Monthly Archives: January 2010

Cabin Fever Prevention

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Here is a list of things you can do to keep from going crazy because of all the snow.

  1. Go outside. You could go play in the snow. I know, crazy idea, huh?
  2. Catch up on homework. You know that essay you have due in a week. You could work on it. But you won’t and neither will I, so don’t worry about it.
  3. Read. When is the last time you read a real book. I just finished A Mercy by Toni Morrison. Excellent. Wonderful.
  4. Color, yes in a coloring book or on construction paper. Let your inner child come out and have some fun.
  5. Make Valentine’s Day cards. You could even do old school valentines.
  6. Clean out a closet and then give stuff you don’t wear/need/want anymore to the Salvation Army or Goodwill when the roads clear up.
  7. Play a board game. Monopoly, Life, Sorry and Scrabble are all classics.
  8. Shop online for a new board game. I suggest this game.
  9. Organize the photos on your computer. Or even post some new pictures on Facebook. I desperately need to do this.
  10. Start a blog.
  11. Write a poem
  12. Play charades.
  13. Invite some friends who live close or even the neighbors over for some hot chocolate. Try this.
  14. Play on the Wii, with or without friends.
  15. Play a game of Texas Hold Em’ and use M&M’s or whatever you have around the house for chips. You could even used potato chips.
  16. Take down your Christmas decorations. I, uh, am just kidding. Of course everyone has their decorations down.
  17. When you make dinner add some food coloring. Like add green food coloring to beans to make “green beans” or make some blue mashed potatoes. Use your imagination.
  18. Make a silly video of you and friends/family reenacting a scene from a movie.
  19. Bake cookies. Try any of these, or try these.
  20. Bake a cake. Try this one, this one or this one.
  21. Or cupcakes. There are so many. Haven’t tried these but I want to. And check out all of these
  22. Basically I like baking and cooking and I think you should at least: Try one new recipe this weekend.
  23. Make a snowman and leave it in some one’s yard.
  24. If you know you have an elderly neighbor, clear their walk way or even driveway.
  25. Paint your nails. Try and talk your husband or boyfriend into letting you paint their nails. Even if they say no, their reaction will be funny.
  26. Rub each others feet. (Each other is referring to significant others, not neighbors or roommates. Unless you’re okay with that.)
  27. Clean out your fridge, freezer or pantry. I know, how boring, but it is kind of funny in a gross way when you find a jar of mayonnaise from 2006 in the back. But don’t open it.
  28. Read your Bible. Even if when you open it cobwebs choke you, you might find something good in there.
  29. Watch reruns on Hulu.com
  30. Just Relax. Take this snow weekend to chill out and refresh yourself.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

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Nothing Classy About The Doll House

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If you drive East on Highway 51 you may notice a new attraction. The Doll House is a new adult entertainment venue that will be opening today. The sign proudly proclaims that they will have 15-20 girls.

I have to be completely honest. Initially I fantasized about burning the place down. Of course, I would never do this in reality. 1) They could collect the insurance money and rebuild anyway and 2) I am pretty sure arson is a felony. Okay, the real reason: I try not to be a crazy person. While my reaction may seem somewhat extreme, let me explain.

1. As a Wife

How could I be married and approve of this kind of business? The Doll House encourages men, committed or not, to come into their establishment and look at other women, naked women. I realize committed men do not have to participate, but the reality is, some will. Not only does this put a naked woman in front of husbands, fiancés or boyfriends in a totally sexual way, which in my opinion might as well be cheating, but the man’s attendance tells his significant other that she is not good enough, pleasing enough, beautiful enough, wild enough, sexy enough, etc. She is also now compared again unrealistic physical and sexual standards. And to put it frankly, the only boobs I want my husband looking at are mine.

