Thursday, June 16, 2011


Good morning all!

I just wanted to take a moment and say that I have been away from the blogging world for a couple of weeks now and am hoping to be back and running here shortly.  There has been a lot going on around here lately, and I would like to fill you in the best I can.  First, my Ash is having some difficulties again.  I have been preoccupied with her health the last couple of weeks and have not really been able to focus on much else.  Also, as we have to run off to Doctors, get blood draws, and some ER trips we get behind in school.  I am trying to finish out our year, but have not yet been able to.  Tay should be able to finish here soon, but Ash still needs some more time.  She is a slower learning anyway, and all these little set backs really put her behind.  I will keep you all posted on her health, but as of now we are not really sure what is going on.

Some good news, I am starting a new business with my Mom and my Aunts.  We have been really working hard to get it up and running and are close to be ready.  I am hoping to have a preview for you all sometime on Friday!  We are pretty excited about this new adventure and I look forward to sharing!

I am also getting some new things set for my blog.  I have been working on some ideas that I have had, and am still in the process of getting those up and running.  I should have this all together here in the next few weeks.  I sure do miss everyone and I hope to be back soon.  Thank you for taking the time to read this today and have a wonderful, and blessed day!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Orange Cupcakes Yummy!

I love to bake!  It is one of my favorite things to do.  In my family I am the official baker for holidays and other special occasions.  I have decided that I would like to share some of my families favorite recipes with you all.  Some I have just found while searching through cookbooks, and others are family recipes from my Great Grandmother.  I have to admit my Great Grandmother's recipes are my favorite just for the memories and history they bring back.  I love to hear the stories my Mom and my Aunts tell of Grandma Julia in her apron looking at them with flour all over her glasses.  The smiles these stories bring really touch my heart.  Today's recipe comes from my Grandma Julia, and is one of my Mom's favorites.  About a year ago I decided to give these delicious cupcakes a try after hearing how yummy they are.  For my Mom's birthday, I made Orange Cupcakes, and she was so happy.  I hope you enjoy these yummy treats as much as my family has.

Recipe:  Orange Cupcakes by Grandma Julia  Makes about 12 Cupcakes

For the Cupcakes you will need:

1 1/3 Cups Cake Flour

2 tsp. Baking Powder

1/4 Cup Butter Softened

1 tsp. Grated Orange Rind

1/4 tsp. Salt

3/4 Cup Sugar

1 Egg

1/4 Cup Evaporated milk

1/4 Cup Orange Juice

Step 1:  Mix together the evaporated milk and orange juice and set aside.

Step 2:  Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy

Step 3:  Add egg

Step 4:  Add a little bit of flour to butter/sugar mixture.  Alternate with the milk and orange juice mixture until all has been added.

Step 5:  Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Fill muffin tin with batter about 3/4 of the way full.  Tip:  I use a small ice cream scoop to fill my tins.  It works out great, no mess and super easy.

Step 6:  Bake in a 350/375 degree oven depending on how hot your oven is.  I bake these cupcakes at 350 since ovens today are much hotter than when my Grandma Julia was baking.  Bake these treats for about 20 minutes or until done.  Insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcakes, if it comes out clean you are ready to remove the cupcakes from the oven.   I start checking my cupcakes around 16 minutes or so.  Place on a wire rack to cool.


2 Tbsp.  Butter Softened

1 Tbsp.  Evaporated Milk

2 Tbsp.   Orange Juice

1/2 tsp.  Grated Orange Rind

2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Step 1:  Cream together the softened butter, evaporated milk, orange juice, and orange rind.

Step 2:  Slowly add the 2 Cups of powdered sugar a little at a time until frosting comes together

Step 3:  Frost your cupcakes and enjoy.

Here is the final product:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Art Showcase

the happy hearts academy

This week has been one of those weeks that I was not able to get very much done.  It seemed like everyday there was something we had to do.  I am looking forward to a starting a great new art program that my friend Tracy from A Slice of Smith Life filled me in on.  I plan on working on that today, so I may have 2 post for Art Showcase this week.  Tay is busy working her way through Drawing Textbooks and she is really having fun with it.  She is learning so much each week, and her drawing skill is improving as she goes.  In the first picture, the drawing of the box surprised me.  Tay was able to make that box look like it was open, as well as if it were a little bent.  She really gave it life!

  Art Showcase has been so much fun for me each week.  I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.  I have been planning some new things for my blog and am excited to share as soon as they are all ready.  Have a wonderful weekend!  If you would like to add your child's art work please link up below.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Art Showcase

I love this part of my day.  Looking through what the kids have created for the week and choosing one for the art showcase always brings a smile to my face.  I am so happy that the kids are taking time with their creative side.  We are just having so much fun with it!  Here are our choices for the week.  I hope you enjoy.

