new things...

I know everyone and their mother makes these...but I wanted to come up with my own pattern...one that was super easy to do. :) I have been doing it over and over in my head and finally took it to the sewing machine...
The sweetest crayon roll on etsy right?
And new designs for the towels...these red trees are my favorite...
...love!
and sweet little birds...because I can't just sit here and do nothing while I try to ignore the negative... :) All these goodies and more coming to the shop soon...

A little sale going on in the shop, too. :) Take a peek. :)
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you can't mess this up...

So I have been wanting to make this coffee cake ever since I saw this post...HERE. I had read it over so many times that I was sure I knew just what ingredients I needed. While we were in the grocery store the other day I snagged the one thing I knew I didn't have...a box of cake mix. As I made it I had to laugh at myself several times over my own substitutions(due to lacking SEVERAL ingredients)...the great thing is that it still came out AMAZING...so I have renamed this "You can't mess this up-coffee cake". :) It's not as hard as it looks...you should try it AND just for fun, I noted my substitutions. :)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (did not add)

1 (18.5 ounce ) box yellow cake mix

1 (6 ounce) package vanilla Jell-O pudding (I added cheesecake flavor since all I had was that or chocolate)

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream (oops...none of this either...so I added 1/2c fat free sour cream and half a cup fat free milk)

3/4 cup hot water

4 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil (yeah...I never have this-I added 1/3 applesauce instead)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon butter extract (I ignored this all together)

1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional) (thought I had these...totally did NOT...I don't miss them)

Brown Sugar Icing

1/3 cup light packed brown sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons flour

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup whole milk (used fat free)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and lightly flour a 9 by 13-inch pan. Set aside.

To make the cake, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and walnuts (if using) in a mixing bowl. Mix well. Set the bowl aside. Measure out the chocolate chips (if using) and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream and hot water. Mix well. Your mixture will be thick. Beat in the eggs, vegetable oil and extracts until very few lumps remain. (Yeah, so I basically mixed everything together...adding one item at a time from the top down)

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle all of the brown sugar mixture over the cake batter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips, or whatever topping you’ve chosen. Carefully spread the remaining batter over the brown-sugar and chocolate chip mixture. With a butter knife, spread and swirl the cake batter and brown sugar mixture. (since I had mixed everything together already...I just sprinkled the top with brown sugar and cinnamon).

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake form the oven and cool slightly.

To make the icing, combine the sugar and the flour in a bowl. Set the bowl aside. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium-sized, heavy saucepan. Whisk the flour and sugar mixture into the melted butter until the mixture becomes moistened. The mixture will appear to separate from the butter. Decrease the heat to low and keep stirring, it will come together after about 2 minutes, becoming slightly stringy.

Stir in the milk. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture becomes thick and smooth, stirring frequently. It will look like gravy. Remove from heat. Add the vanilla extract. Let cool to lukewarm and drizzle over warm coffee cake. (I poked holes all over the top of the cake so that the icing would melt on in there. :))

~*~

See you can't mess this up...it still tastes great after all my attempts to maim it. :) Plus the icing is to die for...tastes like a maple caramel...yummm. :)And just for fun...a photo to make you smile. :) That is a photo of his trains that he is holding.

My back pain is still crazy bad (I made this cake earlier in the week when I could walk normally)...I think I must have pulled something and it is just aggravated by my pregnancy...and is in addition to all the other fun pregnancy pains, which on their own I can handle ok. Poor Doug got to deal with a sobbing wife...I am fighting cranky and crying at the same time. Not fun. But I am trying my best to keep my chin up...and ignore the fact that there are chores to be done, my freezer that is empty (on my to-do list is to use up those recipes and FILL that freezer!), my almost empty fridge and the fact that I fed my son fruit and yogurt for dinner because I am in just too much pain to stand...or walk. But the GOOD is that I can still sit at my sewing machine and on the couch in comfort. :)

Tomorrow is another day and GOD IS STILL GOOD...this I know! :) Thanks for all your sweet words and emails...they really help more than you know. :)

Come back tomorrow for a super fun GIVEAWAY!! :)

xoxo

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Cheap barbie...