2. As a Mother

I hate to pull the classic “what if it was your baby?”, but WHAT IF THE GIRL ON THE STAGE TAKING HER CLOTHES OFF WAS YOUR DAUGHTER?! Would you really want a bunch of horny guys ogling your daughter or even sister? No! Just the thought of it makes me what to pummel every guy that walks through those doors. Even more so I want to beat the crap out of every Daddy that failed to tell his daughter how much she is worth and that she is beautiful and far more valuable than that! And don’t even get me started if I had a son, and I caught him going there.

3. As a Woman

Okay feminist, where are you now? You want Freedom? Respect? Empowerment?  Yet this kind of business still exists in our society. What is politically correct or remotely okay with women putting themselves on display to be exploited for men’s sexual gratification? Or is that what the feminist movement had in mind when they said they wanted to be liberated? Maybe, if we women weren’t so busy telling men not to open the door for us, we could put a stop to this blatant exploitation and abuse.

Please, please do not support this business. Ernie Bales, the owner was quoted in an article by the O’Colly saying that The Doll House would be “classier.” There is nothing classy about capitalizing on the degradation of women.

A plea from,

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

Craving Biscuits and Gravy??

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Have you ever woken up on a Saturday morning and thought mmm biscuits and gravy sound really good, tooc  bad we don’t have any sausage? Well did you know you can make gravy without grease? You can!! I didn’t know until recently. I searched Recipezaar.com without much hope and I happened upon this recipe.

No-Sausage-Gravy

You’ll need:

  • 2 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flour
  • 2 Cups of Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon of poultry seasoning,optional

Easy steps to yummy gravy:

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heart.
  2. Sprinkle flour over melted butter and whisk together to form a paste.
  3. Allow this to cook for a minute.
  4. Pour in milk, all at once, whisking constantly.
  5. While still whisking: add seasonings.
  6. Allow the gravy to come to boil, keep whisking.
  7. Perfect to your taste with your seasoings.
  8. Enjoy!

Note: I didn’t use the poultry seasoning, if you want added flavor you can season the gravy to taste with what you have on hand. Poultry seasoning is a mixture of sage, thyme, celery salt and savory. These flavors will help give the sausage-y flavor.

Another Note: Make sure you use 1/2 a teaspoon of pepper, not 1 teaspoon or the gravy will be really peppery. However I did make  the same mistake with the salt and I thought it was a perfect amount of salt. But 1/2 a teaspoon of salt is healthier.

One More Note: This recipe is supposed to serve 4-6, but my husband and I ate all of this gravy and could have used more. So if you like more gravy you will probably need to double this recipe. However if you are trying not to consume gallons of gravy for you health you might stick to these amounts.

As for the biscuits, you can just serve them with store bought biscuits or you can make these from scratch:

Homemade Biscuits

You’ll need:

  • 2 Cups of all-purpose flour
  • 4 Teaspoons of baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of salt
  • 1/3 Cup of butter or margarine
  • 3/4 Cup of milk

What to do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter until the mixture becomes crumbly.
  4. Add the milk.
  5. Stir until a ball forms, you can a little bit more milk if you needed to make a soft dough.
  6. You can roll the dough out and cut circles with a floured glass OR you can make 11-12  balls of dough.
  7. Arrange them on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 425ºF about 10-12 minutes or until done. Some ovens take longer, but be careful not to burn the bottoms.
  9. Enjoy

Voila! You have a great breakfast plan for Saturday!

Yummy Biscuits and Gravy!-Sarah, One Curly Mama

Support Haiti

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I must admit I have intentionally been avoiding the topic of Haiti. I haven’t been watching the news, and I have paid minimal attention to anything having to do with all the devastation. I actually paid more attention to the Leno v. O’Brien drama than I did the Haiti situation. At one point, I even caught myself wondering when all this Haiti stuff would be over. I realized that I am struggling with how to deal with the horror and suffering that I could never even imagine. I don’t want to talk about it because I don’t want to admit that it is a big deal nor that it is even real. But the unimaginable terror is real and the suffering is constant, so I am asking you to join me in supporting Haiti.

Learn about Haiti

For a quick read about the nation of Haiti click here.

For the latest coverage click here or here.

