November 25, 2008

First Decorating Attempt: Cupcakes!

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:02 pm by bitsypieces

My first cake decorating attempt (unless you count one Garfield cake 20 years ago) was cupcakes. Easier than a regular cake, I thought.

Actually, I think they took MORE time than a cake… mostly because they required a lot of decoration (unlike a cake that has open spots with just smooth frosting).

And a lesson learned: My buttercream needs to be stiffer for my decorations.

dsc00282Big Bird and Cookie Monster were practice cupcakes for when Baby reaches her first birthday. The flowers were practice for future cake decorations.

I gave most of them away to the neighbors. (If I eat too many cupcakes, I’ll end up gaining back the baby weight!) And as a nod to my (beginner) skill, a neighbor offered to pay me for a batch of 24 cupcakes for her kids’ birthday.

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November 21, 2008

Teething Necklace

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:35 pm by bitsypieces

necklaceSo I’ve mentioned this super cool teething necklace about a thousand times, and I finally earned enough cash to buy one.

Although Baby isn’t yet teething, she loves to play with this while nursing or when I’m holding her. I love the way it looks… and as an added bonus it’s dishwasher safe!

The cord is a bit too long on me for this to really work as a “real” necklace for me. Unfortunately, the pendant part falls right around the bottom of the “V” on my v-neck shirts… not a great look for an accessory. But I still pretty much wear this necklace every day. At this point, I’m just happy to keep Baby entertained for a few extra minutes.

If you want one, check them out at:  http://smartmomjewelry.com/

They’re running a special right now, too!

Now I only wish I had enough cash to buy another one…

November 20, 2008

The Holiday Shuffle

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:15 pm by bitsypieces

Hubby and I are fortunate that his parents and my father live a mere 3 miles from one another, making it easy for us to visit both families on holidays. However, now that we have to tow Baby around, I am kind of dreading the “holiday shuffle.”

Thanksgiving, for example, means two big turkey meals. The first one at the in-laws, and the second one a mere two hours later with my family. It can make a holiday feel like a hurricane of faces and bodies and food… with very little real connection between us and our loved ones.

I hope to establish a more meaningful holiday as Baby gets older.

On the other hand, isn’t the chaos of holiday merriment meaningful in its own way?

November 17, 2008

Funniest Cake Blog EVER

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:40 pm by bitsypieces

So, as I’ve mentioned, I’m looking into cake decorating as a hobby. As a result, I’ve been browsing various cake websites for ideas.

Then I stumbled on Cake Wrecks.

Aside from the incredibly amusing photos of “professional” cakes, this gal’s commentary is hilarious. HILARIOUS. I greedily read every entry, wishing there were more.

If you need a laugh, Cake Wrecks will give it to you.

November 13, 2008

The Urge To Craft

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:39 pm by bitsypieces

I am not a crafty person… I have absolutely no artistic skills. I can (sometimes) copy a craft I’ve seen in a magazine, although my results are generally just-passable.

For some reason, however, I’ve been struck with the “crafting” urge this holiday season… possibly because this is my first Christmas as a “mommy.” Thus, I feel the desire for the whole works: trees, nativity scene, decorations, cheerful packages, carols, hot cocoa, snowmen and Santa.

This year I am probably going to limit my craftiness to cake decorating, since it’s a skill I’m hoping to develop. So I guess my friends and family are going to be receiving a lot of sweet treats during the next few months! Stay tuned… I hope to post a few of my creations here as I make them.

November 11, 2008

Rethinking Priorities

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:43 pm by bitsypieces

This post at Hot Water Bath gave me a lot of food for thought. Here’s an excerpt:

Who among us wants to be the one who tells a working-two-minimum-wage-jobs mom that she needs to be getting online (digital divide, anyone?) and ordering artisanal puppets for her children because that’s better for the environment and a more authentic gift? … Meanwhile, the dollar store has adorable puppets in a range of styles that are deemed by a privileged class to be less-than because of where they were made or how much energy they required to get here. Well, that’s not a conversation that I am willing to have.

Suddenly, I find myself taking a cold, hard look at myself. Do I act like a member of the “privileged class” to which Hot Water Bath is referring? I’m not opposed to Dollar Store purchases like wrapping paper and scotch tape. I even bought a few shirts from Dollar General to wear postpartum.