Tay's work from Drawing Textbook:

Ash's Quilt for the letter QU:  It is a Patriotic Quilt in remembrance of Memorial Day

Buddy's drawing of Buzz LightYear as well as what will happen next with the pig:

If you would like to join in the art showcase this week, please link up below.  The kids and I have so much fun seeing what is going to be added for the week.  Thanks for stopping by today.

A Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States of America

Oh how my kids love to draw, especially Tay.  Oh How Tay does not enjoy history.  When I was given an opportunity to review A Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States, I was super excited.  I thought, how great it would be for Tay to learn a little bit of United States History while doing something she loves, drawing.  We were given a copy of How to Draw the Life and Times of George H. W. Bush.  to review from Timberdoodle and let me just say that we can't wait to look into getting the rest of the set.

When I first received the book in the mail I was very excited.  My excitement only grew when I opened the package.  I could not believe the beauty of the book.  It is a hard cover book, with awesome pictures inside.  Each chapter discussed some important facts about George H. W. Bush, from his birth through his presidency.  Each chapter also includes a picture in full color that shows what is to be drawn.  After reading, there is detailed instructions on how to draw the picture.  Amazing!  I think this is just a great way to learn.  Also included in this book is a timeline detailing the events discussed, a glossary, and a link to the Internet to further study the life of George H. W. Bush.

I was however, a little surprised with the degree of difficulty of some of the drawings.  Tay is pretty talented in art and she struggled a little bit.  Not to the point of frustration though.  She did say that she would like to take more time on the drawings and practice.  I think this is a great idea as she will then read over and over about the life of this President.

Overall, I have really enjoyed A Kid's Guide to Drawing the Presidents of the United States.  Timberdoodle was able to get an amazing deal on these books and is passing the savings on to you.  You can buy these books either individually or by the set.  You can check out this amazing deal here.  Also, Timberdoodle also has great  history and art curriculum, so be sure to check them out.  Timberdoodle also has a great free homeschool catalog, for those of you who prefer hands on looking.

Legal Disclosure:
As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

This picture was taken last fall in my parents yard.  I just came across it and I love the color of leaves.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Art Showcase

the happy hearts academy

Well, I am a little late in getting this post on today.  I apologize, but we were just in the mode with school today.  I will run the Art Showcase link up through Monday this week due to my tardiness.  Today, all three kids have great art work to add to the showcase.  I am having so much fun watching Buddy grow in his creativity, and the girls helping him along the way.  Here are the kids contributions for the week.  Please enjoy, and have fun creating!

Tay's Lesson from Draw Write Now:

Ash's drawing of a Zebra from her reading lesson:

Buddy's drawing of a Zebra as well:

If you would like to add your kids work to the showcase please link up below.  I love seeing what the kids come up with each week.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Having fun with life!

Have a great day!

Birthday's and Disneyland! Oh My! Part 2

Well, after Tay's birthday on Saturday, I had to gear up to make my confirmation on Sunday at Church.  Of course, as a Catholic I was actually supposed to make my Confirmation in high school, but because it wasn't pressed in our house I chose not to.  After years of feeling like I should have, I finally did. As I was sitting in the Church listening to Father give his Homily about the importance of Confirmation, I was happy that I had waited.  My reason for this is that at 16 or 17 years old I do not think that I would have fully grasped the importance of the sacrament of Confirmation, nor do I think that it would have been as important to me as it was on this day.  I was also happy to know that all three of my children were able to watch me receive this very important Sacrament, especially Tay, who is older and at that impressionable age. It turned out to be a wonderful way to celebrate Mother's Day.

After Confirmation, we headed out to dinner with all the family to enjoy a wonderful Mother's Day.  The kids were very well behaved and we had a delicious meal at a local restaurant.  I was so thankful to be with all my family to enjoy this day.

After dinner, my Husband and had to gear up for our Disneyland trip the next day.  We spent some time packing and getting everything set that we would need.  The kids were very excited about leaving in the morning.  We told Buddy that we would be leaving when the sun came up in the morning, so around 6:30 or so he came running in our room yelling it is morning, look out the window, it is time to go to Disneyland!  This was Buddy's first trip to Disneyland, but yet his excitement was as if he had been there before.  So we all piled in the car for our 4 hour drive to LA.  Thankfully the kids were all very good in the car and we really didn't hit any traffic.

Upon arrival the kids excitement filled the car.  They could not wait to get out and get going.  Off to the park we go.  We headed through the gates of Disneyland and Buddy just couldn't believe what he was seeing.  He was in awe.  The train, the people, everything, Buddy didn't know where to look first.  Onto Main Street we go and there is Minnie Mouse.