Support the Haiti relief effort

Here are some different ways you can help:

The Haitian School Initiative by STILLERSTRONG.org. Ben Stiller recently launched this program to build temporary schools for Haitians displaced by the earthquake.

Churches Helping Churches is committed to helping rebuild the churches in Haiti so they can continue to minster to the hurting people in their country. And they are also encouraging churches here in the U.S. to take up a special offering for this cause.

Through the American Red Cross you can donate money, give blood, collect and donate clothing, food, water and etc. and you can even volunteer to travel to Haiti.

You can also text “Haiti” to 90999 and a $10 donation will be added to your phone bill. How easy is that?

UNICEF offers a number of ways to be involved. Their emphasis is on the children.

Yéle Haiti is an organization started by Wyclef Jean. You can donate online or via text, or you can shop their online store and the proceeds will go the Haitian earthquake relief.

Text YELE to 501501 to donate $5 or text HAITI to 501501 to donate $10.

If you want to see bipartisan action check out the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.

The World Food Programme is helping to feed the hungry in Haiti.

To donate $5 to their efforts text FRIENDS to 90999

Please be as generous as you can.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

The Almost Life and Death Importance of Thank You Cards

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With Christmas and my daughter’s birthday less than a month apart, you can only imagine the amount of thank you cards I need to write. Yes, I am working on them, but let me just say, if you gave our family a gift…patience is a virtue.

In honor of this painfully long process, I thought I would take a minute to remind the world of the importance of thank you cards.

Here are a few reasons you should always write a thank you note:

Reason #1

Imagine your Auntie Mildred sends you a check in the mail for your birthday. If you don’t write her a thank you card, she might think it got lost in the mail. Or Auntie Mildred might assume some hooligan robbed your mailbox. Now when you go to cash your check, you can’t. Then Benny the loan shark, to whom you still owe money, will be really mad if you can’t pay up. If you don’t pay Benny, Hank is the one who comes to get you, and you don’t want to meet Hank. So make sure you send a thank you card. Your face might depend on it.

Reason #2

Say your sweet mother sends you some goodies. A hand-knit sweater. A dozen homemade cookies. You wear the slightly itchy sweater and gobble down the cookies appreciatively but forget to send a thank you card. Well little do you know how much your mom actually misses you. Have you ever heard of “empty nest syndrome?” You were the last baby to leave the house, you know. Well Mommy dearest learned not to call too much from your older siblings, so she just sent this sweet care package to remind you to call. But we all know how long your mom can talk about Sudoku, and you’re busy studying or something, so you don’t call or send a quick thank you note. Well your mother is pulling her hair out with grief, “MY BABY DOESN’T LOVE ME ANYMORE!” In  her grief she actually manages to give herself a bald spot and has to wear an uncharacteristic hat to church. Upon being asked why, she explains how you have apparently abandoned her. The next thing you know, you have an angry voice mail from your pastor; you’ve been excommunicated. Can Baptists do that? Next time send a thank you card.

Reason #3

Your best friend give you an awesome birthday gift, but amidst all the birthday mirth you forget to send a thank you card; in fact the idea didn’t even cross your mind. You don’t see your BFF for a few days, and the next time you check Facebook, she has de-friended you. You try to call, but she has blocked your number. After a month of not seeing her (she has obviously been avoiding you) you happen to spot her in the produce section at WalMart. So you corner her between the potatoes and onions to ask WTF? To your bewilderment she starts sobbing and tells you how she thought you hated the gift and her. After your confession of forgetfulness and a clean-up on aisle four, you’re instant besties again. But don’t you think sending a thank you card would have been easier?

Reason #4

Really, its always nice to get a thank you card in the mail and feel appreciated. So as annoying as it may be, try to keep up with those thank you’s .

Just a friendly reminder.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

Word.

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Words to be more exact.

Today I was perusing Facebook when I came across a status update with several comments. This status update was a pastor I like updating about his experience in Haiti so far. He is there dropping off some supplies to local churches. I was disappointed to see how many of the comments were critical, even hateful.

