Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cake In A Jar

This is my all-time favorite homemade treat to send in care packages when my hubby is deployed.  It stays moist and fresh until it's opened and enjoyed!  Recently a few friends have asked me how to make the infamous cake in a jar so I thought I'd post the instructions right here for everyone to see. 

This really is simple!   You just need a box of your favorite cake mix, the ingredients on the package and nonstick spray.  So, here goes:

1.  Preheat oven according the directions on the box.

2.  Choose your favorite boxed cake mix or recipe and prepare according to the directions.  (I made my cake today in the WW fashion with a can of diet soda instead of the oil and eggs.  Shhhh...don't tell the Marines receiving these! ;) )

3.  Liberally spray inside of clean, wide mouthed Mason jars with Pam, or other nonstick spray.

4.  Fill jars halfway with batter.

5.  Place on cookie sheet and into oven to bake for about 30 minutes.  (The cookie sheet simply makes it easier to get the jars out of the oven.) 

6.  Place lids in boiling water while cakes are baking.

7.  When cake is done, remove from oven and place lids on jars one at a time.  (I use tongs to pull them out of the boiling water.)  Then screw on second part of lid.

8.  Listen for a "ping" as the jar cools which lets you know the lid is sealed.

9.  Once jars have cooled the cake will pull away from the jar slightly, but it should slide out easily.  (So long as you got wide mouth jars!)

10.  When you pack it up be sure to include a tub of frosting, plastic forks and knives, paper plates and to bubble wrap it for it's journey overseas!

Cody's favorite part of the process is that I usually save a little batter to make cupcakes or a small cake for us to enjoy at home!  He has been waiting "forever" for me to make these cakes so he can enjoy them.  I made cupcakes today.  Yummy!

Next I'm going to try banana bread and see how that bakes up!  Here's to all the military members overseas.  May they enjoy a little piece of home as often as possible!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thin Down Thursday - Week 7

Weight Loss: -1.6

Struggles: The baby has been very fussy and clingy lately.  Does not make fitting in exercise easily.

Non-Scale Victories: I tracked all week and met my goal of exercising three times this week!

Goal for next week: Exercise four days this week.  I figure one more day shouldn't be too hard to fit in.

Reflections: Wow, what a difference a work out makes!  I can't believe how great this week was!  I haven't seen a number like this week's since my first week of WW.  I'm so stoked!  My new goal is to exercise four days this week.  And of course to continue tracking!  These things are obviously working!  I'm beyond excited and motivated!  Hopefully this will continue.  One week until the ball so every little bit helps me fit into my dress!  Until next week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1)  Super fun weekend, but super exhuasting!  The in-laws were in town and we always have a blast with Mimi and Paw Paw!

2)  Mike's Farm - Went to Mike's Farm for the first time this weekend.  Liam was not fond of being woken up from his nap for his first hayride.  This made for cranky pictures in the pumpkin patch.  Oh well, it was still fun.  He got an itty bitty pumpkin and Cody searched for a tall one!

Liam's First Hayride

Picking a pumpkin with his Paw Paw

Cody loves his "tall" pumpkin

3)  Dinner Theater - Each year Cody's school does a dinner theater fundraiser.  The stars of the show are the fourth and fifth graders.  It's a fun evening and amazing to see what a bunch of 8-11 year old kids can do!  We are very blessed to have a fabulous music teacher who is passionate about his job and make these opportunities possible for our kids.  (I was going to post a video, but it just doesn't seem to want to load, so I give up!)

4)  Halloween Party - The boys got dressed up for our squadron Halloween party.  Cody had a blast jumping on the jumper, popping bubble wrap and playing football in the hanger.

5)  Sick - I've been battling being sick for a week now.  I am so ready to feel healthy again.  I know that lack of sleep is probably not helping, although I think Liam sleeps pretty well for a 10 week old.  However, when you're sick you need extra sleep and that just isn't happening here!

6)  Ten Weeks - My baby boy is ten weeks old!  I can't believe how quickly he's growing.  Yes, I know I say this every week, but with how quickly babies change I am constantly in amazement at the difference in him from week to week!

7) Weekend Roundup - I'm realizing that's what these posts have become.  It's a great opportunity to share our weekend in a nutshell since we're normally so busy throughout the weekend that we don't get to post!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thin Down Thursday - Week 6

Weight Loss: -0.4

Struggles: Being sick with digestive issues for half the week.

Non-Scale Victories: My pants definitely feel loser.  I've still got a ways to go before I fit in my pre-pregnancy size, but my "fat pants" are a little loser.  Every inch, or centimeter even, is one step towards meeting my goal! Oh, and I did I mention I did great at tracking?  So proud of myself!  More info on that below.

Goal for next week: Exercise three days this week.  Trying to build it into my routine and not make excuses.  (i.e. The baby is hungry, the baby's diaper needs changed, etc...)