On the other hand, I am saving up my Associated Content earnings to buy this trendy teething necklace, and I’ve paid a little extra to get teether toys that are BPA-free. And I shelled out major bucks ($100+) recently for the Ergo baby carrier (since it’s supposed to be “ergonomically correct for both mommy and baby).

Mostly, though, I try to never judge people based on their shopping choices. We’re all free to choose where, how and when we shop… and what we buy. Our shopping choices make us individuals, and our individuality makes us interesting.

So I guess I’m not a member of the “privileged class,” thank goodness.  A shopping snob I am not.

But I still want this cool teething necklace.

November 8, 2008

Tricks

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:04 pm by bitsypieces

Ok… so Halloween has passed.  But I’ve been thinking about a few tricks of my own.

A few years ago I was living in a town that was, in my estimation, akin to the armpit of America.  (Actually, the anatomical part to which I usually compared it was a little further south on the body.)  In a desperate attempt to ease my boredom and combat my depression, I decided to learn a new (albeit pointless) skill every month.  I managed to master Origami cranes, using chopsticks and French braiding before I gave up on my program.

Fast forward to today:  I can still use chopsticks, but I’ve forgotten how to make cranes and a decent French braid.

So I’ve decided that it’s time to learn some new tricks again.  Maybe I’ll have them actually mastered by the time Baby is old enough to appreciate them.

On my to-learn-list:

  • Origami cranes
  • Balloon animals
  • Cake decorating
  • Juggling

Hell… I’ll practically be a one-woman walking birthday party entertainer.  (And no, I do NOT look good in clown makeup.)

Unfortunately, this newfound desire for knowledge–or almost-useless skills, depending your perspective–has already cost me bundle.  Yesterday, in a fit of mad spending, I dropped a wad ($50) on cake decorating supplies and books.  (Note:  I do have some experience with this, having taken a Wilton class back when I was 14 years old.)

I rationalize it by adding up all the bucks I’ll save by making Baby’s birthday cakes myself (instead of going to the bakery).  Let’s just hope I still have the patience and energy for it by the time Baby reaches her first birthday!

November 7, 2008

Inexpensive Holiday Photo Cards

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:31 am by bitsypieces

So… I’ve been thinking about my Christmas greeting cards. (I usually get them out pretty early in the season. This year they may be a little late, considering that now I have to juggle holiday prep, work, Hubby AND Baby.)

To save money on Baby’s birth announcement, I printed out her photo onto printable notecards with my computer. It was the world’s biggest hassle… especially at 2-weeks postpartum.

I briefly considered printing this year’s Christmas cards, but ultimately decided the savings (about $5) wasn’t worth the hassle. So I browsed some options and decided the most convenient choice for the lowest price is an online photo service.

I send about 40 cards to friends and family.

Snapfish.com‘s most basic Christmas photo cards would cost me $22 (plus tax/shipping)… but I could choose a card design that permits four different photos, which would be cool.

Shutterfly.com is a little more expensive at $32.50 for 50 cards, but they offer a lot more customization.

I will probably go with Snapfish, since I am a bargain shopper.

November 5, 2008

Baby Changes

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:53 pm by bitsypieces

Baby is my first child, and it’s been an amazing experience to watch her grow and change.

She’s been doing a lot of new and interesting things lately, like:

  • Sucking her thumb
  • Rolling from front to back
  • Getting distracted while eating
  • Noticing the dog

Ok… so she’s not exactly studying rocket science (yet!). But it’s been a real thrill for me to watch her change from little baby into little person.

November 3, 2008

Baby Bargain

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:08 pm by bitsypieces

I am a practical kind of person, so most days Baby wears snap-front sleepers. They keep her warm during the cooler months, and I find snaps easier than zippers for diaper changes.

Now that Baby is older, she’s outgrowing a lot of the outfits we received at the baby shower. So I bought her a few sleepers at Sears and Toys R Us, and they cost $10-$14 each.

Imagine my chagrin when I discover similar sleepers for just $5.99 at Target (like the ones pictured, but with snaps instead of zippers… the zipper ones are even cheaper!). It was a total palm-slap-to-the-forehead-“duh” moment. I hate finding out that I’ve spent WAY too much on something.

I stocked up, of course… both in her current size and the next size up. Who knows when such a bargain will strike again?

And next time I’m checking Target first.