Words are so powerful, yet we throw them around like it’s nothing. People, including myself,  need to be more careful with the way we use our words.

How many times have you been having a bad day and someone tells you that you look great? Or tells you that you did a great job on something? Doesn’t that compliment make your day a little brighter? Depending on the situation, a compliment like that has even make my whole day better.

On the other hand: How many times have you been trekking along through your day and someone says something mean or unnecessarily critical? Doesn’t that just turn your whole day upside down? And if you managed to get over it, didn’t you have to make a conscious decision to let it go and be okay?

Woman

As a woman, this issue is even more important to me. Okay, raise your hand if you have ever gossiped…is everybody raising their hand? Yeah, in this society, gossiping is the trendy thing to do. There are magazines, TV shows, books and movies all dedicated to gossiping. And in the fun of telling stories about how what’s-her-face met what’s-his-face and cheated on so-and-so, words get twisted, rumors start, lies are told and in the end people are left hurting. Maybe not every time, but once is enough.

And the name-calling is ridiculous. Even friends call each other bitch.  Regardless of the meaning among friends, the word is a derogatory term. That’s not to mention the name-calling outside of friendship. Slut, whore, skank and other demeaning names come rolling off the tongues of women without any remorse or care. The girl may not be promiscuous, but she is wearing a low-cut shirt, so she must be a skank; that is the attitude of many women. I have even found myself passing judgment. It’s like just because I can see her cleavage, I know her heart. I don’t, and it’s totally wrong of me to insult her based on the clothes she is wearing. This is just one of the many situations we use to hurl insults at other women.

Is all this name-calling and talking bad about each other a way to build ourselves up? I think it is. We feel better about ourselves as long as we are “better than that girl.”

What happened to being independent and empowered? I propose we stop being dependent on bad mouthing each other to feel better and become empowered and confident enough to encourage one another.

Wife

If you are a wife or even girlfriend, have you ever considered the effect your words have on your significant other? As a wife/girlfriend one of our most important roles is to be an encourager to our husband/boyfriend. He is a great guy in most cases, and if he isn’t, why did you marry him or why are still dating him? Guys tend to be under a lot of pressure to take care of you. So tell him he is doing a good job. Stop nagging and criticizing and build your man up. If you don’t believe me try it out for yourself. Make a point to be extra encouraging for a couple of days and see how he responds. I’ll bet you a cookie it will do wonders for your relationship. (Hold me to that bet. If it doesn’t work, comment and I’ll send you a cookie.)

Mother

Being a new mommy has brought this “importance of words” stuff to the forefront of my mind. I know from experience the power of words.

When I was in middle school my mom and I used to battle it out every morning before school. We would inevitably end up in a screaming match, which led to both of us throwing around words I don’t think we meant. On one of these mornings, my mom dropped me off at school, and her last words to me before she drove away were to call me a “fat ass bitch.” I am 23 years old, and it still really hurts my heart to remember that. We don’t have a speaking relationship to this day, and she has yet to meet my daughter.

My freshman year in high school I moved in with my Nana. She is a huge part of the reason I am who I am today. She constantly spoke words of life to me. Through the worst parts of my life, my Nana has been there encouraging me. She is pretty much my best friend. I could not be more blessed to have such a great relationship with her. I give a lot of credit to her because of her wisdom in how she has spoken to me throughout my life.

Now I have a daughter of my own. I encourage any mother reading this to be careful and wise with her words. I personally have a long ways to go. I hope one day I will be as wise as my Nana and other great women I know. And I hope I can impact my daughter the way they impacted me.

Blogger

Now that the internet is such a intricate part of everyone’s lives, words are being thrown around like crazy. The second you think something, you can tweet. Anytime someone says something you don’t agree with, you can comment. If you want you can even write a blog and write about how you feel and what you think. Everything is instant and visible for everyone. While this technology has opened up a lot of opportunities for people, it has also opened the mouths of a lot of people essentially everyone. So next time you are tweeting, which is probably right now, or facebooking, take a moment to consider what you are putting out there.