So last night I was trying to explain to Doug how I have been feeling lately...the best example that I could come up with was this. You know when you get a real Barbie...her legs bend, her arms bend...other body parts bend...she is about as flexible as a doll can be, right? I feel nothing like that. I feel like the cheap barbie. You know the one...costs like $2, the one with arms and legs-stuck in place, impossible to dress, crazy hair all over the place...the one that immediately made it to the bottom of the toy box...after you colored her face with marker and cut her hair with safety scissors. That's me. Crazy hair and all.
I can't bend. I ache all over. I can't roll over. Every time I take a step sharp pains shoot up my spine.
And as a result...I am fighting cranky minute by minute. And yes, I know, it is all for a good and wonderful reason. Yesterday I had an internal debate for over an hour about closing the shop from now until March...or April.
But then came to my senses...I would seriously go crazy then.
So consider this my whiny post...my begging for your prayers post...because, honestly, every day is getting a little harder. I just threw in some photos of my cute son to dilute the gloom. :) He is an honest to goodness ray of sunshine in my day. Happy as can be, cute as a button...and more than happy to cuddle up next to me on the couch. :)
Other than the aches and pains and normal pre-baby worries...life is good...honestly...but life is not about being or appearing perfect or happy all the time...so I am just keeping it real for you...and that is why I share the good AND the bad...because really, we are in it ALL together, right? :)

Be blessed today and try, with me, to focus on the good and the very good. :)

xoxo

And p.s. knee high socks do NOT prevent cankles...but they do add a new phenomena that I have dubbed kn-alfs. :) I will let you figure out what those are. :)
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a time and a place for everything...

This morning I woke up to -1 as the temperature outside. Today was the time and the place for knee high socks. THIS is not my Virginia.
What I am wondering now...will this help the cankle situation I usually have at the end of the day from swelling?

:)

Hope you are staying warm! :)
xoxo
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mantle love

In case you haven't noticed yet...I like to switch things up...a lot...I am forever in a state of rearrange...always trying to make more room...or a cuter space...or a more fabulous arrangement. The most common victim of this is my mantle. :) Above is what it looks like now...that fun red arrow is actually some sort of vintage sign we got at a yard sale for $2! We collect the letter J and I recently decided to narrow the bulk of my bird collection to white birds...with some exceptions of course. :)
Here is the mantle in the fall...acorns (another love) and fun fall colors. :)
Easter/Spring mantle with bright green grass...bright colored orchids...fuzzy green bunnies...eggs....and fuzzy chicks. :)
Christmas mantle...snow and lights and fun pom poms. :)
The mantle...straight up...no extras. :)
And the summer version...tall green grass...birds in nests and fun black stars. :) The mantle is such a fun way to change the whole room without actually changing the whole room. :) And I rarely do it the same way twice...I usually add a little bit to each seasons collection and then go with the flow to make it feel right. :)

Is there a favorite spot in your home that you love to redecorate a lot?

~*~

And I will be emailing the swappers tonight! Let me know if you don't get an email! :)

Hope your weekend is great!! :)

xoxo
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sunny happy things...

