28 February 2014

The Big Purse Dump in 7 Quick Takes

Double link-up time! 

Let's start with how it is now.

My Vera Bradley bag (that I got at the outlet sale last year) hang out here, and I keep my hat and gloves shoved into the top.

Now dump it!

What a mess! Sort that out.

Cora's stuff.

Those onesies are different sizes, and I don' think that cute tree one even fits any more. And I'm pretty sure the pants are highwaters now. The Cheerios? Probably been in there for months. (I gave them to her for dinner last night.) And that diaper is about to fall apart since I haven't actually changed her diaper during an outing in at least 3 months. The cute cats are a small wetbag (for cloth diapers orclothing accidents), and the white thing to its left is an emergency rag/diaper.

Hair junk.

I don't even use those running headbands for running. Or anything. (Cora likes to play with them, so one goes back in!)

Random junk.

A Metro card for the Washington, D.C. subway. (I live in Indiana, by the way.) 2 coupons to Culver's. A protein pouch I got as a freebie.

I tried the pouch later--it was a lot like the GD-test drink. 1/10 do not recommend.

Tissues. Some used.

Trash and a cough drop, neither of which I have needed for months.

Things I actually use.
Vera Bradley wallet that fits my phone in it. Still love.

What went back in:

Winter protip: gloves inside hat whenever they're not on your body.

For more Quick Takers and/or Purse Dumpers, see Jen and Kendra.

27 February 2014

Academy Awards BINGO

Anyone out there getting excited for the Academy Awards this weekend?

Many years ago, I lived with two roommates who LOVED movies and went and saw them all the time. They decided to host an Oscar Party in our living room, and even though I had only seen like 2 movies that year, it was loads of fun!

The first thing they gave us was a ballot to fill out. It had all the categories on it, and I did my best with it based on their reactions to all the movies they had seen all year.

The second thing they handed us was my favorite--Oscar BINGO cards! All luck, no skill, and it kept the discussion flowing, even for us who hadn't seen most of the movies. We had tons of fun with this! My roomies even had raided the dollar store for some fun prizes.

In an attempt not to re-invent the wheel, here is a printable ballot for this year's show from moviefone.

If you need some help with your choices, read the picks by the LA Times here.

Some sites with Oscar BINGO cards you can print:
HGTV: 7 Oscar Bingo Cards (this one has a good variety of basic not-too-far-fetched events that will probably happen)
Punchbowl: 15 Oscar Bingo cards (this one is very 2014-specific, and includes possible winners)
How About Orange 15 BINGO cards (no Free Space!) and Ballot

You can also make your own cards easily at this Bingo Card App site. Super easy to use!!

Or you can just print these blank ones and make everyone write in their own squares (then give it to someone else. Ha!)

Some ideas to include that may or may not be on the pre-made ones above:
Wardrobe malfunction
Someone wearing an animal
Winner mentions their children
Winner thanks their spouse
Too much cleavage
Award accepted on behalf of winner
Man in white suit/tux
Trouble with envelope
Sunglasses indoors

Do you have any ideas for BINGO or just party ideas in general you would like to add? Leave it in the comments!

I'll be watching it alone this year, but if you want to play BINGO and ballots against me on twitter, let me know! (I'm @windmill_cat, or you can click the twitter button in the sidebar and find me!)

(To be completely honest, I don't even  really WATCH movies. I want to, but it just never happens. However, I just love award shows! Especially the fashion.)

The 86th Academy Awards are Sunday, March 2nd at 7pm EST on ABC.

26 February 2014

When I Fell In Love With Running

It's been a long up-and-down journey for me with running. I don't jump in to anything very quickly, and

In high school, I ran cross-country for one season, and one season only. I mostly did it to stay in shape for soccer season. I didn't mind running after a ball, but running the neighborhood streets in our very hilly part of Georgia ended up not being something I really enjoyed. I joined the Quiz Bowl team the following year instead of the Cross Country team. That was also the same year I ended up screwing up my knee in a soccer game, trying to brush it off, which then landed me in a few months of physical therapy.

I ran some races here and there for next few years, mostly for charities I was involved in. I was never really 'ready' for any of those. My senior year of college, my roommates asked if I wanted to go running at the trails behind the intramural fields a few times a week before class. I actually liked those trail runs a lot, until I eventually tripped on a root and sprained my ankle. I learned that sprained ankles can take almost 6 months to heal fully, and I was no exception.