Just some words for thought.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

10 Ways to Chillax

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Hooray for the end of the first week of classes!

Well, it has been a long week. I told a friend today that I forgot how exhausting it was to take classes. It is only the first week of class and I have stayed up late each night reading. And with a baby who just wants me to read That’s Not My Dinosaur… ten times in a row, I am even more tired. I am looking forward to the long weekend. My hope is that I will take the time to get some homework done, but that I will also let myself relax. I hope you will do the same. In an effort to encourage your relaxation here are 10 ways to chillax.

1. Sleep.

This seems simple enough, but don’t be tempted to stay up late every night this weekend just because you don’t have class. Go to bed and actually let your body rest.

2. Read

Take some time to read something not required for class. I suggest a collection of good short stories or even poems. Read some thing that will stimulate your mind but not because you have to. Find a quiet place and just spend half an hour reading a book you enjoy.

3. Take a Walk

Weather.com is forecasting some drizzle on Saturday, but on Sunday the high is in the upper 50s and by the afternoon it should be sunny. (In the Stillwater area) So get out of your house or apartment and walk around. Breathe in the fresh air and appreciate the nature around you.

4. Soak in a Bubble Bath

Put some suds in the tub and light some smelly-good candles; you’re good to go.

5. Pamper Yourself

Just take some time out of your weekend and do something to pamper yourself. Paint your toenails. Treat your hair to a deep conditioning treatment. Do a facial. Invite a friend over and go slumber party style. Put your hair up in towels, do a facial and paint each others’ nails. Or don’t. Maybe find your self 10 minutes alone to apply that fresh coat of polish. Whatever you do, just treat your body to a little indulgence.

6. Do something you love.

Whether it is scrap booking, painting, writing, playing sports, baking, whatever it is, get to it.

7. Play

Just have a good time. Maybe you can play some easy video games with a group of friends. (In that case I suggest Super Mario Brothers for the Wii) Maybe you need to just go to the park and swing. Or in my case I like to roll around and chase and play with my daughter. Just have a good time and don’t worry about life.

8. Exercise

I know, you’re thinking, how is exercise relaxing. But I have to say, I have been exercising more and as much as my legs burn, I feel much less stressed. I feel energized and proud of myself for accomplishing something. Even if you just go for a walk or play a game of basketball, just be active and work some of that tension out.

9. Cry

Okay, I know this sounds really crazy. But some times all the stress of life builds up and we don’t have a release. Get some alone time and just cry. Or find some one you can trust and let them cry with you. Another option is watching a sentimental movie to get your tear ducts going. However you do it, crying will let you work out some of that mounting tension.

10. Laugh (my favorite)

My Nana used to always use that old saying “laughter is the best medicine”. Well whoever came up with that was on to something.  Laughing is actually really good for you.  In fact, several websites list the health benefits of laughing, including this one. Not only is laughing physically and mentally healthy for you, it is so entertaining, especially if you have a friend who snorts.

Enjoy your long weekend and try to relax.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

Yummy Banana Cake with Cheese Cream Frosting

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My daughter’s first birthday was yesterday. At 7:45 on the morning of January 13th, my sweet little girlie, Elizabeth, was born. Her birthday not only marks her turning one year old. The celebration of Elizabeth’s first birthday is also a time to honor my survival as a mother. I made it. I entered the world of atomic poopy diapers, endless feedings and sleepless nights and exited through the final months of ear infections and tortuous-for-everyone teething, but I am still alive and even sane.  So, naturally I was not going to miss the opportunity to punctuate my endurance with a delicious birthday cake for all. I was determined to make my first daughter’s first birthday cake. And I did.

I even practiced. I made one layer of this tasty cake and even frosted the trial dish.

And it turned out okay. The dry run gave me the confidence to actually make the real dish.

I did have a few new tools for this cake. #1: An 8 inch Wilton performance pan. #2 A CAKE LEVELER! which let me cut the top of the cake, giving me a flat surface to work with. This is the coolest thing ever. It was something like $3 at Walmart. I am in love with my cake leveler.