Reflections: So this week was interesting.  Looking back at the week I did pretty well at tracking.  I only skipped two days this past week!  I will continue working on tracking this week so that I get into the habit of tracking.  They say it takes three weeks to build a habit so I will do my best to stick with it!  I am so grateful for the iPhone ap which allows me to track on the go, or even when stuck on the couch nursing the little man.  It's a lifesaver!

I'm disappointed in my loss this week.  It's a loss and I have to be satisfied with that, but it's not what I was hoping for.  I worked very hard to stay on plan and track what I ate this week.   I didn't get a ton of exercise in with being sick, but you would think that being sick would have helped me drop the weight.  It's very frustrating, but a loss is a loss.  I just have to remind myself that every little step is a step in the right direction.   

I'm choosing to focus on exercise this week because I have really slacked since having Liam.  I walked almost every day I was pregnant with him so I should at least be continuing that!  I also need to exercise and tone up to fit into my dress for the Marine Corps Ball this year.  I decided I didn't want to spend money on a new dress this year since it's our sixth ball so I could easily wear something no one here has seen.  Plus, it's good incentive to fit into something I already own.  It won't be last years dress since that was at my official pre-pregnancy weight, but it will still require some work to get into the dress I plan to wear!

P.S.   A little off topic, but you have to see my cute little blogging buddy today!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Furbaby Edition

Oh the life of a dog.  Do you think Shadow, the bigger one, could be any more relaxed?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Sometimes I just want to watch my baby sleep.  On my lap, in his crib, in his bouncer.  I love watching his peaceful little face.  I love his periods of active sleep.  I love the rise and fall of his chest. 

Snoozing on my lap at three days old.
But, sometimes I think I should be making better use of what little free time I have.  I should be working out.  I should be doing the dishes.  I should throw in a load of laundry.  I should dust the house.  I should bake cake in a jar to send to the Marines. 

Almost a month old
And yet, I just stare at my little man in awe.  Feeling blessed to be his mom.  Amazed that he is a little me and a little Den.  Grateful that God gave us the most precious gift, a child.  And I say to heck with it all...this is a good use of my time!  There will always be dishes, laundry and working out to do, but Liam will not always be this little.  I need to eat up every minute while I can!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thin Down Thursday

And so begins a new chapter in my blogging life.  A very personal one.  I figured I am not the only new mom who is struggling to lose the baby belly.  I know it just falls off for some people and they bounce right back to their pre-pregnancy body, but I am not one of those people.  I have lots of baby weight to lose and a lot of clothes that DO NOT fit in my closet.  I have joined Weight Watchers to try to help me through this journey since they have helped me before.  (Lose the freshman 15, happily married 20, etc.)  I also like that they do account for breastfeeding, even if that's a struggle, and a whole other post, for me.  I'm finding this journey harder than before.  I always have a harder time when Den is home so the first few weeks were tough.  But it's also hard because I have to get rid of all the bad habits I let creep back in while I was pregnant.  I love ice cream.  It is delish!  I love pumpkin donuts.  Yum!  Oh, and can I just mention the french fry craving I had when pregnant with Liam....  But these do nothing for my waistline.

My current motivation is to look somewhat good for our Marine Corps Ball in a month.  I know I can't undo nine months of pregnancy weight in one month, but hopefully I can take a bite out of it and start the process to feeling good about myself again.

So each Thursday I will post how I did that week.  No where will you find my weight.  (Sorry, I have my limits and insecurities so it will not be posted on the web for all to see!)  However, I will post how much I lost, or didn't lose.  I will tell you my struggles, my little non-scale victories and any tricks I learned this week.

Thin Down Thursday Stats - Week Five*

Weight Loss: - 0.8 (Trying to remind myself that every little bit adds up and I am not a contestant on the Biggest Loser here!)

Struggles: A very busy weekend with a lot of eating out!

Non-Scale Victories: Bouncing back from a hard weekend to get on track during the week.  Actually cooking a meal for Cody and I that didn't involve the word "cuisine" and a microwave twice this week!

Goal for next week: Track everything I eat so I am accountable to what is going in my mouth!

* I am starting with week five as it correlates to the number of weeks I have been doing Weight Watchers.  I'll never remember what week it is unless it matches the week in my WW book!

So how about you new moms?  How are you feeling about your postpartum body?  What are you doing to lose the baby belly?  How are you feeling about the process?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Believe

...that the smiles and laughter of my boys make the trials of life worthwhile

...that God answers prayers and miracles happen every day

...that a good glass of wine can make even the darkest day fabulous

....that nothing is sexier than a man in dress blues  (Well, really, than MY husband in blues, but I'm biased!)

