Monday, January 05, 2009

What we've been doing...

Ok, where do I even start? It's been a crazy couple of weeks! I haven't even ventured into the blogosphere for 2 weeks, so I'm terribly behind, and I'm sure I've missed out on so much. How are y'all?

I didn't even realize it had been so long until I started to receive some emails from some of you, making sure we hadn't fallen off the face of the earth. Yep, we're still here - and we're all fine, just insanely busy, and also maybe a little bit lazy, the kind of lazy that goes along with the holidays. A couple of us are a year older. A couple of us might be a pound or two heavier, we're not sure about that since we have avoided the scale like the plague these past few weeks.

And of course, when I say "we", I basically mean "me". But it makes me feel better to say "we".

So, what have we we been up to, you ask?

- A little Christmas Cookie Exchange.

- Practicing and playing piano for the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church - one of my favorite services of the entire year.

- A Christmas Eve dinner at our friends' home.

- A a quiet Christmas morning, spending time together with just our little family.

- A visit from my sister.

- Celebrating a certain someone's 3rd birthday.

- A real live date with my hubby to the movies.

- Ignoring my computer and sitting down to read Anne of Green Gables.

- Actually cleaning my house.

- And then New Years - is it really 2009 already?

The Monday before Christmas, I invited just a couple of my friends over for the Cookie Exchange. It was a very small party, but so fun to get together for soup and homemade bread and girl talk and no kids. And the cookies - sweet mercy, they were good. Fortunately for me and my waistline, the neighbors next door have 5 kids who were more than willing to take most of them off my hands. Ricardo's personal favorite was the chocolate sandwich cookies. And Savannah's? The chocolate covered cheesecake squares.



The Christmas Eve Service was absolutely beautiful. Listening to a handbell choir playing Carol of the Bells and Oh Holy Night. Looking out over a sea of candlelight as the congregation sang Silent Night with hushed voices. Focusing on Jesus - Savior, Redeemer, Lord.




After the service we were invited to our friends' home for Christmas Eve dinner. They are like family, and they always give Savannah a gift or two. She tore into one of them as soon as it was handed to her, and she pulled out a rainbow-striped hoodie set. She was still dressed in her fancy Christmas dress from church, but that did not stop her from pulling on both the pants and the top, right over her dress, which totally cracked me up. Tell me this isn't a fashion statement.





Christmas morning was quiet and peaceful, spent here at home, just the way I like it.



Remember my ambitions to start a new Christmas tradition by making homemade cinammon rolls? Yeah, that didn't happen. Honestly, I was so sick of sugar by that time - probably a few too many cookies from the exchange - and I knew that the following day I would have to start making Savannah's birthday cake. The very thought of doing more baking made me turn and run right of the kitchen. So that's a tradition that will have to wait until next year.

But I did make a turkey and potatoes and green beans. And I have a little confession - for some reason, I completely spazzed out and put the bird in the oven upside down. You know, breast side down. I have no idea what I was thinking. I didn't even realize it until it had been in a couple of hours, and I started to wonder why I couldn't see the little built in pop-out thermometer thing. Um, maybe because it is hidden underneath the turkey? So I quickly flipped it over, and sure enough, there was the pop out button. And then I wondered if the pasty looking breast side was going to cook before the rest of the turkey dried out - remember the turkey from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation? The one that looked like burned beef jerky? I was afraid that mine was going to resemble that one. Thank goodness it didn't.

My sister arrived Christmas evening, and we were thrilled to see her. She came last year around this time, too, and in addition to the fact that it is just fun to have her around, she is always a huge help in getting ready for Savannah's birthday party.

So the next day we started in on the cake. Which consisted of baking 2 big 12-inch chocolate cakes, layering them together with chocolate pudding, baking 2 more 9 inch white cakes, layering them together with vanilla pudding and strawberries, and then making mounds and mounds of buttercream frosting. Fun times. But I admit that somewhere around midnight I started wondering why I hadn't just ordered a cake from the bakery around the corner and been done with it.

In between it all I sent Ricardo to the store a couple of times - thank goodness for a sweet hubby who will run out in the freezing cold for more powdered sugar. And then I tried my hand at marshmallow fondant and spent the rest of the evening tinting and kneading and rolling and cutting out shapes. I really liked working with it and maybe next year I'll be brave enough to cover an entire cake with it.
In the end, it turned out pretty cute, although I wish I would have cut more off the top to make a flatter surface. But Savannah was happy - really, all she cared about was the Dollar Store plastic Dora topper that was the crowning touch.



And just like that, my baby turned 3. Happy Birthday, sweet girl - you are my sunshine, and you really do make me happy whether the skies are blue or gray. And I don't care if you are 3, you're still my baby.