Today did not start off sunny and happy...I will admit...I am doing our taxes myself this year after we were charged a ridiculous amount last year for someone else to do it...to keep the whole process from overwhelming me I have been doing it bit by bit...as things become available and forms come in the mail. I started with my shop taxes...don't even get me started on how mad those make me...ugh! And I am working my way through...at the moment we kind of owe a big chunk...due to my shop...but I am holding out hope that all of our home ownership costs/taxes/interest will offset that...I keep telling God "I am not going to worry about this...I will let you do that. You always take care of us. "...I have lost track of how many times I have said that to myself today.
~*~
We distracted ourselves with getting the nursery ready...we are now 98% there. Just a few small things I want to get and then we are done...but we could bring a baby home to his own room now. :) The photo at the top is one of the last projects I had to finish for the room. I just took a canvas, painted it gray and then stamped lots and lots of action words onto it. :) I made all of the letter A's a different shade of yellow so they would stand out. I guess you could say that our "theme" is initials. I have thing for initials. :)
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this couch!! It is a sectional so there are tons and tons of ways to arrange it. Plus it is SUPER comfy!! :) The whole nursery has a very relaxed lounge feel to it..LOVE.
My curtains are made and hanging. Very simple and clean. That is what we were going for. :)
There is baby's bed. :) Moses slept in that until he was a little over 4 months old. :) We are hoping that by the time baby is done with the hammock, Moses will be done with the crib. :) That hammock is a life saver. We love it. :) The two prints on the wall are vintagey baseball scenes...one is kids in front of Yankee stadium.
And there are the initials I made with the canvases and scrapbook paper. :) All the baby toys are in the toy box. We have all of his clothes and supplies arranged in the closet. I will show you what that looks like when it is all ready. :) I LOVE having one less piece of furniture (a dresser) in there.
~*~
Some other things that are making me happy today...
My bed is made. This hardly gets to happen anymore with Doug working nights. :) Before that it was made every morning...just makes the day start off just right...and is nice to see at the end of the day.
My anniversary present came in the mail...it's the bottom ring. Those are Doug's and my initials...the "fear not" ring is something that I wear everyday...as a simple reminder. I plan on wearing the two rings together. :) I got it from THIS etsy seller. She did a great job and was quick, too.
On the other side are my boys initials. :) Fear not...God is watching over ALL of us. :)
And lastly..a trio of happy things...my MAC, my diet pepsi and a nice fatty donut!

Hope you are finding happy distractions in your day. :)

xoxo

P.S. I will do my best to send out swap partners tomorrow sometime. :) It's not too late to sign up. :) Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com (no spaces) if you want to sign up. :)
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Dear Paypal Fairy.

My Dearest Wonderful Paypal Fairy (you have to butter him up to make this work),

Since I have a two week temporary ban on my spending due to the purchase of the above couch which will work fabulously in the nursery, I was hoping to make a request of you.

(Yes, we bought a couch for the nursery...it is in a delicious shade of gray and will serve not only as seating (I gave up the rocker idea-this couch cost about half as much), but will also serve as a changing table (once I buy the changing pad) and convenient nap spot for mommy or daddy).

Back to the Paypal fairy...it would be super awesome of you to make an error in my favor...not a HUGE greedy error but just enough to buy these adorable little goodies I found for the soon-to-be newest man in my life. :) I would of course be forever grateful and show that gratitude by continuing to allow you to charge me fees for holding my money.
The first item I would just love to have is this ADORABLE hat from knitsbyknittinmama.
Cute right?
Then there is this cute little diaper changing station from Lily Claire...
Who also makes these cute booties to match. :)
But the things I want to get most of all is this adorable little onesie from MoxieMadness...
...to go with these sweet little leg warmers from Knottybabywear...
...and these sweet warmers from Beckaboo...
You can throw in a couple of these cuties too...from Lucabella0522...while you are at it. :)
~*~
That's not too much to ask, right? Consider this my "baby registry" since I won't be registering anywhere else this go round. :)
And I have been working hard, Mr. Fairy. See...some cute new bibs for the shop...lots of sewing and card making going on in this house.
And if guilt will talk you into this error...then let it be known that I suffer from endless heartburn, inability to sleep, severe leg pains and have an overall elephant like sluggishness to me. :) PLUS, I have to go to the doctors to get weighed in today. :)

Thanks for your consideration!
Your faithful, Paypal fee payer,
Crystal xoxo
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I need you...

