." I was really glad he did that, because I had just laid my eyes on a 7" by 12" ocean painting and was thinking it would be out of my price range. And I got it for practically nothing!
I wanted to get it because I could feel the paint on the canvas, meaning it was hand painted. And it looks easy enough that I think I could buy myself a canvas that size and follow that painting as a guide and recreate it!
Oh! That reminds me! I signed up for another Bob Ross class in January. It's an ocean painting...which is a little odd because it's still winter at that point, but it's beautiful none the less and I can't wait to take it!
It's finally tree shopping day! We would have typically gone on a Saturday, but since we had a spot to sell at the flea market, dad took off work on Monday so we could get our tree then.
The day started by having to get dressed nice and warm. It called for cold temperatures, which didn't surprise me.
In the end, I felt like such a mixture of a hipster/ lumberjack.
I had on a slouchy, white, crochet hat from the thrift shop, a warm, crochet scarf my mom made me, two layers of jeans....well leggings, and then jeans anyway, a loose, black shirt and a plaid flannel shirt on top with boot socks coming over my jeans and my mom's old winter boots!
Goodness gracious! Haha
Our day had changed slightly. When we go Christmas tree shopping, we always go out for breakfast. We used to always go to this place in town called "Four Seasons" every time we went to find our Christmas tree. Much to our dismay, about four or five years ago, Four Seasons went out of business. And we've been having to go somewhere else for breakfast on tree shopping day.
 For over a year there's been rumors about a reopening and calling the restaurant "The Fifth Season"
and sure enough, it reopened late this fall!
Britney's last college class was rescheduled to Monday, so we moved our annual Christmas tree shopping breakfast to Christmas tree shopping lunch.
We treaded through the tree farm for over an hour until we found our perfect tree and arrived at home around 5pm. At this point, we still had to clean the church, and decorate our tree.
When was the Desolation of Smaug going to fit in?
Unfortunately, we all decided that it would be better to wait until Wednesday to go see it.
Tuesday night dad had Bible Study- which I haven't been to in over a month, and I had a CBA Christmas Party to attend.
I had my last MOPS of the year today! It's been so great getting to know these wonderful little kids. Bennet, Marie, Waverly and William are just the sweetest.
Once the kids had left and we were all cleaning up, I was given my money and a gift bag, which had a card with sweet notes from the mothers of the kids we've been caring for, plus a small ornament and some Ghirardelli peppermint bark! My absolute favorite Christmas candy....ahh!! I was so not expecting any of that! 
I gave Shannon her mom's soap and gift tag order. Her mom later posted on facebook a picture of the tags and how much she liked them! So sweet!
Later that day, was the CBA Christmas party.
When the time came for the Ugly Christmas Sweater Fashion Show, I noticed that the CBA yearbook camera was on a tripod, unmanned. And the fashion show was about to start. I didn't sign up to do the photography for the Christmas Party, but somebody had to do it. I positioned myself to the best spot I could get. Everyone had already sat down and I didn't want to hit anyone with the tripod legs.
Mrs.Abbott noticed my struggle and told the CBA students to make way for me because this must be archived. I felt so important as people made way...haha. I actually had a minor Moses moment.  A clear path was made just for me! Aghh haha.
I felt really awkward being the only one standing and taking pictures, but I also felt kind of important. And I could kind of feel, pride beaming from Mrs.Branham, our Yearbook teacher because I took on the job of photography and nobody asked me to.
Once the fashion show had ended and the winners were announced,
I positioned the tripod back in front of the Christmas photo booth, which I took the pictures for as well. Mr. Smith came up to me and told me to tell the people going in to keep the door in the photo booth closed, because if they open it, the Christmas lights just fall down.
Woohoo! I felt so important gahh all the teachers were talking to me.
After about 100 photo booth pictures had been taken, a student called for a group picture.
I had a zoom lens on the camera, not the wide angle lens, so I had to back up all the way to the door!
I was starting to feel a little left out since no one was trying to figure out a way to get me in the group picture, when Christian came through the door. He graduated last year from CBA and was on the yearbook staff. Someone yelled from the group for me to give the camera to Christian so I could get in. I trusted him with the camera and they all yelled for me to get in.
I went over to the right side of the photo booth.
Jeremy was there and got down from the chair he was standing on and told me to get on because I was shorter. I didn't have time to argue because Christian was about ready to take it. But I wasn't fully on the chair because it was starting to lean forward, embarrassingly enough, Jeremy was standing in front of me, and I had to balance myself, so I held onto his shoulder for support.
Otherwise, I was about to be flat sandwich, Stephanie.
That was so sweet of him though!
The only thought in my head today was, wow. At this time next week, it's going to be Christmas day!
Mom, Britney and I went out shopping for Nana, she hadn't gotten the grandchildren anything yet, so we shopped for her. That was fun, but we were out well until after lunch shopping!
Later we went to finally go see the Desolation of Smaug.
It was so good! I really liked it.
I would post so much more about it, but I don't want to spoil anything for those who might want to see it, but haven't yet. (;
6 days until Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sharpie Mug Tutorial