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46 comments:

Rachelle said...

Welcome back! You were missed! The cake is wonderful! You did such a great job! You should start a little side job of doing cakes for kids B-Days!!!!!

Amanda said...

welcome back! sounds like your Christmas was fabulous...and that cake...oh my goodness...it is GORGEOUS! no worries, i too consider my 3 year old to still be my baby!

tirz said...

Welcome back, my friend! I missed you. Yay for Anne of Green Gables. I bought the boxed set of both the books & DVDs for Rachel for Christmas. That are just fabulous! Gotta love Anne! What a beautiful cake! I can't believe you made that?! Incredible! Happy 3rd birthday to beautiful little Savannah! Lots of love to you.

kaleytaylor said...

Glad to have you back in the Land O' Blog! Look at that cake! Girl, you should go into a little at-home business with that! I would totally hire you if we didn't live eleven states away.

By the way, I DID make homemade cinnamon rolls this year (Pioneer Woman's recipe). Let me just tell you that 1) they're a major, MAJOR mess to make, 2) they do taste pretty darn good, and 3) you're right, the sugar just about put me over the edge. I had already had so much junk that I only ate about half of a cinnamon roll when it was all said and done. Luckily it makes one or two or fourteen batches, so you can give them all away. Then people don't know whether to love or hate you since they added a few pounds to the number on the scale :) Heh.

kaleytaylor said...

ps....how do you do your little photo collage things within your post? I like!

Aspiemom said...

Welcome back! It sounds like a very busy and fun couple of weeks. I like your picture collages, too! (You take great food shots - could work for a magazine!)

Savannah's birthday cake turned out great! I can't believe she is 3 years old now- love that picture of her fashion statement!

Your turkey story sounds like something I would have done. One of my first year I forgot to take out the package of "inerds" in the turkey.

Tracy's Porch said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. I love the quiet Christmas mornings at home with just my little family, also.

The cake is FABULOUS!

Sara@ Butterville said...

SO glad you are back. I did read one of your comments on another blog that said you were thinking of not coming back...I totally get that...Your holidays sounded wonderful and tiring. We had those too. My kiddos birthdays are Dec. 27 and Jan. 1. ARGH!
Your cake turned out beautiful!

Krystal said...

Yes you were missed! I figured you were busy with the holidays.

The birthday cake you made was amazing! You did a fabulous job my friend!

Enjoyed reading what you've been up too! The cookie party sounded like fun! Maybe next year I can organize something like that!

Happy New Year!
Krystal

Darcie said...

Yikes! You have been busy. The cookies look delicious - I'm glad they weren't sitting around my kitchen or I'd have surely packed on the pounds. And the cake, well, I am so thoroughly impressed. We've got a birthday coming up tomorrow and I'm ashamed to say that the cake I bake for the 11-year-old will pale in comparison to yours.

Happy New Year Jackie!

JanMary said...

Lovely catch-up.

So glad you enjoyed Christmas. Welcome back to blogging.

Lois Lane II said...

I know what you mean about being back in the loop! Glad you're back!!

jennifer said...

I've been thinking about you! So glad you are back!

Your cake is awesome! I'm so scared to venture into fondant. Nice work!

Jennifer @ Taking My Time said...

Loved the photo collages; the cookie one - yum! and nice lookin' cookies! Your family looks adorable and your hair looks great :)

And that cake? Just WOW...

The Miles Family said...

Glad you're back... we are gearing up for birthdays around here. :)
Chandler's and Mine... back to back!

Elena said...

You did a beautiful job on Savanah's cake. I chuckled when I saw the pictures of it as I got those same figure of Dora, Boots and Swiper for Mary for Christmas:)

Wendy said...

That cake is awesome! Glad y'all had a great Christmas!

Jenn said...

Happy Birthday to Savannah! Jackie, the cake you made is amazing!

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Jackie, Jackie, Jackie - see, I had to say your name 3 times to make my point. You.are.amazing! That cake is gorgeous! So glad that you are back. I have so appreciated your comments and your email. You always make me smile. :)Is it just me or are your photography skills reaching new levels of goodness as well?? :)
Great pictures of Savannah! Happy birthday to a special 3 year old! I guess ya'll like the spring too...

Growin' with it! said...

you MADE that cake yourself? that's it...you're officially my most creative bloggy friend. i'm am amazed. i thought you were incredible just from reading you played piano at the candlelight service. you've wowed my socks off on this post! glad you're back. missed ya.

sara said...

oh my word that cake looks like it was done by The Ace of Cakes!!!!! seriously!!!

sounds like you had a wonderful holiday!