...that military wives are a special breed of women.  There is just something different about us that makes us capable of being a family, when the head of our household, our best friend, our partner is gone

....that I have the cutest baby on the planet

...that I rocked childbirth thanks to the Bradley method and my fabulous hubby

...that I've experienced a lot of issues with breastfeeding that I didn't expect

...that puppies are in tune with how you're feeling 

...that I miss home

...that I am blessed beyond belief with great family and friends all over the world

Wordless Wednesday

I'd like to introduce you to my husband's mistress.  Her name is Harley.  She is black and wears lots of chrome.  He asks more about her than anyone else now that he is gone.  He even has the audacity to ask me to kiss her goodnight!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1) Surprise! I'm surprised I have time to blog today! Our weekend has been super fun, but super busy!

2) Football Roundup - Cody's football team won their game on Saturday! They are doing so well this season! I'm so proud! He had a great tackle that he is calling the "game winning tackle"! We celebrated afterwards with a fun BBQ with his teammates. It's always fun to party with friends and the day just flew by!

3) Mumfest - We had a great time with our P'cola family at Mumfest. (Well, minus our hubbies!) Leann snapped THE CUTEST photo of her Alex with Cody! You all must see it! Liam however, spent most of the day sleeping.

Cody playing with his "cousin" Alex

4)  Sleep - Liam slept through the night for the first time at eight weeks!  It might have been one of the happiest moments of my life to have eight hours of uninterrupted sleep!  Hoping it continues!

5)  Eight Weeks - Where does the time go?  Liam is now eight weeks old!  I cannot believe how quickly he is growing.  His new trick is that he laughs when I tickle his belly.  It is adorable!

6)  Long Distance Relationships - They stink!  'Nuff said!  Love and miss my husband mucho!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mommy Brain

When you're pregnant you seem to become extra forgetful.  Everyone claims to have "preggo brain".  Unfortunately, it doesn't go away, it just changes  names.  I now have "mommy brain".  While it's a fabulous excuse for being forgetful or absent minded, it's also slightly embarassing and inconvenient.  It's only 8:30 in the  morning and I already have two prime examples of mommy brain.

First, I was looking through information to register Liam with our insurance.  I have to go down to the office today and was looking through things in his baby book where I had stored his temporary birth certificate.  I thought his footprints from the hospital were there, but they weren't.  I start freaking out that we don't have them!  I remember my friend Michelle showing them to me in the delivery room.  But between the rest of the delivery process and Liam not pinking up fast enough and being taken to the nursery I wasn't sure exactly where they were.  I thought we had them, but there was that moment of panic.  Fortunately my "mommy brain" cleared up long enough for me to look in a folder that had my pre-registration info for the hospital in it and there they were!  I knew I'd kept that folder for a good reason!

Second, I made myself a yummy and healthy breakfast this morning of oatmeal with banana and a serving of golden raisins in it!  In the process of mixing in my mushed up banana and raisins the fussbucket went at it.  I went to change him, walked around with him for a bit, put him in his bouncer and then went to the restroom.  When I came back out to the living room I smelled something burning.  What????  Yep, I left the burner on so there is now a layer of burnt oatmeal on the bottom of the pot.  That should be fun to clean!  But at least what survived my "mommy brain" is tasty!

Now to go wolf down said remaining breakfast so I can feed the fussbucket!  Hopefully my "mommy brain" moments for the day are all checked off and I can function like a normal human being!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1)  I should be napping, but I'm not.  I'm so tired!  Liam thought last night was playtime.  If  I wasn't holding him he was screaming his head off.  I finally put him in the bouncer and went back to bed.  Now he is still sleeping.   Why am I blogging instead of sleeping?  I'm a glutton for punishment I guess.

2)  I really need to work on my golf game.  That is the moral of the weekend.  Had a fabulous visit with the in-laws.  We went to the Golfin Dolphin on Saturday since Cody's game was canceled and hit up the driving range and played a game of mini golf.  Liam slept the whole time and I was reminded how long it's been since I golfed.   To be quite honest, the last time I golfed was pre-Liam.

3)  Liam is seven weeks old!  Time is flying by.  He is so much more interactive now, it's crazy!  I love that he laughs and smiles back at me.  It melts my heart.

4)  Donuts.  I really want to run out to Dunkin Donuts and get a pumpkin donut.  But I won't.  Why?  Because I need to lose the baby weight and a pumpkin donut will do nothing for that goal.  But man, they are so good!

5)  I love this weather!  Now if only all my fallish clothes fit.  But they don't.  Hopefully soon I'll be back in my jeans.  But for now I'm enjoying the cooler temps.   I don't even mind the gloomy weather out when I can sit at home with a cup of tea and enjoy it.  It reminds me of Dublin and San Francisco.  I miss both of those cities more than you know.  Maybe I'll be nostalgic and look through old pictures today.  That sounds like a good compliment to my cup of tea.
Dublin, 2002