Fast forward a few more years and I made a list of 101 goals to accomplish in 1001 days. One of my goals was to do the entire Couch-to-5K program, and then run a 5K without walking any of it. After I had my miscarriage, I decided it was then or never. I did the program, running with no music and holding my husband's watch in my hand so I could know when to run and when to walk. I dug out my knee brace when I realized that my knee was hurting for the next 24 hours after a run. But I wanted to finish what I started. I ran the Fiesta 5K through the streets of Pensacola, and then got pregnant the next day (or something like that).

Combine Florida summer humidity with pregnancy, a bad knee, and someone who wasn't full sold on running, and I just flat-out stopped. I did the elliptical throughout my pregnancy. It wasn't until after my kid was weaned that I became a bit more serious about running again.

It probably helped that there is a fabulous trail system here in Fort Wayne. And that our YMCA was smack-dab in the middle of a 1.5-mile loop of trail. The child-watch policy was cool with you going out there as long as you left your phone number. So 3 times a week last summer, I would drop Cora off, do some stretching inside the Y, and hit the trail with phone in hand. I started with 1 mile. Then I just tacked on more and more distance each time. I just ran as far as I could and tracked it on RunKeeper when I got home. I got new shoes, an mp3 player, a pink sports watch, and I was feeling good.

I signed up for one race. Then another. And another. I even won my division in a small one. I decided to end my season with a 4-mile race, my longest distance. The Fort4Fitness 4-mile race is actually where I decided that I loved running.

I had read some of the policies for the race, and it seemed they frowned on listening to music during it. So I decided I wouldn't. I would just enjoy the camaraderie of the biggest race in town. I remember being in line for the bag check when I overheard a girl tell her friend, "Well, I hate running, so I need music so I can take my mind off of it." I didn't say it aloud, but all I could think was that I'm pretty sure I said the exact same thing 6 months ago.

But during that race, somewhere among the rhythmic shuffling of everyone's shoes pounding the pavement, the dad behind me giving encouraging words to his daughter, the chalk art beneath my feet, and the chain of musings running through my own head, I found this thought bubbling to the surface: Hey, this isn't so bad. Actually, I kinda like this. Running has kept me motivated all summer, given me stories to tell, and provided me the time to think through all the junk in my head. Perhaps I won't take the winter off. Maybe I even love this? And maybe I could push myself even harder eventually.

It took 29 years, but I was finally ready to call myself a runner.

25 February 2014

Food For Thought, Literally

I sorta asked this question in another post, but I don't think anyone actually answered it. So now I will answer it myself.

If you could only eat 3 meals for the rest of your life, but you never had to worry about nutrition what would you eat??

So basically your 3 meals would meet all of your nutritional needs perfectly. No weight-loss diets, no wacky GI issues, no lactose-intolerance, etc. You could eat all of the same meal in one day or 3 different meals a day. But each meal, you only have 3 options. Each meal can contain up to 5 different foods/beverages.

I would eat these meals:

1. Pizza. Extra cheese. Rising crust. With a hard cider. Add a form of cheesy bread. Cookies & Cream ice cream with hardening fudge and sprinkles for dessert. And some Twix bars on the side.

2. A box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Retrieved from when the 'HOT' sign was on. Yeah, a whole box. Some scrambled eggs, bacon, and a strawberry orange smoothie.

3. Ground beef chimichangas.  On the side, chips and white queso dip (specifically the one from Frontera back in my hometown). McDonald's fries (had to sneak them in somewhere). Chocolate milk.

Now the real question is would you prefer this to the way we eat now?

Personally, I think I would. I know I never eat enough vegetables. I've heard of people who eat the same thing every day, and, honestly, it intrigues me. If I could just eat my favorites and never have to worry, I totally would! I'm not the world's most inspired chef, anyway. I don't think I'd ever get bored of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. However, I changed my 3rd meal a few times before I settled on the chimichangas, so maybe I am just better off as it is now.

What would you eat? And would your rather do 3 meals all the time or actually have to meal plan?

24 February 2014

How We Chose Her Name

Our little one is already 2 years old, but I don't think I ever shared why we chose her name.

Since we wanna get pregnant again, like tomorrow, baby names have been on my mind. My sister is also expecting twins in April and they are keeping the names (and the sexes!) a secret. That's a complete 180 from her last pregnancy, when she called me up right after her 20-week ultrasound and said, "It's a girl, her name is Emma Grace."

To which I replied, "You can't name her Emma! It's the most popular name in the country!"