My dad never fails to be the hardest person to shop for when Christmas time rolls around. And this year I wanted to get him something he would never expect. (He's always asking for a new John Deere hat or tractor books...which I find boring to buy and give to him).

I've seen Sharpie mugs on Pinterest before but it was usually about Sharpie Mug Fails. I was kind of worried about trying it out. But it was successful!

I went to our local AC Moore which has a whole section of sharpie markers that you can buy individually- which worked perfectly for me, because I only needed black, golden yellow and brown.
Then my mom went to the dollar store and picked up a plain white mug for a dollar and I sat down and sketched out the doodle I wanted for dad's mug. Once I figured out what I wanted, I did a light pencil sketch on the mug and went over it with sharpie. I did two layers of each color, letting the ink dry between each time, and placed it in the oven and then turned the oven on to 350 degrees, allowing the mug to warm up with the oven, Once the oven hit 350 degrees, I set the timer for 30 minutes. Once the timer went off, I turned off the oven and let the mug cool down with the oven.

It's rather simple! And the design didn't come off when I washed it! I'm so excited to give this to him!
(It's perfect for his daily morning coffee)

I don't recommend dishwashing the sharpie mug, it should be handled with care and hand washed in your sink.
Just try it! There's so much you can do with this fun project!
Have fun!
As a side note, I'm thinking about going to the dollar store and stocking up on these simple white mugs and doodling on them and selling them for $8 each at our farmers and flea markets! What do you think? I think they should go over much better than the cards and the bookmarks have been going. (Aka...not at all...mainly because no one sends cards in the mail anymore...besides me, and reading is going digital, so you don't really need a bookmark for that). The sharpie mugs should go much faster than my cards and bookmarks have been going. Though I think I'll keep up with the Christmas tags for next year. I got an order for 20 of them!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow, snow, snow! (And a little art)

(The view out of my bedroom window)
I was away this weekend to New Life Bible Camp with my youth group for a "Fall" Retreat.
It was a very much needed time away with some good friends and my bible.
The bus rides there and back were the most exciting and scary!
As we were traveling to the large retreat cabin late Friday evening, it was  raining and one of the main roads we usually take to get to New Life was closed. We drove into a neighborhood and talked to a postman on a late evening route. He directed us into another neighborhood...but I don't think he ever took into account how huge the bus was...and that it was impossible to get in and out of the narrow road. At one point I couldn't see anything and the bus was leaning heavy to the right (I was on the left side) I heard people murmuring about the end of the road, and that we were heading off the road. I didn't know what was happening because I couldn't see. The bus kept jerking forward and I pictured the bus nearing the edge of a cliff. Thankfully, I later found out that it was just a steep hill with no guardrail and there were jagged rocks on either side of the bus. Next we drove up a hill, but there was a telephone pole straight ahead and a house on the edge of the road that we would run into if we made the turn. So we slowly jerked back down the hill, backed into someone's yard and made our way out of the neighborhood. What a stressful ride!
When we all woke up on Sunday morning, there were huge snowflakes cascading and swirling down from the sky.
This was very gorgeous, but made for a very challenging ride home.
We left an hour early (12pm) and didn't get back home until 6pm. (The camp was only three hours away from where we all live) Snow had piled up and was getting worse the closer we got to our destination. The highway was the worst part. Big trucks were stopped in the middle of the highway, cars spinning everywhere and we couldn't see the lines! It was chaos as the bus driver weaved us through all the cars and trucks. I was really surprised that the roads hadn't been pretreated.
Peter and Wendy