Buddy was super excited to see Minnie, but not as excited to see Pluto, who we ran into next.

The girls were laughing at Buddy because he just couldn't stop giggling.  It was so cute!  Buddy and the girls had such a great time this trip and I am so thankful for the time we spent together as a family.  We were able to ride many rides, and because we went Monday-Wednesday it really was not that crowded.  Of course that helps to make wait times more enjoyable.  We had Breakfast with the characters two days, which was so much fun.  This picture was so funny because Buddy did not know that this guy was behind him, and when he turned around this is what he did.  I love this picture.  This is what Disneyland is all about.  Smiles!!

One of Buddy's favorite characters were Chip and Dale.  We were able to see both of them a couple of times and each time his little face would light up.  My favorite thing about Disneyland is watching the kids.  The look on their faces, the smiles, and the excitement that they show is priceless.  We had a great trip, and I know Buddy's first time to Disneyland has created a wonderful memory for all of us.  Here is one last photo of all 5 of us, in a toy box in front of Toy Story Mania.

We took so many more pictures, but these are just some of my favorites.  It was hard to choose which ones I wanted to share.  As I look through the pictures my memories of those days come flooding back.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about our trip and sharing those special memories with me.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Check Out My New Look!

I am so happy to announce that my blog has taken on a new look.  With the wonderful talents of Liz over at Sweet Simplicity Designs,  my blog has taken on an entirely different look that I am super excited about!  I am still adding to the tabs, so stay turned for some fun new things over at The Happy Hearts Academy.  Also, check out my new grab buttons, especially the one for the Art Showcase.  How fun does that look!  Anyway, thank you Liz for a wonderful new look.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Get Ready To Set Sail With TOS

Yeah!  I am so happy to announce that I am now a member of the TOS Crew and am getting ready to set sail in June.  Stay turned for an exciting adventure.



Art Showcase

This week I am very excited to share Tay's work for this week.  When we were in Disneyland, there was art show on every night that we watched.  The artist on the show was using acrylic paints to make marine life.  Tay was so interested in learning how to make sea turtles that she couldn't wait to get home to try it out.  Yesterday, she took out her paints and from memory began to paint the painting the artist was making on the show.  Here is her finished product.  She is so very proud.

A painting of sea turtles under the sea looking up towards the sky:

If you would like to share your child's art work please link up below.  I love to see what all the kids make from their imaginations.  Have fun!



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Birthdays and Disneyland! Oh My! Part 1

Boy, we have been busy around this house!  I have quite a few posts to get on, but I thought I would start with some updates.  First let's start with Birthdays.  Last Saturday, May 7 Tay celebrated her 11th birthday!  Can you believe 11!  I am still trying to soak that in.  The kids usually pick a theme for the birthday's each year and this year Tay chose a 1950's theme, which made my Dad supper happy!  Ha Ha!  Anyway, Tay has been watching Happy Days lately and decided she wanted to have a 50's theme for her party.  We had great fun picking out items for the party and decorating.  We decided to have the party at my Mom's house because she has a pool, but it ended up being a little chilly for swimming.  Our menu consisted of cheeseburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and onion rings.  Instead of a cake this year, Tay decided she wanted cupcakes and an ice cream Sunday bar.  Tay also wanted to serve flavored sodas and Shirley Temples.  She had so much fun serving everyone and pretending she worked in a diner.  Here are some pictures of our 50's day!

Here are the red velvet cupcakes I made for Tay:

We had a candle that just wouldn't go out:

Tay has been asking for a guitar for a long time now, and we just didn't feel she was ready, until now.  Here is her face when she opened her very first guitar!

And of course we have Buddy who is always the life of the party:

Tay is now 11.  I hope you have enjoyed the pictures of her special day.  I know she had so much fun and was thankful for all who were able to come and share her birthday with her.  I think back to the first time I found out I was pregnant with Tay.  I was told by the doctors that it would be difficult for me to get pregnant and not to get my hopes to high.  My Husband and I had only been married one month when we found out we were expecting.  So many thoughts went rushing through my head, as we were both still in college, and I was not working yet.  We lived in a little apartment and we were still trying to adjust to being married.  All that being said, we were both so very excited about the gift we were about to receive from God.  After 48 hours of tough labor, Tay was born on May 7, 2000 at 9:30 in the evening.  I remember holding her for the first time and feeling like I had been holding her my whole life. As the years have gone, Tay has been my most challenging child.  She is full of life and loves to be in the spotlight, which is the complete opposite of myself.  I am blessed that she is my daughter and that I am able to be with her throughout the day to watch her grow, not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  She is a wonderful little girl, now young lady and I am thankful to be her Mother.  I love you Tay, Happy Birthday!