I've always been kind of obsessed with the birth name popularity. Even way back here in my early blogging days, I had a tab on all the babies born the previous year to people I knew. (Liam and Sophia were the big ones in 2010. I would say Henry and Lucy have been popular in my circles recently.) I still check the SSA site a bit, but not nearly as obsessively as before. (I can't wait for the 2013 list to come out though!)

So taking that into account, our child is named Cora Elizabeth.

We kept the name a secret, which was good because we didn't even name her until a good hour after she was born. We walked into the hospital with two names we liked, and just figured one would fit her better. (We did each name in the scrabble tiles during our maternity photos.) I delivered at 1:30am, so I was still in a daze from the birth and kept waffling on the name when finally B put his foot down and said, "Let's go with Cora." Once it came from him, I knew it was right.

At some point in my pregnancy, I got some baby name books from the library, and both B and I pored through them. We had lots of caveats: no names that usually get shortened to nicknames, no going by the middle name instead of the first, no initials that spell a word (JEW was a real possibility and it just bothered me since we're Catholic), and B was slightly opposed to anything longer than 2 syllables since we have a 3-syllable, 10-letter last name. (I did not agree with him on that last one, since I reminded him that he has 2 brothers with 3-syllable names, and they don't seem too hindered by it.) We were having a tough time agreeing on anything, so we finally split up and each wrote down a list of names we liked.
My husband's list, mostly ("Margaret" is in my handwriting.)
My husband's list contained popular names from when we were born in the 80's: Stephanie, Sarah, etc. Nothing against those names, but uh, I didn't want an 80's baby born in 2012. My list had more of those 'grandma-turned-modern' names, like Charlotte, Virginia, Nora, etc.

Cora was on my list. He shot down Nora, but somehow Cora was okay with him. The baby name book said it was a Greek name and meant "maiden." Nothing objectionable there. I knew at this point to NOT inform B that there is a Food Network chef named Cat Cora. He would have nixed it right away. He found out in the hospital after we had named her, from one of the male nurses who asked him if he watched "Iron Chef." Too late now, sucker!

For the middle name? We knew we wanted a more Catholic name for the middle, since there is no St. Cora (yet!). I also didn't want a kid with the exact same initials as I have, so anything starting with A was out (my middle name is Ann; my mom's name is Alyce so that got tossed as well). We waffled about Claire (with the i!) for a bit, but Elizabeth won out. We agreed that St. Elizabeth (the biblical one) should be our girl's patroness.

I think the BEST part about keeping the name a secret was that I did a baby pool and added a name category to it (you can still see it online!). Seeing what other people thought (or hoped) we would name her was hilarious--I even printed the whole thing out for her baby book. My dad, whose name is Charles Harvey, chose Charlene Harvette. Sorry, Dad, maybe next time.

Linking up with Team Whitaker's Baby Names Story linkup. Check it out!

23 February 2014

This Week's Eats

Jessica Lynn Writes
chalkboards and meal ideas with Jessica Lynn

Hey, who wants to see what's up in our kitchen this week?

That cutie on the left is my hilarious niece.
I know, it's cool as Jessica's chalkboard-thingy, but I'm going to admit right here right now that I. hate. chalk. So messy. Never can find the eraser. Makes that horrible noise. Gets your hands all dirty.

Dry-erase it is!

Sunday: Leftover Pizza. On my monthly meal plan, this was supposed to be something else. But circumstances changed, we attended a funeral yesterday, and last night B's dad bought pizza and invited some other relatives over. We have enough left for dinner tonight.

Monday: Chicken Pot Pie. Using the recipe in my Betty Crocker book. The pie-crusts are frozen ones, since my mom bought some at Thanksgiving and we didn't use them all (I make my apple pie crusts from scratch, thankyouverymuch). So they need to be used, and I want some CPP. (My first job was a waitress at a chicken place and that's how we abbreviated that order on our notepads. p.s. I was a terrible waitress.)

Tuesday: Leftover CPP. Hopefully we'll have enough left. If not, then it's hot dogs all around.

Wednesday: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect recipe. I have cheddar and some gouda in my arsenal. Feel free to point me to the right direction in the comments! (Update: I used the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook, using half cheddar and half gouda, then added a crumb topping. It was great!)

Thursday: Leftovers. Probably mac & cheese leftovers, but we'll just raid everything in there. 