Seriously...ladies...and gents for what it's worth. I need your best, most favorite, yummy, most easy to prepare and live in the freezer casserole type recipes. :) I really want to fill this freezer up before this baby comes...I want to fill it with tasty meals that I can just put in the oven and serve with some bread. :) You got any?

It can't be anything spicy or too crazy...my darling husband is not a fan of foofy foods...he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I would prefer things with chicken, hamburger and maybe sausage...plus all the good filler ingredients. :)

Also...while we are at it...I would love to hear your favorite crock pot recipes too...easy ones...like dump it in and walk away kind of recipes. :) Got any of those?

Please share...don't let me down, now. :)

Looking forward very much to hearing all of your tasty suggestions. :)

Thanks for being fabulous...all you lovely folks who take the time to read this...I treasure each and every one of you! :)

Have a great Tuesday!! :)
xoxo
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I confess.

One of my favorite anti-mess tricks may make you think I am a loon. But it works for me. I don't let Moses feed himself foods that have a tendency to stain. AHH! It even sounds crazy typed out. But it's true. Spaghetti with sauce...HA! Chocolate pudding...no way. Popsicles...only if nearly nude and OUTside. Imagine my heart skipping a beat when we went to get Moses from Sunday school and they were having cupcakes as a snack...with bright dye laden frosting with BLACK writing on them. Oy!

The above photo is a sight that is only recently observed in our household. I have only recently begun to let him use a spoon to feed himself. Forks have been used for some time. Spoons...not so much. Why forks but not spoons? Well...most fork foods that we consume are of the non-staining variety...chicken, noodles, veggies, etc. Only recently am I letting go enough to let him feed himself yogurt (though I do tend to gravitate towards the lighter colored ones.) It helps that I found enormous bibs...they are basically hazmat suits. I also have had a heavy duty office chair mat under the high chair...which is MUCH nicer than any of the high chair mats I have found in stores.
Don't worry...he is not deprived in any way...he still gets lots of variety but I get to spend less time getting stains out of clothing and the carpet. :)

Do YOU have a crazy little habit that you are just dying to share? I'm waiting to hear it...
I can't help but to start getting a little excited for the day my two little boys meet...I have high hopes that Moses will be a GREAT big brother. He refuses to talk to the baby through my clothes...it has to be bare belly all the way...
Today he also insisted that baby needed some milk...
And then here he is giving baby a hug. :) I'm telling you...this boy is so stinkin' sweet some days I could just squish him!...of course then there are days that I could just squish him for other reasons... :)

I have started putting new items in the shop today...lots of yummy towels...if you want a certain color, I'd be happy to reserve it for you...I have no idea how long I will be able to carry the bright colored ones so grab them while you can.

I'm off to try to catch up with some of my ideas...don't forget my question:

Do YOU have a crazy little trick/habit that you are just dying to share? I'm waiting to hear it...

xoxo
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Funny things...

A quiet day here...church, naps and football. That seems to be the life we have here on Sundays. I don't mind the church or the naps...it's the enddddddddddlesssssss football that makes me a little crazy. So while the boys nap, and the DVR does it's job...I am here...and soon at the dining room table crafting my heart away. :) I am in one of those blissful places where I have more ideas than I can keep up with...but first...some household funnies I thought you might enjoy.
At any given moment, Moses will launch into a, from the heart, at the top of his lungs rendition of any of the following- jingle bells, Jesus loves me, Apologize (Too late to apologize) OR Single Ladies (the words to which we have changed to "all the single babies"). He knows and sings a surprising amount of lyrics to all of these.
~*~
Moses will now consistently say "Peace out" to you when he leaves the room. Not sure if we blame Doug or I for this one. :)
~*~
Last week Doug and I watched "P.S. I Love You". It's a movie about a woman whose husband dies. At one point she is going through his things to get rid of them all. I turn to Doug and say "Honey, what would you do with my things if I die?"...INSTANTLY he says "Craigslist". And goes back to watching the movie. Gee honey...have you given it some thought?
~*~
Today at lunch, to some request of Moses' I said "N.O. Moses". To which he immediately responds, while leaning in intently "M.K. mama". Hopefully M.K. isn't baby slang for something I am not aware of.
Then, this morning, over breakfast, I was telling Doug about all of the lovely emails I have been getting from my sweet blog readers. Which, by the way, make my day and make me feel extra loved! Anyway, I am telling Doug about them and sharing about how it makes me feel like people think I am a better person than I think I am, though I do try very hard to share all of the good and the bad...you know how us girls do, hard to see the good in ourselves even when others point it out to you. And my dear sweet, darling husband replies "They have no idea". Thanks honey. I love you, too!
P.S. Of course my husband is always joking when he says these things...that is just our shared sense of sassy and sarcastic sense of humor. :)

