I hope you all are having a magical and warm winter so far. It has been so cold here in Tennessee, the coldest it has been in six years, and even at that, the temps are nothing compared to other parts of the country! How are you all doing?
I know a few of you have been wondering where I've been (thank you for the sweet emails!) and I just want you to know that I've been fine (mostly!). I did have someone write me recently, and I know she meant well, but she mentioned that my blog was suffering and that it once was an enjoyable place to visit. Kind of a wake up call, lol!
I have just been extremely busy with company, parties, and reconnecting with my family. When school was out for winter break last month, we were literally attending or hosting a party or gathering every few days. The kids were exhausted when they went back to school - and I was pooped as well. Hubs left on a business trip after all the activity (the day before school started back), so I was home for a week alone with the three kidlets, trying to get us all back into the swing of things.
I don't like to mention my health much here as it's not the focus of this blog, but I've struggled with what we believe is fibromyalgia (everything else has been ruled out) for the last 10 or 11 years and winter is tough for me as far as pain and fatigue go. The cold weather really does a number on me. When I have bouts, I feel like I'm in a dense mental fog as well. My body literally tries to go into hibernation mode. Eating right and exercising is highly important but can be very challenging when it's hard to even get out of bed! So after company left and starting in January, I've been working hard to take care of myself, exercising daily, preparing and eating good food, and really, just pampering myself - anything to keep me from sleeping all day, week, and winter! For those of you with similar problems, you know that what you cannot do (keeping the house super clean, working on projects, being supermom! etc.) can sometimes be overwhelming and make you feel guilty, or at least I've felt that way in the past. This year, I'm determined to just be and do my best and to love and care for myself and my family and friends - and let everything just happen as it happens. With the economy the way it is, and so many struggling with money and job loss, I feel extremely blessed. I jokingly refer to our place as our little love shack, hehe, but let me tell you, I'm thankful to have it now despite it's seemingly neverending project status!
One of the parties that we had in December was for the kids. It was a winter themed party and we cut out and glittered 100 paper snowflakes! Oh my! That was a job but they were so pretty hanging on the walls and from the ceiling! The girls and I planned lots of games, ordered Snow in Seconds (was a HUGE hit with all the kids -just add water and you've got cold, fluffy snow!), prepared winter craft activities, created our party music playlist (feel free to use it for your next party!) - oh, just so much! Planning was just as much fun as the actual party! There were 11 girls here in all, and several adults to help, thank goodness!
What *I* was most excited about creating for the party was the penguin cake! I had never worked with fondant or gumpaste before, but I really wanted to try making penguins. I used half fondant and half gumpaste and mixed them together (store bought - worked great, edible, but NOT tasty! Truly, just for looks!). My idea was to just make about 5 penguins but the girls wanted 11, the number of kids attending the party. It took me a couple of weeks to make all the penguins and everything, but I'm really pleased with how they turned out! Somehow I ended up with 12...miscounted! I had a little problem with some of the penguins drying and cracking a bit, but not to the point of falling apart. The eyes were tough to paint on, as well, but overall, it was pretty easy - just tedious! I hope you enjoy the photos!
(Please CLICK photos to ENLARGE)
I made several different cake sizes in chocolate and yellow. A LOT more cake than we could actually eat at the party, but a lot was needed to hold all the penguin activity. I had the kids give me ideas as to what they wanted the penguins to be doing and I used all of their ideas except for building an igloo, lol. I gave away a lot of the cake and we eventually finished off the rest. The kids wanted to take penguins home with them but I just couldn't part with them :)
The blocks of "ice" around the perimeter of the cake are just sugar cubes:)
I enjoyed making the snowman. It's hard to tell from this angle, but nose is actually carrot shaped.
Is that sweet little penguin really going to throw a snowball at the other sweet penguin down below?
I loved this penguin family here...mama, daddy, baby with blanket and penguin doll, and the unhatched egg with feet. I think the baby looks excited about the prospect of sliding down the hill, too, and wants to go next! What does mama think about that? Daddy thinks it will be just fine!
Watching all the activity from below while sipping hot chocolate!
"Caught one!" (I could *not* get this poor penguin's eyes to look right, ugh!)
"Nice catch!" The water is just blue jello:)
Uh oh! We have another slider, folks!