Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strides for Breast Cancer

Awhile back I was asked to be a speaker at the Strides for Breast Cancer Association of Southwest Indiana meeting. 

I was incredibly honored to be asked to do this, and last night was THE night.

I wasn't nervous going into the meeting which is out of the norm for me because I'm not a fan of public speaking.  After I was introduced, got to the front, and looked at the 'crowd' (all but two seats were full at the front and people were standing in the back)...I realized it was being filmed.  Whoa.  I wasn't expecting that, and the nervousness set in.

I talked about my experience at having my first tumor and subsequent lumpectomy at the age of 20. That I had another one at the age of 24, and then six were found when I was just 27.  That I was only 28 years old when I had my bi-lateral mastectomy, and I stressed the importance of self breast checks because at the age I was, I had never gotten a mammogram.  I talked about all the women in my family that also have had breast cancer and how despite it being so many, all of us tested negative for BRCA. 

The community representative, Autumne Baker, did an excellent job.  She had finger foods and pink ribbon cookies for everyone to munch on. 

And in true spirit of what it was all about, she played Martina McBride's new song at the very end.  I'm not sure there was a dry eye in the house.

Kristin and I are co-captaining a Strides for Breast Cancer team for the walk on October 15.  (Kate I totally know this is your wedding date, and I PROMISE I WILL be there to see you walk down the aisle.  The walk is just 3 miles and it's in the morning.  :))  So, it'll be a FANTASTIC day.  I'll start it off by supporting one of the causes that is so dear to my heart and I'll finish it off by seeing one of my best friends marry the man of her dreams.  I mean, how could a day possibly get any better than that?!!!

Last year, October was a hard month for me.  I had just had my mastectomy, was going through reconstruction, and thing I wanted to escape from was EVERYWHERE I looked.  This year, it's going to be great.  I have two walks on back-to-back week-ends, a wedding I've been looking forward to for what seems like forever - haha, and it'll go down with a bang with me back into surgery for yet another reconstruction.  I'm okay with that because it means I have a month to get back up to par before Thanksgiving.  My FAVORITE Holiday of the year.  I'm pretty sure it started out being my favorite because it meant Aunt Becky was coming for a visit, and I still enjoy that, but I really just love reflecting in November about all the things I have had to be thankful for over the past year.  And let's not even get started on the food.  We'll just end by's when my oven/stove get used the most.  lol

Hope you all are having a blessed day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm Gonna Love You Through It

Do you ever hear a song and it literally takes your breath away for a moment?

I feel that way ever single time I listen to this song.... which has been many times in the past few days since it was released.

It literally just pulls on my heart strings.

Being in a place of uncertainty and difficulty, the most important thing in my life last year was the love and support I felt from family and friends.  And really, I think for anyone facing a scary, life changing situation, that's all they ever really want.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Turtle German Chocolate Cake Pops

I can not put into words how delicious these compact balls of cake are.

EVERY.SINGLE.BITE is an explosion of deliciousness in your mouth!!!

And that is not an exaggeration.

Last year, around Christmastime, Amanda told me she had made these Red Velvet cake balls, and they were soooo good that I needed to make them.  8 months has went by and I didn't give them much thought until I was put in charge of making the cake for my nephews birthday party...which happened to fall on my actual birthday, and since I love, love, LOVE strawberry cake but couldn't make one of the layers of his cake strawberry since both my mom and sister are allergic....I decided to make strawberry cake pops.

Ever since, I've been stewing over all the different things I could creatively do with these little balls.

ie...stick them closely together and decorate the entire top as one cohesive know, like how cupcake cakes are decorated.  My latest idea is to buy a small potting vase, put styrofoam in the bottom, cut sticks in various sizes, fill the bottom with leaves and make a bouquet. 

Today, I got a craving for these while talking to my friend, Starla about ideas for finger foods for her upcoming 31 open house.  So we started tossing around different ideas of cake/icing flavors that we thought would taste good together.

I said, 'I wonder if you could make them and use Coconut Pecan frosting.'  Starla suggested putting caramel and crushed pecans on them so they'd be like a Turtle.  Thus, the idea was put into motion to create Turtle German Chocolate Cake Pops.

Start out by making a German Chocolate cake according to the packet directions.
Let cool completely once you get done baking it.

The additional ingredients you'll need are: Coconut Pecan icing (you can make your own, but I have four time isn't always plentiful), lollipop sticks, pecans, caramel bits, and white chocolate chips (which I forget to stick in the picture).

Slice up the cake so that it's easier to crumble.

Crumble the entire cake in a bowl and add half of one of the containers of coconut pecan icing.
Mix well. 
You'll have to use your hands to do this.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate a minimum of 4 hrs up to overnight.

Melt down about 1/4 bag of white chips.

Roll 1-2 tsp portions of the cake into balls.

Dip stick into melted chocolate.

Stick about 1/2 way into the balls.

Repeat with all the cake and stick in styrofoam to hold into place.
Stick in freezer for 15-20 minutes.  Don't go much over this or your cake will dry out and start to crack.

Dip balls into coating.

Drizzle with the caramel.

And sprinkle with the pecan.

And you end up with four bites of pure perfection!


Monday, August 15, 2011

1st Day of School: 2011 Edition

And just like that.....THEY ARE OFF!

It doesn't seem possible that summer break should be over yet.  I mean, didn't they JUST get out of school?!  It's crazy how fast time seems to fly by, the older you get.

They were both soooo excited.

Last night before bed we packed their lunches, laid out their outfits for today, put their backpacks and shoes by the front door, and braided their hair so it'd be 'wavy' today.

Kinsey came in my room at 5:47 this morning and asked if she could start getting ready...she was THAT excited.  (Read:  We're talking about a kid who likes to sleep in until 9:30 or 10 any chance she can get!)  I told her she needed to lay back down until the alarm went off.  I need to write myself a note and attach it to my bedside lamp that says 'NEVER TURN THE VOLUME ALL THE WAY UP ON YOUR ALARM AGAIN!'  I wanted to make sure I was good and awake this morning, but literally almost jumped out of my skin when the darn thing started buzzing.  Not to mention, it woke Breanna up and that is simply never a good thing.  I normally don't 'wake' her up.  I just carry her to the car, buckle her in, and she sleeps while I drop the kids off and sleeps some more after we get back home. 

We also need to start 'preparing' every night before bed.  To say this morning was one of the most smooth mornings we've had since my kids have started school would be a huge understatement.  We didn't have any whining about not being able to find the socks they wanted, or shoes.  Everything was decided on yesterday night and laid out.  They just had to come downstairs, change into their clothes, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, grab their things, get a million pictures taken (okay, so it was really only about 10 but still), and out the door we were....on our way to their first day as 1st and 3rd graders!  It was smooth sailing!!!

Love these pretty girls!

Super cute backpacks they picked up while on vacation with their dad and stepmom.

Kinsey takes her lunch off and on depending what's on the lunch menu...but Ava has decided that she is taking her lunch every day because she wants to be able to eat what she wants (today it consisted of an Uncrustable, applesauce, celery and a Jif To-Go cup, a honey teddy grahams/golden raisins/peanut trail mix, and V8 Splash)...and so she can take her V8 Splash to drink.  lol.  She makes me laugh!