Friday: Whatever + Martinis. Oh, I am soooooo excited about this weekend. B has Drill Weekend and is taking Cora with him so my in-laws can "rent-a-tot" for a few days. That mean I get to pretend I have no responsibilities from Friday night to Sunday afternoon! I might just eat some freezer taquitos or something, but I also got invited to a Mama's Night Out at a martini bar downtown through a group I've joined. 

Saturday: Soup From a Can. You don't even want to know how excited I am to just eat a can of soup and not care. It's ridiculous, really.

Desserts & Snacks: I really need to bust out these Homemade Protein Bars once again (especially for the husband to put in his lunchbox), and I have just a bit of cookie dough left in our fridge from something else. I'll wait to make those until the weekend. :-) I also have coupons for free fro-yo, a free Snickers bar, and a free small pizza (from the gas station) that need to be used. This weekend is gonna be grand.

This week I'm also partaking in the challenge at Conversion Diary to do 7 Posts in 7 Days. I usually only post once or twice a week, so this is a huuuuuuuge stretch for me! There of course will be link-ups, but maybe more 'real' content, too. And hey, the 7th day of it is Sunday so I'll have my entire month meal plan for March to share.

20 February 2014

Thank God For the Crabapple Tree

Because the crabapple tree out our window brings the robins. The robins who hang out up here all winter, just like we do.

This winter. Ugh. I already whined about winter last year, calling it the "least frugal thing I have ever done" -- and, uh, now I'm kinda looking back fondly at last year. I just deleted a huge paragraph of whining about the snow and the cold. (I'm sure I've complained enough on Twitter anyway.) There has been snow on the ground every day in 2014. That's longer than Jesus spent being tempted in the desert, y'all.

But let's not dwell on that.

Let's focus on the good things instead. The weird and fun things I'm still learning about living in a winter wonderland.

  • Dancing trees. One day it was snowing buckets and buckets, and I watched it pile up so much on the evergreen trees that they finally gave in. The snow fell off, the branches bounced up and down, and it reminded me of this singing Christmas tree that my mom got as a gag gift many years ago.
  • Snow-hawks. The poor unfortunate cars that are not garaged often get left with snow on the tops. The owners drive them around like that, and it looks like they have white mohawks.
That black car in the background totally has a snow-hawk
  • School closings not dictating anything else (unlike in my home state of Georgia). Thank God for this or we wouldn't get anything done around here. The schools have closed for 12 days since January, and they have tacked on over a week to the end of the school year to make it all up. But all the shops, libraries, and my beloved gym stay open unless it's a state of emergency. This also means my husband goes into work all those days, but at least I have places I can go to.
  • No random old ladies reprimanding me for bringing my tot out in -3° to get groceries. And she often removes her hat and mittens, so she's not even fully covered. But these old ladies know that you gotta get things done, weather be darned! On that note, all bread, milk, and beer have been stocked in their usual quantities throughout the winter (unlike that Southern panic thing I know too well).
  • Sledding! In farm-flat Indiana, you have to seek out the hills. B remembered one from when he was a kid (and I had seen it on some lists), so he took Cora and me there. I had never really sledded before* either, so I actually shared a first with my 2-year-old. How cool is that?
*Well, I do remember something from my youth about a trash can lid, an inch of snow, and accidentally sitting on a cactus. But let's not count that.
  • Most importantly, the realization that God is in control. We can make all the plans in the world, but some days there will be blizzards. Other days, I'll wonder what on earth made me think it was a good idea to leave the house. And on other days, your city will be paying $300,000 in overtime for snow removal efforts just so people can get to work.
Aside from the dirty snow piles, the calories I've expended shoveling the driveway, and the blown-over snowman in our front yard, if you really look at all of this fluffy white as a whole, God really shines as a master artist. And he even gave me some cute little birdies to gaze at out my window.

17 February 2014

7 Years, 3 Years

7 years ago today was a good day. It was the first time that "I love you"s were exchanged between B and me, immediately following my cousin's wedding. My cousin and her husband are an awesome married couple, so I always love thinking about how we share that special day.

