an entry :)

I recently talked to Jessie on the phone about couponing and gave her a few words of advice. I loved talking to her about it, and it kind of made me think about having some "starter tips" written out somewhere, so when someone asked questions I could forward the info to them.

But, I don't really feel like doing that right now.

On a different note, I just started "following" a couple more blogs on that related topic a couple of days ago. Of course, I found my way to them because of giveaways they were hosting. And then today I found out I won $100 from one of the blogs! I was super stoked.

Anyway, I just submitted a simple 6 ingredient recipe on A Thrifty Mom's site. (Hers is the couponing-type blog I read most regularly). This recipe entry was my entry into another giveaway. And this post, well, it gives me an extra entry.

Just to clarify, I really don't spend my entire day just entering giveaways. Although, there are plenty to go around.


It ain't a birthday without cupcakes

For my birthday, we met the Mahelona's at Claim Jumpers for dinner. It was delicious, and I got a complimentary red velvet cupcake!

After dinner, Twyla, Aaron and Ben came over to our house (sleeping bags in tow). Michael was so excited that Ben was sleeping over. Then surprise! surprise! Twyla pulls out a pan of chocolate cupcakes. Richard starts putting paper, markers, scissors, and mini marshmallows on the table. The plan? Turn our cupcakes into pirate ships.  It turned out really fun, and Rich and Z stopped in for a minute and added their own designs. Here's the debut of our pirate ship cupcakes. The snowman pirates are my favorite. ;) Which is your favorite?

Thank you Twyla and Richard!

The next day, we had a Hart family picnic to attend. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic in the shade and then Uncle Wes, Uncle Paul, cousin Ryan, and we headed to the Family Fun Center in Tukwila. We did a few rounds in the batting cages, then Richard played mini-golf. Michael and I went inside to the (air conditioned) arcade area. My favorite game was the Wheel of Fortune game. :) Michael and I got over 105 tickets in one game. And then just collected one ticket here and there in other games. Here are a couple of the "great prizes" that he got.

And to top off the evening, Julie brought me some cupcakes she made. Of course I took a picture of them before eating them. They were gorgeous, and delicious. And Julie recently told me she reads my blog, so I must shout out: THANK YOU JULIE! :)
It was a great birthday weekend. I am now a-quarter-of-a-century in years. I always thought I'd feel old when I turned 25. But, I don't. Probably because most of my friends are older than me, and I can never seem to catch up. 


I had a fabulous birthday weekend. Richard did a great job at keeping most of it a surprise. On Saturday morning, Richard planned on my friend Twyla taking me to go get my haircut (something I've been talking about doing for 2 months). My hair was a bunch of split ends and definitely needed a cut. It's funny how different my hair color looks in both of these pictures. No, I did not color it. It's taking a bit of getting used to, but overall I'm pleased with the change up and my great stylist.


Cherry & Almond Cupcakes

Michael is utterly obsessed with birthdays, and is about as anxious for my birthday as I am. I told him a few days ago that my birthday was in 5 days, and he's been so kind as to remind me every morning how many more days I have to wait. This morning he pulled out his pom-pom jar and requested another jar to play with. Then he said, "I have 2 jars just like you have 2 more days [until your birthday]!" I was impressed with his object lesson.

I woke up this morning with cupcakes on my mind. I am having a girl's night tonight, and that's motivation enough to get some baking jitters out and then share the sweetness so I don't overstuff myself (well, that was the plan at least--I've already eaten 4).

Using my favorite Theo bar, Cherry & Almond, as inspiration I whipped up a white cake mixed with finely chopped almonds, diced cherries, almond & vanilla extract, and a healthy handful of chocolate chips. The cupcakes were most delicious warm (because I couldn't wait) although I feel they borderline a muffin. But because I slathered them with cherry cream cheese frosting, they are worthy of Cupcake status.

Happy birthday to me (in 2 days, of course).

What heaven sees in you

We learned this song when I was in young women's. Watching this video makes me want to learn photography. Amazing pictures, and lovely song.


Prayers and Toys

I have been asking Michael repeatedly this morning to pick up his toys that are scattered all over the floor. Obviously, my requests are going unanswered because he's doing exactly opposite by actually pulling out more toys. If I was following the steps according to the book, "Beyond Timeout" (a book I highly recommend), I'm sure this battle would have been over an hour ago. Instead, I am trying to do my own things on the side and not really pushing the picking up toys issue. I have just been impossibly wishing that somewhere in Michael's brain it would click that he wants to just be obedient to his mother.


Anyway, sometime later Michael walked into my bedroom where I was kneeling by my bed. He and I talked for a minute about prayers, and of course we talked about how he can ask Heavenly Father to help him with the desire to pick up his toys (among other things). Michael liked that idea and said, "Yes, we should ask Jesus to come over and pick up my toys for me!"



From my Journal

I was 8 years old when I started writing in a journal, and good thing because my handwriting needed some help! I love journals, and I love that I started writing as early as I did even if I wasn't consistent in the slightest. Hopefully, you have a laugh at some of my childhood thoughts, and if this doesn't inspire you to start writing (if you aren't already), I hope you find something that will.