Now on to the making of the actual cake:

I decided on a banana cake because I hoped it would get most of the flavor from the banana and have less sugar, thus being easier for little baby tummies. Unfortunately the cream cheese frosting had a lot, I mean a lot, of sugar in it.

Once I decided the flavor, I needed to decide the style. I went with a two-layer cake, which I had never done before.

Then I started working.

First I had to mash bananas. I don’t have a proper banana mashing tool, whatever that is. So, I used an egg slicer to get the party started.

Unconventional, I know, but it worked. And because I doubled my recipe, to make the two layers, I needed two cups of mashed bananas. By the way, if you don’t know mashed banana goo is very sticky and messy.

Then you must cream the sugar and margarine or butter. The amount of butter and sugar is somewhat frightening, so I will spare you that information, for now.Then add eggs, sticky banana mess, and some scrumptious smelling vanilla extract. Blend that up. Then you are going to alternate adding the dry ingredients with the sour milk. (note: sour milk is not sold in stores. don’t ask. you can make it by mixing 1 cup of milk with1 tablespoon lemon juice or white distilled vinegar and let it sit for 15 minutes) Once you blend everything together you should have a nice batter to pour into your pan. The 8-inch pan calls for 3 cups of cake batter. To grease your pan: spread oil or shortening inside and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour over the oil or shortening. This should help keep your cake from sticking to the pan.

Hopefully after 40-50 minutes at 350°F the cake will come out of the oven looking something like this.

Repeat to make second layer and then let both cakes cool completely. I cooled mine overnight in the fridge. Once they are cooled you can level them and start the frosting process.

Frosting:

Making the frosting is pretty easy. You beat the cream cheese and butter together and then add powdered sugar to taste. The less powdered sugar you use, the more the frosting will taste like cream cheese. If you are going for a healthier option, less powdered sugar is the way to go.

If you want color don’t forget the food coloring. I thought the cream cheese gave the frosting and food coloring a nice earthy tone. I really liked the pink I ended up with.

Now it is time to start putting the cake together. Starting with a leveled layer, add a dam by piping a circle of icing around the edge of your cake.

Then just fill in the middle with frosting, like so.

Once you have covered the first layer, it is time to put the next layer on. Put the second layer with the bottom facing up. Scary, I know. I was so afraid I would drop the cake or make it uneven. But I managed to get that second layer up there without any major disaster.

See! It is possible. Now for the fun part: Actually icing the cake. Start by putting a giant glob on top and work that away from the center. As you push the icing off the top, don’t worry, you will use that to frost the sides. Keep pulling from the center glob, adding more icing if you need to, which you will. Once the top was covered I added more frosting to the center of the cake and pulled it down off the top to ice the sides. If you pull up from the sides or toward the middle, you will end up with crumbs in your frosting.

Keep pulling the frosting off the middle and down the sides until, voila, the cake is frosted and you can add any decorations or personal touches. I used a cheap cake decorating set from Walmart to decorate mine. Here is the finished product on location at Elizabeth’s party.

Here are the details up close.I was so afraid I would mess up that “E”!

Yummy Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The original recipe is one I got off of Recipezaar.com and I tweaked the recipe until I was satisfied and it became my own. I hope you enjoy!
cake
1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed banana
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 cup sour milk
frosting
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup butter or margarine
powdered sugar
  1. mash bananas, set aside
  2. sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside
  3. cream margarine and sugar
  4. add bananas, eggs, and vanilla extract
  5. blend well
  6. add 1/3 of dry ingredients to banana mixture, then 1/2 cup of sour milk , then 1/3 of dry ingredients, 1/2 cup of sour milk, then the rest of the dry ingredient, blending after each addition
  7. spread oil or shortening on the pan then sprinkle with flour until the oil or shortening is covered
  8. once mixture is well blended, pour 3 cups of cake batter into an 8 inch circular pan
  9. bake at 350°F for 45-50 minutes, until toothpick or fork pulls out clean
  10. frosting: beat cream cheese and butter
  11. add powdered sugar to taste
  12. enjoy

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

10 Ingredients for a Happy 1st Birthday

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Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, my sweet daughter Elizabeth will be ONE YEAR OLD! I cannot even believe that is possible. She has been so much fun and such a doll. To celebrate, on Saturday we had her birthday party. In honor of her birthday here are 10 ingredients you need to throw a great party.