3 years ago yesterday was not a good day. After 10 weeks of my first pregnancy, I had a miscarriage. I wrote about it on the blog way back then. But now, 3 years later, I'm reflecting on it again.  Today, Messy Wife, Blessed Life has a post I wrote in which I explain some lessons I learned from my experience.
 Over these past few years, I realize I learned a few things from my miscarriage. Most of them are good.
1. That I Actually Am Fertile  For most women that that struggle with infertility, getting the positive test is most of the battle. We had been charting for a year (but not for ttc purposes), but a pretty cycle doesn't always equal fertility.  I actually had no reservations that it would be our only positive test.
2. What Pregnancy Feels Like . . . and Doesn't
  . . . read more at Messy Wife, Blessed Life
I'm glad I have this optimistic perspective after 3 years, but I am also very very thankful that our "I love you" anniversary was spared.

(Mandi, the author of Messy Wife, Blessed Life is currently in the process of her second miscarriage within the span of just a few short months, so can I urge you to head over and just check out her site and show her some love? I know all your kind comments on my blog 3 years ago really helped me out a lot.)

14 February 2014

7 Quick Takes (Snowshoes and Dancing Olympians)

Hey e'erbody, happy Saints Cyril and Methodius Day! Oh wait, hang on a sec.

Literally an hour after I told someone yesterday that "we don't do squat" for Valentine's Day and that B might get me flowers and candy 3 days later, when they're on sale, he walked in the door with this:


(He was apparently so excited that he got off work on time for the first time in a long time that he flew to Meijer and bought the farm.)

He also got some hilarious snow shoes for Cora that make animal footprints in the snow (clearance rack, baby!) and a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal that he'll give her tonight. I was so surprised because he always thinks she has too many toys. (He's kinda right.)

She walked around with them on okay while in the house, but once she was out in the snow, she couldn't walk at all! Maybe next year.

I have been loving the Olympics once again! So many cool sports that I'll never do and athletes that are younger than me. Like freestyle skiier and his ridiculous giant pants:

Yeah, those are 4XL. Apparently, it's his style (and he uses suspenders).

With all the Olympics I've been watching, it's no real wonder that it might pervade my slumber. I was having a dream last night that I was a beautiful figure skater, gracefully doing triple axels and double salchows like nobody's business. Just as I was about to go for the quadruple toe loop, my husband jabbed me in the arm and woke me up. He told me I was thrashing around and wanted me to stop.

Apparently, I'm not even that graceful in my sleep. I have been laughing about this all day.

I finished my first book of the year! (I have a resolution to read and actually finish 7 books. I have a bad habit of starting books and then getting distracted, usually by other books. It's a rough cycle.) But I devoured this one in 3 days!

It was fantastic, and reminded me why I am pro-life. I had never heard of this gal until a few months ago. Her entire conversion and news surrounding it happened right after we got married, so I guess I had other things going on.

Since B is cooking tonight, I promised I'd make him cookies. So I better get on that. I'll let Olympic luger Kate Hansen see us out.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

09 February 2014

Meal Plans and Whatnot

We had a meal planning system. It went fine until a few months ago. The old system would have like 8 meals on the board--all ingredients bought in one big trip--and the night before I would decide what we were having. I guess I got lazy or busy or I don't know, but more and more I found that I hadn't thawed out the meat or hadn't even chosen the meal to make come 5pm.

After a strange spat about cooking and how I hate it and am not good at it and wish I had enough money to hire a private chef, we made the conscious decision to eat out more. Meaning twice a month. (We went to a whopping ZERO restaurants together in January.) Yes, we might be the most frugal people you may ever meet, in the fact that we had to come to that decision. To do this we actually needed to schedule our restaurant nights. I also asked B if he would cook twice a month (not just whenever I didn't feel like doing it and put him on the spot like previously).

All of that led to meal planning for actual days of the week. Y'know, like normal people do.

I went a little crazy and did a whole month, just to make my life easier.

I did have one drawback last week, though, as my Friday meal actually made enough for 2 nights. I'm obviously not an over-achiever in the kitchen, so we ate it again Saturday. I ended up making the Saturday meal for lunch today (for me).

Below is our menu for this week. We have no food allergies, aren't paleo or gluten-free, we aren't on weight-loss journeys, we eat for sustenance first and taste second, and our 2-year-old probably won't eat any of this. (Yeah, not even the nuggets. Maybe the pizza, though?)

Sunday: Homemade pizza and a salad. I'm hoping to make the dough in my Ninja blender using their recipe!

Monday: Homemade chicken nuggets. The class I'm taking on Coursera about Child Nutrition & Cooking showed just how easy it is to make these (flour, then egg, then panko, then pan-fry). Plus, Meijer had boneless, skinless thighs on sale which is the best cut but usually the most expensive.