November 11, 1994
This is the worst day of my life. No sleepovers during school years can't go to Classic Skating with my friends intell my chores are done I wish I could do whatever I wanted to do but my mom and dad always boss us aroud. I know they still love me (heart around "love me") but I still wish I was a mom. But, I'm going to be nicer. Diana. 

It's true-I dreamed about being a mom since who knows when. I once had 50 imaginary children, 24 boys and 26 girls. We lived in a school building, and our mode of transportation was a school bus. And, of course, all of my stuffed animals were "my children." I kept a notebook of their names, birthdays, likes/dislikes. You'd think with all this prep I'd be a Supermom by now, but I know Michael already has thoughts similar to mine, "Gosh Mom, stop telling me to do my chores!" I should be nicer. ;)

November 12, 1994
This is another worse day of my life. have to clean my room always and I can't go skating because of my dumb sister named Suzanne we call her Suzy for short.  
I'm sorry Suzy. I don't know what you did to dear me, but don't worry I apparently retracted that statement at some point as you can tell by that line being crossed out, and I totally love your guts!

And now for more important news, I give to you a quick run down of what some of my family was up to on February 10, 1997 (This was only a few pages after 1994--so obviously I didn't write that much) I really don't have a lot to say so I'll tell you what's going on. Suzy is practicing violin, Philip is crying, Mom is cleaning the bathroom, James is just standing in our room, and I'm writing in here.

On January 15, 1998 there is a chocolate cake smudge that Philip smeared on my page, and I circled it with my pen and made note of the act. Haha!

From all of this, however, it was a couple sentences at the end of a journal entry that inspired me to blog today at all. But that will just have to wait until another day.


Felt & Blueberry Cupcakes

Look at this adorable chocolate felt cupcake, with a red cherry heart on top, and chocolate sprinkles of course. This is just one of the many varieties Michael can piece together from his new cupcake craft I made for him last week. I downloaded the template here from MoneySavingMom.com. We took it to church on Sunday, and he loved it! I still think I love it more. I'm just mildly fond of cupcakes, if didn't know that by now.
 Here's the most recent cupcake I baked up for dessert when we fed the missionaries. It's a lemon-blueberry cupcake. The frosting has fresh blueberry puree, but I definitely added too much of it and it was runny. I didn't want to end up with a lot of extra frosting, so I only added enough powdered sugar to stiffen it up just a bit. In the end, however, I loved how the frosting fell around the cupcake,. All I did was put a small dab on top, and after a minute, it creeped its way down and domed evenly over the top of the cake. They were perfectly delicious in taste and I ate four of them--completely disregarding my sugar-intake goal of the week.


A friend and I bought a groupon for 4 kickboxing classes, and one personal training session a while ago, and it was the best purchase I have made in a long time. It has been so great to get an intense workout and do something amazingly fun. We did kicking on Monday, and today my upper thighs and butt are incredibly sore. It's been so great though. This last time I went, we got our free gloves and Michael was so excited when he saw them. I showed him the moves that I learned in the class, and I think he believes I'm the greatest mom in the world now because I'm the one showing him the punching and kicking moves (one of his favorite activities).

Michael will probably regret one day that I took these pictures of him when he was only wearing underwear. 

Just a plug: If you haven't signed up for Groupon yet, sign up here. After your first purchase, I'll get $10 in credit. ;)


At the beginning of summer, all the "thrifty deal" blogs I follow advertised this great deal from the site kidsbowlfree.com. It sounded interesting, but I just passed it by telling myself it was an unnecessary expense this year. Instead, Michael and I have spent a lot of time at Greenlake wading pool (completely free and out in the beautiful sunshine).

But yesterday I was itching to do something different. I have a coupon for buy one get one free entrance to the zoo. But, then when Richard said he wanted to join, I thought bowling would be equally as fun. Then that site came to memory. It really ended up being a great deal afterall, even if I purchased it late into the summer. I just purchased the one week adult pass (13.95) that gives Richard and I two free games everyday as long as Michael is with us (he automatically gets two free games everyday for the rest of summer just for signing up). Richard has his own bowling shoes--so the price of shoes was cut down. That deal paid for itself by far on our first use. 

After bowling yesterday we stopped at Fred Meyer, and I saw this shirt that I thought looked like it belonged to a pro-bowler. I think Richard should wear it from now on. Not that he's pro. I mean, his highest score was 136 yesterday (which was definitely higher than my 101 score). But, he used to bowl much higher all the time. 

I couldn't stop smiling the whole time we played. I felt like it was "the good ol' days" when we and a bunch of friends would go bowling all the time (thus the reason his friends and I pitched in and bought him bowling shoes for his birthday one year. He still has the note we attached to them.)

So, to make good use of this one-week pass, we went again today! (After Michael and I spent the morning at the wading pool with friends, of course). Our scores were even worse today. And Michael was pretty worn out after the 6th frame, which means we may not end up going tomorrow to give him a break.