#10 A TIME, and equally important, A PLACE.

Time: You need to consider your baby’s schedule, especially her nap time. You should try to be considerate of any other children you invite. Let’s face it, hanging out with a pack of tired and hungry babies is about as much fun as plucking your eyebrows.

Place: This should be fairly simple for most. Home is always the easy way to go and if you are lucky enough to celebrate in the summer, anywhere outside works. However, if you happen to live in a teeny tiny apartment and the weather has ceased to be cold and is just plain frigid, you need some options. We went unconventional and rented a coffee shop for a couple hours.

Elizabeth’s Party was at Aspen Coffee Company in Stillwater, OK.  This was nice because the adults could enjoy complimentary coffee drinks during the party and we got to support a local business. (A special thanks to the in-laws for help with renting the place!)

#9 Invitations

These can be anything from a traditional store bought card, a photo card you can can create online or something homemade. We went with something homemade. I went to marthastewart.com for some inspiration and she had the cutest idea for homemade invitations. The idea was to cut an apple in half the way you did when you were little and the seeds made a star. Then you cut some wedges out of the apple half and it will make a flower stamp. I loved this idea. Well screw Martha Stewart and her perfect apple stamped flowers! Mine turned out mostly deformed! I ended up using the paper I stamped as a border and ended up with these relatively decent invites.

#8 A Good Night’s Rest

I cannot stress how important this is for everyone. Baby needs to be rested so she can have fun at her party. Even more important, Mom and Dad need to be well rested so they can be patient and sweet to the birthday baby and so they won’t be grumpy with each other. So, make sure you get some ZZZ the night before!

#7 A Cute Birthday Outfit

Okay, so this probably isn’t necessary, but picking the outfit out is so much fun for mom and baby. Twirly skirts are always good for little girls! Elizabeth wore her tutu skirt and a soft billowy top with some striped leggings. She was stylin’. Keep in mind, your little one will want an under shirt or a change of clothes they can get cake all over.

#6 Decorations

Or not. Ours stayed in the bag we brought them in. We never even hung them up. Parent fail, but who cares? She isn’t going to remember that her loser parents didn’t put streamers up when she turned one.

#5 Gifts

Okay, so these aren’t actually a must! But they sure are fun! If you want to do something different: Instead of accepting gifts ask for donations to a local charity. For example, you could ask for dog and cat food for an animal shelter or diapers for a women and children crisis center. Just make a note on your invitation. And you can always let close family members give gifts so they don’t feel left out.

#4 Family & Friends

Family: You have to invite those Grammies and Grandpas and Nanas and Papas. And you can invite other family too, but don’t feel obligated to invite every single long lost relative. Your baby having a fun first birthday is more important that Aunt Ethel twice removed getting to pinch cheeks and leave lipstick smudges.

Friends: Hopefully your little one has started making friends and you can have a little baby get together! Plus it is always nice to see other parents so you can catch up and swap funny stories. And gift favors for baby’s friends are fun, but beyond bubbles, good luck with coming up with something a one year old can have as a party favor.

Family and Friends coming to the party is one of the most important part. You don’t need gifts or decorations to have a good party. Most of the fun is letting everybody hang out and watch a cute baby have fun. A celebration isn’t a celebration without good company. So make sure you enjoy the party with your friends and family, because toys will break and cake will be eaten, but the fun memories are what stick around.  (Thanks to everybody that shared Elizabeth’s birthday with us. We love you guys!)