Princess Anna from Frozen
It's snowing again today! I'm so super happy about finally having snow. For some reason, I can't get it through my head that it's Christmas time until a carpet of thick snow lays itself outside my window.
I'm so grateful for these days!
I was supposed to continue doing school until the end of this week, but mom talked with me last night and said that we were done. Focus for school has just left both of us, and we're both ready for Christmas break!
MOPS was cancelled today, but it was rescheduled to next Tuesday. I'm glad they have a makeup day. Because Shannon and Mrs.Johnson are the people that I carpool with and both of them have soap orders and also a huge Christmas tag order from Shannon, so I was just going to give them their order today, since they live so close we don't have to worry about shipping.
Also, the little boys and girls I work with are working on a couple Christmas songs to sing to their Moms on the last day!
I like how I get money from doing this, but I think I'm having more fun than the kids! I'm enjoying snack time, story time and play time with the little preschoolers.
AHH the Desolation of Smaug comes out in THREE DAYS!
We're going to watch it next Monday, the 16th. (Yay yay yay yay yay!)
Britney, Mom and I went out Christmas shopping yesterday.
All four of us get money from my grandparents on dad's side of the family. We go out and buy what we want, then give it back to them and they wrap it and we have Christmas over there a few days after Christmas.
I got a gray leather bound Lord of the Rings and a brown leather bound Hobbit.
I realized that my dad has them all, but I don't!  So when I move out, I would be without those wonderful books. But no worries now!
I'm also going to buy Tangled from them.
Can you believe just those three items are $20 each? Eeesh.
Photos from my walk in the winter wonderland:
I'm so, so, so ready for Christmas!


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

These next few days...

    "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6: 34
Tomorrow will be full of studying for my 90 question final in biology happening on Thursday.  There's going to be 6 pages with 45 vocab, 6 matching, 23 short answer, 13 multiple choice, 1 figure to label and 2 essay questions. I need to review all of the last four modules.
Have I mentioned that dropping out of biology has crossed my mind far more than once?
I would still have to take it again, because I need biology to graduate. And I'm halfway through, with a soring grade level, but it's just far too stressful. I'm so grateful that I'll be halfway through after this Thursday and that I have a Christmas break for the rest of December.
I'm also going away to a youth group retreat this weekend, leaving on Friday and coming back late Sunday afternoon. I'm anxious about the retreat as well. Last year, at least I had my sister to be with. But this year she isn't going! She's not in high school anymore. When I turned in my form, I requested to have a room with Amanda, one of the girls I stick to during youth group. I remember being in a room last year with very pretty girls. I felt out of place and awkward. Especially since I didn't know them very well. Th Fall retreat is usually a lot of fun. I think once I find a seat on the bus and we're on the way there, my worries about the retreat should fade away. After all, I had a whole bunch of fun climbing Ghost Mountain with Amanda last year!
One of my youth group leaders is ordering 20 hand drawn tags from me! Whoo! That means I'll make $10..haha I wonder what book I should put that money towards? Maybe I'll put it towards purchasing Tangled, we still don't have that on dvd. The only thing is that I only have 6 tags made, which means I have to make 14 more! That's going to be a lot of work...which is a little stressful too.
I'm not going to Bible study tonight. There's just too much recapping of Biology to do in order to be able to go tonight. I might go next week...but I feel like I never learn anything and I feel like it's a waste of time, especially since I feel like I never have any free time anymore...haha. We'll see, I guess. But since I'm staying home, that means I get to have supper with mom and Britney, and mom's going to make me my favorite meal! Taco soup! Have you ever tried it?
I only have one more MOPS before Christmas, then it starts back up in January. It's so nice to finally have some money flowing in. I feel so much more free to be able to purchase some books I love that I would much rather own than continue to check out from the library!
I doodled Olaf from Frozen on my church sermon notes on Sunday....haha. Maybe it's just me, but sometimes if I doodle during church, I'm able to focus on what the Pastor is saying much better.
I stayed home from youth group too....I decided I really needed to decorate my room for Christmas and I wasn't going to have time for it all week or this weekend since I'll be gone, and once I'll be back, it will already be so far into December that my decorations won't be up very long.
I hung lights and garland all around my ceiling. They're beautiful to turn on at night when all of the other lights in my room are off and the Christmas music is playing on my radio.
I also set up my Christmas Town set from my Nana. I took everything off my dresser that way it looked pretty...haha! Can you see my aquarium plant in the corner?
You can also see some more garland next to my window curtain! Haha
Have I mentioned that I am SO ready for Christmas?
And some snow too??
Dad: 3
Mom: 5
Britney: 2
Mandie: 2
I've done some more shopping as well!
And sending out two penpal letters may just be headed far up North and one may be going straight out west......just maybe. =)
I'm so excited for December 16th! We're going out to breakfast on Main Street, then we're heading to our favorite tree farm in Pennsylvania, then coming home to decorate our tree and go out later in the evening to watch The Desolation of Smaug! I'm so excited to go see it!