And just for good measure...I thought I would share that I have officially LOST count of the number of people whose eyes about fall out of their heads when they find out just how many more weeks I have to go. Ugh. Yeah, thanks for that random people. :)

Anywho...hope you are all doing something you love today. :) I am going to go craft my way through nap time...and then DVR'd football time...and maybe then some. I hope to have lots of new goodies for the shop starting tomorrow...still have lots I want to/need to buy for baby A so that is my motivation. :)

xoxo
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Instead of doing nothin'.

I am making it my mission to do SOMEthing. I am assuming that I am not alone when I confess the following...often I am guilty of doing NOTHING when I could have done something. I manage to talk myself out of doing the little things for others...or for myself for that matter, because I convince myself that it isn't good enough, clever enough, doesn't cost enough...just isn't enough. I began working on changing this thinking before Christmas.
~*~
It started with my Christmas cheer packages. I had wanted to do something like this the year before...and ended up doing nothing because I convinced myself that what would be in the box wasn't enough. But this year I went for it. Most boxes contained little more than some cookies, candy and an ornament or note. Just a little something. I sent to those that I felt like I should. I did not worry myself with not being able to send to everyone. I did what I could. And you know what? God totally showed up in those boxes. I can't tell you how many people told me that their box showed up at the perfect moment, turned their day around or helped them to feel loved just when they needed it. I delighted in that...that I was not missing a God moment. :) It helped me to know that I was growing in an area that God has wanted me to for some time...
~*~
So now...I am making it a life mission to always do SOMEthing instead of nothing. Yes, I may want to cook a fancy meal to take to friends but if all I can do is make some brownies...then I will do that. I may want to make a super amazing gift for a friend's new baby but if all I can do at the time is buy something cute from the store...then I will do that. I may really want to send someone a great birthday gift...but can only think of something small to get...then I will get that something small. I may want to comment on every blog that visits here...but if I can only do a few...then I will do that. :)
SOMEthing is better than nothing.
I am even applying this to stuff I have to do around the house...just today I knew that the bathroom HAD to be cleaned...I did not have the energy for it so I took down all the towels, bathmat, etc and washed and dried those...I did SOMEthing and that feels a whole lot better than doing nothing.
~*~
Have I lost you all yet? Do you do this to yourself too? Do you find yourself wanting to do something but usually end up doing nothing because you feel like it isn't enough? Well, I can tell you that I just started on this new mission and already I can see a change...in me and around me. I am not so quick to dismiss a thought but instead think on it longer to see how I can make it work for me to be able to do SOMEthing. I can "see the change" around me in that those in my life can see/feel/hear/know that I was thinking about them and as a result, know that they are loved.
~*~
After all, doctors don't say..."Well I can't cure everyone, so I won't cure anyone". Missionaries don't say "I can't reach everyone...so I won't try to reach anyone". Right?

So...I want to motivate you to change this...for me to keep changing it, too. So I thought I would host ONE MORE swap before the baby comes. :)

We'll call it the "A little something" swap. :)

ALL you have to do for this swap is buy three things:
A pair (or two)of cozy fun socks (because everyone should have fun socks).
Your favorite hot drink (cocoa, tea, coffee, etc).
A sweet treat.