#3 A Yummy Cake

I made this cake from scratch. It is a double layer banana cake with cream cheese frosting. I even did the decorating myself. My next entry will feature the recipe for this delicious cake. I just wanted to make this for Elizabeth’s 1st birthday.  A cupcake tree or a store bought cake would be just as good. I did choose this recipe so it would be easier on the babies’ tummies.

#2 A Cute Birthday Baby

You can’t have a party without a sweet little baby to feed messy cake to and open presents with. Fortunately I had one on hand, as you might have noticed.

#1 A Nap After the Party

Well, now you know how to throw a hoppin’ 1st birthday party!

Stay tuned for the recipe for #3 A Yummy Cake.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama

My First Blog

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The situation seems fitting that my first blog is on the day of my daughter’s first birthday party. Elizabeth’s birthday is a good place to start, as far as getting to know my family. Celebrating the end of  her first year is quite a triumph for us. The past year has been one full of new experiences as well as struggles and that’s not to mention the nine months preceding her birth.

I am blessed with an adorable and hilarious daughter who has a talent for making me forget the labor pains and trials of pregnancy. Truthfully though, my pregnancy was not an easy one full of baby registries and butterflies like I had envisioned. I spent the first few months puking at least once a day. The next few months I had no appetite whatsoever and was constantly nauseous. Then I found out I had gestational diabetes, which complicated life with a painfully strict and specific diet. Naturally this occurred around the time my body decided to crave everything, mostly on my “cannot have” list. I was a student and finished the fall semester, which  meant I went to class until the end of my 8th month. I struggled to get up every morning for 9am classes. Finally, the last month consisted of NSTs twice a week. A year has gone by; I don’t remember the details. I just know I had to lay in a hospital bed with a strap around my gigantic baby mountain for thirty minutes while a machine monitored my baby’s heart.

The few days before Elizabeth’s birth I experienced pain I had previously doubted possible. At one point I tried to climb the wall to keep my doctor from checking me because I was in so much pain. My doctor recommended I get an epidural. I am pretty sure the anesthesiologist stabbed a needle into my spine and then actually yelled at me for jerking. Later when my doctor broke my water, he stared at my lady parts for minutes, literally. He said he had never seen so much fluid; somehow his reason did not make his reaction less awkward. All of this went on while I was having contractions, not allowed to get out of bed and not allowed to eat.

However, the hours, days, and weeks to follow brought far more and much worse pain. After Elizabeth made her grand entrance via C-section, I was able to hold her for about thirty minutes before she started turning blue and I had to hand her back to the nurse. I would not see her without tubes and wires attached until weeks later. Elizabeth was born with a Esophageaol atresia and Tracheoesophageal Fistula. All of that simply means her esophagus and wind pipe did not develop properly. She needed corrective surgery as a three day old. 

Our family spent the next five weeks in The Children’s Hospital at the OU Medical Center with Elizabeth in the Neonatal ICU. We lived in the Oklahoma City branch of the Ronald McDonald House for four and half of those weeks. I cried more in those five weeks than I probably had my entire life. After five weeks of recovering from her surgery, having tubes removed and learning to eat enough to survive, Elizabeth Jean Harrison was allowed to come home.

Since then, I’ve battled postpartum depression while dealing with learning to breastfeed. I have started taking classes full time again. My husband lost his full time job and took that opportunity to start his Master’s degree. And those are just the big adjustments. Whether we are dealing with weening, teething, learning to walk, no hitting, no biting, crying it out so everybody can get more sleep, or just trying to eat lunch without most of the food ending up on the floor, each day is filled with the small battles that we are learning to accept.

My family really is in a good place right now. We have some priceless experience and a direction for our life, and most of that has come about within the last year. Elizabeth’s birthday party proved to be a perfect opportunity to reflect and realize how thankful we are for the past year.

Special Thanks to:

The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center

The Ronald McDonald House in Oklahoma City

All of our family and friends who supported us during this year. We couldn’t have done it without you guys!

God for the abundant grace he has shown our family and the blessings he has given us this year.

Stay tuned next time for how to throw a great first birthday party.

-Sarah, One Curly Mama