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner. Bacon, pancakes, fruit, and maybe eggs. I may sound lame, but oven-baked bacon has saved my sanity (and it tastes the same!).

Wednesday: Ground Beef Casserole (Shepherd's Pie, kinda). You brown a pound of ground beef, add a can of tomato soup, a can of drained green beans, and top it with mashed potatoes. We ate this a lot growing up, and I refer to it now by a family name. I have started adding some thawed-out mixed vegetables, since we're always a bit lacking in the veg department. So yeah, I think I turned it back into Shepherd's Pie with that. I might used ground turkey this week.

Thursday: Casserole leftovers

Friday: B cooks. Not sure what he'll make, but he better tell me before I go grocery shopping! (Otherwise, he'll probably take the spaghetti route.)  Update: he made lemon-rosemary chicken breasts, recipe from one of our cookbooks.

Saturday: Crockpot Sweet & Sour Meatballs, over rice. Found this through another blog, but here's the link to the actual recipe.

03 February 2014

Animal-Themed Birthday Party

For Cora's 2nd birthday party, I found these invitations in my stash of stuff from (pre?)college.

Looks like my party theme just chose itself. Animals!

I looked at Pinterest a little bit, but I'm not one to go crazy with a theme. A lot of the Pinterest stuff narrowed it down to one category of animals (jungle animals, mostly). I decided just animals in general would make my life easier. Plus, the guest of honor was turning 2. She didn't give much input.

Let's start with purchased stuff. I bought some plates and napkins at Wal-Mart and Meijer.

I really love those cutesy animal plates and matching napkins, but they were part of a Baby's 1st Birthday line, and were the only things without the number 1 on them. I probably would have bought the rest if it was a year ago. (They were from Wal-Mart and very inexpensive.) On the right is Zoo Pals plates because I love them--each one is a different animal.

From Party City, I got a Pin the Nose on the Lion game. Even though there were no other young kids in attendance, it was a hit! B's brother and cousins were into it, and my mom forced me to play as well (and then I forced B, so basically everyone under the age of 31 played.)

This "blindfold" came with the game, but it only fits kids.
I love painter's tape a bit too much . . . 
Okay, onto the food. 

First, what animal-themed party would be complete without animal crackers? None, I tell you. None.
I bought some of the iced ones, too. Yum!
The rest of the food all had animal 'themes' (in a loose sense of the word).

Snake sandwiches. 5 dollar footlongs from Subway that we cut ourselves.
Yes, that's a tomato tongue.
Kangaroo kabobs
Protip with these that got figured out as we went along: half an apple is perfect for jamming the pointy ends in to.

Manatee meatballs
Panda Pizza.
These were just bagel bites, but I should have bought more than 2 boxes. They went fast!

Tortoisse Tortilla Chips & Salsa. (Again with the painter's tape.)

Camel Chips & Dip (my kid loves camels)

Cheetah Cheese & Crackers

Seahorse Soda and Walrus Wine

So after we played games, devoured all the food, opened all the presents, we of course had to have some cake.

Yeah, I made that.
The cake was strawberry with vanilla frosting. It was so good!

I also made Cora her own little cake using a mug cake recipe and making it in a ramekin (in the microwave).

 While we were singing to her:

Just like last year, I had to cut it first before she really dug into it.
But then there was no turning back!

Some other thoughts on this party:

  • My mom bought Cora helium balloons from the Dollar Tree. A buck for each balloon, seriously the best deal in town. (Yes, the fill them for you, too.)
  • From now on, I will be making sheet cakes for birthday parties because there was barely any of this cake left. Also, it is really hard to write on round cakes because there's not much area on the top.
  • I will also have more chocolate for the guests. The only chocolate at this party was Cora's cake. I debated buying Zebra Cakes, but ultimately decided against it. A peanut and M&M "elephant food" mix would have been a good compromise.
  • I will check my food coloring before hitting up the store. Those zebra stripes were supposed to be pink, but my pink had gotten old and had to be chucked. Ah, well.
  • More bagel bites!
I'm glad my mom was here to help. Not sure if she'll ever come back for Cora's birthday again because the weather here is awful in January--and then her flight back got cancelled, of course. There was basically a blizzard happening the day of her party, but there was no way in heck I was cancelling. Everyone showed up, though! (My in-laws drove up from Indy and the first thing they said was, "We're moving your birthday to June!") And everyone had a great time. We will continue January celebrations, even if it means she is only celebrating with Mommy and Daddy and her stuffed animals.