Gretchen said...

Welcome back Jackie! Missed you.

Happy belated b'day to Miss Savannah. I lurve your haircut and your glasses, too. You look adorable.

Learning to play piano is on my bucket list, so I'm a wee bit jealous that you played for Christmas Eve. :)

Gretchen said...

Oh, and that CAKE! Forgot to mention how intensely darling that is! You go!

Colored With Memories said...

i agree w/rachelle...you could totally sell your cake skillz...amazing job.

loved the story about your turkey too!

welcome back!

Kellie said...

When I saw the first picture of Savannah, I thought to my self " The baby isn't looking like a baby anymore"...and then I read that it was her 3rd birthday! She is as cute as ever.

Your turkey story is hilarious!

Also, i am going to try my hand at fondant for a baby shower I am throwing in a couple of weeks. Was it really that easy? Your cake looked fantastic!

RosyRose said...

I like the cake Jackie! I like that you are back....and I like your sweet babies face!

ttm said...

I'm glad you are back as well! I've missed reading your blogs.

Sincerely Anna said...

You're not kidding about how busy you've been! Welcome back. Savannah's cake is so beautiful!

Life In Progress said...

I don't even know where to start!

First, the cake turned out fabulous. I also wonder around midnight the night before the party why I torture myself by baking the girls' cakes myself, but it always ends up being worth it. You've inspired me to try fondant. I've never done it before because I don't think it tastes as good as the buttercream frosting, but it never occurred to me to combine the two. You are a genius!

Second, I have made those chocolate sandwich cookies before and I die and go to heaven each and every time I take a bite of one. They are the best!

Third, Anne of Green Gables!!! LOVE IT. I think maybe I should read it again.

Glad to have you back!

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

You have been a busy bee. Love the cake for Savannah.

And, you're forgiven.

Becoming Me said...

Great pictures! Your little girl is so beautiful!

Juice said...

Beautiful cake! And beautiful daughter. I can tell she brings you so much joy. :)

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

Welcome back! Sounds like you had a wonderful break. Your cake and your girl are absolutely adorable!

Amy@ MomsToolbox said...

The cake was beautiful, your daughter adorable and I L-O-V-E the way you collage your photos on your blog. Super cool!

SarahHub said...

Sounds like you had a great Christmas. And that's some cake! Good job!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

OH it's so good to be over here again, my sweet friend! You know what, you are AMAZING. Did you SEE that cake you made?? Oh.my.word. the talent.

Um, I do have what is probably a goofy question: why did you make buttercream frosting when you did a fondant? Does the fondant go over buttercream? This silly girl doesn't know. :-)

I just know it was perty.

And you know, we say LOL, but really, how often do we REALLY laugh out loud? Well, I did at your Princess' striped outfit over/under her dress. Ha!!

Missed you girl; can you tell? :-)

photomama said...

I have been gone a while too. But looks like you had lots of fun while you were away. I love the birthday cake, so cute.

photomama said...

I have been gone a while too. But looks like you had lots of fun while you were away. I love the birthday cake, so cute.

The Mommy said...

Wow, you should win some kind of "mommy award" for that cake, seriously! It was SO cute and looked so professional! Savannah is blessed with such a great mommy!!! Glad to see you back:)

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

How in the WORLD do you accumulate so many comments?!!! :) (Intended to be a compliment, not a statement about said commenters.)

Jackie!! That cake!!!!

And, Madeline's been known to wear an outfit under and over a dress a time or two.

Jules from "The Roost" said...

I am SO glad you are back. Sounds like you have had a great 2 weeks doing just what you should have been doing! I love the new look of your blog. Savannah looks so precious in all the pictures! :)

Lisa said...

Thanks for the newsy update. Perfect way to spend your time off the computer IRL.

What a sweet picture of baby Savannah and her Christmas dress was beautiful. Wish I'd been able to be in the service to hear you play.

Happy New Year!

Alana said...

Wow, that's a lot of catching up! Sounds like a lot of fun in your world. Loved your recap and pics!

Michelle@Life with Three said...

Sounds like you had a great holiday! The cake turned out gorgeous -- really, Jackie. Can you make one for our next birthday party? ;) And, incidentally, some people say the turkey turns out juicier when you bake it upside down. So really, it wasn't a cooking faux paus at all!

Rachel said...

OK between you and Sara @ Make Music from Your Heart to the Lord, that's TWO keyboards I've ruined this week from drooling! :)

mamajil said...

What pretty b'day cake!!! Happy Birthday Savannah! I am glad to hear your holidays were so nice! Sounds like it was very relaxing in your neck of the woods!!