How about that? Are you up for it? Just a little something to brighten someones day...I hope that it will get us ALL into doing something instead of nothing and get us into a refreshing new habit. :)

To sign up please email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com (No spaces).

I will assign partners NEXT FRIDAY the 16th and you will have a week to get a package in the mail from that date. :)

:) Even if you don't want to swap, as always I would LOVE to hear your thoughts! :)

xoxo
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baby things...

Just a couple of baby projects I got done in the last day or so...the onesie above was totally inspired by one of my favorite blog neighbors...Meg. How terrible is it that this is the first thing I have made for my own baby to be? :) LOVE LOVE it...I have pile of onesies laying around for crafting sake...if you're dying for one just as cute. :) I'm just saying...
I also got these simple but adorable initials done. :) Scrapbook paper, canvases and mod podge are all you need. :) Easy and sweet (at least I think so).
~*~
Today I also got the baby clothes out to wash...looks like we will be able to use Moses' baby clothes for the first couple of months but summer may require a new wardrobe for the little one...dang it! I also got our infant hammock up and ready...but that may come down to go to the hospital with us.
Still need to make curtains...using this fun fabric. I also have another large canvas project that I am working on for the nursery. It's coming along...slowly but surely.

I am LOVING the butter yellow and shades of gray color scheme we are using. :) It feels boyish but still sweet. :)

Tomorrow I am planning to stay home and recuperate from the busy(but good) day we had today...MOPS, lunch out, Micheal's, post office, working on the nursery and then since Moses didn't nap today we went to the mall to walk around for distraction...almost two hours of walking has worn me out!

Tomorrow (or Saturday)I hope to have a fun announcement for you...in hopes that it will inspire you to change some thinking you may have...and give you a boost in the right direction. :)

Take care of you until then! :) xoxo
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The Anniversary!

Today is our third anniversary...it feels like it should be a much higher number than that...we have accomplished so much in three short years...and it's not like we dated all that long before we got married either. We started dating in Sept...engaged the next August...and married that next January. :) Love and happiness ever since. We have been criticized for NOT fighting/disagreeing enough...for spending too much time together and the most ridiculous of all...for knowing each others passwords. :) All laughable to us. All I know is that we love each other more every day. :)
~*~
Let's see...in three years of marriage...we had a baby (got pregnant with Moses on our honeymoon), we bought a house, Doug has worked towards a great job, I started a business!, we moved to C'ville, we are close to having our second little boy and we have grown closer to the Lord and to each other every. single. day. :) The above photo was taken at Sunset beach...the week Doug proposed. :)
I have THE BEST husband in the world. :) Honestly, my biggest complaint is that he sometimes leaves the shower head on so that when I bend over to start the water for my shower in the morning I get drenched. :) And he makes a lot of laundry. :) But other than that...it's great! Who can complain about a man who brings you Starbucks in bed, unprompted, who gives you hour long foot rubs for every sports event he watches(and if you know Doug...that is A LOT of sports events), who is such an awesome dad to your son, who works hard (so that you can live your dream of being at home with your kids AND have your own business), treats you like gold, loves you more than you think you deserve and can't wait to get home to you at the end of the workday? I don't think I will be complaining about that...EVER! :)
(above is a photo from our wedding day!).
(above is a photo of our Norwegian wedding cake)

I love so much about him...

Like his sense of humor...he can take my sass and hand it right back to me (not many people can). :) ...like the time he held his hand under my very pregnant(with Moses) belly and asked me how many fingers he was holding up.

I love that he also reads my blog, and comments...and loves it when I talk about him. :) Say hi!

I love how he attacks(in a playful way!) me when I have gotten him good(with a joke or by scaring the bejesus out of him).

I love him so much more today then when I married him and I am SO excited to see what the future holds for us!!

Happy Anniversary to my Honey!!! You are the best a girl could ask for...and more! :)

xoxo

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